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10.08.20

Links 8/10/2020: Endless OS 3.8.7 and Mercurial to Dump SHA-1

Posted in News Roundup at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Kubuntu Focus M2 Launched As Latest KDE-Friendly Laptop

        Launched at the start of the year was the Kubuntu Focus as a polished KDE laptop while now it’s been succeeded by a second-generation model.

        The second-generation Kubuntu Focus laptop is known as the Kubuntu Focus “M2″ and features an updated processor, Kubuntu 20.04 LTS by default rather than 18.04, and other new hardware upgrade options.

      • Kubuntu Focus M2 Linux laptop from $1,795

        If you are in the market for a Linux laptop you may be interested in the Kubuntu Focus M2 offering a second generation laptop created by Kubuntu Focus. The finely-tuned Focus virtually eliminates the need to configure the operating system on arrival offering users the familiar KDE desktop on top of the industry standard Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • BSD Now #371: Wildcards running wild

        New Project: zedfs.com, TrueNAS CORE Ready for Deployment, IPC in FreeBSD 11: Performance Analysis, Unix Wildcards Gone Wild, Unix Wars, and more

      • Destination Linux 194: Interview with Marcin Jakubowski of Open Source Ecology

        This week we have an incredible interview in store for you with the founder of Open Source Ecology, Marcin Jakubowski, a company that is using open source to change industrial machines, and much more, as we know it. In our Gaming section, we’ll discuss the new Left 4 Dead DLC that dropped from Valve! Later in the show we’ll give you our popular tips/tricks and software picks. Plus so much more, on this week’s episode of Destination Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • Is it possible to implement a Linux kernel patch without disrupting other applications?

        If you’re running your system with Linux servers, you could implement a couple of methods to keep your system kernels up-to-date. Let’s look at some of the most common.

      • Saying goodbye to set_fs()

        The set_fs() function dates back to the earliest days of the Linux kernel; it is a key part of the machinery that keeps user-space and kernel-space memory separated from each other. It is also easy to misuse and has been the source of various security problems over the years; kernel developers have long wanted to be rid of it. They won’t completely get their wish in the 5.10 kernel but, as the result of work that has been quietly progressing for several months, the end of set_fs() will be easily visible at that point.
        This 2017 article describes set_fs() and its history in some detail. The short version is that set_fs() sets the location of the boundary between the user-space portion of the address space and the kernel’s part. Any virtual address that is below the boundary set by the last set_fs() call on behalf of a given process is fair game for that process to access, though the memory permissions stored in the page tables still apply. Anything above that limit belongs to the kernel and is out of bounds.

        Normally, that boundary should be firmly fixed in place. When the need to move it arises, the reason is usually the same: some kernel subsystem needs to invoke a function that is intended to access user-space data, but on a kernel-space address. Think, for example, of the simple task of reading the contents of a file into a memory buffer; the read() system call will do that, but it also performs all of the usual access checks, meaning that it will refuse to read into a kernel-space buffer. If a kernel subsystem must perform such a read, it first calls set_fs() to disable those checks; if all goes well, it remembers to restore the old boundary with another set_fs() call when the work is done.

        Naturally, history has proved that all does not always go well. It’s thus not surprising that the development community has wanted to rid itself of set_fs() for many years. It’s also unsurprising that this hasn’t happened, though. The kernel project does not lack for developers, but there is always a shortage of people who are willing and able to do this sort of deep infrastructural work; it tends to not feature highly in any company’s marketing plan. So the task of removing set_fs() has languished for years.

      • LVFS tames firmware updates

        Keeping device firmware up-to-date can be a challenge for end users. Firmware updates are often important for correct behavior, and they can have security implications as well. The Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) project is playing an increasing role in making firmware updates more straightforward for both end users and vendors; LVFS just announced its 20-millionth firmware download. Since even a wireless mouse dongle can pose a security threat, the importance of simple, reliable, and easily applied firmware updates is hard to overstate.

        Red Hat’s Richard Hughes started LVFS in 2016, and in 2019 the Linux Foundation took the project under its wing. Since its inception, LVFS has grown to provide firmware updates for over 2,000 devices from approximately 100 different vendors.

        In a 2019 presentation [YouTube] (slides [PDF]), Hughes discussed firmware updates in terms of human, organizational, and technical complexity. As he explained, end users generally don’t know what exact hardware they have in their machines, whether its firmware can be updated, if that firmware needs to be updated, where to get that update, or how to apply it. Additionally, users often do not understand the importance of these updates; as Hughes pointed out, “updating your mouse firmware when your mouse is working fine seems ridiculous.”

        Further, one vendor’s hardware often contains updatable components from another vendor, and each only provides firmware for the hardware that it is directly responsible for. Taken together, as Hughes said, “users have no chance of getting this right.” LVFS addresses this complexity by providing a centralized repository of firmware and the associated metadata, bringing vendors and end users together. LVFS, however, is more than a centralized firmware distribution site; in the words of Hughes, the LVFS provides “a pipeline right from the firmware author, all the way to the end user.”

      • AMD RAPL PowerCap Patches Updated For Linux – Now Include Family 19h (Zen 3)

        Patches from a Google engineer allow run-time average power limiting (RAPL) support for AMD Zen processors within the Linux PowerCap driver.

        Earlier this year was AMD Zen RAPL support in the Perf subsystem while this more recent activity for AMD RAPL has been about the PowerCap code. The Linux PowerCap framework was originally conceived by Intel but AMD Zen CPUs have similar MSRs available for supporting limiting the CPU TDP and also reading the current energy usage. With these patches /sys/class/powercap/intel-rapl/intel-rapl:0/energy_uj is the latest way of exposing the AMD CPU energy usage under Linux.

    • Applications

      • 5 Best Free and Open Source OS-level Virtualization

        A container is an operating-system-level virtualization method for running multiple isolated Linux systems on a control host using a single Linux kernel.

        There’s an important distinction between OS-level virtualization and virtualization. The former is often known as containers.

        OS-level virtualization (containers) share the same operating system kernel and isolate the application processes from the rest of the system. For example: ARM Linux systems run ARM Linux containers, x86 Linux systems run x86 Linux containers, x86 Windows systems run x86 Windows containers. Linux containers are extremely portable, but they must be compatible with the underlying system.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Ziggurat 2 – it looks awesome and it appears they’re planning Linux support

        Milkstone Studios have announced Ziggurat 2, a follow-up to the excellent first-person dungeon-crawler and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

        In the sequel Milkstone say they’ve redesigned it from the ground up, with the aim to take everything good about the original and improve every part of it with a “smoother and faster experience, with quicker, more intense sessions, and more interactive and fulfilling progression”.

      • Godot Engine pulls in another full-time developer to work on web infrastructure

        Sounds like things continue going well for Godot Engine, as a free and open source game engine it’s made huge leaps over the last year and they’re pulling in more developers.

        The next is Hugo Locurcio, also known as “Calinou” who has now been hired full-time to work on Godot’s web infrastructure to ensure it’s ready for future progress. Locurcio has been contributing to Godot for a number of years across various areas and they also developed things like the nightly builds, a build options generator and the class reference status viewer.

      • 8-bit blood-soaked Horror RPG Sunshine Manor gets a free Prologue and a Kickstarter

        Acting as a prequel to Camp Sunshine, Fossil Games have announced the 8-bit blood-soaked Horror RPG Sunshine Manor.

