12.10.20

Links 10/12/2020: Tor Browser 10.0.6 and Facebook Antitrust Action

Posted in News Roundup at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Top 5 Linux Tablets That’s Great For Privacy

      It’s no secret that Linux-based operating systems have been garnering quite some popularity as of late. Well, why wouldn’t they? There’s a lot of advantages that Linux distros have to bring to the table, the most notable of which is privacy. Thanks to Linux’s way, these operating systems can secure the user data from malware and other such attacks.

      Other than that, you can also better manage your files and decide who will have what kind of access to which files, courtesy of the directory permissions that you’ll get with Linux.

    • An Interview with LearnLinux.TV’s Jay LaCroix

      For me, Linux is an amazing thing. I’m obsessed, it’s like my hobby and it just happens to pay. What are the odds that something you love to do can generate a paycheck? There’s nothing as great as that.

      In addition to the YouTube channel, I write books, so my newest book is going to be coming out at the end of the year. The book is Mastering Ubuntu Server — Third Edition. It’s just an update to the 2nd Edition, but it became a lot more than just an update. Surprisingly the amount of work I’ve had to do on it is about the same as writing a brand new book from scratch, because it’s taken at least six months now to finish. The 2nd one has been a very big success, and this one I think is going to be even better. The important thing to note is this book is written entirely on System76 hardware and entirely on LibreOffice.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 5 Best Linux Distros to use on Home PC & laptop in 2021

        When it comes to a home pc or laptop that is accessible by multiple people then you must want an operating system that is not only secure but also enough simple and easy to understand by everyone. As more and more people are getting aware of security and privacy concerns because of increasing internet penetration in our daily lives, Linux distros’ developers keep doing hard work to make them more user friendly and easy to understand.

        Also, if you have multiple PCs in your home, then for installing Linux you don’t have to pay anything. Moreover, you don’t want RedHat, CentOS, Kali Linux, OpenSUSE which are more inclined towards professional users. In-home, we want something which indeed a Linux but less sophisticated, easy to understand, installation packages should be available via Software Manager and can detect all PC hardware to setup corresponding drivers.

    • Server

      • ZimaBoard is a hackable single-board server with Intel Apollo Lake (crowdfunding)

        Both models should be able to support a range of operating systems including server-specific options like pfSense, LibreELEC, or OpenWrt as well as desktop (or mobile) operating systems including Windows, various GNU/Linux distributions, or Android.

        According to promotional materials, the ZimaBoard comes from the same folks who make the LattePanda line of single-board computers with Intel chips… although I don’t see any mention of the ZimaBoard on the LattePanda website or social media channels.

      • Mirantis OpenStack for Kubernetes
    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 1080p Video Editing on a Raspberry Pi 400 with Ubuntu MATE – YouTube

        Welcome back to our series about the Raspberry Pi 400! In this video Jason attempts to produce a 1080p video using Kdenlive and Ubuntu MATE.

      • Ncmpcpp: Let’s Rice Up This Music Player – YouTube

        Ncmpcpp is an amazing terminal based music player for Linux and today we’re going to take from looking fairly boring like it does out of the box to being a genuenly impressive looking terminal application. We won’t be configuring everything but this should give you a decent baseline to work with.

      • mintCast 349.5 – Just Some Linux ISOs – mintCast

        In our Innards section, we talk Docker, OpenVPN and Transmission

        And finally, the feedback and a couple of suggestions

      • FLOSS Weekly 608: What Makes a Standard?

        Take a deep dive into the connections between standards, open-source, and much more with John Wunderlich. John contributes to many standards efforts as a self-described privacist with a degree in history and who in past lives was a journeyman machinist and trained air traffic controller.

      • 203: TOR De Force of M1 Mac – Destination Linux

        This week we’re going to dive into the world of TOR, the Onion Router. Is Tor a good way to stay private on the internet? Is using the Tor Browser really safe? Can you truly remain anonymous using this tool? Those questions and more are what deep dive in this episode. We also take a look at the new Patreon Campaign in order to reverse engineer Linux Support on the M1 Mac from Apple. In addition we will be covering community feedback and of course we have our popular tips/tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux.

      • Coder In the Woods | Coder Radio 391

        Time to talk business, and Chris reveals his biggest mistake since going independent.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Vulkan Comes To Apple Silicon GPUs / M1 By Means Of MoltenVK 1.1.1 – Phoronix

          While Apple continues to drive their own Metal graphics/compute API, Vulkan support built atop Metal continues to mature thanks to the open-source MoltenVK project. With the MoltenVK’s latest update is now support for Apple Silicon with the M1′s new GPU.

          MoltenVK 1.1.1 was released on Wednesday and while the version number may seem like an insignificant update, it’s actually a big one. There are a number of updates in this release for Vulkan-on-Metal and is rounded out by the initial Apple M1 “Apple Silicon” support. Apple Silicon needed some additional GPU pixel formats support and different device properties to be set, among other tweaks for this brand new Apple hardware.

        • Mesa 21.0 Begins Landing Optimizations For AMD Smart Access Memory – Phoronix

          While AMD Smart Access Memory has already been supported under Linux for some time with its resizable BAR functionality, only now with all the excitement around the feature being promoted with the Ryzen 5000 series and Radeon RX 6000 series hardware is the Mesa driver code beginning to see some optimizations for it.

          Lead RadeonSI developer Marek Olšák of AMD has merged a set of optimizations for AMD Smart Access Memory that will come in next quarter’s Mesa 21.0 release. The code that landed today include a helper for determining Smart Access Memory / all vRAM visible, only force the staging uploads for vRAM when Smart Access Memory isn’t enabled, and only use staging for linear textures when the feature is disabled. For cases when Smart Access Memory is enabled, vRAM is now used for command buffers, the pipe usage stream is mapped to vRAM, and the uploading code has been unified and going straight to vRAM with this feature enabled. More details within this merge request.

        • AMD Opens Up The Code To Its Radeon Memory Visualizer – Phoronix

          Back in May was AMD’s celebration of the GPUOpen re-launch and that included the introduction of the Radeon Memory Visualizer (RMV) as their newest tool at the time. But rather strange for being a “GPUOpen” development tool is that it was Windows-only and not actually open-source. Today that has now changed with Radeon Memory Visualizer going open-source.

          GPUOpen announced today that the Radeon Memory Visualizer is in fact open-source and available under an MIT license. This tool is designed to provide insight into video memory usage during various workloads and help in vRAM profiling. RMV was updated last month for RDNA 2 while just ahead of Christmas they made good on their word to open-source it.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Preliminary Look At Radeon RX 6800 XT Windows Performance vs. Open-Source Linux Drivers

        Software Windows drivers for the recently released Radeon RX 6800 XT, here are some preliminary data points looking at the OpenGL / Vulkan performance between Windows and Linux for RDNA 2.

        While working on some extensive Ryzen 9 5900X Windows vs. Linux benchmarks, with the Radeon RX 6800 XT installed I also ran some preliminary GPU performance tests for those curious how well the AMD Linux graphics driver stack is performing roughly one month after launch.

        The same system was obviously used with the Ryzen 9 5900X, ASU ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO, 2 x 8GB DDR4-3600 memory, and the reference Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card.

    • Applications

      • Best Audio Editing and Music Making Software for Linux

        This article covers a list of music making or audio editing software usable on Linux. Some of these applications allow you to record sound streams through external devices like microphones while others allow you to capture audio from musical instruments connected to your Linux system.

        These are some of the best, free, and open source software that you can use to record, edit, mix, synthesize, and directly make music from scratch using external instruments connected to your Linux system.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Step by step guide to reset root password in Mysql – LinuxTechLab

        Working with MySQL or MariaDB database, you might have faced a situation where you might have forgotten root or another user’s password, or being SysAdmin, you might have had to deal with users who have forgotten their password. In this tutorial, we will learn to reset the root password in Mysql or resetting any other user account’s password (the same steps can also be used to reset the user’s password in MariaDB as well).

      • Manage operations on S3 Bucket using aws-cli from the EC2 instance

        We can create and manage the S3 bucket using the AWS console. Sometimes there can be a need where we want to create and perform operations on the S3 Bucket from the command line. If you are not aware of the S3 bucket and would like to learn about it click here where you can find an article about the S3 bucket written by me.

      • How to start and kill a process in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        A process is a series of steps to perform some specific tasks. In terms of computer science, a process is a program undergoing execution. Often Multiple processes run at a time. One process is associated with one program and each process has different components that perform their respective tasks. Different properties are associated with each process.

      • How to disable ICMP ping replies (linux) | RNM

        Few weeks ago during server setup phase for one of my project, I notice there is no ICMP or ping replies from server and some port are not able to access.

        I told the network engineer to check and seem they blocking the ports and disabling ICMP replies from their firewall configuration.

      • How to clean up the Fedora root folder – Red Hat Developer

        When upgrading a package or the Fedora release version, I sometimes hit the error:

        Disk Requirements: At least XXX more space needed on the / filesystem.
        This message tells me that the disk space is inadequate. I need to clean the Fedora root folder space before performing the upgrade.

        When browsing to learn more about this issue, I can easily find many people who have the same problem, as well as many different cases where it occurs. In addition, the possible ways to fix this issue are typically spread over various forums, making it complicated to choose the right path.

        In this article, I grouped together several interesting sources that describe different ways to address this issue, even when my case wasn’t the root cause. I hope my experience and understanding of this issue helps save you time in resolving it.

      • How to change the Vertical Mx linux Taskbar panel to bottom – Linux Shout

        MX Linux is grabbing popularity much faster than other Linux in the same category because of speed and its less resource consumption. By default, it comes with an Xfce desktop environment but with a left-side vertical taskbar, which is really uncomfortable and annoying at least for me. In case, the same goes for you and you also want to customize MX Linux Taskbar to the standard one, as we have on Linux Mint or Windows, then here is the solution.

        [...]

        After having the panel at the bottom one thing that remains problematic for some people is the position of the MX Linux start menu button.

        It will remain on the right side and to move it to the left side, in Panel preferences, click on the Items tab and the move select Whisker Menu, drag it to the top. In the same way, move other icons. If you want to add any other application shortcut then that can be possible from there by using the + icon.

      • How to Install PHP 8.0 on Ubuntu 20.04 / 18.04

        PHP is arguably one of the most widely used server-side programming languages. It’s the language of choice when developing dynamic and responsive websites. In fact, popular CM platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, and Magento are based on PHP.

        At the time of penning down this guide, the latest version of PHP is PHP 8.0. It was released on November 26, 2020. It boasts of new features and optimizations such as union types, named arguments, null safe operator, match expression, JIT, and improvements in error handling and consistency.

        This tutorial walks you through the installation of PHP 8.0 on Ubuntu 20.04 / 18.04.

      • How to Install PHP 8 on Ubuntu 20.04 with Apache and Nginx – LinuxBuz

        PHP also know as “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor” is an open-source and most widely used scripting language used for developing dynamic and responsive web applications. It was created by Rasmus Lerdorf and used as a general-purpose programming language.

        At the time of writing this tutorial, the latest version of PHP is PHP 8.0. It was officially released on November 26th, 2020. It contains a number of new features including, Union Types, Match Expressions, Named Arguments, Attributes, Weak Maps, and much more.

        In this tutorial, we will explain how to install PHP 8 on Ubuntu 20.04 and integrate it with Apache and Nginx web server.

      • How to become a cloud administrator
      • How to Install FreeBSD 12 on VirtualBox? – Linux Hint

        FreeBSD is one of the many open-source distributions of the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) Kernel. Since BSD is an iteration of Research Unix, FreeBSD is said to be a Unix-like operating system. It can be used on pretty much any processor adaptive to Intel’s x86 architecture. Other builds that can run it includes amd64, PC-98, Alpha/AXP, and IA-64. It is known for being more reliable and faster than Linux, hence used as an alternative to Linux. It is favored by manufacturing companies, and such other entities, because of its licensing system, which allows them to modify the kernel without having to make the changes open-source.

        This tutorial is about installing FreeBSD 12 on VirtualBox. The instructions here are universal to almost all other hypervisors.

      • How To Repeat A Command Every X Seconds On Linux – Linux Uprising Blog

        This article explains how to repeat a command every X seconds on Linux, in 2 ways: using watch, and using sleep in a while loop (with a way to avoid time drift when using long-running commands).

      • How To Install Monitorix on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Monitorix on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Monitorix is a free, open-source, lightweight system monitoring tool designed to monitor as many services and system resources as possible. It has been created to be used under production UNIX/Linux servers, but due to its simplicity and small size, you may also use it on embedded devices as well.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step install Monitorix system monitoring tool on CentOS 8.

      • Linux Run Command As Another User
      • How to disable ICMP ping replies (linux) | RNM

        Few weeks ago during server setup phase for one of my project, I notice there is no ICMP or ping replies from server and some port are not able to access.

        I told the network engineer to check and seem they blocking the ports and disabling ICMP replies from their firewall configuration.

      • How To Install Steam On Ubuntu-based Distribution?

        Folks a few years ago playing came on Linux was a dream, and If you asked someone Can we play a game on Linux System then people will say “BIG NO”.

        After collaboration with steam and wine, they introduced proton in steam through which we can easily play games like GTA V, Witcher, Tom Rider, etc in Linux very easily.

