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Links 13/5/2018: RC5 of Linux 4.17, SparkyLinux 4.8, Malicious Package Found on the Ubuntu Snap Store

Posted in News Roundup at 8:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.17-rc5

      Things continue to look fairly normal. About half the rc5 release is driver
      updates, with amdgpu standing out but mainly because everything else is
      really pretty small, not because the amdgpu patches are all that big.

      Outside of drivers, there’s a random collection of changes all over: some
      filesystems (ceph and cifs), some networking, some core kernel, some small
      arch updates, and some tooling.

      There’s a fair number of changes in there (shortlog appended as usual), but
      a lot of them really are one- or two-liners.

      So I think we’re in pretty good shape. Please go keep testing, though, to
      make sure we’re not missing anything.


    • Linux 4.17-rc5 Released As Another Normal Weekly Test Release

      Linus Torvalds has done a Mother’s Day release of the Linux 4.17-rc5 kernel.

      Linus notes that this latest Linux 4.17 release candidate continues looking “fairly normal” with about half of the changes being driver updates and then a random collection of other changes. He notes that so far they are in fairly good shape.

    • Linux 4.17 Gets More Spectre V1 Fixes

      Thomas Gleixner this morning sent in the latest batch of x86/pti updates for containing the latest mitigation improvements around Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilities.

      This latest pull request has several fixes, including a possible deadlock fix. There have also been a number of Spectre Variant One access restrictions.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Bigger than Linux: The rise of cloud native

        The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s first KubeCon + CloudNativeCon of the year took place in the Bella Center, Copenhagen. A giant greenhouse of a building with snaking industrial pipework and connecting concrete bridges; it’s a vast container made of glass letting in light. A suitable setting for an industry that’s evolved rapidly from the release of Docker’s superstar container technology back in 2013.

        Attendance has rocketed to 4,300, according to Dan Kohn, executive director of the CNCF, which almost triples attendance from a year ago in Berlin, but that’s not surprising as cloud native computing industry is meeting the business world’s demand for more scalable, agile applications and services that can be run across multiple geographical locations in distributed environments.

    • Graphics Stack


        The RADV Vulkan driver within Mesa has landed its VK_PIPELINE_CREATE_DISABLE_OPTIMIZATION_BIT support so applications/games can opt to disable optimizations when compiling a Vulkan pipeline. This is notably what was just covered the other day for helping to reduce stuttering with DXVK.

      • DXVK 0.51 Brings Fixes & Asynchronous Pipeline Compilation Support

        DXVK 0.51 is now available as the latest version of this library for running Direct3D 11 games under Wine via the Vulkan graphics API.

        The DXVK 0.51 release most notable adds asynchronous pipeline compilation support for Vulkan drivers making use of VK_PIPELINE_CREATE_DISABLE_OPTIMIZATION_BIT. This is the feature for reducing stuttering for games on DXVK and as of this morning is now supported by the RADV driver. We’ll see how long it will take until the NVIDIA Vulkan driver and others support this feature. For now though DXVK ships with this support disabled and requires using the DXVK_USE_PIPECOMPILER=1 environment variable as this feature can cause hangs for Prey and potentially other titles.

      • VK9 Gets Better Support For Shaders, 64-bit Fixes

        While the rapidly maturing DXVK library has been capturing much of the limelight when it comes to piping Direct3D over Vulkan, the VK9 project targeting Direct3D 9 on top of Vulkan continues making progress.

      • Intel’s Mesa Driver Prepares To Kill Off The Blitter

        Jason Ekstrand has spent some time away from the Intel ANV Vulkan driver to kill the hardware blitter usage within the i965 Mesa OpenGL driver.

        With a set of patches posted on Friday, the Intel Mesa driver eliminates its hardware blitter usage for Intel Sandy Bridge hardware and newer. Ekstrand explained that the graphics hardware blitter has been degraded on recent generations of Intel graphics, “On Sandy Bridge, the blitter was moved to another ring and so using it incurs noticable synchronization overhead and, at the same time, that synchronization is an endless source of GPU hangs on SNB. Some time around the Ivy Bridge time frame, we suspect that the blitter ended up with somewhat slower paths to memory than the 3D engine so it’s slower in general. To make matters worse, the blitter does not understand any sort of compression at all and so using it frequently means having to do some sort of resolve operation.”

      • Latest Intel ARB_gl_spirv Patches Published By Igalia

        It’s almost one year since the release of OpenGL 4.6 and while there is support outside of the Mesa tree, mainline Mesa still doesn’t support this latest OpenGL revision due to the holdups around SPIR-V ingestion support.

        Intel’s i965 and AMD’s RadeonSI drivers would have supported OpenGL 4.6 with mainline Mesa months ago, but they’ve been held up on the ARB_gl_spirv extension and the related ARB_spirv_extensions support. This work allows for SPIR-V modules to be used by OpenGL complementary to GLSL and allows for GLSL to also to be used as a source language for creating SPIR-V modules for OpenGL consumption. This is basically all about better interoperability between OpenGL and Vulkan — not an easy task to implement.

      • RADV Adding New Bit To Help Avoid Stuttering With DXVK

        The RADV Vulkan driver will soon have VK_PIPELINE_CREATE_DISABLE_OPTIMIZATION_BIT to help avoid stuttering with DXVK for running Direct3D 11 games on Wine over Vulkan.

        While DXVK performance is already quite compelling and handling a surprising number of D3D11 games rendered via Vulkan considering how young this project is, DXVK and potentially the other Vulkan Linux drivers may soon see less stuttering.

    • Benchmarks

      • KDE vs. GNOME, X.Org vs. Wayland Radeon Linux Gaming Performance With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

        For those wondering how the Radeon Linux gaming performance is changed between desktop environments when testing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS out-of-the-box, here are some benchmarks. Not only is it looking at the performance between GNOME Shell 3.28.1 and KDE Plasma 5.12.4, but it’s also comparing each desktop environment with its X.Org and Wayland session support. Additionally, these tests were done with both AMD Radeon Polaris and Vega graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.46.0

        KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.46.0.

        KDE Frameworks are 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the Frameworks 5.0 release announcement.

        This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.46 As The Latest Add-Ons Update

        KDE Frameworks 5.46.0 is out today as the newest version of this collection of add-on libraries used by KDE applications and more for complementing the Qt5 tool-kit.

      • KDE Connect Junior Jobs

        One of KDE’s Community goals for the next years is streamlined onboarding of new contributors. It’s very important that new people regularly join the community for various reasons. First of all, there will always be something to do and the more contributors the merrier! But there are also people becoming very inactive or leaving the community and these people need to be replaced. Furthermore new people bring in new and fresh ideas. It’s important to have people from diverse backgrounds in the community.

      • Management of LVM VGs in Calamares

        I talked in my last post about some of my LVM studies for the first goal of GSoC. This post is an addition to the last one, focused more in explaining how I want to implement it and talking a little bit about some application concepts from Calamares that I’ve studied.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 18

        Image operations in Gwenview that have been undone can now be re-done too (Peter Mühlenpfordt, KDE Applications 18.08.0)

      • GSoC 2018 with KDE – Community bonding period

        The community bonding period ends today and the coding period begins.

        Community bonding period had been quite hectic for me with respect to learning new things and thinking of good ways to implement them. I didn’t know much about piano or other musical instruments (as I had never played them before) and was unaware of many notations and usages, but thanks to my mentor Emmanuel Charruau (allon on IRC) who suported me a lot and always cleared even my very silly doubts (as I myself was learning various elements of piano and its notations for the first time). He provided me all the resources step-by-step and helped me learn so much about the project in such less time.

        It was quite fun exploring new things and learn them which I would never had.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Sky’s the limit as Cathay Pacific deploys Red Hat cloud

        Cathay Pacific has deployed Red Hat solutions and services to drive customer experience across the airline, transforming legacy infrastructure into a modern hybrid cloud architecture.

        Specifically, the carrier leveraged the vendor’s OpenStack Platform and OpenShift Container Platform offerings, in a bid to improve end-user experience through digital technologies.

        Based in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is an international airline offering passenger and cargo services to 200 destinations in 52 countries and territories worldwide.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 32-bit ARM Is Also On The Chopping Block For Ubuntu

            Not only are developers talking about dropping Ubuntu 32-bit x86 support but the ARMHF support might also be cut as well for 32-bit ARM boards.

            With ARMv8 ushering in 64-bit ARM has been common now for years, Ubuntu developers are also considering dropping the Ubuntu ARM hard-float port for ARMv7 support. This is a tiny bit surprising considering the wide number of 32-bit ARM SBCs out in the wild, including some ARMv7 boards still being peddled by different vendors. But then again it’s not too often we see ARM SBCs support Ubuntu releases outside of the LTS cycles: Ubuntu 18.04 will remain available with armhf and by the time of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, hopefully many of these other boards will have been phased out from any production purposes. There are still occasional ARM SBC reference images I come across even using the aging Ubuntu 14.04 and many of the older 32-bit ARM boards currently using 16.04 probably won’t see updates to 18.04.

          • 11 years of Ubuntu membership

            It’s been 11 years and 1 month since I was awarded with official Ubuntu membership. I will never forget that day: as a kid I had to write about myself on IRC, in front of the Community Council members and answer their questions in a language that was not my primary one. I must confess that I was a bit scared that evening, but once I made it, it felt so good. It felt good not just because of the award itself, but rather because that was the recognition that I did something that mattered. I did something useful that other people could benefit from. And for me, that meant a lot.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Join the Orvium Innovation, first open source and decentralized framework for managing scholarly publications

    Knowledge is power. This phrase holds the truest form when it comes to publication of knowledge. One of the most lucrative markets in the world, the publication houses work in a manner that where the cost of publishing is on the publisher’s end. Work submitted by authors is selected carefully, the basis being relevancy, the interest of the readers and the commercial viability. Authors are then compensated for their works. Publication houses pay more to their content submitters if they have a higher quality of work, while another may agree to print an article easily, but with limited reader reach, it will pay out much less.


    The ORV token is used in the Orvium platform for the exchange of monetary matters, such as payment for reviews, publications, copyrights etc. The ORV’s ICO is yet to be announced. A total of 379 million ORVs will be available for the public through its ICOs.

  • HP Elitebook 8770w Ported To Coreboot, But Need To Disassemble The Laptop For Flashing

    If you happen to have an HP Elitebook 8770w laying around from Intel’s Ivy Bridge era, that Hewlett Packard laptop has now been freed by Coreboot.

    This Intel Ivy Bridge quad-core laptop with SO-DIMM memory modules and using MXM 3.0b graphics cards can now work with Coreboot Git. Though if you have this laptop, for performing the initial port you first need to disassemble the laptop down to the motherboard. But at least when the initial Coreboot flash is done, subsequent flashes can be done using the Flashrom software.

  • Terratest – an Open Source Go Library for Automated Infrastructure Testing

    Gruntwork open sourced their Go framework Terratest which can be used to write automated tests for testing infrastructure. The library comes with support for Terraform and Packer.

    Terratest was developed internally at Gruntwork to maintain their Infrastructure as Code (IAC) library, a repository of tools based on Terraform, Python, Go and bash for managing infrastructure on AWS. IAC is available to paying Gruntwork users.

    Writing tests in Terratest involves using Go’s inbuilt package testing mechanism. A test run creates real infrastructure components like servers, deploys applications on them and validates the expected behaviour using Terratest tools. At the end of the test, Terratest can undeploy the apps and cleanup resources using Go’s defer mechanism, similar to JUnit’s teardown method. Can Terratest run against an existing infrastructure deployment instead of creating it from scratch each time? The tool wiki recommends against this as it might create undesirable changes in the environment. However, this can be difficult to follow for some teams who have complex infrastructure topologies and do not wish to create an entirely new setup to run the tests. A feature called namespacing can isolate resources by using unique identifiers. Note that namespacing here does not translate to the generally understood term of isolating components by tagging them with labels, but rather to ensuring unique identifiers for resources and using only those resources for testing which have the identifiers generated in the test framework.

  • Events

    • Fractal Hackfest

      This week, I was able to attend to the Fractal Hackfest. My train from Paris arrived at Strasbourg at 12:45, so I missed the beginning of the Hackfest in the morning but I could be there for the afternoon. I stayed until the middle of Saturday’s afternoon.

      On Thursday, I wasn’t there on the morning but there was a sum up of the important part of the morning’s discussions.

      There can be two main use cases for Matrix: one for friends, family and other small group discussions, where there are a low volume of messages and you care about all of them; and another for huge and noisy rooms in which there is a lot going on and you don’t necessarily care about most of it (for instance, you would want to be able to focus on the messages mentioning you). Both of these use cases could motivate to split Fractal in two apps: “Barbecue” (for the first use case) and “Banquet” (for the second one).

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Officially Unveils Firefox 60 Quantum Web Browser as the Next ESR Series

        Mozilla officially announced today the release of its Firefox 60 web browser as the next ESR (Extended Support Release) series for all supported platforms on the desktop, including Linux, Mac, Windows, and Android.

        Firefox 60 “Quantum” was launched today as the next ESR (Extended Support Release) series of the widely-used open-source and cross-platform web browser, ready for deployments in enterprise environments thanks to a new policy engine, as well as Group Policy support that helps IT professionals easily configure the browser using a cross-platform JSON file or Windows Group Policy.

      • Important: Pale Moon users and NoScript support (Parody)

        Yesterday our readers discovered problems with the Pale Moon web browser, which according to the NoScript website has either security, compatibility or usability issues when using popular add-ons like NoScript:

        One reader who uses NoScript found the plugin was displaying the above window and offering to disable the Pale Moon browser, rather than have it cause users any further trouble.

  • BSD

  • Programming/Development

    • shutil module in Python

      File Management and Handling file objects are considered to be one of the most tricky tasks in all programming languages. Some programming languages provide us with some tools which abstract away the difficult parts of File Handling with easy to use functions and interfaces. This is exactly what Python‘s shutil module does as well.


  • Medium abruptly cancels the membership programs of its 21 remaining subscription publisher partners

    No publication has been burned worse throughout these changes, perhaps, than The Establishment, which had been wooed to move off WordPress and entirely onto Medium, and migrated all its content the same day Medium announced its drastic changes early last year. “I shan’t lie to you, gentle reader — it was a dark and shocking day for The Establishment,” cofounder Kelley Calkins wrote at the time. Now, it’s at a precipice again.

  • A new documentary will explore the life and legacy of Ursula K. Le Guin

    Curry kickstarted Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin in 2016, and has been working on the project ever since. Earlier this week, she released a trailer for the documentary, which will use archival footage and recent interviews with Le Guin to examine her life and the impact of her career. The film will also feature interviews from authors such as Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), Neil Gaiman (American Gods), Theodora Goss (The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, and a forthcoming critical volume on Le Guin), and others. “She’s being recognized not just as one of our great science fiction and fantasy writers,” Goss says in the trailer, “but as one of our great American writers.”

  • Science

    • Social media copies gambling methods ‘to create psychological cravings’

      These methods are so effective they can activate similar mechanisms as cocaine in the brain, create psychological cravings and even invoke “phantom calls and notifications” where users sense the buzz of a smartphone, even when it isn’t really there.


      “If you disengage, you get peppered with little messages or bonus offers to get your attention and pull you back in,” said Schüll. “We have to start recognising the costs of time spent on social media. It’s not just a game – it affects us financially, physically and emotionally.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • At the VA, a Law Meant to Discipline Executives is Being Used to Fire Low-Level Workers

      The Nation spoke to more than two dozen current and former VA employees and union officials, who portrayed the VA as an agency needlessly cracking down on loyal workers. Union officials allege that the law is being abused to retaliate against whistle-blowers and union members, and that the VA leadership has created conditions for employees to fail by promulgating stringent new work standards that have recategorized hardworking employees as failing. The law also established the shadowy Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, headquartered in Washington but with satellite offices across the country, staffed by 68 employees, as of last month, who provide “investigative internal affairs services.”

  • Security

    • Google YOLO [iophk: "javascript"]

      Actually don’t even click anything. Malicious websites can simply track your cursor’s position and change the invisible button/iframe’s position accordingly. So even if you make a click by mistake you will be forced to click on something else.

    • One year on from the WannaCry attack, are we more vulnerable than ever? [Ed: The ToryGraph repeats Microsoft's lies about Windows XP; all versions of Windows have NSA back doors and XP was hardly the problem in this case. The problem is Microsoft collusion with NSA.]

      The hackers, reportedly from North Korea, didn’t intentionally target the UK’s health service: it was collateral damage. WannaCry entered computers through a glitch, discovered by the US National Security Agency, in early Windows operating systems. The 33 affected NHS practices were hit because they hadn’t updated their Windows XP software for many years.


      One of the biggest problems facing the UK, as WannaCry showed, is a lack of technical proficiency. There just aren’t enough defenders in the face of highly trained foreign criminals and state-sponsored hackers, Hannigan explains.


      The fight doesn’t end with education. Hannigan’s other suggestions have included the creation of an international cyber war treaty. In the meantime, he welcomes the news that all NHS computers will be upgraded to Windows 10 and that the Government will spend £150 million in the next three years to improve the service’s security.

    • Malicious Package Found on the Ubuntu Snap Store

      An attentive Ubuntu user has spotted today a cryptocurrency miner hidden in the source code of an Ubuntu snap package hosted on the official Ubuntu Snap Store.

      The app’s name is 2048buntu, a clone of the popular 2024 game, packaged as an Ubuntu snap —a relatively new app format for Ubuntu OS.

      According to a GitHub user named Tarwirdur, the app contained a cryptocurrency mining application disguised as the “systemd” daemon, along with an init script that provided boot persistence.

    • Malware Found In The Ubuntu Snap Store

      Software Center doesn’t make them safe. This is proved by a recent discovery of malware in some snap packages from the Ubuntu Snaps Store.

      At least two of the snap packages, 2048buntu and Hextris, uploaded to the Ubuntu Snaps Store by user Nicolas Tomb, contained malware. All packages by Nicolas have since been removed from the Ubuntu Snaps Store, “pending further investigations”.

      The report comes from a bug which mentions that the 2048buntu snap package (and other packages by Nicolas Tomb) contains a hidden cryptocurrency miner inside. You can see the init script below:

    • Ubuntu Snap Store app contained cryptocurrency miner, showing open source doesn’t equal safe [Ed: This headline is not correct. Snaps are proprietary.]
    • Malware Found on the Ubuntu Snap Store

      Malware has been found hiding inside software on the Ubuntu Snap store.

      A pair of (seemingly normal) apps hosted by the Canonical-backed app hub were discovered to contain a сryptocurrency miner disguised as the “systemd” daemon.

      The affected apps also shipped an “init script” to auto-load the malicious code on boot and allow it to run in the background on affected systems.

    • Google Takes Legal Road To Bring “Regular” Security Updates To Android Devices
    • ATM attacks: How hackers are going for gold

      Now, with confirmed strains of malware like Ploutus.D being used in ATM jackpotting attacks on U.S. soil, jackpotting can be added to the growing list of popular ATM attack types, including skimming, shimming and network-based attacks. Here we examine various ATM attack techniques and offer security recommendations to protect against them.

    • Unpatched Oracle WebLogic servers targeted for mining
    • USBGuard

      One of the most common security concerns (especially when traveling) is the attach of unknown USB device on our system.

    • Valve are paying hackers for finding security flaws, plus a website refresh teased top secret games
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Terrorists Are Still Recruiting on Facebook, Despite Zuckerberg’s Reassurances

      At least a dozen U.S.-designated terror groups maintain a presence on Facebook, a review by Bloomberg Businessweek shows. That includes Hamas and Hezbollah in the Middle East, Boko Haram in West Africa, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The terror groups are rallying supporters with everything from gruesome photos of death caused by their enemies to quotidian news about social services they offer. Several can be found simply by typing their names into Facebook’s search bar in English or, in some cases, in Arabic or Spanish. Some of the groups proudly link to their Facebook pages on their home websites, too.

    • Trump’s War Against Iran

      An apparent coordination between Trump leaving the Iran deal and Israeli attacks on Iranian targets in Syria portend an attack on Iran itself, says Eric S. Margolis.


      The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel all recently suffered a stinging defeat in Syria. Their campaign to overthrow the Assad government in Damascus by using the rag-tag ISIS movement, and other jihadist wild men, was defeated by the Syrian Army, backed by Russian air power, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and some Iranian militia groups and army advisors.

      The alleged Iranian rocket barrage, supposedly in response to Tuesday’s attack, was directed at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that were illegally annexed and occupied after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and are still held, legally, as part of Syria. Israel is very nervous about having world attention drawn to its continued occupation of the strategic Golan Heights from which Israeli heavy artillery can reach Damascus.

      Israel now claims to have wiped out more than a score of Iranian positions in Syria. As far as we can tell, these were minor logistics or communications facilities, not the backbone of a supposed Iranian offensive against Israel. Iran is in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government.

    • The EU Will Not Stand by Iran

      Ever since Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) with Iran and would unilaterally impose across-the-board sanctions on that country, a procession of European leaders including the leaders of the U.S.’s most powerful European allies – Britain, France and Germany – have publicly declared their intention to stand by the JCPOA.

      There is also brave talk of the EU creating safeguards for European companies which in defiance of the U.S. continue to trade or do business with Iran.

      President Rouhani of Iran – who has a big personal stake in the JCPOA, which he personally negotiated – has for his part said that Iran will for the time being abide by the terms of the JCPOA whilst it waits to see how Europe will react.

      In the meantime the talk of the EU standing up to the U.S. over the JCPOA has increased talk – or hope – that a corner in U.S.-EU relations has been turned, and that the EU will henceforth increasingly defy the U.S., making Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the JCPOA a further step in the decline of U.S. power.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Pamela Anderson writes letter to Kanye West asking him to support Julian Assange

      Pamela Anderson, who visited Julian Assange at his Ecuadorean Embassy refuge in London multiple times, has written to Kanye West in an attempt to gain his support for the WikiLeaks founder.

    • Pamela Anderson Wrote a Letter to Kanye West Asking Him to Help Julian Assange

      Kanye West has been causing quite a stir on Twitter in recent weeks, and apparently, Pamela Anderson thinks that means the rapper can help with a legal case close to her heart: that of Julian Assange. According to TMZ, Anderson has written a letter to West, asking him to give her friend some publicity and claiming the WikiLeaks founder is being tortured.

    • Julian Assange ‘BANNED from taking visitors and phone calls’ in Ecuador embassy

      The Wikileaks Twitter account wrote that the Ecuadorian embassy in London was refusing Mr Assange most forms of contact with the outside world.

      Mr Assange has been living in the embassy since June 2012 when he faced extradition to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sex crimes, which he has always denied.

    • Ecuador ‘bans Julian Assange from taking visitors and phone calls’ in embassy where he’s been holed up for almost six years

      Ecuador has banned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from taking visitors and phones, it has been claimed.

      The whistleblower website tweeted that Mr Assange was being refused most forms of contact with the outside world by the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      He has been living at the embassy since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sex crimes, which he always denied.

      But Mr Assange is facing increasing isolation inside the embassy, with officials announcing in March that he was having his internet access curtailed.

    • Ex-Assange Hater Sarah Palin Praises WikiLeaks’ Head for ‘Opening People’s Eyes’

      WikiLeaks published the former governor of Alaska’s private emails back in 2008. She has until recently been a strong critic of WikiLeaks’ activities, but has now changed her views.

      Sarah Palin, former Republican governor of Alaska, has expressed her appreciation for Julian Assange’s work as the head of WikiLeaks in an interview with the One America News network. According to her, she had previously not understood how important his work is, but now she has seen that Assange is “trying to provide people with information.” Palin is confident that such information helps people make “better decisions.”

    • ‘The smelly kid in class’: Former Met officer taunts Julian Assange’s mother on Twitter
    • Sputnik: Ecuador Prepares to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK

      More than six years after Julian Assange moved himself into the confines of the Ecuadorian embassy building in London, the WikiLeaks founder finds himself in danger again, Sputnik writes.
      Remarks made earlier this week by Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa suggest that her government may be depriving Assange of the political asylum it granted him in in 2012 and hand him over to British and then US authorities, the World Socialist Website wrote on Saturday.

    • Ecuador Hints It May Hand Over Assange

      Julian Assange is in immense danger. Remarks made this week by Ecuador’s foreign minister suggest that her government may be preparing to renege on the political asylum it granted to the WikiLeaks editor in 2012 and hand him over to British and then American authorities.

      On March 28, under immense pressure from the British and U.S. governments, Ecuador imposed a complete ban on Assange having any Internet or phone contact with the outside world, and blocked his friends and supporters from physically visiting him. For 46 days, he has not been heard from.

      Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa stated in a Spanish-language interview on Wednesday that her government and Britain “have the intention and the interest that this be resolved.” Moves were underway, she said, to reach a “definite agreement” on Assange.

      If Assange falls into the hands of the British state, he faces being turned over to the U.S. Last year, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that putting Assange on trial for espionage was a “priority.” CIA director Mike Pompeo, now secretary of state, asserted that WikiLeaks was a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • 5 Surprising Ways America Is Actually Moving Backwards

      When people wax nostalgic, it’s typically for fun stuff, like old cameras and weathered rocking chairs … not polio or segregation.

    • At FDA, TVs now turned to Fox News and can’t be switched

      CBS News has confirmed an email was sent to researchers at the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research responding to apparent efforts to change the channel on internal television screens. The email from “[White Oak] Digital Display” sent on Wednesday, May 3, was sent to inform the researchers of the “reason for the change from CNN to Fox.” White Oak is the name of the FDA’s campus.

      The email goes on to inform employees that the decision came from the Trump administration.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Fresh case of censorship hits Zimbabwe as dancehall star is fined over song

      Zimbabwean dancehall star, Tawanda Mumanyi, popularly known as Seh Calaz, may spend a month in jail if he fails to pay a $100 fine imposed on him by a court in Harare for recording a song deemed as obscene and indecent.

      Magistrate Ms Josephine Sande on Thursday convicted him of contravening the country’s Censorship and Entertainment Control Act with his song “Kurova Hohwa”, local media The Herald reports.

      Mumanyi, in his plea in mitigation, said when he recorded the song, he did two versions, one for the public and another for private use.

    • Publishers, Editors Inflict Tyranny of Censorship on Freedom of Speech, Says Adedayo

      A member of the Tribune’s editorial board and former media adviser to ex-Enugu and current Oyo State governors, Dr. Festus Adedayo, has said that government censorship of freedom of the press and freedom to publish were fast diminishing in the world and is being substituted by other forms of censorships, the most visible being internal censorship by book publishers and editors themselves.

      He made this known while discussing the sub-theme “Addressing freedom to publish challenges in Africa” as one of the panelists at the recently concluded seminar of the International Publishers Association (IPA) held at the Eko Hotels & Suites with the general theme

      “Publishing for sustainable development: The role of publishers in Africa.”

    • Eurovision Returns To Glitz, Politics And Censorship

      In previous years, those have mostly involved Russia. Last year, for instance, the Russian act was banned by Ukrainian authorities from coming to the country since she had visited Crimea after Russia annexed the peninsula. This year Russia submitted the same singer, Yuliya Samoylova, but she failed to qualify for Saturday night’s final.

      This year, as in contests past, some of the audience booed as the Russian voting results were being read, a response to anti-LGBT policies in Russia. Eurovision has a large gay following, and rainbow flags are frequently seen in the crowd alongside national flags from competing countries.

      Chinese viewers of Tuesday’s semifinal would have struggled to make out those flags, though, as Mango TV blurred out rainbow flags.

      China, which doesn’t compete in the contest, also edited out two of the acts from the performance.

    • Facebook censorship

      On Friday night, Facebook blocked a Dawn.com post for Pakistani users of its platform.

      The 2017 update was a news report on politician Javed Hashmi’s news conference in which he criticised the judiciary, the military and politicians with a warning that the country had entered the worst crisis in its history.

    • What Spotify’s Alarming R. Kelly Censorship Means for the Future of the Internet

      Seen from one perspective, the industry-defining streaming music service is a golden beacon, a bright light piercing the gloom of a profit-hungry, dangerously amoral industry, thanks to its renewed commitment to ethical business practices. Shift your vantage point a bit, however, and it’s a dark and sinister censorship machine—a bleak harbinger of our technodystopian future in which unaccountable internet services become our nanny bots, removing any power or responsibility from human end-users sucking at the silicon teat.

      Here’s how we got here: On Thursday, Spotify rolled out a new “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct” policy, which says the service may remove songs or entire artist catalogs from curated playlists—or even erase them from the service altogether—if a song “incites hatred or violence against a group or individual” based on their race, religion, sexual orientation or other sensitive aspect of their identity. Furthermore, even if their music is unobjectionable, artists may also be deep-sixed if their personal behavior doesn’t live up to Spotify’s moral standards. For example, the company says, violence against children and sexual violence are beyond the pale.

    • Eurovision: Is Chinese censorship on the rise?

      When you’re at home watching TV, you wouldn’t normally expect a broadcast to suddenly cut out.

      But that’s exactly what audiences in China have become used to.

      During the first semi-final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, Chinese broadcaster Mango TV edited out footage.

      It blurred rainbow flags and removed some entries altogether.

      Irish singer Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s performance was not aired because it featured two male dancers enacting a gay love story.

    • Eurovision axes Chinese broadcast after censorship row

      The European Broadcasting Union has torn up its contract with a leading Chinese broadcaster which held the rights to air this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

      The dramatic move by the EBU followed the Chinese broadcaster’s decision to censor two performances in the competition’s first semi-final earlier this week.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A former spy boss believes the next generation of agents could come from Manchester – this is why

      A former spy boss believes young Mancunians affected by the Manchester Arena bomb will apply to join the new GCHQ centre in Manchester when it arrives next year.

      Robert Hannigan, ex-director of the UK intelligence agency, which works closely with MI5 and MI6 to combat terrorism, said ‘keeping the city safe’ after last year’s atrocity will be a big motivator for a generation of new recruits.

      Speaking exclusively to the M.E.N during a visit to the city, Hannigan, said the ‘diverse and young workforce’, growing tech industry and ‘impressive’ universities offered an ‘untapped talent pool’ for the new Government Communications Headquarters base.

      He said: “Counter terrorism is a massive part of GCHQ’s work and it’s apt to be able to come to a city that has suffered from it. It’s great that young people in Manchester will have an opportunity to be part of that.

    • The Clock Is Ticking: Get Your Copy Of CIA: Collect It All On Kickstarter!

      Last month, we launched our Kickstarter campaign to turn a formerly-top-secret CIA training game into something you can play at home. We hit our goal much sooner than we expected, and now we’re less than two weeks away from the close of the campaign — so if you want to get your hands on a copy, hurry up and become a backer!

      CIA: Collect It All comes with over 150 high-quality playing cards in a premium box, and is also available in a digital print-and-play version. The game pits you and your friends against each other in a race to solve as many global crises as you can by leveraging clever combinations of the many varied and creative techniques used by real intelligence agencies, from satellite imagery to hacking to good old fashioned espionage.

    • US pollies again push bill to ban encryption backdoors

      US politicians from both sides of the divide have reintroduced a bill into Congress that would prevent any government bid to mandate that backdoors be built into commercial software and hardware.

    • Government would be barred from mandating crypto backdoors under House bill

      The Secure Data Act would prohibit agencies from mandating or requesting a “manufacturer, developer, or seller of covered products [to] design or alter the security functions in its product or service to allow” for surveillance. The bill would exempt surveillance authorized by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.

    • Cops Can Find the Location of Any Phone in the Country in Seconds, and a Senator Wants to Know Why

      Here are the letters Senator Ron Wyden sent to mobile carriers and the FCC demanding answers and action on the recently highlighted law enforcement service to easily track phones across the country.

    • DNA is just another way we can’t opt out of data sharing

      But I absolutely believe we are dangerously lacking in responsible stewardship of both data and having a sane conversation about imbalances of power. So, like most of us, I do what I can to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

    • Facebook Just Tapped the Next Mark Zuckerberg

      If there were ever a question as to who would step in to fill Zuckerberg’s shoes should something happen to him, it has been resolved. With his new role as head of the company’s family of apps—Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and the tried and true Big Blue (aka Facebook)—Facebook’s chief product officer is stepping out as the leader he has long been internally. Anyone paying close attention knows this already.

    • Facebook is making its biggest executive shuffle in company history

      CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reorganized the social giant’s product and engineering organizations into three main divisions, including a new “Family of apps” group run by Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, the executive previously in charge of the core Facebook app. Cox will now oversee Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, according to multiple sources, four social apps with a combined reach of more than five billion monthly users.

    • ‘We’re waiting for answers’: Facebook, Brexit and 40 questions

      “It could be that these adverts are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just so hard getting any sort of information out of them, and then not knowing if that information is complete.”

    • Facebook hit with class action lawsuit over collection of texts and call logs

      Facebook collected the logs of text messages and calls, including the recipients and duration of the communications, through its apps for Android including Messenger when users opted into being able to send SMS from the app or give access to their contact lists.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance

      Handcuffed and shaking in the cold wind, Balogun thought a misunderstanding must have led the FBI to his door on 12 December 2017. The father of three said he was shocked to later learn that agents investigating “domestic terrorism” had been monitoring him for years and were arresting him that day in part because of his Facebook posts criticizing police.

    • Congress Weighs Indefinite Detention of Americans

      Under the guise of exercising supervisory power over the president’s ability to use military force, Congress is considering writing Donald Trump a blank check to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens with no criminal charges. Alarmingly, this legislation could permit the president to lock up Americans who dissent against U.S. military policy.

      The bill that risks conveying this power to the president is the broad new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), S.J.Res.59, that is pending in Congress. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker (R-TN) and Democratic committee member Tim Kaine (VA) introduced the bipartisan bill on April 16, and it has four additional co-sponsors.

      This proposed 2018 AUMF would replace the 2001 AUMF that Congress gave George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks. Although the 2001 AUMF authorized the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” only against individuals and groups responsible for the 9/11 attacks, three presidents have relied on it to justify at least 37 military operations in 14 countries, many of them unrelated to 9/11.

    • Loyal dog protects its owner from furious motorists as he sleeps off hangover in the middle of a street

      The protective pooch lies on top of the man in the footage and barks at anyone who comes near him.

      The dog then licks its owner’s face and paces around his body in a circle in a desperate bid to protect him.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Innovation should be legal; that’s why I’m launching NeTV2

      I’d like to share a project I’m working on that could have an impact on your future freedoms in the digital age. It’s an open video development board I call NeTV2.

      It’s related to a lawsuit I’ve filed with the help of the EFF against the US government to reform Section 1201 of the DMCA. Currently, Section 1201 imbues media cartels with nearly unchecked power to prevent us from innovating and expressing ourselves, thus restricting our right to free speech.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jury Cannot Award Disgorgement of Profits in Trade Secret Misappropriation Cases

      Tex. Advanced Optoelectronic Sols., Inc. v. Renesas Elecs. Am., Inc., Nos. 2016-2121, 2016-2208, 2016-2235, 2018 (Fed. Cir. May 1, 2018) (Before Dyk, Bryson, and Taranto, J.) (Opinion for the court, Taranto, J.)

      The Federal Circuit affirmed a jury finding that Renesas was liable for trade secret misappropriation and patent infringement for a set of apparatus claims, but vacated the damages awards in the case and remanded for further proceedings.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate IPTV Service Goes Bust After Premier League Deal, Exposing Users

        Pirate IPTV service Ace Hosting has shut down and gone into liquidation after agreeing to pay the Premier League a copyright settlement of £100,000. With unpaid VAT and corporation tax bills running to £260,000 also unpaid, Ace subscribers and resellers, who are owed around £353,000, are set to have their details made public and could even be handed to the authorities.

      • Google is preparing to petition the Federal Circuit to revisit Oracle’s Android-Java copyright victory

        While I’m not going to reiterate my positions on copyrightability and “fair use” in connection with Oracle v. Google (I fully stand by what I’ve written before and which the Federal Circuit has vindicated, but don’t see a point in repeating what I’ve been saying for so many years), it does sometimes surprise me that there is so little interest in the proceedings. The latest example is that I haven’t seen any media coverage of the fact that Google is preparing a petition for a rehearing en banc (a full-court review) of Oracle’s recent appellate victory (this post continues below the image):

      • Bing Deleted a Quarter Billion Pirate Research Results Last Year

        When it comes to takedown notices, a lot of attention is paid to Google. But what about Bing? Last year, copyright holders asked Microsoft’s search engine to remove roughly a quarter billion URLs from its index. Among the requesting copyright holders is, interestingly, Microsoft itself.

      • Iconic Megaupload.com Domain Has a New Owner

        As part of its criminal case against Megaupload, the US Government seized several domain names belonging to Kim Dotcom’s defunct file-hosting service. While the feds have held onto the iconic Megaupload.com domain for years, it was recently taken over by RegistrarAds, a company with a history of controversial domain cases.

      • BitTorrent Inc. Changed Its Name to Rainberry

        BitTorrent is without a doubt one of the more recognizable technology brands of the century. It, therefore, comes a surprise that BitTorrent Inc. has changed its name to Rainberry. According to the company, it’s strictly a “corporate decision,” but a more detailed motivation is lacking.


Links 12/5/2018: Wine 3.8 and Scientific Linux 7.5

Posted in News Roundup at 8:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • A closer look at Chrome OS using LXD to run Linux GUI apps (Project Crostini)

      Project Crostini is the Chrome OS project to add support to run Linux GUI apps on Chrome OS.

      The components that facilitate Project Crostini can be found at https://github.com/lstoll/cros-crostini That page has instructions for those that wanted to enable the running of Linux GUI apps on Chrome OS, when Project Crostini was still under development. Lincoln Stoll dissected the source of Chrome OS and created a helpful list of the involved repositories.

      The basic component is The Chrome OS Virtual Machine Monitor (crossvm), which runs untrusted operating systems through Linux’s KVM interface. The Linux distribution would run in a VM. The test repositories make reference to the X server, XWayland and Wayland. There is a repository called sommelier, which is a nested Wayland compositor with X11 forwarding support. It needs more searching to figure out where the source code ended into the Chrome OS repository and what is actually being used.

      Update #1: Here are the vm_tools in Chrome OS. They include garcon, a service that gets added in the container and communicates with another service outside of the container (vm_concierge).

      What is important, is that LXD runs in this VM and is configured to launch a machine container with a Linux distribution. We are going in depth into this.

    • Linux On Chromebooks Now Official

      Among other news from Google I/O 2018, Google is making it possible to code on Chromebooks. Whether it’s building an app or writing a quick script, Chromebooks will be available for coding projects.

    • Android apps on Chromebooks can finally access SD card storage

      It’s been nearly two years since Google started rolling out a feature that lets you run Android apps on Chromebooks. And while Android support has come a long way, there’s one thing Android apps couldn’t do on Chromebooks… until now: access an SD card.

      But starting with the latest Chrome OS beta, it looks like Android apps on Chromebooks can access the SD card… although it seems like the feature is still very much a work in progress.

    • Microsoft to replace Surface Pro 4 tablets affected by screen flickering

      Microsoft is formally launching a replacement program for Surface Pro 4 devices affected by screen flickering. Any Surface Pro 4 units experiencing the problem will be covered for up to three years from the time of original purchase. “We have heard your feedback and after careful examination, have determined that a small percentage of Surface Pro 4 devices are exhibiting a screen flicker that cannot be addressed with a firmware or driver update,” the company said on its support page with details on the program.

      The annoying flickering has been well-documented on Microsoft’s support forums, with some users taking drastic steps like putting their Surface Pro 4 in a freezer to temporarily fix the issue. Back in February, Microsoft said it was closely monitoring the situation, and the company came to the conclusion that there’s no convenient fix.

    • Microsoft can’t fix “flickergate” Surface Pro 4s with software, so it’s replacing them
    • Don’t Skype Me: How Microsoft Turned Consumers Against a Beloved Brand

      In March tech investor and commentator Om Malik summarized the negativity by tweeting that Skype was “a turd of the highest quality” and directing his ire at its owner. “Way to ruin Skype and its experience. I was forced to use it today, but never again.”

    • System76 vs. The LVFS Firmware Updating Service

      This week the latest open-source drama was a differing of opinions between Richard Hughes of Red Hat who maintains Fwupd and LVFS for Linux firmware updating from the desktop and that of Linux PC vendor System76.

      Richard Hughes volleyed a blog post that recommend not buying System76 hardware for those wanting firmware updates via LVFS (the Linux Vendor Firmware Service). He wrote that post based upon System76 not currently using UEFI UpdateCapsule for BIOS updates, System76 developing a Rust tool to flash the embedded controller, and them rolling out their own firmware update handler that officially targets Ubuntu and Pop!_OS. Richard then encouraged Linux users to buy Dell XPS laptops instead.

      Richard’s post in full can be read here.

      On Friday, System76 responded to those accusations. According to System76, Richard expressed via email that the approach System76 is using for firmware updating likely wouldn’t work with LVFS and also their distributing of a proprietary firmware flashing tool likely wouldn’t be approved by Red Hat legal and they also found flashing the embedded controler from user-space to be sub-optimal.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Radeon EQAA Anti-Aliasing Support Merged To Mesa 18.2

        In addition to the potentially performance-doubling AMD Kaveri fix landing yesterday in Mesa 18.2 Git, also hitting this next version of Mesa is Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA) support for Radeon GCN graphics processors.

        RadeonSI Gallium3D has wired up its Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing support. EQAA aims to deliver better quality over multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA) by providing more coverage samples per pixel. EQAA should have only slightly higher performance requirements than MSAA but with significant visual quality benefits.

      • AMD Kaveri Gets A Big Performance Boost With Mesa 18.2 & AMDGPU DRM

        When using the latest Git/development code of Mesa 18.2 on Kaveri APUs you may find up to a 2x increase in performance if you are using the AMDGPU DRM driver rather than the default Radeon DRM driver.

        It turns out the number of render back-ends reported by the kernel driver was wrong for Kaveri: there’s two, not one. Both render back-ends for Kaveri should now be enabled when using Mesa 18.2 Git since yesterday, but you need to be using the AMDGPU kernel driver as otherwise with the Radeon DRM kernel driver one of the back-ends will still be disabled.

      • Radeon ROCm 1.8 Compute Stack Released

        Following the slew of recent AMD/Radeon Linux driver updates, the ROCm 1.8.0 release was issued today for the Radeon Open Compute stack.

        ROCm 1.8 can be obtained via the GitHub instructions. Binary packages are provided for Ubuntu 16.04 and CentOS/RHEL 7.4.

      • The developer of Crazy Justice has shown off a quick teaser of it on Ubuntu

        Black Riddles Studio has finally shown Crazy Justice [Official Site] on Ubuntu, although it’s only a small teaser of their third-person shooter it has me excited.

        Crazy Justice is the third-person shooter developed by two brothers, which was crowdfunded on Fig where they managed to get $51K in funding. Since the campaign finished, they’ve hit just shy of $70K thanks to people pre-ordering it.

        They later announced a Battle Royale mode, which has me excited because Linux doesn’t really have one currently. You could argue we have stuff with last man standing modes, sure, but they’re quite different. Given how popular the BR genre is, it will be sweet to have it on Linux. As a reminder, the Early Access release should hopefully be available before the end of June. Looks like I might be getting an early birthday present this year…

      • Logind Support For Mir Is Getting Closer To Working

        Mir developers have been working on support for systemd’s Logind and there is a “mess of a branch” that is nearly functionally complete and could soon be merged.

      • Several DDX Drivers Aren’t Yet Ready For X.Org Server 1.20

        If you were hoping to build the newly-released X.Org Server 1.20 on your system(s) this weekend, be forewarned that a number of the DDX drivers haven’t yet been updated for supporting the API/ABI changes of this big server update.

        A number of the smaller, obscure drivers like Tseng, SiS, R128, and March64 haven’t yet been updated for xorg-server 1.20 support but also the more prominent xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-amdgpu DDX drivers have not yet seen new releases with xorg-server 1.20 support.

      • NVIDIA 396.18.11 Linux Vulkan Driver Released With Fixes

        The NVIDIA 396.18.11 Vulkan beta driver for Linux was released on Friday as pulling in the latest upstream fixes to the Vulkan beta driver branch for Windows and Linux.

        The 396.18.11 Linux driver and 397.76 Windows driver pull in the latest fixes from their general release driver. For the Linux release, it comes just three days after another small beta update (396.18.08) that was released to fix Alt-Tab freezing with the DXVK Direct3D11-over-Vulkan implementation.

      • Mesa 18.1 Expected To Officially Debut Next Week

        While Mesa 18.0 debuted just about one and a half months ago, the fourth and final release candidate of Mesa 18.1 is now available for testing as the next quarterly feature installment to these primarily OpenGL/Vulkan open-source drivers.

        First time Mesa release manager Dylan Baker issued Mesa 18.1.0-RC4 this Friday evening with 25 queued patches. The affected work ranges from core Mesa fixes to Gallium3D, R600, RADV, RadeonSI, i965, and ANV fixes… Pretty much fixes across the board at least as far as the major drivers are concerned sans Nouveau.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • FreeText typewriter annotation WYSIWYG implementation ideas

        As a part of the GSoC project, I’m working with my mentor Tobias Deiminger on implementing the FreeText typewriter annotation with click-to-type WYSIWYG editing feature in Okular to write directly on PDF page.

      • Modern C++ and Qt – part 2.

        I recently did a short tongue-in-cheek blog post about Qt and modern C++. In the comments, people discovered that several compilers effectively can optimize std::make_unique<>().release() to a simple new statement, which was kind of a surprise to me.

        I have recently written a new program from scratch (more about that later), and I tried to force myself to use standard library smartpointers much more than what I normally have been doing.

      • Google Summer of Code 2018 – Community Bonding Part 2: Studies about LVM

        As I said in my previous post, I’m using this community bonding period to understand how LVM works in kpmcore. It involved studying about how the three parts of LVM (Physical Volumes, Volume Groups and Logical Volumes) work in the library and how this logic was implemented.

        In this text, I’m intending to give a short explanation about LVM, discuss about some plannings related to the process of creation of LVM VGs in Calamares and talk about some corrections related to it that I’ve implemented in kpmcore and KDE Partition Manager.


        Community Bonding period is almost finishing, but I’ll write another post about it before that, talking a little bit about my studies involving RAID arrays and which are my ideas to implementing it. See you later!

      • Kdenlive Sprint – The Movie

        Kdenlive is KDE’s advanced video-editor. This April, members of the Kdenlive project met up for five days – from 25th to the 29th – for their spring sprint. The developers Jean-Baptiste Mardelle and Nicolas Carion, along with professional community videomakers Farid Abdelnour, Rémi Duquenne and Massimo Stella, got together at the Carrefour Numérique in Paris to push the project forward.

      • Krita 4.0.3 Released

        Today the Krita team releases Krita 4.0.3, a bug fix release of Krita 4.0.0. This release fixes an important regression in Krita 4.0.2: sometimes copy and paste between images opened in Krita would cause crashes (BUG:394068).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Work is Underway to Make the GNOME Web Browser Mobile Friendly

        To do well, the upcoming Linux-powered Librem 5 smartphone will need a decent set of mobile-ready apps — and a good web browser is key to that.

        Hoping to step up to the plate is GNOME Web (aka Epiphany), whose developers are working hard to make sure that the webkit-based browser is in fine form for finger-friendly fun while surfing.

      • Purism wants to create a GNOME mobile shell for Linux smartphones (and other Librem 5 phone update)

        Linux computer maker Purism hopes to ship their smartphone in January, and the corporation has been providing updates about development of the upcoming Librem 5 smartphone periodically since launching a crowdfunding campaign last September (that campaign eventually raised more than $1.5 million through pre-orders).

        We know that the phone will feature an NXP i.MX8 processor, that it will ship with a custom version of Purism’s PureOS operating system, and that it will support several different user interfaces and operating systems including Ubuntu Touch, KDE Plasma Mobile, and Purism’s own GNOME-based user interface.

      • Fractal Hackfest, Strasbourg (day 1

        Yesterday was the first day in the first Fractal Hackfest. I’ll try to write an small blog post every day to share the development with the world.

        My travel to Strasbourg was not an easy travel because I’ve to take two flights to get here from Málaga so a long day travelling.

        I met with Mathew from Matrix.org at the London airport because we took the same flight to here and it was really cool to meet him in person and we talk a little about the current Matrix situation.

        I’ve met the other Fractal people and collaborators at the event, and it’s great that people from Purism, Matrix, Gnome and the two GSoC students come here to work together in this great application.

      • Fractal Hackfest, Strasbourg (day 2)

        The encryption is a needed feature but encryption is hard to do in rooms. Matrix uses public-key cryptography, for rooms they are using Megolm, that’s a protocol to exchange encrypted messages with more than one and share that message keys in a one-to-one secure communication.

        I don’t know a lot about this E2E because for me it’s more important to have the client working with a basic functionality before the encryption. So you should read the official doc because maybe this that I’m writing here is completely wrong.

        To do all this E2E key sharing, client side encryption and communication, Riot has three different implementations of the same lib, so they have this code in the JavaScript SDK, the same ported to iOS version in ObjectiveC and the same ported to Android in Java. Below this lib there’s the libolm that does the real encryption.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

      • On OpenPGP (GnuPG) key management

        Over the time, a number of developers have had problems following the Gentoo OpenPGP key policy (GLEP 63. In particular, the key expiration requirements have resulted in many developers wanting to replace their key unnecessarily. I’ve been asked to write some instructions on managing your OpenPGP key, and I’ve decided to go for a full blog post with some less-known tips. I won’t be getting into detailed explanations how to use GnuPG though — you may still need to read the documentation after all.


        Signing keys are used to sign data, i.e. to prove its authenticity. Using multiple signing subkeys is rather trivial — you can explicitly specify the key to use while creating a signature (note that you need to append ! to key-id to force non-default subkey), and GnuPG will automatically use the correct subkey when verifying the signature. To reduce the wear of your main signing subkey, you can create a separate signing subkey for Gentoo commits. Or you can go ever further, and have a separate signing subkey for each machine you’re using (and keep only the appropriate key on each machine).

    • Slackware Family

      • Moving to XOrg 1.20
      • Let’s show some love to 14.2

        With all the excitement going on about the disruptive changes in Slackware-current (migration to the new C++ ABI caused all of Slackware to be recompiled, and then the upgrade of openssl to 1.1 caused many packages to be recompiled again), I had to spend all of my time and CPU power to keep up with the changes and fix my packages for -current.
        That meant, less attention to the package updates for Slackware 14.2. I realize I left the users of our stable release somewhat in the cold.
        I am going to do something about that. During the next weeks I will try to bridge the gap that had been expanding for package versions in my own repository, between 14.2 and -current.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Summit 2018 Wraps Up With Containers/Virtualization Still Being Hot

        Red Hat Summit 2018 in San Francisco has now wrapped up, marking Red Hat’s 25th year hosting the event of customers and partners. Virtualization and containers continued being among the most discussed topics at the tech event.

        While there’s been signs of an approaching Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Alpha, sadly there was seemingly no RHEL8 mentions at this year’s summit, at least when it came to public announcements pertaining to this next-generation enterprise Linux platform. So we’ll have to wait and see on the RHEL8 front, but based upon their past release cycles and the alpha references we’ve been seeing, I suspect we’ll hear more later in the year.

