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Links 10/10/2017: Plasma 5.11, GCC 5.5 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Linux Foundation Launches OpenMessaging Project

    The roster of Linux Foundation Collaborative Project is growing again, this time with the launch of OpenMessaging project.

    According to the project’s GitHub projec page, the goal of the effort is to provide a vendor-neutral open standard for distributed messaging and stream.

    “OpenMessaging, which includes the establishment of industry guidelines and messaging, streaming specifications to provide a common framework for finance, e-commerce, IoT and big-data area,” the project states. “The design principles are the cloud-oriented, simplicity, flexibility, and language independent in distributed heterogeneous environments.

  • Designing tabletop games with open source

    The print-on-demand industry is one of my favorite products of technological innovation. It removes gatekeepers and eliminates the bottleneck of physical bulk production. It gives anybody with a good idea and the drive to produce it a way to get their work out into the world.

    Print-on-demand combined with open source software is even more powerful, letting independent publishers generate content at whatever price they can afford at the time (or for nothing at all). And the tools are a pleasure to use.

  • This New Storyboarding Software Is Both Free And Open Source

    A new piece of software – both free and open source – wants to upend the market for digital storyboarding applications. Meet Storyboarder.

    Storyboarder is intended to be a fast and simple tool, with six drawing tools and easy-to-rearrange panels. The app is also integrated with external software, allowing for the ability to do roughs in Storyboarder, and with the click of one button, refine the artwork in Photoshop.

  • Circle Announces Open Source Project CENTRE and Foundation
  • TACC Develops Multi-Factor Authentication Solution, Makes it Open-Source

    How does a supercomputing center enable tens of thousands of researchers to securely access its high-performance computing systems while still allowing ease of use? And how can it be done affordably?

    These are questions that the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), asked themselves when they sought to upgrade their system security. They had previously relied on users’ names and passwords for access, but with a growing focus on hosting confidential health data and the increased compliance standards that entails, they realized they needed a more rigorous solution.


    To learn more about OpenMFA or explore the code, visit the Github repository.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Is Mesosphere surrendering to Kubernetes?

      Until recently there were three major contenders for the spot as top cloud container orchestration program: Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, and Mesosphere. It’s now down to two. Mesosphere has thrown in the towel and is adopting Kubernetes into DC/OS.
      Is this really a surrender? Mesosphere CEO Florian Leibert argues it’s not. His position is Marathon, Mesosphere‘s parent company, and Kubernetes have different use cases. You can use Mesosphere to run legacy applications without containers, while Kubernetes is all containers, all the time. Leibert said. “It’s like a layer cake. Kubernetes and Mesos can work really well together. Kubernetes takes over the container workflow but it can’t handle workflows that don’t run on containers such as Hadoop.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Conference 2017 Kicked Off Today with a Focus on LibreOffice 6.0

      The LibreOffice Conference 2017 event kicked off today in Rome, Italy, with a focus on the development of the next major LibreOffice office suite release, version 6.0, which will arrive next year in early February.

      The Document Foundation will be hosting the LibreOffice Conference 2017 in a venue located at Via del Tempio di Giove 21. During three days full of talks, workshops, and hacking sessions, various developers will try to improve the open-source and cross-platform LibreOffice office suite, as well as to focus on adding new features.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Security-Oriented OpenBSD 6.2 OS Released with Better ARM Support, Improvements

      The BSD-based, UNIX-like operating system OpenBSD has been recently updated to version 6.2, a release that introduces up-to-date components, better hardware support, and lots of security improvements.

      Coming six months after the launch of OpenBSD 6.1 early this spring, which was the first point release in the 6.x series of the operating system, OpenBSD 6.2 is here to introduce a large number of enhancements, among which we can mention better support for various ARM boards, IEEE 802.11 wireless stack improvements, as well as some generic network stack improvements.

    • OpenBSD 6.2 released: Oct 9, 2017

      We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 6.2. This is our 43rd release. We remain proud of OpenBSD’s record of more than twenty years with only two remote holes in the default install.

    • OpenBSD 6.2 Released

      A few days ahead of the date hinted at by the work-in-progress release page, OpenBSD 6.2 was released today, October 9th 2017.


    • GCC 5.5 Released

      The GNU Compiler Collection version 5.5 has been released.

      GCC 5.5 is a bug-fix release from the GCC 5 branch containing important fixes for regressions and serious bugs in GCC 5.4 with more than 250 bugs fixed since the previous release.

      This is also the last release from the GCC 5 branch, GCC continues to be maintained on the GCC 6 and GCC 7 branches and the development trunk.

    • GCC 5.5 Released, That’s It For GCC5

      Jakub Jelinek of Red Hat today announced the release of GCC 5.5 compiler that also marks the end of the GCC5 series.

    • The State Of GNU’s GDB Conversion To C++

      Last year the GNU Debugger’s code-base was converted from the C programming language (C90) to now using C++11. At last month’s GNU Tools Cauldron was an update on this process.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Europe pledges support for open source government solutions

      Estonia has long been the digital envy of many European Union member states. An effective and open policy approach to digital government has yielded extraordinary results—from 90%+ uptake of electronic identification (E-ID) solutions to an open source e-government platform (X-Road) to meet the ever-growing expectations of IT-savvy citizens as well as other countries wanting to pool IT across borders.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • NISO Publishes Standards Tag Suite (NISO STS) Standard

      The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the publication of a new American National Standard, STS: Standards Tag Suite, ANSI/NISO Z39.102-2017. The purpose of this “standard for standards,” which will be known as NISO STS, is to define a suite of XML elements and attributes that describes the full-text content and metadata of standards. NISO STS provides a common format that preserves intellectual content of standards independent of the form in which that content was originally delivered.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Mechanism To Assess Trade Agreements Needed, UN Forum On Access To Medicines Hears

      She said that such a mechanism would safeguard the measures countries have under the TRIPS (WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement, to protect and advance human rights.

    • No Vaccines Before the Next Zika Outbreak?: A Case for IP Preparedness

      In September 2017, the development of the US Army’s Zika vaccine—once a leading candidate in the Zika vaccine race—came to a halt after almost all federal funding for Zika R&D was cut short. This happened less than a year from the end of the global public health emergency. Funding will now resume only if the Zika epidemic re-emerges.

      That R&D on diseases like Zika is not attractive to pharmaceutical companies is a well-known phenomenon. It usually takes a major public health crisis to shake up the playing field. With Ebola, for instance, funding for R&D increased 258% in 2015. The Zika outbreak had the same effect, and so will future outbreaks of similar diseases.

    • Congress Uses Las Vegas Massacre to Push Abortion Ban

      This week, the Senate takes up an unconstitutional bill recently passed 237-189 in the House that would ban all abortion after 20 weeks. The deceptively named “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (H.R. 36) would “make it a crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.”

      The claim that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks has been thoroughly debunked. Published at the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, a 2011 review of more than 150 studies has confirmed that a fetus’s neurological system is not developed enough at 20 weeks to register pain; the connection between the brain and the rest of the body simply doesn’t exist.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Deloitte hack hit server containing emails from across US government

      The hack into the accountancy giant Deloitte compromised a server that contained the emails of an estimated 350 clients, including four US government departments, the United Nations and some of the world’s biggest multinationals, the Guardian has been told.

      Sources with knowledge of the hack say the incident was potentially more widespread than Deloitte has been prepared to acknowledge and that the company cannot be 100% sure what was taken.

      Deloitte said it believed the hack had only “impacted” six clients, and that it was confident it knew where the hackers had been. It said it believed the attack on its systems, which began a year ago, was now over.

      However, sources who have spoken to the Guardian, on condition of anonymity, say the company red-flagged, and has been reviewing, a cache of emails and attachments that may have been compromised from a host of other entities.

    • Apache Patches Optionsbleed Flaw in HTTP Server

      The Apache HTTP Web Server (commonly simply referred to as ‘Apache’) is the most widely deployed web server in the world, and until last week, it was at risk from a security vulnerability known as Optionsbleed.

    • Browsers Will Store Credit Card Details Similar to How They Save Passwords

      A new W3C standard is slowly creeping into current browser implementations, a standard that will simplify the way people make payments online.

      Called the Payment Request API, this new standard relies on users entering and storing payment card details inside browsers, just like they currently do with passwords.

    • Equifax will give your salary history to anyone with your SSN and date of birth
    • Forrester Research Discloses Limited Website Data Breach

      At 6:17 ET PM on Oct.6, Forrester Research publicly admitted that it was the victim of a cyber-attack. According to the firm, the attack had limited impact, with no evidence that confidential client data had been stolen.

      According to Forrester Research’s preliminary investigation, attackers were able to gain access to Forrester.com content that was intended to be limited exclusively to clients.

      “We recognize that hackers will attack attractive targets—in this case, our research IP,” George F. Colony, chairman and chief executive officer of Forrester, stated.

      “We also understand there is a tradeoff between making it easy for our clients to access our research and security measures,” Colony added. “We feel that we have taken a common-sense approach to those two priorities; however, we will continuously look at that balance to respond to changing cyber-security risk.”

    • Akamai Reports Fast Flux Botnets Remain a Security Risk

      Attackers are continuing to benefit from the use many different technique to remain hidden. New research released Oct.10 by Akamai reveals that a botnet with over 14,000 IP addresses has been using the fast flux DNS technique to evade detection, while still causing damage to users and organizations.

      Fast Flux is an attacker technique that uses the Domain Name System (DNS) to hide the source of an attack. DNS operates by referring a domain name to a specific IP address

    • Disqus reveals data breach, but wins points for transparency

      Disqus has publicly announced that its user database leaked in 2012, exposing the usernames, email addresses, sign-up dates, and last login dates of more than 17 million users.

      In addition, the data included crackable SHA1-hashed passwords of “about one-third” of users. Presumably many accounts registered with the popular blog-commenting service do not have associated passwords due to many users signing-in using third-party social media accounts such as Google or Facebook.

      Quite how the security breach occurred is currently a mystery, and – frankly – despite their good intentions, Disqus may find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what happened five years after the event.

    • WhatsApp Exploit Can Allow Hackers To Monitor Your Sleep And Other Things
    • Multi-Layered Defenses Needed to Improve Cyber-Security, FBI Says
    • Hacking is inevitable, so it’s time to assume our data will be stolen

      If recent hacking attacks such as the one at Equifax, which compromised personal data for about half of all Americans, have taught us anything, it’s that data breaches are a part of life. It’s time to plan for what happens after our data is stolen, according to Rahul Telang, professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon University.

      Companies are prone to understating the scale of hacks, which suggests that there needs to be better standards for disclosing breaches. Yahoo recently confessed that its data breach actually impacted 3 billion user accounts, three times what it disclosed in December. Equifax also boosted the number of people it says were affected by its hack.

    • 7 Security Risks User and Entity Behavior Analytics Helps Detect
    • UpGuard Reports Accenture Data Exposure, Debuts Risk Detection Service

      Security vendor UpGuard announced on Oct.10 that it discovered that global consulting firm Accenture had left at least four cloud-based storage servers publicly available. UpGuard alleges that the exposed cloud servers could have left Accenture customers to risk, though Accenture is publicly downplaying the impact of the cloud data exposure.

      “There was no risk to any of our clients – no active credentials, PII and other sensitive information was compromised,” Accenture noted in a statement sent to eWEEK. “The information involved could not have provided access to client systems and was not production data or applications.”

      Accenture added that the company has a multi-layered security model and the data in question would not have allowed anyone that found it to penetrate any of those layers.

    • [Older] The creepiest data breach till date: Passwords of 540,000 Car Tracking Devices Leaked Online

      Data breaches have become so common these days that every single day we get news about a data breach. We have seen data breaches from big to small, from dangerous to embarrassing, but this is one is the creepiest data breach of 2017, this leak of credentials of almost 540,000 Car Tracking Devices might take the biscuit.

      The Kromtech Security Center recently found over half a million login credentials belonging to SVR, a company specializes in “vehicle recovery”, is leaked online and is publicly accessible. SVR provides its customers with around-the-clock surveillance of cars and trucks, just in case those vehicles are towed or stolen.

    • Nginx 1.13.6 Patches Web Server for the Year 2038 Flaw

      Developers and organizations around the world rushed to fix the Y2K bug nearly 20 years ago as the calendar rolled over to the new millennium. There is also a similar bug that is resident in Unix/Linux systems known as the Year 2038 bug.

      The latest vendor to fix its software for the 2038 bug is open-source web application server vendor nginx. The new nginx 1.13.6 release debuts on Oct. 10, fixing 11 different bugs.

      “Bugfix: nginx did not support dates after the year 2038 on 32-bit platforms with 64-bit time_t,” the nginx changelog noted.

    • Equifax: About those 400,000 UK records we lost? It’s now 15.2M. Yes, M for MEELLLIOON

      Last month, US credit score agency Equifax admitted the personal data for just under 400,000 UK accounts was slurped by hackers raiding its database. On Tuesday this week, it upped that number ever-so-slightly to 15.2 million.

      In true buck-passing fashion, at the time of writing, Equifax hadn’t even released a public statement on the matter. Instead it fell to Blighty’s National Cyber Security Centre to reveal the bad news that a blundering American firm had put them at risk of phishing attacks.

      “We are aware that Equifax was the victim of a criminal cyber attack in May 2017,” the NCSC said in a statement today.

      “Equifax have today updated their guidance to confirm that a file containing 15.2m UK records dating from between 2011 and 2016 was attacked in this incident. NCSC advises that passwords are not re-used on any accounts if you have been told by Equifax that any portion of your membership details have been accessed.”

    • Major Data Breach Left 15 Million Accounts from These Popular Sites Vulnerable

      In what seems like an ever-lengthening line of data breaches in recent weeks (This restaurant, this financial services company, and this supermarket have all been breached in the past month), Lifehacker has reported that information from 15 million Kickstarter and Bitly accounts are now available to the public due to a 2014 data breach. The breach itself isn’t new, much like the fresh news about Yahoo’s massive breach, but it’s much less disconcerting. Although the information is now public, it is still encrypted, and both Kickstarter and Bitly took swift action to notify users of the breach when it originally occurred, urging them to change their passwords and nullifying the breach ones if user action was not taken.

    • It’s 2017… And Windows PCs can be pwned via DNS, webpages, Office docs, fonts – and some TPM keys are fscked too

      Microsoft today released patches for more than 60 CVE-listed vulnerabilities in its software. Meanwhile, Adobe is skipping October’s Patch Tuesday altogether.

      Among the latest holes that need papering over via Windows Update are three vulnerabilities already publicly disclosed – with one being exploited right now by hackers to infect vulnerable machines. That flaw, CVE-2017-11826, is leveraged when a booby-trapped Microsoft Office document is opened, allowing malicious code within it to run with the same rights as the logged-in user, and should be considered a top priority to patch.

      Dustin Childs, of Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative, noted today that users and administrators should also pay special attention to Microsoft’s ADV170012, an advisory warning of weak cryptographic keys generated by Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) on Infineon motherboards.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Republican Sen. Bob Corker Warns Trump Taking U.S. Toward “World War III”

      The powerful head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, warned Sunday that President Trump is treating the presidency like “a reality show” and setting the U.S. “on the path to World War III.” Sen. Corker made the comments to The New York Times after Trump spent much of the weekend threatening war with North Korea, and after Trump attacked Corker on Twitter Sunday morning, saying the senator “didn’t have the guts” to run for re-election and claiming Corker dropped out after begging unsuccessfully for Trump’s endorsement. That prompted Corker to respond on Twitter, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

    • Vegas Massacre Story Changes: Gunman Shot Security Guard Before Opening Fire On Crowd

      In a dramatic shift to the original Las Vegas shooting narrative, over a week after Stephen Paddock rained down bullets on a crowd and killed 58 people, late on Monday Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo drastically changed the timeline of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, and now the gunman allegedly opened fire on a security guard six minutes before he unleashed the massacre. Officials had previously claimed that Paddock, 64, shot Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos only after Paddock had started shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country-music festival from his 32nd-floor hotel suite on Oct. 1.

      The revision to the story also undermines the story surrounding the end of the shooting: officials had previously credited Campos, who was shot in the leg, with stopping the 10-minute assault by turning the gunman’s attention to the hotel hallway, where Campos was checking an alert for an open door in another guest’s room. However, with the revelation that Campos was shot before his mass shooting, officials now admit they don’t know why he stopped his attack.

    • Duterte’s satisfaction rating plunges below 50 per cent amid Philippines drug killings

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s honeymoon period may be over, but his deadly anti-drugs campaign will not wane, his office said on Monday, after a fall in ratings that his opponents said showed public disillusionment with his rule.

      Duterte has enjoyed strong opinion poll numbers since winning the presidency in last year’s elections but heavy scrutiny of his war on drugs, which has killed thousands of Filipinos, appears to have impacted his ratings.

      Trust and satisfaction in Duterte fell to the lowest of his presidency in the third quarter of this year, a survey showed on Sunday, although sentiment about his leadership remained positive overall.

    • The Scandal of Pentagon Spending

      Here’s a question for you: How do you spell boondoggle?

      The answer (in case you didn’t already know): P-e-n-t-a-g-o-n.

      Hawks on Capitol Hill and in the U.S. military routinely justify increases in the Defense Department’s already munificent budget by arguing that yet more money is needed to “support the troops.” If you’re already nodding in agreement, let me explain just where a huge chunk of the Pentagon budget — hundreds of billions of dollars — really goes. Keep in mind that it’s your money we’re talking about.

      The answer couldn’t be more straightforward: it goes directly to private corporations and much of it is then wasted on useless overhead, fat executive salaries, and startling (yet commonplace) cost overruns on weapons systems and other military hardware that, in the end, won’t even perform as promised. Too often the result is weapons that aren’t needed at prices we can’t afford. If anyone truly wanted to help the troops, loosening the corporate grip on the Pentagon budget would be an excellent place to start.

    • Should Limiting North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions be the Responsibility of the U.S. Government?

      In recent months, advances in the North Korean government’s nuclear weapons program have led to a sharp confrontation between the government leaders of the United States and of North Korea. This August, President Donald Trump declared that any more threats from North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” In turn, Kim Jong Un remarked that he was now contemplating firing nuclear missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam. Heightening the dispute, Trump told the United Nations in mid-September that, if the United States was forced to defend itself or its allies, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” Soon thereafter, Trump embellished this with a tweet declaring that North Korea “won’t be around much longer.”

      From the standpoint of heading off nuclear weapons advances by the North Korean regime, this belligerent approach by the U.S. government has shown no signs of success. Every taunt by U.S. officials has drawn a derisive reply from their North Korean counterparts. Indeed, when it comes to nuclear weapons policy, escalating U.S. threats seem to have confirmed the North Korean government’s fears of U.S. military attack and, thus, bolstered its determination to enhance its nuclear capabilities. In short, threatening North Korea with destruction has been remarkably counter-productive.

    • A Deaf Ear to Dire Russian Warnings

      From time to time, the Kremlin uses the Sunday evening weekly news wrap-up program of Dmitry Kiselyov on state television, channel Rossiya-1, to send blunt and public warnings to Washington without diplomatic niceties. Last night was one such case and we must hope that the intended audience within the Beltway can put aside all its distractions about Russia-gate long enough to read a real message from Moscow.

    • Chris Murphy: Trump’s threat of war with North Korea must be taken ‘seriously’

      Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Monday said President Trump’s rhetoric directed at North Korea must be taken “seriously,” following remarks made by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) about Trump possibly leading the U.S. on the path toward “World War III.”

      “It’s time to take Trump seriously as he keeps hinting, over and over, that he wants to go to war with North Korea,” Murphy said in a series of tweets, adding that some of the president’s other tweets have proven to not always be “just bluster.”

    • War Culture – Gun Culture: They’re Related

      If you go to the Wikipedia page that gives a timeline of U.S. foreign military operations between 1775 and 2010, you are likely to come away in shock. It seems that ever since the founding of the country, the United States has been at war. It is as if Americans just could not (and still cannot) sit still, but had to (and still have to) force themselves on others through military action. Often this is aimed at controlling foreign resources, thus forcing upon others the consequences of their own capitalist avarice. At other times the violence is spurred on by an ideology that confuses U.S. interests with civilization and freedom. Only very rarely is Washington out there on the side of the angels. Regardless, the bottom line seems to be that peace has never been a deeply ingrained cultural value for the citizens of the United States. As pertains to foreign policy, America’s national culture is a war culture.

    • Jimmy Carter Urges Trump Administration to Pursue Peace with North Korea

      Former President Jimmy Carter has decades of experience talking to North Korean leaders and citizens, and he shares his knowledge in a recent piece published by The Washington Post. Arguing that the current tension between the U.S. and North Korea is “the most serious existing threat to world peace,” Carter urges President Trump to work towards a peaceful, diplomatic solution.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘An Inferno Like You’ve Never Seen’: Deadly Wildfires Ravage California

      More than ten people have been killed, thousands have been left without power, and tens of thousands have been forced to evacuate as more than a dozen wildfires tore through Northern California overnight Monday, forcing Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in eight counties.

    • Mass Evacuations in California as Wildfires Kill at Least 10

      In California, powerful winds and bone-dry conditions have fueled massive wildfires across the state, leaving at least 10 people dead, destroying whole neighborhoods and forcing 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. State fire officials say they’re battling at least 14 major fires in eight counties. One of the worst blazes was in the city of Santa Rosa in Northern California’s Sonoma County, where fire ripped through a trailer park, destroyed homes, restaurants and hotels, and forced medical teams at the Kaiser Permanente hospital to evacuate 130 patients as flames approached. This is Santa Rosa resident Dave Rollans.

    • Emergency aid distribution stalled in Puerto Rico

      Status update: Customers with electricity: 15% … People in shelters: 6,452 … Functioning cell towers: 28% … Access to drinking water: 60% … Commercial flights: 100%.

      USA Today’s Oren Dorell reports from San Juan: “The Auxilio Mutuo Hospital here can’t figure out how to get specialized medical supplies from the nearby airport. A Puerto Rican in Tampa found the quickest way to deliver help to her hometown was to do it in person. And shipping containers filled with emergency goods are piling up at the Port of San Juan.”

      In the photo above, taken yesterday, Efrain Diaz Figueroa, 70, walks through the remains of the house of his sister, destroyed by Hurricane Maria in San Juan.

  • Finance

    • Republican Leaders’ Tax Framework Provides Windfall to High-Income Households, With Working Families Largely an Afterthought

      The “Big Six” Republican tax framework announced last week by President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress specifies large tax cuts aimed at profitable corporations and wealthy households while offering only vague promises for lower- and middle-income working families. It closely follows many aspects of the House GOP’s “Better Way” plan released last year, which was heavily tilted to those high on the income scale. Like that plan, the new framework offers little for working families with modest incomes compared to what it would do for those at the top.

    • For hardline Brexiters, the lure of the cliff edge is irresistible

      The heckles in the House of Commons can be as revealing as the speeches. When the prime minister was taking questions about her Brexit plans on Monday, Anna Soubry, Conservative MP for Broxtowe, asked about the no-deal scenario – whether the UK would “jump off the cliff”. At which point a male voice, dripping with derision, chimed in: “There is no cliff!”

      Hansard doesn’t record the source of the intervention. It could have been one of dozens of Tories who despise talk of cliffs. The prime minister is not among them. She has been taken on an illustrated tour of the edge by her advisory council of business leaders. They describe the elevation and the effect of high-velocity impact: the return of customs controls; barriers to trade; the rupture of supply chains; investors rerouting money and jobs to the continent.

    • [Older] Revealed: How gold takes the shine off Britain’s trade figures

      Doubt has been cast over one of the longest-standing economic claims in the Brexit debate after a Sky investigation revealed that Britain’s real exports to outside the EU are actually far lower than official figures suggest.

      The Government’s trade statistics show that, over the past five years, the share of UK goods being exported to the European Union was only 46% – a fact frequently referred to by those who campaigned for Brexit.

    • Brexit is no game, says Barnier when asked if ball is in his court

      “Brexit is not a game,” the EU’s chief negotiator has said, as he emerged from a lunch with the UK’s Brexit secretary, David Davis, in Brussels on the second day of the fifth round of negotiations.

      Michel Barnier was responding to a question that referred to Theresa May’s claim that the ball is now in the EU’s court on Brexit.

      “Lunch was good and we had constructive talks, not the first time or the last time,” Barnier told reporters outside the residence of the UK’s permanent representative in Brussels.

      When asked whether progress was being made on the opening withdrawal issues, and if “the ball [is] in your court”, Barnier responded: “We are working. Brexit is not a game. Don’t forget it.”

    • IMF cuts UK growth forecast and warns Brexit is starting to bite

      The International Monetary Fund singled Britain out as a “notable exception” to an improving global economic outlook on Tuesday, as it confirmed a cut to its long-term forecast for UK growth and said negative effects of Brexit were beginning to show.

      In its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook, the IMF sharply reduced its UK long-term growth outlook, from an estimated annual growth rate of 1.9 per cent to 1.7 per cent. The forecasts show the UK trailing Greece over the next five years. The IMF is now predicting 11.5 per cent growth in Greece during the period, compared with 10.3 per cent in Britain.

    • IMF says UK ‘notable exception’ to growth in advanced economies

      The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Tuesday downgraded the U.K.’s growth expectations, declaring it to be the “notable exception” to the trend of higher economic growth among the world’s advanced economies in the first half of 2017.

      The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook report predicted the U.K.’s economy would grow by 1.7 percent in 2017, 0.1 percentage points less than in 2016. The agency predicted that the U.K. would grow at an even slower rate, 1.5 percent, in 2018.

    • Egypt military opens ‘New Cairo’ luxury hotel, as old Cairo sinks in poverty

      A swanky new hotel built by Egypt’s Armed Forces Engineering Authority was unveiled on Friday, coinciding with the 44th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, sparking criticism on social media.

    • Theresa May refuses to say if she would vote for Brexit in fresh poll

      Theresa May has refused to say if she would vote for Brexit if another referendum were held today, saying instead she would have to “weigh up the evidence” before deciding what to do in the current situation.

      The prime minister, who voted to remain in the EU in last year’s poll, struggled to give clear answers on Brexit issues during an LBC radio phone-in on Tuesday, and admitted there was no plan for what would happen to EU citizens living in the UK if no deal was agreed with Brussels.

    • ‘We don’t know what’s going to happen’: Theresa May won’t guarantee migrants’ rights if there’s no Brexit deal

      Theresa May has refused to guarantee EU citizens’ rights if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.

      And she admitted the government ‘don’t know what’s going to happen’ to UK citizens in the EU if negotiators can’t reach an agreement.

      The Prime Minister tried to reassure a worried radio phone in listener by saying: “We want you to stay.”

      Mrs May was taking part in a live call-in show on LBC Radio when Nina from Islington, an EU citizen who has been living in the UK for 31 years, called in with some concerns.

      She said: “I’m extremely worried about my future. My question is, in case of a no-deal scenario, will the proposal of ‘settled status’ be withdrawn, and will EU citizens end up losing their rights and be deported?”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Manhattan DA Vance Took $10,000 From Head Of Law Firm On Trump Defense Team, Dropped Case

      The principal of a law firm involved in fending off a criminal investigation into a Trump Organization project gave $10,000 to Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance amid the probe, according to campaign finance records reviewed by International Business Times. The money from Elkan Abramowitz, which had not previously been reported, was in addition to a separate campaign donation to Vance from Trump attorney Mark Kasowitz. After the money flowed to Vance, the Democratic DA overruled his prosecutors and declined to file charges against Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and others involved in the controversial Trump SoHo project.

    • Trump digital director says Facebook helped win the White House

      The Trump presidential campaign spent most of its digital advertising budget on Facebook, testing more than 50,000 ad variations each day in an attempt to micro-target voters, Trump’s digital director, Brad Parscale, told CBS’s 60 Minutes in an interview scheduled to air on Sunday night.


      Parscale said he asked the Facebook “embeds” to teach staffers everything the Clinton campaign would be told about Facebook advertising “and then some”.

    • American Kakistocracy

      “Can’t anybody here play this game?” was Casey Stengel’s famous lament about his inept 1962 New York Mets. The same lament could apply to the Trump administration and its majority team in Congress—but the problem is deeper and worse when ineptitude joins with venality and recklessness, and when the stakes are far more than baseball pennants.


      Grant Shapps, the former Tory chairman, was slapped down by MPs – in widely leaked WhatsApp messages – for pulling together signatures to prompt May’s resignation. Foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s crowd-pleasing turn at conference has suggested he’s once again on manoeuvres, but his stock is lower than ever among the parliamentary party.

      The usual factions are split. Boris still pines for the top job, fancying himself as the positive pro-Brexit leader the people crave, but many Tory Eurosceptics fear a leadership challenge would put Brexit at threat. Meanwhile, Tory Remainers have no clear candidate. For all the gloom, and the Brexit battles to come, May clings on for lack of any alternative.

    • Europe Hostage to the Ludicrous Hyperbole of the Spanish Constitutions

      A glance at a historical atlas of Europe century by century shows a kaleidoscope of continuing shifts in states as they form and reform, move, merge and dissolve. It is the normal state of Europe. Nor is it in any sense slowing down; this is not a process which has stopped. Even in the short period since I left university, eight states currently members of the European Union have undergone truly drastic changes to their national boundaries or nation state status.

      Even Hitler was only nuts enough to think his Reich would last for a thousand years. Spain (which incidentally was almost entirely Muslim a thousand years ago) tops Hitler for mad ambition. Spain believes its current borders will last forever. The Constitution specifies the “indissoluble unity” of Spain. This plainly mad claim is the entire basis of the “legalistic” stance of Rajoy. An excellent article today by Gerry Adams in the Guardian points out that Rajoy is making negotiation impossible by insisting on the precondition that it is illegal even to discuss Catalan independence.

    • Progressive California Democrat calls for Feinstein primary challenge

      Hours after Dianne Feinstein announced she will run for re-election next year, a prominent California Democratic representative urged primary challengers to unseat the four-term senator.

      Arguing it’s time for Democrats “to move on” and better represent the progressive grassroots, freshman House Democrat Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley on Monday said he has contacted Rep. Barbara Lee, one of the most liberal members of Congress, and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich to urge them to challenge Feinstein’s re-election in 2018.

    • President Trump’s temper tantrums are getting worse and occurring more frequently.
    • Fact Checker: President Trump has made 1,318 false or misleading claims over 263 days
    • Why EU Consultations Are Inherently Biased Against Members Of The Public

      The European Union’s institutional machinery is so complex and hard to fathom for those outside the Brussels bubble, that most people don’t bother trying. That’s a pity, because the grinding of the EU’s great gears often throws out small sparks of illumination. For example, earlier this year, the S&D MEP Childers Nessa used a parliamentary question to ask the European Commission about “Civil society’s views on ancillary rights in response to the public consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain” – the (in)famous Article 11 of the EU proposed copyright directive, also known as the “snippet tax”.

      As well as supplying a few figures relating to the response to the consultation, in his reply Vice-President Ansip also noted that “Public consultations are for the Commission an essential tool to inform its policy-making. However, the Commission adopts a cautious approach to quantitative data, as responses to consultations are generally not statistically representatives of a target population.”

    • The bizarre situation where only retiring Republicans will talk about Trump’s fitness for office

      Sen. Bob Corker’s warning that President Donald Trump’s recklessness could set the country “on the path to World War III,” issued in a New York Times interview on Sunday, is notable for a few reasons.

      For one, this is a critique that many Democrats and even some Republicans have made for some time — and that even more Republicans are said to make regularly in private.

      For another, this is coming publicly from a Republican senator in a conservative state who chairs a major committee, has worked closely with the administration, and has had strong relationships with several of its officials. So when he says he knows “for a fact” that there’s no “good cop, bad cop” act underway, we should take him seriously.

      But perhaps most noteworthy of all is that Corker only felt empowered to make such a bold critique after he had decided to retire rather than run for reelection in 2018 (as he announced at the end of last month). Only Corker’s liberation from the concerns of electoral politics, it seems, has motivated him to say what he truly thinks.

    • Trump proposes ‘IQ tests’ face-off with Tillerson after secretary of state calls him a ‘moron’
    • Poll: Americans Hope Trump Follows Pence’s Example and Leaves Early

      A poll taken after Vice-President Mike Pence made headlines on Sunday with an abrupt early departure reveals that a broad majority of Americans hope that Donald Trump follows Pence’s example and leaves early, as well.

      In a striking result, the poll shows that Trump’s early exit would be approximately a thousand times more popular than the one Pence participated in on Sunday.

      While Pence defended his decision to leave early on Sunday by saying that he did it out of patriotism, a substantial majority of Americans agreed that a premature departure by Trump “would be, by far, the most patriotic thing he could ever do for his country.”

    • Trump’s popularity is slipping in rural America: poll

      Outside the Morgan County fair in McConnelsville, in a rural swath of Ohio that fervently backed U.S. President Donald Trump in last year’s election, ticket seller John Wilson quietly counts off a handful of disappointments with the man he helped elect.

      The 70-year-old retired banker said he is unhappy with infighting and turnover in the White House. He does not like Trump’s penchant for traveling to his personal golf resorts. He wishes the president would do more to fix the healthcare system, and he worries that Trump might back down from his promise to force illegal immigrants out of the country.

    • Theresa May’s latest ‘initiative’ shows she’s now just trolling everyone living with mental health issues
    • FT columnist who called Corbyn supporters “thick as pigsh*t” nominated for Political Commentator of the Year Award
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Yale-NUS: A partner in name only?

      Classics professor Victor Bers added that he was disturbed by the recent case of Amos Yee, a Singaporean teenager who has applied for asylum in the United States on the grounds that he was persecuted for his political opinions in the city-state.

    • Lindsay Lohan’s Parents Want Her To Sue A Senator Who Made Fun Of Lindsay

      Over the past few years we’ve written about some really dumb lawsuits (or threats of lawsuits) filed by actress Lindsay Lohan. There was that time she sued E*Trade for $100 million because it had a baby in its commercial, named Lindsey, who was described as a “boyfriend-stealing milkaholic,” which she insisted must be a reference to her (think about that one for a second…). Or there was the time she claimed that a jewelry store releasing surveillance tape footage of her stealing a necklace violated her publicity rights. Then she sued the rapper Pitbull for a lyric “I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan” (and, bizarrely, that one included accusations of a plagiarized filing by her lawyer. And, of course, most famously, Lohan spent years battling Take Two Interactive, claiming a ditzy starlet character in Grand Theft Auto was also a violation of her publicity rights.

    • Lightning Network Centralization Leads to Economic Censorship

      A few months ago, I wrote an article called “Mathematical Proof That the Lightning Network Cannot Be a Decentralized Bitcoin Scaling Solution”. It received quite a bit of attention, both positive and negative.

      Now it seems that the realities of LN’s limitations are being accepted, and new narratives are forming to justify the continued morphing of Bitcoin into a settlement layer.

    • Group claims censorship over film screening at M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2018
    • M1 Singapore Fringe Festival accused of censorship by artist collective
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ICE Demands Journalists ‘Return’ Snitch Hotline Data It Left Exposed For Three Days After Being Notified

      Daniel Rivero and Brendan O’Connor of Splinter recently acquired documents pertaining to ICE’s snitch program — a “see something, say something” but for suspected undocumented aliens. What’s contained in these documents is nasty, petty abuse of a crime victim hotline by Americans who don’t mind turning the government into their own personal army.

      This is part of new program started by the Trump Administration — one presumably meant to pump up numbers for its weekly “Two Minutes Hate” reports, which document the criminal acts of people roaming the county without the proper papers.

      Splinter didn’t find much evidence backing up the administration’s fervent belief that “undocumented” equals “hardened criminal.” What it did find was Americans using the VOICE tip line to engage in a low-level variant on SWATting: sending ICE to round up people they just don’t like.

    • US Cyber-Defence Data Stolen From NSA Contractors’ Home Computer Direct
    • Dubai Airport is going to use face-scanning virtual aquariums as security checkpoints

      Dubai International Airport has come up with a novel way for departing travelers to clear security: by walking through a virtual aquarium lined with facial recognition cameras.

      According to a report from The National, the virtual aquarium is shaped like a tunnel, and outfitted with 80 cameras that can scan faces and irises as passengers walk through. The images inside the tunnel can be changed to show different landscapes, like deserts, or to display advertisements. Once a traveler reaches the end, they’ll either be cleared with the message “have a nice trip,” or a red sign will be displayed to alert security.

    • As Catalonia Plans Independence from Spain, Julian Assange Advises Organizers on Secure Messaging

      Barcelona’s Mayor Ada Colau is calling for Spain to remove thousands of state police who have been deployed to Catalonia ahead of tonight’s expected declaration of independence by regional President Carles Puigdemont, possibly triggering intervention by Spanish forces. We speak with WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who has been advising those pushing to secede on how to communicate securely even as the state pushes back.

    • VPN logs helped unmask alleged ‘net stalker, say feds

      Virtual private network provider PureVPN helped the FBI track down an Internet stalker, by combing its logs to reveal his IP address.

      The Department of Justice announced on Friday the arrest of Ryan Lin, a 24-year-old from Newtown, Massachusetts, on charges that he cyber-stalked a former room-mate.

    • The science of spying: how the CIA secretly recruits academics

      The CIA agent tapped softly on the hotel room door. After the keynote speeches, panel discussions and dinner, the conference attendees had retired for the night. Audio and visual surveillance of the room showed that the nuclear scientist’s minders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were sleeping, but he was still awake. Sure enough, he opened the door, alone.

      According to a person familiar with this encounter, which took place about a decade ago, the agency had been preparing it for months. Through a business front, it had funded and staged the conference at an unsuspecting foreign centre of scientific research, invited speakers and guests, and planted operatives among the kitchen workers and other staff, just so it could entice the nuclear expert out of Iran, separate him for a few minutes from his guards, and pitch him one-to-one. A last-minute snag had almost derailed the plans: the target switched hotels because the conference’s preferred hotel cost $75 more than his superiors in Iran were willing to spend.

    • Key transatlantic data flows under threat as US surveillance laws clash once more with EU privacy protections

      We wrote recently about clouds gathering over the Privacy Shield framework that governs transatlantic data flows for thousands of US companies. As that post explained, even if the Privacy Shield is struck down by the EU courts, as some believe it will be, there are alternative mechanisms that can ensure the legality of data transfers out of the EU to the US. The most important of these is the use of standard contractual clauses (SCCs), also known as “model clauses”. However, last week an Irish judge said she would make a formal request for the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the EU’s highest court, to rule whether SCCs for this purpose were invalid too. If the CJEU decides they are, that will make sending personal data of EU citizens across the Atlantic hard, or even impossible, for many top Internet companies like Google and Facebook.

    • What the proposed new EU rules on free flow of non-personal data could mean for businesses

      Current data localisation restrictions by Member States’ public authorities and so-called ‘vendor lock-in practices’ (obstacles to the movement of data across IT systems) are considered to prevent businesses from embracing digital opportunities, including the use of data-driven technologies and services relating to data-storage, data-transfer and analytics. Legal uncertainty and lack of trust cause additional barriers to the free flow of non-personal data.

    • Privacy International suggests improvements to the Data Protection Bill

      They include smart thinking including the non-use of automated judgement systems, and a better consideration towards its structure so that any mistakes or complaints and issues can get to the right people.

    • Finland plans personal ID number overhaul, may add biometrics

      Another reason Finland is looking at ways to change the ID system is the relatively recent development of undocumented residents living in the country. Korpisaari says that adding a biometric aspect to the IDs – like a person’s fingerprints – would assist in identifying residents who do not have a passport or other ID.

    • Facebook Lies

      In the past, I had a Facebook account. Long ago I “deleted” this account through the procedure outlined on their help pages. In theory, 14 days after I used this process my account would be irrevocably gone. This was all lies.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Reminder: In government training material, “terrorism” includes peacefully disagreeing with administration policy in public

      Governments are still using “terrorism” as a scareword to get any insane law passed – like Britain’s digital book-burning law. But with its other hand, those same governments are expanding the definition of terrorism way beyond what the public could possibly imagine: the government’s own training material says that peaceful street protests in disagreement with administration policies are examples of terrorism.

    • Inside the CIA’s black site torture room
    • The High Court deals a major blow to Amber Rudd, ruling that her ‘barbaric’ policy is unlawful

      Rudd became Home Secretary in July 2016. In September of that year, the Home Office redefined the term to refer only to torture carried out by state agents; such as the USA’s actions in the so-called war on terror that many suspect the UK was complicit in. The new definition didn’t include those tortured by traffickers or other non-government entities.

      The Home Office’s guidelines don’t allow it to detain torture survivors while it’s processing their asylum claims. But the revision essentially created a work-around that allowed the government to lock up people in detention centres who didn’t fall under that narrow definition.

    • Wall Street Journal Reporter Sentenced to Prison by Turkish Court

      A Turkish court sentenced Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak to two years and one month in prison Tuesday, declaring her guilty of engaging in terrorist propaganda in support of a banned Kurdish separatist organization through one of her Journal articles.

    • The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story Is Worse Than You Think

      But of course people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Like the New York Times, for instance. Sharon Waxman, a former reporter at the Times, writes in The Wrap how she had the story on Weinstein in 2004—and then he bullied the Times into dropping it. Matt Damon and Russell Crowe even called her directly to get her to back off the story. And Miramax was a major advertiser. Her editor at the Times, Jonathan Landman, asked her why it mattered. After all, he told Waxman, “he’s not a publicly elected official.”

    • America’s Predators Problem

      If we look a little deeper, what do we see? America’s cruel, in strange and unthinkable ways. It is something like a religious mission, a crusade, and the only object of this pilgrimage is to purify the weak with suffering. That is the reason its institutions and norms and values punish the broken, not protect them. Mercy is the truest crime of all. So the American way is to punish those who cannot stand up for themselves, and to celebrate, aggrandize, apotheosize those who can stand sneering, smirking, grinning, above everyone else.

    • Philly socialists accuse prisons of censorship

      A Philadelphia socialist group is questioning how their magazine was denied entry into a state prison over language regarding “white supremacy.”

      The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) has apologized for a letter that stated that an August 2017 issue of Worker’s World newspaper was being “denied to all inmates” due to “articles that call for people to join the fight against white supremacy.”

    • Leaked FBI Report Cites “Black Identity Extremists” as Terror Threat

      An FBI counterterrorism unit secretly identified so-called black identity extremists as a violent threat, according to a leaked document obtained by Foreign Policy magazine. In the report, dated August 2017, the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit writes, “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” Civil liberties groups warn the “black identity extremists” designation threatens the rights of protesters with Black Lives Matter and other groups, and have compared it to the FBI’s COINTELPRO program of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, which targeted the civil rights movement.

    • The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment

      While navigating professional relationships can often require that dreaded thing known as “any amount of work at all”, there is hope. You see, by following this one simple rule, you too can interact with women as people.

      It’s as clear cut as this: Treat all women like you would treat Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

      I know, this sounds weird, but trust me, this is a visualization exercise that will work wonders in your dealings with the women in your workplace. When a woman approaches you, just replace her in your mind with The Rock. Then, behave accordingly.

    • Weinstein Company Fires Harvey Weinstein over Sexual Harassment Reports

      Back in the United States, in Hollywood, the Weinstein Company fired co-founder Harvey Weinstein Sunday, just four days after The New York Times reported the movie mogul was the subject of harassment and assault accusations for decades—and that he paid off at least eight women who confronted him over the alleged humiliating and degrading harassment. Weinstein’s firing came after three members of the company’s board of directors resigned, along with two of Weinstein’s attorneys, following the report in the Times.

    • Email Prankster Apparently Fooled Both Harvey Weinstein and His Ex-Adviser Lisa Bloom

      An email prankster who has fooled a number of high-profile people in both the media and politics has apparently struck again — and this time it involves the huge Harvey Weinstein scandal.

      As reported by CNN’s Jake Tapper this afternoon, the trickster posed as Weinstein to fool his former adviser Lisa Bloom, who recently dropped out from representing Weinstein following quite a bit of criticism tossed her way. In the email exchange on Sunday, the fake Weinstein told the real Bloom that he understood why she had to leave his team. She responded by telling the prankster that she was unaware of the more serious allegations against Weinstein. When the fake Weinstein asked what those allegations were, Bloom merely said “sexual assault.”

    • Kim Dotcom sets sights on Hollywood execs as sex abuse scandals escalate
    • Proposed Bill Would Exempt Customs And Border Protection From FOIA Compliance

      To build a wall, you’ve got to break a few laws. That’s the message being sent by a new bill, which helps pave the way for the eventual construction of a border wall by exempting the CBP and US Border Patrol from a large number of federal laws.

      H.R. 3548 [PDF] would give the CBP a free pass to ignore all sorts of federal restrictions when engaging in its enforcement activities. All the things citizens can’t legally do on federal land, the CBP and Border Patrol would be allowed to. This would keep the federal government from getting in its own way in the event wall construction actually takes place, as well as keep CBP agents from worrying about polluting, killing endangered species, or violating sacred grave sites while pursuing undocumented aliens.

    • Home Office splits British man from his wife 10 months after she gives birth to their daughter

      A British man has been told his Ecuadorian wife cannot settle in the UK despite the couple having three young children, including a baby who is still breastfeeding.

      Dan Newton, 41, lived with his wife and three young children in Abu Dhabi in the UAE for nearly five years. The couple had previously lived in the UK for a year, where they had their first child.

    • Torture victims were wrongly imprisoned in UK, high court rules

      Hundreds of victims of torture have been wrongly locked up in immigration detention centres, a high court judge has ruled, following a challenge by seven survivors of serious abuse.

      Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that aspects of a Home Office policy introduced in September 2016 known as “Adults At Risk” wrongly allowed many who had been tortured overseas to be imprisoned.

    • The NFL Quietly Changed Its Obscure Rule About Standing For The National Anthem

      Having gotten all the public relations it wanted (even a hackneyed Sports Illustrated cover), NFL leadership is now back to the more familiar demeanor of reminding its players to either get in line or join the unemployment line. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Monday that any player who is “disrespectful to the flag” won’t play. The league, then, itself upped the ante by feeding this tidbit to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, which he reported before the station’s broadcast of Monday Night Football.

    • Joe Arpaio’s Infamous and Inhumane Tent City Jail Officially Shut Down

      In 1993, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio opened his infamous Tent City outdoor jail, supposedly as an answer to the problem of overcrowding in Phoenix’s jails. Tent City was a source of controversy for the entirety of its existence, and this weekend, it finally closed for good, just 10 months shy of its 25-year anniversary.

    • After her spies told Thatcher they thought an MP was raping children, she knighted him

      The UK has been rocked by a series of “historic sex scandals” in which beloved cultural and political figures — Clement Freud, Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and many others — have been revealed to have been sexual predators since the earliest days, using their money and respectability to rape children for decades with impunity. When each new horror surfaces, one of the first questions the public asks is, “Who knew about this and helped to cover it up?”

      Margaret Thatcher knew.

      Cyril Smith was an MP for Rochdale when in 1988 when Margaret Thatcher recommended that he be knighted. She had been warned by MI5 that Smith was suspected to have raped at least eight boys. After Thatcher knighted Smith, he went on raping children, because his knighthood opened doors for him, getting him inside organisations that supported vulnerable children. He died in 2010, at the age of 82, without ever facing charges.

    • Judge denies Reality Winner bail on grounds she “hates” the United States

      Federal judge Brian Epps of Augusta, Georgia has denied bail for alleged whistleblower Reality Winner in an aggressively worded ruling that claims the 25-year-old intelligence contractor “hates the United States and desires to damage national security.” Epps also cited social media comments by Winner that she”admires Edward Snowden and Julian Assange” as evidence against her bond request.

      Reality Winner faces an Espionage Act charge for allegedly passing classified material to media outlet The Intercept. The documents in question summarise the NSA’s view at the time of evidence suggesting Russia’s military intelligence attempted to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

    • Black man beaten by Charlottesville Nazis has been charged with assault

      DeAndre Harris is a 20 year old black man who was subjected to a vicious armed beat-down by Nazis who marched in Charlottesville on August 12. Two of the men who beat him have been charged with “malicious wounding” and are being held without bail; two others have not been arrested yet.