        You play as Ada, dared to spend the night in the haunted Sunshine Manor where Ada encounters ghosts, demons, blood-soaked horror and more. Unlike the previous game, Fossil Games will be supporting Linux directly this time and they’ve just released a free version with Sunshine Manor Prologue so you can try it right now to get a feel for it.

      • X4: Cradle of Humanity expansion delayed until Q1 2021

        Egosoft have confirmed that the huge upcoming X4: Cradle of Humanity expansion is going to see a delayed release as getting it out in 2020 is just not achievable for them.

        Why the delay? They didn’t mention any specifics, just that since unveiling it they said it has “become clear” that the originally announced 2020 release goal just can’t be hit. The delay will ensure they can “improve the quality of X4: Cradle of Humanity to meet both your and our own expectations” and they mentioned more information about it to come over the next few weeks.

      • New Steam Client Update Brings Linux Fixes, Other Improvements

        The October 8 Steam Client update is here a month after the previous update, which was a major release with many changes. This update isn’t that big, but it brings various improvements for Linux users, such as an updated ‘scout’ steam runtime to version 0.20200910.0, a much-improved container runtime mode, especially around shared directories and DNS resolution, and an improved runtime information tool.

        For all supported platforms, the update changes the download throttling setting in the Downloads page to be a custom value in Kbps. It also updates the Library to fix an issue that prevented the achievement unlock percentage from being displayed on game pages, as well as to improve the alignment of controls in the play bar on game pages.

    • Distributions

      • System76 continue improving Pop!_OS with fractional scaling now live

        Pop!_OS is the Linux distribution based on Ubuntu from hardware vendor System76, and they continue making the experience super-slick with new features.

        Following on from the seriously cool auto-tiling stacks, they’ve now added in another major post-release feature. Something that users of 4K screens will enjoy, which is fractional display scaling. If you’re on Pop!_OS, all you need to do is check for upgrades your usual way and you will get it. This enables you to scale up your desktop display to a few different points if you find things a little too small.

        You will find the new options in the Displays menu in the settings as shown below (click to enlarge)…

      • New Releases

        • Endless OS 3.8.7

          Endless OS 3.8.7 was released for existing users today, Oct 5th, 2020.

          Downloadable images for new users will be available in the next few days.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Ubuntu Cinnamon 20.10 Remix Beta

          Today we are looking at the stunning Ubuntu Cinnamon 20.10 Remix Beta. It comes fully packed with Cinnamon 4.6, Linux Kernel 5.8, and uses about 1.2GB of ram when idling. This distro has really been maturing and looks and feels great! Enjoy!

        • Ubuntu Cinnamon 20.10 Remix Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Ubuntu Cinnamon 20.10 Remix Beta.

        • Ubuntu Unity 20.10 Remix

          Today we are looking at Ubuntu Unity 20.10 Remix. It comes fully packed with the Unity Desktop, Nemo 4.6 as the File Manager, Linux Kernel 5.8, and uses about 1.2GB of ram when idling. It is fast, beautiful, pure, and should be a great release Enjoy!

        • Ubuntu Unity 20.10 Remix Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Ubuntu Unity 20.10 Remix Beta.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Oracle Linux 7.9 Released with New Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Based on Linux 5.4 LTS

          Oracle Linux 7 Update 9 is here to introduce the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) Release 6 as the default kernel for x86_64 (64-bit) and AArch64 (ARM64) platforms, which is based on the mainline Linux 5.4 LTS kernel and introduces numerous new features and improvements for top-notch hardware support.

          These include zero copy networking to boost the network performance and enable building of faster networking products, support for the Btrfs file system, support for the OCFS2 file system, DTrace support, as well as enhanced security and virtualization support for the AArch64 (ARM64) platform.

        • Red Hat launches Red Hat Accelerators, an enterprise customer advocacy program

          Red Hat announced the introduction of its enterprise customer advocacy program, Red Hat Accelerators. Drawing on its extensive community-building history, the customer-facing program serves as a natural extension of its customer-focused approach to both its open source and enterprise product portfolio, enacted to form deeper and more engaging relationships with its customers.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical – Supermicro partnership at the NFV&MEC Plugtests 2020

          The NFV&MEC Plugtests 2020, hosted remotely during the week of June 15-19th 2020 by ETSI, offered network function virtualisation (NFV) and mobile edge computing (MEC) solution providers, hardware vendors and other companies involved in open source initiatives an opportunity to meet and assess the level of interoperability between their solutions. An established leader in the NFV space, Canonical participated in this event and partnered with Supermicro to provide an NFV stack for the plugtests sessions. Detailed outcomes of this cooperation can be found in the official ETSI Plugtest Report.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Protect your network with open source tools

        System integrity is essential, especially when you’re charged with safeguarding other people’s personal details on your network. It’s critical that system administrators are familiar with security tools, whether their purview is a home, a small business, or an organization with hundreds or thousands of employees.

        Cybersecurity involves securing networks against unauthorized access. However, there are many attack vectors out there that most people don’t consider. The cliché of a lone hacker manually dueling with firewall rules until they gain access to a network is popular—but wildly inaccurate. Security breaches happen through automation, malware, phishing, ransomware, and more. You can’t directly fight every attack as it happens, and you can’t count on every computer user to exercise common sense. Therefore, you have to design a system that resists intrusion and protects users against outside attacks as much as it protects them from their own mistakes.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GIMP 2.10.22 Is Released With AVIF Support And Improved Support For Many Other File Formats

            GIMP 2.10.22 has a lot of new features for a minor version bump, most of which are related to image file formats. There’s support for the AVIF image format based on the AV1 video format, 10 and 12 bit AVIF and HEIF images, better JPEG and WebP detection and better support for files from good old Paint Shop Pro.

            [...]

            AVIF is a very well-compressed image format based on the AV1 video encoding standard. GIMP 2.10.22 introduces support for this image format making it possible to open and save those files in GIMP. Chrome and Chromium has had support for AVIF images since version 85, and Firefox has in theory, but not in practice, had support for AVIF images since version 77. Enabling AVIF support in Mozilla Firefox requires you to change image.avif.enabled in about:config to true which means that web developers can’t rely on AVIF support in Mozilla Firefox until that setting becomes a default (or Mozilla decides to remotely enable it using the “normandy” back-door built into Firefox).

          • Toward a “modern” Emacs

            It has only been a few months since the Emacs community went through an extended discussion on how to make the Emacs editor “popular again”. As the community gears up for the Emacs 28 development cycle, (after the Emacs 27.1 release in August) that discussion has returned with a vengeance. The themes of this discussion differ somewhat from the last; developers are concerned about making Emacs — an editor with decades of history — seem “modern” to attract new users.

            The May 2020 discussion focused on restoring the popularity that Emacs is felt to have enjoyed in the past. It could well be that there are more Emacs users now than at any time in the past but the editor’s share of the total computing user base has clearly shrunk over time. The current discussion has a similar but different focus: attracting new users to Emacs, an editor that is widely seen as being outdated and as having a difficult and intimidating learning curve.

            [...]

            There was some discussion of adopting the Solarized color palette in particular. As Dmitry Gutov pointed out, though, Solarized makes for a rather low-contrast experience; a look at this screenshot of Emacs with Solarized colors makes that clear enough.

