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11.30.18

Links 30/11/2018: Mesa 18.3 RC5, Blender 2.8 Beta, Wine 3.0.4 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Linux and Supercomputers

      As we sit here, in the year Two Thousand and Eighteen (better known as “the future, where the robots live”), our beloved Linux is the undisputed king of supercomputing. Of the top 500 supercomputers in the world, approximately zero of them don’t run Linux (give or take…zero).

      The most complicated, powerful computers in the world—performing the most intense processing tasks ever devised by man—all rely on Linux. This is an amazing feat for the little Free Software Kernel That Could, and one heck of a great bragging point for Linux enthusiasts and developers across the globe.

      But it wasn’t always this way.

      In fact, Linux wasn’t even a blip on the supercomputing radar until the late 1990s. And, it took another decade for Linux to gain the dominant position in the fabled “Top 500″ list of most powerful computers on the planet.

    • OpenShift Commons Briefing: Container Deployment and Security Best Practices John Morello (Twistlock) and Dirk Herrmann (Red Hat)

      In this briefing, Twistlock’s John Morello and Red Hat’s Dirk Herrmann gave an in-depth look at the recent NIST Special Publication SP800-190 on Container Security and why it matters if you are deploying containers. They covered best practices for achieving the SP800-190 recommendations on OpenShift.

    • Red Hat achieves AWS Container Competency status
    • Getting started with CI/CD: 6 pitfalls to avoid

      What shapes the long-term success of your CI/CD effort? A faster, more automated pipeline for software development? We recently outlined 4 success factors when getting started with CI/CD – and all led back to culture.

      That’s helpful, but it’s also productive to look at the downsides – not of CI/CD itself, but of common mistakes organizations make, especially when they’re just starting out.

    • IBM’s Red Hat Deal Leaves Investors Without A Margin Of Safety
    • Open Outlook: Red Hat on Red Hat

      When I think about the target customer for Red Hat products and services, someone seeking innovative technologies for driving digital transformation at organizational scale, I imagine a customer who looks an awful lot like the IT department at Red Hat. Our challenges mirror those of other IT departments around the world: IT optimization, agile integration, cloud-native application development, automation—these challenges impacting the way IT departments operate today.

      On top of that, Red Hat has grown in the past five years, from roughly 5,700 associates to more than 12,500. Scaling that quickly has been an incredible (and important) stress test for the IT organization. As the needs of our people have changed, the way we assess the IT products we use has also matured.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • LHS Episode #260: The Sun’s Massive Ejection

      Welcome to Episode 260 of Linux in the Ham Shack. We’re so glad you could join us. In this episode, the hosts talk about the results of JOTA 2018, FCC Part 15 rules, the sun and its atmosphere, new satellites, cryptocurrency vulnerabilities, Fedora, SDR with the Raspberry Pi and much more. Thank you for listening!

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux’s ALSA HDA Code Finally Seeing AMD Stoney Ridge Support

      While Stoney Ridge was AMD’s 2016 APU platform with Excavator CPU cores and GCN 1.2 graphics, the Linux support in some regards is still being settled in some areas.

      It was just earlier this year that AMD CPU temperature driver added Stoney support and now with the upcoming Linux 4.21 cycle but to be back-ported to the existing stable series is the ALSA HDA audio support.

    • 5/2.5Gb Ethernet To USB Aquantia AQtion Driver Coming For Linux 4.21

      Now queued in the networking subsystem’s “-next” branch ahead of the Linux 4.21 cycle is the Aquantia AQtion driver, which is for new hardware supporting USB-based 2.5Gb and 5Gb Ethernet support.

      In 2017 Aquantia introduced their AQtion 5G/2.5G adapters for PCI Express multi-Gigabit networking while now they are working on USB-based adapters with the same capabilities. Unfortunately details on these USB-based AQtion adapters is light outside from this Linux kernel patchwork. The USB adapters are based on the AQC111U/AQC112 ASICs.

    • What to expect of Linux in 2019

      The chilled-out Linus Torvalds suggests that we’ll see the 5.0 kernel in 2019. We’ll have to wait to see whether the changes will qualify as major. 4.20 is ready for testing now.

    • Adiantum Queued Ahead Of Linux 4.21 As Google’s Speck Replacement

      Adiantum is the new crypto algorithm Google is backing for disk encryption on low-end (Android) devices following their change of course regarding the controversial NSA-developed Speck algorithm earlier this year.

      Initially after Google abandoned their Speck plans following public outcry, they were developing HPolyC for encryption on low-end hardware. Adiantum took things a step further as being based upon an improved version of HPolyC. Early tests of Adiantum show it being about four times the speed of AES-256-XTS for encryption and around 5x for decryption. This is also about 30% faster than Speck128/256-XTS and 20% faster than the original HPolyC without compromising any security. This is great news for low-end CPUs/SoCs that generally lack native crypto extensions in the hardware.

    • ktask: optimizing CPU-intensive kernel work

      As a general rule, the kernel is supposed to use the least amount of CPU time possible; any time taken by the kernel is not available for the applications the user actually wants to run. As a result, not a lot of thought has gone into optimizing the execution of kernel-side work requiring large amounts of CPU. But the kernel does occasionally have to take on CPU-intensive tasks, such as the initialization of the large amounts of memory found on current systems. The ktask subsystem posted by Daniel Jordan is an attempt to improve how the kernel handles such jobs.
      If one is going to try to optimize CPU-intensive work in the kernel, there are a number of constraints that must be met. Obviously, that work should be done as quickly and efficiently as possible; that means parallelizing it across the multiple CPUs found in most current systems. But this work needs to not interfere with the rest of the system, and it should not thwart efforts to reduce power consumption. The current patch set tries to meet those goals, though some parts of the problem have been deferred until later.

    • iwd: simplifying WiFi management

      It has been nearly 13 years since Jeff Garzik proclaimed that Linux was “proving its superiority in the area of crappy wireless (WiFi) support”. Happily, the situation has improved somewhat since then, but that doesn’t mean that things can’t get better yet. During the Embedded Linux Conference portion of the 2018 Open Source Summit Europe, Marcel Holtmann described the work being done to create iwd, a new system for configuring and managing WiFi connections. If this project has its way, future users will have little room for complaint about how WiFi works on Linux systems.
      At the moment, Holtmann said, WiFi on Linux is far too complicated for users to deal with; it asks them for far too much information. Users have to contend with complicated configuration dialogs to provide details that, much of the time, the system should be able to figure out for itself. The situation is bad even on basic open networks, but it gets worse on corporate networks, where it is often not possible to create dialogs that can work right in all settings.

      The problem comes down to the old wpa_supplicant daemon, which is a complex “Swiss army knife”. It is “awesome work”, he said, but it has two big problems. One is that the wpa_supplicant project doesn’t make releases, with the result that nobody picks up the bug fixes that are made. And there are no usable APIs for controlling it, so users have to figure out everything themselves. It is a great tool, but few people have any idea of how to use it.

      For some time, Holtmann and his collaborators thought that they could improve wpa_supplicant and turn it into a proper management daemon. But the upstream project does not want things to go that way; they have, he said, a lot more interest in producing a toolbox that can be used for tasks like testing new protocol specifications. This focus and the lack of proper releases mean that everybody ships their own version of wpa_supplicant, with unpleasant consequences. There is, for example, no Linux distribution support for the WPA3 protocol, even though wpa_supplicant has that support.

    • Linux Foundation

      • A report from the Automated Testing Summit

        In the first session of the Testing & Fuzzing microconference at the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), Kevin Hilman gave a report on the recently held Automated Testing Summit (ATS). Since the summit was an invitation-only gathering of 35 people, there were many at LPC who were not at ATS but had a keen interest in what was discussed. The summit came out of a realization that there is a lot of kernel testing going on in various places, but not a lot of collaboration between those efforts, Hilman said.

        The genesis of ATS was a discussion in a birds-of-a-feather (BoF) gathering at the 2017 Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE) on various embedded board farms that were being used for testing. A wiki page and mailing list were created shortly after that BoF. The summit, which was organized by Tim Bird and Hilman, was meant to further the work going on in those forums and was set for October 25 in Edinburgh, Scotland during ELCE 2018. There were 22 separate testing projects represented at ATS, he said.

      • Linux and RISC-V Foundations cosy up

        The RISC-V Foundation includes over 210 institutional, academic and individual members from around the world and has realized 100 percent year-over-year membership growth.

        This partnership with the Linux Foundation will enable the RISC-V Foundation to grow the RISC-V ecosystem with improved support for the development of new applications and architectures across all computing platforms.

      • Open Source RISC-V Silicon Project and Linux Foundation Form Partnership

        First fruits of the collaboration between the Linux Foundation and the open source project will be two “getting started” guides to be made available at next week’s RISC-V Summit.

      • Linux Foundation Continues to See Increasing Commitments to Open Source With Twenty-Three New Members

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the addition of 16 Silver members and 7 Associate members recently. Linux Foundation members help support development of shared technology resources, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership and participation in some of the world’s most successful open source projects including Hyperledger, Kubernetes, Linux, Node.js and ONAP.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA have released the 415.18.02 Vulkan beta driver

        It’s worth noting, some users have seen issues with this newer driver breaking Unity games in Wine. So if you’re using Steam Play or DXVK with Wine directly, you may want to hold off or do some extra research before using it. Not just this beta driver, the whole 415 series from NVIDIA seems to be suffering issues.

      • AMD Wires In A Few More Extensions For Their Open-Source OpenGL Driver

        It looks like open-source AMD driver developer Marek Olšák is finishing out the month by working on a few remaining extensions to benefit not only their RadeonSI driver but also the old R600g and other Mesa drivers.

      • A Radeon RX 590 Workaround For Linux But With Abysmal Performance

        While AMD is able to reproduce the Radeon RX 590 Linux failure and is currently investigating the necessary Linux driver fix(es) for getting this latest Polaris refresh graphics card working correctly, if you already upgraded and don’t have the luxury of switching to another graphics card until a solution is in place, there is a workaround to getting the RX 590 on Linux with working hardware acceleration but very slow performance.

      • AMD’s RX 590 is still going dark on Linux gaming rigs thanks to a b0rked vBIOS

        The AMD RX 590 graphics card has been lighting up gaming PCs across the land thanks to its combination of a decent price and its updated 12nm Polaris GPU. At least it has on Windows-based systems. On machines running the sysadmin’s best buddy, Linux, however, it’s not been looking too good for some RX 590 cards.

        In fact, it doesn’t sound like it’s displaying anything at all, according to recent reports by Michael Larabel at Phoronix. Since the RX 590’s launch the Sapphire card he picked up for testing hasn’t been lighting up his monitor to allow for any Linux GPU testing, even after contact with AMD and a whole host of different tries over the last couple of weeks.

      • mesa 18.3.0-rc5

        The fifth release candidate for Mesa 18.3.0 is now available.

      • Mesa 18.3-RC5 Released As The Stable Release Looms

        Mesa 18.3 release manager Emil Velikov announced the release of Mesa 18.3-RC5 on Thursday as this cycle enters overtime due to an active blocker bug.

        Mesa 18.3.0 was supposed to be released by now, but there is one blocker bug left: a regression causing a user pointer “userptr” deadlock within the Vulkan Conformance Test Suite (CTS) for the Intel ANV driver is that problem holding up the release. The few other blocker bugs have since been cleared, so once this ANV driver deadlock issue is resolved, the official 18.3.0 release should ship unless other major bugs appear first.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 4.19 I/O Scheduler SSD Benchmarks With Kyber, BFQ, Deadline, CFQ

        As it has been a while since last running some Linux I/O scheduler benchmarks, here are some fresh results while using the new Linux 4.19 stable kernel and tests carried out from a 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SATA 3.0 SSD within a 2P EPYC Dell PowerEdge R7425 Linux server.

        Given the uptick in I/O scheduler interest from Phoronix readers recently with Endless OS switching over to the BFQ I/O scheduler while the CK patch set dropped this Budget Fair Queuing I/O scheduler, here are some fresh benchmarks of the different options.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Necunos Mobile: A New Open-Source Linux Phone With KDE Plasma Mobile

        Most of those wanting an open-source, GNU/Linux-based smartphone have been looking forward to Purism’s Librem 5 that will hopefully be shipping in 2019. But now a new option appears to be jumping on the scene: the Necunos Mobile developed by Necuno Solutions in cooperation with the KDE camp.

        Necunos Mobile is a “truly open-source hardware platform” based on an NXP i.MX6 SoC. There will be closed-source firmware involved but it’s reported that the firmware blobs will not have access to the main system memory.

      • Across the Troubles in Northern Ireland: the Great Famine

        No wonder that the next day, after a quick inspection of the Book of Kells in the stunning college library, I departed on the train for the West Country, yet another Irish refugee in search of a newer world.

        I liked my train ride across Ireland to Limerick, a modest city on the west coast, but the ride did not inspire the delight in me that I have heard from many friends, when they return from Irish driving tours. In those conversations, I hear about soaring coastal cliffs and the crashing beauty of the ocean as it washes ashore in places like Sligo and Dingle.

        Instead, from my train window and over Irish Rail coffee, I saw the landscape of a country that (in 1990) both England and the European Union had forgotten.

      • Qt 5.12.0 rc2 released

        We have released Qt 5.12.0 rc2 today. As earlier you can get it as an update to existing installation or just doing fresh installation & selecting Qt 5.12.0-rc2 from ‘Preview’ section. Offline installers are also available in qtaccount (for commercial users) or qt.io downloads page (for opensource users). Delta to rc1 release can be found as an attachment.

        Plan is to release these packages as Qt 5.12.0 5th December 2018. And don’t worry if some issues aren’t fixed in these packages; we will release Qt 5.12.1 quite soon as well (current target is to do that early January 2019) so there isn’t that long time to wait. Just make sure needed fixes are in ’5.12′ as soon as possible.

        br,
        Jani Heikkinen
        Release Manager

      • Qt 5.12 On Track For Releasing Next Week

        Released yesterday was Qt 5.12 RC2 while on track for next week is the official release of this tool-kit under its latest long-term support banner.

        Qt 5.12 RC2 is now available for testing with the very latest fixes for the Qt5 tool-kit. There are not any new features with being well past the feature freeze. The latest fixes to land include addressing build errors against OpenSSL 1.1, a potential crash when reloading forms, and other problems.

  • Distributions

    • Intel’s Clear Linux Ups Their Desktop Offering, Rolling Out New Installer

      For those that may have been wanting to try out Clear Linux of Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center on desktops/workstation, it’s now easier to do thanks to a new “desktop live” image accompanied by a new OS installer to make it more akin to conventional desktop Linux distributions.

      [...]

      For novice Linux users their new installer may still be a bit intimidating with it being text-based, but it is very easy to work and straight-forward, and a simpler install process than some of the other Linux TUI installers from over the years.

    • Reviews

      • Void Linux: Built From Scratch for Full Independence

        Void Linux is a bit out of the ordinary. It offers an unusually interesting alternative to many of the traditional Linux distros affiliated with a larger Linux family such as Debian or Ubuntu or Arch.

        Void Linux is an independently developed, rolling-release, general-purpose operating system. That means that its software is either homegrown or plain-vanilla compiled.

        Some of Void Linux’s under-the-hood specifics include its own package management system, dubbed “XBPS,” for X-binary Package System, an initialization system called “runit,” and integration of LibreSSL instead of OpenSSL for Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol.

        In fact, Void Linux was among the first distributions to switch to LibreSSL by default, replacing OpenSSL when developers forked from OpenSSL in 2014. Their goal was to modernize the code base, improve security, and apply best practice development processes.

