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Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Need a tamper-proof, encrypted PC? The portable, open-source ORWL could be what you’re looking for

    There are a number of choices available if you need a small, powerful but affordable mini desktop PC, from the $500 Mac Mini, to the cheaper Google Chromebox, or HP Pavillion Mini Desktop.

    But can more be done to keep these devices secure, not just from software exploits, but scenarios in which the attacker has gained physical access to the device?

    The makers of ORWL, a flying saucer-shaped mini desktop for the security-minded, think it can, providing you’re willing to fork out a relatively hefty $699.

  • Nextgov Ebook: Tech Revolutions: Open Source and the Internet of Things

    Nextgov’s meetup series Tech + Tequila has been an opportunity for government and private sector technologists to explore hot topics in federal IT together in a casual setting—with cocktails. Aug. 25 marks our sixth event, and we’ll be discussing artificial intelligence. Is there anything more top of mind than a robot uprising?

    In all seriousness, Tech + Tequila has tackled some awesome topics: data, cybersecurity and emerging tech. This ebook features two more recent Tech + Tequila themes: open source and the internet of things.

    On Aug. 8, the White House unveiled the final policy that requires agencies to share 20 percent of their custom-created source code. When the draft framework was announced back in March, some critics said it didn’t go far enough and argued for a more sweeping “open source by default” framework. Another dissenting voice said the policy would add “more layers of confusion.”

  • Cloud innovator of the Year announced

    AMADEUS, the leading provider of technology solutions for the global travel industry, has won the 2016 Red Hat Innovator of the Year award.

    This is in recognition of its innovative use of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform as part of a new cloud services platform to help companies meet the increasingly complex demands of travelers.

  • Tips on adding Linux to Your Developer Skill Set

    The time when developers and administrators can get by with only Microsoft in their bag of tricks is over. With Linux’s continuing dominance and growth in server space and with Redmond now embracing open source with actions as well as words, even those who develop exclusively for the Windows platform are almost certain to find times when they need to wrap their heads around an aspect of the Linux kernel or some open source application.

    If you’ve been following tech news, you know that across the board there is an increasing need for people with Linux skills, which has pushed the salaries available for those with certifiable Linux talents to record highs. This opens an opportunity in traditional Windows shops where fully certified Linux people might not be necessary, but where certified Windows people with good Linux skills have extra value.

    In other words, you can increase your value as an employee simply by honing your Linux and open source skills, without the need to necessarily shell out big bucks to Red Hat or the Linux Foundation for certification. There are plenty of educational opportunities available online, some free and others offered with a very low price tag.

  • Talent remains the biggest issue for deploying open source in the enterprise

    Representatives from open source companies Red Hat, Capgemini, MongoDB, Rackspace and Weaveworks weighed in on how open source infiltrated the enterprise, and why skills remains the biggest barrier to a successful open source strategy

    At a Rackspace hosted event in London this week titled Open Source is Eating the World (a play on venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s seminal Software is Eating the World essay from 2011) panelists generally agreed that open source has managed to infiltrate the enterprise, but talent remains the biggest barrier to a successful open source strategy.

  • Trump’s campaign donation website used open-source code sloppily, risking ridicule and worse

    Like tens of millions of other websites, the campaign donation website for US presidential candidate Donald Trump relies on open-source software called jQuery. But it seems that the software is being used in a sloppy way, which could put Trump supporters at risk of identity theft or worse.

    Trump’s website uses a jQuery plug-in, or a bit of ready-made code, called jQuery Mask Plug-in to handle how donors fill in their name, address, and other information. The mask plug-in restricts the types of information users can enter in forms. This is useful because it increases the chances of accurate data being submitted for payment processing, and for the campaign’s records. It’s also free and available for download from GitHub, the popular platform for open-source software.

  • [New page] Open source alternatives
  • AT&T: What Is ‘Open Source,’ Anyway?

    Companies evaluating open source technology need to be careful that they get all the open source benefits. That’s sometimes tricky, which is why AT&T has defined “three key characteristics of open source software that we consider paramount,” says Greg Stiegler, AT&T assistant vice president of cloud.

    AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a leader among big network operators making a big open source commitment, with involvement in multiple projects and aggressive code-sharing. Last month, it released its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) for network management and orchestration (MANO) as open source. (See AT&T Offers ‘Mature’ ECOMP as Open Source MANO, AT&T Makes Case for Open Source Sharing and AT&T’s Chiosi: Unite on Open Source or Suffer.)

  • Events

    • SFD Countdown Ready!

      The Software Freedom Day countdown is ready for usage in English. We are therefore informing translators and also people willing to add a new language that translation can start right now. All the instructions are available on the wiki at this page.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Spurring Tech Project Development with Sprints and Grants

        At Mozilla, there is momentum gathering around new open source projects and the Internet of Things (IoT). The company is hosting an IoT sprint development weekend this September. Mozilla’s Hive Chattanooga, in collaboration with The Company Lab, is hosting 48Hour Launch: Internet of Things (IoT) Edition, on September 9-11. 48Hour Launch is a weekend-long competition that challenges teams of entrepreneurs and specialists to spend 48 hours transforming a startup concept into a viable business model, prototype, policy proposal, or piece of curriculum.

        The experience culminates with a Demo Night, where participants debut their work for a chance to win cash prizes, free business services, and a free trip to MozFest in London.

  • Databases

    • Open source uproar as MariaDB goes commercial

      MariaDB Corp. has announced that release 2.0 of its MaxScale database proxy software is henceforth no longer open source. The organization has made it source-available under a proprietary license that promises each release will eventually become open source once it’s out of date.

      MaxScale is at the pinnacle of MariaDB Corp.’s monetization strategy — it’s the key to deploying MariaDB databases at scale. The thinking seems to be that making it mandatory to pay for a license will extract top dollar from deep-pocketed corporations that might otherwise try to use it free of charge. This seems odd for a company built on MariaDB, which was originally created to liberate MySQL from the clutches of Oracle.

  • CMS

    • Writing an academic paper? Try Fidus Writer

      The Fidus Writer online editor is especially for academics who need to write papers in collaboration with other authors, and it includes special tools for managing citations, formulas, and bibliographies. If you’re writing an academic paper by yourself, you have a lot of choices for tools to edit your document. Some of them even take care of making your footnotes and bibliographies come out in the right format. But writing collaboratively is harder, for lots of reasons. You could use Google Docs, ownCloud, or even Dropbox to share the document, but then you lose useful citation-management tools.

      Enter Fidus Writer: Fidus Writer is a web-based collaborative writing tool made specifically for the needs of academic writers who need to use citations or formulas. The rules for citations are complicated, so Fidus Writer takes care of the format for you; you can choose from several citation formats, including APA, Chicago, or MLA. Version 3 of Fidus Writer was just released in June, and it is a clean, well-polished application.

      At my first look, Fidus Writer is impressive. The application is written mostly in Python and Node.js, and is licensed under the AGPL V3. I installed it on a Debian virtual machine running on my Windows PC. The installation instructions are geared toward Debian and its derivative distros, and uses apt to install software. I suspect someone clever who has a real desire to run it on RPM-based distros could make it work, as the list of packages needed is not overlarge.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Omega2, $5 Linux platform computer for IoT projects, exceeds $450k in Kickstarter funding

      The Omega2 set out to produce an extremely cheap, extensible Linux computer designed for Internet of Things (IoT) projects with a Kickstarter campaign asking for only $15,000. Now, with only for days remaining in the campaign, the Omega2 team is set to receive over $450,000 in funding from over 11,000 backers. Developed by the Onion Corporation, the Omega2 promises to be an interesting entry for DIY (do it yourself) and commercial projects.

    • Crowdfunding closing on $5 Linux + Wifi tiny IoT compute module

      Omega 2 is a Linux compute module designed specifically for building connected hardware applications. It combines, say its designers Onion, “the tiny form factor and power-efficiency of the Arduino, with the power and flexibilities of the Raspberry Pi.”


    • GNU Libreboot, version 20160818 released
    • GNU Libreboot Release Adds New Chromebook & ASUS/Gigabyte/Intel Board Support

      The Libreboot project has done their first official release of this Coreboot binary-free downstream now being under the GNU project label.

      GNU Libreboot 20160818 is the new release. New board support for this de-blobbed version of Coreboot includes supporting the ASUS Chromebook C201, Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L, Intel D510MO, ASUS KCMA-D8, ASUS KFSN4-DRE, and ASUS KGPE-D16. Yep, all rather old motherboards (aside from the Chromebook C201) with sadly not much love these days from AMD and Intel around fully supporting modern chipsets by free software.

    • FSFE summit 2016

      Imagine a European Union that builds its IT infrastructure on Free Software. Imagine European Member States that exchange information in Open Standards and share their software. Imagine municipalities and city councils that benefit from decentralized and collaborative software under free licenses. Imagine no European is any longer forced to use non-Free Software.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Dutch consider mandatory eGovernment standards

      The Dutch government wants to make the use of open standards mandatory for public administrations, to provide business and citizens with easier access to eGovernment services. The government is developing a generic digital infrastructure, and its services and standards are to be used by all public administrations, writes Henk Kamp, the country’s Minister of Economic Affairs in a letter to Parliament.


  • Uber Wasting No Time: Launching Test Of Self-Driving Cars

    Separately, the company announced that it has bought a self-driving startup, Otto, and put its co-founder, Antohony Levandowski, in charge of Uber’s self-driving efforts.

    We’ve already noted that Tesla has Uber-like plans as well, but this could certainly get interesting. Lots of people (including us!) have speculated on what the world will look like as autonomous vehicles become more prominent, but it’s somewhat amazing how quickly this is happening.

    While it’s not a huge surprise that Uber may be leading the way, it does still raise some interesting questions. Obviously, lots of people say that Uber wants to do this so that it won’t have to pay drivers any more (though in these tests a human is still in the driver’s seat and, one assumes, getting paid). But part of the genius (or problem, depending on your point of view…) of Uber was that it was just a platform for drivers who brought their own cars. That is, Uber didn’t have to invest the capital in buying up cars. It just provided the platform, drivers brought their own cars, and Uber got a cut. If it’s moving to a world of driverless cars, then Uber is no longer the platform for drivers, it’s everything. It needs to make the investment and own the cars. That’s actually a pretty big shift.

    That’s not to say that it won’t work — and there’s an argument that Uber’s real power these days is in its operations software figuring out which cars should go where — but it is an interesting shift in the business. And given that, it’s also interesting to see how Tesla is entering the market from the other direction — a direction that is more like Uber’s original concept, where individuals own their own cars, but then lease them back to Tesla to act as for-hire cars for others. I guess it’s possible that Uber could do the same thing too, where any car owner could provide their vehicle back to Uber to earn money, but without having to drive it — just making it a productive resource.

    Who knows how this will turn out — and I’m sure some people will inevitably freak out when there’s a self-driving car accident — but the future is getting really interesting really fast.

  • The Human Cost of Tech Debt

    If you’re not already familiar with the concept of technical debt, it’s worth becoming familiar with it. I say this not only because it is a common industry term, but because it is an important concept.

  • Science

    • Scientists to launch global hunt for ‘line in the rock’ marking the ‘scary’ new man-made epoch

      A worldwide hunt for a “line in the rock” that shows the beginning of a new geological epoch defined by humanity’s extraordinary impact on planet Earth is expected to get underway in the next few weeks.

      The idea that we are now living in the Anthropocene epoch has been gaining ground in recent years.

      The surge in global temperatures by an average of one degree Celsius in little over a century, the burning of vast amounts of fossil fuels, the extinction of many animal species, the widespread use of nitrogen fertilisers, the deluge of plastic rubbish and a number of other factors have all caused changes that will remain visible in rocks for millions of years.

      Later this month, an expert working group – set up to investigate whether these changes are so significant that the 11,500-year-old Holocene epoch is now at an end – will present its latest findings to the 35th International Geological Congress (IGC) in South Africa.

      They then plan to search for what is known as a “golden spike” – a physical point in the geological record that shows where one epoch changed to another – which could win over any remaining doubters among the geology community.

    • NASA dangles ONE MILLION DOLLARS for virtual Mars robots

      NASA has announced a million-dollar prize it will award to whomsoever can program a virtual robot to get stuff done ahead of a crewed mission to Mars.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • Microsoft Windows UAC can be bypassed for untraceable hacks

      USER ACCOUNT Control (UAC), the thing in Microsoft Windows that creates extra menus you wish would just sod off, can be bypassed, allowing hackers to gain registry access.

      Security researcher Matt Nelson has discovered that the flaw allows someone to start PowerShell, access the registry and then leave no trace.

      The workaround/feature/bug/massive security hole works on any version of Windows with UAC, which was introduced in Windows Vista and later softened in Windows 7 as it proved such a spectacular pain in the Vista.

      The technique uses no files, no injections and leaves no trace. It’s just pure direct access via a vulnerability. You could go off and do it to someone now.

      Don’t do that, though.

    • all that’s not golden

      Several stories and events recently that in some way relate to backdoors and golden keys and security. Or do they? In a couple cases, I think some of the facts were slightly colored to make for a more exciting narrative. Having decided that golden keys are shitty, that doesn’t imply that all that’s shit is golden. A few different perspectives here, because I think some of the initial hoopla obscured some lessons that even people who don’t like backdoors can learn from.

      Secure Boot

      Microsoft added a feature to Secure Boot, accidentally creating a bypass for older versions. A sweet demo scene release (plain text) compares this incident to the FBI’s requested golden keys. Fortunately, our good friends over at the Register dug into this claim and explained some of the nuance in their article, Bungling Microsoft singlehandedly proves that golden backdoor keys are a terrible idea. Ha, ha, I kid.

      Matthew Garrett also has some notes on Microsoft’s compromised Secure Boot implementation. He’s purportedly a Linux developer, but he doesn’t once in this post call Windows a steaming pile, so he’s probably a Microsoft shill in disguise.

      Returning to the big question, What does the MS Secure Boot Issue teach us about key escrow? Maybe not a whole lot. Some questions to consider are how thoroughly MS tried to guard the key and whether they actually lost the key or just signed the wrong thing.

      Relevant to the crypto backdoor discussion, are the actions taken here the same? In a key escrow scheme, are iPhones sending encrypted data to the FBI or is the FBI sending encrypted messages to iPhones? The direction of information flow probably has a profound effect on the chances of the wrong thing leaking out. Not to say I want anything flowing in either direction, but it does affect how analogous the situations are.

      A perhaps more important lesson, for all security or crypto practitioners, is just barely hinted at in mjg59’s post. Microsoft created a new message format, but signed it with a key trusted by systems that did not understand this format. Misinterpretation of data formats results in many vulnerabilities. Whenever it’s possible that a message may be incorrectly handled by existing systems, it’s vital to roll keys to prevent misinterpretation.

    • Security against Election Hacking – Part 1: Software Independence

      So the good news is: our election system has many checks and balances so we don’t have to trust the hackable computers to tell us who won. The biggest weaknesses are DRE paperless touchscreen voting machines used in a few states, which are completely unacceptable; and possible problems with electronic pollbooks.

      In this article I’ve discussed paper trails: pollbooks, paper ballots, and per-precinct result printouts. Election officials must work hard to assure the security of the paper trail: chain of custody of ballot boxes once the polls close, for example. And they must use the paper trails to audit the election, to protect against hacked computers (and other kinds of fraud, bugs, and accidental mistakes). Many states have laws requiring (for example) random audits of paper ballots; more states need such laws, and in all states the spirit of the laws must be followed as well as the letter.

    • Security against Election Hacking (Freedom to Tinker)

      Over at the Freedom to Tinker blog, Andrew Appel has a two-part series on security attacks and defenses for the upcoming elections in the US (though some of it will obviously be applicable elsewhere too). Part 1 looks at the voting and counting process with an eye toward ways to verify what the computers involved are reporting, but doing so without using the computers themselves (having and verifying the audit trail, essentially). Part 2 looks at the so-called cyberdefense teams and how their efforts are actually harming all of our security (voting and otherwise) by hoarding bugs rather than reporting them to get them fixed.

    • Shift: public cloud considered more secure than corporate data centers

      Security has always weighed heavily on executives’ minds as the risk of using public cloud services. In surveys I am involved in designing, we find to this day that security is the number-one challenge or showstopper when it comes to moving things to the cloud.

    • Agencies Face Cyber Concerns as Apps Rely on Aging Systems — Report

      More than 70 percent of the 100 federal IT business decision-makers polled in Dell’s State of IT Trends 2016 Study said their agency is using old operating systems to run important mission applications. And a little more than half of respondents said their agency is using software or systems that are no longer vendor-supported, according to the report.

    • Vulnerable smart home IoT sockets let hackers access your email account

      The smart plug can act as a conduit not just for electricity — but for cyberattacks.

    • Isis members share ‘how to hack’ tutorials encouraging supporters to target western intelligence

      “Kali Linux is known as the ‘go-to’ for black [hat] and white [hat] hackers alike,” Omri Moyal, VP Research at Israel-based cybersecurity firm Minerva Labs, was quoted as saying by Vocativ. “It is widely promoted and educated in underground forums and anonymous chat rooms, and the combination of its pre-installed, ready-to-use, powerful tools make it extremely dangerous in the wrong hands,” he adds. “As we have heard that ISIS are declaring that they will move to operate in the cyber domain, it is very natural that they will go to this tool.”

    • Main ISIS forum promote ‘How To Hack’ Tutorials Online
    • ISIS Noobs Share ‘How To Hack’ Tutorials Online
    • Rex Linux Trojan Can Launch DDoS Attacks, Lock Websites, Mine for Cryptocurrency

      What initially looked like a string of Drupal sites infected with ransomware (that didn’t work properly) now looks like a professional cybercrime operation that relies on a self-propagating Linux trojan to create a botnet with various capabilities.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • U.S. Held Cash Until Iran Freed Prisoners

      New details of the $400 million U.S. payment to Iran earlier this year depict a tightly scripted exchange specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran.

    • The Aleppo Poster Child — Paul Craig Roberts

      As for the little boy in the propaganda picture, he does not seem to be badly injured. Let us not forget the tens of thousands of children that Washington’s wars and bombings of 7 Muslim countries have killed without any tears shed by CNN anchors, and let us not forget the 500,000 Iraqi children that the United Nations concluded died as a result of US sanctions against Iraq, children’s deaths that Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said were worth it.

    • Why Are We Still Wasting Billions on Homeland Security Projects That Don’t Make Us Safer?

      The turbulent months after the 9/11 attacks were notable for something that did not happen. Even though al-Qaeda had killed thousands of people and scored a direct hit on the Pentagon, hardly anyone in either political party blamed the Bush Administration for failing to defend the homeland. In the burst of patriotism that followed the assaults, President Bush and his aides essentially got a free pass from the voting public. This consensus held even after it emerged that government officials had fumbled numerous clues that might have prevented the attacks. (The Central Intelligence Agency knew two al-Qaeda operatives had entered the U.S. in 2000, but never told the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No one tracked their movements and phone calls, a notable lapse since both men ended up among the 19 hijackers.) Voters had no problem re-electing a president who did nothing after receiving an intelligence briefing weeks before 9/11 headlined “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.”

    • What Became of the Left?

      For fifteen years, and more if we go back to the Clinton regime’s destruction of Yugoslavia, the US has been engaged in wars on populations in seven—eight counting Yugoslavia/Serbia—countries, causing millions of deaths, disabled, and dislocated peoples. A police state has been created, the US Constitution stripped of its protective features, and massive crimes committed under both US and international law by three administrations. These crimes include torture, transparant false flag events, naked aggression (a war crime), spying without warrants, and murder of US citizens. Yet, the leftwing’s voice is barely heard.

      Clearly, my acquaintances are beginning to miss the challenge to explanations and the country’s direction that the left formerly provided. I know how they feel. We used to be pushed along by biases and stereotypical thinking, and the left was there to rattle our cage. Now we are pushed along by propaganda and there is no countervailing force except a few Internet voices.

    • Washington Hawks Prey on Syrian Killing Fields

      Official Washington loves to show heartbreaking images of wounded Syrian children with the implicit message that it’s time to invade Syria and impose “regime change” (rather than commit to peace talks), a dilemma addressed by Michael Brenner.

    • More False Outrage on the Syrian War
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Smoke from Indonesia’s fires begins to drift into Malaysia

      Air quality in Indonesia and peninsular Malaysia declined this week as prevailing southwesterly winds continued to blow smog over the water that separates the two countries.

      “Smoke from forest fires and peat in Riau has already crossed the Malacca Strait,” Indonesia’s disaster management agency chief Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Wednesday. “It’s still only a little but it should be addressed immediately.”

      Data from Malaysia’s Department of Environment showed air quality in Shah Alam, a city near Kuala Lumpur in Selangor state, declined to 85 on Wednesday. A level above 100 is classified as unhealthy. Only one of five areas in Singapore monitored by the city state’s National Environment Agency showed air quality in the “Moderate” range. The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index was in the “Good” range on August 7.

      The number of fires and hotspots in the 2016 dry season has been lower than last year, when the extended drought wrought by an El Niño weather event deprived the region of the rain needed to suppress Indonesia’s annual fires. Prolonged periods with no rain have led to spikes in hotspots in recent months, including the last week.

    • Time to listen to the ice scientists about the Arctic death spiral

      Not Peter Wadhams. The former director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and professor of ocean physics at Cambridge has spent his scientific life researching the ice world, or the cryosphere, and in just 30 years has seen unimaginable change.

      When in 1970 he joined the first of what would be more than 50 polar expeditions, the Arctic sea ice covered around 8m sq km at its September minimum. Today, it hovers at around 3.4m, and is declining by 13% a decade. In 30 years Wadhams has seen the Arctic ice thin by 40%, the world change colour at its top and bottom and the ice disappear in front of his eyes.

      In a new book, published just as July 2016 is confirmed by Nasa as the hottest month ever recorded, this most experienced and rational scientist states what so many other researchers privately fear but cannot publicly say – that the Arctic is approaching a death spiral which may see the entire remaining summer ice cover collapse in the near future.

  • Finance

    • Steemit Is Like Reddit, But Where Upvotes Equal a Cryptocurrency Payout

      A homeless man can afford to buy an RV thanks to a popular blog post. A woman earns a year’s salary from a YouTube makeup tutorial. An African writer starts with three hours of electricity per day and ends with over $40,000 dollars.

      These are some of the striking and somewhat implausible-sounding stories to have emerged during the first fully operational month of Steemit, a forum-style platform that rewards community content and curation with cryptocurrency payouts, and where—for the moment at least—users who hit the goldmine of a viral post can see up to five-figure payouts. (Here I should include a journalistic disclosure: a post on the site in which I appealed for sources for this story earned a total value of over $800, of which I have currently withdrawn $100.)

      But as with any new cryptocurrency, there are key questions over stability, sustainability, and underlying motivation. As it stands, the bulk of the site is made up of quickly-written, poorly-researched content, some of which is remunerated into the thousands of dollars. At the same time, critics have raised concerns over both the distribution of the currency and the business model of the platform, questioning the huge sums accrued by early adopters and in some cases alleging a scam dependent on new investment to remain afloat.

    • Bitcoin.org suspects state-sponsored attacks on the horizon

      Bitcoin.org has warned users to be aware that the upcoming release of Bitcoin Core is likely to be targeted by state-sponsored cyberattackers.

      The group which manages Bitcoin Core, the client used to keep the virtual currency decentralized while at the same time aims to accept only valid transactions, warned this week that the organization has “reason to suspect” that the binaries used in the next release will become targets.

      The upcoming 0.13.0 release, dubbed Segwit, has undergone extensive testing and has been designed to improve transaction efficiency. The update also changes the rules of the Bitcoin system marginally by introducing new features which reduce problems associated with unwanted third-party transaction malleability and designing smart contracts which use the cryptocurrency.

      However, state-sponsored groups — which are often sophisticated and have high levels of government funding — may impede the release or threaten investors dabbling in the virtual currency, and Bitcoin.org says that any state-sponsored threats levied against the new release cannot be defended against without help.

    • California Lawmaker Pulls Digital Currency Bill After EFF Opposition

      For the second year in a row, EFF and a coalition of virtual currency and consumer protection organizations have beaten back a California bill that would have created untenable burdens for the emerging cryptocurrency community.

    • Research Funding in a Post-Brexit World

      A considerable amount of research funding comes to the UK from the EU through the Horizon 2020 (H2020) scheme [1]. This programme is providing over 80 billion Euros in grants over the period 2014 to 2020 and is envisioned as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs within the EU’s member nations. The stated aim is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

      The chief beneficiaries of H2020 grants are research institutions (universities and independent research organisations) and the R&D arms of large companies [2], however there is a goal that 20% of the monies will go to small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

      Funding under H2020 is granted to projects each operated by a consortium of companies and organisations. A consortium puts together a detailed proposal describing what work they will do, what the outcomes will be, and how grant money would be spent. The proposals are assessed for the European Commission (EC) by panels of experts who determine the technical merit and value for money as well as considering the social and economic impact of the research. Other considerations also play a small part, such as the participation by SMEs, equality issues, and distribution of work across all EU countries. Competition is stiff, and many proposals are turned down.

    • Dozens of New York Officials Support Tenants’ Lawsuit Over Rent Stabilization

      Tenants have sued a Lower Manhattan developer, saying their leases should have been rent-stabilized in exchange for the tax breaks their landlord received. State and local officials have now filed a brief supporting the tenants, whose case could affect thousands of rental units.

    • Felicia Kornbluh on the Politics of Welfare

      Now we’re told we’re in a moment of reconsideration—of tough-on-crime policies, of the deregulation of banks and, perhaps, of the notion that depriving needy people of assistance would lead to their gainful employment and well-being. Our guest says a true reconsideration of the 1990s welfare overhaul would require a so-far invisible recentering of the people in its crosshairs: low-income women, particularly mothers raising children on their own.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Federal Election Commission To Crack Down On ‘Deez Nuts’ As Presidential Candidate

      The more web savvy among you may know that “Deez Nuts” was a popular web meme earlier in 2015, but it didn’t quite explain how it got into the poll. It turned out that a 15 year old kid named Brady Olson had filled out the necessary paperwork under the name Deez Nuts, and PPP had decided to toss it into their poll as a bit of fun. The attention paid to Deez Nuts as a political candidate resulted in a bunch of other silly names filling out the paperwork as well — including Butt Stuff, Mr. Not Sure and Sir TrippyCup aka Young Trippz aka The GOAT aka The Prophet aka Earl.

      Of course, after that initial flurry of attention, most people mostly forgot about Deez Nuts, the fake Presidential candidate…. until this week.

      You see, earlier this week PPP released a new poll showing that Green Party candidate Jill Stein was trailing Deez Nuts in Texas (also trailing, Harambe, the dead gorilla who is also now something of an internet meme).

    • Wealthy Elites and Blowjobs

      Ostenisbly, the rant serves to warn that if such tools get out, people might target banks and financial systems, specifically mentioning the hacks on SWIFT (not to mention suggesting that if the other claimed files get out someone might target finance).

      Along the way it includes a reference to elites having their top friends announcing “no law broken, no crime commit.” And right before it, this: “make promise future handjobs, (but no blowjobs).”

      Maybe I’m acutely sensitive to mentions of blowjobs, especially those received by Bill Clinton, for reasons that are obvious to most of you. But the reference to handjobs but no blowjobs in the immediate proximity of getting off of a crime followed closely by a reference to running for President seems like an oblique reference to the Clintons.

      If so, it would place this leak more closely in line with the structure of the other leaks targeting Hillary.

      That’s in no way dispositive, but the blowjobs references does merit mentioning.

    • Trump and the Long History of Media Bias

      The mainstream U.S. news media insists that its bias against Donald Trump is an aberration justified by his extraordinary recklessness, but the truth is U.S. media bias has a long history, says longtime journalist Robert Parry.

    • Revealed: The Secret Donor Behind “Children of Israel,” the Ghost Corporation Funding GOP Super PACs

      If limited liability companies like Children of Israel make political donations, and the LLC is treated as a partnership for tax purposes, federal regulations require the LLC to inform the recipients who the actual humans behind the company are. Then the recipients of the donations must disclose this in their filings with the Federal Election Commission. By May of this year, Fox and the RNC were doing that.

      But Children of Israel either failed to do so with its contributions to Pursuing American’s Greatness and Stand for Truth, or the two Super PACs simply chose to ignore it. According to Brendan Fisher, associate counsel of the political money watchdog group Campaign Legal Center, Fox and/or Children of Israel therefore violated prohibitions on “straw donor” contributions made in someone else’s name. (The CLC filed a complaint with the FEC against Children of Israel in March before Fox’s identity became known.)

    • FEC Commissioner Wants Help Getting Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections

      Ann Ravel, one of six members of the Federal Election Commission, called last week for the FEC to take a stand against foreign money in U.S. elections — and on Thursday, she appealed for public reaction.

      At issue are advisory opinions that gave a green light to domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations who wanted to make donations to U.S. political campaigns. In her proposal to rescind those opinions, Ravel cited The Intercept‘s recent reporting about American Pacific International Capital, a California corporation owned by Chinese citizens which — thanks to Citizens United and that FEC opinion — was able to give $1.3 million to the Jeb Bush Super PAC Right to Rise USA.

    • Searches for Green Party surpass Dems during CNN town hall

      CNN on Wednesday night held a town hall with presidential nominee Jill Stein and running mate Ajamu Baraka.

      During the event, the team made its pitch to voters, casting the Green Party ticket as an alternative option for those who don’t want to back either major party’s nominee. Stein said the Green Party is standing up for “everyday people and an America and a future that works for all of us.”

      Stein hit Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the event and said she would have trouble sleeping at night if either Clinton or Republican nominee Donald Trump were elected president.

    • Did Green Party Pitch for ‘Greater Good’ Resonate with National Audience?

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka took part in CNN’s first Green Party town hall Wednesday night, laying out their proposals to abolish all student debt, establish a single-payer healthcare system, create a foreign policy based on humanitarian values, and to establish a “Green New Deal” that would both create millions of jobs nationwide and help transition the country to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

    • Open Up the Debates: Green Party’s Jill Stein Accuses Democrats & GOP of Rigging Debate Rules

      While polls show Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are among the least popular major-party candidates to ever run for the White House, it appears no third-party candidates will be invited to take part in the first presidential debate next month. The debates are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties. Under the commission’s rules, candidates will only be invited if they are polling at 15 percent in five national surveys. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein have both witnessed recent surges in support, but neither have crossed the 15 percent threshold. More than 12,000 people have signed a petition organized by RootsAction calling for a four-way presidential debate. We speak to Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein. Four years ago she was arrested outside a presidential debate protesting her exclusion from the event.

    • Jill Stein: How far will she go to make a splash at the debates?

      The Green Party presidential nominee tells USA TODAY’s Capital Download that she will be at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in less than six weeks. And she says she is “absolutely” ready to be arrested, as she was four years ago. Video by Jasper Colt, USA TODAY

    • Trump May Be Saving His Biggest (Worst) Surprise For Last

      If the 2016 election is a grease-soaked dumpster fire, Donald Trump might be about to spray it with a hose full of cooking oil. Last month his campaign raised an astonishing $82 million, leaving him with $74 million on hand at the start of this month. We can safely assume a lot of that’s going toward red hats and Trump Steaks … but so far, none of it’s being spent on television ads. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, aka “Who?” have both spent, uh, infinity times more money on TV ads than Donald Trump has.

      Trump’s spent $0 on TV since the start of the general election campaign, compared to $52 million spent by the Clinton campaign. While Hillary’s people have already booked a full range of ads in battleground states through November, Trump still seems to be relying on all the “free” publicity he’s getting from media (like us!) since the start of the campaign. The only problem is, since the end of the primary, that coverage has taken a distinct turn from “Donald Trump might be a genius” …

    • The Dixie Chicks: The long road back from exile

      Thirteen years after country music blacklisted the top-selling female band in American history, the Dixie Chicks are returning to the town that made them famous.

      And when the trio performs Wednesday night at Nashville’s sold-out Bridgestone Arena, they’ll do so unapologetically — with a show featuring the same brand of biting political commentary that most country artists avoid at all costs, and that forced the Chicks into exile more than a decade ago.

      “They have a bitter feeling about Nashville,” said Paul Worley, record executive and the Dixie Chicks’ former producer. “People in the industry may have turned their back on them, but Nashville did not. And they are going to find out when they play here that Nashville has always been here for them and will always be here for them.”


      Yet on Wednesday, if previous shows on the Dixie Chicks’ largely sold-out 55-city tour are any indication, they will perform in front of a giant image of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump — embellished with horns sprouting from his head and a devilish goatee scribbled on his chin.

    • Jill Stein Should Be Part of a 4-Way Presidential Debate

      After the Republicans and Democrats finished their conventions in late July, the Green Party gathered this month to nominate Dr. Jill Stein for the presidency. Stein’s campaign — with her party on ballot lines in the majority of states, and her poll numbers surging ahead of Green numbers from recent presidential elections — has the potential to be a breakthrough bid for the Greens, and for a more robust democracy.

      Stein recognized the prospect in an optimistic yet urgent acceptance speech in which she spoke of “unstoppable momentum for transformational change.” The candidate who talks of ushering in a “Green New Deal” told the Green Party Convention that “we have an historic opportunity, an historic responsibility to be the agents of that change. As Martin Luther King said, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ I know that arc is bending in us, and through us. And we are actors in something much bigger than us as we struggle for justice, for peace, for community, for healing.”

    • Roaming Charges: Prime Time Green

      Give CNN just a little credit. On Wednesday night, the cable network hosted a Town Hall featuring Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. In those 90 Prime Time minutes, Stein and Baraka presented a clearer picture of the realities and consequences of US foreign policy and militarism than we heard from Bernie Sanders in a year’s worth of speeches.

      Americans who tuned in heard some things that are rarely mentioned in the mainstream media: a sober critique of the US’s malign relationship to the government of Israel, forthright calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons, the end of killer drone strikes, the closure of all 800-plus overseas military bases and an end to interventionist wars. The entire Town Hall session was the political equivalent of George Carlin’s the seven things you can’t say on TV.

    • Top DNC fundraiser to depart following shakeup

      Kaplan’s were among the emails released, but he didn’t lose his job in the immediate wave of housecleaning. And unlike the others who left, he’s not going far: Kaplan will be the DNC’s outside point person for events that involve President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as they raise money for the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and other candidates going into the final phase of the election.

      A DNC official confirmed the news, which was announced to senior staff Friday morning.

      “Jordan Kaplan has decided to return to his consulting business full time. He will continue to manage DNC finance events featuring the president and first lady,” the official said

    • Green Party Ticket Lays Out Its Programs, Denounces ‘Murder From the Sky’ (Audio)

      On Thursday, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and running mate Ajamu Baraka joined Alan Colmes for a radio interview on Fox News’ “The Alan Colmes Show.” The Green Party ticket only recently began receiving mainstream media coverage, and Stein and Baraka explain many aspects of the Green Party ticket to potentially unfamiliar listeners.

      First, Colmes asks about the impact of the “Nader effect,” or the fear that voting for third-party candidates will split up the liberal vote and cause the Democratic Party to lose. “These are the most unpopular and disliked candidates in our history,” Stein responds. “People are saying ‘we’ve had enough of those guys.’ ”

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein to join presidential campaign trail in Colorado

      Stein is expected to draw a crowd as she appeals to one-time Bernie Sanders supporters in a state that overwhelmingly voted for the Vermont senator at the 2016 caucus. The latest poll shows Stein with 7 percent support in Colorado, far better than her showing in the 2012 election when she won just 0.3 percent, or 7,508 votes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Atheism – a reason to be banned by Facebook?

      In February 2016, ten of the largest Arabic-speaking atheist groups, with a total of about 100,000 members, have been deactivated for the same reason: heavy reporting campaigns that are organized by “cyber jihadist” fundamentalist Islamic groups, especially for the removal of any anti-Islamic group or page. In such coordinated campaigns, very large numbers of people, and possibly automated scripts, simultaneously file reports falsely claiming that a page, group, or personal account has violated Community Standards.

    • Gawker.com to shut down next week

      Gawker.com, the flagship blog of Gawker Media, will shut down Monday after 14 years of operation, a dramatic coda for a feisty newsroom unable to survive a $140 million judgment from an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit.

      The decision comes two days after Univision Communications agreed to buy Gawker Media’s assets — for its six other blogs — for $135 million in a bankruptcy auction held Tuesday. Univision won after outbidding a $131 million bid from digital publisher Ziff Davis.

      Gawker Media and its founder and CEO, Nick Denton, filed for bankruptcy protection after a Florida jury decided in March that Gawker.com violated Hulk Hogan’s privacy when it published a sex tape of the former pro wrestler having sex with the wife of a friend.

      A bankruptcy court in New York, which had to review any deals for Gawker’s assets, considered Univision’s bid at a hearing Thursday afternoon and gave its approval to proceed with the deal.

      “Sadly, neither I nor Gawker.com, the buccaneering flagship of the group I built with my colleagues, are coming along for this next stage,” Denton wrote in a note to staffers.

      The closure of Gawker.com, known for its snarky and pugnacious coverage of politicians, celebrities and media personalities, will be cheered by some of its critics as a satisfying comeuppance for a blog that not only didn’t pull punches but sometimes aimed below the belt. Others, including media advocates, interpret it as a chilling sign of the threat to the First Amendment posed by third-party-funded lawsuits.

    • Body slammed by Hulk Hogan, Gawker.com will cease operations

      Gawker.com, facing a $140 million jury verdict for publishing a sex tape of Terry Bollea (better known as pro wrestling icon Hulk Hogan), is shuttering operations next week, according to a post on the site.

      “Nick Denton, the company’s outgoing CEO, informed current staffers of the site’s fate on Thursday afternoon, just hours before a bankruptcy court in Manhattan will decide whether to approve Univision’s bid for Gawker Media’s other assets,” the website said. “Staffers will soon be assigned to other editorial roles, either at one of the other six sites or elsewhere within Univision. Near-term plans for Gawker.com’s coverage, as well as the site’s archives, have not yet been finalized.”

      Univision acquired Gawker Media for $135 million on Tuesday. Gawker Media’s other holdings include Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Lifehacker, Kotaku, and Jalopnik. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy two months ago and went up for sale following the jury’s verdict.

    • Twitter says it shuttered 235k accounts linked to terrorism in 6 months

      Twitter said Thursday it has shut down 235,000 accounts linked to violent extremism in the last six months alone. That brings the total number of terminated Twitter accounts associated with terrorism to 360,000 since mid-2015.

    • “Dangerous precedent for free speech”: NJ Gov. Chris Christie signs law punishing boycotts of Israel

      New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed bipartisan-backed legislation that will punish groups that endorse a boycott of Israel in protest of its violations of Palestinian human rights.

      Christie, who is one of the most outspoken supporters of far-right Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, signed the bill on Tuesday.

      It requires the New Jersey government to identify companies that support a boycott of Israel, raising fears that it would create a “blacklist” of institutions that back the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement.

      Under the new law, the State Investment Council, which manages more than $80 billion in pension assets, is legally obligated to divest from these blacklisted companies.

    • Former Gawker Editor Lashes Out At Peter Thiel, Calls Freeze On His Checking Account ‘Ludicrous’

      A.J. Daulerio, the ex-Gawker editor who wrote the 2012 story that originally included an excerpt of the Hulk Hogan sex tape he and his employer were successfully sued over, lashed out at Peter Thiel on Thursday. Daulerio questioned the motives of going after his personal assets to satisfy a portion of the $140.1 million judgement in the case.

      “It’s ludicrous that a billionaire like Peter Thiel is spending his wealth on lawyers to freeze my $1,500 bank account and figure out the value of my rice cooker and old furniture,” Daulerio told FORBES in a statement. “If Mr. Thiel really believed in the First Amendment, he would not be funding lawyers to chase my meager assets and instead would try to justify the $115.1 million verdict in front of an appeals court. Instead, he’s using his fortune to hold me hostage to settle a decade-long grudge that has nothing to do with me or Hulk Hogan.”

      As FORBES first revealed in May, Thiel financed Hogan’s lawsuit as part of an effort to bring down the media company. Daulerio’s comments are his first public statements about case since the jury awarded its verdict in March.

    • Did I Kill Gawker?

      It feels a bit strange to say this now, but in the spring of 2014 there was no better place to work than Gawker. For a certain kind of person, at any rate — ambitious, rebellious, and eager for attention, all of which I was. Just over a decade old, Gawker still thought of itself as a pirate ship, but a very big pirate ship, ballasted by semi-respectable journalism, and much less prone to setting itself on fire than in its early days, when its writers had a tendency to make loud and famous enemies and when its staff was subjected to near-annual purges — unless they were able to dramatically quit first. It managed to be, in a way it never had been, the kind of place about which you could say, “I could see myself being here in ten years.” Which I did often enough for it to seem funny now, since I myself would end up dramatically quitting in the summer of 2015, a little more than a year after being promoted to editor-in-chief and a little less than a year before the company would declare bankruptcy and auction itself off to the highest bidder.

    • Under Xi Jinping’s presidentship, it is apparent that free and fair media reportage is difficult

      For most of its 25 years, the Chinese history magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu has been loved by moderate liberals and detested with equal passion by devotees of Mao Zedong, who reviled it as a refuge for heretical criticisms of the Chinese leader and the Communist Party. But in a sign of how sharply ideological winds have turned under President Xi Jinping, officials who recently took control of the magazine have wooed Maoist and nationalist writers who long scorned the magazine. Several well-known hard-line polemicists attended a meeting with the new managers on Monday.

    • ‘It feels like censorship’: Guardian readers on NPR’s decision to close comments

      One thing I think would benefit all publishers is to more closely moderate comments before they’re published. That’ll lead to better discussions and avoid the “garbage fire” of flame wars. Would a news organisation allow journalists to publish prior to proof reading and approval? Of course not. Why then would they allow comment to be approved based purely on a login?

      NPR has said it will use social media to engage with users instead of comments, but responding to a story on social media certainly isn’t the right place for anything other than a brief statement. It’s an instant reaction, rather than any analytical in-depth response.

      My perspective is: either do it properly (moderate), or close the comments. But remember, closing comments effectively diminishes the collaborative communication that the internet gifts us all.

    • Despite Violent Scenes, Directors Mo Brothers Say Censorship is Not the Limit

      As seen during the media preview that in Jakarta on Thursday (18/08), “Headshot” features quick fighting and gun violence scenes which undoubtedly will raise the question about censorship. Directors Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto said censorship should not limit their creativity.

    • Mapping Media Freedom: In review 30 July-18 August
    • Will Certificates Help Indian Films Against Censorship?
    • Media’s Self-Inflicted Punishment is the New Censorship

      Public and foreign diplomats are routinely told by the military regime that Thai media enjoys freedom to criticize. That’s only half true at best. The reality is that, two years after the 2014 coup, the selective pressures being applied on some media critical of the junta have just become more subtle and sophisticated, thus rather invisible.


      Pravit RojanaphrukLast month, junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha used his absolute power under Article 44 of the provisional charter to empower the commission to censor any media deemed a threat to national security and shield it from legal consequences for doing so. According to an outstanding junta order from 2014, security threats include anything construed as defaming the monarchy, “insincere” criticism of the junta, or anything that might sway public opinion against it.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Researcher Grabs VPN Password With Tool From NSA Dump

      Cisco has already warned customers about two exploits found in the NSA-linked data recently dumped by hackers calling themselves The Shadow Brokers. Now, researchers have uncovered another attack included in the cache, which they claim allows the extraction of VPN passwords from certain Cisco products—meaning hackers could snoop on encrypted traffic.

      Security researcher Mustafa Al-Bassam first documented the hacking tool, which uses the codename BENIGNCERTAIN, in a blog post published Thursday. He coined the attack “PixPocket” after the hardware the tool targets: Cisco PIX, a popular, albeit now outdated, firewall and VPN appliance. Corporations or government departments might use these devices to allow only authorised users onto their network.

    • Why the NSA should be considered a hostile agency

      I think the current mindset of these government agencies is foolish and puts not only our firms and customers at risk, but the nation itself. Let me explain.

    • Shadow Brokers Leak Just Revealed How The NSA Broke American-Made Encryption

      If the Shadow Brokers’ leak of NSA files is legit, as is now all but confirmed, they have offered a glimpse into how the intelligence agency exploited security systems created by American tech vendors.

    • Snowden Documents Confirm the NSA Hack Is Real

      Last Friday, a mysterious group by the name of “The Shadow Brokers” dumped what appeared to be some of the National Security Agency’s hacking tools online. There was some speculation as to whether the tools were legitimate. According to The Intercept, these tools are mentioned in documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm

      On Monday, a hacking group calling itself the “ShadowBrokers” announced an auction for what it claimed were “cyber weapons” made by the NSA. Based on never-before-published documents provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept can confirm that the arsenal contains authentic NSA software, part of a powerful constellation of tools used to covertly infect computers worldwide.

      The provenance of the code has been a matter of heated debate this week among cybersecurity experts, and while it remains unclear how the software leaked, one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA’s virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency.

      The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, “ace02468bdf13579.” That exact same string appears throughout the ShadowBrokers leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE.

    • New Snowden documents confirm leaked cyberweapons do belong to the NSA
    • Snowden documents show NSA leak is real: report
    • Snowden documents show NSA leak is real: report
    • New Snowden documents prove the hacked NSA files are real
    • Snowden docs link NSA to Equation Group hackers
    • New Snowden docs support claim of NSA cyberweapon hack
    • Snowden files confirm Shadow Brokers spilled NSA’s Equation Group spy tools over the web

      Documents from the Edward Snowden archive prove that the malware and exploits dumped on the public internet on Monday originated from the NSA.

      Among the files leaked by whistleblower Snowden in 2013 is a draft NSA manual on how to redirect people’s web browsers using a man-in-the-middle tool called SECONDDATE. This piece of software meddles with connections in real-time so targets quietly download malware from NSA-controlled servers.

      The guide instructs snoops to track SECONDDATE deployments using a 16-character identification string: ace02468bdf13579.

      Earlier this week, hackers calling themselves the Shadow Brokers briefly leaked on GitHub an archive of code, claiming the tools were stolen from the Equation Group – which is understood to be a computer surveillance wing of the NSA. It was hard to tell at the time if the software collection was a carefully constructed spoof, or if it truly belonged to the US spying agency.

    • Hackers say leaked NSA tools came from contractor at RedSeal

      On Friday, messages posted to Pastebin and Tumblr allege the recently leaked NSA files came from a contractor working a red team engagement for RedSeal, a company that offers a security analytics platform that can assess a given network’s resiliency to attack. In addition, the hackers claim the intention was to disclose the tools this year during DEF CON.

      Salted Hash reached out to the press team at DEF CON, as well as RedSeal.

      In a statement, RedSeal would only confirm they are an In-Q-Tel portfolio company. The company also denied any knowledge of red team assessments against their products by In-Q-Tel or contractors working with In-Q-Tel. The press department at DEF CON hadn’t responded to questions by the time this article went to print.

    • Why The NSA’s Vulnerability Equities Process Is A Joke (And Why It’s Unlikely To Ever Get Better)

      Two contributors to Lawfare — offensive security expert Dave Aitel and former GCHQ information security expert Matt Tait — take on the government’s Vulnerability Equities Process (VEP), which is back in the news thanks to a group of hackers absconding with some NSA zero-days.

      The question is whether or not the VEP is being used properly. If the NSA discovered its exploits had been accessed by someone other than its own TAO (Tailored Access Operations) team, why did it choose to keep its exploits secret, rather than inform the developers affected? The vulnerabilities exposed so far seem to date as far back as 2013, but only now, after details have been exposed by the Shadow Brokers are companies like Cisco actually aware of these issues.

      According to Lawfare’s contributors, there are several reasons why the NSA would have kept quiet, even when confronted with evidence that these tools might be in the hands of criminals or antagonistic foreign powers. They claim the entire process — which is supposed to push the NSA, FBI, et al towards disclosure — is broken. But not for the reasons you might think.

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence claimed last year that the NSA divulges 90% of the exploits it discovers. Nowhere in this statement were any details as to what the NSA considered to be an acceptable timeframe for disclosure. It’s always been assumed the NSA turns these exploits over to developers after they’re no longer useful. The Obama administration may have reiterated the presumption of openness when reacting to yet another Snowden leak, but also made it clear that national security concerns will always trump personal security concerns — even if the latter has the potential to affect more people.

    • Australian Law Enforcement Hacked US Users’ Computers During Child Porn Investigation

      Thanks to the internet, more law enforcement agencies are exceeding jurisdictional limitations than ever before. The FBI’s Network Investigative Technique (NIT) — deployed during a child porn investigation to strip Tor users of their anonymity — travelled all over the United States and the world beyond. IP addresses and computer information harvested by the FBI were turned over to Europol and details obtained by Motherboard suggested at least 50 computers in Austria alone had been compromised by the FBI’s hacking.

      Rule 41 imposes jurisdictional limitations on the FBI’s hacking attempts — something the DOJ is trying (and succeeding, so far) to have changed. But the hacking goes both ways. Not only does the FBI go cruising past US borders while tracking down Tor users accessing seized child porn servers, but law enforcement agencies in other countries are doing the same thing — and raising the same questions.

    • Bulk data collection by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ is warranted, says terrorism watchdog

      Bulk collection and analysis of data by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ is relevant and worthwhile for national security, according to an in-depth report by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC.

      Prime minister Theresa May has already used the report as proof that the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, despite widespread criticism, is necessary to boost the UK’s ability to fight crime and terrorism.

      The 192-page report was headed by Anderson and a team he chose free from government involvement. It did not look at the legal and privacy aspects of bulk data collection and analysis, only whether it served a purpose for the operations of the security agencies.

    • Terror plot foiled “in its final few hours” after spooks hack attackers’ phones and emails

      A terrorist cell poised to attack Britain last year was foiled at the 11th hour after online spooks hacked their phones and emails, a dramatic new report has revealed.

    • GCHQ spies given enhanced hacking powers — what are they and should we be worried?

      British spies at GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 have effectively been given the green light to continue their mass spying operations around the world after a fresh independent review into bulk surveillance powers found ‘no viable alternative’ to the current regime.

      Compiled by David Anderson QC, the hefty 200-plus page report was commissioned by Prime Minister Theresa May while in her previous role of home secretary.

    • GCHQ Details Cases of When It Would Use Bulk Hacking
    • UK terror-law watchdog has given a green light to powers for spy agencies to collect bulk data
    • Internet spying powers backed by review
    • Spy agencies’ love of bulk data set has merit, so Snoopers’ Charter is fair
    • Court Says Man Can Sue Maker Of Web-Monitoring Software For Wiretap Act Violations

      The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided a man whose communications were snagged by commercial spyware can sue the software’s maker for violating federal wiretap law.

      The plaintiff, Javier Luis, became involved in an online relationship with an unhappily married woman. Her husband, Joseph Zang, installed Awareness Technologies’ “WebWatcher” on his wife’s computer in order to keep tabs on her online communications. After discovering his communications had been intercepted, Luis sued the software’s maker (along with the husband, who has already settled with Luis and is no longer listed as a defendant).

      The Appeals Court doesn’t form an opinion on the strength of Luis’s claims — only noting that they’re strong enough to survive dismissal. Awareness Software will be able to more fully address the allegations in the lower court on remand, but for now, the Appeals Court finds [PDF] the software’s “contemporaneous interception” of electronic communications to be a potential violation of the Wiretap Act.

    • The NSA Data Leakers Might Be Faking Their Awful English To Deceive Us

      Nobody knows who’s hiding behind the moniker of The Shadow Brokers, the mysterious group who earlier this week dumped a slew of hacking tools belonging to the NSA. Is it the Russian government? Is it actually a disgruntled rogue NSA insider?

      For now, there’s no hard evidence pointing in either direction. But The Shadow Brokers’ language in their rambling manifesto might give us some clues. In fact, the apparent broken English might just be a ruse, a trick to make us believe the author doesn’t speak the language, according to a linguistic analysis of it.

      “The author is a native English speaker trying to pass himself off as a foreigner,” Jeffrey Carr, CEO of cybersecurity company Taia Global, told Motherboard.

    • Researchers Find “Strong Connection” Between NSA Hackers and Leaked Files

      First detected by Kaspersky Lab back in 2015, Equation Group is a threat actor believed to be working for the NSA. It has leveraged malware campaigns, watering holes, and compromised removable media to conduct cyber espionage against foreign targets presumably on behalf of the United States and Israel.

    • Did The NSA Continue To Stay Silent On Zero-Day Vulnerabilities Even After Discovering It Had Been Hacked?

      The NSA’s exploit stash is allegedly for sale. As mentioned earlier this week, an individual or a group calling themselves Shadow Brokers claims to be auctioning off parts of the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) toolkit, containing several zero days — including one in Cisco’s (a favorite NSA TAO target) Adaptive Security Appliance which allows for remote code execution.

      The thing about these vulnerabilities is that they aren’t new. The exploits being hawked by Shadow Brokers date back to 2013, suggesting the agency has been sitting on these exploits for awhile. The fact that companies affected by them don’t know about these flaws means the NSA hasn’t been passing on this information.

      Back in 2015, the NSA declared that it passed on information about vulnerabilities to affected companies “90% of the time.” Of course, this statement contained very few details about how long the NSA exploited vulnerabilities before allowing them to be patched.

      The White House told the NSA to make disclosure the preferred method of handling discovered vulnerabilities, but also gave it a sizable loophole to work with — “a clear national security or law enforcement need.”

    • Eight LinkedIn alternatives for IT professionals: Top professional networks 2016: Professional social networks [iophk: "how about none?"]
    • Cisco Systems to cut 5,500 jobs after reporting 2% drop in revenue

      Cisco Systems is to cut about 5,500 jobs, representing nearly 7% of the US technology company’s global workforce.

      The world’s largest networking gear maker, based in San Jose, California, announced the cuts on Wednesday night as part of a transition from its hardware roots into a software-centric business.

    • I’m 36 and not on Facebook. You probably shouldn’t be either.

      I am 36 years old and am not on Facebook. It’s not that I ever explicitly decided not to sign up, but at first it was easy to avoid. It seemed like another fad that would peak and then fade, like Myspace (remember that?). But Facebook didn’t fade — in fact, it’s become expected — and by not making a decision to join, I made my decision.

      The Facebook Era emerged slowly, at least for me. I grew up when the main function of home computers was for games and word processing, and I remember a line of kids my age snaking out of one neighbor’s dining room to take a turn on the family’s new machine. It was unbelievably exciting — for about a week, until we all became bored and went back outside to play Manhunt or Ghosts in the Graveyard.

