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12.08.16

Links 8/12/2016: Korora GNU/Linux 25, SparkyLinux 4.5.1

Posted in News Roundup at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Remembering Linux Installfests

      Ah, yes. I remember the good old days when you had to be a real man or woman to install Linux, and the first time you tried you ended up saying something like “Help!” or maybe “Mommmmyyyyy!” Really, kids, that’s how it was. Stacks of floppies that took about 7,000 hours to download over your 16 baud connection. Times sure have changed, haven’t they?

      I remember Caldera advertising that their distribution autodetected 1,500 different monitors. I wrote an article titled “Monitor Number 1501,” because it didn’t detect my monitor. And sound. Getting sound going in Linux took mighty feats of systemic administsationish strength. Mere mortals could not do it. And that’s why we had installfests: so mighty Linux he-men and she-women could come down from the top of Slackware Mountain or the Red Hat Volcano and share their godlike wisdom with us. We gladly packed up our computers and took them to the installfest location (often at a college, since many Linux-skilled people were collegians) and walked away with Linuxized computers. Praise be!

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation events expand with Open Source Summits

      The Linux Foundation released its 2017 schedule, including an Embedded Linux Conference in Portland on Feb. 21-23 that needs proposal ideas by Dec. 10.

      This year, Linux Foundation events attracted over 20,000 “developers, maintainers, sysadmins, thought leaders, business executives and other industry professionals from more than 4,000 organizations across 85 countries,” and 25,000 are expected in 2017, says the not-for-profit Linux advocacy organization. In truth, the LF is now more of an open source advocacy organization as it spreads into non-Linux projects like Zephyr. Fittingly, the co-located LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen events in Japan, North America and Europe have this year combined into new umbrella events called Open Source Summits.

    • Why Is Microsoft Showing So Much Interest In Linux? [Ed: Someone needs to explain to Mathew Lodge what EEE is and how it works. Is the Linux Foundation (including Torvalds as well) still permitted to criticise Microsoft or is it frowned upon internally?]
    • Linux on the Mac — state of the union

      The MacBook Pro introduction in October caused unusually negative reactions among professional users due to the realization that Apple no longer caters equally to casual and professional customers as it had in the past [YouTube video]. Instead, the company appears to be following an iOS-focused, margin-driven strategy that essentially relegates professionals to a fringe group. This has well-known developers such as Salvatore Sanfilippo (of the Redis project) consider a move back to Linux. Perhaps that’s a good moment to look at the current state of Mac hardware support in the kernel. While Macs are x86 systems, they possess various custom chips and undocumented quirks that the community needs to painstakingly reverse-engineer.

    • How well does the Linux kernel support Mac hardware?

      There is an interesting subset of Linux users that prefer to run it on a Mac. Yes, a Mac. That might seem odd given how Apple is known for its closed ecosystems and high cost hardware, but the Linux on Mac folks really do exist out there.

      But how well does the Linux kernel support Mac hardware? LWN.net has a “state of the union” article for Linux on the Mac that could be quite helpful if you are thinking about installing Linux on your Mac.

    • New Kernel Vulnerability Allows Local Root For Unprivileged Processes

      There is yet another new Linux kernel vulnerability being disclosed today that allows for unprivileged processes to gain kernel code execution abilities.

      This new vulnerability is CVE-2016-8655 but it doesn’t seem to be getting too much attention yet. CVE-2016-8655 comes down to a race condition within the af_packet.c code for gaining local root access. The researcher that found it was able to write an exploit to gain root shell on an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS system and defeats SMEP/SMAP protection too.

    • Avoiding CVE-2016-8655 with systemd

      Just a quick note: on recent versions of systemd it is relatively easy to block the vulnerability described in CVE-2016-8655 for individual services.

      Since systemd release v211 there’s an option RestrictAddressFamilies= for service unit files which takes away the right to create sockets of specific address families for processes of the service. In your unit file, add RestrictAddressFamilies=~AF_PACKET to the [Service] section to make AF_PACKET unavailable to it (i.e. a blacklist), which is sufficient to close the attack path. Safer of course is a whitelist of address families whch you can define by dropping the ~ character from the assignment. Here’s a trivial example:

    • The Best Features Of The Linux 4.9 Kernel
    • Another nasty Linux kernel bug surfaces [Ed: Did you know that local priv. escalation is a “nasty” bug? CVE isn’t so sexy. Give it a logo, name, and Web site maybe? Look what a disgusting thing the security ‘industry’ and reporting have become…]
    • Don’t have a Dirty COW, man: Android gets full kernel hijack patch
    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux Distributions vs. BSDs With netperf & iperf3 Network Performance

        With now having netperf in the Phoronix Test Suite as well as iperf3 for the latest open-source benchmarks in our automated cross-platform benchmarking framework, I couldn’t help but to run some networking benchmarks on a system when trying out a few different Linux distributions and BSDs to see how the performance compares. The operating systems ran with these networking benchmarks included Debian 8.6, Ubuntu 16.10, Clear Linux 12020, CentOS 7, and Fedora 25. The BSDs tested for this comparison were FreeBSD 11.0 and DragonFlyBSD 4.6.1.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Kali Alternative: BackBox Linux 4.7 Arrives With Updated Hacking Tools

      BackBox Linux is an Ubuntu-based operating system that’s developed with a focus on penetration testing and security assessment. If you take a look at our list of top 10 ethical hacking distros, BackBox ranks in top 3.

      This alternative of Kali Linux operating system comes with a variety of ethical hacking tools and a complete desktop environment. The software repositories of the hacking tools included in BackBox Linux too are frequently updated. Earlier this year in May, we witnessed the release of BackBox Linux 4.6 that was based on kernel 4.2 and Ubuntu 15.10.

    • New Releases

      • SparkyLinux 4.5.1 MinimalGUI

        There is an update of Sparky 4.5.1 MinimalGUI available to download.

        The Sparky Advanced Installer doesn’t work as it should in the MinimaGUI edition, if you are trying to install an additional desktop. The installer calls a ‘desktop-installer’, but it does not coming back to the main installer with right privileges after. It used to do before, but not any more.

      • SparkyLinux 4.5.1 MinimalGUI ISO Respin Improves the Sparky Advanced Installer

        Only four days after the official release of the Debian-based SparkyLinux 4.5 operating system, the development team published an update MinimalGUI ISO image dubbed SparkyLinux 4.5.1.

      • Kodi-Based LibreELEC 8.0 “Krypton” Sees New Alpha Powered by Linux Kernel 4.8.12

        The development of the open-source and platform-independent LibreELEC (Libre Embedded Linux Entertainment Center) operating system based on the latest Kodi media center software received a new Alpha milestone on December 6, 2016.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Announcing openSUSE’s GPG Key Server – keyserver.opensuse.org

        Does it happen to you, too, that there are moments where you ask yourself why others want something from you that is there already since a while? Exactly this happened with https://keyserver.opensuse.org/: the original machine was set up a long time ago to make it easier for people attending the openSUSE GPG key-signing parties, but it looks like nobody officially announced this “new service” for our users…

        …and so here we are: the openSUSE Heroes team is pleased to announce that keyserver.opensuse.org is up and running as public GPG keyserver. We are of course also part of the official keyserver pool, which means that some people might already noticed us, as they got redirected to our server with their requests. (And for those who are interested to setup their own SKS keyserver: we have also written a nice monitoring plugin that helps you keeping an eye on the pool status of your machine and the ones of your peers.)

      • OpenSUSE Ends Support For Binary AMD Graphics Driver

        Bruno Friedmann has announced the end to AMD proprietary driver fglrx support in openSUSE while also announcing they don’t plan to support the hybrid proprietary AMDGPU-PRO stack either.

        Friedmann wrote, “Say goodbye fglrx!, repeat after me, goodbye fglrx… [In regards to the newer AMDGPU-PRO stack] I will certainly not help proprietary crap, if I don’t have a solid base to work with, and a bit of help from their side. I wish good luck to those who want to try those drivers, I’ve got a look inside, and got a blame face.”

    • Slackware Family

      • Absolute 14.2.2 released

        The update is for the 64-bit version. Updated kernel and Xorg, as well as taking care of security and functional fixes (such as tweaks to pulse audio, network manager, battery management.) Installer also updated to correct error of sometimes not finding drives for autoinstall. All Slackware updates in current included and several programs recompiled to keep up with dependency changes.

    • Red Hat Family

      • New CloudLinux 7 Kernel Released, Rebased to Red Hat’s OpenVZ Linux 3.10 Kernel

        CloudLinux’s Mykola Naugolnyi announced the general availability of an updated kernel package for the enterprise-ready CloudLinux 7 operating system based on the freely distributed sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

        CloudLinux is the operating system of choice for hosting providers and data centers, powering over 20 million websites. It’s a super-platform designed for stability, security, and efficiency in shared hosting by isolating each occupant and giving them allocated server resources.

        A new kernel version, tagged as build 3.10.0-427.36.1.lve1.4.26, has been announced earlier for those who are using the CloudLinux 7 release on their server infrastructures, and it’s now available for installation from the updates-testing repository. It’s been rebased on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7′s OpenVZ rh7-3.10.0-327.36.1.vz7.18.7 kernel.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 25: Bleeding edge and bloody brilliant

          I honestly never thought I’d consider Fedora a rock solid enough distribution to serve as a daily driver for anything but developing and testing. This came with good reason: Fedora was always released as a bleeding edge platform, a playground for testers and developers.

          That was the Fedora of old. What they have created with their 25th iteration is some sort of magical confluence of bleeding edge and bloody brilliant.

        • Developers Discuss Future Of CD/DVD Optical Images For Fedora

          With more laptops abandoning DVD drives, USB-based flash drive installers being well supported and widely-used, and CD/DVDs just being far less popular these days, Fedora developers are discussing the future of the official status for optical images in future Fedora releases.

          While Fedora developers continue discussing the possibility of making their release cycles longer, the latest post-F25 topic is the official state for the optical Fedora images. In particular, Fedora QA wondering about future requirements given the significant time requirements spent on testing Fedora CD/DVD images.

        • Korora 25 ‘Gurgle’ Fedora-based Linux distribution now available for download

          I regularly try many Linux-based desktop operating systems on my computers, just so I can be familiar with them. Ultimately, I always return to my favorite — Fedora. While that distribution is very good, it can also be a bit difficult to use — for some. Don’t get me wrong, it functions well ‘out of the box’, but once a user begins needing some non-free packages, it can be tough going. In other words, setting it up can sometimes be a chore.

        • Elections 2016: Nominate community members to Fedora leadership

          With Fedora 25 out the door a couple of weeks ago, Fedora is once again moving ahead towards Fedora 26. As usual after a new release, the Fedora Elections are getting into gear. There are a fair number of seats up for election this release, across both the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo) and the Fedora Council. The elections are one of the ways you can have an impact on the future of Fedora by nominating and voting. Nominate other community members (or self-nominate) to run for a seat in either of these leadership bodies to help lead Fedora. For this election cycle, nominations are due on December 12th, 2016, at 23:59:59 UTC. It is important to get nominations in quickly before the window closes. This article helps explain both leadership bodies and how to cast a nomination.

        • Endless Sky now available on Fedora

          Endless Sky is a 2D space trading and combat game similar to Escape Velocity. The game sets you as a beginning pilot, just having made a down payment on your very first starship. You’re given a choice between a shuttle, a freighter or a fighter. Depending on what ship you choose, you will need to figure out how to earn money to outfit and eventually upgrade your ship. You can transport passengers, run cargo, mine asteroids or even hunt pirates. It’s an open-ended game that blends the top-down action of a 2D space shooter with the depth and replayability of a 4X.

        • Analysis is confusing

          I’ve known of affinity mapping, and even tried to use sticky notes to figure out some of my data in the first UX project I did. Unfortunately, as I found out at the time, analysis of the data I get in UX research doesn’t really lend itself to being done alone. Much like statistics, I suspect. I’m not at all sure how UX consultants do their analyses, given this!

        • Korora 25 Linux Released, Based on Fedora 25 Ships with Cinnamon 3.2, MATE 1.16

          On December 7, 2016, the development team behind the Fedora-based Korora Linux operating system proudly announced the release and general availability of Korora 25.

        • Remembering a friend: Matthew Williams

          One of the things about working in open source software communities is that you are always moving forward. It’s hard not to get a sense of momentum and progress when it seems you are constantly striving to improve and build on the work you and others have done before.

          But sometimes you have to pause to reflect, because sometimes there is loss.

    • Debian Family

      • Day trip in Cape Town, part 2

        Let me get some interesting tit-bits not related to the day-trip out-of-the-way first –

        I don’t know whether we had full access to see all parts of fuller hall or not. Couple of days I was wondering around Fuller Hall, specifically next to where clothes were pressed. Came to know of the laundry service pretty late but still was useful. Umm… next to where the ladies/gentleman pressed our clothes, there is a stairway which goes down. In fact even on the opposite side there is a stairway which goes down. I dunno if other people explored them or not.

      • Derivatives

        • Second Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” Preview Out Now with Linux Kernel 4.4.35 LTS

          Today, December 7, 2016, the development team behind the Debian-based Parsix GNU/Linux operating system have announced the release of the second preview version of the upcoming Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” distribution.

          Still based on the Debian GNU/Linux 8 “Jessie” repositories, Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” Test2 is here one and a half months after the previous development release, and ships with more recent technologies and Open Source software projects, including the latest GNOME 3.22.2 desktop environment and Linux 4.4.35 LTS kernel.

        • Welcome to Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15-TEST-2 Release Notes
        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • This $90 Kit Converts an ODROID board into a Touchscreen Ubuntu PC

            We’ve seen what the Raspberry Pi can do when you throw in some extra hardware, and we recently heard about what the Pine64 is going to do once it’s inside a laptop casing.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-14 Released, This Is What’s New

            Ubuntu OTA-14, the latest over the air update to Ubuntu phone and tablet, has begun to roll out to supported devices. “This time not so many changes released in overall but with the goal of introducing less regressions,” says Canonical’s Lukasz Zemczak in the release announcement mailing list post.

          • How Do You Install Ubuntu: USB, or DVD?
          • What New Is Going To Be In Ubuntu 17.04 ‘Zesty Zapus’

            Right on the heels of Ubuntu 16.10 ‘Yakkety Yak’ is Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus. Ubuntu 17.04 is currently scheduled for release on April 13, 2017 but know that this is only an estimate. One thing to know is that all things being equal, it is going to be released in April 2017. Ubuntu Zesty Zapus will be supported for only 9 months until January 2018 as it is not a LTS (long term support) release.

          • Ubuntu Core has the keys to IoT security

            In October, a DDoS attack on Dyn’s infrastructure took down a big chunk of the internet, making sites like Amazon and Twitter inaccessible. It was the first major attack involving IoT (internet of things) devices. Fortunately, it was also a benign attack: no one got hurt, no one died.

            However, the next attack could be catastrophic. No one knows when it will happen. No one knows the magnitude.

            There are billions of IoT devices out there: web cameras, thermostats, doorbells, smart bulbs, refrigerators, heaters, ovens, and much more. IoT devices are low hanging fruits for cybercriminals because for all theoretical and practical purposes a majority of these IoT devices are insecure by design, they are insecure by default. It should be called IIoT: insecure internet of things.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Zorin OS 12 Ubuntu-based Linux distribution now available — a Windows 10 alternative

              Windows 10 is a really great desktop operating system, but it is not for everyone. For those that care deeply about security and privacy, an open source Linux-based operating system is a wise alternative. The problem? Learning a new user interface can be hard for some. If you have always used a Windows OS in the past, moving to a desktop environment like GNOME or Unity can be confusing and scary.

              Luckily, for those that have difficulty with change, there are some Linux-based operating systems that are designed for Windows-switchers. One fairly popular such offering, Zorin OS, has now reached version 12. It is designed to be familiar to former users of Microsoft’s OS. While the company does charge for an “Ultimate” version, the “Core” edition of Zorin OS 12 is entirely free.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Communicating To The World: Why Open-Source Could Help Your Small Business

    Just as groundbreaking advancements in technology in the ‘90s and 2000s have fundamentally changed the way film, music and television are produced and distributed today, more recent tech innovations have also provided entrepreneurs with the tools they need to compete in the global marketplace. Here is a look at some of the open-source solutions that you can use in order to realize your entrepreneurial ambitions.

    [...]

    The rise of high quality open-source web utilities has made it possible for anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of web design to make a quality site. In fact, open-source content management systems like WordPress are so easy to use and comprehensive, companies like Best Buy and Xerox use them to maintain their web presences. Additionally, open-source business management and accounting program Solegis, customer relationship management app ConcourseSuite and e-commerce solution Zen Cart all exist to empower entrepreneurs with limited resources.

  • What lies ahead for open source technology in 2017?

    2016 has been a polarising year. A year when the unexpected and largely unpredicted has occurred, shocking people worldwide. We have lurched into a post-truth era, where emotion transcends logic, and maintaining the status quo is no longer a given.

    Change is inevitable and there are vast swathes of global society who are disappointed and apprehensive about what lies ahead. In times of uncertainty, an increased focus on collaboration and community is appealing and desirable.

    The internet has long been a polarising force, a connecting platform that allows individuals to find kindred spirits they might not have been able to find before, regardless of their allegiances and views.

  • Financial tech-ops chief: open source is a recruitment talent imperative

    Developers don’t want to take what companies tell them at face value: they want to look under the bonnet, and assess the quality and design of the code for themselves. If you want to win credibility among the developer community and encourage the right people to your brand, you need to share your work and demonstrate best practice, not just talk about it.

    The benefits to an open source approach don’t end with the positive impression it can help foster among developers.

  • Speaking in Tech: Did an open source guru just ask us to join Amazon?
  • FOSS DOS for 21st Century Hardware

    The founder and coordinator of the FreeDOS Project writes about FreeDOS 1.2, which is scheduled for a Christmas Day release. There is good news for classic gamers and nostalgia buffs: this one’s got games.

  • 4 open source drone projects

    Over the past few years, interest in both civilian and commercial use of drones has continued to grow rapidly, and drone hardware sits at the top of many people’s holiday wish lists.
    Even just within the civilian side of things, the list of unmanned aerial devices which fit the moniker of drone seems to be constantly expanding. These days, the term seems to encompass everything from what is essentially a cheap, multi-bladed toy helicopter, all the way up to custom-built soaring machines with incredibly adept artificial intelligence capabilities.

  • Lenovo Cloud Director: Open Source Technologies Are The Glue That Binds The Hybrid Cloud

    Hardware giant Lenovo is banking on a future where both public and private clouds are critical in driving IT innovation, and the glue binding those hybrid environments is mostly open source technologies.

    Dan Harmon, Lenovo’s group director of cloud and software-defined infrastructure, encouraged solution providers attending the NexGen Cloud Conference & Expo on Wednesday to explore opportunities to engage Lenovo as its products stock the next generation of cloud data centers.

    Both public and private clouds are growing rapidly and will dominate the market by 2020, Harmon told attendees of the conference produced by CRN parent The Channel Company.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • A Look At Async/Await JavaScript For Firefox 52

        While Chrome 55 has JavaScript async/await support, the Firefox support isn’t coming until the Firefox 52.0 stable release in March while currently it’s available in the latest Firefox Developer Edition and early alpha builds.

        Mozilla developer Dan Callahan wrote a post today on hacks.mozilla.org for the async/await support in Firefox and can be used if you are running the latest Firefox Developer Edition. Check it out if you’re interested in JavaScript async await support for more asynchronous programming for the web.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cloudera Ratchets Up its Training for Top Open Source Data Solutions

      Recently, we’ve taken note of the many organizations offering free or low cost Hadoop and Big Data training. MIT and MapR are just a couple of the players making waves in this space. Recently, Cloudera announced a catalog of online, self-paced training classes covering the company’s entire portfolio of industry-standard Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark training courses. The courses, according to Cloudera, allow you to learn about the latest big data technologies “in a searchable environment anytime, anywhere.”

      Now, Cloudera has announced an updated lineup of training courses and performance-based certification exams for data analysts, database administrators, and developers. The expanded training offerings address the skills gap around many top open source technologies, such as Apache Impala (incubating), Apache Spark, Apache Kudu, Apache Kafka and Apache Hive.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Microsoft Office, Google Docs beware: This open-source startup is after your users

      “That was one of the reasons why we chose an open-source model. We want be open, want people to trust us, want to overcome that barrier they have in mind, those strong beliefs that there’s nothing but Microsoft Office, that nothing better could be created. We won’t change our mind about open source.”

      Bannov says he ultimately sees OnlyOffice becoming a firm that provides consulting, technical support and remote managed services to companies using its open-source products.

    • Collabora Online 2.0 Puts LibreOffice In the Cloud, Adds Collaborative Editing

      Today, December 7, 2016, Collabora Productivity, through Michael Meeks, is proud to inform Softpedia about the general availability of the long anticipated Collabora Online 2.0 office suite based on the LibreOffice, Nextcloud, and ownCloud technologies.

      After being in development for the past six months, Collabora Online 2.0 is finally here as the powerful cloud-based office suite that promises to protect users’ privacy and freedom of expression while editing various documents formats online. Collabora Online is mainly targeted at the enterprise world, hosting and cloud businesses.

  • CMS

    • Family Farming and Open Source Wireless Networking

      Open source methods are being covered more often on television and radio these days, as witnessed by this recent story posted Monday on YouTube by CNBC that mentions Drupal-based Farm OS and covers the story of Dorn Cox, an organic grain grower at Tuckaway Farm in Lee NH; the Director of Green Start, an organization working towards food and fuel security; and co-founder of Farm Hack, an open source community for resilient agriculture.

    • WordPress 4.7 Provides Improved Customization

      WordPress 4.7 was released on December 6, providing the tens of millions of internet users that rely on it, with a long list of new features.

      As always with every new major WordPress milestone, there is a new theme. For WordPress 4.7 the new theme is Twenty Seventeen, which provides users with video headers and features images.

  • Education

    • High School’s Help Desk Teaches Open Source IT Skills

      The following is an adapted excerpt from chapter six of The Open Schoolhouse: Building a Technology Program to Transform Learning and Empower Students, a new book written by Charlie Reisinger, Technology Director for Penn Manor School District in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In the book, Reisinger recounts more than 16 years of Linux and open source education success stories.

      Penn Manor schools saved over a million dollars by trading proprietary software for open source counterparts with its student laptop program. The budget is only part of the story. As Linux moved out of the server room and onto thousands of student laptops, a new learning community emerged.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • City of Rome: all new software should be open source

      The city of Rome, the fourth-largest city in the European Union, will increase its use of free and open source software, it decided in October. All new software solutions should be based on open source, and the city is to consider replacing existing proprietary solutions by open source alternatives.

    • Dutch govt should consider sharing all its software

      The Dutch government is to create a vision document on how all software developed for and by public administrations can be made available as open source. On Tuesday, the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament agreed that sharing software developed for or by the government has significant benefits, including information security, efficiency and openness.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open Compliance in the Enterprise: Why Have an Open Source Compliance Program?

      Traditionally, platforms and software stacks were implemented using proprietary software, and consisted of various software building blocks that originated as a result of internal development or via third-party software providers with negotiated licensing terms.

      The business environment was predictable and companies mitigated potential risks through license and contract negotiations with the software vendors. It was very easy to know who was the provider for every software component.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Why You Should Have a Personal CI Server

      As a developer, I rely on a CI server to take care of the day-to-day routine of building, testing and deploying software…so much so that I often find myself committing code after every new class or group of methods as a “fire and forget” signal to the CI server to go ahead and run my tests, check my code for style violations, and push a new version to the dev server. When I have finished my train of thought, I can jump into the CI server and either be greeted with a green tick or have a handy (and more importantly authoritative) list of issues to be addressed.

      However, for all the convenience that a central CI server brings, there are times when this environment lets me down. Maybe my jobs are at the end of the queue, I can’t deploy to the dev servers during a certain time frame, or the configuration of the build just doesn’t quite do what I want it to do but I don’t have the authority to change it.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • First Time Anywhere: 12 Biggest Tech/Media Platforms by Audience Reach, aka the 2 Billion Plus Club

    Time to publish another first, as the first ever source for a statistic related to tech, mobile, media and advertising. As I do my various workshops and seminars, my clients invariably love my numbers and the one they have most asked for, was a comparison of the different media and communication platforms. Because there wasn’t one. And it was a difficult task to try to do. Now I have done it. We have the 12 tech and media with largest reach.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • No Decision On WTO Plain Packaging Dispute Before May 2017

      The much-awaited decision of the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body on Australia’s law requiring that tobacco products be sold in plain packages, challenged by four countries, has been postponed and is now expected “not before May 2017.”

    • UNAIDS Board Considers Recommendations On Access To Medicines

      The Board of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) this week is considering a report calling for the 11 cosponsor agencies of the programme to follow the recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines to improve policy coherence, and to produce reports on the use of intellectual property at country and regional levels, including the use of flexibilities.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • There’s a new DDoS army, and it could soon rival record-setting Mirai

      For almost three months, Internet-of-things botnets built by software called Mirai have been a driving force behind a new breed of attacks so powerful they threaten the Internet as we know it. Now, a new botnet is emerging that could soon magnify or even rival that threat.

      The as-yet unnamed botnet was first detected on November 23, the day before the US Thanksgiving holiday. For exactly 8.5 hours, it delivered a non-stop stream of junk traffic to undisclosed targets, according to this post published Friday by content delivery network CloudFlare. Every day for the next six days at roughly the same time, the same network pumped out an almost identical barrage, which is aimed at a small number of targets mostly on the US West Coast. More recently, the attacks have run for 24 hours at a time.

    • Open source Roundcube webmail can be attacked … by sending it an e-mail

      The developers of open source webmail package Roundcube want sysadmins to push in a patch, because a bug in versions prior to 1.2.3 let an attacker crash it remotely – by sending what looks like valid e-mail data.

      The authors overlooked sanitising the fifth argument (the _from parameter) in mail() – and that meant someone only needed to compose an e-mail with malicious info in that argument to attack Roundcube.

      [...]

      Roundcube posted a patch to GitHub at the end of November, and issued a version 1.2.3 here.

    • Open Source Flaws Found in Security Software

      Yet another industry survey has flagged open source software that according to one estimate accounts for half of the global code base as a growing security threat. Moreover, a review released by Flexera Software also found that the very security products designed to protect IT infrastructure are themselves riddled with vulnerabilities embedded in open source software.

    • Latest Android security update fixes Dirty COW, GPS vulnerabilities
    • News in brief: DirtyCOW patched for Android; naked lack of security; South Korea hacked
    • Millions exposed to malvertising that hid attack code in banner pixels

      Researchers from antivirus provider Eset said “Stegano,” as they’ve dubbed the campaign, dates back to 2014. Beginning in early October, its unusually stealthy operators scored a major coup by getting the ads displayed on a variety of unnamed reputable news sites, each with millions of daily visitors. Borrowing from the word steganography—the practice of concealing secret messages inside a larger document that dates back to at least 440 BC—Stegano hides parts of its malicious code in parameters controlling the transparency of pixels used to display banner ads. While the attack code alters the tone or color of the images, the changes are almost invisible to the untrained eye.

    • Backdoor accounts found in 80 Sony IP security camera models

      Many network security cameras made by Sony could be taken over by hackers and infected with botnet malware if their firmware is not updated to the latest version.

      Researchers from SEC Consult have found two backdoor accounts that exist in 80 models of professional Sony security cameras, mainly used by companies and government agencies given their high price.

      One set of hard-coded credentials is in the Web interface and allows a remote attacker to send requests that would enable the Telnet service on the camera, the SEC Consult researchers said in an advisory Tuesday.

    • I’m giving up on PGP

      After years of wrestling GnuPG with varying levels of enthusiasm, I came to the conclusion that it’s just not worth it, and I’m giving up. At least on the concept of long term PGP keys.

      This is not about the gpg tool itself, or about tools at all. Many already wrote about that. It’s about the long term PGP key model—be it secured by Web of Trust, fingerprints or Trust on First Use—and how it failed me.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Email cache proves Turkish oil minister’s links to Isis oil trade, WikiLeaks claims

      WikiLeaks has released a cache of thousands of personal emails allegedly from the account of senior Turkish government minister Berat Albayrak, son-in-law of the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which it says shows the extent of links between Mr Albayrak and a company implicated in deals with Isis-controlled oil fields.

      The 60,000 strong searchable cache, released on Monday, spans the time period between April 2000 – September 23 2016, and shows Mr Albayrak had intimate knowledge of staffing and salary issues at Powertrans, a company which was controversially given a monopoly on the road and rail transportation of oil into the country from Iraqi Kurdistan.

      Turkish media reported in 2014 and 2015 that Powertrans has been accused of mixing in oil produced by Isis in neighbouring Syria and adding it to local shipments which eventually reached Turkey, although the charges have not been substantiated by any solid evidence.

    • Wikileaks: Turkish Energy Minister Indirectly Involved In ISIS Oil Trade

      WikiLeaks published on Monday a searchable archive of nearly 58,000 emails from the private email account of Berat Albayrak – Turkey’s incumbent energy minister and son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – revealing the influence Albayrak has in Turkey and his correspondence regarding Powertrans, a company implicated in oil imports from ISIS-controlled oil fields.

      The emails encompass 16 years between April 2000 and September 23, 2016. A search by the ‘Powertrans’ keyword in the published WikiLeaks emails returns 32 results, including emails sent to Albayrak regarding personnel and salary issues at Powertrans.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Exclusive: ‘He will fight to the last breath’: Julian Assange’s mother speaks out six years after his arrest

      Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s mother Christine has told SBS News she feels “angry” but she’s still fighting six years after her son was arrested in relation to sexual assault allegations.

      Assange handed himself in to police in London on December 2010 and was released on bail.

      However, in June 2012 he broke his bail and sought asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London over fears he would be extradited to the US to face possible espionage charges.

      Since then police have kept the embassy surrounded, preventing him from leaving to Ecuador.

    • Pressure Builds for UK and Sweden to Release WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been in confinement for over 2,100 days without being charged with a crime. Since 2012, Assange has been under asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after he faced extradition to Sweden for questioning related to sexual offenses against two women, which Assange has consistently denied. Assange feared that if extradited to Sweden, he would subsequently be extradited to the United States, where he would likely face criminal charges for his work at WikiLeaks.

      Since its founding in 2006, WikiLeaks has published millions of documents exposing corruption in governments around the world, most notably the United States. WikiLeaks has shown light on the mass surveillance conducted by the NSA, torture in Guantanamo Bay, civilian deaths at the hands of the U.S. military, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) rigging the primaries for Hillary Clinton, and many other revelations. This has, in turn, provided WikiLeaks and Assange a despised reputation among the United States government officials implicated in their releases.

      The New York Times and Washington Post, who previously coordinated with WikiLeaks to publish documents, assisted in propagating a narrative that Assange was a Russian ally due to the damage resulting from the leaks of DNC and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails. Assange and his allies affirm that the abrasive attitude toward WikiLeaks from U.S. officials have been a primary cause of Assange’s prolonged detention by the U.K. and Sweden.

    • On Assange, Following the Rules or Flouting Them?

      It should not have been terribly surprising to Sweden or the United Kingdom that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that the various forms of confinement suffered by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violate his human rights. The Working Group has many times warned that it is unlawful to force someone to choose between liberty and a fundamental right, such as asylum, which Assange now enjoys only so long as he stays inside the walls of the Ecuadorean embassy.

      What is news are the deplorable rhetorical parries from the UK and Swedish governments, who both stated not just disagreement, but that the Working Group opinion would have absolutely no effect on their actions. This is not what one expects from democratic governments who usually support the UN mechanisms and international law.

    • Assange’s mother pleads for his release

      The mother of Julian Assange has pleaded with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to secure her son’s release, six years to the day after he was arrested.

      Christine Assange made phone calls to the PM’s and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s offices on Wednesday to ask for their help in releasing the WikiLeaks founder from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, six years after he was arrested in the UK on December 7, 2010.

      ‘Today he has been detained six years without charge,’ Ms Assange told AAP on Wednesday. ‘It’s time for the Australian government to stand up for my son’s human and legal rights.’

    • Julian Assange defies Swedish prosecutors by releasing rape statement

      Julian Assange has thumbed his nose at Swedish investigators, who he says have robbed him of his freedom for six years, by releasing the answers he gave to them under questioning in Ecuador’s London embassy last month.

      The decision to issue the statement, which contains for the first time a detailed account by the WikiLeaks founder of his encounter with a woman in August 2010 who made rape allegations against him, marks a fresh twist in a case in which Assange claims an early leak of information from the Swedish police has shaped opinion.

    • Julian Assange’s Defence Statement

      Julian Assange has published his statement given to the Swedish prosecutor. I give it in full below. I do implore you to read it. This is the first time his defence has been made public, although the media have been delighted to report the leaked allegations against him in detail.
      His defence will not be given in the same detail in the media.

      It is worth noting that under Swedish law the identity of both the accuser and the accused ought to be protected, but that did not prevent Swedish police and prosecutors leaking details to a complicit media, or the women concerned selling their story to the tabloids.

      You really do owe it to yourself, to justice and to personal honesty to read Julian’s side of the story.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s choice to lead the EPA, is a literal stenographer for the oil and gas industry

      Sometimes we say that so and so is a “mouthpiece” of some special interest, meaning that they’re in cahoots, that they express their views. Or maybe we say someone’s a “puppet” of industry. Most of the time these are metaphors.

      But sometimes they’re literal. Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s pick to head the EPA, is a mouthpiece and a puppet of the fossil-fuel industry. He’s a stenographer.

      How do we know this? We know this because in 2014 Pruitt sent a letter to that same EPA in his capacity as attorney general of Oklahoma. The letter argued that the agency was dramatically overstating how much pollution new gas wells in his state were causing.

    • Climate Deniers’ Top 3 Tactics

      Climate deniers don’t just want to deny global warming and its danger. They want you to deny it too.

      But man-made climate change is real, the danger is extreme, so they have to use guile to persuade you otherwise. There are three tried-and-false tactics they use often, and to great effect. Let’s take a close look at these misdirection methods, so you can arm yourself for defense against the dark arts.

    • Met Police is still running Windows XP on 19,000 PCs [Ed: I wrote about this before [1, 2, 3]. iophk says, “still running Microsoft at all is a problem”]

      THE METROPOLITAN POLICE SERVICE (MPS) is still running Microsoft’s now-defunct Windows XP operating system on 19,000 PCs.

      This figure, confirmed to the INQUIRER’s sister site V3, marks a decrease of 7,500 from the 27,000 MPS PCs that were running Windows XP in August.

      This means a total of 15,500 machines have been upgraded from XP, although only to Windows 8.1, rather than Microsoft’s newer Windows 10 platform.

    • Trump taps Oklahoma attorney general to lead EPA

      President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Scott Pruitt, the Republican attorney general of Oklahoma and a frequent legal adversary to President Obama, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a transition official told The Hill.

      If confirmed by the Senate to oversee the 15,000-employee agency, Pruitt would take the lead on dismantling the EPA regulations that Trump targeted throughout his campaign as job killers that restrict economic growth.

      Reuters first reported the news Tuesday.

  • Finance

    • Boeing Sweats Under Trump Spotlight as SoftBank Feels Warmth

      First came Ford and Carrier. Now Boeing and SoftBank are experiencing the power of Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.

      The president-elect jumped into corporate affairs again Tuesday, tweeting first to criticize one company and then to hail another. He began at 8:52 a.m. New York time by calling out Boeing Co. over costs to develop new Air Force One jets. Just over five hours later he celebrated a $50 billion investment in the U.S. by Japanese telecommunications firm SoftBank Group Corp.

      The tweets, coming after Trump last week announced a deal with United Technologies Corp. to cancel plans to close a U.S. factory, dominated news and moved markets even as details in both cases remained sketchy and the impacts unclear. Trump again showed a willingness to use his bully pulpit to criticize or congratulate companies over actions affecting American workers and government spending.

    • British workers living in poverty ‘at a record high’

      The number of workers living in poverty has reached a record high as the UK’s housing crisis fuels growing insecurity, a think tank has warned.

      Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) showed that 3.8 million workers, or one in eight, live in poverty.

      Low wages are regularly cited as the cause of in-work poverty, but the rising cost of rented housing is also pushing working people into extreme financial difficulty. A total of 7.4 million people, including 2.6 million children, are living in poverty despite being in working households, the report claims.

    • Sports Direct hits out at ‘extreme campaign’ as profits fall 25%

      Sports Direct’s chairman has accused the media, unions and politicians of a damaging “campaign” against the company amid its working practices and governance crisis.

    • The big money behind Trump’s tech deal is from Saudi Arabia

      Donald Trump has taken credit for a Japanese tech conglomerate’s plan to invest $50 billion in America.

      True, Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder and CEO of SoftBank (SFTBF), pledged Tuesday to invest the huge sum in U.S. startups. But that’s only part of the story.

      In reality, a big chunk of the cash is likely to come from the Saudi government.

      In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Son said the source of the investment would be a $100 billion fund SoftBank launched in October with Saudi Arabia.

    • Opting Out of Uber’s Forced Arbitration (The Clock is Ticking)

      You have until December 21st. That’s it. But you can opt out.

      Here’s the deal: Uber changed its terms of service to force people into arbitrations, taking away consumers’ rights to sue the ride sharing company if something goes wrong. Like plow into another car because the driver was looking at his phone to see where his next right might come from.

      That kind of thing.

    • Excellent, deep series on Uber’s Ponzi-scheme economics

      For the past week, Naked Capitalism has run a series of articles by transportation industry expert Hubert Horan on the economic shenanigans of Uber, which cooks the numbers it shows investors, drivers and the press to make it seem like something other than a black box that uses arrogance and lawlessness to make a bet on establishing a monopoly on transport in the world’s major cities.

      Horan started with four articles on Uber’s economics: Understanding Uber’s Bleak Operating Economics; Understanding Uber’s Uncompetitive Costs; Understanding False Claims About Uber’s Innovation and Competitive Advantages and Understanding That Unregulated Monopoly Was Always Uber’s Central Objective — today, he finishes (?) up with a fascinating Q&A with the commentators who’ve followed the series.

    • How to Expose Trump’s Dastardly Bait-and-Switch

      Trump is not an economic populist, he’s just playing one on TV.

      [...]

      Trump’s opening speech of his “thank you tour” in Ohio laid out the bait. While putting forth his “action plan to make America great,” Trump dished out nationalist and populist themes with a characteristic mix of racist signaling. Trump promised to put America first: “There is no global anthem. No global currency. No certificate of global citizenship. We pledge allegiance to one flag and that flag is the American flag. From now on it is going to be: America First,” Trump said. “Never anyone again will any other interests come before the interest of the American people. It is not going to happen again.”

      Trump echoed Bernie Sanders with his focus on the “forgotten” American worker. Trump felt their pain, and indicted trade deficits and flight of manufacturing jobs. He promised good jobs. He will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and take on China. He bragged about the Carrier deal, and pledged a 35 percent tariff on companies that offshore jobs and try to ship products back into the United States.

      Like Sanders, Trump proposed a major plan to rebuild America, including “our inner cities.” His plan will have “two simple rules”: “Buy America” and “Hire America,” phrases that too many Democrats would choke on.

      The conservative core of his program—corporate tax cuts, deregulation, reviving coal and oil, repealing Obamacare—is wrapped in this populist gauze.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald Trump just insulted a union leader on Twitter. Then the phone started to ring.

      Jones, a union leader in Indianapolis, represents the Carrier workers whose jobs Donald Trump has pledged to save. He said the sudden attention from the country’s next leader didn’t feel real.

      “My first thought was, ‘Well, that’s not very nice,’ ” he told The Washington Post on Wednesday night. “Then, ‘Well, I might not sleep much tonight.’ ”

      Jones, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999, told The Post on Tuesday that he believed Trump had lied to the Carrier workers last week when he visited the Indianapolis plant. On a makeshift stage in a conference room, Trump had applauded United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, for cutting a deal with him and agreeing to keep 1,100 jobs that were slated to move to Mexico in America’s heartland.

      Jones said Trump got that figure wrong.

    • Michigan election officials refuse to count ballots from black counties

      In Michigan, where Donald Trump won by just 10,704 votes, election officials are refusing to recount ballots in counties Hillary Clinton won handily.

    • U.S. judge reverses order requiring vote recount in Michigan

      A federal judge in Michigan on Wednesday revoked his order requiring a recount of the state’s presidential vote sought by Jill Stein, siding with a state appeals court that found the Green Party candidate had no grounds to mount the challenge.

      U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling has the effect of halting the recount in Michigan, at least for now, following conflicting rulings a day earlier by federal and state appeals courts.

      The Michigan Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the recount stopped, while the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Goldsmith’s earlier decision and said the process should proceed. The dueling rulings had both sides claiming victory but left the future of Stein’s bid unclear.

