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Links 19/9/2017: Pipewire, Mir Support for Wayland, DRM in W3C

Posted in News Roundup at 8:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Seven things about Linux you may not have known so far

    One of the coolest parts about using Linux is the knowledge you gain over time. Each day, you’re likely to come across a new utility or maybe just an unfamiliar flag that does something helpful. These bits and pieces aren’t always life-changing, but they are the building blocks for expertise.

    Even experts don’t know that all, though. No matter how much experience you might have, there is always more to learn, so we’ve put together this list of seven things about Linux you may not have known.

  • Desktop

    • Black screen of death after Win10 update? Microsoft blames HP

      Microsoft is pointing the finger of blame at HP’s factory image for black screens of death appearing after a Windows Update.

      Scores of PC owners took to the HP forums last week to report that Windows 10 updates released September 12 were slowing down the login process. Users stated that once they downloaded the updates and entered their username and password, they only saw black screens for about five to 10 minutes.

      The forum members said that clean installs or disabling a service called “app readiness”, which “gets apps ready for use the first time a user signs in to this PC and when adding new apps” seemed to fix the delay.

      Today, a Microsoft spokesperson told The Register: “We’re working to resolve this as soon as possible” and referred affected customers to a new support post.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation President uses Apple OS

      Jim Zemlin, President of the Linux Foundation, appears to have hit levels of fail unprecedented in the open saucy world.

      At the Open Source Summit 2017 not only did Zemlin do the usual comedy “this is the year of the Linux desktop” speech he did it using a comedy laptop with a joke operating system designed for those who know nothing about computers.

    • Linux 4.14 ‘getting very core new functionality’ says Linus Torvalds

      Linus Torvalds has unsentimentally loosed release candidate one of Linux 4.14 a day before the 26th anniversary of the Linux-0.01 release, and told penguinistas to expect a few big changes this time around.

      “This has been an ‘interesting’ merge window,” Torvalds wrote on the Linux Kernel Mailing List. “It’s not actually all that unusual in size – I think it’s shaping to be a pretty regular release after 4.13 that was smallish. But unlike 4.13 it also wasn’t a completely smooth merge window, and honestly, I _really_ didn’t want to wait for any possible straggling pull requests.”

      Hence the Saturday release, instead of his usual Sunday.

      Torvalds also says this merge window included “some unusual activity.”

    • First Linux 4.14 release adds “very core” features, arrives in time for kernel’s 26th birthday

      Linus Torvalds has announced the first release candidate (rc) for Linux 4.14, the next long term stable release of the Linux kernel.

      This release introduces several new core memory management features, a host of device driver updates, and changes to documentation, architecture, filesystems, networking and tooling.

      It’s the first of a likely seven release candidates before the new kernel reaches stable release around November.

    • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Development of Linux Kernel 4.14, the Next LTS Release

      A day early than expected, Linux creator Linus Torvalds cautiously kicked off the development of the Linux 4.14 kernel series, which looks to be the next LTS (Long Term Support) branch, with the first Release Candidate (RC) milestone.

      That’s right, two weeks after the release of Linux kernel 4.13, which is currently the most stable and advanced kernel series, being adopted by more and more GNU/Linux distributions each day, the first RC development snapshot of Linux kernel 4.14 is ready for public testing, officially closing the merge window. And it looks like some core new functionality will be implemented in this release.

    • Linux Foundation wants to promote sustainable open source development with new initiatives

      During last week’s Open Source Summit North America in Los Angeles, the Linux Foundation announced a series of projects designed to promote sustainability and growth in open source development.

      We wrote last week about their “Open Source Guides for the Enterprise,” which will see a series of guides by professionals from many different organizations released over the next few months.

      Following that, the foundation announced the Community Health Analytics for Open Source Software, or CHAOSS, project. With CHAOSS, the Linux Foundation wants to provide a platform for measuring and analyzing open source projects.

      The foundation also announced that it has granted a CII security badge to 100 projects through a voluntary process for open source projects to prove their security measures stack up professionally.

    • Early Linux 4.14 Kernel Benchmarks Are Looking Promising

      I’ve begun running some Linux 4.14-rc1 kernel benchmarks and in some areas there appears to be nice gains with this in-development kernel.

      If you are behind on your Phoronix reading and don’t know about all of the changes coming for this next kernel release — which will also be an LTS kernel — see our Linux 4.14 feature overview that was published this past weekend.

      Here are just some very early benchmarks while more are on the way.

    • Linux Foundation LFCE Georgi Yadkov Shares His Certification Journey

      The Linux Foundation offers many resources for developers, users, and administrators of Linux systems. One of the most important offerings is its Linux Certification Program. The program is designed to give you a way to differentiate yourself in a job market that’s hungry for your skills.

      How well does the certification prepare you for the real world? To illustrate that, The Linux Foundation is highlighting some of those who have recently passed the certification examinations. These testimonials should help you decide if either the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator or the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer certification is right for you. In this article, recently certified engineer Georgi Yadkov shares his experience.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • EPYC Linux performance from AMD

        Phoronix have been hard at work testing out AMD’s new server chip, specifically the 2.2/2.7/3.2GHz EPYC 7601 with 32 physical cores. The frequency numbers now have a third member which is the top frequency all 32 cores can hit simultaneously, for this processor that would be 2.7GHz. Benchmarking server processors is somewhat different from testing consumer CPUs, gaming performance is not as important as dealing with specific productivity applications. Phoronix started their testing of EPYC, in both NUMA and non-NUMA configurations, comparing against several Xeon models and the performance delta is quite impressive, sometimes leaving even a system with dual Xeon Gold 6138′s in the dust. They also followed up with a look at how EPYC compares to Opteron, AMD’s last server offerings. The evolution is something to behold.

      • Opteron vs. EPYC Benchmarks & Performance-Per-Watt: How AMD Server Performance Evolved Over 10 Years

        By now you have likely seen our initial AMD EPYC 7601 Linux benchmarks. If you haven’t, check them out, EPYC does really deliver on being competitive with current Intel hardware in the highly threaded space. If you have been curious to see some power numbers on EPYC, here they are from the Tyan Transport SX TN70A-B8026 2U server. Making things more interesting are some comparison benchmarks showing how the AMD EPYC performance compares to AMD Opteron processors from about ten years ago.

      • Gigabyte X399 AORUS Gaming 7 Works As A Linux-Friendly Threadripper Motherboard

        For the past few weeks that I have been testing the AMD Threadripper 1950X on Linux, I have been using the Gigabyte X399 AORUS Gaming 7 motherboard. Overall, it’s been a pleasant experience and is running fine under Linux. Here’s a quick summary.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Mobile in Randa(aaaaaaaa)

        Last week I had a chance to attend the Randa meetings 2017, my plan was to work on the Plasma Mobile during the sprint, improve the state of current images.

      • Progress On KDE Plasma Mobile From Randa 2017

        KDE contributor Bhushan Shah has shared some highlights of Plasma Mobile progress made from this year’s Randa Meetings in Switzerland.

        At this annual KDE developer event in the Swiss mountains, some of the Plasma Mobile advancements worked on or reviewed included:

        - Plasma Mobile images are now being assembled by the KDE Neon build system rather than the Plasma Mobile CI.

      • Calligra Suite does not suit me

        It pains me to say so, but the split from KOffice to Calligra has given this program only a temporary infusion of hope, and looking back at my 2013 trial, it’s not made any progress since. On the contrary. Calligra Suite is slow, difficult to use, and it comes with less than ideal file format support. My conclusion here is much the same regarding different Linux software, be it distros or desktop environments. 90% of it just shouldn’t exist, and the effort must be focused on just one or two select programs with the highest quality and chance of making it big. The infinite forking doesn’t do anyone any good.

        Calligra Suite has the potential, but it’s far, far from realizing it, and the world of Plasma has left it behind. The interface split is bad, too much equity is taken by a confusing maze of options, the performance is dreadful, the stability flaky, and the rest does not scale or compare against LibreOffice, let alone Microsoft Office. I wish my findings were different, but it cannot be. Ah well. Like so many other flowers of the open-source world, this one must wilt. I’ll keep an eye, but I doubt there is ever going to be enough focus or love to make Calligra into a serious competitor. Dedoimedo’s sad prose out.

      • Plasma 5.11 beta available in unofficial PPA for testing on Artful

        Adventurous users and developers running the Artful development release can now also test the beta version of Plasma 5.11. This is experimental and can possibly kill kittens!

      • Kubuntu: Writing Japanese (Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana) Easily

        On Kubuntu system, we can write Japanese easily using Fcitx-Mozc tool! This awesome tool eases you with word-suggestions popup on-the-fly, with ability to switch between Kanji-Hiragana-Katakana-ASCII as simple as one click. It’s very well integrated to the whole screens inside KDE Plasma desktop, enables you to write Japanese in Firefox browser, LibreOffice, Kate text editor, and even Konsole terminal.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.26 Released! Check Out the New Features

        GNOME 3.26 is the latest version of GNOME 3 released six months after the last stable release GNOME 3.24. The release, code-named “Manchester”, is the 33rd stable release of the free, open-source desktop.

  • Distributions

    • Top Linux Distros for Media Creation

      I find it interesting how many existing Linux users don’t realize there are specialized distributions just for media creation. These distributions come with a bundle of special media-centric applications, a real-time kernel and other tweaks provided by default.

      This article will provide a tour of these top Linux distros for media creation. I’m confident that even if you’ve heard of some of these distros, you might not be aware of what makes them unique when compared to a standard desktop Linux distribution.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Arch and away! What’s with the Arch warriors?

        If you choose to begin your Linux adventures with Arch Linux after trying Ubuntu for a month, you’re probably doing it wrong. If there’s a solid reason why you think Arch is for you; awesome! Do it. You will learn new things. A lot of new things. But hey, what’s the point in learning what arch-chroot does if you can’t figure out what sudo is or what wpa_supplicant does?

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Ethical Hacking Distro Parrot Security Gets ZFS Support, It’s Based on Debian 10

        Parrot Security OS, the security-oriented GNU/Linux distribution designed with IoT (Internet of Things) security, ethical hacking, and cloud-based penetration testing in mind, has been updated recently to version 3.8.

      • Debian Policy call for participation — September 2017
      • Mini-DebConf 2017 Debian Conference to Take Place November 23-26 in Cambridge UK

        Debian developer and leader of the debian-cd project Steve McIntyre announced the official dates and schedule of this year’s Mini-DebConf conference for Debian developers and users.

        The Mini-DebConf 2017 conference will take place for four days, from Thursday, November 23 until Sunday, November 26, and it will be hosted at Arm’s office in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Arm is Steve McIntyre’s employer and the industry’s leading supplier of microprocessors for embedded and IoT devices.

        “I’m organizing another mini-DebConf in Cambridge this year. Again, my employer Arm is going to host the conference for four days in November,” said Steve McIntyre in the mailing list announcement. “I’m also hoping to find sponsors again to cover some other costs for the conference for things like food – please contact me if you can help!”

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 3.2 release candidate has been released for testing

          The LiveUSB Linux distribution, Tails (the amnesic incognito live system), has received a new release candidate for the upcoming 3.2 update that’s due out on the 26th of this month. The update comes with some big under-the-hood changes to the system which should improve hardware support and the email experience.

          If you’ve ever decided to try Tails on newer hardware, you may have had some driver issues; with this release, Tails ships with the Linux 4.12.12 kernel which is one of the latest. With it, users will get a better hardware experience; for example, the NVIDIA Maxwell series of graphics cards are now supported.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Can Artful Aardvark Regain Ubuntu’s Popularity on the Desktop?

            The upcoming Artful Aardvark release marks Ubuntu’s return to GNOME as its desktop environment. After seven years, Unity will be abandoned, along with plans for a single desktop for all devices and the replacement of the X window system with Mir.

            According to Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, these changes are being made in the hopes of making profitable Canonical, Ubuntu’s governing company, and to allow Canonical to focus on its server and OpenStack business. However, to desktop users, the more pressing issue is whether these changes can help Ubuntu regain its domination of the desktop.

          • Firefox, Thunderbird and VLC Are the Most Popular Apps Among Ubuntu Users

            Canonical’s Dustin Kirkland attended this year’s UbuCon Europe conference for Ubuntu users and developers in Paris, France, where he revealed the results of the Ubuntu desktop survey and the apps that users want to see by default in future Ubuntu releases.

          • Results of the Ubuntu Desktop Applications Survey

            I had the distinct honor to deliver the closing keynote of the UbuCon Europe conference in Paris a few weeks ago. First off — what a beautiful conference and venue! Kudos to the organizers who really put together a truly remarkable event. And many thanks to the gentleman (Elias?) who brought me a bottle of his family’s favorite champagne, as a gift on Day 2 :-) I should give more talks in France!

          • Mir support for Wayland

            I’ve seen some confusion about how Mir is supporting Wayland clients on the Phoronix forums . What we are doing is teaching the Mir server library to talk Wayland in addition to its original client-server protocol. That’s analogous to me learning to speak another language (such as Dutch).

            This is not anything like XMir or XWayland. Those are both implementations of an X11 server as a client of a Mir or Wayland. (Xmir is a client of a Mir server or and XWayland is a client of a Wayland server.) They both introduce a third process that acts as a “translator” between the client and server.

          • Mir 1.0 Still Planned For Ubuntu 17.10, Wayland Support Focus

            Following our reporting of Mir picking up initial support for Wayland clients, Mir developer Alan Griffiths at Canonical has further clarified the Wayland client support. It also appears they are still planning to get Mir 1.0 released in time for Ubuntu 17.10.

          • Webinar: OpenStack Pike is here, what’s new?

            Sign up for our new webinar about the Canonical OpenStack Pike release. Join us to learn about the new features and how to upgrade from Ocata to Pike using OpenStack Charms.

          • Bright Computing Announces Support for Ubuntu

            right Computing, a global leader in cluster and cloud infrastructure automation software, today announced the general availability of Bright Cluster Manager 8.0 with Ubuntu.

            With this integration, organizations can run Bright Cluster Manager Version 8.0 on top of Ubuntu, to easily build, provision, monitor and manage Ubuntu high performance clusters from a single point of control, in both on-premises and cloud-based environments.

          • BlueBorne Vulnerability Is Patched in All Supported Ubuntu Releases, Update Now

            Canonical released today new kernel updates for all of its supported Ubuntu Linux releases, patching recently discovered security vulnerabilities, including the infamous BlueBorne that exposes billions of Bluetooth devices.

            The BlueBorne vulnerability (CVE-2017-1000251) appears to affect all supported Ubuntu versions, including Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) up to 16.04.3, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) up to 14.04.5, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) up to 12.04.5.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • postmarketOS: An Ultimate Linux Distro For Your Smartphones Is Coming

      One of the key strengths of Linux-based operating systems is their ability to run on a variety of hardware, ranging from a decade old computers to the latest generation Intel chips. The kernel developers work day and night to keep our devices breathing running. In the past, we have also prepared a list of Linux distributions that are best suited for older computers with limited hardware requirements.

      This brings us to the question — Why aren’t tons of Linux operating system options available for mobile devices? The mobile ecosystem is chiefly dominated by Android and iOS, with Android enjoying a presence on a wide range of devices. But, on the fronts of updates, even Android fails to deliver. Very often the top-of-the-line flagship devices are deprived of the latest updates just after 2-3 years. To solve this question, postmarketOS has appeared on the horizon.

    • Linux friendly IoT gateway runs on 3.5-inch Bay Trail SBC

      While the MB-80580 SBC lists SATA II, the gateway indicates SATA III. Also, the gateway datasheet notes that the RS232 ports can all be redirected to RS232/422/485. Software includes Windows IoT Core and Server, as well as Yocto, Ubuntu Snappy Core, and CentOS Linux distributions.

    • Rugged panel PC scales up to a 19-inch touchscreen

      The fanless, IP65-rated WinSystems “PPC65B-1x” panel PC runs Linux or Win 10 on a quad-core Atom E3845, and offers 10.4 to 19-inch resistive touchscreens.

    • Portable Android SDR player supports DRM and DAB

      Titus SDR’s Android-based “Titus II” Software Defined Radio receiver has a 7-inch touchscreen, a WiFi hotspot, and support for FM, AM, DRM, DAB, and DAB+.

      Titus SDR is prepping an Android-based wideband digital RF receiver with Software Defined Radio (SDR) capabilities and a hi-fi amplifier. Built around a 7-inch Android tablet, the portable, battery-powered Titus II is billed as the world’s first consumer SDR digital receiver, “bringing true multi-standard radio reception with DRM (AM & VHF bands), DAB(+) and core data applications.”

    • 5 Raspberry Pi Alternatives to Build Your Own Small Computer

      A single board computer (SBC) is a complete computer built on a single circuit board. These tiny PCs were designed to be low cost and energy efficient. As such, SBCs proved to be popular with hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts and educational institutions.

      Upon the release of the Raspberry Pi, SBCs gained far greater attention. The Raspberry Pi was initially designed to teach basic computer science. The first-generation Raspberry Pi was released in 2012 and quickly surpassed expectations. It has since gone on to become the best-selling British computer of all time with over eleven million units sold.

      Despite its popularity, the Raspberry Pi family of computers are not the only SBCs on the market. In fact there are a number of manufacturers making SBCs at lower price points and with more powerful hardware. If you’re looking for a Raspberry Pi alternative, consider the SBCs below.

    • AMD Zen Temperature Monitoring On Linux Is Working With Hwmon-Next

      If you want CPU temperature monitoring to work under Linux for your Ryzen / Threadripper / EPYC processor(s), it’s working on hwmon-next.

      The temperature monitoring support didn’t make it for Linux 4.14 but being published earlier this month were finally patches for Zen temperature monitoring by extending the k10temp Linux driver.

    • Fanless Skylake computer offers four PCI and PCIe slots

      Adlink’s MVP-6010 and MVP-6020 embedded computers run Linux or Windows on Intel 6th Gen CPUs, and offer 4x PCI/PCIe slots, 6x USB ports, and 4x COM ports.

      If Adlink’s new MVP-6010/6020 Series looks familiar, that’s because it’s a modified version of the recent MVP-5000 and last year’s MVP-6000 industrial PCs. The top half appears to be identical, with the same ports, layout, and Intel 6th Gen Core “Skylake” TE series processors. Like the MVP-6000, it adds a PCI and PCIe expansion unit on the bottom, but whereas the MVP-6000 had two slots, the MVP-6010 and MVP-6020 have four.

    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source – we need better pathways so inclusion can flourish

    Running a conference with a really strong cohort of diversity scholars this week, with a broad range of skills and backgrounds, really made me think. We had Ian Skerrett, VP of marketing at the Eclipse Foundation, and Abby Kearns, executive director of the Cloud Foundry Foundation at the event. Both are keen to improve diversity in their communities. But how are we going to create better and more welcoming pathways for a more diverse range of entrants?

    I asked both Ian and Abby what other roles there were outside writing code. They both gave solid answers about different roles and opportunities. One stock answer in open source is of course Write Documentation!

  • Cloudera Joins Eclipse Foundation Open Source IoT Community
  • Keybase launches fully encrypted Slack-like communications tool — and it’s free

    Keybase added to its encrypted tool kit today when it launched Keybase Teams, an open source, Slack-like communications tool with end-to-end encryption. Desktop and mobile versions are available for download now.

    It may seem like competing with Slack, the enormously popular enterprise communications tool would be a fool’s errand for Keybase. But by making it fully encrypted, open source and free, even for teams as large as 500 people, it could be attractive to cost- and security-conscious teams who are at all worried about anyone snooping on their communications.

  • Future Proof Your SysAdmin Career: Communication and Collaboration

    Today’s system administrators are wise to arm themselves with specialized technical skillsets, but sysadmins interact with people at least as much as they deal with systems, software, and security. Strong communication capabilities, problem solving, teamwork, and leadership skills are therefore not to be underestimated.

  • Demand for Open Source Skills on the Rise

    Hiring managers from 280 global businesses, along with 1,800 open source professionals participated in the July study by The Linux Foundation and tech career firm Dice.

    That’s good news if you have open source skills; indeed, 86 percent of professionals say open source has advanced their careers. The not-so-good news is 89 percent of hiring managers are finding it difficult to find this type of talent, which is in line with last year’s finding of 87 percent. The specific areas hiring managers say open source talent is in short supply are developers (73 percent), DevOps (60 percent) and SysAdmins (53 percent).

  • How a town uses an open source tool for collaboration and managing large files

    The internationally renowned ski resort village of Megève, France, uses open source to manage increasing volumes of data while also making it more easily accessible. Located in the French Alps, Megève welcomes more than 80,000 visitors annually as the host of multiple concerts, cultural, and sporting events, including the Tour de France. With more than 300 employees, the city’s IT department manages more than 220 workstations, 40 virtual servers, and 60 switches connected to its network.

    Sharing and collaborating on digital files is vital to all aspects of daily work in Megève. Many city departments must share files securely with external partners, particularly the communication department, which produces a great amount of content for tourists. This material includes large files such as models, final proofs, and photo libraries, which must be exchanged with designers, printers, and other partners. Similarly, architect firms working on calls for town planning projects routinely transfer files such as 3D plans, which can exceed 40+GB in size.

  • Google Code-in 2017 lets students win prizes while learning about open source

    Open source is changing the world, and it is important that children get educated on the subject as early as possible. Its a competitive workforce out there, and students need to be prepared. Of course, learning about open source doesn’t have to be a chore — gaining knowledge can sometimes be fun too.

    Google does a lot for the open source community — far more than just contributing code. Actually, the search giant hosts two very important education-focused open source events — “Google Code-in” for younger teen students and “Google Summer of Code” for University-level learners. Today, the company announces the 8th annual edition of the former — Google Code-in 2017. Not only can these teens gain experience by working on an open source project, but they can also win prizes!

  • Open source tool aims to deliver more efficient web development

    Websites are essential for businesses in the modern world, which puts web development teams under pressure to deliver results.

    Open source tool specialist DRUD Tech is launching a new tool called ddev which is designed to do away with the complicated steps and disparate components of website development.

    Using a simple interface, ddev manages many complex technologies, including industry standard components like MySQL, NGINX, and PHP, with the ability to extend to include Redis, Apache Solr, memcache, Varnish, and more. For experienced development teams this means ddev can eliminate unnecessary delays, errors, and inefficiencies common throughout the traditional development to deployment and hosting lifecycle.

  • Banks are turning to open source for blockchain, says Google engineer

    Banks have historically developed all software in-house and maintained a fierce secrecy around their code, but more recently they’ve embraced open-source. They’re likely to use open source for one of the most hotly tipped technologies out there – blockchain.

  • Innersource: How to leverage open source in the enterprise

    Companies of varying sizes across many industries are implementing innersource programs to drive greater levels of development collaboration and reuse. They ultimately seek to increase innovation; reduce time to market; grow, retain, and attract talent; and of course, delight their customers.

    In this article, I’ll introduce innersource and some of its key facets and examine some of the problems that it can help solve. I’ll also discuss some components of an innersource program, including metrics.

  • Events

    • Diversity Empowerment Summit Features Stories from Individual Persistence to Industry-wide Change

      Last week at The Linux Foundation’s first Diversity Empowerment Summit we heard from so many amazing speakers about how they are working to improve diversity in the tech industry.

      Leaders from companies including Comcast, DreamWorks, IBM, Rancher Labs, Red Hat and many others recounted their own personal struggles to fit in and advance as women and minorities in tech. And they gave us sage advice and practical tips on what women, minorities, and their allies can do to facilitate inclusion and culture change in open source and the broader tech community.

    • Open Source Summit: Day 1 in 5 minutes

      As you can see in the video below, the first day of the Open Source Summit was quite educational. My day was filled with clouds, containers, community building, flavors of Linux, and Linus Torvalds.

    • Reflection on trip to Kiel

      On Sunday, I flew home from my trip to Kiel, Germany. I was there for the Kieler Open Source und LinuxTage, September 15 and 16. It was a great conference! I wanted to share a few details while they are still fresh in my mind:

      I gave a plenary keynote presentation about FreeDOS! I’ll admit I was a little concerned that people wouldn’t find “DOS” an interesting topic in 2017, but everyone was really engaged. I got a lot of questions—so many that we had to wrap up before I could answer all the questions.

  • Databases

    • A quick tour of MySQL 8.0 roles

      This year at the Percona Live Open Source Database Conference in Dublin, I’ll be discussing a new feature introduced in MySQL 8.0: roles. This is a new security and administrative feature that allows database administrators to simplify user management and increases the security of multi-user environments.

      In database administration, users are granted privileges to access schemas, tables, or columns, depending on the business needs. When many different users require authorization for different sets of privileges, administrators have to repeat the process of granting privileges several times. This is both tedious and error-prone. Using roles, administrators can define sets of privileges for a user category, and then the user authorization becomes a single statement operation.

      Roles have been on the MySQL community’s wish list for a long time. I remember several third-party solutions that tried to implement roles as a hack on top of the existing privileges granting system. I created my own solution many years ago when I had to administer a large set of users with different levels of access. Since then, anytime a new project promised to ease the roles problem, I gave it a try. None of them truly delivered a secure solution, until now.

    • MyDiamo Expands Open Source Database Encryption Offerings to Include PostgreSQL
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • SPARC M8 Processors Launched

      While Oracle recently let go of some of their SPARC team, today marks the launch of the SPARC M8.

      The initial SPARC M8 line-up includes the T8-1, T8-2, T8-4. M8-8, and SuperCluster M8-8 servers.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Programming/Development

    • RcppClassic 0.9.7

      A rather boring and otherwise uneventful release 0.9.7 of RcppClassic is now at CRAN. This package provides a maintained version of the otherwise deprecated first Rcpp API; no new projects should use it.

    • Facebook’s HHVM To Focus More On Hack, No Longer Focusing On PHP7 Compatibility

      Some interesting remarks today by Facebook’s HHVM/Hack language team as they plot their future agenda.

      First up, the HHVM 3.24 release due out in early 2018 will be their last release to commit to supporting PHP5. PHP5-specific features after that release may end up being dropped.

      Along with dropping PHP5 support, HHVM developers will no longer be focusing on PHP7 compatibility.

    • IBM’s Eclipse OpenJ9 Is A Promising Open-Source JVM

      For those that missed the news over the weekend, IBM has open-sourced its in-house JVM and contributed it to the Eclipse Foundation. Eclipse OpenJ9 is this new, full-featured, enterprise-ready open-source Java Virtual Machine.

    • Some Early Tests Of The Eclipse OpenJ9 Java Virtual Machine

      With IBM’s newly open-sourced J9 Java Virtual Machine as the Eclipse OpenJ9, I’ve run some quick benchmarks to get an idea how its performance is comparing to the de facto Java Virtual Machine, Hotspot.

    • SCons 3.0 Released

      For those that haven’t jumped fully on the Meson build system bandwagon, the SCons 3.0 software construction utility is now available.

    • Small Glowing Thing

      Quite a while ago I obtained an Adafruit NeoPixel Stick. It was cheap enough to be an impulse buy but it took me some time to get around to actually doing something with it.

      I’ve been wanting to play a little more with the ATtiny range of microcontrollers so these things seemed to go together nicely. It turns out that getting an ATtiny programmed is actually rather simple using an Arduino as an ISP programmer. I’ve written up some notes on the procedure at the 57North Hacklab wiki.

    • Clang-Refactor Tool Lands In Clang Codebase

      The clang-refactor tool is now living within the LLVM Clang SVN/Git codebase.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Vox Hedges Headline in Fit of Single-Payer Skepticism

      Vox.com, which brands itself as both a news source and an “explainer” of news, constructs many of its headlines around the word “why.” These include opinion essays (e.g., “Why Now Is Such a Strange Era in American Political History,” 9/6/17) or interviews (“A Veteran GOP Strategist Explains Why Conservative Elites Put Up With Trump’s Lies and Corruption,” 3/22/17). The headline style assures the reader that they can turn to Vox to understand the reasons behind current affairs.

      Vox’s lead story on Wednesday (9/13/17) used the same structure, with a curious (and clunky) twist: “Bernie Sanders Explains Why He Thinks Everything Short of Medicare-for-All Is Failure.” The unnecessary addition of “he thinks” to the formula sacrifices elegance for an extra layer of skepticism.

    • Attorneys General in 37 States Urge Insurance Industry to Do More to Curb Opioid Epidemic

      Attorneys general for 37 states sent a letter Monday to the health insurance industry’s main trade group, urging its members to reconsider coverage policies that may be fueling the opioid crisis.

      The letter is part of an ongoing investigation by the state officials into the causes of the opioid epidemic and the parties that are most responsible. The group is also focusing on the marketing and sales practices of drug makers and the role of drug distributors.

      On Sunday, ProPublica and The New York Times reported that many insurance companies limit access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, even as they provide comparatively easy access to generic opioid medications. The safer drugs are more expensive.

    • Blowing the whistle on the meat industry

      Consumers have been exposed to meat contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria because of poor hygiene practices and ineffective regulations in some UK abattoirs, according to a whistleblower meat inspector.

      After 20 years of working in abattoirs – inspecting animal carcasses for disease and making sure safety and hygiene rules are followed – he has decided to speak out. Regular hygiene lapses, coupled with poor regulation, could lead to dirty meat getting into the food chain and endangering human health, he believes. Previously unpublished official reports obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism back up many of his claims.

    • Access To Generic Reproductive Health Supplies Decades Behind Medicines?

      Despite a massive worldwide push to improve access to contraceptives, generic manufacturers say they’re not yet getting a good share of the pie.

    • Breaking – WHO Issues Alarming Report On Coming Shortage Of Antibiotics

      A new report issued today by the World Health Organization shows a “serious lack” of new antibiotics in development, even as resistance to existing antibiotics are on the rise. The head of the WHO said the report shows an “urgent need” for investment into research and development. In addition, a second report today from WHO on prioritisation of pathogens for R&D into new antibiotics.

      The 48-page report, “Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis,” is available here, according to WHO.

      Most drugs currently in the pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions, the report found. It “identifies 51 new antibiotics and biologicals in clinical development to treaty priority antibiotic pathogens, as well as tuberculosis and the sometimes deadly diarrhoeal infection Clostridium difficile,” the release said.


      The report makes several references to patents. The study did not cover vaccines.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Here’s an Open Source Alternative to CCleaner
    • Software Has a Serious Supply-Chain Security Problem

      The warnings consumers hear from information security pros tend to focus on trust: Don’t click web links or attachments from an untrusted sender. Only install applications from a trusted source or from a trusted app store. But lately, devious hackers have been targeting their attacks further up the software supply chain, sneaking malware into downloads from even trusted vendors, long before you ever click to install.

      On Monday, Cisco’s Talos security research division revealed that hackers sabotaged the ultra-popular, free computer-cleanup tool CCleaner for at least the last month, inserting a backdoor into updates to the application that landed in millions of personal computers. That attack betrayed basic consumer trust in CCleaner-developer Avast, and software firms more broadly, by lacing a legitimate program with malware—one distributed by a security company, no less.

    • CCleaner Compromised to Distribute Malware for Almost a Month

      Version 5.33 of the CCleaner app offered for download between August 15 and September 12 was modified to include the Floxif malware, according to a report published by Cisco Talos a few minutes ago.

      Floxif is a malware downloader that gathers information about infected systems and sends it back to its C&C server. The malware also had the ability to download and run other binaries, but at the time of writing, there is no evidence that Floxif downloaded additional second-stage payloads on infected hosts.

    • From equanimity to Equifax [Ed: It’s NOT “about open-source software quality” but about Equifax not patching its software for >2 months]
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • The 2017 Linux Security Summit

      The past Thursday and Friday was the 2017 Linux Security Summit, and once again I think it was a great success. A round of thanks to James Morris for leading the effort, the program committee for selecting a solid set of talks (we saw a big increase in submissions this year), the presenters, the attendees, the Linux Foundation, and our sponsor – thank you all!

      Unfortunately we don’t have recordings of the talks, but I’ve included my notes on each of the presentations below. I’ve also included links to the slides, but not all of the slides were available at the time of writing; check the LSS 2017 slide archive for updates.

    • Key Considerations for Software Updates for Embedded Linux and IoT

      The Mirai botnet attack that enslaved poorly secured connected embedded devices is yet another tangible example of the importance of security before bringing your embedded devices online. A new strain of Mirai has caused network outages to about a million Deutsche Telekom customers due to poorly secured routers. Many of these embedded devices run a variant of embedded Linux; typically, the distribution size is around 16MB today.

      Unfortunately, the Linux kernel, although very widely used, is far from immune to critical security vulnerabilities as well. In fact, in a presentation at Linux Security Summit 2016, Kees Cook highlighted two examples of critical security vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel: one being present in kernel versions from 2.6.1 all the way to 3.15, the other from 3.4 to 3.14. He also showed that a myriad of high severity vulnerabilities are continuously being found and addressed—more than 30 in his data set.

    • APNIC-sponsored proposal could vastly improve DNS resilience against DDoS
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Stanislav Petrov, who averted possible nuclear war, dies at 77

      Stanislav Petrov was on duty at a Russian nuclear early warning centre in 1983 when computers wrongly detected incoming missiles from the US.

      He took the decision that they were a false alarm and did not report them to his superiors.

    • Soviet air defense officer who saved the world dies at age 77

      Former Soviet Air Defense Colonel Stanislav Petrov, the man known for preventing an accidental nuclear launch by the Soviet Union at the height of Cold War tensions, has passed away. Karl Schumacher, a German political activist who first met Petrov in 1998 and helped him visit Germany a year later, published news of Petrov’s death after learning from Petrov’s son that he had died in May. Petrov was 77.

      Petrov’s story has since been recounted several times by historians, including briefly in William Taubman’s recent biography of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Gorbachev: His Life and Times. Ars also wrote about Petrov in our 2015 feature on Exercise Able Archer. On the night of September 26, 1983, Petrov was watch officer in charge of the Soviet Union’s recently completed US-KS nuclear launch warning satellite network, known as “Oko” (Russian for “eye”). To provide instant warning of an American nuclear attack, the system was supposed to catch the flare of launching missiles as they rose.

    • Fake Arguments for Killing Iran-Nuke Deal

      Opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), always has been filled with disingenuous arguments. This reflects the fundamental illogic of the opponents’ position: if the agreement were to be junked, this would mean removing a panoply of restrictions on Iran and re-opening now-closed avenues to a nuclear weapon for the very country that the opponents constantly contend is a serious threat.


      If a nuclear weapon is somewhere in Iran’s future, it won’t be because of such supposed and ridiculously unrealistic Iranian thinking but rather because the bargain that prevents an Iranian nuke will have been overturned by a U.S. administration reneging on U.S. commitments and destroying the JCPOA.

    • The U.S. Military Can’t Keep Track of Which Missions It’s Fueling in Yemen War

      The United States has come under increasing scrutiny for what seems like unconditional support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition waging a brutal air war in Yemen. One of the key measures of that support has been refueling operations: U.S. tankers fill up planes from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other coalition members, which go on to drop bombs in Yemen. Those bombs have killed at least 3,200 civilians and leveled hospitals and markets, leading to accusations that the U.S. is facilitating war crimes.

      But U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, now admits that it doesn’t even know how much fuel it offloads for Saudi Arabia and its partners — directly contradicting information about refueling operations that it previously released. Responding to questions from The Intercept, CENTCOM now says that it lumps together refueling data for the coalition with data for U.S. planes in the area, joint U.S.-Emirati missions, and possibly other operations. Even this pooled data has unexplained discrepancies.

    • The Senate’s Military Spending Increase Alone Is Enough to Make Public College Free

      One of the most controversial proposals put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential campaign was a pledge to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. Critics from both parties howled that the pie-in-the-sky idea would bankrupt the country. Where, after all, would the money come from?

      Those concerns were brushed aside on Monday night, as the Senate overwhelmingly approved an $80 billion annual increase in military spending, enough to have fully satisfied Sanders’ campaign promise. Instead, the Senate handed President Trump far more than the $54 billion he asked for. The lavish spending package gives Trump a major legislative victory, allowing him to boast about fulfilling his promise of a “great rebuilding of the armed services.”

      The bill would set the U.S.’s annual military budget at around $700 billion, putting it within range of matching the spending level at the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • How the UN Covers for US Aggression

      President Trump opened his big United Nations week … and his famous mouth … with a predictable plug for one of his properties and some playful glad-handing with French President Emmanuel Macron. Trump also scolded the U.N.’s unwieldy scrum for “not living up to its potential.” He made a passing reference to the U.N.’s wasteful use of American money. And he called for “reform” of the much-maligned international forum.

    • Getting the Gulf of Tonkin Wrong: Are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Telling Stories” About the Central Events Used to Legitimize the US Attack Against Vietnam?

      This past spring I attended an advance screening of excerpts of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary about the US War against Vietnam at Harvard, with these two in attendance, along with some Kennedy School “national security” types, who had evidently been recruited as “consultants.” (I was happy to see Peter Davis, the director of the truly commendable “Hearts and Minds” in the audience, and had a chance to say “hello.” Peter is himself a Harvard grad, is now writing novels and, happily, was acknowledged by Mr. Burns.)

      I was astonished to hear the Narrator in one of these excerpts refer to “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin.” I was doubly astonished when I heard Burns use the exact same phrasing — “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin” — during a discussion and Q&A which followed the screening (and even in a somewhat different context. [It must have been on his mind.])

      What could he possibly mean?

      “Retaliation” for Gulf of Tonkin?


      The US Central Intelligence Agency had been coordinating “covert” attacks against the shoreline of North Vietnam for months (OPLAN 34-A). Finally, in early August of 1964, a mid-level NV naval officer may have been responsible for ordering NV patrol boats to chase the USS Maddox out into international waters, as a result of it’s believed role in supporting these attacks (which was actually the case; the Maddox had an unusual and special NSA surveillance unit on board, and was also engaged in what were labeled “DeSoto Patrols,” moving into and out of territorial waters claimed by the Government of North Vietnam.) Among other things, these US attacks were designed to test and gain information about North Vietnamese radar and air defenses.

    • ‘Genocidal’ Trump Blasted for Threatening to ‘Totally Destroy North Korea’

      For what he said—and also for what he refused to mention—President Donald Trump was lampooned by progressive critics as he delivered his first ever speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday morning.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The CIA Wins: Harvard, Chelsea Manning and Visiting Fellowships

      It all began with an announcement, made public on the website of the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Chelsea Manning would be joining a curious array of Visiting Fellows, including Mr Disaster, Robby Mook, and Sean Bumbling Spicer. (Manning, Spicer and Mook has a curious ring to it, the name, perhaps, of an error-prone debt recovery agency.)

      Mook will have something to tell members of the Kennedy School, being credited with directing one of the worst electoral campaigns in US electoral history. His fanatical insistence on statistical determinations had its own role to play in sinking Hillary Clinton, the person who hired him to get elected.

    • WikiLeaks releases ‘Spy Files: Russia’ detailing shadowy mass surveillance programme
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Beyond Harvey and Irma

      Deployed to the Houston area to assist in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. military forces hadn’t even completed their assignments when they were hurriedly dispatched to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Irma, the fiercest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who had sent members of the state National Guard to devastated Houston, anxiously recalled them while putting in place emergency measures for his own state. A small flotilla of naval vessels, originally sent to waters off Texas, was similarly redirected to the Caribbean, while specialized combat units drawn from as far afield as Colorado, Illinois, and Rhode Island were rushed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, members of the California National Guard were being mobilized to fight wildfires raging across that state (as across much of the West) during its hottest summer on record.

      Think of this as the new face of homeland security: containing the damage to America’s seacoasts, forests, and other vulnerable areas caused by extreme weather events made all the more frequent and destructive thanks to climate change. This is a “war” that won’t have a name — not yet, not in the Trump era, but it will be no less real for that. “The firepower of the federal government” was being trained on Harvey, as William Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), put it in a blunt expression of this warlike approach. But don’t expect any of the military officials involved in such efforts to identify climate change as the source of their new strategic orientation, not while Commander in Chief Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office refusing to acknowledge the reality of global warming or its role in heightening the intensity of major storms; not while he continues to stock his administration, top to bottom, with climate-change deniers.

    • British tabloid told to admit its climate coverage was inaccurate

      Early this year, a British tabloid ran a hyperbolic article on climate change, claiming that world leaders had been “duped” by climate data that had been manipulated. It wasn’t unusual for the outlet or the article’s author to make badly misleading claims about climate research, and our own investigation into the underlying disagreement showed that the piece actually boiled down to a dispute about how best to archive data. These sorts of misrepresentations happen dozens of times a year.

      But something unusual did eventually happen as a response to the article in the Mail on Sunday: a UK press watchdog determined that the article breached the Editor’s Code of Conduct. Mail on Sunday was subsequently ordered to prominently display the inaccuracies above the article itself.

    • ‘Climate Change Is Making These Facilities Even More Dangerous’

      The story of devastating weather events like hurricanes is many stories, really. There’s no need to compete; they’re all critical. But there is something about the oil industry spurring climate disruption, lobbying against preventative or preparatory measures, and then adding to its harmful impact with their methods of operation. As Texas continues to reel under the effects of Harvey, it’s been noted that besides massive flooding, some communities were also faced with dangerous chemicals released into the air by refineries and petrochemical plants.

      How did that happen, and what can prevent it from happening again? Our next guest has been investigating that. Shaye Wolf is climate science director for the Center for Biological Diversity. She joins us now by phone from Oakland. Welcome to CounterSpin, Shaye Wolf.

    • ‘Heaven Help Those in Dominica Tonight’: Category 5 Maria Makes Landfall

      Hurricane Maria was ugraded to a powerful Category 5 and “potentially catastrophic” storm Monday evening, with sustained winds over 160 mph, just before it slammed into the independent Caribbean island of Dominica as it carved a terrifying path similar (though not exact) to Hurricane Irma less than ten days ago.

    • Quiet energy revolution underway in Japan as dozens of towns go off the grid

      northern Japanese city’s efforts to rebuild its electric power system after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami mark a quiet shift away from the country’s old utility model toward self-reliant, local generation and transmission.

      After losing three-quarters of its homes and 1,100 people in the March 2011 temblor and tsunami, the city of Higashi Matsushima turned to the Japanese government’s “National Resilience Program,” with 3.72 trillion yen ($33.32 billion) in funding for this fiscal year, to rebuild.

  • Finance

    • UN Assembly Tackles Role Of Technology And Innovation In Sustainable Development

      Governments and the private sector must work more closely together in the area of technology and innovation to make the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality by 2030, government and major tech company officials said at today’s UN high-level event in New York. Today’s development problems won’t be solved with yesterday’s solutions but by all stakeholders – governments, civil society, youth, businesses and academia – working together, said General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák. Everyone must have “fair access to technologies and innovations” and to training, he said.


      People will be expected to relearn, but it’s not clear what jobs will be out there, said Ashish Thakkar, founder of the Mara Group and chair of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council. Both men agreed that AI should be a basic human right, whether as SDG number 18 (there are currently 17) or as an embedded part of the other 17 goals.

    • What Are Bitcoins?

      Bitcoin is a digital currency or electronic cash the relies on peer to peer technology for completing transactions. Since peer to peer technology is used as the major network, bitcoins provide a community like managed economy. This is to mean, bitcoins eliminate the centralized authority way of managing currency and promotes community management of currency. Most Also of the software related to bitcoin mining and managing of bitcoin digital cash is open source.

    • Robots ‘could take 4m UK private sector jobs within 10 years’

      Four million jobs in the British private sector could be replaced by robots in the next decade, according to business leaders asked about the future of automation and artificial intelligence.

      The potential impact amounts to 15% of the current workforce in the sector and emerged in a poll conducted by YouGov for the Royal Society of Arts, whose chief executive, Matthew Taylor, has been advising Downing Street on the future of modern work.

      Jobs in finance and accounting, transport and distribution and in media, marketing and advertising are most likely to be automated in the next decade, the research says.

    • Boris’ attack on young people is part of Brexit’s ‘traitor’ narrative

      That was the moment the culture war became real. That was the moment we realised how deeply the Brexit project was changing what it was to be British. This was the politicisation of the idea of only ever being one thing. It was an explicit demand, from the prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to conform – to prove your allegiance.

      It’s an old idea, probably even a basic human impulse. It allows us to simplify life into manageable categories, to define people as being in the in-group or the out-group. It is the monkey part of our brain shouting in our ear.

      In modern British politics its most recent advocate was Norman Tebbit. Younger readers will be lucky enough to have never heard of him, but he still haunts the House of Lords, a ghoulish unreconstructed old right winger whose ideas are suddenly much more alive than we could ever have predicted a couple of years ago. “A large proportion of Britain’s Asian population fail to pass the cricket test,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1990. “Which side do they cheer for?”

      Anyone with a passing acquaintance of British Asian communities will know that the test refutes itself. It has within it the undermining of its own premise. Many Asian Brits support their country of heritage in the cricket and England in the football. Their identity is mixed. It is fluid. Tebbit could never understand this, just like he could never understand how an Olympic medallist like Leo Manzano would celebrate by running with an American and a Mexican flag together. These feelings are beyond the limits of his imagination.

    • Authorities Close In On Pro-Charter School Nonprofit For Illicit Campaign Contributions

      A New York-based education reform nonprofit funneled nearly $2.5 million to a related group in Massachusetts, according to new disclosures unearthed as part of a legal settlement.

      The Massachusetts operation, called Families for Excellent Schools-Advocacy, a pro-charter group, was hit with a record $426,500 fine for failing to disclose its donors related to a 2016 Massachusetts ballot campaign — a race that became the most expensive ballot measure in state history.

      FESA is a 501(c)(4) offshoot of the New York-based Families for Excellent Schools, a 501(c)(3). That connection raises the stakes for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has jurisdiction over Families for Excellent Schools in New York and has made clean campaigns a centerpiece of his agenda.

      In exchange for their tax-exempt status, federal law bars 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in political activity, and some are calling on Schneiderman to investigate why Families for Excellent Schools made a multimillion-dollar contribution, now that the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance has acted.

      “This group spent $2.5 million on a Massachusetts ballot initiative. That is a screaming siren, a flashing red light,” says Michael Kink, executive director of the union-backed Strong Economy For All Coalition in New York. “I think it’s something the AG absolutely should look into. A number of other groups are aware of this potential violation, and we’re talking to each other. A substantive investigation is clearly needed.”

      A spokesperson for Schneiderman’s office declined The Intercept’s request for comment.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Moderators say Facebook didn’t prepare them to catch Russian propaganda

      The company relies on contractors who might screen thousands of ad components daily


      Earlier this summer, after he and two other investigative journalists were forced to resign from CNN following the retraction of an article about Trump consigliere Anthony Scaramucci, Thomas Frank considered leaving journalism altogether. The drama surrounding the Mooch story had seized the public’s attention, and Frank suspected that in the immediate future, no news outlet would want to touch him with a 10-foot pole. After his defenestration, he spent a lot of time looking at job postings for things in the realm of public-policy analysis. Think tanks seemed like a good option. Even lobbying wasn’t looking so bad.

      But within a few weeks, it became clear that the fallout from L’Affaire Scaramucci hadn’t turned Frank into a journalistic pariah. The story as it has unfolded is murkier, having as much to do with the idiosyncrasies of CNN’s journalistic culture—and its ongoing troubles with the president—as any error that may have been committed.

      Frank now has a new job covering national security and counterintelligence for BuzzFeed, which he landed after applying through a link he saw on Facebook. He will start on October 2 as the Web site’s first full-time reporter on that beat. In particular, Frank will focus on the very story that his former colleagues at CNN’s investigative unit have reportedly been told to lay off of—the various probes investigating the Trump team’s potential role in Russia’s alleged 2016 election interference.

    • The Trumps Say They’re Opening Hotels in Dallas, Nashville and Elsewhere. We Couldn’t Find Evidence of Them.

      Earlier this summer, the Trump Organization announced big plans to open a line of hotels across the country. The new brand, American IDEA, would be modestly priced and patriotically themed. “The product is very hometown and fits in every hometown in the United States,” Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger said during a presentation at Trump Tower in Manhattan, the same place where Donald Trump had announced his presidential campaign two years earlier.

      American IDEA would be part of a wider rollout with another higher-end hotel line, Scion, that the Trumps had already unveiled. Progress on the hotels would be swift, Danziger said.

      The Trump Organization had said it signed deals for Scion hotels in Nashville, Dallas, Cincinnati, Austin and New York. At various times, company officials have cited anywhere from 10 to 39 impending deals.

    • Sean Spicer Is Honored Because — As Bush Officials Have Shown — D.C. Elites Always Thrive

      Sean Spicer’s playful, glamorous appearance at last night’s Emmy Awards and being honored as a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School (the honorific which the CIA vetoed for Chelsea Manning) has prompted a mix of shock and indignation. Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau wrote: “Harvard fellowships, Emmy appearances, huge speaking fees: there’s just gonna be no penalty for working in Trump’s White House, huh?” Slate’s Jamelle Bouie added: “The degree to which Sean Spicer has faced no consequences is a glimpse into the post-Trump future.”

      There should be nothing whatsoever surprising about any of this, as it is the logical and necessary outcome of the self-serving template of immunity which D.C. elites have erected for themselves. The Bush administration was filled with high-level officials who did not just lie from podiums, but did so in service of actual war crimes. They invaded and destroyed a country of 26 million people based on blatant falsehoods and relentless propaganda. They instituted a worldwide torture regime by issuing decrees that purported to redefine what that term meant. They spied on the communications of American citizens without the warrants required by law. They kidnapped innocent people from foreign soil and sent them to be tortured in the dungeons of the world’s worst regimes, and rounded up Muslims on domestic soil with no charges. They imprisoned Muslim journalists for years without a whiff of due process. And they generally embraced and implemented the fundamental tenets of authoritarianism by explicitly positioning the president and his White House above the law.

    • A Sense of Proportion

      The Establishment is fast losing its grip on the loyalty of the populace. That decline in the respect of the population for their masters has coincided with the rise of the importance of the internet and social media, and the corresponding decline in consumption of traditional print and broadcast news and current affairs media. It is a little more complicated than simple cause and effect – at precisely the same period the income gap in western society has opened out massively, and the palliative protections of the masses, particularly trade unions, have been rendered impotent. But the overall impact is that respect of the people for their “betters” is vanishing. Indeed, very few people would accept anybody in the political class as their “better” today.


      Today we have Hanna Flint in the Guardian apparently traumatised by a teacher asking her when she was 13 if her mum, Caroline Flint, would vote for the war in Iraq. Again I am sorry if that upset Hanna. No child should be upset. But there are hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children a very great deal more traumatised by having close family members blown to pieces in the Iraq conflict, thanks to the hardened and nasty right wing piece of work that is Caroline Flint. I imagine their trauma is rather worse. There are plenty of Iraqi children who got maimed themselves. There are plenty of Iraqi children who, unlike Hanna, never got the chance to grow up at all, thanks to Hanna’s warmongering mum. I am sorry for your childhood pain, Hanna, I really am. I hate to see any child unhappy. But forgive me if you are not first in line for my sympathy.

    • President Trump’s Mass Movement

      President Trump is building a mass movement – or a cult of personality – based on the alienation that millions of Americans feel toward the economic/political system, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

      In the Sept. 10 issue of the New York Times, there are two opinion pieces that have to do with Donald Trump and his supporters. One is entitled “The Trump Fever Never Breaks” and the other is “President Trump’s War on Science.” As we will see, the two pieces actually address different aspects of a single evolving phenomenon. However, we will examine each in turn and tie them together as we go.

    • Vincent Fort Angered Democratic Elites When He Endorsed Bernie Sanders. Can He Be Atlanta’s Next Mayor?

      On a recent Saturday afternoon in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood, Vincent Fort was out working the voters. As the populist wing of the Democratic Party has surged in recent months, it has created an unusual problem for a politician like Fort. Accustomed to being on the outer edge of the party, he now sounds like pretty much everybody else.

      Or, as he puts it to one voter, everybody else now sounds like him.

      “They want to deal with gentrification and all that,” he says of his opponents, “but they haven’t done it until the epiphany of the last six months.”

    • Theresa May expects Boris Johnson to remain as Foreign Secretary after Brexit speech

      Theresa May is expecting Boris Johnson to remain in her Cabinet as Foreign Secretary, Downing Street has said.

      The statement was made after Mr Johnson dismissed suggestions that he might be on the verge of quitting and denied the Cabinet is split over Brexit, insisting: “We are a nest of singing birds.”

