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05.25.17

Links 25/5/2017: Mesa 17.1.1, Qt 5.9.0 RC, and Much More

Posted in News Roundup at 10:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The development of Global Scale

    The architecture of Nextcloud is a classic Web Application architecture. I picked this architecture 7.5 years ago because it is very well known and is proven to be scaled relatively easily. This usually works with off the shelf technologies like http load balancers, clusters of Linux webservers and clustered databases.

  • Rubicon Project CEO: ‘Open source will be the gold standard’

    The discussion covers: how the dominance of the duopoly is arguably the company’s biggest life-line; how open source code will lead to a more equitable system; plus potential future acquisitions in his turn around plan.

  • Broad releases open source version of genomic analysis software
  • Sprint executive: Chaos in open source indicative of startup culture, and that’s just fine

    Mobile operators are embracing open source like never before, and there’s a lot of confusion around the myriad projects and efforts that are underway, but that doesn’t worry Sprint’s vice president of technology, Ron Marquardt.

    As a rough analogy, he says the normative standards bodies that have been around for a long time are sort of like Fortune 500 companies. They have a purpose, they’re big in scale and scope, and you know very clearly who to go to for mobile standards. It’s not a question of which of many organizations to go to.

  • How open source software will drive the future of auto innovations

    Automotive companies are shifting from bending metal to bending bits. Soon they will be offering software and services to complement their manufactured metal.

  • Open source for hybrid cloud success: Is it an open and shut case?

    The FOSS acronym – standing for free, open source software – has been a clarion call for many since the open source movement started, despite being nominally based on a misinterpretation of what open source is all about.

  • IoT and the Move to Open Source GIS

    In my 15 years in the geospatial industry, I’ve seen our industry respond to certain trends and take the lead in others. As with most industries, we regarded the Cloud with a certain amount of suspicion and trepidation – after all, many companies’ geospatial data is their “ace in the hole” and they initially felt better and safer keeping it on premise, on their desktops or on servers. Eventually they realized that this led to siloed data and limited access; this, and the cost factor, led to the migration to the Cloud. Data has moved from the back office to the front office. The Cloud is not only used to deliver content, but also to provide an elastic infrastructure to host, analyze, and deliver value to a global set of users.

  • Hortonworks And Red Hat: Cloud IaaS Focus Pays Off
  • Google, IBM, and Lyft launch open source project Istio

    Google, IBM, and Lyft on Wednesday announced the first public release of Istio, an open source service that gives developers a vendor-neutral way to connect, secure, manage and monitor networks of different microservices on cloud platforms.

  • Which technologies are poised to take over in open source?

    When you think of open source technologies, you probably think of the stalwarts, the technologies that have been around for years and years. It makes sense: According to a survey conducted in Q4 of 2016 by my company, Greythorn, 30%+ of participants said established technologies are among the top ten they primarily use.

    [...]

    When we examine the top 10 technologies, eight out of the 10 are 15+ years old, and nine out of 10 are 10+ years old (Docker is the only younger technology represented). However, looking to the next 20 top technologies, we see an onslaught of new arrivals to the industry: 16% of people surveyed are using Apache Cassandra (released in 2008, 1.0 release in 2011), 15% are using Spark (open sourced in 2012, 1.0 release in 2014), 14% are using NGINX (1.0 release in 2011), and 11% are using Kafka (released in early 2011, not at 1.0 release).

  • How I used open source tools to build a theater lighting system

    The things we do for family, eh? Sometimes I wonder why I do it to myself, this not being the first time my perfectionism has led me to do far more work than a task originally required.

  • How to avoid technical debt in open source communities

    "Every engineer nowadays should be spending a couple of hours a week working on open source projects that their company relies on," he said.

  • Chef sidles up to security for bringing automated compliance to devops
  • Events

    • GNOME.Asia Summit 2017 to be hosted in Chongqing China
    • Rootconf/Devconf 2017

      This year’s Rootconf was special as it also hosted Devconf for the first time in India. The conference took place at MLR Convention Centre, JP Nagar, Bangalore on 11-12 May, 2017. The event had 2 parallel tracks running, 1 was for Rootconf and the other one for Devconf. Rootconf is a place like other Hasgeek events where you get to see friends and make new friends, learn about what they are up to and share your stints.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Thimble Gets a Makeover

        That’s why Mozilla built Thimble nearly five years ago. Much like Firefox enables users to browse the web, Thimble enables users to learn the web. It’s our browser-based tool for learning to code.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews AJ Jordon of gplenforced.org

      So basically Bradley Kuhn gave a talk at FOSDEM ’17 about GPL enforcement and I was like, wow, it sucks how many companies and people think that enforcing the GPL is a bad idea. I mean, if you disagree with copyleft that’s fine (though I personally would argue with that position), but then you should use a suitable license. Like MIT. The very idea that we shouldn’t enforce the GPL just doesn’t make sense to me because it suggests that the text of the license is watery and unimportant. I don’t know about you, but when I say I want my programs to respect users’ freedom, I mean it.

      So GPL enforcement is important. It seemed to me that there are probably a lot of developers out there who want to support GPL enforcement but don’t have a good way to voice that support. gplenforced.org is essentially a quick and dirty hack I wrote to make that dead-simple.

    • Sixteen new GNU releases in the month of May
  • Licensing/Legal

    • Court Ruling Supports Contractual and Statutory Enforcement of Open Source Software Licenses

      Artifex Software provides “Ghostscript” software that interprets Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) files and other page description language files. Artifex distributes Ghostscript under a “dual license” model, offering its customers two licensing options: they can either use Ghostscript for free under the terms of the GNU General Public License v 3.0 (GPL), or purchase a commercial license to use the program without the restrictions of the GPL.2

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Was The Disney Movie ‘Hacking Ransom’ a Giant Hoax?

    Last week, Disney boss Bog Iger revealed that one of his company’s movies had been stolen and was being held hostage for a bitcoin ransom. With press speculation that it might be the latest ‘Pirates’ movie, TF has spent more than a week trying to find out more. The whole thing seems highly questionable.

  • Science

    • Colombian biologist cleared of criminal charges for posting another scientist’s thesis online

      A Colombian biologist who faced a criminal trial for posting another scientist’s thesis online has been cleared of copyright violation — an offence that, under Colombian law, might have brought him a jail sentence. Diego Gómez Hoyos was handed down his ‘not guilty’ verdict on 24 May by a judge in Bogotá, although the prosecutor in the case has appealed the decision.

    • Google’s AlphaGo AI beats world’s best human Go player

      DeepMind’s AlphaGo AI has defeated Ke Jie in the first round of a best-of-three Go match in China.

    • Here’s Trump’s plan to destroy the US science budget

      The budget proposal confirms fears that Trump intends to cut nearly $5.8 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health — about 18 percent of the agency’s total budget. It also cuts hundreds of millions of dollars from infectious disease programs at the CDC, and an additional $841 million from the National Science Foundation, which funds basic scientific research.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • 23 million fewer Americans insured under House GOP bill, says CBO

      The House Republican health care bill would leave 23 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2026 than under Obamacare, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

    • Access to Birth Control Is Not a Religious Debate

      When it comes to women’s health, our leaders in Washington are decades behind those who will be directly affected by their decisions.

      In a move that should outrage anyone who wishes to retain the ability to plan whether and when to have children and to control their own reproductive health decisions, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that opens the door for his Department of Health and Human Services to gut the Affordable Care Act provision that has broadened access to copay-free birth control to more than 55 million women across the country — and for employers to determine whether or not they can refuse to provide insurance coverage for contraception to their employees on the basis of their religious beliefs.

    • Feds probing psychiatric hospitals for locking in patients to boost profits

      According to several sources, the UHS’ chain of psychiatric facilities—the largest in the country—will delay patients’ discharge dates until the day insurance coverage runs out, regardless of the need of the patient. Because the hospitals are reimbursed per day, the practice extracts the maximum amount of money from insurance companies. It also can be devastating to patients, who are needlessly kept from returning to their jobs and families. To cover up the scheme, medical notes are sometimes altered and doctors come up with excuses, such as medication changes, sources allege. Employees say they repeatedly hear the phrase: “don’t leave days on the table.”

    • Third of NHS children’s mental health services ‘face cuts or closure’

      A third of children’s mental health workers say their service is facing cuts or closure, a new survey has revealed.

      Research carried out by four major medical organisations highlighted the “extremely concerning” state of mental health services for children and young people.

      Of the more than 3,000 NHS counsellors, therapists and psychoanalysts who took part in the survey, 84 per cent said it has become more difficult for children to access the help they need, with children now required to have more severe levels of illness in order to get help.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Microsoft says its best not to fiddle with its Windows 10 group policies (that don’t work)

      On Monday, we revealed that a security researcher had used a packet sniffer to show that many settings designed to prevent access to the internet were being ignored with connections to a range of third party servers including advertising hubs.

    • What’s got a vast attack surface and runs on Linux? Windows Defender, of course

      Google Project Zero’s Windows bug-hunter and fuzz-boffin Tavis Ormandy has given the world an insight into how he works so fast: he works on Linux, and with the release of a personal project on GitHub, others can too.

      Ormandy’s project is to port Windows DLLs to Linux for his vuln tests (“So that’s how he works so fast!” Penguinistas around the world are saying).

      Typically self-effacing, Ormandy made this simple announcement on Twitter (to a reception mixing admiration, humour, and horror):

    • A Samba remote code execution vulnerability

      Distributors are already shipping the fix; there’s also a workaround in the advisory for those who cannot update immediately.

    • Hacked in Translation – from Subtitles to Complete Takeover

      Check Point researchers revealed a new attack vector which threatens millions of users worldwide – attack by subtitles. By crafting malicious subtitle files, which are then downloaded by a victim’s media player, attackers can take complete control over any type of device via vulnerabilities found in many popular streaming platforms, including VLC, Kodi (XBMC), Popcorn-Time and strem.io. We estimate there are approximately 200 million video players and streamers that currently run the vulnerable software, making this one of the most widespread, easily accessed and zero-resistance vulnerability reported in recent years.

    • Check Point Discovers Media Subtitle Vulnerability Impacting Millions
    • How does Rakos malware attack embedded Linux systems?

      Rakos attacks embedded Linux systems using methods similar to those used by the Moose worm, where it tries to brute force the login credentials via SSH on vulnerable devices. When a vulnerable device is found, the malware transfers the malicious binary to the target system and downloads the configuration file that lists the command-and-control (C&C) servers. The malicious binary starts a web server to accept commands from remote systems. The C&C connection can be used to update the malicious binary and the configuration file.

    • Congressional Rep Pushes His ‘Hack Back’ Bill By Claiming It Would Have Prevented The WannaCry Ransomware Attack
    • Best password management tool.
    • Top hacker conference to target voting machines

      When over 25,000 of them descend on Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas at the end of July for DEFCON, the world’s largest hacking conference, organizers are planning to have waiting what they call "a village" of different opportunities to test how easily voting machines can be manipulated.

    • A wormable code-execution bug has lurked in Samba for 7 years. Patch now!

      The seven-year-old flaw, indexed as CVE-2017-7494, can be reliably exploited with just one line of code to execute malicious code, as long as a few conditions are met. Those requirements include vulnerable computers that (a) make file- and printer-sharing port 445 reachable on the Internet, (b) configure shared files to have write privileges, and (c) use known or guessable server paths for those files. When those conditions are satisfied, remote attackers can upload any code of their choosing and cause the server to execute it, possibly with unfettered root privileges, depending on the vulnerable platform.

    • Dated Linux bug might be key to lesser Wanna Cry

      Linux, the widely used free operating system, uses a module called Samba to share files in the same way Windows does. Older versions of Samba — 3.5 through 4.4 — are vulnerable to an attack that is similar to, but smaller than, the one behind Wanna Cry, the ransomware that caused a worldwide panic earlier this month.

    • Samba Patches Critical Remote Code Execution Flaw
    • Twitter Patches High Impact Account Tweeting Flaw

      A basic premise of Twitter is that the user (@) is the one who is able to send a message for any given account. But that premise was challenged by a security bug that Twitter patched at the end of February that was only publicly disclosed on May 22.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Pakistan harbouring terrorists in Afghanistan, says US intelligence officials

      "So they (Pakistan) hold in reserve terrorist organisation — we define them as terrorist organisations, they hold them in reserve so that — if Afghanistan leans towards India, they will no longer be supportive of an idea of a stable and secure Afghanistan that could undermine Pakistan interest," Stewart said.

    • Trump tells Duterte of two U.S. nuclear subs in Korean waters

      U.S. President Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, the New York Times said, comments likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information.

      Trump has said “a major, major conflict” with North Korea is possible because of its nuclear and missile programs and that all options are on the table but that he wants to resolve the crisis diplomatically.

      North Korea has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the program is necessary to counter U.S. aggression.

    • Philippines’ Duterte may place entire country under martial law

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday he wouldn’t rule out placing the entire country under martial law if the threat of Islamic State spreads.

      Duterte cut short a visit to Russia and placed the southern island of Mindanao under military rule on Tuesday, and said he would keep it that way for a year if necessary.

    • The Pentagon Can’t Believe Trump Told Another President About Nuclear Subs Near North Korea

      Pentagon officials are in shock after the release of a transcript between President Donald Trump and his Philippines counterpart reveals that the US military had moved two nuclear submarines towards North Korea

      “We never talk about subs!” three officials told BuzzFeed News, referring to the military’s belief that keeping submarines’ movement stealth is key to their mission.

      While the US military will frequently announce the deployment of aircraft carriers, it is far more careful when discussing the movement of nuclear submarines. Carriers are hard to miss, and that in part, is a reason the US military deploys them. They are a physical show of forces. Submarines are, at times, a furtive complement to the carriers, a hard-to-detect means of strategic deterrence.

    • Speaking in Fascism’s Tongues

      I was a child when the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos decreed martial law in 1972, casting a long spell over the Philippines. “Martial-law baby” became the phrase for people like me, Filipinos who grew up under authoritarianism, blind to its buildup. We martial-law babies are living an eerie moment today: With Rodrigo Duterte now president, it’s like history is making a bad pun.

      When norms shift, one of the first things to change is language. In a fascist world, shocking neologisms become everyday speech. “Stockade” was a special verb I learned as a little girl. “Na-stockade hiya,” or “he was put in the stockade,” was the explanation for someone jailed for staying out after curfew during martial law. You’d say “na-curfew” when a playmate got stuck in your home after hours and to avoid becoming “na-stockade” would stay for a sleepover.

      [...]

      It was the Vietnam War during my childhood, and the Philippines was in the hands of a military state propped up by shipments of U.S. arms. The citizens who had no rights then were student radicals, peasant activists, phantom communists. Mr. Marcos’s government arrested 70,000 people, tortured 35,000 and killed 3,257 between 1975 and 1985. Today, the government’s targets are drug addicts and drug dealers, and a slew of bystanders, including children. The death toll in the nearly 11 months that Mr. Duterte has been in power already is more than twice the official tally of political murders during one decade of the Marcos regime. I watch in real time how fascism changes our tongues.

    • Don’t let dictator Duterte mortgage our future like Marcos did

      Everything seems to be going Duterte’s way. With Western criticism of his war on drugs and anti-human rights policies, Duterte has found a friend in China, a country that is not exactly famous for its respect and adherence to human rights or democracy, having been an authoritarian one-party communist state in the past 77 years.

      Duterte’s relationship with China may be as personal as it is now official government policy. And it is paying off. In the recent UNHRC universal periodic review for the Philippines, only China out of 47 countries believed Senator Cayetano’s spiel on the Duterte regime’s “sterling” human rights record. The rest of the 46 countries did not buy Cayetano’s sales pitch and instead asked the Duterte regime to stop the extrajudicial killings under his government.

    • Trump calls Kim Jong Un a ‘madman with nuclear weapons,’ according to transcript of Duterte call

      President Trump labeled North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un a “madman with nuclear weapons” during a private phone conversation with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last month, just days before stating publicly that he would be “honored” to meet with Kim.

      In the April 29 call, Trump sought Duterte’s input on whether Kim is “stable or not stable” and expressed some satisfaction in North Korea’s recent failed missile tests, noting that “all his rockets are crashing. That’s the good news,” according to a transcript of the conversation made by the Philippines government on May 2 and obtained Tuesday by The Washington Post.

      Duterte responded that Kim is “playing with his bombs, his toys” and offered that “his mind is not working well and he just might go crazy one moment.” That prompted Trump to point out that the United States has “a lot of firepower over there,” including “two nuclear submarines” sent by the Pentagon to the region last month.

    • Lindsey Graham on Trump Ally Rodrigo Duterte: “This Is Not a Guy We Want to Empower”

      South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the Republican Party’s leading voices on defense and foreign affairs, said Wednesday that it is wrong to endorse the campaign of extrajudicial killing being carried out by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

      On Tuesday, The Intercept reported that President Trump called Duterte with the specific goal of congratulating him on the campaign, which Duterte describes as a “drug war.”

      “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump told Duterte at the beginning of their call, according to the transcript obtained by The Intercept. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

      Graham said that any assessment of Duterte’s campaign has to take into account how he’s going about it. “I disagree with the way he’s carrying out the drug war. I disagree with the authoritarian manner with which he’s running the country, but I don’t know what the White House said or did, I wasn’t there. But I can tell you my own view, this is not a guy we want to empower,” Graham told The Intercept. “You just have to stand up for the rule of law.”

    • Duterte threatens martial law for all of Philippines

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened Wednesday to impose martial law nationwide to combat the rising threat of terrorism, after Islamist militants beheaded a policeman and took Catholic hostages while rampaging through a southern city.

      Duterte declared martial law on Tuesday for the southern region of Mindanao — which makes up roughly one third of the country and is home to 20 million people — in an immediate response to the attacks by the gunmen, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

    • Duterte weighs martial law across Philippines

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is considering imposing martial law across the whole country, to stop the rise of ISIL-linked groups.

    • Duterte Is The Philippines’ Greatest Threat: Congress Should Cancel His Martial Law

      President Duterte used the excuse of terrorism in Mindanao to declare martial law there on May 23, a martial law he is itching to expand to the rest of the country. On multiple occasions he has mooted the idea of martial law, emergency powers, or a “revolutionary government” for the Philippines to address issues as varied as traffic in Manila, impeachment, a budget impasse, and his drug war. He also suggested that he could dispense with local elections and appoint 42,000 Barangay leaders, the smallest political unit in the Philippines. This is contrary to the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, as is his threat to extend martial law past the 60-day maximum. Congress should revoke his martial law declaration, as is its constitutional right.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • CIA director: ‘We are back in the business of stealing secrets’

      CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a blunt declaration Tuesday: “We are back in the business of stealing secrets.”

      The remark from Pompeo, made to a small group of reporters on Tuesday, was a tacit jab at his predecessor. Former agency director John Brennan turned heads in March of last year when he told National Public Radio that the U.S. doesn’t “steal secrets.”

    • FBI Insider Threat Program Documents Show How Little It Takes To Be Branded A Threat To The Agency

      Jason Leopold has obtained the FBI’s training slides for its “insider threat” program. This would be the same program the FBI refused to discuss in detail with the Senate, walking out of the briefing when asked how the program would avoid sweeping up legitimate whistleblowers.

      The federal government acts as though it’s receptive to whistleblowing, but then undermines that sentiment with pretty much everything else it does. These insider threat programs have only become more severe after the Snowden leaks, asking federal government employees to treat normal, everyday behavior as inherently suspicious.

    • ‘In Germany, such a violation is not even punishable’

      Sweden has dropped rape charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The German criminal law expert Nikolaos Gazeas talks about extradition and whether Britain can still arrest Assange for skipping bail years ago.

    • Court Orders Government To Provide More Information About Withheld Information in Laura Poitras’ FOIA Lawsuit

      Laura Poitras—the Academy and Pulitzer Prize Award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist behind CITIZENFOUR and Risk—wants to know why she was stopped and detained at the U.S. border every time she entered the country between July 2006 and June 2012. EFF is representing Poitras in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit aimed at answering this question. Since we filed the complaint in July 2015, the government has turned over hundreds of pages of highly redacted records, but it has failed to provide us with the particular justification for each withholding—as it is required to do. In March, in a win for transparency, a federal judge called foul and ordered the government to explain with particularity its rationale for withholding each document.

    • Senators From Both Parties Blast “Outrageous” Trump Call Praising Duterte for Anti-Drug Killing Spree

      Donald Trump’s praise for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous anti-drug campaign drew condemnation from leading foreign policy voices in both parties Wednesday, who were shocked the president would encourage what the State Department describes as “extrajudicial killings.”

      The Intercept reported Tuesday that Trump told Duterte in a private call that he endorsed the murderous anti-drug campaign, which has killed well over 7,000 people. Duterte has unapologetically compared himself to Hitler and said he would “be happy to slaughter” millions of drug addicts in the Philippines.

      According to the transcript of an April phone call obtained and authenticated by The Intercept, Trump had nothing but kind words for Duterte’s policy.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Inside the Effort to Kill Protections for Endangered Animals

      The ESA passed the House and Senate by margins that in the current partisan climate would be astonishing: 92 to zero in the Senate, 390 to 12 in the House. President Richard Nixon, a Republican, signed the law without hesitation.

      I asked Dingell if he could get the ESA passed today.

      "I don’t think I could pass the Lord’s Prayer in that nuthouse," he told me, referring to Congress. "The ESA was written so that scientific principles would be used to protect species. Science would make the decisions, science would decide the case. Today we have a bunch of antiscience ignoramuses and vicious lying people in Congress. And we’re going to pay a hellacious price."

    • Are Some Whales Just Too Big To Survive Climate Change?

      Nothing defines whales more than their size: The 100-foot blue whale is the largest creature that has ever existed, and many other species are 50-feet long or more. But it’s an accident of evolutionary timing that we know whales as giants. New research suggests most whales weren’t much more than 20-feet long until just two or three million years ago, when the oceans suddenly got a whole lot cooler.

      This raises a question: With the oceans set to get very warm, very fast, does that spell doom for these massive creatures?

    • Scientists just published an entire study refuting Scott Pruitt on climate change

      In a sign of growing tensions between scientists and the Trump administration, researchers published a scientific paper Wednesday that was conceived and written as an explicit refutation to an assertion by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt about climate change.

      The study, in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, sets up a direct test of a claim by Pruitt, made in written Senate comments following his confirmation hearing, that “over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming.”

  • Finance

    • Uber Plans Millions in Back Pay After Shorting NYC Drivers

      The ride-hailing company has previously misled drivers about how much they could make and miscalculated fares. In this case, Uber was taking its cut of fares based on the pretax sum, instead of after taxes and fees as stated in its terms of service. The issue was also raised in a lawsuit against San Francisco-based Uber filed by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. In March, Uber acknowledged that it had underestimated drivers’ pay in Philadelphia by millions of dollars.

    • Robots are set to replace half of retail workers in the US

      The most likely area for automation is cashier positions, which can be "easily" converted, says the report. Women are expected to be especially hard-hit by this, as they hold 73 per cent of cashier positions in the States.

    • Benefit sanctions leaving pupils hungry, Michael Gove’s former right-hand man warns

      Cuts to school support and benefit sanctions are damaging the education of Britain’s children and leaving teachers to buy food for pupils out of their own money, Michael Gove’s former right-hand man has warned.

      Sam Freedman, who was senior policy advisor to Mr Gove during his tenure as Education Secretary, said politicians of all parties had “abandoned” disadvantaged communities when it came to schools.

    • Africa subsidises the rest of the world by over $40 billion in one year, according to new research

      Much more wealth is leaving the world’s most impoverished continent than is entering it, according to new research into total financial flows into and out of Africa. The study finds that African countries receive $161.6 billion in resources such as loans, remittances and aid each year, but lose $203 billion through factors including tax avoidance, debt payments and resource extraction, creating an annual net financial deficit of over $40 billion.

    • Singapore ‘vending machine’ dispenses Ferraris, Lamborghinis

      Forget about soft drinks and potato chips – a “vending machine” in Singapore is offering up luxury vehicles, including Bentleys, Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

      Used car seller Autobahn Motors opened a futuristic 15-story showroom in December, with vehicles on display in 60 slots, billing it as the “world’s largest luxury car vending machine”.

    • Trump reportedly called Germany “bad, very bad” and threatened to stop Americans from buying BMWs

      Donald Trump’s visit to Brussels today has been one controversy after another. First he brusquely pushed Montenegro’s prime minister aside to get to the front of a photo-op. Then he declined to support Article Five, the cornerstone of NATO’s alliance, in a speech. Now, two of Germany’s leading newspapers are reporting that in a meeting with the EU’s top leadership he insulted Germany, threatened to cut off its car imports to the US, and displayed a stunning lack of knowledge about basic trade policy.

    • A beginner’s guide to Ethereum tokens

      Before learning about Ethereum tokens, it is important to first understand the basics of Ethereum. Please see my beginner’s guide to Ethereum for those new to this concept entirely. Ethereum tokens are simply digital assets that are being built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. They benefit from Ethereum’s existing infrastructure instead of developers having to build an entirely new blockchain. They also strengthen the Ethereum ecosystem by driving demand for ether, the native currency of Ethereum, needed to power the smart contracts. This beginner’s guide should help those who are new to digital assets to understand Ethereum tokens at a high level and how they are different than Ethereum.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump pushes around NATO; lecture seen as unsettling alliance

      When President Donald Trump lectured NATO members on their contributions to the trans-Atlantic alliance, he demonstrated a lack of understanding about how the group works and potentially alienated the US’ closest allies, analysts said.

      The speech comes at a time when Washington’s longstanding partnerships with the UK and Israel have endured friction over intelligence gaffes by the new administration.

      “Diplomatically, the speech was inept at best and deliberately insulting at worst,” said Jeff Rathke, deputy director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    • At NATO Headquarters, Trump Fails Another Leadership Test

      Even when a moment designed to affirm some of America’s basic principles is dangled before him, President Donald Trump has a way of batting it aside. In Brussels on Thursday, as he stood at a rostrum at a ceremony in front of the new NATO headquarters, Trump had, to his left, a mangled girder from the World Trade Center; to his right, broken slabs of the Berlin Wall, both of which were being dedicated as memorials; and, behind him, the leaders of the twenty-seven other countries in the alliance. One of them, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, had just delivered remarks that served as a reminder that, until she was thirty-five years old, she had lived behind that wall, and had been part of the civic movement that peacefully reunified Germany. Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, who had introduced Merkel, noted that she had been among the crowds filling the streets of East Berlin on the night the Wall came down. A few minutes later, when Stoltenberg introduced Trump, he summoned a personal connection for him, too, noting that the 9/11 terrorists “struck at the heart of your own home town, New York.” That attack marked the only time that NATO has invoked Article 5 of its charter, the mutual-defense provision, which the new headquarters’ 9/11 memorial was also supposed to commemorate. In what may have been an attempt at Trump-friendly sloganeering, Stoltenberg summed up Article 5 by declaring, gamely, “All for one, and one for all!” But Trump had come to praise other ideals, other lands, and other leaders.

    • Tory poll lead slashed to five points as Jeremy Corbyn gains ground on Theresa May

      THE Tories’ poll lead has been slashed to just five points as campaigns resume after the Manchester bombing.

      A new survey from YouGov puts Theresa May’s party on 43%, down one point since the previous week.

      But over the same period Labour have gained three points, putting them on 38% and in striking distance of victory.

    • Donald Trump has just met with the new leader of the secular world – Pope Francis

      After two days lecturing a collection of head-choppers, dictators, torturers and land thieves, Donald Trump at last met a good guy on Wednesday. Pope Francis didn’t ask for a $100bn (£77.2bn) arms deal for the Vatican. [...]

    • Black lawmaker addresses lynching threats on House floor
    • Republicans want to leave you more voicemail — without ever ringing your cellphone

      It’s part of a push by groups, including the U.S. Chamber, to relax the FCC’s robocalling rules.

    • This suspension of democracy is a grave error
    • Political TKO? Reporter charges Greg Gianforte ‘just body slammed me and broke my glasses’
    • Republican candidate ‘body-slams’ Guardian reporter in Montana

      The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat has been charged with assault after he is alleged to have slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting, "Get the hell out of here."

    • Our Embarrassment in Chief’s International Trip Is No Laughing Matter

      But let’s not grade a guy holding the nuclear codes on a curve. Three days into the trip, and Trump’s already showed the world that the United States is being governed by a brittle man-child. And if he manages to get through it without causing a major international incident, it will only be because foreign leaders have done a competent job dumbing down any complex diplomatic issues that may arise and feeding the insatiable ego of our embarrassment in chief.

    • Wilbur Ross Is a Disgrace to Himself and His Country

      It is not a "theory" that Saudi Arabia is an aggressively authoritarian state. It’s a well-documented fact—of the sort the US secretary of commerce should be well aware of.

    • Trump lost the ‘alpha male handshake’ game on his global charm offensive tour. Sad!

      U.S. President and noted buffoon Donald Trump likes to play a manly-man mind game on the bros he shakes hands with.

      He yanks their arms and shakes them aggressively, and won’t let them let go until he’s shaken them up for an awkwardly long time.

      Sometimes he pulls them toward himself, knocking them off balance, because they’re sissy-boys and he’s a manly-man.

      Welp, Trump’s bush league domination moves didn’t work on the president of Tajikistan.

    • Maybot policy reboot ends in an embarrassing interview meltdown

      “Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed,” the Supreme Leader snarled, her eyes narrowing into a death stare, her face contorted and her arms spread wide, twitching manically. “Nothing has changed.”

      Everyone at Conservative party’s Welsh manifesto launch in Wrexham saw it rather differently. They had distinctly heard her say she would be reversing the Conservative party policy on social care that she had introduced in her English manifesto launch in Halifax the previous Thursday. Making it one of the quickest manifesto U-turns in history.

    • Demonization of Soros recalls old anti-Semitic conspiracies

      In most nations, having a billionaire financier and philanthropist would be a source of great pride, a person many elected officials would want to cozy up to.

      Not for George Soros.

      The demonization of the American-Hungarian billionaire and Holocaust survivor has spread from Hungary and Moscow across Europe and into the United States, with the 86-year-old increasingly accused by nationalists of using his money to force his liberal values, including support for refugees, on their societies.

    • Thousands protest Trump in Belgium

      Omer Mommrerts grasped his wife’s hand as he marched down a sidewalk. A sticker reading “Trump Not Welcome” was neatly pinned to his black overcoat. Though Mommrerts is 84-years-old and hard of hearing, he wasn’t going to miss the “Trump Not Welcome” protest in Brussels on Wednesday.

      “I see young people and that’s why I’m happy,” he said. “It’s not one generation or one group. It’s inter-generational, inter-cultural. All kinds of people.”

    • European Leaders Hope to Win Trump’s Favor

      Brussels, which he called a “hellhole,” and the European Union, which he called “a vehicle for Germany,” and NATO, which he called “obsolete,” are all nervously awaiting the arrival of President Trump on Wednesday, the way earthlings might await the impact of an asteroid.

      Security will be very tight, especially after the terrorist attack Monday night in Manchester, England, with police officers brought in from all over Belgium and some neighboring countries.

    • The UK’s Epochal Election

      In parliamentary democracies, it is a platitude, largely self-regarding, that all general elections matter somehow and in some way. Some, however, clearly matter more than others.

      In the UK, since World War 2, we can think of the Labour victory in 1945 which led to the foundation of its welfare state. The victory of Thatcher in 1979 led to the installation of neoliberalism in the UK. Every election victor since then, Blair’s Labour included, has upheld the essentials of Thatcherite dogma.

      It is no overstatement to say the UK has another epochal general election in June 2017.

      A victory, against the current odds, for a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour will, if it adheres to positions he promoted when he won the party leadership by a margin even greater than Blair’s when the latter became leader, ensue in the promise of an overturning of neoliberalism.

      Labour’s election manifesto confirms that Corbyn is campaigning on a repudiation of Thatcherism and neoliberalism (to which the Blairites see no alternative).

    • If you vote for the Tories’ right to buy, where will your children live?

      This is the column I am supposed to write; it’s all part of the Tory game plan. The Conservatives’ proposal to flog off housing association homes has nothing to do with meeting people’s urgent and increasingly desperate housing needs.