      • Red Hat, Boston Children’s Collaborate on Open Source Image Sharing

        Red Hat announced its collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital to provide a distributed user open source image sharing interface so clinicians and radiologists can share images in real-time anywhere around the world.

        The ChRIS Research Integration Service is a web-based medical image platform deployed on the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC). The MOC is a multi-provider cloud that was created by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and several research universities.

        The collaboration was put into motion by the need for faster and more convenient access to medical images. Waiting for images to be scanned, shared, and analyzed causes delays in patient care, which can cause further medical problems.

      • Photos: Red Hat Gets Hot & Sweaty

        Tech conference protip: When attending conferences, my rule is I wear jeans to events with the name “open” in the title, and otherwise wear a suit. Red Hat is a unique edge case — the word “open” isn’t in the title, but the company is founded on open source. On the other hand, it’s enterprise focused, suggesting a suit as appropriate business attire. I went with a suit on day one, and jeans on day two.

        When I was not running around working on articles, and feeling the pain of sugar/carb withdrawal, I found some interesting oddities in corners of the conference. Click on the slideshow below for some of what I saw.

      • Red Hat shows the way for open-source licensing. Will the industry follow?

        The licensing of open-source software is complicated and runs counter to human intuition. Developers put their blood, sweat and tears into creating an elegant piece of software and then sign away the copyrights so that others can use and improve on it free and clear. Say what?

        The tech community has been grappling with this issue basically since Richard Stallman developed a free UNIX-style operating system in the early 1980s. As the open-source community has grown, the products have become more diverse and the stakes are higher.


        At the heart of open-source licensing is the General Public License, or GPL, the compliance instrument that governs much of Red Hat’s software, including its Enterprise Linux. The GPL is known as a “copyleft” license, meaning that a developer can create open-source software and distribute it to someone else with all of the necessary copyrights. The recipient can copy it, distribute it, or improve on it in any way they see fit.

      • OpenShift Roadmap: What’s Next for Red Hat’s Kubernetes Container Platform?

        Red Hat is increasingly focusing on its OpenShift container platform for enabling organization to deploy and deliver applications. OpenShift was a dominant topic at the 2018 Red Hat Summit, with a multiple announcements and pronouncements about the Kubernetes platform’s future.

        Among the key OpenShift sessions was a roadmap session on May 9, in which five Red Hat product managers detailed future feature capabilities that are set to come to the platform over the coming year.

      • Red Hat Announces OpenShift Products, Partnerships at Annual Summit
      • Scientific Linux 7.5 Released As RHEL 7.5 Rebuild

        Testing of the release candidate earlier this month went well and out now is the official Scientific Linux 7.5 release.

        Scientific Linux 7.5 is the re-spin derived from upstream Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 and its many changes/improvements.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 28: Another Release for Power Users

          Fedora is widely recognized to be a smooth Linux distribution with up-to-date software, and is also used by a lot of developers around the world. Just around a 10 days ago Fedora 28 was released, bringing many changes and updated software.

          This review will guide you through the new release and what to expect so far.


          Fedora 28 is yet another updated release for power users around the world. With updated software and some interesting new features and battery optimizations, Fedora 28 can be a good choice if you are looking for the latest stable up-to-date packages or you would like to get software just as they are from upstream.

          You may, however, face one of the common bugs in Fedora 28 of face crashes and hangs like we did, but this doesn’t mean that it’s not worth to try. Your experience on your hardware may be different than ours.

        • Fedora 28 : The LibreCAD application.
        • Custom Fedora Live Media
        • EPEL Outage Report 2018-11-05
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Get Privacy Tools on Ubuntu 18.04

            If you are already aware about 2013 global privacy case, I believe you care about your internet privacy by now. If you just switched to Ubuntu, here’s a list of user-friendly programs (free software only) and search engine to protect your privacy. You will find my recommendation of a web search engine, a specific web browser, add-ons, email client enhancements, and password storage. This list accompanies the previous list of 20 useful programs for 18.04.


            Free software is not gratis software but software that the user is free. Free software is about the user’s right, either individually or collectively, to control over the software. If you run your activities with nonfree software (also called proprietary), you don’t control the whole things software does within your computer, which only means there is somebody else controlling you and the computers. To protect your privacy, you should make sure you run only free software and relies only on privacy-respecting internet services.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based networking SBC features five GbE ports and optional SFP

      Gateworks has launched a rugged, headless “Newport GW6400” SBC that runs Linux on a dual- or quad-core Cavium OcteonTX with 3x mini-PCIe, 2x USB 3.0, 5x GbE ports (2x with PoE) and optional SFP.

      Last November, Gateworks announced a new product family of rugged Newport SBCs that run OpenWrt or Ubuntu on Cavium’s dual or quad-core ARMv8.1 Octeon TX networking SoCs. The debut model was a 105 x 100mm GW6300 SBC. Now, Gateworks has followed up with the promised high-end, 140 x 100mm Newport GW6400 model, which has 5x Gigabit Ethernet ports instead of 3x on the GW6300. Later this year we’ll see a GW6100 with a single gigabit port and a GW6200 with 2x GbE.

Free Software/Open Source

  • National Guard team builds open-source cyber toolkit

    When the Missouri National Guard Cyber Team was called in to respond to security incidents, it used to take two days to collect information from compromised servers.

    To get better insight into attempted breaches and overall network health faster, the team built the Response Operation Collect Kit for Network Service Monitoring, a scalable and secure open source sensor platform that makes network monitoring more automated and easier to navigate.

    RockNSM combines several open source tools in a single platform. The combination of tools allows the Missouri National Guard Cyber Team to set up their data collection for security monitoring and incident response in 20 minutes.

    Part of the appeal of RockNSM is the ability to collect information on networks without needing administrative access to sensitive networks.

  • Maximizing Value from Open Source Testing Frameworks

    Even well-known companies like Google that have built home-grown systems to run UI and API testing against all their applications are now releasing their own open source systems into the market. Recently, Google and Netflix announced Kayenta, an open source automated canary analysis service to enable continuous delivery for software teams. However, if you are not a company with the resources of a Google and Netflix, building your own open source tool or complementing an open source framework with a home-grown system is not always a viable open. In fact, it’s a common misconception that software teams have or should choose between purchasing a commercial tool or leverage free open source framework. Growing companies should maximize their value from open source assets along with commercial tools.

  • Taking Open Source for Granted

    But just as many in the United States have had a wakeup call about taking the stability of our civic institutions for granted, those with an interest in seeing open source remain a vital and robust model moving forward should remember that the price of freedom is high. It always has been.

  • Events

    • Considering an RSAC Expo booth? Our Experience, in 5,000 words or less

      So we decided to try a booth for 2018, and figured we’d document our experience (and thoughts) along the way. In this post you’ll find a full breakdown of all our costs for attending and boothing at RSAC, including what it takes to get a space; kitting it out with furniture, equipment, swag and more; staffing the booth; the crazy that is conference pricing; and the logistics for actually making it happen.

    • OpenStack Summit Vancouver 2018

      OpenStack Summit is the leading event in Open Infrastructure, bringing together the builders and operators for sessions and workshops on containers, CI/CD, telecom & NFV, public cloud, multi-cloud and more.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • rr Chaos Mode Improvements

        rr’s chaos mode introduces nondeterminism while recording application execution, to try to make intermittent bugs more reproducible. I’m always interested in hearing about bugs that cannot be reproduced under chaos mode, especially if those bugs have been diagnosed. If we can figure out why a bug was not reproducible under chaos mode, we can often extend chaos mode to make it reproducible, and this improves chaos mode for everyone. If you encounter such a bug, please file an rr issue about it.

      • This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 6

        The team and community continue to add new features, fix bugs, and respond to early user and developer feedback to deliver a solid experience across Firefox Reality, Hubs and the content related projects.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 11.2 Beta Now Available For Testing

      FreeBSD 11.2 has reached the beta milestone to succeed FreeBSD 11.1 from last year and ahead of FreeBSD 12.0 that is expected this November.

      FreeBSD 11.2 is targeted for release around the end of June but before then they expect to do a total of three beta releases and up to three release candidates.


    • LibreJS 7.14 released

      GNU LibreJS aims to address the JavaScript problem described in Richard Stallman’s article The JavaScript Trap. LibreJS is a free add-on for GNU IceCat and other Mozilla-based browsers. It blocks nonfree nontrivial JavaScript while allowing JavaScript that is free and/or trivial.

    • Contract opportunity: JavaScript Developer for GNU LibreJS

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) charity with a worldwide mission to protect computer user freedom, seeks a contract JavaScript Developer to work on GNU LibreJS, a free browser add-on that addresses the problem of nonfree JavaScript described in Richard Stallman’s article The JavaScript Trap. This is a temporary, paid contract opportunity, with specific deliverables, hours, term, and payment to be determined with the selected candidate. We anticipate the contract being approximately 80 hours of full-time work, with the possibility of extension depending on results and project status.

    • Paper on reproducible bioinformatics pipelines with Guix

      I’m happy to announce that the bioinformatics group at the Max Delbrück Center that I’m working with has released a preprint of a paper on reproducibility with the title Reproducible genomics analysis pipelines with GNU Guix.

      We built a collection of bioinformatics pipelines called “PiGx” (“Pipelines in Genomix”) and packaged them as first-class packages with GNU Guix. Then we looked at the degree to which the software achieves bit-reproducibility, analysed sources of non-determinism (e.g. time stamps), discussed experimental reproducibility at runtime (e.g. random number generators, the interface provided by the kernel and the GNU C library, etc) and commented on the practice of using “containers” (or application bundles) instead.

    • New release of eiffel-iup

      It is already available a new version of eiffel-iup, a Liberty Eiffel wrapper to IUP toolkit. So you can build your graphical application from Eiffel using Liberty Eiffel, the GNU implementation of Eiffel language. So happy hacking.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Brazilian federal government leads in open source adoption

      Open source is more common at federal level, seen in 93 percent of organizations, while 78 percent of state-level bodies use it, according to the findings of the E-Government ICT edition carried out by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br).

      The study has also found that in 2017, new open source development has taken place in 85 percent of federal government organizations to cater for their specific requirements, while 57 percent of state organizations also developed new open systems.

      Of the federal organizations that have carried out open source development in Brazil, some 52 percent have also shared these platforms with other public sector bodies.

      For the study, some 1686 federal and state-level organizations were surveyed by the CGI.br between July and October 2017.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development


  • Cisco has yanked all its ads from YouTube

    “When we find that ads mistakenly ran against content that doesn’t comply with our policies, we immediately remove those ads. We know that even when videos meet our advertiser friendly guidelines, not all videos will be appropriate for all brands. But we are committed to working with our advertisers and getting this right,” the company said.

  • Ryanair goes all in on AWS

    It is also migrating from Microsoft SQL Server databases to Amazon’s popular Aurora. This will help the airline run its email marketing campaigns at lower costs. Naturally the airline runs email marketing at massive scale, sending out 22 million emails daily to customers about travel bookings or sales events.

  • The spectacular power of Big Lens

    Between them, Essilor and Luxottica play a central, intimate role in the lives of a remarkable number of people. Around 1.4 billion of us rely on their products to drive to work, read on the beach, follow the whiteboard in biology lessons, type text messages to our grandchildren, land aircraft, watch old movies, write dissertations and glance across restaurants, hoping to look slightly more intelligent and interesting than we actually are. Last year, the two companies had a combined customer base that is somewhere between Apple’s and Facebook’s, but with none of the hassle and scrutiny of being as well known.

    Now they are becoming one. On 1 March, regulators in the EU and the US gave permission for the world’s largest optical companies to form a single corporation, which will be known as EssilorLuxottica. The new firm will not technically be a monopoly: Essilor currently has around 45% of the prescription lenses market, and Luxottica 25% of the frames. But in seven centuries of spectacles, there has never been anything like it. The new entity will be worth around $50bn (£37bn), sell close to a billion pairs of lenses and frames every year, and have a workforce of more than 140,000 people. EssilorLuxottica intends to dominate what its executives call “the visual experience” for decades to come.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Trump Declares Intent To Stop Pharma Companies From ‘Gaming’ Patent System

      US President Trump today declared in a White House speech his intent to “take steps” to lower drug prices by stopping “gaming of regulatory and patent processes by drug makers to unfairly protect monopolies,” as well as increasing price transparency and promoting biosimilars and generics. But to do this, his administration will take on what it sees as “freeloading” on US innovation by foreign governments, and addressing “unfair” intellectual property and market access policies in trade agreements.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Windows Under Attack as NSA Exploit Usage Skyrockets

      EternalBlue, the stolen NSA exploit that was used to create the infamous WannaCry ransomware, is back in business, only that this time usage appears to skyrocket, according to security vendor ESET.

      Researcher Ondrej Kubovič notes that while WannaCry attacks have dropped, EternalBlue is still around, and the first months of 2018 brought a worrying increase in the number of attacks based on this exploit.

      EternalBlue is an exploit stolen from the NSA by hacking group Shadow Brokers in April 2016. It takes advantage of a vulnerability in the Windows Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, and Microsoft shipped patches even before the flaw went public.

      But this doesn’t mean that attackers have stopped searching for targets. The researcher says cybercriminals are scanning the Internet for exposed SMB ports and are trying to compromise the host with an exploit that eventually allows for payloads deployed on the target machine and leading to different outcomes.

      “Interestingly, according to ESET’s telemetry, EternalBlue had a calmer period immediately after the 2017 WannaCryptor campaign: over the following months, attempts to use the EternalBlue exploit dropped to “only” hundreds of detections daily,” the researcher notes.

      “Since September last year, however, the use of the exploit has slowly started to gain pace again, continually growing and reaching new heights in mid-April 2018.”

    • Microsoft Says It Won’t Fix a Bug Causing BSODs on Windows 10

      A bug causing Windows machines to crash when a USB drive is inserted won’t get a patch from Microsoft, despite the issue said to be affecting all versions of the operating system, including the newly-launched April 2018 Update.

      Security researcher Marius Tivadar says in a post on GitHub that he first reported the problem to Microsoft in July 2017 after discovering that a USB drive running a handcrafted NTFS image can cause any system to crash even if locked.

      “Microsoft was very responsive regarding my disclosure 1 year ago, but they didn’t issue a security patch,” Tivadar explains.

    • Purism’s FSP Reverse Engineering Effort Might Be Stalled

      Purism has been working on reverse-engineering the Intel Firmware Support Package (FSP) module but it looks like that work may have taken a turn.

      A Phoronix reader tipped us off this morning that the Intel FSP reverse-engineering information made public by Purism has now been retracted. The past several months Purism has been working on reverse-engineering the Intel FSP to free the system further to run on only open-source code rather than still having the Intel binary-only module paired with Coreboot. Their big focus this year has been on figuring out the actual silicon initialization code inside the FSP. Purism’s Youness Alaoui was very close to finding out this information at the start of April and he wrote a lengthy blog post outlining his reverse-engineering work.

    • Google will soon require OEMs to roll out ‘regular’ Android security patches
    • Will Blockchains Include Insecurity by Design?

      Ask any journalist to pick an adjective to use in connection with standards development and the answer will invariably be “boring.” But according to a recent New York Times article (yes, it also used that word – as well as “wonky”), the process of creating standards just became a whole lot more interesting – at least when it comes to the blockchain. The reason? A standards working group may have been infiltrated by state actors bent on embedding security flaws into the very standards being created for the purpose of preventing attacks.

      And why not? The power of a successful standard comes from the fact that vendors have to adopt it in order to sell a given product or service, such as a WiFi router or a USB device. Indeed, laptops and smart phones include hundreds of standards, each of which is essential to a given function or service. As I noted last week, the blockchain will need standards, too, in order for it to take hold in multiple areas. Some of those standards will be intended to make the blockchain more secure.

    • 6 Things You Should Do to Secure Your NAS
    • Packets over a LAN are all it takes to trigger serious Rowhammer bit flips

      For the first time, researchers have exploited the Rowhammer memory-chip weakness using nothing more than network packets sent over a local area network. The advance is likely to further lower the bar for triggering bit flips that change critical pieces of data stored on vulnerable computers and servers.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Greek Police Uncover Plan to Kill Russian National Arrested in Greece – Source

      “The Greek law enforcement received intelligence on plans to prepare an assassination via poisoning with the help of criminals. The head of the prison and the prosecutor of the city of Thessaloniki summoned Vinnik and informed him about the plot to poison him, and special security measures were taken in connection with that,” the source said.

    • Report: Bitcoin money laundering suspect spared from prison poison plot

      Greek law enforcement has disrupted a plan to murder a Russian man arrested in Greece last year, who American authorities believe laundered billions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin through BTC-e, a shady Bitcoin exchange that the suspect is also accused of creating.

    • Iran Deal Partners Mull How to Confront ‘Renegade’ U.S.

      What can the five remaining signatories to the Iran nuclear deal do now that the Trump administration has trampled on Security Council Resolution 2231 and its 13 binding decisions, adopted under Article 41 of the United Nations Charter, which codified the Iran nuclear deal into international law? Sooner or later, the other 14 members of the Security Council, especially Britain, China, France and Russia, must decide how to confront their renegade permanent member, the United States.

      Otherwise, the Council may lose its unique authority to prevent and resolve conflicts.

      Specifically, the question they may soon have to confront will be how they can protect the resolution and the companies that comply with it when doing business with Iranians, given that Iran is subject once again to new U.S. sanctions.

      The first broadside against the companies of U.S. allies that are doing business with Iran came minutes after President Donald Trump announced his withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, on May 8. Richard Grenell, his ambassador to Germany (and spokesman for the U.S. at the UN from 2001-2008), tweeted, “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”

      The reaction was immediate, but it was outrage, not compliance, that German diplomatic and business leaders expressed.

    • Trump’s Iran Debacle: What Will Germany and Russia Do?

      In the wake of Donald Trump’s thoroughly unsurprising decision to scuttle the Iran nuclear accord, two countries that may be most in the hot seat are Germany and Russia. The big question now is whether their mutual discomfort leads them to find common cause.

      Angela Merkel’s plight is especially painful. Not only are Germany’s extensive business links with Iran at risk thanks to Trump’s decision to re-apply sanctions, but the German chancellor’s political fortunes have taken a beating thanks to years of American incompetence in the Middle East.

      In Libya, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton devoted two weeks during the 2011 Arab Spring to persuading Qatar to join the anti-Gaddafi coalition, only to stand by and watch as the oil-rich emirate seized the opportunity to distribute some $400 million to murderous Salafist rebels spreading anarchy from one end of the country to the other. The result was a failed state that soon turned into a jumping-off point for hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees making their way to Germany and other parts of the European Union.

    • Trump picks billionaire military contractor to lead intelligence board

      President Trump on Friday announced that Stephen Feinberg, a New York billionaire who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, will chair a White House executive board that reviews the effectiveness and legality of foreign intelligence.


      Feinberg, who has no previous experience working in government intelligence, is the first person that Trump has appointed to the board.

    • Media Debate Best Way to Dominate Iran

      The debate in the New York Times and Washington Post over President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran deal, revolves around which tactics America should use to dominate Iran.

      At one end of the spectrum of acceptable opinion is the view that President Trump was correct to withdraw from the deal because it supposedly failed to handcuff Iran to a sufficient degree. At the other is the far more common perspective, which is that Trump should have remained in the deal because it is an effective tool for controlling Iran.


      The Washington Post (5/9/18) ran an incoherent piece by US national security advisor John Bolton saying that Trump needed to take the US out of the Iran deal because, since its implementation, Iran has not “focus[ed] on behaving responsibly.” In other words, he opposes the nuclear accord because Iran has proven itself too immature for the freedom from US control that Bolton wrongly suggests it is offered under the JCPOA.

      Commentators who differed on Trump’s decision nevertheless shared the premise of those in favor of taking the US out of the deal, which is that Iran belongs under imperial stewardship.

      Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security advisor, defended the Iran nuclear deal in the Times (5/8/18) on the grounds that it “has served American interests.” “By withdrawing from the deal,” she writes, “we have weakened our ability to address [America’s] concerns” with Iranian policy.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Sarah Palin praises WikiLeak’s Julian Assange; ‘He’s all about freedom’

      Sarah Palin on Thursday expressed her appreciation for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, notwithstanding his website releasing the Republican politician’s personal emails nearly a decade earlier during her failed campaign for vice president.

      The former Alaska governor praised Mr. Assange during an interview with One America News, a right-leaning cable network, reversing course after harshly condemning WikiLeaks over its past publications.

      “We do have a little bit of history,” Mrs. Palin said with respect to the WikiLeaks chief. “He leaked or published somehow my private emails, and I was so ticked off at him and I thought he was just such a foe — until I started figuring out where he was headed.”

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How the Saudis Wooed Donald Trump

      All it took was flattery, arms, and a little bit of cash.

    • If Trump Is Laundering Russian Money, Here’s How It Works

      Shell companies, pseudonyms, shady lawyers, and secrecy: The president’s and his lawyer’s business practices match the classic pattern of suspicious activity.

    • Senate intelligence panel seeking Sam Nunberg communications with Stone

      Roger Stone said he’s “pleased” former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg is now choosing to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller after initially saying he would refuse to comply with a subpoena.. (File Photo)

    • Senate investigators request interview with Nunberg, communications with Stone

      The Senate Intelligence Committee is requesting a closed-door interview with onetime Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg and that he turn over communications he had with GOP strategist Roger Stone.

      The panel made the formal request to Nunberg on Thursday, CNN reports, asking him to provide any communications with Stone regarding Russia, its hacking efforts during the 2016 election and WikiLeaks as the committee probes Russia’s interference in the race.

    • Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg summoned to meet with Senate panel

      The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested that former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg turn over any communications with longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone that mention Julian Assange, Russia, Wikileaks, and hacking.

      Nunberg told ABC News that he received a letter request from the committee on Friday to submit the documents by May 24. He was also asked to appear before the committee in a closed interview.

    • Steam Yanks Another Developer’s Games Over Fake Reviews Posted By Employee

      Astro-turfing and fake reviews continue to be plagues upon the online marketplace, creating a wave of distrust with the public when it comes to properly assessing any business via online means. It’s impossible to know how big or small a problem this is, which only adds to the distrust in the public, forcing them to assume the worst. All that being said, Valve has actually been pretty good about policing reviews on its gaming platform, Steam, and also making a big public stink about instances in which it has had to take action against developers for trying to game the review system. Studios have had their games pulled from the store entirely, such as when Digital Homicide and Insel Games each had their respective titles pulled. Given that Valve made sure the volume was turned up when it took such actions, one would think that game studios ought to have gotten the message by now.

    • Revealed: rebranded D-Notice committee issued two notices over Skripal affair

      Spinwatch can reveal that the Skripal affair has resulted in the issuing of not one but two ‘D-Notices’ to the British media, which are marked private and confidential. We can also disclose the contents of both notices, which have been obtained from a reliable source.
      Spinwatch can reveal that the Skripal affair has resulted in the issuing of not one but two ‘D-Notices’ to the British media, which are marked private and confidential. We can also disclose the contents of both notices, which have been obtained from a reliable source.

      That two notices were issued has been confirmed by the ‘D-Notice’ Committee. The Committee, which is jointly staffed by government officials and mainstream media representatives has recently changed its name to the ‘Defence and Security Media Advisory (DSMA) Committee’. The use of the word ‘advisory’ is no doubt a bid to discourage the public from thinking that this is a censorship committee. However, the DSMA-Notices (as they are now officially called) are one of the miracles of British state censorship. They are a mechanism whereby the British state simply ‘advises’ the mainstream media what not to publish, in ‘notices’ with no legal force. The media then voluntarily comply.

      Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury and discovered collapsed on a park bench in the late afternoon of Sunday 4 March. Less than three days later on 7 March, the first and – until now undisclosed – notice was issued.
      That two notices were issued has been confirmed by the ‘D-Notice’ Committee. The Committee, which is jointly staffed by government officials and mainstream media representatives has recently changed its name to the ‘Defence and Security Media Advisory (DSMA) Committee’. The use of the word ‘advisory’ is no doubt a bid to discourage the public from thinking that this is a censorship committee. However, the DSMA-Notices (as they are now officially called) are one of the miracles of British state censorship. They are a mechanism whereby the British state simply ‘advises’ the mainstream media what not to publish, in ‘notices’ with no legal force. The media then voluntarily comply.

      Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury and discovered collapsed on a park bench in the late afternoon of Sunday 4 March. Less than three days later on 7 March, the first and – until now undisclosed – notice was issued.

    • We read every one of the 3,517 Facebook ads bought by Russians. Their dominant strategy: Sowing racial discord

      The Russian company charged with orchestrating a wide-ranging effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election overwhelmingly focused its barrage of social media advertising on what is arguably America’s rawest political division: race.

      The roughly 3,500 Facebook ads were created by the Russian-based Internet Research Agency, which is at the center of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s February indictment of 13 Russians and three companies seeking to influence the election.

      While some ads focused on topics as banal as business promotion or Pokémon, the company consistently promoted ads designed to inflame race-related tensions. Some dealt with race directly; others dealt with issues fraught with racial and religious baggage such as ads focused on protests over policing, the debate over a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and relationships with the Muslim community.

      The company continued to hammer racial themes even after the election.

      USA TODAY Network reporters reviewed each of the 3,517 ads, which were released to the public this week for the first time by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The analysis included not just the content of the ads, but also information that revealed the specific audience targeted, when the ad was posted, roughly how many views it received and how much the ad cost to post.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Zuckerberg’s Invasion and Evasion
    • Thousands of Facebook ads bought by Russians to fool U.S. voters released by Congress

      The Facebook ads varied in their effectiveness and reach, with some only being shared a few hundred times, others seen hundreds of thousands or more than 1 million times. They ran just over two years starting in June 2015, increasing in volume in October and November 2016, just before and after the presidential election, but also showing spikes in April and May of 2016 and also April and May of 2017.

    • UK regulator orders Cambridge Analytica to release data on US voter

      He said the ICO’s letter was “pretty extraordinary” and “proved what we’ve been saying for a long time: this is not a normal company. To have the audacity to say that American voters are no different than jihadis hiding in a cave is pretty shocking”. He said that it was the fact that it was a British company that had processed US voters’ data in the UK in an act of “digital colonialism” that had originally inspired him to ask the company for his data back.

    • Hollywood Offers Ominous Visions of Facial Recognition’s Future

      Facial recognition technology stars in three recent Hollywood movies: Isle of Dogs, Ready Player One, and Black Panther. In Wes Anderson’s stop-motion near-future Japan, a corrupt mayor uses the technology to capture the Little Pilot who only wants to save his dog. In Steven Spielberg’s dystopic America, a megalomaniacal billionaire uses drones equipped with face scanners to find one of the movie’s heroes as she drives her van through an impoverished futuristic cityscape. And in Ryan Coogler’s Wakanda, the royal technologist’s team uses her facial recognition tool to identify intruders in the kingdom.

    • Company That Handles Prison Phone Calls Is Surveilling People Who Aren’t in Prison

      Sen. Ron Wyden has revealed shocking surveillance practices by Securus, a prison technology company.

      Securus, one of the country’s largest providers of phone services to incarcerated people, is known for its shady, cruel, and sometimes illegal business practices. It has charged exorbitant rates for prisoners’ calls, limited family and friends to video-only “visits” with incarcerated loved ones, and violated attorney-client privilege by recording phone calls between prisoners and their attorneys.

      This week, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) revealed even more troubling practices that undermine the privacy and civil liberties of millions upon millions of Americans. In letters made public on Friday demanding action from the Federal Communications Commission and several major telecommunications companies, Wyden described Securus’ ability to obtain and share the cell phone location information of virtually anyone who uses a phone.

      The letters report that Securus provides correctional facilities with the ability to access real-time location data for virtually any individual in the country — without making sure that officials have obtained a warrant or proper consent.

    • Senator Wyden Demands Answers from Prison Phone Service Caught Sharing Cellphone Location Data

      Do you use Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile? If so, your real-time cell phone location data may have been shared with law enforcement without your knowledge or consent.

      How could this happen? Well, a company that provides phone services to jails and prisons has been collecting location information on all Americans and sharing it with law enforcement—with little more than a “pinky promise” from the police that they’ve obtained proper legal process.

      This week, Sen. Wyden called out that company, Securus Technologies, in a letter to the FCC demanding the agency investigate Securus’s practices. Wyden also sent letters to the major phone carriers asking for an accounting of all the third parties with which they share their customers’ information as well as what they think constitutes customer consent to that sharing.

      Wyden called on the carriers to immediately stop sharing data with any and all third parties that have misrepresented customer consent or abused their access to sensitive customer data like real-time location information.

    • How a Mugger Helped Create the NSA’s Post-9/11 Surveillance Program

      It was just another quiet Tuesday in October 2013 when a startling call from a reporter arrived on Stephen Sachs’ phone. The reporter was with an outlet that Sachs had never heard of—Wired—and he was asking about a Supreme Court case, Smith v. Maryland, from decades ago. The career lawyer had practically forgotten about it. But the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been secretly relying on Smith, which began as a late-night robbery in Baltimore in 1975, to justify a massive surveillance program at the National Security Agency.

      The 1979 Smith decision “was a routine robbery case,” he told David Kravets. “To extend it to what we now know as massive surveillance, in my personal view, is a bridge too far.” Specifically, Smith had become a critical linchpin in the third-party doctrine.

      Today, the third-party doctrine works like this: If Alice calls Bob using Verizon, the fact that this call went over Verizon’s network means that a third party (Verizon) was brought into the mix. Under this logic, neither Alice nor Bob can claim a privacy interest over the fact that the call took place. So, Verizon can disclose this metadata (who called whom, when, and for how long) to the police with little difficulty. In short, the government claims (and the Supreme Court agreed in 1979), that there was no “reasonable expectation of privacy” in numbers disclosed to a phone company.

    • Hey Alexa, What Are You Doing to My Kid’s Brain?

      Among the more modern anxieties of parents today is how virtual assistants will train their children to act.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Handbook of Tyranny: stark infographics on human cruelty
    • WaPo Positions Support for Torturer as Vote for Feminism

      As the war over Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency has waged on this week, we’ve been gifted an incredible batch of corporate media apologias for the CIA’s decades-long legacy of torture, extrajudicial killings and civil liberties violations. Perhaps most remarkably, these outlets have spent hundreds of words arguing that Haspel should be confirmed as the next director of the CIA—despite having overseen a black site prison where detainees were brutally tortured, and directing the destruction of evidence of this illegal and inhumane practice—because it’s the feminist thing to do.

      This was the perfect line for the Trump administration’s Haspel push—a notion informed both by the Republicans’ elementary understanding of identity politics and their obsession with calling out perceived liberal hypocrisy: After all, how could any self-respecting Democrat vote against a woman to usher the United States’ international spying apparatus into its next no doubt sinister phase?

      White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders made this point plainly in a tweet last week, saying: “Any Democrat who claims to support women’s empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite.”

    • 5 Things Gina Haspel Wouldn’t Say About CIA Torture — and Why It Matters

      Haspel was far from forthright, regularly evading questions or giving only vague answers. Some takeaways from the hearing.

      President Trump’s nominee to be CIA director, Gina Haspel, faced pointed questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday morning. Senators asked about her role in the agency’s torture program and its cover-up, including her role in the destruction of dozens of videotapes documenting torture.

      Haspel, however, was far from forthright, regularly evading questions or giving only vague answers.

    • CBP Sued For Seizing $41,000 From Airline Passenger, Then Refusing To Give It Back Unless She Promised Not To Sue

      Another case of asset forfeiture is the subject of a federal lawsuit. Like many others, the plaintiff has obtained the assistance of the Institute for Justice in battling the government for the return of seized assets. In this case, a US citizen saw $41,000 of hers disappear into the government’s custody when she attempted to take it to her hometown in Nigeria to start a medical clinic.


      On top of that, the reporting must be done at the time of the flight, but the office where the reporting is handled is not even located on the airport’s property, much less in the terminal. And then there’s the petty grubbiness of the CBP officers’ actions — like their decision to cut open her bag to access the cash, rather than use the key she provided them, and threatening to harass and detain her in the future any time she decides to board an international flight.

    • The government took $41,000 from this Texan at a Houston airport six months ago. They never gave it back.

      For nearly a decade, Anthonia Nwaorie dreamed of starting a medical clinic in her hometown in Southern Nigeria.

      Last October, the 59-year-old nurse was boarding a plane in Houston with medical equipment, supplies, and about $41,000 in cash — which had taken her years to save — when Customs and Border Protection officials stopped her.

      “The officer started asking me questions: How much money do you have? How long have you been in the United States?” she remembered. “I felt like a criminal that had just run the red light.”

      Nwaorie said she was detained for hours. She missed her flight to Nigeria and the customs officers seized all her money. Lawyers at the Institute for Justice, an Arlington, Virginia-based public interest law firm, say her case demonstrates just how abusive the practice of civil forfeiture — which allows the government to take property that is believed to be tied to a crime — can be.

    • Injured Amazon worker describes high-tech dystopia inside Texas warehouse

      Every time workers leave the facility, they are subjected to an invasive search. “You wait in line with a bucket like at the airport,” she said. A worker is required to take off belt, shoes, and hat. Bags are sent through a conveyor belt and the worker goes through a full body scan. “If you set it off, you have to go through a second search, and they wand you front to back.”

      In a 10-hour shift, workers are permitted two 15-minute breaks and one 30-minute break for lunch. To go outside on a break, workers must submit to the search and go through the security line. “The lines to get outside on your 15-minute break are 20 to 30 deep on each line, and there are only two lines.” Meanwhile, the breaks are timed from “scan to scan” at a worker’s station, and workers are admonished, “Not one second more.”

    • CIA & Army veteran has the best response to Gina Haspel confirmation obfuscation
    • Ex-PM Najib banned from leaving Malaysia

      Najib Razak is barred from travelling overseas, just days after his party’s shock election defeat.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality dies June 11th

      The US Senate has forced a vote, scheduled for next week, to overturn Pai’s decision. If the Senate is successful, the House of Representatives will have to take similar measures before Pai’s framework is overruled. Of course, that’s not to say Donald Trump won’t veto it once it lands on his desk. In the interim, a handful of states have passed their own bills upholding Title II provisions.

    • It’s Official: the FCC Has Released the Date the Net Neutrality Repeal Will Go Into Effect
    • AT&T Cans Exec Over Cohen Payment Kerfuffle, Pretends This Kind Of Influence Peddling Isn’t Perfectly Routine

      As you’ve probably seen, AT&T was recently exposed for paying $600,000 into a shady shell LLC operated by President Trump’s “fixer” Michael Cohen. Initially, AT&T tried to claim that the company had simply hired Cohen for “insight” into President Trump. Given AT&T could easily gain said insight into Trump from any number of its lawyers, lobbyists, and above-board consultants (not to mention the ocean of politicians and regulators in its back pocket), the idea they’d pay a dubious NYC “fixer” for such insight never really carried much weight.

      It seems fairly obvious at this point that AT&T was probably paying Cohen for additional access to the President. A leaked document provided to the Washington Post makes it clear that AT&T hoped to gain some advantage in its business before the FCC (net neutrality, privacy, protectionism, protecting its monopoly power), and its efforts to gain regulatory approval for the company’s $86 billion Time Warner merger…

    • T-Mobile Hires Ex-FCC Commissioner To Claim Its Competition-Killing Merger Will Be Really Great For…Farmers

      As we’ve discussed, the looming Sprint T-Mobile merger is going to be decidedly ugly for American consumers. Global history has shown repeatedly that when you reduce the number of total competitors from four to three, you proportionally reduce any incentive to truly compete on price. Analysts have also predicted that anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 retail, management, and administrative employees will lose their jobs as the bigger company inevitably eliminates redundant positions. Of course like any American merger, the two companies’ CEOs have spent much of the last week trying to claim the exact opposite.

      Still, it’s going to be an uphill climb for Sprint and T-Mobile to sell regulators on the deal, even for an administration that seems to take pride in undermining consumers and small businesses.

    • Tim Karr on Net Neutrality Fight, Mark Trahant on Indian Country Today

      As we record the show on May 10, the FCC has posted notice that net neutrality rules—the ones that keep service providers from favoring websites that give them money, and slowing down or “throttling” your access to websites that don’t pony up—will disappear on June 11. This should come as a surprise to all of the media outlets that told you that net neutrality already died on April 23. So: What, exactly, is going on? And, since abandoning the fight for an open internet is not an option, what do we do now? We talk net neutrality with Tim Karr, senior director of strategy and communications at the group Free Press.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Brazilian Superior Court Of Justice Stops Patent Term Extension Attempts

      To summarize the last decade of Brazilian Superior Court of Justice judgements on patent term extension matters, two conclusions can be reached: (1) in Brazil, big pharma/agrochemical companies are much like Charles Dicken’s famous character Oliver Twist: “Please Sir, I want some more!”; and (2) while IP lawyers should be commended for their creativity in attempting to obtain patent term extensions, the STJ has consistently ruled against such attempts, always noting that a patent impacts several actors of society: (i) the inventor; (ii) the patent holder; (iii) the State; (iv) consumers; (v) competition; and (vi) the environment. The proper solution for such cases cannot be favorable only for a party (or two).

    • Trademarks

      • Rap or Pap? Dr. Dre Loses Trademark Battle With Dr. Drai, A Gynecologist

        I trust that readers of this site young and old will be familiar with Dr. Dre. The wildly famous rapper has made hit records, produced some of the biggest names in hip hop, been a mogul in the music hardware space with his headphone line, and performed countless pelvic exams on women throughout the American northeast.

        Wait, that last part can’t be right. Surely I was legitimately confused by the existence of Dr. Drai, an OB/GYN in Pennsylvania who dared attempt to get a trademark on his name for his doctor-ly practice. It seems that Dr. Dre has been locked in a trademark opposition with Dr. Drai going on three years, arguing that the absurd example of faked confusion above is actually likely to happen for real.

    • Copyrights

      • Minnesota Judges Refuse To Unmask Defendants For Copyright Troll Strike 3

        With copyright trolling a business model in full force across the world, we’ve noted that there has finally started to be some pushback against these tactics. In Europe, both courts and ISPs have begun wising up to the notion that IP addresses are an incomplete and faulty piece of “evidence” at best, with both government and industry also finally beginning to question just where user privacy should fit into all of this. In America, unfortunately, copyright trolls have all too often been able to unmask customers through ISPs based on court orders pretty much at will. Strike 3 Holdings is one such troll, with the company being partially responsible for a number of piracy lawsuits shooting out of the gate in 2018 at record speed.


Links 11/5/2018: New CentOS, X.Org Server 1.20, Rust 1.26, Krita 4.0.2, Cutelyst 2.3.0 and Kdenlive 18.04.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Is It Linux or GNU/Linux?

    After putting this question to the experts, the conclusion is that no matter what you call it, it’s still Linux at its core.

    Should the Linux operating system be called “Linux” or “GNU/Linux”? These days, asking that question might get as many blank stares returned as asking, “Is it live or is it Memorex?”

    Some may remember that the Linux naming convention was a controversy that raged from the late 1990s until about the end of the first decade of the 21st century. Back then, if you called it “Linux”, the GNU/Linux crowd was sure to start a flame war with accusations that the GNU Project wasn’t being given due credit for its contribution to the OS. And if you called it “GNU/Linux”, accusations were made about political correctness, although operating systems are pretty much apolitical by nature as far as I can tell.

  • Desktop

    • Great News! You’ll be Able to Run Native Linux Apps on Chromebook Soon

      Google announced the support for Linux apps to Chromebooks in its Developer Keynote I/O event. People using Chromebooks will soon be able to run Linux apps on their systems.

    • Chrome OS Now Supports Linux Apps, But Only On Google Pixelbook

      In a stunning new development, Chrome OS now supports full-fledged Linux apps, with a preview available beginning May 8 for Google Pixelbook users.

      Being able to run Linux is a drastic addition to Chrome OS, Google’s proprietary operating system, which up until now has only supported web-based Chrome apps and Android apps. The arrival of Linux marks the first time Chrome OS will be able to run full desktop applications.

      As VentureBeat reports, Chrome OS product management director Kan Liu says users can use Linux-based tools, editors, and integrated development environments on a Chromebook, and the installation process is similar to that on a typical Linux machine.

    • Cats and dogs living together, Linux on Chromium, mass hysteria …

      First we find out that Microsoft’s best selling server is running on Linux and now you will be able to run Debian flavoured Linux apps such as Linux terminal, Git, Sublime, Vim and Android Studio on the Pixelbook. This should help bridge the gap between Chromium and its far more popular and capable sibling, Android. According to The Inquirer, Google expects this to be a seamless integration without requiring extra steps to launch the apps. Perhaps one day we will see these two OSes start to combine as both Microsoft and Google seem to have noticed the unpopularity of skinny versions of their operating systems.

    • System76 Galago Pro Linux laptop now has two screen size options

      Just yesterday, we shared the news that System76 had refreshed its popular Oryx Pro laptop. The Linux community was abuzz with excitement over the thinner and faster notebook. After all, it offers a lot of horsepower at a very affordable price. Heck, the battery life has even doubled compared to its predecessor!

      The computer seller is apparently not ready to slow down, however, as today it also refreshes its affordable and svelte Galago Pro Linux ultrabook. What’s particularly exciting about the new model is that it has two screen sizes — 13 inch HiDPI or 14 inch 1080p (in matte). Regardless of which you choose, the overall dimensions stay the same. How can that be, you ask? Well, for the 14 inch model, the bezels are just thinner.

    • Purism’s Librem 15 v2 Laptop Now Supported By Mainline Coreboot

      While Purism had already been shipping Coreboot on their Librem 15 v2 laptop two years ago and has already succeeded by their third revision that does have mainline Coreboot support, the support was merged today to Coreboot proper for the Librem 15 v2.

      Mainline Coreboot has already supported the earlier iteration of the original Librem 15, the newer and current Librem 15 v3, as well as the Librem 13. As of today the second version of the Librem 15 is now officially supported in its Git code-base. The Librem 15 v2 was their updated Broadwell-based like the Librem 15 v1 while the current-generation Librem 15 v3 is utilizing an Intel Skylake processor.

  • Kernel Space

    • Read-Only Memory

      Igor Stoppa posted a patch to allow kernel memory pools to be made read-only. Memory pools are a standard way to group memory allocations in Linux so their time cost is more predictable. With Igor’s patch, once a memory pool was made read-only, it could not be made read-write again. This would secure the data for good and against attackers. Of course, you could free the memory and destroy the pool. But short of that, the data would stay read-only.

      There was not much controversy about this patch. Kees Cook felt that XFS would work well with the feature. And, having an actual user would help Igor clarify the usage and nail down the API.

      This apparently had come up at a recent conference, and Dave Chinner was ready for Igor’s patch. He remarked, “we have a fair amount of static data in XFS that we set up at mount time and it never gets modified after that. I’m not so worried about VFS level objects (that’s a much more complex issue) but there is a lot of low hanging fruit in the XFS structures we could convert to write-once structures.”

    • AMD TrueAudio Next 1.2 Released, But Still No Linux Support

      The latest feature update is now available to AMD’s TrueAudio Next solution for delivering advanced audio effects using OpenCL kernels without relying upon any dedicated DSP hardware.

      TrueAudio Next 1.2 improvements to its audio convolution algorithm, many optimizations to its Graphics Audio Acceleration Library, support for AMD Resource Reservation, and a number of new samples were added.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Sees A Big Update, Prepping For VK_EXT_descriptor_indexing

        The code to the AMDVLK official open-source Radeon Vulkan driver for Linux has received a big code update, syncing up the public tree from their internal development trees with about two weeks worth of changes.

      • Radeon Pro Software 18.Q2 Released For Linux

        AMD has carried out their quarterly Radeon Pro Software driver update designated for their Radeon Pro professional/workstation graphics drivers with these updates having received additional QA for certified workloads. The Radeon Pro Software 18.Q2 Linux driver made it out alongside their Windows update.

      • xorg-server 1.20.0

        Lots of Present, DRI3 modifier, and buildsystem fixes. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this release!

      • X.Org Server 1.20 “Avocado Toast” Released With DRI3 v1.2, VR Improvements

        After more than one and a half years in development that is well off their past six-month release cadence, the long-awaited X.Org Server 1.20 has finally been released as this stable X11 implementation for Linux desktop systems not yet prepared to migrate to Wayland.

      • GPU virtualization update

        A few months ago, Robert Foss wrote a blog post about virtualizing GPU Access. In his post, Robert explained the architecture of the GPU virtualization stack and, how to build and run a VM with hardware acceleration.

        If you are interested by the GPU virtualization topic, I suggest you read Robert’s post.

        Today, I will discuss the major improvements which landed upstream during these pasts 3 months.

    • Benchmarks

      • GCC 8.1 vs. GCC 7.3 Compiler Benchmarks On Five AMD/Intel Linux Systems

        With GCC 8.1 having been officially released last week, I have spent the past number of days running a variety of compiler benchmarks comparing this initial GCC8 stable release to the previous GCC 7.3 stable compiler release. Tests were done on five different Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Linux systems running very different AMD and Intel processors.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita 4.0.2 released

        Today the Krita team releases Krita 4.0.2, a bug fix release of Krita 4.0.0. We fixed more than fifty bugs since the Krita 4.0.0 release! See below for the full list of fixed isses. We’ve also got fixes submitted by two new contributors: Emmet O’Neil and Seoras Macdonald. Welcome!

      • Cutelyst 2.3.0 released

        Cutelyst – The C++ Web Framework built with Qt, has a new release.

        In this release a behavior change was made, when asking for POST or URL query parameters and cookies that have multiple keys the last inserted one (closer to the right) is returned, previously QMap was filled in reverse order so that values() would have them in left to right order. However this is not desired and most other frameworks also return the last inserted value. To still have the ordered list Request::queryParameters(“key”) builds a list in the left to right order (while QMap::values() will have them reversed).

        Some fixes on FastCGI implementation as well as properly getting values when uWSGI FastCGI protocol was in use.

      • Discovering the Gwenview photo viewer

        The Gwenview photo viewer is a great application and one of the reasons why I never looked back when I switched from Windows (Vista) to openSUSE (11.1). The application is installed by default when you install openSUSE with the KDE plasma desktop environment. But even if you have the GNOME desktop environment installed, I would recommend that you to install Gwenview. In my opinion, it is superior to the GNOME image viewer application.

        Default applications often get overlooked. We just expect them to be there. But there are big differences when it comes to default applications. Take for instance the GNOME image viewer or Windows Photo Viewer. You can do a couple of basic things like zoom in, zoom out and move from photo to photo. You can put it in full screen mode and go back. And of course you can open, save, print and close photos. But that is basically it. Gwenview does a lot more.

        So lets get to it. There are basically 2 ways to open Gwenview. The first way is to (double) click a photo in the Dolphin file manager (another great default application). The second way is to open Gwenview via the kickoff menu, by typing in the name in the search box or by looking at the Graphics section of the menu.

      • Kdenlive 18.04.1 released

        While our team is working on the awaited refactoring, we still managed to add 2 small usability improvements in the 18.04.1. version. First the safe zone overlay was improved so you can now easily spot the center of your frame.

        Then we improved the default background color for the titler so that white text can easily be read without having to make further adjustments.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.30 Desktop Environment to Offer New Lock and Login Screen Experiences

        GNOME 3.30 will be the next major release of the open source desktop environment used by numerous GNU/Linux distributions, and now that Ubuntu is using it by default for the latest LTS release, all eyes are on GNOME these days to see what improvements and new features will bring with the next update.

        The login and lock screens of GNOME haven’t been changed for a while now, but it would appear the team had been working to revamp them. As you can see from the screenshot gallery attached below, the design looks marvelous, and we have to admit that we can’t wait to try them out on our personal computers.

      • Give Your Linux Desktop a Stunning Makeover With Xenlism Themes

        Xenlism theme pack provides an aesthetically pleasing GTK theme, colorful icons, and minimalist wallpapers to transform your Linux desktop into an eye-catching setup.

      • First Look: GNOME’s Stylish New Login & Lock Screens

        GNOME devs are working on an improved GNOME Shell login and lock screen — and it’s looking great!

        Sharing images of the proposed new lock, unlock and login screen designs on his blog is GNOME’s Allan Day, who says the redesigns are the fruits of a week-long design hackfest GNOME held in London last year.

      • GNOME 3.28.2 Released with Memory Leak Fixes for GNOME Shell, Update Now

        Coming a month after the first point release, GNOME 3.28.2 is here with more bug fixes and improvements to make the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment as stable and reliable as possible. In particular, it includes fixes for the infamous GNOME shell memory leak everyone was talking about lately.

        “I’m pleased to announce the release of GNOME 3.28.2, the final planned release for the GNOME 3.28 series. It includes numerous bugfixes, documentation improvements, and translation updates, notably some widely discussed memory leak fixes for GNOME shell,” said Matthias Clasen in an email announcement.

      • GNOME 3.28.2 Released With GJS Garbage Collection Fix To Address The Big Memory Leak
      • Adaptive GNOME Web

        I started working on making GNOME Web work well on the Librem 5; to be sure it fits a phone’s screen I want the windows to fit in a 360 points width, which is definitely small. To do so I started with the advices from Tobias Bernard to make Web have two modes that I named normal and narrow. The normal mode is Web as you know it, while the narrow mode moves all buttons from the header bar but the hamburger menu to a new action bar at the bottom, letting the windows reach yet unreachable widths.

      • GNOME Terminal: separate menu items for opening tabs and windows

        Astute users might have noticed that the GNOME Terminal binary distributed by Fedora has separate menu items for opening new tabs and windows, while the vanilla version available from GNOME doesn’t.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The Grand Update – brace yourselves!

        In the remaining hours before the hdlists are regenerated, and we can all update our Mageia 6 systems with more than 400 packages, here’s some info – very important info – about the update process.

        It’s vitally important that the update completes without interruption! Here’s what you need to do:

    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • CentOS 7 1804 Linux Distro Available For Download: Here’s How To Update

        While making a list of free operating systems that can be used both as a daily use system as well as a server, CentOS gets an early mention. Based on RHEL base, CentOS is known for being a stable and manageable platform. Just recently, the developers have shipped the sixth CentOS-7 release.

      • CentOS 7 1804 Released As The Free Spin Of RHEL 7.5

        CentOS 7 1804 is now available as the latest release of this leading “community spin” of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The 1804 update to CentOS 7 is based on last month’s release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5.

        CentOS 7 1804 is the latest stable installment to the EL7 series and built off the RHEL 7.5 sources.

      • Release for CentOS Linux 7 (1804) on x86_64 aarch64 i386 ppc64 ppc64le
      • CentOS Linux 7.5 Officially Released, It’s Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5

        CentOS developers announced today the release and immediate availability for download of the CentOS Linux 7 (1804) operating system for all supported hardware architectures.

        Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5, CentOS Linux 7.5 (1804) is the latest and most advanced snapshot of the open-source and enterprise-ready computer operating system, available now for 32-bit (i386), 64-bit (x86_64), ARM64 (AArch64), PowerPC 64-bit Little Endian (PPC64el), PowerPC 64-bit (PPC64), and ARMhf architectures.

        “I am pleased to announce the general availability of CentOS Linux 7 (1804) for across all architectures. Effectively immediately, this is the current release for CentOS Linux 7 and is tagged as 1804, derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5,” said project maintainer Karanbir Singh in the mailing list announcement.