      Mrs May has called a special meeting of Cabinet at Number 10 on Thursday to discuss her crunch Brexit speech in Italy the following day, which a Downing Street source said would be “a significant moment” in the process of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Shockingly, NY Times Columnist Is Totally Clueless About The Internet

      It’s fairly stunning just how often the NY Times Opinion pages are just… wrong. Nick Kristof, one of the most well known of the NYT’s columnists, has spent years, talking about stopping sex trafficking — but with a history of being fast and loose with facts, and showing either little regard for verifying what he’s saying, or a poor understanding of the consequences of what he says. I would hope that everyone reading this supports stopping illegal and coerced sex trafficking. But doing so shouldn’t allow making up facts and ignoring how certain superficial actions might make the problems worse. Kristof, in particular, has been targeting Backpage.com for at least five years — but has been caught vastly exaggerating claims about the site to the point of potentially misstating facts entirely (such as claiming Backpage existed before it actually did, and that it operated in cities where it did not). Kristof also has a history of being laughably credulous when someone comes along with a good story about sex trafficking, even when it’s mostly made up. He’s been accused of having a bit of a savior complex.
      And that’s on display with his recent, extraordinarily confused piece attacking Google for not supporting SESTA — the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.” As we’ve explained in great detail, SESTA (despite its name) is unlikely to stop any sex trafficking and likely would make the problem worse. That’s because the whole point of SESTA is to undermine CDA 230, the part of the law that creates incentives for tech companies to work with authorities and to help them track down sex trafficking on their sites. What the bill would do is make websites owners now both civilly and criminally liable for knowledge of any sex trafficking activity on their sites — meaning that any proactive efforts by them to monitor their websites may be seen as “knowledge,” thus making them liable. The new incentives will be not to help out at all — not to monitor and not to search.

    • Live Blog: Senate Commerce Committee Discusses SESTA
    • The Wrong Answer to a Serious Problem

      Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, thank you for the opportunity to testify today as one of the authors of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. As has been testified to by numerous experts over the years, Section 230 was a necessary step to bring our legal system into the 21st Century, it has provided the legal foundation for the growth of the Internet as a massive job creator and platform for free speech around the world and I strongly believe it should be kept intact.

      When I wrote Section 230 more than 20 years ago it was in recognition of the fact that the Internet was going to change the way we do business, the way we interact with each other, and frankly, virtually every other corner of our lives and our society. We understood that no amount of legislation and political bloviating could stop that change, but we could influence how it came about. Would we have an Internet dominated by private networks with all the worst impulses of human beings going on in impenetrable dark corners, or would it be a platform, open to the world, where such impulses would be exposed to the light, and the law.

      This is why we made it crystal clear that nothing in the statute protects against violation of federal criminal law, and more importantly, nothing in the statute protects individuals from the full force of the law when they commit, and leave evidence of, their crimes online.

    • Facebook’s war on free will

      In reality, Facebook is a tangle of rules and procedures for sorting information, rules devised by the corporation for the ultimate benefit of the corporation. Facebook is always surveilling users, always auditing them, using them as lab rats in its behavioural experiments. While it creates the impression that it offers choice, in truth Facebook paternalistically nudges users in the direction it deems best for them, which also happens to be the direction that gets them thoroughly addicted. It’s a phoniness that is most obvious in the compressed, historic career of Facebook’s mastermind.

    • Twitter rival Gab faces domain loss over extremist content

      It’s not easy to host extremist right-wing content on the modern Internet. Gab, a small Twitter rival that bills itself as a bastion of free speech, has received word from its Australian domain registrar that it has five days to find a new registrar, or its domain will be canceled.

      The story begins last month, when the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer got a similar message from its domain registrar, GoDaddy. The editor of the Daily Stormer had written an article mocking Heather Heyer, who died in protest-related violence in Charlottesville. The Daily Stormer wound up losing its domain name, and two key people associated with the site—editor Andrew Anglin and webmaster Andrew Auernheimer—switched to Gab as their primary way of communicating with the public.

      Hosting Anglin and Aurenheimer—as well as other right-wing figures like Internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos—has created headaches for Gab. Days after Anglin became active on Gab, Google kicked Gab out of the Android app store, citing its lax moderation policies.

    • Censorship in media needs to f— off

      If a college paper goes years without addressing the absurdity of censorship in media, is it really a college paper?

      Thankfully, there is a remedy – these here words.

      First, to clear up the term “censorship,” this particular article will address the suppression of profanity, the blanketing of bad words, the flushing of potty mouths, etc.

    • The Senate Is Close To Undermining The Internet By Pretending To ‘Protect’ The Children

      Protecting children from harm is a laudable goal. But, as we’ve noted for many years, grandstanding politicians have a fairly long history of doing a lot of really dangerous stuff by insisting it needs to be done “for the children.” That doesn’t mean that all “for the children” laws are bad, but they do deserve scrutiny, especially when they appear to be reactive to news events, and rushed out with little understanding or discussion. And that’s a big part of our concern with SESTA — the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act — a “for the children” bill. With a name like that, it’s difficult to oppose, because we’re all in favor of stopping sex trafficking. But if you actually look at the bill with any understanding of how the internet works, you quickly realize that it will be tremendously counterproductive and would likely do a lot more to harm trafficking victims by making it much more risky for internet services to moderate their own sites, and to cooperate with law enforcement in nabbing sex traffickers using their platforms.

    • Pirate Bay Founder Is Offering Anonymous Hosting to Fight Government Censorship

      The north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia is celebrating an unofficial referendum for its independence on October 1, and the Spanish government is doing anything in its power to stop it—including censoring the internet.

      The Spanish government has seized the official domains of the referendum: referendum.cat and ref1oct.cat, and activists say it’s also using other techniques like manipulating the Domain Name System—the phonebook of the internet—to prevent people from accessing referendum-related sites. Meanwhile, Pirate Bay co-founder and long-time anti-censorship activist Peter Sunde is offering to keep information about the referendum online.

    • Ed Herbst: The genesis of ANC censorship – the Death of a Dream
    • Al Jazeera attacks Snap for ‘censoring’ content in Saudi Arabia
    • Snap faces its first censorship challenge, removes Al Jazeera’s Discover channel in Saudi Arabia
    • Snapchat blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia
    • Snap blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia to “comply with local laws”
    • Snapchat removed Al Jazeera’s channel from its app after pressure from the Saudi Arabian government
    • Snapchat Removes Al Jazeera Channel in Saudi Arabia
    • Snapchat takes down Al Jazeera’s channel in Saudi Arabia
    • Danger of Censorship Outweighs ‘Damage’ of Ugly Expression
    • Newseum Asked to Rescind Free Speech Award to Apple CEO Tim Cook
    • Tim Cook Could Have His ‘Free Expression Award’ Taken From Him Because Of Chinese Censorship
    • Netizen Report: Online Supporters of Myanmar’s Rohingya Face Censorship, Legal Threats

      Violence in northwest Myanmar has dominated headlines in recent weeks. More than 100,000 people from the ethnic minority Rohingya group have been displaced from their homes due to clearing operations of the Myanmar military, in response to attacks by a pro-Rohingya insurgent group. Tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees, who are mostly Muslim, are crossing into Bangladesh to escape the fighting.

      There is plenty of coverage of the situation by various media, ranging from mainstream wire services to independent Rohingya-run outlets like Rohingya Blogger. But it is still difficult to obtain accurate information about the conflict, as journalists both from the region and from abroad have been struggling to gain access to the conflict areas, and local media have a history of being punished for — and barred from — covering the Rohingya. Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, has even accused various media of circulating “fake news” on the topic. Her government has established a Facebook page, known as the ‘Information Committee’, that claims to offer verified information about the conflict.

    • The twisted words of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

      After three weeks of ethnic cleansing, mass murders, atrocities and all nature of civil rights’ abuses against the Rohingya people of Myanmar — a chapter that has seen nearly 400,000 of the persecuted Muslim minority flee through newly laid fields of landmines to seek refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh, Aung Sang Suu Kyi has ordained to speak to offer words of excuse to a shocked international community that stands in disbelief at her regime’s actions. This woman, who piously accepted a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for the civil rights abuses inflicted upon her and her political party by Myanmar’s junta and general, has become the apologist-in-chief for her own abusive, vile, violent – and elected – junta.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • There’s no crisis of free speech. Milo’s campus crusade is rank hypocrisy

      If you’re curious as to what a basket of deplorables looks like in real life, perhaps you should head over to Berkeley next week, where Steve Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter and friends will gather for a “festival of free expression” at the University of California campus. Maybe they’ll oblige by arriving in a hot air balloon, to render the metaphor entirely literal.

      The fact is, they may not arrive at all: Yiannopoulos, who is helping stage the series of events, has made a point of selecting “everyone who has been prevented from speaking at Berkeley in the last 12 months”. But “prevented” should be taken with a pinch of salt. Anti-immigrant firebrand Coulter, for example, decided of her own accord to cancel an appearance in April after the authorities allocated her a time slot designed to minimise the likelihood of a disturbance. “It’s a sad day for free speech,” she lamented, apparently without irony. This time around, the university administration has complained that deadlines for booking venues have been missed and fees remain unpaid. Yiannopoulos calls it a “coordinated bureaucratic mission to silence conservative voices”. Is it possible that the organisers would like nothing more than for Berkeley to insist on reasonable measures to ensure order, before flouncing off and crying censorship? Surely not.

    • Me, my data and I: Decode and the future of the personal data economy

      It’s no secret that personal data has become the key commodity of the online business world. The Internet giants – Facebook, Google, etc. – all provide their services “free”, but make money from the detailed profiles they create of our activity as we use social networks and move around the Web. Since we don’t have any choice in whether to allow this if we want to access the services, most people simple accept the practice as an inevitable if regrettable fact of digital life.

      But the consequences of doing so are serious. It means most of our activities online are tracked and stored – principally by companies, but also by governments that can draw on that data, using both front and back door access. It means that information about our supposed interests and preferences is fed back into the services to shape the content we see, and the ads that are displayed. It also means that intimate knowledge gleaned from the data can be used to manipulate us in subtle ways. But does it have to be like this? A project funded by the European Union called Decode (DEcentralised Citizen Owned Data Ecosystems) is exploring that question, in the hope that the answer is “no”:

    • Security Education: What’s New on Surveillance Self-Defense

      Since 2014, our digital security guide, Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD), has taught thousands of Internet users how to protect themselves from surveillance, with practical tutorials and advice on the best tools and expert-approved best practices. After hearing growing concerns among activists following the 2016 US presidential election, we pledged to build, update, and expand SSD and our other security education materials to better advise people, both within and outside the United States, on how to protect their online digital privacy and security.

    • Google’s Heather Adkins thinks everybody is going to get hacked and you need to be ready
    • Google’s Heather Adkins Talks NSA & Cyber Security Threats

      Google Manager of Information Security Heather Adkins said that she sees the United States National Security Agency as a general security threat while speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 on Monday. Ms. Adkins was asked whether she would label the NSA as a “state-sponsored threat” in the same vein that the likes of Russia and China are viewed, to which she responded positively. Google’s security chief suggested that the NSA itself isn’t a security threat so much as the software tools and techniques it develops are, likely referencing an April incident which saw a range of hacking tools supposedly created by the federal agency being leaked online. That same software was reportedly later used for enabling a global ransomware attack known as “WannaCry” which infected numerous computers around the planet and compromised a broad range of systems, including some that are critical in nature like hospital software.

    • A Google security chief considers the NSA a state-sponsored threat

      Today at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 Google’s Manager of Information Security Heather Adkins sat down for a fireside chat. Among the varying topics discussed, she spoke about what’s like to have the NSA tap the company’s lines and how she views state sponsored threats.

      Moderator and TechCrunch Senior Editor Frederic Lardinois asked Adkins if she thinks of the NSA as a state-sponsored threat in the same way as China and Russia. She confirmed, yes, she considers the US’ National Security Agency in that way. Does she worry about the NSA? Yes, she does and it’s good to worry about them because if they can attack, other organizations can attack too.

      She goes on to say that she thinks less about individual threats and rather focuses on the techniques and the surface available to be attacked.

    • Take Cybersecurity Away From Spies – For Everyone’s Sake

      Until 1994, GCHQ, the British signals intelligence agency, didn’t officially exist. Now, it has emerged out of the shadows to take a very public role at the heart of British cybersecurity.

      Public accountability for intelligence services is crucial to any democracy but, as the recent WannaCry ransomware attack showed, there are inevitable conflicts of interest between the role of intelligence services and network safety.

    • EFF, ACLU Sue Government Over Warrantless Electronic Searches At The Border

      If all goes well, we might have the US border join the rest of the United States in recognizing citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court’s Riley decision made it clear law enforcement needed to obtain warrants before searching people’s cellphones. Unfortunately, the so-called “border exception” — upheld by at least one court — says securing the border is more important than recognizing people’s rights.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Release: Portland Concludes Investigation into Uber’s use of Greyball

      By its own admission, Uber used Greyball to avoid regulation by PBOT enforcement officers in December 2014. These officers remained tagged by the Greyball program until the beginning of the first 120-day pilot period in April 2015.

    • The German schoolboy jailed for writing to the BBC

      They took saliva samples from the licked envelopes to identify blood groups which they cross-checked with doctor’s records. They traced fingerprints on the paper, sourced the ink and collated an extensive archive of handwriting samples.

      It was his handwriting that caught out Borchardt.

    • The Cybercrime Convention’s New Protocol Needs to Uphold Human Rights

      As part of an ongoing attempt to help law enforcement obtain data across international borders, the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Convention— finalized in the weeks following 9/11, and ratified by the United States and over 50 countries around the world—is back on the global lawmaking agenda. This time, the Council’s Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) has initiated a process to draft a second additional protocol to the Convention—a new text which could allow direct foreign law enforcement access to data stored in other countries’ territories. EFF has joined EDRi and a number of other organizations in a letter to the Council of Europe, highlighting some anticipated concerns with the upcoming process and seeking to ensure civil society concerns are considered in the new protocol. This new protocol needs to preserve the Council of Europe’s stated aim to uphold human rights, and not undermine privacy, and the integrity of our communication networks.

    • EFF to Court: The First Amendment Protects the Right to Record First Responders

      The First Amendment protects the right of members of the public to record first responders addressing medical emergencies, EFF argued in an amicus brief filed in the federal trial court for the Northern District of Texas. The case, Adelman v. DART, concerns the arrest of a Dallas freelance press photographer for criminal trespass after he took photos of a man receiving emergency treatment in a public area.

      EFF’s amicus brief argues that people frequently use electronic devices to record and share photos and videos. This often includes newsworthy recordings of on-duty police officers and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel interacting with members of the public. These recordings have informed the public’s understanding of emergencies and first responder misconduct.

    • Jeremy Corbyn blocks formation of key counter-terrorism watchdog

      The UK parliament’s influential intelligence and security watchdog has not met once during this summer’s string of deadly attacks, because Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has failed to put forward any candidates to sit on the committee, Middle East Eye can reveal.

    • Asylum-Seeker Says He’s Being Deported Because ICE Mishandled Evidence of Anti-Gay Attack

      On January 17, 2016, Sadat Ibrahim, a gay man from Accra, Ghana, arrived at the San Ysidro U.S. border checkpoint between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico, pleading for help. He asked for asylum, telling immigration officials that he had fled home after he was ambushed and attacked by an anti-gay group.

      Homosexuality is illegal in Ghana, punishable by up to three years in jail, and vigilante gangs often terrorize gay people. According to testimony Ibrahim gave to an asylum officer, one of his friends had been beaten by an anti-gay gang in August 2015 and was forced to give up the names of gay acquaintances, including Ibrahim. Another friend texted Ibrahim to warn him, and he immediately went home to collect his belongings and leave the area. But as he was packing, gang members forced themselves into his apartment and attacked him. Ibrahim says he was stabbed in his left arm and only just managed to escape by hailing down a nearby taxicab.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Yet Another Report Says The Rate Of TV Cord Cutting Is Worse Than Anybody Thought

      For years the traditional cable and broadcast industry has gone to comedic lengths to deny that cord cutting (getting rid of traditional cable TV) is real. First, we were told repeatedly that the phenomenon wasn’t happening at all. Next, the industry acknowledged that sure — a handful of people were ditching cable, but it didn’t matter because the people doing so were losers living in their mom’s basement. Then, we were told that cord cutting was real, but was only a minor phenomenon that would go away once Millennials started procreating.

      Of course none of these talking points were true, but they helped cement a common belief among older cable and broadcast executives that the transformative shift to streaming video could be easily solved by doubling down on bad ideas. More price increases, more advertisements stuffed into each minute, more hubris, and more denial. Intentional blindness to justify the milking of a dying cash cow — instead of adapting.

    • Yes, You Can Believe In Internet Freedom Without Being A Shill

      You may have noticed lately that there’s an increasing (and increasingly coordinated) effort to paint today’s biggest and most successful companies as some kind of systemic social threat that needs to be reined in. As veteran tech journalist John Battelle put it, tech companies frequently are assumed these days to be Public Enemy No. 1, and those of us who defend the digital world in which we now find ourselves are presumptively marked as shills for corporate tech interests.

      But a deeper historical understanding of how we got to today’s internet shows that the leading NGOs and nonprofit advocacy organizations that defend today’s internet-freedom framework actually predate the very existence of their presumed corporate masters.

      To get taste a of the current policy debate surrounding Google and other internet companies, consider the movie I Am Jane Doe, which documents the legal battle waged by anti-sex-trafficking groups and trafficking victims against the website Backpage.com. The film, which premiered this February with a congressional screening, also tracks a two-year investigation and report by the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations into the site’s symbiotic relationship with traffickers.

    • “Fake” net neutrality comments at heart of lawsuit filed against FCC

      The Federal Communications Commission has ignored a public records request for information that might shed light on the legitimacy of comments on Chairman Ajit Pai’s anti-net neutrality plan, according to a lawsuit filed against the FCC.

      Freelance writer Jason Prechtel filed a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request on June 4 asking the FCC for data related to bulk comment uploads, which may contain comments falsely attributed to people without their knowledge. But while the FCC acknowledged receiving his FoIA request, it did not approve or deny the request within the legally allotted timeframe, Prechtel wrote in a lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

  • DRM

    • HTML5 DRM finally makes it as an official W3C Recommendation

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry body that oversees development of HTML and related Web standards, has today published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a Recommendation, marking its final blessing as an official Web standard. Final approval came after the W3C’s members voted 58.4 percent to approve the spec, 30.8 percent to oppose, with 10.8 percent abstaining.

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation Resigns From W3C Over Encrypted Media Extensions DRM

      [...] The W3C is a body that ostensibly operates on consensus. Nevertheless, as the coalition in support of a DRM compromise grew and grew — and the large corporate members continued to reject any meaningful compromise — the W3C leadership persisted in treating EME as topic that could be decided by one side of the debate. In essence, a core of EME proponents was able to impose its will on the Consortium, over the wishes of a sizeable group of objectors — and every person who uses the web. The Director decided to personally override every single objection raised by the members, articulating several benefits that EME offered over the DRM that HTML5 had made impossible.

    • An open letter to the W3C Director, CEO, team and membership

      Despite the support of W3C members from many sectors, the leadership of the W3C rejected this compromise. The W3C leadership countered with proposals — like the chartering of a nonbinding discussion group on the policy questions that was not scheduled to report in until long after the EME ship had sailed — that would have still left researchers, governments, archives, security experts unprotected.

      The W3C is a body that ostensibly operates on consensus. Nevertheless, as the coalition in support of a DRM compromise grew and grew — and the large corporate members continued to reject any meaningful compromise — the W3C leadership persisted in treating EME as topic that could be decided by one side of the debate. In essence, a core of EME proponents was able to impose its will on the Consortium, over the wishes of a sizeable group of objectors — and every person who uses the web. The Director decided to personally override every single objection raised by the members, articulating several benefits that EME offered over the DRM that HTML5 had made impossible.

      But those very benefits (such as improvements to accessibility and privacy) depend on the public being able to exercise rights they lose under DRM law — which meant that without the compromise the Director was overriding, none of those benefits could be realized, either. That rejection prompted the first appeal against the Director in W3C history.


      We will renew our work to battle the media companies that fail to adapt videos for accessibility purposes, even though the W3C squandered the perfect moment to exact a promise to protect those who are doing that work for them.

    • World Wide Web Consortium abandons consensus, standardizes DRM with 58.4% support, EFF resigns

      In July, the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium overruled dozens of members’ objections to publishing a DRM standard without a compromise to protect accessibility, security research, archiving, and competition.

    • EFF quits W3C over decision to accept EME as Web standard

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation has resigned from the World Wide Web Consortium after the latter announced it was accepting the published Encrypted Media Extensions as a Web standard.

    • Christopher Allan Webber: DRM will unravel the Web

      I’m a web standards author and I participate in the W3C. I am co-editor of the ActivityPub protocol, participate in a few other community groups and working groups, and I consider it an honor to have been able to participate in the W3C process. What I am going to write here though represents me and my feelings alone. In a sense though, that makes this even more painful. This is a blogpost I don’t have time to write, but here I am writing it; I am emotionally forced to push forward on this topic. The W3C has allowed DRM to move forward on the web through the EME specification (which is, to paraphrase Danny O’Brien from the EFF, a “DRM shaped hole where nothing else but DRM fits”). This threatens to unravel the web as we know it. How could this happen? How did we get here?

      Like many of my generation, I grew up on the web, both as a citizen of this world and as a developer. “Web development”, in one way or another, has principally been my work for my adult life, and how I have learned to be a programmer. The web is an enormous, astounding effort of many, many participants. Of course, Tim Berners-Lee is credited for much of it, and deserves much of this credit. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tim on a couple of occasions; when you meet Tim it’s clear how deeply he cares about the web. Tim speaks quickly, as though he can’t wait to get out the ideas that are so important to him, to try to help you understand how wonderful and exciting this system it is that we can build together. Then, as soon as he’s done talking, he returns to his computer and gets to hacking on whatever software he’s building to advance the web. You don’t see this dedication to “keep your hands dirty” in the gears of the system very often, and it’s a trait I admire. So it’s very hard to reconcile that vision of Tim with someone who would intentionally unravel their own work… yet by allowing the W3C to approve DRM/EME, I believe that’s what has happened.

    • W3C DRM appeal fails, votes kept secret

      Earlier this summer, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) — the organization responsible for defining the standards that make up the Web — decided to embrace DRM (aka “EME”) as a web standard. I wasn’t happy about this. I don’t know many who were.

      Shortly after that, the W3C agreed to talk with me about the issue. During that discussion, I encouraged the W3C to increase their level of transparency going forward — and if there is an appeal of their DRM decision, to make that process completely open and visible to the public (including how individual members of the W3C vote on the issue).

      The appeal happened and has officially ended. I immediately reached out to the W3C to gather some details. What I found out was highly concerning. I’ll include the most interesting bits below, as un-edited as possible.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Ukraine Faces Call for US Trade Sanctions over Online Piracy

        The MPAA, RIAA and other entertainment industry groups are unhappy with how Ukraine is handling online piracy. The country has become a safe haven for many pirate sites, they say. In a recommendation to the US Government the copyright holder groups recommend suspending or withdrawing several trade benefits until the situation improves.

      • Inside the MPAA, Netflix & Amazon Global Anti-Piracy Alliance

        Back in June, MPAA, Amazon, Netflix, CBS, HBO, BBC, Sky, Bell Canada, CBS, Hulu, Lionsgate, Foxtel, Village Roadshow, and many more, revealed the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, a brand new initiative to tackle piracy on a global scale. Today, TorrentFreak can reveal the deal behind this massive operation.


Links 18/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC1, Mesa 17.2.1, and GNOME 3.26 on Ubuntu Artful

Posted in News Roundup at 8:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Linux Foundation head proclaims year of Linux desktop – from a Mac

      In what could well take the award for the most hypocritical tech statement of the year, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin last week announced that 2017 was the year of the Linux desktop – while using a macOS machine for his presentation.

      Zemlin’s statement was made during his keynote at the Open Source Summit 2017 that took place in Los Angeles from 11 to 14 September.

    • We’re giving away a Linux-ready laptop from ZaReason

      For the first time ever, Opensource.com is partnering with ZaReason to give away an UltraLap 5330 laptop with Linux pre-installed!

      Since 2007, ZaReason has assembled, shipped, and supported hardware specifically designed for Linux, and the UltraLap 5330 is no exception—the 3.6-lb laptop ships with the Linux distribution of your choice and boasts the following hardware specs:

  • Server

    • 7 tips for Linux cluster admins to help keep auditors happy

      The beauty of building extra-large Linux clusters is it’s easy. Hadoop, OpenStack, hypervisor, and high-performance computing (HPC) installers enable you to build on commodity hardware and deal with node failure reasonably simply. Learning and managing Linux administration on a small scale involves basic day-to-day tasks; however, when planning and scaling production to several thousand node clusters, it can take over your life, including your weekends and holidays.

  • Kernel Space

    • MIPS Changes Submitted For Linux 4.14: NI 169445, Omega2+, MT7628A Support

      There are many MIPS updates to find with the in-development Linux 4.14 kernel.

    • Linux 4.14 Dropping In-Tree Firmware

      Linux 4.14 is getting rid of its in-kernel firmware/ tree.

      For years now most everyone has been relying upon the external Linux-Firmware.Git tree for managing the firmware binaries needed by the Linux kernel device drivers. But prior to that was the in-tree firmware/ destination.

    • The DRM Changes For The Linux 4.14 Kernel

      With the Linux 4.14 merge window period combined with the fact of the DRM pull request having been submitted early this cycle, I didn’t have a chance to provide a recap of the Direct Rendering Manager changes for 4.14. Here’s that overview for those not in tune with the many individual articles that had been written about the different Linux 4.14 graphics driver changes.

    • Linux 4.14 Gets A Driver For PWM-Controlled Vibrators

      Dmitry Torokhov has sent in a second helping of input updates for the Linux 4.14 merge window that is closing this weekend.

    • Linux 4.14-rc1

      Yes, I realize this is a day early, and yes, I realize that if I had
      waited until tomorrow, I would also have hit the 26th anniversary of
      the Linux-0.01 release, but neither of those undeniable facts made me
      want to wait with closing the mege window.

      This has been an “interesting” merge window. It’s not actually all
      that unusual in size – I think it’s shaping to be a pretty regular
      release after 4.13 that was smallish. But unlike 4.13 it also wasn’t a
      completely smooth merge window, and honestly, I _really_ didn’t want
      to wait for any possible straggling pull requests.

      Don’t get me wrong – things don’t look bad, but I hate it when I find
      issues during the merge window that I feel should have been noticed
      before the code made it to me, and it happened a few times this

    • Linux 4.14-rc1 Released A Day Early
    • Kernel prepatch 4.14-rc1
    • The Exciting New Features Of The Linux 4.14 Kernel: Zstd, Vega Hugepages, AMD SME, New Drivers
    • Graphics Stack

      • The state of open source accelerated graphics on ARM devices

        I’ve been meaning to write about the state of accelerated open source graphics options for a while now to give an update on a blog post I wrote over 5 years ago in January 2012, before the Raspberry Pi even existed! Reading back through that post it was pretty dark times for any form of GUI on ARM devices but with the massive changes in ARM devices and the massive change in SBCs (Single Board Computers) heralded by things like the Raspberry Pi have things improved at all? The answer is generally yes!

      • The Graphics Talks Of The 2017 Open-Source Summit NA

        This week the Linux Foundation hosted their annual Open-Source Summit 2017 North America. There were two graphics talks this year led by Collabora developers.

        The slides for many of the talks from the 2017 Open-Source Summit NA can be found via the schedule page if hovering over a track.

        I’ve already covered some of the interesting ones like the Clear Linux GCC/GLIBC optimization approach while there were also just two Linux graphics talks of interest this year.

      • Experimental Nouveau Reclocking Patches Updated, Including For Maxwell GPUs

        Karol Herbst has sent out 29 updated patches on Friday for a major rework to the Nouveau clock related code for re-clocking and related functionality. This includes a “hacky workaround” for getting re-clocking to function on GeForce GTX 900 “Maxwell 2″ GPUs.

        The 29 patches by this independent Nouveau contributor work on restoring clocks after a system suspend, fixed reclocking when entering suspend, initial support for thermal throttling and to trigger reclocking on temperature changes, the “hacky workaround” for Maxwell2 reclocking, a new debugfs file for changing the boost mode, and other related work.

      • [Old] The beginning of the end of the RadeonHD driver

        Soon it will be a decade since we started the RadeonHD driver, where we pushed ATI to a point of no return, got a proper C coded graphics driver and freely accessible documentation out. We all know just what happened to this in the end, and i will make a rather complete write-up spanning multiple blog entries over the following months. But while i was digging out backed up home directories for information, i came across this…

      • mesa 17.2.1
      • Mesa 17.2.1 Released With Restored RADV Vulkan RX Vega Support

        As anticipated, Mesa 17.2.1 is now available for those wanting to use the latest stable point release of Mesa3D for the best, stable open-source 3D graphics user experience on Linux and other operating systems.

      • RadeonSI OoO Rasterization Lands In Mesa 17.3 For RX Vega & VI GPUs

        The RadeonSI out-of-order rasterization support for RX Vega “GFX9″ and Volcanic Islands GPUs has now landed in Mesa 17.3-devel Git.

        The out-of-order rasterization support should be able to boost the performance of these newer graphics cards in some Linux games. The support is enabled by default for now on Vega/VI GPUs while can be disabled with R600_DEBUG=nooutoforder.

      • Mir Now Has Initial Support For Wayland Clients

        Quietly being added to the Mir display stack a week ago was initial support for Wayland clients.

        Natively supporting Wayland clients within Mir has been a new goal for the remaining Mir developers at Canonical now that the original Mir plans were abandoned when Canonical did away with their grand vision for Unity 8. Mir is still being maintained at Canonical for some IoT use-cases while they hope some open-source projects will still decide to make use of their technology. With now at least having native Wayland client support, they stand some chance of Mir being useful to other groups.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux RAID Performance On NVMe M.2 SSDs With EXT4, Btrfs, F2FS

        To little surprise, when starting things off with a SQLite database insertion test, EXT4 on RAID0 with the NVMe drives was the fastest but not much faster than the standalone MP500 on EXT4. F2FS was also competing very well with EXT4. Btrfs was the slowest file-system, due to its copy-on-write nature that by default it doesn’t tend to be as performant with database type workloads. Interestingly, using F2FS with RAID1 caused a significant performance regression. At least in all the configurations except Btrfs, using the Corsair MP500 NVMe drives were a big upgrade over the Samsung 850 PRO.

  • Applications

    • Fake A Hollywood Hacker Screen in Linux Terminal

      You might have heard this dialogue in almost every Hollywood movie that shows a hacking scene. There will be a dark terminal with ascii text, diagrams and hex code changing continuously and a hacker who is hitting the keyboards as if he/she is typing an angry forum response.

      But that’s Hollywood! Hackers break into a network system in minutes whereas it takes months of research to actually do that. But I’ll put the Hollywood hacking criticism aside for the moment.

    • 3 text editor alternatives to Emacs and Vim

      Before you start reaching for those implements of mayhem, Emacs and Vim fans, understand that this article isn’t about putting the boot to your favorite editor. I’m a professed Emacs guy, but one who also likes Vim. A lot.

      That said, I realize that Emacs and Vim aren’t for everyone. It might be that the silliness of the so-called Editor war has turned some people off. Or maybe they just want an editor that is less demanding and has a more modern sheen.

    • Open-Source Alduin RSS Reader for Linux

      RSS readers are useful if you want to get latest updates from website(s). Alduin is a free and open-source RSS feed reader available for Linux and Windows, built using modern technologies like: Electron, React, TypeScript and Less, it has easy to use user-interface and suitable for all types of users. It has native system notification support, and additionally it supports podcast feeds too.
      Using the Alduin RSS interface is fairly simple, just click on the plus shaped button, and it will pull new articles from that given feed url, you can delete already added feed sources, lock the side menu in place.

    • SelekTOR: A Frontend GUI For Tor Browser (Bypass Country Restriction)

      Tor is a free software designed to make communication anonymous. Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Tor makes it more difficult for Internet activity to be traced back (Warning: still possible). Tor’s use is intended to protect the personal privacy of users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.

      SelecTOR is a frontend GUI for the Tor application. It is free for Linux and open-source based on Java released under license GNU GPL-2, it acts as a Tor launcher and exit node chooser for browsers that support system proxying using PAC files. It can be used for security and anonymization purposes or to bypass some firewall. Simplifies the process of selecting Tor exit nodes and manages selective URL pattern based on routing via system proxying.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Librem 5 Crosses $400k In Funding After Plasma Mobile Announcement

        Since announcing earlier this week that KDE is working on Plasma Mobile support for the Librem 5, Purism has managed to raise over $100k more towards their goal of building a free software GNU/Linux smartphone, but remain around 1.1 million dollars short of their goal.

        The announcement of Plasma Mobile support — while still planning to support GNOME on their device and it not being known yet if KDE/GNOME will be the default on the phone — managed to gain a number of new supporters with crossing the $400k crowdfunding threshold this weekend.

      • David Revoy teaches Krita course at local university in Paris
      • Randa Report Part 2

        And now for the serious part: in my last blog post, I talked about achieving our main goal for this year’s Randa meetings – we successfully ported the entire Kontact away from the obsoleted KDateTime class. Since we finished this on Thursday, there was still enough time left to start working on something new and exciting.

        Volker and Frederik went on to work on a KWin plugin to simulate various kinds of color blindness which will help developers to see how visually impaired users see their software, I did a bit more code clean-up after the porting and a bit of code-review.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 6

        Mageia 6 is very nice. While not much different from many of the other modern distributions, it comes with enough polish and extra features to make it worth checking out. The Welcome to Mageia application and Control Center make the distribution very friendly for new Linux users. Similarly, the ease of enabling non-free and tainted packages also makes it a good choice for anyone looking to quickly set up a fully functional system. While I cannot personally attest to their usefulness, users switching from Windows might find the various importing tools helpful for making their transition to Linux. If you are looking for a new distribution to try out, or want to take your first foray into the world of Linux, give Mageia 6 a try, you will not be disappointed.

    • Arch Family

      • BlackArch Linux A Pentesting Linux Distribution

        ​When it comes to penetration testing, the best way to go is Linux. Distros like Kali and Parrot are quite popular. Today we’re going to look at another awesome penetration testing distro known as Blackarch. Blackarch Linux is an Arch Linux-based penetration testing distribution for penetration testers and security researchers. The Blackarch comes with a tools repository that contains over 1800 tools with new ones being added quite frequently. Let us take a brief look at this Linux distro.

      • ArchLabs Linux “Mínimo” 2017.09 Released — Get A Fresh And Lightweight Linux Experience

        ArchLabs is a comparatively newer and lesser popular Linux distro as compared to other Arch Linux derivatives like Manjaro or Antergos. It came into existence when Crunchbang’s development was ceased and some fans decided to take inspiration from Bunsenlabs, which was itself a community-organized successor to Crunchbang, and create an Arch Linux based distribution named ArchLabs.

        ArchLabs, in early September 2017, decided to shift their focus of ArchLabs Mínimo, aka MSE-6, as their main release. It’s a stripped down, Openbox-based version of ArchLabs R2D2. For those who don’t know, MSE-6 are tiny repair droids seen in Star Wars.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Free Software Efforts (2017W37)

        I have updated txtorcon (a Twisted-based asynchronous Tor control protocol implementation used by ooniprobe, magic-wormhole and tahoe-lafs) to its latest upstream version. I’ve also added two new binary packages that are built by the txtorcon source package: python3-txtorcon and python-txtorcon-doc for Python 3 support and generated HTML documentation respectively.

      • Debian LTS work, August 2017

        I was assigned 15 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 1 hour from July. I only worked 10 hours, so I will carry over 6 hours to the next month.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Adds Support for GNOME’s JHBuild Tool to Its Snapcraft Snappy Creator

            Canonical’s Sergio Schvezov released a new update to the Snapcraft tool that application developers can use to package their apps as Snaps for easy distribution on Ubuntu and other Snappy-capable GNU/Linux distros.

            Snapcraft 2.34 has been released this week and it’s now available in the main repositories of various Ubuntu Linux releases that support the Snappy technologies, bringing a new plugin to support GNOME’s JHBuild tool for building the entire GNOME desktop environment or select packages from the version control system.

          • Wavebox, the Powerful Email Client, Is Now Available as a Snap on Ubuntu Linux

            If you’ve ever dreamed of having a central hub for all your web communication tools, you should know that the powerful Wavebox web app is now available for installation on Ubuntu Linux systems as a Snap.

            That’s right, Wavebox was finally ported to Canonical’s Snappy technologies that let application developers package their apps as Snaps to make their distribution easy across multiple GNU/Linux operating systems. And now, it looks Wavebox arrive in the Snappy Store and can be installed on Ubuntu and other supported distros.

          • Interview with Ubuntu boss: A rich ecosystem for robotics and automation systems

            In fact, ROS is not actually an operating system at all – it’s a set of software frameworks, or a software development kit, to be installed into an operating system like Ubuntu.

            As Mike Bell, executive vice president of internet of things and devices at Canonical, explains in an exclusive interview: “It’s a bit confusing because it’s called Robot Operating System, but the reason is because if you’re developing robot applications, you don’t need to worry about the fact that it’s running on Ubuntu.

          • GNOME 3.26 is Available on Ubuntu Artful!

            GNOME is a modern desktop user interface which is free software available for GNU/Linux, with mobile-like style and many applications. GNOME is well-known for its file manager, Nautilus, and its audio player, Rhythmbox. The 3.26 is the current stable version of GNOME released at 13 September 2017.

          • [Video] Checking out Ubuntu 17.10 beta 1 Gnome
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • To reduce costs, schools and colleges ready to use open source free software

    Many teachers and faculty of schools and colleges across the city are willing to use open source computer software for learning. This is because various interactive applications on these software, based on subject-wise learning, can help students. They will also help bring the cost of education down, eliminate the need for licencing and put an end to piracy.

  • Mumbai teachers learn benefits of open source software

    Free software activist groups from across the city came together at the Don Bosco Institute of Technology, Kurla on Saturday to celebrate Software Freedom Day (SFD) along with 100 school teachers, in order to educate them about the importance of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), a software that is owned socially and not by a specific proprietor.

    Proprietary software programmes like Windows, Photoshop, Corel or Tally, that have registration and application fees, can be replaced by FOSS, which is allegedly better and cheaper than the proprietary ones. Apart from this, the activists also focused on the privacy aspect that is lost in these software. The activists spoke to the teachers about open source software and its benefits.

  • How To Get An Open Source/Linux Job? — 9 Things To Keep In Mind

    Open source is becoming the new norm in the technology industry. All the major technology companies are busy using open source technologies and sharing their code on GitHub to help the developers use their quality code. This has resulted in a mutual benefit.

    Open source technologies like Android, Docker, Linux, etc., have dominated different markets and helped in creating more opportunities for the open source professionals. Highlighting the same, The Linux Foundation, in partnership with the careers website Dice, has released the results of the latest Open Source Jobs Survey and Report

  • Documentation needs usability, too
  • The Realities of Being a FOSS Maintainer
  • The Demand for Open-Source Professionals Soars

    While the majority of organizations anticipate hiring more open-source professionals over the next six months, an even greater number are struggling to recruit qualified candidates for their open positions, according to a recent survey from the Linux Foundation and Dice. The accompanying report, “Open-Source Jobs Report: Employers Prioritize Hiring Open-Source Professionals With Latest Skills,” paints an optimistic picture for open source as a career pursuit: Employers are scrambling to fill open positions to enhance the DevOps and app development capabilities in their company. They’re especially eager to hire a candidate who has certifications, and, if not, they’re often willing to help pay for the cost of getting certifications. Meanwhile, open-source pros are constantly getting recruiting calls, leading most of them to believe that it would be easy to find another job. “As open source becomes increasingly relevant and more companies globally leverage the technology in their stacks, demand for professionals with open-source experience will only intensify,” said Michael Durney, president and CEO of DHI Group, which owns Dice. “Successful employers recognize that open-source professionals will look at things beyond just the compensation, and will, for instance, express the opportunity to work on challenging projects during the recruiting process. Those firms [that] foster a spirit of teamwork and promote paths for professionals to advance their careers within the organization will attract highly skilled, passionate tech talent and, in turn, propel innovation forward for the future.” More than 280 global hiring managers and 1,800 open-source professionals took part in the research.

  • Events

    • LinuxChix Meet up experience!

      Today I got an opportunity to celebrate Linux’s 26th anniversary (17th September 1991) with the LinuxChix India team (http://india.linuxchix.org/).

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome will block autoplay video starting January 2018

        Google is taking on the irritating trend of auto-playing Web videos with its Chrome browser. Starting in Chrome 64, which is currently earmarked for a January 2018 release, auto-play will only be allowed when the video in question is muted or when a “user has indicated an interest in the media.”

        The latter applies if the site has been added to the home screen on mobile or if the user has frequently played media on the site on desktop. Google also says auto-play will be allowed if the user has “tapped or clicked somewhere on the site during the browsing session.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.4-RC1 Now Available

      The first RC build of the 10.4-RELEASE release cycle is now available.

      Installation images are available for:

      o amd64 GENERIC
      o i386 GENERIC
      o ia64 GENERIC
      o powerpc GENERIC
      o powerpc64 GENERIC64
      o sparc64 GENERIC
      o armv6 BEAGLEBONE
      o armv6 GUMSTIX
      o armv6 PANDABOARD
      o armv6 RPI-B
      o armv6 WANDBOARD

    • Every Nintendo Switch appears to contain a hidden copy of NES Golf [Ed: The Switch, some claim, runs FreeBSD]

      Turns out, this is somehow weirder. Your Nintendo Switch may already have a fully playable NES game just sitting inside of it.


    • GNU lightning 2.1.1 released!

      GNU lightning is a library to aid in making portable programs that compile assembly code at run time.

    • Gnuastro 0.4 released

      I am happy to announce that the fourth release of Gnuastro now available.

      GNU Astronomy Utilities (Gnuastro) is an official GNU package consisting of various command-line programs and library functions for the manipulation and analysis of astronomical data. All the programs share the same basic command-line user interface for the comfort of both the users and developers.

    • GNU libffcall 2.0 is released

      libffcall version 2.0 is released.

    • Introducing Jitter, an efficient language Virtual Machine generator

      During the last few months of this long silence I’ve been busy working on a new project. Of course it is free software, and I plan to propose it soon as an official GNU project.

    • Unifont 10.0.06 Released

      Unifont 10.0.06 is now available. This version has many glyph improvements, most of which were contributed by David Corbett. This version also has make files with Mike Gilbert’s modifications to allow parallel make, and corrects a bug in unifontpic for generation of the large Unifont graphic images. See the ChangeLog for further details.

    • Announcing Guix-HPC

      Today, Inria, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), and the Utrecht Bioinformatics Center (UBC) are announcing a joint effort to consolidate GNU Guix for reproducible scientific workflows in high-performance computing (HPC). The three research institutes have been using Guix and contributing to it. The new effort, dubbed Guix-HPC, hopes to extend Guix functionality to better address the needs of HPC users, as well as augmenting its package collection.

      Guix was not initially designed with HPC in mind. However, we believe it has many good properties both for flexible software deployment on clusters, and as a foundation for reproducible scientific workflows. The Guix-HPC blog will regularly feature articles with HPC “howtos” and stories about our achievements. We are thrilled by the opportunities this new effort offers!

    • GNU Remotecontrol: Newsletter – September 2017
    • GNUHealthCon 2017 and Social Medicine Awards nominations

      GNUHealthCon 2017 (www.gnuhealthcon.org) is coming up this November in Las Palmas ! We are very excited, and working hard on the preparations so we can make it a success again.

      On Saturday night (Nov 25th), we will celebrate the GNU Health Social Medicine Awards 2017 ceremony. Besides having a great time with our colleagues from around the world, we will announce the winners of the Social Medicine Awards. The awards are a way to recognize the work of individuals and organizations that fight for social justice and freedom in this world, and a source of inspiration for all of us.

    • GNU Health 3.2.3 patchset released
    • Texinfo 6.5 released

      We have released version 6.5 of Texinfo, the GNU documentation format.

  • Programming/Development

    • Python explosion blamed on pandas

      Not content to bait developers by declaring that Python is the fastest-growing major programming language, coding community site Stack Overflow has revealed the reason for its metastasis.

      Coming a day after Programmer Day, which falls on the 256th day of the year – except January 7: – the explanatory post by data scientist David Robinson could be flagged as an off-by-one error.

      But his case for the rise and rise of Python is no less plausible for its tardiness. Programmers love pandas.

      Not the black-and-white bamboo eaters, but the Python data science library. “Pandas is by a large margin the tag most visited by Python developers, which isn’t surprising after we saw its earlier growth,” Robinson explained.

    • Devs unknowingly use “malicious” modules snuck into official Python repository

      The official repository for the widely used Python programming language has been tainted with modified code packages, a computer security authority in Slovakia warned. The authority also said the packages have been downloaded by unwitting developers who incorporated them into software over the past three months.

      Multiple code packages were uploaded to the Python Package Index, often abbreviated as PyPI, and were subsequently incorporated into software multiple times from June through this month, Slovakia’s National Security Authority said in an advisory published Thursday. The unidentified people who made available the code packages gave them names that closely resembled those used for packages found in the standard Python library. The packages contained the exact same code as the upstream libraries except for an installation script, which was changed to include a “malicious (but relatively benign) code.”


  • Science

    • New evidence of Viking warrior women might not be what it seems

      At first, the scientific paper seemed like scientific confirmation of a long-cherished myth about Vikings. DNA and geochemistry experts re-examined the famous Swedish grave of a high-ranking Viking warrior and discovered that the person buried alongside swords, armor, and two sacrificial horses was genetically female. In a paper published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Uppsala University archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson and her team announced that they had, at last, proven that there were warrior women among the Vikings.

      The claim seemed to fit the evidence. Male Vikings were frequently buried with swords, and the sword was undoubtedly associated with the battle-scarred ideal of masculinity in Viking culture. If we assume that men buried with swords are warriors, then a woman buried with one was probably a warrior, too. Analysis of the stable isotopes in her tooth enamel suggested this woman had traveled widely, just like a warrior would have. On top of all that, Hedenstierna-Jonson and her colleagues pointed out the many references to women fighting in Old Norse poetry and myth. The bloodthirsty Valkyries are an all-female gang of magical creatures who come to every battle and decide who will fall. The recent paper in American Journal of Physical Anthropology was simply our first scientific evidence that there were real-life women fighting alongside the men.

  • Hardware

    • How long should a $999 iPhone last?
    • [Older] R.I.P. SPARC and Solaris [iophk: "Larry doing favors for Bill at his own expense"]

      According to comments on thelayoff.com, “SPARC people are out.” “The entire SPARC core team has been let go as of Friday. It’s gone. No more SPARC. You can’t have a SPARC w/o a team to develop the core.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘Single Payer Is a Rational Health-Care System’: An Exclusive Interview With Bernie Sanders on His ‘Medicare for All’ Plan

      The senator from Vermont explains why there is now so much interest in bold reform of America’s health-care system.

    • Democratic leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer plan

      Democratic support for a single-payer health-care system has grown by bounds this year, attracting more lawmaker endorsements than any time in the past. But one group is conspicuously not on board: party leaders.

    • ATF Ran Illegal Mixed-Money Slush Fund For Years With Zero Oversight, Auditing, Or Punishment

      The ATF isn’t restrained by oversight. It’s hardly restrained at all. It’s made a business of fake stash house sting operations, where downtrodden suckers looking for cash are persuaded to rob a ficitonal stash house of its fictional drugs. The problem is the government then bases its charges on the amount of nonexistent drugs sting victims were told the fake stash house contained. In no sting operation was the “amount” of drugs lower than 5 kilograms — the amount needed to trigger a 20-year minimum sentence.

      Why is the ATF involved? Because every sting operation involves fictional armed guards, necessitating the use of illegally-obtained weapons by sting victims. Bang. More charges with lengthy minimum sentences.

    • The Push for a Medicare-for-All Plan

      Sen. Bernie Sanders has unveiled a new single-payer healthcare plan which would provide all Americans with government-sponsored health coverage. Sanders’s plan, supported by some 16 Democrats in the Senate, calls for an overhaul of the healthcare system with what would essentially be a tweaked and revitalized version of Medicare-for-all.

    • Dr. Mona’s work exposing problems with Flint water earns award, $250,000
    • A year later, Dakota Access pipeline protests changed people
    • International Water Study Will Pay Flint Residents to Participate
    • Sea salt around the world is contaminated by plastic, studies show

      Researchers believe the majority of the contamination comes from microfibres and single-use plastics such as water bottles, items that comprise the majority of plastic waste. Up to 12.7m tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year, equivalent to dumping one garbage truck of plastic per minute into the world’s oceans, according to the United Nations.

    • Amid Opioid Crisis, Insurers Restrict Pricey, Less Addictive Painkillers

      At a time when the United States is in the grip of an opioid epidemic, many insurers are limiting access to pain medications that carry a lower risk of addiction or dependence, even as they provide comparatively easy access to generic opioid medications.

      The reason, experts say: Opioid drugs are generally cheap while safer alternatives are often more expensive.

      Drugmakers, pharmaceutical distributors, pharmacies and doctors have come under intense scrutiny in recent years, but the role that insurers — and the pharmacy benefit managers that run their drug plans — have played in the opioid crisis has received less attention. That may be changing, however. The New York State attorney general’s office sent letters last week to the three largest pharmacy benefit managers — CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRx — asking how they were addressing the crisis.

    • Why Are Drug Prices So High? We’re Curious, Too

      This much is clear: The public is angry about the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Surveys have shown that high drug prices rank near the top of consumers’ health care concerns.

      What’s not as clear is exactly why prices have been rising, and who is to blame.

      For the last four months, The New York Times and ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization, have teamed up to answer these questions, and to shed light on the games that are being played to keep prices high, often without consumers’ knowledge or consent. Katie reports from the health desk at The Times, and Charles is a senior reporter at ProPublica.

      Our reporting journey has turned up some counterintuitive stories, like how insurance companies sometimes require patients to take brand-name drugs — and refuse to cover generic alternatives — even when that means patients have to pay more out of pocket.

  • Security

    • Don’t blame open-source software for poor security practices

      The Equifax breach is a good reminder of why organizations need to remain vigilant about properly maintaining and updating their software, especially when security vulnerabilities have been disclosed. In an ideal world, software would update itself the moment a security patch is released. WordPress, for example, offers automatic updates in an effort to promote better security, and to streamline the update experience overall. It would be interesting to consider automatic security updates for Drupal (just for patch releases, not for minor or major releases).

      In absence of automatic updates, I would encourage users to work with PaaS companies that keep not only your infrastructure secure, but also your Drupal application code. Too many organizations underestimate the effort and expertise it takes to do it themselves.

      At Acquia, we provide customers with automatic security patching of both the infrastructure and Drupal code. We monitor our customers’ sites for intrusion attempts, DDoS attacks, and other suspicious activity. If you prefer to do the security patching yourself, we offer continuous integration or continuous delivery tools that enable you to get security patches into production in minutes rather than weeks or months. We take pride in assisting our customers to keep their sites current with the latest patches and upgrades; it’s good for our customers and helps dispel the myth that open-source software is more susceptible to security breaches.

    • Don’t blame open-source software for poor security practices

      Equifax was hacked because the firm failed to patch a well-known Apache Struts flaw that was disclosed months earlier in March.

    • Northern Exposure: Data on 600K Alaskan Voters is Leaked

      Researchers have discovered the personal details of over half a million US voters exposed to the public internet, once again thanks to a misconfigured database.

    • Google purges malicious Android apps with millions of downloads
  • Defence/Aggression

    • FACT CHECK: Is the photo, widely shared as that of Rohingya Muslims charred to death, authentic?

      The picture used by The Times Headline is that from a 2010 Fuel Truck disaster that happened in Congo and is NOT of Rohingya Muslims.

    • Why no country wants Rohingya, why it’s so difficult to deport them

      India had condemned “terrorist attacks in… Rakhine, wherein several members of the Myanmar security forces lost their lives”; Myanmar, in turn, condemned the Amarnath yatra attack, and “various acts of terror perpetrated by terrorists from across the borders”.

    • Pakistan is fuelling unrest in Myanmar’s backyard

      The international community has questioned Myanmar for the Rohingya crisis but has forgotten the bloody contribution of Pakistan-based jihadist groups to this catastrophe

    • Thousands of non-Muslims evacuated as violence flares in northwest Myanmar

      Fighting involving the military and hundreds of Rohingya across northwestern Rakhine continued on Saturday with the fiercest clashes taking place near the major town of Maungdaw, according to residents and the government.

