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Links 26/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC8, SuperTux 0.5

Posted in News Roundup at 6:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Letter to the Federal Trade Commission regarding Lenovo blocking Linux and other operating system installations on Yoga PCs.

      Lenovo just updated the BIOS for the Yoga 710, another system that doesn’t allow Linux installs. Wanna know what they changed? Update to TPM (secret encryption module used for Digital Restrictions Management) and an update to the Intel Management Engine, which is essentially a backdoor rootkit built into all recent Intel processors (but AMD has their version too, so what do you do?). No Linux support. Priorities…

    • Microsoft told to compensate customers for Windows 10 breaking computers

      Microsoft has been urged to pay compensation to customers that have suffered computer malfunctions when upgrading to its new software Windows 10.

      Since the company released the software last year it has been plagued by complaints, with customers claiming their computers upgraded without their permission and, in some cases, completely stopped working.

      Which?, the consumer watchdog, has told Microsoft to “honour consumers’ rights” and compensate those who have suffered from problems, including lost files, email accounts no longer syncing and failed WiFi connection.

      It said Microsoft customers had also complained that their webcams suddenly stopped working, as did speakers and printers in the wake of the upgrade.

    • Veteran Windows journo slams Microsoft over Surface Pro issues

      Microsoft’s tardiness and lack of communication in relation to battery issues affecting its Surface Pro PC/tablet hybrid has been slammed by well-known journalist Ed Bott who has been writing about the company for 25 years.

      In a column titled “Shame on Microsoft for leaving Surface Pro customers in the dark”, Bott wrote that Microsoft had not shown any appreciation of the users who had helped put its Surface business on a solid footing.

      He wrote that after the Surface Pro 3 had been in the market for more than a year, users began noticing a steady drop in battery capacity.

      In March 2016, the company’s support lines began fielding calls about the issue, with complaints that batteries that should have held a charge for five or more hours were going dead in 20 or 30 minutes and refusing to charge fully.

  • Server

    • IBM Preaches Cognitive, Cloud, And IT Consumption

      They say it’s not just about the technology. It’s really about the business. But that brings to mind an old adage from the car industry: You sell the sizzle not the steak. Right now the sizzle is cognitive computing. It has edged out big data and analytics in the one-upsmanship match of IT leadership and the next big thing. At the Edge conference last week, when IBM executives talked strategy and road maps, cognitive computing was on the tip of tongues.

      Cognitive is a differentiator, an upper hand for IBM. Big Blue has not let the world forget about Watson, its game show champion that’s evolved into a must-have business advantage in the making. Watson’s augmented intelligence, a term IBM prefers over artificial intelligence, has been applied to healthcare, finance, commerce, education, and security. According to IBM, it has thousands of scientists and engineers working on cognitive projects, which also extend to clients, academics, and external experts.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 4.8 Lands October 2 as Linus Torvalds Outs Last Release Candidate

      It’s still Sunday in U.S. so Linus Torvalds has just published his weekly announcement to inform us all about the availability of the eighth and last RC (Release Candidate) development snapshot of the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel.

    • Linux 4.8-rc8 Released: Linux 4.8 Next Weekend
    • Linux 4.8 gets rc8

      Chill, penguin-fanciers: Linux lord Linus Torvalds is sitting on the egg that is Linux 4.8 for another week.

      As Torvalds indicated last week, this version of the kernel still needs work and therefore earned itself an eighth release candidate.

    • Linux Kernel 4.7.5 Released with Numerous ARM and Networking Improvements

      The fifth maintenance update to the Linux 4.7 kernel series, which is currently the most advanced, secure and stable kernel branch you can get for your GNU/Linux operating system, has been announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman.

      Linux kernel 4.7.5 is here only ten days after the release of the previous maintenance version, namely Linux kernel 4.7.4, and it’s a big update that changes a total of 213 files, with 1774 insertions and 971 deletions, which tells us that the kernel developers and hackers had a pretty busy week patching all sorts of bugs and security issues, as well as to add various, much-needed improvements.

    • Blockchain Summit Day Two: End-Of-Conference Highlights From Shanghai

      Financial services firms and startups looking to be the bridge to blockchain ledgers continued to dominate presentations on the second and final day of the Blockchain Summit, ending International Blockchain Week in Shanghai that also saw Devcon2 and a startup demo competition.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The RADV Radeon Vulkan Linux Driver Continues Picking Up Features
      • OpenChrome Maintainer Making Some Progress On VIA DRM Driver

        Independent developer Kevin Brace took over maintaining the OpenChrome DDX driver earlier this year to improve the open-source VIA Linux graphics support while over the summer he’s slowly been getting up to speed on development of the OpenChrome DRM driver.

        The OpenChrome DRM driver was making progress while James Simmons was developing it a few years back, but since he left the project, it’s been left to bit rot. It will take a lot of work even to get this previously “good” code back to working on the latest Linux 4.x mainline kernels given how DRM core interfaces have evolved in recent times.

      • My talk about Mainline Explicit Fencing at XDC 2016!

        Last week I was at XDC in Helsinki where I presented about the Explicit Fencing work we’ve been doing on the Mainline Linux Kernel in the lastest few months. There was a livestream of all presentations during the conference and recorded sections are available. You can check the video of my presentation. Check out the slides too.

    • Benchmarks

      • Testing Various HDDs & SSDs On Ubuntu With The Linux 4.8 Kernel

        Here are some fresh benchmarks of various solid-state drives (SATA 3.0 SSDs plus two NVMe M.2 SSDs) as well as two HDDs for getting a fresh look at how they are performing using the Linux 4.8 Git kernel.

        After publishing Friday’s Intel 600P Series NVME SSD tests of this lower-cost NVM Express storage line-up, I continued testing a few other SSDs and HDDs. These additional reference points are available for your viewing pleasure today. The additional data is also going to be used for reference in a Linux 4.8-based BCache SSD+HDD comparison being published next week. Stay tuned for those fresh BCache numbers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXQt 0.11.0 Desktop Environment Arrives After Almost One Year of Development

      After being in development for the past eleven months, the next major release of the lightweight, Qt-based LXQt desktop environment has been officially released and it’s available for download.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Great first year at LAS GNOME!

        This was the first year of the Libre Application Summit, hosted by GNOME (aka “LAS GNOME”). Congratulations to the LAS GNOME team for a successful launch of this new conference! I hope to see more of them.

        In case you missed LAS GNOME, the conference was in Portland, Oregon. I thoroughly enjoyed this very walkable city. Portland is a great place for a conference venue. When I booked my hotel, I found lots of hotel options within easy walking distance to the LAS GNOME location. I walked every day, but you could also take any of the many light rail or bus or trolley options running throughout the city.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Ghost Minitaur Robot Opens Doors & Climbs Fences & Stairs!

      Give this little droid a compatible brain, like a Raspberry Pi 3, which can display images via a built-in HDMI port and runs Linux at 1.2 Gigahertz, and is more akin to an actual computer than a microcontroller, and let programming of a robotic brain function shatter the ceiling on possibilities.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google could be about to reveal its Android and Chrome OS merger

          If you’ve been following Google for a while you’ll know that speculation around the company merging Android and Chrome OS into one single whole isn’t anything new, but the rumours have gained fresh impetus over the weekend.

          Sources speaking to the usually reliable Android Police say Google is preparing to combine the two OSes into something codenamed Andromeda inside the company – that’s also the name of the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way or the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia in Greek mythology, depending on which meaning you want to take.

        • Google’s Oct. 4th Event May Reveal Merged Android/Chrome OS
        • Oct 4th rumors: Google to show off merged Android/Chrome OS preview, $69 Chromecast Ultra and $129 Google Home

          Google is holding an event on October 4th, where the company is expected to officially launches its new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. But that’s not all we’re expecting to see on October 4th.

          According to several reports from Android Police, we could also see the launch of Google Home, a Chromecast Ultra, and a new wireless router called Google WiFi.

          Google may also show off a preview of an operating system that merges Chrome OS and Android, although it’s unlikely to be available to the public before 2017.

        • Android Users Replace Phones Faster Than iPhone Fans

          Every time a new Apple iPhone gets released, it seems like everyone who has chosen iOS over Alphabet ‘s Android immediately orders one.

          In reality, however, not every consumer trades in his or her phone just because a new model comes out. They may want to, but leasing cycles, payment plans and other factors influence whether people swap out their iPhone or Android phone after a new model is released.

          On the Apple side, consumers are actually holding onto their phones slightly longer, while with Android, the replacement cycle has been steady for the past three years, according to data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

        • Sony Xperia X Performance users can register for Android 7.0 Nougat beta program (but not everywhere)
        • Leaked Presentation Slide Reveals Sony’s Android 7.0 Roadmap

          If you own an Android device that isn’t a Nexus, chances are you’re probably wondering when your phone will be updated to the latest version of Android, Android 7.0 Nougat. OEMs don’t usually reveal their update plans so early on, but the good news for Sony users is that we now have an idea of when the update will be released.

          This is thanks to an alleged leaked presentation slide as reported by Mojandroid.sk (via Xperia Blog) from Sony Slovakia. As you can see in the photo above, it shows the company’s plans for the Android 7.0 Nougat update. Assuming the timing is applicable for all markets they operate in, the Xperia X Performance and Xperia XZ should get their update in October.

        • Umi Plus International Giveaway [3 Phones]

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to throw a tarball over the wall

    It costs a lot of money to open source a mature piece of commercial software, even if all you are doing is “throwing a tarball over the wall.” That’s why companies abandoning software they no longer care about so rarely make it open source, and those abandoning open source projects rarely move them to new homes that benefit others.

    If all you have thought about is the eventual outcome, you may be surprised how expensive it is to get there.

    Read more

  • Desktop virtualisation kit-calculator goes open source

    The tool has gone through a number of iterations over the years, extending its capabilities to assess the infrastructure requirements of ever-more virtual desktops along the way while also keeping up with changes to VMware’s Horizon and Citrix’s XenDesktop.

    But Leibovici says he’s now sufficiently busy that “Unfortunately I find myself without time to maintain the VDI calculator, therefore I decided that the best outcome would be to open-source the app and let the community drive maintenance and innovation.”

    Hence its publication under an Apache 2.0 licence here on GitHub.

  • Attributes of Effective Project Managers

    Volunteers often work for both philanthropic and selfish reasons. For example, contributing to FreeBSD and having your code approved can translate to a career-building resume bullet (nearly ⅓ of the world’s internet traffic runs on FreeBSD). While not every contribution translates into a resume bullet, volunteers generally contribute more of their talents when their contributions are recognized. Martin takes great pride in publicly sharing information about how he gives back to his volunteers in the form of reasonably-sized monetary gifts. He remarked to me how one gift bought a programmer a new chair. While it may not seem like much, the contribution made a significant difference to that person’s sense of value to the project. Martin noticed that since the chair arrived the change requests for Ubuntu MATE that come from that programmer with the happy hind quarters seem to become his highest priority and Martin generally gets the changes in short order.

  • Show And Tell: Google Open Sources Its Image Captioning AI In TensorFlow

    Google has open sourced its Show and Tell system which will now be available in TensorFlow machine learning library. The Show and Tell system can analyze an image and provide a relevant caption describing the situation of the image. The code of the system is available on GitHub.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 9.6 Preparing To Release Next Week With Its Parallel Queries Support

      PostgreSQL 9.6 is being prepared for release on 29 September as the database system’s latest major update.

      Arguably the biggest feature of the upcoming PostgreSQL 9.6 release is the parallel query support for scans, joins, and aggregates that should speed up the performance of SELECTs by a lot. There are also other improvements like synchronous replication on multiple standby servers, full-text search for phrases, and more.


    • Developing a GIMP Deblur Plugin

      The original assignment was to implement Cho’s algorithm for deblurring [Cho et al 2013] as a GIMP plugin. The previous bachelor thesis had found this algorithm as the best deblurring algorithm for recovering text. However, time marches on. During the literature review phase, the team came across some advances in deblurring. Moreover, the algorithm’s description in the paper was incomplete, and patented. (Interestingly enough, the patent did not clarify the incompleteness.) There was a new algorithm by Pan et al [Pan et al 2014] that was simpler, faster, and: open source. However, the original was coded in Matlab, which is (1) proprietary, (2) not freely available, and (3) not in much use by people who want to edit pictures.

      So, the team investigated both algorithms in great (and hairy) detail, and implemented Pan et al’s algo as an open source GIMP plugin. This required a working understanding of the maths involved (which is not explicitly taught in the Bachelor programme). Moreover, the end result is a sleek piece of work, showcasing the team’s CS creds as well.

      Below, a tiny bit about how blurring works, and how to deblur. I’ll skip most of the maths, promised.

  • Public Services/Government

    • North American Cities Slow to Adopt Open Source Software

      Most politicians who are setting the IT budgets do not have a clue what IT is doing. They demand more and more from them as technology changes. But unlike a crumbling road or rusting bridge that can be seen by all, they really do not see or understand what is happening in the IT department. As long as they can get access to their applications and data, everything is fine. This lack of knowledge leads to a lack of political willpower to make change happen or to even recognize that change is needed and that money can be saved by doing things differently.


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Microsoft ends Tuesday patches

      Yesterday was a big day for Patch Tuesday. It was the last traditional Windows Patch Tuesday as Microsoft is moving to a new patching release model. In the future, patches will be bundled together and users will no longer be able to pick and choose which updates to install. Furthermore, these new ‘monthly update packs’ will be combined, so for instance, the November update will include all the patches from October as well.

    • The best way to develop software with effective security

      Regardless of the level at which you’re doing your programming, security is going to get in the way. No amount of application abstraction or modern development process seems capable of shielding developers from the barriers raised by security. It’s pretty hard not to hate security when it doesn’t seem to add any intrinsic value, and often gets in the way of providing a delightful user experience. To top it off products can get hacked anyway, in spite of any and all work you do to make your products secure.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • WPost Wants a Bigger War in Syria

      The neocon Washington Post wants an even bigger U.S. military intervention in Syria, ignoring the tenets of international law and assuming that more bombing will somehow make things better, observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Obama Promises to Shield Saudis on 9/11

      Back in 2008, when people said Barack Obama was “the one,” I didn’t realize they meant that he would be “the one” person standing, blocking the path to justice for the 9/11 victims’ families. Mr. Obama, please get out of our way and let us have some justice and peace 15 years after the brutal murder of our 3,000 loved ones.

      JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, S.2040) is a well-thought out, powerful piece of anti-terrorism legislation. It does exactly what it says — it brings all those who fund terrorism to justice.

    • Obama Vetoes 9/11-Saudi Legislation Setting Up Potential Override

      As expected, President Barack Obama has vetoed legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue nations, including Saudi Arabia, for any role their government may have played in the terrorist attacks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Dangerous Denial of Global Warming

      President Obama calls it “terrifying” and the greatest long-term threat facing the world. Three hundred seventy-five of the world’s top experts just warned of “severe and long-lasting consequences” for the planet if America’s next president drops the ball. Yet only 19 percent of registered voters say it’s a top issue; Hillary Clinton increasingly ducks the topic, and Donald Trump characteristically dismisses it all as a “hoax.”

      The issue, of course, is global warming. While reporters offer endless stories about Clinton’s emails and fainting spells, and Trump makes up new lies faster than fact-checkers can swat them down, few people in politics or the media are talking about the accelerating effects of climate change.

    • Fifty elephants killed each day for last decade, study says amid key talks on ivory trade

      The number of elephants across Africa has dropped by 111,000 in just 10 years to only 415,000 today, according to a study published on Sunday as global experts met in Johannesburg to discuss whether to lift the ban on the ivory trade.

      The Pan-African survey, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, found that 50 elephants were killed each day since 2006 and laid the blame squarely on poachers seeking their precious tusks for sale mainly to Asian markets.

  • Finance

    • Calling the SEC

      Chris DiIorio suspected major broker-dealer Knight Capital of tanking penny stocks on purpose and racking up massive, unsustainable balance-sheet liabilities based on all the stocks it “sold” that it never really had.

      It had taken him five years to reach these conclusions — five years of digging through reams of financial data in search of answers to how and why his particular penny stock investment was so brutally crushed. Knight never answered DiIorio’s questions, nor, during the reporting of this story, any of The Intercept’s.

    • Monarch Airlines denies rumours it is going bust amid passenger fears

      The UK budget airline Monarch has denied rumours it is going bust, amid growing concerns among passengers that their bookings may be at risk.

      Speculation began to circulate on Sunday afternoon that the airline, a 48-year-old British aviation icon, was set to close.

      The airline continued to advertise holiday deals and take bookings for flights late into Sunday evening.

    • The many hurdles of Brexit – a short summary post

      This is a short summary blogpost of what appear to be the main issues which need to be addressed for a Brexit to take place. I set out below the issues as questions, though they could just as easily be framed as statements.

      I call each of these a “hurdle” – because it is possible that each one of these can be negotiated and jumped over; but it is also possible that each one can be an obstruction.


      Hurdle One: Which domestic legal form? Act of Parliament or exercise of the Royal Prerogative (or something else?)

      Hurdle Two: What if the Scottish government is resolute in its opposition to Brexit?

      Hurdle Three: What if the Northern Ireland government is resolute in its opposition to Brexit?

      Hurdle Four: How is the border with the Republic of Ireland dealt with? What impact will there be (if any) on the Good Friday Agreement?

      Hurdle Five: What if Gibraltar is resolute in its opposition to Brexit?

      Hurdle Six: What if the government is defeated in the House of Commons on Brexit?

      Hurdle Seven: What if the government is defeated in the House of Lords on Brexit?

      Hurdle Eight: How is any Brexit to be reconciled with the 2015 Conservative manifesto pledge that the UK’s position in the Single Market will be “safeguarded”? How will that pledge affect the passage of Brexit legislation under the Salisbury Convention (that only legislation which fulfill manifesto pledges will not be subject to Lords’ delay)?

    • TTIP on its deathbed, but CETA moves forward despite growing concerns

      At a key meeting in Bratislava last Friday, EU ministers effectively put the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations on hold, perhaps forever. Even the perennially upbeat EU commissioner responsible for trade, Cecilia Malmström, admitted: “All ministers expressed their doubts about being able to conclude this before the end of the Obama presidency, and indeed, it looks increasingly unlikely.” Since both candidates for the US presidency have said they are dissatisfied with current trade negotiations, that makes TTIP’s long-term fate extremely uncertain.

      According to a report in Politico.eu, Austria’s economy minister made the suggestion to “relaunch [the TTIP negotiations] after the U.S. elections, with a new name, better transparency and also clearer goals.” However, another, unnamed minister said: “I don’t think there will be less demonstrations if we call it ‘John’.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Who is Gennifer Flowers? 10 facts about Bill Clinton’s former mistress and Donald Trump’s new friend
    • In Election, Russians Rallied Around Putin

      What is most important here is the fallacious link between low turnout and higher returns for United Russia. On the contrary, I believe low turnout as a general phenomenon, not linked to some openly declared boycott, makes it doubly difficult to get results in the ballot box that reflect the public opinion polls taken before the election.

      A well-documented example of this was the September 2013 mayoral election in Moscow when the turnout was surprisingly low, at 32 percent and the heavy favorite, Acting Mayor Sergey Sobyanin from United Russia, polled just 51 percent of the vote (46 percent according to the Opposition) and the fiercely anti-Kremlin candidate Alexei Navalny received 27 percent (35 percent according to his partisans). If anti-Kremlin voters in Moscow and St. Petersburg stayed home or at their dachas this past Sunday, you have to look deeper into their motivation.

    • Jeremy Corbyn Easily Re-Elected Labour Party Leader

      Jeremy Corbyn scored a “monumental victory” on Saturday, easily being reelected leader of Britain’s Labour Party.

      Corbyn got 61.8 percent of the vote to opponent Owen Smith’s 38.2. The Guardian reports that the 67-year-old “won a majority over Smith in every category—members, registered supporters, and trades union affiliates. He won the support of 59 percent of voting members, 70 percent of registered supporters, and 60 percent of affiliated supporters.”

      Cory Doctorow writes at BoingBoing that his reelection came despite sabotage from his own party and the UK press’s efforts to “to sideline, belittle and dismiss him.” As such, Doctorow argues, “it is nothing short of a miracle that Corbyn has won the leadership race, and that, moreover, he has increased his lead, beyond last year’s landslide, with a higher voter turnout than ever.”

      In fact the Bristol Post writes, it was “one of the most one-sided contests in the history of the party.”

    • Top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills granted partial immunity in email investigation

      Top Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills received an immunity deal from the Justice Department in the FBI’s investigation into the former secretary of state’s private email server, records shown to Congress revealed Friday, re-injecting the email controversy into the presidential campaign just days before her first debate with Donald Trump.

      In addition to Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff at State, grants of partial immunity were also extended to former Clinton aide Heather Samuelson, who worked as State’s White House liaison and later as a private attorney for Clinton and to John Bentel, who was director of the the Information Resources Management section in the secretary of state’s office, lawmakers said.

    • Former NSA analyst: FBI may reopen investigation if Clinton loses

      The FBI could reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information if she fails to win the November election, according to a former National Security Agency analyst, especially in light of revelations made public in a Friday document dump by the agency.

      “The FBI completely ignored the appearance of highly classified signals intelligence in Hillary’s email, including information lifted verbatim from above-Top Secret NSA reports back in 2011,” John Schindler, a security expert and former analyst for the agency, wrote in a Sunday column for the Observer, noting the agency revealed on Friday that it never questioned Clinton about the issue.

    • Fresh Proof The FBI’s Hillary Email Probe Was A Joke

      Yet another surprise revelation suggests strongly that the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail mess was anything but a by-the-book investigation.

      House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said he learned only Friday that the Justice Department gave immunity deals to Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and two other aides. That brings to five the number of Clintonistas who got a pass in exchange for testimony and/or information.

      But what makes it especially significant in Mills’ case is that she was allowed to sit in on Clinton’s FBI interview, asserting attorney-client privilege on Hillary’s behalf. This, even though Mills was herself a witness, even a potential subject of, the investigation.

    • Obama Reportedly Used Pseudonym in Emails With Clinton, FBI Notes Reveal

      One of the more fascinating revelations from the additional FBI notes released about the Hillary Clinton email investigation is the revelation of a potential pseudonym used by President Obama in emails with Clinton.

      The relevant passage of the FBI interview notes how Huma Abedin said when Clinton changed her primary email address, “they had to notify the White House so that Clinton’s emails would not be rejected by the server.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy Commissioner warns of ‘hidden risks’ of the IoT

      The Australian Privacy Commissioner has warned that Australian businesses assessed as part of a global sweep of Internet of Things products and services generally lack clear information for customers about how their personal information is being managed.

      And, more than half of Aussie businesses have failed to adequately explain how personal information was collected, used and disclosed, according to the Privacy Commissioner.

      The sweep of IoT devices, just released by the Australian Privacy Commissioner, and fellow international regulators, through the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), reveals that 71% of the IoT devices and services, and how information is managed, were not adequately explained by Australian businesses.

    • A Week In, the Pardon Snowden Debate Keeps Heating Up

      Since then, people worldwide have turned their attention back to the most famous whistleblower of our generation. Dozens of news and opinion pieces have considered his role in exposing the contours of U.S. mass surveillance, and moviegoers have watched Joseph Gordon-Levitt portray him in an Oliver Stone-directed filmbased on his life.

      The ACLU, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch launched the Pardon Snowden campaign with a press conference last Wednesday, with Ed himself appearing via live video. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined, three years ago, such an outpouring of solidarity,” he said in profuse thanks to his supporters.

    • Gary Johnson: I would pardon Edward Snowden
    • Gary Johnson: I would pardon Snowden
    • Gary Johnson Supports Pardoning Edward Snowden
    • Edward Snowden should come home
    • Hong Kong campaigners, asylum seekers to demand US presidential pardon for Edward Snowden
    • Hongkongers Take to Streets in Support of U.S. Whistleblower Snowden
    • Rally for US whistleblower Edward Snowden brings Hong Kong’s refugees to the fore
    • Hong Kong refugees protest to call for Snowden pardon

      Activists and refugees staged a protest in Hong Kong on Sunday calling on Washington to pardon fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, with protesters describing refugees in the city as “heroes” for helping him evade authorities in 2013.

    • Snowden Receives German Citizen’s Award ‘Glass of Reason’

      Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden received the Glass of Reason, award of the citizens of the German city of Kassel worth 10,000 euro ($11,230).

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden gets German award for ‘courage and conscience’ after spilling US secrets

      Edward Snowden has received an award from a German city for the ‘courage and conscience’ he showed in spilling US secrets.

      He received the Glass of Reason, award from the citizens of the German city of Kassel worth 10,000 euros (£7,000).

      The award’s organizers reportedly said that they made this choice because the whistleblower “with courage, competence and reason has taken a conscience decision and put his past life and safety at stake for a bigger thing.”

    • ChIPs Global Summit Report 4: Facebook, Apple and the DoJ discuss the tension between privacy and security

      1. The privacy v security fallacy. National security and personal privacy are not at odds with each other. It is a false choice – it is really security v security. As Noreen highlighted 17.5 million people were victims of direct hacks which violated their personal privacy, but importantly they were also victims of crime. Privacy is a security issue and security is a privacy issue. People who put products into the marketplace want to stop crime at the onset and law enforcement want to stop it once it happens. The argument is that that you cannot undermine encryption to protect customer’s security and privacy in the interests of law enforcement because in doing so you will inevitably create back doors which allow “the bad guys” in resulting in crime (and, therefore, threats to security).

      2. Security and privacy have taken center stage. The FBI’s order against Apple was ex parte. There was no opportunity for Apple to be heard. The manner in which the FBI obtained the order (after months of working whit Apple and not under seal, so that it was public) therefore generated controversy and ignited fights between various factions on the public stage. Noreen explained that Apple was and had been cooperating with law enforcement for months until the February ex parte order. The FBI’s order asked Apple to write a new operating system so that they could gain access to the iPhone 5c at issue which was running on iOS 9 (reportedly known internally at Apple as GovtOS). If Apple complied with the order they would risk the security of other Apple customers. The panel recommended this TIME article interview with Tim Cook to the audience for background reading. The panel appreciated FBI Director Comey’s efforts to keep the issue in the forefront of public discussion, but some panellists stated that his comment that an “adult conversation” was needed in the wake of the controversy was probably an unfortunate choice of words as the insinuation was that if you did not agree with the FBI, you were not an adult. Now that the “fervor” has died down, many panellists felt it was time to reignite the conversation.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Jordanian Writer Shot Dead In Front Of Court Before Trial Over Cartoon

      A gunman on Sunday killed prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar outside a court where he was facing charges for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, state news agency Petra reported.

      Hattar was struck by three bullets before the assailant was arrested, said Petra. Witnesses told AFP that a man had opened fire in front of the court in Amman’s Abdali district.

      The 56-year-old Christian was arrested on August 13 after posting a cartoon mocking jihadists on his Facebook account.

    • Nahed Hattar shot dead: Prominent Jordanian writer charged with offensive Facebook post killed

      A Jordanian writer who was arrested for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam has been shot dead.

      Nahed Hattar was assassinated in front the Supreme Court in Amman with local media reporting he was shot three times in the head.

      The shooter has reportedly been arrested by security forces.

    • Palace to look into WikiLeaks report saying Duterte permitted Davao killings

      Malacañang on Sunday said it will look into “leaked information” that President Rodrigo R. Duterte knew and permitted vigilante killings in Davao during his term as mayor of the city.

      “We will look into [it] first,” Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar said in a text message.

      “Commission on Human Rights Regional Director Alberto Sipaco (strictly protect) at a private meeting affirmed that Mayor Duterte knows about the killings and permits them,” read cable 09MANILA1002_a, one of the diplomatic cables released on the internet by self-described “multi-national media organization and associated library” WikiLeaks.

      “Recounting a conversation he once had with Duterte, who is his close friend and former fraternity brother, Sipaco said he pleaded with the Mayor to stop vigilante killings and support other methods to reduce crime, like rehabilitation programs for offenders,” it added.

    • A Digital Rumor Should Never Lead to a Police Raid

      If police raided a home based only on an anonymous phone call claiming residents broke the law, it would be clearly unconstitutional.

      Yet EFF has found that police and courts are regularly conducting and approving raids based on the similar type of unreliable digital evidence: Internet Protocol (IP) address information.

      In a whitepaper released today, EFF challenges law enforcement and courts’ reliance on IP addresses, without more, to identify the location of crimes and the individuals responsible. While IP addresses can be a useful piece of an investigation, authorities need to properly evaluate the information, and more importantly, corroborate it, before IP address information can be used to support police raids, arrests, and other dangerous police operations.

      IP address information was designed to route traffic on the Internet, not serve as an identifier for other purposes. As the paper explains, IP addresses information isn’t the same as physical addresses or license plates that can pinpoint an exact location or identify a particular person. Put simply: there is no uniform way to systematically map physical locations based on IP addresses or create a phone book to lookup users of particular IP addresses.

    • Far-Right Runs With ‘Outside Agitator’ Lie Spread by CNN

      This case offers a perfect example of why uncritically allowing police union officials to make unsourced assertions on national TV, and then repeating them as facts, is not a good idea.

      First, it’s important to note that Burnett even muffs her sourcing; by citing a “Charlotte police sergeant,” she ignores the fact that he’s a union representative, and that union representatives are not operating in their capacity as police officers or spokespeople for the department. By conflating the two, she treated what was effectively advocacy on behalf of an individual officer as an official statement by a police department; while police departments are of course capable of being deceptive themselves, they are at least in theory accountable to a city council and mayor.

    • Charlotte Police Video of Keith Scott’s Killing Released

      The same clip then shows another officer, in a red shirt, approach Scott just after the shooting and there is the sound of something skittering across the pavement as he crouches down by the dying man’s right side. There has been some speculation that the officer could have been sliding a gun away from Scott’s hand towards the curb behind him.

      Putney said that more footage was recorded on other police cameras, and all of the material would likely be released later, after the completion of an independent inquiry into the fatal shooting now being carried out by North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation. “The footage itself,” he added, “will not create in anyone’s mind absolutely certainty as to what this case represents and what the outcome should be.”

      The partial release of video failed to satisfy protesters, who rallied in Charlotte on Saturday night, chanting “Release the whole video!” according to DaShawn Brown of WSOC-TV.

    • Police Arrest 32 Child Traffickers, Uncover 6 Baby Factories

      Delta State Police Commissioner, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim yesterday said thirty-two child traffickers were arrested in the last two months, adding that six baby factories were uncovered in Asaba and its environs.

      Emphasizing his determination to synergize with the State Ministry of Women Affairs to fight against crime and other social vices in the state, the police boss said: “We have reduced drastically child trafficking in the state, and baby factories uncovered by men and officers of the police force, we will ensure efforts are put together to bring to book those in their hideouts”, pointing out that the suspects arrested currently being detained would be charged to court on completion of investigation.

      Mr. Zanna Ibrahim who spoke to journalists on efforts made so far since he assumed office in Asaba, said he was ready to collaborate and co-operative with Women Affairs department in the state, especially when the crime involves children and women who are target of traffickers.

    • VIDEO: Charlotte Police Killed Keith Lamont Scott In Under 10 Seconds, Withheld Audio Recordings Too

      Charlotte police finally respected the will of Keith Lamont Scott’s family and released two official videos of his last moments in a police killing that touched off peaceful protests, deployment of riot police and eventually violent protests and looting.

      But audio is redacted.

      Dash cam video reveals that Keith Lamont Scott only lived ten seconds after exiting his car.

      There’s definitely not an immediate threat by Scott to the four police officers with arms drawn, even slightly noticeable in the dash cam video.

      No gun is visible at any time.

      Part of the Charlotte police’s initial unproven claim to justify the shooting of Scott – for which no probable cause has yet been given – is that they gave “clear warning” audio in the body camera video below, nor in the dash camera video which illustrates what commands or verbalizing happened by the three officers on the scene, one of whom is clearly uniformed as seen in the dash camera video.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ISP explains data caps to FCC: Using the Internet is like eating Oreos

      If you were worried that the debate over Internet data caps would get bogged down in technical mumbo-jumbo, fear no more—it’s actually much simpler than you think.

      Mediacom, a US cable company with a little over 1.1 million Internet subscribers in 22 states, has put the matter to rest by explaining to the Federal Communications Commission that its customers shouldn’t get unlimited data because using the Internet is just like eating Oreos.

      “You have to pay extra for double-stuffed,” Mediacom Senior VP and General Counsel Joseph Young wrote in a filing with the FCC last week.

    • Vint Cerf’s dream do-over: 2 ways he’d make the internet different

      Vint Cerf is considered a father of the internet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things he would do differently if given a fresh chance to create it all over again.

      “If I could have justified it, putting in a 128-bit address space would have been nice so we wouldn’t have to go through this painful, 20-year process of going from IPv4 to IPv6,” Cerf told an audience of journalists Thursday during a press conference at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany.

      IPv4, the first publicly used version of the Internet Protocol, included an addressing system that used 32-bit numerical identifiers. It soon became apparent that it would lead to an exhaustion of addresses, however, spurring the creation of IPv6 as a replacement. Roughly a year ago, North America officially ran out of new addresses based on IPv4.

      For security, public key cryptography is another thing Cerf would like to have added, had it been feasible.

  • DRM

    • HTML standardization group calls on W3C to protect security researchers from DRM

      The World Wide Web Consortium has embarked upon an ill-advised project to standardize Digital Rights Management (DRM) for video at the behest of companies like Netflix; in so doing, they are, for the first time, making a standard whose implementations will be covered under anti-circumvention laws like Section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it a potential felony to reveal defects in products without the manufacturer’s permission.

      This is especially worrisome because the W3C’s aspiration for the new version of HTML is that it will replace apps as the user-interface for the Internet of Things, making all sorts of potentially compromising (and even lethal) bugs difficult to report without serious legal liability.

      The EFF has proposed that W3C members should be required to promise not to use the DMCA and laws like it this way; this has had support from other multistakeholder groups, like the Open Source Initiative, which has said that the W3C work will not qualify as an “open standard” if it doesn’t do something to prevent DMCA abuse.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • A song of Ice and Ice

        Iceland, a country famous for the northern lights, skyr yoghurt, and their recent performance in the Euros, has made headlines this week for threatening the trade mark rights of a major UK supermarket. The cause of this ire is unclear, as some sources report that Icelandic tourist board, ‘Promote Iceland’ was faced with opposition proceedings when they attempted to register an EU trade mark ‘Inspired by Iceland’. Other reports state that Icelandic companies are being prevented from trading under their country name due to Iceland Foods’ earlier right.

      • Eye ‘should’ve’ done that! – Specsavers nears approval to trade mark single word “should’ve” & “shouldve”

        Despite the legal and commercial concerns, Specsavers’s decision to register single words SHOULD’VE and SHOULDVE should be recognised as intelligent business strategy, considering the proliferation and potential of social media. The use of hashtags has become a significant vehicle of marketing for businesses. Hashtags have the power not only to categorise content but also to form trends and thus generate interest. Therefore, registering a specific word will be integral for Specsavers in expanding their marketing activities and driving future campaigns. For example, the hashtag ‘#should’ve recently accompanied the full Specsavers catchphrase. It is thus apparent that registration will help Specsavers to control use in the full spectrum of social media.

    • Copyrights

      • Man Likely to Sacrifice Himself Testing Streaming Piracy Limits

        A man is preparing a legal battle to find out where the boundaries lie when it comes to offering “fully loaded” Kodi TV devices in the UK. Brian Thompson, who is being taken to court by his local council, says he expects to lose the case. And barring a miracle that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

      • Copyright Loophole Could Undermine Important Consumer Protection Bill

        The Consumer Review Fairness Act Is a Noble Bill but Could Leave the Door Open for Copyright Abuse

        There’s a bill making its way through Congress that would protect consumers’ freedom of speech by limiting unfair form contracts. The Consumer Review Fairness Act (H.R. 5111), introduced by Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and cosponsored by several representatives, would address two shameful practices: contracts that bar customers from sharing negative reviews of products and services online, and contracts that attempt to assign the copyright in customers’ reviews to the businesses themselves (who then file copyright takedown notices to have negative reviews removed). The CRFA is an important bill, and it addresses a major problem, but it contains one loophole that could undermine its ability to protect people who write online reviews.