      Twenty-five years later, I’m still outside looking for playmates, but the block is empty. Everyone is on Facebook.

      I don’t claim to be above technology: I have a smartphone and two Instagram accounts — one devoted to my collection of vinyl records. I truly do understand the appeal of social networking. It connects people who may otherwise not be connected, and there is a lot to appreciate about that. But I also have a deep affection for the face-to-face interaction.

    • Former NSA Staffers: Rogue Insider Could Be Behind NSA Data Dump

      There are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the shocking dump of a slew of hacking tools used by an NSA-linked group earlier this week. But perhaps the biggest one is: who’s behind the leak? Who is behind the mysterious moniker “The Shadow Brokers”?

      So far, there’s no clear evidence pointing in any direction, but given the timing of the leak, and the simple fact that very few would have the capabilities and the motives to hack and shame the NSA publicly, some posited The Shadow Brokers could be Russian.

      But there’s another possibility. An insider could have stolen them directly from the NSA, in a similar fashion to how former NSA contractor Edward Snowden stole an untold number of the spy agency’s top secret documents. And this theory is being pushed by someone who claims to be, himself, a former NSA insider.

      “My colleagues and I are fairly certain that this was no hack, or group for that matter,” the former NSA employee told Motherboard. “This ‘Shadow Brokers’ character is one guy, an insider employee.”

    • EU to crack down on online services such as WhatsApp over privacy

      WhatsApp, Skype and other online messaging services face an EU crackdown aimed at safeguarding users’ privacy, in a move that highlights the gulf between Europe and the US in regulating the internet.

      The European commission will publish a draft law on data privacy that aims to ensure instant message and internet-voice-call services face similar security and privacy rules to those governing SMS text messages, mobile calls and landline calls.

      Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green MEP and prominent campaigner on data privacy, said: “It was obvious that there needs to be an adjustment to the reality of today. We see telecoms providers being replaced and those companies who seek to replace them need to be treated in the same way,” he said.

      According to a draft policy paper seen by the Financial Times, the likes of WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, and Skype, owned by Microsoft, would have to abide by “security and confidentiality provisions”.

    • Where Are NSA’s Overseers on the Shadow Brokers Release?

      Whatever else the release of the tools did (and I expect we’ll learn more as time goes on), it revealed that NSA has been exploiting vulnerabilities in America’s top firewall companies for years — and that whoever released these tools likely knew that, and could exploit that, for the last three years.

      That comes against the background of a debate over whether our Vulnerabilities Equities Process works as billed, with EFF saying we need a public discussion today, and former NSA and GCHQ hackers claim we ignorant laypeople can’t adequately assess strategy, even while appearing to presume US strategy should not account for the role of tech exports.

      We’re now at a point where the fears raised by a few Snowden documents — that the NSA is making tech companies unwitting (the presumed story, but one that should get more scrutiny) or witting partners in NSA’s spying — have born out. And NSA should be asked — and its oversight committees should be asking — what the decision-making process behind turning a key segment of our economy into the trojan horse of our spooks looks like.

      Mind you, I suspect the oversight committees already know a bit about this (and the Gang of Four might even know the extent to which this involves witting partnership, at least from some companies). Which is why we should have public hearings to learn what they know.

      Did California’s congressional representatives Dianne Feinstein, Adam Schiff, and Devin Nunes sign off on the exploitation of a bunch of CA tech companies? If they did, did they really think through the potential (and now somewhat realized) impact it would have on those companies and, with it, our economy, and with it the potential follow-on damage to clients of those firewall companies?

    • UK terror-law watchdog has given a green light to powers for spy agencies to collect bulk data

      POWERS that allow spy agencies to harvest bulk data were today given the go-ahead by the UK’s terror-law watchdog.

      In David Anderson QC’s report, published this morning, he said there was a “proven operational case” for most of the controversial methods of data collection.

      Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the findings claiming it showed how the powers, which she is currently trying to cement in legislation, are of “crucial importance” to MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

      But critics raised concerns over whether the Government would follow all of the report’s recommendations, and raised the prospect of blocking them in the House of Lords if they are not happy.

      Mr Anderson was asked earlier this year to evaluate the case for the tactics, which are included in the landmark Investigatory Powers Bill.

    • Bulk data collection vital to prevent terrorism in UK, report finds

      The bulk collection of personal data by British spy agencies is vital in preventing terrorist attacks, an independent review of draft security legislation has found.

      David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, concluded that laws giving MI5, MI6 and GCHQ the right to gather large volumes of data from members of the public had a “clear operational purpose”.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Theresa May urged to vote against Saudi Arabia remaining on Human Rights Council over abuses

      Politicians and campaigners will demand Theresa May vote against Saudi Arabia remaining on the UN Human Rights Council after a year which saw the country’s government savagely bomb Yemen, commit vast numbers of beheadings, a mass execution and detain activists.

      Their call, on World Humanitarian Day, comes ahead of a critical UN vote on whether Saudi Arabia retains its seat. Controversy over the matter has increased since the Saudi Ambassador was also given a key role on a panel related to the council.

      But despite the repeated and well publicised atrocities of the Middle Eastern state, UK ministers still refuse to say whether they will back the kingdom or not.

    • An Iranian woman won an Olympic medal for the first time in history

      Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin made history yesterday, Aug. 18, as the first Iranian woman to ever win an Olympic medal. She took the bronze for Iran in taekwondo, beating Sweden’s Nikita Glasnovic.

    • When I Was a Kid in Sherman Park, There Were Problems With Police. Now It Feels Like a Police State.

      The neighborhood was one of the most diverse places in the city. My brother and I played with the lawyer’s kids across the street, and we swung on the swing of the photographer next door while he cleaned his classic Excalibur. The East Indian kids living opposite us were some of my best friends growing up. Their dad was a bank examiner and their mother was my brother’s English teacher. We hung out with the Latino family two doors down after their daughter Elizabeth’s Quinceanera. There were a few police officers’ families per block in the old neighborhood and a few judges and an alderman too. Most of them were Black.

    • Walmart’s Out-of-Control Crime Problem Is Driving Police Crazy

      Officer Walmart to his colleagues in the Tulsa Police Department—operates for up to 10 hours a day out of the security office of a Walmart Supercenter in the city’s northeast corner. It’s a small, windowless space with six flatscreen monitors mounted on a pale blue cinder-block wall, and on this hot summer day, the room is packed. Four Walmart employees watch the monitors, which toggle among the dozens of cameras covering the store and parking lot, while doing paperwork and snacking on Cheez Whiz and Club Crackers. In a corner of the room, an off-duty sheriff’s officer, hired by Walmart, makes small talk with the employees.

    • Scottish Soccer Fans Fly the Flag For Celtic, For Justice, For Palestine

      Defying a ban on political or “provocative” demonstrations by the European governing soccer body UEFA, hometown Scottish fans waved a sea of Palestinian flags at a playoff game between their Glasgow Celtics and Israel’s Hapoel Be’er-Sheva to express solidarity with Palestinians and opposition to the Israeli Occupation. The action by fans of the Celtic club, which grew from Irish Catholic working class communities and their fight against British colonialism in Northern Ireland, is the latest in a decades-long history of supporting Palestinian rights through groups like the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Committee, Celtic Fans for Palestine, No2BrandIsrael, and Palestine Alliance. The Alliance organized this week’s demonstration, distributing the flags and leaflets on the Nakba, urging Celtic fans to support the BDS movement, and arguing that “football, UEFA and Celtic are being used to whitewash Israel’s true nature and give this rogue state an air (of) acceptance it should not enjoy.”

    • The Global Ambitions of Pakistan’s New Cyber-Crime Act

      Despite near universal condemnation from Pakistan’s tech experts; despite the efforts of a determined coalition of activists, and despite numerous attempts by alarmed politicians to patch its many flaws, Pakistan’s Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) last week passed into law. Its passage ends an eighteen month long battle between Pakistan’s government, who saw the bill as a flagship element of their anti-terrorism agenda, and the technologists and civil liberties groups who slammed the bill as an incoherent mix of anti-speech, anti-privacy and anti-Internet provisions.

    • Actress Amber Heard Donates Millions to Support ACLU Work Fighting Violence Against Women

      Actress Amber Heard announced yesterday she will give the American Civil Liberties Union half of her $7 million divorce settlement to support our work fighting violence against women. The other half of the settlement will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

    • Woman Sues After Police Destroy Her Home During 10-Hour Standoff With The Family Dog

      When the only thing standing between law enforcement and a suspect they’re seeking is a person’s home, well… the home’s got to go.

      As seen previously here at Techdirt, police officers pretty much razed a residence to the ground searching for a shoplifting suspect. In another case, law enforcement spent nineteen hours engaged in a tense standoff with an empty residence before deciding to send in a battering ram.

      Another standoff — currently the center of a federal lawsuit — stands somewhere in between these two cases. The house wasn’t completely empty or completely destroyed. But that still doesn’t make the Caldwell (ID) police look any more heroic… or any less destructive.

    • Declassified justice: Gitmo lawyer explains CIA censorship of clients

      President Barack Obama’s recent release of 15 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay marked the largest single transfer yet. However, as the US loosens its clutches on some detainees, the CIA’s grip on keeping them silent remains tight as ever.

    • Unmasking Misinformation, Disinformation and Propaganda: NSA Interrogation Officer – A Postcard From Guantanamo Bay

      From the Snowden Archives published by The Intercept come the internal newsletters of the NSA’s most important division, the Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID). These particular documents called ‘SIDtoday’ are internal newsletters given to the vast number of NSA employees as a way of communicating the perceived importance of their work and, no doubt, like many internal company newsletters to keep up employee morale. They provide an intriguing insight into their work from the perspective of those on the inside.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • U.S. says transfer of internet governance will go ahead on Oct. 1

      The U.S. will go ahead with its plan to hand over oversight of the internet’s domain name system functions to a multistakeholder body on Oct. 1, despite fierce opposition from some lawmakers and advocacy groups.

      The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), under contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce, operates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) which enables the operation of the internet domain name system (DNS). These include responsibility for the coordination of the DNS root, IP addressing and other internet protocol resources.

      The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency within the Commerce Department, said in March 2014 that it planned to let its contract with ICANN expire on Sept. 30, 2015, passing the oversight of the functions to a global governance model. NTIA made it clear that it would not accept a plan from internet stakeholders that would replace its role by that of a government-led or intergovernmental organization or would in any way compromise the openness of the internet.

      The transfer was delayed to September as the internet community needed more time to finalize the plan for the transition. The new stewardship plan submitted by ICANN was approved by the NTIA in June.

    • US: We’re now ready to give up our role governing the internet

      The US says it is ready to transfer its role in administering the internet’s naming system to a multiple stakeholder group on October 1.

    • BT signs 5G research deal with Nokia

      BT HAS STRUCK a deal with Nokia over the research and development of 5G technologies, with the two companies already collaborating to test Nokia’s latest 5G kit at BT Labs at Adastral Park in Martlesham, near Ipswich.

      The agreement between the two companies will also include the development of proof-of-concept trials around 5G technologies, and the development of standards and equipment that could be used for 5G networks.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • After the split: so is it HP, Hewlett Packard, Hewlett Packard Enterprise or what?

        In that connection, this Kat recently met an acquaintance, who has a long-time connection with the company. Over a cup of coffee, this Kat innocently asked: “So which HP company do you now work for. And who is running the company”? My acquaintance fumbled his response to both questions, before ultimately coming up with the correct answers. As Kat readers may be aware, the former Hewlett-Packard Company has split into two separate companies. The then existing company changed its name to HP Inc. and retained the company’s personal computer and legacy business (with its ticker remaining HPQ), while a new company was created, called Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (with its ticker symbol “HPE”) and consisting of four divisions—Enterprise Group, Services, and Software and Financial Services. In May 2016, it was announced that Hewlett Packard Enterprise would sell its Enterprise Services division to Computer Sciences Corporation. This transaction is to be completed by March 2017; in the meantime, it does not appear that a name has been chosen for this new company.

      • Seven scenarios for EU trade marks post-Brexit

        The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys has mapped out seven possible options to prevent the loss of registered rights in the UK when the country leaves the EU

    • Copyrights

      • Recording Industry Whines That It’s Too Costly To Keep Copyright Terms At Life Plus 50, Instead Of Life Plus 70

        Okay. I’ve heard lots of crazy arguments from the record labels, but I may have found the craziest. We’ve discussed how ridiculous it is that the TPP includes a provision saying that every country that signs on must make sure the minimum copyright term is life plus 70 years. This will impact many of the countries that negotiated the agreement, which currently have terms set at life plus 50. This was a key point that the recording industry and Hollywood fought hard for. When even the Copyright Office recognizes that life plus 70 is too long in many cases, the legacy industries recognized that getting copyright term extension through Congress in the US might be difficult — so why not lock stuff in via international agreements?

      • Judge grants Happy Birthday lawyers $4.6M, citing “unusually positive results”

        The attorneys who moved the song Happy Birthday into the public domain will receive $4.62 million in fees, according to a judge’s fee order (PDF) published Tuesday. The amount, which equals one-third of a $14 million settlement fund, was granted over objections by the defendant, Warner/Chappell.

        After various billing deductions, US District Judge George King found that a “lodestar” payment of about $3.85 million was appropriate. King then added a multiplier.

        “Given the unusually positive results achieved by the settlement, the highly complex nature of the action, the risk class counsel faced by taking this case on a contingency-fee basis, and the impressive skill and effort of counsel, we conclude that a 1.2 multiplier is warranted,” wrote King.

        Five lawyers billed the “vast majority” of the hours, charging rates that varied between $395 per hour and $820 per hour. The most work was done by Randall Newman, who billed 2,193 hours at $640 per hour. King found the rates were all reasonable given “the cases cited, the National Law Journal survey, and our own experience.”

      • Arrrgh! I Speak With the Pirate Party of Iceland

        The audience was remarkably well-informed on whistleblower issues, with questions not only about high-profile folks like Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning, but also important whistleblowers like Tom Drake, Bill Binney, John Kiriakou, and Jeff Sterling, who may not be as well known to many Americans.

        There was also among the people present an overt fear of the direction the United States continues to head, beyond the symptoms of Hillary and Trump. The endless wars of the Middle East progulated and/or encouraged and supported by the U.S., the global pestilence of the NSA, and the lashing out of America against Muslims and human rights were all of deep concern.

      • BREIN Tracks Down Facebook Music Pirate, Settles for €7,000

        Anti-piracy group BREIN has tracked down a prolific cyberlocker uploader who shared pirated music in a dedicated Facebook group. The man agreed to sign a €7,000 settlement and left the group, which shut down soon after. In addition, Facebook closed several other groups that were focused on sharing copyright infringing links.

      • Kim Dotcom & John McAfee “At War” Over Megaupload 2.0 Revelations

        Kim Dotcom has made a surprise announcement relating to his under-development Megaupload 2.0 project. The entrepreneur informs TorrentFreak that John McAfee’s MGT Capital Investments offered to invest $30m plus stock into the business but it soon became clear that the aim was to drive up the stock price at MGT. Now, it appears, McAfee and Dotcom are at war.

      • Court To Prenda’s John Steele: Okay, Now We’ll Sum Up How Much You Cost Taxpayers And Need To Pay

        When last we left John Steele, one of the dynamic duo behind the massive copyright trolling scam once known as Prenda Law, he was being scolded by the 7th circuit appeals court (not the first appeals court to do so), for failing to abide by the court’s own advice to “stop digging.” But digging a deeper and deeper hole has always been in John Steele’s nature, it seems. As we’ve mentioned in the past, Steele reminded me of a guy I once knew, who incorrectly believed that he was clearly smarter than everyone else, and thus believed (incorrectly) that he could talk and lie his way out of any situation if he just kept smiling and talking. That generally doesn’t work too well in court — especially when you’re not actually that smart.

        In that July ruling, the court upheld most of the money Steele and Paul Hansmeier were told to pay, and scolded them for directly lying about their ability to pay. It referred to Steele’s “entire pattern of vexatious and obstructive conduct.” However, as we noted, Steele kinda sorta “won” on one point, though even that win was a loss. One of the arguments that Steele’s lawyer had made was that on the fine that the lower court gave him for contempt, the basis for that fine appeared to be under the standards for criminal contempt rather than civil contempt. Way back during oral arguments, the judges on the panel had asked Steele’s lawyer, somewhat incredulously, if he was actually asking the court to push this over to be a criminal case rather than a civil one, and Steele’s lawyer answered affirmatively.

        And so, the court notes that the contempt fine “falls on the criminal side of the line,” because “it was an unconditional fine that did not reflect actual costs caused by the attorneys’ conduct.” So it tossed out the $65,263 fine, but noted that criminal contempt charges might still be filed (out of the frying pan, into the fire). Oh, and of course, it left open the idea that the lower court might go back and actually justify civil contempt fines. And it appears that’s exactly what Judge David Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois has done. He’s ordered Steele to show cause for why he should not be fined, and then details the basis for such a fine.

      • Anti-Piracy Firm Rightcorp Continues to Lose Big Money

        Piracy monetization firm Rightscorp continues to lose money. Revenue over the most recent quarter has dropped significantly compared to last year and the company is still miles away from turning a profit. Instead of generating more money from alleged pirates, Rightscorp must set aside $200,000 to settle accused file-sharers it allegedly harassed.

      • Hold On… We May Actually Be In For A THIRD Oracle/Google API Copyright Trial

        This does not mean that there absolutely will be a third trial, but it’s at least more of a possibility than most observers thought possible. I honestly don’t see how Android on Chromebook really matters for the fair use analysis. Oracle argues that since most of the talk on the market impact was limited to phones and tablets, that may have impacted the jury, but that’s kind of laughable. The reality is that Oracle just wants another crack at a decision it disagrees with.

      • Mexican Government Officials Have Press Creds Withdrawn From Olympics Over Uploaded Cell Phone Footage

        We’ve been detailing the ridiculous lengths the IOC and other Olympics organizations go in bullying others with their super special intellectual property protections. It’s always quite stunning to watch an event supposedly about fostering international cooperation and sporting devolve into a mess of commercial protectionism, speech-stifling threats, and the kind of strong-arm tactics usually reserved for members of organized crime groups.

        But I will give these Olympic goons credit: they appear to consider their bullying a matter of principle, deciding not to go any easier on an entire group of Mexican government officials because one of them uploaded one video of one Mexican athlete to a social media account.


Links 19/8/2016: Linux Mint With KDE, Linux Foundation’s PNDA

Posted in News Roundup at 5:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Windows 10′s upgrade model temporarily wipes $1.6B from Microsoft’s books

      the distribution and maintenance of Windows 10 put a $1.6 billion temporary dent in its revenue, the company said Thursday.

      In a filing covering the March quarter, Microsoft pointed to the revenue deferral of Windows 10 — a relatively new way of accounting for the Redmond, Wash. company — as a reason for the 6% year-over-year decline in revenue.

      “Revenue decreased $1.2 billion or 6%, primarily due to the impact of a net revenue deferral related to Windows 10 of $1.6 billion and an unfavorable foreign currency impact of approximately $838 million or 4%,” Microsoft’s 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) stated.

      The $1.6 billion in Windows 10 revenue during the March quarter didn’t actually vanish: It was instead deferred and will hit the bottom line over the next two to four years.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 16.08 Officially Released for the KDE Plasma 5.7 Desktop

        Today, August 18, 2016, KDE has had the great pleasure of announcing the availability of the final release of KDE Applications 16.08, the latest stable and most advanced software suite for the KDE Plasma 5.7 desktop environment.

      • KDE Applications 16.08 Released, Canonical Becomes A Patron
      • Canonical Becomes a Patron of KDE e.V.

        KDE and Canonical’s Ubuntu have collaborated for years. Today we celebrate the extension of this collaboration with the addition of Canonical to the KDE Patrons family, as part of the corporate membership program.

      • Canonical Is Now a Patron of KDE, as Part of the Corporate Membership Program

        Immediately after releasing KDE Applications 16.08, KDE was proud to announce that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, one of the world’s most popular GNU/Linux distributions, has become a patron of KDE e.V..

        KDE e.V. is the non-profit organization that represents the KDE Community and produces the modern and widely-used KDE Plasma desktop environment, along with the KDE Applications and KDE Frameworks suits of KDE software and libraries. KDE is known to have worked with Canonical’s Ubuntu for many years, and they’re happy that Canonical decided to extend this collaboration and join the KDE Patrons family, as part of the corporate membership program.

      • Plasma 5 is coming

        The KDE edition of Linux Mint 18 just passed QA and should be available as BETA this weekend.

      • Plasma Release Schedule Updated
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Confessions of a command line geek: why I don’t use GNOME but everyone else should

        Despite what tablet- and phone-loving pundits say, the laptop is here to stay. When a user wants to watch a movie on a train, they reach for the tablet first. But if they want to do actual, real work, they still prefer the laptop.

        Meanwhile, software freedom should always be for everyone, not just technical users and software developers. The GNOME project was one of the first in this history of Free Software to realize this, and seek to create a free software desktop that truly allowed everyone to enjoy the software freedom that those of us had already happily found with Bash and Emacs (or vi :) years before.

        This keynote will discuss why GNOME remains best poised to deliver software freedom to everyone, how GNOME continues to be the best welcome-mat for those who want software freedom, and why GNOME remains absolutely essential to the advancement of software freedom for decades to come.

      • GUADEC/2

        Once again, GUADEC has come and gone.

        Once again, it was impeccably organized by so many wonderful volunteers.

        Once again, I feel my batteries recharged.

        Once again, I’ve had so many productive conversations.

        Once again, I’ve had many chances to laugh.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Forget desktop Linux, build your own $40 Android PC

      I had originally planned to slap some desktop Linux on the Pine 64, but instead I’m sticking with Android. Here’s why:

      The choice of operating system, outside of political ideology, very much depends on what you are going to do on a system. I am going to use this machine as an entertainment hub, to watch movies, listen to music and do some casual gaming. I’m also going to use it for writing work, and maybe for some light image editing. That’s pretty much it. I may install this PC in my kids’ room so they can use it.

    • Open Source RTOS for IoT Gains Support from Lenovo

      To provide an open source solution that complements real-time Linux but keeps critical concerns like security and modularity top-of-mind, we created the Zephyr Project. Zephyr Project is a small, scalable, RTOS designed specifically for small-footprint IoT devices. It is also embedded with development tools and has a modular design so that developers can customize its capabilities and create IoT solutions that meet the needs of any device, regardless of architecture. This enables easier connectivity to the cloud as well as other IoT devices.

    • What I Wish I’d Known When I Was an Embedded Linux Newbie

      Here are some tips compiled from our seasoned engineers on what they wish they’d known about embedded Linux back when they were “newbs”. Newcomers and seasoned veterans alike should get some good nuggets of information and possibly a fun perspective looking back at our own humble beginnings. We’ll try not to overwhelm you as we make our way through the list. We’re not here to rewrite the books, but we do want to provide a personal perspective. If you’re in the camp of people who’ve been using desktop Linux, just be aware that embedded Linux is a different animal, especially when it comes to space constraints, different CPU architecture (ARM), resilience to sudden power outages and inability to install any mainline Linux kernel or distribution you please. Or, maybe you’re in the microprocessor camp moving toward a more generalized and capable embedded Linux system. Either way, we’ll assume you have at least some knowledge of Linux as we walk through this guide.

    • Open source, DAQ-enabled hacking platform feels its inner Arduino

      Agilo’s open source, Arduino Mega compatible “Evive” IoT prototyping and DAQ platform offers a 1.8-inch display, breadboard, analog controls, and more.

      Agilo Technologies, a startup formed by students at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur), is pitching its flagship Evive prototyping product on Indiegogo. The company has achieved only 39 percent of its $30,000 flexible funding goal, with less than a week remaining, but it is committed to manufacturing the product and fulfilling orders. The company has already lined up other funding, as well as manufacturing and component suppliers, according to an email from CEO and co-founder Dhrupal R Shah.

    • Open source COM and carriers become 3D-printable computers

      Rhombus Tech’s Allwinner A20 based, “fully libre” EOMA68 COM and carrier boards can be installed in 3D printed mini-PC or laptop cases.

      For the past five years, UK-based Rhombus Tech, led by developer Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton, has been developing a fully open source, removable computer-on-module (COM) in a standardized format known as “EOMA68.” Rhombus has now gone to CrowdSupply to help fund an “EOMA68-A20” module based on Allwinner’s A20 SoC, as well as a mini-PC and a 15.6-inch laptop built around the COM.

    • The top 10 IoT application areas – based on real IoT projects

      As part of a larger effort to track the IoT ecosystem, we set out, mining hundreds of homepages, and managed to assemble and verify 640 actual enterprise IoT projects (Note: We did not include any consumer IoT projects such as wearable devices or hobby projects).

    • This tiny $5 computer is giving the Raspberry Pi a run for its money

      When it comes simple homebrew computers, the Raspberry Pi has been king of the mountain for a long time. The ruler might have some new competition, however, if the wild Kickstarter success of Onion’s Omega2 is any indication.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Why Google is building a new operating system

          Google is building a new operating system because it wants to move away from Android, a system that, while enabling it to gain market leadership, has given it a fair share of legal and other headaches over the eight years since it first arrived in the market.

        • Oracle says trial wasn’t fair, it should have known about Google Play for Chrome

          Oracle lawyers argued in federal court today that their copyright trial loss against Google should be thrown out because they were denied key evidence in discovery.

          Oracle attorney Annette Hurst said that the launch of Google Play on Chrome OS, which happened in the middle of the trial, showed that Google was trying to break into the market for Java SE on desktops. In her view, that move dramatically changes the amount of market harm that Oracle experienced, and the evidence should have been shared with the jury.

          “This is a game-changer,” Hurst told US District Judge William Alsup, who oversaw the trial. “The whole foundation for their case is gone. [Android] isn’t ‘transformative’; it’s on desktops and laptops.”

          Google argued that its use of Java APIs was “fair use” for several reasons, including the fact that Android, which was built for smartphones, didn’t compete with Java SE, which is used on desktops and laptops. During the post-trial hearing today, Hurst argued that it’s clear that Google intends to use Android smartphones as a “leading wedge” and has plans to “suck in the entire Java SE market.”

        • Google’s Russian Android Antitrust Appeal Just Failed
        • Gartner: Android’s smartphone marketshare hit 86.2% in Q2

          What growth there is left in the smartphone market continues to center on emerging markets where consumers are upgrading from feature phones.

          And that ongoing transition is helping boost Android’s global marketshare, which Gartner pegs at 86.2 per cent in Q2 in its latest mobile market figures.

          But the analyst says Android is not just winning buyers at the mid- to lower-end smartphone segments in emerging markets — with sales of premium smartphones powered by Android up 6.5 per cent in Q2 too.

        • Honor 8 is a high-end Android phone at a mid-range price

          Chinese device maker Huawei unveiled the new Honor 8 smartphone Monday evening during a lavish press event at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The Honor 8 is a good-looking, 5.2-inch Android smartphone aimed at the photography-loving millennial modern marketers droll over. Both sides are made of glass, surrounded by a metal bezel. And the screen takes up almost the entire front of the device, so it offers a lot of real estate.

Free Software/Open Source


  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Navajo, the EPA, and the Accident That Turned a River Orange

      Leaders with the Navajo Nation said they will file a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency for its role in a large mine spill in 2015, which contaminated a major river with 3 million gallons of toxic acid and metals.

      The Navajo Nation joins the state of New Mexico, which filed a suit against the EPA for allegedly causing the spill, known as the Gold King Mine Spill, and against the state of Colorado for not doing more to prevent it. The spill is still under criminal investigation, but a federal report released in April found the EPA at fault. The agency had drilled in the area to install drainage pipes below the Gold King Mine because small amounts of toxic water were flowing into the Animas River.

      In August 2015, while workers contracted by the EPA tried to drain some of the toxic water, a massive blowout sent a mix of arsenic, zinc, lead, and mercury into the river, which turned the waters orange and flowed downstream, depositing more than 888,000 pounds of toxic metals in the water.

    • The Queen and David Attenborough urged to cut ties with charity linked to Finland mining plans

      Environmentalists and indigenous reindeer herders are calling on the Queen, Sir David Attenborough and Stephen Fry to disassociate themselves from a charity contracted to help a mining operation in a national park in Finland.

      Fauna and Flora International (FFI), whose patron is the Queen, has been hired by the British-listed mining company Anglo American to assess the environmental value of Viiankiaapa, a stunning 65 sq km (25 sq mile) habitat for 21 endangered bird species in the Arctic circle.

      The research includes an assessment of whether equivalent land could be offered as “compensation” for wetlands damaged by the extraction of massive deposits of platinum, nickel, copper and gold.

      But Jukka Kaaretkoski, a reindeer herder of Sami ancestry from nearby Kersilö, told the Guardian that the drilling would take a heavy environmental toll and be a “terminal” blow for local herders whose animals graze there.

      “Mines cause traffic, noise, grit, pollution and contamination of water supplies,” he said. “Many young reindeer herders are in danger of losing their future livelihoods because of it. We cannot even plan for the future because of the fear and insecurity. ”

      Riikka Karppinen, a Green party councillor in the local Sodankylä municipality, added: “I think this is colonialism, because the big mining company has come here from another country and we are in too weak a position to protect our homeland.”

      About 90 bird species live in Viiankiaapa – including pygmy owls to broad-billed sandpipers – many nesting amid the bogs and moors that host a variety of endangered plant species.

    • As promised, Aetna is pulling out of Obamacare after DOJ blocked its merger

      Aetna announced Monday that due to grave financial losses, it will dramatically slash its participation in public insurance marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act. In 2017, Aetna will only offer insurance policies in 242 counties scattered across four states—that’s a nearly 70-percent decrease from its 2016 offerings in 778 counties across 15 states.

      The deep cuts have largely been seen as a blow to the sustainability of the healthcare law, which has seen other big insurers also pull out, namely UnitedHealth group and Humana. But the explanation that Aetna was forced to scale back due to heavy profit cuts doesn’t square with previous statements by the company.

      In April, Mark Bertolini, the chairman and chief executive of Aetna, told investors that the insurance giant anticipated losses and could weather them, even calling participation in the marketplaces during the rocky first years “a good investment.” And in a July 5 letter (PDF) to the Department of Justice, obtained by the Huffington Post by a Freedom of Information Act request, Bertolini explicitly threatened that Aetna would back out of the marketplace if the department tried to block its planned $37 billion merger with Humana.

      “Specifically, if the DOJ sues to enjoin the transaction, we will immediately take action to reduce our 2017 exchange footprint …. [I]nstead of expanding to 20 states next year, we would reduce our presence to no more than 10 states…” Bertolini wrote.

    • Congress must move beyond partisan politics and act on Zika

      For the past few months I’ve observed with great concern the slow progression of a devastating pandemic. I had hoped that the whole nation would focus its attention on the health crisis as well, but it’s been a distracting year so far. The Zika virus has slowly closed in on American shores. The Center for Disease Control announced that as of last week, 7,350 cases have been reported in the United States and on Puerto Rico.

      I first paid attention to this crisis because of a December 2015 New York Times article about how women were delivering babies in Brazil with microcephaly due to the virus. I approached it analytically – I presumed it was the result of the impact of climate change on the transmission of viruses. Then, when the Zika virus made landfall in Puerto Rico, where I grew up, I became more concerned because of the terrible financial crisis the island was suffering. As it reached stateside and blew through Miami, where I went to graduate school, my concerns have become ever more personal, especially because we are going through a particularly hot and humid summer.

  • Security

    • The pros and cons of open source cyber security

      Open source brings many advantages to enterprises, such as pricing. However, in increasingly security-conscious enterprises it can be unclear how open source software does on cyber security.

      CBR looks at some of the major security pros and cons.

    • CVE-2016-5696 and its effects on Tor

      This vulnerability is quite serious, but it doesn’t affect the Tor network any more than it affects the rest of the internet. In particular, the Tor-specific attacks mentioned in the paper will not work as described.

    • Secure Boot Failure, Response, and Mitigation

      Last week, it became public that there is an attack against Secure Boot, utilizing one of Microsoft’s utilities to install a set of security policies which effectively disables bootloader verification.

    • Static Code Analyzer Reportedly Finds 10,000 Open Source Bugs

      A Russian company behind the PVS-Studio static code analyzer claims to have used the tool to discover more than 10,000 bugs in various open source projects, including well-known offerings such as the Firefox Web browser and the Linux kernel.

    • Linux.Lady the Crypto-Currency Mining Trojan Discovered

      Organizations reliant on Redis NoSQL a most sought after database require re-checking their configurations, security researchers advise. That’s because the Linux.Lady crypto-currency Trojan, which mines digital money, has been discovered as it piggybacks on insufficient out-of-the-box security.

      It is possible that a maximum of 30K Redis servers are susceptible to attack mainly since inadvertent system admins gave them an Internet connection devoid of constructing a password for them in addition to not having Redis secured by default.

    • DDoS protection in the cloud

      OpenFlow and other software-defined networking controllers can discover and combat DDoS attacks, even from within your own network.

      Attacks based on the distributed denial of service (DDoS) model are, unfortunately, common practice, often used to extort protection money or sweep unwanted services off the web. Currently, such attacks can reach bandwidths of 300GBps or more. Admins usually defend themselves by securing the external borders of their own networks and listening for unusual traffic signatures on the gateways, but sometimes they fight attacks even farther outside the network – on the Internet provider’s site – by diverting or blocking the attack before it overloads the line and paralyzes the victim’s services.

      In the case of cloud solutions and traditional hosting providers, the attackers and their victims often reside on the same network. Thanks to virtualization, they could even share the same computer core. In this article, I show you how to identify such scenarios and fight them off with software-defined networking (SDN) technologies.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Republicans, Democrats alike still level threats at Iran

      The 2015 Iran nuclear deal should have curbed the longstanding bellicose rhetoric coming from Republican and Democratic political leaders toward the Muslim country. Signed by Iran and six other nations (including the United States) and ratified by the United Nations Security Council, the comprehensive agreement contains strict provisions limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities to well below the threshold necessary to develop atomic weapons and subjects Iran to the most rigorous inspection regime in history. The result has been dramatically reduced regional tensions and the elimination of any potential threat to U.S. national security.

      Despite this, the Republican and Democratic platforms adopted at their respective conventions last month are both more belligerent toward Iran than they were four years ago.

      The Republican platform claims that the U.N.-sponsored and -endorsed treaty was nothing more than “a personal agreement between the President and his negotiating partners and non-binding on the next president.” Despite making it technologically impossible to weaponize Iran’s fissionable material, the platform instead claims that the agreement has somehow enabled Iran to continue to “develop a nuclear weapon.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Is Julian Assange Finally on the Path to Freedom?

      For the last four years Julian Assange has been trapped in an embassy surrounded by police. The New York Times Editorial Board yesterday called for focus on “the serious legal, ethical and security issues” at stake in the case against Assange. We agree.

      Like the underground author that gives Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle its name, Assange is a writer who disseminates work providing critical insight into readers’ political reality and their collective history. Powerful actors go to great efforts to silence him.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Looming Extinction of Humankind, Explained

      For most people, driving with a seat belt tightly strapped around their bodies is a smart habit. Not only is racing down the highway without it illegal—“click it or ticket,” as the slogan goes—but seat belts also “reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.” Yet as we’ve previously estimated, your chances of dying in a car crash are at least 9.5 times lower than dying in a human extinction event.

      If this sounds incredible—and admittedly, it does—it’s because the human mind is susceptible to cognitive biases that distort our understanding of reality. Consider the fact that you’re more likely to be killed by a meteorite than a lightning bolt, and your chances of being struck by lightning are about four times greater than dying in a terrorist attack. In other words, you should be more worried about meteorites than the Islamic State or al-Qaeda (at least for now).

      The calculation above is based on an assumption made by the influential “Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change,” a report prepared for the UK government that describes climate change as “the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen.” In making its case that climate change should be a top priority, the Stern Review stipulates a 0.1 percent annual probability of human extinction.

    • Why Voters Should Be Concerned About Clinton’s Environmental Promises

      Last week, Hillary Clinton issued her plan for economic reform in a speech aimed at swinging working class voters and discrediting Donald Trump’s bombastic promises to lead an “energy revolution.”

      Speaking at Warren, Michigan’s Futuramic Tool & Engineering factory, Clinton painted a different picture of America’s economic engine—instead of evoking a decaying coal industry, the Democratic presidential hopeful propped her platform on the enduring growth of engineering and technology.

      “Some country is going to be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century and create millions of jobs and businesses. It’s probably going to be either China, Germany, or America. I want it to be us! We invent the technology, we should make it and use it and export it, which will help to grow our economy.”

      Clinton’s vows to bolster clean energy can be taken as a panacea to Trump’s fossil fuel fanaticism, but how many of her environmental affirmations are verified by her own political record? When it comes to issues like climate change and renewable energy, Clinton has trumpeted her dedication to support and enact new legislation. But other parts of her legacy, such as her relationship to fracking and the oil lobby, are decidedly less partisan.

    • Zephyr Teachout Challenges Billionaire Right-Wing Donors to Debate

      New York congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout is throwing down the gauntlet to right-wing money men who want to buy elections in secret.

      Teachout, who won the Democratic primary for New York’s 19th district in June, this week challenged hedge fund billionaires Paul Singer and Robert Mercer to a debate in light of their contributions to a super PAC that supports her Republican opponent, John Faso.

      “The voters deserve to hear directly from the billionaires backing John Faso about what they expect to get from him in Congress,” Teachout said. “When someone writes a $500,000 check they don’t do it out of the goodness of their heart. These are people probably trying to buy power, and voters should know who they are and what they stand for.”

      “I’m challenging Paul Singer and Robert Mercer to put your mouth where your money is and debate me directly, not through your mouthpiece,” Teachout said.

    • Are We Feeling Collective Grief Over Climate Change?

      In 1977, I was in middle school in Michigan, and a science teacher shared a tidbit off-curriculum. Some scientists had postulated that as a result of “pollution,” heat-trapping gasses might one day lead to a warming planet. Dubbed “the greenhouse effect,” the image was clear in my 12-year old mind: people enclosed in a glass structure, heating up like tomatoes coaxed to ripen. It was an interesting concept, but something in the very, very distant future.

    • Clashes Halt Work on North Dakota Pipeline

      Work on a 1,154-mile pipeline that would carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois was halted this week near the Missouri River, amid growing confrontations between members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and police guarding a construction site.

    • BP oil spill in Great Australian Bight would be catastrophic, modelling shows

      An oil spill from BP’s planned drilling in the Great Australian Bight could affect most of Australia’s southern coastline, shutting down fisheries and threatening wildlife including whales, seabirds and sea lions, new modelling has shown.

  • Finance

    • Uber: “We’ll support drivers” [Ed: Uber is very harmful]

      The head of Uber Finland says the company will support its drivers who run afoul of the law. Uber drivers in Helsinki now potentially face criminal charges if police catch them working for the smartphone-based chauffeur service.

    • Brexit latest: Airports start exchanging less than one Euro for each Pound Sterling

      Certain London airport bureaux de change are now returning less than €1 for each pound offered, underlining how the slide in the value of the sterling since the 23 June Brexit referedum vote is already hitting holidaymakers in the pocket.

      MoneyCorp at Stansted this week offered a rate of €0.9915 and ICE at Luton offered €0.990, according to Caxton FX.

    • Victory For Domestic Workers in Illinois

      The law, which is the result of a five-year campaign by the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Coalition, guarantees nannies, housecleaners, homecare workers and other domestic workers a minimum wage, protection from discrimination and sexual harassment, and one day of rest for every seven days for workers employed by one employer for at least 20 hours a week.

      New York became the first state to pass such a bill in 2010. Since then Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Hawaii and Connecticut have followed suit. Illinois now becomes the seventh state to make basic workplace protections for domestic workers a matter of law. The new law amends four existing laws to include domestic workers.


      Now, domestic workers in Illinois will no longer have to face the conditions Melendez faced. They will have a way to fight back, and the state will stand with them. It’s a level of basic protection that domestic workers nationwide should have.

    • New Jersey Legislators Move to Reform Aggressive Student Loan Program

      New Jersey lawmakers have announced a series of measures addressing student debt issues this week, including one bill aimed at reforming the state’s controversial student loan program.

      The measure would require the state agency that administers the loan program to offer income-driven repayment for its struggling borrowers, bringing the loans closer in line with the federal government’s loan program.

      Last month, ProPublica and the New York Times published an investigation into the program, which found that its loans come with onerous terms that can easily lead borrowers to financial ruin.

      Repayment of the state’s loans cannot be based on income and borrowers who face unemployment or economic hardships are given few reprieves. One mother, who co-signed her son’s loans, is still paying off his debt even though he was murdered in January 2015.

    • PayPal Stops A Payment Just Because The Payee’s Memo Included The Word ‘Cuba’

      Earlier this year, we discussed how a Treasury Department watchlist under the purview of the Office of Foreign Assets Control was mucking up all kinds of legitimate business because some partakers in said business had scary sounding (read: Islamic) names. Everyone began referring to this watchlist as a “terrorist watchlist”, as most of the stories concerned people, including American citizens, who either have names that are close to the names of terrorist suspects worldwide or because certain banks can’t tell when someone is writing the name of their dog in the memo section, mistaking that name for the name of an Islamic terror group, because why not?

      But as it turns out, this hilariously frustrating example of bureaucratic ineptitude isn’t limited to global terrorism. It also apparently applies to decades old embargo rivalries, too. Mark Frauenfelder details a wonderful story about how his wife, a book editor, used PayPal to pay for a book review about Cuba, only to have the payment suspended and the notices from PayPal begin to fly.

    • With Republicans Backing Away From TPP, Does It Still Have Any Chance?

      We’ve pointed out before how topsy turvy things have become with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement lately, and it seems to be getting even more weird, but not for any good reason. As we’ve pointed out dozens of times now, actual free trade is a good thing for the world — but the TPP agreement has very, very little to do with free trade. There are certainly some good things in the TPP when it comes to trade, including some stuff on helping protect the free flow of information on the internet, but it is significantly outweighed by numerous problems with the agreement that seem to have little to do with actual free trade and plenty to do with certain industries putting in place protectionist/mercantilist programs that are, in many ways, the opposite of free trade. The two areas that we’ve discussed at great length are the intellectual property section, which will force countries to ratchet up their laws (which runs against free trade) and the problematic corporate sovereignty provisions, that allow foreign companies to effectively block regulations that may make perfect sense for certain countries.

      Historically, the way political support for trade deals in the US works breaks down as follows: Republicans support the deals strongly, with a simplistic mantra of “free trade is good, any free trade agreement must be good.” They don’t care much about the details (other than if a big company in their region wants some protectionist nugget in the agreement). Meanwhile, the majority of Democrats oppose the agreements, but again, often for simplistic and protectionist reasons. But, there are always a few “moderate” Democrats (i.e., Democrats who recognize free trade is actually a good thing overall) who support free trade and that’s enough to get the deals passed. That’s mostly how the TPP situation played out for the past few years.

      Then the insanity of the 2016 Presidential election hit and everything went sideways.

      On the Republican side, you’ve got Donald Trump, who is opposed to the TPP, but mainly because he doesn’t understand international trade at all, and ridiculously seems to believe that everything is a zero sum game, and any trade agreement that helps other countries means we’re “losing.” The TPP is bad, but not for the reasons Trump thinks. And then you have Hillary Clinton, who had always been in the Democratic clump that supported free trade agreements, and who has always supported the TPP, despite now pretending not to. That’s because Bernie Sanders was very much against it (also for mostly the wrong reasons!) and feeling pressure from the success of his campaign, she felt the need to come out against the TPP to avoid losing to Bernie.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill Stein: I will have trouble sleeping at night if either Trump or Clinton is elected

      Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein said Wednesday she doesn’t believe either mainstream candidate is fit for the White House, brushing aside criticism that her bid could help elect Donald Trump.

      “I will have trouble sleeping at night if Donald Trump is elected. I will also have trouble sleeping at night if Hillary Clinton is elected. And as despicable as Donald Trump’s words are, I find Hillary Clinton’s actions and track record is very troubling,” said Stein, sitting alongside her running mate Ajamu Baraka at CNN’s Green Party town hall event.

      The third-party candidate blasted the logic that voters should discount her candidacy, and citing her opposition to money in politics, Stein said that her party stood alone on the national scene totally independent of corporate influence.

    • Trump Presents Menacing Prospect, But We Cannot Forget What’s Already Happening

      Stories like those Farea encountered in his attempts to provide a voice to the victims of America’s drone operations have continued to emerge. In February of 2015, Mohammed Tuaiman, a 13-year-old Yemeni, was killed in a drone strike — the same way his father and teenage brother were killed years earlier.

    • How a Question’s Phrasing Hobbles Third Parties

      By asking Americans who they expect to vote for rather than who they want to be President, pollsters skew the numbers in favor of major-party candidates and help exclude third-party challengers from crucial debates, notes Sam Husseini.

    • Make America Russian Again (Video)

      Animator Mark Fiore offers his take on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin in his latest clip. Watch the animation and read Fiore’s thoughts on the subject below.

    • Trump says he’ll be known as ‘Mr Brexit’ despite poor poll showing – politics live
    • As Clinton woos Republicans, Sanders’ faithfuls fear they will be forgotten

      On a quiet, tree-lined street in this town with a population of just over 1,000, a lone yard sign bearing the name of Bernie Sanders serves as a faint reminder of the Vermont senator’s grassroots movement.

      It is the home of Missey Bower, a special education professional, who cast her vote for Sanders in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary and helped the senator carry the working-class Wyoming County in which her modest, one-storey home sits across from a public library.

      But it was Hillary Clinton who claimed victory in the state and ultimately the contest for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination. And Bower is precisely the kind of voter Clinton must still persuade in her favor with 81 days remaining until election day.

    • Trump has made it clear exactly who should be barred from the US: himself

      In his major policy speech on foreign policy delivered yesterday in the battleground state of Ohio, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump finally made it clear who exactly should be barred from the United States: himself.

      The candidate plainly stated that “those who do not believe in our constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country”. Since Trump, who is known to have expressed bigoted and hateful opinions about Mexicans and Muslims, and who has repeatedly demonstrated a tenuous grasp of the constitution, already resides in the United States, I assume he will opt for Mitt Romney-style self-deportation.

    • For real progressives, Jill Stein is now the only choice

      The stakes of Wednesday night’s CNN Green party town hall were high – third-party candidates are rarely allowed entry into the corporate media universe, which thrives on the false narrative that only two parties exist here in the United States.

      This was perhaps the only opportunity the presidential candidate I have endorsed – Jill Stein – and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, to have the ear of a large portion of the mainstream American electorate. There was little room for error.

      They spent little time directly criticizing Donald Trump. This was a wise move, since virtually no one among Stein’s potential base of support is considering Trump as a viable option. Instead, she focused on Hillary Clinton.

      At a moment where the Clinton campaign is still attempting to secure the support of frustrated Bernie Sanders primary voters, Stein demonstrated that Clinton’s brand of liberalism does not represent the tone or spirit of the Sanders campaign. By highlighting Clinton’s pro-corporate politics and active role in hawkish foreign policy, Stein raised considerable doubt about Clinton’s leftist bona fides.

    • Class Action Lawsuit Against Debbie Wasserman Schultz Moves Forward

      In June, the hacker Guccifer 2.0 released internal Democratic National Committee (DNC) documents proving the DNC treated Hillary Clinton as their nominee before the primaries even began. Not long after these revelations came to light, the law firm Beck & Lee filed a class action lawsuit against now-former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC on behalf of Bernie Sanders supporters.

      The suit includes six claims: fraud, negligent misrepresentation, deceptive conduct, monetary restitution for donors of Sanders, the DNC breaking its own fiduciary duties, and negligence for failing to protect sensitive donor information that was hacked. Beck & Lee noted the lawsuit was a way to give a voice to Sanders supporters who were silenced by the rigging of the primaries for Clinton. Attorneys Jared Beck, a Harvard Law graduate, and Elizabeth Beck, a Yale Law School graduate, have previously filed successful lawsuits against Yelp, Unilever, Korea Airlines, and fraudulent real estate investors.

      The July WikiLeaks release provided further evidence that the DNC actively worked against Sanders, yet the Vermont senator’s supporters have received no recompense. The damage control used to divert from the content of these emails portrayed criticism of Clinton as a Russian conspiracy. While the mainstream media has devolved into an apparatus to funnel messaging and talking points directly from the DNC and Clinton campaign, the litigation for this class action lawsuit has been moving forward.

    • Anarchist group installs nude Donald Trump statues in US cities

      A nude statue of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump without testicles was taken down on Thursday after causing quite the stir in New York’s Union Square.

      The anarchist group INDECLINE erected the statue, titled The Emperor Has No Balls, overnight Thursday.

    • The Green Party Ticket: Obama Murdered Citizens And Terror Suspects ‘From The Sky’

      Thursday on “The Alan Colmes Show,” Alan sat down with both 2016 Green Party candidates for president and vice president, Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, about their chances to defeat the two major party candidates, as well as a challenge from Gov. Gary Johnson and Gov. Bill Weld on the Libertarian Party ticket. Dr. Stein and Ajamu also told Alan why voters shouldn’t trust Hillary Clinton, why they think the Green Party will be left out of the debates, and why they think President Obama has failed at foreign policy:

      COLMES: Where do you differ from the Democratic Party? DR. STEIN: We overlap a lot in terms of what Hillary says, but it’s what Hillary does is the question. Hillary’s track record is for favoring the banks and hurting everyday people like destroying the social safety net, the aid to families with dependent children, Hillary Clinton led the charge, they led the charge for NAFTA which sent our jobs overseas, the led the charge for Wall Street deregulation that led the way to the meltdown of nine million jobs and five million homes.

    • Meet Ajamu Baraka: Green VP Candidate Aims to Continue the Legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois & Malcolm X

      The Green Party’s vice-presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka is a longtime human rights activist. He is the founding executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network and coordinator of the U.S.-based Black Left Unity Network’s Committee on International Affairs. For years, Baraka has led efforts by the U.S. Human Rights Network to challenge police brutality and racism in the United States by bringing these issues to the United Nations.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • When algorithms become politics

      Are Facebook, Google, and Twitter politically biased? The jury seems to be out on that one. But one thing is clear – Facebooks algorithms do have political consequences.

      It’s very simple: If enough people flag a Facebook post as offensive, it will automatically disappear. If this happens frequently, a user or a group can be banned from the platform – sometimes forever.

    • Peter Thiel’s Self-Serving New York Times Column

      Peter Thiel has no regrets about pouring millions of dollars of his own money into the legal fight that bankrupted Gawker Media. “I am proud to have contributed financial support,” Thiel wrote in The New York Times on Monday, “… and I would gladly support someone else in the same position.”

      Thiel says he spent about $10 million to help Terry Bollea—the wrestler better known as Hulk Hogan—sue Gawker for having published, without his consent, a video that showed him having sex with his then-friend’s wife. Hogan ultimately won his case. Gawker, facing a $140 million judgment, filed for bankruptcy.

      Many have noted that there are few characters to root for in this saga. Gawker’s decision to publish the Hogan tape is questionable at best, regardless of whether you consider Hogan to be a public figure. The media company is known for its brashness, and has made several widely-condemned editorial decisions in its 14-year history. Thiel references these in his column for the Times, and it’s hard to argue that some of what Gawker has done—like outing Thiel, who is gay—is anything but despicable. But Thiel’s involvement in the Gawker fight is about much, much more than a personal vendetta. (Perhaps I should note here that I wrote a regular column about internet hoaxes for Gawker in 2014, and that the editors I worked with were consistently sensitive, smart, and receptive to even minor concerns about tone and fairness.)

    • In Malaysia, Humor Is No Laughing Matter

      His office has been raided, his employees arrested and his books banned. His last publisher worked at night, unwilling to take a sample of his previous work, lest it be discovered. Yet political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, known to most as Zunar, refuses to put down his pens, providing cartoon commentary on the Malaysian government.

      Zunar has been charged with nine counts of Malaysia’s Sedition Act for social media posts criticizing the Federal Court’s decision to uphold the sodomy conviction of Anwar Ibrahim, the ruling party’s main political rival. Yet, despite facing a possible 43 years of jail time, the award-winning cartoonist continues to encourage what he says is the safest and most-powerful form of protest: laughter. “There’s no law to stop you from laughing,” points out the cartoonist during an interview in his office in the Malaysian capital.

      The cover of his latest book portrays Prime Minister Najib Razak as a swashbuckling pirate. The prime minister is shown wielding a bag of 2.6 billion Malaysian ringgit, representing the $731 million the U.S. Justice Department alleges he received illicitly from the public investment fund he oversees.

    • Thought police

      Here is the full interview I did recently for RT about the announcement of a new section of the UK Metropolitan Police dedicated to hunting down “internet trolls”.

    • ‘Censorship’ and editing

      And so, just to get it on the record, let us state categorically that the Compass never will refuse to publish a reader’s submission simply because it does not accord with our own views. As we say in the newspaper business, “Period. Full stop.”

    • Steven Tyler Responds to Disney Ride Censorship

      Less than a day after word got out that a hand gesture made by Steven Tyler had been digitally removed from a ride at Walt Disney World, the Aerosmith singer has responded. Today, he posted two answers to the theme park on social media.

      “Well now I am in ‘shock,’ he wrote on Facebook, while wearing an NSFW hat. “You know I would own up to this doozie. Way to give me the finger now Walt Disney World…17 years later…See you next week…Here’s to the greatest ride at Disney.”

    • Remains of the Day: Twitter’s New Filter Aims to Remove Trolls From Your Notifications
    • Twitter Suspends Hundreds Of Thousands Of Terrorist Accounts, Gives Everyone Its ‘Quality Filter’

      As for the removal of terrorist accounts, this still feels kind of pointless. Twitter talks about how it’s getting faster at removing these accounts, and they’re not able to build up many followers before they’re shut down again, making Twitter a less useful platform for terrorist or terrorist supporters to use. But, again, if we think about Twitter as a protocol like email or a system like the telephone, this feels… weird. No one’s clamoring for “we must stop ISIS from making phone calls.” Besides, the intelligence community has said, repeatedly, that they get good intel from watching ISIS’ social media activity. Shutting down their accounts may seem like a good thing (no one wants ISIS using their technology…), but what if it’s actually making it more difficult for the intelligence community to track them?

    • Instagram Bans Gun Company after Owner Criticizes Facebook

      When Facebook came under fire last week for banning various pro-Second Amendment pages without explanation, it appears the social-media giant may have sought retribution.

