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09.21.16

Links 21/9/2016: Lenovo Helps Microsoft Block GNU/Linux Installations

Posted in News Roundup at 5:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Beware: Windows 10 Signature Edition Blocks Installing Linux

      Microsoft opening the source code of a lot of its projects in the last months convinced some people that the company – under its new management – is now good, and that it “loves Linux”, however, this assumption came to be wrong today with the latest monopoly try from Microsoft.

      In a TL;DR format: Some new laptops that ship with Windows 10 Signature Edition don’t allow you to install Linux (or any operating system) on it; the BIOS is locked and the hard drives are hidden in a way you can’t install any OS. Those news are not some rumors from the Internet, Lenovo for example confirmed that they have singed an agreement with Microsoft for this.

    • Best Linux Desktop for Customization

      Is customizing your Linux desktop important to you? Run Linux for even a few months, and the ability to customize a desktop environment according to your preferences can become a right.

      Customization options start with the fact that more than one Linux desktop is available, and many of these desktop environments allow some customization of the desktop and panel. However, others include options for almost everything you can see or use.

  • Server

    • How blockchain will grow beyond bitcoin

      Since its advent in 2009, bitcoin’s decentralized, broker-less and secure mechanism to send money across the world has steadily risen in popularity and adoption. Of equal — if not greater — importance is the blockchain, the technology that supports the cryptocurrency, the distributed ledger which enables trustless, peer-to-peer exchange of data.

    • The end of Moore’s Law and the expansion of Linux; what do these mean to IBM?

      As many organizations are finding out, open-source computing is a game-changer. Many businesses now rely on open-source tools to lower costs, increase flexibility and freedom, and enhance security and accountability.

      Stefanie Chiras, VP of IBM Power Systems Offering Management, Systems of Engagement, at IBM, joined Stu Miniman (@stu) and Dave Vellante (@dvellante), cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during IBM Edge, held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV, to discuss the changing landscape around open source, the end of Moore’s Law, and how the cloud drives innovation for clients.

    • Cloud Foundry launches its new Docker-compatible container management system

      Cloud Foundry, the Pivotal- and VMware-incubated open source platform-as-a-service project, is going all in on its new Diego container management system. For a while now, the project used what it called Droplet Execution Agents (DEA) to manage application containers. After running in parallel for a while, though, the team has now decided to go all in on its new so-called “Diego” architecture. Thanks to this, Cloud Foundry says it can now scale to running up to 250,000 containers in a single cluster.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDevelop 5.0.1 Open-Source IDE Brings Multiple Bug Fixes, General Improvements

        The development team behind the open-source KDevelop IDE (Integrated Development Environment) software announced the release and immediate availability of the first maintenance update to the KDevelop 5.0 stable series.

        KDevelop 5.0 was released just a month ago, and it brought lots of goodies, the biggest one being the port to the latest KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5 technologies. Other features include improved C/C++ support, CMake support, and QML/JavaScript support.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Parsix Normalizes GNOME

        The Parsix project’s goal is to provide a ready-to-use and easy-to-install Debian operating system with the latest stable release of the GNOME desktop environment. The Parsix distro meets that goal and even goes beyond it.

        The developer community is far more independent than other Debian testing-based derivatives. The Parsix community keeps four software repositories enabled by default. Official repositories contain packages maintained by project developers that are built on the community’s own build servers.

        Content repository is a snapshot of Debian’s stable branch. Wonderland repository contains multimedia-related software packages and is a snapshot of Debian multimedia repositories.

        Even better is the fact that the community maintains its own security software repository for both the stable and testing branches. Parsix Developers closely follow Debian Security Advisories and port them to the distro’s own security repository.

      • MATE 1.16 Ready For Release, More GTK2 GNOME-Forked Code Ported To GTK3

        The various components of the GNOME2 desktop forked MATE code were checked in as version 1.16 today in preparation for announcing this next release.

        MATE 1.16 is being released in time to hopefully make it in Ubuntu 16.10 and Fedora 25, which are among the goals for this release. During MATE 1.16 development that began following MATE 1.14 in April, there’s been more porting of GTK+ 2 code to GTK+ 3.

      • A Look At The Exciting Features/Improvements Of GNOME 3.22

        If all goes well, GNOME 3.22 will be officially released tomorrow, 21 September. Here is a recap of some of the new features and improvements made over this past six month development cycle plus some screenshots of the near-final desktop that will power the upcoming Fedora 25 Workstation.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 104 released

        This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 104.
        This update brings you a new kernel under the hood and a from scratch rewritten Guardian.

      • IPFire 2.19 Linux Firewall Gets New Intrusion Prevention System, Kernel 3.14.79

        Today, September 20, 2016, IPFire’s Michael Tremer announced the release of yet another Core Update to the IPFire 2.19 stable Linux-based firewall distribution and system.

        IPFire 2.19 Core Update 104 appears to be a big release with many interesting changes, starting with the latest version of Linux 3.14 kernel, build 3.14.79, and continuing with a brand new Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) called Guardian, and all the latest software updates and security patches. But first, we should warn you that the Linux kernel 3.14 series reached end of life last week, and users are urged to move to Linux 4.4 LTS.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Now Includes GCC 6.2, GNU Binutils 2.26.1 & GDB 7.11.1

        SUSE’s Andreas Jaeger reports on the availability of an updated toolchain for the SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 operating system, bringing the latest tools designed for application development.

        The updated toolchain included in SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 comes with some of the latest and most advanced development utilities, such as GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 6.2, GDB (GNU Debugger) 7.11.1, and GNU Binutils 2.26.1, thus enabling app developers to use the newest technologies when creating their amazing projects.

    • Slackware Family

      • Slackware-Based Absolute 14.2 Linux OS Arrives with Up-to-Date Components

        Absolute Linux developer Paul Sherman announced the release of version 14.2 of his Slackware-based GNU/Linux operating system for personal computers and laptops.

        Based on Slackware 14.2, Absolute 14.2 comes, as expected, with many updated components, most of them borrowed from upstream. But it looks like there are some newly implemented things as well, such as an “Autoinstall” option in the installers to allow automatic installation of the OS on a user-selected partition or disk drive.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible Builds: week 73 in Stretch cycle

        Ximin Luo started a new series of tools called (for now) debrepatch, to make it easier to automate checks that our old patches to Debian packages still apply to newer versions of those packages, and still make these reproducible.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 2.6 Anonymous Linux Live CD Is Out, Brings Tor 0.2.8.7 & Tor Browser 6.0.5

          Just a few moment ago, the Tails development team proudly announced the official and general availability of the Tails 2.6 anonymous Live CD Linux operating system based on the latest Debian technologies.

          Earlier this month, we reported on the availability of the first development version of Tails 2.6, the RC1 build, which also appeared to be the only one, and now, nearly three weeks later, we can get our hands on the final release, which brings many updated components and several new features.

          According to the release notes, the biggest new features in Tails 2.6 are the enablement of the kASLR (kernel address space layout randomization) in the Linux kernel packages that ship with the popular amnesic incognito live system, protecting users from buffer overflow attacks.

        • Linux Top 3: Tails 2.6, Android-x86 6.0 and Deepin 15.3
        • Debian-Based Q4OS 2.2.1 “Scorpion” Linux OS Ships with LXQt Alongside Trinity

          Today, September 20, 2016, the Q4OS development team informs Softpedia about the immediate availability of an updated version of their work-in-progress Q4OS 2.0 “Scorpion” GNU/Linux operating system.

          Q4OS 2.2.1 is out now, and it comes as a drop-in replacement for the previous development release, namely Q4OS 2.1.1, bringing all sort of updated components and new technologies based, of course, on the upstream Debian Testing repositories. These include Linux kernel 4.6, Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) 14.0.4, and GCC 6.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 Officially Released for All Ubuntu Phones and Tablets

            We reported yesterday on the upcoming availability of the Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 software update for Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Tablet devices, and it looks like Canonical finally started the phased update earlier today.

            Canonical’s Lukasz Zemczak informs us that the main OTA-13 images have been successfully copied from the rc-proposed channel to the stable one for users to update but, as expected, it’s phased during the next 24 hours, so not everyone will get it at the same time.

          • Ubuntu tees up OpenStack on IBM’s iron

            Canonical’s OpenStack spin has landed on IBM’s Power hardware as part of zSystems’ Linux stack.

            The Ubuntu shop’s cloud has been released for IBM’s zSeries IBM LinuxOne and on IBM Power Systems.

            Canonical’s cloud will run on IBM’s planned LC servers, announced in April. The servers run OpenPOWER – from the group building customised POWER CPUs.

          • Get your own $80 private cloud server kit with Nextcloud Box!

            Nextcloud, an open source, self-hosted file sync and share and communication app platform, has teamed up with Canonical and WDLabs to release a Raspberry Pi and Ubuntu Linux powered cloud server called Nextcloud Box for homes and offices.

            According to the company, the Nextcloud Box is a secure, private, self-hosted cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) platform. It makes hosting a personal cloud simple and cost effective whilst maintaining a secure private environment that can be expanded with additional features via apps.

            “It has been a great co-operation with amazingly agile teams at Canonical and WDLabs,” said Frank Karlitschek, Founder and Managing Director, Nextcloud.

          • Simple Weather Indicator for Ubuntu Now Has Its Own PPA

            A new version of the ‘no frills’ weather indicator that I use on my Ubuntu desktop is available to download — and it finally has a PPA.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 21 Open Source Projects for IoT

    The Internet of Things market is fragmented, amorphous, and continually changing, and its very nature requires more than the usual attention to interoperability. It’s not surprising then, that open source has done quite well here — customers are hesitant to bet their IoT future on a proprietary platform that may fade or become difficult to customize and interconnect.

    In this second entry in a four-part series about open source IoT, I have compiled a guide to major open source software projects, focusing on open source tech for home and industrial automation. I am omitting more vertical projects related to IoT, such as Automotive Grade Linux and Dronecode, and I’m also skipping open source, IoT-oriented OS distributions, such as Brillo, Contiki, Mbed, OpenWrt, Ostro, Riot, Ubuntu Snappy Core, UCLinux, and Zephyr. Next week, I’ll cover hardware projects — from smart home hubs to IoT-focused hacker boards — and in the final part of the series, I’ll look at distros and the future of IoT.

  • Samsung open sources its HbbTV media player

    Samsung’s Hybrid boradcast broadband TV (HbbTV) media player has now taken the open source path which the company announced in a press release earlier today. The project is available on GitHub as HbbPlayer and app developers as well as broadcasters can utilize it to test their services on any HbbTV 1.5 compliant TV which most of Samsung’s smart TVs are.

  • Secure messaging environment delivers safe online collaboration
  • Riot Launches Introducing Open Source Encrypted Collaboration for Business
  • Riot looks to launch a chat revolution with open platform
  • Riot is trying to knock down the walled gardens of the messaging space
  • Building businesses out of open-source solutions

    The open-source movement is taking over business software. There are benefits; open source is usually less expensive, it’s easy to add on functionality and there’s a community to draw on. The trick, though, is making a business out of open-source solutions. One such business is Rackspace, Inc., a managed cloud computing company.

    To gain some insight into how open-source business works, Dave Vellante (@dvellante) and Stu Miniman (@stu), cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, visited the IBM Edge 2016 conference in Las Vegas. There, they sat down with Major Hayden, principal architect at Rackspace, Inc.

  • Abigail Cabunoc Mayes: How to Bring Open Source to a Closed Community

    Abigail Cabunoc Mayes, who works for the Mozilla Foundation as the lead developer for open source engagement, recently gave a lively talk explaining open source inclusion practices. View this engaging video here.

  • Coreboot Is Being Ported To A New Intel Skylake-Y System

    Those wishing to use Coreboot on a modern Intel system (albeit with the closed-source FSP) will soon have another option to consider with an open-source, physically secure computer powered by a Skylake-Y SoC moving ahead with a port to Coreboot.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 49 Released, This Is What’s New

        Mozilla has released Firefox 49 for Windows, Mac and Linux. The latest update to the popular open-source web browser introduces a range of (always) welcome improvements. Among them, Firefox 49 ships with native support for the Widevine CDM on Linux. This enables you to watch Netflix (and other DRM-protected HTML5 video content) without any cumbersome workarounds.

      • Latest Firefox Expands Multi-Process Support and Delivers New Features for Desktop and Android

        With the change of the season, we’ve worked hard to release a new version of Firefox that delivers the best possible experience across desktop and Android.

      • Mozilla shortlists four designs in open-source rebrand project

        Four designs have been shortlisted in the search to find a new brand identity for software company Mozilla.

        Mozilla is best known for its web browser Firefox, though its latest rebrand project is an attempt at dispelling the myth that this is the only thing the company does.

        It is working with design consultancy Johnson Banks on its open-source rebrand project, which has seen it seeking feedback from the Mozilla community and general public through the comments section on the Mozilla blog, social media and live events over the last few months.

        Involving the community in its rebrand aims to show the company’s “transparent” and “open” philosophy, Mozilla says. However, the company has made it clear that this is not a crowd-sourcing project, which would involve public voting, but instead a way of harbouring thoughts and opinions.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • CouchDB 2.0

      The Apache CouchDB development community is proud to announce the immediate availability of version 2.0.

    • Apache CouchDB 2.0 Released

      For users of Apache’s CouchDB document-oriented NoSQL database system, version 2.0 was announced today.

    • Apache Announces Availablity of CouchDB 2.0 Database

      Over the past several months, we’ve taken note of the many open source projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to data-centric and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves these projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Chess 6.2.3

      GNU Chess is a chess-playing program. It can be used to play chess against the computer on a terminal or, more commonly, as a chess engine for graphical chess frontends.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • The Coral Project launches open-source ‘Ask’ form builder

      New open-source software designed to allow newsrooms to crowdsource information from readers was made available to publishers on request today (19 September) by The Coral Project.

      Ask is the second in a trio of products from The Coral Project, a collaboration between The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Mozilla Foundation.

      Greg Barber, director of digital news projects at the Post, and strategy and partnerships at The Coral Project, likened Ask to an enhanced version of Google Forms which allows journalists to request information from readers, such as opinions, personal anecdotes, or suggestions on topics to cover.

  • Programming/Development

    • GitHub 101: A Beginners Guide For Contributing To GitHub Open Source Software Projects

      Since launching in 2009, GitHub has become the biggest Git repository hosting service in the world and is used by millions of individuals and businesses to manage software projects. It has also become a playground for open-source software projects that often involve a large number of contributors. When there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen, it can become chaotic and scare off beginners. If you are a software developer that’s ready to enter the GitHub fray, we have some advice on what to do — and what not to do — when you’re contributing to a project in a Git repository.

      As of April 2016, GitHub has over 14 million users and 35 million repositories. Many of the projects hosted on GitHub are open source. The nature of the service allows for large groups of people from all corners of the world to collaborate and improve the code in these projects. But the nature of group work, especially when individuals come from diverse backgrounds, means maintaining and participating in a project can become problematic. Which is one reason why GitHub brought in a feature that allows project owners of public repositories to block troublesome users.

      It can be intimidating to start contributing to an open source project and it can be a bit of a learning curve for newbies. First off, let’s talk about taking the plunge. To do this, you’ll need to create a GitHub account. We have a guide on how to do this here.

      Once you’ve done that, it’s best to start off on a project that is beginner-friendly.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘Superbug’ scourge spreads as U.S. fails to track rising human toll

      Fifteen years after the U.S. declared drug-resistant infections to be a grave threat, the crisis is only worsening, a Reuters investigation finds, as government agencies remain unwilling or unable to impose reporting requirements on a healthcare industry that often hides the problem.

    • The Hidden Toll of Drug-Resistant Superbugs

      Just 17 days old, Josiah Cooper-Pope died in the hospital after he was infected with a drug-resistant bacteria, but no one added his death to the toll from the deadly bug.

      As Reuters reported earlier this month, hospital officials told Josiah’s mom about the infection, but not that her son was the fourth patient out of 12 who would eventually become infected during an outbreak. The hospital also didn’t notify public health officials as the law required. And the final record, Josiah’s death certificate, did not report the superbug as a cause of death. As the story said, it’s as if the killer got away.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Aid Security Incident Statistics: 18-month trends based on open source reported events affectng aid infrastructure (December 2014 to May 2016)
    • Easy Secure Web Serving with OpenBSD’s acme-client and Let’s Encrypt

      s recently as just a few years ago, I hosted my personal website, VPN, and personal email on a computer running OpenBSD in my basement. I respected OpenBSD for providing a well-engineered, no-nonsense, and secure operating system. But when I finally packed up that basement computer, I moved my website to an inexpensive cloud server running Linux instead.

      Linux was serviceable, but I really missed having an OpenBSD server. Then I received an email last week announcing that the StartSSL certificate I had been using was about to expire and realized I was facing a tedious manual certificate replacement process. I decided that I would finally move back to OpenBSD, running in the cloud on Vultr, and try the recently-imported acme-client (formerly “letskencrypt”) to get my HTTPS certificate from the free, automated certificate authority Let’s Encrypt.

    • iPhone passcode bypassed with NAND mirroring attack

      Passcodes on iPhones can be hacked using store-bought electronic components worth less than $100 (£77), according to one Cambridge computer scientist.

      Sergei Skorobogatov has demonstrated that NAND mirroring—the technique dismissed by James Comey, the director of the FBI, as unworkable—is actually a viable means of bypassing passcode entry limits on an Apple iPhone 5C. What’s more, the technique, which involves soldering off the phone’s flash memory chip, can be used on any model of iPhone up to the iPhone 6 Plus, which use the same type of LGA60 NAND chip. Later models, however, will require “more sophisticated equipment and FPGA test boards.”

      In a paper he wrote on the subject, Skorobogatov, a Russian senior research associate at the Cambridge Computer Laboratory’s security group, confirmed that “any attacker with sufficient technical skills could repeat the experiment,” and while the technique he used is quite fiddly, it should not present too much of an obstacle for a well-resourced branch of law enforcement.

      The attack works by cloning the iPhone’s flash memory chip. iPhones generally allow users six attempts to guess a passcode before locking them out for incrementally longer periods of time; by the complex process of taking the phone apart, removing its memory chip, and then cloning it, an attacker is able to have as many clusters of six tries as they have the patience to make fresh clones. Skorobogatov estimates that each run of six attempts would take about 45 seconds, meaning that it would take around 20 hours to do a full cycle of all 10,000 passcode permutations. For a six-digit passcode, this would grow to about three months—which he says might still be acceptable for national security.

    • Seagate NAS hack should scare us all

      No fewer than 70 percent of internet-connected Seagate NAS hard drives have been compromised by a single malware program. That’s a pretty startling figure. Security vendor Sophos says the bitcoin-mining malware Miner-C is the culprit.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hillary Clinton ‘dropped climate change from speeches after Bernie Sanders endorsement’

      Hillary Clinton has dropped the words “climate change” from most of her public addresses since winning the endorsement of her party rival Bernie Sanders, according to Climate Home analysis.

      While the presidential candidate talks regularly about her plan for the US to become a “clean energy superpower”, in recent months she has rarely made reference to the planetary crisis that necessitates it.

      On Monday, when she launched her pitch to millennials online, she could find no room for an issue that will affect that voting cohort more than any other.

      The rhetorical shift undermines hopes that climate change might emerge as a key campaign issue in 2016. Boosted by the disparity between Clinton and her Republican opponent Donald Trump, a self-professed non-believer in climate change.

    • Austrian farmer horrified by sheep slaughter in fields

      Under Austrian law the killing of sheep has to take place in official slaughterhouses but the sheep in the field in Styria simply had their throats cut and were left to die.

      Horrified locals raised the alarm with police, who rushed to the area to stop the massacre and managed to save 52 of the 131 sheep that had been put in the field.

      The other 79 had already been slaughtered as part of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, also known as the Sacrifice Feast, which is the second of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide each year and considered the holier of the two.

      Muslims who can afford it sacrifice their best animals as a symbol of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to God.

  • Finance

    • Store wars: Brussels in food fight with Eastern Europe

      The European Commission has opened a new front in its deepening conflict with Central and Eastern European governments over restrictions on big foreign supermarkets.

      The battle became bloodier Monday when Brussels said it was launching an in-depth investigation to determine whether Warsaw was using a new tax to favor smaller local supermarkets over big foreign retailers. The Commission insisted that the Poles must not levy their new tax until the probe was complete.

      Poland’s Finance Minister Paweł Szałamacha hit back Tuesday, slamming the European Commission’s move as a “success for lobbyists.”

    • Leaks Show TISA No Easy Trade Deal; Civil Rights Groups, Unions Alarmed

      Greenpeace, European Digital Rights, Public Services International and the International Transport Worker’s Federation today presented a collection of leaked papers on the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). As negotiators from a dozen countries currently gathered in Geneva for officially the 20th round to close the deal on better trans-border service trading, the civil rights activists and trade union representatives warned that TISA partners would commit to give up their options to regulate in the public interest through a secret deal.

    • Amazon Says It Puts Customers First. But Its Pricing Algorithm Doesn’t.

      One day recently, we visited Amazon’s website in search of the best deal on Loctite super glue, the essential home repair tool for fixing everything from broken eyeglass frames to shattered ceramics.

      In an instant, Amazon’s software sifted through dozens of combinations of price and shipping, some of which were cheaper than what one might find at a local store. TheHardwareCity.com, an online retailer from Farmers Branch, Texas, with a 95 percent customer satisfaction rating, was selling Loctite for $6.75 with free shipping. Fat Boy Tools of Massillon, Ohio, a competitor with a similar customer rating was nearly as cheap: $7.27 with free shipping.

      The computer program brushed aside those offers, instead selecting the vial of glue sold by Amazon itself for slightly more, $7.80. This seemed like a plausible choice until another click of the mouse revealed shipping costs of $6.51. That brought the total cost, before taxes, to $14.31, or nearly double the price Amazon had listed on the initial page.

    • The Stronger the Boycott, the Thicker the Hype

      What readers would have no clue about would be the four years of organizing, the walkouts, picket lines and lawsuits over labor violations leading to Driscoll’s being the subject of a high-profile international boycott. Wage theft, poverty wages, hostile and unhealthy conditions—all of these have been reported. One of the workers lawsuits went to the Washington state supreme court; they won a 2015 decision that ensured paid rest breaks for farmworkers statewide.

    • Google may face over $400 million Indonesia tax bill for 2015 – government official

      Indonesia plans to pursue Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google for five years of back taxes, and the search giant could face a bill of more than $400 million for 2015 alone if it is found to have avoided payments, a senior tax official said.

      Muhammad Haniv, head of the tax office’s special cases branch, told Reuters its investigators went to Google’s local office in Indonesia on Monday.

      The tax office alleges PT Google Indonesia paid less than 0.1 percent of the total income and value-added taxes it owed last year.

    • Federal judge says Bitcoin is money in case connected to JP Morgan hack

      The defendant is Anthony Murgio of Florida, who was arrested in July 2015 in connection with a number of other American and Israeli men who allegedly hacked into JP Morgan Chase, ETrade, and News Corp., among others. Murgio was not directly charged with conducting any of the hacks, but the Justice Department did claim that Murgio ran a sketchy Bitcoin exchange website called Coin.mx with Gery Shalon, the alleged mastermind of the JP Morgan hacks. According to a 2015 indictment, Murgio and others were able to accept shady money from co-conspirators through Coin.mx.

      Murgio is also accused of misrepresenting his business to financial institutions by creating a front for Coin.mx called the “Collectables Club,” as well as with bribing a small New Jersey credit union to process its electronic payments. Judge Alison Nathan’s Monday order did not impact those charges.

      In his motion to dismiss the unlicensed money transfer business charges, Murgio claimed that, because Bitcoins are not considered “funds,” he was not operating an illegal business.

    • Taxi price regulation to be abolished

      Government leaders reached a compromise on planned taxi industry reforms on Tuesday. While operation of a taxi will still require a license, regulations on pricing will be abolished – but there will be no limit to the number of taxi licenses that can be issued. The changes will take effect in July 2018.

    • Christian Engström at the Nordic Conference on Basic Income 2016 in Copenhagen

      When someone on basic income starts to make money the basic income will be reduced, but never with 100%, so there is always an incentive to work if you can. The cost of this system would be covered in full by letting the basic income replace the current systems for social assistance (försörjningsstöd), student aid and unemployment benefits, and by removing the VAT discounts that certain industries enjoy. To make the proposal politically realistic, there would be no raise in income taxes, and no reduction of current sickness or family benefits.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Two-Party Tyranny: Ralph Nader on Exclusion of Third-Party Candidates from First Presidential Debate

      It’s official: When the first presidential debate takes place next Monday, a week from today, it will exclude third-party candidates from the debate stage. The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday that both Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party failed to qualify by polling at 15 percent or higher. This comes as polls show Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are among the least popular major-party candidates to ever run for the White House. We get reaction from four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who has previously been excluded from debates. He has a new book titled “Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think.”

    • Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low

      Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.

    • WikiLeaks’ Guccifer 2.0: Obama Sold Off Public Offices to Donors

      On September 13, WikiLeaks lived up to its promise of releasing more Democratic National Committee (DNC) documents. This time they were from hacker Guccifer 2.0, serving as a teaser for larger and likely more embarrassing leaks from the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

      Both the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign have attempted to insulate themselves from the content of the releases by alleging the hacks were organized by the Russian government. The claims are a mix of paranoia and PR/damage control, and will have enduring consequences. It may lead to what former Secretary of Defense William Perry referred to as a drift back into Cold War mentalities.

      The leaks include more evidence of overt corruption within the DNC. One email dated May 18, 2016, from Jacquelyn Lopez, an attorney with the law firm Perkins Coie, asked DNC staff if they could set up a brief call “to go over our process for handling donations from donors who have given us pay to play letters.”

      Included in the leak was a list of high-profile donors from 2008 and the ambassadorship they received in exchange for their large donation to the DNC and Barack Obama’s Organizing For Action (OFA). Essentially, Obama was auctioning off foreign ambassador positions and other office positions while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. The largest donor listed at contributions totaling over $3.5 million, Matthew Barzun, served as U.S. Ambassador to Sweden from 2009 to 2011, served as President Obama’s National Finance Chair during his 2012 reelection campaign, and now serves as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Researchers: Canadian firm helping Bahrain censor the web
    • Canadian tech company Netsweeper helped Bahrain censor websites, says report

      Canadian technology company Netsweeper helped the Bahraini government block opposition party websites, various news websites and content critical of Islam, according to a new report by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

    • Italy Proposes Law To Make Mocking People Online Illegal

      Yes, mockery on the internet could get you a €100,000 fine. Mockery. The internet. The internet is made for mockery. And now is the time that everyone should be mocking this idiotic law — and the politicians who proposed it without having the slightest idea of how such a thing would be abused all the time.

    • Facebook Algorithms Take Down WordPress Lawyer’s Post About Idiocy Of Algorithmic Takedowns

      We’ve had a lot of talk lately about the idiocy of automated content blocking, whether done by Facebook or by big movie studios like Warner Bros. issuing automated DMCA takedowns on its own site. Paul Sieminski*, the General Counsel for Automattic, was asked by Corporate Counsel magazine for his opinions on the WB takedowns (warning: possible registration or paywall).

      [...]

      Facebook claims that posting about automated takedowns and how they’re problematic somehow violates its Community Standards. Obviously, this is a mistake (yet another one) by Facebook’s autotakedown system, but it really does help highlight the point of how problematic this kind of system can be, when perfectly legitimate speech is silenced, because a bot thinks it’s bad.

    • Introducing spiked’s Safe Space Bingo

      For the uninitiated, a Safe Space is a space – physical or hypothetical – where students are protected from offensive opinions, words, jokes, gestures and even items of clothing. They are places where students are able to express themselves free from hateful phrases like, ‘I disagree with you’. But, even before Safe Spaces hit the headlines, universities and students’ unions were cooking up all manner of nonsensical restrictions in the name of protecting students from offence.

    • Censorship in the 21st Century

      The freedom you see on the internet means there is someone out there fighting for this freedom for our benefit. Just like there are freedom rights organizations in the physical world, the virtual world has freedom rights companies that stand for the truth they believe in and refuse to fabricate any information. They upload facts as they are in their raw form and just like in any aspect of life, there are supporters and critics in this field as well.

    • Powell emails expose depth of media self-censorship re Israeli nukes

      It is of course an open secret of nearly 50 years standing in Washington that Israel has nuclear weapons. But a hypocritical American policy was also set 50 years ago: the White House would repeat Israel’s promise not to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Behind the scenes the U.S. cooperated with the nuclear program, and urged Israel to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but publicly, our government would parrot the claim of “nuclear ambiguity.”

      President Obama has continued the charade.

      And meantime Colin Powell states the fact openly to a man-about-town business partner (who has given a ton of money to Democratic and Republican establishment candidates and was married by Rudy Giuliani and gossips about Hillary Clinton’s health issues).

      The most important element of the Powell revelation, though, is the context. A friend points Powell to Netanyahu’s speech (to a dual loyalty Congress) against the Iran deal; and this is Powell’s very first argument. “Iranians can’t use one if they finally make one.” Because Israel has a ton of nukes. Not even the old Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine that preserved peace between the U.S. and the F.S.U. — but self-destruction.

    • Those Terrible Takedowns Aren’t Mistakes, They’re Intentional Fakes

      Usually, when we see stupid and dangerous DMCA errors like Warner Bros. taking down its own website and Paramount taking down legitimate Linux torrents, it’s the studios we call out first for their wanton abuse of the system. But of course that’s only part of the story — there is a system of broken incentives both inside and outside the studios that has created an entire “anti-piracy” ecosystem. It started with the third parties that many studios and other rightsholders hire: self-styled copyright enforcement experts who charge a fee to piss an endless stream of DMCA notices into the wind of piracy. Some studios, like NBCUniversal (who we’ll be talking about in a moment) choose instead to build this function into their internal structure with anti-piracy divisions staffed by the same kind of folks. Thanks to the willingness of copyright holders to pay out for this pointless service, it’s grown into a whole industry — and it’s an industry for which the never-ending, whac-a-mole nature of the takedown game is a plus, since it means the job will never be done. While there’s plenty of blame to go around among media companies and lawmakers, it’s these takedown “experts” who are the most directly responsible for the epidemic of botched and fraudulent takedown notices.

      And it’s easy to see why: they need to pad the numbers. If we accept that the whole exercise is pointless (it is) and there’s no actual end goal (there isn’t) then what makes one anti-piracy outfit better than another? Why, sheer volume of pointlessness, of course! The executive who hired the firm that takes down two-million links can brag about his competence compared to the executive who only got one-million for the same price, and the executive who designed the internal division that hit three-million for even less is a damn hero — even though they’re all just futilely pecking away at “infinity”. And so, since there’s no real penalty for abusing the DMCA, these groups have zero incentive to fret about only sending fair and accurate takedowns. But that’s not all — they also have every incentive to actively pad their numbers with takedowns they know are bullshit, and as TorrentFreak discovered last month and recently demonstrated again in pretty undeniable terms, that’s exactly what they’re doing…

    • Web Security Firm Sitelock Uses DMCA to Censor Critics

      Sitelock, one of the world’s leading website security companies, is using the DMCA to silence a vocal critic. Web design and services outfit White Fir Design has published several articles about Sitelock, but now the company has hit back by filing DMCA notices against screenshots included in White Fir’s reports.

    • Pahlaj Nihalani’s censorship hurts Gajendra Chauhan

      Chauhan told ET it was wrong on the part of the CBFC to decide that “the killings never happened” without consulting historians. He added that he took up the role only after researching on the killings. “I have researched deeply and groomed myself to fit into the character of someone I respect a lot, in terms of appearance and character. I sometimes felt Prasadji’s aatma has come into me, that is my level of involvement in the project.” He said the film has shown only what happened. “I can proudly say that Mookerjee is the reason why Bengal is part of India. Jinnah wanted West Bengal to be a part of Pakistan and Mookerjee fought against that. He is the father of the ideology people voted for power in India. I feel the nation has not given Syama Prasadji his due. He unfurled the national flag in J&K in 1953. He was a great ideologue and the film will educate people about his personality which sadly has not gotten justice.”

    • Sexually explicit Sunday Sport ads banned despite ‘censorship’ claim
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • If I see an ending, I can work backward.

      As an example the first time you visit a page on www.example.foo.invalid you might receive a cookie with the domain example.foo.invalid so next time you visit a page on www.example.foo.invalid your browser will send the cookie along. Indeed it will also send it along for any page on another.example.foo.invalid

      A supercookies is simply one where instead of being limited to one sub-domain (example.foo.invalid) the cookie is set for a top level domain (foo.invalid) so visiting any such domain (I used the invalid name in my examples but one could substitute com or co.uk) your web browser gives out the cookie. Hackers would love to be able to set up such cookies and potentially control and hijack many sites at a time.

      This problem was noted early on and browsers were not allowed to set cookie domains with fewer than two parts so example.invalid or example.com were allowed but invalid or com on their own were not. This works fine for top level domains like .com, .org and .mil but not for countries where the domain registrar had rules about second levels like the uk domain (uk domains must have a second level like .co.uk).

    • Max Schrems shows how one privacy activist can make a global difference

      Max Schrems is at it again: after having made the sharing of private European data to corporations in United States banned by the European Court of Justice, he’s now seeking class action status for a privacy lawsuit against Facebook. This is one individual calling out the highest executive offices on the purest of bullshit, and succeeding with it – he does not just set an example for others, but shows all of us that one individual can end global wrongs.

      There was a small notice in a few news outlets yesterday, about how somebody is seeking class action status against a privacy lawsuit against Facebook. A TechCrunch article mentions his name, but not before calling him “privacy campaigner”, just like the BBC calls him “a privacy activist”, and only mentions his name halfway down the article. But to those of us who read court papers with all the boredom and dryness of an imminent dust explosion, the name Maximillian Schrems immediately rang bells from such court papers from a year ago.

      It used to be that the European Commission – the executive branch of the European Union – gave away private data on European citizens to U.S. corporations freely, obviously without asking said citizens first, on some sort of goodwill assumption that European privacy laws would be followed (which they couldn’t be in the first place, as the US has the NSA). This was called “The Safe Harbor agreement” for European private data.

    • Unprecedented and Unlawful: The NSA’s “Upstream” Surveillance

      The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) — the statute the government uses to engage in warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international communications — is scheduled to expire in December 2017. In anticipation of the coming legislative debate over reauthorization, Congress has already begun to hold hearings. While Congress must address many problems with the government’s use of this law to surveil and investigate Americans, the government’s use of “Upstream” surveillance to search Internet traffic deserves special attention. Indeed, Congress has never engaged in a meaningful public debate about Upstream surveillance — but it should.

      First disclosed as part of the Snowden revelations, Upstream surveillance involves the NSA’s bulk interception and searching of Americans’ international Internet communications — including emails, chats, and web-browsing traffic — as their communications travel the spine of the Internet between sender and receiver. If you send emails to friends abroad, message family members overseas, or browse websites hosted outside of the United States, the NSA has almost certainly searched through the contents of your communications — and it has done so without a warrant.

      The executive branch contends that Upstream surveillance was authorized by the FAA; however, as others have noted, neither the text of the statute nor the legislative history support that claim. Moreover, as former Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris recently explained, Upstream raises “challenging” legal questions about the suspicionless searching of Americans’ Internet communications — questions that Congress must address before reauthorizing the FAA.

      Because of how it operates, Upstream surveillance represents a new surveillance paradigm, one in which computers constantly scan our communications for information of interest to the government. As the legislative debate gets underway, it’s critical to frame the technological and legal issues that Congress and the public must consider — and to examine far more closely the less-intrusive alternatives available to the government.

    • ‘It Looks Like You’re Trying To Harvest Cell Phone Data…:’ Quick-Start Guides For IMSI Catchers Leaked
    • After Equation Group Dump, Cisco Finds New Zero-Day Flaw
    • Cisco customers targeted by hackers using leaked NSA hacking tools
    • Cisco finds new Zero-Day Exploit linked to NSA Hackers
    • Shadow Brokers’ Cisco vulnerability exploited in the wild
    • Cisco customers targeted using leaked NSA hacking tools
    • Cisco warns of exploitation of new flaws linked to Shadow Brokers exploits
    • NSA hacking tools used against Cisco customers

      Leaked NSA hacking tools are now being used on Cisco customers, according to the tech giant. The company published an advisory on Friday saying that NSA grade hacking tools are now being used against customers.

      The authors wrote that the “Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) is aware of exploitation of the vulnerability for some Cisco customers who are running the affected platforms.” Cisco have not yet identified those that have fallen prey to the exploit.

      The vulnerability affects a variety of Cisco product and by extension, anyone who is using them including any Cisco PIX firewalls and Cisco products running affected releases of Cisco iOS software, iOS XE software and iOS XR software. However, the company are currently checking whether the vulnerability affects any more of their products.

    • UK Proposes Great Firewall, Can Digital India Do It?

      There is a ‘cyber-ideological war’ brewing in Britain; GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) in the UK have proposed what is being called the ‘Great British Firewall’, which will give the organization, greater surveillance powers, to keep malicious websites out of the reach of British enterprises. Privacy groups have started raising serious concerns, as the firewall could potentially open up private user information to British authorities in the process.

      GCHQ apparently has a reputation similar to that of NSA (National Security Agency) when it comes intrusive activities for the civilian population. Thomas Falchetta, the legal officer for Privacy International, paraphrased it, by saying “Given the broad scope of GCHQ’s hacking operations both domestically and abroad, this seems like the fox protecting the chicken.”

    • UK might be planning a ‘Great British Firewall’

      You’ve probably heard of the Great Firewall of China, the virtual fortification that allows the Chinese government to monitor and restrict internet traffic to and from the world’s most populous nation.

      Well, the cyber-security chief of the UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) has suggested early plans for what sounds rather like a “Great British Firewall”.

      Privacy groups immediately sounded the alarm that it might pose a risk to freedom of speech, and offer the potential for Britain’s secret services to get up to no good. So what exactly is GCHQ proposing and should we be worried?

    • Does the UK need or even want a ‘Great British Firewall’?

      You’ve probably heard of the Great Firewall of China, the virtual fortification that allows the Chinese government to monitor and restrict internet traffic to and from the world’s most populous nation. Well, the cyber-security chief of the UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) has suggested early plans for what sounds rather like a “Great British Firewall”. Privacy groups immediately sounded the alarm that it might pose a risk to freedom of speech, and offer the potential for Britain’s secret services to get up to no good. So what exactly is GCHQ proposing and should we be worried?

      Firewalls are standard tools for computer defence. They are essentially filters which can control what traffic enters and leaves a network. You are probably protected by a firewall right now, at your workplace or at home, that runs either on your computer’s operating system or on the hardware that provides your connection to the internet.

      A firewall can be configured to reject certain types of traffic deemed undesirable or potentially harmful. This might be a connection request from an untrustworthy source, such as a web address known to harbour hackers or spammers, for example. Or it could block a file that looks like it might contain a computer virus or other malware. While deflecting this sort of undesirable traffic the firewall allows standard traffic such as web browsing and email to pass through.

    • Will The Washington Post Give Back Its Pulitzer And Stand Trial With Snowden?

      We already know that the Washington Post editorial board has some cognitive dissonance when it comes to Ed Snowden. Three years ago, right after the Washington Post itself, via reporter Barton Gellman, broke a bunch of the initial stories around the Ed Snowden documents — including the first public report on the Section 702 PRISM program — the editorial board wrote a piece condemning Snowden’s leaks. Now, it’s true (as many point out) that the editorial board is separate from the reporters who work at the paper, but it still is really quite amazing that the editorial board would not only burn a source like that but basically complain about its own journalism.

      It appears that three years later, the Post’s editorial board has not changed its perspective. In response to the campaign to pardon Snowden, the Washington Post has come out with a tone deaf editorial against pardoning Snowden, calling for him to be prosecuted, and insisting that Snowden caused real harm with the revelations. Here’s the really incredible part. The Post focuses its complaint on the revelation of the PRISM program — and that is the story that the Post broke. Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian had the first story, about the Section 215 mass phone records surveillance program. But it was the Post that had the first story about PRISM. And yet, the Washington Post now says that while revealing the 215 program may have been a public service, revealing PRISM was a crime.

      [...]

      Remember that, while many people falsely think that Snowden is the one who revealed these programs to the public, that’s not the case. He gave the documents to certain journalists, saying that he trusted them to sort through them and determine what was newsworthy, what was not, and what should be kept secret. It was the Washington Post that determined the PRISM program — which is still subject to legal challenges (though so far has been found to be legal) — was serious enough for news coverage. Not Ed Snowden. And yet now the Post says Snowden should be prosecuted for the journalistic decision it made, which earned it a Pulitzer.

    • Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” is great entertainment and an important argument for pardon

      I just saw Oliver Stone’s Snowden. It’s an excellent film, no doubt, and also an important rebuttal to ongoing efforts by propagandists to limit America’s conversation to who Edward Snowden is, rather than what this whistleblower revealed.

    • Why Global Privacy Should Matter to Americans: A Reply to Jack Goldsmith

      Jack Goldsmith’s response to my call for a pardon for Edward Snowden deserves a reply. I also have a few thoughts on what Susan Hennessey and Ben Wittes have now added to the debate.

      Jack and I agree that the reforms instituted since 2013 would not have happened without Snowden and have helped the NSA become more transparent, accountable and effective. We agree that this is a good thing because NSA operations are vital to national security and international stability. We also agree that Snowden should not be punished for exposing a program of domestic collection of telephone records approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that was—at best—of marginal value and legally questionable, was ruled illegal by another federal court and has now been ended by Congress.

    • As a source — and a patriot — Edward Snowden deserves a presidential pardon

      President Obama’s administration has an unfortunate record of prosecuting whistleblowers, some of whom have been important sources for journalists.

      That’s not a legacy any president should want.

      In the waning days of his administration, the president can turn that around, not entirely, but in an important way by pardoning the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and allowing him to return to the United States from his Russian exile without facing charges.

      Obama absolutely should do so. Snowden did an important — and brave — service for the American public and, in fact, the world, when he made it possible for news organizations to reveal widespread government surveillance of citizens. Some of that surveillance broke the law; some, although within the law, was nevertheless outrageous and unacceptable. And, afterward, some of the wrongs were righted through legislative reform.

      One of the beneficiaries was The Washington Post, which won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for stories made possible by Snowden’s leak of more than a million documents. (The Guardian U.S. shared in that award, given in 2014.) Some see it, then, as hypocritical for The Post’s editorial board to weigh in against a pardon, as it did in Saturday’s paper — even though the editorial-writing side is separate from the newsroom.

      In awarding its highest honor to both publications, the Pulitzer board cited The Post’s revelations “of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security”; in the Guardian’s case, for aggressive reporting that sparked “a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

      At the time of the revelations, the president himself declared that national debate important and worthwhile, although he criticized Snowden for breaking the law in making the classified documents public.

    • FBI director: Cover up your webcam

      The head of the FBI on Wednesday defended putting a piece of tape over his personal laptop’s webcam, claiming the security step was a common sense one that most should take.

      “There’s some sensible things you should be doing, and that’s one of them,” Director James Comey said during a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

      “You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen,” he added. “They all have a little lid that closes down on them.

      “You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Mike Pence Just Gave The Dumbest And Most Dangerous Answer Of The Entire Campaign

      O’Donnell asked Pence if profiling can violate rights. He answered, “Well, of course, it can,” and then talked more about the importance of common sense.

      Pence never answered the question about how Trump’s plan to profile immigrants would work. His answer was some idiotic nonsense about political correctness and common sense.

      The Republican Party was the party of individual liberty, but under Donald Trump, the “common sense” of the president overrides the constitutional rights and protections of the American people. Gov. Pence’s answer wasn’t just idiotic. Pence expressed a form of idiocy that presents a danger to fundamental individual rights that are the backbone of the republic.

    • Find A Good Kid Who Tries To Do The Right Thing And Suspend Him From School For A Year

      The idiots running the schools there later reduced his suspension to 30 days.

      A suspension that shouldn’t exist at all. (The message to kids: “If you see something, say nothing.”)

      On a positive note, this should teach Kyle things he wouldn’t have learned at school — like to always question authority.

    • Death in County Jail ruled homicide; cause of death was dehydration

      The death of an inmate in the Milwaukee County Jail has been ruled a homicide, four months after corrections officers reportedly cut off his water supply for an extended period of time.

      The cause of death was dehydration, with other significant conditions including bipolar disorder, according to autopsy results released Thursday by the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office.

      Terrill Thomas, 38, was found unresponsive in his cell on April 24, nine days after being arrested for shooting a man in the chest and later firing two shots in the Potawatomi casino.