        An earlier version of the bill was introduced in both houses of Congress last year under the name Consumer Review Freedom Act (S. 2044, H.R. 2110). EFF applauded the bill when it was introduced. As we argued then, when a customer has no reasonable opportunity to negotiate a contract and its terms are overwhelmingly stacked against the customer, the contract shouldn’t be enforceable. We noted that these contracts usually fail in court, but that that hasn’t stopped businesses from using them. We also pointed out a few problems with the CRFA. Most of them have been addressed in the new bill, but the most disconcerting one remains.

        If a company claims that a review is not “otherwise lawful” (for example, because it allegedly defames the company), then the law may permit the company to claim that it owns the copyright in the review and have it removed as copyright infringement, thus creating a shortcut for having speech removed. We don’t think this is what Congress intended, and we hope it’s not too late to remove the two offending words.

        Imagine that I’m a vendor offering you a contract for a service. My contract includes a clause saying that you assign me the copyright in any review you write of my service. Under the CRFA, that clause would be invalid and my including it in the contract would be against the law. But if my contract says you assign me the copyright in any unlawful review you write, I could argue that that contract is valid under the CRFA.


Links 25/9/2016: Linux 4.7.5, 4.4.22; LXQt 0.11

Posted in News Roundup at 8:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 Top Open Source Artificial Intelligence Tools for Linux

    In this post, we shall cover a few of the top, open-source artificial intelligence (AI) tools for the Linux ecosystem. Currently, AI is one of the ever advancing fields in science and technology, with a major focus geared towards building software and hardware to solve every day life challenges in areas such as health care, education, security, manufacturing, banking and so much more.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • This Week In Servo 78

        Our overall roadmap is available online and now includes the initial Q3 plans. From now on, we plan to include the quarterly plan with a high-level breakdown in the roadmap page.

      • Firefox 49 Release: Find out what is new

        Firefox 49.0 is the next major stable release of the web browser. Firefox 48.0.2 and earlier versions of Firefox can be updated to the new release.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD


    • A short critique of Stallmanism

      I like Stallman and tend to agree with him often: regarding software, or other politics. This article tries to constructively criticize some parts of the free software movement’s ideology, which I collectively refer to as “Stallmanism” (only as pun). It is not an attempt at a personal attack on Stallman, and by reading further you will probably see my politics are very far from that: I coined the term Stallmanism simply because he is at the center of the movement and himself a primary source of the ideas I am critiquing.

    • Libreboot Drama Continues, GNU Might Keep The Project

      It’s been one week since the Libreboot downstream of Coreboot announced it would leave the GNU and denounced the FSF over supposedly a transgendered individual having been fired by the this free software group. Both Richard Stallman and the FSF denounced these claims made by Libreboot maintainer Leah Rowe. Since then, no actual proof has been presented to back up these claims by the Libreboot maintainer but the drama around it has seemingly continued.

      Waking up this morning, I received an email as part of a long email chain from Leah Rowe about how the “GNU project refuses to let go of libreboot” and she wrote, “GNU project has told me that they will not allow libreboot to leave GNU. This is quite possibly the biggest insult imaginable, considering what has happened.”

    • Libreboot lead developer masks FSF Employee’s disendorsement as “typofix”

      ELI5: Leah Rowe made this commit to the Libreboot website earlier today with the comment “typofix”. In fact, it was more than a typo-fix as it shows that the FSF employee either no longer or never did give permission for the opposition against the FSF.

    • Richard Stallman and GNU refused to let libreboot go, despite stating its intention to leave

      Leah Rowe is still libreboot’s maintainer, and the GNU project has zero right to keep libreboot under its umbrella. If the maintainer of a GNU project steps down without intending for that project to leave GNU, then fine. But if a maintainer stays on as that projects maintainer while stating the projects intention to leave GNU, then GNU should honour that request.

    • GDB Continues Improving, libstdc++ Is Doing Well On C++17 & More

      At the GNU Tools Cauldron earlier this month in the UK there was a presentation on forthcoming improvements to the GNU Tools, presented by Nick Clifton as part of the Red Hat Tools Team.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Can Justin Trudeau Fix Canada’s Broken Government IT System?

      During a March hearing before the House of Commons Government Operations Committee, there was a telling exchange between an official of Shared Services Canada (SSC)–the department that manages the Canadian federal government’s IT–and rookie MP David Graham. Graham wanted to know what percentage of SSC’s data centres and servers ran on Linux or other similar source software. Patrice Rondeau, the SSC official, replied that “approximately 15 percent are running Linux.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Oracle tries playing nice with Java EE rebels

      With Oracle now trying to get back on track with advancing enterprise Java, the company is seeking rapprochement with factions that had sought to advance the platform on their own. The two groups involved are mostly amenable to patching up the relationship.

      Oracle’s Anil Gaur, group vice president of engineering, said this week he had already been in touch with some of the concerned parties. The two factions include Java EE Guardians, led by former Oracle Java EE evangelist Reza Rahman, and Microprofile.io, which has included participation from Red Hat and IBM.


  • Facebook reveals new measurement tools and ad options for retailers

    With Facebook growing its advertising revenue 63 percent in the second quarter, the social giant is always looking for new ways to tailor ads to retailers and new measurement partners. Two announcements Tuesday and Wednesday are about expanding return on investment, while also making it easier for advertisers to measure that return.

    On Wednesday, Facebook announced five new measurement products with as many different partners. These are designed to allow marketers to work with the independent third parties they’re already familiar with, while Facebook addresses concerns that it has been a “walled garden” when it comes to data.

  • People Aren’t Watching Facebook Videos as Much as Facebook Said

    Over the past year, both media companies and advertisers have invested an enormous amount of money, labor, and time in Facebook’s video products.

    You can see evidence throughout the industry. It’s not just the auto-playing Donald Trump campaign ads that clog your News Feed (or, at least, which clog mine). In August, BuzzFeed restructured its organization so that video oversees most non-news divisions. In April, Mashable laid off about 24 writers and editors so it could make a “strategic shift” to video. Media analysts (including myself) began comparing where audiences spend their time to where advertisers spent their dollars. We suggested that soon mobile video could erode the entire television ad market.

    As of this morning, mobile still reigns. American consumers spend about 25 percent of their time on mobile phones (and a huge amount of that time on Facebook), but advertisers only spend about 12 percent of their budgets there.

  • Facebook Overestimated Key Video Metric for Two Years

    Big ad buyers and marketers are upset with Facebook Inc. after learning the tech giant vastly overestimated average viewing time for video ads on its platform for two years, according to people familiar with the situation.

    Several weeks ago, Facebook disclosed in a post on its “Advertiser Help Center” that its metric for the average time users spent watching videos was artificially inflated because it was only factoring in video views of more than three seconds. The company said it was introducing a new metric to fix the problem.

    Some ad agency executives who were also informed by Facebook about the change started digging deeper, prompting Facebook to give them a more detailed account, one of the people familiar with the situation said.

    Ad buying agency Publicis Media was told by Facebook that the earlier counting method likely overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60% and 80%, according to a late August letter Publicis Media sent to clients that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

  • Journalists Blaming Facebook For Decline Is Just As Tiresome As When They Blamed Craigslist & Google

    A few notes on some of the above links. The “study” that is cited in some of the first batch about how Craigslist is “killing” newspapers was from the Pew Research Center — the very same research shop that Greenslade points to in the link up at the top of this article blaming Facebook. Second, that first article in the second list, about Bob Woodward blaming Google… is also by Greenslade. Yet, in that case, Greenslade mocks Woodward for blaming Google (and very kindly provides a link to me mocking Woodward’s silly claims.

    So let’s get a few things out of the way here: Newspapers are struggling. They absolutely are. But it’s not “because” of Facebook (or Craigslist or Google). Newspapers were going to struggle with the rise of the internet no matter what, because it laid bare the basic coincidence that made newspapers profitable despite themselves. For many, many years, we’ve been pointing out that the true business of newspapers was a community business, rather than a news business. It’s just that in the pre-internet days, newspapers had a bit of a monopoly on being able to build communities — often local communities — around the news. But they had very little competition in that business, other than maybe a few other local newspapers (though consolidation took care of that in most markets). The business, then, of newspapers was taking the attention they received from that community, and selling it to advertisers.

    The internet structurally changed all of this, by creating all sorts of other areas where people could congregate and build communities. That’s kind of what the internet is good at. And suddenly there’s a ton of competition in the community space. But newspapers, incorrectly thinking they were in the “news” business, often made decisions that actively harmed the community aspect. They put up paywalls. They took away the ability to comment. They made it harder for local communities of interest to form.

    So what happened? The communities and their (valuable) attention went elsewhere. And, these days, much of that “elsewhere” when it comes to communities is Facebook.

    And, just like Google before it, Facebook has actually created a pretty valuable channel for sending people to your news website. Many publishers haven’t figured this out yet — or how to harness it. Hell, just a month or so ago, I was talking about how we here at Techdirt haven’t figured this out at all (we get depressingly little traffic from Facebook compared to many of our peers). But you won’t see us blaming Facebook for this. It’s on us. Have our ad rates dropped off a cliff? Yes. Is that Facebook’s fault? Hell no. Even if all the advertising money that used to go to newspapers and news sites magically shifted to Facebook (which it hasn’t), then it would be because of a failure on the part of those news companies to offer a better overall product for advertisers.

    It’s time for publications to stop blaming every new technology site that comes along, and to focus on actually adapting, changing and finding new business models that work. It may not be easy. And many will crash and burn completely. But that’s not the “fault” of these new companies at all.

  • Facebook launches first nationwide voter registration drive

    Facebook wants you to get out to vote.

    On Friday, Facebook users in the U.S. who are 18 and up will receive a reminder to register to vote at the top of their News Feed.

    The voter registration drive, Facebook’s first to roll out nationwide, is tapping the power of social media to influence millions of people and their friends, especially young people who are less likely to turn out. The reminder will be sent out over the next four days, Facebook said.

    Clicking on the “Register Now” button sends voters to the federal government’s vote.USA.gov which guides them through the registration process in their state. After registering to vote, users can share their status, a subtle form of social pressure for friends to perform their civic duty, too.

  • Microsoftter? Twoogle? Tech firms reportedly line-up to buy social network

    BAKE-OFF FORUM Twitter is being eyed up by a number of potential buyers, according to reports, including Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and Verizon.

    CNBC has the scoop, having heard from sources close to the social network that Twitter is in discussions with several tech giants as it attempts to secure the best deal for investors.

    A sale would not be a huge surprise as Twitter has been in the doldrums for some time and has struggled to monetise the platform in the same way as Facebook. User growth has slowed, which has made advertisers less keen on the platform as its reach is far below that of others.

  • Microsoft shuts down Skype office in London as it develops yet another client

    Microsoft is closing the London office that was home to part of its Skype development, causing the loss of 220 jobs. A further 300 people are losing their jobs in Redmond as Microsoft makes cuts that were previously announced in July.

  • Science

    • Panel On The Right To Scientific Progress And Freedom For Scientific Research

      Scientists, national and United Nations representatives, academia and civil society this week explored and elaborated on the right to enjoy scientific progress and the freedom which is indispensable for scientific research. The right was placed in the context of today’s global challenges and scientists presented the latest examples of their research, in which human rights related to freedom of scientific research could be applied. The panel set out promote systematic dialogue to foster an understanding of the right and of what is being advanced.

      The World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research, a forum to foster dialogue between scientists and politicians, and the Associazione Luca Coscioni held the panel, chaired by the association’s representative Marco Cappato at the United Nations in Geneva.


      He said “pharmaceutical companies which have so much cash asset can also support, not only in terms of taking money from the patient for drugs, but also to give something back to the whole society by spending money to make sure that hospital personnel is paid in the right way and that they are not suffering depression,” for example.

      “We need to have a paradigm change,” he said, “so the pharma industry, clearly has to be seen, not as a cost factor, they have to come into the game also as somebody which delivers something to society.”

    • Cut-throat academia leads to ‘natural selection of bad science’, claims study

      Getting stuff right is normally regarded as science’s central aim. But a new analysis has raised the existential spectre that universities, laboratory chiefs and academic journals are contributing to the “natural selection of bad science”.

      To thrive in the cut-throat world of academia, scientists are incentivised to publish surprising findings frequently, the study suggests – despite the risk that such findings are “most likely to be wrong”.

      Paul Smaldino, a cognitive scientist who led the work at the University of California, Merced, said: “As long as the incentives are in place that reward publishing novel, surprising results, often and in high-visibility journals above other, more nuanced aspects of science, shoddy practices that maximise one’s ability to do so will run rampant.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Europe Dominates List Of Candidates For Next WHO Director

      The World Health Organization today released the list of candidates to be the next director general of the UN health agency in Geneva. Of the six candidates, four are from the European region.

    • State’s cowardly act: Changing the rules for Flint

      Punitive. Self-serving. Cowardly.

      There’s no other way to describe the latest revelation about the State of Michigan’s unprecedented and irresponsible actions concerning the City of Flint: that this spring — at the direction of Gov. Rick Snyder, and with the support of GOP legislators — the state barred the city from suing it, without approval by a state-appointed board.

      In practice, that means the city can’t sue the state. And that means the City of Flint, on behalf of its citizen-taxpayer residents, can’t seek redress of its grievances against the State of Michigan through the courts — a protection conferred by the U.S. Constitution.

    • After court threat, state of Michigan removed Flint’s power to sue

      Days after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver served notice that her city might file a lawsuit against the State of Michigan over the Flint drinking water crisis, the state removed Flint’s ability to sue.

      Though Flint has not been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

      The board moved quickly to change the rules under which Flint is governed so that the city cannot file a lawsuit without first getting approval from that state-appointed board.

      In other words, Flint cannot sue the state without getting the state to sign off on it first.

    • State yanked Flint ability to sue after water lawsuit threat, report says

      A state-appointed board removed the city’s ability to sue following the threat of a lawsuit, the Detroit Free Press reported.

      After Mayor Karen Weaver sent notice that the city could file a lawsuit in connection to the Flint water crisis, the Reciever Transition Advisory Board changed governance rules and forced city officials to first get RTAB approval before entering litigation, the Free Press reported.

      Weaver filed a notice of intent to sue the state in March, the Free Press reported, and at the time Flint officials said they didn’t plan to sue the state, but needed to take action to reserve the city’s rights.

      Gov. Rick Snyder and House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, asked Flint to withdraw the notice, according to the report, but Flint did not.

      Eight state employees have been charged with crimes in connection to the drinking water crisis here.

    • Doctor Confesses: I Lied to Protect Colleague in Malpractice Suit

      Almost two decades ago Dr. Lars Aanning sat on the witness stand in a medical malpractice trial and faced a dilemma.

      The South Dakota surgeon had been called to vouch for the expertise of one of his partners whose patient had suffered a stroke and permanent disability after an operation. The problem was Aanning had, in his own mind, questioned his colleague’s skill. His partner’s patients had suffered injuries related to his procedures. But Aanning understood why his partner’s attorney had called him as a witness: Doctors don’t squeal on doctors.

      The attorney asked the key question: Did Aanning know of any time his partner’s work had been substandard?

      “No, never,” Aanning said.

      Now, Aanning, in a stunning admission for a medical professional, has a blunter answer: “I lied.”

      While it’s impossible to know to what extent Aanning’s testimony influenced the outcome, the jury sided in favor of his colleague — and, ever since, Aanning said, he has felt haunted by his decision. Now, 77 and retired, he decided to write about his choice and why he made it in a recent column for his local newspaper, The Yankton County Observer. He also posted the article in the ProPublica Patient Safety Facebook group. Aanning, who is a member, called it, “A Surgeon’s Belated Confession.”

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Impending cumulative updates unnerve Windows patch experts

      Microsoft’s decision to force Windows 10′s patch and maintenance model on customers running the older-but-more-popular Windows 7 has patch experts nervous.

      “Bottom line, everyone is holding their breath, hoping for the best, expecting the worst,” said Susan Bradley in an email. Bradley is well known in Windows circles for her expertise on Microsoft’s patching processes: She writes on the topic for the Windows Secrets newsletter and moderates the PatchMangement.org mailing list, where business IT administrators discuss update tradecraft.

    • Yahoo is sued for gross negligence over huge hacking

      Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) was sued on Friday by a user who accused it of gross negligence over a massive 2014 hacking in which information was stolen from at least 500 million accounts.

      The lawsuit was filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, one day after Yahoo disclosed the hacking, unprecedented in size, by what it believed was a “state-sponsored actor.”

      Ronald Schwartz, a New York resident, sued on behalf of all Yahoo users in the United States whose personal information was compromised. The lawsuit seeks class-action status and unspecified damages.

      A Yahoo spokeswoman said the Sunnyvale, California-based company does not discuss pending litigation.

    • Yahoo faces questions after hack of half a billion accounts

      Yahoo’s admission that the personal data of half a billion users has been stolen by “state-sponsored” hackers leaves pressing questions unanswered, according to security researchers.

      Details, including names, email addresses, phone numbers and security questions were taken from the company’s network in late 2014. Passwords were also taken, but in a “hashed” form, which prevents them from being immediately re-used, and the company believes that financial information held with it remains safe.

    • Krebs Goes Down, Opera Gets a VPN & More…

      Krebs on Security in record DDOS attack: Everybody’s go-to site for news and views of security issues, has been temporarily knocked offline in a DDOS attack for the record books. We first heard about the attack on Thursday morning after Brian Krebs reported that his site was being hit by as much as 620 Gbs, more than double the previous record which was considered to be a mind-blower back in 2013 when the anti-spam site Spamhaus was brought to its knees.

      Security sites such as Krebs’ that perform investigative research into security issues are often targets of the bad guys. In this latest case, Ars Technica reported the attack came after Krebs published the identity of people connected with vDOS, Israeli black hats who launched DDOS attacks for pay and took in $600,000 in two years doing so. Akamai had been donating DDoS mitigation services to Krebs, but by 4 p.m. on the day the attack began they withdrew the service, motivated by the high cost of defending against such a massive attack. At this point, Krebs decided to shut down his site.

    • Upgrade your SSH keys!

      When generating the keypair, you’re asked for a passphrase to encrypt the private key with. If you will ever lose your private key it should protect others from impersonating you because it will be encrypted with the passphrase. To actually prevent this, one should make sure to prevent easy brute-forcing of the passphrase.

      OpenSSH key generator offers two options to resistance to brute-force password cracking: using the new OpenSSH key format and increasing the amount of key derivation function rounds. It slows down the process of unlocking the key, but this is what prevents efficient brute-forcing by a malicious user too. I’d say experiment with the amount of rounds on your system. Start at about 100 rounds. On my system it takes about one second to decrypt and load the key once per day using an agent. Very much acceptable, imo.

    • Irssi 0.8.20 Released
    • What It Costs to Run Let’s Encrypt

      Today we’d like to explain what it costs to run Let’s Encrypt. We’re doing this because we strive to be a transparent organization, we want people to have some context for their contributions to the project, and because it’s interesting.

      Let’s Encrypt will require about $2.9M USD to operate in 2017. We believe this is an incredible value for a secure and reliable service that is capable of issuing certificates globally, to every server on the Web free of charge.

      We’re currently working to raise the money we need to operate through the next year. Please consider donating or becoming a sponsor if you’re able to do so! In the event that we end up being able to raise more money than we need to just keep Let’s Encrypt running we can look into adding other services to improve access to a more secure and privacy-respecting Web.

    • North Korean DNS Leak reveals North Korean websites

      One of North Korea’s top level DNS servers was mis-configured today (20th September 2016) accidentally allowing global DNS zone transfers. This allowed anyone who makes a zone transfer request (AXFR) to retrieve a copy of the nation’s top level DNS data.


      This data showed there are 28 domains configured inside North Korea, here is the list:


    • Yahoo’s Three Hacks

      As a number of outlets have reported, Yahoo has announced that 500 million of its users’ accounts got hacked in 2014 by a suspected state actor.

      But that massive hack is actually one of three interesting hacks of Yahoo in recent years.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 40 Years Ago, This Chilean Exile Warned Us About the Shock Doctrine. Then He Was Assassinated.

      In August 1976, The Nation published an essay that rocked the US political establishment, both for what it said and for who was saying it. “The ‘Chicago Boys’ in Chile: Economic ‘Freedom’s’ Awful Toll” was written by Orlando Letelier, the former right-hand man of Chilean President Salvador Allende. Earlier in the decade, Allende had appointed Letelier to a series of top-level positions in his democratically elected socialist government: ambassador to the United States (where he negotiated the terms of nationalization for several US-owned firms operating in Chile), minister of foreign affairs, and, finally, minister of defense.


      After a powerful international campaign lobbied for Letelier’s release, the junta finally allowed him to go into exile. The 44-year-old former ambassador moved to Washington, DC; in 1976, when his Nation essay appeared, he was working at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a left-wing think tank. Haunted by thoughts of his colleagues and friends still behind bars, many facing gruesome torture, Letelier used his newly recovered freedom to expose Pinochet’s crimes and to defend 
Allende’s record against the CIA propaganda machine.

    • Mario Murillo on Colombian Accord, Kevin Miller on Gender Wage Gap

      This week on CounterSpin: After more than a half century of bloody conflict that saw more than 200,000 mostly poor civilians killed, Colombia has a chance at a peace accord between the government and the FARC, the region’s oldest insurgent movement. You aren’t hearing too much about it in the press; we’ll get more from Mario Murillo, author of Colombia and the United States: War, Unrest and Destabilization.

    • Communal tension in Coimbatore after young Hindu Munnani leader hacked to death.

      A 36-year-old Hindu Munnani functionary was hacked to death by a four-member gang here, leading to tension in the district and neighboring Tirupur with the outfit calling for a bandh on Friday.

      C Sasikumar, district spokesperson of the organization, was returning home in Subramaniampalayam, in the outskirts, on a two-wheeler when the suspected Jihadi assailants chased him on motorcycles and attacked him with sickles late last night.

    • Saudi skeptics gain strength in Congress

      Lawmakers in both parties are growing more skeptical of the U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia.

      This week, 27 senators — three Republicans and 24 Democrats — voted against a $1.15 billion arms sale to the country. That wasn’t enough to block it, but it was more votes against the deal than observers expected.

      “You are seeing more willingness to challenge the nature of the relationship, and I think that’s positive,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), one of the leaders of the effort to block the arms sale. “Alliances go both ways. If you’re partner is doing things that aren’t in your interest, then you need to reserve the ability to start questioning your participation in that alliance.”

      Before now, President Obama had been seen as taking a lonely stance as the Saudi skeptic-in-chief.

      Obama angered Saudi Arabia earlier this year in an interview with The Atlantic when he referred to the country as “free riders” and suggested it is too focused on its rivalry with Iran at the expense of broader regional stability.

      Lawmakers repeatedly slammed Obama for turning his back on Saudi Arabia as he pursued the nuclear deal with Iran, the country’s traditional foe.

      But the roles have now reversed. Obama on Friday vetoed a bill that would allow families of the 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government in court. Obama argued the bill undermine sovereign immunity and open up U.S. diplomats and military service members to legal action overseas.

    • LAVROV MAKES HISTORY: ‘Ceasefires’ were bogus, nixes future ‘unilateral measures’ [VIDEO]

      Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov made history today at the UN’s meeting of the Security Council, declaring that future unilateral pauses couched as ‘ceasefire agreements’ are off the table. He has skillfully referred to the mounting factual evidence of the US’s continued flagrant violations on any number of points of agreement over the course of this conflict.

    • How US Propaganda Plays in Syrian War

      Manipulation of public perception has risen to a new level with the emergence of powerful social media. Multibillion-dollar corporate giants, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, influence public perceptions, often via payments for “boosting” Facebook posts, paid promotion of Tweets, and biased results from search engines.

      Marketing and advertising companies use social media to promote their clients, but so do U.S. foreign policy managers who hire or enlist these companies to influence public perceptions to support U.S. foreign policy goals.

    • Another Kerry Rush to Judgment on Syria

      Secretary of State John Kerry has engaged in another rush to judgment blaming the Russians for an attack on a United Nations relief convoy in Syria before any thorough investigation could be conducted and thus prejudicing whatever might follow, as he did with the Syrian sarin case in 2013 and the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014.

      Eager to go on the propaganda offensive – especially after a U.S. military airstrike last Saturday killed scores of Syrian soldiers who were battling the Islamic State in eastern Syria – Kerry pounced on an initial report that the attack on the convoy on Monday was an airstrike and then insisted that the Russians must have been responsible because one of their jets was supposedly in the area.

    • Turkey and the Kurdish Quandary

      Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will continue until “the very last rebel is killed.” What is puzzling about this statement is that after more than 30 years of violence that has claimed the lives of over 40,000 Turks and Kurds, Erdogan still believes he can solve the conflict through brutal force.

      But he is fundamentally mistaken, as the Kurds’ long historical struggle is embedded in their psyche and provides the momentum for their quest for semi-autonomy that will endure until a mutually accepted solution is found through peaceful negotiations. To understand the Kurds’ mindset, Erdogan will do well to revisit, however cursorily, their history and the hardship they have experienced since the end of World War I.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Dakota Access Blackout Continues on ABC, NBC News

      The Sacred Stone Camp established by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota has brought together thousands of demonstrators in opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile conduit designed to carry some 200 million barrels of crude oil per year from fracking fields in North Dakota to Southern Illinois. An unprecedented coalition of hundreds of Native American tribes has faced down attack dogs and pepper spray in defense of sacred and historic sites, irreplaceable water resources and the planet’s climate.

      The action has won the support of environmental groups, some labor activists and numerous celebrities, and has halted pipeline construction at least temporarily. The Obama administration issued a statement calling for a work stoppage and saying, “This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”

      Nevertheless, to this day, ABC News and NBC News have yet to broadcast a word about the pipeline struggle, according to searches of the Nexis news database.

    • Drone video from independent investigation exposes illegal of 3000 hectares

      A drone video captured the extent of burnt oil palms and the clearing of land in the western region of Indonesia. The burning of land is believed to be the cause of the haze that has blanketed Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia every year.

      The drone’s launch was part of an investigation by Eyes on the Forest Indonesia (EOF), a coalition of three environment groups which was established in 2004 to study the recurring forest fires.

      According to EOF, the video gave proof that 3,000 hectares of land allegedly owned by plantation company Andika Permata Sawit Lestari (APSL) were ‘deliberately burned’.

      The video can be used as an additional evidence against the company, which is facingcharges of land grabbing and operating without a proper license.

    • Climate change is not a problem for 2100, it’s here now

      It was not just at the Olympics that records were broken during the summer just past. July and August were the joint hottest months in 136 years of modern record keeping.

      There may be a familiar ring to this story. That’s because, in an unprecedented streak, every month for the past 16 has set a new global record. This year will not just break the record for the warmest year (set just last year), it will shatter it. The odds of this occurring without man-made climate change are infinitesimally small.

      Younger millennials, who will live to see a world utterly transformed by climate change, rank it as the biggest threat to their future. This is unsurprising, considering the NextGen Climate action group estimate that it will cost each 2015 graduate €160,000 in lost wealth over their lifetime. But older cohorts, especially older males, are more likely to engage in climate denial and less likely to see climate change as a threat.

      But let’s be clear: this debate is over. Climate change is not something for 2100, it is happening now in the world around us.

      The wildfires that ravaged Northern Alberta in June received considerable media attention, as did the staggering one-in-a-thousand-year rains that swamped southern Louisiana in August.

  • Finance

    • CETA To Be Signed (Again) During EU-Canada Summit In Mid-October

      European Union trade ministers at an informal meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia today agreed on the final steps to enact CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU. There will be no other reopening of the text, assured EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem after the meeting. But ministers have agreed, according to Slovak Minister of Economy Peter Ziga, that some sensitive issues have to be straightened out in an additional annex to the CETA text.

    • EU Commission refuses to revise Canada CETA trade deal

      The European Commission has ruled that a controversial EU-Canada free trade deal – CETA – cannot be renegotiated, despite much opposition in Europe.

      “CETA is done and we will not reopen it,” said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

      Ms Malmstrom was speaking as EU trade ministers met in Slovakia to discuss CETA and a similar deal with the US, TTIP, which has also faced criticism.

      A draft CETA deal has been agreed, but parliaments could still delay it.

    • I Worked For Wells Fargo: They Made Us Do Some Shady Sh!t

      So it looks like Wells Fargo is the latest big bank to come under fire for doing shitty, illegal things to millions of people. Federal regulators have revealed that the company’s employees created more than two million fraudulent bank and credit card accounts in order to meet quotas. 5,300 employees were fired, Wells Fargo paid a $185 million fine, and the government released statements like this absolving the executives of any responsibility.

    • Elizabeth Warren Just Gave Hillary Clinton a Big Warning

      Senator Elizabeth Warren fired an unmistakable warning shot to Hillary Clinton and her advisers on Wednesday, cautioning against appointing cabinet or administration members who are linked to Wall Street while name-checking a firm closely tied to Clinton and the Democratic Party.

      Warren’s speech, delivered at the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund, cast the upcoming presidential election in stark economic terms. She described the tax-slashing, deregulatory approach laid out by Donald Trump and contrasted it to a laundry list of populist economic policies embraced by Hillary Clinton. Clinton has faced criticism recently for focusing too heavily on Trump’s competency and not enough on fundamental economic issues, and so Warren’s speech was well-timed and well-received.

    • NYT Promotes Protectionism in Guise of ‘Free Trade’

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has little to do with free trade. The trade barriers between the United States and the other countries are already very low, with few exceptions; in fact, the US already has trade deals with six of the 11 countries in the TPP. The TPP is primarily about installing a corporate-friendly structure of regulation, as well as increasing protectionist barriers in the form of stronger and longer patent and copyright and related protections. (It doesn’t matter if you and your friends like patent and copyright protection; they are still protectionism.)

      President Obama is pulling out all the stops in pushing the TPP, and it seems the New York Times has decided to abandon journalistic principles to join this effort. It reported that people in the United States favored trade in a confused article (9/21/16), which randomly flipped back and forth between the terms “trade,” “trade agreements” and “free trade.” As everyone knows, except apparently the people who work for the New York Times, these are not the same thing.

      It is hard to believe that many people in the United States would be opposed to trade. Imports and exports combined are more than a quarter of GDP. Many of the products we now import, like coffee, would either not be available at all, or extremely expensive without trade. It’s difficult to believe that many people in the United States would support autarky as an alternative to the current system.

      If people are asked about “trade agreements,” it is not clear what they think they are referring to. The United States has been involved in hundreds of trade agreements over the last seven decades. These agreements hugely reduced trade barriers between the US and the rest of the world, leading to large increases in trade and large drops in price. Of course, most of these benefits accrued before 1980, but it seems unlikely that many of the people polled on the topic would have a clear idea of the costs and benefits of the trade deals negotiated since World War II.

    • Amazon Defends Its Pricing Algorithm, But Leaves Out Billions in Sales

      Earlier this week, we reported how Amazon often makes its products look like better deals than they actually are. When the website ranks products by price that are available from Amazon and other sellers, the company excludes the cost of shipping only on the products sold by Amazon and vendors that pay the company.

      Amazon has long described itself as “Earth’s most customer-centric company.” But it declined to answer our questions about why the detailed Amazon’s product rankings excluded shipping costs only for itself and its paid partners.

    • Naked Shorts Can’t Stay Naked Forever

      Who engages in massive trades in penny stocks on the industry’s own “chill list”? And what happens when you sell a stock you don’t have? Victimized investor Chris DiIorio finds the answers in plain sight and wonders why no one else seems to care.

    • Accenture Touts Need For Blockchain Editing Tool

      Editable blockchain controversery, but Accenture insists it would only be used under ‘extraordinary circumstances’

      One of the core principles of Blockchain technology has potentially been undermined by the creation of an editing tool.

      The company responsible however, Accenture, says edits would only be carried out “under extraordinary circumstances to resolve human errors, accommodate legal and regulatory requirements, and address mischief and other issues, while preserving key cryptographic features.”

    • Cherry-Picking Trade Polls to Pave Way for a TPP Flip-Flop

      But when you look at the actual numbers from the report, you find that when people were asked about TPP specifically, a plurality opposed it, 38–35 percent. When asked to rate their feelings about TPP, 27 percent gave unfavorable ratings, while only 18 percent were favorable. The polling also found that people found anti-TPP arguments much more convincing than pro-TPP arguments (which suggests, I would note, that they haven’t been exposed to as many critiques of TPP in media accounts).


      Calmes concluded her story by suggesting that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would likely be more supportive of the TPP than they have been on the campaign trail, citing Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed: “People who run for office often campaign against trade, but people who become president of the United States end up supporting trade.”

      If that happens, the New York Times will have paved the way for such a flip-flop—having assured us that that’s what we really want anyway.

    • Education Department Terminates Agency That Allowed Predatory For-profit Colleges to Thrive

      The Education Department announced today that it is stripping the powers of one of the nation’s largest accreditors of for-profit schools.

      The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, or ACICS, has been under scrutiny for continuing to accredit colleges whose students had strikingly poor outcomes.

      As ProPublica has reported, schools accredited by the agency on average have the lowest graduation rates in the country and their students have the lowest loan repayment rates.

      Accreditors are supposed to ensure college quality, and their seal of approval gives schools access to billions of federal student aid dollars.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Which Voters Show Up When States Allow Early Voting?

      One-third of voters took advantage of early voting options in 2012. But does so-called convenience voting increase turnout overall and minority turnout in particular?

    • Obama used a pseudonym in emails with Clinton, FBI documents reveal

      President Barack Obama used a pseudonym in email communications with Hillary Clinton and others, according to FBI records made public Friday.

      The disclosure came as the FBI released its second batch of documents from its investigation into Clinton’s private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

      The 189 pages the bureau released includes interviews with some of Clinton’s closest aides, such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills; senior State Department officials; and even Marcel Lazar, better known as the Romanian hacker “Guccifer.”

      In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender.

      “Once informed that the sender’s name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: ‘How is this not classified?’” the report says. “Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president’s use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email.”

    • The mystery of Donald Trump’s man in Moscow

      In March, in a bold “Oh yeah?” moment during an interview with the Washington Post’s editorial board, Donald Trump took the paper’s dare and revealed, then and there, his very short list of foreign policy advisers. There were just five, though he said, “I have quite a few more.” The list was a head-scratcher, a random assortment of obscure and questionable pundits. One of the names, offered without elaboration, was, “Carter Page, PhD.”


      Reporters quickly Googling found that Page is the founder and managing partner of an investment fund called Global Energy Capital, and that he claims to have years of experience investing in Russia and the energy sector. As for his connection to Trump, when Page was reached for comment by the New York Times the day after Trump’s big reveal, he said he had been sending policy memos to the campaign and the paper said he “will be advising Mr. Trump on energy policy and Russia.”

    • The TV Interview That Haunts Hillary Clinton

      Now, as she gets closer to the presidency than any woman ever has, she is struggling with unfavorable ratings that would be historically high if it weren’t for her opponent’s being even higher. There are substantive reasons, as with any politician with a long public record, but underlying them are the same frictions that came to the fore in that 60 Minutes interview—sentiments that, fair or not, have grown only more pronounced with Clinton’s perennial, awkward and generally unsuccessful efforts to re-introduce herself, to redefine herself.

    • Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn defeats Owen Smith

      Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected as Labour leader, comfortably defeating his challenger Owen Smith.

      Mr Corbyn won 61.8% of the total vote, a larger margin of victory than last year.

      He vowed to bring the party back together and “make Labour the engine of progress for our country”, insisting the party could win the next election.

    • Yvette Cooper reveals Twitter user threatened to behead her as she demands Corbyn takes stronger action against abuse

      The former Labour Cabinet minister, Yvette Cooper, has revealed how she has been subjected to death threats online, with one abuser telling her she should be “beheaded”.

      Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Ms Cooper said it was an example of the increasingly vicious internet abuse that Labour MPs suffer and demanded that Jeremy Corbyn act to stamp it out.

      Mr Corbyn, who was last night re-elected as Labour leader by another landslide, was accused of failing to stop bullying and abuse by a minority of Labour members, despite being warned about it a year ago.

    • With Sanders not an option, some millennials going third-party

      Clinton’s 21-point lead among 18-34-year-olds in a two-way matchup against Trump shrinks to 5 points in a four-way race with Johnson and Stein, a Sept. 14 Quinnipiac University poll showed. And in a McClatchy-Marist national poll of likely voters released Friday, third-party candidates lopped 10 points off Clinton’s 38-point lead over Trump among 18-29-year-olds. In that age group, Clinton gets 47%, Trump and Johnson get 19% each, and Stein gets 13%.

    • Clinton used private Gmail as secretary of state

      Hillary Clinton used a previously undisclosed Gmail account during her tenure as secretary of state, as revealed in summaries of interviews released by the FBI on Friday.

      According to one unnamed former aide, the Gmail account was set up in 2010 after he purchased an iPad for Clinton so that she could read “articles of interest” sent to her.

      “[NAME REDACTED] stated that she could not view the articles on her Blackberry and the iPad and email account were set up as a way to test a different delivery method,” the FBI’s account of the interview reads. The unnamed aide said he was “fairly sure” the Gmail account wasn’t used after its initial setup, however.

      The aide also recounted how, “after he gave the Secretary the iPad, the Secretary fell asleep holding the unopened packaging in her arms.”

      “This struck [NAME REDACTED] as funny because, in contrast, he would not be able to sleep if he had just received a new iPad,” the summary reads. “He noted that this episode was foreshadowing for how little she would use the iPad.”

    • Top Earners Back Clinton in Bloomberg Poll After Decades With GOP

      Higher-income voters are narrowly supporting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in another sign of how the 2016 presidential race is fracturing traditional voting blocs.

      In a two-way contest, Clinton beats Republican Donald Trump 46 percent to 42 percent among likely voters with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more, the latest Purple Slice online poll for Bloomberg Politics shows.

      The findings may sound an alarm for Trump because they show he’s failing, at least so far, to dominate among a group of voters who historically have supported Republicans, including Mitt Romney in 2012. In that election, the group made up 28 percent of the electorate and backed Romney over President Barack Obama by 10 percentage points, exit polls show.

    • Are US Presidential Debates Worthless — or Less?

      Let’s call the whole thing off. Not the election, although if we only had a magic reset button we could pretend this sorry spectacle never happened and start all over. No, we mean the presidential debates — which, if the present format and moderators remain as they are, threaten an effect on democracy more like Leopold and Loeb than Lincoln and Douglas.

      We had a humiliating sneak preview Sept. 7, when NBC’s celebrity interviewer Matt Lauer hosted a one-hour “Commander-in-Chief Forum” in which Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spoke with Lauer from the same stage but in separate interviews.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • New Book Covers Hot Button Topics Of Censorship And Moral Panic

      A new book from author Jerry Barnett was recently published and is currently available as a digital download or in physical paperback form. The name of the book? Porn Panic!: Sex and Censorship In The UK.

      Now I know what you’re all thinking “This has nothing to do with video games!” and you’re absolutely right, but some readers suggested for Barnett’s book to get a little face time here on the site and since it relates directly with the recent topic of heavy censorship both from the establishment and from party ideologues, it’s hard to dismiss it.

      The book is actually about the recent rise in moral panics being spread throughout the media, as well as the prominent attacks on how we view sexuality in today’s society. It’s not too far removed from the current topic of discussion in gaming regarding various risque video games dealing with some sexual material that have been heavily censored or outright banned recently, such as Meiq or Criminal Girls 2, amongst many others.

    • YouTube “Heroes” Program Makes Censorship Into a Role-Playing Game

      YouTube is shamelessly incentivizing censorship by involving its users in a new program called “YouTube Heroes,” wherein creators and consumers are awarded points and exclusive perks for reporting negative videos and policing negative community content.


      YouTube Heroes comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to Google or its subsidiaries in recent months, as many of those on its “Google Ideas” council have been collaborating to defeat online trolls in the public eye. Montage and other Google apps have enabled the platform the perform analysis on a massive scale without individually watching each video and assessing its content. There’s even been talk of crowd-sourcing video moderation and allowing artificial intelligence to weed out trolls who target people such as Anita Sarkeesian or Zoe Quinn.

    • More online police possible in fight against hate speech

      Finland’s Interior Minister wants the police to be more proactive in taking on hate speech online. Paula Risikko says that police leaders should consider new ways of working to uncover, investigate and prevent extremist groups operating online.

      In addition, she says that the Justice and Interior Ministries should jointly consider if legislative changes are needed.

      “Under the current legislation it seems difficult to investigate the background and motives of figures involved in hate speech, and to intervene,” said Risikko in a statement. “The legislation is also fragmented.”

      On Friday Helsinki-based police officer Jarmo Heinonen, who works with online offences, told Yle that the law needs to be clarified. At present it does not define clearly what constitutes hate speech and what does not.

    • The Good, The Bad And The Misunderstood Of ‘YouTube Heroes’

      Whether or not you watched the video, let’s discuss its points. Firstly, though my initial instinct was that moderation was the primary goal of YouTube Heroes, the rewards make it clear this isn’t the case: adding closed captioning or translated subtitles to videos is by far the most efficient way to rack up points. Internationalizing its huge library of videos, and making them accessible, is a big deal for YouTube and it makes sense that this is the main thrust of the program. In this sense (and perhaps this sense alone) it’s a great idea.

      There are still three main complaints, each of a different nature: one is based on a complete misunderstanding, one is legitimate but likely to never come to fruition, and one (yes, the moderation) represents a genuine concern, at least in part.

      First, the misunderstanding: the graphics and vague language in YouTube’s promotional video give the distinct impression that in addition to mass-flagging videos, ‘Heroes’ will gain the ability to moderate comments. Not only does this sound ripe for abuse (the YouTube commenting community is frequently toxic and hardly above gaming the system), it also irritated content creators who (unlike on many similar platforms) are unable to even designate their own community moderators for their YouTube channels. But: it isn’t true. Heroes only gain the ability to moderate posts on a YouTube creators forum that is barely-known and comically hard to find (watch the video to see what I mean). So let’s put that one aside.

    • Quick Take: Censorship and Comics

      Library technician Katherine Keller is fighting censorship of comic books and graphic novels through her work with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

    • How Iran Is Building Its Censorship-Friendly Domestic Internet

      In the early spring of 2011, Iranian authorities made a series of bombastic public statements about government plans to strengthen their control over information. What emerged is the enduring specter of a “halal Internet” — a network cleansed of immorality and disconnected from the global Internet.

      Over the next several months, the political and religious establishment began to aggressively challenge the morality and security of the Internet, calling instead for a network that promoted the strict religious values promoted by the Islamic Republic. The then-Deputy Vice President for Economic Affairs described the vision for a national Internet as “a genuinely halal network, aimed at Muslims on an ethical and moral level.”

    • Censorship and healthcare’s redactable blockchain trapdoor

      Censorship has been explained actions taken in the best interests of the public. A benevolent public concern for morality. China’s censorship of WeChat for Uber. The decision by India’s film censor to cut 94 scenes from a movie about Punjab’s drug problem. Michelangelo’s 1565 “The Last Judgement.”

      Freedom of speech is the right to articulate one’s opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction. The right to be heard.

      Does a network hold trust if all voices are not heard? Are we talking about the ability to edit a transaction or present proof-of-trust, of immutability? The concepts are mutually exclusive.

    • Mexico Catholic Church Claims Censorship Over Marriage Equality Opposition

      A spokesman for Mexico’s Catholic Church claims that clergy members are being “censored” over their opposition to marriage equality.

      Father Hugo Valdemar, a representative of the Archdiocese of Mexico, believes that Conapred — the country’s council to prevent discrimination — is persecuting the church, broadcaster Telesur reports. Following nationwide anti-marriage equality protests that rocked the Latin American nation, Conapred advised church officials to avoid speaking publicly about the demonstrations.

      “There is persecution against the church,” Valdemar said in a press release. He warned of a “gay dictatorship” that threatening to take over Mexico.

    • West Bengal: Blogger arrested for criticising Islam on social media

      A blogger from West Bengal, Tarak Biswas was arrested by police for allegedly committing blasphemy against Islam. Tarak Biswas was arrested for writing critical post on Islam on social media. The arrest of the freethinker blogger came after a local Trinamool Congress leader Sanaullah Khan registered a first information report with the Howrah Police against for mocking at Islam. Tarak Biswas was charged under sections 295 A (insulting religion), 298 (hurt religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code as well section 66, 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act (posting and sending offensive messages).

    • Facebook is expanding its campaign to combat hate speech

      Facebook is expanding its efforts to combat online hate speech, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The company’s Online Civil Courage Initiative, announced in January, will transition from a pilot phase to offer advertising credits and marketing advice to a wider range of groups that counteract extremist messaging. The Berlin-based program has so far focused its efforts on France, Germany, and the UK.

      The announcement marks Facebook’s latest effort to combat propaganda from terrorist organizations and far-right groups. Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other major web companies have faced increased pressure to escalate anti-hate speech campaigns, and to more swiftly remove propaganda from groups like ISIS and far-right extremists. While the companies have touted an increase in takedowns of extremist content, the Online Civil Courage Initiative is focused on so-called counter-messaging, which seeks to discredit hate speech and propaganda. A Google-funded study published over the summer found that such campaigns can be an effective means of sparking debate online.

    • Judge Claims Facebook Not Taking Terrorism Threat Seriously

      A federal judge slammed Facebook Inc., saying the social media giant might not be doing enough to deter terrorists from using its platform.

      U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, New York, also accused Facebook’s lawyers — by sending a first-year associate to a hearing — of not taking seriously lawsuits with implications of international terrorism and the murder of innocent people.

    • Facebook Plans to Expand Program to Fight Against Online Hate-Speech

      Facebook Inc. plans to broaden a program that gives free advertising to online activists who fight back against online hate speech, the latest expansion of tech-industry efforts to undermine internet propaganda from Islamist terrorists and far-right radicals.

    • Spain fails to turn page on Franco’s legacy of censorship

      In the case of Hemingway’s Across the River and Into the Trees, even recent Spanish editions include a string of changes made by the censors.

    • Telegraph’s managing editor resigns from Nashua newspaper over ‘censorship’

      A newspaper known for promoting transparency has lost its executive managing editor, Roger Carroll, who resigned after a dispute over what he believes was censorship.

      Carroll said he recently resigned from his position with The Telegraph of Nashua after concerns were raised about an article published in the paper that detailed the organization’s future move from its current location in Hudson to Main Street in Nashua.

      He confirmed that after the article was published, higher-ups at the newspaper asked that the purchase price of the downtown building, along with the assessment value, be removed from the story for the online version.

    • Telegraph editor resigns over censorship of story about downtown Nashua move
    • DA petitions against Censorship Bill
    • FPB’s Bill could ruin online gaming in South Africa
    • How South Africans are fighting back against the Internet Censorship Bill
    • Facebook Disables Accounts of Palestinian Editors
    • Evidence of Feared Israel-Led Censorship as Facebook Bans Palestinian Editors
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Hillary Claims to Support Targeted Spying But Advisor Matt Olsen Was Champion of Bulk Spying

      It appalls me that Hillary is getting advice from Mike Morell, who has clearly engaged in stupid propaganda both for her and the CIA (though he also participated in the Presidents Review Group that advocated far more reform than Obama has adopted). I take more comfort knowing Mary DeRosa is in the mix.

      But I do wonder how you can take advice from Matt Olsen — who was instrumental in a lot of our current spying programs — and claim to adopt a balanced approach.

      Olsen was the DOJ lawyer who oversaw the Yahoo challenge to PRISM in 2007 and 2008. He did two things of note. First, he withheld information from the FISC until forced to turn it over, not even offering up details about how the government had completely restructured PRISM during the course of Yahoo’s challenge, and underplaying details of how US person metadata is used to select foreign targets. He’s also the guy who threatened Yahoo with $250,000 a day fines for appealing the FISC decision.

      Olsen was a key player in filings on the NSA violations in early 2009, presiding over what I believe to be grossly misleading claims about the intent and knowledge NSA had about the phone and Internet dragnets. Basically, working closely with Keith Alexander, he hid the fact that NSA had basically willfully treated FISA-collected data under the more lenient protection regime of EO 12333.

    • Snowden-Slamming Lawmakers Accused of Embarrassing Errors in Report

      A three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist says the House Intelligence Committee made surprisingly erroneous claims in the three-page executive summary of a report that denounces exiled whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The summary asserts that Snowden caused “tremendous damage to national security” and is “a serial exaggerator and fabricator.” The full and unreleased report, 36 pages, was unanimously adopted last week after two years of work, says a committee release.

      Barton Gellman, the former Washington Post journalist who first reported some of the most explosive 2013 Snowden revelations about mass surveillance, says two details in the committee summary are demonstrably false and others arguably so.

      “A close review of Snowden’s official employment records and submissions reveals a pattern of intentional lying,” the committee summary says before detailing alleged lies.

      The first example offered by lawmakers: “He claimed to have left Army basic training because of broken legs when in fact he washed out because of shin splints.”

      Gellman writes in an article posted Friday on the Century Foundation’s website that the sentence “is verifiably false for anyone who, as the committee asserts it did, performs a ‘close review of Snowden’s official employment records.’

    • House Intel Claim that Snowden Had Whistleblower Protection Is False and Misleading

      In a brief 3-page report dated September 15, 2016, the House Intelligence Committee concluded that Edward Snowden “was not a whistleblower” because there were “laws and regulations in effect at the time” that “afforded him protection” and he failed to exercise those whistleblower rights. The Committee report specifically cited the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 (IC WPA) that does permit employees, like Snowden, to make disclosures of wrongdoing to Congress if certain other conditions are met.

      However, the House Intel Committee failed to state the obvious. That the IC WPA contains no whistleblower protections whatsoever if an employee were to exercise the right to disclose information about agency wrongdoing to Congress.

    • Department of Homeless Security

      For example, the city of New York boasts it has more than 8,000 cameras pointed at Manhattan streets. The NYPD calls it the city’s “Ring of Steel.”

      Images from those cameras feed into the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center. Officers there also keep track of biological, chemical, radiation, and shot-spotter sensors (which detect gunfire), throughout the city.

      Data from the cameras and the detectors, as well as 911 calls, license plate readers, and crime databases is fed into a map-based Domain Awareness System, which analyzes information. The NYPD also has a “Dashboard” system that receives alerts on unattended packages, stolen vehicles crossing tunnels and bridges, and suspicious odors of hazardous materials.

      In addition, the Lower Manhattan Center maintains a “vehicle of interest” listing to track vehicles utilizing license plate readers, and can go back 30 days to find suspect vehicles. More than 200 license plate readers within the city triangulate information with GPS systems.

      That is a helluva lot of watching, all keeping us safe. Except it didn’t.

    • A Walking Tour of New York’s Massive Surveillance Network

      Earlier this month, on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the lower tip of Manhattan was thronged with soldiers in uniform, firefighters marching with photos of lost friends pinned to their backpacks, and tourists bumbling around the new mall at the World Trade Center. Firetrucks and police cars ringed Zuccotti Park and white ribbons adorned the iron fence around the churchyard on Broadway. Trash cans were closed up, with signs announcing “temporary security lockdown.”

      So it felt a bit risky to be climbing up a street pole on Wall Street to closely inspect a microwave radar sensor, or to be lingering under a police camera, pointing and gesturing at the wires and antenna connected to it. Yet it was also entirely appropriate to be doing just that, especially in the company of Ingrid Burrington, author of the new book “Networks of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure,” which points out that many of the city’s communications and surveillance programs were conceived and funded in response to the attacks.

    • The price of connection: ‘surveillance capitalism’

      Imagine, if you can, a period long before today’s internet-based connectivity. Imagine that, in that distant time, the populations of every country were offered a new plan. The plan would involve linking up every space of social interaction, most sites of work, a large proportion of private moments of reflection, and a significant proportion of family interactions.

      Once linked up miraculously, all these diverse spaces of human life would be transposed onto a single seamless plane of archiving, monitoring and processing.

      This link-up, those populations are told, would have some remarkable consequences. Each one of those once separate sites could be connectable in real time to every other. The contents of what went on there would become linkable to and from everywhere.

    • The Justice Department’s Refusal to Prosecute CIA for Illegal Surveillance

      Had the Justice Department decided to prosecute, we would be looking at a very different world today. Even a failed prosecution would have sent the message that the potential for legal consequences was there. Instead, it reinforced the attitude of some in national security circles that they didn’t have to worry about the legal ramifications – only a public relations “flap.”

      It’s a mistake the Justice Department seems to keep making – but it doesn’t have to.

      Below, you can read the Report of the Department of Justice Concerning Its Investigation and Prosecutorial Decisions with Respect to Central Intelligence Agency Mail Opening Activities in the United States.

    • Indian Students Score a Partial Win in Facebook Privacy Dispute

      Two Indian students scored a partial victory over Facebook Inc. in a closely watched legal battle over privacy, though they failed to get the internet giant to reverse policies they say threaten the rights of millions of users.

      WhatsApp revised its privacy policy last month to share data with owner Facebook and allow targeted ads and messages from businesses, laying the groundwork for the free messaging service to begin making money. Students Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, 19 and 22 respectively, then filed a public-interest litigation — akin to a class action — seeking to block those changes. They wanted a rollback of those updates, in a lawsuit that’s attracted attention as a test case for how legal authorities around the world may respond.

    • Don’t use Google Allo
    • NSA’s Failure to Report Shadow Broker Vulnerabilities Underscores Need for Oversight
    • Did Russia Hack The NSA? Maybe Not
    • NSA hacking tools were likely stolen after an operative accidentally left them on a computer
    • NSA operative might have accidentally leaked its hacking tools
    • Shadow Broker security leak was probably down to NSA error
    • The NSA’s Hubris and the Shadow Brokers 0-day
    • One NSA Employee’s Mistake Caused The Worst Leak Since Snowden
    • Probe of leaked US NSA hacking tools examines operative’s ‘mistake’
    • Former NSA Employee’s Mistake May Have Led to Hack
    • Report: NSA operator left source code exposed before breach
    • Woman sues parents for sharing embarrassing childhood photos

      She claims that since 2009 they have made her life a misery by constantly posting hundreds of photos of her, including embarrassing and intimate images from her childhood.

      Legal expert Michael Rami was quoted by Austrian media as saying he believes she has a good chance of winning in court.

      The shared images include baby pictures of her having her nappy changed and later potty training pictures.

      “They knew no shame and no limit – and didn’t care whether it was a picture of me sitting on the toilet or lying naked in my cot – every stage was photographed and then made public,” the 18-year-old said. The photos were shared on Facebook with her parents’ 700 friends.

      Despite her requests, they have refused to delete the photos – prompting her to sue them. “I’m tired of not being taken seriously by my parents”, she said. Her father believes that since he took the photos he has the right to publish the images.

      Rami says that if it can be proven that the images have violated her rights to a personal life, then her parents may lose the case. This is the first case of its kind in Austria, but he says that based on similar cases abroad the girl’s parents may have to pay some financial compensation for her pain and suffering, and will also be liable for her legal costs.

      The case will be heard in November – and if the parents lose this could have repercussions for Austrians who post countless images of their children on social media without their consent.

    • Austrian Teenager Sues Parents For Posting Pictures From Her Childhood To Facebook

      When we talk about young people filing lawsuits over “oversharing” of information and/or media on social media sites, schools are typically the targets of the suits. Inevitably, whether school personnel originally sought access to a student’s social media accounts for good intentions or simply to be a slut-shaming dick, the contents within the accounts are then weaponized for humiliation purposes.

      But a recent lawsuit filed by an eighteen year old woman in Austria must have parents the world over wincing. At issue wasn’t some random person or school official attempting to shame the girl. It was just her parents’ sharing photos of a family member and now they face a lawsuit.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Police seize Montreal reporter’s computer to find source for story

      A Montreal journalist whose computer was seized by police after reporting on the alleged abusive behaviour of a judge did nothing wrong and broke no laws, said his managing editor on Thursday.

      Provincial police seized Journal de Montreal reporter Michael Nguyen’s computer at the behest of Quebec’s judicial council on Wednesday at the offices of the tabloid newspaper.

      Managing Editor George Kalogerakis said Thursday the search warrant indicated the council suspected Nguyen illegally accessed its website for details about a complaint against a Quebec Court judge.

      “I can tell you that our reporter did not break any laws to get his story,” Kalogerakis said. “We do not break laws at the Journal. We will contest the validity of the search warrant as far as we can.”

      Nguyen reported in the newspaper last June that judge Suzanne Vadboncur allegedly hurled insults and acted abusively towards constables after a Christmas party in December at the Montreal courthouse.

    • The Body Count Rises: A Call for International Oversight of U.S. Police Killings

      The police killing of Keith Scott in Charlotte is simply the latest evidence that the United States is fundamentally unable to protect communities from state-sanctioned violence. Therefore, I’m calling for an international response from agencies designed to monitor and hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations around the world.

      While the media tends to see each of these incidents in a vacuum, the bigger picture underscores the need for oversight and action from another source: According to a comprehensive database published by The Guardian entitled The Counted: People Killed by Police in the U.S., law enforcement has killed 791 people in 2016 alone. This is a staggering and unacceptable figure. Only 13 police officers have been convicted of murder or manslaughter since 2005, in spite of the abundance of cell phone and police videos that suggest a much higher murder rate.

    • The Counted: tracking people killed by police in the United States
    • DOJ Tells Forensic Experts To Stop Overstating The ‘Scientific Certainty’ Of Presented Evidence

      The DOJ is finally addressing some long-ignored problems with the forensic evidence its prosecutors rely on. For two decades, FBI forensics experts handed out flawed testimony in hundreds of criminal cases, routinely overstating the certainty of conclusions reached by forensic examination. Of those cases, 28 ended in death penalty verdicts.

      An earlier attempt to address issues with flawed science and flawed testimony swiftly ran aground. Federal judge Jed S. Rakoff very publicly resigned from a committee formed to examine these issues after he was informed by the attorney general’s office that he wasn’t actually supposed to be examining these issues.

    • NYPD Says Releasing Basic Stingray Contract Info Will Result In A Supercriminal Apocalypse

      Soghoian also points out that the release of other information would similarly have zero effect on the devices’ capabilities. Because they spoof cell towers, it does criminals no good to know how many the NYPD has or even where they tend to deploy them. A cellphone can’t tell it’s connected to a BS “tower.” And just because the NYPD may be more likely to deploy them in certain areas does not guarantee that avoiding those areas will allow criminals to avoid detection.

    • NYPD Says Software Built To Track Seized Property Can’t Actually Do The One Thing It’s Supposed To Do

      Where accountability is needed most, it almost always seems to go missing. Asset forfeiture — in multiple, mostly-nefarious forms — is a law enforcement tool seemingly handcrafted for abuse and exploitation. When the NYPD isn’t seizing cash and cars simply because Officer Smith thought he spotted a fleck of marijuana somewhere in a three-mile radius, it’s taking ownership of people’s personal belongings (phones, cash, etc.) simply because they happened to be in their pockets when they were arrested.

      The NYPD’s inability to quantify its sketchy takings isn’t surprising. There’s nothing to be gained from keeping a tracking system like this in working order. The more data the NYPD can provide to overseers, FOIL-wielding citizens, and meddling defense lawyers, the more likely it is that someone will uncover abuse of the forfeiture process.

    • NYPD can’t count cash they’ve seized because it would crash computers
    • Cop To Court: This Normal Behavior I Literally Observe All The Time Is Suspicious Behavior Justifying A Traffic Stop

      Carlos Velazquez was pulled over by Officer Ken Scott, a “traffic investigator” patrolling the Ft. Bragg military base in North Carolina. Scott observed Velasquez make a right-hand turn at a stop sign, then reverse course when he encountered a gate preventing traffic from entering the Ft. Bragg Special Operations Compound. The stop resulted in the search of the vehicle and, eventually, the discovery of illegal drugs.

      Velazquez moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that the stop was suspicionless. The government disagreed, but Scott’s own testimony indicates it was a suspicionless stop. Scott claimed the stop was justified because he believed Velazquez was “intoxicated or lost.” That last part Scott himself ignored, even during his testimony as the government’s sole witness. The actions Scott viewed as “suspicious” during his justification of the traffic stop were also actions Scott had witnessed numerous times while patrolling the area around the military base.

    • Cops pepper-spray 15-year-old girl who fell off her bike

      This is very sad and infuriating. A 15-year-old girl from Hagerstown, Maryland was riding her bike and collided with a car. When police arrived they told her an ambulance was going to take her to the hospital. She didn’t want to go. She got back on her bike, but before she could get away, an officer grabbed her from behind. The next thing you know, she was roughed up, cuffed, put in the back of a patrol car, and then pepper sprayed. Instead of taking her to the hospital, the officers took her to the police station for interrogation.

      The girl was black, and the police officers were white. It made me sick to watch this video. She’d just been in a bad accident, flew 15 feet through the air, and was knocked out. The police were cold, harsh, and violent with her. They kept aggressively shouting at her “Stop!” and “What’s your name!” Imagine your own child suffering a head injury and then being treated like this. Her frightened shrieks are heartwrenching.

    • Cops Pepper-Spray Girl Who Fell Off Bike

      A 15-year-old girl crashed into a car and tried to refuse medical care, which Maryland police said is an arrestable offense so they roughed her up and took her away.

    • Congo’s Female Tech Activists Risk Violence, Jail, and Rape to Speak Out

      In the dusty yard of a youth centre, Christiane Binja posed for a portrait in front of a colourful mural.

      “Take my picture with this strong African woman,” said the lawyer and women’s rights activist, smiling for the camera.

      Activism is a dangerous business in the eastern province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Between violent rebel groups and government crackdowns, young people challenging the status quo risk harassment, violence, jail time, and even death. Sexual violence—particularly rape—is another punishment reserved almost exclusively for female activists.

      Despite the danger, Binja is undeterred. The 29-year-old loves her province and is determined to see lasting peace in her lifetime. Her goal: empower female leaders to spread their message of positive change using technology.

    • Naureckas to AlterNet: ‘Treat Police Statements as Claims’

      Writing about the protests over the killing of Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte, N.C., police, AlterNet‘s Sarah Lazare (9/22/16) quoted FAIR’s Jim Naureckas on the need to be skeptical about information coming from police…

    • Four arrested over Gothenburg riots

      Four people have been arrested in connection with riots in a Gothenburg suburb this week.

      Two police officers were injured after a green laser was pointed at them and the window of a police car was shattered by rocks being thrown at officers during riots, involving around 15-20 youths, in the Bergsjön area of Sweden’s second-biggest city on Wednesday night.

      A bystander also received minor injuries after being hit by rocks in the back and hand. He called an ambulance which was not able to reach the scene because of the disturbances.

      Four cars were set on fire in the area on the night, said police.

      Four people have so far been arrested by a prosecutor in connection with the riots, including three men aged 18-25 who were seized overnight, said Gothenburg police on Friday, adding more were set to be questioned.

    • De Lima on UN probe don’ts: Censorship

      Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima scored the government on Saturday for imposing restrictions on the United Nations and other investigators from international bodies it plans to invite to check on President Duterte’s war on drugs that has left over 3,000 suspects dead so far.

      De Lima said the administration’s conditions betrayed the intent of what are supposed to be independent investigations into the killings. She said the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) restrictions were tantamount to “censorship and control.”

    • De Lima questions ground rules for UN visit
    • De Lima questions parameters on UN probe
    • Duterte Lets The World Know What He Thinks Of The EU
    • Duterte tells De Lima, Critics: My mouth is not the problem
    • Legaspi: What is the truth?
    • Duterte under anti-drug investigation

      “Opposition to an impartial investigation into these killings only intensifies the spotlight on Duterte and his administration’s disregard for basic human rights protections for all Filipinos”.

      President Duterte invites the European Union to consider that even if accusations against him are true, those whom he killed had killed more.

      Since his election, 3,000 have been reportedly killed in Duterte’s new national drug war.

      Explaining why he was “bullshitting” the European body, Mr. Duterte said on Wednesday he took offense because he felt he was being unfairly reprimanded.

      Duterte said Saturday he did not realize the severity of the problem until he became president. It’s likely the panel will back off; de Lima’s replacement, Senator Richard Gordon, is an ally of the president.

      Bank robber Herbert Colangco told Congress he had paid 3 million pesos ($62,637) a month since October 2013 to De Lima, then justice secretary, to let him hold concerts and sell beer to inmates.

      The statement from the President came after EU Parliament passed a five-page resolution last week urging the Philippines “to put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings” of individual involved in illegal drugs.

    • ‘He doesn’t have a gun!’ Keith Scott’s wife releases footage of fatal shooting (VIDEO)

      Keith Scott’s family has released a video of police officers fatally shooting him that was recorded by his wife, who was talking to police from a distance. It was released to NBC News after law enforcement once again refused to release their footage.

      Despite law enforcement’s refusal to release any footage, Scott’s family made the video recorded by his wife public.

    • More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem

      So the Chicago is going to hire yet more cops. Five hundred more. Yet more, you say? Yes – the city already almost leads the nation in its level of sworn officers, and has got precious little to show for it.

      When politicians say we need more police, from Bill Clinton’s 1990s call for 100,000 more cops, to the 2012 Chicago mayoral election, a certain amount of fact-free electioneering is expected.

      But when Crain’s Chicago Business’s Greg Hinz is joined by his editorial board in this fact-free nonsense, we’ve reached a new low in the civic discussion about how to save more lives in our city. Like the mass incarceration boom of the 1990s, the City is escalating a disastrous trend which our communities (and wallets) will spend many years trying to extricate ourselves from.

    • CIA Torture Whistleblower: ‘Quest for Peace Must Be Part of Election’

      The CIA agent who was jailed for blowing the whistle on the United States’ illegal torture program has made a statement about what the nation’s electorate must demand from White House hopefuls this election season.

      The whistleblower, John Kiriakou, was sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty to releasing the name of an officer implicated in a CIA torture program to the media and violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

      “Our country is in crisis, whether it is because of our apparently seamless escalation into a permanent wartime economy, our inability to wage peace in the Middle East and South Asia, or our national compulsion to prosecute and humiliate national security whistleblowers,” he said in a statement.

    • Chelsea Manning Sentenced to Solitary Confinement for Suicide Attempt

      U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been sentenced to 14 days in solitary confinement — punishment the U.N. recognizes as torture — for charges related to her suicide attempt in July, and for possession of an unmarked book in her cell.

      Half of her 14-day punishment was “suspended,” meaning it can be reinstated later, so Manning now faces seven days in isolation. It is unclear when Manning’s sentence will begin.

      According to a dictated statement from Manning, once she receives notification of her punishment in writing, she will have 15 days to appeal it.

      At a four-hour disciplinary hearing Thursday, at which Manning was not allowed a lawyer, Manning was found guilty of “conduct that threatens,” broadly defined as “any conduct which interferes with the orderly running, safety, good order and discipline, or security of the facility.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Arguments Over Internet Governance Transition Get Even More Stupid

      First, the plan does not hand over control to Russia, China and Iran — and keeping IANA under the Commerce Dept. makes it A LOT MORE LIKELY that that coalition of countries is able to grab control of the IANA functions from ICANN and the US. But, uh, even more importantly, claiming that Trump is in favor of “free speech online” is laughable. This is the candidate who has repeatedly talked about “opening up our libel laws” to go after speech he doesn’t like, has threatened to sue many publications for protected speech, and has flat out declared that we should turn off parts of the internet and anyone who responded with “freedom of speech” was “foolish.”

  • DRM

    • HTML standardization group calls on W3C to protect security researchers from DRM

      The World Wide Web Consortium has embarked upon an ill-advised project to standardize Digital Rights Management (DRM) for video at the behest of companies like Netflix; in so doing, they are, for the first time, making a standard whose implementations will be covered under anti-circumvention laws like Section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it a potential felony to reveal defects in products without the manufacturer’s permission.

      This is especially worrisome because the W3C’s aspiration for the new version of HTML is that it will replace apps as the user-interface for the Internet of Things, making all sorts of potentially compromising (and even lethal) bugs difficult to report without serious legal liability.

      The EFF has proposed that W3C members should be required to promise not to use the DMCA and laws like it this way; this has had support from other multistakeholder groups, like the Open Source Initiative, which has said that the W3C work will not qualify as an “open standard” if it doesn’t do something to prevent DMCA abuse.

    • DRM and Web security

      For a few years now, the W3C has been working on a specification that extends the HTML standard to add a feature that literally, and intentionally, does nothing but limit the potential of the Web. They call this specification “Encrypted Media Extensions” (EME). It’s essentially a plug-in mechanism for proprietary DRM modules.

      Much has been written on how DRM is bad for users because it prevents fair use, on how it is technically impossible to ever actually implement, on how it’s actually a tool for controlling distributors, a purpose for which it is working well (as opposed to being to prevent copyright violations, a purpose for which it isn’t working at all), and on how it is literally an anti-accessibility technology (it is designed to make content less accessible, to prevent users from using the content as they see fit, even preventing them from using the content in ways that are otherwise legally permissible, e.g. in the US, for parody or criticism). Much has also been written about the W3C’s hypocrisy in supporting DRM, and on how it is a betrayal to all Web users. It is clear that the W3C allowing DRM technologies to be developed at the W3C is just a naked ploy for the W3C to get more (paying) member companies to join. These issues all remain. Let’s ignore them for the rest of post, though.

      One of the other problems with DRM is that, since it can’t work technically, DRM supporters have managed to get the laws in many jurisdictions changed to make it illegal to even attempt to break DRM. For example, in the US, there’s the DMCA clauses 17 U.S.C. § 1201 and 1203: “No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title”, and “Any person injured by a violation of section 1201 or 1202 may bring a civil action in an appropriate United States district court for such violation”.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Traditional Knowledge: Text Passes Committee Approval, Goes To Next Session [Ed: Incredible that the thugs who run WIPO try to distinguish between private/monopolised knowledge and “traditional”[

      World Intellectual Property Organization delegates today agreed on a text compiling divergent views on how traditional knowledge should be protected in the intellectual property system to be forwarded to the next session of its committee on the protection of traditional knowledge. Some clear dividing lines remain, such as traditional knowledge which is widely known and could have been placed in the public domain, or if conditions of eligibility should be part of a potential treaty.

      The 31st session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources (GRs), Traditional Knowledge (TK)and Folklore (IGC) took place from 19-23 September.

    • Law & Economics – The Italian Edition

      A hot topic at EALE was understanding “Pay for Delay,” aka a reverse payment patent settlement. It’s the bizarre phenomena in the US where patent holders pay potential competitors not to challenge their patent or enter the market. This is most common in the pharmaceutical industry when companies seeking to keep generics out of their market. Ramsi Woodcock, in a presentation entitled, “Innovation, Litigation and New Drugs” looked at the consumer welfare impact of these payments. Using a theoretical model in combination with empirical data, he estimates that payments which delay the entry of a generic drug by more than 15 months result in consumer harm.

    • Copyrights

      • German Library Claims Copyright on “Nazi Anthem,” Censors Documentary on YouTube

        YouTube has faced its fair share of copyright controversies, one even more absurd than the others. In what appears to be an indirect censorship effort, the German National Library is now claiming copyright on the 87-year-old Nazi anthem, taking down a historical documentary in the process.

      • For The Gander: Bahnhof Sends Copyright Troll Spridningskollen A Trademark Violation Settlement Letter

        We were just talking about Bahnhof, the Swedish ISP with a reputation for protecting its customers privacy, and its script-flipping battle with a copyright troll called Spridningskollen. At issue is that Bahnhof has for some time operated a website, Spridningskollen.org, and has applied for a trademark registration for it more recently. The copyright troll is new in town, so to speak, and Bahnhoff is relying on common law trademark rights while its application goes through the process, but that isn’t keeping the ISP from continuing to give Spridningskollen a taste of its own medicine.