      The aims are threefold. First, with home ownership at a three-decade low – thanks to the government’s failure to build homes and, ironically, the legacy of right to buy – the Tories bank on tenants believing this policy could be their only chance to buy a home, turning them into grateful Conservative voters. Second, it is great news for private landlords: in one London borough surveyed, around 40% of homes sold off under right to buy have ended up under the ownership of a private landlord, and one lucky beneficiary is the son of Margaret Thatcher’s housing minister, who owns more than 40 ex-council properties. And third, it is intended to provoke a backlash from Labour and the left that allows them to be painted as anti-aspiration, with columns such as these.

    • Deafening Silence: How Are Executive Branch Agencies Responding to Questions from the Press and Congress?

      Shortly after President Trump took office, there were reports that the new administration was placing restrictions on how employees of certain federal agencies could communicate with the public. More recently, it has been reported that federal agencies in the Trump administration have not been responding to congressional requests for information.

      According to the Washington Post, Democratic Senators have compiled a list of more than 200 questions that have gone unanswered, including routine inquiries about government programs as well as broader policy questions.

    • General election 2017: latest poll shows Tory lead cut to five points as Corbyn closes in

      Theresa May’s poll lead has fallen to five points a fortnight before the general election — the smallest margin over Labour since she came to power.

      A YouGov poll for The Times puts Labour on 38 per cent of the vote, up three points since the end of last week and the party’s best performance since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in September 2015.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Norway seeks new powers to police Facebook

      Kripos, Norway’s National Criminal Investigation Service, is reportedly examining the legal aspects of how police accounts could be given access to areas of Facebook that are not open to the public.

    • FCC Will Not Take Action Over Stephen Colbert’s Trump Remarks

      The FCC will not take any action in response to complaints over a May 1 broadcast of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," in which the host quipped during his opening monologue that "the only thing [Trump's] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c— holster."

    • Turkish President Demands Google Delist A Bunch Of Websites Comparing Him To Hitler

      Not helping these comparisons is Erdogan’s similar facial structure and his endless vindictive actions against anyone who’s hurt his feelings.

    • Comcast vendor sent cease-and-desist to operator of anti-Comcast website

      A Comcast vendor sent a cease-and-desist letter to the operator of “Comcastroturf.com,” a website that helps people find out if their names were used by bots that have flooded the Federal Communications Commission with anti-net neutrality comments.

      Fight for the Future, the advocacy group that operates the site, issued a press release accusing Comcast of censorship and posted an image of the letter that accuses the group of trademark infringement. The letter was sent by LookingGlass Cyber Security Center on behalf of its client, Comcast, and demands that Fight for the Future “take all steps necessary to see that the Domain Name [Comcastroturf.com] is assigned to Comcast.”

    • Someone Under Federal Indictment Impersonates A Journalist To File Bogus DMCA Notice

      Everyone’s favorite abusable statute is back at it. Anyone can file a DMCA takedown request. Not everyone gets theirs granted. But it’s a zero-cost, mostly-zero risk effort that takes about five minutes from start to finish. It’s no wonder it’s been abused by a handful of ex-cons and, very memorably, by a revenge porn purveyor who suddenly developed concerns about personal privacy.

    • How Singapore is abusing its laws on ‘hate speech’

      The traditional Chinese Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, situated near the city centre, is one of Singapore’s most visited. People flock to it daily in the belief that praying to the Goddess of Mercy brings good fortune. Many devotees also stop at the Hindu Sri Krishnan temple right next door to light joss sticks; it happens so often that the Hindu temple’s management have erected an altar to the Goddess of Mercy by their entrance.

      It’s a scene that’s symbolic of the religious diversity among the 5.7 million people of different races, religions, nationalities and backgrounds crammed onto a tiny island. In 2014, the Pew Research Centre ranked Singapore as the most religiously diverse country in the world.

      Making sure that everyone gets along presents unique challenges, and in Singapore the government and courts have a broad set of tools ostensibly fit for this purpose, including laws meant to prevent hate speech and even hurt feelings. However, simmering tension over how those laws are applied – or not – came to a boil in March when teenage blogger Amos Yee was given political asylum in the US after a court there ruled that he had been subjected to political persecution.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Foreign Firms Fret as China Implements New Cybersecurity Law

      China is bringing in a raft of new measures, giving the government unprecedented access to foreign companies’ technology, as it bolsters control of the collection and movement of data. Forcing companies to store information within the mainland has already led some to tap cloud computing providers with more local server capacity, a potential boon to homegrown Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. at the expense of Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

    • Brazilian Journalist Detained By UK Border Police For Reading A Book About ISIS

      That seems a perfectly reasonable thing for a journalist to be reading in order to understand the background to the Manchester attack, which Bercito had been sent to cover for his employer, the Folha de São Paulo newspaper. But it was apparently enough for the border police to pull him in for questioning. His passport and press credentials were taken away, and he waited for an hour before he was interviewed. The police officers then explained exactly why Bercito had been singled out for special attention: another passenger on his flight had felt “uncomfortable” about his choice of reading matter.

    • Fighting Corruption, Ukraine Starts to Judge Its Judges

      Ukrainian judge Artur Yemelianov has acknowledged in an online declaration that he owns a Breguet watch worth nearly a third of his annual salary and keeps piles of cash.

      On Jan. 12 he was suspended for three months after prosecutors opened a criminal case against him related to how commercial law cases were allocated to judges, according to statements by the Ukrainian High Council of Justice and Yemelianov himself.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Kill Google AMP Before It Kills the Web

      "Google’s AMP is bad – bad in a potentially web-destroying way. Google AMP is bad news for how the web is built, it’s bad news for publishers of credible online content, and it’s bad news for consumers of that content. Google AMP is only good for one party: Google. Google, and possibly, purveyors of fake news."

    • And now, a brief definition of the web

      As we gear up to argue about net neutrality, it’s worth remembering that ISPs aren’t the only gatekeepers on the internet. I don’t have anything against apps or proprietary services. I use them every day. Many of them look like the web and work like the web.

      But they’re not the web.

    • The FCC Doesn’t Care That Somebody’s Spamming Its Net Neutrality Proceeding With Fraudulent Comments

      And again, the FCC is turning a blind eye to this fraudulent behavior because actual humans overwhelmingly oppose what Pai and friends are up to. Recent analysis of the comments made so far to the FCC indicate the vast, vast majority of consumers — across all political ideologies — don’t want the agency gutting meaningful oversight of the already uncompetitive broadband sector. That could be problematic later this year, when Pai faces inevitable lawsuits over his rush to kill the protections despite no corresponding market necessity, and the broad public support for the rules.

    • Are we making the web too complicated?
    • If Net Neutrality Dies, Comcast Can Just Block A Protest Site Instead Of Sending A Bogus Cease-And-Desist

      It appears that a vendor working for Comcast sent a totally bullshit cease-and-desist letter regarding a pro-net neutrality site: Comcastroturf.com, created by our friends over at Fight for the Future. The Comcastroturf website was set up as a tool to see if someone filed bogus FCC comments in your name. As you probably recall, there is a bot that has been flooding the FCC comment site with bogus anti-net neutrality comments, filed in alphabetical order. Reporters contacted some of the individuals whose names appear on these comments, and they had no idea what it was about. People are still trying to track down who is actually responsible for the bogus comments, but Fight for the Future set up this neat site to let you check if your name was used by whoever is behind it.

    • Cable Companies Refuse To Put Their Breathless Love Of Net Neutrality Down In Writing

      Apparently, giant broadband providers don’t much want to put their sudden, mysterious love of net neutrality into writing. Last week, the FCC voted to begin killing net neutrality, opening the door to a 90-day comment period ahead of a broader rule-killing vote later this year. In the wake of the move, the same large ISPs that have spent a decade trying to kill meaningful regulatory oversight comically went out of their way to (falsely) claim that the killing of the rules doesn’t mean all that much — because these duopolies love net neutrality so much any hard rules simply aren’t necessary.

    • FCC Guards ‘Manhandle’ Reporter Just For Asking Questions At Net Neutrality Vote

      The FCC apparently doesn’t want to talk much about its plan to gut meaningful oversight of some of the least competitive companies in any American industry. Last week, we noted that the FCC had voted to begin the process of gutting popular net neutrality protections, ignoring the overwhelming public support for the rules registered at the FCC’s website. This notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) is followed by a 90-day public comment period (you can comment here) ahead of a finalizing vote to kill the consumer protections later this year.

  • DRM

    • BBC Store closes after just 18 months

      People who bought digital box sets from the BBC Store were sent an e-mail about the sudden closure. Those customers will be able to watch their purchases until November 1, but after that they will disappear into the DRM digital ether. Thankfully, customers will be offered a full refund, too. (It isn’t clear if the refund will be automatic on November 1, or if you’ll have to log in and manually ask for it.)

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Apple and Nokia bury the hatchet

      The companies said today they have settled all outstanding litigation and agreed to a patent license. While exact financial terms are confidential, Apple will be making an up-front cash payment to Nokia, followed by additional payments over the course of the agreement.

    • Trademarks

      • Trademark Has Come To This: Tinder Opposes Dating App With Only One Lonely Dude On Its Dating Roster

        By now, Tinder is probably in the common lexicon. The dating app has been fairly successful, boasting something like 50 million people using it and managing to make something like 12 million matches per day. It’s a household name, in other words, which is what makes it a bit strange to see the company bother to oppose a fairly silly trademark application by one guy who designed a dating app to get dating matches for exactly one person: himself.

      • Paypal says Pandora’s logo infringes, starts trademark battle

        Some heavy tech hitters have been in the spotlight lately for haggling over their trademarks. Ars recently reported about Google, which successfully defended its mark amid accusations that the term “google” is no longer eligible for legal protection because it has become too generic of a word for “searching the Web.”

    • Copyrights

      • Alleged KickassTorrents Founder Released on Bail

        Artem Vaulin, the alleged owner of KickassTorrents, has been released from prison on bail. The Ukrainian will be able to await the extradition procedure as a relatively free man. He currently lives in a rented apartment where he was reunited with his wife and young son.

      • An interview with alleged KickassTorrents founder in his jail cell in Poland

        Until last week, Vaulin had been held at Warsaw-Bialoleka Investigative Detention Center with little contact to the outside world while the Polish government evaluated a US extradition request. Last Tuesday, two days before his release, The Verge sat down with Vaulin in his jail cell for a two-hour interview — the first since his arrest — to discuss his extradition fight and his life inside jail.

05.24.17

Links 24/5/2017: New RHEL Beta, SteamOS Updated

Posted in News Roundup at 3:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Nextcloud 12 Officially Released, Adds New Architecture for Massive Scalability

    Nextcloud informs Softpedia today about the official availability of the final release of Nextcloud 12, a major milestone of the self-hosting cloud server technology that introduces numerous new features and improvements.

    The biggest new feature of the Nextcloud 12 release appears to be the introduction of a new architecture for massive scalability, called Global Scale, which is a next-generation open-source technology for syncing and sharing files. Global Scale increases scalability from tens of thousands of users to hundreds of millions on a single instance, while helping universities and other institutions significantly reduce the costs of their existing large installations.

  • ReactOS 0.4.5 Open-Source Windows-Compatible OS Launches with Many Improvements

    ReactOS 0.4.5 is a maintenance update that adds numerous changes and improvements over the previous point release. The kernel has been updated in this version to improve the FreeLoader and UEFI booting, as well as the Plug and Play modules, adding support for more computers to boot ReactOS without issues.

  • Sprint Debuts Open Source NFV/SDN Platform Developed with Intel Labs

    AT&T has been the headliner in the carrier race to software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). But Sprint is putting its own stamp on the space this week with its debut of a new open source SDN/NFV mobile core solution.

  • Google’s New Home for All Things Open Source Runs Deep

    Google is not only one of the biggest contributors to the open source community but also has a strong track record of delivering open source tools and platforms that give birth to robust technology ecosystems. Just witness the momentum that Android and Kubernetes now have. Recently, Google launched a new home for its open source projects, processes, and initiatives. The site runs deep and has several avenues worth investigating. Here is a tour and some highlights worth noting.

  • Making your first open source contribution
  • Simplify expense reports with Smart Receipts

    The app is called Smart Receipts, it’s licensed AGPL 3.0, and the source code is available on GitHub for Android and iOS.

  • How the TensorFlow team handles open source support

    Open-sourcing is more than throwing code over the wall and hoping somebody uses it. I knew this in theory, but being part of the TensorFlow team at Google has opened my eyes to how many different elements you need to build a community around a piece of software.

  • IRC for the 21st Century: Introducing Riot

    Internet relay chat (IRC) is one of the oldest chat protocols around and still popular in many open source communities. IRC’s best strengths are as a decentralized and open communication method, making it easy for anyone to participate by running a network of their own. There are also a variety of clients and bots available for IRC.

  • Chef expands its cloud and container menu

    Chef, a leading DevOps company, announced at ChefConf 2017 that it was adding new capabilities to it flagship Continous Automation/DevOps program, Chef Automate. This enables enterprises to transition from server- and virtual machine- (VM) based IT systems to cloud-native and container-first environments with consistent automation and DevOps practices.

  • Nextcloud 12: The bigger, better, in-house small business cloud

    It’s not even been a year since Frank Karlitschek, co-founder and former CTO of ownCloud, forked ownCloud into Nextcloud. Since then, this do-it-yourself, open-source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud has become increasingly popular. Now, its latest version, Nextcloud 12, the program is adding more Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) features.

  • The Spirit of Open Source
  • What happened to Mastodon after its moment in the spotlight?

    More than a month later, the buzz over Mastodon has quieted. But though it may not be making headlines, the service continues to grow.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla: One Step Closer to a Closed Internet

        We’re deeply disheartened. Today’s FCC vote to repeal and replace net neutrality protections brings us one step closer to a closed internet. Although it is sometimes hard to describe the “real” impacts of these decisions, this one is easy: this decision leads to an internet that benefits Internet Service Providers (ISPs), not users, and erodes free speech, competition, innovation and user choice.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • The eternal battle for OpenStack’s soul will conclude in three years. Again

      After six years as a formal project, OpenStack has survived numerous raids and famines and now finds itself in a not-too-weird space of being boring, on-premises infrastructure. That is, “boring” in the good way of focusing on what users want and fixing existing problems, only chasing shiny objects – cough, PaaS, cough, containers, cough, orchestration – as much as needed.

  • Databases

    • With version 2.0, Crate.io’s database tools put an emphasis on IoT

      Crate.io, the winner of our Disrupt Europe 2014 Battlefield, is launching version 2.0 of its CrateDB database today. The tool, which is available in both an open source and enterprise version, started out as a general-purpose but highly scalable SQL database. Over time, though, the team found that many of its customers were using the service for managing their machine data and, unsurprisingly, decided to focus its efforts on better supporting those clients.

    • NewSQL CockroachDB Ready for Prime Time

      There’s a new open source database on the block. Although it has a name that will most likely make you cringe for the first dozen or so times you hear it — CockroachDB — I have a feeling that if it isn’t already on your radar, it will be soon.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice leverages Google’s OSS-Fuzz to improve quality of office suite
    • LibreOffice leverages Google’s OSS-Fuzz to improve quality of office suite

      For the last five months, The Document Foundation has made use of OSS-Fuzz, Google’s effort to make open source software more secure and stable, to further improve the quality and reliability of LibreOffice’s source code. Developers have used the continuous and automated fuzzing process, which often catches issues just hours after they appear in the upstream code repository, to solve bugs – and potential security issues – before the next binary release.LibreOffice is the first free office suite in the marketplace to leverage Google’s OSS-Fuzz. The service, which is associated with other source code scanning tools such as Coverity, has been integrated into LibreOffice’s security processes – under Red Hat’s leadership – to significantly improve the quality of the source code.

    • Please participate in a survey about page margins

      Margins specify the amount of space to leave between the edges of the page and the document text. You can define it for the left/inner, right/outer, top and bottom side individually. Page margins are defined by default at 0.79″ respectively 2cm on each side in LibreOffice Writer (located under Format > Page). These default values are under close scrutiny now.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD quarterly status report
    • openbsd changes of note 622
    • Book Review: Relayd and Httpd Mastery

      Overall an excellent book which is typical Michael W Lucas writing style. Easy to follow, clear cut instructions, and tons of new stuff to learn. If one must use OpenBSD or FreeBSD, then the chances are high that one will stick with the defaults that come with OpenBSD. No need to use fat Apache, or Nginx/Lighttpd web server especially when httpd and relayd audited for security by OpenBSD core team.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Sharing America’s code

      Since Salehi joined the CIO team in 2015, the government has made great strides toward open sourcing its code. The Federal Source Code Policy, released in August 2016, was the first U.S. government policy to support open source across the government.

    • Galicia continues promotion of free software

      The government of the autonomous region of Galicia (Spain) will continue to encourage the use of free and open source software solutions in the public and private sector. This week, the government published the ‘Free Software Plan 2017’, outlining 110 actions.

      In its ‘Plan de acción software libre 2017’, Galicia announces new initiatives to promote sharing and reuse of ICT solutions. The government is to share new software solutions, but will also emphasise the reuse of existing tools, pointing to Mancomún, the region’s software repository, the catalogue maintained by the Spanish central government’s Centre for Technology Transfer, and to the European Commission’s Joinup eGovernment portal.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • How Socrates taught me to talk to developers

      The University of Chicago Law School, where Barack Obama taught constitutional law until making a slight career change, describes the Socratic method as an inquiry practice based on “asking continual questions until a contradiction was exposed, thus proving the fallacy of the initial assumption.” A catchier description, offered by this quick how-to for using the method with children, is “clarify, synthesize, restate.”

    • Hugo vs. Jekyll: Comparing the leading static website generators

      Unless your spirit animal is Emily Dickinson, when you make a thing, you want to share it with the world. Sharing your work means that you need a website. Of course, you could simply partake in digital sharecropping and use any of the various social media sites to get your work in front of an audience. There sure are plenty to choose from… and not just “conventional” social media sites. With places like Artstation, Flickr, Soundcloud, and Wattpad, there’s an outlet for you, whatever your medium.

    • 5 reasons the D programming language is a great choice for development

      It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a situation where you have an idea and you want to implement it in code exactly the way you are thinking about it in your mind. However, sometimes you have to compromise the idea to fit the code, instead of modeling the code to fit the idea. D supports several programming paradigms, including functional style, imperative, object oriented, metaprogramming, and concurrent (actor model), all harmoniously integrated. You have the option to choose whichever paradigm is convenient for modeling code to fit your idea.

    • Sick of Java and C++? Google pours a cup o’ Kotlin for Android devs
    • Android Studio 3.0 Canary 1
    • Jaded by Java? Android now supports Kotlin programming language
    • Rcpp 0.12.11: Loads of goodies

      The elevent update in the 0.12.* series of Rcpp landed on CRAN yesterday following the initial upload on the weekend, and the Debian package and Windows binaries should follow as usual. The 0.12.11 release follows the 0.12.0 release from late July, the 0.12.1 release in September, the 0.12.2 release in November, the 0.12.3 release in January, the 0.12.4 release in March, the 0.12.5 release in May, the 0.12.6 release in July, the 0.12.7 release in September, the 0.12.8 release in November, the 0.12.9 release in January, and the 0.12.10.release in March — making it the fifteenth release at the steady and predictable bi-montly release frequency.

    • Master Haskell Programming with Free Books

      Haskell is a standardized, general-purpose, polymorphically statically typed, lazy, purely functional language, very different from many programming languages. Recent innovations include static polymorphic typing, higher-order functions, user-definable algebraic data types, a module system, and more. It has built-in concurrency and parallelism, debuggers, profilers, rich libraries and an active community, with approximately 5,400 third-party open source libraries and tools.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • [Older] Manifesto: Rules for standards-makers

      If we work together on a project based on open tech, these are the principles I will try to stick to. I wanted to put all this in one place, so I can pass it along to future software developers.

Leftovers

  • The White House will meet with tech execs for advice on giving the government a digital upgrade

    Announced in April, the American Technology Council is comprised of federal officials who oversee technology-focused agencies, and it’s officially led by Chris Liddell, a White House aide who previously served as the chief financial officer at Microsoft. The initiative itself lives under the umbrella of Kushner’s Office of American Innovation, which aspires to cure longtime, unresolved government ills, such as the poor, aging technology in use at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • What is dead may never die: a new version of OS/2 just arrived

    An outfit called Arca Noae has released a new version of IBM’s venerable OS/2 operating system, named ArcaOS 5.0.

    The Register understands that Arca Noae has a licence from IBM to do a distribution of OS/2, the OS that Big Blue pitched against Windows 95 back in the day. OS/2′s fourth release was widely regarded as technically superior to Windows 95 and Windows NT but didn’t catch on because of a clunkier GUI and Microsoft’s hardball licensing tactics that made it commercially suicidal for PC-makers to offer the OS.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • WikiLeaks Reveals ‘Athena’ CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows [iophk: "thus the active smear campaign againse Assange within tech circles"]

      WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak, detailing a spyware framework – which "provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers" – allegedly being used by the CIA that works against every version of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 10.

    • How To Avoid Future WannaCry Style Ransomware Attacks

      Critical tasks are often trusted to Linux or similar operating systems (Unix, BSD, etc.) because of reliability and security. When efficiency is required, Linux is often tapped because it can be deployed in a very efficient manner. Linux acts internally like the prison, not the food court. The system itself is constantly monitored open source code, and most of what runs on it is openly monitored as well. Software is usually distributed via secure repositories. The system is free and easily updated, there is no such thing as a pirated copy of Linux. There is a regular schedule of updates, they come out every Sunday.

    • WannaCry is a Cry for VEP Reform

      This weekend, a vulnerability in some versions of the Windows operating system resulted in the biggest cybersecurity attack in years. The so-called “WannaCry” malware relied on at least one exploit included in the latest Shadow Brokers release. As we have repeated, attacks like this are a clarion call for reform to the government’s Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP).

    • Will Linux protect you from ransomware attacks?

      Ransomware attacks are all the rage these days among hackers, and many people are worried about becoming victims. Are Linux users secure against such attacks?

      This topic came up recently in a thread on the Linux subreddit, and the folks there had some interesting thoughts to share about Linux and ransomware attacks.

    • Linux Ransomware

      A few people have asked me over the past week whether or not Linux is susceptible to ransomware attacks. While the answer is fairly straight forward, let’s go over a couple things here first.

    • Improving Internet Security through Vulnerability Disclosure

      We support the PATCH Act because it aims to codify and make the existing Vulnerabilities Equities Process more transparent. The Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP) is the U.S. government’s process for reviewing and coordinating the disclosure of new vulnerabilities learns about.

    • ​Gmail Docs phishing attack: Google targets devs with tighter web app ID checks

      Google is slowing down the process for publishing web applications to prevent a repeat of the phishing attack that abused users’ trust in its sign-in system with a fake Google Docs app.

      Google has warned web app developers that new rules and an additional risk assessment may add “some friction” to the process of publishing apps.

    • Windows 7, not XP, was the reason last week’s WCry worm spread so widely [iophk: "yet look at the talking points against XP that the tech community spread"]

      Eight days ago, the WCry ransomware worm attacked more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries. The outbreak prompted infected hospitals to turn away patients and shut down computers in banks and telecoms. Now that researchers have had time to analyze the self-replicating attack, they’re learning details that shed new and sometimes surprising light on the world’s biggest ransomware attack.

      [...]

      Chief among the revelations: more than 97 percent of infections hit computers running Windows 7, according to attacks seen by antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab. By contrast, infected Windows XP machines were practically non-existent, and those XP PCs that were compromised were likely manually infected by their owners for testing purposes. That’s according to Costin Raiu, director of Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team, who spoke to Ars.

    • Companies use kidnap insurance to guard against ransomware attacks
    • NSA Was Concerned About Power Of Windows Exploit Long Before It Was Leaked
    • CIA’s Windows XP to Windows 10 malware: WikiLeaks reveals Athena
    • Newly Found Malware Uses 7 NSA Hacking Tools, Where WannaCry Uses 2
    • New SMB Worm Uses Seven NSA Hacking Tools. WannaCry Used Just Two

      Researchers have detected a new worm that is spreading via SMB, but unlike the worm component of the WannaCry ransomware, this one is using seven NSA tools instead of two.

      The worm’s existence first came to light on Wednesday, after it infected the SMB honeypot of Miroslav Stampar, member of the Croatian Government CERT, and creator of the sqlmap tool used for detecting and exploiting SQL injection flaws.

    • Fight ransomware by running Windows in Linux as a virtual machine

      The cool thing about all this virtual storage stuff is that the entire Windows application–files, applications, the works–are contained in one file. That file can easily be backed up, archived, encrypted and stored on the cloud, copied hundreds of times, or deleted. VirtualBox can even take snapshots of the virtual drive within the application, freeing you from any hassle of backing up virtual storage files yourself.

    • WannaCry ransomware hit Windows 7 the hardest [iophk: “IIRC Kaspersky found it to be 97%”

      In a survey for Reuters, BitSight found that 67 per cent of infected PCs it infected were running Windows 7, despite the OS being installed on fewer than half of Windows PCs worldwide.

    • Windows 10 Enterprise appears to be blatantly ignoring privacy group settings

      All connections except Updates to Microsoft blocked. Still connects to a range of ad servers. Yes advertising servers. Burnett confirms that all these calls are made by Windows 10, not by any apps.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • HackerOne experience with Weblate

      Weblate has started to use HackerOne Community Edition some time ago and I think it’s good to share my experience with that. Do you have open source project and want to get more attention of security community? This post will answer how it looks from perspective of pretty small project.

      I’ve applied with Weblate to HackerOne Community Edition by end of March and it was approved early in April. Based on their recommendations I’ve started in invite only mode, but that really didn’t bring much attention (exactly none reports), so I’ve decided to go public.

    • Who Are the Shadow Brokers?

      In 2013, a mysterious group of hackers that calls itself the Shadow Brokers stole a few disks full of National Security Agency secrets. Since last summer, they’ve been dumping these secrets on the internet. They have publicly embarrassed the NSA and damaged its intelligence-gathering capabilities, while at the same time have put sophisticated cyberweapons in the hands of anyone who wants them. They have exposed major vulnerabilities in Cisco routers, Microsoft Windows, and Linux mail servers, forcing those companies and their customers to scramble. And they gave the authors of the WannaCry ransomware the exploit they needed to infect hundreds of thousands of computer worldwide this month.

      After the WannaCry outbreak, the Shadow Brokers threatened to release more NSA secrets every month, giving cybercriminals and other governments worldwide even more exploits and hacking tools.

    • Why Akamai Supports Let’s Encrypt

      The Let’s Encrypt project has re-shaped the market for SSL/TLS certificates, providing millions of free security certificate to organization around the world.

      Among the many backers of Let’s Encrypt is content delivery network platform provider Akamai. In a video interview with eSecurityPlanet, Andy Ellis, Chief Security Officer at Akamai, explains why Let’s Encrypt matters and his view on the effort’s real value.

    • Security in Serverless: What Gets Better, What Gets Worse?
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Indonesia rejects claims regarding West Papua

      The statement condemned Indonesian human rights violations in Papua and called for a resolution supporting the right of West Papuan political self-determination.

      However, Indonesia’s embassy in New Zealand says the ACP agreed in April that the group would not cover the issue of Papua in future meetings.

    • China killed CIA sources, hobbled US spying from 2010 to 2012: Reports

      Investigators remain divided over whether there was a spy within the Central Intelligence Agency who betrayed the sources or whether the Chinese hacked {sic} the CIA’s covert communications system, the newspaper reported, citing current and former US officials.

      The Chinese killed at least a dozen people providing information to the CIA from 2010 through 2012, dismantling a network that was years in the making, the newspaper reported.

    • Duterte declares martial law in southern Philippines

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law Tuesday in the southern region of Mindanao, after deadly clashes between security forces and Islamic State group-linked militants in a major city there.

      The announcement, made by his spokesman at a press conference in Moscow where Duterte was on an official visit, fulfills an often-repeated warning by the president that he would enforce military rule to quell security threats.

    • Don’t Let ISIS Shape The News

      It’s 2017, and the world is shaken by another depraved mass murder, carried out and claimed in the name of ISIS. This time, it is children who are targeted. And just like the countless other times before, the mass media coverage seems stuck on a loop: the same few videos of victims panicking, anguished parents waiting for their children, and distraught mothers sobbing dominate our screens, playing again and again and again and again.

      ISIS has a media strategy, and unfortunately, it is aimed exactly at generating this type of coverage. In fact, this media strategy is instinctively shared with other sensational mass killers — school shooters, white-supremacist terrorists, and others. They crave the distorted infamy they hope they will get after their death; they carefully prepare manifestos they hope will be published; they record videos they hope will be played on loop on cable TV.

    • Trump Praised Philippines President Duterte For Drug War That Has Killed 9,000 People

      President Donald Trump opened a brief April phone call with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte by commending the strongman’s bloody war on drugs, according to a transcript obtained by The Washington Post and the The Intercept.

      “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” said Trump. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

    • Trump Called Rodrigo Duterte to Congratulate Him on His Murderous Drug War: “You Are Doing an Amazing Job”

      In a phone call from the White House late last month, U.S. President Donald Trump heaped praise on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, one of the world’s most murderous heads of state, for doing what Trump called an “unbelievable job” in his war on drugs. Trump offered an unqualified endorsement of Duterte’s bloody extermination campaign against suspected drug dealers and users, which has included open calls for extrajudicial murders and promises of pardons and immunity for the killers.

      “You are a good man,” Trump told Duterte, according to an official transcript of the April 29 call produced by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and obtained by The Intercept. “Keep up the good work,” Trump told Duterte. “You are doing an amazing job.”

    • Duterte on martial law: ‘I’d be harsh’

      President Rodrigo Duterte did not say how long martial law will be in effect in Mindanao, but he did warn he will be “harsh” in dealing with terrorists.

      Duterte, who is on his way to the Philippines after cutting his official visit in Russia, said he will be happy if it is over within a month, but is also not hesitant to keep it for a year.

    • US leak of Manchester attacker’s name strikes new blow to intelligence sharing

      American officials have been criticised for leaking the identity of the Manchester bomber before British police officially named him.

      Salman Abedi was identified in media reports that attributed “US officials” as the source even as their British counterparts remained tight-lipped.

    • ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’: Manchester bombing rouses British stiff upper lip

      While addressing her country following the attack, British Prime Minister Theresa May exhibited hints of the Victorian stoicism and “stiff upper lip” that’s traditionally been attributed to the British people during times of hardship. With calm and steady diction, she noted that this is not the first time terrorism has shaken Manchester.

    • Someone leaked Donald Trump’s phone call to Rodrigo Duterte, and it’s the stuff of madmen

      Donald Trump has clashed with the respected leaders of numerous American allies, but he seems to get along just fine with the notoriously corrupt and criminal leaders of other nations. But as much praise as Trump has already heaped Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, a mass murderer, it turns out Trump has said even nicer things to him in private. We know this, because someone leaked the transcript of their phone conversation.

      [...]

      On the other hand, madman Trump told madman Duterte that he thinks North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is a “madman with nuclear weapons,” a rare correct assessment of a foreign leader from the normally oblivious Trump. The trouble: Donald Trump is also a madman with nuclear weapons.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Seth Rich murder conspiracy theories re-emerge as Kim Dotcom weighs in

      On Sunday, speculation that the young DNC staffer was involved in the leaks was promoted by internet millionaire and the embattled founder of Megaupload, Kim Dotcom. Mr Dotcom tweeted that Mr Rich was the leaker and that he himself was also involved, promising to issue a statement after meeting with his lawyers this week.

    • Human Rights Lawyer: Sweden Dropping Investigation of WikiLeaks’ Assange is “Long Overdue Decision” [iophk: "agitators and chumps intentionally mistranslate the question as "rape""]

      Swedish prosecutors have dropped an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange has denied the allegations, which he calls a pretext for his ultimate extradition to the U.S. to face prosecution under the Espionage Act. Since 2012, Assange has taken refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. It’s not clear whether Assange will emerge any time soon. “This is a small victory, but in this long road to free Julian Assange and all the people working for WikiLeaks,” says our guest Renata Avila, a Courage Foundation trustee and human rights lawyer. “But it will finally help us lawyers to focus on the main issue, which is the persecution, the political persecution, and imminent prosecution of Julian Assange in the United States.”

    • Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story

      The hunt for the Wikileaks founder has been a brutal and corrupt assault on freedom of speech from the beginning, writes John Pilger.

      Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state’s collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and “rendition”.

    • Can Australia Please Stop Being Washington’s Bitch And Help Assange Now?

      The Wall Street Journal has published an editorial titled “The U.S. Can Get Julian Assange” and subtitled “Avoid extradition and use secret services to airlift him to stand trial in America.” This horrifying article, run by one of America’s major mainstream publications, details how US special forces could technically storm the embassy of a sovereign nation, kidnap an Australian journalist who has broken no laws, and drag him back to the States in a way that the editorial’s author claims has legal precedent in America. The mass media propaganda machine of a government that tortures whistleblowers is openly advocating kidnapping an Australian citizen, from an Ecuadorian embassy, in the UK, in order to stop him from traveling to Ecuador. Because he helped show the American people the truth about their government.

    • The Man Who Made the Mistake of Trying to Help Wikileaks

      In his first interview, former US government lab worker Jason Scott Katz tells Motherboard about how trying to decrypt one file led to an FBI raid, losing his job, moving to Iceland, and founding the Pirate Party there.

    • Joe Lieberman atop FBI would be a First Amendment disaster

      Former Senator Joe Lieberman is reportedly President Trump’s leading choice to replace the recently-fired James Comey as FBI director. If you’re a person who values free speech and press freedom rights, it’s hard to imagine a worse pick for FBI director than Lieberman.

      It was only a week ago we learned that Trump allegedly urged Comey in a private meeting to prosecute reporters for publishing classified information. So one of the most vital issues for any confirmation hearing will be whether the next FBI director will respect journalists’ right to report on the government. You don’t have to look far to understand how dangerous an FBI Director Lieberman would be to the journalism profession.

      In 2010, when WikiLeaks, in conjunction with The New York Times, The Guardian, and other papers, started publishing secret State Department cables, then-Senator Lieberman was Congress’s leading advocate for prosecuting the publishers of the cables—First Amendment be damned. At the time, he loudly called for the prosecution of WikiLeaks, saying, “I don’t understand why that hasn’t happened yet. … I think it’s the most serious violation of the Espionage Act in our history, and the consequences globally that have occurred.”

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Will Donald Trump Be Impeached?

      So let’s talk about impeachment. Although if we’re being more precise, impeachment doesn’t remove a president from office; conviction on impeachment charges does.

    • What Explains Trump’s Sharp About-Face on Saudi Arabia?

      There are many troubling aspects of Donald Trump’s still-young presidency, but his warm embrace of Riyadh this weekend might be the most troubling of all.

    • How social media filter bubbles and algorithms influence the election

      "Many of us wish we could study Facebook," said Prof Philip Howard, of the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, "but we can’t, because they really don’t share anything." Howard is leading a team of researchers studying "computational propaganda" at the university, attempting to shine a light on the ways automated accounts are used to alter debate online.

    • Facebook Shares Rules for Censoring Violence, Sex, Guardian Says[iophk: "and more"]

      The moderators have about 10 seconds to decide on whether to remove material from the site, according to The Guardian.

    • Facebook content moderation guidelines leaked

      The Guardian published the Facebook files on Sunday night. It reported some disturbing findings about what can and can’t be moderated on Facebook, after the newspaper was passed more than 100 internal training manuals that included spreadsheets and flowcharts on how the Mark Zuckerberg-run company deals with hate speech, violence, self-harm, and a whole range of other issues.

    • ‘Trump has declared war’: journalists denounce any attack on press freedom

      President Donald Trump’s apparent suggestion that the FBI should "consider putting reporters in prison" has been decried as a dangerous new assault on press freedom and prompted a call to action by American journalists who have been jailed in the US for their work.

    • Psychologists say calling Donald Trump a kid is an insult to kids

      Finally, Mr Brooks claimed Mr Trump had not developed a "theory of mind", the ability to understand what someone else is thinking.

      Mr Arnett and Ms Jensen, however, said it was unfair to attribute all of these qualities to children.

      [...]

      "It is time to call it out for what it is: evil."

    • Congressman threatened with lynching after calling for Trump’s impeachment
    • Twitter founder apologises for ‘helping make Donald Trump President’

      In an interview with the New York Times, Evan Williams was asked about remarks made by Mr Trump in March when he said: "I think maybe I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Twitter."

    • Saudi Arabia readies the halal steak and ketchup ahead of Trump’s first trip abroad
    • Donald Trump Committed Another Impeachable Offense This Week
    • Did the DNC Help Hillary Clinton Beat Bernie Sanders? Fraud Lawsuit Takes Aim at Leadership

      What is the role of the Democratic National Committee in presidential elections? Is it to sway the vote toward a safe, solid and respected insider who will supposedly drive the party straight into the White House, or is it to provide voters the ultimate decision as to which campaign will take the ballot, without any bias or partiality?

      That is the question at the heart of a class-action lawsuit charging the Democratic National Committee with fraud, deceptive conduct and negligent misrepresentation over the course of the 2016 primaries, in which Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was defeated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic ticket. Jared Beck, a Harvard law expert and one of the attorneys backing the suit, has demanded the DNC repay its donors and Sanders supporters for contributions made throughout the election, citing a misappropriation of public funds.

    • ‘Who’s a pretty princess now, b*tches’: Internet ridicules Trump for ‘curtsy’ before Saudi king

      President Donald Trump first trip overseas has — so far –gone seamlessly if one disregards the chaos he left at home with multiple bombshells dropped by the Washington Post and the New York Times regarding White House doings.

      However, as the world awaits Trump’s speech on Islam, he was the recipient of a great deal of mockery on Twitter for a half-curtsy he bestowed upon the king of Saudi Arabia.

    • Melania Trump slaps away husband’s short, vulgar fingers

      First Lady Melania Trump swatting away president Donald Trump’s hand on the tarmac in Israel Video of the couple arriving at an airport in Israel shows President Donald Trump reaching out to hold his wife’s hand. But Melania, who was apparently not interested in touching her husband at that moment, appears to slap the president’s hand.

    • Jared Kushner’s Other Real Estate Empire

      The townhouse on High Seas Court in the Cove Village development, in the Baltimore suburb of Essex, was not exactly the Cape Cod retreat that its address implied: It was a small unit looking onto a parking lot, the windows of its two bedrooms so high and narrow that a child would have had to stand on a chair to see out of them. But to Kamiia Warren, who moved into the townhouse in 2004, it was a refuge, and a far cry from the East Baltimore neighborhood where she grew up. “I mean, there were bunny rabbits all hopping around,” she told me recently.

      In the townhouse next door lived an older woman with whom Warren became friendly, even doing her grocery shopping once in a while. But over the course of a few months, the woman started acting strangely. She began accosting Warren’s visitors. She shouted through the walls during the day. And at night she banged on the wall, right where Warren kept the bassinet in which her third child slept, waking him up.

    • Homeland Security Hires Anti-Islam Activist Katharine Gorka as Trump Makes Overtures to Muslim States

      Donald Trump made overtures toward the Islamic world during his visit to Saudi Arabia, softening his outward stance on Islam, but his administration recently appointed a recognized anti-Muslim campaigner.

      Katharine Gorka, a controversial national security analyst and anti-Muslim activist, has been named as an “adviser” to the Department of Homeland Security’s policy office, after serving on President Trump’s transition team for the department. During Barack Obama’s presidency, Gorka extensively criticized DHS for teaching employees — wrongly, in her view — that Islam is a religion of peace.

      Gorka’s appointment is listed in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the watchdog group American Oversight. Her title, as of April 7, is listed as adviser to the department’s office of policy. The documents also list a previous “temporary transitional” appointment in the chief of staff’s office, with a pay grade listed as GS-15, the highest standard pay for a federal civil servant, indicating a salary of at least $8,600 a month.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • 1Password’s new travel mode locks you out of your accounts while you’re travelling and crossing borders
    • Ministers to enforce new powers to compel tech giants to hand over encrypted data

      MINISTERS are to enforce striking new powers to compel tech giants to hand over encrypted data to terror investigators within weeks.

      The government will ask Parliament to nod through the new orders – dubbed Technical Capability Notices – as soon as the election is over, The Sun has learned.

    • Netgear Now Collects Router ‘Analytics Data’ — Here’s How to Disable It

      Netgear last week pushed out a firmware update for its wireless router model NightHawk R7000 with a remote data collection feature that collects router’s analytics data and sends it to the company’s server.

      For now, the company has rolled out the firmware update for its NightHawk R7000, but probably other router models would receive the update in upcoming days.

    • NSA takes one-two punch to the face

      The US National Security Agency has been hit by two legal losses that may put the last part of its controversial spying program on US citizens under threat.

      In one case, brought by customers of AT&T and run by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the NSA was ordered [PDF] to provide relevant evidence that would prove or disprove that consumer’s communications had been tapped – a legal first.

      In the second case, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an appeals court reversed [PDF] the earlier dismissal of a lawsuit and allowed Wikimedia to continue in its fight to sue the NSA for violating the First and Fourth Amendments.

      Both cases tackle the same issue: the use of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act to carry out “upstream” interception of internet traffic. In effect, the NSA ordered telecom companies to give them permanent access to the online activities of millions of US citizens by tapping the internet’s backbone.

    • ICE Using Stingrays To Track Down Immigrants Because Of Course It Is

      As information about police use of cell tower spoofers began leaking out, those who had kept the public (including defendants, judges, and even some prosecutors) out of the loop began defending their use of domesticated military technology. They said pay no attention to the possible civil liberties violations. Just think of all the good they’re doing. They promised Stingrays would only be used on the worst of the worst, and only when time was of the essence: terrorists, murderers, kidnappers, etc.

      But then even more Stingray documents made their way into the public domain. These showed the devices were deployed in bog-standard drug investigations or, worse, used just because agencies had them. This perhaps reached its nadir when a police department fired up its Stingray to hunt down someone who had stolen less than $60 worth of fast food. To make matters worse, the Stingray failed to track down the alleged thief.

    • Wikipedia can pursue NSA surveillance lawsuit: U.S. appeals court

      A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a Wikipedia lawsuit that challenges a U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) program of mass online surveillance, and claims that the government unconstitutionally invades people’s privacy rights.

      By a 3-0 vote, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the Wikipedia online encyclopedia, had a legal right to challenge the government’s Upstream surveillance program.

      The decision could make it easier for people to learn whether authorities have spied on them through Upstream, which involves bulk searches of international communications within the internet’s backbone of cables, switches and routers.

    • Detailed medical records of 61 million Italian citizens to be given to IBM for its "cognitive computing" system Watson

      In return for that $150 million investment, IBM will receive the medical records of 61 million Italians in what seems to be their entirety. According to Barbacetto (original in Italian), the information provided will include: demographic data; all medical conditions, diagnoses, and their treatment; emergency and other hospital visits, including dates and times; prescriptions and their costs; genomic data and information about about any cancers; and much else besides.

      This information will be supplied in a supposedly anonymous form, with obvious personal indicators removed. However, it has been known for decades that detailed medical records can never be considered truly anonymous. [...]

    • The future of profiling

      Even worse, profiling and similar techniques are increasingly used not just to classify and understand people, but also to make decisions that have far-reaching consequences, from credit to housing, welfare and employment.

    • NSA Brute-Force Keysearch Machine

      Unfortunately, the Intercept decided not to publish most of the document, so all of those people with “a Ph.D. in a related field” can’t read and understand WindsorGreen’s capabilities. What sorts of key lengths can the machine brute force? Is it optimized for symmetric or asymmetric cryptanalysis? Random brute force or dictionary attacks? We have no idea.

    • GOP lawmaker who helped kill ISP privacy rules proposes new privacy rules

      There’s one big caveat: Blackburn’s bill would prevent individual states and municipalities from imposing laws that are stricter than the proposed federal standard.

    • BostonGlobe.com disables articles when your browser’s in private mode

      Disabling your browser’s local storage of data, even if you’re not technically using "incognito" mode, will also trigger the anti-private mode message on the Globe website. But you can disable third-party cookies and still view Globe articles in regular mode, as long as you allow the websites you visit to store data.

    • And now, under-the-skin RFID tags replace paper train tickets in Europe

      The Swedish State Railways has decided to accept under-the-skin RFID tag implants for ticket purchases, arguing it enhances ticketless travel better than having your ticket in your mobile. Actually, they didn’t argue that at all. They just said “we’re digital” and “it works” as if that would justify the rest.

    • Trump’s cybersecurity order delivers nothing but more surveillance

      I think you can see why it’s more than annoying that some of my colleagues saw the EO and thought it was a good thing. It’s not. It’s about 500 steps backward from where we were last year, with a layer of malfeasant opportunism on top.

      And we weren’t exactly in a great place last year with our government coming to grips with our nation’s cybersecurity, either.

    • No prison for judge who offered beer to FBI agent for wife’s texts

      A North Carolina judge now stripped of his robe has been sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors. Arnold Ogden Jones had pleaded guilty to charges that he tried to bribe an FBI official with beer and cash to get his wife’s text messages when he was a Wayne County judge in 2015.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Senators ask FCC why reporter was "manhandled" after net neutrality vote

      Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) sent a letter to Pai Friday, one day after CQ Roll Call reporter John Donnelly accused FCC guards of forcing him out of the building when he was trying to talk to Pai and Commissioner Michael O’Rielly.

    • Sorry, you can’t protest security screening by getting naked for the TSA

      Brennan’s attorney, Michael Rose of Portland, disagreed with the decision. "Mr. Brennan was simply exercising his First Amendment right to protest the unnecessarily intrusive search by the TSA agents, who responded much like a colony of ants whose hill was kicked over," he told Ars in an e-mail. "Their untoward reaction to his protest was the sole cause of any ‘interference’ with the smooth operations at PDX, which was the basis for the fine."

    • To Trump, Human Rights Concerns Are Often a Barrier to Trade

      The latest human rights report produced by Mr. Tillerson’s own department mentions Saudi Arabia’s "restrictions on universal rights, such as freedom of expression, including on the internet, and the freedoms of assembly, association, movement, and religion," as well as the country’s "pervasive gender discrimination." Raif Badawi, a writer, has been in prison since 2012 after starting a blog called Free Saudi Liberals Network.

    • Laptop ban due to ISIS’ x-ray machine theft: claim

      Corbett wrote that there was some logic to the ban since lithium batters were opaque to X-rays and a metal box, which was the same size as a battery and filled with explosives, would look the same.

      But, he said, there were problems with the approach. For one, anyone who planned to use a laptop to conceal a bomb would simply use something else once the ban was in place. Secondly, by forcing all the batteries (inside devices) to be stored in the hold, the chance of fires was increased.

      And thirdly, he wrote, the ban was not economically viable as it meant the loss of millions of hours of productivity.

    • Two senators want answers from the FCC over its ‘manhandling’ of a reporter

      "Yesterday’s incident at the FCC is not an isolated one and seems to be a part of a larger pattern of hostility towards the press characteristic of this Administration," they wrote. The pair requested a response by Friday, May 26th, asking for Pai’s description of the event and the FCC’s security policies, an explanation for the security guard’s actions, and an assurance that such incidents "will not happen again."

    • CIA Documents Expose the Failed Torture Methods Used on Guantanamo’s Most Famous Detainee

      It is early on in Abu Zubaydah’s time at a CIA black site. He insists to his interrogators that he has no additional information on jihadist operations planned against the US, but his captor won’t stop slapping him. Eventually a hood is placed over Zubaydah’s head and he is placed into a confinement box by unseen security officers. He is told this is his new home until he’s prepared to provide information on operations against the US.

    • China To Require Drone Owners To Register, Just As Similar US Requirements Are Struck Down

      The South China Morning Post has a story about a new requirement for drone owners in China to register with the country’s civilian aviation regulator starting next month. So is this yet another example of the Chinese authorities clamping down on a potentially subversive new technology by ensuring that drone use can be tracked?

    • Court ruling nullifies US requirement that hobbyists register drones

      A federal appeals court on Friday struck down a regulation requiring the public to register drones. The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that the Federal Aviation Administration did not have the authority to regulate so-called “model aircraft.”

    • Trump Allegedly Wants FBI To Look Into Locking Up Journalists Who Publish Leaks

      It’s been another busy week for our president. Following on the heels of his revelation that he fired FBI Director James Comey over the ongoing Russian ties investigation (and following on the heels of Trump’s tweeted threat about secret recordings of conversations with Comey), the FBI’s acting director said the investigation is still ongoing, a special counsel was picked to oversee the investigation, and people close to Comey hinted the FBI might have some recordings of its own that undercut the president’s narrative.

    • Statement on the Attack in Manchester

      Last night at 10.30 PM at a pop concert in Manchester Arena, an explosion killed at least 22 including children and injured at least 59. Reports have been coming in during the early hours of the morning confirming the suspect to have been killed in the blast. This has been described as one of the deadliest attacks in the UK of the last decade.

      There is still speculation as to the motives of the killer and an ongoing investigation to uncover whether they acted alone or part of a wider group.

      What we do know is the misery following this horrific attack will be hijacked by the grief vultures of the far right. Already high profile racist Katie Hopkins is calling for a “final solution” on Twitter, while other fascist media personalities are scrambling for any information they can twist in order to fuel their anti-migrant, anti-Muslim agendas, and continue attacking the Left who dare challenge their blatant racism. There are two fascist demonstrations planned for Liverpool and Manchester in the coming weeks that will, no doubt, use last night’s tragedy in order to attract bigger numbers and use the deaths of dozens of ordinary people in order to grow their organisational capacity. They must be opposed.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • [Older] Amazon made a small change to the way it sells books. Publishers are terrified.

      Now you might be buying the book from Amazon, or you might be buying it from a third-party seller. And there’s no guarantee that if the latter is true, said third-party seller bought the book from the publisher. In fact, it’s most likely they didn’t.

      Which means the publisher might not be getting paid. And, by extension, neither is the author.

    • All the Second Life rabbits are doomed, thanks to DRM

      Every Ozimal digirabbit in the venerable virtual world Second Life will starve to death (well, permanent hibernation) this week because a legal threat has shut down their food-server, and the virtual pets are designed so that they can only eat DRM-locked food, so the official food server’s shutdown has doomed them all.

    • Apple, Verizon Join Forces To Lobby Against New York’s ‘Right To Repair’ Law

      Over the last year, we’ve noted the surge in so-called “right to repair” laws, which would make it easier for consumers to repair their electronics and find replacement parts and tools. It’s a direct response to the rising attempts by companies like John Deere, Apple, Microsoft and Sony to monopolize repair, hamstringing consumer rights over products consumers think they own, while driving up the cost of said product ownership. John Deere’s draconian lockdown on its tractor firmware is a large part of the reason these efforts have gained steam over the last few months in states like Nebraska.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA Says Artists Don’t Need "Moral Rights," Artists Disagree

        The right to be credited is part of the so-called "moral rights," which are baked into many copyright laws around the world, adopted at the international level through the Berne Convention.

        However, in the United States, this is not the case. The US didn’t sign the Berne Convention right away and opted out from the "moral rights" provision when they eventually joined it.

      • Now Anyone Can Embed a Pirate Movie in a Website

        Vodlocker.to is offering an interesting service that not only provides streaming movies and TV shows in the browser but also allows them to be published anywhere on the web. After entering the movie’s IMDb number, users get an embed code which can be entered into any web page, where the movie will play in a YouTube-like window. There’s even support for Chromecast.

      • Copyright Troll Attorney John Steele Disbarred by Illinois Supreme Court

        After admitting to several criminal acts, including the operation of a piracy honeypot, Prenda Law attorney John Steele has now been disbarred by the Illinois Supreme Court. As a result, the troubled attorney will no longer be allowed to practice law in the state. While the decision doesn’t come as a surprise, several victims of the trolling operation will welcome it with a smile.

05.20.17

Links 21/5/2017: Linux 3.18.53, Tizen 4.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sprint NFV/SDN Research Leads to Open Source Project for Network Efficiency

    Mobile carrier Sprint has culminated four years of research into Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) with a new open source offering designed to make core networks more efficient through new-age virtualization techniques.

  • TensorFlow: Providing Support to a Successful Open-Source Project

    Building a community around an open-source project requires a number of practices regarding support, pull requests handling, licensing, and more, writes Pete Warden, TensorFlow Mobile lead at Google.

    A great challenge in the early life of a new project, explains Warden, is providing support to those who are using it. At first, the only available experts are the developers themselves, who have to find a way to integrate their day-to-day tasks with other support duties. This is not entirely straightforward, since it may take developers outside of their comfort zone and potentially distract them from their main tasks. The TensorFlow team dealt with this challenge by establishing a rotation among all engineers, so each engineer took responsibility for a particular area for one full week approximately once every couple of months.

  • AT&T’s Donovan defends operator’s embrace of open source software

    “It really doesn’t have a downside,” Donovan said of the proliferation of open source software in the telecom industry. He explained that operators can either choose to simply obtain open source solutions for free through open source groups, or they can opt to participate in open source communities by designing and building solutions.

  • AT&T’s Donovan: Open Source is Necessary to Win the War

    AT&T’s transformation from traditional telco to an open source champion was largely driven by John Donovan, the company’s chief strategy officer and group president. Donovan took the stage at Light Reading’s Big Communications Event today to tell those questioning the necessity of open source projects that they are “dead wrong.”

    Donovan said that competition from over-the-top players, cable companies, and others are making it critical for AT&T to move to open source. “Our open source projects have doubled in the past year,” Donovan said, adding that sitting around and operating in a traditional telecom mode is no longer effective.

  • 3D Hardware Acceleration in Haiku

    The Mesa renderer in Haiku presently ventures into software rendering. Haiku uses software for rendering frame buffers and then writes them to the graphics hardware. The goal of my project is to port Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) Driver for i915, from the Linux kernel to Haiku with the help of DragonflyBSD’s Linux Compatibility layer, so that those drivers can be later extended to add OpenGL support (Mesa3D) for hardware accelerated 3D rendering.

  • Intertwining Artificial Intelligence With Blockchain

    Except for those folks living under rocks (sounds uncomfortable), everyone knows about or at least has heard of bitcoin. However, not everyone understands the technology of bitcoin, which extends well beyond Internet-based currency.

  • Sprint exec: Chaos in open source indicative of startup culture, and that’s just fine

    Mobile operators are embracing open source like never before, and there’s a lot of confusion around the myriad projects and efforts that are underway, but that doesn’t worry Sprint’s vice president of technology Ron Marquardt.

  • Events

    • Announcing QtCon Brasil 2017

      It’s been almost a year since I, Filipe and Aracele were having a beer at Alexander Platz after the very last day of QtCon Berlin, when Aracele astutely came up with a very crazy idea of organizing QtCon in Brazil. Since then, we have been maturing such an idea and after a lot of work we are very glad to announce: QtCon Brasil 2017 happens from 18th to 20th August in São Paulo.

    • Join us at Akademy 2017 in Almería!

      This talk will illustrate the application areas for Input Methods by example, presenting short introductions to several international writing systems as well as emoji input. It will explain why solid Input Methods support is vital to KDE’s goal of inclusivity and how Input Methods can make the act of writing easier for all of us.

    • Training in Foss Compliance

      The first training “Free and Open Source Software Compliance” is on June 23rd at KDAB’s Berlin training center. It will be held in German. Trainings in English at this and our other locations will follow later in the year. If you would like to learn how to navigate Open Source licensing with confidence, read more and sign up here.

    • Linux Kernel Memory Model Workshop Accepted into Linux Plumbers Conference

      A good understanding of the Linux kernel memory model is essential for a great many kernel-hacking and code-review tasks. Unfortunately, the current documentation (memory-barriers.txt) has been said to frighten small children, so this workshop’s goal is to demystify this memory model, including hands-on demos of the tools, help installing/running the tools, and help constructing appropriate litmus tests. These tools should go a long way toward the ultimate goal of automating the process of using memory models to frighten small children.

    • IBM’s OpenWhisk Stirs up Serverless IoT with Watson

      With the Internet of Things, the realms of embedded Linux and enterprise computing are increasingly intertwined, and serverless computing is the latest enterprise development paradigm that device developers should tune into. This event-driven variation on Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) can ease application development using ephemeral Docker containers, auto-scaling, and pay-per execution in the cloud. Serverless is seeing growing traction in enterprise applications that need fast deployment and don’t require extremely high performance or low latency, including many cloud-connected IoT applications.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 10 Beta 1 Released

      The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces today that the first beta release of PostgreSQL 10 is available for download. This release contains previews of all of the features which will be available in the final release of version 10, although some details will change before then. Users are encouraged to begin testing their applications against this latest release.

    • PostgreSQL 10 Enters Beta

      More details on the changes to find with PostgreSQL 10 Beta 1 can be found via the informative release announcement posted this morning to PostgreSQL.org.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice can open XLSX files Excel cannot

      Just a quick heads up. I just created and saved an Excel file using Excel 2016, which cannot be opened again with it. Glad our swiss army knife LibreOffice can 😉

      It’s funny to see Excel can open the ODS I created using LibreOffice (as source I used the XLSX file) better than it’s “native” format….

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free software, free services but what about your data?

      I care a lot about free software, not only as a Debian Developer. The use of software as a service matters as well because my principle free software development is on just such a project, licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3. The AGPL helps by allowing anyone who is suitably skilled to install their own copy of the software and run their own service on their own hardware. As a project, we are seeing increasing numbers of groups doing exactly this and these groups are actively contributing back to the project.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Children’s Perspectives on Critical Data Literacies

      Last week, we presented a new paper that describes how children are thinking through some of the implications of new forms of data collection and analysis. The presentation was given at the ACM CHI conference in Denver last week and the paper is open access and online.

  • Programming/Development

    • Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex

      Unfortunately, this rosy portrait bears no relation to reality. For starters, the profile of a programmer’s mind is pretty uncommon. As well as being highly analytical and creative, software developers need almost superhuman focus to manage the complexity of their tasks. Manic attention to detail is a must; slovenliness is verboten. Attaining this level of concentration requires a state of mind called being ‘in the flow’, a quasi-symbiotic relationship between human and machine that improves performance and motivation.

Leftovers

  • Gordon Ramsay on Going From Michelin Stars to a Mobile Game
  • documentation is thoroughly hard
  • Science

    • AI can doctor videos to put words in the mouths of speakers

      Artificial intelligence can put words right into your mouth. A new system takes a still image of a person and an audio clip, and uses them to create a doctored video of the person speaking the audio. The results are still a little rough around the edges, but the software could soon make realistically fake videos only a single click away.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • A Step Forward for Security [iophk: "end point compromise negates many theoretical advantages"]

      While we are all mesmerized by the presidential crises, a small, but quite significant change occurred in Congress: the Senate Sergeant at Arms approved the use of Signal by Senate staff. Signal, a product of Open Whisper Systems, provides end-to-end encryption for Apple and Android phones.

    • Why Europe’s dependency on Microsoft is a huge security risk [iophk: "warning for javascript"]

      On May 12, hackers hit more than a hundred countries, exploiting a stolen N.S.A. tool that targeted vulnerabilities of Microsoft software. The attacks infected only machines running on Windows operative system. Among the victims are public administrative bodies such as NHS hospitals in the UK. Investigate Europe spent months to investigate the dire dependency of European countries on Microsoft – and the security risks this entails

    • NSA told Microsoft about stolen exploits: officials

      Current and former NSA officials say the agency informed Microsoft about the theft of the exploit named EternalBlue after learning of it, making it possible for the Redmond software giant to issue a patch for it in March. The exploit was used in the WannaCry ransomware attacks over last weekend.

    • Shadow Brokers claims Microsoft hand-in-glove with NSA

      The group that released NSA exploits for Windows, which were used in massive ransomware attacks last weekend, has accused Microsoft of being hand-in-glove with The Equation Group, a group that is believed to be a front for the NSA.

    • NSA officials worried about the day its potent hacking tool would get loose. Then it did.

      But for more than five years, the NSA kept using it — through a time period that has seen several serious security breaches — and now the officials’ worst fears have been realized. The malicious code at the heart of the WannaCry virus that hit computer systems globally late last week was apparently stolen from the NSA, repackaged by cybercriminals and unleashed on the world for a cyberattack that now ranks as among the most disruptive in history.

    • Shadow Brokers threaten to unleash more hacking tools

      The so-called Shadow Brokers, who claimed responsibility for releasing NSA tools that were used to spread the WannaCry ransomware through the NHS and across the world, said they have a new suite of tools and vulnerabilities in newer software. The possible targets include Microsoft’s Windows 10, which was unaffected by the initial attack and is on at least 500m devices around the world.

    • Microsoft held back free patch that could have slowed WannaCry
    • WannaCrypt makes an easy case for Linux

      Ransomware is on the rise. On a single day, WannaCrypt held hostage over 57,000 users worldwide, demanding anywhere between $300-$600 in Bitcoin. Don’t pay up and you’ll not be seeing your data again. Before I get into the thrust of this piece, if anything, let WannaCrypt be a siren call to everyone to backup your data. Period. End of story. With a solid data backup, should you fall prey to ransomware, you are just an OS reinstall and a data restore away from getting back to work.

    • Best way to avoid ransomware? Stop using Windows

      There are many Microsoft apologists, astro-turfers, and so-called journalists on the make who, at times like this, keep a low profile and furiously try to spread the message in Web forums that "computers users" are at risk.

      Alas, the harsh truth must at last be faced: if you do not use Windows, then the chances of a ransomware attack are close to zero.

    • Massive cryptocurrency botnet used leaked NSA exploits weeks before WCry

      On Monday, researchers said the same weapons-grade attack kit was used in a much-earlier and possibly larger-scale hack that made infected computers part of a botnet that mined cryptocurrency.

    • No threat of WannaCry attack as GSTN operates on Linux: CEO

      GSTN, set up to provide IT infrastructure for GST rollout, will not be impacted by the WannaCry ransomware attack, as its systems do not run on Microsoft software, the network’s CEO Prakash Kumar said today.

      The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) is gearing up to handle about 3 billion invoices every month under the new indirect tax regime and will complete the beta testing of its software tomorrow.

      “Our software is not based on Microsoft windows operating system and hence we are immune. We operate on Linux software which is not affected by the ransomware attack,” Kumar told PTI.

      More than 60 lakh excise, service tax and VAT assessees have enrolled on the GSTN portal between November 8, 2016 and April 30, 2017. Currently, there are 80 lakh such assessees.

    • Almost all WannaCry victims were running Windows 7

      According to data released today by Kaspersky Lab, roughly 98 percent of the computers affected by the ransomware were running some version of Windows 7, with less than one in a thousand running Windows XP. 2008 R2 Server clients were also hit hard, making up just over 1 percent of infections.

    • NHS cyber-attack causing disruption one week after [Windows] breach

      Operations and clinic appointments were cancelled and patients were still being diverted from accident and emergency departments on Thursday.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Narendra Modi must begin talks in Kashmir before it is too late

      Things in the Valley have not been this bad in two decades. I don’t measure this by violence, terrorism and fatalities – we have seen much worse years on that count. I say this because battling Pakistan’s armed proxies is much more straightforward than taking on your own people on the street. And cloaking militancy with a protective sheet of civilian agitations, women and teenagers among them, means many of the old conflict zone formulas won’t work.

    • What Trump’s intellligence-sharing with Russia may have cost the US

      That’s because counterterrorism work depends on a high level of trust among partner nations, international security experts say. The partners rely on each other to use the highly sensitive information, which sources may have risked their lives to gather, judiciously and to mutual benefit.

      Violate that trust by loosely sharing intelligence from at-risk sources, the experts add, and information critical to stopping one attack – or prevent a new means of carrying out deadly attacks – can dry up.

    • Donald Trump’s loose lips with Russia may have cost America the trust of European allies

      An unnamed European official has told the Associated Press that his country may stop trusting America with secrets

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Assange case – now what?

      First of all, the case in itself was remarkably thin. Second, Assange has never been charged with any crime. The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was issued to question him. Such an interview was conducted last November. So, reasonably, the EAW have lost its function.

      So, now… what?

    • Julian Assange Rape Inquiry Is Dropped but His Legal Problems Remain Daunting

      When Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, jumped bail and sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy five years ago to avoid a Swedish rape investigation, he was considered by many a hero of transparency, internet freedom and resistance to the secret state.