        According to the proton report, it is shown that some games perform much better in Linux than in windows. Many games migrating to Linux after the introduction of proton in steam for Linux.

        Today we will explain to you how to install and configure steam in Linux with proton enabled to your favorite games on Linux.

      • How to install Manjaro 20.2 GNOME Edition – YouTube

        In this video, I am going to show how to install Manjaro 20.2 GNOME Edition.

      • How to Install OCS Inventory Asset Management Software CentOS 8

        OCS “Open Computers and Software Inventory Next Generation” is an open-source assets management solution that allows you to inventory IT assets. It works by collecting the hardware and software information of the remote machine running the OCS client program and visualize the inventory through a web interface. It uses SNMP protocol to gather information from the network printers, switches, computer, etc.
        In this tutorial, we will explain how to install OCS inventory on CentOS 8 server.

      • How to install PyCharm on Ubuntu 20.04

        In this video, we are looking at how to install PyCharm, community edition, in Ubuntu 20.04.

      • How to Check OpenSSH Version – TecAdmin

        OpenSSH is an secure networking utility for remote login with SSH protocol. This is the primary tools used by the most of Linux based systems for the remote SSH login.

        OpenSSH provides you the option to connect remote system over the SSH protocol. Which provides the end to end encryption between communication to two systems.

        This tutorial will help you to check OpenSSH version running on your system.

      • How to install Taiga Project Management on CentOS 8

        Taiga is an open-source project management system that helps you to manage both simple and complex projects for startups.

      • Chattr Command in Linux (File Attributes)

        In Linux, file attributes are meta-data properties that describe the file’s behavior. For example, an attribute can indicate whether a file is compressed or specify if the file can be deleted.

        Some attributes like immutability can be set or cleared, while others like encryption are read-only and can only be viewed. The support for certain attributes depends on the filesystem being used.

        This article explains how to use the chattr command to change file attributes on Linux file systems.

      • How to setup SSH login without password on Linux systems – The Linux GURUS

        We might be required to setup ssh login without password for any number of reasons like remote file/commands execution, initiating backups with SCP, etc. In this tutorial, we will learn to setup ssh login without password by using ssh public-private key-based authentication.

        For this to work, we will first have to create ssh keys on one server, named SERVER A & then will copy the created public key to another Linux server, named SERVER B. The public key is copied into the file located in a user’s ssh directory i.e. ‘/home/user/.ssh/authorized_keys’.

    • Games

      • After a new visual novel? Tokyo Re:Connect is coming to Linux with a demo up | GamingOnLinux

        What looks like it could be a really high quality romance visual novel, Tokyo Re:Connect from KONEKO now has a demo available and they’re crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

        “You play as the protagonist Shindou Touki, who moves from the countryside to Tokyo, to begin a new chapter in his life. Navigate through various choices and the life of a high school student in the city, as Touki learns what it means to connect with others. Including over 30 hours of gameplay, detailed CG, and a moving soundtrack – all in high definition – your choices will affect the path you take.”

      • Check out 30 minutes of the upcoming TMORPG Book of Travels | GamingOnLinux

        Might and Delight (Shelter, Meadow and more) are currently developing Book of Travels which they’re calling a TMORPG (Tiny Multiplayer Online RPG) and it looks seriously gorgeous.

        With a crowdfunding campaign well behind them now that was a success back in November 2019, they’re fully into the production on it now and they put up around 30 minutes of footage along with commentary to give us a true proper first look at what to expect from it. I’m ridiculously curious about this since it will have small player numbers per cluster, it will rely on your character learning a unique symbol language and a focus on authentic roleplaying.

      • Desperados III has a final free update as Mimimi Games move to self-publish their next | GamingOnLinux

        Mimimi Games are giving Desperados III a “proper goodbye” with the final free update, and it’s quite an exciting one for an already amazing game.

        Just released is the “Bounty Mode Update” which allows you to change how you play the game. You will be able to play with all character across almost every major mission, so this means you can make it easier or spice it up and make it perhaps more interestingly difficult for yourself. Mimmi said “You want to crash the Mayor’s wedding in “Mission 4: Until Death Do Us Part” with all characters and create some fun voodoo chaos with Isabelle, while the Doc snipes his way through the wedding preparations. Well, here you go!”.

        There’s also now a simple form of a level editor, which they call “Level Editing Cheats” that allows you to go into any mission and activate a new mode where you can then spawn all sorts of things in. Save it and then share it. Not quite a full level editor but close and could allow for some interesting creations with the existing levels.

      • INZANE is an upcoming cinematic side-scroller adventure that looks awesome | GamingOnLinux

        With some pretty impressive visuals at time, the upcoming side-scroller INZANE is one to keep on your watch list or help fund it if it catches your attention like it did mine. Confirmed to be coming to Linux and Windows, with macOS planned later.

        “An experiment plagued by psychological suffering, which is fleeing from itself and other threats, wandering through a world in which reality and imagination are not far apart. A 2D cinematic side-scroller with a fascinating mystical atmosphere and detailed hand-crafted world. Exciting and complex puzzles that are unique in their own way.”

      • Valve upgrade the Steam browsing experience in the latest Steam Labs experiment | GamingOnLinux

        With so many thousands of games available on Steam, discovering what you want can be a serious pain in the arse and Valve are clearly aware of that with a new Steam Labs experiment.

        Steam Labs Experiment 010: Browsing Steam is now available on an opt-in basis, which introduces a much broader set of ways to explore all the various games on Steam. Using some of the new tagging systems they built for other already rolled out features, it’s added a ton of new areas to Steam.

        It updates the main navigation bar on Steam to give you a quick menu for New & Noteworthy releases along with a huge Categories menu. Originally (and for anyone not testing it right now), the Categories menu was very simplistic and only offered a few basic tags to get you going.

      • Amusing multiplayer party game Gang Beasts has a huge update and big sale | GamingOnLinux

        Gang Beasts from Boneloaf is the super-silly party game that sees various gelatinous characters engage in brutal fisticuffs and it’s bigger and better than ever. Probably one of the funniest and dumbest multiplayer fighting party games around, and it seems they’re going to keep on updating it after splitting from Double Fine.

        There’s a lot to go over but here’s a small slice of what to expect: a major Unity game engine upgrade, it’s now 64bit on Linux with 32bit removed, a new glass destruction system they said should look and perform better, a new buoyancy system to perform better and allow them to do more types of liquid, lots of new costumes and parts for customization including adding the Yogscast Charity Drive 2015 DLC now being part of the game, a new Aquarium stage, new audio, tons of combat tweaks to make it feel better and the list just goes on and on.

      • Valve puts up Proton 5.13-4 to get Cyberpunk 2077 working on Linux for AMD GPUs | GamingOnLinux

        Two bits of major news to cover for the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer, with some exciting major changes coming in with updates. Don’t know what Steam Play Proton is? Go take a look at our dedicated page.

        Firstly, if you have an AMD GPU and you don’t mind grabbing the latest development code for the Mesa graphics drivers – Cyberpunk 2077 should actually work on Linux with the new Proton 5.13-4 release. Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais mentioned that CD PROJEKT RED allowed them some early testing time to get the work done for both vkd3d (the Direct3D 12 to Vulkan layer) and radv (the AMD Mesa Vulkan driver). As an NVIDIA GPU owner, this makes me quite jealous as it seems my only other current choice on Linux is Stadia or GeForce NOW (unofficially – until later in 2021).

      • Updated SDL to 2.0.14 in preparation for release candidate
      • SDL 2.0.14 Being Prepared With OS/2 Support, PS5 DualSense + Xbox Series X Controllers – Phoronix

        A new SDL2 library release is being prepared for this widely-used, cross-platform abstraction layer popular with games for supporting a wide range of input devices / peripherals and other vast subsystem coverage in a portable manner.

      • Watch: Cyberpunk 2077 Running on Arch Linux

        Cyberpunk 2077 launched today on Steam, but it’s a Windows-only game. However, Valve was quick to update their Wine-based Proton compatibility tool for Steam Play to add support for Linux systems.

        Therefore, to run Cyberpunk 2077 on Linux you would need to have Proton 5.13-4 installed on your GNU/Linux distribution, along with the Mesa Git graphics stack, and an AMD Radeon GPU.

      • Cyberpunk 2077 Can Run On Linux With Steam Play’s Proton 5.13-4 – Phoronix

        In an unexpected but pleasant surprise, there is support in the just-released Proton 5.13-4 for this game set to be released tomorrow. Cyberpunk 2077 is an action role-playing game developed by CD Projekt and powered by their REDengine 4. This open-world game is releasing on Windows tomorrow (10 December) and will work in conjunction with this Wine downstream that powers Steam Play.

      • Cyberpunk 2077 Will Run on Linux via Steam Play

        In a surprising turn of events, Cyberpunk 2077 will be playable thru Steam Play on Linux operating systems starting tomorrow. This is all made possible thru Steam’s Proton compatibility layer which allows Windows-based games to run on Linux. Phoronix spotted Cyberpunk 2077 support in an update for Proton, version 5.13-4 which was made specifically to add support for the hot new game.

        The only requirements are an AMD Radeon graphics card, a Steam copy of the game (obviously), and the Mesa 20.1 git (Mesa is an open-source implementation for APIs like OpenCL and Vulkan). To see what’s recommended for best performance, check out our list of Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements, but note that you won’t want to use an Nvidia card.

    • Distributions

      • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 153 available for testing

        I hope everyone is doing well during lockdown. For those of you, who have some spare time, we would be glad if you could help us testing the next version of IPFire. It comes with many exciting changes…

        The location database has received significant updates that improve its accuracy. This was possible by importing more data into it and correlating it with existing data from other sources.

        We have also improved performance of loading data from the database into the kernel for firewall rules which removes a class of issues where IP addresses could have matched more than one country.

      • BSD

        • macOS to FreeBSD migration a.k.a why I left macOS

          I think the title tells a lot about the story I’m going to tell you.

          This is not a technical documentation for how I migrated from macOS to FreeBSD. This is a high-level for why I migrated from macOS to FreeBSD.

          Not so long ago, I was using macOS as my daily driver. The main reason why I got a macbook was the underlying BSD Unix and the nice graphics it provides. Also, I have an iPhone. But they were also the same reasons for why I left macOS.

        • Fiddling with OpenBSD ports

          This has been a good learning experience. I don’t think I’ll ever be packaging anything myself but I have a better idea now of what goes on behind the scenes. I did want to package TailScale for OpenBSD at some point, maybe if I have free time in the future I’ll give it a shot as a learning exercise. At this point I’ve worked my way backwards to understand what’s happening, if I ever package something I’ll have to work forwards – which is an even bigger task.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CentOS’s switch to Stream is a major change in what CentOS is

          The switch to CentOS Stream makes two major changes to what CentOS is from CentOS 8 onward (CentOS 7 is currently unaffected). First, it shortens the package update period to no more than five years, because package updates for the CentOS Stream version of RHEL stop at the end of RHEL’s five year full support period. In practice CentOS Stream for is not likely to be immediately available when RHEL is launched, and you won’t install it immediately even if it was, so you will get less than five years of package updates before you must switch or operate machines without someone providing security updates for you.

        • Jonathan Carter: CentOS Stream, or Debian?

          Earlier this week, the CentOS project announced the shift to CentOS stream. In a nutshell, this means that they will discontinue being a close clone of RHEL along with security updates, and instead it will serve as a development branch of RHEL.

          As you can probably imagine (or gleam from the comments in that post I referenced), a lot of people are unhappy about this.

          [...]

          I’m also somewhat skeptical of how successful CentOS Stream will really be in any form of a community project. It seems that Red Hat is expecting that volunteers should contribute to their product development for free, and then when these contributors actually want to use that resulting product, they’re expected to pay a corporate subscription fee to do so. This seems like a very lop-sided relationship to me, and I’m not sure it will be sustainable in the long term. In Red Hat’s announcement of CentOS Stream, they kind of throw the community a bone by saying “In the first half of 2021, we plan to introduce low- or no-cost programs for a variety of use cases”- it seems likely that this will just be for experimental purposes similar to the Windows Insider program and won’t be of much use for production users at all.

          Red Hat does point out that their Universal Base Image (UBI) is free to use and that users could just use that on any system in a container, but this doesn’t add much comfort to the individuals and organisations who have contributed huge amounts of time and effort to CentOS over the years who rely on a stable, general-purpose Linux system that can be installed on bare metal.

        • CentOS Linux is dead—and Red Hat says Stream is “not a replacement”

          On Tuesday, Red Hat CTO Chris Wright and CentOS Community Manager Rich Bowen each announced a massive change in the future and function of CentOS Linux. Moving forward, there will be no CentOS Linux—instead, there will (only) be CentOS Stream.

          Originally announced in September 2019, CentOS Stream serves as “a rolling preview of what’s next in RHEL”—it’s intended to look and function much like a preview of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as it will be a year or so in the future.

          • CentOS Linux reborn as Rocky Linux enterprise operating system

            As you know, Red Hat and IBM shocked the Linux community by killing CentOS 8 stable. There will be no CentOS Linux. Red Hat announced that there would be only CentOS Stream, which will act as a rolling version, and it will be used as next RHEL. Now we have a possible alternative called Rocky Linux.

