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11.07.19

Links 7/11/2019: Canonical Collaborates With NVIDIA and Tor Browser 9.0.1 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Applications

      • Proprietary

        • Report Suggests Rampant Negligence In Uber Self Driving Car Fatality

          Earlier this year you might recall that a self-driving Uber in Tempe, Arizona killed a woman who was trying to cross the street with her bike outside of a crosswalk. The driver wasn’t paying attention, and the car itself failed to stop for the jaywalking pedestrian. Initial reporting on the subject, most of it based on anonymous Uber sources who spoke to the paywalled news outlet The Information, strongly pushed the idea that the car’s sensors worked as intended and detected the woman, but bugs in the system software failed to properly identify the woman as something to avoid:

        • Re-Licensing Sentry

          For example, this past year, we’ve had to deal with funded businesses plagiarizing or copying our work to directly compete with Sentry. This has included taking marketing content from our website, plagiarizing our documentation and framing it as their own, or straight-up copy/pasting our product visuals. Their defense? “Well, it’s free open-source, and we can do that.” These businesses are not using Sentry to improve how they develop software; they’re lifting its code and assets to build their closed-source products to compete directly with us.

        • Asus router app exposed user data to the wilds of the internet

          The web-based AsusWRT allows users to create a private WiFI network within their home network, offering a graphical user interface to make doing so a doddle. It also connects to Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.

          This all sounds fine and dandy, but vpnMentor reported that a vulnerability had been discovered by some anonymous security [researchers] and prompted it to do some digging as Asus had not been informed about the vulnerability.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Varnish Cache on CentOS 8
      • How to add a user to your Linux desktop

        Adding a user is one of the first things you do on a new computer system. And you often have to manage users throughout the computer’s lifespan.

        My article on the useradd command provides a deeper understanding of user management on Linux. Useradd is a command-line tool, but you can also manage users graphically on Linux. That’s the topic of this article.

    • Games

      • Fast-paced shoot and loot FPS Black Ice adds a big new area and grenade launchers

        I already had trouble deciding what weapons to keep in Black Ice and now they’ve gone and added in grenades and grenade launchers? I need more slots. You can pry my Tron-like disc weapon out of my cold dead digital hands.

        What is Black Ice? It’s a first-person shooter than can be played solo or in co-op/pvp that has a cyberspace theme, with you running around hacking into servers. It has a huge amount of loot to find, with lots of varied weapons.

        The Volcanyon update just went live, adding in a huge new area also called the Volcanyon. It’s a dense area, full of servers to hack in a rather vertical way. New quests came with it, all of which lead up to the Volcano which the developers said they’re working on next.

      • Co-op real-time strategy game A Year Of Rain for Linux is a “TOP Priority”

        Daedalic Entertainment just released their brand new co-op focused competitive RTS, A Year Of Rain, into Early Access and they confirm that a Linux version is a high priority.

        A Year Of Rain is a traditional RTS in the style of others like Starcraft, Warcraft and plenty more featuring a mix of base building, resource gathering, unit recruiting and of course lots of battles.

      • Dead Cells gets bigger again with a new mini-biome and mutations

        The brilliant rogue-lite, metroidvania inspired, action-platformer Dead Cells has another awesome content update available now.

        Released yesterday, the Corrupted Update brings with it a brand new mini-biome the Corrupted Confinement. This is an optional area, mirroring Prison Depths. You get access to it from the Toxic Sewers, and it will lead to either the Ancient Sewers or the Ramparts. Worth trying too, as there’s a guaranteed cursed chest at the beginning.

    • Distributions

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Partners with Nvidia to Certify Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on NVIDIA DGX-2 AI

          Canonical and Nvidia have formed a new alliance to prove that the adoption and implementation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning isn’t a major challenge for enterprises due to the fact that AI-based workloads require greater compute power, security, and flexibility. As such, they’ve certified Ubuntu 18.04 LTS for NVIDIA DGX-2 AI systems to help organizations take advantage of AI’s vast potential.

          The Ubuntu 18.04 LTS update with NVIDIA DGX-2 AI system certification will allow for containerized and cloud-native development of GPU-accelerated workloads due to NVIDIA DGX-2 AI systems deliver 2 petaFLOPS of AI performance. The combination of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and NVIDIA DGX-2 allows data scientists and engineers to work faster and at a greater scale while using their preferred operating system.

        • Canonical collaborates with NVIDIA to accelerate enterprise AI adoption in multi-cloud environments and at the edge

          Enterprises currently face the challenge of how to adopt and integrate AI and ML into their operations effectively, at scale and with minimum complexity. In tandem, today’s AI workloads have become increasingly advanced and the compute power required to support them has exponentially increased.

          Canonical and NVIDIA have collaborated to help enterprises accelerate their adoption of AI and ML with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS certified on the NVIDIA DGX-2 AI system. This combination brings unprecedented performance, flexibility and security to enterprises’ AI/ML operations. With the ability to run the entire line of DGX systems either stand-alone or as part of a Kubernetes cluster on Ubuntu, enterprises can unlock containerised and cloud-native development of GPU-accelerated workloads.

          The NVIDIA DGX-2 offers unprecedented levels of compute, with 16 of the world’s most advanced GPUs delivering 2 petaFLOPS of AI performance. With the combination of DGX-2 and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, data scientists and engineers can move faster and at a greater scale using their chosen operating system, allowing them to deliver portable AI workloads on-premises, in the cloud and at the edge.

          “Ubuntu is the preferred AI and ML platform for developers and the No. 1 operating system for Kubernetes deployments on-premises and in the public cloud. This collaboration with NVIDIA enables enterprises to enhance their developers’ productivity and incorporate AI more quickly through development stages to production,” said Stephan Fabel, Director of Product at Canonical. “The combination of DGX-2 and Ubuntu helps organisations to realise the vast potential of AI, allowing them to develop and deploy models at scale via the world’s most powerful AI system.”

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • My first open source contribution: Keep the code relevant

        Previously, I explained the importance of forking repositories. Once I finished the actual “writing the code” part of making my first open source pull request, I felt excellent. It seemed like the hard part was finally over. What’s more, I felt great about the code that I wrote.

        One thing that I decided to do (which turned out to be an excellent choice) was to use test-driven development (TDD) to write the code. Using TDD was helpful because it gave me a place to start, and a way to know if what I was doing actually worked. Because my background was in building web apps, I rarely ran into the problem of writing code that didn’t have a tangible, visible output. The test-first approach helped me make the leap into working on a tool where you can’t evaluate your progress manually. The fact that I had written a clear test also helped me ultimately get my pull request accepted. The reviewer highlighted the test in his comments on my code.

      • A guide to open source for microservices

        Microservices—applications broken down into smaller, composable pieces that work together—are getting as much attention as the hottest new restaurant in town. (If you’re not yet familiar, dive into What Are Microservices before continuing here.)

        However, if you have moved on from “Hello, World” and running a simple handful of microservices, and are building hundreds of microservices and running thousands of instances, you know there is nothing “micro” about them. You want your instances to increase when users increase and decrease when users decrease. You want to distribute requests effectively between instances. You want to build and run your services intelligently. You need a clear view of the service instances that are running or going down. How can you manage all of this complexity?

      • Open source serves as source of innovation, not threat: OIN CEO

        Open source used to be considered to be dangerous and destabilizing by many tech titans. Microsoft, Motorola and Nokia were some of those who were seen as antagonistic toward the open source movement.