      Goldsmith, in deferring to the Michigan appeals court, said Stein had not presented valid reasons for him to override that court’s decision, which found that she was not an “aggrieved” candidate with standing to demand a recount.

      The Stein campaign said in a statement following Goldsmith’s ruling that it had appealed again, to the Michigan Supreme Court, and sought to disqualify two justices there because they had been mentioned by Republican President-elect Donald Trump as potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    • US judge reverses order requiring vote recount in Michigan

      A federal judge in Michigan on Wednesday revoked his order requiring a recount of the state’s presidential vote sought by Jill Stein, siding with a state appeals court that found the Green Party candidate had no grounds to mount the challenge.

      US District Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling has the effect of halting the recount in Michigan, at least for now, following conflicting rulings a day earlier by federal and state appeals courts.

      The Michigan Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the recount stopped, while the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Goldsmith’s earlier decision and said the process should proceed. The dueling rulings had both sides claiming victory but left the future of Stein’s bid unclear.

    • As it spreads online and off, Pizzagate gets weirder and more dangerous

      This past Sunday, a man fired a rifle into Comet Ping Pong, the Washington, DC pizza place at the center of an internet conspiracy theory dubbed Pizzagate that claims, in part, that the restaurant is a haven for a child abuse ring. The gunman surrendered to police after he realized there were no children being illegally harbored in the restaurant. What should have been an end to one of the internet’s strangest conspiracy theories appears to be just another moment in its convoluted timeline.

      This week, conspiracy theorists have named other pizza parlors as willing participants in the cover-up. DNA Info reports that New York pizzeria Roberta’s in Brooklyn received a threatening phone call last week after the restaurant was linked to Pizzagate.

    • Colorado electors sue state in effort to block Trump

      Two Democratic electors from Colorado filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday, challenging a state law that requires they vote for the winner of the state’s popular vote, the Denver Post reports.

      Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich had pledged to support Democrat Hillary Clinton, the winner of Colorado’s nine electoral votes.

      But now they are joining so-called “Moral Electors” in other states and say they’ll shift their Democratic votes to a consensus Republican pick — if one emerges.

      The “Moral Electors” want to persuade Republican electors in other states to vote for a third-party candidate, the Post reports, in an attempt to keep Donald Trump from receiving 270 electoral votes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Women in Lebanon protest law allowing rapists to marry their victims to escape punishment

      Women in Lebanon are protesting for the removal of a law that allows rapists to escape punishment for their crimes as long as they marry the survivor.

      The outdated statute from the 1940s currently says that rape is punishable by up to seven years in prison. The penalty for raping a minor or someone with mental or physical disabilities is higher – but Article 522 of the law creates a loophole which says that criminal prosecution is suspended if the two people involved get married.

      The law is up for debate on Wednesday after it was raised by a member of parliament. Lebanon’s diverse Christian and Muslim political representatives are currently energised by the election of a president after a more than two-year-long paralysis which meant legislation could not be passed – and activists are optimistic something can be done.

    • Five Afghan teenagers are arrested after a boy is gang-raped at knifepoint for more than an hour in a forest in Sweden

      Five Afghan teenagers have been arrested after a boy was gang-raped at knifepoint in a forest in Sweden, it has emerged.

      The victim, who is under 15, was filmed during the attack, which happened in woodland in Uppsala, south east Sweden.

      He was beaten and dragged out to the forest at knifepoint before being subjected to an ordeal lasting more than an hour, prosecutors say.

    • Obama Leaves Trump a Mixed Legacy on Whistle-Blowers

      Back in 2008, Senator Barack Obama promised that, if elected, he would run the most transparent Administration in history and would champion the cause of whistle-blowers. “Such acts of courage and patriotism . . . should be encouraged rather than stifled,” Obama said of whistle-blowers during his campaign.

      Eight years later, these words ring hollow to admirers of dissenters such as Edward Snowden and Thomas Drake, two of eight national-security “leakers” who have been charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act during Obama’s Presidency. His Justice Department has prosecuted more such cases against whistle-blowers than all previous Administrations combined, setting a precedent that some fear Donald Trump will invoke—and drastically build upon—to further muzzle dissent.

    • ‘The Moms’ co-host Denise Albert, who is battling cancer, says she felt ‘violated’ during TSA search

      A breast-cancer patient said she felt violated and humiliated in a public TSA search at Los Angeles International Airport Sunday after two security agents put her through what she called an aggressive pat down.

      Denise Albert, a frequent guest on the PIX11 Morning News and co-host of “The Moms,” was traveling through LAX security when two TSA agents pulled her aside for a manual search because she was trying to bring a necessary medical cream with her on her flight, Albert said.

      “I always let them know I have a medical port and that I am wearing a wig,” says Albert.

    • The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State

      Stuart Allen died on November 22, 2016. I learned of his death by way of an email from Laurel Krause, whose sister Allison was gunned down by the National Guard on May 4, 1970, just after the noon hour during a demonstration against the U.S. incursion into Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

      Stuart Allen would not like to be called a hero, although he certainly was one. Stuart was both an audio and video expert, with degrees in both fields and worked out of his lab and business in New Jersey that offers expert analyses of that kind of data. Stuart often worked for law enforcement, including the Justice Department and the FBI.

      In 2010, both Stuart and another forensic audio expert, Tom Owen, provided information at the request of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (“New analysis of 40-year old recording of Kent State shootings reveals that Ohio Guard was given an order to prepare to fire,” May 9, 2010) about a new analysis of the famous Strubbe tape, a recording of the events that led up to the death of four students and the wounding of nine others during a demonstration against the U.S. incursion into Cambodia.

      The tape that Stuart analyzed, and the results with which Tom Owen concurred, yielded dramatic new information. Using state-of-the-art forensic audio tools, one of which was developed by the Soviet KGB prior to the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Stuart found that a sequence of orders was given to the National Guardsmen as they reached the top of Blanket Hill on the campus of Kent State University, turned in unison, and fired 67 times at unarmed student demonstrators below the hill.

    • How a Muslim Group Shut Down Christmas Celebrations in Bandung

      A Christmas celebration led by preacher Stephen Tong at Sabuga Building in Bandung, West Java, on Tuesday (06/12) was forced to end after a Muslim hardliner group disrupted services.

      The group, identifying as Defenders of Ahlus Sunnah (PAS), forced organizers to end the event and claiming the religious service should be held in a church, not a public building.

    • Arrest of leading Egyptian feminist Azza Soliman sparks anger

      Human rights activists in Egypt have reacted angrily to the arrest of prominent women’s rights advocate Azza Soliman, saying it marked a “chilling escalation” of pressure on civil society organisations.

      Soliman, the founder of the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA), is one of a number of activists, lawyers and journalists to have been prevented from leaving Egypt in the past month.

      The rights lawyer and leading feminist said last week that she had been turned back on 19 November at Cairo airport. Soon after, Soliman discovered that her personal assets and those of her group had been frozen. On Wednesday, her foundation and a security source said she had been detained by police.

    • Tensions are rising, there are cracks in the façade, and change is in the air. When and how will things snap?

      Tensions between the industrial-age establishment and the networked people-at-large have been rising for years, if not for two decades. Politicians and elites striving to paint themselves on moral high horses are seen as increasingly isolated from the real world, enriching themselves at the expense of everybody else – not just expense in a monetary sense, but even more so in a liberty sense. With a perceived establishment increasingly insisting on their worldview, using an increasing amount of political violence and in contrast with people at large, major changes are inevitably in the cards.

      There are many signs that the political establishment is losing touch with reality – basically, losing touch with everything that happened since the Internet. The political structures they’re a part of were built to solve the problems of a different era, and those organizations are institutionally incapable of realizing that today’s conflicts are completely different from those that defined the industrial age. Therefore, politicians do two things – they keep hammering home messages that come across as increasingly irrelevant, while at the same time strengthening their own reality bubble where they are denying that the world is changing, has already changed, around them.

      [...]

      The UK is preparing for ten years in prison for teenagers who share music and movies directly, as people have always done but in violation of the copyright distribution monopoly, on the basis that they theoretically may have caused somebody to not earn as much money as they feel they should have. This is a prime example of a “let them eat cake” moment: in a referendum, would such a draconian measure even get a single percentage point of support?

      [...]

      When I can’t walk home safely, I just get angry when the taxation money I’ve worked hard for is being spent on things like gender pronoun awareness campaigns and parental leave bonuses within the administration instead of on fixing basic security and foundational liberty in the streets. The elites are now so far isolated from the common people, they’re not even aware that they’re working at the utterly wrong level of the Maslow Pyramid of Human Needs: politicians and establishment are operating at level five (self-emancipation) with society at large at level two (basic safety concerns).

    • Federal judge kills recount effort in Michigan

      A federal judge has stopped the hand recount of nearly 5 million ballots in Michigan, a decision that seems to secure Donald Trump’s narrow victory in the traditionally blue state.

      U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith, who effectively ordered the recount to begin Monday, sided with a state appeals court Wednesday in halting the effort, ABC News reported.

      On Tuesday, a Michigan appeals court ruled 3-0 that Green Party candidate Jill Stein should not have been allowed to demand a recount because she is not an “aggrieved candidate.” Goldsmith, after hearing arguments from the state Republican Party and GOP attorney general, agreed.

      “Because there is no basis for this court to ignore the Michigan court’s ruling and make an independent judgment regarding what the Michigan Legislature intended by the term ‘aggrieved,’ plaintiffs have not shown an entitlement to a recount,” Goldsmith said.

      The Stein campaign’s lead lawyers in Michigan said they were “deeply disappointed” with the ruling.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Court: Usenet Provider is Not Liable for Piracy

        After several years, the appeals court has reached a final decision in the case between anti-piracy group BREIN and Usenet provider NSE. The court ruled that the Usenet provider is not liable for the copyright infringements of its users. However, it also requires the service in question to offer a fast and “effective” takedown procedure.

      • YouTube’s $1bn royalties are not enough, says music industry

        YouTube has said it has paid the music industry $1bn (£794m) in royalties this year – but record companies have responded by claiming it is not enough.

        The spat began on Tuesday, when YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl posted a blog highlighting the site’s contribution to the industry.

        He said YouTube had distributed $1bn in advertising royalties alone, arguing that “free” streaming was as important as subscription sites like Spotify.

        But record labels were not impressed.

      • IFPI Sneers at YouTube’s $1 Billion Music Industry Revenue Payout

        Google has just announced that during the past 12 months, YouTube paid out $1 billion to the music industry from advertising alone. However, the IFPI remains unimpressed, accusing the platform of taking advantage of artists and producers. YouTube exploits loopholes in the DMCA, the industry group argues, while calling for legislative change to address the “value gap.”

      • Proposed EU Commission Copyright Reform Detrimental To Authors, CEIPI Says

        The opinion explains that recent empirical evidence from national implementation of publishers’ neighbouring rights confirmed a negative impact on small publishers. However, news aggregators might have a positive effect on online news sites, they said.

12.07.16

Links 7/12/2016: ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5, Ubuntu Touch OTA-14

Posted in News Roundup at 7:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • NIPS conference: Google releases open-source, AI, 3D game-development project

    Today, on the opening day of the marquee AI conference Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference in Barcelona, Google announced in a blog post the release of its DeepMind Lab project available to the AI community under open source licensing terms.

    Artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) are the next two computing platforms. DeepMind Lab is a 3D AI platform for building virtual games that bring these two platforms together in multiple dimensions. DeepMind Lab uses a special kind of AI, called machine learning (ML). And within the field of ML, it uses an advanced form of machine learning called deep reinforcement learning (DeepRL).

  • 7 cool little open source projects that stood out in 2016

    In the early days of the open source movement, a lot of the attention was on operating systems, and later on large content management systems. These days, containers are mentioned regularly even in mainstream news outlets. The big tech stories are great, but they miss the other great activity in the niches of the open source space. I’ve rounded up seven interesting lesser-known projects from the past year. You can see more articles about projects like this in my Nooks and Crannies column.

  • The most in demand skills you need for an open source job

    With coding and software development in serious need of talent, it’s essentially a graduate’s market, but you still need the right combination of skills and attributes to beat the competition. When it comes to open source and DevOps, a deeper understanding is essential.

  • Why the Open Source Cloud Is Important

    To this end, foundations such as the Cloud Foundry Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and Open Container Initiative (OCI) at The Linux Foundation are actively bringing in new open source projects and engaging member companies to create industry standards for new cloud-native technologies. The goal is to help improve interoperability and create a stable base for container operations on which companies can safely build commercial dependencies.

  • AI Platforms Welcome Devs With Open Arms

    Two leaders in the field of artificial intelligence have announced that they’re open-sourcing their AI platforms.

    After investing in building rich simulated environments to serve as laboratories for AI research, Google’s DeepMind Lab on Saturday said it would open the platform for the broader research community’s use.

    DeepMind has been using its AI lab for some time, and it has “only barely scratched the surface of what is possible” in it, noted team members Charlie Beattie, Joel Leibo, Stig Petersen and Shane Legg in an online post.

  • Open source is so much more than free code

    In 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs officially moved its most critical software, the VistA electronic health record system, into open source by establishing the Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance (OSEHRA). Along the way, VA officials solicited and followed advice from numerous open source experts, including Red Hat, Carnegie Mellon University and the Industry Advisory Council.

  • Events

  • Databases

    • SQL Server on Linux signals Microsoft’s changing development landscape [Ed: This headline is wrong. There is no SQL Server on Linux; it runs on a Windows compatibility layer and it's entirely proprietary.]
    • Exploring the Trend Towards Open Source Database Management Systems

      The popularity of open source DBMSs, as measured by the DB-Engines Ranking, has reached a new record. So, we’re going to analyze the underlying details.

      We have 154 open source systems in our ranking, slightly less than the 156 commercial systems. If we add up the popularity scores of all the open source systems, we get 46% of the overall scores, whereas 54% goes to commercial systems.

    • Cloud convenience is killing the open source database

      Open source has never been more important or, ironically, irrelevant. As developers increasingly embrace the cloud to shorten time to market, they’re speeding past open source, making it even harder to build an open source business.

      After all, if open source were largely a way for developers to skirt legal and purchasing departments to get the software they needed when they needed it, the cloud ups that convenience to the nth degree. In Accel’s annual business review, the vaunted venture capital firm writes: “‘Product’ is no longer just the bits of software, it’s also how the software is sold, supported, and made successful.” The cloud is changing the way all software is consumed, including open source.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, More: Keeping Up With Open Source CMS

      Due to its organic nature, the world of open source software is in constant flux, which makes it difficult to keep tabs on.

      To keep you in the loop, I’m kicking off a monthly roundup of open source CMS news, starting today.

      Here are your latest open source CMS highlights.

    • 4 open source peer-to-peer marketplaces

      What happens if your startup can’t afford one of these proprietary solutions or you need customized features? You go look for an open source alternative that could open the space for new solutions and modules. Here are four peer-to-peer marketplaces that are working to become the WordPress or Prestashop of their kind.

    • WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan”

      Version 4.7 of WordPress, named “Vaughan” in honor of legendary jazz vocalist Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.7 help you get your site set up the way you want it.

  • Education

    • Pencils down: Why open source is the future of standardized testing

      Administering standardized tests online is trickier than it sounds. Underneath the facade of simple multiple choice forms, any workable platform needs a complex web of features to ensure that databases don’t buckle under the pressure of tens of thousands of test takers at once. On top of that, it also needs to ensure that responses are scored correctly and that it’s impossible for students to cheat.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Why your teams may be failing at the collaboration game

      When we think about skills needed to build open structures and establish open mindsets, collaboration jumps to mind immediately. In order to collaborate effectively, communication—or rather, clear communication—is imperative to making it all work.

      Communication can be defined as a transfer of information from one space or person to another—but it can look like dialogue, conflict resolution, listening skills, or even a knowledge commons. In open organizations, we look for timely transfers of information to all members so that they may do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

    • Open Data

      • Portugal’s AMA publishes two open data guides

        The Portuguese Agency for Administrative Modernisation (Agência para a Modernização Administrativa, AMA) has published two national open data guides.

        As its title implies, the ‘Open Data Introduction Guide’ is aimed at the general public or those interested in learning about the subject.

        The ‘Open Data Guide’ is the official government publication on the subject of public sector data openness. It addresses theoretical issues and practices relevant to the development of open data in Portugal. The topics include open movements, the potential of data openness, processes of opening information, ways of reuse, and an introduction to technical issues. This document is aimed at the various stakeholders in the Portuguese open data ecosystem, such as public agencies, researchers, journalists, citizens and companies interested in reusing or analysing public sector information.

      • Poland looking for new Digital Services and Open Data director

        The Polish Ministry of Digital Affairs is looking for a new director for its Department of Development of Digital Services and Open Data. The director is expected to be a “creative and proactive person who will set out the directions and lead the way for the most important and boldest changes in the state administration”.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Accelerating Innovation: Michigan Tech patent database/app promotes open-source hardware

        Open-source innovation is making the traditional patent system obsolete. Michigan Technological University associate professor Joshua Pearce and his team work with what is called open-source hardware development.

        “What that means is sort of developing technologies that don’t rely on patents,” Pearce said. “We work collaboratively with engineers and scientists all over the world, and (it’s) fairly successful. And the reason it’s successful is because if you have thousands of people working on something, it tends to get pretty good pretty fast.”

        Pearce said the concept began some time ago with open-source software.

      • Non-profit creates open-source drinking water filter for 1/10th of the cost

        The high-tech vision of open-source software meets low-tech design at non-profit organization OHorizons, an international coalition of innovators working to solve persistent global challenges. The team’s most recent invention is the open-source Wood Mold, designed to allow even the least experienced person to create a BioSand Filter that can deliver clean water at 1/10th of the cost of the traditional method. The Wood Mold is designed to be accessible by anyone who has the DIY, open-source construction manual that OHorizons offers for free online.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • The Operating System Fountain of Youth: iOS

    When I returned to the store this week, the display was gone. Still, the idea is in the air, the two individuals mentioned didn’t know about the Microsoft product.

    The Microsoft implementation might be too kludgy, or immature, or the concept itself could just be a doomed Rube Goldberg fantasy. Back to reality, we’re likely to pick up fresher clues on iOS direction when new iPads show up, probably next quarter.

  • 15+ Stunning Satellite Photos That Will Change How You See Our World

    Every single day, Grant shares one satellite photo from Digital Globes to change the way we see our planet. “With a focal length 16 times longer than a standard DSLR camera, the cameras are so powerful that you can take a picture of a beach ball on the Golden Gate Bridge in full resolution…from Los Angeles,” Grant told Bored Panda. “I try to present the images with no bias and let people decide what these altered landscapes mean, based on the facts and the visual evidence in the frame. I believe that this perspective is a means to start a conversation about the condition of our planet and how we can better protect it.”

  • Science

    • Teachers’ union ‘concerned’ over Pisa results

      Finland has slipped down the Pisa rankings in recent years, and that trend continued in the latest set of the OECD educational charts released on Tuesday. Although Finland was the only country where girls outperformed boys in science, the number of poor performing students was up and there were fewer high-achievers.

      Finland’s teaching union, the OAJ, says it is concerned about the development in Finnish Pisa results.

      “Finnish results have declined clearly when compared to previous years,” said OAJ expert Jaakko Salo. “The biggest concern in this is that our cornerstone—equality in education—looks to be crumbling.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why is a banned pesticide that harms bees actually being used more?

      Goulson called it “sinister” last week when made aware of the silence, but now concludes it was probably an innocent error. Bob Maurer, chairman of the show, told me the event has never received any sponsorship from the big chemical companies that manufacture neonicotinoids. He believes an accidental “technical hitch” by the video producer was responsible.

      Concern over this coincidence can be dismissed as a conspiracy theory, but what cannot be dismissed is the solid scientific evidence that Goulson is helping to produce, showing how neonicotinoids harm bees and other insects.

    • Civil rights commission to discuss Flint water crisis report

      The Michigan Civil Rights Commission will discuss an early version of its report about the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint at its next meeting.

      The commission, which meets Monday morning at the University of Michigan Detroit center, is expected to check on progress and provide feedback. The report is scheduled to be released next month.

    • California bill would require reporting of ‘superbug’ infections, deaths

      A California state senator introduced a bill on Monday that would mandate reporting of antibiotic-resistant infections and deaths and require doctors to record the infections on death certificates when they are a cause of death.

      The legislation also aims to establish the nation’s most comprehensive statewide surveillance system to track infections and deaths from drug-resistant pathogens. Data from death certificates would be used to help compile an annual state report on superbug infections and related deaths.

      In September, a Reuters investigation revealed that tens of thousands of superbug deaths nationwide go uncounted every year. The infections are often omitted from death certificates, and even when they are recorded, they aren’t counted because of the lack of a unified national surveillance system.

      “The (Reuters) story highlighted some of the problems that have come from the lack of information, the lack of reporting, especially deaths,” said state Senator Jerry Hill, who introduced the bill. “I wasn’t aware that on death certificates, antibiotic-resistant infections have never been called out.”

      Because there is no federal surveillance system, monitoring of superbug infections and deaths falls to the states. A Reuters survey of all 50 state health departments and the District of Columbia found that reporting requirements vary widely.

  • Security

    • HP shutting down default FTP, Telnet access to network printers

      Security experts consider the aging FTP and Telnet protocols unsafe, and HP has decided to clamp down on access to networked printers through the remote-access tools.

      Some of HP’s new business printers will, by default, be closed to remote access via protocols like FTP and Telnet. However, customers can activate remote printing access through those protocols if needed.

    • Google Chrome 55 Fixes Flaws, Blocks Flash
    • Cyberattacks are going to get a lot worse, former NSA official says

      The face of cybercrime is changing. Healthcare has gone from a declared mission of stealing personal data to much more disruptive issues. In fact, healthcare has seen the largest jump in ransomware attacks than in any other industry.

      When Joel Brenner opened the HIMSS Privacy & Security Forum in Boston Monday morning, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology research fellow – who focuses on cybersecurity, privacy and intelligence policy – and former senior counsel at the National Security Agency, didn’t sugarcoat the state of healthcare security.

      The government isn’t going to sort out that problem until we suffer some great losses, Brenner said.

    • Chrome 55 Now Blocks Flash, Uses HTML5 by Default

      Chrome 55, released earlier this week, now blocks all Adobe Flash content by default, according to a plan set in motion by Google engineers earlier this year.

      Back in May, Google’s staff announced that starting with Q4 2016, Chrome would use HTML5 by default, while Flash would be turned off.

      While some of the initial implementation details of the “HTML5 By Default” plan changed since May, Flash has been phased out in favor of HTML5 as the primary technology for playing multimedia content in Chrome.

    • Google Debuts Continuous Fuzzer for Open Source Software

      A new Google program aimed at continuously fuzzing open source software has already detected over 150 bugs.

      The program, OSS-Fuzz, currently in beta mode, is designed to help unearth programming errors in open source software via fuzz testing. Fuzz testing, or fuzzing is when bits of randomly generated code is inputted into programs as a means to discover code and security flaws.

    • Google Opens Up a Powerful FOSS Security Tool

      Back in 2014, public exposure of the OpenSSL Heartbleed security bug created a stage for security experts and commentators to field opinions on the open source error that left an estimated two thirds of the internet unsecured. We followed up back then with a guest post for OStatic from Eren Niazi, founder of Open Source Storage, where he discussed the security implications for the open source community.

    • Google Finally Patches ‘Dirty COW’ Linux Vulnerability With December Android Security Update [Ed: Google patches don’t matter to news sites until there’s some stupid brand with logo and Web site]
    • Google patches Dirty Cow vulnerability in latest Android security update
    • Docker CEO: Docker Already Is a Security Platform (with Swarm, That Is)

      In a reinforcement of his company’s marketing message that containerization as an architecture is more secure by design, Docker Inc. CEO Ben Golub [pictured right above, with HPE Executive VP Antonio Neri] told attendees at HPE’s Discover London 2016 event last Tuesday morning that the Docker platform addresses and ameliorates its users’ security concerns just by its very architecture.

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • On CVE-2016-4484, a (security)? bug in the cryptsetup initramfs integration
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste

      The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

      Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.

      The report, issued in January 2015, identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years. The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange defies Swedish prosecutors by releasing rape statement

      Julian Assange has thumbed his nose at Swedish investigators, who he says have robbed him of his freedom for six years, by releasing the answers he gave to them under questioning in Ecuador’s London embassy last month.

      The decision to issue the statement, which contains for the first time a detailed account by the WikiLeaks founder of his encounter with a woman in August 2010 who made rape allegations against him, marks a fresh twist in a case in which Assange claims an early leak of information from the Swedish police has shaped opinion.

      The transcript of a police interview with the woman was leaked to media in December 2010, which the Australian, who has not been charged with any crime, says helped to establish an aura of guilt around him.

      Since then, Assange has repeatedly asked to be allowed to tell his side of the story to prosecutors, but until recently they insisted he come to Sweden for questioning. Assange has been confined to Ecuador’s cramped London embassy since June 2012, after claiming asylum to avoid extradition over the allegations.

    • Julian Assange says texts show he is ‘entirely innocent’ of rape; WikiLeaks founder criticises Swedish prosecutor

      The ABC has obtained a copy of the statement the WikiLeaks founder gave prosecutors from his refuge inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on November 14.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A threat to rainforests in Indonesia: Big banks

      In early 2015, scientists monitoring satellite images at Global Forest Watch raised the alarm about the destruction of rain forests in Indonesia.

      Environmental groups raced to the scene in West Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo, to find a charred wasteland: Smouldering fires, orangutans driven from their nests, and signs of an extensive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

      “There was pretty much no forest left,” said Dr Karmele Llano Sanchez, director of the non-profit International Animal Rescue’s orangutan rescue group, which set out to save the endangered primates. “All the forest had burned.”

    • Republicans Vow to Finish the Dakota Access Pipeline Under Trump

      This weekend the Army Corps of Engineers said Dakota Access Pipeline won’t go through as planned since it could have destructive environmental consequences. But, as activists know, that doesn’t mean Republicans are done fighting for the oil pipeline.

      President-Elect Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan were among pipeline supporters who emphasized their commitment to the project, and promised to approve the project in the next term. Trump has suggested in prior speech he would push an oil pipeline through during his first 100 days in office, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    • Five things to watch in Dakota Access pipeline fight

      The Obama administration halted construction on the Dakota Access oil pipeline Sunday, saying it would hold off on granting the final easement for the project while it conducts a thorough environmental review.

      Both the developer and President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team have vowed to finish construction, while protesters say they could bring the conflict to court.

      Here are five things to watch in the unfolding fight.

      Trump’s strategy

      When Trump and his administration take office, approving Dakota Access probably won’t be as simple as signing a piece of paper.

      The Army Corps of Engineers ordered an environmental impact statement for the project Sunday. Experts say that because of that, Trump’s administration will have to either complete the yearslong process or find a way to remove the requirement for testing the environmental impact. Doing the latter, however, would be a rare move that could subject the pipeline to a lawsuit.

    • Melting Permafrost Could Affect Weather Worldwide

      Melting permafrost is causing significant changes to the freshwater chemistry and hydrology of Alaska’s Yukon River and could be triggering global climate impacts, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report released yesterday.

      Researchers say the study, which analyzed more than 30 years of data, sheds light on how climate change is already affecting the Arctic.

      According to the report, the Yukon River and one of its major tributaries have accumulated increasing levels of calcium, magnesium and sulfates over the last three decades due to thawing permafrost.

    • Standing Rock protesters asked to ‘go home’ by Sioux leader

      The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has asked the thousands of “water protectors” gathered in encampments along the Missouri river to “go home” after the US Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the river.

      In a video statement Dave Archambault thanked the thousands of Native American and environmental activists who travelled to North Dakota to help the tribe fight back against the pipeline, which they feared would contaminate their water source and destroy sacred sites.

      But after the “huge victory” of the Army Corps decision, Archambault said: “There’s no need for the water protectors or for anyone to be putting ourselves in unsafe environments.

    • Indonesia takes new step to combat loss of forests, fires

      Indonesia has strengthened its moratorium on converting peat swamps to plantations in a move a conservation research group says will help prevent annual fires and substantially cut the country’s carbon emissions if properly implemented.

      President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s amendment to the moratorium regulation, which was issued on Monday, expands it to cover peatlands of any depth and orders companies to restore areas they’ve degraded.

      Indonesia’s move was welcomed by Norway, which in 2010 pledged $1 billion to help the country stop cutting down its prized tropical forests but has released little of it. As a result of the expanded regulation, Norway said it would give $25 million to Indonesia to fund restoration of drained peatlands and another $25 million once an enforcement and monitoring plan is ready.

      Draining of peat swamps by palm oil and pulp wood companies is a big contributor to destruction of tropical forests in Indonesia and the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The land conversion worsens annual dry season fires that release huge amounts of carbon stored in the peat. Many of the fires are deliberately set to clear land of its natural vegetation.

    • Britain could slash environmental and safety standards ‘a very long way’ after Brexit, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg says

      Britain could slash environmental and safety regulations on imported products after it leaves the EU, a Tory MP has suggested.

      Jacob Rees-Mogg said regulations that were “good enough for India” could be good enough for the UK – arguing that the UK could go “a very long way” to rolling back high EU standards.

      The idea, floated at a hearing of the Treasury Select Committee, was immediately rejected by an economist, who said such a move would likely cause “quite considerable” difficulties.

  • Finance

    • The Soviet Union collapsed overnight. Don’t assume western democracy will last forever

      Below the medieval citadel in Kazan, two vast frozen rivers turn the landscape white. On a Saturday afternoon there are a few hardy locals shuffling through the icy sludge to take selfies against the mosque, the Christmas lights and the Soviet-era statues.

      It’s 25 years since I was last in Russia, trying and failing to revive the left during the chaotic first days of Boris Yeltsin’s economic reforms. Half a lifetime later I am here to address a room full of people who want to talk about replacing capitalism with something better – and suddenly we have something in common: now we both know what it’s like to see a system that once looked permanent collapsing.

      Since I’ve been here, almost everyone who has chosen to come and hear me is involved in either contemporary arts or philosophy. The journalists who want to interview me – a public critic of Putin’s policy in Syria and Ukraine – mainly write for cultural magazines. These, if not exactly the new rock’n’roll, are the safest intellectual spaces in which critical thought can take place.

    • Tar Heel heist: How the charter school industry is hijacking public education

      If the American Dream is still alive – the one that includes a good job and a house with a yard, kids, and a two-car garage – you can see it taking shape in Wake County in the heart of the state of North Carolina. Signs of surging prosperity are everywhere this morning as I make my way to West Lake Middle School in Apex, NC, on the outskirts of Raleigh.

      What were once sleepy two-lane country roads are now teaming with impatient commuters, school busses, and mini-vans. New housing developments, shopping centers, and office buildings are transforming the rolling Piedmont landscape.

    • TPP May Be Dead – But Its Impact Lingers

      Despite the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being – to all-intents-and-purposes – dead in the water, pursuit of some of the most egregious objectives of the corporate interests driving the TPP agenda rolls on. Pharma is persisting in its push for countries to adopt not just TRIPS-Plus, but in some cases even TPP-Plus intellectual property rules – presumably groundwork for the later emergence of a ‘son-of-TPP’ agreement.

    • India ready to resume BTIA talks with EU without preconditions

      Government is committed to an early and balanced outcome of India-EU Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) negotiations and is willing to resume talks without any preconditions, Parliament was informed today.

      “The European Union (EU) has expressed willingness to re-engage with India in India-EU Broad based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) negotiations subject to certain conditions.

    • The Mafia State

      The list of financial titans, including Trump, who have profited from a rigged financial system and fraud is endless. Many in the 1 percent make money by using lobbyists and bought politicians to write self-serving laws and rules and by forming unassailable monopolies. They push up prices on products or services these monopolies provide. Or they lend money to the 99 percent and charge exorbitant interest. Or they use their control of government and the courts to ship jobs to Mexico or China, where wages can be as low as 22 cents an hour, and leave American workers destitute. Neoliberalism is state-sponsored extortion. It is a vast, nationally orchestrated Ponzi scheme.

      This fevered speculation and mounting inequality, made possible by the two ruling political parties, corroded and destroyed the mechanisms and institutions that permitted democratic participation and provided some protection for workers. Politicians, from Reagan on, were handsomely rewarded by their funders for delivering their credulous supporters to the corporate guillotine. The corporate coup created a mafia capitalism. This mafia capitalism, as economists such as Karl Polanyi and Joseph Stiglitz warned, gave birth to a mafia political system. Financial and political power in the hands of institutions such as Goldman Sachs and the Clinton Foundation becomes solely about personal gain. The Obamas in a few weeks will begin to give us a transparent lesson into how service to the corporate state translates into personal enrichment.

    • We don’t need a charter-school lobbyist as education secretary: Stephen Henderson

      In Detroit, parents of school-age children have plenty of choices, thanks to the nation’s largest urban network of charter schools.

      What remains in short supply is quality.

      In Brightmoor, the only high school left is Detroit Community Schools, a charter boasting more than a decade of abysmal test scores and, until recently, a superintendent who earned $130,000 a year despite a dearth of educational experience or credentials.

      On the west side, another charter school, Hope Academy, has been serving the community around Grand River and Livernois for 20 years. Its test scores have been among the lowest in the state throughout those two decades; in 2013 the school ranked in the first percentile, the absolute bottom for academic performance.

    • Jill Stein Takes Long-Shot Recount Campaign to Trump Tower

      Jill Stein went to Trump Tower on Monday to press her case for long-shot recounts in three closely contested states in last month’s presidential election.

      Ms. Stein, the Green Party presidential nominee and now the leader of the recount campaign, appeared emboldened by an early morning federal court ruling that ordered Michigan elections officials — over the protests of President-elect Donald J. Trump and his allies — to begin a recount by noon Monday.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Republican ‘faithless elector’ says he will not cast his vote for Donald Trump as he is ‘unfit for presidency’

      A REPUBLICAN presidential elector has issued the shock claim that he will not cast his vote for Donald Trump in an attempt to block his path to the White House.

      Christopher Suprun said in an article for the New York Times that he could not approve Mr Trump in good conscience as he felt the president-elect was unfit for public office.

      “Mr Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign,” he wrote. “He speaks of retribution against his critics.”

      “I owe no debt to a party. I owe a debt to my children to leave them a nation they can trust.”

    • Trump’s lawyer suggests the president-elect’s fraud claim isn’t true

      As you’ve probably heard, there are progressive efforts underway to force recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – three traditionally “blue” states where Donald Trump narrowly prevailed. Had these three states, where literally every independent poll showed Hillary Clinton ahead in the months leading up to Election Day, voted Democratic, Trump would’ve lost.

    • Jill Stein charges ahead with recount efforts

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is vowing to move ahead with recount efforts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, despite legal setbacks and growing opposition from Republicans and other Donald Trump allies in each state.

      “We will not give in to intimidation, to legal maneuvering and to bureaucratic obstruction,” Stein said at a news conference outside of Trump Tower on Monday.

      Her vow came as Stein’s campaign on Monday morning filed a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania — an attempt to revive the push there after Stein and other Pennsylvania voters dropped a state-based lawsuit to try to force a recount. They gave up on the state-based lawsuit when a judge raised the bond to $1 million, a price Stein panned as exorbitant .

      But even as she railed against the roadblocks in Pennsylvania, Stein lauded developments in Michigan, which was to begin its recount by noon Monday.

    • Trump’s Threat to the Constitution

      On July 7, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, met privately with House Republicans near the Capitol. I was present as chief policy director of the House Republican Conference. Mr. Trump’s purpose was to persuade the representatives to unite around him, a pitch he delivered in a subdued version of his stream-of-consciousness style. A congresswoman asked him about his plans to protect Article I of the Constitution, which assigns all federal lawmaking power to Congress.

      Mr. Trump interrupted her to declare his commitment to the Constitution — even to parts of it that do not exist, such as “Article XII.” Shock swept through the room as Mr. Trump confirmed one of our chief concerns about him: He lacked a basic knowledge of the Constitution.

    • Michigan recount begins, as Jill Stein’s legal battle moves to Pennsylvania

      Presidential candidate Jill Stein’s fight to force presidential recounts in three states focuses Monday on Pennsylvania, where her Green Party is seeking an emergency federal court order for a statewide recount, and Michigan, where a federal judge has ordered a hand recount to begin by noon.

      The recount is underway in Wisconsin.

      President-elect Donald Trump narrowly defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in all three states. The recounts were not expected to change enough votes to overturn the result of the election.

      Stein says her intent is to verify the accuracy of the vote. She has suggested, with no evidence, that votes cast were susceptible to computer hacking.

    • The Frankfurt School Knew Trump Was Coming

      Shortly after the Presidential election, a small piece of good news came over the wire: the Thomas Mann villa in Los Angeles has been saved. The house, which was built to Mann’s specifications in the nineteen-forties, went on the market earlier this year, and it seemed likely to be demolished, because the structure was deemed less valuable than the land beneath it. After prolonged negotiations, the German government bought the property, with the idea of establishing it as a cultural center.

      The house deserves to stand not only because a great writer lived there but because it brings to mind a tragic moment in American cultural history. The author of “Death in Venice” and “The Magic Mountain” settled in this country in 1938, a grateful refugee from Nazism. He became a citizen and extolled American ideals. By 1952, though, he had become convinced that McCarthyism was a prelude to fascism, and felt compelled to emigrate again. At the time of the House Un-American Activities Committee’s hearings on Communism in Hollywood, Mann said, “Spiritual intolerance, political inquisitions, and declining legal security, and all this in the name of an alleged ‘state of emergency.’ . . . That is how it started in Germany.” The tearing down of Mann’s “magic villa” would have been a cold epilogue to a melancholy tale.

    • 9 Things Obama Can Do Before Leaving Office to Prepare for the Trump Takeover

      In less than seven weeks, President Barack Obama will hand over the government to Donald Trump, including access to the White House, Air Force One, and Camp David. Trump will also, of course, inherit the infamous nuclear codes, as well as the latest in warfare technology, including the Central Intelligence Agency’s fleet of killer drones, the National Security Agency’s vast surveillance and data-collection apparatus, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s enormous system of undercover informants.

    • Why is Donald Trump delegitimizing an election that he won?

      On the other hand, what he DOES is important. When he settled the Trump University for 25 Million, despite prolonging it for multiple years and putting all of the plaintiffs through years of frustration and debt, the news stories lasted less than 12 hours before being drowned by the Hamilton Tweets. My own reaction to the tweet was reflexively the same as others: Our President-elect is so sensitive that anything even slightly negative is considered an insult. But, you have to work HARD to find a story today talking about the settlement (or the fact that some are contesting it), but the fallout from the tweets lasted days. Looking back, more than once a fundamental issue concerning Trump was obscured by Tweet reactions. Nude underage beauty contestants, Manafort Russian connections, a debate that clearly showed Trump unprepared, unpresidential, and unhinged turned immaterial as the world reacted to his tweets about Alicia Machado.

    • Jill Stein On What’s Next With the Recount Effort in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has initiated recount efforts in three states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by a combined margin of 103,519 votes. (A fourth, partial recount is underway in Nevada, by independent presidential candidate Roque De La Fuente).

      Though considered an “extreme long shot” by the New York Times, Stein’s campaign raised her initial goal of $7 million — twice as much as she raised in her failed campaign bid — in just a matter of days. Clinton’s campaign has cooperated with the effort.

    • Bob Dole’s Law Firm Was Paid $20,000 A Month To Lobby For Taiwan

      The Taiwanese representative office in Washington paid the law firm of former Sen. Bob Dole $20,000 a month to advance its interests in Washington, public filings show. Dole said on Monday his firm helped broker a controversial phone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

      Dole told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that his law firm “may have had some influence” on the phone call, which broke decades of diplomatic precedent, but has been widely praised by China hawks for the tough signal it sends to Beijing. An unnamed Trump transition team official told the paper that Dole had arranged the call.

    • US Power Will Decline Under Trump, Says Futurist Who Predicted Soviet Collapse

      Johan Galtung, a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated sociologist who predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, warned that US global power will collapse under the Donald Trump administration.

      The Norwegian professor at the University of Hawaii and Transcend Peace University is recognized as the ‘founding father’ of peace and conflict studies as a scientific discipline. He has made numerous accurate predictions of major world events, most notably the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

    • Half of Detroit votes may be ineligible for recount

      One-third of precincts in Wayne County could be disqualified from an unprecedented statewide recount of presidential election results because of problems with ballots.

      Michigan’s largest county voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but officials couldn’t reconcile vote totals for 610 of 1,680 precincts during a countywide canvass of vote results late last month.