            I think Red Hat/IBM underestimated the Linux community. Did they believe they will get away with a significant change? How did they not see this coming? I think IBM and Red Hat no longer care about opensource. They went ahead and removed much stuff from the CentOS wiki too.

      • CentOS Changes to CentOS Stream, Moving to UNSTABLE

        CentOS has officially made the statement that they will be changing direction and be basing their project on RHEL’s unstable branch for the foreseeable future and will ditch any “lifelong” support as previously “promised”.

        This is all literally a business move on the folks who own Red Hat now—who also own CentOS.

        All I can say is GOOOODD LUCCCCKKKK.

      • Updated IBM Cloud Essentials training course now available

        The latest version of the online IBM Cloud Essentials course is now available. Through the activities of this free course, you learn about the many offerings and services on IBM Cloud that make it the most open and secure public cloud for business.

      • New features and storage options in Red Hat Integration Service Registry 1.1 GA

        This article introduces new storage installation options and features in the Red Hat Integration service registry. The service registry component is based on Apicurio. You can use it to store and retrieve service artifacts such as OpenAPI specifications and AsyncAPI definitions, and for schemas such as Apache Avro, JSON, and Google Protobuf. We’ve provided Red Hat Integration’s Service Registry 1.1 component as a general availability (GA) release in Red Hat Integration 2020-Q4.

      • Public-Key Cryptography Standard (PKCS) #11 v 3.0 has been released: What is it, and what does it mean for RHEL?

        The PKCS #11 standard specifies a generalized loadable cryptographic API which allows third parties to supply cryptographic implementations which can be used by our security libraries and applications. The standard supports loading more than one module, so that applications can use more than one PKCS #11 module at once.

        PKCS #11 was developed in 1994 as part of the RSA PKCS standards, used to bootstrap security protocols and standards. In 2012, RSA turned the standard over to the OASIS PKCS #11 working group, which released the first new version of the standard in 2015. Since it’s release, PKCS #11 has been used in both open source and closed source environments.

        In RHEL 8.0, PKCS #11 became the main medium to access cryptographic hardware operations from our applications. Our core crypto components (OpenSSL, NSS, gnutls), and their dependent applications (e.g., Apache httpd) take advantage of PKCS #11 driver modules to support cryptographic hardware from hardware security modules (HSM)s, that are mostly applicable to server applications like httpd, to smart cards, applicable in applications like Firefox.

    • Debian Family

      • KDE/Plasma and Cinnamon updates in Debian | There and back again

        So here we go, two desktop environments got updates in Debian/experimental. A few days ago I have updated all the Cinnamon related packages to the latest release 4.8, and yesterday I have uploaded KDE/Plasma packages of 5.20.4. This brings my two favorite desktop environments up to upstream release in Debian.

      • Pogo

        Pogo – A fast and minimalist audio player for Linux. It groups tracks by album, which uses less space and simplifies rearranging your playlist. Pogo does not organize your tracks in a music library and does not stream or download tracks. Therefore, it is best suited for people who store their tracks by album and want a simple way of playing them. Pogo allows you to quickly search for music on local drives and in the playlist. It also features an equalizer and displays covers and desktop notifications.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

      • Snaps: How we got here | Ubuntu

        I’m celebrating nine years at Canonical, and coming up on 15 years since I started contributing to Ubuntu in the community. It’s been quite the ride, helping build, support and advocate for the most popular Linux desktop, and most used Linux distribution in the cloud.

        Over those years, we’ve strived to make it easy for users to get the latest software onto their Linux systems. We had a couple of interesting diversions along the way, but our destination has always been bringing the best of Linux and the Open Source community to desktop, cloud, server, and more recently mobile and IoT.

        Let’s take a look back and retrospect how we got where we are.

  • Devices/Embedded

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Set up a hyperconverged infrastructure with open source tools

      A modern infrastructure’s needs are ever-growing. As demand grows for scaling up applications, our existing servers and storage are no longer enough. This is the point when most businesses look at setting up a virtualized environment on-premises or turning to public cloud infrastructure. But the cost of setting up your own environment or running it on the public cloud can be daunting.

      Fortunately, it is entirely possible to run a full-featured virtualization environment with completely open source products without burning a hole in your pocket.

      A hyperconverged environment is one where compute, storage, and network resources are all on the same servers, managed by a single interface. As I will show in this article, you can run a full-featured virtualized infrastructure with optimal use of servers by using oVirt and Gluster to deploy a hyperconverged solution.

    • Web Browsers

      • New Release: Tor Browser 10.0.6

        Tor Browser 10.0.6 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

        This version brings back a functioning meek bridge, and also allows users to automatically get bridges within Tor Browser again.

      • Chromium

      • Mozilla

        • Mozilla reports $338M revenue spike from settlement over Yahoo contract

          According to the 2019 financial statement released by the maker of the Firefox browser, Mozilla posted $338 million as “Other revenue,” a new line item that had not appeared in prior years’ reporting. Elsewhere, Mozilla implicitly tied that amount to an earlier contract with Yahoo, which was purchased by Verizon in 2017.

          “In CY ((calendar year)) 2019, Mozilla Corporation generated $465M from royalties, subscriptions and advertising revenue, excluding one-time litigation settlement revenue,” wrote Angela Plohman and Roxi Wen, Mozilla’s executive vice president and CFO, respectively, in a post to the company’s website.

        • Mozilla teams up with Twitter, Automattic, and Vimeo to provide recommendations on EU content responsibility

          The European Commission will soon unveil its landmark Digital Services Act draft law, that will set out a vision for the future of online content responsibility in the EU. We’ve joined up with Twitter, Auttomattic, and Vimeo to provide recommendations on how the EU’s novel proposals can ensure a more thoughtful approach to addressing illegal and harmful content in the EU, in a way that tackles online harms while safeguarding smaller companies’ ability to compete.

        • Leading with Data – Cascading Metrics

          It’s surprisingly hard to lead a company with data. There’s a lot written about how to set good goals and how to avoid common pitfalls (like Surrogation) but I haven’t seen much written about the practicalities of taking action on these metrics.

          I spent most of this year working with our executive team to understand our corporate goals and to track our progress against these goals. I found that setting rock-solid goals didn’t do much good if individual employees didn’t know how they could contribute.

          The big and ambitious goals we set for our company as a whole can be overwhelming to a single employee. It’s hard to know where to start, so instead, overwhelmed employees go back to whatever they were working on before. We have to do more if we want to create behavior change and get everyone working toward the same goal.

          [...]

          Firefox is losing users. We have been for a while. Obviously, we want to turn this around. We started by setting a goal for 2020: Slow the loss of Firefox users.

        • TenFourFox Development: Floodgap downtime fixed

          I assume some of you will have noticed that Floodgap was down for a couple of days — though I wouldn’t know, since it wasn’t receiving E-mail during the downtime. Being 2020 the problem turned out to be a cavalcade of simultaneous major failures including the complete loss of the main network backbone’s power supply. Thus is the occasional “joy” of running a home server room. It is now on a backup rerouted supply while new parts are ordered and all services including TenFourFox and gopher.floodgap.com should be back up and running. Note that there will be some reduced redundancy until I can effect definitive repairs but most users shouldn’t be affected.

        • Mozilla moves out of Mountain View
    • FSF

      • The road to software freedom is paved with licensing

        For many people, the path towards software freedom begins with a single program. They may not even know what free software is; they may just need a tool or a program to do a particular job. But in their search for that tool, the Free Software Directory, which is one of the key resources run by the Licensing and Compliance Lab, can often be a starting point for a much larger journey.

        The Directory catalogues over 16,000 free software packages. Users can find free software packages for almost any activity, from playing games and reading books, to software libraries and developer tools. Every entry in the Directory is meticulously vetted by volunteers and FSF staff to ensure that users have the freedom to run, modify, copy, and share their modified versions of the work. Millions of users have visited the Directory looking for a particular piece of software, and upon finding it, have been introduced to the wider world of software freedom.

        While the Directory already acts as a great starting point for many on their free software journey, there’s so much more we can still do. We want to make it easier for people, once introduced to free software, to likewise help introduce others. We need resources and financial support for staff in order to organize and mentor volunteers to help us keep those thousands of entries up to date, and to write code to automate various kinds of imports and entry updates to help keep everything current, and so we can add thousands more.

        The Directory is one of the best tools that we have for showing what is possible with free software, but we need your help to reach millions more.

      • GNU Projects

        • GNU/Bash 5.1 released with the random ${SRANDOM} number engine

          Current GNU/Bash maintainer Chet Ramey announced the latest major release, Bash 5.1, on December 7th, 2020. Bash is the default shell on many Linux distros and popular among developers, especially those working with Linux containers. It is the fifth major release of bash. It came with a new enhanced random number generation and added a new variable called SRANDOM. Let us see how to install and use newly released GNU/BASH 5.1 on Linux.

          [...]

          Apart from enhanced random number generation and added a new variable called $SRANDOM in GNU/Bash 5.1, we see many other minor enhancements. Head over to the GNU bash project homepage to grab the latest software.

        • Recutils, GOOPS and virtual slots

          Writing Guile bindings for C libraries is seriously fun. As recutils is becoming popular in GNU, I thought it would be a fun idea to write Guile bindings for librec, the library powering recutils. Consequently, we are also thinking about adding Guile scripting to recutils.

        • The Official Gnu Package Behistun – Renamed behistun (previously gbehistun)

          Gnu Behintun (gbehistun) was originally planned as a tool for geophysical analysis. Major decisions about Gnu Behistun have been made since that time. The first change was the development of the Gunga Din Software, that has today been incorporated into the Official Behistun Package.

      • Licensing/Legal

        • We Love GPLv3, but are Switching License to Apache 2.0: TerminusDB

          We have decided to re-license TerminusDB from GPLv3 to Apache 2.0. We want independent software developers (ISVs) to embed TerminusDB in their applications and those developers feel that Apache is a lower risk option. The substantive points of practical difference are far less important – sufficient people believe it to be true and sufficient lawyers have advised teams to be wary of GPL.

          In our experience, ISVs and devs in large companies/institutions size up their options at project conception and there remains a niggling doubt that ‘GPL might limit commercial prospects and cause me headaches’. The world has changed – and code freedom is being overtaken by developer freedom.

    • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Open Access/Content

        • High APCs Are A Feature, Not A Bug

          There has been some outrage at the announcement that Nature is following through with their 2004 declaration of charging ~10k ($/€) in article processing charges (APCs). However, not only have these charges been 16 years in the making but the original declaration was made not on some obscure blog, but at a UK parliamentary inquiry. So nobody could rightfully claim that we couldn’t have seen this development coming from miles away.

    • Programming/Development

      • Laravel Holiday Giveaway – Laravel News

        Hard to believe that another year is coming to a close, and what a year it has been. Let’s face it, for most of us, 2020 has been a complete dumpster fire.

        That’s why this year I’ve decided to step things up with the annual giveaway that I organize. This is the third or fourth year that I’ve run a holiday giveaway. There are a lot of reasons why I do it. I feel so privileged and lucky to be a part of this community that has given me so much.

      • What is functional programming? – O’Reilly

        I’m not thinking of any specific branch of mathematics. Yes, the Lambda Calculus has significant ties to set theory, logic, category theory, and many other branches of mathematics. But let’s start with grade school mathematics and assignment statements; they’re basic to any programming language.

      • retvals, terrible teaching, and admitting we have a problem

        Sometimes, my older posts find a new set of readers and generate a whole new round of interest. The whole “fork() can fail” thing from August 2014 did this earlier this year. It’s over six years old but is still just as valid as ever. It still brings out THE ONE in certain venues, too.

        Let’s talk about what’s going on here. The fundamental situation is that we have a library call that eventually does some sort of system call, and that system call can fail. It’s actually kind of interesting, given that fork-the-library-call might call fork-the-syscall. It’s just as likely that it’ll call clone() instead, especially on Linux with glibc in the past, what, 15 or so years.

      • Perl/Raku

      • Python

        • Python String replace() Function – Linux Hint

          String replacement is often essential. If you want to replace any string or word in your program, then one option is to manually check the whole program and replace each string with the desired string. Python also provides a built-in replace() function for string replacement. The Python replace() function does not replace the actual string, but it makes a copy of the string, and replaces instances of the specified string with the new string. This article shows you how to use the replace() function in Python.

        • How to Fix json.loads Unexpected UTF-8 BOM Error in Python

          In Python, You will get an error while retrieving the data from any 3rd party API request. In fact, when response content converts to JSON format using json.loads method, it throws an json.decoder.JSONDecodeError: Unexpected UTF-8 BOM error. In this article we are going to see how to fix json.loads() Unexpected UTF-8 BOM error in Python.

          How to Fix json.loads Unexpected UTF-8 BOM error in Python. We have seen solutions to fix Unexpected UTF-8 BOM errors when using json.loads in Python.

      • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • That Gospel Spiel

      I picture you, years from any now, playing table tennis with your partner at some schmaltzy kibbutz by the wind-pressed sea, paddle-swiping at the butterfly ball, olives plumping on background branches — distractions in the breeze — while old men kvetch over coffee tables like Hasidic Prufrocks, their peachy days behind them, and grand children gallop in the surf and throw apples at the pulsing sun You miss and miss the ball and your partner laughs, white picket teeth, at your energy and light, against a sky you think gratuitously blue and bright — some stained glass scented memory with a kind of abstract hope painted into it, and you standing there arms akimbo, a masterpiece just waiting to dance, Mona Lisa at the prom, “Game,” he says, like some pick-up line at the punch bowl.