        In a move laced with irony, Bahnhof has sent Spridningskollen a settlement letter on the basis of its trademark infringement.

      • Macedonia Copyright Collection Group Forces All Macedonian Music Off Of All Macedonian Broadcasts

        This is a strange one, for sure. Often times when we discuss disputes from copyright licensing or collection groups, which will universally complain that they are not collecting enough money when given any opportunity, some will comment that the artists should just pull their music from all broadcasts if they’re not happy with the arrangement. This kind of nuclear option is rarely, if ever, invoked for a whole host of reasons that include compulsory licensing arrangements and rules, the sincerity of the complaints from the licensing groups, and the simple business interests behind the benefits of having music heard on the radio.

        But in Macedonia, one such licensing group has quite literally taken its musical ball and stomped home. This whole spat has been initiated by ZAMP, previously the sole music copyright collection organization in all of Macedonia, all because a second collection group has been started in the country, alongside more strict rules governing how much money ZAMP can collect for the artists it represents. As a result, ZAMP has informed Macedonia’s broadcasters that they are henceforth banned from playing any music created by Macedonian artists, whom ZAMP claims to represent.


Links 23/9/2016: Latest Microsoft and Lenovo Spin (Now in ‘Damage Control’ Mode)

Posted in News Roundup at 6:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Science

    • Indigenous Australians the oldest living civilisation on Earth, study affirms

      An extensive DNA study confirms what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have always believed: they’re the oldest living civilisation on the planet.

      “We know that we were here forever, but Western science is slowly catching up,” says a Facebook post from Indigenous Australian rights organisation Sovereign Union, led by activist and Euahlayi leader Ghillar Michael Anderson.

      In fact, their relationship to the land stretches back over 50,000 years, according to new scientific research published in the journal Nature. Led by Professor Eske Willerslev of the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with a host of Indigenous elders, the research team sequenced the genome of 83 Aboriginal Australians (from groups covering 90 percent of Australia’s land mass) and 25 Highland Papuans.

    • Horses can use symbols to talk to us

      There will never be a horse like Mr. Ed, the talking equine TV star. But scientists have discovered that the animals can learn to use another human tool for communicating: pointing to symbols. They join a short list of other species, including some primates, dolphins, and pigeons, with this talent. Scientists taught 23 riding horses of various breeds to look at a display board with three icons, representing wearing or not wearing a blanket. Horses could choose between a “no change” symbol or symbols for “blanket on” or “blanket off.” Previously, their owners made this decision for them. Horses are adept at learning and following signals people give them, and it took these equines an average of 10 days to learn to approach and touch the board and to understand the meaning of the symbols.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • A pile of security updates for Thursday
    • What this Yahoo data breach means for you

      On Thursday afternoon Yahoo confirmed a massive data leak of at least 500 million user accounts, which is a very big deal.

      Though the data breach obviously spells trouble for those with YahooMail accounts, users with hacked accounts need to keep in mind that the breach goes so much further.

      Yahoo owns a bunch of other major sites like Flickr, Tumblr and fantasy football site Rivals.com, which means the 500 million users affected by the data breach also have to worry about their personal information associated with all additional Yahoo services.

    • Hackers now have a treasure trove of user data with the Yahoo breach
    • Half! a! billion! Yahoo! email! accounts! raided! by! ‘state! hackers!’

      Hackers strongly believed to be state-sponsored swiped account records for 500 million Yahoo! webmail users. And who knew there were that many people using its email?

      The troubled online giant said on Thursday that the break-in occurred in late 2014, and that names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers, were lifted.

      This comes after a miscreant calling themselves Peace was touting copies of the Yahoo! account database on the dark web. At the time, in early August, Yahoo! said it was aware of claims that sensitive information was being sold online – and then today, nearly two months later, it alerted the world to the embarrassing security breach.

    • Brian Krebs’ blog banged in bloody massive DDoS

      YOU KNOW that Brian Krebs guy? Well, his website has been hit with a huge denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that he couldn’t handle on his own.

      Krebs is that security guy. He is bound to have some enemies out there, so we expect that sooner or later someone will take the credit for ruining the pathway to his pages.

      For now we have Krebs to explain what happened and who helped him deal with it. The short version is that there was great big whack of an attack on him, and that he needed assistance from security firm Akamai.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Next-Generation Destroyer Zumwalt Sidelined for Repairs After Engineering Casualty

      Less than a month ahead of its commissioning, the Navy’s next-generation destroyer Zumwalt (DDG-1000) suffered an engineering casualty that could take up to two weeks to repair, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Tuesday.
      The ship’s crew – currently pier side at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. – found the fault in the ship’s engineering plant on Sept. 19 ahead of at-sea tests. Zumwalt is now undergoing repairs that may take anywhere from 10 days to two weeks.

    • Obama vetoes 9/11 bill

      President Obama on Friday vetoed legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S courts, setting up a high-stakes showdown with Congress.

      “I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured,” Obama wrote in his veto message. “Enacting JASTA into law, however would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”

      Obama’s move opens up the possibility that lawmakers could override his veto for the first time with a two-thirds vote in both chambers.

      Republican and Democratic leaders have said they are committed to holding an override vote, and the bill’s drafters say they have the support to force the bill to become law.

      The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) unanimously passed through both chambers by voice vote.

      But the timing of the president’s veto is designed to erode congressional support for the bill and put off a politically damaging override vote until after the November elections.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • EFF Heads To Court To Fight Off Smart Grid Company That Can’t Wrap Its Mind Around Section 230 Protections

      Apparently the legal battle between a bunch of contractors providing “smart meter” equipment to the city of Seattle and FOIA clearinghouse MuckRock isn’t over. The last time we checked in, a judge had overturned his own hastily-granted injunction, relieving MuckRock of the impossible demands placed on it by miffed tech provider Landis+Gyr — which included handing over the details of everyone who might have seen Landis+Gyr’s documents and “retrieving protected information that may have been downloaded” from the site.

      MuckRock was allowed to reinstate the documents and Landis+Gyr walked away from a debacle of its own making. Another contractor utilized by Seattle Power and Light (Ericsson) had pursued a similar injunction but dropped MuckRock from its complaint, following Landis+Gyr into battle against the entity that had released the documents to requester Phil Mocek: the city of Seattle.

      But there’s still one company pursuing a case against MuckRock. The EFF, on its way back into court to fight the tenacious litigant, points out that Elster Solutions, LLC is still hoping to hold MuckRock accountable for publishing documents received from the city of Seattle. But it’s impossible to ascertain why it’s going after MuckRock.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Recalculating the Climate Math

      The future of humanity depends on math. And the numbers in a new study released Thursday are the most ominous yet.

      Those numbers spell out, in simple arithmetic, how much of the fossil fuel in the world’s existing coal mines and oil wells we can burn if we want to prevent global warming from cooking the planet. In other words, if our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do?

      Here’s the answer: zero.

  • Finance

    • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been arm-twisting journalists into relinquishing their reportorial independence, our investigation reveals. Other institutions are following suit

      CNN Money has found multiple whistleblowers from Wells Fargo who were willing to go on the record and report that they were fired in retaliation for coming forward to report the massive fraud in which Wells Fargo employees opened up 2,000,000 fake accounts in their customers’ names, raiding their real accounts to open them, then racking up fees and penalties, and trashing their customers’ credit ratings.

      CNN also spoke to a former Wells Fargo HR manager who explained how the retaliatory firings worked: employees who blew the whistle would be monitored closely for minor infractions (e.g. being two minutes late for work), then fired “with cause.”

      The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in the wake of the Enron fraud, makes it a jailable, criminal offense to fire whistleblowers; it also makes the CEO and CFO personally, criminally liable for failures to create secure means by which whistleblowers can come forward without fear of retaliation.

    • China’s elites appear to be exfiltrating billions while on holidays

      China has a massive “tourism deficit” — the difference between the money that tourists spend in China and the money that Chinese people spend abroad: $206B from June 2015-June 2016, up from $77B in 2013. The missing money is hard to explain, since China doesn’t export that many tourists.

      But there’s one explanation that fits the facts, according to Bloomberg: Chinese millionaires going abroad with “suitcases full of cash,” which they convert to overseas real-estate, undeclared luxury goods, or just anonymous deposit accounts in offshore banks. Chinese corruption has hit surreal levels: for example, one civic official had so much cash in his apartment that the police who raided him were unable to count it with bill-counting machines. Instead, they weighed it by the ton and estimated its value by weight.

    • Tesla wants to sell cars directly in Michigan, so it’s suing state officials

      On Thursday, Tesla filed a lawsuit against three Michigan officials (PDF)—Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Governor Rick Snyder—on the grounds that the state is violating the electric vehicle company’s right to sell Teslas directly from the manufacturer instead of through a dealer.

    • Barroso says Goldman is ‘no drug cartel’, blasts EU judgment

      Former European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Friday put up a spirited defense of his right to work for U.S. bank Goldman Sachs, after the commission opened an ethics probe into his move, and he accused it of acting arbitrarily.

      “Why would I not have the right to work where I choose, if it is a legal entity, obviously, not a drug cartel?” a visibly agitated Barroso, who is a former Portuguese prime minister, said in his first public comments to reporters at an event in Cascais near Lisbon.

      Goldman appointed Barroso as non-executive chairman of its international arm in London two weeks after Britons voted for Brexit in June and he said he would advise it on issues arising from the negotiations for Britain to leave the European Union.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Could Jill Stein Be Invited To The Presidential Debates? All Hope Is Technically Not Lost

      The presidential election cycle will progress to the next phase with the much-anticipated presidential debates. Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump will take the debate stage on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University for the first of three scheduled debates. But for the third party candidates – Independent Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, and Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein – did not qualify to participate and therefore will not be included in the televised event. But, could Stein be invited to the presidential debates? Well, not to the first one, but she still has a chance to participate in the debates following.

      In order to qualify to participate in the presidential debates, candidates must be polling at 15 percent in five national surveys leading up to the debates. As it stands now, according to a NBC News poll, Johnson is polling at 10 percent and Stein is polling at 4 percent. Different polls show varying percentages; for instance, a recent Reuters poll put at Johnson at 6.6 percent and Stein at 2.2 percent. Regardless, the two candidates are well below the threshold and will not participate in next week’s debate. Instead, Clinton and her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, and Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will have their voices heard on Monday as they battle it out on the issues.

    • 5 Signs NBC Is Unofficially Endorsing Trump For President

      The mainstream media is getting a lot of flack for not doing enough to stop Donald Trump’s rise to the cusp of having all the power, and deservedly so. In fact, I’m going to that exact thing here today. But rather than focus on the news as a whole, I want to focus on one outlet in particular: NBC. I’m singling them out because it’s not just that they haven’t done enough to stop the potential threat that is Donald Trump’s impending presidency — it’s that they’re actively endorsing it, all while pretending they cut ties well over a year ago with the man they helped make a star. We talk about it on this week’s Unpopular Opinion podcast …

    • Powell leakers strike again with alleged White House staffer emails, Michelle Obama passport

      The hacker website that leaked Colin Powell’s politically embarrassing emails struck again Thursday, this time releasing what appears to be the personal emails of a White House staffer working with Hillary Clinton’s campaign — and what purports to be an image of Michelle Obama’s passport.

      An initial scan of the messages appear to show chatter mostly regarding event planning details, such as requesting an invoice for a stage used at a Clinton campaign event. In one exchange, the advanced planning team expresses concern that the media might notice a group of protesters at one event.

    • Palmer Luckey: The Facebook Near Billionaire Secretly Funding Trump’s Meme Machine

      A Silicon Valley titan is putting money behind an unofficial Donald Trump group dedicated to “shitposting” and circulating Internet memes maligning Hillary Clinton.

      Oculus founder Palmer Luckey financially backed a pro-Trump political organization called Nimble America, a self-described “social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit” in support of the Republican nominee.

      Luckey sold his virtual reality company Oculus to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014, and Forbes estimates his current net worth to be $700 million. The 24-year-old told The Daily Beast that he had used the pseudonym “NimbleRichMan” on Reddit with a password given him to by the organization’s founders.

      Nimble America says it’s dedicated to proving that “shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real,” according to the company’s introductory statement, and has taken credit for a billboard its founders say was posted outside of Pittsburgh with a cartoonishly large image of Clinton’s face alongside the words “Too Big to Jail.”

      “We conquered Reddit and drive narrative on social media, conquered the [mainstream media], now it’s time to get our most delicious memes in front of Americans whether they like it or not,” a representative for the group wrote in an introductory post on Reddit.

    • Green party may try to ‘escort’ Jill Stein into the presidential debates

      Kevin Zeese told the Guardian that Stein, her vice-presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka and 100 of her supporters were willing to risk arrest at the debates, the first of which will be held at New York’s Hofstra University on Monday.

      “About 300 people have already signed up to protest, 100 are willing to risk arrest,” Zeese said.

      “We hope Jill and Ajamu will not get arrested as we want them to respond in live time to the debate but when you are on the frontlines, things are not always in our control.”

      The Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Friday that the third-party candidates Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson had failed to qualify for the first debate.

      To earn a spot on the debate stage, the commission requires each candidate meet a 15% support threshold, determined by an average of five pre-selected national polls, and qualify for the ballot in enough states that it would be mathematically possible to receive the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

      The commission calculated that Stein had 3.2% support in an average of the five selected polls. Johnson also failed to make the cut, with a polling average of 8.4%.

    • DNC Files Scathing Rebuttal, Wants Fraud Lawsuit Filed by Bernie Backers Thrown Out

      ‘The DNC was biased in favor of one candidate – Hillary Clinton – from the beginning and throughout the process,” the plaintiffs wrote in their original lawsuit. The complaint, which was filed in federal court in Florida, alleges fraud, as well as negligence as it relates to a Russian Hack on the DNC server. The Bernie backers contend that the trove of DNC emails posted by Wikileaks further proves that the Democratic Party was working against Bernie Sanders from the start.

      However, in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed this week, attorneys with the DNC fired back. They believe that the lawsuit is completely without merit, and that the Bernie supporters are using “litigation as a political weapon against a national party (and to support their SuperPAC) in the middle of an election.” They also don’t believe the Bernie backers have standing to even bring the lawsuit.

    • If Trump Wins, Blame Clinton

      Now that Hillary Clinton is statistically tied with Donald Trump in the polls according to Real Clear Politics, Democratic Party loyalists are looking for a new scapegoat. Some individuals have decided to attribute blame to millennials. Mother Jones’ Editor-in-Chief, Clara Jeffery, took to Twitter to declare her hatred for millennials after learning that Hillary Clinton loses a substantial amount of millennial voters to third-party candidates.

      Echoing this frustration with millennials, James Kirchick of The Daily Beast—an outlet that does not disclose to readers the fact that Chelsea Clinton sits on the board of their parent company, IAC—smugly purports that these pesky millennials would probably be more inclined to support Hillary Clinton if it weren’t for their “moral relativism, historical ignorance, and narcissism.” Some want to hold Jill Stein accountable for a potential Trump victory, while others argue Bernie Sanders will be culpable if Trump wins, given that he “convinced” millennials that “Clinton was in the pocket of Wall Street,” and is “a tool of wealthy elites.”

      I, too, would like to jump on this bandwagon and advance my own hypothesis as to which individual we can blame in the event Trump wins. If Clinton loses, really, there’s only one person you can blame: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How Nigeria’s cybercrime law is being used to try to muzzle the press

      Since Nigeria’s cybercrime act was voted into law in May 2015 authorities have used the accusation of cyber stalking to harass and press charges against at least five bloggers who criticized politicians and businessmen online and through social media.

      Cyber stalking, which falls under Section 24 of the act, carries a fine of up to 7 million naira (USD$22,000) and a maximum three-year jail term for anyone convicted of knowingly sending an online message that “he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another.”

    • EDITORIAL: Instagram allows customizable censorship

      If you have been using social media for a while, you’re probably familiar with people being offended by online content.

      The debate over how media should censor their apps is not new.

      What is new, however, is Instagram’s new feature in answer to this complaint. They have created a way that users can make personalized lists of words they don’t wish to see in the comments on their feeds.

      The words can be anything, from swear words to words surrounding discourses such as gender and race. If you don’t want those words commented on your pictures, poof, they’re gone.

      We think this is a great move. In the past, many people have been angry with companies for their censorship policies.

      Twitter bans many offensive words altogether. Instagram’s solution seems to be a simple yet brilliant one. Instead of banning words for every user, the individual gets to make their own choice on what their Instagram comments will show, based on what offends them personally.

      This makes a lot of sense, since offensiveness, like many things, is very subjective. Words, particularly swear words, that offend one person may be a common part of another’s vocabulary.

    • Beijing’s great wall of film censorship
    • ‘No ghosts. No gay love stories. No nudity’: tales of film-making in China
    • Why Hollywood Needs To Cease Grovelling To China
    • YouTube Gets Step Closer to Full Censorship With ‘Heroes’ Program, and YouTubers Aren’t Happy
    • Don’t censor content, consumers flag issues: YouTube India official
    • Sanders: YouTube demonetizing YouTubers
    • YouTube Heroes program seeks crowdsourced moderation, but panned as censorship

      YouTube is looking for “heroes” to help moderate its content and comments sections, but early feedback has been overwhelmingly negative with users describing it as crowdsourced censorship.

      Users who join the Heroes program, which was announced Tuesday, will earn points for adding captions and subtitles to videos, flagging inappropriate videos and answering questions on the site’s Help forum.

      Accruing points will earn them privileges like joining video chats with others in the Heroes program, exclusive previews of upcoming product launches and the ability to flag abusive videos en masse instead of one at a time.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • As Kuwait imposes world’s first DNA collection law, attorney tries to fight it

      A Kuwaiti lawyer has filed a formal constitutional challenge to his country’s controversial mandatory DNA law, which is reportedly set to take effect in November 2016.

      The law mandates DNA collection from all citizens and resident foreigners, a total of about 3.5 million people, plus all visitors to the tiny Gulf state. The law was quickly passed by the Kuwaiti Parliament after a July 2015 terrorist attack in the capital left nearly 30 people dead. By having a large database of everyone’s DNA, presumably it would be easier to identify victims of terrorism or perhaps even criminal suspects.

      The law, believed to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world, is viewed by many critics as being not only ineffective as a tool to combat terrorism but as being a potentially huge privacy liability if this database were to be stolen or hacked. Still, anyone who refuses collection could be subject to imprisonment or a fine of about $33,000, according to the Kuwait Times.

    • On Her Majesty’s secret servers: GCHQ taps startups to fight cyber attacks

      Britain’s spooks are tapping startup geeks to help fight the growing battle against cyber threats, opening the insular intelligence agency to innovation and kickstarting ambitious plans for Britain to become a world leader in cyber security.

    • Big Security Bug Affects Hundreds Of Thousands Of Cisco Devices

      Hackers using NSA-related hacking tools could exploit a major cyber security vulnerability impacting hundreds of thousands of Cisco switches, routers, and other networking gear.

      The vulnerability, disclosed by Cisco csco last week, has impacted at least 859,000 devices, according to Shadowserver Foundation, an independent cyber security group and Cisco partner that has been scanning Cisco routers and switchers worldwide.

      Of those devices affected, 259,000 are located in the U.S., 44,000 are in Russia, and another 43,000 are in the U.K. Cisco said Shadowserver would share data with owners of the affected devices and related IP addresses. If customers want detailed reports, they “can contact Shadowserver and get their section of the scan results,” said a Cisco spokesperson.

    • A Good American review – troubling, fascinating glimpse of NSA surveillance

      Less scoping with its all-seeing eye than apparently shooting itself in the foot, the NSA gets another battering in this intriguing but troubling documentary, released in the slipstream of Oliver Stone’s Snowden. It’s a tale of two surveillance systems: Trailblazer, the pre-2006 digital-comms sweep that failed to anticipate 9/11, vs ThinThread, the DIY precursor developed on the downlow by former NSA technical director-turned-whistleblower Bill Binney. A crack analyst who pioneered the concept of meta-data (“the data about the data”), Binney is a conduit for a fascinating run-through of postwar intelligence-gathering, starting with the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, which he claims he predicted. Yet lambasting rival security factions for their incompetence and cronyism, while compacting bigger issues about privacy and democracy, A Good American is in danger of coming across like an NSA internal review. Rather than adversarially pinning him, it cheerleads Binney as a homespun American mathmo maverick bucking big government. At one point he says of his methodology: “You never ask for permission, only forgiveness.” In the film, as in real life, the crucial questions are posed too fleetingly too late.

    • Up Creatives designs posters and titles for NSA film A Good American

      London design studio Up Creatives has created posters, titles and animated sequences for A Good American, a documentary about NSA whistleblower William Binney and his ThinThread surveillance system

    • What’s Going on with Ed Snowden and the Washington Post?

      As Oliver Stone’s Snowden struggles at the box office—moviegoers, apparently, prefer the unambiguous heroism of Captain “Sully” Sullenberger—the fate of the real Edward Snowden, and the meaning of his actions, is once again the subject of heated debate.

      To bring you up to speed: Last week, the United States’ three largest human rights organizations—the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International—launched a campaign to pressure the Obama administration to pardon Snowden. A few days later, in a rather ham-fisted effort to counter the flattering portrait in the Stone film, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released three pages of a classified report denouncing Snowden as a “serial exaggerator and fabricator,” who did “tremendous damage to national security.” As my colleague Barton Gellman, who received and reported on the Snowden leaks for the Washington Post, put it, the House’s report was “one-sided,” “incurious,” “contemptuous of fact,” and “trifling.” (Bart, you’ll notice, has misplaced his word-mincer. In fact, he may never have owned one.)

    • Judge Orders Release Of Information On Cases Involving Electronic Surveillance

      This is a response to a petition by Leopold and Vice to unseal court dockets containing electronic surveillance affidavits, orders, etc. The step forward towards more transparency is welcome news, but it appears the wheels of justice aren’t grinding any faster. This petition was submitted to the court in 2013.

      Default mode for nearly any case involving law enforcement surveillance is pitch-black darkness. The government asks for cases to be sealed with alarming (and annoying) frequency, often claiming the potential exposure of law enforcement means and methods would be detrimental to the business of catching criminals. This makes no sense considering the technology used is decades old and the methodology has been common knowledge for nearly the same length of time.

      And yet, these requests are granted more often than not. Howell’s district (Washington DC) presides over an extremely high percentage of sealed cases.

    • Opera’s Free VPN Takes On Internet Privacy Challenge

      Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version. The company evaluated beta users’ feedback and subsequently brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created versions that would run on iOS and Android. The VPN creates a secure connection to one of Opera’s five servers around the world, letting users spoof their IP address.

    • FBI investigation of leaked NSA hacking tools examines operative’s ‘mistake’

      A careless agent. A cache of hacking tools left on a remote and unsecured computer. A shadowy group of Russian hackers. A fire-sale on the deep web.

      This is the current focus of a inquiry into a cache of NSA exploits that were dumped on to public websites last month by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, four people with direct knowledge of the probe investigation told Reuters.

      The tools enabled hackers to exploit software flaws in computer and communications systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Fortinet.
      Hacking group auctions ‘cyber weapons’ stolen from NSA
      Read more

    • Probe of leaked U.S. NSA hacking tools examines operative’s ‘mistake’
    • NSA cyberweapons leak: FBI probe investigating former operative’s mistake during active operation
    • NSA hacking tools were reportedly left unprotected on remote computer
    • Report: NSA hushed up zero-day spyware tool losses for three years

      Sources close to the investigation into how NSA surveillance tools and zero-day exploits ended up in the hands of hackers has found that the agency knew about the loss for three years but didn’t want anyone to know.

    • I have found a secret tunnel that runs underneath the phone companies and emerges in paradise

      Calyx is a famous, heroic, radical ISP that has been involved in groundbreaking litigation — they were the first company to ever get a secret Patriot Act warrant unsealed, fighting for 11 years to overturn the gag order.

      Calyx is structured as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, meaning that they can accept donations and provide tax-receipts for them.

      Here’s where things get interesting!

      In 2013, Sprint acquired a competitor called Clearwire in order to gain control of the company’s wireless spectrum in order to launch Sprint’s LTE/4G business. Now, that spectrum was originally allocated for educational purposes before being sublicensed to Clear, and it came with the requirement that non-profits get unlimited access at very low prices.

      And Calyx, remember, is a nonprofit.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A Good American – Bill Binney

      I have for a number of years now been involved with a global group of whistleblowers from the intelligence, diplomatic and military world, who gather together every year as the Sam Adams Associates to give an award to an individual displaying integrity in intelligence.

      This year’s award goes to former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, who exposed the CIA’s illegal torture programme, but was the only officer to go to prison – for exposing CIA crimes.

      The award ceremony will be taking place in Washington on 25 September at the “World Beyond War” conference.

      Last year’s laureate, former Technical Director of the NSA Bill Binney, is currently on tour across Europe to promote an excellent film about both his and the other stories of the earlier NSA whistleblowers before Edward Snowden – “A Good American“.

    • Chelsea Manning’s disciplinary board happens today

      As soon as we get a call from Chelsea, we will let you know the news. (It will most likely be in the mid-late afternoon Central Standard Time.)

      In a blog post that Fight for the Future released yesterday, Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s ACLU attorney, explained that there is some concern about whether she will even be able to call us after the hearing. (This is because the board could decide to punish her with indefinite solitary confinement, which could start immediately.)

    • Jill Stein on Charlotte Shooting: In All These Cases it’s a Matter of Very Aggressive Policing

      Along with Stein’s concerns about aggressive policing, she viewed the climate of fear as adding to the tension.

      “There are background elements here in which there is fear across the board. We live in a Garrison State now, we live in a society divided by fear. That’s why we call not only for accountable policing and community control, but also for a truth and reconciliation commission.”

      Stein says these fears are particularly prevalent in the African-American community.

      “People are up in arms and feel like they are on the firing lines simply for sitting in their car while black.”

    • This photo from Charlotte tells you all you need to know about policing in America

      A line of police officers stand in the dark on a Charlotte, North Carolina, highway. They look like an occupying force with their helmets and face shields and various weaponry strapped all over their armored clothing. A large bus illuminates them with its headlights. The front of the bus declares in bright lights: “NOT IN SERVICE”.

      It’s as if these police responding to protests of Tuesday’s shooting death of Keith Scott are carrying with them a lighted banner that declares what black Americans already know: they are not in service. Not for us.

      It’s the message that police have always been sending black Americans. Blacks make up about 13% of the US population, and yet accounted for 27% of the approximately 1,146 people killed by police in 2015. “Not in service” is the message we got when Tamir Rice was killed, when Freddie Gray was killed, when Eric Garner was killed. This was the message we got when Terence Crutcher was killed this week while asking for service. We understand that if our police force really does exist to protect and serve, it does not exist to protect and serve us.

    • Before Forfeiture Is Finalized, Sheriff Racks Up 54k Miles On Seized Vehicle, Sells It To Private Buyer

      The department’s actions are indicative of an agency that seldom has trouble retaining anything it designates as “guilty” property. So secure was the sheriff’s office in its belief that it would ultimately prevail — despite never bringing criminal charges against the couple whose assets it seized — that it moved ahead with converting the property to cash without having any legal right to do so.

      The Ostipows are now suing [PDF] the sheriff and his deputies in federal court for blithely blowing past even the minimal protections granted to victims of asset forfeiture. In addition to $1 million+ in damages, the Ostipows are seeking declarations that the asset forfeiture processes deployed by the sheriff’s department are Constitutional violations and the compelled released of documents requested by the couple in an earlier FOIA request.

    • Falsely-accused Dane accepts settlement from New York

      Malthe Thomsen on Tuesday accepted a settlement offer amounting to 500,000 kroner in his lawsuit against the New York City Police Department and the State of New York for unlawful detainment and coercing a false confession in a sexual abuse case.

      Thomsen had sought $7 million (48 million kroner) in the case but settled for the much smaller amount, his lawyer Jane Fischer-Byrialsen told Danish media.

      “I think that Malthe deserved much more and should be compensated with much more than he was. But sometimes one needs to be realistic and weigh the risks of continuing a legal case against the money you know you can get here and now,” she told TV2.

      Thomsen sued both the former coworker who accused him of sexually assaulting children at an upscale Manhattan daycare institution and the New York City Police Department, which he says coerced a false admission out of him.

    • SWEDEN IN CHAOS: Number of ‘no-go zones’ INCREASED as police lose control over violence

      In February Express.co.uk reported the Scandinavian country has seen a huge surge in crime since the start of the migrants crisis in Europe with a rise in sex assaults, drug dealing and children carrying weapons.

      The force’s increased lack of control in the country was revealed in a report by Sweden’s National Criminal Investigation Service, where attacks on officers were detailed, including police cars being stoned by masked groups.

      At the time around 50 areas were put on a “blacklist” which are then divided into three categories from “risk areas” to “seriously vulnerable”.

    • Charlotte protests: governor of North Carolina declares state of emergency

      Violence and confusion has spread across Charlotte after a second night of protests was interrupted by gunfire when one protester shot another.

      North Carolina governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, and called for help from the National Guard and the Highway Patrol.

    • Charlotte police chief says why he won’t release video of cop killing black man

      A day after North Carolina’s governor declared a state of emergency amid violent protests following the police killing of a black man, Charlotte’s police chief said Thursday the agency will not publicly release video footage of Keith Lamont Scott’s death.

      A black officer from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department killed Scott, 43, on Tuesday outside an apartment complex while serving a warrant on somebody else. The officer, who has been placed on administrative leave, said Scott had a handgun as he got out of a vehicle and did not follow orders to drop it. Friends and family members maintain Scott was carrying a book—an assertion flatly denied by Kerr Putney, the police chief. At a press conference, he said the authorities retrieved a handgun Scott “was holding in his hand when he got out of the vehicle.”


      The Charlotte police agency requires officers to wear body cams. At least three officers on the scene were wearing body cams. Officer Brentley Vinson, the shooter, was not wearing one at the time of the incident.

    • Man who murdered Glasgow shopkeeper for ‘disrespecting Islam’ calls for beheadings in prison YouTube video

      A man who murdered a Glasgow shopkeeper for “disrespecting Islam” has released messages from prison calling on supporters to behead other “insulters”.

      Tanveer Ahmed, 32, admitted stabbing Asad Shah to death in his shop because he felt his victim was “disrespecting the prophet Mohamed” with his beliefs as an Ahmadi Muslim.

      Now, he is encouraging others to do the same in extremist audio messages that appear to have been recorded and released after he was jailed for life.

    • Army Punishes Chelsea Manning With Two Weeks Of Solitary Confinement

      Chelsea Manning went before a three-member disciplinary board at Fort Leavenworth on September 22 and was punished with 14 days of solitary confinement.

      The punishment stems from administrative charges the United States Army brought against Manning after she attempted suicide in July. The Army charged her with “resisting the force cell move team,” “prohibited property,” and “conduct which threatens” the “good order and discipline” of the facility.

      In a statement from Manning, she indicated the Army acquitted her of the “resisting” charge. But she was found guilty of the “conduct which threatens” offense and the “prohibited property” charge, which was for having an “unmarked copy” of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman.

    • Women in Iran post photos and videos defying new fatwa against cycling

      Iranian women have been posting photographs and videos of themselves cycling in public, in defiance of a fatwa that claims riding a bike poses a threat to a woman’s chastity. Journalist Masih Alinejad, the founder of My Stealthy Freedom, has urged women to post the images of themselves with the hashtag #IranianWomenLoveCycling.

      Earlier this month, Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini issued a fatwa prohibiting women from cycling in public. “Riding a bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women’s chastity, and it must be abandoned,” he told state media.

      In one courageous video, a mother and daughter are seen riding together, and issuing a direct message to Ayatollah Khameini, saying, “It is our absolute right and we are not going to give up.”

      In July, it was reported that a group of women in the country’s north were stopped by law enforcement while riding bicycles and required to sign pledges not to repeat the ‘violation.’

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Senate Comes To Its Senses: Does NOT Support Ted Cruz’s Plan To Block Internet Governance Transition

      So, just a few hours ago, the reports were still spreading that the Senate would absolutely include Ted Cruz’s preferred language that would block the (largely symbolic, but really important) transfer of control over the IANA functions of ICANN away from the Commerce Department. We’ve explained over and over and over again why this is important — including once this morning in response to Donald Trump suddenly taking a stand (an incredibly ignorant one, but a stand) on the issue.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Texas Rangers Oppose Bacardi’s Logo For Green Tea Spirit Because Of The ‘T’

        Now, while the letters “T” in both logos do look kinda-sorta similar, there’s a slight chance that’s because it’s a single freaking letter in the English language and there are only so many ways to depict a capital “T” in a recognizable way. The only real stylistical similarity in the two “T”s is the outjuts in the mid-section of the stem in each letter — known as “median spurs” and found on lots and lots of typefaces. Other than that, the letters are actually fairly distinct in style. And, of course, the rest of each logo has a shit-ton of other components which all severely demonstrate the source of each logo. This makes customer confusion laughably unlikely, particularly given that the Texas Rangers are known by the public to be in the sporting industry, even though the team claims it holds trademarks on its logo for use on beverages and food services.

    • Copyrights

      • ISP Trolls Copyright Troll With A Taste of Its Own Medicine

        Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof is giving copyright trolls a taste of their own medicine. The company has sent a settlement request to the group that’s spearheading the copyright trolling efforts in Sweden, asking them to pay up for alleged trademark infringement, or else.

      • European Commission promises harshened copyright and untraceable free wifi everywhere on the same day

        The European Commission has promised a number of things related to IT in its State of the European Union address. Two promises that stand out are another harshening of the copyright monopoly in combination with a promise of public and free wifi from all public authorities. These are obviously in direct conflict, as a public wifi is easily (and commonly) used to circumvent digital distribution monopolies – and politicians seem completely unaware that these two promises probably shouldn’t be in the very same set of press releases.

        In the European Commission’s Digital Agenda RSS feed, there was a recent barrage of press releases related to the evaluation of the European Union Copyright Directive – the EU’s equivalent of the DMCA – where the Commission decided it was a good idea to introduce the “ancillary copyright” on news snippets for legacy news organizations. Yes, that’s the complete moronity commonly known as the “Google Tax”, which I wrote about in a previous post.


Links 22/9/2016: Linux Professional Institute Redesign, Red Hat Upgraded

Posted in News Roundup at 3:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Dronecode’s Craig Elder speaks about open-source software for drones

    Earlier this month it was revealed that ArduPilot, an open-source autopilot solution, would no longer be associated with the Linux Foundation’s Dronecode Project, an open-source drone platform. This came as a surprise to many considering that the idea of Dronecode came from the minds of ArduPilot.

    “Dronecode was established around ArduPilot,” said Craig Elder, former technical community manager for Dronecode who leads software teams in ArduPilot. “What we tried to do with Dronecode was to do a better job at engaging the companies who are using ArduPilot.”

    The reasoning behind this move is that ArduPilot is based on the open-source GPL license. According to Chris Anderson, chairman of Dronecode, the GPL license is great for the open-source development community, but toxic for companies.

  • Google open-sources Show and Tell, a model for producing image captions

    Google today is announcing that it has open-sourced Show and Tell, a model for automatically generating captions for images.

    Google first published a paper on the model in 2014 and released an update in 2015 to document a newer and more accurate version of the model. Google has improved the technology even more since then, and that’s what’s becoming available today on GitHub under an open-source Apache license, as part of Google’s TensorFlow deep learning framework.

  • Lenovo N21 Chromebook Now Has Mainline Coreboot Support

    The Lenovo N21 Chromebook is now supported by mainline Coreboot. But then again that’s not a huge surprise considering Google’s focus on Chromebook/Chromebox support in Coreboot.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Says Goodbye to Firefox Hello in Firefox 49

        In October 2014, as part of the Firefox 34 beta release, Mozilla introduced its Firefox Hello communications technology enabling users to make calls directly from the browser. On Sept. 20, 2016, Mozilla formally removed support for Firefox Hello as part of the new Firefox 49 release.