      Most of those are in heavily Democratic Detroit, where the number of ballots in precinct poll books did not match those of voting machine printout reports in 59 percent of precincts, 392 of 662.

    • Mismatched numbers means Mich. precincts can’t be recounted

      A single missing ballot was enough to scuttle the recount of a Michigan precinct Monday.

      The computerized poll book in Rochester Hills precinct 11 listed the names of 848 voters who cast ballots there, but the ballot box contained just 847 ballots. So where is the other ballot? The poll workers’ notes offered no explanation.

      “It didn’t match on the canvass and it doesn’t match now,” said Joe Rozell, Oakland County’s director of elections. “This precinct is not recountable.”

      Two Michigan counties began the recount process Monday, hours after a federal judge ordered the immediate start of the presidential recount. Six counties are expected to start the recount process Tuesday, with the last batch of counties to start Dec. 12.

    • How the Electoral College Really Started
    • Florida voters sue for recount

      Three central Florida voters are mounting an unlikely bid to overturn the presidential election result in the Sunshine State.

      In a lawsuit filed Monday in Leon Circuit Court, they assert that Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, actually won Florida. The plaintiffs, who live in Osceola and Volusia counties, say the state’s official election results were off because of hacking, malfunctioning voting machines and other problems.

      They’re asking for a hand recount of every paper ballot in Florida, at the expense of defendants including Trump, Gov. Rick Scott and the 29 Republican presidential electors from Florida.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • 3 Tips for Teachers to Help Teens Distinguish Fact From Fiction

      The rise in websites dispensing false information has become a problem for Facebook. But for one high school teacher, having students take misinformation at face value is nothing new – though it’s gotten worse.

      “I’m constantly got kids coming to me, ‘Did you know?’ insert whatever conspiracy theory,” says Dave Stuart Jr., who teaches world history at Cedar Springs High School in Michigan. “Ranging from the Apollo missions to the moon never happened, to current events-related stuff.”

      The Common Core standards focus strongly on skills that should prepare students to detect fake news – the standards emphasize the need for students to write and read arguments using and looking for strong reasoning and evidence, says Dana Maloney, an English teacher at Tenafly High School in New Jersey.

    • Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube team up to stop terrorist propaganda

      Four of the largest tech companies—Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and YouTube—are coming together to stop the spread of terroristic content on social media.

      The plan is to create a shared database and track the digital fingerprints of accounts who share propaganda for terror networks helping them identify the content and easily remove photo or videos from their sites.

      “Our companies will begin sharing hashes of the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services — content most likely to violate all of our respective companies’ content policies,” the companies announced in a joint statement Monday night.

    • Pakistani Cinema’s Censorship Problem

      Actor Hameed Sheikh, known for his phenomenol performance in Jami’s Moor, spoke about the difficulty he faced while trying to release the movie

    • Hacker News calls for “political detox,” critics cry censorship

      Can social media even exist without political debate? What about trolls? Hacker News, the social news site run by Y Combinator, is trying to find out.

      The head of the Hacker News community since 2014, Daniel Gackle (whose HN handle is “dang”) on Monday initiated a site-wide “Political Detox Week.”

    • With a new Star Trek TV series incoming, we revisit the show’s long history of censorship at the BBC…

      Star Trek is not a franchise you’d normally associate with controversy. Nevertheless, between 1969 and 1994, four episodes of the original series – Empath, Whom Gods Destroy, Plato’s Stepchildren and Miri – were not aired on the BBC, and other episodes were heavily redacted.

    • Internet giants will join forces to stop online sharing of terrorist material

      Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube have announced that they will be working together to curb the dissemination of terrorist material online. The Web giants will create a shared industry database of hashes—digital fingerprints that can identify a specific file—for violent terrorist imagery and terrorist recruitment materials that have previously been removed from their platforms.

      According to a statement the four companies have jointly released, the hope is that “this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.”

    • I’m a Journalist and I Was Stopped From Covering Standing Rock

      It was an assignment that I barely prepared for. I didn’t think I had to.

      For most reporting trips I have made in the last decade, I would think long and hard about where I was going and what the variables were. If I was heading to a conflict zone, I would need body armor and a trauma kit. If it was a natural disaster, I would bring a satellite phone and spare food. If I was heading to an authoritarian country where journalism was not allowed, I would need a mix of burner phones, encrypted hard drives and a disposable laptop. I felt I was prepared for every eventuality. But I never thought that I would have to think about these things so close to home.

      For my recent assignment heading from Canada to the U.S. to cover the anti-oil pipeline protests in Standing Rock for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I didn’t prepare for anything extraordinary. But at the border, after handing over my Canadian passport I was taken aside. I wasn’t worried. Why should I be? I had nothing to hide, and I felt like it was the one border in my travels where I could proudly proclaim that I was a journalist to safe ears.

    • Ahead of 2022 World Cup, Qatar doubles down on internet censorship and blocks independent news website

      Last week, an independent news website in Qatar, Doha News, discovered that they had been blocked in Qatar. While there has been no official news on why this block has happened, Doha News stated that they suspect that the block happened at the behest of the government. The news site has a reputation for toeing the line in Qatar, and had previously done such “unprecedented” things in the emirates such as publishing an anonymous article by a homosexual Qatari man. Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it is more than possible that this is just the first of many censorship actions by Qatar. Another famous international media site that is based in Qatar is none other than Al Jazeera.

      Doha News confirmed that Qatar’s two ISPs, Ooredo and Vodaphone, have blocked Doha News. The independent news source tried to create a new domain name to get past the block but that new website was quickly blocked as well. Doha News’s editor, Shabina Khatri was forced to use a different Medium to communicate after the block.

    • Facebook reportedly testing new tool to combat fake news

      Facebook appears to be testing a tool designed to help it identify and hide so called “fake news” on the social network, in an attempt to quell increasingly vocal criticism of its role in spreading untruths and propaganda.

      The tool, reported by at least three separate Facebook users on Twitter, asks readers to rank on a scale of one to five the extent to which they think a link’s title “uses misleading language”. The articles in question were from reliable sources: Rolling Stone magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Chortle, a news site which reports on comedy.

    • Facebook and Google make lies as pretty as truth

      If you asked Google who won the popular vote just after the election, there’s a chance you would have been sent to a conspiracy blog with bogus results. And the site is likely to have looked as legitimate as any other.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA’s best are ‘leaving in big numbers,’ insiders say

      Low morale at the National Security Agency is causing some of the agency’s most talented people to leave in favor of private sector jobs, former NSA Director Keith Alexander told a room full of journalism students, professors and cybersecurity…

    • Who Are The NSA’s Elite Hackers?

      Last week, a mysterious group calling itself The Shadow Brokers dumped online a series of hacking tools associated with the NSA. The leak provided an unprecedented look into the actual tools that the NSA uses to hack its targets, and in the process, put the spotlight on a little-known team that works inside the spy agency—its elite-hacking unit.

      Known as Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, its existence was barely—if at all—discussed in public until 2009, when intelligence historian and author Matthew Aid described it in his book about the history of the NSA as a “super-secret” unit that taps into “thousands of foreign computer systems” and accesses “password-protected hard drives and email accounts of targets around the world.”

    • Appeals Court to Hear Argument in ACLU Challenge to NSA Internet Surveillance

      A federal appeals court will hear oral argument Friday in Richmond, Virginia, in the case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a broad group of organizations challenging the National Security Agency’s mass interception and searching of Americans’ international internet communications.

    • German Investigation Committee ‘Protracting’ Inquiry Into NSA Spying Scandal

      WikiLeaks published 2,400 documents on the NSA spying affair, according to which Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was involved in the creation of the spy software that was later used by the NSA to tap top-ranking officials. It was also said that BND used the software in its work.

    • Court upholds warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens under Section 702

      The U.S. federal appeals court has ruled in United States v. Mohamud, a case that began with a 2010 holiday bomb plot and will end with unique implications for the private digital communications of American citizens.

      Digital privacy advocates had hoped that the appeals case might prompt reform for a contentious portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) known as Section 702. The provision accommodates U.S. surveillance of foreign targets located abroad, although its many detractors argue that Section 702 allows the U.S. government to collect the bulk communications of Americans in the process.

    • United States v. Mohamud
    • No Appeal For US Man Believed Convicted With Warrantless NSA Evidence

      A U.S. man convicted after his emails were revealed by the NSA’s PRISM program, the first public case of its kind, will not have his case overturned, an appeals court has found.

    • German spy agency penetrated by ISIS

      My recent interview about the German domestic spy agency, the BfV – the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, ironically – being allegedly infiltrated by ISIS.

    • Canada Wants Software Backdoors, Mandatory Decryption Capability And Records Storage

      The new Canadian government is looking to further expand its surveillance powers by requiring decryption capabilities for all services, mandatory storage of both internet and phone records for service providers, backdoors that allow interception, and warrantless access to basic subscriber information.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Saudi journalist banned from media after criticising Trump

      Saudi authorities banned journalist Jamal Khashoggi from writing in newspapers, appearing on TV and attending conferences, the Alkhalij Aljadid reported in Arabic.

      This came after Khashoggi’s remarks during a presentation he made at a Washington think-tank on 10 November in which he was critical of Donald Trump’s ascension to the US presidency.

      Two weeks ago, an official Saudi source was cited by the Saudi News Agency as saying that Khashoggi did not represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in his interviews or statements.

    • Michael Coe, associate of hate preacher Anjem Choudary, jailed for 28 months

      An associate of hate preacher Anjem Choudary has been jailed for 28 months for knocking a schoolboy unconscious because he cuddled his girlfriend in the street.

      Michael Coe, a Muslim convert, has a long record of violent offences starting when he was 16, including assaults, burglary, robbery and violent disorder.

      The married father of two was convicted in August of attacking the boy after he took exception to the 16-year-old cuddling his teenage girlfriend in Newham, east London, in April.

    • Coincidence? German Stats Show Surge in Sex Crime Rate Around Refugee Centers

      A group of German activists have carried out a study which found that rates of sexual offenses increase significantly in the vicinity of asylum reception centers, Germany’s Journalistenwatch news portal reported.

    • Afghan migrant woman ‘hunted down to Europe by abusive husband’

      Forced into marrying a man 25 years her senior after he had allegedly raped her, this 23-year-old Tajik woman from Kabul is now in a Greek camp for migrants.

      But Lina told the BBC that the abusive husband she ran away from is now following her, threatening to kill her for disobeying him.

      Her story was corroborated by volunteers for a Spanish refugee charity.

      Lina’s husband is one step behind her and her two small children, having reached the Greek island of Lesbos shortly after she was transported to mainland Greece.

    • Muslims are failing to integrate because men keep marrying abroad, major report warns

      Muslim communities remain isolated even after decades in the UK because men keep marrying foreign wives, a Government adviser has warned.

      Dame Louise Casey said that there is a “first generation in every generation” phenomenon in Muslim communities which is acting as a “bar” to integration.

      The review also accuses Labour and local authorities of having “ignored or even condoned” harmful cultural traditions for fear of being branded “racist or Islamaphobic”.

      It reports concerns that Sharia Courts in the UK have been “supporting the values of extremists, condoning wife-beating [and] ignoring marital rape”.

    • British ‘subjects’ did not deserve legal equality with their colonial masters: Interview with Marieme Helie Lucas on Sharia Courts in Britain

      Today, the British law of the land applies to all citizens, be they Catholics, Protestants, atheists, etc. Not one single citizen is beyond the law. Except for the former ‘natives’, be they actually British citizens or migrants: those – and those only – are, once more, entitled to laws of their own, because, beyond their official citizenship, they are still seen as ‘different’ from – and inferior to – the (former?) colonial master. ‘Let them have their own customs, it is their way’.

      ‘Proper’ British citizens are ruled by laws they have voted on, that they can change if they come together and press their MPs. How can ‘Sharia laws’ be changed by the will and vote of citizens? A significant proportion of British citizens are now under supposedly religious laws that they have neither voted for, nor can change through a democratic process. Democracy for ‘proper’ British citizens but unchangeable ‘tribal native customs’ for others?

    • European Union Directive on counterterrorism is seriously flawed

      European Union Member States must ensure that a new effort to standardise counterterrorism laws does not undermine fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, a group of international human rights organisations said today.

      Amnesty International, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), European Digital Rights (EDRi), the Fundamental Rights European Experts (FREE) Group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) are warning that the overly broad language of the new EU Directive on Combating Terrorism could lead to criminalising public protests and other peaceful acts, to the suppression of the exercise of freedom of expression protected under international law, including expression of dissenting political views and to other unjustified limitations on human rights. The Directive’s punitive measures also pose the risk of being disproportionately applied and implemented in a manner that discriminates against specific ethnic and religious communities.

    • Amber Rudd says EU nationals in post-Brexit UK will need ‘form of ID’

      More than 3 million European Union citizens living in Britain after Brexit will have to be issued with “some form of documentation”, the home secretary has said.

      Amber Rudd told MPs she would not yet set out the details for any new EU ID card, but said: “There will be a need to have some sort of documentation. We are not going to set it out yet. We are going to do it in a phased approach to ensure that we use all the technology advantages that we are increasingly able to harness to ensure that all immigration is carefully handled.”

      The home secretary’s statement came in response to Labour’s Hilary Benn, who told MPs that EU citizens already in the UK would need to be documented so that employers and landlords could distinguish them from EU citizens arriving after Brexit.

      During Home Office questions in the Commons, Rudd also said she was aware of the need to continue the seasonal agricultural workers’ scheme after Brexit, but again ruled out demands to remove international students from the annual net migration target.

    • Diverse yet divided: UK is growing apart, Casey report finds

      The UK is becoming more divided as it becomes more diverse, a Government-commissioned review has claimed.

      In the report by Dame Louise Casey, it is revealed that the ‘pace of immigration in some areas has been too much’.

    • Theresa May’s government condemned for driving ‘more austerity and more racism’ after integration review

      Campaigners have condemned a review of integration for “adding to the politics of racism and scapegoating” after it called for immigrants to swear an oath to the UK and children to be taught “British values” in schools.

      Dame Louise Casey’s review, which was commissioned by the Government, found the country is becoming more divided amid growing “ethnic segregation” and that Muslim women in particular were being marginalised by limited English language skills.

    • Sorry, Louise Casey, but Muslim women are held back by discrimination

      Despite the fact that more British Muslim women than men are getting degrees, we are the most disenfranchised group in the country. Not only are we subject to high levels of unemployment and poverty, but discrimination on the basis of our faith, gender and ethnic background hinders our entry into the labour market.

    • Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Allowed Agencies To Withhold Names Of Officers Who Deploy Deadly Force

      Last month, Pennsylvania legislators wrapped up a little gift for the state’s law enforcement agencies: a bill that would have allowed agencies to withhold the names of officers involved in deployments of deadly force for at least 30 days. This was just the mandatory withholding window. The bill never stipulated a release date past that point, meaning “never” was also an acceptable time frame.

      The normal concerns for “officer safety” were given as the reason for the new opacity. Rather than see disclosure as an essential part of maintaining healthy relationships with the communities they served, law enforcement agencies saw disclosure as just another way to hurt already very well-protected officers.

      The DOJ itself — often a defender of entrenched police culture — recommended a 72-hour window for release of this information. State legislators, pushed by local police unions, felt constituents would be better served by being kept in the dark. Given the back-and-forth nature of public sentiment, it was unclear how Governor Tom Wolf would react to the passed proposal.

    • Theresa May urged to raise human rights concerns on Gulf visit

      Theresa May has been urged to confirm she will put human rights reform on her agenda when she meets Saudi and Bahraini leaders on Tuesday, after announcements on her two-day trip to the Gulf were squarely focused on trade and security.

      Rights campaigners in Bahrain argue that although the UK has been assisting Bahrain with judicial and police reform since 2012, current levels ofengagement on rights issues have not prevented crackdowns on journalists and pro-democracy activists in the country.

      May said: “I think the UK has always had the position, and we continue to have the position, that where there are issues raised about human rights, where there are concerns, we will rightly raise those.

    • The terrible human rights records of the countries Theresa May is having dinner with tonight

      Theresa May is visiting Bahrain to meet with leaders of Gulf states, who are in the country for a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

      She will attend a dinner with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman on Tuesday, before addressing the plenary session of the summit on Wednesday.

      The Prime Minister will use the visit to announce a new working group with regional nations to combat the financing of terrorists. The UK will provide three specialist cyber experts to the Gulf states to help deal with extremism.

    • Please, Theresa May, save my husband from death in Bahrain

      In 2014 Mohammed was arrested at Bahrain’s airport where he worked as a police officer. My husband believes in human rights, democracy and transparency. He attended peaceful marches in Bahrain calling for our government to respect these values. As a state employee, he knew that it was risky for him to go to these protests. But he believes in reform and so he went anyway.

      After Mohammed was taken into custody, our family heard nothing for four days – we had no idea where he was, or even if he was alive. Eventually, two weeks later, we were allowed to see him, but only with three guards watching us on a surveillance camera. As soon as we saw him, it was clear that Mohammed had been tortured by the security services.

      Mohammed seemed weak and exhausted, and his body was trembling; this suggested to us that he had been subjected to extreme torture. But no one would tell us the reasons for his arrest or the charges against him.

    • Angela Merkel Calls for Ban on Full-Face Veils in Germany

      To loud applause, Chancellor Angela Merkel told her party members on Tuesday that Germany should ban full-face veils “wherever legally possible” and that it would not tolerate any application of Shariah law over German justice.

      Accepting her party’s nomination as its candidate for another four-year term, the chancellor used the moment to broaden her stance on banning the veil, trying to deflect challenges from far-right forces that have made some of their deepest gains since World War II.

      In welcoming nearly one million asylum seekers to Germany a year ago, Ms. Merkel emerged as a powerful voice for tolerance across a Europe gripped by anxiety over waves of arriving migrants and fears of terrorism.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Will Donald Trump Dismantle the Internet as We Know It?

      Talking about net neutrality is so boring, the comedian John Oliver once quipped, that he would “rather listen to a pair of Dockers tell me about the weird dream it had” than delve into the topic.

      So it’s unsurprising that Donald Trump—an entertainer with a flair for the dramatic and little interest in wonky details—has stayed away from the issue almost entirely.

      If you want to captivate a nation, discussing thorny telecommunications policy is generally a terrible way to do it. (For those who have managed to avoid reading up on net neutrality thus far, the term refers to open-web principles aimed at curbing practices that give certain companies competitive advantages in how people access the internet. The FCC formally established rules last year that allow the agency to regulate broadband the way it oversees other public utilities. Those rules ban internet service providers from throttling—or slowing—connections to certain content online, and prohibit providers from offering faster connections to corporations that can afford to pay for premium web services. The rules also discourage zero-rating—in which an internet service provider subsidizes a consumer’s cost of going online but often does so in exchange for a competitive advantage.)

    • Millions in US still living life in Internet slow lane

      Millions of Americans still have extremely slow Internet speeds, a new Federal Communications Commission report shows. While the FCC defines broadband as download speeds of 25Mbps, about 47.5 million home or business Internet connections provided speeds below that threshold.

      Dealing with speeds a bit lower than the broadband standard isn’t too horrible, but there are still millions with speeds that just aren’t anywhere close to modern. Out of 102.2 million residential and business Internet connections, 22.4 million offered download speeds less than 10Mbps, with 5.8 million of those offering less than 3Mbps. About 25.1 million connections offered at least 10Mbps but less than 25Mbps.

      54.7 million households had speeds of at least 25Mbps, with 15.4 million of those at 100Mbps or higher. These are the advertised speeds, not the actual speeds consumers receive. Some customers will end up with slower speeds than what they pay for.

  • DRM

    • W3C at a crossroads: technology standards setter or legal arms-dealer?

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an amazing, long-running open standards body that has been largely responsible for the web’s growth and vibrancy, creating open standards that lets anyone make web technology and become part of the internet ecosystem.

      Since 2013, the W3C has been working on a very different kind of standard: Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), designed to enable DRM for streaming video, is more than a technology standard. Thanks to US-propagated laws that give DRM makers the right to sue people who break DRM, even for legal purposes, EME will — for the first time in W3C history — give its members the power to sue security researchers, accessibility toolmakers, and competitors who improve EME implementations, regardless of whether these improvements enable copyright infringement or other illegal outcomes.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Blocking Case Heads Back to Court in Sweden

        In 2015, a coalition of copyright holders lost a court case which demanded an ISP blockade of The Pirate Bay in Sweden. A year later and Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music and Nordisk Film are back, hoping for a victory in a brand new court that could open the floodgates for widespread website blocking.

      • Court: ‘Falsely’ Accused ‘Movie Pirate’ Deserves $17K Compensation

        An Oregon District Court has sided with a wrongfully accused man, who was sued for allegedly downloading a pirated copy of the Adam Sandler movie The Cobbler. According to the court’s recommendations, the man is entitled to more than $17,000 in compensation as the result of the filmmakers “overaggressive” and “unreasonable” tactics.

      • Wild Boys Sometimes Lose It: Duran Duran fail to reclaim their US copyright

        A few weeks after his eighteenth birthday, Duran Duran co-founder Nick Rhodes signed a music publishing agreement assigning his existing and future copyrights to a publisher, as did the other band members. None of them was aged more than 21 at the time.

      • Aussie Celebrities Join Campaign to Oppose Fair Use

        A campaign has been launched in Australia to prevent proposed changes to copyright law and the introduction of a “fair use” doctrine. Australia currently has a “fair dealing” provision but the royalties and anti-piracy group APRA AMCOS and its celebrity supporters are opposing rules that would provide more freedom.

      • Ten Years in Jail For UK Internet Pirates: How the New Bill Reads

        The Digital Economy Bill is currently at the report stage. It hasn’t yet become law and could still be amended. However, as things stand those who upload any amount of infringing content to the Internet could face up to 10 years in jail. With the latest bill now published, we take a look at how file-sharers could be affected.

12.05.16

Links 5/12/2016: Linux 4.9 RC 8, DeepMind as FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 6:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Eight great Linux gifts for the holiday season

    Do you want to give your techie friend a very Linux holiday season? Sure you do! Here are some suggestion to brighten your favorite Tux fan’s day.

  • More Random Gift Ideas For Linux Enthusiasts & Others Into Tech
  • Which open source gift is at the top of your holiday wish list?
  • 7 Linux predictions for 2017

    Last year I made a set of predictions of events that I thought would happen in the tech world (focused primarily on Linux and free software). I was mostly right. This has emboldened me to make another set of predictions for 2017. I have no inside knowledge on any of these—I am basing this entirely on the twin scientific principles of star maths and wishy thinking.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.9-rc8

      So if anybody has been following the git tree, it should come as no
      surprise that I ended up doing an rc8 after all: things haven’t been
      bad, but it also hasn’t been the complete quiet that would have made
      me go “no point in doing another week”.

      Extra kudos to Arnd, who actually root-caused the incredibly annoying
      “modversions do not work with new versions of binutils”, bisecting it
      to a particular change to symbol handling in binutils, and then adding
      a small one-liner patch to the kernel to work around the issue. We
      already had other workarounds in place, but it’s always good to know
      exactly what in the tool chain changed to cause things like this.

    • Linux Kernel 4.9 Slated for December 11 Release as Linus Torvalds Outs RC8
    • Linux 4.9-rc8 Kernel Released
    • Linus Torvalds finds 163 reasons to wait a week for a new Linux

      Linus Torvalds told the world that if it wanted a new Linux he needed a quiet week. But he didn’t get it and now the world has an eighth release candidate of Linux 4.9 to consider.

      The Linux Lord’s weekly what’s up with Linux post says “things haven’t been bad, but it also hasn’t been the complete quiet that would have made me go ‘no point in doing another week’.”

    • Linux Foundation’s Blockchain Collective Hyperledger Hits 100 Members

      Hyperledger aims to enable organizations to build robust, industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support their individual business transactions by creating an enterprise grade, open source distributed ledger framework and code base.

    • The Blockchain Milestone You May Have Missed
    • Sasken becomes member of Automotive Grade Linux

      Sasken Communication Technologies Ltd has announced its membership with Automotive Grade Linux as its bronze member.

      This will enable Sasken to provide solutions to customers on Automotive Grade Linux (AGL). Sasken will provide product development and system integration services for automotive customers spanning in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), instrument cluster, heads-up display and telematics.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 12.0.4 Promises 15% Performance Boost for Radeon Users on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        The Mesa problem in Ubuntu Linux is about to be resolved very soon, after the game developers behind the UK-based Feral Interactive video game publishing company urged Canonical to update the software to a most recent version.

        The Mesa 3D Graphics Library is a unique open-source implementation of the OpenGL graphics API for Linux-based operating systems, and it includes drivers for Intel, Radeon, and Nvidia graphics cards. But it looks like Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) was shipping with a pretty old version of Mesa.

      • The Favorite Open-Source Vulkan Projects Of Phoronix Readers
      • Mesa 12.0.5 Released, End Of Road For Mesa 12

        Mesa release manager Emil Velikov announced the availability today of Mesa 12.0.5, just another point release and what he expects will be the last of the Mesa 12.0.x releases.

      • [ANNOUNCE] mesa 12.0.5

        Mesa 12.0.5 is now available.

      • The future of xinput, xmodmap, setxkbmap, xsetwacom and other tools under Wayland

        This post applies to most tools that interface with the X server and change settings in the server, including xinput, xmodmap, setxkbmap, xkbcomp, xrandr, xsetwacom and other tools that start with x. The one word to sum up the future for these tools under Wayland is: “non-functional”.

        An X window manager is little more than an innocent bystander when it comes to anything input-related. Short of handling global shortcuts and intercepting some mouse button presses (to bring the clicked window to the front) there is very little a window manager can do. It’s a separate process to the X server and does not receive most input events and it cannot affect what events are being generated. When it comes to input device configuration, any X client can tell the server to change it – that’s why general debugging tools like xinput work.

      • Please don’t use pastebins in bugs
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 7 Things to do After Installing KDE Plasma

        Even for other Linux users, KDE Plasma can seem like a different operating system. Except for a few standards like LibreOffice, the apps are different, and so is the design philosophy, which tends to cram in every possible feature. As a result, once they install, users are likely to wonder what to do next.

      • KDE Framworks 5 Content Snap Techno

        In the previous post on Snapping KDE Applications we looked at the high-level implication and use of the KDE Frameworks 5 content snap to snapcraft snap bundles for binary distribution. Today I want to get a bit more technical and look at the actual building and inner workings of the content snap itself.

        The KDE Frameworks 5 snap is a content snap. Content snaps are really just ordinary snaps that define a content interface. Namely, they expose part or all of their file tree for use by another snap but otherwise can be regular snaps and have their own applications etc.

        KDE Frameworks 5’s snap is special in terms of size and scope. The whole set of KDE Frameworks 5, combined with Qt 5, combined with a large chunk of the graphic stack that is not part of the ubuntu-core snap. All in all just for the Qt5 and KF5 parts we are talking about close to 100 distinct source tarballs that need building to compose the full frameworks stack. KDE is in the fortunate position of already having builds of all these available through KDE neon. This allows us to simply repack existing work into the content snap. This is for the most part just as good as doing everything from scratch, but has the advantage of saving both maintenance effort and build resources.

      • Calligra 3.0 Is Ready As A Qt5 / KDE Frameworks 5 Office Suite

        It’s been quite a while since last having anything to report on the KDE Calligra open-source graphics/office suite while surprisingly this morning it was pleasant to see Calligra 3.0 tagged for release.

      • KDE Applications 16.12 Up to Release Candidate State, Final Arrives December 15

        The KDE development team was proud to announce the availability of the Release Candidate (RC) build of the upcoming KDE Applications 16.12 software suite for the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment.

        Work on KDE Applications 16.12 started about a month ago, on November 10, when the third and last maintenance update of the current stable KDE Applications 16.08 release was announced, marking the end of life of the series. Until today, KDE Applications 16.12 received a Beta development version, tagged as build 16.11.80, and now we’re seeing the Release Candidate, tagged as build 16.11.90.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK Lands A Big Refactoring Of OpenGL Code

        In addition to Red Hat’s Benjamin Otte working on a Vulkan renderer for GTK4′s GSK, he’s also been working on a big refactoring of the OpenGL code that’s now been merged to master.

        OpenGL is very important for GTK4 as it will play a big role in rendering with GSK. With this “large GL refactoring”, a big clean-up was done of the OpenGL GDK code, affecting the X11, Win32, Wayland, and Mir code too. Some of the specific work includes no longer using buffer-age information, passing the actual OpenGL context, and simplifying the code. More details via this Git commit.

      • A Vulkan Renderer For GNOME’s GTK+ GSK Is In Development

        A Vulkan back-end is in development for GNOME’s GTK’s tool-kit new GTK Scene Kit (GSK) code.

        Benjamin Otte has begun experimenting with a Vulkan back-end for GTK’s GSK code with GTK Scene Kit being one of the big additions in development for the major GTK+ 4.0 milestone. GSK implements a scene graph to allow for more complex graphical control of widgets and other improvements to its graphics pipeline. GSK was merged back in October and currently uses OpenGL for rendering while there is now a branched Vulkan renderer.

      • GNOME loves to cook

        With the upcoming 20th birthday of GNOME next year, some of us thought that we should make another attempt at this application, maybe as a birthday gift to all of GNOME.

        Shortly after GUADEC, I got my hands on some existing designs and started to toy around with implementing them over a few weekends and evenings. The screenshots in this post show how far I got since then.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Top 3: SparkyLinux 4.5, Mageia 5.1 and Peppermint 7

      SparkyLinux is (yet another) Debian based Linux distribution. The SparkyLinux 4.5 update codenamed “Tyche’ was released on December 3, providing users with multiple desktop choice other than GNOME. SparkLinux 4.5 ships with KDE, LXDE, LXQt, MATE and Xfce.

    • Upcoming Linux Distributions Releasing In December 2016

      In December 2016, a big Linux distribution release is taking shape in the form of Linux Mint 18.1 Serena, flavored by Cinnamon 3.2. It’ll be accompanied by the release of security and privacy-focused Anonymous Live CD Tails 2.9.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 20.1 Linux Distro Released with Kernel 4.4.34 LTS to Restore PAE Support

        4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki is happy to inform Softpedia today about the immediate availability of the first point release of the 4MLinux 20 stable series of his independently-developed GNU/Linux distribution.

        4MLinux 20.0 was officially released a month ago, on the first day of November, and it’s currently the most advanced version of the Linux-based operating system, shipping with the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel and many recent GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software applications.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Leap 42.2 gets 64-bit Raspberry Image

        The latest release from openSUSE has new images available for the Raspberry Pi and joins SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Raspberry Pi in becoming the initial distributions with 64-bit for the Raspberry Pi 3.

        The 64-bit image of openSUSE Leap 42.2 for the Raspberry Pi 3 has been out for a couple weeks.

        “The ARM and AArch64 Images for openSUSE Leap 42.2 are not a once-only release,” said Dirk Mueller. “They get continuously updated and include fixes as the Leap 42.2 port matures over time. These are the first usable images, and more variants with more fixes will come over time.”

      • OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Does A 64-bit Spin For The Raspberry Pi 3

        Following SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as being available in a 64-bit edition catered to the Raspberry Pi 3, openSUSE developers have now released a 64-bit image of Leap 42.2 for the RPi3.

      • SUSE Buys HPE’s OpenStack and Cloud Foundry Assets, Talent

        Back in November, the Cloud Foundry Foundation, home of an industry-standard platform for cloud applications, announced that SUSE had increased its engagement and support of Cloud Foundry by becoming a Platinum member.

        Now, SUSE has entered into an agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to acquire technology and talent that will expand SUSE’s OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution. In addition, the company announced that it will accelerate its entry into the growing Cloud Foundry Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) market, and said that the acquired OpenStack assets will be integrated into SUSE OpenStack Cloud.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Why Red Hat takes an ‘upstream first’ approach

        Red Hat has been an open source solution provider since 1993 and is 100% open source-focused. Today, the company has more than 80 offices in more than 40 countries around the globe and employs about 10,000 people.

      • Singapore IT Decision Makers Turn to Open Source for Digital Innovation

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the results of a commissioned study by Forrester Consulting, on behalf of Red Hat, about the use of open source in digital innovation initiatives in the Asia Pacific region. The results, highlighted in the study Open Source Drives Digital Innovation revealed that IT decision makers in Singapore are turning to open source to drive better efficiency and digital innovation.

      • Linux Pathshala received Red Hat awards
      • Red Hat OpenStack Platform

        The adoption of OpenStack in production environments has burgeoned, necessitating increased requirements for enhanced management and seamlessly integrated enterprise capabilities.

      • Red Hat’s Paul Smith: Open Source the Basis for Gov’t Digital Transformation

        Paul Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Red Hat‘s (NYSE: RHT) U.S. public sector business, has noted that the government utilizes open source technology as the development model for digital transformation efforts, ExecutiveBiz reported Tuesday.

        “Digital transformation is an unstoppable force as constituents and consumers are demanding more value and a greater user experience,” Smith said Nov. 2 at the 2016 Red Hat Government Symposium in Virginia.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora and GNOME at the Engineering Week of UPIG

          I was invited today to present two Free software projects: GNOME and Fedora at UPIG (Universidad Peruana de Integración Global). They celebrated the event during the whole week the “Engineering Week”. This was the advertisement they used to announce the workshop that last two hours. It was offered free admission with certification fee of s/.25.

        • Fedora 25 review

          Even when dealing with the various Wayland oddities and issues, Fedora 25 is a great distribution. Everything is reasonably polished and the default software provides a functional desktop for those looking for a basic web browsing, e-mail, and word processing environment. The additional packages available can easily turn Fedora into an excellent development workstation customized for a developer’s specific needs. If you are programming in most of the current major programming languages, Fedora provides you the tools to easily do so. Overall, I am very pleased using Fedora 25, but I am even more excited for future releases of Fedora as the various minor Wayland issues get cleaned up.

        • Try Fedora in the cloud for free with Dply

          Fedora 25 is now available on Dply. Dply is a new experimental cloud provider which lets you run an instance for two hours at a time — for free, with no catch. That means that with a few clicks, you can try Fedora 25 from the comfort of your home, school, or coffeeshop.

    • Debian Family

      • My Free Software Activities in November 2016

        This was my ninth month as a paid contributor and I have been paid to work 11 hours on Debian LTS, a project started by Raphaël Hertzog.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based SparkyLinux 4.5 Brings Support for exFAT Filesystems, systemd 232

          The developers of the Debian-based SparkyLinux distribution announced this past weekend the release and immediate availability for download of the SparkyLinux 4.5 operating system.

          SparkyLinux 4.5 comes more than three months after the SparkyLinux 4.4 “Tyche” release and promises to offer users fully updated installation mediums for its KDE, Xfce, LXDE, LXQt, and MATE flavors, which have been synced with the upstream Debian GNU/Linux repositories as of November 29, 2016. The SparkyLinux 4.5 ISO images are powered by Linux kernel 4.8.7.

        • Debian/TeX Live 2016.20161130-1

          As we are moving closer to the Debian release freeze, I am shipping out a new set of packages. Nothing spectacular here, just the regular updates and a security fix that was only reported internally. Add sugar and a few minor bug fixes.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Snapcraft 2.23 Snap Creator for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 16.10

            Canonical’s Snappy development team have released a new maintenance version of the Snapcraft 2.x tool that lets applications developers package their apps as Snap packages for Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux distributions that support Snaps.

          • Canonical to sue cloud provider over Ubuntu images

            Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution, has said it plans to sue an European cloud provider for distributing unofficial images of its cloud distribution despite several warnings.

            The company offers certified cloud images of Ubuntu that are guaranteed to run on specific cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure or Google.

            Performance is optimised and integrated with underlying cloud requirements, with input from the host’s cloud engineers.

          • Pico-ITX SBC runs Ubuntu on Braswell

            DFI announced an Intel Braswell based “BW051” Pico-ITX SBC with up to 8GB DDR3L, mini-PCIe, SATA 3.0, mSATA, and Linux support.

            DFI, which earlier this year tapped Intel’s “Braswell” generation of SoCs for its BW968 COM Express Compact Type 6 module, has now chosen Braswell for a Pico-ITX SBC. The 100 x 72mm BW051 ships with 4-6W Braswell processors including dual or quad-core Celeron models, the quad-core 1.6GHz Pentium N3710, and quad-core, 1.04GHz Atom x5-E8000.

          • Must have Ubuntu Packages

            For most people, any default Ubuntu installation will meet their needs. Ubuntu provides users with Web browsing, email, along with various communication tools right out of the box. Heck, even basic backups are provided…although you must take the time to configure it.

            Putting all of that aside for a moment, let’s consider which “must have Ubuntu packages” aren’t included by default. In this article, I’ll share my top list of must have Ubuntu packages and explain why I rely on each of them.

          • Canonical yells at European cloud provider

            Open saucy outfit Canonical is in the middle of a legal dispute with an unnamed “a European cloud provider” over the use of its own homespun version of Ubuntu on their cloud servers.

            Canonical is worried that the implementation disables even the most basic of security features and Canonical fears that when something bad happens, the great unwashed will not blame the cloud provider but will instead blame Ubuntu.

            Writing in the company bog, Canonical said that it has spent months trying to get the unnamed provider to use the standard Ubuntu as delivered to other commercial operations to no avail. It said that Red Hat and Microsoft wouldn’t be treated like this.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu-Based ExTiX OS Updated for Intel Compute Sticks with Improved Installer

              GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton announced this past weekend the release of an updated build of his Ubuntu-based ExTiX Linux distribution for Intel Compute Stick devices.

              Last month, we reported on the initial availability of a port of the ExTiX operating system for Intel Compute Sticks, boasting the lightweight and modern LXQt 0.10.0 desktop environment and powered by the latest Linux 4.8 kernel, tweaked by Arne Exton for Intel Atom processors.

              And now, ExTiX Build 161203 is out as a drop-in replacement for Build 161119, bringing a much-improved Ubiquity graphics installer that should no longer crash, as several users who attempted to install the Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distro on their Intel Compute Stick devices reported.

            • Should Linux Mint be discontinued?

              Linux Mint has been quite popular with many users for a very long time. But changes to Linux Mint in recent years have one redditor wondering exactly what the point of using it is these days. Distributions like Fedora, Ubuntu and others have also stolen some of Linux Mint’s thunder with notable improvements and popular spins.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 20 houses of Hindus set on fire in Bangladesh

      At least 20 houses of Hindus were set on fire in Bochaganj upazila of Dinajpur in Bangladesh early Saturday.

      A report published in The Daily Star said that houses of seven families of Hindus were set on fire in Railway Colony.

      Fortunately, no one was injured as residents managed to escape on time.

      A person named Jewel was held by the locals, who allegedly set the fire.

    • Exclusive: WikiLeaks documents highlight sinister relations between Erdogan and ISIS

      The connection of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan΄s family with the oil smuggling of the “Islamic State” is revealed after Wikileaks΄ revealing of emails from the Turkish energy minister, and Erdoğan΄s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak. Albayrak΄s emails seem to confirm the not-so-recent accusations, since the energy minister is appealing to be the “unofficial” owner of the oil company Powertrance which is importing oil from the Isis΄ land in Northern Irak to Turkey.

    • 5 Bizarre Groups That Run Entire Foreign Countries

      Nippon Kaigi is an ultra-nationalist group whose members believe the Japanese are a superior race. They want to alter Japan’s history — like denying the rape and pillage of Nanjing, an onslaught with an estimated 200,000 Chinese victims. And they want to change the constitution, scrapping Japan’s pacifist policies, getting rid of foreigners, keeping women at home, bringing back corporal punishment, and generally doing away with a whole bunch of basic human rights, like freedom of speech.

      That headline about how Japan’s PM likes Trump makes a bit more sense now, doesn’t it?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Police “legally mug” gang boss to grab unlocked iPhone

      The Metropolitan Police have debuted a new tactic to beat Apple’s iPhone encryption—by mugging a suspect while he was making a call and then keeping the screen alive while they downloaded all the data from the phone.

      The technique, which bears all the hallmarks of a real mugging, is apparently legal and seems set to be adopted as a standard means of gathering evidence from devices that might otherwise be locked to investigators.

      The evidence gathered from the tactic helped jail five men involved in a major fake credit card operation. Officers from Operation Falcon, the specialist London unit tackling major fraud and other related online crime, seized the phone from one of the ringleaders, Gabriel Yew, whose gang were suspected of manufacturing false bank and credit cards and using them across mainland Europe to buy luxury goods.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Federal Officials to Explore Different Route for Dakota Pipeline

      Federal officials announced on Sunday that they would not approve permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a dammed section of the Missouri River that tribes say sits near sacred burial sites.

      The decision is a victory for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of protesters camped near the construction site who have opposed the project because they said would it threaten a water source and cultural sites. Federal officials had given the protesters until tomorrow to leave a campsite near the construction site.