        Their dazzling successes with proprietary services and products had apparently blinded them from seeing a new wave of innovation driven by open source.

        Some of the tech firms sunk into oblivion while some have seen their presence decline to a significant level.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • New Release: Tor Browser 9.0.1

            Tor Browser 9.0.1 is the first bugfix release in the 9.0 series and aims to mostly fix regressions and provide small improvements related to our 9.0 release. Additionally, we are adding a banner on the starting page for our fundraising campaign Take Back the Internet with Tor.

      • Programming/Development

        • 6 Excellent Free Books to Learn TeX

          TeX is a system for typesetting documents. It’s a powerful low-level markup and programming language that creates professional quality typeset text. The system was developed by Donald Knuth at Stanford University with the purpose of enabling anyone to generate high-quality books, and to develop a system that yields the same results whatever computer is used.

          TeX has many strengths including its portability, flexibility, and the fact that it is free software. But being free would mean little if TeX was not highly proficient at typesetting professional looking mathematical and scientific text, complex documents, and handling multiple languages. TeX produces results equal in quality and appearance to those produced by the finest traditional typesetting systems.

        • Tabs or spaces for indentation? Statistics on 3.8 million Perl files created in 24 years

          How are things in the real world? What is actually used?

          It’s easy enough to find out. Need to take source codes of programs, to calculate what characters are used and look at the results.

          This article is the result of a little research about the use of tabs and spaces in the world of Perl programming language. There is a huge repository which stores Perl libraries CPAN. I downloaded all the versions of all libraries which are now on CPAN (there were about 135 thousand) and decided which characters are used for indentation.

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Small computers find an industrial niche

        When Eben Upton developed the Raspberry Pi in 2012, he expected the no-frills, single-board computer to appeal mainly to schoolchildren. Consumers had other ideas. Margaret Harris spoke to him about how simple computers like the Raspberry Pi are becoming integral parts of the emerging industrial Internet of Things

      • Once a physicist: Eben Upton

        In my first year at Cambridge, the course was around 25% computer science, 25% physics, 25% materials science and 25% maths for physics. I enjoyed the experimental parts of the course, and especially the weekly sessions at the Cavendish lab. But the second year was two lots of physics, plus maths for physics, and after that it became clear that I was an engineer more than I was a physicist, so I moved across to engineering.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Fishy Business of Seafood Fraud – Validated Independent News

        Oceana purchased 449 fish in 24 different states, and found that one-third of shops and restaurants were selling fish that had been mislabeled in one way or another. The study used DNA testing to compare the purchased fish with fish whose identity was known with certainty. Using DNA testing, Oceana found that 26% of the fish in restaurants was mislabeled, 24% in smaller markets, and 12% from supermarkets. Sea bass (55%) and snapper (42%) were the most commonly mislabeled fish.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Forever Wars

        Politicians and pundits in the West and jihadists have something in common. Both see the conflict between the West and Muslim worlds through the grand thesis of a “clash of civilizations”. Some see it as a forever war. I think this approach is a grave mistake. It oversimplifies a complex problem that warrants closer analysis.

      • Quid Pro Blowback: Did Erdogan Trade Baghdadi For Rojava?

        It’s all over the news. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. But I’m a muckraker and telling you what you know is the first half of my job. Baghdadi is dead! The terrifying Cobra Commander of Uncle Sam’s latest jihad Frankenstein, the Ayatollah of the fearsome Islamic State, the world’s deadliest Salafi super-villain, is dead. Dead as a doornail, as our ever-tactful commander in chief put it. Apparently he died like Rerun in the opening of What’s Happening, running and stumbling down a lantern-lit tunnel, flailing his arms all about as he sobbed hysterically, only stopping to blow him and his children to smithereens with a suicide vest once his lungs were empty and his britches were full. This is the official story at least and the mainstream media seems more than happy to put down their impeachment pitchforks just long enough to parrot its Hollywood details with the unblinking innocence of a child. Brave, dick-swinging, red meat-eating American heroes, flying fearlessly into the heart of darkness on their Apache choppers to wright all the wrongs and settle the score. This time there’s even dog so extrajudicial slaughter can be fun for the whole family. But as the days go by, this fable grows more and more suspect to all but the most deluded daydream believers.

      • US Army Launches Virtual Reality Recruitment Campaign – Validated Independent News

        As Simon Chandler reported for Truthout, VR is poised to become “the globe’s propaganda medium par excellence.” Virtual reality allows content creators to present a “world” that appears to be real, in which real memories are formed. VR’s ability to create real memories, has “powerful implications for affecting the mind’s association with certain concepts and situations,” Don Ludden, a VR and augmented reality expert who works for the Bose Corporation, told Truthout.

      • UK lawmakers warn of ‘alarming evidence’ of Chinese meddling on university campuses

        British lawmakers have warned of what they say is “alarming evidence” of Chinese influence on university campuses, and the potential risks to academic freedom of UK institutions targeting partnerships in China.

        The United Kingdom is the latest country to warn of potential meddling by Chinese authorities in the education system, after years of universities aggressively targeting students from China — who pay significantly more than British or European students.

      • The Pentagon Won’t Acknowledge Hundreds of Military Bases

        According to the Pentagon’s official inventory of bases, the Department of Defense (DoD) “manages a worldwide real property portfolio” that spans 45 foreign countries. All told, there are 514 official “DoD sites” overseas, the majority of them in Germany (194 sites), Japan (121 sites), and South Korea (83 sites). This list, however, has never included mention of even one base in Syria—or, for that matter, any of the well-known US garrisons, large and small, in Afghanistan or Iraq.

        The common estimate of foreign US military bases is actually around 800. Such a count is little more than an educated guess because of the cloak of secrecy the Pentagon has thrown over the subject. To obfuscate things further, the military employs a plethora of euphemisms to avoid calling US military outposts like Castle Black precisely what they are.

      • Foreign Money Flows Into US Politics

        A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, has made it more difficult to track foreign backing for U.S. political activity. The 2010 decision barred the government from limiting political spending and fundraising by nonprofit organizations, including PACs. The result, say critics, has been a flood of “dark money” that is difficult to track in American politics.

    • Environment

      • Brazil cancels ban on sugarcane farming in Amazon

        The ban on the crop, which Brazil uses to make ethanol, had been put in place under a 2009 decree, which Bolsonaro and his economic and agriculture ministers overturned.

        By repealing the measure, the government “exposes two fragile ecological areas to the predatory and economically unjustifiable expansion of cane and throws away the international sustainability image that Brazilian ethanol built with difficulty,” said Observatorio do Clima, a coalition of local environment groups.

      • Russia Ups the Ante in the Arctic

        The Kremlin’s growing assertiveness is aimed to position Russia as the dominant power in the Arctic with an eye on untapped offshore oil and gas reserves, which are becoming more accessible because of warming temperatures, retreating polar ice and rising sea-levels, say Western analysts.

      • More Than 11,000 Scientists Declare ‘Climate Emergency’

        More than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries have declared a climate emergency in a new report that calls for six urgent actions to confront the climate crisis. Warning the public about the effects of climate change is a “moral obligation” of the scientific community, according to the paper, which was published on Tuesday in the journal BioScience.

        “We have joined together to declare a climate emergency because the climate change is more severe and accelerating faster than was expected by scientists,” said co-lead author William Ripple, a distinguished professor of ecologist at Oregon State University, in an email.