    • Angela Merkel tells asylum seekers not to take holidays in their country of origin

      “Taking holidays in the country in which you are being persecuted is not on,” she said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, adding that it could be a reason to re-examine an asylum case.

    • Terror Warning: Britain home to 35,000 Islamist fanatics, says security chief

      European Union’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove singled out the UK as having more radicalised [sic] muslims than any other country in Europe.

    • ISIS Central Planned Attacks in London a Year Before Borough Market Assault
    • Terror attacks caused by “misinterpretation” of Quran by mosques, claims Scots Muslim issued with fatwa

      Paigham Mustafa, 58, was accused of spreading “Satanic thoughts” in a fatwa issued by 15 imams in Glasgow after he published a series of articles questioning mosque teachings, which he says are based on the Hadith and Sunna, later Islamic texts, written after the Koran, which he claims are “replete with violence, misogyny and terror”.

    • Profiteering in War: the Case Against Mercenaries

      Opening the August 30 New York Times, I was surprised (and personally appalled) to find Erik Prince on the opinion page with his own by-lined article (“Contractors, Not Troops, Will Save Afghanistan”). While Prince is entitled to his opinion, it seemed to me his former role as head of Blackwater should have denied him the privilege of expressing it from the vaulted platform of the NYT.

      Taking issue with the Prince op-ed, I maintain that the U.S. military should never hire mercenaries, whether directly or through Blackwater-type firms since contract soldiers have a vested interest in prolonging a war. Their private employers, investors, and lobbyists have a similar interest in advocating pro-war policies in the halls of Congress.

      Enriched by a succession of lucrative government security contracts and serving for years as a CIA lackey, Prince’s security company Blackwater earned opprobrium for its high-handed aggressiveness in Iraq as it escorted government VIPs around Baghdad and beyond. Repeated abuses of Iraqi pedestrians and motorists came to a head when four Blackwater employees opened fire in a crowded square in Baghdad in 2007, killing 17 and wounding 20. Prince defended his security force but sold the company in 2010.

    • The Forgotten Victims of Agent Orange
    • Nigerian Parents Give Girls to Boko Haram as Bombers, Army Says

      Parents in the northeast of Nigeria are giving their daughters to Boko Haram terrorists for indoctrination and suicide bombing missions, the country’s military said.

    • Imam in Northern Region allegedly beats wife to death

      Worried residents who spoke to Ultimate News on condition of anonymity said Afa Tijani married a second wife and strained relationship with the deceased who had aggressively objected and tried to block the second marriage.

    • Jihadi mob attacked Ramganj Police station in Jaipur. Curfew imposed. 1 died, several injured.

      Mosque microphones were used to incite the violence as reported.

    • Swedish Library Outlaws Factual Book on Migration, Offers Hitler’s Mein Kampf

      A Swedish library has landed in hot water for freely offering Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to its readership, while stopping books that question Sweden’s established view of immigration. This has evoked troubling hints at censorship in a country that takes pride in its openness.

    • What’s on the Mind of a Muslim ‘Refugee’?

      “One day we good Muslims will conquer their infidel lands.” I asked why he was receiving “infidel” money for living. “It’s just halal,” he answered. “They ['infidels'] are too easy to fool.”

    • When Islamic ‘occupation of Europe’ becomes a reality

      Op-ed: If Western European countries fail to wake up soon, they may find out within several decades—or maybe even by the end of the century—that the Muslims have become a majority in the population. The jihadists’ terror attacks in the continent are just the beginning.

    • Swedish Migration Board Staff Bedeviled By Death Threats From Angry Applicants

      Being a clerk at Sweden’s Migration Board is anything but a cakewalk due to vast workloads and occupational hazards. For instance, some of the asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected choose to track down the Migration Board employees responsible.

    • Why Sweden has more fatal shootings per capita than Norway and Germany

      “I think that tougher new laws, like automatically charging a person carrying a firearm, is the right way to go.”

    • Lidl Terrorism

      To create an effective blast, you need some sort of pressure vessel containing the explosive. There is no sign of this in the photos of the Parsons Green bomb and plainly there was no “blast” as such from the condition of the bucket. Some kind of fire event was rather created. If the police are arresting the right people, it is teenagers from social care backgrounds who did this. That is of a piece with what we know of so many recent attacks, where psychiatric health appears to be the cause of an interest in nihilist ideologies – as opposed to the other way round.

      We are entering a phase where we can expect the deep unpopularity of the government to worsen. Real wages continue to fall, and that is going to continue. Despite this and the massive mountain of personal debt, the Bank of England seems determined to raise interest rates in the next few months, which will put an even larger squeeze on the living standards of the poor. In particular, an increase in interest rates will not just cause the struggling and overly indebted to have higher repayments, in the Tory buy to let economy it will feed directly into higher rents.

      The government therefore needs an alternative narrative to distract the bulk of the population from their increasing penury. The Tory government will continue to use the Brexit negotiations, not to obtain the best outcome for the UK, but in order to manipulate events to highlight the issue of immigration and seek to further scapegoat immigrants as the cause of popular economic hardship. But they will also undoubtedly try to play up the “security” narrative. Expect more legislation to restrict civil liberties, and particularly expect amber Rudd to spearhead a coordinated media campaign to promote major censorship of the internet. That is the next major fight where we will have to stand up to the Tories.

    • UK to supply Qatar with Eurofighter jets in billion-dollar arms deal

      The British government and defence giant BAE Systems have agreed a major new deal to supply Qatar with Eurofighter Typhoon jets, despite fears of regional instability.

      British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon signed a letter of intent with Qatar on Sunday that will see BAE Systems provide 24 Typhoon jets and support capabilities worth billions of dollars.

      The move has shocked observers as it comes only three months after UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on Qatar to do more to clamp down on the funding of militant groups.

      The wealthy Gulf state is at the heart of a regional dispute over the funding of terrorism, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt have since June imposed sanctions on Qatar, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with Iran, arch-foe of the Gulf Arab states – allegations Doha denies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Chelsea Manning Has a Lot to Teach. Harvard Doesn’t Agree.

      On Wednesday, Harvard’s Kennedy School announced that Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst and whistle-blower, would be a visiting fellow this fall. The reaction was swift: A day later, Michael Morell, a former acting director of the C.I.A. and also a visiting fellow at the school, resigned from his own fellowship in protest. His resignation was quickly followed by the current director of the C.I.A., Mike Pompeo, canceling a speech scheduled at the school. In a statement, Mr. Pompeo unilaterally declared Ms. Manning a “traitor.”

      On Friday morning, the school folded, disinviting Ms. Manning in a cowardly act that does immense disservice to its students and the public debate around government secrecy.

    • Harvard’s Cowardice on Chelsea Manning

      Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government has shown that it is no profile in courage by withdrawing a visiting fellowship that had been awarded to Chelsea Manning, who served seven years in prison for revealing U.S. war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Harvard Caves to CIA Pressure, Revokes Chelsea Manning Title

      Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government revoked Chelsea Manning’s status as a “visiting fellow” on Friday, despite insisting the title was not intended as an honor. Extending the title “was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility,” the school’s dean, Douglas W. Elmendorf, wrote in a statement.

      On Sept. 13, Harvard University extended an invitation to Manning to speak to students in a short lecture series, igniting an unexpected firestorm. Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, leaked thousands of diplomatic cables revealing details about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      Although her title is revoked, Manning is still invited to speak to students at Harvard.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Interior Dept recommends reducing Bears Ears, other protected land: report

      The report, sent to the White House by the Department of the Interior in August, recommends scaling back the two national monuments as well as reopening hundreds of thousands of miles of protected oceans to commercial fishing.

    • Harvey and Irma aren’t natural disasters. They’re climate change disasters

      Make no mistake: These storms weren’t natural. A warmer, more violent atmosphere — heated up by our collective desire to ignore the fact that we live on a planet where such devastation is possible — juiced Harvey and Irma’s destruction.

    • Hurricanes Wreak Havoc Far Longer Than You Realize

      Houston didn’t just flood because of a lot of rain; it flooded because it let people build neighborhoods in known flood zones.


      We listen to our weathermen when the storms are a few days away, but not our scientists and engineers when they tell us that planning for disasters takes years and money.

    • Indonesia Warns of Growing Risk of Wild Fires

      He also explained that at least 538 hot spots with a medium to high confidence level were located, although the current numbers could be higher.

      In that regard, he pointed out that the greatest number of outbreaks were detected in the provinces of West Kalimantan and Papua, with 193 and 143, respectively.

    • Barriers, Water-features, Trees Used to Protect Europe’s Landmark Sites
    • An update on Hurricane Jose and the next threat behind it

      Despite the comings and goings of two major hurricanes that affected the United States during the last month—Harvey and Irma—we remain in the midst of a very active Atlantic hurricane season that may not be done with us yet. Not only must the US East Coast keep an eye on Hurricane Jose as it finally begins moving forward, but another threat lurks behind it.

      This post will review the three active Atlantic storms, and their potential effects on the Caribbean islands and the United States during the coming days and weeks.

    • How Washington Made Harvey Worse

      Nearly two decades before the storm’s historic assault on homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast of Texas this week, the National Wildlife Federation released a groundbreaking report about the United States government’s dysfunctional flood insurance program, demonstrating how it was making catastrophes worse by encouraging Americans to build and rebuild in flood-prone areas. The report, titled “Higher Ground,” crunched federal data to show that just 2 percent of the program’s insured properties were receiving 40 percent of its damage claims. The most egregious example was a home that had flooded 16 times in 18 years, netting its owners more than $800,000 even though it was valued at less than $115,000.

    • Something is changing the sex of Costa Rican crocodiles

      After probing and peering at the genitalia of nearly 500 crocodiles in Palo Verde, Murray and his colleagues found something odd: The sex ratio was way out of whack, with males outnumbering females four to one among hatchling crocs. What’s more, the animals’ tissues were tainted with a synthetic steroid, which the researchers suspect was causing them to switch sex.

    • How mood-altering drugs are ending up in Great Lakes fish

      Antidepressant drugs, making their way through an increasing number of people’s bodies, getting excreted in small amounts into their toilets, and moving through the wastewater treatment process to lakes and rivers, are being found in multiple Great Lakes fish species’ brains, new research by the University of Buffalo has found.

    • Warning Letter to Harvey and Irma Survivors From Katrina Survivor

      Our hearts go out to you as you try to return to and fix your homes and lives. Based on our experiences, here are a few things you should watch out for as you rebuild your communities.

      One. Rents are going to skyrocket and waves of evictions are likely. With so many houses damaged and so many highly paid contractors coming into your region whose companies will pay anything to house them, landlords are going to start evicting people to make way for higher paying occupants. Work with local organizations to enact a moratorium on evictions and a freeze on rents to allow working and low income people to come home and have a place to stay.


      Eleven. Don’t allow those in power to forget about the people whose voices are never heard. People in nursing homes, people in hospitals, the elderly, the disabled, children, the working poor, renters, people of color, immigrants and prisoners. There is no need to be a voice for the voiceless, because all these people have voices, they are just not listened to. Help lift their voices and their stories up because the voices of business and industry and people with money and connections will do just fine. It is our other sisters and brothers who are always pushed to the back of the line. Stand with them as they struggle to reclaim their rightful place.

  • Finance

    • Trump Administration Stayed Rule Targeting Ending the Wage Gap

      “Pay discrimination by gender is already illegal. But when employees, employers, and enforcement agencies do not know that discrimination is happening, they can’t fix it.”

    • How Corporate Capitalism Looted Democracy

      Democrats not only colluded with Republicans in the robbery—some may now be willing to allow corporations to evade hundreds of billions they owe in back taxes.

    • India likely to be 3rd largest economy by 2028: HSBC report

      India is likely to overtake Japan and Germany to become the third largest economy in the next 10 years but needs to be consistent in reforms and focus more on the social sector, British brokerage HSBC has said.

    • Frustrated EU fears Britain is ‘heading for the Brexit rocks’

      And now there is the unwelcome reappearance on the Brexit battlefield of Boris Johnson, with his insistence that the UK will succeed “mightily” as a low-regulation economy, no longer paying into the EU budget after March 2019. Speaking to the Observer, the leader of the socialist bloc, Gianni Pittella, fumed: “Boris Johnson is embarrassing his country once again by repeating the lies of the Leave campaign. He is jeopardising the Brexit negotiations by threatening to turn the UK into a low-regulation economy. And he insults the intelligence of the British people with his tub-thumping jingoism. It is more in keeping with Trump Tower than Whitehall.”

    • Alphabet might be about to invest $1 billion in Lyft

      Last week, my colleague Tim Lee explained why Lyft is going to be like Android, licensing and partnering with others rather than doing everything in-house. On Friday, Reuters reported on a notable deal that adds more weight to that analysis.

    • Here’s a real-life, slimy example of Uber’s regulator-evading software

      Portland, Oregon, was one of the cities we mentioned where Uber employed the so-called “Greyball” tool. The city has now released a scathing report detailing that Uber evaded picking up 16 local officials for a ride before April 2015, when the service finally won approval by Portland regulators.

      The Greyball software employs a dozen data points on a new user in a given market, including whether a rider’s Uber app is opened repeatedly in or around municipal offices, which credit card is linked to the account, and any publicly available information about the new user on social media. If the data suggests the new user is a regulator in a market where Uber is not permitted, the company would present that user with false information about where Uber rides are. This includes showing ghost cars or no cars in the area.

    • Gary Cohn Is Giving Goldman Sachs Everything It Ever Wanted From the Trump Administration
    • Use of ‘£350million per week’ figure to describe UK’s financial contributions to the EU
    • Boris’s nasty politics would hurt the Tories and Britain

      I used to have a lot of time for Boris Johnson. Sometimes whole days, in fact: from 8am until 8pm, I’d ring and text and email him, politely urging him to tell me what he planned to write his exquisitely expensive Telegraph column about, and when he’d deign to send it to me. It was, as others who’ve had the joy of calling him a colleague can attest, maddening. But he always filed, in the end.

      I don’t claim that working acquaintance with Boris gives me any unique insight into his soul. In fact, familiarity only makes his real character more obscure. My overall impression of a man famous for being talkative and flamboyant is that the real Boris Johnson, the man concealed beneath onionskin layers of artifice and performance, can be quite guarded and even a bit shy.

    • The Observer view on Boris Johnson’s analysis of Britain’s ills

      Mr Johnson succeeds in blaming almost every British ill – from uninspiring training to our dilapidated infrastructure – all or in part on the failing efforts of a Brussels elite to create a federal superstate. Incredibly, he writes that once free of the EU, Britain will be able to organise, plan, build the homes and infrastructure we need, give our children skills and – bingo! – we will become glorious and rich. None of this is allegedly possible as an EU member. The new alchemy will be simplifying regulations and cutting taxes, doing trade deals as “Global Britain”, alongside boosting wages and productivity.

      This, in the language of those gilded Etonians Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, is bilge and balderdash. It is true, as Johnson observes, that Britain is failing on many fronts, but to lay the blame, extending even to low wages, on unnamed EU regulations is fantastical. The blame needs to be firmly pinned on the policy framework – weak regulation, low taxation, minimal public intervention and unwillingness to invest in public infrastructure and services – which he champions.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jemele Hill and the politicisation of everything

      What’s striking, though, is that this ever exploded in the first place. How did we get to the position where one of the major political battles of the week is between a PC sports commentator and the commander-in-chief? All of American culture seems to be being drawn into this battle of the snowflakes – where ‘white supremacists’ and ‘libtards’ spend their days trading epithets until someone gets sacked.

    • The Equal Protection Challenge to Winner Take All: A Legal Guide

      Today, the non-profit that I founded, EqualCitizens.US, announced it would crowdfund support for two lawsuits to challenge the way votes are allocated in the Electoral College. All but two states allocate their vote according to a winner-take-all system, in which the winner of the popular vote gets all the electoral votes for that state. We believe winner-take-all violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and we intend, through EqualVotes.US, to build a case (and a campaign) to get the Supreme Court to agree.

    • Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency?

      Donald Trump is testing the institution of the presidency unlike any of his 43 predecessors. We have never had a president so ill-informed about the nature of his office, so openly mendacious, so self-destructive, or so brazen in his abusive attacks on the courts, the press, Congress (including members of his own party), and even senior officials within his own administration. Trump is a Frankenstein’s monster of past presidents’ worst attributes: Andrew Jackson’s rage; Millard Fillmore’s bigotry; James Buchanan’s incompetence and spite; Theodore Roosevelt’s self-aggrandizement; Richard Nixon’s paranoia, insecurity, and indifference to law; and Bill Clinton’s lack of self-control and reflexive dishonesty.

    • DC eyes tighter regulations on Facebook and Google as concern grows

      Every time a television station sells a political ad, a record is entered into a public file saying who bought the advertisement and how much money they spent.

      In contrast, when Facebook or Google sells a political ad, there is no public record of that sale. That situation is of growing concern to politicians and legislators in Washington as digital advertising becomes an increasingly central part of American political campaigns. During the 2016 election, over $1.4bn was spent in online advertising, which represented a 789 percent increase over the 2012 election.

    • Facebook under fire over Russian ads in election

      Facebook is under fire after revealing that a Russian group tied to the Kremlin bought political ads on its platform during the 2016 elections.

    • Rolling Stone, Once a Counterculture Bible, Will Be Put Up for Sale

      The sale plans were devised by Mr. Wenner’s 27-year-old son, Gus, who has aggressively pared down the assets of Rolling Stone’s parent company, Wenner Media, in response to financial pressures. The Wenners recently sold the company’s other two magazines, Us Weekly and Men’s Journal. And last year, they sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone to BandLab Technologies, a music technology company based in Singapore.

    • Everything we thought we knew about Devo’s “Whip It” was wrong

      While it would certainly be consistent with Devo’s methods to include a knowing double entendre, they are adamantly ambivalent about the common misunderstanding, which both goosed the song’s popularity and made it ever more clear that the masses would never quite get what the band were trying to do. “We wrote it as a ‘you can do it, Dale Carnegie’ pep talk for President Carter,” says Mark. “We were afraid that Republicans were going to get in there [in 1980], and they sounded very nasty at the time. They were running this guy, Ronald Reagan, that seemed like a total—he seemed like he didn’t even have a brain. We were like, ‘How could that be our president? That’s impossible, that they choose him to run for president.’ [...]

    • Donald Trump’s highly abnormal presidency: the week of Sept. 11
    • It’s Not Donald Trump’s Presidency That’s Highly Abnormal. It’s Trump

      People keep making apologies for Trump, that’s he’s not a politician, that he lacks experience, or that he just speaks his mind. Those are true but they are just the window-dressing of the problem. Trump’s absolutely nuts. No one in their right mind would plan on “winging it” or not having a plan to run something as complex as the government of the USA. Trump doesn’t have a plan at all, or if he does make one up, he changes it by breakfast time. He does all kinds of things that make no sense even to supporters, like depopulating the Department of State, banning one or another classes of people from USA not based on reason just who they are, building a wall that can’t be built at great expense for no purpose that anyone can see, and threatening dire consequences repeatedly and backing off. He trumpeted that Obama had no plan or that Obama was weak but Trump has less of a plan and is weaker.

    • Why ‘Juggalos’ are marching on DC

      “On paper, it sounds just plain ridiculous that a group of men and women who like a particular kind of music are being considered gang members, but it’s no laughing matter when you realize how many people’s lives are being destroyed by this gang designation.”

    • Why Merkel and Co want to keep politics ‘boring’

      However, the claim that the election process is boring is only half the truth. Yes, Merkel has a comfortable lead over the Martin Schulz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). He is her main rival, though his party has been in coalition with Merkel over the past four years. But the elephant in the room is the anti-establishment AfD. This party, which is running on a largely authoritarian, anti-Islamic ticket, and which has opened itself up to many right-wing fringe groups, is back on the political stage after having done badly in some recent local elections. Many are now asking how strong AfD will become — or how strong Merkel really is, which amounts to the same question.

    • Stop being afraid of more government. It’s exactly what we need.

      Seeing the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and of wildfires out West, one cannot help but think about the crucial role that government plays in our lives. But while we accept, even celebrate, the role of government in the wake of such disasters, we are largely blind to the need for government to mitigate these kinds of crises in the first place.

      Ever since President Ronald Reagan, much of the United States has embraced an ideological framework claiming that government is the source of our problems. Reagan famously quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

    • PM’s Father Endorsed “Restored Honour” For Convicted Paedophile

      Benedikt Sveinsson, the father of Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, provided a recommendation letter of “restored honour” for Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson, a man convicted of having raped his stepdaughter almost daily for 12 years. This information was kept hidden from the general public, despite repeated requests from the media, until a parliamentary committee ruled that the Ministry of Justice was legally obliged to disclose this information. The Prime Minister was aware of his father’s actions since at least last July, but said nothing.

      Stundin reports that Hjalti was convicted of rape in 2004, but last August was granted “restored honour”, a legal procedure which effectively clears the criminal record of someone who has served a sentence for a serious crime and seeks to gain a position that a criminal conviction would normally prevent them from getting. In order to get restored honour, however, amongst the requirements is a letter of recommendation.

      Initially the Ministry of Justice refused to disclose who had recommended Hjalti receive restored honour, but after concerted pressure – including a parliamentary committee ruling that the Ministry had gone beyond the bounds of the law to keep the information secret – the Ministry relented. It was today revealed that Benedikt, who has long been a friend of Hjalti’s and reportedly visited him in prison, had provided a letter of recommendation for Hjalti.

    • Analysis: How Iceland’s Government Fell Apart

      Late last night, Iceland’s coalition government – led by the Independence Party and supported by Bright Future and the Reform Party – collapsed when Bright Future opted to leave the coalition. Today, Iceland is facing the prospect of early elections, less than a year from our last round of early elections in October 2016, which were themselves sparked by a scandal that made international headlines.

      Making sense of the chaos means taking a look at the key elements and players involved in this government crisis.

    • How a convicted pedophile brought down Iceland’s government

      In 2004, Hjalti Sigurjon Hauksson was imprisoned for raping his stepdaughter nearly every day for 12 years, starting when she was just 5. Thirteen years later, his crime has helped bring down Iceland’s government.

      The story involves Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson and his father, Benedikt Sveinsson.

      Here’s what happened: Several months ago, Sveinsson drafted a letter of recommendation for Hauksson, arguing that he should have his “honor restored.” In Iceland, convicts can have certain civil rights restored by submitting letters of recommendation extolling good character. Hauksson and another convicted pedophile, Robert Downey (formerly named Robert Arni Hreidarsson), received full pardons over the summer.

    • The Guardian view on deportation: contempt of court and of decency

      Three judges have now told the Home Office it was wrong to deport an asylum seeker back to Afghanistan – where he says armed men are looking for him already – and that it should return him to the UK at once. By not doing so, the Home Office has shown its contempt not only for decency, but for British law. Samim Bigzad believes he is a target for the Taliban because he worked in construction for the Afghan government and US companies. His asylum claim was rejected, but his lawyers applied for a judicial review. A high court judge ruled that he should not be removed while the process was under way. That order arrived when he had already been put on the second leg of the flight. He was not removed immediately and it took off shortly afterwards.

      Then a second high court judge has ruled that the home secretary is in prima facie contempt of court and must secure his return. A third – rejecting the government’s request to set aside that ruling – has reiterated that he should be brought back at once. It now appears that the Home Office may be arranging his imminent return, although it said in a statement that it was correct to deport him and is continuing to pursue legal action. It was wrong to send him to Kabul and it should have complied earlier.

    • America’s Slow-Motion Military Coup

      In a democracy, no one should be comforted to hear that generals have imposed discipline on an elected head of state. That was never supposed to happen in the United States. Now it has.

      Among the most enduring political images of the 20th century was the military junta. It was a group of grim-faced officers—usually three—who rose to control a state. The junta would tolerate civilian institutions that agreed to remain subservient, but in the end enforced its own will. As recently as a few decades ago, military juntas ruled important countries including Chile, Argentina, Turkey, and Greece.

      These days the junta system is making a comeback in, of all places, Washington. Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men: General James Mattis, the secretary of defense; General John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff; and General H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser. They do not put on their ribbons to review military parades or dispatch death squads to kill opponents, as members of old-style juntas did. Yet their emergence reflects a new stage in the erosion of our political norms and the militarization of our foreign policy. Another veil is dropping.

    • Kobach and Windmills

      “‘Vote early and vote often,’ the advice openly displayed on the election banners in one of our northern cities.”— William Porcher Miles, 1858, Speech in the House of Representatives

      A number of you have written asking if Wikipedia is wrong. They cannot believe that Kris Kobach, the man whose awesome educational background is described in Wikipedia, is the same man who spends his time attacking 21st Century windmills. Those asking the question should remember that Don Quixote de la Mancha, too, was an educated man, who saw in windmills foes to overcome. For Don Quikobach de la Kansas, the windmill has been replaced by the electoral system.

      Don Quikobach graduated with highest honors as an undergraduate from Harvard, went on to Oxford where he earned an MA and PhD in politics, and from there, went on to Yale Law School. His post graduate career is proof that, as one university president said of college graduates, although they had graduated, you could never be sure they were educated men. Don Quikobach is proof of the pudding. His academic credentials notwithstanding, his life is filled with windmills that serve as his opponents and he is the hero of all who, like him, focus on those perceived enemies.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • MEP accused of trying to suppress cartoons critical of bloc and Merkel

      They said that critical cartoons about German Chancellor Angela Merkel were apparently discarded on the basis that she is currently facing a re-election battle. The exhibition takes place after Sunday’s election.

    • Malaysia blocked Steam because of a single game, those trying to play it will need a VPN
    • Free Speech for the Right? A Primer on Key Legal Questions and Principles

      The rise in national attention to the “alt-right” and fascist-white supremacist protesters has raised questions about the parameters of free speech in America. When can free speech be limited, if ever? What are the implications of attempting to limit controversial speech? And what precedents has the Supreme Court set regarding free speech? I address these questions below via an exploration of historical Supreme Court cases, which show that there’s no legal pretext for a blanket ban on far-right protests.

      There are numerous precedents related to the topic of controversial speech. One major case is Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), in which a KKK member, Clarence Brandenburg, spoke at a rally about the possible need for “revengeance” against people of color as related to government initiatives taken in support of minority groups. Brandenburg was convicted under state law and sentenced to 10 years in prison for advocating violence, in violation of a state statute prohibiting support for “crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform.” But in overruling the state conviction, the Supreme Court ruled that government could only restrict incendiary speech if there was an “imminent” violent action is incited by that speech.

    • Twitter rival Gab sues Google over app store rejection

      Gab, a Twitter rival popular with the Breitbart crowd, is suing Google. The lawsuit, filed in Pennsylvania federal court on Thursday, argues that Google violated antitrust laws when it rejected Gab’s app from its Android app store.

      Gab says Google rejected Gab to help its business partner Twitter. Google and Twitter signed a data-sharing deal in 2015, and Gab argues the deal gave Google a financial stake in Twitter’s success. The deal “makes the Google search engine immeasurably more valuable,” Gab writes in its lawsuit. As a result of the deal, “the two companies’ user bases have essentially been merged.”

    • [Older] Crisis hits the world’s biggest football league amid political censorship scandal [VIDEO]

      The world’s biggest football league is currently in crisis because of a political censorship scandal.

    • Censorship and free speech based on fear not fairness — can I say that?
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Equifax announces “retirement” of the IT execs who presided over the mass-doxing of America

      One week after announcing the worst breach in American history, and days after it was revealed that the breach had been caused by simple negligence, Equifax has announced the “retirement” of its Chief Information Officer, David Webb, and Chief Security Officer, Susan Mauldin, though “the company’s review of the facts is still ongoing.”

    • Athens Makeshift Μosques Under Police Surveillance – Report

      The Greek daily says that authorities are concerned due to evidence that certain imams and followers have expressed views applauding the so-called Islamic State for the terrorist attacks it has orchestrated in different parts of Europe.

    • ISPs can keep sharing your browsing history after California no-vote

      California state lawmakers ended their legislative session yesterday without enacting privacy protections for broadband customers after the proposed rule drew opposition from Internet service providers and advertisers.

      “By failing to pass A.B. 375, the legislature demonstrated that they put the profits of Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast over the privacy rights of their constituents,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation said today.

      The California legislation would have required ISPs to obtain customers’ permission before they use, share, or sell the customers’ Web browsing and application usage histories. The data is valuable for serving personalized advertisements to Internet users. But the bill was shelved before reaching a final vote.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Playdate Generation Goes To College
    • West Papua petition vote to go to UN

      Free West Papua campaigners have drawn attention to the 42 people they’ve said have been tortured and the two people who had been arrested in the Indonesian province as a direct consequence of the petition.

    • Turkey’s Genocide Denial: Four Narratives

      Turkey still denies the Armenian Genocide, during which 1.5 million Armenians perished. The Turkish state does not have just one policy or rhetoric concerning it. One could argue that there are four main narratives in Turkey concerning the genocide.

    • Environmental justice overlooked in Dakota pipeline saga, legal expert says

      If that weren’t enough, Kronk Warner writes, tribes opposed to the pipeline might challenge it based on international law. The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the United States has signed, provides guidance meant to preserve “indigenous self-determination,” she writes, including restitution or compensation “for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.”

    • Shailene Woodley says she was strip searched after Dakota pipeline arrest

      Woodley originally pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges. But she accepted a plea deal earlier this year in which she pleaded guilty in exchange for one-year probation.

    • Christian children ‘forced to recite Islamic prayers’ in order to receive food in Sudan refugee camps

      Christian children at refugee camps in Sudan are not receiving food unless they say Islamic prayers, according to reports received by sources close to the leading Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

    • Finland Named World’s Largest Jihad Exporter Per Capita

      Klor also claimed that the risk of radicalization of Muslims is far greater in wealthy societies compared with the poor ones. According to Klor, high GDP and high living standards directly correlate with a high proportion of Daesh recruits in non-Muslim countries. This phenomenon wholly applies to Finland, which in recent decades has been repeatedly ranked as one of the world’s best countries to live in.

    • Flint airport stabbing suspect won’t get access to addresses of witnesses

      A judge has denied a request from the man accused of stabbing an on-duty Flint Bishop Airport police officer in the neck to see the addresses of those who may testify against him.

    • The Golden Age of Private Prisons

      Either way, Deutsche Bank has discovered at least two crisis-proof investments. In a recent analyst report, the bank said it was bullish about the prospects for a pair of U.S. companies for which it recently issued “buy” recommendations. These companies are CoreCivic (CXW) and GEO Group, the two largest operators of private prisons in the United States.

    • Punjabi woman sold in Saudi Arabia as ‘slave’, travel agent booked

      He said his wife left India on July 23 and was employed with a Saudi family, adding that after reaching there Paramjit was told that she would not get any salary as she had been purchased by the family.

    • Crowd ‘cheer like they’re at a beach party’ as Saudi blogger is lashed 50 times

      She wrote: ‘This crowd is not a beach party, it’s how moderate Muslims act when they flog someone for expressing his own opinions.’

    • Nothing ‘moderate’ about Malaysia

      The constitution may in theory protect freedom of religion but it certainly doesn’t protect freedom from religion. Consequently, several states have strong apostasy laws that threaten “rehabilitation” and prison time for any Muslim who tries to leave the religion.

    • Open letter: hijab in the classroom
    • Muslim college student who lied about Trump supporter subway attack pleads guilty

      She must go through six months of counseling and complete three days of community service.

      If Seweid fulfills the terms of her deal, the top charge against her will be tossed and she’ll be left with just a violation.

    • Why is the US government keen on detaining and deporting Singaporean political asylee Amos Yee?
    • Elders ‘ban’ musical gatherings in Landi Kotal

      The organisers warned that the houses of those either holding musical gatherings or in possession of musical instruments would be burnt, the sources claimed.

    • In Indonesia, 3 Muslim Girls Fight for Their Right to Play Heavy Metal

      “They said that if we produce an album, they would burn it, and some people threatened to decapitate us,” Ms. Eusi said.

    • ‘Fed up with fantasies for male teenagers’: fixing the depiction of women in games

      “I was fed up with power fantasies for male teenagers,” says Stark, one half of Noosa-based family studio Disparity Games. “We wanted something different.”

    • Disturbing reality of child marriage in Australia revealed
    • Local Islamic leader refuses to shake hands with Norwegian female minister on TV (VIDEO)
    • Swiss feel threatened by Islam, according to survey

      In addition, 81 % favoured banning salafism, and 83% would like a system that requires imams to get official authorisation before they can preach in Switzerland. 80% would also like rules that require muslim leaders in Switzerland to recognise equality between men and women and the principle of the separation of the state and religion.

    • Submit a Public Comment: Do NOT Allow ICE to Destroy Records of Sexual Abuse and Death of People in Custody

      We have until September 15 to send public comments to the National Archives and Records Administration demanding they retract permission for ICE to destroy these records.

    • The Deal Prosecutors Offer When They Have No Cards Left to Play

      When DNA evidence exonerated two men convicted in a 1987 murder, one took his chances on a retrial to overturn his conviction. The other accepted a special deal and left prison immediately—as a convicted killer.

    • Pedro Hernandez Was Cleared of Shooting Charges

      Nine people, including the victim, said he didn’t commit the crime.

    • Watch: Aggressive cop pulls gun on motorcyclist and bullies him for no good reason
    • LA deputies’ private body cams raise transparency questions

      Whatever the number, not a single frame of any video from these cameras has ever made it into the public domain.

    • The Google Memo: The Economist On Nothing

      But also important were themes that often got overlooked: reason, open discussion, and classical liberalism.

    • Public Enemy

      More than two hundred potential jurors were excused from the trial.

    • Vermont State Police Rewrite Press Rules To Withhold As Much Information As Possible

      Various authority figures have attempted to define journalism, usually excluding their critics. A recent post here covered a police chief who decided he could determine a journalist’s credibility based almost solely on their web presence. Trimming down the definition of “journalist” allows government officials to limit their accountability by treating only certain outlets as credible.

    • Rejecting Trump Agenda, Immigrant Protections Bill Passes in California

      Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the California Values Act, passed by lawmakers Saturday, which would make the state a “sanctuary state” with new protections for undocumented immigrants.

      The 27-11 vote, along party lines, was reached after lengthy negotiations. But immigrant rights groups applauded the final bill, noting that it represented a strong rebuke of President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda, including the Justice Department’s threats to withhold law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities.

      “This was a hard-fought effort but the end product was worth the fight,” said Jennie Pasquarella, Immigrants’ Rights Director with the ACLU of California. “With SB 54, California will meaningfully improve state law to keep families together and communities whole—and not a moment too soon as the Trump administration continues its draconian and indiscriminate crackdown on immigrants.”

    • Examining the “Ten Truths about Jihad”

      So if there was an irreconcilable contradiction between the messages of two “revelations” in the Koran, then the most recent “revelation” abrogated (superseded) the earlier one and was now the one to be followed. Consequently, a “revelation” made in the Medinan period would supersede a similar, earlier “revelation” made in the Meccan period. Both verses remain in the Koran because they are considered the words of Allah, but it is the most recent “revelation” that now carries the doctrinal authority.

    • Burkas are political symbols not Islamic ones, Muslim scholar says

      Dr Manea says the veiled garment was not worn by women outside of Nejd until Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi regime came to power in the late 1970s.

    • Inside Assad’s prisons: Horrors facing female inmates in Syrian jails revealed
    • “They are bringing shame on the family, that b**** is going to die”: How innocent kiss led to honour killing of Banaz Mahmod

      Banaz Mahmod was raped, tortured and strangled with a length of plastic cord at her parents’ home in a brutal honour killing after her family felt she had “shamed” them by divorcing her arranged marriage husband and choosing her own partner.

    • What we can learn from France’s failed deradicalization center

      Political, rushed center cost the country 2.5 million euro and did not deradicalize a single individual


      “Obviously, trying to counter-radicalize these individuals exclusively through the frontal confrontation with democratic values is ineffective,” he says, “what we have to do, I believe, is to work where the sources of the problem are and on prevention efforts.’’

      As these young citizens have rejected the country in which they live, Dantinne believes it is unlikely that they will, for example, listen to an Imam hired by the State:

      ‘’In the prison context, for example, what happens when these youths are confronted to moderate Imams? They do not even want to be in contact with them, because they see them as representatives of the State and are the symbol of a rogue Islam.’’

    • Ironic anti-Prevent report proves just how direly we need the counter-terrorism strategy

      While this is just a glimpse into Baig’s history of courting views typically taken by Islamists, his most recent report on Channel 4, one which the Deputy Editor of the channel Nevine Mabro called “fantastic” before viewers began picking it apart, easily takes the cake. In it, he interviews a number of young Muslim women who we are told are going to “fight back by rejecting stereotypes.” While the entire production of the report is absurd, with the interviewees standing in a boxing ring and striking punching bags and tyres, the most appalling aspect is perhaps Channel 4’s collection of what they assume to be ‘progressive’ female Muslim voices.

    • Scandal-Plagued Sheriff David Clarke Would Make a Bad Trump Administration Even Worse

      It is clear by now that, if Clarke gets any White House post, the threat this administration poses to the Bill of Rights will increase.

    • Shaun King on Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick, and White Supremacy

      The role that Trump has played in fanning the flames of this violent hatred became a major discussion in the world of professional sports over the past week after comments from a popular ESPN host, Jemele Hill. In several tweets, she criticized Trump and bluntly labeled him a “white supremacist.” Her comment spurred calls for her to be fired and on Friday, the president himself tweeted: “ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!” His press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said Hill’s comments were a fireable offense, saying ESPN “should hold anchors to a fair and consistent standard.” The First Amendment implications of the president and his administration publicly attacking the free and constitutionally protected speech of a member of the news media are vast. Hill’s comments and the president’s response come amid a political debate consuming the world of professional sports about athletes engaging in protest.

    • Cyprus ‘selling’ EU citizenship to super rich of Russia and Ukraine

      Billionaire Russian oligarchs and Ukrainian elites accused of corruption are among hundreds of people who have acquired EU passports under controversial “golden visa” schemes, the Guardian has learnt.

      The government of Cyprus has raised more than €4bn since 2013 by providing citizenship to the super rich, granting them the right to live and work throughout Europe in exchange for cash investment. More than 400 passports are understood to have been issued through this scheme last year alone.

      Prior to 2013, Cypriot citizenship was granted on a discretionary basis by ministers, in a less formal version of the current arrangement.

      A leaked list of the names of hundreds of those who have benefited from these schemes, seen by the Guardian, includes prominent businesspeople and individuals with considerable political influence.

    • White House Pushes Stricter Travel Ban, Pointing to London Attack

      While no information has been released about the nationalities of two suspects in Friday’s subway bombing in London, national security advisor H.R. McMaster indicated Sunday that the Trump administration is eager to use the attack to bolster its argument for a ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries.

      Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning, McMaster said the White House is examining “how to protect the American people better, how to ensure that we know who these people are who are moving.”

    • Will Judge Overturn Arpaio Pardon?

      When Donald Trump plunged a dagger through the hearts of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s victims and all justice-loving people by pardoning the racist serial lawbreaker, many threw up their hands in resignation. The president’s constitutional pardon power is absolute, they thought.

      Not so, argue lawyers and legal scholars in two proposed amicus briefs filed in US District Court in Arizona. They contend the Arpaio pardon is unconstitutional.

    • Egypt: Torture Epidemic May Be Crime Against Humanity

      Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s regular police and National Security officers routinely torture political detainees with techniques including beatings, electric shocks, stress positions, and sometimes rape, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

      Widespread and systematic torture by the security forces probably amounts to a crime against humanity, according to the 63-page report, “‘We Do Unreasonable Things Here’: Torture and National Security in al-Sisi’s Egypt.” Prosecutors typically ignore complaints from detainees about ill-treatment and sometimes threaten them with torture, creating an environment of almost total impunity, Human Rights Watch said.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Unlimited Data Customers Report Fewer Network Problems Than Capped Users

      Back in 2011, you might recall that AT&T and Verizon stopped offering users unlimited wireless data plans. Taking advantage of a lack of competition at the time, the duo worked in concert to shove users toward confusing, metered plans that imposed a usage cap, then socked users with overage fees upward of $15 per gigabyte. When users refused to migrate to these plans, both companies spent years making life as difficult as possible for these subscribers, AT&T going so far as to block users from accessing Facetime until they switched to these more expensive, metered plans (but who needs net neutrality rules, right?).

    • Sept 26-27: The Internet descends on Washington

      The FCC is set on killing net neutrality. But Congress is key. They can stop the FCC and block the bigger threat: ISP-backed bills that would end net neutrality forever. We’re organizing Internet users to meet with members of Congress—in DC, or locally—and we’re helping to cover travel costs. Are you in?

    • 8,500 Verizon customers disconnected because of “substantial” data use

      Verizon is disconnecting another 8,500 rural customers from its wireless network, saying that roaming charges have made certain customer accounts unprofitable for the carrier.

      The 8,500 customers have 19,000 lines and live in 13 states (Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin), a Verizon Wireless spokesperson told Ars today. They received notices of disconnection this month and will lose access to Verizon service on October 17.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Kodi ‘Trademark Troll’ Has Interesting Views on Co-Opting Other People’s Work

        Last week, the developers of Kodi revealed that Geoff Gavora, someone unconnected with the project, had registered the Kodi trademark in Canada. Surprisingly, it appears that Gavora’s Kodi business involves the promotion and distribution of addons that are banned by Kodi itself for supplying infringing content. But that isn’t the only thing interesting about this entrepreneur.

    • Copyrights

      • Music Industry Is Painting A Target On YouTube Ripping Sites, Despite Their Many Non-Infringing Uses

        Concentrated attacks on technology tools that can sometimes, but not always, be used for nefarious purposes have quite a long history, from Google and Wikipedia, to suing online sites like Craigslist over how users use the service. Even torrent technology itself, having become a four-letter-word that the content industry has managed to tether to copyright infringement, is nothing more than a tool with plenty of legitimate uses.

      • Call to Action: Write to the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on the upcoming copyright vote

        On October 10, an important committee in the European Parliament will vote on future copyright law. It hangs in the balance, and ordinary people like you and I contacting Members of the European Parliament can really make a difference, like you’ll remember we did with ACTA five years ago and won. You don’t have to contact your representative; such a thing only exists in the US and UK. Rather, you should write a friendly mail to all of them.


Links 16/9/2017: More of “Public Money, Public Code”, Equifax Failed to Patch for Months

Posted in News Roundup at 4:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Networking Foundation Subsumes On.Lab

    The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) this week declared its merger with On.Lab as complete. And it named AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch chairman of ONF’s board.

    The ONF and On.Lab initiated their merger a little less than a year ago. By that point, ONF’s role as a cheerleader for software defined networking was becoming obviated given that SDN had gained wide acceptance. The merged entity has two major projects to shepherd: the Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) and the Open Network Operating System (ONOS).

  • Events

    • …and today is Software Freedom Day!

      For its fourteenth edition the Digital Freedom Foundation is happy to celebrate Software Freedom Day! At the time of this writting we have 112 teams listed on the wiki and about 80+ events registered. Over the year we’ve notice that this “double registration process” (creating a wiki page and then filling the registration form) is a bit difficult for some of our participants and we wish to change that. In the plan for the coming months we plan to have a single registration process which will in turn generate a wiki page. We also want to display the event date as some of us cannot celebrate exactly on this international day due to local celebrations or other reasons.

    • [Older] Two days remaining for PyCon Pune 2018 CFP

      The CFP for PyCon Pune 2018 will close at the end of 15th September AOE. If you are thinking about submitting a talk, this is a good time to do that. The conference will happen from 8-11th February in Pune, India. The first 2 days are the main conference, a single track event where will have around 650 people. The last two days will be devsprints.

    • Lyft and Uber on Stage Together at Open Source Summit in L.A.

      Envoy is a high-performance open source edge and service proxy that makes the network transparent to applications. Lyft Software Engineer Matt Klein led his team to design the technology to move their architecture away from a monolith toward a microservices model.

      Jaeger is an open source distributed tracing system inspired by Google Dapper paper and OpenZipkin community. It can be used for tracing microservice-based architectures. Uber began deploying Jaeger internally in 2015. It is now integrated into thousands of microservices and recording thousands of traces every second.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Verified cryptography for Firefox 57

        Traditionally, software is produced in this way: write some code, maybe do some code review, run unit-tests, and then hope it is correct. Hard experience shows that it is very hard for programmers to write bug-free software. These bugs are sometimes caught in manual testing, but many bugs still are exposed to users, and then must be fixed in patches or subsequent versions. This works for most software, but it’s not a great way to write cryptographic software; users expect and deserve assurances that the code providing security and privacy is well written and bug free.

      • Busting the myth that net neutrality hampers investment

        This week I had the opportunity to share Mozilla’s vision for an Internet that is open and accessible to all with the audience at MWC Americas.

        I took this opportunity because we are at a pivotal point in the debate between the FCC, companies, and users over the FCC’s proposal to roll back protections for net neutrality. Net neutrality is a key part of ensuring freedom of choice to access content and services for consumers.

        Earlier this week Mozilla’s Heather West wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai highlighting how net neutrality has fueled innovation in Silicon Valley and can do so still across the United States.

        The FCC claims these protections hamper investment and are bad for business. And they may vote to end them as early as October. Chairman Pai calls his rule rollback “restoring internet freedom” but that’s really the freedom of the 1% to make decisions that limit the rest of the population.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation in Kubernetes Push

      Oracle has taken a plunge deeper into open source waters by joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a platinum member. The announcement was made Wednesday, on stage with Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, at Open Source Summit in Los Angeles. In addition, Oracle announced it’s bringing Kubernetes to Oracle Linux and open sourcing a Terraform Kubernetes Installer for Oracle Cloud. This prompted Zemlin to remark that “six of the largest clouds are now running Kubernetes.”

    • Larry Ellison: There is No One Left for Oracle to Buy

      Oracle isn’t likely to be buying any other big companies soon, according to founder Larry Ellison.

  • CMS

    • The challenges of supporting geolocation in WordPress

      As much as we get addicted to mobile phones and online services, nobody (outside of cyberpunk fiction) actually lives online. That’s why maps, geolocation services, and geographic information systems (GISes) have come to play a bigger role online. They reflect they way we live, work, travel, socialize, and (in the case of natural or human-made disasters, which come more and more frequently) suffer. Thus there is value in integrating geolocation into existing web sites, but systems like WordPress do not make supporting that easy. The software development firm LuminFire has contributed to the spread of geolocation services by creating a library for WordPress that helps web sites insert geolocation information into web pages. This article describes how LuminFire surmounted the challenges posed by WordPress and shows a few uses for the library.

      LuminFire developer Michael Moore presented the library, called WP-GeoMeta-Lib, at a talk (the slides are available in Moore’s blog posting) on August 16 at FOSS4G, the major open-source geolocation conference. FOSS4G’s success itself demonstrates the growing importance of geolocation, as well as the thriving free-software communities that create solutions for it through group projects such as the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). FOSS4G held its first conference in 2007 in Thailand. Its global wanderings, which would require sophisticated geolocation tools to track, brought it this year to Boston, where it topped 1,100 registered attendees—its biggest turnout yet.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Kubernetes

    • Kubernetes, containers help mainstream open-source software

      Open-source software is now a key part of the tech world, matching proprietary software through a combination of enthusiastic developers, organizations and shared standards. This trend is especially visible in the world of container technology, a popular virtualization method for deploying and running distributed software applications.

      “Open source is the mainstream now. It’s very hard to release a proprietary product right now and come up with some justification about why you have to do it,” said Steve Pousty (pictured), lead developer advocate, OpenShift Online, at Red Hat Inc.

    • Heptio Raises New Funding to Close Kubernetes Operational Gaps

      Craig McLuckie helped launch the open-source Kubernetes project while at Google and has been busy since November 2016 with his new company Heptio. Heptio is now moving forward, thanks to a $25 million Series B round of funding, bringing total funding to date for the startup to $33.5 million.

      “Kubernetes is doing really well, there is a lot of energy in the ecosystem, and many companies are making Kubernetes a core part of their operating practices,” McLuckie told eWEEK in a video interview.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Public money? Public Code!
    • Public Money? Public Code! 31 organisations ask to improve public procurement of software

      Digital services offered and used by public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st-century democratic nations. To establish trustworthy systems, government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure. This is rarely the case today due to restrictive software licences.

    • Public Money, Public Code, Public Control

      An interesting article published by the UK Government Digital Service was referenced in a response to the LWN.net coverage of the recently-launched “Public Money, Public Code” campaign. Arguably, the article focuses a little too much on “in the open” and perhaps not enough on the matter of control. Transparency is a good thing, collaboration is a good thing, no-one can really argue about spending less tax money and getting more out of it, but it is the matter of control that makes this campaign and similar initiatives so important.

    • FSFE: publicly funded software has to be open source

      Digital services offered and used by public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st-century democratic nations. To establish trustworthy systems, government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure. This is rarely the case today due to restrictive software licences.

    • Snowden: Public money shouldn’t fund software the public isn’t allowed to fix

      Paul Brown writes, “The FSFE’s ‘Public Money? Public Code!’ campaign wants to convince lawmakers that software created with public funds should be made available to the public under Free Software licences.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Python security transparency

      As Steve Dower noted in his lightning talk at the 2017 Python Language Summit, Python itself can be considered a security vulnerability—because of its power, its presence on a target system is a boon to attackers. Now, Dower is trying to address parts of that problem with a Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP) that would enable system administrators and others to detect when Python is being used for a nefarious purpose by increasing the “security transparency” of the language. It is not a solution that truly thwarts an attacker’s ability to use Python in an unauthorized way, but will make it easier for administrators to detect, and eventually disable, those kinds of attacks.

    • Open Source NativeScript Mobile Framework Tackles Augmented Reality

      With augmented reality the new hotness in the mobile development space, companies right and left are jumping on the AR bandwagon, including Progress, which just announced upcoming support in its open source, cross-platform NativeScript framework.

      AR, popularized last year by the runaway success of Pokémon GO, lets developers enhance real-world imagery with computer-generated sensory input, such as graphics and sound.


  • Sysadmin war story: “The network ate my font!”

    Turns out the printer had a cache for fonts and was using the font cached from the earlier check image which included the font! Moreover, the Toronto and Hollywood offices were on a different printer maintenance schedule — and as part of the maintenance the printers are rebooted which clears the font cache!

  • Why did Ford build a ‘fake driverless car’ using a man dressed as a seat?

    The “seat suit” stunt was the brainchild of Ford and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers to explore how self-driving vehicles can communicate their intent to pedestrians, human drivers and cyclists.

  • The Dark Side of William F. Buckley, Jr.

    Few public intellectuals infamous for defending McCarthyism and championing right-wing dictators would be popular and recurrent guests on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. Few pundits who opposed civil rights for African Americans and South African blacks would be asked to host the longest-running public affairs show in public television history.

  • The Harmful Consequences of Postel’s Maxim draft-thomson-postel-was-wrong-01

    Jon Postel’s famous statement in RFC 1122 of “Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send” – is a principle that has long guided the design of Internet protocols and implementations of those protocols. The posture this statement advocates might promote interoperability in the short term, but that short-term advantage is outweighed by negative consequences that affect the long-term maintenance of a protocol and its ecosystem.

  • Science

    • Flying coach is a ‘life-and-death’ concern [iophk: "from the title, I thought the article was going to be about deep vein thrombosis"]

      Seats are now so close together, according to Flyers Rights, that they render the “brace for impact” position depicted in airline safety manuals ineffective, thereby subjecting passengers to head trauma.

    • The Zero Just Got 500 Years Older Due To A New Study

      A new carbon dating study commissioned on an ancient birch bark manuscript has found that the indispensable digit dates to as early as the 3rd or 4th century – approximately five centuries older than scholars previously believed.

    • History of zero pushed back 500 years by ancient Indian text

      The symbol “0” is a familiar sight, but its origins are far from certain. A recent batch of carbon dating is causing the history of mathematics to be rewritten, as it has discovered zeros dating back to a period 500 years before previously seen.

    • The new study suggesting sitting will kill you is kind of a raging dumpster fire

      A new study out this week suggested that both sitting a lot overall and sitting for long, uninterrupted stretches can increase a person’s risk of all-cause mortality.