      His family said he was in the throes of a mental breakdown when he was arrested. At the time of his death, he was awaiting a court-ordered psychiatric examination.

    • Video Released in Tulsa Shooting Incident

      Police released video Monday of the scene where a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

      Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby fatally shot Terence Crutcher, 40, on Friday evening, after responding to an abandoned car blocking the road, according to The New York Times.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Nashville Council Member Admits AT&T & Comcast Wrote The Anti-Google Fiber Bill She Submitted

      We’ve been talking about how the next great battlefield in broadband is utility pole attachment reform. In many cities, the incumbent broadband provider owns the utility poles, giving them a perfect opportunity to hinder competitors. In other cities, the local utility or city itself owns the poles, but incumbent ISPs have lobbied for laws making it more difficult for competitors to access them quickly and inexpensively. Google Fiber has been pushing “one touch make ready” rules in several cities aimed at streamlining this bureaucracy by letting a licensed, third-party installer move any ISP’s gear (often a matter of inches).

    • Is dialup still an option?

      Is the Internet usable on Dialup in 2016? No. You can’t even pretend it’s maybe usable. It pretty much would suck rocks to use the Internet on dialup today. I’m sure there are some people doing it. I feel bad for them. It’s clear we’ve hit a place where broadband is expected, and honestly, you need fast broadband, even 1 Megabit isn’t enough anymore if you want a decent experience. The definition of broadband in the US is now 25Mb down 3Mb up. Anyone who disagrees with that should spend a day at 56K.

    • AT&T and Comcast helped elected official write plan to stall Google Fiber

      As the Nashville Metro Council prepares for a final vote to give Google Fiber faster access to utility poles, one council member is sponsoring an alternative plan that comes from AT&T and Comcast.

      The council has tentatively approved a One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) ordinance that would let a single company—Google Fiber in this case—make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles itself. Ordinarily, Google Fiber must wait for incumbent providers like AT&T and Comcast to send construction crews to move their own wires, requiring multiple visits and delaying Google Fiber’s broadband deployment. The pro-Google Fiber ordinance was approved in a 32-7 preliminary vote, but one of the dissenters asked AT&T and Comcast to put forth a competing proposal before a final vote is taken.

  • DRM

    • HP Launched Delayed DRM Time Bomb To Disable Competing Printer Cartridges

      For decades now, consumers have been lured into a sour deal: pay for a relatively inexpensive printer, then spend a lifetime paying an arm and a leg for viciously overpriced printer cartridges. As most have learned first-hand, any attempt to disrupt this obnoxious paradigm via third-party printer cartridges has been met with a swift DRM roundhouse kick to the solar plexus. In fact if there’s an area where the printer industry actually innovates, it’s most frequently in finding new, creative and obnoxious methods of preventing cartridge competition.

      Hoping to bring this parade of awfulness to its customers at scale, HP this week unearthed the atomic bomb of printer cartridge shenanigans. HP Printer owners collectively discovered on September 13 that their printers would no longer even accept budget cartridges. Why? A firmware update pushed by the company effectively prevented HP printers from even detecting alternative cartridges, resulting in HP printer owners getting messages about a “cartridge problem,” or errors stating “one or more cartridges are missing or damaged,” or that the user was using an “older generation cartridge.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • From OHIM to EUIPO

        The great changes at EUIPO will continue with further reforms coming into force next year, including the abolition of the “graphical representation” requirement for EUTMs. Luis Berenguer, Head of the Communication Service of EUIPO, discusses the changes in an interview

    • Copyrights

      • Most Young Millennials Love Piracy and Ad-Blockers

        More than two-thirds of all millennials admit to having downloaded or streamed pirated content, a new survey from Anatomy Media finds. The same group also has a high preference for ad-blocking, which is believed to be directly related to the high prevalence of invasive ads on pirate sites.

      • Microsoft sues Wisconsin man (again) for copyright infringement (again)

        Microsoft is hoping the third time will be the charm in its efforts to shut down a man once again being accused of pirating its products.

        The Redmond giant has filed suit [PDF] in the US District Court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, against Anthony Boldin for illegally selling product activation keys for its products. The complaint seeks damages and a court order barring Boldin from selling its products without a license.

        Microsoft said that, through various websites he owned and operated, Boldin was selling decoupled product activation keys that allowed users to authenticate pirated copies of its software.

        The keys – obtained for use with academic, supplier, and internal copies of Microsoft Windows and Office – were sold by Boldin’s sites to customers who were then directed to other download sites (including Microsoft’s own sites) to get the software itself. To gather proof, Microsoft investigators made a handful of purchases directly from the sites.

09.20.16

Links 20/9/2016: GNOME 3.22 Preview, Absolute 14.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why China is the next proving ground for open source software

    Western entrepreneurs still haven’t figured out China. For most, the problem is getting China to pay for software. The harder problem, however, is building software that can handle China’s tremendous scale.

    There are scattered examples of success, though. One is Alluxio (formerly Tachyon), which I detailed recently in its efforts to help China’s leading online travel site, Qunar, boost HDFS performance by 15X. Alluxio CEO and founder, Haoyuan Li, recently returned from China, and I caught up with him to better understand the big data infrastructure market there, as China looks to spend $370 million to double its data center capacity in order to serve 710 million internet users.

  • Samsung releases Open Source HbbTV media player

    Samsung Electronics announced that its Hybrid broadcast broadband TV (HbbTV) media player will be available as an open source project named HbbPlayer on github, an open source developer community. This will enable broadcasters and application developers who are writing HbbTV applications to test and validate them on a platform which can be implemented on any HbbTV 1.5-compliant TV.

  • How to make Open Source work for you

    Business today is all about adapting, pivoting and expanding quickly. With market conditions changing ever so rapidly, open source has become the key to helping companies modify their solutions while keeping their IT expenditures and development time to a minimum.

    Today, we’re starting to see a new crop of developers who grew up using open source methodologies to develop open source components. As these developers make their way into enterprise IT departments, they’re bringing their familiarity with and desire for open source with them.

    Accordingly, we’ve been seeing tremendous amounts of innovation come from open source projects. The focus of many open source projects is on helping to solve the complex technology challenges that most businesses face today such as how to work with big data and how to build the best cloud applications.

    So how can and should enterprises go about making open source work for them in the best way possible? Here are some factors to take note of.

  • Do you have a business or a hobby? Open source versus proprietary in the real world

    The open-source world is an endlessly interesting and exciting place for developers. The inventory of technologies is always growing, and bleeding-edge software platforms often debut in open source marketplaces. For these same reasons, however, enterprises can grow weary of open source, a seemingly endless tweaking and tinkering game to customize software for business purposes. Some say a proprietary solution that utilizes open source is preferable for businesses that need to make moves in real life.

  • Events

    • Manchester GNOME 3.22 Release Party – Friday 23rd Sept. @ MADLab [Ed: we're planning to be there.]
    • LAS (Libre Application Summit) GNOME Conference Takes Place September 19-23

      Today, September 19, 2016, was the first day of the first-ever LAS (Libre Application Summit) GNOME open source conference for GNU/Linux application developers.

      As you might have guessed already, the event is being organized by the GNOME Project, the same non-profit organization that’s behind the popular GNOME desktop environment used in numerous Linux kernel-based operating systems around the globe, and an important part of the Free Software ecosystem.

      LAS (Libre Application Summit) GNOME conference’s main goal is to encourage the growth of the Linux application ecosystem among small and medium-sized businesses, as well as various educational institutions. It also aims to expand the collaboration between the Linux kernel and major GNU/Linux operating systems.

    • Headed to LAS GNOME!

      By the time this gets posted on the blog, I will be headed to LAS GNOME. I’m really looking forward to being there!

      I’m on the schedule to talk about usability testing. Specifically, I’ll discuss how you can do usability testing for your own open source software projects. Maybe you think usability testing is hard—it’s not! Anyone can do usability testing! It only takes a little prep work and about five testers to get enough useful feedback that you can improve your interface.

    • Fedora 24 release party in Paris
    • HackMIT

      One of the core missions of a Fedora Ambassador is to represent the Fedora Community at events. On the weekend on September 17 and 18, 2016 I attended HackMIT as a representative of Fedora with Justin Flory. I was also honored to serve as a mentor to several teams.

    • Tickets for systemd 2016 Workshop day still available!

      We still have a number of ticket for the workshop day of systemd.conf 2016 available. If you are a newcomer to systemd, and would like to learn about various systemd facilities, or if you already know your way around, but would like to know more: this is the best chance to do so. The workshop day is the 28th of September, one day before the main conference, at the betahaus in Berlin, Germany. The schedule for the day is available here. There are five interesting, extensive sessions, run by the systemd hackers themselves. Who better to learn systemd from, than the folks who wrote it?

    • [LPC] Preliminary Microconference Schedule Up

      Every year we get a number of constraints on Microconferences which we try hard to accommodate. Accounting for all of those, we’ve put the preliminary schedule up here. If you notice any problems, please email contact@linuxplumbersconf.org and we’ll try to fix it

      Also note, this is preliminary, the Microconferences may still move around as we get requests to change them. Also note that the times of talks within Microconferences is highly likely to change (please see the MC leaders if you want this to change).

    • World Port Hackathon 2016 concludes successfully

      Last month, the fourth edition of the World Port Hackathon took place in Rotterdam. Several teams worked on problems identified by representatives of the port community in workshops leading up to the hackathon. This year’s event was organised in co-creation with the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore.

    • Nexenta to Showcase Its Open Source-driven Software Defined Storage Solutions at OpenStack Days Nordic 2016
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 49.0 Is Now Available

        While being delayed one week due to last-minute bugs, Firefox 49.0 is now available this morning.

        Firefox 49 ships with Linux Widevine support for handling this CDM similar to the existing Windows support for being able to play more protected HTML5 video content.

      • Mozilla emits JavaScript debugger for Firefox and Chrome

        Mozilla developers have released a new JavaScript debugger for Firefox.

        It’s hoped the new “Debugger.html” will replace todays XUL-based debugger, which the project’s Bryan Clark describes as “incredibly hard to change”.

        That may not necessarily happen, because Clark notes there’s another team in Firefox that’s working on refactoring the existing debugger code.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle pledges continued support for Java and NetBeans

      Last week, Oracle disowned NetBeans. The company announced it was turning its Java-based NetBeans over to the Apache Software Foundation. Now, Oracle is changing its tune on both NetBeans and Java Enterprise Edition (JEE).

      Oh, don’t get me wrong. Oracle still doesn’t want to manage NetBeans. But Oracle claims it’s not just dumping the NetBeans integrated developer environment (IDE) code. In an email, Bill Pataky, VP of Oracle Mobile Development Program and Developer Tools, told me, “Oracle is opening the governance model of NetBeans, not dropping support. Oracle has three products that depend on NetBeans.” These are:

  • Education

  • Healthcare

    • How a free mobile app fights Ebola and other global epidemics

      Luckily an open medical record platform already existed: OpenMRS. In 2015, Save the Children International identified the need for medical data collection in the Ebola treatment centers and reached out to the OpenMRS community. Around the same time, Google Crisis Response and Doctors Without Borders were working on a similar project Project Buendia, an Android client built on top of an OpenMRS server.

      Founded in 2004, OpenMRS is a free, modular open-source electronic medical record platform used in more than 60 low- and middle-income countries. As the OpenMRS site explains, OpenMRS is a multi-institution, non-profit collaborative led by Regenstrief Institute, a medical informatics research leader, and Partners In Health, a Boston-based philanthropic organization with a focus on improving the lives of underprivileged people worldwide through health care service and advocacy.

      OpenMRS includes many features out of the box, such as a centralized dictionary that allows for coded data, user authentication, a patient repository, multiple identifiers per patient (i.e., patient can have multiple medical record numbers), data entry for electronic forms, data export, patient workflows (so patients can be put into programs and tracked through various states), relationships (to track relationships between two people, such as relatives and caretakers), and reporting tools. Add-on modules are also available or can be developed.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing/Legal

    • LLVM contemplates relicensing

      The LLVM project is currently distributed under the BSD-like NCSA license, but the project is considering a change in the interest of better patent protection. “After extensive discussion involving many lawyers with different affiliations, we recommend taking the approach of using the Apache 2.0 license, with the binary attribution exception (discussed before), and add an additional exception to handle the situation of GPL2 compatibility if it ever arises.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Netflix’s Meridian, an open source benchmark disguised as a original program

      The 12 minute long Netflix Original “Meridian” might not be the most exciting program they’ve ever released but it is among one of the most interesting. The program is available to anyone, via the Creative Commons license they attached to it, up to an including competitors such as iTunes and Hulu. This seemly strange move is because it is actually a benchmark for encoding streamed video and the more people that see it the more information Netflix and others will gain. It is originally filmed in 4k resolution at 60fps, which is far more than most displays can handle and much larger than residential data infrastructure is used to handling.

    • Vienna, KDZ release Open Government Implementation Model

      The City of Vienna and KDZ have released version 3.0 of their Open Government Implementation Model to the public in German as well as English. The Model describes five stages of a strategy as well as practical recommendations for politicians and administrations to implement open government.

    • Open Data

      • Tube Heartbeat open data project reveals pulse of London Underground

        Oliver O’Brien, a Senior Research Associate at University College London (UCL), has created a wonderful visualisation of the volume of passengers traveling the London Underground on a typical workday. His Tube Heartbeat project builds on the outcomes of the TfL Rolling Origin and Destination Survey (RODS), which was made publicly available under the UK Open Government Licence (OGLv2). It shows the numbers entering and exiting each of the 268 stations and the numbers traveling each of the 762 links in between.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • We tear apart a hard drive and SSD to show you how they work

      It’s the day everybody dreads: You power up your PC and it sits dormant, failing to boot because your hard drive or SSD is dead. But after you stop cursing and reaching for your backups—you do create backups regularly, right?—you might as well make the best of things.

      There’s a world of small wonders hidden inside every storage drive if you take the time to dig around. Since storage drives die far less frequently than they used to, the opportunities for dissection are rare. So we’ve broken out our screwdrivers and dissected both a solid-state drive and a traditional hard drive for you, to reveal what makes them metaphorically tick. If your drives start actually ticking, back up your data now and start looking for a new one pronto.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Why do we do security?

      I had a discussion last week that ended with this question. “Why do we do security”. There wasn’t a great answer to this question. I guess I sort of knew this already, but it seems like something too obvious to not have an answer. Even as I think about it I can’t come up with a simple answer. It’s probably part of the problems you see in infosec.

      The purpose of security isn’t just to be “secure”, it’s to manage risk in some meaningful way. In the real world this is usually pretty easy for us to understand. You have physical things, you want to keep them from getting broken, stolen, lost, pick something. It usually makes some sort of sense.

    • New release: usbguard-0.6.2
    • DNSync

      While setting up my new network at my house, I figured I’d do things right and set up an IPSec VPN (and a few other fancy bits). One thing that became annoying when I wasn’t on my LAN was I’d have to fiddle with the DNS Resolver to resolve names of machines on the LAN.

    • The Cryptographic Key That Secures the Web Is Being Changed for the First Time

      Soon, one of the most important cryptographic key pairs on the internet will be changed for the first time.

      The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the US-based non-profit responsible for various internet infrastructure tasks, will change the key pair that creates the first link in a long chain of cryptographic trust that lies underneath the Domain Name System, or DNS, the “phone book” of the internet.

      This key ensures that when web users try to visit a website, they get sent to the correct address. Without it, many internet users could be directed to imposter sites crafted by hackers, such as phishing websites designed to steal information.

    • Oracle will acquire cloud security vendor Palerra [iophk: "one cannot vend security"]
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • IN PHOTOS: Copenhagen holds car-free day

      The car-free day began with the Copenhagen Half Marathon, where roughly 22,000 runners pounded the pavement for 21.0975 kilometres on a course that began at Fælledparken in Østerbro and wound its way through Nørrebro, Frederiksberg and the inner city.

    • Six US States Declare Emergency after Major Gasoline Pipeline Spill; Media Almost Silent

      The Colonial Pipeline spill has caused 6 states (Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and North Carolina) to declare a state of emergency. Gasoline (petrol) prices on the east coast are likely to spike. Yet, most puzzling is how this vast emergency and its likely effect on cost of living has gone unnoticed by mainstream media outlets. The pipeline is owned by Koch Industries: is this why the media is silent?

    • Haze from Indonesian fires may have killed more than 100,000 people – study

      A smog outbreak in Southeast Asia last year may have caused over 100,000 premature deaths, according to a new study released Monday that triggered calls for action to tackle the “killer haze”.

      Researchers from Harvard and Columbia universities in the US estimated there were more than 90,000 early deaths in Indonesia in areas closest to haze-belching fires, and several thousand more in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia.

    • Study estimates 100,000 deaths from Indonesia haze

      Indonesian forest fires that choked a swath of Southeast Asia with a smoky haze for weeks last year may have caused more than 100,000 deaths, according to new research that will add to pressure on Indonesia’s government to tackle the annual crisis.

      The study by scientists from Harvard University and Columbia University to be published in the journal Environmental Research Letters is being welcomed by other researchers and Indonesia’s medical profession as an advance in quantifying the suspected serious public health effects of the fires, which are set to clear land for agriculture and forestry. The number of deaths is an estimate derived from a complex analysis that has not yet been validated by analysis of official data on mortality.

      The research has implications for land-use practices and Indonesia’s vast pulp and paper industry. The researchers showed that peatlands within timber concessions, and peatlands overall, were a much bigger proportion of the fires observed by satellite than in 2006, which was another particularly bad year for haze. The researchers surmise that draining of the peatlands to prepare them for pulpwood plantations and other uses made them more vulnerable to fires.

    • Think California’s current drought is bad? Past incarnations have lasted hundreds of years

      California is now five years deep into one of its most severe droughts on record, and scientists are continually probing the different factors that affect the state’s climate, and how much those are related to the overall warming of the globe. Increasingly, this means looking back into the past for clues about how the region has changed over the last few thousand years and what influences might shape its future.

      In this connection, new research published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports suggests the Pacific Ocean may play a bigger role than anyone thought — and an unexpected one. Moreover, it suggests that massive long-term droughts can hit the region in conjunction with cycles of ocean warming and cooling — and that if these patterns continue to hold, another megadrought could lie in the future.

      “What this paper provides is a new analysis of the link between what happens in the ocean and what happens in terms of the water availability on the land,” said Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate system expert at Stanford University, who was not involved with the new study.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Tom Watson plot to rid Labour of registered supporters in bid to stop Left-wing seizing leadership again

      Tom Watson has unveiled plans to axe Labour’s registered supporters and give MPs a greater say in appointing the party’s future leaders in a bid to prevent another Left-wing takeover.

      The deputy leader is also taking plans to Labour’s ruling body today which would see the return of shadow cabinet elections in which more moderate MPs could enter Jeremy Corbyn’s top team.

    • I Protected Hillary Clinton In The Secret Service – Here’s Why Her ‘Fainting’ Video Really Scares Me

      I protected First Lady Hillary Clinton, President Bill Clinton, and their family while I served in the Secret Service Uniform Division as an officer from 1991-2003.

      By now, you have most likely seen the startling video of Hillary Clinton ‘fainting.’ Through the lens of my 29-year-career in The Service, I can see what a naked-eyed media pundit cannot: There is something seriously wrong with Mrs. Clinton.

      Pneumonia or overheating are highly suspect excuses and I’ll explain why.

      My analysis is not partisan. I cared for and protected the Clintons for many years. It was my duty to guard Mrs. Clinton in the Secret Service and I was so close to the First Family that the Supreme Court subpoenaed me to testify on the details of Bill Clinton’s late-term scandals.

    • What Are They Afraid Of?

      If all the major TV networks got together and decided to televise a presidential debate restricted to Republican nominee Donald Trump and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, while barring Democrat Hillary Clinton, it would be recognized as an act of media bias. But what if the debates this fall are restricted to just Trump and Clinton? That, too, needs to be recognized as an intentional act of media exclusion.

      Since 1988, televised presidential and vice-presidential debates have been controlled by a private organization with no official status: the Commission on Presidential Debates. The commission grew out of a deal cut in the 1980s by GOP and Democratic leaders. Today, even though the U.S. public largely distrusts the two major parties’ presidential candidates, TV networks seem willing to let them again dictate the terms of debate, including who gets to participate.

      Presidential debates have been televised in every campaign since 1976. (They rarely happened before then; the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 were an exception.) From 1976 through 1984, they were sponsored and run by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters. In 1980, the League insisted on including independent candidate John Anderson.

      In 1985, the national chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties, Paul Kirk and Frank Fahrenkopf, signed an agreement that referred to future debates as “nationally televised joint appearances conducted between the presidential and vice-presidential nominees of the two major political parties. . . It is our conclusion that future joint appearances should be principally and jointly sponsored and conducted by the Republican and Democratic Committees.”

    • How Trump May Win Ohio and Pennsylvania

      The every-four-years parade of east coast journalists trooping out into the Rust Belt of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia and their neighbors has begun.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Just under 30 percent of French Muslims reject secular laws – poll

      Just under 30 percent of France’s 3 to 4 million Muslims reject the country’s secular laws, according to an Ifop poll published by the French weekly Journal du Dimanche.

      When asked if they considered the Islamic legal and moral code of sharia to be more important than the French Republic’s laws, 29 percent of respondents answered “yes.”

      The poll found that 20 percent of male Muslim respondents and 28 percent of female Muslim respondents were in favour of the face veil, the niqab, and of the burqa which covers both face and body.

      Another 60 percent said they were in favour of letting girls and women wear a head scarf at schools and universities which is forbidden at France’s secular public institutions.

    • ‘No matter the price’, Amal Clooney seeks justice for Yazidi sex slaves

      Islamic State militants who have enslaved, murdered and raped Yazidi women and children must be brought to justice, no matter the price, international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney said on Monday.

      Clooney, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London, is on a mission to prosecute the Islamist group through the International Criminal Court for their crimes against the Yazidi community.

      She announced in June she would represent Yazidi women in Iraq who have been victims of sexual slavery, rape and genocide by Islamic State militants, also known as ISIS.

    • Black man shot by Tulsa police had hands ‘in the air,’ says pastor who reviewed video of the shooting

      A 40-year-old black man who was fatally shot by a Tulsa police officer had his hands up and appeared unarmed when one officer Tasered him and another fired at him, according to a local pastor who reviewed footage of the incident Sunday.

      The department hasn’t commented publicly on the video or said whether police recovered a weapon from the scene.

      Terence Crutcher died in the hospital Friday evening after being shot once, Tulsa police told the Associated Press. Police said two officers found Crutcher standing by his SUV, which had broken down in the middle of the road.

      As Crutcher approached the officers, he refused commands to raise his hands and instead reached into the vehicle, AP reported police saying. At that point, one officer fired a Taser and another fired a round, police told AP.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • How Pirates Shaped The Internet As We Know It

      Today is “International Talk like a Pirate Day.” While it’s a lot of fun to act like a pirate, drink rum and catch up on Errol Flynn movies, piracy is also a serious issue with real economic and legal significance. As electronic devices become an increasingly ubiquitous part of our lives, the content we consume has moved from analog to digital. This has made copying – as well as pirating – increasingly easy and prevalent.

      Adding fuel to the flames of this rising “pirate generation” has been the content industry’s recalcitrant and often combative attitude toward digital markets. Piracy, and the reactions to it, has had an immense impact on the daily lives of ordinary Americans, shaping their digital experience by determining how they can share, transfer and consume content.

      As soon as electronic storage and communication technology was sufficiently developed, digital piracy became accessible. Whether it’s a song, movie, video game or other piece of software, you could suddenly reproduce it without having to steal it off a shelf or obtain any specialized machinery to counterfeit it. Additionally, if you wanted to listen to an mp3 of the latest Britney Spears album on your computer, there weren’t many lawful options. This led to a surge in online piracy and helped foster a culture of online file-sharing.

      Out of this period came some ridiculous anti-piracy campaigns, but also major legislation both good and bad (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and the Communications Decency Act) as well as legal battles that would set key precedents for how we access the digital world.

    • Making Sense of Modern Pornography

      Pornography helped shape the Internet—for instance, with its need for high-bandwidth technology—and it reflects and magnifies its trends. The triumph of porn has come at a cost to the industry itself, which can no longer produce a Jenna Jameson. Despite MindGeek’s near-monopoly of the tube sites (which, like other Internet platforms, are underregulated), their content is increasingly crowd-sourced. Mass production in the San Fernando Valley has been replaced by an amateur landscape in which everyone is a potential producer, and in which our fantasies and worst aspirations—our greed, our desire to humiliate, to dominate—are fed back to us in larger quantities than ever before. Decentralization hasn’t led to diversification (except at the margins, where buying ethical porn is like buying vinyl). Most porn remains conservative, brutal, and anonymous. It’s rapid-fire, often monotonous, and even if, or because, it does the trick, much of it is pretty depressing. It’s hard to see how local protests, however admirable, can resist a business model that already profits from decentralized, unregulated, amateur production. Except for the few companies that have profited from distribution, it’s unclear who makes money from porn, and how that money connects either to the work of performers or to how they are treated. With the decline of the industry, pornography, like the Internet itself, seems ever harder to control. Some will find that cause for horror, others, for celebration. Every era gets the porn it deserves. ♦

    • Open WiFi hotspots, city-WiFi and anonymity

      It is not reasonable to expect a café owner to keep a database of all local WiF users. That would require an extensive and very privacy sensitive register that cannot be tampered with and that can stand up to legal procedures. And still, it would do nothing to identify an individual user on the cafés single IP address. At least not with the relatively cheap and simple WiFi equipment normally used in such places.

      It all quickly gets complicated and expensive. This would effectively kill free WiFi with your coffee.

      The same general questions can be raised when it comes to Juncker’s free city WiFi. But there is a difference. Public sector operated WiFi will have more money and can apply common technical standards. As the number of users in a city-WiFi can be expected to be substantially higher that at a single café – there would not only need to be some sort of password protection but also individual user names, linked to personal identity. At least if you want to meet with the ECJ ambition to be able to identify single users.

      In both cases, anonymity will be more or less impossible.

      And when it comes to city-WiFi, we can expect various law enforcement and intelligence agencies to show a keen interest.

  • DRM

    • HP confirms that its printer firmware blocks some remanufactured cartridges

      EVIDENCE IS growing that printer maker HP put a ‘self-destruct’ protocol into a firmware update that would kill off printers using hooky cartridges.

      The news follows the revelation that thousands of people started getting the same error message about their cartridge on the same day, 13 September. Not a Friday.

      One third-party ink supplier carried out an investigation and it was discovered that the end-of-life date was programmed into a firmware update in March 2016.

      A statement to Dutch media explained that HP does indeed take steps to block cartridges “to protect innovation and intellectual property”.

      However, this could have been handled better. HP could have, you know, told people and that.

      HP, one of the companies that has been forced to raise prices post-Brexit, has never made any secret of how it doesn’t like third-party cartridges, but it really should have been explicit if it was going to do this.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Colour combinations: getting back to WYSIWYG

        Guidance on protecting colour combinations in Europe has evolved over time. But in the light of recent decisions is further clarification needed? Roland Mallinson investigates

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Is Not an Inevitable or Divine Right, Court Rules

        The Delhi High Court has delivered a landmark judgment which allows a local university copyshop to print course packs, using parts of commercial educational books. The judge held that copyright is not an inevitable or divine right. Copying for educational use is fair dealing, whether it’s done by hand or automatically in an organized fashion.

      • Former Disney Digital Boss Says He “Loves Piracy”

        Entertainment industry workers usually speak about illegal downloading in the harshest of terms but for one former Disney executive, it has its upsides. Speaking at the huge All That Matters conference, Samir Bangara admitted that he “loves” piracy as it’s a great indicator of content popularity.

      • Guy Arrested Over KickassTorrents Blocked From Talking To His US Attorney

        Just a few weeks ago, we had lawyer Ira Rothken on our podcast (it’s a really great episode, so check it out if you haven’t heard it yet). Rothken has been involved in lots of big copyright cases, but is probably most well-known these days as Kim Dotcom’s US lawyer. In that episode we talked a lot about the Kim Dotcom situation, but also spent a fair amount of time on the case of Artem Vaulin, who was arrested in Poland for running the search engine KickassTorrents. The US is seeking to extradite him to stand trial in Illinois. On the podcast, Rothken expressed some concerns that he hadn’t been able to speak directly to Vaulin and noted that he was working on it.

      • Former UMG Exec: Major Label Music Should Cost More And DMCA Safe Harbors Should Be Destroyed

        If you’re going to argue against YouTube, Spotify, etc. and the supposed wholesale screwing of artists, it helps if:

        A. You’re not a former member of an entity with decades of experience in screwing artists, and

        B. You have some grasp of basic economic concepts.

        Paul Young, a former director of licensing for Universal Music Group, has an op-ed posted at The Hill decrying the unfairness of streaming services and the wrongness of the DMCA. But any point he’s trying to make is buried under ignorance and the demand that some artists be treated more equally than others.

09.19.16

Links 19/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC7, KDevelop 5.0.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Overcoming language and distance barriers in open source projects

    Open source communities were among the first to use the Internet to make the physical distance between people irrelevant. The Internet is a great tool, since it helps us collaborate wherever we are. It doesn’t matter if you’re having lunch at the Eiffel Tower or waking up in sunny San Francisco, the Internet has helped us connect people on deeper levels.

    I am from Peru, and have always lived in Peru. I study in Peru, and the Internet has helped me find valuable information for projects and life in general. However, when I joined the the Linux community, my life changed radically.

  • A beginner’s bumpy journey to find a few good bugs

    I’d been trying to contribute to open source for about two years. Yes. Two years. And there’s one thing I can tell you with a lot of certainty—it is intimidating. It’s tough to get started. You have to learn how to work within a large code base. You have to learn and adhere to a project’s coding style guides. Nothing makes sense: the control flow, how different modules interact, how and why the code is organized the way it is—it’s all one big maze. You need to muster a lot of courage to ask questions, dive into the code base knowing next to nothing, and keep fighting with it. (This is a generalization about how some projects operate, but many have difficulty making their projects accessible to new contributors.)

  • Top 10 Open Source CRM

    Clearly, finding the right open source CRM (customer relationship management) for your business isn’t as simple as randomly selecting one. To be sure, there are plenty of good open source CRM apps, but still: you must carefully weigh features, function, licensing and support, for your own needs.

    In this article, I’ll share my top open source CRM picks. And with any luck, you’ll find one that’ll be a great match for your business!

  • Adept Releases Open-Source Energy Measurement Tools for Parallel Hardware

    Over its three-year lifespan, Adept has investigated energy consumption in parallel hardware and software. Energy efficiency is becoming a serious consideration for developers of high-performance and high-throughput computing systems. As computers become more powerful, they inevitably consume more energy – unless the technology is improved so they become more efficient.

    [...]

    The Adept Tool Suite consists of three parts: a benchmark suite, power measurement infrastructure, and power and performance prediction tool.

  • Riot wants to be like Slack, but with the flexibility of an underlying open source platform

    In the ‘old days’ there were plenty of messaging apps and aggregators, but they survived in an open source world. Today, business models dictate that platforms like Slack must keep their messages to themselves.

    It would be nice if open-source alternatives could bring back the days of flexibility, combined with today’s world of excellent user experience. What if Slack were simply an excellent tool running on an underlying open-source platform? Could it create the same value?

    Riot (formerly known as Vector while it was running in Beta) is a new UK-borne app hoping to have a crack at that.

  • Orange to test AT&T’s open source ECOMP platform

    Orange’s R&D division Orange Labs Network plans to test ECOMP, an open source platform designed by AT&T for creating and managing software-centric network services. ECOMP, which stands for Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy, will be released to the wider telecom industry as an open source offering managed by the Linux Foundation.

  • MongoDB cofounder explains what to do when a project has gone off track

    It has happened to nearly every technology leader. A project that seemed like an excellent idea when you started it either drifted off course, proved too ambitious or not as useful as originally thought. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a project that you realize is not going well?

    Eliot Horowitz, CTO and co-founder of open source database company MongoDB, knows this problem first-hand. In an interview with The Enterprisers Project, he explains what happened when he and his co-founder realized they had to pull the plug on the original version of their technology.

  • Open Source OpenPokeMap Project Will Enable Anybody To Run A Pokemon Go Tracker

    The 3rd party development community around Niantic’s hyper successful Pokemon Go game is not slowing down. A new project will enable everybody interested to run his own Pokemon Go map service. OpenPokeMap is an open-source, open-infrastructure map for Pokemon Go. The developer behind FastPokeMap is supporting the project as a “consultant.” He says that OpenPokeMap is similar to FastPokeMap.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • IBM (IBM), Hortonworks (HDP) Announce Open Source Distribution on Power Systems

      IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Hortonworks (NASDAQ: HDP) today announced the planned availability of Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP®) for IBM Power Systems enabling POWER8 clients to support a broad range of new applications while enriching existing ones with additional data sources.

      HDP’s secure, enterprise-ready open source Apache Hadoop distribution provides clients with a highly scalable storage platform designed to process large data sets across thousands of computing nodes. For enterprise users running POWER8-based systems, the first microprocessor designed for big data and analytics, Hortonworks provides a new distribution option for selecting a cost-effective platform for running their big data and analytics workloads. This open source Hadoop and Spark distribution will complement the performance of Power Systems by allowing clients to quickly gain business insights from their structured and unstructured data.

    • Canonical and IBM Deepen Their OpenStack Partnership

      Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, is spreading out with its OpenStack eforts. It has announced that Ubuntu OpenStack is now available for IBM customers who want to manage their own OpenStack cloud across IBM platforms such as IBM z Systems, IBM LinuxONE and IBM Power Systems, including IBM’s newly announced OpenPOWER LC servers. This is an expansion of the companies’ hybrid cloud partnership, and many instances of OpenStack already run on top of Ubuntu.

      As the OpenStack marketplace shifts, there is a shortage of people available to build secure and private clouds. IBM reports that it is following in the footsteps of companies such as Deutsche Telekom, Tele2, Bloomberg and Time Warner Cable in making Ubuntu OpenStack available to customers as a tested and supported cloud solution.

    • Making installation easy, Hackathon winners, and more OpenStack news
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • NetBeans Going to Apache: Is Java Next?

      Most followers of open source probably weren’t surprised by Wednesday’s fuss over NetBeans’ possible move from Oracle to the Apache Software Foundation. If you missed it, it started with an announcement on the NetBeans website that “Oracle has proposed contributing the NetBeans IDE as a new open-source project within the Apache Incubator.”

      The announcement goes on to indicate the move is being made out of the goodness of Oracle’s heart. “Oracle is relinquishing its control of NetBeans and introducing it to Apache’s widely accepted governance model, which will provide new opportunities to the NetBeans community and stimulate further code contributions.”

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Does Microsoft really love Linux?

      Microsoft has always had an…uneasy…relationship with Linux, to say the least. But a writer at The Verge is convinced that Microsoft does indeed love Linux these days, and that its stormy Linux past is now behind the Redmond giant.

    • PerfView is now Open Source On GitHub [Ed: Microsoft uses PerfView in an openwashing effort in order to market proprietary Visual Studio, which adds surveillance to compiled code]

      The readme associated with the GitHub repository has getting started information (how to fetch the repository, how to build, test and deploy the code. We use Visual Studio 2015. You can download a free copy of Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition that has everything you need to clone, build test and deploy PerfView. Thus you can get going with PerfView RIGHT NOW. The instructions on the PerfView repository tell you how to get started even if you know nothing about GIT (although knowing something about GIT and Visual Studio certainly helps).

    • Microsoft will close its Skype office in London [Ed: in recent years, as Microsoft pretends to be “Open” (it’s the opposite), layoffs have become routine at the company]

      Microsoft is going to close Skype’s London office, in a move that could impact the jobs of the nearly 400 people employed there. The company told the Financial Times that is will “unify some engineering positions,” but that it “will be entering into a consultation process to help those affected by the redundancies.”

      The London office is a key part of Skype’s history, since it was the primary engineering site and headquarters of the company before Microsoft acquired it, and it also survived Skype’s strange interlude under the ownership of eBay before it was acquired by the big M.

      While the move is no doubt a blow to London’s tech scene, some former insiders told the FT that it’s also not a surprise to see it go, largely because a steady stream of executive departures over the last few years have foretold a shift in the locus of power at the company. Post-acquisition, Microsoft has also done a lot of product work on Skype, with plenty of integration with Office 365 and a number of feature introductions that bring it closer in line with Slack.

    • Microsoft (MSFT) news recap: Microsoft loves open source, Garage gets a new look and more [Ed: Microsoft advocacy site repeats the Big Lie; Microsoft still lobbies against FOSS, e.g. in India this year]
  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • #SoftwareFreedom: India’s Lukewarm Relationship with FOSS Needs to Change

      For a over decade, the third Saturday of every September has been celebrated as Software Freedom Day in dozens of countries around the world. The free and open source software (FOSS) movement, which grew in the 1980s out of frustrations with restrictions on use of copyrighted software, has changed considerably in the last decade. Barring a few exceptions, there has been a dilution in the focus on replacing Windows’ domination of mainstream computing. But FOSS, which some people may know as Linux, still forms the backbone of our technological lives. In developing countries like India, where scaling affordable access to technology is an admitted priority of the government, the promotion and adoption of FOSS seems to be a viable and pragmatic policy decision.

      Whether one is aware of it or not, FOSS is behind the majority of all computing that makes modern, digital life possible. FOSS runs most of all smartphones, supercomputers, ATMs, servers and websites around the world. In India, two massive citizen-facing projects, our railway booking website IRCTC, and Aadhaar’s online infrastructure, use Linux servers too. But why should you care for FOSS?

    • Commission makes a list of its open source solutions

      The European Commission is about to make a public inventory of the open source solutions used by the Commission and the European Parliament. A methodology for creating the inventory was just accepted by the EC’s Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT), as part of its ‘EU Free and Open Source Software Auditing’ (EU-Fossa) project.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • LA launches open source business portal

      The open source LA Business Portal was funded by the Small Business Administration’s Start Up In A Day initiative and used the codebase of San Francisco’s Business Portal as a foundation for LA’s code.

      As an open source project, the LA Business Portal can help cities without the resources or capacity to build a solution from the ground up improve their business climate, officials said. The startup guides and starter kits for popular business types will be made available to be adapted and used by other local government entities.

  • Programming/Development

    • Ada Gets Promoted To Being A First-Class Language In Coreboot

      Coreboot has mainlined a months-old patch to make the Ada programming language “a first class citizen” in this low-level open-source project.

      As of today in Coreboot GNAT runtime system was also added today for the Ada code.

    • LLVM Still Pursuing Apache 2.0 License + GPLv2 Compatibility

      COMPILER –
      It’s been a while since last talking about the discussions among LLVM developers about re-licensing the project. The re-licensing is moving forward and they are settling on the Apache 2.0 license plus explicitly stating compatibility with GPLv2.

      For the past year they’ve been eyeing the Apache 2 license for the LLVM stack over their University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License, which is similar to the three-clause BSD license.

    • Update on Node.js npm Tool and Express Module

      The second day at Node Interactive Europe last week had two keynotes that concentrated on specific tools and modules. Kat Marchán talked about the npm packaging tool, and Doug Wilson explored the state of the express module.

    • Git Developers Want Your Feedback (2016 Git Survey)

Leftovers

  • The Mystery of Scandinavia’s Car-Burning Spree

    What’s behind the spate of vehicle arsons that have swept Scandinavia’s cities this year? Over the summer, cars have been set on fire across the region in a spree that shows no sign of abating just yet.

    Between June and mid-August, 134 vehicles were set ablaze in Stockholm, 43 in Sweden’s second city of Gothenburg, and 108 in its third city, Malmö. Meanwhile, across the water in Copenhagen, there were 30 arson attacks on vehicles in August alone, until the arrest of a 21-year-old suspect led police to hope the streak would end. It didn’t, and this week Copenhagen’s car burnings began again, as they also did in neighboring areas of Sweden. Internationally at least, this isn’t what people expect from a region that is usually a byword for prosperity and social order.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Exclusive: How Elizabeth Holmes’s House of Cards Came Tumbling Down

      In a searing investigation into the once lauded biotech start-up Theranos, Nick Bilton discovers that its precocious founder defied medical experts—even her own chief scientist—about the veracity of its now discredited blood-testing technology. She built a corporation based on secrecy in the hope that she could still pull it off. Then, it all fell apart.

    • Monsanto Merges with Bayer, “Their Expertise is War”. Shady Historical Origins, IG Farben, Part of Hitler’s Chemical Genetic Engineering Cartel

      The expertise of these companies are those of war. IG Farben – Hitler’s economic power and pre-war Germany’s highest foreign exchange earner – was also a foreign intelligence operation. Herman Shmitz was President of IG Farben, Shmitz’s nephew Max Ilgner was a Director of IG Farben, while Max’s brother Rudolph Ilgner handled the New York arm of the ‘VOWI‘ network as vice president of CHEMNYCO.

      Paul Warburg – brother of Max Warburg (Board of Directors, Farben Aufsichsrat) – was one of the founding members of the Federal Reserve System in the United States. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Max Warburg and Hermann Schmitz played a central role in the Farben empire. Other “guiding hands” of Farben Vorstand included Carl Bosch, Fritz ter Meer, Kurt Oppenheim and George von Schnitzler. Every one of them were adjudged ‘War Criminals’ after World War II, except Paul Warburg.

    • Bayer Purchased Monsanto (And We Are All Screwed)

      Cash. That makes it the biggest deal ever in the history of blah blah blah, who gives a shit, are we right?

      If you’re anything like us, your brain turns off when you hear numbers that big being transferred from one giant group of white guys to another. And traditionally, that’s exactly the way giant groups of white guys want it. Especially this one. See, there’s reason to believe this particular group of rich white guys shouldn’t be trusted with the awesome power they’d have after combining.

    • No jail time in Flint water crisis plea deal for former state epidemiologist

      A deal between Flint water crisis prosecutors and a former state epidemiologist includes no incarceration for Corinne Miller, who pleaded no contest to failing to warn hospitals and the public about a Legionnaires’ disease epidemic in Genesee County.

      Miller, 65 of Dewitt, former director of the state Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Epidemiology, pleaded to the least serious charge against her on Wednesday, Sept. 14 — a midemeanor count of neglect of duty by a public officer.

    • Who are Suspect 1 and Suspect 2? Flint water crisis prosecutor won’t say

      Special Flint water crisis prosecutor Todd Flood won’t name two individuals identified only as “Suspect 1″ and “Suspect 2″ in a plea agreement filed in Genesee County District Court this week.

      But after reaching a deal for former state epidemiologist Corinne Miller to plead no contest to a misconduct charge and to cooperate with prosecutors, Flood said the unnamed suspects are evidence that his investigation “is far from over.”

      “You just saw in that plea agreement … obviously there was Suspect 1 and Suspect 2,” Flood said when asked if he expects more criminal charges related to Flint water.

      Miller was the director of the Bureau of Disease Control, Prevention and Epidemiology at Department of Health and Human Services until November 2015, but 10 months earlier, she was “tasked by Suspect 1″ to provide a report regarding a 2014 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County and to meet with Suspect 2, according to Miller’s plea agreement.

    • Lansing Politicians Slow To Enact Policy Reforms After Flint Water Crisis

      In the year since Flint’s man-made drinking water crisis exploded and was exposed primarily as a failure of state government, Michigan has allocated $234 million toward the public health emergency that exposed children to lead and has been linked to a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

      The state has been much slower, however, in enacting policy reforms to address problems uncovered.

      It’s likely that no major action in the Republican-led Legislature will occur until 2017, angering Democrats who are pushing for changes to the emergency manager law and lead testing.

      It’s been four months since a bicameral legislative committee concluded hearings about Flint’s crisis. It has yet to issue a report and recommendations.

      They are now expected by year’s end. Democrats say there’s no reason to wait to start debating legislation.

  • Security

    • HDDCryptor Ransomware Overwrites Your MBR Using Open Source Tools [Ed: Windows ransom but the headline only says “Open Source”]

      Most of the research on this infection has been done by Marinho, who says that his company was called in to investigate and fix a massive infection at a multi-national company that affected computers in its Brazil, India, and US subsidiaries.

    • The power of protocol analyzers

      In the complicated world of networking, problems happen. But determining the exact cause of a novel issue in the heat of the moment gets dicey. In these cases, even otherwise competent engineers may be forced to rely on trial and error once Google-fu gives out.

      Luckily, there’s a secret weapon waiting for willing engineers to deploy—the protocol analyzer. This tool allows you to definitively determine the source of nearly any error, provided you educate yourself on the underlying protocol. The only catch for now? Many engineers avoid it entirely due to (totally unwarranted) dread.