      Last week, the owner of a firearms-parts company called “Tactical Sh*t” logged onto Facebook to discover his company’s page had been taken down without explanation. After he spoke with others in the gun industry, T. J. Kirgin discovered that multiple other pro-Second Amendment pages had also been mysteriously banned.

      Immediately, Kirgin spoke out against what he alleged to be Facebook’s censorship, and, within 36 hours, his company’s page was restored. Since that time, Kirgin has continued to make media appearances telling his side of the story. But now, he believes that decision has cost him. As soon as he came off the air yesterday, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, banned Tactical Sh*t, taking away a stream that accounts for 20 percent of Kirgin’s total revenue.

    • St. Charles gear, gun parts store riled by Instagram takedown
    • Sensitivity is bordering on censorship

      On Monday, Ellen DeGeneres, a comedian and television show host, posted a doctored photo on social media of her riding on the back of the fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt.

      “This is how I’m running errands now”, the message, posted on Twitter by DeGeneres, stated.

      While many found this funny, some immediately called her racist and responded to her Tweet with vows that they would boycott her show. Really? Obviously I’m not a black man, and I’m quite aware of our nation’s terrible history in terms of slavery and the atrocities committed against black people, but at some point, we have to move beyond past mistakes and quit looking for excuses to stereotype each other.

    • U.S. slams crackdown, arrests of activists in Azerbaijan
    • Azerbaijan: Renewed human rights crackdown ahead of referendum
    • Indian Censorship Will Be Dead In 100 Days
    • Top 10 instances of video game censorship
    • Amos Yee’s case sent back for trial to continue
    • Teenage blogger Amos Yee back on trial on eight charges
    • Accused teen blogger Amos Yee wants more time to prepare questions for own defence
    • Youth who restrained teen blogger charged
    • Youth charged with using criminal force on Amos Yee at Jurong Point
    • Man charged with using criminal force on Amos Yee at Jurong Point
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Canadian Law Enforcement Admit — And Then Deny — They Own A Stingray Device

      Combined with the previous statement, it appears as though Edmonton PD superintendent Terry Rocchio is apologizing for his own words, which certainly gives the appearance of being misinformation. Further statements released by the Edmonton PD claim the department does not own a Stingray but, again, this is at odds with the unexpectedly straightforward statement given to Motherboard in response to its original query.

      Now, it could be that Edmonton law enforcement did the same thing Vancouver’s did and borrowed it from the nearest RCMP bug shop. Or it could be that this is just the Canadian version of playing along with non-disclosure agreements. Most agencies contacted by Motherboard refused to comment. Others refused to confirm or deny. And the one agency that DID say it had a Stingray now says it doesn’t.

      Given the opacity surrounding local law enforcement use/ownership of these devices, it’s probably safe to say they’ve been deployed without warrants and hidden from judges, defendants, and — quite possibly — local legislators. Months or years from now, Motherboard may have a more complete answer, but for now, this appears to be Canadian law enforcement scrambling to stave off some inevitable discoveries.

    • Think Tank Argues That Giving Up Privacy Is Good For The Poor

      With ISPs like AT&T now charging broadband customers a steep premium just to protect their own privacy, the FCC has begun looking at some relatively basic new privacy protections for broadband. This has, as you might expect, resulted in a notable bump in histrionics from the industry. Comcast, for example, quickly tried to inform the FCC that charging users a surcharge for privacy was ok because it would somehow magically lower broadband prices, and banning them from this kind of behavior would do a tremendous disservice to the internet at large.

      Anybody even marginally aware of the lack of competition in broadband understands this is just another attempt to take advantage of captive customers in a broken market. But the broadband industry quickly doubled down, using the usual assortment of payrolled think tanks to pollute the discourse pool. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), for example, was quick to try and claim that charging all broadband users steep premiums for privacy would generate huge benefits for the entire “internet ecosystem,” and that anybody who couldn’t see the genius of such a practice was an “absolutist.”

    • After the NSA hack: Cybersecurity in an even more vulnerable world

      It is looking increasingly likely that computer hackers have in fact successfully attacked what had been the pinnacle of cybersecurity – the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). A few days ago, reports began emerging of claims by a hacking group called the Shadow Brokers that it had breached the network of, and accessed critical digital content from, computers used by the Equation Group. This attracted more than the usual amount of attention because the Equation Group is widely believed to be a spying element of the NSA.

    • Here’s why the NSA won’t release a ‘smoking gun’ implicating Russia in these major hacks

      Was Russia behind the massive hack of the Democratic National Committee, or the latest breach of what appears to be the NSA’s elite hacking unit?

      That’s quite possible, but the US National Security Agency is probably not going confirm that — even as former employees proclaim that it can do so, and top US officials say that there is “little doubt” Moscow is involved.

      Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden said on Twitter that “evidence that could publicly attribute responsibility for the DNC hack certainly exists at NSA” with a tool known as XKeyscore, which he previously described as a “one stop shop” for information it collects.

    • Edward Snowden: Russia probably behind NSA leak

      The whistleblower Edward Snowden believes Russia is behind a leak of malware allegedly belonging to the US National Security Agency (NSA).

      Hackers calling themselves Shadow Brokers started an auction for the malware last week.

      The security firm Kaspersky said it believed the original files were from Equation Group, which is thought to be linked to the NSA.

      A former NSA worker Dave Aitel pointed the finger at Russian involvement.

      He said it was likely to be a diplomatic strategy, related to the blame being placed on Russia for a recently revealed hack of computers belonging to the Democratic party in the US.

    • Snowden the movie: a reporter watches the NSA super-leak come back to life

      Oliver Stone looks overwhelmed. It is May 2015, and we are in Munich on the penultimate day of shooting his drama about Edward Snowden. At lunch, the director seems anxious and weary, eyes heavy, shoulders stooped, energy sapped. When the idea of Snowden was proposed, he explains, he had strongly resisted. Then, slowly and reluctantly, he was drawn in. Today, he sounds as if he might regret that decision. There have been problems with finance, with finding distributors, in portraying something as dull as the cyberworld that Snowden inhabits.

      “A director has to say everything is great, things are wonderful,” he says, exasperated. “Every day on a set is a potential disaster. Every day on a film set is the hope that it is turning out well, but the truth is it is just a slog all the way through. It’s the bulldozer going through a treeline. It is not easy. It has never been easy.”

      This film, in particular, was not easy. “Every movie I have made is a challenge. But from day one, every day seems to have its obstacles, whether it is computers or the technology being arcane, difficult to understand, or the character of Snowden, who has a strong, robot, nerd quality. It is a drawback. He is not the active type.” As Stone headed back to the set, his final comment expressed his limited ambition for the movie at that time: “I don’t want to do anything that will hurt Edward Snowden.”

      Almost a year later, I meet Stone again, in London. The tiredness is gone. This is a man full of enthusiasm for life and his movie. The editing has gone well, he feels; the previous week a positive reaction had met an early preview in Idaho – despite his sense of dread.

    • Edward Snowden’s Lawyer Wonders Whether Mass Surveillance Could Harm Democracy

      If you know you’re being watched, you behave differently, right? You’re more performative or cautious, perhaps. What does that do, then, to the future of democracy if we know that mass surveillance is inevitable?

      Edward Snowden’s lawyer, Ben Wizner, is wondering the same thing. Wizner, who works for the ACLU, is the primary player in “A Very Different World,” the fourth installment in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s five-part documentary series that explores whether today’s technology helps or hurts democracy. The Huffington Post has been premiering the series all week, including a short film about social media’s impact on election rigging in Pakistan and an in-depth look at surveillance’s (in)ability to prevent terrorism.

    • Cisco confirms two of the Shadow Brokers’ ‘NSA’ vulns are real
    • Tech News! US spy agency’s data hacked!
    • Edward Snowden Has Made A Bunch Of Money While Living In Exile
    • Researchers suspect Russian Federation in Shadow Brokers hack
    • NSA blames storm for website outage

      The National Security Agency (NSA) blamed a partial shutdown of NSA.gov on a storm.

      In a tweet Wednesday, the NSA said a storm on Monday near its headquarters in Ft. Mead, Md., knocked the site offline. The outage occurred around 11 a.m. Monday when links from the NSA homepage stopped working, although the homepage itself remained visible. The entire site was back online by late Tuesday afternoon.

    • Was This NSA ‘Hack’ a Russian Plot or an Inside Job?
    • Snowden says Russia ‘probably responsible’ for NSA hack
    • Cisco, Fortinet Warn of Shadow Brokers’ Zero-Day Flaw Risks
    • Is Russia hacking the US election?

      Huge leaks of data from US organisations have been attributed by some to Russia, so has the former Soviet state launched cyberwar on the US elections?

      Hacking tools allegedly developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) were dumped online by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers.

      It follows a string of recent leaks of data from the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

      There are also now suspicions that the Clinton Foundation, a charitable body, may have been targeted.

    • Cisco remote flaws revealed in NSA group hack

      Networking giant Cisco has said it will release a security update to patch one of two remotely exploitable flaws in its products. Both flaws were leaked following a hack of a group strongly suspected to be an NSA front.

      The company rates this flaw, known as EPICBACON, of which it had no knowledge, as having a high security impact rating and has advised of workarounds until a fix is released.

      It has released a fix for the second flaw, known as EPICBANNA, also remotely exploitable, the risk of which it terms medium. Detailed explanations of the two flaws are on the Cisco blog.

    • Opinion: NSA hack reveals flaws in White House zero-day process

      A potentially damaging hacking tool revealed in the apparent National Security Agency breach includes a zero-day vulnerability – or previously unknown security hole – in Cisco software.

    • Experts have 2 theories for how top-secret NSA data was stolen, and they’re equally disturbing

      In the wake of an unprecedented breach of hacking tools and exploits apparently stolen from the US National Security Agency’s elite hacking unit, experts are offering two competing theories on how it happened — and they’re equally disturbing.

      Some former agency employees believe that the alleged group behind the leak, the “Shadow Brokers,” may have hacked an NSA server that had a top-secret hacker toolkit left there by mistake.

      Others believe that the Brokers may be just a smokescreen for another possibility: an agency mole.

    • How intelligence agencies undermine our computer security

      Computer security exploits are one of the more lucrative markets you’ve probably never heard of. Find a vulnerability in commonly used software, and sell it to the highest bidder. Ideally, the vulnerability is one the software designer doesn’t know about yet — called zero-day exploits — but even vulnerabilities that have been identified and patched can still be exploited — like a lot of us ordinary computer users, many governments agencies and companies don’t keep their software up-to-date or run old versions that are still vulnerable.

    • The NSA Has a New Disclosure Policy: Getting Hacked

      On Monday, when tech executives arrived in their offices, just days after a mysterious group of hackers released what they claimed were a set of NSA hacking tools, a familiar and frustrating pattern was taking shape. America’s premier signals intelligence agency had once again discovered unknown flaws in products used to secure computer networks around the globe, but instead of telling the manufacturers, the NSA pocketed those flaws, like skeleton keys that would let them open doors to others’ networks whenever and wherever they wanted.

    • Cisco patches against “NSA” bacon

      Cisco has patched its software against hacking tools called extra bacon which are believed to have been nicked from the NSA.

      Two of the cyberweapons were trained on Cisco flaws which would allow the spooks to take over crucial security software used to protect corporate and government networks.

      In a statement, Cisco said that it had immediately conducted a thorough investigation of the files released, and has identified two vulnerabilities affecting Cisco ASA devices that require customer attention.

      “On Aug. 17, 2016, we issued two Security Advisories, which deliver free software updates and workarounds where possible.”

    • Smart meters: A timeline of the UK rollout – Energy customers are cynical about the rollout – click through its history [“fails to mention they are insecure and are major privacy violations” -iophk]

      17 August 2016 The rollout of the national smart meter programme has faced yet another setback, with the launch of a new government body called the Data and Communications Company (DCC) delayed by one month.

      The DCC is supposed to be in charge of the overall infrastructure of the smart meter rollout, which intends to install smart meters in every home and business by 2020. Scroll on to slide nine for the latest.

    • Those Hacked NSA Malware Names Are Funny, But Don’t Laugh Too Hard

      What that means is that if you haven’t been hacked, you probably will be—maybe not by the NSA or its front men, but by someone. And not just you, but your company and your school and probably your church, and definitely your country.

    • Alleged NSA data dump contains powerful, rarely seen hacking tools

      A stolen cache of files that may belong to the National Security Agency contains genuine hacking tools that not only work, but show a level of sophistication rarely seen, according to security researchers.

      That includes malware that can infect a device’s firmware and persist, even if the operating system is reinstalled.

      “It’s terrifying because it demonstrates a serious level of expertise and technical ability,” said Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, an assistant professor at New York University’s school of engineering.

      He’s been among the researchers going over the sample files from the cache, after an anonymous group called the Shadow Brokers posted them online.

      Allegedly, the files were stolen from the Equation Group, a top cyberespionage team that may be connected with the NSA.

      The Equation Group likely helped develop the infamous Stuxnet computer worm, and is said to have created malware that can be impossible to remove once installed.

      Already, researchers have found that the hacking tools inside the sample files target firewall and router products and do so by exploiting software flaws – some of which could be zero-day vulnerabilities or defects that have never been reported before.

      On Wednesday, Cisco confirmed that the sample files did contain one unknown flaw that affects the company’s firewall software, and a patch has been rolled out.

    • Sources: Massive Layoffs Coming At Cisco

      Cisco Systems is laying off upward of 14,000 employees, representing nearly 20 percent of the networking giant’s global workforce, according to multiple sources close to the company.

      San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco is expected to announce the cuts within the next few weeks, as many early retirement package plans have already been offered to employees, said sources. Cisco is set to announce its fourth fiscal quarter results after the market closes tomorrow.

      The heavy cuts, which sources said will range between 9,000 and 14,000 employees worldwide, stem from Cisco’s transition from its hardware roots into a software-centric organization.

    • Cisco confirms NSA-linked zeroday targeted its firewalls for years

      Cisco Systems has confirmed that recently-leaked malware tied to the National Security Agency exploited a high-severity vulnerability that had gone undetected for years in every supported version of the company’s Adaptive Security Appliance firewall.

    • Security against Election Hacking – Part 2: Cyberoffense is not the best cyberdefense!

      State and county election officials across the country employ thousands of computers in election administration, most of them are connected (from time to time) to the internet (or exchange data cartridges with machines that are connected). In my previous post I explained how we must audit elections independently of the computers, so we can trust the results even if the computers are hacked.

      Still, if state and county election computers were hacked, it would be an enormous headache and it would certainly cast a shadow on the legitimacy of the election. So, should the DHS designate election computers as “critical cyber infrastructure?”

      This question betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how computer security really works. You as an individual buy your computers and operating systems from reputable vendors (Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Google/Samsung, HP, Dell, etc.). Businesses and banks (and the Democratic National Committee, and the Republican National Committee) buy their computers and software from the same vendors. Your security, and the security of all the businesses you deal with, is improved when these hardware and software vendors build products without security bugs in them. Election administrators use computers that run Windows (or MacOS, or Linux) bought from the same vendors.

      Parts of the U.S. government, particularly inside the NSA, have “cyberdefense” teams that analyze widely used software for security vulnerabilities. The best thing they could do to enhance our security is notify the vendors immediately about vulnerabilities, so the vendors can fix the bugs (and learn their lessons). Unfortunately, the NSA also has “cyberoffense” teams that like to save up these vulnerabilities, keep them secret, and use them as weak points to break into their adversaries’ computers. They think they’re so smart that the Russkies, or the Chinese, will never be able to figure out the same vulnerabilities and use them to break into the computers of American businesses, individuals, the DNC or RNC, or American election administrators. There’s even an acronym for this fallacy: NOBUS. “NObody But US” will be able to figure out this attack.

    • NSA Use of Software Flaws for Hacking Posed Risk If Exposed
    • NSA’s use of software flaws to hack foreign targets posed risks to cybersecurity

      To penetrate the computers of foreign targets, the National Security Agency relies on software flaws that have gone undetected in the pipes of the Internet. For years, security experts have pressed the agency to disclose these bugs so they can be fixed, but the agency hackers have often been reluctant.

      Now with the mysterious release of a cache of NSA hacking tools over the weekend, the agency has lost an offensive advantage, experts say, and potentially placed at risk the security of countless large companies and government agencies worldwide.

      Several of the tools exploited flaws in commercial firewalls that remain unpatched, and they are out on the Internet for all to see. Anyone from a basement hacker to a sophisticated foreign spy agency has access to them now, and until the flaws are fixed, many computer systems may be in jeopardy.

    • Cisco admits long-standing vulnerability to NSA cyber weapons on some products

      Cisco has confirmed that malware recently uncovered in the Shadow Brokers leak has been available for years, and is able to exploit a serious vulnerability in the firm’s Adaptive Security Appliance firewall.

      Shadow Brokers is a previously unknown group of cyber criminals that recently made available a large cache of weaponised vulnerabilities in high-profile software.

      The vulnerabilities are thought to have been stolen from the US National Security Agency (NSA), which actively seeks security flaws in order to build cyber weapons used to hack corporate and government targets.

      Cisco released a warning to its customers recently, admitting that no patch is currently available to address the flaw.

    • The Shadow Brokers EPICBANANAS and EXTRABACON Exploits

      On August 15th, 2016, Cisco was alerted to information posted online by the “Shadow Brokers”, which claimed to possess disclosures from the Equation Group. The files included exploit code that can be used against multi-vendor devices, including the Cisco ASA and legacy Cisco PIX firewalls.

    • Leak in-house? NSA data dump could be work of insider

      The leak of tools used by the NSA’s elite hacking team has resulted in speculation and finger-pointing in a desperate attempt to identify who could have exposed the government agency’s secrets. But one source says it was an inside job.

      The chances of a hacker remotely breaking into the National Security Agency’s systems are very unlikely, according to an anonymous insider who spoke to Motherboard.

      Despite accusations that the leak is Russia’s meddling, the data dropped online under the name “the Shadow Brokers” would have required someone with the ability to access the NSA’s server, the former NSA employee told the news outlet.

    • Mystery plane heard over GCHQ and Cheltenham in the middle of the night
    • Canadian Court Says No Expectation Of Privacy In SMS Messages Residing On Someone Else’s Phone

      But that’s not what the ruling says. Text messages sent “into the ether” do not lose their expectation of privacy. That would make SMS message content open to interception or seizure without a wiretap order or warrant. The circumstances of the case undercut the claims made in these two soundbites.

      In no way does this create some sort of “Third Party Doctrine” governing the content of text messages. Instead, it simply confirms what should be obvious: that once messages are received, the recipient is free to discuss, expose, or otherwise provide the content to whoever asks for it. The sender is no longer in control of the sent message and cannot claim it is still a private communication.

      An investigation into the trafficking of illegal firearms resulted in the seizure of phones owned by the two suspects. Police performed forensic searches on both devices and found messages implicating both arrestees. One of the suspects challenged the search and seizure of the devices. For the most part, he won.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Innovation policy trends in Latin America: Citizen’s Leadership

      The pressure from activists is widespread through various political practices in Latin America and across the world. Protests and social movements, in more or less traditional formats, are merging with new models, tools and innovative formats; and with networked performances, prioritizing the horizontality and the multiplicity of leaderships.

    • Sweden’s summer spate of car fires continues

      Cars were torched in Malmö for the ninth consecutive night. Emergency services were called out to put out two fires within nine minutes, with one alarm raised at 1.28am and the other at 1.37am.

      “There were two incidents close to each other in time in Malmö, but we had no problems handling both incidents,” emergency control room officer Gustaf Sandell told the TT newswire.

      A resident in the area was able to use fire extinguisher to stop the first fire in the Fosie district from spreading. Another three cars were gutted in Rosengård in the second incident.

      More than 70 cars have been torched in Malmö since early July. Police figures put out earlier this month show that the number of car burnings in the city halved between 2009 and 2015.

    • Canadian Cops Want a Law That Forces People to Hand Over Encryption Passwords

      Encryption tools that keep your digital communications hidden from prying eyes are becoming more widespread, and Canadian police say they need a law that compels people to hand over their passwords so cops can access those communications.

      The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), a lobbying organization with membership from across the country, passed a resolution at its annual conference on Tuesday mandating that the group advocate for a law that would force people to provide their computer passwords to police with a judge’s consent, CTV reported.

      “To say this is deeply problematic is to understate the matter,” said Micheal Vonn, policy director for the BC Civil Liberties Association. “We have all kinds of laws that do not compel people to incriminate themselves or even speak.”

      A law that compels people to give police access to their devices, which may contain messages, photos, and data that have nothing to do with any active criminal investigation, doesn’t fit within Canada’s current legal landscape and would be “tricky constitutionally,” Vonn added.

    • Companies Can’t Legally Void the Warranty for Jailbreaking or Rooting Your Phone

      After I published an article about how electronics manufacturers including Microsoft and Sony illegally void the warranties of consumers who open their devices, I got a flood of emails from people wondering whether federal law protects their right to jailbreak or root their phones.

      The short answer is yes, it does: Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, manufacturers cannot legally void your hardware warranty simply because you altered the software of an electronic device. In order to void the warranty without violating federal law, the manufacturer must prove that the modifications you made directly led to a hardware malfunction.

      “They have to show that the jailbreak caused the failure. If yes, they can void your claim (not your whole warranty—just the things which flowed from your mod),” Steve Lehto, a lemon law attorney in Michigan, told me in an email. “If not, then they can’t.”

    • Stealing bitcoins with badges: How Silk Road’s dirty cops got caught

      DEA Special Agent Carl Force wanted his money—real cash, not just numbers on a screen—and he wanted it fast.

      It was October 2013, and Force had spent the past couple of years working on a Baltimore-based task force investigating the darknet’s biggest drug site, Silk Road. During that time, he had also carefully cultivated several lucrative side projects all connected to Bitcoin, the digital currency Force was convinced would make him rich.

      One of those schemes had been ripping off the man who ran Silk Road, “Dread Pirate Roberts.” That plan was now falling apart. As it turns out, the largest online drug market in history had been run by a 29-year-old named Ross Ulbricht, who wasn’t as safe behind his screen as he imagined he was. Ulbricht had been arrested earlier that month in the San Francisco Public Library by federal agents with their guns drawn.

    • Russian MP seeks to decriminalise domestic violence

      Tatyana’s stepfather started small.

      At first, he’d get annoyed by things she did. He criticised and lectured her. Soon the lectures stopped and the outrage began. And when the outrage stopped, the hitting started.

      “He just went mad,” said Tatyana, whose name has been changed to protect her identity. “For five years, he beat me and my mother senseless.”

    • Flood destroys home of man who believes floods sent to punish gays

      Amid the horror of floods that have covered southern Louisiana in recent days, a grim note of irony: Tony Perkins, the head of the anti-queer Family Research Council, is among those whose homes are underwater. Perkins believes natural disasters are sent to punish gays.

    • Bad Laws Produce Bad Law Enforcement

      THE POLICE SHOOTING AND KILLING of an unarmed Black teenager named Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, sparked civil unrest in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri. The weeks that followed brought to a national audience shocking stories of inequity suffered by Ferguson residents at the hands of local law enforcement. The fundamental brokenness of the system seemed to be confirmed when a grand jury refused to indict the police officer who shot Brown. Meanwhile, to suppress public demonstrations, police equipped themselves like an occupying force, treating protestors as an insurgency to be stomped out.

    • Beyond Winning and Losing

      It’s the smallest thing in the world. Does the tennis ball land inside the line or outside? But somehow, as I watched this 60-second YouTube clip of an Australian tennis match last January, and heard an explosion of joyous approval surge from the crowd, I could feel the planet shift.

      Or at least it seemed that way for an instant.

      In the clip, a tennis player named Jack Sock tells his opponent, Lleyton Hewitt, whose serve has just been declared out, that he should challenge the call. A little humorous disbelief bounces around the court, but eventually Hewitt says, “Sure, I’ll challenge it.” A judge reviews the tape and declares that the serve was in . . . and the crowd lets loose an enormous cheer.

      I felt like I could hear the stunned amazement in it. Hurray for integrity! Hurray for . . . what? It was different from the usual hoots and hollers of “our guy wins” or the polite acknowledgement of “nice play.”

    • Where the Green Party’s Jill Stein stands on jobs, taxes and more

      Green Party candidate Jill Stein doesn’t command the kind of crowds and headlines that rivals Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do. So many voters may not know where she stands on the issues.

      Stein, who is a physician, is set to participate in a CNN Town Hall Wednesday night where she plans to discuss her policies.

      Here’s a look at some of her key economic proposals.

    • The Boy in the Ambulance Offers Glimpse of ‘Profound Horrors’ in Syria

      Laying bare the horrors of Syria’s ongoing civil war, heartbreaking footage of a young boy rescued from the rubble following an airstrike in Aleppo has gone viral.

      Much as last year’s photos of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi—”The Boy on the Beach”—offered a stark reminder of the human toll of the refugee crisis, the images of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh—”The Boy in the Ambulance”—are forcing many to consider the devastating realities of life in war-torn Syria, where more than 250,000 people, including many children, have died in almost five years of war.

      The photo and accompanying video, taken and distributed by the activist group Aleppo Media Centre, show Omran being pulled from a partially destroyed building and placed in a chair inside a brightly lit ambulance after an airstrike Wednesday evening. His face and body are covered in ash, dust, and blood. Seemingly dazed, he says nothing.

    • I Do Jury Duty

      I just wrapped up a couple of days of jury duty.

      Note “jury duty,” which is very different than serving on a jury. I didn’t do that. Being on an actual jury involves making a careful judgment on someone’s life. I did jury duty, which involves waiting and sitting and waiting, while watching your last hopeful images of democracy fade away.

    • Why We Are Publishing Videos the LAPD Wouldn’t Release

      Videos have become a critical aspect of the latest national reckoning with deadly interactions between the police and the public. In New York, an eyewitness recorded Eric Garner’s death at the hands of a police officer who placed him in a chokehold. In Chicago, a reporter successfully forced the police department to release the footage of an officer firing his gun 16 times in the course of killing Laquan McDonald.

    • Videos Surface of a Death in Custody the LAPD Didn’t Want Released

      Early on the afternoon of June 4, 2012, Vachel Howard was handcuffed to a bench inside the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Station Jail. He was 56 years old, and had been taken into custody for driving while intoxicated. The grandfather of seven had been strip-searched, and his shirt still hung open. Howard told the officers present that he suffered from schizophrenia. Police suspected he was high on cocaine.

      Less than an hour later, Howard was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital, just miles from the jail. He had been released from the handcuffs, but later subdued by half a dozen officers after he became, by their testimony, “violent and combative.” A coroner eventually listed three contributing causes of death: cocaine intoxication, heart disease, and a chokehold employed by one of the officers.

      Two years of litigation followed before, in October of 2015, the city of Los Angeles agreed to pay Howard’s family $2.85 million to settle a wrongful death claim.

    • The Greatest Threat to Our Freedoms

      There is nothing more dangerous than a government of the many. The U.S. government remains the greatest threat to our freedoms.

      The systemic violence being perpetrated by agents of the government has done more collective harm to the American people and our liberties than any single act of terror.

      More than terrorism, more than domestic extremism, more than gun violence and organized crime, the U.S. government has become a greater menace to the life, liberty and property of its citizens than any of the so-called dangers from which the government claims to protect us.

      This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

      As I explain in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, when the government views itself as superior to the citizenry, when it no longer operates for the benefit of the people, when the people are no longer able to peacefully reform their government, when government officials cease to act like public servants, when elected officials no longer represent the will of the people, when the government routinely violates the rights of the people and perpetrates more violence against the citizenry than the criminal class, when government spending is unaccountable and unaccounted for, when the judiciary act as courts of order rather than justice, and when the government is no longer bound by the laws of the Constitution, then you no longer have a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

      What we have is a government of wolves.

      Worse than that, we are now being ruled by a government of scoundrels, spies, thugs, thieves, gangsters, ruffians, rapists, extortionists, bounty hunters, battle-ready warriors and cold-blooded killers who communicate using a language of force and oppression.

      Does the government pose a danger to you and your loved ones?

      The facts speak for themselves.

    • Dozens of news orgs demand DOJ release its secret rules for targeting journalists with National Security Letters

      A coalition of thirty-seven of news organizations—including the New York Times, the Associated Press, NPR, USA Today, and Buzzfeed—filed a legal brief over the weekend in support of Freedom of the Press Foundation’s case demanding that the Justice Department release its secret rules for targeting journalists with National Security Letters (NSLs).

      NSLs are controversial (and unconstitutional) surveillance tools that allow the FBI to collect private information in national security cases without any involvement whatsoever from judges or courts. We filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in 2015 demanding their secret rules for using NSLs on members of the media, and Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press filed the amicus brief on behalf of the thirty seven news organization on Saturday. (We also filed a separate brief, which you can read below.)

    • Justice Department to Stop Using Private Prisons

      The Justice Department said Thursday that it will phase out its use of private contractors to run federal prisons.

      Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said privately run prisons do not provide the same level of correctional services or save on costs. And in a memo to prison officials, she said, “They do not maintain the same level of safety and security.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • DirecTV Faces RICO Class Action For Bungling Business Installs, Then Demanding $15,000 For Theft Of Service

      For several years now DirecTV (now owned by AT&T) has been the focus of a series of lawsuits focused on the NFL’s Sunday Ticket exclusive arrangement. More specifically, the lawsuits have claimed that the exclusive arrangement violates antitrust law, resulting in a monopoly that charges often absurd prices to small businesses. Sports bars in particular have to shell out payments of up to $122,895 per year for NFL Sunday Ticket, while those same bars pay significantly less for Major League Baseball’s comparable offering.

      But a new lawsuit filed against DirecTV this week accuses the company of something notably different. Doneyda Perez, owner of Oneida’s Beauty and Barber Salon in Garden Grove, has filed a RICO class action against DirecTV for intentionally selling businesses residential-class TV service, then hitting these customers with penalties of up to $15,000 several years later for failing to subscribe to business-class service. There’s a lot to go through in this case, but before we start, it’s at least worth pointing out that RICO class action cases are almost always ridiculous — even if there does appear to be questionable behavior here.

    • Allegations Of Dysfunction Continue To Plague FirstNet, Our $47 Billion (And Growing) National Emergency Network

      If you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll recall that both AT&T and Verizon have a long, proud history of taking billions in subsidies and tax breaks for next-generation networks repeatedly left half completed. AT&T, as we’ve well documented, has a prodigious history of fraud, whether it’s ripping off low-income families, the hearing impaired, various school districts or the company’s own customers. While the nation’s top two wireless carriers make sense as the best positioned to win the contract, they’re also the most likely to milk the program for every extra penny it’s worth while doing the bare minimum required.

      Not too surprisingly, the Atlantic article has reportedly upset those working on FirstNet, even though it’s far from the first report of this kind. The above-cited report by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Commerce initially found numerous conflicts of interest on the FirstNet board, with many board members playing fast and loose with conflict reporting rules. It’s worth noting that many of these original board members (like FirstNet GM and former Verizon exec Bill D’Agostino) have already moved on, but these problems set the stage for the kind of dysfunction we’ve seen time and time again in telecom.

      Estimates suggest the contract will be worth around $100 billion to the company that wins it, with the winner grabbing not only the lion’s share of fees paid by state customers, but the right to sell off excess capacity to private companies and consumers. Winners are expected to be announced in November. And while the project may be well-intentioned and even necessary, it’s painfully unclear if the U.S. government is actually capable of completing it without giving a master class in telecom waste, fraud and abuse. History, quite simply, just isn’t on the project’s side.

    • Remember Claims That Cord Cutting Was On The Ropes? It’s Actually Worse Than Ever

      Despite the obvious realities that ratings are down and consumers are cutting the cord, there’s a vibrant and loyal segment of executives and analysts who still somehow believe cord cutting is a myth. Every few months, you’ll see a report about how cord cutting is either nonexistent or overstated. Earlier this year, these voices were quick to argue that the industry had cord cutting on the ropes because several of the biggest cable providers saw modest subscriber gains in the fourth quarter (ignoring several that saw net subscriber losses for the year).

      Those folks have been pretty damn quiet the last few weeks as second quarter earnings show cord cutting is worse than ever.

  • DRM

    • Intel praises killer USB-C audio features in war against traditional headphone jacks [Ed: removing headphone jacks good for DRM]

      You may like your earbuds and its 3.5mm jack, but you’ll downright love USB-C headphones, Intel says. At the company’s IDF developer conference in San Francisco, Intel’s once again pushing hard for mobile devices to ditch analog audio and embrace feature-filled digital headsets.

      Replacing the vaunted 3.5mm jack has evolved into a contentious issue ever since rumors surfaced that Apple would use a lightning connector for audio in the next iPhone. Similarly to the passion that surrounds Windows XP and Windows 7, people are so used to the longstanding headphone jack they just can’t let it go—even for the promise of something potentially better.

      And something better is exactly what Intel is promising, though the pitch may not sway audiophiles who swear that analog signals offer richer sound. During IDF on Tuesday, company architects Rahman Ismail and Brad Saunders talked up the coming USB Type C audio standard, which is due out in the coming months, as first reported by CNET.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights


Links 18/8/2016: EFF Slams Vista 10, Linux Foundation Makes PNDA

Posted in News Roundup at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • With Windows 10, Microsoft Blatantly Disregards User Choice and Privacy: A Deep Dive

      Microsoft had an ambitious goal with the launch of Windows 10: a billion devices running the software by the end of 2018. In its quest to reach that goal, the company aggressively pushed Windows 10 on its users and went so far as to offer free upgrades for a whole year. However, the company’s strategy for user adoption has trampled on essential aspects of modern computing: user choice and privacy. We think that’s wrong.

      You don’t need to search long to come across stories of people who are horrified and amazed at just how far Microsoft has gone in order to increase Windows 10’s install base. Sure, there is some misinformation and hyperbole, but there are also some real concerns that current and future users of Windows 10 should be aware of. As the company is currently rolling out its “Anniversary Update” to Windows 10, we think it’s an appropriate time to focus on and examine the company’s strategy behind deploying Windows 10.

  • Server

    • How Twitter Avoids the Microservice Version of “Works on My Machine”

      Apache Mesos and Apache Aurora initially helped Twitter engineers to implement more sophisticated DevOps processes and streamline tooling, says software engineer David McLaughlin. But over time a whole new class of bespoke tooling emerged to manage deployment across multiple availability zones as the number of microservices grew.

      “As the number of microservices grows and the dependency graph between them grows, the confidence level you achieve from unit tests and mocks alone rapidly decreases,” McLaughlin says, in the interview below. “You end up in the microservice version of “works on my machine.”

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Foundation Awards 14 Training and Certification Scholarships
    • The Linux Foundation Announces 2016 LiFT Scholarship Recipients

      14 Scholarship Recipients From 11 Countries to Receive Advanced Open Source Training to Help Advance Their Careers and Communities

    • Linux kernel 4.6 reaches end of life

      Those using a GNU/Linux operating system powered by a kernel from the Linux 4.6 branch have been urged to move to Linux kernel 4.7.

      According to a report by Softpedia, users have been advised to install the new Linux kernel 4.7.1 build.

    • It’s time to say goodbye to Linux 4.6

      If you’re using a version of Linux based on the 4.6 series of the kernel, the software’s lead maintainer has a message for you: It’s time to upgrade.

      Greg Kroah-Hartman on Tuesday announced the arrival of Linux 4.6.7 and made it clear that it will be the last in the kernel’s 4.6 series. Version 4.7.1 made its debut on Tuesday as well, and that’s where the future lies, Kroah-Hartman said.

    • Linux Foundation touts open-source PNDA for network analytics

      The Linux Foundation has taken another open-source project under its wing, one that’s focused on the architecture, implementation and support of digital networks.

      Called the Platform for Network Data Analytics (or “PNDA” for short), the initiative aims to better integrate and manage massive amounts of network information, and deploy analytics applications and services.

      “PNDA addresses a critical need for a scalable platform that fosters innovation in reactive network analytics for both service providers and enterprises,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, in a statement.

      To coincide with the announcement, the PNDA community has just shipped out its first version of the software, which is described as a production-ready solution for platforms based on OpenStack.

    • Linux Kernel 4.4.18 LTS Has Lots of x86 Improvements, Security Updates and Fixes

      After announcing the end of life for the Linux 4.6 kernel series with the release of Linux kernel 4.6.7 as the last maintenance update, as well as the availability of the first point release of Linux kernel 4.7, Greg Kroah-Hartman now informs us about Linux kernel 4.4.18 LTS.

      Linux kernel 4.4 is an LTS (Long Term Support) one, the latest and most advanced, currently used by many popular GNU/Linux operating systems, including Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Ubuntu 14.04.5 LTS (Trusty Tahr), and all of their derivatives, such as Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu MATE, etc., and the Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” series of distributions.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMDGPU-PRO Radeon RX 460/470/480 vs. NVIDIA Linux GPU Benchmarks

        Last week I published an 18-way GPU Linux comparison featuring the new Radeon RX 460 and RX 470 graphics cards along with other AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce GPUs. The Radeon tests were done using the very latest open-source Linux driver stack while in this article are similar benchmarks done but using the AMDGPU-PRO hybrid driver stack.

      • Btrfs RAID Tests On Linux 4.8

        Recently I’ve been carrying out a number of Btrfs RAID tests on Linux 4.7 while this past weekend I ran some comparison tests using the Linux 4.8 Git kernel.

        The Btrfs feature updates in Linux 4.8 has the big ENOSPC rework as well as other clean-ups and improvements.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • A quick look at using JSX in GNOME

        Thanks to a travel sponsorship from the GNOME foundation, I was able to attend the GTK+ hackfest in Toronto recently. The discussions and energy there inspired me to work on a prototype of something I had been thinking about for a while: using JSX to create GtkWidgets.

      • GSoC: final week and results

        Hello everyone, I’m very glad to announce that my GSoC project about implementing games with multiple medias is being finished this very week. Although the code is still being tested, it won’t have big changes. With that said, I’ll show and explain the results.

      • Using the GtkSourceView API to write scripts that manipulate text

        In the gnome-c-utils repository, I wrote some scripts that use the GtkSourceView library.

        When a script needs to read some text, search something in it, and possibly edit the content, then having a GtkTextBuffer is really convenient.

      • The Meson build system at GUADEC 2016

        For the third year in a row, Centricular was at GUADEC, and this year we sponsored the evening party on the final day at Hoepfner’s Burghof! Hopefully everyone enjoyed it as much as we hoped. :)

        The focus for me this year was to try and tell people about the work we’ve been doing on porting GStreamer to Meson and to that end, I gave a talk on the second day about how to build your GNOME app ~2x faster than before.

      • GNOME Developers Continue Working On Meson Build System, Much Faster Build Times

        GNOME developers and others in the free software ecosystem continue working on Meson, a promising next-gen build system that’s superior to the commonly-used Autotools.

        Meson has been in the works for a few years now but routinely see people unfamiliar with it. More and more GNOME packages though are beginning to support Meson.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The Positives and Negatives of Arduino

      My introduction to the world of single board computers started with the Raspberry Pi and an attempt to spin up a media server. Once the media server was established, the GPIO pins began to peek my interest and other projects were born. As I learned more about GPIO and electronics, I discovered there existed boards other than the Raspberry Pi that I could program to take my projects to another level.

    • Intel’s Project Euclid is a tiny Linux-powered PC for robot makers

      INTEL has unveiled Project Euclid, a pint-sized RealSense PC aimed at robotics makers and developers.

      Project Euclid (below) was announced during the firm’s Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, and makes it dead simple to create applications, such as self-driving go-karts and 3D printing robots, using Intel’s depth-sensing RealSense cameras, the firm said.

      Intel has kicked its Atom chips to the curb in terms of mobile, but Project Euclid comes with an integrated Atom processor, suggesting that that the once-defunct chip still has a future in the world of robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT).

    • Intel “Aero” drone board runs Yocto on Cherry Trail

      Intel has launched a Linux-on-Atom powered “Aero Compute Board” and quadcopter, promising improved obstacle navigation based on Intel RealSense.

      Even more than last year’s Intel Developer Forum, this week’s IDF is focusing relentlessly on Intel RealSense. The 3D depth sensing camera technology is everywhere at IDF, including the new Windows-focused Project Alloy VR helmet and several Linux-infused drone, robotics, and camera kits. In fact, even the new Kaby Lake and Apollo Lake processors expected to be announced today include built-in support for RealSense. Here, we take a look at the Intel Aero Platform drone products: the Atom-based Intel Aero Compute Board and an Aero Ready To Fly quadcopter based on it.

    • Intel unveils its Joule chip module for the Internet of Things

      Joule is the latest product in Intel’s family of all-in-one chip modules for the Internet of Things.

      Intel CEO Brian Krzanich showed off the new Joule module during a keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. The module is a follow-up to Edison, the prior IoT module introduced in 2014.

    • Review: 6 slick open source routers

      Hackers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but the lousy stock firmware your routers shipped with.

      Apart from smartphones, routers and wireless base stations are undoubtedly the most widely hacked and user-modded consumer devices. In many cases the benefits are major and concrete: a broader palette of features, better routing functions, tighter security, and the ability to configure details not normally allowed by the stock firmware (such as antenna output power).

    • i.MX6 Pico-ITX and mini-PC run Android, Ubuntu, and Yocto

      Logic Supply’s Embux-made Pico-ITX SBC runs Android and Linux on an i.MX6 DualLite, and is also available in a mini-PC.

      Logic Supply is reselling an Embux-manufactured Pico-ITX form-factor “ICM-2010 2.5”” SBC and “ICS-2010” mini-PC. The SBC starts at $193, plus $29 for an 8GB SD card equipped with Android, Ubuntu, or Yocto Project based Linux. A power adapter adds another $30. The products are designed for applications including industrial control, home automation, kiosk, digital signage, or robotics applications.

    • ArcherMind Joins 96Boards and Launches Deci-Core ARMv8 Product

      Linaro Ltd, the collaborative engineering organization developing open source software for the ARM® architecture, today announced that ArcherMind Technology (Nanjing) Co., Ltd has joined the 96Boards initiative as a Steering Committee Member and Manufacturing Partner and they are preparing the launch of their first 96Boards product.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • More News Arrives on Fuchsia, Google’s Mystery Open Source OS

    Everyone loves a mystery and if you’re a mystery fan you have to be paying attention to Google’s mysterious new open source operating system, which is dubbed “fuchsia,” alluding to what you get when you mix purple with pink. While you’ll read many reports saying that nothing has been said about fuchsia officially, Google engineers actually have popped up in various online forums descrbing the new OS.

  • Google updates Santa Tracker open source code with changes from last Christmas

    Is it Christmas time already? Not quite, but we don’t have long before kids start counting down the days to Santa’s visit. When they ask, Google is again ready to provide an answer.

    Last April, Google open sourced Santa Tracker and its various components. Then it developed new experiences to show off around Christmas time. Eight months later, that code is now open source as well.

  • Google Makes Santa Tracker 2015 Code Open Source
  • What People Don’t Get About Open Source

    Open source is making its way into the mainstream, driven by Linux, OpenStack, SDN, and other cloud, networking and computing. But a lot of people still have misconceptions about the open source process and how it fits into business.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Back End

    • How open source helps startups get a big data boost

      Big data isn’t new. We’ve actually had fairly sophisticated data infrastructure long before Hadoop, Spark, and such came into being. No, the big difference in big data is that all this fantastic data infrastructure is open source software running on commodity servers.

      Over a decade ago, entrepreneur Joe Kraus’ declared that “There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur because it’s never been cheaper to be one,” and he was right, though he couldn’t have foreseen how much so. Though Kraus extolled the virtues of Linux, Tomcat, Apache HTTP server, and MySQL, today’s startups have access to a dazzling array of the best big data infrastructure that money doesn’t need to buy.

    • Pepperdata: Carving Out a Niche in the Big Data Arena

      In the data analytics and Hadoop arena, the folks at Pepperdata have an interesting story to tell. Pepperdata’s cofounders ran the web search engineering team at Yahoo during the development of the first production use of Hadoop and created Pepperdata with the mission of providing a simple way of prioritizing Hadoop jobs to give resources to the ones that need them most, while ensuring that a company adheres to its SLAs.

      The company’s software installs in under 30 minutes on an existing Hadoop cluster without any modifications to the scheduler, workflow, or jobs, delivering visibility into Hadoop workloads at the task level. This week, Pepperdata announced that former CTO of Yahoo, Ashfaq Munshi, is taking over as CEO. Here are more details on this company from an interview we did recently with co-founder Chad Carson.

  • Databases

    • Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions 2016-W32

      Tonight phpMyAdmin,, and 4.6.4 were released and you can probably see that there are quite some security issues fixed. Most of them are not really exploitable unless your PHP and webserver are poorly configured, but still it’s good idea to upgrade.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • The trouble with open source research on the web

      Every open source research project — no matter how simple or complex — starts with browsing the internet. But researchers should know that their identity can be obtained through a number of basic techniques, which could have consequences ranging from modified data to directed cyber attacks or worse.

      Even the simplest of website visits will expose significant details about your location and your device, and pretty much any site you visit will drop code on your computer to track what you’re doing as you traverse the internet. Most of the time, this exchange is benign, but there can be times when content will be modified or attacks launched based on the identity of the user.

      When Tim Berners-Lee released his building blocks for the modern internet, they were designed for the academic research community. Like other initiatives of the time, web protocols (and the browsers to support them) were built to easily share information, not for privacy or security. In order to minimize or even prevent counter-surveillance while conducting open source research, it is important to understand how the underlying protocols exchange information when you visit a web page.

    • Endurance Robots launches fully roboticized open-source platform [Ed: That's not FOSS. Using OpenCV to make a proprietary and Windows-only platform?]

      Finally, we used the standard Microsoft SAPI. This product with various language sets is distributed free of charge.

    • Intel claim open source driven by ‘enthusiasts’ is ‘complete rubbish’ says Weaveworks founder [Ed: Intel is badmouthing FOSS while putting secret/proprietary back doors in its chipsets]

      Weaveworks founder and CEO Alexis Richardson delivered a verbal drubbing to an Intel senior architect yesterday after he suggested open source software is still driven by “enthusiasts” who alone don’t produce “enterprise-capable product” without distributors ‘professionalising’ parts of it themselves.

      Richardson, speaking at an open source panel debate hosted by Rackspace, described Markus Leberecht’s claim as “complete rubbish”, leaving the solutions architect floundering.

      When discussing the increasing relevance of open source software to the enterprise, senior data centre solutions architect Leberecht volunteered the notion that “open source has become a natural thing for enterprise to consume when distributors have professionalised certain parts of [it]“.

      “So just to re-emphasise the role that some of the companies on the panel here [companies included MongoDB, Red Hat, and Rackspace, as well as Weaveworks] are taking in this particular way of getting open source to market: by itself open source is attention-driven, enthusiasts driving a certain topic, but that doesn’t give us enterprise-capable product.”

    • Intel Launches Project Alloy — An Open-source VR Headset That’s A Full PC [Ed: That’s a lie (even the headline). It’s not “Open Source”, it’s Microsoft rubbish.]
    • Microsoft announce open-source UWP Community Toolkit to make UWP app development easier [Ed: Microsoft is just hilarious. In its propaganda site it is openwashing some of its biggest lock-in (‘community’)]

    • Rust implementation of GNUnet with GSoC – Final-term

      This is the final week of the gnunet-rs project with Google Summer of Code. It has been challenging but also exceptionally rewarding. I hope to explain the final product and then touch on the future work. The repository can be found here, and my previous blog post here.

      During the first half of GSoC working period, I changed the peerinfo service to use asynchronous IO (using gjio). I continued on that path and added two more services to make use of asynchronous IO – identity and GNS. I won’t cover the complete API in this blog post since their usage can be found in the documentation comments in the code (cargo doc can be used to generate html docs); there are also a lot of examples. But I will highlight one of them because it demonstrates the strengths of a promise based API.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Federal open-source policy isn’t open enough, says tech group

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation has praised new federal guidelines aimed at improving the sharing of federally developed software code but complained that the government’s 20 percent release goal does not go far enough.

      The policy, announced by U.S. CIO Tony Scott on Aug. 8, seeks to makes federal source code more accessible while increasing sharing across government and reducing duplicative software purchases.

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Witchcraft shop refuses to serve Harry Potter fans because it sells ‘spiritual tools’ not toys for young Muggles

    A shop which makes magic wands for real life witches and wizards has been blasted by Harry Potter fans for refusing to serve them.

    The business, called Mystical Moments, is making a name for itself in the wizarding world by supplying wands to cast healing spells and charms for good luck.

    But wand-maker Richard Carter says he is selling “spiritual tools” – not toys for young Muggles – and he is barring Hogwarts fans.

  • As A-level results come out, it’s time to look again at our education system

    Jeremy Corbyn is right – England needs to repurpose its education system.


    Today, the annual cycle of the education system cranks round, as another cohort of nervous school leavers discover their A Level results. If their route ahead of them looks like a debt-ridden treadmill, that’s because it is one. University debt repayment operates as a tax on those unable to afford fees upfront – so almost everyone – and erects a barrier to any repurposing of higher education beyond servicing the needs of a narrow, centuries-old elite.

    More than ever, we are in need of an alternative vision for the education system, and, at last, someone is providing one. This week is also witnessing a series of detailed policy announcements which form the backbone of a vision which is daring and absolutely necessary. The National Education Service which is being announced by Jeremy Corbyn goes far beyond the abolition of tuition fees, venturing to equip everyone with skills that the Conservatives have spent their years in office draining and wasting.

    At the moment, tuition fees are breeding an insidious psychology. Transforming education into an item that one may ‘purchase’ cultivates a logic in which the university is a private investment through which we buy our dream jobs. ‘Employability’ takes precedence over the nourishment of learning and skills, both eroding the public utility yielded from higher

  • When your IT talent shortage is global

    In some cases, you might be at a company with a super strong brand, which makes hiring a bit easier as you don’t need to explain what the company does. In either case, it is important to focus your hiring practices to fully explain three key areas:

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Maternal Mortality a Growing Threat in the US

      Each year, over 65,000 women in the United States suffer life-threatening complications, including physical and psychological conditions aggravated by pregnancy, and over 600 die from pregnancy related causes. Elizabeth Dawes Gay reports the vast impact of the health care system collapse on rural areas, and the racial disparity underlying the United States’ maternal health crisis. African-American women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. Health officials report the state of Georgia to have the highest rate of maternal deaths and significant racial disparity.

    • Aetna Proves That Single-Payer Health Care Is the Only Way to Go

      It’s been over two years since the bulk of Obamacare went into effect, and US health insurance companies are (inadvertently) making a great case for why it’s time to adopt a single-payer system and take the profit motive out of how health care is paid for once and for all.

      On Monday, Aetna, the United States’ third-largest insurance company, announced that it will withdraw from Obamacare exchanges in 11 states, and that it will only offer insurance through the state-level Obamacare marketplaces in four states in 2017.

      Obamacare has, overall, been a huge success, especially among the less visible and more marginalized populations in the US.

    • Sanders: Aetna’s Obamacare Threat Shows What “Corporate Control Looks Like”

      Healthcare giant Aetna directly threatened the federal government by vowing to pull out of Obamacare if its proposed merger to Humana was not approved, revealed a letter by the company’s CEO sent in July and reported on Wednesday.

      The letter, obtained by the Huffington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request, proves what many observers have suspected and what the company has been denying: that its decision to pull out of most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health exchanges was a bargaining chip in its effort to achieve the controversial merger.

      Aetna’s threatening letter was authored by Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, who would have “personally [made] up to $131 million” if the Humana merger had gone through, as International Business Times reporter David Sirota observed last month.

      The Justice Department sued to block the merger last month.

    • Aetna’s Greed Proves That Medicare-for-All Is the Best Solution

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren skewers insurance giant for Obamacare withdrawal, saying: ‘The health of the American people should not be used as bargaining chips’

    • Aetna Shows Why We Need a Single Payer

      The best argument for a single-payer health plan is the recent decision by giant health insurer Aetna to bail out next year from 11 of the 15 states where it sells Obamacare plans.

      Aetna’s decision follows similar moves by UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, and Humana, one of the other giants.

      All claim they’re not making enough money because too many people with serious health problems are using the Obamacare exchanges, and not enough healthy people are signing up.

      The problem isn’t Obamacare per se. It’s in the structure of private markets for health insurance – which creates powerful incentives to avoid sick people and attract healthy ones. Obamacare is just making the structural problem more obvious.

    • Neonic pesticide link to long-term wild bee decline

      The large-scale, long-term decline in wild bees across England has been linked to the use of neonicotinoid insecticides by a new study.

      Over 18 years, researchers analysed bees who forage heavily on oilseed rape, a crop widely treated with “neonics”.

      The scientists attribute half of the total decline in wild bees to the use of these chemicals.

      Industry sources say the study shows an association, not a cause and effect.
      Weighing the evidence

      In recent years, several studies, conducted in the lab and in the field, have identified a negative effect on honey bees and bumble bees from the use of neonics.

      But few researchers have looked at the long term impacts of these substances.

      This new paper examined the impacts on populations of 62 species of wild bees across England over the period from 1994-2011.

    • Russia’s Stepanova: ‘No accident’ if something happens to me

      The Russian runner who helped expose a system of state-backed doping in her country says she fears for her life and has been forced to move after hackers tried to find her location.

      The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Saturday Yulia Stepanova’s online doping management account had been illegally accessed. The doping scandal she lifted the lid on has rocked sport and cost over 100 Russians their place at the Rio Games.

      Stepanova has been in hiding in the United States with her husband Vitaly, a former Russian anti-doping official, after giving evidence that the Russian government for years facilitated widespread cheating across nearly all Olympic sports.

    • Aetna Drops Obamacare In Most States

      Aetna Inc, the No. 3 U.S. health insurer, on Monday said that due to persistent financial losses on Obamacare plans, it will sell individual insurance on the government-run online marketplaces in only four states next year, down from the current 15 states.

      Aetna’s decision follows similar moves from UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Humana Inc., which have cited similar concerns about financial losses on these exchanges created under President Barack Obama’s national healthcare reform law.

      Aetna is also trying to buy Humana and is currently fighting a U.S. government lawsuit aimed at blocking the $34 billion deal.

      Aetna, which earlier this year said it was too soon to give up on the exchanges despite its challenges, this month signaled it was reconsidering. On Aug. 2, the company said it would not expand in 2017 and would review all its individual business.