      So when Sweden’s prosecutors announced on Friday that they were abandoning their attempt to extradite him, invalidating the warrant for his arrest, Mr. Assange proclaimed it a happy moment of vindication. “Today was an important victory,” he said.

    • Australia govt needs to help Assange: lawyer

      A legal advisor to Julian Assange says the Australian Government needs to do more to help grant him a safe passage to Ecuador.

      Swedish prosecutors announced on Friday that they would discontinue an investigation into allegations of rape against the Wikileaks founder, which Mr Assange labelled an ‘important victory’.

    • Assange case always had disturbing political background – Ecuadorian FM to RT

      WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has always been under political persecution without any real charges, the Ecuadorian foreign minister told RT, calling for a prompt decision by the UK to grant him safe passage.

    • Julian Assange’s mother calls on Australian Prime Minister to help secure his release

      Julian Assange’s mother has called on the Australian Prime Minister to help her son seek political asylum abroad,

      Christine Assange said she was “very pleased” after Swedish authorities announced they were dropping a rape allegation against him.

      But she told ABC Radio Brisbane: “I’m officially calling on Malcolm Turnbull to step in, act like a Prime Minister, and protect a citizen.”

      “I’d like him to take to task Sweden for what they’ve done breaching his human rights and lying to the media, and I would like him to pressure the UK Government to allow him safe passage to Ecuador.”

    • Sweden drops investigation into WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

      Whether or not he’ll walk free depends on the UK.

    • Sweden Is Dropping Its Rape Investigation Into Julian Assange

      Swedish prosecutors announced today that they were dropping their investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into allegations of rape.

      Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny and Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren held a press conference in Stockholm today to discuss the decision, saying it was made not because they believe Assange to be innocent necessarily, but because they were unable to formally serve him the allegations during an interview at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, UK in November 2016, where Assange has been in exile since 2012.

    • Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation

      Sweden’s director of public prosecutions has decided to drop the rape investigation into Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      The move comes ahead of a Stockholm court’s examination of a demand by Mr Assange’s lawyers that Sweden drop his European arrest warrant.

      Mr Assange has lived in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012, trying to avoid extradition to Sweden.

    • Athena

      Today, May 19th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the “Athena” project of the CIA. “Athena” – like the related “Hera” system – provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system (from Windows XP to Windows 10). Once installed, the malware provides a beaconing capability (including configuration and task handling), the memory loading/unloading of malicious payloads for specific tasks and the delivery and retrieval of files to/from a specified directory on the target system. It allows the operator to configure settings during runtime (while the implant is on target) to customize it to an operation.

      According to the documentation (see Athena Technology Overview), the malware was developed by the CIA in cooperation with Siege Technologies, a self-proclaimed cyber security company based in New Hampshire, US. On their website, Siege Technologies states that the company “… focuses on leveraging offensive cyberwar technologies and methodologies to develop predictive cyber security solutions for insurance, government and other targeted markets.”. On November 15th, 2016 Nehemiah Security announced the acquisition of Siege Technologies.

    • WikiLeaks Reveals ‘Athena’ CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows

      WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak, detailing a spyware framework – which “provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers” – allegedly being used by the CIA that works against every version of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 10.

      Dubbed Athena/Hera, the spyware has been designed to take full control over the infected Windows PCs remotely, allowing the agency to perform all sorts of things on the target machine, including deleting data or uploading malicious software, and stealing data and send them to CIA server.

    • How a Pakistani journalist exposed the CIA’s most secretive operation

      Masood Anwar’s story triggered a global search for the plane that blew the lid off the notorious “extraordinary rendition” programme. It all started with the registration number of a private jet that had whisked away a terrorism suspect from Karachi.

    • ‘WikiLeaks Will Always Be the Bad Boy’

      Has WikiLeaks become a tool of Russian propaganda? Platform founder Julian Assange, 45, responds to the accusations, addresses the effects of hackers on Western elections and talks about the “WannaCry” attack.

    • Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but He Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

      Swedish prosecutors announced this morning that they were terminating their 7-year-old sex crimes investigation into Julian Assange and withdrawing their August 20, 2010, arrest warrant for him. The chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, said at a news conference this morning (pictured below) that investigators had reached no conclusion about his guilt or innocence, but instead were withdrawing the warrant because “all prospects of pursuing the investigation under present circumstances are exhausted” and it is therefore “no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence.”

      [...]

      But that celebration obscures several ironies. The most glaring of which is that the legal jeopardy Assange now faces is likely greater than ever.

      Almost immediately after the decision by Swedish prosecutors, British police announced that they would nonetheless arrest Assange if he tried to leave the embassy. Police said Assange was still wanted for the crime of “failing to surrender” — meaning that instead of turning himself in upon issuance of his 2012 arrest warrant, he obtained refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy. The British police also, however, noted that this alleged crime is “a much less serious offence” than the one that served as the basis for the original warrant, and that the police would therefore only “provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence.”

      That could perhaps imply that with a seriously reduced police presence, Assange could manage to leave the embassy without detection and apprehension. All relevant evidence, however, negates that assumption.

      Just weeks ago, Donald Trump’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo, delivered an angry, threatening speech about WikiLeaks in which he argued, “We have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” The CIA director vowed to make good on this threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”

      Days later, Attorney General Jeff Sessions strongly suggested that the Trump DOJ would seek to prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks on espionage charges in connection with the group’s publication of classified documents. Trump officials then began leaking to news outlets such as CNN that “U.S. authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

    • Assange case proves ‘UK an American vassal state’ that can’t stop extraditions

      There has possibly been some back room deal that led to the Swedish authorities dropping rape charges against Julian Assange, said former MI5 officer Annie Machon. Other activists and analysts provide their views.

      Swedish prosecutors dropped the rape investigation against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange ending a seven-year standoff and will revoke its arrest warrant, according to the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

      Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, and with the threat of extradition to the US for leaking classified national security documents hanging over him.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘Doomsday’ seed vault meant to survive global disasters breached by climate change

      Fortunately, the water hasn’t flooded the vault itself. It only got to the entrance of the tunnel, where it froze. (The seeds are stored at minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit.) But the incident has raised questions over the durability of a seed bank that was supposed to operate without people’s intervention.

    • One fourth of armed conflicts in ethnically divided countries coincide with climatic problems: Study

      A research conducted by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found almost one fourth of armed conflicts in ethnically divided countries happen at the same time as climatic problems. The researchers studied armed conflicts and climate-related natural disasters between 1980 and 2010 using event coincidence analysis.

    • Volvo says no more diesel engines, the future is electric

      Samuelsson said that Volvo’s first purely electric vehicle will arrive in 2019. He also paid a mighty compliment to Elon Musk’s EV outfit. "It must be acknowledged that Tesla has managed to offer such a car for which the people are queuing. In the area, we should also have space, with high quality and attractive design," he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook ‘dark ads’ will win this election for the Tories – unless you do something about it

      Personal information – from your age, location to whether you own a home and what music you like – held by Facebook allows political parties to target specific voters with tailored messages when they purchase advertising space from the social media platform.

    • Recep Tayyip Erdogan caught on video watching his guards beat up Kurdish protesters in Washington DC
    • The World’s Worst Negotiation

      In a single brief meeting with Russian officials, President Trump not only divulged classified information, he also handed them a damaging account of his decision to fire James Comey

    • Something about Trump cybersecurity executive order seems awfully familiar

      Trump’s cybersecurity order cribs from his predecessor, despite campaign bluster.

    • Any Half-Decent Hacker {sic} Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago. We Tested It.

      "Those networks all have to be crawling with foreign intruders, not just [Gizmodo and] ProPublica," said Dave Aitel, chief executive officer of Immunity, Inc., a digital security company, when we told him what we found.

    • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago can be hacked in minutes: investigators

      Experts told ProPublica and Gizmodo that they wouldn’t be surprised if foreign intruders have already managed to breach those networks.

      "[It's] bad, very bad," said Jeremiah Grossman, chief of security strategy for cybersecurity firm SentinelOne. "I’d assume the data is already stolen and systems compromised."

    • Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago wifi wide open to ‘any half-decent hacker’ {sic}
    • The abysmal information security at Trump properties has probably already compromised US secrets

      The team found multiple unsecured wireless networks, unsecured and open wireless printers, misconfigured routers, an unsecured website from which they could "download a database that appears to include sensitive information on the club’s members and their families" and more.

    • After Promising a ‘Fair Hearing’ on Monuments, Secretary Zinke Shuts Out the Public

      As the Interior Department considers unprecedented changes to protected lands, avenues for public input have been curtailed.

    • President Trump’s exit a matter of time
    • Video shows Turkey’s Erdogan watched from limo as his guards bashed protesters in Washington, D.C.

      New video hit the internet today showing the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, looking on as armed security guards from his entourage violently attacked protesters demonstrating outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington.

    • In Video, Erdogan Watches as His Guards Clash With Protesters

      Nine people were hospitalized after the skirmish, and the State Department issued a stern statement condemning the attack.

    • The 25th Amendment Solution for Removing Trump

      One does not need to be a Marvel superhero or Nietzschean Übermensch to rise to this responsibility. But one needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control. And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed.

      Trump is seemingly deficient in them all. Some he perhaps never had, others have presumably atrophied with age.

    • A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment

      Despite his astonishing incompetence, the overwhelming majority of Republicans stand with him. And in a recent poll of Trump voters, only 2% would change their vote to be against him.

      Most on my side literally cannot understand how these polls could be true. But I believe that we must accept them, and then, as citizens, we need to reckon this radical disconnect between us.

    • Elizabeth Warren Tests the Waters for 2020

      Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday waded into the flamewar for the soul of the Democratic Party that Bernie Sanders started in 2016, with an impassioned speech decrying the increasing concentration of money and power in the highest, most rarefied echelons of American society.

    • Saudi Arabia to serve Donald Trump steak and ketchup to keep him happy

      When President Donald Trump sits down for dinner in Saudi Arabia, caterers have ensured that his favourite meal — steak with ketchup on the side — will be offered alongside traditional local cuisine.

      At Nato and the G7 summits, foreign delegations have had word the new US president prefers short presentations and lots of visual aids.

    • Trump Is a Cornered Megalomaniac—and That’s a Grave Danger to the Country

      With a cascade of leaks, a war with the FBI, and the announcement of the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, Donald Trump’s grotesque presidency now hangs by a thread. By the hour, it seems, the possibility of impeachment, of him being declared incompetent to govern—or, at the very least, of his own party bringing irresistible pressure on him to resign—grows.

      And as that pressure grows, so balloons the peril of our moment. For the 18 months that Trump has been center-stage politically, he has shown an extraordinary commitment to demagoguery, to flirtations with mob violence, to peddling conspiracy theories, to military grandstanding to distract attention from his problems, and to race-and-religion-baiting whenever the mood suits. He has demonstrated utter contempt for the separation of powers, extraordinary hostility to the free press, and a disconcerting fondness for dictators the world over. He has also shown himself to be brittle and thin-skinned, relishing the ability to use his vast platform to attack those he deems to be his personal “enemies,” but unable to tolerate disagreement or dissent when it is directed at him.

      Why do I rehash all these known traits now? Because—cornered, humiliated, and increasingly in legal peril—Trump will likely resort to all of the tricks of the demagogue as he fights for his survival. This is a man who has never played fair in his life, who takes pleasure in inflicting hurt on those weaker than himself, and who believes that ideals, or simply basic decency, are mere annoyances in the one game that matters: the game of power.

    • The Real Aim of Trump’s Trip to Saudi Arabia

      Donald Trump sets off on Friday to create the fantasy of an Arab Nato. There will be dictators aplenty to greet him in Riyadh, corrupt autocrats and thugs and torturers and head choppers. There will be at least one zombie president – the comatose, undead Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria who neither speaks nor, apparently, hears any more – and, of course, one totally insane president, Donald Trump. The aim, however, is simple: to prepare the Sunni Muslims of the Middle East for war against the Shia Muslims. With help from Israel, of course.

      Even for those used to the insanity of Arab leadership – not to mention those Westerners who have still to grasp that the US President is himself completely off his rocker – the Arab-Muslim (Sunni) summit in Saudi Arabia is almost beyond comprehension. From Pakistan and Jordan and Turkey and Egypt and Morocco and 42 other minareted capitals, they are to come so that the effete and ambitious Saudis can lead their Islamic crusade against “terrorism” and Shiism. The fact that most of the Middle East’s “terrorism” – Isis and al-Qaeda, aka the Nusrah Front – have their fountainhead in the very nation to which Trump is travelling, must and will be ignored. Never before in Middle Eastern history has such a “kumidia alakhta” – quite literally “comedy of errors” in Arabic – been staged.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook blocks Pulitzer-winning reporter over Malta government exposé

      Temporary censorship of Matthew Caruana Galizia – who worked on the Panama Papers – raises concern over Facebook’s power to shape the news

    • Theresa May promises a British version of Iran’s Halal Internet

      UK Prime Minister and noted authoritarian Theresa May has promised that if she wins the upcoming general election, her party will abolish internet access in the UK, replacing it with a government-monitored internet where privacy tools are banned and online services will be required to vet all user-supplied content for compliance with rules about pornography, political speech, copyright compliance and so on — and search engines will have to emply special British rules to exclude banned material from their search results.

    • Theresa May to create new internet that would be controlled and regulated by government
    • Theresa May outlines Tory plan to create new, censored Internet controlled by UK government

      Yesterday, during her speech describing the current Tory Manifesto, Theresa May revealed that she plans to build a "new Internet," over which the government has complete control. The goal in the Tory internet plan is to become "the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet." The manifesto states: [...]

    • Abolish geoblocking in the EU, civil society organisations demand

      This must be the first of multiple steps towards abolishing digital borders in Europe, not the last, several interest groups today demand in an open letter to the EU institutions.

    • What do you do when you realize your government has blocked you for Wrongthink?

      Something remarkable happened in Sweden this week: a list of 15,000 people with the wrong political opinions was used to block those people from the @Sweden account, and thereby preventing these people from communicating over Twitter with that part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The government tried defending the block as only concerning neo-nazi right-wing extremists, which was a narrative that held water in legacy media until somebody pointed out that the Ambassador of Israel (!) was among the blocked.

      [...]

      The Ministry of Foreign Affairs unblocked everybody and destroyed the blocklist – but only after getting Freedom-of-Information requests to have it handed out. This is an extremely illegal act in Sweden, as all governmental documents are transparent by default and must be handed out on request, with no counterdemands allowed. Destroying records is illegal in the first place. Destroying records after they are against-all-efforts-to-cover-up embarrassing, and after they have been requested, goes directly against the Swedish Constitution since 1766.

    • Anti-protest laws are stifling free speech in Australia

      The line between legitimate protest and unlawful obstruction needs to be carefully drawn. But these excessive laws make it impossible to make that determination. No government should have the right to stifle protest in this way. Australia, and the rest of the world, should be very wary of the outcome of this case.

    • Open letter urging further action to end geoblocking in the EU [Warning for PDF]

      The EU must take decisive action against digital borders that today divide the people of Europe, discriminate against minority language speakers, inconvenience millions and cause substantial losses to the EU economy.

    • Killing parody, killing memes, killing the internet?

      We love the internet because it creates fantastic opportunities to express ourselves and to innovate.

      But do we love it enough to pass it on to future generations?

    • Theresa May to create new internet that would be controlled and regulated by government

      Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online.

      Particular focus has been drawn to the end of the manifesto, which makes clear that the Tories want to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works.

    • MIT student sues CIA for information about its social media jokes

      A lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency — and no, it’s not a joke.

      Amy Johnson, a PhD student and researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is suing the CIA for failing to turn over documents, as part of a public records request, about the agency’s social media policies and how it manages its official Twitter account.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Killing C.I.A. Informants, China Crippled U.S. Spying Operations

      The Chinese government systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward.

      Current and former American officials described the intelligence breach as one of the worst in decades. It set off a scramble in Washington’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to contain the fallout, but investigators were bitterly divided over the cause. Some were convinced that a mole within the C.I.A. had betrayed the United States. Others believed that the Chinese had hacked the covert system the C.I.A. used to communicate with its foreign sources. Years later, that debate remains unresolved.

      But there was no disagreement about the damage. From the final weeks of 2010 through the end of 2012, according to former American officials, the Chinese killed at least a dozen of the C.I.A.’s sources. According to three of the officials, one was shot in front of his colleagues in the courtyard of a government building — a message to others who might have been working for the C.I.A.

    • Feds use anti-terror tool to hunt the undocumented

      An unsealed federal search warrant affidavit obtained by The News is the first public acknowledgment that agents are using secret devices that masquerade as a cell tower to find people who entered the U.S. illegally, privacy and civil liberty experts said.

    • Undocumented Immigrant Hunt Expands Use of Controversial Stingray Tech

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Shahid Buttar concurred. "Once you start giving agencies fancy toys, and somebody is making money off of it, they are going to use them for more things, and ultimately oppress your rights," Buttar told the Free Press.

    • Facebook hit with fines and investigations in six EU countries over privacy law breaches

      Three EU countries – Belgium, France, and the Netherlands – have determined that Facebook is breaking their privacy laws, while Germany and Spain are still investigating the US company. The news was announced in a joint statement from the Contact Group of the data protection authorities (DPAs) of the Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and the German city of Hamburg. As a result, the French authorities have imposed a fine of €150,000 (about $166,000) on Facebook. The move comes hard on the heels of a €3 million fine (around $3.3 million) imposed by Italy on Facebook’s subsidiary WhatsApp last week over its handling of customer data.

    • 4 Items That Can Take On Anything The Internet Throws At You

      Well you should still look at privacy software because …

    • Tor Browser 7.0a4 is released

      This will probably be the last alpha before the first stable release in the 7.0 series.

    • ALTwitter – profiling with metadata

      EDRi’s Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow Sid Rao created a platform called ALTwitter, which combines the metadata collected from public Twitter accounts of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and presents them graphically. Without going through all their tweets, one can learn a lot about their work areas, the devices they use, the types of websites they refer to, when they are the most active, and so on. What we can learn about the person only based on these metadata is indeed much more than we would first expect!

    • Twitter rolls out new privacy tools as it ditches Do Not Track and expands data sharing

      Twitter is dumping its support for Do Not Track (DNT), changing how it shares user data with third parties, and holding any web browsing data it collects for a longer duration—all to better aid in ad targeting, of course.

    • Facebook Fined $122 Million Over WhatsApp Deal for Misleading EU

      Facebook Inc. was fined 110 million euros ($122 million) by the European Union for misleading regulators during a 2014 review of the WhatsApp messaging service takeover on the same day the EU threatened to heavily penalize Patrick Drahi’s Altice NV for implementing for a second time a deal before getting regulatory clearance.

    • In Europe political attitudes are changing to Facebook

      Facebook counts a quarter of the world’s population – 1.94bn accounts – as monthly active users, with 354m in Europe. WhatsApp has 1.2 billion users, while Facebook-owned Instagram has 700m monthly active accounts. This vast scale has given it an air of an unstoppable behemoth trampling over rivals and across borders.

      However, politicians across Europe have started to question the role of tech giants in EU member states. Where once there was a feeling that the capitalism and tech ideas coming from the US were good for Europe, attitudes are changing.

    • Why open source AI voice assistants pose little threat to Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri

      The AI voice assistant in question is Mycroft, and the so-called "challenging" of market heavyweights is beyond silly. Mycroft has 36 contributors, with minimal outside interest. A total of 104 developers have bothered to follow it on Github, and it has garnered fewer than 1,000 stars (a way for developers to register interest). Another project associated with data infrastructure, Kubernetes, meanwhile, has 1,191 contributors, 23,205 stars, 1,733 people watching it, and 8,163 forks. That is what "challenging X for market superiority" looks like.

    • The machine is learning
    • It’s coming: another call for everyone’s DNA to be collected and stored permanently

      The head of the Hamburg Institute for Legal Medicine, Klaus Püschel, has called for the DNA of everybody in Germany – including tourists – to be collected and stored. As a story in the German news magazine Der Spiegel (Google Translate version) reported, Püschel wants this because [...]

    • UK government watchdog examining political use of data analytics

      The use of data analytics by political parties has piqued the interest of the Information Commissioner’s Office, a UK public body that protects data rights. On Wednesday it launched a formal investigation into the targeting of voters through social media by political parties, warning that any messages sent to people based on identifying data could be breaking the law.

    • PornHub’s Owner is About to Card Everybody in the UK

      Privacy advocates are fearful that MindGeek, which has over 100 million daily visitors to its sites that include PornHub and Brazzers, could create a database of adult viewing habits on a scale never seen before. MindGeek is "the largest adult entertainment operator globally," according to the porn industry press.

    • Boy, 11, hacks {sic} cyber-security audience to give lesson on ‘weaponisation’ of toys

      "Most internet-connected things have a Bluetooth functionality … I basically showed how I could connect to it, and send commands to it, by recording audio and playing the light," he told AFP later.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Security chiefs agree there’s no point extending laptop flight ban to Europe

      A four-hour meeting in Brussels ended in agreement not to enforce the ban which is already in place between a number of ‘mostly Muslim’ countries, however, reports claim that other measures were still being considered.

    • Laptop ban will create ‘economic tsunami’ in travel industry if electronic devices banished to hold

      Simply put, the ripple effects of this could create an economic tsunami the likes of which terrorists are dreaming of, but instead it will be at the hand of government directive.

    • Don’t Profit From Abuses by Bahrain

      Yemen has entered its third year of war, and war crimes are being committed at an escalating rate. For Yemen’s children, facing a man-made famine, this conflict between Houthi rebels and a coalition led by Saudi Arabia has begun a new phase of horrors.

    • British Human Rights Activist Faces Prison For Refusing To Hand Over Passwords At UK Border

      As Techdirt readers will recall, in 2013 David Miranda was held by the UK authorities when he flew into Heathrow airport, and all of his electronic equipment was seized, in an act of blatant intimidation. His detention was under Schedule 7 of the UK’s Terrorism Act, which, as its name implies, is supposed to be used only if someone is involved in committing, preparing or instigating “acts of terrorism.”

      That was clearly ridiculous in Miranda’s case, and it’s just as outrageous in the latest example of UK border bullying, this time against Muhammad Rabbani. He’s a British citizen, and the international director of Cage, which describes itself as “an independent advocacy organisation working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror.”

    • The strange death, and even stranger life of “Cocaine Cowboy” Andrew Carter Thornton II

      Andrew Carter Thornton II (ACT II) is a name unknown to most except as a piece of historical trivia – the man who fell from the sky in 1985 with millions of dollars of cocaine strapped to his body. To a few others, he’s one of the men tied to a drug operation that was fueling and fueled by government corruption, whose roots were traced as far as the Kentucky Governor’s mansion. But reality, revealed through his FBI file, is even stranger, tracing the corruption surrounding ACT II back to the CIA.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC votes to dismantle net neutrality as critics cry ‘war on open internet’

      The Obama-era ruling came after a massive campaign by online activists who successfully saw off the lobbying might of the US’s largest cable companies. A similar battle will now ensue as the month’s long process of reviewing the rules begins. At the end of the review a final FCC vote will decide the future of internet regulation; court challenges are inevitable whatever the result.

    • Journalist allegedly "manhandled by FCC guards" for asking questions

      "When Donnelly strolled in an unthreatening way toward FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly to pose a question, two guards pinned Donnelly against the wall with the backs of their bodies until O’Rielly had passed," the report said. "O’Rielly witnessed this and continued walking."

    • OnPolitics Today: Your Internet is about to get less open

      Republicans succeeded in a party-line vote to start replacing the rules, which keep Internet providers from blocking or slowing down your Internet at will. The rules also keep corporations from getting paid to prioritize certain content’s delivery to users over others.

    • Net neutrality goes down in flames as FCC votes to kill Title II rules

      The Federal Communications Commission voted 2-1 today to start the process of eliminating net neutrality rules and the classification of home and mobile Internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.

      [...]

      The FCC plans to take comments on its plan until August 16 (the docket is available here), and then make a final decision sometime after that.

    • Internet Providers Insist They Love Net Neutrality. Seriously?

      The rules won’t disappear overnight. In a party-line vote today, the FCC formally agreed to start the process of gathering feedback before drafting a more specific plan, which could take months (#bureaucracy). But FCC chair Ajit Pai has made it clear that, barring a successful legal challenge, the agency will give up its authority to actually enforce net neutrality regulations.

    • The FCC just voted to begin "Destroying Internet Freedom" and overturn net neutrality

      Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to kill net neutrality under the guise of "Restoring Internet Freedom." The lone FCC commissioner in favor of the Open Internet Order and the net neutrality rules we had enjoyed over the last few years, Mignon Clyburn, said the change would be better named "Destroying Internet Freedom" instead of "Restoring Internet Freedom."

    • [Older] The Republican push to repeal net neutrality will get underway this week

      The vote on Thursday, led by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, will kick off consideration of a proposal to relax regulations on companies such as Comcast and AT&T.

    • Ajit Pai accidentally supports utility rules and open-access networks

      But returning to 1990s-era Internet regulation would require more of the Title II utility-style regulation that Pai abhors, not less. If we had 1990s and early 2000s regulatory policy, Internet providers would be forced to open their networks to companies that want to resell Internet access, potentially unleashing a wave of competition in a market where today’s consumers often have no choice of high-speed broadband providers.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • EU Votes Today On Content Portability to Reduce Piracy (Updated)

        Members of the European Parliament will vote today on draft rules that would allow citizens to enjoy legally purchased music and movie streaming subscriptions when they travel to another EU country. It’s hoped that improved access to content will help to dampen frustrations and reduce Internet piracy.

      • Elsevier Wants $15 Million Piracy Damages From Sci-Hub and Libgen

        ‘Pirate’ sites Sci-Hub and LibGen face millions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit filed by Elsevier, one of the largest academic publishers. Elsevier has requested a default judgment of $15 million against the defendants for their "truly egregious conduct" and "staggering" infringement.

      • [Older] A brief visual history of MARC cataloging at the Library of Congress.

        The Library of Congress has released MARC records that I’ll be doing more with over the next several months to understand the books and their classifications. As a first stab, though, I wanted to simply look at the history of how the Library digitized card catalogs to begin with.

05.18.17

Links 18/5/2017: Catching Up With the Past Three Days

Posted in News Roundup at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • 5 Tips To Master Linux

      ​So here we are fans of Linux! But are we up to the bar? To get our hands a little dirty and maybe do what a surgeon do Tongue Well if that disgust you then I didn’t mean cutting up your favorite distro and operating on it. I meant a minor thing like stitches and tending to some easy commands.

    • The Alpha Litebook

      elementary OS Despite desktop Linux becoming more popular over the years and the GNU/Linux family of operating systems gaining more mainstream support from software and hardware creators, there still are not a lot of big name hardware companies selling Linux computers. Even those which do, such as Dell, tend to tuck their Linux options into a back corner, shinning the spotlight on their computers that ship with Windows pre-installed.

      This has left the Linux hardware market relatively open for smaller players. Many smaller shops have appeared over the years, specializing in selling computers with Linux pre-installed. One of the most recent arrivals in the Linux market is the Alpha Litebook. The Litebook, which was launched in early 2017, is a $249-$269 USD notebook computer which ships with elementary OS. elementary is based on Ubuntu and the distribution uses the Pantheon desktop environment by default.

      Happy with the price-to-specifications ratio featured by the Litebook and curious to see how the device would perform, I ordered one of the laptops at the start of March. This review of the Alpha Litebook will consist of four sections: acquiring the Litebook and dealing with Alpha’s customer support; the hardware of the Litebook; my thoughts on elementary OS as a default distribution; and the process of installing another Linux distribution on the Litebook.

  • Kernel Space

    • A pile of stable kernel updates
    • Linus Torvalds stops personally signing Linux rc tarballs

      Linus Torvalds might just be a big softie after all. The Linux Lord, infamous for his occasional foul-mouthed criticism of those who don’t meet his standards, has just popped out release candidate one for Linux 4.12 a day early so he could give his undivided attention to Mother’s Day.

      “So I’m doing this one day early, because I don’t like last-minute pull requests during the merge window anyway, and tomorrow is mother’s day, so I may end up being roped into various happenings,” Torvalds wrote on the Linux Kernel Mailing List on Saturday. Torvalds’ release announcements are usually made on Sundays.

    • Linux Kernels 4.10.16, 4.9.28 LTS and 4.4.68 LTS Are Out Now with Many Changes

      Immediately after announcing earlier today the availability of the first point release of the Linux 4.11 kernel series, Greg Kroah-Hartman is informing the community about the launch of new maintenance updates to the Linux 4.10, 4.9 and 4.4 kernels.

    • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Development of Linux 4.12 with First Release Candidate

      Linus Torvalds kicked off the development of the Linux 4.12 kernel series by announcing the availability of the first Release Candidate (RC) a day early than expected due to the Mother’s Day celebration and last-minute pull requests.

      According to Linus Torvalds, Linux kernel 4.12 RC1 is a pretty large patch that contains numerous additions, including support for AMD’s next-generation Radeon RX Vega GPUs, along with a new driver for Intel Atom IPUs (Image Processing Units).

    • Graphics Stack

      • Dying Light & Dead Island Definitive Edition might soon work on Mesa

        There’s some activity on the Mesa-dev mailing list with patches that will enable both Dying Light & Dead Island Definitive Edition (and it seems Dead Island Riptide Definite Edition too) to work on Mesa.

      • Mesa 17.0.6 released with AMD Polaris 12 support in the ‘radv’ Vulkan driver

        Mesa 17.0.6 is the latest bug-fix release for the 17.0 series, but it also comes with AMD Polaris 12 support for the ‘radv’ Vulkan driver that has been back-ported.

      • Mesa 17.0.6 Released with AMD Polaris 12 GPU Support for Radeon Vulkan Driver

        As expected, the sixth point release to the Mesa 17.0 stable graphics stack was officially unveiled by Andres Gomez, and will soon be available from the software repositories of your favorite GNU/Linux distribution.

        Containing a total of 55 changes, which include both new functionality and fixes for recently discovered bugs, we can say that Mesa 17.0.6 is a hefty maintenance update that all users of the Mesa 17.0 3D Graphics Library series should install, that, of course, if they didn’t already upgrade to the newer Mesa 17.1 stable branch.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Linux Kernel 4.11 Coming Soon to openSUSE Tumbleweed, Users Get KDE Plasma 5.9.5

        Dominique Leuenberger reports this weekend on the latest updates that landed in the software repositories of the openSUSE Tumbleweed operating system, which were brought by a total of six snapshots released in the last two weeks.

        These new Tumbleweed snapshots contained a lot of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and software updates, including the KDE Plasma 5.9.5 and GNOME 3.24.1 desktop environment, KDE Applications 17.04.0 software suite, KDE Frameworks 5.33.0 collection of add-ons for Qt 5, and GRUB 2.02 bootloader.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.34.0 Released for KDE Plasma 5 Desktop Users with 83 Changes
      • It’s Now Possible to Access Your Google Drive Account on KDE Plasma 5 Desktops

        KDE developer Elvis Angelaccio is happy to report on the general availability of a new package that makes it possible for fans of the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment to access their Google Drive accounts without any weird tricks.

      • Introduction for GSoC 2017 with Krita

        I’m here again and I will talk about my accepted GSoC proposal, but how every history, I have to start from the start, so sit down, drink a coffee or a hot chocolate(I like) and have fun.

        I’m from Brazil, to be more specific from Salvador, Bahia. I’m an undergraduate student in Analysis and System Development. I’m not like so many other people that code since their 9 years old or something like that. I just wrote my first line of code with 20 years old and now I have 23, but like my mother says, “It’s never late to do something, no matter what” (Yeah, my mother is amazing. By the way, Happy Mother’s Day).

        In first years in the college, I had the opportunity to work in a software house, that works with proprietary software. I didn’t like that experience for so many reasons, but I was holding myself for money (I’m poor). Someday a teacher from my college invite to a course about Qt and C++ and told to us that we can choose what we want to do and presented KDE and Open Source. I quit my job and started to go to the college in my free time. In this time I studied python and read some books about that and I loved it.