    • Bitcoin: A Sequence of Proofs

      A potential solution to the growing pains of Bitcoin is the use of proof-of-stake rather than proof-of-work. An attacker which has a stake in the history already on the blockchain is unlikely to jeopardize it. In proof-of-stake, the cryptocurrency is paid by the miners into the bets of the next block to win. If an attacker bets on multiple chains, then they’re guaranteed to lose money. This, combined with the fact that buying a lot of currency is more expensive than a lot of computer power, makes proof-of-stake practical. We will cover Peercoin later, which does proof of stake and has other mitigations for certain attacks.

      An interesting idea is vote tattling. When an attacker votes on one block with a predecessor, and then votes on another with the same predecessor, peers can observe this. They can report double voting by using the votes as cryptographically-verified evidence, and taking the attacker’s vote-money.

    • Why real hackers prefer Linux over Windows and Mac

      We have published many tutorials for hackers and security researchers. You may have noticed that most tutorials are based on Linux operating systems. Even the hacking tools out there are based on Linux barring a few which are written for Windows and Mac. The moot question here is that why do hackers prefer Linux over Mac or Windows?

      Today we look at the reason why hackers always prefer Linux over Mac, Windows, and other operating systems. You may have your own reasons for choosing Linux but what do hackers really look forward to while working with Linux.

    • Why Hackers are Choosing Linux Over its Competitors
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Barrel Bomb Conundrum

      It is of course only part of the media distortion around the Syria debacle. Western intervention is aimed at supporting various Saudi backed jihadist militias to take over the country, irrespective of the fact that they commit appalling atrocities. These the media label “democratic forces”. At the same time, we are attacking other Saudi controlled jihadists on the grounds that they are controlled by the wrong kind of Saudi. You see, chopping off the heads of dissidents and gays is OK if you are one of the Saudis who directly controls the Saudi oil resources. It is not OK if you do it freelance and are one of the Saudis who is merely acting at the covert behest of the other Saudis who control the Saudi oil resources.

    • US, Israel sign massive military aid deal for $38 billion over 10 years

      The United States and Israel have signed a new aid deal that will give the Israeli military $38 billion over the course of 10 years. It’s the largest such agreement the U.S. has ever had with any country.

    • After Orlando Massacre, Queer Art Takes a Political Turn

      In the past month, Efrem Zelony-Mindell has transformed a small gallery in New York City into a space for LBGTQ reinvention. His show, n e w f l e s h, seeks to redefine gender and sexual identities through novel representations of the queer community — a task that Zelony-Mindell, a curator and visual artist, considers uniquely pressing in the face of increasingly visible anti-LGBTQ violence. His approach: to abstract, obscure, or remove the body entirely from the works on display. “We tend to see queerness portrayed as a physical or corporeal matter,” he told The Intercept. “This thinking is dehumanizing, and that dehumanization inevitably leads to violence.”

    • Suicides among military bomb techs at crisis level

      In June 2010, after a day of drinking at an American Legion Post in Wyoming near the family’s home, Jeff Hackett downed a couple more swigs of alcohol, said “cheers” and shot and killed himself.

      Among the highly skilled and elite ranks of military explosive ordnance disposal technicians — the men and women who have been on the front line of the war on terror since Sept. 11, 2001 — suicide is a growing concern.

      “It is literally an epidemic,” said Ken Falke, a former EOD technician and founder of the Niceville-based EOD Warrior Foundation, which supports current and former military EOD techs and their families.

    • The couple and their army of retired police officers taking £5m a year from taxpayers to pursue British soldiers around the globe

      For hundreds of British troops, the prospect of being prosecuted for events that took place in Iraq 13 years ago remains a very real nightmare.

      Almost 1,500 cases of abuse of Iraqis, including allegations of torture and even murder, are being investigated by a special team set up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

      Soldiers are terrified of being arrested more than a decade on from the occupation of Iraq, and are dismayed and disgusted by the length of time the investigations are taking. But for one husband and wife team, the British occupation of southern Iraq has proved a cash bonanza.

    • NATO planes bomb Syrian government forces

      The diplomatic row rumbles on after US-led air strikes hit Syrian government forces in Deir ez-Zour, killing 62 soldiers and injuring over 100. This happened only a few days into a week-long trial ceasefire designed to be a precursor to US-Russian joint operations against ISIS.

      It has now been reported that British forces were involved and, needless to say, that the ceasefire is over, with the Russians and the Syrians naturally being blamed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange says he’ll turn himself in if Obama pardons Chelsea Manning

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would turn himself in to US authorities if President Barack Obama grants clemency to Chelsea Manning, the organization said on Twitter Thursday. WikiLeaks’ statement was released one day before a Swedish appeals court decided to maintain a warrant for Assange’s arrest over a 2010 rape charge. Assange has said that extradition to Sweden would lead to his eventual extradition to the US, where he could face charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of secret government documents.

    • 5 Reasons The WikiLeaks Guy Is Losing His Mind [Ed: attack piece]

      And so, for the past four years, Assange has been working long days in a one-and-a-half-room apartment. He’s not getting any fresh air, he doesn’t get many social calls, and the Ecuadorian government doesn’t have much of a budget. His bathroom doubles as a makeshift gym. He has friends, supporters, and an internet connection, but that can only do so much when you have less variety in your day than most prisoners. And goddamn, is it ever showing.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • On Solidarity with Standing Rock, Executive Clemency and the International Indigenous Struggle

      I call on all my supporters and allies to join the struggle at Standing Rock in the spirit of peaceful spiritual resistance and to work together to protect Unci Maka, Grandmother Earth. I also call upon my supporters and all people who share this Earth to join together to insist that the US complies with and honors the provisions of international law as expressed in the UNDRIP, International Human Rights Treaties and the long-neglected Treaties and trust agreements with the Sioux Nation. I particularly appeal to Jill Stein and the Green Parties of the US and the world to join this struggle by calling for my release and adopting the UNDRIP as the new legal framework for relations with indigenous peoples.

      Finally, I also urge my supporters to immediately and urgently call upon President Obama to grant my petition for clemency, to permit me to live my final years on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. Scholars, political grassroots leaders, humanitarians and Nobel Peace Laureates have demanded my release for more than four decades. My Clemency Petition asks President Obama to commute, or end, my prison term now in order for our nation to make progress healing its fractured relations with Native communities. By facing and addressing the injustices of the past, together we can build a better future for our children and our children’s children.

    • Native American Activist Winona LaDuke at Standing Rock: It’s Time to Move On from Fossil Fuels

      While Democracy Now! was covering the Standing Rock standoff earlier this month, we spoke to Winona LaDuke, longtime Native American activist and executive director of the group Honor the Earth. She lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. She spent years successfully fighting the Sandpiper pipeline, a pipeline similar to Dakota Access. We met her right outside the Red Warrior Camp, where she has set up her tipi. Red Warrior is one of the encampments where thousands of Native Americans representing hundreds of tribes from across the U.S. and Canada are currently resisting the pipeline’s construction.

    • Arrests After #KeepItInTheGround Activists Occupy Interior Department
  • Finance

    • 300,000 Join Massive Protests in Germany Against US-EU Corporate Trade Deals

      Hundreds of thousands took to city streets across Germany on Saturday as they marched against a pair of corporate-backed trade deals they say will undermine democracy, attack workers and local economies, and accelerate the threats posed by corporate hegemony and global warming.

      Taking aim at both the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), European Union deals with the United States and Canada respectively, opponents say the agreements are not really concerned with expanding trade but rather increasing corporate power.

    • Warren Slams ISDS Provision in Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday said that the investor-state dispute settlement provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal would allow corporations to challenge foreign laws before private arbitration panels outside of the traditional legal system.

      “It allows companies to challenge foreign laws they don’t like and potentially win millions or even billions of dollars from taxpayers,” Warren (D-Mass.) told reporters on a conference call, which was hosted by left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen and included economist Jeffrey Sachs and law professors Cruz Reynoso and Alan Morrison.

    • Uber accused of cashing in on bomb explosion by charging almost double to take terrified New Yorkers home

      TRAUMATISED families caught up in the New York bomb blast have accused Uber of cashing in on the tragedy by charging almost double to take them home.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Bernie Sanders, who launched career on protest votes, dismisses Gary Johnson and Jill Stein as protest votes

      Bernie Sanders is one of the most electorally successful non-major party candidates in United States political history. And he said Friday that voting for a third-party candidate for president in 2016 would amount to a “protest vote.”

      “Before you cast a protest vote — because either Clinton or Trump will become president — think hard about it,” Sanders said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “This is not a governor’s race. It’s not a state legislative race. This is the presidency of the United States.”

    • Two parties use legitimate means to mask rigged debates

      For several election cycles, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) – a self-proclaimed “non-partisan” private organization that sponsors the debates – has required a 15% average in hand-picked polls as the criteria for debate inclusion. This threshold makes it difficult for candidates outside of the traditional Democratic and Republican parties to appear on stage.

      Like most Americans, I’ve generally accepted these polls at face value. However, a review of publicly available information shows that not only are most of the polls in question inherently unscientific, but that the CPD and its hand-picked pollsters are engaged in a concerted effort to elect establishment candidates in general, and Hillary Clinton in particular.

      There are five polls being used to inform the 15% average. Two of these show blatant scientific problems: Fox News polls under-samples independents by more than 20%, and the CNN-ORC poll admits to dramatically under-sample Millennials. The polling staff have failed to return repeated requests for clarification. This level of unresponsiveness is unheard of within the formal scientific community. Thus, are the polls scientific?

      Almost every reputable scientific journal asks scientists who hope to publish in its pages to disclose any conflicts of interest. The implication is that, if the researcher, or those funding or sponsoring the research favor a specific research outcome, the data might be tainted. Using publicly available information alone, I’ve uncovered massive conflicts of interests that have laid dormant for years.

    • Democrats: A Vote for Third Party is a Vote for Trump?

      The most recent appeal from the Democratic party “warning” voters that a vote for a third party candidate is like a vote for Trump is evidence of a real shift in the awareness of the American people. First, let me clarify: A vote for Trump is a vote for Trump; A vote for Clinton is a vote for Clinton. Using fear to persuade voters to support political parties that have continually disappointed on major issues from foreign policy, education, healthcare and the economy, is the epitome of a failed democracy. Second, let’s address the fact that the Democrats are admittedly launching a “multimillion-dollar digital campaign that talks about what’s at stake and how a vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Donald Trump.” Yet they refuse to #OpenTheDebates. It’s interesting how quickly millions of dollars get thrown at attempts to control the minds and opinions of the people when over half of the workers in this country make less than $30,000 a year.

    • Donald Trump’s birther event is the greatest trick he’s ever pulled

      Donald Trump is, at heart, a showman. He rose to national fame thanks to star turns on reality TV in which he played the tough-talking boss to a group of aspirants hoping to become as successful as he has been in business. His great gift is the ability to draw attention — and then use that attention for his own, usually commercial, purposes.

      Trump may have outdone himself on Friday morning. He and his campaign touted a “major” announcement at his newly opened hotel in Washington, D.C., at 10 a.m. The word was that Trump would walk away from his past skepticism about President Obama’s citizenship while also laying the blame for the birther movement at the feet of Hillary Clinton. (That, of course, isn’t true — according to numerous fact-checkers — but no matter: Trump planned to say it anyway.)

    • Merkel’s party loses support in Berlin state election

      Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party endured a second setback in a state election in two weeks on Sunday, as many voters turned to the left and right in Berlin, according to projections based on exit polls.

      The Social Democrats (SPD) and Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) emerged from the Berlin state election as the strongest two parties, but both lost enough support that they won’t be able to continue a coalition government, the projections show.

    • The Mini Film Studio Operating Inside Clinton’s Campaign

      The shot comes about two minutes and thirty-four seconds into the video. A mother in her late 60s, dressed in a cream-colored suit, stands in an almost empty room, watching her daughter on TV. As her daughter speaks, the mother turns to the woman who is seated next to her, and squeals: “Ohhhh she looks so prettyyyyy!”

      It’s a show of motherly pride so natural it would be completely unremarkable were it not for the fact that the the mother in the room is Hillary Clinton, the daughter is Chelsea Clinton, and the clip is part of a backstage compilation video about the 2016 Democratic National Convention, produced by the Clinton campaign.

    • GOP Lobbyist Offers Reward in Murder of DNC Staffer in Hopes of Laying Rumors to Rest

      Around the same time this piece was published, however, WikiLeaks Editor in Chief Julian Assange spoke of a possible connection between Rich’s death and the DNC email leak. “I’m suggesting that our sources take risks,” he said in a video interview on the Dutch television program “Nieuwsuur,” although Assange refused to say whether Rich was a WikiLeaks source.

      “It’s quite something to suggest a murder,” the interviewer responds, “and that’s basically what you’re doing.”

      “Well, others have suggested that,” Assange carefully replies. “We are investigating to understand what happened in that situation, with Seth Rich. I think it is a concerning situation, but there’s not a conclusion yet.”

    • Monopolizing the Debates

      Soon most of the country will be watching the debates. To be told that you will be watching the ‘debates’ is an insult to your intelligence. They’re not forums to inform and enlighten the electorate, but spectacles where the candidates preen and pander to the viewers; political performances to showcase the triumph of form over substance. I was wondering why they are even called debates instead of grudge matches? This year features two of the most unlikable wrestlers, I mean candidates, in history. In this corner we have Donald “The Demagogue” Trump and in the other corner we have Hillary “The Crusher” Clinton.

      The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is a non-profit, tax exempt organization. In their mission statement they talk about providing: “the best possible information to viewers and listeners” and how voter education is one of their goals. Any person reading this might think that the CPD is just another charitable organization demonstrating their altruism. Nothing could be further from the truth! Even though the CPD claims to be independent of the two major parties, their past and present leadership consists of democratic and republican politicians (with an occasional media acolyte). Because none of the members is a current office holder, the CPD likes to claim they are non-partisan. As the Libertarian SuperPAC claims in their open letter to the CPD: “Bi-partisan is not the same as non-partisan”. The debates always did highlight the two duopoly candidates, but the CPD seeks to make sure any non-duopoly candidates with a different point of view aren’t heard.

      Throughout the years, the number of debates has varied between two and four. Recently the CPD has settled on four debates, with one of them between the vice-presidential candidates, but it’s their decision to limit the debates to candidates with over 15% in the polls that has drawn scrutiny. They initiated this 15% threshold to be included in the debates in 2000. In the hundred years before this decision, there were some presidential candidates who received less than 15% of the vote, yet won votes in the electoral college. That hasn’t happened in almost 50 years, thanks in large part to duopoly members controlling who is in the debates.

    • Green Party’s Stein and Baraka on ballot for 90% of US voters

      The Green Party campaign for presidential candidate Jill Stein and vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka has completed its 2016 ballot access drive. Stein-Baraka will be on the ballot in 45 states, including Washington, D.C., and they will be official write-in candidates in three more states. Ballots cast for official write-in candidates are counted, whereas unofficial write-in ballots are not.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Italy on the verge of the stupidest censorship law in European history

      After a string of high-profile cyberbullying and revenge-porn incidents, the Italian Chamber of Deputies has put forward a bill that will do nothing to prevent these abuses, and everything to allow for rampant, unaccountable censorship of the Italian internet, without rule of law or penalty for abuse.

      Under the proposed law, the “site manager” of Italian media, including bloggers, newspapers and social networks would be obliged to censor “mockery” based on “the personal and social condition” of the victim — that is, anything the recipient felt was personally insulting. The penalty for failing to take action is a fine of €100,000. Truthfulness is not a defense in suits under this law — the standard is personal insult, not falsehood.

    • The No-Censorship Approach to Life

      Students at my institution, Columbia University, exist in a world where virtually every human thought ever conceived is open to study, examination, consideration, acceptance, rejection, debate, and analysis. To be sure, we have standards that guide us as we move through this vast wilderness of the human mind — we insist on notions like reason, fact, nonpartisanship — but nothing is out of bounds for intellectual inquiry.

      Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of controversies on campuses across the country, including mine, which were all more or less about speech — the speech of fellow students, of residence-hall administrators, of faculty, of institutions through the naming of buildings and the display of pictures, and of outside people invited to the campus. The debate, in part, has been about what to do about speech that was considered offensive or dangerous. Sometimes there were calls for bans on speech and official punishments.

    • Corporate rights have a long history

      This argument could contain some merit, especially if “corporate personhood” were a new concept — but it’s not.

    • Video blogger claims YouTube ‘threatened’ her over Juncker interview

      A French video blogger selected to interview European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Sunday she was pressured by YouTube to ask “soft questions” during the webcast.

      “I found out they expected for me to ask only very soft questions,” said Laetitia Birbes in a Facebook video about her interactions with YouTube before last week’s interview. “The whole point was to give advertisement to Juncker.”

      The interview was conducted online Thursday, a day after Juncker had delivered his “State of the Union” address, and was sponsored by YouTube, Euronews and the Debating Europe online platform.

      Birbes, a blogger from the outskirts of Paris, told French news website Rue 89 she was “assured” by YouTube that she was free to ask any question, but that a representative from the video site suggested she ask Juncker questions such as “What is happiness?” and for details on his vintage Nokia phone and dog “Plato.”

      But Birbes said YouTube balked at accepting some “more important questions.” She said a YouTube representative advised her he would need to speak to Juncker’s spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud about potential “red-flag” questions.

    • Anti-Piracy Outfits Caught Fabricating Takedown Notices

      Not all anti-piracy vendors play fair when it comes to removing copyright-infringing content from the Internet. In fact, there is clear and convincing evidence that several companies ‘make up’ links that have never even existed, perhaps in part to boost their own numbers.

    • Tattooed man rubbishes Facebook censorship of his bum, says ‘if you don’t like, don’t look’

      Sweide Lum-Wairepo had the puhoro done on his buttocks, thighs and upper back by tattooist Hirini Katene, who posted videos and photos of the work on Facebook.

      However, the video was taken down after it was deemed to violate the community guidelines and only the photos have been allowed to remain online.

      The video shows the man’s back then spins to his front, where he can be seen cupping his genitals to obscure them from the camera.

      However, a thatch of pubic hair remains visible.

      Mr Lum-Weirepo said that if people didn’t like it, they didn’t have to watch it.

      “I thought it was pretty s*** … because it’s just something cultural,” he said.

    • Montenegro: Mayor accused of repeatedly undermining press freedom

      Kolasin, which is the centre of a regional municipality of about 10,000 people, has a small media market that includes just one local newspaper named Kolasin and four correspondents working for the national dailies — Pobjeda, Dan, Vijesti and Dnevne Novine. There is no local TV station. The local government is run by a coalition of opposition parties — Democratic Front, the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDP) and the Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro — while the Democratic Party of Socialists is the majority party in the national parliament and it runs the Government.

    • Censoring the terrors of war
    • Facebook reverses ‘napalm girl’ photo censorship following media pressure
    • Our Father, who art Facebook: is the social media giant getting too big for its boots?
    • Norwegian newspaper calls out Facebook’s founder
    • Facebook takes U-turn over ‘Napalm girl’ photograph

      Numerous posts were deleted but Isaksen’s was still up Friday afternoon. Hansen said he received an email Wednesday from the social network requesting that the image be taken down.

      Facebook is facing criticism over its regulation of content as it aims to find a universal standard to apply to its 1.7 billion monthly users, and bans on pornography prevent posting art or historic photographs like the one at the heart of the controversy in Norway.

    • TV self-censorship takes toll on National Games
    • CNN Indonesia Extends Apology to KPI over Blurred Images
    • Indon swimmer sparks censorship debate
    • Broadcasting Commission Washes Hands of Censorship as Indonesia Loses Focus
    • Overzealous censors return: TV station blurs out National Games swimmer’s entire body
    • Indon swimmer sparks censorship debate
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Assange, Manning and Snowden, Standing with the Conscience of Truthtellers

      Last week, Oliver Stone’s biopic “Snowden” hit the theaters. The film illuminates the life of Edward Snowden between 2004 and 2013, aiming to humanize one of the most wanted men in the world. Just before its release, a public campaign was launched urging President Obama to pardon this renowned NSA whistleblower.

      The massive US government persecution of truthtellers over the past years has exiled conscience from civil society, locking it behind bars and driving it into asylum. Yet, despite these attacks, it refuses to die.

      From prison where she is serving 35 years, Chelsea Manning is standing up for her dignity. Recently, she protested her dehumanizing treatment by engaging in a hunger strike. All the while, WikiLeaks editor in chief Julian Assange keeps publishing, giving asylum to the most persecuted documents, while being arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy for the last 4 years. As this struggle continues, the torch for transparency and courage that kindled hearts and has sparked public debate keeps shedding light on the state of the world we live in.

    • Why Is HPSCI’s Snowden Report So Inexcusably Shitty?

      There’s now a growing list of things in the HPSCI report on Snowden that are either factually wrong, misleading, or spin.

      One part of the spin the report admits itself: the committee assessed damage based on the 1.5 million documents Snowden touched — an approach the now discredited General Michael Flynn presented in briefings to the committee — rather than the far more limited set the Intelligence Community included in its damage assessment.

    • Why Obama Should Pardon All Leakers and Whistleblowers — Not Just Edward Snowden

      Of course President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden — and Chelsea Manning, too.

      But this story is not about the excellent reasons for thanking rather than locking up the two most famous whistleblowers of the post-9/11 era. Plenty of people are already calling for that in powerful ways. A new petition on Snowden’s behalf has been signed by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey as well as Steve Wozniak, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Aragorn (also known as Viggo Mortensen). Organizations coming out in support of a pardon for Snowden, who is currently a political refugee in Moscow, include the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. And Oliver Stone has just released “Snowden,” a movie that emphasizes his good and patriotic intentions.

      But the unfortunate truth of our times is that Obama is not going to pardon Snowden and Manning. His administration has invested too much capital in demonizing them to turn back now. However, there are other leakers and whistleblowers for whom the arguments in favor of pardons are not only compelling but politically palatable, too. Their names are Stephen Kim, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou and Thomas Drake. All of them were government officials who talked with journalists and were charged under the Espionage Act for disclosures of information that were far less consequential than the classified emails that Hillary Clinton stored on her server at home or the top secret war diaries that David Petraeus shared with his biographer and girlfriend. Petraeus, a former general and CIA director, got a fine for his transgressions. Clinton got a presidential nomination.

    • The Washington Post is wrong: Edward Snowden should be pardoned

      With the launch of Oliver Stone’s Snowden film this past weekend came a renewed push for a pardon for Edward Snowden from the world’s leading human rights organizations.

      But predictably, not everyone agreed that he should be pardoned. On Saturday, the Washington Post editorial board deplorably editorialized against it despite its own paper winning the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on his leaked documents.

    • Why President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden

      Cases like Edward Snowden’s are precisely the reason the president’s constitutional pardon power exists.

      Historically, outgoing presidents have often invoked this power in the last days of their terms — at times on behalf of people who’ve committed reprehensible acts — under the premise that mitigating circumstances outweigh the rationale for punishment.

      President Obama now has the opportunity to use this power proudly, in recognition of one of the most important acts of whistleblowing in modern history.

      Since Snowden first disclosed documents in 2013 detailing the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs, we’ve seen an unprecedented global debate about the proper limits of government spying. This debate has had a transformative effect: on privacy laws and standards, on the security of the devices we depend on to communicate with one another and store sensitive information, and on how we understand our relationship to the institutions that govern us.

    • Commentary: How ‘Snowden’ the movie could help win a pardon for Snowden the man

      The days leading up to last Friday’s release of director Oliver Stone’s Snowden looked like one long movie trailer.

      The American Civil Liberties Union and other human-right groups on Wednesday announced a campaign to win a presidential pardon for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of its highly classified documents to journalists. The next day, the House Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan letter to the president that advised him against any pardon and claimed Snowden “caused tremendous damage to national security.”

      The week before, Stone had invited me to a private screening of his movie in Washington. I once worked in an NSA facility, and I’ve written about the agency for decades, so I was surprised and pleased by how successful Stone was in creating an accurate picture of life in the NSA.

      He did a remarkable job of capturing the sense of how rare, difficult and risky it is for anyone in the agency to challenge the ethics and legality of its operations. I was astounded by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s doppelganger-like portrayal of Snowden. At one point in the film, when the real Snowden appeared, it took me a moment or two to realize the switch.

    • Limehouse author Sinclair Mckay is exploring Cold War codebreaking in The Spies Of Winter [Ed: GCHQ puff pieces again]

      “If you think Europe is having a crisis now, go back to 1946 when the entire continent was blasted back to medieval times,” says Sinclair McKay, author of The Spies Of Winter, which delves into the lives of The GCHQ codebreakers, who fought the Cold War and knew the darkest secrets of British Intelligence at that time.

      After World War Two had ended, the devastation left across Europe was tremendous, as hundreds of people were displaced and millions had been slaughtered.

      There was also a lingering fear that the war wasn’t really over and would break out again at any second. However, this time around there was also a much bigger threat as the world had moved in to the age of nuclear weapons where mass destruction was a clear and present danger.

    • UK explores national DNS filtering system

      Ciaran Martin, current Director-General Cyber at GCHQ and the first Chief Executive of the new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), has set out a new UK approach to cyber security. Speaking at the Billington Cyber Security Summit in Washington DC, Martin outlined how the new NCSC will adopt a more active posture in defending the UK from the range of cyber threats, as well as the need for government, industry and law enforcement to work in even closer partnership.

    • Britain’s GCHQ looks at creating nationwide Internet firewall
    • Op-Ed: Why Obama should pardon Edward Snowden

      I have signed on to the letter asking President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden that was released today. I know this will be an unpopular position among many of my former colleagues in the national security community. My reasons for doing so are not fully captured by that letter. They are different from those who see Snowden simply as a hero and the NSA as the villain. I have concluded that a pardon for Edward Snowden, even if he does not personally deserve one, is in the broader interests of the nation.

    • Chicago woman launches lawsuit against Canadian maker of app-based vibrator

      An American woman has launched a proposed class-action lawsuit against the Canadian-owned maker of a smartphone-enabled vibrator, alleging the company sells products that secretly collect and transmit “highly sensitive” information.

      The Chicago-area woman, identified in a statement of claim only as N.P., has made her complaints against Standard Innovation (US) Corp., which is owned by the Ottawa-based Standard Innovation Corp, over a “high-end” vibrator called the We-Vibe.

      The lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month in an Illinois court, explains that to fully operate the device, users download the We-Connect app on a smartphone, allowing them and their partners remote control over the Bluetooth-equipped vibrator’s settings.

      In particular, the app’s “connect lover” feature — which promises a secure connection — allows partners to exchange text messages, conduct video chats and control a paired We-Vibe device, the woman’s statement of claim said.

    • How an Art Exhibit on Surveillance Says Too Little by Showing Too Much

      Photography and video are powerful mediums for these sorts of topics. They are inherently entwined in tools of surveillance, but they allow artists to play with and document surveillance. Photography can really make us think about the meaning of privacy, and the best work in “Public, Private, Secret” proves that to be true. But the exhibit, trying to say everything, doesn’t say much.

    • “We Are Adopting Principles of Fascism”

      Retired Army JAG Major Todd Pierce explains how his perspective on U.S. foreign policy and politics has changed as he watched the nation’s slide into “perpetual war,” in Part Two of an interview with Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss.

    • The Value of Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’

      As Stone emphasized in person at a screening that I attended, the film is not a documentary and was decidedly fictionalized for dramatic effect. That said, many specifics and incidents are true — and Stone remained true to Snowden in terms of his intelligence, temperament and reasoning that helped shape the actions he took.

      This riveting film — Stone’s latest foray into the dangers and excesses of the National Security State — has all the ingredients that we’ve come to expect from the frequent Academy Award winner and nominee. Stone’s touch is everywhere evident in the film.

      The story that Stone and co-writer Kieran Fitzgerald weaves is compelling. The characters grow and evolve over the course of the film. The score is evocative. Shots are artfully crafted to make a rich movie-going experience. The visuals — and in one particular sequence, visualizations — are stunning.

      Stone takes us along on Snowden’s personal journey of discovery in a film that is anchored by the love story between initially political opposites who grow, change and learn to make sacrifices to protect each other.

    • Cyber Command, NSA split could affect west county

      Fort George G. Meade and the surrounding area could see an increase in military contracts and investments with a unified U.S. Cyber Command that is separate from the National Security Agency.

      By becoming a combatant command, U.S. Cyber Command would become a more influential institution within the Department of Defense, with the ability to directly procure resources for its operations and have its own contracting arm, as opposed to going through the NSA.

      The debate has resurfaced whether the two agencies should have a single leader, with officials examining how such a split would work.

      “By elevating it, it’s a big broadcast mechanism for the state of Maryland and for this region,” said Tim O’Farrell, president of the Fort Meade Alliance.

    • CyberCom and the NSA need a divorce

      Separating the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command is the right thing to do and would correct the mistake made by combining them in the first place.

    • Can the NSA Stop the Next Snowden?

      William Evanina has never met Edward Snowden, but the two are intimately bound. As national counterintelligence executive—essentially the man in charge of American counterintelligence—Evanina is tasked with fixing the damage that leaks like Edward Snowden’s have done to the U.S. intelligence community, and preventing new ones.

      In the summer of 2013, Evanina was assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., field office. When the Snowden breach was announced, he was put on the case.

    • WashPost Makes History: First Paper to Call for Prosecution of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer)

      Three of the four media outlets which received and published large numbers of secret NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden – The Guardian, The New York Times and The Intercept – have called for the U.S. government to allow the NSA whistleblower to return to the U.S. with no charges. That’s the normal course for a newspaper, which owes its sources duties of protection, and which – by virtue of accepting the source’s materials and then publishing them – implicitly declares the source’s information to be in the public interest.

      But not The Washington Post. In the face of a growing ACLU-and-Amnesty-led campaign to secure a pardon for Snowden, timed to this weekend’s release of the Oliver Stone biopic “Snowden,” the Post editorial page not only argued today in opposition to a pardon, but explicitly demanded that Snowden — their paper’s own source — stand trial on espionage charges or, as a “second-best solution,” “accept[] a measure of criminal responsibility for his excesses and the U.S. government offers a measure of leniency.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Glenn Beck: Empathy for Black Lives Matter

      In a recent speech to a group of conservatives, I made what I thought was a relatively uncontroversial point about the commonalities between Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter activists. I thought this was a simple idea, but the criticism was immediate and sharp: How dare I try to understand the “other side”?

    • One in 4 French Muslims in ‘revolt’ against secular laws

      Around one in four French Muslims, mostly young people, support an ultra-conservative form of Islam, including the wearing of the full-face veil, but the vast majority accept France’s strict secular laws, a study showed Sunday.

      The Ifop survey carried out for a major study of French Muslims by Institut Montaigne, a liberal think-tank, showed that the vast majority of people who identify as Muslim accept curbs on religion in public.

      But 60 percent considered girls should nonetheless be allowed to wear the headscarf in school, 12 years after it and other religious symbols were banished from the classroom, the survey published in Le Journal du Dimanche weekly showed.

      And around one in four — 24 percent — supported the wearing of the burqa and niqab, the full-face veils that were banned in public places in 2010.

      The survey of 1,029 people aims to inform the government’s plans to overhaul French Muslim bodies in the wake of several jihadist attacks, most of them the work of French extremists.

    • Inspector General Says FBI Probably Shouldn’t Impersonate Journalists; FBI Says It Would Rather Impersonate Companies Anyway

      The FBI’s impersonation of an AP journalist during an investigation raised some serious questions about what the agency considered to be acceptable behavior when pursuing suspects. The outing of this tactic led to a lawsuit by the Associated Press, which was naturally unhappy its name was being used to deliver malware to a teenaged bomb threat suspect.

      The FBI performed its own investigation of the matter (but only after it had become public knowledge — seven years after the incident actually occurred) and found that rules may have been broken by this impersonation of a news agency. Certain approval steps were skipped, making the investigatory tactic not exactly by the book. But in the end, the report congratulated the FBI on using the ends to justify the means.

    • Green Party VP Ajamu Baraka on Human Rights Violations in the United States

      In an interview with Sharmini Peries, Baraka discusses Black Lives Matters, the Flint water crisis, shelter, immigration, and more

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Town Loses Gigabit Connections After FCC Municipal Broadband Court Loss

      Back in February the FCC voted to use its Congressional mandate to ensure speedy broadband deployment to dismantle protectionist state laws intentionally designed to hinder broadband competition. But the FCC recently found itself swatted down by the courts, which argued the agency lacks the authority to pre-empt even the worst portions of these laws. As a result municipal broadband providers continue to run face first into protectionist provisions written by incumbent ISP lawyers and lobbyists solely concerned about protecting the current broken broadband market.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The gold standard for trade secret theft (or is that the way of the world)? Robert Fortune and Chinese tea

      By the 1830’s, a significant feature of economic life of the British Empire was about opium and tea. Opium was raised in the Indian east and delivered, mainly by inland waterways, to the Indian west coast (think Calcutta), and from there smuggled for sale in China, despite the protestations of the Emperor. With the proceeds, the English purchased quality Chinese tea, which it then brought home (“[n]early one in every ten pounds sterling collected by the government came from the import and sale of tea” (p. 1). The English loved their tea, but all agreed that Chinese tea was far superior to what was being produced in India. However, the Chinese took careful measures to keep secret their tea industry, including control both of the tea plants and their means of production.

      This worked well enough for a while, but one side-effect of the First first Opium War (1839-1942), which opened up Chinese markets to English traders, was that China began to raise locally the poppy seeds from which opium was derived. Should this continue, England would have less Indian-sourced opium to sell, meaning it would have less revenues from which to purchase Chinese tea. The solution: develop an Indian-based tea industry that would produce tea of Chinese quality. To do this, they needed to find tea terroir similar to that in China (think the Darjeeling area and the Himalayan foothills). More importantly, they had to learn as much as possible about the secrets of the Chinese tea industry. The person tasked with this mission was a Scottish botanist/adventurer named Robert Fortune.

    • After Two-Year Hiatus, WIPO Resumes Discussions On Protecting Traditional Knowledge [Ed: WIPO talks about preserving knowledge whilst attacking (illegally) its staff for speaking out]

      How can traditional knowledge be protected against misappropriation and who should benefit from this protection is at the heart of discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organization this week. After over a two-year hiatus, WIPO delegates are resuming discussions this week on a potential treaty protecting traditional knowledge. The week’s focus is to find common understanding of core issues, such as the definition of traditional knowledge, and the scope of protection.

      The 31st session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore is taking place from 19-23 September.

    • Copyrights

      • Indian Court Says ‘Copyright Is Not An Inevitable, Divine, Or Natural Right’ And Photocopying Textbooks Is Fair Use

        Last week there was a big copyright ruling in India, where a court ruled against some big academic publishers in ruling that a photocopying kiosk that sold photocopied chapters from textbooks was not infringing on the copyrights of those publishers. We wrote about this case over three years ago, when it was first filed. It’s actually fairly similar to a set of cases in the US that found college copyshops to be infringing — leading to a massive increase in educational material costs for college students.

09.18.16

Links 18/9/2016: Emacs 25.1, Slackel 6.0.7

Posted in News Roundup at 10:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Closed Source Engines are a Big Risk

    The two of us have spent our whole careers writing C++ and making engines (in fact, we’d both worked at Unity building the engine), so we thought we’d take a nice vacation from memory management and C++ and pick that one first.

    [...]

    It’s the black box nature that’s most troublesome to me. With source code, it’s still a huge codebase that’s hard to parse and has plenty of problems, but at least I can hunt down my bugs.

  • Can Carriers Open Source New Biz Processes?

    One of the more telling moments of our NFV & Carrier SDN event here this week actually happened before the conference itself had formally started, at an Oracle-sponsored breakfast session Tuesday morning.

    Appearing on a panel with my Heavy Reading colleague Jim Hodges were Bill Walker, director of network architecture at CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), and Paul Boland, managing partner, solutions at Verizon Enterprise Solutions . Sitting in the front row of the session was Tom Anschutz, distinguished member of technical staff at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) Services Inc., who would later deliver a keynote.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Conference 2016 – Brno, Czech Republic
    • What’s next for Apache OpenOffice

      Concerns about the viability of the Apache OpenOffice (AOO) project are not new; they had been in the air for a while by the time LWN looked at the project’s development activity in early 2015. Since then, though, the worries have grown more pronounced, especially after AOO’s recent failure to produce a release with an important security fix nearly one year after being notified of the vulnerability. The result is an internal discussion on whether the project should be “retired,” or whether it will find a way to turn its fortunes around.

      The current chair of the AOO project management committee (PMC) is Dennis Hamilton, whose term is set to end shortly. He has been concerned about the sustainability of the project for some time (see this message from one year ago, for example), a concern sharpened by the routine requirement that he report to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) board on the project’s status. The board, seemingly, had asked few questions about the status of AOO until recently, when the handling of CVE-2016-1513 (or the lack thereof) came to its attention. Now the board is apparently asking some sharp questions indeed and requiring monthly (rather than every three months as usual) reports from the project. “Retirement” of the project, it seems, has been explicitly mentioned as a possibility.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Libreboot Screwup – 18 Sept 2016

      As one of the main “contributors” to the Libreboot project, I was contracted to work on two chipsets by Minifree.

      Given the recent kerfuffle, and in spite of my vested interest in wanting to continue being paid to continue this important work, I find it necessary to spell out a couple of facts I find important about the libreboot project and the libreboot community:

      1) I have recently noticed that Leah Rowe is the only person who has git commit access to the website, libreboot.org, and also the only person who has git commit access to the codebase, which has only become a problem recently.

      2) The codebase is a deblobbed coreboot repository, with patches from libreboot contributors (but committed by Leah), and a bunch of install scripts for ease of use.

      3) We (the contributors) are not consulted about any of the views expressed on the libreboot.org website when they are hastily published by Leah.

    • Free Software Foundation statement on 2016-09-16

      This morning, an open email circulated in which the author said that the Free Software Foundation ended a relationship with one of our employees for discriminatory reasons.

      Although it is our usual policy not to comment publicly on internal personnel matters for privacy reasons, we felt it necessary to state unequivocally that the allegations made in that email are untrue.

      It is part of our job to celebrate and improve the diversity of the free software world. We have strong anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to help provide a safe and supportive working environment. We uphold a safe space policy at all FSF events, and we provide scholarships to help people of different identities, and from different regions, attend. The FSF’s mission is to defend the freedom of all computer users.

    • GNU Autoconf Noteworthy changes in release 2016.09.16
  • Programming/Development

    • Layout APIs don’t have to be terrible – lessons from Bokeh
    • Change in PHP 7 that may break some of Ubuntu servers on update

      Seems harmless. Administrators will see errors on test installation and fix old configs. But here comes one nasty trait of php-fpm: it refuses to start with incorrect php-fpm.conf, but it will start with incorrect php.ini, ignoring all settings there just rolling back to default values. Error is not written to php-fpm log. It can be spotted in console, but service start script hides that messages.

    • Open source C++ execution trace framework

      At froglogic, we’re big fans of open source software. A large part of our engineering (and management!) staff contributed or contributes to open source projects, and everyone visiting our offices for a job interview certainly gets a big +1 in case she can show off some open source work! We also use a lot of open source software for our daily work, ranging from obvious projects like Git or the Linux kernel to individual libraries serving very specific purposes; the Acknowledgements Chapter of the Squish manual gives an impression of how tall the giants are upon whose shoulders we’re standing.

      Over the last couple of years we contributed back various bug fixes and improvements to different projects we’re using, but we’d like to step things up a little bit. Hence, we now open-sourced an internally developed C++ framework called ‘TraceTool’ and made it available under the LGPL v3 license on our GitHub account:

    • Stripped and ready to go: Enterprise Java MicroProfile lands

      The project for a lightweight and modular enterprise Java suited to microservices has hit general release.

      MicroProfile 1.0 has now hit general availability, just over two months after the project was unveiled by representatives of IBM, Red Hat, Tomitribe, Payara and the London Java Community on June 27.

      A formal announcement is expected at Oracle’s annual JavaOne conference in San Francisco next week.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Elon Musk Wanted a Race. Now He Has One

      Musk isn’t likely to let GM’s range victory stand unchallenged. Just as Chevy had initially described the Bolt as having a range of “a minimum of 200 miles,” only to exceed that number later by almost 20 percent, the Model 3′s range unveiled in March may similarly be a placeholder. “The range will be at least an EPA rating of 215 miles,” Musk said at the time. “I want to emphasize that these are minimum numbers—we hope to exceed them.”

    • Music theory for nerds

      I don’t know anything about music. I know there are letters but sometimes the letters have squiggles; I know an octave doubles in pitch; I know you can write a pop song with only four chords. That’s about it.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Teflon Toxin Goes to China

      Standing on a concrete bridge above the Xiaoqing River, a farmer named Wu shook his head as he gazed down at the water below. Wu, who is 61, used to be able to see all the way to the bottom. And he and others in Cuijia, a village of about 2,000 in China’s Shandong province, used to swim at this very spot. There were so many turtles he could easily stab one with his forked spear, he recalled on a steamy Saturday in July. To catch some of the many fish, he simply threw a net into the water, he said, moving his arms as he spoke in a gesture that has survived in his muscle memory long after most of the fish have disappeared.

      The Xiaoqing flows 134 miles through the major cities of Zibo, Binzhou, and Dongying in Shandong province. Tens of millions of people depend on it. In Jinan, which is close to the river’s origin, human and livestock waste and runoff from fertilizers and pesticides have caused the water to stink in recent years. But downstream from Jinan, waste from factories has compounded the river’s problems.

    • Texas Claims it ‘Zealously Protects the Physician-Patient Relationship.’ Tell That to Texas Women Trying to Access Abortion

      They filed suit in federal court challenging a federal regulation implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits health care entities from discriminating based on race, national origin, sex, age, or disability. The states and health care providers that brought the case are demanding the right to be able to discriminate against transgender individuals who seek health care. The lawsuit also seeks a court order allowing them to discriminate against individuals who seek reproductive health care, including in state programs, like public hospitals.

      Texas’s position is so extreme that they want to be able to discriminate against women by turning them away from their hospitals after they’ve had an abortion and are experiencing complications from the procedure. You don’t need to reread that last sentence. That’s really the state’s position.

    • Religious Freedom Follies: Invoking Faith to Discriminate in Health Care
    • Maternal mortality rate in Texas highest in industrialized world – study

      The Lone Star state is the most dangerous place to give birth in the US. While the maternal mortality rate has been internationally decreasing, a study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found the rate in Texas had doubled in two years.

      A study from Maryland-based researchers found that Texas not only has the highest maternal mortality rate in the US, but in much of the industrial world. With an estimated 35.8 deaths per 100,000 births in 2014, Texas’ rate of mothers dying during or as a result of childbirth is comparable to Mexico (38 per 100,000), Uzbekistan (36 per 100,000) and Egypt (33 per 100,000), according to the World Bank.

      In fact, this is the highest rate in Texas since 1976, when it was 20 per 100,000, according to the Texas State Department of Health.

    • Mosaic plant sinkhole dumps 215 million gallons of reprocessed water into Floridan Aquifer (w/video)

      A massive sinkhole that opened underneath a gypsum stack at a Mosaic phosphate fertilizer plant in Mulberry may have dumped at least 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the Floridan Aquifer over the past three weeks, company officials say.

      And it could be months before the hole is plugged, the officials acknowledge.

      The 45-foot-wide sinkhole opened at the New Wales plant, where phosphate rock mined elsewhere is converted into fertilizer.

      It drained millions of gallons of acidic water laced with sulfate and sodium from a pool atop a 120-foot gypsum stack. An unknown amount of gypsum, a fertilizer byproduct with low levels of radiation, also fell into the sinkhole, which is believed be at least 300 feet deep.

      The pond is now drained, but aerial video taken Friday shows polluted water is still seeping from the gypsum stack and plunging like a waterfall into the sinkhole. More contaminated water will leak with every new rainfall until the sinkhole is filled. The acidic level of the water is roughly equivalent to vinegar or lemon juice.

  • Security

    • Chrome OS gets cryptographically verified enterprise device management

      Companies will now be able to cryptographically validate the identity of Chrome OS devices connecting to their networks and verify that those devices conform to their security policies.

      On Thursday, Google announced a new feature and administration API called Verified Access. The API relies on digital certificates stored in the hardware-based Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) present in every Chrome OS device to certify that the security state of those devices has not been altered.

      Many organizations have access controls in place to ensure that only authorized users are allowed to access sensitive resources and they do so from enterprise-managed devices conforming to their security policies.