    • Black Dirt Farm Collective: Building a Self-Sufficient Community

      This interview with the Maryland-based collective’s shakara tyler and Blain Snipstal is the second in a series highlighting grassroots organizations working, or seeking to work, outside a reliance on wealthy donors. It has been edited for length and clarity.

      What is the Black Dirt Farm Collective ?

    • What I Learned Moving Cross-Country Twice in 4 Months

      On the road, and home again—It was June, three months into the pandemic, and I was stranded on Interstate 80 a few hours outside of Salt Lake City when I started to think that all of this was maybe a bad idea. Something had happened miles ahead, and both lanes of westbound traffic were at a standstill. Ten minutes ticked by. Then 20. People turned off their engines, climbed out of their cars, and started stretching. I’d been in rapid, manic motion for weeks.

    • Imagine, Still
    • Identity is a Katamari, language is a Katamari explosion — DustyCloud Brainstorms

      There is a curious, surreal, delightful (and proprietary, sorry) game, Katamari Damacy. It has a silly story, but the interesting thing here is the game mechanic, involving rolling around a ball-like thing that picks up objects and grows bigger and bigger kind of like a snowball. It has to be seen or played to really be understood.

      This ball-like thing is called a “Katamari Damacy”, or “soul clump”, which is extra appropriate for our mental model. As it rolls around, it picks up smaller objects and grows bigger. The ball at the center is much like an identifier. But over time that identifier becomes obscured, it picks up things, which in the game are physical objects, but these metaphorically map to “associations”.

      Our identity-katamari changes over time. It grows and picks up associations. Sometimes you forget something you’ve picked up that’s in there, it’s buried deep (but it’s wiggling around in there still and you find out about it during some conversation with your therapist). Over time the katamari picks up enough things that it is obscured. Sometimes there are collisions, you smash it into something and some pieces fly out. Oh well, don’t worry about it. They probably weren’t meant to be.

    • Science

    • Hardware

      • RISC vs. CISC

        For the last decade or more the debate has seemed frozen, with the CISC x86 architecture dominating the server and desktop markets, while the RISC ARM architecture dominated the mobile market. But two recent developments are shaking things up. Below the fold, some discussion.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple’s Failure To Ensure Backwards Compatibility In Big Sur Leaves Developers Quite Sour

          When there’s a major OS upgrade, like Apple’s recent Big Sur MacOS release, you would hope that an effort was made to ensure backwards compatibility with key apps and services. However, it’s now become clear that Apple failed to do so, and a variety of different developers across a variety of different applications have had to scramble over the last few weeks to update their apps just to keep working on the latest version of MacOS. It’s always understandable that a few apps may fall through the cracks, but with Big Sur, it’s notable just how widespread the reports are of compatibility problems, and just how much scrambling app developers had to do just to make sure their apps continued working. Here are just a few reports of such problems from across the internet.

        • Govt lagging badly on cyber-security measures, Labor says

          Only a quarter of Commonwealth entities have implemented the top four cyber security measures recommended by the Australian Signals Directorate six years after they became mandatory, an auditor’s report says.

        • German Court Orders Encrypted Email Service Tutanota To Backdoor One Account

          A legal requirement to add backdoors to encrypted systems for “lawful access” has been discussed for many years. Last month, the EU became the latest to insist that tech companies should just nerd harder to reconcile the contradictory demands of access and security. That’s still just a proposal, albeit a dangerous one, since it comes from the EU Council of Ministers, one of the region’s more powerful bodies. However, a court in Germany has decided it doesn’t need to wait for EU legislation, and has ordered the encrypted Web-email company Tutanota to insert a backdoor into its service (original in German). The order, from a court in Cologne, is surprising, because it contradicts an earlier decision by the court in Hanover, capital of the German state of Lower Saxony, and Tutanota’s home town. The Hanover court based its ruling on a judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the EU’s highest court. In 2019, the CJEU said that:

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Google’s secretive Fuchsia OS is open for contributions

              Google’s super secret, experimental in-development operating system, Fuchsia, is still alive. Google recently put out a blog post titled “Expanding Fuchsia’s open source model” announcing that the company is now accepting public contributions and bug fixes for whatever this OS ends up being. There is now a public mailing list, a public bug tracker, and even a roadmap.

              Google says it has “been developing Fuchsia in the open, in our git repository for the last four years.” That’s not quite how I would describe the development process. After we compiled Fuchsia and got it running on a Pixelbook, the Fuchsia team scrubbed the repo of the user interface. I would guess Fuchsia has a similar setup to Android, with a public-facing repository full of the bits Google is willing to disclose, and a private repo where all the interesting stuff happens. Either that or Google has done zero interface work in the last two years, and Fuchsia development is slower than anyone was expecting—I don’t see any user interface code in the repo. There is a public bug tracker, but many of the bugs are labeled “Restrict-View-Google” and are not visible to non-employees.

            • Google is still making its mysterious Fuchsia OS, and now it wants your help

              It’s been over four years since we first found out that Google is developing a new operating system called Fuchsia. It’s unique because it’s not based on a Linux kernel; instead, it uses a microkernel called Zircon. It’s also unique because, despite being developed “in the open” on publicly browsable repositories, nobody really understands what the OS is for, and Google executives have been remarkably coy about it all.

              Today, that mix of trends continues as the company announces that it’s opening up a little more by asking for more public contributors from outside its organization. Google says it has “created new public mailing lists for project discussions, added a governance model to clarify how strategic decisions are made, and opened up the issue tracker for public contributors to see what’s being worked on.”

            • Google Pushing Fuchsia OS to Public Open Source

              For four years, not that much has been known about the Fuchsia platform by Google. It just appeared with no explanation. The world is about to learn more about it. Google announced it is expanding the open source Fuchsia platform, making it public, and inviting contributions.

              [...]

              In this week’s announcement, Google explained, “Starting today, we are expanding Fuchsia’s open source model to make it easier for the public to engage with the project. We have created new public mailing lists for project discussions, added a governance model to clarify how strategic decisions are made and opened up the issue tracker for public contributors to see what’s being worked on.”

              The company added that “as an open source effort, we welcome high-quality, well-tested contributions from all. There is now a process to become a member to submit patches or a committer with full write access.”

              Along with welcoming contributions to the open source project, Google is also “publishing a technical roadmap for Fuchsia to provide better insights for project direction and priorities. Some of the highlights of the roadmap are working on a driver framework for updating the kernel independently of the drivers, improving file systems for performance, and expanding the input pipeline for accessibility.”

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation’s ACRN Hypervisor Achieves First Commercial Product Integration with TTTech Industrial

                IoT Solutions provider TTTech Industrial today is launching the first commercial product based on the Linux Foundation’s ACRN™ hypervisor for the industrial market. With the latest release of its Nerve Blue industrial edge computing platform, TTTech Industrial is making ACRN 2.0 available to customers in a commercial, fully supported software solution that runs on a variety of Intel processors in an array of industrial applications. ACRN Project members include ADLINK, Aptiv, Intel Corporation, LGE and Neusoft Corporation.

              • Linux Foundation’s ACRN Hypervisor Debuts On Nerve Blue Industrial Edge Platform

                TTTech Industrial has announced the first commercial product based on the Linux Foundation’s ACRN hypervisor for the industrial market.

                With the latest release of its Nerve Blue industrial edge computing platform, TTTech Industrial is making ACRN 2.0 available to customers in a commercial, fully supported software solution that runs on a variety of Intel processors in an array of industrial applications.

              • Open source ACRN hypervisor debuts on an industrial edge platform

                TTTech’s Linux-based “Nerve Blue’” industrial edge computing platform is the first commercial implementation of the open source ACRN hypervisor. Nerve Blue includes a node stack that runs on Intel based systems plus a cloud management stack.

                TTTech Industrial has launched the first commercial product built around ACRN, the Linux Foundation’s lightweight hypervisor for safety critical embedded applications. The Nerve Blue platform uses ACRN 2.0 “to run PLC software for controlling high-speed machine functions alongside other less time-sensitive software applications on the same hardware platform,” says the Linux Foundation.

                The Linux-based Nerve Blue is available now on systems will Intel Apollo Lake and 8th Gen Whiskey Lake processors. In early 2021, support will be added for Elkhart Lake (Atom x6000E).

              • The Linux Foundation is getting into the access management game

                To bolster trust and security in online transactions, the Linux Foundation (LF) has announced a new cloud-native identity and access management project.

                In a press release, LF argues that online trust is essential to a digital society and with the new initiative it “seeks to tackle the most challenging security and performance requirements.”

                The project, christened Janssen, is based on the well-known open source access management platform, Gluu server, and inherits its set of signing and encryption features.

              • Linux Foundation launches Janssen project to rebuild online trust with cloud IAM platform | Biometric Update

                The Janssen Project has been launched by the Linux Foundation to develop a cloud native identity and access management software platform prioritizing security and performance, based on Gluu Server.

                The platform is conceived of as benefiting from robust signing and encryption functionalities to address the fundamental challenge of online trust.

              • For the love of open source: Why developers work on Linux and open-source software | ZDNet

                The myth of the open-source developer is they’re unemployed young men coding away in basements. The truth is different. The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Security Foundation (OSSF) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) new survey, Report on the 2020 FOSS Contributor Survey, found a significant number of women developers, with the plurality of programmers in their 30s, and the majority are working full-time jobs with an annual average pay rate of $123,000.

        • Security

          • Analysis of the RECON/Attack Surface Management Space

            To me, the two questions for a potential user—or investor—of these spaces are:

            If you can answer those questions you’re doing pretty well.

          • EFF at 30: Saving Encryption, with Technologist Bruce Schneier

            To celebrate 30 years of defending online freedom, EFF invited author, security technologist, and EFF board member Bruce Schneier to discuss the future of the “Crypto Wars.” This epic battle, raging since the 1990s, pits privacy and security advocates against the U.S. government in a fight over encryption. Governments around the world have grown evermore keen to weaken encryption and acquire backdoor access to private devices and Internet communications.

            Killing the EARN IT Act and protecting encryption is top of EFF’s agenda.

            EFF has adamantly defended encryption and its widespread use from the early days of Bernstein v. US Department of Justice, the case that established that software source code was speech protected by the First Amendment. This technology paved the way for ecommerce, rising social movements around the world, and your ability to have a private conversation in an increasingly online world.

          • Episode 235 – Door 10: Deciding what information matters – Open Source Security

            Josh and Kurt talk about Apple leaking internal IP addresses. Sometimes we create our own emergencies over things that don’t matter.

          • Bug could expose patient data from GE medical imaging devices, researchers warn

            Security researchers have discovered a software vulnerability that could allow an attacker to steal sensitive patient data handled by X-ray, MRI machines and other medical devices made by General Electric. All told, the issue affects more than 100 models of devices, according to CyberMDX, the medical security company that publicly disclosed the vulnerability on Tuesday.

          • FireEye break-in: Mandia has forgotten that charity begins at home

            Whenever FireEye, the cyber security firm that just had its crown jewels compromised, publishes a report on some activity by malicious attackers, it always issues a judgment on where they come from – with high confidence most of the time.

          • Adobe Releases Final Flash Player Update: How to Uninstall Flash in Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome

            Adobe released the final Flash Player update on December 8 and urged users to uninstall the program as it ends its support for on yearend.

            According to Tech Radar, the update is called AIR 32, which seemed like a sendoff to the software that has been a vital part in web content, animation, audio, and video creation. It remained afloat since its launch in 1996, but its continuing drop in users led to Adobe’s decision to stop the software.

          • Adobe just released the last Flash update ever

            Adobe has released the final scheduled update to its Flash Player plugin, weeks before Flash’s official retirement. As noted on Adobe’s site, yesterday marked the last update for Flash outside mainland China, which has a separate version of the software. Adobe will stop supporting Flash on December 31st, 2020, and it will block Flash content from running on January 12th, 2021.

          • NZ financial strategies provider hit by Windows NetWalker ransomware

            New Zealand retirement and financial strategies provider Staircase appears to have taken a hit from cyber criminals using the Windows NetWalker ransomware.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • DHS Inspector General Is Going To Take A Look At The DHS’s Purchase Of Cell Location Data From Data Brokers

              DHS components are buying up cell location data from third parties to track down undocumented immigrants and whoever else ICE and CBP might be interested in. The IRS is doing the same thing. So is the Department of Defense.

            • Senators Express Privacy Concerns Over Proctoring Apps

              The product is surveillance. There is no improving it.

              EFF agrees that these apps pose a serious danger to students’ privacy. Surveillance shouldn’t be a prerequisite for an education. Proctoring apps use monitoring techniques to supposedly determine whether a student is cheating–but in the process, they force students to surrender sensitive biometric information and video recordings of their private spaces. These apps invade students’ biometric and data privacy, and exacerbate existing inequities in educational outcomes, especially for Black students.