      • 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’ caused by climate change

        Phoebe Barnard, one of the lead authors of the report and the chief science and policy officer at the Conservation Biology Institute, a nonprofit science group, told CNN the report makes it clear “there’s no more wiggle room” for policymakers.

        “Posterity will remember them badly for dismissing climate change as a serious threat to our civilization,” she said.

        It’s not the first time thousands of academics united to urge people to take action on climate change. More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries published a letter in 2017, warning that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.”

      • Trump’s Greatest Dereliction of Duty—His Disgraceful Denial of Climate Change

        The Trump administration’s announcement that it would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement is a largely symbolic move, but it is nevertheless another reminder of President Trump’s greatest folly: his disgraceful denial of the threat posed by catastrophic climate change. No matter who wins the Democratic presidential nomination, Trump’s open hostility toward any action on climate will elevate it to a defining issue in the 2020 campaign. Voters will choose between a president and Republican Party proud of systematic resistance to any action on climate, and a challenger and Democratic Party dedicated to historic efforts to limit the already costly threat to life as we know it.

      • Order to ban Extinction Rebellion protests in London ‘unlawful,’ court rules

        London’s Metropolitan Police issued a revised Section 14 order last month when thousands of protesters took to the city’s streets, stating that “any assembly linked to the Extinction Rebellion ‘Autumn Uprising’ … must now cease their protest(s) within London.”

        The police imposed the four-day ban on October 14 — the final week of the movement’s two-week campaign of civil disobedience in the city — making all public assemblies associated with the movement across London illegal.

        Judges ruled that the Section 14 legislation, made law in 1986, did not cover separate assemblies.

      • Rising heat drives hungry people to hospital

        When the heat is on, hospital admissions rise for already undernourished and hungry people. As the mercury rises, so do the case loads.

      • The First Step to Averting Climate Catastrophe

        Here we are, a full three decades after NASA scientist James Hansen raised the specter of a looming climate crisis with Congress, looking at the first generation of severely impacted youth and telling them they’re right: We have completely squandered their future. For too long, our dominant culture has practiced unsustainable growth and consumption, ushering in the end of a habitable planet and with it civilization as we know it. Those most impacted are the communities who have contributed the least to climate change, a direct extension of the settler colonization project that has unfolded across the globe over hundreds of years.

      • Dams and the Green New Deal: Why the Silence?

        Hydroelectric power from dams might be the thorniest question that proponents of the Green New Deal (GND) have to grapple with. Providing more energy than solar and wind combined, dams could well become the backup for energy if it proves impossible to get off of fossil fuels fast enough.

      • A Scary Year for Climate Change

        One year ago, the international scientific community could hardly have expected that Greta Thunberg, a teenager from Sweden, would become one of its greatest allies. Since beginning her weekly “School Strike for the Climate,” the petite 16-year-old has skillfully used her public appearances and powerful social media presence to push for bolder global action to reduce carbon emissions.

        “Again and again, the same message,” she tweeted recently. “Listen to the scientists, listen to the scientists. Listen to the scientists!”

        [...]

        In November, the United States’ Fourth National Climate Assessment, produced by government and outside experts, reinforced the gloom-and-doom message of the October IPCC report. “Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth,” it warned. The Trump administration’s attempt to minimize media coverage of America’s climate report card by releasing it on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, backfired: The congressionally mandated report got double coverage as both an environmental and a political story.

        The dire news didn’t abate as 2018 drew to a close. A December report from the World Health Organization (WHO) said that emissions from fossil fuel-powered electricity, transportation, and other sources are “a major contributor to health-damaging air pollution, which every year kills over seven million people.” It called extreme weather events linked to human-caused climate change “a clear and present danger to health security” and concluded the health benefits of addressing climate change “far outweigh the costs of meeting climate change goals.”

        Just as the disastrous future impacts of climate change were coming into clearer focus, we also received sobering news about the present. Last December, the Global Carbon Project projected that carbon dioxide emissions worldwide reached an all-time high in 2018, up more than two percent after three years of almost no growth. A January 2019 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report estimated an increase of nearly 3 percent in 2018 energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, the largest jump since 2010 — reversing a trend that had seen three consecutive years of decline. The EIA estimated that total U.S. emissions would fall in 2019, and that prediction appears to be bearing out, due to a drop in coal consumption. However, total global carbon dioxide emissions will see a rise again for 2019, says Stanford University’s Rob Jackson, who chairs the Global Carbon Project’s Scientific Steering Committee.

      • Storms and Rising Seas Threaten Coastal Ecosystems — Here’s What We Can Do
      • Senators’ Fossil Fuel Investments Drive Conflicts of Interest on Climate Change – Validated Independent News

        The Sludge report was based on the senators’ personal financial filings as of August 16, 2019. Fossil fuel combustion accounted for about 76% of the greenhouse gases emitted in 2017, according to a June 2019 report from the US Energy Information Administration.

      • An Open Letter to Climate Activists in the Northwoods…and Beyond

        From a talk delivered November 1, 2019.  Northern Michigan University Sonderegger Symposium:  Anishinaabek: East, South, West, North.  Marquette, MI.  

      • Energy

      • Overpopulation

        • Scientists declare climate emergency, establish global indicators for effective action

          6) Population. Stabilize a global human population that is increasing by more than 200,000 people a day, using approaches that ensure social and economic justice.

        • World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

          To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live, in ways that improve the vital signs summarized by our graphs. Economic and population growth are among the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion (Pachauri et al. 2014, Bongaarts and O’Neill 2018); therefore, we need bold and drastic transformations regarding economic and population policies. We suggest six critical and interrelated steps (in no particular order) that governments, businesses, and the rest of humanity can take to lessen the worst effects of climate change. These are important steps but are not the only actions needed or possible (Pachauri et al. 2014, IPCC 2018, 2019).

    • Finance

      • Vladimir Putin’s ex-wife reportedly owns part of one of Russia’s biggest microfinance companies

        Vladimir Putin’s ex-wife, Lyudmila Putina, is a co-owner of the microfinance company “KarMani,” according to a report by the website Sobesednik. The outlet says Lyudmila Shkrebneva (Putina’s maiden name) owns the company “InteriorServices,” which in turn owns the firm “Meridian.” In 2018, she reportedly acquired a seven-percent share in the Cyprus offshore company “Carmoney CY LTD,” which owns KarMani.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump’s Big Move
      • As Maine Goes

        Maine’s election of Safiya Khalid as the first Somali-American on the Lewiston City Council made national news, as it should. But Khalid’s victory is just part of a heartening trend in the country’s whitest state, where “from away” once meant hailing from the next town.

      • After Racist Attacks, Former Refugee Makes History as First Somali-American Elected to City Council in Lewiston, Maine

        “You might smear us. You might hurl racist attacks at us. But we will always rise up to serve our communities.”

      • Despite Front Seat to Last Four Decades of US Politics, Biden Repeats Claim That GOP ‘Epiphany’ Coming Soon

        “Make it stop.”

      • Far Left? Not in This Democratic Party

        America has lots of leftists. Forty percent of voters say that they would prefer to live in a socialist country than a capitalist one.

      • Democrats Are Becoming the Party of Permanent War
      • Breaking! Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Story is Highly Unprofessional!
      • Twitter’s Decision To Ban Political Ads Is A Moderation Choice Itself That Likely Will Backfire In Its Own Way

        Last week we wrote about Twitter’s decision to ban all political ads, most likely in response to watching all the shit being flung at Facebook for its decision to not fact check political ads. We focused on the fact that the “costs” of content moderation can sometimes be so high as to make any related revenue just not worth it. However, in that post we did mention that no matter what, there would be criticism of this decision and follow-on decisions concerning what is, and what is not, a “political” advertisement.