      Most of these checks are currently performed on devices using heuristic methods, but the results can be faked if the devices’ OSes are compromised. With Verified Access, Google plans to make it impossible to fake those results in Chromebooks.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Jill Stein on U.S. Policy in the Mideast

      JILL STEIN: We would freeze the bank accounts of the Saudi government until they freeze the funding for terrorist groups that is coming from their country.

    • Let’s Watch U.S. Government *ss Clowns Spend Your Money on Pakistani Dancing Videos

      So the video above was made, using your tax dollars and on official government time, by the Public Diplomacy staff at the American Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. As you can see, a Pakistani traditional dancer was hired, and alongside him were placed various overweight American State Department officials to act like *ssclowns.

    • The Sad End of British Liberalism

      Tim Farron’s paean of praise for Tony Blair yesterday marks the disgraceful end of the political embodiment of a great tradition of thought. In truth there is no ideological reason why the Blairites should not join today’s Lib Dems after their imminent humiliation in the leadership election. What they do next will be entirely down to their calculation of career advantage. There is no ideological reason both Lib Dems and Blairities should not fold into the Tories. However that would destroy the chances of giving the electorate the mere illusion of free choice, when they have still not given up the idea of removing Corbyn and destroying the chance of actual meaningful choice.

      Because the Lib Dems, Blairites and Tories all subscribe to a single ideology of neo-liberalism at home and neo-conservatism abroad. Under Kinnock then Blair, the opposing ideology of organised labour was expunged from the Labour Party, and even such obviously popular and necessary objectives as re-nationalising the railways were foresworn. Under Clegg, the Lib Dems abandoned their own, even older, radical tradition and signed up to the twin gods of finance sector led economies and neo-imperialism.

    • Britain Cannot Withstand Martian Death-Ray

      The broadcast news bulletins are all leading with the claim of some old General that Britain could not resist an attack by Russia. One remarkable thing about this claim, is that all those excitably supporting it are precisely the same people who claim that the countless billions spent on Trident make an attack on the UK impossible. Plainly they have never believed their own propaganda about Trident.

      But there is something still more problematic in the General’s argument. The truth is that there is zero chance of Russia attacking the UK. Nothing Putin has ever said or done has evinced the slightest desire to attack the UK. Now I am, as you know, no fan of Putin and I believe he does hanker after annexing to Russia those parts of the former Soviet Union outside Russia which are Russian speaking. But he probably does not see even that limited aim as completely achievable, and indeed in ten years he has reintegrated just Crimea and Ossetia. The UK, being neither Russian speaking nor part of the former Soviet Union, is in no danger of being attacked by Russia at all.

      Nor has the UK ever been in danger of attack by Russia. Yet extraordinarily, as discussed in my new book Sikunder Burnes, Russophobia and an explicit fear of Russian attack has been an important part of British politics, actually driving policy, for 200 years. In that period Britain has invaded Russia during the Crimean War, and as early as 1834 David Urquhart, First Secretary at the British Embassy in Constantinople, was organising a committee of “mujahideen” – as he called them – and running guns to Chechnya and Dagestan for the jihadists to fight Russia. In 1917 British troops again invaded Russia, landing at Archangel and Murmansk.

    • Russia Has No Partners In The West

      The Russian government is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The Russian government keeps making agreements with Washington, and Washington keeps breaking them.

      This latest exercise in what Einstein defined as insanity is the latest Syrian cease fire agreement. Washington broke the agreement by sending the US Air Force to bomb Syrian troop positions, killing 62 Syrian soldiers and wounding 100, thus clearing the way for ISIS to renew the attack.

    • Russian Hardliners Gain from US Putin-Bashing

      The harsh U.S. rhetoric denouncing Russian President Putin is having the adverse effect in Russia of strengthening hard-line “populists” in upcoming elections who think Putin’s ruling party is too soft on the U.S., reports Gilbert Doctorow.

    • Russian Alt-Right Candidate Hopes to Get Elected by Loving Trump and Hating Clinton

      Ahead of this weekend’s elections in Russia to choose deputies for the Duma, the lower house of parliament, one young candidate for an ultra-nationalist party is going all out to associate herself with three politicians revered by the Russian version of the alt-right: Vladimir Putin, Marine Le Pen, and Donald Trump.

      Maria Katasonova, 21, who is running to represent the nationalist party Rodina, or Motherland, made her name as a leader of the National Liberation Movement, a far-right group that supports Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine and attacks anti-Putin dissidents for lacking in patriotism.

      This week, she shared an image of herself on social networks, wearing camouflage and saluting alongside painted images of Putin, Le Pen, and Trump in their younger days. The poster was captioned “Nobody but us!,” which is the motto of the Russian Airborne Troop.

    • “Everything That We Have Done Since 9/11 Is Wrong”

      “Everything that we have done since 9/11 is wrong,” says retired Army JAG Major Todd Pierce, whose personal journey to that conclusion helps explain why so many ex-military people are growing disillusioned with U.S. foreign policy.

      Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss was curious how Todd Pierce, a military man from Minnesota, became a critic of what looks increasingly like America’s permanent warfare, so Weiss interviewed Pierce in a two-part in-depth interview, which we received permission to republish at Consortiumnews.com. (This is Part One)

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • DAPL Protest Gains Allies Despite Censorship

      The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) continues to be a fixture in the news cycle and in everyone’s social media feed even after the work was ordered to a temporary halt September 9 by multiple federal agencies in a prescribed area. An article in the progressive community from Common Dreams began circulating that very same day and they did a decent job of explaining the DAPL and the protest process against it.

    • Alabama Oil Spill Foretells Dakota Pipeline Future

      Alabama Governor Robert Bentley declared the state of emergency following a pipeline break from last week in Shelby County near the state’s biggest city, Birmingham. The Environmental Protection Agency believes that the spillage is contained within the original leak area and says that local residents are not at risk.

      The spill site is close to the Cahaba River, where a number of endangered species live. The EPA said that it was unlikely that the spill would reach the river. Local residents however were concerned that the spill would affect their water supplies.

      The operating company Colonial shut down the major line which carries gasoline from refineries in Houston to the east coast, terminating in new York. The pipeline carries around 1.3 million barrels per day.

      The company has not yet given an explanation for the leak and Colonial Pipeline spokesman did not say how much gasoline was usually provided to Alabama service stations because it was confidential company information.

    • ICC: Environmental destruction is a crime against humanity

      The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced this week that it would start considering cases involving environmental destruction, misuse of land, and land grabs as crimes against humanity.

      The move reflects a broadening perspective on what constitutes a war crime, as seen in recent prosecutions for cultural devastation and coral reef destruction.

      “They aren’t changing the definitions of crimes or expanding the law or creating new crimes or anything like that,” Alex Whiting, a professor at Harvard Law School, told the Washington Post. “They are paying particular attention to crimes that are committed by use of environmental impact or have consequences of environmental impact.”

    • California’s drought could continue for centuries

      If you were hoping for a respite from California’s drought (on its fifth year), you may be disappointed. That’s because, according to a new study out of UCLA, published in the journal Nature, California’s drought could continue for centuries.

      “The conditions we’ve had for the past five years – very very high temperatures and relatively low precipitation – that could well be the way that we’ll see out the 21st century,” said Glen MacDonald, who authored the study. “Our research suggests that in the past when we’ve had prolonged periods of warm temperatures, like we’re experiencing in the 21st century. They tend to coincide in California with long periods of aridity.”

      In the past, those long periods of warming and drying were associated with natural phenomenon including changes in the Earth’s orbit, in volcanic activity and in the output of the sun. But there’s a new factor influencing temperature levels around the planet: greenhouse gases.

      MacDonald said that according to current models, the increase in greenhouse gasses is contributing 15 to 25 percent to the severity of the current drought in California.

  • Finance

    • Mass Protests Against TTIP, CETA In Germany

      In Berlin, Hamburg and five other cities in Germany, some 320,000 citizens today protested against the adoption of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    • Hundreds of thousands take to streets in Germany against Obama-backed trade deal

      Hundreds of thousands of Germans took to the streets Saturday, in protest of pending trade deals with the United States and Canada.

      The deals in question are the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and the European Union and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) for the Canadian-EU relationship. Neither free trade agreement has been ratified yet, but popular outcry has been growing for the last few years.

      The demonstrations took place in seven cities throughout Germany: Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart. Organizers told CNBC that the official estimate is 320,000 demonstrators across Germany.

      In Berlin, where discussions of trade policy are frequently overheard in cafes and most available surfaces are plastered in posters and stickers against the deals, the largest demonstration of the day took place with about 70,000 attendees, according to the organizers.

    • PayPal wants to become your daily money habit

      PayPal has been annoying some of its customers for years.

      Instead of making it easy for folks to pay online using their credit cards, the digital payments company directs them to buy stuff with their PayPal balances and checking accounts. The end result has been both profitable for PayPal (because it avoids credit card networks’ higher fees) and a pain for shoppers looking to rack up points or frequent flyer miles.

      PayPal is finally changing that, thanks to new deals with Visa and Mastercard it signed earlier this year. On Thursday, PayPal took the chance to tout those agreements, saying its US customers will be able set a default way to pay — whether credit card, debit card or bank account — starting this month. The change will be implemented globally beginning early next year.

    • Warren: Next Administration Should Probe, Maybe Jail Wall Street Bankers

      Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is marking the eighth anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy with a new push to investigate—and potentially jail—more than two dozen individuals and corporations who were referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution in 2011 by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a government-appointed group that investigated the roots of the 2008 financial crisis. None was ever prosecuted. The names of the referrals—including former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, who held a top job at Citigroup, and Citigroup’s former CEO, Charles Prince—became public earlier this year when the National Archives released new documents.

      In a letter to the Justice Department’s inspector general, Warren calls the lack of prosecutions “outrageous and baffling” and asks the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, to investigate why no charges were brought. “[T]he DOJ record of action on these individuals, nearly six years after DOJ received the referrals, is abysmal,” she writes.

      In a separate letter, to FBI Director James Comey, Warren asks for the immediate release of “any and all materials related to the FBI’s investigations and prosecutorial decisions regarding these referrals.” This disclosure is warranted, she writes, by Comey’s decision in July to release a lengthy and critical statement that included previously undisclosed information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server—even though Comey decided not to recommend that charges be brought against Clinton. “Your recent actions with regard to the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” Warren writes, “provide a clear precedent for releasing additional information about the investigation of the parties responsible for the financial crisis.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Intelligence agencies access private Telegram messages of most notorious Isil recruiter, prompting arrest of 10 teenagers in one month

      Firstly, the emphasis on using “remote control.” The fundamental problem for ISIS these days is that they can’t infiltrate Europe easily. If they recruit someone who then travels to Syria and attempts to return to Europe, that person will be captured.

    • RAF base used to talk to Assad over Syria truce [Ed: British media paints GCHQ as a peace maker]
    • GCHQ/NCSC Plans To Build ‘Great Firewall Of Britain’

      National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) / GCHQ proposal to introduce an automated threat detection system – (the ‘Great Firewall of Britain’?) to protect our critical networks and government organisations from low-risk, high-volume attack, Piers Wilson, Advanced Threat Detection Specialist at Huntsman Security commented below. Piers says this initiative is a welcome step in the right direction given the recent surge in breaches being reported, but it will do very little to solve the more serious cyber-problems.

    • ‘Snowden’ is a simplistic, but important, reminder of NSA spying
    • A Former NSA Deputy Director Weighs In On ‘Snowden’

      Chris Inglis allows that Snowden the movie will shape public perceptions about Snowden the man. It could shift public opinion on who’s the hero and who’s the villain, in the ongoing debate over the top-secret files Snowden leaked — and what damage they may have caused.

    • In ‘Snowden,’ the national security whistleblower gets the Oliver Stone treatment

      At first glance, viewers may think they know what they’re going to get with “Snowden,” a movie about national security whistleblower Edward Snowden directed by Oliver Stone. One of America’s most polarizing filmmakers turning his sights on one of America’s most polarizing figures? Let the bomb-throwing begin.

      Not so fast. “Snowden,” which Stone and co-writer Kieran Fitzgerald adapted from two books about the real-life figure, turns out to be a relatively straightforward, sober-minded, even somewhat restrained film, a far more classical and conventional piece of filmmaking than the kaleidoscopic, conspiracy-minded “JFK” or the Shakespearean gloom of “Nixon.” That stylistic choice subtracts nothing by way of urgency or timeliness: “Snowden” is a superbly crafted, engrossing film that, while making no bones about admiring the central character’s actions and motivations, doesn’t go to visual or psychological extremes to make its case.

      That case, in brief, is that Snowden is an idealist and a patriot, a reluctant activist whose disillusionment with the government he worked for finally overtook his reflexive loyalty. “Snowden” is unlikely to sway those who already consider Edward Snowden a traitor, an opportunist or a useful pawn in a new, Putin-era Cold War. (He still lives in Russia after having his U.S. passport revoked at the Moscow airport in 2013.) But the film reminds viewers of the issues at stake — having to do with security, civil liberties and democratic consent — which feel more urgently necessary than wild-eyed or alarmist, especially as we face a crucial political transition. American citizens may feel that trading their privacy for safety is worth it right now, but in the wrong hands, the capabilities of our modern-day security state might be paving the way for what one character describes as “turnkey tyranny.”

    • The World Needs More Edward Snowden’s

      Edward Snowden has changed the world. From Kenya to Pakistan to Mexico, human rights defenders are more empowered than ever before to fight back against governments that use surveillance technology to control and often crush dissent.

      Thanks to Edward Snowden’s act of courage, we know more than ever before about how and why unchecked surveillance is a threat to human rights. Digital security has become a basic practice for journalists and human rights defenders who need to carry out their sensitive work without exposing themselves to unlawful government surveillance. Activists are challenging dangerous new surveillance laws in countries around the world.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Nationwide Prison Strike Mostly Ignored by National Media
    • Noelle Hanrahan on National Prison Strike, William Black on Wells Fargo Fraud

      This week on CounterSpin: You wouldn’t know it from corporate press, but what may have been the largest prison labor strike in the country’s history happened September 9, after months of organizing.

    • Unseemly Competition for Israel’s Blessing

      President Obama’s record $38 billion in U.S. military aid to Israel shows neither U.S. major party wants to be “out-Israeled.” The Trump campaign endorses an Israeli claim that Palestinians want to ethnically cleanse Jews, ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

    • Benjamin Netanyahu Added 100,000 Settlers. Now the U.S. Rewards Him With Largest Aid Package Ever.

      The Obama administration on Wednesday signed a formal memorandum of understanding that would increase the annual military aid package to Israel, rewarding it with a record $38 billion over 10 years.

      This increase in aid comes as the Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government, which took office in 2008, has vastly expanded the network of illegal settlements deep into the Palestinian territories in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

      Shortly before Netanyahu took office, 474,000 Israeli settlers were living in these territories. By the end of 2014, the last time the Israeli government released comprehensive statistics on the matter, that number had grown to around 570,000.

    • Elizabeth Warren Asks Newly Chatty FBI Director to Explain Why DOJ Didn’t Prosecute Banksters

      Like a lot of other Americans, Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to know why the Department of Justice hasn’t criminally prosecuted any of the major players responsible for the 2008 financial crisis.

      On Thursday, Warren released two highly provocative letters demanding some explanations. One is to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, requesting a review of how federal law enforcement managed to whiff on all 11 substantive criminal referrals submitted by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), a panel set up to examine the causes of the 2008 meltdown.

      The other is to FBI Director James Comey, asking him to release all FBI investigations and deliberations related to those referrals. The FBI typically doesn’t release investigative details about cases that the DOJ chooses not to pursue, but Warren pointed out that in releasing information about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in July, Comey had pretty much shattered that precedent and set a new one.

    • Colleagues Mostly Fail to Rally for Amy Goodman, Threatened With Jail for Journalism

      When Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman (9/4/16) asked security guards at the Dakota Access Pipeline construction project why they were using pepper spray and dogs to attack Native American protesters, the guards soon backed off, taking their mace and attack dogs with them. It was a dramatic lesson in how journalism can defend the rights of citizens.

      The state of North Dakota had a response to this kind of journalism: It issued a warrant for Goodman’s arrest, charging her with criminal trespassing. This is an extraordinary action; Jack McDonald, a lawyer for the North Dakota Newspaper Association and for the Bismarck Tribune, told the Tribune that in 40 years of doing media law in the state he’s never heard of a reporter being charged with trespassing (9/15/16).

    • Sing in Unison, David Brooks Tells Black Athletes

      Brooks’ main gripe is that we’ve become too unpatriotic, noting that the percentage of Americans who feel “extremely proud” of their country has fallen since 2003—around the time the US was invading Iraq. He pins this (as he always does) on some ineffable cultural failure rather than material reality.

      The revelation that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were a lie, two never-ending wars, an economy that crashed and bailed out the richest while leaving the poor to fend for themselves, Katrina, the rise of the incarceration state, police shootings: These aren’t what caused a dip in national pride. No, it must be a moral failing on the part of ungrateful Americans, namely, in this case, uppity blacks who have decided of late to not sit idly by while they’re gunned down with impunity.

      Brooks, with a straight face, puts more blame on Ta-Nehisi Coates for a lack of black patriotism than the reality of rising inequality and pervasive racism. One could easily call it a cynical attempt at gaslighting, if one thought for a second the actual audience were the young African-Americans the piece is ostensibly for, and not the centrist elites whose white guilt Brooks ameliorates for a living.

    • Mr Murray Goes to Washington

      After a 16,000 person petition to the State Department and letter writing and lobbying including by Jeremy Corbyn, Roger Waters and Daniel Ellsberg, I have been granted a 10 year US visa. Following my initial refusal of ESTA clearance and the offer then withdrawal of help from the US Embassy in London, it is only fair to say that the staff of the US Consulate in Belfast could not have been more pleasant and helpful, and my “interview” lasted thirty seconds. It is however a disgrace and an insult that the US issues visas in Belfast but not Edinburgh.

      I will be going to Washington in a week to have the great honour to chair the presentation of the Sam Adams Award to John Kiriakou – the CIA agent who blew the whistle on waterboarding, and was jailed for it as part of the disgraceful Obama/Clinton War on Whistleblowers.

      I shall also be speaking at the World Beyond War conference at American University, on the subject of peaceful conflict resolution. There are many really interesting speakers I am very much looking forward to hearing. I am sorry to say that the conference is completely sold out so it is now too late to register. But much of it will be livestreamed by the Real News.

    • Retiring NYPD Commissioner William Bratton Claims Police Will Reform From Within. Why Haven’t They?

      On his last day at the helm of the largest police force in the country, Commissioner William Bratton ended his 46 years as a police officer with a parting thought: Police reform will happen from within.

      His words, coming at a time when the public’s confidence in the police officers sworn to protect them is at a historic low and advocates in New York and across the country are demanding faster, more radical transformations to police departments, couldn’t have sounded more tone-deaf and reactionary.

    • US Media Ignores CIA Cover-up on Torture

      A group of U.S. intelligence veterans chastises the mainstream U.S. media for virtually ignoring a British newspaper’s account of the gripping inside story on how the CIA tried to block the U.S. Senate’s torture investigation.

    • The FBI’s Own Watchdog Signs Off on Agents Impersonating Journalists

      A new report from the Justice Department’s inspector general concludes that FBI agents can go undercover and impersonate journalists, as long as they sufficiently consult FBI headquarters.

      The inspector general’s office investigated a case from 2007 where undercover FBI agents impersonated a journalist from the Associated Press. FBI regulations at the time “did not prohibit agents from impersonating journalists or from posing as a member of a news organization,” the report concluded.

      And such tactics would still be permissible today under new guidelines issued in 2016, the report said, as long as agents sought various high-level approvals.

    • Jay Z Slams America’s Failed ‘War on Drugs,’ Racist Mass Incarceration Racket

      The issue of mass incarceration is making its way up the list of the nation’s most pressing sociopolitical crises, thanks to the efforts of activists from both outside and, as demonstrated en masse with the Sept. 9 prison strike, inside America’s jails.

      Meanwhile, it’s been 45 years since Richard Nixon launched the so-called “war on drugs,” and, as writer and narrator Shawn Carter, a.k.a. Jay Z, points out in this animated clip published by The New York Times, rates of drug use haven’t improved in the U.S., and black and brown Americans continue to be disproportionately penalized by drug laws. It’s all interconnected.

    • NYPD: We Don’t Know How Much Cash We Seize, And Our Computers Would Crash If We Tried To Find Out

      NYPD brass testified before the New York City Council Thursday that it has no idea how much money it seizes from citizens each year using civil asset forfeiture, and an attempt to collect the data would crash its computer systems, The Village Voice reported.

  • DRM

    • The World Wide Web Consortium is being followed by protests

      Next week, demonstrators will gather at a meeting of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in Lisbon, Portugal. They will make the same demand that we made at the last major W3C meeting in March: stop streaming companies from inserting Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into the HTML standard on which the Web is based.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Torrent Site Founder Faces Outrageous Damages Claim, Lawyer Says

        A lawyer who represents Julian Assange and took part in The Pirate Bay trial says a file-sharing case he’s currently involved in has the most unreasonable claims for damages he’s ever seen. Per E. Samuelson says the case against the founder of torrent site SwePiracy contains a claim for more than $3m in damages, for a single movie.

      • Elsevier Wants CloudFlare to Expose Pirate Sites

        In the ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit against alleged pirate sites Sci-Hub, Libgen and Bookfi, academic publisher Elsevier wants help from Cloudflare. The publisher informs the court that a subpoena against Cloudflare is needed to expose the personal details of the sites’ owners.

09.17.16

Links 17/9/2016: Debian 8.6 Released, More Microsoft Layoffs and Dead Products

Posted in News Roundup at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Good things come from projects that fail

    Without realizing it, I joined the open source movement in 1999 during the midst of the Kosovo refugee crisis. I was part of a team helping route aid supplies to local humanitarian organizations running transit camps across Albania. These are the camps that refugees often arrived at first before being moved to larger, more formal camps.

  • Monitoring open source software key for DevOps shops

    Open source software is all the rage, as the DevOps movement advances, but it’s important to keep track of it carefully for licensing and security purposes.

  • Elizabeth Joseph Talking Open Source Careers in Oman

    Sometimes we wonder how Ms. Joseph finds the time to balance her career at HP with writing, evangelizing Ubuntu and public speaking, along with an active life in the city by the bay. That she is an inspiration to open sourcers everywhere can be seen in this video.

  • HPE sells Vertica analytics, thanks to the growth of open source software

    HPE is paring down its software holdings, including analytical software in the Vertica line. A sale to Micro Focus is due to close next year.

  • Nextcloud and Canonical Introduce Nextcloud Box to Create Your Own Private Cloud

    Today, September 16, 2016, Nextcloud informs Softpedia about the launch of a new hardware product, the first in the company’s history, in collaboration with Canonical and WDLabs.

  • Canonical & Nextcloud Roll Out An Ubuntu-Powered Nextcloud 10 Box

    The embargo expired this morning on the Nextcloud Box, a device from the cooperation of Canonical, Nextcloud, and WDLabs for making it easy to deploy your own Ubuntu-powered personal cloud.

  • Canonical and Western Digital launch Ubuntu Linux ‘Nextcloud Box’ powered by Raspberry Pi

    Cloud storage is amazingly convenient. Unfortunately, the best part of the cloud can also be the worst. You see, having your files stored on someone else’s severs and accessing them over the internet opens you to focused hacking, and potentially, incompetence by the cloud storage company too. As a way to have the best of both worlds, some folks will set up net-connected local storage so they can manage their own ‘cloud’.

  • Run Your Own Private Ubuntu Cloud with the Nextcloud Box

    Most of us love using the cloud. It gives us on-the-go-access to our personal files, photos and documents, and helps keep our busy lives in sync.

    But loving the cloud doesn’t mean you have to love using a proprietary closed-off services like Dropbox, Google Drive or One Drive.

  • Cache in hand, Varnish cloud workload tuning goes one louder

    Content delivery firm Varnish Software has announced its Varnish Plus Cloud product — essentially, a full version of the Varnish Plus software suite that can be accessed via the AWS (Amazon Web Services) Marketplace.

  • Nexenta wins NetNordic open source storage contract

    NetNordic said it has recently chosen Nexenta to create a centralised storage repository for its customer base as well as for the company, as the operator and its customer base continue to grow. Nexenta provides open source-driven, software-defined storage, which offers extra data with compression turned on, a significant factor for NetNordic, said its operations engineer Sander Petersson.

  • Toyota, Open Source Robotics Foundation to partner on automated vehicle research
  • The scourge of LEDs everywhere: Readers speak out

    Open Source to the Rescue

    One solution to LED overload is going with open source technology.

    One Slashdot commenter going by the handle of guruevi uses OpenWrt: “You can reprogram any LED on your router for whatever purpose. Want them all on or off at the certain time of day or blink if it detected anomalous traffic.”

    I also got email from Dave Taht, who happened to recently write a blog post titled “Blinkenlights: A debugging aid AND a curse” (with the subhed of “Too many LEDs! Give me back the stars!”). Taht is a busy guy as director of the Make Wi-Fi Fast project and co-founder of the Bufferbloat and CeroWrt projects, though took time out to share some LED disabling tips in his blog post.

    Taht, like many of those cited above, has made his share of manual fixes over the years, using electrical tape and just plan moving devices behind things. Only recently did he start monkeying with software to solve his problem.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Healthcare

    • On the importance of patient empowerment and open source: A Medicine X panel weighs in

      Speaker Karen Sadler, JD, heartedly agreed that developing open-source software for medical devices is critical. She is the executive director of Software Freedom Conservancy, a non-profit organization that develops, promotes and defends open-source software. Her life was changed when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart problem and implanted with a defibrillator. “I went from someone who thought open source was cool and useful to someone who thought great open-source software is essential for our society,” Sadler said.

  • Microsoft Openwashing and EEE

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: September 16th
    • denemo Version 2.0.12 is out.
    • Libreboot Leaves GNU Claiming Gender Identity Discrimination by FSF

      A disturbing story broke this morning concerning the sudden action by the Libreboot project to leave the GNU project. I started to write “potentially disturbing,” until it occurred to me that no matter how this plays out, the news is disturbing.

    • FSF Says Firing Wasn’t Discrimatory [Ed: There are a lot of examples of sexism, homophobia and other abuse inside Microsoft and Apple but unlike FOSS communities they hide it. Here are examples of Microsoft sexism [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and Microsoft homophobia [1, 2, 3]

      Friday afternoon after we published our report, Richard Stallman, founder and president of FSF, posted a brief, unofficial statement in an email to the thread around Rowe’s email. “The dismissal of the staff person was not because of her gender,” he said. “Her gender now is the same as it was when we hired her. It was not an issue then, and it is not an issue now.”

    • FSF, RMS Issue Statements Over Libreboot’s Accusations
    • Leaked Apple emails reveal employees’ complaints about sexist, toxic work environment [Ed: apropos the above and new report, too]

      Danielle* didn’t expect her workday to begin with her male coworkers publicly joking about rape.

      Danielle is an engineer at Apple — and like many of the women in the company, she works on a male-dominated team. On a Tuesday morning in July, when men on her team began to joke that an office intruder was coming to rape everybody, Danielle decided to speak out about what she described as the “very toxic atmosphere” created by jokes about violent sexual assault.

      The coworker who first made the joke apologized, repeatedly assuring her that something like this wouldn’t happen again. But his assurances did little to instill confidence. This wasn’t the first time Danielle had allegedly seen something like this happen on her team, nor was it the first time she complained that the office culture at Apple was, in her words, toxic. Despite repeated formal complaints to her manager, Danielle said, nothing ever changed.

      But this rape joke was the final straw. The next day, Danielle escalated her complaint about the offense to the very top: Apple CEO Tim Cook.

    • Happy Software Freedom Day!

      And today is the 13th edition of Software Freedom Day! We wish you all a great day talking to people and discovering (or making them discovery) the benefits and joys of running Free Software. As usual we have a map where you can find all the events in your area. Should you just discover about SFD today and want to organize an event it is never too late. While the date is global, each team has the freedom to run the event at a date that is convenient in their area. We (in Cambodia) are running our event on November 26 due to university schedule, other conferences and religious holidays conflicting.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EU FOSSA publishes core sections of its deliverables

      To promote the exchange of comments made by the Free and Open Source Software communities, the EU FOSSA project points out some specific sections of the deliverables he produced so far. By consulting these chapters, you have a more direct insight to what the project team consider as the most relevant information.

      Read more

    • LEOS – drafting legislative texts made easy

      While LEOS has been developed to support the drafting of legislation by the European Commission services (i.e. proposals for directives, regulations and autonomous acts), public administrations can download and adapt the code to meet their own specific requirements. The code is available under the free European Union Public Licence (EUPL).

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • PHP version 5.6.26 and 7.0.11
    • anytime 0.0.2: Added functionality

      anytime arrived on CRAN via release 0.0.1 a good two days ago. anytime aims to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, … format to POSIXct (or Date) objects.

    • GitHub’s new features aim for business and open-source users

      GitHub, the popular code repository service, has to serve two masters. It’s well-known for hosting popular open-source projects, but it’s also working to acquire more large and small business users to privately store and manage their proprietary code.

      Those different constituencies sometimes need different things. But Chris Wansrath, the company’s co-founder and CEO, told the company’s annual user conference this week that building new features into GitHub isn’t a matter of helping only one or the other.

    • GitHub gets all grown-up with better code review, project management, etc

      The GitHub Universe event has kicked off in San Francisco, with a number of new GitHub features announced by CEO Chris Wanstrath.

      GitHub’s main product is a collaborative source code repository, which you can use on the public cloud or in your own private deployment. There are now over 19 million open source projects hosted on GitHub, with 5.8 million active users.

      The focus of today’s announcements is on project management and workflow. A new Project dashboard lets you create cards from pull requests, issues or notes, and organize them into groups such as Backlog, In Progress, and Ready.

    • JDK 9 release delayed another four months

      Oracle’s asking for more time to complete JDK 9.

      The chief architect of Oracle’s Java Platform Group, Mark Reinhold, took to the Java developer’s mailing list to say that while work on JDK 9 is coming along nicely “We are not, unfortunately, where we need to be relative to the current schedule.”

      The hard part of JDK 9 is “Project Jigsaw”, an effort to “design and implement a standard module system for the Java SE Platform, and to apply that system to the Platform itself and to the JDK.” Reinhold says “it’s clear that Jigsaw needs more time.”

    • Pass the ‘Milk’ to make code run four times faster, say MIT boffins

      MIT boffins have created a new programming language called “Milk” that they say runs code four times faster than rivals.

      Professor Saman Amarasinghe says the language’s secret is that changes the way cores collect and cache data.

      Today, he says, cores will fetch whole blocks of data from memory. That’s not efficient when working on tasks like big data, when only some of a block’s content is needed by an application that may want to work on only a few items across very large data set.

    • Node.js: Building Better Technology and a More Diverse Community
    • Open Source Mobile Dev Tool Onsen UI Breaks Free from AngularJS Dependency

      Monaca today announced Onsen UI 2.0, a UI framework and tools for building HTML5-based native mobile apps, is now JavaScript framework-agnostic, having broken from its AngularJS dependency roots.

      The open source Onsen UI is itself based on the popular open source Apache Cordova/PhoneGap projects, which facilitate creating native iOS and Android apps with one codebase based on technologies usually used for Web development: HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.

    • The Python Packaging Ecosystem

      There have been a few recent articles reflecting on the current status of the Python packaging ecosystem from an end user perspective, so it seems worthwhile for me to write-up my perspective as one of the lead architects for that ecosystem on how I characterise the overall problem space of software publication and distribution, where I think we are at the moment, and where I’d like to see us go in the future.

Leftovers

  • After 23 years, the Apple II gets another OS update

    You can test-drive ProDOS 2.4 in a Web-based emulator set up by computer historian Jason Scott on the Internet Archive. The release includes Bitsy Bye, a menu-driven program launcher that allows for navigation through files on multiple floppy (or hacked USB) drives. Bitsy Bye is an example of highly efficient code: it runs in less than 1 kilobyte of RAM. There’s also a boot utility that is under 400 bytes—taking up a single block of storage on a disk.

  • Microsoft Azure borkage in central US leads to global woes

    At its height, the fault affected API management, web apps, Service Bus and SQL database services in the central US region, and Azure DNS globally.

    Microsoft’s Azure status page has just now reported that SQL database is still affected in the central US region.

    As is often the case, however, customers noticed confusion with Microsoft’s messages, as Azure Twitter feeds and status pages seemed to disagree on the speed of recovery.

  • OECD report shows sharp rise in numbers of marginalised young men

    Finland is sixth in an OECD ranking of countries by the number of young men who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs). Some 21.1 percent of Finnish men aged 20-24 fall into that category. The number has leapt up in recent years, from just 12.2 percent in 2005.

    The figures are not replicated among young women. In 2005 13.9 percent of young women fell into the NEET category, and ten years later that stood at 15.4 percent.

  • Science

    • Innovation and its Discontents – Where are we heading?

      Nearly two years ago, Kat Neil wrote about declining public trust in innovation. It is becoming increasingly apparent that economic growth and innovation is not benefitting everyone, and that it needs to be addressed by policy and society. At the SPRU conference, a session on IP looked at clashes between intellectual property rights and human rights’ protection.

      An ongoing concern is the potential that the participation of low-skilled workers in production will be rendered obsolete. A dystopian take on this suggests that innovation in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will give rise to the Useless Class, a disenfranchised section of society with skills for which there is no demand. The potential social fall-out from this disenfranchisement is extremely unpleasant with a large portion of society no longer having a “reason to get up in the morning.”

    • Audi works with Chinese technology companies to develop intelligent cars

      German carmaker Audi has signed agreements with Chinese technology companies Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent to work on data analysis, internet connected vehicles and intelligent public transport.

      Audi China and FAW-Volkswagen – a joint venture between state-owned car manufacturer FAW Group and Volkswagen that makes Audi and Volkswagen cars in China – will work with the three technology companies on features for “the connected car of the future”, Audi said.

  • Hardware

    • Intel’s Chips Finally Find Their Way Into the iPhone

      The smartphone years have not been kind to Intel. The company ignored the transition to mobile early on, allowing ARM-based processors to take an early, decisive lead. Intel’s presence in pocket computers hasn’t just been minimal, it’s been practically nonexistent. That is, until the iPhone 7.

      Bloomberg first reported that Intel had worked out a deal with Apple in June, but now that the iPhone 7 has shipped, we have actual confirmation, thanks to a teardown from Chipworks. Apple may make its own processors now, but Intel’s providing an entire mobile cellular platform to the Cupertino company, the transceivers and modem that help put the “phone” in smartphone. For the first time, a flagship mobile device has Intel inside. Better late than never.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • South Sudan: Hunger, Shortages, and Hyperinflation

      South Sudan’s leaders stand accused of industrial-scale embezzlement, ripping off public money to fund property and business investments across the region. That opulence is in sharp contrast to what the vast majority of their fellow citizens are enduring, as they wrestle with chronic shortages and hyperinflation.

      Nationwide, food inflation hit a record 850 percent in August, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Some food price rises are 1,000 percent above the five-year average in Northern and Western Bahr el Ghazal, the World Food Programme has warned.

      Renewed fighting in July in the capital, Juba, between the forces of President Salva Kiir and those of his rival-turned vice president Riek Machar contributed to the latest jump in the inflation rate.

      The fear the country would return to civil war sent the South Sudanese pound tumbling to the current rate of 80 to the dollar, compared to 15 to one a year ago. That is driving up prices in a country dependent on imports from its neighbours, including much of its food and all of its fuel.

    • Upholding Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law

      A task force in March found that emergency managers appointed in Flint, along with Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality, were the primary culprits for Flint’s water crisis. The task force found the state’s actions “inappropriate and unacceptable.”

    • Court rejects challenge to Michigan’s emergency manager law
    • Bayer clinches Monsanto with improved $66 billion bid

      German drug and crop chemical maker Bayer clinched a $66 billion takeover of U.S. seeds company Monsanto on Wednesday, ending months of wrangling with a third sweetened offer that marks the largest all-cash deal on record.

      The $128-a-share deal, up from Bayer’s previous offer of $127.50 a share, has emerged as the signature deal in a consolidation race that has roiled the agribusiness sector in recent years, due to shifting weather patterns, intense competition in grain exports and a souring global farm economy.

      “Bayer’s competitors are merging, so not doing this deal would mean having a competitive disadvantage,” said fund manager Markus Manns of Union Investment, one of Bayer’s top 12 investors.

    • Bayer Just Bought Monsanto, Here’s Why You Should Care

      A giant company just bought another giant company, but if you’re not an investor or a farmer, you may not have noticed. Bayer—the aspirin company that also makes farm products like pesticides—announced on Wednesday it was merging with Monsanto, the massive genetically-modified seed producer that owns about a third of the seed market in the US.

      The $66 billion merger is the largest this year, and means Bayer now controls more than a quarter of all seeds and pesticides on the planet, according to the BBC. But what’s even crazier is that this is just the latest in a long list of big mergers of agricultural companies this year, meaning the options for where farmers buy their seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers are shrinking at lightning speed.

    • This Polish Law Would Imprison Women Who Have Abortions

      A girl raped by her own father will have no choice but to give birth. A woman at high risk of dying in childbirth or of carrying a dead baby will not be able to seek a termination. This will be the impact of new legislation to be debated in the Polish Parliament later this week which, if passed, would usher in an almost complete ban on abortion.

      On Sunday in Warsaw, London and other cities, protesters will gather opposing the amendment to Poland’s existing abortion legislation. The amendment aims to criminalize women and girls who have sought or had an abortion, making them liable to a prison term of between three months and five years. It also will increase the maximum jail term for anyone who assists or encourages women have an abortion.

    • Stronger Rx Than Obamacare Needed to Cover Everyone and Control Costs: Physician Leader

      “The Census Bureau’s official estimate that 29 million Americans, including 3.7 million children, still lacked health insurance in 2015, five years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, starkly illustrates how our inefficient, private-insurance-based system of financing care is fundamentally incapable of providing universal coverage,” said Dr. Robert Zarr, a Washington-based pediatrician who is president of Physicians for a National Health Program.

    • UN panel recommends stricter patentability rules and compulsory licensing to improve access to medicine [Ed: IAM protesting the UN's request that life should be put before patents]
    • Vegans, You’re Contributing to Antibiotic Resistance, Too

      There are a lot of different reasons why some people choose not to consume any animal products. The fact that we regularly pump our livestock full of antibiotics, significantly contributing to the development of antibiotic resistance, is one of them.

      But what some vegans may not realize is that just eschewing animal products doesn’t absolve them of any responsibility for the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs, at least as it relates to the food supply. We douse our fruits and vegetables in antibiotics, too (though at a much, much lower rate than meat). Unless you strictly eat organic, your food is contributing to a problem that threatens to send us back to the dark ages of medicine, where every cut or scrape could be life-threatening.

      I point this out not to shame vegans, but to serve as a reminder. We are all contributing to the problem, and we’re all at risk because of it. Even if you keep a strict, organic, vegan diet, and never take antibiotics unless you absolutely need them, you’re not granted a magic halo of protection against superbug infection. You can do everything ostensibly right, and it still won’t stop antibiotic resistance. Paying attention to what we eat is part of the solution, but there’s more work to be done.

    • Antimicrobial Resistance A ‘Global Societal Challenge And Threat’, WHO Official Says

      Antimicrobial resistance had in the last decades emerged as a health issue, but only in the last couple of years has there been an understanding that we are facing a “global societal challenge and threat.” On a day-to-day basis, people worldwide are said to be driving resistance across human health and agriculture.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security advisories
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Spies and criminals biggest cybersecurity threat

      The report shows that well-organised criminals focus on the use of ransomware. “Professional criminals have evolved into advanced actors and implement long-term and high-quality operations.” The larger the hacked organisation, the bigger the ransom demands, the cybersecurity experts conclude. Regular backups and computer network segmentation help to reduce the impact of such attacks.

    • 20 Questions Security Leaders Need To Ask About Analytics

      It would be an understatement to say that the security world tends to be full of hype and noise. At times, it seems like vendors virtually xerox each other’s marketing materials. Everyone uses the same words, phrases, jargon, and buzzwords. This is a complicated phenomenon and there are many reasons why this is the case.

      The more important issue is why security leaders find ourselves in this state. How can we make sense of all the noise, cut through all the hype, and make the informed decisions that will improve the security of our respective organizations? One answer is by making precise, targeted, and incisive inquiries at the outset. Let’s start with a game of 20 questions. Our first technology focus: analytics.

    • Trend Micro shows that Linux systems not so bulletproof against trojans [Ed: very low risk (must fool the user or gain physical access)]
    • Sixth Linux DDoS Trojan Discovered in the Last 30 Days [Ed: drama over something that must fool users]

      Linux users have yet another trojan to worry about, and as always, crooks are deploying it mostly to hijack devices running Linux-based operating systems and use them to launch DDoS attacks at their behest.

    • Yet Another Linux Trojan Uncovered
    • Secure Docker on Linux or Windows platforms

      With Docker appearing in businesses of all shapes and sizes, security is a concern for many IT admins. Here’s how to secure Docker on the container or the host machine.

    • New release: usbguard-0.6.1
    • Ransomware Getting More Targeted, Expensive

      I shared a meal not long ago with a source who works at a financial services company. The subject of ransomware came up and he told me that a server in his company had recently been infected with a particularly nasty strain that spread to several systems before the outbreak was quarantined. He said the folks in finance didn’t bat an eyelash when asked to authorize several payments of $600 to satisfy the Bitcoin ransom demanded by the intruders: After all, my source confessed, the data on one of the infected systems was worth millions — possibly tens of millions — of dollars, but for whatever reason the company didn’t have backups of it.

    • Web security CEO warns about control of internet falling into few hands

      The internet was designed to be a massive, decentralized system that nobody controlled, but it is increasingly controlled by a select few tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, and they are continuing to consolidate power, said the CEO of a cybersecurity company.

      “More and more of the internet is sitting behind fewer and fewer players, and there are benefits of that, but there are also real risks,” said Matthew Prince, chief executive officer of web security company CloudFlare, in an interview with CNBC. His comments came at CloudFlare’s Internet Summit — a conference featuring tech executives and government security experts — on Tuesday in San Francisco.

      Facebook has faced a lot of criticism for perceived abuse of its editorial sway among the 1.7 billion monthly active users who visit the site to consume news alongside family photos and ads. For example, a Norwegian newspaper editor recently slammed Mark Zuckerberg for Facebook’s removal of a post featuring an iconic image known as the Napalm Girl that included a naked girl running from napalm bombs.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Obama, Pressing Senators, Delays Veto of Bill Exposing Saudis to 9/11 Suits

      President Obama is delaying a planned veto of a bill that would allow the families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot, hoping to tap into an unusual well of buyer’s remorse among senators who passed the measure unanimously in the spring.

      The measure sailed through the House last week after a surprise last-minute vote, raising the prospect of the first veto showdown between Mr. Obama and a bipartisan coalition in Congress. But an intense lobbying campaign by the White House and Saudi Arabia, among others, has cast doubt on what had appeared to be an inevitable override of the president’s long-expected veto.

      Officials have refused to say when Mr. Obama would veto the bill, and he has until next Friday to do so. His advisers are considering whether he should wait until then, after Congress is expected to recess on Thursday for the November elections, which could give him weeks to persuade lawmakers to drop their support for the measure before they return and consider the veto override.

      Already, cracks are showing, even among Republicans who generally would love to exercise the first veto override against Mr. Obama.

    • Every 72 minutes, a veteran commits suicide: Our view

      Many Americans have heard by now that 20 veterans commit suicide each day. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump cited the figure at last week’s Commander-in-Chief Forum viewed by 14.7 million people, further raising the issue’s visibility.

      But a 46-page suicide analysis released by the Department of Veterans Affairs last month reveals just how swift this current of self-destruction is flowing, particularly for young veterans fresh from war. It’s a pace of killing unknown to most Americans and a source of national shame.

      A veteran is choosing death every 72 minutes, and the VA could be doing more to keep that person alive. When veterans manage to ask for help, too many of their calls are not getting through to VA’s suicide hotline (800-273-8255). The agency isn’t offering enough veterans the kind of cutting-edge treatment therapies that researchers are finally uncovering.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Government Again Shows Its Inconsistency On Punishing The Mishandling Of Classified Documents

      Mishandling classified material can result in a variety of punishments, depending on who you are. If you’re a presidential candidate, the routing of hundreds of sensitive documents through an unsecured, private email server might result in a few conversations with the FBI, but not in any criminal charges. If you’re a retired general, routing classified material to your biographer/mistress might result in criminal charges, but not any time served. If you’re a whistleblower taking your complaints to the press, you’ll likely see some jail time to go along with your destroyed career.