      In a statement on Sunday, the Department of the Army’s assistant secretary for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, said that the decision was based on a need to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.

      “Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Ms. Darcy said. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

    • Nigeria and Morocco Sign Gas Pipeline Deal to Link Africa to Europe

      Nigeria and Morocco have signed a joint venture to construct a gas pipeline that will connect the two nations as well as some other African countries to Europe, Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs said on Saturday.

      The agreement was reached during a visit by the Morocco’s King Mohammed to the Nigerian capital Abuja, Geoffrey Onyema, the minister, said, adding that the pipeline project would be designed with the participation of all stakeholders.

    • Sanders sings Obama’s praises for stopping Dakota pipeline

      Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders applauded President Obama Sunday evening for halting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      Sanders, who has been an outspoken opponent of the pipeline, shared his message on Facebook.

      “I appreciate very much President Obama listening to the Native American people and millions of others who believe this pipeline should not be built,” the post read.

      “In the year 2016, we should not continue to trample on Native American sovereignty. We should not endanger the water supply of millions of people. We should not become more dependent on fossil fuel and accelerate the planetary crisis of climate change. Our job now is to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, not to produce more greenhouse gas emissions.”

    • Sadiq Khan to spend £770m on London cycling initiatives

      London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has promised to spend £770m on cycling initiatives over the course of his term, saying he wants to make riding a bike the “safe and obvious” transport choice for all Londoners.

      Following criticism that Khan has not been as bold as his predecessor, Boris Johnson, in committing to new bike routes, and amid increasing worries about air quality in London, Khan’s office has set out what is described as a hugely ambitious programme to boost cyclist numbers.

      The proposed spending of about £17 per person per year gets near the levels seen in cycle-friendly nations such as the Netherlands and Denmark.

      Among the plans are proposals for two new cycle superhighways, routes on which riders are largely separated from motor traffic by kerbs and dedicated traffic lights, the first of which were built under Johnson and have proved hugely popular.

  • Finance

    • Trump’s pick to lead Treasury tried to kick woman out of her house over 27 cents

      Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s pick to lead the Treasury, worked for Goldman Sachs for 20 years. In 2008 Munchin and his partners founded a bank (funded in part by George Soros) that tried to evict a 90-year-old woman from her home because she underpaid a bill by 27 cents.

    • India’s Modi Defends Clampdown on Cash Economy

      Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday defended his crackdown on the cash economy that has left businesses, farmers and families suffering, saying it was necessary to keep inflation in check and ensure basic amenities for all.

      Modi’s decision last month to scrap 500 rupee and 1,000 rupee banknotes as part of a crackdown on tax dodgers and counterfeiters has caused a currency crunch in a country where most people are paid in cash and buy what they need with cash.

      With a small stock of smaller notes available and new bills of 500 and 2,000 rupee in short supply, Indians are being forced to stand in queues outside banks and cash machines to change their old notes.

    • More farmers going bankrupt

      Eero Vilokki from Kiuruvesi in central Finland lost his family dairy farm after declaring bankruptcy in June when the derivative interest rates his bank suggested on his loans grew impossible to pay. He was kicked off his family farmstead by the new owners in late August.

      The locks on the buildings were changed the very same day.

      “My workers’ belongings and computers, along with my clothing and possessions, were all left behind. All I had was the work clothes on my back. No one bothered to ask if I had a place to stay or food,” Vilokki told Yle.

      Before Vilokki was forced to leave, the farm had been transferred to a company with four equal owners. The value of the farm was estimated at 400,000 euros, with an additional 151,000 euros added on for the property’s office space. The farm’s forest property was valued at 24,000 euros.

      “It was highway robbery. The forest land alone was worth 178,000 euros,” Vilokki said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Austria rejects far-right candidate Norbert Hofer in presidential election

      Austria has decisively rejected the possibility of the European Union getting its first far-right head of state, instead electing a former leader of the Green party who said he would be an “open-minded, liberal-minded and above all a pro-European president”.

      Alexander Van der Bellen, who ran as an independent, increased his lead over the far-right Freedom party candidate, Norbert Hofer, by a considerable margin from the original vote in May, which was annulled by the constitutional vote due to voting irregularities.

    • Bernie Sanders: Trump didn’t win the election, the Democrats lost it

      “I look at this election not as a victory for Mr. Trump, who wins the election as the most unpopular candidate in perhaps the history of our country, but as a loss for the Democratic Party.” -Senator Bernie Sanders, speaking to a sold-out crowd in San Rafael, CA.

    • The Democratic Party has Tuned Out the Jihad… if it Ever Tuned it in to Begin With

      Or, to be more precise, for many Americans it did not really happen because they simply don’t care about Islamic theological violence against their fellow Americans. The reason that many Americans, particularly of the progressive variety, tend not to care about this kind of violence is because to do so is considered “racist” by president Obama, the leadership of the Democratic Party, and the elite media.

      Koranically-based attacks on innocent Americans are, therefore, perceived like the weather. A typhoon or a flood or an earthquake may happen now and again, but what can you do? You cannot dwell on such things. They are simply “acts of God” and there is very little to be done or said, for most of us, beyond, “Gee, how unlucky.”

    • Jury finds Brandon Hall guilty of election fraud

      It took less than an hour Wednesday for a jury to convict political activist Brandon Michael Hall on 10 counts of election law fraud, following a day-and-a-half trial in Ottawa County Circuit Court.

      According to the Grand Haven Tribune, the 27-year-old Grand Haven resident, author of the West Michigan Politics blog and self-admitted political junkie, said the verdict wasn’t a surprise.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The war on ‘fake news’ is all about censoring real news

      Scrambling for an explanation for Donald Trump’s victory, many in the media and on the left have settled on the idea that his supporters were consumers of “fake news” — gullible rubes living in an alternate reality made Trump president.

      To be sure, there is such a thing as actual fake news: Made-up stories built to get Facebook traction before they can be debunked. But that’s not what’s really going on here.

      What the left is trying to do is designate anything outside its ideological bubble as suspect on its face.

    • Academic witch hunts are back: The new McCarthyism, a sign of the stupidity of the post-truth era

      In late November three blocks from the White House, a group of leaders from the so-called alt-right, who many consider to simply be white supremacists, gathered for an annual conference called the National Policy Institute. Their goal was to discuss and debate the opportunities offered by a Donald Trump presidency for their white nationalist plans. In the wake of a rise in hate crimes, the meeting sent a chill throughout the nation.

      But making America whiter “again” is not the only thing we need to fear with a Trump administration. Only two days after the alt-right convention in D.C., Turning Point USA launched Professor Watchlist, a website designed to call out college professors who “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

    • The UK government’s latest deluded idea: ‘banning’ underage sexting on social media

      When the UK government is not busy looking for ways to invade internet users’ privacy, it’s looking for ways to restrict what they are able to do online — particularly when it comes to things of a sexual nature.

      The health secretary Jeremy Hunt has made calls for technology companies and social media to do more to tackle the problems of cyberbullying, online intimidation and — rather specifically — under-18-year-olds texting sexually explicit images. Of course, he doesn’t have the slightest idea about how to go about tackling these problems, but he has expressed his concern so that, in conjunction with passing this buck to tech companies, should be enough, right?

    • Defriend everyone on Facebook if you really want to see the world as it is

      Messing around on Facebook recently, I was appalled to see a man I used to work with gleefully posting about Trump’s election win. I went through a mixture of emotions. First, there was the shock that I had allowed myself to be friends with such a man, because my capacity to make everything about me is impressive, even for a comedian. Second, I couldn’t believe that he could have the temerity to post something that disagreed with what we had all agreed on Facebook was “The Official Viewpoint”. Third, I realised that I probably shouldn’t be on Facebook at my wife’s birthday dinner.

      What I should have done was thank him. It was the first time in ages that I had felt anything approaching an emotion on Facebook. Because I’ve only made friends with people who think like me, my newsfeed is nothing but the sound of people high-fiving each other for having the same opinion. It isn’t even an echo chamber. I am basically part of a Borg hive, speaking in unison on everything. If anyone disagreed with me, I would send them to unfriend exile, as if I were running some sort of Facebook North Korea, or Trump’s America.

    • In these turbulent times, take a break from social media to find comfort

      Five days after the election of Donald Trump, I stood in line at the airport wanting to kill time. I glanced at Twitter on my phone, almost by instinct, to snuff out a momentary feeling of boredom. What greeted me shouldn’t have been a surprise, given what I had read all week: a steady stream of hate promised, chronicled, photographed as it was unleashed throughout America, filled my timeline.

      As the plane began its taxi, my mind spiraled down an abyss of dark thoughts. Was the America I knew, loved, and once lived in, now a place I should viscerally fear? Would I witness this hate firsthand? Would I walk by unsettling graffiti, or feel the string of racism shouted as I spoke in front of crowds of strangers? My stomach churned as the plane climbed, and when the seatbelt sign turned off, I had to lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes, taking deep breaths to stop my whole body from shaking.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • UK Police Circumventing Cellphone Encryption By ‘Mugging’ Suspects While Their Phones Are Unlocked

      So, it’s come to this: lawful mugging. Still, it’s not a terrible solution to the problem. Sometimes the best methods are lo-tech, as anyone swinging a $5 Password Acquisition Tool can tell you.

      This method will work in the UK. It may not in the US. UK law enforcement would likely find compelling a suspect to unlock a device a long and possibly fruitless endeavor, but there’s no Riley decision standing in the way of seizing/searching phones on the hoof (as it were).

      Courts here in the US have interpreted the Supreme Court’s Riley decision in diverse ways, but a motion to suppress evidence might succeed if US law enforcement began engaging in this novel form of encryption circumvention. In one case, a judge found that simply opening a flip phone constituted a search under Riley. Keeping a phone “alive” until evidence can be retrieved from it might run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, even if the seizure itself is completely lawful.

      It’s still a better idea than making encryption backdoors mandatory or requiring device manufacturers to make a second set of keys for the government. The solution isn’t elegant but it works. And it will only work in certain circumstances, so there’s not much potential for abuse. It might encourage rougher arrests than usual, if only to separate the cellphone from the suspect, but the small number of arrests where this process would work shouldn’t result in a sharp uptick in excessive force deployment.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amazombies: Seven seconds to find an item, every move filmed and blistering 12-hours shifts with timed toilet breaks… what YOUR Christmas order does to your ‘worker elves’

      Amazon was last night accused of ‘dehumanising’ its staff battling to deliver gifts to millions of customers in time for Christmas.

      Workers at the internet shopping giant’s distribution centres face disciplinary action if they lose a punishing race against the clock to track down items ordered by online shoppers.

    • Enclaves of Islam see UK as 75% Muslim

      Britain is an Islamic country where the majority of people share their faith, according to a report to be published this week.

      Evidence gathered by Dame Louise Casey, the government’s community cohesion tsar, will lift the lid on how some Muslims are cut off from the rest of Britain with their own housing estates, schools and television channels.

    • Three surprising ways to challenge violence against women

      It’s been more than 20 years since the UN General Assembly committed to eradicating violence against women. Yet today, it’s estimated that one in three women has experienced some form of sexual or physical violence, often at the hands of an intimate partner. This apparent lack of progress doesn’t mean, though, that people aren’t trying to do something about it – sometimes by pretty creative means.

    • Female Genital Mutilation in Pakistan

      World Health Organization defines Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as “procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” FGM is classified into four types. Clitoridectomy includes partial or total removal of the clitoris. 85% of the FGM procedures are of this type. The second type is excision which is performed to partially or totally remove the clitoris or the labia minora (inner folds of vulva). Infibulation, the third type, refers to the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The fourth type can include other harmful procedures like piercing, pricking, scraping, incising or cauterizing. More than 200 million girls across the world have undergone the torturous plight of having their genitals sewn up, removed or mutilated.

      The humiliating practice of FGM is carried out in 30 countries of Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is rampant. The migrants from these regions take along their belief-systems, family rituals and customs to their new settlements and influence other people from their communities to practice the same. Many a religious heads, doctors, community leaders and other medically-trained professionals facilitate this oppressive custom either by indulging in genital-cutting or by sanctifying its prevalence. FGM manifests itself in regressive religious practices, community cultures and traditions. The procedural circumcision which is seen as a coming of age custom for a girl in many cultural rituals incurs life-threatening harm to the girl’s body on which it is performed, putting her at a risk of multiple health-hazards and psychological ill-effects. In religious terms, the practice is performed as a mark of entry for a girl-child from childhood to adulthood.

    • “Eliminating FGM is an essential step to realizing other SDGs”—Lakshmi Puri

      Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of the most serious violations of human rights of women and girls and no amount of sophistry by its proponents and apologists can change that.

      In 2015, 194 countries at the highest level of government at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit have declared that it must be eliminated and that it’s a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target. So that’s final!

    • The Plot to Sideline Gambia’s First Female Presidential Candidate

      In early September, Gambian feminist activist Isatou Touray stood before a crowd of reporters in the seaside town of Kololi and chastised the administration of President Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled over Gambia with an iron fist since he took power through a bloodless coup in 1994. Touray accused Jammeh of pilfering the country’s natural resources for his own benefit, purposely failing to uphold the rule of law and delegating power to a small and exclusive circle of corrupt men.

      Then she declared her plans to push him out of office in the December 1 presidential election by running for his seat herself. “It is time for him to leave,” she said.

    • The Lesson from Standing Rock: Organizing and Resistance Can Win

      Less than two hours earlier, news came that the Army Corps of Engineers had turned down the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built under the Missouri River. The company will have to find an alternate route and undergo a lengthy environmental assessment.

      Ever since, the network of camps now housing thousands of water protectors has been in the throes of (cautious) celebration and giving thanks, from cheers to processions to round dances. Here, at the family home of Standing Rock Tribal Councilman Cody Two Bears, friends and family members who have been at the center of the struggle are starting to gather for a more private celebration.

      Which is why the dishes must be done. And the soup must be cooked. And the Facetime calls must be made to stalwart supporters, from Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox to environmental icon Erin Brockovich. And the Facebook live videos must, of course, be made. Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard—here as part of a delegation of thousands of anti-pipeline veterans—is on her way over. (“Exhilarated,” is how she says she feels when she arrives.) CNN must, of course, be watched, which to the amazement of everyone here gives full credit to the water protectors (while calling them “protesters”).

    • Analysis: The Assange case in the context of Sweden’s feminist foreign policy for international trade gains

      A previous analysis concluded that Sweden most likely would persist in neither undertaking nor recognizing the international criticism for its rejection of the UN conclusion regarding the arbitrary detention of Mr Julian Assange [See UNGWAD full document in Appendix 1]. That is to say, it will not do so at least in the nearest future.

      Further, the article hypothesizes that –in the eventuality of a positive intervention by the upcoming Trump administration regarding the case Assange – from the Swedish side the case will be likely used as a tool in a bargain including issues of economic interest, support by the US towards Swedish stances in the Security Council (as publicly anticipated by foreign minister Margot Wallström) [1] and other items already put forward by the letter of PM Stefan Löfven to President-elect Donald Trump. [2]

    • Mistrial in murder case against cop who shot Walter Scott

      A South Carolina judge declared a mistrial Monday after jurors said they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the case of a white former North Charleston police officer charged with murder in the death of black motorist Walter Scott.

      The mistrial came just a few hours after Circuit Judge Clifton Newman had ordered jurors to continue deliberating. But the jurors reported later that they were hopelessly unable to reach a unanimous consensus, the Associated Press and CNN reported. The jury had deliberated about 22 hours over four days.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Committee On Traditional Knowledge Agrees On Revised Text For Further Discussions

      World Intellectual Property Organization delegates last week agreed on a revised set of draft articles to be further discussed at the next session of the committee working on a potential treaty to protect traditional knowledge. Views differed on the achievements of the week. For the proponents of a binding treaty, the text reflects a better understanding of issues, and some reduction in differences. However, for some developed countries not in favour of a treaty, gaps are still wide open and much work remains.

    • Will The Voice Of Indigenous Peoples Disappear From WIPO Discussions To Protect Their Knowledge?

      What would be the credibility of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee negotiating a system of protection for traditional knowledge held by indigenous peoples, if none of their representatives could participate in the meetings? That has been a recurring question asked by indigenous peoples and the organisation over the years. But now, if no voluntary contributions are made by governments or others, the next committee meeting could very well be first in 16 years held without a single observer from an indigenous community.

    • Copyrights

      • Every Website Needs To Re-register With The Copyright Office, Who Can’t Build A Functioning System

        As we mentioned last month, the Copyright Office — despite being warned this was a bad idea — has decided to implement a brand new system for websites to register DMCA agents, and has done so in a way that will undoubtedly fuck over many websites. It’s already ridiculous enough that in order to be fully protected under the DMCA’s safe harbor rules (that say you’re not liable if someone posts infringing material to your website), you need to register a designated “DMCA agent” with the Copyright Office. The idea behind this is that by registering an agent, copyright holders will be able to look up who to send a takedown notice to. And, sure, that makes sense, but remember that this is the same Copyright Office that supports not requiring copyright holders to register their works, meaning that there may not be any legitimate way to contact copyright holders back.

        The reason for the new system is that the old system was just ridiculous — on that everyone can agree. You had to fill out a paper form, sign it, and send it in. The Copyright Office has been way behind on digitizing everything, so moving to a web based system is a good thing. Also, the old system required payment of over $100, while the new one is just $6. That’s all good. The problem is twofold: first, the Copyright Office has said that it is throwing out all the old registrations, and if you want to retain your safe harbors, you need to re-register. There’s a grace period through the end of next year, but plenty of sites who don’t follow the Copyright Office’s every move are going to miss this, and will no longer have an officially registered agent with the Copyright Office (it’s possible that, should this issue go to court, a platform could reasonably argue that it still did meet the statutory requirements in the original registration, but why force site owners through that hoop in the first place). The second problem, is that this new system will toss out records every three years, so if you forget to renew, you once again can lose your legal safe harbors. This puts tons of websites at serious risk, removing key protections and opening them up to lawsuits from copyright trolls.

12.04.16

Links 5/12/2016: SparkyLinux 4.5 Released, Kondik Exits Cyanogen (Destroyed After Microsoft Deal)

Posted in News Roundup at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Did Amazon Just Kill Open Source?

    Back in the days, we used to focus on creating modular architectures. We had standard wire protocols like NFS, RPC, etc. and standard API layers like BSD, POSIX, etc. Those were fun days. You could buy products from different vendors, they actually worked well together and were interchangeable. There were always open source implementations of the standard, but people could also build commercial variations to extend functionality or durability.

    The most successful open source project is Linux. We tend to forget it has very strict APIs and layers. New kernel implementations must often be backed by official standards (USB, SCSI…). Open source and commercial implementations live happily side by side in Linux.

    If we contrast Linux with the state of open source today, we see so many implementations which overlap. Take the big data eco-systems as an example: in most cases there are no standard APIs, or layers, not to mention standard wire protocols. Projects are not interchangeable, causing a much worse lock-in than when using commercial products which conform to a common standard.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Linux & Open Source News Of The Week — Comma.ai, Patches For Firefox and Tor, And OSS-Fuzz
    • Open Source Malaria helps students with proof of concept toxoplasmosis pill

      A team of Australian student researchers at Sydney Grammar School has managed to recreate the formula for Daraprim, the drug made (in)famous by the actions of Turing Pharmaceuticals last year when it increased the price substantially per pill. According to Futurism, the undertaking was helped along by an, “online research-sharing platform called Open Source Malaria [OSM], which aims to use publicly available drugs and medical techniques to treat malaria.”

      The students’ pill passed a battery of tests for purity, and ultimately cost $2 using different, more readily available components. It shows the potential of the platform, which has said elsewhere there is, “enormous potential to crowdsource new potential medicines efficiently.” Although Daraprim is already around, that it could be synthesized relatively easily without the same materials as usual is a good sign for OSM.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Growing the Duke University eNable chapter

        We started the Duke University eNable chapter with the simple mission of providing amputees in the Durham area of North Carolina with alternative prostheses, free of cost.

        Our chapter is a completely student-run organization that aims to connect amputees with 3D printed prosthetic devices. We are partnered with the Enable Community Foundation (ECF), a non-profit prosthetics organization that works with prosthetists to design and fit 3D printed prosthetic devices on amputees who are in underserved communities. As an official ECF University Chapter, we represent the organization in recipient outreach, and utilize their open sourced designs for prosthetic devices.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Global Warming Research in Danger as Trump Appoints Climate Skeptic to NASA Team

      One of NASA’s most high-profile projects has been to track historical average global temperature. In January 2016, the agency released data that showed 2015 had been the hottest year on record. “Today’s announcement not only underscores how critical NASA’s Earth observation program is, it is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice — now is the time to act on climate,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement at the time. Since then, NASA’s monthly updates on temperature delivered a steady dose of dread as month after month was declared the hottest recorded.

      Now Donald Trump’s first NASA transition team pick is Christopher Shank, a Hill staffer who has said he is unconvinced of a reality that is accepted by the vast majority of climate scientists: that humans are the primary driver of climate change. Shank previously worked for Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican congressman who played a key role in dragging out debates on the basic nature of climate change at a time when the science is settled and action is urgent.

      Shank has criticized the type of scientific data NASA regularly releases. As part of a panel in September 2015 at Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes, he said, “The rhetoric that’s coming out, the hottest year in history, actually is not backed up by the science — or that the droughts, the fires, the hurricanes, etc., are caused by climate change, but it’s just weather.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Federal judge to Michigan: You must deliver bottled water to Flint

      On the same day that researchers said Flint’s water is improving with “amazing progress,” a federal judge delivered a legal blow to state officials in ordering them to deliver bottled water to Flint whether they like it or not.

      In a 12-page ruling, U.S. District Judge David Lawson ruled that Flint’s water is still unsafe to drink for certain residents and that the state must deliver bottled water to those households without properly installed or maintained filters until the problem is cleared up.

      Defendants in the case, Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri and the state-appointed Flint Receivership Transition Advisory Board, had asked the court to stay that Nov. 10 order, arguing it was unreasonable, overly broad and too expensive — $10.5 million per month — to deliver bottled water door to door in Flint. Those officials, represented by attorneys from the office of Attorney General Bill Schuette, also had argued that bottled water can be picked up as needed at distribution centers and those who can’t pick it up can call 211 to arrange for delivery.

    • New Report Exposes “Patient Advocacy” Groups as a Big Pharma Scam

      “Patient advocacy” groups have a unique power on Capitol Hill. They claim to represent the true voice of constituents, untainted by special interest bias. Politicians and the Food and Drug Administration use their endorsements as reflective of genuine public support.

      But a new study shows that nearly all of these patient advocacy groups are captured by the drug industry.

      David Hilzenrath at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) reports that at least 39 of 42 patient advocacy groups who participated in discussions with the FDA over agency review processes for prescription drugs received funding from pharmaceutical companies. And at least 15 have representatives of drug or biotechnology companies on their governing boards.

      The study is particularly notable now because Congress is poised to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, which trades temporary additional funding for the National Institutes of Health and the FDA for permanent weakening of the FDA’s approval process. Over 1,400 lobbyists have been working on this bill, which would be a major financial boon to the drug and medical device industries.

    • Jeremy Hunt wants to ‘Amazonise’ our pharmacies – and 3000 face the chop as a result

      The future of 3,000 community pharmacies hangs in the balance as a round of cuts starts to be imposed on them this month, despite earlier hints of compromise.

      The cutbacks to key pharmacy service subsidies – part of a 12% reduction in overall money allocated to the sector – were first announced in December 2015 and a row has been underway ever since. In September, minister David Mowat appeared to back away from the cuts. But the following month the reductions were confirmed.

      The cuts coincide with longer-term concerns over a planned online centralisation or ‘Amazonisation’ of high-street pharmacy care in England.

      Perplexingly, there appears to be no way of knowing which pharmacies will be forced to close, nor what the government’s rationale for the distribution of the reduced public pharmacy spending is. Rural practices are set to be hit particularly hard.

  • Security

    • What’s the most secure operating system?

      Deciding what operating system (OS) to keep your computer running smoothly—and with the highest level of security—is a controversial yet frequent question many business owners, government officials, and ordinary Joes and Janes ask.

      There are many different operating systems—the software at the base of every computer, controlling the machine’s array of functions—like Mac OS10, which comes pre-loaded on Apple laptops and desktops, and Microsoft Windows that’s on the majority of personal computers. Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS for mobile devices are designed specifically for devices with smaller touchscreens.

      Whatever OS you use—and many users are very loyal to their operating system of choice and will argue that their’s is the best—it’s not entirely secure or private. Hackers are still infiltrating systems every day, and they can easily target victims with malware to spy on users and disable their operating system altogether.

      Because of this, choosing a secure system is essential to staying secure online. Below are the top three secure operating systems that will help users take the next step to ensure proper cyber and hardware security.

    • New IoT Botnet, Attackers Target Tor, and More…

      Firefox’s emergency security patch: If you use Firefox at all, and I’m assuming that most of you do, you might want to run an update to get the latest security patch from Mozilla. The patch was rushed to market on November 30 to fix a zero day vulnerability that was being exploited in the wild to attack the Firefox based Tor browser.

      In a blog post on Wednesday, Mozilla’s security head Daniel Veditz wrote, “The exploit in this case works in essentially the same way as the ‘network investigative technique’ used by FBI to deanonymize Tor users…. This similarity has led to speculation that this exploit was created by FBI or another law enforcement agency. As of now, we do not know whether this is the case. If this exploit was in fact developed and deployed by a government agency, the fact that it has been published and can now be used by anyone to attack Firefox users is a clear demonstration of how supposedly limited government hacking can become a threat to the broader Web.”

    • Ransomware: Windows is the elephant in the room

      Ransomware has slowly become the most common and most difficult threat posed to companies and individuals alike over the last year.

      And there is one common thread to practically all ransomware attacks: Windows.

      Microsoft acolytes, supporters and astro-turfers can scream till they are blue in the face, but it is very rare to see ransomware that attacks any other platform.

      Of course, these Redmond backers are careful to say that ransomware attacks “computer users”, not Windows users.

      But statistics tell the truth. In 2015, the average number of infections hitting Windows users was between 23,000 and 35,000, according to Symantec.

      In March, this number ballooned to 56,000 with the arrival of the Locky ransomware. And in the first quarter of 2016, US$209 million was paid by Windows users in order to make their locked files accessible again.

    • GCC Tackling Support For ARMv8-M Security Extensions

      GCC developers have been working to support the compiler-side changes for dealing with ARMv8-M Security Extensions.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Man Who Claimed to be CIA Asset Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison in Arms Deal Sting

      Flaviu Georgescu arrived at U.S. District Court in Manhattan Friday afternoon in a beige prison jumpsuit, shackled around the waist and hands, with his head bowed.

      Earlier this year, a jury convicted Georgescu in this same courtroom on terrorism charges. Federal prosecutors accused Georgescu of helping organize a complex weapons deal involving DEA informants posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a designated terrorist organization.

      Since his arrest, Georgescu has maintained his innocence, claiming that he had been working undercover for the CIA and pointing to phone calls he had made to the agency as proof of his cooperation.

      Georgescu faced a possible life sentence.

    • The Coming War on China

      When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably. When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, “disappeared”, a political embarrassment.

      I have spent two years making a documentary film, The Coming War on China, in which the evidence and witnesses warn that nuclear war is no longer a shadow, but a contingency. The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way. They are in the northern hemisphere, on the western borders of Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, confronting China.

      The great danger this beckons is not news, or it is buried and distorted: a drumbeat of mainstream fake news that echoes the psychopathic fear embedded in public consciousness during much of the 20th century.

    • Clinton’s ‘Russia Did It’ Cop-out

      The Clinton machine – running on fumes after Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid – is pulling out all remaining stops to block Donald Trump’s inauguration, even sinking into a new McCarthyism.

      In joining a recount effort with slim hopes of reversing the election results, Clinton campaign counsel Marc Elias cited a scurrilous Washington Post article that relied on a shadowy anonymous group, called PropOrNot, that issued a “black list” against 200 or so Internet sites, including some of the most respected sources of independent journalism, claiming they are part of some Russian propaganda network.

    • A Trump Plus: Reduced Tensions with Russia
    • Trump Ponders Petraeus for Senior Job

      President-elect Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington seems forgotten — like so many political promises — as he meets with swamp creatures, such as disgraced Gen. David Petraeus, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The trolling of Elon Musk: how US conservatives are attacking green tech

      He is the charismatic Silicon Valley entrepreneur who believes his many companies – including the electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors, solar power firm Solar City, and SpaceX, which makes reusable space rockets – can help resist man-made climate change.

      South African-born Elon Musk is a billionaire green evangelist, a bete noire of the fossil fuels industry who talks about colonising Mars and believes it may be possible that we’re living in a computer simulation.

      But having been feted by the Obama administration, he now faces an extraordinary barrage of attacks from rightwing thinktanks, lobbyists, websites and commentators. The character of the assault says much about which way the political wind is blowing in Washington – something that will have consequences that stretch far beyond the US.

      One of Musk’s most trenchant critics has been the journalist Shepard Stewart, who writes for a clutch of conservative online news sites. In several articles in September, not long after a SpaceX rocket exploded, Stewart attacked Musk for receiving billions in government subsidies “to make rockets that immediately self destruct” and branded him “a national disgrace”. As Musk fought back on Twitter, it became apparent that Stewart was an invention. Even his photo byline had been doctored from a LinkedIn profile of a tech entrepreneur. “Definitely a fake,” Gavin Wax, editor-in-chief of the Liberty Conservative, one of the websites that published Stewart, admitted to Bloomberg.

    • Indonesia VP blames foreign countries for destroying forests

      Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has blamed foreign countries for destroying Indonesia’s forests, and wants them to pay to help restore the damaged land.

      “What happens here is not only our problem. The foreign people also destroyed our forests,” said Kalla when officiating the Indonesia Forest Congress in Jakarta on Wednesday (Nov 30).

      Kalla said he has brought up this point at various international forums, and is angry with those who accused Indonesia for not managing its forest well.

      “During a big conference in Tokyo, someone said that Indonesia has forests, but they are damaged and should be restored,” said Kalla. “I became angry in front of thousands of people. I said, ‘this is a chair, this is a door, this is a window from my country. You take, and pay $5, and you bring it here, and sell for $100. Indonesian companies just get $5’.

      “There is Mitsubishi from Japan, Hyundai and others, they finished what we have. I told them, ‘you have to pay, if not we will cut down all the trees, and let the world feel the heat’. So, the world must also be responsible.”

    • US House Science Committee tweets Breitbart climate misinformation

      The current leadership of the US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has a fraught relationship with climate science. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who chairs the committee, has used its subpoena powers to target NOAA climate scientists whose temperature dataset he does not like. He has also gone after the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, who are pursuing a securities fraud investigation of ExxonMobil related to its public denial of climate change.

      On Thursday, the committee’s Twitter account hopped on this anti-climate-science bandwagon. It tweeted a link to a story titled “Global temperatures plunge. Icy silence from climate alarmists” that was published by Breitbart—the hard-right, white-nationalist-supporting news outlet that saw its chairman, Steve Bannon, become President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

      The article was written by James Delingpole, a columnist who has made a career out of insult-laden polemics against climate science. (In an episode of BBC’s Horizon, Delingpole famously admitted that he never reads scientific papers and called himself “an interpreter of interpretations.”) In this case, Delingpole mostly tacked a few put-downs onto quotes from a Daily Mail story written by David Rose—who also has a long history of writing deeply misleading stories about climate science.

    • Kinder Morgan pipeline: Canadians intensify huge opposition to expansion

      Opponents of a contentious Canadian pipeline project are preparing for a lengthy, multifaceted battle that will see thousands take to the country’s streets, courts and legislatures to contest the government’s recent approval of the project.

      Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that the Liberal government had cleared the way for Kinder Morgan’s C$6.8bn Trans Mountain Expansion project. Designed to transport Alberta’s landlocked bitumen to international markets via Vancouver’s harbour, the project will expand an existing pipeline to nearly triple capacity on the artery to 890,000 barrels a day.

    • Standing Rock Sioux Issue Emergency Proclamation

      The Standing Rock Sioux issued an emergency proclamation in support of Oceti Sakowin Camp in the face of ongoing threats by law enforcement.

      On Wednesday, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II issued an emergency proclamation calling on the United Nations and U.S. President Barack Obama to take “immediate action” to defend the water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin camp from “retaliatory actions and practices” by state law enforcement agencies, and to defend activists’ “rights to free speech and peaceable assembly.”

    • Police Attack on DAPL Demonstrators: A Hell of Ice and Tear Gas

      Hundreds of “water protectors” marched at dusk from Oceti Sakowin Camp toward police barricades on Highway 1806. Some in the crowd held plastic shields. Many wore googles and had scarves wrapped around their mouths. They massed in front of a barricade on a bridge. It consisted of a barbed-wire fence, a line of militarized police, the burned remains of a massive truck and at least one tank.

      Darkness had fallen when the first tear gas was fired. Spotlights, mounted by law enforcement on a ridge, illuminated the clouds that had started to engulf the crowd. Several people panicked. They were screaming.

      “Stand your ground! Stand your ground! Stand your fucking ground!” someone yelled.

      Amid the clouds and choking tear gas, people began to turn and run. The police kept lobbing tear gas canisters. They fired stun grenades at those running for safety. Overhead, planes and helicopters circled.

    • Naomi Klein, Tulsi Gabbard Travel to Standing Rock Alongside Thousands of Veterans

      The number of veterans traveling to North Dakota to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline has swollen to over 3,000, an astonishing show of solidarity that aims to shield the water protectors from police violence.

    • #ExxonKnew About Climate Change And ExxonKnows How To Use Trade Deals To Get Its Way

      Public outrage has been brewing about the fact that ExxonMobil—one of the the world’s biggest oil companies—knew about climate change as early as 1977 and yet promoted climate denialism and actively deceived the public by turning “ordinary scientific uncertainties into weapons of mass confusion.”

      A little-known fact, however, is that while ExxonMobil was misleading the public about climate disruption, it was also using trade rules to increase its power, to bolster its profits, and to actively hamper climate action.

    • Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers

      One of President-elect Donald Trump’s most pressing current tasks is selecting who will serve in his new administration, especially his transition team and cabinet, though there are over 4,000 political appointees to hire for federal jobs in all.

      Much of the mainstream media attention so far has centered around Trump’s choices of Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and former Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor. Congressional Democrats have called for Bannon to be banned from the White House, citing his personal bigotry and the bigotry often on display on Breitbart.com. Meanwhile, Bannon’s hire was praised by the American Nazi Party and KKK.

      Yet, perhaps just as troubling is the army of climate change deniers and fossil fuel industry lobbyists helping to pick or court a spot on Trump’s future climate and energy team.

      Trump is a climate change denier and so is Priebus, who recently told Fox News that climate denial will be the “default position” of the Trump administration.

  • Finance

    • Senate takes aim at ‘bots’ that snap up concert seats

      The Senate is cracking down on computer software used by ticket brokers to snap up tickets to concerts and shows.

      Senators passed legislation by voice vote Wednesday that would make using the software an “unfair and deceptive practice” under the Federal Trade Commission Act and allow the FTC to pursue those cases. The House passed similar legislation in September, but the bills are not identical so the Senate legislation now moves to the House.

      The so-called “bots” rapidly purchase as many tickets as possible for resale at significant markups. They are one of the reasons why tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert or “Hamilton” performance can sell out in just a few minutes.

    • The True Cost of Your Uber Ride Is Much Higher Than You Think

      Uber’s become the generic trademark—right up there with Kleenex and “Google it”—for using your phone to get into strangers’ cars.

      But like most cheap commodities, what you’re paying for the sausage might not reflect the actual cost it takes to make it.

      Transportation industry expert Hubert Horan is building a case for why Uber will never become a profitable company on the Naked Capitalism blog. One of the most eyebrow-raising statistics, as gleaned from investor reports, is how little riders are paying of the true cost of their trips: “Uber passengers were paying only 41% of the actual cost of their trips; Uber was using these massive subsidies to undercut the fares and provide more capacity than the competitors who had to cover 100% of their costs out of passenger fares.”

    • How Many People Are In The Labor Force? Unemployment Rate Falls To 9-Year Low, But Participation Stays Down

      The unemployment rate hit 4.6 percent in November, its lowest level since August 2007, according to monthly data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but that figure only tells part of the story.

    • Trump’s Trickle-Down Populism

      Last Thursday President-elect Donald Trump triumphantly celebrated Carrier’s decision to reverse its plan to close a furnace plant and move jobs to Mexico. Some 800 jobs will remain in Indianapolis.

      “Corporate America is going to have to understand that we have to take care of our workers,” Trump told The New York Times. “The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing,” Vice President-elect Michael Pence added, as Trump interjected, “Every time, every time.”

      So what’s the Trump alternative to the free market? Bribe giant corporations to keep jobs in America.

      Carrier’s move to Mexico would have saved the company $65 million a year in wages. Trump promised bigger benefits. The state of Indiana will throw in $7 million, but that’s just the start.

    • Race and Class in Trump’s America

      Americans don’t do political introspection well for a reason. The ‘founding’ myth poses an improbable starting point before which history was erased and after which it was subsumed by the imposed unity of ‘nation.’ As Malcolm X put it, “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, the rock landed on us” for American Blacks in particular, but in other dimensions of social relations as well. ‘Freedom’ in its Constitutional sense was / is the privilege to impose European property relations on people who were never asked for their consent and whose lives were overwhelmingly diminished and / or destroyed by it.

      The historical dodge that Malcolm X called to account was the tendency to ‘universalize’ the dominant culture’s history and interests as a means of subsuming contrasting experiences under an umbrella of implied consent. In most meaningful ways the interests of slave ‘masters’ and slaves were antithetical— slavers took the most by providing the least in return. This historicized formulation of capitalist ‘efficiency’ found its apologies in the imperial language of ‘the White man’s burden’ and through modern economists’ assertions that capital serves us all no matter how much human misery went into its accumulation.

    • Trump Effectively Gave Carrier Corp. a Tax Cut for Sending 1,300 Jobs to Mexico (Video)

      Donald Trump took credit for persuading the air conditioner manufacturer Carrier Corp. to keep more than 1,000 jobs in the U.S. But he effectively gave the company a tax cut for sending another 1,300 jobs to Mexico.

    • Everything you need to know about Trump and the Indiana Carrier factory

      Donald Trump scored an early public relations win this week as he took the credit for persuading a US firm not to outsource jobs to Mexico. But the case – and its implications – are more complex than they first appeared.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Three Men in a Room: The D.C. Edition

      For years, New York’s dysfunctional state government has been derisively called “Three Men in a Room.” The three men were the Governor, the New York State Senate Majority Leader and the New York State Assembly Speaker. The three have nearly unparalleled control of New York’s government. But as corrupt as Albany has been, the Governor never offered a job to the Speaker’s or Majority Leader’s wives.

      Now it looks like the country will have “Three Men in a Room” on a national scale. Starting in January, the three men will be President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And the room is oval shaped. And two of the three are already off to a debauched start.

      As all three are Republicans, if they can agree on a legislative agenda, then federal laws could change quite rapidly as they pass the House and the Senate and are signed by the new President.

    • Trump and His Betraying Makeover

      Attention workers who voted for Trump, either eagerly or as a vote against the hawkish, Wall Street favorite, Hillary Clinton: Donald Trump, less than a month after the election, has already begun to betray you.

      You can often see where a president-elect is going by his nominations to high positions in his forthcoming administration. Across over a dozen crucial posts, Mr. Trump has chosen war hawks, Wall Streeters (with a former Goldman Sachs partner, Steven Mnuchin, as his pick for Treasury Secretary) and clenched teeth corporatists determined to jettison life-saving, injury and disease preventing regulations and leave bigger holes in your consumer pocketbooks.

      In addition to lacking a mandate from the people (he lost the popular vote), the president-elect continues to believe that mere showboating will distract from his breathtaking flip-flops in his campaign rhetoric. Remember his last big TV ad where he blasted “a global power structure” responsible “for robbing the working class” with images of Goldman Sachs flashing across the screen?

    • Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers

      Stein, it turns out, is a “pwogwessive” as Alexander Cockburn would have put it. She has written for In These Times, Dissent and The Nation—pillars of support for the Sanders campaign and uniting workers on a class basis. Such unity in her eyes precludes affirmative action since it would divide Black and white steelworkers. All lawsuits directed at the union and the corporations designed to promote equality were rejected by her since they were a plot by “Elite whites, possessing a potent brew of concern, guilt, and a desire to retain control of the social order. . .”

      Tired of being relegated to second-class citizenship in steel mills as janitors and other menial positions, Blacks supported affirmative action that would afford them preferential treatment to make up for discrimination endured in the past.