      • Voter Suppression Widespread as 1,688 Polling Places Closed since 2013 – Validated Independent News

        As Ludwig’s Truthout report explained, until Shelby vs. Holder, the Voting Rights Act required nine states and jurisdictions in six other states to notify voters of any planned poll closures ahead of time; local election officials also had to prove to elections overseers in the Justice Department that voting changes would not discriminate against voters of color. The “preclearance” section of the Voting Rights Act had been implemented to counter long histories of voter discrimination, sometimes dating back to the Jim Crow era, in those states and jurisdictions.  (Project Censored previously covered how Shelby vs. Holder led to suppressed voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election.)

      • Jane Fonda: The sooner we move beyond Trump the better
      • First Public Trump Impeachment Hearings Set for Next Week

        Democrats announced Wednesday they will launch public impeachment hearings next week, intending to bring to life weeks of closed-door testimony and lay out a convincing narrative of presidential misconduct by Donald Trump.

      • Press Watch: Every Trump story is about the same thing: His ruthless, limitless power grab

        The critical mass of evidence that Donald Trump accepts no limits when it comes to serving his own interests has increasingly emboldened mainstream political journalists to situate the drip-drip of new revelations within the master narrative of Trump’s presidency: That he has consistently distended and abused the powers of his office.

        That is essential context, because it explains the otherwise inexplicable — and because it ineluctably calls attention to the post-Trump imperative to rebuild and reinforce the constitutional barriers to presidential tyranny that Trump and his accessories in the Republican Party have so profoundly corroded.

      • ABC News Defends Its Epstein Coverage After Leaked Video Of Anchor

        A newly surfaced video of an ABC News anchor’s unguarded remarks about the network’s coverage of the late Jeffrey Epstein has thrown ABC on the defensive.

        In a leaked video posted Tuesday by the right-wing activist group Project Veritas, news anchor Amy Robach expresses her frustration to a colleague over ABC’s failure to broadcast her interview with a key accuser of Epstein.

        Robach complains that the network “quashed” her interview, suggesting that ABC had yielded to threats from powerful forces, including Buckingham Palace. Prince Andrew is among those men whom the accuser alleges Epstein trafficked her to for sex. The prince’s representatives have denied that claim.

      • ABC News denies that it killed Jeffrey Epstein reporting

        The video — leaked on YouTube by conservative provocateur James O’Keefe — shows Robach at an anchor desk talking to a producer about a 2015 interview she conducted with Epstein victim Virginia Roberts that implicated Britain’s Prince Andrew, attorney Alan Dershowitz and former President Clinton. O’Keefe said that the tape was recorded in August and that it was provided by an ABC employee.

        The most damning claim from Robach is that ABC News would not run the reporting because it feared losing access to coverage of the British royal family.

        “I’ve had the story for three years,” Robach said in the video. “I’ve had this interview with Virginia Roberts. We would not put it on the air. First of all, I was told, ‘Who’s Jeffrey Epstein? No one knows who that is. This is a stupid story.’ Then the palace found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways. We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview [Kate Middleton and Prince William] that we quashed the story.”

        Robach is also seen speculating that Epstein, who committed suicide while incarcerated, according to law enforcement officials, was actually killed. “So do I think he was killed? A hundred percent, yes I do,” she said. “He made his whole living blackmailing people.”

      • GitLab ponders block on Russia, China employees in sensitive jobs after customer “concern”

        The support engineer page reads, “In e-group on Monday October 15, 2019 we took the decision to enable a ‘job family country-of-residence block’ for team members who have access to customer data. This is at the expressed concern of several enterprise customers, and also what is becoming a common practice in our industry in the current geopolitical climate.” The countries in question are China and Russia.

        The pages discuss how the company can avoid making offers to individuals based in those countries, and prevent current team members moving to them, while “remaining in a role that prohibits it.” This is a particular problem for GitLab as the firm’s entire workforce works remotely.

      • GitLab plans to ban hires in China and Russia due to espionage concerns

        GitLab is a popular code hosting platform GitLab that is currently used by several major tech companies including IBM, Sony, NASA, Alibaba, Oracle, Invincea, Boeing, and SpaceX.

        The news was confirmed by Eric Johnson, VP of Engineering at GitLab, companies using GitLab fear that employees in China and Russia could operate under the control of their governments to steal their projects and to spy on their activities. The final decision on the “Support Engineer Job family country-of-residence block” will be announced on November 6.

      • Sorry, pundits: The problem isn’t “polarization” — Republicans have lost their damn minds

        These stories are tough, because, in one sense, it’s technically true that the vote and the polling shows that Americans are deeply divided, by party identity, on the issue of impeachment. But that framework misses the larger story: The reason for this deep division is that Republicans, both voters and their representatives, have completely abandoned any respect for democracy and rule of law, choosing instead the cult of personality around a flagrant criminal. It ignores that Democrats value the truth and Republicans are awash in lies. It equates the two sides in a way that is not justified by looking at the bigger picture.

        The “both sides” frame, in other words, hides the fact that this situation is very a one-sided problem.

      • Google Considers Changing Its Political Advertising Policy

        It’s not clear if those plans would see Google rule out campaign ads altogether, as Twitter Inc. did, or limit them in some way, such as restricting the ability to target specific audiences. Alphabet Inc.’s Google gets a tiny fraction of sales from campaign ads on Search, YouTube and across the web.

        A Google spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment. The Wall Street Journal reported the news earlier on Wednesday.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Kansas City Votes to Remove King’s Name From Historic Street

        Kansas City voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved removing Dr. Martin Luther King’s name from one of the city’s most historic boulevards, less than a year after the City Council decided to rename The Paseo for the civil rights icon.

      • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Apologizes And Unblocks Critic Who Sued Her

        Right after Donald Trump lost the case against him for blocking people on Twitter, we noted that Dov Hikind, a critic of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez launched a similar lawsuit against her for blocking him. Again — because it’s important to repeat — the court rulings in the Trump case made it clear that politicians who used Twitter for part of their job representing the public could not block people, as that’s a violation of the 1st Amendment. The specific criteria laid out by the courts were that (1) if you’re a public official, and (2) using social media (3) for official purposes (4) to create a space of open dialogue, then you cannot block people from following you based on the views they express.

      • Blizzcon: Blizzard Apologizes For Banning Blitzchung, Keeps Him Banned, More Fallout Ensues

        The fallout from Blizzard’s complete bungling of several eSports competitors taking public stances in support of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong has been both brutal and ongoing. As a reminder, professional Hearthstone player Blitzchung made relatively mild statements on a Blizzard stream backing the protests, leading to Blizzard yanking his prize money from an event and then issuing him a 1 year ban from competition. Others joined him in those comments afterwards, resulting in more bans. Soon after that, Blizzard returned Blitzchung’s prize money and reduced his ban to 6 months, apparently believing the outrage that had ensued was over 6 months of the bans, rather than the fact that Blizzard would ban players for this kind of speech at all. Congress started making noise, calling on Blizzard to behave better, while at least one advertiser bailed on Blizzard entirely.