      And if you’re a Marine Corps officer trying to warn others of trouble headed their way, you’re more likely to be treated like Jason Brezler than Hillary Clinton, Gen. David Petraeus, or even former CIA Director Leon Panetta.

      Brezler is facing dismissal from the Marine Corps for mishandling a classified document — one containing information about an allegedly corrupt Afghan police chief who had already been kicked off a US base by Brezler himself.

      [...]

      At this point, the Marine Corps is offering him an honorable discharge — a “thanks, but no thanks” for his attempt to warn his fellow soldiers about the long list of allegations against police chief Sarwar Jan. Brezler sued for full reinstatement as a Marine and the discharge has been put on hold pending a possible jury trial later this year.

      There are a handful of disturbing aspects of the Marine Corps’ dismissal of Brezler, not the least of which is its decision to ramp up its efforts to rid itself of him after it had been publicly embarrassed by a US congress member. It also highlights the absurdity — and danger — inherent to the military’s weirdly-selective non-interventionist policy: one deployed by an outside force playing World Police within its borders (decidedly interventionist) that draws the line at preventing the sexual abuse of minors on its bases by local officials.

      The decision to go after the messenger — one that self-reported his mishandling of sensitive information — shows the government, by and large, cares more about protecting itself from embarrassment than solving its problems.

    • Secret government electronic surveillance documents must be released, judge says

      In a major victory for journalists and privacy and transparency advocates, a federal court has started the process of unsealing secret records related to the government’s use of electronic surveillance.

      US District Court Judge Beryl Howell said at a hearing Friday morning that absent an objection by government attorneys, the court would post to its website next week a list of all case numbers from 2012 in which federal prosecutors in Washington, DC applied for an order to install a pen register or a trap and trace device.

      A pen register is an electronic apparatus that tracks phone numbers called from a specific telephone line (though the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act expanded the definition of pen register to allow for collection of email headers as well). A trap and trace device is similar, but tracks the phone numbers of incoming calls.

      For decades, court records relating to these documents have typically been sealed in their entirety, including even the docket numbers. Next week’s release, which is in response to a three-year-old petition filed by VICE News, will be a crucial first step in learning details about the electronic surveillance orders, and the beginning of a multilayered process that will ultimately lead to the disclosure of thousands of pen register applications dating back at least five years.

      Pen registers and other similar devices do not intercept the content of communications, and the government is not required to obtain a warrant or to have probable cause that the target committed a crime. Instead, a government attorney can simply obtain authorization by filing an application with a federal court stating that the information that would be obtained is “relevant” to a criminal investigation. The FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal law enforcement agencies have used pen registers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Arctic sea ice coverage is at its 2nd lowest on record

      Mark it down, Arctic sea ice watchers: the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has (preliminarily) called the annual minimum ice extent. On September 10, Arctic sea ice coverage dipped to 4.14 million square kilometers (1.6 million square miles) before ticking back upward for a few days. While it’s possible that a couple more days of shrinkage could come along, that was probably the low point for the year.

      That puts 2016 in second place for the lowest minimum on record—statistically tied with 2007, which was within the error bars of this year’s data. The record low is retained by 2012, which fell to an incredible 3.39 million square kilometers. This continues the trend of marked decline observed by satellites since 1979.

    • Did lightning strike this 19th Century church in Newcastle?

      Stark white against the glowering blue skyline, a bolt of lightning flashes over Newcastle , narrowly missing the spire of a 19th century church.

      Thursday night’s thunderstorm had photographers throughout the city taking some impressive shots, and this dramatic view over the west end is one of our favourites.

      The church in the picture is St Stephen’s, in Low Elswick, a Grade II-listed Anglican church built in 1868.

    • Alabama pipeline ruptures, leaking 250,000 gallons & causing ‘fuel emergency’

      At least 250,000 gallons of gasoline have spilled following a pipeline rupture in central Alabama. Emergency responders are working to repair the spill, while Alabama and Georgia have declared a state of emergency due to possible fuel shortages.

      The spill, equivalent to 6,000 barrels, took place in a rural area southwest of Helena, Alabama, and was first noticed Friday. A spokesman for Colonial Pipeline said the spill has affected an area about two acres in size, Birmingham’s WBRC-TV reported.

      According to local media, the spill is located near Lindsey’s Crossing in Shelby County, about 28 miles southwest of Birmingham.

    • Indonesia dispatches nearly 5,000 firefighters to Kalimantan, after surge in hotspots

      Indonesia has dispatched almost 5,000 fire-fighters to Kalimantan as the dry spell continues across the western and central parts of the island, where hundreds of hot-spots have been detected in recent days.

      The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said on Wednesday (Sept 14) that it has deployed 2,492 and 2,363 personnel in west and central Kalimantan respectively.

      The group includes soldiers, policemen as well as officers from the BNPB, the Environment and Forestry Ministry, as well as local volunteers, said agency spokesman Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

      The reinforcements were sent in after satellite data from Indonesia’s meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency (BMKG) showed 536 total hot-spots across Kalimantan as of Wednesday.

    • Spain could be first EU country with national park listed as ‘in danger’

      A Spanish wetland home to 2,000 species of wildlife – including around 6 million migratory birds – is on track to join a Unesco world heritage danger list, according to a new report.

      Doñana is an Andalusian reserve of sand dunes, shallow streams and lagoons, stretching for 540 square kilometres (209 square miles) where flamingoes feed and wild horses and Iberian lynx still roam.

      But the Doñana region is said to have lost 80% of its natural water supplies due to marsh drainage, intensive agriculture, and water pollution from the mining industry.

      Spain now has until 1 December to declare Doñana permanently off limits for dredging and industrial activity in a report to Unesco, or face becoming the first EU country to have a national park classified as being “in danger”.

    • What the ‘sixth extinction’ will look like in the oceans: The largest species die off first

      We mostly can’t see it around us, and too few of us seem to care — but nonetheless, scientists are increasingly convinced that the world is barreling towards what has been called a “sixth mass extinction” event. Simply put, species are going extinct at a rate that far exceeds what you would expect to see naturally, as a result of a major perturbation to the system.

      In this case, the perturbation is us — rather than, say, an asteroid. As such, you might expect to see some patterns to extinctions that reflect our particular way of causing ecological destruction. And indeed, a new study published Wednesday in Science magazine confirms this. For the world’s oceans, it finds, threats of extinction aren’t apportioned equally among all species — rather, the larger ones, in terms of body size and mass, are uniquely imperiled right now.

  • Finance

    • Obama’s Last Gasp At Trade Deals: Lame Duck Push On TPP; And ‘Lite’ Version Of TTIP

      So, uh, that sounds good. Why do we need the rest of the crap that they’re debating, around corporate sovereignty ISDS provisions — especially since the entire basis for those kinds of agreements was supposed to be to encourage investment in developing countries. The EU and the US have perfectly decent court systems, so any dispute shouldn’t need a special tribunal.

      But, of course, those who have relied on shoving all sorts of pork and special interest protectionism through trade deals do not like the idea of a “lite” agreement that covers the officially discussed reasons for a trade deal. Why, that would be horrible! How could they continue to hide all the sneaky stuff they want to get in?

    • CETA Without Blinders: How Cutting ‘Trade Costs and More’ Will Cause Unemployment, Inequality and Welfare Losses

      The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is now in the process of being ratified by Canada and the European Union (EU). Like other ‘new generation’ trade agreements, CETA aims at further liberalizing trade, investment and other sectors of society so far protected from market competition. CETA is thus more than just a ‘trade deal’ and needs to be approached in its complexity, without blinders.

      CETA’s proponents emphasize the prospect of higher GDP growth due to rising trade volumes and investment. However, official projections suggest GDP gains of up to 0.08% for the European Union 0.76% for Canada. More importantly, all these projections stem from a single trade model, which assumes full employment and no negative impact on income distribution in all countries excluding the major risks of deeper liberalization. This lack of intellectual diversity and of realism shrouding the debate around CETA’s alleged economic benefits calls for an alternative assessment grounded in sounder modeling premises.

    • NAFTA burn: The Real Ford Escape? Moving its small-car production to Mexico

      In speech after speech, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has decried companies sending jobs abroad to low-wage countries, calling it a profound betrayal of the American worker. And despite having profited from his Trump branded Chinese-made cufflinks and dress shirts woven in Bangladesh, the real estate mogul has pledged to crack down on labor outsourcing if elected.

      But Trump’s threats have not discouraged American auto companies from setting up factories south of the U.S. and then sending finished vehicles north.

      On Wednesday, Ford Motor Co. CEO Mark Fields announced further efforts to take advantage of Mexico’s low-cost labor force, telling investors at an event near Detroit that Ford would soon shift all the company’s U.S. small-car production to Mexico by 2018.

    • $100 Million Awarded in Contest to Rethink U.S. High Schools

      An organization announced on Wednesday that it had chosen the winners of $10 million grants in a competition to rethink the American high school.

      The organization — the XQ Institute, which is backed by Laurene Powell Jobs — is funding 10 schools, for a total of $100 million.

      One of the winners, the Somerville Steam Academy in Somerville, Mass., will operate without standard class periods and without separating students by age.

      Rise High in Los Angeles will be designed for students who are homeless or in foster care. It will share locations around the city with service providers, like medical or mental health centers, and will have a mobile classroom to teach or tutor students wherever they are.

      And in New York City, at the Brooklyn Laboratory Charter High School, the school day will last from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

      “Each of these represent schools that don’t exist today,” said Russlynn H. Ali, chief executive of the XQ Institute and a former assistant secretary for civil rights at the federal Education Department.

      Ms. Powell Jobs, chairwoman of the XQ Institute’s board of directors, was the wife of Steven P. Jobs, the Apple co-founder who died five years ago next month.

      The Super School Project was announced a year ago by the Emerson Collective, the organization Ms. Powell Jobs uses to make philanthropic investments. The goal was to offer $50 million to schools that offered new approaches to education. Ms. Ali said American high schools had “stayed the same for 100 years” and were badly in need of new ideas and paradigms.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary Clinton Takes Aim at Voters Drifting Toward Third Party

      Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies, unnerved by the tightening presidential race, are making a major push to dissuade disaffected voters from backing third-party candidates, and pouring more energy into Rust Belt states, where Donald J. Trump is gaining ground.

      With Mrs. Clinton enduring one of the rockiest stretches of her second bid for the presidency, her campaign and affiliated Democratic groups are shifting their focus to those voters, many of them millennials, who recoil at Mr. Trump, her Republican opponent, but now favor the Libertarian nominee, Gary Johnson, or the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein.

      While still optimistic that the race will turn decisively back in Mrs. Clinton’s favor after the debates, leading Democrats have been alarmed by the drift of young voters toward the third-party candidates.

    • September 14, 2016 – Trump Cuts Clinton Lead In Half, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds, Most Americans Are Voting Against, Not For, A Candidate

      In a largely negative presidential campaign, where most Americans are voting against, rather than for, a candidate, Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump 48 – 43 percent among likely voters nationwide, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

      This compares to a 51 – 41 percent Clinton lead in an August 25 survey of likely voters nationwide, by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

    • 5 reasons Trump might fall in autumn

      The GOP nominee prefers his KFC by the bucket, devours the fries before the Big Mac, and only eats greens out of taco bowls perched atop white linen napkins — but make no mistake, these are Donald Trump’s salad days.

      Counted down in the dark days after his gloomy Cleveland convention, with polls showing him behind by double digits, Trump has mounted what, to the unschooled political observer, appears to be a remarkable comeback. He’s pulled even with Clinton among likely voters in the latest New York Times/CBS national poll — a 42 to 42 percent deadlock that has been reflected in a raft of tightening battleground state polls. And he’s surged to an 8-point lead in Iowa, reflecting his improvement in critical battleground states.

    • Republicans are careful when talking about their nominee — and so are Greater Minnesota’s Democrats

      The big story of this year’s House and Senate elections is how the presence of Donald J. Trump at the top of the GOP ticket affects Republicans running for Congress.

      What’s getting less ink this cycle, however, is how Democrats are reckoning with the down-ballot effect of their nominee, Hillary Clinton — but that doesn’t mean some Democratic candidates aren’t having problems.

      There’s good reason for that: broadly, Trump polls worse than Clinton, nationally and in the North Star State. And there are few elected Democrats out there who, like Rep. Erik Paulsen did with Trump, say that Clinton hasn’t earned their support.

    • Nigel Farage bows out as Ukip leader with nude skinny dip off Bournemouth Pier

      Nigel Farage celebrated his last night as Ukip leader with a late night skinny dipping session off Bournemouth pier, it has been revealed.

      Key financial backer Arron Banks told BBC Radio 4′s Any Questions? show on Friday night that he and Mr Farage had stripped off their clothes and jumped in the sea after a late night drinking session on Thursday.

      Multi-millionaire businessman Mr Banks had been challenging claims during the political talk show that Mr Farage might stage another comeback as leader.

    • Trump’s successful tax dodge: Months of lying and stonewalling somehow aren’t a major scandal

      It’s a rare thing to see honesty emerge from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, but we were all treated to a bracing dose of forthrightness this week by the Republican candidate’s son, Donald Trump Jr., on the subject of his father’s tax returns. Speaking with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Trump Jr. explained that his dad’s tax information would remain hidden because if people saw it, then they’d talk about something other than what the campaign wants them to talk about.

      “He’s got a 12,000-page tax return that would create . . . financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would detract from (his father’s) main message,” the paper reported Trump Jr. as saying. That’s about as clear-cut an explanation as you could hope for: The campaign will keep on stonewalling because it doesn’t want people scrutinizing and talking about Donald Trump’s tax history and financial arrangements.

    • Green Party nominee says she’s going to presidential debate

      US Green Party nominee Jill Stein says she is planning to appear at the first presidential debate despite being ignored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

      The commission announced on Friday that Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Stein will not participate in the September 26 debate because they failed to garner the 15 percent support in five polls required to qualify for the debate.

      But the Green Party presidential nominee rejected the standards set by the commission and told CNN she plans to show up at the event with her supporters.

      “We will be at the debate to insist that Americans not only have a right to vote, but we have a right to know who we can vote for,” she said.

      Meanwhile, Johnson said in a statement he wasn’t surprised by the decision to “exclude” him from the first debate.

      He said he plans to have the 15 percent polling threshold to make it to the second debate in early October.

      “There are more polls and more debates, and we plan to be on the debate stage in October,” he stated.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Xiaomi phones are pre-backdoored; your apps can be silently overwritten

      Thijs Broenink audited the AnalyticsCore.apk app that ships pre-installed on all Xiaomi phones (Xiaomi has their own Android fork with a different set of preinstalled apps) and discovered that the app, which seemingly serves no useful purpose, allows the manufacturer to silently install other code on your phone, with unlimited privileges and access.

      The app phones home to Xiaomi once a day and transmits the user’s “IMEI, MAC address, Model, Nonce, Package name and signature,” all in the clear, then gets instructions back about which apps to install — it can seemingly overwrite your signed, pre-installed apps with modified versions.

    • Playpen: The Story of the FBI’s Unprecedented and Illegal Hacking Operation

      In December 2014, the FBI received a tip from a foreign law enforcement agency that a Tor Hidden Service site called “Playpen” was hosting child pornography. That tip would ultimately lead to the largest known hacking operation in U.S. law enforcement history.

      The Playpen investigation—driven by the FBI’s hacking campaign—resulted in hundreds of criminal prosecutions that are currently working their way through the federal courts. The issues in these cases are technical and the alleged crimes are distasteful. As a result, relatively little attention has been paid to the significant legal questions these cases raise.

      But make no mistake: these cases are laying the foundation for the future expansion of law enforcement hacking in domestic criminal investigations, and the precedent these cases create is likely to impact the digital privacy rights of Internet users for years to come. In a series of blog posts in the coming days and weeks, we’ll explain what the legal issues are and why these cases matter to Internet users the world over.

    • At war against the “totalitarian temptation”

      Bill Binney is not mincing his words. In a rallying battle cry against mass surveillance, the former NSA analyst tells an audience at the UK premiere of A Good American that we are basically at war. In every democracy across the world; in our very “hearts and minds”, a war “against the totalitarian temptation” is being waged.

      Perhaps because Binney is such a quiet, considered man, his words seem to carry extra weight. But it’s not just his solemnity that captures attention. Binney is not just a campaigner for civil liberties, speaking of principles and rights. He was on the inside – one of them. A high-level NSA analyst, technical director, and one of the best mathematicians the agency ever had, Bill Binney was their man for 32 years. And then, suddenly, he was their enemy.

    • A Good American: a personal take on mass surveillance

      Director Friedrich Moser draws some conclusions on mass surveillance from his groundbreaking documentary on the work of NSA whistleblower, Bill Binney

    • USA TODAY, others sue FBI for info on phone hack of San Bernardino shooter

      Three news organizations, including USA TODAY’s parent company, filed a lawsuit Friday seeking information about how the FBI was able to break into the locked iPhone of one of the gunmen in the December terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

      The Justice Department spent more than a month this year in a legal battle with Apple over it could force the tech giant to help agents bypass a security feature on Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone. The dispute roiled the tech industry and prompted a fierce debate about the extent of the government’s power to pry into digital communications. It ended when the FBI said an “outside party” had cracked the phone without Apple’s help.

      The news organizations’ lawsuit seeks information about the source of the security exploit agents used to unlock the phone, and how much the government paid for it. It was filed in federal court in Washington by USA TODAY’s parent company, Gannett, the Associated Press and Vice Media. The FBI refused to provide that information to the organizations under the Freedom of Information Act.

    • Senator John McCain Uses Cybersecurity Hearing To Try To Shame Twitter For Not Selling Data To The CIA

      John McCain — fighting for the government’s right to get all up in your everything — has decided to embrace the “grumpy” part of his “grumpy old legislator” personality.

      Back in July, McCain expressed his displeasure with Apple declining his invitation to show up and get yelled at/field false accusations at his hearing on encryption. He dourly noted that he was “seeking the widest variety of input,” but his invited guests included Manhattan DA Cy Vance, a former Bush-era Homeland Security advisor and former NSA deputy director Chris Inglis. Not having Apple to kick around peeved McCain, who finished off the “discussion” with subpoena threats.

      Another encryption hearing hosted by McCain devolved into the senator ranting about something no one cares about but him: a tech company not immediately prostrating itself in front of an intelligence agency. Here’s Marcy Wheeler’s summation of McCain’s “contribution” to the discussion.

    • AP, USA Today, Vice Sue FBI Over Refusal To Release Information About Contractor Who Cracked iPhone For It

      USA Today, the Associated Press, and Vice News have joined forces to sue the FBI over its refusal to release even the most minimal amount of information on the hack it purchased to crack open the iPhone seized during its San Bernardino shooting investigation.

      The DOJ certainly seemed adamant that Apple disclose all sorts of inside info to the government during the heated litigation. It turned down offers of assistance from hackers and security researchers before finally shelling out an unknown amount of money to an Israeli firm to gain access to the phone’s contents. It also ensured it would never have to discuss the technical details of the hacking by not demanding this information be included in the purchase price.

      Now, it refuses to even discuss the purchase price. Educated guesses that put it north of $1 million are based on a James Comey comment in which he said it was several times his annual salary. Somehow, the actual amount paid — if revealed — would somehow prevent the FBI’s investigation from reaching its conclusion.

      This FOIA lawsuit [PDF] targets other innocuous information the FBI refuses to release: contractor info on the party used to open up the seized iPhone (and discover nothing of investigative use on it).

    • Shock US government report says Edward Snowden did A Bad Thing

      The report ended by saying that the NSA needs to improve its work on creating an environment in which another Snowden-style leak cannot take place, claiming that not enough has been done to reduce the risk.

    • House Intel Committee Says Snowden’s Not A Whistleblower, ‘Cause He Once Emailed His Boss’s Boss

      As you probably heard, the ACLU and other have launched a massive campaign asking President Obama to pardon Ed Snowden. You can check it out here and sign the petition. There have also been a bunch of high profile op-eds and endorsements from a wide variety of people — from former intelligence officials to human rights groups and more. The campaign was obviously timed to coincide with the release of Oliver Stone’s new movie, Snowden.

      Apparently also timed with the release of the movie, the House Intelligence Committee has released a “report” that they claim they spent two years writing, detailing why they believe Snowden is no whistleblower. They’ve released an unclassified three page “executive summary” that is, at best, laughable. Honestly, if this is the best that the House Intel Committee can put together to smear Snowden, they must have found nothing bad. I mean, it’s the stupidest stuff: like that he once got into a dispute with his boss over some software updates at work and (*gasp*) emailed someone higher up the chain, for which he got reprimanded…

    • The NSA Has Files on a Country That Doesn’t Exist

      A couple years ago, Robert Delaware requested from the NSA any entries from its Intellipedia – the agency’s internal answer to Wikipedia – regarding the micronation “The Conch Republic.” The agency later released four pages, which is a fairly impressive feat considering that, strictly speaking, the Conch Republic doesn’t exist.

    • NSA leaker Edward Snowden says will vote in US presidential election
    • Snowden Says He’ll Vote in US Presidential Election

      Edward Snowden, in exile in Moscow after leaking U.S. National Security Agency documents, said Friday he intends to vote in the U.S. presidential election, but did not say which candidate he favors.

      “I will be voting,” Snowden said, speaking at a conference in Athens by video link from Moscow.

      “But as a privacy advocate I think it’s important for me … that there should never be an obligation for an individual to discuss their vote. And I won’t be doing so with mine.”

    • Snowden says he will vote in US elections

      Edward Snowden, in exile in Moscow after leaking documents of clandestine spying by the U.S. National Security Agency on everyday Americans, said Friday he intends to vote in the U.S. presidential election, but did not say which candidate he favours.

    • ‘Corrupt’ US Intel Unable to Prevent Terrorism, NSA Whistleblower Tells Sputnik

      Bill Binney, former Technical Director of the US National Security Agency and intelligence whistleblower, has delivered a scathing indictment of US mass surveillance techniques. Binney told Sputnik that the current strategy of collecting bulk data is doomed to result in “people ending up getting killed.”

      When you think of intelligence whistleblowers, Edward Snowden may be the first name that springs to mind. But before Snowden, another NSA operative, Bill Binney, felt compelled to lift the lid on the secretive surveillance actions of his government.

    • Edward Snowden stole defence secrets and is no whistleblower, US report says

      Mr Snowden fled to Hong Kong, then Russia, to avoid prosecution and now wants a presidential pardon as a whistleblower.

    • U.S. House panel slams former NSA contractor Snowden
    • GCHQ’s plan for a Great British Firewall creates a dangerous norm

      Intelligence agencies are in the business of deception and misinformation. Truth has little objective meaning or value, but rather exists as it is necessary or useful. How else to make sense of the announcement earlier this week that agencies who just a few years ago railed against strong encryption and were exposed as trying to undermine it, and thus the security of the internet as a whole, are now claiming to be the internet’s protector?

      On Tuesday the director of the UK’s new National Cyber Security Centre laid out vague plans to build a Great British Firewall to protect us from the dangers of cyberattacks in the digital age: “We’re exploring a flagship project on scaling up DNS filtering,” said Ciaran Martin.

      Filtering, or domain name system (DNS) blocking, is controversial – especially when done by a government, as it can interfere with the essential architecture and security of the internet. In the US, bills to mandate DNS blocking such as the Stop Online Piracy Act failed after vigorous debate. Many spam and phishing attacks spoof legitimate sites or email servers, so blocking them has huge collateral damage.

    • The Feds Will Soon Be Able to Legally Hack Almost Anyone

      Digital devices and software programs are complicated. Behind the pointing and clicking on screen are thousands of processes and routines that make everything work. So when malicious software—malware—invades a system, even seemingly small changes to the system can have unpredictable impacts.

      That’s why it’s so concerning that the Justice Department is planning a vast expansion of government hacking. Under a new set of rules, the FBI would have the authority to secretly use malware to hack into thousands or hundreds of thousands of computers that belong to innocent third parties and even crime victims. The unintended consequences could be staggering.

    • 5 Cool Tech Tidbits From the ‘Snowden’ Movie

      Critics are giving mixed reviews to Snowden, the Oliver Stone film that opens in theaters on Friday. But as I wrote this week, the movie is essential viewing for anyone who cares about the national security debate and NSA’s co-opting of familiar technology like Google and Facebook to spy on us.

      One reason the movie is worth watching is the realistic depiction of technology and hacker culture. Even as Snowden engages in Stone-style propaganda to support its hero, it avoids the stupid clichés that often appear when Hollywood takes on tech topics. I spoke with screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald and technical supervisor Ralph Echemendia, who explained that Edward Snowden himself read drafts of the film and corrected details he felt were inaccurate.

      Here are five aspects of the film that make Snowden a convincing tale about tech.

    • 5 Corporations Now Dominate Our Privatized Intelligence Industry

      The recent integration of two military contractors into a $10 billion behemoth is the latest in a wave of mergers and acquisitions that have transformed America’s privatized, high-tech intelligence system into what looks like an old-fashioned monopoly.

      In August, Leidos Holdings, a major contractor for the Pentagon and the National Security Agency, completed a long-planned merger with the Information Systems & Global Solutions division of Lockheed Martin, the global military giant. The 8,000 operatives employed by the new company do everything from analyzing signals for the NSA to tracking down suspected enemy fighters for US Special Forces in the Middle East and Africa.

      The sheer size of the new entity makes Leidos one of the most powerful companies in the intelligence-contracting industry, which is worth about $50 billion today. According to a comprehensive study I’ve just completed on public and private employment in intelligence, Leidos is now the largest of five corporations that together employ nearly 80 percent of the private-sector employees contracted to work for US spy and surveillance agencies.

    • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Joins Call for Edward Snowden Pardon

      Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union launched a joint campaign and public petition to urge President Obama to pardon Snowden and allow him to return to the United States without the fear of persecution.

      The campaign is being supported by a number of politicians and celebrities, including Senator Bernie Sanders, Susan Sarandon, Daniel Radcliffe, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Terry Gilliam, Noam Chomsky, Senator Ron Wyden as well as former NSA director Michael Hayden.

      It coincides with the release of Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” movie. The movie is largely based on Snowden’s own story, who worked as a NSA contractor until defecting in 2013. Snowden initially took refuge in Hong Kong, then fled to Russia, and worked with journalists at newspapers like Washington Post, the New York Times and the Guardian to reveal details about the NSA’s surveillance programs against U.S. citizens.

    • The House Intelligence Committee’s Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Snowden Report

      Late yesterday afternoon the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a three-page executive summary (four, if we count the splendid cover photo) of its two-year inquiry into Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency (NSA) disclosures. On first reading, I described it as an “aggressively dishonest” piece of work.

    • Film Review: Human Element Makes Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Quite Captivating

      Every whistleblower undergoes some kind of transformation that pushes them to the point where they make the pivotal decision to challenge power. Oliver Stone’s film about National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden portrays how he went from a person reluctant to question the government to a person who believed it was virtuous to challenge abuses of government power.

      “Snowden” unfolds in the Mira Hong Kong Hotel, where Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) met with journalists Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto). The script intermittently flashes back to periods of Snowden’s life, from his time in a military boot camp to his time working for the CIA in Geneva to when he worked at an NSA facility in Oahu, Hawaii.

      Gordon-Levitt nails the intonation of Snowden’s voice. Shailene Woodley is fabulous as his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, and the choice to make much of the film revolve around Snowden’s relationship with Mills positively elevates the film to a fairly compelling love story. In fact, the way the story is told suggests Snowden’s views on questioning the government changed from post-9/11 flag-waving nationalism the more his romance with Mills blossomed, especially since she was against the Iraq War and other acts of President George W. Bush’s administration.

    • A Cosmopolitan Defense of Snowden

      Like me, Goldsmith believes there’s no chance Snowden will get a pardon, even while admitting that Snowden’s disclosures brought worthwhile transparency to the Intelligence Community. Unlike me, he opposes a pardon, in part, because of the damage Snowden did, a point I’ll bracket for the moment.

    • HPSCI: We Must Spy Like Snowden To Prevent Another Snowden

      I was going to write about this funny part of the HPSCI report anyway, but it makes a nice follow-up to my post on Snowden and cosmopolitanism, on the importance of upholding American values to keeping the servants of hegemon working to serve it.

      As part of its attack on Edward Snowden released yesterday, the House Intelligence Committee accused Snowden of attacking his colleagues’ privacy.

    • Protect Intelligence Whistleblowers

      To get to the offices of the congressional intelligence committees, you must follow a shaft of sunlight down a circular staircase, into the bowels of the Capitol, and down a corridor until you reach heavy wooden doors guarded by an armed sentry. Behind those doors, there are no windows, there is no sunlight. Behind those doors, members of Congress and their staff review our nation’s most secret espionage programs. And on occasion, whistleblowers have helped shine a light into this dark and secret world.

      But high-profile leakers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning indicated that they thought approaching Congress would be futile, even dangerous. That is because there is a history of prosecution of whistleblowers and myriad internal hurdles to clear before anyone can report possible classified wrongdoing to Congress—hurdles that are greater in the intelligence arena than any other. So instead they went to the media.

      This must change. Congress must encourage whistleblowers concerned about sensitive intelligence programs to approach the committees first, not to go straight to the media. If the committees made a few changes to welcome whistleblowers, they might avoid having sensitive intelligence programs revealed, while strengthening our national security.

    • Hit Job: Congress Attacks Ed Snowden, Continues Ostrich-style “Oversight”

      If you’re a current or former member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) or a current or former staff member of the same and you’ve decided to read this, I commend you. It will be the first step in a multi-step program you’ll need to undergo in order to come to terms with how the nearly 40 year-old institution that you are or were a part of, an instiution that was originally designed to police the Intelligence Community, has instead become’s its chief guardian — and in so doing, enabled that same Intelligence Community to become the single biggest threat to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that we’ve faced in the history of the Republic.

    • Review: ‘Snowden,’ Oliver Stone’s Restrained Portrait of a Whistle-Blower

      Oliver Stone’s “Snowden,” a quiet, crisply drawn portrait of the world’s most celebrated whistle-blower, belongs to a curious subgenre of movies about very recent historical events. Reversing the usual pattern, it could be described as a fictional “making of” feature about “Citizenfour,” Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning documentary on the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. That film seems to me more likely to last — it is deeper journalism and more haunting cinema — but Mr. Stone has made an honorable and absorbing contribution to the imaginative record of our confusing times. He tells a story torn from slightly faded headlines, filling in some details you may have forgotten, and discreetly embellishing the record in the service of drama and suspense.

      In the context of this director’s career, “Snowden” is both a return to form and something of a departure. Mr. Stone circles back to the grand questions of power, war and secrecy that have propelled his most ambitious work, and finds a hero who fits a familiar Oliver Stone mold. Edward (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, leaning hard on a vocal imitation) is presented as a disillusioned idealist, a serious young man whose experiences lead him to doubt accepted truths and question the wisdom of authority. He has something in common with Jim Garrison in “J.F.K.” and Ron Kovic in “Born on the Fourth of July,” and also with Chris Taylor and Bud Fox, the characters played by Charlie Sheen in “Platoon” and “Wall Street.”

    • NYPD Says Talking About Its IMSI Catchers Would Make Them Vulnerable to Hacking

      Typically, cops don’t like talking about IMSI catchers, the powerful surveillance technology used to monitor mobile phones en masse. In a recent case, the New York Police Department (NYPD) introduced a novel argument for keeping mum on the subject: Asked about the tools it uses, it argued that revealing the different models of IMSI catchers the force owned would make the devices more vulnerable to hacking.

      Civil liberties activists are not convinced. Christopher Soghoian from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote in an affidavit as part of a petition against the NYPD’s decision not to share this information, “It would be a serious problem if the costly surveillance devices purchased by the NYPD without public competitive bidding are so woefully insecure that the only thing protecting them from hackers is the secrecy surrounding their model names.”

      The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), an affiliate of the ACLU, has been trying to get access to information about the NYPD’s IMSI catchers under the Freedom of Information Law. These devices are also commonly referred to as “stingrays”, after a particularly popular model from Harris Corporation. Indeed, the NYCLU wants to know which models of IMSI catchers made by Harris the police department has.

      “Public disclosure of this information, and the amount of taxpayer funds spent to buy the devices, directly advances the Freedom of Information Law’s purpose of informing a robust public debate about government actions,” the NYCLU writes in a court filing. The group has requested documents that show how much money has been spent on the technology.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 4 Things to Consider When Running Social Media Campaigns About Texas Inmates

      Two such advocates reached out to EFF: Esther Große and Carrie Christensen. These women work with a high-profile inmate, Kenneth Foster, to try to secure his release and reform Texas’ so-called “Law of Parties,” which allows the state to assign capital punishment to accessories to a murder, even if they didn’t actually commit the act. Foster was facing the death penalty under this rule, but hours before his scheduled execution in 2007, Gov. Rick Perry commuted his sentence to life imprisonment. Ever since, Foster has engaged in political activism from behind bars through his writing and poetry.

      Esther and Carrie had been running various social media accounts to support Foster. They maintained editorial control of these accounts and posted his writing. But they voluntariliy suspended these accounts after the new TDCJ rule was announced for fear of the impact on Foster. EFF communicated (.pdf) with TDCJ on their behalves to establish better clarity on what will and will not be permitted under the policy. Based on the information we and others (.pdf) received from TDCJ, we can now share lessons we’ve gleaned for operating a social media campaign regarding an inmate.

    • FBI Agent Posing as Journalist to Deliver Malware to Suspect Was Fine, Says DOJ

      In 2007, an FBI agent impersonated an Associated Press journalist in order to deliver malware to a criminal suspect and find out his location. According to a newly published report from the Department of Justice, the operation was in line with the FBI’s undercover policies at the time.

      Journalistic organisations had expressed concern that the tactic could undermine reporters’ and media institutions’ credibility.

      “We concluded that FBI policies in 2007 did not expressly address the tactic of agents impersonating journalists,” the report from the Office of the Inspector General reads.

      The case concerned a Seattle teenager suspected of sending bomb threats against a local school. FBI Special Agent Mason Grant got in touch with the teen over email, pretending to be an AP journalist. After some back and forth, Grant sent the suspect a fake article which, when clicked, grabbed his real IP address. Armed with this information, the FBI identified and arrested the suspect.

    • Tesla is suing an oil-company executive it says impersonated Elon Musk

      Tesla is suing an oil executive under suspicion of impersonating Elon Musk to dig up confidential financial information from the company, Forbes reported on Wednesday.

      The lawsuit, reportedly filed Wednesday in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, claimed that Todd Katz, the chief financial officer for Quest Integrity Group, emailed Tesla’s chief financial officer using a similar email address as Musk’s looking to gain information that wasn’t disclosed in an earnings call with investors.

    • Tesla sues oil exec for impersonating Elon Musk

      Tesla Motors is suing an oil pipeline service executive in a California court, claiming the man impersonated Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an attempt to gain undisclosed financial information.

      The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, says Quest Integrity Group CFO Todd Katz sent an email to Tesla CFO Jason Wheeler from a Yahoo email address similar to one Musk has used in the past.

      A spokesman for the Quest’s parent company called the allegations involving company officials “unsubstantiated” and “absurd.”

    • Former hacker blasts Love’s trial as an ‘absurd ordeal’

      ALLEGED HACKER Lauri Love, the 31-year-old British citizen accused of breaking into the systems of the FBI, the US Missile Defence Agency and the Federal Reserve Bank in 2013, has lost his appeal over extradition to the US.

      The judgement was delivered within minutes of the commencement of this afternoon’s session at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

      Love’s lawyer, Tor Ekeland, said that Love had “embarrassed” the US authorities and that they had “very bad security and these hacks used exploits that were publicly known for months”.

      Former hacker and ex-Anonymous and LulzSec mouthpiece Jake ‘Topiary’ Davis attended the hearing and live tweeted the verdict, calling it “a horrible decision” and “a mess from the start”.

      According to Davis, Love was immediately advised by the judge that he could appeal against the decision and that the case would be sent on to the Secretary of State while he remains, for the time being, on bail.

      Love, referring to his appeal, told press and supporters outside the court: “This means we’ve been given a higher platform. There will be justice. Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

    • Lauri Love to be extradited to the US to face hacking charges, court rules

      Briton Lauri Love will be extradited to the US to face charges of hacking, Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled on Friday.

      Love faces up to 99 years in prison in the US on charges of hacking as part of the Anonymous collective, according to his legal team.

      Handing down her ruling at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, district judge Nina Tempia told Love that he can appeal against the decision. The case will now be referred to the home secretary Amber Rudd while Love remains on bail.

    • Judge Rules to Extradite Alleged UK Hacker Lauri Love

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      Lauri Love will be extradited to the US to face charges related to his alleged involvement in #OpLastResult, a UK judge has ruled today.

      Speaking at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this afternoon, Judge Nina Tempia said: “I will be extraditing Mr Love, by which I mean I will be passing the case to the Secretary of State.”

      The ruling, which lasted under five minutes, was attended by Love, his parents, and around 40 supporters. Leaving court, some of his supporters derided the decision, shouting: “Bullshit, kangaroo court!”

    • Lauri Love loses fight against extradition

      Lauri Love has lost his court case against extradition to the US to face hacking charges.

      Love was indicted in US courts in 2013 after it emerged that he had hacked into servers at the Federal Reserve, NASA, Missile Defence Agency and the US Army as part of hacker group known as Anonymous.

      He and his doctors have consistently argued in extradition hearings that he should not be extradited to the US from his home in south-eastern England because he suffers from Asperger syndrome and depression. Love has repeatedly told the media that he would rather commit suicide than face trial in America.

    • Alleged hacker Lauri Love to be extradited to US

      An autistic man suspected of hacking into US government computer systems is to be extradited from Britain to face trial, a court has ruled.

      Lauri Love, 31, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is accused of hacking into the FBI, the US central bank and the country’s missile defence agency.

      Mr Love, from Stradishall, Suffolk, has previously said he feared he would die in a US prison if he was extradited.

    • Computer activist Lauri Love loses appeal against US extradition

      Lauri Love, the student accused of hacking into the computer systems of the US missile defence agency, Nasa and the Federal Reserve, has lost his appeal against extradition to America.

      Judge Nina Tempia said the 31-year-old, who has Asperger syndrome, could be cared for by “medical facilities in the United States prison estate” and implied that he should answer the “extremely serious charges” in the country where the damage was inflicted.

      Love, who lives with his parents in Newmarket, Suffolk, was granted permission to appeal against Friday’s ruling and given bail pending further legal action. The battle over his fate could eventually reach the European court of human rights in Strasbourg and last several years.

      There were gasps in the courtroom as Tempia read out her ruling, which followed a full case hearing in June. Love’s supporters, who stormed out of Westminster magistrates court in London shouting “kangaroo court”, fear he could face up to 99 years in a US jail if convicted on all counts.

    • UK Court Says Lauri Love Can Be Extradited To Face Hacking Charges In The US

      There’s little to be gained by adding up the maximum possible jail sentence facing Love. Rest assured, if convicted, it will likely be over a decade. Consolidation of the cases and charges is likely, but more than one of the charges carry possible 10-year sentences.

      Meanwhile, back in the UK, Love has managed to escape being jailed for refusing to turn over passwords and encryption keys to law enforcement. UK investigators fought hard to force Love — who they’ve never formally charged — to crack open multiple seized devices for them. This attempt was shot down in May by a judge who viewed this as an end run around protections built into RIPA, the laws governing law enforcement’s investigatory powers.

      The final decision on Love’s extradition is in the hands of Elizabeth Truss, the recently-appointed Secretary of State for Justice. Truss’ previous government work doesn’t really provide much guidance on which side she’ll come down on this, but her voting record tends to indicate she’s more sympathetic to national security/law enforcement interests than those of her constituents. Considering the UK and US have a very cozy surveillance relationship, it stands to reason Truss will likely decide to appease the DOJ, rather than overturn the court’s decision.

    • Swedish appeals court upholds detention order for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      A Swedish appeals court on Friday upheld a detention order for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, dismissing the latest attempt by the 45-year-old Australian to make prosecutors drop a rape investigation from 2010.

      The decision by the Svea Court of Appeal means that the arrest warrant stands for the 45-year-old computer hacker, who has avoided extradition to Sweden by seeking shelter at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012.

      Assange, who denies the rape allegation, has challenged the detention order several times. He says he fears he will be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges if he leaves the embassy.

    • Muslims are most disliked group in America, says new study

      Muslims are the most disapproved group in America, according to a new study, amid increasing anti-Muslim rhetoric from conservative politicians.

      A new study from sociologists at the University of Minnesota, which analysed Americans’ perceptions of minority faith and racial groups, found that their disapproval of Muslims has almost doubled from about 26 per cent 10 years ago to 45.5 per cent in 2016.

      Amid increasing focus on immigration, refugees and national security and in the wake of multiple terrorist attacks around the world, the study found that almost half of those surveyed would not want their child to marry a Muslim, compared to just 33.5 per cent of people a decade earlier.

    • Court: Officer Killed Man Less Than a Second After Command

      A Southern California police officer gave a man less than a second to raise his hands before opening fire and killing him, a federal appeals court noted Friday in rejecting the officer’s request to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against him.

      The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Tustin Police Officer Osvaldo Villarreal couldn’t reasonably have feared for his safety when he shot 31-year-old Benny Herrera after responding to a domestic dispute call in December 2011.

      That determination ran counter to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, which said in 2013 that the shooting was reasonable and justified because Villarreal fired after Herrera ignored orders to show his hands.

      A video captured by a police dashboard camera shows otherwise, according to the 9th Circuit judges who cited the footage.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • NYC Kills Internet Browsing At Free WiFi Kiosks After The City’s Homeless Actually Use It

      Earlier this year, New York City undertook one of the biggest free city WiFi efforts ever conceived. Under the plan, an outfit by the name of LinkNYC is slated to install some 7,500 WiFi kiosks scattered around the five boroughs that will provide free gigabit WiFi (well, closer to 300 Mbps or so), free phone calls to anywhere in the country (via Vonage), as well as access to a device recharging station, 311, 911, 411 and city services (via an integrated Android tablet). The connectivity and services are supported by a rotating crop of ads displayed on the kiosks themselves.

    • Is New York City’s Public Wi-Fi Actually Connecting the Poor?

      Two young men sit on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 54th Street, huddled against a tall silver obelisk on a hot summer day. One man is sprawled on the ground in dirty sweatpants, and the other is 20-something, shirtless and examining an iPhone plugged into the kiosk’s USB port. Around them on the ground is a backpack, a duffel, loose cigarettes, and a roughed-up phone.

      LinkNYC, New York City’s newest communications network, includes more than 350 kiosks installed on sidewalks throughout the city and was created to repurpose payphone infrastructure through public kiosks offering free internet, phone calls, and USB charging ports. The project is a collaboration between the city and a consortium of private technology and media companies including Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet (read: Google) company, and represents an important innovation in the “smart city” movement integrating information and communication technologies into all aspects of urban life.

    • cloudflare and rss

      Let’s say somebody has a blog that I’d like to read. Subscribe to even. Let’s say they have an RSS link on their page. This should be easy.

      Now let’s say the blog in question is hosted/proxied/whatever by Cloudflare. Uh oh.

      Just reading the blog in my browser is now somewhat hampered because Cloduflare thinks I’m some sort of cyberterrorist and requires my browser run a javascript anti-turing test. But eventually the blog loads, I read it, click the RSS link to subscribe, see that it is in fact XML rendered in my browser, and copy the link.

    • Internet speed – you don’t get what you pay for

      The age old cry is that “The internet too slow.” In part that has been exposed by the raft of new AC routers that may be able to connect at up to a gigabit in your network but grind to a halt when it hits the internet.

      The internet speeds offered by Telcos, ISPs and RSPs are a theoretical maximum speed – more guidelines really and they are under no real obligation to provide even a fraction of the advertised speed. The vast majority of ADSL connections are heavily contended (bandwidth is shared by other users on the same DSLAM), so when the kids get home, internet speeds slow even more.

      Like any advertised goods or services, you should get what you pay for – a kilo of fruit must weight a kilo, or there are huge fines for “short weight.” But it seems ISPs are dead against that principle telling the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to butt out.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cuba, US hold first talks on intellectual property

      Cuba and the US held their first talk on the issue of intellectual property, the island’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.

      A statement revealed that Daniel Marti, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at the White House visited Havana on September 8-9 and met with representatives of the Cuban Office of Industrial Property, the National Centre of Copyright, the Faculty of Law of the University of Havana, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment.

      Marti was accompanied by officials from the State Department, the Copyright Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Xinhua news agency reported.

      “In this first official meeting between Cuba and the US on intellectual property, the parties exchanged views on current regulations in the respective countries … and the legal framework of the two states for the protection of trademarks, patents and legal copyright,” read the statement.