    • Lawsuit Alleges Monsanto Intentionally Mislabeled Dangerous “Inert” Ingredients
    • Lead Contamination at Indiana Low-Income Housing Site Is Being Addressed After Decades of Inaction

      The West Calumet Complex, an affordable-housing complex in East Chicago, Ind., was built in 1972—but it took over four decades for city officials and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to alert residents of a potential lead crisis. The Young Turks news team recently went to East Chicago to interview residents and activists in the area to see how they are responding to news of the contamination.

      “We had no idea what we’ve been living in,” Akeesha Daniels, a resident since 2004, told TYT reporter Jordan Chariton. Daniels said she “never was sick a day in [her] life” before moving into the West Calumet Complex.

      Lonnie M. Randolph, a Democratic state senator, explained that several weeks ago, over 1,000 residents received letters from East Chicago’s mayor telling them they had between 30 and 90 days to evacuate their homes because of lead and arsenic levels in the soil surrounding the complex.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Bombing of a Hospital in Yemen

      An air strike struck a hospital in northern Yemen on Monday, killing 11 and wounding at least 19, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) said in a statement.

      The strike, which news outlets say was conducted by Saudi-led coalition forces, partially destroyed Abs Hospital, a facility in Hajja province, which MSF has run since July 2015. More than 4,000 patients have been treated in the facility over the past year.

      “This is the fourth attack against an MSF facility in less than 12 months,” said Teresa Sancristóval, the MSF emergency program manager for Yemen. “Once again, today we witness the tragic consequences of the bombing of a hospital. Once again, a fully functional hospital full of patients and MSF national and international staff members was bombed in a war that has shown no respect for medical facilities or patients.”

      A day before the strike, MSF tweeted saying access to health care is increasingly limited in the country, where the humanitarian situation has deteriorated since hostilities between the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels resumed last week following the collapse of United Nations-facilitated peace talks.

    • How Immigration Status Matters in the Orlando Shooting

      Jorge Rivas and Rafa Fernandez de Castro of Fusion reported that, following the horrific Pulse Nightclub massacre on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida, victims without legal status now face “a whole additional set of challenges in the wake of the horrible mass-shooting.”

      Their report describes the cases of an undocumented 24-year-old Salvadorian survivor named Victor and an undocumented 33-year-old Mexican survivor named Javier (whose names have been changed to protect their identities). Each faces uncertainty of qualification for federal and state assistance programs beyond immediate emergency care, due to their illegal immigration status. After being hospitalized for gunshot wounds, each is facing overwhelming medical bills.

    • NYT Touts Honduras as Ad for ‘American Power’–Leaving Out Support for Murderous Coup Regime

      She offered the results of this and similar programs as evidence that “smart investments in Honduras are succeeding” and “a striking rebuke to the rising isolationists in American politics,” who “seem to have lost their faith in American power.”

      But Nazario failed to explain how American power paved the way for the shocking rise in violence in Honduras. In the early 2000s, the murder rate in Honduras fluctuated between 44.3 and 61.4 per 100,000—very high by global standards, but similar to rates in neighboring El Salvador and Guatemala. (It’s not coincidental that all three countries were dominated by violent, US-backed right-wing governments in the 1980s—historical context that the op-ed entirely omitted.) Then, in June 2009, Honduras’ left-leaning President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup, kidnapped and flown out of the country via the joint US/Honduran military base at Palmerola.

      The US is supposed to cut off aid to a country that has a military coup—and “there is no doubt” that Zelaya’s ouster “constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup,” according to a secret report sent by the US ambassador to Honduras on July 24, 2009, and later exposed by WikiLeaks. But the US continued most aid to Honduras, carefully avoiding the magic words “military coup” that would have necessitated withdrawing support from the coup regime.


      With a corrupt, drug-linked regime in place, thanks in large part to US intervention, murder in Honduras soared, rising to 70.7 per 100,000 in 2009, 81.8 in 2010 and 91.4 in 2011—fully 50 percent above the pre-coup level. While many of the murders involved criminal gangs, much of the post-coup violence was political, with resuscitated death squads targeting journalists, opposition figures, labor activists and environmentalists—of whom indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was only the most famous.

    • Pentagon Cannot Account For $6.5 Trillion Dollars

      Adding to the appearance of impropriety is the fact that thousands of documents that should be on file have been removed and disappeared without any reasonable explanation.

      A new Department of Defense Inspector General’s report, released last week, has left Americans stunned at the jaw-dropping lack of accountability and oversight. The glaring report revealed the Pentagon couldn’t account for $6.5 trillion dollars worth of Army general fund transactions and data, according to a report by the Fiscal Times.

    • Will Human Evil Destroy Life On Earth?

      The World Wildlife Fund tells us that there are only 3,890 tigers left in the entire world. Due to exploitative capitalism, which destroys the environment in behalf of short-term profits, the habitat for tigers is rapidly disappearing. The environmental destruction, together with hunting or poaching by those who regard it as manly or profitable to kill a magnificent animal, is leading to the rapid extermination of this beautiful animal. Soon tigers will only exist as exhibits in zoos.

      The same is happening to lions, cheetahs, leopards, rhinos, elephants, bobcats, wolves, bears, birds, butterflies, honey bees. You name it.

      What we are witnessing is the irresponsibility of the human race, a Satan-cursed form of life that does not belong on the beautiful planet Earth. The cursed humans are even capable of launching a nuclear war which would destroy the livability of Earth.

    • Washington’s Outrage and Excuses

      What is behind Washington’s double standards – its contrasting reactions to one set of regimes as against another? Often American politicians will talk about promoting democracy and claim that the dictators they support have a better chance of evolving in a democratic direction than those they oppose. It might be that these politicians actually believe this to be the case, at least at the moment they make these declarations. But there is no historical evidence that their claims are true. This argument is largely a face-saving one. Other underlying reasons exist for the choices they make.

    • A botched coup and Turkey’s future in western institutions

      Western interpretations of the botched coup in Turkey and its aftermath are varied. Nevertheless, if one draws a vector that represents the divergent arguments a consensus view with two components can be detected: (i) a readiness to accept the Turkish government’s argument that the coup was staged by the Islamic Gülen Movement that infiltrated the Turkish state institutions, including the military; and (ii) expressions of concerns about the future of democracy in Turkey given the announcement of a state of emergency and the extent of the post-coup purges.

      In terms of policy recommendations, there is only one recommendation in the market place: the west should try to appease Turkey, a key strategic partner in NATO and in the fight against ISIS.

    • Turkey’s Sensible Détente with Russia

      Official Washington is so set on making Russia the new boogeyman that Turkish President Erdogan’s visit there is setting off alarms, but the easing of Moscow-Ankara tensions is really a positive sign, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • How ‘Think Tanks’ Generate Endless War

      U.S. “think tanks” rile up the American public against an ever-shifting roster of foreign “enemies” to justify wars which line the pockets of military contractors who kick back some profits to the “think tanks,” explains retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce.


      It is readily apparent now that Russia has taken its place as the primary target within U.S. sights. One doesn’t have to see the U.S. military buildup on Russia’s borders to understand that but only see the propaganda themes of our “think tanks.”

    • US Soldiers Are Relying on Millions of Dollars in Food Stamps to Survive

      Military service members on active duty spent $24 million in food stamps at military commissary shops from September 2014 to August 2015, and 45 percent of students in schools run by the military are eligible for free or reduced-price meal programs.

      For years, the military has been embarrassed by reports showing that some active-duty service members struggle to feed their families and use government benefits to get by. A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Department of Defense (DoD) does not fully understand the scope of the problem.

      The USDA runs the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the benefits of which are commonly called food stamps. Neither the military nor the USDA tracks how many active-duty service members receive SNAP benefits, according the report.

    • Does this Change Everything? Russia’s first strikes on Syria from Iran Airbases

      Russian bombers for the first time have taken off from bases in Iran to carry out air strikes on rebel targets in Syria.

      The US military is complaining that under a Russian agreement with the US, it was supposed to get a timely notification of Russia air strikes so they could avoid any conflicts. The Russians appear to have given the Americans last-minute notice– enough so that the US could make the necessary arrangements, but only barely so. Likely Russia did not want to give the US time to complain about the basing in Iran or to try to pressure Moscow back out of this plan.

      According to Russian sources, this procedure is a matter of saving money on logistics. But the move will inevitably be seen in the light of grand strategy. A tightening of Russian-Iranian security cooperation will be seen by Saudi Arabia and Israel as a threat, and since those two countries have the most powerful lobbies in Washington, it will view the development as threatening, as well.

    • Ron Jacobs: Media spends time and money to make terrorists as celebrities
    • Rights Groups Sound Alarm Over Devastating Use of Incendiary Weapons in Syria

      News of Russia’s use of incendiary weapons comes at the same time that joint U.S.-Russia airstrikes against rebel groups are being proposed. An aid worker interviewed by The Intercept said that such a collaboration would be “ludicrous and diabolical.”

      The Intercept explains that in the past several months, “the United States has repeatedly signaled plans to strike opposition forces in Syria, largely due to fears that al Qaeda-linked groups were making gains in the conflict.”

    • Fire deaths rise in England prompts ‘postcode lottery’ claim

      The number of people dying in fire-related incidents in England has seen its biggest percentage increase in 20 years.

      Data published by the Home Office shows 303 people died in fires in 2015-16, a 15% increase on the previous 12 months.

      Fire services in Cambridgeshire and Cumbria had the highest fatality rates.

      Fire Service Minister Brandon Lewis said there had been “a long term downward trend” in fire deaths.

    • Complicit in Civilian Carnage, US Support for War in Yemen Called ‘Indefensible’

      Amid an escalation of violence, increasing numbers of civilian casualties, and a nearly unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the New York Times editorial board on Wednesday called the United States “complicit in the carnage” and demanded the Obama administration end its support for the Saudi-led coalition which has repeatedly been accused of war crimes by critics.

    • America Is Complicit in the Carnage in Yemen

      A hospital associated with Doctors Without Borders. A school. A potato chip factory. Under international law, those facilities in Yemen are not legitimate military targets. Yet all were bombed in recent days by warplanes belonging to a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, killing more than 40 civilians.

      The United States is complicit in this carnage. It has enabled the coalition in many ways, including selling arms to the Saudis to mollify them after the nuclear deal with Iran. Congress should put the arms sales on hold and President Obama should quietly inform Riyadh that the United States will withdraw crucial assistance if the Saudis do not stop targeting civilians and agree to negotiate peace.

    • War to ‘Stop’ War: Why the Obama Doctrine is Ravaging the Middle East

      Now that the Americans have launched yet another aerial war against Libya, purportedly to target ‘Daesh’ positions there, the discussion is being carefully geared towards how far the US must go to defeat the militant group?

      In fact, “can airstrikes alone win a war without ‘boots on the ground’?” has morphed, somehow, to become the crux of the matter, which has engaged a large number of intellectuals on both sides of the debate.

    • While Beijing and Manila Talk, Washington Spoiling for a Fight

      As much as Washington may hate it, the fact is Beijing and Manila are diplomatically discussing the situation in the South China Sea.

      Champagne bottles are not popping yet, but Special Philippine envoy, former President Fidel Ramos, did go to Hong Kong, and on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, got together with Fu Ying, the chairwoman of the foreign affairs committee of the National People’s Congress. On the record, Ramos made sure that Manila is all in for formal negotiations.

      The starting block concerns some fishy business – literally. Beijing and Manila may be on their way already to open the highly disputed Scarborough shoal, which falls right into what Manila describes as the West Philippine Sea, to both Chinese and Filipino fishermen, as in the joint development of fish farms.

      Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, let it be known that Ramos’s visit to Hong Kong was just an opener. Of course his next step will have to be a trip to Beijing to talk to the high-stakes power players. Then the way will be paved for a formal Duterte state visit.

      So, for the moment, everyone is behaving in a very Asian “win-win” way, with no loss of face involved. And yet, in parallel, there’s been speculation that Beijing has identified a unique widow of opportunity between the G-20 in Huangzhou, next month, and the US presidential election in early November, to come up with extra “facts on the sea” in the form of added reclamation and building of naval installations.

      What Beijing wants in the long term is clear. Scarborough shoal in particular is a key piece in the larger puzzle. A Chinese airstrip is all but inevitable because it extends the reach of the PLA’s air force by over 1,000km, and positions it to be active off Luzon, no less than the gateway to the Western Pacific.

      With the airstrip in Scarborough shoal and an early warning system on Macclesfield Bank – just east of the Paracel Islands – Beijing will be finally able to “see” all the action, friendly but mostly unfriendly, emanating from the sprawling US naval base at Guam.

    • Ten Times Worse Than Hell: A Syrian Doctor on the Humanitarian Catastrophe in Aleppo

      In the latest escalation of the war in Syria, Russia has begun launching airstrikes from an Iranian air base. The New York Times reports this marks the first time since World War II that a foreign military has operated from a base on Iranian soil. The move comes as fighting has intensified around Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Earlier this month, rebels fighting the Syrian government began a new offensive to break an ongoing government-backed siege of the city. The rebels have been led in part by an offshoot of the Nusra Front, which up until last month had been aligned with al-Qaeda. The International Committee of the Red Cross has described the fight for Aleppo as “beyond doubt one of the most devastating urban conflicts in modern times.” The United Nations is warning of a dire humanitarian crisis as millions are left without water or electricity. For more on the humanitarian and medical crisis in Syria, we speak with Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society. He has visited Aleppo five times since the war began.

    • “What Would She Do in Iraq?”: As Clinton Slams Trump for ISIS Speech, We Look at Her Own Positions

      On Monday, while Trump was speaking in Youngstown, Ohio, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden held a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Scranton is Biden’s hometown. During her speech, Hillary Clinton slammed Trump’s foreign policy positions on Syria and fighting ISIS. But what about her own positions? For more, we speak with Phyllis Bennis, author of “Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror.” We also speak with co-founder of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York Linda Sarsour.

    • Amnesty law nullifyed in El Salvador: knowing the truth and taking the victims into account

      The Truth Commission’s report “From Madness to Hope: The Twelve Year War in El Salvador” was published on the 15th of March, 1993, 26 months after the signing of the Chapultepec Accords. The report stated that over 75,000 people were tortured, extrajudicially executed or disappeared during the war. State agents, paramilitary groups and death squads are responsible for 90% of crimes and 3.3% are attributed to guerrillas and other armed unidentified people. With the intention of understanding the letter and spirit of the Truth Commission’s report, we spoke with one of the three assigned commissioners from the United Nations, former Foreign Minister of Venezuela, Reinaldo Figueredo Planchart.

    • Medea Benjamin’s Kingdom of the Unjust

      For years and years, activists demanded that the U.S. government make public 28 (turned out to be 29) pages it had censored from a report, because it was suspected they would show a Saudi Arabian role in funding and facilitating the crimes of September 11, 2001. When the pages were finally made public, they showed a great deal of evidence of exactly that. But the U.S. government and its pet media outlets buried the story on a Friday evening, declared that verily this is that, and moved on.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • NPR Host Demands That Assange Do Something Its Own Reporters Are Told Never to Do

      In a ten-minute interview aired Wednesday morning, NPR’s David Greene asked Wikileaks founder Julian Assange five times to reveal the sources of the leaked information he has published on the internet.

      A major tenet of American journalism is that reporters protect their sources. Wikileaks is certainly not a traditional news organization, but Greene’s persistent attempts to get Assange to violate confidentiality was alarming, especially considering that there has been no challenge to the authenticity of the material in question.

      In the interview, conducted over Skype, Greene pressed Assange to verify the theory that the 20,000 leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee that Wikileaks published came from Russia.

      “Did those hacks that Wikileaks released, did those emails come from Russia?” Greene asked.

      “Well we don’t comment as to our sources,” Assange replied. He remains confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has lived since 2012, despite a U.N. panel’s ruling that he has been “arbitrarily detained.”

    • WikiLeaks Game Can Turn Kremlin Fortress Into Glass House

      For the first time since the 1950s, Russian subversion of the American political process has become a presidential campaign issue.

      The Kremlin’s latest act of espionage-driven propaganda–document dump of Democratic National Committee emails via WikiLeaks–achieved its desired effect of immediate politicization. We should step back to learn two lessons, and creatively fight back.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Burning in Indonesia may bring in transboundary haze

      The number of hotspots in Sumatra, Indonesia increased yesterday while Kalimantan recorded fewer hotspots, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

      “Under these unpredictable circumstances, it is clear that fires are burning in Indonesia but substantially less than what we saw in 2015.

      “But (it is) still too early to tell as now it is only August. Last year, it began in August (and) peaked in September and early October,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted yesterday.

    • VW in talks to settle US criminal probe over Dieselgate

      Embattled German carmaker Volkswagen has reportedly held preliminary talks with the US Justice Department aimed at resolving a criminal probe into its diesel emissions scandal.

    • August 2016: Louisiana Flooding

      National Geodetic Survey collects damage assessment images in aftermath of severe storms and flooding

    • NASA Study Nails Fracking as Source of Massive Methane ‘Hot Spot’

      A NASA study released on Monday confirms that a methane “hot spot” in the Four Corners region of the American southwest is directly related to leaks from natural gas extraction, processing, and distribution.

      The 2,500-square mile plume, first detected in 2003 and confirmed by NASA satellite data in October 2014, is said to be the largest concentration of atmospheric methane in the U.S. and is more than triple a standard ground-based estimate. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a highly-efficient greenhouse gas—84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, and a significant contributor to global warming.

      The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and funded primarily by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), surveyed industry sources including gas processing facilities, storage tanks, pipeline leaks, and well pads, as well as a coal mine venting shaft.

      It found that leaks from only 10 percent of the individual methane sources are contributing to half of the emissions, confirming the scientists’ suspicions that the mysterious hotspot was connected to the high level of fracking in the region.

    • Clinton Transition Team Headed by Anti-Climate ‘Powerbroker’

      Hillary Clinton has named her transition team should she be elected in November, and the roster—as many feared—is a who’s-who of establishment figures, including former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who has a maligned track record on climate.

      The team will also include former national security adviser Tom Donilon, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, president of the Center for American Progress (CAP) Neera Tanden, and director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics Maggie Williams. Two of the campaign’s policy advisers, Ed Meier and Ann O’Leary, will also serve as co-executive directors.

      Salazar, whose career includes positions both in government and corporate Washington, D.C. firms, has previously pushed for projects that are reviled among environmental activists, such as fracking, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Keystone XL pipeline.

      Just a year ago, Clinton and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) penned an op-ed for the Huffington Post decrying the cyclical nature of Capitol Hill institutions that enable lawmakers and lobbyists to jump in and out of the private and public sectors.

    • As Renewables Soar, Oil Industry Launches New PR Offensive

      As the renewable revolution gathers a pace, the oil industry has launched yet another PR offensive trying to rebrand fossil fuels as sustainable.

      So first the good news. The percentage of electricity generated by renewables in the world’s largest economies has soared by 70 per cent over the last five years, according to new research.

      Data compiled by the Bloomberg New Energy Finance research group for the Financial Times reveals that a real “shift away from fossil fuels is starting to take hold in some regions”.

      The data reveals that G20 countries collectively produced 8 per cent of their electricity from solar, wind and other renewable sources in 2015, up from 4.6 per cent in 2010.

      Germany now tops the list of seven G20 members who generate over 10 per cent of their electricity from renewables, with the country producing over a third of its electricity from renewables.

      Despite Obama’s efforts to cut fossil fuels from the country’s generation mix, the US still lags behind, generating only about 8 per cent of power from renewables.

    • Dakota Pipeline Would Make Water the New ‘Oil,’ Devastating All but the Rich

      Our protest against the destruction of Ina Maka (Mother Earth) started when the first European set foot on Turtle Island [North America] over 400 years ago. We Dakota believe we are related to everything in the universe. We say Mitákuye Oyás’in. The phrase translates in English as “all my relatives,” “we are all related” or “all my relations.” It is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life: other people, animals, birds, insects, trees and plants, and even rocks, rivers, mountains and valleys. We respect all living creatures, especially Mother Earth. Why would we destroy our own mother who feeds us, who provides us shelter, who embraces the remains of our ancestors?

    • Tribal Activists Defy Lawsuit, Vow Continued Resistance Against Dakota Pipeline

      An epic battle over land rights is being waged in the Dakotas, as a local Indigenous community, facing arrests and litigation, is standing firm in its resistance to a massive Bakken crude pipeline project.

      Developers of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access (also known as the Bakken) Pipeline filed suit in federal court on Monday against members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose days-long civil disobedience campaign last week stalled construction of the 1,200-mile pipeline.

      Dakota Access LLC is “seeking restraining orders and unspecified monetary damages,” the Associated Press reports. In court papers, the companies argues that the tribal activists “have created and will continue to create a risk of bodily injury and harm to Dakota Access employees and contractors, as well as to law enforcement personnel and other individuals at the construction site.”

    • Disasters like Louisiana floods will worsen as planet warms, scientists warn

      The historic and devastating floods in Louisiana are the latest in a series of heavy deluges that some climate scientists warn will become even more common as the world continues to warm.

      On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) is set to classify the Louisiana disaster as the eighth flood considered to be a once-in-every-500-years event to have taken place in the US in little over 12 months.

      Since May of last year, dozens of people have been killed and thousands of homes have been swamped with water in extreme events in Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland. Noaa considers these floods extreme because, based on historical rainfall records, they should be expected to occur only once every 500 years.

    • Scientists Say Expect More 1,000-Year Events Like Louisiana Flood

      The flooding has caused the death of eight people and affected 40,000 homes and businesses, according to the Associated Press.

    • Louisiana left stunned by damage from ’1,000-year’ flood: ‘It just kept coming’

      An enormous and slow-moving rainstorm has laid waste to much of southern Louisiana, which the National Weather Service has called a “1,000-year” disaster.

      By Monday afternoon, more than 20,000 residents had been rescued from the historic floodwaters, and as many as seven had died.

      People here stay prepared for hurricanes, and all the cataclysm they bring. But this storm did not arrive with noise and velocity; instead it unfolded over several days, sneaking up almost without notice. Then the rivers topped their banks.

      In Tangipahoa parish, Louisiana, Donnie Prince woke up Thursday morning to the sound of police on a bullhorn.

    • Wildfires Are Getting Worse: Time to Rehydrate Our Landscapes

      The west is still in the thick of wildfire season and 2016 is already one to leave Smoky the Bear in tears. California is seeing a 20 percent uptick in fires compared to 2015—itself a rough fire year—while a fast-moving blaze has virtually destroyed the California town of Lower Lake. A story in today’s Washington Post grimly begins: “California is burning.”

      While fire is always part of nature, many attribute its increased frequency and intensity to climate change. Certainly, that makes sense: longer stretches of warm weather and earlier snowmelt create a fire-friendly scenario. But what does this connection do for us, beyond providing another reason to rue the continued assaults on our climate? For the terms “climate change” and “global warming” elide the dynamics that create the constellation of factors that, collectively, we call climate. However, by zeroing in on the ecology of fire-prone regions, we can find ways to minimize the risk and severity of the fires that threaten homes and wilderness areas—not to mention the lives of firefighters.

    • The Axis Of Destruction And Hope

      If you want to understand the climate crisis today, you need to journey roughly along the 95th parallel, from Louisiana in the south to the the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in the Dakotas.

      In the Bayou State, there’s great courage, as local people work to rescue their neighbors from rising waters. So far, 20,000 people have been snatched to safety from homes, offices, hospitals, schools in the wake of a three-day siege of endless rain that broke flood records on river after river. The images are astonishing, like something from Mad Max: a thousand cars trapped on an interstate as helicopters dropped food to keep people alive.

    • Impacts of neonicotinoid use on long-term population changes in wild bees in England
    • 18 Years of Data Links Neonics to Bee Decline

      A new study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, looks at wild bee populations relative to the use of neonics on the oilseed rape plant in England over 18 years, from 1994-2011. The researchers found that population extinction rates went up along with the pesticide use on the plants, which are widespread throughout the country.

      “The negative effects that have been reported previously do scale up to long-term, large-scale multi-species impacts that are harmful,” Dr. Nick Isaac, a co-author of the report, told the BBC. “Neonicotinoids are harmful, we can be very confident about that and our mean correlation is three times more negative for foragers than for non-foragers.”

      Across the 34 species analyzed in the study, there was a 10 percent decline in populations attributable to neonic use, the BBC said. Five of the species dropped off by 20 percent or more, and the most affected group went down by 30 percent. In total, half of the population decline in wild bees could be linked to the pesticides, the researchers said.

    • Koch Brothers Waging War Against Local Effort to Expose Dark Money

      A state ballot measure seeking to end political corruption has won the ire of the billionaire Koch Brothers, who have relied on secret donations to conservative interest groups to influence elections coast to coast.

      South Dakota’s Initiated Measure 22 (pdf), dubbed the Government Accountability and Anti-Corruption Act, seeks to “ensur[e] that special interest lobbyists and their cronies aren’t buying influence with our elected officials,” according to proponents South Dakotans for Integrity.

      Specifically, it calls for public disclosure of donors to campaigns and advocacy groups; lowers contribution amounts and imposes limits on political action committees, political parties, and candidates; and it creates an ethics commission to enforce campaign finance and lobby rules. Further, it establishes a publicly funded campaign finance program for state and legislative candidates.

      State residents will have the chance to vote on the measure in November and, apparently, the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is hoping to quash this effort before it gains traction in South Dakota, or anywhere else.

    • Forced to Reckon with Rising Seas, Alaskan Village Votes on Relocation

      Residents of a remote Alaskan village will find out Wednesday if they are to become the first American community to become climate refugees.

      Rapidly rising sea levels are forcing the 650-person village of Shishmaref, which lies just north of the Bering Strait, to consider relocating. Residents voted Tuesday and the city clerk said that results will be announced Wednesday.

      As for where they will go, the community will decide later at a town meeting. The move is estimated to cost $180 million.

      “The sea ice used to protect Shishmaref, which is built on a barrier island and largely inhabited by members of the Inupiat Inuit tribe,” wrote the Guardian. “But now that the ice is melting, the village is in peril from encroaching waves, especially as the permafrost on which it is built is thawing, and crumbling beneath the mostly prefabricated houses. Barricades and sea walls have had little effect.”

    • Alaskan village votes on whether to relocate because of climate change

      If they vote to move, the village of Shishmaref, just north of the Bering Strait, and its population of 650 people, could be the first in the US to do so because of climate change.

      The village would be relocated at an estimated cost of $180m to a new location less threatened by rising waters and melting sea ice. Where it would move would be decided later in a town meeting, according to the city clerk’s office.

    • [Older] Unable to Endure Rising Seas, Alaskan Villages Stuck in Limbo
    • Rethink needed on Paris emissions targets

      The historic international agreement to limit global warming to a global average rise of 1.5°C may be a case of too little, too late.

      In December last year, 195 nations at the Paris climate summit promised a programme of action to contain greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change. But UK scientists now warn that humans may have already emitted enough carbon dioxide into the planetary atmosphere to take air temperatures over land to above 1.5°C.

      And that means nations may have to think again about what constitutes a “safe” global temperature threshold.

      Chris Huntingford, climate modeller at the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and Lina Mercado, senior lecturer in physical geography at the University of Exeter write in the Scientific Reports journal that even supposing humans stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere – and although action has been promised, far more has to be achieved before that could happen – temperatures over land are very likely to go beyond the proposed limit.

    • New Koch-Funded Group ‘Fueling US Forward’ Aims to Promote the “Positives” of Fossil Fuels

      A long-awaited campaign to rebrand fossil fuels called Fueling U.S. Forward made its public debut at the Red State Gathering 2016 on Saturday, where the organization’s President and CEO Charles Drevna gave attendees the inside scoop on the effort, and confirmed that the campaign is backed financially by Koch Industries.

      Back in February, Peter Stone first reported in the Huffington Post that a $10 million-a-year effort was proposed by a Koch Industries board member, James Mahoney, and Mr. Drevna, aiming “to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles.” In early August, the Fueling U.S. Forward website launched, and on Saturday, the first public comments were made about the campaign by Mr. Drevna, and they revealed a lot about how the Koch-backed initiative is working to re-frame fossil fuels.

      “We need a sustainable energy to ensure the future of the country,” Mr. Drevna told the audience.

      The source of that energy? That which Mr. Drevna labeled “reliable, abundant, efficient and sustainable fuels.”

      “Folks, that’s of course the fossil fuels,” he immediately added.

      Never mind that fossil fuels don’t align with any dictionary definition of “sustainable,” as oil, gas and coal reserves are limited to what’s buried in the ground, unlike renewable sources of energy. Technically speaking, fossil fuels are the opposite of sustainable energy sources — but that fact did little to slow Mr. Drevna down as he made what he called the “pro-human” case for burning fossil fuels.

    • How to Change Our Pathetic Green Infrastructure

      The United Kingdom, which is already world famous for its green gardens and even greener countryside, is about to get even greener. That’s because according to a new report from Japanese car maker Nissan, it could soon have more electric car charging stations than traditional gas stations.

      The UK is currently home to around 4,100 electric charging stations and 8,400 gas stations, but if currents trends continue, it will have more than 7,900 charging stations and just 7,870 gas stations by 2020.

      Once again our European friends are leaving us in the dust.

      With about 12 gas stations for every one electric charging station, it’s going to take a long time for the United States to catch up with the United Kingdom’s all-out embrace of the electric car revolution. So why is that?

  • Finance

    • An Olympic Event Where 1st Prize Is the Chance to Lose Billions

      Behind the scenes of the Olympic matchups and rivalries that draw large crowds here, there is stealth competition taking place in the hallways and hotels of this beach town worth tens of billions of dollars. It is a bidding war that could rival the most ferocious auction on Wall Street.

      Armies of delegates from four cities — led by a series of moguls, bankers, businessmen and government officials — have been quietly battling one another here to court the leadership of the International Olympic Committee in hopes of being awarded the 2024 Summer Games. The delegates, representing Los Angeles, Paris, Rome and Budapest, have been scoping out the venues, receiving briefings on the massive security operation and taking meetings with just about anyone who can conceivably influence the outcome.

    • India: Kerala’s Stalinist-led government pursuing pro-business agenda

      Kerala’s three month-old, Stalinist-led, Left Democratic Front (LDF) state government is eagerly pursuing a rightwing agenda aimed at wooing domestic and international big business.

      Led by Kerala Chief Minister and Communist Party of India (Marxist) Politburo Member Pinarayi Vijayan, the LDF is a hodgepodge of Stalinist and smaller regional parties. It is led by the Communist Party (Marxist) or CPM and its older, smaller twin, the Communist Party of India (CPI). It includes various split-offs from the Congress Party, the Indian bourgeoisie’s traditional party of government and the LDF’s main electoral rival in Kerala, a southwestern state with a population of almost 35 million.

      So forthright have been the pro-business policies Vijayan has pursued during his brief tenure in office, sections of the corporate media are comparing him favorably with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. An arch-right winger and rabid Hindu communalist, Modi has slashed social spending, lifted numerous caps on foreign investment, and accelerated “disinvestment,” that is, the sell-off of state-owned companies.

    • Gimme a Break! IRS Tax Loophole Can Reward Excessive Water Use in Drought-stricken West

      ProPublica’s reporting on the water crisis in the American West has highlighted any number of confounding contradictions worsening the problem: Farmers are encouraged to waste water so as to protect their legal rights to its dwindling supply in the years ahead; Las Vegas sought to impose restrictions on water use while placing no checks on its explosive population growth; the federal government has encouraged farmers to improve efficiency in watering crops, but continues to subsidize the growing of thirsty crops such as cotton in desert states like Arizona.

      Today, we offer another installment in the contradictions amid a crisis.

      In parts of the western U.S., wracked by historic drought, you can get a tax break for using an abundance of water.

    • New Clinton Transition Head Has Some TPP ‘Splainin To Do

      Salazar was also a member of the pro-TPP corporate front-group “Progressive Coalition for American Jobs”. Two March, 2015 posts, “A Trade Campaign Built On Four Pinocchios” and “Deval Patrick, Others To Advise AstroTurf Pro-TPP/Fast Track Group” exposed this group as a pro-TPP front.

      Someone needs to ask Salazar and Clinton to explain what this says about Clinton’s support/opposition to a lame-duck vote on TPP – as well as future job-killing trade deals.

    • Rock Against the TPP heads to Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco

      As the Rock Against the TPP tour continues its way around the country, word is spreading that it’s not too late for us to stop the undemocratic Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in its tracks. The tour kicked off in Denver on July 23 with a line-up that included Tom Morello, Evangeline Lilly, and Anti-Flag, before hitting San Diego the following week where Jolie Holland headlined. You can check out the powerful vibe of the kick-off show below.

    • Obama Provokes Progressive Outrage with All-Out TPP Push

      In defiant opposition to this election’s anti-trade sentiment, President Barack Obama is provoking progressive outrage with events around the country in an “all-out push,” as Politico puts it, to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress.

    • Obama to take trade battle to the heartland

      And there have been defections since then: At least nine House GOP lawmakers who supported fast-track authority oppose TPP itself. Those include Frank Guinta, Mike Bost and Tom Reed, who have independently come out against the deal. It also includes House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster and House Administration Chairwoman Candice Miller, both of whom signed a letter this month with four other lawmakers saying they could not support TPP in the lame duck because it doesn’t include enforceable rules on currency manipulation. Meanwhile, the Republican platform approved in Cleveland last month said no “significant” trade deals should get votes during the lame-duck session.

    • Fight for $15 plans next steps forward at national convention

      Thousands converged in Richmond, Virginia over the weekend to participate in the Fight For $15’s first-ever national convention. Central to the two-day gathering was the historic Richmond Resolution, a statement of purpose and strategy that members approved unanimously on August 13. The convention culminated on Saturday, as 8,000 people marched in sweltering heat to demonstrate their support for the resolution and their determination to see their agenda through the remainder of election season.

      From the start, it was clear that organizers would emphasize the intersectionality of racial and economic justice. According to Fight for $15 national organizer Kendall Fells, the choice of Richmond for the convention underscored this framework. “We chose Richmond because it’s the onetime capital of the Confederacy,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “and we want to draw links between the way workers are treated today and the racist history of the United States.”

    • A Victory for Postal Banking

      Underbanked and Overcharged found that over one in five households (mostly Black, Latino, or Native American) are underserved by the banking industry, costing these households an average of $3,029 per year in fees and interest just to access their own money. This additional cost takes a total of $103 billion per year out of the communities that need it most.

    • Is it time for universal basic income in the UK?

      Universal basic income is not a new idea. It was way back in 1795 that Thomas Paine, an American revolutionary, first talked about the citizen’s dividend. The idea was to pay all US citizens a regular payment as compensation for “loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property”.

      This ground breaking idea lay fairly dormant for a hundred years until the beginning of the 20th Century. Since then the idea has come in and out of fashion in three times, each time getting closer to becoming a political reality.

      In the early 1900s a broad selection of philosophers, writers, politicians and social movements began writing about and pushing for the idea. It grabbed the attention of many but failed to become a full movement, losing momentum when the welfare state was introduced.

      The second wave emerged in the USA in the 60s as the focus of the social movements of the day turned from civil to welfare rights culminating in 1972 Presidential election when candidates of the day backed the idea. Although it did not become a political reality due to disagreements in how the idea should be implemented, it paved the way for a number of social policies such as food stamps still present in the USA today.

    • Socialism is obvious

      As it turns out, socialism is increasingly obvious for folks on this side of the pond. Like Bernie Sanders. And Mark Workin and Melissa Young, who made the film Shift Change. And Richard Wolff, through Democracy at Work.

    • It’s time for development banks to start listening

      Almost a year ago, the United Nations set the Sustainable Development Goals, an ambitious blueprint for governments and financiers to use their political power and resources to end poverty, hunger, and disease.

      But the success (or failure) of this effort won’t depend on just the usual big players. Far more important than governments and international donors are the individuals and civic organizations that will help design, carry out, and monitor the development projects on which the whole scheme depends. Without vibrant civil societies, the Sustainable Development Goals are dead in the water.

      Only the individuals and communities meant to be the beneficiaries of development know best what their needs are and how they can be met. And it is the civil society groups and activists who can make sure that development resources reach their intended destinations and achieve their objectives. It’s the women’s cooperative in Senegal that will show how to design an effective irrigation system. It’s the community group in Bangladesh that will ensure that the schools promised in the government’s education budget are actually built.

      But the whole project of sustainable, participatory development is in danger. Around the world, groups and activists who work to improve development proposals, or speak out about problems with infrastructure or energy projects, increasingly find themselves threatened, intimidated, and even violently attacked by governments, investors, private security forces, and others who want to avoid scrutiny.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Serb Who Inspired Ethnic Cleansing of Bosnia Leads “Vote Trump” Rally in Belgrade

      The activists, led by the head of Serbia’s ultranationalist Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj, chanted “Donald Trump!” and marched outside the country’s Parliament wearing T-shirts bearing the name and likeness of the American candidate.

    • Donald Trump Proposes Banning Immigrants Based on Ideology, But Bush and Obama Got There First

      Donald Trump’s plan to apply an “ideological screening test” on would-be immigrants has been denounced as “un-American,” and “a nonstarter.” But the U.S. government already can and does bar immigration on ideological grounds – and has abused that power.

      In addition to dramatically expanding government surveillance, the Patriot Act passed by Congress soon after the 9/11 terror attacks allows the State Department to exclude anyone who it determines “undermines the United States efforts to reduce or eliminate terrorist activities.”

      The Bush administration used that power to deny entry to leftist activists and administration critics. The list of those denied visas includes South African anti-apartheid activist Adam Habib, Greek economist Yoannis Milios, Nicaraguan reformist and academic Dora Maria Tellez, Bolivian scholar Waskar Ari, and English hip-hop singer M.I.A, — just to name a few.

    • DC Cooties

      There have been a series of stories fed to the press this week intended to heighten concerns about Trump advisor Paul Manafort’s ties to Russian thugs (but not his numerous ties to other thugs). The NYT had a story about Manafort receiving cash payments from 2007 to 2012 (that is, well before Trump decided to run for President). And the AP has a story headlined, “AP Sources: Manafort tied to undisclosed foreign lobbying” that describes how Manafort’s partner, Rick Gates, funneled funds from a pro-Yanukovych non-profit to two DC lobbying firms.


      In other words, the headline and lead of this story should say something to the effect of, “Trump’s campaign manager’s partner funneled potentially illegal funds to Hillary’s campaign manager’s brother.”

      Or more succinctly: “DC is a corrupt, incestuous cesspool.”

      But it doesn’t. Instead of telling the story about the broken foreign registry system that permits elites of both parties to take funding from some unsavory characters — some we like, some we hate — the story instead spins this as a uniquely Trump and Manafort problem.

      Sure. Vladimir Putin is one scary bastard. But there are a lot of scary bastards, and they’re feeding both sides of the DC pig’s trough.

    • Where the Green Party’s Jill Stein stands on jobs, taxes and more

      Green Party candidate Jill Stein doesn’t command the kind of crowds and headlines that rivals Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do. So many voters may not know where she stands on the issues.

    • Why Not Expand the Presidential Debates?

      Amid unprecedented dissatisfaction with the two major party candidates, public interest in opening the presidential debates to the Libertarian and Green party nominees should be honored, says Jeff Cohen.

    • America’s Journalistic Hypocrites

      The U.S. news media flip-flops on whether international law is inviolate or can be brushed aside at America’s whim – and similarly whether killing civilians is justified or not depending on who’s doing the killing, says Robert Parry.

    • Ignorance Is Not a Virtue, and Knowledge Is Not a Vice

      Ignorance is not a virtue. Knowledge is not a vice. Pointy-heads who spend years gaining expertise in a given field may make mistakes, but the remedy is to replace them with pointy-heads who have different views—not with know-nothings who would try to navigate treacherous terrain on instinct alone. (See: Trump’s policy positions on, well, anything.)

      As for the much-disparaged media, I get emails every day from people who demand to know why we in the “MSM” or “corporate media” are covering up some scandal. The emails then go on to describe said scandal at great length and in microscopic detail, often quoting stories from The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC News or other leading media outlets. I often write back that if we’re trying to cover up the outrage in question, we’re obviously doing a lousy job.

    • Trumpism: Made in the United States by Republican Hate and Democratic Hypocrisy

      The Republican, white-nationalist Donald Trump slanders and insults Latinos, Muslims and women. He promotes violence. He mocks the disabled. He refers to himself as brilliant, citing his fortune—obscenely accumulated over decades of predatory business practices that cheat workers and consumers—as “proof.”

      He feuds with the gold star parents of a Muslim U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, claiming that he too has “sacrificed” (like the dead soldier and his parents) by employing “thousands and thousands of people.” It was a remarkable comment: Being born into wealth and in a position to hire a large number of people is not a “sacrifice.” If Trump isn’t reaping profits from all those workers under his command, he must not really be the brilliant, capitalist businessman he claims to be.

      A military veteran gives the Republican presidential candidate his Purple Heart medal, bestowed on soldiers injured in battle. Trump quips, “I always wanted a Purple Heart. This was a lot easier.” Unreal. Donald Trump, Mr. Sacrifice, used college deferments to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War.

      How is this noxious candidate even within shouting distance of Hillary Clinton? Let’s separate the fact from the fiction.

    • Jill Stein: ‘There Should Have Been a Full Investigation’ of Clinton’s Email Server (Video)

      On Monday, news broke that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is turning over to Congress information from its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. It’s expected that the agency will hand over “notes from the interviews of Clinton and other witnesses in the investigation.”

      In a CNN interview with Carol Costello on Monday, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein explained her stance on the email scandal. “I think there should have been a full investigation,” she said. “I think the American people are owed an explanation for what happened and why top-secret information was put at risk.”

      “Do you think that that [congressional] oversight committee should open up an investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s private email server?” Costello asked.

      “Yes, I do, because we’re talking about state secrets,” Stein replied. “If [Clinton] wasn’t aware that she was violating State Department rules, it raises real issues about her competency.”

    • A Still Uncertain Election

      In recent weeks the billionaire businessman has generated extreme turmoil within his own party by mocking the Muslim parents of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq, refusing to support the re-election of key Republicans (such as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan), questioning why he shouldn’t use nuclear weapons, and — to top it off — seeming to call for gun owners to protect the 2nd Amendment by, well, shooting Clinton. There’s no telling what absurdity he will utter next.

    • Trump Campaign Blames “Scammers” After Being Busted (Again) For Soliciting Foreign Donations

      An Australian Member of Parliament is still receiving messages from the Donald Trump presidential campaign asking for money, more than a month after the illegal solicitations were first reported to the Department of Justice and the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).

      MP Terri Butler informed The Hill that she received a Trump fundraising email on August 14. It was the latest in a series of automated fundraising messages from the GOP nominee’s campaign that Butler and other foreign lawmakers have received, dating back to June.

      It is against the law for campaigns to receive or even seek out foreign donations. The Trump campaign’s repeated violations suggest that it is either flouting federal election rules or that it lacks internal controls to maintain compliant mailing lists.

      A Trump campaign official, however, blamed outside agitators. They told The Hill that the campaign “routinely checks” their mailing lists for foreign nationals, but that sometimes “scammers will continue to try to add them to our system.”

    • Why Did Clinton Just Tap a Pro-TPP, Pro-KXL, Pro-Fracking Politician to Head Her Transition Team?

      Hillary Clinton has announced former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as the head of her transition team. Salazar is a former U.S. senator from Colorado who now works at WilmerHale, one of the most influential lobbying firms in Washington. Some groups have criticized Salazar’s selection due to his vocal support of fracking, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Keystone XL pipeline. In addition to Ken Salazar, other leaders of the transition team include former Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Maggie Williams, the director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics. For more, we speak with David Sirota, senior editor for investigations at the International Business Times.

    • The phony populism of Donald Trump

      Last week, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested that “Second Amendment people” could rise up against Hillary Clinton if she wins the election and called President Obama “the founder of ISIS.” He also delivered a policy speech at the Detroit Economic Club that, understandably, received much less attention.

      Given Trump’s near-constant breaches of common decency, many people have given up on parsing the details of his policies, which can feel at times like complaining about the music in a crashing car. Yet while Trump’s affinity for regressive economics is nowhere near the top of the list of reasons to oppose him, there is still a real possibility that he could become the nation’s chief policymaker, and the policies he outlined last week counteract one of the prevailing narratives of the election — that Trump is a “populist.”

      Over the course of the campaign, Trump has been consistently portrayed as a populist candidate, the Republican counterpart to Bernie Sanders in a race shaped by widespread anger toward the political and economic elite. This perception has been reinforced by Trump’s ritual humiliation of the Republican Party establishment in the primaries, as well as his overwhelming reliance on the support of working-class whites.

    • Addressing White Privilege Is Only a Small Step in Combating Systemic Racism

      Clinton has had trouble in the past for failing to listen to the concerns of people of color. Take, for example, the time she shut down Black Lives Matter protesters at one of her speaking events (something her husband is also guilty of doing). And Kaine has faced criticism for his support of Project Exile when he was mayor of Richmond, Va. The project “was to literally live up to its name by making illegal gun possession a federal, not a state, crime, which allowed prosecutors to send convicted felons, most of them black, to a distant federal penitentiary for at least five years,” writes James Oliphant of Reuters.

    • Libertarians Love Civil Liberties—but Won’t Use Government to Protect Them From Capitalists

      So-called libertarianism sounds like a good idea, and many who claim the ideology are sincerely interested in defending otherwise-defenseless groups and individuals from predatory or indifferent government.

      But in this forum hosted by Fusion, presidential candidate Gary Johnson and running mate Bill Weld revealed the limitations of their commitment to civil liberties—even if the journalists who questioned them did little to highlight the discrepancy.

      “Gov. Johnson, you’ve voiced your support for same-sex marriage, saying it’s a matter of freedom and liberty,” said Fusion fellow Anna Sterling. “But under the guise of religious freedom—as you mentioned earlier, Gov. Weld—there’s been a wave of legislation across the country that’s essentially legalizing discrimination against LGBT people. How do you reconcile these two issues?”

      Shifting in his chair, Johnson replied: “Well— uh— by rec— I’m opposed to that legislation. I am outright opposed to that legislation, recognizing exactly what it is that you’re saying, that it is discriminatory against the LGBT community. And we refuse to be a part of any sort of discrimination. And, yes, that is happening. It’s happening! Stop!”

      So there you have it. Johnson and Weld dislike discrimination, but they’re not going to use the power of government to stop legislation that fosters it.

    • Green Party candidates to make their case at CNN town hall

      Hoping to reignite the “political revolution” of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, are set to participate in a live town hall event Wednesday on CNN at 9 p.m. ET.
      The two will face questions from voters and CNN’s Chris Cuomo during the hour-long event as they seek to make their liberal platform known to the public.

      Stein, a retired medical doctor, environmental activist and musician, made a filed bid for the presidency in 2012, but this time around, she has said things are different.

    • Hillary Used the Word “Assassination” in 2008 Anti-Obama Campaign

      The Main Stream Media (MSM) is once again slinging mud at Donald Trump over his comments at a South Carolina rally. Hillary’s campaign joined in the claim that he encouraged violence against her. But Trump said nothing about violence. Absolutely nothing.(1)

      On the other hand in 2008, Hillary Clinton used the term “assassination” directed at Barack Obama. She used it to justify remaining in the race long after her chances had evaporated. That is “forgotten” now by the MSM amidst their unremitting attacks on Trump.

      Let us remind ourselves. It was May of 2008. Hillary had no hopes of winning the nomination since Obama had secured the delegates he needed. Many in the media were asking why she insisted on staying in the race.

      In an interview with the editorial board of a South Dakota paper, the Argus Leader, on May 23, she was asked why she was hanging on. It made no sense said the editors. In answer Clinton said that she was being pressured to drop out and that it was “ a mystery” to her why that pressure was being applied.

      She went on to say that assassination might yet occur in the presidential race, referring to Robert Kennedy, thus: ““My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.”

    • Through the Venal Looking Glass, the Donald’s Doing Swell

      Still, Trumpsters are a hardy if deluded lot – 70% reportedly believe that a Clinton win would be a rigged win – so they are making up new numbers, sources and claims of media bias to explain the debacle. Their Mainstream Media Accountability Survey offers a startling peek into their alternate universe, with 25 leading questions to prove that, yes, the media unfairly characterizes people of faith, ignores the failure of Obamacare, believes social justice activists are re-writing American history, takes their great leader’s statements out of context, turns a blind eye to Planned Parenthood’s worst actions, “wrongly attributes gun violence to 2nd Amendment rights” and does other bad stuff. Seeking to combat the obviously skewed polls, the right-wing Breitbart.com also did their own unassailable poll; alas, it likewise found that Clinton really is winning.

    • Ain’t no party like a Green Party: Jill Stein answers questions in townhall

      The Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, went on CNN to directly address voters and their questions. Along with her running mate Amaju Baraka, Stein attempted to pitch her platform to those still undecided.

    • NYT: Trump Being “Advised” for Clinton Debates by Disgraced Roger Ailes

      Though Roger Ailes resigned his top seat at Fox News last month following accusations and lawsuits over sexual harassment of female employees, the New York Times reports Tuesday that Donald Trump has brought the disgraced executive aboard his campaign to “advise” him ahead of upcoming presidential debates.

    • Is Trump Sabotaging His Campaign Because He Never Really Wanted the Job in the First Place?

      Donald Trump never actually wanted to be President of the United States. I know this for a fact. I’m not going to say how I know it. I’m not saying that Trump and I shared the same agent or lawyer or stylist or, if we did, that that would have anything to do with anything. And I’m certainly not saying that I ever overheard anything at those agencies or in the hallways of NBC or anywhere else. But there are certain people reading this right now, they know who they are, and they know that every word in the following paragraphs actually happened.

      Trump was unhappy with his deal as host and star of his hit NBC show, “The Apprentice” (and “The Celebrity Apprentice”). Simply put, he wanted more money. He had floated the idea before of possibly running for president in the hopes that the attention from that would make his negotiating position stronger. But he knew, as the self-proclaimed king of the dealmakers, that saying you’re going to do something is bupkus — DOING it is what makes the bastards sit up and pay attention.

    • Donnie’s Little Lies are Huuuuuge

      An old saying asserts that falsehoods come in three escalating levels: “Lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Now, however, we’ve been given an even-higher level of intentional deception: Policy speeches by Donald Trump.

      Take his recent highly publicized address outlining specific economic policies he would push to benefit hard-hit working families. It’s an almost-hilarious compilation of Trumpian fabrications, including his bold, statesmanlike discourse on the rank unfairness of the estate tax: “No family will have to pay the death tax,” he solemnly pledged, adopting the right-wing pejorative for a tax assessed on certain properties of the dearly departed. Fine, but next came his slick prevarication: “American workers have paid taxes their whole lives, and they should not be taxed again at death.” Workers? The tax exempts the first $5.4 million of any deceased person’s estate, meaning 99.8 percent of Americans pay absolutely nothing. So Trump is trying to deceive real workers into thinking he’s standing for them, when in fact it’s his own wealth he’s protecting.

      What a maverick! What a shake-’em-up outsider! What an anti-establishment fighter for working stiffs!

    • Enhancing Turnout: A Primary Concern

      In some states — Minnesota, for example — an eligible citizen can both register and vote on the date of the primary, thereby permitting those who aren’t as politically involved to still choose a nominee. Most states, though, don’t permit that option, and most impose deadlines by which a registered voter must change his or her affiliation in order to vote a different ticket in the primary. New York state, taking that rule to the extreme, requires an individual to make such a change 193 days before its April primary, so it’s no surprise that turnout in New York hovered at around 20 percent. Few people pay attention to the election that far out, and fewer still have chosen a candidate by the deadline. This is especially troubling for the growing number of Americans who identify as independent, aligning themselves with a candidate rather than a party.

    • Voter ID Laws Are Finally Being Outed for Their Discriminatory Intent

      Over the last five years, there has been a dramatic rise in states enacting or strengthening laws that require voters to show ID at the polls. Supporters of voter ID laws claim that they are necessary to prevent voter fraud — but studies have consistently shown that this type of fraud is exceptionally rare. And in fact, laws like this disproportionately affect minority, elderly, and low-income groups that tend to vote in favor of progressive causes.

    • Green Party Town Hall to Make Case Against ‘Same Old Political Duopoly’

      Stein and her running partner, human rights activist and writer Ajamu Baraka, will hold the event on CNN at 9:00pm EDT. It will be moderated by the network’s Chris Cuomo, in what is poised to be Stein’s “most high-profile moment” in her bid to shake up the 2016 election, CNN writes.

    • What to watch at CNN’s Green Party town hall

      The Green Party is about to have a chance to show voters it is worth casting a ballot for.
      CNN on Wednesday evening is set to hold another of its live town hall events, this time with Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka.

      The prime-time event moderated the CNN’s Chris Cuomo is set to be Stein’s most high-profile moment in her bid to upset the 2016 election, four years after she first ran and failed to gain enough traction to make it into the general election debates.


      Polls have consistently shown majorities of voters have unfavorable views of Clinton and many have said she is dishonest. In an interview on CNN this Monday, Stein appealed to these sentiments, slamming Clinton’s email practices as secretary of state and saying the issue raised “real questions about her competency.”

    • In Major Shake-Up, Trump Hires Breitbart Exec and Citizens United Propagandist Bannon to Lead Campaign

      In what is being billed as a major campaign shake-up, Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has hired Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon as his campaign’s chief executive, according to the New York Times.

    • “Extreme Vetting”: Trump Vows Ideological Test for Immigrants & Return to McCarthy-Era Repression

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump invoked the Cold War as he pledged to wage war against what he described as the “ideology of radical Islam” during a speech in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday. Trump also vowed to institute “extreme vetting” of visa applicants. He also said he’d create a commission on radical Islam, keep Guantánamo Bay open and stop trying people accused of terrorism in civilian courts. For more, we speak with Matt Taibbi, award-winning journalist with Rolling Stone magazine. We also speak with Phyllis Bennis, author of “Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror.” And we speak with Linda Sarsour, director of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change, and co-founder of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York.

    • 2016 From the Top Down: Trump Looms Over Down-Ticket Races

      This is what the corporate “news” media wanted when they put Bernie Sanders on mute while talking about what a card Trump was as he tore a wide swath through the concept of decency. They wanted bedlam, and now they have it. Republicans are making for the exits of Trump Tower by the score. They’re talking about his extreme recklessness, about the risk of giving him control of the nukes, and most prominently, about replacing him at the top of the ticket. Sorry, folks: Unless God Herself boils out of Heaven and makes it so, you’re stuck with the yam ham sweet potato man until they sweep the rubble off the floor in November. Turn off the lights when you leave.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Donald Trump Says He’ll Turn Off The Internet For Terrorists [Ed: Not a new plan, with Bill Gates named]

      Almost no one covered this because everyone was focused on other stuff in the speech about his new “tests” for letting foreigners into the country. But this still remains a pretty big concern, in part because of just how technically clueless this is. Sure, we’ve seen some others suggest similarly dumb ideas, but no one seems to bother to think through how this might be done and what a mess it would create.