        The Mozilla Bugzilla entry for the removal of Firefox Hello provides little insight as to why the communications feature is being pulled from the open-source browser. As it turns out, the Firefox Hello removal is related to shifting priorities at Mozilla.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cloudera Tests Impala Against Competitive Analytics Engines

      In the cloud and on the Big Data scene, there is a pronounced need for advanced data analytics and database-driven insigts. Apache Impala has emerged as an important tool providing these solutions, and Cloudera is out with some notable test results for Impala. Cloudera, focused on Apache Hadoop, released benchmark results that show that its analytic database solution, powered by Apache Impala (incubating), delivers very fast capabilities for cloud-native workloads but does so at better cost performance compared to alternatives.

    • Learn how to deploy OpenStack for free

      The course is designed for those who want a high-level overview of OpenStack to gauge whether their organization needs OpenStack solutions or not. The course also helps users in getting started with a small scale OpenStack test environment so they can test and experiment with it.

    • Support Is Now the Differentiator in the OpenStack Race

      When it comes to OpenStack cloud computing distributions, now offered by a variety of vendors, we are at a tipping point. As businesses and organizations demand flexible solutions for deploying cloud solutions based on OpenStack, competition is fierce. With so many vendors competing in this arena, market consolidation was bound to arrive, and it is here. What will the key differentiator be going forward? That would be support.

      Just last month, Red Hat announced its latest platform: OpenStack Platform 9. One day later, VMware introduced VMware Integrated OpenStack 3. Both distributions are based on the OpenStack Mitaka release. From Mirantis to Canonical, Hewlett-Packard and others, there are now several OpenStack distribution providers competing with each other, and updates arrive at a rapid-fire pace.

  • Funding

    • Almost Fully Funded – Pledge now!

      The Pepper and Carrot motion comic is almost funded. The pledge from Ethic Cinema put it on good road (as it seemed it would fail). Ethic Cinema is non profit organization that wants to make open source art (as they call it Libre Art). Purism’s creative director, François Téchené, is member and co-founder of Ethic Cinema. Lets push final bits so we can get this free as in freedom artwork.

      Notice that Pepper and Carrot is a webcomic (also available as book) free as in freedom artwork done by David Revoy who also supports this campaign. Also the support is done by Krita community on their landing page.


    • An Early Port Of GCC To AMD’s GCN Architecture

      While still in its early stages, there’s a port in the works of the GNU Compiler Collection for AMD’s GCN (Graphics Core Next) instruction set architecture.

      Longtime SUSE toolchain expert Jan Hubicka started a port of GCC to AMD GCN a few weeks back. Hubicka has been experimenting with porting GCC to GCN for running on recent generations of GPUs. He noted in an email to Phoronix that it’s still a bit early to report on, but the slides are now uploaded for any interested readers.

    • The State Of GNU’s GDB Debugger In 2016

      At the GNU Tools Cauldron that took place earlier this month in Hebden Bridge, UK was the annual status update of the GDB debugger.

      Red Hat developer Pedro Alves talked about the state of the GNU Debugger with some recently-accomplished changes plus other work on the horizon for this widely-used GNU program.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Hybrid approach to federal open source

      The White House’s recent Federal Source Code Policy is its latest push in an ongoing effort to modernize and innovate government technology. It takes a focused aim at overhauling and democratizing federal software procurement and application by calling upon department and agency heads to consider the wider value of open source software (OSS), including releasing 20 percent of new custom-developed code as OSS. Noting that the federal government annually dispenses a whopping $6 billion on more than 42,000 software transactions, this guidance strongly encourages the exploration of solutions that better support cost efficiency, reduce vendor lock-in and encourage re-use across agencies.

    • Key article on China and Open Source Software, thoughts for Europe

      05 The fastest way for Europe to achieve all these goals is to create an Open Source (Technologies) Agency in partnership with China and India and I would go so far as to also suggest Iran, Russia, and Turkey as well as Malaysia and Indonesia. We divide the world at our peril. My memorandum to Vice President Biden is still available online for exploitation by anyone. The Americans refuse to take open source seriously because vendors own the US Congress and the US White House and they will pay to the death of all of us for the right to continue looting public treasuries instead of providing integrated open source solutions helpful to humanity. There are 9 major open source categories, 27 critical sub-categories — I have listed them at the P2P Foundation Category:Open Source Everything, but there is no government anywhere that a) understands this or b) is addressing open source as a universal ecology. That is the next big leap, in my generally humble opinion.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Help Send Conservancy to Embedded Linux Conference Europe

      Last month, Conservancy made a public commitment to attend Linux-related events to get feedback from developers about our work generally, and Conservancy’s GPL Compliance Program for Linux Developers specifically. As always, even before that, we were regularly submitting talks to nearly any event with Linux in its name. As a small charity, we always request travel funding from the organizers, who are often quite gracious. As I mentioned in my blog posts about LCA 2016 and GUADEC 2016, the organizers covered my travel funding there, and recently both Karen and I both received travel funding to speak at LCA 2017 and DebConf 2016, as well as many other events this year.

    • Copyleft, attribution, and data: other considerations

      When looking at solutions, it is important to understand that the practical concerns I blogged about aren’t just theoretical — they matter in practice too. For example, Peter Desmet has done a great job showing how overreaching licenses make bullfrog maps (and other data combinations) illegal. Alex Barth of OpenStreetMap has also discussed how ODbL creates problems for OSM users (though he got some Wikipedia-related facts wrong). And I’ve spoken to very well-intentioned organizations (including thoughtful, impactful non-profits) scared off from OSM for similar reasons.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Telenav releases OpenStreetView, an automotive-integrated open source platform designed to accelerate the advancement of OpenStreetMap

        Telenav®, Inc. (NASDAQ:TNAV), a leader in connected car and location-based services today announced the availability of OpenStreetView (OSV), a free open source platform designed to accelerate the advancement of OpenStreetMap® (OSM). The platform includes free iOS and Android apps with optional auto OBD-II integration and web tools to equip drivers and the nearly three million global OSM editors.

      • Open Budget: updated data reveal volatile practices

        “The data confirm a broader trend documented by IBP on volatility in government budget transparency practices. Improvements in budget transparency are often followed by regressions in subsequent years”, OGP added. But on the positive side, “the data show that more governments are publishing Citizens’ Budgets —simplified summaries of technical budget reports issued in languages and through media that are widely accessible.”

      • Amsterdam, Murcia and Zurich to test CPaas project

        The project aims to provide an open platform (City Platform-as-a-service – CPaas) that combines Open Government data with big data and the Internet of Things technologies to address challenges of the modern urban environment. The three European cities were chosen because of their proven experience in Open Data, the project website says.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Industrial IoT Group Releases Security Framework

      The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) , which was founded by AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM, and Intel, released a common framework for security that it hopes will help industrial Internet of Things (IoT) deployments better address security problems.

      Security is critical to industrial IoT because attacks could have dire consequences, such as impacting human lives or the environment, said Hamed Soroush, senior research security engineer with Real-Time Innovations and the co-chair of the IIC security working group.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Virginia Governor Photographed With Willie Nelson’s Pot — But Arrests Thousands for Possession

      The governor stopped by Nelson’s bus while thanking several performers at Farm Aid 2016, an annual festival meant to benefit family farmers. His spokesman, Brian Coy, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that McAuliffe was not aware of the marijuana. McAuliffe, who opposes marijuana legalization, visited Nelson for 10 minutes or less and “had no idea” what else was on the bus, Coy said.

      “He was not and still is not aware of whatever was on the table or anywhere around him and wouldn’t know marijuana or related paraphernalia if it walked up and shook his hand,” Coy said. “He’s cool, but he’s not that cool.”

    • If It Needs a Sign, It’s Probably Bad Design

      Despite having pen in its name, the EpiPen isn’t really designed like a pen at all. A pen usually has a cap that covers the pen tip. But the cap of the EpiPen is on the opposite end as the needle tip. Joyce Lee, a pediatrician and University of Michigan professor who also studies patient-centered design, points out that this broken metaphor causes confusion over which end is which – and has led to people accidentally pushing their fingers into the needle. Between 1994 and 2007 there were over 15,000 unintentional injections from EpiPens, including many cases of trained healthcare professionals who accidentally gave themselves a dose of epinephrine in the thumb or finger while trying to deliver the life-saving medicine to someone else.

    • U.S. Coast Guard investigates strong oil smell in waters off Vallejo as residents report trouble breathing

      The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating reports of an oil sheen and strong smell near Vallejo that prompted firefighters to recommend residents shelter in place after some complained they had trouble breathing.

      A Coast Guard helicopter planned to conduct a search Wednesday morning to try to locate the sheen near Vallejo and Mare Island. Coast Guard boats and a helicopter crew did not find the sheen on Tuesday.

      The ferry Intintoli first reported a strong smell of oil at about 8 p.m. Later, other ferry vessels and crew members from Coast Guard Station Vallejo reported seeing a sheen on the water.

      Coast Guard officials said it’s unclear if the sheen is related to the strong odor that prompted the Vallejo Fire Department to advise its residents to stay indoors, close their windows and turn off any air conditioning.

      Pacific Gas & Electric said a team was working with public safety officials in Vallejo to determine the origins of the odor.

      Residents reported difficulty breathing because of the strong odor, with many flocking to Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center to seek medical assistance, KPIX-TV reported.

    • How ZIP Codes Nearly Masked the Lead Problem in Flint

      My job was to examine blood lead data from our local Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint for spatial patterns, or neighborhood-level clusters of elevated levels, so we could quash the doubts of state officials and confirm our concerns. Unbeknownst to me, this research project would ultimately help blow the lid off the water crisis, vindicating months of activism and outcry by dedicated Flint residents.

      As I ran the addresses through a precise parcel-level geocoding process and visually inspected individual blood lead levels, I was immediately struck by the disparity in the spatial pattern. It was obvious Flint children had become far more likely than out-county children to experience elevated blood lead when compared to two years prior.

    • Overusing Antibiotics Could Cost the World Trillions of Dollars

      It has become increasingly clear that we’re overusing antibiotics, and now it’s costing us big money.

      Here in New York, the United Nations is ready to take on what has become a global threat. The UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance that’s set to happen today has a singular message to policymakers: get antimicrobial resistance under control for the sake of the human and economic health.

      According to a World Bank report titled “Drug-resistant Infections: A Threat to Our Economic Future,” drug-resistant infections are causing economic damage up to 3.5 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). Middle and low- income countries could lose up to 5 percent of their GDP. In total, the global economic loss could cost nearly $100 trillion by 2050.

      The report emphasized that if antimicrobial resistance continues to spread, several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at risk of failure. These goals include missions to end hunger, improve nutrition and food security, promote sustainable agriculture, and reduce inequality within and among nations.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Why we should just simply call ourselves Hackers

      Developers, Programmers, Engineers, Code Artists, Coders, Codesmiths, Code Warriors, Craftsmen … these are currently the labels we use to explain our profession. One can get an idea of how this can appear confusing to the outsider.

      Computers can enrich our lives, give focus, amplify our adventures, gauge our science and grow our business. Right now computing is being embedded into everything and it is now more than ever that we need to redefine our role and show. some. fucking. solidarity.

      Rather than confusing pre-existing labels and shoe-horning them to our profession, which makes use of synthetic intelligence more than any, I propose that we call ourselves Hackers instead of the myriad other ways.

    • Germany surveys cyber-attacks

      Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has launched a survey to obtain information about actual cyber-attacks on business and government, to assess potential risks, and to determine protective measures. The study should result in new ICT security recommendations.

    • Matthew Garrett Explains How to Increase Security at Boot Time [Ed: Microsoft apologist Matthew Garrett is promoting UEFI again, even after the Lenovo debacle]

      Security of the boot chain is a vital component of any other security solution, said Matthew Garrett of CoreOS in his presentation at Linux Security Summit. If someone is able to tamper with your boot chain then any other security functionality can be subverted. And, if someone can interfere with your kernel, any amount of self-protection the kernel might have doesn’t really matter.

      “The boot loader is in a kind of intermediate position,” Garrett said. It can modify the kernel before it passes control to it, and then there’s no way the kernel can verify itself once it’s running. In the Linux ecosystem, he continued, the primary protection in the desktop and server space is UEFI secure boot, which is a firmware feature whereby the firmware verifies a signature on the bootloader before it executes it. The bootloader in turn verifies a signature on the next step of the boot process, and so on.

    • Is open source security software too much of a risk for enterprises? [Ed: inverses the truth; proprietary software has secret back doors that cannot be found and patched]

      Although free, there are many institutions that are reluctant to use open source software, for obvious reasons. Using open source software that is not controlled by the enterprise — in production environments and in mission-critical applications — introduces risks that could be detrimental to the basic tenants of cybersecurity, such as confidentiality, integrity and availability. This includes open source security software like the tools Netflix uses.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Tolstoy On Iraq

      As Tolstoy explains it, the French thought they were in a ritual duel with rapiers between two honorable combatants. Suddenly the Russian side realizes its danger, picks up a cudgel and beats its rival senseless. Tolstoy says that Napoleon complained to the Russian Emperor Alexander I and General Kutusov that the war is carried on “…contrary to all the rules – as if there were any rules for killing people.”


      The publisher of my version explains that a new edition was warranted especially by Hitler’s invasion of Russia. We might see it as a good time to understand a lesson ourselves. The US Army and its allies destroyed the Iraqi Army, but the people were not defeated. The US Army won many battles with the army of North Viet Nam and conflicts with guerrillas in Viet Nam, but the people were not defeated. And the debacle in Afghanistan is even harder to understand in light of that country’s history.

    • The Assassination of Orlando Letelier and the Politics of Silence

      Forty years ago last night, agents working for the Chilean secret service attached plastic explosives to the bottom of Orlando Letelier’s Chevrolet as it sat in the driveway of his family’s home in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

      A few blocks away across Massachusetts Avenue my family’s Pinto sat in our driveway unmolested. Our whole neighborhood, including my mother and father and sister and me, slept through everything.

      Forty years ago this morning, the Chilean agents followed Letelier as he drove himself into Washington, down Massachusetts to the think tank where he worked. The bomb went off as Letelier went around Sheridan Circle, ripping off most of the lower half of his body. He died shortly afterward, as did Ronni Moffitt, a 25-year-old American who’d been in the car with him. A second passenger, Moffitt’s husband Michael, survived.

      Letelier’s murder was ordered by the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who’d overthrown the country’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende three years before in a military coup. Letelier, who had been Allende’s defense minister, was arrested during the coup and tortured for a year until Pinochet bowed to international pressure and released him. But in Washington, Letelier became the leading international voice of the opposition to Pinochet, who decided he had to be eliminated.

      There are still many unanswered questions about this time. Exactly how complicit was the U.S. in the overthrow of the Chilean government? Why did the CIA ignore a cable telling it that Chile’s agents were heading to the U.S.? Why did Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, cancel a warning to Chile not to kill its overseas opponents just five days before Letelier was murdered?

    • After We Help the Saudis Commit More War Crimes We’re Going to Mars!

      But we had to help the Saudis kill Yemeni civilians, Lindsey argued, because Iran humiliated American sailors who entered Iranian waters, purportedly because of navigation errors.

      That argument — one which expressed no interest in the well-being of Yemenis but instead pitched this as a battle for hegemony in the Middle East — held the day. By a vote of 71-27, the Senate voted to table the resolution.

    • 27 U.S. Senators Rebel Against Arming Saudi Arabia

      A Senate resolution opposing a $1.15 billion arms transfer to Saudi Arabia garnered support from 27 senators on Wednesday, a sign of growing unease about the increasing number of civilians being killed with U.S. weapons in Yemen. A procedural vote to table the resolution passed 71-27.

      The Obama administration announced the transfer last month, the same day the Saudi Arabian coalition bombed a potato chip factory in the besieged Yemeni capital. In the following week, the Saudi-led forces would go on to bomb a children’s school, the home of the school’s principal, a Doctors Without Borders hospital, and the bridge used to carry humanitarian aid into the capital.

      Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, four months after Houthi rebels from Northern Yemen overran the capitol, Sana’a, and deposed the Saudi-backed ruler, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

      In addition to providing Saudi Arabia with intelligence and flying refueling missions for its air force, the United States has enabled the bombing campaign by supplying $20 billion in weapons over the past 18 months. In total, President Obama has sold more than $115 billion in weapons to the Saudi kingdom – more than any other president.

      After the White House failed to respond to a letter from 60 congressman requesting the transfer be delayed, Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced a resolution condemning the arms sale. Paul and Murphy said they had planned to pursue binding legislation if their resolution was successful.

      “It’s time for the United States to press ‘pause’ on our arms sales to Saudi Arabia,” Murphy said. “Let’s ask ourselves whether we are comfortable with the United States getting slowly, predictably, and all too quietly dragged into yet another war in the Middle East.”

    • How Video Games Are Influencing War Propaganda in Syria

      Since the country’s uprising began in 2011, Syrian civil society activists have created a huge range of media documenting their own experience of the conflict. Professional documentary filmmaking in Syria has undergone a renaissance of sorts, with films like Bassel Shehadeh’s “Streets of Freedom” and the award-winning 2013 documentary “Return to Homs” portraying the effect of years of war on the Syrian people.

      Dauber says sophisticated political films like the one produced by Ahrar al-Sham are an attempt to promote a particular narrative of events in Syria, as well as to recruit others to their cause. Like all war propaganda, it is questionable how closely this polished image reflects reality. Amateur footage from the Syrian war, typically produced by citizen journalists with cellphones, portrays a reality that is harsher, uglier, and more morally conflicted than the tidy narratives of militant groups and states.

      But even as they gloss over the realities of war, politically driven films like “Rage Wind” reflect a generational change in the way that conflicts are depicted.

    • Why US Had to Kill the Syrian Ceasefire

      There are several sound reasons for concluding that the US-led air strike on the Syrian army base near Deir Ezzor last weekend was a deliberate act of murderous sabotage. One compelling reason is that the Pentagon and CIA knew they had to act in order to kill the ceasefire plan worked out by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

      The compulsion to wreck the already shaky truce was due to the unbearable exposure that the ceasefire plan was shedding on American systematic involvement in the terrorist proxy war on Syria.

      Not only that, but the tentative ceasefire was also exposing the elements within the US government responsible for driving the war effort. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – the head of the Pentagon – reportedly fought tooth and nail with Obama’s top diplomat John Kerry while the latter was trying to finalize the ceasefire plan with Russia’s Lavrov on the previous weekend of September 9 in Geneva.

    • Syria declares end of ceasefire, US seeks clarification from Russia

      The initial seven days of the nationwide ceasefire in Syria have run their course, the Syrian Army has declared. However, it failed to add whether the truce will be reinstated in the near future. In response the US has called on Russia to clarify the statement made by the Syrians.

      The Syrian Army’s statement blames “terrorist groups” for jeopardizing the cessation of hostilities, Reuters reports.

    • America’s Worldwide Impunity

      After several years of arming and supporting Syrian rebel groups that often collaborated with Al Qaeda’s Nusra terror affiliate, the United States launched an illegal invasion of Syria two years ago with airstrikes supposedly aimed at Al Qaeda’s Islamic State spin-off, but on Saturday that air war killed scores of Syrian soldiers and aided an Islamic State victory.

      Yet, the major American news outlets treat this extraordinary set of circumstances as barely newsworthy, operating with an imperial hubris that holds any U.S. invasion or subversion of another country as simply, ho-hum, the way things are supposed to work.

    • Syrian Rebels Unite With al-Nusra Front, Prepare for Offensive – Russian MoD

      The only parties adhering to the truce are Moscow and the Syrian government forces, while the United States and opposition groups it controls have not fulfilled a single obligation according to the Russia-US agreement, the General Staff said.

      “The United States and so-called moderate opposition groups under its control have not fulfilled a single commitment taken on under the Geneva agreements. Above all, the moderate opposition has not been separated from al-Nusra Front [also known as Jabhat Fatah al Sham],” Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said at a briefing.

      Syrian rebels have taken advantage of the ceasefire observed by the Syrian army and currently are preparing to advance in the Aleppo and Hama provinces, the Russian reconciliation center said.

    • Deconstructing Samantha Power’s Big Lies on US Warplanes Massacring Syrian Forces

      She’s Obama’s neocon UN envoy, a despicable character, complicit in his high crimes by outrageously supporting them.

      Edward Herman once called her a member of “the cruise missile left.” She glorifies US-sponsored genocides outrageously called humanitarian interventions, ignoring or shamelessly justifying Washington’s sordid record of repeated supreme crimes against peace.

      She disgraces the office she holds, part of Obama’s permanent war criminal cabal. Her notion of responsibility to protect is mass slaughter and destruction to advance America’s imperium.

    • In Russia, some men want to watch the world burn

      Greenpeace activist Mikhail Kreindlin after he was attacked in Krasnodar region. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Russia.Mikhail Kreindlin, the head of Greenpeace’s protected areas programme, returned to Moscow with relief. Two weeks ago, Kreindlin was in the southern region of Krasnodar, home to the Kuban river, to fight wildfires. But the trip left Kreindlin with a broken nose, a badly cut eyebrow and possible concussion.

      Russia’s volunteer firefighters have never had to face this kind of “patriotic vigilance” before. The problem is, vigilante justice seems to be a cover for corrupt officials.

    • How US Hardliners Help Iran’s Hardliners

      U.S. neocons keep pounding the propaganda drum about Iran in line with Israel’s regional desires but not helpful to American interests or even to the cause of moderating Iran’s behavior…

    • Fight Between Saudis and 9/11 Families Escalates in Washington

      On Monday, a constellation of lobbyists for Saudi Arabia, which has spent more than $5 million this past year to buy influence in Washington, called a crisis meeting to try to stop legislation allowing the families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue the Saudi government for any role in the plot.

      On Tuesday, the 9/11 families, represented in their multibillion-dollar lawsuits by lawyers including Jack Quinn, a former White House counsel with deep relationships in Washington, demonstrated outside the White House to pressure President Obama not to veto the legislation, as he has vowed to do.

      On Wednesday, these two powerful forces, one operating in the shadows and the other more in the open, converged on Capitol Hill in the culmination of one of the biggest and most emotional lobbying fights of the year. The battle is a reflection of the enduring dominance in Washington of the 9/11 families and the diminishing clout here of Saudi Arabia, which once advanced its agenda unencumbered in the West Wing and corridors of Congress.

    • Third World War has never been so close

      As we have already said many times, the main aspect of this political season is not elections, but war. But if elections do have importance somewhere, then this is in the US where, once again, they are closely connected to war. Two days ago, on Saturday, September 17th, the likelihood of this war was breathtakingly high. As we know, American troops, who no one ever invited to Syria, bombed the positions of the Syrian army at Deir ez-Zor. As a result of the bombing, 60 Syrian soldiers were killed.

      This strike was extremely important for ISIS militants, whom the US is informally advising and arming while supposedly fighting them. This crossed the line. Bombing Syrian soldiers is one thing, but this means declaring war not only against Syria, but also Russia, which is fighting in Syria on Assad’s side. And this means that we have reached a climax.

      Sure, the US leadership immediately reported that the airstrike was a mistake and warned the Russian leadership not to express any emotions. But Americans can only be lying, as modern technology allows satellite objects to be seen from a desktop. Theoretically, American bombers could not have simply confused such a strike. And what’s most important: if they had told you that they were preparing to bomb you, and you said nothing, then does that mean you agree?

    • Simple Ignorance vs. Politically Slanted Ignorance

      The principal reason Mr. Johnson was on the show was that he is running for president of the United States on the Libertarian Party ticket. And, of course, the president of the U.S. is the world’s most powerful leader and his or her awareness level is expected to reflect that.

      Therefore, those running for president are assumed to know everything about what is going on in the world as well as in their own country. This is of course impossible, though there is always a short list of issues that are center-stage.

    • “Indifferent to Yemen’s Misery,” Senate Approves Massive Saudi Arms Deal

      The bipartisan resolution to block the weapons sale failed 71-27, with two senators not voting.

      During the floor debate, many of those in favor of the weapons sale echoed Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who declared: “This is a sale that benefits us.” Although even Corker admitted Saudi Arabia is not a “perfect ally” and that many civilians had been killed in Yemen, he argued that the massive sale of new weapons should be approved because it will benefit the U.S. economically. Corker further claimed that arming the Saudi regime serves U.S. geopolitical interests by pushing back against the Iranians, who support the anti-Saudi Houthi factions in Yemen.

      Voting in favor of the arms deal were right-wing senators such as Corker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) alongside several centrist Democrats, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

    • We’re Winning the War Against ISIS! Maybe? On Social Media?

      Despite the reality that propaganda in wartime is as old as dirt, America collectively is freaking out because a lot of ISIS’ takes place on social media. The elderly and feeble who run our government do not understand The Online gizmos and thus are terrified of them and declare they must be turned off with a big switch somewhere.

      The young who serve them and understand little outside their own online bubbly life, all want to get ahead and so are eager to “engage” in online warfare with ISIS as if it was all just a cooler version of Pokemon Go.

      So it was without meaning or surprise that the Obama Administration announced that Twitter traffic to pro-ISIS accounts has fallen 45 percent in the past two years.

    • For $178 million, the U.S. could pay for one fighter plane – or 3,358 years of college

      Does free college threaten our all-volunteer military? That is what Benjamin Luxenberg, on the military blog War on the Rocks says. But the real question goes beyond Luxenberg’s practical query, striking deep into who we are and what we will be as a nation.

      Unlike nearly every other developed country, which offer free or low cost higher education (Germany, Sweden and others are completely free; Korea’s flagship Seoul National University runs about $12,000 a year, around the same as Oxford), in America you need money to go to college. Harvard charges $63,000 a year for tuition, room, board and fees, a quarter of a million dollars for a degree. Even a good state school will charge $22,000 for in-state tuition, room and board.

      Right now there are only a handful of paths to higher education in America: have well-to-do parents; be low-income and smart to qualify for financial aid, take on crippling debt, or…

      Join the military.

      The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to $20,000 per year for tuition, along with an adjustable living stipend. At Harvard that stipend is $2,800 a month. Universities participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program make additional funds available without affecting the GI Bill entitlement. There are also the military academies, such as West Point, and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, commonly known as ROTC, which provide full or near-full college scholarships to future military officers.

      Overall, 75 percent of those who enlisted or who sought an officer’s commission said they did so to obtain educational benefits. And in that vein, Luxenberg raises the question of whether the lower cost college education presidential nominee Hillary Clinton proposes is a threat to America’s all-volunteer military. If college was cheaper, would they still enlist?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • EFF Fights to End Court Case Against MuckRock

      After successfully defending MuckRock’s First Amendment right to host public records on its website earlier this summer, EFF filed documents in court on Monday seeking to end the last lawsuit brought against it in Seattle.

      The lawsuit was one of three filed by companies against MuckRock, one of its users, and the city of Seattle after the user filed a public records request in April seeking information about the city’s smart utility meter program, including documentation of the technology’s security.

      The lawsuits were all aimed at preventing disclosure of records the companies claimed contained trade secrets. In one of the cases, a company obtained a court order requiring MuckRock to de-publish two documents from its website that the city had previously released. A court quickly reversed that clear violation of MuckRock’s First Amendment rights and MuckRock put the public records back online.

      After the dust settled, companies in two of the lawsuits agreed to dismiss MuckRock. This occurred after EFF explained that the website is an online platform that hosts its users public records requests and any documents they receive. As such, MuckRock did not actually request the records subject to the lawsuits and merely facilitated and hosted the request by its user.

      MuckRock thus has no particular interest in the lawsuits because the underlying dispute is about whether certain documents contained trade secrets that must be redacted or withheld under Washington state’s public records law.

      The company in the third case, however, has refused to dismiss MuckRock. This is particularly curious because MuckRock currently does not host any documents from the company, Elster Solutions, LLC, that are subject to the public records request.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Green: at what price?

      On the shores of Lake Victoria in southern Uganda, a parcel of land is pitting a Norwegian timber company against more than 10,000 villagers.

    • AFL-CIO’s Lust for Oil Pipeline Jobs

      Despite the existential risk from global warming, short-term self-interest often wins out, whether opposition to the cost of building mass transit or readiness to put oil-industry jobs over the danger from fossil fuels, as Norman Solomon explains.

  • Finance

    • ‘You Know That It’s Not a Few Rotten Apples’ – CounterSpin interview with William Black on Wells Fargo fraud

      Janine Jackson: Wells Fargo employees illegally opened some 2 million accounts in the name of customers who didn’t authorize them, but were still charged with fees. Employees say the bank set aggressive goals for “cross-selling” its products, goals on which bonuses and jobs depend. But CEO John Stumpf tells the Wall Street Journal, “There was no incentive to do bad things.” Well, they say the fraud was concentrated in one division, and more than 5,000 employees have been fired. But the $185 million fine from regulators is still less than the $200 million worth of stock Stumpf holds, and only a little more than the retirement package given the executive in charge of the division identified as the epicenter of abuse. So how does that incentive system work again?

    • Former EU Official Among Politicians Named in New Leak of Offshore Files from The Bahamas

      A cache of leaked documents provides names of politicians and others linked to more than 175,000 Bahamian companies registered between 1990 and 2016

      For years, Neelie Kroes traveled Europe as one of the continent’s senior officials, warning big corporations that they couldn’t “run away” from the European Union’s rules. The Dutch politician sympathized with average citizens who worried they’d been left to pay the bills “as infringers cream off the extra profits.”

      As the EU’s commissioner for competition policy from 2004 until 2010, she was Europe’s top corporate enforcer and made Forbes magazine’s annual list of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” five times.

      What Kroes never told audiences – and didn’t tell European Commission officials in mandatory disclosures – was that she had been listed as a director of an offshore company in the Bahamas, the Caribbean tax haven whose secrecy and tax structures have attracted multinational companies and criminals alike.

      Kroes was listed as director of a Bahamian company from 2000 to 2009, according to documents reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

    • TiSA leaks set alarm bells ringing

      Despite the rumours and assertions by several Member States that Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is dead, the fight for safeguarding citizens’ rights and freedoms via so-called “trade agreements” is far from over. Now it is time to address the threat from the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Just days after Wikileaks made public some key negotiating documents concerning TiSA, Greenpeace Netherlands has released another batch of crucial and worrying documents.

    • Revelations on Neelie Kroes: Outstanding negative example of corrupting trust in politics

      A new investigation of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveals that former EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes has breached the EU Commission’s Code of Conduct by withholding information about her participation in an offshore company in the Bahamas. A whistleblower shared the intransparent company register of the Bahamas with ICIJ. Kroes served as EU Commissioner for Competition from 2004 to 2010 and as EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda from 2010 to 2014.

    • Sir Alan Duncan: Boris Johnson didn’t want Brexit win

      Boris Johnson only campaigned to leave the EU to set himself up as the next Conservative leader, Sir Alan Duncan said the day before June’s referendum.

      Sir Alan said he believed the now foreign secretary, who is his current boss, wanted to lose narrowly and be the “heir apparent” to David Cameron.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • There’s One Other Reason Gary Johnson and Jill Stein Should Be Invited to the Debates

      In 2012, Dr. Stein became the most successful female presidential candidate in history…

    • Bush Just Made a MASSIVE Announcement About Donald Trump – BREAKING NEWS

      Former President George H.W. Bush, an American patriot and World War II veteran, has just made a shocking announcement about the 2016 Presidential election.

      Bush will vote against his own party, and cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton in the November election.

      Even with a FBI criminal scandal and countless criminal acts, Bush is willing to vote for her anyway. This is probably because of things Trump said in the primary.

    • Justice Kennedy, Author of Citizens United, Shrugs Off Question About His Deeply Flawed Premise

      Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of the 2010 Citizens United decision that unraveled almost a century of campaign finance law, doesn’t seem to care that the central premise of his historic decision has quickly unraveled.

      I spoke briefly to Kennedy during his visit to the U.S. Courthouse in Sacramento, before his security detail escorted me out of the room.

      In the Citizens United decision, Kennedy claimed that lifting all campaign finance limits on independent groups — now known largely as SuperPACs — would not have a corrupting effect upon candidates. “By definition,” Kennedy wrote confidently, “an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate.”

    • Sorry, the Boundary Commission is not Gerrymandering

      There is no point in declaring yourself of independent mind if you proceed to try to ingratiate yourself with any particular group of people or defined set of political opinions. Occasionally I express opinions which are not palatable to many of my readers, and I am afraid this is one of those times. But the plain fact is, that the boundary review of Westminster constituencies is neither deliberate gerrymandering nor unfairly favourable to the Tories.

      The starting point for any sensible discussion must be that the first past the post system will virtually never produce any kind of fair representation, especially in a multi-party system. I detest UKIP, but a system which gave them just 0.15% of the seats for 9.5% of the vote is not equitable. Between the two “main” parties, FPTP in modern times had always advantaged Labour, as boundary changes lagged behind declining populations in old industrial areas. But the 2015 trouncing of Labour by the SNP changed this and it took more votes to elect each Labour MP than each Tory. But in a sense this is all pointless – FPTP is not meant to be fair. Its theoretical advantage is in ensuring the proper representation of individual constituencies.

    • Security Top Priority as Hofstra Presidential Debate Nears

      Law enforcement is planning to drop a safety net around Hofstra University for next week’s presidential debate, which Nassau County police’s top cop called the most “significant security event” the county has hosted in decades.

      During a press conference at Hofstra University Wednesday, Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said at least a half-dozen law enforcement agencies have allocated manpower and other resources for the event. In total, more than a 1,000 cops are expected to flood the debate area.

    • Judge: child porn evidence obtained via FBI’s Tor hack must be suppressed

      A federal judge in Iowa has ordered the suppression of child pornography evidence derived from an invalid warrant. The warrant was issued as part of a controversial government-sanctioned operation to hack Tor users. Out of nearly 200 such cases nationwide that involve the Tor-hidden child porn site known as “Playpen,” US District Judge Robert Pratt is just the third to make such a ruling.

      “Any search conducted pursuant to such warrant is the equivalent of a warrantless search,” Judge Pratt wrote Monday in his 19-page order in United States v. Croghan.

      While the charges against Beau Croghan have not been dropped yet, the ruling significantly hinders the government’s case.

      Earlier this year, federal judges in Massachusetts and Oklahoma made similar rulings and similarly tossed the relevant evidence. Thirteen other judges, meanwhile, have found that while the warrants to search the defendants’ computers via the hacking tool were invalid, they did not take the extra step of ordering suppression of the evidence. The corresponding judges in the remainder of the cases have yet to rule on the warrant question.

    • Evidence FBI Gathered While Running Porn Site Thrown Out Again

      For the third time, a federal judge has ruled that a mass hack by the FBI – which ensnared thousands of computers based on only one warrant – was illegal.

      Like the previous ones, the decision was based on a jurisdictional technicality: Rule 41 of criminal procedure holds that magistrate judges can only authorize searches inside their jurisdiction – meaning a judge in one district cannot authorize a search in a different geographical location.

      The hack in question was part of an investigation into a child pornography website called Playpen. Playpen was hosted on the dark web, meaning that users could only access it through a service that concealed their IP address, making it impossible for the FBI to tell who was accessing the site and downloading child pornography.

      In 2014, the FBI received a tip from a foreign intelligence agency that Playpen’s server was operating out of Lenoir, N.C. The FBI seized the server, but instead of shutting the website down, continued running it — placing a copy of the site on government-run servers in Virginia.

    • What Happens When Visa Applicants Forget Their Old Social Media IDs?

      After being pushed into it by Congress, Customs and Border Protection has been going through the rule-making process on asking visa applicants for their social media IDs. The idea is root out people like Tashfeen Malik, the wife in the San Bernardino attack couple, who spoke in radicalized terms on private messaging areas of Facebook before she came to the country.

      At first, the idea was just to ask for applicants to turn over social media sites voluntarily. But given the pressure CBP already uses, even with US citizens, it’s easy to see how that “voluntary” request can be made to seem obligatory in the pressure of a border encounter.

    • Is Hillary Clinton Turning into Jeb Bush?