    • A Bare-Knuckle Fight Over Recounts

      The lobbying effort to blame Russia and get the electors to flip their votes is being accompanied by an intense media campaign.

      In the announcement that the Clinton campaign would join the recount, campaign counsel Elias aligned the campaign with an unverified Washington Post article based largely on a shadowy, anonymous group that blamed a list of 200 alternative media sites and political groups for spreading Russian propaganda to influence the election, without providing any evidence.

      “The Washington Post reported that the Russian government was behind much of the ‘fake news’ propaganda that circulated online in the closing weeks of the election,” Elias wrote.

      A Huffington Post article said one of the eight reasons the electors should overturn the election is because “Russian covert action influenced the election.”

      The staunchly pro-Clinton Daily Kos wrote that “Even if they never touched a voting machine, there’s absolutely no doubt: Russia hacked the election.”

      If evidence of hacking is found in the recounts, the Clinton campaign would be greatly aided in lobbying electors with confirmation from the Obama administration that Russia was behind it. But on the day before the Clinton team joined the recount, the Obama administration appeared to throw a wrench into the plan to blame Russia.

    • Trump Allies in Battleground States Rush to Stop Jill Stein’s Recount Efforts

      President-elect Donald Trump’s allies are trying to block the ballot recount being pushed by the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

      Late Thursday, two super PACs and a team of Trump attorneys filed lawsuits in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, respectively, to try to block the efforts in those states. And on Friday morning, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette followed suit, filing a lawsuit to stop the recount that is set to begin today.

      In Wisconsin, where the process is already underway, the Great America PAC, the Stop Hillary PAC, and an individual voter claimed the recount request Stein filed last week violates the due process of voters in the state, and could “unjustifiably cast doubt upon the legitimacy of President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s victory.” They also say the short window for the process could result in errors.

      Meanwhile, the lawsuit in Pennsylvania argues that Stein lacks a valid claim and only “alleges speculative illegality.”

    • As Hate Incidents Rise, Rights Groups Urge Trump to Denounce Bigotry

      Since the election of Donald Trump, an increased number of hate incidents have targeted minority groups in America, and the election results are having a negative impact on America’s schoolchildren, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

      On Tuesday, the SPLC revealed these findings at a press conference held in conjunction with a number of human rights and education leaders, calling on Trump to denounce racism and bigotry and to reconsider some of the high-level appointments he has made since the election.

    • Can Trump be checked and balanced?

      The US presidential system has been much heralded for its system of checks and balances. But Trump’s victory has given rise to a number of questions about the future of US democracy and world politics. The most important of these questions is arguably this: what checks and balances in the US political system will Trump face during his presidency? Based purely on the institutional setup of the US presidential system, how much damage can Trump cause? The answer, unfortunately, is quite a bit.

    • Steve Mnuchin: Evictor, Forecloser and Our New Treasury Secretary

      Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump criticized Wall Street bankers for their excessive political influence and attacked hedge-fund managers for getting away with “murder” under the current tax code. “The hedge-fund guys didn’t build this country,” Trump said on Face the Nation. “These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.”

      Now, however, Trump has tapped Steve Mnuchin, a 53-year-old Wall Street hedge-fund and banking mogul — and, since May, his campaign finance chair — to be the nation’s secretary of the Treasury.

    • Trump’s Treasury Secretary Pick is a Lucky Man. Very Lucky.

      The former Goldman Sachs banker nominated to become Donald Trump’s treasury secretary had the perspicacity to purchase a collapsed subprime mortgage lender soon after the financial crisis, getting a sweet deal from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Now, if he’s confirmed, he will likely be able to take advantage of a tax perk given to government officials.

      Mnuchin was born into a family of Wall Street royalty. His father was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs for 30 years, serving in top management. He and his brother landed at the powerful firm, too. After making millions in mortgage trading, Mnuchin struck out on his own, creating a hedge fund and building a record of smart and well-timed investment moves.

    • Why Trump Would Almost Certainly Be Violating the Constitution If He Continues to Own His Businesses

      Far from ending with President-elect Trump’s announcement that he will separate himself from the management of his business empire, the constitutional debate about the meaning of the Emoluments Clause — and whether Trump will be violating it — is likely just beginning.

      That’s because the Emoluments Clause seems to bar Trump’s ownership of his business. It has little to do with his management of it. Trump’s tweets last Wednesday said he would be “completely out of business operations.”

      But unless Trump sells or gives his business to his children before taking office the Emoluments Clause would almost certainly be violated. Even if he does sell or give it away, any retained residual interest, or any sale payout based on the company’s results, would still give him a stake in its fortunes, again fairly clearly violating the Constitution.

    • [Old] How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

      It was January 1975, and the Watergate Babies had arrived in Washington looking for blood. The Watergate Babies—as the recently elected Democratic congressmen were known—were young, idealistic liberals who had been swept into office on a promise to clean up government, end the war in Vietnam, and rid the nation’s capital of the kind of corruption and dirty politics the Nixon White House had wrought. Richard Nixon himself had resigned just a few months earlier in August. But the Watergate Babies didn’t just campaign against Nixon; they took on the Democratic establishment, too. Newly elected Representative George Miller of California, then just 29 years old, announced, “We came here to take the Bastille.”

    • Intelligence Committee Senators Call On Obama To Declassify Evidence Of Russian Election Interference

      Of course, it needs to be noted that this will clearly be seen as a partisan effort. Of the seven Senators who signed on to the letter, six are Democrats, and the other, Senator Angus King, is an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Basically it’s all of the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee except for Dianne Feinstein and Harry Reid. So, it’s easy for some to spin this as a case of sour grapes about the Democrats not winning the election, and even the idea that they’re now clinging to stories of Russian interference to explain what happened.

      But… that spin holds somewhat less weight when you look at the details. First off, the letter itself was put together by Senator Ron Wyden. And, yes, his name comes up a lot around here, but that’s because he has a pretty long history of being right on lots and lots of stuff. And that’s especially true when Wyden says that there’s some secret info that the public deserves to know about. He’s been right on that every single time he’s said it. So the track record is there. When Wyden says the public deserves to know something, pay attention.

      The second thing that provides more confidence here is that this isn’t just random conspiracy theories about “rigged” voting or whatever that some have been spewing. This is a specific request for more transparency by asking for specific information to be released to the public — specific information that the Senate Intelligence Committee members have seen.

    • Trump’s Taiwan phone call preceded by hotel development inquiry

      The woman, known only as Ms Chen arrived from the US in September to meet the mayor of Taoyuan, Cheng Wen-tsan, one of the senior politicians involved in the Aerotropolis project, a large urban development being planned around the renovation of Taiwan’s main airport, Taoyuan International.

      “She said she was associated with the Trump corporation and she would like to propose a possible investment project in the future, especially hotels,” said an official familiar with the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

      The official described the talks, conducted in both English and Mandarin, as a routine meeting with a potential investor. It took place in Taoyuan city hall, on the outskirts of the capital, Taipei, and lasted 15-20 minutes. Chen had not been in touch since.

      “One thing quite sure from her side was that she would like to bring the Trump corporation here to build the hotel,” said the official, who did not know if Chen had a Trump Organization business card.

    • Trump Kicks Off ‘Thank You’ Tour, Reveling in Crowd and Campaign Themes

      He boasted about himself in the third person. He sneered at the opponents he had vanquished. He disparaged journalists and invited angry chants from the crowd, grinning broadly at calls of “lock her up” and “build the wall.” He ridiculed the government’s leaders as stupid and dishonest failures.

    • Yes, you can blame millennials for Hillary Clinton’s loss

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign has lots of excuses for losing. There’s the electoral college, James Comey, the media’s alleged over-exuberance in digging into Clinton’s email server, etc. But Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Thursday that one particular group is especially to blame: millennials.

    • The Latest: Stein urges federal judge to get recount moving

      Green Party candidate Jill Stein is asking a federal judge to order Michigan to quickly start a recount of presidential votes.

      It’s another legal action in the dispute over whether Michigan will take a second look at ballots from the Nov. 8 election. The recount could start Wednesday because officials say state law requires a break of at least two business days.

      Stein’s attorney, Mark Brewer, filed a lawsuit Friday. He says the law violates the U.S. Constitution. He says the delay means the recount might not be finished by a Dec. 13 deadline.

    • Disney’s Bob Iger Among Donald Trump’s ‘Strategic and Policy’ Advisory Committee

      Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO Bob Iger is among the list of business leaders who will make up President-elect Donald Trump’s strategic and policy forum, with the first meeting slated for February at the White House.

    • The Real Risk Behind Trump’s Taiwan Call

      If you work in foreign affairs, you learn that a highly unexpected event is often the result of intent or incompetence. (You also learn that what looks, at first, like intent often turns out to be incompetence.) In the Donald Trump era, we may need a third category—exploitation—which has elements of both.

      In his first semiofficial act of foreign policy, President-elect Trump, on Friday, lobbed a firework into the delicate diplomacy of Asia by taking a phone call from Taiwan’s President, breaking thirty-seven years of American practice in a way that is sure to upset relations with China. It wasn’t clear how much he intended to abruptly alter geopolitics, and how much he was incompetently improvising. There is evidence of each; in either case, the way he did it is very dangerous.

      Some background: Taiwan broke away from mainland China in 1949, and the two sides exist in a tense equilibrium, governed by decades of diplomatic agreements that serve to prevent war in Asia. Under that arrangement, the U.S. maintains friendly relations with Taiwan, while Presidents since Ronald Reagan have deliberately avoided speaking directly with Taiwan’s President because the U.S. formally recognizes only the Beijing government.

    • So We’re Gonna Stop Thinking for Four Years?

      So we’re really going to do this? Years of not thinking?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Media bigwigs converse about ratings and censorship

      Pakistan’s first and only production and entertainment conference, Focus PK ’16, kicked off on Saturday at a Karachi hotel, where discussions were held about the media industry and its future, with a tinge of nostalgia for the bygone days.

    • We need to resist censorship of cyberspace

      The hacking effort – aimed at prominent thinkers including New York Times Pulitzer laureate Paul Krugman , Stanford professor and former diplomat Michael McFaul, Newsweek political editor Matthew Cooper, New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait, and others – comes after Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails were stolen by Russian hackers and amid a new effort to create a national “watchlist” of liberal professors. Questions have also surfaced over whether the US presidential election was hacked.

      Together, these developments suggest something even more chilling: The halcyon WikiLeaks era when our chief fear was that the whole truth might emerge online is officially over. Cyberspace is rapidly becoming censored.

    • Sweden’s pioneering free press act turns 250

      Today marks the 250th anniversary of Sweden’s Freedom of the Press Act, and at a time where both freedom of information and questions over what the media publish are increasingly in the spotlight, the pioneering document is particularly relevant. Here are five facts you should know about it.

    • Thai Activist Arrested for Facebook Share About New King

      Police in Thailand arrested a student pro-democracy activist Saturday for sharing a story about the country’s new king that was posted on Facebook by the Thai-language service of the BBC.

      The arrest was apparently the first under the country’s tough lese majeste law since King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun took the throne on Thursday, succeeding his late father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Lese majeste, or insulting the monarchy, carries a penalty of three to 15 years in prison.

      Duangthip Karith of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said that law student Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa was arrested while attending a Buddhist ceremony in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum. Jatupat posted that he was being arrested and briefly broadcast the police reading the charge on a Facebook Live video stream.

    • Taslima Nasrin on being a writer in exile: Bans and censorship hurt; but banishment hurt the most

      Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin is back with a new book — this time, a memoir called Exile. Published by Penguin Randomhouse, Exile has Nasrin disclosing the series of events during the seven-month struggle that led to her ouster from West Bengal, Rajasthan and India; the time she spent under house arrest and the “anxious days (she) had to spend in the government safe house, beset by a scheming array of bureaucrats and ministers desperate to see (her) gone”.

    • The “fake news” furor and the threat of Internet censorship

      In the weeks since the November 8 election, US media reports on the spread of so-called “fake news” during the presidential campaign have increasingly repeated unsubstantiated pre-election claims that the Russian government hacked into Democratic Party email servers to undermine the campaign of Hillary Clinton. There is more than a whiff of McCarthyism in this crusade against “fake news” on social media and the Internet, with online publications critical of US wars of aggression and other criminal activities being branded as Russian propaganda outlets.

      A case in point is an article published in the November 24 edition of the Washington Post headlined “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.” The article includes assertions that Russian “botnets, teams of paid human ‘trolls,’ and networks of web sites and social media accounts” were used to promote sites across the Internet “as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers.”

    • Political correctness debate centers around respect, not censorship

      The political correctness debate is no small misunderstanding. According to the Pew Research center, 59 percent of Americans believe that “too many people are easily offended these days over the language that others use.”

    • We Won’t Let You Forget It: Why We Oppose French Attempts to Export the Right To Be Forgotten Worldwide

      One country’s government shouldn’t determine what Internet users across the globe can see online. But a French regulator is saying that, under Europe’s “Right to be Forgotten,” Google should have to delist search results globally, keeping them from users across the world. That’s a step too far, and would conflict with the rights of users in other nations, including those protected by the laws and Constitution of the United States.

      EFF joined Article 19 and other global free speech groups in a brief to the Conseil d’Etat asking it to overturn that ruling by France’s data protection authority, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés’ (CNIL). The brief, filed Nov. 23, 2016, argues that extending European delisting requirements to the global Internet inherently clashes with other countries’ laws and fundamental rights, including the First Amendment in the U.S.

      The European Union’s Court of Justice ruled in 2013 that Europeans have the right to demand that certain links be taken out of search engine results. But the French CNIL vastly expanded the effect of these requests when it said in 2015 that Google must remove links from not just search results returned within the EU, but from search results for everyone, anywhere in the world. This interpretation of the Right to be Forgotten runs contrary to policy and practice outside Europe, will harm the global Internet, and inherently undermines global rights, including those protected by the Constitution in the United States. For an in depth analysis, read our legal background document.

    • Senate Responds to Trump-Inspired Anti-Semitism By Targeting Students Who Criticize Israel

      After Donald Trump’s election emboldened white supremacists and inspired a wave of anti-Semitic hate incidents across the country, the Senate on Thursday took action by passing a bill aimed at limiting the free-speech rights of college students who express support for Palestinians.

      By unanimous consent, the Senate quietly passed the so-called Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, only two days after it was introduced by Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Tim Scott, R-S.C.

      A draft of the bill obtained by The Intercept encourages the Department of Education to use the State Department’s broad, widely criticized definition of anti-Semitism when investigating schools. That definition, from a 2010 memo, includes as examples of anti-Semitism “delegitimizing” Israel, “demonizing” Israel, “applying double standards” to Israel, and “focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations.”

    • The Orwellian War on Skepticism

      Under the cover of battling “fake news,” the mainstream U.S. news media and officialdom are taking aim at journalistic skepticism when it is directed at the pronouncements of the U.S. government and its allies.

      One might have hoped that the alarm about “fake news” would remind major U.S. news outlets, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, about the value of journalistic skepticism. However, instead, it seems to have done the opposite.

    • Q&A: Russia, China Swapping Cybersecurity, Censorship Tips

      A series of joint events by Russia and China on cybersecurity has prompted speculation that Moscow is looking to the architect of the Great Firewall of China for inspiration on how to censor and otherwise regulate the Internet. But it’s a two-way street, and Beijing is learning from Moscow, too, says Andrei Soldatov, co-author of the book Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators And New Online Revolutionaries.

    • Qatari news site says website blocked, blames state censorship

      An independent English-language news site in Qatar accused the Gulf state of censorship on Thursday, saying two internet service providers had blocked access to its website.

      The Doha News, which stirred a debate about the limits of tolerance in the conservative country in August with an opinion column on gay rights in Qatar, said the two internet firms had simultaneously barred access to its website on Wednesday.

    • Qatari news website raises ‘censorship’ concerns
    • Blocked Qatari news site blames government censorship
    • Qatar accused of censorship after Doha News website blocked
    • Putin Promises to Halt Censorship of Artists in Russia
    • Vladimir Putin warns Russian artists against offending religious believers after Charlie Hebdo attack
    • Putin CRACKS DOWN on ART in Russia, warning against ‘DANGEROUS’ freedom of expression
    • Putin warns artists against ‘dangerous behavior’
    • Social media site Reddit censors Trump supporters
    • Reddit is censoring the pro-Donald Trump community
    • Reddit Censoring Donald Trump Subreddit From Front Page?
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The Snowden Movie Illustrates Why I’m So Pessimistic About The Future

      Last night the cybersecurity firm F-Secure hosted a screening of Oliver Stone’s latest film, Snowden – a dramatisation of how the eponymous hero went from working deep inside the American Intelligence apparatus, to becoming an internationally famous whistleblower who has been lionised and demonised in equal measure. Essentially, F-Secure probably couldn’t have asked for a better sales pitch.

      Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Snowden, and the film skips back and forth between the tense days spent in a Hong Kong hotel room after he leaked his insider knowledge to Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and The Guardian, and flashbacks through his career and his relationship. It’s hard to know exactly what was real and what was a dramatic invention by the filmmaker – but it makes for a very powerful explanation of exactly what programmes the NSA is running, and what they are capable of, and the potential human consequences of such actions.

    • Tech Companies, Fix These Technical Issues Before It’s Too Late
    • Malware and Mysteries: Secret Surveillance in Argentina
    • Law Enforcement’s Secret “Super Search Engine” Amasses Trillions of Phone Records for Decades

      Although the government still hides too much information about a secret telephone records surveillance program known as Hemisphere, we have learned through EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits that police tout the massive database of private calls as “Google on Steroids” [pdf].

      Hemisphere, which AT&T operates on behalf of federal, state, and local law enforcement, contains trillions of domestic and international phone call records dating back to 1987. AT&T adds roughly four billion phone records to Hemisphere each day [.pptx], including calls from non-AT&T customers that pass through the company’s switches.

      The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and other federal, state and local police use Hemisphere to not only track when and who someone is calling, but to perform complicated traffic analysis that can dynamically map people’s social networks and physical locations. This even includes knowing when someone changes their phone number.

      And federal officials often do it without first getting permission from a judge.

      Indeed, Hemisphere was designed to be extremely secret, with police instructed to do everything possible to make sure the program never appeared in the public record. After using Hemisphere to obtain private information about someone, police usually cover up their use of Hemisphere by later obtaining targeted data about suspects from phone providers through traditional subpoenas, a process the police call “parallel construction” and that EFF calls “evidence laundering.”

    • The IP Act: UK’s most extreme surveillance law

      The Investigatory Powers Act will come into force at the start of 2017, and will cement ten years of illegal surveillance into law.

      It includes state powers to intercept bulk communications and collect vast amounts of communications data and content. The security and law enforcement agencies – including government organisations such as HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) – can hack into devices of people in the UK.

    • How to Protect Yourself From Government Surveillance and Criminal Hackers

      Even if you like to share thoughts and photos on social media, there are certainly plenty of things that you’d like to keep between yourself and a select few. ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project Director Ben Wizner sat down with our principal technologist Christopher Soghoian for a Facebook Live video Q&A on how to keep the government and other snoopers out of your private digital business.

    • CREDO Confirms It’s at Center of Long-Running Legal Fight Over NSLs

      Mobile Provider Battled Gag Order That Forced It to Keep Customers in the Dark

      San Francisco – CREDO Mobile representatives confirmed today that their company was at the center of the long-running legal battle over the constitutionality of national security letters (NSLs), and published the letters the government sent three years ago.

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has represented CREDO in this matter since 2013—and the case, bundled with two other NSL challenges, has reached the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Until now, CREDO was under a gag order, preventing CREDO officials from identifying the company or discussing their role in the case. In March, a district court found that the FBI had failed to demonstrate the need for this gag, and struck it down pending an appeal by the government. But earlier this month, the government decided to drop its appeal of that order, leaving CREDO free to talk about why the legal challenge is important to the company and its customers.

    • Fighting NSL Gag Orders, With Help From Our Friends at CREDO and Internet Archive

      Thanks to our clients and friends at CREDO Mobile and the Internet Archive, EFF was able to shine a rare light on national security letters (NSLs) this week. The FBI uses NSLs to force Internet providers and telecommunications companies to turn over the names, addresses, and other records about their customers. NSLs almost always come with a secrecy provision that bars the companies—in violation of the Constitution—from publicly disclosing the requests. Worse still, NSL gags generally last forever and are imposed by the FBI without any mandatory court oversight.

      The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs since 9/11, and because of their secrecy, NSLs have become a totemic representation of the government’s overreaching surveillance powers.

    • The Problem of Our Surveillance Laws: Report Exposes Deeply Rooted Governmental Secrecy—Underscoring Why Obama Should Act Now

      Kafka wrote in his parable The Problem of Our Laws, “It is an extremely painful thing to be ruled by laws that one does not know.”

      By this standard, America has long been in pain. Secret law runs rampant in the United States, particularly when national security is concerned. It may be legitimate for the government to keep some information secret, like targets of investigations and specific intelligence strategies, but this should be a relatively short list. And it should not, except in the most extreme circumstance, extend to the law itself. A recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liza Goitein, however, exposes just how deep the problem of keeping even the law secret runs—with over-classification fostering constitutionally suspect legal reasoning and the rapid erosion of any meaningful check on governmental power.

      The Brennan Center report also confirms something we’ve been arguing for years—it’s time for some transparency and accountability in our laws. With only 48 days left in Obama’s presidency, the call to shed some light on the law purportedly supporting the government’s secret surveillance programs is all the more urgent. Opening the blinds is a practical step for protecting the democratic principles this country was founded on—especially as the power to invoke secrecy and surveil Americans is posed to pass into new and untested hands. President Obama, the time is now.

    • P/C Industry Warns China’s New Cybersecurity Law Could Hamper Foreign Business

      China’s new wide-ranging cybersecurity law is drawing some serious apprehension from the U.S. property/casualty insurance industry. Trade associations and experts alike caution that it will create business obstacles in the world’s second-largest economy.

      “Most insurers already find China a difficult market in which to get a toehold,” Michael Barry, vice president of media relations with the Insurance Information Institute, told Carrier Management via email. “This action will not make things easier.”

      As reported by Bloomberg and others, the new law was recently passed by China’s main legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. It takes effect in June and will implement a number of new requirements, such as mandatory testing and certification of computer equipment. Companies are also required to give government investigators complete access to their data if there is suspected wrong-doing, and Internet operators must cooperate in any national security or crime-related investigation.

    • WhatsApp to cut off support for millions of phones, tells people to buy new ones instead [Ed: better surveillance by Facebook]

      WhatsApp is about to stop working on millions of phones.

      Older devices are going to have their support cut off so that they’ll no longer be able to use the free chat app.

      Phones including the iPhone 3GS and Android handsets are about to stop being supported by WhatsApp’s engineers. And when that happens, owners will no longer be able to send or receive messages.

      WhatsApp first announced the change early this year. But it said then that it would be implemented by the end of the year, and so there are only relatively few days left before it happens.

    • Uber knows where you go, even after ride is over

      As promised, Uber is now tracking you even when your ride is over. The ride-hailing service said the surveillance—even when riders close the app—will improve its service.

      The company now tracks customers from when they request a ride until five minutes after the ride has ended. According to Uber, the move will help drivers locate riders without having to call them, and it will also allow Uber to analyze whether people are being dropped off and picked up properly—like on the correct side of the street.

    • Snapchat Maker Expands in London Ahead of Public Offering [Ed: proprietary. The British government will demand back doors. Avoid.]

      Snap Inc. recently posted nearly 20 job openings in London in areas including advertising, software engineering and legal, according to its website. The vacancies come after the company in February signed a 10-year lease on a four-story, 12,570-square-foot (1,168-square-meter) property in the U.K. capital. In October, Snap also opened an office in Paris for staff working on advertising and partnerships with French-language media organizations.

    • Families who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong say NSA whistleblower ‘gave them hope’

      The three groups of individuals who sheltered American whistle-blower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong after he leaked sensitive intelligence files in 2013, dream of leaving the city and being received by a third country, where they can find safety and rebuild their broken lives.

      “I don’t like staying here, because we are not ­allowed to have a life,” Nadeeka Dilrukski Nonis, an asylum seeker from Sri Lanka, said, holding her ­seven-month-old boy, still too small and fragile to understand his mother’s concerns. “We just want a place where my children can have a future. It can be anywhere, if there’s safety and freedom.”

      Some two months after their photos and names were plastered all over the world press, the families who housed Snowden for a couple of weeks in 2013 told the Sunday Morning Post they had no regrets about helping the former National Security Agency contractor. Although they are still facing the consequences of the exposure that came with it, they said their contact with Snowden gave them something that had been taken from them while in limbo in Hong Kong: hope.

    • GCHQ: from two old sites to one shiny new Doughnut

      When someone in Cheltenham says they work at GCHQ, you know where they mean – that big round building on the A40 – there’s a sign and everything – it’s even on the bus blinds.

    • Explosive document could REVEAL WikiLeaks whistleblowers behind German NSA paper release

      German experts claim one single document holds the key to every single person that helped Wikileaks, which notoriously publishes private and classified information, unveil papers which threaten to derail Angela Merkel’s hopes of dominating the EU.

      A German parliament spokesman warned a lead to informants could spark a criminal investigations, according to local reports.

      It comes after Wikileaks published a 90GB cache containing almost 2,500 top-secret documents, which sheds light on the murky relationship between Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and America’s National Security Agency (NSA).

    • Court Rubber Stamps IRS’s Demand To Get All Coinbase User Data

      A couple weeks back, we wrote about a ridiculous and massively overbroad demand from the IRS that virtual currency exchange/online wallet host Coinbase turn over basically all info on basically all Coinbase users. They did this because they saw evidence of a single person using Bitcoin to avoid paying taxes. Coinbase expressed concern over this, but Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley didn’t seem too concerned, and has granted the IRS’s request by literally rubber stamping the DOJ’s request. I know it’s not all that uncommon for judges to accept “proposed orders” but it’s still a bit disturbing to see it happen on something with potentially massive consequences.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • I, Barrett Brown, Have Returned

      Four years ago, after my overly dramatic arrest by the FBI, I vowed to return to Dallas at the time of its greatest peril, or anyway I meant to vow this. Now I have fulfilled the promise I definitely intended to make; my sentence complete, on Tuesday I rode from a South Texas prison with my mom and dad and Alex Winter for some reason to a halfway house 20 minutes south of downtown. I live in a room with five drug dealers. We have a TV and an Xbox 360. When I came in, they were watching the 1990 Charlie Sheen vehicle Navy Seals, a film of extraordinary obnoxiousness. Further reports will follow.

    • Drunk men screaming Trump’s name try to rip off Muslim student’s hijab as straphangers stand idly by on East Side subway, cops say

      Straphangers stood by and watched as three drunk white men repeatedly screamed “Donald Trump!” and hurled anti-Islam slurs Thursday at a Muslim Baruch College student before trying to rip her hijab off of her head on an East Side subway, the woman told the Daily News.

      Yasmin Seweid said she was stunned by the assault — and the fact that no one in the subway car came to her aid.

      “It made me really sad after when I thought about it,” she said. “People were looking at me and looking at what was happening and no one said a thing. They just looked away.”

      The terrified 18-year-old recounted her harrowing encounter with the hate-spewing trio.

    • Senator Feinstein Asks President Obama To Declassify Senate’s CIA Torture Report

      Could President Obama actually declassify and release the full 6,800 page report on the massive failures of the CIA’s torture program from a decade ago? While it seems unlikely, Senator Dianne Feinstein is urging the President to release the document, fearing that the massive report may disappear into the memory hole soon.

      Some background: While Feinstein has been historically awful on basically anything having to do with reining in the US intelligence community, the one area that really seemed to get her attention and raise concerns was the CIA’s torture regime. She assigned Senate Intelligence Committee staffers to work on a massive and detailed report on the CIA’s torture program after it came out that a key official involved in the program had deliberately deleted videotape evidence about the program. The research and writing of the report went on for years and cost millions of dollars, and then resulted in another big fight over releasing a heavily redacted version of just the executive summary of the report (not to mention that the CIA also broke into the staffers’ computers after it realized it had accidentally given the staffers a really damning document). The fight over releasing the paper was really, really ridiculous.

      There were fights over what ridiculous things to redact, and then the White House put on a full court press against releasing the document, insisting that publicly releasing even a heavily redacted executive summary would inspire terrorist attacks. Even after an agreement was reached on the redactions, John Kerry still tried to block the release, again warning of potential attacks in response.

    • How do you call something dystopic when dystopia keeps upgrading itself to something worse?

      Civil rights activists have a PR problem. When calling a bad development out as the worst seen in a democracy, that’s the strongest you can condemn something. The development thus called out may legitimately be the worst ever seen, and be rightfully called out as such, as a dystopia coming true. But next week, another law proposal appears which is even worse, and so you say again that this is the worst ever seen, again correctly. But when people just hear you saying that everything is the worst, all the time, it becomes a big communications problem and needs to be reframed.

      Every time you think the surveillance hawks have hit rock bottom and can’t possibly sink any lower, they surprise you with new levels of shamelessness. The problem here is the rapidly shifting window of normality.

    • These Big Native American Facebook Pages Are Actually Being Run By People In Kosovo And Vietnam

      As pipeline protesters at Standing Rock prepare to dig in for the winter, a growing network of dubious Native American Facebook pages is cashing in on the movement by selling stolen No DAPL T-shirt designs and by driving traffic to dubious clickbait websites, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found.

      The owners of these pages and websites reside in faraway countries such as Vietnam and Kosovo, and they are capitalizing on online interest in Standing Rock, and Native American culture in general, to make money. BuzzFeed News identified more than 60 Facebook pages with more than 6 million fans that are generating money either by selling counterfeit Native American merchandise, or by driving traffic to ad-filled websites that in some cases have little or nothing to do with Native American issues.

    • Liberal Moroccan Writer Said Nachid: Raif Badawi Is Forced to Pray and Attend Religious Classes in Prison

      Liberal Moroccan writer Said Nachid talked, during a conference of the Adhoc organization of liberal modern thought, held in Rome, about his friend Raif Badawi, who was arrested in 2012 and later sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam through electronic channels.” Nachid said that in the early days of Badawi’s incarceration, when he still had his mobile phone, he used to call him and tell him about the religious guidance one is forced to attend, including mandatory prayers and lessons in the teachings of Ibn Hanbal and Ibn Taymiyya. The video was posted on Adhoc’s social media channels on November 13.

    • Slovakia bars Islam from becoming state religion by tightening church laws

      The government in Slovakia has approved a law effectively preventing Islam being registered as a state religion for a number of years.

      The bill was proposed by the Slovak National Party (SNS), and requires a religion to have at least 50,000 followers before it qualifies for state subsidies.

      According to the most recent census, there are currently around 2,000 Muslim people living in Slovakia out of a population of 5.4million, and there are no registered mosques.

    • Norway frees radical Islamist as Italy ends extradition bid

      Italy has cancelled a request for the extradition from Norway of controversial Iraqi Kurdish fundamentalist preacher Mullah Krekar, the Norwegian prosecution agency said on Wednesday, ordering his immediate release.
      The prosecution agency did not provide any explanation for Italy’s move, saying simply that the Italian justice ministry had informed its Norwegian counterpart in a letter that the request would be “withdrawn.”

    • Urgent Action Update: Jailed Filmmaker At Risk Of Flogging (Iran: UA 19/16)

      Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi was jailed on 23 November after being summoned to start serving his prison sentence. The authorities have told Keywan Karimi they also intend to carry out his flogging sentence of 223 lashes. He is a prisoner of conscience.

      Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi, from Iran’s Kurdish minority, began serving his prison sentence on 23 November. Although he had never received an official written summons, the Office for the Implementation of Sentences had repeatedly telephoned him since February 2016, ordering him to present himself to Tehran’s Evin Prison to begin serving his sentence. The authorities have also told him that they intend to implement his flogging sentence of 223 lashes.

    • UN to pursue further inquiry into death of Dag Hammarskjöld

      What caused the 1961 plane crash that killed former UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld? A Swedish-led UN inquiry the following year concluded that the plane, the Albertina, had crashed in northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) as a result of “pilot error”. But this failed to satisfy many who have long suspected foul play.

      There were claims that the Albertina, which was carrying Hammarskjöld and a 15-strong team seeking to negotiate a ceasefire in the breakaway African republic of Katanga, was riddled with bullets. Several witnesses said they saw as many as eight white men, armed and in combat fatigues, at the crash site.

    • Thanks To Months Of Doing Nothing, Senate Allows DOJ’s Rule 41 Changes To Become Law

      The FBI and others will be able to take advantage of the removal of jurisdictional limits to search computers anywhere in the world using a single warrant issued by a magistrate judge. It will also be granted the same power for use in the disruption of botnets — in essence, searches/seizures of devices owned by US citizens suspected of no wrongdoing.

    • Of 8 Tech Companies, Only Twitter Says It Would Refuse to Help Build Muslim Registry for Trump

      Every American corporation, from the largest conglomerate to the smallest firm, should ask itself right now: Will we do business with the Trump administration to further its most extreme, draconian goals? Or will we resist?

      This question is perhaps most important for the country’s tech companies, which are particularly valuable partners for a budding authoritarian. The Intercept contacted nine of the most prominent such firms, from Facebook to Booz Allen Hamilton, to ask if they would sell their services to help create a national Muslim registry, an idea recently resurfaced by Donald Trump’s transition team. Only Twitter said no.

      Shortly after the election, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty wrote a personal letter to President-elect Trump in which she offered her congratulations, and more importantly, the services of her company. The six different areas she identified as potential business opportunities between a Trump White House and IBM were all inoffensive and more or less mundane, but showed a disturbing willingness to sell technology to a man with open interest in the ways in which technology can be abused: Mosque surveillance, a “virtual wall” with Mexico, shutting down portions of the internet on command, and so forth. Trump’s anti-civil liberty agenda, half-baked and vague as it is, would largely be an engineering project, one that would almost certainly rely on some help from the private sector. It may be asking too much to demand that companies that have long contracted with the federal government stop doing so altogether; indeed, this would probably cause as much harm and disruption to good public projects as it would help stop the sinister ones.

    • In Stunning Reversal, Law Enforcement, Military, and Security Advisors Urge Homeland Security to Shift Away from Private Prisons

      In a surprise development, the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), an expert panel of law enforcement, national security, military, and other experts who advise the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security voted on Thursday to recommend that the agency shift away from using private prisons to detain immigrants.

    • If Cops Don’t Turn on Their Body Cameras, Courts Should Instruct Juries to Think Twice about Their Testimony

      Since 2014, at least 14 people have been killed by police officers wearing body cameras that were either not turned on or not operational. Roughly two months ago, an officer in Charlotte failed to activate his body camera before fatally shooting Keith Lamont Scott. (On Wednesday, news broke that the officer who killed Scott will not face charges.) Days earlier, an officer in Washington, D.C., failed to turn on his body camera before fatally shooting Terrence Sterling. And this past July, an officer in Chicago failed to activate his body camera before fatally shooting Paul O’Neal in the back.

      These unrecorded killings threaten to undermine confidence in body cameras. If these cameras are only as good as the police officers and departments responsible for deploying them, then their contributions to police accountability will depend on the very people they are supposed to hold accountable.

      But it doesn’t have to be this way. As explained in “No Tape, No Testimony,” a new report by the ACLU of Massachusetts and the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley’s School of Law, police officers and departments are not the only ones who can ensure that body cameras are used responsibly. Courts can do it, too.

      Courts can influence body camera usage through a tool that is unique to courts: jury instructions. Consistent with provisions the ACLU recommends that state legislators put into law, the new report proposes a model instruction that would discourage body camera mishaps by empowering juries to devalue or even disregard a police officer’s testimony if, in the jury’s view, the officer unjustifiably failed to record an interaction with a civilian. Courts should consider trying it, for at least three reasons.

    • Internet Archive Successfully Fends Off Secret FBI Order
    • Internet Archive Received National Security Letter with FBI Misinformation about Challenging Gag Order

      Potentially Thousands of Communication Providers Received Bad Instructions for Fighting Secrecy Provisions

      The Internet Archive published a formerly secret national security letter (NSL) today that includes misinformation about how to contest the accompanying gag order that demanded total secrecy about the request. As a result of the Archive’s challenge to the letter, the FBI has agreed to send clarifications about the law to potentially thousands of communications providers who have received NSLs in the last year and a half.

      The NSL issued to the Archive said the library had the right to “make an annual challenge to the nondisclosure requirement.” But in 2015, Congress updated the law to allow for more than one request a year, so that communications providers could speak out about their experience without unneeded delay. Represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Archive informed the FBI that it did not have the information the agency was seeking and pointed out the legal error. The FBI agreed to drop the gag order in this case and allow the publication of the NSL.

      “The free flow of information is at the heart of the Internet Archive’s work, but by using national security letters in conjunction with unconstitutional gag orders, the FBI is trying to keep us all in the dark,” said Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive. “Here, it’s even worse: that secrecy helped conceal that the FBI was giving all NSL recipients bad information about their rights. So we especially wanted to make this NSL public to give libraries and other institutions more information and help them protect their users from any improper FBI requests.”

      The Archive received this NSL in August, more than a year after Congress changed the law to allow more gag order challenges. In its letter removing the gag order, the FBI acknowledged that it issued other NSLs that included the error, and stated that it will inform all recipients about the mistake. Given that the FBI has said that it issued about 13,000 NSLs last year, thousands of communications providers likely received the false information, and potentially delayed petitioning the court for the right to go public.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Dead, and That’s Good for Internet Freedom

      The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is on its deathbed. After international outcry and intense grassroots organizing, US lawmakers from both parties rejected the 12-country deal, including every leading presidential candidate. The president-elect has said he’ll withdraw from the pact on day one.

    • Presidential Commission Sounds Warning Over Botnet Threat

      The next U.S. administration should take immediate steps to prevent and, when possible, eliminate computer attacks like one that recently crippled some of the key systems that run the internet, a presidential commission recommended on Friday.

    • A blow against net neutrality: AT&T’s DirecTV Now service could trigger a sponsored-data arms race

      AT&T unleashed this week one of the most ambitious TV streaming service yet, and one that has piqued the interest of millions of cord cutters who are fed up with satellite and cable service providers, high-priced programming bundles and cumbersome set-top boxes.

      For an introductory offer of $35 a month, DirecTV Now’s “Go Big” 100-channel package gives subscribers access to ESPN and Fox Sports, cable news broadcasters CNN and MSNBC, basic cable channels like TNT and Discovery and popular programs like “The Walking Dead,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Empire,” all delivered to the digital screens of your choice. The company is also offering three larger bundles for up to $70 a month with programming from Univision, NBA TV and the Travel Channel.

      But critics of how AT&T is marketing DirecTV Now argue that America’s second-largest telecommunications company has just upped the ante in an ongoing effort to keep the Internet a level playing field.

    • After Zero Rating Backlash, Facebook Returns With New, Somewhat Murky ‘Express WiFi’ Initiative

      You might recall that earlier this year there was a massive backlash against Facebook for its often clumsy attempts to try and dominate emerging developing nation ad markets through what many saw as bogus altruism. The entire fracas bubbled over in India, where regulators banned Facebook’s attempt to create a sort of zero-rated, net neutrality-violating walled garden of Facebook-curated content under the pretense of helping the nation’s farmers. Facebook didn’t help itself by trying to drum up fake support for its initiatives while labeling those worried about the plan as extremists.

      Under the original idea, low-income families got access to a limited crop of Facebook-approved content; sort of a glorified AOL for poor people. However, net neutrality advocates and critics like Mozilla were (justly) concerned with this giving Facebook too much power over content, so they consistently argued that if Facebook was so desperately interested in helping the poor — the company and its Internet.org initiative should focus on providing actual broadband connectivity.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Mandatory Piracy Filters May Violate EU Law, Scholars Warn

        A group of prominent legal scholars has warned that the EU Commission’s plans to modernize copyright law in Europe appear to be incompatible with EU law. One of the main problems is the mandatory piracy filter Internet services are required to use, which largely ignore existing case law and human rights.

      • Antigua Says It Will Certainly, Absolutely, Definitely Use WTO Permission To Ignore US Copyright And Set Up A Pirate Site, Maybe

        One of the longest-running, and most extraordinary, sagas on Techdirt concerns the island of Antigua. Over 13 years ago, the country filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the US ban on online gambling, which Antigua said violated a trade agreement between the two countries. Long story short, the WTO not only agreed, but said that the Caribbean country could ignore US copyrights, and set up a WTO-authorized pirate site to obtain the $21 million in WTO sanctions that the US was refusing to pay as compensation for blocking Antigua’s online gambling sites. In 2013, Antigua was still saying it was definitely going to do this if it couldn’t come to some agreement with the US on the matter, and the US was still refusing to settle.