      One of the men who beat Harris tried to get the Charlottesville police to arrest Harris as well. When the Charlottesville police declined, the Nazi found a sympathetic magistrate judge (the clowns of the US judicial system) to issue a warrant for Harris’s arrest.

    • Jefferson Parish jail touts new video visitation program, but ban on in-person visits concerns inmate advocates

      Inmates at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna will no longer be able to receive in-person visits from relatives and friends beginning Oct. 10, when the facility will begin a “video visitation” program similar to one put in place at New Orleans’ lockup a couple of years ago.

      Newly installed Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said Wednesday that one major benefit of eliminating in-person visits at the jail is ending the possibility of visitors giving contraband to inmates.

      But some lawyers who work with people accused of crimes countered that face-to-face visitation makes it easier for inmates to rejoin their loved ones’ lives after their release, and a video-only model complicates that.

      It is becoming more common for correctional facilities across the country to use video technology similar to Skype to let inmates communicate with loved ones, though it is less common for jails to do away with all in-person visits as a result.

    • Donald Trump Can Destroy Records Without Judicial Review, Justice Department Tells Court

      It’s a question that pops up pretty much every time that Donald Trump deletes a tweet: Is he violating the Presidential Records Act?

      In a court filing Friday, not only do attorneys at the Justice Department say that courts can’t review this, but they also argue that when it comes to laws pertaining to government record-keeping, judicial review would be inappropriate even if Trump deleted secret recordings with administration officials or even if his staff purged phone records because they expected to be subpoenaed in connection with various investigations.

      The arguments come in response to a lawsuit from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C.

      In a complaint filed in June, the watchdog group cited the Presidential Records Act and challenged the way Trump and staffers “seek to evade transparency and government accountability” by the alleged use of certain communications practices and by a consolidation of power that allegedly results in records being shielded from other disclosure laws like the Freedom of Information Act. In particular, CREW nodded to news reports that White House staffers were using Signal to send encrypted, disappearing messages as well as resorting to the secret chat app Confide to duck any record preservation. Also mentioning Trump’s famous tweet implying a taped conversation with former FBI Director James Comey and the president’s repeated deletion of social media messages, the plaintiff is asking for injunctive relief compelling Trump and his staff to comply with duties under the Presidential Records Act.

    • New Yorkers Call for Indigenous Peoples’ Day & Removal of Columbus Statue

      More than 50 U.S. cities celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday in place of the federal holiday honoring Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who massacred and enslaved Arawak indigenous people while opening the door to the European colonization of the Americas. In New York City, protesters rallied at a 115-year-old statue of Christopher Columbus near Central Park, calling for its removal and for the city to make the second Monday of each October Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The protest came as the New York Police Department ringed the statue in metal barricades and said it was providing round-the-clock surveillance of the monument. Democracy Now! was there to speak with demonstrators. Special thanks to producer Andre Lewis.

    • New Report Alleges Harvey Weinstein Raped Three Women

      Intensifying the growing outrage aimed at Harvey Weinstein, a feature-length report published by The New Yorker on Tuesday includes accusations by three women who say the famous and politically powerful Hollywood producer “raped them.”

      Detailed in the article—written by Ronan Farrow and entitled “From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories“—are the allegations that “include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex” on his victims.

      While a spokesperson for Weinstein released a statement to The New Yorker saying that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied,” Farrow reports that while rumors of the producer’s behavior circulated for years in Hollywood, “[t]oo few women were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories.”

    • From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories

      Since the establishment of the first studios a century ago, there have been few movie executives as dominant, or as domineering, as Harvey Weinstein. As the co-founder of the production-and-distribution companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company, he helped to reinvent the model for independent films, with movies such as “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “The English Patient,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Crying Game,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The King’s Speech.” Beyond Hollywood, he has exercised his influence as a prolific fund-raiser for Democratic Party candidates, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Weinstein combined a keen eye for promising scripts, directors, and actors with a bullying, even threatening, style of doing business, inspiring both fear and gratitude. His movies have earned more than three hundred Oscar nominations, and, at the annual awards ceremonies, he has been thanked more than almost anyone else in movie history, just after Steven Spielberg and right before God.

      For more than twenty years, Weinstein has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault. This has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence. Too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories. Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director, told me that she did not speak out until now—Weinstein, she told me, forcibly performed oral sex on her—because she feared that Weinstein would “crush” her. “I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento said. “That’s why this story—in my case, it’s twenty years old; some of them are older—has never come out.”

    • Harvey Weinstein Tries Every Possible Response To Explosive NY Times Story

      Last week, the Hollywood Reporter broke the story that famed Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (formerly of Miramax and more recently of the Weinstein Company — from which he was fired over the weekend, despite practically begging for his friends to support him) had seriously lawyered up, hiring three high profile lawyers: David Boies, Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder to deal with two apparent stories that were in the works — one from the NY Times and another from the New Yorker (two publications not known for backing down from threats) — about some fairly horrible alleged behavior by Weinstein towards young female actresses, employees and more.

      A day later, the NY Times published its article about Harvey Weinstein and, damn, it’s quite an article. It details multiple cases of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein against both employees and hopeful actresses — and includes claims of Weinstein having to pay off some of those individuals. The article was not based on a single source, but many sources, including one actress (Ashley Judd) willing to put her name behind the accusations (and just as we were completing this post, the New Yorker published its piece which appears to be more detailed and more damning, with more names and even more horrifying stories about Weinstein). And with the NY Times’ publication, much of the “legal team” leaped into action. Of course, if you’re not familiar with the three lawyers named above, it may help to do a quick review, before we dig in on the myriad (often contradictory) responses we’ve now seen from Weinstein and his legal team over the past few days.

    • Smashing White Supremacy, Building for Black Freedom

      Just 10 short months ago, kneeling in protest to the white national anthem, unapologetic blackness, raised fists, unruly afros, defiantly colored braids and hope that danced in the eyes of shiny brown children were becoming the norm. Players knelt in solidarity with Kaepernick’s sideline protests, stepping into what it means to be a “field Negro,” in the Malcolm X sense of the term.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Advertised broadband speeds should actually be realistic, UK tells ISPs

      The United Kingdom’s telecom regulator, Ofcom, wants to strengthen an industry code that lets Internet customers exit contracts without penalty when broadband providers fall short of their advertised speeds.

      Ofcom’s proposed changes would also improve the accuracy of speed information provided to customers before they sign up for broadband. Ofcom intends to add the new guidelines to its existing codes of practice for residential and business broadband speeds, which already “commit Internet companies who have signed up to them to give customers an estimated range of speeds they are likely to receive, as well as the right to exit their contracts penalty-free if their speed falls below a minimum level.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Roku Shows FBI Warning to Pirate Channel Users

        The popular media player Roku is flashing an FBI anti-piracy warning to users of “pirate” channels, including XTV. After been shown the FBI’s well known anti-piracy seal, users are informed that unauthorized copying is punishable under federal law and that the associated channel was removed.


Links 9/10/2017: SDDM v0.16.0, New Linux RC4, fwupd 1.0.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • City of Rome is getting ready for open source

      The city of Rome (Italy) is taking well-orchestrated steps to increase its use of free and open source software, aiming to reduce lock-in to IT vendors. A key change is an overhaul of the way IT solutions and support services are contracted; in all future contracts, Rome will require IT service providers to help the city switch to alternatives to proprietary software.

      This means change is coming soon. Many of the current IT contracts will need to be renewed next year, and by 2020 all current contracts will have been renewed, says Cecilia Colasanti, who works for Rome’s city councillor for Digital Innovation.


      In 2018, Rome will run a pilot to test the use of workstations running Linux. Some of the IT support staff already have much experience with Linux servers and workstations, which should help resolve possible issues with network drives, shared folders and peripherals such as printers.

      Rome’s IT department is supporting the city council’s wish to get rid of IT vendor lock-in, says Ms Colasanti, “We are working together closely, for without their support, change won’t happen.”

      Commencement of the switch to open source was announced by the city in early September. “Currently, about one-third of our IT spending is distributed among just six IT vendors, some of which have been operating within the administration for more than three decades”, the announcement quotes Councillor Flavia Marzano as saying. “Our choice to implement free software intends to end the oligarchy in this industry.”

      Rome’s city council decided to switch to open source in October 2016.

  • Server

    • Reasons Kubernetes is cool

      When I first learned about Kubernetes (a year and a half ago?) I really didn’t understand why I should care about it.

      I’ve been working full time with Kubernetes for 3 months or so and now have some thoughts about why I think it’s useful. (I’m still very far from being a Kubernetes expert!) Hopefully this will help a little in your journey to understand what even is going on with Kubernetes!

      I will try to explain some reason I think Kubenetes is interesting without using the words “cloud native”, “orchestration”, “container”, or any Kubernetes-specific terminology :). I’m going to explain this mostly from the perspective of a kubernetes operator / infrastructure engineer, since my job right now is to set up Kubernetes and make it work well.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • 10 layers of Linux container security

      Containers provide an easy way to package applications and deliver them seamlessly from development to test to production. This helps ensure consistency across a variety of environments, including physical servers, virtual machines (VMs), or private or public clouds. These benefits are leading organizations to rapidly adopt containers in order to easily develop and manage the applications that add business value.

    • Linux 4.14-rc4

      Another week, another -rc.

      This release does seem to continue to be more active in the rc’s than
      usual, but it actually feels like it’s calming down. So rc4 is larger
      than an rc4 release usually is (about 400 non-merge commits, when
      usually at this stage we should be at ~300), but at the same time it
      feels fairly normal. There was the watchdog merge that I already
      mentioned in the rc3 release, but other than that it looks much more
      like a normal rc than rc3 did, for example.

      In particular, ignoring that core watchdog thing, it’s the usual
      “mostly drivers and arch updates”. This time most of the arch updates
      (by far) are arm, and the driver5s are dominated by networking, but
      there’s other stuff in there too (USB, MMC, HID..). And then the usual
      random stuff elsewhere.

    • Linux 4.14-rc4 Arrives With This LTS Cycle Still Being Very Busy
    • What the data says about how Linux kernel developers collaborate

      When I worked in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel, we had quite a few kernel developers on the team, and I was always interested in how they worked so closely with people from a wide variety of companies, including our competitors.

      One of the interesting things about the Linux kernel is that the vast majority of people who contribute to it are employed by companies to do this work; however, most of the academic research on open source software assumes that participants are volunteers, contributing because of some personal need or altruistic motivation. Although this is true for some projects, this assumption just isn’t valid for projects like the Linux kernel. To learn more, I interviewed 16 kernel developers to talk about how people work together in the kernel.

    • AMD Packs In More AMDGPU Features For Linux 4.15

      The Linux 4.15 kernel is looking to be a very exciting update for AMDGPU DRM driver users.

      AMDGPU for Linux 4.15 is already very exciting as it should finally have the DC display code and enabled by default for RX Vega users. On top of that there’s also been other AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager work including an increased fragment size and a variety of other changes.

    • 2018 will be the year of the RISC V Linux processors

      Linux fanboys tend to announce a lot of “year of” events. There is the year of the desktop which appears to be every year and still never happens and now there is the year of RISC V Linux processor.

    • Linux Gets Its First Multi-Core, RISC-V Based Open Source Processor

      Last year, Silicon Valley Startup SiFive released the first open source SoC (system on a chip), which was named Freeform Everywhere 310. Now, going one step ahead from the embedded systems, the company has released U54-MC Coreplex IP, which is the world’s first RISC-V based 64-bit quad-core CPU that supports fully featured operating systems like Linux.

      Before telling you about the new U54-MC, let me introduce you to the basics of RISC-V CPUs. The traditional Complex Instruction Set Computing (CISC) and Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) do justice to their names and focus on the difficulty level of instructions as well as optimizations.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS Expected to Arrive Early Next Month, RC4 Ready for Testing

      A day later than expected, the fourth RC (Release Candidate) build of the upcoming Linux 4.14 LTS kernel series has been announced earlier today by Linus Torvalds, who gives us an insight into the development cycle.

      According to Linus Torvalds, things are starting calming down for the development cycle of Linux kernel 4.14, which will be the next long-term support (LTS) release, and while today’s RC4 milestone is bigger than a Release Candidate should be at this stage, it’s still fairly normal, with the exception of a large watchdog merge.

      “In particular, ignoring that core watchdog thing, it’s the usual “mostly drivers and Arch updates”. This time most of the arch updates (by far) are ARM, and the drivers are dominated by networking, but there’s other stuff in there too (USB, MMC, HID..). And then the usual random stuff elsewhere,” said Linus Torvalds in the mailing list announcement.

    • Linux Foundation Adds 15 New Silver Members

      99Cloud: The largest OpenStack community in China and China’s largest professional OpenStack training institution.

      AIG Technologies: A developer and manufacturer of personal care, cosmetic, OTC (over-the-counter) and pharmaceutical topical drug products.

      Aqua Security: Security company focused on container-based applications from development to production.

      Dynamic Coin: An open sourced, fully decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) currency.

      Dynatrace: A digital performance management provider offering AI-powered, full stack, automated monitoring.

      Fiberhome Technologies Group: A leading equipment vendor and global solution provider the field of information technology and telecommunications.

      GameCredits: A universal currency and virtual wallet for 2.6 billion gamers worldwide.

      Gigaspaces: Provides a leading in-memory computing platform for fast data analytics and extreme transaction processing.

      Huizhou Desay SV Automotive: Research, development and manufacturing of in-vehicle infotainment systems, climate control, driver information display systems, automotive display modules/systems, body control modules and advanced driver assistance systems.

      iconectiv: Provides solutions for the interconnection of networks, devices, and applications.

      LogDNA: A cloud-based log management system that allows engineering and DevOps to aggregate all system and application logs into a single platform.

      NGINX: A web server that is also used as a reverse proxy, load balancer and HTTP cache.

      Openet: A company that provides software solutions and consulting services primarily to telecoms.

      The Patientory Foundation: Promotes and develops new technologies and applications, especially in the fields of new open and decentralized software architectures.

      Trend Micro: is a leader in hybrid cloud, endpoint, and network security solutions.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Mining Ethereum With AMD Threadrippers Paired With Four RX Vega 64 GPUs

        If you do not have time to read the full article here the short version in one sentence: No, it is not practical to run Ethereum on AMD Vega 64 graphics cards on Linux because the ROCm OpenCL stack in the AMDGPU-PRO 17.30 is very slow in Ethereum so the whole system with four Vega64 cards make 16-23Mh/s and even a single old AMD-RX470 with the old Closed-source OpenCL AMDGPU-PRO stack run ~20+ Mh/s… This all could be the effect of the exponential function Ethereum-ICE-AGE Bomb…

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.10 Beta Released

        I am pleased to announce that Qt 5.10 Beta 1 is now released. Convenient online binary installers are available for trying out features coming in Qt 5.10. We will follow similar Beta process as with Qt 5.9 and provide multiple Beta releases via the online installer.

      • Qt 5.10 Beta Released

        Qt 5.10 Alpha had arrived last month as two weeks late while The Qt Company has managed to tighten things up and deliver Qt 5.10 Beta now less than one week later than originally scheduled.

      • KMyMoney’s WebConnect

        Recently, I opened a new online account at a new institution. Unfortunately, they do not provide a direct online access using a protocol such as HBCI or OFX which are already integrated into KMyMoney, but only a web frontend. So what, I thought, I won’t use it on a daily basis and can probably live with manually entering the transactions into the ledger.

      • QupZilla 2.2 Released As The Browser’s Last

        QupZilla 2.2 has been released as the last feature release for this open-source web-browser project prior to its re-branding initiative under the KDE umbrella as the Falkon project.

      • QupZilla 2.2.0 released!

        Final release of QupZilla is now available!

        As already stated, QupZilla will now get only bugfix releases and next major release will be under the Falkon name.

      • KMail User Survey Results, Part 1

        Back in August, we ran a survey to get input from our users and get a better understanding of how they use KMail. First, let me start by thanking everyone who took their time to fill in the survey. We collected over 3000 responses which is much more than we expected. Thank you very much! We got some interesting numbers and data from the survey, which I’ll analyze later, but to my big surprise, the most interesting part was the comments that many of you left at the end of the survey. We got over 1000 comments which provided us with a consistent feedback from the userbase. In this and the next blog posts, I want to address the common themes, complaints, and remarks that appeared in the comments, address the concerns raised and present some action plans that we are going to take to address those.

      • KTextEditorPreviewPlugin 0.2.0

        The KTextEditorPreviewPlugin software provides the KTextEditor Document Preview Plugin, a plugin for the editor Kate, the IDE KDevelop, or other software using the KTextEditor framework.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • KaOS 2017.09

        KaOS is a rolling release distribution built from scratch. It’s stated aim is “to create the highest quality distribution possible”. For that, it uses the Linux kernel, the KDE Plasma desktop and Arch’s Pacman package manager. Interestingly, the project’s website states that they are hoping to one day replace the Linux kernel with the Illumos kernel.

      • BunsenLabs Linux Deuterium review – Too much work

        Debian base, kernel 3.X, a desktop and some apps. That’s pretty much that. This is true in 90% of the cases, and the distinguishing factor is tiny, if any. But I’d like to believe there should be more, so that I can feel like I’m not just repeating same old stuff over and over without any real benefit or unique advantage. BunsenLabs Deuterium gives us a lightweight setup, it truly is that, but on any moderately decent hardware, the advantage goes away, and in its place, you get the horrible ergonomics of Openbox, which is simply not suited for any reasonable, modern work.

        Hardware support is mediocre, the installation process is quirky, it’s very hard to customize the desktop, network support is average, and in the end, you need to invest energy to achieve something you get out of the box with any other desktop environment. There’s really no justifiable reason for that. Perhaps Deuterium will appeal to a small base of users, who want the flexibility and simplicity of Openbox, but for the vast majority of people, it’s a hassle.

        So much in fact that I gave up. There wasn’t anything cardinally wrong with the distro. But it’s like walking into a store, seeing something, and then you move on, because there was no magic. Something like 2/10. Well, maybe next time. Or perhaps a different desktop environment.

    • New Releases

      • Chakra 2017.10 “Goedel” released

        We are excited to announce the second Chakra release of 2017, which you can download now via torrent or https.

      • Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.10 “Goedel” Released with KDE Plasma 5.10.5, Linux 4.12.4

        If you’re planning on trying out the Chakra GNU/Linux distribution, which is originally based on Arch Linux and built around the KDE desktop environment, you should know that there’s a new installation image available to download.

        Dubbed “Goedel” after the philosopher, mathematician, and logician Kurt Goedel, Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.10 was launched this past weekend as the most recent ISO image or installation medium of the Linux distro, packed full of updated technologies and core components for those who want to deploy the OS on new computers.

      • 4MParted 23.0 Disk Partitioning Live OS Enters Beta Based on Latest GParted Tool

        After he released last week the third minor maintenance update for the stable 4MLinux 22.0 operating system series, developer Zbigniew Konojacki‏ today informed us on the availability of a Beta version of his upcoming 4MParted 23.0 disk partitioning live system.

        Based on the forthcoming 4MLinux 23.0 operating system series, 4MParted 23.0 Beta is using the latest Gparted 0.29.0 open-source and free disk partitioning tool at its core, giving users an independent live system for all sorts of disk partitioning tasks, supporting numerous filesystems.

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 “Stretch” Live & Installable ISOs Now Available to Download

        As expected, the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 “Stretch” maintenance update is now available to download from the official mirrors as installable and live ISOs for those who want to deploy the Linux OS on new PCs.

        Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 is the second point release of the Debian Stretch operating system series, coming two and a half months after the first maintenance update. As initially reported, it brings more than 150 security and bug fixes combined, offering users an up-to-date installation medium.

      • Debian 9.2 ‘Stretch’ Linux-based operating system is here — download the distro now

        Debian is one of the most important Linux-based operating systems. It is a great distribution in its own right, but it is also the foundation of many other distros. For instance, Ubuntu is largely based on Debian, and then many operating systems are based on Ubuntu. If you were to look at a Linux “family tree,” many roads would lead back to the wonderful Debian.

        The most recent version of Debian is 9.x, code-named “Stretch”. The second point release for the operating system, version 9.2, is now available. There are many bug fixes — plus significant security patches — so despite being a point release, it is still very important.

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 “Stretch” Released With Tons Of Fixes
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is the rise of open source connected to a decline in selfishness?

    In an age of political animus, increasing hostility toward “others,” and 24/7 media coverage that seems to focus on the negative, a recent article in Frontiers in Psychology provides a glimmer of hope, particularly for those who live in the United States.

    Written by Yale University academic Gabriel Grant, “Exploring the Possibility of Peak Individualism, Humanity’s Existential Crisis, and an Emerging Age of Purpose” aims to clear up two competing views of today’s cultural narrative in the United States. First is the traditional view of the next generation—millennials—whom many view as individualistic, materialistic, and narcissistic. Some even refer to millennials as “Gen Me” in response to those who develop their “personal brand” with selfies and social media posts.

  • A step change in managing your calendar, without social media

    Have you been to an event recently involving free software or a related topic? How did you find it? Are you organizing an event and don’t want to fall into the trap of using Facebook or Meetup or other services that compete for a share of your community’s attention?

    Are you keen to find events in foreign destinations related to your interest areas to coincide with other travel intentions?

    Have you been concerned when your GSoC or Outreachy interns lost a week of their project going through the bureaucracy to get a visa for your community’s event? Would you like to make it easier for them to find the best events in the countries that welcome and respect visitors?

    In many recent discussions about free software activism, people have struggled to break out of the illusion that social media is the way to cultivate new contacts. Wouldn’t it be great to make more meaningful contacts by attending more a more diverse range of events rather than losing time on social media?

  • Three Steps to Gaining Influence in an Open Source Project as a New Enterprise Contributor

    When The Linux Foundation started OpenDaylight, our first networking project, nobody that I was working with had ever done open source before. Four years later there has been a significant shift in the entire networking industry. And we’re watching this transformation happen from one industry to the next.

    In those four years, I’ve also witnessed many large organizations with significant engineering investments blunder their way into open source. For example, they might just fly in and drop 20,000 awesome lines of code into a project and then get upset that nobody actually picked it up.

  • OpenDaylight sets focus on accelerating time to market for Nitrogen, Oxygen open source initiatives

    As OpenDaylight gears up for its ODL-Developer focused event to introduce ideas and planning activities during the Oxygen development cycle, a key focus of the group is to accelerate the time it takes to release new projects into the open source community.

    The organization has continued to move quickly on new projects like its latest release of Nitrogen and upcoming ones like Oxygen.

  • How CBC Radio Canada wants to create open-source SMPTE 2110 software

    Many of the people who journeyed to IBC to affirm their plans for moving to IP will have been at the EBU’s open source event to extend their ambitions once they had caught wind of CBC Radio Canada’s plan to create an open source solution for the integration of the SMPTE ST 2110 interface.


    “We strongly believe in true open standards and interoperability between multiple vendors. In production, separate multicast streams for video and audio are a must. We also believe that the pace of innovation of Ethernet technologies is such that compression is not required for most of our real-time production requirements,” said Legrand. “Our first objective was to help TR03/ST2110 became the de facto standard by providing the market with an OSS implementation. We chose FFmpeg because it’s an open source media pipeline used in a large number of consumer and professional media products.”

  • Free Software Efforts (2017W40)

    In this week I have looked at censorship in Catalonia and had my “deleted” Facebook account hacked (which made HN front page). I’ve also been thinking about DRM on the web.

  • The EME Debacle: A Moodler’s Perspective. Open Source News Roundup

    Last September, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), representing “major organizations such as Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Mozilla, Apple, [and] Adobe,” published specifications for Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) and recommended its adoption as a modern web standard. According to the Consortium, EME will allow playback and streaming of encrypted media content. Among EME features, there are content protection mechanisms, encryption/decryption modules, the concept of “licensing servers,” and distribution packaging services for EME-compatible content. While EME serves many purposes, it clearly supports Digital Rights Management (DRM) practices that bind reproduction of media to a client or user with the proper key or license.


    In Moodle, an active movement of openness in technology and educational resources seems to protect us from any negative consequences of this predicament, at least for the time being. Just like when commercial LMS started to appear after Moodle, competitive open source solutions continued to thrive and do to this day. Still, no purely economic argument for openness exists that is fully convincing. Until more satisfying evidence appears, it’s best to assume that the existence of technologies like Moodle relies on ideology and values –even at the risk of looking paranoid– rather than strictly financial sense, for open source’s own sake.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • The most important Firefox command line options

        The Firefox web browser supports a number of command line options that it can be run with to customize startup of the web browser.

        You may have come upon some of them in the past, for instance the command -P “profile name” to start the browser with the specified profile, or -private to start a new private browsing session.

        The following guide lists important command line options for Firefox. It is not a complete list of all available options, as many are used only for specific purposes that have little to no value to users of the browser.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL says SCRAM to MD5 authentication

      release of PostgreSQL 10, the open source database’s developers are farewelling the deprecated MD5 in their authentication mechanism.

      Released late last week, PostgreSQL 10 instead uses an SHA-256 implementation of the Salted Challenge-Response Authentication Mechanism (SCRAM-SHA-256, described in RFC7677).

      The database has also gained the ability to distribute workloads across multiple nodes.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Collabora Online 2.1.4 released

      Collabora Productivity, the driving force behind putting LibreOffice in the Cloud, is excited to announce a new release of its flagship enterprise-ready cloud document suite – Collabora Online 2.1.4, with new features and multiple improvements.

      The Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) has been updated to version 2.1.4 as well.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • gnURL 7.56.0 released

      Merges from cURL 7.56.0 upstream release and some gnURL specific fixes.
      For more info you can read the git log or the generated CHANGELOG file (only present in the tarball).

  • Programming/Development

    • GitLab raises $20M Series C round led by GV
    • GitLab raises $20 Million Series C Round Led by GV to Complete DevOps
    • GitLab raises $20 million in funding to create DevOps software, tools
    • Why I still choose Ruby

      So putting the performance aspect of these environments aside we need to look at the syntactic nature of these languages as well as the features and tools they offer for developers. The last is the easiest to tackle as these days most notable languages come with compilers/interpreters, debuggers, task systems, test suites, documentation engines, and much more. This was not always the case though as Ruby was one of the first languages that pioneered builtin package management through rubygems, and integrated dependency solutions via gemspecs, bundler, etc. CPAN and a few other language-specific online repositories existed before, but with Ruby you got integration that was a core part of the runtime environment and community support. Ruby is still known to be on the leading front of integrated and end-to-end solutions.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenDocument Format Plugfest and test site

      We will be checking how well ODF supported in different software packages. Anyone can participate on-line, because we have built a website to do this testing.

      In this blog, I will explain what this website does so you can participate. The first twenty people that participate on-line tomorrow will receive a ‘thank you’ postcard.


  • Science

    • A Program from a 35 Year Old Magazine for “BASIC Month” and a Chat with Its Author
    • Universities must rediscover the passion for knowledge

      It’s up to universities to produce well-rounded students, but when courses are forced upon students, they end up doing the opposite. In the US, as it is everywhere, there are more and more students who go to university without a clue of what they want to do with their life. After graduation, many more end up in jobs that have nothing to do with their degree. When they start university, they are forced to sit through a series of subjects they have no interest in because it is said this will help guide them into their career. But these compulsory general-education courses have become pure academic profit-seeking. Instead of swaying students into a career path, they have led to increased apathy and confusion among students.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Galveston’s BioLab Amid Global Warming

      Ken Kramer grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in Houston. As a child he spent a lot of time on Galveston, an island about 50 miles away in the Gulf of Mexico. Kramer experienced Hurricane Carla in 1961 with gusts of 175 mph and a storm surge of 22 feet. It destroyed 120 buildings on Galveston, though the eye was 120 miles away. He also studied the 1900 storm that devastated the island. The Great Hurricane of Galveston is still the worst humanitarian, natural disaster in U.S. history. Somewhere between 8,000 and 12,000 people were killed.

    • Trump’s Hurt Feelings over Puerto Rico

      The federal response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico has come under harsh criticism, including President Trump’s delay in even recognizing the extent of the catastrophe and then his foisting blame on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto, who literally has been waist-deep in working against the flood.

  • Security

    • Forget stealing data — these hackers broke into Amazon’s cloud to mine bitcoin

      A report from the security intelligence group RedLock found at least two companies which had their AWS cloud services compromised by hackers [sic] who wanted nothing more than to use the computer power to mine the cryptocurrency bitcoin. The hackers [sic] ultimately got access to Amazon’s cloud servers after discovering that their administration consoles weren’t password protected.

    • Disqus discovers hack [sic] of 17.5m user details after five years

      The biggest Web comment hosting service Disqus was breached in 2012 but the company only knew of it last week, according to an announcement made on Friday.

    • A Mysterious Virus Has Infiltrated America’s Drone Program

      There’s something deeply wrong at Creech Air Force Base, the notorious home of America’s drone program, where pilots remotely order US Reaper and Predator drones to unleash destructive missile strikes on unsuspecting villagers in Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other war zones.

      Less than a week after the Department of Homeland Security advised all federal agencies using anti-virus software created by Kaspersky Labs to remove the programs from their systems immediately, Ars Technica reports that two weeks ago the Defense Information Systems Agency detected mysterious spyware embedded in the drone “cockpits” – the control stations that pilots use to control the deadly machines.

    • CyberShaolin: Teaching the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Experts

      Reuben Paul is not the only kid who plays video games, but his fascination with games and computers set him on a unique journey of curiosity that led to an early interest in cybersecurity education and advocacy and the creation of CyberShaolin, an organization that helps children understand the threat of cyberattacks. Paul, who is now 11 years old, will present a keynote talk at Open Source Summit in Prague, sharing his experiences and highlighting insecurities in toys, devices, and other technologies in daily use.

    • [Open Source Security Podcast] Episode 65 – Will aliens overthrow us before AI?
  • Defence/Aggression

    • UK trade department draws half its secondees from arms industry

      Half of the private sector employees seconded to the Department for International Trade have strong links to the defence industry, according to new figures.

      The revelation has drawn accusations that Liam Fox’s department, which promotes Britain’s commercial exports, is “shamelessly cosy” with arms traders and ignoring other industries.

      The department said its secondees from the private sector provided “valuable business insight and experience”.

    • War, Rumours Of War, And Stupidity

      This is a very dangerous game as NK has some nukes that will be used or lost, hordes of artillery, infantry and armour that will be used if hostilities break out. Indeed, if Kim decides Trump will attack, Kim may well decide to attack first with artillery including rockets and nukes against the South. Hundreds of thousands could die in the first day. USA does not have the manpower and neither does the South to hold back Kim’s hordes so tactical nukes are almost certain to be used. If USA applies air-power over the North, Russia and China may attack and a royal mess will happen including four sources of tactical nukes. The Korean war may be fought over the last cinder behind which a Korean is hiding.

      Checks and balances are not working in USA. Congress is powerless to impeach Trump until stuff really hits the fan.

    • America’s Long History of Warfare

      Often this is aimed at controlling foreign resources, thus forcing upon others the consequences of their own capitalist avarice. At other times the violence is spurred on by an ideology that confuses U.S. interests with civilization and freedom. Only very rarely is Washington out there on the side of the angels. Regardless, the bottom line seems to be that peace has never been a deeply ingrained cultural value for the citizens of the United States. As pertains to foreign policy, America’s national culture is a war culture.

      It is against this historical backdrop that the recent Ken Burns 18-hour-long documentary on the Vietnam War comes off as superficial. There is a subtle suggestion that while those American leaders who initiated and escalated the war were certainly deceptive, murderously stubborn and even self-deluded, they were so in what they considered to be a good cause. They wanted to stop the spread of Communism at a time when the Cold War defined almost all of foreign policy, and if that meant denying the Vietnamese the right of national unification, so be it. The Burns documentary is a visual demonstration of the fact that such a strategy could not work. Nonetheless, American leaders, both civilian and military, could not let go.

      What the Burns documentary does not tell us – and it is this that makes the work superficial – is that none of this was new. Almost all preceding American violence abroad had been rationalized by the same or related set of excuses that kept the Vietnam slaughter going: the Revolutionary War was about “liberty,” the genocidal wars against the Native Americans were about spreading “civilization,” the wars against Mexico and Spain were about spreading “freedom,” and once capitalism became officially synonymous with freedom, the dozens of bloody incursions into Central and South America also became about our “right” to carry on “free enterprise.” As time went by, when Washington wasn’t spreading “freedom,” it was defending it. And so it goes, round and round.

    • At Bannon’s Behest, Blackwater Founder and War-Profiteer Erik Prince Mulling Senate Run

      Encouraged by former White House chief strategist and current executive chairman of Breitbart Steve Bannon, Blackwater founder and “notorious mercenary” Erik Prince is reportedly considering a 2018 Senate run in Wyoming against incumbent Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

      Prince’s plan was first reported by the New York Times on Sunday. Though Prince has few personal or political ties to Wyoming, the Times notes that the state is “attractive” to him “because it has none of the personal political entanglements he would face in his home state of Michigan.”

    • Iranian President: ‘Entire World Will Condemn America’ if Trump Kills Nuclear Deal

      “We have achieved benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump, nor 10 other Trumps,” Rouhani said in an address to students at Tehran University. “If the United States violates [the nuclear deal], the entire world will condemn America, not Iran.”

      Right-wing hawks within and outside of the Trump administration have for months urged the president to scrap the accord, which he repeatedly slammed on the campaign trail.

      Critics have argued that withdrawing from the deal would represent an embrace of “war over peace.”

    • Iran warns U.S. against imposing further sanctions

      Iran warned the United States against designating its Revolutionary Guards Corp as a terrorist group and said U.S. regional military bases would be at risk if further sanctions were passed.

      The warning came after the White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump would announce new U.S. responses to Iran’s missile tests, support for “terrorism” and cyber operations as part of his new Iran strategy.

    • “Sonic Attacks” in Cuba: Who Benefits?

      Consider this. The United States government doesn’t know who’s responsible for the so-called acoustic attacks on its embassy personnel in Havana. Then consider this. Cuban president Raúl Castro didn’t simply claim his government had nothing to do with the incidents, he did the unthinkable and invited the FBI to investigate. FBI agents haven’t been able to figure it out. Neither have American acoustics specialists or medical experts. Even Canada’s Mounties, whose own diplomats reported similar attacks, are stymied.

    • Trump Threatens War on North Korea, Saying, “Only One Thing Will Work!”

      The president’s spat with Sen. Corker came as Trump repeated threats of war against North Korea throughout the weekend, tweeting, “Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!” In brief comments to reporters Saturday, Trump was asked to clarify that remark—as well as a cryptic comment he made last week during a meeting with top generals in which he warned about about the “calm before the storm.”

    • How I Never Learned to Stop Worrying and Always Hated the Bomb

      In 2012, at a local chapter meeting of a national veterans group soon after the article “The Legacy of the Nuclear Freeze Movement” appeared at CounterPunch, the chapter head of the organization criticized me for downplaying the ongoing threat to world peace that nuclear weapons posed. The major premise of the piece was that the Nuclear Freeze Movement of the early 1980s was only a marginally effective campaign against nuclear weapons and their proliferation. In 2012, it seemed to me that the threat of their use was not high on the list of a cause for action. By then, the peace movement was so weak that the threat of nuclear war was not high on the list of those who still were antiwar protesters.

      Fast-forward to Donald Trump’s meeting on October 5, 2017 with military leaders. Speaking to reporters, Trump said, “This is the calm before the storm.” When questioned about what he meant by that statement, Trump’s retort was “You’ll see.” (“In meeting with military, Trump talks of ‘calm before the storm,’” Reuters, October 5, 2017).

    • What America Taught the Nazis

      There was no more extravagant site for Third Reich political theater than the spectacular parade grounds, two large stadiums, and congress hall in Nuremberg, a project masterminded by Albert Speer. From 1933 to 1938, he choreographed massive rallies associated with the annual conference of the Nazi Party, assemblies made famous by Leni Riefenstahl’s stunning documentaries of 1933 and 1935, The Victory of Faith and Triumph of the Will. Nuremberg was the setting for the September 1935 “Party Rally of Freedom,” at which a special session of the Reichstag passed, by acclamation, legislation that disqualified Jews as Reich citizens with political rights, forbade them to marry or have sex with persons identified as racial Germans, and prohibited any display by Jews of national colors or the new national flag, a banner with a swastika.

      Just eight days after the Reich Citizenship Law, the Law on the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, and the Reich Flag Law were formally proclaimed by Adolf Hitler, 45 Nazi lawyers sailed for New York under the auspices of the Association of National Socialist German Jurists. The trip was a reward for the lawyers, who had codified the Reich’s race-based legal philosophy. The announced purpose of the visit was to gain “special insight into the workings of American legal and economic life through study and lectures,” and the leader of the group was Ludwig Fischer. As the governor of the Warsaw District half a decade later, he would preside over the brutal order of the ghetto.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Sam Adams Associates – the Weirdest Club in the World

      Since 2002 a unique award ceremony has taken place annually in either the USA or Europe: the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. This year it occurred in Washington DC on 22 September and was given to veteran journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Seymour Hersh.

      Why unique? Well the group comprising the Sam Adams Associates is made up of former Western intelligence, military and diplomatic professionals, many of whom have spoken out about abuses and crimes committed by their employers. For their pains, most have lost their jobs and some have also lost their liberty.

      Laureates include US army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley (Time person of the year in 2002 and the first SAA laureate), publisher Julian Assange, UK Ambassador Craig Murray, and co-ordinator of the US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran in 2007, Dr Tom Fingar.

      The common theme that binds this disparate group together into a rather weird, wonderful and very informal global club is that they have all attempted to shine a light on the dark corners of government, to speak truth to power and expose wrongdoing and “fake news” for the greater good of humanity. It is appalling that they have to pay such a high personal price for doing this, which is why the Sam Adams Associates provides recognition and presents as its annual award – a candle stick, the “corner brightener”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Trump: Anomaly in Continuity

      If its environmental policies are not soon reversed, the Trump administration will do incalculable harm to future generations. And, as the custodian of America’s nuclear arsenal and Commander-in-Chief of what is potentially the most lethal military force in the history of the world, the harm Trump could do, and seems always on the brink of doing, to persons now living is, if anything, even more grave. So far, though, what the Donald has harmed most is the office he holds and America’s standing in the world.

    • Hurricane Nate Brings Power Outages and Flooding to Gulf Coast

      On the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Nate made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana Saturday night as a Category 1 storm, making a second landfall later that night near Biloxi, Mississippi. The storm brought power outages and flooding to parts of the region but did not result in the sorts of damage seen by this year’s far more powerful hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

    • Carbon emissions from warming soils could trigger disastrous feedback loop

      Warming soils are releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than previously thought, suggesting a potentially disastrous feedback mechanism whereby increases in global temperatures will trigger massive new carbon releases in a cycle that may be impossible to break.

      The increased production of carbon comes from the microbes within soils, according to a report in the peer-review journal Science, published on Friday.

      The 26-year study is one of the biggest of its kind, and is a groundbreaking addition to our scant knowledge of exactly how warming will affect natural systems.

  • Finance

    • How Big Corporations Game Our Democracy Into Their Plutocracy

      A major chapter in American history – rarely taught in our schools – is how ever larger corporations have moved to game, neutralize and undermine the people’s continual efforts to protect our touted democratic society. It is a fascinating story of the relentless exercise of power conceived or seized by corporations, with the strategic guidance of corporate lawyers.

      Start with their birth certificate – the state charters that bring these corporate entities into existence, with limited liability for their investors. In the early 1800s, the Massachusetts legislature chartered many of the textile manufacturing companies. These charters could be renewed on good behavior, because lawmakers then viewed charters as privileges contingent on meeting the broad interests of society.

    • Puerto Rico Needs Aid, Not an Occupation

      DONALD TRUMP couldn’t resist taking the opportunity of his visit on Tuesday to lecture the people of Puerto Rico about how grateful they should be–to him, of course–and how horrible they are for daring to suffer.

      Unbelievably–or perhaps all too believably, considering who we’re talking about–Trump declared that the island’s 3.4 million inhabitants, who are still trying to survive without basic necessities two weeks after being hit head-on by Hurricane Maria, aren’t enduring a “real catastrophe.”

    • Brexit has led to falling real wages in the UK

      The UK has not yet left the European Union and the long-term economic effects of Brexit remain unknown. However, one of the trends which has attracted attention so far is a drop in real wages for UK workers, which many economists have put down to the immediate depreciation of the pound after the referendum and a subsequent rise in the cost of imports. Simon Wren-Lewis (Oxford University) explains that the picture is more complex than this, and that UK firms are anticipating a decline in the terms of trade following Brexit by not allowing nominal wages to rise to compensate for higher import prices.

    • Your money or your morals: capitalism and fossil fuel divestment

      The fossil fuel divestment campaign has become one of the most rapidly growing divestment movements in history and has unified an impressive diversity of supporters—from liberal Californian universities to the Rockefeller’s family trust. But the contradictions between divestment and the logic of neoliberalism are enduring, and arguments between campaigners and their opponents are typically framed by questions relating to efficiency, feasibility, and the ethics of using fossil fuels.

      Such questions are certainly important to ask, but we should also look beyond them, because by doing so we can uncover the deeper ethical contradictions inherent to capitalism which shed important light on strategies for change.

      Economists and philosophers have long disputed whether capitalism’s theoretical potential to harness human self-interest for the greater good of society is a virtue or a vice. Many argue that capitalism doesn’t just harness a natural human inclination towards self-interest, but rather systematically cultivates it. Others point to the vast increases in material wealth experienced around the world over the past centuries as all the proof we need of capitalism’s superiority; in this view, debates about the morality of self-interest as the driving force of change become irrelevant.

    • An ISDS lobbyist in the EU Court of Justice?

      EU Court of Justice’s Advocate General (AG) Melchior Wathelet finds that investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) agreements between EU countries are compatible with the EU treaties. (Opinion in the Achmea v. Slovak republic, the ruling of the Court will follow later.) ISDS gives private parties access to the supranational level to challenge government decisions. The AG sees the ISDS tribunal in question as a court or tribunal common to two EU Member States.

      Unfortunately, as I will explain below, in his Opinion the AG disregards known issues and options. I will argue that if the AG wouldn’t have disregarded these issues and options, he couldn’t have reached his conclusion. Specifically, the AG disregards known issues regarding independence and impartiality of ISDS tribunals.

    • Theresa May refuses to deny receiving secret legal advice that Brexit can be stopped

      Theresa May is refusing to deny she has received secret legal advice that Brexit can be stopped if MPs vote against any exit deal she secures.

      The Prime Minister’s spokesman dodged questions about the controversy, insisting the Government does not “comment on government legal advice”.

      No 10 has been accused of suppressing advice that the Article 50 notification can be withdrawn unilaterally (if necessary), which would leave the UK in the EU on its current terms.

    • Equifax Breach Fallout: Your Salary History

      In May, KrebsOnSecurity broke a story about lax security at a payroll division of big-three credit bureau Equifax that let identity thieves access personal and financial data on an unknown number of Americans. Incredibly, this same division makes it simple to access detailed salary and employment history on a large portion of Americans using little more than someone’s Social Security number and date of birth — both data elements that were stolen in the recent breach at Equifax.

    • Green MEP urges members to back Stop Brexit position

      Molly, who is Green Party speaker on Brexit, has reaffirmed a commitment to a ratification referendum at the Party’s conference in Harrogate and has told members it is the best way to reverse the decision to leave the EU.

      In her speech to conference, Molly said:

      “I believe that the historic mistake to leave the EU can and must be reversed. It is through championing our ratification referendum and campaigning to remain in the EU in such a referendum that the people will bring an end to this damaging and dangerous chapter in our county’s history. I believe as Greens we must add our voices to the growing chorus demanding that we can – and we must – Stop Brexit!”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Spain: shall we talk?

      Independent of their views on Catalan independence, many were horrified by the police brutality and the authoritarian stance taken by the Popular Party against peaceful people who were expressing their right to express themselves through a vote. The increase in repression against peaceful protest notably since the mass mobilizations following 15-M is unfortunately not restricted to the recent and most visible manifestation in Cataluña, but has been a source of concern for human rights observers and activists mobilizing against the recent passage of the Law for the Protection of Citizen Security, more commonly known as the Gag Law (or Ley Mordaza). As if that weren’t bad enough, following the fiasco, neither side showed signs of sitting down and opening dialogue, with Catalan Parliament Carles Puigdemont threatening to carry out his original threat to unilaterally declare independence (DUI) following a favourable outcome in the referendum, despite participation of only 43% of the electoral census under conditions that do not guarantee the validity of the results (contrast with the 75% who voted in the 2015 Catalan elections) and the PP government threatening to invoke the never before used article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which authorizes the state to dissolve the powers of the autonomous community by force if necessary in the case of a threat to the general interest of Spain.

    • We wondered why Trump was behaving like he is, but now we know: it’s all about revenge

      I and many non-imbeciles have wondered before if Trump took a far more monumental decision that night than Obama’s about bin Laden. Was that the moment he resolved to become President purely to punish Obama by dismantling his legacy?

      With each week that passes, it is more certain that it was. The longer it hurtles towards wherever it’s headed, the more transparently this festering excrescence of a presidency is revealed as a monstrous revenger fantasy brought to life.

    • Why Facebook is in a hole over data mining

      It’s Mark Zuckerberg’s business model that allows Facebook to be manipulated by political activists – no wonder he’s in denial about it

    • The 6 Most Downright Evil Things Done By Huge Companies

      Being a global-scale asshole with no conscience or regard for human life isn’t technically a requirement for running a major corporation, but it sure helps. While most companies will settle for screwing lots of people in little ways across many years, others simply say “Eh, what the hell” and go full supervillain in the name of profit.

    • Greens ‘are changing the debate’, co-leader tells members

      Greens have changed the political weather on issues from fracking to austerity, co-leader Jonathan Bartley will tell the party’s conference later.
      He will count the introduction of the Living Wage and keeping climate change high up the agenda as successes of the Green Party of England and Wales.
      It “will be the most influential” party in 21st Century politics, he will add.
      The conference in Harrogate comes four months after the snap election in which the Greens saw their vote share fall.
      Like the Lib Dems, SNP and UKIP, the Greens suffered as 82% of voters backed the Conservatives or Labour.

    • Brazilians in the south asked to vote on secession

      Voters in the south of Brazil have been asked in an informal vote whether they want to be part of a new country.

      The referendum was organised a week after a similar vote in Catalonia by a secessionist movement called “The South Is My Country”.

      The movement said it set up polls in more than 1,000 municipalities across the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná.
      The group’s leader, Celso Deucher, says he hopes to gather three million votes.

    • ‘Art Of The Deal’ Author Just Tweeted The Most Chilling Trump Warning Yet

      While the tweet in itself clearly is threatening war on North Korea, Schwartz’s comments just after it, only solidifies the fact that the President is using threats and attacks on Twitter to shift the media and the nation’s attention away from his own shortcomings. Considering Schwartz’s comments, one can only guess what the President’s response may be, should Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommend an indictment of any number of his family members, or even the President himself.

    • We can no longer pretend the British press is impartial

      Finally: there’s a debate about media bias. It’s becoming an unfortunate missed opportunity, though, because so far it’s only focusing on the leftwing blogs that have emerged in the past couple of years. Whatever the failings of, say, the Canary, it only gained traction because there is a substantial body of opinion in Britain which feels marginalised, unheard, and attacked by the broader media.

      The reason for that is this. Britain’s press is not an impartial disseminator of news and information. It is, by and large, a highly sophisticated and aggressive form of political campaigning and lobbying. It uses its extensive muscle to defend our current economic order which, after all, directly benefits the rich moguls who own almost the entire British press. Whether it’s the Sun, the Telegraph, the Times, the Daily Mail or the Daily Express, that means promoting the partisan interests of the Conservative party. The press has been instrumental in upholding the political consensus established by Thatcherism: deregulation, privatisation, low taxes on the rich and weak trade unions. It has traditionally defined what is politically acceptable and palatable in Britain, and ignored, demonised and humiliated individuals and movements which challenge this consensus.