        The latest release, version 20181111, comes with an interesting selection of desktop environments: Base system, Enlightenment, Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, LXDE and LXQt.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Gentoo Family

      • Calculate Linux Desktop 18 LXQt released

        We are happy to announce the release of a new Calculate Linux Desktop flavour, featuring the LXQt desktop and therefore named CLDL. As well as other Calculates, it is backward compatible with Gentoo. As well as Gentoo, it uses Portage to install and manage packages. Our repository contains 13033 binary packages. The system boots with OpenRC. For network configuration, you have the choice between NetworkManager or OpenRC. For sound management, ALSA is suggested, PulseAudio is not needed.
        CLDL is the fifth little one in the Calculate Linux Desktop family, providing a full-fledged workplace both in office and at home. This new distribution perfectly combines the advantages of Qt5, which is indeed the base for its interface, with the low system requirements of the Openbox window manager. CLDL is localized out-of-box in all standard European languages.

      • Calculate Linux 18 LXQT Run Through

        In this video, we look at Calculate Linux 18 LXQT, the cleanest and well rounded LXQT distro, I have seen, but also the most customized.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Thunderbird, YaST, Sudo Updates Arrive in Tumbleweed

        The three Tumbleweed snapshots this week brought a newer Linux Kernel, several rubygem package updates and improvements for an Xfce support library.

        Snapshot 20181126 brought the 4.19.4 Linux Kernel, which fixed accelerated VLAN handling and fixed a memory leak with the Nouveau secure boot. Yet another Setup Tool (YaST) had some updates with yast2-fonts 4.0.2 that changes the desktop file fonts to system-wide fonts and multiple translations were also updated with the yast2-trans package. The support library for Xfce desktop environment, exo, updated to version 0.12.3; it improved layout spacing and alignment and hides the exo launchers from GNOME Software. The package for Integrated Development Environment cross-platform, kdevelop5 5.3.0, brought improved language support for php, python and c++; it also offers a new clazy analyzer plugin. Multiple other libraries were updated including libjansson 2.11, libsemanage 2.8, libsepol 2.8, libzypp 17.9.0 and more. Several rubygem packages were updated in the snapshot and rubygem-bundler 1.17.1 had a significant amount of additions and improvements including an add config option to disable platform warnings. The mailutils 3.5 package for the handling of email fixed a bug in the base64 encoder. Parser generator bison 3.2.2 brought massive improvements to the deterministic C++ skeleton, lalr1.cc and the library for manipulation of TIFF images, tiff 4.0.10, added a few patches that address the 10 Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) patches that were removed.

    • Fedora

      • Improved translation po file handling by ditching gettext autotools integration

        The libvirt library has long provided translations of its end user facing strings, which largely means error messages and console output from command line tools / daemons. Since libvirt uses autotools for its build system, it naturally used the standard automake integration provided by gettext for handling .po files. The libvirt.pot file with master strings is exported to Zanata, where the actual translation work is outsourced to the Fedora translation team who support up to ~100 languages. At time of writing libvirt has some level of translation in ~45 languages.

        With use of Zanata, libvirt must periodically create an updated libvirt.pot file and push it to Zanata, and then just before release it must pull the latest translated .po files back into GIT for release.

      • Fedora AMIs for EC2 Instances (A1) Powered by Arm-Based AWS Graviton Processors
      • Fedora 27 End of Life

        With the recent release of Fedora 29, Fedora 27 officially enters End Of Life (EOL) status on November 30, 2018. This impacts any systems still on Fedora 27. If you’re not sure what that means to you, read more below.

        At this point, packages in the Fedora 27 repositories no longer receive security, bugfix, or enhancement updates. Furthermore, the community adds no new packages to the Fedora 27 collection starting at End of Life. Essentially, the Fedora 27 release will not change again, meaning users no longer receive the normal benefits of this leading-edge operating system.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian, Rust, and librsvg

        Debian supports many architectures and, even for those it does not officially support, there are Debian ports that try to fill in the gap. For most user applications, it is mostly a matter of getting GCC up and running for the architecture in question, then building all of the different packages that Debian provides. But for packages that need to be built with LLVM—applications or libraries that use Rust, for example—that simple recipe becomes more complicated. How much the lack of Rust support for an unofficial architecture should hold back the rest of the distribution was the subject of a somewhat acrimonious discussion recently.

        The issue came up on the debian-devel mailing list when John Paul Adrian Glaubitz complained about the upload of a new version of librsvg to unstable. Librsvg is used to render Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) images; the project has recently been switching some of its code from C to Rust, presumably for the memory safety offered by Rust. Glaubitz said that the new “Rust-ified” library had been uploaded with no warning when the package maintainer “knows very well that this particular package has a huge number of reverse dependencies and would cause a lot of problems with non-Rust targets now”. The reverse dependencies are the packages that rely on librsvg in this case.

      • Debian welcomes its new Outreachy intern

        Debian continues participating in Outreachy, and we’d like to welcome our new Outreachy intern for this round, lasting from December 2018 to March 2019.

        Anastasia Tsikoza will work on Improving the integration of Debian derivatives with the Debian infrastructure and the community, mentored by Paul Wise and Raju Devidas.

        Congratulations, Anastasia, and welcome!

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The alternatives to Windows 10 if you are tired of broken updates

            Linux-based operating systems are free alternatives to Windows 10 which are available in various distributions.

            The term “Linux” technically only refers to the kernel or core program of an operating system, but it is often used as shorthand for any operating system that uses Linux.

            Apart from the obvious advantages of being free and open-source, the vast library of Linux distributions available means that most users should find a version of the operating system which suits their needs.

            Popular Linux distributions which feature similar interfaces to Windows include Ubuntu, Mint, and Manjaro, although there are a variety of other projects, including an actively-developed desktop version of the Android operating system.

            Installing Linux is straightforward, especially for popular distributions such as Mint and Ubuntu.

            Users can visit a secure website hosting the distribution, and download the correct ISO file for their destination system.

            It is important to note that while popular Linux distributions are compatible with a wide variety of hardware, it is still a good idea to check for any compatibility issues before installing.

            Linux falls short of Windows 10 in its ability to run games and certain software suites, however, as there are more Windows-supported games than titles which run properly on Linux.

          • S11E38 – Thirty-Eight Nooses

            It’s Season 11 Episode 38 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

          • Running Android in the Cloud with Amazon EC2 A1 instances

            Specifically, at AWS re:Invent, we demonstrated a fully automated solution deployed by Juju to run Android within LXD containers in the cloud and stream out the display of a gaming app from an Amazon EC2 A1 instance to a mobile phone over the internet. We ran 10 containers each providing an individual Android system on the same EC2 instance. As Ubuntu natively supports a wide range of server architectures including x86-64, Arm, POWER and S390X we used the very same technology our users are familiar with.

          • GitKraken picks up community demand to adopt snaps

            Used by the likes of Netflix, Tesla and Apple, GitKraken is the go-to home for developers who are looking for a more user-friendly interface for Git with integrations for GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket and VSTS (Azure DevOps). Established a couple of years ago, GitKraken offers a Git Client for Windows, Mac and Linux, and Glo Boards for task and issue tracking—both available for teams or individuals, with the former available at an enterprise level, too. Earlier this month, GitKraken published their first snap which is already proving popular amongst Linux users.

            James Quigley, Director of IT at Axosoft (makers of GitKraken), recently attended the Snapcraft Summit in London to progress the release of their snap. James explains how a member of their community kicked off GitKraken’s exploration of snaps…

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-6 Call for Testing, openSUSE T-Shirt and Poster Design Contest, RISC-V Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, Location Tracking in Android Violates GDPR and FSF Announces 18 GNU Releases

            UBports announces a call for testing for Ubuntu Touch OTA-6. They are asking the community for feedback and have prepared a GitHub project for OTA-6 quality assurance. See the UBports blog for more info on how you can help with the testing and also to see what’s new in the OTA-6 release, which is scheduled for December 7th.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 3 emerging tipping points in open source

    Over the last two decades, open source has been expanding into all aspects of technology—from software to hardware; from small, disruptive startups to large, boring enterprises; from open standards to open patents.

    As movements evolve, they reach tipping points—stages that move the model in new directions. Following are three things that I believe are now reaching a tipping point in open source.

  • Largest Linux Open Source Deal Ever

    IBM is acquiring Linux software provider Red Hat in a deal worth approximately $34 billion — the largest Linux or open source business deal in history. The company will pay $190 per share in cash for Red Hat, which had a market capitalization of about $20.5 billion prior to the deal. IBM said the acquisition builds on its move to re-engineer its software portfolio with containers.

    Container technologies are fast becoming a safe and reliable way to move applications across multiple IT footprints, from existing data centers to the public cloud and vice versa,’’ the company said in a statement. “Going hand-in-hand with IBM’s shift to containerized software, is Red Hat’s expansive portfolio of enterprise-grade, cloud-native, and hybrid cloud infrastructure solutions, which, when combined, provide a clear pathway for enterprises to adopt hybrid cloud computing.”

  • Connecting software freedom and human rights

    Over the last few days, while attending the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, I’ve had various discussions with people about the relationship between software freedom, business and human rights.

    In the information age, control of the software, source code and data translates into power and may contribute to inequality. Free software principles are not simply about the cost of the software, they lead to transparency and give people infinitely more choices.

    Many people in the free software community have taken a particular interest in privacy, which is Article 12 in the declaration. The modern Internet challenges this right, while projects like TAILS and Tor Browser help to protect it. The UN’s 70th anniversary slogan Stand up 4 human rights is a call to help those around us understand these problems and make effective use of the solutions.

    We live in a time when human rights face serious challenges. Consider censorship: Saudi Arabia is accused of complicity in the disappearance of columnist Jamal Khashoggi and the White House is accused of using fake allegations to try and banish CNN journalist Jim Acosta. Arjen Kamphuis, co-author of Information Security for Journalists, vanished in mysterious circumstances. The last time I saw Arjen was at OSCAL’18 in Tirana.

  • Nithya Ruff on Open Source Contributions Beyond Code

    Sometimes when we think about open source, we focus on the code and forget that there are other equally important ways to contribute. Nithya Ruff, Senior Director, Open Source Practice at Comcast, knows that contributions can come in many forms. “Contribution can come in the form of code or in the form of a financial support for projects. It also comes in the form of evangelizing open source; It comes in form of sharing good practices with others,” she said.

    Comcast, however, does contribute code. When I sat down with Ruff at Open Source Summit to learn more, she made it clear that Comcast isn’t just a consumer; it contributes a great deal to open source. “One way we contribute is that when we consume a project and a fix or enhancement is needed, we fix it and contribute back.” The company has made roughly 150 such contributions this year alone.

    Comcast also releases its own software as open source. “We have created things internally to solve our own problems, but we realized they could solve someone else’s problem, too. So, we released such internal projects as open source,” said Ruff.

  • Startup diary: You’d be crazy not to tap into open-source software and communities

    By ‘open-source software’ I mean not only such famous examples as the Linux operating system that runs most of the world’s websites, but also large swathes of system infrastructure that goes unseen but is essential internet ‘plumbing’.

  • Events

    • Open Source Summit

      The European leg of the Open Source Summit took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on October 22-24, 2018. The conference was co-located with the Embedded Linux Conference and the OpenIoT Summit.

      The the Open Source (OS) Summit [1] kicked off when Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, gave a general introduction to the state of open source software. Throughout the conference, Jim made several more appearances, with helpful updates on what was happening each day.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!
      • WebRender newsletter #32

        OMTP, for off-main-thread painting, is a project completely separate from WebRender that was implemented by Ryan. Without WebRender, painting used to happen on the main thread (the thread that runs the JS event loop). Since this thread is often the busiest, moving things out of it, for example painting, is a nice win for multi core processors since the main thread gets to go back to working on JS more quickly while painting is carried out in parallel. This work is pretty much done now and Ryan is working on project Fission.

        What about WebRender? WebRender moved all of painting off of the main thread by default. The main thread translates Gecko’s displaylist into a WebRender displaylist which is sent to the GPU process and the latter renders everything. So WebRender and OMTP, while independent projects both fulfill the goal of OMTP which was to remove work from the main thread. OMTP can be seen as a very nice performance win while waiting for WebRender.

      • Mozilla Open Innovation Team: Prototyping with Intention

        At the start of any project our Open Innovation team concepts with the intention that things will change. Whether it be wireframe prototypes or coded experiments, iteration is inevitable. First ideas are often far from perfect… it’s with help from new or returning contributors and collaborating project teams that we’re able to refine initial ideas more readily and efficiently. How? Through feedback loops designed with tools such as Discourse, GitHub, contact forms, on-site surveys and remote testing. Our overall goal being: Release assumptions early and learn from those engaging with the concept. In this way we set our experiences up for incremental, data influenced iteration.

      • A new look for rust-lang.org

        We want Mario to use Rust, the fireflower, and turn into the ever-awesome Fire Mario. But there’s a corollary here: it’s better to say “we will make you into Fire Mario” than it is “we sell fire flowers.”

      • Firefox Reality update supports 360 videos and 7 additional languages

        Firefox Reality 1.1 is now available for download in the Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream app stores. This release includes some major new features, including localization to seven new languages (including voice search support), a new dedicated theater viewing mode, bookmarks, 360 video support, and significant improvements to the performance and quality of our user interface.

  • Databases

    • How Innovative Is MongoDB?

      Last time, I looked at the innovative power of HubSpot (NYSE:HUBS) and came away pleased. Can we say the same about MongoDB (NASDAQ:MDB), another Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick that’s showing signs of capturing the imaginations of the millions of developers who use the product daily?

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice monthly recap: November 2018

      As we head towards LibreOffice 6.2, which is due to be released in late January (or early February), our worldwide community is organising events to test the software. Check out the LibreOffice 6.2 Bug Hunting Session in Ankara, Turkey, where participants tested the alpha version on Linux, Windows and macOS.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • [Podcast] PodCTL #56 – Windows Containers with Microsoft
    • Amazon now has its own version of Java: Corretto

      The open source Corretto distribution of OpenJDK currently is in beta. It is multiplatform and can be deployed in the cloud, on premises, and on a user’s local computer. Licensed under the Gnu Public License Version 2, Corretto is designed as a drop-in replacement for all Java SE (Standard Edition) distributions, unless users are using features not included in OpenJDK.

    • What now, Larry? AWS boss insists Amazon will have dumped Oracle database by end of 2019
    • Google Code-in in KDE

      So far, so good! We’re having quite a variety of students and I’m happy to see new ones still joining. And surprising to me, we’re still getting beginner tasks being done, which keep us busy.

      New this round were some tutorials written by Pranam Lashkari. I hope we can expand on this next year, because I think a lot of students who are willing to do these tutorials one by one are learning a lot. His thought is that they can be added to our documentation after the contest is over. I think we can re-use some stuff that we’ve already written, for next year. What do you think?

  • BSD

    • Language: Assembly | BSD Now 274

      Assembly language on OpenBSD, using bhyve for FreeBSD development, FreeBSD Gaming, FreeBSD for Thanksgiving, no space left on Dragonfly’s hammer2, and more.

    • The Power to Serve – FreeBSD Power Management

      Time for FreeBSD article covering its power management features. It also applies to FreeBSD Desktop series but its not limited to it. Popular opinion seems to be that FreeBSD is so server oriented that it lacks any power management mechanisms. Nothing more far from the truth. While less important on the desktop (but will still lower your electricity bill) or servers it is desirable to properly configure power management on laptops to so they will have longer battery life and will run more quiet.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Hurd Toolchain Support Added To LLVM Clang Compiler

      While GNU Hurd is designed to go hand-in-hand with the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), there is now upstream compiler toolchain support with the more liberally licensed LLVM Clang C/C++ compiler.