      • Red Hat Certification Guide: Overview and Career Paths

        Red Hat, Inc. provides open source software solutions to more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, including Internet Service Providers, airlines, healthcare companies and commercial banks. The company has been around for more than two decades and is well known for its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution. Red Hat provides a fully open technology stack, which you can alter to suit your needs — you’re not locked into the vendor’s vision of the software or stack components. Red Hat’s portfolio of products and services also include JBoss middleware, cross-platform virtualization, cloud computing (CloudForms and OpenStack) and much more.

      • The importance of diversity in tech – Red Hat Summit 2018

        Featuring Red Hat’s Women in Open Source Award winners – Dana Lewis and Zui Dighe – DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer at Red Hat and Justine Whitley from Macquarie Bank, the women in tech panel at Red Hat Summit discussed the positives and negatives of working in a male-dominated field, shared personal experiences, provided advice for the next generation and discussed what the industry can do to become more inclusive for women.

      • OpenShift Brings Full Cross-Platform Flexibility to Azure Cloud

        This release is the first fully managed, easy-to-use version of OpenShift in the cloud, the companies said. The fully managed integration of OpenShift on Azure means that Microsoft and Red Hat will join to engineer, operate and support the platform.

      • Save the date for Red Hat Summit 2019

        As we close out another amazing Red Hat Summit, we want you to mark your calendar for next year’s event. We’re heading back to Boston for Red Hat Summit 2019! Join us there at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, May 7-9, 2019, when we expect thousands of customers, partners, and technology industry leaders from around the world to come together for a high-energy week of innovation, education and collaboration.

      • Red Hat Summit: Clouds today, serverless tomorrow

        Have you ever thought to yourself, “Today’s world would be so much richer if we had 29 kinds of hummus?” Neither has Stephanos Bacon, Senior Director of Portfolio Strategy for Red Hat Application Platforms. His entertaining presentation moved from the options available to humans hungry for hummus to a discussion of the bewildering array of choices available to developers and architects. Although too many choices can be a bad thing1, it’s important to understand what choices are relevant today and that the relevance of those choices is always shifting.

      • Red Hat Summit 2018 Burr Sutter Demo

        One of the highlights of Red Hat Summit was a live, on-stage demo given by Burr Sutter (@burrsutter) and a team of developers. The demo was particularly engaging because the audience participated using a mobile game on their phones that communicated with a backend developed by Burr’s team. The objective of the demo was to show off the technologies, and also show how complex development and deployment challenges can be solved with a modern approach.


        The main takeaway was that despite running in the cloud, it’s your app and your data, and you should be able to run it whereever is best for you. The right platform choice gives you flexibility while avoiding lock-in.

      • Video: Demystifying systemd
      • IT Leaders Need To Agitate For Business Change, Says Red Hat CEO

        With the rate of technological change increasing at an overwhelming rate, organizations need to rework how they tackle and harness it, says Red Hat’s CEO.

        Red Hat CEO and president Jim Whitehurst says the rate at which innovations are now occurring across IT is now occurring at a rate most business will be able to effectively absorb unless a decision is made to fundamentally restructure how they are organized.

        In fact, Whitehurst says that IT leaders are assuming more proactive roles inside their organizations to drive business change.

      • Red Hat Summit reveals new cloud and microservice partnerships

        Several new partnerships were announced this week at the annual Red Hat Summit in San Francisco designed to accelerate enterprise adoption of microservices, cloud and containers.

        IBM and Red Hat announced a major expansion to their existing relationship designed to accelerate hybrid cloud adoption. This new partnership that will enable IBM and Red Hat users to benefit from both companies’ technologies in the private and public cloud space.

      • Red Hat celebrates ‘women of open source’ at RHS 2018

        Red Hat has announced the winners of its ‘Women in Open source’ awards at the company’s annual ‘Summit’ event, currently taking place in San Francisco.

        Dana Lewis, founder of the Open Artificial Pancreas System (OpenAPS) movement, and Zui Dighe, a Duke University student, were both formally honoured for their use of open source technologies.

        Red Hat says the awards are given out annually to women who demonstrate an innovative use of open source methodology, or those who make valuable contributions to open source communities.

      • Kubernetes and CNI: What’s Next — Making It Easier to Write Networking Plugins

        First proposed by CoreOS (now part of Red Hat) to define a common interface between network plug-ins and container execution, CNI is focused on the network connectivity and removing allocated resources when a container is deleted. CNI was released in 2016, and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Technical Oversight Committee voted last May to accept CNI as a hosted project.

      • Red Hat Summit: An introduction to OpenShift.io

        Red Hat OpenShift.io is an innovative online service for development teams. Installing and configuring IDEs, libraries, and various tools is a major time sink. OpenShift.io is a cloud-native set of zero-install tools for editing and debugging code, agile planning, and managing CI/CD pipelines. It also features package analytics (an unbelievably cool feature we’ll discuss more in a minute), and has various quick starts for common frameworks. Because everyone on the team uses the exact same tools, “It works on my machine” becomes a thing of the past.


        One more thing: package analytics is an amazing feature. In Todd’s example, he added a package (the name of which we shall not mention) and the tools flagged it as having a security vulnerability. This is done in an elegant, friendly UI as opposed to a text message you might not notice in a console. In addition, the product uses machine learning to analyze your project. If you’re using an unusual combination of packages, the tools let you know. That might not be a problem, but it’s a sign that you might want to re-examine your choices. To quote Todd, package analytics is “freaky, freaky cool.”

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • [DNG] Devuan “ASCII” 2.0 Release Candidate
        • Systemd-free Devuan Linux looses version 2.0 release candidate

          Devuan Linux, the Debian fork that offers “init freedom” has announced the first release candidate for its second version.

          Dubbed “ASCII”, Devuan 2.0 uses Debian Stretch as its base, doesn’t use Systemd, and reached beta in February 2018.

          This week, the developers behind the distro announced ASCII’s first release candidate, along with news that the installer “now offers a wider variety of Desktop Environments including XFCE, KDE, MATE, Cinnamon, LXQT (with others available post-install).”

          “In addition, there are options for ‘Console productivity’ with hundreds of CLI and TUI utils, as well asa minimal base system ideal for servers,” the team stated.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Developers Once Again Debate Dropping i386 Images, Then Discontinuing i386 Port

            While the Ubuntu desktop official images are no longer 32-bit/i386 and more Ubuntu derivatives are dropping their 32-bit x86 installers, not all 32-bit images/installers have been discontinued and the i386 package archive / port remains. That matter though is back to being debated.

            As has been common to see every once in a while over the past few years, Ubuntu developers are back to debating the i386 status following the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS cycle. Canonical’s Bryan Quigley is proposing that i386 be dropped — initially for images/installers but with an end goal of dropping the i386 port.

          • Firefox Quantum, Bcachefs, Ubuntu, Devuan 2.0

            It would seem that the main Ubuntu distribution may not be the only *buntu to drop support for 32-bit x86 (i386) architectures. A proposal has just been put forth by Bryan Quigley to drop support for Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kylin and Kubuntu.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” Slated for Release on October 18, 2018

            Now that we know the codename of the next Ubuntu release, Ubuntu 18.10, it’s time to take a closer look at the release schedule, which suffered some changes for this cycle, and the proposed release date.

            Development on Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) kicked off officially earlier this week with the latest GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 8.1 release, though it’s not yet the default system compiler. However, Canonical plans to migrate from GCC 7, which is currently used in the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) release to the GCC 8.x series.

          • AFL in Ubuntu 18.04 is broken

            At is has been reported on the discussion list for American Fuzzy Lop lately, unfortunately the fuzzer is broken in Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver”. Ubuntu Bionic ships AFL 2.52b, which is the current version at the moment of writing this blog post. The particular problem comes from the accompanying gcc-7 package, which is pulled by afl via the build-essential package. It was noticed in the development branch for the next Debian release by continuous integration (#895618) that introducing a triplet-prefixed as in gcc-7 7.3.0-16 (like same was changed for gcc-8, see #895251) affected the -B option in way that afl-gcc (the gcc wrapper) can’t use the shipped assembler (/usr/lib/afl-as) anymore to install the instrumentation into the target binary (#896057, thanks to Jakub Wilk for spotting the problem).

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source AI For Everyone: Three Projects to Know

    At the intersection of open source and artificial intelligence, innovation is flourishing, and companies ranging from Google to Facebook to IBM are open sourcing AI and machine learning tools.

  • DNAtix releases an open source DNA Compression Tool

    Digital DNAtix Ltd., the genetics blockchain company, released its first open-source DNA Compression tool to GitHub today. It is almost impossible to transfer genetic data with current blockchain technologies due to size constrains. With this new tool, users can compress a DNA Sequence in FASTA format to 25% of its size. DNAtix is making the compression tool open source to advance cutting-edge personalized and preventive medicine.

  • Amadeus Flies With Open Source

    Amadeus uses open source to deliver the technology solutions that keep its airline and large hotel customers from going off the rails.

    Amadeus principally provides reservation systems and scheduling for travel agencies, as well as inventory management and pricing solutions. It’s a time-sensitive business — you can’t sell a hotel room for last night, and you can’t sell a seat on an airplane after take-off.

  • Changing the world, one line of code at a time

    It’s hard to beat the business case for open source: teams of motivated individuals working with intent to solve problems with software. But how do organisations attract and retain open source talent?

    Increasingly, these engineers are turning up for the gig, and a good salary is no longer their only consideration.

    They’re also building their CVs on GitHub, which is more meaningful than their formal work experience, said Werner Knoblich, Red Hat’s senior vice president and general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, at the company’s summit in San Francisco this week.

  • A look at open source image recognition technology

    At the Supercomputing Conference in Denver last year, I discovered an interesting project as I walked the expo floor. A PhD student from Louisiana State University, Shayan Shams, had set up a large monitor displaying a webcam image. Overlaid on the image were colored boxes with labels. As I looked closer, I realized the labels identified objects on a table.

    Of course, I had to play with it. As I moved each object on the table, its label followed. I moved some objects that were off-camera into the field of view, and the system identified them too.

  • Education tech and battling stubborn Open Source myths

    When open source first hit the market, for many it was indistinguishable from The Free Software Movement. The key appeal was, indeed, that open source software was free – primarily because of the unchecked redistribution rights, where licences didn’t restrict any party from selling or giving away the software.

  • Open source SDN project could let network admins duplicate production environments

    Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an increasingly attractive option for organizations looking to automate more of their data center operations. However, SDN deployments typically accompany vendor lock-in, as hardware manufacturers such as Cisco provide proprietary software solutions to go with bundles of network hardware. Similarly, turn-key software defined data center (SDDC) solutions often rely on top-down vendor integration, or have similar limitations for using products from qualified vendors.

    One team is working to change that. Japanese software firm axsh is developing an open-\ source software stack—code named LiquidMetal—that combines their existing OpenVNet SDN software, with OpenVDC VM orchestration software.

    With the two, the developers have made it possible to take an off-the-shelf dedicated switch, and configure it for any desired network topology, in effect making it possible to create complete identical copies of a given production network, including copying the IP and MAC addresses of each connected device. The LiquidMetal project also incorporates Terraform, Expect, and Ansible in their software stack.

  • Events

    • LISA wants you: submit your proposal today

      I have the great honor of being on the organizing committee for the LISA conference this year. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know how much I enjoy LISA. It’s a great conference for anyone with a professional interest in sysadmin/DevOps/SRE. This year’s LISA is being held in Nashville, Tennessee, and the committee wants your submission.

    • Why it’s important to get kids into public speaking

      Although she’s only 16 years old, Keila Banks is already a veteran presenter at technology conferences. Her courage to get on stage in front of adults, beginning at the very young age of 11, to talk about open source technology has opened a world of opportunities for her.

      In her Lightning Talk at the 16th annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), Keila shares some of her amazing experiences, from the television studio to the White House, resulting from her conference presentations about open source, coding, and involving youth in technology.

      Watch Keila’s Lightning Talk to learn more about how to leverage conference presentations to advance your career.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Linux sandboxing improvements in Firefox 60

        Continuing our past work, Firefox 60 brings further important improvements to security sandboxing on Linux, making it harder for attackers that find security bugs in the browser to escalate those into attacks against the rest of the system.

        The most important change is that content processes — which render Web pages and execute JavaScript — are no longer allowed to directly connect to the Internet, or connect to most local services accessed with Unix-domain sockets (for example, PulseAudio).

        This means that content processes have to follow any network access restrictions Firefox imposes — for example, if the browser has been set up to use a proxy server, connecting directly to the internet is no longer possible. But more important are the restrictions on connections to local services: they often assume that anything connecting to them has the full authority of the user running it, and either allow it to ask for arbitrary code to run, or aren’t careful about preventing that. Normally that’s not a security problem because the client could just run that code itself, but if it’s a sandboxed Firefox process, that could have meant a sandbox escape.

        In case you encounter problems that turn out to be associated with this feature, the `security.sandbox.content.level` setting described previously can be used for troubleshooting; the network/socket isolation is controlled by level 4. Obviously we’d love to hear from you on Bugzilla too.

      • Switching to JSON for update manifests

        We plan on switching completely to JSON update manifests on Firefox and AMO. If you self-distribute your add-on please read ahead for details.

        AMO handles automatic updates for all add-ons listed on the site. For self-hosted add-ons, developers need to set an update URL and manage the update manifest file it returns. Today, AMO returns an RDF file, a common legacy add-on feature. A JSON equivalent of this file is now supported in Firefox. JSON files are smaller and easier to read. This also brings us closer to removing complex RDF parsing from Firefox code.

        Firefox 62, set to release September 5, 2018, will stop supporting the RDF variant of the update manifest. Firefox ESR users can continue using RDF manifests until the release of Firefox 68 in 2019. Nevertheless, all developers relying on RDF for their updates should read the documentation and switch soon. Firefox 45 introduced this feature, so all current versions of Firefox support it.

      • Visualizing Your Smart Home Data with the Web of Things

        Today we’re mashing up two very different applications to make a cool personal dashboard for investigating all our internet-connected things, and their behavior over time. We can use one of the Web Thing API’s superpowers: its flexibility. Like Elastigirl or Mr. Fantastic, it can bend and stretch to fit into any situation.

      • Tor Browser 7.5.4 is released

        Tor Browser 7.5.4 is now available from the Tor Browser Project page and also from our distribution directory.

        This release features important security updates to Firefox.

      • Firefox 60 and JAWS 2018 back in good browsing conditions together

        When Firefox Quantum was first released in November of 2017, it temporarily regressed users of the JAWS screen reader. I’m happy to report that both Firefox and JAWS once again deliver a first class browsing experience together!

      • These Weeks in Dev-Tools, issue 4

        Welcome to the 4th issue of these weeks in dev-tools! We’ve re-organised the
        teams a little bit and have been working hard towards the 2018 edition release.

        These Weeks in Dev-Tools will keep you up to date with all the exciting dev
        tools news. We plan to have a new issue every few weeks. If you have any news
        you’d like us to report, please comment on the tracking issue.

        If you’re interested in Rust’s developer tools and want to contribute or ask
        questions, come chat to us on Gitter.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.2.12 now available!

      Oracle has released VirtualBox 5.2 Maintenance Release 12.

      Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.2.12 release includes improvements and regression fixes for Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.2.

    • Oracle Adds Initial Linux Kernel 4.17 Support to Its Latest VirtualBox Release

      Oracle announced today the release and immediate availability of the VirtualBox 5.2.12 maintenance update to the company’s open-source and cross-platform virtualization software.

      Coming only three weeks after VirtualBox 5.2.10, the VirtualBox 5.2.12 release appears to be a minor bugfix update that only addresses a possible data corruption in the Serial component, which could occur when data was sent under specific circumstances, and fixes starting and stopping of video recording.

      But there’s also good news for Linux users, as VirtualBox 5.2.12 is the first stable release of the popular virtualization software to add initial support for the upcoming Linux 4.17 kernel, which is currently under development with an RC4 milestone out the door last week. Linux kernel 4.17 should be hitting the streets early next month.

  • BSD

    • MidnightBSD Could Be Your Gateway to FreeBSD

      The Xfce desktop interface will make you feel right at home on MidnightBSD; learn how to set it up in this tutorial from Jack Wallen.
      Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

      FreeBSD is an open source operating system that descended from the famous Berkeley Software Distribution. The first version of FreeBSD was released in 1993 and is still going strong. Around 2007, Lucas Holt wanted to create a fork of FreeBSD that made use of the GnuStep implementation of the OpenStep (now Cocoa) Objective-C frameworks, widget toolkit, and application development tools. To that end, he began development of the MidnightBSD desktop distribution.

      MidnightBSD (named after Lucas’s cat, Midnight) is still in active (albeit slow) development. The latest stable release (0.8.6) has been available since August, 2017. Although the BSD distributions aren’t what you might call user-friendly, getting up to speed on their installation is a great way to familiarize yourself with how to deal with an ncurses installation and with finalizing an install via the command line.

      In the end, you’ll wind up with desktop distribution of a very reliable fork of FreeBSD. It’ll take a bit of work, but if you’re a Linux user looking to stretch your skills… this is a good place to start.

      I want to walk you through the process of installing MidnightBSD, how to add a graphical desktop environment, and then how to install applications.


    • Intel’s Clear Linux Moving For A Quick Rollout Of GCC 8

      Intel’s performance-oriented Clear Linux operating system is already preparing to ship GCC 8.1 as the default compiler and over the days ahead will be rebuilding all of their packages under GCC8.

      GCC 8.1 was released last week and as of today their rolling-release distribution will be shipping GCC 8.1 as the default compiler along with having rebuilt the Linux kernel, Glibc, and other key packages against this major GNU compiler update. They intend to rebuild the whole distribution over the weekend with this new compiler release.

    • CodeSourcery Has Ported OpenMP / OpenACC To AMD GCN GPUs With GCC

      While we have seen AMD GCN and HSA support in the past for the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) we have unfortunately not heard of it being used much, but now CodeSourcery / Mentor Graphics has been working on a new/updated AMD GCN port for execution on Radeon GPUs that allows for OpenMP and OpenACC offloading.

      Andrew Stubbs of CodeSourcery has completed work on a GCN3/GCN5 port for running OpenMP/OpenACC offloaded kernels on the likes of AMD Fiji and Vega graphics cards. They are using the GCC compiler although for now rely upon LLVM for the AMDGPU Assembler and Linker support with there being no AMD GCN support currently in GNU Binutils.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: May 11th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC

      Join the FSF and friends Friday, May 11th, from 12:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT (16:00 to 19:00 UTC) to help improve the Free Software Directory, with this week’s theme of working on music software.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • How citizens become scientists with open hardware

        “Every person’s piece of individual information put together gives you a cloud of real knowledge.”

        Eymund Diegel, a research coordinator for Gowanus Canal Conservancy, shares this tidbit during the first clip of the new Open Source Stories documentary, “The Science of Collective Discovery.” He’s setting out in a canoe on an inner-city canal that is polluted and struggling to get the help it needs.

        That’s the theme of citizen science it seems: people and places in need who are not getting the help and resources they deserve taking matters into their own hands. Why are they not getting the help they need in the first place? The reason is shockingly simple yet a typical problem: Where’s the evidence?

  • Programming/Development


  • Yet Another Message Bug Crashes iPhones, iOS 11.3 and iOS 11.4 Affected

    The message bug crashing WhatsApp on Android is now hitting iPhones as well, only that in Apple’s ecosystem it breaks down Messages to a point where it’s fairly difficult to bring it back.
    Specifically, a specially crafted message that includes invisible Unicode characters causes the Messages app on an iPhone to crash completely. The app no longer launches, despite the typical workarounds like forced closes or phone reboots.

    At this point, the message bug appears to spread online with the following string of emoji, though it’s worth noting that the body can be easily modified by anyone, as long as the invisible Unicode characters are still there:

  • Science

    • Crowd sourcing: We’re all programmed to follow a herd mentality
    • AI Isn’t a Crystal Ball, But It Might Be a Mirror

      We’re using algorithms as crystal balls to make predictions on behalf of society, when we should be using them as a mirror to examine ourselves and our social systems more critically. Machine learning and data science can help us better understand and address the underlying causes of poverty and crime, as long as we stop using these tools to automate decision-making and reinscribe historical injustice.

    • Google’s AI sounds like a human on the phone — should we be worried?

      For example, does Google have an obligation to tell people they’re talking to a machine? Does technology that mimics humans erode our trust in what we see and hear? And is this another example of tech privilege, where those in the know can offload boring conversations they don’t want to have to a machine, while those receiving the calls (most likely low-paid service workers) have to deal with some idiot robot?

    • UNCTAD To Look At Rapid Technological Change And Developing Countries

      Experts will discuss how best technological progress can be used to improve lives and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. “Together we can work towards finding solutions to some of the ethical and governance issues that have arisen across various technologies,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said in the release.

      The event is said to begin with a meeting of Nobel Prize-winning chemist, Prof. Jacques Dubochet and Sir Roger Penrose, the renowned mathematician and physicist, who will discuss ‘recent trends in science and their implications for the future of the world.’


      The event is said to begin with a meeting of Nobel Prize-winning chemist, Prof. Jacques Dubochet and Sir Roger Penrose, the renowned mathematician and physicist, who will discuss ‘recent trends in science and their implications for the future of the world.’

    • Facebook Adds A.I. Labs in Seattle and Pittsburgh, Pressuring Local Universities

      “It is worrisome that they are eating the seed corn,” said Dan Weld, a computer science professor at the University of Washington. “If we lose all our faculty, it will be hard to keep preparing the next generation of researchers.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Collective Efforts By Civil Society Groups Bar The Way To Hepatitis C Patents

      Many hold the view that Gilead’s revolutionary treatment against hepatitis C (sofosbuvir) marked the beginning of a shift in position toward the high prices of medicines, as high-income countries were also faced with an untenable burden to their health systems. In a number of lower and middle-income countries civil society organised itself to increase access to sofosbuvir for millions in need.


      According to Othoman Mellouk of ITPC, the Indian generic pharmaceutical industry has shifted interest in recent years, gotten too large, started playing the game of the pharmaceutical industry, and started taking voluntary licences. Interestingly, he said, there is an emergence of new generic producers in Iran, Morocco, and Egypt. He voiced concerns over alleged efforts by Gilead to call into question the quality of these new generics.

      A push by civil society led Gilead in 2017 to extend its sofosbuvir voluntary licence agreement to Ukraine, Malaysia, Thailand, and Belarus, according to civil society sources.

    • Study Finds Rise In Use Of India’s Section 3(d) Against Pharma Primary Patents [Ed: No hostage of USTR, CoC and other bullies from the West, trying to impose patents on these things]

      Access to affordable medicines is one of the most pressing policy issues globally. India has played a prominent role as “pharmacy of the developing world” with its generic medicine industry; however, the interpretation and implementation of a particular section of the law can significantly affect this role, according to a recent study.

      Authors Bhaven Sampat (Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University) and Kenneth Shadlen (Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science) conducted an empirical study on the use and functioning of Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act 1970.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Misunderstood Intel Documentation Leads to Multivendor Vulnerability

      Major operating system vendors including Microsoft, Apple and Linux distributions somehow misinterpreted Intel documentation about a hardware debugging feature and ended up exposing users to potential risk.

      The flaw, which has been identified as CVE-2018-8897, was publicly reported on May 8, though impacted vendors were notified on April 30 and have already released patches. The flaw could have enabled an unauthenticated user to read sensitive data in memory or control low-level operating system functions.

      “In some circumstances, some operating systems or hypervisors may not expect or properly handle an Intel architecture hardware debug exception,” CERT warned in its advisory on the issue. “The error appears to be due to developer interpretation of existing documentation for certain Intel architecture interrupt/exception instructions, namely MOV to SS and POP to SS.”

    • Open Source: Is Your DevOps Org Vulnerable to an Equifax-Style Hack? [Ed: More of that "DevOps" nonsense. Here we go again. They just allude to sysadmins who failed to patch for MONTHS.]
    • Open Source Developers And Infrastructure Are The New Front Line Of Security [Ed: Whereas proprietary software developers intentionally put back doors in things (instructions from management), so security isn't even much of a consideration]
    • 7 Malicious Chrome Extensions Infected 100,000+ Users, Mined $1000 Cryptocoins
    • Nigelthorn Malware Abuses Chrome Extensions to Cryptomine and Steal Data
    • E-mail Cryptography

      I’ve been working on cryptographic e-mail software for many years now, and i want to set down some of my observations of what i think some of the challenges are. I’m involved in Autocrypt, which is making great strides in sensible key management (see the last section below, which is short not because i think it’s easy, but because i think Autocrypt has covered this area quite well), but there are additional nuances to the mechanics and user experience of e-mail encryption that i need to get off my chest.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Half a Million Pounds of Taxpayers’ Money Bails Out Criminals Jack Straw and Sir Mark Allen

      So the Belhaj family have accepted an apology and half a million pounds of our tax money to drop their legal action against HMG and against Jack Straw personally over their extraordinary rendition to torture in Libya.

      The British establishment, whichever party is in power, continues to do everything possible to cover up the shameful history of its complicity in torture and extraordinary rendition, and in particular to hide the authorisation by Jack Straw and Tony Blair and the involvement of senior MI6 officials like Sir Mark Allen and Sir Richard Dearlove.

      A judicial inquiry by Judge Gibson into British government complicity i torture was cancelled when he showed signs of being an honest and independent man, and was replaced by an inquiry in secret by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament. I gave evidence to that inquiry but no report has ever issued.

    • Congress Aims to Force Pentagon Reform on Open Burning of Munitions

      The next round of Department of Defense funding will come with an important requirement: Congress wants the Pentagon’s outmoded and highly toxic practice of burning old munitions and other explosives in the open air to finally come to a stop.

      The language of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act made public this week, which proposes $717 billion in spending, also demands that the Pentagon report back to Congress with a specific plan for ending the centurylong burning of munitions.

      ProPublica investigated the Pentagon’s open burn program as part of a series of reports on Department of Defense pollution last year. We highlighted a little-known program to incinerate millions of pounds of materials containing dangerous contaminants in the open air at more than 60 sites across the country, often without common-sense protections. The burns posed a substantial risk to service members and nearby civilians, including schoolchildren.

      “The Pentagon will have to tell us what it plans to do to stop this practice,” wrote U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat from New Hampshire, in an emailed statement to ProPublica. Shea-Porter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced the amendment to the spending bill that deals with open burns. Shea-Porter earlier led efforts to curb the Pentagon’s use of open burn pits at overseas bases — a practice believed by medical experts to have sickened thousands of U.S. soldiers — and she has often pressed for action against other defense-related pollution risks at home.

    • War Clouds Gather Around Iran

      In 1953, the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, with the help of the British government, orchestrated a coup against Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq.

      Mossadeq had nationalized the Iranian oil industry, including the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. This was unacceptable to the United Kingdom. A request to the United States for assistance led to “Operation Ajax,” and the overthrow of Mossadeq.

      Mossadeq’s political successor was the Shah of Iran, who ruled with the support of the U.S. and the U.K. until 1979, when he was himself overthrown by a popular revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini.

      None of this is secret. The CIA openly admitted that it was behind the coup in 2013.

      While the coup is not a secret, it remains ancient history in the United States. Maybe even forgotten history.

      But while the U.S. has forgotten, the rest of the world remembers. Iran certainly remembers.

    • The Coming War Against Iran

      I spent nearly 15 years in the CIA. I like to think that I learned something there. I learned how the federal bureaucracy works. I learned that cowboys in government – in the CIA and elsewhere around government – can have incredible power over the creation of policy. I learned that the CIA will push the envelope of legality until somebody in a position of authority pushes back. I learned that the CIA can wage war without any thought whatsoever as to how things will work out in the end. There’s never an exit strategy.

      I learned all of that firsthand in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. In the spring of 2002, I was in Pakistan working against al-Qaeda. I returned to CIA headquarters in May of that year and was told that several months earlier a decision had been made at the White House to invade Iraq. I was dumbfounded, and when told of the war plans could only muster, “But we haven’t caught bin Laden yet.” “The decision has already been made,” my supervisor told me. He continued, “Next year, in February, we’re going to invade Iraq, overthrow Saddam Hussein, and open the world’s largest air force base in southern Iraq.” He went on, “We’re going to go to the United Nations and pretend that we want a Security Council Resolution. But the truth is that the decision has already been made.”


      Trump has kept up his anti-Iran rhetoric since becoming president. More importantly, he has appointed Iran hawks to the two most important positions in foreign policy: former CIA Director Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton as national security advisor. The two have made clear that their preferred policy toward Iran is “regime change,” a policy that is actually prohibited by international law.

      Perhaps the most troubling development, however, is the apparent de facto alliance against Iran by Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent “presentation” on what he called a clandestine Iranian nuclear weapons program was embarrassingly similar to Powell’s heavily scripted speech before the UN Security Council 15 years earlier telling the world that Iraq had a program. That, too, was a lie.

    • Who’s Reacting to Iran Deal Pull-Out? Why, It’s Women in Chadors, Walking Past Anti-US Mural

      Adam Johnson (FAIR.org, 10/21/17) called the “Woman in Chador Walks by Anti-US Mural” image “one of the most overused and toxic stock photos.” Documenting its ubiquity in online US coverage of Iran, Johnson argued that the cliche photo of “one or two Iranian women clad in black chadors, faces usually barely visible, walking past a mural of the Statute of Liberty with a skull face” was intended “to lazily tie together US-bashing and perceived subjugation of women, reinforcing the image of Iran as a country defined by misogyny and seething hate for the West.”

      Iran is big in the news now, as the Trump administration pulls out of the multinational agreement about Iran’s nuclear energy program and generally tries to ramp up hostility toward Tehran (FAIR.org, 5/9/18). And so we’re once again seeing a raft of news reports illustrated with photos whose essential visual message is that Iran hates freedom.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Actors Hired To Play Consumers In Bid To Thwart Renewable Energy in New Orleans

      The nation’s largest, incumbent utilities continue to engage in some pretty shady behavior to try and stop the unstoppable renewable energy (r)evolution. In Florida, for example, we noted how one utility created an entirely bogus consumer group with one purpose: to hamstring solar competition. The group, “Consumers For Smart Solar,” was built specifically by utilities to try and push legislation that claimed to support solar energy, but actually applied all manner of backward and obnoxious restrictions to the alternative energy industry.

      As these companies work to craft legislation that makes it harder on renewable competitors, they’ve ramped up the use of astroturfing to provide the illusion of broad consumer support for their efforts. Not to be outdone by their colleagues in Florida, one Louisiana utility appears to have hired a bunch of actors to express their enthusiastic support for the construction of a gas-based power plant that had been struggling with public approval. Locals had opposed the construction, arguing that claims that the plant was needed to shore up lagging capacity didn’t hold up, and the utility should instead focus on modernization of existing lines.

    • Scott Pruitt Plans to Radically Alter How Clean Air Standards Are Set

      EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Thursday he wants to radically revise how basic, health-based national air quality standards are set, giving more weight to the economic costs of achieving them and taking into account their impacts on energy development.

      Under the law, the standards, setting uniform goals for breathable air, are supposed to be reviewed periodically asking only one question: whether they are protective enough to ensure the health of even the most vulnerable people, based on the best available science.

      A foundational feature of the landmark Clean Air Act, the setting of these standards based on health, and not cost or feasibility, was defended adamantly on the Senate floor in 1970 by the bill’s main author, Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, who declared: “That concept and that philosophy are behind every page of the proposed legislation.”

      It has withstood legal and political tests for a generation.

    • Oil at $70 Means Big Headache For India: A Quick Explainer

      The world economy is enjoying its broadest upswing since 2011 and higher oil prices would drag on household incomes and consumer spending.

  • Finance

    • Provide feedback on interoperability solutions in the European labour market

      The Commission is currently conducting a public online consultation to gather feedback on for semantic and syntactic interoperability solutions in the European labour market. The aim of these solutions is to facilitate exchange and reuse of labour market documents, such as job vacancies and CVs, e.g. in job matching, recruitment and big data analysis.

    • The Bitcoin Implications Of Amazon’s New Streaming Data Patent

      In April 2018, Amazon Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of e-commerce giant Amazon, was granted a patent relating to a “technology for a streaming data marketplace” by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The technology underlying the patent is described as gathering (online) data streams from various sources and enhancing those streams “by correlating the raw data with additional data.” The patent description lists a number of potential use cases for the streaming data feeds that participants in the market place are offering subscriptions to. One notable use case relates to “bitcoin transactions,” with the ultimate goal of identifying users of the virtual currency by their Bitcoin addresses.

      As rightly stated in the patent document, and contrary to common belief, Bitcoin is not an anonymous network. Bitcoin transactions, including the transaction parties’ pseudonymous identities (derived from a pair of two cryptography keys), are publicly available on a ledger called the “blockchain.” For this reason, the date and time of any transaction—and the pseudonymous parties involved—are visible to any participant in the Bitcoin network.

    • OECD Issues Paper On Blockchain And Competition Policy

      The focus will be on helping governments to prevent the misuse of blockchain for illicit activities, the paper says. It also could facilitate the efficient adoption of blockchain technology by governments. Given the transparent and inerasable history of asset transfer, blockchain may be used to limit tax avoidance and enhance enforcement.

    • Goldman Sachs, Apple Team Up on New Credit Card

      Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are preparing to launch a new joint credit card, a move that would deepen the technology giant’s push into its customers’ wallets and mark the Wall Street firm’s first foray into plastic.

    • Where Did Trump’s Cash Come From? — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra

      Last week, the Washington Post had an intriguing story: In the nine years before now-President Donald Trump announced his candidacy, his company paid $400 million in cash to buy a number of properties.

      Real estate companies doing deals usually borrow money for the same reason that many homeowners take out mortgages: Leveraging your money — especially when the cost of borrowing is low, as it has been for a decade — makes your money go further.

      The fact that Trump — the self-styled “king of debt” — didn’t do that in these deals has raised a number of big, basic questions, including how the Trump Organization had so much cash, and why it would use it to purchase properties in all cash.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Covering the Midterms With Electionland 2018

      In the run-up to the 2016 election, ProPublica organized a project called Electionland to cover voting, nationally and in real time. Along with a coalition of news organizations and tech companies, we brought together more than 1,100 journalists around the country to cover impediments like restrictive voting laws, allegations of voter fraud, voter harassment, equipment failures and long lines — all of which can effectively disenfranchise eligible voters and erode the integrity of the vote.

      Today we’re announcing that we’re relaunching Electionland to cover the 2018 midterm elections. Policies and practices that jeopardize Americans’ fundamental right to vote demand scrutiny. And the concerns raised by the 2016 election — about cybersecurity and foreign attempts to sow doubt about the integrity of the election — make this even more urgent.

      We’re recruiting newsrooms interested in collaborating with us to cover these issues. Thanks to our coverage in 2016, New York restored access to its elections hotline during early voting, a Texas poll worker misinterpreting the state’s voter ID law was set straight, and two women denied the ability to vote were able to cast their ballots.

    • The Incredible Bias of the BBC

      Why is the BBC permitted, day after day after day, to pump out programming which actively promotes a political programme far to the right of where the British population actually stand? With the continual over-representation of nutty right wing groups like the Taxpayers’ Alliance and the Henry Jackson Society, while left wing groups of much larger membership such as Stop the War are completely ignored. Why low tax campaigners but no invitation ever to groups like Black Triangle who represent claimants interests? Not to mention the routine ignoring of the SNP, parliament’s third largest party.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Some Fans Worry Spotify Removing R. Kelly’s Music from Playlists Is Censorship

      R. Kelly’s sexual abuse allegations have cost him promotional opportunities on Spotify. The music streaming service announced Thursday, May 10 that it has pulled the singer’s music from editorial and algorithmic playlists as part of a new public hate content and hateful conduct policy it’s enforcing.

    • Spotify Removes R. Kelly From Playlists and People Are Crying “Censorship”

      R. Kelly and XXXTentacion will no longer be found in Spotify playlists as of Thursday. The streaming giant announced a new “Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Policy,” which seeks to promote “openness, diversity, tolerance, and respect.” However, fans of R. Kelly don’t see it that way.

      Spotify on Thursday announced its new policy with intent to remove “content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.” R. Kelly and XXXTentacion happen to be the first artists removed from the company’s editorial and algorithmic playlists, but some worry they won’t be the last, prompting even critics of R. Kelly to defend his music on the streaming platform.

    • South Korea: Criminal defamation provisions threaten freedom of expression

      ARTICLE 19 calls on the Republic of Korea to prioritise the repeal of criminal defamation provisions, including those that criminalise the dissemination of true statements. These provisions constitute a grave threat to freedom of expression in South Korea. The Government must ensure that its legislation complies with its obligations under international law and promotes an environment where everyone is free to express their opinions without fear of retaliation.

      “South Korea’s criminal defamation provisions threaten all those seeking to speak out about official misconduct or criticise the actions of powerful individuals,” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19. “The threat of harsh criminal sanctions, especially imprisonment, severely undermines freedom of expression. The Government must repeal criminal law provisions and instead ensure access to civil remedies in line with international law.”

      Articles 307-312 of South Korea’s Penal Code describe various “crimes against reputation,” including defamation, defamation through printed materials and insult. The publication of “false factual statements” which damage the reputation of others carries a penalty of up to seven years’ imprisonment and a fine. However, truthful statements can also lead to criminal liability. Individuals who defame others by “publicly alleging facts” face up to three years’ imprisonment. In these cases, the defence of truth is only available to defendants who can demonstrate that their communications were made “solely for the public interest.” Individuals may also face up to a year imprisonment for “publicly insult[ing] another”.

    • Venture Beat Reporter Abuses DMCA To Silence A Critic

      Remember when people kept insisting that the DMCA was never used for censorship? Yeah, about that. Last week, we were alerted to how a reporter from VentureBeat/Gamesbeat by the name of James Grubb had sent a DMCA notice for screenshots on a tweet by Jake Magee, who tweets under the account PhoxelHQ. Magee had taken a few screenshots of an article by Grubb and put up a tweet criticizing it. This is quintessential fair use, whether or not you agreed with Magee.

      Apparently Grubb wasn’t thrilled about Magee adding some commentary to Grubb’s game review, and did what any reasonable adult would do: run to the DMCA to shut up a critic…


      While providing a link might have been nice and courteous, it is, in no way, required. The whole point of fair use is that it is, by it’s very nature, permissionless. If you needed permission, that would mean you need a license, and that by definition would mean it’s not fair use. The conditions on fair use are set by the law and not by the copyright holder. If the conditions were set by the copyright holder, there wouldn’t be any fair use at all (and, again, it’s not even clear that Grubb is the copyright holder here!).

      What’s striking about the Twitter discussion back and forth between Grubb and Magee is just how much it’s clear that Grubb couldn’t care less that he abused the law to silence someone. He makes repeated flippant and jokey comments about Magee and Magee’s supporters, and his only apology was for falsely claiming that Magee posted the entire article.

    • Iran’s President Comes Out Against His Country’s Ban On Telegram

      We had just been talking about how Russia and Iran appeared to be taking similar, if not coordinated, actions to block the secure messaging app Telegram from their respective countries. While both countries couched the removal of this useful tool from its own people in the usual concerns over terrorism and national security, it was clear from the beginning that in both cases the concern was much more about dissent against the government rather than any actual violence. After all, with Telegram refusing to give away its encryption keys to these governments, the obvious interest by these countries is to be able to spy on the communications of their peoples.

      The reaction to these bans has, unfortunately, largely been of the shrugging variety. The reputations of Russia and Iran in America being what they are, some of it undeserved, many simply waved this away as authoritarian regimes doing what authoritarian regimes do. With perhaps a dash of Islamophobia mixed in when it comes to Iran, care for the impact on the people there appears to have gone out the window, too. After all, the Supreme Leader chose to block the app, so what is anyone to do?

    • Carey Mulligan rails against movie censorship of bad women

      Women are rarely allowed to be adulterous on screen, Carey Mulligan has said, revealing her frustration at scenes being cut out of films where her character had been “morally objectionable”.

      The British actress said that women were as unfaithful as men in real life but were not “allowed to fail on screen”.

    • Eurovision cancels Chinese broadcast due to LGBTQ censorship

      Following allegations of LBGTQ and tattoo censorship, the remainder of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest will no longer be broadcast in China.

      The decision comes from Eurovision’s organiser, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), who terminated the agreement with China’s Mango TV on Thursday.

    • Chinese censorship of Eurovision prompts LGBT community outcry

      A Chinese broadcaster’s censorship of gay-themed content during this week’s Eurovision Song Contest has fuelled an outcry among the country’s LGBT community and prompted the European Broadcasting Union to halt its relationship with the channel.

      Mango TV, a state broadcaster run by central China’s Hunan province that is widely viewed online, pixelated rainbow flags and cut a Tuesday performance by Irish singer Ryan O’Shaughnessy that included two male dancers portraying a gay relationship.

    • China censors Ireland’s gay-themed Eurovision performance
    • Ryan O’Shaughnessy welcomes Eurovision ban for China over censorship
    • Ryan O’Shaughnessy welcomes Eurovision ban for China over censorship
    • Eurovision cuts out Chinese broadcaster, citing censorship
    • Chinese censorship of Eurovision prompts LGBT community outcry
    • Chinese broadcaster loses Eurovision rights over LGBT censorship
    • Eurovision pulls plug on China after censorship of LGBT act
    • Ryan O’Shaughnessy welcomes Eurovision ban for China over censorship
    • Chinese broadcaster censors LGBT symbols at Eurovision
    • 50 Cent says he’s leaving Instagram over censorship of his photos following alleged sex tape share
    • 50 Cent Officially Leaves Instagram Over Censorship Battle
    • 50 Cent Mocks Kanye West’s Lipo Admission Again, Says He’s Leaving Instagram After Alleged Censorship
    • When governments censor websites and block messaging apps like Telegram, here’s where to turn for proof

      In Iran, use of the messaging app Telegram has officially been banned.

      For some 40 million Iranians, Telegram has been an integral part of daily life, a place to talk with friends and family beyond the reach of government censors. Which is why, after anti-government protests broke out in the final days of 2017, the government instructed the country’s internet service providers to implement temporary controls that would make Telegram harder to use — before outright banning its use this month.

      Anecdotal reports are one thing. But to understand how, exactly, Telegram was being blocked — and to what extent in different parts of the country — researcher Mahsa Alimardani turned to technical data gathered by a watchdog group called the Open Observatory of Network Interference, or OONI.

    • Reported Censorship at a Confucius Institute

      A journalist at Foreign Policy wrote that a reference to her reporting experience in Taiwan was deleted from her biography when she gave a talk at Savannah State University’s Confucius Institute, one of more than 500 such centers worldwide funded by the Chinese government to teach language and culture. The journalist, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, wrote that she later learned the reference to Taiwan in her biography was deleted at the request of the institute’s co-director, Luo Qijuan, who argued that it challenged Chinese sovereignty and threatened to boycott the event if it was not removed. Neither Luo nor the university responded to Foreign Policy’s request for comment.

    • Press Body States Over 94% of Journalists Impose Self-Censorship in Jordan

      Around 94.1 per cent of media practitioners in Jordan exercise self-censorship while only 3.9 per cent label media freedom as “excellent”, according to the Media Freedom Status in 2017 report by the Centre for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ).

      Launched on Wednesday, the report indicated that a total of 17 violations were committed against media practitioners in Jordan in 2017 during which no physical assaults were reported by authorities against journalists.

      “The rate of self-censorship among journalists in 2017 is the highest since 2014 and this is mainly due to journalists’ fear of some legislation that may result in their imprisonment as well as the declining financial conditions of media outlets,” Nidal Mansour, president of the CDFJ, told The Jordan Times, adding “journalists do not want trouble with authorities and do not want to lose their jobs…they just want to make ends meet and avoid conflicts, which automatically make them resort to self-censorship.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Ticketmaster finds a new way to be terrible: facial recognition!
    • Business Is Booming for the U.K.’s Spy Tech Industry

      Driving into Cheltenham from the west, it is hard to miss the offices of Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, the United Kingdom’s surveillance agency. The large, doughnut-shaped building sits behind high-perimeter fencing with barbed wire and many levels of security. The facility – used to eavesdrop on global emails and phone calls – is located on the edge of the sleepy Gloucestershire town, which feels like an incongruous location for one of the world’s most aggressive spy agencies.

      Cheltenham has a population of just 117,000 people, and GCHQ’s presence has turned the area into one of Europe’s central hubs for companies working in the fields of cybersecurity and surveillance. GCHQ says it employs almost 6,000 people in Cheltenham and at some smaller bases around the U.K., although the agency has in recent years secretly expanded its workforce, reportedly employing thousands more staff.

    • EFF and ACLU Can Proceed With Legal Challenge Against Warrantless Searches of Travelers’ Smartphones, Laptops

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the ACLU of Massachusetts won a court ruling today allowing their groundbreaking lawsuit challenging unconstitutional searches of electronic devices at the U.S. border to proceed—a victory for the digital rights of all international travelers.

      EFF and ACLU represent 11 travelers—10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident—whose smartphones and laptops were searched without warrants at the U.S. border. The case, Alasaad v. Nielsen—filed in September against the Department of Homeland Security—asks the court to rule that the government must have a warrant based on probable cause before conducting searches of electronic devices, which contain highly detailed personal information about people’s lives. The case also argues that the government must have probable cause to confiscate a traveler’s device.

      A federal judge in Boston today rejected DHS’s request throw the case out, including the argument that dismissal was justified because the plaintiffs couldn’t show they faced substantial risk of having their devices searched again. Four plaintiffs already have had their devices searched multiple times.

    • The Secure Data Act Would Stop Backdoors

      The bipartisan Secure Data Act would stop any government agency or court order from forcing a company to build backdoors into encrypted devices and communications.

      This welcome piece of legislation reflects much of what the community of encryption researchers, scientists, developers, and advocates have explained for decades—there is no such thing as a secure backdoor. Just last week, EFF convened a panel of true experts on Capitol Hill to explain why government-mandated backdoors face insurmountable technical challenges and will weaken computer security for all. Given that the DOJ and FBI continue to rely on flawed theoretical approaches to key escrow in pushing for “responsible encryption,” we’re glad to see some Congress members are listening to the experts and taking this important step to protect anyone who uses an encrypted device or service.

      EFF supports the Secure Data Act, introduced by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Ted Poe (R-TX), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL). You can read the full bill here.

    • Companies Respond To The GDPR By Blocking All EU Users

      We’ve talked a bunch about the GDPR recently. While the effort is well-meaning (some may disagree with this) and does have some good ideas concerning data control and transparency, we still feel that it was put in place by people who had little idea of the impact it would actually have, and will have disastrous consequences on online speech, in particular. And, since the GDPR has a long-arm aspect that will impact people across the globe (not just in the EU), there has been plenty of scrambling by companies to “become compliant” with the GDPR. This is almost certainly going to lead to a huge number of lawsuits over the next few years, with an awful lot of uncertainty. While some consultants have cleaned up in helping companies become what they hope is “compliant” (hence you probably receiving dozens of updated privacy agreements and terms of service notices lately), some companies have realized it’s just too much of a hassle and decided to block all access to EU users.


      It would have been much better if those crafting the GDPR had actually bothered to listen to the wider concerns. And, barring that, if they hadn’t made the reach of the law go so far beyond EU borders where it will rule over the internet and the rest of us have to deal with. They could have preserved some of the good ideas concerning control and transparency, without creating so much of a mess for everything else. But they chose not to, and now we’re all going to leap off the cliff together and see how everyone ends up.

    • Need to address Aadhaar authentication failures: SC
    • Trump administration approves 10 new drone projects around the country

      Formally known as the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot, the program encourages US cities and states to partner with companies on drone trials that expand how the aircraft are used around the country. This includes, in some cases, allowing drones to fly over crowds, beyond the pilot’s line of sight, and at night — situations that are usually prohibited unless the person flying obtains an official waiver from the FAA.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • “Muslims Don’t Believe In Photos, Why Worry Over Jinnah Portrait”: Ramdev

      On May 3, 28 students and 13 cops were injured in clashes that broke out between AMU students and the police, over the former demanding action against right-wing protesters who entered the campus and wanted Jinnah’s portrait removed from the student union office, where it has been hanging for decades.

    • Please keep Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s portrait, banish his bigotry

      The demand to remove Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s portrait from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) misses the point. The problem is not the portrait. The problem is the toxic ideas the portrait represents.

    • Sex with 10yo not rape, Finnish court rules in migrant’s case

      In a case that has triggered public outrage, a top Finnish court has upheld a ruling that sex between an asylum seeker and a 10-year-old girl didn’t constitute rape. Critics are calling for harsher sentences for child abuse.

    • Haspel Says CIA Won’t Torture Again as Ray McGovern is Dragged Out of Hearing

      Instead of facing a judge to defend herself against prosecution for violating U.S. law prohibiting torture, 33-year CIA veteran Gina Haspel on Wednesday faced the Senate Intelligence Committee in a hearing to confirm her as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

      Haspel does not look like someone who would be associated with torture. Instead she would not be out of place as your next door neighbor or as a kindly grade-school teacher. “I think you will find me to be a typical middle-class American,” she said in her opening statement.

      Haspel is the face of America. She not only looks harmless, but looks like she wants to help: perhaps to recommend a good gardener to hire or to spread democracy around the globe while upholding human rights wherever they are violated.

      But this perfectly typical middle class American personally supervised a black site in Thailand where terrorism suspects were waterboarded. It remains unclear whether she had a direct role in the torture. The CIA said she arrived at the black site after the waterboarding of senior al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah had taken place. Some CIA officials disputed that to The New York Times. The newspaper also reported last year that Haspel ran the CIA Thai prison in 2002 when another suspect, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was waterboarded.

    • How Will the Supreme Court Treat Donald Trump?

      On April 25, the Supreme Court heard its final argument for the current term—fittingly, in Trump v. Hawaii, the challenge to President Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban.” That case will provide the first direct Supreme Court test of this administration’s excesses. But it is only one of the many blockbuster cases still to be decided this term—in nearly all of which the administration has urged the Court to adopt radical positions, overruling or disregarding precedent to further the White House’s political ends. By the end of June, when it recesses for the summer, we will have a much better sense of whether the newly reconstituted Roberts Court, joined by Neil Gorsuch last term, will prove a brake on the president, or an aider and abettor in his radical schemes. (Disclaimer: The ACLU, where I serve as national legal director, is counsel in several of the cases discussed here and has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in most of the others.)

      In the Muslim-ban case, the administration argues that the Court should simply ignore abundant evidence that Trump intended to ban Muslims by using nations as proxies for religion. This argument breaks from precedent instructing that, in assessing whether the government has violated the establishment clause by favoring or disfavoring a particular religion, judges must review all “publicly available evidence” and cannot “turn a blind eye to the context in which [the] policy arose.” Solicitor General Noel Francisco sought to close his oral argument with a flourish by claiming that Trump had been “crystal-clear…that he had no intention of imposing the Muslim ban.” But the opposite is true, and the following week Trump insisted, yet again, that he would not apologize for the ban. To side with the president and uphold an unprecedented bar to entry for 150 million people, virtually all of them Muslim, would mark a radical and disturbing departure from the Court’s establishment-clause precedent.