      Rather than challenging powerful interests, the press is more interested in punching down, disseminating myths and outright lies in the process: from Hillsborough to immigrants to benefit claimants. Polling shows widespread acceptance of myths on everything from the true levels of benefit fraud and teenage pregnancies to how many immigrants there actually are in Britain, and media coverage plays a critical role in spreading these dangerous misconceptions. In the first two years of the Tory-Liberal Democrat government, a coalition of disability charities reported a surge in hate crimes against disabled people, partly because of inflammatory media coverage.

    • Mike Pence pisses away $200K+ in taxpayer money at staged protest

      United States’ top toady spent over $200K of taxpayer money flying to a football game he never intended to watch. Just another demonstration that the Trump administration continues to actively try and divide the country over race.

      I do not know much about football, but the two things I’ve come to understand will happen at a San Francisco 49ers game is that a) some players will take a knee and b) the San Francisco 49ers will lose. I’ve never seen a game. If you go, you expect to see players take a knee. Pence knows this.

    • Russian operatives used Twitter and Facebook to target veterans and military personnel, study says
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Twitter shuts down Blackburn campaign announcement video

      Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign announcement ad has been blocked by Twitter over a statement the abortion rights opponent makes about the sale of fetal tissue for medical research.

      Blackburn, who is running for the seat being opened by the retirement of Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, boasts in the ad that she “stopped the sale of baby body parts.” A Twitter representative told the candidate’s vendors on Monday that the statement was “deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction:

      Twitter said the Blackburn campaign would be allowed to run the rest of the video if the flagged statement is omitted. While the decision keeps Blackburn from paying to promote the video on Twitter, it doesn’t keep it from being linked from YouTube and other platforms.

    • Pierre Omidyar: 6 ways social media has become a direct threat to democracy
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Congress must take action to protect whistleblowers from the NSA

      At the end of this year, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act is due to expire unless it is renewed by Congress. The provision is known for authorizing mass surveillance programs operated by the National Security Agency. If Congress renews the program, it should ensure strong whistleblower protections are in place to guard against abuse. Unfortunately, whistleblowers in national security and intelligence agencies today are specifically excluded from the protections applicable to employees and contractors of other federal agencies.

      Originally passed in 2008, the provision was hastily renewed in 2012 under the pressure of its looming expiration, and the doomsday predictions of government officials. “The FISA Act not only legitimated almost every thing president Bush had told me to do,” former NSA Director Michael Hayden said of the law, “but in fact gave the National Security Agency a great deal more authority to do these kind of things.”

    • The one change we need to surveillance law
    • [Old] The anonymous letters that started a decade-long stoush

      The question was absurd, and at the same time deadly serious. Australian intellectual property guru Francis Gurry was on the warpath and no stone was to be left unturned in unmasking the authors of the ugly, anonymous letters being sent to him – with copies landing on dozen of desks up and down Geneva’s diplomatic row.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Miami Beach Police Arrest Man for Making Parody Police Twitter Account
    • Let People Vote: Fighting to Restore America’s Voting Rights

      The four most common barriers to voting and how to tear them down.

      After President Obama’s election in 2008, some state legislatures responded to the increased turnout among young people and people of color by attempting to curb voting rights.

      The wave of voter suppression measures accelerated after the 2010 elections, with politicians enacting new laws that made it more difficult to register to vote and curtailed access to the ballot box. This effort got a boost from the Trump administration, which launched its own attacks on voting rights. Following President Trump’s baseless claim that 3 to 5 million people committed voter fraud during the 2016 election, the administration created the sham Pence-Kobach commission to push for restrictive voting laws.

      Voting restrictions disproportionately affect the elderly, low-income voters, young people, people with disabilities and communities of color. Many places that have imposed such restrictions also have a long and shameful history of racial discrimination. In the face of these growing attacks on constitutional rights, it is time to go on offense.

    • Why Trump Slaps Down Minority Protests

      First, when it comes to sports, Trump adores a big fat spectacle. He would have loved the Coliseum of ancient Rome. Can’t you just see him ruling over the games? Lions versus Christians or maybe one of the re-creations of a great Roman naval victory when they flooded the bottom of the arena with water and set ships ablaze, slaves giving up their lives for show business and special effects?

    • Filling Gaps Left By Trump, Nurses and Labor Unions Join Puerto Rico Relief Efforts

      As President Donald Trump continues to come under fire for failing to deliver sufficient help to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria—which killed dozens and left millions without power and running water—nurses, doctors, engineers, and other workers affiliated with various unions including National Nurses United (NNU) and the AFL-CIO have teamed up to assist with relief and recovery efforts.

    • How a network of citizen-spies foiled Nazi plots to exterminate Jews in 1930s L.A.

      On July 26, 1933, a group of Nazis held their first public rally in Los Angeles. As Jewish groups in the city debated how they should respond to Adolf Hitler’s persecution of Jews in Europe, L.A.’s Nazis, many of them German emigres, gathered at a biergarten downtown, wearing brown shirts and red, white and black armbands with swastikas.

      The Nazis belonged to a growing movement of white supremacists in L.A. that included many American brothers in hate: the Ku Klux Klan, a group of Hitler supporters known as the Silver Shirts, and a dozen like-minded organizations with vaguely patriotic names such as the American Nationalist Party, the Christian American Guard, and the National Protective Order of Gentiles.

      Some weeks ago, white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., chanted “Jews will not replace us.” Their predecessors were even less subtle: They called for “death to Jews.”

      Unwilling to wait and see if any of them would act on their threats, Leon Lewis, a Jewish lawyer and World War I veteran who had helped found the Anti-Defamation League, decided to investigate the anti-Semitic hate groups. In August 1933, mere weeks after the rally, Lewis recruited four fellow World War I veterans, plus their wives, to go undercover and join every Nazi and fascist group in the city.

    • 49ers’ Eric Reid: VP Pence leaving Colts game due to anthem protest was ‘PR stunt’

      “First of all, does anybody know the last time he went to a football game? With that being said, he tweeted out a three-year-old photo from the Colts game,” Reid told reporters, referring to what appears to be Pence reusing a photo that was originally taken during the 2014 season.

    • Dubai: British tourist faces jail ‘for accidentally touching man’s hip’ in bar

      A Scot is facing a three-year jail sentence in Dubai after putting his hand on a man in a bar so he did not “bump and spill drinks”, according to his representatives.

      Campaign group Detained in Dubai said Jamie Harron, from Stirling, was arrested for public indecency after touching a man on his hip.

      Mr Harron has reportedly spent more than £30,000 in expenses and legal fees, having been detained in the UAE since July.

    • The Sanitizing of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks

      A lot of the debate around black NFL players kneeling to protest police killings and racism seems to take place in a historical vacuum. The history of athletes and protest is seldom mentioned and, what’s worse, the reason why Colin Kaepernick and his comrades began protesting during the national anthem has been drowned out in the shouting. On #MAGA twitter, flooded in recent weeks with angry mobs calling for a boycott of the NFL, various images have been making the rounds depicting Martin Luther King Jr. with his hand over his heart in respect for the American flag. One photo was accompanied by a message saying MLK “didn’t take the knee in protest of the flag or the anthem, he took the knee in prayer to God.” It was followed by the hashtag #BoycottNFL.

    • Have You Ever Unfriended Your Right-Wing Facebook Friends Out of Anger and Frustration?

      In 2015, Headlee, the host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “On Second Thought,” gave a TEDx talk on what we can do to have better conversations — and why we absolutely need to — that racked up nearly nine million views. On a recent episode of “Salon Talks,” she spoke about our fondness for echo chambers, and why they’re so detrimental to true discourse.

      “What we’re doing when we try to unfriend people in real life, and when we try to tailor life the way you tailor your Twitter feed,” she explained, “is you’re trying to strategize discomfort out of your life. You’re trying to never see opinions you don’t agree with; you’re trying to never have conversations that might devolve into an argument, and that means you’re going to surround yourself with people who agree with you.”

    • Pence Departure From NFL Game Slammed as ‘PR Stunt’ Orchestrated by Trump

      Vice President Mike Pence made headlines Sunday afternoon for leaving an Indianapolis Colts game after more than a dozen players on the opposing team—the San Francisco 49ers—kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

      While Pence implied that he left the game of his own volition, President Donald Trump tweeted an hour later that he “asked” Pence to “leave [the] stadium if any players kneeled.”

    • Inside The FBI’s Half-Secret Relationship With Hollywood

      When director Henry-Alex Rubin requested the FBI’s help with his 2012 cyber drama Disconnect, he wanted notes on the screenplay’s accuracy. But he suspected they wanted something more.

      “They understand that perception is everything,” he told BuzzFeed News of the FBI. “The more they are perceived well, the easier their job is.”

      He recalled that the FBI employee who reviewed the shooting draft of his film proposed changes to a scene in which two agents aggressively questioned a journalist.

    • “Human Flow”: World-Renowned Artist & Activist Ai Weiwei on His Epic New Documentary on Refugees

      The United Nations says there are now more refugees worldwide than at any time since World War II. The journey and struggle of these 65 million refugees is the subject of Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei’s epic new documentary. It’s called “Human Flow.” For the documentary, Ai Weiwei traveled to 23 countries and dozens of refugee camps. We speak to world-renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

    • WPP companies lobbied for NRA – as ad firm claimed to oppose gun violence

      The British advertising and public relations company WPP has been one of the National Rifle Association’s most important political advocates in the last decade, with companies it owns collecting $1.46m (£1.1m) in lobbying fees since 2007 to further the US pro-gun group’s agenda.

      At the same time as companies owned by WPP helped the NRA block gun control legislation in Washington, WPP sought to portray itself as being opposed to gun violence. A sustainability report on its website points to a 2013 pro gun-control advert that one of its advertising companies produced pro bono as part of WPP’s human rights work.

      Last week the US had its deadliest mass shooting in recent history, when a man with a stockpile of weapons opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and wounding 500.

    • Christopher Columbus is No Hero

      What do the following cities and towns—Burbank and Los Angeles, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Oak Park, Illinois; Davenport, Iowa; Portland, Maine; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Farmington, New Mexico; Ithaca, New York; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Edmonds, Washington—have in common?

      They have all, within the last month, replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In so doing, these municipalities have joined the cities of Denver, Phoenix, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Seattle; the states of Alaska, South Dakota, and Vermont; and various countries in South America that have taken a dramatic first step toward foregrounding the history of Indigenous peoples in the Americas.

      Perhaps it is time for other cities, towns, states, counties, businesses, colleges, universities, and school districts throughout the United States to do the same.

    • Antifa in Theory and in Practice

      In recent weeks, a totally disoriented left has been widely exhorted to unify around a masked vanguard calling itself Antifa, for anti-fascist. Hooded and dressed in black, Antifa is essentially a variation of the Black Bloc, familiar for introducing violence into peaceful demonstrations in many countries. Imported from Europe, the label Antifa sounds more political. It also serves the purpose of stigmatizing those it attacks as “fascists”.

      Despite its imported European name, Antifa is basically just another example of America’s steady descent into violence.

    • Charlottesville, VA: White Nationalists Return 8 Weeks After Violent Protests

      In Charlottesville, Virginia, a few dozen white nationalists carrying torches gathered near a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee Saturday night, eight weeks after far-right protesters at a larger rally attacked anti-fascist protesters, injuring dozens and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Saturday’s rally was the third in Charlottesville organized by white nationalist Richard Spencer. It came after city officials covered the statue of Robert E. Lee in a black tarp last month in the wake of August’s violence, and after President Trump blamed “both sides” for the attacks, claiming there were “very fine people” among far-right protesters.

    • Voting Restrictions Could Affect Alabama’s Special US Senate Election

      Roy Moore’s win in the Sept. 26 Republican primary runoff for Alabama’s US Senate seat previously occupied by Jeff Sessions has put an afterthought of a race back into the national spotlight. In a special election to be held on Dec. 12, Moore — a far-right former chief justice of the state Supreme Court who defeated the appointed incumbent Luther Strange — will face Democrat Doug Jones, a former US attorney who successfully prosecuted KKK members for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Correa: Academics Disagree With Assumptions About IP, Innovation And Development

      The event featured Prof. Carlos Correa, special advisor on trade and intellectual property at the South Centre and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies on Industrial Property at the Law Faculty of the University of Buenos Aires. He gave an academic perspective on the relationship between intellectual property and development.

    • Copyrights

      • SOPA Ghosts Hinder U.S. Pirate Site Blocking Efforts

        US music and movie industry companies helped to get pirate sites blocked in many countries but on their home turf, legal action is surprisingly absent. For years we have wondered why local ISPs are being left alone and we now have an answer. Former RIAA executive Neil Turkewitz says that SOPA’s ghosts have been a major stumbling block.

      • How Some Private Torrent Sites Are Using Cryptocurrency Mining For Your Benefit

        Last month, it was reported that popular torrent website The Pirate Bay was mining Monero digital currency from the CPUs of the visitors. This move was received with much flak as the users weren’t made aware of such steps.

      • Private Torrent Sites Allow Users to Mine Cryptocurrency for Upload Credit

        As cryptocurrency mining becomes more closely associated with ‘pirate’ sites, some private torrent trackers are implementing an interesting solution to their own economic problems. Through the use of miners, users are able to generate revenue for a site but they’re also given so-called ‘upload credit’ in return, which in itself is a virtual currency variant used to ‘buy’ content.


Links 8/10/2017: Debian 9.2 Released, OpenBSD 6.2 Next Week

Posted in News Roundup at 1:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Journal October 2017
  • Desktop

    • System76 – POP! goes my heart

      This was far more interesting than I’d expected. One, there isn’t ONE font that works uniformly well across different desktop environments, and frankly, that is a little bit disturbing. Two, Ubuntu still offers the most complete default package. Three, POP! fonts are rather nice and modern, and it seems they work the best in stock Gnome, if you’re not already using something like Droid Sans.

      It would seem we’ve chipped another facet of this multi-dimensional monster called Linux Fonts, as it feels just impossible to nail down the simple, elegant formula for maximum ergonomics, productivity and fun. You have to ride the licensing, anti-aliasing and hinting shuttles all at the same time, and they seem to be going in different directions. Ubuntu is way ahead of the rest, and this is why the System76 experiment will be rather intriguing. I want to see how the complete package will behave. You should test and see how you feel about Roboto Slab and Fira. My hunch says, Gnome great, Ubuntu, not so much. But we will see. And of course, we shall be testing the distro, so stay tuned.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • S10E31 – Plausible Dull Story

      This week we’ve been playing Wasteland 2 and switching back to Firefox. We also discuss Amber Rudd (dullard UK home secretary) not needing to understand encryption, Mycroft 2 is vertical, Firefox is going Quantum, Uber being banned in London and a new Linux laptop from Google.

  • Kernel Space

    • Notes from the LPC tracing microconference

      The “tracing and BPF” microconference was held on the final day of the 2017 Linux Plumbers Conference; it covered a number of topics relevant to heavy users of kernel and user-space tracing. Read on for a summary of a number of those discussions on topics like BPF introspection, stack traces, kprobes, uprobes, and the Common Trace Format.

      Unfortunately, your editor had to leave the session before it reached its end, so this article does not reflect all of the topics discussed there. For those who are interested, this Etherpad instance contains notes taken by participants at the session.

    • An update on live kernel patching

      In the refereed track at the 2017 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), Jiri Kosina gave an update on the status and plans for the live kernel patching feature. It is a feature that has a long history—pre-dating Linux itself—and has had a multi-year path into the kernel. Kosina reviewed that history, while also looking at some of the limitations and missing features for live patching.

      The first question that gets asked about patching a running kernel is “why?”, he said. That question gets asked in the comments on LWN articles and elsewhere. The main driver of the feature is the high cost of downtime in data centers. That leads data center operators to plan outages many months in advance to reduce the cost; but in the case of a zero-day vulnerability, that time is not available. Live kernel patching is targeted at making small security fixes as a stopgap measure until the kernel can be updated during a less-hurried, planned outage. It is not meant for replacing the kernel bit by bit over time, but as an emergency measure when the kernel is vulnerable.

    • Safety-critical realtime with Linux

      Doing realtime processing with a general-purpose operating-system like Linux can be a challenge by itself, but safety-critical realtime processing ups the ante considerably. During a session at Open Source Summit North America, Wolfgang Mauerer discussed the difficulties involved in this kind of work and what Linux has to offer.

      Realtime processing, as many have said, is not synonymous with “real fast”. It is, instead, focused on deterministic response time and repeatable results. Getting there involves quantifying the worst-case scenario and being prepared to handle it — a 99% success rate is not good enough. The emphasis on worst-case performance is at the core of the difference with performance-oriented processing, which uses caches, lookahead algorithms, pipelines, and more to optimize the average case.

    • A New Ubuntu Kernel Build With The Very Latest AMDGPU DC Patches For 4.15

      This week the latest AMDGPU DC patches were queued up ahead of Linux 4.15. As covered in that article, those several dozen patches mostly further clean-up this major AMDGPU display code rework and trim it up by a few thousand lines of code. For those wishing to test out this new display stack, here is a fresh Ubutu/Debian x86_64 kernel build.

    • Facebook Developers Working On FSPERF For Better Linux File-System/Block Testing

      Josef Bacik of Facebook’s file-system/storage team has announced fsperf as a new testing framework around the Linux file-system/block storage code.

      With every Linux file-system developer seeming to construct his own scripts and to test their file-system/block kernel code in a different manner, Josef is hoping fsperf can unify some of the processes by these Linux kernel developers.

    • SLIMbus Framework Revised For The Linux Kernel

      Linaro developers have restored work on the SLIMbus patches for the Linux kernel, which have long been dormant.

      SLIMbus is the Serial Low-power Inter-chip Media Bus, which is a standard from the MIPI alliance to allow multiple digital audio components to communicate simultaneously and carry multiple audio streams of differing sample rates and bit widths.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A memory allocation API for graphics devices

        At last year’s X.Org Developers Conference (XDC), James Jones began the process of coming up with an API for allocating memory so that it is accessible to multiple different graphics devices in a system (e.g. GPUs, hardware compositors, video decoders, display hardware, cameras, etc.). At XDC 2017 in Mountain View, CA, he was back to update attendees on the progress that has been made. He has a prototype in progress, but there is plenty more to do, including working out some of the problems he has encountered along the way.

        Jones has been at NVIDIA for 13 years and has been working on this problem in various forms for most of that time, he said. Allocating buffers and passing them around between multiple drivers is a complicated problem. The allocator will sit in the same place as the Generic Buffer Management (GBM) component is today; it will be used both by applications and by various user-space driver components. The allocator will support both vendor-agnostic (e.g. Android ION) and vendor-specific back-ends, as well as combinations of the two.

      • Testing Primitive Binning With Vega 10 On RadeonSI

        One month back Marek Olšák landed support in the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver for primitive binning with Vega 10 GPUs but now that feature is likely to be disabled by default.

        Marek is moving ahead now to disable primitive binning by default for Vega 10 GPUs but to keep it enabled for upcoming Raven Ridge APUs. He explained in the proposed patch, “Our driver implementation is known to decrease performance for some tests, but we don’t know if any apps and benchmarks (e.g. those tested by Phoronix) are affected. This disables the feature just to be safe.”

      • Vulkan 1.0.62 Adds A New AMD Extension

        Vulkan 1.0.62 is now available as the latest updated specification for this high performance graphics and compute API.

        Vulkan 1.0.62 is mostly comprised of the usual documentation fixes and other clarifications. Nothing really too notable on that front with Vulkan 1.0.62.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Blade update – an alternative KRunner

        After David’s post, I got a few mails asking whether this change has anything to do with the project I started last summer, so I decided to provide a small update.

        My original plan was to ship a test version of Blade a few months after the project announcement, but that did not happen. The main reason was that there were some higher-priority things in Plasma I needed to work on, so I had to put this on hold a bit.

        While the project is not yet made public, some important things have happened that moved it forward quite a bit.

      • Plasma secrets: Custom app launchers – WINE, too

        I told you this was a beauty. It elegantly goes against all the accepted conventions of the Plasma desktop, including hidden desktop icons, task manager launchers linking to hidden icons, and Windows software running through WINE playing ball. All of this can be done relatively simply, quickly, easily, without any great messing about. I hope you like.

        One last thing, notice how my screenshots above no longer have any shadow, which is something that both Ksnapshot and Spectacle always do, if you use compositing? Well, that’s another secret we will resolve next time!

      • KDE at #UbuntuRally in New York! KDE Applications snaps!

        I was happy to attend Ubuntu Rally last week in New York with Aleix Pol to represent KDE.

      • KDE connect makes your mobile life easier

        KDE Connect connects between your mobile and Linux, wirelessly.

        You can copy photos, videos, or other files from mobile, or vise versa.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 114 released

        This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 114. It brings some changes under the hood and modernises the base system. On top of that, minor issues are being fixed and some packages have been updated.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora’s foundations meet proprietary drivers

          The Fedora project’s four “foundations” are named “Freedom”, “Friends”, “Features”, and “First”. Among other things, they commit the project to being firmly within the free-software camp (“we believe that advancing software and content freedom is a central goal for the Fedora Project, and that we should accomplish that goal through the use of the software and content we promote”) and to providing leading-edge software, including current kernels. Given that the kernel project, too, is focused on free software, it is interesting to see a call within the Fedora community to hold back on kernel updates in order to be able to support a proprietary driver.

          On September 5, Fedora kernel maintainer Laura Abbott announced that the just-released 4.13 kernel would be built for the (in-development) Fedora 27 release, and that it would eventually find its way into the Fedora 25 and 26 releases as well. That is all in line with how Fedora generally operates; new kernels are pushed out to all supported releases in relatively short order. Running current kernels by default is clearly a feature that many Fedora users find useful.

          More recently, though, James Hogarth noted that the NVIDIA proprietary driver did not work with the 4.13 kernel. This kind of breakage is not all that unusual. While the user-space ABI must be preserved, the kernel project defends its right to change internal interfaces at any time. Any problems that out-of-tree code experiences as a result of such changes is deemed to be part of the cost of staying out of the mainline. There is little sympathy for those who have to deal with such issues, and none at all if the out-of-tree code in question is proprietary. Community-oriented projects like Fedora usually take a similar attitude, refusing to slow down for the sake of proprietary code.

        • Progressive Web Applications

          This week I was talking about Progressive Web Applications at the headquarters of Táchira Univesity ( UNET ) and invited by the professor and my friend Miguel Useche, I also had the oportunity to speak to the students about the Fedora Project, i hope to get the doors open to new events like this and more students with interest to share knowledge at the future.

        • Fedora Classroom: Git 101: report
        • PHPUnit 6.4
    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 “Stretch” Update Introduces over 150 Security and Bug Fixes

        The Debian Project today announced the release of the second maintenance update of the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series, adding a considerable number of bug fixes and security patches.

        Coming two and a half months after the release of Debian GNU/Linux 9.1, the Debian GNU/Linux 9.2 point release introduces numerous updates that regular Debian Stretch users should have received through the official channels of the popular distribution used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

      • FAI 5.4 enters the embedded world

        I’m happy to join the Debian cloud sprint in a week, where more FAI related work is waiting.

      • Derivatives

        • Updated Debian 9: 9.2 released

          The Debian project is pleased to announce the second update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename “stretch”). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

          Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old “stretch” media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

          Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

          New installation images will be available soon at the regular locations.

        • Debian 9.2 Released

          The Debian project this week has announced the release of Debian GNU/Linux 9.2.

          This second point release to “Stretch” has a number of bug fixes and several security issues have been resolved. Among the changes in this release include a possible crash in Apt, a new upstream version of D-Bus has been incorporated, a new stable release of Flatpak, and more. The Linux 4.9.0-4 kernel is used by Debian 9.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Newbie’s Guide to Ubuntu 17.10 Part 1

            This is a tutorial series for newbies to operate Ubuntu 17.10. This is targeted to help newbies from MS Windows environment to run Ubuntu. This series is divided into 3 parts: first operating the desktop, second navigating the file manager, and third setting the system so it suits your needs. After the final part, this will be re-published as an ebook of UbuntuBuzz. So start your Ubuntu and enjoy this!

          • Ubuntu 17.10 New Features, Release Date and Upgrade Procedure

            Ubuntu 17.10 is a short-term release and will be supported for nine months. Which means that in July 2018, you must upgrade to a newer version or else you won’t get system and security updates.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • NO to Open-Source Ethereum Scaling Projects ICO – Vitalik Buterin

    Co-founder of Ethereum Blockchain Network – Vitalik Buterin, has declared through social media that he will not support or conduct an ICO for Plasma which is an open-source Scaling solution he developed working together with Joseph Poon – Bitcoin’s Lightning Network co-author.

  • Vitalik Buterin is Against Open-Source Ethereum Scaling Projects Conducting ICOs

    Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, recently announced that he will not be conducting an initial coin offering (ICO) for Plasma, an open-source scaling solution he has developed in collaboration with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network co-author Joseph Poon.

  • Cascadia Community Builder Award: 2017 winner announced

    The Cascadia Community Builder Award recognizes a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the free software movement in the Cascadia region, and this year’s winner is Lance Albertson. The award was presented in person on Saturday, October 7, at the Seattle GNU/Linux conference. Albertson is director for the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSUOSL) and has been involved with the Gentoo Linux project as a developer and package maintainer since 2003.

  • ITA trains MoE staff on using free and open source software

    The Information Technology Authority (ITA), in cooperation with Daleel Petroleum, is conducting a training programme for Ministry of Education employees, on using free and open source software (FOSS) till October 22.

    The training programme targets 200 employees in Dakhliyah and Dhahirah governorates and focuses on three main training curricula: Ubuntu for beginners, designed for teachers and supervisors and advanced Ubuntu for technicians in addition to GIMP and Inkscape software for teachers.

  • Open source technology promises to alter enterprise storage

    The most obvious example of this is the development of Linux, various distributions of which have been adopted as the cloud operating system of choice and the go-to platform for modern application developers.

  • Events

    • Join us at Sibos in Toronto!

      We’re traveling to Toronto in a few weeks to attend Sibos 2017, Oct 16-19. Under the conference theme of ‘Building for the Future,’ we have a robust program agenda planned that is designed to help attendees learn about permissioned blockchains, distributed ledger technologies and smart contracts, plus the latest innovations coming out of Hyperledger.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


  • Programming/Development

    • Facebook Has Been Working On C++ Modules Support For GCC

      For C++20 the long-awaited modules system is likely to finally land. Facebook engineers have been working on a C++ modules implementation already for the GNU Compiler Collection.

      Since LLVM Clang 5.0 has been an experimental C++ modules implementation there while on the GCC side there hasn’t been any implementation merged to master, but then again this technical specification isn’t yet set in stone for C++20. Nathan Sidwell of Facebook has been among the developers working on supporting C++ modules within GCC’s G++ front-end. Those unfamiliar with the proposed C++ module system can see the current TS.


  • Saying goodbye to the proto-social network of AOL Instant Messenger

    Many people remember specific, weird things about September 11, 2001. For me, it was a headline about stamps tucked into the chaos.

    As I started to absorb the horror of the day through TV and online news sources that Tuesday morning, I noticed an odd inflection point highlighted on the Washington Post’s list of “Top News” links. While the first three stories were blaring headlines about the terrorist attacks, I remember clearly that the fourth was a news brief about the threat of postal stamp rate increase, the last trivial story published before all other news got pushed aside indefinitely.

  • kthxbai: AOL Instant Messenger is being turned off on December 15th
  • The end of an era: AOL is shutting down iconic instant messaging tool AIM
  • London’s amazing underground infrastructure revealed in vintage cutaway maps

    Londonist’s roundup of cutaway maps — many from the outstanding Transport Museum in Covent Garden — combines the nerdy excitement of hidden tunnels with the aesthetic pleasure of isomorophic cutaway art, along with some interesting commentary on both the development of subterranean tunnels and works and the history of representing the built environment underground in two-dimension artwork.

  • Head, limbs of Kim Wall found, sinking story of suspect in submarine murder

    Danish investigators have announced that divers discovered bags containing the head, arms, legs, and clothing of reporter Kim Wall. She disappeared in August while aboard the crowdfunded submarine UC3 Nautilus with Peter “Rocket” Madsen, the sub’s designer. The bags were found not far from where Wall’s dismembered torso washed ashore 10 days after the Nautilus was deliberately sunk by Madsen near Copenhagen on August 11.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘Antibiotic apocalypse’: doctors sound alarm over drug resistance

      Scientists attending a recent meeting of the American Society for Microbiology reported they had uncovered a highly disturbing trend. They revealed that bacteria containing a gene known as mcr-1 – which confers resistance to the antibiotic colistin – had spread round the world at an alarming rate since its original discovery 18 months earlier. In one area of China, it was found that 25% of hospital patients now carried the gene.

      Colistin is known as the “antibiotic of last resort”. In many parts of the world doctors have turned to its use because patients were no longer responding to any other antimicrobial agent. Now resistance to its use is spreading across the globe.

    • Special Report: Puerto Ricans in Vieques Cope with Devastation & Fear Toxic Contamination from Maria

      We end today’s show where we began the week: in Puerto Rico. Doctors say the island’s health system remains crippled two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, leaving more than 90 percent of the island without electricity and half of its residents without drinking water. That’s at least according to statistics published by FEMA on Wednesday. But on Thursday, FEMA removed data about access to drinking water and electricity in Puerto Rico from its website. Democracy Now!’s Juan Carlos Dávila is on the ground in Puerto Rico, and this week he managed to make it to the island of Vieques to speak with residents of the area that the U.S. Navy used as a bombing range for decades. Since the 1940s, the Navy used nearly three-quarters of the island for bombing practice, war games and dumping old munitions. The bombing stopped after a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience, but the island continues to suffer. The Navy says it will take until 2025 to remove all the environmental damage left by more than 60 years of target practice. Juan Carlos filed this report from Vieques in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

    • Madagascar in panic amid raging “double plague” outbreak; dozens dead

      An unusually deadly seasonal outbreak of plague has gripped the island nation of Madagascar. As of Friday, 258 have been sickened and 36 have died just since August, according to Madagascar’s Ministry of Public Health.

      To try to stifle the spread, the government has forbidden public gatherings, including sporting events, and schools have closed for insecticide treatments that kill plague-spreading fleas. People have swarmed pharmacies, desperately seeking face masks and any antibiotics they can get. The World Health Organization on Friday announced that it has released $1.5 million in emergency funds and delivered nearly 1.2 million antibiotic doses to help combat the outbreak.

    • Dems Jump on Medicare-for-all Bandwagon, But Are They Sincere?

      Last month, Bernie Sanders unveiled a Senate bill that would phase in government-run universal health care. The single-payer, Medicare-for-all proposal attracted over a dozen Democratic Party co-sponsors and ignited progressives’ hopes across the country.

      Liberal figures like Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts signed on, but so too did other likely contenders for the 2020 presidential nomination — Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Sen. Kamala Harris of California.

    • Tainted Honey: Bee-Poisoning Pesticides Found Globally

      Raising further concerns about the global food production system, a new study found that bees worldwide are being widely exposed to dangerous agricultural chemicals, with 75 percent of honey samples from six continents testing positive for pesticides known to harm pollinators.

      “What this shows is the magnitude of the contamination,” the study’s lead author, Edward Mitchell, a biology professor at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, told the Denver Post. He said there were “relatively few places where we did not find any” contaminated samples.

      For the study, published in the journal Science, Mitchell’s team of researchers examined nearly 200 samples for the five most commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics.

    • Senator Calls on Insurers to Improve Access to Non-Opioid Pain Treatments

      UnitedHealth was cited in the story because it stopped covering Butrans, a painkilling skin patch that contains buprenorphine, an opioid that has a lower risk of abuse and dependence than generic, long-acting opioids. As a result, a patient said she turned to long-acting morphine to control her pain, went to the emergency room because she could not control her pain, and now visits her doctor more often than before.

    • Duterte’s ‘drug war’ is fueling the spread of disease
  • Security

    • FireEye Warns of Expanding FormBook Malware Attacks

      “Because of the affiliate model (or Malware-as-a-Service) set up and its open availability on the web, it is difficult to determine the attack origins, and could be attributed to anyone who has subscribed to the service,” Randi Eitzman, FireEye Analyst, told eSecurityPlanet.

      FormBook is being distributed via different document formats, including PDF, DOC and archive files that have some form of download link, macro or executable payload.

    • Disqus hacked [sic] : More than 17.5 million users’ details stolen by hackers in 2012 data breach

      About a third of the compromised accounts contained passwords that were salted and hashed using the weak SHA-1 algorithm. Disqus said the exposed user data dates back to 2007 with the most recent data exposed from July 2012.

    • iOS 11’s Misleading “Off-ish” Setting for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is Bad for User Security

      Turning off your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios when you’re not using them is good security practice (not to mention good for your battery usage). When you consider Bluetooth’s known vulnerabilities, it’s especially important to make sure your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi settings are doing what you want them to. The iPhone’s newest operating system, however, makes it harder for users to control these settings.

      On an iPhone, users might instinctively swipe up to open Control Center and toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off from the quick settings. Each icon switches from blue to gray, leading a user to reasonably believe they have been turned off—in other words, fully disabled. In iOS 10, that was true. However, in iOS 11, the same setting change no longer actually turns Wi-Fi or Bluetooth “off.”

      Instead, what actually happens in iOS 11 when you toggle your quick settings to “off” is that the phone will disconnect from Wi-Fi networks and some devices, but remain on for Apple services. Location Services is still enabled, Apple devices (like Apple Watch and Pencil) stay connected, and services such as Handoff and Instant Hotspot stay on. Apple’s UI fails to even attempt to communicate these exceptions to its users.

    • The Worst-Case Scenario for John Kelly’s Hacked [sic] Phone

      “Having a phone compromised for several months definitely is not good”

  • Defence/Aggression

    • We Need Thoughtful Coverage of Gun Violence, Not Slow Pans Over Arsenals

      Those words are from a 2015 blog post of a young man named Chris Harper-Mercer, describing Vester Flanagan, a man who killed a reporter and photographer on-air at a Virginia TV station before shooting himself, days previously. Harper-Mercer went on to shoot nine people to death at his community college in Oregon before shooting himself.

      Social scientists have long said that events like mass shootings are contagious, and that media serve as carriers. Forensic psychologist Park Dietz told the Village Voice in 1999 (5/4/99) that suicide, product tampering and mass murder lent themselves to imitation, and the degree of imitation is connected to sustained and sensationalized media coverage.

      UC San Diego’s David Phillips said he’d written a series of suggested guidelines for the World Health Organization that would make stories like this less likely to be imitated, without making it so the stories disappeared from the paper, adding, “You have to think of these stories as a sort of advertisement to mass murder.”


      Some nonsense comes dressed up as thoughtfulness. Washington Post factchecker Glenn Kessler (10/4/17) gave “two Pinocchios” (“significant omissions and/or exaggerations”) to the claim by an obviously heated Sen. Tim Kaine that the attack was reason to oppose a GOP bill that would streamline the purchase of silencers for firearms. His remarks implied he thought silencers made shooting quieter, when actually they only muffle direction and besides, noise wasn’t “the only” reason police were able to locate the killer.

      You could also check the box for misleading superlatives. As The Root‘s Michael Harriot (10/3/17) pointed out, repeated references to the “worst mass shooting in US history” erased massacres like the 1921 riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when after bombing and burning the part of town known as “Black Wall Street,” white mobs—some “deputized” by local law enforcement, and given guns from the city armory—killed as many as 300 African-Americans. It’s not a contest, but context matters.
      The Nation: Gun Sales Are Plummeting and Trump Wants to Help

    • Lawyers accuse UK-backed Bahrain watchdogs over torture inquiry

      A group of British human rights lawyers have accused Bahraini oversight bodies funded by Britain’s government of violating international law by allegedly failing to investigate torture allegations against two inmates on death row.

      Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Moosa face imminent execution in Bahrain after its Supreme Court last year confirmed death sentences imposed by a lower tribunal based on false confessions extracted through torture, according to legal charity Reprieve.

      The two men had been convicted for a 2014 bomb attack in the village of al-Dair that killed a policeman.

    • Nuclear Ban Group ICAN Wins Nobel Peace Prize as Trump Threatens to End Iran Deal & Nuke North Korea

      As the Nobel Committee made their announcement today in Oslo, President Trump is expected to “decertify” the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal next week. We speak with Tim Wright, the Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and go to Tehran and Washington to get response.

    • Recalling Japan’s ‘Comfort Women’ Rapes

      K.J. Noh: The term “Comfort Women” is a euphemism for the young women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military between 1932 and 1945 throughout the Asia Pacific region of Japan’s colonial “co-prosperity sphere.”

      It’s estimated that approximately between 200,000-400,000 women and girls, some as young as thirteen, were forced into an industrialized system of rape, “servicing” up to 60 soldiers a day. Scholars estimate that this resulted in a fatality rate of up to 90%. The system has been described as “considered unprecedented in its cruelty and magnitude,” and survivors have referred to “comfort stations” as “a living hell”, “a slaughter house”.

    • How Military Outsourcing Turned Toxic

      Fraud. Bribery. Incompetence. The military’s use of contractors adds to a legacy of environmental damage.

    • Shielding Saudis on Yemen Atrocities

      While rich Arab states bombard the Middle East’s poorest country, creating the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and an unprecedented cholera outbreak, the U.S. government (starting with the Obama administration and continuing with Trump’s) has continued to support them not only through the sale of weapons, but also through mid-air refueling, targeting intelligence, and other logistical support.

      The international community has betrayed Yemenis over and over again – examples include the United Nation’s capitulation to Saudi pressure by removing it from the list of child killers and allowing the Saudi-led Coalition to investigate (and clear) itself from any wrongdoing. Even as an inquiry into Yemen war crimes was finally agreed recently, the word “investigation” was dropped, and it remains to be seen which “regional experts” will comprise the committee.

    • Senator: Someone Needs to Be Fired Over Wasted $65 Million Plane

      When it comes to Afghanistan, the Pentagon seems to have a penchant for buying planes that don’t fly.

      The military “wasted” nearly $65 million on a single inoperable plane that spent years resting on jacks in a warehouse and didn’t manage even one flight in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense inspector general recently reported. The plane, tricked out with sophisticated surveillance capabilities, was supposed to fly counternarcotics missions to disrupt Afghanistan’s vast heroin operations, but languished on its perch in Delaware.

      “Consequently, the DoD received no benefit for its more than seven years’ work and $64.8 million in funds wasted,” the inspector general wrote.

    • Ignoring Today’s ‘Great Hungers’

      The Sisters have embraced numerous projects to protect the environment, welcome refugees, and nonviolently resist wars. I felt grateful to reconnect with people who so vigorously opposed any Irish support for U.S. military wars in Iraq. They had also campaigned to end the economic sanctions against Iraq, knowing that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children suffered and died for lack of food, medicine and clean water.

      This year, the Sisters asked me to first meet with local teenagers who would commemorate another time of starvation imposed by an imperial power. Joe Murray, who heads Action from Ireland (Afri), arranged for a class from Dublin’s Beneavin De La Salle College to join an Irish historian in a field adjacent to the Dunshaughlin work house on the outskirts of Dublin.

      Such workhouses dot the landscape of Ireland and England. In the mid-Nineteenth Century, during the famine years, they were dreaded places. People who went there knew they were near the brink of death due to hunger, disease, and dire poverty. Ominously, behind the workhouse lay the graveyard.

    • The Time for a Debate on Gun Control Is Now

      Another horrific mass shooting has occurred in the United States. On the night of Oct. 1 in Las Vegas, a 64-year-old white man named Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on more than 20,000 people attending a country music festival below. The death count at the time of this writing stands at 59, with 527 injured. The immediate response must be: How do we prevent another massacre? But that is exactly the debate the Trump administration wants to avoid.

      White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the shooting from the podium of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room – named in memory of President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary, who was shot and paralyzed during a 1981 assassination attempt on Reagan.

    • Are Trump’s Efforts to Sabotage Iran Nuclear Deal a Precursor for U.S. War with Iran?

      Amid news of the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, we turn now to look at whether President Donald Trump is trying to sabotage the Obama-brokered nuclear agreement with Iran and seek a war with Iran. According to The Washington Post, Trump is expected to announce next week the deal is not in the United States’ national interest, and will move to “decertify” the deal. If this happens, Congress will decide whether or not to reinstate harsh economic sanctions against Iran, potentially tanking the landmark deal. The move comes despite the fact the Trump administration begrudgingly certified that Iran has complied with its obligations under the agreement earlier this year, as has the International Atomic Energy Agency, which closely monitors Iran’s activities.

    • Kurdish Referendum Roils the Mideast

      What may have been conceived as a clever ploy by Masud’s eldest son, Masrour, to bolster the Barzani family’s flagging popularity by posing as a nationalist leader looks increasingly like a misstep. (Michel Rubin of AEI, has noted that “some [U.S.] Congressional staff and leaders with whom [Masrour] has met, came away from their meeting convinced that Masrour sought independence more to be heir apparent, in what will become hereditary [Kurdish] leadership, than out of sincere nationalistic concerns.”)

      And now, presidential and parliamentary elections — hastily called in the wake of the Oct. 3 death of former Iraqi President and Kurdish political leader Jalal Talibani — have descended into a mess. Rather than settle “the succession” upon his eldest son, Masud Barzani may instead have opened a wider struggle over leadership of the Kurdish people.

    • Challenging the Saudi Air War on Yemen

      The bill introduced by a bipartisan group of House members last week to end the direct U.S. military role in the Saudi coalition war in Yemen guarantees that the House of Representatives will vote for the first time on the single most important element of U.S. involvement in the war — the refueling of Saudi coalition planes systematically bombing Yemeni civilian targets.

    • Plummeting in Polls, Will Trump ‘Wag the Dog’ With Iran and North Korea?

      Trump is a blowhard and you can’t pay too much attention to his bluster or you’d never get any sleep.

    • Ellsberg, In Upcoming Book, Warns of Nuclear Dangers in the Era of Trump

      For most people, Daniel Ellsberg is known mainly for — or only for — the Pentagon Papers he leaked in 1971. And that’s plenty. It set in motion a landmark First Amendment case and led to shifts in public opinion that helped quicken the US withdrawal from Vietnam and the end to that war. Ellsberg was back in the public eye recently in relation to the epic 10-part PBS series on Vietnam, which included a lengthy segment on the Pentagon Papers — but his absence from the series as an interview subject drew criticism. Coming up: a movie drama on the Papers directed by Steven Spielberg.

      But, for me, the name Ellsberg does not immediately evoke “Vietnam” but rather “anti-nuclear.” And now he has written a book titled The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, to be published by Bloomsbury in December. In it he reveals that the 7,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers that he copied from his office at the Rand Corporation in 1969-70 were only “a fraction” of what he had borrowed from office safes. Much of the rest amounted to the “other” Pentagon papers — secret documents on US nuclear war plans and capabilities.

    • Normalising Russia

      There has been surprisingly little coverage of almost three hundred arrests yesterday of protestors across Russia demonstrating against Putin on his birthday. While the evidence so far is that demonstrations were not suppressed with the same level of brutal thuggery as witnessed in Spain, many more arrests were made which will have long term consequences for protestors.

      I fear the reason it was not covered much is that it is unsurprising. We have become habituated to the idea that democracy has not really taken root in Russia, and probably will not. But Putin’s continued domination of Russian politics, his playing of the system to avoid the restriction on number of terms, the elimination of the opposition media and the gradual but relentless tightening of the limits of free expression, are not inevitable.

      Children of the Cold War like myself were brought up to view Russia as isolated, threatening and entirely irrelevant to contemporary European culture. That of course is wrong. Russian writers, thinkers, scientists and composers are central to the very fabric of European civilisation. Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Bulgakov are as central to our thought as Tchaikovsky is to our emotion.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The dangerous hypocrisy of celebrating Obama while criminalizing Manning: Kanji

      Last month, two well-known Americans — former president Barack Obama, and whistleblower Chelsea Manning — were supposed to visit Canada. But while Obama was welcomed like a hero, Manning — who was prosecuted by the Obama administration for leaking materials that included evidence of American atrocities — was banned.

      Two weeks ago, Canadian border officials prohibited Manning from entering the country: a decision that Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he was unlikely to “interfere” with.

      Obama, in contrast, was eagerly embraced when he arrived in Toronto to deliver a speech last Friday. He was greeted by throngs of admirers and acclaimed by media commentators, whose only disappointment was that Obama was not more forthcoming in criticizing his successor.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • EPA photos show what US looked like before pollution regulation
    • Nate heralds latest US destruction as 2017 poised for record clean-up bill

      As Hurricane Nate crossed the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, it brought with it the prospect of yet more destruction in a storm-battered year that is shaping up to be the most costly on US record.

      Nate was set to be the fourth major hurricane to hit in quick succession, after Harvey, Irma and Maria devastated southern Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

      According to statistics issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) on Friday, the clean-up bill could be without precedent. The US government can also expect more unwelcome news about how climate change is intensifying such natural disasters.

    • Nate makes nine Atlantic hurricanes in a row—unprecedented in modern era

      On August 9th, deep in the southern Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Franklin reached 85mph winds before moving into Mexico. Although the storm dropped some heavy rains over the Mexican state of Veracruz, Franklin’s effects were relatively moderate, and it was soon forgotten.

      But following Franklin’s formation two months ago, eight additional tropical systems have developed and been assigned names by the National Hurricane Center. And during this frenetic season, all of those systems have become hurricanes as well. That’s nine in a row, which is unprecedented in the modern hurricane era.

    • The Coral Reef Economy

      Coral reefs are one of Earth’s most productive ecosystems — both in terms of biology and cold, hard cash. Healthy coral reef ecosystems do everything from supporting millions of jobs to protecting lives and valuable coastal infrastructure, like hotels and roads, from storms and waves. In fact, each year coral reefs pump more than $3.4 billion into the U.S. economy And that’s a conservative estimate!

      Despite all they do for us, our coral reef ecosystems are threatened. Climate change, pollution from the land and harmful fishing practices top the list of threats. Fortunately, it’s not too late to protect these resources.

    • ‘Recovery Efforts Have Continually Favored the Monied Classes’

      The New York Times may have meant well with their September 24 editorial headlined “Puerto Rico Is American. We Can’t Ignore It Now,” which called on “all Americans” to rally behind their “fellow citizens” as Puerto Rico faces staggering devastation after hurricanes Maria and Irma.

      But there’s something hollow about underscoring the “Americanness” of people who do not in fact have the same rights of US citizenship, and in describing the factors that make the disaster much worse, and harder to address—namely Puerto Rico’s crushing debt and stifled economy—as “persistent agonies,” as though they were endemic conditions which we can only look upon and lament.

      With thousands of people lacking water, electricity, fuel, food and homes, the hurricanes created one sort of crisis in Puerto Rico, but they brought another into stark relief. What possible ways forward are there that could address both? Ed Morales is a freelance journalist and poet. He teaches at the Center for Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, and is co-director of the documentary film Whose Barrio? about gentrification in East Harlem. He joins us now by phone. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Ed Morales.

    • Appetite for Destruction: Trump’s War on the Environment

      From the senseless slaughter in Las Vegas to the horrific impacts of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, to Trump’s boisterous threats against North Korea and unfolding strife within the White House — it’s easy to get lost in the world’s madness and the nefarious mind of Prez Trump. It’s a dangerous vortex, no doubt, but Trump’s twitter storm and paper towel tossing photo ops are little more than a distraction from his administration’s unfettered assault on the environment.

      This past week, Team Trump quietly denied protection for 25 species that are on the verge of extinction, including the Pacific walrus and black-backed woodpecker. The reason, of course, is that science doesn’t mean jack shit to the corporate barons ruling our government.

    • We Lift You Up: Pretty Much Everyone Is Going Rogue To Help Puerto Rico

      In the same spirit, because the government can’t seem to get it together to help brown people suffering, many others have said they will. Groups of nurses, doctors and truckers have gone to the island, and multiple fundraising efforts are underway. Stephen Colbert, along with actor Nick Kroll, launched one of the more entertaining ones with #PuberMe. Daring celebrities to post their most cringe-worthy pre-pubescent photos of themselves complete with adolescent warts and angst – see John Oliver! – he promised to donate $1,000 per post to Puerto Rican relief. In a week, he raised a million dollars – or at least a thousand shy of a million until Lin-Manuel Miranda came by to help.