      • Devin Nunes Demands Satirical Internet Cow Stop Making Fun Of Him… Or Else

        Rep. Devin Nunes remains super angry about a satirical internet cow. Earlier this year, we wrote about his lawsuit against the satirical cow on Twitter (and against Twitter itself) as well as a bunch of other lawsuits Nunes has been filing against critics in the intervening months. The cases appear to be fairly obvious SLAPP lawsuits; that is lawsuits that are designed solely to silence critics, rather than based on any legitimate legal basis. As we’ve noted, the venues in which Nunes has focused his lawsuits (mostly Virginia, and now Iowa) have either weak or non-existent anti-SLAPP laws. Tragically, the original case, against two satirical Twitter accounts, including one called “Devin Nunes’ Cow” (a satirical reference to Nunes’ oft-repeated claim of being a California dairy farmer, even as his family farm has uprooted itself to Iowa) was not thrown out by the judge on jurisdictional grounds, allowing the case to move forward.

      • The [Internet] is getting less free

        Free speech and privacy on the [Internet] declined globally for the ninth consecutive year according to the Freedom on the Net 2019 report by bipartisan watchdog and think tank Freedom House.

        The report’s authors cite two main reasons for the decline: increased online election interference — by government and civilian actors alike — and increased government surveillance, both of which are spreading on social media platforms. These are topics that continue to dominate the news cycle, whether it’s Facebook’s ad policy that allows politicians to spread lies or Amazon’s growing relationships with police departments that use its Ring smart doorbells and associated social media products to surveil communities. Freedom House recommends increased transparency and oversight of these platforms in order to stop the situation from getting worse.

      • Facebook, Instagram Ban ‘Sexual Use’ Of Eggplant, Peach, Sweat Drops Emojis

        Facebook and Instagram, which are owned by the same company and share the same community standards, quietly released updates to their guidelines over the summer, stating that using an eggplant, peach or sweat drops emoji in a sexual manner could get a user banned, CBS affiliate KLAS reported.

      • EMOJI CHECK: Facebook and Instagram ban ”sexual” use of peach and eggplant emojis

        Battle of the emojis: Facebook and Instagram have waged a war sort of speak against sexually interpreted emojis, so think twice before dropping an eggplant, peach, or sweat drops on someone’s post.

        During the summer of 2019, Facebook and Instagram updated the company’s Community Standards language regarding what type of sexual expression that is allowed on the platforms, so now, the social media channels will remove posts containing what they describe as “commonly sexual emojis or emoji strings,” according to an updated section of the company’s Community Standards.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • FTC Takes Action Against Stalkerware Company Retina-X

        The FTC recently took action against stalkerware developer Retina-X, the company behind apps Flexispy, PhoneSheriff, and Teenspy. The FTC settlement bars Retina-X from distributing its mobile apps until it can adequately secure user information and ensure its apps will only be used for “legitimate purposes.” But here’s the problem: there are simply no legitimate purposes for secret stalking apps.

        Retina-X, and its own James N. Johns Jr., seem to have come to the FTC’s attention not necessarily for making stalkerware, but for making stalkerware poorly. The company has suffered multiple security breaches over the past several years, including attacks from “vigilante hackers” who deleted petabytes of the company’s data—essentially, data that stalking app users had collected through spying on spouses, children, employees, and other targets. The FTC alleged that the poor security was a deceptive practice, which the FTC has authority to regulate under Section V of the FTC Act.

      • Virtual(ly) Private Network: NordVPN’s Breach and the Limitations of VPNs

        The popular VPN provider, NordVPN, recently announced a server breach  at a third-party data center. NordVPN reassured users that its key services were not impacted, but some user logins from this breach were found to have been leaked and were used to try to access users’ accounts.

        News of the breach has inspired questions around which tool is best for safety and security online. With commercial VPNs now saturating the market and many people being more concerned with their privacy, it’s important for users to know how VPNs work, and what their limitations are. VPNs can be useful in a user’s safety toolset, but there are some fundamental capabilities that are critical to understand: what VPNs do, what VPNs don’t do, and how a VPN service can better protect their users.

      • Cops Now Using Warrants To Gain Access To DNA Services’ Entire Databases

        Cops have discovered a new source of useful third-party records: DNA databases. Millions of people have voluntarily handed over personal information to a number of services in exchange for info on medical markers or distant family members.

      • ACLU Sues DOJ Over Facial Recognition Documents

        It’s no secret the federal government is using facial recognition tech. The DHS wants to use it at all ports of entry (including airports) on pretty much every traveler. Amazon wants every government agency possible to buy its version of the tech, even as the company (and the agencies it hopes to supply) undergo Congressional investigations. And the FBI’s facial recognition database has been growing steadily since 2014, outpacing required Privacy Impact Assessments and the FBI’s willingness to vet the accuracy of its search tools.

      • Facebook admits 100 developers had improper access to Groups member data

        “We know at least 11 partners accessed group members’ information in the last 60 days,” said Facebook’s head of platform partnerships Konstantinos Papamiltiadis. “Although we’ve seen no evidence of abuse, we will ask them to delete any member data they may have retained and we will conduct audits to confirm that it has been deleted.”

        Facebook has kept tight-lipped on the names of the developers, so there’s not likely to b much of an external witch hunt for them by privacy-paranoid types. And the whole situation seems rather minor compared to other privacy borks Facebook has suffered in recent years.

      • Twitter Insiders Allegedly Spied for Saudi Arabia

        In charges released Wednesday, the Justice Department accused two former Twitter employees, Ahmad Abouammo and Ali Alzabarah, of abusing their internal system privileges to spy on target users and pass the information they collected to Saudi Arabia. The criminal complaint also alleges that it was trivial for them to do so—a chilling reminder of how much damage an insider can cause.

        The court documents, first reported by The Washington Post, also reference a third suspect, Ahmed Almutairi, who allegedly worked as an intermediary between the Twitter insiders and the Saudi government. Alzabarah and Almutairi are both Saudi citizens, while Abouammo is a United States citizen. He was arrested in Seattle on Tuesday.

      • DOJ charges former Twitter staff with spying for Saudi Arabia, digging into MBS critics’ accounts

        The Department of Justice is charging former Twitter employees with espionage on allegations of improperly accessing the accounts of people who were critical of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including specifically Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

        One of the suspects has been arrested.

      • Twitter Ex-Employees Accused of Spying on Saudi Dissidents

        Ahmad Abouammo and Ali Alzabarah each worked for the company from 2013 to 2015. The complaint alleges that Alzabarah, a site reliability engineer, improperly accessed the data of more than 6,000 Twitter users.

        Abouammo, who handled media partnerships for the Middle East region, is alleged to have received $300,000 from a Saudi official as well as a Hublot watch, valued at least at $20,000. Abouammo is accused of repeatedly accessing the private information of a prominent critic of the Saudi government, including an email address and phone number.

        Even after leaving the company, Abouammo allegedly contacted friends at Twitter to facilitate Saudi government requests, such as for account verification and to shutter accounts that had violated the terms of service. Abouammo, an American citizen, was recently arrested in Washington state.

      • ‘Game-Changer’ Warrant Let Detective Search Genetic Database

        Last week, however, a Florida detective announced at a police convention that he had obtained a warrant to penetrate GEDmatch and search its full database of nearly one million users. Legal experts said that this appeared to be the first time a judge had approved such a warrant, and that the development could have profound implications for genetic privacy.