    • Police ‘Command and Control’ Culture Is Often Lethal — Especially for People With Disabilities

      When Milwaukee police killed Adam Trammell, a Black resident of the city, he was unarmed and alone in his locked apartment, just taking a shower. The police came because a neighbor had called them and reported that Trammel was acting “oddly.” Police arrived to do a “wellness check,” already knowing Trammell had schizophrenia. Trammell was not wanted for a crime. He was not a threat. But he wound up dead at the hands of law enforcement.

      Footage from a police body camera shows what happened.

      Police called out to “Brandon” — the wrong name. They got no answer, so officers broke down his front door. They found Trammell showering in the bathroom, pulled back his shower curtain, and told him to come out of the shower. When he did not respond immediately, they tased him. Trammell screamed, fell down in the shower, and passed out. As soon as he came to, police again began demanding that he exit the shower. When he sat there rocking, they tased him again. He screamed again. Over the next 30 minutes, the police tased him 18 times.

      Trammell died on his living room floor. He was 22.

      When police know — or should know — that they are interacting with a person with a disability, police have a legal obligation to proceed in ways that take into account the person’s disability. Most such changes are simple: recognize that it may take time for the person to understand what is happening, create a calm environment, have one person communicate simply and clearly, allow time for the person to respond to questions or instructions, and exercise patience.

    • McCain urges Senate to reject Haspel’s nomination
    • Court: FBI Agents Can Be Held Accountable For Tossing Immigrants On The No-Fly List Because They Refused To Be Informants

      The Second Circuit Appeals Court has revived a lawsuit brought by a group of Muslim men who allege the FBI placed them on the “no fly” list after they refused to become informants. This is not unusual behavior — on the part of the FBI. Documents obtained by The Intercept show the CBP and FBI routinely pressure immigrants and visitors to become informants, threatening them with deportation or adverse decisions on visa requests.

      In this case, the lead plaintiff, Muhammad Tanvir, claims the FBI pursued him for months. The effort to convert Tanvir into an informant led to him being detained for hours any time he tried to fly, as well as being subjected to periodic visits from FBI agents at his workplace. Despite being a lawful resident, Tanvir was threatened with arrest and deportation for refusing to submit to a polygraph test. After returning from a trip to Pakistan to visit his family, Tanvir was detained for five hours by federal agents and his passport confiscated for six months. This confiscation was leveraged against Tanvir, with agents telling him he would be deported if he did not cooperate.

      These tactics are expressly forbidden by the DOJ and yet, they appear to be in common use. Tanvir’s experience with the FBI roughly aligns with that of his co-litigants. They sued the FBI agents who harassed and threatened them, claiming the tactics violated their religious freedom. In the plaintiffs’ view, becoming an informant meant violating their religious beliefs. The district court ruled they could not pursue these claims against the federal agents under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Why the Internet is suddenly protesting on net neutrality all over again
    • FCC Boss Celebrates As Net Neutrality Gets An End Date: June 11

      Of course if you’ve been following the net neutrality fight this claim is laughable. Giving telecom monopolies operating in a broken market unchecked authority to abuse a lack of competition will raise rates and stifle free expression in a myriad of ways. From bogus usage caps and zero rating to interconnection shenanigans (where ISPs use their power to drive up costs for transit and content competitors), these costs and unfair restrictions, sooner or later, will be dropped in the lap of consumers, startups and smaller competitors across the entire internet ecosystem.

    • The WIRED Guide to Net Neutrality

      Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon should treat all content flowing through their cables and cell towers equally. That means they shouldn’t be able to slide some data into “fast lanes” while blocking or otherwise discriminating against other material. In other words, these companies shouldn’t be able to block you from accessing a service like Skype, or slow down Netflix or Hulu, in order to encourage you to keep your cable package or buy a different video-streaming service.

    • The Senate has forced a vote to restore net neutrality

      So far, 50 senators have come out in support of the bill: 48 Democrats together with Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). Activists have targeted moderate Republicans like Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) as a possible 51st vote. The 2015 net neutrality rules are still broadly popular, which activists hope will make members of Congress wary of voting against them.

    • Net neutrality, mergers, AT&T, and Michael Cohen: what we know so far
    • AT&T Continues Fight To Gut FTC Authority Over Broadband Monopolies

      For years, massive broadband providers (and the lawmakers and think tankers paid to love them) have repeatedly stated that gutting net neutrality and FCC oversight of ISPs is no big deal because the FTC will rush in and protect consumers. When ISPs like Comcast convinced the Trump FCC to kill net neutrality, they repeatedly proclaimed that the FTC would step in and ensure that nothing bad would happen. When ISPs lobbied Congress to kill off some modest consumer privacy protections, again they proclaimed that this was no big deal because the FTC would ride in and keep consumers safe from monopoly bad behavior.

      But while ISP lobbyists are claiming that neutering the FCC is a great idea because the FTC will fill the void, they consistently “forget” to mention that AT&T has been busy in court trying to gut FTC authority over ISPs entirely. You’d think that’s kind of important to mention, but large ISP mouthpieces are understandably busy these days, so perhaps it just got lost in the lobbyist paperwork shuffle.

    • T-Mobile pays ex-FCC commissioner to lobby for Sprint merger

      The author is Robert McDowell, a Republican who served on the Federal Communications Commission from 2006 to 2013. McDowell’s position on T-Mobile’s $26 billion purchase of Sprint is no surprise because T-Mobile is paying him to help secure government approval of the merger.

    • Senate will vote to kill or keep net neutrality rules by June 12

      The Senate will have to vote on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval, which would nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s December 2017 vote to repeal the nation’s net neutrality rules. The CRA was filed in February, and Democrats today filed the discharge petition that will force the full Senate to vote on it.

    • La Quadrature is ten years old! Assessing the past and opening fresh perspectives

      This year, La Quadrature du Net celebrates its ten year anniversary. It has been a long road since March 2008, where in the face of a disturbing wave of repressive policies, five activists – Christophe Espern, Jérémie Zimmermann, Philippe Aigrain, Gérald Sedrati-Dinet and Benjamin Sonntag, who had met during the fight against the DADVSI law and software patents and for the promotion of commons – decided to create a collective to carry the values of the Free Internet against repeated mercantile and securitarian threats.

      La Quadrature has since had its share of successes. It has become an important defender of fundamental rights in the digital era, both at a French and International level. Along the way, it has developed strong and productive ties with many activists groups and individuals.

  • DRM

    • Apple Plans to Sell Video Subscriptions Through TV App

      For the first time, Apple plans to begin selling subscriptions to certain video services directly via its TV app, rather than asking users to subscribe to them through apps individually downloaded from the App Store, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Decoding the Scope of Patent Protection: Singapore after Eli Lilly v. Actavis [Ed: The most important question is, where to put limits on patents? There must be limits, based on economic/scientific evidence. Otherwise patents won't be worth the paper they're printed on.]

      Prior to Actavis, the Singapore courts both endorsed and applied the purposive approach to patent construction developed by the UK courts in Catnic Components v. Hill & Smith [1982] RPC 183; Improver Corporation v. Remington [1990] FSR 181; and Kirin-Amgen v. Hoechst [2005] RPC 9 (“Kirin-Amgen”). The adoption of UK jurisprudence was a natural consequence of the close similarities between the governing legislation in Singapore and the UK, respectively, namely the Singapore Patents Act (the “PA”) and the UK Patents Act. For example, s 113 of the PA, whose terms are materially similar to s 125 of the UK Patents Act, provides that the invention for a patent shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be taken to be that specified in a claim of the specification as interpreted by the description and any drawings contained in that specification.

      Post Actavis, the Singapore Court of Appeal recently had the occasion, in the matter of Lee Tat Cheng v. Maka GPS Technologies Pte Ltd [2018] SGCA 18 (“Lee Tat Cheng”), to determine whether the principles espoused by the UK Supreme Court ought to be similarly applied in Singapore. The Court of Appeal first observed that in Actavis, the UK Supreme Court was bound to give effect to the Protocol on the Interpretation of Article 69 of the EPC (the “Protocol”) in interpreting s 125 of the UK Patents Act. In particular, the Court of Appeal noted that Actavis made a distinction between the interpretation of a claim in a patent from the extent of the protection afforded by that patent. This distinction was said to lie in the need to take account of equivalents and represented a significant departure from the established position that the extent of the protection conferred under a claim is exactly what that claim, properly construed, encompasses.

    • As ZTE struggles to stay afloat, don’t expect its patent portfolio to hit the open market

      Several weeks into the ZTE crisis, it is becoming clear that the sanctions imposed on the firm by the US government really do constitute an existential threat. But even if the company does end up shuttering or selling off major parts of its operating business, I don’t think we’ll see its considerable IP portfolio hit the open market. The Shenzhen-based telecom major is reeling from a seven-year ban on acquiring US technology imposed by the Trump Administration.

    • Top court in China’s high tech manufacturing heartland issues SEP guidelines

      On 26th April, the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong issued official guidance on deciding SEP disputes in the field of telecommunications. The provisional guidelines are set for trial implementation, and they offer an important clue as to what factors courts in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and other parts of the southern Chinese province will consider when making FRAND determinations. The document covers issues including infringement determinations, royalty rate calculations, and antitrust considerations. They come just one year after the Higher People’s Court of Beijing included SEP rules as part of a broader guide to patent infringement cases.

    • Hatch-Waxman filing in Delaware surged 60% in 2017

      Hatch-Waxman pharma patent litigation filings last year rose to near-2015 levels. Lex Machina’s new ANDA litigation report also reveals data on judges, plaintiffs, defendants and law frms

      Lex Machina’s Hatch-Waxman ANDA Litigation Report 2018 report reveals the number of pharmaceutical patent cases filed in district court rebounded to 417 filings in 2017 from 324 filings in 2016 – coming up on 2015’s high of 475 filings.

    • Trademarks

      • Doctor! Doctor! My trade mark opposition has been dismissed!

        This Kat had to study for her Dr title, unlike Andre Romelle Young who gave himself the stage name Dr Dre. The world- famous rapper and producer, recently failed to oppose the application of a trade mark filed by medical Doctor Draion M. Burch.


        Both parties submitted evidence which included printouts of websites, such as pages purporting to show the notoriety, strength, and fame of Dr Dre and his trade marks, and Internet printouts from Amazon.com regarding Applicant’s principal Draion Burch’s book sales. This evidence is admissible [Trademark Rule 2.122(e)(2), 37 C.F.R. § 2.122(e)(2)].

        However, the parties were reminded by the US Patent and Trade Mark Office that it only constitutes hearsay and may not be relied upon for the truth of the matters asserted unless a competent witness has testified to the truth of such matters [Fed. R. Evid. 801(c) and 803; Safer, Inc. v. OMS Invs., Inc., 94 USPQ2d 1031, 1040 (TTAB 2010)]. But, Board goes on, where a party acknowledges as fact any portion of the evidence, those portions are submitted to the record as truth.

    • Copyrights

      • As NAFTA Negotiations Finish Up, Hopefully The USTR Remembers That The Internet Has Been Good For Creators Too

        Over at MorningConsult I have an op-ed piece I co-wrote with Rachel Wolbers from Engine talking about why the continued attempt by Hollywood to portray debates over intermediary liability protections and fair use as being “tech” v. “creators” is completely misguided. As we’ve noted, Hollywood has used this framing to try to use the NAFTA renegotiations as a backdoor way to adjust US policy both here and in Canada and Mexico. And the end result would harm not just the internet but most creators who rely on the internet to create, promote, connect with fans, and to make money.

      • The More Copyright Holders Move Up The Stack, The More They Put Everyone At Risk

        We’ve raised some questions in the past about this process of copyright holders moving up the stack — and not just targeting the content hosts, but companies further upstream, including ad providers, domain registers and registrars, and the like. There are serious issues with each of these, but going after security certificates seems especially pernicious.

        But Matt was a bit off in his predicted timing on this. After his article ran, we learned of at least a few examples of copyright holders going after security certificate providers. Take for example this copyright notice that was sent to Squarespace (the host), Tucows (the domain register), and Let’s Encrypt (the security certificate provider).

      • Hearing Monday: EFF Asks Appeals Court To Rule Copyright Can’t Be Used To Control the Public’s Access to Our Laws

        EFF represents Public.Resource.org, a website by a nonprofit organization that works to improve public access to government documents, including our laws. To fulfill that mission, it acquires and posts online a wide variety of public documents, including regulations that are initially created through private standards organizations but later incorporated into mandatory federal and state law.

        Public.Resource.org was sued by six huge private industry groups that work on fire, safety, energy efficiency, and educational testing standards. The industry groups claim copyright over parts of laws—published online by Public.Resource.org—that began as private standards, and they claim they can decide who can access and copy that law, and on what terms.

      • ABS-CBN Targets ‘Pirate’ Streaming Box Vendor in Canada

        ABS-CBN, the largest media and entertainment company in the Philippines, is continuing its legal campaign against piracy.

        Over the past several years, the company has singled out dozens of streaming sites that offer access to ‘Pinoy’ content without permission, both in the US and abroad.

        This week it filed a new case in Canada, that’s different from the ones we’ve seen before. Instead of going after site operators, ABS-CBN is suing a ‘bricks-and-mortar’ store located at the Kennedy Square Mall in Brampton, Ontario.

        The company announced that it has filed a lawsuit at the Canadian Federal Court seeking CAD$2.5 million in damages for alleged copyright and infringement, and another CAD$2.5 million for trademark infringement.

      • Nike, Great Protectors Of IP, Found To Be Infringing On Copyright And Refusing To Pay After Software Audit

        A brief review of Nike’s history on matters of intellectual property will result in the impression that the company is a stalwart of IP protection. The company has been fond in the past of relying on intellectual property laws to take strong enforcement actions, even when the targets of those actions are laughably dwarfed by the company’s sheer size. Like many massive athletic apparel companies, it jealously protects its trademarks and patents. And, yet, it has been found in the past to be perfectly willing to infringe on the trademark rights of others.

      • Halifax police won’t charge teen arrested in Nova Scotia privacy breach

        Halifax Regional Police say they won’t be charging a 19-year-old man arrested last month for downloading files from Nova Scotia’s freedom-of-information portal.

        Spokesperson Neera Ritcey said in an email Monday that after a thorough investigation, police determined there were no grounds to lay a charge of unauthorized use of a computer against the teen.

        That charge carries a possible 10-year prison sentence.

        On April 11, the 19-year-old was arrested at his Halifax home, where he lives with his parents and siblings. In an interview with CBC News following his arrest, he said 15 officers raided the house.

      • Police Drop Charges Filed Against 19-Year-Old Who Downloaded Public Documents From Gov’t FOI Portal

        Last month, we covered the incredible case of an unnamed 19-year-old who was facing criminal charges for downloading publicly-available documents from a government Freedom of Information portal. The teen had written a script to fetch all available documents from the Nova Scotia’s government FOI site — a script that did nothing more than increment digits at the end of the URL to find everything that had been uploaded by the government.

        The government screwed up. It uploaded documents to the publicly-accessible server that hadn’t been redacted yet. It was a very small percentage of the total haul — 250 of the 7,000 docs obtained — but the government made a very big deal out of it after discovering they had been accessed.

      • Developer Accidentally Makes Available 390,000 ‘Pirated’ eBooks

        A developer who forgot about an old DNS setting has revealed how he unknowingly became a prolific eBook pirate. Nick Janetakis pointed a sub-domain towards a DigitalOcean droplet but failed to delete the record after the droplet expired. It was subsequently picked up by persons unknown who used it to make available more than 390,000 ‘pirated’ eBooks. Or did they?


Links 10/5/2018: Battle for Wesnoth 1.14, Tails 3.7, Devuan 2.0 RC

Posted in News Roundup at 9:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Looking for old game source Conquer (FOUND)

    Years later I met someone who had helped write a similar game called Dominion which is also very similar. The game has been kept up and is under a GPL license which is probably why it is still findable.

  • Summer of Code: Small steps

    As a first step towards working encryption and decryption, I obviously needed to create some PGP keys for testing purposes. As a regular user of OpenPGP I knew how to create keys using the command line tool GnuPG, so I started up the key creation by typing “gpg –generate-key”. I chose the key type to be RSA with a length of 2048 bits, as those settings are also the defaults recommended by GnuPG itself. When it came to entering user id information though, things got a little more complicated. GnuPG asks for the name of the user, their email address and a comment. XEP-0373 states, that the user id packet of a PGP key MUST be of the format “xmpp:juliet@capulet.lit”. My first thing to figure out was, if I should enter that String as the name, email or as a comment. I first tried with the name, upon which GnuPG complained, that neither name, nor comment is allowed to contain an email address. Logically my next step was to enter the String as the users email address. Again, GnuPG complained, this time it stated, that “xmpp:juliet@capulet.lit” was not a valid Email address. So I got stuck.

  • At The Source, Exploring the Blockchain Realm of GitHub

    Blockchain/cryptocurrency projects & the ever-mysterious open-source. If you come from a nontechnical background, you’ve probably wondered just exactly what open-source means; if you’ve hung around developers, in particular, you might’ve even heard about the powerful GitHub & the world of repositories. If you aren’t familiar with a terminal console, you likely aren’t familiar with previous terms.

    Yet understanding how open-source repositories work, as well as exploring the very basics of the GitHub platform, is probably one of the most effective ways to understand cryptocurrencies & their respective communities at a deeper level.

    Code talks. And learning how to view the source code for cryptocurrencies projects by yourself, regardless of your programming proficiency (or lack of), is an indispensable tool.

  • QElectroTech: An Open Source Wiring Diagram Tool

    There’s a few open source options out there for creating electrical schematics. KiCad and Fritzing are two that will take you from schematic capture to PCB layout. However, there’s been limited options for creating wiring diagrams. Often these are created in Microsoft’s Visio, which is neither open source nor well suited for the task.

  • 3 Ways to Use ART – IBM’S Open Source AI Security Library

    IBM’s Adversarial Robustness Toolbox, an open AI library, was released in April. Since then, developers have found some interesting uses for the tool.

    IBM launched an open library to help secure artificial intelligence systems in April.

    They call it the Adversarial Robustness Toolbox (ART) to help developers better protect AI systems and neural network. It contains benchmarks, defenses, and attacks in a framework-agnostic library.

  • Google Open Sources Seurat To Bring PC-Level VR To Mobile

    This year’s Google I/O developer conference might not have had much to share about VR, but one of the biggest reveals of last year’s event is now available to all.

  • Events

    • SecureDrop development sprint in PyCon 2018

      SecureDrop will take part in PyCon US development sprints (from 14th to 17th May). This will be first time for the SecureDrop project to present in the sprints.

      If you never heard of the project before, SecureDrop is an open source whistleblower submission system that media organizations can install to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. Currently, dozens of news organizations including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Associated Press, USA Today, and more, use SecureDrop to preserve the anonymous tipline in an era of mass surveillance. SecureDrop is installed on-premises in the news organizations, and journalists and source both use a web application to interact with the system. It was originally coded by the late Aaron Swartz and is now managed by Freedom of the Press Foundation.

    • Highlights from the OpenStack project teams gathering

      A few weeks back in Dublin, Ireland, OpenStack engineers gathered from dozens of countries and companies to discuss the next release of OpenStack. This is always my favorite OpenStack event, because I get to do interviews with the various teams, to talk about what they did in the just-released version (Queens, in this case) and what they have planned for the next one (Rocky).

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Open for business: Firefox Quantum is ready for IT

        The new, super fast Firefox supports Windows Group Policy, so enterprise IT pros can easily configure the browser for organizational use.

        In the fall of 2017, Mozilla introduced Firefox Quantum — the blazing fast, completely reinvented Firefox. The new Firefox quickly won critical acclaim, with Wired writing that “Firefox Quantum is the browser built for 2017”.

      • Firefox 60 Is Here, And It (Finally) Includes Linux CSD Support

        Firefox 60 is now available to download and among the changes it sports is support for CSD on Linux.

        The latest stable release of Mozilla’s hugely influentially open-source web browser also brings a number of other tweaks, including a somewhat controversial change to the new tab page…

      • Firefox 60 released
      • An Enterprising Future

        So, to say that I’m happy about this particular release would be an understatement. I’m absolutely ecstatic that Mozilla decided that adding support for enterprise features was important.

        But I have to admit something; over the years in my zeal to get enterprise support into Firefox, I’ve encouraged just about every method possible to get customizations into Firefox. As a result, I know there are many installations of Firefox that use methods that are definitely not recommended anymore, especially now that we have real policy support.

      • Things Gateway – Monitoring Solar Panels
      • L10N Report: May Edition

        Activity Stream has become an integral part of Firefox, officially replacing the existing New Tab and soon integrating code for displaying snippets and onboarding content. For this reason, we’re working on moving translations to mozilla-central.

        Currently, Activity Stream is managed as a stand-alone project in Pontoon, and store its translations in a GitHub repository. Once this meta bug is fixed, Activity Stream’s strings will be exposed as part of the Firefox project.

        While this makes the relation between Activity Stream and Firefox more obvious for localizers, it will also allow to make some improvements in the future, like reducing the lag between translations landing in repositories and actually being available for testing in Firefox.

      • Firefox 61 Enters Development with Faster Tab Switching on Linux and Windows

        Now that Mozilla released the final Firefox 60 “Quantum” web browser, it’s time for them to concentrate on the next release, Firefox 61, which enters beta testing today with a bunch of much-needed enhancements.

        While Firefox 60 marked the Quantum series as ready for enterprise deployments, Firefox 61 will focus on performance enhancements and improvements of all sorts. For starters, Firefox 61 promises to enable faster tab switching on both GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows platforms and makes WebExtensions run in their own process on Apple’s macOS.

        Talking about WebExtensions, Firefox 61 will improve the way they manage and hide tabs. Mac users are also getting a new feature in the Page Actions menu that allows them to share the current URL with the sharing providers from macOS, and it looks like the dark theme will receive various improvements for a more consistent experience across Firefox’s user interface.

      • Firefox 61 Beta Brings Quantum CSS Improvements, Faster Tab Switching

        Rounding out today’s Firefox 60 release comes with promoting Firefox 61 to beta.

        Firefox 61.0 is now available in beta form and it excites us a lot for a sizable amount of performance work that’s been ongoing. Among the work to find with the Firefox 61 Beta are Quantum CSS improvements for faster page rendering times, improved page rendering speed thanks to retained display lists, and faster switching between tabs on Linux/Windows.

      • Firefox 60 for Android Brings Faster Page Rendering, New View Page Source Option

        Mozilla released today the Firefox 60 “Quantum” web browser for supported desktop platforms, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows, as well as for Google’s Android mobile operating system.

        Mozilla Firefox 60 “Quantum” is the next ESR (Extended Support Release) version of the open-source and cross-platform web browser, introducing USB token based authentication support, enhancements to New Tab and Firefox Home pages, revamped Cookies and Site Storage section, enhanced camera privacy indicators, better WebRTC audio performance and playback on Linux, and a new a policy engine to make enterprise deployments a breeze for IT professionals.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL visits LSFMM

      The recent fsync() woes experienced by PostgreSQL led to a session on the first day (April 23) of the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM). Those problems also led to a second-day session with PostgreSQL developer Andres Freund who gave an overview of how PostgreSQL does I/O and where that ran aground on some assumptions that had been made. The session led to a fair amount of discussion with the filesystem-track developers; real solutions seem to be in the offing.

      PostgreSQL is process-based; there are no threads used, Freund said. It does write-ahead logging (WAL) for durability and replication. That means it logs data before it is marked dirty and the log is flushed before the dirty data is written. Checkpointing is done in the background with writes that are throttled as needed. In general, all data I/O is buffered, though the WAL can use direct I/O.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • Best Free Photoshop Alternative: GIMP

      Adobe Photoshop is a household name, and is widely regarded as one of, if not THE best photo editing and image manipulation suites around.

      Basically, it’s an industry leader, and if you work in a professional industry that relates to photography, publishing, design or any other simiar creative sphere, chances are it takes centre stage.

      It’s useful in a non-professional capacity too, however, being a much more powerful editing suite than things like Microsoft Paint.

      But the problem is, it’s expensive. You have to buy Adobe Photoshop and it costs a fair bit to do so. Hardly surprising that quite a few alternative software packages have emerged over the years for those on a budget, or for those who don’t want to pay a penny.

      For this article I could have quite easily put together a list of multiple different free alternatives to Adobe Photoshop, however, from my years of dabbling with what’s available there’s only one I can really say is worth bothering with – Gnu Image Manipulation Program, aka GIMP.

    • You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion ‘joke’ diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed

      Late last month, open-source contributor Raymond Nicholson proposed a change to the manual for glibc, the GNU implementation of the C programming language’s standard library, to remove “the abortion joke,” which accompanied the explanation of libc’s abort() function.

      Nicholson said: “The joke does not provide any useful information about the abort() function so removing it will not hinder use of glibc.”

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Containers and license compliance

      Containers are, of course, all the rage these days; in fact, during his 2018 Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW) talk, Dirk Hohndel said with a grin that he hears “containers may take off”. But, while containers are easy to set up and use, license compliance for containers is “incredibly hard”. He has been spending “way too much time” thinking about container compliance recently and, beyond the standard “let’s go shopping” solution to hard problems, has come up with some ideas. Hohndel is a longtime member of the FOSS community who is now the chief open source officer at VMware—a company that ships some container images.

      He said that he would be using Docker in his examples, but he is not picking on Docker, it is just a well-known container management system. His talk is targeting those that want to ship an actual container image, rather than simply a Dockerfile that a customer would build into an image. He has heard of some trying to avoid “distributing” free and open-source software that way, but is rather skeptical of that approach.


  • It Ain’t Innovation if No One Wants To Buy What You’re Selling

    In case you missed it, last month Gibson, the famed guitar company, filed for bankruptcy. Matt LeMay has a really fascinating and worth reading Medium post up, claiming that Gibson’s failure is a “cautionary tale about innovation.” He compares what Gibson’s management did over the past few years to another big name in guitars: Fender. And finds quite a telling story in the contrast.

    Specifically, he notes that Gibson doubled down on “innovation” and trying to come up with something new — almost none of which really seemed to catch on, while more or less ignoring the core product. Meanwhile, Fender took a step back and looked at what the data showed concerning what its existing customers wanted, and realized that it wasn’t serving the customer as well as it could. LeMay points to a Forbes interview with Fender CEO,

  • Hardware

    • Qualcomm Plans Exit From Server Chips

      Qualcomm Inc., the biggest maker of mobile-phone chips, is preparing to give up its push to develop processors for data-center servers, an effort that sought to break Intel Corp.’s hold on the lucrative market, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans.

      The San Diego-based company is exploring whether to shutter the unit or look for a new owner for the division, which was working on ways to get technology from ARM Holdings Plc into the market for chips that are at the heart of servers, the person said. ARM is one of Intel’s only rivals in developing semiconductor designs, and its architecture is primarily used in less power-intensive products, such as smartphones.


      Qualcomm began selling a server chip, the Centriq 2400, based on ARM technology last year. At the time, the company said the chips, which were manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co., offered better results than an Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 processor, based on energy efficiency and cost. At the public introduction of the server chip line in November, potential customers such as Microsoft Corp. took to the stage to voice their interest in the offering. Since then, Qualcomm has been silent about its progress.

    • Qualcomm Reportedly Wanting To Exit ARM Server CPU Business

      Calxeda as the first interesting ARM-based servers didn’t pan out and the company went bust, attempts by the likes of AMD at ARM server CPUs so far have not panned out, and now today is a report that Qualcomm is looking to end its Centriq server CPU line or sell off that division.

      While the parts began shipping and they have some interesting offers up to a 48-core SoC and they were punctual with their Linux kernel support for these “Falkor” CPU cores, GCC support, etc. It looks like the Centriq server division isn’t making financial sense for Qualcomm. This is a bit surprising with their current Centriq wares offering competitive cost and performance-per-Watt to the x86 server competition.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • [DE] UPDATE: DFN-CERT-2018-0862 GNU Wget: Eine Schwachstelle ermöglicht die Manipulation von Cookies
    • A new strain of IoT malware can survive a reboot

      As scary as the epidemics of malware for Internet of Things devices have been, they had one saving grace: because they only lived in RAM (where they were hard to detect!), they could be flushed just by rebooting the infected gadget.

      But a new strain of malware, dubbed “Hide n Seek,” can live through a power-cycle: it writes a copy of itself to the /etc/init.d/ directory in the IoT device’s embedded GNU/Linux system, where startup programs are stored. When a device that’s been infected this way is rebooted, it is freshly infected.

    • World of Warcraft attacker jailed in US

      The Romanian citizen – who had been extradited to Los Angeles to face the charges – pleaded guilty in February to one count of causing damage to a protected computer.

    • Are you using Python module ‘SSH Decorator’? Newer versions include a backdoor

      Early this week, a developer noticed that multiple backdoored versions of the SSH Decorate module, the malicious code included in the library allowed to collect users’ SSH credentials and sent the data to a remote server controlled by the attackers.

    • Crypto backdoors are in the news again, and as bad for privacy as ever

      What is troubling, though, is that Ozzie’s reputation as one of the foremost engineers of recent years will allow some to claim that the backdoor puzzle has now been “solved” – because Ray Ozzie says it has. That’s definitely not the case, as the two critiques mentioned above, and others elsewhere, make plain. But politicians won’t worry about such technical niceties when it comes to calling for laws that mandate these “safe” backdoors in devices. That’s why it’s important that everyone who cares about their privacy and security should be ready to push back against attempts to turn a flawed idea into a flawed reality.

    • Ray Ozzie’s Encryption Backdoor

      I have no idea why anyone is talking as if this were anything new. Several cryptographers have already explained explained why this key escrow scheme is no better than any other key escrow scheme. The short answer is (1) we won’t be able to secure that database of backdoor keys, (2) we don’t know how to build the secure coprocessor the scheme requires, and (3) it solves none of the policy problems around the whole system. This is the typical mistake non-cryptographers make when they approach this problem: they think that the hard part is the cryptography to create the backdoor. That’s actually the easy part. The hard part is ensuring that it’s only used by the good guys, and there’s nothing in Ozzie’s proposal that addresses any of that.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Meaning of Verification in Iran, Syria and North Korea

      Donald Trump bombed Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons last month and he has now officially pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran.

      But Syria officially has no chemical weapons and Iran has no nuclear ones. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)verifiedSyria to be chemical free, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verifiedIran’s consistent and continued compliance with the JCPOA. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, Syria has no chemicals and Iran has no nukes: that’s what verification means.

    • CNN’s Iran Fearmongering Would Make More Sense Coming Directly From Pentagon

      Why doesn’t CNN Defense Department reporter Barbara Starr just leave CNN and instead work directly for the Trump DoD?

      On Tuesday, hours after President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran deal (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), Starr (5/8/18) rushed to publish an anonymously sourced and transparently propagandistic press release for the Trump administration and Pentagon. Wouldn’t it be easier if Starr just skipped the middleman and just worked for the DoD?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • WikiLeaks Founder Remains Cut Off from Internet Access at Ecuador Embassy

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remains cut off from the web after his Ecuadorian Embassy hosts severed his communications with the outside world, the Ecuadorian foreign minister said.

      “He remains disconnected from the Internet and other communications,” Maria Fernanda Espinosa said. “A dialogue is continuing, and there is a will and interest to make progress.”

      Ecuador suspended his Internet access in March after accusing the whistleblower of interfering with other countries’ internal affairs via his social media posts.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • AAA Survey Finds 20% Of Americans Plan To Buy An Electric Car

      Last year, AAA began asking Americans if they planned to buy an electric car. 15% said yes. AAA plans to ask the same question every year and track the results — at least until electric cars become the norm. This year, 20% of Americans said they are considering an electric car for their next vehicle purchase.


      “For instance,” Fisher says, “some of the reliability problems we see are with new multispeed transmissions. Having a one-speed, direct drive eliminates any of those issues.” Automatic transmissions with 8, 9, or 10 gears are becoming more common in conventional cars as manufacturers struggle to hit higher fuel consumption targets. But they can be fiendishly complex and devilishly expensive to repair when they fail.

      For example, the Chevy Bolt gets especially high marks for reliability from Consumer Reports. “It’s the most reliable car GM makes, which is especially impressive for a completely new model,” says Anita Lam, CR’s associate director of data integration.

  • Finance

    • Teachers Are Leading the Revolt Against Austerity

      In less than three months, rank-and-file teachers and educational support staff in five states—West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona—have turned the entire country into their classroom. They haven’t just pushed for—and won—better pay and working conditions for themselves. They’ve also mounted a direct challenge to decades of bipartisan tax cuts for corporations, helping us all understand what austerity means. And by championing a raft of policy proposals to redistribute wealth away from the 1 percent and back to the working and middle-class, they’ve shown us how austerity can be defeated. As Emily Comer, a middle-school Spanish teacher who was a leader in the strikes in West Virginia, put it, “The phase we are in now—to win a real, progressive solution to the health-insurance crisis—forces us to dream bigger. This isn’t just about our healthcare plan. It’s about rebalancing the power of workers and corporations in our state.”

    • Chicago Begins To Rethink How Bankruptcy Lawyers Get Paid

      Twice in the past three years, Kimberly Williams-Hayes has filed for bankruptcy. The first time, she made about $5,400 in total payments toward her debt before her case was dismissed, when she failed to hand over her tax refund.

      Only a fraction of that amount went toward a car loan, while her thousands of dollars in unpaid tickets and assorted other debts were untouched. One bill got paid in full: the bill from her bankruptcy lawyers.

      By the time she filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy again, in September of last year, represented by another firm, her debt had grown. And again, her lawyers added language into her proposed payment plan to ensure they, too, would be paid first.

      For years, putting the lawyers and their fees ahead of other creditors through so-called “step up” payment plans has been standard practice among bankruptcy firms in the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • AT&T Stumbles As It Tries To Explain Why It Paid $200K To Cohen’s Shady Shell Company

      Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti yesterday dropped a bit of a bombshell on DC in the form of this document (pdf), which alleges that Trump lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen was engaged in far deeper, shadier financial shenanigans than had so far been reported. Numerous allegations are made in the document, including claims that Cohen may have violated banking laws in setting up and funneling money through a front company by the name of Essential Consultants, including payments made by Columbus Nova, a U.S.-based affiliate of a company controlled by a Russian millionaire, Victor Vekselberg.


      Granted AT&T’s also been pressuring the Trump administration to “reform” NAFTA to make it easier on AT&T’s telecom ambitions in Mexico. AT&T was also trying to secure the administration’s blessing for its $86 billion acquisition of Time Warner. But given the Trump DOJ proceeded to sue to block that deal for anti-competitive reasons (or hey, just good old cronyism), if the payments were to grease the M&A skids AT&T certainly didn’t get their money’s worth.

      The most likely reason is that AT&T, for some idiotic reason, thought paying a shady NYC fixer’s dubious front company would help curry general favor with the Trump administration. That’s certainly not out of character. AT&T is a company with pretty greasy track record, whether we’re talking about the time it turned a blind eye to drug dealers running a directory assistance scam on its own users, the time it was caught helping scammers rip off telecom systems for the hearing impaired, or that time it was caught making bills harder to understand just to help crammers rip off AT&T customers.

    • Trump’s Act of American Hubris

      The United States is so far doing virtually no trade with Iran anyway. In 2017 total US exports to Iran were just 138 million dollars, and total imports a mere 63 million dollars, figures entirely insignificant to the US economy. By contrast, for the EU as a whole imports and exports to Iran were each a very much more substantial 8 billion dollars in 2017 and projected to rise to over 10 billion dollars in 2018.

      There is one very significant US deal in the pipeline, for sale of Boeing aircraft, worth $18 billion dollars. It will now be cancelled.

      Which brings us to the crux of the argument. Can America make its will hold? Airbus also has orders from Iran of over US$20 billion, and it is assumed those orders will be stopped too, because Airbus planes contain parts and technology licensed from the US. It is possible, but unlikely, that the US could grant a waiver to Airbus – highly unlikely because Boeing would be furious.


      I shall be most surprised if we do not see increased US/Israeli/Saudi sponsored jihadist attacks in Syria, and in Lebanon following Hezbollah’s new national electoral victory. Hezbollah’s democratic advance has stunned and infuriated the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia but been reported very sparsely in the MSM, as it very much goes against the neo-con narrative. It does not alter the positions of President or Prime Minister, constitutionally allocated by religion, but it does increase Hezbollah’s power in the Lebanese state, and thus Iranian influence.

      Iran is a difficult country to predict. I hope they will stick to the agreement and wait to see how Europe is able to adapt, before taking any rash decisions. They face, however, not only the provocation of Trump but the probability of a renewed wave of anti-Shia violence from Pakistan to Lebanon, designed to provoke Iran into reaction. These will be a tense few weeks. I do not think even Netanyahu is crazy enough to launch an early air strike on Iran itself, but I would not willingly bet my life on it.

    • Trump Vindicates Iranian Hardliners and Victimizes Ordinary Citizens

      When the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was announced in 2015, the Iranian people poured into the streets to celebrate what they thought was the beginning of a new era.

      Long squeezed by both U.S. pressure and their own government, they had just cause for optimism. The threat of war was receding, and the sanctions that had stifled Iran’s economy were soon to be lifted. Many hoped that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, vindicated by his success at the negotiating table, would leverage his political capital and ease Iran’s harsh security environment at home.

      Today, as President Donald Trump tears up the agreement, the Iranian people are once again those who will suffer most. Iranian hardliners, empowered by the deal’s failure, are sharpening their knives for Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and the chances of catastrophic war are undoubtedly greater.

    • Russian Oligarch-Linked Firm That Paid Michael Cohen Was Also Represented by Trump Lawyer Marc Kasowitz

      The news on Tuesday that the same shell company that Michael Cohen, a longtime personal lawyer for Donald Trump, had used to pay $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels had also received about $500,000 in 2017 from a firm linked to a Russian oligarch set off a frenzy of commentary on Twitter and cable TV.

      At the heart of the story is an investment firm called Columbus Nova, which has close links to Renova Group, a conglomerate founded by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. A Columbus Nova spokesman has said the payments to Cohen were for unspecified investment consulting.

      Now there’s a new wrinkle: Another longtime Trump personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, also represented Columbus Nova in recent years in a commercial case. A spokesman for Kasowitz said the case settled in early 2017.

      As ProPublica reported last year, Cohen spent a short period in February 2017 working at the offices of Kasowitz Benson Torres in midtown Manhattan, alarming several lawyers at the firm who worried about the brash attorney’s reputation. That was at the beginning of the period, between January and August 2017, when Columbus Nova made its payments to Cohen.

      Cohen told ProPublica last year that he used Kasowitz’s offices “because we were working on several matters together after the inauguration.” Both he and Kasowitz have declined to specify what they collaborated on.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How China Managed to Play Censor at a Conference on U.S. Soil

      Taiwan was scrubbed from my biography.

      I’d been invited to give a keynote speech and accept an award at Savannah State University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications. In a description of my background, I’d listed the self-governing island as one of the places where I’d reported. But in the printed materials for the event, the reference to Taiwan had been removed.

      The department had given the award annually since 1975. But in the past few years, finances had dwindled and organizers struggled to find the resources to cover the expenses of bringing in a speaker from out of town.

      Enter the Confucius Institute, a Chinese government-affiliated organization that teaches Chinese language and culture and sponsors educational exchanges, with more than 500 branches around the globe. The branch at Savannah State, founded four years ago, agreed to sponsor the speech.

    • BWW TV: Go Behind the Scenes with BroadwayHD on the Censorship in INDECENT

      The theater and the arts is generally more progressive than the rest of the world. It’s a place where stories take shape that reflect the parts of society that many aren’t quite ready to face. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the way.

      Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance was a beautifully edgy play, depicting the first woman-on-woman kiss on Broadway. Written in 1907 but not performed in the States until 1923, the contents shocked theatergoers in America, leading to the arrest of the Broadway cast on obscenity charges. The hostile use of government resources fanned the discussion around morality onstage.

    • As Russia’s government effort to ban Telegram falters, digital activists are pranking the censorship agency

      Russia’s so-called “Digital Resistance” has struck out against the country’s internet blacklist, an ever-growing list of websites censored by the Russian government.

      Since April 16, Russia’s media regulatory agency Roskomnadzor has been trying — with mixed results — to block Telegram, a popular mobile messaging service. Since then, the blacklist, or registry of blocked websites, has grown and shrunk many times.

      The collateral damage of their approach has been enormous. Millions of unrelated IP addresses and internet services were blocked when the agency went after internet cloud services that are used by Telegram and plenty of other products, a move that some say could cost Russian businesses up to one billion dollars. Roskomnadzor began removing addresses from the blacklist on May 8, in what appeared to be a tacit acknowledgement of defeat.

    • Matt Drudge warns Trump is opening a pandora’s box of censorship with ‘crusade on fake news’

      Besides the occasional breaking news dispatch, Matt Drudge spends more time arranging the front page of the Internet than actually reporting. One of the most influential journalists, Drudge is normally remarkably silent, which is why his latest condemnation of free speech is noteworthy.

      The Drudge Report publisher tweeted Wednesday to condemn President Trump’s assault on Fake News:

      I fear the future result of Trump’s crusade on ‘fake news’ will be licensing of all reporters. [Dems already floated this in the senate pre-Trump.] The mop up on this issue is going to be excruciating…

    • Self-censorship bane of Nigerian media, says Iredia

      A former Director-General, Nigerian Television Authority, Dr. Tonnie Iredia, has highlighted the need for the Nigerian media to be courageous in discharging its duties as the 2019 elections draw near, describing self-censorship as a major problem.

      Iredia stated this on Wednesday during a courtesy visit by the Media and Publicity Committee of the International Press Institute Congress 2018 to The Punch Place, headquarters of Punch Nigeria Limited in Ogun State.

    • Donald Trump Jr. has a history of incorrectly suggesting Twitter is censoring or blocking tweets
    • ‘You Muppet’: Donald Trump Jr Mocked for Crying ‘Censorship’ After Supporter Deletes Tweet
    • Why You Should Support Your University’s Independent Student Newsroom
    • Students’ Survey Highlights Censorship of Christian College Newspapers [Ed: This has nothing at all to do with religion which is just desperate to paint itself as the victim of censorship or oppression]
    • At Christian Colleges, Many Student Journalists Have to Deal With Censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Fourth Circuit Rules That Suspicionless Forensic Searches of Electronic Devices at the Border Are Unconstitutional

      In a victory for privacy rights at the border, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today ruled that forensic searches of electronic devices carried out by border agents without any suspicion that the traveler has committed a crime violate the U.S. Constitution.

      The ruling in U.S. v. Kolsuz is the first federal appellate case after the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Riley v. California (2014) to hold that certain border device searches require individualized suspicion that the traveler is involved in criminal wrongdoing. Two other federal appellate opinions this year—from the Fifth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit—included strong analyses by judges who similarly questioned suspicionless border device searches.

      EFF filed an amicus brief in Kolsuz arguing that the Supreme Court’s decision in Riley supports the conclusion that border agents need a probable cause warrant before searching electronic devices—whether manually or with forensic software—because of the unprecedented and significant privacy interests travelers have in their digital data. In Riley, a case that involved manual searches, the Supreme Court followed similar reasoning and held that police must obtain a warrant to search the cell phone of an arrestee.

    • State Judge Finds New Hampshire Border Patrol Checkpoint Unconstitutional

      In a rebuke to the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies, a New Hampshire court ruled last week that a Border Patrol checkpoint on an interstate highway last summer was “unconstitutional under both State and federal law.”

      Don’t believe for a second the administration’s official response that this decision “does not affect the U.S. Border Patrol’s federal authority to conduct immigration checkpoints.” All motorists’ constitutional rights got a huge boost from Judge Thomas Rappa’s refusal to give Trump’s deportation force a blank check to pretextually set up a drug checkpoint under the guise of immigration enforcement.

      Why was this checkpoint unlawful?

      Because federal customs and border agents used impermissible dog-sniff searches to go after drugs without a warrant and without any reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed. After conducting these dog-sniff searches, CBP agents then turned over to the local police the resulting evidence for state drug prosecutions.

    • Facial recognition tech used by UK police is making a ton of mistakes

      At the end of each summer for the last 14 years, the small Welsh town of Porthcawl has been invaded. Every year its 16,000 population is swamped by up to 35,000 Elvis fans. Many people attending the yearly festival look the same: they slick back their hair, throw on oversized sunglasses and don white flares.

      At 2017′s Elvis festival, impersonators were faced with something different. Police were trialling automated facial recognition technology to track down criminals. Cameras scanning the public spotted 17 faces that they believed matched those stored in databases. Ten were correct, and seven people were wrongly identified.

      South Wales Police has been testing an automated facial recognition system since June 2017 and has used it in the real-world at more than ten events. In the majority of cases, the system has made more incorrect matches than the times it has been able to correctly identify a potential suspect or offender.

    • Not Ready For Prime Time: UK Law Enforcement Facial Recognition Software Producing Tons Of False Positives

      Law enforcement agencies have embraced facial recognition. And contractors have returned the embrace, offering up a variety of “solutions” that are long on promise, but short on accuracy. That hasn’t stopped the mutual attraction, as government agencies are apparently willing to sacrifice people’s lives and freedom during these extended beta tests.

      The latest example of widespread failure comes from the UK, where the government’s embrace of surveillance equipment far exceeds that of the United States. Matt Burgess of Wired obtained documents detailing the South Wales Police’s deployment of automated facial recognition software. What’s shown in the FOI docs should worry everyone who isn’t part of UK law enforcement. (It should worry law enforcement as well, but strangely does not seem to bother them.)

    • Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Data Protection? A Troubling Implication Of The American Voter UK Data Protection Case

      The Guardian had an article this past weekend about what looks like a potentially successful attempt by an American to use UK data protection law to force Cambridge Analytica to divulge what information it had collected about US voters like him. Whether the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is truly entitled to compel Cambridge Analytica to do anything, much less on behalf of an American, is an open question. But for purposes here, let’s assume that UK data protection law works this way, that it was intended to work this way, and that it’s good policy for it to work this way.

      The problem is, it’s one thing for the ICO to force Cambridge Analytica to share with the American voter himself what personal data it had about him. But it’s another thing entirely for the ICO to force Cambridge Analytica to share the personal data it has about American voters with it. Yet it looks from the article like that’s what ICO may have threatened to force Cambridge Analytica to do.

    • Rights groups to take Government to court over shocking immigration exemption

      This exemption will affect everyone involved in an immigration case, for example: those seeking refuge in the UK, those affected by the Windrush scandal, the three million EU citizens who will have to submit their applications for a new immigration status after Brexit. If this Bill becomes law, people won’t have the right to access their personal data held by the Home Office.

      According to the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, the Home Office has a ten percent error rate in immigration status checks. This exemption would allow these mistakes to go unchallenged. These errors could lead to an application being refused or even deportation.

    • Just 12% People Want To Pay For Facebook If Their Data Isn’t Collected And Sold

      Ever since the Cambridge Analytica fire sparked, Mozilla has been busy leg-pulling Facebook wherever and whenever they can. They have already released Facebook Container meant to prevent the social network from tracking users on the web.


      It turns out, just 11.43%% of the 47,000 respondents agreed that they’d shell out up to $10/month to continue using the social network. Around 1% of the respondents were even comfortable in paying more. For the rest, it was a strick ‘No’ in the case of 62.84%, and 34.68% were not sure.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Could Ida B. Wells Have Exposed Lynching on Your Newsfeed?

      If Ida B. Wells had depended on Facebook, would we ever have had a National Lynching Memorial?

      Two stories collided in my head this week. One of which was the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama—this country’s first major effort to confront the vast scope of the racial-terror lynchings that ravaged the black community under a pervasive, prevailing culture of white supremacy. It is the first because, until now, that same majority culture of white supremacy hasn’t wanted to look.

    • What Gina Haspel Got Wrong About the Torture Tapes She Helped Destroy

      During today’s nomination hearing for Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the CIA, Haspel testified about a topic that has rightly generated significant controversy: the destruction of 92 videotapes showing CIA torture.

      Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), asked a question about the destruction of those tapes, misspeaking when she referred to tapes showing interrogations “of 92 detainees.” Haspel, seemingly determined to correct Feinstein, stated that the tapes “were of only one detainee.”

      But the CIA’s own records produced in response to the ACLU’s torture transparency litigation contradict Haspel. According to those records, which include a declaration under oath from then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, the 92 destroyed tapes depicted abuse of two detainees: Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

      Here’s what we know: The videotapes were subject to long-running ACLU Freedom of Information Act litigation seeking to make public information about the torture program. After news about the videotape destruction broke, the judge in the case ordered the CIA to produce information about, among other things, the content of those videotapes.

    • How Gina Haspel Dodged CIA Torture Questions During Her Senate Hearing

      President Trump’s nominee to be CIA director, Gina Haspel, faced pointed questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday morning. Senators asked about her role in the agency’s torture program and its cover-up, including her role in the destruction of dozens of videotapes documenting torture.

      Haspel, however, was far from forthright, regularly evading questions or giving only vague answers.

    • Cops ‘Help’ Naked, Possibly-Suicidal Schizophrenic Man By Tasing Him To Death

      “Excited delirium” makes an appearance in another case where medical help for a mentally ill person was sought, but instead, police arrived and delivered someone to an early grave. (h/t Radley Balko)

      22-year-old Adam Trammell was spotted wandering the halls of his group home completely naked. Feeling the young man was experiencing a psychotic break, the neighbor whose door Trammell had knocked on called the police. When officers arrived, they found Trammell in a distinctly non-threatening state: naked in the shower.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • It’s not over! Take action for net neutrality today!

      In December 2017, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) voted to repeal the policies that protected net neutrality.

      Rather than merely accepting this, Senator Ed Markey launched a Congressional Review Act (CRA) to save net neutrality. A CRA allows a simple majority (more than 50%) of Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives) to overturn an FCC vote. You can read more about CRAs on Wikipedia.

      Already, 50 senators are supporting the CRA. We need one more vote to pass this effort to overturn the FCC’s ruling.

    • Red Alert for Net Neutrality: Tell Congress to Save the Open Internet Order

      In December, the FCC voted to end the 2015 Open Internet Order, which prevented Internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T and Comcast from violating net neutrality principles. A simple majority vote in Congress can keep the FCC’s decision from going into effect. From now until the Senate votes, EFF, along with a coalition of organizations, companies, and websites, is on red alert and calling on you to tell Congress to vote to restore the Open Internet Order.

      The Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows Congress to overturn an agency rule using a simple majority vote. It likewise only requires 30 signatures in order to force a vote. The petition to force the vote was delivered today. That means we’re likely to see the Senate—which has only been only one vote away from restoring net neutrality protections for quite a while—vote in mid-May.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • New Report Shines Much-Needed Light On Shadow Libraries Around The World

        Techdirt readers with long memories may recall a post back in 2011 about a 440-page report entitled “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies.” As Mike wrote then, this detailed study effectively debunked the entire foundation of US attempts to impose maximalist copyright regimes on other countries. That report was edited by Joe Karaganis, who has put together another collection of articles, called “Shadow Libraries: Access to Knowledge in Global Higher Education”, that are also likely to be of interest to Techdirt readers.

      • Gaming Industry And Game Consumers On A Collision Course Over Loot Boxes

        If you’re a gamer, you know all about loot boxes. We haven’t covered them or the associated controversy here, as both are slightly outside of the usual topics we cover. But we do in fact cover digital marketplaces and how companies and industries react to market forces and it’s becoming more clear that the gaming industry and the gaming public are on something of a collision course over loot boxes.