    • Copyrights

      • Alleged KickassTorrents Owner Denied Access to U.S. Counsel

        This week the U.S. sent notice to Polish authorities indicating it wants to extradite Artem Vaulin, the alleged owner of KickassTorrents. Vaulin’s defense team is reviewing the request but warns that the case is turning into an international due process problem, as he is still unable to meet his U.S. counsel.

      • European Commission wants to break the web, give publishers the right to charge for inbound links

        The European Commission’s “copyright modernisation” plan is an unmitigated disaster, but there’s one particularly insane section of it that I want to call your attention to: the “link tax,” which entitles publishers to payment when people link to them on the internet.

        Fundamentally, this is the insane idea that companies own the information about where they and their assets are located, a shitty idea that we’ve been making fun of since 2001, which the elected European Parliament has repeatedly rejected, which experiments in Germany and Spain have shown to be a disaster.

        But the unelected, thoroughly captured bureaucrats of the European Commission refuse to let go of this ridiculous plan.

      • Nobody Is Watching Kim Dotcom’s Livestreamed Extradition Hearing

        Remember Kim Dotcom? He’s the convicted fraudster-turned rich dude who ran MegaUpload, that file storage website that hosted a ton of pirated content. In January 2012, Dotcom was raided by New Zealand authorities and he’s been in legal purgatory ever since. Right now, Dotcom is fighting extradition by the United States for charges of online piracy.

      • Incumbents rule

        The European Union’s online reforms help the old more than the new

      • Wi-Fi providers not liable for copyright infringements, rules top EU court

        Businesses such as coffee shops that offer a wireless network free of charge to their customers aren’t liable for copyright infringements committed by users of that network, the ruling states—which, in part, chimes with an earlier advocate general’s opinion. But hotspot operators may be required, following a court injunction, to password-protect their Wi-Fi networks to stop or prevent such violations.

        In 2010, Sony sued Tobias McFadden, who provides free Wi-Fi access at his lighting and sound system shop in Munich, Germany. The company claimed a copyrighted song had been offered for download from his wireless network. Although he wasn’t the individual responsible for the infringement, the local court mulled a ruling of indirect liability because the network hadn’t been secured.

      • Copyright Trolls Now Threatening College Students With Loss of Scholarship, Deportation

        In all of our coverage of copyright trolls, those rent-seeking underdwellers that fire off threat letters to those they suspect of copyright infringement with demands designed to extract cash without having to actually take anyone to court, it’s quite easy to become somewhat numb to the underhanded tactics they employ. Between specifically targeting folks over pornography in order to minimize the chance that anyone might want to actually go to trial, to the privacy invading tactics occasionally used when a court case actually commences, it becomes easy to simply shrug at the depravity of it all.

        But there is a special place in hell for copyright trolls who falsely inform students that failure to pay on receipt of threat letters, or who falsely inform foreign students that deportation could result from a failure to pay. According to at least one university in Canada, this is apparently a new favored tactic among some copyright trolls.

      • Another Bad EU Ruling: WiFi Providers Can Be Forced To Require Passwords If Copyright Holders Demand It

        For quite some time now, we’ve been following an odd case through the German and then EU court system, concerning whether or not the operator of an open WiFi system should be liable for copyright infringement that occurs over that access point. Back in 2010, a German court first said that if you don’t secure your WiFi, you can get fined. This was very problematic — especially for those of us who believe in open WiFi. The EU Court of Justice agreed to hear the case and the Advocate General recommended a good ruling: that WiFi operators are not liable and also that they shouldn’t be forced to password protect their access points.

        The ruling, unfortunately, says that WiFi operators can be compelled to password protect their networks. It’s not all bad, in that the headline story is that WiFi operators, on their own, are not liable for actions done on the network, but that’s completely undermined by the requirement to password protect it if a copyright holder asks them to.

      • Do memes violate copyright law?

        Who owns a meme—those pictures, videos and ideas that go viral on the internet?

        In the case of the Socially Awkward Penguin, the answer might be National Geographic, since a staff photographer took the original penguin picture. Around 2009, internet users got hold of that photo, changed the background, added text and made it an internet phenomenon.

        But stock photo company Getty Images says it controls the penguin—and its meme progeny. Last year, Getty Images, which licenses National Geographic’s pictures, told the German company Get Digital that it owed license fees for using the penguin meme on one of its blogs. And Getty’s bill was twice the normal licensing fee, according to Get Digital.

      • Apparently, Ubuntu is ‘infringing’ Paramount’s Copyrights over Transformers movie!

        For some unknown reason, Paramount Pictures has decided that the freely distributed Ubuntu OS torrents are “infringing” their copyrights on Transformers movie! Paramount Pictures recently sent a DMCA takedown notice to Google, accusing Ubuntu OS of infringing their copyrights.

      • Torrent Site Founder, Moderator and Users Receive Prison Sentences

        The 28-year-old former operator of a French-based torrent site has been ordered to serve a year in jail and pay a five million euro fine. A moderator received a four-month suspended sentence. Somewhat unusually, four regular users of the site were tracked down by their IP addresses. They too received custodial sentences.

09.16.16

Links 16/9/2016: Uber Uses GNU/Linux, Dell’s New Laptops

Posted in News Roundup at 6:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Delinkage Of R&D Costs From Product Prices

      It is essential that policy makers reform the systems for financing R&D, and de-link the costs of R&D from the prices of products.

      First, let’s reflect on why we have high drug prices. When we grant monopolies on products, through patents or other measures, the company that has the monopoly exploits the monopoly, fairly predictably, to maximize profits, and increasingly, this means aggressive pricing.

      Why do we have public policies to create monopolies? Because that is part of our system of funding R&D. That is really the only reason to create the monopolies in the first place.

      But, there is an alternative that would do a better job of funding R&D, with low drug prices, and that is a system that is based on delinkage.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Latest Estimate Pegs Cost of Wars at Nearly $5 Trillion

      The total U.S. budgetary cost of war since 2001 is $4.79 trillion, according to a report released this week from Brown University’s Watson Institute. That’s the highest estimate yet.

      Neta Crawford of Boston University, the author of the report, included interest on borrowing, future veterans needs, and the cost of homeland security in her calculations.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Swedish Court Upholds Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange

      The 45-year-old Australian has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since June 2012, seeking refuge there after exhausting all his legal options in Britain against extradition to Sweden.

      Assange has refused to travel to Stockholm for questioning over the rape allegation, which he denies, due to concerns Sweden will extradite him to the US over WikiLeaks’ release of 500,000 secret military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      This is the eighth time the European arrest warrant has been tested in a Swedish court. All of the rulings have gone against him.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Exxon lobbying: New documents reveal push against electric cars

      Exxon is lobbying the UK government to stop them pushing for electric vehicles as a way of tackling climate change or air pollution, according to documents obtained under Freedom of Information rules (FOI) by DeSmog UK.

      The documents reveal the firm lobbied UK transport department officials in three separate presentations given after the UK signed up to the Paris agreement on climate change last year.

    • Two hurt as train derailed in flood landslide near Watford Junction

      The 06:19 BST service from Milton Keynes to Euston left the track at about 07:00 BST, Network Rail said.

      A portion of the train derailed and was then hit by another train. It was a “glancing blow” and the other train continued on its way.

      A man was treated for a neck injury and a woman treated for chest pains.

      London Midland and Virgin services remain “severely disrupted” from the north-west, Scotland, and the Midlands.

  • Finance

    • Hatch Still Trying To Change The Finalized TPP Deal To Make It Even Worse For Other Nations

      As Techdirt noted in 2014, by agreeing to the “fast track” procedure for trade deals, Congress has essentially given up its power to change them. That’s a two-edged sword. Although it makes the ratification process simpler, because things like TPP and TTIP must be accepted or rejected in their entirety, it also means that political bosses have no ability to tweak the text to make it more likely the deals will be ratified. That’s coming back to bite one of the people who introduced the fast track bill, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch.

    • Deutsche Bank: No plan to pay $14B Justice Dept. settlement

      Deutsche Bank AG said Friday it does not intend to pay $14 billion to settle civil claims with the U.S. Department of Justice for its handling of residential mortgage-backed securities and related transactions.

      The bank confirmed in a statement that the Justice Department had proposed a settlement of $14 billion and asked the German bank to make a counter proposal.

    • Northern Powerhouse: George Osborne to stay and fight for project

      George Osborne has said he will stay in the Commons to “fight for the things I care about” as he launches a think tank to promote the Northern Powerhouse.

      Mr Osborne, who was sacked as chancellor by Theresa May, said: “I don’t want to write my memoirs because I don’t know how the story ends.”

      There had been a “bit of a wobble” by Mrs May over the project, he said.

      No 10 says Mrs May is building on his plan to create a northern economy to rival London and the South East.

    • Over 200 Economics & Law Professors Urge Congress To Reject Corporate Sovereignty Provisions In Trade Deals

      We’ve written quite a lot for years about the massive problems with “corporate sovereignty” provisions in trade agreements — so-called “investor state dispute settlement” (ISDS) provisions — that allow companies to “sue” countries for regulations they feel are unfair. These aren’t heard by courts, but rather by “tribunals” chosen by the companies and the countries. Some supporters of these provisions claim that there’s really nothing wrong with them because they help encourage both investment in different countries and more stable and fair regulations.

    • TPP members agree not to renegotiate sweeping free trade deal

      The 12 countries that signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact earlier this year agreed Monday that they will not renegotiate the deal, Japan’s TPP minister Nobuteru Ishihara said.

      The minister also told reporters the 12 nations confirmed they will move ahead with domestic processes quickly to adopt the U.S.-led trade pact.

      Ishihara’s remarks came after he joined ambassadors and other representatives from 11 countries for a TPP meeting at the official residence of U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy in Tokyo.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • State Department Delays Records Request About Clinton-Linked Firm Until After The 2016 Election

      Beacon Global Strategies is a shadowy consulting firm that’s stacked with former Obama administration officials, high profile Republicans and a number of Hillary Clinton’s closest foreign policy advisers. But beyond its billing as a firm that works with the defense industry, it is unclear for whom specifically the company works, exactly what it does, and if Beacon employees have tried to influence national security policy since the firm’s founding in 2013.

      And now the Obama administration has complicated the effort to find out — at least until after the presidential election. Last week, the State Department delayed its response to a 2015 public records request for any correspondence between Beacon and agency officials until May 2017.

    • Nigel Farage aide defects to Tories claiming a mass exodus from Ukip

      One of Nigel Farage’s closest aides, who headed Ukip’s media operation for three years, has said the party has “disintegrated” and that she has joined the surge of members and supporters turning to the Conservatives.

      Alexandra Phillips said Theresa May had delivered on all key elements of Ukip’s 2015 election manifesto “within a matter of months”, leaving her former party with few places to go in policy terms.

      “I think ideologically the Tories are doing the Ukip dance now,” she said, pointing to policies on Brexit, immigration, grammar schools and fracking. Phillips said Farage had been “inspirational” to work with and would be remembered as “one of the most incredible politicians of our generation”.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Congressman In Charge Of OPM Hacking Report Announces Plan To Investigate Stingray Use Next

      It’s a good point, one fresh in the mind of millions thanks to the just-delivered OPM report. The government appears willing to take security seriously if it means doling out tax dollars to dozens of agencies with cyberstars in their eyes and crafting bad legislation, but not so much when it comes to actually ensuring its own backyard is locked down.

      Chaffetz was one of the legislators behind the 2015 attempt to turn the DOJ’s Stingray guidance into law, laying down a warrant requirement for US law enforcement. Unfortunately, the bill went nowhere. Presumably, a thorough investigation into law enforcement use of this repurposed war tech might prompt more legislative cooperation in the future.

      Chaffetz has done little to endear himself to security and law enforcement agencies since his arrival on the Hill. In addition to the failed Stingray warrant bill, Chaffetz also partnered with Ron Wyden to attempt to add a warrant requirement for law enforcement GPS tracking — something the Supreme Court almost addressed in its US v. Jones decision.

    • Edward Snowden: House Intelligence Committee Slams NSA Leaker As Disgruntled Employee, Thief
    • Congress Celebrates Snowden Release by Accusing NSA Whistleblower of Invading Privacy
    • ‘He is not a whistleblower. He is a criminal’: Scathing congressional report slams Edward Snowden and says he leaked secrets that ’caused tremendous damage’ to national security
    • ‘He is not a whistleblower. He is a criminal’: Scathing congressional report slams Edward Snowden and says he leaked secrets that ’caused tremendous damage’ to national security
    • NSA Whistleblower Condemns Mass Surveillance | UK-Argentina Relations Thaw

      Today’s main stories: NSA whistleblower Bill Binney, protagonist of the film The Good American which is premiered in the UK tonight, reveals that the 9/11 attacks in New York and many more recent terrorist attacks across Europe could have been avoided if the US had not relied on methods of mass surveillance. Bill Binnie and the film’s director, Friedrich Moser join us in the studio to discuss the ethics of mass surveillance and whether Edward Snowden could receive a presidential pardon.

    • National Security Officials Offer Hedged Support For Strong Encryption

      As Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr mount another attempt to legislate holes in encryption, national security officials are offering testimony suggesting this is no way to solve the perceived problem. Another encryption hearing, again hosted by a visibly irritated John McCain (this time the villain is Twitter), featured testimony from NSA Director Michael Rogers [PDF] and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre [PDF] — neither of whom offered support for mandated backdoors.

      As nice as that sounds, the testimony wasn’t so much “We support strong encryption,” as it was “We support strong encryption*.”

      Lettre’s testimony follows statements of support for encryption — and opposition to legislated backdoors or “golden keys” — with the veiled suggestion that the government will be leaning heavily on tech companies to solve this problem for it.

    • If Snowden Doesn’t Know Privacy Protections of 702, That’s a Problem with NSA Training

      The House Intelligence Committee just released a report — ostensibly done to insist President Obama not pardon Snowden — that is instead surely designed as a rebuttal to the Snowden movie coming out in general release tomorrow. Why HPSCI sees it as their job to refute Hollywood I don’t know, especially since they didn’t make the same effort when Zero Dark Thirty came out, which suggests they are serving as handmaidens of the Intelligence Community, not an oversight committee.

      There will be lots of debates about the validity of the report. In some ways, HPSCI admits they’re being as inflammatory as possible, as when they note that the IC only did a damage assessment of what they think Snowden took, whereas DOD did a damage assessment of every single thing he touched. HPSCI’s claims are all based on the latter.

      There are things that HPSCI apparently doesn’t realize makes them and the IC look bad — not Snowden — such as the claim that he never obtained a high school equivalent degree; apparently people can just fake basic credentials and the CIA and NSA are incapable of identifying that. The report even admits a previously unknown contact between Snowden and CIA’s IG, regarding the training of IT specialists. BREAKING: Snowden did try to report something through an official channel!

    • Review: ‘Snowden,’ Oliver Stone’s Restrained Portrait of a Whistle-Blower

      Oliver Stone’s “Snowden,” a quiet, crisply drawn portrait of the world’s most celebrated whistle-blower, belongs to a curious subgenre of movies about very recent historical events. Reversing the usual pattern, it could be described as a fictional “making of” feature about “Citizenfour,” Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning documentary on the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. That film seems to me more likely to last — it is deeper journalism and more haunting cinema — but Mr. Stone has made an honorable and absorbing contribution to the imaginative record of our confusing times. He tells a story torn from slightly faded headlines, filling in some details you may have forgotten, and discreetly embellishing the record in the service of drama and suspense.

      In the context of this director’s career, “Snowden” is both a return to form and something of a departure. Mr. Stone circles back to the grand questions of power, war and secrecy that have propelled his most ambitious work, and finds a hero who fits a familiar Oliver Stone mold. Edward (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, leaning hard on a vocal imitation) is presented as a disillusioned idealist, a serious young man whose experiences lead him to doubt accepted truths and question the wisdom of authority. He has something in common with Jim Garrison in “J.F.K.” and Ron Kovic in “Born on the Fourth of July,” and also with Chris Taylor and Bud Fox, the characters played by Charlie Sheen in “Platoon” and “Wall Street.”

    • If Someone Is Testing Ways To Take Down The Internet, Perhaps It’s Time To Build A Stronger Internet

      This article is getting a collective “oh, shit, that’s bad” kind of reaction from many online — and that’s about right. But, shouldn’t it also be something of a call to action to build a better system? In many ways, it’s still incredible that the internet actually works. There are still elements that feel held together by duct tape and handshake agreements. And while it’s been surprisingly resilient, that doesn’t mean that it needs to remain that way.

      Schneier notes that there’s “nothing, really” that can be done about these tests — and that’s true in the short term. But it seems, to me, like it should be setting off alarm bells for people to rethink how the internet is built — and to make things even more distributed and less subject to attacks on “critical infrastructure.” People talk about how the internet was originally supposed to be designed to withstand a nuclear attack and keep working. But, the reality has always been that there are a few choke points. Seems like now would be a good time to start fixing things so that the choke points are no longer so critical.

    • As “Snowden” Opens, Three Largest Rights Groups in U.S. Call on Obama for a Pardon

      The day after the New York premiere of Oliver Stone’s new movie, “Snowden,” the three largest human rights organizations in the U.S. teamed up to launch a campaign calling on President Obama to pardon the NSA whistleblower.

      Snowden himself spoke via video from Moscow at a press conference Wednesday morning alongside representatives from the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International.

      Snowden called whistleblowing “democracy’s safeguard of last resort” and argued that if the Obama administration does not reverse its practice of prosecuting whistleblowers, it would leave a legacy of secrecy that is damaging to democracy.

    • Rights Groups, Riding Film Publicity, Urge Pardon for Edward Snowden

      Three human rights groups on Wednesday urged President Obama to pardon Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who leaked secret documents about National Security Agency surveillance in 2013 and is living in Russia as a fugitive from criminal charges.

      The start of the campaign coincides with the theatrical release this week of the movie “Snowden,” a sympathetic, fictionalized version of his story by the director Oliver Stone. Together, the film and the campaign, called “Pardon Snowden,” opened a new chapter in the debate about the surveillance Mr. Snowden revealed and about whether his leaks will go down in history as whistle-blowing or treason.

    • Former CIA Officer: President Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden

      This week, Edward Snowden, multiple human rights and civil rights groups, and a broad array of American citizens asked President Obama to exercise his Constitutional power to pardon Snowden. As a former CIA officer, I wholeheartedly support a full presidential pardon for this brave whistleblower.

      All nations require some secrecy. But in a democracy, where the government is accountable to the people, transparency should be the default; secrecy, the exception. And this is especially true regarding the implementation of an unprecedented system of domestic bulk surveillance, a mere precursor of which Senator Frank Church warned 40 years ago could lead to the eradication of privacy and the imposition of “total tyranny.”

      That today we are engaged in a meaningful debate about whether such a system is desirable is almost entirely due to the conscience, courage and conviction of one man: Edward Snowden. Without Snowden, the American people could not balance for themselves the risks, costs and benefits of omniscient domestic surveillance. Because of him, we can.

      For this service, the government has charged Snowden under the World War I-era Espionage Act. Yet Snowden did not sell information secretly to any enemy of America. Instead, he shared it openly through the press with the American people.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • CBP Fails to Meaningfully Address Risks of Gathering Social Media Handles

      Last month we submitted comments to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, opposing its proposal to gather social media handles from foreign visitors from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries. CBP recently provided its preliminary responses (“Supporting Statement”) to several of our arguments (CBP also extended the comment deadline to September 30). But CBP has not adequately addressed the points we made.

      [...]

      As we said in our comments, we do not doubt that CBP and DHS are sincerely motivated to protect homeland security. However, the proposal to collect social media handles has serious flaws—and the government has failed to adequately address them.

    • Sarah Harrison on Snowden’s escape, Oliver Stone’s film, Assange, Courage and whistleblowers

      Sarah Harrison, Courage’s acting director and longtime WikiLeaks journalist, has sat down for several interviews to discuss various news items happening this week: the premiere of Oliver Stone’s film ‘Snowden,’ Harrison’s return to the UK after years of effective exile, and WikiLeaks’ US releases.

      After she assisted Edward Snowden escape from Hong Kong to Moscow, and stayed with him in Sheremetyevo Airport in Russia with hopes of reaching Latin America, Harrison was advised to stay out of the UK, where British terrorism laws threaten to criminalize journalistic work. She’s lived in Berlin for the last three years, but since David Miranda’s recent legal success challenging his 2013 detention in Heathrow, Harrison’s lawyers suggested she could attempt to return home.

    • FBI can’t pretend to be the AP without special approval. They can pretend to be Apple.

      As a number of outlets have reported, the DOJ IG just released a report on FBI’s impersonation of a journalist in 2007 to catch a high school student making bomb threats. As I will explain in more detail in a follow-up post, it somewhat exonerated the Agents who engaged in that effort. It also gives reserved approval of an interim policy FBI adopted this June (that is, well after the press complained, and just as the IG was finishing this report) that would prevent the FBI from pulling a similar stunt without higher level approval.

      But some of the details in the report — as well as one of its recommendations — suggests that the FBI would still be able to pretend to be a software company including a software update. Here’s the recommendation.

    • How Washington Blew Its Best Chance to Fix Immigration

      In June, not long after Donald Trump attacked an Indiana-born judge because he was “Mexican,” I went to go see Representative Raúl Labrador in the Longworth Office Building on Capitol Hill. Labrador, an Idaho Republican, cuts an unusual profile in Washington. Born in Puerto Rico, he was raised Mormon by a single mother in Las Vegas and now, as he told me, represents “one of the most conservative districts in the United States, one of the whitest districts in the United States.” Labrador came to Congress as part of the Tea Party wave of 2010 and later helped found the Freedom Caucus, the House’s conservative vanguard. He was also a pivotal member of a bipartisan group of eight House members who, in early 2013, came together in hopes of producing comprehensive legislation to fix the nation’s immigration system.

      Today, nearly every word of that last sentence feels as if it were ripped from a political fiction of “West Wing”-level implausibility. Immigration is the conflict that has eaten the 2016 elections — relegating other pressing issues to the margins, embodying Washington’s political dysfunction, further polarizing a divided country and, above all, fueling the presidential campaign of a man who began his candidacy by vowing to build a wall to keep Mexico from sending “rapists” to America. In recent weeks, even Trump’s own campaign seems to have grown alarmed by the political toxicity of what it has unleashed, embarking on a series of incoherent revisions before settling back on hard talk about creating a “special deportation task force.”

    • Jay Z: ‘The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail’

      Why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for?

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • This Bill Could Stop Protectionist State Broadband Laws, But ISP Control Over Congress Means It Won’t Pass

      We’ve noted for years that one way incumbent broadband providers protect their duopoly kingdoms is by quite literally buying state laws that protect the status quo. These laws, passed in roughly twenty different states, prevent towns and cities from building their own broadband networks or in some instances from partnering with a private company like Google Fiber. Usually misleadingly presented by incumbent lobbyists and lawmakers as grounded in altruistic concern for taxpayer welfare, the laws are little more than pure protectionism designed to maintain the current level of broadband dysfunction — for financial gain.

      Earlier this year, the FCC tried to use its Congressional mandate under the Communications Act to eliminate the restrictive portions of these laws in two states. But the FCC’s effort was shot down as an overreach by the courts earlier this month, and the FCC has stated it has no intention of continuing the fight. That leaves the hope of ending these protectionist laws either in the hands of voters (most of whom don’t have the slightest idea what’s happening) or Congress (most of whom don’t want the telecom campaign contributions to stop flowing).

  • DRM

    • Apple Surveys Its Users About Headphone Port

      In the wake of Apple’s controversial announcement that it’s newest strain of iPhones will not be including a headphone jack, it’s been reported that the company is now sending out survey emails to Macbook Pro users that reference a potential removal of the headphone port in future models.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Boise State Somehow Got A Trademark On Non-Green Athletic Fields

        It’s football season again, which means some significant portion of America is routinely spending some significant chunk of its weekends watching some significant portion of male college students give some significant portion of each other irreparable brain damage. It’s an American thing, I suppose. Also, an American thing is the acquisition of overly broad trademarks that border on the laughable. Intersecting these two bastions of American pride is Boise State, with a recent NY Times article discussing how the school managed to trademark athletic fields that include grass that is blue, with attorneys working with the school suggesting that any non-green colored field might result in trademark action.

    • Copyrights

      • Free Wi-Fi in cities? ‘We panicked for five minutes. Then we realised it’s not serious’

        Telecoms companies were as surprised as anyone when Jean-Claude Juncker announced Wednesday (14 September) that the European Commission wants every city and village in the EU to offer some free public Wi-Fi by 2020.

        “We panicked for five minutes. Then we realised it’s not serious,” one industry source said.

        Juncker mentioned the plan during his annual “State of the Union” speech early yesterday.

        But the proposal that was published a few hours later doesn’t actually guarantee free wireless internet access.

09.15.16

Links 15/9/2016: CUPS 2.2, Copyright Undermines European Internet Users

Posted in News Roundup at 1:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Opens Doors for Comms Startups

    Open source can break down barriers to startups and innovation in the comms industry, which can often be resistant to new ideas.

    “Our industry as a whole has a high barrier to entry for startups, and new small companies,” Tom Anschutz, distinguished member of the AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) technical staff, said, speaking on a panel about the future of the data center. “With open source, SDN and NFV, one of the roles and responsibilities of innovating and bringing new things to the industry has opened up.”

    However, while open source provides great value, somebody’s got to provide packaged support, Trey Hall, vice president of marketing and technology for Walker and Associates, said. Barriers to entry are low, but support is still challenging.

  • What Open-Source Software Could Mean For Agriculture

    A lot of computer software is proprietary – you have to buy it, and modifying the code is strictly off-limits. But another type of software – called “open-source software” – performs as its name implies. Anyone is free to inspect, modify or enhance it.

    Over the years, this method of coding has led to some useful innovations, primarily for a variety of everyday computing tasks that pretty much anyone using the Internet today unknowingly takes advantage of. Now, open-source software is bleeding into the agriculture industry.

  • TaxBrain: Open source economic forecasting

    As economic policy becomes more complex, it grows less transparent.

    To bring some insight into the data and forecasts, the American Enterprise Institute’s Open Source Policy Center (OSPC) has developed a new approach to policy analysis.

    The TaxBrain web application lets users simulate and study the effect of tax policy reforms using open source economic models. Developed and launched in April by OSPC, TaxBrain aims “to make economic policy analysis more transparent, accessible and scientific,” AEI officials said.

  • Top 10 Google Open Source Projects You Must Know

    Google is a titan in the technology industry. Google has contributed to nearly every front of technology, and, since the Alphabet restructuring, has become the single most valuable company in the world. Google has also made some notable contributions to the open source community in the form of Android, Chromium OS, Go, Material Design Icons etc.

  • CloudBees Announces First Enterprise Distribution of Jenkins, Combining Open Source Innovation with Enterprise-Class Reliability and Stability
  • From MIT to MapR, Big Data Training is Becoming Easily Accessible
  • 3 open source alternatives to PowerPoint

    PowerPoint is one of those programs whose use has become so ingrained in the corporate world that it is probably running the risk of becoming completely genericized, in the same way that some people use Kleenex to refer to all tissues, or BAND-AIDs to refer to all bandages.

    But presenting a slideshow doesn’t have to mean using PowerPoint. There are a number of totally capable open source alternatives to PowerPoint for giving visual presentations. In many cases, the features of these “alternatives” are so compelling that, unless you’re absolutely forced to use PowerPoint, I don’t know why you still would.

  • Global group communication and culture tips
  • SaaS/Back End

    • Mirantis Acquires TCP Cloud to Advance Kubernetes Ambitions

      Based in Prague, TCP Cloud provides managed services around deployments of OpenStack, OpenContrail and Kubernetes technologies. Mirantis CEO Alex Freedland says the addition of technology developed by TCP Cloud will reduce the amount of time it would have taken Mirantis to move OpenStack to Kubernetes by six to nine months. As a result, he says, Mirantis expects to show the first fruits of a joint development effort involving CoreOS, Google and Intel in the first quarter of 2017.

    • Marrying Ephemeral Docker Containers to Persistent Data

      Docker containers are ephemeral by design. They come and they go like a herd of hyperactive squirrels, which is great for high availability, but not so great for preserving your data. Kendrick Coleman of EMC {code} demonstrated how to have both ephemeral containers and persistent data in his talk called “Highly Available & Distributed Containers” at ContainerCon North America.

      As container technologies become more complex, using them becomes easier. Coleman gave a wonderful presentation using a Minecraft game to demonstrate persistent data storage with ephemeral containers, and did it all live. This setup requires two technologies that were not available as recently as a year ago: Docker SwarmKit and REX-Ray.

    • Docker + Golang = Heart

      This is a short collection of tips and tricks showing how Docker can be useful when working with Go code. For instance, I’ll show you how to compile Go code with different versions of the Go toolchain, how to cross-compile to a different platform (and test the result!), or how to produce really small container images.

      The following article assumes that you have Docker installed on your system. It doesn’t have to be a recent version (we’re not going to use any fancy feature here).

    • Docker Partner Program Unlocks DevOps, ALM Opportunities

      When Docker unveiled a formalized channel program today, partners gained a new springboard that could launch them deeper into DevOps, application lifecycle management and various managed services.

      The partner program launch was nearly three years in the making. To understand the journey, rewind to January 2014. That’s when the software container company hired former Red Hat Channel Chief Roger Egan as senior VP of sales.

      At the time, Egan told me Docker’s influence across the IT market could eventually eclipse Linux’s impact. Sure, Linux freed the world from expensive Unix servers and enabled data center consolidation projects. But containers, he reasoned, could speed application deployments across all types of on-premises and cloud systems.

    • Front Ends and Extensions Take Hadoop in New Directions

      Across the history of data analytics, marquee-level applications have always given rise to useful front ends and connectors that extend what the original applications were capable of. For example, the dominance of the spreadsheet gave rise to macros, plugins, and extensions. Likewise, the rise of SQL database applications ushered in database front ends, plugins, and connectors. Now, Big Data titan Hadoop is inspiring its own ecosystem of powerful extensions and front ends.

      To explain what a difference these extenders and connectors can make, here are some examples of how Hadoop can be taken in new directions with these tools.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • It’s time to make LibreOffice and OpenOffice one again

      Let’s talk about OpenOffice. More than likely you’ve already read, countless times, that Apache OpenOffice is near the end. The last stable iteration was 4.1.2 (released October, 2015) and a recent major security flaw took a month to patch. A lack of coders has brought development to a creeping crawl. And then, the worst possible news hit the ether; the project suggested users switch to MS Office (or LibreOffice).

      For whom the bells tolls? The bell tolls for thee, OpenOffice.

      I’m going to say something that might ruffle a few feathers. Are you ready for it?

      The end of OpenOffice will be a good thing for open source and for users.

    • Oracle happy to let Apache Foundation adopt NetBeans

      The IDE allows development in Java and in other languages and runs operating systems that can fire up a JVM. As the Foundation explains in its proposal, “NetBeans has approximately 1.5 million active users around the world, in extremely diverse structures and organizations.” Students, teachers, “large organizations who base their software on the application framework beneath NetBeans” and many others use the tool.

      But the Foundation points out that “NetBeans has been run by Oracle, with the majority of code contributions coming from Oracle.”

      Moving the project to the Foundation is therefore seen as a way “to expand the diversity of contributors and to increase the level of meritocracy in NetBeans.”

      The Foundation seems to be betting that things can’t get worse with the potential for more contributors that would come with its stewardship. The proposal therefore says that “… though Oracle will relinquish its control over NetBeans, individual contributors from Oracle are expected to continue contributing to NetBeans after it has been contributed to Apache, together with individual contributors from other organizations, as well as self-employed individual contributors.”

  • Healthcare

    • Yes, We’ve Migrated!

      Since March, 30 2000 Linux Medical News has been on the Zope-based Squishdot blog before there was blogs software. After 16 years and 1963 articles (has it been that long?) we’ve finally moved to WordPress. As always, for 16 years, your announcements your news your opinions are welcome at http://linuxmednews.com

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guile 2.1.4 released (beta)

      We are delighted to announce GNU Guile release 2.1.4, the next pre-release in what will become the 2.2 stable series.

      This release fixes many small bugs, adds an atomic reference facility, and improves the effectiveness of integer unboxing in the compiler. See the release announcement for full details and a download link.

  • Public Services/Government

    • MEP: publicly funded software should be public

      Software developed with public funds should be made available as free and open source software, says Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda. Sharing source code should become a standard in IT procurement across the EU, the MEP says.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Copyleft and data: databases as poor subject

      Open licensing works when you strike a healthy balance between obligations and reuse. Data, and how it is used, is different from software in ways that change that balance, making reasonable compromises in software (like attribution) suddenly become insanely difficult barriers.

    • What the rise of permissive open source licenses means

      This FUD about open source software is mainly about open source licensing. There are many different licenses, some more restrictive (some people use the term “protective”) than others. Restrictive licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL) use the concept of copyleft, which grants people the right to freely distribute copies and modified versions of a piece of software as long as the same rights are preserved in derivative works. The GPL (v3) is used by open source projects such as bash and GIMP. There’s also the Affero GPL, which provides copyleft to software that is offered over a network (for example as a web service.)

      What this means is that if you take code that is licensed in this way and you modify it by adding some of your own proprietary code, then in some circumstances the whole new body of code, including your code, becomes subject to the restrictive open source license. It was this type of license that Ballmer was probably referring to when he made his statement.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Dutch public agencies fail to register open data on national portal

        Less than one in ten Dutch public agencies has registered any open data on the national open data portal. For municipalities, this falls to only one in twenty. These are the main results of an assessment performed by the Open State Foundation.

        According to the foundation, from 1,069 government organisations only 89 have datasets that can be found via the central government’s open data portal: Although all ministries and provinces have registered one or more datasets, datasets from only 21 of a total of 395 municipalities, seven of 246 regional cooperation bodies, 12 of 155 Self-Governing Bodies and four of the 23 water boards can be found. High Councils of State and Public Bodies have not registered any open datasets yet.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Meet Hyperledger: An “Umbrella” for Open Source Blockchain & Smart Contract Technologies

      It’s hard to believe I’ve been working at The Linux Foundation on Hyperledger for four months already. I’ve been blown away by the amount of interest and support the project has received since the beginning of the year. As things really start to take off, I think it’s important to take a step back to reflect and recapitulate why and what we’re doing with Hyperledger. Simply put, we see Hyperledger as an “umbrella” for software developer communities building open source blockchain and related technologies. In this blog post, I’m going to try to define what we mean by “umbrella,” that is, the rationale behind it and how we expect that model to work towards building a neutral, foundational community.

    • Hitchhiker’s Guide to IoT Standards and Protocols

      The framework of course depends on if your deployment is going to be internal, such as in a factory, or external, such as a consumer product. In this conversation, we’ll focus on products that are launching externally to a wider audience of customers, and for that, we have a lot to consider.

    • Standards Move at Snail’s Pace for the NFV Community

      There’s a general consensus among people working on telco virtualization that open source groups are replacing traditional standards groups.

      “In open source, code is the coin of the realm; express yourself with something that is useful,” said Tom Anschutz, distinguished member of AT&T’s technical staff, speaking yesterday at Light Reading’s 2016 NFV & Carrier SDN event.

Leftovers

  • Gmail hit by global outage

    A global Gmail outage that began at 1.16am AEST this morning has affected millions of users across the world.

    Nine hours later, at 10.45am AEST, the company was still claiming that the service had been restored for “some users” as it did four times earlier after the initial announcement of the breakdown of the service.

    The first message at 1.16am said there were indications that the issue only affected Google for Work Gmail users.

    Subsequent messages did not clarify whether this was correct or not.

    About 40 minutes later, Google said it had identified the root cause of the issue and was implementing a “potential fix”.

  • Science

    • A ‘Memory Hacker’ Explains How to Plant False Memories in People’s Minds

      We tend to think of memories as perfect little time capsules—important records of past events that matter to us and made us who we are, as unchangeable as a dragonfly stuck in amber. Well, they’re anything but. I recently met with Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist who specializes in the science of memory. “I am a memory hacker,” Shaw told me. “I use the science of memory to make you think you did things that never happened.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Alcohol Industry Bankrolls Fight Against Legal Pot in Battle of the Buzz

      The fight against legalized pot is being heavily bankrolled by alcohol and pharmaceutical companies, terrified that they might lose market share.

      On the heels of a filing last week that revealed that a synthetic cannabis company is financing the opposition to legal marijuana in Arizona comes a new disclosure this week that a beer industry group made one of the largest donations to an organization set up to defeat legalization in Massachusetts.

      The Beer Distributors PAC, an affiliate that represents 16 beer-distribution companies in Massachusetts, gave $25,000 to the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, tying it for third place among the largest contributors to the anti-pot organization.

    • UN High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines Issues “Landmark” Report

      The long-awaited report by the United Nations High Level Panel on Access to Medicines was released today, making many recommendations. The panel calls for countries to embrace the policy space available in the World Trade Organization intellectual property rules, and invest more in health. It also calls for negotiation of a binding international treaty on research and development, delinking prices from R&D costs, greater transparency in drug pricing, public health impact assessments in free trade agreements, and encouragement to better use international legal tools available to countries to ensure affordable medical products. And it lays out the path ahead, calling for several new bodies to be created to take recommendations forward.

    • Pharma Company Funding Anti-Pot Fight Worried About Losing Business, Filings Show

      Pharmaceutical executives who recently made a major donation to an anti-marijuana legalization campaign claimed they were doing so out of concern for the safety of children — but their investor filings reveal that pot poses a direct threat to their plans to cash in on a synthetic cannabis product they have developed.

      On August 31, Insys Therapeutics Inc. donated $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, becoming the single largest donor to the group leading the charge to defeat a ballot measure in Arizona to legalize marijuana.

      The drug company, which currently markets a fast-acting version of the deadly painkiller fentanyl, assured local news reporters that they had the public interest in mind when making the hefty donation. A spokesperson told the Arizona Republic that Insys opposes the legalization measure, Prop. 205, “because it fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, and particularly its children.”

      A Washington Post story on Friday noted the potential self-interest involved in Insys’s donation.

      Investor filings examined by The Intercept confirm the obvious.

    • Slovakia food producers call on govt to reject TTIP to stop the EU “being flooded” with GMOs

      EXCERPT: TTIP has met resistance from the public, governments and parliaments of both Austria and France. The controversial deal will reduce consumer protection as well as the safety of foodstuffs.

    • MSF Report Calls On Governments To Repair, Remodel Biomedical R&D

      Governments are urged to do more to promote the development of desperately-needed new medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics at affordable prices and address the failures of research and development (R&D) in a new report by Médecins Sans Frontières.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • DevOps and the Art of Secure Application Deployment

      Secure application deployment principles must extend from the infrastructure layer all the way through the application and include how the application is actually deployed, according to Tim Mackey, Senior Technical Evangelist at Black Duck Software. In his upcoming talk, “Secure Application Development in the Age of Continuous Delivery” at LinuxCon + ContainerCon Europe, Mackey will discuss how DevOps principles are key to reducing the scope of compromise and examine why it’s important to focus efforts on what attackers’ view as vulnerable.

    • Sept 2016 Patch Tuesday: Microsoft released 14 security bulletins, rated 7 as critical

      Microsoft released 14 security bulletins for September, seven of which are rated critical due to remote code execution flaws. Microsoft in all its wisdom didn’t regard all RCEs as critical. There’s also an “important rated” patch for a publicly disclosed flaw which Microsoft claims isn’t a zero-day being exploited. But at least a 10-year-old hole is finally being plugged.

      Next month marks a significant change as Microsoft says it intends roll out “servicing changes” that include bundled patches. Unless things change, not all Windows users will be able to pick and choose specific security updates starting in October.

    • Microsoft Patches Zero Day Flaw Used In Two Massive Malvertising Campaigns [Ed: Microsoft, as usual, told the NSA about this months before patching]

      Microsoft was first notified about the so-called information disclosure bug in September 2015, security vendor Proofpoint said in an alert this week. But a patch for it became available only after Trend Micro and Proofpoint reported the bug again to Microsoft more recently when researching a massive malvertising campaign being operated by a group called AdGholas, the alert noted.

    • Finnish police: Keep your car keys in the fridge

      If there’s a car in your yard that has automatic, so-called ‘smart’ keys, you should consider keeping the keys in the fridge. That’s the message from Finnish police, who say that high-tech criminals could hack cars with such systems.

      “It sounds strange, but it makes sense,” said Jari Tiiainen of the National Bureau of Investigation.

      These so-called smart keys work by emitting a signal when the driver touches the door handle. The lock opens when it recognises the key’s signal. Criminals have technology that can strengthen that signal even from a hundred metres away—well inside the residential property where most owners keep their keys, according to Eero Heino of the If insurance company.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Putin-Bashing Fuels Hard-line Russian Reaction

      Last week, Hillary Clinton told reporters on her campaign plane that the Russians are trying to disrupt the U.S. elections to discredit the process and sow discord among Americans. This goes one step further than her previous charges of Russian influence through the “Kremlin’s candidate,” Donald Trump, or still earlier, the claim that the Democratic National Committee’s server had been hacked by intelligence services reporting to Vladimir Putin. Of course, all these charges were made without proof.

    • Donald Trump’s Not Anti-War, He Just Wants the U.S. Military to Focus on Stealing Oil

      Donald Trump’s attempt to present himself as an anti-war candidate is based on his perfect 20/20 hindsight of the disastrous consequences of regime change in Iraq and Libya — military campaigns he publicly supported when they were popular, and only turned against after they went wrong.

      To better understand that Trump really is, as he insisted during the Republican primary campaign, “much more militaristic” than even George W. Bush, it helps to look at how often he has presented his bizarre plan to use the United States military as the muscle in a global protection racket, aimed at extorting oil from countries we destroy.

    • Philippine president calls for US special forces to leave Mindanao

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech before newly sworn-in government officials on September 12, called for US special forces to leave the southern island of Mindanao. The next day, in an address to the Philippine Air Force, he said the Philippines would no longer stage joint patrols with the United States in the South China Sea.

      Duterte also declared he was looking to secure arms from China and Russia, saying he would send Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to these countries to see what they had to offer.

      The statements mark a further souring of ties between Manila and Washington under the new president. The US State Department responded by saying it had received no formal notice from the Philippines regarding its special forces in Mindanao and thus would not pull the troops out.

    • Getting Fooled on Iraq, Libya, Now Russia

      A British parliamentary inquiry into the Libyan fiasco has reported what should have been apparent from the start in 2011 – and was to some of us – that the West’s military intervention to “protect” civilians in Benghazi was a cover for what became another disastrous “regime change” operation.

      The report from the U.K.’s Foreign Affairs Committee confirms that the U.S. and other Western governments exaggerated the human rights threat posed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and then quickly morphed the “humanitarian” mission into a military invasion that overthrew and killed Gaddafi, leaving behind political and social chaos.

    • Pressure Mounts to Punish Russia For Hacking Without Evidence And Before Investigations Are Concluded

      While it’s certainly possible Russia has been busy using hackers to meddle in (or at least stoke the idiot pyres burning beneath) the U.S. elections, we’ve noted how actual evidence of this is hard to come by. At the moment, most of this evidence consists of either comments by anonymous government officials, or murky proclamations from security firms that have everything to gain financially from stoking cybersecurity tensions. Of course, transparent evidence is hard to come by when talking about hackers capable of false flag operations while obfuscating their footprints completely.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • BBC climate coverage is evolving, but too slowly

      For years, the BBC has been criticised for the false balance of its climate change coverage. And for years, the BBC has apparently been doing “ongoing work” to fix it. So far, however, this ‘reform’ has been more like a triumph of the middling. Yes, the BBC may broadcast less outright misinformation, but as a scientist and a citizen, I still feel let down by its continually careless handling of climate denial – most recently two weeks ago. This nod to mediocrity is a disservice to science, to public trust, and to the biggest news story in the world. And it is a huge, missed opportunity.

      As a young PhD graduate working on climate change solutions, I am confronted daily by a world where the warnings of science are undercut by Fox ‘News’ and its ilk. It is a very different world to the trustworthy BBC broadcasts of David Attenborough and the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures that I grew up with, which helped inspire me to become a scientist. But as a recent BBC News segment by Science Editor David Shukman sadly reminded me, those worlds can too easily collide.

    • Compassion Isn’t a Crime: Giving Thirsty Pigs Water Isn’t a Crime

      On the summer day of June 22, a Van Boekel Hog Farms slaughterhouse transportation truck headed to Fearman’s Pork Inc. was stationary, Anita Krajnc, the co-founder of Toronto Pig Save, and another activist stopped to give the pigs water and document their experience. The driver confronted the two women and told them to stop giving the pigs water. While Krajnc asked the driver to show compassion, he threatened her with physical assault and called the police.