        “That’s a huge game-changer,” said Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University. “The company made a decision to keep law enforcement out, and that’s been overridden by a court. It’s a signal that no genetic information can be safe.”

      • India deploys security, social media monitors ahead of divisive temple verdict

        India has deployed thousands of additional security forces and roped in about 16,000 “digital volunteers” to sanitise social media of inflammatory posts ahead of a crucial Supreme Court verdict on a disputed religious site.

        Hindus and Muslims have for decades been bitterly divided over the 16th-century Babri mosque in Ayodhya, a city in the northern Uttar Pradesh state that Hindus believe is the birthplace of their god Ram.

        Tensions boiled over in 1992 when Hindu zealots destroyed the mosque, sparking religious violence that killed 2,000 people.

        India’s top court is expected to hand down its ruling on competing claims to the site’s ownership before Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17.

      • Edward Snowden says Facebook, Amazon and Google engage in ‘abuse’

        Six years after leaking documents about the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance activities, Edward Snowden believes the world is changing. He recognizes that people are more aware of privacy problems and angrier about them than ever, but he still seems to want people to take more time to understand the specific “abuse” being committed against them.

        “People are quite frequently mad at the right people for the wrong reasons,” he said, speaking via video link at Web Summit in Lisbon on Monday. Snowden hit out at big tech companies, saying they make populations vulnerable by collecting data and allowing it to be accessed by governments.

        “These people are engaged in abuse, particularly when you look at Google and Amazon, Facebook and their business model,” he said. “And yet every bit of it, they argue, is legal. Whether we’re talking about Facebook or the NSA, we have legalized the abuse of the person through the personal.”

      • Snowden Warns of Web Giants’ ‘Irresistible Power’

        Technology has given [Internet] giants “irresistible power” when they work in concert with governments, whistleblower Ed Snowden told the Web Summit that opened in Lisbon on Monday.

        “When we see government and corporations working in concert… they become the left and right hands of the same body. What we see is the concentration of power,” he told the European celebration of startups and new technologies gathering high-tech entrepreneurs and investors.

        “If you create an irresistible power… how do you police the expression of that power when it is used against the public rather than for it?” he asked, speaking by video link from Russia where he has lived since 2013.

      • Faustian bargain? Edward Snowden blames it on tech giants Facebook, Google and Amazon for leaking private data to governments

        “I think as much as we see anger rising, and as much we see the awareness of problems beginning to develop, people are quite frequently mad at the right people for the wrong reasons, as they see this increasing predation on all of us publicly, whether we are talking about government or corporate entities.” He added, “These people (Facebook, Google and Amazon) are engaged in abuse. Their business model is abuse. And yet every bit of it, what they argue is legal.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Star of Russia’s Libertarian Party is summoned for questioning amid rumors that he’s being investigated for ‘lewd acts’

        Two days after he announced that he’s stepped down from the Libterartian Party’s federal committee, video blogger Mikhail Svetov has been summoned for questioning by Russia’s Investigative Committee. He told the website MBK Media that the document didn’t explain why he was wanted for questioning, but the Telegram channel 112 and the television network REN-TV report that Svetov is apparently being investigated for supposedly lewd acts.

      • Stop Mass (Police) Shootings, Relax Qualified Immunity

        Gun violence, generally, is hard to brush under the rug. But when it’s violence at the hands of police, it’s much easier. This is scary, because police are more than twice as deadly as mass shooters. In a U.S. Appeals court decision filed on October 21, the government granted more police officers complete impunity under the standing policy of “qualified immunity,” which protects government officials, like police, from being held liable for crimes they commit and damage they cause on the job. It’s a disastrous decision, and an enormous loss for due process.

      • Police Officers Implicated in Online Hate Groups as Facebook Profits – Validated Independent News

        As Nick Statt wrote in an article published by The Verge in June 2019, “The unifying thread to all of these Facebook groups is that they are frequented and sometimes founded and operated by active and retired police officers, and that they actively recruit other police officers to join.”

      • NYPD’s Secret Gang Database Targets Minorities and Children – Validated Independent News

        Some of NYPD’s high-profile cases have been connected to this database. These include cases that the NYPD has pursued in cooperation with federal agencies in which suspects were indicted under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, statutes. RICO statutes govern criminal interference in interstate or international commerce and they enlarge the civil and criminal consequences of many state and federal crimes.

      • How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Groups

        Last November, a top Trump appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development wrote a candid email to colleagues about pressure from the White House to reroute Middle East aid to religious minorities, particularly Christian groups.

        “Sometimes this decision will be made for us by the White House (see… Iraq! And, increasingly, Syria),” said Hallam Ferguson, a senior official in USAID’s Middle East bureau, in an email seen by ProPublica. “We need to stay ahead of this curve everywhere lest our interventions be dictated to us.”

      • Cambodia: Let Opposition Leaders Return

        The Cambodian government should permit exiled opposition leaders to return to Cambodia and freely resume political activities.

      • Panamanians Protest Proposed Ban on Marriage Equality

        “They are gay and they cannot enter,” said legislator Jairo “Bolota” Salazar on October 29 about a group of protesters outside the Panamanian National Assembly, as he barred them from entering the building.

      • Russian Criminal Investigation Launched Over Video of a Gay Man Talking to Children

        This week, investigative authorities in Moscow opened a criminal investigation into alleged sexual assault of children in connection with a video in which Russian kids ask a gay man questions about his life.

      • Funeral Killings Ahead of New Round of Guinea Demonstrations

        The government of Guinea should ensure a speedy and independent investigation after three people were allegedly shot dead this week in clashes with security forces. The alleged killings occurred during a funeral procession on November 4 to mourn those killed during an earlier round of anti-government protests.

      • Black Man Tortured And Wrongly Imprisoned For 26 Years Sues Chicago Police Who Were Associates Of Jon Burge

        A lawsuit was filed in Chicago against police officers who were closely associated with Jon Burge, the disgraced commander who oversaw a regime of torture employed to coerce confessions. The regime spanned from the early 1970s to the 1990s.

        Arnold Day, a 46 year-old black man, was only 18 when police arrested him in 1992. Officers forced him to sign two false confessions. He was wrongfully convicted of armed robbery and murder in 1994.

      • Why do countries with more democracy want less of it?

        Why are people so fickle about something so fundamental? Mr Claassen reckons that the introduction of certain liberal aspects of democracy—such as the protection of individual rights and checks on executive power—may dampen support for it. These features may be more difficult for the public to accept than principles such as majority rule (which even some authoritarian regimes embrace). The study is a reminder that support for democracy cannot be taken for granted. Although it may be better than any alternative form of government that has been tried from time to time, it is still far from perfect.

      • The Terrorization of Katie Hill

        In her farewell speech, Hill said, “I am leaving because of the thousands of vile, threatening e-mails, calls, and texts that made me fear for my life and the lives of the people that I care about. Today is the first time I’ve left my apartment since the photos taken without my consent were released, and I’m scared.”

        This was an extraordinary moment. A woman—prominent, articulate, still powerful enough to command a national audience, even though she had just given up her congressional seat—stood on the floor of Congress and said that she feared for her life, and that this was one of the reasons she was leaving her job. She cited other reasons, too. She said that she didn’t want any congressional investigation into her own conduct to overshadow the investigation that really matters: the one into President Trump’s behavior in office. This was fairly standard fare. When Al Franken gave up his Senate seat, he mostly denied the allegations that brought him down; instead, he claimed to be resigning because his ability to do his job had been impaired. Like Hill, he sounded both defiant and heartbroken. Unlike Hill, he didn’t sound scared. Public humiliation, unevenly applied standards, and wrenching choices are among the consequences of being accused of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era. Terror is reserved for the women.