    • Climate change IS political, says Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley

      The Green Party will hit back at criticisms that it has politicised climate change at its conference next week – with co-leader Jonathan Bartley due to declare that global warming “is political”. The party conference kicks off in Harrogate on Sunday and Mr Bartley will give the leader’s speech on Monday. He will once again draw a link between extreme weather events such as hurricanes and climate change – as co-leader Caroline Lucas did in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma last month.

    • Warming Soils Could Trigger Potentially Unstoppable Climate Feedback Loop: Study

      New results from a long-term study point towards a potentially unstoppable feedback loop as earth’s rising temperatures drive soils to release more carbon emissions.

      As Bloomberg put it, “There’s a carbon bomb right under your feet.”

      Researchers behind the 26-year, ongoing experiment buried cables in a set plots in a Massachusetts forest and warmed the soil to 5 degrees C (9 degrees F) above the ambient temperature to see how their carbon emissions varied with control plots. They four phases of alternating soil carbon loss and carbon stability. Newsweek explains that “the team believes that during the peak periods, microbes [in the soil] are using up a plentiful supply of food. But when that runs out, the community has to find a new source of food, leading to the lulls in carbon release.”

    • The Spiraling Crisis of Puerto Rico

      Though President Trump bragged about the relatively low death toll from Hurricane Maria — 16 at the time of his visit on Tuesday — the number soon jumped to 34 and was expected to rise much more when isolated hospitals could finally report in.

      Many of the island’s 59 hospitals were cut off from power and half the island’s 3.4 million inhabitants lacked safe drinking water. The continuing crisis reflected a slow response from the federal government.

    • “It Was an Insult”: Rep. Nydia Velázquez on Trump’s Visit to Puerto Rico, Attacks on San Juan Mayor

      We get response from Puerto Rican-born Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) to President Trump’s visit to the island two weeks after Hurricane Maria, and his comments that he would help the U.S. territory wipe out its $73 billion debt to help it recover from the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Maria. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney later walked back the remarks.

    • Administration Blots Out Damning Data on Puerto Rico’s Lack of Power, Water From Federal Response Website

      The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has removed statistics on the large percentage of residents who still have no clean drinking water or electricity from its web page providing updates on the federal response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

      The Washington Post reported Thursday on the suppressed information.

      The page still exists, but no longer contains key data that 96 percent of the island’s residents still don’t have electricity and half still have no clean drinking water—statistics that clearly don’t comport with President Donald Trump’s positive pr spin on the administration’s highly-criticized response to the devastation.

      The data was still on the page as recently as Wednesday, but by Thursday had been wiped out.

  • Finance

    • The Elites ‘Have No Credibility Left:’ An Interview With Journalist Chris Hedges

      On Monday, WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North interviewed Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, lecturer and former New York Times correspondent. Among Hedges’ best-known books are War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, The Death of the Liberal Class, Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, which he co-wrote with the cartoonist Joe Sacco, and Wages of Rebellion: the Moral Imperative of Revolt.

      In an article published in Truthdig September 17, titled “The Silencing of Dissent,” Hedges referenced the WSWS coverage of Google’s censorship of left-wing sites and warned about the growth of “blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of ‘fake news.’”

    • US Chamber of Commerce calls Trump’s NAFTA proposals ‘highly dangerous’
    • Special Investigation: How America’s Biggest Bank Paid Its Fine for the 2008 Mortgage Crisis—With Phony Mortgages!

      Here’s how the alleged scam worked. JPMorgan moved to forgive the mortgages of tens of thousands of homeowners; the feds, in turn, credited these canceled loans against the penalties due under the 2012 and 2013 settlements. But here’s the rub: In many instances, JPMorgan was forgiving loans on properties it no longer owned.

    • Hacking Code/Space: Confounding the Code of Global Capitalism

      [...] first by emphasizing the relational aspect of these code/spaces, and second by showing how the digital algorithms of code/spaces are hackable rather than hegemonic. Using the case study of frequent flyer programs we demonstrate how networked knowledge sharing reshapes code/spaces to provide unintended opportunities such as low-cost travel and access to spaces normally only frequented by global elites.

    • New paper – Hacking Code/Space: Confounding the Code of Global Capitalism

      [...] we argue that while these sorts of practices are fun (and allowed us both something approaching unlimited mobility over the last few years), they have important (and more sinister) implications for what Doreen Massey refers to as ‘power geometries’.

    • How to hack frequent flyer miles for fun and profit

      This week, the Oxford Internet Institute published a new paper on the internet subculture of mile-churning, and it’s a surprisingly good introduction to the subculture. You’ll hear about the infamous Phillips Pudding Gambit, in which David accumulated 1.2 million miles by purchasing 12,150 cups of pudding that had been erroneously marked as individual purchases, thus achieving a legendary cost-per-mile of $.0025. There’s also the less well known Emmi Cheese Contango, in which a consortium of speculators purchased 1260 wheels of Emmi Swiss Gruyere for a slightly higher CPM of $.012.

    • German firms told to prepare for hard Brexit or face heavy losses

      German firms operating in the UK must brace themselves for a “very hard Brexit”, the Federation of German Industries has warned, as it called on its members to take precautions or be prepared to face heavy economic losses.

    • Don’t count on our independent Bank to stop Brexit disaster

      This Brexit business is an unmitigated disaster. As a senior European politician recently observed of the British: “It was heroic of you in 1940 to stand on your own against your enemies; it is ridiculous in 2017 to stand on your own against your friends.”

    • To Understand Amazon’s Delivery Ambitions, Consider the Long Game
    • Wells Fargo Offering Refunds Nationwide for Improper Mortgage Fees

      In a scandal that extended wider than was previously known, Wells Fargo said it would offer refunds to tens of thousands of customers who were improperly charged fees on home mortgages.

      ProPublica first reported earlier this year that the bank was chiseling customers by making them pay to extend interest rates on loans even when the delays were the bank’s fault. Current and former employees said at the time that the practice was especially prevalent in the Los Angeles area and Oregon. As it turns out, about 10 percent of the affected mortgages were in those two regions, and the rest were scattered nationwide, according to a person familiar with the issue. A Wells Fargo spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment.

    • Week in Review: End of May reopens Tory Brexit wounds

      Who wins from a Tory leadership contest? The usual assumption is that it is Remainer Tories, who finally have a chance to get rid of a hard Brexit prime minister and replace her with one of their own. “The plot is by Remain MPs to topple the PM, destroy Boris and put a Remain leader in place to delay and possibly destroy Brexit,” Conservative backbencher Nadine Dorries tweeted this morning. Ukip’s Patrick O’Flynn clearly smells a plot as well. “Is there a single Tory backbencher who supported Leave in the referendum who now wishes to ditch the PM before spring 2019?” he asked.

    • ‘Two-thirds’ of Hammond’s £26bn Budget war chest faces wipeout

      As much as two-thirds of the £26bn of headroom in the public finances that the chancellor created last year as a buffer for the economy through the Brexit period is likely to be wiped out after the government’s fiscal watchdog concludes its forecasts for growth have been too optimistic.

      The Office for Budget Responsibility will publish on Tuesday a new analysis suggesting it has persistently over-estimated Britain’s productivity over the past seven years and will give a broad hint that it will rectify the situation with a more pessimistic Budget forecast.

    • Muhammad Yunus on Microfinance, Grameen Bank & How 5 Men Own More Wealth Than Half the World

      Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, joins us for an extended interview on microfinance, the Grameen Bank, and how five men own more wealth than half of the world. His new book is titled “A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions.”

    • Data Analysis: Bankruptcy and Race in America

      The main driver of this disparity is chapter choice. Black people struggling with debts are choosing to file under Chapter 13, as opposed to Chapter 7, at much higher rates. Unlike Chapter 7, which in almost all cases provides permanent debt relief within a matter of months, Chapter 13 is a particularly risky choice for these debtors, because Chapter 13 usually requires five years of payments before any debt is wiped out, and black Americans are much less likely to have the resources to run this gauntlet. Nationally, for the years 2008 through 2010, only 39 percent of Chapter 13 cases filed by debtors from majority black zip codes ultimately resulted in a discharge of debts. In contrast, 58 percent of the cases filed by debtors from majority white zip codes were discharged. When we examined this disparity, controlling for income and other factors, a large gap remained.

    • “The Very Rich Will Benefit”: Trump’s Proposed Tax Plan Makes It Clear

      Did anyone really believe Trump when he said of his tax plan: “It’s not good for me, believe me. We’re targeting relief to working families. We will make sure benefits are focused on the middle class, the working men and women, not the highest-income earners”? If so, it proves that there is indeed a sucker born every minute.

      Now that the GOP has released its nine-page proposal, it is clear only a liar or fool or both (the definition of a politician?) would believe this to be anything other than a boon to Trump and his swamp-mates. Just what are some of the benefits accruing to those least in need of tax relief?

      (1) The highest marginal tax rate (MTR) — for individual incomes in excess of $418,400 — will be reduced from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, a policy that (as I outlined in an earlier article for Truthout), is not economically stimulative. After all, people with everything already have everything. They take windfall wealth and simply sock it away in already bloated investment accounts.

    • Britain, divided

      A country divided; that’s how Britain has felt since last year’s vote to leave the European Union. Remoaners versus Hard Brexiteers, all shades of gray abandoned. But what if Britain was literally, physically divided?

      The Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish have spent the months since the referendum grumbling about London’s approach to Brexit. Some even predict the union could be rent asunder as a result, with the Scots leading a domino effect of independence.

    • For-Profit Schools Get State Dollars For Dropouts Who Rarely Drop In

      Last school year, Ohio’s cash-strapped education department paid Capital High $1.4 million in taxpayer dollars to teach students on the verge of dropping out. But on a Thursday in May, students’ workstations in the storefront charter school run by for-profit EdisonLearning resembled place settings for a dinner party where most guests never arrived.

      In one room, empty chairs faced 25 blank computer monitors. Just three students sat in a science lab down the hall, and nine more in an unlit classroom, including one youth who sprawled out, head down, sleeping.

      Only three of the more than 170 students on Capital’s rolls attended class the required five hours that day, records obtained by ProPublica show. Almost two-thirds of the school’s students never showed up; others left early. Nearly a third of the roster failed to attend class all week.

    • Americans deepest in poverty lost more ground in 2016

      Although the overall U.S. poverty rate declined and incomes rose rapidly for the second straight year in 2016, many poor Americans fell deeper into poverty, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

      The official poverty rate was 12.7% last year, close to its pre-Great Recession level (12.5% in 2007). This represents 40.6 million people in poverty. But categorizing people as below or above the poverty line is just one way of looking at economic well-being.

    • Theresa May under pressure over ‘secret advice’ on halting Brexit

      Theresa May is under pressure to publish secret legal advice that is believed to state that parliament could still stop Brexit before the end of March 2019 if MPs judge that a change of mind is in the national interest. The move comes as concern grows that exit talks with Brussels are heading for disaster.

      The calls for the prime minister to reveal advice from the country’s top legal experts follow government statements declaring that Brexit is now unstoppable, and that MPs will have to choose between whatever deal is on offer next year – even if it is a bad one – or no deal at all.

    • Why it’s not too late to step back from the Brexit brink

      Last week, in response to a petition seeking a referendum on the final deal, the government not only refused to allow “the people” to decide on the terms of Brexit, it categorically stated that parliament will not be allowed to do so either. Parliament will instead be given what it calls “a meaningful vote … either [to] accept the final agreement or leave the EU with no agreement”.

      This is the opposite of “meaningful”; the government intends to refuse parliament the chance to reject both options – it must accept what is offered or take nothing at all. And this is the government’s position, irrespective of the dire consequences for our country or “the will of its people” to avoid them. Even though the UK could before March 2019 change its mind, the government says that it will on no account let that happen.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook’s chief security officer let loose at critics on Twitter over the company’s algorithms

      The algorithms can be fooled or gamed, and part of the criticism is that Facebook and other tech companies don’t always seem to appreciate that algorithms have biases, too.

    • Facebook Security Chief Warns of Dangers in Fake News Solutions

      The company sent a note to advertisers telling them it would start to manually review ads targeted to people based on politics, religion, ethnicity or social issues. The company is trying to figure out how to monitor use of its system without censoring ideas, after the Russian government used fake accounts to spread political discord in the U.S. ahead of the election.

    • Facebook to manually review some political, social issue ads: report

      Facebook says it will now require ads that target people based on “politics, religion, ethnicity or social issues” to be manually reviewed by Facebook staff before going live, according to an Axios report Saturday citing a recent company email to advertisers.

    • What the Supreme Court Says About Sitting Out the National Anthem

      When the president uses what used to be called his “bully pulpit” – but now is called “Twitter” – to attack a person or an issue, of course it has much broader consequences.

    • Paedophilia and Politicians

      Paedophilia is in fact thankfully rare in society. It is notoriously difficult to estimate but medical authorities rate sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children at around 2% of the male population. But that is a figure for those who feel any kind of attraction, not for those who are prepared to act on it. That figure is far, far smaller. But it is very hard to quantify. There are approximately 20,000 convictions per year in the UK, but as the crime mostly happens within families that is certainly an understatement of the incidence. Most of the convictions also involve a family relationship.

    • For-Profit Schools Reward Students for Referrals and Facebook Endorsements

      Lyla Elkins transferred to North Nicholas High School in Cape Coral, Florida, in 2016 with hopes of sailing through its computer-based courses and graduating early. She didn’t realize the for-profit charter school would also be a source of income: a $25 gift card each time she persuaded a new student to enroll.

      “I referred almost all of my friends,” said Elkins, 17, who earned three gift cards. She also won a Valentine’s Day teddy bear in a raffle for sharing one of the school’s Facebook posts.

    • The Breakthrough: How a Reporter Uncovered Widespread Russian Meddling — In the Olympics

      In the spring of 2016, a Russian government chemist named Grigory Rodchenkov sat across from Rebecca Ruiz of The New York Times and gave her the kind of scoop journalists dream of.

      He told Ruiz and her colleague Michael Schwirtz how he helped orchestrate the covert distribution of steroids to dozens of the country’s top athletes. Russia went on to win 33 Olympic medals at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi — more than any other country. At least a third of the medal winners were linked to the elaborate doping scheme.

    • That Mythical Pro-Spanish Majority in Catalonia

      The media constantly pumps out the lie that there is a silent anti-independence majority in Catalonia, which is merely curiously invisible.

      Consider this. The highest turnout ever at an election in Catalonia was the 74.9% in the 2015 Regional Election, with 4,130.196 people casting their vote. At Spanish general elections turnout is even lower, at 69%. A minimum of 25.1% of the population never vote at all. Of that 25% who do not vote, some will be dead, or moved away, but most are probably just not civilly engaged.

      The trick of the pro-Spanish lobby is to boycott polls on Independence, and then claim that this minimum 25% of the electorate who never vote at all anyway, are anti-Independence and participating in the boycott. In truth there are absolutely no grounds to attribute the minimum 25% habitual non-voters as anti-independence. Particularly the dead ones.

    • The Islamaphobia industry

      The prevalence of Islamophobia in liberal discourse is part of the mainstreaming of anti-Muslim, anti-refugee and anti-migrant racism that many believe to be the territory of the far right.

    • Sack Boris Johnson and reshuffle cabinet, senior Tories to tell May

      Theresa May must sack Boris Johnson and shake up her cabinet if she is to reassert her authority and silence talk of a leadership plot in the wake of this week’s calamitous party conference, Conservative MPs will tell her.

      Few backbenchers were willing to give their public backing on Friday to Grant Shapps, the former party chairman who emerged as the prime mover behind a bid to gather enough MPs to convince the prime minister to step down.

    • Trump approval hits record-low 32 percent in AP poll

      President Trump’s approval rating has sunk to a new low in a new Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey.

      Thirty-two percent of Americans polled said they approved of Trump’s handling of his job in office nine months into his presidency, while 67 percent of those polled said they disapproved.

      The president’s approval rating in the poll is down from 42 percent in March and 35 percent in June.

    • Green Party conference: Brexit and Grenfell Tower on agenda

      Like the Lib Dems, SNP and UKIP, the Greens saw their vote share fall in the 2017 general election, as 82% of voters backed the Conservatives or Labour.

      The party got 1.6% of the vote, down on the 3.8% it got in 2015, although it retained its Brighton Pavilion seat.
      The party’s co-leader Jonathan Bartley, who will give a speech on Monday, said the Greens would say “things others won’t” – including on Brexit.

    • President Zigzag

      Trump essentially pulled the rug out from under the intermediaries by insulting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” threatening to “totally destroy” Kim’s nation of 25 million people, and calling for regime change in Iran. Trump’s bluster on Sept. 19 also deepened internal tensions with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who was privately supporting the secret diplomacy.

    • Who’s Really in Charge of the Voting Fraud Commission?

      On Friday, in response to a judge’s order, the Department of Justice released data showing the authors, recipients, timing, and subject lines of a group of emails sent to and from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. They show that in the weeks before the commission issued a controversial letter requesting sweeping voter data from the states, co-chair Kris Kobach and the commission’s staff sought the input of Hans von Spakovsky and J. Christian Adams on “present and future” state data collection, and attached a draft of the letter for their review — at a moment when neither had yet been named to the commission.

      The commission’s letter requesting that data has been by far its most significant action since its formation in May — and was widely considered a fiasco. It sparked bipartisan criticism and multiple lawsuits. Yesterday, a state court blocked the state of Texas from handing over its data due to privacy concerns.

      The involvement by Adams and von Spakovsky, both Republicans, in drafting the letter even before they were nominated to the commission shows their influence. Von Spakovsky previously raised eyebrows after documents from February showed him lobbying against the inclusion of Democrats on the commission.

    • The Resident Evil

      At last, we know what it takes to bump RussiaGate off of MSDNC for a few hours: three deadly hurricanes and a mass shooting with nearly 600 victims. Trump took advantage of this lull in his prime-time persecution to publicly scold the distressed people of Puerto Rico for their alleged profligacy and indolence, before turning his consolatory ministrations toward the bloodbath in Las Vegas. The theologian-in-chief advised the appalled national audience that this was an act of “pure” and “unspeakable evil”—unspeakable, one presumes, because to name the evil would require him to face the specific evil at work in real terms, define the conditions which hatched it and punish the institutions that profit from its existence. Better politically to keep the precise nature of the “evil” in Vegas vague and eschatological.

      Just as I braced myself at the thought of Donald Trump launching into a moral homily on the evils of violence, the president shifted gears, offering a brisk psychological profile of the shooter as a “sick” and “deranged” man, a psycho who had managed to stockpile an arsenal of 49 guns of varying calibers and killing capacities and enough explosives to blow a hole in Hoover Dam. I must admit this prospect was not especially reassuring to me, but Trump seemed intent on making the point that the shooting rampage was not the work of a normal man. The nation could rest easy. The shootings in Las Vegas had nothing to tell us about the devolving nature of the American character.

    • Rex Tillerson at the Breaking Point

      One afternoon in late September, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called a meeting of the six countries that came together in 2015 to limit Iran’s nuclear-weapons program. They gathered on the main floor of the United Nations headquarters, in Manhattan, in the “consultations room,” a private chamber where diplomats can speak confidentially before stepping onto the floor of the Security Council. Tillerson, who was the head of ExxonMobil before becoming President Trump’s top diplomat, had not previously met Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, who negotiated the agreement with the Obama Administration. Tillerson’s career had been spent making deals for oil, and his views on such topics as Iran’s nuclear weapons were little known. Even more obscure were his skills as a diplomat.

      Sitting at a U-shaped table, Tillerson let the other diplomats—representatives of Germany, France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Iran—speak first. When Zarif’s turn came, he read a list of complaints about the Trump Administration and its European partners. The nuclear deal had called for the removal of economic sanctions against Iranian banks, but, he said, the United States had not yet lifted them. “We still cannot open a bank account in the U.K.,” he said.

    • Caroline Lucas: Theresa May Quitting Cannot Solve Tories’ Brexit Catastrophe

      Theresa May stepping down as prime minister would not solve the Tories’ “Brexit catastrophe”, according to Parliament’s only Green MP.

      Caroline Lucas said May’s disastrous party conference speech must have been “an excruciating experience”, but that her resignation – being called for by a number of Conservative MPs, led by former party chairman Grant Shapps – would fail to address any problems.

      Speaking to HuffPost UK ahead of the Greens’ annual conference, which kicks off this weekend, Lucas said: “On a personal level my heart goes out to her, in the sense that it was clearly an excruciating experience that you wouldn’t wish on anybody. Having said that, the real disaster of that speech was not the prime minister’s cough, but more what was in the speech and a complete failure to address the overwhelmingly important issues of the day.

    • Get Involved With the Fight to Restore America’s Voting Rights

      The wave of voter suppression measures accelerated after the 2010 elections, with politicians enacting new laws that made it more difficult to register to vote and curtailed access to the ballot box. This effort got a boost from the Trump administration, which launched its own attacks on voting rights. Following President Trump’s baseless claim that 3 to 5 million people committed voter fraud during the 2016 election, the administration created the sham Pence-Kobach commission to push for restrictive voting laws.

    • America’s Hypocrisy on Democracy

      The U.S. government explicitly mentioned the specter of “one man, one vote, one time” in condoning in 1992 the Algerian military’s cancellation of the second round of a legislative election that the Islamic Salvation Front, which had won a plurality in the first round, was poised to win. The military’s intervention touched off a vicious civil war in which hundreds of thousands of Algerians died.

      History has indeed offered examples of rulers coming to power through democratic means and then clinging to power through undemocratic means. Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany only after his Nazi Party had won pluralities in two successive free elections in 1932. But there is no reason to associate such scenarios with Islamists more so than with parties of other ideological persuasions.

      A relevant modern data point is Tunisia, the one Arab country in which democracy took hold as a result of the Arab Spring. The Islamist Ennahdha Party won a free election in 2011 and formed a government but willingly stepped down in 2014 after it lost much of its public support, very much in the mold of how governments in parliamentary democracies in the West vacate office after losing the public’s confidence.

    • Losses at Trump’s Scottish resorts doubled last year

      Donald Trump boasts of making great deals, but a financial report filed with the British government shows he has lost millions of dollars for three years running on a couple of his more recent big investments: his Scottish golf resorts.

      A report from Britain’s Companies House released late Friday shows losses last year at the two resorts more than doubled to 17.6 million pounds ($23 million). Revenue also fell sharply.

      In the report, Trump’s company attributed the results partly to having shut down its Turnberry resort for half the year while building a new course there and fixing up an old one.

    • Russian Journalist Masha Gessen on Trump & Putin’s Autocracy and Media’s Refusal to Call Out Lies

      As the Senate Intelligence Committee says Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, we discuss Russia and Trump with Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen. Her new book, “The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia,” has just been shortlisted for the National Book Award and offers a warning to the United States today as she points to the similarities between Trump and Putin, and warns of the threat of autocracy under a Trump presidency.

    • The Madness of Donald Trump

      He said monstrous things and lied with stunning disinhibition, and when the civilized world recoiled in horror, he seemed to take sadistic pleasure in every minute – win or lose, the run was pure glory for him, a Sherman’s March of taboo politics and testosterone fury that would leave a mark on America forever.

      There was one more thing. Candidate Trump may have been crazy, but it was craziness that on some level was working. Even at his lowest and most irrational moments – like his lunatic assault on the family of fallen soldier Humayun Khan, in which he raved to the grieving Gold Star parents about how it was he, Trump, who had “made a lot of sacrifices” – you could argue, if you squinted really hard, that it was strategy, a kick to the base.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Why does Britain want to put the public in prison for fact-checking claims in the mainstream media?

      British Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced a fifteen-year prison sentence for watching terrorist propaganda, whatever that means this week. There is an exception for academics and journalists with “legitimate reason” to watch the material firsthand. But this also means the general public is going to be banned, under threat of a long prison sentence, from fact-checking such stories in the mainstream media.

    • The Many Problems With the Trump Administration’s Plan to Hold on to Some Immigrants’ Social Media Posts

      The policy is another part of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.

      The Department of Homeland Security recently issued a public notice that, among other things, indicates the department has expanded the records it retains in immigrants’ files to include “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results.” Following initial media reporting on the notice, we’ve been hearing from green card holders and naturalized citizens who are worried that DHS will now be monitoring their social media use on an ongoing basis.

      That’s not what the notice announces, but it is cause for concern. To understand what the notice means for immigrants, it’s important to start with where it came from. DHS issued it under the Privacy Act, which applies only to citizens and lawful permanent residents, and which requires the government to issue notices like this one when it modifies “systems of records” — i.e., databases with information that could be used to identify individuals.

    • Podcasts Explore Academic Censorship in China

      While efforts to censor Western publications can be thwarted by the publications themselves, as they were by the Journal of Asian Studies, the situation is much more restrictive for Chinese researchers. Starting in 2014, the Party escalated a campaign against Western values in Chinese universities, imposing restrictions on curriculum and requiring “ideological oversight” of teaching staff. Jane Puckett, who is on the executive committee of the China Quarterly, has called on international universities to beware of increasing censorship within China. Holly Else reports for Times Higher Education…

    • University of Wisconsin approves protest punishment policy

      University of Wisconsin System leaders approved a policy Friday that calls for suspending and expelling students who disrupt campus speeches and presentations, saying students need to listen to all sides of issues and arguments.

      The Board of Regents adopted the language on a voice vote during a meeting at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie. The policy states that students found to have twice engaged in violence or other disorderly conduct that disrupts others’ free speech would be suspended. Students found to have disrupted others’ free expression three times would be expelled.

      “Perhaps the most important thing we can do as a university is to teach students how to engage and listen to those with whom they differ,” system President Ray Cross told the regents. “If we don’t show students how to do this, who will? Without civil discourse and a willingness to listen and engage with different voices, all we are doing is reinforcing our existing values.”

    • Big Canadian ISP is actually asking the Canadian Government for Internet censorship

      Bell Canada, one of Canada’s major ISPs, is requesting the Canadian government to create a governmental censorship regime, blacklisting resources that Canadians shall not be reading. According to Bell Canada, this is necessary to “prevent people from leaving regulated television and turning to piracy instead”. It is not explained how leaving the regulated TV system, or forcing new services onto the market by turning to unlicensed distribution, is a bad thing in itself.

    • Britain announces 15 years in prison for reading banned literature

      British lawmakers have announced 15 years in prison for taking part of banned literature. However, the threat of prison only covers new story formats that lawmakers think don’t deserve the same kind of protection as old-fashioned books: it’s only people who watch video on the Internet who will be put in prison, and only when they watch something that promotes terrorism, whatever that means this week.

    • Bethesda: Anti-Nazi game wasn’t meant to “incite political discussions”

      Bethesda, publisher of the upcoming shooting game Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, has issued a formal response to decidedly informal (and largely anonymous) criticisms surrounding the anti-Nazi game. In doing so, however, the company has made the curious decision to try to absolve itself of particularly political overtones.

    • Netizen Report: LGBT People Face Online Censorship and Threats in Egypt, Jordan

      Egypt’s broadcast regulator, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, has banned all forms of support to the LGBTQ community, allegedly to “maintain public order”. The move came after a rainbow flag was raised at a concert of the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila in Cairo on 22 September. The band supports LGBTQ rights and its lead singer Hamed Sinno is openly gay.

      Egyptian authorities arrested dozens of concert goers and have since launched a criminal investigation into the incident.

    • Alibaba’s censorship for sex toys is AMAZE-BALLS
    • Fears of censorship grow as Facebook begins ‘human review’ of potentially sensitive ads

      Facebook says it will begin manually reviewing advertisements that target certain groups and address politics, religion, ethnicity and social issues.

      The company has informed some advertisers about the new “human review” requirement, warning them that it might cause delays before their ads can appear on the social media platform.

    • Censorship attempts typically will backfire

      I don’t think people should ever tell anyone else what to read or what to think (“Parents: Remove book from reading list,” Reading Eagle, Sept. 26). The best way to sell a book is to say that it shouldn’t be read. I am 82 and well past the age where it matters, but I had never read “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I just ordered my copy from Amazon.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Amber Rudd knows nothing about encryption, says Amber Rudd

      Speaking at the Conservative Party conference earlier this week the UK home secretary, Amber Rudd, stated that she didn’t need to “understand how encryption works to understand how it’s helping the criminals.” She does, however, need to understand how backdooring encryption would disadvantage perfectly legitimate businesses and potentially cost them dearly.

      With such things as the EU General Data Protection Regulation coming into play in May next year, and the UK Data Protection Bill already progressing through Parliament, encryption is a topic that will not be going away. It’s vital that businesses not only know under what circumstances encryption should be implemented, but also understand the how such encryption gels with the regulatory compliance process. That Rudd is, in effect, muddying the waters with demands for technical solutions to enable encryption to be broken on demand is unhelpful to say the least.

    • Smart jewelry tested: do beautiful devices have the brains to compete?

      I tested out a few of these pieces of smart jewelry to see if their fashion sense, combined with their tech chops, really set them apart from their traditional wearable counterparts.

    • On encryption, the UK sets a collision course with Europe

      Is encryption a threat to law and order, or an essential tool for staying secure online? Two events this week show how much disagreement there still is about it.

      First, at a meeting at the Conservative party conference earlier this week the UK’s home secretary Amber Rudd said technology experts had been “patronising” and “sneering” at politicians who try to regulate their industry.

    • Face scans at the border to keep track of EU migrants after Brexit

      A controversial requirement to fingerprint EU nationals who want to work in the UK after Brexit has been dropped from a forthcoming immigration white paper.

      Instead ministers will require EU visitors to the UK to their faces scanned if they want to stay and work in the UK, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

      The news will ease concerns of critics that EU nationals might feel they were being criminalised if they were finger printed for trying to work legally in the UK.

    • The Israeli algorithm criminalizing Palestinians for online dissent

      The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) arrest of West Bank human rights defender Issa Amro for a Facebook post last month is the latest in the the PA’s recent crackdown on online dissent among Palestinians. Yet it’s a tactic long used by Israel, which has been monitoring social media activity and arresting Palestinians for their speech for years – and has recently created a computer algorithm to aid in such oppression.

      Since 2015, Israel has detained around 800 Palestinians because of content they wrote or shared online, mainly posts that are critical of Israel’s repressive policies or share the reality of Israeli violence against Palestinians. In the majority of these cases, those detained did not commit any attack; mere suspicion was enough for their arrest.

    • Treasury’s IG probing illegal surveillance allegations
    • 58 Human Rights and Civil Liberties Organizations Demand an End to the Backdoor Search Loophole
    • Judge denies bond for accused NSA leaker
    • LinkNYC Improves Privacy Policy, Yet Problems Remain

      Since first appearing on the streets of New York City in 2016, LinkNYC’s free public Wi-Fi kiosks have prompted controversy. The initial version of the kiosks’ privacy policy was particularly invasive: it allowed for LinkNYC to store personal browser history, time spent on a particular website, and lacked clarity about how LinkNYC would handle government demands for user data, among others issues. While CityBridge, the private consortium administering the network, has thankfully incorporated welcome changes to its use policy, several problems unfortunately remain.

    • These 13 House Reps sponsored a bill to legalize mass surveillance on Americans and called it the USA Liberty Act

      Section 702 permits the warrant-less targeting of foreign targets located in international places, not on US soil. However, in practice, the mass surveillance has picked up US citizens data – and the NSA refuses to state how many Americans’ are caught up in this surveillance database. However, the USA Liberty Act would codify this mass surveillance. The USA Liberty Act is an affront on the average American’s intelligence – and is even worse than the “Restoring Internet Freedom” Act put forth by these 9 Senators.

    • National Security Agencies Are Evading Congressional Oversight

      Last week, federal officials from several spy agencies engaged in a full court press in Washington, spinning facts before media outlets, flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists, and bringing lawmakers to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Ft. Meade headquarters to feed them selective information about their unconstitutional mass surveillance activities. Predictably omitted from these conversations are the many Americans from across the political spectrum who have raised concerns, ranging from constitutional and commercial to security-related, that have rightfully dogged federal mass surveillance efforts since their revelations—not in official proceedings, but rather by whistleblowers—in 2005 and 2013.

      Rather than embrace bipartisan calls for long overdue and constitutionally necessary limits, executive officials have instead chosen to shoot the proverbial messengers, vilifying whistleblowers and building new programs to prevent others from ever coming forward. Last week’s meetings included claims that particular examples of mass surveillance proved useful, ignoring its repeated failures. While the appearance of security may be comforting to some, NSA veterans have identified discarded programs that, relative to their replacements, reportedly did a better job of protecting national security while also protecting the privacy of Americans by encrypting data collected within the U.S. and requiring a warrant for investigators to access it.

    • Kaspersky denies involvement in alleged Russian NSA breach

      Security firm Kaspersky Lab has soundly denied claims that its software was used by the Russian government to steal confidential documents belonging to a contractor of the US National Security Agency.

    • NSA breach leads to theft of government spy software
    • California won’t require Uber, Lyft drivers to be fingerprinted

      California regulators won’t require ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to get fingerprinted as part of their background checks to operate in the Golden State. Taxi drivers, however, must be fingerprinted in California.

      The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which regulates the ride-hailing industry, said that “after much consideration and debate,” criminal background checks on drivers that don’t include fingerprint checks are all that will be required, and those checks must be done by an accredited company and performed annually.

    • Judge Denies Bail for Reality Winner, Accepting Prosecutor’s Dubious Allegations

      ON THURSDAY, A FEDERAL judge denied a second request for bail from Reality Winner, a former National Security Agency contractor accused of violating the Espionage Act, despite an admission from the federal prosecutor in charge of the case that the government relied on false information in Winner’s initial bail hearing.

      In his decision denying bail, Judge Brian Epps did not acknowledge or reference the prosecutor’s false statements, despite the statement having been a principal reason the defense moved for the renewed hearing.

      The fight over whether Winner should be released pending trial stemmed from her bail hearing shortly after she was indicted in June. Winner was initially denied bail partly on the basis of alleged jailhouse recordings that suggested she may have other classified documents that she wanted to make public.

    • Russian Hackers Pilfered Data from NSA Contractor’s Home Computer: Report
    • US security secrets reportedly stolen in Russian NSA hack
    • Wall Street Journal Reporter Says Vital Information Was Exposed In NSA Breach

      NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with writer Shane Harris, one of the journalists who broke the story of the major security breach at the National Security Agency for the Wall Street Journal.

    • NSA: There’s a New Normal on the Nation-State Front

      The NCTOC’s primary mission is defending the non-classified US Department of Defense (DoD) network and its 2.9 million users that are spread everywhere from office buildings in DC to battlegrounds in Afghanistan. It also works hand-in-hand with US Cyber Command to protect other federal agencies, including the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security. The group also is in the process of moving to an integrated cyber-center that will house 250 people. “We’re talking six-foot walls and the whole nine,” said Hogue. “It will be the center of the universe for how we defend cyber.”


      As to the former, he said that the US government network rejects 85% of the emails that it receives on a daily basis. “90% of intrusions we see come from phishing, whaling and spear phishing, and it’s just a relentless barrage of emails. It still works,” Hogue said.

    • Forget Kaspersky Labs, it’s the NSA that sucks at security
    • Privacy of Web Request API
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Sheriff, Deputies Indicted After Subjecting Entire High School To Invasive Pat Downs

      According to school policies, students may be searched if there’s reasonable suspicion the student is in possession of an illegal item. The same rules apply to law enforcement, but they were ignored here. Sheriff Hobby claimed he could search any student he wanted to (in this case, all of them) simply because he was accompanied by a school administrator.

    • Ga. student in massive school drug search felt ‘sexually violated’
    • Ga. sheriff indicted for sexual battery in high school drug search

      A south Georgia grand jury indicted Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby on Tuesday for sexual battery, false imprisonment and violation of oath of office after he ordered a school-wide search of hundreds of high school students. Deputies allegedly touched girls vaginas and breasts and groped boys in their groin area during the search at the Worth County High School April 14.

      Two of Hobby’s deputies were also indicted Tuesday in connection with the case.

      The controversial search drew national attention because of how the body search of students was conducted under the guise of a drug search, but produced no drugs or arrests.

    • The House Is Moving Along a Bill Worth $10 Billion That Would Fund Trump’s ‘Big, Beautiful’ Wall and Expand His Deportation Force

      A House committee advanced a bill yesterday that will only make the unconstitutional abuses at our borders worse.

      Last month, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics concluded “the southwest land border is more difficult to illegally cross today than ever before.” Between 2000 and 2016, Border Patrol apprehensions declined by 72 percent. The decline has been so significant that the average border agent is catching about one migrant per month. Despite this, there are thousands more Border Patrol agents now than even 10 years ago, as the force more than doubled after 9/11 to over 21,000 authorized personnel today.

      The fact of the matter is that U.S. border security is more than adequate, unless you’re a Republican member of Congress that is.

    • NYT Reveals Decades of Sexual Harassment Accusations Against Harvey Weinstein
    • Bishop Cantu Reiterates Call To Pentagon To Close Guantanamo Bay Prison

      Moral and financial reasons require the Pentagon to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace reiterated in a letter to the secretary of defense.

      Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, also said in an Oct. 3 letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis that any of the 41 remaining detainees who have been cleared of charges should be transferred to new host countries and that no new detainees should be assigned to the prison.

      The bishop called for the continuation of periodic review of the cases of the detainees who remain, saying “indefinite detention without trial is also inhumane.”

    • Swedish model gets rape threats after ad shows her unshaved legs

      A Swedish model says she has received rape threats for posing in an advertisement with unshaved legs.

      Arvida Byström, who is also a photographer and digital artist, appears in a video and photograph promoting Adidas Originals’ Superstar range. Byström, who has described the norm for women to shave as “fucked”, has hairy legs in the images and says she has faced a vicious backlash as a result.

      She wrote on Instagram: “Me being such an abled, white, cis body with its only nonconforming feature being a lil leg hair. Literally I’ve been getting rape threats in my DM inbox. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to not possess all these privileges and try to exist in the world. Sending love and try to remember that not everybody has the same experiences being a person.”

    • These Photos Plunge You Into the Inner Madness of Guantánamo

      Debi Cornwall’s Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay (Radius Books) is an exhaustively researched, exceptionally photographed documentation of one the most heavily guarded prisons in the world. The way in which photographs, interviews, and government documents intersect and overlap in a multifaceted layout makes the physical book itself becomes important to the narrative. As Cornwalls says, the fold-over pages and other layout elements invite the reader to either “take what is given or choose to dig a little deeper.” It’s rare to find a photobook in which the book doesn’t just act as an outlet, but actually amplifies the power of the work within.

    • Why students are ignorant about the Civil Rights Movement

      The Civil Rights Movement was once a footnote in Mississippi social studies classrooms, if it was covered at all. Then, in 2011, Mississippi became a “model” for other states when new social studies standards set an expectation that students learn civil rights in depth.
      But despite those new expectations, most school districts in the state where the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till mobilized black Americans still use textbooks that give local civil rights milestones short shrift.

    • How A Bond Hearing Saved Me From Deportation

      Before Jennings, people fighting deportation could be detained indefinitely while they defend their rights to remain in the United States. This includes lawful permanent residents like me; asylum seekers and survivors of torture; the parents of young children who are citizens; and even citizens who are wrongly classified as immigrants. Many go on to win their deportation cases, which means their detention was completely unnecessary.

    • We’re Challenging Muslim Ban 3.0, Which Is Just More of the Same

      President Trump signed the third version of his Muslim ban executive order on Sept. 24, about two weeks before the case involving the second version of the ban was to be argued before the Supreme Court. This action led the court to cancel oral arguments on the earlier version so that the parties could address whether the new order renders the Trump administration’s appeal moot.

      In the meantime, the ACLU has returned to the federal district court to challenge the new order, which is set to go into effect on Oct. 18.

      The new ban indefinitely bans people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, five overwhelmingly Muslim countries that were also targeted by the earlier versions. The order emphasizes that countries are being banned because they have not cooperated in providing information for visa vetting. Yet Somalia remains banned even though it does live up to the government’s new visa cooperation standards.


      A famed social critic and intellectual elder accused of defaming the monarchy by questioning whether a royal elephant battle really happened four centuries ago said he’s been ordered to appear before military prosecutors.

      Sulak Sivaraksa, 84, said Thursday night that he’s been told to report Monday morning to police who will take him to a military court to meet with prosecutors preparing a case against him for allegedly criticizing a king who reigned from 1590 to 1605.

    • The Importance of Training Teachers to Better Understand Their Native Students

      Native American students make up 1.4 percent of the students in Washington state public schools. And they have the lowest graduation rate of any ethnic group, with just 56.4 percent earning a high school diploma in four years.

      “I was that young person, I dropped out of school. I was one of those statistics of Native women dropouts,” says Dawn Hardison-Stevens, who is a member of the Steilacoom Tribal Council.

      Hardison-Stevens, who at the time was a young mother with a 3-year-old and a newborn, says that a school counselor convinced her to get a high school diploma rather than just a GED. That extra push led her to pursue college, then graduate school, and then eventually to where she is today—working as program manager of the Native Education Certificate Program at the University of Washington.

    • Why the Harvey Weinstein Sexual-Harassment Allegations Didn’t Come Out Until Now

      His behavior toward women was obviously understood to be a bad thing—this was a decade after Anita Hill’s accusations against Clarence Thomas had helped the country to understand that sexual harassment was not just a quirk of the modern workplace, but a professional and economic crime committed against women as a class. But the story felt fuzzier, harder to tell about Harvey: the notion of the “casting couch” still had an almost romantic reverberation, and those who had encountered Weinstein often spoke of the conviction that they would never be believed.

    • Spain: how a democratic country can silence its citizens

      Yet the authorities’ response to the protests has been characterised by unnecessary and excessive force. They have fined participants and organisers, harassed, stigmatised and imprisoned ordinary people on criminal charges and introduced legislation that imposes additional restrictions on the freedom of peaceful assembly.

      Sadly, the organisers of protests and the participants face many challenges when trying to gather peacefully and express their views to those they voted into power. First of all, a gathering or demonstration with more than 20 people requires prior notification to the authorities, in writing and at least 10 days in advance—Spanish legislation doesn’t allow for spontaneous demonstrations.

    • British tourist faces jail in Dubai after brushing against man in bar

      A British tourist is facing a three-year jail sentence in Dubai after putting his hand out in a bar to stop himself spilling his drink and touching a man’s hip, according to his representatives.

      Campaign group Detained in Dubai said Jamie Harron, from Stirling, central Scotland, was arrested for public indecency. Harron is said to have since lost his job and has spent more than £30,000 in expenses and legal fees, having already been stuck in the country for three months.

    • Arizona man receives death threats for handing in guns to police

      A Phoenix man who posted pictures on Facebook giving his guns over to local police says he received multiple death threats after the post went viral. The original post, which has since been deleted, showed 36-year-old Jonathan Pring posing with his tactical rifle, then handing a bag of guns to the officer.

      Pring, a dual citizen of the US and Britain, said he wanted to make a change after the shooting deaths of 58 people in Las Vegas on October 1. The post is still circulating around Facebook, garnering more threats from people who say Pring should be shot and some who shared his home address to the social media site, according to the Phoenix New Times.

    • As Jeff Sessions Guts Federal Oversight of Policing, It Opens the Door for Long-Needed Local Oversight

      It’s time to demand that state and local prosecutors step up when it comes to monitoring police actions and practices.

      As President Trump spends his time denigrating black NFL players and their allies who are protesting police brutality, racial inequity, and a broken criminal justice system, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is working hard to make these problems even worse.

      Earlier this month, Sessions ended a federal police oversight program widely shown to be effective in curbing abusive policing. That follows Sessions’ announcement earlier this year that he was reexamining all Obama-era agreements between the Justice Department and troubled police departments, a move widely expected to result in the termination of these agreements or to render them toothless by refusing to enforce them.

    • Are Mexicans Indigenous?

      As many US states and municipalities have begun to eschew the colonial tradition of “Columbus Day” in favor of adopting Monday’s holiday as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” one might wonder where people of Mexican heritage fit in.

    • White and black men legally openly carry assault rifle down US streets — but police reactions are very different

      A social experiment has shown how police react to a white man and black man legally carrying an assault rifle along an American street.

      In the film by left-wing political organisation Occupy Democrats, a white man is seen carrying a semi-automatic AR-15.

      A police officer then approaches the man, named as Warren at the start of the film, and asks to see his ID.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC will allow Alphabet’s Project Loon to deliver air balloon LTE to Puerto Rico

      The Federal Communications Commission yesterday granted Alphabet-owned Project Loon an experimental license to operate in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands for the purpose of helping the islands regain connectivity. The license extends from October 6th until April 4th, 2018, and it was granted to Ben Wojtowicz, a software engineer and member of Alphabet’s X lab who works on Project Loon.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Salt Lake Comic Con Fights Back Against Judge’s ‘Unprecedented’ Gag Order

        As you will recall, the trademark dispute between the San Diego Comic Convention and the Salt Lake Comic Con is now in full swing. Thus far, the action has been somewhat strange, with the SLCC getting some pushback from the court based on what looks to be a flipflopping of exactly what defense it is claiming. That flipflopping has mostly amounted to varied claims by SLCC, run by Dan Farr Productions, that San Diego Comicon trademark for “comicon” was either generic at the time it was granted the mark or has become generic since being granted the mark. Due to that, Judge Anthony Battaglia has allowed the jury trial to move forward instead of issuing a judgment. But before he did so, Battaglia also issued a somewhat strange gag order on the Salt Lake Comic Con, prohibiting it from putting information about the case on its website, engaging the press regarding the trial, and even requiring Dan Farr Productions to put a disclaimer on its website about the injunction. At the time, we wrote that the gag order seemed strange and likely a violation of First Amendment rights.

    • Copyrights

      • Defending Users in NAFTA 2.0: Who Are We Up Against?

        After three rounds of negotiations, with a fourth coming up fast, we are still in the early days of NAFTA 2.0. In particular, the fight over copyright in NAFTA is just beginning, with the United States submitting its opening bid for the Intellectual Property chapter just last week.

        What does that bid look like? It’s hard to say, because the negotiation process is opaque and exclusionary. But even with what little information we have, we can already identify some of the key protagonists in this unfolding battle, and some of the positions that they have been lobbying their governments to adopt.


        Unfortunately, it does seem that the USTR has taken the music industry letter to heart. The initial draft IP chapter did not include a provision on balanced copyright limitations and exceptions such as fair use, despite the inclusion of such a provision in the previous trade agreement that it negotiated, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). And although the ISP safe harbor provision was not omitted altogether, its inclusion was in the form of placeholder text only, suggesting that the USTR does intend to make changes to the TPP’s rules on that topic.

      • Students Overwhelmingly Vote Pirate Party in Simulated “General Election”

        People in Need, a nonprofit that implements educational and human rights programs in crisis zones, has just released the results of a rather interesting project. After polling more than 40,000 Czech students aged 15 and above in a simulated general election, the local Pirate Party booked a decisive victory.


Links 6/10/2017: Systemd 235, Cockpit 152, More Kirigami

Posted in News Roundup at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Amdocs launches open source-based software and services portfolio for carriers

    Amdocs has announced Amdocs Network Function Virtualization (NFV) powered by Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) – a portfolio featuring modular capabilities that accelerate service design, virtualization and operating capabilities on demand.

    As the communications and media industry moves from static appliance-based networks to software based, elastic networks, carriers will be increasingly capable of providing services and capacity on demand or based on predictive traffic patterns.

    Instead of building networks for high peak periods, carriers want to spin them up dynamically to provide better network services in the right locations at lower price points. Service providers using technologies developed in ONAP and its ecosystem of capabilities can provide enterprises the ability to design their own networks as part of a richer set of service features.

  • Tevora Releases Free, Open-Source Penetration Testing Tool, SecSmash

    SecSmash is available free of charge on GitHub. Its modular framework allows for integration with any available technology solutions.