      There’s no way you can “disrupt” or block them from using the internet without also cutting off millions of innocent people — many of whom almost certainly rely on the internet for all sorts of important things. And, on top of that, any solution would be of only limited effectiveness in the long run anyway. There are increasingly new ways and new paths to get online — whether through wireless mesh networks or, eventually, from things like drones and satellites. Thinking that you can magically take an entire group of people off the internet is profoundly silly.

    • Former UC Davis Chancellor Katehi Way More Obsessed With Her Online Reputation Than Initially Thought

      Earlier this year, we discussed how UC Davis detailed in a report that it spent $175k with a reputation management firm to try bury the 2011 pepper-spraying incident that has become so infamous, as well as to bolster the positive reputation and search results of its former Chancellor, Linda Katehi. While Katehi was still Chancellor, she had issued something of a mea culpa that was unfortunately riddled with excuse-making and vendor-blaming, but in which she also appeared to take responsibility for the report’s contents. Students protested anyway, as they should have, given how the report detailed that Katehi was far more interested in her own reputation online than she was in any kind of reform of campus police. Which, if you’ll remember, was what kicked off all of the negative reporting starting in 2011 to begin with.

      But now a new report has been issued that makes it clear that the $175k with the one reputation management vendor was just the tip of the iceberg, and that Katehi’s obsession with her own online reputation was far more serious than anyone had known. Indeed, her attempts to meddle in her own online search results started long before the 2011 pepper-spraying incident.

    • NPR The Latest Website To Prevent You From Commenting Because It Simply Adores ‘Relationships’ And ‘Conversation’

      For several years now we’ve documented the rise in websites that shutter their comment sections, effectively muzzling their own on-site communities. Usually this is because websites are too lazy and cheap to moderate or cultivate real conversation, or they’re not particularly keen on having readers point out their inevitable errors in such a conspicuous location. But you can’t just come out and admit this — so what we get is all manner of disingenuous prattle from website editors about how the comments section is being closed because they just really value conversation, or are simply trying to build better relationships.

    • Enigma Software Countersued For Waging A ‘Smear Campaign’ Against Site It Claimed Defamed It

      Enigma Software — creator of the SpyHunter suite of malware/adware removal tools — recently sued BleepingComputer for forum posts by a third-party volunteer moderator that it claimed were defamatory. In addition, it brought Lanham Act trademark infringement claims against the site — all in response to a couple of posts that portrayed it in a negative light.

      The posts pointed out that the company had a history of threatening critics with litigation and had engaged in a variety of deceptive tactics, including triggering false positives to promote its spyware-cleaning products and placing paying customers on a periodic payment plan that ran in perpetuity under the guise of a one-time “removal” payment.

      A somewhat bizarre decision by the judge presiding over the case allowed Enigma’s questionable complaint to survive BleepingComputer’s motion to dismiss. In doing so, the decision also suggested the judge was willing to poke holes in Section 230 protections — something that’s been happening far too frequently in recent months.

      This bogus lawsuit should never have gotten this far. Enigma’s original defamation claims contained wording found nowhere in the posts it didn’t like, and the company had to make several inferences on behalf of the website it was suing to cobble together its complaint. The lack of a decent anti-SLAPP law in New York kept its defamation claims from being ejected on arrival. Faced with having to litigate its way out of this stupid mess, BleepingComputer has gone on the offensive.

      The assertions made in its countersuit suggest Enigma Computer has been — for quite some time — fighting speech it doesn’t like (the forum posts it sued over) with more speech. Unfortunately, if the “more speech” deployed is just shadiness and bogus claims (the same sort of thing it’s suing BC for), then “more speech” isn’t really a remedy.

    • The ‘Lolita’ test: Lawsuit alleges censorship at the Minnesota Fringe Festival

      One of the most compelling dramas at the Minnesota Fringe Festival didn’t play out under the lights. Two actors with minor parts performed entirely through off-stage narration. Reviews were mixed.

      Over several years of entries at Fringe, writer/performer/provocateur Sean Neely has forged a reputation. To some, he’s a daring artist whose bold entries stand out at a festival dedicated to challenging pieces. To others, he’s a publicity-hungry miscreant whose foul “art” doesn’t fit the term.

      Neely specializes in plays that star him telling a first-person story. A couple years ago, an unsuspecting audience watched him read from a “journal,” dropping racial epithets and sketching a plan for a mass shooting.

      At 2015’s festival, Neely acted the part of a man who confessed to his dying mother that he’d raped two women, and announced his desire to assault a third. He started each performance assuring the crowd the whole story was true.

      When it was over, audience members staggered out, many wondering aloud if they’d just witnessed the confession of a serial rapist.

      At one performance, police investigators sat in the crowd. Afterward, they met Neely backstage and told him someone had reported the show, but said they’d seen nothing criminal.

      Neely wants his performances to convey “the horror” of despicable acts by bringing audiences into the mind of the “actual perpetrator.”

    • #PowerShift Docu-Series Explores The Importance Of Social Media In Countries Where Censorship Is Rife

      In countries like Turkey, Iran, China and North Korea the local population are facing a new form of censorship: the censorship of the web.

      By controlling the flow of traffic on the internet, censorship of varying degrees has allowed these countries to block websites like YouTube, effectively ban certain hashtags on Twitter and then promote their own political agenda.

    • Activist group in bid to force Facebook change

      The activist group SumOfUs has stepped up pressure on Facebook after the social media giant censored the account of a black woman who, along with her five-year-old son, was caught in a standoff with police in Maryland in the US.

      The woman, 23-year-old Korryn Gaines, was later shot dead by the police. On her account, she was recounting the standoff that led to the injury of her son and, ultimately, her death.

      The incident occurred on 3 August and police claimed they made their request to Facebook after Gaines’ followers urged her not to comply with negotiators’ bids to make her surrender peacefully, according to NBC News.

    • Univision buys Gawker Media for $135 million

      Univision, which owns the largest Spanish-language television network in the United States, has recently been expanding its online holdings. Earlier this year it bought out Disney’s stake in the Fusion network and website. Univision also expanded investments in The Onion, a humor site, and The Root, a site that focuses on African-American news.

    • Peter Thiel: The Online Privacy Debate Won’t End With Gawker

      Last month, I spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland because I believe our country is on the wrong track, and we need to solve real problems instead of fighting fake culture wars. I’m glad that an arena full of Republicans stood up to applaud when I said I was proud to be gay, because gay pride shouldn’t be a partisan issue. All people deserve respect, and nobody’s sexuality should be made a public fixation.

    • Infamous hacker Guccifer bounces back with leaked docs after Twitter ban

      INFAMOUS AND undeniably busy hacker Guccifer 2.0 was briefly banned from Twitter this weekend, but emerged unabashed with boasts about the leaking of contact details on 193 current and former members of Congress.

      Guccifer 2.0 had already made a name for himself, but won a lot of attention when he released the details of US Democrat politicians late last week.

      Affected potential candidates for Congress were shocked and appalled, and Guccifer somehow had his Twitter account suspended and some elements of his WordPress blog removed.

    • London police to create a troll-hunting social media unit

      In a bid to tackle rising levels of abuse on social media, London’s Metropolitan Police is to set up a five-person team of specialist officers tasked with targeting online trolls. Scotland Yard will spend £1.7 million on the unit, called the Online Hate Crime Hub, which will provide “targeted and effective services for victims”, offer advanced intelligence on offenders and strengthen links between police, communities and social media companies like Facebook and Twitter.

      Although UK authorities have taken steps to outlaw online abuse, victims have complained that police forces have been slow to act or been left feeling like their voices haven’t been heard. The Online Hate Crime Hub aims to better support those targeted by trolls, unmasking perpetrators who have operated under “veil of anonymity” provided by social media services.

    • London’s Met Police to set up an anti-troll brigade

      LONDON’S BOYS and ladies in blue will soon go on the virtual beat in a bid to seek out and destroy, or probably discourage, online trolls.

      Yes, the desk-based Metropolitan Police resource will be there to look out for hateful speakers and anyone who has things to say that are designed to be offensive and hurtful to others.

      Trolls are a problem, and not in the under the bridge sense, and can cause people to be upset and, on occasion, to actually leave social media networks.

      The Online Hate Crime Hub will deal with the trolling problems, just like Twitter is doing, and with the victims, according to the London Mayor’s Office and a range of reports.

    • Metropolitan Police to target online hate crime and abuse

      A new team of specialist police officers is being set up to investigate online hate crimes, including abuse on Twitter and Facebook.

      The London-based hub will include a team of five officers who will support victims and identify online abuse.

      The two-year pilot will cost £1.7m and has received £452,000 from the Home Office, the London Mayor’s office said.

    • Adoor Gopalakrishnan completes 50 years in cinema; criticises censorship and piracy
    • Adoor Gopalakrishnan against all kinds of censorship
    • Adoor Gopalakrishnan: I don’t believe in censorship
    • Misa critises media censorship
    • Amos Yee back in court over offensive videos
    • Amos Yee invokes court process to decide on trial position
    • Teenage blogger Amos Yee back in court
    • Trial of Singaporean vlogger Amos Yee ‘deeply worrying’ for speech freedom – UN expert
    • Singaporean teen blogger heads back to court to face fresh charges
    • Now Reading U.N. Backs Singaporean Blogger as More Jail Time Looms
    • Foul-Mouthed Teenager Challenges Singapore’s Puritanism
    • Amos Yee represents himself in court to stand trial against 8 charges
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Alleged NSA data dump contain hacking tools rarely seen

      A stolen cache of files that may belong to the National Security Agency contains genuine hacking tools that not only work, but show a level of sophistication rarely seen, according to security researchers.

      That includes malware that can infect a device’s firmware and persist, even if the operating system is reinstalled.

      “It’s terrifying because it demonstrates a serious level of expertise and technical ability,” said Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, an assistant professor at New York University’s school of engineering.

      He’s been among the researchers going over the sample files from the cache, after an anonymous group called the Shadow Brokers posted them online.

      Allegedly, the files were stolen from the Equation Group, a top cyberespionage team that may be connected with the NSA.

    • Hack of NSA tools delivers another blow to encryption bill backers

      The disclosure that hackers stole some of the National Security Agency’s most valuable hacking tools is reinforcing arguments made by the tech industry and digital privacy community against legislation that would mandate “back doors” into encrypted tech products.

    • Analyzing the NSA code breach in the context of recent cybersecurity events

      On Saturday, programming code for National Security Agency hacking tools was shared online. The content appears to be legitimate, but it is not clear if it was intentionally hacked or accidentally leaked. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima and Paul Vixie of Farsight Security about where this development fits in the context of other recent cybersecurity breaches.

    • Is VA.gov Website Outage Linked To NSA Website Hack?

      Tuesday carried a curious coincidence when reports surfaced that there was a systemwide VA.gov website outage at the same time the NSA website was reportedly hacked.

    • Bad weather blamed for knocking NSA’s website offline for two days

      Mystery solved.

      The NSA says the weather was at fault for bringing down its website for almost two days.

      The shadowy intelligence agency tweeted mid-afternoon Wednesday that it was a “tech issue” related to Monday’s storm in the area of the government agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland.

      Issues with the NSA’s website were first noted around the same time on Monday.

      Kevin Beaumont, a security architect, said on Twitter that the NSA’s external services — including its website and other web-facing non-internal services — were brought offline, though he suspected that the agency itself “pulled [the] plug.”

    • What Exactly Are the NSA Hackers Trying to Accomplish?

      It’s old news by now that all of our most secret data is vulnerable, no matter how hard we try to protect it. If you’re surprised that the Russian government was apparently able to steal code developed by the National Security Agency, then you haven’t been paying attention to how consistently every level of computer security, in pretty much every sector of the government and in the private world, has been breached over and over again.

    • ShadowBrokers’ Leak Has ‘Strong Connection’ to Equation Group

      A high-stakes game of attribution started by a group claiming to have a cache of exploits belonging to the Equation Group took a somewhat definitive turn Tuesday afternoon. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab yesterday confirmed a connection between the tools currently up for auction by the ShadowBrokers and Equation Group exploits and malware that researchers at the security company uncovered and disclosed in February 2015.

    • Kaspersky confirms connection between ShadowBrokers’ malware and NSA-linked Equation Group

      Identical implementations of RC5 and RC6 encryption key-block ciphers confirm link between malware cache and Equation Group

    • Cisco confirms two of the Shadow Brokers’ ‘NSA’ vulns are real

      It’s looking increasingly likely that the hacking tools put up for auction by the Shadow Brokers group are real – after Cisco confirmed two exploits in the leaked archive are legit.

      The two exploits, listed in the archive directory as EPICBANANA and EXTRABACON, can be used to achieve remote code execution on Cisco firewall products. A vulnerability exploited by one of the tools was patched in 2011 but the other exploit’s vulnerability is entirely new – and there is no fix available at the moment.

      What’s worse is that the unpatched programming blunder has been lingering in Cisco hardware for years, since at least 2013. Whoever knew about the hole obviously didn’t tell the manufacturer of the vulnerable gear.

    • Cisco Acknowledges ASA Zero Day Exposed by ShadowBrokers

      Cisco has quickly provided a workaround for one of two vulnerabilities that was disclosed in the ShadowBrokers’ data dump and issued an advisory on the other, which was patched in 2011, in order to raise awareness among its customers.

      The networking giant today released advisories saying that it had acknowledged both flaws in its Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA), the newest of which was rated high severity; both of the vulnerabilities enable remote code execution.

    • The Situation Report: The Driving Forces Behind NSA’s Reorganization [Ed: So much bad news for the NSA this week. Quick! Push some puff piece out through a - cough cough - ‘journalist’]

      The National Security Agency has operated for decades under a well-defined mission: conduct foreign signals intelligence, support military operations, and defend national security systems from attacks. But major changes in the cyber threat landscape during the last few years have forced the agency to embrace a new reorganization strategy that officials argue is urgently needed to defend the nation from an onslaught of state-sponsored hacking attacks.

    • Was NSA Hacked? Leak from ‘Shadow Brokers’ suggests so, Russian intelligence suspected

      As our Cory Doctorow reported previously, a previously unheard of hacker group calling themselves The Shadow Brokers announced this week it had stolen a trove of ready-to-use cyber weapons from The Equation Group (previously), an advanced cyberweapons dealer believed to be operating on behalf of, or within, the NSA.

      The Shadow Brokers are auctioning the weaponized malware off to the highest bidder.

      From Moscow on Twitter today, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden laid out his theory for how the exploits were captured, and what relation that has to the revelations he made when he blew the whistle on illegal NSA spying in 2013.

    • News Sites Realizing That Relying On Facebook For Traffic Might Not Have Been Wise

      Over the years, we at Techdirt have tended to resist the kinds of “audience growth strategies” that many other news publications have taken — perhaps to our own detriment. I remember when Digg was the new hotness and generating lots of traffic for news sites. Someone approached us about getting our stories highly promoted on Digg and I told them I didn’t want to game the system, and would rather let people find us organically. I know plenty of other news sites did play plenty of games. The same thing happened once everyone (and more) left Digg for Reddit. Reddit did drive a lot of traffic to us for a few years, though it’s tapered off in the past few years. And, obviously, over the last couple of years, all the publications have been talking about Facebook and how it drives so much traffic.

      A year or so ago, I was at an event and chatting with a guy from another news site who nonchalantly tossed off the claim that “well, every news site these days now knows how to game Facebook for an extra 10 to 20 million views…” and I thought “huh, actually, I have no idea how to do that.” All of this might make me very bad at running a media site (I certainly know of some other news sites that used gaming social media to leverage themselves into massive acquisition offers from legacy media companies). But, to me, it meant being able to focus on actually creating good content, rather than figuring out how to game the system or who I should be sucking up to for traffic. I’ll admit to struggling with this issue at times — sometimes wondering if we’re missing out on people reading our stuff that would like it. And, every once in a while, we’ll do little things here or there to focus on “optimizing” our site for this or that source of traffic. But it’s never been a huge focus.

    • Civil Rights Coalition files FCC Complaint Against Baltimore Police Department for Illegally Using Stingrays to Disrupt Cellular Communications

      This week the Center for Media Justice, ColorOfChange.org, and New America’s Open Technology Institute filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission alleging the Baltimore police are violating the federal Communications Act by using cell site simulators, also known as Stingrays, that disrupt cellphone calls and interfere with the cellular network—and are doing so in a way that has a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

      Stingrays operate by mimicking a cell tower and directing all cellphones in a given area to route communications through the Stingray instead of the nearby tower. They are especially pernicious surveillance tools because they collect information on every single phone in a given area—not just the suspect’s phone—this means they allow the police to conduct indiscriminate, dragnet searches. They are also able to locate people inside traditionally-protected private spaces like homes, doctors’ offices, or places of worship. Stingrays can also be configured to capture the content of communications.

    • Complaint Says Baltimore Cops’ Use of Stingray Spy Tool Violates Civil Rights

      Civil rights groups filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday, alleging that the Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) unlicensed use of the controversial cell phone surveillance tool known as Stingray violates the law through racial discrimination and willful interference with cell phone calls.

      The complaint, filed by the Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, calls on the FCC to “address harms caused by BPD’s unauthorized use” of Stingrays, also known as cell site (C.S.) simulators.

      “The FCC has legal obligations to protect against harmful interference caused by unauthorized transmissions on licensed spectrum, to manage spectrum to promote the safety of life and property, to ensure availability of emergency calling services, and to strive to make communications networks available to the public without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex,” the plaintiffs write.

    • Snowden Calls ‘Shadow Brokers’ Hack of NSA Hackers ‘Significant’ Turn in Spy Wars
    • Demand California Fix CalGang, A Deeply Flawed Gang Database

      California’s gang database contains data on more than 200,000 people that police believe are associated with gangs, often based on the flimsiest of evidence. Law enforcement officials would have you believe that it’s crucial to their jobs, that they use it ever so responsibly, and that it would never, ever result in unequal treatment of people of color.

      But you shouldn’t take their word for it. And you don’t have to take ours either, or the dozens of other civil rights organizations calling for a CalGang overhaul. But you should absolutely listen to the California State Auditor’s investigation.

    • NSA cyber weapons ‘hacked’ by mysterious Shadow Brokers
    • Edward Snowden: Russia probably behind NSA leak

      On Monday, the security world was rocked by a sensational claim: A mysterious new group calling itself “Shadow Brokers” claimed it had hacked into an elite NSA-linked hacking group and was auctioning off cyberweapons.

    • Edward Snowden: Russia probably behind NSA leak
    • Privacy lawsuit over Gmail will move forward

      Thanks to a judge’s order, Google must face another proposed class-action lawsuit over its scanning of Gmail. The issue is a lingering headache for the search giant, which has faced allegations for years now that scanning Gmail in order to create personalized ads violates US wiretapping laws.

      In a 38-page order (PDF), US District Judge Lucy Koh rejected Google’s argument that the scanning takes place within the “ordinary course of business.”

      “Not every practice that is routine or legitimate will fall within the scope of the ‘ordinary course of business’,” Judge Koh wrote.

    • LinkedIn sues 100 individuals for scraping user data from the site

      Professional social network LinkedIn is suing 100 anonymous individuals for data scraping. It is hoped that a court order will be able to reveal the identities of those responsible for using bots to harvest user data from the site.

      The Microsoft-owned service takes pride in the relationship it has with its users and the security it offers their data. Its lawsuit seeks to use the data scrapers’ IP addresses and then discover their true identity in order to take action against them.

      LinkedIn says that a botnet has been used to gain access to user data which is then passed on to third parties. The site has a number of measures in place to prevent this type of data harvesting, but it seems that scrapers have found a way to circumvent these security restrictions. A series of automated tools — FUSE, Quicksand, Sentinel, and Org Block — are used to monitor suspicious activity and block scraping.

    • The Detectives Who Never Forget a Face

      A predator was stalking London. He would board a crowded bus at rush hour, carrying a Metro newspaper, and sit next to a young woman. Opening the newspaper to form a curtain, he would reach over and grope her. The man first struck one summer afternoon in 2014, on the No. 253 bus in North London, grabbing the crotch of a fifteen-year-old girl. She fled the bus and called the police, but by that time he had disappeared. A few months later, in October, he assaulted a twenty-one-year-old woman on the upper level of a double-decker as it approached the White Hart Lane stadium. She escaped to the lower level, but he followed her, and he continued to pursue her even after she got off the bus. She flagged down a passerby, and the man fled. In March, 2015, he groped a sixteen-year-old on the No. 168. On each occasion, the man slipped away from the crime scene by blending into a crowd of commuters. But, each time, he left a trace, because public buses in London are monitored by closed-circuit-television systems.

      When transit police played back the footage of each sexual assault, they saw the same middle-aged man in spectacles and a black parka. He had thinning hair and a dark mustache that was going gray. After consulting the electronic readers on each bus, investigators isolated one fare card that had been used on all three. If the pass had been bought with a credit card, it could be linked to the perpetrator. But the man had paid for it in cash.

      The transit police found themselves in a familiar predicament: a case in which a crime is captured on video but no one can identify the perpetrator. London has more than eight million residents; unless somebody recognizes a suspect, CCTV footage is effectively useless. Investigators circulated photographs of the man with the mustache, but nobody came forward with information. So they turned to a tiny unit that had recently been established by London’s Metropolitan Police Service. In Room 901 of New Scotland Yard, the police had assembled half a dozen officers who shared an unusual talent: they all had a preternatural ability to recognize human faces.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Third French city bans ‘burkini’ after brawl at beach

      A third French mayor has banned women from wearing “burkinis” after a brawl over the swimsuit broke out between residents of a Corsican village and beachgoers of North African descent.

      Around 100 police were called to a beach in the village of Sisco, near the island capital Bastia, on Saturday.

      The details of the fight itself are murky. Local press reported that it began when a group of teenagers and their families took photographs of women swimming in so-called burkinis — bathing suits that cover most of the body except for the face, feet and hands, which satisfy Islamic standards of modesty for women.

      A girl who witnessed the altercation told a slightly different version of the story: Three men started arguing with a tourist they accused of taking pictures of the women in burkinis. She recounted that version of events at an impromptu rally the following day in Bastia. French media that covered the event did not name her, identifying her only as “a minor.”

    • Tribes watch GOP effort to wrest control of federal land

      Two years after a Nevada cattle rancher and his allies took up arms in protest of U.S. government grazing fees, Republican Party activists are asking that the feds return certain lands to the states. The proposal was included this July in the 2016 GOP platform — essentially a wish-list of legislation, a vision for the next president and Congress.

      That’s a big deal in the West, where nearly half of the land is owned by the federal government. As of 2015, the Bureau of Land Management oversaw 248 million surface acres and approximately 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estates throughout the country.

      The Republican proposal hasn’t gotten as much attention in California as in other states, but is certainly on the minds of some Golden State officials and tribal leaders as the presidential election approaches.

    • Girls as young as NINE forced into marriage by Imams – and authorities are POWERLESS

      Forced marriages are supposed to be illegal in Angela Merkel’s nation – but a loophole in the law means officials cannot interfere in religious marriages – which sees hundreds of vulnerable children walk down the aisle.

      Shocking figures reveal how underage girls are forced by Imams into marriages and disappear from schools because they have to do household chores for their mother-in-laws or even move abroad.

      The Romani community sometimes marry off 13-year-old girls to 17-year-old boys in ancient ceremonies – in the middle of Germany.

      Although the exact figures remain a mystery, authorities in Bavaria counted 161 cases of marriage applicants under the age of 16 and 550 cases under the age of 18 by the end of April.

    • Police chiefs want new law that would compel people to reveal passwords

      Canada’s police chiefs want a new law that would force people to hand over their electronic passwords with a judge’s consent.

      The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has passed a resolution calling for the legal measure to unlock digital evidence, saying criminals increasingly use encryption to hide illicit activities.

      There is nothing currently in Canadian law that would compel someone to provide a password to police during an investigation, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Joe Oliver told a news conference Tuesday.

    • Michael Weiss and the Iran-U.S. Hardline Nexus That Led Iranian-American to Evin Prison

      It’s a long way from the campus of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods in 2003 to Tehran’s Evin Prison in 2016. But the path between them led to a fateful intersection of the lives of Michael D. Weiss (the Dartmouth student) and Siamak Namazi (a jailed Iranian-American). It was Weiss who helped put him there.

      Weiss, age 36, has been an itinerant freelance journalist and military interventionist gun-for-hire, plying his trade from Washington DC, to London, to the outlying lands of former Russian empire, to the ruins of Syria.

      With his role as CNN commentator and senior editor at the Daily Beast, he is a leading light among a new young generation of neoconservative intellectuals. These positions offer him the opportunity to shape American political discourse in much the same way Bill Kristol’s Project for the New American Century, shaped U.S. militarist- interventionist foreign policy for a decade or more after its famous 1998 letter to Bill Clinton.

    • U.S. Jails Fail to Meet Basic Needs of Growing Population of Women

      As incarceration rates nationwide begin to slowly fall after decades of growth, one group stands in stark opposition to the trend: women, whose imprisonment in jails is growing at alarming rates, often with devastating impacts extending to their children and families.

      Jails — where individuals are held in pretrial confinement, when they fail to meet probation requirements, or simply when they cannot afford bail — have become the country’s single largest driver of mass incarceration for both men and women, with some 11 million admissions annually. And while as a whole, men in jail continue to far outnumber women, the number of women has grown 14-fold since 1970, when three-quarters of the country’s counties had not a single woman in jail. That year, women accounted for 11 percent of all arrests — but they accounted for about 26 percent in 2014.

    • ‘On Contact’: Chris Hedges and Professor Eddie Glaude Discuss ‘The Great Black Depression’ (Video)

      “From housing to jobs to poverty levels, black America is struggling,” Princeton professor Eddie Glaude tells Chris Hedges in the Truthdig columnist’s “On Contact” show. “In so many ways since 2008, our communities have been in ruins.”

    • Alan Dershowitz’s “Advice” to Black Lives Matter

      The Boston Globe recently ran an article by Alan Dershowitz that was full of imperatives for the membership of Black Lives Matter, telling them in what they “must” do to make things right with supporters of Israel and to avoid being cast into the “dustbin of history”.

      Well I’ve got news for Mr. Dershowitz.

      Those of us that support Black Lives Matter are not particularly interested in anything that he—a serial bully, sycophant to the rich and famous and arch-apologist for Israel’s long and constant history of ethnic cleansing—says to us.

      Indeed, many us of find the pose he adopts, the all-too-familiar one of the Zionist—which is to say a person beholden to an ideology that grants civil rights on the basis of a person’s bloodlines—telling us what we can and cannot say about this or that subject to be not only offensive, but borderline comical.

    • America’s Criminal Injustice System

      Once upon a time, I was a journalist, covering war in Indochina, Central America, and the Middle East. I made it my job to write about the victims of war, the “civilian casualties.” To me, they were hardly “collateral damage,” that bloodless term the military persuaded journalists to adopt. To me, they were the center of war. Now, I work at home and I’m a private eye — or P.I. to you. I work mostly on homicide cases for defense lawyers on the mean streets of Oakland, California, one of America’s murder capitals.

      Some days, Oakland feels like Saigon, Tegucigalpa, or Gaza. There’s the deception of daily life and the silent routine of dread punctured by out-of-the blue mayhem. Oakland’s poor neighborhoods are a war zone whose violence can even explode onto streets made rich overnight by the tech boom. Any quiet day, you can drive down San Pablo Avenue past St. Columba Catholic Church, where a thicket of white crosses, one for every Oaklander killed by gun violence, year by year, fills its front yard.

      Whenever I tell people I’m a private eye, they ask: Do you get innocent people off death row? Or: Can you follow my ex around? Or: What kind of gun do you carry?

      I always disappoint them. Yes, I do defend people against the death penalty, but so far all my defendants have probably been guilty — of something. (Often, I can only guess what.) While keeping them off death row may absolve me of being an accessory after the fact to murder, it also regularly condemns my defendants to life in prison until they die there.

    • US Transfers 15 Guantánamo Detainees as Rights Groups Push for Full Closure

      The Pentagon on Monday announced that 15 men would be transferred from Guantánamo Bay to the United Arab Emirates, in the largest single detainee shuffle under President Barack Obama’s administration.

      The transfer means there are now just 61 people left in the U.S. military prison in Cuba. The 15 men include 12 Yemenis and three Afghans.

      Amnesty International hoped the move indicated that the Obama administration would step up its efforts to close the controversial site.

      “This is a powerful sign that President Obama is serious about closing Guantánamo before he leaves office. With these transfers, Guantánamo’s population will be reduced by one-fifth,” said Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA’s security and human rights program director.

      “It is vital he keep the momentum. If President Obama fails to close Guantánamo, the next administration could fill it with new detainees and it could become permanent. It would be an extremely dangerous legacy of allowing people to be detained without charge, in an endless global war, practically until they die,” Shah said.

    • Behind the Scenes at the Lutheran Vote Against the Israeli Occupation

      For all their worry, Wacker-Farrand and her fellow organizers had some reason to hope for a favorable vote on C2. Days earlier, the assembly had voted by an overwhelming majority (82 percent) to adopt another Memorial regarding Palestine. According to that Memorial, the ELCA must urge “U.S. Representatives, Senators and the Administration to take action requiring that, to continue receiving U.S. financial and military aid, Israel must comply with internationally recognized human rights standards.” Such standards include putting a stop to Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

    • Is Another Cheney Headed to Washington?

      Following surely in the footprints of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney won a solid victory in the Wyoming Republican primary on Tuesday and will now be in contention for the U.S. House seat that he once held.

      “I look forward very much to moving forward in the general election, unified and focused on making sure we send the strongest conservative voice to Washington,” declared Cheney, a fierce neoconservative and war hawk, after defeating her 8 primary opponents.

      According to the Casper Star Tribune, with 82 percent of precincts counted, Cheney took 40 percent of the vote.

      She now faces Democrat Ryan Greene in the general election. According to the Tribune, “She will campaign on a platform of repealing regulation deemed harmful to Wyoming, such as the Clean Power Plan, and in support of a strong national defense.” Her website also lists Wyoming coal as a major priority and the candidate strongly opposes women’s right to an abortion.

    • This Dream That Came True

      Wednesday marked the final day of the 47th anniversary of Woodstock, that iconic celebration of peace, love, mud, music and community in upstate New York whose promise still resonates for those of a certain age. Over 400,000 people gathered in the summer of 1969 in a massive muddy field at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel – not Woodstock, which turned it down – for an event originally aimed at raising money for a recording studio, not making cultural history. Amid fears no one would come, it was advertised as open to the public for a $6.50 ticket – until the fences came down and the crowds surged in for free.

    • A Good Cop

      In the 1990s, cop reporting was not a strength of the New York Times, and I’d often get calls from the Metro desk asking if I could help match something or other that had been in the tabs. I was Irish and Catholic and had grown up in Brooklyn along with other kids who wound up “on the job.” Oh, and I was an ex-sportswriter, too. I guess I had the pedigree of a cop reporter, if not any demonstrated talent.

      I got a call at home one night in March of 1996. Earlier that day, John Timoney, the outgoing first deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department, had been given a hero’s reception during a promotion ceremony at Police Headquarters. It amounted to an act of collective insubordination, for Timoney was exiting the department after having been passed over by Mayor Rudy Giuliani to succeed Bill Bratton as commissioner.

      The Times, I guess, hadn’t had anyone at the ceremony, and now we needed to catch up. No one had a number for Timoney, and the next edition closed in 40 minutes. It so happened that I’d once been introduced to Timoney, by Mike McAlary of the Daily News (Irish, Catholic, a former sportswriter, and a great cop reporter). I managed to track down Timoney’s home number.

      Timoney took my call. He was great, and, miracle of miracles, he was on the record. Timoney had been born in Dublin and raised in Northern Manhattan, his dad a New York City doorman. He’d been a beat cop, but had also earned master’s degrees in American history and urban planning. He was a reader of literature and an expert in police shootings. He’d been the youngest four-star chief in the history of the department.

    • Ultra-Orthodox paper ‘makes history’ with partial photo of Hillary Clinton

      The photo was first picked up by a Jewish blog, Only Simchas, which wrote about it under the headline: “History Made: Yated Ne’eman Publishes a Picture of Hillary Clinton. A Woman!” The photo shows only Clinton’s hairdo and raised arm, but it goes further than other images used to illustrate articles about Clinton in the ultra-Orthodox press. In the past, editors of Yated Ne’eman and other papers have instead used political cartoons or photos of Clinton’s husband, Bill.

    • 1999 Rape Case Swirls Around Nate Parker and His Film ‘The Birth of a Nation’

      “The Birth of a Nation,” a drama about the Nat Turner slave rebellion, upended the Sundance Film Festival, selling for a record $17.5 million and instantly vaulting to front-runner of next year’s Oscar race.

      Scheduled to be released Oct. 7, the film is now attracting unwanted attention because of renewed interest in a 17-year-old case in which the film’s director, writer and star, Nate Parker, was accused — and later acquitted — of rape when he was a student at Penn State.

      His college roommate, Jean McGianni Celestin, who received a credit on the movie, was also charged. Last week Deadline.com and Variety asked Mr. Parker about the case, and on Tuesday, Variety reported that his accuser committed suicide in 2012 at age 30.

    • Soul-Searching in Germany

      The elections are complicated. The vicious Alternative for Germany (AfD), based on anti-foreigner feelings, will now make it into the local parliament and all twelve borough councils, a frightening perspective. The other parties will have nothing to do with them (as yet, anyway). Since the Free Democrats and Pirates have scant hope of meeting the 5% requirement for the parliament, four main parties will compete. The necessary mating this will require to reach a ruling 50% majority recalls the old riddle about how to cross a river with a wolf, a goat and a head of cabbage. Who with whom? The SPD, polling best in Berlin with 23%, doesn’t want to keep on with the Christian Democrats (CDU), now standing at just 18%. And the sum of those numbers would no longer win half the seats.

    • Washington Post Reveals Immigrant Family Detention Center Made for-Profit Prison Company $1 Billion, in No-Bid Deal

      The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) used an existing contract with a private prison company to reach a separate deal with the firm, without having to publicly solicit bids for a new detention center.

      ICE and the Corrections Corporation of America agreed on the four-year, $1 billion no-bid deal in 2014, to rapidly implement an Obama administration initiative designed to deter the arrival of asylum seekers from Central America.

      The terms of the agreement were reported on Monday in an investigation published by The Washington Post.

      The paper said that the deal was hastily struck after Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson determined that the US “could cut down the surge [of migration] only by demonstrating that asylum seekers wouldn’t receive leniency.”

      “This whole thing [was] building and reaching an unsustainable level,” former Johnson chief of staff, Christian Marrone, told the Post. “We had to take measures to stem the tide.”

      The paper noted that those seeking asylum in the US, “until two years ago, had rarely been held in detention.”

    • Pentagon Issues First Update To Domestic Surveillance Guidelines In 35 Years, Not All Of It Good

      Cody Poplin at Lawfare points out that the Defense Department has just issued an update on rules governing its intelligence collection activities — the first major update in over 30 years. These would directly affect the NSA, which operates under the Defense Department.

      The most significant alteration appears to be to retention periods for US persons data. While everything is still assumed to be lawful under Executive Order 12333 and DoD Directive 5240.1, the point at which a record is deemed to be “collected” — starting the clock on the retention period — has changed.

    • America’s Cult of the Police

      It didn’t used to be this way. From the first whispers about freedom from Britain, America’s DNA has included a healthy distrust of government authority. It is a distrust enshrined in our constitution with its checks and balances and, specifically regarding police, in the Third and Fourth Amendments.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The FCC Keeps Running Into Opposition With Its Plan to Open Up Cable Boxes

      These days, one item jumps out more than any other; after all, it’s not necessarily the service itself that’s overpriced these days if you get a bundle (and you use your landline phone plan). Cable box rental fees, however, are out of control. Some providers have even hiked rates past the $10 per box per month mark, so the hardware costs more than a Netflix subscription. And that doesn’t even include DVR fees! If you buy a TiVo or build a home theater PC, you can buy a tuner that uses a CableCARD, but the card itself still has to be rented from the cable company, even if the price may be less than that of a box.

      There has to be a better way to do this.

      The FCC agrees, and in February, it started to make the steps to push forward a proposal for an alternative. “Instead of mandating a government-specific standard that might impede innovation,” its statement explained, “the Commission recommends that these three streams be available to the creators of competitive solutions using any published, transparent format that conforms to specifications set by an independent, open standards body.” The cable companies, not wanting to abandon a source for $19.5 billion inannual revenue, have their own proposal, as well. Their proposal is built around “enforcing an industry-wide commitment to develop and deploy video ‘apps’ that all large MVPDs would build to open HTML5 web standards.”

    • Cutting the Cord With Playstation Vue

      We have a Roku that provides the streaming channels (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crackle, Spotify, and Pandora).


      Overall, we love the new setup. The Playstation 4 is a great center-point for our entertainment system. It is awesome having a single remote, everything on one box and in one interface. I also love the higher-fidelity experience – the Roku is great but the interface looks a little dated and the apps are rather restricted.

    • Comcast Fancies Itself The Tesla Of Cable

      Despite offering some of the worst customer service ever documented, Comcast has been busy lately trying to convince anybody who’ll listen that it’s on the cusp of becoming a Silicon-Valley-esque innovation giant. That’s an uphill climb for those familiar with the company’s often biannual TV rate hikes, attacks on net neutrality, or the company’s ongoing quest to sock uncompetitive markets with usage caps. High prices aren’t just a result of Comcast’s monopoly domination, you see, they’re reflections of the incredible value being delivered unto consumers by an innovation engine, the likes of which the universe has never seen.

    • US Government Announces Go-Ahead For IANA Transition By October

      The United States Commerce Department National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) this week confirmed it will hand over oversight of the internet domain name system root zone and other core internet infrastructure registries to the semi-private Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • In the fight for our genes, could we lose what makes us human?

      In the last 70 years we’ve come a long way towards unraveling the building blocks of human life. The human genome has been identified, sequenced, mapped, decoded, and interfered with. We’ve used this knowledge to clone Dolly the sheep, discover breast cancer-causing genes and create stem cells from our own skin. And now we stand on an exciting precipice: perfecting technologies that allow us to edit our genes with precision.

      But as we embark further on the gene revolution and allow corporations and governments to deconstruct human beings down to their most basic parts, we have to question whether we may lose not just some of those parts in the process but something much greater and more important—what it means to be truly human.

      Let’s start with the technology. At the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, a panel called Humankind and the Machine brought together leading experts in technology, governance, and bioethics to discuss new technologies that are sure to have a major impact on humanity: artificial intelligence, cyber-security, genetics, and space colonization.

    • End Price-Gouging on Drugs Developed With Public Dollars

      The U.S. invests more than $32 billion each year in drug and biomedical research. This major public investment in drug research empowers the government to make drugs affordable under the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. But, even when drug companies price critical drugs at staggeringly high prices, the government has never used this authority. Why doesn’t the federal government ensure reasonable prices for drugs developed with public funds—an appropriate return on the public’s investment?

      According to Peter Arno and Michael H Davis, Bayh-Dole revises the U.S. patent law so that the federal government can ensure new drugs developed in part or whole with federal dollars are priced reasonably. Put differently, when federal dollars support research on a new drug, the drug manufacturer is supposed to price the drug reasonably. If the manufacturer does not, the federal government has the right to authorize another manufacturer to license the drug and sell it at a reasonable price.

    • US Agencies Seek Comment On Updated Antitrust Guidelines For IP Licensing

      In an age when licensing of intellectual property plays a critical role in business strategy, the United States Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are seeking public comment on a proposed update of the antitrust guidelines for IP licensing.

      “The IP Licensing Guidelines, which state the agencies’ antitrust enforcement policy with respect to the licensing of intellectual property protected by patent, copyright and trade secret law and of know-how, were issued in 1995 and are now being updated,” the agencies said in a release.

      The proposed update and related information is available here.

      Changes include consideration of key court case outcomes, incorporating the recent US Defense of Trade Secrets law, and the change from a 17-year to a 20-year patent term agreed in the 1994 World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Enforcement aspects of the guidelines are unchanged in the proposed update, the agencies said.

    • Trademarks

      • Citigroup Gets First Loss In Trademark Suit Against AT&T For Saying ‘Thanks’

        A couple of months back, I brought to you a trademark suit initiated by Citigroup against AT&T that amost perfectly distilled both how ridiculously litigious trademark law has become and exactly how facepalm-inducingly lax the standards for trademark approval are with our friends over at the USPTO. The summary of the lawsuit can be described thusly: Citigroup has sued AT&T because the latter has branded messaging that says “thanks” and “thank you,” and Citigroup has a trademark on the term “thankyou.” And if your forehead hasn’t smacked your desk yet, you have a stronger constitution than this author.

        Included within Citigroup’s hilarious filing was a request for an injunction by the court barring AT&T from continuing any of this gratitude towards its customers over the immense harm it was doing to the bank. Well, the court has ruled on that request by refusing to issue the injunction, all while patiently laying out within the court document all of the reasons why the court will almost certainly eventually dismiss this suit entirely.

    • Copyrights

      • Nintendo Shuts Down Fan Remake Of 25 Year Old Metroid 2 Game Because It Can’t Help Itself

        For gamers who are fans of Nintendo, it’s always helpful to remember that Nintendo hates you. The general idea behind that mantra is that Nintendo, when faced between embracing the creativity and love that comes from its fans and acting like over-protective toddlers when it comes to any sort of its intellectual property, will always choose the latter. The company has issued takedowns for fan-made Mario Bros. levels just as it released Mario Maker, it as made a habit of shutting down fan-films depicting Nintendo characters, and it has even shut down fan get-togethers centered around beloved Nintendo properties just because they aren’t “official.” To be clear, Nintendo certainly can ensure that all of this free advertising for its products is never seen or enjoyed by the public legally, but it doesn’t have to. It could instead embrace the love of its fans and work out an arrangement that would protect its IP while still allowing its fans to be fans.


Links 17/8/2016: GNOME and Debian Anniversaries

Posted in News Roundup at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Plane Maker Airbus Joins Hyperledger Blockchain Project

    French airplane manufacturer Airbus has officially joined the Hyperledger Project, the Linux Foundation-led blockchain initiative.

    The Toulouse-based manufacturer, which last year beat Boeing to sell more than 1,000 aircraft, is expected to “actively contribute” to the initiative, which also counts companies such as IBM, Intel and JPMorgan among its membership.

  • Hyperledger Announces Airbus as a Premier Member
  • Hyperledger Tests Open Strategy With First Blockchain Explorer

    Business blockchain consortium Hyperledger is now building an open-source tool that will let anyone explore the distributed ledger projects being created by its members.

    Originally conceived by an intern at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), the proposal to create a blockchain explorer gained steam last month when it was informally proposed to members. It was then that other prominent contributors to the Linux-led group discovered they all had similar efforts underway.

    But instead of launching competing open-source services, an effort began to merge the blockchain explorers being developed by DTCC, IBM and Intel. The joint project has been dubbed the “Hyperledger Explorer”.

    Similar to block explorers already being offered for other public blockchains, the tool would make it easier to learn about Hyperledger from the inside, while still protecting the privacy valued by many of the non-profit organization’s members.

  • Does the Open-Source Model Enable Bitcoin-Stealing Wallet Apps?

    According to an Apple Insider report published on August 9, a disturbing trend has emerged on Apple’s App Store as a series of malicious copycats of well-known Bitcoin wallet apps became available to download. Some of the fake wallets looked quite similar to the real thing but were specifically tweaked to steal bitcoins from unsuspecting users. As a result some $20,000 reportedly ended up in the pockets of scam artists before Apple was able to filter and remove the apps from its store.

  • Vendor-supplied or open-source HMI software?

    When an HMI project requires more functionality than that offered by self-contained touchscreen units, the next step is to use an industrial PC-based system. The PC can be a traditional keyboard and mouse if the environment allows, or an integrated computer/touchscreen with varying degrees of environmental protection.


    The three biggest advantages when using open source are the price (free or close to it), the programmer’s ability to modify and extend the code in any way required and having the final project being a smaller, more efficient product. The programming skill needed to create an application is somewhat higher than what is required using off-the-shelf development packages.

  • 5 steps for making community decisions without consensus

    Healthy open source communities usually include a wide range of people with different ideologies, goals, values, and points of view—from anarchists to CEOs of major corporations. The normal approach for making decisions that affect the entire community should be an attempt to reach consensus through discussion; however, what if you’re attempting to make a decision that is critically important, but there are irreconcilable differences in the community?

    The Xen Project community had such a decision to make in the wake of the XSA-7 security issue about the project’s security policy. We knew beforehand that there was unlikely to be consensus, so we thought carefully about how we could approach the discussion.

    Our main goals were to find a “center of gravity” of the community preference, and to make sure that the people who didn’t get what they wanted felt like their voice was heard and taken into consideration. In this article, I’ll briefly summarize my conclusions from that experience.

  • How to fire yourself: A founder’s dilemma

    I learned more about business, software, and, most importantly, people, in the first two years of Lucidworks than I did in the previous 10-15 years of school and work combined. Being a founder was (and is) a thrilling ride and one that expands your brain in ways you never knew it could expand. It’s also an addictive ride, as your brain starts to crave the novelty of newness that comes from context switching between a dozen different things, seemingly all at once, as well as the satisfaction that comes from being “the one who gets it done.” Not that you ever really are that person, but more on that in a moment.

  • Events

    • Is open source eating the world?

      Open source technology is understandably controversial, not least because it has massively eroded the software licensing revenues of established IT players.

      At a panel hosted by Rackspace, entitled ‘Open source is eating the world: Building on open source for enterprise’, participants disagreed over what was driving the production of open source, but not over the scale of disruption it had brought to the industry.

    • Rackspace open source cloud breakfast: techie toasties & cloudpaccinos

      As a side note of huge interest… during general discussions it emerged that (according to one statistic) the split between female and male developers is roughly 80% to 20% in favour of males, obviously. But, significantly, that split drops down to 90% to 10% — why that should be is unknown, but it may be a good pointer for where responsibilities lie.

    • Upskill U on Open Source & the Cloud With Heavy Reading

      On Wednesday in the Upskill U course “Using Open Source for Data Centers and Cloud Services,” Roz Roseboro, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, will address why and how operators are implementing open source for cloud platforms and services. This course will examine relevant open source projects for telcos, how open source differs from traditional standards bodies and what concerns operators have about open source, like security. (Register for Using Open Source for Data Centers and Cloud Services.)

    • HackerNest Tech Job Fair
    • Outreachy talk

      Yesterday I gave a talk about Outreachy to Girls Coding Kosova. Since there is isn’t anyone else from Kosovo who participated in Outreachy previously and they were not really informed about it, I thought I’d share my amazing experience and give some details about the program. I decided to focus more on the application process since that was the “tricky” part when I applied and seemed to be the same for them as well, since they had a lot of questions regarding the application part. I pretended to be applying for the second time and went through the application process step by step. Starting from choosing an organization, choosing a project, contacting mentors and coordinators via e-mail or IRC, making a small contribution etc.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Awards Nearly $600,000 to Qualifying Open Source Projects

        Last year, Mozilla launched the Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS) – an award program specifically focused on supporting open source and free software. As The VAR Guy notes: “The Mozilla Foundation has long injected money into the open source ecosystem through partnerships with other projects and grants. But it formalized that mission last year by launching MOSS, which originally focused on supporting open source projects that directly complement or help form the basis for Mozilla’s own products.”

        Now, Mozilla has reported that it awarded a hefty $585,000 to nine open source projects in Q2 of this year alone. Here is more on a couple of the most interesting projects and what they are focusing on.

        PyPy. PyPy is a fast, compliant alternative implementation of the Python language (2.7.10 and 3.3.5). Its developers tout its performance advantages over Python.

      • Netflix will work on Firefox 49 for Linux [Ed: yay! DRM!]

        In the upcoming release of Firefox 49, Mozilla will include support for Google’s Content Decryption Module (CDM), Widevine. With this support, Firefox users on Linux will finally be able to watch Netflix content; previously Linux users had to watch Netflix using Google’s Chrome browser.

        Mozilla Firefox users on Windows and Mac already had the ability to watch Netflix content as Widevine was switched on earlier for those users. Firefox 49 brings the Linux version up to parity.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Keynote: Making Data Accessible – Ashish Thusoo, Co-founder & CEO, Qubole
    • OpenStack Community Challenged By Dearth Of Talent, Complexity

      The OpenStack community has grown at breakneck pace since the open-source cloud orchestration technology burst on the scene in 2010, a product of NASA and Rackspace Hosting.

      As envisioned by its developers, OpenStack provided a welcome alternative to proprietary IaaS solutions and an opportunity for independent service providers to build robust public and hybrid clouds with distributed computing resources that had the functionality and power to compete with the big boys, including industry-dominating Amazon Web Services.

    • How to Avoid Pitfalls in Doing Your OpenStack Deployment

      How fast is the OpenStack global cloud management market growing? Research and Markets analysts are out with a new report that forecasts the global OpenStack cloud management market to grow at a CAGR of 30.49% during the period 2016-2020.

      According to the report: “Cloud brokerage services that provide management and maintenance services to enterprises will be a key trend for market growth. However, this report and others forecast that technical issues and difficulties surrounding OpenStack deployments will be on the increase. In this post, you’ll find resources that can help you avoid the pitfalls present in doing an OpenStack deployment.

      “OpenStack talent is a rarified discipline,” Josh McKenty, who helped develop the platform, has told CRN, adding, “to be good with OpenStack, you need to be a systems engineer, a great programmer but also really comfortable working with hardware.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


  • Public Services/Government

    • US Government Reshapes Core Services Through Open Source

      Yesterday Kathryn Ryan interviewed Eric Hysen, the head of U.S. Digital Service at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about his organisation’s efforts to streamline and improve government IT projects. Hysen, formerly a Silicon Valley tech guru at Google discusses how DHS is partnering top private sector tech expertise with innovators inside government to transform critical government services. This approach is part of a fundamental shift in thinking in the US that seeks to tackle Government services delivery problems through more open source and human centred design approaches. The interview is available here:

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Slovakian Public Procurement Bulletin published in XML format

        The Slovakian Public Procurement Office (PPO) has published its Public Procurement Bulletin in an open XML format, making all announcements of public procurement, including editorial corrections, available for download and (automated) processing.

      • “Helsinki Region Infoshare service increasing trust toward city and officials”

        Over the last five years, more than 1200 datasets have been published on the open data portal of Greater Helsinki, comprising the Finnish cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen. According to the City of Helsinki, just opening up the data has resulted in 1-2 percent savings. “Making lots of our city purchase data public has opened up a new view for citizens into city administration, and it increases people’s trust toward the city and its officials,” said Tanja Lahti, the project manager for the Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) service.

      • UN: open data to improve state accountability and transparency

        Publishing government data online can improve accountability and transparency not only of national governments, but also of parliaments and the judiciary. Consequently, open data will play an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted in 2015 by the United Nations with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development [1, 2]. “With growing access to social media, an increasing number of countries now proactively use networking opportunities to engage with people and evolve towards participatory decision-making. This is done through open data, online consultations, and multiple ICT-related channels.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Vala — seems ideal so far

      I was searching for a language to write the phone GUI with… python3+gtk3 is way too slow; 9 seconds for trivial application is a bit too much (on N900). python2+gtk2 is a lot better at 2 seconds. Lua should be even faster.


  • Google launches a mysterious open source operating system called Fuchsia
  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fears of global yellow fever epidemic grow as vaccine stocks dwindle

      A last-ditch effort to prevent yellow fever spreading through Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and potentially developing into a global epidemic is to be launched using vaccines containing a fifth of the normal dose because the global stockpile is so low.

      Yellow fever is frequently lethal, killing half of those who develop severe symptoms. It is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also responsible for the spread of Zika virus. There is a vaccine which protects people for life, but few adults had been immunised in Angola when yellow fever broke out there in December last year, and in the DRC, to where it has spread.

      If it takes hold in Kinshasa, a densely packed city of more than 10 million people, it is feared that infected mosquitoes could travel beyond the central African region, which has been experiencing so severe an outbreak that vaccine stocks are almost exhausted.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Rampaging South Sudan troops raped foreigners, killed local

      For hours throughout the assault, the U.N. peacekeeping force stationed less than a mile away refused to respond to desperate calls for help. Neither did embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.

      The Associated Press interviewed by phone eight survivors, both male and female, including three who said they were raped. The other five said they were beaten; one was shot. Most insisted on anonymity for their safety or to protect their organizations still operating in South Sudan.

      The accounts highlight, in raw detail, the failure of the U.N. peacekeeping force to uphold its core mandate of protecting civilians, notably those just a few minutes’ drive away. The Associated Press previously reported that U.N. peacekeepers in Juba did not stop the rapes of local women by soldiers outside the U.N.’s main camp last month.

      The attack on the Terrain hotel complex shows the hostility toward foreigners and aid workers by troops under the command of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, who has been fighting supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar since civil war erupted in December 2013. Both sides have been accused of abuses. The U.N. recently passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution to send more peacekeeping troops to protect civilians.

      Army spokesman Lul Ruai did not deny the attack at the Terrain but said it was premature to conclude the army was responsible. “Everyone is armed, and everyone has access to uniforms and we have people from other organized forces, but it was definitely done by people of South Sudan and by armed people of Juba,” he said.

      A report on the incident compiled by the Terrain’s owner at Ruai’s request, seen by the AP, alleges the rapes of at least five women, torture, mock executions, beatings and looting. An unknown number of South Sudanese women were also assaulted.

      The attack came just as people in Juba were thinking the worst was over.

      Three days earlier, gunfire had erupted outside the presidential compound between armed supporters of the two sides in South Sudan’s civil war, at the time pushed together under an uneasy peace deal. The violence quickly spread across the city.

      Throughout the weekend, bullets whizzed through the Terrain compound, a sprawling complex with a pool, squash court and a bar patronized by expats and South Sudanese elites. It is also in the shadow of the U.N.’s largest camp in Juba.