      The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, adds to evidence that sedentary lifestyles can increase health risks. However, the study aimed to push the conversation forward, not just look at how much time people spend sitting each day and what that does to health. The researchers also tried teasing apart patterns of sitting. The authors, led by researchers at Columbia University, hoped to address more nuanced questions, such as: if you have to sit all day for work, can you reduce your health risks by getting up every 30 minutes? Or, if you’re generally active, are there still health risks from a 10-hour Netflix binge each week?

      The questions are good ones. Based on the study’s vast media coverage, health-conscious Americans are leaping for answers and specifics on the risks of our sedentary, modern lives.

      But, sadly, this study doesn’t provide those answers or specifics. In fact, it’s kind of a flaming disaster. Like a junky old couch stuffed with crumbs, stale Cheetos, remotes from bygone TVs, and a random woodland creature between the cushions, this sitting study is crammed with red flags, limitations, and crippling weaknesses. It’s difficult to draw any conclusions.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Well That Settles It! Insurance and Drug Lobbyists Say Medicare for All “Cannot Work”

      The for-profit health care industry and its political surrogates were quick to criticize the sweeping universal Medicare legislation unveiled this week by Sen. Bernie Sanders and more than a dozen Senate Democrats.

      “Whether it’s called single-payer or Medicare for All, government-controlled health care cannot work,” David Merritt, vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a lobbying group for health insurance companies, said in a statement to reporters.

      The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, another insurance lobby group, released a statement declaring that it “adamantly opposes the creation of a single-payer regime, and our guard is up on these efforts.” The release cited the rising popularity of single-payer proposals in California, New York, and Colorado, and now Sanders’s effort in Congress.

    • The unflushable debate resurfaces: A 130-ton mass clogs London’s sewer

      A 250-meter-long mass weighing 130 metric tons has blocked a Victorian-era sewer tunnel in the east side of London, the BBC reports.

      To put the size and heft of the clog in perspective: it’s longer than two American football fields and as heavy as 11 double-decker buses. The mass is a concrete-hard amalgamation of flushed items, including condoms, diapers, and—most notably—wet wipes that have all been cemented together with oils and fats that were also washed down drains. For that reason, these types of clogs are sometimes called “fatbergs.”

      Authorities expect it will take three weeks to remove.

      While the size of this particular clog is extraordinary—possibly the largest ever reported—its existence is no surprise to those who manage wastewater systems. In fact, it highlights a growing problem in the world’s sewer systems: unflushable flushables.

    • Dems Not Backing Medicare for All Get Twice as Much Industry Cash as Co-Sponsors
    • Why Bernie Sanders’ single-payer push is great policy and even better politics
    • Sanders’s Bill Electrifies Growing Single-Payer Movement

      Political campaigns, protests and civil disobedience have often centered around Medicare for All, reflecting the fact that 25 percent of the country views health care as, according to a Monmouth poll, the “top concern for American families.”

    • Whole Foods “Free-Range” Chicken Supplier Said To Actually Run Factory Farm

      When Amazon purchased Whole Foods last month, it didn’t just get the retail locations. It picked up Whole Foods’s baggage as well. Among the bigger issues inherited by Amazon appears to be a four-month investigation from the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere that challenges Whole Foods’s core selling point of healthy and humane food.

      The group accused Pitman Family Farms, the maker of Mary’s Free Range Chicken and a supplier to Whole Foods in six Western states, of breaking its promises of free-range environments for its birds.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US policy is ‘not to defend Canada’ in any N Korea attack

      A top general has told Canadian MPs they cannot count on US support if North Korea launches a nuclear attack on their country.

      Lt Gen Pierre St-Amand told the national defence committee in Ottawa there is no policy that requires the US to aid Canada in any nuclear attack.

      But on the upside, the committee also heard North Korea views Canada as a “peaceful” and “friendly” country.

    • NATO?

      ISTR that USA and others joined with Canada in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which had the stated purpose to defend any and all members against attack. If it’s indeed true that USA is no longer willing to do that, perhaps it’s time Canada went nuclear too.

    • China rejects US demand to cut oil exports to North Korea

      China rebuffed US demands to cut off oil exports to North Korea as a way to dissuade Kim Jong-un’s regime from pursuing nuclear weapons, saying instead it was American leaders who needed to tone down their rhetoric and come to the negotiating table.

      China will implement all United Nations Security Council resolutions, “no more, no less”, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the US, told reporters at a briefing in Washington when asked if Beijing would cut oil shipments. Any further steps would need to be worked out with the agreement of the entire UN Security Council, he said.

    • Diplomats in Cuba have been under attack—but the weaponry is a mystery

      On Tuesday, the State Department confirmed that two more Americans have fallen victim to an ongoing series of mysterious attacks targeting diplomats in Cuba, the Associated Press reports. The new cases bring the total of Americans affected by the assaults to 21.

      US authorities first acknowledged the attacks in August, about nine months after diplomats began reporting bizarre sonic experiences and a puzzling spectrum of symptoms, from brain injuries to hearing loss. Despite an international investigation into the attacks, which have also affected Canadian diplomats, authorities and scientists are still baffled as to what kind of weapon or devices could have been used—let alone by whom.

    • Cuba mystery grows: New details on what befell US diplomats

      The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room.

      Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 U.S. victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. The top U.S. diplomat has called them “health attacks.” New details learned by The Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling U.S. officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up.

    • The Saudi Project Has Failed

      Books will be written on the designs of the Saudi regime to reshape the greater Middle East. Entire chapters could be dedicated to the depth of United States and Israeli involvement and their shared partnership with the House of Saud and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to do so. The titles may even stipulate it as a Saudi-U.S.-Israeli Project for emphasis. That said, the role played by Saudi Arabia within this alliance is not insignificant.

      The undertaking has directly touched nearly a half-dozen Arab countries, unified largely by their common effort to resist the import of radical, extremist groups unleashed in retribution for not abiding by the diktats of the Gulf dynasties. Others opposed monarchical rule, their royal proxies or a Saudi-directed foreign policy and attempts to impose a uniform media narrative.

      The scope of such a discussion is certainly worthy of a comprehensive and detailed analysis but only a summation is given here. Consider it the last page of the last section of the last chapter.

    • Why I Wish Hillary Clinton Had Won

      Still, my neurons might not be firing this particular skin-crawling icky-ness I endure when I see a video of Donald Trump, when I read about his behavior. He’s just so exceedingly repulsive. Even more repulsive than George Bush. Yes. Even. More. I conjure an image of G. Bush, clearing brush on his ranch or landing on that aircraft carrier in a flight suit, an ejection harness between his legs to emphasize his package. Then images of Trump’s rear end as he plays golf. Images of Trump, his pasty, bloated face, the mouth (that my sister Laura says looks like a rectum) poised to consume a bucket of fried chicken. Trump, grabbing pussy. Sure, Bill Clinton was a pussy grabber, but he was a smoother pussy grabber. Just as Obama was a smoother war criminal than G. Bush, smother even than B. Clinton.

      Recall Obama’s range of smooth. His statement in the wake of yet another murder of a black man. About Trayvon Martin. That Trayvon could have been his son. Obama become teary. Nice touch. This is the preference, smooth and articulate. As Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford said, Obama wasn’t the lesser evil. Obama was the more effective evil.

    • May rebukes Trump over London terror suspect tweet

      Theresa May has raised concerns with Donald Trump over his claim the perpetrators of the Parsons Green Tube bombing had been “in the sights” of Scotland Yard.

      After chairing a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee, the Prime Minister publicly rebuked the US president, saying it was not “helpful” to speculate on an ongoing investigation.

      Mrs May is understood to have raised the issue during a “cordial” telephone call.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Murdoch-Owned Media’s Radical Climate Denial in the Face of Disaster

      A recent survey by progressive watchdog Public Citizen (9/12/17) on the media’s coverage of hurricanes Harvey and Irma confirms what’s long been known: Corporate media are indifferent to the causal relationship between climate change and extreme weather, and by far the worst offenders are the Rupert Murdoch–owned Fox News, Wall Street Journal and New York Post.

      The survey covered 18 outlets hurricane coverage for the week of August 25–September 1: ten major newspapers, three weekly news magazines, and ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News. Out of 2,000 media items, there were only 136 mentions of climate change, many denialist in content.

    • Daimler has new electric trucks and a buyer for them: The United Parcel Service

      But automakers seem up to the challenge. In August, diesel truck engine maker Cummins announced an electric powertrain for truck makers that can be paired with an auxiliary diesel generator. And in a statement, Head of Daimler Trucks Asia Marc Llistosella hinted that his company is wasting no time in competing with Tesla. “In times when everybody is talking about electric trucks, we are the first to actually commercialize a series-produced all-electric truck. Having a long history in alternative drivetrains, we are proud to step into this new era.”

      Reuters noted that Daimler officials plan to step up the power and range of their trucks. Llistosella told reporters that “the game has started” while revealing that a larger electric truck will be shown off by Daimler at the Tokyo Motor Show next month. “The company will expand its electric truck production as lower cost, longer-range batteries become available within two to three years,” Reuters reported.

    • Hurricane Irma took 7 million cable and wireline subscribers offline

      More than 7 million subscribers to cable or wireline telecom services have lost service due to Hurricane Irma.

      “There are at least 7,184,909 (down from 7,597,945 yesterday) subscribers out of service in the affected areas in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia,” the Federal Communications Commission reported Tuesday in its latest storm update. These are subscribers to Internet, TV, or phone service or some combination of the three.

      In addition to those 7 million, many subscribers in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands lost service. “Since there are widespread power outages in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the FCC has received reports that large percentages of consumers are without either cable services or wireline service. Companies are actively working to restoring service,” the FCC said.

    • Coffee vs. climate change: The news is not good

      This is serious: climate change could put your caffeine supply at risk. Coffee is notorious for being picky about its climate conditions, with the most popular varieties only growing at specific altitudes in the tropics. That alone makes coffee susceptible to climate change, but the plants are also fussy about their pollinators, which will also be affected by the changing climate.

      A new analysis suggests that climate change on its own could cause coffee producing areas in the Americas to drop production by roughly 80 percent. But the remaining productivity might drop even further unless we ensure the crops have access to pollinators.

    • Solar now costs 6¢ per kilowatt-hour, beating government goal by 3 years

      On Tuesday, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that utility-grade solar panels have hit cost targets set for 2020, three years ahead of schedule. Those targets reflect around $1 per watt and 6¢ per kilowatt-hour in Kansas City, the department’s mid-range yardstick for solar panel cost per unit of energy produced (New York is considered the high-cost end, and Phoenix, Arizona, which has much more sunlight than most other major cities in the country, reflects the low-cost end).

    • NOAA gets judge to agree that its scientists’ e-mails are protected

      Once upon a time (in mid-2015), some climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a study in the journal Science. This sort of thing happens all the time. Yet, in this case, all hell broke loose.

      The problem was that this study put yet another nail in the crowded lid of a coffin housing the claim that global warming had somehow suddenly ceased in 1998. Because the study involved an update to NOAA’s global temperature dataset, some who disliked its conclusion—like US House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas)—alleged without evidence that the scientists had improperly manipulated data.


      Judicial Watch has the opportunity to appeal this decision, but it did not respond to a request for comment. The group also has not posted the documents that NOAA handed over in May 2016 on its website. Initially, a spokesperson told Ars only that “Judicial Watch is a 501(c)(3) educational foundation, and, as such, we analyze and formulate our thoughts on incoming documents and then make them publicly available.” But since then, Judicial Watch has not responded to multiple requests for an update on its plans.

      It was unclear how the federal government would handle this case once President Trump, who has been openly dismissive of climate science, took office. But when the Department of Commerce (which contains NOAA) submitted its final filing in mid-March of this year, its position was unchanged.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Social media stars face crackdown over money from brands

      Instagram’s popularity with young people, and women in particular – in April it reported 700 million members – has led to a roaring trade between marketers and so-called influencers with large and engaged followings. Members of the Kardashian family, who promote a range of products from “detox” tea to waist-training corsets to their tens of millions of followers, can reportedly command as much as $500,000 (£370,000) per post.

    • Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Understand Why the Corporate Media Is So Bad

      Hillary Clinton has every right to be infuriated by the performance of the press during the 2016 election. In her new book “What Happened,” Clinton mainly indicts television news for abandoning coverage of any actual public policy issues in favor of its berserk obsession with her use of a private email server. Subsidiary malefactors include Matt Lauer, for asking her about almost nothing else at NBC’s September 2016 Commander-in-Chief Forum on national security, and the New York Times, for its spasmodic freak-out when FBI Director James Comey declared he was re-opening the Bureau’s investigation into her emails just before the election.

      But here’s where Clinton and I part ways:

      In an interview Tuesday, she said, “I don’t think the press did their job in this election, with very few exceptions.” She believes the problem is something new, and the fault of bad individuals.

      Clinton’s problem is obvious: At 69 years old and after a lifetime in politics, she somehow doesn’t understand what the corporate media’s job is.

    • Amina Lone and the shame of the Labour Party in the UK

      Labour has a reputation for being the party for Black and Minority Ethnic voters and candidates, particularly women. At a time when we need more voices from within Muslim communities, it is outrageous that the Labour Party has stabbed a fellow party member in the back, sending out the message that any dissent or strong voices are not welcome.

    • Pop Culture is Far Ahead of Washington When it Comes to Monopoly Politics

      “I think people are interested because everybody is using these sites, including Amazon,” said Patterson in an interview. “Most people find them interesting and some find them troubling.”

      Often, people hold both views at the same time, and that internal conflict makes them ripe for pop-culture interrogation. Popular entertainment habitually reflects the preoccupations of society. After the financial crisis, a wave of books and films presented financiers as amoral villains: The Big Short, The Wolf of Wall Street, George Clooney’s Money Monster, even Oliver Stone’s long-awaited follow-up to Wall Street. But the national mood has shifted. America has become more wary of Silicon Valley, and political movements on the left and right have turned against it. And these concerns have propelled a diverse set of narratives, from thrillers to comedies to animated features.

    • Judge rules in city’s favor on sanctuary cities, grants nationwide injunction

      In a ruling with national impact, a federal judge in Chicago on Friday blocked the Trump administration’s rules requiring so-called sanctuary cities to cooperate with immigration agents in order to get a public safety grant.

      U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber held that Chicago has shown a “likelihood of success” in its arguments that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions exceeded his authority in imposing new standards governing Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants across the country.

    • Trump Advisers Secretly Met With Jordan’s King While One Was Pushing A Huge Nuclear Power Deal

      In the days leading up to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, when his soon-to-be national security adviser Michael Flynn was reportedly pushing a multibillion-dollar deal to build nuclear reactors in Jordan and other Middle East nations, Flynn and two other top Trump advisers held a secret meeting with the king of Jordan.

      The meeting — details of which have never been reported — is the latest in a series of secret, high-stakes contacts between Trump advisers and foreign governments that have raised concerns about how, in particular, Flynn and senior adviser Jared Kushner handled their personal business interests as they entered key positions of power. And the nuclear project raised additional security concerns about expanding nuclear technology in a tinderbox region of the world. One expert compared it to providing “a nuclear weapons starter kit.”

      On the morning of Jan. 5, Flynn, Kushner, and former chief strategist Steve Bannon greeted King Abdullah II at the Four Seasons hotel in lower Manhattan, then took off in a fleet of SUVs and a sedan to a different location.

    • How to Read Donald Trump

      The organizers of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville last month knew just what they were doing when they decided to carry torches on their nocturnal march to protest the dethroning of a statue of Robert E. Lee. That brandishing of fire in the night was meant to evoke memories of terror, of past parades of hate and aggression by the Ku Klux Klan in the United States and Adolf Hitler’s Freikorps in Germany.

      The organizers wanted to issue a warning to those watching: that past violence, perpetrated in defense of the “blood and soil” of the white race, would once again be harnessed and deployed in Donald Trump’s America. Indeed, the very next day, that fatal August 12th, those nationalist fanatics unleashed an orgy of brutality that led to the deaths of three people and the injuring of many more.

    • Police in Catalonia hunt for hidden ballot boxes in bid to foil referendum

      Armed police in Spain have raided several print works and newspaper offices in Catalonia in recent days in a hunt for voting papers, ballot boxes and leaflets to be used in an Oct. 1 independence referendum which Madrid vehemently opposes.

      The searches, which have so far yielded nothing, are part of a concerted effort by the government to prevent the ballot from going ahead, amid fears that a vote to break away could trigger a political crisis even if Spain does not recognize the outcome.

    • Experts Say the Use of Private Email by Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission Isn’t Legal

      President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission came under fire earlier this month when a lawsuit and media reports revealed that the commissioners were using private emails to conduct public business. Commission co-chair Kris Kobach confirmed this week that most of them continue to do so.

      Experts say the commission’s email practices do not appear to comport with federal law. “The statute here is clear,” said Jason Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

      Essentially, Baron said, the commissioners have three options: 1. They can use a government email address; 2. They can use a private email address but copy every message to a government account; or 3. They can use a private email address and forward each message to a government account within 20 days. According to Baron, those are the requirements of the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, which the commission must comply with under its charter.

    • Taxpayers billed $1,092 for an official’s two-night stay at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club
    • Trump’s Bonfire of Washington Politics

      Last week, President Trump threw a grenade into the U.S. political structure. Political fragments now lie scattered on the ground around Washington. The final outcome of this lightening act by Trump may take time to fully assess, but for sure, for the coming months (and probably until the U.S. mid-term elections are over), uncertainty will reign, and foreign policy will not find it easy to shoulder its way into anyone senior’s attention.


      Why the debt ceiling is so crucial is that when an annual U.S. budget is set, it is not a simple exercise of matching expenditure and revenue because most Federal expenditure is automatic expenditure, deriving from past legislation (some, dating back decades), and which increases inexorably from its built-in automaticity. Without a debt ceiling, total U.S. debt levels effectively are uncontrolled, and their momentum is inexorably upwards – and upwards today at an accelerating pace.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Great Failure
    • Hillary Happened

      It soon became apparent that Hillary shouldn’t have treated Feinman so churlishly. What Happened would have greatly benefited from her stylistic enhancements. The prose in this book is as brittle as the mind behind it. Notice the lack of a question mark in the title. This is a telling punctuational elision. It signals that this text will not be an investigation into the dynamics behind the most perplexing election in American history. Don’t skim these pages in search of a self-lacerating confession or an apologia. What Happened reads more like a drive-by shooting rampage. The book is a score-settling scattershot rant, enfilading anyone who stood in Clinton’s way, from Bernie Sanders to James Comey. Amid Hillary’s hitlist of villains, even toothless Joe Biden gets gut-shot.

    • German elections 2017: 8 proposals for Germany’s progressives

      DiEM25’s German activists have moved fast and are in the process of confirming a list of candidates willing to adopt DiEM25’s proposed policy agenda for Germany. We will publish the list ahead of the elections. Below you can read our original proposal, “8 proposals for Germany’s Progressives.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • President Trump wants to “cut off” the internet in response to terrorism [iophk: "centralization of communications via faecebook is a first step"]

      This isn’t the first time that Donald Trump has tweeted about his dream internet policy. Back in December of 2016, he even said he would call for Bill Gates to help him in banning the internet. In March of 2017, President Trump signed away American’s internet privacy protections.

    • Texas AG’s office accuses ‘reputation management company’ of procuring fraudulent libel takedown lawsuits

      For the past year, I’ve been researching libel takedown and deindexing injunctions. People get these injunctions chiefly to send them to Google and other search engines: Once Google sees that a court has determined that material is libelous, it will often remove it from Google indexes so that searchers won’t see it. The material will thus, practically speaking, largely vanish from the Internet.

    • Texas Attorney General Issues Complaint Against Reputation Management Company For Bogus Lawsuits

      Still more evidence continues to be uncovered linking shady reputation management companies to fraudulent defamation lawsuits. This tactic has only recently been exposed, thanks mainly to the efforts of Eugene Volokh and Paul Alan Levy. (Pissed Consumer spotted some questionable lawsuit activity as well, shortly before the Volokh/Levy deluge.)

      So far, one victim of this fraudulent behavior has obtained a settlement from one of these reputation management firms. It’s likely more such judgments are on the way as more details linking firms to bogus lawsuits are dug up. One judge has already passed on info to the US Attorney’s office. Now, Eugene Volokh is reporting the Texas attorney general’s office has filed a civil complaint against a company called Solvera that, up until recently, performed illegitimate Google takedown services for customers paying upwards of $10,000, using nothing more than bogus libel lawsuits filed by nonexistent companies against fake defendants.

    • Dear Government Employees: Asking Questions – Even Dumb Ones – Is Not A Criminal Offense

      What is it with federal government officials and their weird belief that being questioned by the public — even with dumb questions — is a criminal offense? Does it take three stories to make a trend? Perhaps. Let’s do these one at a time.


      Look, this isn’t that hard. Being a government official — whether elected or appointed — is not a fun gig. You have lots of people questioning you and second guessing you all the time. And some of those people are mean. Possibly really mean. But, that’s kinda part of the territory when you live and work in a mostly open democracy, rather than an authoritarian dictatorship. People get to ask questions — even stupid, annoying or scary ones. And we don’t arrest them and throw them in jail.

    • Charles Harder Loses Again: You Can’t Just File Defamation Lawsuits In A Random State Because You Like Its Statute Of Limitations

      As you may know, Charles Harder is the lawyer behind the lawsuit Shiva Ayyadurai filed against us, so feel free to view everything we say here through that prism. Last week, of course, the judge in our case dismissed the case against us, noting that everything we said was clearly protected by the First Amendment. But that wasn’t Harder’s only loss of the week. Eriq Gardner points out that he also lost a case he filed against The Deal.

      That case had been filed a couple months before our lawsuit, in federal court in New Hampshire. It was filed on behalf of Scottsdale Capital Advisors, a company based in Arizona, and one of its execs, the Nevada-based John Hurry, against the Delaware-registered and New York-based “The Deal” and one of its reporters, the California-based William Meagher. Now, you may wonder why this lawsuit was filed in New Hampshire, seeing as none of the states above include “New Hampshire.”

    • ‘Violent Orwellian censorship’: Brussels exhibition rejects caricatures of EU leaders & policies

      The EU has rejected 12 caricatures by Greek artists for a Brussels exhibition as the “inflammatory” cartoons mocking EU leaders and their policies allegedly go against “European values.” Organizers denounced it as an act of “violent censorship.”

      The exhibition, which features work from both French and Greek cartoonists, was due to be unveiled at the European Parliament in Brussels on September 25 as part of the year marking 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. However, after evaluating the work for offensive content, MEP Catherine Bearder rejected 12 of the 28 submissions from Greek artists.

    • Letter: GSRC needs to encourage conversation, not censorship

      There are many common reasons why prospective students choose Carleton University as their academic home for four to five years of their lives. For some, that reason could be the various varsity sports teams, academic program quality or the plethora of academic and non-academic resources that are offered to students of all backgrounds. This includes of course, the resources offered by the Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre (GSRC), specifically to students who identify as LGBTQ+ here on campus.

    • Facebook Moves to Prevent Advertisers From Targeting Haters

      In the wake of ProPublica’s report Thursday that Facebook advertisers could have directed pitches to almost 2,300 people interested in “Jew hater” and other anti-Semitic topics, the world’s largest social network said it would no longer allow advertisers to target groups identified by self-reported information.

      “As people fill in their education or employer on their profile, we have found a small percentage of people who have entered offensive responses,” the company said in a statement. “…We are removing these self-reported targeting fields until we have the right processes in place to prevent this issue.”

    • When Godwin’s Law Met The Streisand Effect

      Okay, here’s a fun post for a Friday evening: Earlier this week, I was at World Hosting Days, where I gave a keynote speech about the importance of CDA 230 and things like intermediary liability protections — and why they are so important to protecting free speech online. The emcee of the event was Mike Godwin, who (among his many, many accomplishments over the years as an internet lawyer and philosopher) coined Godwin’s Law. The organizers of the event, realizing that they had the guy who coined Godwin’s Law and the guy (me!) who coined the Streisand Effect in the same place at the same time, thought it might be fun to have the two of us talk about these two memes.

    • Crowdsourcing My Libel Defence – Web Detectives Needed

      On 29 and 30 April 2016 Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Editor of Daily Mail Online, wrote a series of tweets about me which have since been deleted. These feature in my libel defence and it would be extremely useful to be able to recover them. His twitter stream on those days also included several of his followers calling me an anti-Semite and other awful stuff, and it would be most useful to recover those too.

      More generally there was much evidence in Mr Wallis Simons’ twitter stream in the months and years prior to 29 April 2016 of he or his followers making allegations of anti-Semitism widely. Any of that which could be recovered would also be extremely helpful.

      The date when material was deleted is extremely important – perhaps even more important to me than the recovery of the material itself. Mr Wallis Simons now has an app which deletes all his tweets at a 2 month cut-off date. I need to discover when that app came into operation on his account and material started to vanish.

    • Facebook allowed advertisers to reach anti-Semitic individuals: report
    • Facebook allowed advertisers to target ‘Jew haters’

      A Facebook algorithm had created the antisemitic categories, and the company said it is considering changes to prevent this kind of problem.

    • Facebook Removes Advertiser Ability to Target ‘Jew Haters’

      Facebook software creates targeting categories for advertisers automatically, and the company adjusts them after problems are noticed by people. Facebook has run into similar issues with this type of reactionary enforcement before, both in its ad business and consumer-facing services. Its live video service has occasionally shown actual murders or suicides with enough time to go viral before being noticed by the company and taken down.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • [tor-talk] Document Leak: German Agency BND cooperates with NSA and GCHQ to attack Tor
    • California Legislature Sells Out Our Data to ISPs

      In the dead of night, the California Legislature shelved legislation that would have protected every Internet user in the state from having their data collected and sold by ISPs without their permission. By failing to pass A.B. 375, the legislature demonstrated that they put the profits of Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast over the privacy rights of their constituents.

      Earlier this year, the Republican majority in Congress repealed the strong privacy rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission in 2016, which required ISPs to get affirmative consent before selling our data. But while Congressional Democrats fought to protect our personal data, the Democratic-controlled California legislature did not follow suit. Instead, they kowtowed to an aggressive lobbying campaign, from telecommunications corporations and Internet companies, which included spurious claims and false social media advertisements about cybersecurity.

    • Facebook Gave Special Counsel Robert Mueller More Details on Russian Ad Buys Than Congress

      Facebook Inc. has handed over to special counsel Robert Mueller detailed records about the Russian ad purchases on its platform that go beyond what it shared with Congress last week, according to people familiar with the matter.


      The headlines were about Facebook admitting it had sold ad space to Russian groups trying to sway the 2016 presidential campaign. But investigators shrugged: they’d known or assumed for months that Facebook, as well as Twitter and other social-media platforms, were a tool used in the Kremlin’s campaign. “The only thing that’s surprising is that more revelations like this haven’t come out sooner,” said Congressman Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “And I expect that more will.”

      Mapping the full Russian propaganda effort is important. Yet investigators in the House, Senate, and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office are equally focused on a more explosive question: did any Americans help target the memes and fake news to crucial swing districts and wavering voter demographics? “By Americans, you mean, like, the Trump campaign?” a source close to one of the investigations said with a dark laugh. Indeed: probers are intrigued by the role of Jared Kushner, the now-president’s son-in-law, who eagerly took credit for crafting the Trump campaign’s online efforts in a rare interview right after the 2016 election. “I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,” Kushner told Steven Bertoni of Forbes. “We brought in Cambridge Analytica. I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. And I asked them how to scale this stuff . . . We basically had to build a $400 million operation with 1,500 people operating in 50 states, in five months to then be taken apart. We started really from scratch.”

    • Remember the artist whose iPhone was searched at border? He’s suing the feds

      A Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer, a California artist, a limousine driver, and several other Americans have sued the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection over what they say are unconstitutional and warrantless searches of their digital devices at the United States border.

    • Trump Administration Says It’s Classified If They Can Let The NSA Spy On Americans

      Senator Ron Wyden, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, spent half a decade trying to get President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, to answer some fairly straightforward questions about NSA surveillance on Americans. As you may recall, this got so bad that Clapper flat out lied to Wyden in an open Senate hearing, which inspired Ed Snowden to leak documents to Glenn Greenwald. With the Trump administration, Dan Coats took over Clapper’s job… and Clapper’s role of obfuscating in response to important questions from Wyden concerning NSA surveillance. Despite promises to the contrary, Coats (like Clapper before him) has refused to share just how many Americans have their information sucked up under Section 702. Since that program is up for renewal later this year, that kind of information seems quite relevant to the debate.

    • The Right to Keep Personal Data Private: Carpenter v. U.S.

      The Supreme Court could in this case make major strides in ensuring that Fourth Amendment protections keep pace with advancing technology.

      In 2011, FBI agents in Detroit obtained several months’ worth of location records from cell phone companies for suspects in a robbery investigation — all without a warrant. They were able to do so because of an outdated legal theory called the “third-party doctrine” that has been used by law enforcement to access personal data without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge.

    • One Last Chance for Police Transparency in California

      As the days wind down for the California legislature to pass bills, transparency advocates have seen landmark measures fall by the wayside. Without explanation, an Assembly committee shelved legislation that would have shined light on police use of surveillance technologies, including a requirement that police departments seek approval from their city councils. The legislature also gutted a key reform to the California Public Records Act (CPRA) that would’ve allowed courts to fine agencies that improperly thwart requests for government documents.

      But there is one last chance for California to improve the public’s right to access police records. S.B. 345 would require every law enforcement agency in the state to publish on its website all “current standards, policies, practices, operating procedures, and education and training materials” by January 1, 2019. The legislation would cover all materials that would be otherwise available through a CPRA request.

    • This hilarious video shows why you don’t want Theresa May reading your emails

      Liberty – the human rights group – has released a campaign video showing why you really don’t want the government spying on you. And it is as funny as it is genius.

    • Privacy International wants answers on ‘secretive’ government data sharing

      “Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments,” said the group.

    • Your phone can now be turned into an ultrasound sonar tracker against you and others

      New research shows how a mobile phone can be turned into a passive indoor ultrasound sonar, locating people with high precision indoors using multi-target echolocation, and is even able to discern a rough selection of activities. It does this by overlaying imperceptible ultrasound sonar pings into played-back music, measuring the reflections coming back to the phone’s microphone. The privacy implications are staggering.

    • Descrambling split-band voice inversion with deinvert

      Voice inversion is a primitive method of rendering speech unintelligible to prevent eavesdropping of radio or telephone calls. I wrote about some simple ways to reverse it in a previous post. I’ve since written a software tool, deinvert (on GitHub), that does all this for us. It can also descramble a slightly more advanced scrambling method called split-band inversion. Let’s see how that happens behind the scenes.

    • The Chinese IT giant Huawei has big plans for the cloud in Western markets, with important implications for privacy

      In China, government surveillance is baked in to every online service, not just in safe cities. But again, the situation outside China is not that different: everything we do on Google or Facebook is tracked and analyzed for the purpose of selling advertising. As we now know from Snowden’s leaks, under the Prism program, the US government taps into that commercial surveillance data to gather intelligence. So the only difference between China and the West is that the former does not attempt to hide the fact that it spies on its citizens, while the latter tries to deny it. Similarly, Huawei has no problem openly offering its new AI-enhanced cloud-based surveillance systems, while its Western rivals are doubtless doing the same, but keeping quiet about it. The real issue is our meek acquiescence in the continual roll-out of privacy-harming technology by both governments and companies everywhere.

    • Internet Giants Try to Rein in Automated Offensive Ad Targeting

      Facebook Inc. shut off a key self-service ad tool, while Google stopped its main Search ad system automatically from suggesting offensive phrases for targeting. The moves are the latest sign of rising scrutiny of the largest U.S. internet companies and how their software-driven services and ad businesses are influencing society.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Barrett Brown’s Exclusive Interview with Wanted Hacker Lauri Love

      The second main difference is the length of the likely sentencing, so for the offenses of which I’m accused in the US, I’ve not been charged with any offenses in the UK, because they somehow failed to do that. If I was charged with the same offenses in the UK, and if I was convicted, the maximum custodial sentence would be 36 months.

      Whereas in the USA, I am facing a potential maximum sentence of 99 years.

    • My Police Department Vowed to ‘Get Rid’ of Me After I Had My Son, so I Fought Back for Other Female Officers

      I loved my job in law enforcement, but I was demeaned, demoted, and discriminated against for choosing to be a mom. I was a police officer and investigator with the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force for five years before I was pushed off the job for breastfeeding my son.

      In that time I worked my way up in the force, starting as a patrol officer and eventually becoming an undercover agent and training officer. Fewer than ten percent of officers work undercover and train recruits. These were competitive positions and promotions that I worked hard to earn.

    • President Trump Is Poised To Slash the Number of Refugees In the U.S., Replaying the Worst of Our History

      In coming days, President Trump is expected to announce the maximum number of refugees the United States will accept in the next fiscal year. Trump may cap the number at 50,000 or even lower, The New York Times has reported — fewer than any year since the beginning of the modern refugee resettlement program in 1980. In the midst of the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, the United States is set to abdicate its global leadership and abandon tens of thousands of vulnerable people.

      This is not only about numbers.

    • Trump Adviser Spent a Decade Using Street Gang MS-13 to Justify Anti-Immigrant Agenda. Now It’s Happening

      In President Donald Trump’s push to restrict immigration to the United States, MS-13 has become the perfect villain. Trump has focused obsessively on the violent street gang tied to immigrants from El Salvador, appearing at events across the country to highlight brutal murders committed by the group, focusing on two teenagers who gang members allegedly hacked to death with machetes.

      There’s a political angle to the singular focus on MS-13. The Trump administration has made its strident demands to wipe out the gang in explicit conjunction with sweeping calls to unravel so-called sanctuary city protections, to promote laws to ramp up deportation proceedings and expand the detention of immigrants, to broaden immigrant gang-tracking databases and special gang task forces, to deputize local law enforcement for immigration enforcement, and in recent days, even to justify the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

    • Saudi crown prince tries to consolidate power with string of arrests
    • Saudis urged to report on each other’s social media activity

      Saudi Arabia is urging people to report subversive social media activity via a phone app, part of an apparent crackdown on potential government critics before demonstrations called for by exiled opposition figures.

    • Saudi Arabia Cracks Down on Dissenting Clerics Amid Rumors of Crown Prince’s Rise to Throne

      Saudi Arabia arrested a trio of prominent clerics last weekend, a sign that the kingdom may be preparing for the formal ascendance of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, who is a key decision-maker on the country’s domestic and international affairs but is technically subservient to his father, King Salman.

      Salman al-Odah, Awad al-Qarni, and Ali al-Omary were arrested with little explanation over the weekend, but activists suspect that their failure to follow MBS’s hawkish line on Qatar played a role in their imprisonment.

      Human rights activists told the Wall Street Journal that Odah’s arrest came after he declined to come out in support of the Saudi government’s actions against Qatar.

    • U.S. Embassy Memos Offer a Glimpse Into the “Devastated” Lives of Refugees Rejected by the Travel Ban

      In internal memos, American embassies in Jordan and Ethiopia detailed how refugees there were “devastated” by January’s U.S. executive order barring travel from predominately Muslim countries. The memos back to State Department headquarters tell of the desperation of asylum-seekers who had their hopes of getting into the United States dashed by the order — including a girl who tried to kill herself when her family was told they could not travel.

    • Ethnic cleansing and the price of silence

      Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s condemnation of fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence in the face of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya has stirred the world’s conscience. ‘If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep’, he wrote.

      For decades, the Rohingya have faced persecution in Burma. Stripped of their nationality in 1982 they have been repeatedly victimised at the hands of the military and local fanatics who are now burning their villages. In addition to the physical attacks, since losing their rights to citizenship the Rohingya have been denied a host of other rights, including the right to marriage, freedom of movement, access to hospitals and schools, and state protection. All of this has precipitated their exodus from Myanmar.

      Bangladesh has however been a far cry from sanctuary. In 2010 Physicians for Human Rights reported how once in Bangladesh the Rohingya were forced into bonded labour or languished in make-shift camps and suffered serious malnutrition. Others were pushed back by the police into Myanmar. Like many other states, Bangladesh has been quickly constructing a border fence which was reportedly more than 70 per cent complete as of last April. Bangladeshi authorities have expressed much sympathy for the Rohingya but claim to be overwhelmed.

    • When is a genocide a genocide?

      My heart has broken. Many times, in many ways over the past twenty days. It has been splintered, hammered, shattered, parched, starved and numbed beyond recognition.

      As a human rights advocate who has worked on the Rohingya issue for about ten years, I have experienced my fair share of despair in the face of the many atrocities this community has endured. Through my work, I have become familiar with an ever-growing list of violations against them, which have increasingly convinced me that the Rohingya – widely recognised as the most persecuted minority in the world – are the victims of crimes against humanity and genocide. Not a conclusion I arrived at lightly, but one which I have grappled with over time.

    • House Passes Amendment Rolling Back Jeff Sessions’ Civil Asset Forfeiture Expansion

      Trump’s pick for attorney general unsurprisingly holds the same ideals as his boss. He also holds the same misconceptions and misplaced nostalgia for tough-on-crime policing that went out of vogue as soon as it became apparent it wasn’t doing anything but filling up prisons.

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been going hot and heavy on a 1980s-esque law enforcement policy revival. He booted the DOJ off the civil rights beat, telling states and cities to solve their own police misconduct problems — something they were clearly unwilling to do on their own, hence the DOJ’s intercession. He told cops they’re getting back their access to war gear, rolling back the Obama administration’s minimal 1033 program reforms.

    • Saying Someone Might Do Something Illegal With Cash Isn’t Enough For Gov’t To Seize It, Court Rules

      Charles Guerrero and his wife were no angels. But neither were they high-level drug dealers. Both apparently had crippling heroin addictions and engaged in a small amount of dealing to ensure the incoming flow of heroin.

      But that’s not enough to excuse the government nabbing bail money under the theory it probably came from drug dealing or — more spuriously — that it might have been used to purchase drugs if it hadn’t been spent on bail.

      Guerrero had his friend take the cash to pay the bail because Guerrero had no valid ID. Guerrero claims he had about $14,000 in cash in his home obtained from insurance settlements and the sale of a vehicle. The government made its own claims, based on the discovery of drugs in the vehicle Guerrero was sitting in, along with a dog that said, “Yes. That is drug money.”

    • Chelsea Manning: We must think critically about how code can be misused

      Speaking at the Noisebridge hackerspace Tuesday evening, Chelsea Manning implored a crowd of makers, nerds, and developers to be ethical coders.

      “As a coder, I know that you can build a system and it works, but you’re thinking about the immediate result, you’re not thinking about that this particular code could be misused, or it could be used in a different manner,” she said, as part of a conversation with Noisebridge co-founder Mitch Altman.

      Altman began the conversation by asking about artificial intelligence and underscoring some of the risks in that field.

    • Trump’s self-driving car strategy: Don’t regulate self-driving cars

      On Tuesday, the Trump administration released a document laying out its vision for the self-driving car industry. Titled “Automated Driving Systems 2.0,” it gives recommendations for car manufacturers, technology companies, and state regulators about how to handle the self-driving car revolution.

      The most important sentence in the document is this one: “This Guidance is entirely voluntary, with no compliance requirement or enforcement mechanism.” In other words, if Waymo, GM, or the California DMV want to throw the document in the trash unread, they’re free to do so. To a large extent, the Trump administration’s strategy for regulating self-driving cars is to not regulate self-driving cars.

    • Critic-Raiding Sheriff Settles With Bloggers Who Sued Him Over His Unconstitutional Actions

      Now that Terre Bonne Parish sheriff Jerry Larpenter has had his immunity stripped by a federal court, it appears he’s ready to pay up to keep the damages from mounting. Sheriff Larpenter abused a terrible law — Louisiana’s still-on-the-books-for-some-reason criminal defamation law — to harass a critic of his. On the way to getting slapped by the court, Larpenter went judge-shopping (bringing his warrant to an off-duty judge) for someone willing to sign his unconstitutional warrant — a judge who later found the warrant with his signature on it to be perfectly legal.

      The state court of appeals shot down Larpenter’s warrant. The inevitable civil suit that followed found Larpenter being de-immunized in successive decisions, leaving him to actually bear some responsibility for his act of censorship.

    • Bungie apologizes for Destiny 2 item that resembles neo-Nazi flag

      The Destiny 2 item’s similarity to the Kekistan flag follows many other neo-Nazi campaigns to sneak white nationalist iconography into pop culture—in ways that could be explained away or excused, no less. Bungie is already scrambling to clear its name: “This does NOT represent our values, and we are working quickly to correct this,” the company wrote on Twitter. Whether or not the symbol was intentional, the Internet’s biggest hate campaigners can already claim “top kek” and/or social-media points for the icon’s sharing.

    • Bungie explains how white supremacist symbol ended up in Destiny 2

      Community Manager David “DeeJ” Dague writes that the gauntlet in question, which features a “kek” symbol that resembles the “Kekistan flag” popularized by 4chan, was originally created by the game’s developers back in June of 2015. Dague says the gauntlet was one of many items in the game that “reference real world art, iconography, typeface, and other design elements” and that “some of the reference imagery featured the simple mirrored chevron shapes found in the finished piece.”

    • DEA Agent Gave Convict Girlfriend Access To Evidence, Classified Info; Received Almost No Punishment

      Routine misconduct by DEA agents? The DEA could not possibly care less. An Inspector General’s report released in 2015 in the aftermath of a sex-parties-and-harassment investigation showed 8 of the 14 agents investigated received bonuses and awards while still under investigation, a violation of DEA policy. None of the agents were fired or even demoted. The DEA’s unwillingness to address serious misdeeds seriously made it clear DEA agents are nigh un-fireable.

    • Teen sends dick pic to 22-year-old woman, now he’s a child pornographer

      The Washington Supreme Court has upheld the conviction under state child porn laws of a 17-year-old boy who sent a picture of his own erect penis to a 22-year-old woman. The case illustrates a bizarre situation in which Eric Gray is both the perpetrator and the victim of the crime. Under state law, Gray could face up to 10 years in prison for the conviction.

      On appeal, Gray’s attorneys had argued that the language of the law was ambiguous—lawmakers did not anticipate a situation like this—and that the law was potentially in violation of the state and the federal constitutions. The court, in a 7-1 ruling, disagreed.

    • Russia’s gubernatorial elections marred by political pressure

      In the past week, one of the highest profile political prosecutions in Crimea, the 26 February Case, concluded with the sentencing of the deputy chair of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Akhtem Chiygoz, to eight years in prison on charges of organising a riot. The prosecution against Chiygoz is based on clashes between supporters and opponents of the Euromaidan on 26 February 2014. All the defendants in the case are Crimean Tatars, that is to say representatives of one of the sides of the conflict — the side loyal to the new Ukrainian authorities. The trials of five other people, also charged with taking part in riot, continue.

      Tatiana Kotlyar, a human rights defender from Kaluga, has been found guilty of registering refugees at her apartment on false grounds. The court sentenced Kotlyar to a fine of 150,000 roubles (£1.900), though she will not have to pay it due to the statute of limitation expiring.

      In Chelyabinsk, local police have opened a criminal case against Gamil Asatullin, an activist of the Stop GOK movement which seeks to halt the development of the Tominsk copper processing plant. Asatullin is accused of attempting to set fire to the plant. His supporters believe he has been framed. During one of the interrogation sessions, officers of the Anti-Extremism Centre used threats to force Asatullin to refuse legal counsel and to testify against one of the leaders of the Stop GOK movement, Vasily Moskovets. Asatullin testified that Moskovets allegedly initiated the arson attempt.

    • Italy Imprisons Refugees Who Were Forced to Pilot Smuggling Boats At Gunpoint

      The refugees have just been pulled from the waters of the central Mediterranean when Italian coast guard investigators pick out a handful of them for questioning. As the rescue ship steams towards Sicily, the chosen refugees are taken aside and interviewed, returning after about an hour now labeled with a plastic wristband. Some say “witness,” others, “suspect.” Usually, two of them say “smuggler.”

      When the refugees disembark at port in Sicily, those with wristbands are handed off to Italian police, who will interview them again and arrest the suspected smugglers, in an effort to break up the criminal networks that have brought over 85,000 people to Italy this year. Regardless of whether rescued by the coast guard or ships run by NGOs, every boatload of refugees that arrives in Sicily goes through a similar process.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Washington DC braces for net neutrality protests later this month

      A coalition of activists and consumer groups are banding together to express concerns over an FCC proposal to rewrite the rules governing the Internet

    • FCC’s New ‘Diversity Chair’ Has Long History Of Undermining Minority Consumers At Comcast’s Behest

      For years one of the greasier lobbying and PR tactics by the telecom industry has been the hijacking of minority and civil rights groups to help parrot awful policy positions. Historically, such groups are happy to take financing from a company like Comcast, in exchange repeating whatever memos are thrust in their general direction — even if the policy dramatically harms their constituents. The tactic of creating or “co-opting” such groups helps foster the illusion of broad support for awful, anti-consumer policies, whether that’s support for the latest competition-killing merger or support for the assault on net neutrality.

      Because this cozy quid pro quo is implied but never put into writing, ISPs traditionally respond with breathless indignance to the mere suggestion they’re using minority voices as policy props. But Comcast has found that tactic consistently so successful, a few years back it went so far as to give its top lobbyist, David Cohen, a new title: “Chief Diversity Officer.” Said title not only lets Cohen profess the company’s unwavering dedication to minorities with one hand while undermining them with the other, but helps him skirt the government’s flimsy restrictions on lobbying.

    • Comcast Continues To Insist Its Sneaky, Misleading Fees Are Just The Company’s Way Of Being ‘Transparent’

      We’ve noted for years now how broadband and cable providers have created a high art out of bogus, misleading fees. Such fees, ranging in name from Comcast’s “broadcast TV fee” to CenturyLink’s “internet cost recovery fee” — allow these companies to falsely advertise one price, then sock consumers with a much higher rate once the bill comes due. This allows these companies to not only jack up prices while claiming the don’t, but it has the added bonus of making direct price comparisons with competitors almost impossible.

      Comcast initially charged $1.50 when its broadcast TV fee first appeared back in 2013, but now charges upwards of $6.50 more per month in many markets — a 333% increase in just three years. With the occasional exception, regulators and lawmakers tend to turn a blind eye to this practice as little more than pricing creativity. Comcast was however sued for the practice last year, plaintiffs claiming that this practice is not only false advertising, but is primarily designed to let the company raise rates on customers it convinced to sign long-term contracts.

    • Comcast puts YouTube in its TV boxes to entice would-be cord-cutters
    • Comcast raises sports and TV fees again, says it’s about “transparency”

      Comcast TV customers in Oregon will soon have to pay $14.50 each month for the controversial “Broadcast TV” and “Regional Sports Network” fees. Currently, the two fees combined cost customers $11 a month but will rise by $3.50 starting October 1, The Oregonian reported yesterday.

    • The Google Fiber Honeymoon Period Appears To Be Over

      That said, the company has gone through two CEOs in a matter of months, laid off an unspecified number of employees during a restructuring last fall, and has begun to show signs that the company’s dedication to the project is wavering at best, and notably derailed at worst. Reports began to circulate last fall that high-level Alphabet execs were bored with the slow pace and high cost of fiber deployment, and were considering pivoting the entire Google Fiber business model to wireless. But the company’s messaging regarding this transition has been anything but clear, only driving unease among those waiting for the promised revolution.

    • Comcast said he used too much data—so he opted to live without home Internet

      Longtime Comcast customer Drew Weaver was surprised in mid-May of this year when he got an automated call notifying him that he’d gone over his 1TB monthly data cap. First of all, Comcast alleged that he’d exceeded the data cap two months in a row, and Weaver says he never got a notification about the first overage. Moreover, Weaver just didn’t believe that he’d used more than 1TB of data.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Netflix Has Narcos Actors Threaten To Shoot The Families Of French People For Pirating The Show

      First, let’s all just take a moment to drink in that headline above. 2017, people: it’s a weird time to be alive. In any case, you likely have heard of Netflix’s hit original show, Narcos. The show follows the exploits of Pablo Escobar’s drug organization and was once the subject of Escobar’s brother demanding a billion dollars from Netflix over the portrayal. Netflix, of course, was the disruptive new streaming service for movies and television that has since decided to go the route of copyright protectionist now that it is producing its own original content. It’s a strange look for a company that exploded on a model of convenience over piracy, raking in tons of legit dollars by simply being an option better than or comparable to pirating films and television. Rather than continuing to compete in that arena, the company has begun to go the way of Big Content, firing off all kinds of DMCA notices.

    • Trademarks

      • Another Craft Beer Brand Gets Bullied To Death Over Shaky Trademark Claims

        The warning bells for the craft beer industry have been sounding for some time now, but the trademark disputes keep on coming. Even as trademark registrations in craft beer grow exponentially and intellectual property attorneys themselves are predicting an explosion in disputes on the horizon, the legal cases and threat letters have begun to grow. What once was an industry known for cooperative and congenial attitudes on trademark issues has devolved into corporate protectionism. But inter-industry disputes aren’t the only concern, as the explosion in the craft beer industry has also invited trademark disputes from those outside of the industry.

      • Chicago Bears Back Off GoBears Hashtag Dispute Over Trademark Concern With Cal

        With the trademarking of hashtags now in full swing, it’s about time some light was shone on exactly what type of trademarks are granted on them. The trademarking of hashtags isn’t in and of itself perplexing, although it does cause this writer some mild annoyance. Locking up language in general is something that should be treated carefully, but doing so specifically with social media language in an ecosystem designed for proliferation and sharing is ripe for conflict. One need only look at how the Olympics treats hashtags to see this, or how big businesses will greedily “protect” the use of hashtags, no matter any actual concern about public confusion over the use of the marks. The point is, the same general problem with the practical application of trademarks is exacerbated by social media: trademarks too often aren’t specific or identifying enough.

      • Maradona sues Dolce&Gabbana over 2016 ‘MARADONA’ jersey

        In the case of Maradona, the main complaint seems to relate to the misappropriation and misuse of his name.

        Article 6 and 7 of the Italian Civil Code expressly recognize the right to one’s own name. In particular, Article 7 states that a person who may suffer a prejudice from the undue use of their name by a third party can request a court order that would put an end to such use, as well as the compensation of any damages.

    • Copyrights

      • Can a tattoo on human flesh be copyrighted? We’ll soon find out

        There’s a tattoo as a design, and then there’s that same tattoo after it’s inked on the human body. Tattoo artists often copyright their tattoos. But does that copyright stick once the image is inked on the human body?

        So far, no US court has ruled that it does, despite several lawsuits on the topic that have settled out of court or have been dropped. But barring a settlement, we might soon get our first ruling on the topic, and we have video games to thank.

        Tattoo artists are suing the makers of the highly popular NBA 2K game series for the allegedly unauthorized use of their tattoos as they appear on popular players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kenyon Martin, DeAndre Jordan and others. In short, Solid Oak Sketches says that Take-Two Interactive Software is infringing its copyrighted works because the game shows the players with their real-world inked tattoos that Solid Oak Sketches has copyrighted.

      • Free Software, Open Access, And Open Science Groups Join Fight Against EU Copyright Directive’s Terrible Ideas

        Techdirt has been covering the EU’s plans to “modernize” copyright law for years now, and noted how things seem to be getting worse. Two ideas — the so-called link tax and the upload filter — are particularly one-sided, offering no benefits for the public, but providing the copyright industry with yet more monopolies and powers to censor. That much we knew. But two new initiatives reveal that the harmful effects are much, much broader than first thought.

      • Lawyer: Without The Monkey’s Approval, PETA Can’t Settle Monkey Selfie Case

        Ted Frank is a well-respected lawyer who has heroically dedicated much of his career to stopping bad legal practices, including sketchy settlements in class action lawsuits. Now he’s taking action in another case involving a sketchy settlement: the monkey selfie case. As we highlighted earlier this week, while it was no surprise that PETA and photographer David Slater worked out a settlement agreement to end the ridiculous lawsuit PETA had filed, it was deeply concerning that part of the settlement involved PETA demanding that the original district court ruling — the one saying, clearly, that animals don’t get copyrights — should be thrown out.

      • Founder of Fan-Made Subtitle Site Convicted for Copyright Infringement

        Fansubbing site Undertexter.se was raided by police in the summer of 2013, following complaints from Hollywood. Four years later the case has come to an end after a Swedish District Court sentenced the operator for copyright infringement. The decision confirms that the unauthorized distribution of movie subtitles is a crime in Sweden.

      • Australian Government Want ISPs to Adopt Anti-Piracy Code

        The Australian Government has proposed new copyright regulations which require copyright holders and carriage service providers to adopt a voluntary code to identify and deter online piracy. The new measures must address the ongoing piracy concerns but should not be too costly or burdensome for ISPs, the proposal clarifies.