      The GNU Hurd target was merged into the Clang compiler for Hurd toolchain support and handling of its triple. The 300+ lines of code adding support for this GNU platform into Clang was merged overnight in time for LLVM/Clang 8.0 due out early next year.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Appeal Moving Forward in GPL Compliance Suit Against VMware

      Conservancy dedicates itself to fighting for software freedom for as long as it takes. GPL enforcement requires steadfast, unwavering diligence. Two years have passed since Christoph Hellwig announced his intention to appeal the Hamburg District Court’s decision, and more than three and a half years have passed since Conservancy announced its financial support for this lawsuit. Christoph’s case is in Germany against VMware for their failure to provide the complete source code of the kernel they distribute, which is covered by the GPL and based on Linux. The lower court dismissed the case as a result of evidentiary rules and likely an incomplete understanding of the documentation of the code in question. Yesterday, the German Court of Appeal held the first hearing on the appeal.

      As staunch proponents of community-driven enforcement, Conservancy remains committed to supporting Hellwig’s case for as long as it takes. The hearing yesterday was a tiny step in a long process toward resolving this issue, and, as we understand the situation, nothing is yet decided. As courts always do, they encouraged the parties to settle their dispute out of court. VMware could still choose to do the right thing here, admit that they did not meet the terms of the GPL and acquiesce to Christoph’s request. The Courts have set a deadline of January 24, 2019 for settlement. If Christoph and VMware cannot reach a settlement by then, the Court is expected to adjudicate the appeal.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • The EOMA68 Libre Computer Developer Wants To Tackle A Quad-Core RISC-V Libre SoC Design

        Stemming from the recent proposal about a libre GPU using a RISC-V chip running a Rust-based software renderer like a software-based Vulkan implementation, the developer appears to be ready to take on designing a quad-core RISC-V libre SoC that he believes can be competitive for mobile devices.

        Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton, the developer most commonly known for his multi-year effort on the EOMA68 libre computer cards/laptop that still is in the works, wants to design a quad-core 64-bit RISC-V SoC that is a fully open-source/libre design.

  • Programming/Development

    • PyPy Development

      At PyPy we are trying to support a relatively wide range of platforms. We have PyPy working on OS X, Windows and various flavors of linux (and unofficially various flavors of BSD) on the software side, with hardware side having x86, x86_64, PPC, 32-bit Arm (v7) and even zarch. This is harder than for other projects, since PyPy emits assembler on the fly from the just in time compiler and it requires significant amount of work to port it to a new platform.

    • PyCharm 2018.3.1 RC Out Now
    • The Python API for Juniper Networks

      Juniper networks have always been a favorite among the service provider crowd. If you take a look at the service provider vertical, it would make sense that automating network equipment is on the top of their list of requirements. Before the dawn of cloud-scale data centers, service providers were the ones with the most network equipment.

    • Explorative Data Analysis with Pandas, SciPy, and Seaborn

      In this post we are going to learn to explore data using Python, Pandas, and Seaborn. The data we are going to explore is data from a Wikipedia article. In this post we are actually going to learn how to parse data from a URL, exploring this data by grouping it and data visualization. More specifically, we will learn how to count missing values, group data to calculate the mean, and then visualize relationships between two variables, among other things.

      In previous posts we have used Pandas to import data from Excel and CSV files. Here we are going to use Pandas read_html because it has support for reading data from HTML from URLs (https or http). To read HTML Pandas use one of the Python libraries LXML, Html5Lib, or BeautifulSoup4. This means that you have to make sure that at least one of these libraries are installed. In the specific Pandas read_html example here, we use BeautifulSoup4 to parse the html tables from the Wikipedia article.

    • Common Mistakes about Generational Garbage Collection

      When talking about garbage collection, the notion of “generational collection” comes up. The usual motivation given for generational garbage collection is that “most objects die young”. Therefore, we put the objects that survive a collection cycle (and therefore have proven some resistance) in a separate generation that we scan less often.

      This is an optimization if the probability of an object that has survived a cycle to be garbage by the time the next collection cycle has come around is lower than the probability of a newly allocated object to be garbage.

    • Go 2, here we come!

      At GopherCon 2017, Russ Cox officially started the thought process on the next big version of Go with his talk The Future of Go (blog post). We have called this future language informally Go 2, even though we understand now that it will arrive in incremental steps rather than with a big bang and a single major release. Still, Go 2 is a useful moniker, if only to have a way to talk about that future language, so let’s keep using it for now.

    • Funding for 64-bit Armv8-a support in PyPy

      At PyPy we are trying to support a relatively wide range of platforms. We have PyPy working on OS X, Windows and various flavors of linux (and unofficially various flavors of BSD) on the software side, with hardware side having x86, x86_64, PPC, 32-bit Arm (v7) and even zarch. This is harder than for other projects, since PyPy emits assembler on the fly from the just in time compiler and it requires significant amount of work to port it to a new platform.

    • Refactoring allowed URLs in librsvg

      While in the middle of converting librsvg’s code that processes XML from C to Rust, I went into a digression that has to do with the way librsvg decides which files are allowed to be referenced from within an SVG.

    • Python Data Visualization with Matplotlib
    • Python Application Dependency Management in 2018

      We have more ways to manage dependencies in Python applications than ever. But how do they fare in production? Unfortunately this topic turned out to be quite polarizing and was at the center of a lot of heated debates. This is my attempt at an opinionated review through a DevOps lens.

    • Rust Survey 2018 key findings: 80% developers prefer Linux, WebAssembly growth doubles, and more

      Yesterday, the Rust Survey team published the results of their annual Rust survey of 2018. This year’s survey was launched in 14 different languages which helped in increasing the number of responses to 5991. The survey highlights that there is a slight increase in medium to large investments in Rust, most of the users prefer Linux over Windows for development, and more.

    • C library system-call wrappers, or the lack thereof

      User-space developers may be accustomed to thinking of system calls as direct calls into the kernel. Indeed, the first edition of The C Programming Language described read() and write() as “a direct entry into the operating system”. In truth, user-level “system calls” are just functions in the C library like any other. But what happens when the developers of the C library refuse to provide access to system calls they don’t like? The result is an ongoing conflict that has recently flared up again; it shows some of the difficulties that can arise when the system as a whole has no ultimate designer and the developers are not talking to each other.
      Calling into the kernel is not like calling a normal function; a special trap into the kernel must be triggered with the system-call arguments placed as the kernel expects. At a minimum, the system-call “wrapper” provided by the C library must set up this trap. In many cases, more work than that is required; the functionality provided by the kernel does not always exactly match what the application (or the relevant standards) will expect. Features like POSIX threads further complicate the situation. The end result is that a lot of work can be happening between the application and the kernel when a system call is made. Doing that work is, in most cases, delegated to the C library.

    • Device-tree schemas

      Device trees have become ubiquitous in recent years as a way of describing the hardware layout of non-discoverable systems, such as many ARM-based devices. The device-tree bindings define how a particular piece of hardware is described in a device tree. Drivers then implement those bindings. The device-tree documentation shows how to use the bindings to describe systems: which properties are available and which values they may have. In theory, the bindings, drivers and documentation should be consistent with each other. In practice, they are often not consistent and, even when they are, using those bindings correctly in actual device trees is not a trivial task. As a result, developers have been considering formal validation for device-tree files for years. Recently, Rob Herring proposed a move to a more structured documentation format for device-tree bindings using JSON Schema to allow automated validation.

      Device-tree documentation today is free-form text with some defined structure and optional examples (like the generic GPIO clock multiplexer documentation in gpio-mux-clock.txt). For new bindings, the review process is entirely manual and depends on the reviewers to find typos and errors that an automated system might be expected to catch. No tool exists to check whether any given device-tree file conforms to the binding documentation. In addition, the bindings documentation files sometimes either duplicate information that is also contained elsewhere or are missing information that is necessary to validate a device-tree file.

      Numerous proposals have been made in the past to address the validation of device trees. One went as far as using YAML as a source format for device-tree files. Herring does not go that far; instead he proposes to convert only the documentation files, using JSON Schema for the schema vocabulary, while leaving the device-tree format itself unchanged. He explained the choice in the submission cover letter: “the language has a defined specification, maps well to DT data, and there are numerous existing tools which can be leveraged”. He prefers to use a YAML subset because it is generally considered more human-readable and allows certain additions, including comments. This solution also takes advantage of existing technology and libraries and avoids inventing a new language. The goal was to allow validating device-tree files at build time and verifying the correctness of the documentation. In addition, error and warning messages can be made more meaningful.

    • Getting started with Web Scraping using Python [Tutorial]

Leftovers

  • 9 top tech recruiting mistakes to avoid

    Some of my best friends and colleagues are tech recruiters, and a bunch of my favorite humans are on the job hunt. With these fine folks in mind, I decided to help them connect by finding out what kinds of recruiting efforts stand out to potential hires. I reached out to my colleagues and contacts and asked them what they like (and hate) when it comes to recruiting, then I rounded up a list of top tech-recruiting mistakes to avoid and best practices to use instead.

  • OneDrive is broken: Microsoft’s cloudy storage drops from the sky for EU users

    It is OneDrive’s turn to get a beating with the stick of fail as the service took a tumble this morning.

    Issues first began appearing at around 08:00 GMT as users around Europe logged in, expecting to find their files, and found instead a picture of a bicycle with a flat tyre or a dropped ice cream cone. Oh, you guys!

  • Science

    • Scientist Who Crispr’d Babies Bucked His Own Ethics Policy

      Lulu and Nana are reported to have a genetic mutation, courtesy of Crispr, that makes it harder for HIV to invade and infect their white blood cells. The claim, which has yet to be independently verified or backed up by published data, has ignited furious criticism, international outrage, and multiple investigations. The scientific outcry has been so swift because He’s purported work, conducted in secret, bulldozes past existing ethical guidance on so-called “germline editing,” in which alterations to an embryo’s DNA will be passed down to subsequent generations.

    • The End of Illusion

      If we are to believe the sociobiologists, such as E.O. Wilson, the altruistic gene may only be present in three percent of the human population—may their gene pool increase! But, hell, that’s still three times as many people as the one-percenters who are running the show! If you want hope, there’s a microdot to swallow.

      Small, scruffy and unruly as it is, we’ve seen the power of our movement in the past. When our backs are—often literally—against the wall, when the battle lines are clear from the immobilizing fog of liberal rhetoric and free from the timid advice of professional compromisers. We’ve seen it emerge from the Lacandon jungle to say enough is enough and overtake the streets of Seattle to shut down the World Trade Organization. We’ve seen grandmothers and housewives expose the toxic crimes of Love Canal and corn farmers shut down nuclear power plants. We’ve taken the international timber industry to its knees on its home turf, blocked strip mines, pipelines and river-killing dams. We’ve thrown monkey-wrenches big and small into the gears of the System. It has been done and it will be done again and again. No grant applications or protest permits needed.

      As Ed Abbey used to say: there’s no battle more important, no fight more fun waging, no comrades more trusty-worthy than those in the trenches with us when we rise up together in defense of life on Earth. To crib a line from Leonard Cohen: “we may be ugly, but we’ve got the music.”

      So draw a line and take a stand—almost any place will do, since the whole shebang is under threat—and let loose an old battle cry so that others will know where to come join you: Earth First!

  • Hardware

    • Taiwan’s TSMC Could Be About to Dethrone Intel

      What Intel investors really worry about is that the largest [I]nternet companies will start making their own chips. This week, Amazon.com Inc., the biggest cloud-computing company, announced its first in-house server processor. The Graviton is made by TSMC, and it supports a new version of an Amazon cloud service that’s more than 40 percent cheaper than a similar offering powered by Intel chips, the company said.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Hearts and Lungs Still at Risk Months After California Wildfires

      For two weeks after the fire ignited, the air in Northern California, stretching as far as 200 miles from the flames, was so full of smoke that it was deemed unhealthy to breathe, especially for people with heart and respiratory ailments.

      [...]

      The life-threatening effects of smoke disproportionately harm the elderly, children and low-income people of color. More than 2.3 million adults and 644,000 children in California have asthma and another 1.7 million suffer from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention andCalifornia Department of Public Health. Adult asthma rates are highest for multiracial people and African Americans, while heart ailments tend to afflict the state’s poorest and least educated residents across all racial groups.

      Reveal’s analysis does not take into account other factors that might have driven up the emergency room visits, such as other pollutants or the weather. But the conclusion is in line with a growing body of research that has found more people suffer respiratory problems and heart attacks within days of being exposed to wildfire smoke.

      “The uptick in ER visits is very consistent” with scientific research about smoke, said Dr. Kari Nadeau, director of Stanford University’s Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research.

      Dr. John Balmes, a pulmonologist and professor at the University of California San Francisco who studies air pollution, is not surprised that emergency room visits increased three months after the wine country fire.

      “People with asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and other lung diseases could have persistent exacerbations,” he said, adding that inhaling ash could have longer-term consequences, too. The effects of smoke months or years after a fire are not well understood.

      There was only a slight increase in immediate emergency room visits during the days when last year’s Tubbs Fire burned. That’s because two of the largest hospitals were evacuated and a third was destroyed. As a result, the analysis was based on the period three to five months later, using data from California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

    • California’s Climate Refugees

      HUNDREDS OF people, left with nothing, wracked by illness and threatened with further displacement as they try to rebuild their lives.

      This could easily describe the refugees from Central America who have traveled for weeks in the migrant caravan and are now — after facing violence and incredible hardship — attempting to find refuge in the U.S.

      But it’s also a description of the hundreds of survivors of Northern California’s Camp Fire.

      Of course, those displaced by the massive fire — the most destructive in the state’s history, which claimed at least 88 lives, with 203 still missing as this article was being written — are receiving aid and assistance, including from the U.S. government, while those in the migrant caravan are on the receiving end of volleys of tear gas.

    • The Dangerous, Low-Paid World of Nail Salons

      Whether nail salon employees get good pay, time off and fair treatment at work currently varies widely depending on the salon they work for.

      Sarah, a Vietnamese Californian (who asked to be identified only by her first name to avoid negative consequences at work), got into the nail salon industry six years ago so she could help ease her family’s financial problems. She was having trouble finding a job with her psychology degree, all while trying to support two children alongside her husband. So, she took a job as a manicurist as a “fast way of finding money,” she said.

      In her current salon in West Hollywood, she makes a bit over minimum wage plus tips. “It gives me a chance to put food on my table and pay the bills,” she said. But it can get tough for her family to get by. “Sometimes we have to take out … a little loan here and there,” she said. “But pretty much, we’re surviving.”

      Her current job also gives her some leniency in taking breaks and sick days when she needs them. Others haven’t been so generous. Past salons she worked in didn’t always pay her minimum wage or offer her sick days. Once, Sarah says, her daughter had an emergency doctor’s appointment and her boss said to her, “I know you have things to take care of, but we really need you today.”

      So, she faced a dilemma. “I had a choice: either it’s my daughter or it’s my job,” Sarah said. She was luckily able to call her husband and have him take her. “Thank god my husband had time to take care of the girls.”

      Even her current job comes with problems nail salon workers commonly face. In the hot summer season, when demand spikes, she may work intense and long hours. As the weather cools, those hours drop off, and now she’s working an average of about 30 a week. She just became an Uber driver to supplement her income.

      [...]

      Worse, many may not get the pay that they’re owed. Thirty percent are self-employed, including independent contractors, which is three times higher than the national average. Some may actually be independent, renting space in salons to serve their own clients, but “there are concerns that many manicurists are purposely misclassified to avoid labor laws and protections,” the report notes. Employers can shirk wage and hour obligations by classifying workers as independent contractors even if they should be labeled regular employees. Without employee status, salon workers “are being denied … paid sick leave, breaks, having their lunch break, workers comp,” Fu said. “Those are important benefits … that they deserve.”