      • Plasma 5.10 Beta, Slicker Desktop

        Monday, 15 May 2017. Today KDE has made a testing release of our desktop Plasma 5.10 with new features across the suite to give users an experience which lives up to our tagline: simple by default, powerful when needed.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • NixOS 17.03 “Gorilla”

        NixOS is a viable daily distro for average users who are willing to put a small amount of work into it. Since it is a little strange, knowledge about NixOS may not translate well to other distros. NixOS is very lightweight and usable. I think that it is probably a very good distro for a more advanced user. Like I said, I was able to do everything I wanted on NixOS (except get my NVIDIA drivers working, but I think that’s my fault). The Nix package manager is also available for most other distros, so if you want to use the Nix package manager and all the Nix glory associated with it (like isolation of packages) you can. I probably won’t keep NixOS on my machine, but I think I will start using the Nix package manager on whatever distro I settle on for this week.

    • New Releases

      • New Neptune Linux Plasma 5 ISO Snapshot Lands with KDE Applications 17.04, More

        Neptune Linux developer Leszek Lesner proudly announced this weekend the availability of a new ISO snapshot for the Neptune Plasma 5 edition of the Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution.

        The new Neptune Plasma 5 ISO is shipping with the latest KDE Applications 17.04 software suite, which includes numerous improvements and new features for the Dolphin file manager, Kdenlive video editor, Kate text editor, Ark archive manager, Konsole terminal emulator, Okular PDF viewer, and Gwenview image viewer.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • What I discovered in Tirana, Albania

          The past few months have brought many changes for me. I traveled throughout Europe to experience some of the open source conferences and communities across the continent. Along the way, I met incredible people with powerful stories about their own communities. However, there is one community that I knew about before I came to Europe. The Open Labs Hackerspace in Tirana, Albania is a special community that I was fortunate enough to discover and meet. Together, they have helped set in motion the open source way in their own city.

          [...]

          I am privileged and honored to be an official member of this community. However, I am mostly an observer in my role. The passion and interest are at the heart of the hackerspace. The members from Tirana have invested so much of themselves into this community, its mission, and its values. From reading, visiting, and talking with the people involved with Open Labs, you see many of their hearts dedicated to what they’re doing. And when you see someone else who invests their heart into something, it’s challenging to not lend some of your own too.

    • Debian Family

      • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (March and April 2017)

        The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

        Guilhem Moulin (guilhem)
        Lisa Baron (jeffity)
        Punit Agrawal (punit)

        The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

        Sebastien Jodogne
        Félix Lechner
        Uli Scholler
        Aurélien Couderc
        Ondřej Kobližek
        Patricio Paez

        Congratulations!

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Building Linux-powered devices, part 1: Making my Linux-only world a reality – Network World

      Sometimes, if you want something badly enough, you need to get off your lazy tuchus and make it happen yourself.

      For years now, I’ve been hoping and pining (and often complaining and whining) about how much I want Linux-powered… everything. Not Android. Not ChromeOS. Real Linux. The kind of Linux you have full control over—the sort you’d install on your desktop PC.

    • Artila Launches the Linux-Ready IoT Gateway Matrix-710 for M2M Applications

      Artila Electronics, which specializes in the development and manufacture of Linux-ready ARM embedded industrial computers, launches the highly integrated compact Box Computer , Matrix-710, based on ARM Cortex-A5, especially for industrial control, automation gateway, mobile gateway, smart energy application. Matrix-710 adapts the innovated technology of ARM processor coupled with the open Linux operating system, which provides the backbone for innovative smart IoT solutions. To achieve the need for M2M application, it equips the WiFi, cellular modems which allow Internet connectivity and GPS for location information transition, considering the practical needs, Matrix-710 also offers a miniPCIe slot for users to deploy these modules easily.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Elastic twangs in snappy machine learning

    Elastic is of course the company behind the open source Elasticsearch and the Elastic Stack products.

    Into the Elastic 5.4 release then… (as a result of the recent acquisition of data anomaly detection business Prelert) Elastic’s machine learning features will work on any time series data set to automatically apply machine brain intelligence.

  • Open Source On IBM i: Let It Grow

    The evaluation of open source software is nowhere near conclusive when it comes to enterprise grade application development. Decisions remain in the exploratory phases. Roadmaps are incomplete. Most are without clear routes to a destination. Some are without destinations. However, it would be wrong to assume roads are not being built.

    There is no way that the future of application development – on IBM i or anywhere else – can handle everything that is coming down the pike without open source. That’s not a mandate to jump on a band wagon. It’s an awareness wake-up call. The IBM i community should not be napping.

  • Open Source an ‘Overrated Necessity,’ Says PCCW [Ed: No, insisting you don't need Free software is like insisting you can put back doors in software, like Microsoft, and be OK]

    If open source has swiftly become the latest religious practise in the telecom industry, it is still attracting its share of skeptics and unbelievers.

    Some were on display at this week’s annual TM Forum Live conference in Nice, where Shahar Steiff, an assistant vice president at Hong Kong’s PCCW, described open source as an “overrated necessity” in front of conference attendees.

  • Events

    • LFNW 2017!

      LinuxFest NorthWest was a fantastic time for me, our Ubuntu booth had Valorie (Kubuntu), Simon (Kubuntu/Lubuntu) and over at the Jupiter Broadcasting we had the awesome Martin Wimpress (Ubuntu Mate). One top question was “what about that Unity news” which we gave a clear answer about Unity development ending and the move to GNOME. Since we were also burning DVD’s and dding usb drives we would recommend that users try out GNOME Shell if GNOME was there preferred Desktop.

    • Bringing together the best minds in open source geospatial technology

      FOSS4G Boston 2017 is shaping up to be a very diverse conference. We have a diverse set of keynote speakers including Holly St. Clair, Chief Digital Officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation, and other open source and geospatial leaders. There are also a variety of workshops and presentations this year. Topics will include R, 3D, analytics, artificial intelligence, routing, big data, drones, GeoNode, GeoServer, image processing, QGIS, PostGIS, projections, and much more! To see the full lineup, visit the full list of accepted presentations and workshops.

    • LaKademy 2017

      I’ve aways been an introspective person and when I was approved to Analysis and Systems Development Course, I thought that I don’t would need to talk with people anymore (while working at least) and I was happy with this xD. Things were going well, until the day that I met the open source concepts and KDE, through my professor, Sandro Andrade (yes, it’s your fault :p). It was love at first sight, I liked the idea to share knowledge and help another people or I was just thinking that I could work with my shorts, I hate pants. I will never know the truth xD.

  • CMS

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

Leftovers

  • IT {sic} pros are becoming desensitised to security alerts and it’s all our fault

    Code42 reckons that 58 per cent of decision makers "have become desensitised to potential cyber security threats due to over-exaggeration and exposure by the media." Furthermore, three-quarters of the ingrates said that they have heard more about cyber threats in the last 18 months than they have ever heard in their lives before.

  • Microsoft to pledge $5 mn to U.N. Human Rights Office

    [...] could prod other big private-sector donors to follow suit.

  • Microsoft commits $5 million to ‘landmark’ United Nations technology partnership
  • Science

    • Thieves in online games can be caught by watching how they play

      Thieves then tend to siphon off virtual items to a network of other accounts they control, often also stolen. The items are in effect shared out between an in-game criminal gang of characters, which usually makes them hard to trace.

    • New American study confirms: Physically separated bike lanes are crucial for safety

      A new study by John Pucher and Ralph Bueler (PDF here) confirms what every cyclist already knows: physically separated bike lanes are by far the best way to reduce injuries and deaths. The two researchers had already shown that more bike lanes mean more cyclists and that bikes keep you skinny, but now demonstrate that cycle tracks keep you alive.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Ransomware Attack Has Spread To Police Department, Institutions: Maharashtra Police

      Globally active ransomware virus has partially affected the computer systems in some institutions in Maharashtra, including that of its police department, a police official said here.

      The exact data about the systems hit by the ransomware, however, will be known once the offices open today, the official said.

      A cyber ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid through the online medium. As per reports, the ransomware has hit as many as 200,000 victims in over 150 countries.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 47 – WannaCry: Everything is basically broken
    • People are trolling GCHQ after they boasted about keeping Britain safe

      While the effects were felt all over the world in almost 100 countries, the NHS was the most terrifyingly significant target for us in Britain – literally, the lifeline of the UK.

    • Out-of-Control CIA Continues to be Exposed in WikiLeaks’ Vault 7

      After installing a small file, the operators would then be able to instruct the computer to kill any use of a web browser on a set schedule. For instance, the software could be instructed to shut down Firefox every 25-35 seconds. Similarly, the example included a measure to “lock up” PowerPoint files 10 minutes after they were loaded. It would also allow operators to create a delay when PowerPoint files were attempting to load.

      While the examples they used are simple and relatively harmless, the software could perform virtually any assigned task. Because the data is encrypted with a key stored outside of the machine, the code would be extremely difficult to detect and/or decipher.

      After installing the software, the documentation instructs users to “kick back” and “Relax – After Midnight will take care of the rest.”

      The second piece of software detailed is similar to “AfterMidnight” and is called “Assassin.” That piece of software is a relatively simple way of collecting data remotely and then delivering results to a listening post on a schedule.

      Through screenshots in the documents, it can be seen that the author is named “Justin,” is working from a Dell computer, and desktop shortcuts to an encrypted chat program called ‘Pidgin,’ as well as a folder entitled “drone.”

    • Global ‘Wana’ Ransomware Outbreak Earned Perpetrators $26,000 So Far

      However, I find it depressing to think of the massive financial damage likely wrought by this ransom campaign in exchange for such a comparatively small reward. It’s particularly galling because this attack potentially endangered the lives of many.

    • Ransomware: Microsoft can no longer claim to be ‘proactive’

      Microsoft’s reaction to the Windows ransomware crisis that occurred on Friday and Saturday has shown one thing: no longer can the company continue to use the business buzzword “proactive” when it talks about itself. It was caught unawares and left looking very old and tired in the way it responded to the situation.

    • Cyber attack: Hackers {sic} in China try to seize control of WannaCry ransomware’s ‘kill switch’

      “What you can follow is the money,” Mr Raiu said. “You can follow the Bitcoins [although] following the Bitcoins is kind of an art in itself.”

    • [Old] The Software Industry IS the Problem

      The question is how to introduce product liability, because just imposing it would instantly shut down any and all software houses with just a hint of a risk management function on their organizational charts.

    • [Old] Why Not Use Port Knocking?

      The robots currently at work knocking around for your guessable password could easily be repurposed to guess your Unicode password currently known as your port knocking sequence, and quite likely have been already.

    • Ransom Attacks Should Make Xi WannaSmile

      The timing couldn’t be better. Just as President Xi Jinping steps on stage to outline his vision for a Chinese century, the world becomes hostage to malicious software.

      This weekend’s ransomware offensive hit hundreds of thousands of computers in at least 150 countries. The financial toll is still being calculated; the psychological toll could be infinite.

      Developed by the security agency of China’s biggest rival and exploiting a ubiquitous product developed by that country’s globally dominant software company, the attacks offer Xi the perfect opportunity to make the case for an alternative to Microsoft Corp. and its Windows operating system. That the techniques used in the attacks were stolen from the National Security Agency also makes this the perfect chance to argue that global technology can’t be trusted in the hands of a single nation.

    • While Microsoft griped about NSA exploit stockpiles, it stockpiled patches: Friday’s WinXP fix was built in February
    • WannaCry attacks are only the beginning, experts warn

      After all, security vendors are still seeing successful exploitation attempts today for MS08-067, the Windows vulnerability that allowed the Conficker computer worm to spread nine years ago.

    • Is Microsoft to blame for the largest ransomware attacks in internet history?
    • Ransomware attack hits 200,000 [Windows] computers across the globe

      Friday’s attack seems to have run its course but it may not take much to develop other strains of the virus {sic} that are not affected by the kill switch. For now, the best you can do is make sure your computers are running the latest software updates – and don’t click on any funny-looking emails.

    • Doxing the hero who stopped WannaCry was irresponsible and dumb

      At the very least, we should respect his privacy. MalwareTech doesn’t give out his name on his Twitter page or blog. There are no headshots. It’s obvious that he just wants to be left alone to get on with what he enjoys – hacking shit, and figuring out how stuff works.

    • Possible Protections To Take Against WannaCry Ransomware Attack
    • Ubuntu Login Screen Security Flaw Could Allow Anyone To Access Your Files [Ed: No, not true. But then again, Fossbytes is better at plagiarism than at grasping what it ‘writes’ about. Expect corporate media, funded by Bill Gates and Microsoft, to run “Linux not secure” stories amid WannaCry fiasco.)
    • NHS mulling Ubuntu switch after Windows XP fail?

      The NHS could be considering switching its software infrastructure from Windows to Ubuntu, after Windows XP vulnerabilities were exploited in the recent cyber attack that crippled the National Health Service. Or is it just an elaborate gag?

      The NHSbuntu platform came to our attention via Dr Dean Jenkins, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and editor-at-large of BMJ Case Reports, who writes about it on Differential Diagnosis, his blog.

    • How WannaCrypt attacks
  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador worried over Assange case progress

      It repeated Ecuador’s request for guarantees of non-extradition to any third country.

    • Ecuador concerned by ‘serious lack of progress’ in Assange case

      The letter by Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry voices concern over a "serious lack of progress" by Swedish prosecutors investigating the sexual misconduct case against Assange, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.

    • Julian Assange: Ecuador ‘concerned’ over lack of progress

      Ecuador has voiced concern over the “serious lack of progress” by the Swedish government in dealing with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      It said there had been a “serious failure” by Sweden’s prosecutor to complete an inquiry into sexual assault allegations dating back to 2010.

      Mr Assange has been confined to the Ecuadorean embassy, where he has asylum, for nearly five years.

      He fears he will be extradited to the US if he leaves the building.

      The Australian national is concerned the US may seek his arrest over Wikileaks’ release of 500,000 secret military files on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

    • Ecuador concerned by Sweden’s “lack of progress” in Assange case

      Ecuador has written to the Swedish government complaining of a “serious lack of progress” in the investigation involving a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      According to the BBC, the letter criticises Sweden’s prosecutor for a “serious failure” to complete an investigation into rape allegations dating back to 2010. Ecuadorian authorities accuse the prosecutor of a “lack of iniative”.

      Julian Assange has been confined at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has asylum, for nearly five years. British police say he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy.

    • Edward Snowden and others urge Trump to drop case against Assange

      Edward Snowden and Noam Chomsky are among those calling on Donald Trump to drop the US government’s investigation into Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

      The pair – along with more than 100 other activists, journalists and government workers – have signed an open letter to the president that calls prosecuting WikiLeaks “a threat to all free journalism”. The letter asks the Department of Justice to drop plans to charge Assange and other WikiLeaks staff members.

    • Wikileaks Attorneys Blast Citizenfour Maker Poitras

      We are lawyers for WikiLeaks. We are speaking out because we believe that Laura Poitras’s film Risk, released in U.S. theaters on May 5 this year, places our clients in legal jeopardy.

      The film serves to undermine WikiLeaks just as the Trump administration has announced that it intends to prosecute its journalists, editors and associates.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Cities hurting, not promoting economic growth in Finland [iophk: "duh. distributed populations are more productive for countries"]

      The regions have also witnessed lower-than-average gross domestic product growth in the 2010s, despite continuing to make up 61 per cent of the national output. Uusimaa alone accounts for a third of the national output but has failed to contribute to economic growth in 2010–2015, according to Hetemäki.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Donald Trump Impeachment Clock Is Ticking

      Citizens of the United States cannot address all the threats posed by all the errant leaders of all the countries on a planet that has plenty of problems. But they do have a duty to be on alert to threats posed by elected and appointed officials who fail to recognize their responsibilities, who act irrationally, or who disregard the rule of law.

    • [Older] Online Voting Won’t Save Democracy

      We have already declared out election system to be critical national infrastructure. This is largely symbolic, but it demonstrates a commitment to secure elections and makes funding and other resources available to states. We can do much more. We owe it to democracy to do it.

    • Trump ‘shared classified information with Russia’

      Then there is the question of whether US allies will be more reluctant to share sensitive intelligence information with the US, lest the president put sources at risk.

    • The ‘Chilling Effect’ of Trump’s Loose Talk With Russia

      This loose treatment of highly secretive "code word" intelligence raises broader questions, too, about how the cavalier disclosure of such secrets might impact the international relationships so essential to ensuring national security at home.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Privatized for-profit immigrant detention centers are a "living nightmare," investigation shows

      Moreover, to make money to afford extra food or phone calls, many detainees have no option but to work for $1 per day. They are ruthlessly exploited by corporations looking to make a profit.

    • Jeff Sessions Reboots the Drug War

      In a two-page memo to federal prosecutors across the country, Sessions overturned former attorney general Eric H. Holder’s sweeping criminal charging policy that instructed his prosecutors to avoid charging certain defendants with offenses that would trigger long mandatory minimum sentences. In its place, Sessions told his more than 5,000 assistant U.S. attorneys to charge defendants with the most serious crimes, carrying the toughest penalties.

    • Indonesian Islamist leader says ethnic Chinese wealth is next target

      His group organised protests by hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Jakarta late last year over a comment about the Koran made by the capital’s governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic-Chinese Christian.

    • Louisiana’s public defender’s office is largely nonexistent so poor people just plead guilty

      If you’re poor and arrested in Louisiana, you will rot in jail for months or even years waiting for a trial which will be indifferently argued by a grossly overworked public defender. As a result, the majority of poor arrestees plead guilty, and 85% of those accused of crimes are poor. Black people in Louisiana are jailed at four times the rate of white people.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Flooded with thoughtful net neutrality comments, FCC highlights "mean tweets"

      Facing extensive net neutrality support, FCC is ready to gut open Internet rules.

    • [Older] 4 Misleading Things ISPs And The FCC Need To Stop Claiming About Net Neutrality

      Net neutrality is a handy name for a pretty simple principle: the idea that the company providing your internet access should deliver you the online content of your choosing, when you choose it, without interfering. And since 2015, it’s been the law of the land. Now we stand to lose it once again — but the arguments that industry and some regulators are making against it are disingenuous at best, and a pack of lies at worst.

    • Big Cable push-polled America on Net Neutrality, still found the majority in favor of it

      As a way of hastening along the neutracidal moment, the Internet & Television Association (AKA National Cable Television Association) conducted a push-poll asking Americans if they wanted Net Neutrality killed right now, or straightaway (more or less).

      But even within the shitty, stilted choices the poll offered, Americans still spoke overwhelmingly in favor of Net Neutrality, leaving Big Cable to desperately spin the outcomes to claim that Americans really wanted to have their internet connections slowed down unless they were accessing their ISPs’ preferred services.

  • DRM

    • Anti-DRM artists march on the World Wide Web Consortium today

      The controversial project to standardize DRM for streaming video on the web started in 2013 and culminated last month with a poll by W3C members whose results are confidential (though the W3C has chosen to publish the outcomes of previous polls and may yet do so for this one).

    • New Netflix DRM Blocks Rooted Phone Owners From Downloading The Netflix App

      As this site has long documented, DRM more often than not provides a false sense of security to those terrified of piracy, yet just as frequently annoys paying customers — ironically driving those customers to the piracy alternatives the DRM was supposed to prevent in the first place.

      The latest example of this phenomenon: with the latest version 5.0 of the Netflix app, Netflix is now leaning entirely on Google’s Widevine digital rights management system. With Netflix recently introducing downloadable shows (assuming the license for that specific program allows it), Netflix’s programming partners likely wanted Netflix to utilize Widevine to ensure that Netflix’s app “only works with devices that are certified by Google and meet all Android requirements.”

    • Netflix Use of Google DRM Means Rooted Android Devices Are Banned

      Netflix customers who previously viewed the service using a ‘rooted’ Android device are no longer able to do so, at least officially. The development has been confirmed by Netflix, who say that the company’s reliance on Google’s Widevine DRM standards means that modified and/or non-certified devices will be excluded from the service.

    • Netflix confirms it is blocking rooted/unlocked devices, app itself is still working (for now)

      However, Netflix has now confirmed to us that blocking modified devices from downloading the app was intentional.

      This is the full statement:

      With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • "MP3 is dead" missed the real, much better story

      MP3 is no less alive now than it was last month or will be next year — the last known MP3 patents have simply expired.

    • Copyrights

      • Law Professor Shows How to Fight Copyright Trolls

        Copyright trolls are known for their dubious tactics, but how should they be fought in court? Motivated by false accusations against alleged BitTorrent pirates. Matthew Sag and Jake Haskell have written an in-depth overview that could help defense lawyers to make their case.

      • Streaming Site Operator Jailed For Three Years After Landmark Trial

        Following a landmark trial, the key player at streaming site Swefilmer has been jailed for an unprecedented three years, longer than any defendant in the earlier Pirate Bay case. An administrator of the site received a relatively lenient sentence of probation and community service.

05.14.17

Links 14/5/2017: Linux 4.12 RC1 and KDE Frameworks 5.34.0

Posted in News Roundup at 1:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Insomnia Is Now Open Source

    Today, I’m happy to announce that the Insomnia desktop app is now open source software under the GPLv3 license! The source code is hosted on GitHub for your viewing pleasure.

  • Bookmarks for Nextcloud 0.10.0 released

    I am happy to announce the availability of Bookmarks for Nextcloud 0.10.0! Bookmarks is a simple way to manage the remarkable websites and pages you come across on the Internet. Bookmarks 0.10.0 provides API methods to create, read, update and delete your bookmarks as well as compatibility with upcoming Nextcloud 12, next to smaller improvements and fixes.

  • Coreboot Ported To Another Core 2 Era Motherboard: G41C-GS

    If you happen to have an ASRock G41C-GS still in use or tucked away in your closet, this older motherboard for Intel Core 2 CPUs now has support for Coreboot to free the proprietary BIOS of the motherboard. Or if you don’t but still have other parts available, this motherboard is still available from a few online shops.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 57: new Photon design screenshots

        The following article gives you a glimpse of the upcoming Photon design of the Firefox web browser which will come out later this year.

        Mozilla plans to make Firefox 57 a milestone release. It is the version of Firefox in which the cut is made that leaves legacy add-ons behind, and also the Firefox version that will feature a design update.

        This design update is called Photon, and we talked about this previously already here on Ghacks Technology News.

      • Firefox vs Chrome & Other Browsers

        Not too many years ago, Firefox was king of the jungle. Sadly, this is no longer the case. Is Chrome the browser to beat in 2017 on the Linux desktop? Can Firefox or other alternatives possibly make a dent in Chrome’s reign? I examine this matter closely.

      • Firefox vs Chrome & Other Browsers | Feedback Hangouts Video
  • Databases

  • OnlyOffice/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.5 and AES-NI

      We’re starting the process toward pfSense software release 2.3.4. pfSense software release 2.4 is close as well, and will bring a number of improvements: UEFI, translations to at least five lanuguages, ZFS, FreeBSD 11 base, new login page, OpenVPN 2.4 and more. pfSense version 2.4 requires a 64-bit Intel or AMD CPU, and nanobsd images are no longer a part of pfSense as of version 2.4.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Machine learning for lawyers

      Machine learning is a technique that has taken the computing world by storm over the last few years. As Luis Villa discussed in his 2017 Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW) talk, there are legal implications that need to be considered, especially with regard to the data sets that are used by machine-learning systems. The talk, which was not under the Chatham House Rule default for the workshop, also provided a simplified introduction to machine learning geared toward a legal audience.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: Open Source Electrospinning

        Electrospinning is the process of dispensing a polymer solution from a nozzle, then applying a very high voltage potential between the nozzle and a collector screen. The result is a very, very fine fiber that is stretched and elongated down to nanometers. Why would anyone want this? These fibers make great filters because of their large surface area. Electrospinning has been cited as an enabling technology for the future of textiles. The reality, though, is that no one really knows how electrospinning is going to become a standard industrial process because it’s so rare. Not many labs are researching electrospinning, to say nothing of industry.

  • Programming/Development

    • Oracle crushed in defeat as Java world votes ‘No’ to modular overhaul

      The database goliath has lost a Java Community public-review ballot by 13 to 10 that was to have approved its Java Platform Module System (JPMS) specification as a final draft. Executive Committee members ignored dire warnings from Oracle spec lead Mark Reinhold in an open letter where he claimed that a “no” vote would not only delay Java 9 but also be a “vote against the Java Community Process itself”.

      The JSR, number 376, needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

      In that bluntly worded letter, Oracle’s Java platform chief also chastised IBM and Red Hat for suggesting that they might vote against JPMS.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Toddlers’ screen time linked to speech delays and lost sleep, but questions remain

      It turns out that about 1 in 5 of the toddlers used handheld screens, and those kids had an average daily usage of about a half hour. Handheld screen time was associated with potential delays in expressive language, the team found. For every half hour of mobile media use, a child’s risk of language delay increased by about 50 percent.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Major cyber attack hits companies, hospitals, schools worldwide

      Private security firms identified the ransomware as a new variant of “WannaCry” that had the ability to automatically spread across large networks by exploiting a known bug in Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

    • Massive cyberattack hits several hospitals across England
    • Rejection Letter

      We start with a shadowy US government agency, the NSA, systematically analyzing the software of the biggest American computer companies in search of vulnerabilities. So far, so plausible: this is one of the jobs of an intelligence and counter-espionage agency focussed on information technology. However, instead of helping Microsoft fix them, we are supposed to believe that the NSA hoard their knowledge of weaknesses in Microsoft Windows, a vitally important piece of their own nation’s infrastructure, in case they’ll come in handy againt some hypothetical future enemy. (I’m sorry, but this just won’t wash; surely the good guys would prioritize protecting their own corporate infrastructure? But this is just the first of the many logical inconsistencies which riddle the back story and plot of “Zero Day”.)

    • SambaXP 2017: John Hixson’s Reflection

      The next talk was given by Jeremy Allison on the recent symlink CVE. Jeremy explained how it was discovered and the measures that were taken to fix it.

    • Microsoft issues ‘highly unusual’ Windows XP patch to prevent massive ransomware attack
    • Is it prudent to ask if Britain’s nuke subs, which also run Windows XP, have also been hit by ransomware?

      Let’s reword this to drive the point home. How likely is it that the United States NSA, through its persistent interest in keeping us unsafe, has managed to hand control of Britain’s nuclear weapons platforms to unknown ransomware authors, perhaps in Russia or Uzbekistan?

    • Current wave of ransomware not written by ordinary criminals, but by the NSA

      The lesson here is that the NSA’s mission, keeping a country safe, is in direct conflict with its methods of collecting a catalog of vulnerabilities in critical systems and constructing weapons to use against those systems, weapons that will always leak, instead of fixing the discovered weaknesses and vulnerabilities that make us unsafe.

    • Wana Decrypt0r Ransomware Outbreak Temporarily Stopped By “Accidental Hero”

      A security researcher that goes online by the nickname of MalwareTech is the hero of the day, albeit an accidental one, after having saved countless of computers worldwide from a virulent form of ransomware called Wana Decrypt0r (also referenced as WCry, WannaCry, WannaCrypt, and WanaCrypt0r).

    • DDOS attacks in Q1 2017

      In Q1 2017, the geography of DDoS attacks narrowed to 72 countries, with China accounting for 55.11% (21.9 p.p. less than the previous quarter). South Korea (22.41% vs. 7.04% in Q4 2016) and the US (11.37% vs. 7.30%) were second and third respectively.

      The Top 10 most targeted countries accounted for 95.5% of all attacks. The UK (0.8%) appeared in the ranking, replacing Japan. Vietnam (0.8%, + 0.2 p.p.) moved up from seventh to sixth, while Canada (0.7%) dropped to eighth.

    • Applied Physical Attacks and Hardware Pentesting

      This week, I had the opportunity to take Joe Fitzpatrick’s class “Applied Physical Attacks and Hardware Pentesting”. This was a preview of the course he’s offering at Black Hat this summer, and so it was in a bit of an unpolished state, but I actually enjoyed the fact that it was that way. I’ve taken a class with Joe before, back when he and Stephen Ridley of Xipiter taught “Software Exploitation via Hardware Exploitation”, and I’ve watched a number of his talks at various conferences, so I had high expectations of the course, and he didn’t disappoint.

    • Intel’s zero-day problem
    • Reverse-engineering the Intel Management Engine’s ROMP module

      Last month, while I was waiting for hardware to arrive and undergo troubleshooting, I had some spare time to begin some Intel ME reverse engineering work.

      First, I need to give some shout out to Igor Skochinsky, a Hex-Rays developer, who had been working on reverse engineering the Intel ME for a while, and who has been very generous in sharing his notes and research on the ME with us, which is going to be a huge help and cut down months of reverse engineering and guesswork. Igor was very helpful in getting me to understand the bits that didn’t make sense to me.

    • Intel AMT on wireless networks

      More details about Intel’s AMT vulnerablity have been released – it’s about the worst case scenario, in that it’s a total authentication bypass that appears to exist independent of whether the AMT is being used in Small Business or Enterprise modes (more background in my previous post here). One thing I claimed was that even though this was pretty bad it probably wasn’t super bad, since Shodan indicated that there were only a small number of thousand machines on the public internet and accessible via AMT. Most deployments were probably behind corporate firewalls, which meant that it was plausibly a vector for spreading within a company but probably wasn’t a likely initial vector.

      [...]

      Case 2 is the scary one. If you have a laptop that supports AMT, and if AMT has been provisioned, and if AMT has had wireless support turned on, and if you’re running Windows, then connecting your laptop to a public wireless network means that AMT is accessible to anyone else on that network[1]. If it hasn’t received a firmware update, they’ll be able to do so without needing any valid credentials.

    • Intel declared war on general purpose computing and lost, so now all our computers are broken

      It’s been a year since we warned that Intel’s Management Engine — a separate computer within your own computer, intended to verify and supervise the main system — presented a terrifying, unauditable security risk that could lead to devastating, unstoppable attacks. Guess what happened next?

      For the past week, the IT press has been full of news about the AMT module in the Management Engine making millions of systems vulnerable to local and remote attacks, with a firmware update to disable the module as the only really comprehensive solution. But AMT is only one of the many components of ME, and every one of them could have a vulnerability as grave as this one — and Intel is not offering any way to turn off ME altogether, meaning that there’s a lot of this in our future.

      ME is a brilliant example of why declaring war on general-purpose computing is a terrible idea. There are lots of reasons to want a computer that can only run some programs (instead of every program): preventing poisoned operating systems and other malware, preventing game cheating, enforcing copyright restrictions (DRM), etc… Every one of them is presented as a use-case for ME.

    • OSS-Fuzz: Five months later, and rewarding projects
    • USN-3285-1: LightDM vulnerability
    • generic kde LPE
    • QSB #30: Critical Xen bugs related to PV memory virtualization (XSA-213, XSA-214)
    • Europe is living under Microsoft’s digital killswitch

      All across Europe, from Finland to Portugal, Ireland to Greece, governments rely on Microsoft software. As their digital systems grow in size and importance, countries are becoming increasingly dependent on this single American corporation. But what consequences does this “lock-in” have? What risks does it pose for the security of European data? And what can governments do to counter it?

      It’s estimated that Microsoft makes around two billion euros in Europe every year, just from its business with the public sector. In 2012 the European Commission released a report that stated that 1.1 billion euros were unnecessarily lost by the European public sector due to being locked-in in business with IT system providers.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Kevin McKenna: Giving huge IT deal to foreign firm is a betrayal of Scotland [Ed: Microsoft...]

      CGI was at the centre of the massive IT catastrophe which left around 20,000 farmers without their farm subsidy payments, driving many to the edge of ruin. Audit Scotland, which produced a report into the shambles, warned that the incomplete £178m system, designed to process common agricultural policy payments of £688m a year, was at risk of running out of money before it had met the European Commission deadline.

    • The Windows Store is looking a lot like the future of Windows

      Oh, and there are some big benefits for Microsoft if it can pull this off, too, given that the company gets a nice 30 percent cut of app purchases.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • This Is the Secret Court Order That Forced the NSA to Delete the Data It Collected About You

      A newly released court opinion from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) shows that for years the NSA improperly and perhaps illegally surveilled Americans. The court order triggered the surprise announcement two weeks ago that the agency would be severely scaling back its domestic surveillance and destroying previously collected data on Americans.

    • Their View: NSA stops one abuse, but many remain

      The National Security Agency has decided to halt a controversial surveillance program, but this was just the tip of an iceberg of government abuses of privacy and due process.