            Another area where Emacs is insufficiently “modern”, it seems, has to do with keyboard and mouse bindings. On the keyboard side, users have come to expect certain actions from certain keystrokes; ^X to cut a selection, ^V to paste it, etc. These bindings are easily had by turning on the Cua mode, but new users tend not to know about this mode or how to enable it. Many participants in the discussion said that this mode should be on by default.

        • Licensing/Legal

      • Programming/Development

        • Mercurial planning to transition away from SHA-1

          Recently, the Mercurial project has been discussing its plans to migrate away from the compromised SHA-1 hashing algorithm in favor of a more secure alternative. So far, the discussion is in the planning stages of algorithm selection and migration strategy, with a general transition plan for users. The project, for the moment, is favoring the BLAKE2 hashing algorithm.

          In July 2020, Joerg Sonnenberger started the conversation on moving away from SHA-1. Sonnenberger focused on four major aspects of the transition: which hash function to use, updating the test suite, updating the code base, and backward compatibility.

        • Python

          • Sebastian Witowski: Membership Testing

            Membership testing means checking if a collection of items (a list, a set, a dictionary, etc.) contains a specific item. For example, checking if a list of even numbers contains number 42. It’s a quite common operation, so let’s see how to do it properly.

          • Python Morsels: Looping over multiple iterables at once

            Often we have to loop over two iterables at the same time. An iterable is anything you’re able to loop over with a for loop.

            Lists are one type of iterable in Python that we are using here.

          • Python Morsels: Looping with Indexes

            If you’ve used another programming language before, you’ve probably used indexes while looping. Often when you’re trying to loop with indexes in Python, you’ll find that you actually care about counting upward as you’re looping, not actual indexes.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • New features in the fish shell

            Fish (the “friendly interactive shell”) has the explicit goal of being more user-friendly than other shells. It features a modern command-line interface with syntax highlighting, tab completion, and auto-suggestions out of the box (all with no configuration required). Unlike many of its competitors, it doesn’t care about being POSIX-compliant but attempts to blaze its own path. Since our last look at the project, way back in 2013, it has seen lots of new releases with features, bug fixes, and refinements aimed at appealing to a wide range of users. Some of the biggest additions landed in the 3.0 release, but we will also describe some other notable changes from version 2.1 up through latest version.

  • Leftovers

    • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Amendment 13 (Homo Detritus) By Jesse Jett

      It is a powerful documentation of a difficult two-month period, which highlights the government’s failed COVID response and how the virus exposed the failures of capitalism. It also decries a two-party system that is failing to offer a true alternative.

    • Looking After An Aquarium – How Much Work Is Involved?

      Fish are such easy pets to look after, right? You just pop them in a tank, feed them once a day and change the water now and then. Easy. This post explores how much work is involved in looking after an aquarium.

    • Education

      • History Teachers and “Patriotic Education”

        Conservatives are kicking around high school history teachers like a “political football.” The Washington Post recently reported that, “Trump seeks to turn local schools into another front in the culture war he champions, positioning history teachers as opponents of American greatness along with kneeling football players.” The President declared his war on history teachers at the first White House Conference on American History: “We must clear away the twisted web of lies in our schools and classrooms and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country. We want our sons and daughters to know that they are the citizens of the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.”

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The NFL Season Could Be Facing a Covid Collapse

        This isn’t just about hindsight. It’s about wondering why people in positions of great power still act as if they haven’t learned anything about the coronavirus and how it spreads. No, I’m not talking about that belching gas ball of typhus otherwise known as the GOP. I’m talking about Commissioner Roger Goodell, who with one awful decision may have cracked the delicate eggshell surrounding the 2020 NFL season.

      • Former CDC Chief Urges Current Director to Publicly Denounce Trump Handling of Pandemic as ‘Slaughter’

        “Despite the White House spin attempts, this will go down as a colossal failure of the public health system of this country. The biggest challenge in a century and we let the country down.”

      • ‘Out of an Abundance of Caution,’ Says Bernie Sanders, ‘We Should Expand Medicare to Cover Everyone in America’

        “Mr. President: You attack ‘socialized medicine’ every single day. Well, let’s be clear. The excellent care you received at Walter Reed was at a 100% government-funded, government-run hospital. For Trump, ‘socialized medicine’ is bad for everyone but himself.”

      • “Don’t Fear the Virus” Is Genocidal Rhetoric. We Mourn in Rebellion.

        Trump holds up his recovery as evidence that the time for fear has passed. But migrant children and others caged in the path of COVID-19 will not be flown to Walter Reed Hospital. In this episode, Kelly Hayes explains why “don’t fear the virus” is genocidal rhetoric.

      • Trump and Covid-19—The Odds

        It’s now reasonable for us to discuss how these next few days might define the future of the presidential election, and perhaps of the United States.

      • On the Road During a Pandemic, From Austin, Texas, to Metro D.C.

        Before. “Nope. You’ve now just infected your other clean hand with germs,” my wife’s OB/GYN dryly instructed. She then put on her own latex gloves and demonstrated how to put them on and take them off while keeping your hands sterile.

      • Into the Light Vaccine Injury Awareness Walk 2020: Michigan antivaxxers and COVID-19 grifters gather

        My last post was about how the antivaccine movement has so easily allied itself with the network of COVID-19 deniers, antimaskers, and even QAnon conspiracy theorists, which makes it appropriate, albeit depressing, to take note of an event occurring in my own state that reflects that confluence. It’s called Into the Light: Vaccine Injury Awareness Walk 2020, and it’s taking place in Grand Rapids on Saturday morning. Its speaker lineup is a veritable who’s who of the antivaccine movement in Michigan:

      • A Crop Pandemic Would Be as Devastating for Biodiversity and Food Security as COVID-19
      • Mary Trump: My Uncle Is Responsible for 210,000 Deaths and Is Now “Willfully Getting People Sick”

        As President Trump compares the deadly COVID-19 outbreak to the flu despite being hospitalized for the virus, we speak to his only niece, Mary Trump, about his increasingly erratic behavior in the final weeks of the election season and how his family views illness as a weakness. “To be treated for something is to admit that you need the treatment, and I don’t see him having any self-awareness,” she says. “Clearly the people closest to him don’t care about his well-being. If they did, he’d still be at Walter Reed.” She also warns that the “worst-case scenario” would be for President Trump to overcome his illness relatively quickly, because it would convince him to continue ignoring the pandemic. Mary Trump is a clinical psychologist. In July, she overcame Trump’s legal threats and published the now best-selling book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

      • I Was Prescribed Trump’s Steroid. It Made Me Feel Invincible

        Medically speaking, it was a miracle drug. Dex restored nearly half of the hearing I’d already lost. But it also made me high as a kite, like I’d just mainlined a potent mixture of espresso beans and psychotropics. I could feel my heartbeat in my eyeballs. I was euphoric. I made elaborate plans for the months following my surgery — including another tour with my band, Andrew Leahey & the Homestead — despite my doctor’s warning that I wouldn’t be well enough to hit the road until the following summer. Not even the anxiety of my upcoming operation could dampen my buzz. To borrow a phrase I heard somewhere recently, I felt better than I did 20 years ago.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • 16K COVID-19 Cases Go Missing In UK Due To Government’s Use Of Excel CSVs For Tracking

          Yes, yes, you’re sick of hearing about COVID-19. Me too. But the dominant force of 2020 continues to provide news, often times with a technology focus. This mismanaged pandemic has already given us an explosion of esports, students gaming remote learning systems, and enough dystopia to make George Orwell vomit in his grave.