        As a primer, a loot box is a digital randomized thing, typically purchased in-game and resulting in a random reward of in-game content. Some content is more valuable than others, leading to some referring to loot boxes as a form of gambling, particularly when some of the game content can provide benefits to players in multiplayer settings. Overwatch popularized loot boxes somewhat in 2016, although mobile games have used some flavor of this kind of monetization for pretty much ever. The gaming public never really liked this concept, with many arguing that it breaks in-game competition by giving players willing to pay for loot boxes an advantage. But the loot box fervor hit its pique after the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2, with EA being forced to massively alter how its loot boxes worked in game. Since then, loot boxes are a topic of consumer backlash as a general rule.

      • Copyright changes in the UK after Brexit

        Patrick Wingrove asks UK practitioners how copyright will change after Brexit, and analyses the EU Commission’s recent report on the subject

      • Originality in copyright: a meaningless requirement?

        Is the originality requirement in copyright a non-requirement? In other words: is there any meaningful threshold to copyright protection?

        I’ve had the opportunity to discuss this issue three times over less than a month: first, at a workshop in Berlin, then with a Belgian student and, finally, with an IP lawyer based outside Europe. If these three situations had anything in common, it was the suggestion that the originality requirement is not really a requirement – whether under EU or US law – and that copyright protection is very easy to obtain.

        While it is true that originality is not a particularly difficult condition to satisfy, it is still a requirement and: (1) it is not a mundane one, both in the EU and the US; and (2) there are a few instances in which the threshold would unlikely to be passed.


Links 9/5/2018: Firefox 60 and CrossOver 17.5

Posted in News Roundup at 3:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The good, the bad & the ugly of using open source code components

    The reality is that developers need to use components, should use components and want to use components. But this reality necessitates both more education surrounding the risk of components, and the tools and technology that allow developers to continue to use components, but in a secure way that doesn’t slow them down.

  • 5 Awesome Open Source Cloning Software

    Cloning is nothing but the copying of the contents of a server hard disk to a storage medium (another disk) or to an image file. Disk cloning is quite useful in modern data centers for:

  • ETSI gets closer to open source bodies as OPNFV enriches platform

    Standards body ETSI has been a critical contributor to the spread of virtualization and SDN in telco networks. It is the home of several initiatives which have turned into key foundations of the new software-driven telecoms network, notably NFV (Network Functions Virtualization), OSM (Open Source MANO or management and orchestration) and MEC (Multi-access Edge Compute). However, as open source methods become increasingly important to operators via initiatives like OpenStack and the Open Networking Foundation, some argue that the processes of the traditional standards body are outdated and too slow. Even in areas where ETSI has done the groundwork, nimbler and wider open ecosystems are often taking up the baton. The Linux Foundation-hosted ONAP (Open Network Automation Protocol) has attracted broader…

  • Open source makes software engineering a social phenomenon

    Open source has upended the secluded lives of the classic software engineer, with introverts now required to interact even more with the community as part of the job becomes increasingly people orientated.

    “People think of [open source] as a software development methodology, and it is. But fundamentally it’s a social phenomenon. … [The] social aspect of this for an introvert like myself is at the same time a little scary, but also it’s super exciting because it is people who are driving this industry,” stated Dirk Hohndel (pictured), vice president and chief open source officer at VMware Inc.

  • Going with the grain

    All open source community members care about the “four freedoms” – the permission given in advance to use, study, improve and share software in source and deployable forms. Some do so as an ethical imperative, while others do so as a matter of pragmatism related to their use of the code. But everyone in a community expects to be able to take the code and do what they want with it, without needing to get any further permission from anyone.

    They expect to be able to contribute in good faith. There may be rules about who can contribute when and how, but they will be reasonable and apply equally to everyone. Contributing isn’t a matter of (just) philanthropy; one of the important benefits of community-maintained code is sharing the ongoing maintenance.

    They also expect all the interactions of the community to be transparent. Where there are leadership roles, they expect them to be filled by the most appropriate willing person, probably chosen by voting where there’s a choice of candidates. In an open source community, participants expect reasoned fairness.

  • Events

    • Helping kids answer: What do you want to be when you grow up?

      The statement by Cathy Davidson of the MacArthur Foundation that “65% of today’s grade-school kids may end up doing work that hasn’t been invented yet” has resonated so deeply because it adds urgency to what should be obvious, especially considering the rapid, technology-driven changes we’ve seen in the workforce over the past 10 years.

      All signs indicate that future job skills will be vastly different from what students are taught in schools, and the World Mentoring Academy is trying to close those gaps. In his Lightning Talk, “Mentoring and Creative Spaces,” at the 16th annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), Michael Williams describes one of the Academy’s projects: exposing students to skills of the future by interviewing professional astronauts, activists, journalists, spies, authors, chefs, athletes, government officials, and others about their jobs.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • We Asked People How They Feel About Facebook. Here’s What They Said.

        Facebook has been in the news a lot lately. It started with the announcement that over 87 million Facebook users had their personal information shared with the private firm Cambridge Analytica without their knowledge. Since then, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified twice in front of the US Congress and people all around the world have been talking about Facebook’s data practices. We took this opportunity to survey people on how they felt about Facebook these days. 47,000 people responded to our survey. The data is interesting and open for your exploration.

        The top takeaways? Most people (76%) say they are very concerned about the safety of their personal information online. Yet few people (24%) reported making changes to their Facebook accounts following the recent news of privacy concerns around Facebook. The majority of people who responded to our survey (65%) see themselves — rather than companies or the government — as being most responsible for protecting their personal information online. And very few people (only 12%) said they would consider paying for Facebook, even a version of Facebook that doesn’t make money by collecting and selling personal data.

      • Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge Winners Announced!

        We know many Firefox users love web extensions, and we do, too. Today we’re announcing the winners of our Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge.

      • Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge Winners

        The results are in for the Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge! We were thrilled to see so many creative, helpful, and delightful submission entries.

      • Rep of the Month – April 2018

        David is a Mozillian living the UK and active in a lot of different Mozilla projects. In his day job he is building an Open Source Fitness platform. You might have seen him at the past few MozFests in London. Last year he did a great job wrangling the Privacy&Security space.

      • Firefox 60 Released With New Enterprise Features, Web Authentication / Yubikey Support

        Firefox 60.0 is out this morning and it’s quite a big update while also being Mozilla’s newest ESR release for extended support.

        Among the many changes to find with Firefox 60 is the new Policy Engine and Group Policy support for better integrating Firefox within enterprise deployments. The new policy engine supports the Windows Group Policy as well as a cross-platform JSON file for defining the policy. Firefox 60.0 also features the new Web Authentication API with support for devices like the Yubikey for dealing with passwords/authentication.

      • Firefox 60 – Modules and More

        Firefox 60 is here, and the Quantum lineage continues apace. The parallel processing prowess of Quantum CSS is now available on Firefox for Android, and work continues on WebRender, which modernizes the whole idea of what it means to draw a web page. But we’re not just spreading the love on internals. Firefox 60 boasts a number of web platform and developer-facing improvements as well.

      • Firefox Quantum: Fast for Business, Better for IT

        Browsers are key to how everyone in your company works, but how often do you think about them? A memory-hungry browser can slow your systems to a crawl, killing productivity across your org. Replacing it with a fast, lightweight browser is an easy win for IT.

        Last fall, Mozilla launched Firefox Quantum, an all-new browser based on an advanced rendering engine that bests every other browser and uses less memory. Independent tests proved its blazing-fast performance and miserly memory usage, and Wired wrote that “Firefox Quantum is the browser built for 2017”.

      • Firefox gets down to Business, and it’s Personal

        Right now everybody’s talking about the right way to make the products that we love meet our individual needs AND respect our privacy.

        At Mozilla, striking this balance has been our bread and butter for more than two decades. With today’s release of Firefox, we’re bringing you more features and tools that allow you to personalize your browser without sacrificing your privacy.

      • Mozilla Fights for Net Neutrality this May (and Always)

        Mozilla is continuing to fight for net neutrality — in the courts, alongside Americans, and, today, by joining the Red Alert protest.

        The Red Alert protest raises awareness about net neutrality’s importance, and the means for keeping it intact: In mid-May, the Senate will vote on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality repeal. We’re partnering with organizations like Consumer Reports, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Reddit to encourage Americans to call Congress in support of net neutrality.

      • This Week in Rust 233
  • OpenStack

    • SUSE OpenStack Cloud 8 to Accelerate Customer Software-Defined Infrastructure Deployments
    • SUSE’s OpenStack Cloud 8 and SUSE-Ready Certification for SUSE CaaS, Cosmic Cuttlefish, Android Things and More

      SUSE’s OpenStack Cloud 8 made its debut last week. This is the “first release to integrate the best of SUSE OpenStack Cloud and HPE OpenStack technology, which was acquired by SUSE last year”. Other enhancements include “greater flexibility for customers with full support for OpenStack Ironic”, “expanded interoperability with new support for VMware NSX-V”, “enhanced scalability to support large deployments” and more.

    • A modern hybrid cloud platform for innovation: Containers on Cloud with Openshift on OpenStack

      Market trends show that due to long application life-cycles and the high cost of change, enterprises will be dealing with a mix of bare-metal, virtualized, and containerized applications for many years to come. This is true even as greenfield investment moves to a more container-focused approach.

      Red Hat® OpenStack® Platform provides a solution to the problem of managing large scale infrastructure which is not immediately solved by containers or the systems that orchestrate them.

      In the OpenStack world, everything can be automated. If you want to provision a VM, a storage volume, a new subnet or a firewall rule, all these tasks can be achieved using an easy to use UI or with a command line interface, leveraging Openstack API’s. All these infrastructure needs might require a ticket, some internal processing, and could take weeks. Now such provisioning could all be done with a script or a playbook, and could be completely automated.

    • Why we use tests on OpenStack package builds in RDO

      Unit tests are used to verify that individual units of source code work according to a defined specification (spec). While this may sound complicated to understand, in short it means that we try to verify that each part of our source code works as expected, without having to run the full program they belong to.

      All OpenStack projects come with their own set of unit tests, for example, this is the unit test folder for the oslo.config project. Those tests are executed when a new patch is proposed for review, to ensure that existing (or new) functionality is not broken with the new code. For example, if you check this review, you can see that one of the continuous integration jobs executed is “openstack-tox-py27”, which runs unit tests using Python 2.7.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.0.4

      The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 6.0.4, which represents the bleeding edge in terms of features, and as such is targeted at early adopters, tech-savvy and power users.

      For mainstream users and enterprise deployments, TDF provides the alternative download of LibreOffice 5.4.6.

    • LibreOffice 6.0.4 Released for Linux, Mac, and Windows with 88 Bug Fixes

      The Document Foundation announced today the release and immediate availability for download of the fourth maintenance update to the latest stable LibreOffice 6.0 open-source office suite.

      LibreOffice 6.0.4 comes five weeks after version 6.0.3 to address a total of 88 bugs that affected various of the office suite’s components, including Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math, and others. Details about the changes implemented in this new release can be found here and here.

      However, the Document Foundation still recommends LibreOffice 6.0 only to early adopters, as well as power, tech-savvy users as it contains bleeding edge features that need more thorough testing before it can be validated for deployments in production environments, so version 6.0.4 is here to make the office suite more stable and reliable.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Finishes Up Spectre Mitigation, Fix For Mysterious CVE-2018-8897

      DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon has just pushed out DragonFly’s Spectre mitigation code as well as fixing “CVE-2018-8897″ which is what might be the recently rumored “Spectre-NG” vulnerabilities.

      Matthew Dillon was very quick to be the first major BSD player pushing out patches for Spectre and Meltdown back in January, beating the other BSDs by a significant amount of time to getting mitigated for these CPU vulnerabilities.


    • LibreDWG – Smokers and mirrors

      I’ve setup continuous integration testing for all branches and pull requests at https://travis-ci.org/LibreDWG/libredwg/builds for GNU/Linux, and at https://ci.appveyor.com/project/rurban/libredwg for windows, which also generates binaries (a dll) automatically.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open source software 101: Compliance and risk management [Ed: Lawyers badmouthing FOSS because there's money in FUD]

      The use of open source software (OSS) — where the source code is made available under an open source licence — has become ubiquitous across many industries, especially for companies operating in the tech sector. But the use of OSS comes with a set of risks that businesses, including emerging and high growth companies, must understand.

    • Making the most of open source software [Ed: Lawyers like to talk about freedom as a risk, therefore making themselves "necessary"]

      If you are a software developer, you will know all about open source software (OSS). OSS is software whose source code is publicly available to be used, adapted, modified and re-licensed, usually free of charge. Because it is unusual for software developers to give away their source code, some people think OSS is released without being subject to licence terms. In fact, most (although not all) OSS is licensed under one of a variety of public licences, the most commonly used of which is the General Public Licence (GPL) which exists in multiple versions.

      Most software developers nowadays will make use of some OSS for the obvious reason that it avoids them having to re-invent the proverbial wheel and that makes it particularly attractive to startups. It is unlikely to cause you problems if you use OSS in internal products, although the question of OSS may arise if the company is acquired. Where, however, it is used in your proprietary software which is licensed to or hosted by third parties, the situation becomes more complex.

    • Backdrop CMS is the Conservancy’s Newest Member Project

      Software Freedom Conservancy is excited to announce that Backdrop CMS has joined as its newest member project. Backdrop CMS is a lightweight content management system for small to medium sized businesses and non-profits.

      Backdrop CMS best serves the kinds of organizations that need complex functionality, on a budget. Smaller organizations deserve a tool built especially for their changing and particular needs. Backdrop CMS is committed to providing that service by leveraging the flexibility and collaborative nature of free and open source software.

      Conservancy, a public charity focused on ethical technology, is home to over forty member projects dedicated to developing and promoting free and open source software. Conservancy acts as a corporate umbrella, allowing member projects to operate as charitable initiatives without having to manage their own corporate structure and administrative services.

  • Programming/Development

    • Typemock Launches C/C++ Mocking Framework for Linux

      Typemock, the leader in unit testing solutions, today announced the launch of Isolator++ for Linux. For over a decade, Typemock has been the smart way for developers to unit test .NET and C/C++ on Windows, and with this new release, developers will be able to easily unit test their code on Linux as well.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Govt has one IT policy: take from the poor, give to the rich

    The Coalition Government’s approach to the R&D Tax Incentive in last night’s Federal Budget mirrors its approach to every other sector or section of society: take from the poor, give to the rich.

    The changes that were announced will hit start-ups when they are at their most vulnerable: at the stage when they have yet to start generating revenue.

    At the other end, the R&D expenditure threshold — the maximum amount of R&D expenditure eligible for concessional R&D tax offsets — has been increased from $100 million to $150 million annually. That will only benefit big companies, most of whom are established.

  • Science

    • Prof. James Morris: “One Last Lecture”

      Jim’s final lecture at CMU is full of his trademark insights and humor, covering the five mostly CMU computing pioneers who influenced his career. You should watch the whole hour-long video, but below the fold I have transcribed a few tastes [...]

      He said ‘The most important thing to get right is the network.’ And that turned out to be completely true. The part of the system that we did, called the Andrew File System, which Satya was one of the inventors of, is still running thirty years later, which is amazing for a piece of software. It received a national award for being a great piece of software. [...]

  • Security

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Jeremy Corbyn silent on persecution of Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has been held incommunicado inside Ecuador’s embassy in London for more than one month. His full period of confinement without charge—a crime under international law—stands at 2,710 days.

      Ecuador blocked Assange’s phone and Internet access on March 28, depriving him of all visitors, after a meeting in Quito one day earlier with the US military’s Southern Command. Ecuador stated that Twitter posts by Assange on Catalonia and the Skripal affair had “put at risk” Ecuador’s relations with the United Kingdom, the European Union and “other nations.”

      The circumstances of Assange’s political asylum in central London resemble a prison cell. Less than 200 metres from Harrods, conditions at 3 Hans Court fully conform to those of “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment” outlawed under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Microsoft Wants Bills Paid in Outlook

      Support is already in place with payment processors including Stripe and Braintree. The Zuora billing service is also signed up, as are invoice services FreshBooks, Intuit, Sage, Wave, and Xero. Fiserv will also be added soon. All a business needs to do is embed a payment action in Outlook and send it to the customer.

    • We’re Suing Ben Carson for Trying to Dismantle the Fair Housing Act

      It is no accident that much of the United States remains segregated. Decades of slavery, Jim Crow laws, discriminatory lending practices, and intentional policy choices at the federal, state, and local level — most of which were enacted within the last 80 years — helped make it so.

      The Fair Housing Act, passed in 1968, just a week after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, was meant to address the decades of discrimination that led to such segregation. The FHA made it illegal to discriminate against anyone buying or renting a house because of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (it’s since been amended to include family status and disability, too). But it also sought to replace segregation in America with “truly integrated and balanced living patterns” by requiring agencies to “affirmatively” further fair housing in all programs related to housing.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Schneiderman Was Investigating the Manhattan D.A. Now the Tables Have Turned

      First Eric Schneiderman was investigating Cy Vance Jr. Now Cy Vance Jr. is investigating Eric Schneiderman.

      Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, is examining reports that Schneiderman struck or assaulted several women, said Danny Frost, a spokesman for the office. Those allegations, reported late Monday in the New Yorker, led to Schneiderman’s abrupt resignation as New York’s attorney general on Monday night.

    • ‘A Result of McCarthyism Is a Much Narrower Range of Political Ideas’

      In January of 2017, the country was still reeling—as indeed we continue to reel—from the election of Donald Trump. Corporate news media were full of allegations of Russian hacking—of the election and, at one point we were told, the electrical grid in Vermont. Barack Obama signed off on something called the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, the point of which was to aim communications at people overseas to “countermessage” the ideas of “terrorists,” as defined of course by the state. And a website launched, purporting to serve as a “watchlist” on professors deemed guilty of advancing leftist propaganda in the classroom. The feeling in the air led CounterSpin to speak with Ellen Schrecker, retired professor of American history at Yeshiva University and the author of a number of books, including Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America and No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism in the Universities.

    • Supposedly Taboo Ideas That Actually Appear Frequently in the Pages of the New York Times

      I agree that it’s dangerous to be under that degree of self-delusion; none of these ideas are remotely taboo; they’re the kind of things that are said routinely in outlets like, to pick one at random, the New York Times.

      Take a piece that ran in the New York Times Sunday Review last month (4/20/18), headlined “Why Men Quit and Women Don’t.” Looking at the differences in male and female drop-out rates in the Boston Marathon, the article presents “a whole range of theories on why women out-endured men in Boston — body fat composition, decision-making tendencies, pain tolerance, even childbirth.” Lindsey Crouse, a senior staff editor for the Times‘ Op-Docs feature, quotes psychologist and TedTalk podcaster Adam Grant: “There’s a biological and social tendency for women to tend toward caregiving…. Women are more likely to reach out to runners next to them and offer support and seek support.” Was anyone scandalized to find this discussion of biological gender differences in the Times?


      I guess it’s not hard to see either the psychological appeal or the marketing advantages of pretending that your absolutely commonplace, widely publicized ideas are brave truths that have to be circulated via samizdat. But if you know what it actually feels like to have an idea that can’t be discussed in broad daylight, try suggesting that the wealth of billionaires ought to be confiscated to feed the hungry and house the homeless.

    • Young people not permitted to be party political in Wales – Pirates think differently

      If you live in Wales, are aged 11-18 and want to take part in the Welsh Youth Parliament you will not be allowed to disclose your party affiliation.

      The Welsh Government announced the end to their consultation in November 2017 and have decided on the particulars surrounding the Welsh Youth Parliament, despite never publishing the results of the consultation.

    • The Media’s Paywall Obsession Will End In Disaster For Most

      We’ve written about paywalls for many, many years — often in fairly critical terms. It’s not that we think that paywalls are somehow “bad,” but that (1) for most publications, they won’t actually work and (2) they are quite frequently counterproductive. In addition, we believe that there are both societal and business advantages to having certain information be available for free. Paywalls are (once again) getting attention, and there it’s worth discussing this latest round of interest and why it’s misguided. First, the general opinion from media folks on paywalls is pretty nicely summarized by Megan McArdle’s recent story (possibly paywalled…) entitled “Farewell to Free Journalism.” The key thesis is that the online ad market has basically disappeared, and thus, paywalls are the only option. The first part of the argument is correct: the online ad market has almost entirely disappeared. Non-publishers don’t quite understand how massively online advertising rates have declined — whether it’s due to greater and greater supply or Google and Facebook (the usual targets) sucking up all the ad revenue with their superior targeting.

      But, just as a data point: ad revenue here at Techdirt is now on the order of about 5% of what it was six or seven years ago. Not down 5%. Down 95%. That… makes it impossible to survive if you’re just supported by ads. Thankfully we’re not tied solely to that revenue, though the decline certainly hurts (speaking of which: feel free to support us directly). At this point, we barely even consider ad revenue when we look at how the company makes money.

      So, if you believe that there are only two revenue models for media: advertising or subscription, it’s not hard to see how many publications are jumping over to the paywall (subscription) model. The problem is that just because one business model doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean that the other will.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • With Millions of Anti-Semitic Tweets a Year, Twitter Is a ‘Toxic Environment’ for Jews, Says New Study
    • Press freedom hangs by a thread

      Press freedom is hanging by a thread in Britain. Tomorrow, the House of Commons will vote on the Data Protection Bill, and Labour MPs have added amendments to it that would effectively end 300 years of press freedom in this country.

    • NCC urged to confront ‘censorship’

      Pro-independence groups yesterday urged the government to tackle what they said was Hon Hai Group chairman Terry Gou’s (郭台銘) censorship of media, after a system operator partly owned by Gou cut off Formosa TV’s (FTV) channels on Friday.

      The Taiwan Society and other groups told a news conference in Taipei that they object to Gou’s attempt to monopolize the media, given his massive investments in China, and they called on the National Communications Commission (NCC) to work harder to defend press freedom.

      FTV is the nation’s only TV station not tainted by Chinese influence, Union of Taiwan Teachers (UTT) executive director Hsiao Hsiao-ling (蕭曉玲) said, calling on the Democratic Progressive Party administration to treat the issue as a national security crisis.

      As China has been working steadily toward its aim of unification, Taiwan should not allow those close to the Chinese government to deprive Taiwanese of “their right to know,” Northern Taiwan Society secretary-general Pan Wei-yu (潘威佑) said.

    • Students’ survey highlights censorship of Christian college newspapers [Ed: Using religion as a pretext/excuse to printing falsehoods and then claiming #censorship or "offense" or "discrimination"]

      A group of Christian college students has released a survey that suggests censorship of student publications is not uncommon at American Christian schools, with student editors alleging faculty and administrators wield broad editorial control over campus newspapers and sometimes kill stories before publication.

      Administrators at Christian colleges have a legal right to control their schools’ newspapers, and argue they do so to safeguard the values that define their institutions.

    • Controversial Hong Kong Doc Sparks Fears of Self-Censorship

      Thanks to its politically provocative subject matter, Lost in Fumes, a documentary made by a 22-year-old on a minuscule budget of $12,800 (HK$100,000), has become Hong Kong’s hottest ticket in the past six months. But because of that same subject matter, no commercial film exhibitor in the city has been willing to touch it. The documentary follows the post-election comedown of Hong Kong university student-turned-pro-democracy activist Edward Leung, an eloquent former rising star of local politics who has been threatened with prison over his participation in a protest that became a riot. The film’s fate has renewed fears in Hong Kong’s entertainment sector about the continued erosion of freedom of speech — a trend that has included self-censorship among the city’s establishment as much as outright suppression.

      Lost in Fumes is the second documentary feature from recent college graduate Nora Lam. Since November, it has been playing to packed houses at Hong Kong’s Art Centre, at colleges and universities and in impromptu underground community screenings. But Leung’s political stance — which falls somewhat outside the local mainstream and is viewed by the ruling Communist Party in Beijing as a serious threat to its sovereignty over Hong Kong — has meant that most local business leaders would rather run a mile to avoid being associated with the film for fear of social or political reprisal.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Ciphers “Simon and Speck” Are Dead – But Not Entirely Buried Says ISO

      It may have taken them 15 days to respond, but the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) today told Computer Business Review that while the US National Security Agency (NSA)’s cryptography ciphers “Simon and Speck” had indeed been rejected by the organisation, while they were probably dead, they were not yet buried.

      The NSA had become embroiled in a heated public dispute over the ciphers in late April. It had put them forward as potential international cryptographic standards, but run into a hailstorm of opposition from ISO experts.

      SIMON and SPECK were made public by the NSA in 2013 and are optimised for low-cost processors like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, but fears that they were back-doored, and claims that the NSA refused to answer questions about the choice of matrices in Simon’s key schedule, saw them nixed by ISO delegates.

      (Two block ciphers suitable for lightweight cryptography are currently recognised by ISO under ISO/IEC 29192-2:2012: Orange Labs-developed PRESENT: a lightweight block cipher with a block size of 64 bits and a key size of 80 or 128 bits and Sony-developed CLEFIA: a lightweight block cipher with a block size of 128 bits and a key size of 128, 192 or 256 bits.)

    • A Smart Doorbell Company Is Working With Cops to Report ‘Suspicious’ People and Activities

      Ring customers can already share footage from their doorbell cameras—with police, with friends, and most anywhere online. A company blog post, for example, lists “The 8 Scariest Videos Caught by Ring,” and user-submitted footage (or “Customer Stories”) is heavily promoted on Ring’s website. The company even provides a how-to guide for downloading and sharing videos across social media.

    • ISPs Win Landmark Case to Protect Privacy of Alleged Pirates

      Two Danish ISPs have won their long-running battle to prevent the identities of alleged pirates being handed over to copyright trolls. With the trolls’ activities being described as “mafia-like”, ISPs Telenor and Telia argued that IP address logs should only be used in serious criminal cases. In a ruling handed down Monday, one of Denmark’s highest courts agreed, stopping the copyright trolls in their tracks.

    • Inside the US’ new state-of-the-art cyberwarfare bunker
    • NSA, U.S. Cyber Command unveil new cyberwarfare HQ

      The NSA and U.S. Cyber Command have a new, state-of-the-art facility to call home.

    • Facebook Shakes Up Management; Main Divisions Get New Heads
    • European regulators not ready for new data privacy regulations: report

      Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the company will exclude North America from GDPR protections but has noted that the company plans to roll out its own separate adjustments to users in other regions.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Victory! Georgia Governor Vetoes Short-Sighted Computer Crime Bill

      Recognizing the concerns of Georgia’s cybersecurity sector, Gov. Nathan Deal has vetoed a bill that would have threatened independent research and empowered dangerous “hack back” measures.

      S.B. 315 would have created the new crime of “unauthorized access” without any requirement that the defendant have fraudulent intent. This could have given prosecutors the discretion to target independent security researchers who uncover security vulnerabilities, even when they have no criminal motives and intend to disclose the problems ethically. The bill also included a dangerous exemption for “active defense measures.”

      “After careful review and consideration of this legislation, including feedback from other stakeholders, I have concluded more discussion is required before enacting this cybersecurity legislation,” Gov. Deal wrote in his veto message.

    • Haspel’s CIA Torture Defenders Have No Case

      The CIA is deflecting attempts to get to the bottom of Haspel’s record. But the defenses of that record don’t hold water.

      As we approach the confirmation hearing on Wednesday for Gina Haspel, Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA, the agency continues to hide from the American public virtually all information about her role in torture and the destruction of evidence documenting it.

      According to The Washington Post, Haspel even sought to withdraw her nomination out of concern about questions that she and the CIA have long avoided. Later reporting has suggested that Haspel’s withdrawal was motivated by concern that the White House wouldn’t fully back her in light of documents showing her unquestioning complicity in torture. As public scrutiny mounts, CNN reports that the Trump administration is already getting a Plan B nominee, Susan Gordon, the deputy director of national intelligence, ready if the Haspel nomination fails.

      Although Haspel decided to move forward with the confirmation process after persuasion by White House officials, there is no indication that she has any intention of coming clean about her history helping lead the CIA’s Bush-era torture program. Instead, the CIA is doubling down on a propaganda campaign on Haspel’s behalf, pushing what several senators have called a “superficial narrative” that “does a great disservice to the American people” by denying them basic information about a person poised to assume one of the most powerful roles in the country. According to the Washington Post, “documents that haven’t been made public, show that Haspel was an enthusiastic supporter of what the CIA was doing.” Those are documents that the American people need to see.

      We fully expect that Haspel will try to deflect attempts to get to the bottom of her record by relying on tired defenses that have no basis in law or history. Here is the truth behind some of the defenses we can expect to hear this week from torture defenders.

    • VIPS Call on Senate Intel Panel to Vote Against Haspel

      Putting Haspel in charge of the CIA would undo attempts by the agency — and the nation — to repudiate torture. The message this would send to the CIA workforce is simple: Engage in war crimes, in crimes against humanity, and you’ll get promoted. Don’t worry about the law. Don’t worry about ethics. Don’t worry about morality or the fact that torture doesn’t even work. Go ahead and do it anyway. We’ll cover for you. And you can destroy the evidence, too.

      Described in the media as a “seasoned intelligence veteran,” Haspel has been at the CIA for 33 years, both at headquarters and in senior positions overseas. Now the deputy director, she has tried hard to stay out of the public eye. Former CIA Director Michael Pompeo has lauded her “uncanny ability to get things done and inspire those around her.”

    • Torture is Not Only Immoral, but a Tool for War

      Gina Haspel’s nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency raises a slew of questions for the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding her record on torturewhen she sits down before the committee on Wednesday.

      Her confirmation hearings will no doubt raise questions of legality and ethics. With respect to torture, some have argued that Haspel’s and other’s motivation in overseeing torture and then covering it up may simply be sadism.

      But—especially given how little we know about Haspel’s record — it’s possible that there’s an even more insidious motive in the U.S. government for practicing torture: To produce the rigged case for more war. Examining this possibility is made all the more urgent as Trump has put in place what clearly appears to be a war cabinet. My recent questioning at the State Department failed to produce a condemnation of waterboarding by spokesperson Heather Nauert.

      Haspel’s hearing on Wednesday gives increased urgency to highlighting her record on torture and how torture has been “exploited.” That is, how torture was used to create “intelligence” for select policies, including the initiation of war.

    • Trump’s Shameful Choice of ‘Bloody Gina’

      Leave it to Donald Trump, besieged by denunciations of his torturous behavior toward women, to have nominated a female torturer to head the Central Intelligence Agency. It was a move clearly designed to prove that a woman can be as crudely barbaric as this deeply misogynistic president. When it comes to bullying, Gina Haspel, whose confirmation hearing begins Wednesday, is the real deal, and The Donald is a pussycat by comparison. Whom has he ever waterboarded? Haspel has done that and a lot worse. Haspel is Trump’s ideal feminist, a point tweeted on May 5 by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

      “There is no one more qualified to be the first woman to lead the CIA than 30+ year CIA veteran Gina Haspel. Any Democrat who claims to support women’s empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite.”

      They call her “Bloody Gina,” and for some of her buddies in the torture wing of the CIA and their supporters in Congress, that is meant as

    • Connecticut Set to End “Dual Arrests” in Domestic Violence Cases

      The Connecticut Legislature has sent a bill to the governor’s desk that seeks to end having victims of domestic violence arrested along with their abusers because they fight back during the course of an assault.

      For years, Connecticut’s domestic violence victims have been at risk of “dual arrests” — instances in which police arrest both the victim and the perpetrator of domestic violence. The state has a dual arrest rate of about 18 percent in “intimate partner” incidents, a ProPublica analysis in early 2017 found. The average for the rest of the country hovers at about 2 percent.

      The rates were much higher in certain communities. Using data from the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, ProPublica reported that in Windsor, a town of 29,044, dual arrests accounted for 35 percent of intimate partner arrests in 2015. In Ansonia, a city of 19,020, the rate was 37 percent.

    • Drug Dog Trainer: Marijuana Legalization Will Literally Kill Police Drug Dogs

      As marijuana is slowly, but steadily, being legalized, complications have arisen. First, the federal government still considers it illegal, although it has chosen to take a mostly-hands off approach to state-level legalization. Second, law enforcement agencies are seeing a very lucrative field of drug enforcement being slowly closed off. This isn’t sitting well with agencies that rely heavily on pot busts to show their effectiveness and secure funding.

      There’s something else being adversely affected: the employment of a few hundred law enforcement “officers.” Won’t someone think of the poor drug dogs forced out onto the streets/put to death as marijuana legalization cruelly takes their reason for existence away? That’s the breathless parade of horribles being offered by law enforcement officers in Illinois — another state looking to legalize weed.

    • Haspel, Spies and Videotapes

      Jose Rodriguez, the CIA official who ordered CIA officers to destroy a cache of videotapes that had documented the treatment of two terror suspects, says he told Gina Haspel what he intended to do. President Trump’s pick to head the CIA said she had no idea he planned to act without approval from senior officials.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Following Facebook, Verizon Quietly Backs Off Opposition To Modest California Privacy Rules

      If you missed it, large ISPs like Verizon, with the help of the Trump administration and GOP, worked to quickly kill FCC privacy protections before they could take effect last year. Those rules were arguably modest by any measure, simply requiring that ISPs transparently disclose what data is being collected and who it’s being sold to, while providing users working opt out tools (or opt in tools if dealing with sensitive consumer financial data). Those rules, you’ll recall, were only proposed after ISPs repeatedly made it clear they were utterly unwilling and unable to self-regulate on the privacy front.

      ISPs like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast were given ample leeway on privacy for years. Our reward was covert efforts to track users around the internet without telling them, and repeated efforts to charge users more if they wanted to protect their own privacy. Large ISPs had every opportunity to avoid regulation and self-regulate. They showed us repeatedly this was beyond their capabilities. Limited broadband competition routinely protected them from any repercussions, and revolving-door regulators have now completed the circle of dysfunction.

    • Comcast Prepares To Get Even Larger With Sky, Fox Acquisitions

      The cable company Americans love to hate is about to go supernova. Comcast acquired NBC Universal back in 2011, giving the company unprecedented control of not only the conduit into the house, but also the information and news being sent over those wires. And while regulators affixed some flimsy conditions to the deal, Comcast managed to ignore many of them, a major reason why regulators moved to block Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable a few years ago.

      Because we’re unwilling to learn much of anything from history, Comcast’s now on the verge of growing significantly larger. The company recently unveiled a $30 billion plan to acquire European pay TV giant Sky.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Romantic novelist’s trademarking of word ‘cocky’ sparks outcry

        Romance novelists have risen en masse to defend their right to use the word “cocky”, after one writer moved to trademark the adjective.

        Faleena Hopkins is the self-published author of a series of books about the “Cocker Brothers” (“Six bad boy brothers you’ll want to marry or hide under you [sic] bed”), each of which features the word “cocky” in the title: Cocky Romantic, Cocky Biker, Cocky Cowboy. On Saturday, author Bianca Sommerland posted a YouTube video sharing allegations that Hopkins had written to authors whose books also had titles including the word “cocky”, informing them that she had been granted the official registered trademark of the adjective in relation to romance books, and asking them to rename their novels or face legal action.

    • Copyrights

      • EU-US Comparison & Guide On Copyright Link Liability – An Update

        In announcing their new post, Ed Klaris and Alexia Bedat state: “An update to our article reviewing US and European law/recent developments in link liability in both the copyright and defamation contexts and providing a checklist of questions an attorney (or editor) ought to ask before deciding, prepublication, whether a proposed link may lead to liability in the US and/or the EU. Updates include the recent Goldman v. Breitbart decision in which a Federal Judge concluded that embedding a Tweet can be copyright infringement.”


        Understanding hyperlinking liability in the European Union, as well as the United States, is thus a prerequisite, both for media companies and the lawyers advising them. Until recently, the act of linking to material that is either copyrighted or defamatory in the United States did not, on its own, carry liability. In February 2018, however, the Southern District of New York handed down an opinion altering the status quo of copyright infringement. At the time of writing, in the Second Circuit, embedding a tweet, without any actual copying, violates the Copyright Act. This development makes the framework of link liability in United States potentially as complicated as the legal framework developed in Europe over the course of the last five years.

      • RIAA: ISP Profited From Keeping Pirating Customers Aboard

        The RIAA is not willing to let ISP Grande Communications off the hook easily. The music group has asked a Texas federal court for permission to file an amended complaint based on new evidence, arguing that the Internet provider profited from its decision not to terminate pirating subscribers.

      • European Commission expands planned copyright auto-censorship machines to also include censorship of unwanted political opinions

        The European Commission is expanding its plans for proposed automated censorship: from only having concerned copyright infringements, which is bad enough and cannot nearly be determined by a machine, the automated censorship is also going to suppress any speech with the wrong political opinion. The political term for the wrong political opinion is “terrorist propaganda”, which typically just means “a narrative from regimes that we’re not allied with right this very moment”.


Links 8/5/2018: Red Hat’s Event and Microsoft Openwashing

Posted in News Roundup at 2:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Announcing AMQ Streams: Apache Kafka on OpenShift

    We are excited to announce a Developer Preview of Red Hat AMQ Streams, a new addition to Red Hat AMQ, focused on running Apache Kafka on OpenShift.

    Apache Kafka is a leading real-time, distributed messaging platform for building data pipelines and streaming applications.

  • Watch: Mac OS X 10.4 Running in Windows Alternative ReactOS via PearPC Emulator

    The ReactOS project recently showcased on YouTube that’s possible to virtualize the Mac OS X 10.4 operating system on their free and open-source Windows alternative operating system.

    Our “Watch” series of articles continues today with a very interesting one where you can see Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger running inside the ReactOS computer operating system, which we believe has come a long way, and it’s beginning to look like a viable alternative to Microsoft’s Windows 7 or Vista operating systems, perfect for desktop computers and laptops.

    The latest release, ReactOS 0.4.8, showed us last month that it’s now possible to use Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows Vista software on the free and open-source operating system that’s binary compatible with computer programs and device drivers made for Windows.

  • Google open sources Seurat to help simplify mobile VR
  • Asylo Open-Source Framework Tackles TEEs for Cloud

    Asylo, an open-source framework and software development kit (SDK) for creating applications that run in trusted execution environments (TEEs), has launched to tackle the complexity involved in running a confidential computing platform for workloads in the cloud and virtual environments.

  • Google announces Asylo: an open-source framework for confidential computing

    Google has announced Asylo, an open-source framework aimed at securing data in the cloud. In recent years, cloud computing has become a core technology used across various fields and one of the biggest risks it carries, is the security of data.

  • OpenPGP

    My main problem with the specification is, that it is very noisy. The document is 90 pages long and describes every aspect an implementer needs to know about, from how big numbers are stored, over which magic bits and bytes are in use to mark special regions in a packet, to recommendations about used algorithms. Since I’m not going to write a crypto library from scratch, the first step I have to take is to identify which parts are important for me as a user of a – lets call it mid-level-API – and which parts I can ignore. You can see this posting as kind of an hopefully somewhat entertaining piece of jotting paper which I use to note down important parts of the spec while I go through the document.

  • Events

    • Flisol Bogotá 2018

      On April 28, we celebrated in the best way the Latin American Free Software Installation Festival (FLISoL) in Bogotá. FLISoL is the biggest event for the dissemination of Free Software in Latin America in which more than 20 countries together around 240 events recorded for this 2018 In Bogota part will take place in theFundación Tecnológica Autónoma de Bogotá FABA (Carrera 14 N° 80 – 35) from 9 a. m. Saturday April 28 this year with free entry. The Flisol Bogotá 2018, is one of the largest in Latin America with the largest number of attendees.

      The Latin American Festival of Installation of Free Software is designed for students, academics, businessmen, workers, civil servants, enthusiasts and the general public to raise awareness of our philosophy, scope, progress and development around Free Software, and share these citizens using ICT freedoms and opportunities that this provides. In Colombia it is the 14th time it is held in Bogota since 2005.

    • openSUSE Conference 2018 to Take Place in Prague, Czech Republic, from May 25-27

      The openSUSE Project plans to host this year’s openSUSE Conference event for users, collaborators, and developers at the end of the month in the beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic.

      The OpenSuSE Conference 2018 event will open its doors on Friday, May 25, and will close them on Sunday, May 27, 2018. It will be held at the Faculty of Information Technologies of Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic, for three days of workshops, talks, and a lot of fun.

      “The openSUSE Conference is the annual openSUSE community event that brings people from around the world together to meet and collaborate. The organized talks, workshops, and BoF sessions provide a framework around more casual meet ups and hack sessions. A party here and there provides the time to relax and have fun, making connections on a more personal level,” said the openSUSE Project.

    • How integrated, open infrastructure meets tomorrow’s computing demands

      Open infrastructure proponents from around the world will be gathering May 21-24 at the OpenStack Open Infrastructure Summit in Vancouver to share case studies and best practices and work together to solve integration challenges. The agenda includes notable speakers from ARM, AT&T, China Mobile, China Unicom, Google, Heptio, Hyper HQ, Oath Inc., Progressive Insurance, Target, Verizon, Walmart, and many others.

      The summit is focused on helping users compose, integrate, and operate open infrastructure technologies to solve real problems at scale. In addition to sessions on OpenStack, there will be featured sessions on the newest project at the Foundation, Kata Containers, and a strong focus on other open source technologies relevant to infrastructure operators, including Kubernetes, Docker, Ansible, Ceph, Istio, Envoy, Spinnaker, Tungsten Fabric (formerly OpenContrail), ONAP, OPNFV and many more.

      The full event agenda is organized by use cases, including AI and machine learning; edge computing; NFV; CI/CD; container infrastructure; and public, private and multi-cloud strategies.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Things Gateway – the Virtual Weather Station Code

        The Virtual Weather Station was written using Things Framework, a new communication protocol to connect devices with controllers based on Web technology. The Things Framework consists of a set libraries and modules written in various languages. Each library implements a server that offers the Web Thing API on behalf of the device running the server. The protocol is HTTP, so the server offers a Web interface by embedding a Web Server. That interface contains all the mechanisms to query or control the device and is, therefore, the embodiment of the Web Thing API.

      • Blocking FTP subresource loads within non-FTP documents in Firefox 61

        Firefox 61 will block subresource loads that rely on the insecure FTP protocol unless the document itself is an FTP document. For example, Firefox will block FTP subresource loads within HTTP(S) pages.

        The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) enables file exchange between computers on a network. While this standard protocol is supported by all major browsers and allows convenient file sharing within a network, it’s one of the oldest protocols in use today and has a number of security issues.

  • Healthcare

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • New GCC 8.1 Supports Some Features of C++2a

      GCC 8.1 is the latest major release of the GNU Compiler Collection, bringing experimental support for some parts of the upcoming C++2a standard. Additionally, GCC 8.1 improves profile driven optimizations and brings Go support up to version 1.10.1.

      While work on the upcoming C++ draft is still in its infancy, GCC C++ frontend provides two new flags, -std=c++2a and -std=gnu++2a, to enable some new C++ features that have already been pre-approved. Those include designated initializers, default member initializer for bit-fields, __VA_OPT__ for preprocessor comma elision, lambda [=, this] captures and simplified implicit lambda captures, and others. For a full list of C++2a features in GCC 8, check the C++ status page.

      In addition to this, the C++ fronted emits now improved diagnostics that include improved location and location ranges, and a number of new fix-it hints. For example, the compiler is now able to provide a hint when you use macro before defining it, when you attempt to access a private field of a class or struct, when an old-style cast can be replaced by a static_cast, const_cast, or reinterpret_cast, etc.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Free textbooks? Federal government is on track with a pilot program.

        Lawmakers listed several conditions for the creation of the program. They include using the full $5 million, giving special consideration to projects with the greatest potential to save students money and creating materials and licensing them to the public.

        Frank T. Brogan, acting assistant secretary of postsecondary education, wrote Durbin last week to say the Education Department will adhere to the conditions outlined in the senator’s letter and that the agency supports development and sharing of open-source materials.

        “Without a well-designed dissemination, faculty training and product assessment plan, these resources could end up sitting on the shelf, so to speak, and not providing the full benefit to students,” Brogan wrote.

  • Programming/Development

    • Migrating Wayland & Weston to GitLab

      As some of you have seen, freedesktop.org is migrating its Git hosting
      to GitLab[0]. Whilst the documentation is still a little scratchy -
      partly deliberate whilst we’ve been bootstrapping our infrastructure
      and monitoring how some smaller pilot projects have gone using it -
      here is what it definitely means for Wayland (wearing my fd.o admin
      hat), and some of my suggestions of what we should do as a project
      (wearing my ‘one of many Wayland contributors’ hat).

    • FreeDesktop.org Migrating To GitLab

      FreeDesktop.org that is home to the X.Org Server and Mesa development along with Wayland/Weston and other projects like LibreOffice and GStreamer is working on migrating their services to GitLab.

      Following in the steps of GNOME and other projects moving their Git hosting and bug reporting, among other services, over into an integrated solution with GitLab. The GitLab instance is also run using the Google Compute Engine as a replacement to the FreeDesktop.org’s aging server infrastructure.


  • Science

    • Two spaces after period are better than one, except maybe they aren’t, study finds

      After ensuring that the readers had indeed comprehended what they read, the researchers evaluated the reading speed for each of the paragraph types presented in words per minute. The “one-spacers” were, as a group, slower readers across the board (by about 10 words per minute), and they showed statistically insignificant variation across all four spacing practices. And “two-spacers” saw a three-percent increase in reading speed for paragraphs in their own favored spacing scheme.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • US State-By-State Analysis Shows Benefits Of Funding Global Health Research

      In the current atmosphere in the United States of funding cuts for global health threats like malaria and HIV/AIDS by the Trump Administration, a new state-by-state analysis claims to show its profound implications for research and jobs across the country.


      The analysis highlighted that one of the dangers of these cuts in health research funds is the spread of dangerous diseases to the United States, considering that the world has become highly interconnected.

    • Truvada Case Shows Civil Society’s Success With Pre-Grant Opposition

      The example of Gilead antiretroviral Truvada in Argentina and Brazil shows how civil society efforts to use patent opposition to patents it felt were unjustified were rewarded by patent withdrawal and rejection, even if the situation in Brazil might not be entirely settled.


      Truvada is an antiretroviral product from Gilead composed of a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). Gilead has met resistance from civil society groups in some countries when trying to patent the combination drug, and in particular in Argentina and Brazil, where civil society has filed patent oppositions. In Argentina, Gilead withdrew its patent application, while in Brazil, according to sources, the global pharmaceutical company might push its case to courts.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Google Fixes Pixel XL Charging Bug, 56 Bugs with May 2018 Android Security Patch
    • Death by PowerPoint

      Some pretty wild stuff to send a message directly to Trump, and it seems to have worked (at least until actually informed people got involved.) The influence op was delivered over a channel likely to reach the target audience, using a format designed to appeal to their information consumption, and included a call to action. All necessary criteria for a successful PSYOPS operation. Basically, using TV to deliver a PowerPoint using lots of pictures, small words, and references to the Ego in Chief was textbook propaganda methodology — hats off to Netanyahu on that one. Of course, there is nothing new in the information here, it was just an influence op using misinformation to present factual evidence in the worst possible light. More on that in this thread: [...]

    • New SynAck ransomware uses Process Doppelgänging technique

      A new variant of the SynAck ransomware that infects Windows systems has been spotted by researchers from Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab who say it appears to be targeted malware as attacks have only been observed in the US, Kuwait, Germany and Iran.

      SynAck has been around since September 2017 but the new variant has some added functions which make it able to operate below the radar.

      It uses the Process Doppelgänging technique, basically a way in which malicious code is disguised as a legitimate Windows process. The technique was demonstrated at the Black Hat Europe security conference in December 2017 by the firm enSilo.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • What Do US Pundits Know About North Korea That 88% of South Koreans Don’t?

      According to a recent poll, 88 percent of the South Korean public viewed the recent peace summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in as a success. In addition, 65 percent of South Koreans trust Kim Jong-un on his pledge to denuclearize, and Moon Jae-in’s approval ratings have shot up to 86 percent. Broadly speaking, recent developments between North and South Korea have been met with widespread optimism and praise from the South Korean public.

    • Giuliani Takes Cash to Speak to Terrorist Cult; Media Find This Unnoteworthy

      As FAIR (1/11/18) has noted before, US media—in an effort to find images of Iranian “dissidents”—routinely normalize the fringe group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), despite the fact that it has virtually no support or legitimacy in Iran. This was seen again this past week when a number of major outlets reported on a speech Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani gave at an MEK conference; the outlets failed to note that the group is widely loathed inside Iran, and seen as an illegitimate cult by experts across ideological lines.

      The MEK has next to no support in Iran itself, where it’s hated for working with Israeli intelligence and fighting alongside Saddam Hussein in Iraq’s war against Iran in the 1980s that killed roughly 500,000 Iranians. The group—which was formerly disowned by the last major protest movement inside Iran, the Green Movement—has carried out several terrorist bombings in Iran, and was officially listed by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organization for 16 years, until it was removed by then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012, after a lobbying effort by pro–regime change groups inside the United States.

    • VIPS Call on Trump Not to Pull Out of Iran Nuclear Deal

      The Bush administration account of how the documents on Iran got into the hands of the CIA is not true. We can prove that the actual documents originally came not from Iran but from Israel. And the documents were never authenticated by the CIA or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

      Two former Directors-General of the IAEA, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, have publicly expressed suspicion that the documents were fabricated. And forensic examination of the documents yielded multiple signs that they are fraudulent.

      We urge you to insist on an independent inquiry into the actual origins of these documents. We believe that the renewed attention being given to claims that Iran is secretly working to develop nuclear weapons betokens a transparent attempt to stoke hostility toward Iran, with an eye toward helping “justify” pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

    • Two Leading Bidders for Lucrative Los Alamos Lab Contract Have Checkered Safety Records

      In the coming weeks, the U.S. Department of Energy will select a new team to run Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb and one of the government’s most important nuclear weapons facilities.

      The prize: A contract lasting up to 10 years and worth more than $22 billion dollars, with the prospect of hundreds of millions more in bonuses.

      The leading contenders: Defense contractor Bechtel and the University of California, which have run the lab as partners since 2006. Their joint management company, called Los Alamos National Security, lost its contract for serious accidents, as well as worker health and safety violations, and amassed $110 million in fines and lost performance bonuses for those lapses.

    • Talk to Us About Los Alamos National Laboratory — and Other National Labs Around the Country

      ProPublica and The Santa Fe New Mexican are investigating health and safety conditions at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, and other Department of Energy nuclear facilities around the country.

    • Trump Slated to Announce Decision About Iran Nuclear Deal Today

      President Trump is slated to announce at 2 p.m. today whether he will withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. President Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the deal, despite pressure from European leaders, Iran, the international community and even his own defense secretary, James Mattis.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Wikileaks Reveals FBI Lost Chain Of Custody Of Hillary Clinton Email Server For Five Weeks

      Hillary’s email server is back in the news after a stunning tweet from Julian Assange’s Wikileaks. According to the documents mentioned in the Wikileaks tweet, the FBI lost the chain of custody for Hillary Clinton’s email server from August 2015 to October 2015, and the agency later created an entirely new chain of custody for the server.