              While safeguarding student data and improving equity in educational tools are laudable goals, there is a far deeper and more sinister issue at play here—there is a growing student surveillance ecosystem, even beyond these proctoring apps. Other tools that are gaining popularity with school administrations include facial recognition software and applications that monitor student social media activity, such as Bark, Social Sentinel, and GoGuardian. Cloud-based educational platforms and school-provided devices often collect far more information on students than is necessary, store this information indefinitely, and sometimes even upload it to the cloud automatically. Taken as a whole, these apps normalize and codify the use of surveillance in schools. And remote proctoring apps aren’t just being used at the college level–some companies offer their services to high schools, too.

            • Medlemsmøte 2020-12-08: Monopoly, Not Mind Control: What’s Really Happening With “Surveillance Capitalism”

              Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and the claim that Big Tech can use big data to bypass our cognitive faculties is a doozy. Whether the claim is being made by big tech or its critics, it’s pretty thin, and if you’re a tech critic, it’s a kind of backhanded compliment: even if Big Tech is being run by evil geniuses, at least they’re still geniuses.

              There’s a more parsimonious explanation: Big Tech are mediocre monopolists, engaged in the same deep-pocketed moneyball that allowed their robber-baron forebears to corner entire sectors of the economy. If that’s true, then we have a range of options that don’t require safeguarding the alleged mind-control rays hidden in their data centers.

              Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist and journalist. He is the author of many books, most recently RADICALIZED and WALKAWAY, science fiction for adults; HOW TO DESTROY SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM, nonfiction about monopoly and conspiracy which is now available in Norwegian; IN REAL LIFE, a graphic novel; and the picture book POESY THE MONSTER SLAYER. His latest book is ATTACK SURFACE, a standalone adult sequel to LITTLE BROTHER.

            • Huawei and 5G Explained

              Canada, unlike its closest intelligence and military allies, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and United States of America (i.e., countries that collectively comprise the ‘Five Eyes’), has yet to make a firm decision about whether Huawei’s 5G products will be permitted, partially permitted, or fully banned from Canadian telecommunications providers’ networks. In the absence of a decision, all major Canadian telecommunications providers have focused on predominantly purchasing 5G equipment from Ericson and Nokia. In November 2020, the Canadian parliament passed a non-binding resolution that called on the Government of Canada to come to a decision about whether to ban or permit Huawei equipment in private companies’ networks, with a decision expected in December or January.

            • Facebook Risks Instagram-WhatsApp Breakup in Antitrust Case

              The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general led by New York said they filed antitrust complaints against Facebook Wednesday, alleging the company stifled competition from rivals in order to protect its monopoly in social media. The lawsuits seek court orders unwinding Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp, according to copies of the complaints provided by the states and the FTC.

            • Scoop: WhatsApp goes after Apple over privacy label requirements

              Facebook’s global messaging service WhatsApp is protesting Apple’s requirement that app owners submit information about the user data they collect for use in new privacy labels coming to Apple’s app store.

              The state of play: WhatsApp says that the provision is anti-competitive because Apple’s own encrypted messaging service, Messages, is preinstalled on iPhones and doesn’t need to be downloaded from Apple’s app store, where the privacy labels are now required.

            • Hiding Malware in Social Media Buttons

              The syntax for hiding the skimmer’s source code as a social media button perfectly mimics an ‘svg’ element named using social media platform names (e.g., facebook_full, twitter_full, instagram_full, youtube_full, pinterest_full, and google_full).

            • The Risks of Discrimination of Biometric Mass Surveillance – Watch the Recording

              Throughout the European Union, governments are experimenting with highly intrusive systems of facial recognition and other biometric mass surveillance in public spaces. At the same time, there has been a global uproar against the usage of these technologies due to their alarming consequences for fundamental rights, fuelling mass surveillance and racial discrimination. In the united states, lawmakers have already started to impose strong legislations that ban the use of these technologies.

              The Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament therefore calls on the European Commission to equally acknowledge the adverse effect of biometric surveillance methods on our fundamental rights, and to impose a ban of biometric mass surveillance technologies in the European Union.

              Together with international experts, we discussed the harmful effects of biometric mass surveillance and the ways through which these technologies amplify racial discrimination and exclusion in our societies.

            • The Intercept’s Silence About Edward Snowden’s Inclusion in Julian Assange’s Charges

              In short, having been alerted to the superseding indictment, The Intercept’s resident expert on hacking utterly dodged the allegations made in that expanded charge, not so much as mentioning what they were.

              At the time, I promised to return to Micah’s embarrassing piece after I finished some more pressing issues.

              It turns out, the problem at The Intercept is broader than just Micah’s piece.

              A recent post from Charles Glass suggests that if President Biden were to “remove the Espionage Act charges against Assange,” it would amount to the withdrawal of his extradition application entirely.

            • What apps and services did I pay for (and love) in 2020?

              TweetDelete: This is a bulk Tweet deletion service. I paid $10 in November 2019 and it’s now $15. One could argue this functionality should exist within Twitter. For free. And that no one should be on Twitter anyway. I agree with all of those points. I’ve been on Twitter since 2007 and while I’m not prolific, I don’t see the need to keep things up forever. I also now automatically purge Tweets after 90 days.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Our Real Security: Preventing a New Cold War with China

        Pressing for peaceful resolution of U.S.-China tensions in ways that provide mutual benefit for both sides and other Asia-Pacific nations needs to become a peace movement priority.

      • Biden’s Defense Secretary Pick Shows the Revolving Door for Military Contractors Remains

        Industry ties were simply taken for granted in Biden’s defense secretary sweepstakes.

      • Ilhan Omar Rips Congress for Approving $740.5 Billion Bill to ‘Appease Defense Contractors’ While Skimping on Covid Relief

        “It is unconscionable to pass a Pentagon budget that continues to fund unnecessary projects and endless wars during a time of widespread suffering across our country.”

      • Fighting and Writing Against America’s Forever Wars

        If you have a moment, how about joining two retired officers, Bill Astore and me, Danny Sjursen, as we think about this country’s catastrophic forever wars that, regardless of their deadly costs and lack of progress, never seem quite to end?

      • With Abortion Rights Under Attack, Activists Urge Biden to Strike Hyde Amendment
      • Biden Must Block Trump’s Arms Sale to the UAE

        The Senate is expected to vote this week on whether to block the Trump administration’s proposed $23 billion arms sale to the United Arab Emirates. Congressional action is unlikely to stop the deal, but it will bring the issue to the forefront for the incoming administration. Indeed, the UAE arms deal will pose the first major test of the new administration’s commitment to end military support for abusive governments in the Persian Gulf. The Biden administration must seize the opportunity to roll back a deal that would cause devastating harm to both the people in the Middle East and America’s standing in the region.

      • ‘Severe Blow to Iraqi Torture Survivors’: Despite Evidence of UK War Crimes, ICC Drops War Crimes Probe

        The decision “will doubtless fuel perceptions of an ugly double standard in justice: one approach to powerful states and quite another for those with less clout.”

      • Trump voters don’t really believe Biden stole the election — but they do want a coup

        Well, as the author of a book called “Troll Nation,” it’s clear where I stand: By and large, Republican voters who claim that Biden stole the election are arguing from bad faith, not delusion.

        This distinction is important because it shows that the intentions of Republican voters (and too many of their elected leaders) are sinister, and need to be taken seriously as an overt assault on democracy. Understanding modern politics means understanding one crucial reality about the current landscape: Conservatives don’t hold beliefs, they only have rationalizations.

      • Emmanuel Macron unveils a controversial bill to fight Islamism

        The new provisions, which will go through parliament in early 2021, include tight curbs on home-schooling (though not an effective ban, as originally promised). Parents will need to apply for permission to teach their children at home, and to justify it. The aim is to limit the use of home-schooling as a way to escape state oversight of radical Koranic teaching. Officials say they have uncovered such classes in some neighbourhoods.

      • Trump’s Last Gasp Is a Scheme to Disenfranchise 20,756,421 American Voters—and He’s Getting Help

        It is easy to laugh at the notion of buffoonish characters like Paxton and Trump calculating quadrillions. “I feel sorry for Texans that their tax dollars are being wasted on such a genuinely embarrassing lawsuit,” says Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel observes, “Mr. Paxton’s actions are beneath the dignity of the office of Attorney General and the people of the great state of Texas.” Yet Kaul, Nessel, and their colleagues in Pennsylvania and Georgia will mount necessary defenses of the results from their states.

        That is the right thing to do, as what Trump proposes is the ultimate voter suppression.

      • Remote-Control Killing: Iran Says Top Nuclear Scientist Assassinated By Gun Guided Via Satellite

        A machine gun equipped with a “satellite-controlled smart system” was used to kill Iran’s top nuclear scientist, a senior official with the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has said.

      • Tweet storm shows China aims to project power through provocation

        The CCP blocks Twitter for its citizens, but the country’s diplomats regularly use the platform to prosecute the party’s messages and narratives about topics including the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s economic recovery from the pandemic, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. They use it to address perceived double standards and slights.

      • France, Belgium and Austria Move into the Frontline of a Battle for the Soul of Islam

        The lobbying, emphasizing common interests in countering political Islam and Turkey, with which France is at odds in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean as well as on the issue of political Islam, aligned themselves neatly with Mr. Macron’s domestic and international agenda.

      • What happens to sexual abuse survivors after the headlines fade?

        It’s a scourge that never seems to stay out of the headlines for long: UN peacekeepers and aid workers accused of sexually abusing and exploiting women and children.

        Despite so-called “zero tolerance” policies and pledges from the UN and aid organisations to root out perpetrators, harrowing accounts from survivors keep surfacing, as we discovered in our recent investigation about how 50 women described being lured into sex-for-work schemes by aid workers during the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

        But what happens to survivors after the headlines fade?

        For many, justice has remained elusive, with cases either dismissed or still pending years later. For others, the stigma associated with the abuse, legal hurdles, and organisational lethargy has stood in the way of women seeking reparations. What can be done to help women find justice – however they define it? Can there be justice with continued impunity?

      • The New Humanitarian | COVID-19 fuels growing conflict and displacement in Colombia

        Even as the fourth anniversary of a landmark peace accord came and went in late November, conflict and extortion were driving rising numbers of people from their homes in Colombia’s most lawless regions.
        “There have been three major displacements in regions outside of the city since September,” journalist Éder Narváez Sierra told The New Humanitarian, flanked by two large state-provided bodyguards as he drank a coffee in a small bakery in Caucasia.
        The city is part of a conflict zone in Colombia’s northern Bajo Cauca region, where illegal mining, coca production, and extortion are the economic lifeblood of the rival armed groups whose violence and threats are behind the string of displacements.
        In September, 206 families were forced to flee to Caucasia from Cáceres, 38 kilometres away, following threats from Los Caparros, a criminal paramilitary “self-defense force” currently in conflict with two other armed groups in the region.
        On 18 November, another 70 people fled the same town when Los Caparros imposed an armed curfew in response to the death of one of its leaders at the hands of the Colombian military. Many of those affected came from Indigenous communities.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Govt Watchdog Group Gives Biden Blueprint to Rectify Trump’s “Transparency Abuses”

        “Don’t you wish you knew who visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago?”

      • YouTube Will Finally Start Removing Videos Falsely Claiming Donald Trump Won U.S. Election

        The [Internet]-video giant said it was taking the action now because Dec. 8 marked the safe-harbor deadline for the U.S. presidential election and that, at this point, enough states have certified Biden as president-elect to make the results indisputable. “Given that, we will start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. Presidential elections,” YouTube said in a blog post.

      • US election: YouTube to ban videos alleging widespread voter fraud

        The announcement comes after a “safe harbour” deadline – which sets a date by which states need to certify the results of the presidential election.

        “Yesterday was the safe harbour deadline for the US Presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect,” said YouTube.

        It also said that the move was in line with its historical approach to US presidential elections.

      • YouTube channels making money from ads, memberships amplify Trump voting fraud claims

        At least nine popular YouTube channels were promoting on Thursday debunked accusations about voting fraud in the U.S. presidential race, conspiratorial content that could jeopardize advertising and memberships revenue they get from the video service.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Anthropocene: Human-Made Materials Now Weigh as Much as All Living Biomass, Say Scientists

        The science-fiction scenario of an engineered planet is already here.

      • With Fudge’s Ohio Seat Opening, Progressives Say “Congresswoman Nina Turner Has a Nice Ring to It”

        “I’m a public servant through and through, but I’m just going to leave it there for now,” the former Bernie Sanders campaign co-chair coyly replied when asked if she will run. 

      • To Depose Liberalism’s Own ‘Prosperity Gospel’: A Modest Proposal

        Rabbi Lerner has my gratitude because I (we) live in a materialist culture in which dark feelings are unacceptable no matter what the time of year. Dominant, ruthless secularism is psycho-spiritual oppression, a major contributing cause of the spiritual sickness, prevailing weakness and lack of exuberant, resurgent energy in liberal society. Repressing and denying so much, it’s difficult to find energy leftover for imagining a common good. Easier to want nothing so grand as the utopian dream of community (radically inclusive enough to include oneself!); to instead, allow these ideals to remain abstract and impersonal, not blood-deep, and energizing. Easier, then, to vote for the lesser evil and fool yourself into believing it’s for the greater good.

        In previous years, he tells us, Rabbi Lerner has offered group counseling services for people suffering this malady. That such groups exist, fulfilling a need, provides evidence for his claim – the depression, though not supposed to be – is real.