      By Monday, the government had nearly defeated the forces under Machar, who fled the city. As both sides prepared to call for a cease-fire, some residents of the Terrain started to relax.

      “Monday was relatively chill,” one survivor said.

      What was thought to be celebratory gunfire was heard. And then the soldiers arrived. A Terrain staffer from Uganda said he saw between 80 and 100 men pour into the compound after breaking open the gate with gunshots and tire irons. The Terrain’s security guards were armed only with shotguns and were vastly outnumbered. The soldiers then went to door to door, taking money, phones, laptops and car keys.

      “They were very excited, very drunk, under the influence of something, almost a mad state, walking around shooting off rounds inside the rooms,” one American said.

    • Company That Sued Soldiers Settles Colorado Lawsuit

      In 2014, ProPublica published an investigation of USA Discounters, a subprime lender that, contrary to its name, specialized in enticing military service members into overpaying for furniture, electronics and appliances. When they fell behind on the high-interest loans, the company often took them to court in Virginia — a few miles from the company’s headquarters, but often nowhere near where the service members were based. With court judgments in hand, the company gained the power to seize money from soldiers’ paychecks or bank accounts.

    • Monsters to Destroy: Top 7 Reasons the US could not have forestalled Syrian Civil War

      The interventionist temptation, muted since the Iraq imbroglio, is now returning. Sec. Clinton’s team are already talking about taking steps to remove Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from office as soon as they get into the White House. An excellent and principled NYT columnist called the non-intervention in Syria President Obama’s worst mistake.

    • Hillary Clinton wants to review US strategy in Syria against Isis and Bashar al-Assad’s ‘murderous’ regime
    • Why Hillary’s neocon foreign policy will make the problem of Islamophobia worse

      In Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Democratic Party seems to have found the perfect counter to Donald Trump. Since Trump proposed banning Muslims from the US, his campaign has sought to exploit the fear that Muslims are dangerous and disloyal. But who could think that of the patriotic, constitution-waving Khans, whose son died fighting for the US?

      Trump suggested that Ghazala Khan did not speak for Islamic reasons. But this backfired and the episode appears to have hurt him in the polls. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has been able to establish herself as the candidate of tolerance and liberal progress.

      But take a closer look and things are not that straightforward. It is easy to lose sight of why the Khans lost their son in the first place. Humayun Khan died fighting in the illegal war in Iraq, which was launched on the basis of Islamophobic lies, and supported by Hillary Clinton, as senator for New York.

      In 2011, Clinton was a leading figure pushing for military action in Libya. She initially presented the bombing campaign as a way to create a no-fly zone to protect civilians. Within three weeks, the real aim became apparent: regime change.

    • New Katanga trial shows DRC’s potential to try complex international crimes

      Germain Katanga, a warlord convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for murder and other crimes, thought he was getting released from prison in January. But he was wrong. He had been found guilty by the ICC on charges linked to a 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro, in the eastern province of Ituri of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – and had served the end of his 12-year sentence in a Kinshasa jail, at his own request.

    • Brazilian Intelligence Service Stokes Olympic Terrorism Fear for Its Own Benefit

      The enemy could not have chosen a worse time to turn up. On the eve of a major international sporting event, Brazil was simultaneously living through profound economic and political crises. With the country at its weakest moment and fears spreading rapidly, the bombshell dropped: A secret service report leaked to the press revealed that a group of Brazilian citizens, in collusion with foreign agents, planned to arm themselves in order to commit acts of violence and thus further destabilize the country.

      That was 30 years ago, in the first year of the post-dictatorship era. The event was the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. In Brazil, President José Sarney’s government was a disaster, and the cumulative inflation would reach 65 percent that year. The dangerous enemy rehearsing the moves to plunge the country into chaos? According to the secret service, which at the time was known as the National Information Service (Serviço Nacional de Informações, or SNI), the threat was the return of guerrilla warfare, funded by foreign agents, principally from Germany, but also involving the left-leaning opposition Workers’ Party and the trade union federation Unified Workers’ Central. Of course, the threat was just a delusion. It was fabricated by the SNI to warrant the criminalization of social movements and help stop the construction of a left-wing political project, but not only that. The creation of a dangerous enemy right at the beginning of the democratic transition justified the existence of an entity that had become the symbol of the dictatorship.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hillary Clinton Picks TPP and Fracking Advocate To Set Up Her White House

      Two big issues dogged Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary: the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) and fracking. She had a long history of supporting both.

      Under fire from Bernie Sanders, she came out against the TPP and took a more critical position on fracking. But critics wondered if this was a sincere conversion or simply campaign rhetoric.

      Now, in two of the most significant personnel moves she will ever make, she has signaled a lack of sincerity.

      She chose as her vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine, who voted to authorize fast-track powers for the TPP and praised the agreement just two days before he was chosen.

      And now she has named former Colorado Democratic Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to be the chair of her presidential transition team — the group tasked with helping set up the new administration should she win in November. That includes identifying, selecting, and vetting candidates for over 4,000 presidential appointments.

    • Hillary Clinton Appoints Ken Salazar To Lead White House Transition

      Clinton has also faced questions from environmentalists about her record on pipeline construction, hydraulic fracking and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Salazar’s appointment will not allay those concerns: Since leaving government, he has made headlines promoting the Keystone XL pipeline, promoting the TPP and defending fracking.

      In November, Salazar authored a joint oped with former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt saying “The TPP is a strong trade deal that will level the playing field for workers to help middle-class families get ahead. It is also the greenest trade deal ever.” Politico reports that Salazar is now opposing a ballot measure designed to restrict fracking in his home state of Colorado. He has previously asserted that “there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone.”

    • Second phase of world’s biggest offshore windfarm gets go-ahead

      The world’s biggest offshore windfarm off the Yorkshire coast is to be expanded to an area five times the size of Hull after being approved by ministers.

      The multibillion-pound Hornsea Project Two would see 300 turbines – each taller than the Gherkin – span more than 480 sq km in the North Sea.

      Fifty-five miles off the coast of Grimsby, the project by Denmark’s Dong Energy is expected to deliver 1,800MW of low-CO2 electricity to 1.8m UK homes.

    • Can a ‘green growth’ strategy solve climate change?

      ‘Decoupling of global emissions and economic growth confirmed’ ran the headline on the International Energy Agency (IEA) website in March 2016. “Coming just a few months after the landmark COP21 agreement in Paris, this is yet another boost to the global fight against climate change”, noted IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. It’s a popular idea that the decoupling of economic growth and carbon emission represents ‘green growth’ or ‘sustainable growth’, and that this is a powerful tool in the fight against dangerous levels of climate change. The idea was further pushed in a 2014 report co-authored by prominent economist Lord Stern, and backed by the United Nations, the OECD, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

  • Finance

    • CEO Tim Cook Decides Apple Doesn’t Have to Pay Corporate Tax Rate Because It’s “Unfair”

      Wouldn’t it be great if you could refuse to pay your taxes until you decided your tax rate was “fair”?

      That is, of course, not the way it works. Unless you’re Apple.

      Apple is currently holding $181 billion overseas, largely thanks to arbitrarily deciding that its most valuable intellectual property seems to live exclusively in low tax countries. For instance, at one time Apple’s subsidiaries in Ireland — a country with 4.6 million people — “earned” over one-third of all Apple’s worldwide revenue.

      And due to a very business-friendly quirk in U.S. tax law, Apple doesn’t have to pay any U.S. taxes on its overseas profits until it “brings them back” to America.

    • Cisco Systems to sack fifth of global workforce, says report

      Cisco Systems is reportedly planning to lay off about 14,000 employees, representing nearly 20% of the US technology company’s global workforce.

      San Jose, California-based Cisco was expected to announce the cuts within the next few weeks as part of a transition from its hardware roots into a software-centric business, technology news site CRN reported, citing sources close to the company.

      Cisco, which had more than 70,000 employees as of 30 April, declined to comment.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Green Party candidate slams Clinton on email

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Monday ramped up her attacks on Hillary Clinton for using a private email system while serving as the nation’s top diplomat and maintaining a fuzzy boundary between her official and private duties.

      In an interview with CNN, Stein appeared to reiterate her call for the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton for mishandling government secrets, and also joined in the attacks on her relationship with the Clinton Foundation.

      “I think there should have been a full investigation,” Stein said. “I think the American people are owed an explanation for what happened, and why top secret information was put at risk, why the identity of secret agents were potentially put at risk.”

      “There is much more that is coming to public attention about Hillary Clinton’s behavior, including the recent revelations about favors bestowed on the Clinton Foundation’s donors who got special deals, who got state partnerships,” she added, in a reference to recently released emails suggesting blurred lines between Clinton’s position as secretary of State and her vast personal and philanthropic connections.

      “If she wasn’t aware that she was violating State Department rules, it raises real issues about her competency.”

      Stein has previously criticized the Justice Department’s decision not to indict Clinton or her senior aides for the email set-up, a move that she said gave the Democratic presidential nominee “a pass.”

    • Charles Koch’s network launches new fight to keep donors secret

      A group tied to billionaire Charles Koch has unleashed an aggressive campaign to kill a ballot measure in South Dakota that would require Koch-affiliated groups and others like them to reveal their donors’ identities — part of a sustained effort by his powerful network to keep government agencies and the public from learning more about its financial backers.

      Americans for Prosperity, the largest activist group in the policy and political empire founded by industrialist Koch and his brother, David, launched a coalition this year to fight Initiated Measure 22, which calls for public disclosure of donors who fund advocacy efforts, the creation of a state ethics commission and public financing of political campaigns. It also limits lobbyists’ gifts to elected officials and lowers the amount of campaign contributions to candidates, parties and political action committees.

    • Why the Presidential Debates Will Suck Even Though They Don’t Have To

      Run by Party Elites and Lobbyists, Sponsored by Corporations

      In 1988, the CPD wrested the stewardship of general election presidential debates away from the fiercely independent League of Women Voters (LWV), which had run the events from 1976 to 1984.

      The CPD is nominally a nonpartisan organization, but its co-chairmen, Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., and Michael McCurry, are senior Republican and Democratic Party figures, both of whom leveraged their time in politics to later work for corporate interests.

      Fahrenkopf chaired the Republican National Committee for six years before joining the Washington, D.C., law and lobbying firm Hogan & Hartson. From 1998 to 2013, he was the president of the American Gaming Association, a lobbying group for for-profit gambling interests.

      McCurry is a former Clinton White House press secretary who today works for the D.C.-based corporate and political communications firm Public Strategies Washington. Although his current client list is not public, he was employed on the “Hands Off Internet” campaign in 2006, working for telecommunications companies to kill net neutrality.

      The commission’s board of directors is composed of an entire strata of America’s elites including Howard G. Buffett, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Newton N. Minow, a former chairman of Citigroup and Time Warner — and Jim Lehrer.

      The debates themselves are consistently sponsored by private corporations. This year’s sponsors have yet to be announced, but in the past, they have included AT&T, Anheuser-Busch, Southwest Airlines, J.P. Morgan, Ford Motor Company, and the Washington, D.C., international law firm Crowell & Moring.

      The CPD has not included a third-party candidate in a presidential debate since Ross Perot ran in 1992. Since 2000, its rules state that only candidates who consistently poll over 15 percent in national polls should be included.

    • Interrupting Trump’s strut is only a start

      Donald Trump says he is running for presidency against the crooked media. What should be the media response?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Revamped Chinese History Journal Welcomes Hard-Line Writers

      Wang Yanjun, who was ousted as deputy editor of Yanhuang Chunqiu, with the latest issue of the journal on Tuesday, which still shows his name and that of other editors removed by its new managers.

    • China censorship: How a moderate magazine was targeted
    • “Ultra-left” Takes Over Journal as Ex-editor Loses in Court
    • Former editors of liberal Chinese magazine sue government after being forced out in takeover
    • China intellectuals sue over magazine, former editor loses appeal
    • Azerbaijan’s long assault on media freedom

      As a former Soviet republic, Azerbaijan has never had a strong record on press freedom. Since independence, the country’s journalists have been mistreated, while independent and opposition newspapers faced constant libel charges and other harassment from local law enforcement or criminal elements.

      Journalists and outlets that support government policies are left alone to fill their pages with praise, while those who take a more critical approach are punished. Official court documents detail how journalists have been sent to prison on trumped-up charges of hooliganism, extortion, trafficking, and instigating mass protests and violence.

      In practice, however, targeted journalists reported on official corruption, criticised extravagant government spending or documented illegal evictions. While the country’s leaders and key decision makers pay lip service to media freedom, the government continues to hunt down journalists, activists and human rights defenders.

    • Disappointing: LinkedIn Abusing CFAA & DMCA To Sue Scraping Bots [Ed: Remember the time Microsoft broke the Internet by undermining No-IP. Microsoft (i.e. NSA PRISM) owns LinkedIn and wants to harvest tons of personal information, not share even what’s public with others.]

      It’s been really unfortunate to see various internet companies that absolutely should know better, look to abuse the CFAA to attack people using tools to scrape public information off of their websites. In the past few years, we’ve seen Facebook and Craigslist do this (with Facebook recently winning in court).

      Now LinkedIn is doing the same thing, suing a bunch of anonymous users for scraping public information from LinkedIn. This is not the first time the company has done this. A few years ago, the company (using the exact same lawyers) filed a very similar lawsuit, eventually figuring out that the scraping was done by a wannabe competitor, HiringSolved, which pretty quickly settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay $40,000 and erase all the data it collected.

    • Billionaire Backer Of Palantir & Facebook Insists He’s Bankrupting Journalists To Protect Your Privacy

      We’ve already made it quite clear where we stand on Peter Thiel financing a number of lawsuits against Gawker Media as some sort of retaliation for some articles he didn’t like. Lots of people who really hate Gawker don’t seem to care how problematic Thiel’s actions are, but you should be concerned, even if you dislike Gawker — in part, because many of the lawsuits Thiel appears to be backing are clearly bogus and just designed to bankrupt the company, which happened a couple months ago.

      This week is the auction to see who ends up with Gawker, and Thiel is taking a weird victory lap with a silly and misleading oped in the NY Times where he argues that this was really all about making a stand for privacy and has nothing to do with shitting on the First Amendment. There’s a lot in the article that’s bullshit, and it deserves a thorough debunking, so here we go.

      First off, positioning himself as a champion of privacy seems laughable. After all, this is the guy who put the first money into both Palantir and Facebook. Palantir, of course, is the datamining operation used by governments and law enforcement around the globe to snoop through various databases and try to find magical connections. Palantir is rumored to be in trouble lately, in part because its technology isn’t that good, and it may have built a multi-billion dollar business on convincing clueless government officials that by sniffing through a variety of databases, it could magically find important “connections.” But

    • ​Why Github Removed Links to Alleged NSA Data

      Over the past few days, researchers have pored over dumped data allegedly belonging to a group associated with the NSA. The data, which contains a number of working exploits, was distributed via Dropbox, MEGA, and other file sharing platforms.

      The files were also linked to from a page on Github, but the company removed it fairly swiftly—despite having hosted plenty of hacked material in the past. It turns out that removal was not due to government pressure, but because the hacker or hackers behind the supposed breach were asking for cash to release more data.

      “Per our Terms of Service (section A8), we do not allow the auction or sale of stolen property on GitHub. As such, we have removed the repository in question,” Kate Guarente, from Github’s communications team, told Motherboard in a statement.

    • Guccifer 2.0 Censorship Shields DNC Corruption

      In June 2016, hacker Guccifer 2.0 released a trove of internal Democratic National Committee documents, which pointed to DNC staff violating its own charter in treating Hillary Clinton as the nominee long before the primaries even began.

      Included in the documents was a DNC dossier of possible attacks from Republican presidential candidates on Clinton, outlining counterpoints to their arguments in preparation for Clinton’s coronation as the Democratic nominee. The documents unquestionably prove the DNC violated their own charter and undermined democracy by strategizing for Clinton to win the Democratic primaries and general election.

      One of those strategies included manipulating media coverage for her benefit.

      “Use specific hits to muddy the water around ethics, transparency, and campaign finance attacks on HRC,” noted one of the leaked memos. In July, Guccifer 2.0 released additional documents to The Hill, including a DNC memo from March 2015 to Clinton campaign operatives outlining ways to legally solicit Clinton’s SuperPACs. The DNC made no efforts to dispute the content of the leaked documents. Instead, they offered a vague statement saying they were taken and leaked by suspected Russians hackers.

      On August 12, Guccifer 2.0 released more documents, which included congressional contact lists and passwords. This leak likely served to make public that the recent hacks of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee were committed by Guccifer 2.0.

    • Poland approves bill outlawing phrase ‘Polish death camps’

      The Polish government has approved a new bill that foresees prison terms of up to three years for anyone who uses phrases like “Polish death camps” to refer to Auschwitz and other camps that Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland during the second world war.

    • Obasanjo tasks media on self-censorship

      He said, “I see Nigerian journalists pretending to be oblivious of the devastating role that the media has played in major conflicts on the continent. For instance, the case of the role of the press in triggering the Rwandan Genocide is instructive for Nigeria as we are increasingly polarized and divided along the ethnic lines with the press fanning the embers of division and separation.

      “The immediate concern for me is for the press not to be used as a wedge for separating us, but for the press to be an adhesive for bridging the gaps.”

    • Popular Pages Revolt Against Facebook’s Arbitrary Censorship

      A group of popular Facebook meme pages have launched a revolt against Facebook’s increasingly strict and bizarre censorship.

      The revolt, which includes some of Facebook’s biggest comedy pages, aims to catch Facebook’s attention in a show of dissatisfaction with the social network’s current policy enforcement system.

      “I have gone through a lot of post blocks and seen a lot of friends getting into issues with losing their accounts or pages even over the most inoffensive posts like this picture of Drake as a n64 controller that got my post blocked,” said one of the revolt’s organizers, Devin Shire, in an interview with Breitbart Tech.

    • Turkey’s continuing crackdown on the press must end

      Index strongly condemns the indefinite closure of newspaper Özgür Gündem by a Turkish court.

      The silencing — even temporarily — of one of Turkey’s last independent papers underscores the severe erosion of freedom of expression in the country. This crackdown on critical voices has accelerated since the attempt to overthrow the country’s democratically elected and increasingly autocratic president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

      “Waves of arrests rippling across the country have swept up journalists, academics and even artists and are rightly raising concerns around the world. This latest attack on media freedom sends a clear signal that president Erdogan is intent on playing politics with the public’s right to information and journalists’ right to report,” Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg said.

    • I don’t believe in censorship: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
    • It’s silly to have censorship in a democracy: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
    • I’m Opposed to Any Kind of Censorship: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Dallas PD Asks Attorney General For Permission To Withhold ‘Embarrassing’ Documents About Its Bomb Robot

      The unprecedented deployment of a bomb-defusing robot by Dallas police to kill an armed suspect raised several questions. While these robots have sometimes acted as part of a negotiation team in the past, no police department had previously rigged one up with an explosive device to take a suspect out.

      One question that remains unanswered is whether this use of the Dallas PD’s robot violated its own policies. Gawker’s Andy Cush filed a public records request for PD policies on using robots to kill and discovered Dallas law enforcement was basically making things up as it went along.

    • Activist Caucus: Occupying institutional politics in Brazil

      Amid a deep political crisis in Brasil, the goal is to develop a collaborative, pedagogical, supra-partisan and effective format of civic campaign for elections to be replicated and improved on future occasions.

    • German President Booed, Attacked; Claims “The People Are The Problem, Not The Elites”

      Official German State TV and State Radio reported that “a handful of right wing extremists” have attacked the president and disturbed the otherwise peaceful and welcoming reception of the President. This is simply not the case, as seen in the video…

    • Family of driver who died after seizure sues Ohio troopers

      The attorney alleges troopers didn’t offer medical attention because they were preoccupied with suspicions that Galloway had illegal drugs.

    • ‘My husband may die’ in a Colorado prison, says wife of CIA whistleblower

      The wife of former CIA officer and whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling says she’s concerned about the health of her husband, who was sentenced last year to serve three years in a Colorado prison.

      Sterling was convicted of espionage for leaking information to a journalist about a dubious U.S. government operation meant to deter Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He says he didn’t do anything wrong. The prosecution came as part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on government leaks.

      Sterling is set for release in 2018. But his wife, Holly Sterling, told The Colorado Independent by phone from St. Louis, Missouri, that she worries health issues he’s having in prison might mean she’ll never see him on the outside again.

      “I’m concerned my husband may die,” she said. “I’m extremely concerned.”

      In the past few months, Jeffrey Sterling, 49, who says he has a history of atrial fibrillation, has been “subjected to unresponsive and dismissive medical care” at the Colorado federal correctional institution known as FCI Englewood, according to an Aug. 11 complaint he filed. Holly Sterling provided a copy of the complaint to The Independent.

    • Federal Judge Says Real-Time Cell Location Info — Whether Obtained With A Stingray Or Not — Requires The Use Of A Warrant

      An interesting decision by a federal judge in Florida suggests this district, at least, may not be amenable to the warrantless use of Stingray devices… or any other method that harvests cell site location data in real time.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Web at 25: Celebrating the 25th anniversary of World Wide Web

      Twenty-five years ago on August 6 1991, the first publicly available website was launched and the World Wide Web (WWW) was born.

      It was created by the now internationally known Sir Tim Berners-Lee who, just eight months earlier, first posted the simple text page on an internal web server hosted by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

      In the 1980’s, Berners-Lee had been looking at a way for physicists to share information around the world without all using the same types of hardware and software.

    • Google Fiber Hasn’t Hit A ‘Snag,’ It’s Just Evolving

      When Google Fiber jumped into the broadband market in 2011, the company knew full well that disruption of an entrenched telecom monopoly would be a slow, expensive, monumental task. And five years into the project that’s certainly been true, the majority of Google Fiber launch markets still very much under construction as the company gets to work burying fiber across more than a dozen looming markets. Wall Street, which initially laughed at the project as an experiment, has been taking the project more seriously as Google Fiber targets sprawling markets like Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

      This week however things took an interesting turn with the news that Google Fiber was pausing deployments in Silicon Valley and Portland, Oregon, to take stock of possible wireless alternatives. Neither deployment was formally official (both cities were listed as “potential” targets); and Google Fiber execs are simply considering whether or not it makes financial sense to begin using some fifth generation (5G) technologies to supplement existing fiber deployment.

      This isn’t really surprising; Under the guidance of former Atheros CEO Craig Barratt, Google has filed applications with the FCC to conduct trials in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz millimeter wave bands, and is also conducting a variety of different tests in the 3.5 GHz band, the 5.8 GHz band and the 24 GHz band. The company also recently acquired Webpass in the hopes of supplementing fiber with ultra-fast wireless wherever possible. Wireless has been on Google’s radar for several years. It’s a great option in cities where construction logistics are a nightmare, or in towns where AT&T’s using regulations to hinder fiber deployment.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Growing Call For Transparency Within African CMOs To Ensure Membership Confidence

      Collective management organisations (CMOs) in African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) member states, and Africa at large, have the potential to contribute to the growth and development of creative industries. However, they need to be supported, guided and supervised to ensure that they achieve the purpose for which they are established.

    • Who Should Get The Benefits When You Donate Your DNA For Research?

      Needless to say, lawyers are now involved in resolving the more mundane issues of ownership of the Blue Zone blood samples. But even if a court hands down its judgment for this particular case, the larger ethical issues will remain, and become ever-more pressing as the importance and value of DNA databases continues to rise.


Links 16/8/2016: White House Urged by EFF on FOSS, Go 1.7 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Why private clouds will suffer a long, slow death

      Analyst firm Wikibon believes that no vendor is making more than $100 million via OpenStack. If that’s anywhere near true, the sum total of all vendors has to be less than $2 billion.

    • M$ Shoots Foot, Again

      Not being able to sell software unbundled from hardware is a terrible deficit in a world where people are building open servers.

    • Microsoft: Why we had to tie Azure Stack to boxen we picked for you

      Microsoft has explained the rationale behind last month’s announcement that you won’t be allowed to simply download Azure Stack and get going.

      In July Redmond informed fans the only way they’d be able to get Azure in their own data centres would be on hardware of its choosing.

      Specifically, Azure Stack will only come pre-installed on pre-integrated servers from Dell, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and Lenovo. Other OEMs, we’re promised, will follow.

      The Dell, HP and Lenovo will come “sometime” in 2017. Azure Stack had been expected by the end of 2016, but the work with to produce integrated systems will mean a delay.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds Announces the Second Linux Kernel 4.8 Release Candidate Build

      As expected, Linus Torvalds made his Sunday announcement for the second RC (Release Candidate) build of the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel branch, which is now available for public testing.

      Linux kernel 4.8 entered development last week, when the merge window was officially closed and the first Release Candidate development milestone released to the world. According to Linus Torvalds, the second RC build is here to update more drivers, even more hardware architectures, as well as to fix issues for supported filesystems and add some extra mm work.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Frameworks Now Requires Qt 5.5 or Later, Build 5.25.0 Updates Breeze Icons

        The KDE project announced this past weekend the release of KDE Frameworks 5.25.0, another monthly update to the collection of over 70 add-ons for the Qt5 GUI toolkit and the latest KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment.

        KDE Frameworks 5.25.0 comes in time for the recently released KDE Plasma 5.7.3 maintenance update of the modern and widely used Linux desktop, promising to update many of the core components, including but not limited to Attica, which now follows HTTP redirects, the Breeze icon set with lots of additions, extra CMake modules, KDE Doxygen tools, KXMLGUI, KWindowSystem, and KWidgetsAddons.

        KDE apps like KTextEditor, KArchive, and Sonnet received bugfixes and other improvements in the KDE Frameworks 5.25.0. The release also comes with many other updated components, among which Plasma Framework, NetworkManagerQt, KXMLGUI, KCoreAddons, KService, Kross, Solid, Package Framework, KNotification, KItemModels, KIO, KInit, KIconThemes, KHTML, KGlobalAccel, KFileMetaData, and KDeclarative.

      • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.7.3, Mozilla Firefox 48.0 & Wine 1.9.16

        Chakra GNU/Linux maintainer Neofytos Kolokotronis has been happy to inform the community about the availability of the latest KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment and software applications in the main repositories of the distribution.

        We bet that Chakra GNU/Linux users have been waiting for this announcement for quite a while now, and the main reason for that is the KDE Plasma 5.7.3 desktop environment, which brings a month’s worth of bug fixes, updated language translations, and improvements to many KDE apps and core components.

        In addition to the KDE Plasma 5.7.3 desktop environment, Chakra GNU/Linux users can now install some of the latest open-source applications, among which we can mention the Oracle VirtualBox 5.1.2 virtualization software, SQLite 3.13.0 SQL database engine, LibreOffice 5.1.5 office suite, Mozilla Firefox 48.0 web browser, and Wine 1.9.16.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Report of GUADEC 2016

        So this year was our first GUADEC, for both Aryeom (have a look at Aryeom’s report, in Korean) and I. GUADEC stands for “GNOME Users And Developers European Conference”, so as expected we met a lot of both users and developers of GNOME, the Desktop Environment we have been happily using lately (for a little more than a year now). It took place at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • 4MParted 19.0 Distrolette Now In Beta, Based on 4MLinux 19.0 and GParted 0.26.1

        4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs Softpedia today, August 15, 2016, about the availability of the first public Beta release of the upcoming 4MParted distrolette people can use to partition disk drives independent of a computer OS.

      • Server-Oriented Alpine Linux 3.4.3 Lands with Kernel 4.4.17 LTS, ownCloud 9.0.4

        The Alpine Linux development team is happy to announce the release and general availability for download of the third maintenance update to the Alpine Linux 3.4 series of server-oriented operating systems.

      • First Beta of Black Lab Linux 8 “Onyx” Hits the Streets, Based on Ubuntu 14.04.5

        Until today, Black Lab Linux 8.0 “Onyx” has been in the Alpha stages of development and received a total of four Alpha builds that have brought multiple updated components and GNU/Linux technologies, but now the Ubuntu-based operating system has entered a much more advanced development state, Beta, and the first one is here exactly six months after the development cycle started.

        “Today the Black Lab Linux development team is pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux 8 ‘Onyx’ Beta 1. Bringing us one step closer to our goal of a stable, secure, and long term supported Linux desktop for the masses. ‘Onyx’ Beta 1 is a culmination of over 6 months of user collaboration and feedback,” says Roberto J. Dohnert, Black Lab Software CEO.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 Goes Stable with KDE Plasma 5.6.5 and Linux Kernel 4.6.5

        Softpedia was informed by the OpenMandriva team about the general availability of the final, production-ready release of the OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 operating system.

        OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 has been in development for the past four months, as the first Alpha build got released sometime in the third week of April 2016. Since then, the hard working development team behind this open source project have managed to keep up with the latest GNU/Linux technologies and software releases, so that they can bring you an usable and up-to-date computer OS.

        “OpenMandriva Lx is a cutting edge distribution compiled with LLVM/clang. Combined with the high level of optimization used for both code and linking (by enabling LTO) used in its building, this gives the OpenMandriva desktop an unbelievably crisp response to operations on the KDE Plasma 5 desktop which makes it a pleasure to use,” reads the announcement.

      • OpenMandriva 3.0, Google Linux Snub, TCP Vulnerability

        OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 was announced Saturday with Linux 4.6.5, Plasma 5.6.5, and systemd 231. An early reviewer said he liked OpenMandriva but Plasma not as much. Elsewhere all anyone can seem to talk about is Google’s decision to use something other than Linux to power its next embedded devices and a TCP vulnerability that could allow remote hijacking of Internet traffic. Patrick Volkerding has upgraded the toolchain in Slackware-current and Red Hat security expert said you can’t trust any networks anywhere.

    • Slackware Family

      • Zenwalk Linux 8.0 – A more Zen Slackware

        There were a few things I enjoyed about Zenwalk 8.0 and several I did not. Before getting to those, I want to acknowledge that Zenwalk is, in most ways, very much like Slackware. The two distributions are binary compatible and if you like (or dislike) one, you will probably feel the same way about the other. They’re quite closely related with similar benefits and drawbacks.

        On the positive side of things, I like that Zenwalk trims down the software installed by default. A full installation of Zenwalk requires about two-thirds of the disk space a full installation of Slackware consumes. This is reflected in Zenwalk’s focused “one-app-per-task” approach which I feel makes it easier to find things. Zenwalk requires relatively little memory (a feature it shares with Slackware) and, with PulseAudio’s plugin removed, consumes very few CPU cycles. One more feature I like about this distribution is the fact Zenwalk includes LibreOffice, a feature I missed when running pure Slackware.

        On the other hand, I ran into a number of problems with Zenwalk. The dependency problems which annoyed me while running Slackware were present in Zenwalk too. To even get a working text editor I needed to have development libraries installed. To make matters worse, the user needs a text editor to enable the package manager to install development libraries. It’s one of those circular problems that require the user to think outside the box (or re-install with all software packages selected).

        Other issues I had were more personal. For example, I don’t like window transparency or small fonts. These are easy to fix, but it got me off on the wrong foot with Zenwalk. I do want to acknowledge that while my first two days with Zenwalk were mostly spent fixing things, hunting down dependencies and tweaking the desktop to suit my tastes, things got quickly better. By the end of the week I was enjoying Zenwalk’s performance, its light nature and its clean menus. I may have had more issues with Zenwalk than Slackware in the first day or so, but by the end of the week I was enjoying using Zenwalk more for my desktop computing.

        For people running older computers, I feel it is worth noting Zenwalk does not offer 32-bit builds. The distribution has become 64-bit only and people who still run 32-bit machines will need to turn elsewhere, perhaps to Slackware.

        In the end, I feel as though Zenwalk is a more focused flavour of Slackware. The Slackware distribution is multi-purpose, at least as suited for servers as desktops. Slackware runs on more processor architectures, has a live edition and can dump a lot of software on our hard disk. Zenwalk is more desktop focused, with fewer packages and perhaps a nicer selection of applications. The two are quite similar, but Slackware has a broader focus while Zenwalk is geared to desktop users who value performance.

      • New Toolchain on Current

        Patrick is now upgrading basic toolchain in current branch. The basic trio combination (GCC, GLIBC, and Kernel) are normally the first one to update since it will be used as a base for next Slackware release.

        GCC is now upgraded to 5.4.0, which is the latest version for 5.x branch. Their latest version is at 6.1 while their development version is at 7.0.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Booting Lenovo T460s after Fedora 24 Updates
        • Flock 2016
        • Ideas for getting started in the Linux kernel

          Getting new people into OSS projects is always a challenge. The Linux kernel is no different and has it’s own set of challenges. This is a follow up and expansion of some of what I talked about at Flock about contributing to the kernel.

          When I tell people I do kernel work I tend to get a lot of “Wow that’s really hard, you must be smart” and “I always wanted to contribute to the kernel but I don’t know how to get started”. The former thought process tends to lead to the latter, moreso than other projects. I would like to dispel this notion once and for all: you do not have to have a special talent to work on the kernel unless you count dogged persistence and patience as a talent. Working in low level C has its own quriks the same way working in other languages does. C++ templates terrify me, javascript’s type system (or lack there of) confuses me. You can learn the skills necessary to work in the kernel.

        • Żegnajcie! Fedora Flock 2016 in words

          From August 2 – 5, the annual Fedora contributor conference, Flock, was held in the beautiful city of Kraków, Poland. Fedora contributors from all over the world attend for a week of talks, workshops, collaboration, fun, and community building (if you’re tuning in and not sure what Fedora is exactly, you can read more here). Talks range from technical topics dealing with upcoming changes to the distribution, talks focusing on the community and things working well and how to improve, and many more. The workshops are a chance for people normally separated by thousands of miles to work and collaborate on real issues, problems, and tasks in the same room. As a Fedora contributor, this is the “premier” event to attend as a community member.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 2.7.2 Beta Is Out with Spotify Support, Improved Artwork, and Thunar Fixes

          On August 14, 2016, the Elive development team was proud to announce the release and immediate availability of yet another Beta version of the Elive Linux operating system.

          Elive 2.7.2 comes only three weeks after the release of the previous Beta build, version 2.7.1, to implement out-of-the-box support for the popular Spotify digital music service, giving users direct access to millions of songs if they have a paid subscription, and a much-improved artwork, as both the system and icon themes were enhanced.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Show Off Converged Terminal App Design

            Reshaping the classic terminal app to fit multi-form factor world isn’t easy, but it’s the task that the Canonical Design team face as part of their work on Unity 8.

          • Canonical Plans on Improving the Ubuntu Linux Terminal UX on Mobile and Desktop

            Canonical, through Jouni Helminen, announced on August 15, 2016, that they were planning on transforming the community-developed Terminal app into a convergent Linux terminal that’s easy to use on both mobile phones and tablets.

            Terminal is a core Ubuntu Touch app and the only project to bring you the popular Linux shell on your Ubuntu Phone or Ubuntu Tablet devices. And now, Canonical’s designers are in charge of offering a much more pleasant Linux terminal user experience by making Terminal convergent across all screen formats.

            “I would like to share the work so far, invite users of the app to comment on the new designs, and share ideas on what other new features would be desirable,” says Jouni Helminen, Lead Designer at Canonical. “These visuals are work in progress – we would love to hear what kind of features you would like to see in your favorite terminal app!”

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Coffee Shop DevOps: How to use feedback loops to get smarter
  • How to design your project for participation

    Working openly means designing for participation. “Designing for participation” is a way of providing people with insight into your project, which you’ve built from the start to incorporate and act on that insight. Documenting how you intend to make decisions, which communication channels you’ll use, and how people can get in touch with you are the first steps in designing for participation. Other steps include working openly, being transparent, and using technologies that support collaboration and additional ways of inviting participation. In the end, it’s all about providing context: Interested people must be able to get up to speed and start participating in your project, team, or organization as quickly and easily as possible.

  • Events

    • Open Source//Open Society Conference Live Blog

      This conference offers 2 huge days of inspiration, professional development and connecting for those interested in policy, data, open technology, leadership, management and team building.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • So long, Firefox Hello!

        After updating my PCLinuxOS install, I noticed that the icon of Firefox Hello had changed: it was read and displayed a message reading “Error!”

        I thought it was a simply login failure, so I logged in and the icon went green, as normal. However, I noticed that Hello did not display the “Start a conversation” window, but one that read “browse this page with a friend”.

        A bit confused, I called Megatotoro, who read this statement from Mozilla to me. Apparently, I had missed the fact that Mozilla is discontinuing Hello starting from Firefox 49. Current Firefox version is 48, so…

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 11.0 Up to Release Candidate State, Support for SSH Protocol v1 Removed

      The FreeBSD Project, through Glen Barber, has had the pleasure of announcing this past weekend the general availability of the first Release Candidate for the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 operating system, due for release on September 2, 2016.

      It appears to us that the development cycle of FreeBSD 11.0 was accelerated a bit, as the RC1 milestone is here just one week after the release of the fourth Beta build. Again, the new snapshot is available for 64-bit (amd64), 32-bit (i386), PowerPC (PPC), PowerPC 64-bit (PPC64), SPARC64, AArch64 (ARM64), and ARMv6 hardware architectures.

  • Public Services/Government

    • White House Source Code Policy Should Go Further

      A new federal government policy will result in the government releasing more of the software that it creates under free and open source software licenses. That’s great news, but doesn’t go far enough in its goals or in enabling public oversight.

      A few months ago, we wrote about a proposed White House policy regarding how the government handles source code written by or for government agencies. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has now officially enacted the policy with a few changes. While the new policy is a step forward for government transparency and open access, a few of the changes in it are flat-out baffling.

  • Programming/Development

    • Go 1.7 is released

      Today we are happy to announce the release of Go 1.7. You can get it from the download page. There are several significant changes in this release: a port for Linux on IBM z Systems (s390x), compiler improvements, the addition of the context package, and support for hierarchical tests and benchmarks.

      A new compiler back end, based on static single-assignment form (SSA), has been under development for the past year. By representing a program in SSA form, a compiler may perform advanced optimizations more easily. This new back end generates more compact, more efficient code that includes optimizations like bounds check elimination and common subexpression elimination. We observed a 5–35% speedup across our benchmarks. For now, the new backend is only available for the 64-bit x86 platform (“amd64″), but we’re planning to convert more architecture backends to SSA in future releases.

    • Go 1.7 Brings s390x Support, Compiler Improvements

      Go 1.7 includes a new port to the IBM System z (s390x) architecture, numerous compiler improvements, and more. Compiler work for Go 1.7 includes a new SSA back-end that yields 5~35% speedups on 64-bit x86, a new and more compact export data format, speed increases to the garbage collector, optimizations to the standard library, and more.


  • Security

    • Serving Up Security? Microsoft Patches ‘Malicious Butler’ Exploit — Again

      It’s been a busy year for Windows security. Back in March, Microsoft bulletin MS16-027 addressed a remote code exploit that could grant cybercriminals total control of a PC if users opened “specially crafted media content that is hosted on a website.” Just last month, a problem with secure boot keys caused a minor panic among users.

      However, new Microsoft patches are still dealing with a flaw discovered in November of last year — it was first Evil Maid and now is back again as Malicious Butler. Previous attempts to slam this door shut have been unsuccessful. Has the Redmond giant finally served up software security?

    • Let’s Encrypt: Why create a free, automated, and open CA?

      During the summer of 2012, Eric Rescorla and I decided to start a Certificate Authority (CA). A CA acts as a third-party to issue digital certificates, which certify public keys for certificate holders. The free, automated, and open CA we envisioned, which came to be called Let’s Encrypt, has been built and is now one of the larger CAs in the world in terms of issuance volume.

      Starting a new CA is a lot of work—it’s not a decision to be made lightly. In this article, I’ll explain why we decided to start Let’s Encrypt, and why we decided to build a new CA from scratch.

      We had a good reason to start building Let’s Encrypt back in 2012. At that time, work on an HTTP/2 specification had started in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a standards body with a focus on network protocols. The question of whether or not to require encryption (via TLS) for HTTP/2 was hotly debated. My position, shared by my co-workers at Mozilla and many others, was that encryption should be required.

    • PGP Short-ID Collision Attacks Continued, Now Targeted Linus Torvalds

      After contacted the owner, it turned out that one of the keys is a fake. In addition, labelled same names, emails, and even signatures created by more fake keys. Weeks later, more developers found their fake “mirror” keys on the keyserver, including the PGP Global Directory Verification Key.

    • The Brewing Problem Of PGP Short-ID Collision Attacks
    • Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, IHG hit by malware: HEI

      A data breach at 20 U.S. hotels operated by HEI Hotels & Resorts for Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt and Intercontinental may have divulged payment card data from tens of thousands of food, drink and other transactions, HEI said on Sunday.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The U.S. will rearm Saudi Arabia to the tune of $1.5 billion as airstrikes resume in Yemen

      This week, the Pentagon announced its intention to sell $1.5 billion in armaments, tanks, and military advisory support to Saudi Arabia. If that sounds like a major deal, consider that the United States sold more than $20 billion worth of military equipment and support to the Saudis last year. And this is an alliance that goes back decades.

      All of that and much more from the United States is put to use in the fierce war that the Saudi military is waging against Shiite militias in Yemen. For instance, the Saudis command U.S.-made fighter jets that drop U.S.-made cluster bombs — a munition that is so imprecise that it has been banned by 119 nations. The U.S. provides targeting assistance, intelligence briefings and even daily aerial jet refueling for the Saudis and their coalition partners, which are mostly other oil-rich Persian Gulf nations.

    • China launches quantum satellite for ‘hack-proof’ communications

      China said it had launched the world’s first quantum satellite on Tuesday, a project Beijing hopes will enable it to build a coveted “hack-proof” communications system with potentially significant military and commercial applications.

      Xinhua, Beijing’s official news service, said Micius, a 600kg satellite that is nicknamed after an ancient Chinese philosopher, “roared into the dark sky” over the Gobi Desert at 1.40am local time, carried by a Long March-2D rocket.

      “The satellite’s two-year mission will be to develop “hack-proof” quantum communications allowing users to send messages securely and at speeds faster than light,” Xinhua reported.

      The Quantum Experiments at Space Scale, or Quess, satellite program is part of an ambitious space programme that has accelerated since Xi Jinping became Communist party chief in late 2012.

    • China Launches “Hack-Proof Quantum Satellite” To Transfer Secure Data
    • Trouble Follows When the U.S. Labels You a ‘Thug’

      There is a nasty pattern in American political speech, going back into the 1980s at least: when a senior U.S. official labels you a thug, often times wars follow. Thug is the safest word of American Exceptionalism.

      So it is with some concern that lots of folks are pushing each other away from the mic to call Putin a thug (fun fact: Putin has been in effective charge of Russia for 15 years. As recently as the Hillary Clinton Secretary of State era, the U.S. sought a “reset” of relations with him.)

      While the current throwing of the term thug at Putin is tied to the weak evidence presented publicly linking a Russian hacker under Putin’s employ to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee computers, there may be larger issues in the background. But first, a sample of the rhetoric.

    • Putin’s incredible shrinking circle

      True to the informal tradition that August brings surprises in Russia, on the 12th it was announced that Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, was leaving his position as head of the Presidential Administration (AP) and taking up the new and rather less pivotal job of presidential representative for transport and the environment. In his place, Putin elevated one of Ivanov’s deputies, the essentially-unknown 44-year old Anton Vaino. Whatever Vaino’s strengths, this points to the way Putin is hollowing out his inner elite, surrounding himself with fewer but also less substantial peers, who are unlikely to challenge his worldview and opinions.

    • Doctors Without Borders Hospital Bombing in Yemen Earns Rare Saudi Rebuke at State Department

      After the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition bombed a hospital in Yemen supported by Doctors Without Borders on Monday, the U.S. State Department offered a rare condemnation of the coalition’s violence.

      “Of course we condemn the attack,” said Elizabeth Trudeau, a spokesman for the State Department.

      The State Department has previously deflected questions about coalition attacks by referring reporters to the Saudi government — even though the U.S. has supplied the coalition with billions of dollars of weapons, and has refueled Saudi planes.

      Trudeau also stressed that “U.S. officials regularly engage with Saudi officials” about civilian casualties — a line that spokespeople have repeated for months. Saudi Arabia has nevertheless continued to bomb civilian sites, including homes, markets, factories, and schools.

    • In Rudy Giuliani’s Universe, 9/11 Is Everything and Nothing

      Warming up the crowd for Donald Trump on Monday in Youngstown, Ohio, former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani offered a glimpse into the alternate reality he has now signed on to by describing the presidency of George W. Bush as a time of undisturbed peace and security for Americans.

      During “those eight years, before Obama came along,” Giuliani said, “we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States — they all started when Clinton and Obama got into office.”

    • Aid Worker in Aleppo Says Joint U.S.-Russian Airstrikes Would be “Diabolical”

      A British aid worker based in rebel-held East Aleppo says that reported plans by the United States and Russia to conduct joint airstrikes against the city are “ludicrous and diabolical,” and, if carried out, would have a disastrous impact on civilians living there.

      Tauqir Sharif, 29, speaking to The Intercept from a hospital in Aleppo, says that Russian and Syrian government airstrikes on the city are creating nightmarish conditions for ordinary people. The addition of American forces to the mix would compound the misery of civilians, while giving the impression that the United States was openly siding with the Assad government.

      Last week an alliance of Syrian rebels and Islamist groups broke the longstanding government siege on the eastern half of the city. Sharif says that since then, the frequency and intensity of airstrikes has increased. “There has been an almost constant bombardment from strikes because the regime is very, very angry that a corridor has been opened into the city from the south,” Sharif says. “The siege in some ways is still in place because it is very difficult to bring aid in due to constant airstrikes on vehicles driving the routes to the city.”

    • Six Years Later, the US Continues to Facilitate Saudi War Crimes

      Over six years ago, according to a State Department cable liberated by Chelsea Manning, the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia met with Prince Khalid bin Sultan to complain about all the civilians the Saudis killed in an airstrike on a health clinic. Prince Khalid expressed regret about the dead civilians. But the Saudis “had to hit the Houthis very hard in order to ‘bring them to their knees.’”

    • US War Crimes or ‘Normalized Deviance’

      The U.S. foreign policy establishment and its mainstream media operate with a pervasive set of hypocritical standards that justify war crimes — or what might be called a “normalization of deviance,” writes Nicolas J S Davies.

    • Simplistic Second-Guessing on ISIS

      Official Washington’s neocons, the mainstream U.S. media and Donald Trump are on the same page at least in blaming President Obama for ISIS, a case of all three parties being wrong, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Morrissey says leave voters were victimised and made to look irresponsible after Brexit

      Morrissey has accused the British media of victimising those who voted to leave the EU.

      The 57-year-old singer said he was left “shocked” by the unfair reporting following the outcome of the EU referendum.

      He claimed those who voted in favour of Brexit were judged as “racist, drunk and irresponsible” yet those who voted to remain were not questioned in the same way.

      Speaking to Israeli publication Walla! he said: “I am shocked at the refusal of the British media to be fair and accept the people’s final decision just because the result of the referendum did not benefit the establishment.

    • Banks Won’t Wait Around to See What Brexit Deal the U.K. Can Get

      Big investment banks with their European headquarters in London will start the process of moving jobs from the U.K. within weeks of the government triggering Brexit, a faster timeline than their public messages of patience would imply, according to people briefed on the plans being drawn up by four of the biggest firms.

    • Upset by Brexit, Some British Jews Look to Germany

      But looking for a way to ensure that he could still work and live in Europe once Britain leaves the bloc, Mr. Levine, 35, who was born in Britain and lives in London, decided to do what some Jews, including his relatives, might consider unthinkable: apply for German citizenship.

    • Brexit Timing Illusions Exposed in Unusual Tale of Greenland

      There’s a man in the European Union who has already led a country out of the bloc. His name is Uffe Ellemann-Jensen. He’s a former foreign minister of Denmark who handled negotiations on Greenland after its citizens voted to leave the EU in 1982.

      With a population of just 56,000 and a gross domestic product of about $2.5 billion, Greenland still took three years to exit. Ellemann-Jensen says any notion in Britain that all it needs to do is trigger Article 50 and two years later it will be out is illusory.

      “Negotiating Greenland’s exit was a fairly simple task that resulted in a relatively simple and easy to understand protocol,” Ellemann-Jensen, 74, said in an interview. “That took three years. Britain will take much longer. It’s impossible to say how long.”

    • U.K. Input Costs Jump as Pound’s Brexit Drop Fuels Prices: Chart

      The drop in the pound caused by the U.K.’s European Union referendum is already affecting manufacturers. Manufacturers’ costs for materials and fuels jumped an annual 4.3 percent in July, the fastest pace in three years. Still, the surge may not worry Bank of England officials yet, since policy makers have indicated they intend to look through any inflation generated by the currency’s slump as they add stimulus to bolster growth.

    • 7 Brexit promises that have already been abandoned

      As soon as we voted to Leave the EU, the phrase “post-truth” started to be thrown about a lot more, assisted in part by a certain national embarrassment running for US president.

      It’s probably fair to say the Leave campaign may have had something to do with this – campaign promises were literally abandoned the morning after the Brexit vote.

      Just to remind you, here’s what those who campaigned to Leave are really hoping people will shut up about.

    • Brexit Bulletin: Banks Already Plotting City Exodu

      Larger investment banks with their European headquarters in London are already making plans for their own withdrawal.

      Many plan to start the process of moving jobs from the U.K. within weeks of the government triggering Brexit, people briefed on the plans of four of the biggest firms told Bloomberg’s Gavin Finch.

      That suggests the banks may move faster than their public messages of patience would imply, and reflects dismay with the U.K.’s lack of a clear plan to protect its status as a global financial hub. There are concerns British-based banks will lose the right to sell services freely around the European Union.

    • Brexit damage to economy will outweigh modest wage gains, says study

      Damage to the economy caused by Brexit will more than offset the modest wage gains for British-born workers in low-paid jobs caused by cutting net migration to the tens of thousands a year, a study has found.

      A report by the Resolution Foundation thinktank said there would be a small pay increase to native-born employees in sectors such as security and cleaning if there was a big cut in the number of workers arriving in Britain from overseas.

      But it estimated that these benefits would fail to compensate for the reduction in real incomes caused in the short term by the higher inflation triggered by a falling pound, and in the long term by a slowdown in the economy’s growth rate.

    • Will ‘decent work’ or Victorian brutality mark India’s dash for the top?

      Although all too often glossed over, Victorian Britain’s harsh working conditions are no secret.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Assange: DOJ set ‘new standard’ for Clinton

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says the Department of Justice (DOJ) set a new standard for its investigations with its probe of Hillary Clinton.

      “Our D.C. lawyers are delivering a letter tomorrow to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to explain why it is that the now six-year-long national security and criminal investigation being run against WikiLeaks, the reason I have political asylum, has not been closed,” he said on CNN’s “The Lead” on Monday.

      “Because the DOJ, whose actions seem to be setting a new standard by closing the Hillary Clinton case,” Assange added. “The Hillary Clinton case has only gone for one year.

      “Hillary Clinton’s case has been dropped, the case against WikiLeaks continues. So why is it that the quote, ‘pending law enforcement proceedings’ against WikiLeaks continue? There’s a problem here.”

      Assange compared the DOJ’s investigation of his organization with the agency’s probe of Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee.

      “It was closed under the basis that [FBI Director] James Comey said that they couldn’t establish that there was an intent to damage national security,” he said of the DOJ’s probe of Clinton. “In our case, there’s no allegation that we have done anything except publish information for the public.

      “The U.S. government had to say under oath in 2013 not a single person has been physically harmed by our publication. You don’t have intent. You don’t have serious harm.”

      Assange added Clinton’s campaign is trying to discredit WikiLeaks by focusing on his lack of American citizenship.

      “Of course they’re desperate for anything,” he said. “We operate and report on all different countries. We have staff in the United States. That’s what we do for every country.

    • Ten years ago, Trump’s campaign manager warned of a rigged election — in Ukraine

      “The only way” Hillary Clinton can win in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump said at a rally in that state on Friday evening, “and I mean this 100 percent — [is] if in certain sections of the state they cheat, OK?” That was “the way we can lose the state,” he said, of a state where he currently trails by 9 points. “And we have to call up law enforcement. And we have to have the sheriffs and the police chiefs and everybody watching.” On Saturday, his campaign unveiled an effort to somehow formalize the campaign’s fraud-prevention system, encouraging sign-ups on their website for “Trump Election Observers.”

      There’s no demonstrated in-person voter fraud problem in Pennsylvania (or anywhere else, for that matter), and it’s not clear if Trump’s fraud-prevention effort is simply an attempt to collect voter contact information and boost GOP voter enthusiasm, or if it’s actually meant to combat a problem that doesn’t exist. But it’s not surprising that this is a part of Trump’s campaign in one sense: When Trump’s campaign director Paul Manafort was helping to coordinate the campaign effort of a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine in 2006, he used similar tools and rhetoric.

    • Democratic National Committee Creates A ‘Cybersecurity Board’ Without A Single Cybersecurity Expert

      The Democratic National Committee, still reeling from the hack on its computer system that resulted in a bunch of leaked emails and the resignation of basically all of its top people, has now created a “cybersecurity advisory board” to improve its cybersecurity and to “prevent future attacks.”

    • Con vs. Con

      During the presidential election cycle, liberals display their gutlessness. Liberal organizations, such as MoveOn.org, become cloyingly subservient to the Democratic Party. Liberal media, epitomized by MSNBC, ruthlessly purge those who challenge the Democratic Party establishment. Liberal pundits, such as Paul Krugman, lambaste critics of the political theater, charging them with enabling the Republican nominee. Liberals chant, in a disregard for the facts, not to be like Ralph Nader, the “spoiler” who gave us George W. Bush.

      The liberal class refuses to fight for the values it purports to care about. It is paralyzed and trapped by the induced panic manufactured by the systems of corporate propaganda. The only pressure within the political system comes from corporate power. With no counterweight, with no will on the part of the liberal class to defy the status quo, we slide deeper and deeper into corporate despotism. The repeated argument of the necessity of supporting the “least worse” makes things worse.

    • Did Trump Campaign Manager Reap Millions in Stolen Ukrainian Wealth?

      The bromance between Donald Trump and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin—even when reminded of the murders of anti-Putin journalists—has been one of the oddities of the 2016 presidential campaign. Besides Trump’s praise of Putin as a strong leader, and the GOP presidential nominee’s invitation to Russia to hack into the email server of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, there’s the work done on behalf of a Putin ally by Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager.