      Apparently, the information about the FBI’s problem with Hillary’s emails server was buried in the details of a 229 file the FBI released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents can be viewed on or downloaded from the FBI’s website as part of “Hillary R. Clinton Part 21 of 21.”

    • Defector: WikiLeaks ‘Will Lie to Your Face’ [Ed: Kevin Poulsen, who burned Manning along with an informant, Adrian Lamo (a Wikileaks source burned), makes it very obvious he’s in a war against whistleblowers and publishers too.]
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Brexit ‘impossible challenge’ for environment and trade departments

      The departments run by Michael Gove and Liam Fox are facing an “impossible challenge” as they prepare for Brexit, parliament’s spending watchdog has warned.

      The environment and trade departments do not have a clear plan of Brexit priorities and must explain what they will not be delivering, according to the public accounts committee.

      Its report released on Friday says the food and chemical industries face “substantial risks” of disruption if preparations are not completed in time.

    • U.S. Cities Lose Tree Cover Just When They Need It Most

      Scientific evidence that trees and green spaces are crucial to the well-being of people in urban areas has multiplied in recent decades. Conveniently, these findings have emerged just as Americans, already among the most urbanized people in the world, are increasingly choosing to live in cities. The problem—partly as a result of that choice—is that urban tree cover is now steadily declining across the U.S.

      A study in the May issue of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening reports metropolitan areas are experiencing a net loss of about 36 million trees nationwide every year. That amounts to about 175,000 acres of tree cover, most of it in central city and suburban areas but also on the exurban fringes. This reduction, says lead author David Nowak of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), translates into an annual loss of about $96 million in benefits—based, he says, on “only a few of the benefits that we know about.” The economic calculation involves several such benefits that are relatively easy to express in dollar terms—the capacity of trees to remove air pollution, sequester carbon, conserve energy by shading buildings and reduce power plant emissions.

    • USAians Lose Sight Of What Matters

      We don’t have to accept concrete and asphalt in the place of forest and meadow.

  • Finance

    • China’s Got Jack Ma’s Finance Giant in Its Crosshairs
    • Snapchat’s Stock Is Plunging Fast After it Said User Growth Is Slowing

      In November, parent company Snap Inc. embarked on a dramatic reorganization of its mobile photo-sharing app to combat sluggish growth. But once the update reached all of Snapchat’s users in the first quarter, user additions and sales slowed even further amid a public revolt over the new design. Revenue gains in the current quarter will be even smaller, the company said Tuesday, sending shares plunging as much as 20 percent in New York Wednesday, the biggest intraday drop in almost a year.

    • Microsoft will let you pay bills from inside Outlook [iophk: "Microsoft is extending an existing monopoly on office software to break into payments"]

      The Microsoft Pay system would let users make payments through emails without having to switch into other apps. Microsoft said initial payment partners include Stripe and Braintree, while billing service Zuora and invoicing services including FreshBooks, Intuit, Invoice2Go, Sage, Wave, and Xero would also be among the companies working with the new Outlook capability. Microsoft Pay will be rolled out to some Outlook.com users over the next few weeks, while more users will receive the capability over the next few months.

    • Brokers Push for Crypto-Transparency Before Rules Get Mandated

      Some of Europe’s largest digital-coin brokers, who would be saddled with the new rules, are actually asking for them in a bid to clear the air and shake off perceptions they help criminals transfer money. Firms such as eToro Europe Ltd. in London and Bitpanda GmbH in Vienna say clear, “know your customer” rules would let trading platforms go mainstream more easily, gain clients and eventually tap institutional business.

    • Can Yanis Varoufakis Save Europe?

      At a moment when many on the right and left have abandoned the European project, Greece’s former finance minister has other plans for the continent.

    • Trump Vowed to Punish Companies That Moved Jobs Overseas. Is Congress Rewarding Them?

      Two weeks before the presidential election, Donald Trump flew into a faded textile town in North Carolina and riled up the crowd over one of his campaign’s signature promises: bringing back the jobs that businesses had shipped overseas.

      “They wouldn’t be doing it if I was president,” Trump said to cheers. “Believe me, when they say, ‘We want to send our product’ — whatever the hell they make — ‘We want to send our product back into the United States,’ I’d say, ‘We’d love to have your product — 35 percent tax. Let’s see if you move.’”

      He ticked off a list of companies that had closed factories in the state, calling attention to Leviton Manufacturing, a maker of light switches and electrical outlets found in homes and offices around the world, including Trump’s real-estate properties.

      “I buy a lot of Leviton switches,” Trump said. “I’m not buying ’em anymore.”

    • The Right to Stand in First Class

      For every one mile one passenger travels, the British taxpayer pays an average 8 pence subsidy to the train operating company. That is an average of 8p per mile subsidy for every single journey for every single passenger. That is, of course, in addition to your train fare.

      The train fare system in the UK is ridiculously complicated, so much so that it makes comparison to other countries difficult in searching for like for like fares. The simple methodology adopted by this site linked to finds the UK has the second most expensive train fares in Europe. This further site linked to finds Britain has the most expensive commuter fares of eight expensive comparators. This Sky News investigation found some stunning examples of comparable British tickets being around three to four times more expensive than comparable fares in France and Germany.

      Since privatisation, taxpayers have paid much more money in real terms to the rail network that they gave to British Rail, as shown by official government statistics.

    • The Federal Court of Canada and the End of Investor-state Dispute Settlement in NAFTA?

      A decision by Justice Anne Mactavish in the Federal Court of Canada yesterday should spell the end of the NAFTA renegotiation on the investment Chapter of NAFTA, and ignite a renegotiation of the investment chapters of the Canada-EU trade agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPATPP).

      This unusual connection arises because Justice Mactavish was ruling on a claim for judicial review of an arbitration award against Canada under the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in NAFTA’s Chapter 11 on investment. The legal question before Justice Mactavish was relatively narrow: under what circumstances could the Court overturn an arbitral award under NAFTA?


      Judge Mactavish put her concerns as follows: “I accept that the majority’s Award raises significant policy concerns. These include its effect on the ability of NAFTA Parties to regulate environmental matters within their jurisdiction, the ability of NAFTA tribunals to properly assess whether foreign investors have been treated fairly under domestic environmental assessment processes, and the potential “chill” in the environmental assessment process that could result from the majority’s decision.” This is an extraordinary assessment for a federal court judge to make. And then say she can do nothing about it because the ability of courts to review arbitration awards is remarkably constrained under federal arbitration law. This opens the door for a final award of damages against Canada, claimed at over 400 million dollars by the company for a quarry that was never built.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Before the Blankenship-McConnell Feud, the Senator Aided the Mining Executive

      As the race for the West Virginia Republican Senate nomination hurtles toward Tuesday’s primary, candidate Don Blankenship, the former coal executive sentenced to a year in federal prison in connection with a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 men, has unleashed blistering invective against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

      He has taken to calling McConnell “Cocaine Mitch,” an allusion to drugs once found on a ship owned by the shipping company owned by Chao’s father, whom Blankenship calls a “wealthy China-person.” His ad hominem barrage, provoked by McConnell’s well-funded effort to deny Blankenship the nomination, culminated in an eye-popping TV ad in which Blankenship charged that McConnell has “created millions of jobs for China-people” and that McConnell’s “China family has given him tens of millions of dollars.” The ad pledged to “ditch Cocaine Mitch for the sake of the kids.”


      A team of investigators from MSHA was on its way to alleging eight separate violations against Massey that could have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines and laid the legal basis for criminal charges of willful negligence.

    • How Facebook fired workers who blocked ‘fake news’ — ‘After the Fact’ book excerpt

      This excerpt is adapted from USA Today reporter Nathan Bomey’s new book, After the Fact: The Erosion of Truth and the Inevitable Rise of Donald Trump, a nonpartisan analysis exploring society’s increasingly tenuous commitment to the facts. Printed with permission from Prometheus Books.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Protest against RTVE censorship spills over into prime time

      The fight of RTVE workers against news manipulation and censorship has gained visibility as most of the network’s hosts brought the protest to prime-time broadcastings.

    • Shawnee Mission School District Investigates Alleged Censorship Of Student Walkouts

      After complaints arose that administrators allegedly censored students during recent nationwide walkouts, the Shawnee Mission School District announced it will take measures to train district officials on First Amendment rights.

      Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue the district if it didn’t address allegations that administrators restricted students’ participation in the April 20 walkouts protesting gun violence.

      At a district board meeting Monday night, Interim Superintendent Kenny Southwick said he’s been conducting an investigation into the reported incidents since they began to surface.

    • Another Convicted Fraudster Attempts To Manage His Reputation With Bogus DMCA Takedown Notices

      First off, “well-respected” may be a term of art I’m not familiar with, but being a participant in the rampant misuse of public funds would seem to undercut that claim, even when extended to “other parts of the world.”

      Second, the use of “your image” isn’t infringement, even if these sites were using your image. But almost none of the 200+ URLs listed in Mayfield’s bogus DMCA notices make use of any images of him. Certainly the FBI’s doesn’t. All it contains is Mayfield’s guilty plea and more details about the bribery, extortion, and misuse of public funds by a number of Detroit public officials.

      Whatever “attention” is being “tractioned” by stories about criminal activity by city employees doesn’t rely on “images” Mayfield might possibly own. Chauncey Mayfield is a key player in the scenarios depicted by the articles he wants delisted. As the CEO of MayfieldGentry, he was apparently instrumental in securing the city’s pension fund management contract through highly-questionable (and highly-illegal) means before sinking a few million into a failed shopping mall investment that led to the investigation of the city’s fund management.

    • Thousands march in ‘free speech’ protest led by rightwing figures

      Rally follows ban of former EDL leader Tommy Robinson from Twitter over ‘hateful conduct’

    • Google Just Made Things a Lot Easier for Censors

      Last month, Russia’s government blocked nearly 19 million Internet Protocol addresses in a bid to stop people from accessing the messaging app Telegram after it refused to comply with government demands to share content from encrypted chats. Authorities blocked so many IP addresses because Telegram uses a technique called domain fronting to circumvent simple filtering of Telegram’s web addresses.

    • Vice India CEO on targeting India’s youth, censorship allegations and localising languages

      Vice Media recently launched in India with the aim of reaching the Indian youth population.

      It’s one of the most comprehensive launches for Vice outside the US and Europe, showing a significant commitment to India and the wider APAC market.

      However, before it even began its operations, there were allegations of Vice India shooting down a story on an activist from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, who is gay.

    • NCAC Urges University of Southern Maine to Restore Paintings Removed from Exhibit

      The University of Southern Maine (USM) has removed three works following a complaint citing the painter’s previous conviction for sexual offenses. The empty spaces left by the removed works, part of an exhibit at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn campus, have been left empty by the curator. The decision to remove the pieces was made by university officials, who have not commented further. Previously identified in media reports, Bruce Habowski is a well-regarded oil painter whose works have appeared in the Portland Museum of Art and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, among others. He was convicted of unlawful sexual contact in 1999 and served a jail sentence.

    • Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett resigns after calling on owners to sell

      Chuck Plunkett, the editorial page editor of The Denver Post, submitted his resignation on Thursday, nearly one month after he sparked an uproar with an editorial that called on the newspaper’s owners to sell The Post.

      Editor Lee Ann Colacioppo announced Plunkett’s resignation to her staff in an email that did not provide details on his departure. His resignation came one week after Dave Krieger, the editorial page editor of another Digital First Media newspaper, the Boulder Daily Camera, was fired after self-publishing an editorial critical of DFM’s management practices.

    • Censorship, workload drive 2 more senior editors from Denver’s imploding newspaper
    • Denver Post Newsroom Statement on Resignation of Editorial Page Editor Chuck Plunkett
    • Newsonomics: Alden Global Capital is making so much money wrecking local journalism it might not want to stop anytime soon
    • Four Cambodian journalists resign over censorship
    • Cambodia’s journalists resign over censorship clash
    • Phnom Penh Post sees mass staff walkout as new owner demands self-censorship
    • Mass staff walkout at Phnom Penh Post owner’s self-censorship order
    • Watchdog wants more transparency around censorship by tech giants
    • Romanian Public TV Manager Escapes Censorship Grilling

      MPs from Romania’s ruling Social Democratic Party prevented opposition politicians from asking questions at a hearing with the public broadcaster’s director-general, who has been accused of censorship and insulting reporters.


      Gradea has been at the centre of a row between the Romanian Television TVR management and the public broadcaster’s employees after she was caught on tape insulting several reporters who asked uncomfortable questions during ruling party officials’ press conferences.

      Journalist Dragos Patraru, the anchor of satirical news show ‘Starea Natiei’ (‘State of the Nation’), released the recording last week, after he accused the TVR management of pressuring him to “soften” his jokes, announcing he would end his show next season.

      The recording sparked outrage among journalists, who circulated a letter slamming Gradea for her statements and defending a reporter she called “a pig-head who should be taken off screen”.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The government is acting negligently on privacy and porn AV

      We asked the BBFC to tell government that the legislation is not fit for purpose, and that they should halt the scheme until privacy regulation is in place. We pointed out that card payments and email services are both subject to stronger privacy protections that Age Verification.

      The government’s case for non-action is that the Information Commissioner and data protection fines for data breaches are enough to deal with the risk. This is wrong: firstly because fines cannot address the harm created by the leaking of people’s sexual habits. Secondly, it is wrong because data breaches are only one aspect of the risks involved.

      We outlined over twenty risks from Age Verification technologies. We pointed out that Age Verification contains a set of overlapping problems. You can read our list below. We may have missed some: if so, do let us know.

    • Privacy Group Files Legal Complaint Over UK Law Enforcement’s Warrantless Phone Searches

      Privacy International, which has successfully challenged UK surveillance programs, is bringing its heat to the local level. In a report PI released towards the end of March, the group noted several law enforcement agencies were seizing and searching phones — often deploying forensic software — without warrants. This went further than devices owned by criminal suspects. Searches were also performed on phones of crime victims and witnesses.

      At no point does it appear warrants were sought. Documents obtained by PI showed UK police forces are operating under a melange of self-written policies or citing random portions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) to support their warrantless searches. It also appears there is no national oversight of this process, which has allowed this current policy patchwork to develop.

    • Oakland passes “strongest” surveillance oversight law in US

      Late Tuesday evening, the Oakland City Council formally approved a new city ordinance that imposes community control over the use of surveillance technology in the city.

      Oakland is now one of a number of California cities, including Berkeley and Davis, that mandates a formal annual report that details “how the surveillance technology was used,” among other requirements.

      In the wake of Oakland’s 2013 efforts to approve federal grant money to construct a “Domain Awareness Center,” the city has now also created a “Privacy Advisory Commission,” or PAC. This body, composed of volunteer commissioners from each city council district, acts as a privacy check on the city when any municipal entity (typically the police department) wants to acquire a technology that may impinge on individual privacy.

    • Oakland Residents Now Protected By The ‘Strongest’ Surveillance Oversight Law ‘In The Country’

      The city itself caught some heat for a 2013 plan to turn the city into London, UK (West Coast, USA Edition). The proposed “Domain Awareness Center” would have provided law enforcement with access to a network of more than 1,000 cameras. To make matter worse, the proposed system would have been cobbled together by SAIC, a government contractor with a sordid history of fraud, bribery, and shoddy workmanship. SAIC was behind a $600 million custom computer system ordered by the FBI. When it finally arrived, late and overbudget, it was so worthless the agency immediately scrapped the system and hired a different contractor.

      The backlash from this attempt to place most of the city under round-the-clock surveillance has prompted a change of heart in city leadership. The new ordinance [PDF] opens with several declarations, including this one, which indicates city governance recognizes the inherent downside of pervasive surveillance.

    • Why Am I Getting All These Terms of Service Update Emails?

      Anyone looking at their inbox in the last few months might think that the Internet companies have collectively returned from a term-of-service writers’ retreat. Company after company seem to have simultaneously decided that your privacy is tremendously important to them, and collectively beg you take a look at their updated terms of service and privacy policies.

      You might assume that this privacy rush is connected to the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal, and Mark Zuckerberg’s recent face-off with Congress. It’s certainly true that Facebook itself has been taking some voluntary steps to revamp its systems in direct response to pressure from politicians in the U.S. and abroad. But most of the companies that are sending you email right now are doing so because of their own, independent privacy spring-cleaning. And that’s almost entirely due to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on May 25th. Most companies that have users in Europe are scrambling to update their privacy policies and terms of service to avoid breaking this new EU law.

      The GDPR strongly encourages clarity in “information addressed to the public” about privacy – making now an excellent time for companies to provide clearer and more detailed descriptions of what data they collect, and what use they put it to.

      Then again, those updates might be a little overdue. Companies were always supposed to do this under European law — and, for that matter, Californian law too, which since 2003 has required any service that collects your private information to spell out in detail out their data use. But the additional penalties of the GDPR (with fines of up to 20 million euro, or 4% of global revenue) and increasing confidence of European data protection regulators have poked many international companies to finally pay closer attention to their legal obligations.

      The EU regulators are certainly paying attention to these email updates. A strongly-worded blog post this week by EU’s head enforcer, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Giovanni Buttarelli, warned the public and his fellow regulators to be “vigilant about attempts to game the system”, adding that some of these new terms of service emails could be “travest[ies] of the spirit of the new regulation”.

    • 4 Things to Be Worried About in the NSA’s New Transparency Report

      The NSA continues to fail to report certain information about its activities as required by law.

    • Cyber Command, NSA open new $500 million operations center

      The National Security Agency and Cyber Command marked the official opening of a new $500 million building May 4, one that is designed to integrate cyber operations across the U.S. government and foreign partners.

      The new Integrated Cyber Center and Joint Operations Center, or ICC/JOC, is Cyber Command’s “first dedicated building, providing the advanced command and control capabilities and global integration capabilities that we require to perform our missions,” former commander Adm. Michael Rogers said in recent congressional testimony.

    • United States Cyber Command: The new functional combatant command SOFREP Original Content [Ed: Cracking operations of the US. No moral high ground, just euphemisms like "Cyber Command".]

      The Department of Defense recently added the United States Cyber Command to its list of combatant commands. This is a direct response to the growing number of threats found in the cyber realm, from both state actors as well as independent ones. The program was initially meant to be defensive in nature, but it will also prove to be an offensive tool as well.

      The commander of U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) was former director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers. He announced his retirement from the Navy and was replaced by Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, who is also the current director of the NSA, as well as the Chief of the Central Security Service.

    • Pentagon’s cyber command given upgraded status

      The Pentagon’s cyber warfare unit received an elevated status and a new commander over the weekend, signalling the growing importance of digital combat as the US grapples with sophisticated hacking by Russia, China and other actors.

      Army Gen. Paul Nakasone took over leadership of US Cyber Command at a ceremony at this base 30 miles north of Washington that featured both traditional military pomp and signs of the new age of warfare.

      Cyber Command was elevated on Friday to an independent “unified command,” a bureaucratic change that for the first time puts it on a par with nine other US warfighting commands.

    • Gen. Paul Nakasone Assumes Leadership of Cybercom, NSA

      U.S. Army Gen. Paul Nakasone has succeeded U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Rogers as commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency.

    • Nakasone takes helm at NSA and newly elevated Cyber Command

      Gen. Paul Nakasone assumed the directorship of the National Security Agency and Cyber Command, now officially a unified combatant command, from Adm. Michael Rogers in a ceremony May 4.

      In doing so, Nakasone became “the primary guardian of our nation’s cyber domain, said Patrick Shanahan, deputy secretary of defense.

    • NSA Lablet at Vanderbilt to make sure America keeps moving after hacks

      The National Security Agency is giving a Vanderbilt University team and their collaborators five years and several million dollars to figure out how to make that happen. They’re getting what’s called a Science of Security Lablet—mini-labs aimed at increasing knowledge and collaboration in the field.

    • Balancing Army Readiness with NSA Mission: A Case Study of the 717th Military Intelligence Battalion

      The priority of every Army unit is readiness to make sure our Soldiers have the skills needed to deploy, operate, and win across the entire conflict spectrum. With that understanding, individual Army units pursue readiness in a tailored fashion based on its stated mission, available personnel, assessed level of training, and assigned equipment to achieve readiness standards set by the Army. The Army’s Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) provides ready Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) forces to support the National Security Agency’s (NSA) global mission. As such, the 717th Military Intelligence battalion, located in San Antonio, is the INSCOM contributor to NSA in Texas (NSAT). To achieve readiness, we balance Army training and NSA requirements through a continuous process of situational understanding, training prioritization, training methodology, and leader engagement to provide the most effective Service and NSA-related training possible. This article describes how the 717th MI battalion achieves training readiness while executing its ongoing global mission.

    • Google News to be revamped, incorporate YouTube videos and magazines

      A report from AdAge claims that Google News will soon be going through some more changes. According to the report, Google News is getting a “new design” and will “incorporate elements of the [Google Play] Newsstand app and YouTube.” The new Google News will reportedly be powered by Google’s stripped-down, quick-loading AMP technology and is expected to launch at Google I/O 2018.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Math Can’t Solve Everything: Questions We Need To Be Asking Before Deciding an Algorithm is the Answer

      Across the globe, algorithms are quietly but increasingly being relied upon to make important decisions that impact our lives. This includes determining the number of hours of in-home medical care patients will receive, whether a child is so at risk that child protective services should investigate, if a teacher adds value to a classroom or should be fired, and whether or not someone should continue receiving welfare benefits.

      The use of algorithmic decision-making is typically well-intentioned, but it can result in serious unintended consequences. In the hype of trying to figure out if and how they can use an algorithm, organizations often skip over one of the most important questions: will the introduction of the algorithm reduce or reinforce inequity in the system?

    • Honoring Police Includes Acknowledging Systemic Reform Is Needed

      A memorial week for police should be about making the job safer for officers and community members alike.

      During the third week of May, tens of thousands of cops from across the nation will gather in Washington, D.C., for “Police Week” and its national memorial services, a solemn tradition that dates back to the Kennedy administration. As a former law enforcement officer, I know the importance of this week.

      I also know that this is an ideal time to commit to improving the institution from within as well as from without. There is no better time to recognize and appreciate our courageous officers — and make their work safer, more satisfying, and, ultimately, more legitimate in the eyes of the people.

      Twenty-three years ago, as Seattle’s police chief, I traveled to our nation’s capital to join the family of a gifted, compassionate police officer, Antonio Terry. On June 4, 1994, Detective Terry was shot dead by a motorist he had stopped to assist. Police Week is meant to honor the men and women, like Terry, who are gutsy enough to do this critical, often dangerous work.

      But a proper tribute starts by accepting what is for some a painful truth: Much of the criticism of American policing — rudeness, bigotry, and discrimination; unlawful stop and frisk; false arrests; sexual predation; corruption; excessive force — is valid. And another truth: Airing these criticisms is but a first step. Communities must have a meaningful role in improving the system — which includes reform-minded people joining the ranks.

    • Plight of the Rohingya: Ethnic Cleansing, Mass Rape and Monsoons on the Way

      The English-language Bangkok Post reported on May 5 that the Rohingya will be safe in Myanmar, according to the military there, as long as they stay confined to the camps being set up for them. Myanmar’s current commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, told a visiting delegation from the UN Security Council “there is no need to be worried about their security if they stay in the areas designated for them.”

      But then General Min referred to the Rohingya as “Bengalis”, perpetuating the belief–and antagonism against them inside Myanmar–that the Rohingya are foreigners to the country, who are lying and exaggerating their suffering to get sympathy from the rest of the world. “Bengalis will never say that they arrive there happily. They will get sympathy and rights only if they say that they face a lot of hardships and persecution,” he said.

      For its part, the UN says the refugee camps in Myanmar, referred to by the general, are not fit or safe for the arrival of hundred of thousands of Rohingya, who have already suffered from the worst kinds of brutality imaginable, including the burning down of entire villages, mass rape and murder.

    • Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Hussein spends 500th day in Egyptian jail

      Friday marks 500 days since Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein was arrested by Egyptian authorities after returning to his home country for a holiday.

      Hussein, an Egyptian national who was based in Qatar, was stopped, questioned and detained by authorities on December 20, 2016, after travelling to Cairo on annual leave.

      Five days after his initial arrest, Egypt’s interior ministry accused him of “disseminating false news and receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities in order to defame the state’s reputation”.

      Since then, he has been put in solitary confinement and denied his legal rights. He has yet to be formally charged.

    • Defense Dept. Thinks It’s Not Withholding Enough Info From FOIA Requesters, Asks Congress For Another Exemption

      The Defense Department, like much of the federal government, finds its FOIA obligations too burdensome to perform correctly or speedily. Thanks to its ability to cite national security exemptions more frequently than the FBI and NYPD, it has all the excuses it needs to withhold documents in full or replace long chunks of text with redaction bars.

      Somehow, the multitude of FOIA exemptions it has access to still isn’t enough. Figuring three denials is nothing more than legislators playing hard to get, the DoD is again petitioning Congress to grant it another way to withhold information from requesters.

    • Scenes From a Black Site

      The interrogators were not satisfied, noting that Nashiri had declined to discuss what he did in April 2002 after the tanker plot was called off. The interrogators locked him in a confinement box and urged him to think about what he wanted to say.

    • A Prisoner in Gina Haspel’s Black Site

      He was a small man, one interrogator recalled, and so thin that he would slip in his restraints when the masked CIA guards tipped the waterboard upward to let him breathe.

      Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a 37-year-old Saudi, did not deny having been a terrorist operative for Osama bin Laden. He admitted his role in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, an attack that killed 17 Navy sailors. Captured two years later in Dubai, he talked openly about planning more attacks.

      But any bravado had disappeared well before Nashiri’s CIA captors strapped him naked to a hospital gurney in a windowless white cell and began pouring water into his nose and mouth until he felt he was drowning. He pleaded with them to stop. They continued.

    • Will a Torturer Become CIA Director?

      The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled on Wednesday to decide whether to recommend that Gina Haspel be confirmed as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The mind boggles.

      It is no secret that Haspel oversaw detainee torture, including waterboarding, at a CIA “black site” base in Thailand. The nonprofit National Security Archive, housed at The George Washington University, reports that Haspel later drafted a cable ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapes of torture sessions, including some from before her arrival. Haspel also helped feed repeated lies about the supposed effectiveness of torture to CIA superiors, Congress, and two presidents.

      So how does President Donald Trump think he can get this nomination approved? It is a sad story. Polling shows that most Americans, including Catholics, have been persuaded by Hollywood films and TV series, other media, and Trump himself that torture works. “Absolutely, I feel it works,” Trump told ABC News in January 2017.

    • Despite Court Order, Trump Continues to Pressure Immigrants Into Carrying Unwanted Pregnancies

      In March, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to stop blocking immigrant minors in government custody from obtaining abortions, and, subsequently, to post a notice in all government-funded shelters housing them to inform them that they have the right to decide whether to have an abortion. But since then, the government has sought to undermine the court’s ruling in its relentless drive to control the reproductive choices of young immigrant women.

      The Trump administration has appealed the order, arguing that it has the right to hold young women hostage to prevent them from accessing abortion. And in tandem with the appeal, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the agency responsible for unaccompanied minors, directed all government-funded shelters and legal services providers to make available what is effectively a counter-notice, instructing pregnant minors to seek counseling from one of three crisis pregnancy centers. CPCs are anti-abortion organizations, often disguised as medical centers, aimed at discouraging women from having abortions. Among the three CPCs listed on the notice is “Sisters of Life,” an explicitly religious organization that has vowed to “protect and enhance the sacredness of human life” and has characterized abortion as a “tragedy” and an “unforgivable sin.”

    • Uber Finds Deadly Accident Likely Caused By Software Set to Ignore Objects On Road

      Uber has determined that the likely cause of a fatal collision involving one of its prototype self-driving cars in Arizona in March was a problem with the software that decides how the car should react to objects it detects, according to two people briefed about the matter.

    • Uber’s Self-driving Car Killed The Woman Because Its Sensors Chose To “Ignore” Her

      It looks like Uber has found a probable cause of the fatal car accident that took place some weeks ago. According to a report from The Information, the problem was with the software of its self-driving technology that decided how a car should react after detecting an object on the road.

      As a result of how the software has been configured to react to the objects detected on the way, the car “decided” that it didn’t need to take an action right away.

    • Roadside Saliva Testing Is Probably Unconstitutional

      Vermont state senators defeated a saliva testing bill, but other states are experimenting with the unproven technology.

      In the wake of marijuana legalization, many states are looking for new ways to keep impaired drivers off the road. Unfortunately, some proposals would lead to problematic and possibly unconstitutional police practices. One such idea is warrantless roadside saliva testing.

      During a roadside saliva test, a police officer takes a saliva sample from a driver’s mouth and inserts the sample into a machine that at least theoretically can detect whether any amount of certain controlled substances — legal or illegal — is in the driver’s system. Yuck factor aside, there are several problems with this.

      First, at best, these tests merely detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system. Unlike breathalyzers, they say nothing about actual impairment at the time of testing. As such, the use of saliva tests could result in the detention of someone who has any detectable amount of substance in their body — again, legal or illegal — even though this adds nothing to the determination of whether that person is an impaired driver.

    • “Down with the tsar”: Russian authorities ban Navalny supporter protest ahead of Putin’s inauguration

      In Tomsk region, two participants in the Left Bloc are under investigation. One of the two was put in a car on top of a hot heater by police officers, as a result of which the activist received burns to his hand. “I was lying between the back and front seats, they put their feet on top of me. They switched on the heater on purpose so that I had difficulty breathing, and if I hadn’t put my hand on the heater, my side would have been severely burnt,” Maxim Shulgin said. Shulgin had been detained for posting a song on VKontakte which, according to the investigation, incites hatred towards police officers. A second activist has also been charged with inciting hatred via online publications, but we have not yet succeeded in getting in touch with him since he lives in the closed city of Seversk.

      In Kemerovo, the authorities are seeking to prosecute the coordinator of Navalny’s election campaign. Кseniya Pakhomova says they want to charge her with interfering with the work of the electoral commission or the exercise by citizens of their election rights. Details of the charges are not yet known.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Telstra could face big fine over triple-zero outage

      Telstra could face fines and also have to enter into a court-enforceable undertaking to satisfy the terms of its obligation to provide a triple-zero service after an outage last Friday affected the emergency call service.

      The Australian Communications and Media Authority said in a statement it had begun an investigation into the incident which followed a lightning strike on a Telstra cable between Bowral and Orange in NSW.

    • Dems push to restore net neutrality rules

      Restoring the net neutrality rules has the support of all 49 minority party members, as well as Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine). Assuming that all senators will be on hand for the vote — an open question, since Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) health has forced him to return home to Arizona — the bill needs just one more Republican to succeed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Heritage Global Patents & Trademarks to Conduct a Sealed-Bid Auction of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Drone) Patent Portfolio of Proxy Technologies, Inc.
    • 17 Patents That Will Change Your Screen’s Design and Display

      In today’s technological world, there’s rarely a day that passes where we’re not looking at some form of screen. Whether you’re reading the latest news on your phone, watching TV, or working at a computer, screens are a common feature of modern life.

      Given how important screens are to our day-to-day lives, it only makes sense that tech companies are constantly working towards improving and expanding the abilities of smart device screens. Here are just some interesting developments from patents that could change our screens in a multitude of ways.

    • Broadcom hits Toyota with US patent suit, signalling auto licensing ambitions

      Two months after its bid to buy Qualcomm ran aground, Broadcom has launched its first patent suit targetting the auto industry. Yesterday, the chipmaker filed both an infringement suit in the Eastern District of Texas and an ITC complaint against Toyota and four of the company’s Japanese suppliers. The actions, which name several popular Toyota models, suggest that Broadcom is exploring new domains in an IP monetisation campaign that has ramped up since a 2016 merger with Avago. The products accused of infringement are infotainment cells located on a vehicle’s so-called head unit, and the vehicles that are shipped with them.

    • What You Can Learn From The Licensing Execs At The LESI Annual Conference 2018 [Ed: Works for patent trolls]

      Dr. Kristin Neuman of MPEGLA highlighted the role played by patent pools in potentially creating a one-stop shop for commercial users to license platform technologies and patents from various entities without having to navigate a complex patent and licensing landscape. Having run patent pools for video coding standards, MPEGLA is now poised to start a patent pool in a totally different field: the groundbreaking CRISPR genome editing technologies. Luke McLeroy of AVANCI’s also campaigned for the role patent pools can play and AVANCI’s aspiration’s in the field of IoT patent licensing.

    • Trademarks

      • Romance Novelist Secures Trademark For Word ‘Cocky,’ Begins Beating Other Novelists Over The Head With It

        Over the weekend, the unlikeliest of hashtags began to draw attention on Twitter: #cockygate. There are a million places one’s mind could go without further information, but most would only be partially correct. It appears a romance novel writer, Faleena Hopkins, decided her recently-registered trademark should be wielded as a weapon against any other author using the word “cocky” in the the title of their books.

        Writer Jamila Jasper apparently was apparently one of the first to receive a cease-and-desist from Hopkins. Here’s the legal threat in all of its misinformed glory.

    • Copyrights

      • When Should Actors Get Coprights in their Performances?

        In Garcia v. Google, the en banc Ninth Circuit ruled that actors can basically never obtain a copyright in their performances. I was one of, say, ten people troubled by this decision. My IP academic colleagues will surely recall (too) long debates on the listserv on this issue. It turns out that another of the ten is Justin Hughes (Loyola LA), who has now written an article exploring when and why actors might reasonably claim copyright in a performance. The article, called Actors as Authors in American Copyright Law, is on SSRN and is forthcoming in the Connecticut Law Review.


        This article explores much of the thinking I had at the time of Garcia v. Google, so those who favored that ruling will likely think it is as crazy as they thought I was. However, I think the article is still worth a read, if only to pinpoint where you think it goes astray, if it does.

      • Former Judge Accuses Russia’s IP Court Of Using Unlicensed Software

        There are some ongoing jokes of a kind that cynics like myself believe have more than a grain of truth to them. They go something like “The moment you have a person or group sanctimoniously come out violently against [X], you can pretty much set your watch to the eventuality that that same person or group will be found to have committed [X] themselves.” This works in a myriad of arenas, from “family first” politicians getting caught up in affairs, to “children first” people and groups found to have abused children, up to and including matters of intellectual property. The examples of those in favor of draconian IP enforcement being found to have violated IP themselves are so legion that this entire sentence could have been constructed of nothing but hyperlinks to those past stories.

        And now, it seems, we may be able to add Russia’s Intellectual Property Rights Court to the list. A former judge on that court has filed a lawsuit against the court itself accusing it of wanton use of unlicensed Microsoft software.

      • Judges Refuse to Unmask Alleged Pirates, Citing Privacy Concerns

        One of the most active piracy litigants in the US is facing setback in the Minnesota District Court. Several subpoena requests from Strike 3 Holdings were denied, with magistrate judges ruling that the privacy of alleged BitTorrent pirates trumps the rights of the adult filmmakers.

      • Infamous ‘Kodi Box’ Case Sees Man Pay Back Just £1 to the State

        The man at the center of the UK’s most famous pirate ‘Kodi Box’ case has appeared in court again as part of a Proceeds of Crime action. Brian ‘Tomo’ Thompson, who was previously handed a suspended jail sentence following a landmark case, walked away after being told to pay the state just £1.


Links 7/5/2018: Linux 4.17 RC4 and Mesa 18.0.3

Posted in News Roundup at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Google’s Kelsey Hightower: Kubernetes needs startups to thrive

      Can the rising tide in open-source computing lift all the boats in the business? Kelsey Hightower (pictured), co-chair of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and advocate for the Google Cloud Platform, thinks so.

      Hightower’s tolerant view on collaboration may have surprised even the most open-minded attendees of this week’s KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU conference last week, when Hightower’s keynote demonstrated Kubernetes, the open-source system for deploying containerized applications, on rival cloud platforms.

      “When I was using Amazon S3 in my presentation, I was showing people the dream of serverless — here’s how this stuff actually works together right now,” Hightower said. “We don’t really need anything else from the cloud providers. I’m not here just to represent Google and sell for Google. I’m here to say, ‘Here’s what’s possible.’”

    • Kubernetes and microservices: A developers’ movement to make the web faster, stable, and more open

      The four years that William Morgan spent as an engineer at Twitter battling the Fail Whale gave him a painful view into what happens when a company’s rickety web infrastructure gets spread too thin. But while Twitter’s instability was highly publicized, Morgan realized that the phenomenon existed to some degree across the web as companies were building applications in ways that were never intended to handle such scale.

      The result: Applications and software were becoming too expensive, too hard to manage, required too many developers, were too slow to deploy, and caused too much downtime.

    • KubeCon 2018: Action call issued to all of world’s open source developers

      Who runs the world? You might say governments (or the people), Beyoncé might say girls, but in technology, developers are taking the front sit.

      From enterprise applications to consumer apps, these are the people who build the software that allows IoT to run, AI to happen and edge computing to spread.

      Their role has become so important that companies have entered nearly into a ‘race to arms’ when it comes to employing developers. Take Volkswagen for example, the car manufacturer had 24 months ago nearly to none developers and today employs more than 100.

    • 3 emerging Kubernetes trends
    • As Kubernetes grows, a startup ecosystem develops in its wake

      Kubernetes, the open source container orchestration tool, came out of Google several years ago and has gained traction amazingly fast. With each step in its growth, it has created opportunities for companies to develop businesses on top of the open source project.

      The beauty of open source is that when it works, you build a base platform and an economic ecosystem follows in its wake. That’s because a project like Kubernetes (or any successful open source offering) generates new requirements as a natural extension of the growth and development of a project.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.17-rc4

      Hmm. Things look fairly normal.

      Two thirds of the 4.17-rc4 patch is drivers, which sounds about right.
      Media, networking, rdma, input, nvme, usb. A little bit of everything, in
      other words.

      There’s the usual architecture suspects, and some othe rcore updates too
      (mainly networking, but some filesystem fixes too).

      Go out and test. The shortlog below gives you an overview of the exact
      details if you care.

    • Linux 4.17-rc4 Released As The “Merciless Moray”
    • Graphics Stack

      • mesa 18.0.3

        Mesa 18.0.3 is now available.

        The is a fairly small release consisting of patches to fix leaks in RADV and Winsys,
        fix deadlock in internal queue, fix issues with ANV allocator, fix blit setup for
        YUV LoadImage, and some other patches.

      • Mesa 18.0.3 Released With A Handful Of Fixes

        While Mesa 18.1 is coming soon, the current stable release series for now is Mesa 18.0 with the 18.0.3 being released today as the newest point release.

      • Allwinner Open-Source Video Decode Continues Improving With Sunxi-Cedrus Driver

        Developers at Bootlin (nee Free Electrons) continue working on open-source Allwinner VPU video decode support.

        Version three of the “Sunxi-Cedrus” driver for supporting the Allwinner video decode hardware is now available. This latest version still only supports MPEG-2 with other codecs still to be tackled, but this updated driver now supports the latest media requests APIs, DMA-BUF support is improved, there are now per-platform bindings, the Allwinner A13 SoC is now supported, and a variety of other code reworks. The Sunxi-Cedrus driver overall should work on the Allwinner SoCs like the A13, A20, and A33 for open-source video decoding.

      • A fresh DXVK release is out with fixes for NVIDIA, RADV and multiple game improvements

        DXVK, the awesome project to implement a Vulkan-based compatibility layer for Direct3D 11 for use with Wine has advanced further with a fresh release.

        Version 0.50 was released last night which includes support for non-native screen resolutions including display mode changes and support for D3D11 vertex fetch rates if VK_EXT_vertex_attribute_divisor is supported.

      • NVIDIA’s Work On Adding Ray-Tracing To Vulkan

        2018 appears to be the year of ray-tracing with the major hardware vendors, game engines, and others all working on modern ray-tracing efforts with the GPUs becoming powerful enough to handle this alternative to rasterized rendering, etc. While Microsoft has out the DirectX Raytracing API for D3D12, NVIDIA has been working on extending Vulkan to also suit ray-tracing use-cases.

      • DXVK 0.50 Released With Better RADV Support, Other D3D11 Capabilities

        DXVK 0.50 has been released this weekend as the latest version of the open-source project implementing Direct3D 11 over the cross-platform Vulkan graphics API primarily for the benefit of Wine/Linux gamers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Google Summer of Code 2018: Introduction

        Hi! My name is Ruxandra, but friends call me Ruxe [/ruːksɛ/], and throughout this post I would like to better introduce myself and give you a hint of what my summer journey with GSoC is going to look like.

        I have quite a few interests, from photography and digital drawing, crafts and music, cooking and experimenting with not-so-good tasting cocktails (but they’ve been getting better, I promise), to traveling and attempting to take better care of the environment. I try to allocate more or less time for each of them depending on a number of factors, but there’s one thing that has always been a part of my weekly activities: games.

      • Philip Chimento: Indonesian recipes

        There were also some goings on besides the hackfest. On the day before the hackfest started we did an outreach event for the students of AMIKOM University Yogyakarta, where the hackfest was held. We gave some talks on our work, and GNOME contributor and Endless Ambassador Siska closed the morning out with a very successful talk on how to get involved in GNOME.

  • Distributions

    • Bring Your Old Computer Back to Life With 4MLinux

      4MLinux is a lightweight Linux distribution that can turn your old computer into a functional one with multimedia support, maintenance tools and classic games.

    • Reviews

      • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Bionic Beaver – Medium-well

        Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Bionic Beaver is a reasonable distro. But it’s nowhere near LTS good. On the bright side, MATE has undergone a phenomenal face lift, Boutique is dog’s bollocks, and the media-phone stack is really awesome. Lots of nice things all around.

        On the other hand, we have application crashes, less-than-average battery usage, tons of visual niggles, Samba problems, and quality that works fine for an amateur project, not for a serious distro that people might need to rely on for the next five years of their life and work. I know I can’t. The underlying issues need all be fixed out before this can be a candidate for my production setup. Shame, because there’s so much cool and funky stuff, marred by almost nonexistent QA and life-sapping bugs.

        Overall, the MATE edition of the 18.04 LTS family is better than Kubuntu. Something like 7.5/10. But when we remember what’s out there, and how Trusty fared, and how Zesty fared, well, this is hardly an achievement. I will do the whole long-term follow up, and of course, the whole bucket of useless bugs that were arbitrarily released sometime in late April will surely be fixed in the coming months. I might even end up using this a year from now. But it won’t be love or enthusiasm, more of a lesser evil if it comes to that. And that’s not how I roll. Aiming for mediocrity is the worst kind of ambition. Let’s hope Linux – and Ubuntu MATE – can do better.

      • TrueOS 18.03

        TrueOS is a rolling release operating system based on FreeBSD’s development (-CURRENT) branch. The TrueOS operating system is available in two editions: a Desktop flavour and a Server flavour. The Desktop edition ships with the Lumina desktop environment, a graphical package manager and other graphical tools for managing the operating system. The Desktop edition is an approximately 2.4GB download and the Server edition is 884MB in size. I downloaded the Desktop edition for my TrueOS trial.


        Booting from the Desktop edition’s media brings up a graphical system installer. At the bottom of the installer there is a collection of buttons for launching tools to help us set up the system. One button opens a hardware compatibility checker so we can confirm devices such as our video card and network connection are recognized by TrueOS. Another button opens a window where we can configure our keyboard, a third button opens the system’s network settings and another launches a terminal emulator, giving us access to the command line. I quite like having these options, especially the hardware compatibility tool as it largely makes up for TrueOS not having a live desktop environment for us to test drive.

        The installer only has a few screens. We are asked to select our preferred language from a list and then choose whether to set up the Desktop or Server edition of TrueOS. We can also restore old copies of TrueOS that have been archived using the project’s Life Preserver backup tool. Finally, we are given the opportunity to customize the storage options. TrueOS uses ZFS for handling storage and we can optionally name the ZFS storage pool, select which disk or partition to use and tweak options for sub-volumes. People who are not familiar with ZFS can probably take the default options offered.

        The installer then sets up the operating system and, the first time we boot into the new copy of TrueOS, we are asked to complete a few more customisations. A graphical first-run wizard asks us to confirm which video driver it should use, select our time zone and create a password for the administrator account. We are also asked to provide a username and password for our regular account. The last screen gives us a chance to enable/disable some services, such as IPv6 support and the OpenSSH secure shell.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Calling all open source advocates: join the GPL Cooperation Commitment

        In connection with the kickoff of the Red Hat Summit tomorrow in San Francisco, Red Hat is encouraging open source developers to show their support for greater fairness and predictability in open source license enforcement by joining the GPL Cooperation Commitment.

        At Red Hat, we believe that license enforcement should ordinarily be judged by whether they ultimately foster greater adoption of open source software and participation in open source development. License enforcement can help to ensure that all companies play by the same rules, but enforcement tactics that are overly aggressive, unfair or unpredictable can discourage users from joining the community.

        It is our experience that engineers generally want to “do the right thing” when it comes to license compliance but compliance may not always be straightforward.. The General Public License (GPL) requires “things to be done right” to ensure the well-being of the ecosystem and, in many cases, that means strict compliance (such as providing a copy of the license with your distribution). At times, however, licensees may misinterpret the requirements of the GPL or fail to comply fully. It is not that they are trying to avoid compliance but rather may have a simple misunderstanding about what is required or may make an honest (but ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to comply.

      • Watch Red Hat Summit from anywhere: Red Hat Summit 2018 livestreaming schedule

        We’re almost ready to kick-off Red Hat Summit 2018 in San Francisco, and we are looking forward to a packed and exciting few days at the industry’s premier enterprise open source technology event. If you aren’t able to join us in person, we have good news – you can still get in on the action, inspiration, and innovation virtually.

      • Red Hat is the Linux operating system leader

        Twenty-five years ago, Red Hat was incorporated out of a sewing room in Connecticut and a bachelor pad in Raleigh, North Carolina. Our mission was to offer a stable, easy-to-use distribution of a constantly evolving, community-developed operating system called Linux.

      • MicroProfile Status in Version 1.3

        Launched nearly two years ago, the Eclipse MicroProfile project is moving fast with four releases and eight subspecs having at least two implementations each. Because it’s a fast moving target, this post tries to give an overview of MicroProfile 1.3, which was released on September 30th, and helps you to get started with the specification.

      • Istio Service Mesh Blog Series Recap
      • Announcing the winners of the 12th annual Red Hat Innovation Awards
      • Fedora

        • MySQL 8.0 Coming To Fedora 29

          The Fedora 29 release due out this fall will be offering up MySQL 8.0 database support.

          MySQL 8.0 was released by Oracle at the middle of April, which was too late for getting into the newly-minted Fedora 28. But MySQL 8.0 is now in Fedora Rawhide and will be making its debut in Fedora 29.

        • Flisol 2018

          This year we made the Flisol 2018 at the headquarters of the Engineers Association of Venezuela at San Cristóbal, we had very interesting talks about Docker, the Mozilla project, packaging of RPM, free software design, Radio with free tools, WordPress , Rails and much more.

          I want to thank each and every one of the speakers, thank you for sharing your knowledge, also many thanks to the College of Engineers of Venezuela for lending us their headquarters for the event, I also thank Fedora for the refreshments and the Swag and Opensuse for the swag, WordPress for the wag that We could distribute among the attendees, without all of you we would not have been able to do the event as it was done.

        • Modularity in Fedora 28 Server Edition
    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Liberapay: How creators of open content get funded

    Crowdfunding is a big discussion topic in the world of people who create things. In particular, subscription-based patronage models have been growing in popularity over the last few years. And it’s not just for artists and other creatives. Open source development has started adopting this model with growing success. Between things like the Blender Cloud, Krita’s periodic Kickstarter development campaigns, or the Godot engine’s Patreon subscription, crowdfunding has proven to be clearly beneficial for people who make useful and interesting things.

  • Building a freedom-based photography community

    Several years ago, Pat David, an engineer, a photographer, and a member of the GIMP team, realized there was no central place for people interested in photography to learn about free and open source creative software and methods. He was also unhappy to see that most of the open source photography tutorials didn’t measure up to his quality standards.

    Thus was born Pixls.us, a site “to provide tutorials, workflows, and a showcase for high-quality photography using nothing but free software.” Pat and Pixls.us also advocate for releasing creative content under open licenses for others to use and reuse.

  • Events

    • Vint Cerf on Open Networking and Design of the Internet

      When he and Bob Kahn (co-creator for the TCP/IP protocol) were doing the original design, Cerf said, they hoped that this approach would lead to a kind of organic growth of the Internet, which is exactly what has been seen.

      They also envisioned another kind of openness, that of open access to the resources of the network, where people were free both to access information or services and to inject their own information into the system. Cerf said they hoped that, by lowering the barriers to access this technology, they would open the floodgates for the sharing of content, and, again, that is exactly what happened.

      There is, however, a side effect of reducing these barriers, which, Cerf said, we are living through today, which includes the proliferation of fake news, malware, and other malicious content. It has also created a set of interesting socioeconomic problems, one of which is dealing with content in a way that allows you decide which content to accept and which to reject, Cerf said. “This practice is called critical thinking, and we don’t do enough of it. It’s hard work, and it’s the price we pay for the open environment that we have collectively created.”

    • New Keynotes & Executive Leadership Track Announced for LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen China [Ed: Microsoft is in another 'Linux' panel]
    • Highlights from Elastic{ON} 2018: X-Pack goes open source, logging, and beyond

      Elastic also announced some new updates at Elastic{ON} to their Beats tool for monitoring Docker and Kubernetes. The key components of the Beats are Metricbeat and Filebeat, which handle monitoring metrics and logging, respectively. They are placed on the nodes that are running the Docker containers or Kubernetes pods and report on metrics and logs in real-time. They can send the data to Elasticsearch directly, or to Logstash for pre-processing before being sent to Elasticsearch for analysis.

  • Web Browsers

    • Google

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s 48-Hour Hackathon for a Better Internet

        Mozilla’s fifth-annual Global Sprint is May 10 and 11. Open-source engineers and activists around the globe will swap code and ideas to make the internet a healthier place

        A decentralized alternative to today’s social media platforms. A community-built air quality monitor to thwart pollution in Buenos Aires. An open-source investigative tool for journalists in Hungary.

        These are just three of nearly 150 projects from 24 countries participating in the 2018 Global Sprint, Mozilla’s fifth-annual distributed hackathon. Each year, coders, scientists, artists and activists gather online and in person for 48 hours to collaborate on open-source projects. This year’s Global Sprint is happening Thursday, May 10 and Friday, May 11.

      • Welcome Chris Lin, our new Vice President of IT

        I’m excited to announce that Chris Lin is joining us today as our new Vice President of IT.

        Chris will work closely with me to scale our impact and optimize operational efficiency. He will be responsible for the strategy, execution and operations of Mozilla’s business technology, information security, data management, network and infrastructure services.

        “I am honored to join Mozilla at such an exciting juncture and work with the IT team to support the organization as we develop and grow our business and technical expertise,” said Chris Lin, Mozilla VP of IT. “Mozilla is a truly mission-driven organization with great products and technologies while also promoting internet health including privacy, security, openness, decentralization, digital inclusion, and web literacy. It’s wonderful to be part of Mozilla and contribute to our mission.”