      One of last winter’s cruelest spectacles was the harpooning of Jeb Bush’s candidacy by upstart wiseacre Donald Trump. Like a neatly dressed schoolboy vowing to eat his mashed potatoes in peace, only to find himself plunged into them face-first, Jeb consistently fell prey to Trumpian assaults on his dignity—he was boring, and “low energy,” and last in the polls.

      Such indecorousness proved nearly impossible for anyone to combat. Should the victim try to stay aloof, the way Jeb did? That just made you look like a stiff. Should you try to match Trump on his own terms, the way Marco Rubio did? That just made you look silly. Should you just scorch the terrain, the way Ted Cruz did? Your opponent might just take things one step further and start insulting your wife. Only primary voters had the power to punish such a lowering of standards, but many of them were in no such mood this year. Their spite was directed toward a pompous and clueless establishment, with Jeb as its quintessential face and Trump as the overdue pie.

    • Don’t Waste Your Vote on the Corporate Agenda—Vote for Jill Stein and the Greens

      Clinton’s billionaire backers, who wined and dined her throughout August, want her to promise as little as possible to ordinary people for fear of a mass movement developing under her administration. They know that working people, and young people especially, are fired up in a way that we haven’t seen in decades. E-mails recently leaked from Nancy Pelosi’s office contain explicit instructions not to agree to any specific demands from Black Lives Matter.

      The Democratic Party has a special talent for enabling the right. President Obama was first elected in 2008 on a wave of opposition to eight years of George W. Bush’s wars and tax cuts for the rich. But he and the Democrats continued the bailout of Wall Street and stood by as millions lost their homes—and the leadership of the labor movement and most progressive organizations gave him a pass. This created space for the Tea Party to exploit the legitimate anger of large sections of the working and middle class. It wasn’t until 2011 that Occupy Wall Street gave a genuine left-wing expression to the widespread outrage at corporate politics.

    • John Boehner Cashes Out, Joins Corporate Lobbying Firm That Represents China

      John Boehner, the retired speaker of the House, is monetizing his decades of political relationships and cashing out to serve some of the most powerful special interests in the world.

      Boehner is joining Squire Patton Boggs, a lobbying firm that peddles its considerable influence on behalf of a number of foreign nations, including most notably the People’s Republic of China. Serving Beijing is somewhat appropriate: Boehner has long been a supporter of unfettered trade, helping to lead the effort to grant Most Favored Nation status to China. Squire Patton Boggs also represents a long list of corporate clients, including AT&T, Amazon.com, Goldman Sachs & Co., Royal Dutch Shell, and the Managed Funds Association, a trade group for the largest hedge funds in the country.

      Boehner is signing onto Squire Patton Boggs “as a strategic advisor to clients in the U.S. and abroad, and will focus on global business development.”

      The news comes just a week after the announcement that Boehner will be joining the board of Reynolds American, the tobacco company responsible for brands such as Camel and Newport cigarettes. The tobacco board seat will likely earn Boehner over $400,000 a year in stock and cash. The Squire Patton Boggs salary has not been disclosed, but lawmakers of Boehner’s stature have easily obtained salaries at similar gigs in the seven-figure range.

      Boehner is reportedly declining to register as a lobbyist for his new job at a lobbying firm, but that label makes little difference these days. Thousands of professionals engaged in government affairs positions work to influence policy on behalf of well-heeled special interests every day without registering under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. The law governing lobby registration is virtually unenforced.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Digital Homicide Sues Steam Reviewers, Steam Drops It Like It’s Hot

      In recent days, megalith digital games platform Steam found itself making headlines with a tweak to its game reviews system. At issue was Steam’s prioritizing reviews from customers who bought a game on Steam over anyone else. Asked for an explanation for the move, Valve suggested that some game developers were attempting to game the reviews system by exchanging download codes for positive reviews. While this explanation omitted the prevalence of crowdsource funding of games, such as Kickstarter funding, Valve at least was putting on a public face of trying to treat its gaming customers well.

      And now we have the second such story of Valve looking out for its gaming customers, as the platform has chosen to entirely drop a game developer known for its anti-consumer behavior off of the Steam store. You may recall that Digital Homicide is a game developer that has been featured on these pages before, having decided that the best way to deal with some mildly scathing reviews of its games was to sue the reviewer for ten million dollars, alleging emotional, reputational and financial distress. It seems that lawsuit wasn’t a one-off, as Digital Homicide has now apparently filed suit against a whole bank of Steam users (at least 100), who reviewed Digital Homicide games, to the tune of $18 million, with a court recently granting a subpoena requesting that Steam turn over identification data for those users.

    • Author talks about banned books, censorship

      The Western Kentucky University graduate spoke about censorship and banned books to about 115 people Tuesday at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. The event was part of the college’s activities for Banned Book Week, which is Sunday through Oct. 1.

      Harper talked about some of the books that have been banned, including “Matilda,” “I Am Jazz,” “The Holy Bible” and “Two Boys Kissing.”

    • Street artists use anonymity to accentuate the message

      In the latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine, The Unnamed: Does anonymity need to be defended?, Index’s contributing editor for Turkey, Kaya Genç, explores anonymous artists in Turkey. In the piece the artists discuss how vital anonymity is in allowing them to complete their more controversial work. The Index on Censorship youth advisory board have taken inspiration from this piece for their latest task, in which they investigate anonymous art around the world.

    • Censorship is becoming more common

      Lately it seems issues relating to censorship come up with surprising frequency. While one might be tempted to say that people are trying to control our thoughts “more than ever before”, that simply is not true – censorship and attempting to control how other people think has been prevalent for centuries.

      But the problem with censorship today is that it seems to be becoming increasingly mainstream and coming from people on all sides of different issues.

      For starters, we have the Colin Kaepernick issue in regards to his protest of the national anthem and the American flag. His demonstrations have engulfed the media and people’s attention over the past weeks over this hot-button issue. While the validity and appropriateness of his protest can be debated, he has the complete freedom of speech to act how he pleases – his protest does not harm anyone nor is it particularly disruptive. No one, aside from his employers, possibly, has the right to try to tell him that he should think differently or behave differently in his benign protest.

    • Digital rights organizaton wants to map internet censorship affecting Latin American journalists

      Researcher Olga Khrustaleva is looking for journalists and activists across Latin America to share their experiences with Internet censorship.

      Her goal: to map types of Internet censorship in the region and to find out how journalists and activists are changing their behavior as a result.

    • Canadian company helped Bahrain censor the internet

      Canadian technology company Netsweeper helped the Bahraini government in their bid to censor the internet against content they deem inappropriate, according to a new report by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

    • Canadian company helped Bahrain censor the internet
    • Not just Yemen: Canadian cyberarms dealer Netsweeper also helped censor the net in Bahrain
    • Bahrain using Canadian software to stifle dissent: report
    • Guelph firm ‘Netsweeper’ accused of helping facilitate online censorship for Bahrain
    • The Canadian Government Has Funded a Notorious Censorship Company for a Decade
    • Netsweeper, tech used to censor dissent, funded by NRC in 2012
    • U of T’s Citizen Lab implicates Canadian company in Bahrain Internet censorship
    • Waterloo company accused of helping Bahrain censor online content
    • Arab Nominees for Israeli Film Awards Accuse Local Academy of Censorship

      Four Palestinian citizens of Israel nominated for the country’s top film award are accusing the Israel Academy of Film and Television of censorship.

      In a letter sent to all academy members on Monday, the four accused the academy of barring a performance by Tamer Nafar and Yossi Tzabari from tomorrow’s Ophir Awards ceremony because it was slated to include a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, regarded as the Palestinian national poet.

      However, in a letter of response, academy chairman Mosh Danon denied the censorship charge. He said organizers of the ceremony only asked Nafar to show them the performance in advance “so we could suit it to the general tone of the ceremony from a musical and staging standpoint.” When that didn’t happen, they “decided, with great regret, to dispense” with the performance, including Darwish’s poem.

    • Turkey Overwhelmingly Leads World In Twitter Censorship

      Turkey is rapidly ramping up its efforts to censor Twitter, according to the site’s new transparency report.

      The biannual report, which was released Wednesday and covers the first half of 2016, shows that the United States continues to lead the world in requests for information about users. During this period, U.S. law enforcement issued such requests for 8,009 accounts, far more than anywhere else in the world. However, in a separate metric, which tracks government requests to block specific Twitter users, the U.S. issued 150 requests for Twitter user data in the first half of 2016, a slight increase from the 107 requests in the six months before. But in aggregate, other countries almost doubled their attempts to get Twitter to take down users’ tweets and accounts.

      By and large, those attempts have been unsuccessful. In the last half of 2015, the world tried to censor 11,092 Twitter accounts, though only 423 of those attempts were successful. In the following six months, the number of attempts skyrocketed to 20,571, though the number of censored accounts actually dropped to 240.

    • ‘Safe space’ now a tool of liberal censorship

      IF YOU thought the term “safe space” had something to do with crèches or playgrounds you would be wrong. It applies to universities and places of public debate, places traditionally the preserve of adults who are particularly well able to look after themselves. The term is a new construct which means it is socially unacceptable to attack or ridicule peoples’ cherished views and convictions or say anything that might potentially be imputed to reflect negatively on any demographic. The end of debate? Well, clearly not. Not for some at any rate.

      Media sphere was never more awash with opinions and theories which, of their very nature, evoke disagreement or agreement in varying measures. So, qualification is needed. People who promote the safe place concept want protection for themselves and their own views, not necessarily and, at times under no circumstances, for those who oppose them. It is the usual tyranny of the consensus, however it may be formed. Being enlightened and progressive, onside with the current zeitgeist as well as, of course, on the side of history, was always a privileged place to be. It used to the the Church that censored: It is now the new secular guardians of “liberties” who suppress voices of dissent.

      It the realms of twitterdom and other media platforms, fair and informed comments, respectfully made, are less common than offensive, bellicose ones. They chase each other down chat threads petering out often in a completely unrelated discussion. However, nothing worth its salt comes cheaply and freedom of speech and expression, within the bounds of libel and defamation laws, is surely bought cheaply if the price is merely the verbal equivalent of tomatoes and rotten eggs.

    • Donald Trump’s warning about impending ‘online censorship’ is dead wrong
    • Surprise, Donald Trump Has No Idea How Internet Censorship Works

      Back in December, Donald Trump suggested fighting terrorism online by “closing the internet in some way,” openly mocking potential First Amendment concerns. Since then, the alleged computer user seems to have changed his mind, joining Ted Cruz’s bizarre crusade for an American takeover of the internet’s address book in the name of freedom of speech.


      In the end, Trump and Cruz’s ICANN campaign appears to be little more than political theater making use of a digital disguise.

    • Donald Trump Doubles Down On Ted Cruz’s Blatantly Confused And Backwards Argument Over Internet Governance
    • Facebook’s Nudity Ban Affects All Kinds of Users

      Facebook’s recent censorship of the iconic AP photograph of nine year-old Kim Phúc fleeing naked from a napalm bombing, has once again brought the issue of commercial content moderation to the fore. Although Facebook has since apologized for taking the photo down from the page of Norwegian publication Aftenposten, the social media giant continues to defend the policy that allowed the takedown to happen in the first place.

      The policy in question is a near-blanket ban on nudity. Although the company has carved out some exceptions to the policy—for example, for “photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures”—and admits that their policies can “sometimes be more blunt than we would like and restrict content shared for legitimate purposes,” in practice the ban on nudity has a widespread effect on the ability of its users to exercise their freedom of expression on the platform.

      In a statement, Reporters Without Borders called on Facebook to “add respect for the journalistic values of photos to these rules.” But it’s not just journalists who are affected by Facebook’s nudity ban. While it may seem particularly egregious when the policy is applied to journalistic content, its effect on ordinary users—from Aboriginal rights activists to breastfeeding moms to Danish parliamentarians who like to photograph mermaid statues—is no less damaging to the principles of free expression. If we argue that Facebook should make exceptions for journalism, then we are ultimately placing Facebook in the troubling position of deciding who is or isn’t a legitimate journalist, across the entire world.

    • YouTube announces crowdsourced censorship
    • Read: Amol Palekar’s essay on censorship makes a blistering case for the freedom of expression
    • ‘I Just Got Really Mad’: The Norwegian Editor Tackling Facebook on Censorship
    • Editor Calls Out Facebook For Decision To Block Iconic Vietnam War Photo
    • Comments about OARS and CSM age ratings

      I’ve had quite a few comments from people stating that using age rating classification values based on American culture is wrong. So far I’ve been using the Common Sense Media research (and various other psychology textbooks) to essentially clean-room implement a content-rating to appropriate age algorithm.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Why Is DOD Paying Dataminr $13M for Data It Claims to Believe Twitter Won’t Deliver?

      Last week I did a post on John McCain’s promise, given in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, to “expose” Twitter for refusing to share you Tweets in bulk with intelligence agencies. Later in the hearing, Jeanne Shaheen returned to the issue of Twitter’s refusal to let Dataminr share data in bulk with the Intelligence Community. She asked Under Secretary for Intelligence Marcell Lettre what the committee needs to get more cooperation. Lettre responded by suggesting one-on-one conversations between Executive Branch officials and the private sector tends to work. Shaheen interrupted to ask whether such an approach had worked with Twitter. Lettre responded by stating, “the the best of my knowledge, Twitter’s position hasn’t changed on its level of cooperation with the US intelligence community.”

      That’s interesting, because on August 26, 2016, DOD announced its intent to sole-source a $13.1 million one-year contract with Dataminr to provide alerting capability based off Twitter’s Firehose.

    • National Software Reference Library: An important digital tool for forensic investigators

      The story starts with Stephen M. Cabrinety, the Stanford University Libraries, and NIST’s National Software Reference Library (NSRL). Cabrinety collected more than 50,000 pieces of commercial software and nearly 300 functioning microcomputer systems—some dating back to the mid-1980s.


      Something not often thought about is how a digital forensic scientist working on a criminal case knows if a particular software application having thousands of lines of code has been altered to hide an incriminating piece of evidence. Using NSRL tools, investigators can quickly know if the code has been doctored by comparing the hash from the suspect code against the RDS hash of the original and pristine code—saving time and effort.

    • BaycloudSystems Joins EFF’s Do Not Track Coalition

      Baycloud Systems has become the latest company to join the EFF’s Do Not Track (DNT) coalition, which opposes the tracking of users without their consent. Baycloud designs systems to help companies and users monitor and manage tracking cookies. Based in the UK, it provides thousands of sites across Europe with tools for compliance with European Union (EU) data protection laws.

      In contrast to the U.S., with its scant legislative privacy protection and weak self-regulatory system, EU data protection law requires companies that collect user data to provide a legal basis for using it–the most important aspect of which is user consent. And this requirement has real teeth: the new General Data Protection Regulations mean that companies will soon face serious fines of up to 2 or 4 percent (depending on the violation) of worldwide turnover.

      EU rules also require user consent before a site sets cookies, and public disclosure of information as to their purpose (such as feature functionality or behavioral profiling). Although the cookie rules have been applied unevenly and have not stopped tracking, the principle requiring user consent is sound.

    • Join the Movement for Community Control Over Police Surveillance

      From cell-site simulators in New York to facial recognition devices in San Diego, law enforcement surveillance technologies are spreading across the country like an infectious disease. It’s almost epidemiological: one police department will adopt a new, invasive tool, and then the next and the next, often with little or no opportunity for the citizens to weigh in on what’s needed or appropriate for their communities. Sometimes even elected officials and judges have no idea how technologies are being used by the police under their supervision.

      2016 is the year we start to turn it around. In California, we helped pass legislation to require transparency and public hearings on technologies such as cell-site simulators and automated license plate readers before they can be adopted by cities and counties. Specifically, earlier this year, the County of Santa Clara passed a groundbreaking ordinance limiting how and when law enforcement can adopt new surveillance technologies.

    • Let There Be Light: Cities Across America Are Pushing Back Against Secret Surveillance by Police

      Big Brother is watching local communities, some more than others.

      Think about how it feels when you are driving down a road, look in your rearview mirror, and notice a police car driving directly behind you. You tense up. You slow down. You try not to drift too much in your lane as you drive. One false move and those red flashing lights will switch on. Only after the police car drives past can you finally relax and exhale. As internationally renowned security technologist Bruce Schneier observed in his book “Data and Goliath,” this is what surveillance feels like. But for many Americans who live in communities that are disproportionately targeted by police surveillance technologies, that feeling never goes away.

    • Oliver Stone talks “Snowden”: NSA leaker is more than a whistleblower; he’s a “lie exposer”

      “I know you’re not going to believe this, but I see myself as a storyteller,” said Oliver Stone. The director of “JFK,” “Platoon” and the new political thriller “Snowden” added that he tries to tell stories that others ignore. “There are too many things that are taboo in the American public,” he lamented.

      The Academy Award-winning director spoke last week at a small Manhattan event about “Snowden,” his new movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      While being interviewed by journalist Amy Goodman, Stone described the difficult process of producing the film, which was released last week to much acclaim. He also applauded whistleblowers for exposing government lies and providing the public with the truth.

      “We never made this an activist film,” Stone said, explaining that “Snowden” was not meant to be part of a larger campaign to win a presidential pardon for Snowden, who has been living in Russia as a stateless refugee for the last several years. A new coalition of rights groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, is pressuring President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden before he leaves office. The heads of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published an op-ed in The New York Times last week defending the whistleblower’s many contributions to the American public.

    • Cisco Reveals Major Security Exploits to its Customers
    • Over 840000 Cisco Devices Are Exposed To NSA Exploit Cyberweapon
    • More than 840000 Cisco devices are vulnerable to NSA-related exploit
    • How GCHQ stopped thousands of scam tax refund emails [Ed: I thought they exist “because terrorism”…]
    • Google Allo: Why people such as Edward Snowden are advising against using the app

      The launch of the new chat app – which Google had hoped would focus on its use of artificial intelligence and the huge amounts of information it stores – has in fact revolved around the threat to privacy and safety that it represents. It culminated with a warning from Edward Snowden that nobody should use the app.

      It was just the latest reminder that our messaging apps might not be as private as they seem. And that is very private indeed – unlike social networks and other semi-public spaces, messages are perhaps the most sacred and private spaces on the entire internet.

    • No matter what, don’t use Google’s new Allo messenger app, says Edward Snowden

      The search giant’s new WhatsApp competitor combines messaging with a digital assistant to allow you to chat like never before—but those who care about their privacy and mass surveillance should steer clear of the app, Edward Snowden said in a series of tweets.

    • Don’t Use Allo

      The buzziest thing Google announced at its I/O conference Wednesday was Allo, a chatbot-enabled smartphone messaging app that looks to take on iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

      Early sentiment about Allo is overwhelmingly positive: It looks beautiful, lets you doodle on images before you send them, comes with stickers as well as emojis, and it’s the first Google product to offer end-to-end encryption, which is certainly a good thing.

    • Whatever you do, do not use Google Allo: Snowden

      However, the efficiency of time-saving typing may end up costing customers their already compromised privacy.

      When Google first announced the introduction of Allo earlier this year they, too, had planned end-to-end-encryption in “Incognito Mode” and assured they would only store messages transiently, rather than indefinitely.

      However, it now appears that Google won’t be doing that after all. Wednesday’s announcement revealed Google plans to store all conversations that aren’t specifically started in “incognito mode” by default.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Not Content With Silencing Human Critics, Russia Has Now Arrested A Robot

      You might be forgiven if you were under the impression that the Russian government is a bit behind the times when it comes to modern technology and its never ending desire to stifle every last bit of dissent possible. Between the bouts its had with internet censorship and some strange claims about how binge-watching streaming services are a form of United States mind-control, it would be quite easy to be left with the notion that this is all for comedy. Alas, blunders and conspiracy theories aside, much of this technological blundering is mere cover for the very real iron grip the Russians place upon free speech, with all manner of examples in technology used as excuses to silence its critics.

      And now it’s no longer just human beings that need fear the Russian government, it seems. Just this past week, a robot was arrested at a political rally. And, yes, I really do mean a robot, and, yes, I really do mean arrested.

    • Here Are Eight Policies That Can Prevent Police Killings

      With 788 people killed by police this year alone, death at the hands of law enforcement has become so routine in this country that it risks becoming expected and predictable, as if it were inevitable. Every time a new video emerges, anger soars, as do calls to end police violence. Then invariably, within days or sometimes mere hours, police somewhere else kill again.

      This week was no exception. Last night, the now familiar scene of angry protests met with tear gas unfolded again, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina, after a police officer shot and killed Keith L. Scott, a 43-year-old black father who had been sitting in his car waiting to pick up a child from school. Police said on Wednesday that Scott was holding a gun, which they said they later recovered, and that he ignored orders to drop it. Scott’s family said he had been holding a book, and his daughter speculated that police would plant evidence on the scene. The officer who killed Scott was not wearing a body camera.

      Debate over such details, too, has become common, and increasingly supplemented by video evidence that has rarely made a difference in bringing about greater accountability. Just hours before Scott was killed, police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, released footage showing another black man, Terence Crutcher, being shot to death by a police officer while he walked away, unarmed, and with his hands up. A week earlier, Tyre King, a 13-year-old with a BB gun who was reportedly running away from police, was killed by a Columbus, Ohio, police officer who had killed someone else in 2012.

      But as commonplace as they have become, police killings are neither inevitable nor even that hard to prevent, and a new report released today suggests that curbing police violence is really not rocket science when departments and local officials are committed to doing it.

    • Peak Kinnock

      Brendan Cox left Save the Children due to allegations from several women that he sexually harassed female staff and volunteers. Justin Forsyth left at the same time amid allegations he had not effectively acted to have his friend Cox investigated. This has not stopped Forsyth from now popping up as Deputy Chief Executive of UNICEF. Misery for some is a goldmine for others.

    • Kids Like Esme Shouldn’t be Behind Bars

      These kids asked for asylum. The U.S. government locked them up. They need a fair hearing.

      Nine-year-old Esme (a pseudonym) came to the United States with her mother and two siblings seeking asylum from violence in Central America. But rather than finding a safe haven, U.S. officials picked up Esme and her family and put them in immigration detention. The family has been locked up in Pennsylvania for the better part of a year, which means her baby brother’s been behind bars for nearly half his life.

      Instead of shopping for school supplies and wondering about what’s in her lunch box, Esme is thinking about things no kid should have to consider. She worries about guards waking her up at night, whether the prison food will make her sick, and whether her family will ever be free and safe.

    • Poverty Is Not a Crime, so Why Are People Being Trapped in Immigration Detention for Being Poor?

      Immigrants shouldn’t be locked up just because they can’t afford bail.

      You shouldn’t be imprisoned for being poor. But that’s what’s happening to thousands of immigrants across the country who are unable to afford to pay a bond to be released from immigration detention. People accused of immigration violations — who have no criminal record whatsoever — can be assigned exorbitantly high bail that leaves them trapped in detention for years.

      Today, members of Congress introduced legislation to prevent immigration detainees from being overcharged for bail. The Immigration Courts Bail Reform Act, co-sponsored by Reps. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), and 25 other lawmakers, is critical to ensure that no immigrant — whether a legal resident, asylum seeker, or undocumented person — is imprisoned solely because he or she can’t afford to get out.

      Bail is not supposed to keep a defendant in jail — but to allow the defendant to leave. The American Bar Association says that judges should use bail to “ensure that defendants will appear for trial and all pretrial hearings for which they must be present.”

    • Americans Should Examine Our Treatment of People Seeking Asylum — Not Just on a Boat in the Mediterranean, but at Our Border

      The U.S. imagines itself as protector of the dispossessed, but that portrait doesn’t reflect reality.

      Around the world, more than 65 million people are currently displaced by conflict, amounting to the worst worldwide refugee crisis since World War II. This week, heads of state are gathering at the United Nations headquarters in New York “with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach” to the global refugee and migration crisis. President Obama is hosting his own meeting with world leaders to increase funding for U.N. programs and international organizations serving refugees and expanding the number of refugee resettlement places worldwide.

      But as the United States urges other countries to take more action in response to the global refugee crisis, we should examine our own treatment of those who come to our borders seeking asylum and protection. Even as the U.S., the most powerful country in the world, seeks to establish leadership on refugees, we continue to block Central American asylum seekers from coming to us and punish those who arrive.

      President Obama fought to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees this year — still a drop in the bucket of almost 5 million registered with the U.N. — and defended his plan against nativist attacks. Thirty state governors attempted to halt refugee resettlement of Syrians in their state, citing security concerns; federal courts blocked the most serious attempts in Texas, Indiana, and Alabama. Almost 50 anti-refugee bills in 19 states have been introduced in state legislatures, most of which attempt to block resettlement altogether. President Obama has stayed true to his commitment, and the administration recently announced plans to increase overall refugee admissions by 30 percent.

    • Dashcam shows mentally-ill man shot 14 times as he flees Sacramento police

      Video and audio recordings were released by Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers on Tuesday after mounting pressure from the mayor, members of the city council and Mann’s family, who called for more information surrounding the July 11 shooting.

    • ‘Disturbing’ helicopter footage shows Tulsa police kill unarmed man

      Video footage released Monday showed Tulsa police shooting an unarmed man to death on Friday night after he approached his SUV with his arms raised.

      In footage filmed from a police helicopter, Terence Crutcher, 40, can be seen slowly walking from the edge of a street north of Tulsa toward his vehicle, which authorities said had been reported abandoned at 7:36 p.m. (8:36 p.m. ET) and left running in the middle of the road.

    • What’s It Like To Try And Be Normal After A Career As A Spy

      I joined the CIA out of a sense of wanting to serve my country, and the notion that the U.S. government was going to pay me to live and work overseas was a tantalizing bonus. I come from a family where public service was part of our DNA: My father was an Air Force officer who served in World War II. My brother was a Marine, wounded in Vietnam. As I developed my expertise in nuclear counterproliferation — making sure bad guys, from terrorists to leaders of rogue states, did not acquire a nuclear capability — I was incredibly proud of my ability to contribute to this critical national security interest. My CIA colleagues were smart, dedicated, funny and creative. Yes, there was sometimes stifling bureaucracy, boredom, colleagues who never should have been there, and later, deeply disturbing stories of the CIA’s involvement in torture. Still, I got to do work I thought was incredibly important and, many times, had fun doing it.

      When I suddenly found myself “a civilian,” it dawned on me that so many of the skills I learned and carried out in the CIA — many of which had become second nature — were no longer of use or necessary. I didn’t constantly have to check my rear-view mirror to see if I had picked up covert surveillance. (For a while there, the only people following me were reporters and photographers.) I didn’t have to memorize safe codes or be sure to clear my desk at the end of every work day. I didn’t have to worry that a disguise wig would slip off or look ridiculous. I didn’t have to go through my mental Rolodex when I met a new person to be sure I got my name right. I was simply Valerie Plame: wife, mother of twins and former spy.

    • The Playpen Story: Some Fourth Amendment Basics and Law Enforcement Hacking

      First, the government’s malware “seized” the user’s computer. More specifically, the execution of the government’s code on a user’s device “meaningful[ly] interfered” with the intended operation of the software: it turned a user’s computer into a tool for law enforcement surveillance. By hacking into the user’s device, the government exercised “dominion and control” over the device. And that type of interference and control over a device constitutes a “seizure” for Fourth Amendment purposes.

      Next, the government’s code “searched” the device to locate certain specific information from the computer: the MAC address, the operating system running on the computer, and other identifying information. In this instance, where the search occurred is central to the Fourth Amendment analysis: here, the search was carried out on a user’s personal computer, likely located inside their home. Given the wealth of sensitive information on a computer and the historical constitutional protections normally afforded peoples’ homes, a personal computer located within the home represents the fundamental core of the Fourth Amendment’s protections.

    • Muslim migrant boat captain faces murder charges for pushing Christians overboard

      A Cameroonian immigrant has been put on trial in Spain for the murder of six fellow occupants of a flimsy migrant boat because of their Christian religious beliefs.

      Survivors of the hellish 2014 crossing from Morocco to the southern shore of Spain described how the accused, the Muslim captain of the inflatable craft identified as Alain N. B., blamed Christian passengers for the onset of a storm and forced six men off the boat to a certain death.

      According to some of the 29 survivors from the more than 50 sub-Saharan migrants who boarded the boat near Nador, northern Morocco, the accused “blamed the rough seas which were rocking the boat on the prayers led by a Catholic pastor on board”.

    • Syrian refugee ‘threw three children out of first-floor window because his wife wanted more freedom’ in Germany

      A Syrian asylum seeker is on trial for allegedly throwing his three children out of a first floor window in Germany because his wife wanted greater freedom.

      The 36-year-old man has been accused of attempted murder after his two daughters, aged one and seven, and five-year-old son were injured at refugee accommodation near Bonn.

      Police arrived at the scene in February to find the two elder children suffering broken bones and skull fractures, with the baby girl left with bruising and a liver contusion after landing on her brother.

      According to an indictment seen by Germany’s DPA news agency, the suspect admitted the crime and said it stemmed from anger with his wife.

    • Syrian man ‘threw children out of window because his wife demanded same rights as Germans’

      A SYRIAN asylum seeker who is accused of hurling his three children from window after fighting with his wife when she demanded the “same freedom” as German women will go on on trial on attempted murder charges.

    • Muslim man who KICKED woman in the head for wearing shorts says ‘Islamic law demanded it’

      Aysegul Terzi was assaulted on a bus in Istanbul after the man claimed Islamic law demanded he attack the young woman.

      In shocking footage the 23-year-old girl is seen being brutally kicked in the face by Abdullah Cakiroglu.

      The thug was incredibly freed by prosecutors when he said he was following Islamic law by assaulting the woman and it was decided to classify the incident as an assault that did not justify custody.

    • Should Hacking a Tor User to Get an IP Address Require a Warrant?

      On Monday, a judge chucked out all evidence obtained by a piece of FBI malware in a child porn case, becoming the third court to suppress evidence related to the FBI’s investigation of dark web site Playpen.

      But US District Court Judge Robert W Pratt also threw a punch in an ongoing legal debate with implications that stretch beyond any single case.

      In recent months, judges, defense lawyers, and the government have fought over whether obtaining a Tor user’s real IP address, perhaps through hacking, counts as a search under the Fourth Amendment. The debate has serious consequences for whether law enforcement requires a warrant to break into a suspect’s computer, even if it’s only to learn the target’s IP address.

      Pratt argued that when the FBI hacked suspected Playpen users and grabbed their IP addresses, that constituted a search.

      “If a defendant writes his IP address on a piece of paper and places it in a drawer in his home, there would be no question that law enforcement would need a warrant to access that piece of paper—even accepting that the defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the IP address itself,” Pratt writes in his order.

    • Keith Lamont Scott Identified as Disabled Black Man Shot Dead by NC Police While Reading in Car

      A disabled black man has died at the hospital after being shot by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., police officer Tuesday afternoon on Old Concord Road in University City, a subdivision of Charlotte.

      Police said that they were searching for someone who had outstanding warrants when they saw a man with what they believed to be a gun leave a vehicle.

      According to police reports, the man, who has not been named, returned to his vehicle. Police claim that when they approached the man, he “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers,” according to the New York Times, and one of them opened fire. An eyewitness reportedly told the victim’s daughter that a Taser was used on her father, and then he was shot at least three times.


      As previously reported by The Root, a jury deadlocked in the trial of former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick, 27, who was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the 2013 shooting death of 24-year-old former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell.

      On the night of Sept. 14, 2013, Ferrell, who was unarmed, was seeking help after a car accident when he knocked on the door of a nearby home. Instead of helping him, the homeowner slammed the door in Ferrell’s face and called 911 to report that someone was forcibly breaking into her home.

      Kerrick was one of several officers who responded. Kerrick shot at Ferrell 12 times—with 10 bullets piercing his body—and at least eight of those shots were fired while Ferrell was crawling on the ground.

    • Fight for the Future Releases Formal Charge Sheet And Other Documents Ahead of Chelsea Manning Disciplinary Board

      Chelsea Manning faces an administrative disciplinary board tomorrow that may punish her for charges directly related to her July suicide attempt. This board is happening even though it was the government’s own mistreatment of Chelsea that drove her to attempt to take her own life earlier this year.

      The process of preparing for the board has been very emotional and traumatizing for Chelsea. It requires her to continually relive the painful experience over and over again. Chelsea must prepare her defense completely on her own, and will appear in front of the three person panel alone. She is not permitted to consult with or have an attorney or other advocate present during the hearing. The hearing itself could last for hours and there will be no transcript or account of the proceedings available to the public beyond what Chelsea herself is able to convey.

    • Chelsea Manning Facing Indefinite Solitary Confinement For Attempting Suicide, Possessing A Book On Hackers

      As you may have heard, Chelsea Manning, who leaked a ton of State Department cables to Wikileaks and is now in jail for decades, attempted suicide earlier this year. And the Army’s response is to threaten her with indefinite solitary confinement to punish her for the attempt. Really. Of course, Manning has been held in solitary confinement in the past — under conditions that the UN itself declared to be torture. And just last year, Manning was also threatened with indefinite solitary confinement for “disrespecting” corrections officers and for having a toothbrush and certain books and magazines that she wasn’t supposed to have.

      What about this time? Well, Fight for the Future has posted the details including the charge sheet and it’s ridiculous. She’s charged with “resisting” when the “force cell team” went to her cell to respond to her suicide attempt. “Resisting” in this case being that she was unconcious. Really.

    • Video Shows Terence Crutcher Was Not Reaching Into Car When Shot, Lawyer Says

      Crump accused a police department spokesperson, Officer Jeanne Mackenzie, of spreading “misinformation that he caused his own death” when she told reporters on Friday night that Crutcher had prompted the shooting by refusing to raise his hands and reaching into his vehicle.


      Finding that initial police account hard to believe, Crutcher’s family had demanded the release of unedited police footage of the incident. The department complied with that request on Monday.

      David Riggs, a former state attorney general who chairs the Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission, also addressed a report that the police had found the hallucinogenic drug phencyclidine, or PCP, inside Crutcher’s car after the shooting. Riggs said that the shooting was not justified even if Crutcher was intoxicated. “Not everybody who’s under the influence of something is a threat to other people,” Riggs said.

      Crump also noted, as many others did on social networks, that the killing of Crutcher stood in stark contrast to the capture of Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in the New York and New Jersey bombings, after a shoot-out with police officers there.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Europe will get free roaming after all as EC cans 90-day cap plans

      THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) has outlined new plans to govern how much data, text and phone services travellers can use when roaming costs are abolished across the continent.

      The EC had previously suggested a 90-day cap on roaming in any one year and no more than 30 consecutive days’ use. However, this was withdrawn after a backlash, with people arguing that such caps went against the purpose of the proposals.

    • AT&T Will Zero Rate its Upcoming Streaming TV Service, Doesn’t Think FCC Will Act

      We’ve long noted how the FCC’s decision to avoid prohibiting zero rating (exempting your own or a paid partner’s content from usage caps) opened the door to letting incumbent ISPs trample net neutrality — if they’re just creative enough about it. And that’s precisely what has happened, with Comcast and Verizon now exempting their own content from usage caps, while T-Mobile and Sprint explore throttling all video, games and music unless users pay a $20 to $25 leave me the hell alone fee.

      The FCC’s total inaction on this front has also emboldened AT&T, which recently began exempting its own DirecTV streaming video app from the company’s usage caps while still penalizing customers that use competitors like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon. But as we warned then — AT&T isn’t done.

  • DRM

    • HP Retrofits Ink Cartridge DRM on Printer

      You’ve owned your printer for a year or more, and have happily used off-brand ink cartridges during that time. Suddenly the manufacturer says you can’t do that anymore, and suddenly orders the printer you own to not accept the ink cartridges of your choosing.

      Have you tried using you HP printer recently? If not, if you use certain models and keep your expenses down by using third party ink cartridges, you might find you have a “damaged” cartridge that needs replacing before the printer will operate. Open up a new cartridge that you’ve been keeping on hand and if it’s branded Office Max, Office Depot or anything other than “genuine HP,” it’ll be “damaged” too.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Shared Experiences Of Indigenous Peoples In The WIPO Negotiating Process

      Members of indigenous communities this week shared their experiences in negotiating for their rights at the World Intellectual Property Organization and gave their advice on negotiations for potential treaties on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore.

      A panel was held at the outset of this week’s WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), entitled “IGC Draft Articles on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge: Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Perspectives.”

    • Nagoya Protocol Gains Members, Implications Spread Ripples

      The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) announced early this month that five new countries ratified its protocol on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources, bringing membership to 85 countries.

      The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization now counts 85 members. The CBD in a press release [pdf] called for 15 new ratifications to reach the goal of 100 ratifications before the second meeting of the Parties to the protocol, on 14-17 December in Cancun, Mexico.

    • Copyrights

      • Law Professor Mark Lemley: Hollywood Is Simply Wrong About FCC’s Set Top Box Plan
      • Don’t let copyright box us in

        The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering rules that would free cable and satellite television subscribers from the tyranny of the set-top box. Doing so would surely make the world a better place.

        The cable set-top box is an anachronism. No one carries a physically separate phone, modem, calculator, address book, street directory, and camera today when they can have one flexible device loaded with apps. Abolishing the monopoly of the set top box by allowing apps on existing devices to run programming will introduce this same flexibility to the devices we use to watch cable and satellite TV.

        The world has changed. Young people are “cutting the cord.” People everywhere consume their media on a wide variety of devices. The FCC is right to bring the cable and satellite industries along with that change. Indeed, in the long-term cable and satellite companies too will benefit from ending their exclusive reliance on the set-top box. The last two decades have proven beyond much doubt that while people are willing to pay for content, they are not willing to put up with artificial constraints on when and where they watch it. And if they can’t get their content easily and lawfully, too many turn to getting it easily but unlawfully.

        App based TV will make it easier for all of us to pay for our media delivered when we want it, how we want it.

      • Stop Piracy? Legal Alternatives Beat Legal Threats, Research Shows

        Threatening file-sharers with high fines or even prison sentences is not the best way to stop piracy. New research published by UK researchers shows that perceived risk has no effect on people’s file-sharing habits. Instead, the entertainment industries should focus on improving the legal options, so these can compete with file-sharing.

      • Yet Another Report Says More Innovation, Rather Than More Enforcement, Reduces Piracy

        It’s not like many of us haven’t been saying this for years: but fighting piracy through greater copyright enforcement doesn’t work. It’s never worked and it’s unlikely to ever work. A year ago, we released our big report, The Carrot or the Stick? that explored at a macro level what appeared to lead to reduced levels of piracy — enforcement or legal alternatives — and found overwhelming evidence that enforcement had little long-term impact (and a small short-term impact), but that enabling legal alternatives had a massive impact in reducing piracy. This should sound obvious, but it was important to look at the actual data, which backed it up.

        Now, there’s a new and different study that further supports this idea. Researchers at the University of East Anglia, Lancaster University and Newcastle University have a new report saying that promoting legal alternatives is much more effective in stopping piracy than the threat of legal consequences.

      • Former Refugee Who Took Skittles Photograph Donald Trump Jr. Used In A Stupid Meme Threatens Copyright Lawsuit

        FWIW, this is an old and a dumb and meaningless meme. It’s not always Skittles, though. Last year failed Presidential contender Mike Huckabee used the same concept, but with Peanuts — and John Oliver mocked him for it, noting that “peanuts themselves have killed far more people than terrorist refugees.” Another version involved M&Ms, and it was used by a variety of groups — including a feminist “Yes All Women” campaign. Some are arguing that the switch from M&Ms to Skittles is even more racist, because it’s based on the fact that when Trayvon Martin was shot dead by George Zimmerman, Martin had a pack of Skittles in his pocket. And, of course, the Intercept argues that this meme goes all the way back to a top Nazi propagandist making sure that the meme is sufficiently Godwined.

        But… of course, most of that has little to do with what we normally cover around these parts. But what we do often cover is copyright related issues — so it’s interesting to find out that the image used in that Skittles graphic that Trump Jr. posted was copied from Flickr, where it pretty clearly has an “all rights reserved” copyright notice on it. Oh, and the guy who took the photo, David Kittos, happens to be a former refugee himself, who is not at all pleased that his image is being used in this manner.

Links 22/9/2016: Red Hat’s Latest Results, GNOME 3.22 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • In a world of free operating systems, can Windows 10 survive?
    • Microsoft is planning to buy back €36bn worth of its own shares [Ed: Microsoft is collapsing. Now it’s buying back its OWN shares. history of fraud]

      Microsoft on Tuesday raised its quarterly dividend by 8pc and said it would buy back up to $40bn (€36bn) as part of a new share repurchase program.

      The company raised its dividend to 39c per share, up 3c from the previous quarter.

    • Microsoft keeps good piece of Steve Ballmer legacy
    • Warning: Microsoft Doesn’t Want You To Install Linux On Its “Signature PCs”

      Microsoft hates it when its customers wish to install Linux or other operating systems on its PCs. A Redditor has expressed concern over his inability to install Linux on a Yoga 900 ISK2 Ultrabook. Trying to justify this, Lenovo has said that Yoga 900 runs a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed and it’s locked per our agreement with Microsoft.

    • Lenovo reportedly blocking Linux on Windows 10 Signature Edition PCs (updated)

      According to Reddit user BaronHK, it is impossible to install Linux onto the Signature Edition Lenovo Yoga 900 ISK2 UltraBook because the SSD is locked in a proprietary RAID mode that Linux doesn’t support, and that even Windows 10 cannot use without an Lenovo driver being downloaded first.

      Evidence — in the form of owner reports and reviews — has been uncovered which suggests that the Yoga 900S, and Yoga 710S are locked in a similar manner.

      To confuse matters further, there is a post from a Lenovo “product expert” claiming that Signature Edition PCs have to lock out Linux users because Microsoft says so.

    • Microsoft Reportedly Requires “Signature PCs” To Be Locked To Only Running Windows

      Lately I’ve heard a few reports of some newer PCs being less than friendly with Linux, namely a number of Lenovo devices who have issues with installing Linux. Based upon new information that’s come to light from a Phoronix reader, it appears that PCs receiving Microsoft’s “Signature Edition” tag are being locked-out from running non-Windows platforms.

      Ryan Farmer wrote in explaining that his Yoga 900 ISK2 UltraBook hasn’t been able to see Linux installed over a proprietary RAID mode that’s locked by the UEFI/BIOS of this ultrabook: Linux can’t see the SSD. When contacting Lenovo, he was told by a Lenovo representative, “This system has a Signature Edition of Windows 10 Home installed. It is locked per our agreement with Microsoft.”

    • Microsoft Said to Ban Linux on Windows 10 Signature Edition PCs

      So much for the “Microsoft loves Linux” phrase

    • Lenovo’s Signature laptops refuse to install Linux
    • Lenovo denies claims it plotted with Microsoft to block Linux installs
    • Microsoft is now blocking laptops from installing Linux, Lenovo says [Update]
    • If You’re A Linux User, Be Wary Of Microsoft’s ‘Signature’ PCs
    • Lenovo denies blocking Linux on its Windows 10 PCs
    • Windows 10 Home Signature Editions Lenovo Yogas locked to disallow Linux installations
    • You Can’t Install Linux on a Microsoft Signature Edition Laptop
    • Users are reporting that Lenovo is blocking them from installing Linux on their Yogas [Ed: thanks to UEFI]
    • Microsoft Signature PC Program Allegedly Blocks Installation Of Linux, Or Does It?
    • Lenovo Says Linux Is Not Blocked on Its Windows 10 PCs
    • Lenovo confirms and denies locking Linux operating systems out of Yoga notebooks
    • The blame game: Lenovo locked Linux out of certain Microsoft’s Signature hardware
    • Some Lenovo PCs can’t run Linux
    • Lenovo confirms that Linux won’t work on Yoga 900 and 900S laptops
    • Lenovo denies deliberately blocking Linux on Windows 10 PCs
    • Surprise! Microsoft Isn’t Blocking Linux on Lenovo Laptops
    • Lenovo Denies Claims It Plotted With Microsoft To Block Linux Installs
    • Lenovo laptops refuse to run Linux due to storage woes, not Microsoft evildoing
    • Microsoft aren’t forcing Lenovo to block free operating systems [Ed: says a famous Microsoft and UEFI apologist]
    • No, Microsoft Isn’t Locking Linux Out of PCs [Ed: here come the Microsoft mouthpieces like Thurrott]
    • No, Microsoft is not locking users out of Lenovo laptops [Ed: and those who repeat/parrot these mouthpieces]
    • ‘Microsoft isn’t forcing Lenovo to block free operating systems’
    • Rosy Red Hat, GNOME 3.22, MS/Lenovo Barricading

      Red Hat, Inc. released the financial results for the second quarter ending August 31, 2016 in a press release today. Red Hat stock seems to be going in the right direction for them as well even as insiders sell off their shares. The top story today must have been the skirmish resulting from reports of Linux being blocked from certain Lenovo laptops under orders from Microsoft. Elsewhere, GNOME 3.22 was released as a new age rating system is planned for 3.23. And finally, The Document Foundation reported the results of its 2016 Membership Committee elections.

      It was widely reported today that Lenovo laptops featuring Windows 10 lock the hard drive with proprietary code that Linux can not read – so in essence, blocking users from installing Linux. A user asking in a Lenovo support forum was told by an employee that Linux was blocked due to an agreement with Microsoft. The news traveled around the Intertubes with lightening speed making headlines at every tech site in existence. So, Lenovo and Microsoft jumped into damage control saying it was due to proprietary RAID software. Former kernel contributor Matthew Garrett addressed the issue on his blog today saying the sensational headlines are distracting from a real issue here. He said this is probably because “recent Intel hardware needs special setup for good power management and Microsoft could be insisting that Signature Edition systems ship in “RAID” mode in order to ensure that. Or it could be a misunderstanding regarding UEFI Secure Boot.” He said it all boils down to Intel doing “very little to ensure that free operating systems work well on their consumer hardware.” In any case, two major contributors to the Linux kernel and open source really couldn’t care less about either. Today’s sensational headlines might not be accurate, but they do point to a real problem, among many others.

    • Lenovo responds to Linux blocking issue, issues non-denial denial
    • True Love…and Microsoft Love

      Stop the patent blackmail

      Microsoft has been going to licensees of Android and threatening the licensees with suit if the licensees do not pay Microsoft money for using software that Microsoft says violates their patents. When the companies agree to settle out of court, Microsoft then requires them not to discuss publically which patents are claimed in violation or anything about the settlement. Of course this means that the FOSS community can not study the patents (to see if they are valid or not) or know which sections of code could be re-written to avoid the patents.

      This is more important than Microsoft just getting their pound of flesh for some code that they did not write, which may have existed as “prior art” while Bill Gates was still getting speeding tickets in New Mexico.

      When companies start to develop products they want to know about as many risks as possible. Therefore they worry about patents that exist in code that could be used to block their product, or make it more expensive than they thought the product would be.

      Not knowing what the patents are, or how much Microsoft will charge for them, or even if they are valid, the companies can not make that decision easily. Therefore they might avoid a FOSS (particularly Android) solution.

      Another problem with software patents is that it makes it expensive, difficult and/or dangerous for companies to distribute code over the Internet or on some media. If there is patent-bearing code in the distribution, a distribution could not afford even a penny royalty if there are going to be millions of copies of their code downloaded, with (perhaps) only 100,000 actually installed. This is why some distributions have a separate package for royalty bearing code (usually multimedia codecs), and others have a version for the USA and other countries that recognize software patents and another version for “the rest of the world”.

      The problem with this technique being applied to Microsoft’s claimed patents is that the patents claimed appear to be in the kernel, and the Linux community does not know which patents or to what code the patents apply.

      For Microsoft to show their love for FOSS, I would recommend them joining the Open Invention Network, or simply agree to license these questionable patents free of charge to organizations using FOSS. Microsoft could still charge royalties for their patents used in closed, proprietary software. I have heard Apple has a lot of cash on hand.

      Allow FOSS proponents to keynote at major Microsoft events.

      Microsoft has been coming to FOSS events for many years now. At first there was always the question of whether a FOSS event should allow someone who has been calling you a “virus”, or “a communist” or talking about your “crappy software” to come to their events, but normally it was felt that for FOSS people to exclude Microsoft personnel from attending or to eliminate them from speaking, or even to refuse to take their sponsorship money was not being very “open”. So Microsoft started coming to FOSS events, having booths, speaking, and trying to hire FOSS programmers.

      On the other hand I remember several times where I was chased out of a general purpose computer event by event managers because Microsoft had complained that we were handing out free CDROMs of GNU/Linux to show attendees. At one event I was even forbidden to hand them out on the street corner in front of the event because the side walk also belonged to the venue (or so they said).

      One time we allowed a Microsoft product manager to participate in a panel with Linus, and about ten seconds before we went on the stage the Microsoft manager pulled out the results of software tests to prove that for some obscure function Microsoft Windows was some percentage faster than Linux. Linus, of course, could not refute this, but he did go home and investigate the issue, and in the next release of Linux that function was two or three times faster than Microsoft Windows.

      Nevertheless, I do not remember Microsoft ever allowing a FOSS person to discuss the benefits of the FOSS model of software at a major Microsoft customer or developer event, and if Microsoft really “loved Linux” (and their customers) you would think Microsoft would want their developer and customer base to know about those values and benefits.

      So for Microsoft to really show its love, I think they should invite recognized FOSS advocates to speak as keynote speakers at Convergence, //Build, the Worldwide Partner Conference and Microsoft Ignite. I am sure I could find the time in my schedule to attend one or two of them and there are other FOSS people who could also help out.

    • Lenovo Accused Of Locking Linux Out Of Certain Laptops At Microsoft’s Request

      So whether Microsoft is truly to blame here is still an open question. At the very least, it does seem like Lenovo has some questions to answer — and one hopes that the company will be more forthright and honest than it was back during the Superfish episode when it basically lied through its teeth until it couldn’t lie any more.

    • Polychromatic Works With New Razer Linux Drivers, Even More Devices
  • Server

    • Beginning Grep for Linux SysAdmins

      GNU grep is an amazing power tool for finding words, numbers, spaces, punctuation, and random text strings inside of files, and this introduction will get you up and running quickly.

      We’ll stick to GNU grep and the Bash shell, because both are the defaults on most Linux distros. You can verify that you have GNU grep, and not some other grep…

    • Cloud Migration Is Making Performance Monitoring Crucial

      Application performance monitoring (APM) and network performance monitoring (NPM) are becoming increasingly important as businesses that have adopt cloud-based services and virtualized infrastructure.

      In the recent SDxCentral report, “Network Performance Management Takes On Applications,” more than half of surveyed respondents are actively looking at APM and NPM systems, and more than one-third are in the testing and deployment phases of adoption. Another 16 to 20 percent are piloting these systems, and roughly 15 percent have already deployed them in their network.

    • Containing container chaos with Kubernetes

      You’ve made the switch to Linux containers. Now you’re trying to figure out how to run containers in production, and you’re facing a few issues that were not present during development. You need something more than a few well-prepared Dockerfiles to move to production. What you need is something to manage all of your containers: a container orchestration system.

  • Kernel Space

    • OpenDaylight Introduces ‘Boron’ SDN Platform Release

      The industry consortium’s fifth release of its SDN platform puts a focus on the cloud, NFV, performance and tools.
      The OpenDaylight Project effort to create a common platform for network virtualization continues to mature with the unveiling of the group’s fifth release, dubbed “Boron.”

      The industry consortium announced the Boron release Sept. 21, a week before the OpenDaylight Summit kicks off in Seattle Sept. 27. Project officials said the new release brings with it improvements around the cloud and network-functions virtualization (NFV), and is the result of contributions by consortium members in a range of areas, including performance and tools.

    • Is an Editable Blockchain the Future of Finance?

      Blockchain, the technology that underlies the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, has been celebrated as a way to change the way transactions of all kinds are made. But a suggestion to make an editable version of the technology is now dividing opinion.

      The consultancy firm Accenture is patenting a system that would allow an administrator to make changes to information stored in a blockchain. In an interview with the Financial Times (paywall), Accenture’s global head of financial services, Richard Lumb, said that the development was about “adapting the blockchain to the corporate world” in order to “make it pragmatic and useful for the financial services sector.”

    • OPNFV Taking the Best of Open Source to Build an NFV Platform

      The OPNFV project is somewhat unlike other collaborative projects hosted at Linux Foundation. Rather than being the home for a specific single piece of technology, OPNFV works with multiple upstream open-source communities in a bid to compose a complete Network Function Virtualization (NFV) platform.

    • Graphics Stack

      • OpenGL ES 3.2 Officially Enabled For Intel Mesa Driver, Limited To Skylake+

        Intel’s Mesa driver has supported all of the extensions required by the OpenGL ES 3.2 specification, but only today is the support being officially advertised.

        Today’s commit by Kenneth Graunke of Intel explains, “It’s already advertised because the version.c extension checks are fulfilled, but we didn’t actually claim support, so trying to create a ES 3.2 context would fail. It’s all done, and the CTS results look good, so let’s turn it on.”

      • NVIDIA Is Working Towards HDR Display Support For Linux, But The Desktop Isn’t Ready

        NVIDIA supports HDR displays on Windows and Android, but not currently under Linux for the infrastructure not being in place to support High Dynamic Range displays from the Linux desktop. NVIDIA though is looking at working towards ultimately supporting HDR displays on Linux.

      • Some Fresh Linux 4.8 + Mesa 12.1-dev OpenGL Benchmarks For Radeon GPUs

        For those craving some fresh Mesa Git benchmarks, here are a few OpenGL tests I carried out with some AMD Radeon GPUs when comparing the out-of-the-box Ubuntu 16.04 LTS performance to what’s offered currently by Linux 4.8 and Mesa 12.1-dev Git.

      • NVIDIA Presents Over GBM vs. EGLStreams, The Big Wayland Support Debate Continues
      • XDC2016 Day 1: GLVND, Tizen Wayland/Vulkan, PRIME Sync
      • How Google’s Android Runtime On Chrome OS Uses Wayland, DRM

        Google developer David Reveman presented at this morning’s XDC2016 conference in Finland about the Android Runtime for Chrome making use of Wayland (ARC++) and how the rest of its graphics stack looks for running Android programs on Chrome OS.

        For rendering with ARC++, Gralloc and the OpenGL ES driver are using the Direct Rendering Manager, applications have full access to OpenGL ES, and there are support for other rendering APIs. Compositing with ARC++ is handled by the Android HWComposer and then surfaces are forwarded to Chrome for compositing with the rest of Chrome OS’ user-interface.

      • Wayland 1.12 Next-Gen Linux Display Server Officially Released with Many Goodies

        Today, September 21, 2016, Bryce Harrington has had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability of the Wayland 1.12.0 display server for GNU/Linux operating systems, along with the Weston 1.12.0 compositor.

        Development for Wayland 1.12 and Weston 1.12 started exactly a month ago when the first Alpha build was seeded to public testers, and it already contained many of the new functionalities and improvements implemented in this final build we can install today on our GNU/Linux distributions.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • MATE 1.16 Desktop Environment Officially Released with More GTK+ 3 Improvements

      Just a few minutes ago, Ubuntu MATE project leader, and now a Canonical employee, Martin Wimpress, informed us about the availability of the MATE 1.16 desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems.

      It has been six long months since the MATE 1.14 desktop environment was announced, during which the MATE development team worked hard on bringing lots of improvements to the core applications included in the lightweight graphical desktop interface used by default in the Ubuntu MATE operating system and other GNU/Linux distributions, as well as lots of other enhancements and cosmetic changes.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.22 core apps

        GNOME 3.22 is scheduled to be released today. Along with this release come brand new recommendations for distributions on which applications should be installed by default, and which applications should not. I’ve been steadily working on these since joining the release team earlier this year, and I’m quite pleased with the result.

      • Catanzaro: GNOME 3.22 core apps
      • GNOME 3.22 Released: the Future is Now
      • GNOME 3.22 released
      • GNOME 3.22 released
      • GNOME 3.22 Officially Released

        Matthias Clasen announced the official GNOME 3.22.0 release a short time ago. He wrote in part, “This release brings comprehensive Flatpak support. GNOME Software can install and update Flatpaks, GNOME Builder can create them, and the desktop provides portal implementations to enable sandboxed applications. Improvements to core GNOME applications include support for batch renaming in Files, sharing support in GNOME Photos, an updated look for GNOME Software, a redesigned keyboard settings panel, and many more.”

      • Parsix’ Nice GNOME, OpenMandriva 3 Sluggish, Firefox 49
      • GTK+ 3.22 GUI Toolkit Released for GNOME 3.22 as Devs Prepare for GTK+ 4.0

        Immediately after announcing the final release of the GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, Matthias Clasen also had the pleasure of informing us about the availability of the GTK+ 3.22 GUI toolkit.

        Most of you out there developing GTK+ apps know what this open source software is all about, and the latest stable build is now 3.22, released as part of the GNOME 3.22 desktop environment. However, it looks like this will be the last release in the GTK+ 3 series, as the developers are now preparing to bump the development builds to version 3.90.x towards GTK+ 4.0.

      • GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” Desktop Environment Is Officially Out, Here’s What’s New

        Today, September 21, 2016, is a big day for Linux users, especially those who love the GNOME desktop environment, as the next major release is now officially available.

      • Introducing GNOME 3.22: Karlsruhe

        GNOME 3.22 is the latest version of GNOME 3, and is the result of 6 months’ hard work by the GNOME community. It contains major new features, as well as many smaller improvements and bug fixes. In total, the release incorporates 22980 changes, made by approximately 775 contributors.

        3.22 has been named “Karlsruhe” in recognition of this year’s GUADEC organizing team. GUADEC is GNOME’s primary conference, which is held in Europe each year, and is only possible due to the amazing work of local volunteers.

      • GNOME 3.22 Official Release Video Uploaded to YouTube

        A GNOME 3.22 release video has gone live on YouTube. It gives users a look at the key changes that feature in the latest update to the Linux desktop environment.

      • GNOME 3.22 Released, This Is What’s New

        GNOME 3.22 is out, and it features comprehensive Flatpak support, file manager improvements, and a whole host more besides. Click through to read more.

      • Who wrote GTK+ 3.22

        Now that GTK+ 3.22.0 and GLib 2.50.0 have been released, it’s time to look back at this development cycle and see the contributions from people and companies that made these releases possible.

      • GNOME Software and Age Ratings

        After all the tarballs for GNOME 3.22 the master branch of gnome-software is now open to new features. Along with the usual cleanups and speedups one new feature I’ve been working on is finally merging the age ratings work.

      • GNOME 3.22 Released

        The GNOME Community has just announced the official release of GNOME 3.22. GNOME 3.22 — which is slated to be used as the desktop environment for Fedora Workstation 25 — provides a multitude of new features, including a the updated Files application, and comprehensive Flatpak integration with the Software application.

        Fedora users that want to try out the new features in GNOME 3.22 can install a pre-release version of Fedora 25, which currently contains a pre-release of GNOME 3.22, but will be updated to include the stable 3.22 release. Alternatively, if you are running Fedora 24, and want to try out individual applications from the GNOME 3.22 release, these can be installed via Flatpak.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Lx 3.0

        OpenMandriva is a member of the Mandriva (formally Mandrake Linux) family of Linux distributions. OpenMandriva strives to be a newcomer friendly, desktop operating system. The latest release, version 3.0, features version 5.6 of the KDE Plasma desktop environment and the Calamares system installer. This release of OpenMandriva was compiled using the Clang compiler which is unusual for a Linux distribution as most distributions use the GNU Compiler Collection to build their software. From the end-user’s perspective the choice of compiler will probably have no practical impact, but it does suggest the OpenMandriva team sees either a practical or philosophical benefit to using the liberally licensed Clang compiler.

        OpenMandriva is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. I downloaded the project’s 64-bit build which is approximately 1.8GB in size. Booting from the project’s media brings up a menu asking if we would like to start a live desktop session or launch the Calamares system installer. Taking the live option brings up a graphical configuration wizard which asks us a handful of questions. We are asked to select our preferred language from a list, accept a license agreement, select our keyboard’s layout from a list and confirm our time zone. With these steps completed, the wizard disappears and the Plasma desktop loads. The desktop displays an application menu, task switcher and system tray at the bottom of the screen. The wallpaper is a soft blue and, on the desktop, we find an icon which will launch the Calamares system installer. Other icons on the desktop are available for launching a welcome screen and accessing the OpenMandriva website.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Accepted apt 1.3 (source) into unstable
      • APT 1.3 Linux Package Manager Has Been Officially Released in Debian Unstabl

        On September 20, 2016, the APT development team, through Julian Andres Klode, announced the release of version 1.3 of the APT (Advanced Packaging Tool) command-line package manager.

        APT 1.3 has been in the works since early May this year, and it received a total of twelve development releases that brought numerous improvements and new features to one of the oldest and most acclaimed package managers for Debian-based GNU/Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

      • APT 1.3 Released For Debian Linux Distributions

        APT 1.3 is now available as the newest version of this Debian command-line package manager.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Snapcraft GUI 3.0 Released for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and Ubuntu 16.10

            Softpedia was informed today, September 21, 2016, by Snapcraft GUI developer Keshav Bhatt about the release of a new major update, version 3.0, for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and above.

            Last week, we introduced you guys to the Snapcraft GUI application, whose main goal is to help application developers who want to distribute their projects across multiple GNU/Linux distributions using Canonical’s innovative Snap universal binary package format build Snappy packages more easily.

          • Ubuntu to Run Much Faster in Virtual Machines, as Well as When Using It Remotely

            After releasing the OTA-13 update for Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Tablet devices, Canonical is now working hard on putting all the pieces together for next month’s Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system.

            Ubuntu 16.10 will be officially released on October 13, 2016, but until then we will be able to get an early taste of its new features by downloading the Final Beta ISO images, which for some of the opt-in flavors is called Beta 2. However, for Ubuntu itself, this will be the first and only Beta release.

          • Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Final Beta Freeze Now in Effect, Lands September 22

            Today, September 21, 2016, Canonical’s Adam Conrad announced that the soon-to-be-released Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Final Beta is now in freeze stage and will arrive, as initially planned, on September 22, 2016.

            However, early adopters should look for the release late Thursday or very early on Friday, September 23, because the Ubuntu developers are a little busy right now pushing last minute updates to the stable archive, and they also managed to land the new Linux 4.8 kernel packages earlier today, as reported right here on Softpedia.

          • Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Is Now Officially Powered by Linux Kernel 4.8

            Ubuntu 16.10 being in development and all that, it usually gets at least a few updated packages every 24 hours, and today, September 21, 2016, we were surprised to see that the Linux 4.8 kernel packages have finally landed.

          • IBM Forges More OpenStack Ties with Canonical and Red Hat

            IBM has a slew of news announcements this week. 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. We covered the news in depth here.

            Meanwhile, the company launched many new products that consist of a combination of Power, z Systems, and storage, with cloud-ready functionality already bundled.

          • Ubuntu Wants Your Opinion On Scopes and Colors

            Got a spare five minutes? You can help the Canonical design out by filling in a questionnaire. The team is looking to “gather information about how people perceive colours and use Scopes.” The short questionnaire is split into two sections: colour and Scopes.

          • Ubuntu Smartphones / Tablets Are Getting Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 Update
          • An Easy Way To Set the Bing Image of the Day As Your Linux Wallpaper
          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • A tiny Arduino Zero clone, and an Arduino for cosplayers

      Rabid Prototypes shipped a tiny Arduino Zero clone called the “Tau,” and launched an expanded Zero-like “Firecricket” for light, sound, and motion control.

      Early this year, before Boston-based Rabid Prototypes launched its second-generation, 36 x 18mm Neutrino 2.0 Arduino Zero clone on Kickstarter, it mounted a KS project for a smaller, 28 x 15mm “Tau” clone of the Arduino Zero. Due to ship in May, the Tau was delayed throughout the summer, but is finally shipping to backers. It’s also available for order to newcomers for $15, which is $5 more than the KS price. The original Neutrino 1.0 is once again back in stock, as well.

    • Hands-on with the quad-core ARM9 Roseapple Pi hacker SBC

      I use Raspberry Pi boards for several real-world jobs. My “STEAMpunk Conference Personality Identification Device” (aka: conference badge) uses a Pi to show an mp4 promotional video on its tiny 1.8-inch color TFT display while “orbing” its blue LED “ozone tube”, for added attention grabbing. Oh, it also includes my stage name “DR TORQ”, in big, bold antique-looking letters.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Tizen Store in Indonesia now supports Iocal currency (IDR)

          The next target market for the launch of the Samsung Z2 is expected to be Indonesia. The Tizen store recently started supporting Indonesian language and also recently the Samsung Z2 had passed certification process in Indonesia. Judging by the pace at which these developments are taking place with respect to Tizen in the country, it seems like we are just a matter of days away from its official unveiling. Samsung have now introduced paid services to the Tizen Store in Indonesia to release paid apps into the country.

        • Tizen-Running Samsung Gear Fit 2 price reduced on Amazon

          There is no doubt Samsung has got one of the best fitness and activity tracker in the market in the Gear Fit 2. The Samsung Gear Fit 2 is not only a robust wearable device but also one with lots of awesome features and it is no wonder the Tizen-powered wearable doesn’t come cheap.

          The thing is at its current price of $179.99, the Gear Fit 2 offers users much more than its monetary worth but even at that, the wearable device has got a price slash on Amazon, so intended buyers will have some change when they purchase the Gear Fit 2 from Amazon.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source software free (but not the free you’re thinking of)

    I like practical application. Recently, I’ve been trying to expand my horizons through studying Linux operating systems. I’ll use this opportunity to reinforce some of what I’ve learned and hopefully shed a little light on exactly what open source software is and how it’s used. For the sake of clarity, there is a lot more to the topic than discussed below, but we can only stuff so much info into the column!

    A common misconception is that open source software means free (as in beer). Open source software may be free to use or paid for, but the “free” in open source applies to the rights (as in speech) of the general public to use, distribute or modify the source software at will. Digging further, there are degrees of “openness” of open source software. As the term indicates, the source is open but generally the source is just the base element of the overall application. For instance, operating systems are typically comprised of a kernel and many other programs which work together, resulting in products like Microsoft Windows, macOS or Red Hat.

  • How do you get programmers to join your project?

    I inherited a project coded in $programming_language when the original developer quit and no one else stepped forward. It is currently hosted on GitHub and has a GPL 3 license.

    It’s a tool I use every day and I don’t want to see it die. I know very little $programming_language and very little GUI programming, so I can’t maintain it myself.

  • How open source is bringing blockchain to the enterprise

    During her part of the keynote address at IBM Edge 2016, Donna Dillenberger, IBM fellow, Watson Research Center, at IBM, demonstrated how analytics and transactions work together using The Linux Foundation’s version of blockchain, called Hyperledger.

  • Google’s Jigsaw subsidiary is building open-source AI tools to spot trolls

    Can Google bring peace to the web with machine learning? Jigsaw, a subsidiary of parent company Alphabet is certainly trying, building open-source AI tools designed to filter out abusive language. A new feature from Wired describes how the software has been trained on some 17 million comments left underneath New York Times stories, along with 13,000 discussions on Wikipedia pages. This data is labeled and then fed into the software — called Conversation AI — which begins to learn what bad comments look like.

  • Confessions of a Necromancer

    Bringing the dead machines to life was my passion for decades. Via the FFII I learned that people are the real challenge. I began to move into community building, spending a while helping Wikidot.com build their community. Yet in the end, there is nothing quite like writing some code and seeing a light turn on, and turn off again.

  • JPEG-Turbo Library 1.5.1 Released

    Version 1.5.1 of the libjpeg-turbo library is now available. For those that have somehow managed to never hear of it, libjpeg-turbo is a BSD-licensed, faster JPEG image codec than libjpeg and has various other feature differences.

  • Checking in on the Taiga project management tool

    Taiga is one of the most popular open source project management tools out there right now. It is known for being usable and having a beautiful interface, and Opensource.com listed it in both the Top 5 open source project management tools in 2015 and the Top 11 project management tools for 2016.

    I covered Taiga soon after it was released in October 2014, and two years later it’s time to check in and see how things are going for the new company. I spoke with co-CEO Enrique Posner about their 150,000 users, developer community, and what’s next.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Ditching Microsoft Office? Tips on how to switch to LibreOffice

      Since open-source office suites started gaining popularity more than a decade ago, some large organizations have been turning away from Microsoft Office.

      The Italian ministry of defence’s migration of more than 120,000 PCs to the open-source LibreOffice is just the latest in a string of projects to replace Microsoft at European authorities.

      However, while momentum may be gathering, these organizations remain in the minority, and businesses generally haven’t followed suit in jumping off the Microsoft Office bandwagon.

    • Official Results of the 2016 Membership Committee Elections

      The board wants to take the opportunity to thank all past and new members of the Membership Committee for their service to the community, and all candidates for running. Congratulations to the newly elected committee members and their deputies!

  • CMS

    • A brief history of Drupal from 1.0 to 8.0

      Drupal began as a forum for a few friends to monitor their shared Internet connection, which “was expensive and being spliced between them,” according to Jared Whitehead’s The rise of Drupal and the fall of closed source. Today, it’s one of the most popular content management systems out there, competing with powerhouses like WordPress.

      So, what has the Drupal community done to ensure continued competitiveness, usability, and overall sustainability? In this article, I’ll walk you through Drupal’s evolution chronologically, including key design decisions and feature upgrades. My sources include the History of Drupal: from Drop 1.0 to Drupal 8.0 slideshow by WebSolutions HR and Drupal’s CHANGELOG.txt.

  • Education

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


  • Public Services/Government

    • Dear The Sun: we need to talk about your understanding of open source

      I want to talk to you about this article, and the claims it makes about open source software. I would have liked to chat to your cited expert, whom you’ve listed only as Neil Doyle. Sadly, the article fails to specify his area of expertise and both messages and emails to author Ryan Sabey asking for further information have gone unanswered. So I’m responding to it here, supported by some brilliant, contactable experts in security and open source.

      After sitting open-mouthed at the misinformation in this article for some time, I began to reach out to fellow tech experts to see if they felt the same. I first contacted Dr. Jessica Barker, the independent cybersecurity authority behind cyber.uk. I asked if she could address the concerns you raised that use of open source software in the public sector would pose security risks.


      “The Sun seems to be implying that open source software is more vulnerable to attack than closed source, which is a sweeping misunderstanding that fails to take the complex nature of cybersecurity into account.

      Both open source and closed source software can be vulnerable to exploit, however these vulnerabilities are arguably more likely to be discovered in open source rather than closed source software as more people (including security researchers) are able to look at it. By its nature, it is publicly available and so it’s harder to hide malicious vulnerabilities”.

    • DOD Aims to Make Cybersecurity a Fundamental Part of Its Tech Mission
    • The Department of Software?

      Well-developed software can make or break modern weapons systems. Software problems initially hindered F-35 production, for example. The Department of Defense (DOD) set up a Digital Service team last year to help the military solve its information technology problems. Future work on autonomous systems will heavily rely on software development. Most importantly, the DOD will have to protect its own data. To improve the DOD’s use of software, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) looked at how the Pentagon could better use “open source software.” While the DOD uses some open source software, its full utilization for military software development will require deeper changes to how the DOD approaches code.

    • John Weathersby: Selling Open Source to the Federal Government

      John Weathersby founded and ran the Open Source Software Institute to “promote the development and implementation of open source software solutions within U.S. federal, state, and local government agencies.” A worthy goal!

      But why stick to nothing but software? In 2014, Weathersby founded The Open Technology Center at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (in Mississippi), which is a “non-profit research and development entity sponsored by the Mississippi National Guard and U.S. Department of Homeland Security whose mission is to innovate and integrate open source software technologies for use within national defense and security organizations.”

      The OTC is doing some neat stuff, ranging from autonomous vehicles to making it easier for local governments to request, receive, and account for disaster recovery funds in the wake of an emergency. It’s all good! And it’s all about open source, which is why it’s worth listening to what Weathersby has to say.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • OSI Approved Licenses, a Foundation for Federal Source Code Policy

      The Federal Source Code memorandum includes a subject line that clearly communicates the federal government’s commitment, “Achieving Efficiency, Transparency, and Innovation through Reusable and Open Source Software,” and we applaud the OMB for their compressive work: introducing the benefits of open source software, development and communities to a bureaucracy often challenged to move away from traditional modes of practice and policy; engaging with the larger technology sector in a inclusive and comprehensive review of current, and potential future-states for software development and use within the government, and; actually delivering a policy that can serve as a foundation to build on.

    • GitHub repos now prominently show open-source licenses

      GitHub, the source code repository software company with a website where people host and collaborate on open-source software projects, today announced a small but meaningful update to repository pages online — now they prominently display which open-source licenses are used. When you click on the name of the license, you’ll be brought to the license for the repository.

      The change will be coming to GitHub Enterprise, just like the updated profiles, GitHub Projects tool, and pull request reviews that GitHub brought to the GitHub.com last week, GitHub product manager Ayman Nadeem wrote in a blog post.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • The Future of Geomatics is Open Source

        With no disrespect intended to the other geomatics conferences around (and there are many with high-quality and extremely relevant programmes), the FOSS4G (‘Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial’) conferences are different. FOSS4G 2016 was held in the former plenary chamber of the German Bundestag in Bonn yet, despite this prestigious setting, the atmosphere was very laid-back. Participants dressed in shorts and FOSS4G T-shirts, a beer (or two) in the afternoon, a sense of humour throughout the whole event and a very vibrant social programme (the ice-breaker at the wonderful BaseCamp Hostel Bonn and the Rhine cruise were instant hits!) summed up the vibe at FOSS4G.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • UltraSoC lends debug to open-source ISA RISC-V

        RISC-V was originally designed to support computer architecture research and education, but as concern has grown in the industry about the increasing dominance of one or two proprietary microprocessor architectures, the RISC-V ISA has aroused interest as a potential open architecture for commercial use. A strong development and debug infrastructure is essential to the success of any chip architecture, and UltraSoC’s vendor-neutral, partnership-based approach, the company believes, complements the RISC-V open ISA principles.

  • Programming/Development

    • is go an acceptable cml?

      Yesterday I tried to summarize the things I know about Concurrent ML, and I came to the tentative conclusion that Go (and any Go-like system) was an acceptable CML. Turns out I was both wrong and right.

    • concurrent ml versus go

      Peoples! Lately I’ve been navigating the guile-ship through waters unknown. This post is something of an echolocation to figure out where the hell this ship is and where it should go.

      Concretely, I have been working on getting a nice lightweight concurrency system rolling for Guile. I’ll write more about that later, but you can think of it as being modelled on Go, though built as a library. (I had previously described it as “Erlang-like”, but that’s just not accurate.)


  • Why project managers need to lose control

    Being accountable for the planning, execution, and delivery of a project is demanding. Managing people, facilitating communication, resolving conflict, and mitigating risk are prerequisites to completing on schedule, and within an agreed budget. Add to this the often unpredictable nature of these factors and it’s little wonder that project managers feel a great burden of responsibility.

    Those suited to such a role are acutely aware of this responsibility and it’s something they take on quite willingly. They perceive the role of a project manager as a guardian presiding over a project in order to protect it from failure. They are the last line of defense, willing to take the fall should something go wrong. It’s an admirable position of leadership they seek to adopt, but the responsibilities attached to it can become overwhelming for even the most seasoned practitioners.

    That’s why I think they need to lose control.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UN Agrees Political Declaration On Antibiotic Resistance

      The membership of the United Nations today agreed a political declaration on antimicrobial resistance, elevating the global fight against overuse and misuse of antibiotics – and lack of new antibiotics – to the highest political level. The declaration struck by world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York includes mention of separating medicine prices from the cost of research and development, and calls on the UN secretary-general to create an interagency coordination group. Now – as framed by many governments, intergovernmental organisations and nongovernmental representatives – attention moves to implementation of actions aimed at staving off this threat to humanity itself.

  • Security

    • Bug that hit Firefox and Tor browsers was hard to spot—now we know why

      As a result, the cross-platform, malicious code-execution risk most recently visited users of browsers based on the Firefox Extended Release on September 3 and lasted until Tuesday, or a total of 17 days. The same Firefox version was vulnerable for an even longer window last year, starting on July 4 and lasting until August 11. The bug was scheduled to reappear for a few days in November and for five weeks in December and January. Both the Tor Browser and the production version of Firefox were vulnerable during similarly irregular windows of time.

    • Florida Man Charged With Hacking Linux Servers

      Donald Ryan Austin of South Florida has been arrested on charges of hacking into the networks of Linux Kernel Organization and Linux Foundation and installing malicious software. A US Department of Justice (DoJ) release said Austin, who is a computer programmer, is now out on bail and could face a maximum sentence of 10 years if convicted.

      According to the indictment, Austin stole the credentials of an employee to break into the Linux networks and installed rootkit and Trojan software apart from altering the servers. He has been charged with four counts of deliberate damage to a protected computer.

    • Why do hackers prefer Linux?

      Linux has much to offer any computer user, but it has proven to be particularly popular with hackers. A writer at The Merkle recently considered the reasons why hackers have so much love for Linux.

    • How To Get “Hollywood Hacker Feel” In Your Linux Command Line?

      A developer has created a command line utility which can give you the feel of Hollywood movie hacker. His tool replicates the decrypting text seen from the 1992 hacker movie Sneakers. The code is freely available on his GitHub page.

    • DDoS attacks: For the hell of it or targeted – how do you see them off?

      Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can be painful and debilitating. How can you defend against them? Originally, out-of-band or scrubbing-centre DDoS protection was the only show in town, but another approach, inline mitigation, provides a viable and automatic alternative.

      DDoS attacks can be massive, in some cases reaching hundreds of Gbits/sec, but those mammoths are relatively rare. For the most part, attackers will flood companies with around 1 Gbit/sec of traffic or less. They’re also relatively short affairs, with most attacks lasting 30 minutes or less. This enables attackers to slow down computing resources or take them offline altogether while flying under the radar, making it especially difficult for companies to detect and stop them.

    • IoT and a new type of threat for Linux

      Linux has played a significant role in establishing IoT devices as increasingly important parts of our everyday lives, both at home and in the enterprise. Linux based OSes make it easy for developers to create applications that can run on anything, from a fridge to a car, and as a result 73 percent of IoT developers use Linux to run applications on.

      Now, however, questions of security are arising. With IoT gesturing in a brave new world of connected devices, businesses must cope with a greater number of entry points and vulnerabilities, with security the top concern in the industry.

      By placing such a burden on Linux’s security capabilities, there are now real fears that IoT devices will be left exposed and businesses will pay the price.

    • NIST Seeks Comments on Cybersecurity Reports

      The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently issued two draft reports on cybersecurity issues of interest to industrial IoT users, and is seeking industry comment before making their final revisions. One report describes the proposed manufacturing profile for NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework. The other addresses cryptography standards and practices for resource-constrained processors.

      Recognizing that the national and economic security of the United States depends on the reliable functioning of critical infrastructure, NIST created in 2014 a voluntary Cybersecurity Framework, which is a compendium of industry standards and best practices to help organizations manage cybersecurity risks. Created through collaboration between government and the private sector, the Framework helps guide cybersecurity activities and encourages organizations to consider cybersecurity risks as part of their risk management processes. Profiles, a key element of the Framework, help an organization align its cybersecurity activities with its business requirements, risk tolerances, and resources. A profile is intended both to help identify opportunities for improving cybersecurity as well as providing a touchstone to compare against in order to prioritize process improvement activities.

    • Hackers Able To Control Tesla S Systems From Twelve Miles Away

      Over the last few years, we’ve well documented the abysmal security in the internet of things space. And while refrigerators that leak your Gmail credentials are certainly problematic, the rise in exploitable vehicle network security is exponentially more worrying. Reports emerge almost monthly detailing how easy it is for hackers to bypass vehicle security, allowing them to at best fiddle with in-car systems like air conditioning, and at worst take total control of a compromised vehicle. It’s particularly problematic given these exploits may take years to identify and patch.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • DR Congo is once again spiraling into violence ahead of an election

      The headquarters of one the Democratic Republic of Congo’s main opposition parties was torched on Sept. 20. According to Reuters, at least two people died in the blaze. A day earlier, an anti-government protest turned deadly, after at least 17 people died in clashes, according to the country’s interior ministry. Opposition parties put the number at 53, while activists say 25 protesters were shot.

      The violence has once again left Africa’s largest country teetering on the brink of violence ahead of a crucial election. The resource-wealthy country has never experienced a peaceful transition and the political violence carries the fear that a civil war that left nearly four million people dead between 1996 and 2003 may resurface.

  • Finance

    • New Economic Study Indicates EU-Canada Trade Deal Will Cause ‘Unemployment, Inequality And Welfare Losses’

      As Techdirt noted back in January, it is astonishing that the TPP negotiations proceeded for years with almost no detailed analysis of whether they would be beneficial. It was only recently, after the text had been finalized, that a number of studies started to appear which explored the likely impact of TPP in some depth. Strikingly, every single one of them predicted almost no benefit for the US economy from the deal.

      The situation for TPP is rather better than for the other big US trade negotiations currently underway, TAFTA/TTIP, where attempts to model its impact are thin on the ground. The same is true for CETA, the EU-Canada trade deal that was supposedly “finished” two years ago, and yet still hasn’t been passed because of the text’s deep problems, not least because of its corporate sovereignty provisions. Despite the fact that CETA may be quite close to final ratification — although growing resistance to it in Europe may still stop it — we have very few studies of what benefits it might bring. The main one is the official analysis that was used to kick off the talks (pdf) in the first place, published in 2008.

    • ‘No TTIP, No CETA!’ Brussels Protests Against Free Trade

      Thousands of protesters marched through Brussels on Tuesday to demand the European Union abandon planned trans-atlantic free trade deals they say will worsen labor conditions and allow big business to challenge governments.

      Organizers, including unions, environmental and consumer groups and public health insurers, said between 10,000 and 15,000 people headed to the EU quarter of Brussels by early evening. Police put the number at 6,000.

    • ICIJ publishes leaked Bahamas info to offshore database

      New revelations published today by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and news organizations from Europe, South America, Asia and Africa reveal fresh information about offshore companies in the Bahamas.

      Alongside detailed reporting, ICIJ, Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners are making details from the Bahamas corporate registry available to the public. This creates, for the first time, a free, online and publicly-searchable database of offshore companies set up in the island nation that has sometimes been called “The Switzerland of the West.”

      “We see it as a service to the public to make this basic kind of information openly available,” said Gerard Ryle, the director of ICIJ.

      “There is much evidence to suggest that where you have secrecy in the offshore world you have the potential for wrong doing. So let’s eliminate the secrecy.”

      The cache of documents from the island nation’s corporate registry provides names of directors and some owners of more than 175,000 Bahamian companies, trusts and foundations registered between 1990 and early 2016.

    • Legal doubt, political concerns, overshadow CETA-TTIP ahead of Bratislava Summit

      Tomorrow’s two day meeting of EU trade ministers in Bratislava is set to be interesting. A circle of rumours and uncertainty surround both TTIP and CETA, and both face a mountain of legal and political challenges that may still be their undoing.

      French Foreign Trade Minister has vowed to ask his colleagues that the TTIP talks are suspended (which may already de facto be the case.) In a sign of desperation, German minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel flew to Canada last week to personally secure further concessions in CETA, despite the Canadian government and the Commission reaffirming that the negotiations are closed. This week, tens of thousands took to the streets in protest in Brussels and German cities, while sources all but confirm that TTIP will be effectively shelved until next summer, after no signs of progress from the US side and Brexit implications to mull over. All of these developments will need to be considered by EU ministers in Bratislava.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Your Vote For Jill Stein Is Not A Wasted Vote

      When Jill Stein ran as the Green Party’s presidential nominee in 2012, media attention to her candidacy was rare. Now, with two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in history, she has received widespread attention. There seems to be record interest in third party campaigns, including Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

      The Nation published a debate between Socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant and Nation contributor Joshua Holland.

      The editors gave Sawant’s column the negative headline—”Don’t Waste Your Vote On the Corporate Agenda—Vote for Jill Stein and the Greens”—but column does not hinge on loathing Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Rather, it makes a positive case for supporting Stein by primarily arguing the need for progressives to build an alternative to the two pro-capitalist political parties in America. It has a long-term focus on bringing about radical change.

    • Voting for Jill Stein is a Moral Imperative if George H.W. Bush Votes for Clinton

      When Seth MacFarlane warns people on Twitter that voting for Jill Stein will lead to Trump, he forgets that Hillary Clinton spread this photo of Barack Obama in 2008. President Obama’s campaign manager at the time described it as “the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election.” Furthermore, while Donald Trump is overtly xenophobic and utilizes racism to gain votes, Clinton also ran a 3 a.m. ad in 2008 that contained a “racist sub-message.” As stated by Harvard’s Orlando Patterson in The New York Times, “It is striking, too, that during the same weekend the ad was broadcast, Mrs. Clinton refused to state unambiguously that Mr. Obama is a Christian and has never been a Muslim.”

    • A Cop Killed a Black Man–Then Things Got ‘Ugly’

      Funny—some might say that the turn toward ugliness occurred in the afternoon, when a police officer fatally shot a black man.

    • Media Ask Which Candidate Can Better Exploit Our Irrational Fear of Terrorism

      Something missing from these reports is any discussion of the relative danger of terrorism. The reporters begin with the premise that voters are afraid of it, never challenging the underlying rationality of those fears.

      The reality is that terrorism remains, objectively, a very minor threat. (One is 82 times more likely to be killed falling out of bed than by a terrorist.) But by framing the issue as an urgent danger, with two candidates “dueling” over opposing ways of addressing this menace, the media further inflate terrorism’s importance. Can one even imagine Trump and Clinton “jockeying” for position on climate change, or violence against women and LGBT communities, or lowering heart disease—all of which, statistically, are far, far more dangerous than terrorism?

      This isn’t a new problem, of course. In nine Democratic primary debates, for example, the moderators asked a total of 30 questions about terrorism or ISIS, and not one question about poverty (FAIR.org, 5/27/16). (A 2011 study by Columbia’s school of public health estimated that 4.5 percent of all deaths in the United States are attributable to poverty.)

    • Hillary Clinton’s $21,667,000 “Speaking Fees” Fortune, Broken Down Speech by Speech

      And an aside…if you think Hillary’s $21,667,000 was a lot of income for the Clinton clan, you can also tack on an additional $26,630,000 for her ex-president hubby Bill Clinton, and his “speaking fees” collected during the same time period.

      4/18/2013, Morgan Stanley Washington, DC: $225,000
      4/24/2013, Deutsche Bank Washington, DC: $225,000
      4/24/2013, National Multi Housing Council Dallas, TX: $225,000
      4/30/2013, Fidelity Investments Naples, FL: $225,000
      5/8/2013, Gap, Inc. San Francisco, CA: $225,000
      5/14/2013, Apollo Management Holdings, LP New York, NY: $225,000
      5/16/2013, Itau BBA USA Securities New York, NY: $225,000
      5/21/2013, Verizon Communications, Inc. Washington, DC: $225,000
      5/29/2013, Sanford C. Bernstein and Co., LLC New York, NY: $225,000
      6/4/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group Palmetto Bluffs, SC: $225,000
      6/6/2013, Spencer Stuart New York, NY: $225,000
      6/16/2013, Society for Human Resource Management Chicago, IL: $285,000
      6/17/2013, Economic Club of Grand Rapids Grand Rapids, MI: $225,000
      6/20/2013, Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Boston, MA: $225,000
      6/20/2013, Let’s Talk Entertainment, Inc. Toronto, Canada: $250,000
      6/24/2013, American Jewish University Universal City, CA: $225,000
      6/24/2013, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company, LP Palos Verdes, CA: $225,000
      7/11/2013, UBS Wealth Management New York, NY: $225,000
      8/7/2013, Global Business Travel Association San Diego, CA: $225,000
      8/12/2013, National Association of Chain Drug Stores Las Vegas, NV: $225,000
      9/18/2013, American Society for Clinical Pathology Chicago, IL: $225,000
      9/19/2013, American Society of Travel Agents, Inc. Miami, FL: $225,000
      10/4/2013, Long Island Association Long Island, NY: $225,000
      10/15/2013, National Association of Convenience Stores Atlanta, GA: $265,000
      10/23/2013, SAP Global Marketing, Inc. New York, NY: $225,000
      10/24/2013, Accenture New York, NY: $225,000
      10/24/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group New York, NY: $225,000
      10/27/2013, Beth El Synagogue Minneapolis, AIN: $225,000
      10/28/2013, Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Chicago, IL: $400,000
      10/29/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group Tuscon, AZ: $225,000
      11/4/2013, Mase Productions, Inc. Orlando, FL: $225,000
      11/4/2013, London Drugs, Ltd. Mississauga, ON: $225,000
      11/6/2013, Beaumont Health System Troy, 111: $305,000
      11/7/2013, Golden Tree Asset Management New York, NY: $275,000
      11/9/2013, National Association of Realtors San Francisco, CA: $225,000
      11/13/2013, Mediacorp Canada, Inc. Toronto, Canada: $225,000
      11/13/2013, Bank of America Bluffton, SC: $225,000
      11/14/2013, CB Richard Ellis, Inc. New York, NY: $250,000
      11/18/2013, CIIE Group Naples, FL: $225,000
      11/18/2013, Press Ganey Orlando, FL: $225,000
      11/21/2013, U.S. Green Building Council Philadelphia, PA: $225,000
      01/06/2014, GE Boca Raton, Fl.: $225,500
      01/27/2014, National Automobile Dealers Association New Orleans, La.: $325,500
      01/27/2014, Premier Health Alliance Miami, Fl.: $225,500
      02/06/2014, Salesforce.com Las Vegas, Nv.: $225,500
      02/17/2014, Novo Nordisk A/S Mexico City, Mexico: $125,000
      02/26/2014, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Orlando, Fl.: $225,500
      02/27/2014, A&E Television Networks New York, N.Y.: $280,000
      03/04/2014, Association of Corporate Counsel – Southern California Los Angeles, Ca.: $225,500
      03/05/2014, The Vancouver Board of Trade Vancouver, Canada: $275,500
      03/06/2014, tinePublic Inc. Calgary, Canada: $225,500
      03/13/2014, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association Orlando, Fl.: $225,500
      03/13/2014, Drug Chemical and Associated Technologies New York, N.Y.: $250,000
      03/18/2014, Xerox Corporation New York, N.Y.: $225,000
      03/18/2014, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal Montreal, Canada: $275,000
      03/24/2014, Academic Partnerships Dallas, Tx.: $225,500
      04/08/2014, Market° Inc. San Francisco, Ca.: $225,500
      04/08/2014, World Affairs Council Portland, Or.: $250,500
      04/10/2014, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. Las Vegas, Nv.: $225,500
      04/10/2014, Lees Talk Entertainment San Jose, Ca.: $265,000
      04/11/2014, California Medical Association (via satellite) San Diego, Ca.: $100,000
      05/06/2014, National Council for Behavioral Healthcare Washington D.C.: $225,500
      06/02/2014, International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association Denver, Co.: $225,500
      06/02/2014, Lees Talk Entertainment Denver, Co.: $265,000
      06/10/2014, United Fresh Produce Association Chicago, II.: $225,000
      06/16/2014, tinePublic Inc. Toronto, Canada: $150,000
      06/18/2014, tinePublic Inc. Edmonton, Canada: $100,000
      06/20/2014, Innovation Arts and Entertainment Austin, Tx.: $150,000
      06/25/2014, Biotechnology Industry Organization San Diego, Ca.: $335,000
      06/25/2014, Innovation Arts and Entertainment San Francisco, Ca.: $150,000
      06/26/2014, GTCR Chicago, II.: $280,000
      07/22/2014, Knewton, Inc. San Francisco, Ca.: $225,500
      07/26/2014, Ameriprise Boston, Ma.: $225,500
      07/29/2014, Coming, Inc. Coming, N.Y.: $225,500
      08/28/2014, Nexenta Systems, Inc. San Francisco, Ca.: $300,000
      08/28/2014, Cisco Las Vegas, Nv.: $325,000
      09/04/2014, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP San Diego, Ca.: $225,500
      09/15/2014, Caridovascular Research Foundation Washington D.C.: $275,000
      10/02/2014, Commercial Real Estate Women Network Miami Beach, Fl.: $225,500
      10/06/2014, Canada 2020 Ottawa, Canada: $215,500
      10/07/2014, Deutsche Bank AG New York, N.Y.: $280,000
      10/08/2014, Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) Chicago, II.: $265,000
      10/13/2014, Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers Colorado Springs, Co.: $225,500
      10/14/2014, Salesforce.com San Francisco, Ca.: $225,500
      10/14/2014, Qualcomm Incorporated San Diego, Ca.: $335,000
      12/04/2014, Massachusetts Conference for Women Boston, Ma.: $205,500
      01/21/2015, tinePublic Inc. Winnipeg, Canada: $262,000
      01/21/2015, tinePublic Inc. Saskatoon, Canada: $262,500
      01/22/2015, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Whistler, Canada: $150,000
      02/24/2015, Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women Santa Clara, Ca.: $225,500
      03/11/2015, eBay Inc. San Jose, Ca.: $315,000
      03/19/2015, American Camping Association Atlantic City, NJ.: $260,000

      Total: $21,667,000

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Belgium unveils plans for its own highly intrusive Snoopers’ Charter

      Belgium’s government has called for a bevy of intrusive surveillance powers. New capabilities included in the bill, which has been sent to Belgian parliament, include requiring Internet companies to cooperate with law enforcement agencies during their investigations; giving investigators the power to break into systems and access data, including by paying hackers to do so; and allowing undercover agents to break the law online.

      According to a report in the Belgian newspaper L’Echo, the new bill requires communications service providers to help the authorities with their investigation, and specifically mentions WhatsApp and Viber as services that will be required to comply. That would seem to raise the problem of end-to-end encryption that other countries are grappling with, including the UK, but it is not clear what the Belgian government hopes to do here.

    • ePrivacy Directive: The European Commission Must Commit to Confidentiality of the Communications

      The European Commission should submit this autumn a draft revision of the 2002 directive on privacy in the electronic communications sector, also called “ePrivacy directive”. This future draft follows a public consultation launched by the European Commission in April 2016 that La Quadrature answered. While for months the telecoms industry, GAFA and member States have been intensely lobbying against this fundamental text, the European Commission must resist these pressures and seriously take into account the proposals from civil society associations in order to produce legislation respectful of fundamental rights, including the right to encryption.

    • Fifteen secret warrants in force granting bulk data collection in UK

      There are 15 secret “directions” in force under the Telecommunications Act enabling the intelligence services to collect bulk data about online and phone traffic, a surveillance watchdog has revealed.

      The number of orders imposed on telephone and internet companies under section 94 of the 1984 legislation has been published for the first time by the interception of communications commissioner’s office (IOCCO). The firms involved have not been identified.

      A further eight directions have been made to provide for emergency services and to protect security personnel, according to a report on the operation of the rarely disclosed powers.

      Parliament does not have to be notified of section 94 directions and until last year they were not subject to formal oversight from any watchdog. Their operation will be reorganised under the investigatory powers bill although the IOCCO is pressing for stronger oversight of bulk communications data collection.

    • Sitting Down with a Post-9/11 Whistleblower

      In the years after 9/11, Thomas Drake, then a National Security Agency (NSA) executive, saw something he couldn’t abide: an NSA-led program named Stellarwind. The dragnet-surveillance operation was spying on American citizens using a combination of wiretapping and mass-data collection through the internet.

      Drake protested internally, feeling that Stellarwind violated the Fourth Amendment and was highly illegal—a warrantless surveillance of citizens on home soil. But Michael Hayden, then the head of the NSA who presided over the program, believed American spies had to do whatever it took to prevent another such tragedy.

    • Google backs off on previously announced Allo privacy feature

      When Allo was announced at Google’s I/O conference earlier this year, the messaging app was presented as a step forward for privacy. Alongside the end-to-end-encrypted Incognito Mode, the Allo team talked about bold new message retention practices, storing messages only transiently rather than indefinitely.

      But with the release of the app today, Google is backing off on some of those features.

      The version of Allo rolling out today will store all non-incognito messages by default — a clear change from Google’s earlier statements that the app would only store messages transiently and in non-identifiable form. The records will now persist until the user actively deletes them, giving Google default access to a full history of conversations in the app. Users can also avoid the logging by using Allo’s Incognito Mode, which is still fully end-to-end encrypted and unchanged from the initial announcement.

    • U.S. judge lists one year’s government electronic surveillance requests in D.C.

      A federal judge released a list Wednesday of all sealed requests made in Washington in 2012 for a rapidly growing form of government electronic surveillance, a step toward bringing more public scrutiny to secret law enforcement activities.

      The action came in a case brought by a journalist to unseal a much larger collection of information about court-ordered surveillance of Americans’ telephone and Internet activity in closed criminal investigations in the nation’s capital.

      Legal experts say even the selective release marks the first time a U.S. district court has made a systematic disclosure of how often law enforcement seeks court orders under a 1986 statute to obtain individuals’ electronic records from communication service providers. The release potentially could serve as a model for court disclosure elsewhere, several legal experts said.

    • Head of Dutch security service is fed up with privacy concerns

      Will people who value privacy know that they allowed a terrorist attack to take place? Rob Bertholee, head of the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands (AIVD) made this and other bold statements in a revealing interview, clearly showing his frustration about legitimate privacy concerns.

      In the interview (in the Dutch daily De Volkskrant) he demands access to any encrypted communications despite the major security implications this may have for millions of citizens. By taking this position he even goes against the position of the Dutch government made earlier this year, when it said it would: “not adopt restrictive legislative measures against the development, availability and use of encryption within the Netherlands.”. And when he is challenged by the interviewer, Huib Modderkolk, about the negative consequences of the new powers he demands, he responds by framing the issue as a false dichotomy between privacy and security.

      Bits of Freedom is worried that the head of the Dutch security service does not fully recognize that the right to privacy and the use of encryption is a core element of a secure and free society. It is not possible to weaken encryption just a little bit for “good causes” only. Introducing back doors would not only allow the Dutch security service to access encrypted communications but also make our communications vulnerable to criminals and foreign intelligence services.

    • ‘Snowden’ movie presents another side to whistleblower

      This is a pretty in-your-face criticism of empire, the kind that we rarely hear in the major media — even if the simple truth of it is well-known to tens of millions of Americans. The idea that foreign terrorism, which kills fewer Americans than lightning each year, could be used as an excuse for all kinds of abuses and interventions worldwide, is widely suppressed in the United States.

      We also learn from Snowden that he was morally repulsed by the war crimes that our government commits under the false pretext of “national security.” He explains to his coworkers, while working for Booz Allen Hamilton as a contractor for the CIA, that they could be criminally liable for killing civilians with drone strikes, and for other crimes.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Police Accidentally Record Themselves Conspiring to Fabricate Criminal Charges Against Protester

      The ACLU of Connecticut is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him. In what seems like an unlikely stroke of cosmic karma, the recording came about after a camera belonging to the protester, Michael Picard, was illegally seized by a trooper who didn’t know that it was recording and carried it back to his patrol car, where it then captured the troopers’ plotting.

      “Let’s give him something,” one trooper declared. Another suggested, “we can hit him with creating a public disturbance.” “Gotta cover our ass,” remarked a third.

    • Stein/Baraka statement on the death of Keith Lamont Scott

      Stein/Baraka statement on the death of Keith Lamont Scott and protests in Charlotte, NC – the demand is simple: stop the killing.

      Our hearts are breaking once again. Keith Lamont Scott, a disabled father of seven, was reportedly killed by police in Charlotte, North Carolina yesterday while sitting in a car reading a book. This gut-wrenching incident follows the death of Terence Crutcher earlier this week, who was killed by police with his hands up next to his car.

      The community response in Charlotte is an understandable expression of anguish and represents the unmet demand for justice.

    • Whistleblower air marshal is back to work, but on the ground

      The whistleblower won his job back thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court – a rare victory, and a vindication. But what does winning mean when you actually show up at work?

      For improperly fired air marshal Robert MacLean, it meant six months in a far-flung office with no colleagues and no duties. It meant complaints filed with various governmental agencies over continued retaliation. And, as of last month, it meant finally being sprung from near-solitary confinement and assigned to the Transportation Security Administration’s VIPER team in Washington D.C.

      That’s “Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response” to you and me. Its mission is counterterrorism, and it patrols aviation, rail and marine facilities nationwide.

      “I’m actually doing police work,” said MacLean, formerly of Ladera Ranch, who was blackballed from law enforcement after the TSA fired him for disclosing information that embarrassed the agency.

    • Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Appears to Have Suffered a Heart Attack in Prison

      Prison medical officials told Jeffrey two weeks ago that they would take him out to see a specialist, but that never happened. They told Jeffrey recently that it was the cardiologist who had cancelled the visit, a very unlikely proposition. In the meantime, he was forced to initiate something called the “Administrative Remedy Process,” which theoretically would force the warden to take action to help him. More on that in a moment.

      Holly Sterling has been tireless in her work to get her husband to a cardiologist. She asked Jeffrey’s sentencing judge, Leonie Brinkema, to intervene. Brinkema refused. She then enlisted the support of Norman Solomon’s Roots Action, which has asked supporters to call Warden Deborah Denham at 303-763-4300. In addition to the warden, Solomon recommends contacting the Bureau of Prisons’ North Central Regional Office by calling Sara M. Revell at 913-621-3939 or writing to her at ExecAssistant@bop.gov. Our grass roots pressure may be the only thing that gets Jeffrey Sterling to a cardiologist. It could save his life.

    • Florida Forces Students Without Parent Note To Stand During Pledge, National Anthem

      Florida’s Orange County Public Schools announced this week students must have parental permission if they want to kneel during the national anthem at football games or otherwise silently protest, such as refusing the say the pledge of allegiance.

      The move comes after students in a single school district knelt in solidarity with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest against social injustice in America.

      Exercising First Amendment rights in Florida now requires parental permission.

    • Teenage Girl Dies After Incident at For-profit Group Home

      Maryland is one of several states that send difficult cases to AdvoServ because they cannot find beds and schooling closer to home. The company, which is owned by a private equity firm, is based in Delaware and reported last year that it cared for roughly 700 children and adults in that state, Florida, and New Jersey, and was expanding into Virginia.

      Gowen filed a lawsuit this summer in Delaware against AdvoServ , on behalf of a young resident who says he was left unsupervised and raped repeatedly by other clients at AdvoServ homes during more than four years there. His neck was also injured during a restraint performed by workers.

    • Documents From Chelsea Manning Show How Army Is Punishing Her For Suicide Attempt

      Chelsea Manning has released documents through the grassroots advocacy organization, Fight For the Future, which offer a glimpse into how the United States Army is punishing Manning for attempting suicide in July.

      On September 22, Manning will go before a three-person disciplinary board. The board will review evidence related to three administrative charges she faces and determine her punishment. It could involve indefinite solitary confinement, loss of access to the phone and law library, or an extension of the time before she is eligible for parole.

      One form indicates Manning has a “right to consult with an attorney” over the phone at her “own expense,” but she is not allowed to have her attorney with her at the hearing. She may “present during all open sessions” of the disciplinary board, make statements and present documentary evidence, call witnesses to present relevant testimony, and question “adverse witnesses” through the board’s president.

    • Another Judge Declares FBI’s Playpen Warrant Invalid, Suppresses All Evidence

      Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica reports that another federal judge has found the warrant used by the FBI to deploy its Tor-busting malware is invalid. This finding isn’t unique. Multiple judges in various jurisdictions have found the warrant invalid due to Rule 41, which limits execution of warrants to the jurisdiction where they were issued. But only in a few of the dozens of cases stemming from the FBI’s child porn investigation has a judge ruled to suppress the evidence obtained by the FBI’s NIT.

    • Hillary Clinton To Silicon Valley: Nerd Harder, To Silence Terrorists, Nerds!

      With the explosive devices in NY and NJ from this past weekend, Hillary Clinton has decided, once again, that it’s time to blame Silicon Valley for not doing more to magically stop terrorists from terroristing.

    • ‘The Bodies of Prisoners Are Commodities’ – CounterSpin interview with Noelle Hanrahan on prison strike

      Corporate media could barely have shown less interest. One CBS report, an AP story, and some local accounts in Florida and Alabama were about it, as we tape on September 15. The US, we are told, is engaged in a newly serious conversation about mass incarceration. Leave it to elite media to think they can host that conversation without talking to incarcerated people.

      Joining us to talk about the strike and the issues behind it is Noelle Hanrahan. She’s an investigative journalist, a private investigator, and the director of the multimedia production studio Prison Radio. She joins us by phone from Philadelphia. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Noelle Hanrahan.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cable Lobbyists Stop Using The Word Cable In Hopes You’ll Think Industry Has Evolved

      It often seems like the modern cable industry often goes out of its way to remain decidedly un-modern. Thanks to regulatory capture and limited competition, the sector consistently ranks among the very worst industries in terms of customer satisfaction and support. And whether it’s opposing net neutrality or fighting efforts to bring competition to the cable box, you’ll often find the industry’s top lobbying organization — the National Cable and Telecommunications Association at the forefront of fighting nearly every pro-consumer initiative that comes down the pike.

    • Here’s how small the North Korean Internet is

      I checked out all of them. Many are dead links, but some were active. One site, cooks.org.kp, contained information about North Korean cuisine. Curiously, gnu.rep.kp wasn’t about the GNU project. Rather, it contained science and technology news from North Korea.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Book Review: Arnold reviews “Economic Approaches to Intellectual Property”

      This new book by Kat Dr Nicola Searle (formerly Economist at the UKIPO and now a lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London) and Martin Brassell (co-founder and Chief Executive of Inngot, an intellectual property valuation consultancy) provides an introduction to the economics of intellectual property for lawyers, managers and policymakers. Unlike many texts on the economics of IP, it assumes no prior knowledge of economics and begins with an introduction to economics which explains the basic principles. Moreover, it contains no equations and few graphs. While it does include a certain of amount of economic jargon, each term is carefully explained as it is introduced. By contrast, the book does assume a basic knowledge of copyrights, designs, patents and trade marks, although it explains the less commonly encountered rights such as geographical indications and plant breeders’ rights.

    • First Revised Articles Of Potential Treaty Protecting TK At WIPO Issued Today [Ed: By trying to distinguish between traditional knowledge and monopoly WIPO (run by former lobbyists and revolving doors) privatises ideas. See how it treats its own staff.]

      A suggestion from the United States, also in the policy objectives, is reflected in the alternative paragraph. It states that the instrument’s objective is “to benefit mankind by preserving to the holder of traditional knowledge certain limited in scope and duration rights in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare, balances rights and obligations, and that is mutually advantageous to holders and users of traditional knowledge”; as well as the “value of a vibrant public domain.”

      Since a “tiered approach” was considered at the last traditional knowledge (TK) IGC discussion, by which different rights might be awarded to different types of TK, the facilitators have provided tentative definitions in the use of terms for four types of TK: secret TK, sacred TK, narrowly diffused TK, and widely diffused TK.

    • Trademarks

      • Food companies have a taste for 3D trademarks

        Ferrero Group’s Daniele Lingua says his firm prefers three dimensional trade marks to trade dress

        Attendees heard from a range of counsel at food and beverage companies in the Buon appetito! IP & Food session at the AIPPI World Congress.

        Andrea Chianura of Lavazza in Italy gave an overview of the coffee company’s strategy.

    • Copyrights

      • European copyright reform coming – slowly

        Fundamental copyright proposals made by the European Commission will face “a barrage of criticism” and “reform will take some time”. Those were some of the predictions made about the Digital Single Market at the AIPPI World Congress


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



  • 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 & 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.


    • 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.


  • 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.


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



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


  • 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.


  • 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.


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



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


  • 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)


  • 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