        • Microsoft Office 365, Outlook down again
        • Microsoft 365 services hit by yet another outage, network change blamed

          Microsoft’s 365 services have been hit by another outage, beginning at about 2pm EST on Wednesday (5am AEDT Thursday) and affecting the eastern and western coasts of the US.

        • Security

          • OpenWrt and SELinux

            SELinux is a security mechanism with a lot of ability to restrict user-space compromises in various useful ways. It has also generally been considered a heavyweight option that is not suitable for more resource-restricted systems like wireless routers. Undeterred by this perception, some OpenWrt developers are adding SELinux as an option for protecting the distribution, which targets embedded devices.

            A mid-September blog post from Paul Spooren gives some of the background and status. In July, W. Michael Petullo picked up some older patches from Thomas Petazzoni. Petullo updated some of that work, including switching the tools from Python 2 to Python 3; he submitted the result as a pull request (PR) for OpenWrt. On August 30, that PR was merged; a related PR from Petazzoni adding some packages to support SELinux on the distribution was merged September 12.

            The SELinux feature adds a mandatory access control (MAC) mechanism to the Linux kernel. Discretionary access control (DAC) is typified by the Unix read-write-execute permissions for files based on user and group IDs. While users can make changes to DAC permissions (e.g. chmod 777 ~), MAC policies generally cannot be overridden at run time.

            The MAC policies used by SELinux allow administrators to specify which applications can have access to various objects in the system, primarily files and network resources. Instead of user-based permissions, these objects get assigned security contexts describing their scope. The policies then map which objects can access other objects that have specific contexts, thus they could allow a web server to only be able to access files under a certain directory, to only be able to bind to specific network port numbers, and to be unable to initiate outbound connections. In order to change those restrictions, the root user would need to install different policy at boot time or relabel objects to have contexts that allow them to be accessed. Absent a kernel compromise, services and other processes restricted in this way should not be able to reach outside of the places where their access is confined to.

            Security labels are the way that SELinux determines the context of a file object; that information is stored as an extended attribute on the files themselves. Because they live in the protected security extended attribute namespace, they cannot be changed by regular users. So the refpolicy package will label the files with their context as the image is being built.

          • Voting machines pose more problems in US elections than outside actors

            The US Department of Homeland Security issued a warning on Tuesday that Russia may try to “sow discord, distract, shape public sentiment, and undermine trust in Western democratic institutions” in the run-up to the presidential elections which are now four weeks away.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Survey finds 85% of smartphone users believe they’re being spied on by a mobile app

              A new survey by WhistleOut provides some numbers to back up a growing sentiment: That an app on your smartphone is spying on you right this second while you read this article. The latest numbers from the smartphone industry estimates that the average smartphone user has between 60 and 90 apps. Additionally, the average smartphone user spends 77% of their time on their three most favorite apps and 75% of downloaded apps sit unused. The app that is actually spying on the user could just as easily be a seldom used app as a well used app such as Facebook or Instagram. The survey also narrowed down on the reason that users feel such distrust for the apps on their phones. WhistleOut stated:

            • EU laws may not require general and indiscriminate data retention

              National governments in the EU are very keen for communication companies to store traffic and location data for all their users. They claim this is necessary to enable the authorities to fight terrorism and serious crime. Such information may be helpful in some cases, but it also entails a massive invasion of privacy for hundreds of millions of people. As a result, digital rights organizations have been fighting hard against general requirements to store this data for all EU users of the Internet. This has led to a series of important judgments from the EU’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which lay down what exactly is permitted in the field of data retention.

            • Germany revisits influential [Internet] law as amendment raises privacy implications

              On October 1, a new law to regulate content posted on social media platforms took effect in Turkey, The Guardian reported. Turkish journalists already face censorship and arrest because of social media posts, CPJ has found, and the law offers just one more tool to censor news.

              Yet the legislation was not solely conceived in Ankara; it follows the example of one of the world’s leading democracies – Germany. Danish think tank Justitia has charted lawmakers citing Germany’s 2017 Network Enforcement Act as an example or copying its clauses into domestic legislation in Russia, Singapore, and Venezuela, among other countries.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • OPCW Syria whistleblower and ex-OPCW chief attacked by US, UK, France at UN
      • 19 Years After US Invasion, Afghanistan’s Civil War Rages Despite Peace Talks

        The United States invaded Afghanistan 19 years ago today, sparking the nation’s longest-running war that has cost tens of thousands of lives and the U.S. about $2 trillion. While the U.S. originally ousted the Taliban as part of a broader anti-terrorism campaign, the Taliban and other militants have waged a bloody and arguably successful insurgency for nearly two decades. Despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid, and years of state-building and counterterrorism operations obscured by mission drift and government disinformation, Afghans continue to suffer a bloody civil war even as the Taliban meet with the Western-backed government for historic peace talks in Qatar.

      • [Cr]acker-for-hire group leverages zero-days, disinformation in Middle East

        The group, named “Bahamut,” is responsible for dozens of malicious applications that have been available in the Google’s Play store and Apple’s iOS marketplace, according to the BlackBerry research. Researchers say they believe Bahamut has used these applications to track surveillance targets, which are primarily located in the Middle East and South Asia, according to the report, which does not name the group’s suspected origins.

        Bahamut’s targets could offer some clues about its clientele. Bahamut has targeted government entities in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistani military officials, Sikh separatists in India, Indian business executives, and Saudi Arabian diplomats, according to a Reuters investigation. The independent journalism outlet Bellingcat also examined Bahamut’s activities in 2017.

      • BAHAMUT Spies-for-Hire Linked to Extensive Nation-State Activity

        “BAHAMUT is behind a number of extremely targeted and elaborate phishing and credential-harvesting campaigns, hundreds of new Windows malware samples, use of zero-day exploits, anti-forensic/AV evasion tactics, and more,” said Eric Milam, vice president of research operations at BlackBerry, in a report issued on Wednesday.

        He added, “They rely on malware as a last resort, are highly adept at phishing, tend to aim for mobile phones of specific individuals as a way into an organization, show an exceptional attention to detail and above all are patient – they have been known to watch their targets and wait for a year or more in some cases.”

      • Turkey Rekindles the Armenian Genocide

        As it has done in other arenas where “extremists” are attacking moderates or Christians—from Syria to Libya to Nigeria—Turkey is spearheading another jihad, this time against Christian Armenia.

        Context: Fighting recently erupted in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which borders Armenia and Azerbaijan. Although it is ethnically Armenian, after the dissolution of the USSR, the territory was allotted to Muslim Azerbaijan. Since then, hostilities and skirmishes have erupted, though the current one, if not quenched—an Azerbaijani drone was shot down above the Armenian capital and Azerbaijan is threatening to bomb Armenia’s unsecure nuclear power plant—can have serious consequences, including internationally.

      • Prominent Norwegian Critic of Islam Found Dead With ‘Visible Damage’

        The organisation Stop Islamisation of Norway, of which the deceased was an active member, seeks to counter the proliferation of Islam, which it sees as a totalitarian ideology that violates the Norwegian Constitution and contradicts democratic and humanitarian values.