      • Third time lucky? Iceland’s Pirate party given chance to form government

        Iceland’s Pirate Party leader Birgitta Jonsdottir has been asked by the president to try to form a new government, local media reported on Friday, after the two largest parliamentary parties each failed to put together a coalition.

        Speaking to reporters after a meeting with President Gudni Johannesson, Jonsdottir said: “I am hopeful that we will find a way to work together.”

        The anti-establishment Pirate Party, which came third in an October election, will continue talks with four other parties represented in parliament, the Left-Greens, Social Democrats, Bright Future and the Reform Party.

        The Left-Greens suspended coalition negotiations last week. The Independence Party, which as the biggest party was given the first chance to form a governing coalition, said on Nov. 15 that it had failed to do so.

12.03.16

Links 3/12/2016: Mageia 5.1 Released, Mozilla Revenue at $421.3M

Posted in News Roundup at 11:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Rolls Out Continuous Fuzzing Service For Open Source Software

    Google has launched a new project for continuously testing open source software for security vulnerabilities.

    The company’s new OSS-Fuzz service is available in beta starting this week, but at least initially it will only be available for open source projects that have a very large user base or are critical to global IT infrastructure.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Reports 2015 Revenue of $421.3M

        For its fiscal 2015 year, Mozilla reported revenue of $421.3 million, up from $329.6 million that it reported Mozilla’s revenue’s have grown significantly over the last decade. The first year that Mozilla ever publicly disclosed its financial status was for its 2005 fiscal year, when the open-source organization generated $52.9 million in revenue.

      • Mozilla is doing well financially (2015)

        Mozilla announced a major change in November 2014 in regards to the company’s main revenue stream.

        The organization had a contract with Google in 2014 and before that had Google pay Mozilla money for being the default search engine in the Firefox web browser.

        This deal was Mozilla’s main source of revenue, about 329 million US Dollars in 2014. The change saw Mozilla broker deals with search providers instead for certain regions of the world.

  • Healthcare

    • Open source wearable Angel shuts down

      “Well, looks like the Angel Sensor folks have (finally) officially thrown in the towel,” he wrote. “Not really a surprise, as they had gone silent for nearly a year after delivering their crowdfunded product over two years late. They did release code for their open-source SDK, and there is a community of developers who have forked it on GitHub3 to continue development. Too bad they gave up, as the promise of a truly open source wearable with an array of useful sensors is lacking in the QS space.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The Three Software Freedoms

      The government can help us by making software companies distribute the source code. They can say it’s “in the interest of national security”. And they can sort out the patent system (there are various problems with how the patent system handles software which are out of the scope of this article). So when you chat to your MP please mention this.

    • Leapfrog Honoring the GPL
    • A discussion on GPL compliance

      Among its many activities, the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) is one of the few organizations that does any work on enforcing the GPL when other compliance efforts have failed. A suggestion by SFC executive director Karen Sandler to have a Q&A session about compliance and enforcement at this year’s Kernel Summit led to a prolonged discussion, but not to such a session being added to the agenda. However, the co-located Linux Plumbers Conference set up a “birds of a feather” (BoF) session so that interested developers could hear more about the SFC’s efforts, get their questions answered, and provide feedback. Sandler and SFC director of strategic initiatives Brett Smith hosted the discussion, which was quite well-attended—roughly 70 people were there at a 6pm BoF on November 3.

    • Join us as a member to give back for the free software you use

      At the FSF, we run our own infrastructure using only free software, which makes us stand out from nearly every other nonprofit organization. Virtually all others rely on outside providers and use a significant amount of nonfree software. With your support, we set an example proving that a nonprofit can follow best practices while running only free software.

    • The Free Software Foundation is in need of members
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • HiFive1 Is an Open-Source, Arduino-Compatible RISC-V Dev Kit

        Bay Area startup SiFive has announced the Freedom Everywhere 310 (FE310) system-on-chip — the industry’s first commercially-available SoC based on the free, open-source RISC-V architecture, along with the corresponding low-cost, Arduino-compatible HiFive1 development kit.

      • Samsung Defection From ARM to RISC-V.

        It was always thought that, when ARM relinquished its independence, its customers would look around for other alternatives.

        The nice thing about RISC-V is that it’s independent, open source and royalty-free.

        And RISC-V is what Samsung is reported to be using for an IoT CPU in preference to ARM.

      • Neutralize ME firmware on SandyBridge and IvyBridge platforms

        First introduced in Intel’s 965 Express Chipset Family, the Intel Management Engine (ME) is a separate computing environment physically located in the (G)MCH chip (for Core 2 family CPUs which is separate from the northbridge), or PCH chip replacing ICH(for Core i3/i5/i7 which is integrated with northbridge).

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Opinion: An Ethical Code for Conferences

      This fundamental form of scientific communication is threatened by modern recording technology and researchers who refuse to adhere to an age-old ethical code.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Non-Corporate Entities Join Forces Against Adoption Of Plant Breeders’ Rights Regulations In Africa

      The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, civil society, and farmers’ representatives have raised serious concerns on the upcoming adoption of draft regulations of a protocol protecting breeders’ rights in Africa. Civil society groups and farmers’ representatives have been blocked from participating in the meeting expected to adopt the regulations, according to them. The Special Rapporteur is calling for a halt to the process, and for starting again with a more transparent, inclusive, and evidence-based process.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Understanding SELinux Roles

      I received a container bugzilla today for someone who was attempting to assign a container process to the object_r role. Hopefully this blog will help explain how roles work with SELinux.

      When we describe SELinux we often concentrate on Type Enforcement, which is the most important and most used feature of SELinux. This is what describe in the SELinux Coloring book as Dogs and Cats. We also describe MLS/MCS Separation in the coloring book.

    • The Internet Society is unhappy about security – pretty much all of it

      The Internet Society (ISOC) is the latest organisation saying, in essence, “security is rubbish – fix it”.

      Years of big data breaches are having their impact, it seems: in its report released last week, it quotes a 54-country, 24,000-respondent survey reporting a long-term end user trend to become more fearful in using the Internet (by Ipsos on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation).

      Report author, economist and ISOC fellow Michael Kende, reckons companies aren’t doing enough to control breaches.

      “According to the Online Trust Alliance, 93 per cent of breaches are preventable” he said, but “steps to mitigate the cost of breaches that do occur are not taken – attackers cannot steal data that is not stored, and cannot use data that is encrypted.”

    • UK’s new Snoopers’ Charter just passed an encryption backdoor law by the backdoor

      Among the many unpleasant things in the Investigatory Powers Act that was officially signed into law this week, one that has not gained as much attention is the apparent ability for the UK government to undermine encryption and demand surveillance backdoors.

      As the bill was passing through Parliament, several organizations noted their alarm at section 217 which obliged ISPs, telcos and other communications providers to let the government know in advance of any new products and services being deployed and allow the government to demand “technical” changes to software and systems.

    • EU budget creates bug bounty programme to improve cybersecurity

      Today the European Parliament approved the EU Budget for 2017. The budget sets aside 1.9 million euros in order to improve the EU’s IT infrastructure by extending the free software audit programme (FOSSA) that MEPs Max Anderson and Julia Reda initiated two years ago, and by including a bug bounty approach in the programme that was proposed by MEP Marietje Schaake.

    • Qubes OS Begins Commercialization and Community Funding Efforts

      Since the initial launch of Qubes OS back in April 2010, work on Qubes has been funded in several different ways. Originally a pet project, it was first supported by Invisible Things Lab (ITL) out of the money we earned on various R&D and consulting contracts. Later, we decided that we should try to commercialize it. Our idea, back then, was to commercialize Windows AppVM support. Unlike the rest of Qubes OS, which is licensed under GPLv2, we thought we would offer Windows AppVM support under a proprietary license. Even though we made a lot of progress on both the business and technical sides of this endeavor, it ultimately failed.

      Luckily, we got a helping hand from the Open Technology Fund (OTF), which has supported the project for the past two years. While not a large sum of money in itself, it did help us a lot, especially with all the work necessary to improve Qubes’ user interface, documentation, and outreach to new communities. Indeed, the (estimated) Qubes user base has grown significantly over that period. Thank you, OTF!

    • Linux Security Basics: What System Administrators Need to Know

      Every new Linux system administrator needs to learn a few core concepts before delving into the operating system and its applications. This short guide gives a summary of some of the essential security measures that every root user must know. All advice given follows the best security practices that are mandated by the community and the industry.

    • BitUnmap: Attacking Android Ashmem

      The law of leaky abstractions states that “all non-trivial abstractions, to some degree, are leaky”. In this blog post we’ll explore the ashmem shared memory interface provided by Android and see how false assumptions about its internal operation can result in security vulnerabilities affecting core system code.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Hackers destroy computers at Saudi aviation agency

      Hackers destroyed computers at six important Saudi organizations two weeks ago, marking a reappearance of the most damaging cyberweapon the world has ever seen.

      Last time, it was used to destroy 35,000 computers at the oil company Saudi Aramco. U.S. intelligence quietly blamed Iran for that attack.

      This time around, the cyberweapon has attacked at least one Saudi government agency, as well as organizations in the energy, manufacturing and transportation sectors, according to two researchers with direct knowledge of the investigations into the attack.

    • Teacher at Tower Hamlets school ‘condoned Charlie Hebdo terror attack in front of pupils’

      A teacher faces a classroom ban after he allegedly “condoned” the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in front of pupils at a Tower Hamlets school.

      Hamza Jalal Tariq, 28, effectively said during a lesson that the victims murdered by Islamist gunmen “should be killed for insulting the prophet”, a professional conduct panel ruled.

      The panel heard Tariq made the comment in response to a student just days after 12 people were murdered in the French satirical newspaper’s Paris office in January last year.

      Tariq was a teacher at Tower Hamlets PRU, which has four sites across the east London borough, since 2013, but resigned after the accusations surfaced.

    • Don’t Say I’m Violent, Or I’ll Kill You

      Yesterday, I wrote about the thwarted mass murder at Ohio State University. To the Best Vice-President We Never Had, Tim Kaine, it was “a senseless act of gun violence”. To those under attack, it was in fact an act of automobile violence and machete violence. And to the perpetrator, it was not “senseless” but made perfect sense.

    • Donald Trump and the Taiwanese President Just Had an Unprecedented Phone Call

      Donald Trump has spoken with the president of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

      It is highly unusual, perhaps unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a Taiwanese leader. The U.S. cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China to the communist government on the mainland, although Washington still has close unofficial ties with Taipei.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A Catastrophic Amount of Carbon Could Leak From the Soil By 2050

      The term “snowball effect” is an unfortunate way to describe climate change, but a new study is predicting just that.

      Climate scientists warn that by 2050, an astonishing 55 trillion kilograms of carbon could be released into the atmosphere from the soil. To put things in perspective, that’s the emissions equivalent of adding another United States to the planet. And, like a rapidly tumbling snowball, more emissions mean more warming, and more warming means… well, you get it.

      Of course, this nightmare scenario hinges on our inability to curb carbon emissions—a fate that’s become significantly more realistic with Donald Trump, a vocal climate change denier and coal aficionado, about to enter the White House. Our failure to meet the goals mandated by the Paris Agreement would result in “about 17 percent more than the projected emissions due to human-related activities during that period,” Tom Crowther, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, said in a statement.

    • Climate change will stir ‘unimaginable’ refugee crisis, says military

      Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of “unimaginable scale”, according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the “new normal”.

      The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency.

  • Finance

    • Corporate Welfare Will Bring Back Jobs vs. Jobs Will Never Come Back

      The story went on to say that Trump and Vice President–elect Mike Pence had promised Carrier they would be “friendlier to businesses by easing regulations and overhauling the corporate tax code.” Probably more to the point from Carrier’s point of view, Schwartz noted that the state of Indiana, where Pence is still governor, “also plans to give economic incentives to Carrier as part of the deal to stay.”

      So Trump’s job program involves cutting business taxes and regulations, plus a corporate-welfare package whose cost will presumably be declared after media attention wanders. This makes Trump “a different kind of Republican” how, exactly?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Yer Fake News Garbage: Trevor Noah Knows Nothing About the Secret Service

      About 1:30 into the video above, Daily Show host Trevor Noah, as echoed by the Huffington Post, committed fake news.

      Well, to be fair, it was more like ignorance than fake, because Noah’s shock and accusations that Trump is going to charge the Secret Service $1.5 million in rent to help protect him at Trump Tower was only a couple of Googles away from being shown to be wrong.

      To begin, Noah appears somewhat surprised that a president-elect is protected, and that protection costs a lot of money. Noah seems somewhat offended that that protection will take place at Trump Tower.

      Surprise! Any president-elect has to live somewhere. It makes sense he’d stay living where he always does. There is no junior White House. Also, presidents do not give up their homes when they move into the White House. All have kept their own homes and the Secret Service has always protected them there. Reagan and Bush had their ranches, remember. Nothing new here.

    • I Don’t Like Trump or Racism
    • Why Are Media Outlets Still Citing Discredited ‘Fake News’ Blacklist?

      The Washington Post (11/24/16) last week published a front-page blockbuster that quickly went viral: Russia-promoted “fake news” had infiltrated the newsfeeds of 213 million Americans during the election, muddying the waters in a disinformation scheme to benefit Donald Trump. Craig Timberg’s story was based on a “report” from an anonymous group (or simply a person, it’s unclear) calling itself PropOrNot that blacklisted over 200 websites as agents or assets of the Russian state.

      The obvious implication was that an elaborate Russian psyop had fooled the public into voting for Trump based on a torrent of misleading and false information posing as news. Everyone from Bloomberg’s Sahil Kupar to CNN’s to Robert Reich to Anne Navarro to MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid tweeted out the story in breathless tones. Center for American Progress and Clinton advocate Neera Tanden even did her best Ron Paul YouTube commenter impression, exclaiming, “Wake up people.”

      But the story didn’t stand up to the most basic scrutiny. Follow-up reporting cast major doubt on the Washington Post’s core claims and underlying logic, the two primary complaints being 1) the “research group” responsible for the meat of the story, PropOrNot, is an anonymous group of partisans (if more than one person is involved) who tweet like high schoolers, and 2) the list of supposed Russian media assets, because its criteria for Russian “fake news” encompasses “useful idiots,” includes entirely well-within-the-mainstream progressive and libertarian websites such as Truth-Out, Consortium News, TruthDig and Antiwar.com (several of whom are now considering lawsuits against PropOrNot for libel).

    • If We Care About the Constitution, Trump Has to Sell His Empire

      Donald Trump is about to become president and immediately begin violating the Constitution. The Constitution explicitly prohibits the president from taking payments and gifts from foreign governments. (Can we stop using the term “emolument“? No one has used it for a hundred years. We want to be clear on what the Constitution means.)

      Donald Trump is right now and will continue to be taking payments and gifts from foreign governments in the form of benefits to his properties, unless he dumps the stuff. This is about as clear a violation of the constitutional provision imaginable, so why on Earth do we have Andrew Ross Sorkin (New York Times, 11/28/16) approvingly accepting Donald Trump’s nonsense claim in his letter to Mr. Trump?

    • Hillary Clinton’s “Corrupt Establishment” Is Now Advising Donald Trump

      “The establishment,” Donald Trump famously said during his closing argument for the presidency, “has trillions of dollars at stake in this election.”

      He described “a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”

      He asked the country to be “brave enough to vote out this corrupt establishment.”

      Now, less than four weeks after riding that line to victory, he formally invited the establishment into his administration.

      On Friday, Trump announced the creation of a “Strategic and Policy Forum” that will serve to advise him on domestic economic matters. The list of advisers is a who’s-who of corporate elites.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Commission responds to Ombudsman investigation on EU Internet Forum

      In April 2016, the European Ombudsman launched an investigation into the European Commission’s failure to disclose information of the “EU Internet Forum”. The EU Internet Forum brings together US internet companies (Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Google), government officials, and law enforcement agencies to discuss how to reduce the accessibility of undefined “terrorist material” (as defined by 28 different national laws that are not even properly implemented in some countries) and badly defined “hate speech” online.

    • Perils of Censorship in the Digital Age

      The ripple effects of the Donald Trump election victory in America continue to wash over many different shorelines of public opinion, like so many mini-tsunamis hitting the Pacific rim over the last few last weeks. The seismic changes have indeed been global, and not least in Europe.

      First up, the Eurocrats have been getting in a bit of a flap about the future of NATO, as I recently wrote. In the past I have also written about the perceived “insider threat” – in other words, whistleblowers – that has been worrying governments and intelligence agencies across the Western world.

      Currently the Twittersphere is lighting up around the issue of “fake news“, with Western mainstream media (news purveyors of the utmost unsullied probity, naturally) blaming Trump’s unexpected victory variously on the US alt-media shock jocks, fake news trolls and bots, and sovereign-state media outlets such as the Russian RT and Sputnik.

      In the wake of US Democrat claims that Russia was interfering in the election process (not a practice that the USA has ever engaged in in any other country around the world whatsoever), we now have the US Green Party presidential candidate apparently spontaneously calling for recounts in three key swing-states in the USA.

    • Self-Censorship: Free Society vs. Fear Society

      In the summer of 2005, the Danish artist Kåre Bluitgen, when he met a journalist from the Ritzaus Bureau news agency, said he was unable to find anyone willing to illustrate his book on Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. Three illustrators he contacted, Bluitgen said, were too scared. A few months later, Bluitgen reported that he had found someone willing to illustrate his book, but only on the condition of anonymity.

      Like most Danish newspapers, Jyllands-Posten decided to publish an article about Bluitgen’s case. To test the state of freedom of expression, Flemming Rose, Jyllands-Posten’s cultural editor at the time, called twelve cartoonists, and offered them $160 each to draw a caricature of Mohammed. What then happened is a well-known, chilling story.

    • Three ways Facebook could reduce fake news without resorting to censorship

      The public gets a lot of its news and information from Facebook. Some of it is fake. That presents a problem for the site’s users, and for the company itself.

      Facebook cofounder and chairman Mark Zuckerberg said the company will find ways to address the problem, though he didn’t acknowledge its severity. And without apparent irony, he made this announcement in a Facebook post surrounded – at least for some viewers – by fake news items.

    • Cameroonian Government Calls Social Media A ‘New Form Of Terrorism’

      But it didn’t stop there. As the Global Voices post notes, when government officials finally admitted that there had been an accident, social media continued to challenge the government version, which tried to play down the number of dead, and to lay the blame on allegedly-defective Chinese-made carriages.

    • China is censoring people’s chats without them even knowing about it

      China’s WeChat originated as a WhatsApp clone, but later evolved into the single-most important tool for connecting people in China. Yet it’s never been clear exactly how China’s internet censors have attempted to control information that spreads in the app. That’s partly because you likely wouldn’t know if you got censored in the first place.

    • Lawyer sues 20-year-old student who gave a bad Yelp review, loses badly

      When 20-year-old Lan Cai was in a car crash this summer, it was a bad situation. Driving home at 1:30am from a waitressing shift, Cai was plowed into by a drunk driver and broke two bones in her lower back. Unsure about how to navigate her car insurance and prove damages, she reached out for legal help.

      The help she got, Cai said, was less than satisfactory. Lawyers from the Tuan A. Khuu law firm ignored her contacts, and at one point they came into her bedroom while Cai was sleeping in her underwear. “Seriously, it’s super unprofessional!” she wrote on Facebook. (The firm maintains it was invited in by Cai’s mother.) She also took to Yelp to warn others about her bad experience.

      The posts led to a threatening e-mail from Tuan Khuu attorney Keith Nguyen. “If you do not remove the post from Facebook and any other social media sites, my office will have no choice but to file suit,” he told her, according to a report in the Houston Press on the saga.

    • China’s WeChat is censoring group chats without users’ knowledge
    • WeChat censorship offers a blueprint for Facebook but here’s why it should not enter China
    • Study: Chinese App WeChat Censors Chinese Users More
    • China’s WeChat is censoring group chats without users’ knowledge
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trump national security pick once wrote Chelsea Manning should be tried for treason, executed if guilty

      KT McFarland, Donald Trump’s pick to be his deputy national security adviser, once wrote that former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning should be tried for treason and executed if found guilty.

      Manning was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison for handing over a trove of classified documents to Wikileaks. McFarland, a national security analyst and host of an online Fox News show for years, made the comments in a weekly column on the Fox News’ website.

    • NYT Protects Its Pundit Who Dismissed Trans Rights as ‘Boutique Issue’

      If Boylan didn’t catch the name of the commentator she saw, it was not hard to find; if I put “boutique issues November 9 MSNBC” into Google, the first thing that comes up is a piece on Breitbart (11/9/16) approvingly recounting the conversation.

      It seems more likely that the omission of Bruni’s name—a familiar one, of course, to regular readers of the Times op-ed page—was a deliberate choice. Note that Maher got different treatment—which seems to suggest a different standard for commentators who work for HBO vs. those who write for the New York Times.

    • Twitter Only Tech Firm of Nine to Say No to Helping Build Muslim Registry

      Out of nine technology companies, from Facebook to Booz Allen Hamilton, only Twitter confirmed it would refuse to help the Trump administration build a “Muslim registry,” The Intercept reported on Friday.

      The outlet contacted—or attempted to contact—the companies over the course of two weeks, asking if they would contract out their services to help create the hypothetical database, which President-elect Donald Trump’s national security adviser Kris Kobach has said would track immigrants entering the U.S from Muslim nations.

    • ACLU Suggests Jury Instructions Might Be A Fix For ‘Missing’ Police Body Camera Recordings

      We’ve written plenty of posts about police body cameras — how useful they can be and how useless they often are. What should result in additional law enforcement accountability has been turned into a mostly-optional documentation system. The new tech and its accompanying guidelines have done very little to increase accountability.

      Body cameras are pretty much mainstream at this point, but when excessive force and/or misconduct are alleged, footage captured by police is often nonexistent. Officers disable recording equipment, delete footage, or simply claim the camera “malfunctioned.” Some repeatedly “forget” to activate their cameras ahead of controversial arrests and interactions.

      But what can be done about it? So far, law enforcement agencies have done little but promise to create more policies and guidelines — ones that can continue to be ignored by officers who’d rather not create a permanent record of their actions. There’s been some discipline, but what little of it there is hasn’t been very severe. And stories of repeated tampering with recording devices in some agencies suggests what is in place isn’t much of a deterrent.

    • FBI Gains New Hacking Powers While GOP Congress Sits on Sidelines

      The FBI is now allowed to hack into computers anywhere in the world using only a single warrant, according to a new rule that was quietly implemented on Thursday.

      Prior to the new policy taking effect, federal computer investigators could only hack into a computer within the same district where they obtained a warrant from a judge. “Rule 41,” as it is known, changes those procedures, allowing feds to search potentially any computer, regardless of where the warrant was issued.

      Devices that investigators believe are part of a botnet or that are masking their location would be vulnerable to the new single-warrant intrusions.

      Authorities say the change is necessary for them to effectively investigate cyber-crimes, particularly ones involving botnets–devices that leverage multiple computers to carry out an attack. A side-effect of the rule, however, could lead to the hacking of innocent individuals whose computers were infected by malware making them unknowingly a part the attack.

    • Jakarta protests: Muslims turn out in force against Christian governor Ahok

      A crowd of at least 200,000 Muslim protesters has descended on Jakarta to demand the Christian governor of the Indonesian capital be arrested for insulting Islam.

      There was heavy security at the rally on Friday with authorities wary of the kind of violence that marred a similar demonstration in November.

      People headed towards a huge park in downtown Jakarta to protest against Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known by his nickname Ahok, who has become the target of widespread anger in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

    • Saudi Woman Without Hijab Attacked: Execution Called For By Conservative Muslim Twitter Users

      A number of Saudi social media users reacted with anger when a woman posted Monday a picture showing her in Riyadh without the traditional body covering known as the abaya and headscarf known as the hijab.

      A 21-year-old student from the city of Dammam who called herself Sara Ahmed for fear that her real name could put her in danger shared the tweet of a woman named Malak Al Shehri photographed wearing a dark blue coat, bright multicolored skirt and boots. Next to the picture, she included screenshots of three tweets by accounts calling for justice and even violence against Shehri. All three tweets included an Arabic hashtag that translates to “We demand the imprisonment of the rebel Angel Al Shehri.” The name Malak translates to “Angel” in Arabic.

      “Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs,” @ab_alshdadi wrote, while @ilQil tweeted “we want blood.” Many others insulted Shehri’s morals.

    • When a Saudi woman daring not to wear a hijab leads to calls for her beheading, maybe it’s time the UK paid attention

      Today it was reported that a Saudi women who posted a picture of herself on social media in public without wearing a hijab faced outrage on social media, including calls for her execution. One man memorably declared: “Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs.”

      To the surprise of the some, Saudi Arabia – which has been bombing Yemen for 18 months, including one incident where the country’s fighters bombed a funeral, and which has arguably the worst record on women’s rights in the world – was recently re-elected to the Human Rights Council, the United Nations’ premier human rights body. There was, predictably, an outcry.

      Governing women’s clothing, whether on the beaches of Cannes or the streets of Riyadh, is a violation we should all stand against. And clearly people in the Islamic world believe this as ardently as atheists in the West. This year, men in Iran wore headscarves in solidarity with their wives who are forced cover their hair in public places. The campaign against the enforced hijab in Iran has seen women defying morality police in public and even shaving their hair. If men in Saudi Arabia campaigned in similar numbers and joined the fight, perhaps we’d see a change in the Middle East’s political landscape.

    • Jury deadlocked in trial of cop filmed killing fleeing suspect

      Defense attorneys for Michael Slager, a 35-year-old North Charleston officer, called for a mistrial in the murder case, while the judge has ordered the 12-member panel to continue deliberating. All the while, a single juror wrote a note to the presiding judge that he or she could not, “in good conscience, approve a guilty verdict.”

      “You have a duty to make every reasonable effort to reach a unanimous verdict,” Judge Clifton Newman told panelists, who began hearing the case a month ago. The jury began deliberating Wednesday.

      North Charleston police had officially defended Officer Slager until the footage surfaced. At the moment, the video doesn’t appear to be swaying all 12 jurors that the officer is guilty of murder or voluntary manslaughter.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC doesn’t like AT&T, Verizon ‘zero rating’ their own video apps

      Specifically, the regulators said “zero rating” can hurt competition and consumers. In the letter obtained by the Associated Press, regulators make the case that other services could pay Verizon and AT&T to not eat into customers’ cell data. This could be bad for competing video services who aren’t in favor with the carriers, the FCC argues.

      AT&T launched DirecTV Now earlier this week. AT&T Mobility customers can stream video data over LTE without impacting their data allowance. Verizon offers something similar with its go90 service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Who Gets To Trademark Iceland?

        When you cover enough trademark disputes, you come to expect a fairly typical pattern to them. Entity X bullies entity Y over a vaguely similar use of a mark that often times is overly broad or generic, and then there is either a capitulation to the bullying, a settlement, or the rare instance of a trial that results in an actual ruling. The outcomes aren’t typically favorable for those of us that think trademark law has been pushed beyond its original intent, but the pattern persists.

        But every once in a while, you find a zebra amidst the thundering hooves of horses. Such is the case with a very strange dispute currently going on between Iceland Foods, a foodstuffs retailer, and Iceland, the island nation between Greenland and the rest of Europe. Due to the retailer’s aggressive protection of its trademark, which consists of a generic term preceeded by the name of a country, Iceland has petitioned to revoke the trademark Iceland Foods has on its name for all of Europe.

    • Copyrights

      • Court Overturns ‘Pirate’ Site Blockade Based on EU Ruling

        A site that was outlawed following mass court action against more than 150 domains has been cleared on appeal. Kisstube embeds movies, some of them infringing, hosted on other platforms such as YouTube. However, the Rome Court of Appeal found that according to an EU ruling, merely embedding pirated content is not illegal.

        Early November, police in Italy targeted more than 150 sites involved in the unauthorized streaming of movies and sports.

        The Special Units of the Guardia di Finanza obtained a mass injunction from a judge in Rome, heralding the largest ever blocking operation in the country.

      • The proposed new VAT rules on e-publications: do they have any implications for copyright and digital exhaustion?

        Yesterday – as part of its Digital Single Market Strategy – the EU Commission unveiled proposals for new tax rules with the objective of supporting e-commerce and online businesses in the EU.

        Among the measures proposed, there is one that may be of interest also from a copyright perspective.

12.02.16

Links 2/12/2016: Mint Betas, Chrome 55, KDevelop 5.0.3, PHP 7.1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 9:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Oracle kicks £1.1bn into European computer sciences and digital skills [Ed: Oracle cares not about education and research; look what it did to researchers who reverse-engineered stuff.]

    ORACLE IS PROVIDING $1.4bn (around £1.1bn) in direct, and what it calls ‘in-kind’ support for European computer sciences and skills.

    The cash is part of an $3.3bn kitty that applies worldwide and is designed to support digital literacy, something that we are often told is lacking.

  • Science

    • New standard helps optical trackers follow moving objects precisely

      Throwing a perfect strike in virtual bowling doesn’t require your gaming system to precisely track the position and orientation of your swinging arm. But if you’re operating a robotic forklift around a factory, manipulating a mechanical arm on an assembly line or guiding a remote-controlled laser scalpel inside a patient, the ability to pinpoint exactly where it is in three-dimensional (3-D) space is critical.

  • Security

    • Security Patches for Firefox and Tor Address Key Security Vulnerability
    • Mozilla Patches Zero-Day Flaw in Firefox

      Mozilla moves quickly to fix vulnerability that was being actively exploited in attacks against Tor Browser, which is based on Firefox.

      Late afternoon on November 30, Mozilla rushed out an emergency update for its open-source Firefox web browser, fixing a zero-day vulnerability that was being actively exploited by attackers. The vulnerability was used in attacks against the Tor web browser which is based on Firefox.

    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • ‘Fatal’ flaws found in medical implant software

      Security flaws found in 10 different types of medical implants could have “fatal” consequences, warn researchers.

      The flaws were found in the radio-based communications used to update implants, including pacemakers, and read data from them.

      By exploiting the flaws, the researchers were able to adjust settings and even switch off gadgets.

      The attacks were also able to steal confidential data about patients and their health history.

      A software patch has been created to help thwart any real-world attacks.

      The flaws were found by an international team of security researchers based at the University of Leuven in Belgium and the University of Birmingham.

    • Lenovo: If you value your server, block Microsoft’s November security update

      Lenovo server admins should disable Windows Update and apply a UEFI fix to avoid Microsoft’s November security patches freezing their systems.

      The world’s third-largest server-maker advised the step after revealing that 19 configurations of its x M5 and M6 rack, as well as its x6 systems are susceptible.

    • Symantec and VMware patches, Linux encryption bug: Security news IT leaders need to know
    • UK homes lose internet access after cyber-attack

      More than 100,000 people in the UK have had their internet access cut after a string of service providers were hit by what is believed to be a coordinated cyber-attack, taking the number affected in Europe up to about a million.

      TalkTalk, one of Britain’s biggest service providers, the Post Office and the Hull-based KCom were all affected by the malware known as the Mirai worm, which is spread via compromised computers.

      The Post Office said 100,000 customers had experienced problems since the attack began on Sunday and KCom put its figure at about 10,000 customers since Saturday. TalkTalk confirmed that it had also been affected but declined to give a precise number of customers involved.

    • New Mirai Worm Knocks 900K Germans Offline

      More than 900,000 customers of German ISP Deutsche Telekom (DT) were knocked offline this week after their Internet routers got infected by a new variant of a computer worm known as Mirai. The malware wriggled inside the routers via a newly discovered vulnerability in a feature that allows ISPs to remotely upgrade the firmware on the devices. But the new Mirai malware turns that feature off once it infests a device, complicating DT’s cleanup and restoration efforts.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The New Red Scare

      “Welcome to the world of strategic analysis,” Ivan Selin used to tell his team during the Sixties, “where we program weapons that don’t work to meet threats that don’t exist.” Selin, who would spend the following decades as a powerful behind-the-scenes player in the Washington mandarinate, was then the director of the Strategic Forces Division in the Pentagon’s Office of Systems Analysis. “I was a twenty-eight-year-old wiseass when I started saying that,” he told me, reminiscing about those days. “I thought the issues we were dealing with were so serious, they could use a little levity.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Signs Of A Creepy Government Conspiracy At Standing Rock

      That vague title leaves a lot open to interpretation. And if the internet has taught us anything, it’s that interpretation is not the average person’s strong suit … or even their medium suit, for that matter. “Clash” suggests an equal meeting of force, and that’s really not the case when one side has military hardware and the backing of a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and the other side … well … doesn’t. Reading that headline makes the story sound identical to every other protest of the last 20 years. But thanks to sites like Twitter, “water protectors” with drones can put video of how that “clash” really looked in front of thousands of eyes…

    • Indonesia: Human rights abuses on palm oil plantations

      The world’s most popular food and household companies are selling food, cosmetics and other everyday staples containing palm oil tainted by shocking human rights abuses in Indonesia, with children as young as eight working in hazardous conditions, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    • Indonesia’s Forest-Fire Problem Is Nowhere Close to Being Solved. Here’s Why

      Choking haze caused by Indonesia’s annual slash-and-burn forest fires affects millions of people. Wetter weather provided some relief in 2016, but tackling the fires properly will require monumental change

    • Climate change escalating so fast it is ‘beyond point of no return’

      Global warming is beyond the “point of no return”, according to the lead scientist behind a ground-breaking climate change study.

      The full impact of climate change has been underestimated because scientists haven’t taken into account a major source of carbon in the environment.

      Dr Thomas Crowther’s report has concluded that carbon emitted from soil was speeding up global warming.

      The findings, which say temperatures will increase by 1C by 2050, are already being adopted by the United Nations.

  • Finance

    • Panama Papers: Europol links 3,500 names to suspected criminals

      Almost 3,500 individuals and companies in the Panama Papers are probable matches for suspected criminals including terrorists, cybercriminals and cigarette smugglers, according to a document seen by the Guardian.

      The analysis, which was carried out by Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, sheds more light on the breadth of criminal behaviour facilitated by tax havens around the world.

      “The main point here is that we can link companies from the Panama Papers leaks not only with economic crimes, like money laundering or VAT carousels, but also with terrorism and Russian organised crime groups,” Simon Riondet, head of financial intelligence at Europol, told a committee of MEPs.

    • EU, RI look to negotiate CEPA points

      Indonesia will seek a win-win outcome for the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the European Union, having exchanged views on a number of crucial sticking points ahead of the next round of negotiations in January.

      The EU and Indonesia began earnest talks on the free trade pact in September following the signing of scoping papers earlier in April.

      Issues discussed in the negotiations include market access for trade in goods and services, customs and trade facilitation, sustainable development and dispute settlement.

    • Meltdown at the European Parliament

      The carefully calibrated “grand coalition” of Europe’s dominant political parties, which EU leaders have relied on to sustain their agenda and to manage a series of crises since 2014, this week imploded amid the collapse of a power-sharing deal in the European Parliament and the start of a bruising fight over the Parliament presidency.

      The rupture cast a shadow of uncertainty over Brussels, raising the prospect of weeks of distraction and legislative paralysis, and leaving European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk with little choice but to watch in dismay from the sidelines and brace for further turbulence.

    • Guggenheim Helsinki museum plans rejected by city councillors

      Venice and Bilbao will remain the only Guggenheim museums in Europe for the foreseeable future after Helsinki finally buried a controversial plan for a striking new shrine to modern and contemporary art on the city’s waterfront.

      After a stormy five-hour meeting lasting into the early hours of Thursday morning, city councillors voted by 53 to 32 to kill off the project, which had been fiercely contested in Finland since it was floated in 2011.

      Helsinki’s deputy mayor, Ritva Viljanen, who had supported the plans for a €150m (£126m) museum on a prime dockside site currently in use as a car park, said the project’s proponents would have to accept the decision.

      “Democracy has spoken, and in no uncertain manner; there can be no ifs or buts,” Viljanen told YLE, the state broadcaster. She said she was sorry feelings about the project had run so high, with some backers receiving threats of violence.

    • Revelations on tax avoidance of football stars: serious foul play against common good

      Today, the Spanish newspaper “El Confidencial” reports on leaked documents revealing tax avoidance practices by football stars like Cristiano Ronaldo. Although residing in Madrid, Ronaldo has been invoicing most of his advertising revenues through an Irish company. With this manoeuvre, he has benefitted from a significantly lower tax rate on his earnings. While Spain taxes at 43.5%, Ireland only charges 12.5%. MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group, comments on the so-called “football leaks”…

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why the recount matters: Jill Stein

      There is nothing more important to our American way of life than our democracy. The lifeblood of this nation is the principle that each citizen’s vote is equal when it comes to choosing our president.

      But in the age of computerized voting machines and unprecedented corporate influence in our elections, our electoral system is under increasing threat. How can every citizen’s voice be heard if we do not know if every citizen’s vote is counted correctly?

      To help ensure it is, I have asked for a recount of the 2016 presidential election in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Our goal is not to change the result of the election. It is to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the vote. All Americans, regardless of party, deserve to know that this and every election is fair and that the vote is verified.

    • New evidence finds anomalies in Wisconsin vote, but no conclusive evidence of fraud

      Did the outcome of voting for president in Wisconsin accurately reflect the intentions of the electors? Concerns have been raised about errors in vote counts produced using electronic technology — were machines hacked? — and a recount may occur.

      Some reports involving statistical analysis of the results has been discussed in the media recently. These analyses, though, rely on data at the county level. Technology, demographics and other important characteristics of the electorate vary within counties, making it difficult to resolve conclusively whether voting technology (did voters cast paper or electronic ballots?) affected the final tabulation of the vote for president.

    • Chris Sacca: ‘Silicon Valley must stand up to Trump or risk destroying tech, America and the planet’

      Leading US venture investor Chris Sacca is calling on Silicon Valley to stand up and defend the technology industry from President-elect Donald Trump, or risk an unpleasant future where technology no longer provides solutions, but instead hurts people and spies on them, as well as potentially destroying the planet.

      “The hypocrisy is really risking what America stands for. I think the tech sector has to acknowledge that we’re making this problem worse. We can’t just be open source and say use [software, products and services] for whatever you want,” Sacca, an early seed investor in Twitter, Uber, Instragram, Twilio and Kickstarter told the audience at the Slush 2016 tech conference in Helsinki, Finland.

    • Teen becomes seventh ‘faithless elector’ to protest Trump as president-elect

      A teenager from Washington state has become the seventh person to indicate that she will break ranks with party affiliation and become a “faithless elector” in an attempt to prevent Donald Trump being formally enshrined as president-elect when the electoral college meets on 19 December.

      Levi Guerra, 19, from Vancouver, Washington, is set to announce that she is joining the ranks of the so-called “Hamilton electors” at a press conference at the state capitol in Olympia on Wednesday.

      The renegade group believes it is the responsibility of the 538 electors who make up the electoral college to show moral courage in preventing demagogues and other threats to the nation from gaining the keys to the White House, as the founding fathers intended.

    • Trump lawyers file objection to delay Michigan recount

      President-elect Donald Trump’s lawyers have filed an objection to the recount in Michigan, delaying and potentially blocking a review that was slated to begin Friday.

      Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson (R) said that the state’s Bureau of Elections received the objection from Trump representatives on Thursday, a day after Green Party nominee Jill Stein filed for a recount.

    • Trump Spokesmonster Scottie Nell Hughes: ‘There’s No Such Thing as Facts’

      We have officially entered the post-fact American era. Donald J. Trump presidential surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes, known for being one of the most wack in Trump’s pack, explicitly said on public radio’s “The Diane Rehm Show” yesterday that lying is official Trump strategy.

    • Dr. Jill Stein, Alleged Election Spoiler, Defends Her Recount Battle

      On the heels of the most contentious presidential election in recent history, comes an equally contentious recount effort. Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who won only 1 percent of the popular vote, is now attracting far more media attention than her campaign ever did, after she launched a controversial effort to initiate recount proceedings in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan—three states where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by roughly 1 percent.

    • Why a recount? Prof who sparked it explains

      How might a foreign government hack America’s voting machines?

      Here’s one possible scenario. First, the attackers would probe election offices well in advance in order to find ways to break into their computers. Closer to the election, when it was clear from polling data which states would have close electoral margins, the attackers might spread malware into voting machines in some of these states, rigging the machines to shift a few percent of the vote to favor their desired candidate.

      This malware would likely be designed to remain inactive during pre-election tests, do its dirty business during the election, then erase itself when the polls close. A skilled attacker’s work might leave no visible signs — though the country might be surprised when results in several close states were off from pre-election polls.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Assange’s dilemma: ‘The UK & Sweden are vassals of the United States’

      The rule of law has gone into the heap of history, and Julian Assange is one of the victims of that. I do hope the UK will come to its senses and start obeying international law, former CIA officer Ray McGovern told RT.