      • BREIN Tracks Down and Settles With “Libra Release Team”

        BREIN has booked another victory against a group of prolific uploaders. The Hollywood backed organization signed settlements with two people connected to the “Libra Release Team.” The group in question shared hundreds of infringing movies and TV-shows on torrent and Usenet sites, focusing on the Dutch market.

      • EU Prepares Guidelines to Force Google & Facebook to Police Piracy

        Companies including Google and Facebook could face tougher legislation if they don’t act proactively to remove illegal content from their platforms. That’s according to draft EU guidelines due to be published at the end of the month, which will require service providers to “significantly step up their actions” to address the problem.

      • MetalKettle Addon Repository Vulnerable After GitHub ‘Takeover’

        A removed and nonactive third-party Kodi repository has become vulnerable after an outsider re-registered the GitHub account of its developer. Former Kodi-addon developer MetalKettle urges people to delete his repository, stating that it’s no longer safe.


Links 15/9/2017: Mesa 17.2.1 RC, Wine 2.17, WordPress to Ditch React Over Patents

Posted in News Roundup at 6:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How an open source tool is helping hurricane victims

    After Hurricane Harvey recently ripped through the Houston area, causing catastrophic flooding and devastation, the Stephen F. Austin Community Health Network (SFA) responded quickly by leveraging open source technology to reach out to patients and victims of the crisis in areas of Texas that are virtually inaccessible.

    Using an advanced cloud-based version of the OpenEMR software, the SFA Community Health Network was able to treat patients in clinics that were physically unreachable by care providers. The next-generation version of the open source electronic health record (EHR) was developed and is maintained by St. Louis-based Williams Medical Technologies, Inc. (WMT).

  • 13-year-old coder works to advance cognitive tech

    Folks say computers are a young person’s game, and one of the best examples is Tanmay Bakshi (pictured), algorithmist and cognitive developer. Thirteen years old, going on 14, he represents the energy and innovation of young coders. Some of the biggest companies in the industry have offered the enthusiastic Bakshi a seat at the table.

    When asked about the coolest thing he’s working on, Bakshi replied: “It would have to be a tie between AskTanmay, DeepSPADE and advancements with the cognitive story.” Bakshi is an Honorary Cloud Advisor with IBM Corp.

  • Developers must simplify, standardize tech to expand reach, says analyst

    It’s good for a company to have the technology it needs, however, putting that tech to use is another matter. Few companies are staffed with enough tech wizards, and for technology to expand into the mainstream, developers must make it easy for non-tech businesses to integrate new innovations in open source software, according to Jono Bacon (pictured), founder of Jono Bacon Consulting.

  • GMO Blockchain Open Source Software project enters fourth phase

    This time, GMO Internet has teamed up with GMO-Z.com RUNSYSTEM JSC to demonstrate the security applications of blockchain technologies. As many of you are aware, the enhanced security is one of the main advantages of this type of technologies.

  • Open Source as a Service platform launches

    Instaclustr has announced the launch of its Open Source-as-a-Service platform. This comprehensive platform offers customers across industries – and from startups to the enterprise – fully hosted and securely managed Apache Cassandra, Apache Spark, Elasticsearch, Kibana, Lucene, and Zeppelin. Each is delivered to customers in its 100% open source form, with no vendor or technical lock-in. The platform arrives as the company continues to deliver top-line growth in excess of 100% YoY, and has reached milestones of 10 million node hours and 1 petabyte of data under management.

    In an industry where, all too often, providers will deliver open source solutions repackaged into proprietary versions that promote vendor lock-in, Instaclustr is ensuring that every solution it provides will always consist of fully portable open source code.

  • BlueZ 5.47 Released, Working On Bluetooth 5.0 Support & More

    BlueZ 5.47 has been released as the latest user-space components to the Linux Bluetooth stack.

    BlueZ 5.47 is a bit more exciting on the feature front than some of the past releases. BlueZ 5.47 includes support for decoding Bluetooth 5.0 commands and events, Bluetooth Mesh advertising bearer decoding, support for Bluetooth Mesh control applications, the ability to retrieve supported discovery filters, and support for appearance and local name advertising data.

  • Events

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • Public Money? Public Code!

      31 organisations ask to improve public procurement of software

      Today, on 13 September 2017, 31 organisations are publishing an open letter. The letter calls for lawmakers to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software that has been developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software licence.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • MP3 Is Dead! Long Live MP3!

      Back in May, there was an unexpected surge in press coverage about the MP3 audio file format. What was most unexpected about it was it all declared that the venerable file format is somehow “dead”. Why did that happen, and what lessons can we learn?

      What had actually happened was the last of the patents on the MP3 file format and encoding process have finally expired. Building on earlier work, it was developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) built on the doctoral work of an engineer at Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. Many companies held patents on the standard and it was not until April that the last of them expired. There’s no easy way to ascertain whether a patent has expired even after the date one moght expect it, so the wave of news arose from announcements by Fraunhofer Institute.

      Framing this as an “ending” fits the narrative of corporate patent holders well, but does not really reflect the likely consequences. Naturally the patent holding companies would rather everyone “upgrade” to the newer AAC format, which is still encumbered under a mountain of patents necessitating licensing. But for open source software, the end of patent monopilies signals the beginning of new freedoms.

    • On React and WordPress

      Big companies like to bury unpleasant news on Fridays: A few weeks ago, Facebook announced they have decided to dig in on their patent clause addition to the React license, even after Apache had said it’s no longer allowed for Apache.org projects. In their words, removing the patent clause would “increase the amount of time and money we have to spend fighting meritless lawsuits.”

      I’m not judging Facebook or saying they’re wrong, it’s not my place. They have decided it’s right for them — it’s their work and they can decide to license it however they wish. I appreciate that they’ve made their intentions going forward clear.

      A few years ago, Automattic used React as the basis for the ground-up rewrite of WordPress.com we called Calypso, I believe it’s one of the larger React-based open source projects. As our general counsel wrote, we made the decision that we’d never run into the patent issue. That is still true today as it was then, and overall, we’ve been really happy with React. More recently, the WordPress community started to use React for Gutenberg, the largest core project we’ve taken on in many years. People’s experience with React and the size of the React community — including Calypso — was a factor in trying out React for Gutenberg, and that made React the new de facto standard for WordPress and the tens of thousands of plugins written for WordPress.

      We had a many-thousand word announcement talking about how great React is and how we’re officially adopting it for WordPress, and encouraging plugins to do the same. I’ve been sitting on that post, hoping that the patent issue would be resolved in a way we were comfortable passing down to our users.

      That post won’t be published, and instead I’m here to say that the Gutenberg team is going to take a step back and rewrite Gutenberg using a different library. It will likely delay Gutenberg at least a few weeks, and may push the release into next year.

    • WordPress to ditch React library over Facebook patent clause risk

      Automattic, the company behind the popular open source web publishing software WordPress, has said it will be pulling away from using Facebook’s React JavaScript library over concerns about a patent clause in Facebook’s open source license.

      In a blog post explaining the decision yesterday, WordPress’ Matt Mullenweg said Automattic had hoped to officially adopt React for WordPress — noting it has already used it for the Calypso ground-up rewrite of WordPress.com a few years ago, and had started using it for its major Gutenberg core project.

      But he reveals it’s changed its mind after seeing Facebook dig in behind the patent clause — which was recently added to the Apache Software Foundation’s (ASF) list of disallowed licenses.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Machine Learning Lends a Hand for Automated Software Testing

      Automated testing is increasingly important in development, especially for finding security issues, but fuzz testing requires a high level of expertise — and the sheer volume of code developers are working with, from third-party components to open source frameworks and projects, makes it hard to test every line of code. Now, a set of artificial intelligence-powered options like Microsoft’s Security Risk Detection service and Diffblue’s security scanner and test generation tools aim to make these techniques easier, faster and accessible to more developers.

      “If you ask developers what the most hated aspect of their job is, it’s testing and debugging,” Diffblue CEO and University of Oxford Professor of Computer Science Daniel Kroening told the New Stack.

    • Are Women in Tech Facing Extinction?

      We hear a lot about how few women work in tech. The numbers range from 3 percent in open source to 25 percent industry-wide. But frankly, those aren’t the numbers that scare me most. The numbers that scare the hell out me are the ones that underscore how many women are choosing to leave tech.

      The latest NCWIT data shows that women leave tech at twice the rate of men, and that number has been increasing since 1991. A Harvard Business Review study found that as many as 50 percent of women working in science, engineering and technology will, over time, leave because of hostile work environments.

    • Sublime Text 3.0 is released for download on MacOS, Windows and Linux
    • Open Source Atom Code Editor Gets IDE Features

      GitHub is morphing its open source code editor, Atom, into more of a full-fledged IDE with a new project appropriately called Atom-IDE.

      Just announced this week, Atom-IDE integrates programming language support in order to offer IDE-like features.

    • Migrating GitHub’s Web and API to Kubernetes Running on Bare Metal

      Over the last year GitHub has evolved their internal infrastructure that runs the Ruby on Rails application responsible for github.com and api.github.com to run on Kubernetes. The migration began with web and API applications running on Unicorn processes that were deployed onto Puppet-managed bare metal (“metal cloud”) servers, and ended with all web and API requests being served by containers running in Kubernetes clusters deployed onto the metal cloud.

      According to the GitHub engineering blog, the basic approach to deploying and running GitHub did not significantly change over the initial eight years of operation. However, GitHub itself changed dramatically, with new features, larger software communities, more GitHubbers on staff, and many more requests per second. As the organisation grew, the existing operational approach began to exhibit new problems: many teams wanted to extract the functionality into smaller services that could run and be deployed independently; and as the number of services increased, the SRE team found they were increasingly performing maintenance, which meant there was little time for enhancing the underlying platform. GitHub engineers needed a self-service platform they could use to experiment, deploy, and scale new services.

    • Oracle turns Java EE over to an open source foundation
    • The Basics of Going Serverless with Node.js

      Linda Nichols, of Cloudreach, will discuss the basics of serverless and why it works so well with Node.js at Node.js Interactive, Oct. 4-6, 2017 in Vancouver, BC Canada.
      The Linux Foundation

      Developers are continuing to look for more efficient and effective ways to build out applications, and one of the new approaches to this involves serverless applications, which are the future of lightweight, scalable, and performant applications development.

      The space of “serverless” is still fairly new and many developers and companies are wanting to go “serverless,” but don’t know how to orchestrate decisions like how to choose the right cloud provider, how to avoid vendor lock in. And, if you do change your mind about the cloud platform, does that mean you have to rewrite your application code?

    • Clear Linux & Their Love For FMV + dl_platform/dl_hwcap In The Name Of Performance

      For those mesmerized by the numbers whenever posting a cross-distribution comparison like the recent Core i9 7900X vs. Threadripper 1950X On Ubuntu 17.10, Antergos, Clear Linux with showing Intel’s performance optimizations done on Clear Linux, Intel engineer Victor Rodriguez presented this week at the 2017 Open-Source Summit North America about some of their Linux performance boosting work.

      While Clear Linux ships with aggressive compiler flags and other optimizations, contrary to the belief of some, their distribution does work on Intel hardware going back to ~2011 and just not the most recent generations of CPUs. But for remaining optimized for both new and old hardware, they do utilize Function Multi-Versioning (FMV) as offered by GCC. They also rely upon optimized binaries for particular hardware platforms via GLIBC with the dl_platform/dl_hwcap features for shipping optimized libraries that are then selected at run-time based on the CPU. This is one of the approaches to how Clear Linux is already shipping with AVX-512 optimized libraries.

    • GCC Finishing Up C++17 Adjustments, Preparing For C++2A

      While C++17 was just formally approved days ago and is now waiting for ISO publication, GCC (and Clang) developers have largely finished up their C++17 (formerly known as “C++1z”) support for some time. There are just a few lingering patches for GCC and already are beginning to lay the ground work for C++2a.

      There’s the longstanding GCC C++ status page where it does show all the major features of C++17/C++1z are complete in GCC 7. Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek sent out a patch this week with the final adjustments and now that C++1z is indeed going to be called C++17 officially.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Independent Monitors Found Benzene Levels After Harvey Six Times Higher Than Guidelines

      As a longtime resident of Manchester, Guadalupe Hernandez is used to the chemical smells that waft through his southeast Houston, Texas neighborhood, a low-income, predominantly Hispanic community near a Valero Energy refinery. But when Hurricane Harvey blew in the weekend of Aug. 26, the stench became noticeably stronger for about five hours, a scent like “glue or boiled eggs,” he said.

      The Environmental Protection Agency has assured the public they looked into complaints in the area a week after the storm hit, and spent several days taking air pollution measurements with a mobile laboratory. The agency didn’t release any specifics, but said concentrations of several toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, met Texas health guidelines.

      Now, environmental advocacy groups have shared their own, detailed data with ProPublica and the Texas Tribune, based on air sampling from the same Manchester streets over six days. It shows a more nuanced picture than the one given by the EPA: in numerous locations, benzene levels, though under the Texas threshold of 180 parts per billion, far exceeded California’s guidelines, which is 23 times more stringent and is well-respected by health advocates nationwide.

    • The Obamacare Fight Is Over — Now It’s On To Universal Medicare

      In June, as the fight over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act reached its climax, then-White House spokesman Sean Spicer delivered a warning. “It’s not a question of Obamacare versus the AHCA,” he said, referring to the GOP alternative, the since-failed American Health Care Act. The question, Spicer said, was between repealing Obamacare and moving to single payer.

      History may prove him right. The battle over the Affordable Care Act is over. The fight for what comes next will begin in earnest on Wednesday with the introduction of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s bill to create a universal Medicare program, the most fleshed-out single-payer proposal ever introduced in Congress.

      The campaign for the Vermont independent’s bill will start with the backing of at least 15 Democratic cosponsors and 24 progressive and healthcare advocacy groups, numbers that will only grow in the coming days and weeks.

    • Bernie’s Army: 24 Organizations With Millions of Members Vow To Help Pass His Universal Medicare Plan

      On Wednesday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is set to unveil a bill that would make Medicare universal with the co-sponsorship of at least 15 Senate Democrats. The legislation would finally make health care a human right for all Americans.

      The question is: What do proponents think will make this push for single payer any more successful than others in the past? After all, activists who backed such an approach during 2009’s health care debate were literally arrested at hearings, and their legislation was sidelined and never even brought to a vote.

      But this time, as he launches his campaign, Sanders has the support of 24 grassroots organizations with a combined membership base of tens of millions of people.

    • Pharma CEO Worries Americans Will Say “Enough Is Enough” and Embrace Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer Plan

      Brent Saunders, the chief executive of Allergan, one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world, is concerned that in an era of increasing political polarization, Americans will become fed up and embrace the single-payer health care plan set to be unveiled Wednesday by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

      He shared his candid thoughts last weekend at the Wells Fargo Healthcare Conference in Boston, a gathering for investors and major pharmaceutical and biotech firms.

      Americans have lost trust in drug companies, Saunders said, noting the industry consistently ranks lower than oil and tobacco companies in public trust surveys.

    • Malaysia Grants Compulsory Licence For Generic Sofosbuvir Despite Gilead Licence

      A much cheaper version of a groundbreaking hepatitis C medicine is expected to be available soon for the hundreds of thousands of hepatitis C patients in Malaysia, as it decided to grant a compulsory licence to sofosbuvir, according to sources. The decision comes right after the medicine originator decided to expand its voluntary licensing scheme to four more countries, including Malaysia.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • North Korea fires second ballistic missile over Japan

      North Korea has fired a ballistic missile across Japan, creating new tension in the region after its nuclear bomb test less than two weeks ago.

      The missile reached an altitude of about 770km (478 miles), travelling 3,700km before landing in the sea off Hokkaido, South Korea’s military says.

      It flew higher and further than one fired over Japan late last month.

      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would “never tolerate” such “dangerous provocative action”.

    • Unrealistic North Korean Sanctions

      The new United Nations Security Council resolution on North Korea was mainly a U.S.-promoted show, even though it passed unanimously. The principal story of the resolution concerned how severe a set of sanctions the United States could get enacted, and how much it needed to water down the resolution to get support from other members of the council and especially to avoid vetoes from China and Russia.

    • The Clinton Book Tour is Largely Ignoring the Vital Role of Endless War in the 2016 Election Result

      To pitch her book, Hillary Clinton is sitting down this week for a series of media interviews, mostly with supportive TV personalities, such as Rachel Maddow, to discuss her views of “What Happened,” the book’s title. Calls for Clinton to be quiet and disappear are misguided for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that she is a very smart, informed, and articulate politician, which means her interviews — especially when she’s liberated from programmed campaign mode — are illuminating about how she, and her fellow establishment Democrats who have driven the party into a ditch, really think.

      An hourlong interview she sat for with Vox’s Ezra Klein is particularly worthwhile. Clinton, for good reason, harbors a great deal of affection for Klein, which she expressed on multiple occasions during their chat. But Klein nonetheless pressed her on a series of criticisms that have been voiced about her and the Democrats’ stunted political approach, banal policies, status-quo-perpetuating worldview, and cramped aspirations that seem far more plausible as authors of her defeat than the familiar array of villains — Bernie Sanders, Vladimir Putin, Jill Stein, Jim Comey, the New York Times — that she and her most ardent supporters are eager to blame.

    • How North Korea Outmaneuvered U.S.

      This was evident the moment the U.N. Security Council voted on Monday to slap the DPRK with yet another round of economic sanctions, its ninth in 11 years. The Security Council resolution certainly sounded tough enough as it accused Kim of “destabilize[ing] the region” by exploding an underground thermonuclear device on Sept. 3 and posing “a clear threat to international peace and security.”

      But thanks to Russia and China, it ended up with so many loopholes as to be well-nigh meaningless. The resolution imposes trade restrictions, for example, but rejects a U.S. bid to allow outside powers to enforce them by stopping and inspecting North Korean ships on the high seas or by forcing down aircraft suspected of carrying contraband. Where the U.S. had pushed for a total energy embargo, it allows oil imports to continue at current levels. It permits North Korean workers in foreign countries to continue sending hard currency back home, a practice the United States had hoped to stop. And it rebuffs U.S. demands for a ban on the North Korean national airline, Air Koryo.

    • The Trump Administration Was Ordered to Disclose the Legal Basis for its Syria Strike. It Handed Over Squat.

      After President Donald Trump launched a cruise missile strike against Syria in April, his administration struggled to justify the legal basis for the attack. For months, a watchdog group has hounded the Trump administration for its legal reasoning. Under court order, the government has finally produced documents that reveal little, if anything.

      One document the administration saw fit to release is simply an aggregation of praise for Trump’s strike from pundits, lawmakers, and world leaders. It was prepared by Trump’s National Security Council.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • No Gas in Florida: Give Truth a Chance

      As I heard Florida’s governor demanding gas, I wondered why they don’t learn from Cuba, and send buses. Cuba was there in the CBC newscasts about Florida. It was the country under the satellite image, under the “lingering” eye of category five Irma. For hours, that awful image was in the background as the CBC anchor kept returning to Florida’s need for gas.

      They won’t learn from Cuba. And it is not because Cuba is part of the world’s “left-overs”, who don’t count and whose ideas don’t count either. It’s not even because of Cold War mentality. The problem is deeper. It’s about culture and truth. In short, it’s about a culture that denies truth.

    • Pruitt Gives Another Present to Coal Executives

      Yesterday, Donald Trump’s EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, granted a polluter petition to “reconsider” new clean water protections against dangerous coal ash pits near America’s drinking water supplies. Pruitt’s decision came ahead of opening arguments for a pending case on the water protections in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and is widely considered to be a ploy to scrap the protections entirely – benefiting coal plant owners eager to avoid accountability for the substantial public health dangers their coal ash pits pose to communities living near them.

    • After Massive Giveaways to Industry, Mining Executives Will Spend Big at Trump’s D.C. Hotel

      The chief executives of some of the largest coal and mining companies in the country have chosen the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., for a private conference next month, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

      The hotel is a natural venue for such an event. The host of the conference, the National Mining Association, an industry lobby group, has won a string of policy victories and carve-outs from the Trump administration and its Republican allies in Congress.

      The NMA board of directors meeting, which takes place October 3-4, is yet the latest example of a special interest group spending thousands of dollars on a property owned directly by the Trump family. The Trump International charges over $800 a night for the days the mining event is scheduled.

    • How Young People are Tackling Climate Change, One Innovation at a Time

      Climate entrepreneurship is a rapidly growing branch of contemporary business. Environmental and climate change issues are increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives. The global population is predicted to reach 11 billion by 2100. We can also expect an average global temperature increase of more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels.

      People around the world are dealing with extreme weather events, food and water shortages, waste management, urbanisation and overpopulation – from Cameroon to Thailand and from the US to Australia.

    • While Hurricanes Ravage US, Trump Pushes LNG Exports
    • Southern Oregon Wildfires: the Rhetoric and the Reality

      Recently a low-intensity, backing wildfire dropped into my community from the ridge above, cleaning up fuels, thinning young trees and re-initiating the ancient process of fire in a fire-starved environment. Firefighters and engines lined the road and waited, stationed at every home to protect our small community as the Abney Fire, part of the Miller Complex, approached. They safely guided the fire down the slope to containment lines adjacent to our homes.

      Trapped beneath a heavy inversion layer, smoke filled the forested canyon. Smoke smothered the sun, trapping moisture, limiting air movement, reducing temperatures, and moderating fire severity. Believe it or not, when wildfire is at your doorstep, smoke is an ally. Despite the impact to local communities, the smoke inversion itself moderates fire behavior and helps ensure a natural, mixed-severity fire. Although a nuisance, when smoke lingers in our valleys and canyons, wildfires are more likely to burn slow and cool.


      Timber industry lobbyists such as Schott are working hard to perpetuate the myth that logging will reduce fire hazards and eliminate the smoke and effects of wildfire. This is simply untrue. Fire is a natural process, and unless Schott thinks logging can eliminate lightning storms, we must learn to live with it.

  • Finance

    • The Latest: Brazil’s Temer charged with obstructing justice

      Brazilian President Michel Temer is being charged with obstruction of justice and leading a criminal organization in a case that could suspend him from office for up to six months.

      Brazil’s attorney general’s office said Thursday that the country’s top prosecutor is accusing Temer of paying hush funds to a former speaker of the lower Chamber of Deputies and to an operator of his political group. Attorney General Rodrigo Janot also alleges that Temer is the criminal organization that operates in Brazil’s Congress and executive.

      Temer has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The end of anonymity? Trump and the tyranny of the majority

      Long before the trickle of anonymous leaks from the White House became a steady downpour, President Trump delivered a characteristically meandering address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, in February this year. Tucked into a library catalogue of complaints (against “bloodsucker consultants”, Obamacare and “bad dudes”) and compliments (for miners, Bernie voters, border police, and “really strong and really good” regulations), was a brief tirade against anonymous sources. “I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out,” the President declared. “A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being. Let them say it to my face. Let there be no more sources.”

      The President’s remarks, and his subsequent sustained and vitriolic attacks on the news media, reveal as much about the severity of his personality flaws as they do about his dangerous disregard for an independent and pluralistic media. But they also suggested a more fundamental contestation of a key pillar of democratic and human rights-respecting societies – the right to anonymity.

    • Why are Nazis so afraid of clowns?

      “White power!” the neo-Nazi group shouted, and the clowns pretended they finally understood their mistake. “Oh, white flowers!” they cried out, handing white flowers to passersby, including some of the neo-Nazis themselves.

      “White power!” they yelled again. “Tight shower?” the clowns called back, holding a shower head in the air and crowding together in a ridiculous attempt to follow the directions of the white supremacist group.

      They tried once more: “White power!” And the female clowns exclaimed, as though they finally understood, “Wife power!” raising letters in the air to spell out the words and hoisting the male clowns in the air, running around and carrying them in their arms.

    • Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Get It

      In the first hundred pages of What Happened, Hillary Clinton writes that she decided to run for office during a vacation with the designer Oscar de la Renta and that when she lost she received an invitation from George W. Bush to get burgers. These bookends are an early sign that there is something amiss in this much-anticipated tell-all of the 2016 campaign, which attempts—and fails—to offer a diagnosis of how Clinton lost an election to the most unqualified and most loathed presidential candidate in modern history. These anecdotes suggest a fatal lack of awareness, an inability to see that she and her party may have grown out of touch. To the contrary, she says. She was the victim of forces beyond her control. Journalists, Russia, Bernie Sanders: These are a few of her least favorite things.

    • Catalonia referendum: Spanish state poised to seize Catalan finances

      The Spanish government has given the regional government in Catalonia 48 hours to abandon “illegal” referendum plans or lose budgetary powers.

      Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro said a mechanism had been approved for the state to take control of the autonomous region’s finances.

      Madrid is seeking to stop the Catalan government spending public money on its planned independence referendum.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The NSA’s 12-Year Struggle to Follow the Law

      This spring, the government announced a change to the way the National Security Agency collects information targeting foreigners, using the telecom backbone in what it calls “upstream” collection. Whereas for 10 years, the agency had sucked up communications mentioning a target’s selector—say, collecting all emails sent to someone in this country that include Osama bin Laden’s phone number in the body of the email—in April it stopped doing so domestically (though it will still do tons of it in collection overseas).

    • NSA spied on illegal downloaders until it realised they were only using streaming software to share Britney Spears tunes, documents reveal
    • The NSA was snooping on your early-2000s Kazaa downloads, probably

      A NEW CACHE of Edward Snowden documents have revealed that the NSA was actively monitoring file-sharing networks more than 12 years ago.

      According to a report at The Intercept, the NSA formed a research group dedicated to studying peer-to-peer internet traffic, via apps including LimeWire, eDonkey, Kazaa and BitTorrent, to see if it could find valuable intelligence by monitoring such activity.

      “One question that naturally arises after identifying file-sharing traffic is whether or not there is anything of intelligence value in this traffic,” the NSA document begins.

      “By searching our collection databases, it is clear that many targets are using popular file sharing applications; but if they are merely sharing the latest release of their favourite pop star, this traffic is of dubious value (no offence to Britney Spears intended).”

    • NSA once spied on your *NSYNC downloads from Kazaa

      A nostalgic new cache of Edward Snowden files shows the National Security Agency (NSA) has been snooping online for a lot longer than you may think. While you were listening to Enya on your state-of-the-art iPod, the agency was looking into peer-to-peer encryption sites like Napster, Limewire and Kazaa, according to a report by The Intercept. Its crowning achievement was to crack the encryption used by at least two sites, Kazaa and eDonkey, exposing search queries and shared files.

    • Global campaign on intelligence sharing

      Yestarday, Privacy International, FIDH, LDH and La Quadrature du Net have written to the French surveillance oversight bodies (the CNCTR – Commission nationale de contrôle des techniques de renseignement – and the Délégation parlementaire au renseignement) in the context of a global campaign for greater transparency around secretive intelligence sharing activities between governments. We publish here the press release issued yesterday by Privacy International.

      Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments.

      Countries may use secret intelligence sharing arrangements to circumvent international and domestic rules on direct surveillance. These arrangements can also lead to the exchange of information that can facilitate human rights abuses, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or weak rule of law.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘Undocumented Immigrants Are Constantly Used as a Bargaining Chip’

      Now there are thousands of people marching in the street across the country in support of the immigration program DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Democratic lawmakers are speaking out in support, thus demonstrating what the Washington Post called a “lurch to the left,” and corporate media are presenting a clear for-and-against battle over the program that allowed some 800,000 people who came to the US as children to legally work, drive and travel outside the country.

      But if the “against” argument is obvious, and obviously bogus—they’re criminals who steal jobs while somehow simultaneously draining welfare—the argument of supporters and recipients is not always especially thoughtfully explored. Tina Vasquez is the immigration reporter at Rewire. She joins us now by phone from North Carolina. Welcome to CounterSpin, Tina Vasquez.

    • My Police Department Vowed to ‘Get Rid’ of Me After I Had My Son, so I Fought Back for Other Female Officers

      I loved my job in law enforcement, but I was demeaned, demoted, and discriminated against for choosing to be a mom. I was a police officer and investigator with the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force for five years before I was pushed off the job for breastfeeding my son.

      In that time I worked my way up in the force, starting as a patrol officer and eventually becoming an undercover agent and training officer. Fewer than ten percent of officers work undercover and train recruits. These were competitive positions and promotions that I worked hard to earn.

      I grew up wanting to help people and decided that becoming a police officer was how I would protect my community. In my hometown of Tuscaloosa, I had witnessed firsthand how prescription drug addiction was killing people and ruining lives. I wanted to help.

    • Judge in Arpaio Case Wants to Hear Arguments Before Vacating Former Sheriff’s Conviction

      When the Founding Fathers created the presidential pardon power, they likely had a few ideas about how that authority could be used. Clemency might be granted in a show of mercy, or to undo a miscarriage of justice. Or maybe the president would want to pardon anti-government rebels in an attempt to restore peace to the republic, much like President Andrew Johnson would do after the Civil War.

      But what the founders could not possibly have envisioned was that a president would pardon an elected official for ignoring a court order to stop violating constitutional protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Those rights, after all, did not exist until two years after the Constitution came into force.

      Or so goes the argument by civil rights groups that say, for this reason, that President Donald Trump’s controversial pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio cannot stand.

    • DiEM25: A historic moment for the international progressive movement?

      DiEM25 needs to create a Janus-faced, progressive union out of the cooperation of every individual – individuals who in turn need to willingly relax their egos for the bigger cause.


      The pragmatists think of DiEM25 as a practising political organisation, and therefore wish to support policies and parties that already have acquired wider support — in the way Momentum has supported Jeremy Corbyn lately, DiEM25 should for example advocate a reconsideration of Brexit. In addition, they would prefer to develop concrete policies such as the European New Deal, and they want to take these policies to the ballot box themselves, or even better: get politicians elected to implement them. Without such a visible electoral politics, DiEM25 would be exclusively confined to exerting its influence through a European demos, or populace, which does not yet seem to exist.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC’s New Diversity Chair Lobbied Against Net Neutrality and Services for Minority Communities

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has selected Julia Johnson, president of a consulting firm called NetCommunications, to lead the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment, a group Pai said he established to champion the voice of every American, “no matter their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.”

      Despite the laudatory title and mission of the diversity committee, Johnson is a consultant who perfectly embodies the corporations-first agenda of President Donald Trump’s FCC.

      Johnson has long worked on behalf of industry groups seeking to undermine consumer regulations and promote the interests of large corporate clients.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • We’re Asking the Copyright Office to Protect Your Right To Remix, Study, and Tinker With Digital Devices and Media

        Who controls your digital devices and media? If it’s not you, why not? EFF has filed new petitions with the Copyright Office to give those in the United States protection against legal threats when you take control of your devices and media. We’re also seeking broader, better protection for security researchers and video creators against threats from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

        DMCA 1201 is a deeply flawed and unconstitutional law. It bans “circumvention” of access controls on copyrighted works, including software, and bans making or distributing tools that circumvent such digital locks. In effect, it lets hardware and software makers, along with major entertainment companies, control how your digital devices are allowed to function and how you can use digital media. It creates legal risks for security researchers, repair shops, artists, and technology users.


Links 14/9/2017: Plasma 5.11 Beta, Q4OS 1.8.8, Orion

Posted in News Roundup at 5:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Uber and Lyft Bring Open-Source Cloud Projects to CNCF

    In the market for ride sharing services, Uber and Lyft are fierce competitors, the world of open-source however is another story. At the Open Source Summit here on Sept. 13, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) announced that it had accepted two new projects, Envoy from Lyft and Jaeger from Uber.

  • ​Lyft and Uber travel the same open-source road

    Coke and Pepsi, Gimbels and Macy’s, Apple and Microsoft — these were all great business rivals. Today, we have Lyft and Uber fighting tooth and nail over the new ride-sharing market. While they may be bitter rivals on the highways, the pair can agree on one thing: Open source is the best way to develop software.

    At The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, both companies appeared — but not at the same time — to announce they were launching two new cloud-native, open-source software projects with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

  • Ride-hailing firms Lyft and Uber open-source microservices technology

    Ride-hailing companies Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. are embracing the open-source software movement.

    The two megastartups have both donated technologies developed in-house to the Cloud Native Computing Federation, which is best known for hosting the Kubernetes container orchestrator project.

  • 6 Best Free And Open Source Reddit Alternatives You Must Visit

    Just recently, Reddit announced its plans to stop sharing its main website’s open source code base. The website gave a number of reasons, which weren’t welcomed by the open source community. So, we’ve decided to prepare a list of some free and open source Reddit alternatives that you can give a try. Some of these aren’t much popular, but we thought it’s a good time to spread the world and tell you about these options.

  • New network demands push adoption of open-source networking solutions

    Networking makes the modern connected world possible. Yet as networking has become more important, new technologies must rise to shoulder the burden. Businesses at all levels are discovering that open-source networking can provide the solutions they need.

    “I can confidently say that open-source networking, not just networking but open-source networking, is now mainstream,” said Arpit Joshipura (pictured), general manager of networking and orchestration at The Linux Foundation.

  • Richard Morrell: a brief history (of life) in open source

    I worked with Red Hat until the end of last year and am now at Falanx in the UK – a firm building possibly the fastest and most intelligent security platform to ever emerge from the open source community.

  • Wipro Joins Hyperledger to Catalyze Collaboration on Enterprise-Grade Blockchain Solutions
  • Wipro partners with open source blockchain project Hyperledger

    Wipro Limited said today that it will partner with an open source project Hyperledger to design and develop open source-based blockchain solutions for enterprise-grade blockchain deployments.

    Hyperledger is a global open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies across sectors such as finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chain, manufacturing and technology.

    “We are excited to welcome Wipro to the Hyperledger community. Wipro brings industry-acknowledged blockchain advisory and consulting capabilities, coupled with industry solutions for specific use cases and a strong partner ecosystem to help client businesses innovate on blockchain. We look forward to Wipro’s active contribution in the Hyperledger community to share insights on blockchain use cases, technology frameworks, tools and standards, and thought leadership,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger in a statement.

  • Wipro joins Hyperledger
  • IT Consultancy Wipro Joins Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium
  • Wipro Joins Automotive Grade Linux to Accelerate Open Source Adoption
  • Wipro joins hands with Linux for open source projects
  • Wipro joins The Linux Foundation, Strengthening Collaboration and Commitment to Open Source Technologies
  • Comcast cuts truck rolls with open source AI software

    Comcast claims to have saved tens of millions of dollars through avoiding the need for truck rolls, by using a machine learning program that can predict with 90% accuracy whether or not it will need to send a technician to a customer’s home to fix connectivity problems. Every operator would love to reduce truck rolls. Estimates of the average costs vary, but tend to be somewhere between $50 and $100 per truck roll. Even if a company is using the most efficient vehicles possible, those costs are increasing as fuel and labour costs rise. Every operator is well aware that they end up sending people out on the road more often than is really needed, because many problems could be…

  • Need Free Software? Open-Source Options for Small Businesses

    Nearly all of today’s software packages run on a monthly subscription model. It doesn’t sound like much upfront, but if you spend $10 a month here and another $20 there, all of a sudden you’re forking over a bunch of money each month for programs you’re no longer sure that you even need.

    If you’re a solopreneur or a small business, you don’t want the costs of effective software to eat too much into the bottom line. At the same time, you definitely need the right tools to get the job done.

    This is where free, open-source software can come to the rescue. Not every icon may have the same type of excessive attention to detail and polish as paid software, but when it comes to getting the job done, these free tools can be just as effective. Here are a few of our favorite options.

  • Cloudera Joins Open Source Eclipse IoT Community

    Cloudera, Inc. (NYSE: CLDR), the modern platform for machine learning and analytics, optimized for the cloud, announced it has joined the Eclipse Foundation as a Solutions member and will participate in the Eclipse IoT Working Group. In this capacity, Cloudera collaborates with industry leaders such as Bosch, Eurotech, Red Hat and Samsung Electronics to support the development of Eclipse IoT Open Testbeds. This new initiative showcases how open source software, open standards, and commercial solutions can be used to create real-world, industry-specific IoT (Internet of Things) solutions.

  • Events

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Java EE Finds Open Source Home

      Oracle announced this week it would turn over Java Enterprise Edition to the Eclipse Foundation, a nonprofit corporation formed in 2004 and an outgrowth of a software project originally created by IBM in 2001. The company said its decision resulted from consultations with IBM and Red Hat, the other key contributors to the Java EE platform.

    • Get out your specs: Java EE’s headed to the Eclipse Foundation

      Oracle has named the Eclipse Foundation as the new host for Java Enterprise Edition, but said the platform won’t get to keep its name.

      The decision to make Java EE – which is already developed in open source – fully open was announced last month, with Oracle’s David Delabassee saying it was in a bid to make it “more agile and responsive”.

    • Oracle Punts Java EE To The Eclipse Foundation

      Since last month’s announcement by Oracle that they were essentially looking to offload Java EE to a new foundation, that new steward has now been named.

    • Red Hat Gives Thumbs Up to Java EE’s Move to Eclipse

      So Java Enterprise Edition has a new home.

      Yesterday Oracle announced it’s turning control of the platform over to the nonprofit Eclipse Foundation. On the surface, this makes a lot of sense, as the foundation’s namesake project is the most widely used Java IDE. The announcement came just a month after Oracle said it was considering moving control of the platform to an open source foundation.

      All of the details have yet to be ironed-out, but in a blog Oracle’s David Delabassee said that Oracle-led Java EE and related GlassFish technologies, including RIs, TCKs, and associated project documentation, will be re-licensed to the foundation, presumably under the Eclipse Public License. In addition, the project will be rebranded with a not yet determined new name.

    • Java EE to Eclipse: A Welcome Move

      In a blog post on the venerable Aquarium blog (started by the Glassfish team at Sun a decade or so ago) Oracle has announced that it has selected the Eclipse Foundation as the new home for Java EE. They will relicense and rename it and invent a new standards process. It looks like the MicroProfile rebellion was successful as this has all been negotiated with Red Hat and IBM as well.

      I don’t see this move as “dumping” Java EE. Moving a project to an open source Foundation is complex and expensive and Oracle should be congratulated on finally committing to this move. Java EE has already been uploaded to GitHub, but that’s not sufficient as the default Github Governance is isolation mediated via pull requests.

      Eclipse is an extremely good choice of host. It has evolved excellent governance that recognises both the primacy of technical contribution and the inevitability of corporate politics and keeps both in balance. It’s ideally suited to the complexities and politics of Java EE, having hosted multiple large projects and survived de-investment by its founder IBM. Under the smart and firm leadership of Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse is the perfect home for Java EE (or whatever Oracle will want us to call it).

    • Oracle opens up enterprise Java and moves it to the Eclipse Foundation
    • Java EE Is Moving to the Eclipse Foundation
    • Tech’s old guard continues to embrace Kubernetes, as Oracle joins the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

      Oracle has always been a little more pragmatic about the role of open-source software in the tech industry than a company like Microsoft, which fought the very concept tooth and nail for years. Still, now that both companies have joined the foundation at the heart of one of the most important open-source projects in enterprise tech at the moment, it’s another sign the center of gravity has shifted.

    • ​Oracle joins the Kubernetes movement

      Oracle joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and released Kubernetes on Oracle Linux and its own Kubernetes cloud installer.

    • Oracle joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation, adds new container services

      As the excitement around software containers reaches fever pitch, database software giant Oracle Corp. is throwing its weight behind the cause.

      The company said Wednesday it’s signing up as a platinum member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the organization leading the development of the Kubernetes container orchestrator tool. In addition, the company has just made Kubernetes available on its Oracle Linux platform, and will also open-source a Terraform Kubernetes Installer for its cloud infrastructure.

    • Oracle Joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation as Platinum Member
    • Oracle Joins CNCF, and Releases Kubernetes on Oracle Linux and Terraform Kubernetes Cloud Installer

      At the Open Source Summit, held in Los Angeles, USA, it was announced that Oracle have joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a Platinum member. Oracle have also released two technologies for installing Kubernetes on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: “Kubernetes on Oracle Linux”, an integration of Kubernetes into the Oracle Container Service; and an open source HashiCorp Terraform Kubernetes Installer for the Oracle Bare Metal Cloud. This news follows from the July release of three open source container tools by Oracle, which included a Rust-based alternative container runtime that implements the OCI-runtime specification

    • Oracle Joins the Cloud Native Computing Foundation
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Government lab that gives a crap pushes open source

      The US government wants you to use its software, and if you’re into manure, so much the better.

      The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), part of the US Department of Energy, last week released a new round of open-source projects in the hope that the public will take its research and run with it.

      Known for its MOOSE physics modeling software and a companion project for continuous integration and testing called CIVET, INL last year brought Paul Berg over from Amazon to serve as the lab’s senior R&D software licensing manager. His remit is to oversee the handling of open-source projects.

      When Berg spoke to The Register earlier this year, he said the lab was preparing to make a number of its projects available to the public. And now the floodgates have opened.

    • Software Paid For With Public Money Should Be Open Source, Groups Say

      Publicly financed software should be open source, more than 30 signatories of an open letter are proclaiming, calling for others to sign the letter.

      According to a press release from the European Digital Rights initiative (EDRi), the 31 organisations and 469 people who signed the open letter want legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made publicly available under a free and open source software licence.

      “If it is public money, it should be public code as well,” it says.

      “We need software that guarantees freedom of choice, access, and competition. We need software that helps public administrations regain full control of their critical digital infrastructure, allowing them to become and remain independent from a handful of companies,” the release says.

    • Public Money? Public Code! 22 Organizations Seek to Improve Public Software Procurement

      Today, 22 organizations are publishing an open letter in which they call for lawmakers to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software license. The initial signatories include CCC, EDRi, Free Software Foundation Europe, KDE, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, Open Source Business Alliance, Open Source Initiative, The Document Foundation, Wikimedia Germany, as well as several others; they ask individuals and other organization to sign the open letter. The open letter will be sent to candidates for the German Parliament election and, during the coming months, until the 2019 EU parliament elections, to other representatives of the EU and EU member states.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Two Open Source Licensing Questions: The AGPL and Facebook
    • How Open Source and Proprietary IP Can Co-Exist [Ed: law firms pushing software patents, not just copyright]

      Open source software imparts a number of benefits, including decreasing product development time, distributing development across a community and attracting developers to your organization. However, some organizations shy away from it due to perceived risks and disadvantages around intellectual property.


      That’s a situation in which we might open source an implementation and file for a patent at the same time. In scoping the patent and the license terms, the open source community gets access to the software but the patent retains value.

  • Programming/Development

    • Why open source developers are burning out: No respect

      As it turns out, maintaining good open source code is difficult. Just ask James Coglan, who disgorged a litany of reasons why releasing code can take forever. Oh, and without much hope of empathy in return. Or ask Isaac Schlueter, CEO of npm, who agonized over the burden of maintaining code for entitled downstream users who “don’t love me.”

      As people, we want to be recognized for the good work we do. Open source, however, often tends to maximize negative feedback loops, contributing to developer burnout, as Schlueter highlighted.

    • Why hackathons should insist on free software

      Hackathons are an accepted method of giving community support to digital development projects. The community invites developers to join an event which offers an encouraging atmosphere, some useful resources, and the opportunity to work on useful projects. Most hackathons choose the projects they will support, based on stated criteria.

      Hackathons fit the spirit of a community in which people take an attitude of cooperation and respect towards each other. The software that accords with this spirit is free (libre) software, free as in freedom. Free software carries a license that gives its users (including programmers) freedom to cooperate. Thus, hackathons make sense within the free software community. Hardware design projects also can and ought to be free.

    • dbKoda 0.7.0 new features

      0.7.0 is the second public release of dbKoda and our first post-MVP release. With the MVP (Minimal Viable Product) we definitely nailed the “M” criteria, and in this release we’ve pushing harder on the “V” side of the equation.

    • Southbank Software Introduces dbKoda, an Open Source Database Development Tool for MongoDB

      Southbank Software recently released its initial offering of dbKoda version 0.6.0, an open source MongoDB development tool packaged with JavaScript, React and Electron. As shown below, dbKoda’s graghical user interface features a connection manager and a feature-rich code editor for working with MongoDB databases.


  • Science

    • Parkinson’s Researcher Notches 17 Retracted Papers

      Scientific misconduct motivated Yoshihiro Sato’s three additional retractions last month; his institution doesn’t respond.

    • Boffins fear we might be running out of ideas

      Innovation, fetishized by Silicon Valley companies and celebrated by business boosters, no longer provides the economic jolt it once did.

      In order to maintain Moore’s Law – by which transistor density doubles every two years or so – it now takes 18 times as many scientists as it did in the 1970s.

      That means each researcher’s output today is 18 times less effective in terms of generating economic value than it was several decades ago.

      On an annual basis, research productivity is declining at a rate of about 6.8 per cent per year in the semiconductor industry. In other words, we’re running out of ideas. That’s the conclusion of economic researchers from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    • Stone stackers at ancient sites could face jail, warns Historic England

      “This practice is not only vandalism; it is illegal, and carries with it a possible prison sentence. If anyone sees anyone attempting to move stones please warn them of this and message us. Or try and get their registration number and message it to us.”

  • Hardware

    • AGESA Might Fix The Ryzen Linux Performance Marginality Problem

      Motherboard vendors have begun pushing out BIOS updates for Ryzen motherboards using the AMD AGESA revision and it’s reported that it does resolve the “Performance Marginality Problem” affecting early Ryzen Linux customers.

      While newer Ryzen CPUs are running great on Linux without the performance marginality problem as described by AMD, since yesterday I have begun receiving unconfirmed reports from Phoronix readers that the recent AGESA revision does address the issue via this software update.

    • The iPhone Is Guaranteed to Last Only One Year, Apple Argues in Court

      Apple says it makes the “most durable devices,” but an iPhone 6 design flaw and the ensuing court proceeding shows you can legally expect it to last for just one year.

    • Apple Discussing $3 Billion Stake in Bain’s Toshiba Bid

      The iPhone maker is in talks to provide about $3 billion in capital for Bain Capital’s bid for the unit, adding to financial support from Dell Inc., Seagate Technology Plc and SK Hynix Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. That support convinced Toshiba to sign a memorandum of understanding with Bain and work toward a final agreement this month, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Apple plans to take an equity stake alongside Bain, they said. If the agreement is completed, it may exceed Apple’s largest deal ever, the $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics LLC.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Behold The Fatberg: London’s 130-Ton, ‘Rock-Solid’ Sewer Blockage

      There are subjects one should avoid while eating. This is one of them.

      Crews in London are working to unblock a section of the city’s sewer system. The culprit, a stomach-churning, 130-ton mass of sanitary products and cooking fat. You might call it disgusting. Water company officials call it a fatberg.

      In a weekend statement, Thames Water announced the fatberg’s existence. According to the private utility company, the”rock-solid” blockage had formed under the city’s Whitechapel neighborhood. Weighing roughly the same as 11 double-decker buses, the fatberg is one of the largest to form in the London sewer system.


      THE GRAY CLAPBOARD house on the two-lane road in a western suburb of Boston looked, in the fall of 1974, the way you would expect a comfortable old Massachusetts house full of children to look. It was rambling and tall, made out of a house and a barn butted together. There were other barns out back, down a long gravel drive that stretched to a grove of trees: small sheds and one big building, 200 feet on the long side, painted an iconic barnyard red. There was a milk cow, a few horses, a couple of pigs, and chickens: white laying hens, some in a chalet-shaped coop and some skittering underfoot between the trees.

  • Security

    • Kaspersky Banned: Federal Agencies Ditch Russian Cybersecurity Firm Over Spying Concerns

      Acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke announced the ban of Kaspersky Lab software from federal government networks. The agencies have an unspecified timeline to rid their machines of the software, which DHS declared may pose a security risk.

    • US homeland security dept bans Kaspersky use by govt

      The US Department of Homeland Security has ordered all government agencies to stop using products from Kaspersky Labs, with a deadline of 90 days to implement plans to discontinue the use and to remove software from information systems.

    • U.S. moves to ban Kaspersky software in federal agencies amid concerns of Russian espionage

      In a binding directive, acting homeland security secretary Elaine Duke ordered that federal civilian agencies identify Kaspersky Lab software on their networks. After 90 days, unless otherwise directed, they must remove the software, on the grounds that the company has connections to the Russian government and its software poses a security risk.

    • Ayuda! (Help!) Equifax Has My Data!

      Equifax last week disclosed a historic breach involving Social Security numbers and other sensitive data on as many as 143 million Americans. The company said the breach also impacted an undisclosed number of people in Canada and the United Kingdom. But the official list of victim countries may not yet be complete: According to information obtained by KrebsOnSecurity, Equifax can safely add Argentina — if not also other Latin American nations where it does business — to the list as well.


      It took almost no time for them to discover that an online portal designed to let Equifax employees in Argentina manage credit report disputes from consumers in that country was wide open, protected by perhaps the most easy-to-guess password combination ever: “admin/admin.”

    • Equifax hack: 44 million Britons’ personal details feared stolen in major US data breach
    • On the Equifax Data Breach

      Last Thursday, Equifax reported a data breach that affects 143 million US customers, about 44% of the population. It’s an extremely serious breach; hackers got access to full names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers — exactly the sort of information criminals can use to impersonate victims to banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, and other businesses vulnerable to fraud.

      Many sites posted guides to protecting yourself now that it’s happened. But if you want to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, your only solution is government regulation (as unlikely as that may be at the moment).

      The market can’t fix this. Markets work because buyers choose between sellers, and sellers compete for buyers. In case you didn’t notice, you’re not Equifax’s customer. You’re its product.

    • Open Source Summit: Securing IoT is About Avoiding Anti-Patterns

      The security perils inherent in Internet of Things (IoT) devices are painfully obvious at this point in 2017, but why are there so many security issues? At a session during the Open Source Summit here Marti Bolivar, senior software engineer at Linaro detailed what he described as “anti-patterns” that ultimately lead to negative security outcomes.

      Bolivar started his session by defining what security in IoT is really all about, by pulling a quote from security engineer Ross Anderson.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Reagan Documents Shed Light on U.S. ‘Meddling’

      “Secret” documents from the Reagan administration show how the U.S. embedded “political action,” i.e., the manipulation of foreign governments, in ostensibly well-meaning organizations, reports Robert Parry.

    • Mystery of sonic weapon attacks at US embassy in Cuba deepens

      Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 US victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. The top US diplomat has called them “health attacks”.

      New details learned by the Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling US officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up.

      “None of this has a reasonable explanation,” said Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America re-opened an embassy there. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”

    • Rand Paul’s Amendment to Force a Vote on Endless War Gets Kicked Down the Road

      The Senate voted Wednesday by nearly two-to-one against an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to the defense authorization bill. The amendment would have ended the current Authorization for Use of Military Force within six months and forced Congress to vote on authorizing wars beyond that.

      The authorization, which was passed in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, is the legal justification for many U.S. military engagements abroad, as part of what has been called the “global war on terror.” The expansively interpreted law authorized military attacks against those responsible for 9/11 and “associated forces.”

      The failed vote came after Paul took to the floor on Monday, vowing to block other Senate actions until his amendment was allowed.

    • ACTION ALERT: NewsHour Treats Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar as Matter of Opinion

      UN Secretary General António Guterres called Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya people “ethnic cleansing,” saying there’s no better word to describe the now 380,000 people forced to flee a violent military campaign—this after decades of discrimination and repression in Myanmar, where Rohingya are denied citizenship and rights, despite having been in the country for centuries. Rohingya militants killed 12 security personnel at a police post in late August; the government’s response has been a brutal scorched earth campaign, burning villages and attacking civilians, while denying human rights organizations access to the region.

    • America’s Fragile Future

      Fourteen years ago, when America prepared for its ill-conceived invasion of Iraq and encountered loud resistance from France and Germany, backed up by Russia, it became possible to wonder whether U.S. global hegemony could last. The disaster that the Iraqi adventure quickly became within a year of George W. Bush declaring “mission accomplished” rolled on and progressively diminished the enthusiasm of allies and others hitherto on the U.S. bandwagon for each new project to re-engineer troublesome nations, to overthrow autocrats and usher in an age of “liberal democracy” across the globe.

      Still, the doubts were discussed sotto voce. Governments tended to conform to what the Russians colorfully call “giving someone the finger in your pocket.” Observers spoke their piece privately against the violations of international law and simple decency that the United States was perpetrating — and against the swathe of chaos that followed American intervention across the Greater Middle East. But such persons were on the fringes of political life and drew little attention.