      • 4 Firefox extensions to install now

        As I mentioned in my original article on Firefox extensions, the web browser has become a critical component of the computing experience for many users. Modern browsers have evolved into powerful and extensible platforms, and extensions can add or modify their functionality. Extensions for Firefox are built using the WebExtensions API, a cross-browser development system.

        In the first article, I asked readers: “Which extensions should you install?” To reiterate, that decision largely comes down to how you use your browser, your views on privacy, how much you trust extension developers, and other personal preferences. Since that article was published, one extension I recommended (Xmarks) has been discontinued. Additionally, that article received a ton of feedback that has been taken into account for this update.

        Once again, I’d like to point out that browser extensions often require the ability to read and/or change everything on the web pages you visit. You should consider the ramifications of this very carefully. If an extension has modify access to all the web pages you visit, it could act as a keylogger, intercept credit card information, track you online, insert advertisements, and perform a variety of other nefarious activities. That doesn’t mean every extension will surreptitiously do these things, but you should carefully consider the installation source, the permissions involved, your risk profile, and other factors before you install any extension. Keep in mind you can use profiles to manage how an extension impacts your attack surface—for example, using a dedicated profile with no extensions to perform tasks such as online banking.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Microsemi and SiFive Launch HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board, Enabling Linux Software and Firmware Developers to Build RISC-V PCs for the First Time

        Microsemi Corporation (Nasdaq: MSCC), a leading provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, today announced the launch of the HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board, its latest collaboration with SiFive, the first fabless provider of customized, open-source-enabled semiconductors. Leveraging the two companies’ strategic relationship as part of Microsemi’s Mi-V™ RISC-V ecosystem, the new expansion board broadens the capabilities of SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed RISC-V development board, further enabling software and firmware engineers to write Linux-based applications targeting a 1GhZ+ RISC-V 64 bit central processing unit (CPU).

      • RISC-V workshop

        I’m giving a talk tomorrow afternoon about Fedora on RISC-V.

  • Programming/Development

    • HHVM 3.26 – Introducing HackC

      HHVM 3.26 is released! Highlights include a new frontend, relicensing of the typechecker and related tools and libraries to MIT, and support for Ubuntu 18.04. Packages have been published in the usual places.

    • HHVM 3.26 Released With New HackC Compiler Front-End

      The Facebook developers working on the HHVM interpreter for PHP/Hack have announced the major v3.26 update.

      HHVM 3.26 is a major release in that it now uses the HackC compiler front-end by default. HackC offers a full-fidelity parser and bytecode emitter for both Hack and PHP languages. HHVM developers are planning to drop their legacy front-end to HHVM in their next release (v3.27).

    • Compressed Textures in Qt 5.11

      As modern user interfaces become ever more graphics intensive, the demands on graphics memory to hold the textures increase. This is particularly relevant for embedded systems, where resources come at a higher premium, and can be a challenge for system performance. One of the key remedies for this is to reduce the memory requirements of the graphics assets.

    • Qt 5.11 Adding Khronos KTX Texture Support To Qt Quick

      Of the many features coming in the soon-to-be-released Qt 5.11 is better support for compressed textures with Qt Quick.


  • Powering a ham radio transmitter

    Last week I announced the crowdfunding campaign to help run a ham radio station at OSCAL. Thanks to all those people who already donated or expressed interest in volunteering.

    Modern electronics are very compact and most of what I need to run the station can be transported in my hand luggage. The two big challenges are power supplies and antenna masts. In this blog post there are more details about the former.

  • Science

    • Computers and honesty

      Modern computers are incredibly complex systems, and the first thing you learn in any complex analysis is that they are never going to run smoothly enough that complete honesty will happen. The system may think it is being honest, but at some point, somewhere 1+1 =1 happened (or 1+1=0 or 1+1=3) . In fact a large amount of electrical engineering in chip design, BIOS writing, and other low level sorcery is cleaning that up. Maybe the chip redoes the calculation a couple of times, maybe there are just low bits you never use to clean up that electrical signal loss, or some other trick of the trade. However at some point, those incantations will fail and the little bit of Maxwell’s demon leaks out somewhere.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Merck Hepatitis C Virus Treatment Patents Unenforceable due to Unclean Hands

      On Wednesday, April 25th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Gilead Sciences v. Merck & Co. et. al., which affirmed a lower court’s ruling that Merck could not assert claims from two patents against Gilead because Merck had unclean hands regarding the patents. The case, coming out of the Northern District of California, involves patents covering methods for effectively treating the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The appellate case was decided by a panel consisting of Circuit Judges Richard Taranto, Raymond Clevenger and Raymond Chen.

    • Evergreened Patents Cause Unwarranted High Drug Prices, Hinder Growth Of Local Producers – NGOs, Thai Producers Claim

      Transnational drug manufacturers’ tactics of obtaining unmerited patent applications have unnecessarily raised healthcare costs and impeded the growth of domestic generic drug industry, costing the Thai government hundreds of millions of dollars, drug access campaigners and local producers have said.


      “Evergreening in medicine patents has been a problem in Thailand for a long time,” Chalermsak Kittitrakul, coordinator for access to medicines campaign at AIDS Access Foundation in Thailand, told Intellectual Property Watch.

      “It is the cause of substandard patents and unwarranted monopoly in many vital drugs,” Chalermsak said.

      “It also prevents generic drug producers to come in to compete to lower drug prices,” he continued. “Therefore, the government and people have to unnecessarily pay high prices.”

    • Supreme Court to hear Monsanto plea over GM cotton patents

      Section 3(j) states that “plants and parts thereof as well as essentially biological process for production or propagation of plants” are not inventions that can be patented. The court had also directed Monsanto to seek intellectual property protection under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right (PPVFR) Act 2001. It had given Monsanto three months to appeal to the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority for relief under the PPVFR Act.

    • Supreme Court rejects Monsanto plea on seed patent order

      The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay a 2 May Delhi high court order which held that plant varieties and seeds cannot be patented under Indian law by companies like Monsanto Inc., and that royalties on genetically modified (GM) technology would be decided by a specialized agency of the agriculture ministry.

      As a result, the patent held by Monsanto, through its Indian arm Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech Ltd (MMBL) over its Bollgard-II Bt cotton seed technology, a GM variant which resists the bollworm pest, was decreed to be unenforceable in India.

      Monsanto’s appeal challenging the Delhi high court order was brought before a bench headed by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman who sought the response of seed companies over the issue.

    • Delhi High Court’s Judgment in Monsanto v. Nuziveedu Delivers a Deadly Blow to the Agro-biotech Industry

      A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court recently pronounced its judgment in the long running litigation between Monsanto and Nuziveedu. The present judgment was delivered in cross appeals filed by both parties against the order of a single judge of the Delhi High Court that was delivered last year.

      To describe the judgment briefly, the court has delivered a knock-out punch to Monsanto, by declaring invalid its patent for Bt. Technology because Section 3(j) of the Patents Act prohibited the grant of patents for plants, plant varieties or seeds or any part thereof. The court however does give three months to Monsanto to seek protection for its invention under the Plant Variety Protection & Farmer’s Rights Act, 2002. (I’ll deal with this issue in a later post)

    • India’s Supreme Court will hear Monsanto’s challenge to a recent ruling imperiling agri-tech patentability

      The case has generated a strong reaction over the past three weeks. Over at Spicy IP, Prashant Reddy described it as a “deadly blow to the agro-biotech industry”. The former CEO of Indian seed company Advanta warned: “A number of patents of agriculture biotech inventions in various crops from wheat to rice that have been granted by various patent authorities across the globe stand the risk of being invalidated because of the judgment.”

      Meanwhile, representatives of India’s agricultural industry have downplayed the decision’s importance – they point out that innovations in the sector will still be eligible for plant variety protection.

    • CRISPR dust-up; compulsory licensing in China; Novartis CEO wants US reform, and more – April’s Life Sciences IP Round-up

      In this month’s round-up of life sciences-related patent news, we report on the year’s first pharma mega-merger, the latest developments in a must-watch CRISPR-Cas9 patent dispute, calls from Novartis’ CEO for reform to the US biosimilar patent litigation system and news of imminent IP changes affecting life sciences companies in China.

    • Unitaid Calls For Proposals On TB, Hails New Insecticide

      Unitaid has issued a call for proposals to fund innovative projects that would combat the drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, and has announced progress in development of a new anti-malaria insecticide against mosquitoes.

  • Security

    • Report: China’s Intelligence Apparatus Linked to Previously Unconnected Threat Groups

      Multiple groups operating under the China state-sponsored Winnti umbrella have been targeting organizations in the US, Japan, and elsewhere, says ProtectWise.

      Multiple previously unconnected Chinese threat actors behind numerous cyber campaigns aimed at organizations in the United States, Japan, and other countries over the past several years are actually operating under the control of the country’s state intelligence apparatus.

      An investigation by security vendor ProtectWise has shown that the groups operating under the so-called Winnti umbrella since at least 2009 share a common goal, common infrastructure, and often the same tactics, techniques, and procedures.

    • Episode 95 – Twitter passwords and npm backdoors

      Josh and Kurt talk about Twitter doing the right thing when they logged a lot of passwords, the npm malicious getcookies package, and how backdoors work in code.

    • Security updates for Monday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Revealed: Trump team hired spy firm for ‘dirty ops’ on Iran arms deal

      People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to “get dirt” on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal.

    • Nicaraguan Contradictions

      Last Friday my friend Michael Meeropol asked me what I thought was going on in Nicaragua. He had read an article on Portside titled “Nicaragua: Next in Line for Regime Change?” that alluded to similar events in Libya, Syria and Venezuela, “where extreme right-wing political minorities conspired with foreign elites to overthrow the national status quo.” This led Michael to dismiss his defense of the Ortega government as bullshit, especially since Bashar al-Assad has become such a known quantity on the left as a murdering, torturing kleptocrat—at least the part of the left that is not on the Kremlin’s payroll. Michael added rather modestly “but of course I really don’t know …” I told him that I had to find the time to catch up on Nicaragua before getting back to him. That time is now.

      I am not sure that Michael knew about my connections with Nicaragua, which run much deeper than Syria. In the 1980s and early 90s, I was president of the board of TecNica, an attempt to develop a leftist version of the Peace Corps. We sent hundreds of people from the USA and Western Europe to work for Sandinista government agencies and later on for the ANC, including those who finished the rural electrification project in northern Nicaragua that had cost Ben Linder his life. In 1987, the FBI conducted a sweep against returned TecNica volunteers on the presumption that we were running an espionage network out of Nicaragua through Cuba to the USSR to deliver high-technology. Since Nicaragua was as about as capable of producing high-technology as I was of swimming the English Channel, the major media blasted the FBI. Ted Koppel provided coverage on Nightline, with a lengthy interview of a TecNica electrical engineer whose job it was to repair power stations blown up by the contras.

    • Get an Inside Look at the Department of Defense’s Struggle to Fix Pollution at More Than 39,000 Sites

      For much of the past two years I’ve been digging into a vast, $70 billion environmental cleanup program run by the U.S. Department of Defense that tracks tens of thousands of polluted sites across the United States. In some places, old missiles and munitions were left buried beneath school grounds. In others, former test sites for chemical weapons have been repurposed for day care centers and housing developments. The oldest, dating to World War I, have faded into history, making it difficult to keep track of the pollution that was left behind.

    • How Facebook’s “Suggested Friends” Feature Helps ISIS Expand Its Terror Network

      The social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have been repeatedly blamed for acting as a platform that can be exploited for spreading extremist propaganda. In a related development, the researchers have found that Facebook’s “suggested friends” feature has been used to introduce thousands of ISIS members to each other.

    • Facebook accused of introducing extremists to one another through ‘suggested friends’ feature

      Facebook has helped introduce thousands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) extremists to one another, via its ‘suggested friends’ feature, it can be revealed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Gmail’s ‘Self Destruct’ Feature Will Probably Be Used to Illegally Destroy Government Records

      “As more local and state governments and their various agencies seek to use Gmail, there is the potential that state public records laws will be circumvented by emails that ‘disappear’ after a period of time,” the National Freedom of Information Coalition wrote in a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “The public’s fundamental right to transparency and openness by their governments will be compromised.”

    • Welcome to the machine

      Even before the Espionage Bill was introduced to Parliament, Australia was already well down the path of legislating prison terms for journalists reporting in the public interest…


      If you use a telephone or the internet, nowhere on the planet is safe from the prying ears and eyes of the NSA and its sister agencies. Every mobile phone tower, every email, every payment at the supermarket, every digital transaction adds to the profile the NSA is capable of building on every person on Earth. Huge databases scattered across the world log the digital footsteps and fingerprints of us all.
      Throughout the Western liberal democracies new laws have given governments greater powers to eavesdrop on the population and the journalists whose job it is to keep them informed. Those laws, which gave governments such sweeping surveillance powers, were introduced ostensibly to track terrorists and reduce the number of attacks. But detailed analysis suggests the so-called anti-terror surveillance laws have not achieved what governments promised.
      Instead they have often been more effectively used to track down whistleblowers and criminalise the work of journalists. The notion that the central role of journalism was to disclose secrets which powerful interests wanted kept from the public was being upended, particularly in the important area of national security.
      New laws being shaped, both in the US and elsewhere, made illegal that which had been normal journalistic practice and made legal the activities of intelligence agencies which had previously been outlawed. Against sometimes hysterical claims from US politicians, other nations fell in line.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Travel and Tourism Week

      As bountiful as the ocean is, so are the ways people enjoy it. Nature-based tourism is at an all-time high. Hundreds of millions of people travel to see coral reefs every year, and some of the most spectacular are in those that are protected in national marine sanctuaries.

      Equally popular are the fish and mammals that call our ocean and coasts home. People will travel far and wide to get eye-to-eye with a sea turtle, dolphin, or whale. For many Americans, a trip to Alaska’s Kachemak Bay Reserve, spotting curious harbor seals from the beach and watching Orcas chase prey is a dream come true. For others, a week of rest and relaxation at a secluded Puerto Rico resort is as good as it gets.

    • The politics of carbon pricing

      A whopping 90 million tonnes of carbon pollution: that’s how much the federal government says carbon pricing policies will cut emissions across Canada by 2022. That’s 20 million cars. It’s 12% of Canada’s 2016 emissions.

      On the other side of the House of Commons, the federal Conservatives continue to oppose carbon pricing, but something changed this past week, when party leader Andrew Scheer said the Conservatives will release a “comprehensive” climate plan ahead of next year’s federal election—and that it will meet our 2030 Paris target.

      Some are skeptical. Why reject a cost-effective policy so loved by economists? On the other hand, as CBC’s Aaron Wherry put it, “After nearly a decade of free-form fretting about a price on carbon—going back to Stephane Dion’s ill-fated Green Shift—an actual comparison of rival plans might make for a nice change of pace.”

  • Finance

    • End of the gig economy? Don’t read too much into a California court ruling

      A recent California Supreme Court ruling is being hailed as a “game changer” for the gig economy.

      That’s because the court adopted a more streamlined test for deciding whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. Gig economy companies, like Uber and Lyft, overwhelmingly classify their workers as independent contractors. As a result, they don’t comply with basic employment laws, like minimum wage and workers’ compensation insurance.

      If courts decide these workers are misclassified and actually meet the legal test for employee status, gig companies can be on the hook for back pay or unpaid insurance premiums, as well as penalties for past noncompliance.

    • Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.9 Percent, but Wage Growth Remains Weak

      The drop in the unemployment rate was also due to the reported drop in labor force participation, the second consecutive drop, not an increase in employment in the household survey. There was also a drop in the percentage of unemployment attributable to voluntary quits. The 12.7 percent share is still near the high for this recovery, but well below the rates of 14 percent or more seen in 2000. This suggests that, in spite of the low unemployment rate, workers are still not confident about their labor market prospects.

    • Revealed: Legatum’s “extraordinary” secretive monthly meetings with Brexit minister

      Department for International Trade minister Greg Hands MP arranged monthly meetings with Shanker Singham, then head of the Legatum Institute’s trade commission. The meetings were scheduled for months in advance, an investigation by openDemocracy has found.

      The Brexit department refused to confirm if any notes were taken of these meetings but our investigation found that no minutes were taken at previous “coffee catch-ups” and other meetings between Legatum and cabinet ministers and officials.

      A former Labour minister told openDemocracy that these “extraordinary” revelations suggest the existence of “a secret kitchen cabinet charting the course of a hard Brexit”.

      Legatum emerged as one of the most influential voices in Westminster in the wake of the Brexit vote with senior Leave figures including Matthew Elliott joining the think tank. Legatum, which is a registered charity, raised eyebrows with its “unparalleled access” to Brexit minister David Davis and other senior government figures.

      In just six weeks from the end of October, Legatum had more than half a dozen meetings with Brexit ministers and officials. Around the same time, Shanker Singham, Legatum’s chief trade advisor, was implicated in a letter sent by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson urging Theresa May to take a harder stance on Brexit. Singham has since left Legatum.

    • Vodafone cuts 100 call centre jobs in Hobart

      Vodafone Australia is slashing 100 jobs from its call centre in Hobart, the same centre for which it received a federal grant in 2013 on the promise that it would be expanded.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jeremy Corbyn and Mhairi Black

      There are very few people who support Irish re-unification but oppose Scottish Independence. I do not know of any. I have always, from my knowledge of Jeremy Corbyn and his general political philosophy and way of thinking, and that of many of his close associates, believed him to be sympathetic to Scottish Independence.

      I do not claim to know Jeremy well. I have shared a Stop the War platform with him a few times and exchanged a few emails. He assisted this blog by asking some parliamentary questions I suggested on Fox/Werritty, and he successfully intervened with then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith at my request to stop the imminent deportation of an Uzbek asylum seeker.

      His behaviour in all of those contacts was absolutely admirable. I like and admire Jeremy, something which is not popular with my fellow Scottish nationalists. One thing Jeremy Corbyn could never be described as is a unionist – he comes from a totally different political place. I also sympathise with his extremely difficult position in wrenching the Labour Party away from the Blairites and the fact that he cannot fight every battle simultaneously.

      I therefore have no doubt Mhairi Black is telling the truth today, that Corbyn revealed to her that he privately supports Scottish Independence. I am sure that, like me, Corbyn sees it as part of the decolonisation process of burying the British Empire.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The UN celebrates press freedom with censorship

      Every May 3 since 1993, the world body has hosted events to support an unfettered Fourth Estate. But this year the UN Alliance of Civilizations “postponed” a panel discussion because one participant, the News Literacy Project, refused to alter a video presentation that singled out specific countries’ abuses — flagging “severe restrictions” on press freedom in Turkey, Egypt and Mexico.

    • Charges of Censorship since U.N. Press Independence Day Occasion Is Called Off

      In his World Press Freedom Day concept on Wednesday, the United Nations secretary general known as a free news networking “crucial to assembling transparent and democratic societies. ” At the end of afternoon, although, that a United Nations group has been itself confronting accusations of censorship.

      The group, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, “postponed” a panel conversation marking World Press Freedom Day and acknowledged asking a player to alter a movie demonstration that had singled out countries with heavy restrictions around the news media.

    • How China censors its internet and controls information, from Great Firewall to 50 Cent Army: two new books explain

      The internet was supposed to have delivered China into freedom by now. But that optimistic consensus has been proven wrong so far. In their books, academics Rongbin Han and Margaret Roberts attempt to explain why.

      Han, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia, was a student at Peking University when the impact of the internet was first felt in broader society. But the vibrant discussions the internet initially spurred would prove too much for the ruling Communist Party which, over time, has become more sophisticated in reasserting control over information.


      Where Han’s approach is ethnographic, Roberts’ is sociological and data-driven. Roberts, an assistant professor at UC San Diego, argues in Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China’s Great Firewall that the government recognises it cannot possibly control all of the internet. Instead, it engages in a “porous censorship” that targets the most sensitive content and seeks to keep all but the most motivated from accessing it. (Her research suggests these tend to be the more educated and wealthy, with a strong interest in politics.)

    • EFF and Coalition Partners Push Tech Companies To Be More Transparent and Accountable About Censoring User Content

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called on Facebook, Google, and other social media companies today to publicly report how many user posts they take down, provide users with detailed explanations about takedowns, and implement appeals policies to boost accountability.

      EFF, ACLU of Northern California, Center for Democracy & Technology, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and a group of academic experts and free expression advocates today released the Santa Clara Principles, a set of minimum standards for tech companies to augment and strengthen their content moderation policies. The plain language, detailed guidelines call for disclosing not just how and why platforms are removing content, but how much speech is being censored. The principles are being released in conjunction with the second edition of the Content Moderation and Removal at Scale conference. Work on the principles began during the first conference, held in Santa Clara, California, in February.

      “Our goal is to ensure that enforcement of content guidelines is fair, transparent, proportional, and respectful of users’ rights,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo.

      In the aftermath of violent protests in Charlottesville and elsewhere, social media platforms have faced increased calls to police content, shut down more accounts and delete more posts. But in their quest to remove perceived hate speech, they have all too often wrongly removed perfectly legal and valuable speech. Paradoxically, marginalized groups have been especially hard hit by this increased policing, hurting their ability to use social media to publicize violence and oppression in their communities. And the processes used by tech companies are tremendously opaque. When speech is being censored by secret algorithms, without meaningful explanation, due process, or disclosure, no one wins.

    • New Guidelines For Tech Companies To Be Transparent, Accountable On Censoring User Content

      Facebook, Google and other social media companies today were urged by groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation to “publicly report how many user posts they take down, provide users with detailed explanations about takedowns, and implement appeals policies to boost accountability.” The groups released a set of guidelines to address censorship.

      “Users deserve more transparency and greater accountability from platforms that play an outsized role—in Myanmar, Australia, Europe, and China, as well as in marginalized communities in the U.S. and elsewhere—in deciding what can be said on the Internet,” said Jillian C. York, EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression. “Users need to know why some language is allowed and the same language in a different post isn’t. They also deserve to know how their posts were flagged—did a government flag it, was it flagged by the company itself? And we all deserve a chance to appeal decisions to block speech.”

    • Free-speech warriors mistake student protest for censorship

      Free speech on campus has once again become a point of contention. The universities minister, Sam Gyimah, has called for tough new guidelines to protect freedom of expression. His remarks come amid claims that books are being removed from libraries, and speakers banned from campuses – all because “generation snowflake” is too timid to hear discordant opinions.


      Gyimah is only the latest universities minister to address this issue. Any simplification of the rules will be welcomed by students’ unions, which sometimes feel hamstrung by the Charity Commission’s guidance. This must not, however, lead to an anything-goes approach. We wouldn’t allow speakers who incite racial hatred or terrorism. Universities and unions need to assess whether events can go ahead safely and within the law. This latter point is often lost: while rules can be simplified and bent, laws cannot.

      There are three legal duties that come into play here: free speech, public order and the Prevent duty to counter radicalisation. It is these duties – and not so-called snowflake students – that drive intervention. Astonishingly, this obedience to the law not only seems to land students in hot water: it can also send universities tumbling down rankings. The online magazine Spiked has over the years given Sussex its lowest free-speech rating, when our so-called crimes have been not allowing transphobic material in our teaching and having (legally required) policies against bullying and harassment.

    • Rejected Denver Post editorial decries ‘outright censorship’ at Digital First papers
    • Protest: 55 Denver Post journalists say they’re ‘outraged at the unconscionable censorship’ at their paper

      Following the sudden Thursday resignation of Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett after an editorial he authored about the paper’s hedge-fund owners was spiked by higher-ups, more than 50 journalists at the paper signed onto a letter supporting him.

      “Newspapers tell the truth. They must. Always,” the letter begins. “That is why we, the newsroom of The Denver Post, are outraged at the unconscionable censorship imposed on our now-former editorial page editor, Chuck Plunkett. Chuck told the truth, eloquently and pointedly. And in that our newspaper’s corporate ownership — Digital First Media and the hedge fund Alden Global Capital — saw something to fear, not to champion.”

      Following Plunkett’s resignation, two senior editors of The Denver Post also resigned. And so did the paper’s chairman, Dean Singleton, who gave a lengthy interview to Westword about why. Among the reasons, he said, “I have total disagreement with how they’re managing the place, but I’m not going to stand up and be overly critical of them. They’ve got the keys to the car and they can drive it any way they want to. But they’re not driving it in a way that I want to be a passenger of the car.”

    • Denver Post staffers protest ‘censorship’ of editor who criticized owner

      A rebellion that began about a month ago with a remarkable editorial continued on Monday when staffers condemned what they called the “censorship” of editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett.

      An open letter to readers on Monday was signed by 55 of the newsroom’s roughly 70 staffers. Now the ball is back in the owner’s court.

      Both the Post’s editorial page and the newsroom, two different parts of the newspaper, are at odds with parent company Digital First Media, which is controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • International Shipping Is Now Available For CIA: Collect It All On Kickstarter!

      As most of you know, we recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for CIA: Collect It All — our fleshed out and polished version of the CIA’s training card game that was recently obtained under a FOIA request. Two days later, we hit our funding goal, and now we’ve more than doubled it!

      Before we knew just how much interest there would be, our plan was to limit shipping to the US — but the requests from other countries came pouring in alongside the pledges, and so now we’re happy to announce that CIA: Collect it All is now available in 170 countries!

    • Irish Judge Slaps Down Facebook’s Attempt To Halt EU’s Top Court Examining The Legality Of Sending Personal Data To US

      A few weeks ago, we wrote about the Irish High Court referring to the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), eleven questions concerning the legality of personal data transfer across the Atlantic. The questions were prompted by a case brought by the privacy expert Max Schrems challenging Facebook’s data transfers. When the Irish High Court judge indicated that she intended to make an order for a so-called “preliminary ruling” by the CJEU — that is, one which addresses the fundamental legal questions raised by the case — Facebook applied for a stay in order to appeal against the judge’s decision at other, higher Irish courts. That’s hardly surprising: Facebook’s business model depends on being able to move sensitive user data around as it wishes. If both Privacy Shield and the “Standard Contractual Clauses” (SCCs) are ruled illegal, then Facebook — and many other companies — will have big problems. Given the danger, it’s no wonder that Facebook is trying everything it can to prevent the CJEU from answering those questions.

    • Getting the Band back together: Microsoft wearable patents [Ed: Microsoft envisions people wearing surveillance bracelets, like those which Bill Gates wanted pupils to wear at schools (causing a stir)]
    • Do You Take Your VPN Security Seriously?

      Millions of people use a VPN service to prevent outsiders from monitoring their browsing habits or other Internet traffic. Choosing a good and reliable VPN provider is a good start, but there is more to it than that. People have a responsibility of their own and should hold their VPNs accountable.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Off-duty officer holds man at gunpoint over $1 package of mints

      An off-duty Buena Park, California Police officer decided that a $1 pack of candy was worth risking human life. Mistakenly believing Jose Arreola was shoplifting a package of Mentos he had just purchased, the cop went into thug mode. After repeatedly being told Arreola had paid for the candies, by both the victim and the store’s cashier, the officer offers an apology.

    • #BlockHaspel: As Clock Ticks, Groups Ratchet Up Pressure to Stop Torturer Gina Haspel From Heading CIA

      “Gina Haspel was complicit in torture and must not be promoted to CIA director,” says the Center for Victims of Torture

    • Gina Haspel, nominee to head CIA, sought to withdraw over questions about her role in agency interrogation program

      Haspel is expected to face intense scrutiny from senators over her role in the agency’s treatment of terrorism suspects at secret prisons overseas.

    • Trump Disregards Caravan Asylum Seekers’ Legal Rights

      The 300 asylum seekers who arrived at the U.S. border on April 29 after a month-long, 2,000-mile journey have another grueling struggle ahead of them, according to the immigration attorneys who are donating their time to represent them.

      More than three-quarters of asylum claims from Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans between 2012 and 2017 were denied, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, and this year’s caravan of asylum seekers are facing a climate made even more hostile by the xenophobic Trump administration.

      Once the asylum applicants—who traveled in a caravan to the Tijuana-San Ysidro border from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala—establish that they face a credible fear of persecution in their home countries, their ordeals are just beginning.

    • Louisiana Law Enforcement Has Been Abusing An Unconstitutional Law To Arrest People For Trying To File Complaints

      Police officers aren’t legal experts. No court expects them to know the intricacies of the laws they’re paid to enforce. Close enough is good enough when it comes to pretextual stops, street-level friskings, and other assorted Constitutional skirtings.

      But no one but a cop would know the ins and outs of stupid laws left on the books by careless legislators or how to wield them like weapons against those who dare to start hassling The Man. Got a criminal defamation law still laying around? Why not use it to arrest and charge critics gathering a few too many eyeballs to their personal blogs. Any number of charges, from disorderly conduct to “assaulting an officer” can be made to cover “contempt of cop” arrests. And every stupid “Blue Lives Matter” law has been abused at least once, with the oversensitive cops of New Orleans leading the way.

      Given that two-thirds of the links above direct you to Louisiana law enforcement officers and officials, it should come as no surprise Louisiana officers are using another bad law to bring criminal charges against people who aren’t absolutely enthralled with their law enforcement experience.


      Despite the law’s clear lack of constitutionality, the state District Attorney continues to fight for the law’s continued existence. So do law enforcement officials. Sheriff Ard — a defendant in the Aubin lawsuit — claimed the law was necessary to prevent “threats” from “influencing the behavior of police officers.” Seems like better training and better officers would take care of this problem — especially when the “threat” consists of curse words, extended fingers, and filing complaints.

      Despite the legal challenges, the law lingers. It will continue to be abused until it’s rewritten or stricken. State prosecutors have already shown their willingness to treat these as criminal violations, rather than law enforcement abusing the law and their position to shut down criticism of police officers.

    • “The Making of a Massacre” Brings the Drug War Close

      This week, ProPublica and Audible are launching an audio documentary called “The Making of a Massacre.” It’s the story of a vicious attack on a small Mexican ranching town called Allende, less than an hour’s drive away from the United States border. And it’s based on a ProPublica project, which showed for the first time how the violence was triggered by a tragically compromised Drug Enforcement Administration operation in Dallas.

      The operation was aimed at bringing down the leaders of the Zetas cartel, considered one of the most violent drug trafficking organizations in the world. Agents had managed to convince one of the cartel’s leading traffickers in Dallas to get them intelligence that could allow them to track the movements of the Zetas kingpins. But the agents mishandled the information. When the Zetas realized they’d been betrayed, they launched a campaign of violence that went on for months. Dozens, possibly hundreds, of men, women and children were kidnapped and killed.

      We decided to write and produce this audio project as an oral history because we wanted listeners to hear from the people whose voices are not often included in stories about the drug war. Among them are: the courageous women caught in the crossfire, angry with grief over the senseless loss of loved ones. The DEA agent at the center of it all, with the weight of the events heavy in his voice. The former mayor describing the insidious way traffickers took over his town. Even former cartel members, who casually detail the grip their murderous bosses had on the region.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cord Cutting Is The Obvious Result Of A 70% Spike In Cable TV Prices Since 2000

      We’ve discussed time and time again how, when faced with an evolving video market, the broadcast and cable industry repeatedly decided to double down on bad ideas. While consumers increasingly lamented having to pay $130 per month for a massive channel bundles filled with sub-par content, the industry refused to offer serious a la carte options and then jacked up prices even further. When consumers began to complain about high costs and annoying ads, cable and broadcast executives responded by trying to stuff more ads into every viewing hour by speeding up or editing down programs.

    • Govt to inquire into Telstra triple-zero outage

      The federal government will conduct an inquiry into the outage suffered by Telstra last week that led to problems with triple zero calls.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Lack of awareness about IP laws a worry for startup ecosystem [Ed: There are no "IP laws". "IP" is a propaganda term. Lawyers try to market themselves.]
    • Rapid changes in the Chinese legal system, an increasingly attractive venue for IP litigation

      For many years, foreign companies were reluctant to seek and enforce intellectual property protection in China. A combination of challenging litigation with low damages, the lack of ability to effectively enforce judgments, allegations of protectionism by the courts; a lack of ability to patent certain subject matter, a lack of transparency on legal matters and other factors made China a less desirable jurisdiction. The Chinese intellectual property legal system has matured rapidly, however. From improvements in the scope of allowable patent subject matter to enhancements of litigation options, and a strong desire by China to be seen as having a level playing field for all parties, China deserves a second look.

    • Foreign Companies Pursuing Business in China: Proceed with Caution

      The trade relationship between the United States and China is top of mind for many business owners, especially within the technology sector. Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping denied the U.S. Government’s request to end subsidies for key industries identified by the “Made in China 2025 Initiative,” including new advanced information technology, aviation, rail, new energy vehicles, agricultural machinery, new materials and biopharma. The request was made due to the central role that the Chinese government has played in allegations of forced technology transfer to China and trade secret theft in these key industries. In rebuffing the U.S. insistence to stop this practice, the Chinese government has officially extended the program that supports forced technology transfer for another seven years.

    • Apple’s Eddy Cue to be deposed in Qualcomm patent battle

      Apple Inc executive Eddy Cue will be questioned by Qualcomm Inc’s lawyers as part of a legal battle between the companies over billions of dollars in patents and licensing fees.

      On Friday, San Diego Federal Judge Mitchell D. Dembin ordered Cue to be deposed in the case, granting a Qualcomm request and turning down Apple’s arguments against the move.

      At the heart of the standoff is a dispute over how much Qualcomm can charge phone makers to use its patents, whether or not they use its chips. The San Diego, California-based company gets the majority of profit from licensing technology that covers the fundamentals of modern mobile phone systems. Apple has cut off license payments to Qualcomm and filed an antitrust lawsuit that accused the chipmaker of trying to monopolize the industry.

    • Copyrights

      • Top 13 Free Movie Download Websites | Completely Legal Places For 2018

        Are you looking for some websites where you can download movies for free, legally? To answer this query, we are here with a list of top 13 free movie download websites where you can get some quality entertainment without paying any money. This list includes the likes of The Internet Archive, Pluto TV, Public Domain Torrents, Retrovision etc.

      • Video Deters People From Pirate Sites…Or Encourages Them to Start One?

        Videos published by Sweden’s Patent and Registration Office are attempting to deter people away from pirate sites because it’s making their operators rich. However, the videos – which depict pirates wearing strange animal masks surrounded by luxury items and piles of cash – might inadvertently encourage some to get into the game. Who wouldn’t want an indoor pool and a Dodge Viper?


Links 6/5/2018: Crostini and Red Hat Summit 2018 Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Linux Containers [Crostini] For Samsung Chromebook Plus In The Works

      Linux container development continues to plow forward with each day that goes by. More feverish than the entire Android app initiative for Chrome OS ever was, the Crostini project seems to introduce new features into the fold on what seems like a daily basis.

      If you haven’t kept up to date with all that is going on with Linux containers on Chromebooks, you can click here to read all we’ve written on the matter and get caught up with the latest info to date.

      Now that we’re on the same page, there’s a wrinkle in this whole development cycle we’ve known was coming. Dating back years, Linux support has always been better and more-supported on Intel-based devices. As we are seeing more ARM devices in the works (especially one being made with the powerful Snapdragon 845), we can’t forget about the existing devices that are currently out in the market.

    • Windows 10 April 2018 Update Hitting BSODs with CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED Error

      We’re seeing an increasing number of reports pointing to BSODs experienced after upgrading Windows 10 devices to April 2018 Update (version 1803), and one of the most common stop codes appears to be CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED.
      Judging from user reports online, the said BSOD happens on a wide variety of hardware configurations and the error appears to be triggered by different tasks, like launching apps, such as Skype, browsing the web, playing games, or watching videos.

      At this point, there doesn’t seem to be a specific pattern that would help reproduce the bug, but some users on reddit speculate that the BSOD might be caused by the GPU. Some believe it’s a driver compatibility issue, though by the looks of things, reinstalling the drivers doesn’t make any difference.

  • Server

    • Kubernetes stands at an important inflection point

      Last week at KubeCon and CloudNativeCon in Copenhagen, we saw an open source community coming together, full of vim and vigor and radiating positive energy as it recognized its growing clout in the enterprise world. Kubernetes, which came out of Google just a few years ago, has gained acceptance and popularity astonishingly rapidly — and that has raised both a sense of possibility and a boat load of questions.

    • Everything announced at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2018

      More than 4,300 developers gathered in Copenhagen this past week for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2018, a conference focused on the use of Kubernetes, microservices, containers, and other open sourced tools for building applications for the web. Throughout the week, companies in attendance made a slew of announcements regarding new products and services for cloud native computing.

    • IBM CTO Defines Multi-Cloud Reality at KubeCon Europe

      The term “multi-cloud” is often heard at IT conferences today, but what does it really mean and is it a future state or something that is real today?

      In a video interview with eWEEK at the KubeCon and CloudNativeCon Europe 2018 event here, Jason McGee, vice president and CTO of IBM Cloud Platform, detailed the modern reality of multi-cloud and how Kubernetes fits in.

      “Multi-cloud is real and it’s here today, from the standpoint that most large organizations already have multiple cloud destinations that they are using,” McGee said.

    • How the Kubernetes Release Team Works

      As a community project, Kubernetes also has a community process for how releases are managed and delivered.

      At the KubeCon and CloudNativeCon Europe 2018 event, Jaice Singer DuMarsOSS Governance Program Manager and Caleb Miles technical program manager at Google outlined the core process and activities of the Kubernetes Release Special Interest Group (SIG).

      “Fundamentally and philosophically a release is representative of a critical bond between a project and its community,” DuMars said. “At the heart of that is that is really a covenant of trust and on the release team or anything to do with releasing you are actually holder of that trust.”

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation

      • BMW, GM, Ford and Renault launch blockchain research group for automotive industry

        MOBI — the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative — launches today with over 30 founding members that also include Bosch, Blockchain at Berkeley, Hyperledger, Fetch.ai, IBM and IOTA. The group has a fairly broad goal of making transportation “safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible using blockchain technology.”

        The blockchain has the undoubted potential to impact a range of industries. The distributed ledger component and smart contracts, in particular, could reshape the way organizations and products use and consume data. Along those lines, MOBI said its scope of focus varies from payments, data tracking, and supply management, to consumer finance and pricing, and more futuristic areas like autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing systems.


        Members of the organization’s board include Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and a co-founder of Ethereum, and Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger .

      • The Maintainer’s Paradox: Balancing Project and Community

        What are some of the challenges open source project maintainers face? One common issue is “The Maintainer’s Paradox,” which refers to the fact that open source maintainers are presented with more ideas along with more challenges as their communities grow. This occurs even when they take very minor patches from contributors. This topic was recently tackled by Tim Bird, Senior Software Engineer at Sony, in a keynote address at the Embedded Linux Conference.

        The Maintainer’s Paradox is referenced in Eric Raymond’s seminal work “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” and Bird opened his keynote address by citing the reference. “Raymond said that with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow,” Bird noted, adding that the reference applies to large open source communities.

      • What Every Driver Developer Should Know about RT – Julia Cartwright, National Instruments
      • The Road Ahead on the Kubernetes Journey – Craig McLuckie, CEO, Heptio
      • Microservices, Service Mesh, and CI/CD Pipelines: Making It All Work Together – Brian Redmond [Ed: LF is boosting Microsoft again. Entryism isn’t expensive when Zemlin tells us for almost a decade now to “respect Microsoft”.]
    • Graphics Stack

      • mesa 18.1.0-rc3
      • Mesa 18.1-RC3 Released, Final Expected In About Two Weeks

        The third weekly release candidate of the forthcoming Mesa 18.1 quarterly driver release update is now available for testing.

        The Mesa 18.1-RC3 release isn’t too noteworthy but includes a few fixes for RADV, the Intel shader compiler, Vega/GFX9 on RadeonSI, SPIR-V, and other common areas for fixing. In total there are just over two dozen fixes collected over the past week.

      • Pulling the Plug on GPP, Leaning into GeForce

        A lot has been said recently about our GeForce Partner Program. The rumors, conjecture and mistruths go far beyond its intent. Rather than battling misinformation, we have decided to cancel the program.

        GPP had a simple goal – ensuring that gamers know what they are buying and can make a clear choice.

      • NVIDIA Ends The GeForce Partner Program

        Following controversies the past few weeks about their GeForce Partner Program (GPP), NVIDIA is today ending the initiative.

      • ROCm 1.7.2 Brings Fixes To The Open-Source Radeon Compute Stack

        At the end of April, AMD quietly pushed out a new point release to their Radeon Open Compute “ROCm” stack.

        ROCm 1.7.2 is this newest release. Unfortunately, there isn’t an official change-log for the ROCm 1.7.2 release, but some of the changes can be gathered from the recent bug reports. ROCm 1.7.2 appears to fix some issues with Convolv and TensorFlow, a GPUVM fault issue, and other unmentioned bugs are likely corrected too.

      • Intel Icelake Support Added To Mesa’s Libdrm

        It looks like Intel’s Icelake “Gen 11″ graphics driver support for Linux will be squared away well before seeing any hardware in the hands of consumers.

        On the DRM kernel driver side there is initial support with Linux 4.17 albeit is still considered preliminary/alpha hardware support. The Icelake graphics support will continue to be refined and improved upon for kernel releases to come, just as with Linux 4.17 the Cannonlake graphics hardware support is now considered stable.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS vs. Fedora 28 vs. Clear Linux Benchmarks

        Given last week’s release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and then Fedora 28 having debuted earlier this week, I decided to see how these popular tier-one Linux distributions now compare to Intel’s own Clear Linux platform. This three-way Linux distribution comparison was carried out on six systems comprising both of Intel and AMD CPUs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • This week in Usability & Productivity: part 17

        Regular readers might have noticed that I’ve stopped the weekly Discover posts. I’ve decided to centralize that information here, and so I’d like to highlight several weeks’ worth of awesome new features and improvements for Discover…

      • KBibTeX 0.7.90 a.k.a. 0.8-beta1: On the Road to KDE Frameworks 5

        Finally, the release of KBibTeX 0.8 is on its track again. I tagged (Phabricator) and tar-balled the code of the current Git branch kbibtex/0.8 (Phabricator) as KBibTeX 0.7.90 (a. k. a. 0.8-beta1) and asked the KDE sysadmins to put it on KDE’s content distribution network.

        Only afterwards I noticed that I totally had forgotten to update the ChangeLog which was still stuck on the ancient release of 0.6.1. Properly updating the changelog records will be my next step. In case I did’t mention it before, the biggest change from 0.7 to 0.8 is the migration from KDE4 to KDE Frameworks 5. User interface and functionality has stayed surprisingly stable, though.

      • KaOS KDE-focused rolling Linux distro celebrates 5th birthday with updated ISO

        When a person celebrates a birthday, they often receive gifts, eat cake, and spend time with friends and family. After all, it is intended to be a happy occasion as the person marks another year of life.

        But what the heck does a Linux distribution do to celebrate a birthday? In the case of the excellent KaOS operating system, the answer is simple — release an updated ISO. Yes, as a way to mark the 5th birthday of the KDE-focused distro, version 2018.04 is now available for download. You get Plasma 5.12.4, Linux kernel 4.15.7, Libreoffice 6.0.3, and more.

      • KDE’s Discover, Okular, Gwenview & K3B See Improvements

        KDE contributor Nathaniel Graham has published another weekly blog post detailing the latest enhancements that are ongoing in KDE desktop/application development.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Talking on PrivacyScore at DFN Security Conference 2018 in Hamburg, Germany

        I seem to have skipped last year, but otherwise I have been to the DFN Workshop regularly. While I had a publication at this venue before, it’s only this year that I got to have a the conference.

      • Fedora Atomic Workstation → Team Silverblue

        Fedora Atomic Workstation, which I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. But all good things must come to an end. So, no more Atomic Workstation for me …since we’re renaming it to Team Silverblue.

      • Updating Endless OS to GNOME Shell 3.26 (Video)

        It’s been a pretty hectic time during the past months for me here at Endless, busy with updating our desktop to the latest stable version of GNOME Shell (3.26, at the time the process started), among other things. And in all this excitement, it seems like I forgot to blog so I think this time I’ll keep it short for once, and simply link to a video I made a couple of months ago, right when I was about to finish the first phase of the process (which ended up taking a bit longer than expected).

        Note that the production of this video is far from high quality (unsurprisingly), but the feedback I got so far is that it has been apparently very useful to explain to less technically inclined people what doing a rebase of this characteristics means, and with that in mind I woke up this morning realizing that it might be good to give it its own entry in my personal blog, so here it is.

  • Distributions

    • Crisis at Void Linux as Lead Developer Goes Missing in Action

      It was recently announced that the lead developer of Void Linux had gone silent. This has left the rest of the Void Linux community scrambling.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • A Big Batch Of Mageia 6 Updates Are Coming
      • The Enormous Mageia 6 Update

        Watch this space, we said – well, your patience is soon to be rewarded!

        Releasing the Mageia 6 updates for QT5, KF5, Plasma, KDE and LXQt has just been approved. There will be well over 500 packages in total!

        To help reduce the chance of users trying to install the updates from a mirror that hasn’t been fully updated, the hdlist generation will be held for 24 hours after the updates are pushed from updates testing to the updates repository. This should help ensure that the mirrors are fully synced before the hdlist generation is turned back on, and the updates are actually made available for users to install from the normal updates repository.

      • OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 Being Prepared With zSTD-Enabled Linux 4.16, Clang Pre-7.0, GCC 8

        OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 is being prepped for release soon. As covered previously, they are switching back from RPM5 to RPM4. In addition, they are picking up DNF package manager support over URPMI for package installation.

        Other work going into OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 includes a pre-7.0 snapshot of LLVM Clang, the GCC 8 code compiler that was newly released, and more. OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 is currently tracking the Linux 4.16 kernel and do have zSTD compression support enabled.

        While OpenMandriva talked about dropping 32-bit support, as of now i686 continues to be supported alongside x86_64, ARMv7, and AArch64.

    • Slackware Family

      • Security update for Chromium

        I have uploaded new packages for Chromium. The version 66.0.3359.139 is a security update addressing a critical bug (and some more bugs too) and you are advised to upgrade.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Customer highlights to watch for at Red Hat Summit 2018

        One of the best parts of Red Hat Summit is seeing customers share how they are using open source to innovate faster and create modern and agile technology platforms, and how Red Hat enables them to do it. Next week, we’re excited to feature more than 110 customers, including 14 on the main stage during keynote sessions.

      • New HPE, Red Hat Partnership Looks to Speed up Container Adoption

        Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Red Hat have partnered, in a bid to help those enterprises struggling to bring containers into production.

        The partnership aims to help customers adopt and deploy containers in production much quicker than before; at a much larger scale.

        The partnership was announced by HPE yesterday. The company said it will optimise the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on HPE Platforms; aiming to accelerate container application delivery for enterprise customers.

      • Getting to know Victor Tsao, Red Hat vice president and general manager for China

        Though I graduated as a chemical engineer, I was always interested in technology and this started with my early years at IBM, working on mainframe systems. My foray in learning technology continued with my career choices – I worked on supply chain software at i2 and later managed the virtualization business at Citrix, and big-data at SAP. All these companies were recognized for their leadership role in their business segments and so it was interesting to be part of their team and help contribute to their business. And when I look at Red Hat, I feel proud to be part of an organization who also has a leadership position and is singularly focused on collaborating with its customers and partners to address the dynamic business environment where we all compete.

      • Tell Us About Your Experience with the OpenShift Web Console
      • Provide Feedback on the OpenShift Console at Red Hat Summit

        The OpenShift User Experience team wants your feedback! We will be at Red Hat Summit in San Francisco, May 8th through May 10th. Visit us and participate in an OpenShift related activity in the Feedback Zone. You have an opportunity to impact the future of the OpenShift Console!

      • Red Hat to Livestream Red Hat Summit Press Conference and General Sessions [Ed: "Vice president of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft" -- This is what happens when Red Hat hires so many people from Microsoft to its management]
      • What to expect from Red Hat Summit 2018

        Now we’re into May, the tech conference season is officially in full swing, with two major events lined up next week. While we will be covering Cirtix’s annual Synergy conference over the next few days, our attention this time turns to open source behemoth Red Hat, set to host press and customers alike at its San Francisco summit – expected to be its biggest yet.

        Red Hat continues to be a leading force within the open source community, in defiance of attempts by the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft to gobble up as much of the market as possible. The company remains one of the biggest contributors to GitHub repositories, and despite having a comparatively smaller host of developers to, say, Microsoft, it’s a company that’s long been considered a champion of open source.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Atomic Workstation: Getting comfortable with GNOME Builder

          I am still going with my attempt to use Fedora Atomic Workstation fulltime as my main development system. As part of that, I am figuring out how to do GTK+ development on an immutable OS, using GNOME Builder.


          One aspect of GTK+ that I have worked on in this new setup is module loading. I’ve switched GTK+s printing support to use a GIO extension point, and of course, I wanted to test this before pushing it.

          So I was a bit surprised at first that the print dialog in gtk4-demo did not trigger my new module loading code and yet seemed to work just fine. But then I remembered that we are working in a flatpak sandbox now, so GTK+s portal support kicked in and helpfully redirected the print operation to an out-of-process print dialog.

        • Fedora 28 now generally available; brings users more choice and control through modular repository

          The Fedora Project, a Red Hat sponsored and community-driven open source collaboration, announced this week general availability of Fedora 28, the latest version of the fully open source Fedora operating system. Fedora 28 delivers three distinct editions each designed with specific use cases in mind – Fedora 28 Server, Fedora 28 Workstation and Fedora 28 Atomic Host.

          All editions of Fedora 28 are built from a common set of base packages and, as with all new Fedora releases, the packages feature numerous bug fixes and performance tweaks as well as new and enhanced additions. The Fedora 28 base package includes updated compilers and languages including the latest version of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) 8, Golang 1.10 and Ruby 2.5.

        • Fedora 30 Should Be Out In Just Under One Year

          Fedora 28 was released this week and it actually arrived on-time with its great feature-set. In planning ahead, Fedora’s FESCo committee has already proposed an initial schedule for Fedora 30 that will arrive at this time next year.

          Fedora 29′s schedule has already been set for having a beta release by mid-to-end of September, a final freeze in October, and getting the official release out by the end of October — assuming no delays.

        • Weekend Reading: Qubes

          Qubes OS is a security-focused operating system that, as tech editor Kyle Rankin puts it, “is fundamentally different from any other Linux desktop I’ve used”. Join us this weekend in reading Kyle’s multi-part series on all things Qubes.

    • Debian Family

      • My Debian Activities in April 2018

        This month I accepted 145 packages and rejected 5 uploads. The overall number of packages that got accepted this month was 260.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian/TeX Live 2018.20180505-1

          The first big bunch of updates of TeX Live 2018. During the freeze for DVD production, several bugs have been found and fixed. In particular compatibility of csqoutes with the shiny new LaTeX release, as well as some other related fixes. That hopefully will fix most if not all build failures that were introduced with the TL2018 upload.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • GNU/Linux Review: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” has been released at Thursday, 26 April 2018 by announcements in their mailing list and Release Notes. After installing Bionic on my laptop since the Beta 1 and Beta 2, here’s my report: it uses around 1.2GiB of RAM at least; it brings LibreOffice 6, Firefox 59, and GNOME 3.28 by default; still using Ubiquity as graphical installer. The biggest difference to previous LTS is it no longer uses Unity 7 desktop, so no HUD, no global menu anymore. It is powerful and still very easy to use like before, but needs more powerful hardware. The rest of this review explains those for you with additional links if you want to learn further. Enjoy!