    • Milwaukee’s War on Black People

      Donald Trump supporter and Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke has built a national profile by openly declaring war on the Black Lives Matter movement, from the floor of the Republican National Convention to the pages of national media outlets, once even proclaiming on social media that racial justice protesters will “join forces” with ISIS.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • WordPress blocks latest Guccifer 2.0 docs

      The blog platform WordPress blocked or obfuscated public access to the entire recent cache of documents from the account of hacker Guccifer 2.0, including the contact information for Democratic members of Congress and lists of passwords.

      Guccifer 2.0, the hacker or hackers behind the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) breach last month, published some of the documents taken from the DCCC system on Friday.

      “Some content on this page was disabled on August 13, 2016 upon receipt of a valid complaint regarding the publication of private information,” the site posted in place of the documents and accompanying blog post, along with a link to its privacy policy.

      While the site only deleted one file — the database of congressional contact information — deleting the post removed all links to other documents in the recent cache. Knowing a direct web address of the files, a user could still download them. The site no longer provides any direction on how to get to those documents.

    • “A Honeypot For Assholes”: Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment

      For nearly its entire existence, Twitter has not just tolerated abuse and hate speech, it’s virtually been optimized to accommodate it. With public backlash at an all-time high and growth stagnating, what is the platform that declared itself “the free speech wing of the free speech party” to do? BuzzFeed News talks to the people who’ve been trying to figure this out for a decade.

    • Abuse on Twitter is a ‘fundamental feature,’ report says

      Its commitment to free speech since its very beginning, plus the pressure to grow the number of users, have overshadowed efforts to curtail the abuse on the platform, former employees told BuzzFeed News. Add to that the general internal chaos of a startup.


      The article echoes some of the well-known criticisms of the internet firm, such as the allegation that it takes better care of celebrities who complain of abuse than it does average people.

      Twitter has deployed something called the “censoring algorithm” — for example, when it has hosted town halls with famous people such as Caitlyn Jenner — the story said.

      Perhaps Twitter’s “original sin” was its homogenous leadership team, a former employee told BuzzFeed. White, male leaders didn’t prioritize the abuse problem in part because they were not victimized.

    • National anti-censorship group weighs in on book battle in Chesterfield County

      In a letter sent to Chesterfield’s School superintendent this month, the National Coalition Against Censorship asked the school system to do away with plans to review several books from a summer reading list some parents voiced concerns over, alleging they are not age appropriate and are objectionable.

      “Parents have complete control. This was an optional book list. The right response at this point is if parents don’t want their kids reading things, then they tell their kids not to read it,” said Claire Guthrie-Gastanaga with the ACLU of Virginia.

      The ACLU is part of the coalition and says beyond limiting diversity in education, there are legal troubles with taking books off reading lists.

    • AdWeek Articles On Google Ad VP Torrence Boone Hit With Bogus DMCA Notices Issued By Bogus ‘News’ Websites

      It appears there’s still no shortage of quasi-reputation management efforts being deployed in the form of bogus DMCA takedowns issued by bogus “news” websites.

      Pissed Consumer uncovered this shady tactic back in April, noting that legitimate-sounding sites like the “Frankfort Herald” and the “Lewisburg Tribune” were issuing takedown notices on complaints posted to the gripe site. These fake news sites tended to be filled with a blend of scraped content and and negative reviews/posts from sites like Pissed Consumer and Ripoff Report copy-pasted in full and backdated to make them appear as if they’d appeared at the bogus sites first.

      Our article about this tactic, containing some additional details we tracked down, caught the eye of an entity called Web Activism, which is now digging up as many details as it can about this DMCA-abusing reputation management tactic. Web Activism notified Adweek that a couple of past articles hosted there were being targeted by bogus DMCA notices.

    • Who Filed Fake Copyright Infringement Complaints Against AgencySpy?

      Earlier this year, someone using a fake name, a fake employer and a fake job description filed a fraudulent Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown request with our parent company’s legal team.

      Here’s what almost certainly happened: A reputation PR firm had a client who wanted a post written way back in 2010 to disappear from Google’s search results forever, so an employee of this firm copied and pasted our post into a fake news story, backdated it to make the claim more believable, then used a fictional but official-sounding identity to threaten our employer with unspecified legal action.

    • Which Crazy Copyright Holder Took Down Katie Ledecky/Carlos Santana ‘Smooth’ Mashup First?

      Someone — either the Olympics or whoever holds the copyright to the song — issued a takedown. This is ridiculous. The use here was almost certainly fair use. But when you have two of the most aggressive copyright aggressors around — record labels and the Olympics — I guess it’s no surprise that they would ignore fair use and take down content like this, which is the kind of content that would likely only get more people interested in either the Olympics or the music. But, no, copyright is apparently more important than that.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Alain Philippon pleads guilty over smartphone password border dispute

      A Quebec man who refused to give his smartphone password to border officials at Halifax Stanfield International Airport last year has pleaded guilty and been fined $500.

      Alain Philippon, of Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., had said he would fight the charge of hindering or obstructing border officials, but changed course Monday morning when his lawyer entered a guilty plea on his behalf in provincial court in Dartmouth, N.S.

    • Malaysian maid agencies stunned by new directive barring non-Muslim maids for Muslims

      Maid agencies in Malaysia are stunned by a “new” directive imposed by the Immigration Department barring them from hiring non-Muslim maids.

      Employers have questioned the rationale behind the policy, which department officials said was not new, as they were worried that they may not get any maids at all.

      Malaysian Maid Employers Association (MAMA) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi said the policy would limit the supply of maids for Muslims.

      “Religion should not be an obstacle. When you work in an office, you don’t base it on religion and likewise, this should not be the case for the maid in the home,” he said on Sunday (Aug 14).

    • Helsinki Uber drivers now face criminal charges when caught

      Police in Helsinki are criminally charging drivers caught working for the smartphone-based chauffeur service Uber. Previously, drivers found behind the wheel of an Uber only faced a misdemeanor fine.

    • Egyptian judo athlete sent home after refusing to shake hand of Israeli opponent

      For all the professionalism that has overwhelmed the Olympics, the games are supposed to be conducted with a spirit of sporting fraternity.

      And officials reacted sternly after a member of the Egyptian judo team refused to shake hands with the Israeli athlete who had just defeated him.

      The International Olympic Committee said Islam El Shehaby received a “severe reprimand” for his behaviour following his first-round heavyweight bout loss to Or Sasson last Friday.

    • Police to hire law firms to tackle cyber criminals in radical pilot project

      Private law firms will be hired by police to pursue criminal suspects for profit, under a radical new scheme to target cyber criminals and fraudsters.

      In a pilot project by the City of London police, the lead force on fraud in England and Wales, officers will pass details of suspects and cases to law firms, which will use civil courts to seize the money.

      The force says the scheme is a way of more effectively tackling fraud – which is now the biggest type of crime, estimated to cost £193bn a year. It is overwhelming police and the criminal justice system.

      The experiment, which is backed by the government and being closely watched by other law enforcement agencies, is expected to lead to cases reaching civil courts this year or early next year.

      Officers will use the private law firms to attempt to seize suspects’ assets. If unsuccessful, police could decide to leave it at that or pursue the case themselves through the criminal courts.

      Commander Chris Greany, head of economic crime at City of London police, said: “It is a huge shift … Civil recovery allows us to get hold of a criminal’s money sooner, and repay back victims sooner.”

    • Study Says Police Body Cameras Have Contributed To Increased Uses Of Deadly Force

      While I don’t doubt that some officers believe footage may assist them in justifying shootings, there’s very little here that suggests anything more than a statistical blip. No such increase was noted in 2013 or 2014, and a 3.64% increase would seem to be a fluctuation, rather than anything correlative.

      The authors of the study note one issue that may be skewing the numbers slightly upward: there’s very little data available to differentiate between justified shootings and unjustified shootings. Without this, it’s difficult to draw the conclusion that officers have made conscious or unconscious decisions about the perceived exculpatory value of capturing deadly force incidents on tape. And yet, such a conclusion is being tentatively drawn.

    • Study Links Police Bodycams to Increase in Shooting Deaths

      In the wake of high-profile police shootings, the Obama administration has encouraged local police departments to equip their officers with body-worn cameras. The devices, said Attorney General Loretta Lynch, “hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability, and advancing public safety.”

      A new study by Temple University researchers, however, suggests that the wearable video cameras may not lead to fewer police shootings of civilians, but may actually make officers more likely to use lethal force.

    • African-American Women Make Olympic History

      After winning an Olympic medal, Simone Manuel said, “It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality. This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on.”

    • This Is What You Get

      The police shooting of another young black man, this time in Milwaukee, has proved “a spark to a powder keg” that is the city’s decades-long segregation, toxic racial climate, gross economic inequity, police abuses, and political leadership that not only ignored but often exacerbated those tensions. The death of Sylville Smith, 23, has provoked two days and nights of sometimes violent protests by a community that, said the brother of another police shooting victim, “has nothing. It’s a neglected community. To burn down something, to them, it meant, ‘Do you hear us now?’”

      The shooting and riots have put a spotlight on what has been called the worst place to be black in America, a city so segregated and divided from its suburbs that an old racist joke claims the city’s 16th Street viaduct bridge is the longest in the world because it links “Africa to Europe.” Milwaukee’s population of 600,000 is roughly 60% black and Latino, with a poverty rate of over 30%, dilapidated infrastructure, and little or no access to decent jobs; its suburbs are rich, up to 96% white and staunchly Republican – and Gov. Scott Walker is blamed for long working to keep it that way.

    • Tribute to Fidel Castro on His 90th Birthday
    • Fidel the Guerrilla in 2015–16 and Beyond

      Fidel stepped out of his hideaway, as though from a mountain hideout, to provide the very first salvo against illusions about U.S. imperialism. However, this is coupled with the expressed desire for a peaceful solution of the decades of conflict between the two neighbours, which is worth repeating: “I do not trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged one word with them, though this does not in any way signify a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war.”

    • Fidel Castro: 90 Revolutionary Years

      In October 1960, Senator John Kennedy said: “Fulgencio Batista murdered 20,000 Cubans in 7 years – a greater proportion of the Cuban population than the proportion of Americans who died in both World Wars, and he turned democratic Cuba into a complete police state – destroying every individual liberty.” This gives a measure of Fidel’s audacity to undertake his own legal and political defence.

    • Human Rights Groups Hold Candle Lighting for the Victims of Extra Judicial Killings; Call on President Duterte to Stop the Killing & Respect the Rights of Every Individual, and Follow Due Process

      iDefend, composed of Human Rights Defenders, has come out with a public statement and organised the candle lighting as a form of protest to #StopTheKillings on 15th August 2016, Monday at Tomas Morato cor. Timog Cirlce and Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City.

    • Kerry’s Brazil Meeting: Showing Support for an Illegitimate Government

      On Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) also weighed in, noting, “After suspending Brazil’s first female president on dubious grounds, without a mandate to govern the new interim government abolished the ministry of women, racial equality and human rights.” He added: “The United States cannot sit silently while the democratic institutions of one of our most important allies are undermined.”

      It is extremely rare to see this type of challenge to the policy of an administration from members of Congress of the same party, over a country as big and important as Brazil. In dealing with such a country, with a land mass that is bigger than the continental United States, more than 200 million people, and the seventh largest economy in the world, it is normal for Democratic legislators to defer to their Democratic president, especially in an election year.

  • DRM

    • It looks like the headphone jack dilemma will be pretty messy to start

      As you’ve heard ad nauseam, Apple appears extremely likely to remove the headphone jack from its next iPhone. This hasn’t gone over well! Apart from forcing some people to buy new wired (or wireless) headphones, it’s likely to raise the cost of the average headphone, and make many learn to live with dongles.

      Still, there are some potential benefits to adopting a digital audio connection like Lightning — noise-cancelling could become standard, for instance, and higher-end Lightning cans could provide better sound. Plus, if Apple makes jack-less iPhones the norm, it’d at least do so in one fell swoop. Lightning replaces 3.5mm, and that’s that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • AbbVie v Amgen: Is the “patent dance” fair for both sides?

      The suit is the first filed under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) in which two parties have disagreed upon which patents should be in dispute, and raises a question about the efficacy of the “patent dance” process established by the BPCIA.

    • A Specification’s Focus on Particular Embodiment Not Limiting if Other Embodiments are also Expressly Contemplated

      The claim at issue is directed to a conveyor and “automatic” collating system for prescription containers. U.S. Patent No. 6,910,601, Claim 8. The claim itself does not specify how the collation occurs, but throughout the specification the patentee indicates that the containers will be collated by patient name and storage space availability. Seeing that distinction, the district court agreed with the challenger that the claims fail because they were not commensurate with the written description of the invention. [...]

      “Without including a limitation to address the storage by patient name, the claims are simply too broad to be valid.”

    • Trademarks

      • Trademark Office Tosses Phyllis Schlafly’s Opposition To Her Son’s Brewery Name Trademark Application

        We discuss trademark disputes centering on the beer and alcohol industry around here because that particular industry is finding itself at something of a barrier centered on how brews are named. Still, one story from a couple of years ago was particularly head-scratching. That story was that of Schlafly beer, made by Tom Schlafly’s St. Louis brewery, and the opposition to his trademark application from his aunt and cousin, Phyllis and Bruce Schlafly repsectively. Both family members filed oppositions to the trademark application, claiming that having their last name associated with an alcoholic product would negatively impact them. Bruce is an orthopedic surgeon, making one wonder exactly how bone-shattering Schlafly beer actually is. Phyllis, meanwhile, is a super-conservative commentator with an audience particularly cultivated amongst Mormons and Baptists, therefore an alcohol product with her surname on it would be ultra negative for her commentating business.

    • Copyrights

      • Attribution on the web

        The web is a great thing that’s come a long way, yadda yadda. It used to be an obscure nerd thing where you could read black Times New Roman text on a gray background. Now, it’s a hyper popular nerd thing where you can read black Helvetica Neue text on a white background. I hear it can do other stuff, too.

        That said, I occasionally see little nagging reminders that the web is still quite primitive in some ways. One such nag: it has almost no way to preserve attribution, and sometimes actively strips it.

        As a programmer, I’m here to propose some technical solutions to this social problem. It’s so easy! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

      • Lots Of Newspapers Discovering That Paywalls Don’t Work

        For many years, while some journalists (and newspaper execs) have been insisting that a paywall is “the answer” for the declining news business, we’ve been pointing out how fundamentally stupid paywalls are for the news. Without going into all of the arguments again, the short version is this: the business of newspapers has never really been “the news business” (no matter how much they insist otherwise). It’s always been the community and attention business. And in the past they were able to command such attention and build a community around news because they didn’t have much competition. But the competitive landscape for community and attention has changed (massively) thanks to the internet. And putting up a paywall makes it worse. In most cases, it’s limiting the ability of these newspapers to build communities or get attention, and actively pushing people away.

        And, yes, sure, people will point to the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times as proof that “paywalls work.” But earth to basically every other publication: you’re not one of those publications. The paywalls there only work because of the unique content they have, and even then they don’t work as well as most people think.

        Not surprisingly, more and more newspapers that bet on paywalls are discovering that they don’t really work that well and were a waste of time and effort — and may have driven away even more readers.

      • Newspapers rethink paywalls as digital efforts sputter

        Newspapers in the English-speaking world ended paywalls some 69 times through May 2015, including 41 temporary and 28 permanent drops, according to a study by University of Southern California researchers.

      • US Seizes Dotcom’s Millions, Entrepreneur Fights Back

        On Friday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected efforts by Kim Dotcom to regain control over millions of dollars in assets seized by the US Government. By remaining outside the US, the court found that the Megaupload founder is a fugitive from justice. But Dotcom isn’t ready to give in and will take his case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.


Links 15/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC2, Glimpses at OpenMandriva Lx 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • One Of The Best Note-Taking Apps ‘Simplenote’ Is Now Open Source

    Simplenote, a lean but powerful note-taking app, has been made open source by its owner Automattic. Released under the GPLv2 license, developers can use its code for different platforms and take the app in new directions. But, it seems like the server-side code of the app is not yet released.

  • Research reports explore the open-source software market

    The mantra “you get what you pay for” doesn’t always to software. Because sometimes the best software really is free.

  • Events

    • Where in the World is the OSI?

      If you’re out and about at conferences this month, we hope that you’ll have a chance to attend one of these talks by OSI Board Members. If you’re an OSI member and you’ll be giving at talk about open source topics, please get in touch. We’d love to let folks know about your talk!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 49 for Linux gains plugin-free support for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

        The Linux version of Firefox 49 is due for a proper release in September, although preview versions are currently available for those who want to try it out. With Widevine being free for anyone to use, Firefox’s adoption of plugin-free support for it could well mean that the standard is embraced by a larger number of sites. Support for DRM makes the protocol particularly appealing to content providers, as does the lack of license fee.

      • Firefox 49 for Linux Will Let You Watch Netflix Without Plugins

        Firefox is to begin supporting the Google Widevine CDM on Linux from next month, allowing native, plugin-free playback of encrypted media content like Netflix.

      • Firefox 49 To Offer Linux Widevine Support, Firefox Also Working On WebP Support

        There are two exciting bits of Mozilla Firefox news to pass along today: Winevine support on Linux out-of-the-box to handle Netflix and friends. Separately, WebP image support is being worked on.

        Trailing the Windows and OS X support, Winevine is being advertised as supported out-of-the-box now on Firefox for Linux. This change will happen for the upcoming Firefox 49 release.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • This Theme Pack Makes GIMP Look and Behave like Photoshop

      We’re all aware The GIMP is the best free alternative to Photoshop — but is there a way to make it look like Photoshop, too? This is open-source software we’re talking about, of course there is a way! Why Use a GIMP Photoshop Theme?

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

    • VMware survives GPL breach case, but plaintiff promises appeal

      Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig’s bid to have VMware’s knuckles rapped for breaching the GNU General Public Licence (GPL) has failed, for now, after the Landgericht Hamburg found in Virtzilla’s favour.

      The Software Freedom Conservancy backed Hellwig when he alleged that some of his contributions to the Linux kernel have found their way into VMware’s very proprietary flagship ESXi product, in a component called “vmklinux”. Hellwig and the Conservancy believe that as ESXi includes code licensed under the GPLv2, ESXi should itself be released as open source code under the same licence.

    • Linux developer loses case against VMware

      Hellwig claimed the outfit had violated version 2 of the GNU General Public Licence and says he will appeal against the verdict.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Open data on open data portals

        The Open Data Inception project presents a comprehensive list of more than 2600 open data portals all over the world. The information is geotagged so it can be searched by topic as well as country.

        The list has been compiled by the Open Data Soft company as a showcase. They wanted to bring together as many open data resources as they could, and present these on a map per country for easy browsing.

        The creators aim to maintain the list and ask visitors to contribute links to portals and datasets that are currently not yet in the list. The dataset itself has also been made available as open data.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Chemists to get their own service for preprint sharing

        Physics researchers have a long history of sharing work they’re preparing for publication in order to solicit suggestions and comments from their peers. Like so many things, this behavior migrated to the Internet: Cornell University’s arXiv server hosts over 1.1 million documents, many of which later appeared in formal peer-reviewed literature.

        The physics and astronomy communities see arXiv as beneficial, and biologists put together their own database called The BioRxiv. Now it appears that chemists are going to get their own equivalent. The American Chemical Society is asking for input from the research and publishing communities about what they’d like to see in a ChemRxiv.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Amazon Announces Application Load Balancer for the Cloud

        Load balancers have been part of the networking landscape for decades, more often than not in recent years being lumped together under the category of Application Delivery Controllers (ADC). Various load balancing services have been available in the cloud, but this week Amazon announced a significant new entrant – the Application Load Balancer for Elastic Load Balancing.

      • Carnegie Mellon U aims to unlock industrial 3D printing potential with new consortium that includes GE, Alcoa and United States Steel

        You don’t need to be an expert to see that 3D printing is slowly finding its way into the hands of designers throughout the world. From prototype airplane parts to hip replacements and implantable organs; 3D printing is appearing everywhere. But for the 3D printing revolution to really pick up steam, a major push or technological breakthrough is needed to make this a truly accessible and affordable large-scale manufacturing option. In an attempt to realize that breakthrough, Carnegie Mellon University has announced a new consortium that brings together major companies, nonprofit institutes and the US government. Together, they will be working to fully unlock the potential of industrial 3D printing.


  • Kenny Baker, ‘Star Wars’ Actor Behind R2-D2, Dead at 81

    Kenny Baker, the actor who portrayed the robot R2-D2 in six Star Wars films, died Saturday after a long illness. He was 81.

  • Orkut, once India’s social media darling, is back

    In 2004, a Turkish engineer at Google, Orkut Buyukkokten, started the social network Orkut.com. According to a Forbes report, it gathered 27 million users by 2009. Most of them were from India and Brazil. With time, its sheen wore off as Facebook and Twitter got ahead in the race. When Google finally shut it down in September 2014, the internet saw nostalgic tributes. For many, Orkut was their introduction to social networking. Now, 41-year-old Buyukkokten is back in the game. His new social network, Hello, is already off the ground and active in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Ireland, among other countries. The location-based social network is due for launch in India by September. Buyukkokten spoke to TOI over a video call from San Francisco and discussed his time spent at Google, building Orkut, and the way we are online.

  • Kenyan Start-Ups Make The Ride Tough For Uber

    After making a dramatic entry into the African market late last year that was marked by as much drama as elsewhere in the world, global taxi hailing service Uber is facing tough times in the Kenyan market, thanks to a number of innovative tech start-ups that are giving the company a run for its money.

    Local start-ups in the East African country have come up with innovative apps similar to that of Uber, but which have additional features suited to the local market situation and demands.

    While Uber in Kenya has a provision for cash payments in a country where electronic payments remain a preserve of the elite, local firms have come up with a payment feature where fares can be paid by use of the popular and ever-growing mobile money service M-Pesa, a Kenyan creation that has caught the attention of the entire world of money transfers.

  • Population projections reveal shocking future trends

    Finland is home to fewer children now than at anytime in the last century. In a decade the number of pensioners will exceed the number of working-aged adults. The latest projections from Statistics Finland paint a sparse and elderly future.

  • Science

    • Switzerland Stars, China In Top 25, Innovation Rating Finds

      A global innovation rating has found Switzerland to be the most innovative nation in the world for the sixth consecutive year even if some other countries are on its heels. The lead group of countries continued to be mainly composed of most economically advanced nations, while innovation is lagging in many developing countries, but China and India made notable leaps up the list this year. The rankings stirred a broader discussion today of the shifting global economy and the role of innovation, including a call for a new approach to global innovation governance.

    • Is 5G technology dangerous? Early data shows a slight increase of tumors in male rats exposed to cellphone radiation

      As wireless companies prepare to launch the next generation of service, there are new questions about the possible health risks from radiation emitted by cellphones and the transmitters that carry the signals.

      Concerns about the potential harmful effects of radiofrequency radiation have dogged mobile technology since the first brick-sized cellphones hit the market in the 1980s.

      Industry and federal officials have largely dismissed those fears, saying the radiation exposure is minimal and that the devices are safe. Incidences of and deaths from brain cancer have shown little change in recent years despite the explosion in cellphone usage, they note.

    • Vikings Possibly Spread Smooth-Riding Horses Around the World

      This week, equestrian athletes at the Rio Olympics are competing in an event called “dressage,” in which they guide their horses to perform complex combinations of different gaits, including the walk, trot and canter.

      One type of footwork (or hoofwork, if you will) you likely won’t see is an “amble,” a sometimes comical four-beat gait that’s faster than a walk, slower than a gallop and well-suited for smooth, long rides.

  • Hardware

    • Storage Solutions – All You Need To Know

      Being a computer user, at some point of time we all were introduced to the fear of losing our data. I know it sounds familiar because we all love our data. The data can be of many types but most importantly you would not like to know that your precious pictures have been deleted due to new operating system installation or hard drive has been damaged. In this article, I’ll discuss the importance of cloud storage and different popular cloud storage that provide more free space.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Social costs of Flint’s lead drinking water crisis equal $395 million

      The social costs stemming from dangerous levels of lead in the drinking water of Flint, Mich., such as the effect on children’s health, amount to $395 million, according to an analysis by a professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

    • Patient groups that backed new cancer drug received £60,000 from pharma firm

      THREE patient groups that successfully lobbied for a new leukaemia drug to be on the NHS received over £60,000 from the pharma firm behind the product.

      One of the charities relies on Big Pharma for 70 per cent of its funding and has a trustee with financial links to Janssen-Cilag, which manufactures the Ibrutinib drug.

      Professor David Miller, an academic who is also a transparency campaigner, said the practice of healthcare giants funding these groups “distorts” the decision-making process.

    • Grizzly Delisting and the Irony of Public Comments

      When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asks for public comments, they don’t mean you, and they don’t mean me. In fact, they don’t mean the public at all.

      Dan Ashe, the Director of the USFWS, highlighted the public’s ability to make public comments in his March 3rd announcement of the agency’s proposal to delist grizzlies from the endangered species list and he made much ado about the importance of the public’s input.

      Did he mean it? In a word, no.

    • Florida Keys Residents Resist Controversial GMO Mosquito Trial

      Residents of the Florida Keys are up in arms over a plan to release genetically-modified (GM) mosquitoes in the Key Haven neighborhood and are trying to get the word out about the trial, which they say would make them “lab rats” in their own community.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the controversial study by U.K.-firm Oxitec earlier this month, amid renewed fears over mosquito transmission of the Zika virus.

      “We need to help educate the public about the very real, scientifically based problems with this genetically modified mosquito release,” Mara Daly, who has been helping organize a protest at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board meeting Tuesday afternoon, told the Miami Herald.

    • Protest planned at bug board over genetically modified mosquitoes

      A Keys woman says a protest Tuesday at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board will target the release of genetically modified mosquitoes.

      “We will be outside with signs protesting peacefully. I think this will be the opportunity for moms, teachers, nurses to have a voice. I just wanted to give people a little push to do it,” said Mara Daly, who works at a Key Largo salon. “It’s to let them know there are concerns from people they have not heard from. Maybe the fat lady has already sung, I don’t know.

      The meeting starts at 3 p.m. at the board’s building, 503 107th St. in Marathon. Agenda items include an update on the Zika virus and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Aug. 5 approval to allow a test release of GM Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the Lower Keys neighborhood of Key Haven. Aedes aegypti spread Zika, which can cause birth defects in the children of pregnant women, and whose symptoms include fever and pain in the joints, bones and muscles.

    • Holding Monsanto to Account: the People’s Tribunal in The Hague

      As one of the world’s leading seed and chemical companies, Monsanto’s activities affect us all.

      Its best-selling weedkiller is made from a chemical called glyphosate that the World Health Organisation has found to probably cause cancer. Yet its use is now so widespread that traces are found in one out of every three loaves of bread in the UK.

      That’s why earlier this year, in the lead up a EU decision about whether to relicense glyphosate, we mounted public pressure on decision makers through our Monsanto honest marketing campaign.

  • Security

    • Hacker demonstrates how voting machines can be compromised [Ed: Microsoft inside]

      Concerns are growing over the possibility of a rigged presidential election. Experts believe a cyberattack this year could be a reality, especially following last month’s hack of Democratic National Committee emails.

      The ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee sent a letter Monday to the Department of Homeland Security, saying in part: “Election security is critical, and a cyberattack by foreign actors on our elections systems could compromise the integrity of our voting process.”

      Roughly 70 percent of states in the U.S. use some form of electronic voting. Hackers told CBS News that problems with electronic voting machines have been around for years. The machines and the software are old and antiquated. But now with millions heading to the polls in three months, security experts are sounding the alarm, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal.

    • Another Expert Weighs in on Election Hacking

      Today the old Gray Lady, the New York Times, no less, weighed in on election hacking in an Op/Ed piece titled The Election Won’t be Rigged. But it Could be Hacked. Of course, anyone who’s read my second cybersecurity thriller, The Lafayette Campaign, a Tale of Election and Deceptions, already knew that.

      The particular focus of the NYT article is that since voting can be hacked, it’s vital to have a way to audit elections after they occur to see whether that has been the case, and to reveal the true electoral result.

    • Linux.Lady Trojan Turns Redis Servers to Mining Rigs
    • New release: usbguard-0.5.11
    • New release: usbguard-0.5.12
    • New FFS Rowhammer Attack Hijacks Linux VMs

      Researchers from the Vrije University in the Netherlands have revealed a new version of the infamous Rowhammer attack that is effective at compromising Linux VMs, often used for cloud hosting services.

    • Minica – lightweight TLS for everyone!

      A while back, I found myself in need of some TLS certificates set up and issued for a testing environment.

      I remembered there was some code for issuing TLS certs in Docker, so I yanked some of that code and made a sensable CLI API over it.

    • Guy Tricks Windows Tech Support Scammers Into Installing Ransomware Code

      A man named Ivan Kwiatkowski managed to install Locky ransomware on the machine of a person who was pretending to be a tech support executive of a reputed company. Ivan wrote his experiences in a blog post tells that how the tech support scammer fell into the pit he dug for innocent people.

    • Fixing Things

      Recent reports that TCP connections can be hijacked have kicked an anthill at Kernel.org. Linus and others have a patch.

    • Linux TCP flaw fix likely in next stable release

      A patch to fix a weakness in the transmission control protocol used in the Linux kernel since 2012, which could lead to remote hijacking of Internet connections, is available in the public stable queue tree and is likely to be included in the next stable release.

    • Linux Has a TCP Flaw, Researchers Find
    • Can’t Trust This!
    • Monday’s security advisories
    • Running a Hackathon for Security Hackers

      H1-702 was one piece in a picture to ensure HackerOne is the very best platform and community for hackers to hack, learn, and grow.

    • It’s the Year of Application Layer Security in Public Clouds

      The cloud continues to be a significant force in enterprise computing and technology adoption. Enterprises that have adopted cloud have seen slashes capital expenses, increased agility, centralized information management, and scaled their businesses quickly.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Isis ranks dwindle to 15,000 amid ‘retreat on all fronts’, claims Pentagon

      A top US commander has claimed the military campaigns in Iraq and Syria have taken 45,000 enemy combatants off the battlefield and reduced the total number of Islamic State fighters to as few as 15,000.

      Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland said both the quality and number of Isis fighters was declining, while warning that it was difficult to determine accurate numbers. Earlier estimates put the number of Islamic State fighters at between 19,000 and 25,000 but US officials say the range is now roughly 15,000 to 20,000.

    • ISIL fighter number falls to 15,000 as Manbij capture Cuts off Route to Europe

      Without Manbij, Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) will find it more difficult to import weapons and foreign fighters to al-Raqqa. Other routes still open to it, such as Jarabulus, are also under pressure and could be the next target of the Syrian Democratic Forces. It is much further to import foreign munitions.

      Daesh as a territorial power is coming to a slow end; Daesh as a source of terrorism still has a good long run.

    • No, Obama did not found ISIL, Mr. Trump: That was the GOP

      There had been no al-Qaeda in Iraq before Bush invaded. Operatives flocked there to fight the US troops, and gathered under the rubric first of al-Tawhid of the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But al-Zarqawi initially had bad relations with Usama Bin Laden. In order to fight the US presence, he made up and joined al-Qaeda and formed al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia. AFter he was killed by the US in 2006, the new, Iraqi leadership declared itself the Islamic State of Iraq and deepened their al-Qaeda affiliation.

    • Jeremy Corbyn interview: ‘There are not 300,000 sectarian extremists at large’

      I have just heard the result. Very disappointed. People joined the Labour party in order to take part in the party and were specifically told that they were able to vote in the leadership election and that was decided by the high court that they could. The appeal court has said they can’t and I would imagine that those who brought the case will be considering whether or not to take it to the supreme court.

    • Trashing Nicaragua’s Success

      The New York Times is the best old-style, broad-sheet newspaper in America; it still covers the world with resourceful and enterprising reporters and commentators. But, then, there’s the other New York Times, the imperial rag that prints editorials like the one on August 5 titled “ ‘Dynasty,’ the Nicaraguan Version.” It’s not that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is a saint or even a model democrat; it’s that the editorial department and the writer who penned this sloppy embarrassment are still playing a version of the Reagan Cold War game of the 1980s. Those days are over; one hopes for something a bit more worldly.

    • Seymour Hersh on White House Lies About bin Laden’s Death, Pakistan and the Syrian Civil War

      In The Killing of Osama bin Laden, Seymour Hersh offers a compelling alternative version to the details that led to bin Laden’s death. He also investigates unproven assertions justifying the US’s thus far disastrous involvement in the Syrian civil war. Truthout recently interviewed Hersh about the book.

    • Hillary Clinton Donors and Jeb Bush Donors Are the Same People

      It seems that Hillary Clinton donors and Jeb Bush donors don’t care much which of the two of them wins, as long as one of them does.

      Mark Horne has written about how easily George Bush and Bill Clinton get along. We also find that Hillary Clinton is perfectly acceptable to the financial elite as a speaker when George Bush can’t make a scheduled (and highly paid) speaking event.

      If you needed confirmation for what you might guess on the basis of such stories, here it is from the Daily Beast: “Hillary Clinton’s Mega-Donors Are Also Funding Jeb Bush.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Mega-Donors Are Also Funding Jeb Bush

      For some wealthy donors, it doesn’t matter who takes the White House in 2016—as long as the president’s name is Clinton or Bush.

      More than 60 ultra-rich Americans have contributed to both Jeb Bush’s and Hillary Clinton’s federal campaigns, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by Vocativ and The Daily Beast. Seventeen of those contributors have gone one step further and opened their wallets to fund both Bush’s and Clinton’s 2016 ambitions.

      After all, why support just Hillary Clinton or just Jeb Bush when you can hedge your bets and donate to both? This seems to be the thinking of a group of powerful men and women—racetrack owners, bankers, media barons, chicken magnates, hedge funders (and their spouses). Some of them have net worths that can eclipse the GDPs of small countries.

    • The bombing comes just as the U.S. announced a $1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia

      A Saudi-led coalition airstrike has hit a hospital in Yemen on Monday, killing at least seven and injuring at least 13, Reuters reports.

      A witness said the attack on the clinic, located in the Abs district in Yemen’s northern Hajja province and supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), could not be immediately evacuated because rescue crews feared more bombings were coming as warplanes continued flying over the area.

    • 10 Children Killed in US-Backed Coalition Strike: Yemeni Officials

      Ten children were killed and 28 other children were wounded on Saturday when an airstrike struck a school in northern Yemen, medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders said.

      All the casualties were 8-15 years old, the group, which uses its French acronym, MSF, posted on Twitter.

      Yemeni officials say that the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition was responsible for the attack, the Associated Press reports.

      As Reuters explains, “Saudi Arabia and its allies have launched thousands of air strikes against the Houthis since they drove the internationally recognized government into exile in March 2015.”

    • Airstrike on Yemen school kills 10 children, wounds dozens

      Yemeni officials and aid workers say an airstrike on a school purportedly carried out by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has killed at least 10 children and wounded dozens more.

      The Islamic school says in a statement that the Saturday strike in Saada, deep in the Houthis’ northern heartland, was part of raids that have resumed against the rebels after peace talks collapsed earlier this month.

    • As ISIS Brewed in Iraq, Clinton’s State Department Cut Eyes and Ears on the Ground

      An investigation by ProPublica and The Washington Post finds that Secretary of State Clinton initially pressed to keep civilian programs and listening posts after the U.S. troop pullout in 2011, but then her State Department scrapped or slashed them at the behest of the White House and Congress.

    • People in Syria’s Manbij Rejoice by Shaving, throwing off Veil as ISIL fighters Flee

      People in Syria’s norther town of Manbij, now entirely liberated from the rule of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), rejoiced on Saturday. Men shaved their beards (which had been imposed on them by the fundamentalists) and women threw off their burqas (full-face veils) and burned them. The burqa is a Gulf custom, not a Muslim one, and many Muslim countries frown on it, including Egypt. In 2010 it was banned in Syrian schools.

      People were also happy in the city that Daesh fighters, who had taken 2,000 hostages, released some of them as they escaped for Jarabulus, the last major border town they hold.

    • Liberals rally to sink Obama trade deal

      Liberals are amping up their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on and off of Capitol Hill, amid escalating concerns that the package will get an 11th hour vote after the November elections.

      Republican leaders in both chambers have said it’s unlikely the mammoth Pacific Rim trade deal will reach the floor this year. But the accord remains a top priority for President Obama in the twilight of his final term, and the critics — leery of pro-TPP members in both parties — aren’t taking anything for granted.

      Liberal TPP opponents this month have launched a new wave of petition campaigns and fundraising drives; a free concert series is touring the country through the summer; and lawmakers on Capitol Hill are vowing to do “everything we possibly can,” in the words of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), to block a vote this year.

      “Make no mistake about it, Speaker [Paul] Ryan and the administration are working hand-in-hand to plot a path for the TPP in a lame duck session of Congress,” DeLauro, who’s among the loudest TPP critics, said this week in an email. “They will do everything possible to try to pass the TPP after the election.”

    • How Blocking the Saudi Arms Deal Could Help Stop Lame Duck TPP

      In this strategy memo on why progressive Democrats and Empire-skeptic Republicans should do what they reasonably can to assist efforts to block the recently proposed Saudi arms deal, I will cover four points.

    • Amid More Civilian Deaths, Lawmakers Push to End Saudi Arms Flow

      U.S. senators are attempting to block the State Department’s deal to sell Saudi Arabia nearly $1.5 billion in weapons, just days after the move was announced by the Obama administration.

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Foreign Policy that he would “work with a bipartisan coalition to explore forcing a vote on blocking this sale. Saudi Arabia is an unreliable ally with a poor human rights record. We should not rush to sell them advanced arms and promote an arms race in the Middle East.”

      Congressional opposition to the arms sale came as the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed military coalition broke an unsteady five-month ceasefire in Yemen last week and resumed bombing in the capital city of Sana’a—prompting immediate reports of civilian deaths. On Saturday, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported that an airstrike on a school in northern Yemen killed 10 children and wounded 28 others.

      Paul and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), both of whom sit on the Foreign Relations Committee, are outspoken critics of the coalition.

      “If you talk to Yemeni Americans, they will tell you in Yemen this isn’t a Saudi bombing campaign, it’s a U.S. bombing campaign,” Murphy said in June. “Every single civilian death inside Yemen is attributable to the United States.”

    • New Hacks Threaten Chaos for Soros and Democratic Party

      Online hacktivists have thrown the Democratic elite into complete chaos after a pair of websites, Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks, posted a series of leaks this weekend exposing the personal data of federal lawmakers and the internal records of party donor and influencer George Soros.

      Purporting to “shed light on one of the most influential networks operating worldwide,” DCLeaks on Saturday published more than 2,500 documents, which included “workplans, strategies, priorities, and other activities” related to George Soros’s Open Society Foundation.

      The Hungarian-American investor and philanthropist a major donor to the Democratic Party and, predictably, conservative and other ideological websites are having a field day with the data drop.

      Less than 24 hours before that leak, the infamous Democratic National Committee (DNC) hacker Guccifer 2.0 late Friday published a spreadsheet containing the personal cellphone numbers and email addresses of nearly 200 current and former members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and their staff.

    • DNC creates cybersecurity advisory board following hack

      The Democratic National Committee is creating a four-member cybersecurity advisory board, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO on Thursday.

      The advisory board is a response to the recent DNC hack and subsequent email leak that led to the resignation of former Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other top DNC officials.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Watch Your Coastal Property. Here Comes the Sea

      Climate scientists have long warned of a rise in sea level as global warming melts the world’s glaciers. But while the level has been increasing at about 3.5 millimeters a year, the rate of increase itself has fluctuated, leading some people to doubt the warnings and the broader impact of rising carbon emissions.

      Fresh evidence, in a study published today in Scientific Reports, suggests the scientists were right, and that satellite measurements have been distorted by the eruption in 1991 of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines.

      The volcanic eruption, the second-largest of the 20th century, is estimated to have spewed almost 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, lowering global temperatures by about 1 degree Fahrenheit from 1991 to 1993, as gas and dust particles blocked solar radiation, and causing sea levels to drop. The researchers, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Old Dominion University, used models to calculate the impact of the Pinatubo eruption and found that sea levels fell about six millimeters.

    • McKibben: Time to Declare a War (Literally) on Climate Change

      We’re under attack, says author and climate campaigner Bill McKibben, and the only way to defeat the enemy is to declare a global war against the destructive practices that threaten the world’s imperiled ecosystems and human civilization as we know it.

      In a new piece published Monday in The New Republic, the co-founder of the global climate action group 350.org says there is simply no more time to waste and that a full-scale mobilization, like the one orchestrated by the U.S. government during World War II, is now necessary if the adversary—human-caused global warming and the climate change that results—is to be vanquished.

      “World War III is well and truly underway,” writes McKibben. “And we are losing.”

    • We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII.

      In the North this summer, a devastating offensive is underway. Enemy forces have seized huge swaths of territory; with each passing week, another 22,000 square miles of Arctic ice disappears. Experts dispatched to the battlefield in July saw little cause for hope, especially since this siege is one of the oldest fronts in the war. “In 30 years, the area has shrunk approximately by half,” said a scientist who examined the onslaught. “There doesn’t seem anything able to stop this.”

    • ExxonMobil’s Latest Campaign to Stonewall Federal Climate Action

      Recent press accounts report that ExxonMobil is now actively promoting a carbon tax. If true, that’s big news. It would mean that, after nearly 20 years of blocking action on climate change, the world’s biggest energy company has finally come to its senses.

      But wait a minute. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. So one might well ask: Is this anything more than a PR ploy?

    • Hunger Strike Pushes South Korea to Defer Coal Plant Plan

      Finally, on the afternoon of July 26, the Ministry announced the proposed plant would be delayed indefinitely.

    • If It Hadn’t Been for Those Meddling Climate Kids

      In 1962, Diane Arbus took a photo of a lanky young boy in Central Park holding a hand grenade. He stands before the camera, a deranged look on his face, his free hand contorted into a menacing claw. It’s an iconic image that captured the generational tension around the Vietnam War and, according to songwriter of that time Graham Nash, one that questions the lessons we teach our children.

    • “Don’t Rely on Your Past Experiences:” La. Battles “Unprecedented” Flooding

      Louisiana continues to battle “unprecedented” flooding on Sunday, as experts warn that the historic rainfall that sparked the rising waters is the kind of extreme weather event to expect on a warming planet.

      Over 7,000 people have been rescued, at least three people have died, and a state of emergency has been declared.

      “This is unprecedented,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Saturday. “Please don’t rely on your experiences in the past.”

    • Louisiana Flooding: At Least Three Dead, 7,000+ Rescued

      More than 7,000 people have been rescued from their homes after massive floods swept across Louisiana, and officials warned Sunday that even though the rain had subsided, dangers loomed.

      “It’s not over,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday. “The water’s going to rise in many areas. It’s no time to let the guard down.”

    • Is Undead Smallpox Reemerging From Siberian Graves?

      As if the news that resurrected anthrax from thawed-out reindeer wasn’t bad enough, increasingly warming temperatures are prompting renewed fears that permafrost could thaw enough to unleash smallbox from remote Russian cemeteries.

      As The Siberian Times reports, this year the permafrost melt has been three times more extreme than usual above the Arctic Circle, causing erosion near graveyards of a town where smallpox wiped out 40 percent of the population decades ago.

      Yet, some scientists argue that it’s not the graves we should be worried about.

      Scientists from Russia’s Virology and Biotechnology Center (or Vector) in Novosibirsk are investigating the bodies, some of which show bone sores associated with smallpox. Fortunately, only fragments of the strain’s DNA were found, rather than any evidence of surviving smallpox. However, the center plans to conduct more research on “deeper burials” in the future, just to make sure. So far, luckily, that’s been the case for years, as another expedition in 2012 found only “fragments” as well.

    • Anthrax Strikes Wildlife in Rapidly Thawing Arctic

      A full-scale medical emergency has broken out in the Yamal region of Siberia, with troops from the Russian army’s special biological warfare unit spearheading efforts to contain an outbreak of anthrax.

      A 12-year-old boy died after consuming infected venison, other people are believed to have died or become infected with the disease, and thousands of reindeer suspected of carrying it have been killed and incinerated.

      One of the main reasons cited for the outbreak of anthrax – one of the world’s most deadly pathogens – is an unprecedented heatwave experienced in the north Siberia region in recent weeks. Temperatures have been between 25°C and 35°C, which is way above the average for the time of year.

      Anthrax, an infection caused by the bacterium Bacillum anthracis, can occur naturally in certain soils, with infection usually spread by grazing animals. It has also been developed for use in chemical warfare.

    • Are Climate-Related ‘Hot Blobs’ Spreading and Killing Marine Life Worldwide?

      A massive swath of hot water off the West Coast of North America devastated marine life for years—killing sea lions, whales, starfish, birds, and more—and new research finds that such marine heatwaves are growing more and more frequent.

    • ‘The blob’: how marine heatwaves are causing unprecedented climate chaos

      First seabirds started falling out of the sky, washing up on beaches from California to Canada.

      Then emaciated and dehydrated sea lion pups began showing up, stranded and on the brink of death.

      A surge in dead whales was reported in the same region, and that was followed by the largest toxic algal bloom in history seen along the Californian coast. Mixed among all that there were population booms of several marine species that normally aren’t seen surging in the same year.

      Plague, famine, pestilence and death was sweeping the northern Pacific Ocean between 2014 and 2015.

    • The Blob That Cooked the Pacific

      The first fin whale appeared in Marmot Bay, where the sea curls a crooked finger around Alaska’s Kodiak Island. A biologist spied the calf drifting on its side, as if at play. Seawater flushed in and out of its open jaws. Spray washed over its slack pink tongue. Death, even the gruesome kind, is usually too familiar to spark alarm in the wild north. But late the next morning, the start of Memorial Day weekend, passengers aboard the ferry Kennicott spotted another whale bobbing nearby. Her blubber was thick. She looked healthy. But she was dead too.

      Kathi Lefebvre is talking about the whales as we crunch across a windy, rocky beach, 200 miles north of Kodiak. In a typical year eight whales are found dead in the western Gulf of Alaska. But in 2015 at least a dozen popped up in June alone, their bodies so buoyant that gulls used them as fishing platforms. All summer the Pacific Ocean heaved rotting remains into rocky coves along the more than 1,000-mile stretch from Anchorage to the Aleutian Islands. Whole families of brown bears feasted on their carcasses.

      Lefebvre, a research scientist at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington, had examined eye fluid from one of the carcasses in a failed attempt to winnow the cause of death. Now the two of us are on Kachemak Bay in Homer, Alaska, inching toward a wheezing, dying sea otter sprawled out on the shore. Otter deaths are skyrocketing on the shoreline beneath the snowcapped Kenai Mountains, so Lefebvre is here to see whether the fates of these otters and whales are somehow intertwined.

    • The Earth Just Experienced the Hottest Month on the Books. Period.

      On Monday it was confirmed that the Earth has broken an ominous climate milestone amid a wave of troubling records: July 2016 was the hottest recorded month—ever.

      According to new NASA data, the global mean surface temperatures last month were 0.84° Celsius (1.51° Fahrenheit) above average and was the warmest July in their data set, which dates back to 1880.

      This marks the 10th straight month to set a new monthly warming record, based on NASA’s analysis. “Every month so far this year has been record hot,” reported Climate Central’s Andrea Thompson. “In NASA’s data, that streak goes back to October 2015, which was the first month in its data set that was more than 1C hotter than average.”

      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) releases its monthly temperature report on Wednesday and it is likely theirs will reflect a 15-month streak of record-shattering heat. (Some previous reporting on monthly records here, here, here, and here.)

      What’s more, because July is typically the hottest month of the year, it stands that July 2016 was “the warmest month of any in a data record that can be extended back to the nineteenth century,” according to the U.K.-based Copernicus Climate Change Service (CCCS), which last week published similar temperature results.

    • Spotting the Havoc Wreaked by Climate Change

      I returned home angry. How can we, as Americans, be even contemplating the idea of installing at such a moment of crisis in mankind’s history, either of two candidates who don’t really give a damn that we are destroying the earth’s ability to sustain human life, or for that matter, most of the astonishing ecosystem that has evolved over hundreds of millions of years of evolution? Trump denies that climate change is real, while Clinton, vastly funded by a banking industry that finances the industries that are destroying the earth, by energy companies, power companies and automotive companies that are doing the actual destruction, has no intention of taking dramatic action to halt the pumping of more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    • Evidence Suggests the Oil Industry Wrote Big Tobacco’s Playbook, Then Used It to Lie About Climate Change

      A recent analysis of more than 100 industry documents conducted by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), a Washington, DC-based advocacy group, has revealed that the oil industry knew of the risks its business posed to the global climate decades before originally suspected.

      It has also long been assumed that, in its efforts to deceive investors and the public about the negative impact its business has on the environment, Big Oil borrowed Big Tobacco’s so-called tactical “playbook.” But these documents indicate that infamous playbook appears to have actually originated within the oil industry itself.

      If that is true, it would be highly significant — and damning for Big Oil — because the tactics used by the tobacco industry to downplay the connection between smoking and cancer were eventually deemed to have violated federal racketeering laws by a federal court. The ruling dashed efforts by Big Tobacco to find legal cover under the First Amendment, which just happens to be the same strategy that ExxonMobil and its GOP allies are currently using to defend the company against allegations of fraud. If the playbook was in fact created by the oil and gas industry and then later used by ExxonMobil, it ruins the company’s argument of plausible deniability, making it highly likely that the company violated federal law.

    • How Bad Is Your Air-Conditioner for the Planet?

      As of 2009, nearly 90 percent of American homes have air-conditioners, which account for about 6 percent of all the country’s residential energy use…

  • Finance

    • Housing official in Silicon Valley resigns because she can’t afford to live there

      Once Kate Downing and her husband Steve did the math, it was obvious that if they wanted to raise a family, staying in Palo Alto, California, was not an option. Although Steve, 33, works as a software engineer at a nearby Silicon Valley technology company and Kate, 31, is a product attorney at another tech firm, the cost of owning a home near their jobs has simply become too steep for them.

      If they wanted to purchase their current house – which they rent with another couple for $6,200 a month total – it would cost $2.7m plus monthly mortgage and tax payments of $12,177, adding up to more than $146,000 a year.

      Instead, the couple will soon relocate 45 miles south to Santa Cruz, a city by the beach where they can afford to purchase a home and eventually raise children.

    • Raise America inspires a new generation of organizing for low-wage workers

      While the Fight for $15 raises headlines and wages across the United States, June 15 saw a national day of action in cities around the country for the annual anniversary of the Justice for Janitors campaign. For SEIU Local 32BJ, which handles 155,000 property service workers along the East Coast from New Hampshire to Florida, this was a chance to reclaim the history of a campaign that did the unthinkable in the early 1990s.

    • The ‘Big Lie’ Behind the Rosy Unemployment Rate

      When Donald Trump on Monday questioned the accuracy of the federal government’s glowing employment reports, it may have seemed like another unsubstantiated outburst from a famously loose-with-the-facts candidate. But in this case, he was joining a bipartisan chorus of businesspeople, economists and lawmakers who say the monthly employment report is an artificial portrait deliberately airbrushed by statisticians to make the jobs picture look better than it really is.

    • How labor’s decline opened door to billionaire Trump as ‘savior’ of American workers

      Out of the economic maelstrom of the last decade, Donald Trump has emerged as the improbable, and self-proclaimed, champion of American workers.

      And that’s despite the fact that Trump has failed to articulate substantive policy positions regarding labor issues, other than generic railing against foreign competition and bad trade deals. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, for one, has attacked him by tweeting a number of examples in which Trump’s past behavior shows that he is no friend to working people.

    • Are You Sure You Want to Eat That?

      Whether we shop for sustenance at a chain grocery store, the corner bodega or even at a farmers market, we all share a basic desire—to not get sick from the food that is supposed to nourish us. In fact, much of the time, most of us don’t think twice about the safety of our food.

      But not all nations have the same food safety standards as ours, and if the controversial trade deal known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) goes into effect, some of the food in our stores may not be safe to eat.

      The TPP puts the interests of Big Food ahead of yours and mine. That’s because it wasn’t negotiated in the public’s interest. The TPP is instead intended to allow corporations to expand into new markets and make more money. If passed, it will overwhelm already overtaxed border inspectors, flood our food system with potentially unsafe imports and even empower other countries to challenge our common sense food safety protections as illegal trade barriers.

    • Social Security and the 1 Percent

      Between 1982 and 2014, the percentage of wage income escaping taxation went from 10.0 percent to 17.3 percent, an increase of 7.3 percentage points; the top 1 percent of wage earners saw their share of total wage income go up 5.1 percentage points during the same time period. This means that the greater share of wages going to the top 1 percent of wage earners accounts for over 70 percent of the increase in untaxed earnings.

    • The Brexit Hangover Just Got Worse

      Those who supported a departure from Europe are only now coming to terms with the crippling economic realities—including the fact that many didn’t quite understand the rules and the whims of their neighbors.

    • Economists have worked out how much Brexit could cost us

      Or at least that is the theory put forward by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, which has calculated the cost of leaving the single market.

      Not being a member (which is a possible scenario) could see the UK lose out on an additional 4% of GDP by 2030, the IFS has said.

      That 4% is equivalent of two years worth of growth, and equates to around £70 billion in today’s money – or £2,900 for each household.

      It said that loss would outweigh the benefit of no longer paying in a net £9bn a year into the European Union budget.

      The gloomy forecast comes after senior European politicians made it clear Britain can’t keep its membership of the single market unless its makes sizeable contribution to the EU budget and allows the free movement of EU workers.

    • Sports Direct will pay back thousands of workers after giving them less than minimum wage

      Sports Direct has agreed to pay money back to thousands of workers who lost out after being effectively paid less than minimum wage by the company while employed in its warehouses, according to a report from The Guardian.

      The payments centre around an investigation into Sports Direct’s working and employment practices by the House of Commons Business Select Committee, which found that conditions in some of the company’s warehouse facilities were akin to those in a “Victorian workhouse.”

    • Post-war fantasies and Brexit: the delusional view of Britain’s place in the world

      Claims about Britain’s past are made regularly in the referedum debate. But claims about Britain’s historical place in the world – courageously standing alone, being outnumbered and outgunned but in the end outperforming everyone – are not based on fact, writes Mike Finn. These myths could nonetheless have very real consequences: this is the self-image that the Brexit campaign portray and which many think they will revive by voting to Leave.

    • John Oliver: We Should Be Worried About the Subprime Car Loan Bubble That’s About to Burst (Video)

      In a scary and important episode, the “Last Week Tonight” host sounds a warning about a boom in subprime automobile loans that promises to make “your eye twitch with flashbacks to the mortgage crisis.”