      Benefits are generally scarce. Nationally, 62 percent of workers get health insurance through work, but just 42 percent of nail salon workers do, according to the report. Over a quarter instead get coverage through public programs like Medicaid and Medicare.

      [...]

      Most commonly, nail salon employees are exposed to the “toxic trio”: toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate, all of which are common in nail polish. Disinfectants like alcohol can also cause skin disease and infections. Workers take these chemicals in through inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption while they scrub feet and paint nails.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Pornhub hackers choked by Google, the FBI and Proofpoint

      Cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, which worked to take down the network dubbed 3ve, noted that the network was made up of nearly two million devices and was run by a group of hackers who were involved in creating the Kovter ad malware.

    • New Zealand become latest country to ban Huawei’s 5G equipment

      Spark, the country’s largest telecommunications company, said on Wednesday that government officials warned it that using 5G equipment from Chinese firm Huawei “would, if implemented, raise significant national security risks.”

    • Hackers Stole Nearly Quarter Million Dollars Our Revolution Raised for Standing Rock Protests

      The money stolen from the compromised account had been raised for the Standing Rock Sioux Native American tribe, which was at the time fighting vigorously to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      Lucy Flores, a former Our Revolution board member, told Politico that the organization still gave the tribe the $242,924 it had raised on its behalf, though it was forced to dip into other funds to do so.

      “We’d done fundraising specifically on behalf of the tribe, and to have that money just be gone and never reach its intended purpose was unacceptable,” Flores said. “So we decided to give them the money that was raised and take the loss as an organization.”

    • Remember Those Leaked NSA Tools? Hackers Are Still Using Them To Hijack Computers

      When UPnProxy attack was first spotted, about 3.5 million devices were vulnerable to the attack. Months later, Akamai reported that 277,000 remained vulnerable. As per the latest development, about 45,000 of these systems have already been compromised.

      [...]

      The security researchers are calling the newly discovered implementation Eternal Silence. This is because the attack uses the already popular EternalBlue (affecting Windows devices) and EternalRed (affecting Linux devices) exploits; they also found ‘galleta silenciosa’ or ‘silent cookie/cracker’ in Spanish written in the description field on the affected routers.

    • Mass Router Hack Exposes Millions of Devices to Potent NSA Exploit

      More than 45,000 Internet routers have been compromised by a newly discovered campaign that’s designed to open networks to attacks by EternalBlue, the potent exploit that was developed by, and then stolen from, the National Security Agency and leaked to the Internet at large, researchers said Wednesday.

    • Updated AMD Zen CPU Microcode Posted

      AMD has just dropped a new Family 17h “Zen” microcode file for Linux users.

      Just posted to the kernel mailing list is the latest CPU microcode file for Family 17h. Unfortunately there is no change-log/notes and obviously with it being binary-only there isn’t anything to glean by itself.

    • ‘Butter’ attack still victimizing Linux servers: Report [Ed: By brute forcing SSH you're not exploiting any real security issues]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Has the United States Been Fighting the Wrong War in the Middle East?
    • The Murky Sea of Azov

      Russia is very definitely acting illegally in putting military personnel of another state on television to make statements, whether coerced or not (personally I found them precisely as believable – no more and no less – as Yulia Skripal’s strained statement to British TV).

      Please note that Ukrainian ships have the right of innocent passage through the Kerch Strait irrespective of whether the Crimean side is viewed as Ukrainian or Russian. The coastal state does have the right to make arrangements for maritime safety which may include designating sea lanes and a notification regime akin to air traffic control. If Ukraine violated these provisions, (which seems probable), Russia had a right to take enforcement action. But that enforcement action specifically does not extend to substantive detention of vessels and crew.

      The situation changes if Russia genuinely has evidence that the military vessels were engaged in a military attack. But it only changes, and the civilian rules only cease to apply, if one side or the other acknowledges that a state of war now exits. Ukraine came close to this
      by demanding that its servicemen be treated as prisoners of war. There is no option to treat uniformed military personnel of another state as terrorists. But if Russia does not acknowledge a state of war, it has to let them go. Russia is certainly not entitled to impose a wider blockade of the strait to shipping to or from Ukraine – any more than Israel is entitled to blockade Gaza.

    • In a Historic First, Senate Advances Bill to End U.S. Support for Illegal War in Yemen

      The Senate voted Wednesday to advance a resolution to end military support for the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed war in Yemen. This marks the first time in U.S. history that the Senate has voted to advance a bill to withdraw military forces from an unauthorized war using the War Powers Resolution Act. Wednesday’s vote sets the stage for a possible final vote on the measure within days, and has been seen as a rebuke of President Trump’s handling of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Just hours before the vote, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis held a closed-door briefing with U.S. senators, urging them to vote against the resolution. Administration officials warned senators not to compromise ties with Saudi Arabia over the killing of Khashoggi and said U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen is necessary to counter Iran’s influence in the Middle East. We speak with Shireen Al-Adeimi, Yemeni scholar, activist, and an assistant professor at Michigan State University.

    • Yemen: To Build a Fire in the Heart of Our Country

      When I was young and the war in Vietnam was raging, I rejected much of what I associated with a government and a society that could undertake the destruction of an entire people and still carry on as if there were nothing in the least bit abnormal about that state of affairs. In time, I saw that the way forward, at least for me, was to join those who understood just how evil the war was and how imperative it was for people to lift their voices, take to the streets, and risk their personal well being to protest the war.

      Reading Zinn’s account of the Vietnam antiwar movement (in his book You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train) and how it grew from isolated pockets of opposition into a massive, nation-wide wave of resistance, I felt re-united with feelings that have languished inside me for the past decade and a half. In the winter of 2003, as the US prepared to invade Iraq, I was on the streets with hundreds of thousands of others who truly cared about preventing the needless deaths of both Iraqis and fellow Americans. For a time, I believed we would prevail over the Pentagon, the defense contractors, and the Department of Defense—each of which had its own reasons for wanting to prosecute yet another act of criminal aggression against a relatively defenseless country. This time around, however, it was conceivable that our passionate commitment to peace and its expression through movement building, rallies, and demonstrations might actually stay the hand of our “Commander-in-Chief” and his war-mongering, neo-conservative ideologues: Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, et al.

      On a frigid, fingertip-freezing day in February 2003, close to a million of us hit the streets of New York to make our voices heard. Together with comparable numbers of our brethren in other countries, we declared our united opposition to a war against Iraq—a war that many in the peace movement judged would be both illegal and immoral, and unconscionably destructive.

    • It’s Time. We Must Jam the ‘Demonic, Destructive Suction Tube’

      Now the work begins: to hold our political leadership accountable for real change —the sort of change that is too easily ducked by the powerful. The time has come to change who we are as a nation, to transform the national identity.

      Here’s a simpler way to put it: “Will the new House Democrats take on the war lobby?”

      This question is the headline of a Common Dreams op-ed by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies earlier this week, and it touches the furious heart of who we are. I would put it this way: As long as 60 percent or so of our discretionary spending is diverted to militarism; as long as there is no official acknowledgment of the horrific and pointless hell our wars have created, with no benefits even to our “national interests”; as long as we refuse to face our own history of genocidal behavior and our addiction to “conquest” . . . we will not change, we will not grow, we will not survive.

      Benjamin and Davies quote Martin Luther King’s iconic Riverside Church address in 1967, in which he notes the collapse of the country’s anti-poverty efforts: “Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube.”

      The demonic suction tube! Nothing much has changed in 50 years. The tube is still sucking resources and spewing fear. And it still owns the media.

    • G20 Host Argentina Considers a Probe of Saudi Crown Prince

      Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could face prosecution in Argentina for alleged complicity in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi-led humanitarian crisis in Yemen. On Wednesday, an Argentine prosecutor reportedly accepted a request by Human Rights Watch to prosecute the crown prince, just hours after he landed in Argentina ahead of the G20 summit. Argentina recognizes universal jurisdiction for war crimes and torture, which means it is able to press charges against the crown prince while he is in the country. We speak with Reed Brody, counsel and spokesperson for Human Rights Watch, and Shireen Al-Adeimi, Yemeni scholar, activist, and an assistant professor at Michigan State University.

    • Senate Delivers Powerful Rebuke to Trump, Saudi Arabia

      I should declare my own interest by saying that I was one of 50-some Middle East experts and policymakers who signed a letter to the senators urging them to take this step. The letter, organized by Bruce Ackerman, Laurence Tribe and former U.S. ambassadors to Yemen Barbara Bodine and Stephen Seche, pointed out that the U.N. estimates that some 14 million Yemenis could die of starvation within months if the Saudis continue their total-war tactic of attacking port infrastructure to deprive civilians of access to staples.

      The vote was the most significant bipartisan measure to come out of the Senate in ages, and fell just short of a veto-proof two-thirds majority. The bill, co-sponsored by Bernie Sanders and a bipartisan set of his colleagues, calls on Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from their support role in Yemen within 30 days. Since the war begin in 2015, the U.S. (initially under President Obama) has given the Saudis logistical support, including in-air refueling of bombers, as well as strategic advice on targeting.

      The senators voted to get out even though Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned them not to vote for withdrawal. Pompeo threatened them with losing their next election if they were seen by their constituents to have allowed Iran a free hand in Yemen. The Saudis and the U.S. right-wing vastly exaggerate Iran’s role in Yemen; the rebellion is mainly led by indigenous Yemeni Zaydis, who belong to a branch of Shiite Islam that differs significantly from the Twelver branch practiced in Iran and Iraq. In any case, it is likely that most of the senators’ constituents would be rather more upset about U.S. involvement in provoking the biggest humanitarian crisis since the end of WWII. The Saudi-led war has already killed 85,000 children by malnutrition and has killed tens of thousands of other civilians (which official statistics cover up).

    • We Need to End the Yemen War Now – Not in January

      With yesterday’s vote to advance a bill ending US support for the war in Yemen, a vital change has taken place. The principle is reestablished that we can force a vote in Congress on unauthorized — and therefore unconstitutional — wars anytime we can get a single member of Congress to insist on a vote.

      Let us look each other in the eye and commit that we will push by any and all legal and nonviolent means necessary to force as many votes as necessary in the Senate and the House before Congress adjourns for the year, in order to end the Yemen war and stop the famine. The United Nations and aid groups have said forcefully that there must be a sustained cease-fire right now in order to get the people and resources into Yemen that are necessary to stop the famine. Not in January. Right now.

      Any member of the House, any day the House is in session, can now introduce a new House Yemen War Powers Resolution, and that resolution will be privileged, guaranteed a vote on the House floor. That resolution does not need to be led by the sponsors of the last bill. There can also be more than one bill. There can be a Republican bill, there can be a Democratic bill, there can be a bipartisan bill, or all of the above.

      House Speaker Paul Ryan and his Rules Committee can try to block a vote by bringing forward a rule that de-privileges each bill. But advocates for ending the Yemen war right now and stopping the famine can beat Paul Ryan and his Rules Committee by having the votes on the floor to defeat any such rule. Last time, we were only seven votes shy of defeating Ryan on the vote on the rule — and that was before yesterday, when the Senate voted 63-37 to advance the Sanders-Lee-Murphy bill, with every single Democratic senator and 14 Republicans voting in favor. That was also before House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi finally agreed to co-sponsor the House Yemen War Powers Resolution. We should expect every single member of the House Democratic Caucus to vote with us on the rule next time, unlike last time, when six House Democrats voted against us. That’s six of the seven missing votes right there, if every Democrat votes with us in the House, as they just did in the Senate.

    • The Arms Race in the Pacific: China and Japan Boost Their Naval Power

      Two myths, that Japan does not have an aircraft carrier and that China is sticking with two, have just been torpedoed.

      Chinese authorities confirmed on Tuesday that they were building the country’s third aircraft carrier. But it was hardly an iron-clad secret.

      In June, the image on a publicity picture in the boardroom of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, the ship’s builders, in Wuhan City, showed three aircraft carriers, whereas Beijing only has two. The third was an artist’s impression of the one the corporation was building in Shanghai.

      The two are the Liaoning, the country’s first aircraft carrier, refurbished from the hulk of a Ukranian vessel and the still-to-be-named Type 001A, undergoing sea trials since 2017 before coming into service in 2019. It is the country’s first domestically developed carrier.

      Both have ski-jump decks, but the new warship will have a flat-top deck, suggesting a catapult aircraft launch system.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Guardian campaign against WikiLeaks takes another fact-free turn

      The UK’s Guardian newspaper seemed to have quite a scoop this week when it published the claim, from unidentified sources, that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had met with Julian Assange in the Ecuador embassy in London on multiple occasions, including in 2016. Here, perhaps, was the smoking gun connecting the Trump campaign with the Democrat emails stolen by Russia and passed to WikiLeaks.

    • Claims and counterclaims fly around Guardian Manafort–Assange scoop

      EVEN BY THE DRAMATIC STANDARDS of the Mueller investigation, it was a bombshell moment when, on Tuesday, The Guardian’s Luke Harding and Dan Collyns reported that Paul Manafort met repeatedly with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Ecuador’s London embassy, including around the time Manafort became chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. With the special counsel’s recent focus around the Trump campaign’s ties to WikiLeaks—looking, specifically, at the latter’s dump of internal Democratic Party emails procured from Russian hackers—The Guardian’s story introduced a huge new lead (and one that other reporters believe was not previously on Mueller’s radar).

      Both Manafort and WikiLeaks strongly denied that the meetings took place. Manafort called The Guardian’s story “deliberately libelous” and said he was weighing his legal options. WikiLeaks, meanwhile, tweeted that it was willing to bet The Guardian a million dollars and “its editors head” that the paper was wrong, then started to crowdfund a lawsuit (as of this morning, it posted $33,000 in donations). No other news outlet has yet been able to confirm The Guardian’s reporting.

    • MSM Is Like Big Pharma: The Rewards Of Malpractice Outweigh The Penalties

      “As part of the plea bargain, Purdue agreed to pay the federal government $600 million and 27 states $20 million. The three executives agreed to $34.5 million in fines but avoided jail-time. By contrast, Purdue has earned an estimated $31 billion in total revenues from extended-release oxycodone since its launch. Rather than deterring fraudulent marketing, the penalties simply became a cost of doing business.”

      A cost of doing business. The preceding is an excerpt from a Harvard study published last year titled “The Opioid Epidemic: Fixing a Broken Pharmaceutical Market”. It describes the illicit marketing practices advanced by Purdue’s executives for its wildly profitable opioid Oxycontin, and how the criminal and civil cases brought against the company for those practices weren’t consequential enough to prevent those practices from remaining highly profitable.

    • Yanis Varoufakis on Assange and the Political Economy and Future of Europe

      In this exclusive interview with bestselling author, former finance minister of Greece and the co-founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, Yanis Varoufakis, we talk about the case of Julian Assange, the socio-economic transformations taking place within the core of the European Union, and how much time is left until it disintegrates

    • Manafort denies meeting Assange, as passports’ stamps don’t match accusations

      Paul Manafort’s three passports show two visits to England in 2010 and 2012, aiding his denial of a Guardian newspaper story that claimed he met secretly with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2013, 2015 and 2016 in London.

      A review of Manafort’s passports since 2008 shows he entered Heathrow Airport on two occasions. There are no other stamps for arriving in Great Britain.