  • Open source gaining momentum in Singapore

    If you live in Singapore and have started using the newly-minted parking.sg app developed by the government to pay for street parking at public car parks, you may have noticed something in fine print in one corner of the app’s menu that says “built with open source software”.

  • Open Source Health IT App Development Cuts Back Costs

    Cloud Foundry Applications Runtime is an open source application development platform for cloud-native application. The platform is used and modified constantly to help organizations quickly gain access to the latest development technology.

    The tool has been a part of the Cloud Foundry Foundation for three years. It was originally created at VMware in 2010 and then moved to Pivotal in 2013 before it was donated to Cloud Foundry.

  • Large-Scale Governance – 10 Apache Lessons

    Even if one of these applies, you still might be smarter to join an existing “umbrella” like Software Freedom Conservancy in the US or Public Software in the UK. But if you do end up devising your own organization, you won’t go far wrong my starting with the Apache Software Foundation’s principles.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla extends, and ends, Firefox support for Windows XP and Vista

        Mozilla has announced it will end support for its Firefox browser on Windows XP and Windows Vista.

        The organisation offers Firefox Extended Support Releases (ESRs) that keep getting bug fixes for 54 weeks, even though nine new versions of Firefox should come along during that time. Mozilla offers ESR releases so that organisations with standard desktop environments can pick a version of Firefox and run it for a year, without the need to update their gold images.

        Enterprise software vendors also like this arrangement: Oracle only certifies its wares for ESRs because keeping up with a six-weekly release cycle is too much effort.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Who Won at OpenWorld? Oracle, or Amazon and Splunk?

      As this year’s Oracle OpenWorld 2017 draws to a close, I’m convinced that the best seat in the house to watch this one wasn’t anywhere near San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, the event’s venue, but sitting in front of a computer in your home or office.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • How a university’s 3D-printed prosthetics club provides devices for amputees

        Last fall, one of the co-founders of Duke University eNable published an article describing our club’s beginnings and visions for the future. In the spring of 2016, we started out as six engineering students with a passion for innovation and design, supported by a small stipend from the Innovation Co-Lab and a grant from OSPRI (Open Source Pedagogy, Research and Innovation), a project supported by Red Hat.

        Since then we have established ourselves as a presence on campus, grown into a large interdisciplinary team, and connected with multiple recipients—including a young boy in Milot, Haiti. The resources offered through Duke and the sponsorship we’ve received allow us to continuously transform our ideas into things we can share with open source enthusiasts, makers, and dreamers alike.

  • Programming/Development

    • Double Your Development Velocity without Growing Your Team

      The Developer Experience team at SendGrid is a small, but mighty force of two. We attempt to tackle every problem that we can get our hands on. This often means that some items get left behind. At the outset, we surveyed everything that was going on in our open source libraries and we quickly realized that we needed to find a way to prioritize what we were going to work on. Luckily, our team lives, organizationally, on the Product Management team, and we had just received a gentle nudge and training on the RICE prioritization framework.

      On our company blog, I wrote an article about how employing this framework, using a spreadsheet, helped us double our velocity as a team within the first sprint. Our development velocity doubled because the most impactful things for the time spent are not always the biggest things, but the biggest things tend to attract the most attention due to their size.

    • Review by many eyes does not always prevent buggy code

      Writing code is hard. Writing secure code is harder—much harder. And before you get there, you need to think about design and architecture. When you’re writing code to implement security functionality, it’s often based on architectures and designs that have been pored over and examined in detail. They may even reflect standards that have gone through worldwide review processes and are generally considered perfect and unbreakable.*

      However good those designs and architectures are, though, there’s something about putting things into actual software that’s, well, special. With the exception of software proven to be mathematically correct,** being able to write software that accurately implements the functionality you’re trying to realize is somewhere between a science and an art. This is no surprise to anyone who’s actually written any software, tried to debug software, or divine software’s correctness by stepping through it; however, it’s not the key point of this article.

    • Java Moving Forward With Faster Pace Release Schedule, Modular System
    • Onwards to Valhalla: Java ain’t dead yet and it’s only getting bigger

      Scale was big at the JavaOne conference this week. Spotify lauded its success scaling with Java, and Oracle execs practically squealed as they reeled off adoption statistics. Big Red believes the next ten years belong to Java.

      “We want the next decade to be Java first, Java always,” vice president Mark Cavage said on stage.

      Of course Java is already big and among those on stage was Alibaba, one of the world’s largest Java users, which talked up its ability to run more than a million JVM instances at once.


  • Why the Internet is worried that Microsoft’s consumer services are doomed

    Today, Microsoft sells more to businesses and enterprises than it does to consumers. The emphasis today is on subscriptions and abstract services, rather than on shrinkwrapped products it can put on store shelves.

  • A Pre-History of Slashdot

    I registered the domain name ‘Slashdot.org’ 20 years ago today. I really had no idea.

  • 20 Years of Stuff That Matters

    Today we’re marking Slashdot’s 20th birthday.

  • The U.S. Senate just took the next step to creating a national standard for testing and deploying self-driving cars

    The Senate Commerce Committee just took the next step in creating what could be the new national standard for the testing and deployment of self-driving cars. The committee unanimously agreed to send its bill, called AV Start, to the Senate floor on Wednesday.

    The bipartisan bill would establish nation-wide regulations for how companies like Uber, Tesla, Lyft, GM and others safely and legally test and then roll out their self-driving cars on public roads.

  • Science

    • Algorithm designer among those honored with the Chemistry Nobel

      The highest possible resolution we can get in a typical image is limited by the wavelength of the light we’re using. Although there are some clever ways around this limit, one alternative has been to use something with a smaller wavelength. That “something” turns out to be electrons, and the electron microscope has provided a glimpse of the details inside cells, showing us how their parts are ordered and structured.

      But this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to a group of individuals who pushed the electron microscope to its very limit, figuring out how to use it to determine the position of every single atom in large, complex molecules. The award goes partly to a researcher who successfully used electron microscopes to image proteins. But it also goes to two people who developed some of the techniques to make the whole thing work: figuring out how to freeze water quickly enough that it formed a glass and developing an algorithm that could take a large collection of random data and convert it into a coherent picture.

    • ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

      Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks who worry the race for human attention has created a world of perpetual distraction that could ultimately end in disaster

    • Do smartphone alerts make you angry? There may actually be a scientific reason for that

      According to a paper published by a team of academics from Nottingham Trent University, digital alerts from smartphones and tablets can have a direct and immediate effect on mood.

    • Growing social media backlash among young people, survey shows

      Almost two-thirds of pupils say they would not care if the technology did not exist and talk of negative impact on wellbeing

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Trump Guts Requirement That Employer Health Plans Pay For Birth Control

      The Trump administration is rolling back the Obama-era requirement that employer-provided health insurance policies cover birth control methods at no cost to women.

      According to senior officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, the goal of the new rule is to allow any company or nonprofit group to exclude the coverage for contraception if it has a religious or moral objection.

      “This provides an exemption, and it’s a limited one,” said Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office of Civil Rights. “We should have space for organizations to live out their religious identity and not face discrimination.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Apple fixes Keychain vulnerability, but only in macOS High Sierra

      The zero-day vulnerability in macOS’s Keychain has been addressed by Apple, along with some other issues in High Sierra. But other recent versions of the operating system are still vulnerable.

    • macOS High Sierra bug exposes APFS passwords in plain text

      A Brazilian software developer has uncovered a bug in Apple’s macOS High Sierra software that exposes the passwords of encrypted Apple File System (APFS) volumes in plain text.

    • The September 2017 WordPress Attack Report

      This edition of the WordPress Attack Report is a continuation of the monthly series we’ve been publishing since December 2016. Reports from the previous months can be found here.

      This report contains the top 25 attacking IPs for September 2017 and their details. It also includes charts of brute force and complex attack activity for the same period, along with a new section revealing changes to the Wordfence real-time IP blacklist throughout the month. We also include the top themes and plugins that were attacked and which countries generated the most attacks for this period.

    • Step aside, Windows! Open source and Linux are IT’s new security headache [Ed: Microsoft propagandist Preston Gralla is back from the woods. The typical spin, lies. Deflection. Windows has back doors.]
    • Sex Toys Are Just As Poorly-Secured As The Rest Of The Internet of Broken Things

      At this point we’ve pretty well documented how the “internet of things” is a privacy and security dumpster fire. Whether it’s tea kettles that expose your WiFi credentials or smart fridges that leak your Gmail password, companies were so busy trying to make a buck by embedding network chipsets into everything, they couldn’t be bothered to adhere to even the most modest security and privacy guidelines. As a result, billions upon billions of devices are now being connected to the internet with little to no meaningful security and a total disregard to user privacy — posing a potentially fatal threat to us all.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Finance

    • This ICO for an AI blockchain is the most tech-hype idea of the year
    • ‘Kleptocracy Tour’ Spotlights Nigerian Corrupt Money Funneled Through Britain

      Anti-corruption activists hoping to shine a light on the hundreds of millions of dollars funneled through London every year are organizing tours of properties allegedly bought with dishonest money.

    • Amazon Is Testing Its Own Delivery Service to Rival FedEx and UPS

      The service began two years ago in India, and Amazon has been slowly marketing it to U.S. merchants in preparation for a national expansion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the U.S. pilot project is confidential. Amazon is calling the project Seller Flex, one person said. The service began on a trial basis this year in West Coast states with a broader rollout planned in 2018, the people said. Amazon declined to comment.

    • Average Fortune 500 CEO gets a pension of $253,088 every month until they die

      The average American worker has $95,000 in their 401(k), which will not even allow them to starve with dignity; this is a sharp contrast from earlier generations of American workers, whose employers provided defined-benefits pensions — but it also is quite a distance from the CEOs of the biggest US companies, whose average pension benefit is $253,088/month.

    • Average CEO has to make do with $253,088 in monthly pension payments

      Wiseman said it’s not much of a stretch to call this “collusion.”

    • Goldman Sachs is one step closer to making Frankfurt its new European home post-Brexit

      Goldman Sachs is pushing ahead with making Frankfurt, Germany, its key European base. This week, the Wall Street giant agreed to lease multiple floors for offices in a 38-storey building, as part of its Brexit contingency plans.

      The Marienturm tower is located in the heart of Frankfurt’s business district and Goldman is looking to take around the top eight floors, which is said to accommodate around 1,000 workers. “This expanded office space will allow us to grow our operations in Germany to serve our clients, as well as provide us with the space to execute on our Brexit contingency plan as needed,” said a Goldman Sachs spokesman to Bloomberg. Quartz also contacted Goldman for comment.

    • Brexit deadlock looms as European negotiators say they have lost faith in May

      Britain will refuse to tell Europe how much it is prepared to pay to settle the so-called “Brexit bill” when Brexit negotiations re-open in Brussels next week, the Telegraph can reveal, in a move that risks plunging the Brexit talks into fresh crisis.

      The British move comes as doubts emerged across Europe that Theresa May has the political clout to seal a Brexit deal following her disastrous party conference speech and public disagreements with Boris Johnson.

      Senior Whitehall sources said that negotiators will refuse to say which financial “commitments” Britain will honour, setting up a fresh showdown with Brussels.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Someone hacked [sic] the White House chief of staff’s personal phone

      Notably, the compromised phone was Kelly’s personal device, rather than the secure phone issued by the government. The White House told Politico that Kelly rarely used the device since joining the administration, although even occasional use could have exposed sensitive government information to attackers.

    • John Kelly’s personal cellphone was compromised, White House believes

      White House tech support discovered the suspected breach after Kelly turned his phone in to tech support staff this summer.

    • John Kelly’s phone was breached as early as December: report
    • Donald Trump’s passion for cruelty

      He revels in a public discourse that threatens, humiliates and bullies.

      He has used language as a weapon to humiliate women, a reporter with a disability, Pope Francis and any political opponent who criticizes him. He has publicly humiliated members of his own cabinet and party, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a terminally ill John McCain, not to mention the insults and lies he perpetrated against former FBI Director James Comey after firing him.

      Trump has humiliated world leaders with insulting and belittling language. He not only insulted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with the war-like moniker “Rocket Man,” he appeared before the United Nations and blithely threatened to address the nuclear standoff with North Korea by wiping out its 25 million inhabitants.

    • Suspending the Catalan Parliament, Spain Destroys the EU’s “Rule of Law” Figleaf.

      It takes a very special kind of chutzpah systematically to assault voters, and drag them from polling booths by their hair, and then say that a low turnout invalidates the vote. That is the shameless position being taken by the Europe wide political Establishment and its corporate media lackeys. This Guardian article illustrates a refinement to this already extreme act of intellectual dishonesty. It states voter turnout was 43%. That ignores the 770,000 votes which were cast but physically confiscated by the police so they could not be counted. They take voter turnout over 50%.

      That is an incredibly high turnout, given that 900 voters were brutalised so badly they needed formal medical treatment. The prospect of being smashed in the face by a club would naturally deter a number of people from voting. The physical closure of polling stations obviously stopped others from voting. It is quite incredible that in these circumstances, over 50% of the electorate did succeed in casting a vote.

    • Lobbyists Tied to Trump Cash In on Their Connections

      The day after the presidential election, the Washington lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck touted its Republican team’s “significant relationships … with those who will steer the incoming Trump administration.” It highlighted Marc Lampkin, managing partner of its Washington office and a Trump fundraiser.

      Such efforts are among the ways lobbyists advertise their connections and ability to influence. One posted a pre-inauguration photo with the president on his firm’s website; another maintained a former campaign title on Facebook; others made sure to stress the backgrounds of their connected staff members online or in press releases.

      Despite Donald Trump’s campaign vow to “drain the swamp” of lobbyists and special interests, Washington’s influence industry is alive and well — and growing. Former members of the Trump transition team, presidential campaign and administration, as well as friends have set up shop as lobbyists and cashed in on connections, according to a new report compiled by Public Citizen, a public interest group, and reviewed by The Associated Press.

      Records through Aug. 31 showed at least 44 registered federal lobbyists with ties to Trump or Vice President Mike Pence. These firms have collectively billed nearly $41.8 million to clients — seven of the 10 most lucrative being foreign interests, according to the analysis of federal lobbying disclosure filings.

    • Catalan parliament to defy Spanish ban on independence debate, official says

      Catalonia’s parliament will defy a Spanish court ban and go ahead on Monday with a debate that could lead to a declaration of independence, a regional government official said, as Spain’s worst political crisis in decades looked set to deepen.

      “Parliament will discuss, parliament will meet. It will be a debate, and this is important,” the Catalan government’s head of foreign affairs, Raul Romeva, told BBC radio on Friday.

      It was the pro-independence regional government’s first clear response to a Constitutional Court decision on Thursday to suspend Monday’s planned parliamentary session, and it raised the prospect of a tough response from the central government.

    • Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream

      In August, after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville ended in murder, Steve Bannon insisted that “there’s no room in American society” for neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, and the KKK.

      But an explosive cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News proves that there was plenty of room for those voices on his website.

      During the 2016 presidential campaign, under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart courted the alt-right — the insurgent, racist right-wing movement that helped sweep Donald Trump to power. The former White House chief strategist famously remarked that he wanted Breitbart to be “the platform for the alt-right.”

    • The Rising of Britain’s ‘New Politics’

      Delegates to the recent Labour Party conference in the English seaside town of Brighton seemed not to notice a video playing in the main entrance. The world’s third biggest arms manufacturer, BAe Systems, supplier to Saudi Arabia, was promoting its guns, bombs, missiles, naval ships and fighter aircraft.

      It seemed a perfidious symbol of a party in which millions of Britons now invest their political hopes. Once the preserve of Tony Blair, it is now led by Jeremy Corbyn, whose career has been very different and is rare in British establishment politics.

      Addressing the conference, the campaigner Naomi Klein described the rise of Corbyn as “part of a global phenomenon. We saw it in Bernie Sanders’ historic campaign in the US primaries, powered by millennials who know that safe centrist politics offers them no kind of safe future.”

    • EU Official Warns War a Possibility in Catalonia

      The team captain of Spain’s storied football club Barcelona, which has become a focal point of secessionist Catalan sentiment, is urging politicians in Madrid and the Catalan capital to start negotiating about the future of Spain’s restive northeast province.

      “Before we do ourselves more damage, those in charge must open dialogue with each other. Do it for all of us. We deserve to live in peace,” Andrés Iniesta wrote on his Facebook page, apologizing at the same time for weighing in on “situations that are complex.”

      His appeal came as a top EU official Thursday warned that the separatist dispute, exacerbated by Catalan secessionists holding an illegal independence referendum Sunday, risks escalating into armed conflict.

    • Report: Facebook removed references to Russia from fake-news report

      Back in April, Facebook published a report called “Information Operations and Facebook” that detailed the company’s efforts to combat fake news and other misinformation campaigns on the site. The report was released in the midst of an uproar over potential Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. But the report doesn’t mention Russia by name, saying only that Facebook’s data “does not contradict” a January report by the Obama administration detailing Russian meddling in the election.

      On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the decision not to mention Russia was hotly debated inside Facebook. An earlier draft of the report discussed what Facebook knew at that time about Russian meddling, but that material was ultimately removed from the report before publication.

    • Obama, in Brazil, Offers Familiar Slogan to Corporate Audience
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The Latest On Shiva Ayyadurai’s Failed Libel Suit Against Techdirt

      We have a quick update today on the defamation lawsuit that Shiva Ayyadurai filed against us earlier this year. Last month, Judge Dennis Saylor dismissed the lawsuit, pointing out that everything we said concerning Ayyadurai’s claim to have invented email (specifically us presenting lots and lots of evidence of email predating Shiva’s own work) was clearly protected speech under the First Amendment. Unfortunately, despite us being a California corporation, Judge Saylor did not grant our separate motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP law — which would have required Ayyadurai to pay our legal fees.

    • Harvey Weinstein to Sue N.Y. Times, Says His Attorney

      On the heels of The New York Times’ bombshell exposé published Thursday about “decades of harassment” on the part of Harvey Weinstein, the mogul’s attorney Charles Harder says he’s preparing a lawsuit against the paper.

      “The New York Times published today a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein,” he writes in an email to The Hollywood Reporter. “It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by nine different eyewitnesses. We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish. We are preparing the lawsuit now. All proceeds will be donated to women’s organizations.”

      Harder is perhaps most famous as the lawyer who represented Hulk Hogan in the litigation that brought down Gawker. He also represented Melania Trump in a defamation action against the parent company of The Daily Mail. That case settled earlier this year. Harder also sent a cease-and-desist letter last year on behalf of Roger Ailes to New York Magazine, and in his career, he has represented many popular stars in entertainment including Reese Witherspoon and Sandra Bullock.

    • Decades of Sexual Harassment Accusations Against Harvey Weinstein
    • Censorship Board warns ‘nude’ performers

      Responding to University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Ruby Magosvongwe’s concerns over the suitability of “semi-naked” Brazilian Samba girls performing at the Harare International Carnival, Chigwedere told a stakeholders meeting that his board would take corrective measures.

    • Dirty Chinese Restaurant mobile game canceled after racism criticism

      Developer Big-O-Tree games has halted development and promotion of a planned mobile game called Dirty Chinese Restaurant after the title drew negative attention from sources including a US Congresswoman for racist portrayals of Asian-Americans.

    • Return of the algorithm monster: YouTube auto-promoted conspiracy theory videos
    • Netizen Report: LGBTQ People Face Online Censorship and Threats in Egypt

      Egypt’s broadcast regulator, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, has banned all forms of support to the LGBTQ community, allegedly to “maintain public order.” The move came after a rainbow flag was raised at a concert of the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila in Cairo on Sept. 11. The band supports LGBTQ rights, and its lead singer, Hamed Sinno, is openly gay.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • That Flag-Burning NFL Photo Isn’t Fake News. It’s a Meme

      The photo was fake, but that didn’t seem to matter; within a day, it had racked up more than 10,000 shares, likes, and comments from furious people all over the country.

    • Trump Urges Supreme Court To Throw Out Prior Muslim Ban Rulings

      With a third version of the Muslim ban set to go into effect on October 18, President Donald Trump’s administration has asked the Supreme Court to vacate lower court rulings on previous versions of the ban.

      If allowed to stand, the lower courts’ decisions threaten to undermine the executive’s ability to deal with sensitive foreign policy issues in strategically important regions of the world,” Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco writes in a letter to Scott S. Harris, the clerk of the Supreme Court.

      Francisco adds, “The court should not permit that unnecessary consequence, especially when the rulings below are preliminary injunctions litigated on a highly expedited basis.”

      The letter celebrates supposed “time limits” on entry and refugee suspensions as features that were not part of any attempts to “evade judicial review.” They were “temporary measures to facilitate the government’s inter-agency review processes and to protect national security in the interim.”

    • Hundreds Of Cases Dismissed Thanks To Baltimore PD Misconduct

      After years of listening to tough-on-crime legislators and the tough-on-crime lawmen that love to hear them talk about filthy criminals beating the system by getting off on technicalities, it’s somewhat funny to discover lots of what’s complained about is nothing more than good old-fashioned due process and/or the collateral damage of crooked, inept, or lazy cops.

      We’ve seen a lot of en masse criminal case dismissals recently. Thousands of convictions and charges were dropped in Massachusetts as the result of a state crime lab tech’s years of faked drug tests. All over the nation, cops are letting perps walk rather than discuss law enforcement’s worst-kept secret: Stingray devices.

    • Baltimore prosecutor says more than 850 cases impacted by questionable police conduct
    • Miami Beach cops arrest man for Twitter parody of police spokesman

      A Miami Beach man is facing criminal charges after he created a parody account purporting to be Ernesto Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Miami Beach Police Department. The defendant, Ernesto Orsetti, is charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer, a third-degree felony, according to a press release posted by the Miami New Times.

      “Defendant falsely created and assumed the identity of the victim (active police officer/police information officer) via Twitter,” the police report says. “The Twitter account, @ernierodmb, had a marked Miami Beach police vehicle and a photo of the victim in uniform.”

    • John Kiriakou, CIA Officer in Torture Leak Case, Injured in Serious Traffic Accident

      John Kiriakou, a prominent ex-CIA officer, and among the first to reveal the agency’s torture program, was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident earlier this week in Washington, D.C., according to one of his attorneys.

      Kiriakou suffered broken ribs, a fractured clavicle and lumbar spine damage, according to Jesselyn Radack, one of the attorneys who represented him when he was charged in 2012 with leaking classified information about CIA waterboarding of an Al-Qaeda suspect at a secret site in Thailand. He eventually pleaded guilty to one count of leaking the identity of a fellow CIA officer to a reporter and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Anybody Claiming Net Neutrality Rules Killed Broadband Investment Is Lying To You

      In 2015 the FCC passed some fairly basic net neutrality rules designed to keep broadband duopolies from abusing a lack of broadband competition to hamstring internet competitors. Despite the endless pearl clutching from ISP lobbyists and allies, the rules were relatively modest, falling well short of the more comprehensive rules we’ve seen passed in places like Canada, Japan, and India. Still, ISPs have spent every day since trying to claim that the rules somehow utterly devastated broadband sector investment, despite the fact that independent economists and journalists have repeatedly proven that to be a lie.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Members Of Congress: Court Was Wrong To Say That Posting The Law Is Copyright Infringement

        Back in February, we wrote about a disturbing court decision that said that standards that are “incorporated by reference” into law, could still be copyright infringing if posted to the internet. In that earlier post I go into much more background, but the short version is this: lots of laws point to standards put together by private standards bodies, and say, effectively, “to be legal, you must meet this standard.” For example, fire codes may be required to meet certain standards put together by a private standards body. Carl Malamud has spent years trying to make the law more accessible, and he started posting such standards that are “incorporated by reference” into the law publicly. His reasoning: once the government incorporates the standard into the law, the standard must be publicly available. Otherwise, you have a ridiculous situation in which you can’t even know what the law is that governs you unless you pay (often a lot) to access it.

        Standards bodies weren’t happy about this — as some of them make a large chunk of money from selling access to the standards. But from a straight up “the law should be public” standpoint, the answer should be “too bad.” Unfortunately, the district court didn’t see it that way, and basically said it’s okay to have parts of our laws blocked by copyright. We thought that ruling had some serious problems, and Malamud and his organization Public.Resource.Org appealed. A bunch of amicus briefs have been filed in the case — which you can see at EFF’s case page on the lawsuit. There’s a good one from some law professors about how the lower court got it wrong, as well as a ton of library associations (and also other law professors and former gov’t officials). Public Citizen also filed a good brief on the importance of having access to the law. It’s worth reading them all.

      • Iran Cracks Down On Movie Pirates In The Most Inception-Esque Manner Possible

        For those of us that pay attention to copyright matters throughout the world, a story out of Iran has had us riding a strange sort of roller coaster. Late in September, the Iranian government arrested six people it says run the movie-streaming site TinyMoviez. That site is like many others on the web, focusing on the streaming of Hollywood movies in a manner that is pretty clear-cut piracy. Iran does have copyright laws on the books, which include punishments for “anyone who publishes, distributes or broadcasts another person’s work without permission,” ranging from imprisonment for a few months to three years for violating that law. There are, however, no agreements on copyright between American and Iran, for obvious reasons, so the application of Iranian copyright law tends to be focused on Iranian content. Many were left scratching their heads wondering why the arrest had been made.


Links 5/10/2017: Stable Kernels, X.Org Server 1.19.4, Qt 5.9.2, GNOME 3.26.1, PostgreSQL 10

Posted in News Roundup at 3:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Wide: Linux Foundation’s EdgeX Foundry Debuts Barcelona

    EdgeX Foundry, which launched its open source project and community focused on building a framework for simplifying interoperability for IoT ecosystem players, is demonstrating announcing “Barcelona,” its first major code release, at IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

  • EdgeX’s Barcelona Release Sets Path for Open Source IoT

    EdgeX Foundry, the Linux Foundation’s open source industrial Internet of Things (IoT) group, is making its first major code release, dubbed Barcelona, available later this month. The new release promises to help take the complexity out of IoT by supporting certain key APIs as well as industrial protocols like Bluetooth Low Energy, MQTT (a low-energy machine-to-machine protocol), and simple network management protocol (SNPP).

  • Google Cloud, Barefoot Networks create P4 Runtime open source project

    Google Cloud and Barefoot Networks have created an open source project under P4.org called P4 Runtime, an API for enabling communication between control plane and forwarding plane in a more flexible manner.

    Suitable for local or remote-control plane software, the P4 Runtime API is independent of the underlying forwarding plane type. It offers the ability to control a diversity of networking devices including fixed-function ASICs, FPGAs, NPUs, software switches, and Programmable ASICs.

  • The Faces of Open Source: Mike Dolan

    We’re pleased to present the eighth, but sadly, final episode of Shane Martin Coughlan’s, “The Faces of Open Source Law”, featuring Mike Dolan. We’d like to thank Shane for his great work in introducing the issues related to open source software and communities, as well as the people so deeply involved and committed to helping the movement succeed.


    Mike commented that our setup was just as ramshackle as the actual show. Despite this we recorded one of the longer and most content-filled interviews of the season, providing a perfect end point to an experiment in connecting personalities to well-known names in the open source legal sphere.

  • 4 open source alternatives to Gmail

    Gmail has enjoyed phenomenal success, and regardless of which study you choose to look at for exact numbers, there’s no doubt that Gmail is towards the top of the pack when it comes to market share. For certain circles, Gmail has become synonymous with email, or at least with webmail. Many appreciate its clean interface and the simple ability to access their inbox from anywhere.

    But Gmail is far from the only name in the game when it comes to web-based email clients. In fact, there are a number of open source alternatives available for those who want more freedom, and occasionally, a completely different approach to managing their email without relying on a desktop client.

  • VOLTHA Release Provides the Brain for AT&T’s XGS-PON Plans

    AT&T’s 10-gigabit symmetric passive optical network technology (XGS-PON) plans are set to receive some open source brains.

    The carrier today released the first version of its Virtual Optical Line Termination Hardware Abstraction (VOLTHA) software into the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). The platform provides a software framework – or “brain” – behind the XGS-PON access network in the cloud.

  • AT&T Releases Open-Source VOLTHA Software for XGS-PON

    In AT&T’s latest effort to virtualize the last mile of connectivity between its fiber network and customers’ homes or businesses, the operator released open-source software it calls the “brain” for XGS-PON access technology.

  • Say Hi to Subutai

    Subutai is an open-source project and platform that lets anyone share, barter or rent computer resources to create clouds from the edge rather than centralized locations. Available devices can attach to these clouds hovering on the edge. We started calling it Social Cloud Computing, but technically, Subutai is a dynamic p2p multi-cloud made possible thanks to Lightweight Linux Containers and software-defined networking. Think Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud, but running on your computers and the computers of social contacts who share their computer resources with you. Or, think AirBnB on computers for the people’s cloud.

  • Open-Source Tool Aims to Boost Confidence in Ice Sheet Models

    Massive ice sheets with layers built up over millions of years blanket most of Greenland and Antarctica. As a result of climate change, these ice sheets have begun to melt and shrink. Scientists believe this trend is likely to continue and will contribute to sea level rise for decades to come.

  • What are the advantages of open source software?

    Open source software attracts an ever-growing list of advocates. It can save organisations a lot of money while still providing a superior service to that available from proprietary vendors.

    Read on for a rundown of the key benefits open source software has over commercial products

  • Events

    • Open Jam, our open source game jam, kicks off this week

      Open Jam is all about open source games and open game development. Whereas some jams require participants to submit source code for their games, not all of them require that code to be open source licensed. Open Jam encourages you to use open source tools and assets and to link them in your submission. Once voting has concluded, the top three games will be featured at All Things Open.

    • Webinar: 10-step plan to rollout Cloud devops
    • The ARCS model of motivational design

      The ARCS model is an instructional design method developed by John Keller that focuses on motivation. ARCS is based on a research into best practices and successful teachers and gives you tactics on how to evaluate your lessons in order to build motivation right into them.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Patching Firefox

        For Firefox 57, mozilla decided to overhaul much of their browser. The changes are large and massive, and in some ways revolutionary. It’s no surprise, therefore, that some of the changes break compatibility with older things.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 10 Released

      The PostgreSQL Global Development Group today announced the release of PostgreSQL 10, the latest version of the world’s most advanced open source database.

      A critical feature of modern workloads is the ability to distribute data across many nodes for faster access, management, and analysis, which is also known as a “divide and conquer” strategy. The PostgreSQL 10 release includes significant enhancements to effectively implement the divide and conquer strategy, including native logical replication, declarative table partitioning, and improved query parallelism.

    • PostgreSQL 10.0 Officially Released
    • PostgreSQL 10 released

      Version 10 of the PostgreSQL database management system has been released.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD gains eMMC support so … errr … watch out, Android

      Version 10.4 of FreeBSD has landed, with the headline feature being support for eMMC.

      For those of you still short of your best after nocturnal chemical exertions, eMMC – aka Embedded Multimedia Card – packs some flash memory and a controller into a single package. That arrangement is handy for manufacturers of personal electronics.

    • LibertyBSD 6.1 Released As A “Deblobbed” Version Of OpenBSD

      LibertyBSD 6.1 is now available as a deblobbed version of OpenBSD.

      LibertyBSD is a downstream of OpenBSD that focuses on only distributing free software. OpenBSD ships with non-free, binary-only firmware like Linux, but LibertyBSD strips away those binary-only bits, similar to the Linux-libre downstream kernel.

    • OpenSSH 7.6 has just been released.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Node.js is Strong and Growing

      As we come into this year’s Node.js Interactive conference it’s a good time to reflect on the State of Node.js, and by any reasonable measure the state of Node.js is very strong. Every day there are more than 8.8 million Node instances online, that number has grown by 800,000 in the last nine months alone. Every week there are more than 3 billion downloads of npm packages. The number of Node.js contributors has grown from 1,100 contributors last year to more than 1,500 contributors today. To date there have been a total of 444 releases, and we have 39,672 stars on Github. This is an enviable position for any technology and a testament to the value of Node.js and the dedication of the Node.js community.

    • SUSE Developer Working On AMD Zen Tuning For GCC

      Veteran GCC contributor and SUSE developer Jan Hubicka has begun working on some Zen tuning within the GNU Compiler Collection for benefiting the Ryzen / Threadripper / Epyc processors.

      While GCC has already had the “znver1″ scheduler model and some tuning for this new CPU microarchitecture, tuning a complicated compiler stack is a virtually never-ending process, just as the LLVM/Clang znver1 support continues to be refined too. AMD has long partnered with SUSE for compiler engineering excellence from working on GCC HSA code to the initial x86_64 bring-up and much more over the years. Given Hubicka now working on Zen tuning, this looks to be the latest involvement.

    • PyPy v5.9 released
    • PyPy v5.9 Released, Now Supports Pandas, NumPy

      The PyPy team is proud to release both PyPy3.5 v5.9 (a beta-quality interpreter for Python 3.5 syntax) and PyPy2.7 v5.9 (an interpreter supporting Python 2.7 syntax).

    • PyPy 5.9 Released With Faster JSON Parser, Greater Compatibility

      PyPy, the self-hosting alternative Python interpreter, is up to version 5.9 for its Python 2 and Python 3 language support.

      PyPy 5.9 brings support for Numpy and Pandas with its Python 2.7 implementation, greater compatibility in conjunction with Cython 0.27.1, an optimized JSON parser, updated CFFI, improvements to the C API compatibility layer, and other updates.

    • Red Hat will provide PHP 7.1 for RHEL (and CentOS)


  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Quality Of Medicines A Key Focus Of Antimicrobial Resistance Fight

      Assuring the quality of medicines all the way to the consumer is a key component of the global antimicrobial resistance action plan now beginning to be implemented around the world, a panel of experts said during the recent United Nations General Assembly.

      There are a number of reasons why patients develop resistance to antimicrobials, said Ramanan Laxminarayan, director and senior fellow, Center for Disease Dynamics Economics & Policy (CDDEP), the moderator of the panel. Examples are that people do not take the full course of treatment, or that they buy substandard medicines over the counter from local shops.

    • WHO Official On AMR: Poor Quality Medicines Entering At “Last Mile” To Patient

      In the question and answer period, Inoue reported on WHO efforts, saying for instance that since WHO launched its global surveillance and monitoring system for substandard or falsified medicines in 2012, they have gathered more than 1,500 reports of such medicine from more than 100 countries. So there is now some data on clusters of medicines or categories of medicines most prone to such issues.

    • Police raid Merck pharmaceutical plant amid mysterious drug crisis

      In the six months since pharmaceutical giant Merck KGaA reformulated a thyroid hormone replacement drug distributed in France, patients there have filed dozens of lawsuits. Hundreds of thousands signed a petition to reverse the change, and around 9,000 reported illnesses and side-effects, some dramatic. They complain of hair loss, cramps, weight gain, extreme fatigue, headaches, diarrhea, dizziness, memory loss, and heart palpitations.

      The outcry has created a political and media blitz. Rumors and conspiracy theories have flown, including that Merck switched production of the drug to a plant in China to cut costs. (The drug, which has no competition in France, is produced in Europe.)

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • How 2nd Amendment Distortions Kill

      “Gun rights” advocates insist that pretty much any gun control violates the design of the Constitution’s Framers and thus can’t be enacted no matter how many innocent people die.

      Some on the Right, as well as some on the Left, even claim that the Founders, as revolutionaries themselves, wanted an armed population so the people could rebel against the Republic, which the U.S. Constitution created. But the Constitution’s Framers in 1787 and the authors of the Bill of Rights in the First Congress in 1789 had no such intent.

      Arguably other individuals disconnected from the drafting of those documents may have harbored such radical attitudes (at least rhetorically), but the authors didn’t. In fact, their intent was the opposite.

      The goal of the Second Amendment was to promote state militias for the maintenance of order at a time of political unrest, potential slave revolts and simmering hostilities with both European powers and Native Americans on the frontiers. Indeed, the amendment’s defined purpose was to achieve state “security” against disruptions to the country’s new republican form of government.

    • Pilger Criticizes Ken Burns’s ‘The Vietnam War’

      For decades, the U.S. mainstream media has shied away from a clear-eyed view of the Vietnam War, not wanting to offend the war’s apologists, a residue of which tainted the recent PBS series, as John Pilger told Dennis J Bernstein.

    • No, Bill O’Reilly, Bloody Las Vegas Massacre Is Not “Price of Freedom”

      After former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly—ousted from his nightly show earlier this year following allegations of sexual harassment—described the blood-soaked massacre at a Las Vegas music festival on Sunday night that left 59 people dead and hundreds wounded as “the price of freedom,” the good people of the nation had a simple response: No, you heartless and mindless idiot.

      “Once again,” O’Reilly wrote on his personal blog Monday, “the big downside of American freedom is on gruesome display.” Later, he argued that mass murder at the hands of people with automatic assault rifles is simply “the price of freedom” because “violent nuts are allowed to roam free until they do damage, no matter how threatening they are.”

      Though a classic construction of right-wing demagoguery, that thinking is betrayed by serious academic research which shows that when strict gun control laws are put in place, these kinds of attacks are incredibly rare compared to what the United States—hostage as it is to the nation’s gun industry lobby and the NRA—has been forced to experience in recent decades.

    • A Mindset Shift Is Necessary to Defeat Gun Violence

      One night in 2013, I sat in my living room, gaze fixed on the television. A teenage girl the same age as my own daughter had been murdered. In our neighborhood (and the neighborhood of the then-president, too). So many questions ran through my head: “How, what, why?” Yes — lots and lots of “why?”

      Her mother sobbed and moaned uncontrollably on the TV. Her family crowded around to bring strength to her, but at that moment, nothing could. I knew this scene. I knew the sound of it. I knew what it meant and I was terrified of it.

    • Two Charts on the Gun Crisis: One Hopeful, One Hopeless

      This chart shows that there’s a fairly strong relationship between the rate of gun-related deaths (murders, suicides, accidents) and the percentage of households that own guns: the fewer households with guns, the fewer gun deaths. This is encouraging because it suggests that efforts to reduce the heavy toll of gun deaths could work: If the statistical correlation holds, you wouldn’t have to eliminate all guns—a probably impossible goal—you would just have to reduce their number in order to significantly reduce the carnage. In other words, if Kentucky reduced household gun ownership by about two-fifths (just eyeballing it), it might look more like Delaware, with roughly two-thirds the rate of gun deaths.

    • Trump plans to declare that Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Texas Official After Harvey: The ‘Red Cross Was Not There’

      The Red Cross’ anemic response to Hurricane Harvey left officials in several Texas counties seething, emails obtained by ProPublica show. In some cases, the Red Cross simply failed to show up as it promised it would.

      In DeWitt, a county of 20,000 where Harvey ripped apart the roof of a hotel, Emergency Management Coordinator Cyndi Smith upbraided a Red Cross official in a Sept. 9 email:

    • The Latest: Interior ordered to reinstate methane rule

      A federal judge has ordered the Interior Department to reinstate an Obama-era regulation aimed at restricting harmful methane emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands.

      The order by a judge in San Francisco comes as Interior is moving to delay the rule until 2019, saying it is too burdensome to industry. Interior tried earlier to postpone part of the rule set to take effect next year.

    • Demand for new cars declines in September as consumer and business confidence falls

      The UK new car market declined for a sixth consecutive month in September, with 426,170 new units registered, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Registrations fell by -9.3% in this key month, as economic and political uncertainty, and confusion over air quality plans led to a fall in consumer confidence.

    • The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals the Federal Cover-Up of Barbaric Factory Farms

      FBI AGENTS ARE devoting substantial resources to a multistate hunt for two baby piglets that the bureau believes are named Lucy and Ethel. The two piglets were removed over the summer from the Circle Four Farm in Utah by animal rights activists who had entered the Smithfield Foods-owned factory farm to film the brutal, torturous conditions in which the pigs are bred in order to be slaughtered.

      While filming the conditions at the Smithfield facility, activists saw the two ailing baby piglets laying on the ground, visibly ill and near death, surrounded by the rotting corpses of dead piglets. “One was swollen and barely able to stand; the other had been trampled and was covered in blood,” said Wayne Hsiung of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), which filmed the facility and performed the rescue. Due to various illnesses, he said, the piglets were unable to eat or digest food and were thus a fraction of the normal weight for piglets their age.

  • Finance

    • Explaining the new cryptocurrency bubble—and why it might not be all bad

      You’re going to hear a lot about initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the coming months. As investors have poured more and more money into newly created virtual currencies, they have created a gold-rush mentality. In recent months, some ICOs have raised tens of millions of dollars, and in early October the cryptocurrency market as a whole was worth about $140 billion.

    • Before Maria, Forcing Puerto Rico to Pay Its Debt Was Odious. Now It’s Pure Cruelty.

      On Tuesday, Donald Trump followed up his sadistic attacks on the people of Puerto Rico with a comment out of the blue regarding the territory’s $73 billion debt: “… we’re going to have to wipe that out.” Whether or not Trump can be taken any more seriously on that than he can on any other issue, Hurricane Maria did reveal in the starkest possible way that forgiveness of Puerto Rico’s debt is a moral necessity.

      The economic vulnerability that set the island up for an unnatural disaster unprecedented in U.S. history was a hybrid between mainland hedge-fund managers’ greed and the island colony’s political powerlessness. Writing more than a year before Maria, legal scholar Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan argued,

    • Puerto Rico Is On Track for Historic Debt Forgiveness — Unless Wall Street Gets Its Way

      For bondholders sitting on Puerto Rican debt, Hurricane Maria may have come just when they needed it, just as a yearslong battle over the fate of the island’s financial future was beginning to turn against them. Or, depending on how the politics shake out, they could see their entire bet go south.

      Ahead of Maria, the federally appointed fiscal oversight board now in control of Puerto Rico’s finances had developed a plan that would wipe out 79 percent of the island’s annual debt payments, taking a massive chunk out of the payday hedge funds had been hoping to land from the island.

      In the wake of the storm, that fight could go one of two ways: Advocates for Puerto Rico are making the case that the devastation means that 79 percent should be ratcheted up all the way to a full debt cancellation. The hedge funds, meanwhile, see an opening to attack the oversight board and reclaim ownership of the process.

      While Congress focuses on the size and shape of the relief package, the battle over the much larger debt — at least $74 billion — is being overshadowed. As hedge funds attempt to undermine the board’s legitimacy in the courts, resentment toward the board from a different end of the political spectrum has made the body unpopular for entirely different reasons: It’s colonial and undemocratic. The difference between the two? The left wants debt relief for Puerto Ricans. Many bondholders want the opposite.

    • 13 Cost-Cutting Measures Companies Hope You Won’t Notice
    • Trump Tax Plan Is a Rocket for the Rich

      As President Trump begins a barn-storming tour to tout his tax plan, we’ve released a short video rebutting some of the most common Republican myths about corporate tax cuts.

      Trump has claimed that we’ll “see a rocket ship” once his tax plan is adopted — that’s just how much he wants us to believe the economy will take off.

      But as predicted, the plan he and congressional Republican leaders released on September 27 would primarily benefit the wealthy and big corporations. For the rest of us, it would be a dud.

    • Special Investigation: How America’s Biggest Bank Paid Its Fine for the 2008 Mortgage Crisis—With Phony Mortgages!

      You know the old joke: How do you make a killing on Wall Street and never risk a loss? Easy—use other people’s money. Jamie Dimon and his underlings at JPMorgan Chase have perfected this dark art at America’s largest bank, which boasts a balance sheet one-eighth the size of the entire US economy.

      After JPMorgan’s deceitful activities in the housing market helped trigger the 2008 financial crash that cost millions of Americans their jobs, homes, and life savings, punishment was in order. Among a vast array of misconduct, JPMorgan engaged in the routine use of “robo-signing,” which allowed bank employees to automatically sign hundreds, even thousands, of foreclosure documents per day without verifying their contents. But in the United States, white-collar criminals rarely go to prison; instead, they negotiate settlements. Thus, on February 9, 2012, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced the National Mortgage Settlement, which fined JPMorgan Chase and four other mega-banks a total of $25 billion.

    • Why Apple could be slapped with a massive $15 billion Irish tax bill

      The European Commission on Wednesday stepped up its campaign to force big American technology companies to pay more taxes on Wednesday. It ruled that Luxembourg had violated EU rules by allowing the bulk of Amazon’s European profits to go untaxed, and it announced it was taking Ireland to court for failing to collect higher taxes from Apple, after Ireland ignored a similar ruling from the EC last year. If the EC wins the battle, Apple could owe €13 billion ($15 billion), while Amazon could owe an extra €250 million ($290 million).

      The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, says that she’s just trying to create a level playing field by preventing big multinational companies from getting sweetheart deals not available to most companies. But critics say Vestager is meddling in the internal tax policy decisions of democratic nations—and some have also insinuated that she has been singling out American multinationals for extra scrutiny.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Exclusive: Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin

      Facebook previously has acknowledged that about one quarter of the 3,000 Russian-bought ads were targeted to specific geographic locations, without detailing the locations. The company said of the ads that were geographically targeted “more ran in 2015 than 2016.” In all, Facebook estimates the entire Russian effort was seen by 10 million people.

    • Facebook Fought Rules That Could Have Exposed Fake Russian Ads

      Since 2011, Facebook has asked the Federal Election Commission for blanket exemptions from political advertising disclosure rules — transparency that could have helped it avoid the current crisis over Russian ad spending ahead of the 2016 U.S. election.

    • Baltimore’s ‘Kushnerville’ Tenants File Class Action Against Landlord

      Tenants of the Baltimore-area apartment complexes owned by Jared Kushner’s real-estate company have brought a class-action lawsuit against the firm’s property management arm over its aggressive pursuit of tenants for allegedly unpaid rent.

      The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Circuit Court for Baltimore City, alleges that the management company and related corporate entities have been improperly inflating payments owed by tenants by charging them late fees that are often unfounded and court fees that are not actually approved by any court. This, the lawsuit charges, sets in motion a vicious cycle in which tenants’ rent payments are partly assessed toward the fees instead of the actual rent owed, thus deeming the tenant once again “late” on his or her rent payment, leading to yet more late fees and court fees. Making matters worse, the 5 percent late fees are frequently assessed on principal that includes allegedly unpaid fees, not just the rent itself. Tenants are pressured to pay the snowballing bills with immediate threat of eviction, the suit alleges.

    • In the South, Bankruptcy is Different, Especially for Black Debtors

      For consumers, there are two main options under federal bankruptcy law: Chapter 7, which wipes away most debts, or Chapter 13, which usually requires five years of payments before debts are forgiven. In most of the country, people choose Chapter 7. But two overlapping groups — debtors in the South and black debtors — disproportionately file under Chapter 13. About half of Chapter 13 cases are dismissed, usually because debtors failed to make their payments. This can leave them worse off than before they filed because they’ve paid court costs and attorney fees while falling further behind on their debts. Detailed Findings | Related Story | Download the Data

    • How the Bankruptcy System Is Failing Black Americans

      Novasha Miller pushed through the revolving doors of the black glass tower on Jefferson Avenue last December and felt a rush of déjà vu. The building, conspicuous in Memphis’ modest skyline along the Mississippi River, looms over its neighbors. Then she remembered: Years ago, as a teenager, she’d accompanied her mother inside.

    • The U.S. Election System Remains Deeply Vulnerable, But States Would Rather Celebrate Fake Success

      When the Department of Homeland Security notified 21 states that Russian actors had targeted their elections systems in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, the impacted states rolled out a series of defiant statements. “Oregon’s security measures thwarted Russian government attempts to access the Secretary of State computer network during the 2016 general election,” chest-thumped Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson.

      The Florida secretary of state’s office, which oversees elections, was triumphant: “Florida was unsuccessfully targeted by hackers last year.”

    • Calling Foul on Donald Trump

      A post-surgical convalescence has held me captive to the 24/7 news cycle more than usual so I’ve been far too immersed than is healthy in the concurrent sagas of Donald Trump versus the National Football League and the United States Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Hence a couple of thoughts about aspects of Trump’s life and worldview that may help connect some dots:

    • Protest in the Black Lives Matter movement: an interview with activist and lawyer Justin Hansford
    • Catalonia: Rajoy Moves Towards Extreme Measures

      Things have taken a much more sinister turn in Catalonia, without sufficient notice being paid internationally. The leader of the Catalan regional police force has been formally arraigned for sedition by the Spanish attorney general, for refusal to comply enthusiastically with the beating up of old women. That carries a minimum jail sentence of four years. It is the first step towards major imprisonment of Catalan leaders. It is also extremely significant that this first step is aimed at decapitating the only disciplined and armed force under some measure of Catalan government control. What does that tell you about Rajoy’s next move?