      • Pakistani police say gunmen kill minority Ahmadi professor

        Attacks on the country’s minorities, including Christians and Hindus, have increased since 2018, when the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan came into power, although Khan has repeatedly promised to safeguard their basic rights.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘This Is an Outrage—and It’s Also Illegal’: USPS Blocking Democratic Lawmakers From Inspecting Postal Facilities

        “Postal facilities are not Area 51,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell.

      • ‘Makes Me Puke’: Analysis Shows Trump Covid-19 Treatment Would Cost Regular Folks $100K

        “We paid for this with our taxes. He doesn’t even pay taxes.” 

      • Why I Don’t Wish Trump Well

        I consider myself a caring person who does not like to see suffering in others. That includes human suffering but also extends to other sentient beings and creatures that may or may not experience pain as we understand it. I cringe to see animals who have become roadkill victims, and I capture crickets and spiders in my home to put them outside rather than killing them. I even brake for rattlesnakes, or at least take measures to relocate ones I’ve found on my property instead of clubbing them to death with a shovel.

      • Could the Covid Outbreak Delay Barrett’s Confirmation?

        Sen. Mitch McConnell has delayed the convening of the full Senate until Oct. 19 because three Republican Senators have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. But he is pushing ahead with Barrett’s confirmation hearing scheduled for Oct. 12.

      • Russia adds Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to its wanted list

        Belarusian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya) has been added to the Russian Interior Ministry’s wanted list, RIA Novosti reports.

      • The Virus and Voting Will Not Suffice to Fell This Beast

        No Sympathy for the Devil

      • Britain is Once Again on the Ropes

        While US viewers somehow endured the “debate” between Trump and Biden– which I didn’t watch, though I noted afterwards that a student of mine from 30 years ago likened it to “torture porn”, of which I have no experience I hasten to add, and so my blood pressure meds most certainly wouldn’t have been up to coping with the “debate”–  various current events in the UK showed it to be in as poor a state as the country presided over by Trump.

      • Trump Is the Grotesque Id of the Ruling Elites. His Disease Is Theirs – and Ours

        This national soul-sickness may have begun with the wealthy and powerful, but it’s up to us to cure it—in ourselves, and in each other.

      • Receiving Powerful Drug Cocktail and Tweetstorming, Bizarre Trump Behavior Called ‘Especially Unhinged Today’

        “Don’t let the president’s hysterical tweets distract you from the fact that he is refusing to provide Covid relief to American families and businesses unless he gets re-elected.”

      • Head of State

        Check out all installments in the OppArt series.

      • This Is Your President on Drugs

        Anyone who feared that Donald Trump would become subdued after testing positive for Covid-19 could take comfort in the more than 60 tweets the president issued on Tuesday, his first full day at the White House after a four-day hospital stay. The tweets were frantic, angry, and often incoherent. They showed that Trump’s personality has certainly not been tamed by his health problems. In fact, he has become even more Trumpian than before. They also highlight the chaos that is engulfing the executive branch of government in the last month before the presidential election.

      • Confronting a Tyrant: Lessons From Chile

        Can you recognize this country?

      • Trump Brought a Whole New World of Corruption to Washington

        Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of corruption in Washington, DC. Instead, he not only brought his own corruption and that of his family to the nation’s capital. He also opened the door of his administration to a whole slew of influence-peddlers, scam artists, and sleazy lobbyists.

      • In Florida, the Gutting of a Landmark Law Leaves Few Felons Likely to Vote

        Nearly two years after Florida voters approved a landmark constitutional amendment allowing felons to vote, state officials don’t know how many have registered. They also don’t know how many felons on the voter rolls owe court fees, fines or restitution that would disqualify them from voting under a subsequent state law that limited the amendment’s scope.

        Florida officials have not removed any felons from the rolls for owing fines or fees, and they’re unlikely to do so before Election Day, Secretary of State Laurel Lee said in an interview Monday. It’s unclear whether those whom the state fails to prune are entitled to vote after all — or may face prosecution if they do.

      • DOJ Frees Federal Prosecutors to Take Steps That Could Interfere With Elections, Weakening Long-standing Policy

        The Department of Justice has weakened its long-standing prohibition against interfering in elections, according to two department officials.

        Avoiding election interference is the overarching principle of DOJ policy on voting-related crimes. In place since at least 1980, the policy generally bars prosecutors not only from making any announcement about ongoing investigations close to an election but also from taking public steps — such as an arrest or a raid — before a vote is finalized because the publicity could tip the balance of a race.

      • How You Can Stop America’s Slide Toward Tyranny

        5) If you’re healthy, and feel safe doing so, consider volunteering to be a poll worker. Being a poll worker will help mitigate long lines and keep the in-person voting process running smoothly.This is our chance to change our nation’s terrifying course. We can deliver a resounding defeat to Trump and every single one of his enablers, and stop our slide toward tyranny. But it’s going to take each and every one of us. 

      • Government wants jail time for Sharia imams

        Late last month, an imam in Odense hit the front pages after being reported to the police for producing a Sharia Law divorce contract dictating that a woman would lose her parental rights if she didn’t fulfill a list of unreasonable requirements.

        Now, the government is aiming to crack down on the practice by seeking prison time for up to three years for imams who formulate such documents.

      • Congress just finished its Big Tech antitrust report — now it’s time to rewrite the laws

        Lawmakers are charged with the arduous task of rewriting the U.S. antitrust laws — something that hasn’t been done in earnest in decades. The country’s two major antitrust statutes, the Sherman Act (monopoly law) and the Clayton Act (merger law) were passed in 1890 and 1914, respectively. The Federal Trade Commission Act, which established the FTC and gave it powers to regulate competition, was also passed in 1914.

      • Facebook says it will remove Pages and Groups representing QAnon

        “Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content,” Facebook said. “This is an update from the initial policy in August that removed Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with QAnon when they discussed potential violence while imposing a series of restrictions to limit the reach of other Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with the movement. Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts that represent an identified Militarized Social Movement are already prohibited. And we will continue to disable the profiles of admins who manage Pages and Groups removed for violating this policy, as we began doing in August.”

      • Facebook says it will block political ads after polls close on Election Day

        Details: Facebook says the goal of the new policy is to reduce opportunities for public confusion about results or messages that misinform the public about election outcomes.

      • Facebook to Ban Political Ads After Polls Close on Nov. 3, ‘Just in Time to Have No Impact Whatsoever’

        Critics noted that the social media giant also recently announced an algorithm change that could “make the site more toxic and less usable while endangering democracy and human rights.”

      • Facebook extends freeze on US political ads until after election

        Facebook said it’s readied new safeguards for the 2020 US elections that have it better prepared to deal with candidates who prematurely declare victory or contest official results and the possibility of voter intimidation by alleged — and potentially armed — “poll watchers”.

      • Facebook Will Ban Political Ads After Polls Close, Plans to Delete ‘Militarized’ Calls for Poll-Watching

        Among other steps: Facebook said it will remove posts from anyone to engage in poll watching “when those calls use militarized language or suggest that the goal is to intimidate, exert control, or display power over election officials or voters,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of integrity, wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

      • Facebook releases report on fight against disinformation in run-up to Taiwan elections

        Facebook published a report Tuesday (Oct. 6) on its role in debunking disinformation during the 2020 presidential election in Taiwan, the first report of its kind and one that serves to provide insights into how democratic institutions are evolving.

        According to the report, Facebook teamed up with government agencies and civic groups to safeguard electoral integrity for the presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 11. The effort mobilized around 40 internal teams from the social media giant.