      It is conceivable that Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, could have entered from a European country and not received a stamp. But a Manafort representative told The Washington Times that Manafort has only made those two visits to England since 2008. The source said a libel suit against The Guardian is under discussion.

      Two of his passports were entered as evidence at his tax evasion trial. The Times acquired a copy of his third passport on Thursday.

    • There Is No Case Against Julian Assange So Lies Take the Place of Evidence

      Julian Assange is not guilty of any crime. But Washington is going to convict him anyway. Documents are being fabricated to show that Assange met inside the Ecuadoran Embassy in London with Paul Manafort and some Russians.

      The logs of all visits to the Embassy have been released and show no such meetings.

      This latest fabrication was dumped on the public by the Guardian, formerly a leftwing newspaper but today an MI6 asset. Luke Harding, who was leaked the fake documents, is either extremely gullible or himself a MI6 asset.

      The purpose of the leak is to create in the public’s mind that Assange was involved in “Russiagate” along with Trump and Putin. The fact that no evidence has been found that Russiagate exists except as a made-up allegation to justify a special prosecutor to investigate President Trump has not stopped the continued use of this canard.

      Washington and London are relying on the public’s insouciance to shield their shamelessness.

      Julian Assange’s life has been ruined because he was a professional journalist who told the truth instead of serving as a shill for the ruling elite. Now the intention is to give him a show trial and to convict him without evidence, relying on presstitutes to spread fake evidence that a meeting that did not occur occurred and with no explanation of how such a meeting if it had actually occurred would constitute espionage.

    • Guardian: Manafort met secretly with Julian Assange

      “I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him,” Manafort said in a statement. “I have never been contacted by anyone connected to Wikileaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or Wikileaks on any matter. We are considering all legal options against the Guardian who proceeded with this story even after being notified by my representatives that it was false.”

    • Wikileaks threatens to sue “fake news producers”

      Wikileaks, furious about a report in The Guardian claiming that founder Julian Assange met with Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, said that it plans to sue it for libel. Moreover, it expects to create a “business model” from such lawsuits.

    • Charges Under Seal: US Prosecutors Get Busy With Julian Assange – OpEd

      Critics indifferent to the plight of Julian Assange have seen his concerns for prosecution at the hands of US authorities as the disturbed meditations of a sexualised fantasist. He should have surrendered to the British authorities and, in turn, to the Swedish authorities. It was either insignificant or irrelevant that a Grand Jury had been convened to sniff around the activities of WikiLeaks to identify what, exactly, could be used against the organisation and its founder.

      Cruelty and truth are often matters of excruciating banality, and now it is clearer than ever that the United States will, given the invaluable chance, net the Australian publisher and WikiLeaks founder to make an example of him. This man, who dirtied the linen of state and exposed the ceremonial of diplomatic hypocrisy, was always an object of interest, notably in the United States. “He was,” confirmed Andrea Kendall-Taylor, former deputy national intelligence officer for Russia under the director of national intelligence, “a loathed figure inside the government.”

    • You Don’t Have to Love Assange to Fear His Prosecution

      The Department of Justice showed its cards last week when it accidentally confirmed that the U.S. is planning to prosecute Wikileaks head Julian Assange, who has been sequestered in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012.

      What happens to Assange will be one of the biggest test cases for press freedoms in America ever. At stake? The ability of all journalists to inform the public of things the government wants to withhold.

      But this has been largely ignored because Assange, once a darling of the progressive activist press, is now regarded as a hero-turned-zero, mostly because of Wikileaks’ role in publishing hacked emails that proved damaging to the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign ahead of the 2016 elections.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Arctic Drilling Is “Ecocide on an Incredible Diversity of Wildlife”

      “What side of history do you want to be on?” Indigenous Alaskan Tonya Garnett asked the Department of Interior officials seated at the dais. “What legacy do you want to leave behind for your children?”

      Garnett had journeyed from her small Gwich’in community of Venetie, Alaska, to speak on behalf of her people. “Our way of life is at stake,” she explained. “We speak for our ancestors, and we speak for our children’s children. I want to see my son — my 9-year-old son — be able to get his first caribou. I want to see his sons or his daughters get theirs.”

      Her questions and concerns echoed throughout the evening.

      On June 15, in Washington, DC, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held its final public hearing for the scoping process on the controversial issue of oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

      Several months earlier, Republican leaders had snuck an Arctic drilling provision into the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was approved by Congress and signed by President Trump on December 22, 2017. Ever since, the Trump administration has been moving aggressively to begin seismic testing on the Arctic coastal plain, and to rush through the required Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the leasing program. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act called for an initial lease sale in the next four years, but the administration now claims that it would hold the first sale by next summer. Given the scope of Arctic drilling, the critical importance of the refuge’s habitat and the region’s ever-changing conditions caused by climate change, many speakers testified that a proper EIS should take years to complete, but the Trump administration intends to release its draft in the next several weeks, with a final version slated for early next year. This expedited timeline severely limits public input and prioritizes outcome over process.

    • Why the Migrant Caravan Story Is a Climate Change Story

      Less than a mile south of the U.S.-Mexico border, in Sasabe, Mexico, a Guatemalan man named Giovanni (whose first name is used to protect his undocumented status) propped up his feet while an EMT applied antibiotic ointment to his feet in the shade of a cottonwood. Giovanni left his home country because of a catastrophic drought and was attempting to unite with his brothers who were already in Dallas. After trying to cross the border into the Arizona desert, his feet were ravaged: discolored, covered in gashes and tender red blisters. One toenail had been ripped off. Across the arroyo, or dry wash, were about 30 more prospective border crossers, primarily Guatemalan, some awaiting a similar medical checkup, others stocking up on water and food.

      It was July, and several days before in a 110-degree heat wave, he had crossed the border with a small group of about five other people from Guatemala. After 14 hours, they ran out of water. After 21 hours, Giovanni gave up and turned back alone. He had no water, no food, and quickly lost his orientation, but he made it back to Sasabe.

      Giovanni is part of a Central American exodus of people that has been increasing for decades. The recent caravans are the most recent chapter. And while there are complex and compounding reasons for the massive displacements and migrations—especially rising violence (in places like Honduras, for example, after the 2009 military coup) and systemic poverty—there is another driver behind the movement of people seeking refuge in the U.S.: climate change.

    • It’s a Borderful World

      As a means of organizing territory, they seem to be a brief transition period between large empires and an even larger, borderless world. Sure, nation-states might live on in the form of anthems and flags and independence days, but the idea of fixed borders just don’t make sense in a world of cell phones, the Internet, and global assembly lines. Borders just seem like a twentieth-century contrivance that slows everything down, like those paper forms you still have to fill out at the doctor’s office.

      But just when you think you’ve progressed to the next level, along comes a reminder that the past is nipping at your heels, eager to bring you down.

      This Sunday, Donald Trump temporarily closed the border crossing at San Ysidro in San Diego, across from Tijuana, Mexico. In response to a surge in migrants and asylum-seekers from Central America, the president has threatened to close the entire border permanently and even shut down the U.S. government if Congress doesn’t fund his border wall.

      Also this Sunday, the European Union approved British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit proposal. If the British parliament gives its okay, Britain will begin its formal withdrawal from the transnational pact at the end of March. Parliamentary approval, however, is far from certain, which leaves the border between the EU and its second most economically powerful member still very much up in the air.

    • Bitter Legal Fight Between Climate Deniers Ends With $630,000 Transfer to New Group Targeting Climate Scientists and Campaigners

      A bitter court battle between climate science deniers known for pursuing scientists with legal demands for their emails has ended with a former Trump EPA official releasing $630,000 to his former colleagues.

      A dispute over the assets, legal status and ultimate control of the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FMELC) began in late 2017, sparking two lawsuits against the clinic’s co-founder, David Schnare.

      Schnare and former FMELC colleague Christopher Horner have worked together, sometimes through another group, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (EELI), to file multiple requests for the emails of scientists and state and federal officials working on climate change.

      Both Schnare and Horner, who is a senior fellow at the fossil fuel-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute, were part of Trump’s EPA “landing team.” Schnare went on to join a “beachhead” EPA team, but quit during former administrator Scott Pruitt’s tenure.

      But Schnare and Horner’s relationship turned very sour. Schnare had admitted to making mistakes when incorporating the group after new board member Matthew Hardin, an associate of Horner’s, had asked to see FMELC’s banking information.

      In two suits that followed, Schnare was accused of financial misconduct, of trying to conceal the group’s financial history, and then of demanding payments in return for staying quiet.

    • What You Need To Know About the UN Climate Talks in Poland

      The UN’s annual climate talks kick off next week in the southern Polish city of Katowice, in the country’s coal heartland. The stakes are high, but — as always — it won’t be plain sailing.

      The two-week meeting will be another pivotal moment in the global climate negotiations and the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement. Countries are expected to finalise the accord’s rulebook and start the process of a global stocktake to ramp up ambition to reduce emissions.

      The talks are taking place against a backdrop of mounting urgency and expectations following a report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which warned that the world has 12 years to halve its carbon dioxide emissions if it is to keep warming to 1.5 degrees and avoid catastrophic climate change.

      In the UK, the report has become the call for action of the grassroots climate campaign Extinction Rebellion, which uses civil disobedience tactics to push the government to take meaningful action to prevent climate breakdown and aims to reach net zero emissions by 2025.

    • Climate Scientist Michael Mann Releases Emails Ahead of University of Arizona Response to E&E Legal

      Nearly a decade ago, in late 2009, a server at the University of East Anglia was hacked and thousands of emails from the university’s Climatic Research Unit were subsequently released in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate talks. Within these thousands of emails, climate change deniers attempted to cherry-pick a few sentences to falsely suggest scientific malfeasance. This so-called “Climategate” incident managed to briefly cast doubt on the public’s acceptance of the scientific realities of climate change. But ultimately, numerous investigations found there was no wrongdoing, and the media storm was found to only have a fleeting public impact.

      I have discussed the manufactured scandal in the context of the larger industry-funded, bad faith attack on climate science in my book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.

      In increasingly desperate attempts to recreate this short-lived machination, there have since been repeated efforts to obtain my and other climate scientists’ emails via fishing expeditions through misuse of the legal system. Led by David Schnare, one coal-funded group masquerading as a think tank — which currently goes by the name of Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) — brought a lawsuit in Virginia seeking to obtain virtually every email I had ever sent or received during the six years I was a professor at the University of Virginia.

    • Green Corridors, Mental Maps: A Call for the End of Deer Control

      Ecologists have long “speculated” that ungulates—hooved animals including deer, sheep, and bison—learn from their families and peers. That they learn strikes me, an avid walker-through-the-woods, as obvious.

      Why wouldn’t they trust others in their communities, and adopt the elders’ patterns of movement?

      But science requires verification. And in a recent study of rams and moose, a team of academic and government researchers recently confirmed that ungulates learn and teach through their generations.

      They learn the spots were new shoots spring up, and when. They time their travel accordingly. Their memories’ maps, collectively drawn, guide the migration of hooved animals. Each generation confirms what earlier generations knew, then expands upon it. This is how ungulates maximize the nourishment available from accessible territory. This is how they find the optimal fat and protein sources to fortify them for the harshest winters.

    • Trump dismantling US climate efforts as warnings grow dire

      President Donald Trump has moved steadily to dismantle Obama administration efforts to rein in coal, oil and gas emissions, even as warnings grow — from his own administration and others — about the devastating impact of climate change on the U.S. economy as well as the Earth.

      Trump has dismissed his administration’s warnings about the impact of climate change, including a forecast released Friday that it could lead to economic losses of hundreds of billions of dollars a year by the end of the century.

  • Finance

    • Supreme Court Weighs Whether Apple’s App Store Is a Monopoly

      The Supreme Court this week heard the latest arguments in a longstanding lawsuit accusing Apple of operating a locked down, price-gouging monopoly in the form of its App Store. A ruling in the case would not only open the door to users suing Apple for its iOS walled garden, but could impact antitrust enforcement over tech giants for years to come.

    • Workers Petition Congress: Protect Our Pensions

      The total number of workers at risk is 1.2 million. In my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), 100,000 are threatened. Daryl A. Bugbee of Olivet, Michigan, is one of them. He wrote Congress’ Joint Select Committee on Multiemployer Pensions on August 8:

      “I am the father of a special needs child who will always need assistance. Without my pension, I will not be able to help meet his needs.”

      Workers like Daryl count on that money. Most didn’t earn enough to invest in stocks or a 401(k) for retirement. The pension was everything.

    • ‘This Is About Systematically Impoverishing People’ – CounterSpin interview with Felicia Kornbluh on ‘welfare reform’

      Janine Jackson: The policies and practices known as “welfare reform,” marked by Bill Clinton’s 1996 signing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, always traded on a number of myths, often abetted by the media. Myths about how much money the government, or “taxpayers,” spent on Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and what those families receiving assistance looked like. And the myth that the receipt of state support discouraged people from working, creating what was bemoaned as a “culture of dependency” that might affect two or three generations.

      But at the center of the myths around welfare and the need for its for reform were always women, and particularly black women. Shouldn’t they work more? How many children should they have? How is their working, or not working, affecting black men, and the perennially troubled and troubling black family?

      For a policy that always claims to be about economics, welfare policy has always been about much more. Recognizing and understanding that can be part of a necessary “reboot,” as my next guest describes it, of the policy conversation around poverty.

    • ‘The One Financial Institution That Stuck with Trump’: Deutsche Bank Headquarters Raided in Germany

      As news broke Thursday morning that Deutsche Bank’s German headquarters had been raided in Frankfurt over, numerous observers were quick to note the bank’s deep ties to U.S. President Donald Trump.

      The bank’s offices were reportedly raided in connection with the Panama Papers money laundering investigation. Two employees and several “unidentified people in positions of authority” are suspected of failing to report the laundering of more than $350 million which were kept by the bank in accounts located in the British Virgin Islands.

      According to NPR, more than 900 Deutsche Bank clients were able to keep their money on the islands in 2016.

    • Do the Democrats Have a Plan for General Motors?

      President Trump has GM egg on his face.

      He repeatedly promised that the car industry would create more and more jobs in the U.S., thanks to his “magic wand” of aggressive tax and tariff policies. But by announcing the elimination of 14,000 U.S jobs, GM revealed that conjurer tricks are no match for voracious capitalists.

      Trump, of course, can never appear to back down. Instead, he is threatening to cut all subsidies to GM like tax credits for electric cars, which are vital to their development and sales. But, it’s doubtful he has the power to match his bluster.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook expanding ‘Today In’ local news feature

      The feature aggregates information from local media outlets, government, community organizations and first responders. Users can either check in directly at their “Today In” page or allow the feature to promote local news on their main newsfeed.

    • American Voter Turnout Is Shameful, No Matter the Historic Midterms

      But what is also true, less than half of eligible voters voted: 47 percent. Even though it represents the highest midterm voter turnout in half a century, it is shameful. Chief among the reasons is the Republican Party’s aggressive voter suppression efforts that it has successfully pursued for decades, primarily in states where Republicans have control of the state legislature and the governor’s office. People are organizing against this wholesale disenfranchisement, with two major lessons immediately apparent from the midterms: First, grassroots organizing gets results; and second, there is a huge amount of work yet to be done to ensure a fair, representative democracy with an engaged and empowered electorate.

    • Missouri’s Newest Senator Apparently Can’t Read The Law, Pushing For Greater Censorship

      Missouri’s incoming Senator, Josh Hawley, has been getting some attention as being a “fierce critic” of big internet companies. Specifically, in his role as Missouri State Attorney General, he famously launched an investigation into Google, sending a subpoena that had many of the same hallmarks found in the subpoena Mississippi’s Attorney General Jim Hood sent to Google years earlier, that was later revealed to have been drafted by MPAA lawyers as part of their Project Goliath, in which the MPAA deliberately used a NY Times article about using state AGs to attack competitors to do just that. As a reminder, a judge eventually found that subpoena to be in bad faith and Hood withdrew it.