      This extreme action against Major Trapero is precisely in line with last night’s ultra hardline address by a man with the comic opera name of Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos de Borbón y Grecia. It is hard to take seriously anyone named after a whiskey, but we live in such a strange world that this unelected, far right and immensely corrupt, inbred buffoon could spout about democracy and accuse anyone who did not bow the knee to him of disloyalty and sedition. That precisely prefigures the legal action taken against Major Trapero. It can only be a precursor to a Spanish attempt to impose physical control on Catalonia and imprison its leaders. Having rejected both dialogue and mediation, I see no other direction Rajoy will take.

    • The EU Doubles Down on Backing For Rajoy

      Timmerman said “rule of law” an amazing 12 times during his brief closing statement, and said “human rights” or “fundamental rights” precisely zero times. At no stage did Timmermans acknowledge that the Spanish Guardia Civil had viciously attacked peaceful civilians of all ages.


      It was, in short, horrific. I am afraid to say that it left me in no doubt whatsoever that I have made the right choice in declining further to support membership of the EU.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Trump Wants to Censor the Media

      Frustrated with a set of damning reports about his relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—including the nugget that Tillerson called him a “moron” (perhaps with an R-rated modifier)—the president offered a new suggestion on Twitter Thursday morning: Why not explore government censorship of the press?

    • Cloudflare Bans Sites For Using Cryptocurrency Miners

      Web-based cryptocurrency miners became a big thing recently when The Pirate Bay trialed one to generate extra revenue. Now, however, TorrentFreak has learned that Cloudflare has banned at least one torrent proxy site for deploying a miner on its platform. According to Cloudflare, unannounced miners are considered malware.

    • Amber Rudd: viewers of online terrorist material face 15 years in jail

      Asked by an audience member if she understood how end-to-end encryption actually worked, she said: “It’s so easy to be patronised in this business. We will do our best to understand it. We will take advice from other people. But I do feel that there is a sea of criticism for any of us who try and legislate in new areas, who will automatically be sneered at and laughed at for not getting it right. I don’t need to understand how encryption works to understand how it’s helping the criminals,” she went on. “I will engage with the security services to find the best way to combat that.”

    • Former Revenge Porn Site Operator Readies For Senate Run By Issuing Bogus Takedown Requests To YouTube

      He also had a history of mocking those who asked him to take down the nude photos that he had posted on his site. For example, this was posted to Brittain’s site, and preserved by Adam Steinbaugh (Craig took down this and other posts after Steinbaugh wrote about them). What you see below is Craig literally responding “lol” to people freaked out that their naked photos were posted to his site without their knowledge or consent (while the image says “admin,” Craig has publicly admitted he wrote and posted those responses).

    • Shouldn’t Federal Judges Understand That Congress Did Not Pass SOPA?

      We’ve discussed in the past the completely ridiculous attacks on Sci-Hub, a site that should be celebrated as an incredible repository of all the world’s academic knowledge. It’s an incredible and astounding achievement… and, instead of celebrating it, we have big publishers attacking it. Because copyright. And even though the purpose of copyright was supposedly to advance “learning” and Sci-Hub serves that purpose amazingly well, so many people have bought into the myth of copyrights must “exclude” usage, that we’re in a time where one of the most amazing libraries in the world is being attacked. Sci-Hub lost its big case earlier this year, and almost immediately others piled on. Specifically, back in June, the American Chemical Society (ACS) jumped in with a similar “us too!” lawsuit, knowing full well that Sci-Hub would likely ignore it.

    • Censorship board considers new name

      He said the idea to come up with a new name was informed by the negative connotations attracted by the current name.

    • Too much self-censorship

      It’s not just newspapers or internet giants like Twitter or Facebook; we are all in the communications business. We’re not the talking naked apes we once were. Now we are a species with interconnected tongues and brains, linked by clouds of computers and thinking machines. The same primate thumbs that enabled us to become toolmakers have now become our primary language devices. No thumbs means no phone, no communication.


      Here at this newspaper, we have inherited new jobs. Every week we are forced to chase down Facebook errors and Nextdoor rumors and try to set the record straight. Why can’t Facebook’s billionaire Mark Zuckerberg do his own job? Maybe because he’s already admitted he can’t control all his thinking machines. Google’s motto is “do no harm.” That sounds a lot like a tag line promoting last summer’s Planet of the Apes movie.

    • Iranian art: of culture, clerical censorship and western influence
    • Spring art in Tehran
    • Banned books: Garland Public library display draws attention to censorship issues
    • Ladd Celebrates Banned Books Week in Style
    • Worth reading
    • Blade’s Lessenberry to lecture on censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Journalist’s supporters can sue FBI over subpoena seeking names of defense fund donors: Judge

      Kevin Gallagher, the creator of “Free Barrett Brown,” sued the government in San Francisco federal court this past February after learning that the Dallas prosecutor’s office used a subpoena to quietly obtain the names and other personal information of individuals who made seemingly anonymous donations to the writer’s defense fund. Prosecutors investigating the criminal case against Mr. Brown said the subpoena was necessary to determine if the accused could afford to hire an attorney, but lawyers representing Mr. Gallagher and an anonymous donor argued that the government sought “completely irrelevant” information that was meant to intimidate and silence the journalist’s supporters.

    • The U.S. Voted Against a U.N. Resolution Condemning Death Penalty for LGBTQ People

      President Donald Trump’s administration is facing strong backlash from civil rights groups after voting against a U.N. resolution that condemns using death penalty to punish “consensual same-sex relations.”

      The U.N. Human Rights Council approved the measure on Friday with a 27-13 vote, with seven countries abstaining. The United States, led by Amb. Nikki Haley, voted for an amendment to the resolution that said the death penalty was not necessarily a human rights violation, and voted against amendments urging countries to stop using experimental drugs in executions.

    • Judge: Barrett Brown donors can sue government over subpoenaed records

      A federal judge in San Francisco has denied the FBI’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a local activist who raised money for Barrett Brown. Brown is a journalist who was released from prison last year.

      As Ars reported previously, in April 2014 Brown took a plea deal admitting guilt on three charges: “transmitting a threat in interstate commerce,” interfering with the execution of a search warrant, and being “accessory after the fact in the unauthorized access to a protected computer.” Brown was arrested in 2012 when he shared a link related to Anonymous’ hack of Stratfor.

      During Brown’s incarceration, activist Kevin Gallagher solicited over $40,000 in donations on the WePay website. However, he soon found that the FBI had successfully subpoenaed WePay to obtain information about the myriad donors whose identities Gallagher had pledged to keep secret.

    • Search of “Rocket” Madsen’s space lab finds footage of woman’s decapitation

      Copenhagen prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen announced in a court hearing Wednesday that “images” of the torture, decapitation, and burning of a woman were found on a computer hard drive at RML Spacelab, the organization devoted to building a manned suborbital rocket led by Danish aerospace engineer Peter Madsen. The BBC reports that the images, “which we presume to be real,” said Buch-Jepsen, were on a computer believed to belong to Madsen—the suspect in the death of journalist Kim Wall in an incident aboard his submarine the UC3 Nautilus.

      Madsen, for his part, claimed the video was not his and that the computer the video was on was a computer that everyone in the lab had access to. But other evidence presented in this latest hearing on his case has prompted the judge overseeing the case to order he be held in custody another four months, as Buch-Jepsen told the court of the video and other evidence that have “strengthened” the case against Madsen since his last hearing on September 5.

    • Supreme Court says live streaming would “adversely affect” oral arguments

      The Supreme Court is setting aside a request to live stream its oral arguments. The attorney for Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. told members of Congress that live streaming even the audio portion of its oral arguments might impact the outcome.

      “The Chief Justice appreciated and shares your ultimate goal of increasing public transparency and improving public understanding of the Supreme Court,” Roberts’ attorney, Jeffrey P. Minear, wrote (PDF) the four members of Congress seeking (PDF) to have the court’s gerrymandering case live streamed in audio. “I am sure you are, however, familiar with the Justices’ concerns surrounding the live broadcast or streaming of oral arguments, which could adversely affect the character and quality of the dialogue between the attorneys and Justices. Consequently, the Court is unable to accommodate your request.”

    • 3 Bills Gov. Jerry Brown Should Sign Right Now

      Each day, California Gov. Jerry Brown releases a list of 30-40 bills that he’s signed—and those that he’s vetoed. When all is said and done, California likely will add more than 800 new laws to the books this year.

      And each day, EFF refreshes and refreshes the governor’s press release page, watching for Brown to take action on the bills we fought to put on his desk. He has until Oct. 15 to sign, veto, or let bills pass without his signature.

      Will he sign S.B. 345, a police transparency bill that even law enforcement supports? Will he agree that at-risk youth in juvenile halls and foster homes deserve access to digital tools, as proposed by A.B. 811? Will he finish the job of reforming California’s gang databases and approve A.B. 90?

      He could act on these bills any time over the next 10 days. If you live in California, tell the governor that today is a great day to strengthen our digital rights.

    • Seattle’s Nazi tech-bros’ plan: infiltrate tech industry, hire white supremacists

      The Stranger’s David Lewis snuck into the Northwest Forum, a s00per s33kr1t Nazi gathering in Seattle, and attended the speeches, including the keynote by reclusive white supremacist leader Dr Greg Johnson.

      All in all, the Forum was a pretty dull affair, but Johnson did take the opportunity to describe his strategy for “secret agent” white nationalists to infiltrate the tech sector by paying “lip service to diversity,” moving up the corporate ladder, and hire other mediocre white men who believe in racial superiority to fill the companies’ vacancies.

    • Judge: Barrett Brown Donors Plausibly Allege FBI Violated Free Speech

      A magistrate judge dismissed multiple claims brought by supporters of journalist Barrett Brown against a former assistant United States attorney, former special FBI agent, and the U.S. government. But the judge did not entirely dismiss the lawsuit and left the door open for one donor to amend his claim arguing an FBI subpoena chilled his First Amendment activity.

      Brown was released from prison on November 29, 2016, after serving a prison sentence which stemmed from pleading guilty to threatening an FBI agent, obstructing justice, and being an accessory to a cyber attack. He spent two years in pretrial incarceration prior to his sentence in 2014.

      Cadina Heath was the assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Texas. Robert Smith was a special FBI agent in the Dallas office. They drafted and served WePay with a subpoena that directed WePay to produce records on the crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Brown’s legal defense. It exposed the identities of donors, their sensitive financial information, and the amounts of their donations, and allegedly targeted their political speech.

    • He Was Meant To Secure An Election — He Turned Up Dead

      Early in the morning on July 31, eight days before a highly contested election that would plunge the country into a crisis unlike any it had seen before, the man responsible for designing the electronic system to ensure a fair and accurate vote was found brutally murdered.

      Authorities found the body of Chris Msando, the deputy IT manager of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), on the side of the road in a town called Kikuyu, about 12 miles northwest of Nairobi. Police also found the body of a 21-year-old woman next to him; both of their clothes had been removed. Early reports indicated that Msando’s arm had been chopped off, but a pathologist later clarified that he had suffered several cuts to his arm and other signs of torture. Officials said the cause for his death was strangulation. Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations continues the probe into his killing.

    • Indiana Supreme Court: Sex with minors is OK, but it’s illegal to sext them

      In Indiana, it’s legal for adults to have consensual sex with minors aged 16 and 17. But it’s illegal to sext those same minors, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled this week. The decision reinstated sexting charges against an adult who texted nude images of himself to a girl he knew was 16.

      The state’s highest court, ruling 5-0, noted that the charges against 40-year-old defendant Sameer Thakar, a high school teacher who has been removed from his post, are “inconsistent” when balanced against the state’s laws on consensual sex. But state lawmakers, and not the Supreme Court, can rectify that if they want to, the court ruled.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Broadband Lobbyists Gush Over Re-Appointment Of Trump’s FCC Boss

      If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that Trump-appointed FCC boss Ajit Pai is viciously unpopular. There are dozens of reasons for this, ranging from his assault on net neutrality and broadband privacy rules, to his efforts to protect cable’s set top box monopoly while fiddling with data measurement to downplay a lack of competition in the space. Pai’s the type to gut broadband funding programs for the poor while professing to be a stalwart champion of bridging the digital divide — a man whose self-professed dedication to transparency is notably absent in his policy making.

    • Wall Street Predicts Apathetic Regulators And Limited Competition Will Let Comcast Double Broadband Prices

      Wall Street predicts that cable giants like Comcast will soon be cashing in on the one-two punch of rubber stamp regulators and an ongoing lack of competition in the broadband space. Under the Obama administration, regulators turned a blind eye to the fact that cable giants like Comcast were taking advantage of a lack of competition to impose arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps and overage fees. Under the Trump administration that apathy has ballooned ten fold, with the looming assault on net neutrality only green lighting Comcast’s ability to use those fees to raise rates and hamstring streaming competitors.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Man who sued over Facebook childbirth livestream slapped with $120k in fees

        A father who livestreamed his son’s birth on Facebook and then sued various media outlets that used his clips has been ordered to pay $120,000 in attorneys fees after losing his case.

        US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled in February that TV stations broadcasting clips of the 45-minute livestream, published online by Kali Kanongataa, qualified as fair use. NBC used 30 seconds of the video on one of its morning shows, while ABC and Yahoo used 22 seconds of the video for a segment that was broadcast on Good Morning America and a Yahoo site that hosts ABC content. The father also sued COED Media Group.

      • ‘Six Strikes’ May Be Dead, But ISPs Keep Threatening To Disconnect Accused Pirates Anyway

        Earlier this year, the entertainment and telecom industries’ “six strikes” anti-piracy initiative died a quiet death after years of hype from the RIAA and MPAA about how it would revolutionize copyright enforcement (it didn’t). The program involved ISPs using a rotating crop of “escalation measures” to temporarily block, throttle or otherwise harass accused pirates until they acknowledged receipt of laughably one-sided copyright educational materials. Offenders, accused entirely based on IP address as proof of guilt, were allowed to try and contest these accusations — if they paid a $35 fee.

      • MPAA Reports Pirate Sites, Hosts and Ad-Networks to US Government

        The MPAA has submitted a new list of “notorious websites” to the US Government. The list features a wide variety of pirate sites including The Pirate Bay, Gostream, and Rapidgator, and also mentions fully-loaded streaming boxes. For the first time, the overview also includes ad-networks, highlighting the Canadian company WWWPromoter as an example.


Links 4/10/2017: OpenSSH 7.6, Mesa 17.2.2, FreeBSD 10.4

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Comcast: Open Source Program Success Depends on Business Strategy Alignment

    Comcast’s involvement in open source was a gradual process that evolved over time. The company eventually created two open source program offices, one for the NBC business and another for the cable side of the business, which is the subject of this profile.

  • How FinTech Company Europace Is Modeling Its Corporate Structure on Open Source Principles

    Concepts such as decentralizing strategy, delegating direction, and fierce transparency in communication are part of the backbone of successful open source projects. In my presentation at Open Source Summit EU in Prague, I will explore how these concepts are not only applicable to volunteer-run organizations but can also help growing corporations avoid some of the coordination overhead that often comes with growing teams and organizations.

    We’ll look at some of the key aspects of how project members collaborate at The Apache Software Foundation (ASF). After that, we’ll take a closer look at German FinTech company Europace AG, which decided to move toward self-organization two years ago. We’ll highlight parallels between Europace AG’s organizing approaches and those of open source projects.

  • Software Freedom Day observed

    As the city was in the midst of various programmes to mark Gandhi Jayanti on Monday, the district resource centre of the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) at Jagathy was engaged in an unrelated, yet purposeful, venture.

    The office was buzzing with activity as many people turned up, armed with their laptops, to observe Software Freedom Day by resolving to switch over from proprietary software to free and open-source software (or FOSS). Officials of KITE (formerly IT@School project) also installed, free of cost, the GNU/Linux-based operating system Ubuntu, customised for the IT@School project, for those who attended the ‘free software install fest.’

    Among those who participated in the programme were students, researchers and government officials, each curious in discovering opportunities that existed beyond the clutches of proprietary software.

  • How an Open-Source Evangelist Started a Tech Company in Silicon Valley

    Since 2009, I have transitioned from being the founder of the world’s largest Hadoop user group in Japan to becoming the co-founder and CTO of a Treasure Data in the U.S. Along the way, I learned that other open-source champions – or really anyone – can build a successful tech company. Here’s how I found success in my journey.

  • Yahoo Search Code Released as Open Source

    Oath, Inc., the Verizon subsidiary that’s been the owner of record of Yahoo since June, has released some important Yahoo code as open source under the Apache 2.0 license. The project, called Vespa, was originally based on code Yahoo inherited with its acquisition of AlltheWeb in 2003. The software is used across all Yahoo websites, including Flickr, for everything from handling search queries to serving ads.

    “Over the last couple of years we have rewritten most of the engine from scratch to incorporate our experience onto a modern technology stack,” Jon Bratseth, an architect with Vespa said in a blog post. “Vespa is larger in scope and lines of code than any open source project we’ve ever released. Now that this has been battle-proven on Yahoo’s largest and most critical systems, we are pleased to release it to the world.”

  • Open Source Tools Provide Control Over HIT Multi-Cloud Environments

    More vendors are releasing tools using Kubernetes to increase interoperability among solutions and make it easier to manage HIT multi-cloud environments.

  • EFF Warns Against Abusive Lawsuits Targeting Kodi Add-on Repository

    The EFF is speaking out against abusive lawsuits from copyright holders that aim to expand copyright liability for neutral platforms, such as third-party Kodi add-on distributors. The digital rights group calls out two recent lawsuits against TVAddons where the operator of the service is being held accountable for offering downloads of open source add-ons.

  • EFF weighs in on Kodi piracy battles worldwide
  • EFF chimes in on Kodi debate
  • EFF says Kodi lawsuits ‘smear and discourage’ open source

    THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) is concerned about legal activity around piracy-enabled Kodi boxes and wants to know where the line is being drawn between companies that sell innocent platforms, the vagabonds that install add-ons onto them and the people who share pirated material.

    Last week in the UK a man plead guilty to selling piracy-able boxes, but he wasn’t happy about being singled out.

    “These boxes are available from all over the place, not just me, but it’s the downloading of software to watch channels that is apparently causing the problem,” he said at the time.

  • JRC makes its ship-detection software open source

    The Joint Research Centre (JRC) has released the software of its SUMO maritime surveillance tool, which is helping to protect our oceans by detecting ships engaged in illicit activities.

    SUMO (Search for Unidentified Marine Objects) automatically scans large numbers of satellite images for the presence of ships. The results can be cross-checked with other maritime data to identify suspicious vessels.

  • Yahoo Reveals Its Search Secrets, Vespa Tool is Now Available as Open Source

    Oath Inc., the Verizon company that has owned Yahoo since June, announced that Vespa is now available as open source on GitHub. According to a company blog post, making the big data processing and serving engine open source is a step further in Oath’s commitment to opening up its big data infrastructure to developers.

  • Events

    • What You Missed at the Diversity Empowerment Summit
    • Open Jam, our open source game jam, kicks off this week

      Take note, indie game developers: We’re less than a week away from the start of the first-ever Open Jam, a 72-hour game jam dedicated to promoting open source games and game development tools. We’ll reveal the theme on our jam page this Friday morning, October 6, at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (4:01 a.m. UTC).

    • Open Jam For Open Source Games

      A three-day games jam with an emphasis on using open source game development tools and a requirement to open source the resulting games starts on October 6th.

    • Moby Summit Los Angeles recap

      Two weeks ago, member of the Docker team and Open Source community were in Los Angeles for a Moby Project Summit alongside Open Source Summit North America (previously known as LinuxCon). This was the 3rd Moby Summit edition since Solomon Hykes introduced the Moby Project: a new open-source project to advance the software containerization movement at DockerCon 2017 in Austin.

      This summit is for container users who are actively maintaining, contributing or generally involved in the design and development of the Moby Project and it’s components: runC, containerd, LinuxKit, Infrakit, SwarmKit, HyperKit, DataKit, VPNKit, Notary, libnetwork, etc.

    • GHM [GNU Hackers Meeting] 2017 videos online

      At last, the GHM 2017 video recordings are now online, along with presentation slides and abstracts.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Awards Over Half a Million to Open Source Projects

        At Mozilla we were born out of, and remain a part of, the open source and free software movement. Through the Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) program, we recognize, celebrate, and support open source projects that contribute to our work and to the health of the Internet.

        Our major initiative in the past few months has been the launch of “Global Mission Partners: India”, a pilot scheme to bring the Mission Partners track of MOSS to particular regions of the globe which have strong open source communities. The initial application period has just closed, and our India committee will shortly begin the work of assessing the over a dozen applications we have received.

      • Mozilla funds open source projects with half a million in grants

        Mozilla has announced the latest recipients of its Open Source Support grants, totaling $539,000. The web tech company regularly helps out smaller projects, and this round in particular favored ones aimed at safety and security.

      • Mozilla awards $500,000 in funding to open source projects
  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • How OpenBSD and Linux Mitigate Security Bugs

      The talk will focus on two similar solutions implemented in Linux and OpenBSD kernels, designed to prevent a program from calling syscalls they should not call to improve security of software.

      In both kernels (Linux and OpenBSD), unwanted syscalls can be blocked and the offending program terminated, but there are some differences between Linux and OpenBSD’s solution of the problem.

      During my talk, I will analyze the differences between two similar techniques that are present in Linux and OpenBSD kernels that are used to mitigate security bugs (that could be used to attack software and escalate privileges on a machine).

    • FreeBSD 10.4 Released With Full Support For eMMC Storage

      The latest release in the FreeBSD 10 series is now available with some work backported from FreeBSD 11 and other improvements/fixes.

      FreeBSD 10.4 happens to be the operating system’s first release with full support for eMMC storage. FreeBSD 10.4 also has improvements to its AES-NI driver, better Intel Kabylake device support, em networking driver improvements, various Wake-On-LAN (WoL) improvements to different drivers, updated firmware/microcode files, and more.

    • FreeBSD Picks Up Support For ZFS ZCP: Carry Out Admin Tasks Via Lua Scripts

      FreeBSD 12.0 will have initial support for ZFS Channel Programs (ZCP) for running administrative tasks on the file-system via Lua.

    • FreeBSD 10.4-RELEASE Announcement
    • FreeBSD 10.4-RELEASE Announcement

      The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce availability of FreeBSD 10.4-RELEASE. This is the fifth release of the stable/10 branch, building upon the stability and reliability of 10.3-RELEASE and introducing new features.

    • Announce: OpenSSH 7.6 released

      OpenSSH 7.6 has just been released. It will be available from the
      mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

  • FSF/Conservancy

    • Sponsor Software Freedom Conservancy

      I did an interview with the Software Freedom Conservancy to discuss why I try to contribute to the Conservancy whenever I can. Because I believe many more free software communities deserve to have a home for their project at the Conservancy.

      Please support the Software Freedom Conservancy by donating so they will be able to provide a home to many more communities. A donation of 10 US dollars a month will make you an official sponsor. Or donate directly to one of their many member projects.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Oracle Tells The White House: Stop Hiring Silicon Valley People & Ditch Open Source

      Even though Oracle is based in the heart of Silicon Valley (I can see its offices from my own office window as I type this), the company has become sort of anti-Silicon Valley. It tends to represent the opposite of nearly everything that is accepted wisdom around here. And its latest crusade is against open source technology being used by the federal government — and against the government hiring people out of Silicon Valley to help create more modern systems. Instead, Oracle would apparently prefer the government just give it lots of money.

      First, some background: over the past few years, one of the most positive things involving the federal government and technology has been the success of two similar (but also very different) organizations in the US government: US Digital Service (USDS) and 18F. If you’re completely unfamiliar with them there are plenty of articles describing both projects, but this one is a good overview. But the really short version is that both projects were an attempt to convince internet savvy engineers to help out in the federal government, and to bring a better understanding of modern technology into government. And it’s been a huge success in a variety of ways — such as creating federal government websites that are modern, secure and actually work. And even though both programs are associated with President Obama, the Trump administration has been adamant that it supports both organizations as well, and they’re important to continuing to modernize the federal government. The offices are not politicized, and they have been some of the best proof we’ve got that government done right involves smart, dedicated technologists.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) Hoping Open Source Bet Pays Off

        The graphics chipmaker, which was known for most of its existence as a maker of video cards for PC gaming, suddenly finds itself at the center of multiple technological revolutions, including self-driving cars, AI, VR, the internet of things, and more.

      • Tracking live brain activity with the new NeuBtracker open-source microscope

        NeuBtracker* is equipped with two cameras: One tracks the unrestrained behavior of the zebrafish larva while the other automatically remains pointed at the transparent head, and consequently the brain, to record fluorescence images. “This approach makes it possible to observe neuronal activity during unrestrained behavior. We can test the larvae in different environmental conditions and can immediately analyze the effects,” says Prof. Dr. Gil Westmeyer from the Institutes of Biological and Medical Imaging (IBMI) and Developmental Genetics (IDG) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München as well as the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Munich School of Bioengineering (MSB) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).


        The new instrument is a so-called open-source microscope.

  • Programming/Development

    • Support For Myriad ma2x8x CPUs Added To LLVM

      The latest work hitting LLVM 6.0 is support for the Myriad ma2x8x class of processors and some other missing Myriad CPUs.

    • Under Eclipse, changes to Java EE begin

      For one, Oracle is making the Java EE technology compatibility kits (TCK), which ascertain if an implementation is compliant with Java, available via open source. Eclipse Executive Director Milinkovich called this “a very fundamental change to the dynamics of this ecosystem.”

    • Java 9 Debuts with Jigsaw Modular Approach at JavaOne

      The Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) version 9 is now generally available bringing with it a number of new features to help make Java more modular and efficient. At the JavaOne conference in San Francisco on Oct. 2, Mark Reinhold Chief Architect, Java Platform Group at Oracle outlined some of the new Java 9 enhancements and provided insight on what’s next.

      “Java 9 is here,” Reinhold said. “That means that Jigsaw is here.”

      Project Jigsaw is an effort that Oracle has been talking about since September 2010, just after the company completed its’ acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Jigsaw is an effort to turn Java into a more modular stack, including a module subsystem to help make the programming language more efficient.

    • Secure coding in Java: Bad online advice and confusing APIs

      For programmers and software developers, the Internet forums provide a great place to exchange knowledge and seek answers to concrete coding conundrums. Alas, they are not always the source of accurate information.


  • Google admits citing 4chan to spread fake Vegas shooter news

    Google News took the unusual step of confirming its use of the imageboard site 4chan as a news source on Monday. The admission followed Google News’ propagation of an incorrect name as a potential shooter in the tragic Las Vegas shooting on Sunday night.

    A reporter from tech-news site The Outline posted the full text of an e-mail he received from an unnamed Google representative. Reporter William Turton said that he had not discussed any “attribution terms” before receiving Google’s e-mail, which confirmed that the Google News service was bombed into automatically reposting a false shooter’s name.

  • Science

    • 60 years ago today, Russia launched Sputnik 1 – and the Space Age began

      On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched a small metal sphere into low Earth orbit. Equipped with four external radio antennas, Sputnik 1 not only revolutionised telecommunications, but helped to kick-start the space race. We take a look at local reactions to the news.

    • LIGO’s gravitational wave detection takes home a Nobel

      From almost the moment their discovery was announced, everyone agreed that the first sighting of gravitational waves was going to win a Nobel Prize. The only questions were when and who would receive the honor. Both of those questions have now been answered. When is now, and who turned out to be three individuals who contributed to the project in very different ways.

    • Nobel Prize goes to researchers who figured out how our cells tell time

      Today, the Nobel Prize committee has honored three US biologists for their role in unravelling one of biology’s earliest mysteries: how organisms tell time. Microbes, plants, and animals all run on a 24-hour cycle, one that’s flexible enough to gradually reset itself, although it can take a few days after transcontinental travel. The biological systems responsible for maintaining this circadian clock require a lot of proteins that undergo complex interactions, and the new laureates are being honored for their use of genetics to start unraveling this complexity.

  • Hardware

    • iPhone 8 Plus handset reportedly cracks open while charging

      iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models haven’t been available long, but a couple of users have reportedly experienced major problems. According to a 9to5Mac report, a Taiwanese iPhone 8 Plus owner claims her device split open while charging, and a Japanese owner of an iPhone 8 Plus claims the handset arrived already cracked open. The tech outlet ifeng includes images of the Taiwanese owner’s device in its report.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • State Audit Slams New York’s Oversight of Nurses

      An audit released late last week by the New York state comptroller’s office found the state’s Education Department, which regulates nursing, failed to investigate top-priority complaints against nurses in the time allowed by law.

      It also found nurses’ backgrounds were not adequately checked and that they were not properly monitored for criminal behavior after licensure.

      All of these findings confirm those in a ProPublica investigation into New York’s nursing regulations published in April of 2016.


      The recommendations include streamlining and more closely tracking investigations, strengthening controls over “moral character” requirements for nurses and researching the best practices of other states.

    • Canadian Universities Not Contributing Enough To Neglected Health Needs, UAEM Report Says

      The Universities Allied for Essential medicines (UAEM) evaluated 15 Canadian research-intensive universities on their contributions to biomedical research on neglected health needs, access to medicines, and education concerning access and innovation issues. The results show that for a number of those universities, this contribution is sub-optimal.

    • Fighting the Opioid Epidemic by Targeting Big Pharma’s Bottom Line

      Opioids now kill over 100 Americans every day. In a single year, opioids kill more Americans than died in the entire Vietnam and Iraq Wars. And while the underground drug trade is fueling this epidemic of medicalized self-destruction, the flow of black-market opioids is inseparable from its above-ground counterpart—the pharmaceutical companies that peddle the legal and FDA-approved pain killers like OxyContin and Vicodin. And now workers on the front lines of this crisis are challenging the nation’s biggest pushers to stop pumping deadly drugs into their neighborhoods.

    • WHO Names New Leadership Team

      The World Health Organization today announced the new leadership team for the UN agency, with a range of geographic representation and a majority of women in the top posts.

    • Cold War radiation testing in US widespread, author claims

      Three members of Congress are demanding answers after a St. Louis scholar’s new book revealed details of how the U.S. government sprayed, injected and fed radiation and other dangerous materials to countless people in secret Cold War-era testing.

      The health ramifications of the tests are unknown. Lisa Martino-Taylor, an associate professor of sociology at St. Louis who wrote “Behind the Fog: How the U.S. Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans,” acknowledged that tracing diseases like cancer to specific causes is difficult.

      But three congressmen who represent areas where testing occurred — Democrats William Lacy Clay of Missouri, Brad Sherman of California and Jim Cooper of Tennessee — said they were outraged by the revelations.

    • Human Rights Go Hand In Hand With IP In Making Health Systems Work, UN Forum Hears

      Innovation is vital for the development of medicines, but innovation without proper access to them is pointless, Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of World Trade Organization has said. Several other agency heads spoke at the same event, where World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed the importance of universal health coverage.

    • Trump’s pick for EPA pollution czar says kids are less sensitive to pollution than adults

      The Intercept’s Sharon Lerner is the best journalist on Trumpian science appointees going, and her piece on Michael Dourson, whom Trump wants confirmed as the EPA’s second most powerful executive as Director of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention is a scorcher.

      Even by Trumpian standards, Dourson is a piece of shit work. He currently runs the high-profile greenwashing consultancy Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA) whose clients are a rogue’s gallery of the country’s most lethal polluters: Dow Chemical, CropLife America, the American Chemistry Council, the American Petroleum Institute, Koch Industries and more.

      TERA’s stock in trade is manufactured sciencey numbers showing that pollution isn’t harmful. In that regard, TERA excels, routinely asserting the harmlessness of industrial waste products that every independent researcher considers dangerous and/or deadly.

    • Trump’s Clean Air Nominee Represents Air Polluters in Court

      Last week, attorney William Wehrum appeared before a federal court to argue against new standards meant to protect workers from airborne silica dust, which is so fine that particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause health problems, such as fatal lung disease and cancer.

      This week, Wehrum will appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee because President Trump has nominated him to head the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) clean air program, where he worked under the Bush administration a decade ago.

      The new silica rules cut the amount of cancerous dust allowed in the air at industrial facilities in half. Trade unions say standards should be even lower, and labor leaders lashed out at the Trump administration for putting workers’ lives on the line when officials delayed implementation of the rules earlier this year.

    • WHO’s response to Philip Morris’ new $80M research foundation: Shove it

      The World Health Organization (WHO) is fuming over Philip Morris International’s (PMI) efforts to go smokeless—and the second-hand moves it’s using to do it.

      As cigarette sales decline worldwide, the tobacco giant is scrambling to restructure and embrace potentially more profitable “smoke-free” products. The revamp involves setting up an $80 million foundation called the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. In the next 12 years, the foundation aims to rope in health and government organizations and “advance smoking cessation and harm-reduction science and technology.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Sniper Stephen Paddock Is a Terrorist According to Las Vegas Law

      In the wake of the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, authorities remain reluctant to call shooter Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old real estate developer from Nevada, a terrorist. Shortly after 10 p.m. on Oct. 1, Paddock opened fire from his 32nd floor hotel room at Mandalay Bay and Casino in Las Vegas, killing 59 and wounding over 500 of the 22,000 gathered for the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival happening across the street.

      Police blew open Paddock’s hotel room door to find him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, as well as at least 10 suitcases filled with 23 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammo. A subsequent search of his home 80 miles away in Mesquite, Nev., turned up 19 more guns, but no motive. ISIS claimed credit for the attack, but investigators have found no evidence connecting the two.

    • After Las Vegas Massacre, Media Again Help ISIS Terrorize

      For all their faults, corporate media, by and large, do not usually report the unverified claims of random trolls—unless those trolls happen to be ISIS, or ISIS-linked media.

      In the emotionally and politically charged hours after terror attacks or other mass violence, when demagogues both in US right-wing media and within ISIS itself seek to blame Muslims to promote their shared “clash of civilizations” narrative, the media seem more than willing to play along and spread the specter of ISIS responsibility without any objective basis.

    • American Rape of Vietnamese Women was Considered “Standard Operating Procedure”

      Comparing testimony from Vietnamese women and American soldiers, Gina Marie Weaver, in her book Ideologies of Forgetting: Rape in The Vietnam War, finds that rape of Vietnamese women by American troops during the US invasion of Vietnam was a “widespread”, “everyday occurrence” that was essentially “condoned”, even encouraged, by the military, and had its foundation in military training and US culture. She explores why US rape in Vietnam was so common, and why this aspect of US behavior has been virtually “erased” from “narratives of the war”. She stresses the issue is also important as rape in the US military continues at a high level today, having been mostly transferred away from foreign populations and onto female American soldiers.

    • 26 Gun murders (equiv. 130) in England vs. *11,004* in US Annually

      There have been 1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days in the United States. You’ll note you don’t hear about mass shootings in Australia, Japan or for the most part the United Kingdom, or other civilized countries whose politicians have not been bought by 10 major gun manufacturers.

      The United States continues to be peculiar in handing out powerful magazine-fed firearms to almost anyone who wants one and not requiring background checks on private purchases even if these are made at gun shows or by persons with a history of mental illness. 80% of civilian-owned firearms world-wide are in the US, and only Yemen vaguely competes with us for rates of firearm ownership; Yemen is a violent mess with Shiite insurgencies, al-Qaeda taking over cities from time to time, tribal feuding, southern separatism and US drone strikes. And even it has fewer guns per person than the USA.

    • Guns and Profit – Why We’ll Do Absolutely Nothing New After This Las Vegas Shooting

      Wake up, America.

      We are not the land of the brave or the home of the free.

      We are the land of the gun and the home of the free market.

      Stephen Paddock’s killing spree last night in Las Vegas will not change anything – except the bottom line for numerous gun manufacturers.

      Ca-ching, people!

      Scores of American companies are going to clean up over this!

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • America Not Immune from Chaos

      Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas killed 59 and left more than 500 wounded. In previous weeks, American citizens have faced loss of life and massive property damage in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands from Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.

      Of course, other places in the Caribbean suffered their own devastating blows from these major hurricanes: Cuba, Barbuda, Dominica, Antigua, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Island, St. Martin, Monserrat, Guadaloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis.

    • The Atlantic just finished its busiest hurricane month on record

      But this Category 4 hurricane was but a prelude for what was to come in September. Five hurricanes—Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, and Maria—would form. Four would become major hurricanes. Two of the storms, Irma and Maria, would reach Category 5 status and bring widespread devastation, especially in the Caribbean islands, and to a lesser extent in the mainland United States.

    • Vulture Capitalists Circle Above Puerto Rico Prey

      Puerto Rico is devastated. Two hurricanes plunged the island into darkness and despair. Crops perish in the fields. The landscape of ruined buildings and towns resemble Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped on it. Over three million people are desperate for food, water, electricity and shelter.

      After a slow start, the Trump Administration is now speeding up the flow of supplies to the island. A top US general has been given command of the relief efforts. And, like so many others, Yarimar Bonilla watches with a broken heart as her native Puerto Rico struggles. This noted social anthropologist—a scholar on Caribbean societies—says the hurricanes have made an already bad fiscal and economic crisis worse, and she sees darker times ahead unless major changes are made in the structure of power and in Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States.

      Last night on NBC, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz made a spontaneous statement expressing her frustration with insufficient relief efforts that went viral. Before you read my interview with Yarimar Bonilla please take two minutes to watch this video. You will understand even more clearly Ms. Bonilla’s explainer of what is happening in Puerto Rico.

    • At $50 a barrel, billions in tax breaks keep many oil projects profitable

      At $50 a barrel, the low price of crude oil has slowed some of the oil production in the US, especially in regions that are costly to develop, like the Arctic. But US oil producers aren’t bearing the whole brunt of low prices, because federal and state governments provide tax breaks that stimulate oil production despite low prices.

      The tax situation isn’t unique to the US—China, the EU, and India also offer a variety of flavors of tax breaks to fossil fuel producers, despite their recognition of the need to address climate change. Although the US has signaled its intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, tax breaks that fund more fossil fuel production don’t help the rest of the globe to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

  • Finance

    • ‘Green Brexit’? Not with this dirty Brexit brigade, Mr Gove

      Environment secretary Michael Gove yesterday told Conservative Party conference that an ‘exit from Brexit’ is not an option.

      The ‘there is no alternative’ line is no great surprise. The appointment of Michael Gove as Environment Secretary, with his long history of involvement with American and UK neoliberal think tanks, has heightened concerns that Brexit is a ‘shock doctrine’ event.

      Gove’s renewed claims yesterday that we can have a ‘green Brexit’ also stretch credulity.

      According to our analysis, removing, attacking and undermining environmental and labour rights regulations was a likely motive for many of those at the heart of the Leave campaign. A motive hidden in plain sight but rarely reported.

    • How Ivanka Trump And Donald Trump, Jr., Avoided a Criminal Indictment

      In the spring of 2012, Donald Trump’s two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., found themselves in a precarious legal position. For two years, prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had been building a criminal case against them for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell. Despite the best efforts of the siblings’ defense team, the case had not gone away. An indictment seemed like a real possibility. The evidence included emails from the Trumps making clear that they were aware they were using inflated figures about how well the condos were selling to lure buyers.

    • Britain risks creating a $22.7-billion trade hole with its flawed “hard Brexit” plan

      Hurtling towards a “hard Brexit,” Britain is likely to leave the European Union in March 2019 without tariff-free access to the bloc’s single market. And it looks like the UK is going to lose a lot if that happens, according to a study by global law firm Baker McKenzie and economic consultancy Oxford Economics.

    • To Make Trump’s Economy Look Good, It Helps to Not Look Very Hard

      We know the New York Times has to lower its standards for conservative columnists; otherwise, they would never have any on their opinion pages. But they might have gone too far with Bret Stephens. The guy apparently knows literally nothing about the economy, and is so ignorant he doesn’t even know how little he knows.

      In his latest column, he touts the good economic news under Donald Trump: “The Dow keeps hitting record highs, and the economy is finally growing above the 3 percent mark.”

    • Why the CDC Wants in on Blockchain

      If someone in your home state contracts hepatitis A, a dangerous disease that attacks the liver, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needs to know about it. Health departments in neighboring states probably need to know about it, too, since the person may have contracted the virus from contaminated food or water in one of those states. The CDC, state and local health departments, and other organizations must routinely share public health data like this so they can control the spread of a range of infectious diseases. As straightforward as this may sound, though, it’s a massively complicated data-management challenge.

    • WaPo Defends Boss Against Sanders’ Charge That He’s Extremely Wealthy

      So it’s noteworthy that in analyzing this remark about the boss, the Post‘s Nicole Lewis doesn’t say that Sanders is wrong, exactly. Instead, she says that “he has made a habit of relying on simplified statistics that are provocative but do little to illuminate the complexities of the US economic system.” Or as she says of a similar statement Sanders made about US (not global) wealth, “While technically correct, the condensed soundbite lacked nuance about wealth accumulation and debt in the United States.”

      If you’re going to be badmouthing the owner of the Washington Post, in other words, you better have plenty of nuance and illuminate those complexities.

    • We Can Finally Identify One Of The Largest Holders Of Puerto Rican Debt

      For years, the identity of the owner of one of the largest holdings of Puerto Rican debts has been a mystery.

      That mystery has finally been solved, with the help of the The Baupost Group, who unmasked themselves to The Intercept. The Baupost Group, a Boston-based hedge fund managed by billionaire Seth Klarman, owns nearly a billion dollars of Puerto Rican debt, purchased under a shell company subsidiary and hidden from public scrutiny. Baupost acquired the debt through an on-paper Delaware-based corporation named Decagon Holdings LLC, whose beneficial owner had been unknown until now.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • President Trump’s Response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico Confirms Second-Class Citizenship

      Over tweets this weekend, President Trump confirmed that his administration’s underwhelming response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico is a symptom of these American citizens’ second-class status. Trump resorted to the racial stereotype that people of color “want everything to be done for them.” But this statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Boricuas on the island and the mainland have rallied to help each other in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

      My family and friends are giving back since they were one of the few lucky ones. They’re all safe. My parent’s house flooded, but there was no structural or heavy damage. They have enough food and power — for now — thanks to a generator (until the gas runs out).

    • Donald Trump’s Disgusting Remark On Puerto Rico Is More Revealing Than He Knows

      President Trump arrived in Puerto Rico on Tuesday and immediately began lauding himself and his administration for their response to Hurricane Maria. But mixed in with the self-congratulation were several references to how much relief efforts were costing.

      “Our country has really gone all out,” Trump said. “It’s not only dangerous, it’s expensive. But I consider it a great honor.”

      Trump then explained that Director of the Office of Management and Budget “Mick Mulvaney is here, and Mick is in charge of a thing called budget. I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you are throwing our budget out of whack. We spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico, and that’s fine. We saved a lot of lives.”

      Beyond the gross inappropriateness of “joking” about the money the U.S. government is spending even as American citizens continue to die in Puerto Rico, Trump’s attitude is incredibly bad economics. Moreover, his administration, Mulvaney definitely included, knows this.

    • After Hurricane Maria, Trump’s tweeting dredges up an ugly history for Puerto Ricans

      Two days ago, eleven days into the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, a typically divisive tweet from Donald Trump struck a very sensitive cultural and political chord when, in response to the Mayor of San Juan’s plea for help, he said that islanders “want everything to be done for them [by the US] when it should be a community effort”. As we have come to expect, his words, which followed Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke’s injurious claim that this was “a good news story” because of a low number of reported deaths (so far), reproduced and inflamed historically racist tropes that have devalued Puerto Rican lives as second-class, undeserving, geopolitical waste.

    • Observations on Catalunya

      How can you ever possibly excuse violence against people peacefully and non-violently doing whatever they’re doing. Sure this referendum was considered illegal (and it may be legitimate to ignore the result, or legal prosecution of the initiators) but how can that ever possibly be an excuse for half a population peacefully doing whatever they are about to do?

    • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called President Trump a “moron”, wanted to quit

      Rex Tillerson wanted to quit as Secretary of State and openly called Trump a moron at a high-level meeting where the president was not in attendance. He was talked into staying on, according to reports, by other cabinet members including Vice President Mike Pence.

    • Noam Chomsky Diagnoses the Trump Era

      Much of this is being carried out stealthily, in closed sessions, with as little public notice as possible.

    • Russians took a page from corporate America by using Facebook tool to ID and influence voters
    • The Gross Dishonesty of the Mainstream Media on Catalonia

      Due to social media, the mainstream media can no longer hide what happens. But they can attempt to frame our perceptions of it. What happened yesterday in Catalonia is that paramilitary forces attacked voters who were trying to vote. The mainstream media has universally decided to call the voters “protestors” rather than voters. So next time you go to your polling station, apparently what you are doing is protesting. This kind of distortion through misuse of language is absolutely deliberate by professional mainstream journalists. In a situation where thousands of peaceful voters were brutalised, can anybody find a single headline in the mainstream media which attributes responsibility for the violence correctly?


      Sky News every half hour is repeating the mantra that the Catalan government claims a mandate for Independence “after a referendum marred by violence”, again without stating what caused the violence. In general however Sky’s coverage has been a great deal better than the BBC; Al Jazeera has been excellent.

      I strongly suspect that were it not for social media, UK mainstream media would have told us very little at all. This is an object lesson in how the mainstream media still seek to continue to push fake news on us in the age of citizen journalism. They no longer have a monopoly on the flow of raw information; what they can do is to attempt to distort perceptions of what people are seeing.

    • NSA Warned Trump Staffers Against Personal Email/Device Use; Were Ignored

      Blatant hypocrisy aside, the Trump Administration’s use of personal email accounts isn’t just a low-flying middle finger to public records laws. It’s also a stupidly insecure method for handling sensitive communications.

    • After Kushner’s private e-mail became known, it moved to Trump Org servers

      Days after recent revelations that Jared Kushner, a presidential advisor and the president’s son-in-law, had set up a personal e-mail account to conduct White House business, someone with access to that domain (ijkamily.com) changed the domain’s mail exchange (MX) records so that they now point to a Trump Organization server.

    • “Pretty safe bet”: Former national security adviser warns Kushner compromised by foreign intel
    • Ted Lieu demands feds revoke Jared Kushner’s security clearance: ‘Being stupid’ is a ‘danger to America’
    • Why American Democracy Has Descended Into Collective Hysteria
    • San Juan mayor barred from speaking on Trump’s Puerto Rico relief conference call

      Carmen Yulin Cruz is the outspoken mayor of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, who was publicly denounced by Donald Trump for pointing out the federal government’s inaction during the worst humanitarian disaster in modern US history. Trump went on to characterize Puerto Ricans — chest deep in sewage raw sewage with no fresh water, no homes, no power and no gasoline — as “wanting everything done for them.”

    • Tomgram: Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian, A World in Peril

      Chomsky wrote “After Pinkville” — areas like Song My were then colored pink on American military maps — in 1969. Almost half a century later, the question is: Have things improved? After all, in Ken Burns’s new Vietnam extravaganza, his 18-hour documentary on that war, he seems to have captured the zeitgeist of the moment by carefully changing the word “murder” in the script for the My Lai episode to “killing.” “At lunch, Burns defended his change,” wrote the New Yorker’s Ian Parker,”on the ground that My Lai continues to have ‘a toxic, radioactive effect’ on opinion. ‘Killing’ was the better word, he said, ‘even though My Lai is murder.’” To be thoroughly upbeat, perhaps by 2067 Americans will finally be able to take “murder” straight on television when it comes to My Lai.

    • Well-Known Email Prankster Ends Up With Sensitive Document From Jared Kushner’s Lawyer

      Careless handling of sensitive emails isn’t just a problem for Trump’s top advisor, Jared Kushner. Having rolled into office on the echoing cries of “Lock her up!” Trump’s team nonetheless continued to use private email accounts for official correspondence. Kusher did this twice: using both a Republican National Committee account as well as another personal email address.