    • Report: NSA Analysts Frequently Broke Rules on Intelligence Collection

      When searching intelligence data, analysts from the National Security Agency failed to follow the rules “with much greater frequency” than was previously disclosed, documents published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence show.

      The secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court accused the NSA of a “lack of candor” when reporting those failures, which are a serious concern for the Fourth Amendment.

      During a preliminary review of just a few months in 2015, analysts running searches on emails and other digital communications vacuumed up from undersea internet cables frequently violated Americans’ privacy—albeit unintentionally.

    • Met Police use of Indian hackers probed by watchdog

      Undercover counter-extremism officers used hackers in India to access the emails of journalists and environmental activists, it has been claimed.

    • How to escape the online spies [iophk: "block Facebook at the firewall"]

      And that’s just the start of it. Experts warn that, in the future, your online activity could be taken into consideration when you apply for a loan – or for a job.

    • Young children unconcerned about digital tracking by strangers [iophk: "*cough*facebook*cough*"]

      In contrast, the children did not express such negativity, overall. The youngest children (4-7 years) were positive about someone tracking others’ possessions. In fact, children were more negative about someone merely placing a mobile GPS device on an object and not tracking it than about someone placing the device in order to track the object, Gelman said.

    • NHS cyber attack: Edward Snowden says NSA should have prevented cyber attack

      Edward Snowden has blamed the National Security Council for not preventing a cyber attack which infiltrated the computer systems of organisations in 74 countries around the world.

      In a tweet, the National Security Council (NSA) whistleblower said: “Despite warnings, @NSAGov built dangerous attack tools that could target Western software. Today we see the cost.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • [Old] Raif Badawi

      First detained on apostasy charges in 2008, Mr. Badawi was released after a day of questioning. He was arrested on June 17, 2012, on a charge of insulting Islam through electronic channels and brought to court on several charges including apostasy, a conviction which carries an automatic death sentence. Human Rights Watch stated that Badawi’s website had hosted material criticizing “senior religious figures.” Mr. Badawi had also suggested that Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University had become “a den for terrorists.”

    • ‘We’ll not be safe with Indonesia,’ says West Papua’s Benny Wenda

      In its rush to claim former Dutch colonies in the Asia-Pacific region following West Papua’s self-declared independence from the Netherlands in late 1961, Indonesia has subjected West Papua to continued human rights violations.

      [...]

      With foreign media all but denied access to West Papua – despite apparent lifting of restrictions by President Joko Widodo in 2015 – much of Indonesia’s atrocities remain secret, hidden.

    • How one obscure court case could decide the future of internet business

      In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit dealt the Federal Trade Commission a major blow by calling into question one of the consumer protection agency’s most important powers. The court said the FTC should be banned from regulating a company if even a small part of that firm’s business is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission as a telecom service, otherwise known as a “common carrier.”

  • DRM

    • Anti-DRM artists march on the World Wide Web Consortium today

      Today, activists will gather in Cambridge, Mass to march to the offices of W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee to urge him to keep DRM out of the standards for the open web.

      The controversial project to standardize DRM for streaming video on the web started in 2013 and culminated last month with a poll by W3C members whose results are confidential (though the W3C has chosen to publish the outcomes of previous polls and may yet do so for this one).

      Many of the members who voted in that poll endorsed a compromise advanced by the EFF: to go ahead with DRM, but only if members sign an amendment to the current membership agreement, promising not to use DRM laws to attack people engaged in legitimate activity like adapting the standard for people with disabilities, investigating security and privacy defects, and adding lawful features to video tools.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The rise of copyright trolls

        At the 2017 Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW), which was held April 26-28 in Barcelona, Spain, more information about the GPL enforcement efforts by Patrick McHardy emerged. The workshop is organized by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and its legal network. A panel discussion on the final day of the workshop discussed McHardy’s methodology and outlined why those efforts are actually far from the worst-case scenario of a copyright troll. While the Q&A portion of the discussion was under Chatham House Rule (which was the default for the workshop), the discussion between the three participants was not—it provided much more detail about McHardy’s efforts, and copyright trolling in general, than has been previously available publicly.

      • ISP Bombarded With 82,000+ Demands to Reveal Alleged Pirates

        Scandinavian telecoms operator Telia has revealed how rightsholders are bombarding the company with demands to identify alleged pirates. During the past year alone, Telia has been ordered to hand over personal details relating to more than 82,000 IP addresses, a large proportion of which will go to known copyright trolls.

      • How Amanda Palmer gave the music industry the finger with crowdfunding

        “I’ve had to continually re-educate myself that this isn’t about selling music. It’s about making music.”

      • Anglophiles: Hang up your VPN; iPlayer isn’t for you anymore

        BBC collects IP address, location, e-mail address in fight against online cheats.

      • Texas Court Orders Temporary ‘Pre-Piracy’ Shutdown of Sports Streaming Sites

        A Federal Court in Texas has issued a broad preliminary injunction ordering several Internet services to disconnect a list of pirate sports streaming domains. While domain name seizures are not an entirely new phenomenon in the US, this order targets “anticipated” infringements and only applies temporarily. It ends after the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.

05.13.17

Links 13/5/2017: Neptune Plasma 5 ISO, a Shift to Free (FOSS) Databases

Posted in News Roundup at 2:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Fonts and presentations

    When you’re giving a presentation, the choice of font can matter a lot. Not just in terms of how pretty your slides look, but also in terms of whether the data you’re presenting is actually properly legible. Unfortunately, far too many fonts are appallingly bad if you’re trying to tell certain characters apart. Imagine if you’re at the back of a room, trying to read information on a slide that’s (typically) too small and (if you’re unlucky) the presenter’s speech is also unclear to you (noisy room, bad audio, different language). A good clear font is really important here.

  • Science

    • Trump’s Expected Pick for Top USDA Scientist Is Not a Scientist

      The USDA’s research section studies everything from climate change to nutrition. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, its leader is supposed to serve as the agency’s “chief scientist” and be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”

      But Sam Clovis — who, according to sources with knowledge of the appointment and members of the agriculture trade press, is President Trump’s pick to oversee the section — appears to have no such credentials.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New Report on U.S. Ocean and Great Lakes Economy Shows Growth

      The ocean economy includes businesses dependent on ocean and Great Lakes natural resources. This essential segment of the U.S. economy also employed more than 3 million people—more than crop production, telecommunication and building construction combined—with over two thirds of those employees in the tourism and recreation sector.

    • Action Alert: NYT Misleads on Children’s Pre-Existing Conditions

      But when you read the HHS report that Pelosi was referencing, the Times‘ “factcheck” is even more deceptive. The 4 million and 17 million figures are not the low and high estimates of the government about the same phenomenon; they’re counting two separate things, and the first figure intentionally leaves out massive numbers of kids with pre-existing conditions.

    • Understanding Sea Level Rise in the Nation’s Largest Estuary

      Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative researchers are working towards a better understanding of how the nation’s largest estuary is changing over time due to rising sea levels. Scientists are collecting data with tide stations and other tools at sentinel sites around the Bay. Through intensive studies and long-term observations at these stations, Cooperative partners are helping to create a clearer picture of sea level and ecological changes in this region to better inform coastal decision-makers about the health of the Bay now and into the future.

    • Taking Data Further with Standards

      Imagine reading a book, written by many different authors, each working apart from the others, without guidelines, and published without edits. That book is a difficult read — it’s in 23 different languages, there’s no consistency in character names, and the story gets lost. As a reader, you have an uphill battle to get the information to tell you one cohesive story. Data is a lot like that, and that’s why data standards matter. By establishing common standards for the collection, storage, and control of data and information, data can go farther, be integrated with other data, and make “big data” research and development possible.

      For example, NOAA collects around 20 terabytes of data every day.Through the National Ocean Service, instruments are at work daily gathering physical data in the ocean, from current speed to the movement of schools of fish and much more. Hundreds of government agencies and programs generate this information to fulfill their missions and mandates, but without consistency from agency to agency, the benefits of that data are limited. In addition to federal agencies, there are hundreds more non-federal and academic researchers gathering data every day. Having open, available, comprehensive data standards that are widely implemented facilitates data sharing, and when data is shared, it maximizes the benefits of “big data”— integrated, multi-source data that yields a whole greater than its parts.

    • Sullied seasoning: Sea salts come with a dash of microplastics

      When plastic garbage makes its way to the sea, it eventually breaks down into tiny fragments that return to us in salty seasonings, Malaysian researchers report in Scientific Reports.

      In a survey of 16 sea salts from eight countries, researchers found microplastic particles lurking in all but one. In total, the researchers collected 72 particles from the salts and used micro-Raman spectroscopy to identify their components, which were mainly plastic polymers and pigments.

    • Dakota Access pipeline has first leak before it’s fully operational

      “It doesn’t give us any pleasure to say, ‘I told you so.’ But we have said from the beginning that it’s not a matter of if, but when,” the Earthjustice attorney told the Guardian on Wednesday. “Pipelines leak and they spill. It’s just what happens.”

      [...]

      The company has fought in court to keep information about the status of the project confidential.

    • [Old] 220 ‘Significant’ Pipeline Spills Already This Year Exposes Troubling Safety Record

      Three major U.S. pipeline spills within the last month are just a small part of the 220 significant incidents reported so far this year—and 3,032 since 2006—that provide a stark reminder of the environmental hazards of an aging pipeline infrastructure carrying fossil fuels. The costs of these leaks since 2006 has amounted to $4.7 billion.

  • Security

    • ‘CIA malware plants Gremlins’ on Microsoft machines – WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks has released the latest instalment in the #Vault7 series, detailing two apparent CIA malware frameworks dubbed ‘AfterMidnight’ and ‘Assassin’ which it says target the Microsoft Windows platform.

    • WannaCry ransomware used in widespread attacks all over the world

      Earlier today, our products detected and successfully blocked a large number of ransomware attacks around the world. In these attacks, data is encrypted with the extension “.WCRY” added to the filenames.

      Our analysis indicates the attack, dubbed “WannaCry”, is initiated through an SMBv2 remote code execution in Microsoft Windows. This exploit (codenamed “EternalBlue”) has been made available on the internet through the Shadowbrokers dump on April 14th, 2017 and patched by Microsoft on March 14.

    • NHS left reeling by cyber-attack: ‘We are literally unable to do any x-rays’

      Thousands of patients across England and Scotland have been in limbo after an international cyber-attack hit the NHS, with many having operations cancelled at the last minute.

      Senior medics sought to reassure patients that they could be seen in the normal way in emergencies, but others were asked to stay away if possible.

      According to one junior doctor who works in a London hospital, the attack left hospitals struggling to care for people. “However much they pretend patient safety is unaffected, it’s not true. At my hospital we are literally unable to do any x-rays, which are an essential component of emergency medicine,” the doctor told the Guardian.

    • “Worst-Ever Recorded” Ransomware Attack Strikes Over 57,000 Users Worldwide, Using NSA-Leaked Tools

      Update 4: According to experts tracking and analyzing the worm and its spread, this could be one of the worst-ever recorded attacks of its kind. The security researcher who tweets and blogs as MalwareTech told The Intercept “I’ve never seen anything like this with ransomware,” and “the last worm of this degree I can remember is Conficker.” Conficker was a notorious Windows worm first spotted in 2008; it went on to infect over nine million computers in nearly 200 countries.

    • Ransomware mess: high time for Microsoft to act [iophk: "close, it's high time to ditch Windows across the board"]

      Lets’ remember one thing: the ransomware and exploits are just the effects. The vulnerabilities in Windows are the cause.

    • NHS hospitals across the UK hit by large-scale ransomware attack

      Malware said to be spreading via Windows SMB exploit first outed in February

    • Tories cut security support for outdated NHS computers a year ago despite warnings of vulnerability to hackers

      The Government Digital Service, set up by David Cameron, decided not to extend a £5.5million one-year support deal with Microsoft for Windows XP.

    • We Wuz Warned

      The tools that are infecting computers worldwide were indeed developed by, and then leaked from, the NSA. (Thanks for nothing, spooks.) The bitcoin.com article contains tips about how to protect yourself, and links to Windows patches, if you haven’t yet been hit. Fortunately for us, the attacks seem to be focused on Windows systems; our Linux desktops are so far unscathed.

    • NSA-created cyber tool spawns global attacks — and victims include Russia

      Leaked alleged NSA hacking tools appear to be behind a massive cyberattack disrupting hospitals and companies across Europe, Asia, with Russia among the hardest-hit countries.

      But the Department of Homeland Security told POLITICO it had not confirmed any attacks in the U.S. on government targets or vital industries, such as hospitals and banks.

    • GCHQ tweeted about keeping Britain cyber-safe and it majorly backfired
    • Leaked NSA Hacking Tool On Global Ransomware Rampage [Ed: No, the problem isn't "patching" or "upgrade", the problem is Windows itself, irrespective of which version (back doors)]

      Thus, there’s some debate online about whether the “problem” here is organizations who don’t upgrade/patch or the NSA. Of course, these things are not mutually exclusive: you can reasonably blame both. Failing to update and patch your computers is a bad idea these days — especially for large organizations with IT staff who should know better.

    • An NSA-derived ransomware worm is shutting down computers worldwide
    • WCry is so mean Microsoft issues patch for 3 unsupported Windows versions [Ed: Back doors in old versions of Windows belatedly closed because Microsoft risks losing millions of useds [sic] for good]
    • Six things you need to know about IoT security
    • OpenStack Cloud Security Moves Forward

      When it comes to understanding security in the cloud and specifically security in OpenStack clouds, there are many factors to consider. In a panel session moderated by eWEEK at the OpenStack Summit in Boston, leaders from across different elements of the OpenStack security spectrum provided insight and recommendations on cloud security.

      Security is a broad term in the OpenStack context and isn’t just one single item. There is the OpenStack Security Project, which has a mission to help build tools and processes that help to secure OpenStack and its various projects. There is also the Vulnerability Management Team (VMT) that handles vulnerabilities for OpenStack project. Security in OpenStack is also reflected in various OpenStack projects, including notably Project Barbican for security key management. Finally there is just general security for cloud deployment by operators, which includes secure configuration and monitoring.

    • Intel’s Management Engine is a security hazard, and users need a way to disable it

      Since 2008, most of Intel’s CPUs have contained a tiny homunculus computer called the “Management Engine” (ME). The ME is a largely undocumented master controller for your CPU: it works with system firmware during boot and has direct access to system memory, the screen, keyboard, and network. All of the code inside the ME is secret, signed, and tightly controlled by Intel. Last week, vulnerabilities in the Active Management (AMT) module in some Management Engines have caused lots of machines with Intel CPUs to be disastrously vulnerable to remote and local attackers. While AMT can be disabled, there is presently no way to disable or limit the Management Engine in general. Intel urgently needs to provide one.

      This post will describe the nature of the vulnerabilities (thanks to Matthew Garrett for documenting them well), and the potential for similar bugs in the future. EFF believes that Intel needs to provide a minimum level of transparency and user control of the Management Engines inside our CPUs, in order to prevent this cybersecurity disaster from recurring. Unless that happens, we are concerned that it may not be appropriate to use Intel CPUs in many kinds of critical infrastructure systems.

    • ‘Accidental hero’ halts ransomware attack and warns: this is not over

      Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a user’s data, then demands payment in exchange for unlocking the data. This attack used a piece of malicious software called “WanaCrypt0r 2.0” or WannaCry, that exploits a vulnerability in Windows. Microsoft released a patch (a software update that fixes the problem) for the flaw in March, but computers that have not installed the security update remain vulnerable.

    • Vanilla Forums Open Source Software Vulnerable to RCE, Host Header Injection Vulnerability

      Popular open source forum software suffers from vulnerabilities that could let an attacker gain access to user accounts, carry out web-cache poisoning attacks, and in some instances, execute arbitrary code.

    • Vanilla Forums has a plain-flavoured zero-day

      The popular Vanilla Forums software needs patching against a remote code execution zero-day first reported to the developers in December 2016.

      Published by ExploitBox, the zero-day “can be exploited by unauthenticated remote attackers to execute arbitrary code and fully compromise the target application when combined with Host Header injection vulnerability CVE-2016-10073.”

      The problem arises because Vanilla Forums inherits a bug in PHPMailer. The mailer uses PHP’s mail() function as its default transport, as discussed by Legal Hackers here.

    • Google Fuzzing Service Uncovers 1K Bugs in Open-Source Projects

      Today’s topics include Google’s fuzzing service uncovering more than 1,000 bugs in open-source projects in five months, VMware helping Google make Chromebooks better for business; Edward Snowden advocating the need for open source and OpenStack; and Dell EMC aiming servers at data center modernization efforts.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The universal lesson of the courage of East Timor

      On May 5, John Pilger was presented with the Order of Timor-Leste by East Timor’s Ambassador to Australia, Abel Gutteras, in recognition of his reporting on East Timor under Indonesia’s brutal occupation, especially his landmark documentary film, Death of a Nation: the Timor Conspiracy. The following was Pilger’s response…

      Filming undercover in East Timor in 1993 I followed a landscape of crosses: great black crosses etched against the sky, crosses on peaks, crosses marching down the hillsides, crosses beside the road. They littered the earth and crowded the eye.

      The inscriptions on the crosses revealed the extinction of whole families, wiped out in the space of a year, a month, a day. Village after village stood as memorials.

      Kraras is one such village. Known as the “village of the widows”, the population of 287 people was murdered by Indonesian troops.

      Using a typewriter with a faded ribbon, a local priest had recorded the name, age, cause of death and date of the killing of every victim. In the last column, he identified the Indonesian battalion responsible for each murder. It was evidence of genocide.

    • Lockheed Martin-Funded Experts Agree: South Korea Needs More Lockheed Martin Missiles

      As tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to rise, one think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has become a ubiquitous voice on the topic of missile defense, providing Official-Sounding Quotes to dozens of reporters in Western media outlets. All of these quotes speak to the urgent threat of North Korea and how important the United States’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system is to South Korea…

    • NPR Can’t Help Hyping North Korean Threat

      North Korea’s dictatorial government uses the threat of war as a propaganda tool against its own population—fostering loyalty to itself and its military establishment. As NPR’s own reporting (3/23/16) put it, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un “needs to establish his own legitimacy, and that means standing up to enemies.” According to Brookings’ Sheena Greitens, interviewed in that piece: “North Korea might use a range of strategies…but we should remember that they’re all aimed at the same underlying, fundamental objective: ensuring Kim’s political survival.”

      If North Korea’s warlike propaganda is so transparent, what should we think of the US media? Of course, professional journalists claim to pursue the truth, and report it in nobody’s interest but the public’s. But what if even a “serious” outlet like National Public Radio launches a flurry of fear-mongering at a word from the Pentagon? A survey of its coverage since March 8 suggests that NPR has promoted the perspective of the US government at the expense of public understanding of US/North Korean relations. The construction of foreign “threats” benefits both a national government hungry for legitimacy—and news organizations hungry for an audience.

  • Finance

    • Donald Trump Is Waging a War on Workers
    • Behind Many ‘Mom and Pop’ Bail Bonds Shops Is a Huge Insurance Corporation Out to Profit From Misery

      Every year, money bail boosts bail insurance corporations’ profits at the expense of millions of low-income people of color.

      Eleven years ago, San Diego, California, resident Melodie Henderson was arrested for assault after a minor altercation with a former coworker. Her bail was set at $50,000. This was before a judge ever laid eyes on her.

      Although she was employed, there was just no way Melodie would ever have been able to come up with the $50,000 she needed to post bail to be released while she fought her case in court. Her other option was to pay a bail bonds company a 10% nonrefundable fee, but with a $50,000 bail amount, it would be hard for her to come up with the $5,000 on her own. Of course there was third option: to sit in jail while her case moved forward, but that wasn’t an option at all. She was in her early 20s, working and going to school part time, while also taking care of her 6-year-old sister and her grandmother, who was undergoing chemotherapy. Her bail felt like punishment before she even went to trial.

    • Globalism, Neoliberalism and the Big Questions of Our Time

      Annoyingly for the neo-liberals, many of the most regulated economies in the world continue to be the most productive countries in the world. This stubborn fact is extremely frustrating for the neo-liberals, and leads them to make fools of themselves coming up with the daftest possible explanations (see Ryan Bourne above). It is also why they are desperate to destroy the French model (see Macron above).

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • WikiLeaks offers $100K for tapes of President Trump-James Comey conversations

      WikiLeaks has offered $100,000 to anyone who can send them any tapes of conversations between President Trump and former FBI director James Comey.

      The offer from the antisecrecy organization — which infamously published emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta last year — was made Friday via Twitter: “WikiLeaks offers US$100k for the Trump-Comey tapes. To increase the reward send Bitcoin to reward address.”

    • Media Are Literally Copy-and-Pasting ICE Press Releases

      Without going through every DHS and ICE press release and cross-checking them against local media reports, it’s impossible to document the scope of the problem. But with a half-dozen glaring examples in just the past few weeks alone, it appears rampant in local media. Rewriting press releases to mindlessly advance a government narrative is bad enough; literally plagiarizing government press releases in the service of the same ends is a whole new low in corporate media stenography.

    • Action Alert: Asking Questions of Government Figures Is Not a Crime

      West Virginia state police arrested Dan Heyman, a veteran reporter with Public News Service, for repeatedly asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price whether being a target of domestic violence would be considered a “pre-existing condition,” allowing health insurance to be denied, under the new Republican healthcare bill.

      The charge: “willful disruption of governmental processes.”

      Capitol police “decided I was just too persistent in asking this question and trying to do my job and so they arrested me,” Heyman told reporters (The Hill, 5/9/17). “First time I’ve ever been arrested for asking a question. First time I’ve ever heard of someone getting arrested for asking a question.”

    • Journalists as State Functionaries

      The media know perfectly well that the reason May needs protection from difficult questions – and even advance notice of soft ones – is that she is hopeless. Her refusal to debate Corbyn and her car crash interview with Marr illustrate that. But our servile media cover up for her by colluding in entirely fake events.

      I learn from a BBC source that in the special Question Time the BBC have organised for May in lieu of a debate, questioners will be selected in advance and May will see the questions in time to prepare.

      My observation that the Conservative platform is in its essentials identical to the BNP manifesto of 2005 has received widespread social media coverage. I simply cannot conceive that the UK can have become so right wing. Now add to that, it has become so authoritarian there is no reaction to advance vetting of journalists questions – something Vladimir Putin does not do. And very few people seem to care.

    • How a Tory Mayor spent nearly £1m on his election by bypassing spending limits

      Some rights reservedA Conservative candidate is reported to have spent nearly £1m to become the new Mayor of West Midlands. And yet campaign spending limits imposed by the Electoral Commission fall far short of that.

      Andy Street narrowly beat Labour’s Sion Simon in the hotly fought election and won despite expectations in the local elections held last week. The former businessman was managing director of John Lewis from 2007 to 2016

      This is how Street justified his spending to the BBC’s Today programme: “I haven’t spent quite a million, but I have spent a substantial amount more than my opponents and actually I think that’s OK, and I’ll tell you why. This is a very important election; a new start in democracy for this region. It is 2.5 million people and so it is absolutely appropriate. We have worked within the rules, which are that if you raise money you can spend it.”

      The rules are that candidates have a limit of around £130,000 for the final five weeks leading up to the Mayoral election.

    • Crown Prosecution Service Colludes in Tory Election Fraud

      So the Conservative Party broke electoral law, that is not in question and they have been fined for it by the Electoral Commission. But no individual may be prosecuted because Conservative Party HQ told them to do it? Their defence was that they are collectively all crooks, and this was accepted by the “independent” Crown Prosecution Service?

      On top of which, the Crown Prosecution Service also colludes with the Tory Party by repeating the lie the Tories have assiduously spread that the allegations only related to the “Battlebus”. Of course for generations every Party Leader has campaigned from a “Battlebus”, singular, and the public are familiar with it. The Tory meme then goes everyone does that, why is it illegal?

    • Kris Kobach, the ‘King of Voter Suppression,’ Will Lead Trump’s Sham Voter Fraud Commission. Be Afraid, Very Afraid.

      The ACLU’s Voting Rights Project director tells us what to watch out for from a “voting fraud commission” led by a fraud.

      President Trump signed an executive order yesterday forming a commission to investigate voter fraud and voter suppression after repeatedly claiming, without evidence, that the United States has a “major problem” with illegal voting.

      In response to the executive order, the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project immediately filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the government release any “evidence” it has to support President Trump’s claims of voter fraud. Too often in our country’s history, accusations of voter fraud have been used to justify unnecessary and unconstitutional restrictions on the right to vote.

    • S.O.S. — America Needs Our Help, Time to Get to Work

      We are tearing ourselves apart. If we do not stop we will destroy our nation. You wanted a crisis? You got one.

    • Moving Forward to 2018? The Danger of Undead Hillary

      Media regularly now run stories “telling” Trump voters how bad their decision was. Many outlets unlikely to be read by Trump voters produce elaborate charts and expert commentary about how whatever Trump is doing with taxes or the economy will negatively affect voters in Red states the most. The implication is hah, hah, suckers, you voted for more jobs and you’ll get nothing! Tag-on articles also include dubious surveys showing vast numbers of Trump voters agree with statements like “Even though Trump policies will definitely kill my mother in front of my eyes, I’d still vote for him.” That’s a two-fer: you were dumb to vote for him once, Cletus, and you still won’t admit how freaking dumb you are.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • FOI request reveals a porno site suggesting a blanket ban on porno sites for the Digital Economy Bill
    • Facebook shuts down atheist and ex-Muslim groups amid claims they are being targeted by ‘fundamentalists’

      Facebook has been accused of shutting down ex-Muslim and atheist groups amid claims they were targeted by ‘fundamentalists’ who wanted them closed.

      This week the social media company temporarily closed the pages of Atheist Republic, which has more than 1.6million followers, and the Ex-Muslims of North America, liked almost 25,000 times.

      It is believed Facebook closed the groups after a flurry of complaints from people taking advantage of the company’s ‘flagging’ tools to falsely report the pages.

    • Now Canceled Crowdfunding Project Sent DMCA Notice Following Skeptical Review

      A few months back, I saw some news about a crowdfunding project on IndieGogo, called Titan Note. It was a little a cylindrical device that acted as a microphone, and the guys behind the project insisted that it could transcribe notes with fairly incredible levels of accuracy. The device got some press coverage — including a quite reasonably skeptical piece at The Verge, entitled “No way this transcription gizmo is as good as it claims to be.” There was a lot more skepticism around the project in the comments to the project as well. On top of that, the project’s marketing pitch seemed… wrong. That is, it positioned the device as a thing that you could use to “stop taking notes” in classes and meetings in order to pay better attention and learn more. But… that’s just wrong. Because the process of taking notes yourself actually helps you commit things to memory. That is, taking notes helps you pay better attention, and thus if you actually used the device the way it was advertised, you might get less out of lectures and meetings.

    • Public Access Channel Tries To Shut Down Use Of Council Meeting Video Clips; Claims They Aren’t Fair Use
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Oakland City Council Committee Advances Measure to Require Transparency and Public Process for Surveillance Tech

      On May 9, the Public Safety Committee of the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to approve a proposed “Surveillance and Community Safety Ordinance.” The measure, passed on to the Council by the city’s Privacy Advisory Commission, is modeled on a law enacted in spring 2016 by Santa Clara County and could set a new standard for municipal reforms seeking transparency, oversight, and accountability to restrain otherwise unrestrained surveillance.

      Once approved by the full Council, the ordinance will require the Oakland Police Department to seek City Council approval before adopting or deploying new surveillance technologies. The measure will also provide community members with an opportunity to comment on such proposals, and the use policies for these technologies, before the City Council makes its decisions.

    • California Senate Committee Votes Against Privacy for Our Travel Patterns

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of California joined forces with California State Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) on Tuesday to testify in favor of S.B. 712 (text), a bill that would have allowed drivers to cover their license plates when parked in order to protect their travel patterns from private companies operating automated license plate readers (ALPRs).

      The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee heard testimony on how private ALPR companies are collecting massive amounts of data on innocent people’s driving patterns and selling it for profit. Despite learning how this data may be misused to target vulnerable communities by the federal government, a Democratic majority voted to kill the bill 5-6.

    • The Fight Against General Warrants to Hack Rages On

      The federal government thinks it should be able to use one warrant to hack into an untold number of computers located anywhere in the world. But EFF and others continue to make the case that the Fourth Amendment prohibits this type of blanket warrant. And courts are starting to listen.

      Last week, EFF pressed its case against these broad and unconstitutional warrants in arguments before a federal court of appeals in Boston, Massachusetts. As we spelled out in a brief filed earlier this year, these warrants fail to satisfy the Fourth Amendment’s basic safeguards.

    • The FCC Pretends to Support Net Neutrality and Privacy While Moving to Gut Both

      FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has proposed a plan to eliminate net neutrality and privacy for broadband subscribers. Of course, those protections are tremendously popular, so Chairman Pai and his allies have been forced to pay lip service to preserving them in “some form.” How do we know it’s just lip service? Because the plan Pai is pushing will destroy the legal foundation for net neutrality. That’s right: if Pai succeeds, the FCC won’t have the legal authority to preserve NN in just about any form. And if he’s read the case law, he knows it.

      Let’s break it down.

    • Danger Ahead: The Government’s Plan for Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Threatens Privacy, Security, and Common Sense

      Imagine if your car could send messages about its speed and movements to other cars on the road around it. That’s the dream of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which thinks of Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication technology as the leading solution for reducing accident rates in the United States. But there’s a huge problem: it’s extremely difficult to have cars “talk” to each other in a way that protects the privacy and security of the people inside them, and NHTSA’s proposal doesn’t come close to successfully addressing those issues. EFF filed public comments with both NHTSA and the FTC explaining why it needs to go back to the drawing board—and spend some serious time there—before moving forward with any V2V proposal.

    • China Is on Track to Fully Phase Out Cash [Ed: Using technology as an excuse/pretext to take away rights we once had, including anonymous payments]

      “People basically run their lives through smartphones in China,” said Ben Cavender, senior analyst at Shanghai-based China Market Research Group. “If you compare the US to China in terms of how people access the internet, China is much more heavily slanted toward smartphones. People are already spending so much time on their smartphones; it’s logical for them to have the tools they need in one place.”

    • Certain HP laptops are found recording users’ keystrokes [Ed: but only if you use Microsoft Windows]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 6 Things I Learned When The Cops Raided My House By Mistake
    • No Dogs, No Indians

      Lean’s Passage to India was part of the Raj revival of the early 1980s in the UK—Salman Rushdie wrote witheringly about it in ‘Outside the Whale’. Three decades later, plus ça change. Intriguingly, in these films and TV shows, there is little on how Indians responded to this shaming provocation. The sign itself was part of colonial policy to keep Indians in their place, to remind them of their subhuman status in the machinery of empire, despite the collaborators, the clerks, the judges, the teachers, the district officers, the maharajas, as well as all the soldiers who laid down their lives in the thousands for Europe’s battles.

    • Tip of the Day: The Unfair and Imbalanced Culture of Sexual Harassment at Fox News

      Bill O’Reilly’s abrupt dismissal from Fox News in April serves as a long, hard fought victory for those who have called him out for his sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and classist rhetoric. Over the past two decades, viewers of Fox News have been subjected to O’Reilly’s histrionic tirades against women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community, among others. For some, O’Reilly’s rants tapped into the their own sexist attitudes toward minorities, while cultivating a culture of domination and discrimination in the workplace. But for many others, O’Reilly’s patriarchal, racist, and elitist denigrations of women and minorities emboldened a countercultural resistance to the “Mad Men” view of the office.

    • Big Media Need to Fight for the Right to Protest

      West Virginia state police arrested Dan Heyman, a veteran reporter with Public News Service, for repeatedly asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price whether being a target of domestic violence would be considered a “pre-existing condition,” allowing health insurance to be denied, under the new Republican healthcare bill (FAIR Action Alert, 5/10/17).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Temporarily Stops Taking Net Neutrality Comments So FCC Can ‘Reflect’

      Okay, let’s be quite clear here: this is not some crazy new thing that the FCC is doing, but it’s important for members of the public to understand what’s happening. As lots of people have been commenting (some of which are fake) on the FCC’s proposed plan to rollback net neutrality, the FCC will be temporarily be shutting down the ability to comment. This is not in response to the fake comments. Nor is it in response to the site being overwhelmed — whether by John Oliver or [snort!] random DDoS attacks that no one else can see.