      Still, given that Hawley specifically campaigned on being willing to “stand up to big tech”, it’s really no surprise that he’s now going around yelling about Twitter temporarily suspending a user (who happens to play on the same red/blue team as Hawley). The problem is that Hawley — who as a lawyer, Attorney General, and incoming Senator should be expected to know the law — actually gets its entirely backwards.

    • Our Bipolar Free-Speech Disorder And How To Fix It (Part 2)

      Although it’s clearer when we visualize all the players in the free-speech regulation landscape that a “free-speech triangle” at least captures more complexity than the usual speakers-against-the-government or speakers-against-the-companies or companies-against-the-government models, the fact is that our constitutional law and legal traditions predispose us to think of these questions in binary rather than, uh, “trinary” terms. We’ve been thinking this way for centuries, and it’s a hard habit to shake. But shaking the binary habit is a necessity if we’re going to get the free-speech ecosystem right in this century.

      To do this we first have to look at how we typically reduce these “trinary” models to the binary models we’re more used to dealing with. With three classes of actors, there are three possible “dyads” of relationships: user–platform, government–platform, and user–government.

    • Trump is Violating the Three Basic Principles of the Rule of Law

      There’s no question why Trump appointed Whitaker. When asked by the Daily Caller, Trump made it clear: “As far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had…. It’s an illegal investigation.”

    • Censoring Facebook Censors Us All

      The Times, the leader of the anti-free-speech crusade, employs a logic all its own. Not only does it assume that Facebook must be at fault because someone, somewhere, is using it for nefarious purposes, but it cherry-picks the data to make the situation seem worse than it really is—rather as if not one but every diner in America was filled with baddies plotting murder and mayhem. A mammoth front-page article that ran Nov. 14 thus asserts that unnamed malefactors have used the network “to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe.” When Trump called for a shutdown on Muslim immigration in December 2015, the story adds, it “illustrat[ed] the site’s power to spread racist sentiment” because Facebook users shared the item some 15,000 times.

    • Trump Foundation tax return reveals finances during Trump’s first year in office as lawsuit heats up

      During his first year in office, President Donald Trump was listed as president of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which was entirely funded by a half-million dollar donation from Trump’s business along with a six-figure “reimbursement” from one of his golf clubs, according to a new tax return obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

      Trump remained president of his namesake foundation through 2017 despite daughter Ivanka Trump officially resigning from her director position in January 2017, according to the tax return, which was filed under the penalty of perjury.

      The Trump Foundation did not make any grants in 2017 after contributing $3.1 million in 2016 and reported no spending whatsoever during Trump’s first year in office, according to the tax return.

      This follows an October 2016 notice from the New York attorney general’s office claiming that the Trump Foundation was in violation of state law for soliciting donations without proper authorization and ordering it to cease fundraising immediately.

    • Demands for Trump Labor Secretary to Resign After ‘Jaw-Dropping’ and ‘Enraging’ Story About Sweetheart Deal for Billionaire Pedophile

      President Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is rumored to be on the short list of possible attorney general nominees, but he is now facing demands to resign immediately after an “incredibly disturbing” bombshell investigation by the Miami Herald on Wednesday revealed that—in his previous role as Miami’s top prosecutor—Acosta “bent over backwards” to give a sweetheart plea deal to billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who has been accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

      “Epstein could have ended up in federal prison for the rest of his life,” the Herald noted. But, thanks to Acosta, “an extraordinary deal” was struck that “conceal[ed] the full extent of Epstein’s crimes” and allowed the billionaire hedge manager to skate by with just 13 months in county jail and a non-prosecution agreement.

      “Court records reveal details of the negotiations and the role that Acosta would play in arranging the deal, which scuttled the federal probe into a possible international sex trafficking operation,” the Herald found. “Among other things, Acosta allowed Epstein’s lawyers unusual freedoms in dictating the terms of the non-prosecution agreement.”

    • Jill Stein Touts Historic Victory for Pennsylvania Voters

      Electronic voting machines are prone to failures. In a 2015 report, the Brennan Center for Justice detailed how these systems are “often unauditable, susceptible to malware, frequently difficult to repair, and more prone to failure.” Researchers haven’t found much cause for optimism in follow-up reports. States are using machines that are more than 10 years old, and only one state—Virginia—has replaced its paperless machines. The settlement of a lawsuit against Pennsylvania, however, may be a small but notable first step in the fight for fairer elections.

      After the 2016 election, former presidential candidate Jill Stein sued Pennsylvania, calling for an end to the use of paperless voting machines susceptible to tampering, hacking and general errors. On Thursday, Stein announced a settlement with the state.

      The settlement guarantees that Pennsylvania will replace its current system with paper ballots by 2020. In addition, by 2022, the state will enact automatic audits after every election to ensure the accuracy of vote counts before results are certified.

    • Chile-Brazil: A New Laboratory For The Far-Right

      Still shocked by the electoral results in Brazil, many Brazilians are asking how an avalanche of votes for Jair Bolsonaro and General Hamilton Mourão took place and what exactly will happen when a right wing extremist government takes over. We are still a long way off from answering this, but the connections between Bolsonaro’s main economic guru, Paulo Guedes, and the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990), give us important leads about the underlying plans.

      Until recently, Paulo Roberto Nunes Guedes (69) was relatively unknown to the Brazilian public. Although he was a columnist for Epoca magazine and O Globo newspaper and founder of the Millenium Institute, the economist spent decades isolated from the mainstream, rejecting all of Brazil’s economic plans for the last 35 years, from those of President José Sarney to Dilma Rousseff. Reading some of his articles it becomes clear why. Guedes shows an aversion to the social contract guaranteed in the 1988 Constitution, which he interprets as an obstacle to his political project. For him, Brazil suffered from an “interventionist curse” which has blocked the “irreversible evolutionary process (…) towards a great open society.”

    • ‘Immediate Trouble’ for Don Jr. Predicted After Michael Cohen Guilty Plea

      Trump cancels scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin and calls former lawyer ‘weak’ in response to new guilty plea in federal court

    • Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty to Lying to Congress

      Flanked by his lawyers, Cohen admitted making false statements in 2017 to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the project.

    • The Audacity of Struggle

      The madness around us is no accident. Donald Trump is not an anomaly, but he is the worst of what this nation has to offer. Intentional ignorance fuels his hatred and money fuels his bloated and undeserved ego. We live in a nation ruled by small minded and heartless men and women whose egos match their ill begotten bank accounts. Their perception of justice is that which serves the market and the market is only viable as far as it serves their paymasters. Men and women with no place to live idle away their days in libraries and doorways, their hope for a different future slowly fading into their lives of despair. Work for any gain like a place they can afford to rent or even a car to live in grows more distant with each ordinance passed against the state of being poor. Police in their obeisance to the state and the class it serves enforce these ordinances with nary a pang of conscience. Or, even worse, a conscience that demands they beat the poor and obey the wealthy. Meanwhile, the wealthy spread their gospel of prosperity as if they actually believe the lies they tell themselves. Angry and ultimately misanthropic citizens accept the rich people’s lies hoping that their deliverance will soon arrive. Maybe if they believe the gospel of wealth they will become wealthy. It’s the myth upon which US capitalism is built. P.T. Barnum put it more succinctly when he spoke about suckers being born every minute.

    • Sorry Democrats, the Green Party Came Up With the Green New Deal!

      This week progressives nationwide are talking about a Green New Deal and, while mainstream media is saying that insurgent Democrats came up with this, we beg to differ! We applaud the efforts of Democrats for finally adopting what the Global Greens began to work on in in 2006 while noting that the delay of 12 years is very significant when it comes to climate change.

      The Green Party has been advocating for a massive jobs and public works program to transition our energy infrastructure rapidly over to renewable energy for more than a decade [1]. The project truly began with a Global Greens ‘Green New Deal Task Force’, first formulated in 2006. It was brought into American Green political campaigns by Howie Hawkins when he ran for governor in 2014 [2]. Next Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka highlighted it in their 2016 presidential campaign [3] while many more American Green candidates have run campaigns using it since that time.

      Our Green New Deal is formulated as a transitional set of demands in a Four Point program with the understanding that fundamental structural change, moving our society away from the inhumane, imperial logic of a capitalist market system and towards a radical democratic reconfiguration of forces in the United States, is the only way that a popular program for change can occur.

    • Sheryl Sandberg Is Said to Have Asked Facebook Staff to Research George Soros

      Sheryl Sandberg asked Facebook’s communications staff to research George Soros’s financial interests in the wake of his high-profile attacks on tech companies, according to three people with knowledge of her request, indicating that Facebook’s second in command was directly involved in the social network’s response to the liberal billionaire.

      Ms. Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, asked for the information in an email to a senior executive in January that was forwarded to other senior communications and policy staff, the people said. The email came within days of a blistering speech Mr. Soros delivered that month at the World Economic Forum, attacking Facebook and Google as a “menace” to society and calling for the companies to be regulated.

      Ms. Sandberg — who was at the forum, but was not present for Mr. Soros’s speech, according to a person who attended it — requested an examination into why Mr. Soros had criticized the tech companies and whether he stood to gain financially from the attacks. At the time, Facebook was under growing scrutiny for the role its platform had played in disseminating Russian propaganda and fomenting campaigns of hatred in Myanmar and other countries.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Google CEO Sundar Pichai will face lawmakers at a hearing next week

      “The technology behind online services like social media and Internet search engines can also be used to suppress particular viewpoints and manipulate public opinion,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, in a press release announcing the hearing.

      But there are plenty of other controversial topics that members of Congress may want to ask Pichai about.

    • Only Donald Trump Can Make a Martyr Out of CNN

      One of the more challenging aspects of covering this White House involves trying to explain exactly how fraught with nonsense Donald Trump’s ongoing feud with the corporate news media is. Trump is of, by, and for that media. He is what would happen if New York City tabloid journalism and reality TV had a baby together and painted it orange. He is them and they are him; they feed off each other and have disturbingly similar personalities.

      The irony and hypocrisy involved on both sides can be thoroughly unbearable, and when Trump on Tuesday took a break from tweeting stumble-phrased attacks against his own Justice Department and Fed chair to launch another broadside against CNN, the last sentence jumped out: “Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”

      Where to begin?

      CNN, mostly in the form of journalist Jim Acosta, has certainly been no friend to the Trump administration with its reporting. This seemingly aggressive coverage, however, is self-serving. CNN learned all too well during the first Gulf War, September 11 and the long slog of the Iraq War that crisis breeds ratings and advertising dollars. CNN’s viewership went up 500 percent after 9/11. The network made a fortune peddling fear on behalf of the Bush administration, and helped to parlay those fears into a war based on lies it ravenously promoted.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mozilla Hosts Round-Table With Indian Tech Companies On Data Privacy

      California-based Mozilla recently hosted a round-table conference during its first Indian edition of ‘Privacy Matters’ to discuss issues related to data privacy.

      The round-table conference involved various prominent people from companies such as Aditya Birla Group, Dunzo, Ibibo, Practo, Ola, Zeotap, Zomato, for data privacy prior to the introduction of the data privacy protection law.

    • EFF, ACLU Petition Court To Unseal Documents From DOJ’s Latest Anti-Encryption Efforts

      Back in August, the DOJ headed to court, hoping to obtain some of that sweet sweet anti-encryption precedent. Waving around papers declaring an MS-13 gang conspiracy, the DOJ demanded Facebook break encryption on private Messenger messages and phone calls so the government could eavesdrop. Facebook responded by saying it couldn’t do that without altering — i.e., breaking — Messenger’s underlying structure.

      Not that breaking a communications platform would give the FBI any sleepless nights. Worthless encryption is better than good encryption when it comes to demanding the content of communications or, as in this case, operating as the unseen man-in-middle when suspected gang members chatted with each other.

      Unfortunately (for the FBI), this ended in a demurral by the federal court. The details of the court’s decision are, just as unfortunately, unknown. Reuters was able to obtain comments from “insiders familiar with the case,” but the public at large is still in the dark as to how all of this turned out.

    • Welcome to the burgeoning, globalized business of implementing government surveillance

      That fact that massive surveillance is taking place around the world is hardly a secret, not least since Edward Snowden revealed the extraordinary scale and reach of Western spying. But what is less obvious is how globalized the business of surveillance has become. Snowden explained how important the Five Eyes partnership of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is in terms of sharing information and techniques. But the rise of the Internet – now the most important medium for carrying out spying – and the globalized trade of goods and services has led to a burgeoning market for implementing government surveillance around the world.

    • People Who Buy Smart Speakers Have Given Up on Privacy, Researchers Find

      If you find always-listening smart devices creepy, but bought an Amazon Echo anyway, you’re not alone. A recent study from researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who own smart speakers are aware of the risks, but feel resigned to the idea that the erosion of privacy is now a fact of life.

      “What was really concerning to me was this idea that ‘it’s just a little bit more info you give Google or Amazon, and they already know a lot about you, so how is that bad?’” said Florian Schaub, an assistant professor in the University of Michigan School of Information and a co-author of the study. “It’s representative of this constant erosion of what privacy means and what our privacy expectations are.”

    • Six months in, Europe’s privacy revolution favors Google, Facebook

      But six months after coming online, research suggests the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has also dampened investment in startups on the EU tech scene. Big companies like Google and Facebook are more dominant than ever in their markets, and no Silicon Valley giant has yet felt the sting of eye-watering financial penalties linked to the rules as regulators struggle to keep up with an increased workload.

      These are some early lessons from the EU’s half-year experience with an unprecedented new privacy regime that U.S. lawmakers are considering whether to adopt, albeit in very different terms, according to conversations with senior EU officials, data protection watchdogs, privacy professionals, investors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and private citizens in several European countries.

      Key findings include: [...]

    • Facebook Considered Charging for Access to User Data

      Internal emails show Facebook Inc. considered charging companies for continued access to user data several years ago, a step that would have marked a dramatic shift away from the social-media giant’s policy of not selling that information, according to an unredacted court document viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

    • Facebook Once Considered Selling User Data, Internal Emails Reveal

      018 has been a train wreck for Facebook so far, and the situation doesn’t seem to change even in the ending months of the year. Some internal documents of Facebook seized by British lawmakers have revealed that the social media giant had plans to sell user data between 2012 and 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    • Amazon will reportedly sell software that reads medical records

      The program scans medical files to pick out relevant information such as the medical condition and patient’s procedures and prescriptions. While other algorithms that try to do the same thing have been stymied by doctors’ abbreviations, Amazon claims to have trained its system to recognize the idiosyncrasies in how doctors take notes, sources told the WSJ. The company had already developed and sold this same software to other businesses, including ones focused on travel booking and customer service. For Amazon, this is another move into the health care market on the heels of the retailer buying the online pharmacy PillPack in June.

    • Amazon is opening its machine learning courses to everyone

      Global tat repository Amazon has announced that it is to make its machine learning training, previously only available to its internal engineers, available to anyone interested.

      30 courses, all self-service and self-managed, are now available, totalling 45 hours across four groups – developers, data scientists, data platform engineers, and business professionals.

    • FBI Faked Up A FedEx Website To Track Down A Scam Artist

      A second warrant application dug up by Motherboard details pretty much the same process: an NIT deployed via email attachment to force the target to relinquish identifying info like IP addresses and device information. The twist in the second application is that the malicious embed (an image contained in a Word document) would require the recipient to turn off “Protected Mode” to open the attachment. Simply harvesting info from an end user is one thing. Having them perform an action on their end to give the government access to their computer is another. “In an abundance of caution,” the FBI requested a warrant, even though the application makes it clear the FBI believes it shouldn’t need a warrant to force targeted devices to give up potentially-identifying info.