      Now Krajnc is being charged with criminal mischief — interference with the use, enjoyment of and operation of property — under $5,000 for showing thirsty pigs compassion. Although there are reports that she’s willing to go to jail.

      Compassion is NOT criminal! Why do inmates on death row get a last meal, but innocent pigs are denied water? Why are praised for helping thirsty dogs and cats, but charged as criminals for helping pigs?

    • UK to ban fishing from a million square kilometres of ocean

      The UK is to ban commercial fishing from a million square kilometres of ocean around British overseas territories, the government said on Thursday.

      In total, the government is creating marine protected areas around four islands in the Pacific and Atlantic, including the designation this week of one of the world’s biggest around the Pitcairn Islands.

      A 840,000 sq km (320,000 sq mile) area around Pitcairn, where the mutineers of the Bounty settled, becomes a no-take zone for any fishing from this week. St Helena, around 445,000 sq km of the south Atlantic ocean and home to whale sharks and humpbacks, is now also designated as a protected area.

      The foreign office said it would designate two further marine protection zones, one each around two south Altantic islands – Ascension by 2019 and Tristan da Cunha by 2020.

      Sir Alan Duncan, minister of state for Europe and the Americas, said: “Protecting 4m sq km of ocean is a fantastic achievement, converting our historic legacy into modern environmental success.”

    • Standing Rock Sioux on the front lines of the climate emergency

      The fight by the Standing Rock Sioux to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline has emerged as one of the defining climate justice fights in the United States.

      It has also become a central focal point of the ongoing worldwide struggle by indigenous peoples to have their treaty and land rights respected by other governments and corporations. (The fact that corporations operate as de facto government is a galling example of the need for the Green Party).

      Representatives of more than 280 Native American tribes have now participated in the occupation, an unprecedented gathering of indigenous peoples after centuries of war, genocide, and land theft.

      Indigenous people are among the most vulnerable communities on the front lines of the climate crisis, and are leading the fight. Corporations have repeatedly used force to extract fossil fuels from their lands with approval from government attorneys and military forces. Major pipeline projects invariably cut across Native lands while bypassing white suburban communities.

      We must follow the lead of indigenous communities that have protected their land for countless generations, and work together in solidarity to ensure a thriving planet for future generations and all living beings.

      Ajamu Baraka, my Vice Presidential running mate, and I visited the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s occupation last week. We went to demonstrate Green Party solidarity with their struggle. The silence of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on this issue is deafening.

  • Finance

    • Juncker’s CETA support undermines pledges on climate and citizens’ rights

      European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today reaffirmed his commitment to CETA – the EU-Canada trade deal – calling it as “the best and most progressive agreement that we have ever entered into.”

      His comments came during the annual State of the European Union address, where he also spoke about his regret at the slow pace of the ratification of the Paris climate agreement (“Dragging our feet on ratification affects our credibility and makes us look ridiculous”) and promised to protect farmers (“The Commission will always stand by our farmers”) and citizens’ rights (“In Europe, consumers are protected against cartels and abuses by powerful companies”).

    • September 15, 2016 Publication

      TiSA is often considered the “little” brother of the two “big” trade agreements TPP or TTIP – but this view seems more and more inappropriate, as the global economy is shifting towards a service-oriented/based economy. According to the World Bank, world-wide trade in services in 2015 was around 13% of the global GDP; for the EU it is even twice that figure (around 24% of its total GDP). But it is not just these numbers alone that prove that the TiSA negotiations deserve a much higher attention in the public discussion as they currently have:

    • Former DWP disabilities minister set to be suspended from Parliament for leaking payday loan report to Wonga

      A former DWP minister with responsibility for disabled people is set to be suspended from the House of Commons for leaking a parliamentary report to a payday lender.

      Justin Tomlinson shared the findings of a draft report into regulating payday loans with an employee of Wonga.

    • Justin Tomlinson faces suspension for Wonga report leak

      A former DWP minister with responsibility for disabled people is set to be suspended from the House of Commons for leaking a parliamentary report to a payday lender.

      Justin Tomlinson shared the findings of a draft report into regulating payday loans with an employee of Wonga.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • A Busy Day for the Bears

      Finally, there was the “appearance” at a security conference by Guccifer 2.0, the guy who has released the DNC emails that gave the Democrats an excuse to force Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s to resign, though they had been looking for an excuse for some time.

      In point of fact, Guccifer 2.0 didn’t appear in person at the conference. Rather, he sent a speech which got read at the conference, with the transcript released to journalists. The speech focused on the negligence of software companies in security. Guccifer went on for several paragraphs about the power and sloppiness of tech companies, arguing they were to blame for hacks.

    • Trump’s Call for a Flood of Poll Watchers Could Disrupt Some Voting Places

      Donald Trump’s campaign website implores voters to “Help Me Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election!” by signing up as observers. He warned people at an Aug. 12 campaign event in Altoona, Pennsylvania, that Clinton could win the state only by cheating, and he asked supporters to “go down to certain areas and watch and study, and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times.” Less than a week later, Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, encouraged a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire, to help ensure a fair election by serving as poll watchers because “you are the greatest vanguard for integrity in voting.”

    • Here’s Where the Candidates Stand on 3 Crucial Science Topics

      In August, the presidential campaigns of Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump, the Green Party’s Jill Stein, and Libertarian Gary Johnson were sent 20 crucial science topics to consider. The questions for each topic were determined by leading American scientific institutions and what they felt were today’s most pressing issues in science and technology.

    • Guccifer 2.0 strikes again: DNC chair blames ‘Russian agents’

      The Democratic National Committee chairwoman said the DNC was the victim of a Russian cyberattack after the infamous hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 — who leaked internal Democratic documents ahead of the party’s convention this summer — released more apparent DNC documents Tuesday.

      The most recent leak includes information about the DNC’s finances, donors’ personal contact information and the DNC’s network infrastructure, according to CNN. The leak also includes vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine’s cell phone number and the contact information for several top White House officials, NBC News reported. No emails appear to have been included.

    • How a Harmless Frog Became a ‘Nazi Symbol’: Pepe’s an Issue in US Election

      Additionally, the first link Google provides when searching for Pepe the frog is a new page on the Clinton website explaining how the popular meme, dating to 2008, is now a symbol of white supremacy.

      Over on Wikipedia, editors have been engaged in an edit war, after the page was changed to say that the anthropomorphic frog is associated with Trump, white nationalism, and the alt-right.

    • Colin Powell calls Trump ‘national disgrace’ in hacked emails

      Former secretary of State and retired four-star general Colin Powell called Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “a national disgrace” and “international pariah,” and said “Hillary’s mafia” was trying to drag him into Clinton’s email scandal in personal emails that were leaked by hackers, according to online news organizations BuzzFeed and The Daily Caller.

      Powell made the remarks about Trump in a June 17, 2016, email to Emily Miller, a journalist who once worked under Powell as a deputy press secretary at the State Department. In the email Powell said Trump, “is in the process of destroying himself, no need for the Dems to attack him,” according to BuzzFeed. “Paul Ryan is calibrating his position again,” Powell said of the speaker of the House who had only recently decided to endorse Trump at the time of the email.

      An aide to Powell confirmed the hack Wednesday, telling The New York Times “they are his emails.”

      Around 30,000 stolen Powell emails were given to DCLeaks.com by unnamed hackers, The Daily Caller reported. There is speculation among some computer experts and Democratic politicians that DCLeaks has ties to Russian intelligence services, according to The Wall Street Journal. There is concern that leaks from the site are intended to influence the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.

    • Five dramatic revelations from Powell’s leaked emails

      Candid emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell are causing a stir across the country with their blunt assessment of a host of Washington’s stars.

      The emails, released by hackers behind a WikiLeaks-type website believed to have ties to Russian intelligence, show Powell criticizing Donald Trump, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Dick Cheney.

      The remarks, made by Powell in private to friends and colleagues, contrast with the statesmanlike image cultivated over a long military and political career.

      Powell served under President George W. Bush and endorsed Barack Obama in his two White House bids, and has generally avoided controversy in and out of office.

      The emails, first reported by BuzzFeed and The Intercept, were posted under password protection at DCLeaks. A spokesperson for Powell confirmed to media outlets that the emails were his.

      The website that leaked the emails reportedly has a relationship with Guccifer 2.0, who leaked damaging emails from Democratic groups earlier this summer, according to security experts.

      Here are five of their most eyebrow-raising revelations.

    • Research Proves Google Manipulates Millions to Favor Clinton

      In this exclusive report, distinguished research psychologist Robert Epstein explains the new study and reviews evidence that Google’s search suggestions are biased in favor of Hillary Clinton. He estimates that biased search suggestions might be able to shift as many as 3 million votes in the upcoming presidential election in the US.

      Biased search rankings can swing votes and alter opinions, and a new study shows that Google’s autocomplete can too.

      A scientific study I published last year showed that search rankings favoring one candidate can quickly convince undecided voters to vote for that candidate — as many as 80 percent of voters in some demographic groups. My latest research shows that a search engine could also shift votes and change opinions with another powerful tool: autocomplete.

    • Colin Powell, in Hacked Emails, Shows Scorn for Trump and Irritation at Clinton

      Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has long been one of the high priests of the Washington establishment, staying quiet in this year’s raucous presidential campaign while tending to his reputation as a thoughtful officer and diplomat.

      But a hack of Mr. Powell’s email this week has ripped away the diplomatic jargon and political niceties to reveal his unvarnished disdain of Donald J. Trump as a “national disgrace,” his personal peeves with Hillary Clinton and his lingering, but still very raw, anger with the Republican colleagues with whom he so often clashed a decade ago.

      There has been an expectation that Mr. Powell, who waited until the final weeks to endorse Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, would do the same for Mrs. Clinton this year. But in one 2014 email released online, Mr. Powell lamented that while he respected Mrs. Clinton, he would “rather not have to vote for her,” describing the Democratic presidential nominee as having “a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational.”

      The emails make clear that if Mr. Powell endorses Mrs. Clinton, he will be motivated by intense feelings about Mr. Trump, whom he also called an “international pariah.”

    • Foreign Spending on U.S. Elections Threatens National Security, FEC Commissioner Says

      Calling foreign influence on U.S. elections “a matter of national security,” FEC commissioner Ellen Weintraub is joining her colleague Ann Ravel in calling for the full commission to plug the flow of foreign money into American political campaigns.

      In a new memo to her five fellow commissioners, Weintraub writes that the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision created “new avenues for corporate political activity would make our democracy vulnerable to foreign individuals, corporations, and governments that seek to manipulate our elections.” Weintraub will ask the full FEC at its meeting on Thursday to begin the process of writing new regulations to deal with Citizens United and foreign money.

      Weintraub cites recent reporting by The Intercept on a $1.3 million donation by a U.S. corporation owned by Chinese citizens to a Super PAC backing Jeb Bush as evidence that this is not a “hypothetical” issue. “A person would have to be wearing some very rose-colored glasses,” Weintraub writes, “to think there are not foreign operatives interested in exploiting any vulnerability to influence our elections.”

      Her fellow commissioner Ann Ravel called on the FEC to take action in August, in the wake of The Intercept’s story.

      The Citizens United decision opened up a peculiar loophole for foreign money. Federal law prohibits “foreign nationals” — a legal term encompassing foreign individuals, corporations and governments — from putting money into the U.S. political process. But federal law also states that any company legally incorporated in the U.S., no matter its ultimate ownership, is a U.S. national.

    • 2016 Election Lawsuit Tracker: The New Election Laws and the Suits Challenging Them

      There are 15 states with new voting laws that have never before been used during a presidential election, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice. These laws include restrictions like voter ID requirements and limits on early voting. Many are making their way through the courts, which have already called a halt to two laws in the past month — one in North Carolina and one in North Dakota.

    • Another Unrealistic Trump Policy Proposal: Homeschool Vouchers

      GOP nominee Donald Trump has said he plans to spend billions of dollars on so-called school choice programs. The $20 billion in federal funds would be available only to what he says are 11 million children living in poverty who are also “trapped in failing schools.” Families will be eligible for vouchers to send their children to charter, magnet or even private religious schools. Last Friday, he announced the policy would include homeschooling as well.

      “School choice is at the center of this civil rights agenda, and my goal is to provide every single inner-city child in America that is trapped in a failing government school the freedom to attend the school of their choice,” he said at a conservative voters conference. “School choice also means that parents can homeschool their children. Hundred percent.”

      But there’s one problem with Trump’s homeschooling plan: Impoverished homeschoolers mostly don’t exist.

    • The Green Party’s Jill Stein goes on the trail, packs a tent

      Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president, stepped out of her small tent at the edge of the Missouri River here, where she’d slept in an encampment of protesters the night before. The tent and tarps of her small entourage had been procured second-hand right before this visit, and the plan was to leave the items behind as a donation to the cause.

      It was still early in the day, and a warrant had not yet been issued for her arrest — that would come much later. For the moment, this least known and most quixotic of the presidential candidates was but one of thousands of people who’d gathered to try to stop the construction of a planned $3.8 billion, 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, which they fear will desecrate sacred burial lands and potentially poison the water source for millions downstream.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Deadspin Mocks New Owners Univision By Cleverly Reposting Deleted Mitch Williams Story As New Story About The Lawsuit

      Right, so remember how over the weekend the spineless execs at Univision decided to delete six articles from various Gawker properties? The reasoning made very little sense. The company claimed that since it had only agreed to acquire the assets of Gawker, but none of the liabilities, it felt that it needed to delete the six articles that were part of existing lawsuits (they also changed an image in one that was the subject of a copyright dispute). As we (and basically everyone else) pointed out, this was ridiculous on multiple levels. First, due to the single publication rule, any liability likely would be only for that initial publication. But, more importantly, the lawsuits in question were all pretty obviously bogus.

      Univision has been trying to go into damage control mode, including a long interview with JK Trotter at Gizmodo, answering a bunch of questions from angry Gawker reporters. Univision continues to stand by the line that this was solely and 100% about the terms of the transaction, in which they were not acquiring any liabilities, no matter how ridiculous those liabilities might be. They insisted there was no editorial analysis or First Amendment analysis — it was just about the liabilities. Gawker’s reporters are still not happy and have apparently discussed the possibility of a walkout. They’ve also directly posted their unhappiness about the decision.

      But Timothy Burke at Deadspin (one of the former Gawker properties) took things one step further. Somewhat brilliantly, he’s written a brand new article about the latest happenings in a lawsuit involving former Major League Baseball pitcher Mitch Williams. If you don’t know, two of the articles that were taken down were about Williams, and he had sued Gawker over them. Of course, the court had already tossed out the claims against Gawker, since the statements made in the earlier Deadspin articles were all either substantially true or protected opinion. But the overall case continues. Williams is suing MLB Network, which fired him after Deadspin’s original posts. So, in this new article about the lawsuit against MLB Network, Burke uses the opportunity to effectively repost every bit of content that was taken down by Univision management. And this is why it’s clever: he’s not just reposting it, but reposting it from the lawsuit.

    • Censorship Gets Lost In Translation

      It may be the most famous photo of the Vietnam War: A 9-year-old girl flees naked down a highway with other frightened children after American warplanes dropped napalm on their village in an action targeting Viet Cong guerillas.

      Associated Press photographer Nick Ut snapped the Pulitzer Prize-winning shot of Kim Phuc and the other children in 1972. Nearly every daily newspaper in the world ran the photo at the time and in the years that followed. For Americans and our allies, it brought home the suffering of the war and the unanticipated consequences of what we presumed were our good intentions; for our Cold War adversaries, the shot was propaganda manna from the Communist equivalent of heaven.

    • Opinion: Why editors were wrong to damn Facebook for censorship

      Facebook’s initial argument that posting the iconic photo would make it more difficult subsequently to refuse to post other photos of naked children was arguably disingenuous but also just plain faulty. Surely a company with the obvious, indeed mindboggling, technical chops that Facebook possesses, has the ability to create an algorithm to take such markers as Pulitzer Prizes into account when making publication calls. Although there are bigger issues here related to letting algorithms make such editorial judgements in the first place, with or without human assistance, the problem in this particular case really should not have arisen at all.

      But editors also are on shaky ground in trying to dictate to Facebook what it should or should not publish. It is in fact ironic that they should think doing so is appropriate, let alone righteous, behaviour.

    • The Big Read: Facebook is a prissy censor

      Don’t you just hate it when this happens? As content curator for one of the world’s largest social media platforms, you delete a picture you consider obscene. Then some Norwegian woman writes an angry post. So you delete her post, too.

    • Sega Takes Potshots At DMCA-Happy Nintendo While Being Cool About Fan Games

      While Nintendo has been making waves for some time with its overly aggressive DMCA takedowns of any fan-work that includes its intellectual property, the company has really ramped things up lately. Recent actions include the takedown of a Mario fan game, a remake of a 25-year-old Metroid title, and engaging in all kinds of craziness over its Pokemon Go title. It was enough that one of Nintendo’s biggest rivals couldn’t help but take a subtle potshot at it, while simultaneously treating Sega fans like human beings.

      Daniel Coyle, on Twitter as SuperSonic68, headed up a team of Sonic the Hedgehog fans in the development of a fan-made 3D Sonic game. Their work has been received rather well as of late, including on gaming blogs and YouTube channels. When one YouTube channel, GameGrumps, did a “let’s play” of the fan game, it appears that Sega noticed and reached out in the comments section with a poke at Nintendo’s aggressive nature and some encouragement.

    • Facebook denies it’s a media company despite censorship decisions

      Facebook makes value judgements about what can appear in News Feed and what’s censored, but insists its a tech company not a media editor.

      At TechCrunch Disrupt SF, writer Josh Constine sat down with Adam Mosseri, a VP at Facebook and head of News Feed, to hear more about how policies control what you see.

      The talk started with Constine asking Mosseri much content people consume daily on their News Feed. Mosseri shared a new statistic, which is that the average Facebook users reads a little over 200 stories a day on their feed, which is about 10 percent of the 2,000 possible stories Facebook has to show them each day.

    • Director stood against censorship at Cal State Long Beach: Letters

      Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley effectively canceled the performance of “N*gger Wetb*ck Ch*nk” at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center. Center Director Michele Roberge resigned, in protest calling the cancellation a form of censorship, but Conoley said she did not intend censorship and said the canceled performance lacked educational value. No matter that the show played at CSULB last year and no student complained. Conoley did say that unnamed professors and sponsors complained.

      Conoley has every right to critique the performance. But canceling something because it lacks educational value is censorship that goes beyond the academic pale. Her censorship policies, if left to stand, will suffocate the creative imagination at CSULB.

      Roberge stood up for academic values. The president should not accept her resignation. If she accepts it, then she should be the one who is resigning. In that case, I hope that faculty, students and all members of the Long Beach community who value freedom of expression call for the president’s resignation.

    • How Chinese Censorship Affects You

      Under the Communist Party, China remains a culturally suppressive society defined by censorship rather than free speech.

      Yet Chinese censorship stifles not only the Chinese citizenry, but also the American public. As globalization accelerates and state-sponsored firms commit to private investment in the West, the Communist Party grows increasingly influential beyond its own borders.

    • Action against sexual harassment in schools is more about protecting the male orgasm than girls

      How much pain and suffering is the male orgasm worth? Is there ever a time when a man’s right to access hardcore pornography is outweighed by the rights of young women to feel safe?

      I am wondering this in light of today’s Women and Equalities Committee Report into sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools. The way in which young men see their female peers is tainted, poisoned by broader cultural narratives about what female bodies are for. Boys are not born with a need to hurt and humiliate for pleasure, but they are acquiring it, and fast.

    • Education, Not Censorship, Is The Key To Addressing Children’s Access To Porn
    • Kick sex education out of schools
    • Schools ‘should teach pupils about porn’: report
    • Facebook ‘censors’ Dakota Access pipeline protest livestream – activists
    • Facebook censored a live stream video posted by Dakota pipeline protesters
    • Dakota Pipeline Protesters Claim Facebook Censored Video of Mass Arrest
    • Anti-pipeline activists claim Facebook censored their live video
    • Dakota Pipeline Activists Accuse Facebook of State Collusion
    • At Least 20 Dakota Pipeline Protesters Arrested
    • Armed Police in Riot Gear Arrest 22 During #NoDAPL Lockdown
    • Bulgaria: Regional media outlets dependent on local governments
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Obama to Welcome Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi for Talks on Sanctions

      President Barack Obama welcomes Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to the White House Wednesday, where he is eager listen to her views on how far the U.S. should go in lifting sanctions on the southeast Asian country.

      It will be her first visit to the U.S. as State Counselor and Foreign Minister – a position she assumed after her party’s decisive win in last November’s elections. The country’s military era constitution bars her from holding the title of president because her late husband and children are foreign citizens.

      Aung San Suu Kyi spent more than 20 years under house arrest in the country formerly known as Burma. Her meeting with Obama in the Oval Office is viewed as another clear indication that she is Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader.

    • Chelsea Manning will undergo gender transition surgery, lawyer says

      Imprisoned former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has learned that she will receive gender transition surgery, her lawyer told CNN, in what could make her the first US prison inmate to undergo such a procedure.
      Manning, a transgender woman, was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks.

      The former US Army soldier is serving a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, an all-male Army prison in eastern Kansas, despite her request to transfer to a civilian prison. Her lawyers say she has been denied medical treatment for her gender dysphoria, a condition in which there is a conflict between a person’s physical sex and the gender he or she identifies with.

    • Chelsea Manning Ends Hunger Strike, Will Get Gender Affirming Surgery

      U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning will receive gender affirming surgery, and is ending her hunger strike after five days, her lawyers have confirmed.

      “I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing,” Manning said in a statement. “I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted — for them to let me be me. But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long.”

      Until her surgery, the military will still require Manning to keep her hair short.

    • Romeo and Juliet and Sexting: 17-Year-Old Faces Child Porn, Assault Charges for Consensual Sex with Girlfriend

      “After being arrested, I was suicidal and hopeless,” Austin Yabandith, a 17-year-old from Superior, Wisconsin, recalls. “As of right now, I am just hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”

      The “worst” would be pretty bad. After discovering indecent photos of Austin’s 15-year-old girlfriend on his cell phone—as well as a video of the couple having sex—authorities charged him with sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation, and possession of child pornography. The sexual assault charge is considered a Class C felony, and carries a maximum (though unlikely) sentence of 40 years in prison.

    • Two dead in water riots in India’s Silicon Valley

      Relative calm has been restored to the Indian city of Bangalore following the deaths of two men amid riots over an ongoing water dispute.
      Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to protesters to exercise restraint and follow the law as a heavy paramilitary presence was deployed Wednesday. Protests began earlier this week over a water sharing deal between the Indian states of Karnataka and neighboring Tamil Nadu.

      One demonstrator was shot dead by police, Karnataka chief minister S Siddaramaiah said in a press conference Tuesday. Another died in hospital following injuries sustained from a fall while fleeing police during Monday’s clashes.

    • Why Uzbekistan’s Jews already miss the iron fist of their late ruler

      Driving through this dusty desert city of many ornate and ancient mosques, Shirin Yakubov recalls the ruthlessness of her country’s recently deceased president of 25 years.

      “He killed all of them, every last one,” she says of Islam Karimov’s role in the 2005 police massacre of hundreds of suspected Islamists in the eastern city of Andijan following unrest.

    • New fires leave cars ‘destroyed’ in Copenhagen

      One car was burnt in the Amager district and another was torched four hours later in Nørrebro.

      “Both cars are completely destroyed, and we are investigating the fires as arson,” Copenhagen Police spokesman Carsten Reenberg told news agency Ritzau.

      The incidents marked the fourth consecutive night of car fires in the Copenhagen area and bring the total of vehicles burnt since mid-August to over 50.

    • MPs slam ‘national scandal’ of FGM- Britain’s hidden crime

      FGM is typically carried out on girls aged between five and eight. It involves total or partial removal of or injury to female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is often performed without anaesthetic or by someone without medical qualifications

    • Tyree King, 13, Fatally Shot by Police in Columbus, Ohio

      A police officer in Columbus, Ohio, fatally shot a 13-year-old boy he was trying to detain following reports of an armed robbery, officials said.

      Authorities identified the teenager as Tyree King. The Columbus Division of Police said in a statement that King “pulled a gun from his waistband” when officers attempted to take him and another male into custody Wednesday night.

    • LIU LOCKOUT OVER!!!

      This is an extremely significant victory for all faculty, be they tenured, contingent, tenure-track or adjunct. Be they at LIU or elsewhere.

      We all owe a great thanks to the stalwart faculty at LIU–and to their student supporters. They have demonstrated the limits of institutional fiat, for the good of all faculty everywhere.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • New EU rules promise 100Mbps broadband and free Wi-Fi for all

      The European Commission has promised free Wi-Fi in every town, village, and city in the European Union, in the next four years.

      A new grant, with a total budget of €120 million, will allow public authorities to purchase state-of-the art equipment, for example a local wireless access point. If approved by the the European Parliament and national ministers the cash could be available before the end of next year.

    • ‘High Noon’ Showdown Hearing In US Over Internet Control

      Former US Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz today used a 3.5 hour hearing of a Senate subcommittee he chairs to attempt to scare the US Commerce Department National Telecommunications and Information Administration away at the last minute from its plans to transition out of its stewardship role for the internet root zone system.

    • Gizmodo Completely Misses The Point Of Cord Cutting

      Roughly every month or so I’ll see a story proclaiming that cord cutting is a bad idea because you need to subscribe to multiple services to mirror the same overall volume of content you receive from pay TV. There are a few problems with that logic, first being that cord cutters aren’t looking to precisely duplicate cable TV. They’re looking to get away from paying a small fortune for hundreds of unwatched channels, including an ocean of religious programming, infomercials, whatever the Weather Channel is up to these days, and C-grade channels focused on inherently inane prattle.

      Writers of these pieces always seem to forget that broadcasters dictate the pricing of content on both platforms, so any surprise that the pricing of television remains somewhat high (when you pile on multiple streaming services) is just kind of silly. All told, “cord cutting is really expensive when I subscribe to every streaming service in the known universe” is just a weird narrative that just keeps bubbling up across various media outlets despite not really making much sense.

    • New York City Threatens To Sue Verizon For Failure To Meet Fiber Deployment Promises

      We’ve noted for years now how Verizon’s modus operandi is to promise uniform fiber deployment to a city or state in exchange for all manner of subsidies and tax breaks, then walk away giggling to itself with the job only partially complete. This story has played out time and time again thanks to city and state contracts struck behind closed doors without public transparency, allowing Verizon to bury numerous loopholes in the contract language. Other times, Verizon can lobby to weaken oversight so that there’s simply nobody left to hold Verizon accountable when it decides to laugh off the contract requirements.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • WIPO Committee Approves Forbin As New Top Copyright Official [Ed: the abusive WIPO put the copyright monopoly (industry) in charge of copyright]

        The nomination of Sylvie Forbin of France to be the next head of copyright issues at the World Intellectual Property Organization was finalised yesterday as the WIPO Coordination Committee approved her appointment. Forbin is set to start work at WIPO on Monday.

        Forbin would be the deputy director general for copyright and the creative sector at WIPO.

        She is a corporate lobbyist for media giant Viacom in Paris, and worked with French foreign service in the past.

      • WiFi Providers Can Be Forced To Require Passwords On Rightsholder Request, ECJ Rules

        The European Court of Justice today ruled that a shop offering WiFi is not liable for copyright infringements on its network but may be forced by rightsholders to require passwords to use the network.

      • EU Announces Absolutely Ridiculous Copyright Proposal That Will Chill Innovation, Harm Creativity

        This is not a surprise given the earlier leaks of what the EU Commission was cooking up for a copyright reform package, but the end result is here and it’s a complete disaster for everyone. And I do mean everyone. Some will argue that it’s a gift to Hollywood and legacy copyright interests — and there’s an argument that that’s the case. But the reality is that this proposal is so bad that it will end up doing massive harm to everyone. It will clearly harm independent creators and the innovative platforms that they rely on. And, because those platforms have become so important to even the legacy entertainment industry, it will harm them too. And, worst of all, it will harm the public greatly. It’s difficult to see how this proposal will benefit anyone, other than maybe some lawyers.

        Not surprisingly, the EU Commission is playing up the fact that this package does knock down some geoblocking in setting up more of a “single market” for digital content, but after Hollywood started freaking out about it, that proposal got watered down so much that plenty of content will still be geo-blocked. And there’s so much other stuff in here that’s just really, really bad. As expected, it includes a ridiculous ancillary copyright scheme, which should really just be called the “Google tax” for linking to copyright-covered content.

        The proposal does away with the liability limitations for platforms, effectively requiring any tech platform that allows user-generated/user-uploaded content to build or license their very own ContentID system. This is ridiculous. If the idea was to punish Google, this will do the opposite. Basically no startup will be able to afford this, and it will just lock in platforms like YouTube as the only option for content creators wishing to upload video. Protecting intermediary liability has been shown, time and time again, to enable new innovation and also to enable greater creativity and free speech — and the EU Commission basically just tossed it in the garbage because some Hollywood interests think (incorrectly) that internet companies “abuse” the protections.

      • Prenda’s Paul Hansmeier Loses His Law License; Won’t Be Filing Bogus ADA Lawsuits For Now

        Of course, when we last checked in with Hansmeier he was aggressively filing questionable ADA lawsuits, basically shaking down small retail stores for any possible violation of the ADA he could find. I’m guessing that’s going to need to stop — but I do wonder if he’ll find someone else to keep doing the legal work on that kind of scam.

        Anyway, Hansmeier has now had his assets liquidated in bankruptcy and his law license taken away. What’s next? Well, last we’d heard, it sounded like criminal charges were getting closer, so perhaps he has that to look forward to as well.

      • Scientists Realizing That EU Ruling On Copyright & Links Just Made Science Much More Difficult

        A recipe for disaster indeed.

        This is, of course, not the first time we’ve noted the problems of intellectual property in the science world. From various journals locking up research to the rise of patents scaring off researchers from sharing data, intellectual property keeps getting in the way of science, rather than supporting it. And that’s extremely unfortunate. I mean, after all, in the US specifically, the Constitution specifically says that copyrights and patents are supposed to be about “promoting the progress of science and the useful arts.”

        Over and over again, though, we see that the law has been twisted and distorted and extended and expanded in such a way that is designed to protect a very narrow set of interests, at the expense of many others, including the public who would benefit from greater sharing and collaboration and open flow of data among scientific researchers. Having the CJEU make things worse in Europe isn’t going to help Europe compete — and, unfortunately, it does not look like those in Europe looking to update its copyright laws understand any of this yet.

      • EU digital copyright reform proposals slammed as regressive

        The European Commission’s proposals to reform the region’s copyright rules, published in draft form today, have been criticized by tech companies and digital rights groups as regressive and a missed opportunity to modernize hopelessly outdated rules.

        The Open Rights Group accused the EC of ignoring EU citizens responses to an earlier consultation on the reform, and trying to bring in regressive rules that will force private companies to police the Internet.

        “The Commission’s proposals would fail to harmonise copyright law and create a fair system for Internet users, creators and rights holders. Instead we could see new regressive rights that compel private companies to police the Internet on behalf of rights holders,” said its executive director Jim Killock in a statement.

        A big point of concern for many critics is the EC seeking to shift the responsibility for identifying copyrighted content by requiring Internet companies that host user uploaded video, such as YouTube and Facebook, to proactively check for copyrighted material, rather than waiting to receive a take down request from a rights holder, as is the case now.

      • EU Commission Proposes Mandatory Piracy Filters For Online Services

        Today, the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal to modernize the EU’s copyright law. Among other things, it will require online services to install mandatory piracy filters. While the Commission intends to strengthen the position of copyright holders, opponents warn that it will do more harm than good.

      • European Commission introduces copyright on links; presents worthless copyright harshening proposal for the EU

        The European Commission has finally presented its long-awaited copyright reform proposal. It ignores everything positive the European Parliament demanded in the earlier Reda report, and doubles down on introducing copyright for links.

      • 10 Years in Prison For Online Pirates a Step Closer in the UK

        The UK Government’s Digital Economy Bill has moved a step closer to becoming law after its second reading in Parliament. With unanimous support, the current two-year maximum custodial sentence for online piracy is almost certain to increase to a decade. However, the reading also covered other familiar ground – pressure on Google to do something about piracy.

      • CJEU says that free Wi-Fi provider is not liable for third-party copyright infringements but may be required to password-protect its network to terminate infringements

        This reference for a preliminary ruling was made in the context of proceedings between Sony and a person (Tobias Mc Fadden) who operates a business selling and renting lighting and sound systems for various events.

        Mc Fadden owns a Wi-Fi connection that is open to anyone to use as it not protected by any password. The main reason why McFadden provides password-free free internet access is to drive traffic to his website and encourage customers to visit his shop.

        In 2010 that connection was used by someone other than Mc Fadden to download unlawfully a musical work to which Sony owns the copyright. Following Sony’s formal notice, Mc Fadden sought a negative declaration from the referring court.

        This dismissed it and upheld Sony’s counterclaim, granting an injunction against Mc Fadden on the ground of his direct liability for the infringement at issue and ordering him to pay damages, the costs of the formal notice, and costs.

        Mc Fadden appealed that decision, arguing that the provisions of German law transposing Article 12(1) of the ECommerce Directive would shield him from liability for third-party infringements.

      • Judge’s Opinion That EU Is Competent To Ratify Marrakesh Treaty Might Break Standstill

        The European Union has exclusive competence to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty on copyright exceptions for visually impaired people, the advocate general of the Court of Justice of the EU has found. This conclusion, which was well-received by representatives of the visually impaired, could speed up the ratification of the treaty by the EU.

      • Commission unveils new copyright package

        Further to the proposal for a regulation on cross-border portability of online content services in late 2015, the European Commission has just unveiled its new set of proposals to ameliorate EU copyright and achieve a fully functioning digital single market.

        These – among other things – include proposals for a new directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market and a regulation on certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmissions. Both instruments, if adopted in their current form, will have a deep impact on the EU copyright framework, particularly with regard to online uses of copyright works, responsibilities of hosting providers, users’ freedoms, and authors’ contracts.

      • EU copyright plans a big win for old media, but public concerns ignored

        EU proposals for the “modernisation of copyright to increase cultural diversity in Europe and content available online” turn out to be an implementation of the old copyright industries’ wishlist, with little that addresses online users’ needs.

        As expected, the proposed Copyright Directive will give news and magazine publishers—described by the EU as “press publishers”—a new 20-year “ancillary copyright” over and above the normal copyright. Although it is not yet clear how this will work in practice, the intent is to enable press publishers to control the use of online snippets drawn from “daily newspapers, weekly or monthly magazines of general or special interest and news websites.”

      • European Commission Copyright Reform Proposal Sparks Many Jeers, Some Cheers [Ed: paywall]
      • Commission Proposal to Reform Copyright is Inadequate

        Today the EU Commission released their proposal for a reformed copyright framework. What has emerged from Brussels is disheartening. The proposal is more of a regression than the reform we need to support European businesses and Internet users.

        To date, over 30,000 citizens have signed our petition urging the Commission to update EU copyright law for the 21st century. The Commission’s proposal needs substantial improvement. We collectively call on the EU institutions to address the many deficits in the text released today in subsequent iterations of this political process.

09.14.16

Links 14/9/2016: Arya.ai’s Braid, MySQL Exploit Patched

Posted in News Roundup at 7:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 4 big ways companies benefit from having open source program offices

    At first glance, one big reason why a company not in the business of software development might more enthusiastically embrace an open source program office is because they have less to lose. After all, they’re not gambling with software products that are directly tied to revenue. Facebook, for example, can easily unleash a distributed key-value datastore as an open source project because they don’t sell a product called “enterprise key-value datastore.” That answers the question of risk, but it still doesn’t answer the question of what they gain from contributing to the open source ecosystem. Let’s look at a few potential reasons and then tackle each. You’ll notice a lot of overlap with vendor open source program offices, but some of the motivations are slightly different.

  • Everyone Wins With Open Source Software

    As open source software matures and is used by more and more major corporations, it is becoming clear that the enterprise software game has changed. Sam Ramji, CEO of the Cloud Foundry Foundation, believes that open source software is a positive sum game, as reflected in his keynote at ApacheCon in Vancouver in May.

    Invoking his love of game theory, Ramji stated emphatically that open source software is a positive-sum game, where the more contributors there are to the common good, the more good there is for everyone. This idea is the opposite of a zero-sum game, where if someone benefits or wins, then another person must suffer, or lose.

  • 15 Top Open Source Artificial Intelligence Tools

    In a recent article, we provided an overview of 45 AI projects that seem particularly promising or interesting. In this slideshow, we’re focusing in on open source artificial intelligence tools, with a closer look at fifteen of the best-known open source AI projects.

  • To gamify or not to gamify community

    Years ago I was at a Canonical sprint in Europe, where a colleague, who was an active gamer, shared his idea for some kind of high-scores system in which community members could compete in the way they contributed. His off-the-cuff idea got me thinking.

    Although a competitive framework was not interesting to me—we had tried a hall of fame, which ultimately didn’t deliver the results we wanted—the idea of a gamification platform got me excited.

  • The future of money

    What happens when the way we buy, sell and pay for things changes, perhaps even removing the need for banks or currency exchange bureaus? That’s the radical promise of a world powered by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. We’re not there yet, but in this sparky talk, digital currency researcher Neha Narula describes the collective fiction of money — and paints a picture of a very different looking future.

  • Bitmain launches open-source bitcoin mining pool

    Bitmain, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of Bitcoin mining hardware, has announced the launch of an open-source bitcoin mining pool, as a part of its free bitcoin block explorer, analytics tool and bitcoin wallet BTC.com.

  • Bitmain Launches BTC.Com, a New Open-source Bitcoin Mining Pool with Zero Mining Fee!
  • In Race for Bitcoin Mining Profits, Fortune Favors the Old
  • New BTC.Com Mining Pool Wants To Set New Min ing Standards
  • One of Bitcoin’s Biggest Miners is Launching a Second Pool
  • Bitmain’s BTC.Com Mining Pool Goes Live
  • Open Source Execution without Dropping Windows

    IT managers are seeking alternative ways to replace their legacy software, without dropping Windows operating system due to high cost implementation and license dependency of proprietary software. Open Source software has found its way into enterprises infrastructures as it provides access to third party vendors and developers to modify the software and publish them. They are also known as Free or Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS). FLOSS licenses users with the freedom to study and modify the program, to run for any function and to redistribute copies of either the original or modified source code (without having to pay royalties to previous developers). And, enterprises can update the FLOSS executions according to their requirement and also publish it for the other user’s requirement. This is one of the reasons why enterprises appreciate Open Source products and its advantages.

    Due to the open nature of the software, the design deliberations are open in contrast to the closed processes of proprietary vendors’ software. Also, the Open Source software products are easy to assess and evaluate with the help of the Community and Help pages. Open Source allows anyone to contribute code and permits software to integrate with not commonly encountered use cases, that a proprietary vendor would least taken into consideration. In terms of innovation, the Open Source development reflects Bill Joy’s law: “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.” That is unfeigned for all the software vendors, so leveraging a product with potentially larger developer base enables access to greater innovation.

  • Startup Arya.ai Launches Open Source AI Tool Braid

    Braid is designed as an open source tool for developing artificial intelligence (AI) systems. According to Vinay Kumar Sankarapu, CEO and founder of Arya.ai, by introducing open sourcing key tools in AI, the emerging field will grow faster and developers will be able to easily design more impactful applications.

  • Arya.ai’s Braid Aims to Weave Together Neural Network Components

    Startup Arya.ai on Monday introduced Braid, an open source tool available for free to companies developing neural networks. Braid is a flexible, customizable, modular meta-framework that works with operating systems for deep learning. It is designed for rapid development and to support arbitrary network designs. It is simple and scalable, for use with networks that need to handle many data points at large volume, Arya.ai said. Braid allows for quick experimentation without having to worry about the boilerplate components of the code.

  • Arya.ai launches Braid to integrate ‘deep learning’ into systems
  • Arya.ai announces the global launch of ‘Braid’, an Open Source deep learning tool
  • Arya.ai Launches AI Tool To Build Intelligence Quickly Into Systems
  • Open Source Release Cycle Tyranny

    The little talked about stress of Open Source project release management…

    So I really enjoy writing code. Been doing it for years, since I was 8! I still do it now when work needs me to, or in my less than copious free time.

    The problem I tend to find on these projects is that you can make them as simple or as complex as you like. This can be a curse and a blessing.

    For me it tends to be a curse.

  • Oracle’s NetBeans Headed to The Apache Software Foundation

    Oracle’s open-source NetBeans IDE could become the next former Sun Microsystems project to land at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

  • Apache Announces Updated Syncope Identity Management Toolset

    In recent posts, we’ve taken note of the many projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been moving up to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves Big Data projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support and more.

    Recently, Apache Bahir became a Top-Level Project (TLP). Now, the foundation has announced that it is making available Apache Syncope 2.0, a digital identity and access management system. Implemented in Java EE technology, Apache Syncope is designed to keep enterprise identity data consistent and synchronized across repositories, data formats, and models.

    “Syncope 2.0.0 is a major milestone for the community,” said Francesco Chicchiriccò, Vice President of Apache Syncope, and one of the original creators of the project. “The numbers of this release look great –new features, new components and tools, new contributors, more enterprise appeal, and even more extensibility.”

  • Events

    • Bastille to Lead Industry Discussions on Wireless Hacking at GNU Radio Conference 2016

      Researchers Balint Seeber, Marc Newlin and Matt Knight to Speak and Host Wireless Hacking Challenge for Conference Attendees

    • The Future at the Internet’s Edge

      With the current focus on the cloud it might seem that the Internet works from the center out — if the Internet can be said to have a center. And with the massive move of IT infrastructure to the cloud, DevOps folks might be wondering what this means for the future of their careers and if increasing centralization will mean a shrinking job market, a question Robert Shimp with Oracle’s Linux and virtualization unit, took a stab at answering at last month’s LinuxCon.

      [...]

      Shimp was giving a presentation on “Linux Administration in Distributed Cloud Computing Environments.” Despite the use of the word “Linux” in the title (it was LinuxCon, after all), he spent the first half of his presentation laying out his vision for what the Internet holds in store, with none of it being Linux specific. The future, it seems, will almost certainly be operating system agnostic.

    • Keynote: Open Source is a Positive-Sum Game – Sam Ramji, CEO, Cloud Foundry Foundation
    • Free Software Directory recapping the “Golden Oldies” meeting
    • FSF Events: Free Software Foundation community meetup (Washington, D.C.)

      Come share snacks and refreshments with the free software community. FSF campaigns manager Zak Rogoff will be happy to talk about our ongoing battle against Digital Restrictions Management in Web standards, the recent European net neutrality victory, our role in the new White House source code policy, and almost anything else you ask him about. The FSF will provide the first round of snacks and beers, with more available from the menu.

      This is an informal gathering for anyone interested in spending time with the free software community or learning more about the FSF; you are welcome, whether you are free software noob or hacker extraodinaire.

  • Databases

    • MySQL 0-day could lead to total system compromise
    • MySQL Exploit Evidently Patched

      News began circulating yesterday that the popular open source database MySQL contains a publicly disclosed vulnerability that could be used to compromise servers. The flaw was discovered by researcher Dawid Golunski and began getting media attention after he published a partial proof-of-concept of the exploit, which is purposefully incomplete to prevent abuse. He said the exploit affects “all MySQL servers in default configuration in all version branches (5.7, 5.6, and 5.5) including the latest versions.” In addition, MariaDB and Percona DB which are derived from MySQL are affected.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • NetBeans Java IDE Might Become An Apache Incubator Project

      A proposal posted today is looking to shift the NetBeans integrated development environment from being an Oracle project to one within the Apache incubator space.

      Geertjan Wielenga, an Oracle employee who serves as the project manager for Oracle JET and NetBeans, posted a proposal today looking to offload NetBeans from being the open-source IDE maintained at Oracle to becoming “Apache NetBeans.”

    • Apache NetBeans Incubator Proposal
  • Healthcare

    • Taunton’s open source success: a new era for electronic patient records

      Almost one year ago our organisation, Taunton and Somerset NHS FT, achieved an important milestone in delivering transformational change in our digital programme: we became the first NHS trust to go live with an open source electronic patient record (EPR).

      Some may have perceived this as a risky choice. An open source EPR was untested within the NHS, and NHS organisations can tend to do what everyone else has already tried. Yet we saw that, by having a flexible system that had no licence fees, we would be able to tailor the system as we went along, to suit the needs of our clinicians, patients and our healthcare partners in Somerset.