    • Even The Cable Lobby’s Questionable Survey Shows Most Americans Want Net Neutrality

      Meanwhile, when the survey starts asking about general principles, it actually finds strong support. One question defined net neutrality and laid out terms, saying, “Net neutrality is a set of rules which say Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, and Verizon cannot block, throttle, or prioritize certain content on the Internet.” Knowing that, it asked, “do you support or oppose net neutrality?”

      A total of 61% of respondents indicated their support to that question; another 21% registered as unsure. A total of 18% opposed or strongly opposed neutrality when the terms were made clear. That’s a pretty clear 40-point majority supporting net neutrality.

    • The anti-net neutrality bot spamming the FCC is pulling names from leaked databases

      The Verge examined a dozen names and addresses used in the FCC spam comments that were also tied to emails in that dump. Those email addresses, when searched for in the data leak database Have I Been Pwned, all come up as matches for the RCM list, suggesting the RCM list, or a variation of the Special K list, may have been the source for many of the identities used in the comments.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Tough Mudder Threatens Local Rotary Club Over ‘Significant Use Of The Color Orange’

        While most minds will naturally recoil at the idea of a single company getting a trademark on an entire color for use in a certain marketplace, it’s a thing that exists. And it exists widely enough that even smallish entities are getting in on this game. Far from the game T-Mobile likes to play in pretending it owns all uses of the color magenta in every market, it’s becoming more common to see lesser known companies trademark base colors such as purple and yellow for their markets. If the idea that these basic colors can be locked up commercially in this way strikes you as laughable, your antennae are tuned correctly.

    • Copyrights

      • European Publishing Lobby Forces Compromise on Marrakesh Treaty

        The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled was one of the most fiercely contested treaty negotiations at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Representatives of publishers and other copyright holder groups spent years unashamedly lobbying against an instrument that would provide access to the written word to blind and other print disabled users. Despite their efforts to derail the negotiations, the treaty was finally agreed in 2013, and came into force last year.

        But that wasn’t the end of it. An important step towards the realization of the treaty’s benefits is the implementation of the treaty by the countries where the books for adaptation into accessible formats are published. It happens that a large proportion of those books, especially those in French (which is spoken in many parts of Africa) and in Spanish (spoken throughout Latin America), originate from Europe. Therefore many blind and print disabled users have eagerly awaited Europe’s implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty to unlock its many promised benefits.

      • Hold ISPs Responsible For Piracy After Brexit, Music Biz Says

        The powerful UK Music coalition, which includes the BPI and PRS, has published its 2017 manifesto. It takes a keen interest in IP issues, particularly post-Brexit. UK Music says that the UK’s departure from the EU will provide a good opportunity to clarify issues with hyperlinking and also to hold ISPs accountable for piracy.

05.12.17

Links 12/5/2017: Wine 2.8, Kdenlive 17.04.1, NHS Windows Syndrome

Posted in News Roundup at 5:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • CNCF Snares Four New Members for Open Source Container Orchestration

    The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) added four new members to its efforts to develop an open source-based container orchestration platform.

    The new members include Tencent Cloud, which joined as a “Gold” member; Mashape, which signed on as a “Silver” member; and Vevo and Zalando Technology, which both joined the organization as “End-User Supporters.”

  • Kubernetes: The smart person’s guide

    As containers have become more important to businesses across the globe, it was necessary to create a system that would allow containers to scale out to meet the needs of enterprise-level deployments. That’s where Kubernetes comes into play.

    Unlike Docker, Kubernetes is a very robust ecosystem. Instead of deploying a single container, Kubernetes enables you to deploy multiple containers to multiple hosts, making it ideal for larger deployments and load balancing.

  • How to do time series prediction using RNNs, TensorFlow and Cloud ML Engine

    The Estimators API in tf.contrib.learn (See tutorial here) is a very convenient way to get started using TensorFlow. The really cool thing from my perspective about the Estimators API is that using it is a very easy way to create distributed TensorFlow models. Many of the TensorFlow samples that you see floating around on the internets are not distributed — they assume that you will be running the code on a single machine. People start with such code and then are immeasurably saddened to learn that the low-level TensorFlow code doesn’t actually work on their complete dataset. They then have to do lots of work to add distributed training code around the original sample, and who wants to edit somebody else’s code?

  • TensorFlow: I want to like you, but you’re tricksy

    Occasionally a technology comes along that changes the way that people work. Docker has had a profound effect on how applications are deployed in the cloud, Hadoop changed how analysis of big data was done and the R language has disrupted the statistics market.

    And so to TensorFlow, which emerged from the Machine Learning team at the Google Brain project. Building on their experience of a system called DistBelief, TensorFlow is a second-generation framework for the implementation of machine learning at scale.

    Users described their ML models as dataflow graphs, combining a number of machine learning techniques into a single model. TensorFlow itself does nothing to reduce the learning curve found in ML (in fact it might make it steeper), but Google’s framework does enormously simplify the deployment of ML models. If you think of ML model construction as a data science then TensorFlow is a Data Engineering tool for deployment.

  • Events

    • X.Org Is Looking For An XDC2018 Host

      The X.Org Foundation is looking for interested individuals to offer bids for organizing the 2018 X.Org Developers’ Conference.

      The XDC2017 conference happening this September is taking place at the Googleplex in Mountain View and thus in the usual rotation, for the 2018 conference will ideally be trying to find a host in Europe.

    • New Continuous Development Course Now Available From The Linux Foundation
    • Webinar: Delivering the value of IoT in the retail industry

      IoT is being embraced by an increasingly diverse set of sectors and one which is reaping the benefits is the retail sector, specifically supermarkets and how they are using data in cold-chain (refrigeration) solutions. For this webinar, join Paul Edrich, CTO of IMS Evolve, who is helping major supermarket chains to manage billions of data points in real time to inform operational processes, reduce energy consumption and increase product quality.

    • Kamailio World and FSFE team visit, Tirana arrival

      This week I’ve been thrilled to be in Berlin for Kamailio World 2017, one of the highlights of the SIP, VoIP and telephony enthusiast’s calendar. It is an event that reaches far beyond Kamailio and is well attended by leaders of many of the well known free software projects in this space.

    • The Open Source Day 2017 conference coming on May 17th in Warsaw

      Nearly 1,000 attendees and several thousand viewers online participates in the annual Open Source Day conference. This Europe’s largest event dedicated to open technology has become a highlight among tech events in the country. The 10th anniversary edition will take place on May 17th at Marriott Hotel in Warsaw.

    • 6 days to SunCamp

      It will be a small event (about 20-25 people), with a more intimate atmosphere than DebConf. There will be people fixing RC bugs, preparing stuff for after the release, or just discussing with other Debian folks.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Why Quotas are Hard

      Lets say we allow the explicit allocation of quota from higher to lower. Does this mean that the parent project is reducing its own quota while creating an explicit quota for the lower project? Or does it mean that both quotas need to be enforced? If the quota for sales is set to 10, and the quota for the three node projects are all set to 10, is this legal or an error?

  • EEE

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GIMP 2.8.22 Open-Source Image Editor Fixes Ancient CVE Bug from 10 Years Ago

      GIMP, the open-source, free and multi-platform image editor software, was updated today to version 2.8.22, which appears to be a bugfix release in the stable 2.8 series of the project.

    • GNU OrgaDoc Aims To Make It Easy To Copy/Sync Documents Between Computers

      But will OrgaDoc serve much of a use in 2017 when for years most multi-computer individuals have probably been using Nextcloud/ownCloud, their own web/FTP servers, or proprietary services like Google Docs and Dropbox to manage files across computers? Do you plan to use OrgaDoc or how do you keep files synced across computers? What about using the Eiffel programming language today? Let us know your thoughts in the forums. Should you want to learn more about GNU OrgaDoc, see the project site.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • A federal court has ruled that an open-source license is an enforceable contract

      When the South Korean developer of a suite of productivity apps called Hancom Office incorporated an open-source PDF interpreter called Ghostscript into its word-processing software, it was supposed to do one of two things.

      To use Ghostscript for free, Hancom would have to adhere to its open-source license, the GNU General Public License (GPL). The GNU GPL requires that when you use GPL-licensed software to make some other software, the resulting software also has to be open-sourced with the same license if it’s released to the public. That means Hancom would have to open-source its entire suite of apps.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Why we need an open source approach to data management

      Open source communities that form around common challenges allow large groups of individuals to gain knowledge on really complicated aspects of their business and industry, expanding communal learning and continually advancing a topic along the way. Open sourcing a framework that enables data management and is supported by a community of information security professionals provides them with the tools and capabilities necessary in today’s cybersecurity environment, including:

  • Programming/Development

    • The curl user survey 2017

      If you use curl or libcurl, in any way, shape or form, please consider spending a few minutes of your precious time on this. Your input helps us understand where we are and in which direction we should go next.

Leftovers

  • You really should know what the Andrew File System is

    When I saw that the creators of the Andrew File System (AFS) had been named recipients of the $35K ACM Software System Award, I said to myself “That’s cool, I remember AFS from the days of companies like Sun Microsystems… just please don’t ask me to explain what the heck it is.”

    Don’t ask my colleagues either. A quick walking-around-the-office survey of a half dozen of them turned up mostly blank stares at the mention of the Andrew File System, a technology developed in the early 1980s and named after Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon. But as the Association for Computing Machinery’s award would indicate, AFS is indeed worth knowing about as a foundational technology that paved the way for widely used cloud computing techniques and applications.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dakota Access pipeline leaks 84 gallons of crude oil before becoming fully operational
    • WHO, Stakeholders Take ‘First Step’ On Fair Pricing For Medicines

      The World Health Organization has concluded a major one-day forum on fair pricing of medicines, bringing a wide range of stakeholders together in Amsterdam and coming up with several possible actions for the way ahead. Key points of discussion included a definition of fair pricing, moving away from value-based pricing, delinkage of price from research and development costs, and greater transparency, according to participants.

    • WHO Touts Its Past Work On Improving Access To Medicines

      The World Health Organization today published an item entitled, Access to medicines: making market forces serve the poor, a chapter from its report ‘Ten years in public health 2007-2017’ of outgoing WHO Director General Margaret Chan.

      The chapter reveals that almost two billion people worldwide have no access to essential medicines, and says this lack of access to medicines is a complex problem that prevents better health. The chapter investigates the role of WHO in addressing the problem of access to safe, effective and quality-assured medicines.

    • Longest, Biggest World Health Assembly Ever Set To Open With Election, Budget Topping Agenda

      Timothy Armstrong, director of the WHO Department of Governing Bodies, gave an introduction to the WHA during a press briefing today, which ended up being largely focused on the election process and why Taiwan has not been invited this year, a first since 2009.

      [...]

      Also on the agenda are: the Global Vaccine Action Plan; the preparation for the third High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases to be held in 2018; WHO engagement with non-state actors; and a potential agreement on a resolution on cancer drug, in particular prices.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Weapons For Everybody Racket

      ​Yesterday, the topic of The Ron Paul Liberty Report program was “Arming The Kurds – A Dangerous Idea”. On the one hand, we have our NATO ally, Turkey, who we’re supposed to come to the defense of (unconstitutionally, of course). And on the other hand, there’s the Kurds, who have long been seeking autonomy from Turkey.

      President Trump has authorized the Pentagon to begin providing heavy weapons to the Kurds in Syria. But what if the Kurds turn those weapons on our ally Turkey?

      Unfortunately, this web of insanity is not new. The U.S. federal government has been arming and supporting both sides of conflicts for many decades.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • AfterMidnight

      Today, May 12th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes “AfterMidnight” and “Assassin”, two CIA malware frameworks for the Microsoft Windows platform.

      “AfterMidnight” allows operators to dynamically load and execute malware payloads on a target machine. The main controller disguises as a self-persisting Windows Service DLL and provides secure execution of “Gremlins” via a HTTPS based Listening Post (LP) system called “Octopus”. Once installed on a target machine AM will call back to a configured LP on a configurable schedule, checking to see if there is a new plan for it to execute. If there is, it downloads and stores all needed components before loading all new gremlins in memory. “Gremlins” are small AM payloads that are meant to run hidden on the target and either subvert the functionality of targeted software, survey the target (including data exfiltration) or provide internal services for other gremlins. The special payload “AlphaGremlin” even has a custom script language which allows operators to schedule custom tasks to be executed on the target machine.

      “Assassin” is a similar kind of malware; it is an automated implant that provides a simple collection platform on remote computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. Once the tool is installed on the target, the implant is run within a Windows service process. “Assassin” (just like “AfterMidnight”) will then periodically beacon to its configured listening post(s) to request tasking and deliver results. Communication occurs over one or more transport protocols as configured before or during deployment. The “Assassin” C2 (Command and Control) and LP (Listening Post) subsystems are referred to collectively as” The Gibson” and allow operators to perform specific tasks on an infected target..

    • House Committee Head Tells Federal Agencies To Stop Handing Out Communications With Congress To FOIA Requesters

      Barack Obama promised the “most transparent administration ever,” then spent years undermining his own promise. The Trump Administration has made no such promises (other than “if you don’t like your Forever Wars, you can keep them…”) but it’s working overtime to make the faux transparency of the Obama years look like a high water mark in government accountability.

      Multiple federal agencies are no longer allowed to communicate directly with the public through social media accounts. Anything posted must be approved by administration staff. Open.gov is shut down and Trump has decided against following in his predecessor’s footsteps, refusing to release White House visitors’ logs.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • These people want you to know climate change isn’t just for liberals

      He doesn’t start with an apocalyptic description of future impacts when he talks to people about climate change, but, for some audiences, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Environmental Studies Calvin DeWitt does turn to the book of Revelation. “I’ll have a white-out pen in my pocket, and I’ll have them read Revelation chapter 11, verse 18. It’s a description of the sounding of the last trumpet, as you hear in Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ and the end verse says, ‘The time has come for destroying those who destroy the Earth,’” DeWitt told me. “And so, I say, ‘I have a white-out pen here for anyone who would like to correct their Bible.’”

      DeWitt sees his faith as fundamental to, rather than in conflict with, his concern about climate change. He often finds common ground with fellow evangelicals by talking about stewardship of the wonderful natural world they have been given as a home. Put in these familiar terms, climate change seems more like an issue worthy of careful consideration.

    • In the Arctic, carbon dioxide goes down where methane comes up

      Reports of methane bubbling up from the bottom of the East Siberian Sea may have induced some climate change anxiety. In recent years, plumes of methane bubbles rising up from what was once dry permafrost have been observed off the Siberian coast. But their context was unclear. Were they a brand-new greenhouse gas release driven by climate change or were the bubbles long-time fixtures?

      Work off the coast of Svalbard provided a welcome bit of relief. Examination of similar bubble plumes off Svalbard showed that they had been present (at some rate of bubbling) for thousands of years. While estimates of the amount of methane coming out of the East Siberian Sea were surprisingly large, measurements near Svalbard showed that the methane from deeper seafloor seeps gets trapped in the water column and consumed by bacteria before it can reach the atmosphere. That helped put the Siberian activity in some global context.

  • Finance

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Ending geoblocking in the EU: One step forward, two steps back

      I consider it unacceptable for the Parliament to further limit an already unambitious Commission proposal and I remain committed to pushing for an end to the discriminatory and outdated practice of geoblocking.

    • Lawsuit Claiming Fyre Festival Sent Cease & Desist Letters To Online Critics Doesn’t Show Any Actual Evidence

      If, somehow, you’ve avoided all the news about the Fyre Festival from the past few weeks… well… you’ve been missing out. There’s a ton of coverage basically everywhere, but what was promoted as an upscale music festival on a private island in the Bahamas, complete with private flights, luxury lodging, and fine dining… turned out to be… nothing. Despite having lots of rich and famous folks (especially Instagram stars) promoting the festival for months, it eventually appears that promoting and hyping was about all that was done for the festival, rather than actually organizing stuff. The festival was “canceled” but not before a bunch of people made their way to a not-so-private island in the Bahamas (Great Exumas) and discovered… that there was effectively nothing there. There was no music festival. The “lodging” was emergency relief structures. The “fine dining” was slices of bread and cheese with some lettuce. It’s been quite a story.

    • Story About Ex-Sony Pictures Boss Magically Disappears From Gawker; His Lawyer Tells Reporters Not To Talk About It

      Can people use a bankruptcy proceeding to create a “right to be forgotten”? We already know that Europe has implemented a form of a right to be forgotten that it’s now looking to expand. However, in the US, the First Amendment has protected us against such things — even if some politicians don’t realize it.

    • MySpace Tries To Play Dead To Avoid Lawsuits

      Yes, let’s get this out of the way already, so you don’t need to make this joke in the comments: as a social network, MySpace is considered pretty damn dead already. It lost its cool many, many years ago. And I do still love to point out this 2007 article suggesting that MySpace’s dominant position in the social networking market was almost impossible to crack (that didn’t age well). But that’s not what this post is about. You see, MySpace, still does exist — you can even visit it and double their traffic for the day. Even as the punchline in bad jokes, MySpace exists and (believe it or not) Time Inc. actually owns it, having bought the company, Viant, that owned it previously.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • UK government’s draft spying powers get leaked online

      The UK government has drawn up details of its surveillance powers and put them out for a secretive consultation without letting the public know.

      The government wants to give itself the ability to monitor British people’s communications and force UK firms to include encryption backdoors in their products. Under the proposed Investigatory Powers (Technical Capability) Regulations 2017, telecoms providers must allow the government to simultaneously spy on one in 10,000 of their customers at any time.

      Telcos would also have to provide any information the government requests within one working day, and must notify Home Secretary Amber Rudd if there will be any changes to their service, including the development of new services – these will have to be built with the obligations and requirements of the technical capability notice in mind.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • US will reportedly ban carry-on laptops on all flights from Europe

      The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is said to be preparing to announce a ban on laptops in the cabins of all flights from Europe to the US.

    • An AI Will Decide Which Criminals in the UK Get Bail

      HART was trained on five years of data, including suspects’ offending history, gender, and postcode. It was let loose on actual cases in 2013, and researchers found HART’s predictions that a suspect was a low risk were accurate 98 percent of the time, while forecasts that they were high risk were accurate 88 percent of the time. However, there is no baseline data on the accuracy of human officers’ decisions to compare against.

    • Ruslan Sokolovsky Gets 3 Years In The Russian Clink For Playing Pokemon In A Church

      The better part of a year ago we discussed the story of atheist activist Ruslan Sokolovsky. Sokolovsky became something of the sequel story to the now infamous Pussy Riot debacle. Russian police detained Sokolovsky and put him on house arrest for the crime of playing Pokemon Go in a Russian church and uploading a mildly snarky video about it to YouTube. The Russian Orthodox Church was fully on board with his being detained, stating in true Christ-like fashion that the real crime was his not respecting the Church and being an atheist blogger.

    • Copenhagen imam accused of calling for killing of Jews

      Mundhir Abdallah was reported to police after being filmed citing in Arabic a hadith – a teaching of the Prophet Muhammad – considered anti-Semitic.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cable lobby conducts survey, finds that Americans want net neutrality

      As US cable companies push to eliminate or change net neutrality rules, the industry’s primary lobby group today released the results of a survey that it says shows “strong bipartisan consensus that the government should let the Internet flourish without imposing burdensome regulations.”

      But proponents of keeping the current rules can find plenty to like in the survey conducted by NCTA—The Internet & Television Association. A strong majority of the 2,194 registered American voters in the survey support the current net neutrality rules that prohibit ISPs from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing online content in exchange for payment. While most opposed price regulation, a majority supported an approach in which regulators take action against ISPs on a case-by-case basis when consumers are harmed—the exact same approach the Federal Communications Commission uses under its existing net neutrality regime.

    • Sprint sues government over elimination of broadband price caps

      Sprint and Windstream sued the Federal Communications Commission this week over a decision that will help AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink charge higher prices for certain business Internet services.

      The FCC last month voted to eliminate price caps for the so-called Business Data Services (BDS) that are offered by incumbent phone companies throughout the country. The FCC decision to which Sprint and Windstream object only eliminated price caps in “competitive” markets, but it uses a standard that deems many local markets competitive even when there’s only one broadband provider.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Brussels Conference On Innovation, Research and Competition In EU

      An academic conference this month will explore issues related to innovation, research and competition in the European Union, addressing topics such as 5G, big data, patents and standards.

      On 29-30 May, the conference ‘Innovation, Research and Competition in the EU: The Future of Open and Collaborative Standard Setting’ will take place in Brussels, in the building of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium. The conference is organised by the Liege Competition and Innovation Institute (LCII) and Tilburg Law and Economics Centre (TILEC).

    • Trademarks

      • Bethesda’s Pete Hines Shrugs His Shoulders About Trademark Dispute With No Matter Studios

        If any single aspect of common trademark disputes has become the thing that annoys me the most about them, it’s how often the canard from trademark bullies that they have to be bullies by order of trademark law is trotted out for public consumption. You can almost set your watch to it: trademark bully does trademark bullying, public backlash ensues, trademark bully falsely explains that if it doesn’t bully it loses its trademark rights, the public usually backs off. While it would be unreasonable to expect the general public to be up on the nuances of trademark law to the degree of someone who is paid to write about it, it’s not unreasonable to smack down attempts by those who know better but who actively attempt to misinform that same general public.

    • Copyrights

-

05.11.17

Links 11/5/2017: New OpenShot, GIMP, and GNOME (3.24.2)

Posted in News Roundup at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • WHY WINDOWS POWER USERS BREAK LINUX

    Finally, I think it’s worth pointing out that Linux is not a product, it’s a community. Windows and Mac people have a hard time wrapping their heads around that. They’re used to venting frustration at Microsoft and Apple. If they do that in a Linux forum, they will most likely get flamed. It’s important to understand that attacking Linux is like attacking the entire community. Is Linux perfect? Hell no! Is there much room for improvement? Absolutely! How you present your critiques and/or ask for help makes all the difference in the world. I have found that a positive and constructive attitude goes a long, long way. I have had developers bend over backward to help me with a problem or point me to an alternative solution just because I came to them with respect and didn’t point fingers.

  • Desktop

    • Tips for picking a GNU/Linux Distribution

      Distrohopping is a term some like to use for switching from one GNU/Linux distribution to another frequently, rather than sticking to one system. I’m no stranger to this, I’ve installed nearly every major and popularly known system you’ll come across – twice.

      However, through my time trying all of these various distributions, I’ve learned a great deal and finally settled (I think) upon where I plan to stay, so I thought I’d share some tips for picking your long-term system, as well as some ideas depending on what you enjoy.

    • [Older] How To Protect Your Privacy On Linux
    • Linux: How to protect your privacy

      Privacy is an issue on many people’s minds these days, including those that run Linux on their computers. Linux has long had a strong reputation as a secure operating system, but there are still things that you can do to help protect your privacy while running Linux.

  • Server

    • ​HPE hasn’t abandoned OpenStack, releases Helion OpenStack 5.0

      If you thought HPE was getting out of the cloud business, I couldn’t blame you. In late 2015, HPE gave up on its public OpenStack-based Helion cloud. Then, early this year, all of HPE’s OpenStack developers moved over to SUSE. So, was HPE bidding the cloud, and OpenStack in particular, goodbye? Nope.

      In Boston this week at OpenStack Summit, HPE released HPE Helion OpenStack 5.0. This release Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based cloud is built on the OpenStack Newton codebase and adheres tightly to application programming interface (API) standards and services. Since OpenStack’s open APIs are an important part of why it’s popular with so many companies, that’s no small matter.

    • Cisco Advancing Cloud Strategy With OpenStack

      The cloud is a central pillar of Cisco’s overall business efforts, and one of the leading voices for the cloud at Cisco is Lew Tucker, vice president and CTO of cloud computing. Tucker also serves as the vice chairman of the OpenStack Foundation, helping to guide the open-source cloud platform forward.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Optimizing Apps for Wearables With Enlightenment Foundation Libraries

      Developers looking to add GUIs to their embedded devices have a variety of open source and commercial options, with Qt generally leading the list. If you’re operating in severely constrained environments, however, especially for battery powered devices like wearables, the open source Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) should be given close consideration.

      At the recent Embedded Linux Conference, Cedric Bail, a long-time contributor to the Enlightenment project who works on EFL integration with Tizen at Samsung Open Source Group, discussed some of the lessons learned in optimizing wearable apps for low battery, memory, and CPU usage. Bail summarized EFL and revealed an ongoing project to improve EFL’s scene graph. However, most of the lessons are relevant to anyone optimizing for wearables on any platform (see the ELC video below).

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • GSoC: How can I improve next year?

        This year, KDE had great student engagement and a good level of commitment for all students so even if you followed all of these points, you may still have gotten a rejection email. We realize that this can be discouraging. However, we did our best to pick the students whom we think can fulfill the project’s needs, and continue along in the future as KDE developers.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.24.2 Released With A Variety Of Fixes

        GNOME 3.24.2 is now available as the second and last planned point release to the GNOME 3.24 desktop series until the GNOME 3.26 debut in September.

        As usual for GNOME point releases, GNOME 3.24.2 just includes bug/regression fixes and translation updates.

      • GNOME 3.24.2 is released

        GNOME 3.24.2 has been released. The second stable update to GNOME 3.24 brings many bug fixes and translation updates. All distributions shipping GNOME 3.24 should upgrade.

      • Install GNOME Themes – Own 26 GTK Themes with One Command

        Every now and then we let you in on some of the finest theme and icon sets because, like many other Linux users, we like to personalize our workstations. An appealing icon set, a well-thought out wallpaper, and an overall artillery of UI components go a long way to defining how well you enjoy using your computer.

        If you’re like me but are discouraged by the stress of having to download all those themes you shouldn’t be any longer because I have come across a script that will fetch you over 10 beautiful GTK themes and all you have to do is query Git to get the script and then run it.

      • Maps news

        3.24.2 was just released and right before the release a nasty crash-on-exit bug appeared. Actually, the bug has been in there ever since Maps gained the ability to show your contact´s addresses from GNOME Calendar/Evolution, but it was brought into daylight by the new version of GJS (our JavaScript engine, based on SpiderMonkey). The problem actually is that in the dispose vfunc of the ContactStore object (this is in our glue C code) we had forgotten to NULL out some pointer memebers when freeing the objects (with g_list_free and g_free) and dispose can be called multiple times and we probably got away before because GJS leaked these objects in the earlier versions. We got this bug report from Ubuntu by the way, in 17.04 the new version of GJS is already used. Thanks to Emmanuele Bassi for spotting this use-after-free bug, this is now fixed in the new version (and in master of course).

  • Distributions

    • Solus Project Gets New Website, Migrates to New Development Tracker and More

      The fast moving Solus Project that is making some waves in the Linux distribution world has some new shiny things going on. Joshua Strobl, Solus Project Communications Manager has announced them in the latest This Week In Solus.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Academic Program Opens Door to Open Source for Students Globally
      • Release of new Image Templates Page

        What’s that? – You might ask. Just have a look yourself. Click on the newly added ‘New image’ link on the OBS front page.

      • Announcing openSUSE’s status page – status.opensuse.org

        Worried about downtimes and maintenance windows of openSUSE services that you missed because there was no information provided? ;-)

        Now is your chance to get informed about any (un-)expected downtime of any openSUSE service!

        The openSUSE Heroes team is pleased to announce that status.opensuse.org is up and running as public status page, providing you with the latest updates about our infrastructure. We tried our best to get the page mobile friendly and easy to understand. Even RSS and Atom feeds are available. A big “thank you” to the team from Cachet, the open source status page system, for developing that great tool.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Corebird Twitter Client Is Now Available as a Snap App

            Corebird, a popular GTK Twitter client for Linux, is now available to install as a Snap app. At the time of writing this is not the latest Corebird 1.5, released last week, but the older Corebird 1.4.x release.

          • Ubuntu’s Default GTK Theme Now Looks Better with GNOME Shell

            Ubuntu is working to improve the appearance of the Ubuntu Ambiance theme on GNOME Shell, adding window shadows, round corners and more.

          • Cinnamon 3.4 Released, Here’s How To Install it on Ubuntu

            Linux Mint’s Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Cinnamon 3.4, the latest stable update to the rather popular Linux desktop environment. Better yet you can already upgrade to or install Cinnamon 3.4 on Ubuntu using a PPA — no waiting required!

          • Why language choices can be irrelevant when choosing the right IoT OS

            A couple of months ago we posted a blog inviting developers to contribute to the 3rd Eclipse Foundation IoT Developer Survey. The 2017 results are now published with a total of 713 respondents, from all over the world. The survey gives an insight into the current state of play in the making of the internet of things in 2017. As well as bigger trends about IoT adoption across various industries, the survey also provides a developer perspective on the methods they use today to build the IoT devices and solutions around us.

          • Official Ubuntu T-Shirt for ‘Zesty Zapus’ Is Now Available to Buy

            The official Ubuntu 17.04 ‘Zesty Zapus’ t-shirt is now available to buy from the Canonical store. Canonical release a new mascot tee twice a year. Each shirt bears the animal motif of the latest release on the front, and the name of the release and Ubuntu logotype on the rear.

          • Ubuntu 17.04 review: Don’t call it abandonware, per se

            Last month, it finally happened. Six years after its tumultuous switch from GNOME 2 to the homegrown Unity desktop, Canonical announced it was abandoning work on Unity. Going forward, the company will switch the default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME beginning with next year’s 18.04 LTS release. This means Canonical is also abandoning the development of the Mir display server and its unified interface of Ubuntu for phones and tablets. The company’s vision of “convergence,” as Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth termed it, has officially died.

          • What happened at Canonical

            We ask the person sitting across the table from us what it’s like to work at Canonical and they stare at their drink for a while contemplating the question: “Most companies purely want to make money,” says the Canonical employee, who we’ll call ‘DeepC’ as they want to remain anonymous. “Whereas I feel, in Canonical it’s been almost like… ‘play thing’ is the wrong word, but it’s kind of like a sandbox of ideas.”

            The exciting and sometimes frustrating Canonical sandbox has lost a lot of its buckets and spades in the last month. The company that financially backs the Ubuntu distribution, which is used by tens of millions of Linux users, is in the process of a massive transformation.

            [...]

            To get to IPO, the company has decided to seek outside investment, as revealed by the Register, so within two days of the blog post, Canonical managed to run town halls explaining its IPO ambitions to staff scattered across the globe (the company has many remote workers living in over 80 countries), and announcing the departure of popular CEO, Jane Silber, and the return of Shuttleworth as chief executive officer.

          • Canonical and Qualcomm: Delivering Unprecedented Scaling

            Canonical has been one of the earliest visionary stalwarts igniting and driving early market enablement for 64-bit ARM server compute. With the commercial availability and support for Ubuntu Openstack on 64-bit ARM v8-A architecture, Canonical further accelerated the industry’s imagination for innovative platform architectures enabling the next generation of scale and automation.

          • 10 snaps written in April

            If you haven’t heard of snaps yet, they are a new way for developers to package their apps, bringing with it many advantages over the more traditional package formats such as .deb, .rpm, and others. They are secure, isolated and allow apps to be rolled back should an issue occur. Also they aim to work on any distribution or device, from IoT devices to servers, desktops to mobile devices. Snaps really are the future of Linux application packaging!

          • PCCW Global Chooses Ubuntu OpenStack and Juju

            PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, Hong Kong’s premier telecommunications service provider, is collaborating with Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu and CPLANE NETWORKS, the leader in multi-site OpenStack cloud orchestration, to create new cloud services for its customers.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Record fine for firm behind nearly 100 million nuisance calls

    A company behind 99.5 million nuisance calls has been fined a record £400,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

    Keurboom Communications Ltd has been issued the ICO’s highest ever nuisance calls fine after more than 1,000 people complained about recorded – also known as automated – calls.

  • Science

    • [Old] Spontaneous Hedonic Reactions to Social Media Cues

      In conclusion, this research showed that exposure to social media cues triggers spontaneous hedonic reactions in frequent social media users. These spontaneous hedonic reactions to social media cues, in turn, appear to trigger social media cravings. Together, this might contribute to people’s difficulties in resisting desires to use social media.

  • Hardware

    • Valve Puts The Steam Controller & Steam Link Back On Sale

      For those that didn’t pick up a Steam Controller or Steam Link back during Valve’s holiday sales, they are running a Steam Hardware sale the next few days.