      The impersonation of FedEx may be novel, but the FBI’s use of NITs began well before its extrajurisdictional searches were codified by Rule 41 changes. NITs have been in the FBI’s toolkit for most of this decade. Here’s a 2012 application and returned warrant showing the FBI using an NIT to obtain IP addresses and device info to locate a wanted felon using an email address the agency believed belonged to the target.

      The FBI’s impersonation of people, places, and things is likely just as widespread, even if the rules (very loosely) governing this investigative technique suggest it shouldn’t be. FedEx may have questions about the FBI’s use of its name to obtain IP addresses from criminal suspects, but so far, it hasn’t commented on the news. What’s seen in these applications suggests some care is being taken to avoid sweeping up innocent internet users, but there’s only so much that can be implied from this very small sampling of federal investigative activity.

    • Facebook investigated Russian data harvesting in 2014, emails seized by MPs reveal
    • Facebook was warned of apparent Russian data trawl in 2014, MPs told

      “An engineer at Facebook notified the company in October 2014 that entities with Russian IP addresses had been using a Pinterest API key to pull over 3bn data points a day [from Facebook],” he said. “Now was that reported to any external body at the time?”

    • Google accused of breaching GDPR with ‘misleading’ location tracking

      A consortium of consumer groups from across Europe have banded together under the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) lobby group to add teeth to recent US action over Google’s “it’s off, but it’s actually on” approach to tracking the location of Android and Chrome powered devices.

      The Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden have filed complaints with their native regulators, and are hoping to use their combined weight to force Google into action.

      [...]

      Research from Norway concludes that Google is deliberately misleading people into keeping the tracking feature switched on.

    • Encryption bill: EFA questions need to rush proposed legislation

      Digital rights organisation Electronic Frontiers Australia says it is extremely concerned that the Australian Government is rushing the review of the proposed encryption bill, adding that both civil society and the technology industry have serious concerns about the bill.

    • DOJ made secret arguments to break crypto, now ACLU wants to make them public

      On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union formally asked the judge to unseal court dockets and related rulings associated with this ongoing case involving alleged MS-13 gang members. ACLU lawyers argue that such a little-charted area of the law must be made public so that tech companies and the public can fully know what’s going on.

    • Online Chat With Customer Support Has a Creepy Privacy Risk You Probably Don’t Know About

      Why? Because on some live chat platforms – particularly commercial ones like these geared to customer service – support staff can actually see what you’re writing as you type it, even before you hit the return or enter key, or click send.

      In fact, as Gizmodo adroitly points out, in circumstances like this, “the send button is an illusion”.

    • Be Warned: Customer Service Agents Can See What You’re Typing in Real Time

      On the upside, you get fast answers. On the downside, your thought process is being unknowingly observed. For the creators, this is technological magic, a deception that will result, they hope, in amazement and satisfaction. But once revealed by an agent who responds too quickly or one who responds before the question is asked, the trick falls apart, and what is left behind feels distinctly creepy, like a rabbit pulled from a hat with a broken neck. “Why give [customers] a fake ‘Send message’ button while secretly transmitting their messages all along?” asks Scocca.

      This particular magic trick happens thanks to JavaScript operating in your browser and detecting what’s happening on a particular site in real time. It’s also how companies capture information you’ve entered into web forms before you’ve hit submit. Companies could lessen the creepiness by telling people their typing is seen in real time or could eliminate the send button altogether (but that would undoubtedly confuse people, as if the useless buttons in elevators to “close door” or the placebos to push at crosswalks disappeared overnight.).

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Ex-Facebook manager: black staffers face discrimination and exclusion
    • “I DON’T WANT TO SHOOT YOU, BROTHER”

      A shocking story of police and lethal force. Just not the one you might expect.

      [...]

      The woman inside 119 Marie called 911 again. It was 2:57. Her name was Bethany Gilmer. R.J. Williams, her ex-boyfriend and the father of their baby, had a gun, she told the dispatcher. But the gun was not loaded, she said. He’d taken the magazine out. He was drunk.

    • Matthew Whitaker Was Illegally Appointed and Should Be Removed

      After forcing Jeff Sessions to resign as attorney general on November 7, President Trump appointed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, even though Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was next in line for the job. As a result, Whitaker assumed the functions of attorney general.

      Whitaker’s appointment was an illegal and blatant end run around the Attorney General Succession Act and the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. Whitaker must be removed and Rosenstein should be appointed acting attorney general.

      Trump’s firing of Sessions and replacement with Whitaker appears to be an effort to terminate or dilute special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump election campaign. Infuriated after Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation and Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel, Trump had been champing at the bit to replace Sessions with an attorney general who would have his back. As acting attorney general, Whitaker will assume authority over the Mueller probe.

      However, legal challenges to Whitaker’s appointment are mounting. Three senators have filed litigation to prevent Whitaker from carrying out the functions of attorney general. The state of Maryland has requested an injunction to remove Whitaker and substitute Rosenstein as acting attorney general. Moreover, a group of Congress members wroteto the Justice Department’s ethics officer demanding Whitaker’s recusal from the Russia investigation.

    • Pundits Policing Protest at Tucker Carlson’s House – Shrinking the space for dissent to white supremacy

      Commentary on a demonstration outside the home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson earlier this month used an exaggerated version of events to try to delegitimize a wide range of protest tactics. These articles use the protest at Carlson’s house as an occasion to make broad claims about “the left” and about protest in general.

      Alan Pyke (Think Progress, 11/9/18), a journalist who was present at the anti-Carlson protest, described a “10-minute demonstration” carried out by about a dozen people armed with “signs, a megaphone and a tambourine.” One person knocked on Carlson’s door three times, then walked away when no one answered. (Carlson wasn’t home, and neither were his four kids, but his wife, it turned out, was present.) A few minutes later, one of the protesters went to the door, leaned a sign against it that had Carlson’s name and address on it, and walked away.

      Among the demonstrators’ chants were the phrases “We know where you sleep at night” and “We’ll be back! We won’t tell you when!” Later, one of the demonstrators spray-painted an anarchy symbol on the Carlsons’ driveway. No one was arrested, even though, as Pyke pointed out, local police have a recent history of heavy-handedness with protesters, as evidenced by the hundreds of arrests at the J20 protests that greeted President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

      The people outside of Carlson’s home brought four legal observers with them, which would be an odd move for people planning to engage in violence or, for that matter, law-breaking of any kind, as legal aid attorney Rebecca J. Kavanagh pointed out.

    • We’re Suing the CIA to Find the Body of a Torture Victim

      The U.S. government’s obsessive secrecy has deprived a man’s family of basic dignity and closure.
      In November 2002, the CIA tortured Gul Rahman to death in a secret prison in Afghanistan. Sixteen years later, Rahman’s family is still desperately searching to find out what the CIA did to his body.

      To date, the CIA has told his loved ones nothing, and his daughter cannot even give her father a decent burial.

      That same month, Gina Haspel oversaw the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at a CIA black site in Thailand. Sixteen years later, Haspel has been promoted to CIA director by President Trump, while Nashiri remains “one of the most damaged victims of torture” a psychiatric expert has ever seen.

      To date, the CIA has told the American public nothing about Haspel’s role in the agency’s torture program — even as it waged an unprecedented propaganda campaign on her behalf to win her Senate confirmation. Even a CIA spokesman confirmed that under the Trump administration, the agency pushed harder than usual to get the American public to accept the CIA’s favored choice for director. And now that Haspel has been installed at the top, she is effectively in control of whether her own record of torture remains secret.

    • Trump’s border violence is sick entertainment for his fans: And they love it

      Eliminationism is violence, usually encouraged by powerful social and political elites, against whole groups of people who are deemed to be “pollutants,” “subhuman” or in some other way “inferior.” Such language and values have been almost fully normalized in America under Donald Trump.

      For several decades the right-wing echo chamber has told its followers (and the general public) that Democrats, liberals, progressives and any other group that Republicans and conservatives viewed as the enemy were to be vanquished and destroyed — literally. This violent language is so commonplace that when Republicans and other conservatives use it, most critics, and the public as a whole, do not take the matter seriously. It is now the equivalent of background noise in America’s public discourse.

    • Making Native Americans Strangers in Their Own Land

      In the 1950s, I grew up in the heart of New York City and had a remarkable amount of contact with Native Americans. As you might expect, I never actually met one in those years. What I had in mind was all the time I spent at the local RKO and other movie theaters watching Hollywood westerns. They were, of course, filled with Indians, and in those films, we — and I don’t mean the 12-year-old Tom Engelhardt, but the blue coats, the stage coach drivers and their passengers, the cowboys, and the pioneers I identified with — were regularly ambushed by those Indians. In the end, with rare exceptions, the natives predictably fell as they circled the wagon train or stagecoach or attacked those cavalrymen, whooping and shooting their arrows. They went down, naturally enough, before the implacable power of “our” weaponry, “our” marksmanship. And here’s the thing: they deserved it. After all, they were attacking us. We never ambushed them. They, that is, were “the invaders” and we, invariably, the aggressed upon.

      All of this came to my mind when, in the midst of the 2018 midterm election campaign, Donald Trump labeled as “invaders” a caravan of desperate refugees, including women and small children fleeing their violent, impoverished lands (which the U.S. had a significant hand in making so) for asylum or refuge in this country. And then, of course, he sent almost 6,000 military personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border to protect us (and twiddle their thumbs).

      I was reminded then of that celluloid past because Donald Trump, who is only a couple of years younger than me and undoubtedly grew up in the same movie world, felt — I suspect — so comfortable lambasting those refugees as invaders exactly because the term fit perfectly the “history” we had learned in our mutual childhoods. His claim was, in fact, a twenty-first-century version of the way, in our youth, the history of this country was regularly turned on its head, making the desperate and invaded into the nefarious and invasive. And, in truth, even without the helping hand of Donald Trump, that version of our history has never really ended, as TomDispatch regular Aviva Chomsky shows today. Native Americans are still being treated as if they were the invaders in what was once their own land and, like that caravan from Latin America, slapped down for it. Let her tell you how what she calls the DNA industry and various parts of our government, local and national, have been working overtime to recreate, after a fashion, the movie world of my childhood.

    • The Day I Almost Went to Prison for Life

      Larry and I took the bus from Augusta to Atlanta, Georgia on a Friday night in November 1969. We were at the halfway point of basic training at Fort Gordon and the first weekend pass was our reward for surviving the rigors of military training during the Vietnam era. We were both in the National Guard, and unlike some others in our training unit, we would get to go home in the early spring following the completion of both basic and advanced training in our military specialty.

      I was completely against the Vietnam War, but that is not the subject of this essay. I read Martin Luther King’s Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? as the bus sped along the roads to Atlanta through the night. My first stop in Atlanta was at what would become King’s temporary tomb next to the church where he preached along with his father: Ebenezer Baptist.

    • My Black Son Was Sent Home From First Grade Because of His Natural Hair

      My 6-year-old was turned away from his school for the offense of wearing locs.
      Six-year-olds never seem to run out of questions, and my son is no exception. But in August, CJ asked me a question that was harder than the rest: He wanted to know if there was something wrong with his hair.

      As a father, I’d tried to shield him from racism for as long as I could. But we had just been turned away in humiliating fashion from A Book’s Christian Academy in Apopka, Florida, on the first day of classes. The school’s administrators, led by John Book, barred CJ from entering the building because of his locs. They treated him like a leper, and then they gave me an ultimatum: my son’s hairstyle or his schooling.

      I was bewildered that the all-white staff in charge of a predominantly Black school would have the audacity to shame something so closely tied to Black identity. In the months since the degrading ordeal, I’ve given a lot of thought to what I should do. And in that time, Book has made it clear that harmless affirmations of Black cultural pride remain unwelcome at his school.

      And so today, I’ve decided to pursue legal action with the help of the ACLU and NAACP Legal Defense Fund. It’s not right for a school to take taxpayer dollars while singling out and shaming Black natural hair. On behalf of my son and other Black children in my community, I’m urging the Florida Department of Education to hold A Book’s Christian Academy accountable.

    • Philly Cops Skirting Forfeiture Restrictions By Seizing Cars As ‘Evidence’

      A couple of months ago, a consent decree drastically restructured Philadelphia’s severely-abused asset forfeiture program. It didn’t eliminate the program entirely, but it did eliminate the small-ball cash grabs favored by local law enforcement. The median seizure by Philly law enforcement is only $178, but it adds up to millions if you do it all the time. Small seizures like this now need to be tied to arrests or the property needs to be used as evidence in a criminal case.
      Other restraints will hopefully eliminate local law enforcement’s worst practices — like seizing someone’s house because their kid sold $40 of drugs to a police informant. It also should slow down seizures of whatever’s in a person’s pockets by forbidding forfeitures of under $250 entirely.

    • Chicago Throws Out 23,000 Duplicate Tickets Issued Since 1992 to Motorists Who Didn’t Have Vehicle Stickers

      The city of Chicago said Thursday it has dismissed some 23,000 outstanding duplicate vehicle sticker tickets and will refund motorists who have already paid for an additional 12,000 duplicates dating to the early 1990s.

      The decision was made Wednesday, city officials said, five months after a ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ investigation revealed that, on nearly 20,000 occasions since 2007, motorists had been been cited more than once on the same day, in apparent violation of the municipal code.

      The city’s decision affects even more drivers because its analysis of ticket data extends to duplicate citations issued since 1992, adding 15 years’ worth of sticker tickets to the equation.

      Motorists in black and low-income neighborhoods see the highest rate of ticketing for vehicle sticker violations, including duplicates, ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ have found.

    • Review: Documentary Connects Revolutionary Feminist Struggles In The Middle East

      In August 2014, the women of the “Women’s Protection Units” (YPJ) captured the attention of the world when they helped rescue 50,000 people from a massacre by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Sinjar Mountains of northern Iraq.

      The “Sinjar massacre,” as it has come to be known, represented the two extremes of contemporary life for women in the Middle East. On one hand, women were threatened with lifelong subjugation by Islamic fundamentalists. Yet, on the other hand, women picked up arms in defense of themselves and their sisters.

      While the YPJ’s rescue operation in Sinjar was heralded around the world, it was perhaps most inspiring to the women of the Middle East, whose lives were restricted by patriarchy and could now see a way out.

      The YPJ’s victory over ISIS was cemented in October 2017, when Raqqa, ISIS’s de facto capital in Syria, fell. It reverberated throughout the Middle East, giving renewed strength to feminist struggles across the region.

      It is these connections that director Benedetta Argentieri highlights in her eye-opening new documentary, “I Am the Revolution,” which had its world premiere at the DOC NYC festival earlier this month.

    • DeVos’ Inspector General to Audit Dismissals of Civil Rights Complaints

      The Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education has announced that it is scrutinizing how the department handles civil rights complaints, potentially fueling a debate over the Trump administration’s scaled-back vigilance on a hot-button issue.

      Under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the department has pulled back from the Obama administration’s emphasis on investigating allegations of systemic civil rights violations by school districts and colleges, instead focusing its attention on individual complaints of mistreatment, as ProPublica has reported in a series of articles.

      According to its annual report released Wednesday, one of the inspector general’s priorities is determining whether the department’s civil rights division has been appropriately dismissing discrimination complaints in accordance with federal policies and procedures. OIG reviews typically assess the efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of department operations and look for fraud, waste or abuse.

      [...]