      • Kremlin denies reports that Putin has two identical offices in Moscow and Sochi

        Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed reports that President Putin has secretly been working from two, identical offices (one near Moscow and one in Sochi) as “nonsense” and “not true.” In conversation with journalists on Wednesday, December 9, Peskov maintained that in his opinion, these reports have emerged as part of an “information attack” on the president.

      • In the End We Will All Pay for the Cowardice of the Liberal Class

        No one should take them seriously. They stand for nothing. They fight for nothing.

      • Obama’s Memoir Offers Insights Into Major Shortcomings

        With the possible exception of the memoir of President Ulysses Grant, there has never been a presidential memoir as useful or insightful as Barack Obama’s “The Promised Land.”  There has never been one more gracefully written than Obama’s.  Interestingly, he provides clues to the shortcomings of his performance that was successful in many ways but nevertheless disappointing to his devoted following.  And I’m proud to be part of that following.

        There’s a Sherlock Holmes’ novel that offers the clue of a dog that doesn’t bark.  Obama does the same in skirting those areas where he underperformed or even performed poorly.  His first cabinet selections in the field of national security was certainly one of those areas.  Obama offers one sentence on the selection of Marine general Jim Jones as a national security advisor, and another sentence on his resignation.  It would take an unusual general officer to perform the duties of national security adviser, and Jones was clearly not one of them.  One sentence is devoted to describing the appointment of Leon Panetta as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he was “captured” by the clandestine and operational personnel of the agency and performed poorly.  Therefore, it was surprising to find Panetta advancing to the more difficult position of secretary of defense in 2011, although unsurprising that he was similarly “captured” by the senior general officers of the Pentagon.

      • A Short Summary of the Election Fraud Grift

        Trump and right-wing media claim 2.7 million votes for Trump were changed to votes for Biden. It was pulled off using a secret server in a fortified, secret CIA computer outpost in Germany, not in Spain, as Trump attorney Sydney Powell first claimed. We know this because Gen. Jack D. Ripper, err, Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney (USAF Ret.) let us in on how the damning evidence was secured at a cost of Special Forces lives in a firefight with the CIA.

        “In addition, the U.S. special forces command seized a server farm in Frankfurt, Germany, because they were sending this data from those six states through the internet to Spain and then into Frankfurt, Germany. Special operation forces seized those, that facility, so they have those servers and they know all this data they are providing.

      • What Does the Esau Revolution Despise?

        If manipulation of information from Russia via social networking is “vote tampering”, then how much more vote tampering is elimination of an entire party from news stories and even from the ballot so that many voters are not aware of its existence? In all likelihood, efforts by the Democratic Party (DP) affected the mind-set of more voters than all the right-wing howls put together.

        Ballot Manipulation: Imagined and Real

      • “Voter Fraud” Conspiracies are a Fraud: 2020 Election Edition

        It shouldn’t need to be said, but the available evidence conclusively documents how voter fraud is exceedingly rare in U.S. elections. As one study from the Brennan Center for Justice summarizes: “most reported incidents of voter fraud are actually traceable to other sources, such as clerical errors or bad data matching practices,” while documented voter fraud ranges between .00003 to .0025 percent of votes cast in U.S. elections. Another academic study finds just 31 instances of voter fraud in more than a billion ballots cast in U.S. elections from 2000 to 2014.

        Regarding the 2020 election, even Republican-appointed judges and Republican state officials have rejected the Trump legal team’s and the president’s own personal demands that entire slates of Electoral College votes be handed to Trump due to alleged voter fraud, and contrary to the popular vote majorities in these states that went to Joe Biden. A sane observer would realize the absurdity of these fraud claims, particularly when they’re routinely rejected in case after case in courts of law, due to a total failure to present any systematic evidence of voter suppression or fabricated votes. Trump’s clumsy claims don’t pass the simplest of smell tests. Why if the Democrats were so incredibly effective in overturning popular pro-Trump majorities in state after state, were they so bad at cheating that they managed to lose nearly a dozen seats in the House of Representatives? And why did they fail to capture most seats in the Senate?

      • Think Tankers Against China: the Australian Strategic Policy Institute

        In conducting this exercise, accuracy can become the logical casualty. The security think tank often acts as an operational mercenary. The funders want advice that confirms and affirms a position; the advising think tank wants continued funding. Such a match is a poison for contrarian assessments. The think tank thereby operates in circles more reminiscent of astrology, seeing patterns where there are none, and impressing their funders that a threat exists on a scale not previously thought possible. This ensures more funding and future projects.

        The “China threat” presents one such moment. Analysts are hardly going to be wreathed and garlanded with praise for suggesting that the PRC, while being a disagreeable neighbour and sporting a terrible human rights record, is not quite the external threat it is made out to be. China is not Australia’s foe, despite efforts being made to paint it as such. Former Australian ambassador to Beijing Geoff Raby suggests a deep confusion in Canberra’s policy, unable to negotiate the line between “China as an enemy” and the sycophancy of “China tickle our tummies”.

      • Trump’s Backers Are Becoming More Violent. I Fear What Will Happen in January.
      • Lobbyist Fundraisers and GOP Foreign Agent Receive Key Appointments Under Trump
      • Fewer Than One-Quarter of GOP Voters Trust the Presidential Election Results
      • Georgia Senators Back Lawsuit Trying to Invalidate Their Own Constituents’ Votes
      • Georgia Moves to Shut Down Early Voting Sites Ahead of Senate Runoff
      • Progressives Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Fighting Biden’s Nominees

        Speaking on Monday at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit, Representative Cedric Richmond, recently recruited by the Biden transition team to become a top White House adviser as director of the Office of Public Engagement, assured the business elite that they would always enjoy the ear of the new administration. Asked how CEOs can get the White House to listen to them, Richmond said, “I hope to be that conduit straight into the White House.” He promised an “open-door policy.”

      • The Biden Administration: Who Will Hold the Power?

        All of these people – cabinet members, White House advisers, and special appointees who run task forces – formally answer to the president, but they work for the people, for you. This is where your power lies. Let’s make sure Biden’s appointees never forget who they work for.

      • ‘These Executions, Disturbing as They Are, Have Flown Largely Under the Radar’

        Janine Jackson interviewed  the Intercept’s Liliana Segura about Trump’s execution spree for the December 4, 2020, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • The Past and Future of the Left in the Democratic Party

        “We need to not ever use the word socialist or socialism ever again,” argued Representative Abigail Spanberger during a now-infamous House Democratic caucus call just two days after the 2020 general election. Spanberger, who just won a close reelection in Virginia, is one of several prominent moderates within the party who are blaming progressives and the left for why Democrats lost seats in the House of Representatives and failed to gain a majority in the Senate. Pennsylvania Representative Conor Lamb, who also survived a close race, is another. He concluded in a recent interview, “Moving forward, we can’t be talking about socialism and defunding the police. We need to talk about things people like the sound of, things we can get done.”

      • The Georgia GOP’s Fight Against Voter Registration

        It was shortly before noon on the Saturday before Election Day 2018. Polls showed Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams had a shot at becoming the governor of Georgia, which would have made her the first black woman to hold the office in US history.

      • Nina Turner Files to Run for Congress in Ohio

        The former Ohio state senator and Bernie Sanders 2020 national campaign co-chair filed the requisite FEC paperwork on Wednesday.

      • The EU is making overtures about cybersecurity collaboration under Biden

        The agenda was focused on a proposal from the European Commission and the office of the EU High Representative that suggests that the EU and the U.S. increase cybersecurity-related information-sharing and coordinate repercussions for bad actors in cyberspace. The commission and high representative — essentially the EU’s foreign minister — also proposed an increase in cybersecurity capacity-building efforts, discussions about 5G, and a meeting in early 2021 to discuss security and military operations.

      • John Lennon and the Politics of the New Left

        Forty years after his murder in New York City, we remember John Lennon’s record of political engagement as a champion of the anti-war movement and a self-styled “instinctive socialist” — which brought him into conflict with Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Scammers Targeting Scrabble Chat (2020)

        Summary: In the spring of 2020, Mattel and Hasbro announced that the official mobile version of the game Scrabble would no longer be the game produced by Electronic Arts, but rather a new game called Scrabble Go created by a company called Scopely. The change drew the ire of fans (who have even started a petition for the old game to be brought back) for taking what had been a fairly standard mobile version of the popular word game, and introducing a new, flashier version that had some additional “gamification” incentives and put the focus on playing against others, rather than the computer as was typical in the previous game.

      • Biden’s Top Tech Advisor Trots Out Dangerous Ideas For ‘Reforming’ Section 230

        It is now broadly recognized that Joe Biden doesn’t like Section 230 and has repeatedly shown he doesn’t understand what it does. Multiple people keep insisting to me, however, that once he becomes president, his actual tech policy experts will understand the law better, and move Biden away from his nonsensical claim that he wishes to “repeal” the law.

      • It’s Not Section 230 President Trump Hates, It’s the First Amendment

        Under Section 230, the only party responsible for unlawful speech online is the person who said it, not the website where they posted it, the app they used to share it, or any other third party. It has some limitations—most notably, it does nothing to shield intermediaries from liability under federal criminal law—but at its core, it’s just common-sense policy: if a new Internet startup needed to be prepared to defend against countless lawsuits on account of its users’ speech, startups would never get the investment necessary to grow and compete with large tech companies. 230 isn’t just about Internet companies, either. Any intermediary that hosts user-generated material receives this shield, including nonprofit and educational organizations like Wikipedia and the Internet Archive.

        Section 230 is not, as Trump and other politicians have suggested, a handout to today’s dominant Internet companies. It protects all of us. If you’ve ever forwarded an email, Section 230 protected you: if a court found that email defamatory, Section 230 would guarantee that you can’t be held liable for it; only the author can.

        If you’ve ever forwarded an email, Section 230 protected you.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Web scraping is a tool, not a crime

        As a reporter who can code, I can easily collect information from websites and social media accounts to find stories. All I need to do is write a few lines of code that go into the ether, open up websites, and download the data that is already publicly available on them. This process is called scraping.

        But there’s a calculus I make in my head whenever I begin pursuing a story that requires scraping: “Is this story worth going to prison for?”

        I’m not talking about hacking into the walled-off databases of the CIA. I’m talking about using a script to gather information that I can access as an everyday Internet consumer, like public Instagram posts or tweets that use a certain hashtag.

      • Iranian journalist Kayvan Samimi begins 3-year prison sentence over protest coverage

        Yesterday, authorities arrested Samimi at the Evin Prison Sentence Enforcement Office, in Tehran, and took him to serve a three-year sentence at Evin Prison, according to reports by the exile-run Human Rights Activists News Agency and the London-based outlet Iran International.

        Authorities arrested Samimi, now 72, on May 1, 2019, while he was covering labor protests for the Iran-e Farda magazine, where he worked as editor-in-chief, as CPJ documented at the time. He had been free on bail since June 17, 2019, while facing charges of “colluding against national security” and “spreading anti-establishment propaganda,” according to news reports.

      • Vietnam Moves Blogger From Prison to Psychiatric Hospital

        A Vietnamese blogger detained in May on accusations of producing anti-state propaganda has been transferred from prison to a psychiatric hospital in Hanoi.

        Pham Chi Thanh, commonly known as Pham Thanh, covered politics and social issues on his blog Ba Dam Xoe and used to work for the state-owned Voice of Vietnam radio station.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Bold and Visionary: A Criminal Justice To-Do List for the New Administration

        Biden and Harris have a mandate from the electorate to fight against mass incarceration, and it’s past time to tackle this crisis.

      • English Soccer Players Take a Knee

        As more athletes have chosen to take a knee during the National Anthem in protest of racism and police violence, some worry that the gesture may be losing its impact. When kneeling is approved by sports leagues and is practiced in an empty stadium, with no fear of a fan backlash, it can feel empty like an empty attempt at branding rather than the radical dissent it once was. As author Howard Bryant wrote, “Just call it for what it is: kneeling is a safe gesture now. No risk, no sanction. When it was a risk, very few people took it.” Or, as former NFL player Martellus Bennett put it, “Kneeling in 2020 don’t hit the same.”

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘FNP’ By Billy Nomates

        The following was originally published at Ongoing History of Protest Songs.Billy Nomates is the moniker of Tor Maries, a singer-songwriter in the United Kingdom who released her self-titled debut album back in August. Although the album was recorded pre-pandemic, it is still politically relevant due to its themes of class struggle and social inequality.“I’ve never really had money, but I was the poorest I’d been a couple of years ago after working a load of minimum wage jobs,” Maries told NME. “I was miserable and poor and unfulfilled: I couldn’t write about fancying someone or anything nice. I thought: ‘If I’m going to write again, I have no optionbut to write about “ah, it’s all crap.’”This is exemplified by one of the album’s standout tracks “FNP,” which is short for “Forgotten Normal People.” The song highlights the reality that if you are not part of the elite then the powers that be don’t care about you.In the United States, this reality has become even clearer considering the government’s response to COVID-19 and their failure to pass an adequate stimulus package. Both sides of the political aisle are using “Forgotten Normal People” as a pawn in their power grab.The lyrics also contain a message of empowerment: In a corner of society that they hope disappearsThat has more soul than their tiny minds could handleForgotten Normal People are a force to rememberAnd what they havenʼt consideredIs how we hold everything togetherBy banding together and making their voices heard, Nomates believes Forgotten Normal People can force those in power to remember them.Listen to “FNP” by Billy Nomates:

      • Russian State Duma adopts law extending presidential immunity

        Russian lawmakers have approved a law guaranteeing legal immunity for former presidents in its third reading. Passing this bill brings the country’s legislation in line with the latest version of the Russian constitution, which was amended following a nationwide vote earlier this year.