      What has happened over the past couple of years is that doubts about the competence of the United States to lead the world have been compounded by doubts about the ability of the United States to govern itself. The dysfunction of the federal government has come out of the closet as an issue and is talked about fairly regularly even by commentators and publications that are quintessentially representative of the Establishment.


      Some of us have called this the new McCarthyism, because the most salient aspect of groupthink is the ongoing hysteria over alleged Russian “meddling” in U.S. domestic politics. The denunciations of “stooges of Putin” and the blacklisting from both mass and professional media of those known to deliver unconventional, heterodox views on Russia and other issues of international affairs is reminiscent of what went on during the witch hunt for Communists in government and in the media during the early 1950s.

      However, no one is being hounded from office today. There are no show trials, as yet, for treasonous collusion with Russia. So, it would be safer to speak of an atmosphere of intimidation that stifles free debate on the key security issues facing the American public. Absence of debate equates to a dumbing-down of our political elites as intellectual skills atrophy and results in poor formulation of policy. The whole necessarily undermines America’s soft power and standing in the world.

      Groupthink in America today did not come from nowhere. Debilitating conformism was always part of our DNA, as is the case in a great many countries, though its emergence has been episodic and in varying degrees of severity. The present acute manifestation in the United States goes back to the mass paranoia which followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks when the George W. Bush administration introduced the Patriot Act, gutting our civil rights in exchange for the promise of security.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Rethinking the ‘Infrastructure’ Discussion Amid a Blitz of Hurricanes

      The wonky words infrastructure and resilience have circulated widely of late, particularly since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck paralyzing, costly blows in two of America’s fastest-growing states.

      Resilience is a property traditionally defined as the ability to bounce back. A host of engineers and urban planners have long warned this trait is sorely lacking in America’s brittle infrastructure.

      Many such experts say the disasters in the sprawling suburban and petro-industrial landscape around Houston and along the crowded coasts of Florida reinforce the urgent idea that resilient infrastructure is needed more than ever, particularly as human-driven climate change helps drive extreme weather.

      The challenge in prompting change — broadening the classic definition of “infrastructure,” and investing in initiatives aimed at adapting to a turbulent planet — is heightened by partisan divisions over climate policy and development.

  • Finance

    • What’s next for the Brexit withdrawal bill

      On Monday night MPs voted, in principle, in favour of the greatest shift in power from legislature to executive in modern British constitutional history.

      The vote was for the “second reading” of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. A second reading vote in parliament is when there is a vote on the merits of a bill. Next will be a committee stage, when the measure is examined clause by clause and amendments are considered, and then a “third reading”. The same process is then followed in the House of Lords. So there is some time yet before the bill receives royal assent and becomes an act.


      Even with these safeguards, however, the law-making powers are extraordinarily wide. In a way their purpose is to place Prime Minister Theresa May in effectively the position she would have been in had she won the expected large majority at the general election. The legislative work needed for Brexit will be insulated from the inconveniences of hard parliamentary scrutiny.

      That some legislation is required is beyond argument. There cannot be Brexit without substantial domestic legislative activity. And the government is right to place as much EU law into domestic law as possible, to provide continuity and certainty over the exit date. There is no serious objection to that, even though it ironically becomes the greatest single incorporation of EU law into domestic law. This is just one of the paradoxes of Brexit.

      But the problem with the discretions proposed for ministers to make, change and abolish law goes further than what is necessary. These so-called “Henry VIII clauses” (which is a little unfair on the old king, under whom parliament became significantly more important as part of the English polity) are assaults on parliamentary democracy. They can be justified, perhaps, when they are essential. But they are never good or welcome in themselves.

    • Brexit diary – the “process” phase is now firmly in place

      With the Withdrawal Bill passing the “second reading” vote (see my FT post here) and the Brexit negotiation talks now passed their third round, Brexit is now firmly in (what can be called) its “process” phase.

      Until the second reading vote, it was open to the UK government to start again with a Bill with less wide-ranging scope. But now the government is committed to this approach.

    • Catalonia refuses to send weekly accounts to Madrid before referendum

      Catalonia will stop sending weekly financial accounts to Madrid, defying a demand by Spain’s central government that the region prove it is not using public money to promote an independence drive.

      The decision follows a series of moves to block a Catalan referendum on self-rule, planned for Oct. 1, which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government has declared illegal.

      In a letter dated Sept. 13, Catalan Deputy Governor Oriol Junqueras told Spanish Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro the region would no longer comply with the obligation to submit its accounts every week.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Exclusive: Rice told House investigators why she unmasked senior Trump officials

      The crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, arrived in New York last December in the transition period before Trump was sworn into office for a meeting with several top Trump officials, including Michael Flynn, the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his top strategist Steve Bannon, sources said.

    • In Month After Charlottesville, Papers Spent as Much Time Condemning Anti-Nazis as Nazis

      Since the Charlottesville attack a month ago, a review of commentary in the six top broadsheet newspapers—the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, LA Times, San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post—found virtually equal amounts of condemnation of fascists and anti-fascist protesters.

      Between August 12 and September 12, these papers ran 28 op-eds or editorials condemning the anti-fascist movement known as antifa, or calling on politicians to do so, and 27 condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists, or calling on politicians—namely Donald Trump—to do so.

    • I Bought a Russian Bot Army for Under $100

      Do you really know if that pro-Trump meme or far-right tweet is from a real person, or just an unmanned string of code that was purchased for pennies?

      Although bots—automated accounts on social media—are certainly not a new phenomenon, they have a renewed political significance. Part of the Russian government’s well-documented interference in the 2016 U.S. election included pushing deliberately divisive messages through social platforms.

    • Daca: Trump ‘fairly close’ to deal with Democrats on Dreamers

      US President Donald Trump has said he is “fairly close” to a bipartisan deal to protect young undocumented migrants known as Dreamers.

      Mr Trump told journalists at the White House that any agreement must include “massive border security”.

      The president said funding for his planned border wall was not part of the pact.

      Mr Trump spoke a day after talks with top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer at the White House.

    • Example #9475 Why It’s Stupid To Make A Deal With Trump

      Two Democratic Party leaders dined with Trump last night and came away proclaiming Trump had agreed on a plan to save the Dreamers combined with increasing border security. As usual, making a deal with a man with no conscience is just an illusion. Trump denied the deal. A few minutes ago, he wrote, “No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Sanders: ESPN host’s tweet a ‘fireable offense’
    • Martin Shkreli jailed after Facebook post about Hillary Clinton

      “This is a solicitation of assault. That is not protected by the First Amendment.”

    • Kashmiri Journalists and Activists Face Twitter Censorship at Indian Government’s Request

      Dozens of people who have tweeted about the conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir or shown sympathy for Kashmiri independence movements online may soon be censored on Twitter, at the request of the Indian government.

      The US-based social media company sent notices to users explaining that the Indian government had reported certain tweets and Twitter accounts for violating Section 69A of India’s Information Technology Act.

      Section 69A of India’s IT act allows the government to block online content and censor when it believes the ‘said’ content can threaten the security, sovereignty, integrity or defense of the country.

    • Munroe Bergdorf, Jemele Hill, And The Censorship Of Black Women

      In case you missed it, Bergdorf had everyone talking when she was announced as the first openly transgender woman to be the face of a L’Oréal UK campaign. Many praised the company for its progressive campaign, which is supposedly centered upon diversity, but when Daily Mail published a Facebook post of Bergdorf’s—in which she took a commendable stand against white supremacists following last month’s horrific events in Charlottesville—the cosmetic company dropped her from the campaign as quickly as they signed her on.

    • MEP files complaint over censorship of Greek cartoonists

      SYRIZA MEP Stelios Kouloglou has filed a complaint with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani claiming that several sketches by Greek cartoonists will not be allowed to go on display in an exhibition that is being organized by the Greek politician and French MEP Patrick Le Hyaric, celebrating 60 years of the European Union.

      According to Kouloglou, Greek cartoonists were censored, as 12 out of 28 their sketches were rejected because they allegedly violated European Union rules that prohibit Nazi-friendly or other offensive material appearing in EU exhibitions.

    • ‘Hate speech is code for censorship,’ Boston Free Speech organizers say as group plans second rally

      It’s been almost a month since the “Boston Free Speech” rally drew tens of thousands of people to Boston Common.

      Now, the free speech advocates who were met with roughly 40,000 counter-protestors are at it again.

      “We are not announcing a date. We want to make sure we have a number of our ducks in a row,” said John Medlar, the Fitchburg State student from Newton who has become a spokesman for Boston Free Speech.

    • China’s thought police are giving a master class in censorship

      China is gearing up for one of the most important meetings on its political calendar. Next month thousands of delegates from around the country will convene in Beijing for the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. The meeting will culminate in the announcement of the new members of the country’s most important decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee — including a possible candidate to replace party leader Xi Jinping in 2022. Already China-watchers are speculating about the possibility that no one will be named — a signal that Xi is prepared to break with precedent and move toward a third term in office

    • Independent Cinema Resists Censorship at Local Film Festival

      The seventh edition of Myanmar’s pioneering Wathann Film Festival showcasing independent cinema wrapped up on Monday.

      The festival jury presented five awards from nearly 30 competing films. The Best Documentary Award was most remarkable, however, as the winning film had not actually been shown at the festival.

      The 21-minute documentary “A Simple Love Story” directed by Hnin Pa Pa Soe tells a love story between a transgender woman and a transgender man, challenging norms surrounding gender identity and love.

    • CUP and the censorship of historical truth

      A recent debate between the publishing company Cambridge University Press (CUP) and the Chinese government over the censorship of academic journals has just come to an end. China generally attempts to maintain a strict censorship on what academic topics its students and citizens have access to, which is why CUP removed 300 articles about historical events that were sensitive to the Communist Party from the China Quarterly website, according to a Washington Post report. However, the publishing company restored the articles a few days later by request of the international academic community. This move by CUP is, in fact, an integral step in countering political censorship and informing the Chinese public.

    • Campus Censorship: Orwell Ignored

      When you hear the quite horrific stories of censorship and dangerous restrictions on expression at universities in the US, the UK and Europe, your first reaction might be to laugh at how infantile the nature of political discourse in the student world has become.

      Cardiff Metropolitan University banned the use of the word “man” and related phrases, to encourage the adoption of “gender neutral” language. It is the equivalent of the “newspeak” about which Orwell warned: “Ambiguous euphemistic language used chiefly in political propaganda”.

    • Large majority of writers fear censorship and ‘fake news’

      More than 80% of writers are concerned about censorship and ‘fake news’, according to the “alarming” findings of a study by PEN International.

      Authors Paul Auster, Svetlana Alexievitch, Madeleine Thien and Andrei Kurkov will debate these issues along with more than 200 PEN members from across the world for the campaigning organisation’s 83rd congress in Lviv, Ukraine.

      Of the 228 international writers surveyed by PEN International, more than 81% believe that ‘fake news’ and censorship have become increasing concerns over the course of the last year. Furthermore, around 87% believe that combating racism and xenophobia, born out of these factors, is central to their roles as writers.

    • India blocks Russian social network VK over Blue Whale ‘suicide game’ threat

      The decision follows a series of police warnings, daily media stories and even a Madras High Court ruling calling on foreign companies to comply with Indian law so as to make it easier for local agencies to root out the menace.

      Blue Whale first surfaced in 2013 in groups for suicidal teens on VKontakte. The game allegedly instructs participants to complete a series of tasks set by shadowy “curators.” It varies between the routine, such as listening to ‘dark’ songs or getting up in the middle of the night, to increasingly macabre and self-harming practices, allegedly culminating in the supervisor demanding the player to take their own life.

      An investigative article sparked widespread interest four years ago, and ever since, heated public debate has raged whether it is a genuine phenomenon responsible for as many as 130 suicides, or a borderline urban myth or meme spread by a hungry media, gullible teens, and parents afraid of their children’s internet habits.

    • Bombay high court refuses to stay pre-censorship of play scripts; final hearing on Dec 4
    • HC refuses to stay mandatory ‘pre-censorship’ rule for plays
    • HC to hear Amol Palekars plea against pre-censorship of plays
    • Stop SESTA: Whose Voices Will SESTA Silence?

      In all of the debate about the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA, S. 1693), there’s one question that’s received surprisingly little airplay: under SESTA, what would online platforms do in order to protect themselves from the increased liability for their users’ speech?

      With the threat of overwhelming criminal and civil liability hanging over their heads, Internet platforms would likely turn to automated filtering of users’ speech in a big way. That’s bad news because when platforms rely too heavily on automated filtering, it almost always results in some voices being silenced. And the most marginalized voices in society can be the first to disappear.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Broke the Encryption on File-Sharing Apps Kazaa and eDonkey

      Before services like Spotify and Netflix proliferated, people who wanted to listen to music or watch movies online, on demand, had few legal options. Instead, they would download copies of pirated media using file-sharing technology. In early 2004, close to 8 million people in the U.S. alone were estimated to have downloaded music through so-called peer-to-peer apps like LimeWire, eDonkey, Kazaa, and BitTorrent. While it’s difficult to measure exactly how much of the world’s internet traffic consists of people swapping files, at the time some estimates said it was approaching 40 percent. (It was closer to 11 percent by 2016, according to another estimate.)

      With this much file sharing occurring online, it’s no surprise that the National Security Agency took notice. According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the spy agency formed a research group dedicated to studying peer-to-peer, or P2P, internet traffic. NSA didn’t care about violations of copyright law, according to a 2005 article on one of the agency’s internal news sites, SIDtoday. It was trying to determine if it could find valuable intelligence by monitoring such activity.

      “By searching our collection databases, it is clear that many targets are using popular file sharing applications,” a researcher from NSA’s File-Sharing Analysis and Vulnerability Assessment Pod wrote in a SIDtoday article. “But if they are merely sharing the latest release of their favorite pop star, this traffic is of dubious value (no offense to Britney Spears intended).”

    • Trump administration sued over phone searches at U.S. borders

      The Trump administration has engaged in an unconstitutional practice of searching without a warrant the phones and laptops of Americans who are stopped at the border, a lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleged.

    • We’re Challenging the Government’s Warrantless Searches of Phones and Laptops at the Border

      The border should not serve as a dragnet for law enforcement to pry into our personal and professional lives.

      Warrantless searches of smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices at the border are a major threat to privacy and civil liberties. Today, the ACLU, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of Massachusetts, filed a lawsuit challenging such searches as unconstitutional. The border should not serve as a dragnet for law enforcement to pry into our personal and professional lives.

      We represent 10 U.S. citizens and one green card holder from a variety of backgrounds: a military veteran, journalists, students, an artist, an engineer, a limousine driver, and a business owner. All of them had their rights violated when border officials searched their smartphones or other electronic devices when they were returning from travel abroad. Officials also confiscated and held several of our clients’ devices for weeks or months.

      None of our clients have been accused of any wrongdoing, nor have they been given any valid explanation for why this happened to them.

    • Three Lies Big Internet providers Are Spreading to Kill the California Broadband Privacy Bill

      Now that California’s Broadband Privacy Bill, A.B. 375, is headed for a final vote in the California legislature, Comcast, Verizon, and all their allies are pulling out all the stops to try to convince state legislators to vote against the bill. Unfortunately, that includes telling legislators about made-up problems the bill will supposedly create, as well as tweeting out blatantly false statements and taking out online ads that spread lies about what A.B. 375 will really do. To set the record straight, here are three lies big Internet providers and their allies are spreading—and the truth about how A.B. 375 will protect your privacy and security online.

    • NSA’s Quiet Presence at a Base in England’s Countryside Revealed in Snowden Documents

      Civil war was raging in Libya, and Col. Moammar Gadhafi was in hiding. Two thousand miles away, on the outskirts of a small village in the English countryside, British and American spies were monitoring the chaos, listening in on the Gadhafi regime’s phone calls.

      The spies were part of a group known as Joint Service Signal Unit Digby, operating from within a nearly 100-year-old military base near the village of Ashby de la Launde in Lincolnshire, a county in England’s east midlands. About a three-hour drive north of London, it is a scantly populated area encompassing flat fields that stretch across the landscape. The British government says publicly that the Digby facility conducts “research into new communications systems.” A more truthful account is that it is an important part of the sprawling covert surveillance network maintained by British and American spy agencies, GCHQ and the National Security Agency.

    • Data Protection Measure Removed from the California Values Act

      Shortly after the November election, human rights groups joined California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León in introducing a comprehensive bill to protect data collected by the government from being used for mass deportations and religious registries. S.B. 54, known as the California Values Act, also included a sweeping measure requiring all state agencies to reevaluate their privacy policies and to only collect the minimum amount of data they need to offer services.

      EFF was an early and strong supporter of the bill, generating more than 750 emails from our supporters. Over subsequent months, the bill was split into multiple pieces of legislation. The ban on using data to create religious registries was moved to S.B. 31, the California Religious Freedom Act, while the general protections morphed into a data privacy bill, S.B. 244, both authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara.

      S.B. 54 became an important set of measures designed to deal exclusively with immigrant rights by limiting California law enforcement’s cooperation with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and other immigration authorities. These provisions include stopping local law enforcement officials from inquiring about immigration status, keeping people in custody on immigrations “holds,” and using immigrations agents as interpreters—all measures that would help protect our immigrant family members, neighbors, coworkers, and friends from persecution.

    • EFF, ACLU Sue Over Warrantless Phone, Laptop Searches at U.S. Border

      Lawsuit on Behalf of 11 Travelers Challenges Unconstitutional Searches of Electronic Devices

      Boston, Massachusetts—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without warrants at the U.S. border.

      The plaintiffs in the case are 10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident who hail from seven states and come from a variety of backgrounds. The lawsuit challenges the government’s fast-growing practice of searching travelers’ electronic devices without a warrant. It seeks to establish that the government must have a warrant based on probable cause to suspect a violation of immigration or customs laws before conducting such searches.

      The plaintiffs include a military veteran, journalists, students, an artist, a NASA engineer, and a business owner. Several are Muslims or people of color. All were reentering the country from business or personal travel when border officers searched their devices. None were subsequently accused of any wrongdoing. Officers also confiscated and kept the devices of several plaintiffs for weeks or months—DHS has held one plaintiff’s device since January. EFF, ACLU, and the ACLU of Massachusetts are representing the 11 travelers.

    • Turks detained for using encrypted app ‘had human rights breached’

      Tens of thousands of Turkish citizens detained or dismissed from their jobs on the basis of downloading an encrypted messaging app have had their human rights breached, a legal opinion published in London has found.

      The study, commissioned by opponents of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, argues that the arrest of 75,000 suspects primarily because they downloaded the ByLock app is arbitrary and illegal.

    • Press Release: Privacy International launches international campaign for greater transparency around secretive intelligence sharing activities between governments

      Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments.

      Countries may use secret intelligence sharing arrangements to circumvent international and domestic rules on direct surveillance. These arrangements can also lead to the exchange of information that can facilitate human rights abuses, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or weak rule of law.

      National intelligence oversight bodies hold intelligence agencies accountable to the public by exercising scrutiny over the legality, propriety, effectiveness, and efficiency of the intelligence activities of their governments.

    • Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’

      Want to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally? Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform had the right audience for you.

      Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’”

      To test if these ad categories were real, we paid $30 to target those groups with three “promoted posts” — in which a ProPublica article or post was displayed in their news feeds. Facebook approved all three ads within 15 minutes.

    • Data Protection Bill must give privacy groups right to lodge complaints

      Open Rights Group has responded to the publication of the Data Protection Bill, which put the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation into UK law.

    • VICTORY: DOJ Backs Down from Facebook Gag Orders in Not-so-secret Investigation

      The U.S. Department of Justice has come to the obvious conclusion that there’s no need to order Facebook to keep an investigation “secret” when it was never secret in the first place. While we applaud the government’s about-face, we question why they ever took such a ridiculous position in the first place.

      Earlier this summer, Facebook brought a First Amendment challenge to gag orders accompanying several warrants in an investigation in Washington, D.C. that Facebook argued was “known to the public.” In an amicus brief joined by three other civil liberties organizations, EFF explained to the D.C. Court of Appeals that gag orders are subject to a stringent constitutional test that they can rarely meet. We noted that the timing and circumstances of the warrants were strikingly similar to the high-profile investigations of the protests surrounding President Trump’s inauguration on January 20 (known as J20). Given these facts, we argued that there was no way the First Amendment could allow gag orders preventing Facebook from informing its users that the government had obtained their data.

    • Take cybersecurity away from spies… for everyone’s sake

      Until 1994, GCHQ, the British signals intelligence agency, didn’t officially exist. Now, it has emerged out of the shadows to take a very public role at the heart of British cybersecurity. Public accountability for intelligence services is crucial to any democracy, but as the recent WannaCry ransomware attack showed, there are inevitable conflicts of interest between the role of intelligence services and network safety.

      The past seven years have seen a dramatic change in profile for GCHQ. While the number of police officers has been cut by 14 per cent since 2010, according to the Home Office, GCHQ’s staff numbers have grown by more than ten per cent in the same period. At the same time, it has been loaded with additional responsibilities, including the fight against distribution of child-abuse images on the dark web, money laundering and financial fraud. This was made official when, in February 2017, it assumed responsibility for making the UK “the safest place to do business online” through the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

    • In the Era of ‘Prosthetic Intelligence,’ the Right to Remain Silent Is the Right To Encryption

      You have the right to remain silent. It’s a key principle of the United States criminal justice system and many others that as the accused we can choose to not say anything―to not reveal anything―under questioning by the police or at trial. Generally, it’s a right against self-incrimination. We can choose not to expose ourselves, to not disclose our thoughts and memories, and that refusal can’t be used against us.

      This seems pretty straightforward. It only takes seven words to encapsulate, anyhow. But technology is changing everything, including what and where the “self” even is. This is the starting point for an argument put forth by Silicon Genetics founder Andrew Conway and Electronic Frontier Foundation Chief Computer Scientist Peter Eckersley in a piece published this month in the Communications of the ACM. Simply, technology has enabled―if not forced―us to project our most private interior selves into places that can be observed and recorded with few legal limits.

    • NSA Spied on Early File-Sharing Networks, Including BitTorrent

      A document just published as part of the Edward Snowden leaks has revealed the NSA was actively monitoring file-sharing networks more than 12 years ago. Particular success was reported against both KaZaA and eDonkey, with the NSA managing to compromise the encryption on both while gaining access to sharers’ computers and personal data including email addresses.

    • Why the future of skills is more than digital

      I do think wherever you are in the world, whoever you talk to, digital skills are growing in importance. It’s no surprise when you consider technology continues to transform our day-to-day lives, bringing accessibility and speed, and changing the way we relax, shop, interact, and learn. But don’t take my word for it.

      In the last year alone, we’ve seen countless reports confirm this. The OECD suggests an “increasing use of digital technologies at work is raising the demand for new [digital] skills….” The White House tells us that “coursework in STEM, and specifically in areas such as computer science, will be especially relevant to work and citizenship in an increasingly AI-driven world.” And the UK Government Office for Science believes a million new people are forecasted to be required for specialist digital roles by 2023.

    • Intelligence community attempts to sell FISA law [Ed: A lot like, "military companies attempt to sell war"]
    • Congress Braces for Tense Debate on Surveillance Law
    • AG Sessions, DOJ Ask Congressional Leaders For A Clean, Forever Re-Authorization Of Section 702
    • Trump Admin. Seeks Permanent Renewal of Warrantless Spying Law
    • Intelligence community briefs House members in attempt to sell FISA law
    • Sloppy U.S. Spies Misused a Covert Network for Personal Shopping — and Other Stories from Internal NSA Documents

      NSA agents successfully targeted “the entire business chain” connecting foreign cafes to the internet, bragged about an “all-out effort” to spy on liberated Iraq, and began systematically trying to break into virtual private networks, according to a set of internal agency news reports dating to the first half of 2005.

      British spies, meanwhile, were made to begin providing new details about their informants via a system of “Intelligence Source Descriptors” created in response to intelligence failures in Iraq. Hungary and the Czech Republic pulled closer to the National Security Agency.

      And future Intercept backer Pierre Omidyar visited NSA headquarters for an internal conference panel on “human networking” and open-source intelligence.

    • Encryption At The Centre Of Mass Arrests: One Year On From Turkey’s Failed Coup

      The repercussions from the failed military coup in Turkey on 15 July 2016 have impacted almost every part of Turkish society as President Erdoğan clamps down on perceived and actual opposition in a never ending cycle of raids, arrests and detentions.

      Turkish authorities blame the 2016 coup on Fethullah Gülen, an old rival of Erdoğan currently exiled in the US, and have set about ‘purging’ Turkish society of his supporters ever since. While over 200 people are on trial for organising the coup, thousands more have been arrested on suspicion of being a member of the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government has named FETO (Fetullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation). The Turkish Ministry of Justice recently stated that 168,801 people have been detained and subject to “legal proceedings”, with a further 50,504 people arrested on a specific charge who are likely in pre-trial detention since the coup. Thousands more arrest warrants have been issued, including for judges and prosecutors. Amnesty International estimate an additional 100,000 people have been dismissed from their jobs, including doctors, police officers, teachers, academics and soldiers.

    • NSA Secretly Gives Tech Company A $2.4 Billion Contract
    • Sloppy U.S. Spies Misused a Covert Network for Personal Shopping — and Other Stories from Internal NSA Documents

      NSA agents successfully targeted “the entire business chain” connecting foreign cafes to the internet, bragged about an “all-out effort” to spy on liberated Iraq, and began systematically trying to break into virtual private networks, according to a set of internal agency news reports dating to the first half of 2005.

      British spies, meanwhile, were made to begin providing new details about their informants via a system of “Intelligence Source Descriptors” created in response to intelligence failures in Iraq. Hungary and the Czech Republic pulled closer to the National Security Agency.

      And future Intercept backer Pierre Omidyar visited NSA headquarters for an internal conference panel on “human networking” and open-source intelligence.

    • How the NSA Built a Secret Surveillance Network for Ethiopia

      “A warm friendship connects the Ethiopian and American people,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced earlier this year. “We remain committed to working with Ethiopia to foster liberty, democracy, economic growth, protection of human rights, and the rule of law.”

      Indeed, the website for the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia is marked by press releases touting U.S. aid for farmers and support for public health infrastructure in that East African nation. “Ethiopia remains among the most effective development partners, particularly in the areas of health care, education, and food security,” says the State Department.

      Behind the scenes, however, Ethiopia and the U.S. are bound together by long-standing relationships built on far more than dairy processing equipment or health centers to treat people with HIV. Fifteen years ago, the U.S. began setting up very different centers, filled with technology that is not normally associated with the protection of human rights.

    • Edward Snowden, NSA leaker, says U.S. should show evidence of Russia election hacking

      Russia likely interfered in last year’s U.S presidential election, according to former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, but the American public deserves to see evidence of its involvement, he said in an interview published Wednesday.

      “Everybody is currently pointing at the Russians,” Mr. Snowden, 33, told Germany’s Der Spiegel. “They probably did hack the systems of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party, but we should have proof of that.”

      The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence has concluded that Russia interfered in last year’s election race by using state-sponsored hackers and propagandists to target Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in an effort to hurt her odds of winning the White House.

    • Edward Snowden offers mixed review on Apple’s Face ID

      Not everyone is sold on the benefits of Face ID, the facial-recognition system Apple unveiled Tuesday as a convenient biometric method for unlocking devices.

      Introduced along with the iPhone X, the system uses the phone’s front-facing camera to scan and register your facial structure for use as a password, eliminating the need to input a keypad password or scan a fingerprint. Using facial recognition to unlock a device isn’t a new concept, and previous attempts have shown the technology can easily be tricked.

    • NSA Leaker Edward Snowden: Apple Face Data Will Be ‘Abused’

      Edward Snowden, who knows something about cybersecurity and information privacy, criticized one feature of the new iPhone X on Tuesday, saying Apple’s facial recognition software is “certain to be abused.”

      Snowden was referring to Apple’s announcement on Tuesday that the new devices would collect “face data” as part of a scanning feature that allows users to unlock their phones and even pay for things by glancing at their screens.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Situation in Turkey While New Judicial Year Begins

      The judicial year starts on 1st of September every year in Turkey. The judicial recess which starts 20th of July ends on 1st of September and so new judicial year starts but due to official holiday of Eid Al-Adha, this year official opening ceremony takes place on 5th of September.

      According to the ceremony programme made pursuant to the new regulation, the president of the Union of Turkish Bars Association will not have the right to give speech at the opening ceremony which will be held in the Supreme Court (Yargıtay). The Union of Turkish Bars Association denounced the programme with a written statement and said “We do not attend (the ceremony) just to applaud”.

    • The Right to Decide When to Vote: Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute

      Voting in the United States is not a “use it or lose it” right.

      This case challenges Ohio’s practice of ‘purging’ or removing people who vote infrequently from its voting rolls. Since this practice began in 1994, hundreds of thousands have been eliminated from voter registration lists. Under Ohio’s rules, registered voters who do not participate in an election in a two year period are sent a postcard from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office requesting a confirmation of address. If the voter does not respond to the notice or vote within the next two consecutive federal elections, i.e. four years, they are removed from the rolls without further notice.

      Voting in the United States is not a ‘use it or lose it’ right. Ohio’s purge practice violates the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which explicitly prohibits removing voters solely because they did not vote in an election.

    • The House Tells Sessions’ Justice Department It Will Not Stand for Civil Asset Forfeiture

      In a bipartisan vote, the House voted to rein in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resurrection of abusive forfeiture rules.

      The U.S. House sent a strong message of rebuke to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on civil asset forfeiture last night. The House adopted three amendments offered to an appropriations bill that prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to increase certain federal and local forfeiture practices.

      Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) summed up the problem with civil asset forfeiture in one sentence. “It is an unconstitutional practice that is used to violate the due process rights of innocent people,” he said from the House floor.

      This bipartisan showing was in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ July announcement to expand the use of civil forfeiture. Sessions’ action was a reversal of a 2015 Attorney General Eric Holder policy that prevented local law enforcement from using federal forfeiture laws to circumvent more restrictive state forfeiture laws.

    • EFF Asks Court: Can Prosecutors Hide Behind Trade Secret Privilege to Convict You?

      California Appeals Court Urged to Allow Defense Review of DNA Matching Software

      If a computer DNA matching program gives test results that implicate you in a crime, how do you know that the match is correct and not the result of a software bug? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has urged a California appeals court to allow criminal defendants to review and evaluate the source code of forensic software programs used by the prosecution, in order to ensure that none of the wrong people end up behind bars, or worse, on death row.

      In this case, a defendant was linked to a series of rapes by a DNA matching software program called TrueAllele. The defendant wants to examine how TrueAllele takes in a DNA sample and analyzes potential matches, as part of his challenge to the prosecution’s evidence. However, prosecutors and the manufacturers of TrueAllele’s software argue that the source code is a trade secret, and therefore should not be disclosed to anyone.

    • The Trump Administration Plans to End a Refugee Program for Children

      The Trump administration plans to stop accepting refugee applications from children with U.S.-based parents from three violence-riddled Central American countries — El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — according to the summary of a presentation the State Department made recently to refugee organizations.

      The decision to end the Central American Minors program, which began in 2014 and is the only refugee program aimed at helping people from that region, could put hundreds of families split between two countries in a delicate situation.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Global Antitrust Attack On Intellectual Property Rights [Ed: Nowadays Forbes feels like a den of patent trolls; Some of whom are actual authors in that site]
    • Intellectual property education crucial to America’s future [Ed: Calling for patent indoctrination of kids in schools, which are obligatory

      Every major new industry of the last 100 years — from the automobile and aircraft businesses to semiconductors, personal computers, software, biotech, mobile telephony and Internet e-commerce — was launched on the back of an IP-protected innovation. It’s time higher education developed a curriculum to ensure that the same thing happens in the next 100 years.

    • Shrinking Transparency in the NAFTA and RCEP Negotiations

      Provisions on digital trade are quietly being squared away in both of the two major trade negotiations currently underway—the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade talks. But due to the worst-ever standards of transparency in both of these negotiations, we don’t know which provisions are on the table, which have been agreed, and which remain unresolved. The risk is that important and contentious digital issues—such as rules on copyright or software source code—might become bargaining chips in negotiation over broader economic issues including wages, manufacturing and dispute resolution, and that we would be none the wiser until after the deals have been done.

      The danger of such bad compromises being made is especially acute because both of the deals are in trouble. Last month President Donald Trump targeted the NAFTA which includes Canada and Mexico, describing it in a tweet as “the worst trade deal ever made,” which his administration “may have to terminate.” At the conclusion of the 2nd round of talks held last week in Mexico, the prospects of agreement being concluded anytime soon seem unlikely. Even as a third round of talks is scheduled for Ottawa from September 23-27, 2017, concern about the agreement’s future has prompted Mexico to step up efforts to boost commerce with Asia, South America and Europe.

    • Copyrights

      • We Shall Overcome not covered by copyright

        Civil rights movement anthem “We Shall Overcome” has been ruled to be in the public domain, with the Southern District of New York deciding that 1960 and 1963 applications for a copyright in the song were significantly flawed

      • The Selfie Monkey case: the end?

        The Monkey Selfie dispute, otherwise known as the case of the Black Macaque, is back for a final episode. As the parties have reached a settlement earlier this week, this episode marks the end of your favorite copyright saga. But you should not be too quick to celebrate the end of the ‘Monkey Selfie buzz’ as the settlement might not have actually settled anything… or has it?

        There is no shortage of press coverage on the topic; however, if you feel you need to refresh your memory see previous IPKat posts: here and here. Otherwise, just remember the following: the crux of the dispute lays in this deceptively simple question: who is the legal author of a selfie taken by a monkey with a camera left unattended by its owner?

      • EU Copyright Reform Meets Resistance From Stakeholders, Some Governments

        It has attracted strong criticism (IPW, Copyright, 9 March 2017) from, among others, Mozilla, European Digital Rights initiative (EDRi) and German Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda, of the Greens/European Free Alliance. The European Publishers’ Council (EPC), however, has been among those stakeholders lobbying hard for the ancillary right.


Links 13/9/2017: Blender 2.79, Qt 5.10 Alpha, GNOME 3.26 “Manchester”, Parrot 3.8

Posted in News Roundup at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds On Fun, the Linux Kernel, and the Future

      Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel, took to the stage at Open Source Summit in Los Angeles. In this keynote presentation, Torvalds joined The Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin in conversation about Linux kernel development and how to get young open source developers involved. Here are some highlights of their talk.

    • Collabora & Linux Kernel 4.13

      Linux kernel 4.13 is out and – like in the 4.12 release – 12 Collabora developers contributed a total of 72 patches. In addition Collabora developers provided 25 Reviewed-by tags and 10 Tested-by tags. Furthermore 83 patches received a Signed-off-by tag from Collabora peoples. Again, general information about the merge window is available by LWN.net in form of the following articles: part 1 and part 2.

    • A Quick EXT4 Run With Linux 4.14 Git

      After the Linux 4.14 merge window is over, I’ll begin with a lot of fresh Linux kernel benchmarks from this in-development release. But I/O and EXT4 changes already have me running some preliminary tests.

      With EXT4 are some scalability improvements to note. The scalability improvements around allocating inodes may help in some workloads. I received a report of this patch on a consumer SSD helping out the Phoronix Test Suite’s BlogBench. There’s also been some talk of other performance changes to find in Linux 4.14.

    • ​Linus Torvalds on Linux, life, and bathrobes

      Steve Jobs was never seen without his trademark black mock turtleneck, blue jeans, and New Balance sneakers. It’s been said Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, dresses like your high-school math teacher. But Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, likes to be comfortable in his home office, so he spends his workdays in his bathrobe. Life is good when you’re the world’s most influential developer.

      At The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Foundation, interviewed Torvalds in front of a packed audience. Zemlin asked how Torvalds felt about his fame. Torvalds replied he doesn’t really think about it, but “I’m happy I did something meaningful. Everyone wants to do something that matters.”

    • RISC-V Eyeing Mainline In Time For The Linux 4.15 Kernel

      RISC-V developers have been preparing their kernel port for the mainline Linux tree while it’s looking like for Linux 4.15 that goal may finally be realized.

      RISC-V developers have spent months getting their code into shape so it could be accepted to the mainline Linux kernel for this open-source, royalty-free CPU instruction set architecture. They have missed out on past merge windows, realize it’s too late now for Linux 4.14, and are focusing on being ready come Linux 4.15.

    • BFQ Gets Another Notable Responsiveness Fix

      In addition to the BFQ improvements already staged for Linux 4.14, it looks like another fix will be on the way.

    • F2FS In Linux 4.14 Gets Better Tuning For Android

      Jaegeuk Kim has submitted the F2FS Flash-Friendly File-System updates for the Linux 4.14 kernel merge window.

      For this cycle, F2FS developers have been working on providing a better user experience for F2FS when running on Android devices. One of the notable focuses has been working on the atomic write feature of F2FS and has been testing/developing it in conjunction with the SQLite folks. As part of the F2FS developer work has also been new/improved features for analyzing I/O behavior with this flash-focused file-system.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Open-Source AMDGPU and ATI Linux Video Drivers Updated for AMD Radeon GPUs

        xf86-video-amdgpu 1.4.0 and xf86-video-ati 7.10.0 ship with the same set of enhancements and are designed to work with X.Org Server version 1.13 to 1.19 on any supported GNU/Linux distribution. The new releases improve performance of clients, including composite managers that use DRI page flipping even when the “TearFree” option is enabled for any CRTC, and make sure CRTCs that don’t have TearFree support won’t suffer from tearing.

        Both drivers are now capable of preventing certain DRM master processes from accessing buffers that have been created by the respective driver when switching away to a different VT (Virtual Terminal). This improvement alone might be useful especially when the DRM master processes come from other local users.

    • Benchmarks

      • Core i9 7900X vs. Threadripper 1950X On Ubuntu 17.10, Antergos, Clear Linux

        While we have already compared the Threadripper 1950X to the current top-end Core i9 7900X processor, today we are taking things a step further with our Threadripper Linux benchmarks by doing a side-by-side showdown when each system is tested across three different Linux distributions.

        Here is a multi-way comparison when running the Threadripper 1950X and Core i9 7900X under Ubuntu 17.10 with its latest daily snapshot as of testing, Antergos 17.9 Rolling, and Clear Linux 17650. This provides a diverse look at the performance across distributions for these high-end desktop processors.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Obsidian Icon Theme based On Faenza For Linux Desktop
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KGraphViewer 2.4.0

        KGraphViewer 2.4.0 has been released.

        KGraphViewer is a visualiser for Graphviz’s DOT format of graphs.


        This ports KGraphViewer to use KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5.

      • KGraphViewer Brought To KDE Frameworks 5, Qt 5

        For those relying upon KGraphViewer as a Graphviz dot graph viewer, it’s the latest package ported to Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5.

      • Qt 5.10 Alpha Released

        I can proudly tell that Qt 5.10 Alpha is released today.

        Please check Qt 5.10 New Features -wiki to see what new is coming with Qt 5.10 release. And as usual the official Alpha is a source code delivery only.

      • Qt 5.10 Alpha Now Available

        It’s arriving a bit late but the first alpha release of Qt 5.10 is now available for testing.

        Qt developers for the 5.10 update have been working on their initial Vulkan helper support, OpenGL ES 3.2 now being exposed in a cross-platform manner, Qt Quick / Qt Quick Controls 2 improvements, Qt WebEngine was rebased to Chromium 60, support for multiple screens and plugins with the emulator, and more.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • See What’s New in GNOME 3.26

        Today sees the release of GNOME 3.26 — and you’re probably wondering what new features are going to be on offer.


        The GNOME desktop is made up of multiple parts. This includes the main user interface (called ‘GNOME Shell’) as well as core apps (like the file manager Nautilus), and ‘invisible’ background libraries and services that help glue everything together.

      • GNOME 3.26 “Manchester” Desktop Environment Debuts Officially, Here’s What’s New

        After six months of hard work, the GNOME Project’s development team was proud to announce today, September 13, 2017, the immediate release and general availability of the GNOME 3.26 desktop environment.

        Dubbed “Manchester,” after the city where the annual GUADEC (GNOME Users And Developers European Conference) developer conference took place this year, the GNOME 3.26 desktop environment packs many enhancements for the apps and core components included in the GNOME Stack, along with new features.

        This year, on August 15, the GNOME Project celebrated its 20th anniversary, and we couldn’t be happier to be using GNOME as our main desktop environment. The biggest new features of the GNOME 3.26 release are support for emoji, Flatpak improvements, as well as a brand-new Control Center that’s now called simply “Settings.”

      • GNOME 3.26 Released

        The GNOME Project is excited to announce the release of version 3.26, the latest version of GNOME 3. The new version is the result of six months’ hard work by the GNOME community, and comes packed with improvements and new features. Announcing the release, Matthias Clasen of the GNOME Release Team, said “We are happy and proud to announce GNOME 3.26, the latest major release of GNOME, “Manchester”, just a few weeks after we celebrated the 20th birthday of GNOME at GUADEC. As always, the GNOME community did a great job in delivering exciting features, completing translations, and refining the user experience. Thanks!”

      • GNOME 3.26 Released

        GNOME 3.26 “Manchester” has been officially released.

        Matthias Clasen announced a few minutes ago on the mailing list, “This release brings refinements to the system search, animations for maximizing and unmaximizing windows and support for color Emoji. Improvements to core GNOME applications include a redesigned Settings application, a new display settings panel, Firefox sync in the Web browser, and many more.”

      • Introducing GNOME 3.26: “Manchester”

        GNOME 3.26 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 24105 changes, made by approximately 778 contributors.

        3.26 has been named “Manchester” in recognition of this year’s GUADEC organizing team. GUADEC is GNOME’s primary annual conference and is only possible due to the amazing work of local volunteers. This year’s event was held in Manchester, UK, and was a big success. Thank you Team Manchester!

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Porteus: portability for pros

        Porteus 3.2.2 left a very strange feeling in my heart.

        From one side, it ran smoothly, very fast (from-memory) and crashed nowhere.

        On another side, complexity with installation of additional software is definitely a show-stopper for many inexperienced Linux users.

        Have you used Porteus yourself? How do you like it?

    • New Releases

      • Parrot 3.8 Release Notes

        What i personally love about this project is its little but awesome developers community, and this summer was more productive than ever.

        I am proud to announce the official release of Parrot 3.8, that introduces many new features and updates.

        A quick look at our changelog will immediately spot the most important changes.

        First of all, the new parrot 3.8 is now based on Debian 10 buster (current Debian testing release) with Linux 4.12, ZFS support, better wireless drivers support and the introduction of the new MATE 1.18, GCC 6.4 and 7.2, java 9 and so on, and all the parrot flavors now include electrum, a lightweight bitcoin client.

      • Zorin OS 12.2 Released

        Zorin Group recently announced the release of Zorin OS 12.2. It’s Ubuntu based operating system for both, beginners and advanced users. This version brings innovations from the Open Source community together with a familiar user interface, requiring nearly no learning curve for PC users.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Open Container Initiative reaches ‘great milestone,’ says Red Hat chief technologist

        After two years of work, the Open Container Initiative launched Version 1.0 for container runtime and image specifications in July. OCI’s foundation, formed by a number of container industry leaders, was tasked with the mission to create specifications that would support container portability across different operating systems and platforms. Red Hat Inc.’s chief technologist likes the specifications that he’s seen so far.

        “We had some initial code associated with those specifications as part of the OCI project and expectations that we’d get further adoptions from other parts of the ecosystem, and we’re seeing the evidence of that happening today,” said Chris Wright (pictured), vice president and chief technologist, Office of Technology, at Red Hat. “It’s a great milestone.”

      • Red Hat Is Looking For Another Developer To Work On Open-Source AMD Graphics

        Red Hat is looking for another senior software engineer to join their Desktop Graphics Team where in particular they will be working on the open-source Radeon support, including Vulkan and comp

      • University gets Nutanix for self-serve cloud to replace Red Hat

        The Nutanix cluster – which cost between £300,000 and £400,000 – replaces an existing infrastructure made up of numerous storage arrays and based around a Red Hat-supplied GlusterFS file system (covered by ComputerWeekly in 2013) that had become cumbersome and difficult to manage.

      • Finance

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” Preview Part 5: New System Settings!

            Now, Ubuntu Artful gets a new System Settings with a fully-new interface from GNOME 3.25. It’s officially renamed to Settings and it got big changes. It’s very amusing to read Georges Staracas’ article (the developer of Settings) especially the fact that more than 30.000 lines of code changed since v3.20 by 15 contributors! This means when finally released, Ubuntu 17.10 will include Settings by default. Now let us see the quick look at Artful here. Enjoy!

          • Ubuntu’s Suru Icon Theme Is Being Revived

            If you loved the look of the Unity 8 desktop as used in Canonical’s shelved Ubuntu phone and tablet project, I can guarantee you’re going to love the following icon set.

            Why? Because it is the Ubuntu phone and tablet icon set!

            Yup, even though Ubuntu Touch died and Canonical (painfully) let the majority of its design team go, the story isn’t yet done for the Suru icon theme.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Need for speed unites open source and corporations for new serverless tech

    The open-source community used to thrive on rebellion against profitable proprietary corporations like Microsoft Corp. and others. All have since reconciled, and are now joining forces to fight common enemies holding back agile development.

    “Open source doesn’t have that enemy anymore. It’s the standard,” said John Furrier (@furrier) (pictured, right), co-host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio. “So the questions is what is going to motivate the organizations?”

  • Evolving Government: Why government needs open-source deep learning

    Deep learning is cutting edge artificial intelligence. It’s what Google used to build AlphaGo, which beat the world champion of board game Go earlier this year in China. It’s what powers a lot of self-driving cars, by giving their machine vision human-level accuracy. And it’s being used by many of the world’s top tech companies as the basis for recommender systems, fraud detection and cybersecurity.


    Open-source software is the bedrock of enterprise and government applications, from Linux through to Hadoop. The next layer to go open-source is AI, and that’s great news for government agencies. But open-source alone is insufficient: those agencies should make sure their tools till play well with others in the stack, so that they can march their AI solutions to the finish line. During our time in the government-focused startup accelerator, DCode42, the Skymind team learned firsthand the kind of partner and collaboration that agencies and departments require to adopt and implement new technology.

  • Open Source Artificial Intelligence: 50 Top Projects

    For this list, we selected 50 of the most well-known of these open source artificial intelligence projects. They are organized into categories and then alphabetized within those categories. The lines between some of the categories can be fuzzy, so we used the project owners’ descriptions of their applications to determine where to place the various tools.

  • Symphony Software Foundation Launches Open Source Strategy Forum

    - Symphony Software Foundation (the Foundation), the nonprofit organization fostering innovation in financial services through open source software, will be hosting its inaugural Open Source Strategy Forum at the BNY Mellon Conference Center in New York on November 8, 2017. Registration is open today.

  • Shakthi Kannan – the Free and Open Source Software ‘Shakthimaan’

    Our Techie Tuesdays of the week, Shakthi Kannan dons the hats of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) advocate, documentation expert, and DevOps engineer with ease.

    Impeccably attired, Shakthi Kannan was half an hour early for our meeting, which, in essence, describes the man – meticulous and a perfectionist.

  • Essential open source software for running your small business

    The easiest way to keep track of your expenses and income is to use GnuCash. It’s an accounting package that has a number of useful features for small businesses. There’s even an Android app so you can work with your books on the go.

    If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty at the command line, you’ll want to give Ledger a look. Ledger is a double-entry accounting app that also has several graphical frontends.

    I can’t think of any small business owner who doesn’t want to get paid by customers and clients. To do that, you need to send invoices. Sure, you can create invoices in a word processor and print them off or email them as PDFs, but that makes the invoices hard to track. Instead, turn to a dedicated invoicing application.

  • Google’s Fuchsia OS Magenta Becomes Zircon

    For those looking to follow the development of Google’s Fuchsia operating system that is written from scratch, it’s low-level Magenta core has been renamed to Zircon.

    As a reminder, Fuchsia is a (non-Linux) real-time operating system developed by Google that has been under much public speculation since its code began appearing last year. Fuchsia uses a micro-kernel design with it being called Magenta.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Announces 15 New Fellows for Science, Advocacy, and Media

        Today, Mozilla is announcing 15 new Fellows in the realms of science, advocacy, and media.

        Fellows hail from Mexico, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Uganda, the United States, and beyond. They are multimedia artists and policy analysts, security researchers and ethical hackers.

        Over the next several months, Fellows will put their diverse abilities to work making the Internet a healthier place. Among their many projects are initiatives to make biomedical research more open; uncover technical solutions to online harassment; teach privacy and security fundamentals to patrons at public libraries; and curtail mass surveillance within Latin American countries.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Opening Up Java EE – An Update

      In a previous post, we announced that Oracle was beginning to explore moving Java EE technologies to an open source foundation in order to make the process of evolving these standards more agile, flexible and open. Since mid-August, we’ve had many discussions with other vendors, community members and open source foundations in order to move the process forward. Here’s an update on the progress we have made so far.

    • Java EE Moves to the Eclipse Foundation

      Oracle announced today that they, along with IBM and Red Hat, will be moving Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation. I would like to welcome everyone involved to our community. We look forward to working with all of the participants in the Java EE ecosystem as it moves to a more open and collaborative development model.

    • Oracle prepares to spin off Java EE to Eclipse Foundation

      Oracle is continuing to free up Java Enterprise Edition (EE), Java’s enterprise middleware platform, from its once iron-grip. In a blog post, Oracle Software Evangelist David Delabassee said, “After careful review, we have selected the Eclipse Foundation.”

      Oracle has recently admitted that “although Java EE is developed in open source with the participation of the Java EE community, often the process is not seen as being agile, flexible, or open enough, particularly when compared to other open-source communities. We’d like to do better.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Open Networking Foundation (ONF)


    • GCC 8 Might Pursue Better, More Modern Default Options

      Motivated by the 2017 GNU Tools Cauldron, an ARM developer is looking for feedback on improving the options enabled by default for the GCC 8 compiler.

      Wilco Dijkstra of ARM is looking to possibly loosen GCC’s conservative defaults a bit by allowing some more modern options by default and possibly adding more optimizations to -O2 too.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Public Money? Public Code! – Join the FSFE Campaign

      Public institutions spend millions of Euros every year for the development of new software that is specifically tailored to their needs.

      Unfortunately, most of this software is closed source.

      This means that your tax money is being used to pay for software that cannot be modified or even studied. Most public institutions pay to develop programs that they do not or cannot release to the public. When other institutions need to solve similar problems, they have to develop the same software again. And each time the public – including you – has to foot the bill.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • How to become a data scientist

        Once upon a time, I wanted to be an evolutionary biologist. To make a long story short, I had a change of heart and dropped out of my PhD program to pursue a career in computer science. I’m now a senior software engineer at Red Hat, where I work on a variety of machine learning and data science projects (you can read more about my journey on my blog). Not long after joining Red Hat, many people—including three different University of Chicago grad students—asked me about transitioning to a career in data science, so I started looking into it.

      • Seeking investment, Alaska goes open source with oil & gas data

        Under this program, the state released its first two data sets in 2016. One set included a 3-D seismic survey from the North Slope that covered a huge chunk of ground near Prudhoe Bay. And the state saw a burst of activity, requests from university researchers, companies, and contractors.

        And even getting the data that is open to the public is still vaguely super-spy-ish. Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources Steve Masterman says they ask people to provide a brand new hard drive, still in the wrapper.

  • Programming/Development

    • Functional Programming in JavaScript? Yes Please.

      One of the hot topics right now in the web development world is functional programming in the language of the web, JavaScript.

      Functional programming encompasses a whole host of mathematical properties and phenomena that is beyond this post, but what I am going to address here is how to write a a few functions with nominal functional programming.

    • What Motivates Today’s Developers?

      That’s one of many takeaways from a new survey, aptly titled The 2017 State of the Modern Developer, that was conducted by research firm Coleman Parkes for the software analysis and measurement company CAST. In all, 500 developers in four countries — USA, UK, France and Germany — were surveyed. According to CAST, the research was conducted “to learn more about the motivators and behavior of modern developers, in addition to their attitude towards code quality.”


  • iPhone X: Now the pain

    Well that was a nothingburger.

  • The Apple is still rotten: Why you should avoid the new iPhone

    Today Apple announced the arrival of several new iPhone models and other updated gadgets. As usual, the phones were revealed with great fanfare — but from the glass exterior down to its guts, the new iPhone is just another freedom-restricting trap for unsuspecting users.