      A UN panel rejected an appeal from the British government in the case of Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than four years.

      The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention upheld its earlier ruling that the WikiLeaks founder is being arbitrarily detained.

    • U.S. veterans to form human shield at Dakota pipeline protest

      More than 2,000 U.S. military veterans plan to form a human shield to protect protesters of a pipeline project near a Native American reservation in North Dakota, organizers said, just ahead of a federal deadline for activists to leave the camp they have been occupying.

      It comes as North Dakota law enforcement backed away from a previous plan to cut off supplies to the camp – an idea quickly abandoned after an outcry and with law enforcement’s treatment of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters increasingly under the microscope.

    • Toronto university Muslim group accused of anti-Semitism

      Voices from Toronto’s Jewish community are accusing a group of Muslim and pro-Palestinian university students of scuttling a vote by their union to commemorate Holocaust Education Week.

      The controversy unfolded during Tuesday’s general meeting of the Ryerson Student Union (RSU), which was set to vote on a Jewish student group’s motion to hold Holocaust Education Week events.

      According to a member of Hillel Ryerson, students from the university’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP Ryerson) and the Muslim Students Association (RMSA) first called for an amendment to the motion to include all forms of genocide.

      But then they walked out, causing the meeting to lose quorum and the vote to die, Hillel Ryerson’s Aedan O’Connor says. “Instead of going through with trying to amend it, they … decided to walk out,” he said Wednesday.

    • Call 6 Investigates Rafael Sanchez denied press credential to Carrier event

      Call 6 Investigates Chief Investigator Rafael Sanchez was denied press credential access to the announcement event at the Carrier plant that will detail the deal the west-side Indianapolis plant made with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to keep more than half of the jobs of the original 1,400 slated to be moved to Mexico.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Popcorn, Football And Chocolate – US Idea To Prompt Discussions At WIPO TK Committee

      What do popcorn, chewing-gum, football, syringes, and chocolate have in common? According to a United States paper tabled at the World Intellectual Property Organization, they are all rooted in traditional knowledge. While most efforts are geared this week towards trying to find consensual language on a treaty protecting traditional knowledge, the US said a discussion on what is protectable and what is not would be instructive. Some other delegations resubmitted proposals introducing alternative means of protection than a binding instrument.

    • Copyrights

      • Canada’s music lobby admits WIPO Internet Treaty drafters were “just guessing”

        Michael Geist writes, “The global music industry has spent two decades lobbying for restrictive DMCA-style restrictions on digital locks. These so-called “anti-circumvention rules” have been actively opposed by many groups, but the copyright lobby claims that they are needed to comply with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Internet treaties. Now the head of the RIAA in Canada admits that the treaty drafters were just guessing and that they guessed wrong.”

      • Spain Announces New Campaign to Fight Internet Piracy

        Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport has announced a new initiative for tackling piracy, especially online. Minister Íñigo Méndez de Vigo said a special prosecutor’s office will be developed alongside enhanced technological and human resources. An educational campaign targeting children is also on the agenda.

12.01.16

Links 1/12/2016: Devuan Beta, R3 Liberates Code

Posted in News Roundup at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • The conservative group behind efforts to intimidate professors

      Last week, a conservative group called Turning Point USA published a “Professor Watchlist” that targets academics accused of pushing a “radical agenda.” But the project is part of the group’s much larger effort to organize young conservatives on college campuses.

      Since its start in 2012, the group has started local chapters at hundreds of universities and high schools across the United States. Founder Charlie Kirk has used the megaphone of social media — he has over 84,000 followers on Twitter — and his regular television appearances as the conservative Millennial to bring attention to his organization and the Professor Watchlist.

      Although much of the The Turning Point USA website is benign, some of its resources claim affirmative action is unfair and suggest being confrontational with groups seeking safe spaces.

  • Hardware

    • Apple’s Bootcamp audio driver can permanently damage the speakers on the new MacBook Pro

      For the past 11 years, Apple has offered formal support for installing Windows on a Macintosh running OS X via its Boot Camp Assistant software. If you need Windows on a Macintosh and don’t want to use virtualization software to run it, Boot Camp will resize your hard drive partition to create a new Windows volume and ships with its own set of drivers for your underlying hardware. Apple tends to aggressively prune support for older operating systems — Boot Camp 6.1, which shipped with macOS 10.12 (Sierra), only supports Windows 10 — but Cupertino’s QA team clearly screwed up its compatibility testing, even with just one operating system to evaluate. Multiple customers who purchased one of Apple’s new MacBook Pros are reporting that the default Boot Camp audio driver can permanently damage the system’s speakers.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO Board May Discuss UN High-Level Panel Report On Medicines Access

      The UN World Health Organization this week clarified that the possibility exists for the WHO Executive Board to discuss a recently released report from a UN Secretary General-appointed panel that makes recommendations for improving global access to medicines.

    • Tobacco giant predicts the end of smoking. Panic ensues

      A few years ago, I interviewed Dr Craig Ventner, the man who decoded the human genome, about his plan to save the planet. Ventner’s goal was to create a drop-in substitute for hydrocarbon fuels, using genetically modified algae.

      His algae facilities would be located beside high CO2 sources, and churn out synthetic oil. This could then be turned into aviation fuel, or petrol.

      It was the first low carbon project Exxon had ever invested in. The beauty of Ventner’s scheme was that much of the world’s transport infrastructure could carry on unmodified, with enormous savings on carbon dioxide emissions.*

    • Man in the Netherlands euthanised due to his alcohol addiction

      A man in the Netherlands has been allowed to die because he could no longer carry on living as an alcoholic.

      Mark Langedijk chose the day of his death and was telling jokes, drinking beer and eating ham sandwiches with his family hours before he passed away.

      He was killed by lethal injection at his parents’ home on 14 July, according to an account of the ordeal written by his brother and published in the magazine Linda.

      The Netherlands introduced a euthanasia law 16 years ago, which is available to people in “unbearable suffering” with no prospect of improvement.

    • Weaver: ‘It makes no sense’ Flint aid stalled

      Flint officials, including Mayor Karen Weaver, renewed their call Monday for Congress to approve aid for the lead-contaminated water crisis before its members break for the holidays.

      In a conference call, Weaver said lawmakers should push ahead for Flint aid in the Water Resources Development Act legislation funding for the city and its long-running water issues in a new budget bill.

      “Flint needs to stay a priority — we cannot let this go away,” she said. “This is November. We’re six months into our third year … that the residents of Flint have not been able to bathe or cool with their water. It makes no sense.”

    • There’s no water in Flint

      The most banal example philosophers use in discussing conceptual analysis is water; from Putnam’s twin earth papers to Kaplan’s two-dimensionalism, this is the classic example that is supposed to illustrate something valuable about the way that concepts work. I won’t delve too much into the traditional analyses, here, though a familiar observer may note this as a fairly strong rebuke of those analyses; I also won’t delve into whether or not water is a better or worse concept for such illustrations than its more problematic sibling, pain.

      Per Kaplan, we take it that any semantic analysis of water has to include two dimensions. The first dimension has to do with our ordinary exposure to water; water is the sort of thing that “plays the water role.” (To borrow Dave Chalmers’ locution.) That is, water is the stuff that functionally behaves like water, in that we drink it, and wash with it, etc. and that occupies the places that we expect water to occupy, e.g. lakes, rivers, bathtubs, etc. This is the ordinary dimension of water.

    • This Is Why the Flint Water Crisis Is Still Ongoing

      Of course you do. It’s the city in Michigan where drinking water was contaminated by lead seeping through pipes in 2014. City officials denied the leakage problem for months, causing a serious problem, NPR reported. High blood lead levels ensued as Flint residents drank the water, which was particularly harmful to children and pregnant women, causing learning disabilities in developing brains.

    • Flint family says Navy is retaliating for speaking out about water crisis

      Lee Anne Walters and her family were the first in Flint, Michigan, to discover that there were astronomically high levels of lead in the water and alert the Environmental Protection Agency. But the family now says her criticism and advocacy during the water crisis has been met with workplace retaliation and harassment against her husband, a sailor with the US Navy.

      “We’re still recovering from Flint. We never thought we’d be in this position again,” Walters said, explaining that she is afraid her husband is in danger of losing his job. “We are afraid now for our livelihoods.”

      Dennis Walters, a 17-year Navy veteran, has filed a complaint claiming mistreatment at work due to his wife’s role in the Flint water crisis.

      In a complaint filed last week, Dennis Walters claims that he has been repeatedly mistreated at the Sewells Point Police Precinct, which is part of Naval Station Norfolk, because his wife has been so outspoken. He claims that the pattern of harassment began in March after she testified in Congress.

      “Since I testified at the state Senate hearing, things got progressively worse,” Lee Anne Walters said. “They threatened to force him into a hardship discharge if he didn’t get me under control.”

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • What Malware Is on Your Router?

      Mirai is exposing a serious security issue with the Internet of Things that absolutely must be quickly handled.

      Until a few days ago, I had been seriously considering replacing the 1999 model Apple Airport wireless router I’ve been using since it was gifted to me in 2007. It still works fine, but I have a philosophy that any hardware that’s more than old enough to drive probably needs replacing. I’ve been planning on taking the 35 mile drive to the nearest Best Buy outlet on Saturday to see what I could get that’s within my price range.

      After the news of this week, that trip is now on hold. For the time being I’ve decided to wait until I can be reasonably sure that any router I purchase won’t be hanging out a red light to attract the IoT exploit-of-the-week.

      It’s not just routers. I’m also seriously considering installing the low-tech sliding door devices that were handed out as swag at this year’s All Things Open to block the all-seeing-eye of the web cams on my laptops. And I’m becoming worried about the $10 Vonage VoIP modem that keeps my office phone up and running. Thank goodness I don’t have a need for a baby monitor and I don’t own a digital camera, other than what’s on my burner phone.

    • National Lottery ‘hack’ is the poster-girl of consumer security fails

      IN THE NEW age of hacking, you don’t even need to be a hacker. National Lottery management company Camelot has confirmed that up to 26,500 online accounts for their systems may have been compromised in an attempted hack, that required no hacking.

      It appears the players affected have been targetted from hacks to other sites, and the resulting availability of their credentials on the dark web. With so many people using the same password across multiple sites, it takes very little brute force to attack another site, which is what appears to have happened here.

    • Mozilla and Tor release urgent update for Firefox 0-day under active attack

      “The security flaw responsible for this urgent release is already actively exploited on Windows systems,” a Tor official wrote in an advisory published Wednesday afternoon. “Even though there is currently, to the best of our knowledge, no similar exploit for OS X or Linux users available, the underlying bug affects those platforms as well. Thus we strongly recommend that all users apply the update to their Tor Browser immediately.”

      The Tor browser is based on the open-source Firefox browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation. Shortly after this post went live, Mozilla security official Daniel Veditz published a blog post that said the vulnerability has also been fixed in a just-released version of Firefox for mainstream users. On early Wednesday, Veditz said, his team received a copy of the attack code that exploited a previously unknown vulnerability in Firefox.

    • Tor Browser 6.0.7 is released

      Tor Browser 6.0.7 is now available from the Tor Browser Project page and also from our distribution directory.

      This release features an important security update to Firefox and contains, in addition to that, an update to NoScript (2.9.5.2).

      The security flaw responsible for this urgent release is already actively exploited on Windows systems. Even though there is currently, to the best of our knowledge, no similar exploit for OS X or Linux users available the underlying bug affects those platforms as well. Thus we strongly recommend that all users apply the update to their Tor Browser immediately. A restart is required for it to take effect.

      Tor Browser users who had set their security slider to “High” are believed to have been safe from this vulnerability.

    • Firefox 0-day in the wild is being used to attack Tor users

      Firefox developer Mozilla and Tor have patched the underlying vulnerability, which is found not only in the Windows version of the browser, but also the versions of Mac OS X and Linux.

      There’s a zero-day exploit in the wild that’s being used to execute malicious code on the computers of people using Tor and possibly other users of the Firefox browser, officials of the anonymity service confirmed Tuesday.

      Word of the previously unknown Firefox vulnerability first surfaced in this post on the official Tor website. It included several hundred lines of JavaScript and an introduction that warned: “This is an [sic] JavaScript exploit actively used against TorBrowser NOW.” Tor cofounder Roger Dingledine quickly confirmed the previously unknown vulnerability and said engineers from Mozilla were in the process of developing a patch.

    • Mozilla Patches SVG Animation Remote Code Execution in Firefox and Thunderbird

      If you’ve been reading the news lately, you might have stumbled upon an article that talked about a 0-day vulnerability in the Mozilla Firefox web browser, which could be used to attack Tor users running Tor Browser on Windows systems.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • France wants urgent U.N. Security Council meeting on Aleppo

      France called on Tuesday for an immediate United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the situation in Aleppo and said it would press for a U.N. resolution to punish the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

      Speaking ahead of a meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk on the Ukrainian crisis, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Syrian government forces and their allies would not resolve the Syrian conflict by carrying out one of the “biggest massacres on a civilian population since World War Two.”

    • Women who are captured by Isis and kept as slaves endure more than just sexual violence

      On August 3 2014, Isis attacked the town of Sinjar in northern Iraq, as part of their campaign to eradicate the Yazidi people and “purify” the region of non-Islamic influences.

      That same day, Prince Tahseen Said, leader of the Yazidi people, issued an “urgent distress call” to the international community to “to assume their humanitarian and nationalistic responsibilities” and help the 40,000 Yazidis who had fled their homes in the district.

      But it was already too late for Nadia Murad. Aged 19, she lived in the quiet farming village of Kocho, within the area around Sinjar ISIS had selected for “purification”. Before the Isis militants arrived, she lived with her large family of brothers and sisters and was studying at high school, harbouring dreams of becoming a history teacher and perhaps a make-up artist.

      But Nadia’s dreams were shattered as war ravaged Sinjar. Now she was simply an Isis sex slave.

    • Arrested German spy was a onetime gay porn actor — and a secret Islamist

      Two weeks ago, German intelligence agents noticed an unusual user in a chat room known as a digital hideout for Islamic militants. The man claimed to be one of them — and said he was a German spy. He was offering to help Islamists infiltrate his agency’s defenses to stage a strike.

      Agents lured him into a private chat, and he gave away so many details about the spy agency — and his own directives within it to thwart Islamists — that they quickly identified him, arresting the 51-year-old the next day. Only then would the extent of his double life become clear.

    • Reports: Islamic extremist mole found in German intel agency

      A 51-year-old German man working for the country’s domestic intelligence service is reportedly under investigation for allegedly disclosing internal information on Islamic extremist chat sites.

      Der Spiegel magazine reported Tuesday the man’s activities were detected by the intelligence agency, known as the BfV, about four weeks ago. He’s alleged to have been trying to pass on sensitive information while using a false name and also making Islamic extremist comments.

    • Law Enforcement In Ohio Apparently Unable To Sound Out Words To Motive In OSU Attack

      Islam demands the death or conversion of “the infidel,” which, no, isn’t to say that an individual Muslim necessarily practices this way.

      But the Quran is said to have been handed down from Allah to the Angel Gabriel, unlike the Bible, which was written by men. This means that the Quran is said to be unchangeable and unquestionable — including the violence-commanding verses, which “abrogate” (erase) the peaceful verses earlier in the book, from before Mohammed got power. This he did by not just starting a religion but a religion that gave his followers — basically early gang members — the go-ahead to attack and loot passing caravans and then even attack, murder, and rape people living in cities. (The men were slaughtered; the women were turned into sex slaves — as we see with the modern Yazidi women.)

      Here in America, we gave this man a home — this Somali refugee — and he repays us by trying to slaughter Americans.

    • Report: 240,000 Nigerians who fled Boko Haram still outside the country

      Nearly a quarter million Nigerians remain refugees in neighboring countries after fleeing Boko Haram, a government agency reported.

      Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency said in a report that it identified 239,834 refugees — including 20,804 in Chad, 80,709 in Cameroon and 138,321 in Niger. It added that 28,951 former refugees have returned to Nigeria.

      The report also cited the humanitarian work of NEMA and the United Nations in bringing relief aid to the displaced Nigerians, the Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reported Tuesday.

    • Was Brussels terror suspect radicalized in Sweden?

      A former Stockholm resident suspected of involvement in the recent terror attacks in Paris and Brussels also had links with an extreme Islamist network in the Scandinavian country, SVT’s Uppdrag granskning program reports.

      Mohamed Belkaid was killed during a police raid in Brussels on March 15th. Belgian investigators believe he played a role in the November 13th, 2015 massacres in Paris, as well as organizing the subsequent attack in Brussels, though he was killed before the bombings in the Belgian capital took place.

      The Algerian lived in Sweden between 2009 and 2013. In 2014, he travelled to Syria and signed up for Isis suicide missions, according to leaked records of people who signed up to the terrorist organization between 2013 and 2014 which Uppdrag granskning examined.

    • Suspect Identified in Ohio State Attack as Abdul Razak Ali Artan

      An Ohio State University student posted a rant shortly before he plowed a car into a campus crowd and stabbed people with a butcher knife in an ambush that ended when a police officer shot him dead, a law enforcement official said.

      Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18, wrote on what appears to be his Facebook page that he had reached a “boiling point,” made a reference to “lone wolf attacks” and cited radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

      “America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially Muslim Ummah [community]. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that,” the post said.

    • Trump Could Pump Tens of Billions Into the Army, Only to Make It Worse

      President-elect Donald Trump wants a much bigger and more powerful US military. More Navy ships. More Air Force fighter planes. And a much bigger Army with tens of thousands of additional soldiers.

      But Trump and his administration should be careful. Lavishing the Army with money might result in a bigger Army, but it won’t necessarily result in a better Army. America’s ground-combat branch has a reputation for dramatically squandering huge cash windfalls.

      Trump hasn’t detailed exactly how he’ll grow the military—or how much it might cost. But outside experts estimate Trump’s Pentagon could cost US taxpayers an additional $900 billion over 10 years compared to President Barack Obama’s current spending plan.

    • Trump is considering a secretary of state with a much worse scandal than Clinton’s emails

      Yesterday, former CIA Director David Petraeus journeyed to Trump Tower, reportedly making an audition for the post. The visit brought to mind the scandal Petraeus has become known for, and invited parallels to Clinton’s misuse of classified information. But Petraeus’ incident, as far as it can be compared, was deemed far more severe by investigators.

      In 2012, Petraeus resigned as CIA Director, and it was later revealed he had provided classified information to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell. Petraeus eventually admitted to providing information from “black books,” which included covert officers’ identities, intelligence capabilities, and notes on meetings with President Obama.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Shrinking glaciers cause state-of-emergency drought in Bolivia

      The government of Bolivia, a landlocked country in the heart of South America, has been forced to declare a state of emergency as it faces its worst drought for at least 25 years.

      Much of the water supply to La Paz, the highest capital city in the world, and the neighbouring El Alto, Bolivia’s second largest city, comes from the glaciers in the surrounding Andean mountains.

      But the glaciers are now shrinking rapidly, illustrating how climate change is already affecting one of the poorest countries in Latin America.

      The three main dams that supply La Paz and El Alto are no longer fed by runoff from glaciers and have almost run dry. Water rationing has been introduced in La Paz, and the poor of El Alto – where many are not yet even connected to the mains water supply – have staged protests.

    • Neil Young, Daryl Hannah Pen Message to Standing Rock Protestors

      Young and Hannah’s Facebook statement comes after police fired rubber bullets and water cannons at protestors at the site of proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, an altercation that sent nearly 20 protestors to the hospital.

      “We are calling upon you, President Barack Obama, to step in and end the violence against the peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock immediately,” the duo wrote.

      “Your growing activism in support of freedom over repression, addressing climate change, swiftly replacing a destructive old industries with safe, regenerative energy, encouraging wholistic thinking in balance with the future of our planet; that activism will strengthen and shed continued light on us all. These worthy goals must be met for the all the world’s children and theirs after them. This is our moment for truth.”

    • NYTimes: Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields’ for Dakota Pipeline Protesters

      As many as 2,000 veterans planned to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with the police over the construction of an oil pipeline, organizers said.

  • Finance

    • GoPro Slashes 15% of Workforce, Shuts Down Entertainment Division [Ed: Microsoft engaged in blackmail and extortion with patents against them this year]

      GoPro announced that it will lay off more than 200 employees and freeze hiring, amounting to a reduction of about 15% of its workforce, and as part of the restructuring is shutting down its entertainment division. In addition, the company said president Tony Bates will be leaving the company.

    • Ericsson confirms close of production in Boras, Kumla [Ed: Well, the company is a patent troll now. Avoid it.]

      Says as previously announced, Ericsson will make significant reductions in its operations in Boras and Kumla

    • Ericsson denies systematic bribery allegations

      Following the broadcast of a radio documentary on Swedish Radio on November 23, telecommunications and networking equipment supplier Ericsson has issued a statement saying that is disagrees with claims made in the media that Ericsson has used bribes deliberately and systematically.

    • Trump is apparently still terrified about financial conflicts so now he’s tweeting about flag-burning and CNN

      Last weekend, the New York Times published an outstanding, meticulously reported investigative story about Trump’s financial conflicts of interest — the sorts of things that could lead to forced divestiture, impeachment, or worse, triggering a tweetstorm from the president-elect about an imaginary, millions-strong cohort of fraudulent voters.

      However, the story about Trump’s conflicts is still in the news — it refuses to die the way that Trump’s $25,000,000 fraud settlement did — so Trump is scraping the barrel for new things to distract the press with.

      One of those subjects is flag-burning, a form of political speech twice deemed constitutionally protected by the Supreme Court (Trump says it isn’t, that people should be imprisoned and stripped of citizenship for participating in). Trump will get to appoint between one and three Supreme Court justices, and he says he’ll opt for a “strict constitutionalist” meaning that his court will uphold the First Amendment protections for flag-burners, so this isn’t a story.

    • A disappointing TTIP human rights assessment

      ECORYS published a final draft human rights assessment of the trade agreement with the US (TTIP). The official name is a Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (TSIA). I provided feedback on an earlier draft, see here. In my opinion, the final draft is disappointing. I will give two examples.

    • EU Executive to step up efforts to set up international investment dispute settlement system

      EU Executive to step up efforts to set up international investment dispute settlement system

      The European Commission wants to give a strong push within the EU and around the globe for the establishment of a multilateral investment dispute settlement system to replace the controversial ad-hoc arbitration known as the investor to state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. The aim is to set it up as soon as possible even with a small number of countries but with a “dock-in” system for others to join at the later stage.

    • Hundreds Of Civil Society Groups Urge RCEP Negotiators To Reject Imported TPP Clauses

      As 16 Asia and Pacific nations prepare to meet in Indonesia next week for the next round of negotiations for a large regional trade agreement called RCEP, more than 300 civil society groups signed a letter urging negotiators to reject efforts to bring in texts from the separate Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

      The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiation includes the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

    • Goldman shares hit highest level since financial crisis in post-election rally [Ed: Billionaires love having an oligarch who loves them too in the White House]
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • 5 Signs Donald Trump Is Going To Hate The Next Four Years

      Holy shit you guys, Trump is going to be president. That’s bonkers. Like, I know you’re probably sick of hearing this every week on Cracked, but … Donald Trump is going to be the next president. Our president-elect is a spray-tanned reality TV star celebrated by actual white supremacists and terrorists. That is hilarious on paper, but deeply unsettling in reality … like Muppet rabies, or a wizard masturbating.

      But at least there’s a small silver lining, and it’s that, while the American people certainly don’t want Donald Trump to be president … Donald Trump doesn’t want to be president either. At least, not when the full weight of the job finally hits him, and it becomes chillingly clear that he is in way over his head in every conceivable way. Imagine how he’s going to feel when he realizes …

      [...]

      I hate to break this to you, future-President Trump (we both know you read all my work), but even popular presidents get booed a whole lot. Obama was a brainy personified bear hug of a man, and even he got 30 death threats a day. Because no matter your charm, there is always going to be a large group of people getting triple-screwed by the system. And policies and party completely aside, Donald Trump has no charm. In fact, Donald J. Trump has all the social and sexual appeal of a maternity ward fire. He’ll be the first president with less charisma than the foam puppet version Gwar slaughters on stage.

    • Trump: The Choice We Face

      With the election of Donald Trump—a candidate who has lied his way into power, openly embraced racist discourse and violence, toyed with the idea of jailing his opponents, boasted of his assaults on women and his avoidance of taxes, and denigrated the traditional checks and balances of government—this question has confronted us as urgently as ever. After I wrote a piece about surviving autocracy, a great many people have asked me about one of my proposed rules: “Do not compromise.” What constitutes compromise? How is it possible to avoid it? Why should one not compromise?

      When I wrote about my great-grandfather in a book many years ago, I included the requisite discussion of Hannah Arendt’s opinion on the Jewish councils in Nazi-occupied Europe, which she called “undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story” of the Holocaust. In her book Eichmann in Jerusalem she asserted that without Jewish cooperation Germany would have been unable to round up and kill as many Jews as it did. I quoted equally from the most comprehensive response to Arendt’s characterization of the Judenrat, Isaiah Trunk’s book Judenrat, in which he described the councils as complicated and contradictory organizations, ones that had functioned differently in different ghettos, and ultimately concluded that they had no effect on the final scope of the catastrophe.

    • The No-BS Inside Guide to the Presidential Vote Recount

      There’s been so much complete nonsense since I first broke the news that the Green Party would file for a recount of the presidential vote, I am compelled to write a short guide to flush out the BS and get to just the facts, ma’am.

    • Jill Stein: Recounts are Necessary Because Electronic Voting Invites Tampering, Hacking, Human Error

      Former presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein is continuing her efforts to force recounts in three states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. But on Tuesday the effort faced a setback as a Wisconsin judge refused to order a statewide hand recount. Instead, the judge ruled that each of the state’s 72 county clerks can decide on their own how to carry out the recount. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin by less than 30,000 votes out of 2.8 million cast. The result was even closer in Michigan, where Trump won by just 12,000 votes. Stein is expected to file paperwork in Michigan by today’s deadline to request a recount there. More than 130,000 people have donated more than $6.5 million Stein’s efforts—that’s nearly double how much Stein raised during her presidential effort. We speak to Jill Stein.

    • Trump taps ex-Goldman banker Mnuchin for Treasury post

      President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker who profited from the housing meltdown, as his Treasury secretary, according to an official briefed on the decision.

      Mnuchin’s career has been full of contradictions. He started as a Wall Street insider working for old-line firms before running a series of eclectic businesses — including his own hedge fund and a West Coast consumer bank. In recent years, he has been a Hollywood movie producer.

    • Electoral College voters form group to block Trump presidency

      Electoral College voters based in Colorado have formed a political non-profit to block Donald Trump from the presidency.

      According to The Denver Post, Michael Baca, a Democratic elector, filed paperwork Tuesday with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to create the “Hamilton Electors,” a group able to fundraise unlimited donations from individuals, corporations and labor unions for political reasons.

      The goal of the group is to convince Republican and Democratic Electoral College voters to unify behind a Republican alternative for President or force an Electoral College deadlock.

      “I was opposed, actually, to raising money because I would prefer to just have this done organically,” Baca told The Denver Post. “But we’ve had people throwing money at us through our website.”

    • Forget Jill Stein’s recount! It’s yet another distraction from the deep structural problems that led to President Donald Trump

      One thing I’ve learned from my infrequent forays into legal gambling is that no matter how rational a person might imagine herself to be, it’s damn near impossible not to fall into superstitious behaviors when you belly up to a craps table.

      You have no control over the dice. You know you have no control over the dice. But in your desperation to win, you start crossing your fingers, kissing the dice or doing other little rituals meant to exert some kind of imaginary control over those tumbling bones, to deceive yourself into thinking that you can escape the heartless mathematical probabilities that say there’s a 1 in 6 chance your roll will be a 7.

    • Why I Support An Election Audit, Even Though It’s Unlikely To Change The Outcome

      Here at FiveThirtyEight, we’ve been skeptical of claims of irregularities in the presidential election. As we pointed out last week, there are no obvious statistical anomalies in the results in swing states based on the type of voting technology that each county employed. Instead, demographic differences, particularly the education levels of voters, explain the shifts in the vote between 2012 and 2016 fairly well.

      But that doesn’t mean I take some sort of philosophical stance against a recount or an audit of elections returns, or that other people at FiveThirtyEight do. Such efforts might make sense, with a couple of provisos.

      The first proviso: Let’s not call it a “recount,” because that’s not really what it is. It’s not as though merely counting the ballots a second or third time is likely to change the results enough to overturn the outcome in three states. An apparent win by a few dozen or a few hundred votes might be reversed by an ordinary recount. But Donald Trump’s margins, as of this writing, are roughly 11,000 votes in Michigan, 23,000 votes in Wisconsin and 68,000 votes in Pennsylvania. There’s no precedent for a recount overturning margins like those or anything close to them. Instead, the question is whether there was a massive, systematic effort to manipulate the results of the election.

    • Security experts join Jill Stein’s ‘election changing’ recount campaign

      More election security experts have joined Jill Stein’s campaign to review the presidential vote in battleground states won by Donald Trump, as she sues Wisconsin to secure a full recount by hand of all its 3m ballots.

      Half a dozen academics and other specialists on Monday submitted new testimony supporting a lawsuit from Stein against Wisconsin authorities, in which she asked a court to prevent county officials from carrying out their recounts by machine.

    • Why is Jill Stein pushing for recounts, again?

      Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein of Lexington has agreed to pay millions for Wisconsin officials to begin recounting ballots, filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania, and indicated she will file for a recount in Michigan (the deadline is Wednesday).

      But why? There’s understandably a lot of confusion over Stein’s intentions for these costly legal proceedings, and both Democrats and Republicans are rolling their eyes at her efforts, which they view as a waste of time.

    • Trump’s team of gazillionaires

      Beyond Trump himself, who claims a net worth of more than $10 billion, the president-elect has tapped businesswoman Betsy DeVos, whose family is worth $5.1 billion, and is said to be considering oil mogul Harold Hamm ($15.3 billion), investor Wilbur Ross ($2.9 billion), private equity investor Mitt Romney ($250 million at last count), hedge fund magnate Steven Mnuchin (at least $46 million) and super-lawyer Rudy Giuliani (estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars) to round out his administration. And Trump’s likely choice for deputy commerce secretary, Todd Ricketts, comes from the billionaire family that owns the Chicago Cubs.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Jeremy Hunt is being accused of censorship over his plan to ban teen sexting

      British health secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for social media companies and messaging apps to ban teen sexting — prompting fury and ridicule from activists and internet users.

      “I just ask myself the simple question as to why it is that you can’t prevent the texting of sexually explicit images by people under the age of 18,” Hunt told a Commons health committee. “Because there is technology that can identify sexually explicit pictures and prevent it being transmitted.”

    • No Jeremy Hunt, you can’t use tech to ban sexting for the under-18s

      Cyberbullying, sexting and all other aspects of online life that cause teenagers misery may seem pretty complex and intractable problems. But not for Jeremy Hunt. Somehow, when not dealing with despairing junior doctors, he’s found the time to devise a simple solution to end them all.

      In case you’ve missed it, the health secretary’s big idea to tackle the – very real – problems of sexting and cyberbullying is to call on social media and tech companies to ban them.

    • Mossberg: Facebook can and should wipe out fake news [Ed: Well, who defines “fake”? Another censorship pretext. Like “hate”. Satire banned too?

      Totally false news isn’t a new thing in the United States. In our fourth presidential election, in 1800, two of our most brilliant founders — John Adams and Thomas Jefferson — faced off in a vicious campaign that involved newspaper editors on the take, and numerous false, often personal attacks. Some historians even claim that partisans for Adams spread the rumor that Jefferson was dead. (He won anyway.)

      But they didn’t have Facebook to present, amplify, and repeat those falsehoods instantly to millions of people. And that’s why the fake news problem is so serious, even outside the context of a presidential election.

    • WeChat Censoring User Messages Even Outside China, Study Says

      Users of the WeChat instant-messaging platform can have their content censored even if they leave China or switch to an overseas phone number, according to a research group.

      WeChat accounts registered with a mainland China-based phone number have keywords filtered out or messages blocked anywhere in the world as long they keep the same user name, according to a study by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab. Accounts created abroad, such as through carriers in Hong Kong or the U.S., don’t face the same restrictions, it said.

      “The idea that you can’t escape a censorship system imposed on you at the time of registration is a troubling one,” said Jason Q. Ng, a research fellow at the Citizen Lab.

    • Universities Strive for Diversity in Everything but Opinion

      My seminar students at McGill University told me that you can’t say anything at this university without being accused of being sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, fascist, or racist, and then being threatened with punitive measures. They felt silenced by the oppressive atmosphere of political correctness. Nothing significant – sex, religion, relationships, public policy, race, immigration, or multiculturalism – could be discussed. Only the acceptable opinions could be expressed without nasty repercussions.

      It is generally held today in the West, if not elsewhere, that diversity is a good thing. Diversity in origin, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual preference is now regarded as not only desirable, but mandatory. Universities strive to increase their physical diversity. The currently accepted theory in Western academia is that physical diversity reflects diversity of experience and thus an enriching diversity of viewpoint.

      McGill’s committee on diversity proposed that we no longer define excellence as intellectual achievement, but as diversity. Their view is that a university populated by folks of different colours or having different sexual preferences is by virtue of this diversity “excellent.”

    • Russia Turns to China for Help Building Its Own “Great Firewall” of Censorship

      Russia wants to step up its ability to censor the Internet, and it’s turning to China for help.

      China’s “Great Firewall” is the envy of the Putin regime, which has long feared that the rise of online political activism could loosen its grip on power. The government has spent years building a system for filtering the country’s Internet—but it is incomplete, and many U.S.-based Internet companies have thumbed their nose at the Kremlin’s rules.

      That’s now changing. In June, the Russian government passed a series of measures known as Yarovaya’s laws that require local telecom companies to store all users’ data for six months, and hang on to metadata for three years. And if the authorities ask, companies must provide keys to unlock encrypted communications. Human rights watchdog groups were aghast at the measure. Edward Snowden, who is holed up in Russia, called the package the “Big Brother law.”

    • Archive.org Moving To Canada Over Trump Censorship Fears

      The data isn’t in yet on whether Americans are packing for Canada in droves following Donald Trump’s electoral win, but a digital copy of the history of the Internet is going to make the move north.

      Archive.org, a digital library that caches and indexes older versions of websites for the historical record, says it’s creating a backup copy of its collection that it will keep on servers in Canada.

      “We are building the Internet Archive of Canada because, to quote our friends at LOCKSS, ‘lots of copies keep stuff safe’,” Archive.org said in a blog post published Tuesday.

    • Entire internet to be backed up in Canada over fears of Trump censorship
    • The Internet Archive is building a Canadian copy to protect itself from Trump
    • The Entire Internet Will Be Archived In Canada to Protect It From Trump
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA and FBI Believe They Will Gain More Surveillance Power Under Trump

      Expanded surveillance power will likely be given to the FBI, NSA and CIA under President-elect Donald Trump. The Republican-controlled Congress will help this happen and privacy advocates have already started creating an opposition.

    • FBI, NSA, CIA Poised to Gain increased Surveillance Powers Under Trump

      The FBI, National Security Agency and CIA are likely to gain expanded surveillance powers under President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, a prospect that has privacy advocates and some lawmakers trying to mobilize opposition.

      Trump’s first two choices to head law enforcement and intelligence agencies — Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo for director of the Central Intelligence Agency — are leading advocates for domestic government spying at levels not seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    • The ‘snooper’s charter’ is a threat to academic freedom

      The UK Investigatory Powers Bill has passed into law. This bill legalises a variety of tools for intercepting and hacking by security services and was waved through without complaint by both houses. Academics should be concerned – and engage in some serious discussion about the (mis-)use of technological advances.

    • IRS Casts Unusually Wide Net for Bitcoin User Data

      A request by the IRS for user data from a bitcoin exchange highlights simmering tensions between compliance and customer privacy for financial institutions and will test how those demands are balanced in the young field of cryptocurrency.

      Under a procedure called a John Doe summons, the IRS this month asked a federal court in California to approve its request for Coinbase to turn over records on any user who had made digital currency transactions between 2013 and 2015.

      At issue is the indiscriminate nature of the request. Coinbase has accumulated nearly 5 million users, according to its website – which could mean the company might be forced to turn over financial records on millions of U.S. taxpayers.

    • ‘Snooper’s charter’ bill becomes law, extending UK state surveillance

      The “snooper’s charter” bill extending the reach of state surveillance in Britain was given royal assent and became law on Tuesday as signatures on a petition calling for it to be repealed passed the 130,000 mark.

      The home secretary, Amber Rudd, hailed the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 as “world-leading legislation” that provided “unprecedented transparency and substantial privacy protection”.

      But privacy campaigners claimed that it would provide an international standard to authoritarian regimes around the world to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.

    • FBI to gain expanded hacking powers as Senate effort to block fails

      A last-ditch effort in the Senate to block or delay rule changes that would expand the U.S. government’s hacking powers failed Wednesday, despite concerns the changes would jeopardize the privacy rights of innocent Americans and risk possible abuse by the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

      Democratic Senator Ron Wyden attempted three times to delay the changes, which will take effect on Thursday and allow U.S. judges will be able to issue search warrants that give the FBI the authority to remotely access computers in any jurisdiction, potentially even overseas. His efforts were blocked by Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican.

      The changes will allow judges to issue warrants in cases when a suspect uses anonymizing technology to conceal the location of his or her computer or for an investigation into a network of hacked or infected computers, such as a botnet.

    • U.S. border agents stopped journalist from entry and took his phones

      Award-winning Canadian photojournalist Ed Ou has had plenty of scary border experiences while reporting from the Middle East for the past decade. But his most disturbing encounter was with U.S. Customs and Border Protection last month, he said.

      On Oct. 1, customs agents detained Ou for more than six hours and briefly confiscated his mobile phones and other reporting materials before denying him entry to the United States, according to Ou. He was on his way to cover the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline on behalf of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation.

      If Ou had already been inside the U.S. border, law enforcement officers would have needed a warrant to search his smartphones to comply with a 2014 Supreme Court ruling. But the journalist learned the hard way that the same rules don’t apply at the border, where the government claims the right to search electronic devices without a warrant or any suspicion of wrongdoing.

    • Facebook has cut off Prisma’s Live Video access

      Style transfer startup Prisma added support to its iOS app for livestreaming its art filter effects in real-time via Facebook Live earlier this month — but almost immediately the startup’s access to the Live API was cut off by the social media platform giant.

    • Facebook Cuts Off Competitor Prisma’s API Access

      Photo-filter app Prisma, the popular program which makes pictures and video look like painterly art, had its access to Facebook’s Live Video API revoked this month, TechCrunch reports.

      According to Prisma, Facebook justified choking off Prisma’s access by stating, “Your app streams video from a mobile device camera, which can already be done through the Facebook app. The Live Video API is meant to let people publish live video content from other sources such as professional cameras, multi-camera setups, games or screencasts.”

    • China Turns Big Data into Big Brother

      That’s a reimagining of the introduction to George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. But it’s also set to become a reality for citizens of China if the government’s dream of an authoritarian big-data scheme comes to fruition.

      The Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese government is now testing systems that will be used to create digital records of citizens’ social and financial behavior. In turn, these will be used to create a so-called social credit score, which will determine whether individuals have access to services, from travel and education to loans and insurance cover. Some citizens—such as lawyers and journalists—will be more closely monitored.

      Planning documents apparently describe the system as being created to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.” The Journal claims that the system will at first log “infractions such as fare cheating, jaywalking and violating family-planning rules” but will be expanded in the future—potentially even to Internet activity.

    • Intelligence experts urge Obama to end Edward Snowden’s ‘untenable exile’

      Fifteen former staff members of the Church committee, the 1970s congressional investigation into illegal activity by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, have written jointly to Obama calling on him to end Snowden’s “untenable exile in Russia, which benefits nobody”. Over eight pages of tightly worded argument, they remind the president of the positive debate that Snowden’s disclosures sparked – prompting one of the few examples of truly bipartisan legislative change in recent years.

      They also remind Obama of the long record of leniency that has been shown by his own and previous administrations towards those who have broken secrecy laws. They even recall how their own Church committee revealed that six US presidents, from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon, were guilty of abusing secret powers.

    • Uber wants more user data

      The most recent update to Uber’s ride-hailing app allows the platform to track user location data even while the app isn’t in use, according to TechCrunch.

      Earlier versions of the app only tracked user data while the app was running, however, the update requests users’ permission to keep location sharing always on. Uber plans to use the data gained to improve the user experience, like by offering more accurate pick-up times and locations.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’

      Yascha Mounk is used to being the most pessimistic person in the room. Mr. Mounk, a lecturer in government at Harvard, has spent the past few years challenging one of the bedrock assumptions of Western politics: that once a country becomes a liberal democracy, it will stay that way.