          • What Data Does Ubuntu Collect About Your PC?

            Ubuntu includes a new data collection tool in its latest release — but exactly what kind of data does it collect?

            Well, thanks to the doors-wide-open nature of open-source software it’s easy to find out.

            It also helps that Canonical is being (unusually) upfront and open about its Ubuntu data collection policy, which is opt-out for new Ubuntu 18.04 installs, and opt-in on upgrades.

          • The Ubuntu 18.10 Codename Is (Probably) Out of This World

            The Ubuntu 18.10 codename has been revealed — well: half of it has, anyway!

            Canonical’s Adam Conrad has registered the ‘cosmic’ series on Launchpad, the code-hosting site where Ubuntu development takes place.

            Unless this celestial-themed clue is a colossally sized red-herring — spoiler: it isn’t — then ‘cosmic‘ is clearly the first part of the Ubuntu 18.10 code name.

            But where’s the rest?!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • 18.10 and beyond – 64bit images only

              We have had a successful release of Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS and we now are in full planning mode for 18.10.

              Similar to the decision made by Ubuntu themselves at 17.10, we have decided to concentrate all our efforts on producing a really good image based on the hardware almost all of you actually use now.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.10 – dropping i386 images

              Following the successful release of Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS last week the development cycle for 18.10 has now opened. We have taken the decision to stop making i386 (32-bit Intel) images starting with Ubuntu MATE 18.10

            • Ubuntu MATE And Ubuntu Budgie Dropping 32-bit Hardware Support

              Many leading Linux distros like Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Manjaro, etc., have already ditched the support for 32-bit architecture and decided to focus on 64-bit machines. Now, following their footsteps, Ubuntu Budgie (source) and Ubuntu MATE (source) have also joined the league.

              The main reason behind these moves is the decreasing number of users actually running these operating systems on 32-bit machines. That’s why it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep allocating resources and time to the hardware that people don’t use anymore.

            • Ubuntu MATE / Studio / Budgie All End Their 32-bit ISOs For New Releases

              Following the recent Ubuntu 18.04 Long Term Support release, more Ubuntu derivatives are taking this opportunity to end the production of their 32-bit software images.

              Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, and now Ubuntu Studio have all announced they are ending their 32-bit/i386 images as of the next release, Ubuntu 18.10. Ubuntu itself has already been concentrating on x86_64 while now these other derivatives are also deciding to cease their 32-bit images — of course, still maintaining 32-bit package support, but no longer focusing installer media for hardware more than one decade old. Ubuntu Studio joined the list this morning as the latest doing away with old Intel/AMD 32-bit ISOs.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • XMRWALLET is the Easiest wallet ever for the safest Crypto ever

    One of the things that keep users away from new technologies is the difficulty in adopting the new. The use of cell phones, the migration to smartphones, the interaction with social networks and the substitution of normal television by Internet content providers are clear examples of how technology can determine a distance between generations, given the difficulty of adoption for those who are familiar with a certain type of behavior.

  • XMRWallet : A Client-Side Open Source Monero Wallet
  • Top 5 Open Source Operating Systems for IoT devices

    This is safe to say that Internet of Things(IoT) is the next big thing in the tech industry. Already applications are rolling into various business practices, organizations, social innovations, and personal inventions. By 2017, there are 8.4 billion connected things in the world and it is estimated that by 2020 it will twice increase to reach over 20.4 billion as per the firm Gartner.

    So, to catch up the advanced technology and create innovations, open source is always ready to accustom. A lot of companies in IoT space like Samsung, Google, Huawei, and ARM are welcoming the open source model to create constant innovation and growth in technology. Such companies are leading upfront by exposing their projects to the open source developer community to come up with inventions like smart home, wearables connectivity, driverless cars etc.

  • Google Open Sources Swift for TensorFlow

    Originally created by Google, Swift for TensorFlow gives developers “the power of TensorFlow directly integrated into the Swift programming language.”

    According to the project page, which is hosted on Github, “We believe that machine learning tools are so important that they deserve a first-class language and a compiler.”

  • Google open sources Seurat, a tool for reducing mobile VR complexity

    This launch arrives alongside the release of the Mirage Solo, the first headset on the Daydream VR platform to make use of Google’s WorldSense positional tracking system. The headset is standalone and runs on a mobile chipset so it’s a lot more resource-constrained than headsets that connect to gaming PCs.


    In the snippet above from a new Blade Runner title, Google says the Seurat program was able to take a scene with 46.6 million triangles and reduce it down to 307,000. This is especially useful for developers with existing renders that they’re porting from more capable hardware to the more strained mobile VR hardware.

  • Google makes VR positional-tracking tool ‘Seurat’ open source on GitHub

    Technology companies have been telling us virtual reality will change the world for decades now. While VR has become more popular in recent years, it is still a niche market. Virtual reality will probably become mainstream in the future, but until prices come down even further, it will remain a hobby for enthusiasts.

    With that said, Google is still banking on virtual reality, especially with its Daydream initiative. Today, the search giant is making a VR positional-tracking tool called “Seurat” open source. The code is being hosted on GitHub.

  • Google’s Mobile VR Optimization Tool Seurat Goes Open Source

    Google announced at their 2017 I/O conference a powerful tool to help developers and creators bring high-fidelity graphics to standalone virtual reality (VR) headsets. Now, the technology known as Seurat is going open source as Google hopes to empower more content creators.

  • GOOGLE to open source SEURAT today.

    Today Google announced that it will be open sourcing Seurat which is a tool designed to reduce complexity in high-fidelity mobile VR scenes.

  • Haiku monthly activity report – 04/2018

    Let’s start with the most exciting developments this month: Korli started work on a 32/64 bit hybrid. The idea is to run a 64bit system, but allow 32bit applications to run on it. While we are just at the very first steps, it is a good thing that this is being worked on, as it will allow us to move more smoothly towards 64bit support.

  • Haiku OS Begins Working On 32/64-bit Hybrid Support

    Haiku OS developers have begun working on the functionality to allow 32-bit applications to run on a 64-bit Haiku OS system.

    As an outsider I was surprised that Haiku OS in 2018 can’t yet handle 32-bit applications on a 64-bit installation, but a Haiku OS developer has begun working on this 32/64-bit hybrid support. For now though they are at the very early stages of this hybrid support.

  • Open Source Identity Management

    Are there viable, open source identity management solutions for IT organizations? Many IT admins are familiar with the usual open source IAM solutions such as OpenLDAP™, Samba, and FreeIPA, to name a few, but are there others that could be helpful? Let’s take a quick look at the identity management space to find out.

  • Coreboot Picks Up Support For Two Open Compute Project Boards

    Mainline Coreboot has merged support for two Facebook Open Compute Project (OCP) boards as the first being added under this umbrella.

    The first two OCP boards now supported by mainline Coreboot thanks to Facebook are Monolake and wedge100s.

    OCP’s Monolake platform are up to four single-socket Xeon D-1500 micro-servers in a “Yosemite” v1 chassis.

  • Events

    • The excellent selection of Belfast Tech conferences

      And that got me to thinking “Isn’t it fantastic that we have this range of events and tech groups in Belfast?”. I remember the days when the only game in town was the Belfast LUG (now on something like it’s 5th revival and still going strong), but these days you could spend every night of the month at a different tech event covering anything from IoT to Women Who Code to DevOps to FinTech. There’s a good tech community that’s built up, with plenty of cross over between the different groups.

      An indicator of that is the number of conferences happening in the city, with many of them now regular fixtures in the annual calendar. In addition to BelTech I’ve already attended BelFOSS and Women Techmakers this year. Product Camp Belfast is happening today. NIDevConf is just over a month away (I’ll miss this year due to another commitment, but thoroughly enjoyed last year). WordCamp Belfast isn’t the sort of thing I’d normally notice, but the opportunity to see Heather Burns speak on the GDPR is really tempting. Asking around about what else is happening turned up B-Sides, Big Data Belfast and DigitalDNA.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TenFourFox FPR7 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 7 final is now available for testing (downloads, release notes, hashes). There are no other changes in this release from beta 3 other than remaining outstanding security patches. It will go live Monday evening Pacific time as usual assuming no showstoppers over the weekend.

      • Experimenting with Computer Vision in WebXR

        Over the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with what it would take to enable efficient, usable computer vision in WebXR. We’ve implemented a simple set of APIs in our iOS WebXR Viewer and the webxr-polyfill to test these ideas, and created some examples demonstrating how these APIs would work in practice, from simple color detection to tracking black and white markers in 3D using a WebAssembly version of the OpenCV computer vision library.

      • This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 5

        As we continue to add the building blocks, we’re really seeing Firefox Reality, Hubs and the content related projects coming together.

      • The Famous Firefox Memory Leak

        I suppose I have led a charmed life. I have known for many years about the notorious Firefox “memory leak.” This is when the browser allocates RAM from the operating system to display some page, and then neglects to release that RAM when done. This causes the RAM usage to steadily increase, until Firefox is using all available RAM. And yet I had never witnessed this myself, even on my wife’s computer, where she would leave Firefox running for days with a dozen or more tabs open.


        Well, there’s one other solution. I’ve read that Pale Moon browser does not exhibit this problem. And since this is a 64-bit Linux machine, Opera is once more an option. (I refuse to use Google’s Chrome snoopware.) My wife really likes Firefox, but the annoyance level is pushing her to consider a different browser.

      • Please Stop Using Adblock (But Not Why You Think)

        It seems like they’re actually trying here with the inclusion of some user advocates, but the imbalance is obvious. Let’s count those up:

        23 advertisers
        11 somewhat neutral entities
        7 user advocates

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Thank you from the Glow Developers

      Hello LLVM community,

      We have been working hard on a new domain specific optimizing compiler, and we are pleased to announce that we have recently open sourced the project! We would like to introduce you to Glow, an optimizing compiler for neural networks!

    • Glow: An LLVM Optimizing Compiler For Neural Networks

      The latest interesting use of the LLVM compiler infrastructure stack is for Glow, a machine learning / neural network optimizing compiler.

      Glow is intended to be used by high-level machine learning frameworks and it in turn — via leveraging LLVM — will generate optimized code for different hardware targets.


    • GCC 9.0 Sees A Number Of BRIG Improvements For HSA

      Being very early in the GCC 9.0 development cycle following the GCC 8 stable release earlier this week, a number of BRIG front-end improvements have landed. BRIG as a reminder is the binary form for HSA IL.

      In January of 2017 is when the GCC BRIG support landed in time for GCC 7. With the GCC 8 release there are some BRIG improvements for this compiler’s HSA support, but nothing really too notable. Sadly, since this code has been merged, I haven’t heard of any major users of this code intended for supporting HSA accelerators with AMD seemingly divesting in HSA.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Low-Cost Eye Tracking with Webcams and Open-Source Software

        “What are you looking at?” Said the wrong way, those can be fighting words. But in fields as diverse as psychological research and user experience testing, knowing what people are looking at in real-time can be invaluable. Eye-tracking software does this, but generally at a cost that keeps it out of the hands of the home gamer.

        Or it used to. With hacked $20 webcams, this open source eye tracker will let you watch how someone is processing what they see. But [John Evans]’ Hackaday Prize entry is more than that. Most of the detail is in the video below, a good chunk of which [John] uses to extol the virtues of the camera he uses for his eye tracker, a Logitech C270. And rightly so — the cheap and easily sourced camera has remarkable macro capabilities right out of the box, a key feature for a camera that’s going to be trained on an eyeball a few millimeters away. Still, [John] provides STL files for mounts that snap to the torn-down camera PCB, in case other focal lengths are needed.

  • Programming/Development

    • Programmers are having a huge debate over whether they should be required to behave respectfully to each other

      Earlier this week, a software engineer publicly quit a very popular open-source project and set off a firestorm of debate within the programming world.

      They are arguing about whether they should have to agree to a community code of conduct that requires them to behave respectfully.

      And they are also arguing whether programs that aim to increase participation from underrepresented groups is “racism.”

      The debate began on Wednesday when a developer named Rafael Avila de Espindola publicly quit a project called The LLVM Compiler Infrastructure Project. He had been a major contributor to the project for over a decade.

      Avila named a number of his frustrations with the group but he said he quit because the community was now requiring him to agree to its community code of conduct in order to attend its conference.


  • Lucknow Man Saw Puppy Trapped In Drain, Says He Used Drone To Save It

    Milind Raj says it took him six hours to assemble the improvised aerial vehicle. He says he attached an Artificial Intelligence-controlled [sic] robotic arm and giant drone together in his Lucknow lab

  • Science

  • Security

    • Twitter Suggests All of Its 336 Million Users Change Their Passwords After Leaving Them Unprotected

      Normally, Twitter protects passwords through a process called hashing, in which it replaces the actual characters of a password with random letters and numbers. The bug allowed passwords to be kept in an “internal log” without hashing so they were stored in their readable text format.

    • When Your Employees Post Passwords Online

      Storing passwords in plaintext online is never a good idea, but it’s remarkable how many companies have employees who are doing just that using online collaboration tools like Trello.com. Last week, KrebsOnSecurity notified a host of companies that employees were using Trello to share passwords for sensitive internal resources. Among those put at risk by such activity included an insurance firm, a state government agency and ride-hailing service Uber.

    • Sci-Hub ‘Pirate Bay For Science’ Security Certs Revoked by Comodo

      Sci-Hub, often known as ‘The Pirate Bay for Science’, has lost control of several security certificates after they were revoked by Comodo CA, the world’s largest certification authority. Comodo CA informs TorrentFreak that the company responded to a court order which compelled it to revoke four certificates previously issued to the site.

    • DDoS attacks in Europe ‘down 60 per cent’ following WebStresser takedown

      According to Europol, who headed up the international operation to take down WebStresser, the site had over 136,000 registered users at the time it was shut down and had been responsible for more than four million DDoS attacks in recent years – including one aimed at seven of the UK’s biggest banks in November last year.

    • Nigerian Email Scammers Are More Effective Than Ever

      On Thursday, the security firm Crowdstrike published detailed findings on Nigerian confraternities, cultish gangs that engage in various criminal activities and have steadily evolved email fraud into a reliable cash cow. The groups, like the notorious Black Axe syndicate, have mastered the creation of compelling and credible-looking fraud emails. Crowdstrike notes that the groups aren’t very regimented or technically sophisticated, but flexibility and camaraderie still allow them to develop powerful scams.

    • Linux Kernel Hardens Sound Drivers Against Spectre V1 Vulnerability

      As part of fixes landing for the Linux kernel sound drivers, several sound drivers were hardened against Spectre Variant One.

      HDA, Control, OSS, OPL3, and HDSPM were among the ALSA code in the kernel now hardened against potential Spectre Variant One exploitation. Spectre V1 as a reminder is the bounds check bypass vulnerability.

    • Spectre-NG: Security bods uncover eight new ‘Spectre-class’ flaws in Intel CPUs

      According to the website, Google’s Project Zero uncovered one of the flaws, which have been collectively named ‘Spectre Next Generation’ or ‘Spectre-NG’, and will publicly reveal it on 7 May, a day ahead of Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday.

    • PDF Files Can Silently Leak NTLM Credentials

      Attackers looking to steal the credentials for the NT LAN Manager (NTLM) authentication protocol (which consist of a domain name, a user name, and a one-way hash of the user’s password) can do so by abusing a feature where remote documents and files can be embedded inside PDF files.

    • Report: Chinese government is behind a decade of hacks on software companies

      Researchers said Chinese intelligence officers are behind almost a decade’s worth of network intrusions that use advanced malware to penetrate software and gaming companies in the US, Europe, Russia, and elsewhere. The hackers have struck as recently as March in a campaign that used phishing emails in an attempt to access corporate-sensitive Office 365 and Gmail accounts. In the process, they made serious operational security errors that revealed key information about their targets and possible location.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Turkey: Erdoğan’s World Of Terrorists Includes Everyone But Terrorists
    • Trotskyist Delusions: Obsessed with Stalin, They See Betrayed Revolutions Everywhere

      I first encountered Trotskyists in Minnesota half a century ago during the movement against the Vietnam War. I appreciated their skill in organizing anti-war demonstrations and their courage in daring to call themselves “communists” in the United States of America – a profession of faith that did not groom them for the successful careers enjoyed by their intellectual counterparts in France. So I started my political activism with sympathy toward the movement. In those days it was in clear opposition to U.S. imperialism, but that has changed.

      The first thing one learns about Trotskyism is that it is split into rival tendencies. Some remain consistent critics of imperialist war, notably those who write for the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS).

      Others, however, have translated the Trotskyist slogan of “permanent revolution” (turning a bourgeois revolution in a working class one) into the hope that every minority uprising in the world must be a sign of the long awaited world revolution – especially those that catch the approving eye of mainstream media. More often than deploring U.S. intervention, they join in reproaching Washington for not intervening sooner on behalf of the alleged revolution.

      A recent article in the International Socialist Review (issue #108, March 1, 2018) entitled “Revolution and counterrevolution in Syria” indicates so thoroughly how Trotskyism can go wrong that it is worthy of a critique. Since the author, Tony McKenna, writes well and with evident conviction, this is a strong not a weak example of the Trotskyist mindset.

    • US military aircraft have been hit many times by lasers, possibly by China

      New NOTAM cites “multiple lazing events involving a high-power laser” in Djibouti.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn charged in diesel emissions scandal

      In the aftermath of revelations about Volkswagen’s emissions test cheating, Volkswagen publicly stated that the illegal software had been placed on the cars by “rogue engineers” and that company executives were not involved or culpable. Documents later surfaced tying several executives to statements imploring colleagues to “come up with the story please!” when regulators started asking questions. A civil case lodged in 2016 by several states alleged that Winterkorn had been made aware of the illegal software (called a “defeat device” in Environmental Protection Agency parlance) early on at Volkswagen, although at the time he was not personally charged with any wrongdoing.

    • Saudi Arabia Needs $88 Oil

      Oil price volatility, trade tensions, geopolitical risk and a “sharp tightening of global financial conditions” are just a few of the potential pitfalls that lie ahead…

  • Finance

    • Rulers of the world: read Karl Marx!

      The chief reason for the continuing interest in Marx, however, is that his ideas are more relevant than they have been for decades. The post-war consensus that shifted power from capital to labour and produced a “great compression” in living standards is fading. Globalisation and the rise of a virtual economy are producing a version of capitalism that once more seems to be out of control. The backwards flow of power from labour to capital is finally beginning to produce a popular—and often populist—reaction. No wonder the most successful economics book of recent years, Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, echoes the title of Marx’s most important work and his preoccupation with inequality.

    • BT set to announce 6,000 job cuts in bid to save £500m

      The redundancies will affect almost six per cent of BT’s 98,000-strong workforce, as the company sets out to rebuild investor confidence following a shaky 2017, marred by the Italian accounting scandal which spurred a 42 per cent fall in profits.

    • Facebook Co-Founder Wants To Slap $3 Trillion Tax On Rich To Pay For Universal Basic Income

      The plan would essentially be an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-to-moderate income individuals and families.


      While Hughes notes that the annual $290 billion annual price tag is half the U.S. defense budget, he contends that income inequality is destabilizing the nation – and that there is a “very practical concern that, given that consumer spending is the biggest driver of economic growth in the United States and that median household incomes haven’t meaningfully budged in 40 years,” a Universal Basic Income is vital to maintaining economic national security.

    • Ratifying CETA after ‘Achmea scandal’ is anti-European

      Keeping the European project alive requires EU members to abide by the principle of loyalty to European institutions.

      With the Achmea decision, any EU country that ratifies the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) before the decision of the European Court of Justice on CETA’s investment provisions compliance with the European treaties, will be breaking the principle of loyalty to European Union institutions.

      Although few people in Europe have heard about the ECJ’s ‘Achmea ruling’, the case will have far-reaching consequences and it is important for member states to understand the implications of the case quickly, especially those states that are considering ratifying CETA.

    • [Older] Same old, same old: the EU pushes ISDS 2.0

      On 20 March, the European Council provided the European Commission with the requested mandate to start negotiations for a Multilateral Investment Court (MIC) to settle disputes between investors and states. The European Commission is of the opinion that this initiative responds to the call for reform of the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS). But in fact, the MIC is no more than ISDS 2.0.

    • Report: Qatar Just Bought $6.5M Apartment in Trump Property

      Weeks after judge ruled president wasn’t violating Emoluments Clause when accepting foreign rent.

    • Swedish university hiring ‘rigged’: university union

      Swedish universities are rigging their recruitment to make sure favoured internal candidates get jobs, according to Sweden’s leading university union.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Political Corruption Is Ruining Everything, but We Can Fix It

      A bold new idea from Washington that might truly beat back routinized scandal.

    • Meet “Sailor Socialism,” the Infowars Interview Subject Who Went Viral

      “Poor people shouldn’t get sick and die because they can’t afford to see a doctor, obviously.”

    • Ellen Schrecker on the New McCarthyism

      This week on CounterSpin: In January of 2017, the country was still reeling—as indeed we continue to reel—from the election of Donald Trump. Corporate news media were full of allegations of Russian hacking—of the election and, at one point we were told, the electrical grid in Vermont. Barack Obama signed off on something called the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, the point of which was to aim communications at people overseas to “countermessage” the ideas of “terrorists”—as defined, of course, by the state. And a website launched, purporting to serve as a “watchlist” on professors deemed guilty of advancing leftist propaganda in the classroom. The feeling in the air led CounterSpin to speak with Ellen Schrecker, retired professor of American history at Yeshiva University and the author of a number of books, including Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America and No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism in the Universities.

    • Trump’s Shifting Accounts on Stormy Daniels Payment Sparks Backlash

      Giuliani’s admission that Trump repaid Michael Cohen caught many White House officials and Trump’s allies off guard. On Fox News, host Neil Cavuto—a longtime advocate for the Trump administration—appeared to turn on Trump and Giuliani on Thursday.

    • The Troubling Part of Rudy Giuliani’s Interview that Nobody Is Talking About

      Giuliani seems to think that President Trump is above the law.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Against hate-speech laws

      Strossen gives a brief overview of various research that shows both that hate-speech laws do little to limit the hateful views they seek to suppress, and that by limiting the exposure individuals have to hateful views, the less resilient they become to a whole raft of potentially distasteful and intolerant viewpoints.

    • PMC director condemns ‘targeting’ of journalists and silence on West Papua

      An alarming number of “targeted” journalists being killed and West Papua media for independence were just some of the topics covered in a wide-ranging seminar by the director of the Pacific Media Centre last night.

    • Facebook Bans German Historian for Saying ‘Islam Is Not Part of German History’
    • Russia Blocks 50 VPNs & Anonymizers in Telegram Crackdown, Viber Next

      Russian telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor says it’s blocked at least 50 VPN and anonymization services as part of its Telegram crackdown. Alongside a suggestion that more blockades are in the pipeline, it’s feared that Viber could be next. Meanwhile, rumors are circulating that Roscomnadzor’s chief has stepped down following the carpet-bombing of millions of IP addresses last month.

    • Over a 5th of the world’s population is logging in to YouTube—despite scandals

      Wojcicki announced that YouTube aims to have more than 10,000 human moderators looking at “violative” content on the platform. In recent months, YouTube has added more humans to its moderation team, hoping to supplement the machine learning technology it uses to moderate the content on its site. These changes came as YouTube placed new restrictions on creators that are allowed to monetize content through YouTube’s Partner Program, and as the company added new details to its content policies in order to flesh out the definitions of what it considers offensive and inappropriate content.

    • The new old censorship: when power trumps truth

      Last month, several regular English-language columnists were informed by editors that their columns would not be published.

    • African govts mark Press Freedom Day with crackdown on online journalism

      The regulator said only 14 online publishers had met the requirements to remain online, including a $20 fee and an Interpol clearance certificate. If the directive is implemented in full, millions of websites would become inaccessible and Ugandans would be thrown into a virtual information blackout.
      Uganda is not alone in its ambition to control online journalism. Across sub-Saharan Africa, governments are taking aggressive steps to control what their citizens do and say online, justifying their suppression as necessary for public order and morality or security. [...]

    • War Of Words Between Anti-Vaxxers Results In An Unconstitutional Gag Order

      Eugene Volokh, the EFF, and several members of First Amendment Clinic students and professors have filed a brief in a case involving an unconstitutional and apparently permanent injunction against an anti-vaxxer. Oddly enough, this injunction is the result of a civil action brought by another anti-vaccination activist. The details leading up to this “shut up” order are a bit convoluted (and explained in full at the Volokh Conspiracy) but the short version is this:

      Anti-vaccination activist Kimberly McCauley blogs about her efforts and experiences. This includes frequent mentions of her daughter, who is now apparently being harmed by the state’s vaccination requirements for students.

      McCauley sued Matthew Phillips, a lawyer and another anti-vaccination activist. Apparently, Phillips believes McCauley isn’t as anti-vaccination as she could be and has criticized her on Facebook. Phillips has also mentioned McCauley’s daughter in his posts, but McCauley has put her daughter front-and-center in her anti-vaccination crusade.

      While there is little doubt Phillips posts are antagonistic and filled with ridiculous conspiracy theories (the words “crisis actor” have been thrown around, along with accusations of shilling for pharmaceutical companies), it would appear the bulk of what he’s posted is still protected speech. McCauley’s full complaint can be read here and it details some disturbing trolling efforts by Phillips. This forms the basis of her request for a civil restraining order [PDF], which was granted, but demands nothing more than Phillips’ silence on the subject of McCauley in perpetuity.

    • EU Commission Asks Public To Weigh In On Survey About Just How Much They Want The Internet To Be Censored

      A few years ago, when the EU Commission was first considering some really bad copyright policies designed to attack fundamental principles of how the internet worked, we pointed out the many, many problems with the EU Commission’s online survey (including the fact that their survey tool was literally broken, which eventually resulted in them expanding the time that the survey could be answered). It appears that one thing the EU Commission is good at doing is pushing silly one-sided online surveys that seem uniquely designed to get people to answer in a manner that blesses whatever awful policy the EU Commission has already decided to adopt.

      The latest is, once again, an attempt to massively censor the internet. As we’ve discussed over the past few months, after burying the evidence that said piracy is a much smaller issue than people claim, and ignoring multiple people explaining the fundamental issues of mandatory content filters (i.e., automated censorship machines), the EU Commission appears to be hellbent on putting in place such filters. And it’s now pushing a survey to get you to support their plan.

    • China Outlaws Telling The Truth About Communist Party ‘Heroes And Martyrs’

      China’s participation in the world market tends to portray the country as far more open than it actually is. China’s does have some love for capitalism. Democracy, not so much. There’s not much participation in the marketplace of ideas, thanks to continuous, ever-increasing censorship measures.

      Nothing’s going to change in the near future. The sitting president was just rewarded with the title appendage “for life,” thanks to a bought-in (and possibly bought) parliament stripping away term limits earlier this year. Chinese citizens have been rewarded for their enforced loyalty with a government-controlled internet experience and a scoring system that grants/strips perks based on a perverse “morality” algorithm.

      Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it, as the adage goes. The Chinese government is ensuring Cultural Revolution reruns by forcing the nation to forget inconvenient facts. A new law now makes it illegal to speak ill of the long-dead.

    • As Iran Joins Russia’s Block On Telegram, The Echoes Of The Arab Spring Begin To Sound

      As we have been discussing, Russia has engaged in something of an insane attempt to obliterate the application Telegram from its lands, following the company’s refusal to hand over its encryption keys to Russia’s FSB. Where this got really insane was Russia deciding to block hundreds of thousands of IP addresses, many of which are those of Amazon as Telegram had moved to the company’s cloud service to get around the initial Russia blockade. As a huge swath of the internet in Russia subsequently broke, along with all sorts of Russian services that rely on the internet to function, many began to wonder what could be so severe in Telegram to warrant such a cluster bomb approach. Russia’s answer was, of course, terrorism. The truth came in the form of a wave of protests in Russia, signaling that disallowing anti-government coordination via an encrypted messaging service is and always was the goal.

    • Airbnb, Homeaway, And The Importance Of Holding The Line On Section 230

      SESTA has done enormous damage to the critical protection Section 230 affords platforms – and by extension all the Internet speech and online services they facilitate. But it’s not the only threat: courts can also often mess things up for platforms by failing to recognize situations where Section 230 should apply and instead allowing platforms to be held liable for how their users have used their services.

      Which leads to the situation Airbnb, Homeaway, and other such platforms find themselves in. Jurisdictions unhappy with some of the effects short-term rentals have had on their communities have taken to passing regulations designed to curb the practice. Whether or not it is good policy to do so is beyond the scope of this post. If some local jurisdictions want to impose liability on their residents for renting out their homes – and not all of them do – it’s between them and their voters.

      The problem arises when the regulations they come up with don’t just target people renting their homes, but also target the online platforms that facilitate these transactions. These ordinances effectively create liability for platforms arising from content generated by others, which is a regulatory practice that Section 230 prohibits.

    • Swedish court holds that Google can be only ordered to undertake limited delisting in right to be forgotten cases [Ed: In Europe -- and already in Canada too -- censorship is now being disguised/spun as a "right", as in "human rights". Yes, violations of human rights as a "right" ("to be forgotten" e.g. for one's crimes).]

      A while ago the Swedish Data Protection Authorityrequested Google to delist a search query relating to an individual’s name and also that relevant search results would be delisted globally (ie for all country versions of its search engine) in respect to that individual.

      The name of the individual had appeared in the context of a newspaper article where it was revealed that he had been reported to the police by several other individuals for committing fraud in relation to a property investment.

    • Indiana students launch coalition to counter “rampant” press censorship at Christian universities

      After returning to her school in Upland, Indiana in January, Grom and six other Taylor University students conducted a survey to measure censorship at Christian universities. The results were so stunning, the group launched the Student Press Coalition, a group that “promotes a free press in higher education through research and advocacy on issues related to media censorship in Christian colleges and universities.” The coalition has been featured in daily roundups from Poynter and the Columbia Journalism Review.


      Grom’s team created the Student Press Coalition after seeing the dramatic results of the survey.

      Frank LoMonte, senior legal fellow for the Student Press Law Center and director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, says the coalition’s findings “completely align” with his experiences as a lawyer advocating for student press rights and as a journalism educator.

    • Latin American journalists push for professionalization and fight against censorship on the 25th World Press Freedom Day

      As they have every year since 1993, when UNESCO proclaimed May 3 as World Press Freedom Day, journalists and freedom of expression advocates in Latin America and around the world gathered at conferences and rallied online to discuss the importance of press freedom and ways to the threats it faces.

    • Calling Out ‘Hate Speech’ Too Often Invites Censorship

      Throughout U.S. history, crusaders for racial and social justice have opposed empowering government to suppress ideas that are hateful or hated, in part because their own ideas have been targeted as such. Indeed, current critics of “Black Lives Matter” have attacked its advocacy as “hate speech.”

      The term “hate speech” is not a legal term of art, with a specific definition. Its most generally understood meaning is expression that conveys hateful or discriminatory views against specific individuals or groups, particularly those who have historically faced discrimination. Many people also have hurled the term against a diverse range of messages that they reject, including messages about important public policy issues. Moreover, too much rhetoric equates “hate speech” with violent criminal conduct. For example, college students complain that they have been “assaulted” when they are exposed to ideas that offend them. This false equation between controversial ideas and physical violence fuels unwarranted calls for outlawing and punishing ideas, along with violence.

    • Mridula Garg Opens up About Writing, Censorship, and Her Latest Novel

      I was arrested by the police in 1982 for my novel Chittacobra, which was published in 1979. I The censorship of my novel was an impingement on my rights not only as a writer but also as a citizen. I was deprived of not just the freedom of expression but my liberty to live as a citizen. Of course, even in cases where the authors are not arrested but hounded in other ways by the society – having their effigy burnt; publicly abused; tormented at work; having their books banned – the authors are deprived of their liberty as a citizen. They are deprived of the freedom of expression, which is a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution.

    • Chinese censors push for Internet control
    • Censorship in China: Then they came for Peppa Pig
    • Commentary: Then they came for Peppa Pig
    • Here’s what’s gone wrong with the cutesy cartoon character Peppa Pig
    • Political correctness is supposed to protect me, but I reject its censorship
    • Kenya’s censorship chief claims Western charities pay kids £22,000 each to become gay

      The head of Kenya’s censorship bureau has claimed that charities are paying young people £22,000 per head to become homosexuals.

    • White House Blasts China for Its ‘Censorship’ of U.S. Airlines

      The White House released a blistering statement attacking China’s government for a recent demand that U.S. and other airlines change the way they refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau in promotional materials.

      “This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,’’ White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday in a statement.

      U.S. airlines were among several that received letters from China’s Civil Aviation Administration calling for strict guidelines for any references to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, according to the White House. The Chinese government considers those entities as part of China and objects to references that indicate they are independent.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Four features that would tame Facebook

      It doesn’t have to be this way. Facebook’s dominance is the result of specific product choices, and there are other products that would undo those choices. We’re so used to platforms acting to entrench their own power that it’s become unthinkable that they’d act any other way. But from a product perspective, the features are simple, drawn from open protocols like email, RSS, and the web itself. If Facebook followed their lead, it would become less powerful, sure, but also less invasive and foreboding, a friendlier presence in the online space.

    • NSA collected 530 million+ calls, texts in 2017 [Ed: Widely spread false news in networks like Fox, courtesy of tje NSA. The real numbers are vastly higher, many billions.]

      The National Security Agency pulled 534 million records of phone calls and text messages from American telecommunications companies last year.

      That’s three times what it looked at in 2016, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which compiled the report.

      An official there says it’s not clear why the number rose so sharply. It could be because of increases to the number of phone accounts people of interest are using or changes to how the industry creates records.

    • How police are using corpses to unlock phones

      It’s widely accepted nowadays, then, when a person dies, they may specify to be (or not to be) an organ donor, to be cremated or buried, or even to be wrapped in bedsheets and unexamined. Perhaps now is an era calling for the need of overly specific privacy and security instructions, including no posthumous fingerprinting, no unlocking of private folders, or even “bury me with my phone.”

    • Paranoid thriller Wild, at Southbank Theatre, tackles social media, surveillance

      “We don’t need you to type at all,” said former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. “We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.” That was in 2010, long before the Facebook data scandals and the Russian hacking allegations and the Snowden revelations.

      Fast forward eight years and actor Toby Schmitz’s response is the same as most people’s: “I’m more in the shrug category. They’re going to spy. I haven’t done anything too bad. But we vacillate, I think that’s what most of us do. We vacillate between that attitude and going ‘f—, this is so scary and sickening that they have all this access’.”

    • NSA tripled its phone record collection in 2017 [Ed: NSA just tripled the number it reports. As for the real number? It's far higher than this, based on classification.]
    • NSA collected 534 million phone records in 2017
    • Spy agency NSA triples collection of US phone records: official report
    • Senate passes bill renewing internet surveillance program

      Thursday’s 65-34 passage in the Senate was largely a foregone conclusion, after senators earlier this week cleared a 60-vote procedural hurdle, which split party lines and came within one vote of failing.


      The bill reauthorizes what is known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which gathers information from foreigners overseas but incidentally collects an unknown amount of communications belonging to Americans.

    • NSA triples metadata collection numbers, sucking up over 500 million call records in 2017

      A transparency report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence shows numerous other fluctuations in the volume of surveillance conducted. Foreign surveillance-related, warrantless Section 702 content queries involving U.S. persons jumped from 5,288 to 7,512, for instance, and more citizens were “unmasked,” indicating a general increase in quantity.

    • NSA says searches of Americans’ data spiked in 2017
    • N.S.A. Triples Collection of Data From U.S. Phone Companies
    • The NSA Managed to Collect 500 Million US Call Records in 2017 Despite Targeting Just 40 People
    • NSA collected more than 530M US call records in 2017
    • Spy agency NSA triples collection of U.S. phone records: official report

      The U.S. National Security Agency collected 534 million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016, a U.S. intelligence agency report released on Friday said.


      “The intelligence community’s transparency has yet to extend to explaining dramatic increases in their collection,” said Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the Washington-based Open Technology Institute that focuses on digital issues.

      The government “has not altered the manner in which it uses its authority to obtain call detail records,” Timothy Barrett, a spokesman at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the annual report, said in a statement.

      The NSA has found that a number of factors may influence the amount of records collected, Barrett said. These included the number of court-approved selection terms, which could be a phone number of someone who is potentially the subject of an investigation, or the amount of historical information retained by phone service providers, Barrett said.

    • NSA report discloses that the agency tripled its surveillance of Americans in 2017

      The House passed the legislation last week without much fuss.

    • NSA Collected 534 Million Call Records Metadata In 2017: 3 Times Increase From 2016

      The new Annual Statistical Transparency report published by the Office of The Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) gives the highlights of NSA’s surveillance campaigns.

    • FOIA Heroes At The FBI Protect Superman’s Privacy; Refuse To Hand Over Secret Identity To Requester

      Following an FOIA lawsuit against the FBI, Emma Best is raking in agency documents dealing with the Church of Scientology. The FBI doesn’t care much for FOIA requesters and the informal policy on handling released documents is to redact as much as possible and hope the redactions aren’t challenged.

      Sadly, there’s not much subtlety or attention to detail deployed when redacting documents prior to release. It appears that the FBI’s FOIA response personnel are trained to redact anything that looks like a person’s name, whether or not it actually needs to be redacted. This almost-automatic redaction technique has led to the most ridiculous of results: the FBI has engaged in the proactive protection of Superman’s secret identity.

    • Facebook Is Researching Paid Subscriptions Without Ads

      Would you pay for Facebook if it didn’t have ads? What if that subscription offered better privacy?

    • Facebook Weighs Ad-Free Subscription Option

      Facebook Inc. has been conducting market research in recent weeks to determine whether an ad-free version paid by subscriptions would spur more people to join the social network, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Facebook Is Actively Looking Into Launching A Paid Version: Report

      After Facebook-CA data scandal became public, the company’s CEO and COO took turns to do some damage control . While doing so, they underlined the fact that Facebook’s basic operating model is advertising-based. In other words, to make Facebook accessible to most of the people, it must remain free and supported by ads.

      However, as per a new report from Bloomberg, Facebook has been actively conducting market research to explore the possibilities of a paid version of Facebook. The company is looking into a subscription-based model that could be used by the people who wish to use Facebook but not share their data.

    • Facebook has repeatedly fired stalker employees, then covered it up

      The sources who talked to Motherboard enumerated the weak access controls in place at Facebook; even contractors were able to access sensitive personal information on Facebook’s users; they did say that some kinds of access were logged and that employees who were discovered to be exceeding their authorization faced consequences.

    • “Privacy Is No Longer A Social Norm”

      Facebook (now headquartered in Menlo Park) has been getting all the attention recently, but they probably know less about you than Palantir Technologies, still headquartered in Palo Alto.

    • Facebook to rank news sources by ‘trustworthiness’

      Social media giant Facebook says it will classify news sources by their “trustworthiness”, telling a select group of well-known media outlets that data from users would be used to grade various new brands.

    • Google and Facebook won’t rule the world – if we don’t buy their fantasies about big data

      Powerful commercial imperatives depend on people mistakenly believing that their data profiles are a true representation of themselves, and that data analytics have the power to determine aspects of social life. Sensationalist narratives of data determinism inadvertently help further this agenda. Data will no doubt come to play an increasingly dominant role in more and more areas of everyday life – not because it is particularly insightful or meaningful, but because we collectively believe this to be so. If this faith in data should flounder, then so too may its hold on the future.

    • You Can’t Opt Out Of Sharing Your Data, Even If You Didn’t Opt In

      “One of the fascinating things we’ve now walked ourselves into is that companies are valued by the market on the basis of how much user data they have,” said Daniel Kahn Gillmor, senior staff technologist with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. A company can run along, not making a cent, but if it has a large user base and reams of private information about those users, then it’s valuable — and can be sold for millions. Companies that collect more data, keep that data, and use it to make connections between users are worth more. Sears, Roebuck and Co. may have been able to infer when you bought a gift from their catalog for a friend who lived in another town, but Amazon has more reason (and more ability) to use that information to build a profile of your friend’s interests.

    • Huawei and ZTE phones banned from military bases in the US

      The pentagon has ordered retail outlets on US military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE devices, over fears that the Chinese government could snoop on soldiers’ communications.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Sex Trafficking Panic Is Based On Myths

      What the study revealed, after interviewing 949 people across 6 cities — 171 of them in Las Vegas — was that many of the assumptions that inform government policy on sex workers are merely myths. And those myths are easily disproved once you bother to get the data, which we did.

    • Police have used genealogy to make an arrest in a murder case
    • Female Domestic and Agricultural Workers Confront an Epidemic of Sexual Harassment

      At the heart of so many #MeToo disclosures is invisibility. For farmworker women like Teresa Arredondo, it’s about being isolated and silenced. Originally from Mexico, Teresa immigrated to join her family in California in the 1980s. Throughout the years that Teresa worked in the fields, she experienced exploitation and discrimination, including workplace sexual violence.

      But Teresa didn’t stay silent. When she reported the harassment, she was fired. This led her to become outspoken. Now she’s a crew leader at a new farm, overseeing 50 other farmworker women while encouraging them to break their silence. She is also an organizer within Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, where she speaks out so that other women can come forward too.

      Now that the #MeToo movement has elevated the experiences and visibility of women like Teresa, it’s our duty to improve the laws that are supposed to protect workers from this exact behavior, like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    • Treated Like Trash

      The body of the young man lay in the middle of Jerome Avenue beneath the elevated train tracks, the scene lit by the neon blue sign above the shuttered El Caribe restaurant. A garbage truck sat mid-turn at the otherwise deserted intersection in the Bronx.

      Emergency medical personnel arrived, records show, and pronounced the young man dead at 5:08 a.m. on Nov. 7, 2017.

      The police came, too. Officers taped off the scene, and interviewed the truck driver and his assistant, according to records and interviews. The driver and helper, according to the police report, said the dead man was a stranger who had inexplicably jumped on the truck’s passenger side running board, lost his grip and was run over. The initial police report left blank the spot for the young man’s name.

      Within hours, a Bronx News12 reporter said neighbors thought the victim was “a homeless man that they’ve seen in the area.” By afternoon, he was “a daredevil homeless man” in the Daily News.

      The garbage truck belonged to Sanitation Salvage, among the largest commercial trash haulers in the city. A company supervisor eventually came to retrieve the truck and take it back to the company yard. Then, according to workers told about the night’s events, it was promptly sent back out without so much as a cleaning.

      Two miles south of the accident, in a Bronx apartment off the Grand Concourse, a mother waited for her son. Hadiatou Barry, a Guinean immigrant, had come to the Bronx for a better life for her family. Her eldest son, Mouctar Diallo, 21, had a bed in the living room of their apartment. The young man often worked nights, and with the sun coming up should have been home asleep. But his bed remained empty.

      Soon enough, Hadiatou Barry got the worst sort of news, a double-barreled blow of devastation and insult.

    • Marines Open Investigation into Active-Duty White Supremacist

      Stationed at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune and assigned to the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, Pistolis has associated with an array of neo-Nazi organizations, including the National Socialist Movement, the Traditionalist Worker Party, and Atomwaffen Division, a clandestine group that aims to incite a race war, according to interviews and an analysis of video and online postings. Pistolis is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS, which typically examines felony-level offenses involving Navy or Marine Corps personnel.

      “We’re looking into the allegations and do not comment on open investigations,” said Adam M. Stump, an NCIS spokesperson.

      Through interviews, photos, videos and the Marine’s own online admissions, ProPublica and Frontline documented his involvement with the various fascist groups and his participation in a string of assaults during last summer’s lethal Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Pistolis also made posts in online chats obtained by Unicorn Riot, an independent media organization.

    • Germany says Liu Xiaobo’s widow is welcome ‘at any time’

      Germany says it would welcome the widow of late Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo after a recording was released of an emotional phone call between his widow and a close friend.

    • From VW to Julian Assange: How does extradition work?

      Martin Winterkorn, the disgraced ex-CEO of world-dominating German carmaker Volkswagen, is unlikely to answer for his responsibility in the Dieselgate affair before a US court — despite being charged with conspiring to mislead US environmental regulators this week.

      This is down to a basic principle of international law about sovereignty over one’s own citizens that Germany is not shy about invoking in certain situations — and which the country has seen fit to enshrine in Article 16 of its constitution, or Basic Law, which reads:

      “No German may be extradited to a foreign country. The law may provide otherwise for extraditions to a member state of the European Union or to an international court, provided that the rule of law is observed.”

    • Letter from Britain: Increasingly Illiberal Establishment and the Challenge of Jeremy Corbyn

      Britain is often considered an exemplar liberal state, prizing its tradition of tolerance, fairness and willingness to entertain dissent.

      The British in their own self conception are the great pioneers of the rule of law and of human rights.

      Nor has this view of Britain always been wrong. The British were genuinely horrified by the McCarthyite campaigns in the US in the 1950s, and British public opinion supported the civil rights movement in the US in the 1960s. The Britain I first saw in the 1960s was a genuinely tolerant, law abiding and liberal place.

      The events of the last couple of weeks should however dispose of any notion that Britain really is the paradigm liberal state that it claims to be.

      Political news in Britain over the last few weeks has been dominated by three concurrent scandals.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Congress will vote to save net neutrality
    • The Big Lie ISPs Are Spreading in State Legislatures is That They Don’t Make Enough Money

      In their effort to prevent states from protecting a free and open Internet, a small handful of massive and extraordinarily profitably Internet service providers (ISPs) are telling state legislatures that network neutrality would hinder their ability to raise revenues to pay for upgrades and thus force them to charge consumers higher bills for Internet access. This is because state-based network neutrality will prohibit data discrimination schemes known as “paid prioritization” where the ISP charges websites and applications new tolls and relegate those that do not pay to the slow lane.

      In essence, they are saying they have to charge new fees to websites and applications in order to pay for upgrades and maintenance to their networks. In other words, people are using so much of their broadband product that they can’t keep up on our monthly subscriptions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • When it comes to IP enforcement, Chinese IP maths: 3 + 15 = more than 18?

      Accordingly, it seems to this guest blogger that the common feeling in the industry and legal / IP circles is that China possesses a serious, ongoing commitment to raise the level of expertise and adjudication in the Chinese IP sphere. Furthermore, the impact is increasing beyond simply the jurisprudence, as transparency initiatives allow access to the data behind the judicial curtain. See, for example, Mark Cohen’s excellent China IP blog, reporting inter alia that foreigners: 1) disproportionately win in Chinese IP litigation; 2) enjoy more favourable injunction rates; and 3) receive larger awards of damages than do their Chinese counterparts. See also Mark Cohen’s discussion of the SIPO’s 2017 China Patent Survey Report on point #2.

    • Israel’s innovation story is extraordinary, but just assuming it will continue would be a big mistake

      These are all extraordinary numbers; and they will come as no surprise to many of you reading this. After all, Israel has been known as the Start Up nation and a global hub of innovation for many years now. But it is only by visiting the country – as I did last week for the AIPPI Israel’s 3rd International Convention on the Economy of Innovation – that you begin to realise just how ingrained innovation and entrepreneurialism are there, or understand how it happened.

      Put simply, start with a culture that puts a premium on scholarship and debate, and then throw in hundreds’ years of oppression and persecution. Once you have done that add mass migration to a land with few natural resources, surrounded by the sea on one side and enemies who wished for nothing but your destruction on all the others. It’s a recipe that creates very strong incentives to develop solutions and to see the world in ways that others do not – two vital starting points for innovative activity.

    • Google loses another patent heavy hitter to Facebook

      Facebook has hired Google patent data analytics specialist Jeremiah Chan as its new head of patents. The move follows the social media giant’s poaching of the search giant’s patent head Allen Lo last August to be its head of IP.

      At Google Chan was most recently legal director, global patents and was one of Lo’s first hires in 2012, brought into establish a data analytics team within the patent function. That was at a time when Google’s portfolio had grown dramatically following the $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility which added 17,000 grants and 7,500 applications.


      At Facebook Chan will be responsible for a far smaller portfolio or around 3,000 US grants and approximately 1,900 applications. That reflects both Facebook’s relative youth (it went public in 2012) and the fact that it has far less exposure to the consumer electronics market as Google, which has a large Android-supported ecosystem to protect. That said, the social media giant has been ramping up its patenting efforts of late and in 2016 received more than 440 US grants.

    • Negotiating SEP licences in Europe after Huawei v ZTE: guidance from national courts

      Dr Claudia Tapia and Dr Spyros Makris provide an overview of the case law of national courts in Europe exploring the framework for licensing negotiations regarding FRAND-accessible standard essential patents, which was established by the decision of the CJEU in the matter Huawei v ZTE

    • Copyrights

      • A few thoughts on copyright

        Every once in a while, I’ll come across a discussion where someone justifies pirating a movie or popular TV show with “nothing of value was lost.” Basically, these people claim that it isn’t really “stealing” if the content creator (HBO, Disney, etc) keeps the original copy.

        It baffles me why people say this.

        I think I get where they’re coming from, just not their conclusions. I think these people don’t like the US copyright system. And I certainly agree that there’s a lot wrong with the current US copyright laws. The Copyright Term Extension Act, a.k.a. the Sonny Bono Act, or (sometimes) the Mickey Mouse Protection Act has extended copyright terms dramatically. And that’s not good.


        But whether you realize it or not, copyright protection works for more than just the Big Media companies (HBO, Disney, etc). Copyright works for Free software and open source software, too. In fact, the copyleft afforded by the GNU General Public License only works because of copyright protections.

        Copyright gives you, the author (or maintainer or contributor) of a software project the right to say how people can copy it. In proprietary software, they are very strict to how you can copy their software (basically, you can’t). In Free software licenses, it’s very liberal (in most cases, you can give it away, as long as you make the source code available).

      • AT&T explains why it blocked Cloudflare DNS: It was just an accident

        The blocking is affecting AT&T home Internet customers who use an AT&T gateway. Cloudflare unveiled its DNS service on April 1, and users in DSLReports forum threads almost immediately started complaining that they couldn’t access it. One thread began on April 1, within hours of Cloudflare’s announcement.

      • Cloudflare Fails to Exclude Daily Stormer Evidence From Piracy Trial

        A California federal court has denied Cloudflare’s request to exclude evidence related to its termination of neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer from the upcoming piracy liability trial against ALS Scan. The CDN provider fears that mentioning the site at trial could cloud the perception of the jury, but District Court Judge George Wu was not receptive to this argument.

      • If NYT Likes Stronger Copyright, That Doesn’t Make It ‘Free Trade’

        Many folks in the media seem to think it is part of their job to promote trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—not only in opinion pages, but in the news section, too. The New York Times (5/3/18) gave us yet another example of this effort in a piece on a hotly contested congressional race in Washington.

        At one point, the piece tells readers that the TPP “would have reinforced the nation’s embrace of free trade.” This is not true.

        The TPP had relatively little to do with free trade, in the sense of reducing tariffs and other traditional trade barriers. The United States already had trade agreements with six of the other eleven countries in the pact, and trade barriers were already low with most of the other countries.

      • UK Internet Filters Block Disney Sites, Internet Safety Tips, and More

        In the UK, Internet providers offer site-blocking tools to their subscribers, so they can filter harmful content from the web. While these tools can be helpful to some, there are some rather peculiar blocks which show that they’re far from perfect, to say the least.

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