    • Mechanical keyboards for programmers and gamers

      Why bother making keyboards open source?

      This is a question we hear often. People all over the world use keyboards every day, for a variety of purposes. At the core of all our keyboards is the ability to easily reconfigure any key to do any action. While normal typists make do with simple macros like Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V, programmers and gamers have much more advanced needs. People that use Adobe Photoshop or Premier often have special key bindings for most of their keyboard.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Life Expectancy Can Vary By 20 Years Depending On Where You Live

      In counties with the longest life spans, people tended to live about 87 years, while people in places with the shortest life spans typically made it to only about 67, the researchers found.

      The discrepancy is equivalent to the difference between the low-income parts of the developing world and countries with high incomes, Murray notes

  • Security

    • How to protect your Google and Facebook accounts with a security key

      Google supports a format called FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F), which it helped develop. Keys are available that work over USB, Bluetooth, and NFC, so they can be used with a smartphone or tablet in addition to a PC.

    • Cisco Patches WikiLeaks Security Vulnerability Affecting Hundreds Of Devices

      Cisco has patched a critical flaw in its IOS software that affected more than 300 models of routers and switches that was discovered after WikiLeaks exposed CIA documents.

      “We’ve spoken to a few customers about it, a few enterprise clients, and thankfully it didn’t any disrupt business for us,” said one top executive from a solution provider and Cisco Gold partner who did not wished to be named. “I’m glad to know they fixed the issue. … Their devices will always be a big target for attackers because Cisco is everywhere.”

    • Microsoft makes emergency security fix

      Microsoft has released an urgent update to stop hackers taking control of computers with a single email.

      The unusual bug, in Microsoft anti-malware software such as Windows Defender, could be exploited without the recipient even opening the message.

      Researchers working for Google’s Project Zero cyber-security outfit discovered the flaw at the weekend.

      The fix has been specially pushed out hours before the software giant’s monthly Tuesday security update.

    • Google’s OSS-Fuzz Finds 1,000 Open Source Bugs

      The numbers are in, and judging by them, OSS-Fuzz, the program Google unveiled last December to continuously fuzz open source software, has been a success.

      In five months the effort has unearthed more than 1,000 bugs, a quarter of them potential security vulnerabilities, Google says.

    • Open source vulnerabilities hit VMware [Ed: Ridiculous! WMware is secret software with back doors (RSA/EMC), so why focus only on holes in a FOSS component?]

      Apache Struts 2 is an open source web application framework for developing Java applications that has been in use since 2007. The recent Apache Struts 2 vulnerability affected vCenter Server 6.0 and 6.5, vRealize Operations Manager 6.x, vRealize Hyperic Server 5.x, and versions 6.x and 7.x of the Horizon Desktop-as-a-Service Platform.

    • Samsung partners with McAfee, brings security software to the Galaxy S8, Smart TVs, and PCs [Ed: But Samsung should know adding proprietary software to Tizen and/or Android won't necessarily make these more secure]
    • To mitigate major Edge printing bug, use a Xerox copier, baffled user advises

      Beyond being breathtakingly bizarre, the bug could potentially have serious consequences for architects, engineers, lawyers, and other professionals who rely on Edge to print drawings, blueprints, legal briefs, and similarly sensitive documents. Edge is the default application for viewing PDFs on Windows 10 computers. While the errors demonstrated above happened using the “Microsoft Print to PDF” option, multiple users report similar alterations when using regular printing settings. (And besides, the print-to-PDF option is the default printing method for the Microsoft browser.) The alterations depend on several variables, including the printer selected, the settings used, and computer being used. It’s not clear how long this flaw has been active or whether it has already affected legal cases or other sensitive proceedings that use documents printed from the Internet.

    • Criminals are Now Exploiting SS7 Flaws to Hack Smartphone Two-Factor Authentication Systems
    • A Vicious Microsoft Bug Left a Billion PCs Exposed [iophk: “people are gullible: Windows was never secure in the 22 years since it added TCP/IP; for those that remember, it was not secure even before that and was plagued with malware spread by disk and NAS (then called file servers).”
    • Microsoft finally bans SHA-1 certificates in Internet Explorer, Edge [Ed: Quit pretending that Microsoft cares about security in browsers that have a baked-in back door]

      The Tuesday updates for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge force those browsers to flag SSL/TLS certificates signed with the aging SHA-1 hashing function as insecure. The move follows similar actions by Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox earlier this year.

      Browser vendors and certificate authorities have been engaged in a coordinated effort to phase out the use of SHA-1 certificates on the web for the past few years, because the hashing function no longer provides sufficient security against spoofing.

    • Keylogger Found in Audio Driver of HP Laptops
    • Keylogger Discovered in HP Audio Driver
    • [EN] Keylogger in Hewlett-Packard Audio Driver

      Security reviews of modern Windows Active Domain infrastructures are – from our point of view – quite sobering. Therefore, we often look left and right, when, for example, examining the hardening of protection mechanisms of a workstation. Here, we often find all sorts of dangerous and ill-conceived stuff. We want to present one of these casually identified cases now, as it’s quite an interesting one: We have discovered a keylogger in an audio driver package by Hewlett-Packard.

      A keylogger is a piece of software for which the case of dual-use can rarely be claimed. This means there are very few situations where you would describe a keylogger that records all keystrokes as ‘well-intended’. A keylogger records when a key is pressed, when it is released, and whether any shift or special keys have been pressed. It is also recorded if, for example, a password is entered even if it is not displayed on the screen.

    • Microsoft rushes emergency fix for critical antivirus bug

      The critical security vulnerability in the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine affects a number of Microsoft products, including Windows Defender, Windows Intune Endpoint Protection, Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection, Microsoft Forefront Security for SharePoint, Microsoft Endpoint Protection, and Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection. These tools are enabled by default in Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and Windows Server 2012.

    • Google Offers $20000 Rewards to Drive OSS-Fuzz Initiative
    • Call the fuzz, says Google, get the reward
    • How Google’s OSS-Fuzz is securing open-source software

      Google released OSS-Fuzz five months ago with a mission to make open-source projects stable, secure and reliable. Since then, the continuous fuzzing solution has found more than 1,000 bugs with 264 of them flagged as potential security bugs.

    • Google Fuzzing Service for OS Finds 1K Bugs in Five Months

      A Google-led initiative to find security vulnerabilities in popular open source projects has unearthed more than 1,000 bugs in various open source software in the five months since the effort was launched.

    • The IoT’s Scramble to Combat Botnets

      With shadowy botnet armies lurking around the globe and vigilante gray-hat actors inoculating susceptible devices, the appetite for Internet of Things security is stronger than ever.

    • Exploiting the Linux kernel via packet sockets

      Lately I’ve been spending some time fuzzing network-related Linux kernel interfaces with syzkaller. Besides the recently discovered vulnerability in DCCP sockets, I also found another one, this time in packet sockets. This post describes how the bug was discovered and how we can exploit it to escalate privileges.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Constitutional Rubicon of an Assange Prosecution

      If you were tuning in and out of FBI Director James Comey’s hearing before the House Intelligence Committee last Wednesday, you probably got an earful about Comey’s public statements on Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server, and you may have heard his staunch defense of Section 702 of FISA. But you might have missed the moment in which Comey and Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) threatened to topple one of the longstanding pillars of journalistic freedom.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange threatens to sue Mike Rogers on ‘day one’ if he’s picked to lead FBI

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday threatened to sue former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., on “day one” if he is chosen to replace James Comey as director of the FBI.

      There were multiple reports Thursday saying Rogers, a former FBI official and former head of the House Intelligence Committee, is in consideration to be chosen as the Trump administration’s nominee to head the FBI.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • All the Trees Will Die, and Then So Will You
    • Tunnel collapses at Hanford nuclear waste site in Washington state

      Hundreds of workers at the Department of Energy’s Hanford nuclear site in Washington state had to “take cover” Tuesday morning after the collapse of 20-foot-long portion of a tunnel used to store contaminated radioactive materials.

      The Energy Department said it activated its emergency operations protocol after reports of a “cave-in” at the 200 East Area in Hanford, a sprawling complex about 200 miles from Seattle where the government has been working to clean up radioactive materials left over from the country’s nuclear weapons program.

    • Vacant tunnel at nuclear site collapses in Washington state

      A vacant tunnel leading to a 60-year-old plutonium uranium extraction plant (called PUREX) on southeastern Washington’s Hanford Site has collapsed, according to reports. Hanford issued a warning to employees and ordered those in the vicinity to shelter in place while crews investigated the 20×20-foot cave-in above the tunnel.

    • N.C. said it still needs $929 million in aid for Hurricane Matthew. It got $6.1 million.

      The rain is done, and the flood is long over. The rest of the country moved on months ago, but North Carolina is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Hundreds of families remain displaced, and critical infrastructure sits damaged. Its unmet need is enormous, the governor says, and they aren’t getting the money.

  • Finance

    • Manchester University job cuts ‘due to Brexit’, union claims

      The University of Manchester’s decision to cut 171 posts is due to “new government legislation and Brexit”, a union has claimed.

      The university says the job losses have to happen for it to be a world-leading institution and will offer voluntary severance wherever possible.

      But the University and College Union (UCU) said the university was in “a strong financial position”.

    • University of Manchester to axe 171 staff amid Brexit concerns

      Britain’s largest university has set out plans to axe 171 jobs, mostly academic positions in the faculties of arts, languages, biology, medicine and business.

      The University of Manchester blamed new government legislation and the prospect of Brexit as major factors threatening its future income and said it needed to “invest in our strategic priorities”.

      But the University and College Union (UCU), which represents lecturers and researchers, said Manchester’s finances were in good health and that the university was making excuses in order to implement cuts.

    • The Brexit trap that’s closing on Britons who live in Europe

      Brexit negotiations will leave UK citizens in Europe in a far worse position than EU citizens in the UK, a group of British professionals living in Germany has warned.

      There are about 100,000 Britons living in Germany. On Monday, discussions held by a group of about 50 of them in Munich focused on concerns that neither European nor British governments have fully understood the severity of the consequences of Brexit for people in their position.

      Briton David Hole, who has lived and practised law in Germany since 1993, pointed out that the fact that EU citizens in the UK will still be part of the union will put them in a significantly stronger position than their British counterparts in Europe.

    • Snapchat is losing twice as much money as it did last year

      Investors should have seen this coming. The company’s financial disclosures before its IPO revealed large and growing losses. Snap warned investors that it was unsure when, if ever, it would reach profitability. And while its user base was highly engaged, its user growth slowed to its lowest level ever in the fourth quarter of last year.

    • Aw Snap: Snapchat parent company’s value plummets after earnings report

      Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc lost nearly a quarter of its value on Wednesday when its newly listed shares went into a nosedive after the company reported a $2.2bn loss and slowing growth.

    • Uber will likely need to follow same rules as taxi companies in Europe

      Uber isn’t a benign platform offering to ferry people from A to B via a simple app—it’s a transportation service and as such must comply with the relevant rules, a law adviser at Europe’s top court has said.

      In a nonbinding opinion, advocate general Maciej Szpunar concluded that “the service offered by Uber cannot be classified as an ‘information society service’.” If the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) agrees with Szpunar, Uber will face a major regulatory setback that could hobble its expansion plans.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How To Know if The Trump-Russia Story Has Momentum

      So far, however, Trump-Russia stories have gotten a huge amount of attention for two or three days at a time before the news cycle moves on to other topics. You may catch yourself thinking that surely the story is escalating to a breaking point … only to see Trump skate his way out of the mess. I really don’t have a prediction for how this particular development will unfold, but that history is worth bearing in mind.

    • Americans are witnessing a slow-motion coup

      Despite Trump’s desperation and the mistakes he seems to make every single day, it will take enormous outrage by the citizenry, and an act of enormous political will by their representatives, to bring a halt to this this authoritarian madness. Our government belongs to us — not to him. Unless we teach him this lesson, we deserve everything he does to us with the power he has so nakedly and corruptly seized in this slow-motion coup.

    • Big business interventions leave the EU Digital Single Market with more holes than Swiss cheese

      Former Digital Commissioner Oettinger let big business interests sabotage the project of tearing down of digital borders in key areas, leaving the Digital Single Market project with more holes than Swiss cheese.

    • After Trump fired Comey, White House staff scrambled to explain why

      White House press secretary Sean Spicer wrapped up his brief interview with Fox Business from the White House grounds late Tuesday night and then disappeared into the shadows, huddling with his staff near a clump of bushes and then behind a tall hedge. To get back to his office, Spicer would have to pass a swarm of reporters wanting to know why President Trump suddenly decided to fire the FBI director.

      For more than three hours, Spicer and his staff had been scrambling to answer that question. Spicer had wanted to drop the bombshell news in an emailed statement, but it was not transmitting quickly enough, so he ended up standing in the doorway of the press office around 5:40 p.m. and shouting a statement to reporters who happened to be nearby. He then vanished, with his staff locking the door leading to his office. The press staff said that Spicer might do a briefing, then announced that he definitely wouldn’t say anything more that night. But as Democrats and Republicans began to criticize and question the firing with increasing levels of alarm, Spicer and two prominent spokeswomen were suddenly speed-walking up the White House drive to defend the president on CNN, Fox News and Fox Business.

    • Prosecutors to reveal if they’ll charge up to 30 Tory MPs with election fraud THIS WEEK

      Up to 30 Tory MPs are set to learn if they will be charged with electoral fraud this week, the Mirror has learned.

      Prosecutors are due to make an announcement on files they have received from 15 police forces before Thursday’s deadline for candidates to declare whether they will stand in the upcoming election

      A Mirror investigation revealed last March that two dozen Conservative MPs received help from battlebuses packed with party activists during the 2015 general election but failed to declare the cost.

      In a follow-up report a six weeks later, Channel 4 News identified a further handful of Tory candidates accused of similar failings.

    • Jefferson Davis: The Confederacy’s first, worst and only president

      When the city of New Orleans had a century-old memorial to Jefferson Davis torn down before daybreak Thursday, a crowd of the Confederate leader’s sympathizers stood by, chanting: “President Davis! President Davis!”

      A man adorned with rebel flags buried his face in his hand as the statue of Davis, the man who stands for the South’s lost cause, was hauled away by crane and truck.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The UK government wants to embarrass you into not watching porn

      If you’re unfortunate enough to live in Tory Britain, you might soon have to visit a Post Office to ID yourself if you want to get down-and-dirty online.

      As you might have heard, the UK is about to have an election. One of the quirks of British democracy is that in the weeks leading up to the polls, parliament is dissolved.

    • NOW UN TOO DECIDES MEDIA IS THE ENEMY: WIPO, FAO, in unprecedented move, waive immunity to sue journalists for defamation

      On World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on world leaders to ‘defend a free media’ and to put an end to ‘all crackdowns against journalists because a free press advances peace and justice for all.’ Yet the UN’s own senior officials are engaged in an ugly war against the media that has made a mockery of the Secretary-General’s message and the UN’s commitment to uphold Article 19 of the UN Charter that protects everyone’s right to freedom of opinion and expression.

      The heads of both the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) have taken the unprecedented step of suing journalists for defamation – a highly unusual act because the UN and its employees enjoy immunity from prosecution, which means that in order to bring a case before a national court they have to surrender this immunity – which rarely happens.

    • First Hearing In The Lawsuit Against Us, Along With Even More Filings

      As you hopefully know by now, we’re currently facing a major lawsuit, brought against us in Boston, that we consider to be an attack on our First Amendment right to report on matters of public concern. If you support journalism and support the First Amendment, please consider donating to our survival fund, which is helping us to continue reporting on a variety of important matters, including new battles over net neutrality and encryption, not to mention many other battles over freedom of expression.

      As we’ve noted, repeatedly, this case has been a huge distraction and has made it difficult for us to do the kind of work we’ve done for almost twenty years. If you wish to catch up, you can read about our initial filings in the case, including our motion to dismiss and our motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP law. We also made additional filings concerning Section 230 problems with some of the claims against us. In addition, in early April we filed a reply to the opposition to our filings.

    • UK Parliament Takes First Step Towards Making Google & Facebook Censor Everything

      Look, let’s just start with the basics: there are some bad people out there. Even if the majority of people are nice and well-meaning, there are always going to be some people who are not. And sometimes, those people are going to use the internet. Given that as a starting point, at the very least, you’d think we could deal with that calmly and rationally, and recognize that maybe we shouldn’t blame the tools for the fact that some not very nice people happen to use them. Unfortunately, it appears to be asking a lot these days to expect our politicians to do this. Instead, they (and many others) rush out immediately to point the fingers of blame for the fact that these “not nice” people exist, and rather than point the finger of blame at the not nice people, they point at… the internet services they use.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Culprit behind 2014 CIA hack turned out to be … the CIA

      Declassified CIA emails released to Michael Morisy show that the Agency believed that their online FOIA Reading Room had been taken down by a vicious cyberattack. Later emails admitted, however, that the attacks against the Agency’s website had been unsuccessful – and that the damage had been entirely self-inflicted.

    • BREAKING: AG Szpunar says that Uber is a transport activity, not an information society service

      Is Uber a transport activity or an information society service? Why does the answer to this matter? Why does all this matter?

      To the first question, this morning Advocate General (AG) Szpunar has provided a response in his Opinion in Asociación Profesional Élite Taxi v Uber Systems Spain, C-434/15, a reference for a preliminary ruling from Spain (Juzgado Mercantil No 3 de Barcelona).

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • [Older] Will Justin Trudeau Speak Out for Raif Badawi?
    • Portrait of Government Policy in Tanah Papua for the Last 46 Years

      According to the Coordinator of Information and Documentation of ELSAM, Ari Yurino, the transmigration program in Papua has evidently brought negative impact to the social life of Papuan natives. Due to the uneven transmigration and development program, it has caused the increase of number of migrants in Papua and the rise of horizontal conflict between the newcomers and the natives. Therefore, he said, the transmigration program must be terminated and its policy must be evaluated.

    • Jakarta’s Christian governor jailed for blasphemy against Islam

      Rights groups fear Islamist hardliners are in the ascendancy in a country where most Muslims practise a moderate form of Islam and which is home to sizeable communities of Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and people who adhere to traditional beliefs.

    • Christian Governor in Indonesia Found Guilty of Blasphemy Against Islam

      Mr. Basuki’s 16-point defeat last month was seen as a sign of the increasing power of Islamic conservatives, who have pressed for the adoption of Islamic law, or Shariah, throughout Indonesia.

      [...]

      He had been leading in the polls last year, but in September his campaign faltered when he tried to address attacks from Muslim hard-liners who argued that the Quran prohibited Muslims from voting for a non-Muslim. Mr. Basuki said those who made that argument were misleading Muslims, a statement that was interpreted by some as insulting the Quran.

    • Indonesia Islam: Governor’s blasphemy conviction divides a nation

      Mr Purnama was accused of blasphemy for comments he made during a pre-election speech in September 2016. He implied that Islamic leaders were trying to trick voters by using a verse in the Koran to argue that Muslims should not vote for a non-Muslim leader.

    • Report: Ban on laptops in planes may expand to Europe

      The Department of Homeland Security is considering expanding its ban on electronic devices on US-bound flights from certain airports, according to a report by CBS News.

      In March, the DHS banned on all devices bigger than a cell phone on US-bound flights from 10 airports located in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Terrorist groups were targeting commercial planes with “innovative methods” including “smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” the DHS said at the time.

    • US may extend airline laptop ban to UK, Europe

      The US is reportedly looking at extending a ban on allowing laptops into the cabins of airlines to European countries and the UK.

    • This Makes No Sense: US To Ban Laptops On All Flights From Europe

      Earlier this year we wrote about the nonsensical move by the Department of Homeland Security to ban laptops and tablets in the cabin on flights from a bunch of cities in the Middle East. The rumored reason was discoveries that terrorists had learned how to make bombs out of laptops. As we noted, this made almost no sense at all when you challenged any of the assumptions. But, never let logic and reason get in the way of a bit of inane security theater. Because now Homeland Security is about to announce that it’s now banning laptops in the cabins on all flights from Europe (it’s unclear if this will also apply on flights from the US to Europe, but it seems likely that European airports will reciprocate).

      While this does answer one of the questions raised by the original ban (“why won’t potential terrorists just fly out of other countries?”) it still raises a host of other questions. Again: why won’t this apply to flights from other countries? Or domestic flights? Or all flights? But, really, that just raises an even larger issue, which is that if you want to protect 100% of all flights 100% of the time from ever having a problem in which people might die, the answer is ground all flights and never let anyone fly anywhere ever. Problem solved. Of course, the cost of such a solution would be horrendous — which is why we don’t do it. But that’s the key issue: all of these things involve tradeoffs. All too frequently, it appears that government officials — especially those on the national security side of things — don’t care at all about the tradeoffs. They just care about blocking any possible attack no matter how unlikely or how remote the chance of such an attack might be, and without any consideration of the costs and inconveniences to everyone else. And, yes, it’s reasonable to point out that a single attack would be very, very costly as well. And there’s clearly a reason to protect heavily against attacks. But there’s still a balance.

    • U.S. to Ban Laptops in All Cabins of Flights From Europe, Officials Say

      The Department of Homeland Security plans to ban laptops in the cabins of all flights from Europe to the United States, European security officials told The Daily Beast. The announcement is expected Thursday.

      Initially a ban on laptops and tablets was applied only to U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East. The ban was based on U.S. fears that terrorists have found a way to convert laptops into bombs capable of bringing down an airplane. It is unclear if the European ban will also apply to tablets.

      DHS said in a statement to The Daily Beast: “No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”

    • Latest Attack On A Free Press: Reporter Arrested For Asking Questions To Trump Administration Officials

      Well, that’s only partially true. Obviously, the local law enforcement gets to make that decision, but there’s nothing stopping a competent public official from telling law enforcement to knock it off and to answer a few basic questions from a reporter.

      In an era where we’re hearing more and more about both attacks on a free press, as well as the need for a stronger press, these kinds of shenanigans should not be allowed. In the past, when we’ve covered police arresting reporters, the courts have come out repeatedly in favor of the reporters (that whole First Amendment thing still matters). But that’s of little use in the moment when police are dragging reporters off to jail for shouting questions outside a press conference.

    • Dan Heyman: US reporter arrested for shouting questions on healthcare

      A reporter was arrested on Tuesday night at the West Virginia Capitol for allegedly causing a disturbance by shouting questions to two Trump aides.

      Dan Heyman had asked Health Secretary Tom Price and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway about coverage under the Republican healthcare plan.

      The veteran health reporter wanted to know if domestic violence would be covered as a pre-existing condition.

      He later said he “was trying to do my job”. He nows faces a prison sentence.

      Mr Heyman, who works for the Public News Service, spoke to reporters after being released by police.

      He said that he had been following the Trump team’s entourage through the capitol building while wearing his press badge and a shirt identifying his media outlet.

    • Reporter arrested after repeatedly questioning Health secretary

      “First time I’ve ever been arrested for asking a question. First time I’ve ever heard of someone getting arrested for asking a question,” he said.

    • West Virginia journalist arrested after asking HHS Secretary Tom Price a question

      As Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price walked through a hallway Tuesday in the West Virginia state capitol, veteran reporter Dan Heyman followed alongside him, holding up his phone to Price while attempting to ask him a question.

      Heyman, a journalist with Public News Service, repeatedly asked the secretary whether domestic violence would be considered a preexisting condition under the Republican bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system, he said.

    • Women trafficked to Glasgow for sham marriages
    • Uber should lose its licence if it doesn’t improve workers’ rights, say drivers
    • Massachusetts State Police Promise Higher Standard For No-Knock Warrants; Immediately Break It

      No-knock warrants may have served a purpose when they first became a thing. It’s not as though law enforcement’s fear of evidence disappearing or a violent reaction to warrant service is completely unjustified. But no-knock warrants are being deployed extremely frequently, becoming the preferred method of warrant service any time drug sales are involved. The warrant requests are supposed to be subjected to a higher standard of review, but it’s devolved to the point where officers are requesting no-knock warrants simply because the residence they’re searching has locking doors and working toilets.

      Now, cops and citizens are being killed or injured unnecessarily, simply because the SWAT team’s armored personnel carrier seems like a waste of money if it’s not deployed every six weeks or so. The higher standard is practically nonexistent, replaced by “upon information and belief” statements that work backwards from the desired form of warrant service.

    • Ridiculous Lawsuit Looks To Hold Social Media Companies Responsible For The San Bernandino Shooting

      This hasn’t worked yet, but that’s not going to keep anyone from giving it another try. Excolo Law, representing victims of the San Bernardino attacks (and others in similar lawsuits), is suing Twitter, Facebook, and Google for [sigh] “knowingly and recklessly” supporting terrorism.

      The lawsuit, like others before it, claims the social media platforms aren’t doing enough to prevent terrorists from using them for communication, not taking down reported posts fast enough, and otherwise making the world a more dangerous place simply by offering their services.

    • FBI Releases ‘Study’ Of Law Enforcement’s Persecution Complex

      In what may be an attempt to bolster now ex-FBI director James Comey’s oft-derided “Ferguson Effect” claims, the FBI has released a “study” that gathers facts feelings from law enforcement officers around the US and attempts to build a narrative somewhere between “life is unfair” and “there’s a War on Cops.” It’s not a study. It’s an opinion poll with the word “study” appended to it.

    • CIA captive under Guantanamo’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ chooses to testify about conditions

      The first CIA captive subjected to what the U.S. government called “enhanced interrogation techniques” after the Sept. 11 attacks is choosing to testify about conditions inside the Guantanamo Bay detention center even if it could create legal problems for him later.

    • Judge says his Facebook post about lynching black suspect was a joke

      A Texas judge was reprimanded Monday for a Facebook comment left on a police department’s Facebook page about the arrest of a black man accused of killing a white San Antonio Police Department officer.

      “Time for a tree and a rope….”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T could be punished for unlimited data throttling after all

      AT&T has been dealt a blow in its attempt to avoid all regulatory oversight from the Federal Trade Commission, and the court decision could also play an important role in the debates over net neutrality and broadband privacy rules. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai yesterday welcomed the court decision and said it strengthens his argument that net neutrality rules should be overturned.

    • After net neutrality comment system fails, senators demand answers

      The FCC’s public comments site struggled for hours Sunday night and Monday after comedian John Oliver called on HBO viewers to write in protest of Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to eliminate the current net neutrality rules. The FCC issued a statement yesterday attributing the downtime to DDoS attacks, without mentioning the influx of comments caused by Oliver’s show.

    • FCC says it was victim of cyberattack after John Oliver show

      An FCC spokesman did not immediately respond when asked by The Hill how the agency determined it had suffered a DDoS attack.

    • A Bot Is Flooding The FCC Website With Fake Anti-Net Neutrality Comments… In Alphabetical Order

      As previously noted, the FCC has begun fielding comments on its plan to dismantle net neutrality protections. As of the writing of this post, nearly 556,000 users have left comments on the FCC’s plan to roll back the rules, which will begin in earnest with a likely 2-1 partisan vote on May 18. The lion’s share of that comment total were driven by John Oliver’s recent rant on HBO. Many others are the result of what I affectionately call “outrage-o-matic” e-mail campaigns by either net neutrality activists or think tanks that let people comment without having to expend calories on original thought.

    • The FCC Claims A DDoS Attack — Not John Oliver — Crashed Its Website. But Nobody Seems To Believe Them

      We just got done noting that the FCC’s commenting system crashed after comedian John Oliver’s latest bit on net neutrality last weekend. Given that Oliver’s first bit on net neutrality did the exact same thing, it didn’t take long before the media wires were filled with stories about how a flood of outraged net neutrality supporters had crippled FCC systems. Again.

    • Net neutrality: why the next 10 days are so important in the fight for fair internet

      US campaigners rejoiced in 2015 when ‘net neutrality’ enshrined the internet as a free and level playing field. A vote on 18 May could take it all back

    • Comcast, Charter Join Forces In Wireless, Agree Not To Compete

      For several years now, cable giants Comcast and Charter have had their eye on jumping into the wireless business. Both companies gobbled up a large amount of spectrum at the FCC’s 2008 700 MHz auction, but a few years later got cold feet after realizing that going solo in wireless would not only be incredibly expensive, but would require something called competition (gross). So in 2011, they struck a deal with Verizon Wireless, which bought the cable sector’s spectrum for $3.6 billion, in exchange for a cozy cross-promotional relationship. As an unspoken part of that relationship, Verizon Wireless has been happily driving its unwanted DSL customers to cable, where they’re often then sold Verizon Wireless service.

    • The FCC ‘Investigation’ Into Stephen Colbert Is A Complete Non-Story

      Last week comedian and “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert found himself in a little hot water after he made an oral sex joke about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at the tail end of his opening monologue. If you missed it, here’s the relevant bit (the easily-offended can skip down the page).

    • The FCC has received 128,000 identical anti-net neutrality comments

      The FCC this week has received hundreds of thousands of new comments on its proposal to dismantle net neutrality rules, and more than 128,000 of them are identical comments calling for the reversal of the Obama administration’s “power grab.” It seems likely that the influx of anti-net neutrality identical comments is coming from a bot, but the FCC hasn’t addressed the matter publicly yet.

    • Cisco And Oracle Applaud The Looming Death Of Net Neutrality

      Both Oracle and Cisco (not coincidentally major ISP vendors) have come out in full-throated support of the FCC’s plan to kill net neutrality. FCC boss Ajit Pai has been making the rounds the last few weeks in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, trying to drum up support of his attack on broadband consumer protections. Pai met with Cisco, Oracle, Facebook and Apple in a number of recent meetings, but so far only Oracle and Cisco have been willing to enthusiastically and publicly throw their corporate fealty behind Pai’s extremely-unpopular policies.

    • The FCC Is Using Garbage Lobbyist Data To Defend Its Assault On Net Neutrality

      By now it should be clear to most Techdirt readers that new FCC Boss Ajit Pai envisions a future where there’s little to no oversight of giant telecom duo/monopolies like Comcast. Pai has wasted no time making that dream a reality since taking office, having killed plans for more cable box competition, undermined FCC attempts to stop prison phone monopolies from ripping off inmate families, and paved the way for killing net neutrality. He’s made no mystery of his overarching goal: replacing functional FCC oversight of broadband providers with the policy equivalent of wet tissue paper.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Bethesda Trademark Bullying Results In Indie Game Adding A Whole Letter To Its Name, But Not Its Logo

        One of the most infuriating aspects of typical trademark disputes is how often the dire nature of the supposed infringement is ratcheted up in the threat rhetoric, while the eventual settlement reached seems laughably inconsequential. Bethesda, which has built a reputation for itself in terms of trademark bullying over its video game franchises, has been an example of this sort of thing in the past. When it decided that it owned the term “scrolls” generally after trademarking its Elder Scrolls franchise, it launched a dispute with developer Mojang over its game which was titled Scrolls. Much was made about the potential for customer confusion, except the eventual settlement allowed Mojang to keep the name for its game. One wonders why such a settlement would be agreed to by Bethesda were its original assertions remotely accurate.

    • Copyrights

      • Access Treaty for Visually Impaired Readers (Finally) Steps Forward On EU Ratification

        After prevaricating for about three years, the European Union now seems to be about to ratify a treaty lifting copyright across borders for books in special format for visually impaired people. The European Blind Union saluted the agreement as great news for millions of people with visual disabilities but warned that a provision allowing EU members to impose economic compensation on organisations representing blind persons and libraries could run counter to the benefit of the treaty.

      • Megaupload users still can’t get data back

        Megaupload, an online cyberlocker service run by Kim Dotcom, was shut down in early 2012 when Dotcom was charged with criminal copyright infringement. Dotcom’s house in New Zealand was raided, and he was arrested. But his prosecution is on hold while New Zealand continues with years of extradition hearings.

      • CJEU to rule on enforceability of German press publishers’ right

        The newly created sections 87f, 87g and 87h of the German Copyright Act provide for the exclusive right of press publishers to exploit their contents commercially for one year, thus preventing search engines and news aggregators from displaying excerpts from newspaper articles without paying a fee.

      • Landmark Usenet Piracy Verdict Stands, Despite RIAA and MPAA Protests

        The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to rehear the case Usenet provider Giganews won against Perfect 10. The decision not only comes as a disappointment to the bankrupt magazine publisher but also to the MPAA and RIAA, who warned the court that the decision is a disaster for copyright holders.

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