      • Trump Set to Execute Brandon Bernard Even as Jurors & Ex-Prosecutor Call for Clemency

        President Trump has sent eight people to their deaths so far this year, breaking a 17-year hiatus in federal executions, and plans to execute five more in the final weeks of his administration. On December 10, International Human Rights Day, the federal government is scheduled to kill Brandon Bernard, a Black man who was 18 years old when he was convicted as an accomplice to the murder of a young white couple in Texas. Bernard did not kill either person and says he was a “getaway driver” during a robbery gone wrong. Citing moral reasons and new evidence, five of the nine surviving jurors have changed their minds, and the former assistant U.S. attorney who helped secure his death sentence is calling for his execution to be halted. “It’s very rare that you have five of the nine surviving jurors saying that they would like to see clemency in this case,” says Liliana Segura, a criminal justice reporter for The Intercept, who has covered the case extensively. “Brandon Bernard’s death sentence hinges on evidence that has been called into significant question.”

      • Spree of federal executions during Trump’s lame-duck period and pandemic is unprecedented

        Barr told The Associated Press he’s likely to schedule more executions before he leaves the Justice Department. The Justice Department last month amended its execution protocols, paving the way for other methods, such as firing squads and poison gas, in addition to lethal injection. The rule goes into effect Dec. 24.

      • In his final days in office, Trump orders series of executions

        Five executions are scheduled before President-elect Joe Biden’s 20 January inauguration – breaking with an 130-year-old precedent of pausing executions amid a presidential transition.

      • Tajikistan Accused of Intimidating Activists Abroad by Targeting Relatives Back Home

        His situation is not unusual. Last Friday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Tajik government of a “campaign against all dissent,” saying the authorities targeted critics abroad with “kidnapping, extradition, forced disappearance, and harassment and persecution of family members of exiled critics.”

      • Tibetan Woman Detained, Threatened in Qinghai Over Calls For Democracy

        Authorities in Qinghai province in northwestern China last month detained a Tibetan woman known for her online advocacy of democracy and the rule of law, holding her for 10 days before releasing her under continuing surveillance, Tibetan sources say.

        Tsering Tso, who had drawn police attention with her postings on the social media platform WeChat, was taken into custody at her home in the provincial capital Xining on Nov. 12 and brought by 10 officers to a detention center in Trika (in Chinese, Guide) county, an India-based Tibetan rights group said this week.

      • Seattle police found in contempt for use of less-lethal weapons on protesters

        However, of the four violations, the court was “most concerned” with police misuse of blast balls, from which three of the violations occur. Blast balls, a grenade-like weapon that spews pepper gas when detonated, were used with little accuracy, Jones said.

      • The Policing Question: Protection vs. Service in 2020

        Note: The NLG National Office, in collaboration with NLG Review, will be publishing a 4-part blog series exploring questions around policing in the United States. Guild members will be sharing pieces analyzing the policing of social movements, the role of police in maintaining current power dynamics, and alternatives to policing from community power to defunding to abolition. The goal of this series is to generate discussion and conversation among our members and the public regarding the current state of policing and to envision new strategies of social organization. Please also read the Guild’s recent resolution supporting the abolition of policing passed by the membership in 2020.

      • Shirish Agarwal: Farm Laws and Too much Democracy

        Around 1995 -96 when Internet had started to become a thing in India, there had been quite a few non-profits which were working on various issues. One of those which I initially came in contact with and which I found to be a bit absurd was non-profit which was working in the field of women against Violence. Now it is and was not the concept or the idea which was absurd to me, it was what these women were doing. Instead of the traditional ways in which you counsel women and try and figure out issues, these women were collecting data points from newspapers and magazines. This was way way before data science became a thing in India. They had their own structure where a story about violence against women which would be above the fold would be 5 points, the one below 2.5 points, in inner pages, it would be less and less. Patriarchy at that time was so strong, even today is but at that time it was such, that it felt a waste of time. I did consult them but never said that but did privately feel the above. In hindsight, they were doing the right thing and yet even today crimes against women goes unreported and is suppressed by both State and Central Governments as well as NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau).

        Interestingly, just few days back, the case against M.J. Akbar by Priya Ramani had taken a back seat and the defamation case by M.J. Akbar was taken forward. Even then, Priya Ramani’s counsel’s arguments were such that the court wound up in half an hour when they were expecting to do a whole day hearing. The next hearing would be happening today which I will look at in few hours from now. Why Priya Ramani was singled out rather than other tweets may probably be because she is an NRI and most NRI’s usually do not want to be part of the bureaucratic Indian court system. This is also the reason that most companies from outside India especially those who are into startups prefer to change ownership, IPR etc. to their own or any country outside India which does make a loss to the exchequer. But this again is a story for another day.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • GOP Confirms Unqualified Simington to FCC With Eye On Crippling Biden FCC

        The Senate voted 49-46 Tuesday afternoon along strict party lines to appoint Trump ally NTIA advisor Nathan Simington to the FCC. Simington is hugely unqualified, and his appointment sets another new low in the modern GOP’s campaign of sleazy and blisteringly hypocritical politics at the cost of a functioning government or the public interest.

      • California Legislation to Make Significant Investments in Public Broadband

        This new legislation, S.B. 4 – Broadband for All, takes a different approach than the original S.B. 1130 by creating a new program that will help local governments build their own broadband options. In fact, it enables local governments to make a massive billion dollar investment in public infrastructure by unlocking the bond market for local communities. This new bond program would enable local governments to secure long-term low-interest financing in the same way electricity was paid for in deep rural markets. Those investments, designed to give long terms—multiple decades—to repay the bonds, will be in fiber optic infrastructure. This makes the most sense, as fiber optic is the only data infrastructure proven to last that long, and remain useful as an asset.

        California’s current law (known as the California Advanced Services Fund or CASF) has failed to meet the digital divide challenge. It discriminates against local community bidders to build broadband infrastructure, favors spending state money on slow outdated infrastructure, does not cover all rural and low-income Californians, and has been underfunded. A recent study found that California, despite having CASF already, is the the state with the largest number of students in the United States that lack sufficient access to broadband. This lays the weaknesses of CASF bare, showing it is a grant program investing in obsolete infrastructure, at 100% cost to the state, that collects very little actual money to spend.

        S.B. 4 remedies this problem by making improvements to the grant program that are more modest than S.B. 1130’s goals, but updates the way the state collects revenue for the program with an “access line” charge. This revenue amendment is critical, because the state’s original way to collect money has been hindered by federal deregulation of the telecommunications industry, and has not kept pace with the way we use communications infrastructure. Absent this change, it’s likely that funding for this program will continue to decline despite the fact that a growing number of Californians depend (and pay for) communications services. Arguably the most consequential change S.B. 4 makes is eliminating the expiration date for revenue collection, allowing the state to do more to permanently close the digital divide with large scale investments every handful of years until every Californian has access to the Internet service they need.

      • The Broadcasting Act Blunder, Day 14: The Risk to Canadian Ownership of Intellectual Property

        (prior posts in the Broadcasting Act Blunder series include Day 1: Why there is no Canadian Content Crisis, Day 2: What the Government Doesn’t Say About Creating a “Level Playing Field”, Day 3: Minister Guilbeault Says Bill C-10 Contains Economic Thresholds That Limit Internet Regulation. It Doesn’t, Day 4: Why Many News Sites are Captured by Bill C-10), Day 5: Narrow Exclusion of User Generated Content Services, Day 6: The Beginning of the End of Canadian Broadcast Ownership and Control Requirements, Day 7: Beware Bill C-10’s Unintended Consequences, Day 8: The Unnecessary Discoverability Requirements, Day 9: Why Use Cross-Subsidies When the Government is Rolling out Tech Tax Policies?, Day 10: Downgrading the Role of Canadians in their Own Programming, Day 11: The “Regulate Everything” Approach – Licence or Registration Required, Broadcast Reform Bill Could Spell the End of Canadian Ownership Requirements, Day 12: The “Regulate Everything” Approach – The CRTC Conditions, Day 13: The “Regulate Everything” Approach – Targeting Individual Services)

      • Senate Confirms Nathan Simington, Trump’s Unqualified and ‘Worse Than Ajit Pai’ FCC Nominee

        “By confirming Simington, they’re not ‘owning the libs’ or ‘sticking it to Biden,’ they’re just hurting our kids, small businesses, and our communities. It’s up to us to make sure they regret it.”

      • [Old] Judge rules against Trump global media chief after firings

        A federal judge has ruled against the head of the agency that runs the Voice of America and other U.S.-funded news outlets who was accused of trying to turn it into a propaganda vehicle to promote President Donald Trump’s agenda.

        The ruling effectively bars U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack from making personnel decisions and interfering in editorial operations.

        Pack, a conservative filmmaker, Trump ally and onetime associate of former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon, made no secret of his intent to shake up the agency after taking over in June.

      • [Old] Inside the Plot to Kill the Open Technology Fund

        One reason the OTF managed to gain the trust of technologists and activists around the world is because, as its name suggests, it invested largely in open-source technology. By definition, open-source software’s source code is publicly available, meaning it can be studied, vetted, and in many cases contributed to by anyone in the world.

        This transparency makes it possible for experts to study code to see if it has, for example, backdoors or vulnerabilities that would allow for governments to compromise the software’s security, potentially putting users at risk of being surveilled or identified.

        Now, groups linked to Pack and Bannon have been pressing for the funding of closed-source technology, which is antithetical to the OTF’s work over the last eight years.

      • [Old] Democracy activists stranded after Trump admin pulls funding for anti-censorship tools

        The $20 million represented the bulk of the Open Technology Fund’s 2020 budget. The freeze was ordered by the new CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Michael Pack, a conservative documentary filmmaker and ally of Steve Bannon, the former adviser to President Donald Trump.

        Pack, who took the helm in June, has angered both Republicans and Democrats in Congress by firing top executives and the governing boards of the Voice of America and other U.S.-funded media outlets overseen by his agency. Press freedom groups have warned that Pack is putting the editorial independence of the Voice of America and the other U.S. broadcasters at risk.

        The Agency for Global Media declined to comment.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • AT&T Agrees to Sell Crunchyroll to Sony for $1.18 Billion

        Crunchyroll runs an anime streaming service that has more than 3 million subscribers. It also serves 90 million users around the world through other media and products, including mobile games and merchandise. Sony aims to broaden distribution for Crunchyroll’s content partners and create new offerings for anime fans.

      • Sony is buying anime streaming service Crunchyroll from AT&T for $1.175 billion

        Sony will be buying anime streaming service Crunchyroll from AT&T for $1.175 billion, Sony and AT&T announced Wednesday. Specifically, Crunchyroll will become part of Sony’s Funimation, which already licenses many popular shows such as Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist, and One Piece.

        Now that Sony owns both Crunchyroll and Funimation, the company has tremendous power over anime in the US at a time when many other media companies are trying to figure out their anime content. Netflix has also invested heavily in both licensing and producing its own anime content.

    • Monopolies

      • Resisting Amazon Is Not Futile

        The challenge of how to organize at a company so vast and apparently omnipotent, whose CEO is on the way to becoming the world’s first trillionaire, can seem utterly overwhelming, a futile exercise. And yet any credible working-class theory of taking on late-stage monopoly capitalism in today’s Gilded Age must answer the question of how to organize worker power at Amazon.

        The Cost of Free Shipping: Amazon in the Global Economy doesn’t purport to provide a comprehensive road map for organizing. But in essays by the editors bookending seventeen curated articles from around the world, the book offers important insights into Amazon’s insidious nature, the challenges of organizing, and also some glimmers of organizing success at the local and national levels.

      • ‘Big Step’ for Antitrust as FTC and State AGs Sue Facebook as Illegal Monopoly

        “Good,” said Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

      • Open Season: FTC & 48 Attorneys General File Separate Antitrust Lawsuits Against Facebook

        Everyone knew that this was coming eventually, but on Wednesday two separate antitrust lawsuits were filed against Facebook. First, the FTC filed a complaint, followed by 48 Attorneys General, representing 46 states, the District of Columbia and Guam (Guam!), similarly arguing that Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and Whatsapp were an antitrust violation. I will say, upfront, that both cases appear to have a lot more meat to them than the DOJ’s astoundingly weak case against Google. And yet… I’m still somewhat surprised at some of the claims made in both lawsuits that seem somewhat disconnected from reality.

      • US states, FTC seek break-up of Facebook in anti-trust lawsuits

        Forty-eight US states, led by New York, have filed a lawsuit against Facebook claiming that the company has illegally stifled competition in order to protect its monopoly power.

      • Facebook calls antitrust lawsuits ‘revisionist history’

        Facebook also takes issue with the retroactive nature of the breakup. Both acquisitions are more than five years old, and were approved by regulatory agencies at the time.