      His research suggests something quite different: that liberal democracies around the world may be at serious risk of decline.

      Mr. Mounk’s interest in the topic began rather unusually. In 2014, he published a book, “Stranger in My Own Country.” It started as a memoir of his experiences growing up as a Jew in Germany, but became a broader investigation of how contemporary European nations were struggling to construct new, multicultural national identities.

      He concluded that the effort was not going very well. A populist backlash was rising. But was that just a new kind of politics, or a symptom of something deeper?

    • Opinion: National Anthem in cinema halls may go against the very idea of why Supreme Court made it compulsory

      The Supreme Court on Wednesday made playing the national anthem in cinema theatres before the commencement of a film mandatory. The judgement, delivered by a bench led by Justice Dipak Misra underlined that the measure would ‘instil a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism’ in citizens. The root of the new compulsion is instilling a sense of national identity, integrity and constitutional patriotism.

      The top court has, however, made it very clear that the national anthem could not be commercially exploited and that no entity could either dramatise it or use it in abridged form. The national anthem is to be played along with the image of the tricolour and people must stand up in respect. A clarification was inserted here providing an exception for the disabled.

    • Play national anthem in all cinemas before film screening: Supreme Court

      “People now-a-days don’t know how to sing national anthem and people must be taught. We must respect national anthem,” the top court said.

    • UN Panel: WikiLeaks’ Assange a Victim of Arbitrary Detention

      A U.N. panel is sticking by its opinion that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a victim of arbitrary detention, rejecting a request by Britain to review the case.

      The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Britain had not presented enough new information to merit a new examination. The panel made the decision at a meeting last week, the U.N. human rights office said Wednesday.

      In February, the panel found that Britain and Sweden had “arbitrarily detained” Assange, saying he should be freed and entitled to compensation.

    • Julian Assange pleads to be ‘set free’ after UN panel ruling

      A statement on behalf of WikiLeaks said the original decision now stands and the UK and Sweden are once again required to “immediately put an end to Mr Assange’s arbitrary detention and afford him monetary compensation”.

      It continued: “Earlier this year the United Nations concluded the 16 month long case to which the UK was a party.

      “The UK lost, appealed, and today – lost again. The UN instructed the UK and Sweden to take immediate steps to ensure Mr Assange’s liberty, protection, and enjoyment of fundamental human rights.

      “No steps have been taken, jeopardising Mr Assange’s life, health and physical integrity, and undermining the UN system of human rights protection.

    • UN panel rebuffs Britain over Assange ruling

      Swedish prosecutors dropped a sexual assault probe into Assange last year after the five-year statute of limitations expired. But they still want to question him about the 2010 rape allegation, which carries a 10-year statute of limitations.

      Assange insists the sexual encounters in question were consensual.

    • Julian Assange: Ecuador says no ‘quick way out’ of embassy impasse

      The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has no “quick way out” of the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he took refuge more than four years ago, Ecuador’s prosecutor has said.

      An Ecuadorean state attorney accompanied by a Swedish prosecutor questioned Assange at the embassy on 14 November over allegations that he committed rape in Sweden in 2010.

      Ecuador’s prosecutor, Galo Chiriboga, said Ecuadorean officials would send the official transcript of Assange’s evidence to Swedish authorities “in mid-December”.

      Assange, who is Australian, has said he fears deportation to Sweden and the United States, where he could be charged for the publication of hundreds of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables.

    • Watergate-Era Church Committee Staffers Urge Leniency for Snowden

      Fifteen staff members who worked on a well-known bipartisan intelligence watchdog committee wrote to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday requesting the administration negotiate a plea agreement with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      “There is no question that Edward Snowden’s disclosures led to public awareness which stimulated reform,” wrote the staffers who served on the U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operation with Respect to Intelligence Activities — called the Church Committee, after its chairman, Idaho Sen. Frank Church.

    • Michigan considered a ‘border zone,’ citizens subject to search, detention, ACLU says

      The ACLU says immigration officials conduct warrantless vehicle searches and detentions in Michigan because the state, surrounded by the Great Lakes, is considered a border zone.

      Federal law gives U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, “extraordinary powers” to search vehicles and detain people who are within a “reasonable distance” of the border, the American Civil Liberties Union said.

      CBP has set the “reasonable distance” at 100 miles, which makes the state the “functional equivalent” of an international border, the ACLU said.

      Customs and Border Protection and Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

    • Burka ban backed by Dutch MPs for public places

      Dutch MPs have backed a ban on the Islamic full veil in some public places such as schools and hospitals, and on public transport.

      The niqab face veil and the burka, which covers the eyes, are included in the ban along with other face coverings such as ski-masks and helmets.

      The Dutch Senate must approve the bill, which has government backing, for it to become law.

      Supporters of the ban say people should be identifiable in public places.

      Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s ruling Liberal-Labour coalition described the bill as “religious-neutral”.

    • Labor abuses rife on Indonesia’s palm oil plantations – Amnesty

      Children as young as eight are working at plantations that supply palm oil to some of the world’s biggest brands, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

      Amnesty’s investigation into plantations in Indonesia also found workers performing dangerous tasks without adequate protection. Others were paid less than the legal minimum wage or exposed to dangerous chemicals.

      The rights advocacy group said it interviewed 120 workers, including supervisors, on Indonesian plantations that supply or are owned by Singapore-based Wilmar (WLMIF), the world’s largest palm oil producer.

    • Malaysia PM Najib Razak expresses support for strict Islamic laws to empower Sharia courts

      Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is facing a backlash over his alleged involvement in a multi-billion dollar scandal, has expressed his support for strict Islamic laws in the country in a bid to woo Malay Muslims.

      Malaysians are reported to be frustrated over corruption and the country’s economy ahead of next year’s election. Najib has fended off calls to quit over the last 18 months over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal that drew widespread anger of Malaysians, including members of the ruling United Malay National Organisation (UMNO).

      Razak called on ethnic Malay Muslims to extend their support to a plan by the rival pan-Malaysian Islamic Party and push for the adoption of an Islamic penal code, called hudud. It is believed to be an Islamic concept that sets out punishment under Sharia law and includes amputations and public stoning.

      “We want to develop Islam,” Najib was quoted as saying by Reuters on Tuesday (29 November). “Non-Muslims must understand that this is not about hudud but about empowering the Sharia courts.”

    • ‘Bogus charges’: Standing Rock activists say they face campaign of legal bullying

      In what appears to be a concerted effort to deter people from joining the Standing Rock protests, North Dakota officials are pursuing serious criminal charges and threatening to levy hefty fines against Native American activists.

      Despite state and federal evacuation orders, a government roadblock, escalating police violence and aggressive prosecutions that attorneys say lack basic evidence, thousands of veterans are preparing to travel to Cannon Ball this weekend to support the growing movement to stop the Dakota Access pipeline.

      Since the demonstrations against the $3.7bn oil project began in April, law enforcement have made more than 500 arrests, with state prosecutors filing serious charges, including rioting and conspiracy, against many of them.

    • German police betrayed by justice system – union chief on ‘Sharia patrol’ ruling

      The head of a major German police union has lashed out at the country’s “failed” justice system, following a number of controversial court rulings. The most recent case involved a ‘Sharia police’ group operating in a suburban town, which was deemed legal.

      “The full force of the law these days often means we determine the identities of offenders, but the judges just let them go free,” Rainer Wendt, head of the German Police Union (DPolG), told the Passauer Neue Presse (PNP) newspaper on Wednesday.

      The official spoke about the recent incident involving the German court system, when a group of Islamists was cleared of charges for forming a ‘Sharia police force,’ a volunteer initiative to patrol the streets and uphold peace in the western German town of Wuppertal in 2014.

      The town is one of Germany’s most popular destinations for Salafists, who follow a very conservative interpretation of Islam and reject any form of democracy.

    • How Cops Use Civil Forfeiture to Keep The Public In The Dark About Surveillance

      Police across Canada are using civil forfeiture laws to seize everything from houses and cars to small amounts of cash from people who sometimes haven’t been convicted of a crime. Some of this money is paying for cutting-edge surveillance equipment, a practice that critics say keeps the public in the dark about police capabilities.

      “We are very suspect about what is being purchased [with forfeiture funds],” said Micheal Vonn, policy director for the BC Civil Liberties Association, in an interview. “We have very little public insight into the kinds of equipment that police are using.”

    • Students get 100 lashes for sex outside marriage in Indonesia

      Nineteen-year-old Indonesian students who received 100 lashes were among a group of people flogged in the conservative province of Aceh, which adheres to Sharia law.

      A total of five people, including two women and three men, were caned outside a mosque in the provincial capital Banda Aceh on Monday, according to AFP.

      The 34-year-old woman was flogged with a rattan cane at least seven times for being in close proximity to a man. The 32-year-old male who was with her was also flogged seven times.

      “It hurts so bad,” the woman said, as cited by AFP, raising her arms into the air.

      Among the others who were flogged on Monday were two university students, both 19, who confessed to having sex outside marriage. They received 100 lashes.

      A man found guilty of sex outside marriage was also flogged at least 22 times by the person delivering the punishment, who was dressed in long robes and a hood. His partner, who is two-months pregnant, is still waiting for her fate to be decided.

      In such situations, officials in the province usually order the flogging of women after they give birth.

    • The Government Is Using a No Fly Zone to Suppress Journalism At Standing Rock

      In recent weeks, videos shot by Native American drone pilots have shown percussion grenades launched from an armored vehicle deep into a crowd of people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. They have shown people being knocked backward with a constant barrage of water being shot from fire hoses. They’ve shown a line of body armor-clad cops aiming guns at unarmed water protectors holding their hands high above their heads. Another video, shot at night, shows that construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline continues under the cover of darkness.

      In recent weeks, Dakota Access Pipeline protesters have been tear gassed, sprayed with water cannons in freezing temperatures, and shot with rubber bullets by a police force using military-style vehicles and violent riot suppression tactics. Every suppression apparatus the government has at its disposal has been used—even the National Guard has been called in.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Dropbox CEO urges Donald Trump to protect net neutrality

      DROPBOX CEO Drew Houston has said that he hopes president-elect Donald Trump will respect the rights of all workers in the country and won’t ditch net neutrality legislation, but admitted nothing is clear for now.

      When quizzed on Trump by INQ at a roundtable event in London, Houston said that it is too soon to tell if Trump will adopt the positions he used to gain election.

      “It’s pretty wild times […] I think a lot of us are sort of waiting to see what actually happens. I mean there’s a lot of speculation about what from a policy standpoint is going to change, or not change,” he said.

    • Trump Appoints Third Net Neutrality Critic to FCC Advisory Team

      President-elect Trump today added yet another fierce critic of net neutrality to his FCC transition team. The incoming President chose Roslyn Layton, a visiting fellow at the broadband-industry-funded American Enterprise Institute, to help select the new FCC boss and guide the Trump administration on telecom policy. Layton joins Jeffrey Eisenach, a former Verizon consultant and vocal net neutrality critic, and Mark Jamison, a former Sprint lobbyist that has also fought tooth and nail against net neutrality; recently going so far as to argue he doesn’t think telecom monopolies exist.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Report: IP, Access To Science A Troubled Relationship

      A new academic report looks into the relationship between intellectual property and access to science and culture, in the wake of work on the issue by former United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed. Contributors to the report aimed at reflecting on how the intellectual property system can foster economic growth while encouraging non-economic values and objectives of human development.

    • New Draft Articles For The Protection Of Traditional Knowledge On Table At WIPO

      New draft articles published this morning at the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on traditional knowledge show signs of progress in terms of reducing options. Meanwhile, the United States introduced a proposal for a discussion of what should be protectable and what is not intended to be protected. Delegates have to deliver their take on both documents this afternoon.

    • Copyrights

      • Antigua & Barbuda Threatens to Punish U.S. With Piracy Free-For-All

        A long-running dispute between Antigua and Barbuda and the United States over gambling services has reached a critical point. In a letter to the WTO, the Caribbean nation warns that unless the US either stops blocking or compensates its gambling services, it will lift protection of US intellectual property rights in 2017.

      • UK ISPs to Start Sending ‘Piracy Alerts’ Soon

        Early 2017 will see the long-awaited start of a broad UK anti-piracy effort. With help from copyright holders, ISPs will send email notifications to subscribers whose connections are allegedly used to pirate content. These “alerts” will educate copyright infringers about legal alternatives in the hope of decreasing piracy rates over time.

      • Court Awards Damages Following Bogus DMCA Takedowns

        Topdawg Entertainment Inc., Interscope Records and Universal Music Group must pay damages after issuing false DMCA notices which damaged an artist’s reputation. Montreal hip hop artist Jonathan Emile teamed up with Kendrick Lamar on a track, but the labels wrongfully took it down from YouTube, iTunes and Soundcloud.

11.30.16

Links 30/11/2016: Git 2.11, GOG Surprise Tomorrow

Posted in News Roundup at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • GNU/Linux As An Alternative To Windows For A Small Business

      In the following article, I present a real-world case scenario as an example for setting up a small business with Linux as a desktop solution. It is presented as a single illustration of a unique case, and Linux/open source deployments will of course vary based on the number of users, business need and security requirements.

      A friend recently launched her own small startup, and because she’s funding it out of her own pocket, she came to me in the early stages with questions about Windows licensing, applications, support, etc. Her primary concern was the overhead of seeding her small office with Windows and all the required application licenses needed to run a business.

      Because of the nature of her startup, I suggested Linux as the standard desktop for her office. She was unsure of this choice, and some of her questions, all justified, included “I’ve heard Linux isn’t user-friendly”, and “are there viable business applications available for Linux?”

    • 4 alternatives to the Chrome browser on Chrome OS

      Now that even more Chromebooks support Android apps, Jack Wallen takes a look at the available browsers to see how they stack up against for the default Chrome browser.

  • Server

    • Outlook.com is still not functioning properly for some Microsoft punters

      Microsoft is still working to resolve “difficulties” faced by its Outlook customers, despite months of complaints about the disappearance of sent emails and 550 Errors.

      A growing number of complaints threads have been posted to Microsoft’s questions page regarding Outlook after recent upgrades to the service. They both precede and follow last week’s outage, which Redmond’s PRs failed to explain to us.

    • OpenStack Becomes a Standard Building Block for NFV

      OpenStack is becoming the de facto standard for infrastructure orchestration for NFV deployment by leading Communications Service Providers (CSPs). CSPs are trading off the challenges of OpenStack implementations (e.g. immature technology and evolving standards) for the benefits of open source and open architectures (i.e. reduced vendor lock-in). Lack of standards for NFV management and orchestration (MANO) remains a leading impediment.

    • The Docker monitoring problem

      You have probably heard of Docker—it is a young container technology with a ton of momentum. But if you haven’t, you can think of containers as easily—configured, lightweight VMs that start up fast, often in under one second. Containers are ideal for microservice architectures and for environments that scale rapidly or release often.

      Docker is becoming such an important technology that it is likely that your organization will begin working with Docker soon, if it has not already. When we explored real usage data, we found an explosion of Docker usage in production: it has grown 5x in the last 12 months.

      Containers address several important operational problems; that is why Docker is taking the infrastructure world by storm.

      But there is a problem: containers come and go so frequently, and change so rapidly, that they can be an order of magnitude more difficult to monitor and understand than physical or virtual hosts. This article describes the Docker monitoring problem—and solution—in detail.

      We hope that reading this article will help you fall in love with monitoring containers, despite the challenges. In our experience, if you monitor your infrastructure in a way that works for containers—whether or not you use them—you will have great visibility into your infrastructure.

    • Keynote: New Requirements for Application Delivery in a Micro-services Application World
    • Kontena Introduces Production-Ready, Open Source Container and Microservices Platform
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Intel’s Clear Linux Now Shipping X.Org Server 1.19, Kernel 4.8.11 & Mesa 13.0.1

        Clear Linux’s Eva P. Hutanu informs the community of the Linux-based operating system designed for Intel Architecture and built for various cloud use cases about the latest updates that landed for the OS.

        But first, the team is proud to announce that Clear Linux is now an auto-updating operating system, which means that users will automatically receive updates when they are pushed into the repositories. Of course, you can opt out of this feature if you don’t want these updates to be automatically installed on your computer (see the command below).

      • Zentyal announces Zentyal Server 5.0, major new Linux Small Business Server release

        Zentyal today announced Zentyal Server 5.0, a major new release of the Zentyal Linux Small Business Server. Amid the generalized push for cloud, small and medium business continue requiring on-site server solutions and with this release Zentyal responds to their needs, offering an easy to use all-in-one Linux server with native compatibility with Microsoft Active Directory®.

        Zentyal Server 5.0 is based on Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and comes with the latest versions of all the integrated software. The single most important improvement Zentyal Server 5.0 introduces is the integration of the latest Samba version (Samba 4.5.1) directly from upstream. Due to the fast development of the Samba project, from this version onwards Zentyal will integrate the latest stable Samba packages available upstream. This allows quicker introduction of new Samba features, fixes and updates to Zentyal.

      • Zentyal Server 5.0 Out Now Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Adds New HTTP Proxy Module

        On November 29, 2016, the Zentyal development team proudly announced the release and immediate availability for download of the Zentyal Server 5.0 Linux-based server-oriented operating system with Active Directory interoperability.

        Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Zentyal Server 5.0 comes with the latest Open Source software and GNU/Linux technologies, including an untouched Samba 4.5.1 implementation from upstream, which puts a layer of performance to the AD (Active Directory) interoperability of the small business server.

      • Peppermint 7 Respin Released

        Team Peppermint are pleased to announce the release of the Peppermint 7 Respin, in both 32bit and 64bit editions.

      • Peppermint 7 Linux Respin ISO Image Released with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Goodies, More

        Peppermint OS developer Mark Greaves announced today, November 29, 2016, the release and immediate availability of the first ISO respin image of the Peppermint 7 Linux operating system.

        Sporting all the latest updates from the upstream repositories of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, the Peppermint-7-20161129 image is now powered by the 4.4.0-47 kernel with all the recent security patches. The new ISO also includes the HPLIP (HP Linux Imaging and Printing) software for out-of-the-box support for HP printers and scanners.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE project presentation at school, Nov 24th, 2016

        On November 16th there was the release of openSUSE Leap 42.2. On November 24th, I had the opportunity to present openSUSE Project at school.

        I was asked to make an introduction to FLOSS in general and more specific about openSUSE Project. The school was for middle aged people, for persons who quited school to work and conftibute financially to their families. There were 3 classes that they taught something computer related. It was a great opportunity for them to learn what FLOSS is and what makes openSUSE great Linux distro.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • systemd free Linux distro Devuan releases second beta

          The self-proclaimed “Veteran Unix Admins” forking Debian in the name of init freedom have released Beta 2 of their “Devuan” Linux distribution.

          Devuan came about after some users felt it had become too desktop-friendly. The change the greybeards objected to most was the decision to replace sysvinit init with systemd, a move felt to betray core Unix principles of user choice and keeping bloat to a bare minimum.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-friendly modules adopt hexa- and octa-core Rockchip SoCs

      Theobroma unveiled a Qseven module built around a hexa-core, Cortex-A72/-A53 Rockchip RK3399 SoC, plus a µQseven version based on an octa-core -A53 RK3368.

      Austrian Qseven specialists Theobroma Systems announced two computer-on-modules that build on Rockchip SoCs with Linux and Android support. The Qseven-based “RK3399-Q7” features the new Rockchip RK3399, with dual Cortex-A72 cores at up to 2.0GHz and a quad-core bank of Cortex-A53 cores at up to 1.42GHz. It’s billed as the first Qseven module with a Cortex-A72. This appears to be true, although several COMs, such as the eInfochips Eragon 820, have tapped Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820, which has four “Kyro” cores that roughly mimic the Cortex-A72.

    • IoT gateway runs Linux on i.MX6UL, offers Thread and ZigBee

      NXP’s Volansys-built, highly secure “Modular IoT Gateway” reference design runs Linux on an i.MX6 UL SoC, and offers Thread, ZigBee, WiFi, and NFC.

      NXP has released a Modular IoT Gateway reference design for large-node, 250+ wireless IoT networks. The gateway provides pre-integrated, tested, and RF-certified 802.15.4 mesh networking modules connected via MikroBus connectors, including Thread and ZigBee modules, and soon Bluetooth LE. Other options include an NFC chip for one-tap, no-power commissioning of IoT leaf nodes. The system also offers multiple layers of security.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 tech advent calendars for the holiday season

    Technical advent calendars work in a similar way: Each day a new treat is revealed; sometimes it’s an article explaining a new tip or technique, whereas other times the treat is an exercise to help you hone your skills. Tech advent calendars, although secular, run at the same time in the holiday season. This means they’ll be kicking off on December first, giving the opportunity to learn all month long.

  • Events

    • #LinuXatUNI

      This last Saturday 26th was celebrated the #LinuXatUNI event at National University of Engineering. There were more than 250 people registered, but we have only 84 attended, though. I was surprised about this! It might be the upcoming final exams at universities in Lima or the early time on weekend.

    • Keynote: Breaking Barriers: Creatively and Courageously
  • CMS

    • HP5: A CMS plugin for creating HTML5 interactive content

      Many educators want to create interactive content for their classroom or online course. If you’re not a HTML5 programmer like most of us, but you have heard HTML5 can simplify your work and provide a great, standard web experience for your students, here’s how to get started.

      H5P is a free and open source tool that helps you create HTML5 content in the browser of your choice and share it across all operating systems and browsers. To explain more about the tool, I talked to Svein-Tore Griff With, the lead developer at Joubel.com, who together with his team, created H5P.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK.gov was warned of smart meter debacle by Cabinet Office in 2012

      The government was warned of the risks surrounding its controversial smart meter programme four years ago, according to a leaked internal report seen by The Register, but appears to have largely ignored those concerns.

      A review of the programme from March 2012 highlights the vulnerability of smart meters to cyber-attacks, and flagged estimates that the scheme could leave the taxpayer out of pocket by £4.5bn rather than save consumers cash.

      Some 53 million smart meters are due to be installed in residences and small businesses by the end of 2020 at an estimated cost of £11bn.

      So far 3.5 million have been installed. The government has said it expects the scheme will save £17bn. However, a recent delayed report found that benefits to the consumer could be much smaller than originally thought.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and NodeSource Join Forces on Node.js API; Node.js Build System will Start Producing Nightly node-chakracore Builds

      Part of Node.js Foundation’s mission is growing Node.js everywhere. The Node.js platform is already available on a variety of VMs, like Samsung’s JerryScript, a lightweight JavaScript engine for the Internet of Things. While many steps are needed to allow Node.js to work in VM environments outside of V8, the work the Node.js API working group and ChakraCore are doing are important steps to offer greater choice.

    • Open source dependency management is a balancing act

      When we started development of the Open Chemistry project we looked quite seriously at requiring C++11, and I was dissuaded at the time by several in our community. We ended up using some small parts of C++11 that could be made optional and falling back to Boost implementations/empty macro definitions. At the time I think it was perhaps a little too aggressive, but if I could go back I would have told my former self to go for it. The project was new, had few existing users, and was mainly targeting the desktop. Add to that the fact that adoption often takes a few years and there is the cost of supporting older compilers.

      [...]

      Hopefully we can maintain a good middle ground that best serves our users, and be cognizant of the cost of being too conservative or too aggressive. Most developers are eager to use the latest features, and it can be extremely frustrating to know there is a better way that cannot be employed. I think there is a significant cost to being too conservative, but I have seen other projects that update and change too aggressively lose mind share.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Sleep deprivation ‘costs UK £40bn a year’

      Sleep-deprived workers are costing the UK economy £40bn a year and face a higher risk of death, says a new study.

      The calculation is based on tired employees being less productive or absent from work altogether.

      Research firm Rand Europe, which used data from 62,000 people, said the loss equated to 1.86% of economic growth.

  • Security

    • Emergency Bulletin: Firefox 0 day in the wild. What to do.

      We’re publishing this as an emergency bulletin for our customers and the larger web community. A few hours ago a zero day vulnerability emerged in the Tor browser bundle and the Firefox web browser. Currently it exploits Windows systems with a high success rate and affects Firefox versions 41 to 50 and the current version of the Tor Browser Bundle which contains Firefox 45 ESR.

      If you use Firefox, we recommend you temporarily switch browsers to Chrome, Safari or a non-firefox based browser that is secure until the Firefox dev team can release an update. The vulnerability allows an attacker to execute code on your Windows workstation. The exploit is in the wild, meaning it’s now public and every hacker on the planet has access to it. There is no fix at the time of this writing.

    • [Older] E-Voting Machines Need Paper Audits to be Trustworthy

      Election security experts concerned about voting machines are calling for an audit of ballots in the three states where the presidential election was very close: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. We agree. This is an important election safety measure and should happen in all elections, not just those that have a razor-thin margin.

      Voting machines, especially those that have digital components, are intrinsically susceptible to being hacked. The main protection against hacking is for voting machines to provide an auditable paper trail.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Think Trump’s scary now? Obama is leaving him with broad war powers

      In all the outrage about the unhinged things Donald Trump keeps tweeting and saying, there’s been almost zero criticism at the fact that Obama will be partly responsible for the extraordinary scope of powers Trump inherits. The Obama administration has not only done nothing to curtail the slew of extreme national security and war powers that Trump is about to acquire since the election – the White House is actively expanding them.

  • Finance

    • Brexit is not a game of poker

      There are still those who nod-along with the “not showing your cards” defence of the government’s secrecy about what, if any, negotiating strategy it has for achieving Brexit.

      They tweet things to those calling for transparency with comments such as “you should not play poker” or similar.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, The Swamp of War

      Sometimes it’s tough to pull lessons of any sort from our confusing world, but let me mention one obvious (if little noted) case where that couldn’t be less true: the American military and its wars. Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. has been in a state of more or less permanent war in the Greater Middle East and northern Africa. In those years, it’s been involved in a kaleidoscopic range of activities, including full-scale invasions and occupations, large-scale as well as pinpoint bombing campaigns, drone strikes, special ops raids, advisory missions, training programs, and counterinsurgency operations. The U.S. military has fought regular armies, insurgencies, and terror groups of all sorts, Shiites as well as Sunnis. The first war of this era, in Afghanistan — a country Washington declared “liberated” in 2002 — is still underway 16 years later (and not going well). The second war, in Iraq, is still ongoing 13 years later. From Afghanistan to Libya, Syria to Yemen, Iraq to Somalia, the U.S. military effort in these years, sometimes involving “nation building” and enormous “reconstruction” programs, has left in its wake a series of weakened or collapsed states and spreading terror outfits. In short, no matter how the U.S. military has been used, nothing it’s done has truly worked out.

    • Donald Trump’s most obvious conflict of interest problem is right down the street from the White House

      The new Trump International Hotel in Washington DC is a ticking time bomb for Donald Trump, and not just because foreign countries seeking to win his favor are already planning events there to line the US president-elect’s pockets.

      Steven Schooner and Daniel Gordon, lawyers specializing in federal procurement rules, write in Government Executive that Trump’s inauguration will immediately place him in violation of the law because the hotel is in the Old Post Office Pavilion, a building just blocks from the White House that was leased to a Trump-led consortium by the federal government.

      The lease, signed by Trump’s organization in 2013, includes a clause that says “no … elected official of the Government of the United States … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.”

    • Conflict of interest fears over Georgieva’s World Bank dealings

      Six months before European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva announced that she would be returning to the World Bank, her office negotiated changes in the way the European Union funds her former and future employer, according to EU officials and documents obtained by POLITICO.

      The new arrangement with the Bank is raising alarm bells at the Commission and the European Parliament about a potential conflict of interest. The concern comes as the Commission is trying to tighten so-called revolving door rules on what jobs senior officials can take once they leave EU institutions.

    • Juncker’s Parliamentary headache

      Martin Schulz’s decision to quit the European Parliament and take his talents to Berlin last week provoked breathless speculation about his political future in Germany and that of his Socialist group without him in Brussels.

      There is, however, one real world impact of Schulz’s departure in January: It is going to make the Parliament a huge pain where it hurts for the European Commission and its president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

      Though on paper a conservative who belongs to the European People’s Party, Juncker has made no secret of the importance of his bromance with the departing parliamentary chieftain from the other side of the aisle.

    • Sweden’s unsent letter to a President-elect Hillary Clinton: ‘It is a milestone for the world’

      Ahead of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven drafted two letters. One was addressed to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee who enjoyed broad approval among Swedes. The other was to Republican Donald Trump, the upstart candidate who was viewed negatively by many in Sweden.

      The letters were intended to congratulate the winner of the election.

      Only one was ever sent.

      Lofven’s office released parts of the letter sent to Trump last week, though considerable sections of it were censored under Sweden’s official secrets act. On Monday, the Expressen newspaper released what it said was a copy of the letter in its entirety.

    • For $1 million and up, inaugural donors will get ‘candlelight dinner’ with Trump and other access

      The committee raising money for President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural festivities is offering exclusive access to the new president, Cabinet nominees and congressional leaders in exchange for donations of $1 million and more.

      For seven-figure contributions, Trump’s richest supporters will get a slew of special perks during the inauguration weekend, including eight tickets to a “candlelight dinner” that will feature “special appearances” by Trump, his wife, Melania, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, according to a sheet detailing “underwriter package benefits” obtained by The Washington Post. The 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee confirmed the authenticity of the donor brochure, which was first reported by the Center for Public Integrity.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Why Facebook’s China adventure will need more than censorship to succeed

      Facebook needs to invest in more than just censorship tools if it hopes to lift a seven-year ban in China, experts say, amid a tightening space for foreign technology companies in the world’s most populous nation.

      Last week it emerged Facebook is working on software designed to suppress content – widely seen as a prerequisite to ending the ban, put in place in the wake of deadly ethnic riots in 2009 in attempt to quell the sharing of information about the violence.

      Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, have embarked on a high-profile and often controversial campaign to lift the China block in recent years.

      “Censorship is the biggest requirement,” said Adam Segal, director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, “and then they should start to invest in the ecosystem around them, in Chinese startups and funds, to show that they are friends of China.”

    • Censorship in Social Media Leaves Users in Frustration

      User reports of censorship of social media posts show a deep frustration with companies’ content moderation policies, according to an analysis by Onlinecensorship.org, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact.

      In “Censorship in Context: Insights from Crowdsourced Data on Social Media Censorship,” researchers analyzed reports of content takedowns received from users of Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube from April to November of 2016. At a time when many are asking for more content moderation—like calls for Facebook to crack down on “fake news”—election-related censorship complaints focused on the desire of users to speak their minds and share information about a tight election without worrying that their posts will disappear.

    • Russia Draws On Chinese Expertise And Technology To Clamp Down On Internet Users Even More

      The Russians apparently see no other option than to invite Chinese heavyweights into the heart of its IT strategy. “China remains our only serious ‘ally’, including in the IT sector,” said a source in the Russian information technology industry, adding that despite hopes that Russian manufacturers would fill the void created by sanctions “we are in fact actively switching to Chinese”.

      That Russian source is clearly trying to suggest that this new partnership is all the fault of the West for imposing those silly economic sanctions, and that this could have been avoided if everybody had stayed friends. But the coziness between Russia and China has been coming for a while, as their geopolitical ambitions align increasingly, so the collaboration over surveillance and censorship technologies would probably have happened anyway. The interesting question is how the new alliance might blossom if the future Trump administration starts to reduce its engagement with the international scene to concentrate on domestic matters. The new Sino-Russian digital partnership could be just the start of something much bigger, but probably not more beautiful.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • [Older] Who Has Your Back in Colombia? A New Report Shows Telecom Privacy Slowly Improving

      Fundacion Karisma—the leading Colombian digital rights organization—has published the 2016 ¿Dónde están mis datos? report, which evaluates how well Colombian telecommunications companies protect their customers’ privacy.

      Karisma’s second annual report examines publicly-available policies on government surveillance transparency, data protection, privacy, and free expression from five of the biggest telecommunications companies: Claro, Tigo-UNE, Telefónica-Movistar, ETB (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá), and DirecTV.

    • Something Happened to Activist Email Provider Riseup, but It Hasn’t Been Compromised

      Over the last week, rumors have been spreading across the digital activist community that the technology collective riseup, which provides email, chat, VPN, and other services to activists, may be compromised after receiving a secret government subpoena accompanied by a gag order. The collective provides email service to roughly 150,000 users, hosts activism-related mailing lists with 6.8 million subscribers, and delivers more than 1 million emails per day. According to a representative of the riseup collective, the rumors are outsized. But it is clear that something happened, and that riseup is unable to speak about it publicly. “Riseup will shut down rather than endanger activists,” the spokesperson said. “We aren’t going to shut down, because there is no danger to activists.”

      Riseup, which began in Seattle in 1999, is one of the most privacy-friendly and anti-surveillance service providers online today. “We believe it is vital that essential communication infrastructure be controlled by movement organizations and not corporations or the government,” the collective’s website states. “Riseup does not log IP addresses and has not done so since the early ’00s,” the collective member told me in an encrypted email. “We work hard to minimize the amount of data (and metadata) stored as [much as] possible. The only way to protect the information of activists around the world is by not having the information in the first place.” Riseup’s privacy policy promises that the service will log as little as possible and never share user data with any third party.

    • GCHQ Virtually A Branch Office Of NSA – Parliament Unable To Hold It To Account

      By OpenRightsGroup – The NSA and GCHQ are virtually joined at the hip. GCHQ shares nearly all the data it collects, and relies on US technology for its key operations.

      Donald Trump“If there were a crisis in the relationship between the UK and the US, what risks would our shared intelligence arrangements pose?”

      We asked this question in our 2015 report about the Snowden leaks. We might be about to find out the answer.

      Chapter 5 of our report details the technological and data sharing integration. The Snowden documents show that Britain’s GCHQ and America’s NSA work very closely together. They are integrated in a way that means it is difficult for our Parliament to hold GCHQ to account. We rely so much on US technology and data that it poses questions for our sovereignty.

    • Florida Cops Have a New Device For Tracking Your Cell Phone

      For years and in almost complete secrecy, cops and feds in the United States — and elsewhere — have been using powerful devices called “Stingrays,” “cell site simulators,” or “IMSI catchers” to track and spy on cell phones.

      Over the last few years, and only after long legal fights and several public documents requests, we’ve learned a little bit more about IMSI catchers, including some of the agencies that use them.

      Yet we’ve rarely seen them. Some official pictures have been published online, mostly mined from patent applications, but we’ve practically never seen them in the wild … until now.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The War on the First Amendment Didn’t Start Last Week

      For those who woke a week ago to realize the First Amendment is under attack, I lost my job at the State Department in 2012 for writing We Meant Well, a book the government did not like, and needed the help of lawyer Jesselyn Radack and the ACLU to push back the threat of jail.

      My book was critical of actions in Iraq under both the Obama and Bush administrations. One helped protect the other.

      Braver people than me, like Thomas Drake, Morris Davis, and Robert MacLean, risked imprisonment and lost their government jobs for talking to the press about government crimes and malfeasance. John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, and Jeff Sterling went to jail for speaking to/informing the press. The Obama administration tried to prosecute reporters from Fox and the New York Times for stories on government wrongdoing.

      Ray Maxwell at the State Department went public with information about Hillary Clinton’s email malfeasance before you had even heard of her private server. The media that covered the story at all called him a liar, an opportunist, and a political hack, and he was pressed into retirement.

    • The West’s Shift Toward Repression

      Forgive my “infamously fluent French” but the phrase “pour encourager les autres” – a reference to executing one powerful person to send a message to others – seems to have lost its famously ironic quality. It seems that the U.S. government is globally paying big bucks to people to encourage them to expose the crimes of their employers, but only if they’re working for banks and other financial institutions – as opposed to say working for the government and its intelligence agencies.

      I have been aware for a few years that the U.S. government instituted a law in 2010 called the Dodd-Frank Act that is designed to encourage people employed in the international finance community to report malfeasance to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in return for a substantial percentage of any monies recouped.

      [...]

      But, from all recent examples, it would appear that you get damn few thanks for such patriotic actions. Take the case of Thomas Drake, a former senior National Security Agency executive who in 2007 went public about waste and wanton expenditure within the agency, as I wrote way back in 2011. Before doing so, Drake had gone through all the prescribed routes for such disclosures, up to and including a congressional committee.

      Despite all this, Drake was abruptly snatched by the FBI in a violent dawn raid and threatened with 35 years in prison. He (under the terrifying American plea bargain system) accepted a misdemeanor conviction to escape the horrors of federal charges, the resulting loss of all his civic rights and a potential 35 years in prison. He still, of course, lost his job, his impeccable professional reputation, and his whole way of life.

      He was part of a NSA group that also included William Binney, the NSA’s former Technical Director, and his fellow whistleblowers Kirk Wiebe, Ed Loumis and Diane Roark. These brave people had developed an electronic mass-surveillance program called Thin Thread that could zero in on those people who were genuinely of security interest and worth targeting, a program which would have been relatively cheap, costing only $1.4 million and would have been consistent with the terms of the Constitution. According to Binney, it could potentially have stopped 9/11 and all the attendant horrors..

    • Sumi Cho and Alicia Garza on Election and Intersection, James Loewen on Misreporting History

      That’s not, naturally, how social justice advocates are responding. They’re getting together to share strategies for protecting vulnerable communities and resisting the predations on our civil rights. One such gathering of activists and academics was a recent webinar hosted by the African American Policy Forum. It featured a range of voices. I’ll bring just two: Sumi Cho, professor at DePaul University School of Law, and Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter.

    • ‘Race Is at the Bottom of His Immigration Policy’

      Few if any groups received more venom from the Trump campaign than immigrants. Slurring millions of people as rapists, terrorists and freeloaders, Donald Trump promised, along with the infamous wall on the southern border and a ban of Muslims, tens of thousands of deportations and the seizure of money that people in the US send to families in Mexico. Distressing as all of this is in itself, it’s coming after years that have already seen many, many family-severing deportations and a struggle to enact reforms.

    • ‘People Can Protect the Rights of Everyone in Their Community’

      From promises of mass surveillance, stepped-up stop and frisk, to religion-based bans on entry to the country, a Trump White House looks to be a nightmare for civil rights and liberties. Here to talk about how folks are planning to get through it is Sue Udry. She’s executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, joined now with the Defending Dissent Foundation. She joins us by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Sue Udry.

    • Where Are Sting and Bill Clinton When You Need Them?

      Is Gulnara Karimova dead? The source of today’s reports is Galima Burkabaeva, who is a first class journalist. She personally spoke with the Uzbek security service (SNB) source who told her Gulnara was killed by poisoning on 5 November. Galima does not vouch for the story’s truth, but she believes the source had credibility, and she is well placed to make that call.

      Gulnara was once the wealthiest female oligarch in Moscow society. She had amazing friends. Unfortunately she failed to notice that the kind of friends who do not care if you made your money out of child forced labour in the cotton fields, are the same kind of friends who will not care if you are chained to an iron bedstead in an ex-Soviet mental institution being pumped full of lobotomising chemicals with only a tin potty for company.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Just Showed Us What The Death Of Net Neutrality Is Going To Look Like

      For some time now we’ve warned how the FCC’s decision to not ban zero rating (exempting some content from usage caps) was going to come back and bite net neutrality on the posterior. Unlike India, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Chile, and other countries, the FCC crafted net neutrality rules that completely avoided tackling the issue of usage caps and zero rating. Then, despite ongoing promises that the agency was looking into the issue, the FCC did nothing as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast all began exempting their own content from usage caps while still penalizing competitors.

      Fast forward to this week, and AT&T has delivered what may very well be the killing blow to net neutrality thanks predominantly to the FCC’s failure to see the writing on the wall.

      AT&T this week is launching its new “DirecTV Now” streaming video service. According to the full AT&T announcement, the service offers various packages of streamed TV content ranging from $35 to $70 per month. Thanks to AT&T’s looming $100 billion acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T’s even throwing in HBO for an additional $5 per month, the lowest price point in the industry. Though a bit hamstrung to upsell you to traditional DirecTV (two stream limit, no 4K content, no NFL Sunday Ticket, no DVR functionality), all told it’s a fairly compelling package for cord cutters.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Dominica Accepts TRIPS Health Amendment; Two More To Go?

      The government of Dominica has deposited its instrument of acceptance of the 2005 so-called “paragraph 6” amendment to international intellectual property trade rules aimed at making it easier for countries to export affordable medical products to developing countries. Dominica’s signing brings the number of signers to 65 percent of WTO members, according to the WTO. Two-thirds of WTO members must accept it for the amendment to go into effect, but it is unclear exactly how many members that represents. It appears that two or three more members will tip the scale.

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