        In collaboration with Taiwan FactCheck Center, Facebook held an event between Dec. 18 and Jan. 15 about ways to improve media literacy, which reached 7.3 million users in Taiwan. The company also took action to drastically cut the reach of posts deemed to contain false information by 80 percent, said CNA.

      • Facebook to Halt all Political Advertisements After Polls Close Nov. 3

        acebook said it’s readied new safeguards for the 2020 U.S. elections that have it better prepared to deal with candidates who prematurely declare victory or contest official results and the possibility of voter intimidation by alleged — and potentially armed — “poll watchers.”

        In the former case, Facebook plans to halt all political advertisements once polls close on Nov. 3, an extension of an earlier restriction on new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day. The ban will likely last for a week, though Facebook says it could run longer if necessary. And it plans to label posts that cast doubt on election results with links to official information.

      • Facebook bans ‘militarized’ calls for poll watching during election

        Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of content policy, said the company would not apply the restrictions on militarized language retroactively. “When we apply our policies, we generally apply them going forward,” she said on a conference call with reporters.

      • Facebook Bans Political Ads After End of Voting on Election Day

        The social media company announced a handful of updates Wednesday to prepare for the possibility that final results won’t be known immediately on Nov. 3. The suspension of political ads is similar to a plan Google already adopted in an effort to keep candidates and their campaigns from spreading misleading or confusing messages to voters. Facebook doesn’t fact-check political ads.

      • Facebook to slap labels on posts if candidates prematurely declare victory

        Facebook will add labels to posts from candidates who prematurely declare victory in the November elections, the social media platform announced Wednesday.

        If a candidate or party claims to have won before the race is called by major news outlets, users will be shown a notification explaining that no winner has been determined and that votes are still being counted. The same information will be shown at the top of a user’s news feed.

        In the event of a candidate or party contesting the results declared by news outlets, a label will be added showing the winner of the race according to the media.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Donald Trump Now Wants To Repeal Section 230, Which Will Actually Make The Stuff He Complains About Worse

        We’ve already discussed how the President has been urging Congress to make “complaining about the internet” a key election issue for Republicans. This is why Congress has introduced 17 different bills about Section 230 this year, combined with two separate proposals from the White House itself. But apparently, even that is not enough for our completely clueless President. On Tuesday after facing a bit more mild moderation concerning dangerous lies about COVID that he had posted, he announced that he wanted to “repeal” 230 entirely.

      • California League of Cities Should Reject Misguided Section 230 Resolution

        The past few months have seen plenty of attempts to undermine Section 230, the law that makes a free Internet possible. But now we’re seeing one from a surprising place: the California League of Cities.

        To be clear, the League of Cities, an association of city officials from around the state, doesn’t have the power to change Section 230 or any other federal law. But if Congress were to actually follow their lead, the policies that the League is considering approving would be disastrous for the freedom of California residents.

      • Teacher struck off for ‘disseminating pro-independence messages’ barred from all Hong Kong campuses

        The Alliance Primary School teacher was struck off in late September, the government announced on Monday, for “serious professional misconduct,” meaning that he will be barred from teaching for life.

      • The GOP’s Cries of ‘Censorship’ Are Hurting Democracy

        Amid these floods of election lies, Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a bill on September 21 titled the Online Content Policy Modernization Act. The purpose: modifying the liability shields given to internet sites for content they host. Numerous organizations—from the Center for Democracy & Technology to Access Now to the Anti-Defamation League—signed a letter strongly opposing the legislation. “This bill would deter platforms from fact checking misleading information about voting and would interfere with social media services’ ability to combat the spread of mis- and disinformation on their sites,” they wrote.

        Online content moderation is an incredibly complex issue, particularly so when performed by global companies. But many attacks on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—which enables internet platforms to moderate speech without, generally speaking, fear of liability, with some exceptions—are fundamentally bad-faith and antidemocratic, propelled not by genuine attempts to address real policy questions but a desire to suppress disliked political speech. These proposals are harmful to democracy.

      • Pakistan court acquits Christian convict sentenced to death in blasphemy case

        A Pakistani court on Tuesday acquitted a Christian man who was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges six years ago.

        Sawan Masih was sentenced to death by a trial court in Lahore for allegedly insulting the Prophet during a conversation with a Muslim friend in Joseph Christian colony in March 2014.

        He had filed an appeal against his death sentence.

      • Indonesian man faces 6 years in prison for saying mosque blared music in TikTok video

        In a follow up video, Kenneth admitted that the mosque did not actually play music through a speaker and that he added the audio track himself. He fended off accusations of racism and blasphemy from other TikTok users, maintaining that he merely wanted to “educate” his audience that playing music through a mosque is inappropriate.

        Police yesterday announced Kenneth’s arrest for blasphemy under the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE), which could see him sentenced to six years in prison if found guilty.

      • Blasphemy convictions spark Nigerian debate over sharia law

        Sharia, or Islamic religious law, is applied in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states, raising questions about the compatibility of two legal systems where sharia courts operate alongside secular ones.

        Kola Alapinni, a lawyer representing both Sharif and Farouq, told Reuters that appeals against the convictions had been lodged at the Kano state high court, although no dates for the hearings had yet been set.

      • Netizens Call Out Rihanna for Using Islamic Hadith in Song for her Fenty Show

        The song is called ‘Doom’ and was created by a London-based producer named Coucou Chloe more than two years ago. The song, which is at the center of the controversy, has Islamic vocal samples from Hadith which apparently revolves around the end of times and the judgment day.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The Selective Prosecution of Julian Assange

        As the extradition hearing for Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange unfolds, it is increasingly clear that the prosecution of Assange fits into a pattern of governments selectively enforcing laws in order to punish those who provoke their ire. As we see in Assange’s case and in many others before this, computer crime laws are especially ripe for this form of politicization.

        The key evidence in the U.S. government’s cybercrime conspiracy allegations against Assange is a brief conversation between Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning in which the possibility of cracking a password is discussed, Manning allegedly shares a snippet of that password with Assange, and Assange apparently attempts, but fails, to crack it.  While breaking into computers and cracking passwords in many contexts is illegal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, few prosecutors would ever bother to bring a case for such an inconsequential activity as a failed attempt to reverse a hash. But the government has doggedly pursued charges against Assange for 10 years, perhaps because they fear that prosecuting Assange for publishing leaked documents is protected by the First Amendment and is a case they are likely to lose.  

      • ‘Learn to read’: Russian state news agency spreads false information about the Golunov case

        On Wednesday, October 7, the Russian state news agency TASS reported that in June 2019, Federal Security Service (FSB) experts allegedly found traces of amphetamines in Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov’s blood samples. TASS cited an unnamed source, “familiar with the materials of the case.”

      • Shadowproof Recognized For Exceptional Coverage Of Julian Assange’s Extradition Trial

        Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola woke up every morning for four weeks in September to report on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition trial at the Old Bailey Criminal Courthouse in London.

        Kevin shared live updates during court, produced end-of-day video reports, and he wrote articles each day for The Dissenter newsletter (and Shadowproof).

      • Uttar Pradesh police arrest journalist on his way to cover Hathras gang rape case

        The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the government of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh to immediately release journalist Siddique Kappan and drop any investigation into him. Kappan was arrested yesterday while traveling from the capital Delhi to Hathras district in Uttar Pradesh to report on a story, according to The Hindu and NDTV.