      • A divided Bolivia in crisis: Sources that can help you understand the conflict

        Following the presidential elections on October 20, 2019, intense protests in Bolivia — some involving civic strikes and blockades of roads in major cities — have generated much uncertainty. The protests have also resulted in violent clashes between supporters of incumbent President Evo Morales’ Movement for Socialism (MAS) party and citizens mobilized by the annulment of the presidential elections and suspected fraud to defend their voting rights.

        On the night of October 20, with the preliminary vote count showing Morales with a narrow lead over Civic Community’s (CC) Carlos Mesa, the transmission of vote count announcements was abruptly suspended for more than 20 hours. When the announcements resumed the next day, in what the Organization of American States (OAS) called an “inexplicable” shift, the results showed Morales clearly in the lead.

        [...]

        The electoral audit initiated by the OAS on October 31 was accepted by Morales’ administration, but not by Mesa, who demanded that the election be annulled. He took the opportunity to remind the public that, according to the Political Constitution of the State, and in light of Bolivian citizenry’s refusal, in a February 2016 referendum, to agree to modify the constitution, it was, in fact, illegal for Morales to seek a third term in office.

        This situation left Bolivian society politically polarized. Protesters in the streets, members of neighborhoods and communities, as well as the leadership of the police and armed forces found themselves divided between allegiance to the government and opposition to the alleged electoral fraud.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • 5G Is Not A ‘Race,’ And We’re Incapable Of Determining Winners Even If It Was

        By now you’ve probably been informed that the next-generation of wireless broadband technology is going to revolutionize everything. Much like they did with 3G and 4G, wireless carriers have repeatedly hyped the fifth-generation (5G) wireless standard, insisting that the technology will somehow usher forth a “societal transformation” that’s going to have a magical, cascading impact on everything, and everyone.

      • Freedom House: Thanks to social media, [Internet] freedom is down for the the ninth straight year

        The report surveys 65 countries (covering 87% of the world’s [Internet] users), and in 38 of them Freedom House says that social media has been used by political leaders who “employed individuals to surreptitiously shape online opinions” that mixed “authentic users’” views with “fraudulent or automated accounts.”

        The report describes how social media has been mined by intelligence services who engaged in “the collection and analysis of vast amounts of data on entire populations,” creating a “sharp global increase in the abuse of civil liberties and shrinking online space for civic activism.”

      • The Crisis of Social Media

        Internet freedom is increasingly imperiled by the tools and tactics of digital authoritarianism, which have spread rapidly around the globe. Repressive regimes, elected incumbents with authoritarian ambitions, and unscrupulous partisan operatives have exploited the unregulated spaces of social media platforms, converting them into instruments for political distortion and societal control. While social media have at times served as a level playing field for civic discussion, they are now tilting dangerously toward illiberalism, exposing citizens to an unprecedented crackdown on their fundamental freedoms. Moreover, a startling variety of governments are deploying advanced tools to identify and monitor users on an immense scale. As a result of these trends, global internet freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2019.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Netflix will no longer be available on some Samsung devices

        Some Roku users have also begun receiving notifications that their devices will no longer have access to Netflix come December, with Roku also citing “technical difficulties”.

        The announcement comes after Netflix revealed in October it is looking into ways of limiting password sharing on the streaming service.

    • Monopolies

      • California Reveals It’s Been Investigating Facebook

        Over the last two months, nearly every state and territory has announced investigations into the market dominance of Facebook, Google, or both. Missing from those probes was the place Big Tech calls home: California.

        The Golden State’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, has been curiously silent as his peers made plans to examine the biggest tech firms in his backyard. Becerra’s supposed inaction garnered him a wave of negative local press, and last week led The New York Times to wonder what, exactly, his office was up to.

        On Wednesday, California’s top cop finally revealed he has actually been very busy investigating Facebook, in an inquiry that has lasted for over a year. At a press conference announcing a new lawsuit, Becerra said Facebook has refused to fully cooperate with his probe. “We make our work public when there is a legal action to make public, otherwise we do not discuss our investigations,” he said.

      • The woman who tracks ‘dark’ Instagram accounts

        After the story had been published, Annemarte was approached by a young woman who told her that there were at least 10 other girls in the same Instagram network who had also taken their own lives.

        Realising she had stumbled across a far bigger story, the journalist tried to make contact with the secretive network. At first she set up a dummy profile using dark, gloomy but non-violent images to connect with other girls.

        Annemarte was surprised at how quickly Instagram recommended dozens of profiles for her to follow, which were sharing self-harm and suicide material.

      • Uber shares plunge after loss widens on rising costs

        Uber Technologies Inc. posted a wider third-quarter loss as costs soared at the ride-hailing company, sending its shares down 4.4 percent in after-hours trading, Reuters reports.

      • Facebook Libra is Architecturally Unsound

        What is laid bare for the world to see is an architecturally schizophrenic code artifact claiming to be a new reliable platform for global payment infrastructure. Yet the actual implementation diverges from this goal in bizarre ways when one actually dives into the codebase. I’m sure there is an interesting story about the internal corporate politics of this project and as such I thought it apt to do some diligence on what I see as a truly strange set of architectural choices that break the entire system and put consumers at risk.

        I won’t pretend to have an objective opinion about Facebook as a company. Few people in tech view the company in a positive light anymore. Reading through the publications released, it is clear there is a fundamental deception in the stated goal and implementation of the project. Put concisely, this project will not empower anyone. It is a pivot from a company whose advertising business is so embroiled in scandal and corruption that it has no choice but to try to diversify into payments and credit scoring to survive. The clear long term goal is to act as a data broker and mediate consumers access to credit based on their private social media data. This is such an utterly terrifying and dystopian story that should cause more alarm than it does.

        The only saving grace of this story is the artifact they open sourced is so hilariously unsuited for the task they set out to do it can only be regarded as an act of hubris. There are several core architectural errors in this project: [...]

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Call for input: do you know of any cases in the PC industry in which SEP holders refused to license component makers or based their royalties on the end product?

          What you find in the headline is not meant to be a rhetorical question. While I’m personally unaware of any case in the personal computer industry (with just one exception that I’ll state in a moment) in which a standard-essential patent (SEP) holder insisted on the end product (desktop computer or laptop) being the royalty base and/or refused to grant an exhaustive license to component makers, I can’t rule out that there have been such cases in that huge and decades-old industry. That’s why I’m asking for your help. Input from readers has previously been very helpful, such as in connection with privateering (patent transfers from to non-producing entities).

          My focus is on mobile devices, and I’ve looked at PC-related patent litigation only when countersuits targeting personal computers were brought in retaliation for mobile patent suits. In one such case, an absurd letter by Motorola Mobility to Microsoft entered the public record: Motorola wanted 2.25% per unit from Microsoft and explicitly stated that “the royalty is calculated based on the price of the end product (e.g., each Xbox 360 product, each PC/laptop, each smartphone, etc.) and not on component software (e.g., Xbox 360 system software, Windows 7 software, Windows Phone 7 software, etc.).” To put this into perspective, on most PCs that royalty rate would have been roughly at a level with Microsoft’s entire income from selling a Windows OEM license. Motorola made that outlandish demand in a letter, but limited its royalty demand to 2.25% of the selling price of Windows in Judge James L. Robart’s now-famous FRAND case as well as in a similar proceeding (that led nowhere before the parties withdrew all pending claims) before the Mannheim Regional Court. Motorola even denied the undeniable later on–apparently they realized they had been a bit too crazy, fortunately just temporarily.