      Under the Trump administration, the department is less likely than it was under Obama to find wrongdoing by school districts and colleges on a range of issues, from racial and sexual harassment to meeting the needs of students with disabilities.

      We also found that the department has scuttled more than 1,200 civil rights investigations that were inherited from the Obama administration and were open for at least six months. These cases were closed without any corrective action or findings of wrongdoing, with the department often citing insufficient evidence.

    • Trump’s Tear-Gassing of Migrants Is the Next Step in a Cruel Dehumanization Campaign

      The Trump administration’s use of tear gas at the U.S. border with Mexico over the weekend has rightfully generated outrage. Just as the photo of a 2-year-old Honduran girl crying at the border this summer became a symbol for Donald Trump’s family separation policy, a photo of a terrified mother dragging her screaming twin daughters away from tear gas fired by the U.S. Border Patrol last weekend embodies the latest Trumpian act of cruelty toward desperate refugees. Maria Lila Meza Castro and her five children had made the long and arduous journey from Honduras to the U.S. border with the refugee caravan only to find herself shut out by Trump’s troops and fleeing toxic fumes.

    • Researchers Explain How Trump Wins Men Over by Appealing to Their Insecurities

      Donald Trump built his career by pretending he was a strong, successful man. He bragged in interviews about having a $9 billion fortune. He bragged in the 1980s, posing as his publicist, that Madonna wanted to go out with him. On “The Dr. Oz Show,” he claimed to have an unusually high testosterone level. All of this seems to have attracted male voters (53 percent in 2016), but, as researchers Eric Knowles and Sarah DiMuccio argue in The Washington Post, not because these voters are as confident as Trump appears to be. In fact, they say, “Trump appears to appeal more to men who are secretly insecure about their manhood.”

      Knowles and DiMuccio call this the “fragile masculinity” hypothesis. They posit that this phenomenon occurs because men feel pressure to act in a certain way, to appear aggressive and strong, as far from feminine as possible. “This unforgiving standard of maleness,” Knowles and DiMuccio say, “makes some men worry that they’re falling short. These men are said to experience ‘fragile masculinity.’ ”

      The researchers say that the political process provides an opportunity for such men to mask their insecurity “by supporting tough politicians and policies, men [who] can reassure others (and themselves) of their own manliness.”

    • GM and Tear Gas: MAGA Open on Two Fronts

      Last week, Hillary Clinton said the EU should close the door to migration, lest it ‘roil the body politic’, liberty depends on it. Her worry isn’t ragged foreigners, but native imaginations. But they’re choice words; reminds us it’s the head she’s protecting.

      I suspect she had us in mind, too. The US presidency seems to preoccupy her. And, like any alcoholic, she knows the first step is to surrender. But she’s wrong as usual. Cracking down on immigration won’t deflate ‘populism’, because migrants aren’t driving it. Even our most-bonified populists, Clive and Ammon Bundy say so (check out Ammon’s facebook page for a more-liberal view on immigration).

      Regardless how -and I doubt she knows- Americans feel, the numbers aren’t there. Immigration has been dropping. New PEW data says undocumented labor has dropped more than 8% since 2007. In other words, migrants didn’t take our jobs. Rather, when the banks took our jobs, they took theirs, too. Then more went home than came.

      There are far-fewer ‘recent-arrivals’ (here 5 years or less) than in past surveys. So even if we’re still convinced that migrants are the problem, the border still isn’t. Moreover, it was Bill Clinton’s 1996 Immigration Act that made petty crime grounds for deportation. (Priorly, the threshold was a conviction yielding 5+ years in prison.) The report finds ‘the overwhelming majority have been here a decade or more’. That casts doubt that most are criminals.

      And there’s less unemployment. 3.7%. The lowest in a half-century. I know facts aren’t everything, there’s fear, but fear’s not impenetrable, either. Trump tweets that the job market is growing and growing, near as often as he tweets we’re being invaded. So even within his playlist there’s a contradiction. And if it’s not, and we’re losing jobs, it’s because jobs are leaving, not because workers are coming. Ask 1 in 5 GM workers who ruined their Christmas. Emigrating capital, not immigrant labor.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • OpenBGPD – Adding Diversity to the Route Server Landscape

      OpenBGPD used to be one of the most popular Route Server implementations until the early 2010s. OpenBGPD’s main problem was that its performance couldn’t keep up with the Internet’s growth, so it lost market share. An analysis by Job Snijders suggested that a modernised OpenBGPD distribution would be a most viable option to regain diversity on the Route Server level.

    • Congress has refused to restore net neutrality as Dec. 10 deadline nears

      In the House, 218 members (a majority) would have to sign a discharge petition to force a floor vote, but only 177 have signed it (176 of them are Democrats). The discharge petition must be filed by December 10.

      Technically, the House could vote on reversing the repeal until its session ends on January 3. But the House’s Republican leadership almost certainly would not bring the measure to a vote voluntarily. Advocates are thus centering their efforts around the December 10 discharge petition deadline.

    • House Democrats Who Haven’t Supported Net Neutrality Yet Have All Taken Money from Telecoms

      You don’t even have to scroll very far through any of these members’ campaign contribution filings on the FEC’s website to find a donor from the telecom industry (hint: sort by amount and they’ll be right near the top). To be clear, getting a campaign contribution from a telecom company does not preclude one from supporting net neutrality regulations. In fact even Rep. Mike Doyle, who introduced the discharge petition, has received money from the NCTA. But it’s worth noting these ties, especially because the Democrat holdouts in the House are also in groups that telecom lobbyists aggressively target: those who represent areas where telecom headquarters are located, and Tri-Caucus members.

      [...]

      Here are all the Democratic members of house who have yet to sign the petition, and an example of some of the companies that have contributed to their campaigns: [...]

    • Google Fi wireless service now works with iPhones and most Android phones, but there’s a catch
    • Project Fi Is Now “Google Fi” — Now Available For iPhone, Samsung, OnePlus

      Project Fi, which prioritizes Wi-Fi calling over traditional carrier calling, has been renamed to Google Fi and is now available for iPhones and certain Samsung and OnePlus devices.

    • Project Fi re-branded as Google Fi, Expands Device Compatibility for iOS and Android

      In 2015, Google launched Project Fi as a cellular service. Over several years, various new features have been added to it along with support for more phones. Early last year it was revealed by Stephen Hall (managing Editor of 9to5Google) that Project Fi will no longer be simply a ‘project’. Similar to his suggestion, this MVNO has finally been dropped as ‘project’ by Google and has been named as Google Fi today. The company is greatly expanding its support for iPhones and compatibility for Android devices.

    • ESPN Has Lost 14 Million Viewers In 7 Years Thanks To Cord Cutting

      ESPN has long personified the cable and broadcast industry’s tone deafness to cord cutting and TV market evolution. Executives not only spent years downplaying the trend as something only poor people do, it sued companies that attempted to offer consumers greater flexibility in how video content was consumed. ESPN execs clearly believed cord cutting was little more than a fad that would simply stop once Millennials started procreating, and ignored surveys showing how 56% of consumers would ditch ESPN in a heartbeat if it meant saving the $8 per month subscribers pay for the channel.

      The penalty for ESPN’s failure to adapt has been severe. Disney’s recent earnings revealed that ESPN lost another 2 million regular viewers this year. And while ESPN still has 86 million regular viewers, that’s a 14 million regular viewer dip from the 100 million regular viewers it enjoyed in 2011. Those 14 million lost users generated around $1.44 billion per year for the “worldwide leader in sports,” which is still saddled with the severe costs of set redesigns and sports licensing contracts the company struck while it was busy not seeing the massive locomotive of market change bearing down upon it.

    • ‘The Whole Internet Is Watching’: As Deadline Nears, Day of Action Takes Aim at House Members Still Standing Against Net Neutrality

      “Net neutrality is not dead yet. Not even close,” Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future (FFTF), said in a statement. “But as the clock runs out for this Congress to act, we have an opportunity to show the entire world which elected officials are willing to fight for net neutrality, and which ones decide to sit on their hands and let big telecom companies take control over what we can see and do on the internet.”

      According to FFTF, 18 House Democrats still haven’t signed on to the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would restore net neutrality protections—and one possible explanation is that they are major recipients of telecom cash.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Coloplast A/S’ claimed co-inventor ship to invention contained in patent application filed by Hollister Inc. was not proved

      On November 5th 2018 the Eastern High Court of Denmark ruled in favor of Hollister Inc. in a case regarding an invention described in a patent claim filed by Hollister Inc. Coloplast A/S claimed they were co-inventors of the invention and therefore co-owners of it. However, the Eastern High Court found that Coloplast had failed to prove this and dismissed their claim.

      The case concerned a patent application filed to EPO by Hollister regarding hydrophilic catheters. Coloplast claimed they were co-inventor and thus co-owner of the invention described in claim one of the patent application regarding activation of catheters by wet installation.

      Coloplast based their claim on the argument that Hollister had used laboratory test results from Coloplast, which Hollister had attained from an opposition case between the two parties, to change the way claim one of Hollister’s patent application was expressed. Coloplast argued that the change was based solely on Coloplast’s test results and that they were co-inventors and co-owners of the invention due to this.

    • Economically Sound And Fair Global Genetics Benefit-Sharing System Possible, Panellists Say [Ed: Some ‘pirates’ who try to steal life itself (claiming to ‘own’ genetics) under the guise (lie) of “inventions protected by intellectual property rights.”]

      UN Convention on Biological Diversity members were trying this week to address questions that were left open when its protocol on access and benefit-sharing was adopted eight years ago. One of them is how to deal with genetic resources which are not yet covered by the protocol. A side event to the biennial conference of CBD members this week presented a solution, which they say could provide a more efficient, cost-effective and fairer system of access and benefit-sharing, based on inventions protected by intellectual property rights.

    • UN Biodiversity Convention Agrees On Precautionary Approach To Synthetic Biology [Ed: "Synthetic Biology" is another new BS term. It means a loophole for some corporations to "steal" biology, claiming to "own" it because they edited something (without even understanding it much)]
    • Shared Indigenous Knowledge And Benefit-Sharing Needs Particular Attention, Panel Tells CBD

      Traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources held by indigenous and local communities is often not confined to one group or one specific geographical location. Displacement whether cultural or forced, political redesigning of borders, and exchanges with other communities have all contributed to the dispersion of that knowledge. This shared knowledge poses an issue in the context of benefit-sharing of commercial benefits on inventions derived from this knowledge. A side event on the side of the biennial meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity looked at how to address shared traditional knowledge.

    • Trademarks

      • High Court employs ‘intention to target’ approach to determine application of EU/UK law in online trade mark infringement case

        A few days ago the High Court of England and Wales (Arnold J) issued an interesting judgment concerning determination of the law applicable to an online trade mark infringement. It is Easygroup Ltd v Easy Fly Express Ltd & Anor [2018] EWHC 3155 (Ch) (21 November 2018 ).

        The claimant, easyGroup is the owner of a large number of marks. In particular, it is the proprietor of the word mark EASYJET for goods and services in Class 39 (transport, packaging and storage of goods, travel arrangement) of the Nice Classification, and a device mark including device mark the word easyFlights registered in respect of (inter alia) “transportation of goods … by air …; … cargo handling and freight services”, also in Class 39.

      • Fight Over .Amazon: ACTO Countries Cancel Meeting With ICANN CEO

        The fight over delegating the .amazon top-level domain to Amazon LLC is not over. But the effort of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to cut a deal between the regional Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO) and online retailer Amazon has failed, according to ICANN CEO Göran Marby.

    • Copyrights

      • 12,564 Sites Preemptively Blocked to Protect India’s Most Expensive Movie

        Entertainment companies see the practice as crucial to preventing the flow of pirated content but critics claim the process is overly-aggressive and can lead to collateral damage. Following a ruling in India yesterday, opponents of blocking will have yet more ammunition.

        Following an application by Lyca Productions Private Limited, the producer of the sci-fi movie ‘2.0’, the Madras High Court handed down a super-aggressive blocking order yesterday that puts most – if not all – similar injunctions in the shade.

        In order to protect the movie – which is due for release today – Justice M Sundar ordered 37 local Internet service providers to block a staggering 12,564 websites on the basis that they are likely to offer illegal copies of the movie.

      • 12,564 Websites Blocked To Stop Torrenting Of India’s Most Expensive Movie

        The Madras High Court has ordered the internet service providers to block 12,564 pirate sites in India, as reported by TorrentFreak.

        The report also states that it’s the “most aggressive website blocking order” granted anywhere around the globe. This step has been taken in response to an application filed by Lyca Productions Private Limited, the makers of 2.0.

      • Nintendo Shuts Down Its ‘Creators’ YouTuber Program, Replaces It With Simpler But Still Confusing Guidelines For Streaming

        Way back in 2014, after years of waging a prolonged war on let’s play streamers and game reviewers, Nintendo introduced a bureaucratic mess of a policy that would eventually become its “Creators Program.” After being insanely heavy-handed towards streamers for years, the new program, that would allow for game streaming so long as the program rules were followed, initially was thought to be a major step forward for Nintendo. All too quickly, however, the whole thing devolved into a bureaucratic mess that saw applicants not getting responses to applications, and the revelation that Nintendo had some unethical rules for just how positive about Nintendo’s games streamers had to be to remain in the program. Many of the bigger names in streaming simply swore off doing anything with Nintendo games, while others attempted to soldier on until Nintendo suddenly revised the program to essentially ban live-streams, the lifeblood of streamers. That last bit occurred roughly a year ago, rendering confusion and anger at Nintendo in the streaming space.

      • Australian Parliament Passes Tough New Anti-Piracy Law

        The Australian Parliament has passed controversial amendments to copyright law. There will now be a tightened site-blocking regime that will tackle mirrors and proxies more effectively, restrict the appearance of blocked sites in Google search, and introduce the possibility of blocking ‘dual-use’ cyberlocker type sites.

      • Anti-Piracy Group BREIN Stopped 75 Pirate IPTV Sellers This Year

        Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has convinced 75 vendors of copyright-infringing IPTV and VOD services to halt their sales this year. All targets agreed to pay settlements and other costs, totaling roughly 300,000 euros. While BREIN’s efforts are mostly directed at online sellers, the group agreed to provide training to local police to detect infringing devices in brick-and-mortar stores.

      • Music Industry Asks US Govt. to Reconsider Website Blocking

        US companies have successfully lobbied and litigated extensively for pirate site blockades around the world. On their home turf, the issue was categorically avoided following the SOPA outrage several years ago. It now appears that this position is slowly beginning to change.

      • EU Council poised to insist on mandatory upload filters

        The closed-door trilogue efforts to finalise the EU Copyright Directive continue. The Presidency of the Council, currently held by Austria, has now circulated among the EU member state governments a new proposal for a compromise between the differing drafts currently on the table for the controversial Articles 11 and 13.

        Politico Europe has published the documents here. Under this latest proposal, both upload filters and the “link tax” would be here to stay – with some changes for the better, and others for the worse.

      • YouTube and the music industry are both wrong on Article 13

        YouTube and the music industry are battling it out over a key section of the new EU copyright directive as it heads into final negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council. At issue is whether the streaming site and other internet platforms should be held responsible when their users post content that violates someone else’s copyright.

        In this corporate tug of war, nothing less than our freedom of expression online is tragically under threat from both sides. And as usual in copyright debates, while both sides talk a good game about the supposed interests of artists, it remains up in the air whether they will actually end up benefiting at all.

        [...]

        If the draft law continues to prescribe either inescapable platform liability or upload filters, Europeans will have no choice but to demand that their representatives reject the directive as a whole when it comes up for a final vote in the new year, just a few months ahead of the next European elections.

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