      • Turkey seizes journalist Can Dundar’s assets, declares him a fugitive

        The former editor of Cumhuriyet newspaper has been stripped of his assets and declared a fugitive in Turkey. He fled to Germany amid the Turkish crackdown on journalists and the public sector after a failed [sic] coup.

      • Foreign correspondents don’t need to be in Beijing to report on China

        For the first time since 1973, the Australian media has no foreign correspondents in China—a consequence of the Chinese government’s decision to drown out all critical voices, foreign or domestic. Allowing the deterioration of media freedom in China to translate into a poorer understanding of Chinese politics is a goal of the Chinese Communist Party under Xi Jinping. But, for journalists and media organisations, this remains an entirely avoidable outcome.

      • ‘Kurdish women journalists won’t hesitate seeking truth’

        The Mesopotamia Women Journalists Platform issued a written statement on the occasion of Kurdish Women Journalists Day.

      • RSF, Others Urge Montenegrin Judges To Acquit Journalist In Retrial

        Martinovic, who has reported widely on organized crime with both local and foreign outlets, has denied the accusations against him and said he believes they were in retaliation for his reporting.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Not Objectively Reasonable: MLK’s Long Arc of the Moral Universe At Work
      • US Labor Unions File UN Complaint Accusing Trump Administration of “Outrageous” Violations of Workers’ Rights Amid Pandemic

        Covid-19 “has demonstrated that not only is the U.S. violating workers’ rights, but those violations are resulting in people dying.” 

      • Activists Sue San Francisco for Wide-Ranging Surveillance of Black-Led Protests Against Police Violence

        San Francisco—Local activists sued San Francisco today over the city police department’s illegal use of a network of more than 400 non-city surveillance cameras to spy on them and thousands of others who protested as part of the Black-led movement against police violence.The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the ACLU of Northern California represent Hope Williams, Nathan Sheard, and Nestor Reyes, Black and Latinx activists who participated in and organized numerous protests that crisscrossed San Francisco, following the police killing of George Floyd.During the first week of mass demonstrations in late May and early June, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), in defiance of a city ordinance, tapped into a sprawling camera network run by a business district to conduct live mass surveillance without first going through a legally required public process and obtaining permission from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.“San Francisco police have a long and troubling history of targeting Black organizers going back to the 1960s,” said EFF Staff Attorney Saira Hussain. “This new surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters is exactly the kind of harm that the San Francisco supervisors were trying to prevent when they passed a critical surveillance technology ordinance last year. And still, with all eyes watching, SFPD brazenly decided to break the law.”“In a democracy, people should be able to freely protest without fearing that police are spying and lying in wait,” said Matt Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. “Illegal, dragnet surveillance of protests is completely at odds with the First Amendment and should never be allowed. That the SFPD flouted the law to spy on activists protesting the abuse and killing of Black people by the police is simply indefensible.”“Along with thousands of people in San Francisco, I took to the streets to protest police violence and racism and affirm that Black lives matter,” said Hope Williams, the lead plaintiff in this lawsuit and a protest organizer. “It is an affront to our movement for equity and justice that the SFPD responded by secretly spying on us. We have the right to organize, speak out, and march without fear of police surveillance.”Records obtained and released by EFF in July show SFPD received a real-time remote link to more than 400 surveillance cameras. The vast camera network is operated by the Union Square Business Improvement District (USBID), a non-city entity. These networked cameras are high definition, allow remote zoom and focus capabilities, and are linked to a software system that can automatically analyze content, including distinguishing between when a car or a person passes within the frame.The lawsuit calls on a court to order San Francisco to enforce the Surveillance Technology Ordinance and bring the SFPD back under the law. San Francisco’s Surveillance Technology Ordinance was enacted in 2019 following a near unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors.The plaintiffs, all of whom participated in protests against police violence and racism in May and June of 2020, are:

        For the complaint:https://www.eff.org/document/williams-v-san-francisco-complaintLink to video statement of attorneys and client:https://youtu.be/8gYd9oZzdHgCase pages: EFF case pageACLU case pageFor more on police spying tech:

      • No Lives Matter

        No Lives Matter would be a catalyst for true consciousness leading all to reflect on their place in the system, as an exploited class of diverse peoples, the 99% if you will.

      • Police raid offices of Moscow’s second-biggest mortuary amid corporate feud

        The Moscow police raided the local office of the “Ritual Service” mortuary on October 6 and seized several documents, the firm’s co-owner, Oleg Shelyagov, told the news agency RBC on Wednesday. The officers were from the Moscow Northern Administrative District’s Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Department, Shelyagov says.

      • If the President Had HIV He Could Be in Prison

        Trump’s adopted state of Florida has half a dozen HIV criminalization laws on the books, under which 266 people have been convicted.

      • If the President had HIV, He Could be in Prison

        Could Donald Trump be charged with a crime for knowingly exposing others to an infectious disease?

      • The Man Who Would Be President: Mike Pence, Corporate Theocrat

        If President Trump dies from the coronavirus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans largely due to his deliberate negligence, the man replacing him will be no less dangerous. While Mike Pence has eluded tough media scrutiny — in part because he exhibits such a low-key style in contrast to Trump — the pair has been a good fit for an administration that exemplifies the partnership of religious fundamentalism and corporate power.

      • How Do You Flip Rural Trump Voters? Talk to Them.

        In 2016, establishment Democrats all but ignored rural communities. Groups like People’s Action are changing that, one conversation at a time.

      • Families Of Prisoners Killed In 1988 Mass Executions Demand Answers

        Responding to the activists’ statement in Mousavi’s defense, hundreds of the relatives of the 1988 massacre’s victims have stepped forward, demanding justice. In a statement issued on Sunday, October 4, they explicitly called for Mousavi and other figures linked to the Islamic establishment to disclose what they know about the tragedy.

      • Greensboro Massacre: City Apologizes 41 Years After Cops Allowed Klan, Nazis to Kill 5 Antiracists

        Nearly 41 years after Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazis shot dead five antiracist activists in the town of Greensboro, North Carolina, the City Council there has passed a resolution apologizing for the attack and the police department’s complicity in the killings. We speak with two survivors of the 1979 attack, Reverend Nelson Johnson and Joyce Hobson Johnson, who say the city’s apology acknowledges “the police knew and chose to do nothing. In fact, they facilitated what we name now as a North American death squad.”

      • Let Her Speak: How The Victorian Government Is Still Silencing Survivors
      • Head of Tibetan exile government still seeks independence on anniversary of annexation

        The head of the Tibetan government in exile, Lobsang Sangay, told DW on Wednesday that on the 70th anniversary of the Chinese annexation of Tibet, he was still fighting for autonomy.

        “It is difficult because you are in exile and whatever happens around the world affects you, including the American presidential election or change in prime ministership of Japan, or any country in Europe,” he said. “But you do the best you can to impact the world. And so far, for the last 60 years, we are still standing on our feet and we are still pursuing non-violence as our principle and genuine autonomy as our goal. So we are still here.”