      It’s a security issue as well as a transparency issue. Personal email accounts — while convenient (and conveniently opaque) — are little more than attack vectors for cybercriminals and state-sponsored hacking. Making this security problem worse are Trump team legal reps, who can’t seem to stop communicating with staffer-spoofing accounts.

    • Russian Facebook ads featured anti-immigrant messages, puppies, women with rifles

      Monday, Facebook handed over some 3,000 ads, which it believes were bought by Russia, to congressional investigators. While they haven’t been made public, more information is coming out about the ads, accounts, and pages that were said to be controlled by a Russian “troll farm” called the Internet Research Agency.

      Many of the ads weren’t supporting specific candidates, but rather seem meant to stoke division around flash points in American society, particularly around immigration and race relations. 470 different pages and profiles were linked to the Internet Research Agency, according to Facebook.

    • Facebook Lies

      I followed the deletion procedure again and in 2 weeks (you can’t immediately request deletion apparently) I’ll check to see if the account is really gone. I’ve updated the password so at least the deletion process can’t be interrupted by whoever has that password (probably lots of people – it’ll be in a ton of dumps where databases have been hacked).

      If it’s still not gone, I hear you can just post obscene and offensive material until Facebook deletes you. I’d rather not have to take that route though.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Why the NSA Should Thank Edward Snowden
    • Europe’s Courts Decide: Does U.S. Spying Violate Europe’s Privacy?

      In a long-awaited decision on whether and how Europeans’ private data can be protected from the roving eyes of the NSA, the Irish Commercial High Court this morning declared that “standard contractual clauses” —the procedure that tech companies like Facebook use to try to satisfy European privacy laws—should be reviewed by the European Union’s top court, the Court of Justice (CJEU).

      The decision hands the court a key question that could affect millions of users and the business practices of Facebook and other tech giants: should tech companies be allowed to send the personal data of European customers across the Atlantic if they can’t guarantee that, once in U.S. data centers, the information won’t be vacuumed up by NSA surveillance?

    • White House wants to end Social Security numbers as a national ID

      Rob Joyce, the White House cybersecurity czar, said on Tuesday that the government should end using the Social Security number as a national identification method.

      “I believe the Social Security number has outlived its usefulness,” said Joyce, while speaking at The Washington Post’s Cybersecurity Summit. “Every time we use the Social Security number, you put it at risk.”

    • DOJ’s Facebook Warrants Target Thousands Of Users For Protesting Inauguration

      The ACLU is going to court to fight government warrants seeking info on thousands of Facebook users who interacted with a Facebook page related to Inauguration Day protests. The resulting arrests have generated several extremely broad search warrants seeking communications and other personal information from Facebook and the protest site’s hosting provider.

      For awhile, the targets of these warrants could only be guessed at, thanks to the gag order attached to the Facebook warrants. The gag order was finally lifted by the DOJ less than a day before it was due in court for oral arguments. It wasn’t Facebook securing a win so much as it was the government avoiding a loss — a possibly-precedential ruling on gag orders in Washington, DC courts.

    • DHS Should Stop the Social Media Surveillance of Immigrants

      The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last month issued a notice that it is storing social media information on immigrants, including lawful permanent residents and naturalized U.S. citizens, apparently indefinitely, in a government database that contains “Alien Files” (A-Files). This is an invasive new feature of DHS’s previously known programs on collecting social media information. DHS’s collection and storage of this sensitive information will chill and deter the free speech and association of immigrants to the United States, as well as the U.S. persons who communicate with them.

    • The UK home secretary still doesn’t know how encryption works, and she’s not ashamed

      Railing against the use of encryption by criminals has always been an exercise in futility, but it’s a great way to sound tough. What better way to assert your power as a law-enforcer than by demanding the impossible?

      The problem is, there’s a line between swagger and overt foolishness, and for some reason politicians are increasingly deciding to hurl themselves over it — witness, for example, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull declaring earlier this year that “the laws of mathematics are very commendable but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.”

      The British home secretary, Amber Rudd, has now decided to follow the path of Turnbull by proudly announcing not only that she doesn’t understand how end-to-end encryption works, but that she does not need to understand it in order to fight it.

    • Another Disastrous Opinion on ePrivacy, Act Now!

      Yesterday, the ITRE (‘industry’) Committee of the European Parliament has adopted its Opinion on the ePrivacy Regulation. This Opinion is pretty much the same calamity that has been adopted last week by the IMCO (‘consumers protection’) Committee, calling for a general bypassing of users’ consent. Fortunately, these are just ‘opinions’ and will not bind the LIBE (‘civil liberties’) Committee voting on its final Report on 11 October. Still, these Opinions clearly reflect how some Members of the European Parliament are ready to sell out our privacy to big firms. Call them now to reverse this trend.

    • Let’s take back control of our data – it’s too precious to leave to the tech giants

      “Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us.” Thus, in 1996, John Perry Barlow laid out his manifesto, the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, in which he encapsulated a philosophy flowing through the heart of worldwide web. His was a vision that would come to dominate the internet today, a thread that went from Timothy Leary to Stewart Brand to Steve Jobs to our current tech giants.

      Such is the dominance of this philosophy that it has spawned a new creed, “dataism”. The central principle of this dogma is the free flow of data, unrestricted and unregulated. This libertarian view of information uniquely sought to attach freedom to a concept – the flow of information – rather than to a human liberty. It provided the ideological architecture for the internet that we know today – ubiquitous and pervasive, that leaves a data trail in its wake.

    • Book Review: The Fundamental Right to Data Protection

      The book focuses on surveillance, as a key counter-terrorism tool, and introduces the rather disturbing term, ‘dataveillance,’ which is defined as “the systematic monitoring of people’s actions or communications through the application of information technology.” The text discusses the definition of privacy as an important conceptual framework. Part I of the book sets out theoretical aspects and Part II focuses on four case studies of EU counter-terrorism data surveillance. As the author puts it, the book seeks to examine current theories and details three important limitations the fundamental right to data protection faces, “its interconnectivity with privacy, its linking with secondary legislation and the elusiveness of its content.”

    • How to Choose a Good VPN
    • Auto Location Tracking Company Leaves Customer Data Exposed Online

      What is it about companies (or their contractors) leaving consumer data publicly exposed on an Amazon cloud server? Verizon recently made headlines after one of its customer service vendors left the personal data of around 6 million consumers just sitting on an Amazon server without adequate password protection. A GOP data analytics firm was also recently soundly ridiculed after it left the personal data of around 198 million citizens (read: most of you) similarly just sitting on an Amazon server without protection. Time Warner Cable also recently left 4 million user records sitting in an openly-accessible Amazon bucket.

    • The London Underground thinks it can sell travelers’ attention and wifi data for £322m

      Since late 2016, the Transport for London has been running a pilot scheme, providing wifi to passengers while logging and retaining all the wifi traffic coming in and out of its access points, compiling a massive dossier on every tube-rider who had wifi turned on for their devices, whether or not they ever accessed the wifi service.

      In a document obtained under a Freedom of Information request, TfL plans to make £322m “over the next eight years by being able to quantify asset value based on the number of eyeballs/impressions and dynamically trade advertising space.”

      A TfL spokesperson also refused to rule out selling “aggregated customer data to third parties.” While the UK has some good data protection laws thanks to the EU, it also inherited the EU’s train-sized loophole, which is that companies that collect customer data can do anything they want with it, so long as they “de-identify” it first — though the EU Directive does not establish what it means to de-identify a data-set, nor do many computer scientists believe that this is possible (with very good reason).

    • EU is losing its patience with the US government over its failure to implement properly the Privacy Shield deal

      Since there seems little hope that the Trump administration will increase privacy protections for non-US citizens, or rein in the spying of the NSA, companies such as Google and Facebook may well need to keep all personal data regarding EU citizens entirely within the EU if they wish to operate there in the future. They will doubtless resist such a move, but the threats of new laws being imposed on them, not to mention more billion-dollar fines, show that the EU is in no mood to compromise when dealing with US Internet companies. The whole Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield saga is a reminder that, even though the US is the undisputed leader in many other areas of Internet policy, when it comes to privacy, it is the EU that sets the pace.

    • Turnbull to push for national facial recognition database

      Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to push the premiers of the country’s states and territories to agree to set up a national facial recognition database.

    • FOIA’ed Documents Show NSA Abuse Of Pen Register Statutes To Collect Content

      New FISA court documents have been handed over to the EFF as the result of its long-running FOIA lawsuit. The new pile of documents is, unfortunately, very heavily-redacted, forcing readers to extrapolate a lot from the missing data.

      One of the few released FISA court docs leaving anything legible concerns the NSA’s use of pen register/trap-and-trace orders to collect content, rather than just dialed phone numbers. The NSA (along with the FBI) has been admonished for its abuse of these orders before, thanks to its insistence any numbers dialed are fair game, even if they could be construed as partial contents of calls — i.e., communications.

      What the NSA liked to scoop up were “post cut through dialing digits” — any numbers dialed after the phone number itself. These numbers could contain such things as credit card numbers, menu selections for automated services, and other information that could not be considered a dialed phone number.

    • Privacy Experts Urge House to Reform NSA Spying ‘Loophole’

      Privacy experts and digital rights advocates want the House of Representatives to reform a loophole to National Security Agency surveillance authority set to expire in December that allows the intelligence community to collect and search data on U.S. citizens without a warrant.

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a Tuesday letter called on the House Judiciary Committee to close that loophole in legislation the committee is drafting to reauthorize Section 702 of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act (FISA). Section 702 lets the NSA surveil without a warrent foreign nationals communicating with U.S. persons. Critics say it sweeps up data on potentially tens of millions of Americans, which the intelligence community can search under the pretext of national security.

    • MAC Catching

      In the news recently was a report from TfL about their WiFi data collection. Sky News reported that TfL “plans to make £322m by collecting data from passengers’ mobiles”. TfL have later denied this but the fact remains that collecting this data is trivial.

    • The journey continues at Freedom of the Press Foundation

      More than a month back, the Supreme Court of India ruled that privacy is a fundamental right to every Indian citizen. It was a huge win for every privacy advocate, but it was one of the big battles in the whole fight for right to privacy. Even though governments are using public money to develop software infrastructure, almost none of them are Free Software. There is a current campaign happening for having publicly financed software developer for people to be Free Software. No one knows what is going on in the closed source infrastructure, and if people point out the issues, they are getting punished. If you never heard about Aadhaar project in India, feel free to visit this site to learn about how much destruction it is bringing in.

    • No Airport Biometric Surveillance

      Facial recognition, fingerprinting, and retina scans—all of these and more could be extracted from travelers by the government at checkpoints throughout domestic airports. Please join EFF in opposing the dangerous new bill, sponsored by Senator Thune (R-SD), which would authorize this expanded biometric surveillance.

      The TSA Modernization Act (S. 1872)would authorize the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to deploy “biometric technology to identify passengers” throughout our nation’s airports, including at “checkpoints, screening lanes, [and] bag drop and boarding areas.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Appeals Court Tells Seattle Cops New Use Of Force Policy Doesn’t Violate Their 2nd Amendment Rights

      When the Department of Justice handed down remedies for the Seattle Police Department’s excessive use of excessive force, it told officers they would need to dial back their penchant for deadliness. Just prior to the DOJ’s civil rights investigation, the PD was responsible for 20% of the city’s homicides. The DOJ recommended officers work on their de-escalation tactics, as well as partake in training meant to steer officers away from viewing anything strange (medical conditions, mental health issues, drug impairment, behavioral crises) as something to be shot at or beaten.

      Seattle PD officials adopted the DOJ recommendations and altered the department’s use of force policies. Rather than comply or quit, several police officers decided to file a federal lawsuit against the DOJ. The officers asserted a nonexistent right (the “right” to make it home alive) and hammered an existing right (the 2nd Amendment) to it in hopes of persuading a federal court that using less force less often somehow violated their right to keep and bear arms.

      The crowdfunded lawsuit didn’t get very far. The district court pointed out the 2nd Amendment does not create a “right” to defend yourself, much less attempt to guarantee officers’ personal safety. Gun ownership is regulated, not a free pass for cops to violate PD use of force policies as they see fit. It also tossed a variety of other rights violations claims, noting these were even more tenuously connected to the officers’ protest of the new use of force policy than the 2nd Amendment claims.

    • Supreme Court won’t hear Kim Dotcom’s civil forfeiture case

      Kim Dotcom’s civil forfeiture case will not be heard before the Supreme Court this term, America’s highest court ruled on Monday.

      The civil forfeiture case was brought 18 months after 2012 American criminal charges related to alleged copyright infringement against Dotcom and his now-shuttered company, Megaupload. In the forfeiture case, prosecutors specifically outlined why the New Zealand seizure of Dotcom’s assets on behalf of the American government was valid. Seized items include millions of dollars in various seized bank accounts in Hong Kong and New Zealand, the Dotcom mansion, several luxury cars, four jet skis, two 108-inch TVs, three 82-inch TVs, a $10,000 watch, and a photograph by Olaf Mueller worth over $100,000.

    • U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review Kim Dotcom Case
    • Supreme Court declines to hear Megaupload case
    • Supreme Court Denies Kim Dotcom’s Petition Over Seized Millions

      The US Supreme Court has denied the petition of Kim Dotcom and his former Megaupload colleagues over millions of dollars in seized assets. While this means that all legal options in the US have been exhausted, Dotcom’s legal team now plans to take the issue to New Zealand and Hong Kong, where most funds are being held.

    • U.S. Supreme Court rejects New Zealand-based [I]nternet mogul’s appeal

      The justices left in place a lower court ruling that the U.S. government could seize up to $40 million in assets held outside the United States as part of a civil forfeiture action being pursued in parallel with criminal charges for alleged copyright violations and money laundering.

    • Supreme Court Won’t Review US Government Getting To Steal All Of Kim Dotcom’s Stuff

      While the “main event” in the never-ending case of the US Justice Department against Kim Dotcom continues to grind its way ever so slowly through the wheels of justice, one element has basically concluded. And this was the part that should concern you even if you think that Kim Dotcom was completely guilty of criminal copyright infringement. The issue here is that as part of the arrest of Dotcom and his colleagues, the US “seized” many of his assets. Now, when the government seizes assets, it’s a temporary thing. They have a certain period of time to hold onto it. Afterwards, they either need to give those assets back or file a separate case to attempt to “forfeit” those items (i.e., keep them forever). Here’s where things get a little bizarre. Because Dotcom was fighting extradition in New Zealand, the “deadline” for the US to continue holding the seized assets was approaching — so they filed the separate case against his stuff. Because it’s a civil asset forfeiture case, the case is literally against his stuff, and not against Kim Dotcom (and, yes, this is as weird and nonsensical as it sounds). But there was a twist: because Dotcom was still in New Zealand, the Justice Department said that he was a “fugitive” and thus couldn’t even protest the forfeiture of his stuff. Unfortunately, both the district court and the appeals court agreed.

    • Known Terrorists Under Witness Protection Roaming The Country Pretty Much Unattended

      The FBI loves its counterterrorism work. Loves it so much, it’s pretty much abandoned all pretense of being a law enforcement agency. It acts as though it’s somewhere between the NSA and the ATF: interested mostly in picking through surveillance dragnets and running sting operations that turn people who have trouble with basic skills like holding down jobs into national security threats.

      But it can’t score anti-terrorism goals on unguarded nets without a crew of informants. It works with immigration authorities to coerce visiting foreigners into providing the agency with intel. It goes further than that, though. It also operates a witness protection program for informants/witnesses actually involved in actual terrorist activity.

    • This Is What It Looks Like When the President Asks People to Snitch on Their Neighbors

      In April, the Trump Administration launched what it called the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) hotline, with a stated mission to “provide proactive, timely, adequate, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens.” But internal logs of calls to VOICE obtained by Splinter show that hundreds of Americans seized on the hotline to lodge secret accusations against acquaintances, neighbors, or even their own family members, often to advance petty personal grievances.

      The logs—hundreds of which were available for download on the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement web site despite containing extremely sensitive personal information—call to mind the efforts of closed societies like East Germany or Cuba to cultivate vast networks of informants and an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.

    • White Hate, Black Hate and the Shades of Difference

      The rallying of white supremacist extremism in the US has caused fear and confusion for much of the general public. It’s clear that the ascension of Donald Trump and the mass mobilization of white supremacist movements are inextricably linked, and so, over the past year, the desire to “understand” white supremacist groups has been a pinned topic in the mainstream media. In a scramble to understand the now-emboldened (though by no means new) evils, many people are searching for resources. Centrist cable networks and news media sources have sought out nonprofits, such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), among others, to explain organizations that have been designated as “hate groups.”

      Unfortunately, the nonprofits that the media are turning to for answers are not without ideological complexities of their own. For example, the ADL in particular, positions itself as “liberal,” but is in many ways virulently right-wing, allying itself with powerful conservative forces in the US and Israel. The ACLU and SPLC, meanwhile, are largely dominated by white liberal politics, which often leads them to make misleading claims under the guise of faux humane objectivity.

    • I Am Obliged to Reconsider My Support for the European Union

      To my own astonishment, and after a full 36 hours of hard thinking to try and escape this conclusion, I am in intellectual honesty obliged to reconsider my lifelong support for the European Union, due to the unqualified backing of the EU Commission for the Spanish Government’s dreadful repression in Catalonia.

      This is very difficult for me. I still much favour open immigration policy, and the majority of Brexiteers are motivated at base by racist anti-immigrant sentiment. Certainly many Brexiteers share in the right wing support for Rajoy’s actions, across Europe. I have been simply stunned by the willingness of right wingers across the internet, including on this blog, to justify the violence of the Spanish state on “law and order” grounds. It is a stark warning of what we might face in Scotland in our next move towards Independence, which I have always believed may be made without the consent of Westminster.


      The European Commission is obliged to abide by this Charter by Article 51. Yet when the Spanish government committed the most egregious mass violation of human rights within the European Union for a great many years, the EU Commission deliberately chose to ignore completely its obligations under the European Charter of Fundamantal Rights in its response. The Commission’s actions shocked all of intellectual Europe, and represented a complete betrayal of the fundamental principles, obligations and basic documents of the European Union.

    • More Prisons Banning In-Person Visits, Adding To Securus Tech’s Pile Of Cash

      But this is something Securus has pushed for a long time. Back in 2015, Securus finally dropped a clause in its contracts that mandated correctional facilities using its equipment move to video-only visits. But that doesn’t mean jails aren’t still heavily encouraged to ban in-person visits. The pivot to video doesn’t just generate an absurd amount of income for the communications provider. It also pads the pockets of prisons.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Senate confirms Ajit Pai as FCC Chairman

      Ajit Pai has been confirmed by the Senate as the Chairman of the FCC in a 52-41 vote. He has technically only been acting Chairman this whole time, as the process of confirmation generally lags well behind the succession process at the agency; the former Chairman, Tom Wheeler, stepped down shortly before the new Presidential term began, marking Pai’s de facto promotion. The vote today is his de jure assumption of the role.


      The vote wasn’t strictly along party lines, which is a little surprising. Joseph Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Jon Tester (D-MT) all voted to confirm, despite Democratic leadership tending to condemn Pai’s actions against net neutrality and privacy. While these four Democrats gave ayes, no Republicans were to be found in the “nay” column.

    • Ajit Pai gets new term on FCC despite protest of anti-net neutrality plan

      The US Senate today gave Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai another term on the FCC.

      Pai would have had to leave the FCC at the end of 2017 if the Senate hadn’t approved President Donald Trump’s request to give Pai a new term. Pai, who has proposed deregulating broadband providers and eliminating net neutrality rules, received a new five-year term retroactive to July 1, 2016.

    • T-Mobile agrees to stop claiming its network is faster than Verizon’s [Updated]

      T-Mobile USA has agreed to stop claiming its 4G LTE network is faster than Verizon Wireless’, after the advertising industry’s self-regulation body agreed with Verizon that T-Mobile’s claim was unsupported.

      The National Advertising Division (NAD) “recommended T-Mobile discontinue claims that it has the fastest 4G LTE network” and “also recommended that T-Mobile discontinue claims that its LTE network is ‘newer’ than Verizon’s and that Verizon’s LTE network is ‘older,’” the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council said in an announcement Thursday.

    • Nearly 14 million Internet users in Australia: ABS stats

      Australia’s Bureau of Statistics has released its latest Internet and mobile figures for Australia, dated June 2017, but do the numbers tell the whole story?

    • Hoping The Third Time’s The Charm, ISPs Urge Supreme Court To Kill Net Neutrality

      We’ve noted how large ISPs like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon are covering all their bases in their endless quest to kill popular (some would say necessary) net neutrality protections. They’ve successfully lobbied FCC boss Ajit Pai to vote to kill the existing rules later this year, despite the massive public opposition to that plan. But they’re also lobbying Congress to draft a new net neutrality law they publicly insist will solve everything, while privately hoping you’re too stupid to realize will be entirely written by their lawyers and lobbyists — ensuring it has so many loopholes as to be effectively useless.

      In case those first two options don’t work, large ISPs are also — for the third time in as many years — looking for the Supreme Court’s help. ISPs lost their first attempt to overturn the Title II net neutrality order last year when the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia shot down their complaints (which included insisting that net neutrality rules violated their First Amendment rights). ISPs lost again earlier this year when the courts shot down their en banc appeal.

    • European Governments Seek Greater Oligopolization of Telecom Infrastructures

      In March, more than 31 European Community Networks (CNs) wrote an open letter to EU policy-makers, stressing the need for an adaptation of the European legal framework aimed at helping these citizen-driven initiatives flourish, thus supporting alternative, democratic and sustainable ways to meet the goals of broadband policies. But rather than opening the door to a much-needed diversification of the telecom ecosystem, European governments only seek to reinforce the dominant positions of incumbent players. As the EU gets closer to a deal over the future of European telecom regulation, the EU Parliament must resist the pressure and reaffirm its commitment to the public interest.

    • Trump’s FCC Boss Blasts Apple For Refusing To ‘Turn On’ FM iPhone Chipsets That Don’t Actually Exist

      If you’ve seen current FCC Ajit Pai’s name in print so far this year, it’s probably for any number of his extremely anti-consumer, telecom industry friendly positions. Like his attempts to kill net neutrality, his support of gutting consumer broadband privacy protections, his efforts to protect the cable industry’s cable box monopoly from competition, efforts to dramatically reduce media consolidation rules, his defense of prison phone monopoly price gouging, or the way he’s making it harder for Americans to get affordable broadband.

      To obfuscate this arguably-lopsided agenda, Pai has been busy trying to portray himself as somebody notably other than the revolving door regulator he actually is.

      For example, Pai has repeatedly insisted that he’s a heroic advocate for closing the digital divide, even while simultaneously weakening broadband deployment standards and eroding all oversight of historically-despised mono/duopolists like Comcast. Similarly, Pai spent many of his first months in office insisting he’d be breathlessly dedicated to transparency, yet the FCC boss has already been sued for refusing to document his communications with incumbent ISPs regarding net neutrality, or to provide hard data on why his agency appears to have hallucinated a DDoS attack.

  • DRM

    • Denuvo Game Cracked In Mere Hours

      Denuvo DRM has graced our pages many times in the past year or so. The DRM once thought to be unbreakable and heralded as the end of piracy has taken a precipitous downward path in reputation. Games using the DRM slowly began being cracked in months, then weeks. The ability to crack Denuvo then sped up, with cracking times dropping to a week, five days, a couple of days. Through it all, Denuvo worked furiously to patch its software, all while proclaiming that a week or so’s protection is worth it to game developers as they protect their games during the all important initial release window.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • E-Commerce Regulation Needs Harmonisation, Labour Rules Should Be Part Of Trade Laws, Panellists Say

      The prediction now is e-commerce will be the normal way of conducting trade in the future, according to Lee-Makiyama. If intellectual property rights are sometime considered as a market entry barrier, in access to medicines for example, in copyright and trademarks, mostly used in e-commerce, IP is a market maker, he said. Without IP rights, “supply is not there,” he said, adding that it is the legal environment that allows products to exist.

    • Myanmar prepares for new IP laws

      The creation of a comprehensive IP regime is finally on the horizon in Myanmar. In July, draft bills on trade mark, copyright, patent and industrial design were sent to the legislative committee for deliberation. Implementing regulations are expected to come in later this year. Local lawyers believe that the trade mark law will have the most take up for brand owners. However, they share concerns of the judiciary’s lack of specialised IP experience

    • Copyrights

      • CopyCamp Conference Discusses Fallacies Of EU Copyright Reform Amid Ideas For Copy Change

        Bugs in the European Union copyright reform were discussed during the 6th edition of the annual Warsaw CopyCamp held last week. Liability of platforms and special intellectual property rights on snippets were the poster child for bad legislation. But the activists, academics and internet companies also expressed concerns over a general backlash on internet openness and internet freedom.

      • King’s College Football Coach Sued For Copyright Infringement For Retweeting A Book Page 2 Years Ago

        We cover many petty intellectual property lawsuits here at Techdirt. After a while, you kind of become somewhat numb to them and the only mildly ridiculous lawsuits seem sort of… meh. But every once in a while you run into a real doozy, the sort of lawsuit that really gets the anger juices flowing. The copyright infringement lawsuit brought by author Dr. Keith Bell against King’s College and its football coach, Jeff Knar, is one of those lawsuits.

        A timeline is required here, for reasons that will become readily apparent. In 1982, the year I happen to have been born (skypoint for myself), Bell published a 72 page book called Winning Isn’t Normal. The book is supposed to be of motivational nature, prodding the reader to win at sports, games and life, or something. Fast forward to 2015, when the Twitter account for Northeastern State University’s baseball team tweeted out an image of a single page from the book. Also in 2015, King’s College coach Knarr retweeted that tweet. Now fast forward to late 2017, when Knarr and the school are being sued by Bell for that retweet.

      • Hollywood Using Trump To Undermine The Internet In NAFTA Talks

        As you may be aware, the US, Canada and Mexico are “renegotiating NAFTA” for reasons that don’t entirely make sense, but we’ll leave that aside. Either way, opening up that process has created an opportunity for Hollywood to attack the internet, and they’ve rushed right in. And, despite promises to the contrary, it appears that Hollywood may have succeeded in getting the Trump administration’s US Trade Representative to back its dangerous plans.
        To fully explain this requires a bit of a history lesson. A few decades back, Hollywood realized that what it couldn’t get Congress to pass, it could force upon the US through “international trade agreements.” Much of the history of what happened is detailed in the excellent 2002 book, Information Feudalism by Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite. The very short version is this: international trade agreements have mostly been negotiated without much fanfare or attention, often in secret, with handshake deals in backrooms. And since “trade agreements” are about industry and commerce, trade negotiators often spend most of their time listening to industry representatives to figure out what they want, rather than looking at what’s best for everyone as a whole.

      • Judge Recommends ISP and Search Engine Blocking of Sci-Hub in the US

        Sci-Hub, which is regularly referred to as the “Pirate Bay of Science,” faces one of the strongest anti-piracy injunctions we have seen in the US to date. A magistrate judge in Virginia has recommended a broad order which would require search engines and Internet providers to block the site.

      • Porn Copyright Trolls Terrify 60-Year-Old But Age Shouldn’t Matter

        As people get used to the wave of copyright trolling that has flooded the Internet in recent years, fewer cases hit the headlines. Every now and again, however, a special case appears, such as the one in Canada where a 60-year-old woman has been accused of downloading porn several times. She’s reportedly terrified, but should age be the only defense against these scare tactics?


Links 2/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC3, Claims of GNU/Linux Market Share of 6.91% in September

Posted in News Roundup at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14-rc3

      So 4.14 continues to be a somewhat painful release, and I’m starting
      to at least partly blame the fact that it’s meant to be an LTS

      The last LTS release we had (4.9) resulted in one of the biggest
      kernel releases we ever had because everybody wanted in; the 4.14
      release doesn’t seem to be as large, but it does seem to result in
      some late work happening because people want to prep for 4.14, knowing
      it will be LTS.

      But who knows. Some of this may just be pure coincidence too. But I
      already know of two more pull requests that are still pending that
      will also probably want to be pushed into 4.14.

      Anyway, on to the actual rc3 changes.. Most of them are the normal
      small fixes, but a few things do stand out:

      - some x86 FPU state handling fixes

      - fixed some crypto problems in our internal key handling

      - some smp/hotplug cleanups

      and all of them are bigger than I would have wished for at this stage,
      but all of them had fine reasons for going in now. They all had one
      thing in common, in that they also came with cleanups in order to fix
      the underlying problem (so often the actual commit that _fixes_ it is
      pretty small, but there’s a series of cleanups that makes that fix

      The two issues that I know as potentially still pending are some of
      the same kind: a writeback fix and some watchdog fixes, both with the
      majority being cleanups in order to fix things.

      Anyway, this all has the common thread that I’d have loved to get that
      code during the merge window as “obviously good changes”, but I’m not
      thrilled to get it during the rc stages.

      Oh well. Enough of the “Woe is me”.

      Things don’t actually look *bad*. Yes, it’s more changes than I would
      have wished for at this stage, but at the same time none of it looks
      like it’s really fundamentally problematic for the 4.14 release. Most
      of the x86 FPU state cleanups had already been around for a while just
      because they were needed cleanup, for example, it’s just that the bug
      fixes made them get merged at a less than optimal time.

      The various changes do end up making the diffstat look somewhat
      unusual: driver fixes that usually dominate are just a quarter of the
      haul this rc around, with arch fixes (almost all of which are x86) are
      another quarter. The rest is core kernel (much of it the smp/hotplug
      updates), security (the key handling changes) and tooling (much of it
      perf, but also more selftests). Some fs fixes (btrfs and xfs, some
      misc) accounts for the rest.

      It’s still early enough in the rc release that I don’t know if this
      will impact timing. Right now it still feels like we’re fine with the
      usual schedule (ie rc7 being the last rc), but we’ll just have to see
      how this release cycle continues.

      Do go out and test, please.


    • Linux 4.14-rc3 Kernel Is Ready For Testing

      Linus Torvalds has continued in his traditional Sunday release cadence of issuing a new kernel update for testing.

      Available this evening is Linux 4.14-rc3 as the third weekly test candidate for the feature-packed Linux 4.14. If you are not familiar with the new features of this kernel update, see our Linux 4.14 feature overview. There is a ton of changes and on top of this it’s going to be an LTS release, which now means Linux 4.14 will be supported for a six year span.

    • Linux Kernel LTS Releases Will Now Get 6 Years Support

      This free and open source kernel serves as the base for most of the devices, including millions of Android and other ARM devices. Now, in a major change that involves how the kernel support is provided, the two-year lifecycle of Linux LTS kernel is being bumped to six years.

    • Linux kernel’s long-term support releases now last for 6 years, and that’s good for Android

      In a recent presentation at Linaro Connect, it was revealed that the Linux kernel would be moving to a six-year LTS. Right now LTS kernels are only supported for two years, which can be a problem when a hardware design pipeline can take more than 12-18 months for a device to make it into a consumer’s hands, and that’s not even taking into account SoC development. This new change, combined with Google’s Project Treble, could further extend device support for Android updates and might spell good news for consumers.

    • Benchmarks

      • Our Last Time Benchmarking Ubuntu 32-bit vs. 64-bit

        Over the years we have looked at the 32-bit vs. 64-bit x86 Linux performance for curiosity sake, showing how x86_64 can be much faster than i686, and just providing these values for a reference look and if for some reason are still running 32-bit Linux software including the OS while the hardware is 64-bit capable. For this final benchmarking look are fresh numbers when doing a clean install of Ubuntu 17.10 32-bit compared to Ubuntu 17.10 64-bit.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Neon Complete Distro Review

        It’s no secret to anyone: KDE and its latest implementation, Plasma 5, have been my favorite applications and desktop suite for quite some time now. I started GNU / Linux with Gnome 2 that brought Ubuntu Feisty Fawn but quickly jumped to that unknown ocean, full of strange words with the letter K in them, called Kubuntu.

        Coming and going, distros and more distros, until you end up trapped by the Chakra magic and its unique environment. As much as I have tried to change this fact in successive attacks of distro hopping. I have not been able to accommodate myself to anyone other than Cinnamon, although I have missed a few features almost exclusive to Plasma. It also happens in reverse, that is, I think that KDE suffers from some things, but in the balance weighs more, by far, the positive than the negative.

      • Interview with Emily Wei

        This might have changed in version 3, but I’m still using version two-point-something since my computer can’t quite handle the newest version.

      • KDE Partition Manager 3.2.0

        I have just released versions 3.2.0 of KDE Partition Manager and KPMcore library. Note that if you use Calamares installer you need version 3.1.4 or later, earlier versions of Calamares will not compile against new kpmcore.

      • KMarkdownWebView 0.2.0

        The KMarkdownWebView software is for the rendered display of Markdown documents, using web technologies (native wrapper around a webpage with a JavaScript library which creates HTML from the plain text handed in).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GUADEC – Engagement Going Ons

        I just realized that I had not posted anything from GUADEC or talked about the Engagement BoF. Given the absence of any conversation on this, I thought I would post my thoughts. I am of course aware of the irony of the engagement team not communicating. :-) Onwards and onwards:

        GUADEC 2017 was a fantastic this year and of course for me it is always meeting my friends, catch up with what people have been up to and so forth. Having run the gambit of conferences, GUADEC is refreshing because it is a pure community conference vs say Linux Foundation or some other event that isn’t singularly focused like this one is. Don’t get me wrong, those are fun and I have a different set of friends I enjoy meeting and talking with. But it is the unity of purpose and working together to create something.

      • Matthias Clasen Continues Hacking On GTK4′s Vulkan Support

        Of the many improvements I am excited for with the GTK4 toolkit is the introduction of a Vulkan renderer.

        As noted earlier this month, there’s been an uptick in GTK4 Vulkan work and Red Hat’s Matthias Clasen has continued in that theme through the end of the month.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 22.3 STABLE released.

        This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.9.49. The 4MLinux Server now includes Apache 2.4.27, MariaDB 10.2.8, and PHP 7.0.23 (see this post for more details). Additionally, some popular programs (Dropbox, Java, Skype) have been updated, too.
        4MLinux 22.3 is the first release that includes the r8168 Realtek Ethernet driver.

      • A new Snapshot is Now Available! (Changes)

        A new Snapshot of feren OS, codenamed Oxygen, has been released for both 32 Bit and 64 Bit Devices, and it comes with a lot of good changes from after August Snapshot’s (NEON’s) release.

      • OSMC’s September update is here

        OSMC’s September update is ready with a wide range of improvements and fixes to keep your OSMC device running in tip-top shape.

    • Slackware Family

      • Refreshed ISO’s for Slackware Live Edition, and more

        When I released new Live ISO images almost two weeks ago, a bug in the init script which became apparent with the latest Slackware initrd broke the encrypted /home feature. Therefore I am releasing an updated set of ‘liveslak‘ scripts with version .

        The latest set of Slackware Live Edition ISOs are based on liveslak and Slackware-current dated “Fri Sep 29 22:58:54 UTC 2017“). That means, the new Live ISOs contain the updates to TexLive and Python3 (well, no texlive in the XFCE image due to its size limit of course).

        If you already use a Slackware Live USB stick that you do not want to re-format, you should use the “-r” parameter to the “iso2usb.sh” script. The “-r” or refresh parameter allows you to refresh the liveslak files on your USB stick without touching your custom content. If you want to modify other parameters of your USB stick, use the script “upslak.sh“. It’s main feature is that it can update the kernel on the USB stick, but it also can replace the Live init script. As with most (if not all) of my scripts, use the “-h” parameter to get help on its functionality.

    • Red Hat Family

      • DHFL Pramerica Tastes Success With Red Hat Mobile App

        Life insurance companies are using open source to address IT challenges, transform and modernizeIT to help accelerate innovation, and achieve greater agility and efficiency. In one such moves, DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance Company Ltd. (DPLI), a Gurgaon-based life insurance company, implemented Red Hat Mobile Application Platform to strengthen its mobile app presence in capabilities for their sales advisors, and enabling them to innovate faster.

        DPLI was looking for a technology partner to help them realize this by balancing their IT investments. The all-new state-of-the-art AceApp, designed to provide a 24/7 mobile office on-the-go for sales advisors, is equipped with features that can support the entire customer lifecycle journey with DPLI.


        He added that Red Hat Mobile Application Platform and JBoss BRMS have enabled DPLI to be more agile and reach a wider variety of customers with specific demands.”

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Ansible 2.4 available now in Fedora

          Recently, the Ansible Community recently released version 2.4 of their open source automation engine. Ansible 2.4 is available for installation in both Fedora 25, and Fedora 26 — and is also available for pre-release versions of Fedora 27. Ansible is a configuration management and application deployment tool that allows system administrators and software engineers to automate the setting up and deployment of systems and applications.

        • Taking off Red Hat, but not Fedora

          Red Hat, the name means a lot of things to me. Red Hat Linux was the first Linux distribution I ever saw and worked with. Later I moved into Fedora, and it became my defacto distribution from Core 1 days. Started contributing to the project formally from 2006, and joined in Red Hat for the first time back in 2008. People kept asking me why do I wear my Red Fedora everywhere, why do I feel so enthusiastic all the time? For me, it is always the people, the company itself started to provide a healthy relationship with the businesses and Free Software vendors (including itself). It is still standing tall and growing because of the people in the company, who still cares about Freedom. I left Red Hat for 11 months in between, and then came back to work on Fedora itself as Fedora Cloud Engineer in the Fedora Engineering team. Later Sayan also joined the team.

        • Lazy Migration in CRIU’s master branch

          Another interesting change about CRIU is that it started as x86_64 only and now it is also available on aarch64, ppc64le and s390x. The support to run on s390x has just been added with the previous 3.4 release and starting with Fedora 27 the necessary kernel configuration options are also active on s390x in addition to the other supported architectures.

        • Fedora 27 Beta Will Be Released Next Week
    • Debian Family

      • Monthly FLOSS activity – 2017/09 edition
      • Free Software Efforts (2017W39)

        Here’s my weekly report for week 39 of 2017. In this week I have travelled to Berlin and caught up on some podcasts in doing so. I’ve also had some trouble with the RSS feeds on my blog but hopefully this is all fixed now.

        Thanks to Martin Milbret I now have a replacement for my dead workstation, an HP Z600, and there will be a blog post about this new set up to come next week. Thanks also to Sýlvan and a number of others that made donations towards getting me up and running again. A breakdown of the donations and expenses can be found at the end of this post.

      • My Debian Activities in September 2017

        This month almost the same numbers as last month appeared in the statistics. I accepted 213 packages and rejected 15 uploads. The overall number of packages that got accepted this month was 425.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 3.2: Privacy, Security, and Anonymity on the Internet Just Got Easier

          The operating system Ed Snowden used to communicate with journalists when he revealed the size and scope of NSA surveillance in 2013 received a major update Thursday. Tails (which stands for The Amnesic Incognito Live System) is a Linux distribution created and distributed by the Tails Project. Tails is built from the ground up to offer security, privacy, and anonymity to computer users everywhere.

          Tails — which is described by its developers as “privacy for anyone anywhere” — has been around since 2009 and has received the Mozilla Open Source Support Award (2016), the Access Innovation Prize (2014), and the OpenITP award (2013). More importantly, it has been used by dissidents in oppressive nations, activists who feel the need to remain anonymous, whistleblowers, and investigative journalists. In fact, the three journalists most involved in the Snowden revelations all used Tails when communicating with him about NSA surveillance. Snowden insisted on it. In April 2014, Freedom of the Press Foundation reported that Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and Barton Gellman all told the foundation that Tails was instrumental in allowing them to communicate with Snowden about NSA surveillance while avoiding the very surveillance they were preparing to report on.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The Secret Command to Reset Ubuntu Desktop to Default Settings

            We show you how to reset Ubuntu to its default settings. Whether you’re running Unity or GNOME Shell, you can easily reset Ubuntu to its factory settings.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” Preview Part 7: Beta 2

            Artful Beta 2 (aka the Final Beta) released recently at 29 September 2017. This is the last Beta before the real final stable later at 19 October. We can download the Beta 2 now and see how will the stable be. The important news of this Part 7 are there is no 32bit version, the desktop is really moved to GNOME, memory consumption is still huge, new wallpapers and user experience. We hope the final stable will be ultimately better and wonderful. Enjoy!

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • VRTK helps devs get started in VR with open-source dev kit

    What’s becoming clear in VR development is that with the market split across Rift, Vive and PlayStation VR, the developers of some of the most successful apps like Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Raw Data work hard to make their software work well across all three headsets.

    Even if it is hard to stand out from dozens of apps launching each week, making a virtual world available across Steam, the PlayStation Store and Oculus increases the chances of a developer finding success. Though large teams working with big budgets often turn to the Unreal world engine from Epic Games for building VR products, the very well-funded Unity Technologies is the engine most indie developers use in bringing their products to fruition across multiple systems. Unity is used by a majority of VR developers and its asset store makes it easy for developers to find cheap or free tools with which to build more immersive worlds.

  • GovTech Singapore to progressively open-source code for cloud-based, smart mobility platform

    The Government Technology Agency of Singaopore (GovTech) has announced that it will progressively open-source the code for the Beeline smart mobility platform from October 2017 (Key components of the code base that may compromise the security of the Beeline platform will not be open-sourced.).

    Industry and individual developers will be able to adopt, build on and scale up the platform or develop new mobility solutions using the code. This is in line with Singapore’s Smart Nation vision of catalysing innovation and co-creation.

    Piloted in 2015, Beeline is an open, cloud-based smart mobility platform to provide data-driven shuttle bus services for commuters, jointly developed by GovTech and the Land Transport Authority (LTA),

  • Cannonlake-Powered Chromebook “Zoombini” Added To Coreboot

    By the end of the calendar year Intel has reiterated the first 10nm Cannonlake devices are expected to market. It’s looking like among the first Cannonlake designs will be a new Google Chromebook.

    Over the summer there have been various references to “Zoombini” as a Cannonlake Chromebook. The Zoombini has received the Coreboot treatment and its port has landed in Coreboot Git.

  • A message from the (former) OSI President
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • macOS and iOS kernel source code is now available on GitHub

      While Apple has claimed to be a significant contributor to various open-source projects in the past, many of its technologies are still closed source. However, the Cupertino giant has now made a big move by releasing the source code of the XNU kernel which powers its flagship operating systems, on GitHub.

    • Apple open-sourced the kernel of iOS and macOS for ARM processors

      Apple has always shared the kernel of macOS after each major release. This kernel also runs on iOS devices as both macOS and iOS are built on the same foundation. This year, Apple also shared the most recent version of the kernel on GitHub. And you can also find ARM versions of the kernel for the first time.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD 5.0 Branched As The Next Release

      We’ve known a new DragonFlyBSD release was being worked on for release soon. That release has now been branched, the first release candidate tagged, and it’s being marked as version 5.0.

      Succeeding DragonFlyBSD 4.8 will be DragonFlyBSD 5.0. 5.0.0-rc1 was tagged on Friday night while the code is branched for the 5.0 release undertaking. On Git master is now the DragonFly 5.1 development version.

    • Managing virtual environments with ClonOS 12

      ClonOS is one of the latest operating systems to be entered into the DistroWatch database. The project’s website describes ClonOS as follows:

      ClonOS is a free, open-source FreeBSD-based platform for virtual environment creation and management.

      The operating system uses FreeBSD’s development branch (12.0-CURRENT) as its base. ClonOS uses ZFS as the default file system and includes web-based administration tools for managing virtual machines and jails. The project’s website also mentions the availability of templates for quickly setting up new containers and web-based VNC access to jails. Puppet, we are told, can be used for configuration management.

    • autoconf/clang (No) Fun and Games

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open educational resources movement gains speed

        The rising cost of college education threatens many potential students’ ability to access higher education, but a growing group of professionals is trying to help defray costs by applying lessons from open source development to course material development. These open educational resource (OER) supporters are actively advocating for open pedagogy and creating openly licensed, high-quality textbooks.

        This year, this movement received $8 million in funding from New York State to develop OERs to support the state’s Excelsior Scholarship program, which aims to make college education more affordable for New Yorkers.

      • The brilliant life and brutal death of Bassel Khartabil, killed by Assad for writing free software

        Bassel Khartabil was a Syrian free software, free speech and Creative Commons activist who was jailed and tortured by the Assad regime, which eventually secretly sentenced him to death, then executed him in 2015, but kept it a secret until 2017.


  • The Bizarre Story Behind Playboy’s Highest-Selling Issue Ever

    The Soderberg centerfold issue sold 7.16 million copies, topping the list of Playboy’s top-selling issues. Soderberg also became a rock star in computer programming circles, given that her image was used so frequently. She attended the Society for Imaging Science and Technology’s conference in 1997, where she signed autographs.

  • Amadeus’ booking system glitch [sic] leads to global delays
  • Stop the Endless Scroll. Delete Social Media From Your Phone
  • Copenhagen Wheel review: a bike that makes you feel like a superhero

    A large hub in the center of your rear wheel contains a motor, battery, and sensor package. As you push your foot down, it measures the speed, torque, and cadence you’re putting in, then adds an electric assist. Pedaling feels totally normal — except you go twice as fast with half the effort.

  • Don’t fly your drone near these US landmarks, FAA warns

    The Federal Aviation Administration is issuing new drone-flight rules that outlaws flying unmanned hobby aircraft within 400 feet of several US landmarks, including the Statute of Liberty.

  • Gambler hits $1.4M jackpot, casino says bingo machine “malfunctioned”

    Consider the case of an Alabama man who put $5 into an electronic bingo machine at the Wind Creek Casino in Montgomery, Alabama. The casino is on tribal land operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. To the gambler’s amazement, “several noises, lights, and sirens were activated” when the machine announced that Jerry Rape had hit The Big One. The bingo machine indicated a jackpot of $459,000, then $918,000, and finally settled on a “payout multiplier” of $1,377,000, according to the gambler’s lawsuit.

  • Science

    • Quantum video chat links scientists on two different continents

      In a demonstration of the world’s first intercontinental quantum link, scientists held a long-distance videoconference on September 29 between Austria and China.

    • DNA from old skeleton suggests humanity’s been here longer than we thought

      When did humanity start? It’s proven to be a difficult question to answer. Anatomically modern humans have a distinct set of features that are easy to identify on a complete skeleton. But most old skeletons are partial, making identification a challenge. Plus, other skeletons were being left by pre-modern (or archaic) human relatives like Neanderthals who were present in Africa and Eurasia at the same time. While Neanderthals et al. have distinct features as well, we don’t always have a good idea how variable those features were in these populations.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Study: Flint water killed unborn babies; many moms who drank it couldn’t get pregnant

      Fertility rates decreased by 12% among Flint women, and fetal death rates increased by 58%, after April 2014, according to research by assistant professors and health economists David Slusky at Kansas University and Daniel Grossman at West Virginia University. The pair examined vital statistics data for Flint and the rest of the state of Michigan from 2008 to 2015, zoomed down to the census-tract level.

    • The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has had terrible consequences for residents’ health
    • Still no justice, peace in Flint water crisis after report of spike in fetal deaths

      The latest research study on the Flint water crisis has found that the city where children were poisoned by lead-laden water for nearly two years saw a monstrous increase in fetal deaths — 58% — and a heartbreaking decrease in pregnancies and fertility rates after April 2014.

    • Flint’s lead-poisoned water had a ‘horrifyingly large’ effect on fetal deaths, study finds
    • Plan to slash farm antibiotic use may stop spread of resistance

      There is compelling evidence that antibiotics given to livestock lead to antibiotic-resistant infections in people, says Lance Price of George Washington University, in Washington DC. The world is starting to take notice, and major players including China and KFC are planning to stop producing or using meat raised with “medically important” antibiotics.

    • The Truth Behind Trump’s Brazen Attempt to Kill the Clean Water Rule

      NRDC filed detailed comments opposing that plan today, and we gave the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (which jointly proposed the repeal) a very large piece of our mind. You can see our comments here, but here’s the Cliffs Notes version:

    • Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems

      From the 391,000 documented plant species, 5,538 have been counted as human food (8). Out of these, just three – rice, wheat and maize – provide more than 50% of the world’s plant-derived calories (9). Relying so heavily on such a narrow resource base is a risky strategy for the planet, for individual livelihoods and for nutritious diets.