    • Three More Reasons Why We Need to Stop CETA

      Last week I joined activists and campaigners from across the globe who came to Canada for the World Social Forum. A major topic of discussion was the problems with TTIP-style free trade agreements and how we can stop them.

      For us in Europe the big one is now CETA – the Canada-EU trade deal (formally the Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement) which could become law as early as next year. Unless we stop it.

      Our allies from across Europe and Canada gave some strong reasons for us to get more active on CETA.

    • Congress: AWOL and Out of Control

      Taken as whole, with exceptions, the American people have the strangest attitude toward the Congress. Our national legislature spends nearly a quarter of our income and affects us one way or another every day of the year. Yet too many people withdraw in disgust instead of making Congress accountable to them. Warren Buffett once said, “It’s time for 535 of America’s citizens to remember what they owe to the 318 million who employ them.”

      People have a low regard for Capitol Hill. Polls show less than 20% of people approve of what Congress does and does not do. In April a poll registered a 14% approval rate. People know that Congress takes a lot of days off – all with pay. Senators and Representatives work over 100 fewer days than average Americans do. Specifically, members were in session 157 days in 2015 and 135 in 2014. This year the House is scheduled to be in session for only 111 days, with the August recess alone stretching nearly six weeks.

    • Unruly Britannia: Why we can no longer call our kingdom ‘united’

      This is what shrunken dreams look like. This Britain post-Brexit contained not one reference to Scottish independence and the prospect of any future referendum. Worse, there wasn’t one mention of the threat to the Northern Irish peace process, which has been dealt a severe blow by the hauling out of Europe of the UK. Many people, particularly in London elites, will say that these divisions have always existed as they currently do. But that’s not true; they are in fact getting worse. Two conceptions of ‘Britain’ characterise and feed into this spiral of deepening divisions. One is the vision held by ‘winner Britain’: the view of those who have made it, think they can make it, or hang on the coat tails of this class. They tell themselves they are a cosmopolitan, outward focused group – but only with time for similar minded people. This was one of the defining features of the Brexit debate – that the Remain side and the large parts of the London media couldn’t understand anything beyond this class. Any opposition, from places such as ‘the North’ was about handing on to the past, or worse, about being losers. The second factor is the emergence of an English nationalism – which in large part presents itself in opposition to the above. It claims that in recent decades we have ‘lost’ control of our country – to immigrants, the PC brigade, and Europe – and now is the time to ‘take it back’.

    • The “$500 million club” of colleges tends to be stingy with aid to low-income students

      Call them the top four percent: elite private colleges and universities that together sit atop three-quarters of the higher education terrain’s endowment wealth.

    • Trade, Truth and Trump

      Donald Trump is a hateful bigot, but that doesn’t mean that everything he says is wrong. It would be a huge step forward if his critics could acknowledge that the recent pattern of trade has been harmful to large segments of the population. Furthermore, this is due to the way trade policy was designed, not the uncontrollable forces of globalization.

      If respectable leaders in politics and the media continue to repeat glib clichés rather than taking the economic reality of trade policy seriously, it should not be surprising that the victims of trade will look to demagogues like Trump. It is unfortunate when we get a more honest discussion of a major policy issue from Donald Trump than the New York Times.

    • The medical debt crisis: The prognosis is still dire for Americans struggling to pay off massive health care bills

      Recent evidence suggests that the Affordable Care Act is helping to reduce the burden of medical debt for American consumers. Yet, especially in states that have not expanded Medicaid, millions of Americans still lack insurance and many plans offer thin coverage. The result is that in 2014, 64 million people were struggling with medical debt, the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. In my latest Demos report, “Enough to Make You Sick: The Burden of Medical Debt,” I explore how medical debt affects household finances and why we need more aggressive policies to reduce medical debt.

      My report details the results of two surveys (in 2008 and 2012) Demos commissioned to explore the finances of lower to middle-income households carrying credit card debt. I find that households carrying medical debt on their credit card are more likely to take extreme measures to pay off their debts and forgo care. Medical debt has significant negative impacts on household finances, even when people are insured. A public option could help reduce the chances of people taking on medical debt, and that more rigorous consumer protection could mitigate the consequences.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ¡Fuera Trump!: Our Writer Traveled to Mexico City, Where People Definitely Had Choice Words for ‘The Donald’

      Responses varied. While the organillero didn’t believe Trump would win the election, some predicted that Trump would take it all in November. Others hinted at a conspiracy between Trump and Mexico’s president. A few bluntly compared Trump to Hitler. And some likened his campaign to a stunt, instead of an honest attempt to win the White House. Lots of people described the man with the darkest of humor: His campaign is a joke, but not a funny one.

    • The Summer of the Shill

      Campaign 2016 won’t just have lasting implications for American politics. It’s obliterated what was left of our news media

    • The BBC must improve how it reports statistics

      How much does the UK contribute to the EU each week? How tired did you get of hearing that question, and of the inaccurate answer that it’s £350 million?

      Even if you didn’t watch the debates or read the op-eds, it was hard to miss the pictures of Boris Johnson and other high profile Vote Leave campaigners standing in front of a big red bus with the inaccurate £350 million statistic emblazoned across the side.

      Misleading claims supported by murky statistics were used on both sides of the EU referendum debate. But the £350 million claim became the iconic slogan of the Leave campaign, and helped to show why the BBC needs to be braver in challenging statistical assertions if it is to be a useful public service.

    • The Racial Wealth Gap Will Persist Until Neoliberalism and Its Peddlers Are Defeated

      For the leaders of the fight for racial equality throughout the twentieth century, anti-discrimination and anti-capitalism went hand in hand; the struggle for economic justice was always viewed as integral to and inseparable from the struggle for racial justice.

      “Our needs are identical with labor’s needs — decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community,” Martin Luther King Jr. said at an AFL-CIO convention in 1961, expressing the prevailing sentiment among the socialist leaders of the civil rights movement.

      Bayard Rustin, the key organizer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, emphasized the importance of organized labor in advancing the rights and material conditions of black Americans in a 1971 essay, in which he asserted both the centrality of unions and the need for a radical approach to inequality.

      He urged that “only a program that would effect some fundamental change in the distribution of America’s resources for those in greatest need of them” would be enough “to meet the present crisis.”

    • TV Networks Should Open Up the Presidential Debates

      If ten major TV networks got together and decided to nationally televise a presidential debate restricted to Republican nominee Donald Trump and right-leaning Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, while barring other candidates including Democrat Hillary Clinton, it would be recognized as an act of media bias or exclusion.

      But what if the televised debates this fall are restricted to just Trump and Clinton? That, too, needs to be recognized as an intentional act of media exclusion.

      In the coming weeks, we need to generate a debate about the debates – who controls them and which candidates are included. That’s the goal of a new petition launched by RootsAction.org, a group I co-founded.

      Beginning in 1988, major TV networks granted journalistic control over the debates to a private organization with no official status: the Commission on Presidential Debates. The CPD is often called “nonpartisan.” That’s absurdly inaccurate. “Bipartisan” is the right adjective, as it has always carried out the joint will of the Republican and Democratic parties. (See George Farah’s meticulously reported book, “No Debate.”)

    • The Pro-Nuclear War Party

      According to a Wall Street Journal report, the following people and entities would like the United States to begin a nuclear war: Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, the U.K., France, Japan, South Korea, and Germany. If any of those people or entities believe they can prove a case of libel, it might be a huge one. (Are you listening, Rupert?)

      According to Mr. Murdoch’s newspaper, the White House has been discussing the possibility of declaring that the United States no longer has a policy of engaging in the first use of nuclear bombs. The trouble is that those individuals and nations named above object. They insist, we are told, that the United States should have the policy of beginning a nuclear war.

      Have the people of the UK, France, Japan, South Korea, Germany, or the United States itself been polled on this? Has any legislature pretending to represent any of those populations voted on this? Of course not. But what we could do, perhaps, is amend the policy to read: “When the United States begins the nuclear war, it shall announce that it is doing so in the name of democracy.” That should be good.

      Has Mr. Kerry, Mr. Carter, or Mr. Moniz been evaluated by a psychiatrist? Was Mr. Kerry against this before he was for it? The important question, I believe, is whether they want to start the nuclear war with any hatred or bigotry in mind. If what they intend is a loving, tolerant, and multicultural nuclear war, then really what we ought to be worrying about is the unfathomable evil of Donald Trump who has said that he’d like to kill families — and particular types of families.

      Now, I am not claiming to have fathomed the evil of Mr. Trump, but it has been U.S. policy since before there was a United States to kill families. And it is my strong suspicion that a nuclear war and the nuclear winter and nuclear famine it would bring to the earth would harm at least some families of every existing type.

    • ‘Bipartisan Fraud’: Debate Rules Shut Out Third-Party Candidates

      As of Monday, neither Libertarian Gary Johnson nor the Green Party’s Jill Stein had enough support to get a spot onstage alongside Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, which open debate advocates say amounts to a fraud of bipartisanism.

      One such advocacy group, RootsAction, launched a petition on Monday calling for the executives at ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Broadcasting, PBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Univision, and Telemundo to present debates including all four candidates, even if the commission—or Trump or Clinton—wants otherwise.

      “If Trump or Clinton balk, let them know you’re happy to leave their podium empty,” the petition states.

    • Third-party candidates on outside as debate criteria released

      The Commission on Presidential Debates has released the polls it will use to decide the participants of September’s first presidential debate as third-party candidates struggle to make the stage.
      Candidates will need to hit an average of 15 percent in polls conducted by ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal. The 15 percent threshold had been announced months ago, but the commission released its polling selections on Monday after consultation with Frank Newport, the editor-in-chief of Gallup.

      Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are virtually assured a slot each on the stage for the Sept. 26 debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. But it remains unlikely that a third-party candidate will join them, despite voters’ historic dislike of both Clinton and Trump.

      As of Monday, neither Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson nor Green Party nominee Jill Stein would qualify, and neither has come close to hitting 15 percent in any qualifying poll.

    • Political Word Games

      Understandably Mr. Trump took umbrage at the suggestion he had sacrificed nothing, and to prove his point, gave us all a new understanding of the word “sacrifice.” Mr. Trump said: “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of job. . . built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.” Thus, the new meaning for sacrifice is being very successful in whatever you undertake.

      Hillary Clinton has imparted new meaning to words that were commonly associated with things electrical. The words are “Short Circuit.” “Short circuit” first entered the lexicon in its new incarnation when Ms. Clinton was discussing her use of email while serving as Secretary of State. Although the use or misuse of her email is of no substantive importance, her attempts to consistently explain her email procedures, while serving as Secretary of State, has given the question a life of its own that far overshadows any substantive concerns over her practices.

    • Inside the administration’s $1 billion deal to detain Central American asylum seekers

      As Central Americans surged across the U.S. border two years ago, the Obama administration skipped the standard public bidding process and agreed to a deal that offered generous terms to Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest prison company, to build a massive detention facility for women and children seeking asylum.

      The four-year, $1 billion contract — details of which have not been previously disclosed — has been a boon for CCA, which, in an unusual arrangement, gets the money regardless of how many people are detained at the facility. Critics say the government’s policy has been expensive but ineffective. Arrivals of Central American families at the border have continued unabated while court rulings have forced the administration to step back from its original approach to the border surge.

      In hundreds of other detention contracts given out by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, federal payouts rise and fall in step with the percentage of beds being occupied. But in this case, CCA is paid for 100 percent capacity even if the facility is, say, half full, as it has been in recent months. An ICE spokeswoman, Jennifer Elzea, said that the contracts for the 2,400-bed facility in Dilley and one for a 532-bed family detention center in Karnes City, Tex., given to another company, are “unique” in their payment structures because they provide “a fixed monthly fee for use of the entire facility regardless of the number of residents.”

    • With Trump certain to lose, you can forget about a progressive Clinton

      His chances, as measured in the polls, went almost overnight from fairly decent to utter crap. For much of this year, populism had the gilded class really worried. There was Bernie Sanders and the unthinkable threat of a socialist president. There was the terrifying Brexit vote. Just a short while ago the American national newspapers were running page-one stories telling readers it was time to take seriously Trump’s followers, if not Trump himself. And on 3 August, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman actually typed the following: “It scares me that people are so fed up with elites, so hate and mistrust [Hillary] Clinton and are so worried about the future – jobs, globalization and terrorism” that they might actually vote for Trump.

      Yes, it scared Friedman that the American people didn’t like their masters any longer. As it has no doubt scared many of his rich friends to learn over the past few years that the people formerly known as middle class are angry about losing their standard of living to the same forces that are making those rich people ever more comfortable.

    • Robert De Niro Compares Donald Trump to His ‘Taxi Driver’ Character: He’s ‘Totally Nuts’

      Robert De Niro compared Donald Trump to Travis Bickle, the mentally disturbed character he played in the 1976 movie “Taxi Driver.”

      “What he has been saying is totally crazy, ridiculous, stuff that shouldn’t be even… he is totally nuts,” De Niro said.

      His comments came during a Q&A at the Sarajevo Film Festival on Friday, according to the AP.

      Elaborating on the character which earned the actor an Oscar nomination, De Niro said, “One of the things to me was just the irony at the end, [Bickle] is back driving a cab, celebrated, which is kind of relevant in some way today too.”

      He then drew a comparison to the current presidential candidate for the Republican party: “People like Donald Trump who shouldn’t be where he is so… God help us.” The AP reports that De Niro’s comments were met with applause.

    • Trump: I’m running against media, not Clinton

      Donald Trump said Saturday that his true opponent in the general election is the media.

      “I’m not running against crooked Hillary, I’m running against the crooked media,” Trump said at a rally in Fairfield, Conn. “That’s what I’m running against, I’m not running against crooked Hillary.”

      Trump has repeatedly lashed out at media that he calls “dishonest” over the course of his campaign.

      Earlier Saturday, he bashed the New York Times after a report came out in which sources characterized Trump as “sullen” and struggling to recover in light of lagging poll numbers.

      He renewed those attacks on the Times at the rally Saturday, saying he’s considering revoking their credentials to cover his rallies.

      “I’ll tell you in particular lately we have a newspaper that’s failing badly, its losing a lot of money, its gonna be out of business very soon: the New York Times,” he said.

      Trump blasted the use of anonymous sources in the Times report, saying “I don’t think they have any names.”

      “They never call me,” he added. “It’s going to hell.”

      “Maybe what we’ll do,” Trump continued, “we’ll start taking their press credentials away from them.”

    • Pirates Looking Into “Election Pokéstops”

      The Pirate Party is looking into the idea of setting up “election Pokéstops” to attract more young people to take part in the vote.

      Kjarninn reports that in the most recent election – the municipal elections of 2014 – voter turn-out for those aged 18 to 29 was only at about 50%. To help improve this situation, Birgitta Jónsdóttir and other Pirates are currently looking into an unconventional way to get young people to the polls: namely, by setting up Pokéstops at polling places.

      To this end, Birgitta is hoping that the company Unity Technologies could take part in the project. The company, which amongst other things takes part in designing the Pokémon Go environment in Iceland, is partially owned by Icelander Dav­íð Helga­son.

    • new shadow passwd functions

      Long, long ago, password hashes were kept in the /etc/passwd file. This is obviously bad because it allows users to pry into other users’ hashes, attempting to crack them. The solution was to move the real hashes to another file, called master.passwd on OpenBSD. BSD systems also turn the text passwd files into a database file so that calling getpwnam is fast even with thousands of users on a 10MHz vax.

      On some systems, e.g. Linux, there are two sets of functions. Normal functions like getpwnam that open the regular passwd files, and shadow functions like getspnam that open the files with password hashes. The problem is that struct passwd and struct spwd are not the same, making it difficult to write code that can work with both variants. Everything must be written twice, even though the code will be identical except for a few characters difference.

    • Found: A New Major Opposition Party

      Imagine what a Commons party could achieve with this menu! It could also blacklist Congressional members and Administrations ignoring these demands, despite their swearing to “promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Or cut the Pentagon’s allocation in half and put the remainder into domestic needs.

      Such movements also taught veteran campaigners and newbies to put principles before personalities in everything from fundraising, canvassing, creating media and overpass signs, phonebanking, fliering, street theatre and demonstrations and running those “huuuuge” rallies around the country.

      Meetings usually weren’t held in plush quarters or rented halls, but in homes, warehouses, libraries, schools, pizza parlors, pubs and backyard potlucks. Leadership generally followed Napoleon’s guideline: “Every French soldier carries a [general’s] baton in his knapsack.” So leaders were rotated from the ranks instead of bossy, ambitious wannabe “generals.”

      Occupy’s democratic meeting methods reappeared: timed agenda items, fair input by “stacking,” “twinkling” fingers for approvals, and projects assigned to initiators.

      In his latest major interview, Sanders spoke for the fearful, the despairing, and the angries about what those in other times and other places did to change their countries, and to follow their example unless we want to be ruled by lesser evils preferring we vanish.

    • Stark New Evidence on How Money Shapes America’s Elections

      Outrage over how big money influences American politics has been boiling over this political season, energizing the campaigns of GOP nominee Donald Trump and former Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders alike. Citizens have long suspected that “We the People” increasingly means “We the Rich” at election time.

      Yet surprisingly, two generations of social scientists have insisted that wallets don’t matter that much in American politics. Elections are really about giving the people what they want. Money, they claim, has negligible impact on elections.

      That was a good line for Cold War propaganda, and good for tenure, too. Corporate titans seized upon it to argue that their money should be freer to flow into political campaigns. Not only billionaires, but academics, too, argued that more money in elections meant more democracy.

      Even today, many academics and pundits still insist that money matters less to political outcomes than ordinary citizens think, even as business executives throw down mind-boggling sums to dine with politicians and Super Pacs spring up like mushrooms. The few dissenters from this consensus, like Noam Chomsky, are ignored in the U.S. as “unpersons,” though they are enormously respected abroad.

    • Thousands of Pages of Confidential Think Tank Documents Detail Corporate Ties, New York Times Reports

      Thousands of pages of confidential internal think tank emails and documents published by the New York Times yesterday shine a revealing spotlight on how some of the nation’s most prominent think tanks are used by corporate donors to promote specific policies — while concealing the financial interests involved.

      The emails provide a “smoking gun” of evidence that corporations that donated to non-profit think tanks like The Brookings Institution were promised specific receivables in return.

      For example, Lennar Corp., a home building company and Brookings donor was offered a spot as a Brookings senior fellow for one of its executives. “’He would be a trusted adviser,’ an internal Brookings memo said in 2014 as the think tank sought one $100,000 donation from Lennar,” the Times reported.

      While critics of the institutions may have long suspected that corporate donors receive special treatment from the think tanks they back, think tanks have managed to maintain an air of independence and the respect of many policy makers in Washington D.C.

      The newly revealed emails are striking in part because they reveal how corporate interests have affected left-wing think tanks like Brookings, which are sometimes regarded as less under the corporate thumb than right-wing overtly pro-corporate think thanks like the American Enterprise Institute or The Heartland Institute.

      The documents show the precise ways that corporate donors are able to control the messages coming out of the think tanks they fund behind the scenes, while still preserving a public veneer of independence.

      “The likely conclusions of some think tank reports, documents show, are discussed with donors — or even potential ones — before the research is complete,” the Times reported. “Drafts of the studies have been shared with donors whose opinions have then helped shape final reports. Donors have outlined how the resulting scholarship will be used as part of broader lobbying efforts.”

    • For millennial voters, the Clinton vs. Trump choice ‘feels like a joke’

      Jo Tongue doesn’t have much time for politics, but the Hillary and Trump show is hard to tune out. And even harder to take. To this 31-year-old mother of two, with a third on the way, the presidency should be an honorable office, but instead she feels “bummed that we’re at a place where it all feels like a joke.”

      “Watching Jimmy Fallon, I feel like, ugh, is this how we should start out? We’re already mocking our president?”

      Tongue says she is both “sad” and “defeated” and — in a world filled with shootings, bombings and financial strain — maintains scant hope that a new president will change any of it.

      At a sports bar 1,800 miles away in Goldsboro, N.C., Aaron Stewart is shooting pool with a buddy and thinking the same thing. The pair doesn’t just feel cut off from the current campaign, but from a political system they see as controlled by mysterious networks, greased by money and off-limits to people like them.

      “I’m not really a conspiracy theo rist, but the system is corrupt,” says Stewart, 21, who works at a convenience store. He draws a $1 bill from his wallet, holds it up to the bar’s faint light and declares, “This little piece of paper tells me what I can and cannot do.”

      At the Panetta Institute for Public Policy in California, the summer interns are up on the issues. But Dominic Cicerone has a similar sense of foreboding. For him, the big issue is his own safety — he was afraid to go to the July 4 fireworks at Fisherman’s Wharf because the Islamic State had released a video claiming San Francisco as a target — and neither candidate is easing his concerns.

    • The Real Reason They Attack Jill Stein

      The attacks on Jill Stein’s blossoming supporter base from establishment Democrats have continued as frantically and aggressively as ever, despite Hillary Clinton enjoying a comfortable and enduring lead in the polls over Donald Trump. Numbers have stabilized, and it looks like Hillary will win without the support of the Bernie-or-Bust crowd.

      So why continue the vitriol? It hasn’t lessened. In fact, it’s ramped up, and our social media news feeds are teeming with false accusations of Stein being anti-vaccination, anti-science, anti-Bernie Sanders, and now, surprise surprise, an anti-American Putin sympathizer.

      Yes, the old red under the bed tactic. Clinton ally John Aravosis has continued the Democrats’ bizarre resurrection of the time-honored McCarthyist tradition of red-baiting their critics and political opponents, joining the Democrats’ diversionary tactic of pointing indignantly at Russia and its ties to Trump for the DNC hacks in the hopes that it will make everyone forget about the content of the leak itself. Over the weekend, Aravosis wrote an attack editorial, casting suspicion on Stein for attending a convention for alternative media outlet RT last winter, which Aravosis laughably tries to spin as evidence that the anti-war Green party candidate is a traitor in league with “the Kremlin’s propaganda agency.”

    • The U.S.: a four- or five-party country jammed into a two-party system

      Years ago, when Boris Yeltsin came to town, I had a chance to ask him one question. Through a translator, I asked this: “You call yourself a Communist, but you disagree with the Communist Party’s ideology on most subjects. What makes you a Communist?” He replied: “Party card.”

      By the time Yeltsin became president, opposition parties were still banned. But being a Communist didn’t require you to believe anything in particular. Yet the system still required you to be a card-carrying Communist to run for office. I don’t favor a one-party system.

      Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. Never really was. Never really claimed to be.

      Donald Trump is not a Republican. Not in any meaningful sense.

      But in America, since the Dem-Repub duopoly took over our system in 1856, if you want to be president, you have to be the nominee of one of the two major parties.

    • The Perfect G.O.P. Nominee

      All these woebegone Republicans whining that they can’t rally behind their flawed candidate is crazy. The G.O.P. angst, the gnashing and wailing and searching for last-minute substitutes and exit strategies, is getting old.

      They already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street, boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds, secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up — unleashing hell on Syria and heaven knows where else.

      The Republicans have their candidate: It’s Hillary.

      They can’t go with Donald Trump. He’s too volatile and unhinged.

      The erstwhile Goldwater Girl and Goldman Sachs busker can be counted on to do the normal political things, not the abnormal haywire things. Trump’s propounding could drag us into war, plunge us into a recession and shatter Washington into a thousand tiny bits.

    • WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange: Attacks Against Jill Stein Are “Going to Go Through the Roof”

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spoke via video stream to the Green Party convention in Houston, Texas, about the corporate control of information during the 2016 election. He also predicted that attacks against Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein would surge ahead of November’s election.

    • Jill Stein Smeared As Anti-Vaccine Crank As Sanders Supporters Consider Alternative To Clinton

      As Hillary Clinton officially became the Democratic Party’s nominee, interest in Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein grew exponentially. Several establishment journalists, including those known for their open contempt for dissent, turned their attention to Stein to marginalize her campaign before it picked up more than a small amount of support from disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters.

      One false and slanderous claim against Stein has picked up a huge amount of traction in the press: the idea that Stein is an “anti-vaxxer,” opposes vaccines, or has pandered to individuals who believe vaccines cause autism.

      The Washington Post is primarily responsible for this smear. It had two of its reporters, Sarah Parnass and Alice Li, interview Stein. David Weigel, another Post journalist, wrote about the interview, and a Post editor gave it the following headline, “Jill Stein on vaccines: People have ‘real questions,’” which was extremely misleading.

      At the moment, over a dozen media outlets have picked up the interview and chastised Stein for supposedly having anti-science views. Some of the pieces on Stein’s interview are mean-spirited, written by journalists who would have found something to make her look like a crank even if the Post had not spoken with her about vaccines.

    • Stein hits Clinton on emails: Voters “owed an explanation”

      Green Party candidate Jill Stein attacked Hillary Clinton on Monday for her use of a private email server as Secretary of State, amid reports that notes from Clinton’s interview with the FBI during its probe of the matter would be turned over soon to Congress.
      Declining to say whether she thought Clinton should have faced criminal charges from the FBI after its probe, Stein said that the issue “raises real questions about her competency.”

      “I think there should have been a full investigation. I think the American people are owed an explanation for what happened, and why top secret information was put at risk, why the identity of secret agents were potentially put at risk,” Stein told CNN’s Carol Costello.

    • Why Latinos Support Donald Trump

      No amount of semantic somersaulting can whitewash the racist overtones of Donald Trump’s campaign.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • How to Make YouTube Stop Watching What You Watch

      A. When you are logged in to your Google Account, YouTube keeps a running list of everything you watch on the site for a few reasons. For one, YouTube uses your viewing history to suggest other videos it thinks you may like, similar to the way Netflix makes recommendations for its members.


      Next, click the Pause Watch History button. If you would also like to wipe out the collected list of clips, click the Clear All Watch History button next to it. If you do not want to clear all videos from the list — but want to remove some of them — click the “X” on the right side of the screen next to a listed clip.

    • New law targets people who leak classified information

      People who leak Government information will be targeted with a new offence that carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

      Prime Minister John Key has announced legislation that will also let the Government Communications Security Bureau spy on New Zealanders’ private information.

      The bill comes in the same week that information leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden resulted in media reports about the GCSB’s monitoring of a Fiji democracy activist.

      The Government denied the new power to target whistle blowers was related to the Snowden leaks.

      Its introduction is a response to a broad-sweeping intelligence review by Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy, released in March with 107 recommendations.

    • Report: Target of NSA’s online surveillance identified

      Tony Fullman was targeted from July through August 2012…

    • NSA is everywhere: New Zealand peace activist victim of ‘illegal’ PRISM snooping program

      A new report by The Intercept and Television New Zealand reveal the National Security Agency (NSA) worked with New Zealand’s government to illegally spy on one of its citizens in a failed terrorism investigation.

      A group of “democracy and freedom” activists were thought to be plotting the overthrow of Fiji’s military regime in 2012, according to the Kiwi snoops at the Security Intelligence Service (SIS).

      With help from the NSA via the Five Eyes alliance, which Edward Snowden called a “supra-national intelligence organization that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries,” they staged a covert operation to catch the alleged terrorist group.

      Snowden’s leaked documents show the NSA intercepted Facebook communications and emails between associates of the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement campaign, using the PRISM surveillance system, before passing the information onto New Zealand on the other side of the globe. More than 190 pages of documents between May and August 2012 reveal the scale of the NSA’s spying.

    • After NZ spooks misidentified pro-democracy activist, NSA spied on him for them

      Tony Fullman is one of the only people that we know to have been targeted by Prism, the NSA’s signature mass-surveillance tool: he’s a Fijian-born expatriate with New Zealand citizenship, and had his passport seized and his name added to terrorism watchlists after the NSA helped their New Zealand counterparts spy on him, intercepting his bank statements, Facebook posts, Gmail messages, recorded phone conversations, and more.

      Fullman is one of the organisers of “thumbs up for democracy,” a peaceful online campaign that questions the legitimacy of Frank Bainimarama, an authoritarian military dictator who seized control of Fiji in a coup. An internal NZ investigation revealed that the New Zealand government mistook a group of NZ-based Fijian pro-democracy activists for terrorists and illegally spied on 88 of them between 2003 and 2012, including Fullman.

      Fullman was naturalised into NZ citizenship after moving there when he was 21, and worked for 20 years as a civil servant in the tax department, while volunteering at a soup-kitchen and completing two Master’s degrees (one in public management, the other in IT). He moved back to Fiji in 2009 to run the country’s water authority.

    • Report reveals identity of NSA and PRISM surveillance target

      It’s been over three years since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released a trove of documents detailing the extent to which the American government was able to spy on its citizens. A big part of those revelations was PRISM, a system that allowed the government to expediently request and collect data from a variety of huge internet companies including Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and more. Today, a new report from The Intercept contains details on the first person to be identified as a target of PRISM.

      Tony Fullman of New Zealand was targeted in 2012 by the NSA in cooperation with the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). The NSA was able to intercept his Facebook chats and Gmail messages and passed them along to the GCSB, which itself did not have the authority to monitor Fullman’s communications. Fullman was apparently targeted because New Zealand believed that he was planning an act of terrorism, but it turns out that intelligence was incorrect. That didn’t stop the New Zealand government from raiding his home and revoking his passport, however.

    • This Was the First Confirmed Prism Surveillance Target

      A new report based on the leaks of former U.S. National Security Agency worker Edward Snowden has for the first time named a target of the NSA’s controversial Prism program—a civil servant and pro-democracy activist named Tony Fullman.

    • What it looks like when the NSA hacks into your Gmail and Facebook

      For the first time, a target of the National Security Agency’s controversial Prism program has been identified.

      Tony Fullman, a New Zealand citizen who was born in Fiji, had the contents of his Facebook and various Gmail accounts intercepted by the NSA, The Intercept reports, based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • ViaSat’s encryptors NSA-certified [Ed: ViaSat really wants us to know it’s in bed with the NSA; assume “golden key”?]
    • Special investigation: Inside one of the SIS’s biggest anti-terrorism operations

      One of the Security Intelligence Service’s biggest ever anti-terrorism operations – conducted between July and August 2012 – targeted a group of pro-democracy campaigners who it mistakenly thought were planning to overthrow the military government in Fiji.

      A New Zealand man had his communications monitored, probably illegally, his home raided and his passport cancelled by the SIS. But there were no guns or bombs. He was not part of a plot.

      The man, Tony Fullman, was a long-time public servant and peaceful pro-democracy campaigner who, like the New Zealand and Australian governments at that time, was opposed to the Bainimarama military government.

    • Did The FBI Get Confused And Arrest One Of Its Own Informants For Helping Create One Of Its Own Plots?

      For a few years now, we’ve been writing about how the FBI has been arresting a ton of people for “terrorism” who were really guilty of little more than being gullible and naive and pushed by FBI undercover agents and informants into taking part in a plot that wouldn’t exist but for the FBI itself. These so-called own plots seem to be a huge part of what the FBI does these days. Somewhat ridiculously, courts have (mostly) allowed these, claiming that if, eventually, the accused person expressed some support for terrorism or terrorist groups, it shouldn’t be considered entrapment. But, over and over again, you see cases where it’s clearly the FBI doing not just the majority of the plotting, but also pushing and pushing targets to “join” the plot, even when they show sustained resistance. The more details you read about these cases, the more ridiculous they get.

      However, in just the latest example of this — the arrest of Erick Hendricks for supposedly trying to recruit people to carry out attacks for ISIS — there’s been something of an odd twist. Hendricks claims he has no idea why he was arrested because he’s been an FBI informant for years, helping the FBI find other gullible souls to entrap in these “own plots.” As Marcy Wheeler notes, it’s possible the FBI lost track of one of its own informants and ended up having him “caught” in one of the plots where he thought he was helping the FBI find possible terrorists. Wouldn’t that be something.

    • In Bungled Spying Operation, NSA Targeted Pro-Democracy Campaigner

      As part of the spy mission, the NSA used its powerful global surveillance apparatus to intercept the emails and Facebook chats of people associated with a Fijian “thumbs up for democracy” campaign. The agency then passed the messages to its New Zealand counterpart, Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB.

    • Snowden Docs Show NSA, New Zealand Spied On Pro-Democracy Activists [Ed: Snowden’s remark]

      The “act of terrorism” claims were odd, considering Fullman’s activism was aligned with the New Zealand government’s own views: opposition to neighboring Fiji’s authoritarian ruler, Frank Bainimarama. Utilizing PRISM, the NSA intercepted Fullman’s Gmail and Facebook messages, along with gathering everything it could from his public postings — including this data on his apparently terrorism-related personal vehicle.

    • NSA Hacked? ‘Shadow Brokers’ Crew Claims Compromise Of Surveillance Op
    • Hackers claim to be selling NSA cyberweapons in online auction
    • Hacking group purportedly hacked NSA-linked Equation Group, auctioning cyber weapons
    • Hackers Say They Hacked NSA-Linked Group, Want 1 Million Bitcoins to Share More
    • Hackers Claim to Auction Data Stolen From NSA-Linked Spies
    • Hackers claim to auction NSA source code
    • Group claims to have hacked the NSA, wants $500 million to release files
    • NSA offshoot ‘The Equation Group’ has been hacked
    • So, Uh, Did The NSA Get Hacked?
    • The Tools The NSA Uses To Snoop Are Allegedly Being Auctioned Off By Hackers

      We’ve known for a while, thanks to the Snowden leaks and the ensuing investigations, that the NSA has both broad authority to breach and investigate the communications of innocent Americans and the tools to get into your private business with ease. It’s been an ugly chapter in American history, and it’s about to get a lot uglier with the news that the NSA has been hacked, and all its spying tools might soon be online for anybody to use.

    • ‘Shadow Brokers’ claim to have hacked an NSA-linked elite computer security unit

      Cybersecurity experts are searching for answers after an unidentified group claimed on Monday to have hacked into “Equation Group” — an elite cyber-attack group associated with the NSA.

      The “Shadow Brokers” claimed in a post on blogging service Tumblr to have hacked Equation Group, and say they are holding an “auction” to sell off the “cyber weapons” they were able to steal. Shadow Brokers have also provided a sample of files, free to access, to “prove” their legitimacy.

    • Should cloud vendors cooperate with the government?

      35 percent believe cloud app vendors should be forced to provide government access to encrypted data while 55 percent are opposed. 64 percent of US-based infosec professionals are opposed to government cooperation, compared to only 42 percent of EMEA respondents.

      “Forcing cloud app vendors to comply with government or law enforcement access requests to data has provided a real mixed bag of responses, with everything to no way, to help yourself, and even to I don’t care. This really makes no sense because surely with so much debate about the challenges facing law enforcement, to the privacy considerations that have dominated the press we would have expected at least some common consensus. This of course creates a challenge for app vendors, because it will not be possible to create models to suit all opinions. It therefore demands some form of open debate on the best approach to take in terms of addressing this most challenging issue,” Raj Samani, CTO EMEA at Intel Security, told Help Net Security.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Muslims Are Celebrating Murderer Of The Glasgow ‘Apostate’ Shopkeeper

      Muslims around the world are celebrating a British man, who murdered an innocent shopkeeper who they considered an “apostate”, as an Islamist hero.

    • Russia Provides Two Be-200 Aircraft on Portuguese Fire-Fighting Mission

      Russia Provides Two Be-200 Aircraft on Portuguese Fire-Fighting Mission

      Portugal has asked Russia for help in extinguishing forest fires, head of the press service of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, Alexei Vagutovich, told Sputnik, and Russia is happy to help out.

    • In Zambia’s contentious election, the EU finds a new challenge

      Supporters of the United Party for National Development opposition party attend election rally in Lusaka, Zambia, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016 amid concerns about political violence. Moses Mwape / Press Association. All rights reserved.Zambians went to the polls on August 11 in presidential and parliamentary elections in what is expected to be a tight race between President Edgar Lungu’s governing PF party and the opposition UPND led by Hakainde Hichilema. The EU on the ground, along with other international observers, can exert a positive influence in what has been a tense and sometimes violent campaign. In its new Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy the EU commits to supporting democracies where they emerge, for “their success […] would reverberate across their respective regions” – Zambia presents an opportunity for the EU to show it still has serious clout as a foreign policy actor.

    • Your Parents Aren’t Your Parents, an Announcer Tells an Olympian

      Many eyes were watching, then, as NBC learned a lesson, maybe. Biles has been open about her family; she and her sister were adopted at a young age by her maternal grandfather and his wife. “I call them Mom and Dad. Everything’s just been so normal,” she’s been quoted. But NBC announcer Al Trautwig seemed to feel he knew better, referring repeatedly to Biles’ “grandparents.” When someone on Twitter noted that was incorrect, Trautwig responded, “they may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents.”

      After, one imagines, a call from PR, Trautwig declared he regretted that he “wasn’t more clear in my wording,” though he didn’t explain what it was he was trying to “word” or why. (USA Today wrote that he had apologized “for suggesting that Simone Biles’ parents through adoption are not really her parents.” If saying “they are NOT her parents” is “suggesting” they are not her parents, then sure.)

      Olympics coverage involves a lot of storytelling; commentators create narratives for athletes, and no doubt some feel it’s “humanizing” when, faced with one of the best athletes in the world, they focus on what one called her “broken home.” Of course, what they’re really revealing is just the narrowness of their vision.

    • Recent court decisions fuel renewed push for restoring the Voting Rights Act

      In an op-ed for Time magazine, Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said these decisions “have been a triumphant win for voting rights advocates, but they are not the long-term answer.”

      “As we face the first presidential election without a fully functioning VRA,” he wrote, “it is more critical than ever to restore the full powers and protections of the law.”

      Greenblatt observed that “the backdrop of the latest set of rulings paints a bleaker picture — one of legislatures around the country passing laws that discriminate against voters of color.”

    • One Quote Predicts Today’s Police Brutality Nearly 50 Years Ago

      The violence of last week conjures up the history and memory of the violence and racial tension of 1968, and a quote from a famous author and cultural critic makes the comparison seem all too apt.

    • Online crime: UK cops to use law firms to tackle fraud in civil courts

      A pilot scheme run by the City of London police will use law firms working for profit to tackle online crime and fraud cases.

      Cops will pass details of cases to companies involved with the scheme. They will be tasked with attempting to seize the assets of suspects—and, if successful, receive a share.

      The advantages for the police are twofold: more cases can be tackled, since some will be handled by the law firms, and suspects will be pursued in civil courts, whereas police have to go through the criminal court system in order to use provisions from the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

    • DEA Accessing Millions Of Travelers’ Records To Find Cash To Seize

      The monster is insatiable. The DEA loves taking cash from travelers so much it has hired TSA screeners as informants, asking them to look for cash when scanning luggage. It routinely stops and questions rail passengers in hopes of stumbling across money it can take from them.

      But it goes further than just hassling random travelers and paying government employees to be government informants. As the USA Today’s article points out, the DEA is datamining traveler info to streamline its forfeiture efforts.

    • Documents Confirm CIA Censorship of Guantánamo Trials

      In January 2013, during the military trial of five men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks, a defense lawyer was discussing a motion relating to the CIA’s black-site program, when a mysterious entity cut the audio feed to the gallery. A red light began to glow and spin. Someone had triggered the courtroom’s censorship system.

      The system was believed to be under the control of the judge, Col. James Pohl. In this case, it wasn’t.

    • Election Meddling: Bad if Done to USA, Bad to Complain About if Done by USA

      When US media—to say nothing of the leading contender to be the next president of the US—allege that foreign elements are steering our politics, that’s rational, serious discourse. When others do it, it’s laughable, unhinged blabbering.


      If the Washington Post had to argue that US meddling was the good kind of meddling, because it’s a necessary balance to Putin’s autocratic rule, this nuance would get in the way of the Post’s simplistic “paranoid strongman vs. good, clean US democracy” dichotomy, so the reader is left with the ahistoric and childish impression that the US doesn’t interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries.


      To omit the endless string of examples of US interfering in other countries in an editorial about fears of US interfering in other countries is at best negligent and at worst deliberately obtuse. It’s hard to describe foreign leaders as being paranoid about US meddling and coups if you acknowledge that the US has been involved in meddling and coups for more than a century.

    • Humanitarian Nightmare for Colombia’s Wayuu Fails to Awaken Corporate Media

      Colombia’s Supreme Court has ordered the government to ensure that the Wayuu, the largest indigenous community in the country, have access to basics of survival, including drinkable water. Last year, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights called attention to the crisis, noting the documented deaths of more than 4,700 Wayuu children in just the last eight years—although the Wayuu themselves say the number is closer to 14,000 children who have died from preventable disease, thirst and malnutrition. It’s a humanitarian nightmare, but as human rights lawyer Dan Kovalik noted in a piece for Huffington Post, corporate media appear unmoved.

      The Wayuu are suffering not just from climate change–driven drought, but from the loss of access to the Rancheria River, drained by a dam built in 2011 for the coal mining company Cerrejon. Cerrejon Mine, at first a joint venture between Colombia and Exxon, opened in 1983 and has been displacing indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities ever since. Kovalik reports that Cerrejon now uses 17 million liters of water a day, while residents of the region have an average of 0.7 liters a day to live on.

    • When USA Gymnastics Turned a Blind Eye to Sexual Abuse

      With the summer Olympics in full swing, three reporters at the Indianapolis Star newspaper have been investigating painful secrets kept by some of the nation’s young gymnasts-in-training.

      For this ProPublica Podcast, I talked with Marisa Kwiatkowski, Mark Alesia and Tim Evans about their incredible report on sexual misconduct by coaches affiliated with USA Gymnastics, the nonprofit responsible for developing the United States’ gymnastics team for the Olympics and training thousands more children and young adults.What the reporters discovered was that the organization had policies on reporting sexual abuse that were likely to discourage people from speaking up.

    • The Right-Wing Legacy of Justice Lewis Powell, and What It Means for the Supreme Court Today

      The memo, titled “Attack on American Free Enterprise System,” was breathtaking in its scope and ambition, and far more right-wing than anything Scalia ever wrote. It was, as writer Steven Higgs noted in a 2012 article published by CounterPunch, “A Call to Arms for Class War: From the Top Down.”

      Back in 1971, when the memo was prepared, Powell was a well-connected partner in the Richmond-based law firm of Hutton, Williams, Gay, Powell and Gibson and sat on the boards of 11 major corporations, including the tobacco giant Philip Morris. He also had served as chairman of the Richmond School Board from 1952 to ’61 and as president of the American Bar Association from 1964 to ’65. In 1969, he declined a nomination to the Supreme Court offered by President Nixon, preferring to remain in legal practice, through which he reportedly had amassed a personal fortune.

    • Man Claiming that He is the Brother of Man Shot by Officers Speaks to CBS 58 During the Violence

      CBS 58′s Evan Kruegel spoke exclusively to a man claiming to be the brother of the man shot and killed by police yesterday.

      He was with a crowd of people at the O’Reilly Auto Parts as it burned last night.

      “There is riot going on because once again the police have failed to protect us like they said they would. They failed to be here like they say like they sworn in to do. Us as a community, we are not going to protect ourselves. But, we don’t have anyone to protect us than this is what you get. So you got riots. We got people right here going crazy. We are losing loved ones everyday to the people that are sworn in to protect us,” said the man.

    • “This is the Madness They Spark”: Uprising in Milwaukee After Police Kill 23-Year-Old Black Man

      Protests are continuing in Milwaukee two days after police shot dead a 23-year-old African-American man named Sylville Smith. On Sunday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated the National Guard after local residents set fire to police cars and several local businesses, including a gas station, on Saturday night. Seventeen people were arrested. Four police officers were reportedly injured. Milwaukee police say Smith was shot while trying to flee from an officer who had stopped his car. Police Chief Edward Flynn said he had viewed video from the officer’s body camera, and it showed Smith had turned toward him with a gun in his hand after the traffic stop. Many local residents said the tension between their community and the police has been rising for years. Milwaukee is considered to be one of the most segregated cities in the country. We speak with Muhibb Dyer, community activist, poet and co-founder of the organization Flood the Hood with Dreams.

    • Milwaukee Sheriff Provokes Outrage, Blames ‘Urban Pathology,’ ‘War on Police’ for Police Brutality

      Days of demonstrations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin following Saturday’s fatal police shooting have shined a national spotlight on the city’s segregation and police practices—and the city’s infamous right-wing sheriff provoked further outrage Sunday when he blamed the community of the shooting victim for the police violence that ended his life.

      Clarke decried “urban pathologies” and a “war on police”—popular right-wing catchphrases—in impoverished, largely black communities for the demonstrations and the shooting that provoked them.

      “The urban pathologies have to be addressed to shrink the growth of an underclass,” he said, referring to the community which has suffered through the deaths of many of its members at the hands of police.

    • Black Americans and Police State Fascism

      Korryn Gaines was shot to death by police in her own home near Baltimore, Maryland. Her five year-old son was also shot and injured. Ms. Gaines came into contact with police initially because of a traffic violation and a dispute with her boyfriend. Every day thousands of people are given tickets or make accusations against one another but rarely do they have an expectation of ending up dead as a result.

      Arrest warrants are the first line of defense for the police, who are the 21st century embodiment of the slave patrol. If black people are lucky they may have to pay a fine or suffer some inconvenience, if unlucky they are killed.

    • Justice and accountability for war related sexual violence in Sri Lanka

      As the testimonies of survivors of sexual violence in Sri Lanka’s long war enter the public domain and the government designs transitional justice mechanisms, is an end to impunity in sight?

    • The Dark Secret of Israel’s Stolen Babies

      According to campaigners, as many as 8,000 babies were seized from their families in the state’s first years and either sold or handed over to childless Jewish couples in Israel and abroad. To many, it sounds suspiciously like child trafficking.

      A few of the children have been reunited with their biological families, but the vast majority are simply unaware they were ever taken. Strict Israeli privacy laws mean it is near-impossible for them to see official files that might reveal their clandestine adoption.

      Did Israeli hospitals and welfare organisations act on their own or connive with state bodies? It is unclear. But it is hard to imagine such mass abductions could have occurred without officials at the very least turning a blind eye.

      Testimonies indicate that lawmakers, health ministry staff, and senior judges knew of these practices at the time. And the decision to place all documents relating to the children under lock untl 2071 hints at a cover-up.


      Ben Gurion needed not only to destroy Palestinian society, but to ensure that “Arabness” did not creep into his new Jewish state through the back door.

      The large numbers of Arab Jews who arrived in the first decade were needed in his demographic war against the Palestinians and as a labour force, but they posed a danger too. Ben Gurion feared that, whatever their religion, they might “corrupt” his Jewish state culturally by importing what he called the “spirit of the Levant”.

    • Eliminate Profit from Punishment

      In July 2010, Marissa Alexander, a young Black woman from Florida, faced the fight of her life only nine days after giving birth to her youngest daughter. Her estranged husband, Rico Gray, attacked, strangled, and threatened to kill Marissa in her own home. To get rid of Rico, Marissa fired a warning shot into the ceiling. The single shot injured no one. And yet she was subsequently charged with several criminal charges and incarcerated for a victimless crime.

      Marissa’s story is just one example of how prisons, profit, policing, and poverty are intimately connected. Prisons have long been warehouses for the poor and individuals who are unable to defend themselves in a vicious legal system. Undue profiling by law enforcement has long been the gateway into the incarceration system. And increasingly rich people and the multi-billion dollar security industry make money off of mass incarceration.

      Marissa Alexander fought a long battle in the Florida courts to appeal her conviction on the basis of her right of self-defense. She eventually was successful and in 2015 she was released from jail and put on probation. But in the meantime, she paid a high cost. Throughout her entire ordeal, she not only missed irreplaceable time with her children. She also had to pay $105 every week for the use of an ankle monitor while she was under house arrest and an additional $500 every other week for a bond cost.

    • Doncaster girl raped at gunpoint in Pakistan so cousin could get British visa

      But for Tabassan Khan, it marked the beginning of a very different life. British-born Tabassan, given a new name to protect her identity, was told she was going on a summer holiday.

      Instead, she was forced at gunpoint to marry a cousin six years her senior in Pakistan. She was held captive and abused over the next three years.

      Now, having found a way back to safety, she wants to share her story and shine a light on the plight of thousands of young British victims.

      Her life had already been difficult. Her father had murdered her mother when she was 12, leaving her and three brothers in the care of an aunt in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

      The now 26-year-old said: “I thought I was going to Pakistan on holiday. I was excited. Then two months passed and it was time to start the school year. I asked my uncle when I should go back and he just kept saying, ‘Stay a bit longer’ for weeks. After four months, he came up to my room with a gun and told me I had to marry my cousin.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The FCC Can’t Save Community Broadband — But We Can

      Last year, while most of us were focused on the FCC’s Open Internet Order to protect net neutrality, the FCC quietly did one more thing: it voted to override certain state regulations that inhibit the development and expansion of community broadband projects. The net neutrality rules have since been upheld, but last week a federal appeals court rejected FCC’s separate effort to preempt state law.

      The FCC’s goals were laudable. Municipalities and local communities have been experimenting with ways to foster alternatives to big broadband providers like Comcast and Time/Warner. Done right, community fiber experiments have the potential to create options that empower Internet subscribers and make Internet access more affordable. For example, Chattanooga, Tennessee, is home to one of the nation’s least expensive, most robust municipally-owned broadband networks. The city decided to build a high-speed network initially to meet the needs of the city’s electric company. Then, the local government learned that the cable companies would not be upgrading their Internet service fast enough to meet the city’s needs. So the electric utility also became an ISP, and the residents of Chattanooga now have access to a gigabit (1,000 megabits) per second Internet connection. That’s far ahead of the average US connection speed, which typically clocks in at 9.8 megabits per second.

  • DRM

    • Why Apple Removing The Audio Jack From The iPhone Would Be A Very, Very, Very, Bad Move

      It’s been rumored for months now that the next iPhone will be removing the standard analog headphone jack — the same jack that’s existed on portable audio devices for ages. It would immediately make a whole bunch of headphone and microphone products obsolete overnight for those who use iPhones. And while some have compared it to when Apple surprised everyone nearly two decades ago in removing the floppy drive from the iMac, this is quite different. The floppy drive really was pushing the end of its necessary existence, and with the internet and (not too long after) the rise of USB, the internal floppy drive seemed less and less important. But that’s not the case with the standard audio jack.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • More examples of how licensing kills progress: the stories of Gopher and GIF

      At Private Internet Access, we’re dependent on – and celebrating – the existence of free and open strong cryptography. Time and again, people proclaiming the virtues of monopolies and exclusive rights – copyrights, patents – are trying to push their model of closedness and permissioned gates onto the Internet. And time and again, the Internet rejects the notion wholesale.

      Without free and open cryptography, we would not have strong privacy today – and without strong privacy, we no longer have Freedom of Speech at all, in the wider social context. Numerous commissions have looked at the possibility of outlawing private encryption altogether today, like private encryption was banned in France before the first crypto wars, with the usual scapegoat of “because terrorism”. However, they all concluded that because of the mere existence of free and open cryptography, which fall under free speech laws since the first crypto wars, terrorists will always have access to strong cryptography – unlike with gun regulation, there are no per-item sales you can regulate.


Links 14/8/2016: ‘Goodbye Windows – Hello Ubuntu’, Linux Mint 18 Xfce Overview

Posted in News Roundup at 6:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • A Proper Linux Workstation

      The software I rely on daily includes LibreOffice Writer, Thunderbird, Audacity, SimpleScreenRecorder and Kdenlive. Accessibility applications I rely on include redshift-gtk and Workrave.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Download Linux Voice issue 21

      Issue 21 of Linux Voice is nine months old, so we’re releasing it under the Creative Commons BY-SA license. You can share and modify all content from the magazine (apart from adverts), providing you credit Linux Voice as the original source and retain the same license.

  • Kernel Space

    • 5 Best Modern Linux ‘init’ Systems (1992-2015)

      Over the years, many init systems have emerged in major Linux distributions and in this guide, we shall take a look at some of the best init systems you can work with on the Linux operating system.

  • Applications

    • ‘Chrome Remote Desktop’ A Linux Remote Desktop App

      Chrome Remote Desktop is a Linux remote desktop app that allows users to access any Linux computer remotely. It is developed by Google and is available for Linux systems also. It is very easy to use and let one handle computer remotely using Chromoting protocol developed by Google.

    • qTox v1.5.0 release
    • Are You Looking For Alternative File Manager Then Try “SunFlower” in Ubuntu/Linux Mint

      Sunflower is a twin pane, highly configurable, powerful and easy to use File Manager created for Linux with plugins support. It works with all desktop environments such as Gnome, Unity, KDE, Lxde, Xfce, Cinnamon, Mate, and others. It is open-source and developed using Python language, currently it is in active development and releasing stable versions, if you like this project then don’t forget to contribute this project in anyway you like.

    • SOGo v3.1.5 released

      The Inverse team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of SOGo v3.1.5. This is a minor release of SOGo which focuses on small new features and improved stability over previous versions.

    • Get Football (Soccer) Scores, Fixtures, And Standings From The Command Line With Soccer CLI

      The app uses the football-data.org API to provide past and live football scores, standings, upcoming fixtures, and player information. All major European football leagues are supported, including Premier League, La Liga, UEFA Champions League, and more.

      Smaller leagues, as well as UEFA Europa League, are not supported, at least for now.s

    • Variety 0.6.2 rich features wallpaper manager available for Ubuntu/Linux Mint

      Variety is an open-source wallpaper changer designed for Linux operating system, it comes with great features and easy to use. There are many wallpaper manager applications available which offers many features but Variety has its own way to get things done. It can display wallpapers from local sources or lots of various online sources, allows user to change wallpaper on a regular interval, and provides easy ways to separate the great images from the junk.

    • Quick Updates: Variety Wallpaper Changer, WebTorrent Desktop, Oomox, Telegram Purple, OBS Studio

      Variety is a wallpaper changer that can automatically download wallpapers from various sources, like Flikr, Wallhaven, Bing Photo of the Day, Unslash, Desktoppr, NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, as well as a live wallpaper of the world sunlight map. It can also automatically fetch wallpapers recommended by other Variety users.

      The app was updated recently with a new “safe mode” option, which can be used to avoid NSFW and sketchy images. This feature relies on user ratings, so it’s not perfect, at least until more users rate the wallpapers.

      The option can be found in the Variety preferences, on the General tab.

    • 7 Best Twitter Clients for Linux That You Will Love to Use

      Twitter is one of the most popular and massively used blogging services on the Internet today, with the ever increasing use of the this amazing social media platform, users are looking for Twitter desktop applications that can enable t