      • ‘Infidel’: At Last, a Film That Deals Realistically with Islamic Terrorism

        Infidel instead opts to be more realistic, recalling actual events that seldom gain Hollywood’s notice, such as the 1987 kidnapping of journalist Charles Glass by Hizballah in Lebanon. Infidel unflinchingly portrays the gleeful brutality and inhumanity of Rawlins’ captors, as well as his own struggles to maintain his Christian faith amid torture and isolation. Amid all this, the film’s realism is thoroughgoing: once the movie’s perspective was established, it was refreshing to see Caviezel portray Rawlins as alternately angry, afraid, and confused, rather than as a plaster saint, above the fray and singing hymns even as he is being beaten and verbally abused.

      • Like many US workers, Trump staff has little recourse if asked to work alongside sick colleagues

        The labor situation in the White House is not unique, as experts explained to Salon: many workers around the country who don’t have the option of working from home are put in similar situations every day, where they may be expected to show up to work despite having sick colleagues or bosses, and there is little they can do about it. In June, for example, Tesla workers claimed they were fired after choosing to stay home to avoid getting COVID-19, even though they say they had initially been given permission to do so.

      • [Old] Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything Is A Crime

        Prosecutorial discretion poses an increasing threat to justice. The threat has in fact grown more severe to the point of becoming a due process issue. Two recent events have brought more attention to this problem. One involves the decision not to charge NBC anchor David Gregory with violating gun laws. In Washington D.C., brandishing a thirty-round magazine is illegal and can result in a yearlong sentence. Nonetheless, the prosecutor refused to charge Gregory despite stating that the on-air violation was clear.1 The other event involves the government’s rather enthusiastic efforts to prosecute Reddit founder Aaron Swartz for downloading academic journal articles from a closed database. Authorities prosecuted Swartz so vigorously that he committed suicide in the face of a potential fifty-year sentence.2

        Both cases have aroused criticism. In Swartz’s case, a congresswoman has even proposed legislation designed to ensure that violating a website’s terms cannot be prosecuted as a crime.3 But the problem is much broader. Given the vast web of legislation and regulation that exists today, virtually any American bears the risk of being targeted for prosecution.

      • The Cost of Thriving

        In 1985, the COTI stood at 303—the median male worker needed thirty weeks of income to afford a house, a car, health care, and education. By 2018, the COTI had increased to 53—a full-time job was insufficient to afford these items, let alone the others that a family needs. A generation ago, the worker could be confident in his ability to provide his family not only with the basics of food, clothing, and shelter, but also with the middle-class essentials of a house, a car, health care, and education. Now he cannot. Public programs may provide those things for him, a second earner may work as well, or his family may do without, while his television may be larger than ever. The implications of each are surely worth pondering. But the fact that he can no longer provide middle-class security to a family is an unavoidable economic reality of the modern era.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • America’s internet wasn’t prepared for online school

        Part of the problem for rural areas is income. Just over half of households with annual incomes under $30,000 use broadband [Internet], according to Pew Research Center. Poverty rates are much higher in non-metro areas than they are in metro areas across the US — and the largest gap, by far, is in the South. And the COVID-19 pandemic, which demolished 113 straight months of job growth, has overwhelmingly impacted low-income minority communities.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Netflix Triples London Office Space With New Headquarters

        Netflix, which has 269 employees in the U.K., currently rents about 30,000 square feet of space in two nearby buildings, one of which will be retained, one of the people said. The changes will give the company a total of about 100,000 square feet of office space in the capital.

    • Monopolies

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  12. Media Contradicts Itself, Redefines Proprietary Software as 'Open'... for Microsoft

    Proprietary GitHub is being spun as Microsoft going "open" (nothing could be further from the truth) in another EEE-type move with diffusion and confusion



  13. A Critic's Free Software Dictionary by figosdev

    Sarcastic take on often-spoken words in the domain of technology



  14. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 18, 2020



  15. Links 19/10/2020: OpenBSD 6.8, RapidDisk 7.0.0, Tails 4.11 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  16. The Different Types of Spammy 'Articles' and 'Reviews' Which Have Killed 'Professional Journalism' (Nowadays Mostly SPAM)

    The media has become so rogue that a lot of it is merely an extension of the marketing/PR industry; unless this is corrected, online publishers will fail to earn or maintain any degree of trust



  17. When the Software -- and by Extension Hardware and Network -- Controls the User...

    A distraction-free workflow is more likely to be attained using Free software than without it; in a world with information overload and 'surveillance capitalism' people need to carefully rethink what they do (or have done to them) digitally



  18. What the Linux Foundation Teaches People About GNU/Linux in LinuxFoundationX (edX) LFS101x “Introduction to Linux” [sic]

    Some annotated screenshots of preliminary sections of LFS101x, a 'course' designed to indoctrinate people for the Linux Foundation and the project is borrows its name from (but whose trademark it does not control)



  19. Shut Up and Learn to Maintain an Application Suite

    "Try and maintain a complex piece of software like a browser or an office suite, and then you'll understand."



  20. LinuxFoundationX (edX) LFS101x “Introduction to Linux” is More Linux Foundation Marketing and 'Linux' Revisionism Than Actual Training/Teaching

    The Linux Foundation makes a course about "Linux" partly about itself (the Linux Foundation, with top members like Microsoft and Oracle) and distorts the record with terms like "Open Source" and the pretense everything is "Linux" (even work that predates Linux itself)



  21. Microsoft Sheds Off Lots of Staff in This Autumn of COVID

    Microsoft is laying off more staff than we've estimated (even Azure staff) and the modus operandi disguises layoffs as mere departures (to make it seem wilful)



  22. [Meme] Microsoft's Calculator is Spyware

    The last thing GNU/Linux users need or want is yet another simple calculation tool, this one with Microsoft in control



  23. History's Lesson: Microsoft Now Does to GNU/Linux What It Did to Java (Creating 'Schism' to 'Wrest Control')

    We take a closer look at what Bill Gates admitted (under pressure, with 'smoking guns' to compel him into admission) regarding his rogue tactics



  24. When You Have to Use Windows for Something (Like Work) But You Really Don't Want Anything Proprietary or Microsoft-Controlled

    The situations/scenarios where GNU/Linux and BSD geeks need to 'touch' Windows for something (usually remotely) rapidly dwindle; those who are still using Windows on a laptop/desktop in 2020 are considered tech-illiterate or regarded as 'dinosaurs' (hence the dishonour meme above)



  25. Links 18/10/2020: Kodachi 7.3 and OpenBLAS 0.3.11

    Links for the day



  26. Surveillance in (and/or by) Free Software is a Growing Problem

    If Free software ceases to respect personal privacy (full control over one’s computing), does it still protect users’ freedom? That’s a question or an aspect not dealt with by the Four Freedoms — and one that’s worth entertaining as so-called ‘surveillance capitalism’ grows (data as currency, people as ‘products’ to be sold)



  27. Bill Gates Refers to His Business as “Jihad” and Accuses Java of Being a “Religion” With “Rabid” Supporters

    Peace disallowed by Bill Gates, as usual; to him, this is all just a religious war that strives to cull out and eliminate or convert the 'infidels' (those who reject his religion); the Bill Gates deposition tapes show his deep concerns and fear of Java APIs



  28. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 17, 2020



  29. [Meme] Openwashed (and Spying) 'Killer App' for GNU/Linux? A Basic Windows Calculator!

    There's no "Linux" news to cover more important and urgent than just another useless calculator (this one with notorious Microsoft telemetry) being ported to GNU/Linux



  30. Links 17/10/2020: No GNU/Linux for 10 Days, Google Coral Dev Board Runs Debian

    Links for the day


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