    • Where Do They Put All That Toxic Hurricane Debris?

      “No one is interested in separating garbage after a hurricane,” says Elena Craft, a senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund in Austin. “But there are real threats that exist from this process.”

    • Dangerous anti-vaccine tweets have spiked—from rich people in just 5 states

      The noxious clamoring of a privileged minority has grown louder on Twitter—imperiling public health, a new study warns.

      The volume of dangerous tweets falsely linking life-saving vaccines to autism spiked dramatically in recent years. But the alarming uptick doesn’t necessarily represent a surge in anti-vaccine sentiments in overall public opinion. Instead, the uptick indicates the amplifying voices of very specific demographics: people from affluent, largely populated areas in just five states—California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.

      The study’s authors, led by psychologist Theodore Tomeny of the University of Alabama, say the rise is worrying. But, they argue, keeping an eye on social media may help shush the misinformation at its source.

    • The list of diseases linked to air pollution is growing

      Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston recently reported on links between air quality and mortality throughout the entire U.S. Medicare population (more than 60 million people who are age 65 and older or disabled). The analysis looked at levels of two common air pollutants and death rates from 2000 to 2012, while accounting for factors that might confound the results, such as race and socioeconomic status. The analysis, published in June in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that when pollutant levels rose (but remained at levels below national standards), so did death rates.

    • Activists in 4-state pipeline protest embrace unique defense

      An environmental activist who targeted an oil pipeline in North Dakota a year ago as part of a broader four-state effort to draw attention to climate change is due to stand trial along with the man who filmed his deeds.

      Michael Foster’s trial starts Monday in Pembina County. He is among the first in that group of activists to go to trial, following a man in Washington state who was convicted of a burglary charge and served just two days in jail.

      Here’s a look at Foster’s case, an update on others and an examination of the defense Foster and other activists hope to use: that their lawbreaking was in the public’s interest.

    • Why Global Breakdown is in a Broken Calculus of the Human Good

      The way that we come to assume “yes” in the answer to this question is through a simple economic calculus of the human good. The most famous summary is Steven Pinker’s argument: global violence has declined, as counted by numbers of wars, and so on (more sophisticated thinkers would add: while poverty has shrunk) therefore, it’s the best time to be alive, ever, period. Indisputable, right? Wrong.
      There’s a huge hole in this way of thinking, a kind of unreason. Can you spot it yet? It doesn’t weigh the dead. The total number of people killed in World War I and II was north of 80 million. More people died in the 20th century at one another’s hands than in all of human history, combined. Let’s sharpen that, and bring out what it really means.

    • US citizens lose half a decade in lifespan versus people born in rich European and Asian countries

      The US ranks a dismal 34th place for life expectancy in the World Economic Forum’s highly-anticipated Global Competitiveness Report. However, people living in major financial centers in Europe and Asia, such as Hong Kong or Switzerland, can expect to live longer.

      Every year, the WEF releases its Global Competitiveness Report, which aims to be one of the most in-depth looks into the financial health and risks of nearly 140 countries around the world. The WEF looks at 114 indicators that “capture concepts that matter for productivity and long-term prosperity.” The report is assembled from a large variety of sources. Those include data from local sources, a survey of 13,000 business executives, as well as info from respectable institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and World Health Organization, to determine scores.

    • Kansas Won’t Expand Medicaid, Denying a Lifeline to Rural Hospitals and Patients

      On a Friday afternoon in late March, some of the most powerful people in Wellington, Kansas, crowded into the office of physician Faustino Naldoza. The civic leaders, were trying to prevail upon state Sen. Larry Alley to side with them in a vote the following week. The state legislature would be deciding on whether to overturn a veto by Gov. Sam Brownback of an expansion of the state healthcare program called KanCare — otherwise known, unfortunately for its prospects, as Medicaid.

      Kansas had long rejected the expansion of Medicaid authorized by the Affordable Care Act, until, that is, President Barack Obama left office, and the legislature voted to accept the federal money. The expansion was a lifeline to towns like Wellington. Across Kansas, and throughout much of the rural U.S., small hospitals have been closing. In 2017, Wellington’s Sumner Regional Medical Center joined a growing list of more than 600 rural hospitals that, according to 2016 report by health analytics firm iVantage, are at risk of shuttering, potentially leveling blows to local economies and leaving residents without nearby emergency services and accessible routine care.

  • Security

    • Cyber Operators — Differences Matter
    • Equitablefax

      I’m calling this mostly a problem with Equihax architecture. This isn’t about a struts bug, this is about a terrible network design that allows random kiddies to scrape the data store clean via a single shell (well, 30, but still). That Equihax was focussing on buying boxes to protect against 0day, and (from stories I’ve read circa 2015) working on ensuring employee phones are compartmented for BYOD. Well, they were clearly spending money out of the security budget. And it wasn’t trivial sums either, FireEye boxes aren’t exactly free. But from the looks of it, the problem wasn’t that they got compromised, the problem was that they couldn’t detect a compromise and prevent it from becoming a breach (seriously: 30 webshells exfiltrating data on 143 million people would have left some pretty hefty “access.log” files).

    • Critical Code in Millions of Macs Isn’t Getting Apple’s Updates

      For certain models of Apple laptops and desktop computers, close to a third or half of machines have EFI versions that haven’t kept pace with their operating system system updates. And for many models, Apple hasn’t released new firmware updates at all, leaving a subset of Apple machines vulnerable to known years-old EFI attacks that could gain deep and persistent control of a victim’s machine.

    • Report Bugs, Get $$ Like @atechdad

      The day after Julian Jackson (@atechdad) reported the bug through HackerOne, we released Tor Browser 7.0.3. We saw no indication that it was used in the wild, and the bug didn’t affect users of Tails, Whonix, or our sandboxed Tor Browser.

    • Here’s What to Ask the Former Equifax CEO

      Richard Smith — who resigned as chief executive of big-three credit bureau Equifax this week in the wake of a data breach that exposed 143 million Social Security numbers — is slated to testify in front of no fewer than four committees on Capitol Hill next week. If I were a lawmaker, here are some of the questions I’d ask when Mr. Smith goes to Washington.

    • Without Fanfare, Equifax Makes Bankruptcy Change That Affects Hundreds of Thousands

      For what appears to be decades, the credit rating agency Equifax has quietly layered three more years of tarnish on the credit histories of hundreds of thousands of people who had filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13.

      While its competitors, TransUnion and Experian, placed a flag on such histories for seven years, Equifax left it on the reports of Chapter 13 filers who failed to complete their bankruptcy plans for 10.

      After ProPublica asked about the difference in its policy, the company said it now leaves the flag on for seven years, but refused to say when and why the change was made.

    • IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017: The pros and cons from a hacker

      We have early on recognized the state of such security. Our IoT Village has highlighted the problem at many conferences, such as DEFCON and RSA, for the past three years.

    • Linux Security Summit 2017 Roundup

      The 2017 Linux Security Summit (LSS) was held last month in Los Angeles over the 14th and 15th of September. It was co-located with Open Source Summit North America (OSSNA) and the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC).

    • Securing Network Time

      Since its inception the CII has considered network time, and implementations of the Network Time Protocol, to be “core infrastructure.” Correctly synchronising clocks is critical both to the smooth functioning of many services and to the effectiveness of numerous security protocols; as a result most computers run some sort of clock synchronization software and most of those computers implement either the Network Time Protocol (NTP, RFC 5905) or the closely related but slimmed down Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP, RFC 4330).

  • Defence/Aggression

    • American University Partners With Saudi Arabia On Security Program

      These two seemingly opposite worlds, the United States and Saudi Arabia, have a disturbing new connection. The president of University of New Haven, Steven H. Kaplan, has recently signed an agreement in June 2016 to collaborate with instructors at King Fahd Security College in Riyadh for the development of baccalaureate security studies program. The course of study will offer three specialization tracks: criminal justice, homeland security, and intelligence studies, all of which will be used to “enhance security in the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia], the Middle East, and globally.”

    • More US diplomats called out of Cuba after attacks with mystery weapons

      More than half of the staff at the American Embassy in Havana, Cuba will return to the US in the wake of mysterious attacks that left diplomats with hearing damage and brain injuries, the State Department announced Friday.

      The department said that the staff drawdown was necessary to ensure their safety. And “because our personnel’s safety is at risk, and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe US citizens may also be at risk and warn them not to travel to Cuba,” the department added in a travel advisory.

    • Meaningless To Talk To Pak Until It Stops Aiding Terrorism: Home Minister

      Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today ruled out talks with Pakistan until it stops aiding cross-border terrorism aimed at destabilising India.

    • Al-Qaeda Man Caught In Delhi, Was Planning To Radicalise Rohingyas: Cops

      The police said the suspect was on a mission to radicalise the Rohingya muslims in India. “His job was to recruit locals from Mizoram and Manipur and send them to Myanmar to fight. So basically, he was espousing the cause of Rohingyas,” said Pramod Kushwah, a senior police officer.

    • Hindu Rohingya refugees forced to convert to Islam in Bangladesh camps

      Horrible tales of inhumanity from Myanmar. Mass graves of 45 Hindus found in the strife-torn Rakhine area. But, the horror does not end there. Hindus Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh camps are being forced to convert to Islam at the hands of majority Muslim Rohingyas.

    • Myanmar and its Rohingya Muslim Insurgency
    • At least 32 killed in Myanmar as Rohingya insurgents stage major attack

      At least 21 insurgents and 11 members of the security forces were killed in Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state on Friday when militants staged a major coordinated attack on 24 police posts and an army base, the military said.

    • Why Myanmar’s Government Won’t Negotiate With Rohingya Insurgents

      “The way they operate is like the acts of terrorists. So as for us we cannot regard them as a revolutionary group or something like that. So they are just terrorists. That is our view on the Rohingya organization,” he said.

    • Myanmar officials: Insurgents killed 45 Hindu villagers

      Myanmar officials said Monday they have discovered at least 45 slain Hindus in three mass graves in the Southeast Asian country’s conflict-torn northern Rakhine state. The government blames Muslim insurgents for the killings.

    • Islamists Responsible for Rohingya Refugee [sic] Crisis

      “Their [the Rohingyas'] tactics are terrorism. There’s no question about it. [Kyi is] not calling the entire Rohingya population terrorists, she is referring to a group of people who are going around with guns, machetes, and IEDs and killing their own people in addition to Buddhists, Hindus, and others that get in their way. They have killed a lot of security forces, and they are wreaking havoc in the region. The people who are running and fleeing out to Bangladesh… are fleeing their own radical groups…. [T]he international community has to sort out the facts before making accusations.” — Patricia Clapp, Chief of the U.S. Mission to Myanmar from 1999 to 2002.

    • Hindus fleeing Myanmar violence hope for sanctuary in India

      Caught in the crossfire between Myanmar’s military and Rohingya insurgents, hundreds of Hindus who have fled to Bangladesh are placing their hopes on the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in neighbouring India.

    • India’s response at UNGA: Pakistan is now ‘Terroristan’ — produces and exports global terrorism

      “In its short history, Pakistan has become a geography synonymous with terror. The quest for a land of pure has actually produced ‘the land of pure terror.’ Pakistan is now Terroristan, with a flourishing industry producing and exporting global terrorism,” said Eenam Gambhir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, in a statement.

    • Bangladesh frets about population boom in Rohingya camps

      “They have six, seven, eight, nine, 10 children,” said Pintu Kanti Bhattacharjee, head of the government’s family planning department in Cox’s Bazar district where the camps are located.

      “We are very worried. If they are here for another six months to a year, another 20,000 children will be born.”

    • Passengers ‘lucky’ to escape injury after bus is shot at in Malmö
    • Armed military to replace cops on Danish streets and border

      Starting Friday, armed soldiers from the Danish Armed Forces (Forsvaret) will replace police officers at both Denmark’s southern border to Germany and at potential terror targets in Copenhagen.
      According to the Danish National Police (Rigspolitiet) and Copenhagen Police, 160 soldiers will patrol the border and take over guard duties at Jewish institutions including the Great Synagogue in central Copenhagen.

    • 12 year prison sentence for man who murdered relative with scissors in Sweden

      A man in his 50s has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the murder of his younger relative in central Sweden.
      The victim was killed when he was stabbed with scissors in the neck at the Stensjön lake in Grycksbo, near Falun in May. The man’s wife said it was the result of a family conflict, where the perpetrator took offence to her and the victim’s daughters shaking hands with boys.

    • Trump’s Irrational ‘Travel Ban’

      Most administration statements on the subject, including the more formal ones as well as less scripted defenses of the ban, center on the idea of keeping bad guys out of the United States by restricting travel from countries in which such guys are presumed to live. The disconnect between justification and reality that has existed ever since version 1.0 is that there is little or no correspondence between the countries listed in the ban and where terrorists gunning for the U.S. homeland have come from. Over the past four decades, no Americans have been killed in the United States by foreign terrorists who came from any of the countries in either the original version of the ban or the latest version.

      Moreover, the whole idea of a ban on entry to the United States overlooks how much terrorism within the United States, even when it has involved foreign-born individuals, has not involved crossing of borders to commit the act. According to a study by the New America Foundation, all the perpetrators of post-9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States were U.S. citizens or legal residents and would not have been stopped by the travel ban. The evident ethnic targeting of the ban is likely only to increase the resentment, suspicion, and alienation — and thus the propensity to resort to extremist violence — of members of the communities who feel kinship with those targeted.

    • How The US Military Handles Sexual Assault Cases Behind Closed Doors

      For the U.S. Air Force, the case of alleged sexual harassment and assault by a senior officer was exactly the type of misconduct Pentagon leaders had promised Congress and the public they would no longer tolerate.

      The victim at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Alabama reported in September 2015 that her married boss, a colonel, had repeatedly said he wanted to have sex with her, tracked her movements and sent her recordings of him masturbating in the shower, documents show. She said that she told him to back off but that he would not stop: Twice, she alleges, he trapped her in the office, grabbed her arms and forcibly tried to kiss her.

      Air Force investigators quickly confirmed much of her account, aided by hundreds of messages that the officer had texted the woman and by his admission that he had sent the masturbation recordings, the documents show.

    • Las Vegas: Mass shooting in Mandalay Bay shooting

      At least two people have been killed and 24 others wounded in a mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert.
      A gunman opened fire at an open-air country music festival at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the city’s strip.
      Hundreds of people fled the scene and the sound of what appeared to be prolonged automatic gunfire could be heard on videos posted on social media.
      Police said a suspect “was down”. There are reports of at least one other incident on the Las Vegas strip.

    • How Syria’s Victory Reshapes Mideast

      We have written before how the Syria outcome dwarfs that of Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah, significant though the result of that war was, too.

      Both events taken together have brought America’s unipolar moment in the Middle East to an end (though not globally, since the U.S. still retains its necklace of military bases across the region). The successes have corroded badly the reputation of the Gulf States and have discredited fired-up Sunni jihadism as a “go-to” political tool for Saudi Arabia and its Western backers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Lost weekend: How Trump’s time at his golf club hurt the response to Maria

      At first, the Trump administration seemed to be doing all the right things to respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico.

      As Hurricane Maria made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, there was a frenzy of activity publicly and privately. The next day, President Trump called local officials on the island, issued an emergency declaration and pledged that all federal resources would be directed to help.

      But then for four days after that — as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico struggled for food and water amid the darkness of power outages — Trump and his top aides effectively went dark themselves.

      Trump jetted to New Jersey that Thursday night to spend a long weekend at his private golf club there, save for a quick trip to Alabama for a political rally. Neither Trump nor any of his senior White House aides said a word publicly about the unfolding crisis.

    • Why Puerto Rico still has no electrical power and how to fix it [iophk: "more category 4 and 5 hurricanes on their way"]

      Puerto Rico is still literally powerless. Though Hurricane Maria made landfall as a category four hurricane over a week ago, the storm has left the island almost entirely without electrical power.

    • Trump, remove your blinders on climate change

      We do not expect our political leaders to be experts on everything, but we do expect them to have knowledgeable advisors who can help them understand things they don’t know or haven’t studied. If they only have poor advisors, or if they don’t pay attention to the good ones, we get what we seem to have on climate change, which in truth is not so hard to understand, at least at a cursory level.

    • ‘The last place on Earth’: how Sumatra’s rainforest is being cleared for palm oil

      The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) published a study in July accusing plantation owner PT Agra Bumi Niaga (ABN) of growing oil palms on illegally deforested land in the Leuser ecosystem, in Aceh province, northern Sumatra.

    • Potential New German Coalition Government Likely to Clash on Energy

      After Sunday’s federal election, Chancellor Angela Merkel is faced with political parties that disagree on key scientific and environmental issues.

    • ‘Not invisible anymore’: Standing Rock a year after pipeline protests

      “We were invisible to people, they didn’t want to see us and we’re not invisible anymore,” she said. “And I think that we have decided that visibility is a gift. And we are going to use it for the greater good.”

    • Why Hurricane Maria Surprised Forecasters By Getting So Strong So Fast

      Hurricane Maria, currently headed for Puerto Rico, stunned forecasters by rapidly intensifying from a Category 1 storm to a Category 5 within a 15-hour period on Monday, battering the island of Dominica in the process. Indeed, the forecast error for Maria’s wind speed is one of the worst for a 24-hour hurricane forecast in the past five years.

    • Report from Puerto Rico: Death Toll Higher Than Reported Amid Water Shortage & Health Crisis

      Good news or fake news? Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke and the Trump administration defend their response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, where many of the 3.5 million residents remain without electricity and are desperate for fresh water, food and other supplies. We speak with Laura Moscoso, a data journalist at the Puerto Rico-based Center for Investigative Journalism. She says the death toll is much higher than the government reports, noting, “Our phones have been ringing with many testimonies.”

    • Puerto Ricans are living climate change right now. Here’s how they describe it.

      Millions of people in the Caribbean are getting a glimpse of a future that more and more people around the world will soon experience. This month’s hurricanes are the storms scientists have warned us about for decades. They have arrived — causing heartbreak and agony, wrecking homes and destroying lives.

      For the millions more friends and family members watching and waiting on the U.S. mainland and elsewhere, word from their loved ones can’t come soon enough. One week after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Puerto Rico remains in a state of disarray, and communication is still largely cut off to most of the island.

    • Japanese coastal species rode tsunami debris to the US

      Well after the massive 2011 tsunami that swept across the Japanese coast, reminders of the event started appearing on the US-side of the Pacific. Various forms of debris, ranging from small hunks of plastic up to entire boats, made appearances on the US West Coast. Now, a team of researchers has found that the floating debris carried hundreds of potentially invasive species across the vast ocean with it, including a couple of species of fish.

    • We’ve Grossly Underestimated How Much Cow Farts Are Contributing to Global Warming

      A new NASA-sponsored study shows that global methane emissions produced by livestock are 11 percent higher than estimates made last decade. Because methane is a particularly nasty greenhouse gas, the new finding means it’s going to be even tougher to combat climate change than we realized.

      We’ve known for quite some time that greenhouse gases produced by cattle, sheep, and pigs are a significant contributor to global warming, but the new research, published in Carbon Balance and Management, shows it’s worse than we thought. Revised figures of methane produced by livestock in 2011 were 11 percent higher than estimates made in 2006 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—a now out-of-date estimate.

    • Indigenous Peoples Are Fighting to Save the Earth for All of Us

      Imagine that your survival depended on defending your right to live where you are standing right now.

      Any day, the government could decide to start extracting oil or constructing a highway, exactly where your family goes to sleep every night, without consulting you. Just picture the mine or highway polluting the water you drink and poisoning the soil so completely that crops can’t even grow. On top of this, every day you are pushed to speak a foreign language in a country that endangers your culture and way of life.

      This scenario is not fictitious. It is a reality for many of the 370 million people worldwide who identify as Indigenous Peoples. If there could be a simple way to define them, we can agree that they are the living descendants of the pre-colonized inhabitants of lands now dominated by others.

    • Finnish firm to start recycling waste tyres, turn them into oil

      Using a modification of an old method, the Finnish firm Ecomation says it will open a tyre recycling facility next month, enabling the company to transform old tyres into oil on an industrial scale. The company’s CEO says their process was refined in Finland and thinks that their method could become popular around the world.

    • Climate Change Refugees Face Militarized Borders

      The hi-tech militarized barriers between developed and undeveloped nations are increasing. Built to keep out refugees driven by economic and political need, these borders are now faced by those fleeing the ravages of climate change, author Todd Miller tells Truthout in this exclusive interview.

    • Trump’s Cronies Feed at Public Trough as He Disses Puerto Rico

      Trump’s petulant tweet storm on Saturday accused Puerto Ricans of wanting everything done for them.

      He expressed these sentiments as his secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, was forced to resign for flying around on expensive government airplanes or charters, costing tax payers over $1 million, even though many of these flights could have been replaced by inexpensive train rides or economy seats on civilian airliners.

  • Finance

    • Anti-Monopoly Candidates Are Testing a New Politics in the Midterms
    • Oracle is yet another tech firm hit with suit for allegedly paying women less than men
    • Trump’s chief Goldman-Sachs goblin tells America they can buy a new car for $1000

      Gary Cohn is Trump’s chief economic advisor. He’s a former Goldman-Sachs banker with a net worth of more than $250,000,000. In his latest appearance, the quarter-billionaire explained to the press that Trump’s tax-plan (which will transfer billions to the wealthiest 1%, e.g., Gary Cohn) will save two-child families earning $100,000/year about $1,000 and that they can use this money to buy “a new car.”

    • The GOP’s Latest Obamacare Repeal Push Isn’t Really About Health Care

      It’s about how to finance tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy.

    • IBM Now Has More Employees in India Than in the U.S.

      But IBM is unusual because it employs more people in a single foreign country than it does at home. The company’s employment in India has nearly doubled since 2007, even as its work force in the United States has shrunk through waves of layoffs and buyouts. Although IBM refuses to disclose exact numbers, outsiders estimate that it employs well under 100,000 people at its American offices now, down from 130,000 in 2007. Depending on the job, the salaries paid to Indian workers are one-half to one-fifth those paid to Americans, according to data posted by the research firm Glassdoor.

    • Without Power to Run A.T.M.s, Puerto Rico Is Cash Only
    • City Offers to Pay Rent for Homeless Families Who Move Out of Town

      Faced with stubbornly high levels of homelessness in an election year, the de Blasio administration is now offering to pay 12 months of rent upfront for homeless families who find an apartment in or outside the city.

      The city recently introduced the program, and this week the Department of Homeless Services sent an email to shelter providers, which listed 17 apartments they found in Newark and wanted to show to homeless families.

      On Wednesday, Gregory Arrington and his wife, who’ve been homeless for a year, were waiting in front of the Department of Homeless Services for a van to take them to Newark.

    • Don’t Let The Vultures Shock Doctrine Puerto Rico

      When I am asked my recommendations for political non-fiction books, the top of my list is almost always Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine (Chris Hayes’ Twilight of the Elites is a close second.)

      Seven years after its publication, no other book better explains the state of the modern political world. The thesis of the book is simple: vulture capitalists saw profit to be had in institutions that eschewed profit to serve people, and when people would not give up those institutions, the vulture capitalists shocked entire populations into submission using disasters both natural and manmade as an opportunity to privatize entire industries. Kleptocracy, religious fundamentalism, ethnic sectarianism and dictatorship arose quickly from the ashes of stunned, impoverished and subjugated peoples, creating blowback for Western democracies even as the jet set luxuriated in champagne and caviar.

    • Monarch Airlines collapse: UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation under way

      The UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation is under way after the collapse of Monarch Airlines, with 110,000 customers to be brought back home on specially chartered planes.

      The accountants KPMG announced in the early hours of Monday that Monarch, Britain’s longest-surviving airline brand, had been placed into administration and that all further flights from the UK had been cancelled and would not be rescheduled.

      The Civil Aviation Authority said it had launched a programme to bring Monarch customers home over the next fortnight, chartering 30 planes for the rescue operation.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Catalan referendum: preliminary results show 90% in favour of independence

      Turull said the number of ballots did not include those confiscated by Spanish police during violent raids which resulted in hundreds of people being injured. At least 844 people and 33 police were reported to have been hurt, including at least two people who were thought to have been seriously injured.

    • Facts don’t matter to Americans, and we should be worried [iophk: "tribalism"]

      People are susceptible to political misinformation because they tend to believe things that favor their side — even if it isn’t grounded in data or science. There are numerous factors at play, from the influence of nonconscious emotions to the need to defend a group that the individual identifies with.

    • Spain’s Harsh Crackdown Draws Worldwide Attention To Catalonia

      The Catalan government has claimed that 90 percent of voters are in favor of independence, following the violent crackdown Spanish riot police brought upon polling stations on Sunday.

      Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull told reporters on Monday morning that 90 percent of Catalans voted yes after the region held an independence referendum that the country’s government in Madrid had attempted to stop. The Spanish government declared the vote illegal.

    • Tension between Trump and the media? That’s nothing compared to journalism’s worst crisis.

      The situation is sickeningly familiar to anyone who works on — or reads — a metropolitan daily newspaper, whether it’s in New Orleans, Detroit or just about any other American city.

      The paper is hurting financially. It cuts reporters, photographers and editors to make ends meet. Then it cuts even deeper. The journalism suffers, but the paper’s work is still vital to its community. And a question looms: Will it even survive the next decade?

      “The real crisis in American journalism is at the local and metro level,” says Jim Friedlich, executive director of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism in Philadelphia, founded last year to save local journalism in Philadelphia and spread the cure around the nation.

    • Sorry for Spain

      Today the Spanish police has committed in Catalonia what can only be described as barbarism.

      Beware of the videos, they may hurt your feelings.

    • Theresa May angered Buckingham Palace by misleading Queen over DUP deal – report

      Senior royal aides were angered by the Prime Minister’s lack of “courtesy” when she said a deal to prop up the Tory minority government had been tied up within hours of the party losing its Commons majority.

    • Germany: Why a Jamaica Coalition Deepens the Division of Society

      The September 24th Bundestag elections yielded disastrous results not just for the SPD, but notably Chancellor Merkel’s CDU. It has to contend with an even steeper percentage loss than the Social Democrats.

      For its part, the SPD – vowing to reconnect to its roots – has decided to serve as the main opposition in the new parliament.

      The potential key effect of the outcome of the German elections, however, may well be something quite different. If the effort to form a Jamaica coalition (so called because of the parties’ color black-green-yellow, for the CDU, Greens and FDP) succeeds, this will actually end up advancing the division of German society.

    • Catalan independence referendum: ‘Catalonia has won the right to statehood’, says region’s President

      The leader of the Catalan government has said the region has won the “right to statehood” following its referendum on independence which was marred by violent clashes.

    • Catalan Leader Suggests Independence Declaration Imminent After Day Of Violence And Voting

      In a statement to Catalans on Sunday night, Catalan First Minister Carles Puigdemont said Catalans had won the right to an independent republic.

      “The Catalan government will transmit to the Catalan Parliament, the seat and expression of the sovereignty of our people, the results of the referendum, so that it can act according to that laid out in the referendum law”, he said.

    • The Catalan Referendum is a classic bait-and-switch operation by Barcelona

      Everyone gets it — the Catalan referendum has exposed the very deep hypocrisy of the Spanish and EU ruling elite, especially in regards to their support for separatist causes elsewhere in the world and the harsh criticism that they regularly dish out anytime governments in the Global South are even suspected of using force against their citizens.

      These are very powerful points that are insightful for the larger audience to dwell upon, but when dealing with the specific issue of Catalan separatism, rhetorical schadenfreude isn’t a solid basis for approaching the issue. While it’s true that the Catalan Controversy is a long and storied one, it’s also equally true that the Spanish Constitution forbids separatism, thereby making this “solution” to the problem illegal.

    • The violent images of the Catalonian independence vote are a disaster for the Spanish government

      Catalonia, a region in northeast Spain, is attempting to hold a referendum today on whether it should seek independence against the will of the central government. The country’s constitutional court has ruled the vote illegal, and police have blocked entry at thousands of polling stations across the region. There are reports of hundreds injured, as police fired rubber bullets and used batons to stop people from voting.
      The resulting images and videos coming out of the region are exactly what officials in Madrid, the nation’s capital, might have feared when they decided to crack down on democratic expression.

    • Zuckerberg’s Preposterous Defense of Facebook

      Mr. Zuckerberg’s preposterous defense of Facebook’s failure in the 2016 presidential campaign is a reminder of a structural asymmetry in American politics.

    • Harvard psychiatrist Lance Dodes: Donald Trump is a “sociopath” and “a very sick individual”

      Unfortunately, with Donald Trump this is not the stuff of a political thriller. It is painfully plausible and all too real. The evidence suggesting that Donald Trump may have serious mental health problems is overwhelming.

    • UN experts are worried about the Catalan referendum online crackdown

      Whatever your view on the issue of Catalan independence, it’s not acceptable for an EU country to undermine online freedoms in the way we’ve witnessed here.

    • Bernie Sanders Just Gave One of the Finest Speeches of His Career
    • 8 Revelations from Trump’s uncovered Howard Stern interviews
    • Catalans Occupy Polling Stations as Spanish Govt Cracks Down

      While Catalans began to occupy the schools where voting will take place on Sunday, Spanish Police raided Catalan offices to disable voting equipment.

      Catalan independence supporters have started occupying polling stations ahead of Sunday’s referendum vote at which time Spanish police have been ordered to block and clear out the polling places.

    • Trump complains Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them”

      President Trump lashed out Saturday, attacking Puerto Rican leaders critical of his administration’s relief efforts following storms that devastated the U.S. territory.

    • The NSA Warned Jared Kushner Not to Do the Dumb Email Thing That He Then Did

      Donald Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner and a number of other senior White House officials who used their personal emails for work purposes were expressly warned by the National Security Agency not to do so, Politico reported on Friday.

      Per Politico, Kushner and other staffers (including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus) all continued to use their private emails despite the NSA warning that “cyberspies could be using sophisticated malware to turn the personal cellphones of White House aides into clandestine listening devices, to take photos and video without the user’s knowledge and to transfer vast amounts of data via Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth.”

    • Faces of Joy, Rage and Resolve in Catalonia as Independence Vote Nears
    • Sessions: Senate shouldn’t have punished Warren over letter she ‘persisted’ in reading

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated Tuesday that his colleagues were wrong to punish Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for seeking to read a historical letter sharply criticizing him during Senate floor debate on his confirmation in February.

      “She certainly had the right to criticize my nomination. I think she really had the right to read the letter that she was blocked, or at least temporarily blocked, from reading,” Sessions said during a question-and-answer session following a speech at Georgetown University’s law school.

    • Robert Mueller Subpoenas an Associate of the Man Who Hired Michael Flynn as a Lobbyist

      The special prosecutor investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election has subpoenaed an associate of Gen. Michael Flynn’s Turkish lobbying client. The subpoena, a copy of which was obtained by ProPublica, ordered Sezgin Baran Korkmaz to testify before a grand jury in Washington on Sept. 22.

      “The grand jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving the Foreign Agents Registration Act, among other offenses,” a letter accompanying the subpoena stated. The letter is signed by Robert Mueller and Zainab Ahmad, a senior assistant special counsel who specializes in prosecuting terrorism. Korkmaz did not respond to requests for comment.

    • The Freedom of Courage

      Hundreds of thousands of people are already gathered outside and inside polling stations across Catalonia, defending them from the squads of paramilitary police who are fanning out from Barcelona port. The atmosphere is currently festive and the determination to vote of ordinary, decent vote is inspirational.

      When a people permanently withdraws its consent to be governed, and finds the courage to defy the agents of authorised state force, there is no way that the government can reimpose itself unless it is prepared to spill quite serious quantities of blood. I do not refer only to today’s referendum, which hopefully will go ahead peacefully but could not be stopped without physical force. In the long term, having eschewed the democratic route in favour of force, Spain will not be able to repress Catalonia without plunging still deeper in to the kind of tactics which reveal the very real Francoist political roots of its Prime Minister and many of its ruling party.

    • Riot police attack protesters as violence breaks out in Barcelona – video

      Spanish riot police attack protesters in Barcelona. Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has told reporters that ‘violence will not stop Catalans from voting. The Catalan government says 38 people have been treated by emergency services. Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau has called on prime minister Mariano Rajoy to resign and demanded police stop using violence against voters.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • House panel to hold hearing on online sex trafficking next week

      On Tuesday, the crime subcommittee will look at revising Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision that gives online platforms expansive legal immunity when it comes to content posted on their sites by third-party users.

    • Map: Internet Censorship Around the World

      In January 2011, Egyptian activists, inspired by a successful uprising in Tunisia, began organizing a demonstration using Facebook. In a matter of days, thousands of protesters – who learned about the event through the social media platform – gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest the longstanding Mubarak regime.

      Then, in an attempt to quash civil unrest, the Egyptian government soon took the bold step of cutting off the country’s internet access. As the size of protests swelled from thousands to millions of people, the Mubarak regime quickly realized their mistake: never cut off a millennial’s internet access.

    • ‘You need to stay brave’: Stephen King talks writing, censorship during Naperville book event

      When it comes to writing escapist fiction, no one does it better than Stephen King in Marian Devers’ opinion.

      The Monee woman, one of more than 3,300 people gathered Friday night at North Central College in Naperville to see the author in person, said she became a devoted fan after reading her first King novel in 1975.

      “I own every one of his books and have re-read many of them multiple times. I have been a fan of his since he wrote, ‘Salem’s Lot,’” Devers said. “He writes horror in a way as though it could happen to anyone in everyday life.”

      King was joined at the appearance by his son Owen, with whom he co-wrote his latest novel, “Sleeping Beauties,” which explores a world in which all of the women have fallen asleep and society is solely inhabited by men.

      Becky Anderson, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, said the event was among the biggest they’ve ever held.

    • Power and politeness: key drivers behind profanity and self-censorship [excerpt]

      Politeness is the linguistic term for the philosopher’s moralized manners, while etiquette is the mere and perhaps not very reliable expression of politeness or manners. Much more is at stake in manners and politeness than in etiquette, though when confronted with a dozen forks at a fancy dinner, etiquette may seem, for the moment, a life-and-death matter.

      Sometimes those inclined to proscribe profanity are more concerned with etiquette than with manners. I don’t feel it a breach in manners when a truly frustrated person says “Shit!” Indeed, I may recognize the frustration, sympathize with the person, and experience relief when I hear the profanity. The frustrated person and I share moral aims and I have to make some room for the expression of authentic feeling.

    • Weibo to increase censorship as it faces pressure from Chinese regulators
    • Political censorship in Russian comedy shows

      Satire and comedy are universal ways of overcoming tensions in any society. Kings and queens have always had to live with being made fun of – they might even have learned something from seeing themselves and their power mirrored in the jokes of their fools and jesters. In modern Russia, however, it’s a different story.

    • Amos Yee’s Release Raises Question Of Continued Singaporean Authoritarianism

      THE RELEASE OF Amos Yee and the acceptance of his bid for asylum in the United States should be celebrated, seeing as this means that the eighteen year old political dissident has escaped political persecution in his native Singapore. Nevertheless, what should be lamented is that Yee spent nine and a half months in American prisons while his application for asylum was being processed. And it should be questioned as to what comes next for Singapore now that its most famous political dissident has successfully gained asylum after escaping from Singapore.

      Yee first came to public attention in Singapore for videos posted on YouTube in March 2015 in which Yee criticized the then-recently deceased Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, as an authoritarian dictator who utilized lawsuits as a way to silence political dissent at a time in which Singaporean society was largely in mourning for Lee. Apart from social backlash, Yee was later arrested that month on charges of “deliberate intention of wounding the religious or racial feelings”, and “threatening, abusive or insulting communication”, but his case drew international attention as an assault on free speech in Singapore and an attempt to silence political criticism by ruling Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien-Long, the son of Lee Kuan Yew and heir to the Lee political dynasty. Yee’s first arrest took place when he was 16 years old.

    • China is industrializing censorship ahead of Communist Party Congress

      IN SHINY glass towers throughout China, companies are hiring hundreds of workers as “auditors”, tasked with policing online content according to strict rules set by government regulators as Internet censorship ahead of the impending 19th Communist Party Congress.

      In this new world of Internet Age censorship, the government is outsourcing to companies such as Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. – better known as Toutiao, a popular and fast-growing news feed app – in order to keep up with the rapid spread of the readily available news content.

    • Court Tosses Cop’s Lawsuit Against Social Movement, Twitter Hashtag

      If you’re a cop patrolling a demonstration and you get hit by a flying rock, you most likely shrug it off as the hazards of work and set out making an arrest. If you’re one anonymous Baton Rouge cop, you sue ethereal non-entities and someone who did nothing more than speak at the protests where the officer was injured. (h/t Adam Steinbaugh)

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FBI may keep secret the name of vendor that cracked terrorist’s iPhone

      A federal judge ruled Saturday that the FBI does not have to disclose the name of the vendor, and how much it was paid by the government for a hacking tool that unlocked the iPhone of a terrorist behind the San Bernardino, California attacks that left 14 people dead.

      The development of the unlocking tool ended what was one of the biggest legal showdowns in the technology space, one in which Apple was fighting a judge’s order last year to provide the FBI with software to enable investigators to unlock the iPhone 5C of Syed Rizwan Farook. Farook was one of two shooters behind the December, 2015 attack at a San Bernardino County facility that left him—and wife Tashfeen Malik—dead. Apple had argued that the law didn’t require it to create software, or a “backdoor,” to enable the government to unlock its customers’ encrypted devices.

    • Someone Made an Ad Blocker But for Cryptocurrency Mining

      The Pirate Bay, a torrent website best known for sleazy sidebar ads, experimented with getting site visitors to mine the cryptocurrency Monero with their browser over the weekend—without their knowledge.

      The mining was done as part of an experiment to replace The Pirate Bay’s famously scummy ads, the site’s administrators explained in a statement. Upon discovering the surreptitious mining, people were understandably upset: Cryptocurrency mining can slow down your computer.

    • DOJ demands Facebook information from ‘anti-administration activists’

      Facebook was initially served the warrants in February 2017 along with a gag order which barred the social media company from alerting the three users that the government was seeking their private information, Michelman said. However, Michelman says that government attorneys dropped the gag order in mid-September and agreed that Facebook could expose the existence of these warrants, which has prompted the latest court filings. Michelman, however, says all court filings associated with the search warrant, and any response from Facebook, remain under seal.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Icann postpones a significant update for DNS because the internet can’t handle it

      ICANN, the occasionally controversial US-backed internet overseer, has admitted that it must postpone a planned crypto change to the Domain Name System (DNS) because the internet can’t quite deal with it right now.

    • ISPs want Supreme Court to kill Title II net neutrality rules now and forever

      Broadband industry lobby groups have appealed to the US Supreme Court in an attempt to kill the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules. The groups want the Supreme Court to rule that the FCC exceeded its authority when it reclassified Internet providers in order to impose stricter regulations.

      Under President Obama, the FCC’s Democratic majority reclassified home and mobile broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act in order to enforce net neutrality rules.

      With Republicans now in charge, the FCC is on track to overturn the rules. But a Supreme Court decision in favor of Internet providers could protect them from future attempts to regulate the industry if, for example, Democrats eventually re-take the White House and FCC.

    • Internet Activists Urge Congress to Fire Trump’s FCC Chief Ajit Pai

      Open internet advocates and Democratic lawmakers are mounting a last-ditch effort to remove Federal Communications Commission chief Ajit Pai over his anti-net neutrality stance, just days before Pai is set to be approved by the Senate for a new term.

      Since being elevated by President Trump to lead the FCC in January, Pai has become the bête noire of open internet advocates for a variety of anti-consumer actions, but none more so than his crusade to kill federal rules protecting net neutrality, the principle that all internet content should be equally accessible to consumers.

      Pai has served at the FCC since 2012, and Senate Republicans have scheduled a vote on Monday to confirm him for another five-year term at the agency. Given the Republican majority in the Senate, Pai’s reconfirmation appears likely, but the naysayers are nevertheless working furiously to prevent that from happening.

      During a blistering floor speech on Thursday, Sen. Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, portrayed Pai, a Republican former Verizon lawyer, as an industry stooge who has worked relentlessly to deliver gift after gift to the nation’s largest broadband companies.

    • Steve Wozniak: Net neutrality rollback ‘will end the internet as we know it’

      In the op-ed published by USA Today, Wozniak and Michael Copps, who led the FCC from 2001 to 2011, argued the rollback will threaten freedom for internet users and may corrode democracy.

    • New International Open Letter Warns US Lawmakers over Net Neutrality Rollback

      A growing network of international businesses and organizations are warning the US Federal Communications Commission that a rollback of Title II net neutrality rules could create “significant social and economic harms,” with StartPage.com CEO Robert Beens weighing in and spearheading the effort.

    • Majority of respondents think internet providers should be barred from discriminating against lawful content

      An even larger majority–67 percent–said that ISPs shouldn’t be allowed to choose which websites, apps, or streaming services their customers can access. Almost as many–63 percent–don’t think an ISP should be allowed to modify or edit content consumers try to access on the internet.

    • Letter to the FCC: The world is for net neutrality
    • FCC head, a critic of net neutrality rules, likely to be reconfirmed

      Despite Democrats’ protests over plans to dismantle net neutrality, Ajit Pai will likely keep his position as chairman thanks to the Republican-led Senate.

    • Net Neutrality Activists Targeted in Phishing Campaign

      Several prominent net neutrality advocacy groups were targeted in a spearphishing campaign, with around 70 attempts made to break into the accounts of activists at Free Press and Fight for the Future. The campaign, revealed in an Electronic Frontier Foundation report, used details about the activists’ personal lives and sexually explicit content to try to trick activists into clicking phishing links that would allow the attackers to take over their accounts.

    • ISPs Urge Supreme Court to Kill Net Neutrality

      ISPs have spent millions lobbying the government and Ajit Pai’s FCC to dismantle popular net neutrality protections, but they’re also taking their fight once again to the Supreme Court in an alternative attempt to kill the popular rules. AT&T, CenturyLink, the cable industry’s top lobbying group the NCTA and other major ISPs petitioned the Supreme Court this week to hear their latest appeal of the 2015 rules, which protect consumers from bad behavior by ISPs in the uncompetitive broadband market.

  • DRM

    • DRM could kill game emulators and erase the history of an artform

      Atlus’s theory — which is hard to discern, thanks to a legal word-salad the company has thrown up as chaff in its wake — is that because it’s possible to use RPCS3 to play PS3 games that you have pirated rather than paid for, and since Atlus once made a PS3 game, it gets to decide whether anyone, anywhere can make or use a tool that lets them play their old games after the hardware they came with was retired.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Is the German press publishers’ right lawful? More details on the CJEU reference

        As reported by this blog a few months ago, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has been required to address issues of lawfulness – notably enforceability – of the German neighbouring right for press publishers.

      • 20th Century Fox is Looking for Anti-Piracy Interns

        20th Century Fox is looking for two interns to complement its anti-piracy team. A research analytics intern will be tasked with investigating piracy forums and discovering the latest file-sharing trends, while a JD law intern will help to identify possible targets for legal action. Dream positions for those who aspire to a career in the anti-piracy workforce.

      • Six Strikes Piracy Scheme May Be Dead But Those Warnings Keep on Coming

        The so-called six-strikes anti-piracy scheme in the United States may be dead but file-sharers should be aware that they’re still being monitored. Over the past several weeks there have been increasing reports of people receiving multiple copyright notices from various ISPs, something which puts accounts at risk.


Links 30/9/2017: Kubernetes 1.8, Linux 6-Year LTS, Wine 2.18 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • GPD Pocket Ubuntu Editon Review

      Netbooks are often ridiculed as a solution looking for a problem but they are also regarded as the ancestors of present day Chromebooks and “cloudbooks”. With the resurgence of these more modern but still low-performance devices, it might seem that the netbook is due for a revival as well. Or so that seems to be the proposition GPD makes with its almost literal Pocket computer. But does that make more sense now than it did before, especially in an age of powerful smartphones? We take the Ubuntu Edition of the GPD Pocket for a good and thorough testing to find out.

  • Server

    • Navigating Kubernetes and edge computing

      Often the best path to working with two vanguard technologies is unclear. That’s why OpenDev, a recent two-day event sponsored by the Ericsson, Intel and the OpenStack Foundation, dedicated a session to folks navigating Kubernetes and edge computing. Both technologies appear to be here to stay. “Containers are what the developers are using,” said Jeremy Huylebroeck of Orange Silicon Valley. “It’s way more convenient for them to actually publish their code and try things faster.”

      OpenDev was devised as more of a workshop than a traditional conference, you can also check the event schedule for Etherpads from the individual sessions.

    • SUSE Updates Linux Application Delivery Platforms

      Enterprise Linux vendor SUSE is updating a number of different platforms this week, including its Kubernetes based CaaS Platform.

    • ​Kubernetes takes a big step forward with version 1.8

      If you want to manage containers in the cloud, Kubernetes is the program for you. Its latest release, Kubernetes 1.8, is better than ever.

    • Kubernetes 1.8 Improves Security With Role-Based Access Control

      Version 1.8 of the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration and management platform is now available, providing features that improve both scalability and security.

      Kubernetes 1.8, released on Sept. 28, is the third major milestone release for Kubernetes in 2017 and follows the 1.7 update that debuted in June. The Kubernetes project was originally started by Google and has been managed as a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) effort since July 2015.

    • Blockchain skills: Don’t Try to Block the Chain

      Blockchain technology is on the rise. Some might presume Bitcoin is the reason behind it. While it was developed for the digital currency, developers are finding other uses of blockchain technology. Most prominently is the open source project Ethereum. The use of Ethereum has brought about smart contracts, which have proven to be quite functional within the financial industry. With its decentralized structure, blockchain technology could be a paradigm shift with vast boundaries.

    • DevOps Jobs: 5 must-reads for job seekers, hiring managers
    • Tools and Practices for Documenting Microservices
    • Clear Linux Can Run On AMD’s EPYC Platform With Competitive Performance

      As part of our ongoing AMD EPYC Linux benchmarking, I’ve been working this week on a cross-distribution GNU/Linux comparison followed by some BSD testing… Of course, I couldn’t help but to see if Intel’s performance-oriented Clear Linux distribution would run on the AMD EPYC server.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • DAEMON Sync: Share/Backup Files Over WiFi Without Internet

      DAEMON Sync lets you synchronize or backup your mobile data to computer over local WiFi without any hassle. Unlike any other cloud service DAEMON Sync lets you sync/backup files between devices without having internet connection over local WiFi that means you data never goes through someone else’s servers, you can run DAEMON server on computer and let device speak to it directly. It is cross-platform available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS.
      You can backup, browse and share videos and photos and evaluate all advantages of truly secure cloud service. The basic functionality of DAEMON Sync is free for non-commercial use, but other products and advanced features require activation license.

    • Syncthing: Let Your Desktop Be Local Server For Your Mobile Device

      Syncthing is an open-source, free file synchronization application, written in GO programming language, available for almost every operating system Linux, Unix, Windows, Mac, BSD, Android and iOS. It can sync between device that are present on the local network (no Internet required), or between remote devices over the Internet. It is secure and safe since both things are built-in into the application.
      Syncthing replaces proprietary sync and cloud services with something open, trustworthy and decentralized. Your data is your data alone and you deserve to choose where it is stored, if it is shared with some third party and how it’s transmitted over the Internet. It should be safe from data loss, protecting the user’s data is priority. Developers took reasonable precaution to avoid corrupting the user’s files.

    • Coffee is a News & Weather App for Ubuntu Desktops

      Coffee is a new Linux app that helps you to stay up-to-date with current news and weather without needing to touch the new tab button in your browser.

      Inspired by Google Now on Android, Coffee displays a selection of current news headlines from major news publications, as well as weather information for your current location (or any location you choose manually).

    • Hotspot v1.1.0 adds timeline and recording features

      Close to three months after the initial hotspot release, I’m happy to announce the release of version 1.1.0. Quick rec