          Video codec patents are one example of a category of SEPs for which patentees could theoretically have insisted that the royalty base should be the end product. Graphics and memory standards are another example.

        • Component-Level SEP Licensing: final conference program as PDF
        • Cloudflare: Here’s how we defeated a law firm trolling us over a $1 tech patent

          By some accounts, Blackbird Technologies was in 2016 among the top 10 of active US ‘patent trolls’ – the colloquial term for companies that buy patents but don’t actively produce services or products, otherwise known as non-practicing entities (NPEs).

          As reported by ArsTechnica at the time, Blackbird Technologies in 2017 also sued Netflix, Soundcloud, and Vimeo over patents for an idea to let a consumer buy something online, and automatically customize and ship a CD with data on it. Netflix was targeted because it let consumers download content and watch it offline.

          [...]

          The overall goal of Project Jengo was to put a dent in the patent-troll business model and make it more expensive for similar NPEs to file patent claims on operating companies.

          Cloudflare vowed to fight Blackbird’s patent claim and set up a bounty to offer “awards for crowdsourced prior art that could be used to invalidate any of Blackbird’s patents, not just the one asserted against Cloudflare”.

          It also filed complaints to bar associations because it believed Blackbird only paid $1 for the patent on paper but intended to share any gains from litigation with the seller. That practice was unethical, according to Cloudflare.

        • Philips and Wiko compete over mobile phone patents

          The subject of the most recent infringement dispute between Philips and Wiko at the Higher Regional Court Karlsruhe was European patent EP 1 815 647, which protects a method for priority-based queuing and assembling of packets in mobile communication. The rights had been maintained by the Federal Patent Court in June (case ID: 5 Ni 38/16), but remained an SEP.

          The judges in Karlsruhe recognised a violation of the slightly restricted version of the SEP by Wiko’s German subsidiary. They therefore sentenced the defendant to information and accounting.

          However, the court rejected the claim of the plaintiff Philips for injunctive relief (case ID: 6 U 183/16). The judges thus agreed with Wiko’s objection that the Dutch licence offer was not FRAND-compliant.

      • Copyrights

        • Court Denies Entry of Default Motion Against Torrent Site YTS, Cautions Attorney

          A Hawaiian federal court has denied a motion for entry of default against torrent site YTS. The request, which came from the makers of the movie Hellboy, was denied because the underlying copyright infringement complaint failed to name a defendant other than “John Doe”. Soon after, the attorney handling the case was cautioned for summoning a person and company, who were not named defendants.

        • Court Orders ‘Ethical’ Torrent Giant TNTVillage to Stop Piracy Activity
        • Join EFF for Aaron Swartz Day This Weekend at The Internet Archive

          Join EFF and others on November 9 at the Internet Archive for Aaron Swartz Day—an annual event to celebrate Aaron Swartz’s legacy as an activist, programmer, entrepreneur, and political organizer.

          Aaron’s life was cut short in 2013, after he was charged under the notoriously draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for systematically downloading academic journal articles from the online database JSTOR. Federal prosecutors have for years stretched the law beyond its original purpose of stopping malicious computer break-ins, instead pushing for heavy penalties for any behavior they don’t like that involves a computer.

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    Lots of prisoners inside GitHub



  13. Openwashing Institutionalised NPEs (OIN) and Software Patents With Notorious Managers From the EPO

    There’s a strong push for software patents in Europe (basically fake European Patents on abstract ideas) and IAM leads/participates in it with help from OIN, Grant Philpott (EPO) and — maybe soon — Breton (EU)



  14. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 17, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 17, 2019



  15. Links 17/11/2019: Slax Beta and Arch Conf 2019 Report





  16. Understanding Thierry Breton: The “Cost-Killer” Tries to Tame the National Debt

    The oligarchic policy of Thierry Breton at Bercy



  17. Reactions to Last Week's Thierry Breton Hearing

    Nobody is particularly impressed by Thierry Breton except those who know little about him (and he contributes to this lack of knowledge by obstructing, omitting, and misleading)



  18. The Open Invention Network Has Become a Guard Dog of (Some) Patent Trolls and It Misrepresents Us Under the Guise of 'Open Source'

    The Open Invention Network (OIN), in collaboration with Fraunhöfer, is promoting software patents and all sorts of other nonsense as part of ‘open’ standards in a new paper sponsored by the EU and edited by the former EPO Chief Economist Nikolaus Thumm (not Battistelli's choice); this is another reminder of the fact that OIN misrepresents Free/Open Source software (FOSS) developers and their interests



  19. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 16, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 16, 2019



  20. Unitary Patent is Dead Partly Because the EPO Demonstrated That EPC is Being Routinely Violated, Illegal Patents Granted

    Some elements of Team UPC have given up, whereas others try to push the lie that Unitary Patent/Unified Patent Court (UPC) is not an EU thing and that therefore everything is fine



  21. USPTO Rewards Microsoft for Corruption at ISO by Teaching People Proprietary OOXML and Promoting Its Use

    The world's most important patent office promotes Microsoft lock-in, revealing not only corporate bias but also highlighting ways in which Microsoft crimes continue to pay off



  22. No, Startpage is Not Dutch Anymore

    Startpage is still clinging onto perceptions rather than truths; it means that Startpage isn't just betraying privacy but it's also dishonest and untrustworthy



  23. Understanding Thierry Breton: Chirac's Entrepreneurial “Joker”

    Minister in charge of the public treasury was not a career politician but an “entrepreneur” with a proven track-record as a financial wizard and “cost-killer”



  24. Links 16/11/2019: New Debian Release, Wine staging 4.20

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 15, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, November 15, 2019



  26. Microsoft Doesn't Love Linux, It Just Buys Linux

    Microsoft's takeover or abduction of its opposition's voice isn't an act of love but an act of occupation, a hostile colonisation that enables digital pillage and plunder



  27. Koch's Reply to EPO Through ILO and Techrights' Interpretation of Koch v EPO Documents Help Show That ILO-AT is Played by EPO Management

    Sending cases back and forth, without the complainant being involved, means that justice is in eternal ‘limbo’ and thus the abusive management of the European Patent Office (EPO) — first Team Battistelli and now Team Campinos — can get away with anything the bullies do (no judgment of substance being delivered)



  28. EPO Running ILO's Tribunal (ILO-AT) 'in a Loop' to Perpetually Delay and Drain the EPO's Complainants (Aggrieved Staff) Out of Money

    ILO’s Administrative Tribunal — a court for aggrieved EPO staff and other international organisations’ staff (usually known as ILO-AT for short) — is a major farce; when “time is money” and lawyers charge as much as 400 euros an hour the EPO’s management can exploit/misuse its cash reserves to also game justice and buy legal outcomes



  29. ILO is Not Functioning and ILO-AT Helps the Abusive Management of the European Patent Office

    It is becoming increasingly clear, based for example on Koch v EPO, that ILO-AT is where a lot of money will be spent on lawyers and rarely will that result in real justice (but it certainly helps EPO management pretend that staff has safeguards)



  30. Links 16/11/2019: Wine 4.20, Picolibc 1.1

    Links for the day


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