    We get it: people like technology that they believe is easy to use, and costly, flashy-looking smartphones have become status symbols for many. The trouble is that the cost of owning an iPhone is even higher than the new iPhone’s hefty $1000 USD price tag.

  • Science

    • America is slowly sucking the life out of education—starting with its teachers

      Education pays.

      According to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), adults with a college degree are 10 percentage points more likely to be employed, and will earn 56% more on average than adults who only completed the end of high school. They are less likely to suffer from depression than their less-educated peers.

      The US has always enjoyed a huge advantage in higher-ed attainment. In 2000, 43% of 25-34 year olds had a college education compared to an average of 26% in the 35 OECD member countries. But that advantage is quickly closing. In 2016, it was down to four points, with 48% of Americans following through to higher ed. And Americans now have to compete in an increasingly competitive global workforce.

  • Security

    • ​Linux gets blasted by BlueBorne too

      he security company Armis has revealed eight separate Bluetooth wireless protocol flaws known collectively as BlueBorne. This new nasty set of vulnerabilities have the potential to wreak havoc on iPhones, Android devices, Windows PC, and, oh yes, Linux desktops and server, as well.

      While BlueBorne requires a Bluetooth connection to spread, once the security holes are exploited, a single infected device could infect numerous devices and computers in seconds. Attacks made with BlueBorne are silent, avoid activating most security measures, and require nothing from new victims except that their devices have Bluetooth on.

    • Linux Impacted By Information Leak & Remote Code Execution Via Bluetooth

      Armis Labs has gone public today with “Bluebourne”, an IoT-focused attack vector via Bluetooth. This Bluetooth attack does not require the targeted device to even be paired with the attacker or on discoverable mode, making it more frightening.

    • The IoT Attack Vector “BlueBorne” Exposes Almost Every Connected Device

      Armis Labs revealed a new attack vector endangering major mobile, desktop, and IoT operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux, and the devices using them.

    • Hackers Can Take Over Billions of Android and Linux Devices via Bluetooth
    • Bluetooth Vulnerability BlueBorne Impacts Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux Devices
    • Billions of devices imperiled by new clickless Bluetooth attack
    • BlueBorne Vulnerabilities Impact Over 5 Billion Bluetooth-Enabled Devices
    • 5.3 billion devices at risk for invisible, infectious Bluetooth attack
    • Apache Mounts Strong Defense, Equifax Retreats

      One of the largest financial data breaches in U.S. history, it exposed names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, driver’s license numbers and other sensitive information belonging to 143 million U.S. consumers, as well as data belonging to an undisclosed number of UK and Canadian consumers.

      The attackers also accessed credit card data for about 209,000 consumers and credit dispute information for about 182,000 consumers, Equifax said.


      However, with respect to the possibility that it resulted from an exploitation of a vulnerability in the Apache Struts Web Framework, it was not clear which vulnerability could have been utilized, Gielen said.

      One assumption connected the breach to CVE-2017-2805, one of several patches Apache announced on Sept. 4.

      “However, the security breach was already detected in July, which means that the attackers either used an earlier announced vulnerabiity on an unpatched Equifax server or exploited a vulnerability not known at this point in time — a so called Zero Day Exploit,” Gielen noted.

      The committee members have put enormous effort into “securing and hardening the software we produce,” he added, and they fix problems that come to their attention.

      There’s a distinction between the existence of an unknown flaw in the wild for nine years and failing to address a known flaw for nine years, said Gielen, emphasizing that the committee just learned about this flaw.

      The has not had any contact with anyone using the @equifax domain on any Apache list in more than two years, said Apache spokesperson Sally Khudairi.

      “To be clear, whilst we haven’t had contact with anyone using the @equifax domain — official or otherwise — that is not to say there isn’t a chance that someone from their team may have done so using an alternate channel,” she told LinuxInsider.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • In wake of Equifax breach, Linux Foundation unveils open source CHAOSS
    • Equifax Breach Potentially Triggered by Apache Struts Vulnerability
    • Edward Snowden: NSA, FBI Were Aware Of DNC Hackers
    • Snowden: Where’s The NSA’s Proof Russia Hacked DNC?
    • Snowden: Russia ‘Probably Did Hack’ Dems, But Not Alone
    • BlueBorne Bluetooth Flaws Put Billions of Devices at Risk
    • Kernel Stack Protector and BlueBorne

      Today, a security issue was disclosed that had the potential to be the most serious Linux kernel security issue that Red Hat Product Security has dealt with in our 18 year history: BlueBorne. A flaw where a remote (but physically quite close) attacker could get root on a server, without an internet connection or authentication, just needing a system that has Bluetooth hardware installed and listening.

    • New NSA Windows Hacking Tool Leaks

      Back in May, the WannaCry ransomware decimated millions of Windows PC around the world. Later, a similar worm – dubbed EternalRocks – compromised a load more Windows machines. Hacker group ShadowBrokers released WannaCry and EternalRocks – both stolen NSA hacking tools – promising more to come. Now, it seems ShadowBrokers are true to their word. The group unveiled a fresh NSA hacking tool: a Trojan known as UNITEDRAKE. UNITEDRAKE is able to compromise Windows systems from XP to Windows Server 2012, and pretty much every version in-between.

    • Virginia (Again) Dumps Electronic Voting Devices Over Concerns About Election Interference

      It seems Virginia can’t catch a break when it comes to voting. Trusting vendors to provide secure electronic voting devices just isn’t paying off. Two years ago, Virginia pulled a bunch of voting machines after it was discovered they were leaky, insecure devices masquerading as something American voters could trust.

      The security wasn’t just bad in the way many machines are — frailties that can only be sussed out by security researchers and talented criminals. No, they were bad in the way your grandparents’ Google Box is: “secured” with passwords like “abcde” or “admin,” along with accessible DOS prompts and multiple open ports.

    • Pwning the Dlink 850L routers and abusing the MyDlink Cloud protocol

      The Dlink 850L is a router overall badly designed with a lot of vulnerabilities.

      Basically, everything was pwned, from the LAN to the WAN. Even the custom MyDlink cloud protocol was abused.

    • House Dems demand answers from Equifax CEO

      All 24 minority members of the committee signed a letter to the Equifax executive, Richard Smith, calling on him to come forward with more information about his handling of the crisis.

    • Chatbot lets you sue Equifax for up to $25,000 without a lawyer

      Even if you want to be part of the class action lawsuit against Equifax, you can still sue Equifax for negligence in small claims court using the DoNotPay bot and demand maximum damages. Maximum damages range between $2,500 in states like Rhode Island and Kentucky to $25,000 in Tennessee.

    • Bluetooth flaws leave billions of devices open to attacks

      Researchers at IoT security firm Armis say they have found eight flaws in the Bluetooth protocol that can be used to attack devices running Android, iOS, Linux and Windows.

    • Bluetooth Vulnerability BlueBorne Impacts Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux Devices

      The BlueBorne attack doesn’t even require the victim to tap or click on any malicious links. If your device has Bluetooth and is on then it is possible for an attacker to take complete control of it from 32 feet away. This even works without the attacker pairing anything to the victim’s device and the target device doesn’t need to be set to discoverable mode either. The team at Armis Labs have identified eight zero-day vulnerabilities so far and believes many more are waiting to be discovered.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • CNN Celebrates ‘Joy’ of McCain a Day After His Genocidal Threat

      Professional truth-teller and self-appointed Russian counter-propagandist Jake Tapper had Arizona Sen. John McCain on his State of Union show (CNN, 9/10/17) for a chummy interview Sunday night. The interview began with Tapper lobbing softballs at McCain about his mortality and reminiscing about buddying up on the 2000 campaign trail (Tapper was, according to his then-editor David Talbot, a McCain “groupie”) before moving on to “issues.”

    • Terrorism a lower threat ‘even if 9/11 happened every year’ – Snowden

      The intelligence community has used the threat of terrorism to its advantage, especially regarding mass surveillance, according to Edward Snowden. He believes terrorism would still be a lower threat than many other issues, even if 9/11 happened every year.

      In an exclusive interview with the German media outlet Der Spiegel, the NSA whistleblower noted that although terrorism is a “real problem,” it has claimed much fewer lives outside of war zones than car accidents and heart attacks.

    • Rand Paul likely to get a war vote

      After threatening to scuttle all amendments on a massive defense policy bill, Sen. Rand Paul is likely to secure a vote on ending the war authorizations the US military uses to fight terrorism across the globe.
      Paul’s office announced he would get a vote Wednesday on the Kentucky Republican’s amendment that would repeal the 2001 and 2002 war authorizations after six months, giving Congress time to pass a new Authorization for Use of Military Force for the wars against Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Senate Intel slips sentence into bill that could lead to spying on US citizens

      A Senate panel may be stealthily trying to give federal law enforcement a new tool to go after the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks and its U.S. collaborators.

      A one-sentence “Sense of Congress” clause was tacked onto the end of a massive 11,700-word bill that was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee and is likely to come before the full Senate later this month.

      The clause says that WikiLeaks “resembles a non-state hostile intelligence service” and that the U.S. government “should treat it as such.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Houston Officials Hope Harvey Convinces Congress to Fund Coastal Barrier

      Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday gave his strongest endorsement to date for constructing a physical coastal barrier to protect the region from deadly storm surge during hurricanes.

      Though such a barrier system would not have guarded against the unrelenting and unprecedented rain Hurricane Harvey dumped on the area, Turner — one of the region’s last leaders to endorse the so-called “coastal spine” concept — said at a Tuesday news conference that he believes it is crucial.

      “We cannot talk about rebuilding” from Harvey “if we do not build the coastal spine,” he said.

    • Trump just waived 26 environmental laws—and two religious freedom laws—to build his wall.

      Trump just waived 26 environmental laws—and two religious freedom laws—to build his wall.A three-mile section of border fencing in California will be constructed without federal protections for clean water and air, endangered species, and historic sites, according to a notice posted Tuesday in the Federal Register. Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said in the notice that the “El Centro Sector,” which covers the eastern half of California’s border with Mexico, is “an area of high illegal entry for which there is an immediate need to construct border barriers and roads.”
      The area is also home to wildlife habitat—including some threatened and endangered species—as well as farmland, desert vegetation, wetlands, archaeological resources, and prehistoric sites, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection environmental assessment of the area in 2012. But none of that will get in the way of Trump’s wall. Here are all the laws that have been waived, per Tuesday’s notice.

      The National Environmental Policy Act
      The Endangered Species Act
      The Clean Water Act
      The National Historic Preservation Act
      The Migratory Bird Treaty Act
      The Migratory Bird Conservation Act
      The Clean Air Act
      The Archeological Resources Protection Act
      The Paleontological Resources Preservation Act
      The Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988
      The Safe Drinking Water Act
      The Noise Control Act
      The Solid Waste Disposal Act
      The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
      The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
      The Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act
      The Antiquities Act
      The Historic Sites, Buildings, and Antiquities Act
      The Farmland Protection Policy Act
      The Federal Land Policy and Management Act
      Section 10 of the Reclamation Project Act of 1939
      The National Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956
      The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
      The Administrative Procedure Act
      The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899
      The Eagle Protection Act
      The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
      The American Indian Religious Freedom Act
      The Religious Freedom Restoration Act

    • Hurrying In A Hurricane

      Recent events in Texas and Florida remind us that in some cases, it’s better to flee danger. To the extent that hurricanes travel rather slowly, a motor-vehicle is a practical solution to getting large numbers of people out of harm’s way. Buses are better than smaller vehicles in terms of rate of evacuation and efficiency but many of us do own personal vehicles which can be used.

      There is an EV connection here. Many were frustrated in evacuation because they could not use the vaunted advantage of great range of the gas-guzzler because the tank was running on empty and line-ups and outages at filling-stations wasted many hours. Folks with an EV sitting in the garage or driveway already topped up from the mains just load up the vehicle and go…

  • Finance

    • A Top Bank Regulator Is in His Job Illegally, Watchdog Argues

      Most people remember the last day of a temp job. Maybe colleagues take you out to lunch; maybe you send that goodbye email promising to keep in touch. But for Keith Noreika, the temporary head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, his final temp day is just like any other Tuesday. Because he doesn’t plan on leaving.

      Noreika’s unusual stint running the OCC, a top bank regulatory agency, as a “special government employee” enabled him to sidestep congressional vetting and ethics rules for members of the executive branch. But a watchdog group believes that unique status runs out today, and they want Noreika investigated for illegally overstaying his welcome.

    • Brexit: How to follow the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – a practical guide and introduction

      Last night the House of Commons voted on the “second reading” on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. This is a general vote on the principle of the legislation.

      MPs voted in favour of the Bill, and it now will be considered in committee where the clauses will be examined and amendments considered.

      You can follow the Bill as follows.

    • Damning Report Reveals Government Has No Plan To Tackle Skyrocketing Homelessness

      A damning report has revealed the government has no real plan to tackle homelessness, despite huge hikes in the number of people sleeping rough.

      The National Audit Office says the Conservatives ‘light touch’ approach to solving the problem has failed and there are no proposals to properly assess the impact of welfare cuts on people losing their homes.

      Since 2010, the number of people living on the streets has more than doubled and the number of households living in temporary accommodation has risen by more than half.

    • Brexit talks put back a week, EU expects May speech

      Britain and the European Union postponed a new round of Brexit negotiations by a week until the end of the month in what EU diplomats said was to allow time for Prime Minister Theresa May to make a key speech in about 10 days.

      In confirming a delay until Sept. 25, which Brussels had been expecting, the British government said in a statement it was a joint decision taken because “more time for consultation would give negotiators the flexibility to make progress”.

      There has been no confirmation in London that May will make any speech around Sept. 21. There was no immediate official comment from the European Commission, which is the EU executive.

    • Brexit is a great British bore. Europe has moved on, and the UK should be worried

      It is official: Brexit is boring – at least on the continent. As the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, delivered his “state of the union” address on Wednesday, setting the tone for the new political year, Brexit was relegated to a brief mention at the end. And even there, it was framed as a moment of sadness and regret, not horror. In last week’s TV encounter between the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her challenger, Martin Schulz, Brexit was totally absent.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • In New York and Mississippi, Upstart Candidates Surge in Today’s Elections

      A number of states and cities go to the polls today to elect or nominate candidates for local offices.

      In two states on different sides of the Mason-Dixon line, two upstart candidates are vying in elections aiming to upset the local political order.

      In Mississippi, voters head to the polls in what could be a shocker of a special election. A state House seat for District 102 that has long been in GOP hands is up for grabs, and if Republicans lose it, they lose their supermajority in the legislature. The election was triggered when Toby Barker, the former House member — who had cast a critical vote against expanding Medicaid — was elected mayor of Hattiesburg and stepped down.

    • Ed Miliband: Theresa May’s words mean nothing if she won’t act to stop Murdoch

      On the steps of Downing Street when she became Prime Minister, Theresa May said: “When we take the big calls we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.”

      Her words were powerful. They spoke to people’s sense that our country is far too often run for big business and the wealthiest and they were an implicit rebuke to David Cameron’s government that had gone before.

      Unfortunately she has not delivered. Whether it is workers on boards or an energy price cap, she has talked tough and then retreated.

    • Concerns over FBI investigation into Russian ‘news’ are overblown
    • FBI Probing White House-accredited Sputnik News for Being Kremlin Propaganda Arm
    • Questioning of ex-journalist by FBI sparks concern in Kremlin
    • FBI Investigation Into Sputnik Indicates Serious Censorship Problems – Kremlin
    • Reported FBI questioning of ex-Sputnik employee points to US media censorship – Kremlin
    • Boris Johnson and the Relics of Empire

      Boris Johnson is flying in to the hurricane ravaged British Caribbean territories to play benevolent colonial master. Hurricane Irma plays in to the fantasies of the Tory Brexiteers – Britain as world-bestriding Empire, with great interests around the globe. Hurricane Irma caused death and huge deprivation to local people.

      Individuals were cowering behind furniture and preparing for emergency flights out. These latter were the ultra-wealthy in London who were terrified that the rooves would be torn off company registries and their tax haven secrets scattered abroad by the hand of God.

      Despite having all the Tory fantasy elements of patrician benevolence, warships, colonies, subjects and soldiers, the Tory instinct of meanness remains overriding. Some of the British overseas territories in the Caribbean have suffered enormous damage to their infrastructure, with power, water, hospitals and schools out of action. But the British government response so far has been to provide a paltry £32 million in aid of which it claims £28 million is already spent.

    • House panel strikes deal on surveillance reforms
    • We Know a Lot More About U.S. Spying Since Section 702’s Last Reauthorization

      As Congress finally starts to debate whether to reauthorize Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act before it expires at the end of this year, it’s important to remember that we know a lot more about the government’s troubling practices since the law was last reauthorized in 2012.

      As a reminder, FISA is the statute that regulates foreign intelligence surveillance and for decades required individualized court orders based on probable cause to collect information about people here in the U.S. Seeking to authorize President George W Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, Congress passed Section 702 to allow the government to target foreigners abroad without any judicial determination that the person was a national security threat– knowing that the collection would happen here in the US and that Americans could be picked up in the process. Procedurally, the government obtains an annual 702 order from the FISA Court after negotiating the privacy and targeting rules that will apply to the program. The government is then allowed to choose its own targets for “foreign intelligence” spying, which not only includes terrorists, spies, and foreign leaders, but for people relevant to the catch all categories of defense and foreign affairs. It collects both metadata and the content of communications, and compels U.S. tech companies, phone companies and internet service providers to turn over the data. Once collected, it is saved for years and used not only in intelligence investigations, but criminal prosecutions. It has not been substantively amended since its original passage in 2008.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • China’s Latest Crackdown on Message Groups Chills WeChat Users

      Regulations released Sept. 7 made creators of online groups responsible for managing information within their forums and the behavior of members. While they don’t take effect until October, authorities have jumped into action by disciplining 40 people in one group for spreading petition letters while arresting a man who complained about police raids, according to reports in official Chinese media.

    • WeChat users censoring content amid China crackdown on social media

      Self-censorship is kicking in fast on WeChat as China’s new rules on message groups cast a chill among the 963 million users of Tencent Holdings’ social network.

      Regulations released last week made creators of online groups responsible for managing information within their forums and the behaviour of members.

      The measure do not take effect until next month, but the authorities have jumped into action by disciplining 40 people in one group for spreading petition letters and arresting a man who complained about police raids, according to reports in official Chinese media.

    • Adam Whyte – Red Monkey Collective – Censorship: a lawyer’s perspective

      Toxicity, bad language, homophobia, racism and a plethora of other issues remain prevalent in the world of gaming and esports. Just this week, renowned streamer PewDiePie used the “n-word” whilst being watched by thousands. Rightly so, he’s received extreme criticism across a multitude of platforms. Not only do streamers have responsibility, but in-game chat whether typed or vocal can be a cesspit of vitriol at the best of times.

    • Here’s what the law says about PewDiePie’s fight with Campo Santo
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NHS wants to let you access medical records via a smartphone app

      It remains to be seen if the new NHS app will have adequate protections in place.

    • NSA Grants $2.4 Billion Tech Contract As Surveillance Law Faces Challenges
    • Lawmakers Want Limits on Wiretaps Despite Trump Administration Objections

      A bipartisan bloc of House Judiciary Committee leaders have agreed to demand new limits on the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program as a condition of temporarily extending its authorization, setting up a fight with the Trump administration.

      The lawmakers — including the Republican representatives Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the current and former committee chairmen, and Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat — have privately agreed to support extending the law, the FISA Amendments Act, through 2023, according to congressional officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the negotiations. It is set to expire at the end of December.

    • Spy Leaders Seek Permanent Extension of Controversial FISA Surveillance Authority
    • Snowden: Yes, it was all worth it
    • ‘Don’t wait’: Snowden urges action at Free Library simulcast event
    • ‘There Is Still Hope – Even for Me’

      The journey to interview Edward Snowden is a long one. For DER SPIEGEL, it began over a year ago, with numerous conversations with his lawyers in New York and Berlin. It ended two weeks ago on a Wednesday in a Moscow hotel suite with a view over Red Square.

      The 34-year-old former United States intelligence worker, who exposed the global surveillance system deployed by the National Security Agency (NSA), lives somewhere in the Russian capital. Since blowing the whistle, he has been an enemy of the state in his home country. He has become an icon for defenders of civil liberties and also a man on the run. The journey to Snowden almost took even longer, when he came down with a bad cold and nearly had to delay the interview. In the end, Snowden turned up — coming across as modest and astoundingly optimistic in an interview that lasted more than three hours.

    • California Broadband Privacy Bill Heads for Final Vote This Friday

      Huge news for broadband privacy! A California bill that would restore many of the privacy protections that Congress stripped earlier this year is headed for a final vote this Friday,

      The bill, A.B. 375, had languished in the Senate Rules Committee due to the efforts of AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon to deny a vote. But constituents called and emailed their representatives and reporters started asking questions. The overwhelming public support for privacy has so far counteracted the lobbying by telecommunications companies, which will spare no expense to keep the gift handed to them by Congress and the Trump administration.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • In Surprise Vote, House Passes Amendment to Restrict Asset Forfeiture

      In a stunning move, the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act that will roll back Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s expansion of asset forfeiture.

      Amendment number 126 was sponsored by a bipartisan group of nine members, led by Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash. He was joined by Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna of California; Washington state’s Pramila Jayapal, a rising progressive star; and Hawaii’s Tulsi Gabbard.

      Civil asset forfeiture is a practice by which law enforcement can take assets from a person who is suspected of a crime, even without a charge or conviction. Sessions revived the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, which allowed state and local police agencies to take assets and then give them to the federal government — which would in turn give a chunk back to the local police. This served as a way for these local agencies to skirt past state laws designed to limit asset forfeiture.

    • Toney Earl Jr.’s Incarceration Almost Stopped Him From Getting A Job. His Success Shows Why Businesses Need To Implement Fair Hiring Practices.

      oney Earl Jr. was 25 years old when he was convicted for felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. Though he had never been to prison before, he was sentenced to 42 months in a New York state correctional facility. He would serve 31 months of that sentence. When he was released in 2008, he needed a job.

      In the first year Earl was out, he applied to almost 40 jobs — all entry level. Earl was interviewed for at least a dozen of those positions. Yet every time a conditional offer was made and a background check was conducted, the position would simply disappear.

    • The Right to Be Free From Religious Intolerance: Trump v. IRAP

      This case challenges President Trump’s executive order prohibiting entry to the United States to people from six Muslim-majority countries. The president imposed a version of the order in January, to immediate and devastating impact, as many incoming travelers were detained at airports, and families across the country were separated from their loved ones. Thousands of people flooded the airports in protest, and the courts quickly stepped in to block the ban, starting with a case filed by the ACLU and our partner organizations. Other challenges quickly followed. When federal judges temporarily blocked that ban, Mr. Trump issued the current version, which left in place the same fundamental defects.

    • The Minneapolis Police Department Is Finally Sharing Data on Police Stops. Other Departments Should Follow.

      Unlike most police departments nationwide, the Minneapolis Police Department has taken an important step toward becoming more transparent and accountable to the communities it serves.

      On August 9, it launched a new online data portal that allows the public to access raw data from certain stops, including suspicious person and traffic stops, that officers make. The data set goes back to November 1, 2016, and, as promised, has been updated every 24 hours since launch. The data is searchable by race, gender, location of the stop, whether a search occurred, and more.

    • Does kindness matter?

      Kindness makes people’s lives better, but just encouraging individuals to be kinder to each other has significant limitations. Therefore, we have to transform the social, economic and political structures that inhibit our ability to act in kindness, and at the same time strengthen the links between these actions and our aspirations for greater social and economic justice.

    • The Neglected Legend of Dolores Huerta

      Dolores Huerta, a largely unsung hero in the fight for farmworkers’ rights, is the subject of the new movie, Dolores, that recounts her life as a feminist and union organizer, reports Dennis J Bernstein and Miguel Gavilan Molina.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Telcos ‘most complained’ about NZ industry sector says Commission

      New Zealand telecommunications companies and service providers cop the most criticism from the country’s consumers of all business and industry sectors, according to a new report just published by the competition enforcement and regulatory agency The Commerce Commission.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Narcos’ Cali Cartel Threatens to ‘Kill’ Illegal Downloaders

        A few years ago Netflix wasn’t all too worried about piracy but now that it produces a lot of original content, this has changed. The company now has a “Global Copyright Protection Group” and also enlists its ‘own’ stars to address the issue head on. The executive board of ‘Cali Cartel’ in the hit series Narcos threatens to ‘kill’ those who dare to download the show from “shitty websites.

      • KinoX / Movie4K Admin Detained in Kosovo After Three-Year Manhunt

        In 2014, police in Germany revealed a manhunt for two brothers said to be behind streaming sites Movie4K and KinoX. Unusually, authorities claimed the pair were violent and possibly armed, hardly common traits among pirate site operators. It’s now been revealed that one of the brothers has handed himself into the German embassy in Kosovo.

      • Monkey Selfie Case Reaches Settlement — But The Parties Want To Delete Ruling Saying Monkeys Can’t Hold Copyright

        For many years now, we’ve been covering the sometimes odd/sometimes dopey case of the monkey selfie and the various disputes over who holds the copyright (the pretty clear answer: no one owns the copyright, because the law only applies to humans). David Slater, the photographer whose camera the monkey used, has always claimed that he holds the copyright (and has, in the past, tried to blame us at Techdirt for pointing out that the law disagrees). A few years back, PETA, the publicity-hungry animal rights group, hired big time lawyers at Irell & Manella to argue (1) the monkey holds the copyright, not Slater, (2) PETA somehow magically can stand in for the monkey in court — and sued Slater over it. Slater and I disagree over whether he holds the copyright, but on this we actually do agree: the monkey most certainly does not hold the copyright.


Links 12/9/2017: Linux 4.13.1, digiKam 5.7.0

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Jim Zemlin Declares 2017 the Year of the Linux Desktop

      Open Source Summit, the event formerly known as LinuxCon North America, kicked off today with a series of announcements and a strong message about the power of open source.


      To illustrate his point, Zemlin noted that 2,000 lines of code are changed daily in the Linux kernel as the pace of change accelerates.

      “Every market that Linux has entered, it hasn’t just done well; it has come to completely dominate,” Zemlin said.

      One area where Linux has dominated is in the mobile space with Android. Zemlin noted that in March of this year, Linux-based devices became the majority of clients on the internet, thanks to Android, surpassing Microsoft Windows.

      “Say it with me now,” Zemlin encouraged the audience. “2017 is the Year of the Linux Desktop.”

  • Server

    • Optimizing web servers for high throughput and low latency

      This is an expanded version of my talk at NginxConf 2017 on September 6, 2017. As an SRE on the Dropbox Traffic Team, I’m responsible for our Edge network: its reliability, performance, and efficiency. The Dropbox edge network is an nginx-based proxy tier designed to handle both latency-sensitive metadata transactions and high-throughput data transfers. In a system that is handling tens of gigabits per second while simultaneously processing tens of thousands latency-sensitive transactions, there are efficiency/performance optimizations throughout the proxy stack, from drivers and interrupts, through TCP/IP and kernel, to library, and application level tunings.

  • Kernel Space

    • Twelve Collabora Developers Have Contributed 72 Patches to the Linux 4.13 Kernel

      Now that the Linux 4.13 kernel series is out, and it’s ready for production use, it’s time to look at the contributions made by some of Collabora’s developers, which always bring goodies during each development cycle.

      Linus Torvalds unveiled the Linux 4.13 kernel branch last week, a release that brought support for Intel’s Cannon Lake and Coffee Lake processor family, among lots of other improvements. For the Linux kernel 4.13 cycle, it looks like a total of twelve Collabora developers have contributed no less than 72 patches, reviewed 25 patches, tested 10 patches, and signed-off 83 patches.

    • Development statistics for the 4.13 kernel

      As of this writing, the 4.13 kernel appears headed toward release on September 3, after a nine-week development cycle. It must, therefore, be about time for a look at the statistics for this development cycle. The picture that results shows a fairly typical kernel cycle with, as usual, few surprises.

      Midway between 4.13-rc6 and 4.13-rc7, 12,677 non-merge changesets had found their way into the mainline. That makes 4.13 the smallest cycle since 4.7, which finished with 12,283 changesets. Chances are, though, that this cycle will surpass 4.11 (12,724) by the time it is done. So, while there may be signs of a (northern hemisphere) summer slowdown, 4.13 remains generally comparable with its predecessors with respect to patch volume.

    • Samsung Joins EdgeX Foundry to Accelerate Open Source Development of Industrial IoT Edge Platform

      EdgeX Foundry, an open source project building a common framework for Internet of Things (IoT) edge computing, today announced Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has joined as a Platinum member. Participating in EdgeX Foundry will support Samsung’s emerging efforts in the industrial sector while expanding the market of EdgeX compatible components and devices.


      EdgeX Foundry is a collaborative project of The Linux Foundation that is building an open interoperability framework hosted within a full hardware- and OS-agnostic reference software platform to enable an ecosystem of plug-and-play components that unifies the marketplace and accelerates the deployment of IoT solutions. Designed to run on any hardware or operating system and with any combination of application environments, EdgeX can quickly and easily deliver interoperability between connected devices, applications, and services, across a wide range of use cases.

    • The Linux Foundation Releases Open Source Guides for the Enterprise

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, has released the first six in a series of Open Source Guides for the Enterprise, created to help executives, open source program managers, developers, attorneys and other decision makers learn how to best leverage open source.

    • printk() and KERN_CONT [Ed: these three LWN articles (more below) no longer behind paywall]
    • Goodbye to GFP_TEMPORARY and dma_alloc_noncoherent()
    • Linux Kernel 4.13 Gets First Point Release, It’s Now Ready for Production Use

      Well, that was fast. Only a week after the launch of the Linux 4.13 kernel series, Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the first point release, which marks the branch as “stable” on the kernel.org website, and ready for production use, of course.

      That’s right, Linux kernel 4.13.1 is out, and it’s the latest stable kernel available for GNU/Linux distributions that want to offer their users the best hardware support on the market. It looks like Arch Linux already has the Linux 4.13.1 kernel in its Testing repos, so you can give it a try, but we strongly recommend that you wait until it lands in the main repositories before upgrading your kernel.

    • Linux 4.13.1

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.13.1 kernel.

      All users of the 4.13 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.13.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.13.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:



      greg k-h

    • Linus Torvalds Wants Attackers to Join Linux Kernel Development

      Twenty-six years ago, Linus Torvalds started the Linux operating system, and at the Open Source Summit here on Sept. 11, Torvalds detailed his views on security, development and collaboration and why he’s still having fun working on Linux.

      Torvalds was asked in a keynote conversation with Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin about the current state of security in Linux, especially given that the open-source Struts project has been alleged to be the root cause of the recent Equifax data breach.

      “The concept of absolute security doesn’t exist,” Torvalds said. “Even if we do a perfect job—and we try to do that—let’s be honest, there will always have bugs.”

    • Linus Torvalds’ lifestyle tips for hackers: be like me, work in a bathrobe, no showers before noon

      Linux Lord Linus Torvalds has offered some lifestyle advice for hackers, suggesting they adopt his admittedly-unglamorous lifestyle but also his ethos of working on things that matter.

      In an on-stage interview with Linux Foundation founder and executive director Jim Zemline at the Open Source summit in Los Angeles on Monday, Torvalds admitted that “I have long since gotten over the fact that the UPS guy brings me a package from Amazon at 3:00PM and I am still in my bathrobe.”

      Zemline joked that the Linux Foundation has a shower before noon policy and Torvalds shot back that it’s the reason he works from home instead of coming into the office.

    • If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It: CHAOSS Project Creates Tools to Analyze Software Development and Measure Open Source Community Health

      Initial members contributing to the project include Bitergia, Eclipse Foundation, Jono Bacon Consulting, Laval University (Canada), Linaro, Mozilla, OpenStack, Polytechnique Montreal (Canada) Red Hat, Sauce Labs, Software Sustainability Institute, Symphony Software Foundation, University of Missouri, University of Mons (Belgium), University of Nebraska at Omaha, and University of Victoria.

    • Vodafone Joins Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project

      The Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project today announced that Vodafone Group has joined as a Platinum member. The addition of Vodafone, one of the world’s largest service providers with operations in 26 countries, demonstrates the continuing momentum ONAP is achieving and highlights Vodafone’s ongoing commitment to open standards and open source.

    • OpenChain Project Welcomes Hitachi

      The OpenChain Project is proud to welcome Hitachi as a Platinum Member. Hitachi joins eleven other companies to take a leadership role in our industry standard for open source compliance in the supply chain.

    • Become a Certified Kubernetes Admin with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

      The ever-increasing push to the cloud demands proven skills in areas such as cloud migration, application integration, automation, and more. The recent Open Source Jobs Report from The Linux Foundation, in fact, cited cloud technology as the most sought-after area of expertise among 70 percent of employers. Now you can demonstrate your skills through the new Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam, offered by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

    • Linus Torvalds’ lifestyle tips for hackers: be like me, work in a bathrobe, no showers before noon

      Linux Lord Linus Torvalds has offered some lifestyle advice for hackers, suggesting they adopt his admittedly-unglamorous lifestyle but also his ethos of working on things that matter.

      In an on-stage interview with Linux Foundation founder and executive director Jim Zemline at the Open Source summit in Los Angeles on Monday, Torvalds admitted that “I have long since gotten over the fact that the UPS guy brings me a package from Amazon at 3:00PM and I am still in my bathrobe.”

      Zemline joked that the Linux Foundation has a shower before noon policy and Torvalds shot back that it’s the reason he works from home instead of coming into the office.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU DC Display Code Tacks On Another 28 Patches

        The big undertaking of the rewriting/modernizing of the AMDGPU DRM driver’s display code stack has out now another 28 patches.

        This AMDGPU DC display stack has been well over one thousand lines of code and in development for years in trying to better synchronize the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager’s display code with that of their Windows driver. AMDGPU DC is what’s needed for HDMI/DP audio on modern Radeon GPUs, HDMI 2.0 support, atomic mode-setting, FreeSync, and other modern display features. More recently, it’s now needed for driving physical displays/monitors attached to Radeon Vega graphics cards.

      • RadeonSI/AMDGPU Switches Over To New Command Submission API

        Landing today within Mesa Git is a switchover for the AMDGPU winsys layer to using the new command submission (CS) API.

        This change benefits the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver when using the AMDGPU kernel driver. Added to libdrm back in July was a new low overhead command submission API when dealing with the AMDGPU kernel driver. This API sends chunks to the kernel API for a single command stream. This new API is designed to be “more future proof and extensible API.”

      • VK_EXT_debug_report Lands For Intel’s Vulkan Driver
      • Better Hang Detection For The RADV Vulkan Driver

        Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s latest work on the open-source Radeon driver stack has been figuring out better GPU hang detection for the RADV Vulkan driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Intro to Latte Dock, New Decoration for Kubuntu

        Latte is a new MacOS-like dock desktop decoration for KDE Plasma. It’s first released in 14 January 2017 as v0.5.90. It’s now installable for Kubuntu from PPA (and other distros via specific channels). If you’re a Kubuntu user and waiting for a decent dock, or if you missed the legendary AWN dock, then Latte is for you. This article will show you some pictures (and GIF) and features of Latte. Enjoy!

      • Plasma 5 for Slackware – KDE 5_17.09

        For some time now, no news about Plasma 5 for Slackware appeared on this blog. I just have been too occupied with family life and the demands of my day job.

        But the configuration of my new server, the one I bought last month, finally is at a point where I can use it for running virtual machines and compiling packages. And it is fast… compiling LibreOffice in 90 minutes where in the past it would take me 10 times as long. Therefore I was able to create a new release of Plasma 5 packages while at the same time working on new LibreOffice packages.

      • Kubuntu Council Election Results Announced

        The Kubuntu Council is happy to announce the results of the election, and welcome the following members: Rik Mills, Aaron Honeycutt (returning) and Rick Timmis.

      • digiKam 5.7.0 is released

        Following the release of 5.6.0 published in June, the digiKam team is proud to announce the new release 5.7.0 of the digiKam Software Collection. In this version a lot of work has happened behind the scenes and in fixing bugs, which does not mean there is no enhancements: A new tool to create print layouts has been introduces, albums can now be exported by mail, support for Hugin 2017 was added and GPS traces are storable as KML.

      • digiKam 5.7 Released With Print Creator & Email Sending Support

        For fans of the Qt-powered Digikam photo management software, the 5.7 release is out today with many bug fixes and underlying improvements along with some new user features.

      • digiKam 5.7 Image Editor Lets You Create Print Layouts, Export Albums by Email

        digiKam 5.7.0 was released today as the latest maintenance update to the open-source and cross-platform image editor, viewer and organizer software that introduces a couple of new features and many improvements.

        Two and a half months in development, digiKam 5.7.0 is here to introduce two new tools, namely “Send by Mail” and “Print Creator.” The first one will allow users to send photos by email directly from the app, supporting popular email clients like Mozilla Thunderbird, Evolution, KMail, Claws Mail, Sylpheed, Balsa, and Netscape.

      • Randa Roundup – Part II

        The last time we wrote about Randa Meetings 2017, preparations for the event were still in progress. The developer sprint is now in full swing. Everyone is settled in and ready to start improving, debugging and adding features to KDE’s apps and frameworks. But what exactly will the developers work on during Randa 2017? Here are some more details.

        As you’re probably already aware, the theme of Randa Meetings 2017 is accessibility. This doesn’t include only desktop software, but also extends to mobile apps. Sanjiban Bairagya is working on the Marble Maps Android app, KDE’s answer to Google Earth. His accessibility-related tasks include making the turn-by-turn navigation experience more visually intuitive in real-time. He will also be switching Marble to the Qt 5.8 Speech module instead of using Java for text-to-speech support in navigation. Another thing Sanjiban wants to do is find a way to let users add notes to any place on the map.

      • Take Randa and Stuff It

        (O yeah, lunch was pretty expansive and tasty, so we’re stuffed. And in Randa.)

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.26: Wayland vs. X.Org Performance – Boot Times, Power Use, Memory Use & Gaming

        While testing out the near-final GNOME 3.26 this weekend I also ran some benchmarks of it comparing the boot time, memory use, power consumption, and gaming performance when comparing GNOME Shell / Mutter running on Wayland and then an X.Org session.

      • Ubuntu GNOME Shell in Artful: Day 11

        Let’s talk today about collaboration (with System76 in this case) and how we give more benefits to both Ubuntu and the upcoming Pop! OS user base. For more background on our current transition to GNOME Shell in artful, you can refer back to our decisions regarding our default session experience as discussed in my blog post.

      • Flickerless Gtk3 OpenGL Transitions

        While I got OpenGL transitions working under Gtk3 at the end of last year basically matching the Gtk2/Generic OpenGL quality the transition into and out of the OpenGL sequence wasn’t very satisfying. And with access to HiDPI it was clearly even worse with an unscaled image momentarily appearing before the correct one.

      • LibreOffice Gets Flicker-Free OpenGL Transitions

        Last year McNamara got GTK3 OpenGL transitions working, but it was less than perfect. But now he’s managed to provide flicker-less GTK3 OpenGL transitions after landing some improvements into LibreOffice Git.

      • WebKitGTK+ 2.18.0 released!
      • WebKitGTK+ 2.18.0 Brings WebDriver Support, Remote Inspector & Kinetic Scrolling

        The WebDriver support is interesting and allows easily automating/scripting interactions with the browser. WebDriver is just geared for WebKit-based browsers. Details on the WebDriver WebKitGTK+ support via this blog post. When time magically allows I would like to investigate the feasibility of using it for some automated browser benchmarks.

        On the developer front the WebCrypto API is now enabled by default. Additionally, there are APIs to allow overriding the popup menu of select elements and to create a WebKitContextMenuItem from a GAction.

      • GTK4′s Vulkan Support Continues Maturing

        One of the questions that came up following our GNOME 3.26 feature overview was how GTK4′s Vulkan renderer is coming along.

        It’s coming along as is GTK4, albeit not ready for production use quite yet.

      • You need an application icon of at least 64×64 in size

        At the moment the appstream-builder in Fedora requires a 48x48px application icon to be included in the AppStream metadata. I’m sure it’s no surprise that 48×48 padded to 64×64 and then interpolated up to 128×128 (for HiDPI screens) looks pretty bad. For Fedora 28 and higher I’m going to raise the minimum icon size to 64×64 which I hope people realize is actually a really low bar.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • BakAndImgCD 23.0 Data Backup & Disk Cloning Live CD Released Based on 4MLinux 23

        4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki‏ has informed us about the release and immediate availability of BakAndImgCD 23.0 data backup and disk cloning/imaging live system based on the latest 4MLinux Backup Scripts.

        Based on 4MLinux Backup Scripts 23.0, the BakAndImgCD 23.0 release is here to add support for the latest GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies that have been implemented so far in the upcoming 4MLinux 23.0 operating system release, which is expected to launch this fall.

        “BakAndImgCD is an official 4MLinux fork, which has been designed to perform the following two tasks: data backup (the supported filesystems are: btrfs, ext2, ext3, ext4, f2fs, fat16, fat32, hfs, hfs+, jfs, nilfs2, ntfs, reiser4, reiserfs, and xfs) and disk imaging (using Partimage, Partclone, and GNU ddrescue),” said Zbigniew Konojacki‏.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Those good surprises…

        PCLinuxOS has always remained a reliable OS to work and, as the update included Lomanager, the distro’s method to update LibreOffice, I couldn’t delay.

        Although the update was fast, LibreOffice was taking a considerable time to finish. Yes, I must thank my ISP for that: my connection has been unstable for over a week, with a speed sometimes down to a crawl.

        Speed was abnormally slow. I became a bit restless.

        That was when I saw the Steam icon on my desktop…the round icon that had not been clicked on since October 2015.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Squeezing More Juice Out Of Gentoo With Graphite, LTO Optimizations

        Developer Shane Peelar has come up with a Gentoo Portage configuration for building out the distribution with aggressive compiler optimizations in the name of performance.

        Peelar’s Gentoo configuration will build with -O3 optimizations, GCC Graphite optimizations, and LTO (Link Time Optimizations).

    • Arch Family

      • Laptop: Spitfire Manjaro Special Edition

        OK, community – we have now worked on this for months, and the results are simply astounding. In association with Station X the Manjaro Team is very proud to announce our first Laptop, together with a hardware manufacturer especially designed for our beloved community.

        If you’re looking for the sleekest Linux laptop in existence, then look no further. The Spitfire is a head turner – with lots and lots of muscle. Powered with 7th Generation Intel Core Processors, up to 32GB RAM and dual drive bays, the Spitfire can take whatever you can throw at it. And keep going.

        With a super-light all-aluminum chassis, and a killer 1080p IPS display, the Spitfire can run Manjaro at blazing speed.

      • Manjaro Spitfire: Manjaro Linux Gets Its Own Laptop With The Help Of Station X
    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Surge in hybrid cloud adoption helps Red Hat expand footprint in Asia

        Red Hat has expanded its cloud and service provider footprint in Asia.

        The company has certified a number of new cloud and managed services providers in India, Indonesia, Japan, and Singapore.

        Some of the newest Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Providers include Diadem Technologies in India, IndonesianCloud in Indonesia, Mitsubishi Research Institute in Japan, India’s Prodevans Technologies and Singapore’s STT Connect.

        Cloud provider models are becoming increasingly complex, expanding beyond multi-tenant public clouds to include private cloud build-outs, Linux container-based infrastructure, and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions.

      • Paul Smith: Red Hat-Kryptowire Project for DHS to Advance Automated Mobile App Security

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and its partner Kryptowire will develop a framework for the automation of mobile application compliance under a contract from the Department of Homeland Security, ExecutiveBiz reported Thursday.

        The team will work to build the framework as part of the Assured Mobile Application Lifecycle using Red Hat Enterprise project to facilitate app compliance with the data privacy and security requirements of government users, Red Hat said Wednesday.

      • 4 tips for leaders helping others evolve their careers
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora’s Boltron preview

          As the “preview” term would imply, there’s not much more to Boltron at this point. There are some 25 modules that have the same stream as that of the regular packages for Fedora 26. So far, the only module with multiple streams is for Node.js, with version 8 being available in the nodejs-8 stream. The intent is that more modules and streams will be added so that Fedora 27 servers can be composed by picking and choosing modules and streams to fit their intended use cases. Containers would presumably be used to manage multiple conflicting modules. There is, clearly, plenty more to be worked on.

          The Modularity effort is a bold rethinking of how Fedora is built, used, and managed, as we have noted in some previous articles along the way. For a year or more, Modularity has largely just been an idea and a few, somewhat confusing diagrams, at least from the perspective of Fedora users. We are finally starting to see some of the behind-the-scenes efforts bear fruit. It will be interesting to watch and see where it all leads.

        • My experience with Flock 2017

          After attending Flock 2016, I got another chance to be part of Flock conference. This year, it took place in beautiful city Hyannis, Massachusetts, USA from 29th August to 1st September. Schedule of this 4 day conference was designed differently compared to last year. Both workshops and talks were running in parallel for the first three 3 days followed by a wrap-up session on last day.

        • Flock 2017

          wo weeks ago I got to travel to Cape Cod (or as I came to call it, Cape Code), Massachusetts, USA for Flock, the annual Fedora contributor conference. I arrived on Monday, August 28 after flying in from Denver, CO where I had been eclipse-viewing (well that happened in Wyoming) and summitting 6[0-5] fourteeners[6].

          Tuesday began with a keynote from Matthew Miller, where he presented metrics on the various versions of Fedora in the wild, and talked about where Fedora is heading. After that we had a long session where the presenters each got to give a short pitch for their talks. After that was lunch, and one thing I enjoyed about the schedule this year was the choice to make lunch be two hours each day. That gave us plenty of time for “hallway” type discussions throughout the week. After lunch I went to see Mike Bonet present about Factory 2.0 and the various items that team has been working on in Fedora. Several of their objectives have been related to Bodhi so this was a good session for me to attend. After that I held my “Bodhi hack sesh” session which I thought went pretty well. I think we had about 12 people attend, and I was able to help people get started on a variety of patches for Bodhi. Lastly I attended the dinner and game night, which was a lot of fun.

        • Jonathan Dieter: Flock 2017
    • Debian Family

      • Summary of the discussion on off-line keys.
      • Debian-Administration.org is closing down

        The site will go read-only at the end of the month, and will slowly be stripped back from that point towards the end of the year – leaving only a static copy of the articles, and content.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based Univention Corporate Server 4.2 Linux Gets Second Security Update

          Univention’s Maren Abatielos is pleased to inform us about the availability of the second point release of the Debian-based Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.2 operating system for servers and the cloud.

        • A look at TAILS – Privacy oriented GNU/Linux Distribution

          The Amensic Incognito Live System, is a Debian based distribution that routes all internet traffic through the TOR network, and leaves no trace of its existence or anything done on the system when the machine is shut down. The obvious aim in this, is to aid in keeping the user anonymous and private. Tails is not installed to a users computer, but instead is run strictly as a LiveUSB / LiveDVD.

          TAILS does not utilize the host machines Hard Disk at all, and is loaded entirely into RAM. When a machine is shut down, the data that is stored in RAM disappears over the course of a few minutes, essentially leaving no trace of whatever had been done. Granted, there is a method of attack known as a Cold Boot Attack, where data is extracted from RAM before it has had a chance to disappear, but TAILS has you covered on that front too; the TAILS website says,

          “To prevent this attack, the data in RAM is overwritten by random data when shutting down Tails. This erases all traces from your session on that computer.”

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How companies can make the most from open source

    It’s 2017, and some people still don’t understand why open source is vital for business and how to really make the most of it. The Linux Foundation and its corporate partners are ready to explain it to you.

  • An open source toolkit for measuring project health

    Red Hat’s product offerings are all built upon open source projects—they all are derived from one or more upstream, community-based open source projects. Red Hat’s product managers need to have a good sense of what is going on in their respective upstream open source projects to enable the product’s continued evolution based on the strength of the community and collaboration in the project. In addition to Red Hat’s own needs, the explosion of products and services that use the hundreds of thousands of open source projects to drive the technology revolution calls for a coherent, repeatable and objective tool/method to ascertain how a project is doing.

    Enter Prospector, a tool we built internally at Red Hat to help measure this and that we now have contributed to the Linux Foundation to help form the basis of the new CHAOSS project.

  • Open Source Means Choice Of Insurance

    Some say that companies don’t want open source because they want the security of a relationship with a big business. But this outlook reflects misunderstandings of the real values of open source. It’s yet another consequence of the “price frame”.

    There is an overall price-related message-frame that proprietary software companies like to use around open source. In each instance, an idea completes the phrase “open source may come with free licenses but…” in creatively manipulative ways. In many cases, the resulting statement conceals a weakness of proprietary software by casting it as a weakness of open source.

    In the case of software investment protection, the phrase gets completed “… but you need a proprietary vendor for long-term investment protection”. That’s a deceptive statement that embodies an incorrect view of open source as a “knock-off copy”. The open source model – done well – offers more security than the proprietary model.

    It’s a powerful and persistent myth because it builds on at least two misconceptions:

  • The new order in an open source software world

    It is clear the future is in open source. Slowly taking hold for decades with the release of mainstream software such as Apple’s Swift and Microsoft’s .Net framework, the projected revenue of open source software for 2020 is over €57 million. The reason behind this increasing adoption is the ability for enterprises to not only drive competitive advantage, but to also attract top talent. However, with that comes a new set of challenges to overcome.

    While helping accelerate application development, the use of open source can put an organisation at risk of getting breached and failing compliance audits. In fact, 44 per cent of applications contain critical vulnerabilities in an open source component.

  • Mastodon: The Open Source Alternative To Twitter

    I don’t know about you, but I have long yearned for a social network that I can truly call home. Facebook is no good as it’s full of pictures of people’s cats and their dinner. Twitter is full of trolls and rude people, in my experience at least. When Google+ came along, I had high hopes for it, but alas, it’s pretty much a ghost town these days.

  • ​How companies can make the most from open source

    At The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit, Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, announced new programs to help businesses get the most from open source: Open Source Guides for the Enterprise. Using open-source programs is only the start.

    Zemlin said that for enterprises to make the most from open source they need to participate in creating open source: Unfortunately, “Organization still don’t know how to be a participate.”

    “Today all software development is influenced by open source,” Zemlin said. “Just as projects are looking to create communities to sustain them over the long term, corporations are seeking to better understand how they can work with and contribute to open source. The new guides will help more organizations directly engage for the benefit of the broader community.”

  • ​How to get the Kubernetes help you need

    At The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Foundation, said, “Kubernetes is the Linux of the cloud.” I wouldn’t go that far, but Kubernetes is the most popular, open-source DevOps container manager. It’s now available on all cloud-platforms including the late-to-the-Kubernetes-party Amazon Web Services (AWS). Now, if only we have enough Kubernetes experts to run it!

    As the GitHub team recently discovered, Kubernetes’ documentation isn’t very good. That makes setting up a Kubernetes cluster difficult.

  • Anchore Releases Open Source Engine End-to-End Container Certification Solution
  • Matryx Deepens Commitment to Open Source with Calcflow

    Matryx, an open source platform for decentralized collaboration, is open sourcing Calcflow, the world’s first virtual reality (VR) graphing tool for mathematical modeling. Calcflow is one of the applications Matryx integrates to help its global users solve complex problems through 3D visualization and natural gesture interactions.

  • New open-source virtual modular synth available for free

    The new software, which was revealed at Illinois’s Knobcon 2017 tech convention over the weekend, brings the sound and workflow of Eurorack format modular synthesis to the computer. Unlike other existing software modular systems, like Softube Modular and Native Instrument’s Reaktor Blocks, VCV Rack’s code is publicly available and free to download for Mac, Windows and Linux. It’s currently in a beta form and features 30 modules, including versions of Mutable Instruments, Befaco and Synthesis Technology modules, some of which are directly ported from the original devices. More modules will be added in the coming weeks.

  • New VCV Software Modular for Mac/PC/Linux Is Free
  • The Most Promising Open Source Projects to Watch for in 2018

    Everyone and their mother is talking about open source projects. As you likely already know, at the core it’s a software which is used freely, shared globally in real-time and can be modified by virtually anyone. While there are a myriad of open source licenses offering users various degrees of freedom and leverage, they all have one thing in common: stimulating and encouraging collaboration.

    Beyond merely publishing code, the whole notion of open source is to generate an immersive dialogue where anyone has the right to propose changes and make an impact. It’s all about collectively collaborating and inspiring community dialogues.

  • Events

    • Open Source Summit Roundup, Day 1

      The Linux Foundation released the first six in a planned series of Open Source Guides for the Enterprise during Open Source Summit North America in Los Angeles today.