      • The FTC is suing Facebook to unwind its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp

        On Wednesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a massive antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the social media giant has harmed competition by buying up smaller companies like Instagram and WhatsApp to squash the threat they posed to its business. Forty-seven other state and regional attorneys general are joining the suit.

        The lawsuit centers on Facebook’s acquisitions, particularly its $1 billion purchase of Instagram in 2011. In addition to its acquisition strategy, the attorneys general allege that Facebook used the power and reach of its platform to stifle user growth for competing services.

      • U.S. and States Say Facebook Illegally Crushed Competition

        Federal and state regulators of both parties, who have investigated the company for over 18 months, said in separate lawsuits that Facebook’s purchases, especially Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for $19 billion two years later, eliminated competition that could have one day challenged the company’s dominance.

        Since those deals, Instagram and WhatsApp have skyrocketed in popularity, giving Facebook control over three of the world’s most popular social media and messaging apps. The applications have helped catapult Facebook from a company started in a college dorm room 16 years ago to an internet powerhouse valued at more than $800 billion.

      • FTC and States Sue Facebook, Seeking to Force Divestitures of Instagram, WhatsApp

        UPDATED: Facebook illegally acquired competitors Instagram and WhatsApp in a blatant abuse of its monopoly power, lawsuits filed by the FTC in coordination with more than 40 state attorneys general allege. The suits seek to force Facebook to divest Instagram and WhatsApp.

        The lawsuits allege that Facebook broke U.S. antitrust laws in maintaining a monopoly on the social-networking market, from which it has earned billions of dollars from advertising and generated massive profits. In addition, they charge that the company’s unlawful monopoly has given it broad discretion to set terms for how users’ private information is collected and used to further its business interests — and has let Facebook impose anticompetitive conditions on third-party developers.

      • Patents

        • Locking in the Rules at the PTO

          President Trump’s administrative agencies are working hard to lock-in policy changes before the major shift expected in January. The Patent Office is no different. The changes here (except those implementing court precedent) are ones that the next administration could change, but the implementation Final Rules and Precedential Decision create administrative hurdles.

          [...]

          New Precedential Decisions: The PTAB (operating under the guidance of Dir. Iancu) has designated three recent institution related decisions as Precedential. These decisions are important for locking-in the Board’s approach because the Federal Circuit no longer has authority (Thryv) to guide the scope and procedure of IPR institutions.

        • ViCo for Oral Proceedings at the EPO – CIPA’s view – Kluwer Patent Blog [Ed: CIPA President. Amplifying patent litigation extremists from CIPA, who actively promote what's illegal and unconstitutional for financial gain while public supporting criminals]

          It is becoming clear that videoconferencing is inevitable in the long term for all oral proceedings at the EPO. The next generation of users of the system will expect a remote, distributed and technology-based process as a matter of course and, as indicated by the EPO’s recent Progress Report, the technology supports adoption of ViCo now.

          In our response to the consultation by the Boards of Appeal to proposed new Article 15a RPBA on ViCo, CIPA puts the case for the urgent adoption of the same rules as have been implemented at first instance, with the sole caveat that the technology is fit for purpose. The EPO Progress Report and experience in other intellectual property courts has shown that ViCo has indeed come of age bringing benefits of efficiency, accessibility, reduced costs and reduced environmental impact – and the inclusion of all available talent regardless of location.

        • Comments on USPTO’s Newest Regulation Overall Oppose Discretionary Denial Rules – Patent Progress

          The USPTO is considering whether to enshrine discretionary denial of inter partes review cases into regulation. Last week, comments were due on the most recent portion of this process. (CCIA’s comments criticizing the current General Plastic, Valve, NHK Spring, and Fintiv precedential opinions, and explaining why they should not be converted into rules, can be found here.) Over the course of a shortened 44-day rulemaking period, more than 800 comments were received.

          An analysis of the comments shows that, when it comes to comments with substantive argument and evidence, the weight of comments is against any proposed rule that would codify discretionary denial into regulation or strengthen the existing precedents. In fact, the weight of substantive commentary is strongly against discretionary denial.

          [...]

          Presumably, the USPTO is conducting this abbreviated request for comments with an eye towards rulemaking before the new Administration takes office. But given that the weight of substantive feedback on the request for comments is against any such rule, it would be inappropriate for the Director to put forth any such rule, much less put forward such a rule with only weeks before the new Administration takes over. The USPTO under Director Iancu has failed to abide by APA rulemaking requirements in the past—ignoring the weight and substance of commentary against a proposed rule would just be one more example.

        • Call for a strike at the European Patent Office

          The Central Staff Committee of the European Patent Office and the trade union SUEPO have called for a strike on Tuesday 15 December 2020 during the meeting of the Administrative Council. SUEPO has announced the strike will be the start of a year of social conflict to defend the future of the Staff and their families.

          In a letter to EPO personnel today, the CSC called upon colleagues to join the strike: “Regrettably, we can only report a continued erosion of our work package, an erosion that has even accelerated during these times of pandemic.

          All the while, our President maintains that the staff he meets are happy, that social dialogue is working at full speed and that all is going well in EPO-land (our production has not suffered, even today). This is in stark contrast to the emails, phone calls and messages we keep receiving by many colleagues who are increasingly suffering from the unabated production pressure and management by spreadsheet, topped up by the social isolation due to the pandemic.”

          [...]

          The ILOAT already has a large backlog of several hundred complaints filed against the EPOrg. The ILO governing body stated on several occasions that the high number of cases from the EPOrg impairs the effective and unimpeded functioning of the ILOAT in the interest of all international organisations that have recognized the jurisdiction of the ILOAT. It has therefore limited the number of EPOrg cases dealt with in each session to about 30 to 40 and is considering further measures.

          This has a detrimental effect to legal certainty and legal peace and could result in that the means of legal redress available to EPO staff for labour disputes may no longer be considered being sufficient and the immunity from national jurisdiction of the EPOrg may thus be at stake.”

          The Central Staff Committee has urged the Administrative Council to work towards reforming the internal means for appeal; to further increase significantly the resources of the internal Appeals Committee and its members; to ensure unhindered access to legal redress for all employees; and to urgently enter into discussions with ILOAT (…) to ensure that all complaints are dealt with expeditiously.

      • Trademarks

        • Have you considered the effect of Brexit on the territorial scope of a trademark license?

          This Kat promised himself that he would not offer any public thoughts about trademarks and Brexit. On the other hand, he had devoted several years to penning a treatise on trademark licensing. So, what happens when Brexit (“mum is the word”) meets trademark licensing (“the more the merrier”)? Maybe quite a lot, when it comes to determining whether the United Kingdom is included or excluded within the scope of the territory covered by the license.

          The definition of “Territory” is a fundamental provision of a trademark license (or a co-existence agreement). When multiple countries are intended, the usual practice is to list all the countries by name, where the most crucial decision may be whether to refer to the “United States”, or the “United States of America”; to “Denmark”, or the ”Kingdom of Denmark”. But sometimes a short-cut might provide a concise way to designate multiple countries. Defining “Territory” as — “the countries within European Union” — would seem to be one such instance.

          [...]

          In any event, at the operational level, law firms and companies will be challenged to identify all such relevant agreements (both licenses and consent/co-existence agreements). As well, contacting the relevant counterparty, or its representatives, may not be straight-forward.

          Trademark practitioners have been busily attending to their European Union trademark portfolios and the status of these marks and their registrations in the United Kingdom after December 31st. While doing so, practitioners will be well-advised to also turn their gaze to the provisions of their trademark license agreements and especially, the scope of the territorial clause.

      • Copyrights

        • ‘Streaming stole my record money’: why Spotify is ruining rock

          Artists and writers simply do not get their share of the pie (often less than £200 a year), Rodgers told MPs, despite the “staggering” amount of money in the industry. Songwriter Fiona Bevan, who has co-written songs with Ed Sheeran and Kylie Minogue, described the situation as “shameful” and said songwriters have been forced into the (no pun intended) gig economy. “Right now, hit songwriters are driving Ubers,” Bevan said. Jazz saxophonist Soweto Kinch described the situation as a “market failure”.

          The musicians’ comments follow similar remarks made to the committee last week by Elbow singer Guy Garvey. He said that artists’ lack of money is threatening the very future of music. “That sounds very dramatic,” Garvey said, “but if musicians can’t afford to pay the rent, if they can’t afford to live, we haven’t got tomorrow’s music in place.” Meanwhile Tom Gray, a member of Gomez and the man whose Broken Record alliance helped bring about the inquiry in the first place, tells me that streaming’s meteoric rise is creating a ticking “time bomb” that will decimate grass roots music if nothing changes.

          So what’s going on? Why have we got mega-bucks deals on the one hand and musicians prophesying poverty and doom on the other? Can one industry really be so ludicrously lopsided? Well, yes it can. And what’s intriguing is that the feast and the famine both stem from precisely the same source: the business models adopted by Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music and other streaming platforms.

        • Wait, Bob Dylan Owned ‘The Weight’? An Explainer

          That income varied from year to year, depending on the song’s usage. Estimates differ, but “The Weight” could easily pull in a few hundred thousand dollars in a year in which it’s used in an ad or film, although considerably less if the income is only derived from record or streaming royalties.

        • Controversial Copyright Legislation May Show Up in ‘Must Pass’ US Spending Bill

          Several controversial copyright bills are reportedly being added to the US ‘must-pass’ spending bill. This includes the CASE Act and a proposal to make streaming piracy a felony. Tech companies and civil rights groups are calling on lawmakers to reject these plans.

        • Spanish Piracy Giant Movidy Shuts Down, Owner Too Sick to Continue

          Spanish pirate streaming giant Movidy has closed itself down with immediate effect. The platform was one of Spain’s most-visited sites, period, but following a sad medical diagnosis in the summer, the owner says he is now too ill to continue. Due to security reasons and recent pressure from copyright holders, the site will not be sold to any third-party.

        • Creative Commons Joins the American University’s Efforts to Promote the International Right to Research

          “The COVID pandemic has cast a bright light on inequities in the global research system that restrictive copyright laws perpetuate,” said Professor Sean Flynn, director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and the project’s principal investigator. “In many countries, library resources, for example, can only be used ‘on the premises’ of that institution. Use of educational materials is often restricted to use ‘in a classroom.’ Our goal is to promote a system in which every researcher, every student, and every citizen of every country has the ability to engage in modern research activity and enjoy its products, including across borders and utilizing online tools.”

        • Artists speak out at the UK Economics of Music Streaming Inquiry

          However, from a copyright law perspective, both are captured by copyright infringement as communication to the public. Section 20(2)(a) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988 confirms “communication to the public by electronic transmission, and in relation to a work include – (a)the broadcasting of the work.” In fact, the origins of communication to the public are found in the development of the copyright holder’s right to restrict performance of their work. The WIPO Copyright Treaty 1996 which rationalised and synthesised this protection by establishing full coverage of the communication right, intended to provide a technology-neutral right, where the technical means by which the communication was made was irrelevant, in order that any future technical development be included within the provision.

          Why does this matter? Well, it has an impact on the remuneration the artists can receive. PPL currently has the right to license the online transmission of radio, television and certain types of online streaming services, including live streaming and customised streaming. But, PPL does not license music services that offer downloads or on-demand streams of individual music tracks, such as Spotify and Apple Music, or services that enable the upload of content by the general public, such as YouTube and Facebook.

          In the music industry, the usual arrangement is that the record label, who own the sound recording of a song, licence their catalogue to a streaming platform such as Spotify. Spotify keep 30%, and give 55% to the record label and 15% goes to the publisher (who owns the copyright in the musical work). When the artist signs a recording contract with the label, who make a financial investment into the artist by paying for the recording of the track as well as through marketing of the music. This investment is recouped, not from the profit of the sound recording, but from the royalty. This means it typically takes a long time for artists to receive royalties, if ever.

          [...]

          This is not something directly asked for by the artists, but is something that I included in my evidence to the committee. Currently, playlisters are people who create playlists that users follow. Playlisters earn revenue by creating playlists that directly impact the discovery of music and therefore the remuneration to artists and songwriters. However, the users and the artists are not informed of the playlisters’ earnings, benefits and deals which are made in order to get certain songs on their playlist. Therefore, in my evidence I recommended that this activity should be considered as influencing, and as a result be regulated by the UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) which works with social media platforms and influencers. The ASA provides specific guidance for influencers, which applies when a person is paid in some way, regardless of how many followers they may have.

        • Nintendo Plays ‘Control Inception’, Cancelling Splatoon Broadcast After Teams Protest Canceling Smash Bros. Tourney

          If you’re one of what I assume are zillions of folks who come here for my rants about Nintendo, I owe you an apology. While I’m usually pretty good about bringing you every instance of Nintendo doing the Nintendo all over itself and its fans, one such instance from last month slipped through the cracks. The Big House is a high profile Super Smash Bros. tournament series and host. Unfortunately, Nintendo shut down what was supposed to be the latest tournament and broadcast of The Big House via a C&D notice. At issue appears to be the use of a mod called “slippi”, a fan-made mod that basically unbroke the nearly two decades old game when it came to online play. Without getting too technical, the mod simply made the game perform well over internet connections, whereas it was previously essentially unplayable. Given that The Big House tournament was rendered virtual this year due to you-all-know-what, the mod was essential to running the tournament. From Nintendo:

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