    • Navigating the challenges of international teamwork

      OpenEMR, OpenMRS, and VisTA are three of the most well-known open source applications in the health IT genre. OpenEMR has worldwide acceptance as a complete and flexible electronic healthcare records (EHR) system that can be tweaked with relative ease to work anywhere. That is evident in its adoption by the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, the Peace Corps, and most recently by the Health Services Dept of Israel. OpenMRS is a respected tool set and API that has been predominantly used in Africa, and has been adopted for targeted healthcare needs all over the world. Despite being a US-based project, its adoption in the US is minimal. VisTA is the US Veteran’s Administration EHR and it is now, due mainly to the formation of OSEHRA.org, beginning to get traction in other countries as a solution to the high cost of proprietary EHR systems for hospitals. New on the horizon are projects like FHIR, started in Australia, and adopted by hl7.org.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Udacity plans to build its own open-source self-driving car

      Sebastian Thrun’s online education startup Udacity recently created a self-driving car engineering nanodegree, and on stage at Disrupt today Thrun revealed that the company intends to build its own self-driving car as part of the program, and that it also intends to open source the technology that results, so that “anyone” can try to build their own self-driving vehicle, according to Thrun.

      The crowdsourced vehicle plans will ultimately be created in service of the school, rather than a product in and of itself. The open-sourcing of the data should help other projects ramp up, and will include driving data and more to contribute to other people’s projects.

    • Q&A: SFU alumna launching new “open source” food co-op

      SFU alumna Jennifer Zickerman is making it easier to access locally grown, high quality herbs through her venture, the Lower Mainland Herb Growers Co-op.

      The co-operative offers economy of scale to local small growers growing culinary herbs. It will buy fresh herbs from local growers, then dry and package them as culinary herb blends and distribute them to retail stores.

      Zickerman first developed this business idea as a student in SFU’s Community Economic Development (CED) program. She pitched it as part of the program’s annual Social Innovation Challenge, winning $12,000 to implement her idea.

      The co-op’s high quality products aim to replace the poor quality dried herbs found in most retail stores that are imported from countries with poor environmental and labour standards.

      Local farmers will also have a new market for a crop that grows well in this climate and requires few artificial supports such as fertilizer, pesticides and greenhouses.

    • Open Data

      • Chile’s green energy future is powered by open data analysis

        Open source software and open data play key roles in implementing Chile’s long-term energy planning, identifying ways to get the maximum value from development, minimizing its impact, and requiring less development overall.

        Over the past two years, our company—in partnership with the Centro UC Cambio Global of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile—has been designing, building, and testing a framework to support Chile’s Ministry of Energy in policy evaluation and regional hydroelectric power planning activities. Open source software and open data play a key role in this framework, but before I explain how, I need to summarize the context.

      • DYNAcity project starts mobility pilot in Flemish City of Ghent

        The mobility service is based on information published on the open data portal of the City of Ghent. It also incorporates data from innovative sources like thermal cameras and a carpool system. Participants in the pilot will receive travel advice each morning through a pop-up on their mobile phones.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • How to help developers help themselves

      Developers need help. It comes with the territory for software companies employing thousands of developers, many who live and work in remote locations all over the world. At Red Hat, Rafael Benevides doles out lots of help. He teaches developers about tools and practices so they can be more productive, and he’ll be taking the show on the road for the tech conference All Things Open this year where he’ll share his specfic thoughts on cloud development.

Leftovers

  • Adblock Plus finds the end-game of its business model: Selling ads

    Eyeo GmbH, the company that makes the popular Adblock Plus software, will today start selling the very thing many of its users hate—advertisements. Today, the company is launching a self-service platform to sell “pre-whitelisted” ads that meet its “acceptable ads” criteria. The new system will let online publishers drag and drop advertisements that meet Eyeo’s expectations for size and labeling.

    “The Acceptable Ads Platform helps publishers who want to show an alternative, nonintrusive ad experience to users with ad blockers by providing them with a tool that lets them implement Acceptable Ads themselves,” said Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus.

    Publishers who place the ads will do so knowing that they won’t be blocked by most of the 100 million Adblock Plus users. The software extension’s default setting allows for “acceptable ads” to be shown, and more than 90 percent of its users don’t change that default setting.

    Eyeo started its “acceptable ads” program in 2011. With the new platform, it hopes to automate and scale up a process that until now has been a cumbersome negotiation. What once could take weeks, the company boasts in today’s statement, now “takes only seconds.”

  • Science

    • 5 Ways The Modern World Is Shockingly Ready To Collapse

      As technology embraces the digital, abandoning the crude and primitive notion of “physical existence” entirely, the idea that you actually own the media you buy is vanishing faster than that goddamn Walkman you swore was in the closet. And it’s more than inconvenient for consumers; it may be apocalyptic for our society.

      [...]

      If you tried to purchase an Adobe product recently, you’re already aware of this trend. As of 2013, you can no longer buy programs such as Photoshop, Flash, or Dreamweaver. You can only “subscribe” to them for a monthly fee. Yes, now you have the privilege of paying for your software forever. Isn’t the future wonderful?

  • Hardware

    • Kernel NET Policy Still Being Tackled For Simplified, Better Networking Performance

      With the latest version of the patches, the NET policy subsystem is now disabled by default, the queue selection algorithm has been modified, amd there are various other changes. For those failing to remember what this is all about, “NET policy intends to simplify the network configuration and get a good network performance according to the hints(policy) which is applied by user. It provides some typical “policies” for user which can be set per-socket, per-task or per-device. The kernel will automatically figures out how to merge different requests to get good network performance. NET policy is designed for multiqueue network devices. This implementation is only for Intel NICs using i40e driver. But the concepts and generic code should apply to other multiqueue NICs too.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Philip Morris loses investment arbitration against Uruguay’s anti-tobacco legislation

      Furthermore, Mr. Born held that the terms of the Switzerland-Uruguay Bilateral Investment Treaty cannot be understood to provide the host state
      with a ‘margin of appreciation’ – a concept developed in a different context, namely the European Convention on Human Rights. The case has been used by NGOs (see for instance the Global Justice Now website) as an example of the allegedly deterrent effect of investment arbitration on states that intend to issue public health measures (so-called ‘regulatory chill’). The dismissal of Philip Morris’ claims shows that such fears are largely unfounded. On the other hand, even though the arbitral tribunal’s majority decision is well-reasoned, the question remains whether it is appropriate to bring about a result whereby a lawful business can be subjected to a such severe restriction in respect of core assets, such as its brands, without being paid any compensation (even in case of a public health measure). In this respect, the dissenting opinion of Mr. Born raises convincing arguments in favour of Philip Morris.

    • Abolish Bottled Water

      Bottled water is a con. It makes about as much sense as designer bottled air, but after a few decades on the market, one’s instinct often says to reach for a bottle of Dasani when your mouth’s dry and brain’s half-pickled on a hot day. It’s not water, it’s Water, baby!

      Bottled water in Canada comes from aquifers near the Great Lakes, where it’s pumped for $3.71 per million litres by companies that later sell it for a massive profit. This is in a country where dozens of First Nations communities are living under decades-long boil water advisories, and all of their drinkable water is trucked in by the bottle. Naturally, it comes from Nestle and other corporate producers.

      Policymakers and activists have raised calls to hike the price that companies pay to pump water from municipal sources, but some experts say that doesn’t go far enough. Instead, according to critics, the practice of pumping water for a profit should be banned wholesale for social and scientific reasons and Nestle’s license to do so shouldn’t be renewed by the provincial government.

  • Security

    • Securing the Programmer

      I have a favorite saying: “If you are a systems administrator, you have the keys to the kingdom. If you are an open-source programmer, you don’t know which or how many kingdoms you have the keys to.” We send our programs out into the world to be run by anyone for any purpose. Think about that: by anyone, for any purpose. Your code might be running in a nuclear reactor right now, or on a missile system or on a medical device, and no one told you. This is not conjecture; this is everyday reality. Case in point: the US Army installed gpsd on all armor (tanks, armored personnel carriers and up-armored Humvees) without telling its developers.

      This article focuses on the needs of infrastructure software developers—that is, developers of anything that runs as root, has a security function, keeps the Internet as a whole working or is life-critical. Of course, one never knows where one’s software will be run or under what circumstances, so feel free to follow this advice even if all you maintain is a toddler login manager. This article also covers basic security concepts and hygiene: how to think about security needs and how to keep your development system in good shape to reduce the risk of major computing security mishaps.

    • Software-Defined Security Market Worth 6.76 Billion USD by 2021
    • Two critical bugs and more malicious apps make for a bad week for Android
    • Let’s Encrypt Aiming to Encrypt the Web

      By default, the web is not secure, enabling data to travel in the clear, but that’s a situation that is easily corrected through the use of SSL/TLS. A challenge with implementing Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security has been the cost to acquire an SSL/TSL certificate from a known Certificate Authority (CA), but that has changed in 2016, thanks to the efforts of Let’s Encrypt.

      Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit effort that that was was announced in November 2014 and became a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project in April 2015. Let’s Encrypt exited its beta period in April 2016 and to date has provided more than 5 million free certificates.

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • [Mozilla:] Cybersecurity is a Shared Responsibility

      There have been far too many “incidents” recently that demonstrate the Internet is not as secure as it needs to be. Just in the past few weeks, we’ve seen countless headlines about online security breaches. From the alleged hack of the National Security Agency’s “cyberweapons” to the hack of the Democratic National Committee emails, and even recent iPhone security vulnerabilities, these stories reinforce how crucial it is to focus on security.

      Internet security is like a long chain and each link needs to be tested and re-tested to ensure its strength. When the chain is broken, bad things happen: a website that holds user credentials (e.g., email addresses and passwords) is compromised because of weak security; user credentials are stolen; and, those stolen credentials are then used to attack other websites to gain access to even more valuable information about the user.

      One weak link can break the chain of security and put Internet users at risk. The chain only remains strong if technology companies, governments, and users work together to keep the Internet as safe as it can be.

    • IoT malware exploits DVRs, home cameras via default passwords

      The Internet of Things business model dictates that devices be designed with the minimum viable security to keep the products from blowing up before the company is bought or runs out of money, so we’re filling our homes with net-connected devices that have crummy default passwords, and the ability to probe our phones and laptops, and to crawl the whole internet for other vulnerable systems to infect.

      Linux/Mirai is an ELF trojan targeting IoT devices, which Malware Must Die describes as the most successful ELF trojan. It’s very difficult to determine whether these minimal-interface devices are infected, but lab tests have discovered the malware in a wide range of gadgets.

    • Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet

      First, a little background. If you want to take a network off the Internet, the easiest way to do it is with a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS). Like the name says, this is an attack designed to prevent legitimate users from getting to the site. There are subtleties, but basically it means blasting so much data at the site that it’s overwhelmed. These attacks are not new: hackers do this to sites they don’t like, and criminals have done it as a method of extortion. There is an entire industry, with an arsenal of technologies, devoted to DDoS defense. But largely it’s a matter of bandwidth. If the attacker has a bigger fire hose of data than the defender has, the attacker wins.

    • Internet’s defences being probed: security expert

      A big player, most possibly a nation state, has been testing the security of companies that run vital parts of the Internet’s infrastructure, according to well-known security expert Bruce Schneier.

      In an essay written for the Lawfare blog, Schneier, an inventor of the Blowfish, Twofish and Yarrow algorithms, said that the probes which had been observed appeared to be very carefully targeted and seemed to be testing what exactly would be needed to compromise these corporations.

      Schneier said he did not know who was carrying out the probes but, at a first guess, said it was either China or Russia.

      Pointing out that the easiest way to take a network off the Internet was by using a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, he said that major firms that provide the basic infrastructure to make the Internet work had recently seen an escalation of such attacks.

    • Hackers smear Olympic athletes with data dump of medical files

      Hackers are trying to tarnish the U.S. Olympic team by releasing documents they claim show athletes including gymnast Simone Biles and tennis players Venus and Serena Williams used illegal substances during the Rio Games.

      The medical files, allegedly from the World Anti-Doping Agency, were posted Tuesday on a site bearing the name of the hacking group Fancy Bears. “Today we’d like to tell you about the U.S. Olympic team and their dirty methods to win,” said a message on the hackers’ site.

      The World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed it had been hacked and blamed Fancy Bears, a Russian state-sponsored cyber espionage team that is also known as APT 28 — the very same group that may have recently breached the Democratic National Committee.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • What If America Happened To Forget The September 11th Attacks?

      The United States will never forget the September 11th attacks. It is interwoven into the fabric of the nation. Its identity is partially defined by remembering the horror that unfolded that day, but that is part of why a provocative question must be asked: What if America happened to forget the attacks?

      For fifteen years, politicians, military leaders, celebrities, corporate executives, as well as the families of those killed on 9/11, have deployed the words “Never Forget” when speaking about the attacks. The words function as a kind of pledge, a loyalty oath to show one’s allegiance to the country. Those who do not pledge to “Never Forget” may not be as American as those who openly relive trauma by sharing where they were that day, even if these individuals were nowhere near the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.

      Yet, what are people pledging when they reflexively attach these words to memories or statements?

      Pentagon Deputy Secretary Bob Work declared at the Pentagon’s 9/11 memorial the “enemy” will “fail because all of us as Americans will never forget what we stand for. We will remain steadfast in our determination to stamp out this evil and secure a better future for our children. And we will work together collectively to create a world free from terror and oppression.”

      Work also said, “We must never allow—never allow—those who were lost to ever fade from our memories…as well as those who have sacrificed in the long wars ever since. And we must continue to allow them to motivate us in our continuing struggle against those who would seek to destroy that which we hold dear.”

    • #NeverForget911 . Wait, did something happen yesterday besides #ClintonCollapse ? I forgot.

      #NeverForget911 . Wait, did something happen yesterday besides #ClintonCollapse ? I forgot.

      OK, ok, serious now. It’s been 15 years now people, so we can talk about this kind of thing, ‘kay? That’s what anniversaries are for, after all.

      Peter Bergen, at CNN, who is often the sanest clown in the CNN circus, tell us that al Qaeda really blew it on 9/11.

      “Like the attack on Pearl Harbor,” says Bergen, “9/11 was a great tactical victory for America’s enemies. But in both these cases the tactical success of the attacks was not matched by strategic victories. Quite the reverse.” He goes on to remind us the U.S. totally kicked Japan’s butt.

      Now it can get a little fuzzy when you try to jam 9/11 and al Qaeda into the Saving Private Ryan narrative framework. So it’s important to understand what Bergen thinks al Qaeda’s goal was with the attacks 15 years ago. I’ll quote him so when I call him an idiot a bit later, you’ll understand my reasoning:

      “Bin Laden believed that al Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington would result in an American withdrawal from the Middle East. Instead, the United States quickly toppled the Taliban and al Qaeda… The United States not only did not reduce its influence in the Middle East, but it also established or added to massive bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. And, of course, it also occupied both Afghanistan and Iraq. Bin Laden’s tactical victory on 9/11 turned out to be a spectacular strategic flop.”

    • In Leaked Emails, Iraq War Architect Expressed Relief That Brexit Distracted From U.K. War Inquiry

      Newly leaked emails show how a key U.K. architect of the Iraq war expressed relief that the “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union would reduce media coverage of the devastating results of an inquiry into the United Kingdom’s role in the the war.

      On July 4, former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw emailed former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss the upcoming release of the Chilcot Report– a document detailing the British government’s inquiry. The report probed, among other things, the depth of private British commitment and support for the American-led war in Iraq.

      In anticipation of coming press coverage, Straw asked Powell to review a statement in a Word document he drafted. He wrote that the “only silver lining of the Brexit vote is that it will reduce medium term attention on Chilcot — thought it will not stop the day of publication being uncomfortable.”

    • Pushing NATO to Russia’s Southern Flank

      In pursuit of a new Cold War with Russia, Official Washington wants to expand NATO into the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, creating the potential for nuclear war to protect a sometimes reckless “ally,” writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • The Existential Madness of Putin-Bashing

      Official Washington loves its Putin-bashing but demonizing the Russian leader stops a rational debate about U.S.-Russia relations and pushes the two nuclear powers toward an existential brink, writes Robert Parry.

    • ‘They Let Everybody Know the US Was on the Side of This Coup’ – CounterSpin interview with Mark Weisbrot on the ouster of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
    • China and Russia Press Ahead, Together

      The G20 summit in China marked a possible tectonic shift in global economic power, with China’s President Xi pushing for a new model based on physical connectivity, like “One Belt, One Road,” writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

    • Post-9/11’s Self-Inflicted Wounds

      The damage done to U.S. foreign policy in the wake of the 9/11 attacks was largely self-inflicted, a case of wildly overreacting to Al Qaeda’s bloody provocation, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Al Qaeda’s Ties to US-Backed Syrian Rebels

      The new ceasefire agreement between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which went into effect at noon Monday, has a new central compromise absent from the earlier ceasefire agreement that the same two men negotiated last February. But it isn’t clear that it will produce markedly different results.

      The new agreement incorporates a U.S.-Russian bargain: the Syrian air force is prohibited from operating except under very specific circumstances in return for U.S.-Russian military cooperation against Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, also known as Daesh, ISIS or ISIL. That compromise could be a much stronger basis for an effective ceasefire, provided there is sufficient motivation to carry it out fully.

    • Israel’s Bogus Civil War

      Is Israel on the verge of civil war, as a growing number of Israeli commentators suggest, with its Jewish population deeply riven over the future of the occupation?

      On one side is a new peace movement, Decision at 50, stuffed with former political and security leaders. Ehud Barak, a previous prime minister who appears to be seeking a political comeback, may yet emerge as its figurehead.

      The group has demanded the government hold a referendum next year – the half-centenary of Israel’s occupation, which began in 1967 – on whether it is time to leave the territories. Its own polling shows a narrow majority ready to concede a Palestinian state.

    • Donald Trump, After Blasting Iraq War, Picks Top Iraq Hawk as Security Adviser

      Donald Trump named former CIA director and extremist neoconservative James Woolsey his senior adviser on national security issues on Monday. Woolsey, who left the CIA in 1995, went on to become one of Washington’s most outspoken promoters of U.S. war in Iraq and the Middle East.

      As such, Woolsey’s selection either clashes with Trump’s noninterventionist rhetoric — or represents a pivot towards a more muscular, neoconservative approach to resolving international conflicts.

      Trump has called the Iraq War “a disaster.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • ‘Affair Assange’ – Malicious handling of a political case

      In a few days the Swedish court shall rule on Assange’s freedom; or it will rule in favour of prosecutor Ny. This article deals with prosecutor Marianne Ny’s assaying anew to influence the court, in exactly the same fashion that she did the last time; I question Ny’s statement, made during her press conference, on Swedish prosecutors fairness, ­and that “all should be treated equal”; I base my query on factual cases, i.e. allegations against a right-wing Swedish politician that were similar to the one against Assange, and that were quickly dropped by the prosecutors at the time Assange was under arrest in London by orders of Ny. This article also refers to the Swedish media reactions after the revelations in the recent TV program Uppdraggranskning, which dealt with the extradition of Assange to the US. This program – aired the same day of Ny’s press conference –partly failed to comment, or even mention, the resolution of the UNGWAD ruling for the immediate freedom of Mr Assange; and partly omitted for the Swedish viewers crucial facts which ascertain the absolute existence of a ‘criminal investigation’ against Assange in the US, based among other on the new laws on terrorism. All that makes the extradition of Assange to the US not only ‘probably’ – as publicly acknowledged for the first time in the Swedish state-owned media (or for that part in all mainstream media of Sweden)– but also its request by the US highly incumbent.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Who Is Funding the Dakota Access Pipeline? Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo

      We continue our conversation Food & Water Watch’s Hugh MacMillan about his new investigation that reveals the dozens of financial institutions that are bankrolling the Dakota Access pipeline, including Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. “They are banking on this company and banking on being able to drill and frack for the oil to send through the pipeline over the coming decades,” MacMillan says. “So they’re providing the capital for the construction of this pipeline.”

    • Wind power is going to get a lot cheaper as wind turbines get even more enormous

      In a nugget of very good news for the renewable energy sector, a survey of 163 wind energy experts has found that in the coming decades, the cost of electricity generated by wind should plunge, by between 24 and 30 percent by the year 2030, and even further by the middle of the century.

      One key reason? New wind projects are about to get even more massive, in both the offshore and onshore sectors. As turbines get taller and access stronger winds, and as rotors increase in diameter, it becomes possible to generate ever more electricity from a single turbine.

      “Our experts clearly anticipate a significant potential for further cost reductions, both onshore and offshore,” said Ryan Wiser of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who conducted the study with colleagues from several other institutions, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an International Energy Agency task force on wind energy.

    • One in 10 UK wildlife species faces extinction, major report shows

      More than one in 10 of the UK’s wildlife species are threatened with extinction and the numbers of the nation’s most endangered creatures have plummeted by two-thirds since 1970, according to a major report.

      The abundance of all wildlife has also fallen, with one in six animals, birds, fish and plants having been lost, the State of Nature report found.

      Together with historical deforestation and industrialisation, these trends have left the UK “among the most nature-depleted countries in the world”, with most of the country having gone past the threshold at which “ecosystems may no longer reliably meet society’s needs”.

      The comprehensive scientific report, compiled by more than 50 conservation organisations, spells out the destructive impact of intensive farming, urbanisation and climate change on habitats from farmland and hills to rivers and the coast. It found that the fall in wildlife over the last four decades cannot be blamed on past harm, but has continued in recent years.

    • Highest Water Levels During Hurricane Hermine

      NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services maintains a permanent observing system that includes 210 continuously operating water level stations throughout the U.S. and its territories. These water level stations provide real-time oceanographic and meteorological observations, which are critical data for communities, particularly during storms impacting the coast.

      This graphic depicts highest water levels along the coast throughout the duration of this storm. Highest water levels are measured in feet above Mean Higher High Water (MHHW). MHHW is defined as the average daily highest tide. Inundation typically begins when water levels exceed MHHW.

  • Finance

    • France backs Barroso ethics inquiry

      French President François Hollande on Tuesday endorsed the investigation into the conduct of former European Commission chief José Manuel Barroso, aimed at deciding if he broke EU law by joining Goldman Sachs in July.

      “I fully support this initiative,” Hollande said, two days after Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ordered a probe into his predecessor’s decision to take up the role as chairman and senior adviser at the international arm of the investment bank.

      “When you know that Goldman Sachs was one of the reasons for the difficulties we encountered” during the financial crisis, “that justifies a procedure, the one that Juncker has just started,” the French president said during a trip to Bucharest, AFP reported.

    • The 101 on how global trade treaties came to threaten the environment

      Such accusations have been made lately against a bewildering alphabet soup of global treaties now under negotiation, including the TTP, TTIP, and TISA.

      NAFTA protests rage on worldwide, reignited by recent Chapter 11 cases and the threat of new and looming trade treaties such as TTP, TTIP and CETA. Photo by Billie Greenwood licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 generic license

    • Globalisation, Glocalisation, Glokatisation

      History tells us periods of globalisation do not come smoothly. According to economic commentator Thomas Friedman, our current era of globalisation is new, unique, terrifying and exciting. As exciting as it is, such change can be disquieting and the spoils of globalisation are not equally distributed. Against this new political and economic backdrop is a political reaction which, consciously or unconsciously, seeks to reverse this trend. This idea of a policy reaction is the subject of a recent US Chamber of Commerce report, “Preventing Deglobalization: An Economic and Security Argument for Free Trade and Investment in ICT.”

      Friedman divides globalisation into three phases. The first, starting with the ‘discovery’ of the Americas, runs from 1492 to 1800, which he argues is the globalisation of countries. The second phase is from 1800 to 2000, a time dominated by the Industrial Revolution, in which companies become globalised. In our present era, from 2000, it is the individual who joins globalisation. Not everyone wins, and periods of increased globalisation are often followed by periods of political turmoil. The ICT sector is a dominant sector driving change in our current wave of globalisation.

    • Census Shows Post-Recession Rebound — But Many Are Still Worse Off Than in 2007

      There is much to cheer in the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 report on American incomes, poverty, and health coverage released Tuesday.

      Median real income household income rose 5.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, and the poverty rate declined by 1.2 percentage points.

      The percentage of Americans without health insurance coverage declined to 9.1 from 10.4 in 2014. Overall, the number of Americans without health insurance declined to 29 million.

      These numbers point to an economy that is seriously starting to rebound from the Great Recession. The Census also notes that number of “full-time, year- round workers increased by 2.4 million in 2015.”

      But many Americans continue to see their incomes lag behind where they were around a decade ago.

      Median household income increased from 2014 to 2015, but it is still 5 percent behind where it was in 2007.

    • Techdirt Podcast Episode 90: Is Capitalism Over?

      As technology ushers more and more things towards the realm of “post-scarcity”, an inevitable conversation has arisen around the very roots of capitalism and what this rapid change means for our economic systems at the most fundamental levels. But the answer is far from simple — is capitalism dying? Can it evolve? Is the whole question being framed incorrectly? This week, we discuss the notion of a post-capitalist world, what it might look like, and how close it actually is.

    • More Details On How Corporate Sovereignty Provisions, Like Those In TPP & TTIP, Are Dangerous

      A few weeks ago, we wrote about a really great and detailed look by BuzzFeed’s Chris Hamby into “investor state dispute settlement” (ISDS) provisions in international trade agreements — something we refer to as corporate sovereignty, because it enables companies to effectively force countries away from certain regulations. Hamby’s piece was about how rich corporate execs were using corporate sovereignty provisions to get out of criminal prosecutions. That was only part I of his investigation. Part II of the series may have been the most useful, because it detailed how the mere threat of an ISDS case could pressure countries into changing regulations. This is super important, because one of the key talking points from defenders of corporate sovereignty provisions is to point to stats on actual cases. But if the threats are really effective, the stats on cases really is only showing a portion of what ISDS is doing.

    • TPP Goes Down to the Wire: Help Stop It by Joining Our Call-In

      It’s now or never for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It’s almost certain that if the TPP can’t pass during the lame duck session of Congress in its present form before the new President takes office, it won’t pass at all.

      You may also have heard that a lame duck vote on the TPP is off the table—but that’s false. In fact, the administration’s pressure for such a vote to take place following the election has never been greater. Officials held a new round of meetings just last week with business interests to encourage them to sell the flawed agreement to an increasingly skeptical public and Congress. So you shouldn’t believe for a moment that the TPP can’t still pass within the next few months. It can.

    • Security Territory and Population Part 5: Governmentality And Introduction to Foucault’s Method

      As a simple example, for a number of years, Keynesianism was the form of knowledge about the economy. Then it was replaced by neoliberalism. That’s the historical situation as I see it today. Why it changed, the genealogy of that change, is open to discussion. One strand of the discussion can be found in Philip Mirowski’s Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste.

      4. Foucault suggests that the family as a model for the economy had to be overcome and replaced by operations on the population as a whole. As we know, the idea of the family as model for both government and for government of the economy as a whole has not died out, but like most bad ideas will never die.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald Trump and the Art of Spinning Secrets Into Lies

      This year, some suggested that Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, should not be privy to classified briefings due to his habit of sneezing out the unfiltered contents of his head into the public domain. “This man is dangerous,” said Sen. Harry Reid, the Democrats’ minority leader, in a recent interview. Reid suggested that intelligence officials deceive Trump with phony secrets: “Fake it, pretend you’re doing a briefing,” he said.

      In 1952, Harry Truman started the practice of letting presidential candidates sample secret intelligence. Three candidates have since declined to receive the special briefings — Barry Goldwater in 1964, Walter Mondale in 1984, and Bob Dole in 1996. But how to deal with a candidate who can’t keep his mouth shut? In Trump’s case, fairness prevailed over caution. President Obama decided to admit Trump into the classified world, although this year’s briefings are reportedly classified at the level of secret, not top secret as they were during the 2008 race.

    • FBI calls Clinton email probe ‘different’ as key witness ditches House hearing

      As lawmakers continued to probe Hillary Clinton’s private email use, the aide who set up the service declined to appear before the House committee. FBI officials had to be given a summons to produce documents on the investigation.

      On Tuesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee summoned contractors and former State Department officials who set up and maintained Clinton’s email servers and mobile devices. However, the key Clinton aide, Bryan Pagliano, did not show up for the hearing, pleading Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination.

      The afternoon before, the committee dressed down FBI’s Acting Assistant Director for Congressional Affairs Jason Herring, who was at pains to explain his absence from a major meeting last week and the bureau’s reluctance to hand over unredacted investigation documents.

    • Clinton Aides Complain About Double Standard, But Media Also Went After Bush Foundation

      Claiming victimhood after critical coverage of Saudi donations to the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton campaign Press Secretary Brian Fallon recently whined on Twitter that comparable Saudi links to a Bush family foundation didn’t receive anything like the same level of media scrutiny.

    • Samantha Bee: Have We Come to Demand ‘Meaningless Campaign Coverage’ From Our Media? (Video)

      A furious “Full Frontal” host returned from a break to rail against NBC’s Matt Lauer—who oversaw the recent live forum featuring presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—and the rest of the members of the mass media who are failing to ask tough questions during this election cycle.

    • Colin Powell Urged Hillary Clinton’s Team Not to Scapegoat Him for Her Private Server, Leaked Emails Reveal

      Former Secretary of State Colin Powell attempted to discourage Hillary Clinton and her team from using him as a scapegoat for her private email server problems, according to newly leaked emails from Powell’s Gmail account.

      “Sad thing,” Powell wrote to one confidant, “HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me to it.”

    • Media Undermine Democracy by Speculating Wildly About Undermining Democracy

      This is pure, unadulterated speculation—the kind of “what if, then they might” house of cards one would expect from an episode of Ancient Aliens, not in one of the most influential papers in the English-speaking world. In a moment of outright self-parody, Applebaum notes that “rumors of election fraud can create the same hysteria as real election fraud” while spending 800 words doing nothing but spreading rumors of election fraud. We have met the rumormonger, Ms. Applebaum, and she is you.

      One sure way to undermine confidence in US elections is to speculate wildly about such scenarios. Evidence-based discussions of the potential for electoral fraud are useful–and it’s important to note that there’s always a risk of voting manipulation–but running away with wholly speculative scenarios built on even more speculative scenarios, while pontificating about “media hysteria, hearings, legal challenges, mass rallies, a constitutional crisis,” does nothing to inform the reader, much less address the real dangers of election fraud. It simply serves to frighten the public by cynically appealing to our baser Cold War instincts.

    • FBI Director: Our Electronic Voting System Is Such A Complete Mess, It Would Be Difficult To Hack

      There’s been plenty of talking going around this election cycle about the terrible security problems with our current voting technology — along with some conspiracy-theory level talk of foreign agents looking to “hack” the election. We haven’t been very impressed with officials telling us all to calm down and it’s difficult to see how FBI director James Comey did himself any favors by basically arguing that the voting system is secure… mainly because of what a complete and utter mess it is. The larger point he’s making is somewhat valid, if clunky, in the fact that each state runs their own voting, so it’s not like hackers can get into one central system and wreak havoc. The different systems definitely make it harder.

    • Former Attorney General Speechwriter: James Comey Most Autonomous FBI Director Since J. Edgar Hoover

      Riley Roberts, speechwriter for former attorney general Eric Holder, has a fascinating examination of James Comey’s first four years as the head of the FBI. It details his frequently-antagonistic relationship with, well, nearly everyone, as well as his long history of going head-to-head with high-ranking government officials.

      Roberts says no FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover has acted with such autonomy. The unprecedented public discussion of the agency’s Clinton email investigation is just one such example. While Comey was undoubtedly correct that there was significant public interest in not just the outcome, but the inner workings of the investigation, his decision to hold a press conference and release investigative documents came as a surprise to his closest colleagues.

    • What Do the Presidential Candidates Know about Science?

      Jill Stein (G): It is a major concern that many Americans don’t trust our scientific and regulatory agencies, and extremely unfortunate that there are valid reasons for this declining trust that must be addressed.

      For example, the current FDA commissioner appointed by President Obama was a highly paid consultant for big pharmaceutical corporations, as Senator Sanders pointed out in opposing his nomination. In the case of Vioxx, the FDA approved a profitable pain reliever that caused up to 140,000 cases of heart disease, and even tried to silence its own scientists who discovered this deadly side effect.

    • Presidential Debates: 76 Percent of Americans Want Four-Person Debates: Clinton, Johnson, Trump, Stein, Why Are Establishment Elites Preventing It

      A recent USA Today poll found 76% of voters want debates with four candidates including not just the two most hated candidates in history, the Republican and Democratic nominees and their vice presidential running mates, but Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka of the Greens, and Gary Johnson and Bill Weld of the Libertarians.

      Any candidate on enough ballots to achieve 270 electoral college votes should be in the debates. The people have a right to see all candidates debating the issues who are on their ballots.

      The deceptive debate commission, which is called a debate commission just to hide the truth: it is a corporation of the Democrats and Republicans whose purpose is to limit debates to their two parties, has no legitimacy. It has a major conflict of interest – why should the two establishment parties decide their opponents cannot debate? It is an obvious conflict of interest that the media should be calling out. The media should join the demand of the people – open debate are essential for democracy.

    • The Candidates’ Views on America’s Top 20 Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Issues in 2016

      The candidates for president have responded to America’s Top 20 Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Issues in 2016. These key issues affect voters’ lives as much as the foreign policy, economic policy, and faith and values views that candidates traditionally share with journalists on the campaign trail. Several of America’s leading science and engineering organizations are urging the candidates and the press to give them equal priority in the national dialogue. For three cycles, presidential candidates have chosen to share their views here, as the Democratic and Republican candidates did in 2008 and 2012. In 2016, we also invited the Green and Libertarian candidates.

    • Fact-checking Donald Trump’s Charity Claims

      Donald Trump says he has donated millions to charity.

      Earlier this year, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold set out to prove him right.

      But finding evidence to support Trump’s claims turned out to be surprisingly difficult. The Republican presidential nominee provided few details. His campaign offered little help. Even Trump’s son, Eric, who runs his own charitable foundation, couldn’t cite specific donations.

      Fahrenthold reached out to dozens of charities, and took to Twitter, asking his followers for leads. Despite his exhaustive efforts, he hasn’t been able to come close to accounting for the $8.5 million Trump publicly pledged over a 15-year period.

    • Clinton’s penchant for secrecy goes back decades

      She responded this way when challenged about potential conflicts of interest involving her family’s foundation, and again when questioned about her use of private email to conduct government business.

      And now, when asked about her health Sunday, Hillary Clinton has fallen back on the same strategy she has used for decades: silence.

      Her secrecy seems to create as much controversy – if not more – than the initial issue itself, perpetuating a belief held by most voters since the start of the presidential campaign that she is not honest.

      In other words, Clinton’s careful attempts to avoid political trouble only seem to get her into more political trouble.

    • CBS News edits transcript, video clip of Bill Clinton discussing Hillary’s health

      CBS News edited a video clip and transcript to remove former President Bill Clinton’s comment during an interview that Hillary Clinton, now the Democratic presidential nominee, “frequently” fainted in the past.

      Bill Clinton sat down with CBS’s Charlie Rose on Monday to try to clear the air around questions regarding his wife’s health after she collapsed while getting into a van at a 9/11 memorial ceremony on Sunday.

      “Well, if it is, then it’s a mystery to me and all of her doctors,” Bill Clinton said when Rose asked him if Hillary Clinton was simply dehydrated or if the situation was more serious. “Frequently — well, not frequently, rarely, on more than one occasion, over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing’s happened to her when she got severely dehydrated, and she’s worked like a demon, as you know, as secretary of State, as a senator and in the year since.”

      But the “CBS Evening News” version cut Clinton’s use of “frequently” out. And a review by The Hill of the official transcript released by the network shows that Clinton saying “Frequently — well, not frequently,” is omitted as well.

      Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller first discovered the edit of the television version

    • Jill Stein Cites FAIR’s Correction of MSNBC Falsehood
    • Google Supports Hillary

      Everything in America, including our Internet search engine, is corrupt. Progressive Stephen Lendman reports that Google has put its search engine in support of Hillary, a crazed warmonger with medical problems, as president of the US.

      What is extraordinary is that the rest of the world’s governments have accepted US control of the Internet and relies on the United States, the tyrannical government of which despises every country that is not an American puppet state. Why militarily powerful countries such as Russia and China and rich countries such as China allow Washington to control the Internet is the mystery of our time.

      The need is desperate for competing Internet systems and search engines available to all, or the Internet will become another censored provider of Washington propaganda.

    • REVEALED: Google staffers have had at least 427 meetings at the White House over course of Obama presidency – averaging more than one a week

      Newly compiled data reveals Google and its affiliates have attended meetings at the White House more than once a week, on average, since President Barack Obama took office.

      Numbers crunched by the Campaign for Accountability and the Intercept show 169 Google employees have met with 182 government officials in the White House.

      The meetings took place at least 427 times. The data used spans from Obama’s first month in office in 2009 until October 2015, and includes government meetings with representatives of Google-affiliated companies Tomorrow Ventures and Civis Analytics.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Another Day, Another Problem With Facebook’s Random Decisions To Block Content

      Last week one of the big stories of the week was Facebook blocking people from posting an iconic photo from the Vietnam War because it showed a young girl, naked, running from an attack. After lots of press and lots of public outcry, Facebook relented and claimed that it would be adjusting its policies. And yet… another week, another set of stories of problems on Facebook. It’s unclear how widespread this is, but on Monday there were suddenly reports (on Twitter, of course) of Facebook randomly blocking perfectly reasonable links. The first example I saw of this was reports that Facebook was blocking this story from The Intercept about Rep. Barbara Lee’s lone vote against the PATRIOT Act (the only member of the House to vote against it) a few days after September 11th.

    • German Lawyer Details Politics and Double-Standards of Facebook Censorship

      On his website, Hamburg lawyer and blogger Joachim Steinhöfel collects deleted Facebook comments which didn’t pose a threat. He believes that the platform is under political pressure, and that it isn’t neutral in its approach to censorship. Currently, he is preparing a case against Facebook, and may set a precedent.

      “Facebook-Sperre — Wall of Shame” is Steinhöfel’s website, where he documents the site’s methodology for blocking posts. He believes the site’s decisions are motivated by politics rather than its own stated principles.

    • Silje Mari on Instagram Censorship

      My Instagram account is where I can share with my followers and also the rest of the world who I am as a person. I tend to share thoughts and beliefs on individual posts and can be very outspoken if it is something I feel strongly about. Recently however, Instagram has been removing some of my posts due to not following their community guidelines.

      It started with them removing one picture of me which was censored to apply with their community guidelines, to me then retaliating by posting another censored picture. My nipples were not visible in these pictures. Instagram still removed them. They have also removed two older posts which were creative pictures by photographers, not showing any nipple. I will be reposting theses pictures later on.

    • ‘Censorship of the internet is harmful to dialogue’

      Editors Sunetra Sen Narayan and Shalini Narayanan analyse the growth of new media in Digital India from a broad communications and interdisciplinary perspective in their latest book titled, India Connected, published by Sage Publications.

      The book critically examines the growth of new media in India and offers a perspective on the opportunities and challenges it poses to governance, development, businesses as well as in social marketing efforts.

      Narayan has more than 25 years of experience in communications, including in advertising, print journalism, documentary film production and teaching. She is currently associate professor at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. Narayanan, D.Phil, is an independent media consultant and trainer with two and a half decades of experience in the government and non-government sectors.

    • Statement from Gawker Media Editorial Union on Univision’s Deletion of News Stories

      Univision has said that it bought Gawker Media because it believed in the work that our publications do. That work, for well over a decade, was only possible because we knew that our company leadership would defend it if it came under frivolous legal attack.

      Univision’s first act on acquiring the company was to delete six true and accurate news stories from our archive, because those stories had been the targets of frivolous or malicious lawsuits. This decision undermines the foundation of the ability of Gawker Media’s employees to do our work. We have seen firsthand the damage that a targeted lawsuit campaign can do to companies and individual journalists, and the removal of these posts can only encourage such attempts in the future.

      We condemn this action by Univision’s executives in the strongest possible terms. It sets an alarming precedent both for our relationship with our new owners and for the business of journalism as a whole. It is unacceptable for a publisher to delete legitimate and true news stories for business reasons.

    • Cuba’s Telecom Monopoly Banning Text Messages Containing Words Like ‘Democracy’

      The door to modernizing Cuba’s communications networks opened slightly wider recently after the FCC removed the country from the agency’s banned nation list. That allows fixed and wireless companies alike to begin doing business in Cuba as part of an overall attempt to ease tensions between the States and the island nation. And while Cuba has been justly concerned about opening the door to NSA bosom buddies like AT&T and Verizon, it’s still apparently not quite ready to give up some of its own, decidedly ham-fisted attempts to crack down on free speech over telecom networks.

      A recent investigative report by blogger Yoani Sanchez and journalist Reinaldo Escobar found that the nation has been banning certain words sent via text message with the help of state-owned telecom monopoly ETECSA. The report, confirmed in an additional investigation by Reuters, found that roughly 30 different keywords are being banned by Cuba’s government, including “democracy,” “human rights,” and the name of several activists and human rights groups. Words containing such keywords simply aren’t delivered, with no indication given to the sender of the delivery failure.

    • Palestinian women fight elections name ‘censorship’

      With Palestinian municipal elections delayed, authorities will now have time to fix a contentious issue surrounding the names on the candidate lists.

      Some of the literature used for the polls in the West Bank and Gaza that were scheduled for October had replaced the names of female candidates with “sister of…”, “wife of…” or just their initials.

      The issue first rose to prominence at the end of August when female voters and candidates started using a hashtag to voice their dissent and to call for women’s names to be properly represented.

    • How YouTube is Using Censorship to Choose Advertisers Over Content Creators

      YouTube has been trending in the news due to various reports from YouTube creators displaying notifications received from the video-sharing website saying that their videos have been demonetized. In case you’re unfamiliar with how YouTube stars earn money, they have an AdSense account which allows them to earn revenue from ads on their videos. When a video is demonetized, it means the creator is unable to receive income from the AdSense revenue from said video.

      The company, unfortunately, has the right to do this. In fact, they’ve been demonetizing videos since 2012, when they first introduced their new “ad-friendly” guidelines. At the time, and today, the company uses an algorithm to remove videos that do not follow the rules. But, even though the company has previously held guidelines for ad-friendly content, the descriptions of what is considered ad-friendly are vague and seem to censor creators, rather than help them create better content.

    • Lionel Shriver sparks censorship row in Australia after criticising cultural appropriation ‘fad’

      American author Lionel Shriver has sparked an international row about censorship, artistic licence and respect for minorities after she delivered a scathing attack on the concept of “cultural appropriation.”

      Shriver, author of We Need To Talk About Kevin, which was turned into a 2011 film starring Tilda Swinton, was invited to the Brisbane Writers Festival to speak about fiction and identity politics.

      But instead of delivering a mild address, her speech so shocked the organisers that they censored her on the festival website and publicly disavowed her remarks – hastily arranging a conference to rebut her views.

    • Mehta asks film industry to come together on censorship

      Filmmaker Hansal Mehta has often been at loggerheads with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the director has appealed to the film fraternity to come together against censorship.

    • Hansal Mehta asks film industry to come together on censorship
    • Pokemon Go The Latest Tool For Russian Government To Silence Speakers It Doesn’t Like

      On the list of countries I’ve always wanted to visit but would be somewhat scared if I did, Russia is probably near the top. While there are certainly more dangerous parts of the world for any variety of reasons, I’ve found that the thing that gets me in the most trouble is my big mouth — and the Russian government has made a habit of coming down on any kind of speech it doesn’t like with a hand heavier than a Russian bear. This government uses its own laws in perverse ways to accomplish this, notably its laws that make it illegal to offend others on religious grounds, as seen chiefly in its treatment of punk band Pussy Riot.

      This use of religious protectionism has proceeded to the present. The Russian government recently announced that it was locking up a noted atheist blogger for two months. His crime? Playing Pokemon Go in a church.

    • Israeli Official Who Promoted Genocide on Facebook Now Fighting ‘Incitement’ on Social Media
    • Israel: Facebook complying with requests to takedown inciting content, claims Ayelet Shaked
    • Israel and Facebook join hands to decide what is censored
    • Facebook and Israel Government Team Up To Tackle Terrorism On Social Media
    • Facebook to help Israel censor comments
    • Why Is Israel Letting Facebook Off the Hook on Incitement?
    • Israel teams with Facebook to fight terrorism
    • Facebook to let the Israelis help censor your news feed
  • Privacy/Surveillance