      The Linux Foundation developed the guides in conjunction with TODO Group, with contributors representing Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Microsoft, Google, Netflix, Samsung, Red Hat, Comcast, Autodesk, Intel, Oath, Facebook and Heptio.

    • Watch live: Exploring the open-source business model at Open Source Summit 2017

      Is open source a piece of the information technology stack, or is it the whole stack? What’s the business model around open source’s move up the stack?

      Looking to answer these and other questions, SiliconANGLE Media is at Open Source Summit 2017, taking place in Los Angeles, California, with exclusive commentary and interviews from our roving news desk, theCUBE. (* Disclosure below.) The four-day Linux Foundation event is a combination of LinuxCon, ContainerCon, CloudOpen and the Open Community Conference, which in 2017 all now sit under one umbrella.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 63 will detect and warn users of MitM attacks

        Errors can come from applications such as anti-virus software and firewalls, as well as from malware. But Chrome will filter the warning sign to only show up for software that has failed to rewrite SSL connections properly.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • t2k17 Hackathon report: Ken Westerback on dhclient progress, developer herding
    • A return-oriented programming defense from OpenBSD

      Stack-smashing attacks have a long history; they featured, for example, as a core part of the Morris worm back in 1988. Restrictions on executing code on the stack have, to a great extent, put an end to such simple attacks, but that does not mean that stack-smashing attacks are no longer a threat. Return-oriented programming (ROP) has become a common technique for compromising systems via a stack-smashing vulnerability. There are various schemes out there for defeating ROP attacks, but a mechanism called “RETGUARD” that is being implemented in OpenBSD is notable for its relative simplicity.

      In a classic stack-smashing attack, the attack code would be written directly to the stack and executed there. Most modern systems do not allow execution of on-stack code, though, so this kind of attack will be ineffective. The stack does affect code execution, though, in that the call chain is stored there; when a function executes a “return” instruction, the address to return to is taken from the stack. An attacker who can overwrite the stack can, thus, force a function to “return” to an arbitrary location.

    • HAMMER2 Now Available From DragonFlyBSD Installer

      Matthew Dillon has been very busy the past few weeks getting his HAMMER2 file-system ready for an experimental debut in the next DragonFlyBSD release.

    • Apple Will Talk About Its GPU Compiler & More At LLVM 2017 Meeting

    • Across the Charles Bridge – GNU Tools Cauldron 2017

      Since I joined Linaro back in 2015 around this time, my travel has gone up 3x with 2 Linaro Connects a year added to the one GNU Tools Cauldron. This year I went to FOSSAsia too, so it’s been a busy traveling year. The special thing about Cauldron though is that it is one of those conferences where I ‘work’ as well as have a lot of fun. The fun bit is because I get to meet all of the people that I work with almost every day in person and a lot of them have become great friends over the years.

  • Programming/Development

    • Remote imports for Python?

      Importing a module into a Python program is a pretty invasive operation; it directly runs code in the current process that has access to anything the process can reach. So it is not wildly surprising that a suggestion to add a way to directly import modules from remote sites was met with considerable doubt—if not something approaching hostility. It turns out that the person suggesting the change was not unaware of the security implications of the idea, but thought it had other redeeming qualities; others in the discussion were less sanguine.

    • A tale of three build systems

      As you might have noticed, meson is the new kid on the block. Step by step I am currently converting some projects to it, spearheading Shotwell. Since Shotwell only “recently” became an autotools project, you may ask why. Shotwell had a hand-written makefile system. This made some tasks that would have been incredibly easy with autotools, such as mallard documentation handling, more complicated than it should be. Since autotools provides all the nice features that you want for your GNOME environment, it made sense to leverage that.

    • Meson+Ninja Showing Speedy Build Results For Shotwell
    • Phoronix Test Suite 7.4 M4 Released As “Tynset” Nears Final

      The last planned test/development release of Phoronix Test Suite 7.4-Tynset is now available ahead of the planned stable release in the days to come.

    • 6 lessons on using technical RFCs as a management tool

      As an engineering leader, I value trust and believe that individual contributors should be involved in architectural and high-level technical decision making. I consider every line of code to be a decision made on behalf of someone else (including your future self), and having a fast-growing distributed team makes technical decision making particularly difficult to manage.

      In the early days of building ride-sharing app Ride, we went from three to more than 25 members, across product, design, and engineering, in the first six months. We were tasked with the challenge of taking an early prototype for a carpooling platform and bringing it to life on the web, iOS, and Android. To make things more fun, we were also distributed across the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Ireland.


      We weren’t the first people to encounter this problem, so we looked at how open source software projects dealt with these situations, and came to the conclusion that adopting the Request for Comments (RFC) process would help us make better decisions together.

    • Modern Modules

      Re-thinking the Node.js ecosystem for modern JavaScript.

      A few months back I sat down to write some code.

      Node.js 8 had been out a while and I decided to take advantage of some of the new language features like async/await in my new code.

    • Using Node.js Packages Manager (NPM)


  • Tiny tragedies: an iPhone 7 dongle story
  • Tesla remotely extends the range of some cars to help with Irma

    Tesla sometimes sells cars with more hardware battery capacity than is initially available for use by customers, offering the additional capacity as a subsequent software update. For example, Tesla has sold Model S cars rated 60D—the 60 stands for 60kWh of energy storage—that actually have 75kWh batteries. Owners of these vehicles can pay Tesla $9,000 to unlock the extra 15kWh of storage capacity.

  • Tesla Remotely Extended The Range Of Drivers In Florida For Free… And That’s NOT A Good Thing

    In the lead up to Hurricane Irma hitting Florida over the weekend, Tesla did something kind of interesting: it gave a “free” upgrade to a bunch of Tesla drivers in Florida, extending the range of those vehicles, to make it easier for them to evacuate the state. Now, as an initial response, this may seem praiseworthy. The company did something (at no cost to car-owners) to help them evacuate from a serious danger zone. In a complete vacuum, that sounds like a good idea. But there are a variety of problems with it when put back into context.

    The first thing you need to understand is that while Tesla sells different version of its Model S, with different ranges, the range is actually entirely software-dependent. That is, it uses the same batteries in different cars — it just limits how much they’ll charge via software. Thus, spend more on a “nicer” model and more of the battery is used. So all that happened here was that Tesla “upgraded” these cars with an over the air update. In some ways, this feels kind of neat — it means that a Tesla owner could “purchase” an upgrade to extend the range of the car. But it should also be somewhat terrifying.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why the next Labour Manifesto must pledge to legislate to reinstate the NHS

      Labour’s 2017 health manifesto was a hodgepodge of offers – but failed to tackle the underlying issues. Bold thinking and a commitment to the NHS Reinstatement Bill – is needed now if Labour is not to leave NHS patients subject to the mercies of the private sector, NHS workers deregulated, NHS buildings facing more PFI and sell-offs, and the frontline under-funded as money continues to be wasted on private-sector friendly bureaucracy.

  • Security

    • The only safe email is text-only email

      The real issue is that today’s web-based email systems are electronic minefields filled with demands and enticements to click and engage in an increasingly responsive and interactive online experience. It’s not just Gmail, Yahoo mail and similar services: Desktop-computer-based email programs like Outlook display messages in the same unsafe way.

    • BlackBerry admits: We could do better at patching

      BlackBerry has confirmed that its first Android device, the Priv, will be stuck on Google’s 2015 operating system forevermore, which Google itself will cease supporting next year.

      Having been promised “the most secure Android”, BlackBerry loyalists have seen the promise of monthly security updates stutter recently, with distribution of the monthlies getting patchy (no pun intended).

    • Researcher publicly discloses 10 zero-day flaws in D-Link 850L routers

      Peeved about previous vulnerability disclosures experiences with D-Link, a security researcher has publicly disclosed 10 zero-day vulnerabilities in D-Link DIR 850L wireless AC1200 dual-band gigabit cloud routers.

      Security researcher Pierre Kim opted to publicly disclose the vulnerabilities this time, citing a “very badly coordinated” disclosure with D-Link in February. That time around he had reported nine vulnerabilities, but he said it took D-Link five months to release new firmware that ended up patching only one of the flaws he found.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Researchers use Windows 10 Linux subsystem to run malware

      The provision of a Linux subsystem on Windows systems — a new Windows 10 feature known as Subsystem for Linux (WSL) — has made it possible to run known malware on such systems and bypass even the most common security solutions, security researchers at Check Point claim.

      In a detailed blog post, researchers Gal Elbaz and Dvir Atias said they had dubbed this technique of getting malware onto a Windows system as Bashware, with Bash being the default shell on a large number of Linux distributions.

    • Episode 62 – All about the Equifax hack
    • Equifax moves to fix weak PINs for “security freeze” on consumer credit reports

      As Equifax moved to provide consumers the ability to protect their credit reports on the heels of a major data breach, some of the details of the company’s response were found lacking. As consumers registered and moved to lock their credit reports—in order to prevent anyone who had stolen data from opening credit in their name—they found that the security personal identification number (PIN) provided in the locking process was potentially insecure.


      The PIN revelation came on the heels of concerns that Equifax was attempting to block the ability of those checking to see if their data was exposed or enrolling in the TrustedID Premiere service to sue Equifax over the breach. An Equifax spokesperson said that the arbitration clause in the Terms of Service for TrustedID Premier only applied to the service itself, not to the breach.

    • Unpatched Open Source Software Flaw Blamed for Massive Equifax Breach [Ed: But this claim has since then been retracted, so it might be fake news]
    • Equifax Breach Blamed on Open-Source Software Flaw [Ed: This report from a News Corp. tabloid has since been retracted, so why carry on linking to it?]
    • The hidden threat lurking in an otherwise secure software stack [Ed: Yet another attack on FOSS security, courtesy of the Microsoft-connected Black Duck]
    • [ANNOUNCE] Emacs 25.3 released
    • Emacs 25.3 Released To Fix A Security Vulnerability Of Malicious Lisp Scripts

      GNU –
      Emacs 25.3 is now available, but it doesn’t offer major new features, rather it fixes a security vulnerability.

      Emacs’ x-display decoding feature within the Enriched Text mode could lead to executing arbitrary malicious Lisp code within the text.

    • Measuring security: Part 1 – Things that make money

      If you read my previous post on measuring security, you know I broke measuring into three categories. I have no good reason to do this other than it’s something that made sense to me. There are without question better ways to split these apart, I’m sure there is even overlap, but that’s not important. What actually matters is to start a discussion on measuring what we do. The first topic is about measuring security that directly adds to revenue such as a product or service.


      I see a lot of groups that don’t do any of this. They wander in circles sometimes adding security features that don’t matter, often engineering solutions that customers only need or want 10% of. I’ll never forget when I first looked at actual metrics on new features and realized something we wanted to add was going to have a massive cost and generate zero additional revenue (it may have actually detracted in future product sales). On this day I saw the power in metrics. Overnight my group became heroes for saving everyone a lot of work and headaches. Sometimes doing nothing is the most valuable action you can take.

    • What is Bashware? Nearly 400 million PCs at risk from new attack method that could hide any malware[Ed: Disgusting headline where Microsoft's EEE is used to make GNU/Linux look not secure]
    • Bashware: Malware Can Abuse Windows 10′s Linux Shell to Bypass Security Software [Ed: Better headline; Microsoft is a security threat to GNU/Linux rather than the other way around]
    • The Morning Risk Report: Open-Source Software in Spotlight After Equifax Breach [Ed: News Corp. cites itself (NYP same owner as WSJ) in claiming that FOSS is to blame, even though the original claim was retracted]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • 16 Years After 9/11, Muslims Still Central Targets in War With No End

      As the nation on Monday mourned the nearly 3,000 lives lost 16 years ago in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the lifting of restrictions on the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban” by the U.S. Supreme Court served as a timely reminder of how Muslims in the United States and worldwide continue to suffer from the so-called “War on Terror” launched in the wake of the 2001 attacks.

      “The War on Terror was supposed to be about making our country safer. But as a Muslim American, I don’t feel any safer,” writes Maha Hilal, a professor and organizer, for Foreign Policy In Focus. Each year on September 11, in addition to mourning those killed in the 2001 attacks, she writes, “I also mourn the often forgotten victims of the never-ending wars and draconian counter-terrorism policies of the post-9/11 world: the Muslim community.”

    • Siding With Trump, SCOTUS Gives Narrowed Muslim Ban Temporary Stay

      U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday put a temporary hold on a lower court’s ruling that had narrowed the scope of the Trump administration’s so-called Muslim ban, thus allowing the government to continue to at least briefly bar entry from some 24,000 refugees.

      “Kennedy ordered those opposing the administration to file court papers by noon Tuesday,” Bloomberg reports.

      His one-page ruling (pdf) follows a bid by the administration to block part of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from last Thursday. The administration argued that blocking entry to refugees who have formal assurances from resettlement agencies would “prevent further uncertainty and disruption.” Amnesty International USA, in contrast, had welcomed that ruling as “temporary relief for thousands of people fleeing horrific violence.”

    • The Pentagon’s New Wonder Weapons for World Dominion

      Now imagine us back in the 21st century. It’s 2030 and an American “triple canopy” of pervasive surveillance systems and armed drones already fills the heavens from the lower stratosphere to the exo-atmosphere. It can deliver its weaponry anywhere on the planet with staggering speed, knock out enemy satellite communications at a moment’s notice, or follow individuals biometrically for great distances. It’s a wonder of the modern age. Along with the country’s advanced cyberwar capacity, it’s also the most sophisticated military information system ever created and an insurance policy for global dominion deep into the twenty-first century.

    • The Rationality of Kim Jong-un (and His Nukes)

      Kim Jong-un is not mad. Quite the contrary. He has pulled off a wholly rational feat. By producing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of delivering them to U.S. territory, Pyongyang has obtained near-assurance that the U.S. will not attack it, in (yet another) attempt at regime change.

      Wait, you’ll say. He already had that insurance. Every talking head on cable news says a U.S. strike would inevitably mean an attack on Seoul, which would kill tens of thousands immediately. South Koreans would blame the invasion on the U.S. So it’s just not tenable. Even if limited to conventional forces, the threat of invasion already constituted adequate deterrence. There’s no way the U.S. would trigger an attack on a city of 10 million people who are supposed to view the U.S. as their benevolent protector. So the North Koreans didn’t need to upset the world by acquiring nukes.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Senate Intelligence Authorization Report Filed

      The central point of contention in the bill is a provision (sec. 623) declaring a sense of Congress “that WikiLeaks and the senior leadership of WikiLeaks resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States.”

      The provision had originally stated that WikiLeaks and its leadership “constitute” a non-state hostile intelligence service. But this was amended to replace “constitute” with “resemble”. That move might have attenuated the provision’s significance except that it went on to say — whether WikiLeaks constitutes or merely resembles a non-state hostile intelligence service — that the U.S. should treat it as such.

      A hostile state-based intelligence service would presumably be subject to intense surveillance by the US. A competent US counterintelligence agency might also seek to infiltrate the hostile service, to subvert its agenda, and even to take it over or disable it.

      Whether such a response would also be elicited by “a non-state hostile intelligence service” is hard to say since the concept itself is new and undefined.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • I Was an Exxon-Funded Climate Scientist

      ExxonMobil’s deliberate attempts to sow doubt on the reality and urgency of climate change and their donations to front groups to disseminate false information about climate change have been public knowledge for a long time, now.

      Investigative reports in 2015 revealed that Exxon had its own scientists doing its own climate modeling as far back as the 1970s: science and modeling that was not only accurate, but that was being used to plan for the company’s future.

      Now, a peer-reviewed study published August 23 has confirmed that what Exxon was saying internally about climate change was quantitatively very different from their public statements.

      Specifically, researchers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes found that at least 80 percent of the internal documents and peer-reviewed publications they studied from between 1977 and 2014 were consistent with the state of the science – acknowledging that climate change is real and caused by humans, and identifying “reasonable uncertainties” that any climate scientist would agree with at the time.

      Yet over 80 percent of Exxon’s editorial-style paid advertisements over the same period specifically focused on uncertainty and doubt, the study found.

    • “The Last Guardians”: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice in Ecuador

      An international movement by Indigenous peoples to protect their lands from despoilment is magnifying a fight for justice that has been under the radar for too long. It exploded onto the US national news when Native Americans said “no” to the planned Dakota Access pipeline, fearing for the safety of their drinking water.

      In a new documentary, The Last Guardians, British filmmakers Joe Tucker and Adam Punzano give viewers an on-the-ground look at the fight for Indigenous land rights and self-determination in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

    • Irma Destroys Haitian Farmland as Recovery Goes On from Recent Natural Disasters & Cholera Outbreak

      The death toll from Hurricane Irma has reached at least 27 in the Caribbean. The numbers are expected to rise as rescuers reach the hardest-hit areas. Irma destroyed major parts of several Caribbean islands, including Barbuda and Saint Martin. Cuba also suffered major flooding in Havana and other cities, but there were no reported deaths. The entrepreneur Richard Branson has called for a “Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan” for the Caribbean. Cuba has already sent more than 750 health workers to Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Saint Lucia, the Bahamas, Dominica and Haiti. While Haiti avoided a direct hit from Irma, the hurricane still caused substantial damage in a country still recovering from the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew last year. Hurricane Irma displaced more than 100,000 Haitians and destroyed crops in the north of the country. We are joined here in New York by Kim Ives, an editor at Haïti Liberté.

    • Oaxacan Residents Plead for Water & Food After Mexican Earthquake Kills Over 90 People

      In Mexico, the death toll from Thursday’s devastating 8.2-magnitude earthquake has risen to 90 people as rescue teams continue to search through the rubble in parts of the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. Over the weekend, journalist Andalusia Knoll spoke to survivors from the earthquake in Juchitán, Oaxaca, which was the city hardest hit by the earthquake.

    • Hurricane Irma Unleashes the Forces of Privatization in Puerto Rico

      The fragile body responsible for that power is the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, whose executive leadership warned ahead of the storm that parts of the island could be left without electricity for up to six months. Thanks to the change in the storm’s path and a crew of dedicated line workers, Prepa, the island’s sole electricity provider, now expects most towns to have their lights back on within two weeks and full power within a month. As of Monday, more than 70 percent of homes had already gotten electricity back.

    • Climate change has become a “moral crisis,” top scientist says

      Foley also tweeted a link to a New York Times article to discuss how scientists say the time to discuss climate change is “right now.” In the piece, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt said that “to have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced. To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida.”

    • Harvey’s flooding blamed in major gasoline spill in Texas

      Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters triggered a spill of almost a half-million gallons of gasoline from two storage tanks along the Houston Ship Channel, marking the largest spill reported to date from a storm that slammed into the heart of Texas’ huge petrochemical industry.

      The spill measured 10,988 barrels, or more than 461,000 gallons, and occurred at a petroleum tank farm in Galena Park operated by Magellan Midstream Partners, according to the Oklahoma-based company and accident reports submitted to federal officials.

    • Pope Criticizes Climate Change Deniers and Trump on DACA
    • China joins the growing movement to ban gasoline and diesel cars

      China has become the latest country to publicly discuss plans to ban the production and sale of gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. In July, both France and the UK published plans to phase out sales of conventionally powered vehicles by 2040. China will now add another nail to the coffin of the internal combustion engine. However, unlike the French or British plans, in this case there’s no target date—yet.

      The news comes from an automotive policy forum in Tianjin. China’s vice minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobin, said that his ministry has begun work on a timetable to phase out fossil fueled vehicles. The Xinhua news agency also reports that Xin told automakers they need to begin to “readjust their strategies” accordingly. For foreign car companies hoping to sell EVs in China, that will mean investing in the country, as imported vehicles come with stiff import duties attached.

    • Congratulations, America. Here were some of your dumbest hurricane ideas

      I’ve spent the better part of the last month forecasting and writing about hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and between my work for Ars and a Houston-based forecasting site, I have probably written about 40,000 words on weather. So I have thought a lot about these storms. I have read a lot about them. And I despair for some of my fellow humans.

      Hurricanes are rightly called natural disasters. Essentially, they are the planet’s way of transferring heat from the tropics toward the polar regions of the planet. Unfortunately, human nature (and the behavior of some humans in particular) makes these disasters worse.

    • Volkswagen Group will electrify all 12 brands by 2030, needs gigafactories

      First Volvo did it. Then Jaguar Land Rover did it. On Monday, Volkswagen Group signed up. On the eve of the Frankfurt Auto Show, VW Group chairman Matthias Müller committed his company to electrifying its entire lineup by 2030. “The transformation in our industry is unstoppable. And we will lead that transformation,” he said.

      Like Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover, VW Group is pledging to have an electric version of each of its new models available; it is not promising that it will build only electric and hybrid vehicles. But the 12 brands under the VW Group umbrella collectively sell many more cars than either Sweden’s Volvo or Britain’s Jag, so we are still talking about an awful lot of EVs.

    • Irma Won’t “Wake Up” Climate Change-Denying Republicans. Their Whole Ideology Is on the Line.

      As one of the most powerful storms ever recorded bore down on the continental United States, with much of Florida under evacuation order, President Donald Trump was focused on a matter of grave urgency.

      He gathered his cabinet at Camp David and said there was no time to waste. With Hurricane Irma set to potentially devastate huge swaths of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, now was the time, he said, to rush through massive … tax cuts.

      Yes, that’s right. He wasn’t focused on getting massive aid to those most affected. He wasn’t focused on massive change to our energy and transit systems to lower greenhouse gas emissions so that Irma-like storms do not become a thrice-annual occurrence. His mind was on massive changes to the tax code — which, despite Trump’s claims that he is driven by a desire to give the middle class relief, would in fact hand corporations the biggest tax cut in decades and the very wealthy a sizable break as well.

    • The Military’s Warning on Global Warming

      It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The really neat American idea was that the military’s zest for battle would be restrained by the measured judgment of a civilian-led government. But the spreading perception internationally is that President Trump’s generals are the last-ditch guarantors of common sense in a deranged White House.

    • I’ve Seen the Reality of What Happens After Disasters Like Irma

      Irma is battering its way towards South Florida, where it will be the most powerful hurricane to strike the state since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

      Aid for victims of Andrew was infamously slow to arrive and chaotically distributed when it finally turned up. Federal and state authorities waiting for Irma say that they learned their lesson from mistakes made then, and that nothing like that could happen again.

      I doubt that: 10 days after Andrew, I was in Homestead, a devastated town 20 miles south of Miami, where I was warmly greeted by local people who initially thought I was an insurance adjuster or a government official come to help them. They were only a little less welcoming when I explained that I was a British journalist, since their expectations of speedy government assistance were realistically low.

  • Finance

    • Norway in Close Vote as PM Hopes Economic Record Will Resonate
    • Break Up the Tech Giants? No, Just Level the Field [iophk: glosses over Microsoft the cult"]

      The fundamental problem with the tech leaders is that they have, for many years, succeeded in presenting themselves as something different than they are. Amazon (minus its commercial cloud business) is a big retailer with a strong distribution network that other retailers also choose to use. Google and Facebook are media corporations because their business model, based on selling ads, puts them squarely in that sector; it doesn’t matter that they don’t themselves create the content they sell to advertisers or that they collect lots of behavioral data about users — the money-for-eyeballs model remains essentially the same as for old-school media companies. Uber is a taxi firm. Airbnb is a hospitality company.

    • When the President is a Ponzi Scheme

      At the end of August, Trump gave a speech in Missouri outlining his economic plan, which boils down to cutting taxes. He pledged to reduce the corporate tax to 15 percent (from the current 35 percent) and cut taxes by a certain amount for everyone else. He has also promised to eliminate the estate tax.

      The trick of the president’s Ponzi scheme is to provide enormous payouts to the wealthy under the auspices of a presumably populist plan to benefit everyone. According to the Tax Policy Center, Trump’s proposed cuts would deliver a tax cut of $214,000 to the top 1 percent and a mere $1,000 to middle-income families. Repealing the estate tax, meanwhile, would only benefit heirs who inherit lump sums of more than $5.49 million.

    • Welfare for Wall Street: Fees on Retirement Accounts

      Most of us are willing to help out those who are less well off. Whether it comes from religious belief or a sense of basic decency we feel are an obligation to provide the basic necessities of life for the poor. But how would we feel about being taxed $1,000 a year to provide six figure salaries to people in the financial sector? Although no candidate to my knowledge has ever run on this platform, this is the nature of the retirement system the federal government has constructed for us.

      Twenty or 30 years ago, most middle-class workers had defined benefit pensions. This meant that they could count on a fixed benefit that was some fraction of their average salary during their working years. For example, a person who spent 30 years at a company may be entitled to a pension that was equal to 60 percent of their average salary over their final five years of work.

    • Amazon’s Whole Foods deal could still be reversed thanks to forgotten antitrust case

      Amazon formally takes ownership of Whole Foods after the Federal Trade Commission signaled on August 23 that it wouldn’t stop the deal.

      The online retailer isn’t wasting any time remaking the high-end grocery chain in its low-price image. Its first act involved cutting prices on dozens of items, from avocados to tilapia. But that is not what is sending shivers down the aisles of rival food retailers like Walmart, which now controls 20 percent of the grocery market by pursuing just such a low-price strategy.

      The reason, which the FTC ignored in providing its imprimatur, is that Amazon gives Whole Foods access to an online marketing platform that no other grocery company, even a behemoth like Walmart, can hope to reproduce.

    • An Anti-Poverty Program That Makes It Pay to Work

      Imagine a government-funded anti-poverty tool that encouraged people to work. Now imagine that it’s popular with both Democrats and Republicans, in red states and blue.

      Turns out we’ve had just such a tool since 1975: the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC.

      The EITC is of the most popular and effective anti-poverty tools. It’s a refundable tax credit for workers in eligible low-income families, especially those with children.

    • To Insure More Poor Children, It Helps If Parents Are On Medicaid

      Efforts by Republican lawmakers to scale back Medicaid enrollment could undercut an aspect of the program that has widespread bipartisan appeal — covering more children, research published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs suggests.

      The study focuses on the impact of Medicaid’s “welcome-mat” effect — a term used to describe the spillover benefits kids get when Medicaid eligibility is extended to their parents.

      Children were more likely to be enrolled in public health insurance programs — specifically Medicaid, which in some states is administered as an expansion of the federal-state Children’s Health Insurance Program — if their parents were also able to enroll, explained Julie Hudson, a senior economist at the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the paper’s lead author.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Steve Bannon’s self-serving political advice to President Trump

      Trump’s path to the presidency went like this, in broad strokes. He announced his campaign and quickly became embroiled in a controversy over his comments about Mexican immigrants. That public fight did a number of things: Positioned him as “anti-P.C.,” endeared him to anti-immigration hard-liners and established him in opposition to the Republican establishment. The result was a strong core of conservative support that, in a splintered field of 17 Republican candidates, helped power him through the primary process.

      Most candidates would then reposition themselves back toward the middle to appeal to the broader general-election voting base. Trump didn’t. But he had two other things working for him: a deeply unpopular opponent and a deeply partisan political moment. The former meant that a lot of people were forced to pick between two candidates they didn’t like, and more picked Trump. The latter meant that Republicans who were skeptical about Trump voted for him anyway.

    • Corporate Media’s Soft Spot for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

      In June, the celebrity magazine Us Weekly (6/7/17) ran a cover story on Ivanka Trump not-so-subtly titled, “Why I Disagree With My Dad.” Relying on carefully chosen anonymous “sources” and “Ivanka insiders,” the story cast the First Daughter as a key player inside the White House who has “battled” her more conservative father over “everything from LGBT rights to the North American Free Trade Agreement,” and who was “disappointed” by his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords just days earlier. It was standard celebrity tabloid fare, which is to say it was a public relations coup for Ivanka Trump and her husband, real-estate developer Jared Kushner, who were given a sympathetic platform to polish their personal brands.

      But most notable about the Us Weekly story was how little it differed from the supposedly serious coverage of Trump and Kushner by news organizations like the New York Times, CNN and Politico. Almost as soon as Donald Trump won the election last November, corporate media began to concoct a collective narrative that the couple would exert a strong moderating influence on the new president, regardless of all Trump’s reactionary, xenophobic and hateful rhetoric during the 2016 campaign.

    • Kris Kobach Pushes Voter Fraud Lies While Meeting With Fellow Suppression Activists

      There are more people on Kobach’s voter fraud commission than people he has convicted of voter fraud.

      Kris Kobach is getting desperate. In a column last week for Breitbart, the Kansas Secretary of State declared that voter fraud tipped the scales in the election last year in New Hampshire.

      The evidence?

      Anyone who registered to vote on Election Day with another state’s drivers’ license and didn’t get a New Hampshire license within 60 days was an illegitimate voter and, according to Kobach’s apparently psychic powers, most likely a Democrat!

    • Make Mark Zuckerberg Testify

      Last week, after what must have been a series of extremely grim meetings in Menlo Park, Facebook admitted publicly that part of its revenue includes what appears to be politically motivated fraud undertaken by a shady Russian company. The social network, perhaps motivated by a Washington Post scoop on the matter, released a statement outlining the issues at hand, but leaving the most important questions unanswered. Only Facebook knows these answers, and we should assume they won’t be eager to volunteer them.

    • Top Republican’s attempt to steer the Trump-Russia probe toward ‘unmasking’ may be about to backfire spectacularly

      President Donald Trump and his supporters have been on a mission to expose why the Obama administration requested the unmasking of his associates who were either mentioned or directly involved in surveilled conversations with Russian officials last year.

      But pursuing that line of inquiry, which Trump has called “the biggest story” about his campaign and Russia, could provide more ammunition to the administration’s critics than its defenders — and a new report suggests it could backfire in spectacular fashion.

    • Brexit: MPs urged not to ‘frustrate’ repeal bill

      Any MPs who oppose the government’s EU repeal bill will be backing a “chaotic” Brexit, ministers have warned ahead of the first key vote on the legislation.
      The EU Withdrawal Bill, which will end the supremacy of EU law in the UK, is being debated in the Commons.
      Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged MPs not to “frustrate” the process, suggesting the public wanted the government to “get this thing done”.
      Jeremy Corbyn is facing a rebellion over Labour’s opposition to the bill.

    • New analysis suggests Fox News is working, shifting votes to R column

      While it has presented itself as “balanced” over the years, there’s little doubt that Fox News has consistently supported Republican candidates and positions even when that required taking an editorial position against basic facts. On some level, this has worked, as surveys have indicated Fox viewers are more likely to get those same facts wrong. But is it working in terms of the larger goal of supporting Republican causes?

    • Has the NYT Gone Collectively Mad?

      For those of us who have taught journalism or worked as editors, a sign that an article is the product of sloppy or dishonest journalism is that a key point will be declared as flat fact when it is unproven or a point in serious dispute – and it then becomes the foundation for other claims, building a story like a high-rise constructed on sand.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • [Old] Measuring Internet Censorship in Cuba’s ParkNets

      Cuba’s internet landscape is quite unique. It only has one telecom company (ETECSA), which is state-owned and which was only introduced to the public a few years ago.

      But Cubans cannot access the internet from the comfort of their homes. Rather, they must visit public wifi hotspots. Most hotspots are located in parks, which is why we dubbed them “ParkNets”. Cubans therefore have a uniquely different relationship with the internet, in comparison to other countries. They don’t access the internet, they visit it.

    • Google Censorship Catapults Popularity Of Privacy-Oriented Search Engine DuckDuckGo

      A lesser known search engine by the name of DuckDuckGo has enjoyed a surge in popularity as many people continue to lose trust on Google in terms of privacy and censorship. According to recent stats from Alexa Internet, the search engine has doubled in popularity and is now the 400th most popular website.

    • ASIS&T Supports Cambridge University Press’ Decision to Resist Censorship

      The Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) released a statement endorsing Cambridge University Press’ decision “to resist censorship and reinstate the China Quarterly articles previously censored by the Chinese government. ASIS&T stands behind the many academics and scholars who petitioned Cambridge University Press to take this action.”

      It continues: “ASIS&T condemns censorship and the limitation of access to information in all forms. We value academic freedom and the right of authors to have their work published without restriction. ASIS&T will oppose any efforts by governments or other authorities to restrict the free flow of scholarship and information throughout our global society.”

    • FireWatch dev uses DMCA against PewDiePie after streamed racial slur

      Campo Santo, the developer behind forest exploration game Firewatch, is using DMCA requests to take down videos of its game streamed by popular YouTube personality Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg. The move comes after PewDiePie called another player a “n—–r” (NSFW video) during a live stream of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds yesterday.

      “We’re filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie’s Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games,” Campo Santo cofounder Sean Vanaman said in a Twitter thread yesterday evening. “There is a bit of leeway you have to have with the internet when u [sic] wake up every day and make video games. There’s also a breaking point. I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make.”

    • YouTube pulls down ‘immigration and Islam’ video featuring Nigel Farage amid growing censorship row
    • Report: YouTube’s Censorship, Appeals Algorithm Is Killing Content Creators
    • Law making it illegal to collect data, photo of open land hangs in balance

      Wyoming lawmakers adopted legislation in 2015 making it illegal to gather data on open lands for the purpose of reporting harmful farming practices, environmental degradation, or other ills. That includes performing water quality tests or taking photographs. Fearing constitutional concerns, the state legislature amended the law last year to say virtually the same thing but with a caveat: it’s illegal to do such gathering if the observer does it from private property or had to cross private property first before entering public lands to do their investigation.

      And a federal judge bought it and said there was nothing unconstitutional about the ag-gag law because, you know, trespassing is an illegal act.

      Conservation and animal rights groups took the decision to a federal appeals court. Days ago, the appeals court put that lower court’s decision on life support. The 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals said the ordinance stifles speech, particularly speech necessary for public discourse about environmental and animal safety regulations.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Court Says ‘Possible’ Just As Good As ‘Probable;’ Lets DEA To Keep Evidence From Warrantless Search

      A few judges have called out the government for this behavior, making claims that would turn a large number of non-criminals into potential suspects. Drug dealers are humans and do human things just like millions of non-drug dealers. They shop at Costco just like innocent people do. But the government would have us believe — “based on training and expertise” — that common activities are suspicious, especially when the government is already engaged in an investigation. Even the most innocuous actions become sinister when the government is seeking to reach a foregone conclusion.

      But there’s more to it than that. Kozinski also points out the DEA’s “training and expertise” statements often paint contradictory situations as equally suspicious. If the government wants to keep making arguments about common activities being the height of criminal suspicion, the least it could do is be consistent.

    • Congress braces for tense debate on surveillance law

      Lawmakers are facing a potentially bruising fight over a surveillance law that expires Dec. 31 and must be extended in time to preserve what U.S. spy agencies consider a vital piece of their arsenal.

      Congress has to extend the 2012 FISA Amendments Act, which will pit the Trump administration and national security hawks in Congress who favor a permanent reauthorization with no changes, against lawmakers of both parties, libertarians, privacy advocates and communications companies seeking to tighten protections for U.S. persons whose communications may get caught up in the wide electronic net cast by spy agencies.

    • Key US surveillance law faces Congress fight

      The US Justice and Intelligence chiefs on Monday formally asked Congress to renew a crucial surveillance law, setting up a battle with civil libertarians over collection of Americans’ personal data.

      Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are seeking a reauthorization of Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), whose key Section 702 allows the National Security Agency to tap the communications of foreigners located abroad for intelligence purposes.

    • Equifax, yet another catastrophic leak: the old world can’t get away with this stuff anymore

      Did you notice this leak was almost exclusively broken by tech press, and wasn’t in mainstream press until several days after the story had already been discussed everywhere? And that practically none of the mainstream outlets have any educated analysis or commentary that would have been an absolute requirement for, say, a Middle Eastern geopolitical story? This is a telltale sign of unacceptable priorities — Fleet Street is as inexcusably ignorant of the new world as Wall Street.

    • Report: Finnish Parliament purges visitor logs daily after court order to provide data upon request

      Since last spring, Parliamentary officials appear to have taken to purging the guest list on a daily basis, instead of keeping the data intact for years, according to Svenska Yle.

    • Aadhaar Pay weighs on banks as lenders doubt efficacy in big cities

      In an Aadhaar-based payment, the biometric data, the 12-digit Aadhaar number and the transaction amount are transmitted from merchant PoS to multiple entities: the acquiring bank, National Payments Corporation of India (an umbrella organisation for retail payments in India), UIDAI (which issues and stores Aadhaar data), back to NPCI and finally to the customer’s bank where the shopper’s account is debited.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Right to Due Process in Detention: Jennings v. Rodriguez

      It’s a disgrace that immigrants, including green card holders, have been held for months and years without hearings.

      This case began in May 2007 with a basic question: Can the federal government lock someone up, for months or years, without a hearing to determine if his or her imprisonment is justified? Shockingly, at the time, the answer in the most of the country was yes — that is, if the person is an immigrant facing deportation proceeding, even he or she is legally in the United States.

    • Here’s How Communities and City Councils Can Reject Trump’s Militarization of Local Police

      Local police departments do not need to become a combination of the U.S. Army and C.I.A.

      Two weeks ago, President Trump issued an executive order that gave a push to local police militarization. Trump’s action rescinded an Obama-era policy meant to provide greater transparency and oversight around the Department of Defense 1033 program and other federal resources that provide military weapons to local police.

      Contrary to what Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month before the Fraternal Order of Police, the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, the Obama administration did not deny “life-saving gear” like “what they’re using in Texas right now.” The Obama administration prohibited only a few military weapons, like bayonets and grenade launchers.

      The real centerpiece of the Obama reform was not prohibitions but checks on the types of military weapons law enforcement could get, like mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles, grenades, and drones. The Obama administration’s reforms required that law enforcement verify with the federal government that training and oversight requirements were in place for the weapons of war it was soliciting from various federal agencies.

    • Relatives of Undocumented Children Caught Up in ICE Dragnet


      This summer, a Kansas City man named Edwin got a call from immigration officials. They had picked up his nephew at the southern border and wanted to release the teen into his care. So Edwin went online and bought a bed.

      Later that week, he was contacted again, this time by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detective who knocked at his door. The agent gave Edwin a letter saying he needed to come to headquarters for an interview about three federal crimes: conspiracy, visa fraud and human smuggling.

      Across the country, people like Edwin who have taken in young undocumented relatives are being swept up in what ICE calls a crackdown on guardians who pay human smugglers. More than 400 people were arrested over the course of two months this summer as part of the new approach. Others are still dodging ICE interviews, have agreed to go through deportation proceedings or have gone on the run. Some of those affected admit that they paid “coyotes” to reunite them with their young children. But many are collateral damage: People who just happened to be in the house when ICE showed up, or relatives who agreed to take in teens after they traveled to the U.S. on their own.

    • EU flags at Last Night of the Proms anger Farage

      Nigel Farage has accused concertgoers who waved European Union flags at the Last Night of the Proms on Saturday of being in denial about Brexit, as remain campaigners claimed a publicity victory when BBC TV pictures showed a sea of blue and gold stars at the traditionally patriotic event.

      Anti-Brexit activists claim they handed out around 7,000 free EU flags to ticket holders and musicians at the Royal Albert Hall in a carefully planned, crowdfunded campaign that angered the former Ukip leader and other leave supporters.

    • A new study shows Trump fans can be easily coaxed into being more racist

      It’s easy to turn Trump supporters against government assistance programs—just show them a picture of a black man.
      That’s the conclusion of a new study, which suggests that white resentment is a key driving force for supporting Donald Trump. The study, soon to be published in Research & Politics, found that white Trump supporters were more likely to back a federal mortgage aid program if they were first exposed to an image of a white man. However, when they were shown an image of a black man, white Trump supporters weren’t only less likely to support the aid program, but were angrier about the policy, and more likely to blame potential beneficiaries of the program for their own predicament.

    • Cop Cleans Out Wallet Of Unlicensed Hot Dog Vendor Just Because He Can

      No job too small. That’s asset forfeiture for you. But small jobs are the safest jobs when it comes to the government keeping someone else’s property. Keeping the seizures small makes it less likely they’ll be challenged by those whose property was taken.

      The year-end totals may look impressive, but behind those totals are lots and lots of tiny cash grabs. In the cases where agencies’ forfeitures have been itemized and examined (which is a rarity — there’s a ton of opacity in forfeiture reporting), the largest number of forfeitures are for the smallest amounts, usually well under $1,000.

      Officers take what they can because they can. A video going viral on Twitter shows a California police officer rummaging through the wallet of an unlicensed street vendor and taking the vendor’s cash and debit card. A citation and a shutdown of the hot dog stand should have been enough. But it wasn’t. Officer Sean Aranas decided — with the only citation handed out during the football game — to take the man’s earnings.

    • Man beaten up for speaking in fluent English in Delhi
    • Berkeley Republicans Hope More Left-Wing Riots Will Create “Pedestal” For Conservative Movement

      The students hosting conservative pundit Ben Shapiro at University of California, Berkeley this week say their fingers are crossed in the hopes for a left-wing protest that could amplify his message.

      “I am expecting a riot,” said Bradley Devlin, the secretary of the Berkeley College Republicans. “We can look at a political pattern. Whenever the right steps up in the Bay Area, the antifa is there to perpetrate violent acts and shut them down.”

    • Native communities in danger in Argentina

      The Indigenous Territorial Emergency Law, which restrains legal evictions and prevents native communities from losing their ancestral lands expires in November. There are about 1500 communities in danger.

    • Ajamu Baraka on Law and Disorder Radio
    • Racism and Authoritarianism Reach Climax Together in the Brexit Bill

      There is in practice a link between racism and authoritarianism. You don’t get many racist anarcho-syndicalists. You don’t get many anti-racist fascists. It doesn’t just work at the extremes – the “Alf Garnett” caricature of a devotion to the monarchy, strong central authority and the military, accompanying racism is a recognisable truth.

      Yesterday, we got the joyous union of both tendencies, as Westminster passed the Brexit Bill which simultaneously promised to keep pesky foreigners out of Britain and remove centuries of equally pesky checks on executive power.

      There is no motivation for Brexit other than racism. I still have never had a conversation with anyone – including here on this blog – in which their motivation for supporting Brexit did not come down to stopping Eastern Europeans from coming here. Those who consider themselves “left wing” like to frame this racism as a desire to protect British workers from wage competition – a peculiarly nationalistic concern for the working class of one nation only, with the chance for working class people from other places to better themselves completely ignored.

      This is an extremely wealthy country. Yet many people are terribly poor. The extremely rich have through mass media promoted right wing populism diverted the blame away from the 1% who suck out all the wealth, and on to poor immigrants. The 1% are chuckling at the gullibility of much of the population they have kept in deprivation and propaganda-fed ignorance. Fortunately new media opens the possibility they may not chuckle long.

    • Radical White Workers During the Last Revolution

      During the 1960s and 1970s, radical activists set out to organize the white working class. They linked the pursuit of working class interest and economic democracy with anti-racist organizing. They discovered, and helped others realize, that white supremacy and racism are not a friend to white people but one of the main obstacles to fulfilling our own destiny as a free people.

    • Years Before Charlottesville, Tribes Urged Yellowstone National Park to Change the Names of a War Criminal and a White Supremacist That Defile Sacred Land. We’re Still Waiting.

      “America’s first national park should no longer have features named after the proponents and exponents of genocide, as is the case with Hayden Valley and Mount Doane,” the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, which represents every tribe in Montana and Wyoming, declared in a December 2014 resolution that implored federal authorities to change those names. The National Park Service and US Geological Service were and remain unmoved. On Saturday, September 16, leaders from the Blackfoot Confederacy and Great Sioux Nation will be among the tribal leaders gathering at Yellowstone’s gateway in Gardiner, Montana to repeat: Our Land. Their Shame. Change the Names.

    • Why the Greatest Advocates of Nonviolence Didn’t Condemn Anti-Racist, Anti-Fascist Acts of Violence

      This year is not the first time Virginia has been at the heart of this country’s soul-searching debate about the need to fight racist and fascist violence with anti-racist and anti-fascist violence, and whether those who oppose racism are bound to nonviolent means. In 1859, John Brown led a raid on the munitions depot in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, as part of a broader plan to start a slave insurrection in the South. Although they took the arsenal, Brown’s men were defeated by none other than Robert E. Lee, and all died in battle or were hanged. Still, historians generally agree that Brown’s raid helped fuel the demand for an end to slavery by any means.

      Brown’s actions put Northern Abolitionists in an awkward spot, since for many of them, the critique of slavery was part of their broader hatred of all forms of violence. William Lloyd Garrison stated, for example: “I am a non-resistant — a believer in the inviolability of human life, under all circumstances; I, therefore, in the name of God, disarm John Brown, and every slave at the South.” But Garrison understood perfectly well that this position could not be reconciled with the ongoing, horrendous violence that was the slave system. He thus continued: “But I do not stop there; if I did, I should be a monster…. As a peace man, an ‘ultra’ peace man — I am prepared to say: ‘success to every slave insurrection at the South, and in every slave country.’”

    • Labor Movements and Universalizing Resistance

      It is often forgotten that the US labor movement, despite having many elements complicit with white supremacy and interventionist foreign policy, played a critical role in advancing the civil rights movement. The original push for a March on Washington came from A. Philip Randolph, the President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The labor movement’s involvement in so many civil rights struggles, including Martin Luther King’s last fight in Memphis for the city’s sanitation workers, has been largely erased from public memory.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Chair’s “chat” with tech execs draws protest

      This Tuesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will visit the Bay Area, supposedly for a “fireside chat” with tech executives about bridging the digital divide for underserved communities. But Chairman Pai’s brief tenure to this point has been defined by actions that undermine digital rights, such as seeking to rescind the Open Internet Order of 2015 that protects net neutrality via light touch regulations to ensure equal opportunity online.

      In some respects, Chairman Pai’s stance should surprise no one. Before joining the FCC, he long worked as a lawyer advocating for the industry he is now charged with regulating.

    • Comcast Sues Vermont, Insists Having To Expand Broadband Violates Its First Amendment Rights

      So you may have noticed this already, but giant telecom conglomerates don’t much like having to upgrade their networks, especially in lower ROI areas. And while that’s understandable from a purely-financial perspective, this practice is creating some major, notable broadband deployment holes where poor people tend to live. With telcos specifically refusing to upgrade lagging DSL networks at any real scale, that’s also creating an emboldened cable broadband monopoly in many areas. That by proxy keeps prices high, speeds low, and allows the introduction of things like bullshit usage caps and overage fees.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Google bid to patent tech in public domain: claim

      Entropy coding technology known as ANS devised by a Polish academic is now sought to be patented by Google – even though he released it into the public domain precisely so no company could swoop on it and lock it up.

    • Trademarks

      • Prelude To Disaster: Craft Beer Trademark Applications Have Doubled In Ten Years

        We’ve been sounding the warning bells on this for some time now, but the craft beer industry has a trademark problem. As the industry continues its explosive growth, bringing with that growth all of the benefits to the economy and to the public along with it, so too has grown the industry’s use of trademarks on all of these new brands. What once was a relatively small cottage industry filled with congenial small players has morphed into very big business. Morphing with it has been that congenial attitude in the industry, with craft breweries now far more protective of their brands and far more willing to send out legal threats and engage in court battles over intellectual property than ever before. It’s gotten to the point that even intellectual property attorneys are beginning to warn everyone that the lawsuits and threats are going to inevitably increase. This represents a roadblock to an otherwise thriving industry and it’s only going to get worse.

      • Joint JIPLP-GRUR event: A Distinctive Mess? Current Trade Mark Law and Practice in the EU and UK

        Since January 2013, the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (JIPLP), which I co-edit with Stefano Barazza, Marius Schneider and Sarah Harris, has partnered with the German Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (GRUR) to exchange content between JIPLP and GRUR Int., as well as organising events aimed at IP enthusiasts – wherever based!

      • Kodi is fighting a secret war with trademark trolls to remain free

        In a blog post, Team Kodi revealed that trademark trolls in some regions have begun charging websites to host the completely free software, while others have targeted the sale of “Kodi Boxes” – media devices pre-loaded with the Kodi app.

    • Copyrights

      • Judge throws out 57-year-old copyright on “We Shall Overcome”

        A federal judge ruled (PDF) on Friday that the most famous verse of the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” is not copyrighted.

        The ruling is a decisive, but still incomplete, win for the two plaintiffs. One of those plaintiffs is a charity group called the “We Shall Overcome Foundation” that’s making a movie about the song, and the other is Butler Films LLC, a company that paid $15,000 to license just several seconds of the song for the movie “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

        Plaintiff’s attorney Randall Newman hopes the two organizations will represent a class-action case composed of people who were charged royalties for using the song.

      • PETA drops lawsuit demanding animals the right to own property

        We brought word last month that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was in the works of dropping its federal lawsuit that sought to win the right for animals to own property. That case involved the intellectual property rights of an Indonesian macaque monkey named Naruto who took pictures of himself in the wild with a nature photographer’s camera.

        PETA officially dropped the Naruto case on Monday. We can all rest assured that, at least for now, the threat of animals becoming our overlords via their accumulation of new rights has dissipated.

      • This admin helped music pirates pilfer 1 billion copyrighted tracks

        The admin for a prolific file-sharing site that helped pirates score more than 1 billion tracks now faces five years in prison after pleading guilty to a single count of criminal copyright infringement.

        Artur Sargsyan, the 29-year-old owner and operator of ShareBeast, is to be sentenced in Atlanta federal court in December for operating (PDF) what the Recording Industry Association of America said was the most prolific US-based file-sharing site. The defendant also forfeited $185,000 in ill-gotten gains, the government said.

        The authorities in 2015 seized the ShareBeast domain and a few others connected to the site, which regularly allowed users to score pre-release music. Sargsyan was charged last month.

      • It Doesn’t Matter How Much Of An Asshole You Think Someone Is, That’s No Excuse To DMCA

        We’ve pointed out time and time again that one of the problems with setting up any rules that allow for content to be taken down online is just how widely they will be abused. This is one of the reasons why we think that CDA 230′s immunity is much better than the DMCA 512 safe harbors. Under CDA 230, if a platform receives a takedown over content that is, say, defamatory, they get to decide how best to act, without a change in their own legal liability. They can take it down, or they can leave it up, but there’s no greater legal risk in either decision. With the DMCA, it’s different. If you, as a platform, refuse to take down the content, you then risk much greater legal liability. And, because of this, we regularly see the DMCA abused by anyone who wants to make certain content disappear — even if it has nothing to do with copyright.

      • Lawyers Overcome First Challenge In Showing ‘We Shall Overcome’ Is In The Public Domain

        A year and a half ago, we wrote about how the same team of lawyers who successfully got “Happy Birthday” recognized as being in the public domain (despite decades of Warner Chappell claiming otherwise, and making boatloads of money) had set their sites on a similar fight over the copyright status of the song “We Shall Overcome.” There were a lot of details in the original lawsuit that we wrote about — all suggesting very strongly that the song “We Shall Overcome” was way older than the copyright holder claimed, and it was almost certainly in the public domain.

      • PETA, Photographer Reach Settlement In ‘Monkey Selfie’ Case

        As part of the settlement, Slater agreed to donate 25 percent of future revenue from the monkey selfies to charities dedicated to protecting Naruto’s habitat.

      • European Parliament Must Protect Scientific Research

        This week Creative Commons and major organisations from the library, research, education, and digital rights community sent a letter to the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee calling on it to protect open access and open science in the context of the Commission’s draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Additional signatories are encouraged to join the letter.

      • European Copyright Reform: A New Directive Against Fundamental Freedoms

        NGOs are no longer alone to claim that the draft of the new European Copyright Directive, currently discussed by the European Parliament, contains prejudicial provisions regarding fundamentals rights and freedoms. Six member states sent observations to the EU Council to bring its attention to the dangers some measures could entail, in particular an obligation to automatically filter the platforms. As a significant vote on the text draws near in September, it is important that citizens mobilise and that we draw the right conclusions from this latest repressive drift.

        Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands: for these six states, article 13 of the draft directive discloses problems of compatibility regarding respect for fundamental rights and freedoms that are guaranteed within the Union. Those provisions could force websites that “host a large body of creations” to implement automatic measures to identify and filter contents. This obligation to filter should operate pre-emptively, meaning upon loading the users’ contents, and not only after the fact.

        The six states consider such a plan likely to violate freedom of speech and information, protection of personal data, and freedom of enterprise. It also tends to weaken the status of hosts that are protected by the eCommerce directive and imposes an obligation of widespread surveillance on them, which is incompatible with European case law.


Links 11/9/2017: GNU/Linux Preinstalled (Many New Options), New Stable Kernels, Mesa 17.1.9, Oracle Linux 7 Update 4

Posted in News Roundup at 11:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish