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Links 6/9/2016: QEMU 2.7.0, GNU Nano 2.7.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • VintOS Promises to Be the Chromium OS Fork You’ve Always Wanted and Needed

      Dylan Callahan from the Chromium OS for SBCs (Single-Board Computers) project, which unfortunately was discontinued due to lack of interest from users, informed Softpedia today, September 5, 2016, that he’s working on a new Linux-based OS.

      We have to admit that we’re quite surprised to see that developers aren’t giving up on their ambitions of creating the best fork of a well-known Linux kernel-based operating system, in this case Chromium OS. While Chromium OS for SBCs was aimed at embedded and IoT devices, the new one is targeted at all PCs.

      World, meet VintOS! What’s VintOS? Well, it’s upcoming open-source fork of Chromium OS, the operating system on which the famous Google Chrome OS is based. To make a name for itself from the get go, VintOS is named after one of the founding fathers of the Internet, Vinton Cerf, and it’s explicitly designed with educational purposes in mind.

  • Server

    • IBM to set up new Linux cloud for Africa

      IBM has announced a new LinuxONE community cloud for Africa, to be hosted at its client centre in Johannesburg.

      This follows a forecast by Frost & Sullivan that sub-Saharan Africa will be the second-largest mobile market by 2020, surpassing Europe and just behind Asia-Pacific.

      Developers will be able to use the newly set up cloud free for 120 days.

      IBM is also expanding its sales and support network of LinuxONE systems, its most powerful, in Africa.

      Dr Salihu Dasuki, assistant professor of computing and applied sciences at the American University of Nigeria, said the new could would help to boost the open-source movement in Africa.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 3.18.41 LTS Has ARC and Networking Changes, Updated Drivers

      Today, September 5, 2016, a new version of the long-term supported Linux 3.18 kernel series arrived, build 3.18.41, bringing various updated drivers and other small improvements.

      No official announcement was made at the moment of writing this article, but we managed to get our hands on the Git changelog to tell you a little bit about the changes implemented in the Linux 3.18.41 LTS release, which updates a total of 47 files, with 254 insertions and 91 deletions.

      Judging by the statistics mentioned above, Linux kernel 3.18.41 LTS is a relatively small maintenance update that multiple improvements to the ARC hardware architectures, as well as a few minor fixes to the PA-RISC and PowerPC (PPC) ones, a bugfix for the UBIFS file system, and an updated networking stack with IPv4 and mac80211 changes.

    • Greg Kroah-Hartman: Greg Kroah-Hartman: 4.9 == next LTS kernel

      As I briefly mentioned a few weeks ago on my G+ page, the plan is for the 4.9 Linux kernel release to be the next “Long Term Supported” (LTS) kernel.

      Last year, at the Linux Kernel Summit, we discussed just how to pick the LTS kernel. Many years ago, we tried to let everyone know ahead of time what the kernel version would be, but that caused a lot of problems as people threw crud in there that really wasn’t ready to be merged, just to make it easier for their “day job”. That was many years ago, and people insist they aren’t going to do this again, so let’s see what happens.

    • Torvalds at LinuxCon Part III: Permissive Licenses and Org Charts

      In the last of our three part series that began last week on Linus Torvalds’ keynote interview at this year’s LinuxCon, Linux’s lead developer talks about everything from up and coming operating systems in IoT to the development process.

      “You mentioned the strength of the GPL,” Dirk Hohndel said, by now about twenty minutes into his interview of Linus Torvalds at LinuxCon 2016. “Many new kernels have shown up in the last couple of years, mostly geared towards really small devices, the IoT space: Zephyr by Intel, Fuchsia by Google and a bunch more.”

      If you are who you work for now, Dirk Hohndel is VMware’s boy. But at the time of the interview, only a few weeks back, he’d been working as VMware’s chief open source officer for less than a month. For almost fifteen years before that — fourteen years nine months he’s careful to point-out on LinkedIn — he belonged to Intel, where he served as chief Linux and open source technologist. Before that he spent six years at SUSE, where he was CTO when he left in 2001, two years ahead of the Novell brouhaha.

      “One of the interesting commonalities is they’re all under BSD or MIT,” he continued. “Do you think they’re interesting and do you think that one of them could grow up and become a competitor for Linux or replace Linux?”

    • Graphics Stack

      • RADV Radeon Vulkan Driver One Step Closer To Being Merged In Mesa

        While the ultimate vision of the open-source Radeon Vulkan driver isn’t yet clear with RADV being the front-runner so far as the community-based driver while AMD has yet to open up their official Vulkan driver and there’s been few remarks about RADV from AMD employees (aside from John Bridgman in our forums), RADV inched forward today in moving closer to being merged in mainline Mesa.

      • libinput and the Lenovo T450 and T460 series touchpads

        I’m using T450 and T460 as reference but this affects all laptops from the Lenovo *50 and *60 series. The Lenovo T450 and T460 have the same touchpad hardware, but unfortunately it suffers from what is probably a firmware issue. On really slow movements, the pointer has a halting motion. That effect disappears when the finger moves faster.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 20 Years of KDE Timeline

        KDE is celebrating 20 years as the original and best free software end-user creating community. The milestones of our project are marked on our 20 Years of KDE timeline. Find out the meetings and releases which defined KDE. Learn about the early and recent KDE gatherings around the world and how we have evolved over the years. What was your first KDE release?

      • Akademy 2016 BoF Wrapup Video

        The first BoF day of Akademy is over with several teams meeting to discuss their progress and plans for the next year. At the end of the day we had a group session to summarise what went on in each of the rooms. Watch the video of the wrapup to discover the plans for the next year.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Restricted Funds in Non-Profit Accounting

        I’ve served as treasurer for three separate organizations over the last six years. Two of them are US 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. The other is a consumer-owned cooperative. I’m not an accountant, but I’ve learned a lot about accounting, and each organization has forced me to learn something new.

        Today’s adventure is learning how to deal with restricted funds, or funds that have to be used for a particular purpose. I’m going to show four different techniques for dealing with restricted funds, along with some pros and cons.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian plugs Linux ‘TCP snoop’ bug

        Debian’s maintainers have moved to plug the TCP snooping flaw that emerged in August 2016.

        The bug, CVE-2016-5696, was spotted by University of California Riverside’s Zhiyun Qian and his collaborators and published in August.

        It enabled an attack against Linux (and Android) implementations of RFC 5961, which used challenge ACK packets to try and harden Linux. The implementation bug, present in the kernel since 2012, meant targets could be fooled into rate-limiting their challenge ACKs, letting an attacker work out sequence numbering when it resumed.

      • Derivatives

        • Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 Officially Released Based on Debian GNU/Linux 8.5

          Softpedia was informed today, September 5, 2016, by Patrick Emmabuntüs about the release and immediate availability for download of the Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 GNU/Linux operating system.

          Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 is the first point release of the Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.0 distribution announced for the first time right here on Softpedia Linux, exclusively, back in June 2016. Since then, Patrick Emmabuntüs and his team of skilled GNU/Linux developers updated the OS with many new improvements and features.

          First of all, Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 1.01 remains based on the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 “Jessie” operating system, which means that it includes all the security updates released upstream in the Debian Stable repositories. Second of all, there’s now a 64-bit edition available for download and suitable for modern computers.

          “This edition of EmmaDE includes new versions of our set of tutorials on installation, presentation and free culture data. For the time being they are available in French only, and will be published later on the Developpez.com site. The English versions will be then translated by our friend Yves, and included in the release of version 1.02,” says Patrick Emmabuntüs in today’s announcement.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OTON X claims to be the first artificial intelligent games console, it’s powered by Linux

      OTON X sounds like a rather interesting Linux-powered games console. It is aimed at people who want to create as well as play games.

      Claiming it as “first artificial intelligent games console” is a pretty big thing. It seems it will come with tools to help people with AI in games. It’s still cool either way and will be fun to follow the progress of it.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Gear S3 support coming soon to iPhone says Samsung

          Samsung has now launched the Gear S3 smartwatch and I have to say it looks quite impressive. The Gear S2 has had some excellent reviews by the tech media and so far the S3 looks well received.

        • Game: Table Tennis 3D for Samsung Z1 and Z3 is available

          Table Tennis 3D is a highly addictive game with good graphics, effects and good sound FX. You can play with friends or against the computer. You can do various moves like smash or swing the ball to become higher in rankings whilst in career mode, if you take the table tennis challenge. The computer competitor is based on human behaviour by reflexes, strength and speed. Play different moves: sidespin, corkspin etc. These are similar to normal table tennis moves. There are also 3 types of bat/paddle configuration for speed, spin and control. to personalize your gameplay, you select a bat that you are most comfortable with. You can also zoom in/out to change your view.

      • Android

        • Bad Time for Bad Batteries – Galaxy Recall by Samsung after exploding batteries
        • Samsung tells Australians to turn off Galaxy Note7 smartphones, investigates fire reports
        • Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 recall has a 22-year-old precedent
        • 7 ways Apple’s iPhone 7 needs to play catchup to Android

          All eyes will be on Apple Wednesday, and on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus that everyone expects the company to announce. Now more than ever, Apple has the advantage to win back on-the-fencers who are as open to an iPhone as they are to a whole chorus of Android phones.

          Why? Because Samsung just recalled its latest iPhone opponent, the Galaxy Note 7, over a battery flaw, and because Google hasn’t announced its latest Nexus successors (the rumored “Pixel” phones are said to be coming in October). That puts the iPhone in a position of strength and opportunity — if they can meet some of the top features found in Android rivals.

        • Apple hopes new iPhone 7 release will regain ground from growing Android
        • Fancy using Android on your computer? Android-86 released first build of Nougat for the PC

          It’s safe to say that Android and Intel don’t play that well together these days, and neither Google nor Intel are doing much to change that. Despite that, however, the Android-86 project, which is aimed at bringing Android to computers, is alive and well.

          In fact, the Android 7.0 build for developers has just been released through the project. What does that mean? You can now run Android 7.0 Nougat on your computer.

        • Has Huawei built a tablet for Google to be released in 2016?

          Right now, fans of the Nexus line have their eyes on the next pair of smartphones expected to be released in the coming weeks, but nobody has really been paying much attention to what Google has planned in the tablet department. Some have even speculated that Chromebooks are rapidly overtaking the niche that Android tablets once occupied, but now it seems like Google might have another tablet card up their sleeve in conjunction with Huawei.

          It doesn’t have a name yet, and with the Nexus line allegedly rebranding to Pixel, there’s no way to really even speculate. All we know is that prolific leaker and Android community staple Evan Blass has tweeted that Google will be releasing a “Huawei-built 7-inch tablet, with 4GB RAM” before the end of the year.

        • Leak “confirms” Google Pixel, Pixel XL comes with Android 7.1

          In case there were any doubt that Google’s upcoming Android smartphones due next month would be coming with Android 7.1 out of the box, this should lay those to rest. Actually, it still might not, considering it’s technically still an unverified leak. For leakster LlabTooFeR, however, it’s pretty much a done deal. And considering how the initial Android 7.0 release missed a couple of things, that’s almost a given. Now all we have to do is wait for about a month to see if Marlin and Sailfish, both from HTC, will indeed be the first of Google’s new line of Pixel smartphones.

        • GStreamer on Android and universal builds

          There are some things that I’d like for us to be able to do better. The first is that Android Studio doesn’t pick up native code with our current build approach. This is a limitation of the Android Gradle NDK plugin, which doesn’t support a custom build. This should change with Android Studio 2.2.

        • Do not deal with Android Enjoyed, Camera Sky and Klukkur, Fair Trading warns
        • Apple Music for Android Surpasses 10 Million Downloads
        • Android vs iPhone | Android vs iOS: which is best?

          So you want a new phone, but you’re considering jumping ship from Android or iOS. But is the grass really greener on the other side, or should you stick with what you know? Here we outline the pros and cons of Android phones and iPhones. It’s Android vs iPhone: iOS vs Android. See also: Best new phones

          Before we get started, we must point out that this guide is intended as a brief overview to help you decide whether to choose an Android phone or an iPhone. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive comparison of every last feature, both in hardware and software, of each type of phone. And we also know that die-hard fans won’t be persuaded to switch – that’s not the aim of this article at all.

        • Michael Kors Dylan Access review: Android Wear for everyone

          The Michael Kors Access line is available September 6 starting at $350 for the model above (metal/silicone), going up to $395 for the more exclusive gold-tone Bradshaw varieties. Bands begin at $40, rising to $50 for the embossed versions). (In Canada, watch prices begin at $420, rising to $475, with bands running $50 to $60.)

          Despite the issues with the charger, and the imperfect display characteristics, I grew to enjoy the Access, and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to engage with the more fashion-forward varieties of Android Wear. Like the Fossil Q Founder, this smartwatch is more about the brand than the product, and it’s clear that certain decisions were made to reinforce its place alongside similarly-designed analog watches in endless glass displays.

          But somehow it works: it is both fashionable and functional, the comfortable enough (with a sizeable battery) to wear all day.

Free Software/Open Source


  • El Salvador footballers claim they were offered bribes for World Cup qualifier against Canada

    Players from El Salvador’s national football team claim they were offered bribes for a World Cup qualifier, playing audio of the alleged interaction at a press conference.

    The players claimed they were offered financial inducements to win, draw or avoid a heavy defeat in the match against Canada, scheduled for Wednesday (AEST).

    El Salvador captain Nelson Bonilla told reporters in a pre-match news conference in Vancouver on Monday that a Salvadoran businessman had approached the players with the offer last weekend.

  • Screens In Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax

    As the dog days of summer wane, most parents are preparing to send their kids back to school. In years past, this has meant buying notebooks and pencils, perhaps even a new backpack. But over the past decade or so, the back-to-school checklist has for many also included an array of screen devices that many parents dutifully stuff into their children’s bag.

    The screen revolution has seen pedagogy undergo a seismic shift as technology now dominates the educational landscape. In almost every classroom in America today, you will find some type of screen—smartboards, Chromebooks, tablets, smartphones. From inner-city schools to those in rural and remote towns, we have accepted tech in the classroom as a necessary and beneficial evolution in education.

    This is a lie.

    Tech in the classroom not only leads to worse educational outcomes for kids, which I will explain shortly, it can also clinically hurt them. I’ve worked with over a thousand teens in the past 15 years and have observed that students who have been raised on a high-tech diet not only appear to struggle more with attention and focus, but also seem to suffer from an adolescent malaise that appears to be a direct byproduct of their digital immersion. Indeed, over two hundred peer-reviewed studies point to screen time correlating to increased ADHD, screen addiction, increased aggression, depression, anxiety and even psychosis.

  • Science

    • Billionaires’ Spectacular Stumbles

      This past week, a Falcon 9 rocket built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company exploded on the launch pad during preparations for a static test prior to the scheduled launch of a communications satellite. The explosion and fire were quite spectacular, although in an unwanted sense, of course.

      This was SpaceX’s second catastrophic failure in little more than a year. Last year another Falcon 9 disintegrated two minutes after launch, with the loss of a cargo capsule bringing 4,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the international space station. Such failures have raised, at least for the moment, the question of whether Musk is unwisely trying in his ventures to push the envelope too far and too fast.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Toxic air pollution particles found in human brains

      Toxic nanoparticles from air pollution have been discovered in human brains in “abundant” quantities, a newly published study reveals.

      The detection of the particles, in brain tissue from 37 people, raises concerns because recent research has suggested links between these magnetite particles and Alzheimer’s disease, while air pollution has been shown to significantly increase the risk of the disease. However, the new work is still a long way from proving that the air pollution particles cause or exacerbate Alzheimer’s.

      “This is a discovery finding, and now what should start is a whole new examination of this as a potentially very important environmental risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Prof Barbara Maher, at Lancaster University, who led the new research. “Now there is a reason to go on and do the epidemiology and the toxicity testing, because these particles are so prolific and people are exposed to them.”

      Air pollution is a global health crisis that kills more people than malaria and HIV/Aids combined and it has long been linked to lung and heart disease and strokes. But research is uncovering new impacts on health, including degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, mental illness and reduced intelligence.

      The new work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined brain tissue from 37 people in Manchester, in the UK, and Mexico, aged between three and 92.

  • Security

    • LuaBot Is the First Botnet Malware Coded in Lua Targeting Linux Platforms [Ed: so don’t install malware]

      Unlike Mirai, which is the fruit of a two-year-long coding frenzy, LuaBot is in its early stages of development, with the first detection being reported only a week ago and a zero detection rate on VirusTotal for current samples.

    • Nearly 800,000 Brazzers Porn Site Accounts Exposed in Forum Hack [Ed: Remember Canonical having Ubuntu Forums cracked, twice, due to proprietary vBulletin? Well, vBulletin — again.]

      Nearly 800,000 accounts for popular porn site Brazzers have been exposed in a data breach. Although the data originated from the company’s separate forum, Brazzers users who never signed up to the forum may also find their details included in the dump.

      Motherboard was provided the dataset by breach monitoring site Vigilante.pw for verification purposes. The data contains 790,724 unique email addresses, and also includes usernames and plaintext passwords. (The set has 928,072 entries in all, but many are duplicates.)

      Troy Hunt, a security researcher and creator of the website Have I Been Pwned? helped verify the dataset by contacting subscribers to his site, who confirmed a number of their details from the data.

    • Pokémon-inspired rootkit attacks Linux systems [Ed: Media hyping up "Linux" threat which requires 1) the cracker has access to the device. 2) cracker installs malware.]

      Provides backdoor and traffic-hiding capabilities.

      A new persistent stealthy malware that can give attackers full control over Linux servers has been discovered by researchers.

      Researcher Fernando Mercês with security vendor Trend Micro said the malware – a rootkit family – is named after a character in the Pokémon fantasy game called Umbreon.

      Umbreon is a dark Pokémon that hides in the night, an “appropriate characteristic for a rootkit,” Mercês wrote.

    • Pokémon-loving VXer targets Linux with ‘Umbreon’ rootkit [Ed: More hysteria, now in British media, over something that’s not a real risk, thanks to self promotion]
    • Pokemon Rootkit Targets Linux Systems
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Syria: Can Russia & US Broker a new Cease-Fire?

      Stars and Stripes reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov may be very near a new US-Russian deal on Syria.

    • In Turkey, a Chechen Commander Makes Plans for War in Syria

      Rustam Azhiyev, better known as Abdul Hakim, rarely left his apartment building in the Basaksehir district of Istanbul. Originally from Chechnya, Hakim has spent almost his entire life at war, and he is now the head of Ajnad al Kavkaz, or Soldiers of the Caucasus, the largest of the Muslim factions from the former Soviet Union fighting in Syria.

      It was the fall of 2015, and I wasn’t given our meeting location until I got in the taxi in Istanbul. “Basaksehir, where the big bazaar is located,” my contact told me in Russian over the phone. “You will find it for sure.”

      I was supposed to call again when I got there and then wait, apparently long enough to make sure that I wasn’t being watched.

      Istanbul is like a giant waiting hall in a train station. It’s easy to remain anonymous in that constant churn of people entering and exiting the city, and that’s what jihadis intent on going to Syria have done here. Though the exact number is hard to know, there are believed to be thousands of Chechens living in Istanbul, and even more Uzbeks, Kazakhs, and Tajiks. And some of them are on their way to Syria, where they take up arms with factions fighting the Assad regime.

    • Erdogan’s unexpected ally

      There was exhaustive coverage by international media of the post-coup meeting between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St. Petersburg. Now the Kremlin host may pay a return visit. The media spotlight however did not fall on one other – perhaps, quite unexpected – Erdogan ally: Thorbjorn Jagland, the Council of Europe’s Secretary General.

    • How Obama’s Asia Pivot Nudged China Toward Pakistan but Helped Aggravate India

      After many disastrous years spent trying to shape the Middle East, the Obama administration has refocused its foreign policy toward defending U.S. interests in economically wealthy East Asia. President Obama’s “pivot to Asia” is widely perceived as an attempt by the United States to contain China’s growing economic and political clout in that region. But the resulting increase in U.S. pressure on China’s eastern periphery has had an interesting side-effect — it has led China to look elsewhere on the continent for opportunities to trade, invest, and build diplomatic influence.

      A major target of this redirected effort has been China’s neighbor to its west, Pakistan. A series of joint Chinese-Pakistani infrastructure projects are now underway, branded collectively as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). These investments are intended to build Pakistan’s economic capacity and increase its links to western China, while giving China access to port facilities on the Indian Ocean.

      Although the project could have significant long-term economic benefits to the region, it has engendered tensions with India, which has had contentious relations with both China and Pakistan in the past. How China navigates this effort to expand its influence with Pakistan, and how other powerful countries respond, could determine whether South and Central Asia embark on a new era of shared prosperity or remain trapped in a cycle of conflict.

    • Hillary Clinton Courts Henry Kissinger’s Endorsement Even After Meeting His Victims

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been seeking the endorsement of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and their efforts may pay off, as there are reports that he is expected soon, alongside former Secretary of State George Schultz, to issue a joint endorsement of Clinton.

      While those inside the national security community in Washington, D.C., may applaud the endorsement, Kissinger’s legacy of war crimes — from complicity in the 1973 coup in Chile to spearheading the saturation bombing of Indochina — has made him far less popular among human rights observers.

      Clinton is well aware of that legacy. As secretary of state, she traveled to areas of the world that were devastated by policies Kissinger crafted and implemented.

      The most relevant example is in 2012, when she visited Laos’s Cooperative Orthotic & Prosthetic Enterprise, a joint project between NGOs and the government of Laos dedicated to helping people with physical disabilities get prosthetic limbs and be rehabilitated. The project’s creation was prompted by the millions of submunitions littered across Laos, left over from the U.S. air war on the country during the conflict in Indochina.

    • The link between uranium from the Congo and Hiroshima: a story of twin tragedies

      On August 6 – Hiroshima Day – I participated in a groundbreaking event at the South African Museum in Cape Town entitled The Missing Link: Peace and Security Surrounding Uranium.

      The event had been organised by the Congolese Civil Society of South Africa to put a spotlight on the link between Japan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): that the uranium used to build the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima came from the Shinkolobwe mine in the province of Katanga.

      This was the richest uranium in the world. Its ore had an average of 65% uranium oxide compared with American or Canadian ore, which contained less than 1%.

      The mine is now closed, but its existence put it at the centre of the Manhattan Project in the second world war. The Congo was a Belgian colony at the time and the Congolese suffered from the harsh colonial reality of racism, segregation and extreme inequities.

      Following the war, the mine became a focus for the Cold War conflict between the superpowers. Today, freelance miners, desperate to earn a living and at severe risk to their health, still go to the site to dig out uranium and cobalt.

    • Defending Arms Sales, Boris Johnson Says Yemen Carnage Is No ‘Serious Breach’

      The Saudi-led military campaign that has indiscriminately killed nearly 4,000 Yemeni civilians, is the driving force behind massive humanitarian and refugee crises, and has been accused of war crimes, has not breached international law sufficiently for the United Kingdom to cease selling munitions to the Gulf nation—at least according to British foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

      As members of Parliament prepare this week to debate whether to impose an arms ban on Saudi Arabia in light of the aforementioned allegations, the newly-appointed Johnson submitted a letter Monday arguing that there has been no “serious breach” of law.

      “The key test for our continued arms exports to Saudi Arabia in relation to international humanitarian law is whether those weapons might be used in a commission of a serious breach of international humanitarian law,” he wrote. “Having regard to all the information available to us, we assess this test has not been met.”

    • Boris Johnson defends UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia
    • Repression Rains Down on Pro-Democracy Demonstrators in Brazil

      Protests took place in multiple Brazilian cities on Sunday, in support of ousted president Dilma Rousseff and against the now-officially installed government of her successor, Michel Temer.

    • How Many Guns Did the U.S. Lose Track of in Iraq and Afghanistan? Hundreds of Thousands.

      Early this year, a Facebook user in Baghdad using the name Hussein Mahyawi posted a photograph of a slightly worn M4 assault rifle he was offering for sale. Veterans of the latest war in Iraq immediately recognized it. It was a standard American carbine equipped with a holographic sight, a foregrip that was military-issue during the occupation and a sticker bearing a digital QR code used by American forces for inventory control. Except for one detail — an aftermarket pistol grip, the sort of accessory with which combatants of the current generation often pimp their guns — it was a dead ringer for any of the tens of thousands of M4s the Pentagon handed out to Iraqi security forces and various armed militias after toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003. And here it was on the open market, ready for bids.

      Was this a surprise? No. A little more than four years after the United States withdrew all its military forces from Iraq, and not quite two years after a smaller number of American troops began returning to the country to help fight the Islamic State, the open sale of such an M4 was part of Iraq’s day-to-day arms-trafficking routine. Mahyawi’s carbine was another data point attesting to an extraordinary and dangerous failure of American arms-trafficking and public accountability and to a departure from a modern military’s most basic practice: keeping track of the guns.

    • Obama cancels meeting with leader who called him ‘son of a b—-’

      President Obama cancelled a meeting with new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, after being called a “son of a bitch” by the leader while he spoke to reporters.

      In language highly unusual for any world leader — let alone from a close ally like the Philippines — Duterte told reporters in Manila that Obama should not use their planned meeting to critique the Philippine’s war on drugs.

      “You must be respectful,” Duterte said of Obama, according to the AP. “Do not just throw questions.” Using the Tagalog phrase for “son of a bitch,” he said, “Putang ina, I will swear at you in that forum.”

      The comment came after a reporter asked him how he’ll explain the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, where more than 2,000 suspected drug sellers and users have been killed since the end of June.


      “Clearly, he’s a colorful guy,” Obama said.

      “And what I’ve instructed my team to do is to talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out is this, in fact, a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations.”

      Obama stressed that the Filipino people were “some of our closest friends and allies, and the Philippines is a treaty ally of ours.”

      But he said he wanted to make sure “that if I’m having a meeting that it’s actually productive and we’re getting something done.”

    • Michael Levitan, Brian Wilson, and Bo Boudart

      Wilson recounts his transformation from Vietnam-War hawk to veteran to antiwar organizer…

    • The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing

      Over the past decade, the documents show, the NSA has pioneered groundbreaking new spying programs at Menwith Hill to pinpoint the locations of suspected terrorists accessing the internet in remote parts of the world. The programs — with names such as GHOSTHUNTER and GHOSTWOLF — have provided support for conventional British and American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But they have also aided covert missions in countries where the U.S. has not declared war. NSA employees at Menwith Hill have collaborated on a project to help “eliminate” terrorism targets in Yemen, for example, where the U.S. has waged a controversial drone bombing campaign that has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths.

      The disclosures about Menwith Hill raise new questions about the extent of British complicity in U.S. drone strikes and other so-called targeted killing missions, which may in some cases have violated international laws or constituted war crimes. Successive U.K. governments have publicly stated that all activities at the base are carried out with the “full knowledge and consent” of British officials.

      The revelations are “yet another example of the unacceptable level of secrecy that surrounds U.K. involvement in the U.S. ‘targeted killing’ program,” Kat Craig, legal director of London-based human rights group Reprieve, told The Intercept.

      “It is now imperative that the prime minister comes clean about U.K. involvement in targeted killing,” Craig said, “to ensure that British personnel and resources are not implicated in illegal and immoral activities.”

      The British government’s Ministry of Defence, which handles media inquires related to Menwith Hill, declined to comment for this story.

    • Sowing the seeds of conflict in the Middle East

      British soldiers on guard at Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, 1920. Matson Collection. Public Domain.Many people, understandably, are perplexed by the violence and disorder of the Middle East. They look at, say, the conflict in Syria and ask: how did it come to this?

      Part of the problem is that the media focus on the crowded foreground and neglect the all-important historical background – in particular, the formative period in the emergence of the modern Middle East, in the age of empire.

      To understand the conflicts and crises of today’s Middle East, we need to understand how it emerged in essentially its present form, in the half-century between 1917 and 1967. When the British left Egypt, 77 per cent of the population was illiterate, per capita income stood at £42 a year, and the life expectancy of an Egyptian male was 36.

      The region was shaped in important, and fateful, ways by the First World War and its aftermath. The Ottoman Empire, which had governed the Middle East for four hundred years, had taken the side of Germany. After its defeat, Britain and France divided the Arab portions of the empire between them. The post-war settlement left a legacy of deep mistrust – and unwittingly sowed the seeds of many of the conflicts of today, including the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the Lebanon problem and the statelessness of the Kurds.

      Arabs who dreamt of independence felt betrayed when they found they had exchanged Turkish for European rule. ‘The ghost of the Peace Settlement,’ wrote the historian Albert Hourani, ‘has haunted Arab politics ever since.’

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • With ‘Time Running Out,’ G20 Fails on Fossil Fuel Subsidies

      ‘Handing out money to the fossil fuel industry is simply not compatible with the Paris agreement’

    • Indonesia team threatened with death for looking into fires, haze

      Dozens of Indonesian men, suspected of being hired by an oil palm plantation company, threatened to kill environmental investigators checking on fires on Sumatra island, the environment ministry said.

      The incident illustrates the difficulties Indonesia faces tackling the illegal burning of vegetation to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations that causes clouds of smoke every dry season, which at times blanket the region, raising fears for public health and air travel.

      The ministry said a group of up to 100 men detained seven investigators for about 12 hours on the weekend and threatened to burn them alive and dump their bodies in a river at an oil palm plantation in Rokan Hulu, Riau province.

      The team was following up on satellite images showing “hot spots,” or suspected fires, in a concession of PT Andika Permata Sawit Lestari (APSL) oil palm plantation company.

      There were “strong indications” the mob was deployed by the company, the ministry said in a statement.

      “With this incident, the investigation of PT APSL will become our top priority,” Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya said in the statement, referring to both suspected forest encroachment by the company and the detention of the team.

      “The environment ministry will investigate this and take strict action in accordance with the law,” she said.

    • Indonesia Condemns Palm Oil Firm’s Hostage-Taking Over Fires

      Indonesia’s minister of environment and forestry has condemned attempts by a palm oil company to stop an investigation into forest fires by taking ministry investigators hostage.

      A team of seven officials investigating wildfires was intercepted Friday and held by a group of captors believed to be mobilized by Andika Permata Sawit Lestari Ltd., a palm oil company operating in Riau province.

      Novrizal Tahar, a ministry spokesman, said Monday that the hostages were released early Saturday following negotiations involving police and local officials.

      The team initially found that more than 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of forest had been burned by workers of the company, according to a ministry statement Sunday.

      Following the negotiations, the team agreed to erase the files from their digital camera, except for pictures taken by a drone, the statement said.

      Siti Nurbaya, the minister of environment and forestry, said in the statement that the incident has encouraged her ministry to take stern actions against perpetrators of illegal forest burning and rogue corporations in accordance with the law.

    • Saudi Arabia’s oil industry has an overlooked risk
    • Russia, Saudi Arabia plan oil output task force

      Oil prices rose Monday after Russia and Saudi Arabia announced they would cooperate on stabilizing oil output.

      The two top oil-producing countries plan to hold a Russia-Saudi Arabia task force on oil and gas next month, the Russian and Saudi energy ministers Alexander Novak and Minister Khalid al-Falih announced Monday in a joint statement at the G-20 summit in China.

      Their countries “recognized the need to restrain an excessive volatility of the oil market” and agreed to act together “in order to stabilize the oil market,” they said in the statement.

  • Finance

    • Burning Man’s loving engine powered by wealth, privilege

      As I fumbled for a $20 bill to buy ice, my wallet felt unexpectedly foreign.

      I’d been in Burning Man’s temporary city for nearly a week and it was the first time I’d had to pay for anything.

      That’s a big part of this whole experience: Decommodification.

      In other words, you basically can’t buy anything here. This isn’t a barter economy, either.

      Instead, the 70,000 folks here just give you things. Sweaty naked hugs? Yes (but no thanks). French toast made with challah bread flown in fresh from Berkeley? Absolutely. The best Moscow mule you’ve ever had? Definitely. Free airplane rides? No problem.

    • Obama Needs to Take TPP Off the Table
    • The ITT Fraud: For-Profit Education and the Crisis of the Commons

      The rapid decline of the ITT for profit-college may represent a pivotal moment in modern history, as seen in rising challenges to predatory capitalism. ITT is in deep trouble, subject to numerous lawsuits, from the Securities and Exchange Commission and Consumer Finance and Protection Bureau (CFPB) for defrauding students. The con that is for-profit education is finally being exposed, and these “higher learning” institutions are increasingly recognized for their rapacious treatment of students. Within this context, the Wall Street Journal seeks to reframe the attack on ITT as the work of the big, bad government, which is committed to stifling the liberties inherent in private enterprise. Contrary to the paper’s propaganda, however, the narrative of for-profit colleges as a beleaguered David facing the onslaught of a brutal government Goliath bears little resemblance to reality.

      In a recent piece in their “Review and Outlook” section titled “Obama’s For-Profit Execution,” the Journal attacks the Obama administration for trying to “kill a company without proving a single allegation” in court. The paper laments the Department of Education for requiring ITT to increase its letter of credit from 10 percent to 20 percent, in light of the possibility that the corporation will lose its accreditation in the near future. A letter of credit refers to the collateral a for-profit institution must maintain to assure that it can pay back money owed to the federal government in the case of bankruptcy, which may be right around the corner for the ailing college

    • Reagan Sold Your Future, Trump Will Too

      Two generations ago, many white working-class Democrats bought into Ronald Reagan’s promise of a better nation. Eager for “morning in America” — and swayed by fear that advances for black people would come at their expense — they didn’t see that the shadow of a long sunset was creeping over their lives.

      Because the GOP had another, darker agenda. One that didn’t include them.

      Reagan Democrats were left with a president who blamed and criticized people of color, while billionaires got to enjoy a president who helped them grab the lion’s share of America’s wealth.

      Today, Donald Trump is singing the same song, promising salvation and blaming immigrants, blacks, and Muslims for America’s woes. And if enough white men join the chorus, they may doom themselves to another decade of declining economic opportunity.

    • Waiting for Brexit – a note on contentions and biases

      By way of background: until the referendum vote a couple or so months ago, I never expected or wanted to write much about European Union issues.

      I had done a couple of posts at the FT about the referendum before the vote: here I explained why the referendum was not legally binding and here I contended that the referendum was unnecessary.

      But I did not expect ever to write any more than this on the topic: I assumed, like many people, that Remain would win and Cameron would get away with his political folly.

      Then Remain lost and Leave won, and a spectacular political-legal-policy mess was created.

      And, I am afraid, I found this mess fascinating.

      I still do.

    • The Problem With Tax and Spend Politicians

      If we want more war, more unemployment, a new recession, and bursting bubbles that drive financial instability, vote for those Republican incumbents, many of whom gave us the radically wrong invasion of Iraq and the daily hemorrhage of Pentagon contracts that produce record deficits and starve domestic budgets.

    • Apple and Ireland: Partners in Crime

      Underneath the sleek design there’s nothing but sleaze. And behind the blarney there’s sinister bullshit. No wonder they understand each other and have been working harmoniously together since 1991. Despite the ultramodern technology and the trendy little economy – Apple and Ireland are nothing but pirates attempting to pillage as much as they can from the global community.

      All was revealed in Brussels on Tuesday when the EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, nailed the corporation and the country to the wall of shame. After investigating Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland Vestager concluded that Dublin is breaking EU rules by giving state aid to Apple – one of the richest corporations in the world (it’s value is not far off a trillion dollars).

      The state aid in question is a tax arrangement that allows Apple to avoid paying international tax. The trick is the use of a shell company that is based in Ireland but which is officially “stateless”. By directing all the money it makes outside the US into it’s “Irish” shell company Apple – thanks to the Irish government – walks away with a tax rate of “0.005%”. That is: apart from the token amount it pays to the Irish government at the usual 12.5% rate – Apple walks away with everything it can get it’s hands on. But since this special tax package is offered “only” to Apple the EU judged it to be a breach of it’s competition rules.

    • TTIP Is on the Floor, the Referee Is Counting Down…

      We’ve had an incredible victory this week. Some of the leading proponents of the EU-US corporate trade deal, known as TTIP, have said that the deal is dead.

      We would never have got to this position without the tremendous mobilisation across Europe over the last 3 years. This has been one of the most significant movements in recent European history.

    • Obama still thinks Pacific trade deal can pass Congress

      President Barack Obama expressed renewed optimism that his trade pact with Pacific Rim nations would still be approved by Congress, despite widespread political opposition that has left the 12-nation deal all but dead.

      Both Democrats and Republicans have soured on the Trans-Pacific Partnership as overseas trade has emerged as a campaign scapegoat for all that remains wrong in the shifting U.S. economy. Hopes for passage by the end of Obama’s term have largely faded.

    • Paul Ryan Says the Catholic Charity Model Is the Solution to Poverty. Catholics Disagree.

      Earlier this week, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Ron Johnson, both of Wisconsin, penned an op-ed stating—once again—their belief that charity and individual responsibility are the key to fighting poverty.

      “This is how you fight poverty: person to person,” they write.

      To illustrate their point, they tell the story of The Joseph Project, a job assistance program run by the Greater Praise Church of God in Christ in Milwaukee. Ryan and Johnson praise The Joseph Project for providing vans that drive Milwaukeeans to Sheboygan County, where they can earn $15 an hour working a factory job. In Milwaukee, by contrast, these workers would likely earn just $8 or $9 an hour. The drive is an hour commute each way, but Ryan and Johnson assert: “That van represents the difference between poverty and opportunity.”

      While it’s important that The Joseph Project is assisting these folks, it’s disingenuous for the Speaker and the Senator to lift up this kind of program as the key to fighting poverty—and even a justification for overhauling our safety net.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trudeau’s fading relationship with Canadian labour

      Justin Trudeau’s government started well, moving swiftly to repeal anti-union legislation in bills C-377 and C-525. Ushered in during the Harper years, the bills implemented legislation that made it harder for workers to unionize, and forced unions to disclose detailed financial information about activities like political lobbying and donations.

      Public sector unions also applauded the decision to repeal Bill C-59, which enabled the government to bypass the collective bargaining process and impose new sick leave rules on the public service.

      Unfortunately, the strong start from the Liberals failed to carry through into the rest of the year, with little movement seen at the public sector union bargaining tables, and the repeal of Bill C-4 yet to tabled formally in Parliament. Trudeau said last month at the Unifor national convention the government planned to introduce repeal legislation for the bill this fall.

      Under Bill C-4 rules, bargaining is heavily skewed in favour of the government. The legislation introduced a raft of anti-union measures impacting contract negotiations that include enabling the government to decide which unions can go to arbitration and which ones are allowed to strike, and skewing the arbitration route in favour of pro-government settlement offers.

    • Hillary Clinton, Servergate, and the Steve Martin Defense

      One possibility is that Clinton is a lying felon who, either intentionally or with reckless negligence, compromised classified information which was entrusted to her care, and who knew she could successfully play the “I forgot card” to forestall prosecution because she is Hillary Clinton.

      The other possibility is that Clinton suffers from a traumatic brain injury which negatively affects her ability to remember important things. Things like, say, “when meeting with the Russian ambassador, don’t let him play with the briefcase that contains the nuclear strike codes.”

    • The United States: Proud Sponsor of Democracy Propaganda

      Consumers are familiar with the term, sponsored by. Someone put up some scratch and in turn gets the right to sell their wares. It’s a business deal. We’ve seen the word “sponsor”, in this sense, prefaced by another word, like “official”, or “proud”. Official sponsor means something like…actually it doesn’t mean anything beyond what sponsor means. It’s merely trying to sound important. Now proud sponsor means something like…no, actually there’s no content to it either but it seems to be trying to puff up the sponsor. What do we really care about how proud they are of, what, to sell us something?

      Words can sometimes mean nothing. How about these? Do you think your choice of candidate is “honest and trustworthy”? This is a popular subject in the upcoming presidential election. A Google search yields about 350,000 results from the four words, Trump, Clinton, honest, trustworthy. It should be more though.

      A Google search for the three words — advertising, honest, trustworthy — yields over four million results. But we still fall hook, line, and sinker for advertising’s inaccuracy, exaggeration, misdirection, manipulation, exploitation, lies of omission and outright lies. It works, and works so wonderfully that it is the engine for consumer mass commercialization. We’re a great country as long as we keep shopping, this taking a little liberty with a line from one G.W. Bush.

      Politicians no more have to tell the truth than advertisers do. That’s not their job. They’re in sales and, as such, occupy the lowest rung in Washington. Marlon Brando once said that actors are the lowest rung in Hollywood. Same thing. Both get pushed out front where they act as instruments of those with permanence in the establishment structure. At best, they become part of the structure.

    • The US Election: an Exercise in Mendacity

      Big Daddy might have been talking about the current U.S. presidential election, which currently wraps the nation in a putrid bubble that can be smelled around the planet. To call it a democratic process would surely be mendacious.

      Leave aside the fact that bourgeois elections are generally structured in such a way as to screw over the 99%. Polls during the primaries consistently indicated that Bernie Sanders led either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in voter support. But devious rules and manipulations, and the now-revealed skewing of the primary process by the DNC, and the solid backing of the news networks deliberately downplaying Clinton’s negatives while belittling Sanders, delivered the convention vote to the former secretary of state.

      Meanwhile Trump became Republican nominee because the mainstream media for months followed a strategy of simultaneously treating his candidacy as a joke but then cutting to coverage of his every utterance (as “breaking news”) even though he just repeated his same old tired, vapid, solipsistic rant that was anything but news. At the same time, they ignored Sanders’ speeches, or at least failed to convey their content, as reporters merely covered Sanders events as curious gatherings of enthusiastic youth. In that way Trump was able to reach his base; pick off, one by one, his GOP rivals; and gradually win polite treatment as a respectable candidate.

      This was not a case of Wall Street pouring money into the candidate’s coffers thus determining the outcome. (Look how little good Jeb Bush’s war chest did him!) It was a case of the bourgeois media determining that the broadcast of Trump’s flow-of-conscious narcissistic diatribes drew in viewers and of course sold the products advertised one out of every four minutes you watch TV. (Ultimately in this system the advertisers decide what constitutes “truth” on TV.)

      We know that Hillary Clinton lied. She obviously did when she told Congress she had never forwarded emails marked classified from her personal email through her personal, unauthorized server. The FBI has made this very clear. While this particular sin is not a concern for me (I am perfectly happy when officials of mendacious governments reveal their dishonesty through lack of caution) it’s a clear that the candidate is (as her rival charges) “crooked.” And she didn’t, as she told Congress, just have one cell phone; she had 13 while secretary of state and had her minions smash at least two with hammers for some reason. And she did email her daughter Chelsea the very day of the Benghazi attack in 2012 that the attackers were “an Al Queda-like group” (notice the misspelling) while the State Department was instructed to blame the attack on a mob enraged over a dumb Islamophobic Youtube video.

    • Jill Stein Doesn’t Want to ‘Whitewash Our Dialogue’ When It Comes to Race (Video)

      This week, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein sat down with Truthdig for a live conversation streamed to our Facebook page. Stein and the Truthdig staff discussed mainstream-media bias, Stein’s political qualifications and the future of the Supreme Court.

      A critical moment in the conversation occurred when Stein addressed comments made by her running mate, Ajamu Baraka. Earlier this month, Baraka incited controversy when he labeled President Obama an “Uncle Tom” president—racially charged language Baraka continues to support.

      Stein has been forced to address Baraka’s comment and the ensuing conflict. In a CNN town hall earlier this month, she refused to condemn his remarks. “I understand Ajamu’s passion, his frustration and his struggle,” she said. “I think we have all been guilty of using some language that doesn’t play well as a sound bite.”

    • Green party’s Jill Stein argues right to appear at presidential debates

      Stein appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, who quizzed her about how realistic her proposals and support was, apropos a recent Washington Post editorial. After a meeting with Stein, the newspaper’s editorial board criticized her declared she was “spinning up a fairy tale – an appealing fairy tale to some, but still a fairy tale”.

      The board criticized the feasibility of her plans to end all coal, oil, gasoline and nuclear energy by 2030, her call to reconsider alliances with Nato members and a guaranteed federal job for all Americans, saying her “ideas are poorly formed and wildly impractical”.

      “I think they called me actually a fairy tale campaign, to which I would answer, in fact, we are living with a couple of nightmare campaigns right now that the American people object to at absolutely unprecedented levels,” Stein told Fox on Sunday.

    • Campaign 2016: Populism vs. Establishment

      Establishment as a concept has gotten a lot of use and abuse in the 2016 presidential election campaign. From the start of his race in the Republican primaries, Donald Trump denounced the political Establishment as a bunch of stuffed shirts, elitists who are out of touch with the voting public. They are looking after their own interests at home and abroad, let the public be damned, he said.

      The line-up of mealy-mouthed opponents whom Trump faced in debates, starting with Jeb Bush, served as exemplary targets of the longstanding indignation against the powers-that-be, an animosity felt by not only Tea Party adherents but by the majority of rank-and-file party members, which is why Trump did so well.

    • Hillary Threatens Russia With War – Neocon Media Doesn’t Even Notice (Video)

      Paul Joseph Watson is on a roll lately.

      His commentary is spot-on regarding the media giving Hillary a free pass for out-of-control Russia-bating, Russia bashing, and basically, irresponsible war-mongering.

      It is going to backfire badly on her.

    • This Guardian Piece Touting Bill Gates’ Education Investment Brought to You by Bill Gates

      What the piece failed to note—other than the fact that Rhee’s tenure left DC’s schools “worse by almost every conceivable measure” (Truthout, 10/23/13)—is that multi-billionaire Bill Gates is both the major investor of the company administering the Liberian education overhaul and the principal of the Gates Foundation, sponsor of the Guardian’s Global Development vertical, where the story appeared.

      The story clearly labels the Gates Foundation as its sponsor. What it never mentioned is that Bill Gates is a major investor of the firm at the heart of the story, Bridge Academies International, having pitched in, along with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, $100 million for the “education startup.”


      The Guardian claims its Global Development vertical, launched in 2011, is “editorially independent of any sponsorship.” According to its most recent tax filings in 2014, the Gates Foundation has an on-going $5.69 million grant to Guardian News Media Limited.

      The Guardian has run other puff pieces on the Gates Foundation in this vertical, such as “Gates Foundation Annual Letter: What Do You Think of Their Vision?” (1/22/15), which is basically an investment letter, along with “Melinda Gates Hits Out at ‘War on Women’ on Eve of Summit” (7/7/12) and “Bill Gates: Digital Learning Will Revolutionize Education in Global South” (1/22/15).

      FAIR has written for years about how Gates’ investment tentacles influence the media. He’s done softball interviews pushing common core with ABC (3/18/14), helped bankroll charter school reporting at the LA Times (8/24/15), funded the talking heads behind Race to the Top (9/1/10).

      The Gates Foundation gives grants in the hundreds of thousands and often millions to such media organizations as NBCUniversal, Al Jazeera, BBC, Viacom (CBS) and Participant Media (the producer of pro-charter school documentary Waiting for Superman). Both Gates and the Gates Foundation are sizable shareholders in Comcast, which is the primary investor in Buzzfeed and Vox, as well the parent corporation of MSNBC and NBC News–the latter of which teamed up with Gates and other noted education experts like Exxon and University of Phoenix Online for the week-long charter school commercial “Education Week”.


      His enormous wealth and the reach of media parent corporations seem to exempt Gates from routine disclosure requirements. He was offered up as an education expert in the pro-charter Waiting for Superman, without any mention of the fact that he donated at least $2 million to the film and had a media partnership with its distributor, Viacom. He is given softball interviews in Comcast-backed Vox without disclosure that he’s a major Comcast investor. Because his stake in media companies is laundered enough times, it’s assumed not to merit mention.

      In the case of the Guardian, Gates effectively owns an entire vertical, so when one of his investments is written up, one doesn’t notice the conflict of interest—like a fish doesn’t notice water. Because his influence is everywhere, it appears to be nowhere.

    • Donald Trump Once Wanted Third Parties in Presidential Debates, But Not Now

      The three presidential debates and sole vice presidential debate will likely exclude third parties, and GOP nominee Donald Trump is just fine with that.

      “I’d rather have head to head and right now they’re not getting any numbers,” Trump told The Washington Post in August, saying he wanted to debate Democrat Hillary Clinton and exclude the Green Party’s Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

      But when Trump himself was slated to be excluded from the debate stage, he had a different opinion.

      In January of 2000, the Reform Party held a press conference that, among other things, discussed the exclusion of third-party candidates from the presidential debates. Then-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, one of the party’s few endorsed candidates to hold a major office, denounced the exclusion as “despicable.”

      Ventura was joined by Trump, who was at the time was considering running for president on the Reform Party ticket.

    • Jill Stein Has a New Political Rap Anthem Called ‘Power to the People’

      The Jill Stein campaign has a new anthem. The political rap song by Kor Element is called “Power to the People,” or “Fall in Line.”

      Kor is a self-described “world poet” and “hip-hop healer,” and he unveiled the song at a Stein rally Wednesday at Bernie’s Coffee Shop, at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. The L.A. landmark, formerly Johnnie’s Coffee Shop, took on a new role as Bernie Sanders headquarters during the presidential primary season.

    • Wingnut Week In Review: Hispanic Advisers To Trump, “We Quit!”

      Donald Trump reverted to type with his immigration speech, delivered shortly after his visit to Mexico. After flirting with “softening” his position, the old Trump-style xenophobia was a hit with some, not with others.

      Hispanic Advisors to Trump, We Quit!

      It may have come as a surprise to Trump, a guy who loves to fire people, when half of his Hispanic Advisory Board quit after his immigration speech. It came as an even bigger surprise to the rest of us that Trump even had any Latino supporters at this point. “We decided to make a big U-turn to see if we could make him change. We thought we were moving in the right direction,” said Alfonso Aguilar, the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, “we’re disappointed. We feel misled.”

    • Donald Trump doubles down on deportation plan

      Anticipation that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump might moderate his position on immigration in a long-awaited “pivot” to the general election was extinguished on August 31 when he laid out his 10-point immigration plan in a fiery speech in Arizona.

      Instead of a more compassionate and humane platform, he reverted to his fulminating and nativist rhetoric, vowing to deport two million “criminal aliens” immediately and rejecting any path towards legalisation for the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, who would have to return to their home country and wait their turn in the long immigration queue.

      It was unclear how aggressively Trump would pursue law-abiding immigrants, though they would be pushed further into the shadows, including those brought to the country as children who have never known another home.

    • Trump vs. Clinton: 2016’s Race to the Bottom

      She’s an ethically challenged career politician whose key to survival is secrecy and lies. An ever-calculating, power-hungry favor-trader who lacks integrity and dodges the press. And you definitely can’t trust her.

      He’s a boorish bigot who has the temperament of a “drunk uncle.” An egomaniacal brute who favors insults and shuns intellectual rigor. A rudderless risk that’s too unnerving to take.

      These are the dark but widely held perceptions of the two major party candidates for president as the campaign for the White House turns into the fall homestretch heading out of this Labor Day weekend.

      For many exasperated Americans, the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton comes down to weighing “crazy” against “crooked.”

      And it’s that type of low-brow, gutterball oratory that’s anticipated to continue dominating the final 60-day sprint to Nov. 8.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Ailes Hires Lawyer for Possible NY Mag Lawsuit [Ed: original behind paywall]

      Former Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes has hired Charles Harder, a libel lawyer who recently represented Hulk Hogan in his case against Gawker and is now representing Melania Trump in her suit against the Daily Mail, for a possible lawsuit against New York Magazine and one of its reporters, Gabriel Sherman. According to the Financial Times, Harder already contacted the magazine about Sherman, who has been a thorn in Ailes’ side for years and has recently revealed embarrassing items surrounding sexual harassment allegations against the ousted Fox News chief. It is not yet known whether Ailes will sue NY Mag or Sherman. The news outlet defended Sherman’s “very carefully reported” stories.

    • Facebook Is Censoring Science and Journalism

      One might have thought that the recent allegations by former employees that Facebook was manipulating its trending-topics feed to suppress news stories that appeal to conservatives would make the social-media behemoth tread more carefully. Apparently, though, it did not learn a lesson from the ensuing fallout. Facebook is now censoring science pages, journalists, and groups seeking social support.

      Stephan Neidenbach, founder of the page “We Love GMOs and Vaccines” (WLGV) and one of the authors of this article, was surprised to find that his page had been removed by Facebook censors. His page is dedicated to “promoting biotechnology and exposing those who wish to demonize it.” Such scientific chest-thumping offended a cadre of anti-GMO and anti-vaccine activists who complained to Facebook. Despite the fact that no policies were violated, the company acquiesced to their demands and deactivated the page. To add insult to injury, Neidenbach was subsequently banned from the platform for 30 days.

      His story is not unique. Many other groups, including journalists, have found themselves targeted for arbitrary and bureaucratically inflexible reasons. Facebook banned journalist Laurie Penny for violating its “real name” policy — she had used a pseudonym to avoid cyberbullying and other threats. The author of The Economist blog Democracy in America reported that he was banned for posting a photo that contained nudity in the distant background but that Facebook did not ban the genocidal page Death to Israel. On the other hand, FB removed a post by Jerry Coyne that was critical of Islam.

    • Parody and free use in Germany: Federal Court of Justice decides first parody case after Deckmyn

      But let’s back up and start with a quick look at what exactly the CJEU decided in Deckmyn. Most importantly, the Court declared that a parody under Art. 5(3)(k) InfoSoc directive only has to meet two conditions: “first, to evoke an existing work while being noticeably different from it, and, secondly, to constitute an expression of humour or mockery.”

      The Court then went on to explain that it is necessary to strike a fair balance between “the interests and rights” of the rights holders on the one hand, and “the freedom of expression of the user of a protected work” on the other hand. This, according to the CJEU, requires national courts to take “all the circumstances of the case” into account and decide whether a fair balance is struck or whether the rights holder has a legitimate interest to prohibit the use of his work for the parody. Because the case at hand in Deckmyn concerned a potentially racist message, the CJEU referred to the principle of non-discrimination based on race, colour and ethnic origin (which was defined in another European directive that is not related to copyright) and hinted that this may be a case where the rights holder has a legitimate interest to forbid the parodist’s use of his work.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Clinical trial data, motivated intruders and freedom of information

      Is anonymised clinical trial data exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act? This was the question facing the UK Information Tribunal recently in Queen Mary University of London v (1) The Information Commissioner and (2) Alem Matthees, EA/2015/0269.

    • Secret Report: German Federal Intelligence Service BND Violates Laws And Constitution By The Dozen

      When Edward Snowden exposed the global system of mass surveillance by secret services three years ago, including the German foreign intelligence agency BND, the German government tried to shelf it off and declare the case closed. Only one small authority held out: Then-Commissioner for Data Protection Peter Schaar sent his staff on an inspection visit to the joint BND/NSA-station Bad Aibling in southern Germany, of which the BND feared a „very critical public“. The visit resulted in an elaborate „situation report“, but it’s classified „top secret“ and only accessible for few people.

      Additionally, the new Data Protection Commissioner Andrea Voßhoff produced a legal analysis of the findings and sent it to the Federal Intelligence Service coordinator in the German Chancellery and former BND president Gerhard Schindler. But this analysis is still classified „secret“ and our Freedom of Information-request has been denied. Media have raised the question „Secret, because embarrassing?“. We have now received this legal analysis and have published the full text of the document (in German).

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Once Again, America Seeks the Answer to The Labor Question

      The labor question is back. After World War II, it seemed to many that widespread unionization and collective bargaining had made sure that the people who did the work in this country were getting a fair share of the wealth they created, and that through their unions working people had a substantial voice in the way our country was governed.

      But we live in a different world today. Only 11 percent of all American workers belong to a union, and less than 7 percent of private-sector workers are organized. Workers’ incomes have been stagnant for decades, and whatever gains have occurred in family income have gone entirely to the top of the wage structure, driving runaway inequality. At the same time, working people feel increasingly alienated from and betrayed by our political system.

      It wasn’t so long ago that very serious people denied that the economy was failing working people in America. But overwhelming data on inequality and wage stagnation marshalled by such economists as Emmanuel Saez, Thomas Piketty and the team at the Economic Policy Institute have changed the narrative. Now defenders of the status quo of runaway inequality have shifted from saying there isn’t a problem to saying that, while there is a problem, NOTHING CAN BE DONE. The new line from the very serious people is that runaway inequality and stagnant wages are somehow the result of the unstoppable natural forces of technological change and globalization.

    • A Labor Day Parade for Hillary Clinton and the 0.1 Percent in the Hamptons

      And for the low, low price of just $2,700, the junior set (under 16) among Clinton’s elite supporters at an August event were permitted to ask the candidate a very expensive question. For $10,000, they could join other family members to pose for a snapshot with the Democratic presidential contender.

    • Happy Labor Day! There Has Never Been a Middle Class Without Strong Unions

      The entire Republican Party and the ruling heights of the Democratic Party loathe unions. Yet they also claim they want to build a strong U.S. middle class.

      This makes no sense. Wanting to build a middle class while hating unions is like wanting to build a house while hating hammers.

      Sure, maybe hammers — like every tool humans have ever invented — aren’t 100 percent perfect. Maybe when you use a hammer you sometimes hit your thumb. But if you hate hammers and spend most of your time trying to destroy them, you’re never, ever going to build a house.

      Likewise, no country on earth has ever created a strong middle class without strong unions. If you genuinely want the U.S. to have a strong middle class again, that means you want lots of people in lots of unions.

    • Labor Day

      Labor Day—what is it? Perhaps not many Americans any longer know, so here is my explanation.


      As a consequence of jobs offshoring, industrial and manufacturing cities became semi-ghost towns with declining populations. Municipal and state governments, deprived of tax base, found themselves under duress to make pension payments. To avoid immediate bankruptcy, cities such as Chicago sold off public assets such as 75 years of parking meter revenues for a one time payment.

      The Democratic Party, which had been the countervailing power against the Republican business party, was deprived of union funding as the jobs that paid union dues were no longer in America. By moving production offshore, capitalists turned the Democrats into a second capitalist political party dependent on funding from the business sector.

      Today we have one party with two heads. The competition between the parties is about which party gets to be the whore for the capitalists for the next political term. As Democrats and Republicans swap the whore function back and forth, neither party has an incentive to do anything different.

    • ‘Invisibilizing the Workers Who Actually Do the Work’

      It’s presented by corporate media as, most importantly, a long weekend with a parade—or, more seriously, as a holiday fought for by US trade unions to honor American workers. But the day has more complex origins. A national holiday had been a goal of US labor—several states already celebrated—but Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day in the midst of an attack by federal troops on striking Pullman railway workers, leading many to see it as an attempt to appease workers more than honor them.

      It’s fitting that the holiday remind us of the struggles as well as the advances of US workers, who face today some of the same problems as in 1894, including distant and disconnected owners, whose self-enriching, anti-worker policies are enabled and, if need be, enforced by government. We’ll be revisiting a few, we think, illuminating conversations about work and labor, and media coverage, this week on CounterSpin.

    • Thought is Dangerous to the USA

      I have been refused entry clearance to the USA to chair the presentation of the Sam Adams Award to CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou and to speak at the World Beyond War conference in Washington DC. Like millions of British passport holders I have frequently visited the USA before and never been refused entry clearance under the visa waiver programme.

    • Can We Please Get Rid of the Pledge?

      The Pledge of Allegiance is not an expression of patriotism. It is a loyalty oath that one normally associates with totalitarian regimes. People who love freedom, should be appalled by the idea our children are being coerced to stand and declare their support for the state. This is the worst form of indoctrination and it is completely anathema to the principals articulated in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I cannot imagine outspoken libertarians like Thomas Jefferson or Tom Paine ever proclaiming their loyalty to the state when they correctly saw the state as the greatest threat to individual freedom. Which it is.

    • Taking a Knee for Peace: Recalling the Veterans Who Sat

      It was my own moment of reckoning—stand and salute for the Star Spangled Banner or sit? The moment returns in memory, brought back by the current flap involving Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem. Kaepernick is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers football team who did not stand for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before the start of the 49ers August 26 game against the Green Bay Packers. The next week vs. the San Diego Chargers, he sat again.

      My own first protest sit-down made was indelibly set—Fort Lewis Army Base in February, 1970—and the stakes—retention in the Army as a draftee, if not reassignment to Vietnam etched it in memory. But back to the Kaepernick story.

      Kaepernick says he is “not going to stand up and show support for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” The reaction to his protest has been mixed with most, and the loudest, voices expressing opposition. Kaepernick’s supporters are fewer in number but count among themselves some fellow athletes.

    • Colin Kaepernick and American Freedom: The Quarterback’s Protest Exemplifies What Our Nation Stands For

      “We wonder why our country is in the toilet?!” Thus tweeted former pro baseball player Aubrey Huff, condemning Colin Kaepernick after the San Francisco 49ers quarterback refused to stand during the national anthem at a preseason game last week.

      But Huff has it exactly backward. The Kaepernick controversy shows what is truly great about America: our shared commitment to free expression.

      Yes, critics across the blogosphere have denounced Kaepernick’s conduct as an insult to the nation and its armed forces. They also slammed subsequent comments by Kaepernick, who is biracial, about the experiences of people of color, whom he said are denied “freedom and justice” in the United States.

    • Troubling Origins of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’

      San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem in protest against U.S. oppression of “black people and people of color,” a concern underscored by the origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” writes Sam Husseini.


      I actually first learned of the racism underlying the national anthem from Alex Cockburn’s 1987 book Corruptions of Empire, which features a splendid cover.

      Note to illustration on the front of jacket: In August 1814, a British raiding party led by Admiral Sir George Cockburn launched an attack on Washington. They set fire to the Capitol, then proceeded to the White House and, before setting fire to it, consumed a meal set out by Dolly Madison which had been abandoned by the fugitive President and his family. Cockburn next proceeded to the offices of The National Intelligence to avenge himself on the press which had abused him. He ordered his men to destroy the paper’s printing types, saying ‘Be sure that all the Cs are destroyed so that the rascals cannot any longer abuse my name’.

      Cockburn then laid siege to Baltimore, the unsuccessful fusillades prompting the composition of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, whose reference to ‘the hireling and slave’ in the British force alludes, as Robin Blackburn points out in The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, to the fact that Cockburn had offered freedom to all slaves who would join him in his attacks of 1813 and 1814. According to a British report these slaves conducted themselves very well and ‘were uniformly volunteers for the Station where they might expect to meet their former masters.’ Some of these black recruits were in the party that burned the White House.

    • The Trump Supporter Running Hungary Is Building a Wall to Keep Muslims Out

      Having successfully hogged the media spotlight for a day with his surprise trip to Mexico City this week, Donald Trump might now be scanning the globe for another foreign capital to visit. If so, don’t be surprised to see Trump Force One landing soon in Budapest, and being greeted warmly by Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban.

      Twice in recent weeks, Orban has effectively endorsed Trump, praising the American’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, aimed particularly at Muslims, as in keeping with the Hungarian leader’s own efforts to seal his country’s southern border with a wall and to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in order “to keep Europe Christian.”

      Hungary is even holding a Brexit-inspired referendum on immigration policy next month, which will most likely give Orban’s government a mandate to reject the European Union’s plan to compel the country to accept about 1,200 refugees. And last week, as the Hungarian journalist Szabolcs Panyi noted, the prime minister announced plans to build “a more massive defense system” on Hungary’s border with Serbia to reinforce the tall fence erected last year to block migrants seeking refuge from war and poverty.

    • Behind the Russian-Israeli Detente

      Even as Official Washington gears up for a lucrative New Cold War with Russia, America’s close “ally” Israel is finding common ground with Moscow that complicates U.S. hostility, as Zach Battat explains.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Company Attacks Protesters With Dogs and Mace

      The ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests were hit with violence on Saturday, as private security forces reportedly hired by the pipeline builders descended on the Native American activists with pepper spray and dogs that bit and threatened the protesters.

    • ‘Is That Not Genocide?’ Pipeline Co. Bulldozing Burial Sites Prompts Emergency Motion

      In a last ditch attempt to protect burial and prayer sites, North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux late Sunday filed for a temporary restraining order to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which they say has already caused “irreparable harm” to the sacred plots.

      “On Saturday, Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners brazenly used bulldozers to destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts,” said tribal chairman David Archambault II in a press statement.

      “They did this on a holiday weekend, one day after we filed court papers identifying these sacred sites,” Archambault added. “The desecration of these ancient places has already caused the Standing Rock Sioux irreparable harm. We’re asking the court to halt this path of destruction.”

      The emergency motion came after security forces hired by the pipeline company attacked Indigenous demonstrators with dogs and pepper spray on Saturday.

      In a Facebook post on Sunday, tribal member and activist Linda Black Elk said that it’s clear that the pipeline company is trying to “provoke” the peaceful resisters “to violence.”

    • Is Zionist a rude word?

      Words trail meanings beyond their formal definitions. Raymond Williams in his Key Words leads us through the dizzying journeys that words we thought we knew well have taken over their history. For example, who nowadays brings to mind what ‘Protestants’ were protesting about? Or take ‘fascism’. This theory and practice of authoritarian politics is now so entangled with its delivery of the holocaust that outside academia it is used as a swear word plain and simple.

      Words are deployed as moves in a strategic battle. This comes out in the titanic struggle between Alice and Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty says “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean”, but is challenged on this by Alice. ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

      To Mary Davis (“Contestation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism”, openDemocracy, 27 July 2016) words are quite straight forward, Humpty-Dumpty-style. Contested words are deployed in unitary meanings of her choice. The result is of course a coherent story – of Zionism, the stages of development of Jewish settlement, the possible ways forward from the current impasse. However by failing to engage with the other competing versions of this story we get an account remarkable in its lack of nuance. News flash: Mary Davis wrestles with a straw person, and wins!

      Antisemitism has in recent months become an active concept in British politics for the first time in most living memories. Many, indeed most, of the allegations of antisemitism that have been made are about statements (not actions), and they are statements about Israel and about Zionism. I will turn to those allegations later, but first need to do some house cleaning around the subject of Zionism.

    • A (partial) defence of democracy

      The UK’s recent referendum on membership of the European Union has brought out an anti-democracy sentiment amongst many people. The People were asked a direct question, and they  —  we  —  gave the ‘wrong’ answer. So much for democracy, eh?

    • London City Airport flights disrupted after ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters occupy runway

      Flights at London City Airport were disrupted this morning after a group of protesters occupied the runway.

      Nine demonstrators got onto the runway and chained themselves to a tripod at about 5.40am, police said.

      The protesters, who claim to be acting in support of Black Lives Matter UK, are said to have got onto the tarmac at the airport after using a boat to sail across the Royal Docks.

    • Hong Kongers ‘thumb their noses at Beijing’ with pro-independence votes

      In a gesture of defiance to Beijing, Hong Kongers have elected a raft of young former pro-democracy protesters, including several who advocate for independence for the city from China.
      Voters flew in from around the world, lined up until the early hours and turned out in record numbers to elect the city’s parliament Sunday.

      The poll for the Legislative Council is the first major election since hundreds of thousands took to the streets for the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement that shut down parts of the city — a special administrative region of China.

    • Hong Kong elections: anti-Beijing activists gain foothold in power

      Two years after tens of thousands of young people poured on to the streets of Hong Kong to issue an unprecedented call for political change, a new generation of pro-democracy activists has gained a foothold in power in the former British colony.

      At least four radical young activists who support greater political autonomy or outright independence from China claimed seats in Hong Kong’s 70-member legislative council, or Legco, after a record 2.2 million people went to the polls on Sunday.

      Those elected include Nathan Law, a 23-year-old from the recently founded Demosisto party who was one of the leaders of the 2014 “umbrella movement” protests.

      “I think it is a miracle,” the former student leader, whose party has called for a referendum on independence, told reporters after his victory.

      “This is absolutely unexpected – nobody imagined this would happen. Every day and night, our team used hard work and sweat to turn defeat into victory,” added Law, who received more than 50,000 votes.

    • ‘I’ve Become a Racist’: Migrant Wave Unleashes Danish Tensions Over Identity

      Johnny Christensen, a stout and silver-whiskered retired bank employee, always thought of himself as sympathetic to people fleeing war and welcoming to immigrants. But after more than 36,000 mostly Muslim asylum seekers poured into Denmark over the past two years, Mr. Christensen, 65, said, “I’ve become a racist.”

      He believes these new migrants are draining Denmark’s cherished social-welfare system but failing to adapt to its customs. “Just kick them out,” he said, unleashing a mighty kick at an imaginary target on a suburban sidewalk. “These Muslims want to keep their own culture, but we have our own rules here and everyone must follow them.”

      Denmark, a small and orderly nation with a progressive self-image, is built on a social covenant: In return for some of the world’s highest wages and benefits, people are expected to work hard and pay into the system. Newcomers must quickly learn Danish — and adapt to norms like keeping tidy gardens and riding bicycles.

    • Police unions are a public enemy

      Thanks the the contracts police unions get from local governments, it’s not only hard to get rid of violent, corrupt cops, but investigating them in the first place is made nigh-impossible. They beat, steal and grift with impunity. The New York Times’ editorial board says it’s time for legislators to rip up these agreements and force the rule of law on those who represent it.

    • When Police Unions Impede Justice

      Across the country, municipal governments have signed contracts with police unions including provisions that shield officers from punishment for brutal behavior as well as from legitimate complaints by the citizens they are supposed to serve.

      That may soon change, as public outrage over police killings of civilians is ratcheting up pressure on elected officials to radically revise police contracts that make it almost impossible to bring officers to justice.

      The most striking case in point is Chicago, which has been roiled by a police scandal stemming from a cover-up in the case of a 17-year-old named Laquan McDonald, who was executed by a police officer nearly two years ago.

      The Police Department first claimed that Mr. McDonald was brandishing a knife and moving toward officers when he was killed. A video — probably available to the city within hours of the shooting but not made public until last November, more than a year later — showed that Mr. McDonald was moving away from the cops when they shot him 16 times, and that the police were obviously lying.

    • U.S. Blocks Former British Ambassador From Entering America to Honor CIA Whistleblower

      craig murray

      The United States over the weekend denied travel to a former British ambassador, Craig Murray, who was also a British diplomat for some 30 years, and is the author of several books.

      Murray has stood twice for election to the House of Commons. He was “honored” by being thrown out of Uzbekistan by its repressive government after risking his life to expose appalling human rights abuses there. He is not a terrorist and is not a social media jihadi. He has no criminal record, no connection to drug smuggling, and does have a return ticket, a hotel reservation and ample funds to cover his expenses.

      He is however seen as a threat to the United States.

      Ambassador Murray was headed to the U.S. this week to be Master of Ceremonies at an award ceremony honoring John Kiriakou, the CIA torture whistleblower. Kiriakou was the only U.S. government official to go to jail in connection with the torture program, and all he did was help expose it to the media. The event is sponsored by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (of which I am a member.)

    • ‘Angry, Snarling, Terrifying’: Trump Confirms Nightmarish Immigration Vision

      In a chilling speech on Wednesday night, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump doubled down on his anti-immigrant rhetoric, adopting a cutthroat tone as he reiterated his vow to deport millions of undocumented people and build a wall on the border with Mexico—which that country would pay for, of course.

      The vague, misleading, and divisive speech, lauded by the likes of right-wing pundit Ann Coulter and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, “was long on inflammatory rhetoric, and short on viable policy solutions,” Raul A. Reyes wrote in his analysis for NBC News.

    • Opinion: Trump’s Immigration Plan? Demonize Immigrants, Latinos — Again

      So much for that pivot. Despite speculation over a so-called “softening” on immigration policy, Donald Trump returned to true nativist form on Wednesday night with a speech laying out his ten-point plan for reforming our immigration system. Among his proposals were building a border wall, a new deportation task force, and a requirement that undocumented immigrants leave the country to apply for legal status. There will be no path to citizenship for the undocumented.

      Trump’s speech was long on inflammatory rhetoric, and short on viable policy solutions. He missed no opportunity to demonize immigrants, yet failed to address the issue at the heart of the immigration debate – what to do with the estimated 11 million undocumented people who are already here. Trump also revealed his ignorance about how our immigration system works.

    • Fear of a black and brown America

      Make America Great Again spells fear of a black and brown US, where racist rhetoric will graduate into racist policy.

    • In Post-Olympics Brazil, a Political Coup Is No Game

      The Olympic torch in Rio de Janeiro has been extinguished, and the global spotlight has left Brazil. In the shadow of the Games, an extraordinary event has taken place, largely ignored in the U.S. media: a coup d’etat against Brazil’s democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff. Brazil is the fifth-most populous country in the world, with one of its largest economies. Like many Latin American nations, it suffered under a military dictatorship for decades, emerging as a young democracy only 30 years ago. This week’s coup was not carried out by the military, but by the Brazilian Senate. The effect is essentially the same: the president has been impeached, and an unpopular political opponent, Michel Temer, who represents that country’s wealthy elites, has assumed the presidency.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Facebook’s satellite went up in smoke, but its developing world land grab goes on

      A rocket crashing into a satellite and cutting off the internet may sound somewhat like the start of an end-of-the-world blockbuster; surely such destruction, and lack of Wi-Fi, could only be a harbinger of doom?

      Fortunately, the scenario that played out last week was slightly less portentous. A SpaceX rocket, part of Elon Musk’s fevered attempts to eventually colonise Mars, exploded on Thursday as part of a failed pre-launch test fire, destroying a Facebook-owned satellite in the process.

      The satellite, which cost the company around £150m, was due to be used as part of Internet.org, a project designed to bring web connectivity to areas of the world with limited internet access. Free Basics, a program developed by Facebook with six internet service providers, is an “onramp to the internet”, designed to help those without the internet get online. Its latest iteration, in Nigeria, saw the launch of 85 free online services including healthcare offerings, job listings, education portals and, of course, Facebook itself.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Devs Rename Game to ‘DMCA’s Sky’ Following Nintendo Legal Threats

        As Nintendo continues to rid the world of fan-made games which dare to mention the company’s characters, one dev team has bitten back. Rather than completely back down, the people behind No Mario’s Sky have rebranded their platformer as DMCA’s Sky. Sadly, that couldn’t stop it being withdrawn from triannual game coding competition, Ludum Dare.

      • Swedish ISP Attacks Copyright Trolls, Over Trademark Infringement

        Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof is launching a direct attack against Spridningskollen, the group that’s spearheading the copyright trolling efforts in Sweden. Bahnhof accuses the anti-piracy outfit of trademark infringement and demands the shutdown of its website.


Links 5/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC5, Mageia Picks DNF

Posted in News Roundup at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • How to install Linux on a Chromebook

      Chromebooks have a lot going for them – they’re cheap, they’re lightweight, and they don’t slow down over time. They’re also based on a stripped-down version of Linux, and upgrading your laptop to a fully fledged desktop operating system isn’t all that difficult.

    • Is Linux a Threat to Windows? Not According to These Stats [Ed: A longtime Microsoft booster, Bogdan Popa, uses Microsoft-connected firm to make case against GNU/Linux]

      [Microsoft-connected] Net Applications claims Windows is currently at 90.52 percent, up from 89.79 percent the month before. Windows’ worst month was April this year, when it dropped to 88.77 percent, but the OS has been recovering ever since.

    • ‘I’m sorry, your lift has had a problem and had to shut down’

      “Eight years ago I was visiting a friend in hospital when I was confronted with a disturbing image upon entering one of the elevators (yeah, OK, one of the lifts).”

      Phil arguably beats Charles, though, because this Sydney lift wanted a login and was running Windows98 well after it was deprecated:

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.8-rc5
    • Linux 4.8-rc5

      So rc5 is noticeably bigger than rc4 was, and my hope last week that we were starting to calm down and shrink the releases seems to have been premature.

      That said, most of the diffstat looks fairly flat (which tends to imply lots of small trivial changes rather than big invasive ones). There’s some stuff going on in the mellanox mlx5 network driver, and there is some nfs and overlayfs noise, but on the whole it just looks like a lot of small fixes. It may be _more_ of those small fixes than I’d prefer at this stage, but I suspect what happened was that rc4 looked so nice and small simply because some of the fixes ended up being delayed until rc5.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces a Noticeably Bigger Linux 4.8 RC5 Kernel Release

      Today, September 4, 2016, Linus Torvalds announced the immediate availability of the fifth RC (Release Candidate) development milestone of the forthcoming Linux 4.8 kernel branch.

      Yes, that’s right, it’s Sunday and tomorrow is Labor Day in the U.S., so it’s time to get your computer ready for some long testing sessions of the next major Linux kernel release, namely Linux 4.8, which just received a new Release Candidate version that looks quite big compared with the previous RC.

      According to Linus Torvalds, who has hoped to see thing starting calming down in the development cycle of Linux kernel 4.8, the fifth RC introduces some improvements to the Mellanox MLX5 network driver, various changes to the OverlayFS and NFS filesystems, and some other minor improvements here and there.

    • Linux 4.8-rc5 Kernel Brings A Fair Number Of Changes
    • Torvalds at LinuxCon Part II: Fragmentation and the GPL

      This is the second of a three part series that began last Tuesday on Linux Torvalds’ keynote interview at this year’s LinuxCon. In today’s segment, Torvalds talks about how the GPL has helped prevent fragmentation.

      “Don’t get me wrong,” Linus Torvalds said, “we still argue. We’re not all happy people, we don’t love each other.”

    • Linus Torvalds credits GPL with preventing Linux fragmentation

      Linus Torvalds has never been one to mince words when it comes to Linux, or anything else for that matter. At a keynote conversation at LinuxCon he expressed his appreciation for the GPL and how it helped Linux avoid fragmentation.

    • Graphics Stack

      • SMAF Still Hasn’t Landed In Linux Kernel, Would Allow Better Protecting Video Playback [Ed: Using euphemisms like EME, secure etc. we’re now having another DRM (not Direct Rendering) entered into Linux]

        Last year we covered SMAF as the project aiming to allow for secure DMA-BUF usage. While that was written about nearly a year ago and had already gone through multiple patch revisions, unfortunately that code has yet to be mainlined.

        A Phoronix reader wrote in this weekend to explain how he wish it would land and that it would help address an important use-case: better handling of protected video content.

      • SMOL-V Is A Compression Effort On Vulkan’s SPIR-V
      • X.Org Server 1.19 Proposed For Release Next Month

        It’s been since last November that X.Org Server 1.18 was released and while the project previously stuck to a six month release cadence, that didn’t happen for xorg-server 1.19. Now, however, out of the blue Keith Packard has put together a proposal for quickly shipping it next month.

        Adam Jackson of Red Hat had been managing X.Org Server releases while this weekend Keith Packard seems to have stepped back into that position and is looking to quickly get X.Org Server 1.19 released.

      • [ANNOUNCE] mesa 12.0.2

        The current release fixes crashes in GLX, EGL and Wayland-EGL, resolves a number of memory leaks in the video decoding drivers, makes the Intel Vulkan driver more robust by exporting only the required symbols (previously we would get symbol collisions leading to strange behaviour or even crashes).

      • Mesa 12.0.2 Released, Fixes For Intel Vulkan Driver, Wayland-EGL Crashes

        The long-awaited Mesa point release update to Mesa 12 is now available with a variety of fixes for these open-source graphics drivers.

      • AMDGPU Southern Islands Support Added To Mesa’s DRM Library
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXQt Still Working Towards Its Next Release, Not Yet Ready For Release Schedule

      XQt 0.10 was released last November and is currently the desktop environment’s current latest release of this Qt-written desktop forked from LXDE. There’s talk though of a new release possibly coming soon, but the project doesn’t appear ready yet to commit to any release schedule or routine cadence for new versions.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy Awards 2016

        QtCon talks closed with our annual awards ceremony, the Akademy Awards. Given each year to the most valued and hardest working KDE contributors, they are awarded by the jury from the previous year. This year’s winners are:

      • KDE neon Talk at QtCon Akademy 2016

        Me and Harald gave a talk at QtCon Akademy about KDE neon and how it is modernising and smoothing the KDE development process.

      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 11-QtCon Day3)
      • QtCon Closing Keynote with Julia Reda MEP

        The talks are over after the three days of QtCon Akademy 2016 which means the BoF sessions and hacking days are about to begin. To close the talks at the conference we had a finishing keynote by Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament and member of the Pirate Party.

        She began by saying that on a fundamental level government is all of us, and it provides the infrastructure for our culture. Software used by the government is also a public service and the only philosophy that takes responsibility for that is free and open source software. Getting governments to use free and open source software is more important then ever because of the importance of technology in society. Computers are no longer limited to some parts of our lives, they are integral to everything we do. She gave the example of the VW Dieselgate scandal which is linked to cars being computers on wheels. There are no check that the software that is tested by regulators is the same that is run by the car hardware. Another interesting aspect is limitations on diesel control can be turned off to save the engine which means in practice they do this a lot and don’t even need to tell the regulators. VW had a function programmed into the car which turned off the fuel saving if it deviated from the testing procedures.

      • KDE Software Store to Soon Offer Downloads in Snap, Flatpak and AppImage Formats

        Ex-Kubuntu maintainer Jonathan Riddell is proud to report on the public availability of a new online service designed as a replacement for the services provided by openDesktop.org.

        Dubbed The KDE Store, the new software store is exactly that, a store where application developers can publish their open-source projects and share them with the world. Also known as KDE Software Store, the app sharing platform contains many of the code from the openDesktop.org website, which appears to no longer be functional.

      • Interviews with QtCon Stall Holders

        KDE Dot News sent its roving reporter Devaja round the stalls at QtCon to ask them what they were promoting and of their experience of the conference.

      • Qt 5.8 Alpha released

        I’m happy to let you know that we have now reached our first milestone towards the release of Qt 5.8. The Alpha version of Qt 5.8 is now ready, and can be downloaded from download.qt.io or your Qt Account. As a new minor release, Qt 5.8 comes with a lot of new features as well as many bug fixes and improvements. We’ll go through all the new features in more detail as we get closer to the release. For now, let me just mention some of the biggest changes.

      • Qt 5.8 Alpha Released With New Graphics Architecture, Qt Lite

        Last week’s Qt 5.8 Alpha preliminary packages have now been promoted to being the official alpha packages for this next major version of the Qt5 tool-kit.

      • Akademy: the social bits

        So far at Akademy and QtCon, I’ve been quiet on the blogging front. That’s mostly because it’s been really really busy from morning to night with technical and social things.

      • QtCon: Plasma 5 running smooth on ARMv7!

        Today at QtCon, I was introduced to a Plasma 5 session running on a Odroid-C1+ (using ARMv7, running Debian).

        I was very amazed to see that it runs very smooth, and is very responsive. Moving windows, placing plasmoids on the desktop works with almost no glitch. As email management and file indexing is not really needed in this context, Akonadi and Baloo were disabled. Of course, it’s not very usable for intensive graphic use (watching videos, image editing, etc), but it’s alright for other use-cases.

      • KDE Talk Videos from QtCon
      • QtCon Akademy 2016
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • What’s coming in Tracker 1.10

        Tracker 1.9.1 was released last month, and it comes with some work we did to improve the various extract modules (the code which looks at files on disk and extracts what we think is useful information). The extract modules are no longer hardcoded to generate SPARQL commands, instead they now use the new TrackerResource API which is a simple way of describing resources programmatically.

      • 2016 GNOME Summit @ Montréal

        Hi everyone, we’re planning to host the GNOME Summit in Montréal this year, on October 8-9-10 (US Colombus Day week-end, Canadian Thanksgiving). It is an unconference-style event aimed for those who want to get involved at the deeply technical level of GNOME, but everyone is welcome and we’re hoping to have a newcomers-oriented session as well as the “deep end of the pool”. Please pre-register here by Friday, indicate any topics of interest you would like to propose for collective tackling during the summit, and indicate your travel and accommodation needs. I will try to secure the venue and figure out all the details surrounding the event soon. Oh, and if you’re in any position to ask one of the GNOME-friendly companies for sponsorship, please do so and drop me an email at nekohayo at gmail. Thanks!

      • GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” Desktop Environment Gets Closer, Second Beta Out Now

        GNOME developer Matthias Clasen was happy to inform us via an email announcement about the availability of the second and last Beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” desktop environment.

      • Experience at GUADEC 2016

        This has been my first GUADEC. It was held in Karlsruhe, Germany (Indeed a very beautiful and peaceful city). The week was truly amazing , got to meet the fellow GNOMies in person. As I did Outreachy internship with GNOME-Maps, I was so happy to meet the team-maps in person. Though my mentor could not come to GUADEC. I met many people there and it was an awesome experience having talks with them.

      • Rewriting code review documentation, on paper.

        I’m not a person carrying around a laptop and don’t use mobile phones much. The more text/comments to tackle (or seperate pages covering related topics), the more I prefer working on paper. (That’s also how I started high-level planning the GNOME Evolution user docs rewrite.)

  • Distributions

    • Several Linux Distros Cater To Deep Web Users

      For those people who have ever considered exploring the deep web, there are specific Linux distributions at your disposal. Using Tor itself is far from sufficient to provide optimal privacy these days. VPN usage is an alternative option, but one never knows if the provider logs traffic. So several Linux developers created custom distributions for all one’s deep web needs.

    • Reviews

      • Peppermint OS 7

        The latest release of Peppermint OS was launched back in June and I meant to take it for a test drive then. However, one exciting release after another distracted me until now. Peppermint is a project I pay attention to because it is one of the distributions I have had the most success with when it comes to transitioning people from Windows to Linux. Peppermint’s lightweight nature, speed, relatively uncluttered interface and solid hardware support (thanks to its underlying Ubuntu base) have made it an attractive option. Peppermint OS 7 is based on packages available through the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS repositories with a few Linux Mint utilities added for flavour. Peppermint runs the LXDE desktop by default and version 7 offers users GPT, UEFI and Secure Boot support. The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture.

        The ISO for the 64-bit build of Peppermint is approximately 1GB in size. Booting from this media displays a menu where we can choose to try the live desktop environment, launch the system installer or check the disc for defects. I took the live desktop option which loads LXDE. The desktop environment is presented with a panel along the bottom of the display. This panel contains our application menu, task switcher and the system tray. The application menu uses unusually large and bold fonts, making the text easy to read. On the desktop we find a single icon we can use to launch the distribution’s system installer. The desktop uses a dark theme with brightly coloured icons. Personally, I like the bright icons on a dark background coupled with the large font. I found the combination made it easy to browse the application menu and find launchers I wanted to use.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The September 2016 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the September 2016 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006.

      • Dandifying Mageia – Adding the DNF stack to Mageia

        There’s a lot of good things coming to Mageia 6: KDE Plasma 5 desktop, updates to other desktop environments, many new games, and a fresh coat of paint with a new visual style. However, there’s quite a lot of under-the-hood improvements in Mageia, too!

        Among the many less-than-visible improvements across the board is a brand new dependency resolver: DNF. DNF (Dandified Yum) is a next generation dependency resolver and high-level package management tool with an interesting history. DNF traces its ancestry to two projects: Fedora’s Yum (Yellowdog Updater, Modified) and openSUSE’s SAT Solver (libsolv). DNF was forked from Yum several years ago in order to rewrite it to use the SAT Solver library from openSUSE (which is used in their own tool, Zypper). Another goal of the fork was to massively restructure the codebase so that a sane API would be available for both extending DNF (via plugins and hooks) and building applications on top of it (such as graphical frontends and system lifecycle automation frameworks).

      • Mageia To Offer DNF, But Will Keep Using URPMI By Default

        The RPM-based Mageia Linux distribution has decided to offer Fedora’s DNF forked version of Yum in their next major release.

        While Mageia 6 will be offering dnf, it’s not going to be the default but will just be present on the system for those wanting to use it. The urpmi command and Mageia’s existing software management tools will remain the defaults for the “foreseeable future.”

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE : Distro Review Of The Week

        openSUSE is one of the best Linux distributions in the world. Apart from Ubuntu, openSUSE is probably one of the best multi-purpose distribution around.The distro is geared towards desktop users and developers working on desktop or server. openSUSE is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise.

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Now Based on Linux Kernel 4.7.2, VirtualBox 5.1.4 Lands Too

        The openSUSE Project, through Douglas DeMaio, is glad to inform the openSUSE Tumbleweed community about the new package updates and improvements incorporated in the snapshots released during the week that passed.

        Now that some of you are probably attempting to install the first Beta ISOs of the upcoming openSUSE Leap 42.2 operating system, which promises to offer a strong, secure, and very stable GNU/Linux distributions to pragmatic and conservative users, those who use the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release are enjoying the latest software releases and technologies.

      • Akonadi/KMail issues on Tumbleweed?
    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • DebConf17 organization started

        DebConf17 will take place in Montreal, Canada from August 6 to August 12, 2017. It will be preceded by DebCamp, July 31 to August 4, and Debian Day, August 5.

        We invite everyone to join us in organizing DebConf17. There are different areas where your help could be very valuable, and we are always looking forward to your ideas.

      • My Free Software Activities in August 2016
      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Look Ma, no hardware! Coding the Raspberry Pi in a web emulator

      You may be familiar with the Sense HAT, an add-on board for the Raspberry Pi which was made especially for a space mission with British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake for Astro Pi. It’s a great piece of hardware, very handy for data logging, science experiments, environmental analysis, games and more. It comes with a Python library making it work out-of-the-box. (See Exploring the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT and Experimenting with the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT).

    • Skylake-H Mini-ITX SBC has 4 GbE, 4 USB 3.0, and 3 HD video ports

      Kontron’s Linux-friendly “mITX-SKL-H” is based on Intel Skylake-H processors, and offers generous helpings of GbE, HD graphics, SATA 3.0, USB 3.0, and PCIe.

    • Phones

      • Mobile apps are now bigger than the web — a trend that threatens to eat Google’s core business

        It’s a stat that will be discomfiting to advocates of the open web, as well as companies whose core business is built around it — notably Google.

      • Tizen

        • Game: Sniper Ops for Samsung Z1 and Z3 now available in Tizen Store

          If your a gaming fan that loves a good shoot ’em up then possibly Snipe Ops 3D might ‘hit the spot’. The game is developed by Modern Alchemists and is possibly one of the best examples of a 3D shooting game that I’ve seen on the Z3.

        • Samsung Gear S3 is the latest Tizen Smartwatch

          It seems forever since we have been waiting for the next Samsung Tizen based smartwatch to be released, and the good news is that it was launched at a special event that was held last week at the Tempodrom arena in Germany. As expected the Gear S3 retains many of the same characteristics of its predecessor, the Gear S2, as we have the same round face and rotating bezel which seems a winning combination for Samsung.

      • Android

        • BlackBerry’s 2016 Android Phone Lineup REVEALED: The BlackBerry DTEK50 Is Just The Beginning

          The BlackBerry PRIV was just the beginning. BlackBerry is working on two Android handsets for 2016

          The first BlackBerry Android phone is out of the blocks for 2016 and, once again, BlackBerry has kind of made a dog’s dinner of the handset’s name. It’s called the BlackBerry DTEK50. I know, I know — it sounds like something you’d grill a steak on and not at all like a handset you’d lust after in a phone shop. I don’t get why they don’t just stick with the codenames? They’re always good — Rome, Milan, etc,…

        • OnePlus merging Oxygen OS and Hydrogen OS to improve updates

          OnePlus has been shaking the industry from the very start. They offer great hardware at unbelievable prices, but they have been divided in the software department. Literally; they created Oxygen OS for the general market, while their Chinese customers get to use Hydrogen OS. The former offers a much more clean interface that looks very much like vanilla Android, while Hydrogen OS is a tweaked in a heavier manner.

        • 6-Inch Meizu M3 Max Is Now Official With A 4,100mAh Battery

          The Meizu PRO 5 was the last phablet this China-based company had released. This device was introduced back in September last year, and was actually Meizu’s flagship at the time. Well, the Meizu PRO 5 might still be the flagship phablet of this company, though the Meizu PRO 6 is now considered to be the company’s most powerful smartphone. In any case, the company has been teasing the arrival of a new phablet, the Meizu M3 Max, for quite some time now. We knew that the M3 Max will sport mid-range specifications, and that it will be announced today, and that’s exactly what just happened, read on.

        • Galaxy Note 7 recall could cost Samsung $1 billion

          It’s inevitable that Samsung’s mass Galaxy Note 7 recall is going to cost the company a notable sum, but industry analysts are now expecting that the total bill could reach around $1 billion in order to fix the mess.

          Despite the relatively low number of affected devices, Samsung has issued a total recall on the estimated 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 handset that has shipped out to consumers in the last two weeks. Estimates from Credit Suisse Group AG, Daishin Securities Co. and Pelham Smithers Associates, all suggests that such a mass recall could cost the company up to $1 billion. The estimated cost to return each handset has been calculated at around $900 plus the profit that Samsung would have made. Koh Dong Jin, the head of Samsung’s smartphone business, said at a press conference in Seoul on Friday that this was a “heartbreaking amount.’’

        • Android lockscreen bypass: Google patches flaw on Nexus 5X phones [Ed: article says “allowed an attacker to obtain a full memory dump via Android Debug Bridge (ADB),” but it's not an attacker but a thief with physical access]
        • What is Android fragmentation, and can Google fix it? [Ed: no different than Windows versions]
        • How to use multitasking in Android Nougat
        • What the iPhone 7 needs to stay ahead of Android
        • EA quietly launches FIFA 17 official mobile game on Android, iOS version coming soon
        • Sony shows Android-based, touch-enabled projector concept at IFA 2016, and we got to try it

          There’s this thing about the future – it is uncertain. 50 years ago, people envisioned us having robot butlers, flying cars, and colonies on other planets by the turn of the 21st century. Instead, we got automated vacuum cleaners that can’t tell when there’s kitty poop in their way. Following that trail of thoughts, we can’t be sure whether Sony’s touch-enabled projector would ever see the light of day, but the concept we saw at IFA 2016 was surely drawing attention.

        • Android Central’s Top Picks from IFA 2016!

          There’s a lot of tech here at IFA in Berlin, as is often the case. OK, that’s one hell of an understatement. There’s a LOT of tech here at IFA. Some from the usual players. A whole lot from folks we’ve, frankly, never heard of.

          And that’s maybe the hardest part of these jaunts. Not the jet lag. Not the time away from home. No, it’s sorting through all the awesomeness that gets crammed into the Messe Berlin and put on display for the world to see.

          But we’ve managed to narrow it down a bit. Here, now, are Android Central’s Top Picks from IFA 2016.

        • AndEX Project Brings Android 7.0 Nougat with GAPPS & Linux Kernel 4.4 to Your PC

          Today, September 4, 2016, Arne Exton is happy to inform us about the release of the first build of his AndEX project based on Google’s recently released Android 7.0 Nougat mobile operating system.

          For those of you who never heard of AndEX, it is an Android-x86 operating system for personal computers, and until today it was based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. We have to admit that we were wondering when Arne Exton will start rebasing AndEX on Android 7.0 Nougat, and it looks like that just happened.

        • Android-x86 releases early build of Nougat for desktop PCs

          Google and Intel may not be doing much work to make sure that Android can run on devices with Intel processors anymore… but the Android-x86 project continues to release new builds of Android for computers with Intel and AMD chips.

        • How to…back up your photos on your Android phone

Free Software/Open Source

  • [Older] Meet Ali Abdulghani, a Blind Programmer Working in the field of Open Source

    It’s rare actually to hear about people with such well and desire to continue their lives even though they suffer such tragic disabilities, for this, meet “Ali Abdulghani”, an Iraqi young man working in the field of free and open-source software although he is completely blind! Who said that you should be useless when you can’t see things?

  • Do Crypto-Token Sales Make Sense for Open-Source Projects?

    Spurred by Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger’s recent blog post, there’s been lots of discussion about crypto-tokens in recent week.

    This has led to excitement and skepticism about their ability to incentivize open-source developers to create and maintain protocols.

    However, as Runa Capital has funded a number of developers who have created and maintained thriving open-source protocols, I wanted to shine some light on this approach in the context of how open-source developers have been incentivized historically.

    This article focuses on both why a crypto-token issuance may make sense for some, and why it might not make sense for others who are served well by existing business models.

  • Three Open Source Business Models

    Any developer considering releasing open source software needs to have a plan to monetize it. Likewise, any organization thinking about deploying open source software needs to know how the vendor is monetizing it. The reason for the first is obvious, bills and expenses being what they are. As for the later, knowing exactly how developers of code you’re thinking of using are funding their efforts will not only help you determine whether the project will remain supported for years to come, but will help keep you from walking into traps such as vendor lock-in.

    There are three primary business models being used by open source vendors. However, before making a decision on what model is right for you, seek legal counsel. Not only is the law complex, IT easily crosses jurisdictions that the law does not.

  • Students take part in MIT workshop on open source software

    MIT Group of Academic and Research Institutes celebrated their 25th global Linux day and conducted various exciting programmes.

    One day hands-on workshop on Linux was organized under the guidance of Professor Suresh Bhawar.

    Vatsal Thakur, an IT expert from Mumbai conducted a seminar on career opportunities in open source software. He said, “Linux is used by big corporate houses as it drives fastest supercomputers and android mobiles. Hence, market requirement for skilled Linux people is huge.”

    Third year students Sanket Kolnurkar, Nihal Renu, Manpreet Singh, Gauri Bhalerao, Prathamesh Videkar assisted the workshop participants. Santosh Bhosle, Ex principal at MIT briefed students about the evolution of open source software. The members of teaching staff including Nilesh Patil, Hanumant Dharmadhikari Deepak Nehte, Kavita Bhosle and Bhakti Ahirwadkar were also present.

  • AquaCrop-OS Provides Open-Source Tool for Ag Water Management

    “We created AquaCrop-OS to provide a free, open-source software tool that makes it easier for scientists and policymakers to devise creative solutions to real-world water and food security challenges,” said Foster.

  • Events

    • Kids on Computers and Unleash Kids at LinuxCon North America!

      Kids on Computers is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers — adults and kids. Founded in 2009, KOC sets up computer labs in locations worldwide, providing access to educational content which they otherwise would not be able to access. The computers have FOSS installed on them. Unleash Kids helps volunteer groups who work with kids by providing Internet in a Box (IIAB) community kits. This brings much of the online-educational content (such as offline Wikipedia, Khan academy, e-books and world-wide maps) to children in areas where there is no access to the internet.

    • 7 tips for learning how to give a technical talk

      Hack-A-Week is an event my team at Red Hat runs every year to encourage innovation. During that week engineers can work on any project they choose. After the week is over, each engineer gives a short presentation on what they worked on.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • Richard Stallman: Publishers should let readers buy articles anonymously

      Richard Stallman, known for creating the GNU Project and initiating work on the popular Emacs text editor, has proposed that online publishers should allow users to buy individual stories, anonymously. Stallman took the opportunity to mention that the GNU Project is working on a new piece of software that will allow his suggested anonymous payments.

    • Publishers must let online readers pay for news anonymously

      Online newspapers and magazines have come to depend, for their income, on a system of advertising and surveillance, which is both annoying and unjust.

      Readers are rebelling by installing ad blockers, which cut into the publisher’s surveillance-based income. And in response, some sites are cutting off access to readers unless they accept being surveilled. What they ought to do instead is give us a truly anonymous way to pay.
      Some people use ad blockers because they find the sight of an advertisement offensive. That’s purely subjective, and publishers could argue that readers are overreacting. Yet ads on the internet do inconvenience readers too. Adverts increase the amount of data needed to view a page, making it slow to load and expensive on a mobile connection.

      At a deeper level, tailored ads also imply snooping, because the most lucrative, targeted advertising on the internet nowadays is based on tracking people’s interests and behaviour.

    • GCC Might Finally Drop The GNU Compiler For Java (GCJ)

      The GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ) while made a lot of progress in its early years as a free software Java compiler, in recent years it’s basically been in maintenance mode and might now be removed entirely from GCC.

      GCC developers have been talking about the pity state of GCJ Java support for some time while now action might finally be taken to strip it from the GNU Compiler Collection codebase.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • California Makes GovOps Portal Open Source

        California’s Government Operations Agency has moved its open data portal to an open source platform.

        California piloted the first statewide open data portal, GreenGov.data.ca.gov, with data sets and results from the GreenGov Challenge, a code-a-thon built around sustainability data sets hosted on the pilot site. GovOps is now moving the open data portal to an open source platform (DKAN) to ensure the longevity of continuous efforts to make government

        To effectively manage the improved statewide portal it will be moved to the Department of Technology’s (CDT’s) Office of Digital Innovation, alongside the state’s Innovation Lab. The new location within the CDT will allow customers, civil coders and government entities to create innovative solutions to their government business challenges

        In the coming months, GovOps and the CDT will work with departments and agencies across the executive branch to continuously add more data sets to the portal.

      • This Week in Civic Tech: California Launches First True Open Data Portal, KC Takes Another Step Toward Innovation

        The Golden State’s first agencywide open data portal is now live. Officials from the California Government Operations Agency (CalGovOps) announced the launch after a successful pilot that began earlier this summer. The intent, technology leaders say, is to make the state’s vast collection of data easier to access and more intuitive to use.

      • How to Uncover Corruption Using Open Source Research

        When most people think about open source research, they think about uncovering social media materials of soldiers on the front-lines of the wars in Ukraine and Syria, or geolocating video footage of significant events with Google Earth. While open source materials have led a mini-revolution in how conflicts are reported online, there is another area where there has been just as much impact: corruption investigations. This guide will provide instructions on how to start doing your own research into corruption using open source materials, and also include advice from experts who have uncovered corruption in eastern Europe, the Balkans, Caucasus, and elsewhere.

  • Programming/Development

    • The new CIS-194

      The Haskell minicourse at the University of Pennsylvania, also known as CIS-194, has always had a reach beyond the students of Penn. At least since Brent Yorgey gave the course in 2013, who wrote extensive lecture notes and eventually put the material on Github.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • EPA: Flint’s new water will need 3 months or more of testing

      Federal officials say it will take at least three months of testing before Flint can distribute water from a new pipeline in the in the wake of its crisis with lead-tainted water.

      The Flint Journal reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told city and state officials that Flint must demonstrate its ability to treat water from the Karegnondi Water Authority.

      Flint switched from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in 2014 to save money, but the corrosive river water caused lead to leach from aging pipes into homes. Flint has switched back to Detroit water.

    • Modern life is killing our children: Cancer rate in young people up 40 per cent in 16 years

      Modern life is killing children with the number of youngsters diagnosed with cancer rising 40 per cent in the past 16 years because of air pollution, pesticides, poor diets and radiation, scientists have warned.

      New analysis of government statistics by researchers at the charity Children with Cancer UK found that there are now 1,300 more cancer cases a year compared with 1998, the first time all data sets were published.

      The rise is most apparent in teenagers and young adults aged between 15 and 24, where the incident rate has risen from around 10 cases in 100,000 to nearly 16.

      Researchers say that although some of the rise can be explained by improvements in cancer diagnoses and more screening, the majority is probably caused by environmental factors.

      Dr Denis Henshaw, Professor of Human Radiation Effects at Bristol University, the scientific adviser for Children with Cancer UK, said air pollution was by far the biggest culprit, accounting for around 40 per cent of the rise, but other elements of modern lifestyles are also to blame.

  • Security

    • Linux project mum after man indicted for 2011 breach

      The Linux Kernel Organisation, the non-profit that manages development of the kernel, is still reluctant to make any statement about a breach of its servers that took place more than five years ago, despite the fact that a man from South Florida has been charged with being responsible for the intrusion.

      The same man, named as Donald Ryan Austin by the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, was also charged with gaining unauthorised access to the servers of the Linux Foundation, an organisation that employs Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

      Asked for a response to the development, senior kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman told iTWire: “The process is not complete yet, so sorry, I do not have any comment at this point in time.”

    • Hacker behind Linux Kernel’s Mass Trojan Infection Arrested in Florida

      Cert-Bund, a German cyber security group estimated that a third of Linux computers in the U.S., and a tenth of those in the world that were checked, were in fact infected with the Trojan Austin had uploaded into the servers.

      After obtaining the credentials, he used them to make unauthorized changes to those servers by adding messages that automatically appeared when the servers rebooted. He also broke into a private email server of Linux Kernel Founder Peter Anvin, along with the Odin1, Zues1, and Pub3 servers.

    • Suspect arrested in 5-year-old kernel.org breach
    • Florida IT Guy Arrested for 2011 Linux Hack
    • Mirai DDoS Trojan Is the Next Big Threat to IoT Devices and Linux Servers

      A new trojan named Mirai has surfaced, and it’s targeting Linux servers and IoT devices, mainly DVRs, running Linux-based firmware, for the purpose of enslaving these systems as part of a large botnet used to launch DDoS attacks.

    • Pokemon-Themed Umbreon Rootkit Targets Linux x86 and ARM Platforms [Ed: Hyping up a Linux 'threat' which requires cracker has physical access to the device and INSTALLS crap on it]

      Security researchers at Trend Micro have discovered a new rootkit trojan that targets only Linux-based systems running on x86 and ARM (Raspberry Pi) platforms.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma Amid Warnings of ‘Inherent’ Fracking Risks

      Oklahoma was hit with a 5.6-magnitude earthquake on Saturday, with reports of tremors felt in six neighboring states—making it one of the strongest quakes in Oklahoma’s history and fueling a growing consensus that the cause lies with wastewater disposal from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

      CNN reported that the event also rattled Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, and Iowa, citing geophysicists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who said it “occurred as the result of shallow strike-slip faulting.”

      The quake struck just after 7:00am local time near Pawnee, followed by four separate incidents of aftershock. No major injuries were reported.

      The USGS continued: “Scientific studies have linked the majority of this increased activity to wastewater injection in deep disposal wells in several locations. However, other mechanisms such as fluid withdrawal, enhanced oil recovery, or hydraulic fracturing processes can also result in induced earthquakes.”

      In Oklahoma, where earthquakes increased by 50 percent last year as about 1.5 billion barrels of wastewater from oil and gas sites were disposed of underground, the link between fracking and seismic events is well-established.

    • Giant pandas rebound off endangered list

      The giant panda is no longer an endangered species, following decades of work by conservationists to save it.

      The official status of the much-loved animal has been changed from “endangered” to “vulnerable” because of a population rebound in China.

      The change was announced as part of an update to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

      But the update also brought bad news. The eastern gorilla, the world’s largest primate, is now endangered.

      Efforts by China, which claims the giant panda as its national animal, have brought its numbers back from the brink. The latest estimates show a population of 1,864 adults.

    • Giant pandas no longer endangered species, experts say

      The giant panda is no longer endangered, according to experts, thanks to aggressive conservation efforts.

      The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said the panda should no longer be classified as “endangered”, but “vulnerable” instead.

      In a report published on Monday, they cited the growing number of pandas in the wild in southern China – which jumped from 1,596 in 2004 to 1,864 in 2014.

      The IUCN hailed the work of Chinese agencies who helped wild panda populations grow by enforcing poaching bans and expanding forest reserves.

    • Bizarre ant colony discovered in an abandoned Polish nuclear weapons bunker

      For the past several years, a group of researchers has been observing a seemingly impossible wood ant colony living in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker in Templewo, Poland, near the German border. Completely isolated from the outside world, these members of the species Formica polyctena have created an ant society unlike anything we’ve seen before.

      The Soviets built the bunker during the Cold War to store nuclear weapons, sinking it below ground and planting trees on top as camouflage. Eventually a massive colony of wood ants took up residence in the soil over the bunker. There was just one problem: the ants built their nest directly over a vertical ventilation pipe. When the metal covering on the pipe finally rusted away, it left a dangerous, open hole. Every year when the nest expands, thousands of worker ants fall down the pipe and cannot climb back out. The survivors have nevertheless carried on for years underground, building a nest from soil and maintaining it in typical wood ant fashion. Except, of course, that this situation is far from normal.

    • Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

      Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.

      Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.

      And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.

      For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.

      Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.

  • Finance

    • Apple mired in a mess entirely of its own making

      It is said that there are two things that are certain in this world: death and taxes. One has to rethink that line now, in view of the EU-Apple news this week; only death seems to be a certainty.

      After the EU ordered Apple to pay billions in back taxes to Ireland this week Apple chief executive Tim Cook chose to indulge in populist rhetoric — “it’s political crap” — and did not try to refute the detailed allegations levelled against the company by the European Commission.

      Doubtless, Cook did what he thought was right; the media, at large, is on Apple’s side and is not particularly inclined to meticulously examine things. More so in the US, where the American government is painting this as some kind of victimisation of US companies.

      But Apple’s corporate structure does merit some attention.

      The late Steve Jobs was the one who set up Apple’s operations in Cork, Ireland, back in 1980. Apple has provided employment to thousands and the attractive corporate tax rate that Ireland offers — 12.5% — has resulted in a host of international companies setting up office there.

    • Why Apple’s low-tax deal is no blueprint for Brexit Britain

      One of the islands that makes up Papua New Guinea is called New Ireland. But it seems that a much colder island far to the north might also wish to be called New Ireland – the island formerly known as Great Britain.

      In the wake of the European commission’s ruling that Ireland must reclaim €13bn plus interest in taxes from Apple, there is a good deal of excitement at the prospect of a post-Brexit Britain replacing its smaller neighbour in the affections of tax-shy global corporations. As the Daily Telegraph put it in an editorial: “If Ireland and the EU do not want a huge, wealth-creating firm doing business in their territory, Apple will be very welcome in the UK.” Welcome, that is, to use the UK as it has previously used Ireland – as a compliant state that will look the other way while vast profits pass through, untaxed.

    • Brexit is truly daunting: this is the biggest crisis I have known

      The leader of the Lib Dems, Tim Farron, struck a chord last week when he said that as a result of the Brexit vote, Britain had become a laughing stock abroad.

      He is quite right. I myself have been receiving baffled inquiries from friends overseas. And on two recent trips to get away from it all – to Crete and Provence, since you ask – we could not escape. Everyone we encountered – yes, everyone – asked why this country had taken leave of its senses.

      It is no good people saying we Remainers, or “Brits-in” as an acquaintance terms us, should shut up, accept that “the people have spoken” and get on with it. This is the biggest crisis to erupt in my working life, and the implications are far too daunting to be taken lying down.

      Meanwhile, it is evident from its behaviour so far that the government is all over the place. But one thing is crystal clear: by making immigration the priority over membership of the single market, Theresa May is almost guaranteeing that, in order to offer sops to the Cerberus of burgeoning racism in this country, the economy will suffer.

    • Iran signs off on a radical investment treaty: barring arbitrators from wearing two hats, narrowing protections, and limiting damages awards

      Iran signs off on a radical investment treaty: barring arbitrators from wearing two hats, narrowing protections, and limiting damages awards

      The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Slovak Republic have signed off on a deeply iconoclastic investment treaty – one that bars arbitrators from moonlighting as counsel, protects as “investments” the activities of non-profit development and research organizations, and modifies in myriad ways the boilerplate protections seen in prior treaties.

      The two countries signed the BIT on January 19th of this year [click to view]. Given that Iran has contemporaneously concluded far more conventional BITs, such as the recent Japan-Iran BIT, we suspect that the reform ambitions of the Iran-Slovakia BIT may stem more from the Slovak side of the negotiating table.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Angela Merkel’s CDU ‘suffers Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania poll blow’

      Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU party has been beaten into third place by an anti-immigrant and anti-Islam party in elections in a north-eastern German state, partial results have shown.

      The Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) party took about 21% of the vote behind the centre-left SPD’s 30%.

    • Sanders: Debate threshold ‘probably too high’

      The requirement that presidential candidates average at least 15 percent support in national polls in order to earn a spot on the general election debate stage is “probably too high,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday morning.

      The Commission on Presidential Debates announced its 15 percent threshold last year, and last month it announced the set of five national polls it would use to measure each candidate’s support. The barrier is no problem for Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, but it presents a potentially insurmountable hurdle for alternative candidates like Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

    • Stein: ‘We are living with a couple of nightmare campaigns’
    • Jill Stein: The Only Candidate Serious On Climate Change

      Inspired by a recent article in Time magazine about global warming, I had written a Ted Kaczynski-esque withering assault on modern civilization and advocated a reversal (yes, LOL indeed) of industrialization. It was a thoroughly godawful paper and I have little doubt that George Stewart was the only thing that got me a passing grade on it.

      It was straight from the heart though, and not since then has my interest and passion in what we have done to this planet waned. As someone who tries to keep track of the impact of human-induced climate change, I have always found baffling the lack of importance the issue has received as an electoral issue. There is no greater threat to our safety and well being-no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We are a species that like any other, requires a habitat that can sustain our biological functions and allow the vegetation and animal life necessary to sustain our food supply. The manifest reality of today is that our habitat is under attack from our own creations. We have polluted our air and our oceans. We have doomed to extinction countless species of plants and animals many of whom we may have annihilated before they could be discovered. The earth is warming quicker and sea levels are rising faster than any prediction model foresaw. Literally hundreds of small island communities ― as well as major nations like Bangladesh and Indonesia ― are already losing shorelines and even arable land. In America, with our over 10,000 miles of shoreline, climate scientists predict a rise in sea levels and markedly increased flooding in coastal cities like New York within the next five decades.

      This is not a problem of the future, it is a problem of the here and now and a catastrophe beyond biblical proportions in the making.

    • Ralph Nader: I was not a ‘spoiler’ in 2000. Jill Stein doesn’t deserve that insulting label, either.

      In his Aug. 24 op-ed, “2016’s Ralph Nader?,” Dana Milbank accused Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein of making “more likely the singular threat of a President Trump.” He echoed legions of Democratic Party partisans who never think it is time for a progressive third-party presidential candidate to run because the Republican candidates are always worse. They use politically bigoted words such as “spoiler,” reserved for treating third-party candidates like second-class citizens. Many otherwise-tolerant reporters, columnists and editorial writers are quite okay with smaller candidates being obstructed in many ways, from ballot access to the debates.

      Such discrimination counters a candidate’s civil liberties. Everyone has an equal right to run for public office. What kind of twisted logic insists that smaller-party competitors should forfeit their First Amendment rights to speak, petition and assemble freely? Dissent and resistance that attract voters historically have improved politics and achieved justice in our country.

      Aren’t liberals pleased that earlier third parties — ballot access was easier in the past — and their voters rejected Mr. Milbank’s kind of advice? In 1840, the Liberty Party first opposed slavery. Later, new parties fought the exclusion of women from voting, asserted the rights of farmers and industrial labor and initiated calls for Social Security, unemployment compensation, minimum wages, health care for all and electoral reforms. They first put on the table most of the positive improvements from government.

      Shamefully, the decaying Democratic Party works to block millions of voters from having a choice of progressive third-party candidates. No country in the Western world places more obstacles to third-party and independent candidates getting on the ballot than the United States. Democrats and Republicans built this exclusionary duopoly. As a result, major redirections and reforms, often supported by a popular majority, are excluded from electoral arenas. Without a competitive democracy, our political system cannot attract better candidates. A political monoculture with safe, gerrymandered incumbents serving myopic commercial interests is systematically undemocratic. It helps explain why the Democratic Party has been unable to defend this country from the worst Republican Party in history at the congressional and state levels.

    • FBI Says a Laptop That Held Clinton’s E-Mails Has Gone Missing

      A personal laptop computer used to archive Hillary Clinton’s e-mails when she was secretary of state went missing after being put in the mail, according to the FBI’s report on its investigation into her use of a private e-mail system.

      E-mails that Clinton sent and received through her private server during her tenure were archived on the laptop in 2013 by a person who was an assistant to former President Bill Clinton, the FBI said in its heavily redacted investigative report released Friday.

      Someone whose name was redacted in the FBI report told the agency that he later deleted the e-mails from the laptop but didn’t wipe its hard drive. A computer technician can often recover such e-mails that have been deleted but not permanently erased from a laptop’s memory.

    • Paleologos on the poll: Voters want third-party candidates on debate stage

      Libertarian Gary Johnson did not reach the 15% threshold for inclusion in presidential debates in the latest Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll. This is a disappointment to voters, 76% of whom believe that third-party candidates like Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein should be able to share the stage with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump this fall.

    • The Green Party Aligns Itself With the African-American Community

      Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. last Tuesday, Aug. 23, to address her recent visit to Louisiana, racism in America and her New Green Deal to tackle climate control.

      “We had the honor of being escorted through some of the most — most tragically struck areas of Baton Rouge, where essentially there has been no recovery and almost nothing in the way of services,” Stein said.

    • Democrats used a cheat sheet to deal with Black Lives Matter, leak reveals

      Democrat lawmakers were given their very own “do’s and don’ts” cheat sheet on what to do when approached by a Black Lives Matter activists, according to an internal memo that was leaked from Minority House leader Nancy Pelosi’s server.

      The document, which was obtained and posted online by the mysterious hacker Guccifer 2.0, was sent by Troy Perry, a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffer, to the rest of the committee staff in November 2015.

    • Leaked 2015 Memo Told Dems: ‘Don’t Offer Support’ For Black Lives Matter Policy Positions

      “Don’t offer support” for the “concrete policy positions” of Black Lives Matter protesters, the chief organization charged with electing Democrats to the House of Representatives warned its candidates in an internal memo leaked online on Wednesday.

      The document was posted online by Guccifer 2.0, a hacker who has claimed to be responsible for the Democratic National Committee email leak. Guccifer claims the document is from the personal computer of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). A number of cybersecurity firms and Democrats have attributed the leaks to Russian hackers (though Guccifer 2.0 has denied working for the Kremlin).

    • At the Clinton Foundation, you can smell the meat a-cookin’

      With so many journalists spending so much time shaming Donald Trump’s voters so as to protect Hillary Clinton in November, I’m getting mighty worried.

      I’m not worried about Trump. He’s a megalomaniac, and his kind of narcissism will help him blend in quite nicely in Washington if he’s elected president. And I’m not worried about Clinton either. She’s a pathological liar and well-suited to the Washington way, where liars are praised.

      What worries me is that many — but not all — in my business are spending so much time shaming Trump voters, that they seem to have forgotten some important features of political corruption: what it is, what it looks like, what it sounds like and what it smells like.

    • Letter to the Editor: Support Jill Stein

      University of Georgia at Athens charged $4,488 in tuition and fees in the 2000-2001 school year but charged $10,836 in the 2014-2015 school year. This is an increase of 141 percent. In the same time, the median income in Georgia fell by 14 percent.

      According to Phan Fei at ProPublica, the median income in the U.S. is falling but public college tuition is climbing. In the US as a whole, median income has fallen 7 percent since 2000, while tuition has risen 80 percent during the same time period.

    • Poll: Clinton Unpopularity at New High, on Par With Trump

      Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity reached a new high in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, putting her on par with Donald Trump among registered voters.

      The latest findings solidify their positions as the two most unpopular presidential candidates in polling dating back more than 30 years.

      Among all adults, 56 percent now view Clinton unfavorably, up 6 percentage points in three weeks, compared with 63 percent who say the same about Trump.

      Among registered voters, the two candidates have nearly identical unfavorable ratings: 59 percent for Clinton versus 60 percent for Trump.

    • What the Green Party’s Jill Stein believes in 2 minutes
    • Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain

      There is a giant sucking sound coming off Lake Champlain.

      It’s the sound of Bernie Sanders operatives sucking Bernie supporters back into the corporate Democratic Party.

      Take the case of Matt Funiciello.

      Funiciello is the Green Party candidate for Congress in New York’s 21st Congressional district, fifty miles across Lake Champlain from Sanders’ new $600,000 summer home in North Hero, Vermont.

    • [Older] How Presidential ‘Non-Opinion’ Polls Drive Down Third Party Numbers And Facilitate Debate Exclusion

      This week, the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced what polls it will utilize in excluding candidates from its debates.

      The CPD says candidates like the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein must get 15 percent in polls conducted by “five national public opinion polling organizations” — ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal.

      Not only — as several have correctly argued — is the 15 percent threshold arbitrary and exclusionary, but these polls don’t actually ask voter preferences at all.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Arab cinema fights censorship at home and hate crime in the West

      In June, Oscar-winning screenwriter David Franzoni announced his upcoming biography of the 13-century Persian poet Rumi, a production he believes will counter the negative portrayal of Muslims put forward in Western films. Yet despite the premise for the film, it was LA-born Leonardo DiCaprio who was tipped to play the lead role, with Robert Downey Jr as Shams of Tabriz, the spiritual guide who led Rumi to enlightenment.

      Following Franzoni’s announcement, almost 7,000 people signed a petition, promoted under the hashtag #RumiWasntWhite, calling for a Middle Eastern actor to be cast as Rumi. Hollywood has drawn on a wealth of Middle Eastern actors to play terrorists, they pointed out, so why should a white man play one of the greatest poets of all time, who was born in present day Afghanistan?

      If this casting goes ahead, DiCaprio and Downey Jr are set to join other white actors who have played people from a range of ethnic backgrounds in Hollywood movies, among them Rooney Mara, who played American Indian Tiger Lily in Peter Pan; Angelina Jolie was cast as the Afro-Cuban Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart; Joseph Fiennes played Michael Jackson; and Ben Affleck was the Mexican-American Antonio J. Mendez in Argo.

    • Kabali and censorship

      Such censorship of films shown in Malaysia is not new. Before this, many scenes were cut from movies because they contained scenes that were too violent or sexual, and sometimes as in the case of Kabali, scenes were cut because of their political, religious or racial nature. Some movies are banned altogether from Malaysia.

    • Silence of the fans: China’s G20 censorship blocks social media praise of first lady Peng Liyuan’s stunning banquet dress

      China’s first lady Peng Liyuan took the limelight at the G20 summit’s welcoming banquet in Hangzhou on Sunday with a stunning qipao-style dress.

      However, her fans were not able to flood social media with their admiring comments as they had been able to do in the past because of the heavy online censorship in force during the summit.

      Sunday was also the most censored day on the mainland since August 2015, when two explosions took place in the port city of Tianjin, according to Weiboscope, a censorship index run by the University of Hong Kong.

      About 18 posts were censored on Weibo per ten thousand posts published on Sunday, according to the index. Top censored words included “country”, “summit”, “airport” and “Hangzhou”.

    • YouTube’s “ad-friendly” content policy may push one of its biggest stars off the website

      Prominent YouTube star Philip DeFranco has seen the site undergo enormous changes — from major shifts in its position on copyright to the introduction of its subscription service, YouTube Red — in the 10 years he’s been posting videos to the platform. In that time, the audience for his three channels has ballooned to over 4.5 million subscribers (6 million if you count all his channels) and a staggering 2 billion views.

      DeFranco is known for his candid, often satirical delivery and his willingness to cover everything from celebrity gossip to memes. As his audience has grown, he’s won awards for his informal news series and formed partnerships with major platforms like TMZ and SourceFed.


      The demonetization means DeFranco will not be able to run ads (read: make money from ads) on any of those videos, and also means his channel is considered to be in violation of YouTube’s community guidelines.

      Though YouTube says the demonetization is the result of changes to its notification system, and not a reflection of changes in its policies, it’s unclear why DeFranco and other vloggers are just getting flagged on content now even though many of them have been posting similar videos to YouTube for years. DeFranco and his supporters worry the move could have implications for all YouTube creators.


      “It seems by covering the real, raw news story and not, like, watering it down, I got in trouble,” he said, adding, “How are you supposed to cover news?” A clearly baffled DeFranco worried that YouTube might be setting a dangerous precedent: “This is a much bigger situation than me.”

    • Censorship, corruption and a commitment to Communism: Inside China’s media landscape

      China is rated near the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, and Wu has a strong word of warning for Australian media outlets wanting to partner with Chinese counterparts.

    • YouTubers are accusing the site of rampant ‘censorship’
    • YouTube ‘demonetization,’ explained for normals
    • Youtube will never be the same after these policy changes
    • YouTube’s ‘demonetization’ controversy
    • YouTube’s de-monetisation isn’t censorship, but it could transform the site
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • German spies repeatedly broke law, must delete XKeyscore database—watchdog

      Germany’s spies seriously violated the country’s laws multiple times, according to a secret report from its federal data protection commissioner Andrea Voßhoff.

      The legal analysis, leaked to Netzpolitik, was made in July 2015 following a visit by data protection officials to Bad Aibling in southern Germany, in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about surveillance activities there. Bad Aibling is jointly run by Germany’s intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), and the NSA.

    • Parliament’s back for Snoopers’ Charter. Former head of GCHQ talks to El Reg

      Parliament has returned from recess (only for a fortnight before conference season begins) and the House of Lord’s committee stage examination of the Investigatory Powers Bill will resume this afternoon.

      The upper chamber had been waiting for the publication of a review of the bill’s bulk powers, which had been led by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC.

      Anderson’s report was published while the politicians were on their holidays, and although it found that there was no proven case GCHQ needs to engage in bulk hacking missions, it was otherwise overwhelmingly supportive of the bulk powers provided for in the Snoopers’ Charter.

      Anderson made what he called a “single, major, recommendation” — the creation of a Technical Advisory Panel to monitor how developments in technology affect the investigatory powers.

    • Tor’s Branding Pivot is Going to Get Someone Killed

      Collectively, these two policy documents pivot The Tor Project, Inc. from an organization that was foremost about privacy technology to an organization that is foremost about human rights (HR) where privacy technology is the chosen means to the end.

      Naïve observers may see little difference, but this pivot has deep ramifications. In western liberal democracies (where Tor is overwhelmingly based, and by raw numbers, largely serves) human-rights advocacy has better optics than privacy. But the opposite is true in the regions that Tor aims to serve. Privacy empowers the individual. Empowering the individual naturally dovetails with human rights, so its plausible that greater human rights is a natural byproduct of privacy advocacy. However, Tor’s pivot from “Privacy Enthusiasts” to “Human Rights Watch for Nerds” substantially increases the risk of imprisonment to those operating a Tor relay or using the Tor Browser Bundle from less HR-friendly regions.

      For example, in Singapore (where I live), the government absolutely does not care for what they term “Western human rights” and views them, at best, as a handicap in maximizing GDP, and at worst, as cultural imperialism. But despite their dim view of human rights, Singaporean authorities top-to-bottom are fanatical about reducing corruption. Most importantly, Singapore’s love of anti-corruption exceeds its apprehension about human-rights-laden privacy enhancing technologies. Singapore’s attitude here is representative of the cultural terrain from China to Indonesia, which constitutes >30% of the world population.

    • How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

      Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like — just check out the company’s price list.

      The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user’s location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

      Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.

      Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate. The emails and documents were provided by two people who have had dealings with the NSO Group but would not be named for fear of reprisals.

      The company is one of dozens of digital spying outfits that track everything a target does on a smartphone. They aggressively market their services to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. The industry argues that this spying is necessary to track terrorists, kidnappers and drug lords. The NSO Group’s corporate mission statement is “Make the world a safe place.”

    • What is your phone telling your rental car?

      When I rent a car, it’s fun to get all the bells and whistles – like navigation, hands-free calls and texts, streaming music and even web browsing. But did you know that cars with these features might keep your personal information, long after you’ve returned your rental car? Here are some things to keep in mind when renting a connected car.

      What happens when you rent a connected car? When you use the car’s infotainment system, it may store personal information. It may keep locations you entered in GPS or visited when travelling in the rental car – like where you work or live.

      If you connect a mobile device, the car may also keep your mobile phone number, call and message logs, or even contacts and text messages. Unless you delete that data before you return the car, other people may view it, including future renters and rental car employees or even hackers.

    • FTC warns consumers of rental car data theft risk

      The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to beware of new ‘connected car’ features that allow rental car customers to connect their mobile phone or other devices to in-vehicle infotainment systems.

      “If you connect a mobile device, the car may also keep your mobile phone number, call and message logs, or even contacts and text messages,” the FTC said in an advisory released on Tuesday. “Unless you delete that data before you return the car, other people may view it, including future renters and rental car employees or even hackers.”

    • Extra Bacon? Yes please, even though this Cisco bug’ bug of this name is bad for you

      Tens of thousands of Cisco ASA firewalls are vulnerable to an authentication bypass exploit thought to have been cooked up by the United States National Security Agency (NSA).

      The “Extra Bacon” exploit was one of many found as part of an Equation Group cache leaked by a hacking outfit calling itself the Shadow Brokers.

      Equation Group is thought to be an offensive NSA Tailored Access Operations unit. The leaked exploits and the tools stolen by Shadow Brokers are thought to have come from a compromised command and control staging server.

      Cisco has rushed out patches against the Extra Bacon exploit, while researchers extended the attack to compromise more modern ASA units.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Security Forces Attack Dakota Pipeline Protesters with Dogs

      The day before, activists at Red Warrior Camp stopped construction by tying themselves to heavy machinery.

      Private security forces attacked anti-Dakota pipeline activists on Saturday with dogs and pepper spray during a nonviolent action, according to activists there, who said six people were bitten and 12 maced.

    • Protests Erupt in San Juan as Obama Forms Unelected Control Board to Run Puerto Rico

      President Obama has appointed seven members to a federal control board that will run the finances of Puerto Rico’s nearly bankrupt government for at least the next five years and restructure nearly $70 billion in debt. The board is made up of three Democrats and four Republicans who will not only approve any budgets created by the island’s politicians, but also attempt to negotiate with the island’s nearly 20 creditors. On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters in Puerto Rico blocked a street in front of a hotel where bankers and business executives were gathering for a conference hosted by the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, a new report from the ReFund America Project has revealed firms like UBS, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital have collected $1.6 billion in underwriting fees from Puerto Rico since 2000 just for refinancing bonds to pay interest and fees on older bonds.

    • Brazil: Police use tear gas at anti-Temer protest

      Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Brazil to demonstrate against the government.

      Organisers said 50,000 people – a record number – turned out in Sao Paulo alone for a seventh day of protests against the new President Michel Temer.

      Mr Temer took office after Dilma Rousseff was removed from the presidency in an impeachment trial.

      The rally began peacefully but police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon as clashes broke out at the end.

      They said they had been forced to take the measures to avoid vandalism.

      Several people were reportedly injured including a BBC journalist.

      Some protesters responded by throwing bottles and stones at riot police, and building and setting fire to barricades.

    • Soccer Star Rapinoe Kneels During National Anthem

      U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem Sunday night before the Seattle Reign’s game against the Chicago Red Stars “in a little nod” to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

      Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem to protest racial injustice and minority oppression came to public notice when he remained seated on the bench before a preseason game against Green Bay. On Thursday night in San Diego, he and safety Eric Reid knelt during the anthem before a game against the Chargers.

      “It was very intentional,” Rapinoe told American Soccer Now after Seattle’s 2-2 tie in the National Women’s Soccer League game. “It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country.

      “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Warner Brothers reports own site as illegal

        Film studio Warner Brothers has asked Google to remove its own website from search results, saying it violates copyright laws.

        It also asked the search giant to remove links to legitimate movie streaming websites run by Amazon and Sky, as well as the film database IMDB.

        The request was submitted on behalf of Warner Brothers by Vobile, a company that files hundreds of thousands of takedown requests every month.

        Warner Brothers has yet to comment.

      • Copyright extortion letters

        The unpleasant practice of sending extortion letters to file sharers / downloaders seems to be spreading. The latest example is Sweden. And it all seems to be loosely built on the German model.

      • Copyright trolls come to Sweden: A deeper analysis

        This week, copyright trolls in Sweden announced they’ll start sending extortion letters later this year to people who have been sharing music and movies. It follows an all too familiar pattern from other countries, where these fraudsters have eventually had to give up their scheme as plain unprofitable. But beyond the press releases and posturing from the copyright industry, what does the legal and practical situation look like?

        Assuming the holder of an exclusive right can show that somebody else has performed the action they have a monopoly on – in cleartext, shared music and movies in violation of the copyright monopoly – then that holder of the exclusive right has, under the current legal framework, right to damages. The morality of this is highly questionable and dates back to suppression of freedom of speech in the 1550s, but let’s leave that part aside for now.

        So there are two things needed in this equation for damages to come into play: the holder of the exclusive distribution right must be able to identify the person sharing, and they must show that this person actually did share. Usually, what the holders have are IP addresses and nothing more.

        Let’s see how this plays out in the legal landscape of Sweden, now that the copyright industry has announced their intention to start sending speculative invoices.

      • Copyright reform: Could EU Commission do worse?

        A few days ago, an impact assessment and a draft EU directive leaked, exposing the plans of the EU commission on copyright reform. After years of prevarications, the Commission remains stuck in a vision of copyright revolving on defending of cultural industries. Its proposals are still very much out of touch with the need to adapt to digital practices, and even table a couple of dangerous proposals.


Links 4/9/2016: Git 2.10.0, Z-Wave Public Specification

Posted in News Roundup at 12:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How open source technologies are transforming the BBC

    The BBC Archive contains material dating the back to the 1880s, preceding the formation of the Corporation itself.

    Created in recognition of the intellectual and cultural value in BBC public service programming, it preserves the BBC’s content as a cultural record and for the benefit of future generations.

    The UK government recently set out a proposal for increased archive access, agreeing with BBC that the Archive represents a valuable resource for the general public and academia.

    The BBC Rewind project was born of a converged editorial and engineering team originating at BBC Northern Ireland, liberating archived content for public access prototypes and continued use in production. It also focuses on using smart data management technologies to improve the way the Archive can be searched and content discovered.

  • Making your first contribution to open source software

    I believe that open source software needs to be personal to you if you’re going to do it at all. Open source software is a hobby—but it’s more than that. I find myself thinking about the open source software projects I maintain, contribute to, and use almost daily. So if you’re going to contribute to open source software, make it something you care about.

  • Events

    • FUDCon Phnom Penh: Call for Papers

      FUDCon is the Fedora Users and Developers Conference, a major free software event held in various regions around the world, usually annually per region. FUDCon is a combination of sessions, talks, workshops, and hackfests in which project participants can work on specific initiatives. FUDCon is always free to attend for anyone. For 2016, the FUDCon for the APAC region will be in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It will be held at Norton University (NU) Phnom Penh from 04. to 06. November 2016. The event happens synchronized with the BarCamp Phnom Penh/ASEAN, the biggest technology-oriented event in Cambodia and one of the biggest in the region with 4,000 registered visitors.

    • QtCon FInished First Day of 13 Tracks of Talks

      David Faure is one of the longest-standing developers of KDE software. Today he wanted to give some history of KDE development as it was done back in KDE 1 days, to see how that links to current community practices. The K in KDE stood for Kool before that was dropped, but who knew the Q in Qt stood for Quasar before that was transformed into Cute. He spoke of the original kfm code which Martin Graesslin said still remained in KWin to support Konqueror as a desktop window. Today it was decided this code could now be removed!

    • Video: KVM Forum 2016 – Painless Switch to KVM
    • Video: KVM Forum 2016 – KVM Status Report
    • Audio Workshop Accepted into 2016 Linux Kernel Summit and Linux Plumbers Conference

      Audio is an increasingly important component of the Linux plumbing, given increased use of Linux for media workloads and of the Linux kernel for smartphones. Topics include low-latency audio, use of the clock API, propagating digital configuration through dynamic audio power management (DAPM), integration of HDA and ASoC, SoundWire ALSA use-case managemer (UCM) scalability, standardizing HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces, Media Controller API integration, and a number of topics relating to the multiple userspace users of Linux-kernel audio, including Android and ChromeOS as well as the various desktop-oriented Linux distributions.

    • LinuxCON Kids’ day

      Part of this year’s LinuxCON / ContainerCON in Toronto was a full day program called Kids’ Day. Its purpose was to foster an interest in technology among junior nerds and the children of their nerd parents (raises hand). My 12 and 15 year olds were keen to lay hands on some hardware and hang out with like-minded instructors, so we signed up.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 51 To Support FLAC Audio Codec

        Beginning with the Firefox 51 web-browser release, FLAC audio will finally be supported natively.

      • Fighting Back Against Secrecy Orders

        Transparency is the core pillar for everything we do at Mozilla. It is foundational to how we build our products, with an open code base that anybody can inspect, and is critical to our vision of an open, trusted, secure web that places users in control of their experience online. Our reform efforts in the areas of vulnerability disclosure and government surveillance are also centered on the transparency ideal.

      • Multi-process Firefox brings 400-700% improvement in responsiveness

        Earlier this summer I wrote about Mozilla’s efforts to rollout a multi-process architecture, codename Electrolysis, for Firefox. In the months since, Mozilla has completed its initial tests on 1 percent of its user population and the initial numbers are good, according to Asa Dotzler, director of Firefox at Mozilla.

        The company is reporting a 400 percent improvement in responsiveness and a 700 percent improvement in responsiveness for loading large web pages.These numbers mean that users are far less likely to see their browser freeze, pause, lag or crash. Dotzler himself used the word “janky” to describe previous versions of the browser.

        Over the next week, multi-process will be coming to 10 percent of total Firefox users. For now, users with add-ons will not be getting the new architecture. The staggered rollout is fairly industry standard to avoid shipping bugs. Having two independent groups of users allows Mozilla to benchmark metrics from the new version against unconverted users.

        For now, multi-process is limited to a single content process and a single browser process. Later versions will include multiple content processes and sandboxing.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenOffice Retirement, CPUs Will Linux, Kernel.org Hacker Arrested

      A suspect has been arrested for hacking into kernel.org five years ago topping the Linux headlines on a busy news day. It caused a lot of headaches back then and a months downtime. In other news, reports of the latest AMD and Intel chips only supporting Windows 10 weren’t exactly accurate and Apache is seriously considering throwing in the towel on OpenOffice. Neil Rickert posted a look at the latest Leap Beta and more details emerge on PC-BSD’s move to TrueOS.

    • What Would OpenOffice Retirement Involve? (long)

      I have regularly observed that the Apache OpenOffice project has limited capacity for sustaining the project in an energetic manner. It is also my considered opinion that there is no ready supply of developers who have the capacity, capability, and will to supplement the roughly half-dozen volunteers holding the project together. It doesn’t matter what the reasons for that might be.

    • OpenOffice In Danger of Shutting Down, Project VP Warns

      The future isn’t look bright for OpenOffice, the open-source office suite run by the Apache foundation.

    • Redesigning Tor, Goodbye OpenOffice & More…

      Building Tor to a next new level: Tor is still safe, but there are cracks in it’s armor. You can still safely cruise the net through The Onion Router with your identity kept secret — most of the time but not always. Thankfully, for the time being that “not always” stands at about one in several million, but organizations like the NSA and the Brit’s GCHQ have been working at chipping away at those odds to turn them more in their favor.

  • Education

    • The Open Source School Redefines Education in Italy

      The commons are what we share, together and with each other. In sociology, we’d speak of “collective intelligence.” According to the French philosopher Pierre Levy, the spread of communication techniques for digital media has led to the emergence of new ways of social bonding based on gathering areas of common interests, open processes of cooperation and an exchange of knowledge. We keep saying, “Innovation is always social, otherwise it’s just profiting from people’s ignorance.” Sharing knowledge is the first and most essential common for us. It generates a real process of emancipation and civilization since it enables any person to serve their community. Simultaneously, it allows each individual to freely express and enhance their uniqueness, while giving them the opportunity to appeal to all the intellectual and human qualities of the community itself.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Revisiting W^X with OpenBSD 6.0

      OpenBSD 6.0 was released today, and with it some exciting new security features. From my perspective, the chief among them is the technical enforcement of W^X in user-land. Since moving to a technical control rather than a policy statement for enforcing executable space protection was a result of discussions caused by my last blog post on the situation, I’m very excited about this development and thought that giving a demonstration and discussion would be in order. (In the spirit of not putting the headline on Page 1 and the retraction on Page 11, hopefully BSDNow will cover this as well).

    • OpenBSD 6.0 : why and how

      The only operating system I use on my computers is not Mac, not Windows, and not even Linux. It’s OpenBSD, and I love it so much.

      Since OpenBSD 6.0 was released today, I figured I should say a little something about why I love it, and how you can try it.

    • OpenBSD 6.0 released

      September 1st, 2016: The OpenBSD team announces the availability of 6.0!

    • OpenBSD 6.0
    • PC-BSD Evolves into TrueOS

      We are proud to announce that the PC-BSD project has evolved into TrueOS: a modern, cutting-edge distribution of FreeBSD focused on security, simplicity, and stability for desktops, servers, and beyond! TrueOS harnesses the best elements of PC-BSD, combines it with security technologies from OpenBSD, and layers it on top of FreeBSD to provide a complete system for modern machines.


    • Why does Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation get so much hate?

      Within the open source and free software worlds, Stallman (and the Free Software Foundation—the FSF) hold an almost deity-like position in the hearts of many. For other people, well, they have the exact opposite feeling towards the man.

      Then there are the people who feel both positively and negatively (in equally strong measures) towards Stallman. If you made a Venn diagram comparing “People who revere Stallman” and “People who despise Stallman” my guess is there would be an awful lot of overlap of those two circles.

      For my part, I understand both positions.

      In years past, I was highly critical—bordering on hostile—of both the words and actions of Stallman and the FSF. While some of my criticisms of Stallman were not entirely unfounded, there was certainly a deeper reason behind much of it.

      When someone acts as a messenger to point out a core problem in society—in this case, software freedom (and overlapping issues) —the messenger is quite often vilified (many times, subconsciously) by those who are a part of the existing, problematic system.

    • GNU Libreboot, version 20160902 released

      This is a bugfix release, based on 20160818. It contains no new board changes. The previous 20160818 release had build errors in the _src archive, and the _util archive was only source code.

    • GIMP 2.9.5 AppImage
    • Eighteen new GNU releases in August 2016


  • Public Services/Government

    • Shame On My Country, Canada…

      I’m proud of Canada. It’a vital place and home of several generations of my family. One can still afford health care here, get a good education for a reasonable price, grow your own food or hunt/gather it, get plenty of clean water and fresh air, live in mountains, planes, deserts and forests, whatever you choose. However, when it comes to government spending money foolishly on non-Free software that the world can and does provide at cost as Free/Libre Open Source Software, Canada is as backwards as governments in Africa and the Middle East.

    • Don’t write off Jeremy Corbyn’s Digital Democracy Manifesto – here’s why it’s a lofty bill of ideas [Ed: Microsoft trying to sneak itself in there as well]

      Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn this week unveiled a ‘Digital Democracy Manifesto’ that was widely derided in the British media – but there are some ideas within it that, though unfortunately dressed in clunky jargon, are more radical and far-reaching than they are being given credit for.


      Jeremy Corbyn’s call for platform cooperatives is an idea that has also been put forward by British Computer Society fellow, Microsoft UK CTO, and former NHS IT director Jerry Fishenden on our sister site CIO. Simply put, the ‘platform cooperative’ is the idea of turning sharing economy apps on their head as the basis for a software platform of mutual aid and cooperation but outside of private profit.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Free the Reviews: Why Free Culture Needs Free Opinions

      Thanks to the free culture movement, vast knowledge repositories like Wikipedia and StackExchange allow content to be re-used freely and built upon, and many major sites offer Creative Commons licensing as part of their user interfaces.

      Yet there’s one area in which free culture has made very little progress to date: online reviews. Sites like Yelp, IMDB, Amazon.com, TripAdvisor, Goodreads, and others rely on millions of users to review products and services, but the resulting text and media are licensed only to the operating companies and not available for re-use, which means reviews are stuck in silos.

      They may disappear at a moment’s notice. They can’t be translated, remixed or built upon, outside the narrow exemptions granted by fair use. Reviews could be the glue that connects a lot of existing free and open information, including Wikidata and OpenStreetMap if only they were freely licensed.

    • Motion Comic project by Nikolai Mamashev

      To finish, Nikolai propose all the sources files, and his work as CC-BY-SA. An open-license! So, more free culture around, and yes, I’ll be able to reuse sample of his work for, exemple, a Pepper&Carrot trailer or when I’ll need to pitch the project in a video.

    • SMS on the Linux desktop, Linux’s 25th birthday, and more open source news
  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Z-Wave protocol specification now public

      The Z-Wave wireless home-automation protocol has been released to the public. In years past, the specification was only available to purchasers of the Z-Wave Alliance’s development kit, forcing open-source implementations to reverse-engineer the protocol. The official press release notes that there are several such projects, including OpenZWave; Z-Wave support is also vital to higher-level Internet-of-Things abstraction systems like AllJoyn.

    • Introducing the Z-Wave Public Specification

      Z-Wave is the world’s most widely-deployed smart home technology, found inside tens of millions of smart products. Now, Z-Wave is also the most open protocol, as Sigma Designs has made the Z-Wave interoperability layer public.


  • No, the Internet Has Not Killed the Printed Book. Most People Still Prefer Them.

    Even with Facebook, Netflix and other digital distractions increasingly vying for time, Americans’ appetite for reading books — the ones you actually hold in your hands — has not slowed in recent years, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

    Sixty-five percent of adults in the United States said they had read a printed book in the past year, the same percentage that said so in 2012. When you add in ebooks and audiobooks, the number that said they had read a book in printed or electronic format in the past 12 months rose to 73 percent, compared with 74 percent in 2012.

    Twenty-eight percent said they had opted for an ebook in the past year, while 14 percent said they had listened to an audiobook.

    Lee Rainie, the director of internet, science and technology research for Pew Research, said the study demonstrated the staying power of physical books.

  • Microsoft’s fancy new outlook.com, planned for this year, now delayed until next

    In May 2015, Microsoft announced a big overhaul was coming to its Outlook.com free mail service. The new look Outlook.com looked a lot closer to the Outlook Web Access component in Exchange. It had Exchange features like the Clutter folder for handling all those e-mails that aren’t quite spam but aren’t quite important, pinned and flagged mail, new calendar views, and a better mobile interface that supports swipe-based gestures. In February 2016, this new experience was announced as being out of beta, and Microsoft rolled it out immediately to new users in North America. Everyone else was scheduled to be upgraded by the end of summer.

  • Twitter Jumps After Co-Founder Says Company Has to Consider M&A

    Twitter Inc. jumped as much as 5.8 percent, the most in two weeks, after co-founder Ev Williams said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that the company has to weigh all options amid ongoing speculation it’s a takeover target.

    Williams initially declined to comment when asked by Bloomberg’s Emily Chang whether Twitter can remain an independent company. He went on to say, “We’re in a strong position now, and as a board member we have to consider the right options.”

  • After Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple CEO, he was still working on an Apple TV set

    Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple five years ago, but he didn’t plan on leaving the company.

    Instead, Jobs was going to focus his energy on one very specific, secret project: Apple’s reinvention of TV — including the TV set itself.

    Walt Mossberg, Recode’s editor at large and an executive editor at The Verge, says Jobs called him on the night he announced he was formally handing over control of his company to Tim Cook, and told him about his TV ambitions.

  • Why parents are getting angrier: ‘Children are bored out of their skulls with real life’

    “It’s hard to know the difference between parenting and bullying,” admits Matt, father of two and one of a growing number of parents seeking help to control what they see as unacceptable levels of anger towards their children. Matt is an articulate and successful self-employed businessman in his 40s. After he split up from their mother five years ago, his two sons, then 11 and 14, started to act up by answering back, skipping homework, drinking and taking drugs. It marked the start of a phase of intense anger for Matt, who eventually sought help.

    “I have on a few occasions grabbed my eldest son by the scruff of his neck and shouted in his face. I couldn’t understand why they don’t do what I want them to do. Even now they make me question my skills as a parent.”

    He’s not alone.

    Over two decades, Mike Fisher has seen first-hand the effect of anger on children and their parents. Since setting up the British Association of Anger Management in 1999, he has worked with tens of thousands of people, helping them to manage and understand their anger. For the past 13 years he has also delivered one-day workshops specifically aimed at parental anger, for Ealing council in west London. The course is always heavily oversubscribed.

    “We always have to turn people away and put them on a waiting list for the next one,” says Kate Subanney, Ealing’s parent commissioner, whose idea it was to get Mike involved.

    The parents she sends his way have all been referred to her by social services, the NHS, police, or solicitors, but Mike is quick to dispel any assumption that they come from one demographic. “I’d say at least 20% are middle-class parents and are particularly well-educated and affluent. Yet social services are involved. It really is across the board.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Down the Atomic River

      Despite its status as a national monument, conferred by Bill Clinton exactly 10 years ago as a morsel to politically-famished greens, the Hanford Reach remains largely a closed and forbidden landscape. Ominous signs warn that entry to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the world’s most toxic site, on river right will result in arrest and prosecution. Most of the Saddle Mountain Wildlife Refuge on river left is closed. There’s no overnight camping allowed anywhere along the Reach. Even the islands are off limits. Only on the river are you really free.

      The plan is to kayak as much of the Reach as we can, a forty-mile stretch from below Priest Rapids Dam, once home of Smohallah, the apocalyptic Dreamer of the Wanapum tribe, down to Ringold, site of a strange fish hatchery cordoned off by concertina wire. What dark plot are they protecting the salmon fry from? The Cold War is long gone, but the paranoia persists.

    • California and EPA Poised to Expand Pollution of Potential Drinking Water Reserves

      As the western United States struggles with chronic water shortages and a changing climate, scientists are warning that if vast underground stores of fresh water that California and other states rely on are not carefully conserved, they too may soon run dry.

      Heeding this warning, California passed new laws in late 2014 that for the first time require the state to account for its groundwater resources and measure how much water is being used.

      Yet California’s natural resources agency, with the oversight and consent of the federal government, also runs a shadow program that allows many of its aquifers to be pumped full of toxic waste.

      Now the state — which relied on aquifers for at least 60 percent of its total water supply over the past three years — is taking steps to expand that program, possibly sacrificing portions of dozens more groundwater reserves. In some cases, regulators are considering whether to legalize pollution already taking place at a number of sites, based on arguments that the water that will be lost was too dirty to drink or too difficult to access at an affordable price. Officials also may allow the borders of some pollution areas to be extended, jeopardizing new, previously unspoiled parts of the state’s water supply.

      The proposed expansion would affect some of the parts of California hardest hit by drought, from the state’s agriculturally rich central valley to wine country and oil-drilling fields along the Salinas River. Some have questioned the wisdom of such moves in light of the state’s long-term thirst for more water supplies.

    • Sadistic Religious Fanatic: Mother Teresa Was No Saint

      Mother Teresa was a moral monster, a sadistic religious fanatic guilty of medical malpractice.

    • I Needed Treatment, Not Judgment From My Catholic Hospital

      Last December, I slipped on water on my bathroom floor and fell hard onto the tile. Later that night, I felt cramping in my back and abdomen. The next morning I was bleeding. After doing some online research, I feared my intrauterine device (IUD) was dislodged. I knew I needed to see a doctor.

      I did what anyone would do — I called an OB-GYN in my insurance network and made the soonest appointment I could. The doctor examined me briefly and confirmed my suspicion that my IUD had become dislodged. She said it needed to be removed.

      However, instead of removing the IUD, the doctor said she couldn’t help me. Her hands were tied because of religious restrictions imposed on her practice by Mercy Hospital and Medical Center. She explained that those restrictions prohibited her from removing the IUD because it was being used solely to prevent pregnancy.

      I was shocked.

    • California’s waters, a death trap: Uncovering the Golden State’s secret whale and dolphin massacre

      Until the 1980s, fishermen who fished for swordfish off the coast of California used harpoon guns to reel in their prey. As the industry modernized, the guns were exchanged for drift gillnets — gigantic nets the size of the Golden Gate Bridge that hang vertically in the water. By 1985, the catch reached a historic high, with fishermen landing more than 2,000 metric tons of fish. But there was a tragic and under-discussed consequence of that approach.

      A drift gillnet catches far more than just the target fish. It scoops up any marine animal unfortunate enough to swim in its path, including whales, dolphins and marine mammals like seals and sea lions. Turtles, sharks, fish and even seabirds are inadvertently trapped and killed by these nets, which environmentalists have dubbed “invisible curtains of death.” California is the last state in the nation to permit this destructive, unsustainable fishing method.

    • Apple and Others Help Customers Donate to the Red Cross, And Only the Red Cross

      Despite yet more evidence of trouble with the Red Cross’ disaster response — this time to floods in Louisiana — Apple, Amazon, T-Mobile, and many others have made the venerable charity the exclusive conduit for helping victims.

    • USA Today Helps Mylan Sell an Extortionate Price for EpiPen

      The drug-maker announced that it would be selling an unbranded version of the lifesaving anti-allergy device for $300 for a two-pack. That’s actually a little more than a 50 percent reduction from the current list price; a two-pack of EpiPens generally sells for $608.

      But that’s the recently jacked-up price that sparked the outrage that forced Mylan to offer a generic alternative. A year ago, an EpiPen set was going for $461. That would make the $300 price a 35 percent reduction, not 50 percent.


      You don’t need time travel to make the generic EpiPen a bad deal, though; you just need to travel across the border into Canada, where a single pen retails for about $120 in Canadian money, which is about $92 in US currency. In France, where the device is made by a company Mylan recently bought, a twin-pack sells for about $85—or 28 percent of Mylan’s new “discount” price.

      Raising prices exorbitantly so that you can present a slightly less extortionate price as a “sale” is a time-honored marketing tradition. USA Today is under no obligation to feature the scam in a headline, however.

    • Trading Politics for Medical Profits

      Pay-to-play, the merger of politics and business, has many features including how to exploit political influence to maximize business profits even when children’s lives are at risk, says Michael Winship.

    • SEC Awards $22 Million to Ex-Monsanto Executive Through Whistleblower Program

      A former Monsanto Co executive who tipped the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to accounting improprieties involving the company’s top-selling Roundup product has been awarded more than $22 million from the agency’s whistleblower program, the executive’s lawyer said on Tuesday.

      The award of $22,437,800 was tied to an $80 million settlement between the SEC and Monsanto in February, according to the lawyer, Stuart Meissner in New York, in a statement. It is the agency’s second largest under the program.

      Meissner declined to reveal the whistleblower’s identity.

      Monsanto said in an emailed statement, “It would be inappropriate for our company to comment on the SEC’s whistleblower program or this specific award.”

      The Dodd Frank financial reform law empowered the SEC to award money to whistleblowers who give information to the agency which leads to a fine.

      Awards to 33 whistleblowers by the SEC’s program have now surpassed a total of $107 million since the agency launched the program in 2011, the agency said in a statement on Tuesday. The largest award, in 2014, was $30 million, the agency said.

      Monsanto’s $80 million SEC settlement followed allegations that the company misstated its earnings in connection with Roundup, a popular weed killer.

      The SEC’s case against Monsanto revolved around a corporate rebate program designed to boost Roundup sales.

    • Unconventional natural gas wells associated with migraine, fatigue

      New research suggests that Pennsylvania residents with the highest exposure to active natural gas wells operated by the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) industry are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a combination of migraine headaches, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms and severe fatigue.

    • Adverse Reproductive and Developmental Health Outcomes Following Prenatal Exposure to a Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Mixture in Female C57Bl/6 Mice

      This work suggests potential adverse developmental and reproductive health outcomes in humans and animals exposed to these oil and gas operation chemicals, with adverse outcomes observed even in the lowest dose group tested, equivalent to concentrations reported in drinking water sources. These endpoints suggest potential impacts on fertility, as previously observed in the male siblings, which require careful assessment in future studies.

    • Exposure to Chemicals Released During Fracking May Harm Fertility

      More than 15 million Americans live within a one-mile radius of unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations. UOGs combine directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to release natural gas from underground rock. Scientific studies, while ongoing, are still inconclusive on the potential long-term effects fracturing has on human development. Today, researchers at the University of Missouri released a study that is the first of its kind to link exposure to chemicals released during hydraulic fracturing to adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes in mice. Scientists believe that exposure to these chemicals also could pose a threat to human development.

      “Researchers have previously found that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) mimic or block hormones — the chemical messengers that regulate respiration, reproduction, metabolism, growth and other biological functions,” said Susan C. Nagel, Nagel, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health in the School of Medicine. “Evidence from this study indicates that developmental exposure to fracking and drilling chemicals may pose a threat to fertility in animals and potentially people. Negative outcomes were observed even in mice exposed to the lowest dose of chemicals, which was lower than the concentrations found in groundwater at some locations with past oil and gas wastewater spills.”

      Researchers mixed 23 oil and gas chemicals in four different concentrations to reflect concentrations ranging from those found in drinking water and groundwater to concentrations found in industry wastewater. The mixtures were added to drinking water given to pregnant mice in the laboratory until they gave birth. The female offspring of the mice that drank the chemical mixtures were compared to female offspring of mice in a control group that were not exposed. Mice exposed to drilling chemicals had lower levels of key hormones related to reproductive health compared to the control group.

    • WHO Experts Seek To Have Its Flu Framework Recognised Under Nagoya Protocol

      Will an international instrument protecting genetic resources get in the way of the world’s preparedness to fend off the next influenza pandemic? This is one of the questions left open for a group of experts reviewing the World Health Organization Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework. On the side, one stakeholder is claiming to have been denied full and fair participation.

    • Medicinal cannabis to be legalised in Australia from November

      Medicinal cannabis will become legal, but strictly controlled from November this year, under a formal decision reached by the Therapeutic Goods Administration this week.

      The final decision was published on Wednesday, paving the way for the drug to be legalised for medicinal use, as the federal government works towards creating a national regulator.

    • Bee farm ‘looks like it’s been nuked’ after millions die in spraying for Zika mosquitos

      There’s been some collateral damage in the fight against Zika – millions of honeybees in South Carolina.

      Dorchester County officials have apologized for killing the bees when the county failed to notify local beekeepers about mosquito spraying last weekend.

      Four travel-related cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in the county northwest of Charleston. Aerial mosquito spraying operations were conducted Sunday morning.

    • Free As In Health Care

      Most of our debates define freedom in terms of “freedom to” now, and the arguments are about the limitations placed on those freedoms. If you’re really lucky, like Malibu-driver lucky, the discussions you’re involved in are nuanced enough to involve “freedom from”, but even that’s pretty rare.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Western Media Propaganda Threatens Peace and Prolongs the Deadly Conflict in Eastern Ukraine

      Western media is becoming unhinged as its anti-Russia propaganda struggles to keep a hold on its consumers. Two recent examples provide evidence.

    • Why They Invaded

      Former British ambassador Craig Murray on the UK’s decision to invade Iraq and the lessons still not learned.

    • As Hillary Clinton kisses up to Henry Kissinger, RT looks at 4 of his most heinous acts
    • Turkey’s Coup: Winners & Losers

      As the dust begins to settle from the failed Turkish coup, there appear to be some winners and losers, although predicting things in the Middle East these days is a tricky business. What is clear is that several alignments have shifted, shifts that may have an impact on the two regional running sores: the civil wars in Syria and Yemen.

      The most obvious winner to emerge from the abortive military putsch is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his campaign to transform Turkey from a parliamentary democracy to a powerful, centralized executive with himself in charge. The most obvious losers are Erdogan’s internal opposition and the Kurds in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

    • White House Congratulates Itself on Modest Refugee Milestone
    • America’s True Role in Syria

      Syria’s civil war is the most dangerous and destructive crisis on the planet. Since early 2011, hundreds of thousands have died; around ten million Syrians have been displaced; Europe has been convulsed with Islamic State (ISIS) terror and the political fallout of refugees; and the United States and its NATO allies have more than once come perilously close to direct confrontation with Russia.

      Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has greatly compounded the dangers by hiding the US role in Syria from the American people and from world opinion. An end to the Syrian war requires an honest accounting by the US of its ongoing, often secretive role in the Syrian conflict since 2011, including who is funding, arming, training, and abetting the various sides. Such exposure would help bring to an end many countries’ reckless actions.

    • Experts Raise Alarms as US War Hawks Push for Deeper Syria Intervention

      As the civil war in Syria deepens, American war hawks are using recent atrocities to push for direct U.S. military intervention against the Syrian government, according to observers who warn that further escalation will only worsen what has been dubbed “the most dangerous and destructive crisis on the planet.”

      At The Nation on Thursday, journalist James Carden wrote that “neoconservative advocacy groups” are citing a new report by the United Nations’ Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in order to craft a narrative that “asserts that the widespread suffering of the Syrian people could have been averted if only the [Obama] administration had intervened in the Syrian conflict sooner; if only President [Barack] Obama simply had not reneged on his ‘red line’ pledge and unleashed a full scale, Iraq-style intervention, surely the situation would be better than it is today.”

      The OPCW report, which contains new accusations of chemical-weapons use by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, “provide[s] the war party in the United States with the perfect cudgel with which to beat the administration for backing off of the ‘red line’ policy the president spelled out in 2012,” Carden argued.

    • Some Hindsight: The Lies that Dumped America Into the Syrian War

      Checking out the news these days, it might seem pretty clear why the U.S. is at war in Syria: destroy ISIS. That is almost certainly the way the two main presidential candidates will see it during their upcoming first debate, in a rare point of agreement.

      The funny thing is that ISIS did not become the reason for what now is a major regional war until late in the game.

      If we rewind about three years, the original justification was to “rid the world of the dictator,” Syrian president Bashar Assad. The U.S. involvement was started under the pretext that Assad was using chemical weapons against the other side in what was once confined to a civil war. American declared Assad thus had to go to avoid a genocide and humanitarian disaster.

      FYI: If you read no further, remember anytime a politician uses the word “genocide” these days we’re about to be dragged into another conflict that will morph into a quagmire.

      So here’s a reprise of something I wrote three years ago. Let’s revisit it and see whether or not any of the current disaster, political and humanitarian, could have been anticipated.

    • Woman shoots drone: “It hovered for a second and I blasted it to smithereens.”

      With a single shotgun blast, a 65-year-old woman in rural northern Virginia recently shot down a drone flying over her property.

      The woman, Jennifer Youngman, has lived in The Plains, Virginia, since 1990. The Fauquier Times first reported the June 2016 incident late last week. It marks the third such shooting that Ars has reported on in the last 15 months—last year, similar drone shootings took place in Kentucky and California.

      Youngman told Ars that she had just returned from church one Sunday morning and was cleaning her two shotguns—a .410 bore and a 20-gauge—on her porch. She had a clear view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and neighbor Robert Duvall’s property (yes, the same Robert Duvall from The Godfather). Youngman had seen two men set up a card table on what she described as a “turnaround place” on a country road adjacent to her house.

    • U.S. Strategy to Fight ISIS Has Set Off a New Conflict in Syria

      Five years after the start of Syria’s uprising, the Turkish military directly entered the fray last week, sending troops to occupy the northern Syrian town of Jarablus, previously held by the militant group the Islamic State. Turkey’s intervention represents a significant escalation of the conflict, as well as a sign that the country is likely to take a more aggressive approach to foreign policy following July’s failed military coup and subsequent purge.

      But Turkey’s intervention is also an indication that the U.S. strategy of empowering Kurdish groups to fight the Islamic State in Syria has helped trigger an entirely new conflict, this time between U.S.-backed militias and a NATO ally.

    • When Putin Bailed Out Obama

      As pressure again builds on President Obama to attack Syria and press a new Cold War with Russia, the extraordinary events of three years ago after a sarin attack near Damascus are worth revisiting, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • A US-Fueled Syrian Sectarian Bloodbath

      The Obama administration helped fuel a conflict in Syria that inevitably was going to degenerate into a sectarian bloodbath, a reckless strategy pushed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as Gareth Porter explains.

    • Ignoring the Pentagon’s Multi-Trillion-Dollar Accounting Error

      Times (10/12/14) ran a major investigative piece by reporter James Risen about several billion dollars gone missing, part of a shipment of pallets of $12 billion–$14 billion in C-notes that had been flown from the Federal Reserve into Iraq over a period of a year and a half in an effort to kickstart the Iraqi economy following the 2003 US invasion. Risen reported that about $1.5 billion of the cash, somehow stolen, had been discovered in a bunker in Lebanon by a special inspector general appointed to investigate corruption in the US occupation of Iraq. The article got front-page play.

      Earlier that same year, the Washington Post (4/7/14) ran a story reporting the US State Department inspector general’s finding that during Hillary Clinton’s years as secretary, the State Department had lost records for or misreported some $6 billion in government contracts. (State claimed the money was not lost, just not accounted for.)

      These stories are basic Journalism 101, the kind of bread-and-butter reporting on government that one expects from a major news organization. So how to explain that neither of these prestigious and influential newspapers—or practically any of the corporate media in the US, for that matter—bothered to mention it when the Pentagon’s inspector general this year issued a report blasting the US Army for misreporting $6.5 trillion (that’s not a typo; it’s trillion with a T) as its spending total for the 2015 fiscal year.

      Now, clearly that number cannot be correct, since the entire Pentagon budget for 2015 was a little over $600 billion, or less than 10 percent of what the Army was saying it had spent.

    • US Arms Makers Invest in a New Cold War

      Behind the U.S. media-political clamor for a new Cold War with Russia is a massive investment by the Military-Industrial Complex in “think tanks” and other propaganda outlets, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • Vice Photospreads Present ‘Girly, Teenage’ Side of Israeli Occupation

      What this means is never made clear, but it would probably come as a surprise to those in Israel who actually refuse military service that serving in the IDF is a form of “protest against violence”—so long as one has pouty lips and “girly, teenage boredom.”


      In April 2016, Mondoweiss’ Dan Cohen (4/29/16) criticized Vice for passing off Israeli propaganda about IDF soldier Elor Azarya’s execution of a Palestinian as a “leaked report.” Vice (4/28/16) uncritically repeated claims that Azaraya was a one-off zealot while downplaying his popular support among Israelis.

      Vice, it should be noted, also runs coverage sympathetic to Palestinians, or at least from a Palestinian perspective.

    • Israel’s Abnormal ‘Normal’ with its Neighbors

      Israel often acts as if a simmering state of war with its Muslim neighbors is the only possible future, while occasionally playing off one nation against another, a “normal” that is not normal, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar

    • Saudi forces are killing civilians in Yemen, so why is the UK still arming the regime?
    • Medea Benjamin and Greg Palast

      For the first half of the program, Peter and Mickey speak with author and Code-Pink cofounder Medea Benjamin; her new book, “Kingdom of the Unjust,” examines the history of U.S.-Saudi Arabian relations, and how the two governments remain close despite the Saudis’ repressing their own population, fighting a war in Yemen, and promoting the Wahabist version of Islam across the Mideast and beyond. In the second half-hour, investigative journalist Greg Palast speaks about his latest investigations into voter disenfranchisement, which is carried out primarily (but not exclusively) by Republican secretaries of state. Palast has a new article in the Rolling Stone, and a forthcoming documentary film, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.”

    • Belated Pushback on Saudis’ War on Yemen

      Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels has created a humanitarian crisis, with opposition finally emerging in Congress to the U.S. assistance in the bloodbath, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • Alan Kurdi Symbolized an Army of Dead Children. We Ignore Them at Our Peril

      The body of Aylan Kurdi has gone beyond the ‘iconic’. Being small and dressed like a little European boy, and being white rather than brown-skinned, his very name posthumously and subtly shifting to the homely English ‘Alan’, the son of the Kurdish refugee family fleeing across the Mediterranean from Turkey to Europe became ‘our’ child. The moment his tiny body washed up on the beach near Bodrum and appeared on front pages around the world, the closet racism of our politicians was briefly stilled. What stone heart could condemn this little boy as part of a ‘swarm’, a word used about the occupants of the Calais camp by a former British prime minister?

      But the image of Alan Kurdi obscured a host of lessons which we ignored – and continue to disregard – at our peril. Firstly, of course, he was a mere representative of the thousands of other Alans whose remains lie today on the sea bed of the Mediterranean, forever unrecorded and unfilmed. Alan was a symbol, perhaps even a representative of this army of dead children. But he also became a sacrificial three-year-old, thrown up by the waves as a ‘martyr’ rather than a victim of political violence and betrayal, while the Turkish police officer in rubber gloves gently taking his body from the sand became a kind of male version of the ‘pieta’. But if grief was depicted thus by Michaelangelo half a millennium ago, it was nonetheless odd that we regarded the Syrian Kurdish child as the victim of a frightening new phenomenon.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘Sickening’ Killing of Wolf Pack Proceeds Despite Research Debunking Program
    • Profanity Peak wolf pack in state’s gun sights after rancher turns out cattle on den
    • Taking A Stand For Washington’s Wolves

      Snipers, including gunners in helicopters, have snuffed out half of Washington state’s Profanity Peak wolf pack and have put the rest of the pack in the crosshairs. This wolf family has been shattered by the loss of the breeding alpha female and five other members. All that’s left is an adult male and a few 4-month-old pups.

      By the time you read this, the pack could be wiped out — 12 percent of the state’s fledgling wolf population in just a few days.

      Sadly it’s another reminder that although we’ve come a long way in terms of tolerating predators like wolves and grizzly bears on our landscapes — there’s still much more to be done.

    • Canada regulator suspends TransCanada pipeline approval hearing

      Canada’s National Energy Board on Tuesday suspended Montreal hearings on TransCanada Corp’s (TRP.TO) proposed Energy East pipeline after protests disrupted the first day of the process on Monday.

      The board, Canada’s energy regulator, also said in a statement it would not proceed with further hearings until it had considered two motions asking for the recusal of members from the panel considering the pipeline. The NEB has invited written comments on the motions by Sept. 7.

      Opponents want two of the three panel members to step down after it emerged they had privately discussed the pipeline last year with former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who at the time was working for TransCanada as a consultant.

    • NASA: Earth Is Warming at Rate ‘Unprecedented in 1000 Years’

      Another day, another dire warning about the global climate emergency.

      The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) top climate scientist announced Tuesday that the Earth is warming at a pace not seen in at least the past 1,000 years, making it “very unlikely” that global temperatures will stay below the 1.5 C limit agreed to in the landmark climate treaty negotiated in Paris last December.

    • Pope Francis says destroying the environment is a sin

      Pope Francis has called for urgent action to stop climate change and proposed that caring for the environment be added to traditional Christian works of mercy such as feeding the hungry and visiting the sick.

      In a message to mark the Catholic church’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation that he launched last year, Francis said the worst impact of global warming was being felt by those who were least responsible for it – refugees and the poor.

    • As Elephant Populations Drop, We Learn Even Their Footsteps Serve a Purpose

      A slate of new studies this week reveal two realities about elephants: they’re great at protecting tiny critters in their environment, and humans are terrible at protecting elephants.

      On Wednesday, data from two major surveys of African elephant populations uncovered rapidly declining numbers. One, a massive census of 18 African countries that was conducted by 90 scientists and dubbed the “Great Elephant Census,” found that there are only 352,271 savannah elephants left on 93 percent of the elephant habitat. Researchers found that, after rebounding a bit in the 90s, African elephant populations are now declining at a rate of 8 percent every year, mostly due to poaching.

      “If populations continue to decline at the 8 percent rate we estimated for 2010–2014, Great Elephant Census survey areas will lose half of their savannah elephants every nine years, and [local extinction] of some populations is possible,” the researchers wrote in a paper on their findings, published in PeerJ.

      This survey did not include forest-dwelling African elephants (which many experts believe are a distinct species), but another study published this week did. Unfortunately, the news was not any better.

    • Korean palm oil firm burned large tracts of forestland in Indonesia, NGOs allege

      The Korindo conglomerate is accused of using fire to clear land illegally in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua region, destroying rainforest and contributing to the country’s annual haze.

    • European Parliament investigates Dieselgate emissions scandal

      Diesel fuel powered cars by the manufacturer VW pollute the environment much more than is allowed, the US government agency EPA asserted in September 2015.

      While they meet legal emissions limits in lab tests, they actually emit much more harmful Nitrogen oxides (NOx) under real driving conditions. VW admitted to deliberately cheating on the tests using so-called “defeat devices” deployed in 11 million cars worldwide. Such devices are specifically forbidden under both EU and US law.

    • ‘We Are Peaceful Protectors of Water and of Health’ – CounterSpin interview with Kandi Mossett on Native American pipeline protest

      For months now, the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota have been engaged in peaceful protest over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Intended to carry fracked oil from the Bakken fields more than a thousand miles into Illinois, the pipeline would, among other concerns, cross and recross the Missouri River that serves as a life source for the Standing Rock and others in the region.

    • Though Promised for Domestic Use, Dakota Access Pipeline May Fuel Oil Exports
    • ‘World Watching’ as Tribal Members Put Bodies In Path Of Dakota Access Pipeline

      Thirty-eight activists were arrested in two states on Wednesday as protests against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) continue.

      While construction on one section of the pipeline has been halted until a court ruling expected next week, work continues at other sites. Earlier this week, a federal judge in Des Moines, Iowa, foiled an attempt by DAPL parent company Energy Transfer Partners to silence protests there by denying its request for a temporary restraining order.

      Subsequently, 30 people were taken into custody on Wednesday, during “one of the largest demonstrations yet” in that state against the four-state pipeline project, according to the Des Moines Register.

      “It also was the first time a formal effort was made to encourage a large number of arrests in a bid to obstruct construction work in Iowa,” the Register noted. “Organizers vowed afterward that additional demonstrations will be forthcoming, along with more arrests.”

    • The world got together to try to save the monarch butterfly, and then climate change ruined the plan

      In the winter months of 2015-2016, monarch butterflies had their best migration in years, arriving in record numbers to the Central Mexico forests where they hibernate. Unfortunately, those forests had a really bad year.

      Severe storms toppled many of the oyamel fir trees where millions of the iconic orange-winged insects rest after their long trip from Canada. More than 70 hectares of forest were damaged, the biggest loss since the 2009-2010 winter, according to data (link in Spanish) released Tuesday (Aug. 23) by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). In more bad news, experts expect the butterflies’ overwintering grounds to get hit by this sort of extreme weather more frequently in the future due to climate change.

    • Queen bees, North Dakota honey production industry in peril

      The annual replacement of queen bees to maintain hive fertility has strained the apiary community and their suppliers. It’s raising questions as to whether North Dakota can remain the national leader for honey production in coming years, the Williston Herald reported.

      Owner of D & L Apiaries Dave Huelsman owns 130 beehive locations in northwest North Dakota, a business he has grown since 1992. He now faces the near impossible task of placing an order to suppliers for 4,000 queen bees, a year in advance, if he is to be assured mated queens come spring.

    • Illegal Forest Fires Threaten Another Indonesian Province

      A group of environmental nonprofits warns that the practice of setting fires to clear land for plantations is spreading in Papua, a part of Indonesia that had been fairly untouched.

    • Inuit Are Embedding Sensors in the Ice Because It’s Getting Dangerously Thin

      Inuit communities in Canada’s North have lived on the ice for centuries, and rely on it for hunting, transportation, and a way of life. Now, because of climate change, the ice is turning to slush. In many places, it’s becoming unsafe. So two Arctic communities are installing high-tech sea ice monitors that can track changes in the ice.

      “We’re not trying to replace traditional knowledge,” said Trevor Bell of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, a collaborator on SmartICE, which is being piloted around Nain, Labrador, and Pond Inlet, Nunavut. “We’re trying to augment traditional knowledge, with new technology.”

    • Tree kangaroos ‘on brink of extinction’ due to palm oil deforestation

      Indonesia’s native tree kangaroo is on the brink of extinction due to the planet’s addiction to palm oil, it has been revealed.

      The systematic bulldozing and burning of the endangered creatute’s rainforest home to make the substance use in a massive range of everyday products is leading to a dramatic dwindling of its numbers.

      The kangaroo’s cousin, the cuscus, is also facing extinction as hunting and habitat loss takes its toll, according to environmental group Mighty.

    • US and China ratify Paris agreement in major step for climate change fight

      Following the earlier climate announcement, Barack Obama has reportedly told his host Xi Jinping the pair now need to have “candid talks” on topics such as human rights and maritime issues.

      Reuters is reporting Obama made the comments when the pair met in Hangzhou ahead of tomorrow’s G20. Xi and Obama are due to dine together tonight after a series of bilateral meetings.

      Human rights activists and experts are not expecting US to put China under major pressure, however – at least not in public. Confrontation “would fly in the face of either side’s interests at the moment,” says Nick Bisley, an Asia expert at La Trobe University in Australia.

    • NASA Is Studying Alaska’s Creepy Bubbling Lakes from Space

      Every single month of 2016 has been the hottest on record, and this uptick in temperature is sure to have wide-ranging consequences around the world. One of the weirdest and least understood of these climate-related side effects is that Arctic boreal lakes are boiling over with methane bubbles. Indeed, some of these areas are such rich producers of methane that scientists can light plumes of the lake’s escaped gas on fire.

    • Climate simulations show effects of releasing permafrost carbon

      During the last deglaciation, between roughly 21,000 and 10,000 years ago, there was a rise in atmospheric carbon. This surge brought CO2 levels up to where they were in preindustrial times and contributed to the warming that ended the glacial period. But there’s a significant item missing from this picture: we don’t know where the carbon came from.

      Researchers had suggested that changes in the distribution of ice, driven by alterations in Earth’s orbit and tilt, altered the ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2. But a new paper performed a model-driven analysis of past changes in carbon levels and come up with a somewhat different answer. The authors’ simulations showed that, when a permafrost carbon component was included, it was possible to reproduce the atmospheric CO2 levels seen in ice core measurements—suggesting that carbon released by melting permafrost contributed to the rise of CO2.

    • Didcot Power Station: Body found in rubble identified

      A body found in the ruins of a collapsed building at Didcot Power Station has been identified.

      Christopher Huxtable, 34, from Swansea, had been missing since the collapse in February.

      His body was found on Wednesday and workers who carried out the search formed a guard of honour as it was driven from the site in the early hours of the morning.

      Ken Cresswell, 57, and John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, remain missing.

      The body of a fourth man, Michael Collings, 53, from Brotton, Teesside, was previously recovered from the site.

  • Finance

    • Goodbye, Ivory Tower. Hello, Silicon Valley Candy Store.

      For eight years, Peter Coles had an economist’s dream job at Harvard Business School.

      His research focused on the design of efficient markets, an important and growing field that has influenced such things as Treasury bill auctions and decisions on who receives organ transplants. He even got to work with Alvin E. Roth, who won a Nobel in economic science in 2012.

      But prestige was not enough to keep Mr. Coles at Harvard. In 2013, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. He now works at Airbnb, the online lodging marketplace, one of a number of tech companies luring economists with the promise of big sets of data and big salaries.

      Silicon Valley is turning to the dismal science in its never-ending quest to squeeze more money out of old markets and build new ones. In turn, the economists say they are eager to explore the digital world for fresh insights into timeless economic questions of pricing, incentives and behavior.

      “It’s an absolute candy store for economists,” Mr. Coles said.

      The pay, of course, is a lot better than you would find in academia, where economists typically earn $125,000 to $150,000 a year. In tech companies, pay for a Ph.D. economist will usually come in at more than $200,000 a year, the companies say. With bonuses and stock grants, compensation can easily double in a few years. Senior economists who manage teams can make even more.

    • World’s Largest Strike? Tens of Millions in India Rise Up Against Right-Wing Economic Policies

      “Our strike will be 100 percent successful … we will prove that this strike is the world’s largest ever,” Pandey said.

      “Among the trade unions’ 12 demands were a 692-rupee daily minimum wage, universal social security, and a ban on foreign investment in the country’s railway, insurance, and defense industries,” the Guardian reports.

      Prime Minister Modi’s administration has opened up several state-run industries to private foreign investment since Modi’s election in 2014.

      Al Jazeera reports that union officials “said about 180 million workers, including state bank employees, school teachers, postal workers, miners, and construction workers, were participating, but the figure could not be independently verified.”

      Prof. Jayati Ghosh, a development economist at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, “said Modi’s changes had built on a 25-year neoliberal reform agenda that had left workers across the country worse off,” according to the Guardian.

      “Less than four percent of workers in India come under labor protection, and even those protections have become more and more eroded. There’s a general sense that instead of targeting poverty they are targeting the poor, and there has been a real running down of spending on essential public services,” Ghosh told the Guardian.

    • Obama Appoints Social Security Critic to Fix Puerto Rico’s Budget

      Andrew Biggs, an American Enterprise Institute resident scholar and architect of conservative efforts to cut and privatize Social Security, has been named by President Obama to a seven-member fiscal oversight board for the debt-ridden U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. That board, which will work out restructuring for over $70 billion in debt, has widespread authority to institute additional austerity on the island’s citizens, including potential reductions in public pensions. And Biggs appears to be the only member of the board that has significant experience with social insurance.

      Under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act signed into law in June, the fiscal oversight board will be effectively in charge of the island’s finances, usurping its democratically elected government. The oversight board is tasked with balancing Puerto Rico’s budget and pursuing all avenues to pay off its massive debt, including cuts to the island’s education, police, and health care systems. It can sell off Puerto Rican assets, lower the island’s minimum wage, order layoffs, and enforce a ban on public employee strikes. Only as a last resort can the island obtain court approval for a debt restructuring agreement, and negotiate with creditors, which include several “vulture funds” that scooped up Puerto Rican debt at a discount in the hopes of a big payday.

      The president gets to freely choose one of the seven fiscal oversight board members; the other six must come from approved lists provided by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Bloomberg was the first to release the seven names.

    • German activists take EU-Canada trade deal to Constitutional Court

      German activists take EU-Canada trade deal to Constitutional Court

      Activists delivered what they said was Germany’s biggest-ever public complaint to the Constitutional Court on Wednesday, hoping it will scupper a trade agreement between the European Union and Canada.

      The deal, which some see as a template for an EU-U.S. agreement still being negotiated, is the EU’s most ambitious trade pact to date and could increase trade between the two areas by some 20 percent.

      It would eliminate tariffs on 98 percent of goods immediately. It also would encompass regulatory cooperation, shipping, sustainable development and access to government tenders. But its ratification faces obstacles.

    • Let’s Rename Housing Benefit more fairly as “Landlord Bonus”.

      So-called “Housing benefit” is of zero benefit to tenants. It is a massive flow of taxpayer cash to landlords – an incredible £25 billion per year. It plays a pivotal role in the growth of landlordism and the bubbling of house prices to well beyond the pockets of most young people.

      It is argued on the right of politics that rent controls would be an unwarranted interference that would distort the housing market and prevent it operating efficiently. Yet housing benefit is itself a massive distortion, allowing landlords to charge rents far beyond what the market would ordinarily bear. If the state is to pay or top-up rents in this way, the state must also have a right to interfere in the level of rents.

      For the sake of clarity of argument, I do not regard “Housing Associations” as anything but part of the landlord class, especially given the high salaries they pay their executives.

    • ‘World in despair over Brexit’: Thousands march for Europe in protests across UK

      Thousands took to the streets today in a series of ‘march for Europe’ rallies in protest against the referendum vote to leave the EU.

      The demonstrations in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge are demanding a pause in the Brexit process and call for tight economic, cultural, and social ties with the rest of Europe.

    • Apple Squeezes Parts Suppliers to Protect Margins

      As Apple Inc. grapples with falling iPhone sales this year, it is pushing to cut better deals for parts with its suppliers, while carriers in the crucial China market have mobilized to push iPhone sales with deep discounts.

    • Standing up to Apple

      For years, Washington lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have attacked big corporations for avoiding taxes by parking their profits overseas. Last week the European Union did something about it.

      The European Union’s executive commission ordered Ireland to collect $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple.

      But rather than congratulate Europe for standing up to Apple, official Washington is outraged.

    • Why the EC Ruled Against Apple

      Ireland’s tax incentives to Apple are illegal and Dublin must recover up to 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) from the American tech giant, the European Commission ruled Tuesday.

    • EU hits Apple with $14.5 billion Irish tax demand

      The European Commission ordered Apple Inc to pay Ireland unpaid taxes of up to 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) on Tuesday as it ruled the firm had received illegal state aid.

      Apple and Dublin said the U.S. company’s tax treatment was in line with Irish and European Union law and they would appeal the ruling, which is part of a drive against what the EU says are sweetheart tax deals that usually smaller states in the bloc offer multinational companies to lure jobs and investment.

      The U.S. feels its firms are being targeted by the EU and a U.S. Treasury spokesperson warned the move threatens to undermine U.S. investment in Europe and “the important spirit of economic partnership between the U.S. and the EU.”

    • Apple’s Ireland tax deal to be ruled illegal by EU

      Apple is set to face a challenge in its dealings with Ireland, with the European Union’s anti-trust regulator to rule soon that the company’s tax deals with Dublin are in violation of the EU’s rules, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

      The company is to be accused of receiving illegal state aid from Ireland, according to another report (paywalled) in the Financial Times. A giood portion of the FT report has been reproduced here.

    • Apple facing record bill for Irish tax

      Apple could be ordered to pay billions of euros in back taxes in the Republic of Ireland by European Union competition officials.

      The final ruling, expected on Tuesday, follows a three-year probe into Apple’s Irish tax affairs, which the EU has previously identified as illegal.

      The Financial Times reports that the bill will be for billions of euros, making it Europe’s biggest tax penalty.

      Apple and the Irish government are likely to appeal against the ruling.

      Under EU law, national tax authorities are not allowed to give tax benefits to selected companies – which the EU would consider to be illegal state aid.

      According to EU authorities, rulings made by the Irish government in 1991 and 2007 allowed Apple to minimise its tax bill in Ireland.

      Apple’s company structure enabled it to legally channel international sales through Ireland to take advantage of that tax deal.

    • Apple’s Cook blows hot and cold on cash stash

      Apple chief executive Tim Cook is keeping people guessing as to whether the company will repatriate its massive pile of cash stashed outside the US or leave things as they are.

      In an interview with the Irish state radio broadcaster RTE, Cook said the company expected to repatriate billions of dollars of global profits to the United States next year.

      Questions about what Apple will do with its massive pile of cash, estimated to be more than US$200 billion, which is stashed outside the US, have arisen in the wake of the EU order that the company pay €13 billion (A$19.73 billion) in back taxes to Ireland.

      “We provisioned several billion dollars for the US for payment as soon as we repatriate it, and right now I would forecast that repatriation to occur next year,” Cook told RTE.

      But when asked by the Wall Street Journal about this, an Apple spokeswoman said this reflected Cook’s optimism that the US would make changes to its tax rate next year in order to make it attractive for the company to take the cash back to the US.

    • A Tax Expert Takes Tim Cook’s EU Letter Apart Point By Point

      Apple’s business structure and tax practices in Europe were around long before Tim Cook became CEO. He didn’t invent those things, but he’s vigorously defending them. His arguments in media interviews sound compelling, but they present only one side of a hot-button issue that’s easily relatable to the overarching wealth distribution and fair taxation themes of election cycles in both the U.S. and Europe this year.

      The European Union, after a lengthy investigation, ruled Tuesday that Apple’s use of Irish subsidiary companies to avoid paying taxes amounts to the tech giant receiving “illegal state aid” from Ireland. As a result, Apple may be required to pay around $14.5 billion in back taxes dating back to 2004.

      Cook had a carefully worded—and, at times, sharply worded—open letter ready to publish when the judgment was officially announced. He opens the letter by describing Apple’s history in Ireland dating back to 1980, when Steve Jobs set up the company’s first factory there. Apple employed 60 people in Cork county then, and employs more than 6,000 there now, Cook says. He points out that Apple’s Irish operations have helped create and sustain millions of app development, manufacturing, supplier, and small business jobs across Europe.

    • Rather Than Coming Up With Brand New Taxes For Tech Companies, The EU Just Issues A Massive Fine On Apple

      For quite some time now, we’ve seen EU regulators talk fairly openly about their desires to harm American internet companies, mostly in a misguided attempt to boost local European companies (and to collect more money). It’s why we keep hearing about weird, carefully targeted regulations designed to pump up how much money companies like Google, Apple and others pay.

      At the same time, parts of Europe (Ireland, in particular) have been doing basically everything they can think of to woo American tech companies. Ireland has successfully offered ridiculously friendly policies, leading many large internet companies to set up offices in Dublin, and then use that as the place where they “recognize” all their revenue. There are a variety of tax dodges employed here, which go by fun names like Dutch Sandwich and Double Irish.

      US Companies have been doing this for many years, and while it (frankly) looks pretty sleazy, they do seem to mostly play by the rules. We can argue over whether or not the tax breaks they get are worth it, but the whole thing just feels sketchy in that it’s clearly playing some jurisdictional games to get lower tax rates. Of course, there’s also been another looming issue on all of this, which is that these giant internet companies have been pushing heavily to be able to get the cash that they’ve been accumulating in Ireland back into the US, without then having to pay all those taxes on it. So they’ve been pushing for some sort of “amnesty” period or “holiday” where they can bring the cash back in.

    • Europe’s multi-billion dollar tax ruling against Apple throws treatment of IP assets into spotlight

      But it also throws into the spotlight the treatment of IP assets given that the dispute with Apple focuses on two Irish subsidiaries of the tech giant which, according to the EC’s announcement: “Hold the rights to use Apple’s intellectual property to sell and manufacture Apples products outside of North and South America under a so-called ‘cost-sharing agreement’ with Apple Inc.” The two Irish subsidiaries, the Commission claims, made annual payments to Apple in the US to fund R&D efforts, which amounted to $2 billion in 2011 but which significantly increased in 2014. The Commission alleges that those payments contributed to fund “more than half of all research efforts by the Apple group in the US to develop its intellectual property worldwide”. Given the deal that Apple struck with Ireland in 1991, the EC claims that the beneficial tax treatment amounted to state aid.

    • Funding, staffing woes for UK science after Brexit vote

      The Nobel Prize-winning head of Europe’s biggest biomedical research centre in London said that Britain’s vote to leave the EU is worrying his European employees and will hit “extremely important” funding.

      Paul Nurse, head of the world-renowned Francis Crick Institute, told AFP that EU funds account for around £5 million a year (€5.9 million), or around 5% of his annual budget.

      “It’s money we can use in a wide variety of ways,” he said in an interview at the institute’s new futuristic £650-million headquarters near the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras, which was inaugurated this week.

      “It’s not tied down in particular objectives and that’s extremely important… when you’re trying to run an innovative research institute,” said Nurse, who won a Nobel Prize in 2001 for his work on cell cycles.

      Nurse said 55% of the institute’s post-doctoral researchers were from other parts of the European Union and some of them were concerned about their future status.

    • Brexit is not inevitable, says former civil service chief

      Brexit is not inevitable and Britain could still remain a part of a changed European Union, the former head of the civil service has said.

      Gus O’Donnell, who was the cabinet secretary from 2005-11, told the Times (subscription) that he anticipated the UK would retain EU laws and rules regardless of its status in the union.

      The crossbench peer said: “Lots of people will say, ‘We’ve had the referendum, we’ve decided to go out, so that’s it, it’s all over’. But it very much depends what happens to public opinion and whether the EU changes before then.

    • Theresa May ‘acting like Tudor monarch’ by denying MPs a Brexit vote
    • Theresa May calls Brexit meeting amid reports of single market split
    • Theresa May will trigger Brexit negotiations without Commons vote
    • Theresa May tells pro-EU civil servants to get on with the job of delivering Brexit
    • Chancellor blamed as cabinet splits over single market
    • Theresa May, the Brexit enforcer, orders her Cabinet ministers to come up with blueprint for EU exit
    • Whitehall must not try to block Brexit

      Theresa May has wisely decided not to hold a parliamentary vote before opening negotiations to trigger Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. The idea that MPs might have vetoed Brexit is awful – and the very fact that such a threat existed attests to how out of touch so many politicians are. Alas, they are not alone. Government sources have told this newspaper that many civil servants are not keen on Brexit either. It should be made clear immediately that Whitehall cannot veto Brexit.

    • Brexit: a story of a brainstorm

      Today the Cabinet are having an away day, where they will “brainstorm” (horrendous verb) what they mean by Brexit.

    • Local Governments Are Letting Silicon Valley Skirt Public Disclosure Laws

      Uber is likely seeking such arrangements in other cities around the country as Uber begins to transition from being a wholly private service to being one that, with taxpayer subsidization, could replace mass transit.

    • Putting the Con in the Gig Economy

      It’s called the Independent Drivers Guild—but the new organization for New York City’s estimated 35,000 Uber drivers is “independent” in name only.

      Co-founded by Uber and the Machinists union, it’s not a union, it has no collective bargaining rights, and it receives financial support from Uber.

      Just how much support, we don’t know, since Uber and the Machinists won’t release their agreement—not even to drivers.

      If the shroud of secrecy isn’t enough to raise your eyebrows, consider who’s heaping praise on this cozy new partnership. The Mackinac Center—a Koch-backed anti-union mouthpiece that pushed for “right to work” in Michigan—calls it a “model that could bring unionization into the 21st century.”

      What will it do? The Guild gives drivers a process to appeal their terminations (which Uber calls “deactivations”). Ten union-selected drivers will attend monthly meetings of a “works council.”

      “It’s an opportunity for drivers to sit across the table from Uber management and discuss issues related to pay, dispatch procedures, and paid time off,” said Jim Conigliaro, general counsel and business rep for Machinists District 15. “There are no obligations on either side to come to an agreement. It’s just a discussion.”

      Bhairavi Desai has a more critical view. She heads the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a worker center that represents 19,000 drivers in the city, including several thousand who drive for Uber.

    • ICT joins competitiveness pact, triggering tax breaks of €100M

      Trade Union Pro estimates in a press release that approximately 25 per cent of the 16,000–18,000 workers in the sector are temporary workers. The agreement reached yesterday, it adds, will allow for the establishment of local guidelines for the use of temporary workers and make shop stewards better equipped to monitor the use of temporary workers.

    • Donald’s Trump Visit to Mexico Is Not the Real Irony—NAFTA Is

      But Trump—and many other critics in the U.S.—only talk about how NAFTA has hurt U.S. workers. Largely unacknowledged in the U.S. is how it has devastated Mexican family farms and small industry—which leads to desperate migration from Mexico to the U.S. (along with the drug war).

    • In Attempted Hit Piece, NYT Makes Putin Hero of Defeating TPP

      In an remarkable hit piece NYT spent over 5,000 words yesterday trying to prove that all of WikiLeaks’ leaks are motivated from a desire to benefit Russia.

      That of course took some doing. It required ignoring the evidence of the other potential source of motivation for Julian Assange — such as that Hillary participated in an aggressive, and potentially illegal, prosecution of Assange for being a publisher and Chelsea Manning for being his source — even as it repeatedly presented evidence that that was Assange’s motivation.

    • Groups to Obama: Don’t Cede Climate to TTIP or Fossil Fuel Subsidies

      Environmental groups on Thursday sent an open letter to President Barack Obama warning him that the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) threatens to upend his climate legacy.

      The letter (pdf), released ahead of the upcoming Group of 20 (G20) summit in Hangzhou, China, calls on Obama to protect the 2008 G20 commitment to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption” by opposing the TTIP.

      If approved, the U.S.-European Union trade deal would allow G20 counties to “maintain fossil fuel subsidies for ‘economic’ or ‘security of supply’ reasons,” and would “encourage industry self-regulation rather than actually requiring firms to increase energy efficiency,” the letter states.

      “Instead of undermining important climate agreements and goals, trade deals should move us towards the end of fossil fuel subsidies that is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” it continues.

    • Called it: The TTIP (“the US-European TPP”) is all but dead

      The TTIP is all but dead: it will never happen. That’s my professional political opinion after Germany and France have said that it’s stalled and called for its scrapping, respectively. I predicted this several months ago on this blog.

      TTIP is the so-called “free trade agreement” that is the direct opposite of free trade that’s being negotiated – scrap that, was being negotiated – between the US and Europe, like the infamous TPP but eastbound from the United States instead of westbound like the TPP.

      The reason the United States is choosing to negotiate two different agreements this time to try to give benefits to U.S. corporations, at the expense of everybody else’s business and liberty, is spelled ACTA. That was the most recent attempt of a worldwide rent-seeking agreement that ended abruptly in 2012. The mistake the US negotiators did in attempting ACTA was to try to make it one global agreement covering every economy but China, in a very thinly veiled attempt to make that someone in particular fall in line.

    • TTIP in further doubt as Hollande questions timing

      The TTIP trade deal was dealt another blow on Tuesday as the French president cast doubt on when an agreement would be reached.

      Francois Hollande said it would not be finalised before Barack Obama left office later this year.

      Meanwhile, Germany’s economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said it had no chance of being agreed before the US presidential election in November.

      The Americans were unwilling to compromise with Europe, he said.

    • TTIP’s ‘failure’ gives us a clue about Britain’s post-Brexit trading future

      The apparent failure of the EU-US trade talks signalled by German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel should come as little surprise – for good and bad reasons – and contains some interesting clues about the UK’s post-Brexit trading future.

      One “good” reason for the negotiators being unable to agree so far on a single chapter of the 27 in the draft Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is that the Europeans are deeply suspicious about how much power will be given to large multinational companies in the process. The secret “court” for settling disputes is absurdly opaque and unaccountable, for example. That would be bad enough across most areas of the economy, but when it impinges on the way the NHS operates for the public good, it is plainly unacceptable.

    • Can We Save Venice Before It’s Too Late?

      A deadly plague haunts Venice, and it’s not the cholera to which Thomas Mann’s character Gustav von Aschenbach succumbed in the Nobel laureate’s 1912 novella “Death in Venice.” A rapacious tourist monoculture threatens Venice’s existence, decimating the historic city and turning the Queen of the Adriatic into a Disneyfied shopping mall.

      Millions of tourists pour into Venice’s streets and canals each year, profoundly altering the population and the economy, as many native citizens are banished from the island city and those who remain have no choice but to serve in hotels, restaurants and shops selling glass souvenirs and carnival masks.

      Tourism is tearing apart Venice’s social fabric, cohesion and civic culture, growing ever more predatory. The number of visitors to the city may rise even further now that international travelers are avoiding destinations like Turkey and Tunisia because of fears of terrorism and unrest. This means that the 2,400 hotels and other overnight accommodations the city now has no longer satisfy the travel industry’s appetites. The total number of guest quarters in Venice’s historic center could reach 50,000 and take it over entirely.

      Just along the Grand Canal, Venice’s main waterway, the last 15 years have seen the closure of state institutions, judicial offices, banks, the German Consulate, medical practices and stores to make way for 16 new hotels.

    • Confusion Over Purpose of U.S. Education System

      There is no consensus among the public about the role of the public school system in the U.S., according to a new poll that also shows widespread discontent with some of the education policies that have been a major focus of the reform movement.

      “This really calls into question in many ways whether the agenda that has been set over the last 16 years, in particular over the last two administrations, is really what parents want to see,” said Johsua Starr, CEO of PDK, the education organization that’s released the poll annually for the last 48 years.

      Notably, the poll shows that only 45 percent of respondents thought the main goal of public education should be preparing students academically, while the rest was split between the main goal being preparing students for work or preparing them to be good citizens.

      “That finding is perhaps one of the most intriguing,” Starr said. “One has to really question whether the direction we’ve been going is consistent with what the public wants.”

      That question is put into sharp focus, said Starr and others, by one finding in particular – that an overwhelming majority of the public does not believe the best way to fix poor performing schools is by closing them.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald Trump’s campaign is based on the NFL’s business model. Here’s how

      Political pundits have been wondering — or depending on the partisan affiliation, chortling — about Donald Trump’s choice of venues for his campaign appearances. In recent weeks, these have included rallies in Texas, a reliably red state, and Mississippi, where not only does he poll higher than in any other state, but the prize is a measly six electoral votes.

      On the other side of the ledger are Trump appearances in states like Maine, which also has a tiny number of electoral votes (four), but is fairly securely blue.

      The looming start of the National Football League season allows us to recognize the basis of Trump’s campaign strategy: It’s the NFL’s business model.

    • Universal bogeyman

      Hillary Clinton claims the woes of the world are due to a vast alt-right conspiracy – and it is run out of Moscow.

    • Donald Trump Wins Over Secretive “Children of Israel” Megadonor

      Donald Trump attended a $25,000-per-ticket fundraiser Monday night at the Woodside, California home of Saul Fox, the CEO of private equity firm Fox & Paine.

      Fox is the donor behind Children of Israel LLC, whose $884,000 in contributions has made it the second-most generous “ghost corporation” in the 2016 cycle. This election has seen a surge in “ghost corporations,” the term used for businesses that appear to exist solely to shield the identity of individuals who want to put money into the U.S. political process.

      Fox’s ownership of Children of Israel was unknown until The Intercept reported on it several weeks ago.

      Children of Israel gave $150,000 in 2015 to Pursuing America’s Greatness, a Super PAC supporting Mike Huckabee’s presidential run; $400,000 in 2016 to Stand for Truth, a Super PAC supporting Ted Cruz’s candidacy; and $334,000 to the Republican National Committee.

    • Don’t Expect Donald Trump to Stop Lying About Huma Abedin

      Once again treating news of other people’s pain as an opportunity to score political points, Donald Trump seized on Huma Abedin’s decision to separate from Anthony Weiner on Monday as an opportunity to repeat his unsubstantiated claim that Hillary Clinton’s closest aide must have shared classified information with her husband and draw attention to a fringe conspiracy theory that she is a secret agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    • Congressional Democrats Call on FBI to Investigate Their Political Adversaries’ Kremlin Ties

      Leading House Democrats on Tuesday sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey, which they promptly published, asking the agency to investigate whether the Trump campaign and the Russian government have entered into a joint plot “to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.” Although the House Democrats say they do not know whether such a conspiracy with Moscow exists, they say that “serious questions have been raised” — specifically about whether Trump supporters worked in tandem with Kremlin agents to hack Democratic Party computer systems, and “about overt and covert actions by Trump campaign officials on behalf of Russian interests.”

      As grounds for their suspicions, these top Democrats cite certain associations between Trump advisers and various Russians, suspicious visits by them to Moscow, and statements Trump supporters made that are critical of the United States of America or advocate better relations with Moscow. These statements and policy views, these top Democrats suggest, demonstrate possible disloyalty to the United States, which should be investigated.

    • Third Party Loyalists: Insanity Redefined or Political Attention Deficit Disorder?

      As we know, however, the reality was not like that at all: The longest serving independent in congressional history actually won 45 percent of the delegates elected in the Democratic Party primaries and caucuses. Yes, we were never expected to win the nomination and, yes, we did not win the nomination in the end. At the same time, most everyone heavily involved in the Sanders campaign recognized they were in a power struggle very unlike the “Come the revolution” meetings they may have previously attended. And a lot of people came out of it with ideas about how we could do it even better next time. So why wouldn’t we be looking toward a next time, then? Presumably because the third party presidential route held more promise.

    • Making ‘Our Revolution’ Ours

      One of the most remarkable things about Sanders’ campaign was how it electrified the young, reinvigorated progressives, and forced Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party to lurch desperately to the left.

      Of course, once she got the nomination, she wasted no time in tacking back to the right of center and doing what Democrats have always done – assuming that progressives would fall in line because there was nowhere else to go.

    • Jill Stein Won’t Apologize for Her Running Mate’s ‘Uncle Tom’ Comment on Obama

      Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein met Thursday with The Washington Post’s editorial board to discuss her platform, which the paper later described as “poorly formed and wildly impractical.”

      Stein is the third 2016 presidential nominee to talk with the Post’s editorial board, which met with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson in July and Republican nominee Donald Trump in March. Hillary Clinton has yet to sit down with the board, although it has condemned her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

      After meeting with Johnson, the board members wrote that his and his running mate William Weld’s “refreshing honesty could not cover up the ticket’s defects and lapses.” Of Trump, they noted that his interview “provided no reassurance regarding Mr. Trump’s fitness for the presidency,” adding that “his answers left little doubt how radical a risk the nation would be taking in entrusting the White House to him.”

    • The Corbyn crowd, and its signal

      What is really going on in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party? An open-air meeting and the changes in a ward branch give some clues.

    • Clinton’s embrace of Republicans will harm her own party’s future

      The Clinton campaign has now spent months trying to convince relatively obscure former Republican officials to endorse her campaign while also adopting many Republican slogans and arguments in her quest for the presidency.

      One has to wonder how much long term damage she is doing to progressive policies by deploying this strategy, even if she beats Donald Trump along the way.

      Clinton gave a speech in Ohio on Wednesday with yet another former Bush official, James Clad. The speech was billed as touting “American exceptionalism”, one of the more repellent nationalistic concepts that Republicans have used to shame progressives in the past. She spoke mostly about foreign policy, a subject in which Clinton – with her penchant for supporting foreign wars and beefed up US military presence everywhere – seemingly has more in common with mainstream Republicans than the Obama administration.

      Last week, Clinton again handed legitimacy to the Republican party through the way she has decided to attack Trump. She gave a speech in which she praised prior GOP candidates for their treatment of Muslim Americans, including George W Bush, in an attempt to rhetorically separate Trump from these other supposedly upstanding Republicans. In the process, she is kneecapping Democratic candidates around the country who are attempting to retake the House and Senate.

    • The ‘Anti-Clinton Media’ Are Big Donors to Clinton Foundation–and to Clinton

      Earlier this week, an Associated Press (AP) story showed that a disproportionate number of Clinton’s meetings with private citizens at the State Department were with large donors to the Clinton Foundation. At the very least, these stories ought to spark a serious media conversation about money, politics and philanthropy. Instead, much of the media, especially the wide array of Clinton loyalists all over the industry, have been quick to dismiss the story as part of an anti-Clinton agenda.

      The media industry, which many claim is out to get Clinton, is actually made up mostly of donors to the Clinton Foundation. These donors are also actively supporting Clinton’s campaign with donations and even fundraising. Indeed, while Clinton’s potential conflicts of interest at the State Department are thought-provoking, her financial ties to Big Media are a concern in their own right. These close ties are especially unsettling on the heels of a primary season in which the corporate media attacked Bernie Sanders constantly, and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was caught manipulating the media on Clinton’s behalf.

      It is understandable that many want to avoid criticizing Clinton, out of fear of giving the reckless, racist, authoritarian Donald Trump fodder to attack her. However, this type of suspension of critical thinking will not prevent a Trump presidency; Trump will attack Clinton no matter what “fodder” is or isn’t provided. However, the backlash against any critique of Clinton’s donor relationships may have long-term political consequences. Every time liberals do cartwheels trying to defend Clinton on this issue, they are undercutting their own fundamental arguments against Citizens United and the influence of the likes of the Koch brothers.

    • College Trash Stub: Brady Versus the Ess Eee See

      In another very important development, the FBI has just revealed that Hillary will have to stay away from the White House during her first four months as President because she was exonerated on the underlying crime but destroyed a few phones.

    • FBI releases Hillary Clinton email report
    • FBI publishes notes on Hillary Clinton’s use of private email [iophk: "Friday before a major holiday?"]

      The FBI has released 58 pages of documents from its recently closed investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, including a summary of agents’ interviews with Clinton and several of her aides.

      The documents include technical details about how the server in the basement of Clinton’s home was set up.

      Friday’s release of documents involving the Democratic presidential nominee is a highly unusual step, but one that reflects the extraordinary public interest in the investigation into Clinton’s server.

    • Bill Clinton Staffer’s Email Was Breached on Hillary’s Private Server, FBI Says

      Since it came to light that Hillary Clinton ran a private email server during her time as Secretary of State, that computer’s security has become a subject of controversy among politicos whose only notion of a “server” until recently was a waiter carrying canapés at a fundraising dinner. But now the FBI has released the first hint that Clinton’s private server may have been compromised by hackers, albeit only to access the email of one of former president Bill Clinton’s staffers. And though there’s no evidence the breach went further, it’s sure to offer new fodder to critics of Clinton’s handling of classified data.

      On Friday afternoon, the FBI released a new set of documents from its now-concluded investigation into Clinton’s private email server controversy. The 60-page report includes a description of what sounds like an actual hacker compromise of one of Bill Clinton’s staffers. It describes that in early January 2013, someone accessed the email account of one of his female employees, whose name is redacted from the report. The unnamed hacker apparently used the anonymity software Tor to browse through this staffer’s messages and attachments. The FBI wasn’t able to determine how the hacker would have obtained the her username and password to access her account, which was also hosted on the same private server used by then-Secretary of State Clinton.

    • All the Clintons’ servers: Hillary first used a Power Mac tower for e-mail

      It was kismet, and in March of 2009, Pagliano delivered two servers to Chappaqua—a Dell PowerEdge 2900 running Windows Server and Microsoft Exchange and a Dell PowerEdge 1950 running Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES). Cooper and Pagliano together acquired additional network and storage hardware. Initially, Pagliano said, he believed the servers were for President Clinton and not for the Secretary.

    • Hacker Guccifer gets porridge for revealing Hillary Clinton’s email stash

      INFAMOUS HACKER Guccifer is presumably packing his suitcase for an extended stay in the US and a future of people asking him questions about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

      Guccifer, or Marcel Lehel Lazar, used to be a taxi driver, according to the International Business Times, which makes sense because the hacker was able to find his way anywhere, often via short cuts, and end up on the winning side of any deal.

      But Lazar took one journey too far when he found himself in the uncharted waters of the home-based email server that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used to carry out official work and things like the booking of private jets.

      The proverbial hit the fan when news about this unusual use came out, some of it going in the Clinton direction and some of it to Lazar and his native Romania.

    • Romanian hacker ‘Guccifer’ sentenced to 52 months in U.S. prison

      A Romanian hacker nicknamed “Guccifer” who helped expose the existence of a private email domain Hillary Clinton used when she was U.S. secretary of state was sentenced on Thursday to 52 months in prison by a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.

      Marcel Lazar, 44, who used the alias online, had pleaded guilty in May to charges including unauthorized access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft after being extradited from Romania.

      Lazar’s public defender, Shannon Quill, was not immediately available for comment.

    • Top Jeb Bush donor says he’s with Clinton

      Donald Trump is unqualified for the presidency, Mike Fernandez, a top Jeb Bush and Rick Scott donor, said Thursday, announcing that he’ll be voting across party lines for Hillary Clinton in November.

      Fernandez identified himself as “a firm believer in the fundamental tenets of the Republican Party” and as someone who takes his civic responsibilities seriously before slamming the GOP’s standard-bearer.

    • Feds Spend $499,571 to ‘Combat Online Trolling’

      The National Science Foundation is spending roughly half a million dollars to combat “online trolling.”

      A joint project by Northwestern and Northeastern universities is examining how to create “trolling-free environments” on the Internet. The researchers define online trolls as those who try to influence public opinion by boosting “misleading” and “inauthentic comments.”

      “Today, almost every browsing click that users make is collected by numerous trackers associated with a variety of online services (e.g., advertising networks, online social networks, e-commerce platforms),” a grant for the project states. “Users have often expressed concern about the lack of privacy and control over their personal data. Nonetheless, despite a substantial effort to expose and control this prevalent behavior, the reality is that users keep accepting updated online privacy policies, which in turn grant the gathering of more personal data.”

    • I Get Paid To Write Fake Reviews For Amazon

      Whether you need to find a motel in Winnipeg that doesn’t reek of despair (good luck!) or track down the cheapest possible Chinese food in El Paso, internet reviewers have got your back. But some businesses have become so desperate for that elusive fifth star that they’re paying for positive reviews online, a crime filthier than the rats running around that El Paso Chinese place. We spoke with Jessica Carson, a paid online reviewer, and she told us …

    • PR Firm Says It Ghost-Wrote Thousands of Op-Eds in Major US Papers

      Additionally, paying $5,000 for this service is not simply paying for research or editing. It’s paying for the unfair advantage of having your op-ed pitched by people who’ve built cozy relationships with op-ed page editors, and who in at least some cases used to be op-ed page editors.

      Even worse, it’s paying for the insider skill of churning out or transforming an op-ed into just the sort of familiar, boring, cookie-cutter columns that clutter up the dying institution of the daily, dead-tree, advertising-and-rewritten-government-statement sheets we call major newspapers.

      This is why the more stimulating op-eds are often to be found on independent websites.

      But to the extent that this service can really reach 50,000 people whom one wouldn’t have otherwise reached, it is part of the corruption of a thoroughly corrupt communications system. It’s part of the rigging of everything that breeds cynicism and resentment.

      Do op-ed page editors know that Keybridge pitches op-eds that it claims to have ghost-written? Are they all completely, or only partially, ghost-written? Those might be questions for some future WikiLeaks release.

      Meanwhile, here’s a fun fact: Keybridge is a supposedly savvy PR firm in Washington, DC, that bears the name of a bridge named for Francis Scott Key, who owned people as slaves, supported killings of African-Americans, penned an anti-Muslim poem that later became a celebration of killing people escaped from slavery and of a flag surviving a battle that killed human beings during a war that failed to conquer Canada but succeeded in getting the White House burned. That revised poem became the US national anthem. Great image, guys! I’d pay $5,000 for that.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Do we need to rein in Facebook and Google’s power?

      DO YOU remember your first Google search, with the world’s information at your fingertips? Or perhaps the thrill of rediscovering old friends when you opened a Facebook account. From those heady, early days, Google and Facebook have become custodians of crucial technologies relied upon by hundreds of millions of people all over the planet.

      The key to their success is no secret: the services they offer are the best and so droves of people choose to use them. But with the droves comes data and with that, a new form of power. This, coupled with the fact that most users understand little about this new currency, has led some to worry that there is very little holding these companies to account.

      “They really control what you know and what you see. They control your universe,” says Ariel Ezrachi, who studies competition law at the University of Oxford. Is it time to rein them in? Even if we wanted to, could we?

    • I Have Never Stood Up for the National Anthem—and Never Will

      I do not follow sports, so I had not heard of Colin Kaepernick before this week. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback took a simple action Friday during a football game: He chose not to stand during the national anthem, and for that he has now become a household name. His act was one to which I could strongly relate.

      Some years ago, I was at the Hollywood Bowl for a concert that had absolutely nothing to do with a national holiday, the military or the government. It was just a music event. But simply because there was a large gathering of people in one place, the venue upheld its irrational tradition of playing the national anthem and, like programmed robots, everyone in the stadium stood. I refused.

    • What Athletes Should Stand For

      Honoring a venerable tradition of activist athletes dating from Muhammad Ali, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has continued his protest against racial injustice, police brutality and a lack of accountability by those in power “getting away with murder.” He has taken a knee during another national anthem at a game in San Diego, vowed to donate $1 million to grassroots organizations working in poor communities, and inspired two more NFL players – teammate Eric Reid and the Seahawks’ Jeremy Lane – to join him “until justice is served.”

      Their willingness to take a stand for what’s right, despite sometimes steep personal cost, follows in the admirable footsteps of Ali’s Vietnam-era refusal to be drafted to fight other people of color. After mega-stars Jim Brown, Bill Russell and the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spoke up in support of Ali, many others have followed suit over the years: From the 1968 Olympics’ Black Power protest by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, to hoodies, “I Can’t Breathe,” and “Black Lives Matter” shirts worn by NBA and NFL players to protest the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and so many more, to the searing speech at July’s ESPY Awards by NBA heavyweights Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and LeBron James.

    • Pre-censorship is a reality today: Mahesh Bhatt
    • Does YouTube Ad Policy Equate to Censorship? Give Me a Break
    • Apple’s €13 Billion Irish Tax Kerfuffle, Explained for Normal People
    • Apple must pay $14.5 billion in back taxes to Ireland, the EU says
    • Apple ordered to pay €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws
    • Apple must pay Ireland $14.5 billion in unpaid taxes
    • EU stoush: Apple’s Cook starts off on wrong note
    • Apple holds Europe to ransom: Tech giant threatens to cut jobs in EU after Brussels orders it to pay back £11BILLION in tax over ‘illegal’ sweetheart deal with Irish government
    • Two Months of Internet Blackouts Have Taken a Toll on Kashmir

      Earlier this summer, the north Indian state of Kashmir was hit with a new wave of riots when young militant leader Burhan Wani was killed by state police. Wani was the controversial head of Hizbul Mujahideen, a group fighting for the state to separate from India. He was embraced as a freedom fighter by many in Kashmir, and considered a terrorist by Indian officials.

      Kashmiris have been forced to live with regular curfews and military presence in their daily lives. Their mountain and valley homes have been caught in the crosshairs of border wars between India, Pakistan and China for decades. But in moments of peak violence the law enforcement in Kashmir has started wielding a new means of control: mobile and digital blackouts.

    • Bhutan’s Gross National Unhappiness: In The Wake Of The Country’s First Facebook Defamation Lawsuit, Fears Of Censorship Rise

      It remains to be seen what that new policy will entail, and the extent of the censorship imposed. But it’s sad to see a country that cares about maximizing national happiness taking precisely the same route as less enlightened nations.

    • Defamation case will be a landmark case: PM

      With the recent defamation case between a businessman and a freelance journalist underway for the sharing of a post on social media, proper use of the platform was discussed during the 26th Meet the Press yesterday.

      Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that because of social media, some landmark cases have taken place and how the judiciary implements the laws of the land is very significant. “We have to be bound by the judiciary’s decision ultimately,” Lyonchoen said. “The recent defamation case will also be a landmark case we should be paying attention to. These are very important times in our country,” he said.

    • Another 19th Century Moral Panic: Theater

      Every so often, we’ve written about examples of historical “moral panics” — those moments when “concerned citizens” (often including the press and/or politicians) freaked out about the moral horrors of… some awful “new” thing. You all know the obvious ones: like comic books and Dungeons & Dragons, but we like to highlight the truly oddball ones that people these days don’t realize were ever possibly considered a threat to our moral fabric. Things like chess and the waltz. Oh, and of course the printing press. Evil, evil, evil filthy things that will warp the minds of our young people and make them lazy, violent and degenerate.

    • YouTube accused of censorship: Video sharing site defends rules that strip adverts from ‘inappropriate’ content

      YouTube has been accused of censorship after it emerged it has been removing the ability for users to make money from their videos if they express politically incorrect or offensive views.

      Users of the video sharing site began noticing the adverts had been stripped from their content after receiving alerts from the site saying they had breached their ‘advertiser friendly content guidelines’.

      These state that videos containing sexually suggestive content, violence, inappropriate language, promotion of drugs or controversial or sensitive subjects will not be monetised.

    • A Laid-Off Facebook News Curator Reveals What Fueled ‘Trending’ Topics

      There’s no doubt: Trending topics on Facebook get big reach. Nearly half of U.S. adults say they get their news from the social platform, and the prominently placed feature makes it more likely that a small number of stories could make their way to large numbers of Facebook’s massive user base (The network reached 1.13 billion daily active users in June).

      It’s no wonder that such reach would get attention — and scrutiny. This year, the company has faced criticism over what makes a topic or story “trend” on the News Feed’s sidebar. Some even alleged political bias, which Facebook says is unfounded. The process got extra attention recently with last week’s layoff of the contracted “news curator” team. Though the curators knew their roles were temporary and that they were essentially helping to train the algorithm, the move still came as a surprise.

    • YouTube star PewDiePie suspended from Twitter after IS joke

      YouTube star PewDiePie was suspended from Twitter after making a joke about so-called Islamic State.

      The suspension was short lived and his account is now live again.

      He was removed from the site after he told followers that he and fellow YouTube star Jack Septic Eye had joined IS.

      Twitter shut down his account, according to their rules on promoting “organizations or individuals associated with promoting hate”.

    • PewDiePie suspended from Twitter after tweeting Islamic State joke

      YouTube star PewDiePie was temporarily booted off Twitter on Tuesday after tweeting a joke about the Islamic State group.

      PewDiePie describes the debacle in a new YouTube video, which has already received over half a million views. The clip sees the internet star criticize the platform and social media in general, claiming (rather eloquently) that it makes people “retarded.”

      According to PewDiePie, the trouble began after he decided to un-verify himself by adding a globe icon next to his name on Twitter, with many of his fans following suit. A parody news account then tweeted an obviously fake story claiming PewDiePie had lost his Twitter verification due to “suspected relations with ISIS.”

    • HostSailor Threatens to Sue KrebsOnSecurity

      Earlier this month, KrebsOnSecurity published The Reincarnation of a Bulletproof Hoster, which examined evidence suggesting that a Web hosting company called HostSailor was created out of the ashes of another, now-defunct hosting firm notorious for harboring spammers, scammers and other online ne’er-do-wells. Today, HostSailor’s lawyers threatened to sue this author unless the story is removed from the Web.

      Obviously, I stand by my reporting and have no intention of unpublishing stories. But I’m writing about HostSailor again here because I promised to post an update if they ever responded to my requests for comment.

      The letter, signed by Abdullah Alzarooni Advocates in Dubai — where HostSailor says it is based — carries the subject line, “Warning from Acts of Extortion and Abuse of the Privacy of Third Parties.” It lists a number of links to content the company apparently finds objectionable.

      Could this same kind of legal pressure be why security industry giant Trend Micro removed all reference to HostSailor from the report that started all this? Trend hasn’t responded to direct questions about that.

    • Muslim Activist Qudosi Banned Permanently From Facebook

      Facebook has intervened in a political dispute between Muslim reformist and activist Shireen Qudosi and Muslim leader Javed Ali by banning Qudosi permanently from Facebook.

      The spat originated after Qudosi stood up for Clarion Project’s National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro, who provided training in San Diego to various police departments last week on what to be aware of when fighting radical Islam.

      Mauro was subjected to a silencing campaign by the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which attempted to shut down the training sessions by inundating the police with complaints. CAIR was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members and was designated by the FBI as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism financing trial in American history.

    • Mark Zuckerberg visits Pope Francis at home [Ed: censorship of "blasphemy" and any "offensive" political speech (those in power decide what's offensive) the long-term goal]

      Pope Francis met with Facebook Inc. founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, at the Vatican on Monday.

      One topic of discussion at the meeting was “how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and make a message of hope arrive, especially to those most in need,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said.

    • Mark Zuckerberg meets Pope Francis, gives him a drone

      On Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan met with Pope Francis, as part of Zuckerberg’s trip of Italy, announced following the devastating earthquake that hit the country last week, killing hundreds. After discussing the importance of connecting people in the world without internet access, Zuckerberg presented the Pope with a drone – but, alas, not a working one. Instead, it was a model of Facebook’s solar-powered Aquila aircraft, designed to beam internet access to those areas of the world that are lacking connectivity.

    • Facebook is telling the world it’s not a media company, but it might be too late

      Mark Zuckerberg really doesn’t want people to think of Facebook as a media company.

      The topic came up as part of his live-streamed Q&A session on Monday, when someone asked the CEO about Facebook’s role in the media and whether the company sees itself as an editor.

    • The Coddling of the American Mind

      In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.

    • Youtube clarifies it has not changed its policy after vlogger Philip De Franco accuses website of ‘censorship’

      On Wednesday, De Franco, a vlogger with 4.5million subscribers, posted a video titled ‘YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do’, which has now been viewed more than 3.6 million times. He told viewers several of his videos had been demonetised meaning Youtube had determined they were not “advertiser friendly” so he could not earn money from the advertising revenue. This video in question does have advertising in.

    • YouTuber PewDiePie ‘stripped of Twitter blue tick over Isis joke’

      Popular YouTuber PewDiePie has claimed Twitter unverified his account after he joked he and fellow YouTuber Jacksepticeye had “joined Isis”.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Amazon Thinks I’m Some Sort Of Serial Killer In Training

      I used to have a cat named Kyle. He died in 2014. He and his sister, Selina, were the first real pets I ever had. Having lived in apartments with strict “No Pets” policies all my life, I could never enjoy the company of a real pet. I had to settle for lower-tier pets, like fish and turtles — animals that are more like living home accessories than cuddly best friends. It’s like if your ottoman could look at you.

    • The NSA’s stash of digital holes is a threat to everyone online

      Here’s a phrase to conjure with: “zero-day vulnerability”. If you’re a non-techie, it will sound either like a meaningless piece of jargon or it’ll have a vaguely sinister ring to it. “Year Zero” was the name chosen by the Khmer Rouge for 1975, the year they seized power in Cambodia and embarked on their genocidal rule. Behind the term lay the idea that “all culture and traditions within a society must be completely destroyed or discarded and a new revolutionary culture must replace it, starting from scratch”.

    • Are You There, Democracy? It’s Me, the Internet.

      In February, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his web-based production company, hitRECord, teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union to create a five-part educational series on the topics of technology and democracy.

      The actor became passionate about issues of mass surveillance and digital privacy while preparing for his role as Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone’s upcoming movie, “Snowden.” Gordon-Levitt asked the public to submit videos to hitRECord answering the question: “Is today’s technology good or bad for democracy?” The goal of the project was not to gather expert opinions or talking points but instead to hear personal stories from people all over the world. Keeping with the style of hitRECord productions, each documentary is edited with music and interactive DIY animations.

    • NSA Designates Forsyth Tech as Training Center for Cybersecurity [Ed: Universities (or colleges as they call them) in the US are in bed with the NSA]
    • EFF to Court: Government Must Inform People That It’s Accessing Their Emails, Personal Data

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told a federal court today that the government is violating the U.S. Constitution when it fails to notify people that it has accessed or examined their private communications stored by Internet providers in the cloud.

      EFF is supporting Microsoft in its lawsuit challenging portions of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) that allow the Department of Justice (DOJ) to serve a warrant on the company to get access to customers’ emails and other information stored on remote servers—all without telling users their data is being searched or seized. In a brief filed in Microsoft v. Department of Justice in U.S. District Court in Seattle, EFF, joined by Access Now, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and legal scholar Jennifer Granick, said Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government apply to all of our information—no matter what the format or where it’s located.

    • How to Change Your WhatsApp Settings Before Facebook Data Sharing Begins

      WhatsApp’s plans to share user information—including phone numbers, contact lists, and usage data—with parent company Facebook threaten users’ privacy and control over their data. We describe details of this data sharing arrangement and the new privacy policy that makes it possible in a previous blog post.

    • What Facebook and WhatsApp’s Data Sharing Plans Really Mean for User Privacy

      WhatsApp is establishing data-sharing practices that signal a significant shift in its attitude toward privacy—though you wouldn’t know it from the privacy policy update that popped up on users’ screens last week. The new policy lays the groundwork for alarming data sharing between WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook. The update screen that users see, however, mentions only benign new features like WhatsApp calling, and requires a user to click a “Read more” link to see any mention of how the data sharing arrangement will work for users. Where WhatsApp could have offered users up-front information and choices, the UI as it stands buries critical details and options. If WhatsApp wants to merge user data with Facebook, it should give users opportunities to make choices about their privacy—starting with a clearer, more informative UI.

    • Using Prisoner Phone Calls to Convict? NY’s Highest Court Puts Critical Question on Hold

      Two years ago, a New York City man named Marcellus Johnson was convicted of robbery — in part as a result of incriminating telephone conversations that had been recorded while he was awaiting trial in a Rikers Island jail cell. Last April, New York’s highest court affirmed the conviction, upholding the use of the recorded conversations.

      However, the justices of the New York Court of Appeals left open a future challenge to the use of such recordings.

      “Our resolution of the narrowly drawn issues presented on this appeal,” the justices wrote, “should not be interpreted as the Court’s approval of these practices.”

      These practices, the court made clear, involve the routine recording of inmate telephone conversations by corrections officials, and the nearly as routine practice of turning those recordings over to prosecutors.

      Justice Eugene F. Pigott, in a concurring opinion, put the court’s concerns plainly.

      “The current arrangement between the Department of Corrections and the district attorney’s office creates a serious potential for abuse,” Pigott wrote, adding, “Something needs to change.”

    • Privacy Act IRR Released – NPC to Educate Public about Privacy

      Civil Society organization, Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) was instrumental in organizing Public Consultations for the Implementing Rules, According to FMA Director Alan Alegre; “The FMA is pleased with the spirit of inclusive participation of stakeholders in the development of the DPA’s IRR, Kudos to all stakeholders who participated in the public consultations, submitted comments online and offline, and produced position papers.”

      Personal Information Controllers and other stakeholders participated in five public consultations and several meetings with the NPC. These stakeholders included representatives from banks, retail, education, research, health Informatics, civil society, business process management, the migrant sector and Government organizations. Among the organizations that helped organize public consultations were the Philippine Computer Society, U.P Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development (OVCRD), Department of Health, Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, Ateneo de Davao University, UP-PGH, National Telehealth Center and FMA.

      The NPC will focus on conducting public information campaigns aimed at educating the public and organizations on the importance of data privacy in its first year of operations. According to Privacy Chairman Raymund Liboro, “With the prevalent use of personal data in access devices, social media, smartphone apps as well as the delivery of basic services, it is extremely important that the public and organizations be made aware of the need to
      responsibly handle personal information,” Commissioner Liboro explains.

      Commissioner Liboro emphasized that the DPA and its IRR were developed with the rights of the individual should be given priority. “The rules were made with the citizen’s protection and the country’s progress in mind. Personal data are your personal assets that should be guarded. Collectively, they become a national asset too.” Chairman Liboro added.

    • Companies are making money from our personal data – but at what cost?

      It is the strangely conspiratorial truth of the surveillance society we inhabit that there are unknown entities gathering our data for unknown purposes.

      Companies and governments dip into the data streams of our lives in increasingly innovative ways, tracking what we do, who we know and where we go. The methods and purposes of data collection keep expanding, with seemingly no end or limit in sight.

      These range from irritating infringements, including WhatsApp sharing your name and phone number with Facebook so businesses can advertise to you, or a startup that uses your phone’s battery status as a “fingerprint” to track you online, to major intrusions such as Baltimore police secretly using aerial surveillance systems to continuously watch and record the city. Or like the data brokers that create massive personalized profiles about each of us, which are then sold and used to circumvent consumer protections meant to limit predatory and discriminatory practices.

      These instances of data harvesting are connected by a shared compulsion – a data imperative – that drives many corporations and governments. This imperative demands the extraction of all data, from all sources, in whatever ways possible. It has created an arms race for data, fueling the impulse to create surveillance technologies that infiltrate all aspects of life and society. And the reason for creating these massive reserves of data is the value it can or might generate.

    • Now BBC iPlayer police ‘may spy on your net use’ to punish people who watch on-demand programmes without a TV licence

      The BBC could spy on home internet use to enforce new rules designed to punish those who watch on-demand programmes online without a TV licence, experts have warned.

      The overhaul of the ‘iPlayer loophole’ means that from tomorrow viewers will need to pay the £145.50 licence fee to catch up on programmes using their mobile devices and laptops.

      But fears have been raised that the secretive techniques used by the BBC to police the new system could be a breach of privacy.

    • FBI director James Comey wants a serious chat about encryption

      FBI DIRECTOR James Comey is expecting technology companies to wake up and finally listen to his demand for changes to encryption that would essentially make his job easier and the technology security landscape more baggy.

      Comey is not a fan of technology companies and their habit of making a feature of encryption, and has often suggested that this is one of those situations when less is more.

      Unfortunately for him, the technology firms think otherwise and would rather offer the protection to their customers.

      But Comey has now had enough, and wants to have a proper, he reportedly said “adult”, conversation about the problem.

      Comey said at the 2016 Symantec Government Symposium that the industry is wrong and that encryption is a marketing ploy that values sales over anti-terrorism.

      We don’t know what Symantec was expecting to hear, but if we were betting people we might have put a wager on encryption coming up.

    • Facebook Slapped With FTC Complaint Over WhatsApp Data Grab

      Consumer privacy watchdogs filed a federal complaint Monday against Facebook over the tech titan’s decision to begin harvesting phone numbers from its popular WhatsApp messaging service.

      The complaint, which was expected, was filed with the Federal Trade Commission, and accuses Facebook of violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.”

      “When Facebook acquired WhatsApp, WhatsApp made a commitment to its users, to the Federal Trade Commission, and to privacy authorities around the world not to disclose user data to Facebook,” Marc Rotenberg, President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said in a statement. “Now they have broken that commitment.”

      Indeed, when Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for a whopping $19 billion, the two companies insisted that the social networking giant would keep the messaging service at arms-length. At the time, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum assured users that “privacy is coded into our DNA.”

      But last Thursday, WhatsApp announced that it would begin sharing user phone numbers with its parent company Facebook in an effort to improve “ads and products experiences.”

    • Facebook recommended that this psychiatrist’s patients friend each other

      Facebook’s ability to figure out the “people we might know” is sometimes eerie. Many a Facebook user has been creeped out when a one-time Tinder date or an ex-boss from 10 years ago suddenly pops up as a friend recommendation. How does the big blue giant know?

      While some of these incredibly accurate friend suggestions are amusing, others are alarming, such as this story from Lisa*, a psychiatrist who is an infrequent Facebook user, mostly signing in to RSVP for events. Last summer, she noticed that the social network had started recommending her patients as friends—and she had no idea why.

      “I haven’t shared my email or phone contacts with Facebook,” she told me over the phone.

      The next week, things got weirder.

    • Finnish security police: Don’t take your phone abroad with you

      Finland’s security police Supo says that Finns should leave their mobile phones and laptops at home when they travel abroad. If it’s absolutely necessary to take your device when travelling, be sure to keep an eye on it at all times, says Supo.

    • Police Seize Two Perfect Privacy VPN Servers

      VPN provider Perfect Privacy has had two of its servers seized by Dutch police, as part of an active investigation. Police bypassed the VPN service and went directly to the company’s hosting provider, I3D, who complied with a subpoena requesting the hardware. At the time of writing, it remains unclear why the servers in question were taken.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Hidden Clauses Coming To Software Licensing Agreements

      Because they’re so widely ignored, companies have been putting some pretty crazy shit in them for a while now. This is a problem which isn’t going to get better. Using Cracked’s supply of plutonium and this crazy old grandfather clock I found, I cobbled together a crude time machine, and used it to travel into the near future to check out the license agreements, because sure, why not. Here are 14 of the craziest clauses I found.

    • Powder Keg: the Rage in Urban America
    • Couple Brutally Attacked For Ordering Ham On Their Pizza [Ed: Breitbart extremely unreliable on stories, but if this one is true, then, well…]

      Two men who attacked a young couple for eating a pizza topped with ham have been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

    • Refugee Attempts To Burn Wife Alive, Dies In The Process

      A man in a German refugee shelter attempt to set his wife on fire Thursday, police said. The man died apparently in the act of attempting to set his wife ablaze, according to English-language German news outlet the Local.

      The woman, who has not been identified, was left with very serious injuries as a result of the incident. The 45-year-old man was “previously known to police,” according to the Local. The attempted burning occurred in the town of Rüdesheim on Germany’s Rhine river in the centrally located state of Hesse.

      The woman had previously separated from her husband. After the attempted burning, she was rushed to the hospital via helicopter, according to news outlet Agence France-Presse, which put out the original news story about the incident from which the Local based its report. Part of the shelter that houses 14 people was set on fire during the incident and two others were injured.

    • Illegal Koranic school with up to 20 students found CONCEALED inside Paris mosque

      AN UNREGISTERED Koranic school with the potential to indoctrinate children has been found within the walls of Al-Islah mosque – which is known for harbouring Jihadists – during a police raid in Paris yesterday.

    • At nearly 43%, Muslims have highest percentage of illiterates: Census

      Muslims have the highest number of illiterates at nearly 43 per cent, while Jains have the highest number of literates among India’s religious communities as over 86 per cent of them are educated.

      According to the Census 2011 data, Jains have just 13.57 per cent illiterate – aged seven years and above – among all the communities.

      The census has taken those between zero and six years as illiterate.

    • Saudi Arabia sentences a man to 10 years in jail and 2,000 lashes for tweeting that he was an atheist

      A COURT in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to ten years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheism on Twitter.

      The 28-year-old reportedly refused to repent, insisting what he wrote reflected his beliefs and that he had the right to express them.

    • Child Brides On The Rise In German Capital [Ed: The far right in the US uses Europe concerns to advance its own agenda]

      The trend of underage migrant girls entering Germany married to older men is on the rise, with the city of Berlin recording 100 child marriages this year alone.

      While the majority of underage migrants flowing into Germany are young boys, underage girls tend to come as ‘child brides’ to older migrant men who are more often adults.

    • Reverse assimilation: The Muslim takeover of Europe

      For the last several decades, Europe has been a haven of opportunities for immigrants from a myriad of countries. For various reasons ranging from political to economic to ethnic, people from all over the world have flocked to the continent, slowly changing the demographics of “Old Europe.”

      The reasons various immigrants left their countries were not necessarily the same as the reasons for the hosting countries to accept them. In many cases like France and Germany in the 1950s and following decades, the hosting countries were interested in cheap labor as well as a labor force that would be willing to take on the tasks some of the natives deemed unworthy. I grew up in the 1960s in France where almost all street sweepers and trash collectors were either Arabs or Africans. Immigrants came seeking a better life; they didn’t always find it.

    • Police: Westerly man shot corncobs at neighbor’s house

      A Wompag Road resident was arrested Tuesday night after the police said he fired corncobs at a neighbor’s house with a homemade potato gun.

      The man, Jeffrey M. Osella, 50, of 12 Wompag Road, was taken into custody on charges of disorderly conduct and firing in a compact area, the police reported. He was released on bond and is scheduled for arraignment Friday in 4th Division District Court.

    • LAX ‘shooting’ scare: Man in Zorro costume arrested following false reports of gunshots

      A man dressed as fictional character Zorro has been arrested following false reports of shots being fired at Los Angeles International Airport.

      One bystander claimed the man was a “super nice guy” who had not done anything wrong, but the incident resulted in delays for some passengers, including BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker whose flight to LA was diverted.

      Video footage showed a man sitting outside the airport wearing black clothing and a black hat, before being surrounded by six police officers ordering him to “get on the ground”.

    • Foreign visitors should not wear skirts or short dresses, says India’s tourism minister

      Foreign women travelling to India should not wear dresses or skirts and should not walk alone at night “for their own safety”, India’s tourism minister has said.

      Speaking to the media in Agra about India’s official safety advice for women, Mahesh Sharma also advised women to take photographs of the number plate of any vehicles they were travelling in.

      His remarks have sparked controversy in India, where several high-profile gang rapes and attacks on women in recent years have focused global attention on the problem within the country.

    • Russian journalist critical of Vladimir Putin found dead on his birthday with gunshot wound to his head

      A well-known Russian journalist and critic of President Vladimir Putin has been found dead in his Kiev apartment with a gunshot wound to the head.

      The body of Alexander Shchetinin, founder the Novy Region (New Region) press agency, was found at his flat after friends tried to visit him on his birthday.

      A police spokesperson said Kiev forces were alerted of Ms Shchetinin’s death at around midnight on Saturday. He is believed to have died a few hours earlier, between 8 and 9.30pm.

    • People in crowds do not spontaneously de-evolve into subhuman beasts

      This episode’s guest, Michael Bond, is the author of The Power of Others, and reading his book I was surprised to learn that despite several decades of research into crowd psychology, the answers to most questions concerning crowds can still be traced back to a book printed in 1895.

      Gustave’s Le Bon’s book, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, explained that humans in large groups are dangerous, that people spontaneously de-evolve into subhuman beasts who are easily swayed and prone to violence. That viewpoint has informed the policies and tactics of governments and police forces for more than a century, and like many prescientific musings, much of it is wrong.

    • FBI: Detroit suspect fantasized about deadly attacks

      It appears agents have not found evidence indicating that Gregerson was providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He has not been charged with a terrorism-related crime, but the investigation is ongoing. And there was no specific planned attack outlined in the court records.

    • Graduate Students, the Laborers of Academia

      Twenty years ago, when I was a senior at Yale, the graduate students embarked on a two-week “grade strike,” during which they refused to hand in the fall grades of the undergraduates they were teaching. Grades were due on January 2, 1996, but the grad students, then as now agitating for union recognition, withheld the grades until two weeks later, when it became clear that they were losing the battle on all fronts. The dean of the graduate school brought three union leaders up on disciplinary charges (one was dismissed, though the other two had their punishments overturned); some faculty members threatened graduate students with reprisals, like poor letters of recommendation; and the Yale undergraduates, for whom a transcript without grades was like a scull without oarsmen, turned viciously on their teaching assistants.

      That spring, a writer for the late, great small magazine Lingua Franca went to Yale and found that even campus liberals hated the grad-student-union movement. “They undertook an obligation and reneged,” the president of the Yale College Democrats told the reporter. “They’re holding the grades hostage of people they have no beef with.” Farther down in the article, the same student was in high snark mode: “It’s hard to tell an undergraduate who’s in debt $27,000 a year that your $10,000 stipend and full-tuition waiver isn’t enough,” he said. “You could argue that there is no one more privileged than the graduate students.”

      That student, poster child for anti-union animus, was me. I quickly came to regret, and eat, my words: two years later, I returned to Yale as a graduate student, and I immediately joined the union (then called the Graduate Employees and Students Organization, or GESO), eventually becoming an organizer in the religious-studies department. I couldn’t argue with the basic logic: doctoral students worked as graders and teaching assistants, and workers should have collective-bargaining rights.

    • No Review Necessary: Stop Using Private Prisons for Immigration Detention

      Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has announced that he is setting up a committee to review whether to continue using private prisons for immigration detention. But it doesn’t take a study to figure out that the system Secretary Johnson runs is costly and causes needless human suffering. We should stop filling for-profit prison beds with asylum-seekers, children, and thousands of others who never got a fair day in court.

    • G20 ‘honey trap’ warning: Fears Prime Minister’s officials will be seduced by Chinese spies and have hotel rooms bugged

      Theresa May’s officials have been warned to avoid “honey traps” amid fears that the Prime Minister’s team will be targeted by Chinese spies offering sex during the G20 summit.

      British government aides have fallen victim to spying on previous official trips to China, with one Downing Street official reported to have had his mobile phone and secret documents stolen after he was seduced.

      Government security chiefs are anxious to avoid a repeat of the incident, which took place during a visit by Gordon Brown in 2008, and have provided detailed guidance to Mrs May’s team.

    • The Women Behind the 19th Amendment Had a Grander Vision Than Just the Right to Vote

      Last week we commemorated Women’s Equality Day, a celebration of the anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Most people remember that the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. However, many people forget the Amendment’s original intent: to make women fully equal citizens to men in all respects under the Constitution.

      On August 26, 1920, the United States adopted the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Throughout the 19th Century, women played a significant role in the abolitionist movement, writing articles for abolitionist papers, circulating pamphlets, and signing petitions to Congress calling for the demise of slavery. While some women became prominent leaders in the abolitionist movement, most still faced discrimination in society and within the movement. This exclusion led to their politicization on the issue of women’s rights. Two of these trailblazing abolitionists were Jeannette Rankin and Crystal Eastman.

      In 1916, Rankin successfully ran for Congress becoming the first woman elected to the House of Representatives. In this position, she introduced a bill to allow women citizenship independent of their husbands and opened congressional debate on women’s right to vote. Crystal Eastman, a lawyer, antimilitarist, and journalist, worked on the 1912 Wisconsin suffrage battle and was one of the four drafters of the original Equal Rights Amendment. These two women championed the women’s suffrage movement, and in August 1920, their efforts culminated in the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Later that same year, Rankin and Eastman help found the American Civil Liberties Union.

      In the decades since, countless other ACLU advocates (including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the co-founder and first director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project) have fought to further women’s equality at home, in society, and in the workplace, but that fight is still not won. Even as women have advanced and families have changed, our workplaces have not kept up. On average, women of all races earn 79 cents to every dollar that men earn, while women of color earn even less. Pay inequity not only affects individual paychecks, it compounds over time and compromises the financial stability of future generations.

    • A Moment of Hope

      There is no telling if Karimov is already dead or not, but a massive stroke has with certainty ended his rule. There is much speculation on what happens next. The one thing we can be quite certain will not happen is a free and fair election of a successor.

      The formal process, presided over by the speaker of parliament, is an irrelevance to the power grab that is going on and depends on control of the army, the separate Ministry of the Interior armed forces, the police and the security services. By common consent Rustam Inoyatov is a key kingmaker, and for the last two years Prime Minister Mirzaeyev has been carefully cementing this alliance. Mirzaeyev is probably the most ruthless of all the candidates – he is as cold-blooded a killer as Karimov, and I suspect this quality will bring him through.

      Mirzaeyev comes from the same Samarkand power base as Karimov, but he faces a difficult balancing act in ensuring nobody else has any power to challenge him, while at the same time placating powerful Tashkent and Ferghana interests. If Mirzaeyev can gain the support of the Gafur Rakhimov/Alisher Usmanov mafia nexus he will probably be home and dry. But to emphasise how complex and vicious this will be, when the Alisher Usmanov/Mirzaeyev family relationship was due to be cemented in 2013 by a marriage alliance featuring Usmanov’s nephew and heir Babur Usmanov, the groom was killed in a “car crash” at the behest of Inoyatov. This murder was probably just a friendly reminder that Inoyatov cannot be cut out, and one Mirzaeyev seems to have heeded, but underlines the potential for it all to go violently wrong.

    • The West and Karimov’s Anti-Terrorism Charade

      Hillary Clinton and John Kerry courted Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan’s brutal dictator, every bit as assiduously as George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld.

      The west is interested in gas, gold and uranium, but is still more entranced by the allure of the false gold of Uzbekistan’s “successful” anti-terrorism strategy. Karimov was courted as the strong man who held Central Asia against Islamic fundamentalism. His methods – imprisoning, torturing and killing anybody who appeared religious – were viewed as admirable. That all reputable sources acknowledge that 10,000 people are imprisoned solely for their political and religious beliefs did not matter. That young men can be imprisoned or “disappeared” solely for growing a beard, or for praying five times a day, was viewed as “effective”.

    • Labor Day Special: Workers and Corporate Media

      This week on CounterSpin: a special episode in celebration of Labor Day. It’s presented by corporate media as most importantly a long weekend, with a parade—or, more seriously, as a holiday fought for by US trade unions to honor American workers. But the holiday has more complex origins.

      A national holiday had been a goal of US labor—several states already celebrated—but Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day in the midst of an attack by federal troops on striking Pullman railway workers, leading many to see it as more an attempt to appease workers than to honor them.

      It’s fitting that the holiday remind us of the struggles as well as the advances of US workers, who face today some of the same problems as workers in 1894—including distant and disconnected owners, whose self-enriching, anti-worker policies are enabled and, if need be, enforced by government.

    • Predictive Policing Software Is More Accurate at Predicting Policing Than Predicting Crime

      “Predictive policing” has an enticing ring to it. The idea is that you feed a bunch of data into a mysterious algorithm, and poof, out comes intelligence about the future that tells police where the next crime is going to occur, or even who is going to commit it. What’s not to get excited about?

      Unfortunately, many predictions made by policing software don’t come true. This is because predictive tools are only as good as the data they are fed. Put another way: garbage in, garbage out.

      Data collected by police is notoriously bad (we don’t even know how many people police kill every year), easily manipulated, glaringly incomplete, and too often undermined by racial bias. When you feed a predictive tool contaminated data, it will produce polluted predictions. In fact, it appears predictive policing software is more accurate at predicting policing than predicting crime. Rather than informing us where criminals will be and when they will commit crimes, these algorithms more reliably predict where the police will deploy.

    • Discrimination by Design

      A few weeks ago, Snapchat released a new photo filter. It appeared alongside many of the other such face-altering filters that have become a signature of the service. But instead of surrounding your face with flower petals or giving you the nose and ears of a Dalmatian, the filter added slanted eyes, puffed cheeks and large front teeth. A number of Snapchat users decried the filter as racist, saying it mimicked a “yellowface” caricature of Asians. The company countered that they meant to represent anime characters and deleted the filter within a few hours.

      “Snapchat is the prime example of what happens when you don’t have enough people of color building a product,” wrote Bay Area software engineer Katie Zhu in an essay she wrote about deleting the app and leaving the service. In a tech world that hires mostly white men, the absence of diverse voices means that companies can be blind to design decisions that are hurtful to their customers or discriminatory.

      A Snapchat spokesperson told ProPublica that the company has recently hired someone to lead their diversity recruiting efforts.

    • Black Activists in Missouri Are Fighting to Preserve the Right to Vote

      Before she died six years ago, Rev. Cassandra Gould’s mother used to say that “everybody marched with Dr. King” but that she had been in Selma, Alabama, “before Dr. King got there.” As a 19-year-old from a nearby town, she would ask an older cousin to drive her to the city, where she registered voters, joined sit-ins, and marched. For the rest of her life, she carried a gash on her thigh, a reminder of the police officer who shot her on March 7, 1965, “Bloody Sunday,” the day that perhaps more than any other precipitated the passage of that year’s Voting Rights Act.

      Gould and her siblings grew up faithful to their mother’s directive — “If you don’t do anything else, you vote” — but never experienced firsthand the ferocious racism of those days. Gould moved to St. Louis, Missouri — “Mississippi North,” as she only half-jokingly calls it — and became a reverend and activist. She quickly learned the subtle and insidious ways in which racism had survived and adapted in the aftermath of the civil rights era, but like many of her generation she remained relatively sheltered from racial violence.

    • Racial Disparities in Policing Are Real And Rising. New Hampshire Needs Criminal Justice Reform at All Levels.

      New Hampshire is often viewed, including by those who live here, as a white, homogenous state. But this is no longer true. New Hampshire’s demographics, like those of much of the country, are rapidly changing and becoming more diverse.

      For example, in Manchester and Nashua — New Hampshire’s two largest cities — the white population in each has gone from around 98 percent in 1980 to 86 percent and 83 percent, respectively, in 2010. With these pronounced changes have come racial disparities in policing that have been endemic for decades elsewhere in the country.

    • Former Anti-Terror FBI Employee Now Finds Himself a Target

      As an FBI surveillance employee, Ray Tahir spent the last decade tailing Muslims in counterterrorism cases.

      Among the investigations whose surveillance Tahir led were those of the charity Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in Texas and North Carolina’s Daniel Patrick Boyd, who with others was convicted of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to commit murder, maiming, and kidnapping overseas.

      Both FBI cases had their critics. The American Civil Liberties Union described the prosecution of Holy Land Foundation as “discriminatory enforcement of counterterrorism laws.” In the Boyd case, as in other informant-led FBI stings, there are questions about whether the men convicted would have done anything at all were it not for the FBI’s involvement.

      As the FBI targeted Muslims in the United States following the 9/11 attacks, Tahir was among the front-line employees who made some of these cases possible.

      Now, he alleges, he has become a target himself.

      On May 11, 2012, Tahir was at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., fighting to keep his $78,000-per-year job. A 26-year FBI veteran, Tahir was a member of the Mobile Surveillance Team, a special unit that monitors suspects of espionage and terrorism.

      Tahir, who had been called for a hearing at the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, was accused of making personal charges on his covert credit card, unauthorized gasoline purchases, and lack of candor. He had been placed on suspension pending the hearing.

      The FBI employee had admitted to his supervisors that he made more than 200 personal charges during a four-year period, many of them for groceries at stores like Harris Teeter and Food Lion. He ran up a balance of $10,000, which he’d begun to pay back by the time he was called to headquarters; he blamed the charges on personal financial troubles.

      But Tahir denied the unauthorized gasoline purchases and maintained that he had been candid while he was under investigation, though he did admit that he changed the address where the card’s statements were to be sent in order to hide his personal spending from supervisors. Nevertheless, Tahir thought that if he admitted to the credit card purchases, explained the circumstances, and apologized, he’d walk away with a suspension. He knew other FBI employees had received reprimands or suspensions for similar transgressions.

    • Milwaukee Police Forcibly Arrested Two Men Last Night for Doing Nothing Wrong. They Got a Surprise When One Was A State Rep and the Other Was From the ACLU.

      Last night in the Sherman Park area, Milwaukee police officers in riot gear wrongfully arrested two men for no good reason. But this time, the men they arrested had the means to demand their rights and were released. The men were Jarrett English, an organizer at the ACLU of Wisconsin, and State Representative Jonathan Brostoff.

      At about 9:30 p.m., a handful of people, including Mr. English and Rep. Brostoff, stood on the northeast corner of Sherman Boulevard and Auer Avenue, observing a large contingent of police officers who had blocked off Auer on the west side of Sherman. The street has been the gathering place for community members since the fatal police shooting of Sylville Smith on August 13.

      Numerous officers then forcibly arrested Mr. English as he was walking away as instructed. He was handcuffed, forced to the ground, involuntarily searched, and placed in a police van with Rep. Brostoff. After officials became aware that they had arrested a state legislator, the two were released without charges.


      The Milwaukee Police Department has once again demonstrated its preference for occupation, excessive force, and belligerence over genuine engagement, civil dialog, and de-escalation. People have a right to stand on a street corner – to observe and record the police, as Jarrett was doing, or for any other reason. Unfortunately, rather than protecting people and their rights, law enforcement in this community all too often engages in the sort of destructive behavior to which Jarrett and Jonathan were subjected to last night.

    • Maine Gov. Paul LePage is Donald Trump’s Noxious Canary

      You’ve heard of the canary used in coal mines to warn of impending hazards to the miners. The canaries were smaller and breathed faster so carbon monoxide and other toxic gases affected them more quickly than the humans and donkeys used to mine coal. Introduced to underground coal mining in the early 20th century, these birds were charged with alerting the miners in time for them to correct the problem or just get the hell out.

      The canaries were only one kind of many sentinel species humans have used over the years to warn of various quagmires and dangers in their surroundings. The Japanese even used cats to indicate the presence of poisoned fish. Perhaps that’s a more apt analogy for Donald Trump’s presidential race and potential tenure in the oval office.

      Anyway, Governor Paul LePage of Maine is now stationed in the coal shaft of U.S. politics. They don’t call Maine, and her neighboring New England states, the tailpipe of the country for nothing. And there, breathing the exhaust from low wage earners, sits Gov. Lepage blazing an ugly trail through white mainstream America indicating just how safe it is for Donald Trump to mine the anger and resentment buried in the American psyche.

    • Gov. LePage, Show Us The Binder

      We’re disappointed that the governor’s office is delaying the release of these records. Our request was narrowly tailored and should be simple to fulfill. Further, the records in question pertain to matters of utmost importance to the Maine people, and their release is essential to a fully informed public discussion.

      Without the binder, we can’t know exactly what information the governor is relying on to support his claim. But we do know there are at least two major problems with it.

      First, it’s beyond belief that nine out of 10 people selling drugs in Maine are Black. So if nine out of 10 people being arrested for selling drugs are Black, we have a serious problem. Studies show that Black people and white people use and sell drugs at similar rates. Significant disparities in arrests, such as the nine-to-one disparity suggested by Gov. LePage, can almost surely be attributed to racial profiling and selective enforcement by police officers.

    • Georgetown’s Gesture on Slavery’s Evils

      After decades of delays and denials, Jesuit-led Georgetown University finally confessed to a near-two-century-old abuse of African-American slaves, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Colin Kaepernick Pledges $1 Million to Social Justice Groups as More Players Sit

      San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest is growing, and with it, his mission.

      When Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem ahead of the 49ers’ Thursday night preseason finale against the San Diego Chargers, he was joined by his teammate Eric Reid—while further up the coast, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane also sat down in solidarity as the anthem played ahead of a game against the Oakland Raiders.

      “I believe in what [Kaepernick] is doing,” Reid told ESPN. “I believe that there are issues in this country—many issues, too many to name. It’s not one particular issue. But there are people out there that feel there are injustices being made and happening in our country on a daily basis. I just wanted to show him I support him. I know there are other people in this country that feel the same way.”

    • #VeteransForKaepernick Stand Up for His Right to Sit Down

      My colleague Jon Schwarz startled many Americans by pointing out that our national anthem “literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans” in a rarely sung or talked about third verse about slaughtering escaped slaves who chose to fight for their freedom, and against the United States, in the War of 1812.

      The San Francisco 49ers quarterback, however, told reporters on Tuesday that he was aware of those lyrics before he began his protest by refusing to stand for the anthem before exhibition games.

      In the heated environment of the election campaign, it is also notable that Kaepernick explained that his attempt to draw attention to racial injustice — which was criticized by Donald Trump — is not something he expects to be resolved by the victory of either candidate.

    • Hillary Clinton’s ‘Exceptionalist’ Warpath

      Democrats and Hillary Clinton are delighting in attacking Donald Trump from the right, employing McCarthyistic tactics and embracing the imperialist notion of “American exceptionalism,” says Daniel Lazare.

    • The Scuffle over ‘American Exceptionalism’

      Hillary Clinton gave a speech this week in which American exceptionalism was a major theme. She obviously chose that theme partly because it would appeal to her specific audience (an American Legion convention) and partly because it would enable her to criticize Donald Trump, who has said he doesn’t like the term “American exceptionalism” because people in other countries don’t like to hear it and feel insulted by it.

      Trump is right about that, although in many other respects he shows he doesn’t have qualms about insulting people in other countries, including Mexico, the country he briefly visited on Wednesday and has described as a nation of rapists and drug dealers.

    • California Isn’t Sure How to Fix Sexual Assault Problem Without Adding to Mass Incarceration

      Gov. Jerry Brown has not said whether he will sign the legislation, but it contradicts one of his own ballot measures. Proposition 57 seeks to allow those convicted of a nonviolent felony to be eligible for parole after serving the primary sentence for their primary offense, excluding any enhancements or consecutive sentencing. The proposition is a turnaround for Brown, who signed a bill mandating prison time for serious crimes when he first became governor in 1977.

      “One of the key unintended consequences was the removal of incentives for inmates to improve themselves, to refrain from gang activity, using narcotics, otherwise misbehaving,” he said, discussing Proposition 57. “Nothing that would give them the reward of turning their life around.”

      Under California law, sexual assault of an unconscious or severely intoxicated person is considered a nonviolent felony, but Turner’s sentencing sparked allegations that the judge was influenced by race and class bias. The judge, Aaron Persky, said “a prison sentence would have a severe impact” on Turner. Persky has since given up proceeding over criminal cases.

    • Media Continues to Refer to Brock Turner as a “Stanford Swimmer” Rather Than a Rapist
    • Overturning Feticide Conviction, Judge Orders Purvi Patel Immediately Freed

      A superior court judge in Indiana on Wednesday ordered the immediate release of Purvi Patel, the Indiana woman who was convicted of “feticide” and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2015 for losing her pregnancy, after resentencing Patel to less time than she has already served.

      After Patel appealed the original sentence, her feticide conviction was vacated by an appeals court in July. She was still found guilty of a class D felony charge of child neglect.

    • Defending the indefensible: France, the burkini affair and the further mainstreaming of racism

      On September 3, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a “state of lawless violence” in the Philippines following an explosion in Davao Night Market in Davao City that claimed the lives of 14 people and left more than 60 others injured.

      In a statement, his declaration is different from Martial Law as there will be no curfews and no suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus. The state of lawless violence also applies to the whole country, not just in Davao City.

      In contrary, iDEFEND, a grassroots movement that defends the rights and upholds the dignity of all Filipinos, released a statement to question and seek clarity over the President’s declaration of state of lawless violence.


      We strongly disapprove that the issues of terrorism, drugs and extrajudicial killings are being conflated when these are distinct issues requiring different approaches. Moreover, mobilizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines to become direct participants in the issue of drugs, will further escalate rights violations of various kinds. Instead of abating the Extrajudicial Killings, this will even increase its uptake. There have already been too many deaths – including those of very young children- since the President’s assumption into office.

      We know, being a grassroots movement, that nationwide conditions is far from the threshold of “lawless violence” as stipulated in section 18 of ARTICLE VII of the Philippine Constitution. For this reason we question the nationwide mobilization of the military. There is no widespread absence and breakdown of law, peace, conditions of disorder and chaos, despite a bombing event in one city. What warrants a nationwide red alert now when in previous years, a spate of bombings in Davao merited only a state of emergency in the city? What is clear, however, is that the state’s widespread and hard-lined approach on drugs, including the state-sanctioned and unaddressed killings, has compromised the safety of the public.

    • Nicola the Haverer

      Replacing Alex with Nicola set back the cause of Scottish Independence. It was a great success for the SNP as an institution, but it is now abundantly clear that the institutional health of the SNP and the cause of Independence are two quite separate things.

      I have posted at intervals this last two years that I have heard nobody from the SNP argue the case for Independence since Indyref1. I still have heard nobody from the SNP argue the positive case for Independence since Indyref1. To the extent that when the tendentious GERS report came out and was splashed all over mainstream media, nobody from the SNP explained why the finances of an independent Scotland would work. (To give just one example Scottish taxes contribute £2.2 billion to housing benefit of which only a quarter of Scotland’s contribution is spent in Scotland).

      Unionist propaganda is still streamed out of the mainstream media every day. If nobody counters with the case for Independence, support for Independence will never increase. The latest YouGov poll putting us back at 46% is probably accurate. The idea that you wait until support has – by magic – increased to a regular 60% before you start campaigning is self-evidently delusional.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Iran’s national internet network starts today

      The project will be inaugurated in the Communications and Information Technology Ministry.

      A national internet network is an organization under the umbrella of a Regional Internet Registry with the task of coordinating IP address allocations and other Internet resource management functions at a national level within a country or economic unit.

      As adopted by the Supreme Council of Cyberspace Iran’s national internet network will operate domestically and independently from all other networks in the world (internet). It is protected from all other networks globally with the ability to interact with them should the permission is granted.

    • Putin Is Building a Great Russian Firewall

      Denis Davydov, executive director of the Safe Internet League, a nongovernmental organization closely linked to the Kremlin, is happy with what the Duma did this summer. Davydov says a piece of legislation signed into law on July 7 by President Vladimir Putin will protect the nation from terrorists. The law requires internet service providers such as MTS, a cell phone operator, and search engine Yandex to store all Russian traffic, including all private chat rooms, e-mails, and social network posts, for as long as six months at their own expense as of July 1, 2018. The providers, which include global giants such as Facebook’s WhatsApp, must also surrender encryption keys to Russian security services. The backers of the measure argue that by giving the Kremlin total access to internet traffic, the guardians of public safety will never be taken unawares.

      The law is one of about a dozen enacted over the last four years to police Russia’s cyberspace and cordon it off from the global net. One piece of legislation allows the state to block sites without seeking a court’s approval. Hundreds have been blocked already. Thanks to such measures, Davydov says, “we can be sure that here in Moscow no one will take a truck and ram it into a crowd of people or take an ax and start hacking people on a suburban train.”

    • FCC Won’t Appeal Municipal Broadband Defeat to Supreme Court

      The Federal Communications Commission will not appeal a recent court decision that kneecapped the agency’s power to promote municipal broadband development nationwide, a FCC spokesperson told Motherboard on Monday.

      In 2014, the FCC asserted the power to preempt state laws that pose barriers to municipal broadband, but earlier this month, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down the agency’s authority to do so, in a stinging defeat for community broadband advocates.

      “The FCC will not seek further review of the Sixth Circuit’s decision on municipal broadband after determining that doing so would not be the best use of Commission resources,” agency spokesperson Mark Wigfield said.

    • Should You Reset Your CSS?

      In a blog post titled No CSS Reset, developer and book author Jonathan Snook said that he’s “okay if the various browsers show things slightly differently.” He likes his “lists to have bullets and strong elements to have bolded text.”

      Web standards and accessibility advocate, Tommy Olsson, professes that he’s not “a big fan of CSS resets” in an interview via email in late 2010. He said people that use CSS resets are “stuck in a print design mindset,” and are continuing to believe in the myth of “Pixel Perfection”. He finds CSS reset stylesheets inefficient, because you “provide a lot of rules that you know you’re going to override later.”

    • An Internet Giveaway to the U.N.

      When the Obama administration announced its plan to give up U.S. protection of the internet, it promised the United Nations would never take control. But because of the administration’s naiveté or arrogance, U.N. control is the likely result if the U.S. gives up internet stewardship as planned at midnight on Sept. 30.

    • Open Internet Advocates Claim Victory in Europe Net Neutrality Fight

      Open internet advocates celebrated on Tuesday after Europe’s top telecom authority issued stronger-than-expected guidelines protecting net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible to consumers.

      The new guidelines, which were announced by the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC), are designed to ensure that European consumers have unfettered access to the global internet, and the freedom to choose what kind of digital devices they use to communicate online.

      The guidelines, which provide a roadmap to help the various EU national regulators implement the recently-passed Telecoms Single Market Regulation, the continent’s new telecom law, represent a significant victory for net neutrality advocates in the multi-year battle between public interest groups and European telecom giants over how best to ensure that the internet remains an open platform for free speech and innovation.

      “Based on a preliminary reading of the text, this is a triumph for the European digital rights movement,” Thomas Lohninger, a leading net neutrality activist who helped spearhead the SaveTheInternet.eu campaign, said in a statement. “After a very long battle, and with the support of half a million people, the principles that make the internet an open platform for change, freedom and prosperity are upheld in the EU.”

    • BEREC launches Net Neutrality Guidelines

      The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has today published its Guidelines to National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) on the implementation of the new net neutrality. BEREC’s mandate to produce the Guidelines stems from the Telecoms Single Market Regulation on open internet access.

      The Guidelines provide guidance for NRAs to take into account when implementing the rules and assessing specific cases. After meetings with European-level stakeholders in December 2015 and a workshop with high-level academic, legal and technical experts in February 2016, BEREC launched a six-week public consultation on the draft Guidelines, closing at 14:00 CET on 18 July. The number of 481,547 contributions received before the deadline was unprecedented for a BEREC consultation, and coming from diverse categories of respondents: civil society, public institutions and independent experts, ISPs, content and application providers and other industry stakeholders. The BEREC Office has processed the contributions received, and BEREC has conducted a thorough evaluation of the contributions, updating about a quarter of the paragraphs in the final Guidelines.

    • Europe’s net neutrality guidelines seen as a victory for the open web

      Europe’s telecommunications regulator has published final guidelines on how the EU will implement net neutrality rules that were adopted last year, in what digital rights groups are hailing as a victory for the free and open internet. The guidelines, published Tuesday, clarify vaguely worded provisions that experts say could have been exploited by telecoms to favor certain internet services over others.

      The net neutrality rules adopted by the European Parliament last year aimed to strengthen net neutrality by requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all web traffic equally, without favoring some services over others. But the regulations contained several loopholes that raised concerns among net neutrality advocates, including a provision that would have allowed ISPs to create “fast lanes” for “specialized services,” and another that would have allowed for zero-rating, under which certain services and apps would be exempt from counting against monthly data limits. A “traffic management” provision would have allowed telecoms to prioritize internet traffic from some services over others.

    • Europe’s Net Neutrality Doesn’t Ban BitTorrent Throttling

      Today, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC) published its implementation guidelines for Europe’s net neutrality rules. While public protests resulted in several positive changes from a net neutrality perspective, BitTorrent throttling is still allowed.

    • Network-Wide Ad-Blocking in the EU ?

      Net neutrality is a hot topic, apparently.

      When BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, launched a six week public consultation on the issue this June, they sure as heck didn’t expect 481,547 responses. Somewhat miraculously, they managed to sift, analyze and classify through all of them in another 6 weeks. That’s 16,051 requests, and a couple of paragraphs, for the mathematically challenged amongst you, per day. Which makes for a first observation: European holidays aren’t what they’re presumed to be, anymore.

    • Court Sides With Time Warner Cable Over Cable Box Rentals

      While the FCC and cable companies battle over what kind of standard will replace the cable box rental model, some related news broke on Friday: The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmeda lower court’s ruling throwing out an antitrust case against Time Warner Cable (or TWC, now part of Charter) over its set top box rental procedures.

      The original complaint, filed in 2008 in federal court in Kansas, argued that TWC violated the Sherman Act by “requiring purchasers who bought a package of television channels to lease from Time Warner cable boxes necessary to transmit that programming.” The plaintiffs had to plausibly show that the sale of the cable service is conditioned on the box rental, that TWC “uses actual coercion to force buyers to” rent the boxes, that TWC “has sufficient economic power” in the cable market to coerce customers into renting the boxers, that “the tie‐in has anticompetitive effects in the tied market,” and that “a not insubstantial amount of interstate commerce is involved in the tied market. “

      In a two to one decision, the judges writing the majority opinion, Ralph Winter and Denny Chen, noted that, for example, “Notably lacking is any allegation that there has ever been separate sales of cable boxes and cable services in the United States, even in markets where cable providers are in competition with each other or with fiber optic cable services that employ different technology.” Even if the plaintiffs did not allege this, for-sale boxes have existed in the United States, even if you have to go back a long time.

  • DRM/Streaming

    • Researchers Map Locations of 4,669 Servers in Netflix’s Content Delivery Network

      When you open Netflix and hit “play,” your computer sends a request to the video-streaming service to locate the movie you’d like to watch. The company responds with the name and location of the specific server that your device must access in order for you to view the film.

    • YouTube disappearing from 50 Sony Bravia sets highlights why smart TVs suck

      If ever there was a cautionary tale about why it’s a bad idea to buy Smart TVs, this is it. Sony recently announced on its UK support site that 50 different 2012 Bravia TV models will lose their YouTube app on September 30, as first reported by 9 to 5 Google.

      The reason for this loss is due to hardware limitations of the models following a change to YouTube’s specifications. Google announced in August that YouTube would be moving all its traffic to HTTPS. The company warned that over time it would phase out insecure connections, which means some devices would lose access to YouTube.

      Samsung users of the affected Bravia TVs recently started complaining of freezing issues, black screens, and error messages when using YouTube. It appears YouTube’s HTTPS switch may be the cause of these issues—though Sony has not confirmed this.

      You can find a complete list of Bravia models affected by this change on Sony’s support site, which includes TV sets ranging in sizes from 20 to 89 inches.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Committee Recommends ‘High Priority’ Changes To WIPO Oversight Charter [Ed: a body in crisis]

      The World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee (PBC) this week agreed to recommend changes to the UN agency’s Internal Oversight Charter as a high priority by next month, including to strengthen investigatory processes against senior officials, and access to confidential documents by member states. In a separate issue, after days of intensive talks behind closed doors, the committee could not agree on which countries will get new WIPO external offices.

    • Committee Agrees WIPO Strategic Plan: Possible Rethink For Norm-Setting [Ed: paywall]
    • US Industry Warns Of Restrictive Policies In ICTs, Including On IP Rights [Ed: The CoC wants more and more power for corporations, using ‘IP’ as a tool]

      The report further provides a series of recommendations to governments to balance their national security and economic interests and to allow for the free flow of ICT products, services and data. One recommendation calls for security measures to be consistent with the most-favoured nation and national treatment principles as set out in WTO agreements. Any deviations should be proportional and clearly fall under a specific national security exemption, it said.

    • Trademarks

      • My My Mylan: The Trademark Silver Lining for Mylan’s EPIPEN

        Mylan Pharmaceuticals received a huge amount of press in the United States recently. Why so much (negative) attention? Mylan is under heavy criticism for raising the price of its popular and very useful–even life saving–EPIPEN. Not only are U.S. Senators upset, but the media and public are outraged by Mylan’s pricing. Is all of this publicity good or bad for Mylan? From a trademark perspective, it appears it is both.

    • Copyrights

      • Publishers Fail to Block Russia’s Top Search Engine Over Pirate Links

        After Russia’s leading search engine Yandex failed to remove links to pirate books from its search results, publisher Eksmo filed a complaint with the Moscow Court. Technically, Yandex could’ve found itself blocked nationwide for copyright non-compliance but in the end, cooler heads prevailed.

      • Top Torrent Sites See Traffic Surge After ‘Shutdowns’

        The past month has been a turbulent one for the torrent community. With the closure of KickassTorrents and Torrentz.eu, two of the largest players were gone without prior notice. Today we take a look at the aftermath, showing that the big sites have expanded their userbases but that some smaller torrent sites are actually worse off now.

      • Latest Leak Confirms European Copyright Plans Offer Little for Users

        In our previous piece about a leaked European impact assessment on copyright, we described how the foreshadowed changes to European copyright law would place onerous new responsibilities on Internet platforms to scan your uploaded content on behalf of large entertainment companies. We also described how the changes would give news publishers a new, copyright-like veto power over the publications of snippets of text from news stories, even if these are merely by way of linking to the publisher’s website.

      • It could not be worse: Draft proposal for the copyright directive leaked

        We have just received the draft proposal of the European Commission for a new copyright directive. It shall complement – i.e. in general not amend – other directives inter alia the InfoSoc directive from 2001. As it had to be expected from the Impact Assessment that was leaked last week, the draft reads like an answer to the wish list of the publishing industry. Here comes a first assessment.

      • The next fight between Megaupload and the US will be livestreamed
      • Kim Dotcom Can Livestream Legal Fight Against the U.S.: Judge
      • Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing Will Be Live Streamed on YouTube
      • Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing live stream makes legal history but no drama

        The live streaming of Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing in a New Zealand high court kicked off on Wednesday with warped pictures, delayed audio and dwindling viewership as the day wore on.

        Megaupload founder Dotcom is fighting an extradition order to the United States, where he is wanted on online piracy charges.

        On Tuesday, his lawyers were granted permission to live stream the court proceedings on YouTube, on the condition that it would be deleted at the conclusion of the case (estimated to be in six to eight weeks’ time) and that the video would air after a 20-minute delay in case any evidence was suppressed. Comments on the live stream have also been disabled.

      • Kim Dotcom wins right to live stream extradition court hearing

        Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has been granted his wish to live stream his bid to avoid extradition to the United States, where he is wanted on online piracy charges.

        Attempts by the US to block the live streaming request were rejected by Judge Murray Gilbert in the Auckland high court on Tuesday.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Appeal Gets Underway

        Last year a District Court judge in New Zealand found that there was an “overwhelming” case for Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk, to be extradited to the United States to face trial for their alleged roles in the Mega Conspiracy. Today the trio were in the High Court to mount their appeal.

      • Kim Dotcom wants his extradition appeal live-streamed on YouTube

        Kim Dotcom wants the world to be able to watch his extradition appeal on YouTube and it appears as if he’ll get his wish.

        The Internet entrepreneur’s appeal hearing began Monday and, while the judge overseeing his case was frustrated by Dotcom’s late request for the event to be livestreamed, he granted Dotcom’s request.

      • Music Group Protests ISPs Move for a Declaratory Ruling on Piracy Liability

        Music rights group BMG says that Internet providers RCN and Windstream should not be allowed to obtain a declaratory judgment on their potential liability for pirating subscribers. According to BMG, the providers are improperly trying immunize themselves, hiding behind the DMCA’s safe harbor.

      • New BBC iPlayer Rules Easily Defeated, Especially via VPN

        A change in the law means that from today, all UK viewers of BBC iPlayer need to pay a £145.50 license fee, regardless of which services they use. The UK’s TV licensing body says it will crack down on those using iPlayer without a license but in reality that will be an extremely difficult task. For those using a VPN, being detected will be all but impossible.

      • Attention Swedish Pirate Bay Users, Copyright Trolls Have Arrived

        After years of being left alone by entertainment industry companies, regular file-sharers in Sweden are now in the cross-hairs of copyright trolls. Using data gathered by anti-piracy outfit Excipio, lawyers are about to send users of The Pirate Bay and similar sites demands for hard cash – or else.

      • Industry Proposals Contrary To Spirit Of Marrakesh Treaty, Libraries Say

        An international group of librarians has warned that rights holder organisations in some countries are promoting provisions that restrict and impede the access envisaged by the Marrakesh Treaty providing exceptions to copyrighted works for visually impaired persons.

        The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Person with Print Disabilities, adopted in 2013 introduced limitations and exceptions to copyright rules to promote access to knowledge to benefit of blind and visually impaired persons. The treaty is entering into force this year.

        Now, however, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), says provisions are being pushed at the national level that undermine the treaty. The library federation in a statement expressed concern that the principle objectives of the Marrakesh Treaty are being impeded by measures promoted by rights holder organisations.

      • Here’s text of draft Communication on promoting a fair and efficient European copyright-based economy

        After the leaked draft version of the Commission Staff Working Document – Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules and yesterday’s Kat-exclusive draft version of the forthcoming Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market, today – thanks to another Katfriend – is the turn of the draft Communication from the Commission on Promoting a fair and efficient European copyright-based economy in the Digital Single Market.

      • US Gov’t Takes On Predatory Publishers

        The Federal Trade Commission has filed a legal complaint against the OMICS Group for allegedly engaging in deceptive practices.

      • Professor Eric Goldman Stops Writing At Forbes, In Part Because Of Its Stance On Ad Blocking

        We’ve discussed Forbes’ anti-ad blocker policies, even wondering if we should stop linking to Forbes articles. I know that, for a while, Forbes was misidentifying me as using an ad blocker and not letting me access stories on the site. I can say that, more than once, I wasn’t able to read some of Goldman’s posts, that we might have written about, because of those blocks.

        Most of our focus was on how this impacted readers and also folks like us who might send Forbes traffic — but it’s worth also thinking about how it impacts writers as well, and taking away their audience, or otherwise upsetting them. We’ve seen in the past some writers leave publications that had put up paywalls, and now the same impact may be happening for those that block ad blockers as well.


Links 2/9/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta 2, LLVM 3.9

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Why open source remains key for NFV and SDN deployments

    Lenovo Networking discusses the importance of open source platforms for continued NFV and SDN deployments

    Open source platforms have been central to the rapid development and deployment of virtualized networking technologies like network functions virtualization and software-defined networking by telecommunications operators.

    Much of these efforts have come under the guidance of various organizations tied to the Linux Foundation, like the Open Platform for NFV project and OpenDaylight, as well as companies working with OpenStack.

  • Chinese Search Giant Baidu Open Sources Its Deep Learning
  • What Are Open Source Products?

    A lot has been written recently about open source products and services, namely the former doesn’t really exist and the latter is the exclusive way forward. As a self-proclaimed open source product expert, I have opinions and would like to share them. Firstly, the blending of enterprise software and services long predated the emergence of open source. And secondly, open source is a development model, not a business model, and it has very little actual impact on the ultimate delivery of products and services.

  • TravelSpirit aims to deliver ‘Mobility as a Service’ for the community

    TravelSpirit is a new enterprise that is fusing together disparate open source community projects linked to New Mobility Services (NMS), Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), Personal Data Stores (PDS), and public transit into a global architecture and commons of OSI-approved licensed code. By deploying the code, TravelSpirit’s goal is to create a new cooperative platform that will provide the public a “lifestyle enabler” called Mobility as a Service. Any new code projects incubated through the TravelSpirit community will be licensed under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 (MPLv2).

  • Events

    • Burgers 2016

      Me and Ana travelled to Cambridge last weekend for the Debian UK BBQ. We travelled by train and it was a rather scenic journey. In the past, on long journeys, I’ve used APRS-IS to beacon my location and plot my route but I have recently obtained the GPS module for my Yaesu VX-8DE and I thought I’d give some real RF APRS a go this time.

    • Coherent Accelerators, FPGAs, and PLD Microconference Accepted into LPC 2016

      It has been more than a decade since CPU core clock frequencies stopped doubling every 18 months, which has shifted the search for performance from the “hardware free lunch” to concurrency and, more recently, hardware accelerators. Beyond accelerating computational offload, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and programmable logic devices (PLDs) have long been used in the embedded space to provide ways to offload I/O or to implement timing-sensitive algorithms as close as possible to the pin.

      Regardless of how they are used, however, there exists a common class of problems which accompany the use of FPGAs, accelerators, and PLDs on Linux. Perhaps most important are the probing, discovery, and enumeration of these devices, which can be a challenge given the wide variety of interconnects to which they may be attached.

    • Arrival at FSFE Summit and QtCon 2016, Berlin

      The FSFE Summit and QtCon 2016 are getting under way at bcc, Berlin. The event comprises a range of communities, including KDE and VideoLAN and there are also a wide range of people present who are active in other projects, including Debian, Mozilla, GSoC and many more.

    • QtCon Opens in Berlin with Keynote by Raul Krauthausen
    • Plasma at QtCon

      QtCon 2016 is a special event: it co-hosts KDE’s Akademy, the Qt Contributor summit, the FSFE summit, the VideoLan dev days and KDAB’s training day into one big conference. As such, the conference is buzzing with developers and Free software people (often both traits combined in one person).

    • David Beazley’s Keynote Talk at PyData Chicago 2016

      This post-lunch screencast presentation by David Beazley is so entertaining, you can enjoy it without knowing any Python programming whatsoever. The aside comments alone are worth the price of admission. I won’t tell you the topic of the presentation. Suffice it to say — plenty funny.

    • Kickstarting conversations with lightning talks.

      A lot of people are coming to the Nextcloud conference to discuss ideas they have with others and I’ve been telling them to submit a lightning talk. As that is the idea of the lightning track on Saturday and Sunday: present yourself and the project you (want to) work on, inspire, share ideas. That way, others can then find you and talk to you afterward!

    • IoT and multi-cloud take center stage at upcoming Cloud Foundry Summit
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenOffice, after years of neglect, could shut down

      OpenOffice, once the premier open source alternative to Microsoft Office, could be shut down because there aren’t enough developers to update the office suite. Project leaders are particularly worried about their ability to fix security problems.

      An e-mail thread titled, “What would OpenOffice retirement involve?” was started yesterday by Dennis Hamilton, vice president of Apache OpenOffice, a volunteer position that reports to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) board.

      “It is my considered opinion that there is no ready supply of developers who have the capacity, capability, and will to supplement the roughly half-dozen volunteers holding the project together,” Hamilton wrote.

      No decisions have been made yet, but Hamilton noted that “retirement of the project is a serious possibility,” as the Apache board “wants to know what the project’s considerations are with respect to retirement.”

    • Apache OpenOffice Proposed For Retirement, Still Being Debated
  • Education

    • Open Source Computer Club: Out of the trash, into the classroom

      The FLOSS Desktop for Kids initiative refurbishes surplus and discarded school computers, allowing students to learn hands-on about computers and technology by diagnosing, breaking down, and repairing hardware components. Students acquire, install and configure open source software including Linux operating systems, LibreOffice, GIMP, Pidgin, etc., and not just run apps on a tablet. The program is designed to teach engineering and technology by doing, failing, fixing, frustration, and finally achieving—that’s how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math really happen, and that aligns perfectly with STEM’s goals: “Knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 6.0 lands

      OpenBSD developers might be keen on the 1980s in their artwork, but not in their operating system: Version 6.0 has just landed, and the maintainers have killed off VAX support.

      Apart from a logo that pays homage to the cover art for the iconic album The Wall, there’s a fair amount of new stuff landing in OpenBSD 6.0.

    • LLVM 3.9 Officially Released

      As expected, LLVM 3.9 was released today as the newest version of this widely-used and innovative compiler stack.

    • LLVM 3.9 Release

      This release is the result of the LLVM community’s work over the past
      six months, including ThinLTO, new libstdc++ ABI compatibility, support for all OpenCL 2.0 and all non-offloading OpenMP 4.5 features, clang-include-fixer, many new clang-tidy checks, significantly improved ELF linking with lld, identical code folding and initial LTO support in lld, as well as improved optimization, many bug fixes and more.


  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Supporting Competing APIs in Scala — Can Better Package Factoring Help?

      On and off over the last year, I’ve been working on a library of tree and map classes in Scala that happen to make use of some algebraic structures (mostly monoids or related concepts). In my initial implementations, I made use of the popular algebird variations on monoid and friends. In their incarnation as an algebird PR this was uncontroversial to say the least, but lately I have been re-thinking them as a third-party Scala package.

      This immediately raised some interesting and thorny questions: in an ecosystem that contains not just algebird, but other popular alternatives such as cats and scalaz, what algebra API should I use in my code? How best to allow the library user to interoperate with the algebra libray of their choice? Can I accomplish these things while also avoiding any problematic package dependencies in my library code?

    • GNU libc and Linux

      Some time ago, I built a static program that I wanted to run on an Android tablet. What was my surprise when I saw a message saying “FATAL: kernel too old”.

      After some investigation, it turns out that GNU libc may assume some Linux features are present during build time. This means that given a minimum Linux version, that built libc might only work on that version or newer.

      Since 2014, GNU libc itself requires 2.6.32 as the minimum. Previously, it was 2.6.16, changed in 2012.


  • Hardware

    • It Doesn’t Look Like We’ll See AMD ARM Development Boards This Year

      Things don’t appear to be looking up for AMD’s ARM efforts. It’s looking like we probably won’t be seeing AMD ARM development boards publicly available this year, if not the end of 2016, and there won’t be many of them going around.

      Last month I wrote about There’s Still No Sign Of AMD’s Low-Cost ARM Development Boards. While I’ve been quite excited to get my hands on some AMD ARM hardware, I haven’t been able to yet. This is while the AMD-powered 96Boards HuskyBoard was supposed to ship at the end of 2015 and the LeMaker Cello AMD A1120 board announced earlier this year was supposed to ship by the end of Q2. The Cello is a quarter late and it’s looking like it will be at least another quarter before we possibly see any AMD ARM hardware.

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Friday’s security updates
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Tox Is Your New Secure Chat Application

      In a previous article, I talked about the Ring communication app. The article proved quite popular and aside from drawing a bit of attention — or maybe because of it — that article also drew some criticism, including “What about Tox?” That’s a totally fair question, so here we are.

    • Florida Computer Programmer Arrested For Hacking

      A South Florida-based computer programmer made an appearance in the Southern District of Florida today after being arrested Sunday on charges of hacking into computers operated by the Linux Kernel Organization and the Linux Foundation, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.

      The Linux Kernel Organization operates the www.kernel.org website from which it distributes the Linux kernel software. The Linux Foundation is a separate nonprofit foundation that supports the www.kernel.org website.

    • ​Florida Man Arrested for Allegedly Hacking Key Linux Servers

      A computer programmer from South Florida was arrested last week for allegedly hacking into servers related to the Linux operating system, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday. The case acts as a reminder that even the websites that host and distribute the operating systems our devices run on can be targeted by hackers.

    • Feds pin brazen kernel.org intrusion on 27-year-old programmer
    • Bloke accused of Linux kernel.org hack nabbed during traffic stop
    • Suspect arrested in 5-year-old kernel.org breach
    • Florida man arrested for hacking into Bay Area computer servers
    • Suspect Arrested for 5-Year-Old Linux Kernel Organization Breach
    • The Psychology of Report/Issue Templates

      The goal of a report template is two-fold. Firstly, it helps security teams to think about what specific pieces of information they require in a vulnerability report. Secondly, it provides a useful way of ensuring a hacker provides all of these different pieces of information when they submit a report.

    • FairWare Hackers May Take Ransoms, Keep Stolen Files [Ed: Lots of hot air over misconfiguration of Redis instances]
    • iguaz.io
    • How IT Departments Can Manage The Security Skills Shortage

      A lack of skilled cybersecurity talent is putting organizations at risk. Which skills are in highest demand, and how can IT managers secure the right people to protect their information?

    • Internet Of Things By The Numbers: What New Surveys Found

      Things are looking up for the Internet of Things. 80% of organizations have a more positive view of IoT today compared to a year ago, according to a survey of 512 IT and business executives by CompTIA. “This reflects greater levels of attention from the C-suite and a better understanding of how the many different elements of the IoT ecosystem are starting to come together,” says CompTIA. Here are the highlights from this and other recent surveys:

    • SMS Two-Factor Authentication Is No Longer Enough

      With the near-constant occurrence of highly organized and complex cybercrime attacks, effective digital authentication has never been more challenging. Businesses must verify who they’re transacting with by implementing additional security measures, but at the same time they need to minimize friction and provide seamless user experiences to avoid losing users to competitors.

    • Security Startup MedSec Shorts St. Jude Medical Stock To Punish It For Flimsy Pacemaker Security

      The one-two punch of incompetent IT administrators and botched connected device security has resulted in an unsurprising spike in ransomeware attacks across the medical industry. And while the rise in easily hacked “smart” TVs, tea kettles, and kids toys is superficially funny in the consumer internet of things space, it’s less amusing when you’re a patient relying on poorly secured pace makers and essential medical equipment. But much like the internet of things space these devices are not only poorly secured, they’re supported by companies that aren’t very good at releasing timely security updates.

      Case in point: a team of hackers working for cybersecurity startup MedSec found a bevy of flaws in medical devices sold by St. Jude Medical Inc, ranging from a lack of overall encryption to vulnerabilities letting unauthorized devices communicate with the company’s pacemakers and defibrillators. And while we’ve talked about the threat of hackable pacemakers for more than a decade, hackers are increasingly worming their way into poorly secured radiology equipment, blood gas analyzers and other hospital and nursing home equipment to steal data for identity theft, giving the threat an added dimension.

    • Dropbox User? Change Your Password As Soon As Possible

      Account details of 68 million Dropbox accounts has been leaked online. Here’s how to check whether you’re affected, and how to change your password.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Green Party: Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley elected as co-leaders

      Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley have been elected co-leaders of the Green Party of England and Wales in a job-sharing arrangement.

      They saw off competition from five others to succeed Natalie Bennett, who is stepping down after four years.

      Ms Lucas, the Greens’ only MP, was leader of the party between 2008 and 2012 while Mr Bartley is the party’s work and pensions spokesman.

      The two said the joint election showed the party was “not bound by tradition”.

      Their joint ticket took 13,570 – 88% – of the 15,467 votes cast.

      The announcement was made at the party’s autumn conference in Birmingham, at which Amelia Womack was also elected deputy leader.

    • Some Important Things That Really Do Matter About Hillary Clinton

      Even if everyone does it, that does not make it right. That excuse did not work for you in 6th grade when you were caught smoking in the girl’s room and it should not be accepted from a presidential candidate or her supporters in the media.

      Many politicians do crappy things. That is not an excuse for you to also do them. See above.

      “Well, at least I wasn’t indicted” is not a very high standard for the presidency.

      “There is no proof of quid pro quo.” What do you mean by proof? A notarized statement “This guy gave us money, so let’s sell him weapons?” Reality doesn’t work that way so spare us the strawman argument. Phone calls are made. Conversations happen. Minions learn quickly what their boss wants. People at the Clintons’ level rarely leave paper trails behind and when they do, they delete them before the FBI arrives to pick up the server.

    • Clinton emails wiped clean after NYT story

      A number of Hillary Clinton’s private emails were erased weeks after The New York Times published a story reporting on her use of a private email server while secretary of State, according to notes from the FBI’s investigation released on Friday.

      The notes include an entry that says that someone mistakenly deleted Clinton’s archived mailbox from her server and exported files.

      The deletion took place between March 25 and March 31, the FBI learned in a May 3 interview. The name of the person who deleted the emails was redacted from the FBI’s notes.

      “In a follow-up FBI interview on May 3, 2016, —— Indicated he believed he had an ‘oh s–t’ moment and sometime between March 25-31, 2015 deleted the Clinton archive mailbox from PRN server and used BleachBit to delete the exported .PST files he had created on the server system containing Clinton;s e-mails,” the FBI notes released on Friday stated.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • In Kashmir, Conspiracies Fester Under Internet Censorship

      There is a video on YouTube that shakes and hiccups through 11-and-a-half minutes of the last rites for Burhan Muzaffar Wani. Thousands of men and women stand in a clearing surrounded by trees, straining for a final glimpse, a chance for a picture, a last opportunity to touch the face of Wani, a 21-year-old militant shot dead by Indian forces on July 8, 2016 in Anantnag District in the Kashmir valley.

      The people sob and shout as Wani’s corpse, laid out on a cot, covered in an emerald green sheet, is jostled about. A hand reaches over from outside the frame to shove back the bandage wrapped around Wani’s forehead to reveal a still bloody wound. The crowd chants, “Azadi! Azadi!” An estimated 200,000 Kashmiris performed funeral prayers for Wani that day — 40 services, back to back.

    • Censorship in Virginia

      Greetings, brothers, sisters and comrades: I am a cadre of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter, currently incarcerated at Red Onion Prison in the southwest corner of Virginia.


      Prison officials claim without evidence that certain publications constitute a “threat to security.” In the 10 years that I have been incarcerated, I’ve witnessed and heard of many violent altercations, but never have I heard or witnessed prisoners fight over a newspaper.

    • “We don’t need a censorship of the press…

      we have a censorship by the press.” – G.K. Chesterton

      Behold! Two papers, both alike in dignity, in fair Austin where we lay our scene. Same paper, same date but pitched to different markets. One geared to help sway the Austin Liberals and the other pitched to a clearly more conservative market.

    • VidMe Releases Pro-Freedom Ad Mocking YouTube Censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • DHS’s New Election Cybersecurity Committee Has No Cybersecurity Experts

      The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) [yes, there's an association for everything] has just announced its selections to head up a DHS “working group” tackling “election infrastructure cybersecurity.” Like any committee formed in response to a hot-button topic, the appointees are better known for their years of tenure in government positions than their technical acumen, as the ACLU’s Chris Soghoian points out.

    • Snowden documents show NSA leak is real
    • USA spy agency’s hacking tools revealed on Internet
    • Snowden docs link NSA to Equation Group hackers
    • NSA cyber weapons ‘hacked’ by mysterious Shadow Brokers
    • Snowden: Exposure of Alleged NSA Tools May Be Warning to US
    • The Shadow Brokers Publish NSA Spy Tools, Demonstrating Possible Flaws in the NSA’s Approach to Security Vulnerabilities

      A group calling itself the Shadow Brokers recently released powerful surveillance tools publicly on the Web and promises to publish more dangerous tools for the price of one million bitcoin – or to whomever makes the best offer, if they can’t get to a million.1

      The Intercept has confirmed that at least one of the surveillance tools released online is “covered with the NSA’s virtual fingerprints,” making it all but certain that this tool and the others released by the Shadow Brokers came from within the agency. The SECONDDATE program, which the Intercept analyzed and compared to information in an NSA manual provided to them by whistleblower Edward Snowden, is designed to redirect a target’s browser to an NSA controlled server which then infects the target computer with malware.

    • We want GCHQ-style spy powers to hack cybercrims, say police

      Traditional law enforcement techniques are incapable of tackling the rise of cybercrime, according to a panel of experts gathered to discuss the issue at the Chartered Institute of IT.

      Last night more than a hundred IT professionals and academics, including representatives of the National Crime Agency and Sir David Omand, the former director of GCHQ, discussed what they saw as the necessity of the police acting more like intelligence agencies and “disrupting” cybercriminals where other methods of law enforcement failed.

      The perpetrators of cybercrime are often not only overseas, but in hard-to-reach jurisdictions. Evgeniy Bogachev, the Russian national who created the GameOver Zeus trojan, for instance, currently has a $3m bounty on his capture – but Russia does not want to hand him over to the US.

      In such situations, when arrests are not possible, disrupting criminal activities “may be the only response” suggested Sir David Omand, adding that “the experts in disruption are in the intelligence community.”

      Technical disruption, as the NCA practices it, can involve sinkholing, getting hold of the domains used by malware to communicate and so breaking its command and control network. Paul Edmunds, the head of technology at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, explained how Operation Bluebonnet took aim at the Dridex banking trojan, but said that sinkholing it and organising arrests required a concerted international effort – one that may need to be repeated with the “up-and-coming” exploit kit Rig.

    • Leaked Law Enforcement Supply Catalog Shows Souped-Up Cell Tower Spoofers, Tons Of Pervasive Surveillance Options

      The Intercept has obtained what appears to be another set of leaked documents — these ones originating from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The first document released (assuming that more are on the way) is a catalog of law enforcement-only tech products from UK firm Cobham, including Stingray-like devices capable of not only locating suspects, but also intercepting their phone calls and messages.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Women Say EPA Officials Sexually Harassed Them—and Their Bosses Did Nothing

      More than a year after troubling allegations of sexual harassment at an Environmental Protection Agency office were exposed in a congressional hearing, the agency’s watchdog says it will conduct an audit of how this office handles sexual-harassment complaints. The office under scrutiny? The same one embroiled in the Flint, Michigan, water crisis months ago.

      In a letter sent in August to the EPA’s Region 5 office in Chicago, the agency’s inspector general’s office said it plans to “determine whether Region 5 managers appropriately handled allegations of sexual harassment.” The audit was first reported by the Washington Examiner.

    • The Revenge of Roger’s Angels

      It took 15 days to end the mighty 20-year reign of Roger Ailes at Fox News, one of the most storied runs in media and political history. Ailes built not just a conservative cable news channel but something like a fourth branch of government; a propaganda arm for the GOP; an organization that determined Republican presidential candidates, sold wars, and decided the issues of the day for 2 million viewers. That the place turned out to be rife with grotesque abuses of power has left even its liberal critics stunned. More than two dozen women have come forward to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment, and what they have exposed is both a culture of misogyny and one of corruption and surveillance, smear campaigns and hush money, with implications reaching far wider than one disturbed man at the top.

      It began, of course, with a lawsuit. Of all the people who might have brought down Ailes, the former Fox & Friends anchor Gretchen Carlson was among the least likely. A 50-year-old former Miss America, she was the archetypal Fox anchor: blonde, right-wing, proudly anti-intellectual. A memorable Daily Show clip showed Carlson saying she needed to Google the words czar and ignoramus. But television is a deceptive medium. Off-camera, Carlson is a Stanford- and Oxford-educated feminist who chafed at the culture of Fox News. When Ailes made harassing comments to her about her legs and suggested she wear tight-fitting outfits after she joined the network in 2005, she tried to ignore him. But eventually he pushed her too far. When Carlson complained to her supervisor in 2009 about her co-host Steve Doocy, who she said condescended to her on and off the air, Ailes responded that she was “a man hater” and a “killer” who “needed to get along with the boys.” After this conversation, Carlson says, her role on the show diminished. In September 2013, Ailes demoted her from the morning show Fox & Friends to the lower-rated 2 p.m. time slot.

    • New York Times launches McCarthyite witch-hunt against Julian Assange

      The New York Times Thursday published an article entitled “How Russia Often Benefits When Julian Assange Reveals the West’s Secrets.” The 5,000-word piece, covering three columns of the top half of its front page, boasts three bylines. Presented as a major investigative news article, it is a piece of pro-government propaganda, whose style and outright character assassination against the WikiLeaks founder seems to have been cribbed from the vilest McCarthyite smear jobs of the 1950s.

      Stringing together half-truths, innuendos, totally unsubstantiated assertions presented as facts and vicious ad hominem attacks on a man who has been persecuted and is effectively imprisoned because of his exposures of the crimes of US imperialism, the article has essentially three related purposes.

    • Court Tosses Prestigious Pets’ $1 Million Defamation Suit Against Unhappy Customers

      Prestigious Pets, a Texas pet-sitting company, has done a severe amount of damage to the “prestigious” half of its name over the past several months. After front-loading its inevitable reputational ruin by adding a KlearGearian “non-disparagement clause” to its service contracts, the company doubled-down with a $1 million defamation lawsuit after losing out on its small claims court bid to extract $6,766 from an unhappy customer for “lost work opportunities” and “libelous and slandurous [sic] harm.”

      The unhappy customers, whose Yelp review only stated the pet sitter Prestigious Pets hired had overfed their fish, were forced to defend themselves against a clearly baseless lawsuit. Fortunately, Chris Dachniwsky of law firm Thompson & Knight stepped up to represent the couple on a contingency basis.

    • Texas Court Strikes Down Prestigious Pets’ Nondisparagement Clause Lawsuit

      A state District Court in Dallas (Judge Jim Jordan of the 160th District) has struck down a lawsuit over a non-disparagement clause in a form consumer agreement, holding that it could not be enforced against a consumer who expressed dissatisfaction about the service provided by a local business. Although we have won default judgments in Utah against Kleargear and in New York against Accessory Outlet, this case represents the first time a company defended its non-disparagement clause with a brief, and thus the first time we have had a judge’s ruling refusing to enforce such a clause.

    • School District Routinely Abused Access To Law Enforcement Database; Suspended Whistleblower Who Exposed It

      Give enough people access to sensitive information and abuse is inevitable. We’ve covered multiple incidents of law enforcement database misuse by police officers. Some have used their access to track former spouses. Others use it to harvest info on potential partners, supplementing the minimal personal data supplied by internet dating sites.

      But it’s not just law enforcement officers abusing this access. It’s also abused by public employees who have been granted access to these databases. Jose Gaspar of Bakersfield.com details the apparent routine misuse of database access by school administrators.

    • NYPD Suddenly Stops Making Disciplinary Documents Public; Cites ‘Saving Paper,’ 40-Year-Old Law

      The NYPD may not have time to update its Muslim surveillance policies or inform its officers of changes to its stop-and-frisk program, but it certainly has time to dig around for policies it can use to keep even more information out of the public’s hands.

      The New York Daily News reports the NYPD has been paging through old laws and has found something that will be useful in further reducing the department’s accountability.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Surprise! European Union Adopts Net Neutrality Guidelines That Don’t Suck

      As we noted last October, the European Union passed net neutrality rules that not only don’t really protect net neutrality, but actually give ISPs across the EU member countries the green light to violate net neutrality consistently — just as long as ISPs are relatively clever about it. Just like the original, overturned 2010 net neutrality rules in the States, Europe’s new rules (which took effect April 30) are packed with all manner of loopholes giving exemption for “specialized services” and “class-based discrimination,” as well as giving the green light for zero rating.

      Fortunately, the European Union’s Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) has been cooking up new guidelines to help European countries interpret and adopt the new rules. Under heavy pressure from net neutrality advocates overseas, the BEREC’s final guidelines have been published and they’re notably better than many people predicted. Much of the worst-offending loophole language has been trimmed back, despite earlier threats by European wireless providers that they’d withhold fifth-generation (5G) upgrades if the guidelines toughened up the rules (a common, empty bluff in telecom).

    • CBS Announces New Ad-Free More-Expensive Streaming Service…That Includes Ads

      Some terrestrial TV stations and cable stations are better at internet-ing than others. While Netflix has built an empire upon streaming ad-free shows, for instance, other services like Hulu have gone the route of a tiered structure, with a price point for streaming with ads and one for streaming without ads. One of the interesting things is seeing other traditional broadcast networks watch how these models play out and then go about offering their own. Take CBS, for instance. It’s very clear that CBS is enamored with the idea of streaming its content advertising free, but likes Hulu’s tiered structure better than that of Netflix.

      At CBS’ site, you can see that it is now offering two tiers of its “All Access” platform. The existing service is offered with “Limited Commercials”, while a service that costs $4 more is labeled “Commercial Free.” I’d like to focus on the commercial free offering for a moment, because it’s a bold step that includes giving viewers a way to stream CBS shows “commercial free”, except where there are both commercials and where CBS is choosing to call “commercials” by the term “promotional interruptions” instead.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • UT to doughnut shop: Yeast and desist

        Last month, Seng received a letter sent on behalf of the university citing a violation of trademark rights in relation to the Longhorn Donut and requesting that, when it comes to selling them, Seng yeast and desist.

        “It’s not fair. It’s not right,” Seng said. “This I created by myself, I’m not copying from them. I’m supporting them.”

        “It wasn’t very nice,” added her boyfriend, Fred Hart. “We felt kind of bullied.”

      • University Of Texas Bullies Pastry Shop Over Donuts Shaped Like ‘Hook ‘Em Horns’ Hands

        While the University of Texas is no stranger to being a trademark bully, and colleges in general have become overtly maximalist in intellectual property protectionism, it can still be stunning to see the lengths to which a school will go. The latest trademark dispute concerning UT involves donuts shaped in the ‘hook ‘em horns’ gesture, because apparently the school is now in the pastry business. Recently, the owner of Donut Taco Palace 1, Angel Seng, received a threat letter from the university insisting that she stop making donuts that look like horned-hands.

      • Business Promoting Children Reading Sues Schools Over Trademarks For Encouraging Reading

        We’ve occasionally seen instances in the past in which educational institutions are threatened with trademark lawsuits or actually go through them, though those suits usually feature the worst trademark bullies out there (hi, Olympics!). Rarer is seeing some small business owner pestering schools with trademark disputes. Still rarer are cases in which those businesses are actually involved in the business of trying to promote education.

        Yet that’s exactly what we have in the case of Springboards to Education, which has filed nine trademark suits against seven school districts, a non-profit, and a library.

      • Local business owner sues school districts for trademark violations

        The concept of incentivizing students to read across school districts in the Rio Grande Valley and around the state has recently taken an ambiguous turn as some districts are facing lawsuits claiming trademark infringement for using descriptions such as “Millionaire Reader” or “Millionaire Reading Club.”

    • Copyrights

      • Creative Commons Wants To Step Into Lawsuit Over Definition Of ‘Noncommercial’ In A CC License

        Two decades ago, there were a series of lawsuits against copy shops over whether or not it was fair use for them to be photocopying educational materials for college coursepacks. Unfortunately (and, some of us still think, incorrectly) the courts ruled that this was not fair use. The end result was that the price of coursepacks shot up to astronomical levels (this happened while I was in college, and I saw coursepacks increase in price from $20 – $30 to well over $100, and they’ve gone up more since then).

        Earlier this year, it appears that a new version of this kind of lawsuit was filed by Great Minds, an educational non-profit, against FedEx, the shipping giant who also took over what used to be known as Kinkos copy shops, now rebranded as FedEx or FedEx Office. At issue: these copy shops owned by FedEx were photocopying some of Great Minds’ works for educational entities. Great Minds says that FedEx is infringing on the copyright. If that was all there was to it, based on the cases back in the 90s, Great Minds would have a slam dunk of a case (unfortunately).

      • Hollywood Freaking Out That Europe Might Make It Marginally Easier For People To Legally Access Content

        Okay, we have some really serious concerns about the absolute mess of a draft copyright reform proposal that was leaked via EU regulators. The whole thing is basically a giant handout to legacy entertainment companies, pushing for things like taxing Google and other aggregators, and generally ignoring what’s best for the public.

        But apparently there’s one single part of the plan that the entertainment guys don’t like: the fact that a big part of the proposal is to knock out geoblocking, to create this “digital single market.” To hear Hollywood whine about this, you’d think it was the equivalent of forcibly making all their content available via BitTorrent.

Links 2/9/2016: Docker Fork Questions, Baidu’s Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Journal September 2016
  • September 2016 Video Preview
  • Desktop

  • Server

    • A Docker Fork: Talk of a Split Is Now on the Table

      Discussions about a split from Docker are now underway among several Docker ecosystem vendors and end users. Expressing frustration of Docker’s management of Docker Engine, the technologists with the companies are exploring ways to address various issues around supporting enterprise Docker deployments.

    • Forking Docker will lead to more fragmentation

      If you have been keeping up with Docker lately, you may have come across my blog post about the sad state of Docker. In this post, I go over how the 1.12 release appeared interesting from all the marketing announcements and the constant copying and pasting of the same Docker content into blogs over the world. However, many others and I expressed our opinions on Hacker News on how Docker failed to deliver a quality product and how they failed to create a quality release. The New Stack then summarized all of the weekend discussions going on in a new blog post and discussed that a fork of Docker may arise. Is a fork really the best answer? Let’s take a look.

      The nice thing about open source software is that anyone can take the software and modify it as needed or even create their own version of the software for redistribution. Software repositories like GitHub make it really easy for developers to fork a project and begin making their own changes and improvements. A recent example was the fork of OwnCloud into NextCloud. My problem with forking is that it leads to fragmentation. I personally like one or two ways of doing something well versus many different ways to partially achieve the same goal.

    • Why the container community is wrong to whine about Docker

      The Docker inmates want to run the asylum, as Red Hat’s Daniel Riek makes clear. So much so, in fact, that there are rumblings of a Docker fork. Companies like Red Hat see their future in containers and worry about being forced into second-class citizenship, while operations vendors like VMware worry about the entire fabric of their virtualization businesses being ripped to shreds.

    • Memory Issues with Linux Control Groups Might Affect Containerized Applications

      The paper authors suggest several workarounds for these problems, including pre-touching the memory, which involves ensuring that the memory is allocated when the process starts, rather than on demand. The exact methods of doing this vary across platforms. Another option is to better assess the memory footprint of an application so that allocation can be done more accurately. The page cache usage is not easy to estimate, but the anonymous memory can be estimated easily. The anonymous memory can be estimated from system metrics like the Resident Set Size (RSS).

    • Docker usage rises, but high portability pointless for most

      The adoption of Docker — and containers in general — within AWS environments continues to rapidly increase. However, reports show that abandonment rates align with adoption rates, which is interesting for those looking at Docker’s potential.

      Docker usage has quintupled in a single year — following the patter of most-hyped technologies, according to a recent study by Datadog, a monitoring and analytics platform. But this raises some questions: Can this growth be sustained? And, if so, what will be the likely patterns of adoption?

    • IBM links Blockchain with AI in new Industry Platforms business unit

      IBM has underscored how seriously its taking Blockchain technology with the creation of a new business unit centered around it. The new business, called Industry Platforms, will be led by Global Business Services chief, Bridget van Kralingen.

      IBM’s entire blockchain leadership team will transition to the new business, which was first announced last year.

      As well as working on Blockchain technology, the Industry Platforms business will also work to promote its Watson artificial intelligence platform in the financial services sector.

      “The Industry Platforms business will bring clients radically optimized processes and marketplaces that leverage Watson, IBM Cloud, IBM Systems, blockchain, deep domain expertise and ecosystems of partners and developers,” said IBM CEO Ginni Rometty.

    • Habitat: Automating Applications, Minus Platform and Infrastructure Hassles

      Remember the days when technology platforms sat in silos and our fierce allegiance to them did too? “We’re a Mac shop,” admins would announce. “We’re all in on Windows,” another might say.

      Those days are quickly fading, along with the barriers that used to separate platform and infrastructure technologies. Instead, we are moving toward a world of containers, multiple instances of virtual machines, and multiple operating systems working in tandem. This is especially true in data centers, and open source tools are helping to drive the trend.

      There is a pronounced need for ways to run applications on multiple types of infrastructure, ranging from bare metal to virtual machines to containers to the cloud. That’s where Habitat comes in. It’s an open source project focused on “automation that travels with the application.” It has pedigree, too. Habitat comes from the makers of the venerable configuration management and automation platform Chef, which, like Puppet, has helped to optimize many heterogeneous technology environments.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • 8 Best and Most Popular Linux Desktop Environments of All Time

      In this article, we shall list and walk through some of the best desktop environments for Linux, including a few of their illustrious features and components. However, we should note that this list is not organized in any particular order.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Connect links your Android phone with your Linux desktop

        Despite the name, KDE Connect isn’t just for KDE Plasma desktop users. You can install KDE Connect on any Linux desktop environment. After that, you’ll just need to install the KDE Connect app for Android from the Google Play Store.

        With KDE Connect on your Linux PC and Android phone, you’ll be able to link them together. Notifications you receive on your Android phone will appear on your Linux PC. If you receive an SMS message on your phone, you’ll see it on your Linux PC and you can respond to it from Linux. KDE Connect also offers other useful features, like the ability to trigger custom commands and use your phone as a media controller remote. The connection is made without any servers—your phone and PC connect directly to each other using TLS encryption over the local network.

        Read more

      • KDE Arrives in Berlin, Elects Thomas Pfeiffer to the e.V. Board

        Today KDE has been arriving in Berlin for Akademy, our annual meeting, which is year is part of the larger QtCon conference. This year we are teaming up with KDAB to gather together with the wider community of Qt developers for the first time, which is a major opportunity to share experiences between the open source and the commercial worlds. Also at the gathering are the VLC developers. VLC is one of the most successful open source projects successfully reaching out to users on all platforms and is a project we have long cooperated with. And the Free Software Foundation Europe will be brining the important political edge to our talks.

      • Kubuntu-16.04 and updates

        I installed kubuntu-16.04 in April. Although I don’t use it much, I occasionally boot into it to check a few things. Whenever I booted into Kubuntu, I looked to see if the update applet was notifying me of updates. I left the system running for an hour or more, to give it plenty of time to find out.s

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Finding Five Good Linux Distributions Isn’t That Easy

      This is a good alternative list of distribution suggestions. Android is an interesting shout but having tried it myself I think something needs to happen with regards to navigation to make it worthwhile.

      Xubuntu is always a worthy suggestion and it makes a good base for creating the distribution you really want.

      I tried Netrunner out recently. Whilst it is a reasonable distribution I am not personally a fan of the KDE desktop. Netrunner does come with a good set of applications pre-installed.

    • I Asked “What Are The Best Linux Distributions For The Average Person”, You Answered

      August was a light month for me blogging wise because I was in Florida for 2 weeks and unable to post anything.

      In September I will be ramping things back up and writing more reviews and more tutorials.

      What this process has shown me is that I have a lot of good readers and I thank everyone who submitted a list and everyone who reads the blog.

      I also have a very diverse reader base with people coming from all over the world to submit their lists.

      From a technical point of view there were 42 different distribution suggestions and this is maybe why it is hard to suggest a top 5.

      However if I sort the data based on the number of suggestions per distribution the top 5 are as follows:

      Linux Mint
      Linux Lite
      Ubuntu MATE / ZorinOS

      My original list included three of those distributions and the two that didn’t make the list above are Peppermint OS and PCLinuxOS.

      I can’t argue with Linux Lite and it is definitely up for a new review in September and Ubuntu MATE should probably have made the list of PCLinuxOS. As mentioned earlier I have concerns over Zorin and I will state my case in a new article next week.

      I stick with my suggestion of Peppermint however because it has been around a long time and it provides a good blend between being lightweight yet productive. I also personally still think PCLinuxOS is a good choice although often overlooked.

    • New Releases

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Throw a Beta Pizza Party
      • openSUSE 42.2 Pushed Back as Beta is Released
      • openSUSE Releases Leap Beta, Modifies Road Map

        Software testers and Linux enthusiasts can now get the Beta release of openSUSE Leap 42.2, which was released today.

        “Leap is for pragmatic and conservative technology adopters,” said Ludwig Nussel, the release manager for openSUSE Leap. “Testing the beta helps make Leap even more mature, so we encourage as many people as possible to test it.”

        openSUSE Leap focuses on well-established packages, like systemd 228 and Qt 5.6. The release day for the official version is scheduled for Nov. 16, which is one week after SUSECon.

      • Tumbleweed Enhances Encryption, has Massive Updates

        openSUSE users are at no loss for getting new software as this week the rolling distribution Tumbleweed had several snapshot releases and there was a beta release for openSUSE Leap 42.2.

        openSUSE’s rolling distribution Tumbleweed, which was originally created by Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman, had six snapshots two weeks ago and four last week. This week we will look at another six snapshots.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s Latest OpenStack Platform Boasts New Management Features

        Red Hat is known to some people as the only U.S.-based public company that is exclusively focused on open source, and known to many for its Linux-focused strategy complemented by rock solid support. But as I’ve noted before, the cloud beckons in a big way for Red Hat. The company has recently extended a broad partnership with Microsoft focused on Linux and cloud agreements.

        And now, Red Hat has announced the availability of Red Hat OpenStack Platform 9, its latest open Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform designed to deploy, scale and manage private cloud, public cloud, and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) environments. It’s based on the OpenStack community “Mitaka” release, and Red Hat says it offers customers a more secure, production-ready automated cloud platform integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, Red Hat Ceph Storage 2, and Red Hat CloudForms for hybrid cloud management and monitoring.

      • Red Hat Inc. ranks 25th as most innovative company under the Forbes list of ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’ list
      • Red Hat still plans on being The OpenStack company

        Other companies — Canonical, SUSE, and Mirantis — all plan on being OpenStack powers, but Red Hat shows it’s determined to be number one with its latest OpenStack cloud release.

      • Red Hat Takes Aim at VMware With RHV

        Although VMware and Red Hat might have seemed to be best buddies at last week’s LinuxCon, this week it’s become obvious that Red Hat is locked and loaded and has VMware in its sites. During a week when the suits at the virtualization company would doubtlessly like attention focused on Las Vegas and its VMWorld 2016 users’ conference, Red Hat has been stealing the headlines on just about every major tech site with news of its own virtualization products.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • SUSE Contributions, Fedora & Korora 24 Reviews, Security Distros
        • Fedora 25 Alpha Released with Wayland Default
        • Korora 24

          The Korora distribution is based on Fedora and provides users with several desktop editions. Each edition of Korora ships with multimedia support and with several third-party repositories enabled. This gives Korora access to a wider range of software with its default configuration.

          The latest release of Korora, version 24, is based on Fedora 24 and includes the same changes and technology as its parent. The Korora release is available in four flavours (Cinnamon, GNOME, MATE and Xfce). A fifth edition featuring KDE’s Plasma desktop is planned, but was not available when I began this review. The new release media is available for the 64-bit x86 architecture exclusively, however existing Korora 23 users who run 32-bit systems can perform live upgrades to Korora 24. The Pharlap driver manager has been removed from this release.

        • The next version of Fedora picks up Rust

          You know a language has arrived when its toolchain ships as a standard component with operating systems.

          Rust, Mozilla’s language for safe and speedy systems level programming, has landed a prime-time slot in the next edition of Fedora Linux, according to the change set for the first public alpha for Fedora 25.

        • Crash test dummy? Love the excitement of breaking an OS? Fedora 25 Alpha has landed

          If you’re a chronic complainer and nit-picker with a spare machine and a willingness to suffer multiple crashes, weird screen artefacts and possible data loss: Fedora 25′s alpha has landed ahead of its anticipated November 2016 release.

          If you want to help the developers by breaking stuff, don’t risk dual-boot on OS X if you’ve got live data, because this known bug is a treat:

          “The installer appears to support volume shrink for OS X volumes (Apple Core Storage) by offering a Shrink button and sizing slider in Automatic partitioning; and likewise allow numeric resizing in Manual partitioning. However, setting the installer to resize these volumes and proceeding with installation will result in complete data loss of the volume. Resize the volume in OS X’s Disk Utility to create free space before proceeding with the installation of Fedora.”

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 to Be Released on September 14, Add Numerous Improvements

            We’ve been asked by many of our readers what’s going on with the development of the next major OTA software update for Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system for Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Tablet devices, the OTA-13.

          • Should You Upgrade To Ubuntu 16.04 From Ubuntu 14.04

            Ubuntu 16.04 has been out for about 4 months now and it is the latest long term support release which gurarantees support for 5 more years.

            Do you need to upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04 right now or should you wait a while? In this guide I am going to list reasons for and against upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04 and help you to decide when it is right for you.

          • Ubuntu Working On Improved Low Graphics Mode For Unity 7

            While Ubuntu developers continue work on preparing the Unity 8 desktop for rolling out across all form-factors, Unity 7 is still seeing some new improvements as their interim desktop solution.

          • 5 Things We Secretly Miss About Ubuntu

            Sure, it’s super stable, far more compatible, and less buggy than it was a few years back. The polish and professionalism mirrors Canonical’s own transition from scrappy startup to server-ruling stalwart.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ReSpeaker Is an Upcoming Open Source, Modular Voice Interface to Hack Things

      Softpedia was informed by SeeedStudio about an upcoming device that was fully funded in twelve hours on Kickstart, while still having 20 days to go on its crowdfunding campaign.

    • Linaro Announces First Development Board Compliant with 96Boards TV Platform Specification

      Linaro Ltd, the collaborative engineering organization developing open source software for the ARM® architecture, today announced support for the HiSilicon ‘Poplar’ board – the first development board compliant with the 96Boards Enterprise Edition TV Platform specification. The board is the latest addition to the 96Boards family, the open specification defining a platform for the delivery of low-cost 32-bit and 64-bit ARM ecosystem developer boards. It is available to purchase for under $100 from Tocoding Technologies.

    • HiSilicon’s Poplar Is The First Linaro 96Boards EE TV Platform

      Linaro has announced the first development board that supports their 96Boards’ Enterprise Edition TV Platform specification.

      The HiSilicon Poplar development board is their first TV Platform compliant product and targets set-top box developers and hobbyists. The Poplar dev board is powered by a Hi3798C V200 SoC that packs in a quad-core 64-bit Cortex-A53 processor and Mali T720 for graphics. The Poplar board costs $79 USD or closer to $100 when factoring in shipping.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Have a strum on Lightning Uke, the first open-source 3D printed electric ukulele
  • 3D printed ukulele comes with open source software

    A team of designers from Taiwan recently have created an open-source 3D printed electronic ukelele. This could very well to be the first open-source one in the world. With a full-size fretboard, regular strings and tuners, and a custom-made amplifier, pick-up, and speaker, the exotically shaped ukelele was named Lightening Uke and was particularly designed for consumer 3D printers.

    No matter for masters or green-hands, an ukulele would always be a good choice to play because of its portability and user-friendliness. However, few of these players would claim to be able to play “Over the Rainbow” with a 3D printed instrument. Surely we have already seen several 3D printed instruments online, (like the 3D printed violin) but these Taiwanese designers noticed that there weren’t any open-source ukuleles and that’s why they decided to bring this unique instrument to all makers.

  • Why News Corp loves open source

    The struggles of publishing giant News Corp and its media brethren are no secret, but from an IT perspective scurrying to cut costs amidst falling revenues may have inadvertently put the business on the path to innovation.

    Speaking at the Future IT Infrastructure forum in Melbourne this week, News Corp’s top infrastructure architect Nicholas Tan urged his peers to join the publisher in embracing the open source community.

    Open source is not “hobby software” anymore, Tan said.

    “It’s definitely the real deal and it is powering a lot of the tech we consume today even if we don’t realise it.”

    News Corp has been gradually deploying open source technologies at strategic points in its stack – “where our major business value is, where we need to be highly differentiated – that is where our developer talent will go”, Tan said.

  • How small enterprises can leverage open-source to build for the enterprise

    Open-Source software allows small businesses to leverage millions of dollars worth of software to build customized solutions which are usually well supported by a global community of users. Many of Canada’s closest allies have already made huge strides to adopt it for their biggest and most challenging IT projects.

  • Survey: Infographic Shows Open Source Increasingly Embraced by Developers

    Open source platforms are no longer just for a small group of hardcore coders. A recent study by Black Duck and North Bridge of developers and security professionals shows that 65 percent of respondents have embraced open source as a critical element of their development strategy.

    Emerging technologies such as containers are also on the rise; 59 percent of respondents already utilize containers in a variety of deployments to speed up their go-to-market strategies, from development and testing to internal and external production environment.

  • Culture and lack of skills holding back Australia’s open source adoption: Coles

    When it comes to the adoption of open source technologies in Australia, Niall Keating, head of Big Data at supermarket giant Coles, has said that it is both the culture and talent shortage that is holding the country back.

    Having worked in the Hadoop space for the past four years, Keating said he has seen a shift in attitude towards open source, watching businesses deploy such technology in earnest to solve real business problems.

  • Web4Africa has launched a data mirror project to localise popular open-source content in Nigeria

    Pan-African web hosting company, Web4Africa, has launched the first West African mirror project aimed at providing a local mirror of popular open-source projects in Nigeria.

    The Nigerian Mirror Project, which is physically hosted in Nigeria, will reduce the high cost of bandwidth by bringing free and open-source content closer to end-users in Nigeria through data mirroring. Access to bandwidth in Nigeria is expensive compared to most parts of the world, and this is mostly due to the fact that most of the content consumed by Nigerian Internet users is generated outside the country. With this Mirror Project, free and open-source software will become more available, and user experience will be made better with faster downloads.

  • The Intersection of Alchemy and Open Source

    As open source continues to take over over the software development landscape, so too are the metaphors for how its success today has multiple historical precedents. For science-fiction author and activitist Cory Doctorow, open source is an idea that helped to raise humanity out of the dark ages.

    In a keynote at the LinuxCon North America conference in Toronto last week, Doctorow compared the age of open source to the enlightenment.

  • Baidu open sources its deep learning platform PaddlePaddle

    Taking a cue from some of its U.S. peers like Google, Chinese Internet search giant Baidu has decided to open source its deep learning platform.

    The company claims that the platform, code-named PaddlePaddle after PArallel Distributed Deep LEarning, will let developers focus on the high-level structure of their models without having to worry about the low-level details. A machine translation program written with PaddlePaddle, for example, requires significantly less code than on other popular deep learning platforms, said Baidu spokeswoman Calisa Cole.

  • Baidu open-sources Python-driven machine learning framework
  • Baidu Open Sources its Deep Learning AI Platform
  • Chinese Search Company Wants to Revolutionize Deep Learning
  • Baidu open sources its machine learning software
  • China’s homegrown AI sector takes off
  • Baidu Open-Sources PaddlePaddle Deep Learning Platform
  • Baidu peddles PaddlesPaddles, floats open source AI tech
  • China’s Baidu to open-source its deep learning AI platform
  • Baidu follows US tech giants and open sources its deep learning tools
  • Baidu Signs Partnership Deal With HARMAN; To Open Source Software Platform
  • Baidu to Open Source New Platform for Deep Learning Community
  • Baidu Delivers a Hardened Open Source Deep Learning Tool

    A few weeks ago, in an article for TechCrunch, Spark Capital’s John Melas-Kyriazi weighed in on how startups can leverage artificial intelligence and deep learning tools to advance their businesses or even give birth to brand new ones. In a subsequent post, I noted that quite a few of them have been tested and hardened at Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other companies, and some of them may represent business opportunities.Since then, there has been more action on the open source AI and deep learning front.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Build vs. buy equation changes, as open source big data tools surge

      Build vs. buy is a decision that has long been intrinsic to the mission of the IT leader. In the age of big data and open source software tooling, the familiar dilemma has taken a different tone, according to reporters speaking in the latest edition of the Talking Data podcast.

      Important elements in making build vs. buy decisions are the total cost of ownership of software over time, the competitive benefit to be gained by adding new features quickly and the skill sets available within the organization for any given new technology initiative.

    • On complexity in big data

      What’s the scale we’re using here? What makes big data and NoSQL more complex than cloud or mobile?

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Contemplating the retirement of Apache OpenOffice

      Outgoing Apache OpenOffice project management committee (PMC) chair Dennis Hamilton has begun the discussion of a possible (note possible at this point) shutdown of the project. “In the case of Apache OpenOffice, needing to disclose security vulnerabilities for which there is no mitigation in an update has become a serious issue. In responses to concerns raised in June, the PMC is currently tasked by the ASF Board to account for this inability and to provide a remedy. An indicator of the seriousness of the Board’s concern is the PMC been requested to report to the Board every month, starting in August, rather than quarterly, the normal case. One option for remedy that must be considered is retirement of the project. The request is for the PMC’s consideration among other possible options.” (Thanks to James Hogarth.)

  • CMS

    • Drupal 8.2, now with more outside-in

      Over the weekend, Drupal 8.2 beta was released. One of the reasons why I’m so excited about this release is that it ships with “more outside-in”. In an “outside-in experience”, you can click anything on the page, edit its configuration in place without having to navigate to the administration back end, and watch it take effect immediately. This kind of on-the-fly editorial experience could be a game changer for Drupal’s usability.

      When I last discussed turning Drupal outside-in, we were still in the conceptual stages, with mockups illustrating the concepts. Since then, those designs have gone through multiple rounds of feedback from Drupal’s usability team and a round of user testing led by Cheppers. This study identified some issues and provided some insights which were incorporated into subsequent designs.

      Two policy changes we introduced in Drupal 8 — semantic versioning and experimental modules — have fundamentally changed Drupal’s innovation model starting with Drupal 8. I should write a longer blog post about this, but the net result of those two changes is ongoing improvements with an easy upgrade path. In this case, it enabled us to add outside-in experiences to Drupal 8.2 instead of having to wait for Drupal 9. The authoring experience improvements we made in Drupal 8 are well-received, but that doesn’t mean we are done. It’s exciting that we can move much faster on making Drupal easier to use.

  • Education

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Which countries have open-source laws on the books?

      As the institutional use of open-source software continues to expand like an octopus, the public sector remains a key target market.

      Government users like Linux and other open-source software for several reasons, but the most important ones are probably that total cost of ownership is often lower than it is for proprietary products and that open-source projects don’t vanish if the company providing them goes under.

    • German free software proponents approach lawmakers

      German members of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) are once again contacting political candidates in next month’s state elections. The major, traditional parties fear the unknown, while left, green and pirate parties favour the use of such software in public administration.

      In the state of Berlin and the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern FSFE members are studying the party programmes. At the same time, the group is lobbying the candidates, advocating public administration’s use of free and open source software solutions.

    • Free Software in the Berlin election programs
    • Germany While Leading In Adoption Of FLOSS Still Has Luddites In High Places
    • Corbyn Promises Broadband For All And Open Source Government

      Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn vows to democratise the internet with funding, better public services, open source software and broadband access

      Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to deliver superfast broadband and mobile coverage to every home and business in the UK as part of a digital manifesto that also includes support for open source software.

      The Labour leader described a ‘universal service network’ that would provide the connectivity, alongside online resources for education, a digital bill of rights and a ‘digital passport’ that would be used as a secure online identity for public services.

      Public funding would be made available to make the cost of connecting citizens with services such as transport, accommodation, culture and catering and any Labour government would require all software and hardware paid for by public money to be made open source.

    • CNAS report recommends DOD ‘embrace open-source software’

      A new report from the Center for a New American Security is recommending the Pentagon take more aggressive steps to embrace open-source software.

    • Defense Department failing to capitalize on open-source benefits

      The Defense Department increasingly relies on software for everything from weapons systems to accounting, but it is failing to capitalize on the power of open-source software, according to a report from the Center for a New American Security.

    • Defense Department needs to embrace open source or military will lose tech superiority
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Nice: NASA Opens Up Its Research Online For Free

        Every once in a while, we get some good news out of a government agency. Based on a 2013 directive from the White House, NASA had finally announced early this year that it would be following the NIH model and making its publicly funded research available for free online. With the only caveat being a restriction on research that relates to national security, NASA has made good on plans to publish the rest of this research on Pubspace, its new publicly-facing portal for sharing this research.

  • Programming/Development

    • Converseen 0.9.5 porting to Qt5 is available for Linux

      During the last weeks I worked on the Qt5 porting of my open source project Converseen, a cross-platform batch conversion and image processor tool, thanks to the help of rezso, an user from GitHub who sent me some patches with a lot of useful changes that enabled the project to be compiled with Qt5.

      In addition to this, I spent a couple of hours making the project compatible (and compilable) with Visual Studio 2015 in order to make it available for Windows platforms, too. In particular, the Windows version comes with ImageMagick 6.9.5 HDRI bundled in the same package.

    • Preliminary Qt 5.8 Alpha Packages Now Available

      The Qt Project is readying the Qt 5.8.0 Alpha toolkit release.

      Qt 5.8 is now under a feature freeze and working to get its release schedule back on track with hopes of releasing Qt 5.8 before Christmas.

    • GitHub Showcases Most Popular Open Source Developer Tools

      With open source having “won” in becoming “today’s preeminent architecture,” developers may want to check up on the most popular development tools used in community projects.

      One place to do that is GitHub, the go-to choice for developers worldwide to host their open source projects. Sure, the company has published the occasional report based on data mining its stores of projects, such as one recent study of the most popular programming languages, but there’s another resource that devs can consult at any time to check up on the hottest trends in open source development.

    • 5 great Java performance optimization tricks

      Optimizing your Java code requires an understanding of how the different elements in Java interact, and how it interacts with the operating system that is it running on. Use these five tips and resources to start learning how to analyze and optimize your code.

      Before we get to the good stuff, you might be concerned about licensing. Java is owned by Oracle, and is under Oracle’s BCL license which is not a free/open source license. Even so, Oracle Java is part of many open source projects. OpenJDK is the free software implementation of the Java platform, licensed under GPL v2. (See Free Java implementations on Wikipedia for more information.)


  • Genode OS 16.08 Released With seL4 Kernel Improvements

    Genode OS 16.08 allows running more software off the seL4 micro-kernel, adds support for virtual networking and Tor, support for VirtualBox on top of the Muen separation kernel, support for VirtualBox 5 on their NOVA kernel, virtual AHCI controller support, statistical profiling support, and more.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO Debates Expansion Of Role In Virus-Sharing

      The global treatment of influenza is under reconsideration at the World Health Organization this week, as a review group of a WHO influenza pandemic framework looks at issues such as its relationship with an international treaty protecting countries’ ownership biological resources.

    • WHO Flu Pandemic Framework Working, Group Says; Some Concerned

      A World Health Organization framework to respond to influenza pandemics is working successfully, the confidential draft report of a review team has found. But some areas, such as virus genetic information, still need more work. Stakeholders, meanwhile, are challenging some findings and a concern was raised that lawyers may be influencing the science behind decisions on this issue.

  • Security

    • Linux Foundation Restructuring CII Security Effort for Scale

      Since creating the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) in 2014 in response to the Heartbleed vulnerability in the OpenSSL cryptographic library, the Linux Foundation has raised $5.8 million in funding to support the effort. It easily could raise much more, given its popularity.

      Nicko van Someren, CTO of the Linux Foundation, is leading an effort to restructure the governance model for the CII, to help accelerate security for the internet. In a video interview, he details his suggested changes, which are being reviewed by the CII’s existing membership.

    • BlackArch Linux Ethical Hacking OS Is Now Powered by Kernel 4.7.2, New ISOs Out

      On August 30, 2016, the development team behind the BlackArch Linux penetration testing distribution based on Arch Linux announced the release of new Live ISO images with updated components and various improvements.

    • Kali Linux 2016.2 Released as the Most Advanced Penetration Testing Distribution

      The Kali Linux (successor to BackTrack) developers are back from the DEF CON Vegas and Black Hat conferences for security professionals and ethical hackers, and as they promised earlier this year, they’re now announcing the availability of Kali Linux 2016.2.

    • Fairware ransomware for Linux Web servers
    • The Newcomer FairWare Ransomware Hits Linux Running Servers (Maybe)
    • New and Mysterious FairWare Ransomware Targets Linux Servers
    • FairWare Ransomware Strikes Linux Systems, Deletes Files, Demands Bitcoin Payment
    • New FairWare ransomware targets Linux web servers, holds web folder hostage
    • Fantom and FairWare ransomware discovered
    • FairWare ransomware infects servers through exposed Redis instances [Ed: Rerunning a story from last month to make Linux sounds scary, due to a Redis misconfiguration]
    • Insecure Redis Instances at Core of Attacks Against Linux Servers
    • Blackhat wannabes proffer probably bogus Linux scamsomware

      A new purported ransomware variant is hitting Linux servers, deleting files and demanding payment for the return of lost data.

      The scam is possibly a bluff, since it does not follow the regular format of encrypting files and leaving ransom notes for slick and automated payment.

      Information on the attacks is scarce. Bleeping Computer researcher Lawrence Abrams suspects it is likely a copy of the deleted files with the web folder uploaded to an attacker’s server, rather than complex encryption being applied.

    • School Creates Own Security Hole; Tries To Have Concerned Parent Arrested For Hacking

      We’ve seen it so often over the years, it’s probably now time to accept the fact that this will never change: when entities are presented evidence of security holes and breaches, far too often the initial reaction is to shoot the messenger.

      A school whose online student portal exposed a lot of sensitive data decided the best way to handle a concerned parent’s repeated questions about how it was handling the problem was to file a criminal complaint against the parent. (via the Office of Inadequate Security)

      The details of the breach (since closed) were reported by independent journalist Sherrie Peif.

    • [Tor] A New Bridge Authority

      After ten years of volunteer maintenance of Tonga, Tor’s bridge Authority—a piece of critical infrastructure within the Tor network—our colleague and friend, Lucky Green, a long time cypherpunk, and free speech and privacy advocate, has decided to step down from this role. Tonga’s cryptographic keys will be destroyed this week. We are incredibly thankful to Lucky for all his support and selfless labour in maintaining a key component of our censorship circumvention efforts, grateful for the years we have spent working with him, and very sorry to see him go.

    • More Than 40% Of Attacks Abuse SSL Encryption

      There’s an important caveat about encrypted traffic from new research released this week: Encryption works so well that hackers are using it as cover.

      A new study from A10 and the Ponemon Institute found that 80% of respondents say their organizations have been the victim of a cyberattack or malicious insiders in the past year — and 41% of the attacks have used encryption to evade detection. In addition, 75% say malware hidden within encrypted traffic is a risk to their organizations.

      At issue: The report found that SSL encryption not only hides data from would-be hackers but also from common security tools.

      “Hackers are using SSL encryption to slide by standard perimeter defenses,” says Chase Cunningham, director of cyber operations at A10 Networks.

    • The Cloud Security Alliance publishes its best practices for Big Data security

      Big Data is a boon for businesses worldwide, but the benefits come at a cost. The more data companies store, the more vulnerable they are to potential security breaches. And data breaches can be enormously expensive when they occur. IBM’s 2016 Cost of Data Breach report found that the average consolidated total cost of a data breach grew from $3.8 million to $4 million in the last year, which makes securing their data an important goal for any company that’s invested in it.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Clinton: Treat cyberattacks ‘like any other attack’

      Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called for the U.S. to begin treating cyberattacks like any other assault on the country.

      “As president, I will make it clear that the United States will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack,” the Democratic presidential nominee said. “We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses.”

      Clinton called for the U.S. to “lead the world in setting the rules in cyberspace.”

      “If America doesn’t, others will,” she said.

      The remarks, given during a foreign policy speech at the American Legion Convention in Cincinnati, address one the central challenges the Obama administration has faced in responding to cyberattacks.

    • How Clinton And US Government Benefit When New York Times Attacks WikiLeaks

      Without any evidence whatsoever, the New York Times published a “special report” tying the operations of WikiLeaks to Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Times reporters strongly suggested, “whether by conviction, convenience, or coincidence,” WikiLeaks’ document releases, along with statements by its editor-in-chief Julian Assange, have “often benefited Russia at the expense of the West.”

      This kind of journalism has historically been labeled yellow journalism. It is a crude exaggeration and distorting of reality aimed at sensationalism. Times reporters fuel a manufactured idea that somehow WikiLeaks is a Russian pawn of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the country’s new Cold War against the United States.

      In fact, decades ago, the CIA spread anti-communist propaganda and disinformation, which had a way of making it into American newspapers. Perhaps, during that era this type of story would have been planted by the CIA in the Times, however, nowadays the CIA does not need to plant news stories. Journalists willingly adopt their agenda and ideology and publish stories like this one, which have the same effect.

  • Finance

    • French minister calls for halt to TTIP talks

      There is ‘no more political support’ in France for EU-US trade pact, foreign trade secretary says.

      By Joshua Posaner for Politico Pro

      France wants to stop negotiations on a transatlantic trade pact between the EU and U.S., the country’s secretary of state for foreign trade said Tuesday.

      Matthias Fekl said “there is no more political support in France for these negotiations,” adding that “France calls for an end to these negotiations,” according to AFP.

    • The Secret Threat That Makes Corporations More Powerful Than Countries

      International corporations that want to intimidate countries have access to a private legal system designed just for them. And to unlock its power, sometimes all it takes is a threat. Part two of a BuzzFeed News investigation

    • Apple to shareholders: order to pay back $14.5bn in taxes ‘will be overturned’

      Tech giant Apple told shareholders it did not consider the European commission’s decision to collect $14.5bn in back taxes final on Tuesday and was “confident that it will be overturned”, but analysts warned the picture was more complex.

      In a note posted to the company’s investor relations page, the company said it did “not expect any near-term impact on our financial results” and that it was prepared to pursue the matter in court for years to come. “While we desire a resolution as soon as possible, the process is likely to take several years,” the company said.

      Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group, said that it wasn’t clear which side would prevail, ultimately. “There’s no telling whether the verdict will stand on appeal, but we know that the landscape is changing for US corporations in the EU,” he told the Guardian.

    • Apple ordered to pay €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws

      Apple has warned that future investment by multinationals in Europe could be hit after it was ordered to pay a record-breaking €13bn (£11bn) in back taxes to Ireland.

      The world’s largest company was presented with the huge bill after the European commission ruled that a sweetheart tax deal between Apple and the Irish tax authorities amounted to illegal state aid.

      The commission said the deal allowed Apple to pay a maximum tax rate of just 1%. In 2014, the tech firm paid tax at just 0.005%. The usual rate of corporation tax in Ireland is 12.5%.

      “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” said the European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, whose investigation of Apple’s complex tax dealings has taken three years.

    • Apple Inc. Could Lose $19 Billion In Ireland On Tax Probe

      Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was offered some reprieve on a European tax investigation in recent days after Margrethe Vestager, the Danish Commission in charge of the inquiry, decided to slow down its progress toward making conclusions. Despite that, Apple could still be very much in trouble in Europe, and a new report outlines some of the dangers that Tim Cook and his team may be facing.

    • European Commission Rules Apple Received Illegal State Aid From Ireland, Owes Billions in Back Taxes

      The European Commission on Tuesday will rule that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland, according to a 130-page judgment known by Financial Times.

    • Apple’s Tax Game Is Hurting Economic Growth

      It’s a big number, though not nearly the tax bill Apple would owe the U.S. if it pulled the $92 billion in profits it is currently storing in Irish and other overseas accounts back to its home country.

      CEO Tim Cook says 40 percent of that would go in taxes to the U.S. and state governments, an amount he recently told the Washington Post Apple would not be willing to pay. “It’s not a matter of being patriotic or not patriotic,” Cook said. “It doesn’t go that the more you pay, the more patriotic you are.”

    • Industry’s Proposed Changes To Draft TPP Were Not Protected Under National Security Exemption, US Judge Says

      Changes to the draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) suggested during negotiation of the treaty are not protected under the national security clause of the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a judge ruled yesterday in a rare rejection. But he also defended USTR’s protection of information on the basis that other countries in TPP might accuse the US of “steamrolling” them if US textual proposals from the negotiations were revealed.

    • Theresa May will lead us into a bleak future – outside the single market

      In a famous eulogy published following his death in 1881, the Times wrote of the 19th-century Tory prime minister Benjamin Disraeli that he “discerned the Conservative working man in the inarticulate mass of the English populace, as the sculptor perceives the angel imprisoned in a block of marble”.

      Can Disraeli’s admirer Theresa May already discern the shape of her Brexit deal imprisoned in the block of marble too? This week’s cabinet meeting at Chequers gave us some clues about the Britain the prime minister sees in her mind’s eye. A briefing stressed that curbing migration is a red line, and that Britain is not interested in an off-the-shelf deal with Europe but a bespoke one. Nevertheless it is still far from clear, perhaps even to May herself, what will emerge once she has finished with her hammer and chisel.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • New DNC Chair Donna Brazile Calls WikiLeaks’ Assange A ‘Criminal’ Over DNC Leak

      In an interview on Sunday, the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee criticized Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who she called a “criminal,” and the media for what she perceived to be positive treatment of the government transparency website’s work.

      Donna Brazile took over as interim DNC chair in July after Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in the wake of WikiLeaks’ “DNC Leak,” an archive of almost 20,000 emails and over 8,000 files that also forced out other key party leaders.

      Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week”, Brazile praised Americans for supporting the victims of the Louisiana flood then criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his failure to distance himself from the racist statements and attitudes of some of his supporters, including the so-called “alt-right” movement.

    • Bernie Sanders is a no-show for Tim Canova

      Bernie Sanders, the politician who elevated first-time candidate Tim Canova to national attention and a rich campaign warchest, doesn’t appear to be coming to South Florida to help out his protégé in his battle against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      At a press conference Wednesday — less than a week before the Aug. 30 primary — at his Hollywood campaign office, Canova pushed back against reporters’ questions about why Sanders hasn’t appeared in the Broward/Miami-Dade district.

      “You tell me why he isn’t coming,” said Canova. “I don’t have an answer to that. I am very proud to have his support. Quite frankly we don’t need him here to win this election. Our field operation is growing by the day. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the one who needs to run out and get folks to come in from out of town to help protect her — to shield her from the voters. I am out there talking to voters every day.”

    • The Green Party’s Jill Stein Wants a Green New Deal
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EU: Europe needs to invest $800bn in digital infrastructure to catch up with US

      Europe needs to invest close to $800bn in its digital infrastructure to catch up with the United States and China, the European Union commissioner responsible for the issue said on Thursday.

      Commissioner Guenther Oettinger also urged fellow Austrians to reject populist views that could deter technology experts from migrating to Europe to help drive development.

      If Europe can’t develop fibre-optic networks and next-generation high-speed 5G wireless applications and networks fast enough “we will lose, because important technological applications will not be possible any longer in our industry”, Oettinger said.

    • ESPN Can’t Get Out of NFL Player’s Privacy Lawsuit Over Reporter’s Tweet

      ESPN is no Gawker, but the sports giant is now facing the prospect of a trial in Florida that has shades of the litigation brought by Hulk Hogan over an invasion of privacy.

    • Court: Okay For Trial To Move Forward Against ESPN For Tweeting JPP’s Medical Chart

      ESPN’s lawyers also pointed out that Pierre-Paul is not suggesting that Schefter was prohibited from reporting on the exact details within the chart, which was the actual harming information if any harm actually was done, but that tweeting out the medical chart image itself suddenly was actionable. Why Pierre-Paul chose this attack on ESPN and a journalist rather than whatever source shared the chart with Schefter in the first place is largely left unaddressed, although the depth of the parties’ respective pockets likely has something to do with it.

      Regardless, this is a disappointing ruling on many levels. Those seeking medical attention certainly do have an expectation of privacy from those providing the healthcare work and one would think HIPAA violations may be in play here as well, but Pierre-Paul has no such expectation of privacy from a journalist covering him. The proper defendant in this case is obviously whomever provided the chart to Schefter and likely over HIPAA violations. Whatever the implications upon privacy at issue here, it seems quite clear that chilling the reporting of journalists who receive information from sources is not hte proper vector for addressing those issues. Between this and the Gawker case, along with the public comments by one well-known would-be politician, we seem to entering a different era in terms of how the press is viewed and treated in America.

    • FBI’s stingray quickly found suspect after local cops’ device couldn’t

      According to new government affidavits filed earlier this week, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) used its stingray without a warrant in 2013 for several hours overnight as a way to locate a man accused of being involved in shooting a local police officer. The OPD called in the FBI when that effort was unsuccessful. The FBI was somehow able to locate the suspect in under an hour, and he surrendered to OPD officers.

      That suspect, Purvis Ellis, is the lead defendant in the case of United States v. Ellis et al. The case involves four men who are charged with the January 21, 2013 attempted murder of local police officer Eric Karsseboom in the parking area in front of a Seminary Avenue apartment complex in East Oakland. The men are also charged with running an alleged local gang, centered around Seminary Avenue (known as “SemCity”).

    • Court Documents Show FBI Had To Bail Out Oakland Police With Its Bigger, Better Stingray

      The only reason these affidavits even exist is because the judge presiding over the prosecution of Purvis Ellis ordered the government to submit declarations detailing how the devices were used to locate him. Two declarations — one from the FBI [PDF] and one from the Oakland PD [PDF] — shed some additional light on the now-ubiquitous cell phone-tracking technology.

      Neither law enforcement agency sought a warrant for their Stingray deployments. Both declarations claim none was needed because of “exigent circumstances.” Given that this occurred before the DOJ instituted a warrant requirement for the FBI’s Stingray use, it’s unlikely any evidence is in danger of being tossed.

      The Oakland PD’s declaration states the same thing: no warrant was sought because of “exigent circumstances.” Similarly, there appears to have been no warrant requirement in place for the Oakland Police Department at that time. That doesn’t mean the court won’t find that the use of a Stingray device (or, in this case, two of them) requires the use of a warrant, but even if it does, the good faith exception is likely to apply — especially in the FBI’s case, as its warrant requirement was still thee years away. In both deployments, pen register orders were used to obtain subscriber info. Because exigent circumstances dictated the requests, no judicial approval of the orders was needed.

      Ellis’ lawyers are hoping the judge will find the circumstances surrounding the Stingray deployments to be not nearly as “exigent” as the government claims.

    • Lawsuit: Warriors App Secretly Allowed For Creepy, NSA-Style Tracking Of Users

      The Golden State Warriors are the team of the megalomaniacs and bloodsuckers of Silicon Valley, and they are run by a trophy-fucker who thinks he invented smallball. From their continued obfuscation of their own ridiculous luck with a teleological argument about how their success was predetermined by their organizational character to their second-best player humping the “Actually, Failure Is Good” line, they embody the worst tendencies of their region. I would have thought that secret data mining was beyond the capabilities of a basketball team, but according to a class-action lawsuit, the Warriors official team app may have violated users’ privacy. The lawsuit alleges that the team’s official smartphone app has recorded private conversations and other audio from users’ phones without their knowledge or permission, and without giving them the ability to opt out.

    • Flagrant foul? Mobile app user accuses NBA’s Warriors of spying on conversations
    • Lawsuit claims Warriors app used to secretly listen in on fans
    • Golden State Warriors Android app constantly listens to nearby audio, fan says
    • Lawsuit alleges that Warriors’ app illegally listens in on users
    • Lawsuit calls foul on Golden State Warriors’ app
    • Warriors’ app secretly records users’ conversations, according to lawsuit
    • Lawsuit filed against Warriors’ app for violating consumers’ privacy
    • Lawsuit claims popular Warriors app accesses phone’s microphone to eavesdrop on you
    • Class action lawsuit claims Warriors’ official app covertly listened to users
    • Golden State Warriors, Signal360 And App Developer Sued Over ‘Eavesdropping’ Allegations
    • Warriors Wrap Up: Warriors Face Lawsuit Regarding App
    • Lawsuit Claims Warriors App Monitors User Conversations
    • Lawsuit accuses Golden State Warriors of spying on fans through team app
    • Golden State Warriors’ app at the center of a lawsuit
    • Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Golden State Warriors to Notch Another NBA Championship?
    • Lawsuit Claims Warriors Team App Secretly Recorded Users’ Conversations
    • Warriors general manager says team will take time to evolve during new season
    • Golden State Warriors app alleged to record users’ conversations without consent
    • Lawsuit Claims Warriors Mobile App Eavesdrops On Fans Even When Not In Use
    • NBA Team Smartphone App Secretly Records Private Phone Conversations, Claims Lawsuit
    • Lawsuit claims Warriors app secretly records users’ conversations
    • NBA’s ‘Golden State Warriors’ app allegedly listens in on users’ conversations constantly
    • DOD data center closures could affect DC area
    • Inspector General Finds NYPD’s Surveillance Of Muslims Routinely Violated Consent Decree Guidelines

      Following two lawsuits against the NYPD for its pervasive, rights-violating surveillance of the city’s Muslims, the department’s Inspector General took a look at a sampling of cases from 2010-2015 to see if the Handschu Agreement — crafted in 1985 and heavily modified in 2002 — was being followed. The short answer is “No.” So is the long answer [PDF].

      The guideline was part of a consent decree created in response to pervasive NYPD surveillance of activities protected by the First Amendment, even when no unlawful activity was suspected. The guideline worked for awhile, but the 9/11 attacks changed that. The NYPD brought in two former CIA employees who decided to turn a domestic law enforcement agency into Langley on the Hudson. Former CIA officer David Cohen used terrorism fears to compel a judge to significantly modify the Handschu Agreement.

      >From that point on, the NYPD steadily abused the revamped agreement. Its “Demographics Unit” designated entire mosques as terrorist entities, placed the city’s Muslims under surveillance, and — best of all — generated zero leads.

      The Inspector General’s report points out that the NYPD couldn’t even comply with the relaxed, post-9/11 Handschu Agreement. Instead, the Demographics Unit copy-pasted justifications for pervasive surveillance and passed them up the ladder to the rubber stamps handling the approval process.

    • U.K. and Double Game of Terrorist Ratlines and GCHQ Spying: Control of Smartphones

      Edward Snowden warns about the role of big government in the United Kingdom (UK) and how the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) can literally control smartphones at the drop of a hat. Of course, this isn’t a shock to anyone because the British government is obsessed with monitoring various different social media networks and all forms of telecommunications. However, despite this, it is still alarming to know that GCHQ can even spy on individuals when smartphones are turned off and take images.

      Before focusing on the advice of Snowden and looking into GCHQ in relation to smartphones, it is important to mention the terrorist intrigues of the British government. After all, various governments in the UK, irrespective if the Conservative Party or Labour Party, have supported various terrorist groups since the late 1970s onward in relation to Sunni Takfiri Islamist groups. Indeed, if you go further back into history then obviously several British governments also helped America in various areas in relation to supporting right-wing authoritarian regimes throughout South America.

    • EU General Data Protection Regulation

      The GDPR seeks to afford technologically neutral protection, by addressing legal aspects of the processing and free movement of personal data in light of the technological developments of the past 20 years. The review of the personal data protection system that led to the GDPR derived from the central role that the Internet plays in personal and business life and the concerns of individuals about unlawful intrusions by both companies and public authorities into their personal data (e.g., see the CJEU’s judgement in case C-362/14, Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner, invalidating of the EU-US Safe Harbor).

    • Leaked Catalogue Reveals a Vast Array of Military Spy Gear Offered to U.S. Police

      A confidential, 120-page catalogue of spy equipment, originating from British defense firm Cobham and circulated to U.S. law enforcement, touts gear that can intercept wireless calls and text messages, locate people via their mobile phones, and jam cellular communications in a particular area.

      The catalogue was obtained by The Intercept as part of a large trove of documents originating within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where spokesperson Molly Best confirmed Cobham wares have been purchased but did not provide further information. The document provides a rare look at the wide range of electronic surveillance tactics used by police and militaries in the U.S. and abroad, offering equipment ranging from black boxes that can monitor an entire town’s cellular signals to microphones hidden in lighters and cameras hidden in trashcans. Markings date it to 2014.

      Cobham, recently cited among several major British firms exporting surveillance technology to oppressive regimes, has counted police in the United States among its clients, Cobham spokesperson Greg Caires confirmed. The company spun off its “Tactical Communications and Surveillance” business into “Domo Tactical Communications” earlier this year, presumably shifting many of those clients to the new subsidiary. Caires declined to comment further on the catalogue obtained by The Intercept or confirm its authenticity, but said it “looked authentic” to him.

    • Privacy Groups File FTC Complaint Over Whatsapp Facebook Privacy ‘Bait And Switch’
    • Meet USBee, the malware that uses USB drives to covertly jump airgaps
    • USBee, the new malware that covertly jumps airgaps using USB drives
    • How to Leak Data From Air-Gapped Computers With a USB Device
    • Creating a buzz: USBee software causes air-gapped computers to leak data via USB connections
    • USBee stings air-gapped PCs: Wirelessly leak secrets with a file write
    • Researchers have replicated one of the NSA’s scariest hacking tools

      Called USBee, and developed by security researchers at the Ben-Gurion University’s Cyber Security Center, the technology lets attackers move data from a protected computer over the air. Certain conditions have to be met. First, an insider must infect the computer with the malware. Then, any USB stick must be plugged into that computer. Finally, the attacker needs to be near the compromised device.Called USBee, and developed by security researchers at the Ben-Gurion University’s Cyber Security Center, the technology lets attackers move data from a protected computer over the air. Certain conditions have to be met. First, an insider must infect the computer with the malware. Then, any USB stick must be plugged into that computer. Finally, the attacker needs to be near the compromised device.

    • FBI director: ‘There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America’

      Welcome back, hope you had a great summer, let’s get right back to our regularly scheduled cyber programming: A global war over encryption.

      FBI Director James Comey, who has spent the last six months itching to get back into a public debate over the spread of encryption and mandated special backdoor government access to data, took to a spotlighted stage on Tuesday to pointedly criticize tech companies who offer default strong encryption on devices, saying he was preparing for the argument to extend into 2017 and beyond.

    • The NSA Research Director Wants Hackers to Know Who She Is [Ed: Another NSA puff piece comes out now…]
    • Mysterious Group Hacks The NSA

      The latest hack revealed over the weekend has nothing to do with the Democratic Party or George Soros, and instead a mysterious hacker group by the name “The Shadow Brokers” claims to have hacked the Equation Group – a government cyberattack hacking group associated with the NSA, and released a bunch of the organization’s hacking tools. The hackers are also asking for 1 million bitcoin (around $568 million) in an auction to release more files.

      “Attention government sponsors of cyber warfare and those who profit from it!!!!” the hackers wrote in a manifesto posted on Pastebin, on GitHub, and on a dedicated Tumblr.

    • Cisco, Huawei and Juniper play down NSA attack reports

      Cisco, Huawei and Juniper have played down reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has developed tools to spy on traffic running through their equipment.

      Juniper and Cisco admitted that there were vulnerabilities, that have now been addressed. Huawei did not go so far, but said the company was making “significant investments” in security.

      The reports emerged after a group called Shadow Brokers released files that seemed to show the NSA was targeting not only US companies such as Cisco and Juniper but also Chinese vendor Huawei.

    • CIA director misled FBI about how agency spied on Pentagon Papers leaker

      CIA Director Richard Helms misled the FBI in June 1972 to cover up his agency’s role in helping to smear the reputation of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked a secret history of the Vietnam War to the press, a newly released CIA document shows.

      In a June 28, 1972, memo to his deputy, Vernon Walters, Helms wrote that he asked the FBI to “desist from expanding this investigation into other areas which may well, eventually, run afoul of our operations.” Those details are included in the 155-page CIA inspector general’s report that was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative legal watchdog Judicial Watch and released Tuesday. Other elements of the document were first reported Tuesday by Fox News.

      Helms’ misdirection enabled the CIA’s role in the Pentagon Papers case to go undiscovered for 11 months amid a growing political scandal that would eventually force President Richard Nixon from office and lead to an extensive investigation into abuses by the CIA and other parts of the U.S. Intelligence community.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Strong evidence suggests a Peruvian police ‘death squad’ set up and killed criminal suspects

      Nine members of Peru’s national police are being investigated on suspicion of participating in a “death squad” responsible for as many as 27 killings carried out to secure promotions and impress superiors, government officials said.

      One police general, a commander and seven officers are suspected of having organized at least six bogus police operations from 2011 to 2015 that resulted in the deaths. While most of the victims had criminal pasts, at least 11 people killed during the operations had no police records, investigators say.

      A source within a special investigative committee formed by recently inaugurated President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski told the Los Angeles Times late Tuesday that investigators believe corrupt police using intermediaries persuaded delinquents to carry out robberies and then killed them during the heists to gain performance points.

    • EFF, ACLU Asks Ninth Circuit Court To Rehear Two Recent CFAA Cases

      The EFF and ACLU are pushing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hold full en banc rehearings (with all 11 judges, rather than just three) of two recent CFAA-related cases. The first case, US v. Nosal, is the more (in)famous of the two. In this decision, the court read the language of the CFAA broadly enough to criminalize a mostly-harmless everyday activity participated in by thousands of Americans: password sharing.

      The court tried to couple this with some “authorization” wording to make it appear as though the court wouldn’t entertain frivolous prosecutions using interpretation of the CFAA, but that gives the court (and the DOJ) far more credit than they have earned.

      The other case — Facebook v. Power Ventures — is dangerous in its own way, even if it involves two private companies, rather than the US government’s prosecutorial arm. The same appeals court didn’t go quite as far as it did in the Nosal decision in terms of criminalizing password sharing, but instead made the district’s stance even more confusing by arriving at a seemingly-contradictory conclusion.

    • ACLU Challenges Gag Orders Issued To Tech Companies By The DOJ

      The ACLU is hoping to intervene in Microsoft’s legal battle against the government, challenging gag orders attached to warrants and subpoenas issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Microsoft sued the DOJ back in April, arguing for the right to notify customers that their communications and data have been handed over to the government.

      Microsoft didn’t have a problem with the government’s gag orders in every case. It’s just that the demand for secrecy accompanied more than half of the ~300 orders per month Microsoft receives. And nearly 70% of those gag orders arrived with no fixed end date.

      The ACLU petitioned the court to intervene in the case on its own behalf, citing its position as a Microsoft customer. The DOJ filed a motion to dismiss Microsoft’s lawsuit, hoping the court will find Microsoft has no standing to challenge gag orders on its customers’ behalf. The ACLU is trying to prevent this from happening until the DOJ addresses the issues raised by the ACLU’s (attempted) intervention. In its opposition [PDF] to the DOJ’s motion, the ACLU points out that the government’s “no standing” argument pretty much nullifies any sort of due process for Microsoft customers (including the ACLU) who’ve been targeted by the DOJ’s super-secret warrants, relegating them to a Kafka-esque legal purgatory.

    • Australian Government Using Data Retention Law To Seek Out Journalists’ Sources, Hunt Down Whistleblowers

      If there ever were decent protections for whistleblowers in Australia, they’re gone now. Australia’s Attorney General was pushing for harsher whistleblower punishments two years ago, while simultaneously claiming data retention laws — and expanded permissions for intelligence agencies to pore through retained data — were simply the way governments were doing business these days.

      And what a business it is. The Australian government wants to punish whistleblowers but finds they’re often difficult to track down. It’s just so much easier to find those they leak documents to, like journalists, and work towards getting them to divulge their sources. The “best” part about the new data retention laws is that those seeking whistleblowers to punish won’t have to confront journalists directly. In fact, they may never need to speak to them at all.

    • Turkey removes more than 10,000 security personnel, academics in purge

      Turkish authorities have suspended about 8,000 security personnel and more than 2,000 academics, adding to a purge of people suspected of having links to perpetrators of a failed coup, the Official Gazette said on Friday.

      Since the coup attempt in mid-July, in which rogue soldiers tried to topple President Tayyip Erdogan’s government, Turkey has removed 80,000 people from public duty and arrested many of them, accusing them of sympathising with the plotters.

      Of the security personnel removed in the latest purge, 323 were members of the gendarmerie and the rest police, according to the Official Gazette, in which the government publishes new laws and orders.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Gives Up On Municipal Broadband Fight

      Easier said than done. Telecom incumbents, like so many large players, have an absolute chokehold over state legislatures. So much so that ISPs like AT&T continue to have success passing new laws of this type despite growing, significant bipartisan public opposition to them. For years ISPs quickly passed these laws by framing this as a partisan issue of government “competing with the free market.” But as Comcast and AT&T consumers get an ongoing master class in how broken and not free the telecom market is, members of both parties have grown increasingly hostile toward protectionism of this type.

    • AT&T, Poster Child For Government Favoritism, Mocks Google Fiber For Government Favoritism

      First, let’s just get out of the way that the idea of AT&T, now bone-grafted to our intelligence agencies’ domestic surveillance efforts, giving anybody a lecture on government favoritism deserves a major hypocrisy award.

      What’s AT&T actually upset about? Google Fiber has been pushing to reform utility pole attachment rules, one of several layers of regional bureaucracy telecom monopolies used to slow broadband competitors from coming to market. Google Fiber’s been pushing cities like Louisville and Nashville for “one touch make ready” laws that let a single, insured contractor move any ISPs’ hardware — often reducing installation from half a year to just a month. AT&T’s response? To sue cities like Louisville for overstepping their authority. Such decisions, AT&T argues, should be left up to the state regulatory bodies that AT&T all but owns.

      AT&T’s taking the opportunity to kick Google Fiber while it’s down, the company plagued by recent rumors that it’s pausing a handful of unannounced cities to consider supplementing fiber service with wireless broadband. Sources with knowledge of Google Fiber’s plan tell me many of the reports about Google Fiber hitting deployment “snags” have been either overstated or in error, but the fact that Google Fiber hasn’t publicly clarified its dedication to expansion suggests there likely is some possible restructuring going on as the company takes stock of its recent Webpass acquisition and eyes wireless as a way to supplement fiber.

    • AT&T Dodges FTC Throttling Lawsuit Using Title II Classification It Vehemently Opposed

      Back in 2011, AT&T stopped selling unlimited wireless data plans, and began heavily pushing more expensive capped and metered plans. Existing unlimited users at the time were grandfathered, but the company engaged in all manner of sneaky behavior to try and make life as unpleasant as possible for these users, ranging from blocking them from using Facetime unless they migrated to metered plans, to heavily throttling these “unlimited” users after only consuming a few gigabytes of data. Ultimately AT&T faced a $100 million fine by the FCC (currently being contested by AT&T), and a 2014 lawsuit by the FTC for misleading consumers and dramatically changing the terms of service while users were under contract.

    • T-Mobile Declares It’s On ‘The Right Side Of History’ As It Laughs At Net Neutrality

      While T-Mobile has certainly done some good things for the wireless industry, the company’s ongoing tone deafness on net neutrality isn’t doing the carrier any favors. T-Mobile fought against real net neutrality rules, then, once passed anyway, got right to work trying to find creative ways around the rules using zero rating (exempting only some content from usage caps). When net neutrality advocates and scholars repeatedly pointed out T-Mobile was violating net neutrality and being a bit hypocritical (“we’re edgy and love consumers but not real net neutrality!”), the company dug a deeper hole by attacking groups like the EFF.

      Last week T-Mobile upped the ante with new plans that promise “unlimited” data, but are not only more expensive, they throttle tethering, throttle overall consumption at 26 GB, and throttle all video to 1.5 Mbps or 480p. Users who want HD video to actually work correctly can apparently pony up $25 more per month. Emboldended by T-Mobile and a (so far) apathetic FCC, Sprint revealed similar “unlimited” data plans of its own, which throttle all video, games and music to 1.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps, and 500 kbps respectively, unless you pony up another $25 per month.

      Groups like the EFF were quick to point out that installing ISPs as middlemen who get to determine how well your services work based on how much you pay in a marginally-competitive broadband market sets a horrible precedent. If regulators allow T-Mobile to charge more money for HD video to work, what stops Comcast from charging you more if you want 4K Netflix streams to work? Or AT&T deciding it can charge you more if you want your Steam games to download at full bitrate? This is a door that, once opened, won’t be easily closed. And once this practice is a standard, it will be abused.

  • DRM

    • DRM: Still Hurting Paying Customers The Most

      So, we have two issues, neither of them useful to end users. On Adobe’s end, we have a protection scheme that requires an internet connection. That’s classic DRM — phone home, get permission… all well and good (NOT REALLY) until someone needs access to documents but can’t because they’re not connected to the internet.

      Then we have an update that breaks the connection Adobe’s DRM relies on, forcing the same problem on users who do have internet access. The problem with DRM schemes like these is that they rely on a bunch of parts that aren’t interconnected (Adobe, Windows) but both have to be working properly to get the job done… rather than just, say, open Adobe Reader and be done with it. Subtract an internet connection and Adobe’s documents are useless, even to authorized users. Throw a suprisingly volatile Windows update into the mix and end users doing everything right are still screwed. Combine the two and sensitive documents are suddenly so “protected” that a majority of users can’t even view them. And, remember, this is a “privilege” corporate customers pay for.

      DRM: still mostly useless and still mainly a pain in the ass for paying customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A triple dose of defeat – three antibiotic patents of Cubist revoked in one trial

      This case concerns three patents owned by the defendant Cubist Pharmaceuticals LLC relating to the antibiotic daptomycin, originally discovered by Eli Lilly in the 1980s. Patent EP1115417 (“the 417 patent”) claims a range of doses of the drug to be administered once a day. The other two patents, EP1252179 and EP2264047 (“the 179 patent” and “the 047 patent” respectively), claim different methods of purifying daptomycin. The claimant, Hospira UK Limited, sought the revocation of all three patents, which were all considered in a single trial. Mr Justice Carr found all three patents to be invalid.

    • Trademarks

      • Louis Vuitton’s Inability To Take A Joke Opens Up A Chance To Fix Our Broken Trademark Laws

        As you may recall, earlier this year we wrote about a good ruling in a ridiculous lawsuit by the notoriously overaggressive trademark enforcers at luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton. You can look back at some of their earlier lawsuits, but the one we wrote about this year was particularly ridiculous. It sued a small bag maker called “My Other Bag” who made a simple tote bag that played on the famous joke bumper sticker “My Other Car is A….” with some sort of luxury car brand listed as the final point. People would put those on not-nearly-as-nice cars. In fact, when I was a kid, my dad had a Ford Pinto (yes, the exploding kind) and it had “My Other Car is a Porsche” as a bumper sticker. It’s not a very funny joke (and I totally didn’t get it as a kid), but it’s a joke.

      • Moosehead Lager Makers At It Again: Suing Moose Whiz Root Beer For Trademark Infringement

        Earlier this year, Moosehead Brewery made the wonderful decision to get into a trademark dispute with the makers of a different beer, called Müs Knuckle, I imagine because trademark lawyers now know both that I’m paying attention to these cases and that I have the sense of humor of a high school sophomore. Moosehead essentially asserted that it owned the trademark rights to anything remotely close to “moose”, including made up words that are homonyms but which have delightfully vulgar connotations. Other than the issue of the word “moose”, none of the trade dress in question had anything remotely to do with one another.

        Which is slightly different in another trademark suit that Moosehead Brewery has initiated. In the case of Moosehead Brewery v. Moose Wizz Root Beer, the labels are somewhat similar in color and logo, though there is certainly differentiation within them as well. The real issue here, instead, is that one of these is an alcoholic drink while the other is just a soda.

    • Copyrights

      • SUPER KAT-EXCLUSIVE: Here’s draft Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market
      • Our ‘Copying Is Not Theft’ T-Shirt Seems To REALLY Upset Some People

        That doesn’t necessarily mean that copying is always legal or morally correct. But it pretty clearly is not theft.

        The shirt is selling fine (get yours soon, because it’s only available for a few more days!), but what’s been surprising is how much it has resulted in pure rage from some people who seem really, really pissed off that we’d dare suggest the simple fact that copying is not theft.

        Earlier this week, we wrote about the head of the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group promising to make counterfeit copies of our t-shirt (which seems a bit… odd, no?), but today I wanted to highlight some of the other responses we’ve received. The fact is, many people do understand the message and seem to appreciate it, but I’m somewhat surprised at those who disagree with it who feel the need to not just disagree, but to act as if merely stating a four word factual sentence is somehow offensive. It started in our comments where someone insisted that saying copying is not theft wasn’t just wrong, but was “ignorant and irresponsible.” Huh.

      • Announcing The Techdirt Greenhouse Salon: The Battle For Copyright Reform

        Several years ago, we hosted a series of really fun events called the Techdirt Greenhouse, which involved getting a lot of smart people together and actively brainstorming on a variety of topics. We’ve been wanting to bring back the Greenhouse events for a while now, and we’re finally going to do so with a new series of evening “Greenhouse Salons” hosted by our Copia Institute. Today we’re announcing the very first of these new Greenhouse Salons, The Battle For Copyright Reform. As you know, there are ongoing efforts to reform copyright around the globe, with a proposal leaked for the EU and one expected shortly in the US.

      • PETA Has Lost Its Monkey’s ‘Next Friend’ In Its Crazy Copyright Case

        The ongoing saga that is the monkey selfie lawsuit has continued to move forward, with the lawyers for photographer David Slater filing their brief in response to PETA’s. As you probably recall, PETA had teamed up with a primatologist named Antje Engelhardt claiming to be “next friends” for the Indonesian macaque monkey named Naruto, who is alleged to have taken the following selfie with David Slater’s camera.

      • 3 copyright tips for students and educators

        Copyright is a really complicated topic, and when it comes to online use of creative works, accidentally crossing the line between fair use and a copyright violation is easy. How do you know what is copyrighted? Recently Frederico Morando (Creative Commons, Italy) and I presented a training session on understanding copyright policies at Wikimania 2016, which was originally proposed by Wikipedian User:Jim Carter. We covered topics such as fundamentals of copyright, exclusive rights, Berne convention, copyleft, Creative Commons licenses, Public Domain, fair use, and copyfraud.

      • The last thing the API economy needs is copyright friction

        The Oracle versus Google verdict set a positive precedent for the future of the API economy, but will it last? What is at stake if the decision is reversed?

        While on the surface Oracle versus Google might seem like a battle for profit between two tech giants, the implications are much more significant. This is a battle for interoperability and the merit-based making of entire markets.


Links 1/9/2016: Fedora 25 Alpha, GhostBSD 10.3, OpenBSD 6.0

Posted in News Roundup at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How eBay Uses Apache Software to Reach Its Big Data Goals

    eBay’s ecommerce platform creates a huge amount of data. It has more than 800 million active listings, with 8.8 million new listings each week. There are 162 million active buyers, and 25 million sellers.

    “The data is the most important asset that we have,” said Seshu Adunuthula, eBay’s head of analytics infrastructure, during a keynote at Apache Big Data in Vancouver in May. “We don’t have inventory like other ecommerce platforms, what we’re doing is connecting buyers and sellers, and data plays an integral role into how we go about doing this.”

  • Technical documentation doesn’t have to be dull
  • University fuels NextCloud’s improved monitoring

    Encouraged by a potential customer – a large, German university – the German start-up company NextCloud has improved the resource monitoring capabilities of its eponymous cloud services solution, which it makes available as open source software. The improved monitoring should help users scale their implementation, decide how to balance work loads and alerting them to potential capacity issues.

    NextCloud’s monitoring capabilities can easily be combined with OpenNMS, an open source network monitoring and management solution.

  • Events

    • Wayland at QtCon

      On Friday QtCon starts and there will be of course an update about the current state of Wayland support in Plasma. See you during the lightning talk session on Friday between 17:30 and 18:30 for my lightning talk “We are in Wayland!”

    • A Webinar on Big Data

      For all you open source data scientists out there, this hour-long recorded webinar explains the big data tools and services you can use on Amazon. I learned a lot of data science lingo watching this video.

    • LinuxCon talk slides: “A Practical Look at QEMU’s Block Layer Primitives”
    • FOSSCON 2016 –Event Recap

      FOSSCON 2016: Free & Open Source Software CONference was hosted at the International house of Philadelphia on Aug 20th 2016, and showcased nearly 20 vendors and nearly as many talks (plus ‘lightning talks’) and a Key Signing party.

    • Most LPC passes sold out; refereed track proposals deadline nears
    • September is here!

      September is the Software Freedom Day month (among other things) since 2005 (SFD 2004 was in August) and this year is no exception! As of last night we have a total of 58 events in 34 countries, with only 42 fully registered (you can see the location on our famous SFD map). There is always a delay between wiki page creation (which includes the plan, speakers, date and location) and the registration which ask organizers to specify where the event will happen.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • The open source backlash is here. Is HPE’s Big Data foray the answer?

      Open source Big Data tools are undoubtedly seen as fresher, hotter and more capable than proprietary resources, but companies are growing tired of sifting through open source for the magic combination that will make their data profitable.

      Some are starting to miss the stewardship of the “proprietary dinosaur,” yet they can’t afford to miss out on open-source innovation. One company is aiming to turn its awkward position in the middle into a value proposition to solve customer conundrums.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


  • Public Services/Government

    • Swiss administrations may share their software

      Public administrations in Switzerland have the right to share their software under an open source licence, conclude Prof. Dr. Tomas Poledna and Prof. Dr. Simon Schlauri, two legal specialists, in a report for the Canton of Bern (Switzerland). The canton says that the report clears the way for the IT department to make available to others the business solutions that were developed for the Bern administration.

    • The US Military Will ‘Be Left Behind’ If It Doesn’t Embrace Open-Source Software, Report Says

      Amid a rising China and Russia, the Pentagon’s slow pace on the software front could cost it tactically for years to come.

      Unless the Defense Department and its military components levy increased importance on software development, they risk losing military technical superiority, according to a new report from the Center for a New American Security.

    • Is United Kingdom a leading country in the FOSS world?

      There is no secret that I am a born Russian living in the United Kingdom. I travel to my motherland for different reasons from time to time.

      I must admit that I am not that fond of the current Russian government. They more often talk about the use of free open source software than make any practical steps toward applying it. I even wrote several critical articles about this a few years ago.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Sweden to compare Nordic eHealth initiatives
    • France assesses its public policy evaluations

      The French government is assessing how it evaluates its public policies. The assessment of its ‘Évaluer les politiques publiques’, (public policy evaluation, EPP) started in July and will last until December. Following 68 EPPs, it is now time to study the evaluation itself, comments SGMAP, France’s government modernisation unit.

    • 6 tips for interviewing with open culture companies

      For the last several years, I’ve been studying under an open organization and future of work guru. And for longer than I can remember, I’ve felt that business should operate differently—really move at the speed their people can innovate rather than standing on who’s held office the longest.

      So you can imagine how long it took for me to embrace the open organization mindset. It was rather like an old school touchdown dance in my mind. I’m excited by the value proposition open organizations present.

      Knowing I wanted to be engaged in a company that leverages the value of those at its table, I decided to begin seeking out one I could join. I knew the impact I could personally have on the world could become exponential if I did.

    • Open Hardware/Modding


  • Thrill-seekers suspended mid-air as Alton Towers Smiler ride is halted

    Thrill-seekers have been left stuck on a rollercoaster at Alton Towers which last year crashed, seriously injuring five people.

    The theme park visitors were on the Smiler when there was a “temporary stoppage” but nobody was injured, a spokesman said.

    The £18 million ride at the Staffordshire attraction smashed into another carriage on June 2, 2015.

  • Security

  • Finance

    • The new TTIP? Meet TISA, the ‘secret privatisation pact that poses a threat to democracy’

      An international trade deal being negotiated in secret is a “turbo-charged privatisation pact” that poses a threat to democratic sovereignty and “the very concept of public services”, campaigners have warned.

      But this is not TTIP – the international agreement it appears campaigners in the European Union have managed to scupper over similar concerns – this is TISA, a deal backed by some of the world’s biggest corporations, such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Walt Disney, Walmart, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.

    • A ‘private, global super court’ you’ve never heard of is changing the world

      A little-known international arbitration system is gaining global power and allowing multinational corporations to sue entire countries.

      Buzzfeed News spent months reporting on the scope and power of the investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, and just published a nearly 10,000-word investigative report on the system. If you don’t have two hours to go through the whole tome, here are some highlights.

    • Apple: You can have taxes or you can have jobs, but you can’t have both

      Apple’s official statement on the European Union ruling against its Irish tax arrangements tells you all you need to know about what is at stake: You can have taxes or you can have jobs, but Apple is in no mood to deliver both.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Former Bush official endorses Clinton

      Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday picked up an endorsement from another member of former President George W. Bush’s administration.

      “Secretary Clinton has demonstrated her skills as Secretary of State, especially but by no means exclusively in helping other Asian countries counter Chinese bullying in the western Pacific,” James Clad, the former deputy assistant secretary of Defense under Bush, said in a statement.

      “For Republicans and Democrats alike, everything in national security requires clarity and steadiness, whether managing nuclear weapons or balancing great power rivalries.”

      Clad talked about the importance of never losing sight of national interest. He said that is a “discipline which Secretary Clinton possesses in full measure.”

      “Our adversaries must never hear flippancy or ignorance in America’s voice,” he added.

      “They should never take satisfaction from an incompetent president. Giving an incoherent amateur the keys to the White House this November will doom us to second or third class status.”

      Clad tied in his own experiences, saying he has seen what can happen when “American reliability falters.”

      “It’s not pretty, for us or for the world,” he said.

    • A New McCarthyism: Greenwald on Clinton Camp’s Attempts to Link Trump, Stein & WikiLeaks to Russia

      Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald says Democrats have adopted a “Cold War McCarthyite kind of rhetoric” by accusing many its critics of having ties to Russia. “It’s sort of this constant rhetorical tactic to try and insinuate that anyone opposing the Clintons are somehow Russian agents, when it’s the Clintons who actually have a lot of ties to Russia, as well,” Greenwald said. “I mean, the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton helped Russian companies take over uranium industries in various parts of the world. He received lots of Russian money for speeches.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Did the UN Redefine ‘Hate Speech’ over a Singaporean Blogger?

      The United Nations’ comments on a controversial Singaporean blogger “effectively narrows the definition of ‘hate speech’ under international law,” a U.S. human rights advocacy group says.

      Seventeen-year-old Amos Yee (余澎杉) faces potential jail time after posting controversial material related to the beliefs of Christians and Muslims in videos, blogs and Facebook posts. The trial, which started on Aug. 17, is still on-going, but Yee has pleaded guilty to three of six charges of intending to wound religious feelings and two counts of not reporting to a police station.

    • Microsoft services to crack down on ‘hate speech’

      The end may be nigh for trolls on Skype and Xbox. Microsoft is launching a customer support service that allows users to report hate speech. Conversely, the new system also includes an appeals forum to reinstate contested content.

      For hate mongers on the internet, Microsoft would become judge, jury and executioner. On Friday, the software conglomerate rolled out a new system for airing grievances regarding hate speech posted on Microsoft-hosted services.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Building a new Tor that can resist next-generation state surveillance

      Since Edward Snowden stepped into the limelight from a hotel room in Hong Kong three years ago, use of the Tor anonymity network has grown massively. Journalists and activists have embraced the anonymity the network provides as a way to evade the mass surveillance under which we all now live, while citizens in countries with restrictive Internet censorship, like Turkey or Saudi Arabia, have turned to Tor in order to circumvent national firewalls. Law enforcement has been less enthusiastic, worrying that online anonymity also enables criminal activity.

      Tor’s growth in users has not gone unnoticed, and today the network first dubbed “The Onion Router” is under constant strain from those wishing to identify anonymous Web users. The NSA and GCHQ have been studying Tor for a decade, looking for ways to penetrate online anonymity, at least according to these Snowden docs. In 2014, the US government paid Carnegie Mellon University to run a series of poisoned Tor relays to de-anonymise Tor users. A 2015 research paper outlined an attack effective, under certain circumstances, at decloaking Tor hidden services (now rebranded as “onion services”). Most recently, 110 poisoned Tor hidden service directories were discovered probing .onion sites for vulnerabilities, most likely in an attempt to de-anonymise both the servers and their visitors.

    • NSA ‘Cyber Weapons’ Leak Shows How Agency Prizes Online Surveillance Over Online Security

      With a name like the National Security Agency, America’s chief intelligence outfit might at least attempt to promote American security online. At the very least, one would hope its activities don’t actively undermine U.S. cybersecurity. But—bad news—a recent leak of the agency’s digital spy tools by a myterious group called the Shadow Brokers shows how the agency prioritizes online surveillance over online security.

    • FBI Director wants ‘adult conversation’ about backdooring encryption

      FBI Director James Comey is gathering evidence so that in 2017 America can have an “adult” conversation about breaking encryption to make crimefighters’ lives easier.

      Speaking at Tuesday’s 2016 Symantec Government Symposium in Washington, Comey banged on about his obsession with strong cryptography causing criminals to “go dark” and making themselves harder to catch. Comey said that once the election cycle is over, he will be resuming his push to force technology companies to bork their own products, and this time armed with plenty of supporting documentation.

      “The conversation we’ve been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that’s fine. Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country,” he said, AP reports.

    • Comey: FBI wants ‘adult conversation’ on device encryption

      FBI Director James Comey warned again Tuesday about the bureau’s inability to access digital devices because of encryption and said investigators were collecting information about the challenge in preparation for an “adult conversation” next year.

    • James Comey Claims He Wants An ‘Adult Conversation’ About Encryption; Apparently ‘Adults’ Ignore Experts

      This is not just insulting, but counterproductive. Plenty of experts have been trying their damnedest to have an “adult conversation” with Comey, explaining to him why he’s wrong about the risks of “going dark,” while others have — in fairly great detail — explained the serious dangers behind Comey’s approach.

      Comey’s response to these efforts so far has been the equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and screaming “nah, nah, nah — can’t hear you!” while repeating his “nerd harder” mantra.

      An “adult conversation” has to be one where someone in Comey’s position is able to admit that maybe, just maybe, he’s wrong. It’s not one where he gets to keep demanding a new conversation until people tell him that night is day. Because that’s just silly.

      This new claim about an “adult conversation” is also stupidly counterproductive. All it’s going to do is make the actual experts here — like the authors of that MIT paper on the dangers of backdoor — dig in and have absolutely no interest in dealing with Comey. How could you when he so flippantly brushes off all the work they’ve done already?

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • De Lima: No shortcut to law and order

      Sen. Leila de Lima admitted that there is a need to intensify the campaign against illegal drugs in the country but with the least number of killings.

      The neophyte senator suggested that the country’s criminal justice system and law enforcement should be reformed.

      “There should be no shortcuts in trying to achieve law and order in our society,” De Lima said in an interview with CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday morning.

      The senator added that law enforcers and prosecutors should be trained in the “proper manner” for them to be more efficient.

    • De Lima files 7th case vs Marcos’ ‘hero’ burial at SC

      Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed the seventh legal challenge against the plan to bury dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng Bayani, on the eve of the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the divisive issue.

      In her 38-page petition, De Lima said that “no President has the power to rewrite history.”

      De Lima argued that interring Marcos’ remains at the heroes’ cemetery would go against the very spirit of the 1987 Constitution, as the charter was crafted precisely to prevent the abuses committed under his regime.

    • By Sitting Down Kaepernick Challenges Americans to Reflect on What They Really Stand For

      Standing up and singing the Star-Spangled Banner before sporting events is a time honored American tradition. It is a rousing anthem that champions in song the nation’s values of freedom and liberty for all. It is also meant to remind fans in the stadium and at home that there are more important things that unite us than sporting rivalries.

      At the heart of this ritual is a profound contradiction. It too often serves as a force for forgetfulness. In belting out “O say can you see” Americans are allowed to unthinkingly celebrate the USA. They can forget for a moment the illegal invasions of foreign countries that have left millions dead. They can turn the mind away from the black citizens being killed by police with seemingly almost total legal immunity. They can close their eyes to the fact that they are now an oligarchy ruled by corporate elites and their bipartisan political supporters instead of a vibrant democracy governed for, by and of the people.

      There is a also a deeper forgetting at play. It is to overlook the country’s history of systematic racism starting with slavery. It is to be given a few minutes pause to close one’s eyes to its tradition of classism at home and economic exploitation abroad. It is a stirring moment of collective amnesia to an America’s past that from the beginning has continually betrayed its avowed commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for many of its citizens as well as those it has oppressed around the world.


      Kaepernick’s rejection of the anthem is therefore a political protest that should not and cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, so much of the coverage is on that action itself as opposed to what it represents.

      The tragedy of the anthem is that its music all too commonly drowns out genuine voices for justice. It is a blaring cacophony of American triumph that silences all critical reflection. The tune and the words stir emotions so that those singing it no longer have to hear the cries of its country’s victims.

    • Homeland eyes special declaration to take charge of elections

      Even before the FBI identified new cyberattacks on two separate state election boards, the Department of Homeland Security began considering declaring the election a “critical infrastructure,” giving it the same control over security it has over Wall Street and the electric power grid.

      The latest admissions of attacks could speed up that effort possibly including the upcoming presidential election, according to officials.

      “We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.


Links 30/8/2016: Fedora 24 Reviewed, Ubuntu Patched

Posted in News Roundup at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Linux, Linus, Bradley, and Open Source Protection

      In a nutshell, this rather heated (and at times unnecessarily personal) debate has focused on when is the right time to defend the rights on the GPL. Bradley is of the view that these rights should be intrinsically defended as they are as important (if not more important) than the code. Linus is of the view that the practicalities of the software industry mean sending in the lawyers can potentially have an even more damaging effect as companies will tense up and choose to stay away.

    • Evolving a Best-of-Breed IoT Framework by Gregory Burns
    • 2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Tetevi Placide Ekon: Learning Computer Science Online

      Tetevi Placide Ekon is a graduate student studying civil engineering at the 2iE Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced this month.

      Since receiving his bachelor’s degree in water and environmental engineering and moving onto graduate school, he has nurtured a passion for computer science, and especially open source. Tetevi has completed free courses covering Linux, Apache big data systems and more, and he plans to use this scholarship to pursue more advanced training.

    • Raspberry Pi Zero Will Likely Be Supported On Linux 4.9

      It’s looking like the Raspberry Pi Zero might be playing fine out-of-the-box with the upcoming Linux 4.9 kernel cycle.

      Eric Anholt posted his weekly VC4 driver status/changes. In there the Intel-turned-Broadcom developer commented, “Finally, I landed Stefan Wahren’s Raspberry Pi Zero devicetree for upstream. If nothing goes wrong, the Zero should be supported in 4.9.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Running Caffe AlexNet/GoogleNet On Some CPUs Compared To NVIDIA CUDA

        With working on some Broadwell-EP Linux comparison benchmarks this weekend, as part of that onslaught of benchmarks I decided to run the CPU-only Caffe build on a few different Intel CPUs. For fun, afterwards I checked to see how the performance compares to Caffe with CUDA+cuDNN on a few Maxwell/Pascal GPUs.

      • A Slew Of RadeonSI Gallium3D Fixes To Kick Off The Week

        After already making a ton of improvements to the RadeonSI Gallium3D stack this month, Marek Olšák is looking to end the month on a high note with yet more fixes to the open-source AMD driver.

        What’s more fun than seeing on a Monday morning [PATCH 00/20] Plenty of RadeonSI fixes. The 20 patches take care of a variety of RadeonSI fixes. Marek commented, “This series contains mostly fixes, i.e. for DCC, cubemaps, tessellation, texture views, Gather4, viewport depth range, etc. There are also some new HUD queries.”

  • Applications

    • Avidemux 2.6.13 Open-Source Video Editor Gets AAC/ADTS Import and Export

      The developers of the Avidemux open-source and cross-platform video editor software have announced a new maintenance update in the 2.6 series, bringing multiple improvements, bug fixes, and a handful of new features.

    • A Quick Hands-On With Chatty, A Desktop Twitch Chat Client

      Chatty is a desktop Twitch Chat client for Windows, macOS and Linux written in Ja

    • HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.16.8 Adds Support for Linux Mint 18, Fedora 24

      The open-source HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP) project has been updated on August 29, 2016, to version 3.16.8, a maintenance update that adds support for new printers and GNU/Linux operating systems.

      According to the release notes, HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.16.8 adds support for new all-in-one HP printers, including HP OfficeJet Pro 6970, HP OfficeJet Pro 6960, HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile, HP DeskJet 3700, as well as HP DeskJet Ink Advantage 3700.

      Also new in the HPLIP 3.16.8 update is support for the recently released Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, and the upcoming KDE editions, the Fedora 24 Linux operating system, as well as the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 “Jessie” distribution. So if you’re using any of these OSes, you can now update to the latest HPLIP release.

    • MPlayer-Based MPV 0.20.0 Video Player Released with New Options and Commands

      The popular, open-source, and cross-platform MPV video player software received a new update, version 0.20.0, which comes only two weeks after the previous 0.19.0 maintenance release.

      MPV 0.20.0 is not a major update, and, according to the release notes, it only implements a couple of new options and commands, such as “–video-unscaled=downscale-big” for changing the aspect ratio.

      Additionally, the MPlayer-based video playback application also gets the “–image-display-duration” option for controlling the duration of image display, and a new “dcomposition” flag for controlling DirectComposition.

    • FFmpeg 3.1.3 “Laplace” Open-Source Multimedia Framework Now Available for Linux

      The major FFmpeg 3.1 “Laplace” open-source and cross-platform multimedia framework has received recently its third maintenance update, version 3.1.3, which brings updated components.

      FFmpeg 3.1 was announced two months ago, at the end of June, and it introduced a multitude of new features to make the popular multimedia backend even more reliable and handy to game and application developers. Dubbed Laplace, FFmpeg 3.1 is currently the most advanced FFmpeg release, cut from Git master on June 26, 2016.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Romp Home with these 21 Peerless ASCII Games

        Linux has a raft of open source games. The vast majority of these games are atheistically pleasing. Popular games often have full motion video, vector graphics, 3D graphics, realistic 3D rendering, animation, texturing, a physics engine, and much more. Computer graphics have been advancing at a staggering pace. At the current rate of progress, in the next 10 years it may not be possible to distinguish computer graphics from reality.

        Early computer games did not have these graphic techniques. The earliest video games were text games or text-based games that used text characters rather than vector or bitmapped graphics.

        Text-based games are often forgotten and neglected. However, there are many ASCII gems out there waiting to be explored which are immensely addictive and great fun to play. The developers’ works featured in this article focus on content and fun gameplay.

      • Editorial: I ditched SteamOS in favour of a normal Linux distribution for my gaming

        I have been debating whether to write this up for a while, but here I am. I have completely ditched SteamOS in favour of Ubuntu Mate.

        If you follow me on Twitter, you would have probably known this article was coming due to how frustrating an experience it has been for me.

        I was spurred on due to the BoilingSteam website writing about it, and they echo some of my own thoughts and frustrations.

        Recently I was sat with my son and wanted to play a point & click adventure game called Putt-Putt with him. SteamOS needed to restart to update, so I did and it just flashed into a black screen. We waited quite a long time to see if anything happened but nothing did. After rebooting, the system was completely broken with another black screen.

      • In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor has been cancelled and refunds are being offered

        Well I didn’t see this coming at all, I got told in our IRC moments ago that In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor has been cancelled and refunds are being offered.

      • Hot Lava announced by Klei Entertainment, Linux support is planned
      • Vanguard Princess, a popular 2D fighting game is now on Linux & SteamOS

        Fighting games are in short supply on Linux, so Vanguard Princess has come along to help fill the void for us. A few moments ago they announced the Linux version is good to go!

      • Kingdom Rush Frontiers is now available on Linux

        Kingdom Rush Frontiers the latest Tower Defence game from Ironhide Game Studio has just released for Linux! This update also adds in more languages.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO: Taking Open Source Beyond the Data Center

        When Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst spoke at LinuxCon last week, he hardly mentioned RHEL or the company’s stack. Instead, he focused almost entirely on Linux in general and the open source development model in particular. This wasn’t a surprise, as there probably isn’t an organization on the planet with a deeper understanding of open source methodology and its potential. It’s how it built free software into a $2 billion business.

        Most people familiar with Red Hat know the company’s broader vision for open source — sometimes referred to as “the open source way” — goes beyond software, so it also wasn’t much of a surprise when Whitehurst’s talk strayed from data centers and workstations and into areas not normally associated with IT at all.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 24 review: The year’s best Linux distro is puzzlingly hard to recommend

          Fedora 24 is one of the best Linux distro releases you’re likely to see this year. And there are two other releases that I did not have room to cover in depth here: the Server and Cloud variants of Fedora 24, which pack in a ton of new features specific to those environments. The cloud platform especially continues to churn out the container-related features, with some new tools for OpenShift Origin, Fedora’s Platform-as-a-Service system built around Google’s Kubernetes project. Check out Fedora Magazine’s release announcement for more on everything that’s new in Server and Cloud.

          As always, Fedora WorkStation also comes in a variety of “Spins” that are pre-packaged setups for specific use cases. There are prepacked spins of all the major desktops, including Xfce, KDE, MATE, Cinnamon, and LXDE (you can also get alternative desktops in one go by downloading the DVD installer). Spins aren’t just for desktops, though. For example, there’s an astronomy spin, a design suite spin, robotics-focused spin, a security spin, and several more. None of these spins have anything you can’t set up yourself, but if you don’t want to put in the time and effort, Fedora can handle that for you.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” Users Receive the Latest Debian Security Updates

          Today, August 29, 2016, the maintainers of the Parsix GNU/Linux distribution announced the availability of multiple security updates, along with a new kernel version for the Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” release.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 16.10 Wallpaper Contest Is Now Open For Entries

            Doors have opened on the Ubuntu 16.10 Wallpaper Contest.

            Few desktop operating systems offer amateur and professional illustrators, photographers and graphic designers the chance to have their artwork seen by millions of people around the world.

            But then, Ubuntu isn’t your average operating system!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • The Peppermint Twist Is Still Cool

              Peppermint is a solid Linux operating system with a record for good performance and reliability. It is an ideal choice for handling everyday computing chores.

              LXDE provides a fast and friendly desktop environment. The entire desktop package and tweaked Peppermint 7 settings give you lots of options for creating a comfortable platform. My only dissatisfaction is the lack of much in the way of desktop animation effects. All it provides are semi-transparent application interfaces in the background.

              The Peppermint community is headed by the Peppermint OS LLC, a software company based in Asheville, North Carolina. Founded in 2010, the open source company issues one major release per year. A partial upgrade rolls out periodically.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Compact, rugged Skylake computer-on-module is big on PCIe

      Kontron’s Linux-ready “COMe-cSL6” COM Express Compact Type 6 module offers 10 PCIe lanes, up to 24GB RAM and 32GB eMMC, and industrial temperature support.

    • Credit card-sized module runs Linux on Braswell

      Axiomtek’s credit card-sized “CEM300” module runs Linux on Intel Braswell SoCs at 4-6W TDP and offers HD graphics, dual SATA III ports, and four PCIe lanes.

      Like Axiomtek’s Atom E3800 “Bay Trail” based CEM846 computer-on-module, its new CEM300 supports Linux and Windows, and uses the 84 x 55mm COM Express Type 10 Mini form factor. The CEM300 advances to 14nm Intel Braswell SoCs, which offer much improved Intel HD Graphics Gen8, while reducing TDPs to a 4W to 6W range. Supported models include the quad-core 1.6GHz (2.4GHz burst) Pentium N3700, the quad-core Celeron N3160, and the dual-core Celeron N3060.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • New NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Console Shows Up At The FCC

          While the Xiaomi Mi Box does seem to be inching closer towards its release and while this is expected to be the next big major device release for the Android TV platform, the last week has seen speculation mounting as to what NVIDIA might have up their sleeves. This is because a new SHIELD Controller popped up on the FCC and this was then followed by new filings for a new SHIELD Remote control. Of course, just because the two controller accessories were passing through the FCC, it does not automatically mean there will also be a new SHIELD Android TV device coming as well. Although on this particular occasion, that looks to be exactly what is happening.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Remembering Vernon Adams

    Open-source font developer Vernon Adams has passed away in California at the age of 49. [Vernon Adams] In 2014, Adams was injured in an automobile collision, sustaining serious trauma from which he never fully recovered. Perhaps best known within the Linux community as the creator of KDE’s user-interface font Oxygen, Adams created a total of 51 font families published through Google Fonts, all under open licenses. He was also active in a number of related free-software projects, including FontForge, Metapolator, and the Open Font Library. In 2012, he co-authored the user’s guide for FontForge as part of Google’s Summer of Code Documentation Camp, which we reported on at that time.

  • BSD

    • The Voicemail Scammers Never Got Past Our OpenBSD Greylisting

      We usually don’t see much of the scammy spam and malware. But that one time we went looking for them, we found a campaign where our OpenBSD greylisting setup was 100% effective in stopping the miscreants’ messages.

      During August 23rd to August 24th 2016, a spam campaign was executed with what appears to have been a ransomware payload. I had not noticed anything particularly unusual about the bsdly.net and friends setup that morning, but then Xavier Mertens’ post at isc.sans.edu Voice Message Notifications Deliver Ransomware caught my attention in the tweetstream, and I decided to have a look.

    • Why FreeBSD Doesn’t Aim For OpenMP Support Out-Of-The-Box

    • GNU Scientific Library 2.2 released

      Version 2.2 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C.

      This release contains new linear algebra routines (Pivoted and Modified Cholesky, Complete Orthogonal Decomposition, matrix condition number estimation) as well as a completely rewritten nonlinear least squares module, including support for Levenberg-Marquardt, dogleg, double-dogleg, and Steihaug-Toint methods.

      The full NEWS file entry is appended below.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Report: If DOD Doesn’t Embrace Open Source, It’ll ‘Be Left Behind’

      Unless the Defense Department and its military components levy increased importance on software development, they risk losing military technical superiority, according to a new report from the Center for a New American Security.

      In the report, the Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan think tank argues the Pentagon, which for years has relied heavily on proprietary software systems, “must actively embrace open source software” and buck the status quo.

      Currently, DOD uses open source software “infrequently and on an ad hoc basis,” unlike tech companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook that wouldn’t exist without open source software.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The Honey Trap of Copy/Pasting Open Source Code

      I couldn’t agree more with Bill Sourour’s article ‘Copy.Paste.Code?’ which says that copying and pasting code snippets from sources like Google and StackOverflow is fine as long as you understand how they work. However, the same logic can’t be applied to open source code.

      When I started open source coding at the tender age of fourteen, I was none the wiser to the pitfalls of copy/pasting open source code. I took it for granted that if a particular snippet performed my desired function, I could just insert it into my code, revelling in the fact that I’d just gotten one step closer to getting my software up and running. Yet, since then, through much trial and error, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to use open source code effectively.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Affordable, Open Source, 3D Printable CNC Machine is Now on Kickstarter

        The appeals of Kickstarter campaigns are many. There are the rewards for backers, frequently taking the form of either deep discounts on the final product or unusual items that can’t be found anywhere else. Pledging to support any crowdfunding campaign is a gamble, but it’s an exciting gamble; just browsing Kickstarter is pretty exciting, in fact, especially in the technological categories. Inventive individuals and startups offer new twists on machines like 3D printers and CNC machines – often for much less cost than others on the market.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Standards and Open Source

      Much has changed in the telecommunications industry in the years since Standards Development Organization (SDOs) such as 3GPP, ITU and OMA were formed. In the early days of telecom and the Internet, as fundamental technology was being invented, it was imperative for the growth of the new markets that standards were established prior to large-scale deployment of technology and related services. The process for development of these standards followed a traditional “waterfall” approach, which helped to harmonize (sometimes competing) pre-standard technical solutions to market needs.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Illinois Sues Controversial Drug Maker Over Deceptive Marketing Practices

      Illinois’ attorney general has filed suit against Insys Therapeutics, accusing the controversial pharmaceutical company of using deceptive marketing practices — including paying an indicted doctor thousands of dollars for “sham” speaking events — to sell its signature pain medication.

      It’s not unusual for drug makers to pay doctors who have histories of misconduct for consulting or speaking about their products. A recent ProPublica analysis found that more than 2,300 doctors with records of discipline in five states had received payments from drug and medical device companies since 2013.

      Insys was one of more than 400 companies that made payments to such doctors, but its activities have received far more attention than those of its peers.

      According to investigations in several states, Insys’ business model relied on funneling substantial payments to the doctors who most frequently prescribed its drugs, even if they had troubling disciplinary records or even criminal histories. These payments were mostly for services related to Subsys, a fentanyl-based medication approved by the FDA to treat patients suffering from cancer pain resistant to other types of opioid drugs.

    • CETA Leaves Bad Taste on Food Safety: Report

      While debate rages in Europe about CETA, the Canada-EU trade agreement, a new report warns that the deal could lower food safety standards.

      Food Safety, Agriculture and Regulatory Cooperation in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, released today by the Council of Canadians and numerous European partners, outlines the regulatory differences between Canada and the EU that could jeopardize European food safety and production standards.

      European farmers, who have been struggling as farm prices crash, will have to compete with Canadian imports.

    • Yet Another Transatlantic Trade Deal Threatening Food Safety, Groups Warn

      The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial trade deal between Canada and the European Union (E.U.), threatens food safety and other consumer standards, according to a new report by a coalition of advocacy groups.

      Even as other global trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) fall apart amid failed negotiations, consumers and workers around the world still aren’t in the clear. According to Food Safety, Agriculture and Regulatory Cooperation in the Canada-E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (pdf), released by groups including the Council of Canadians, War on Want, and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, European farmers under CETA will have to compete with Canadian imports while contending with “no animal welfare penalties and lower safety standards.”

    • ‘Just Cut the Price’: Consumer Groups Unimpressed With EpiPen Generic

      The maker of the emergency allergy medication EpiPen, Mylan, on Monday announced a generic version of the drug amid a price-gouging scandal—indicating that, as journalist Sonali Kolhatkar wrote on Twitter, public outrage can create change—but consumer groups say it’s too little, too late.

      “The weirdness of a generic drug company offering a generic version of its own branded but off-patent product is a signal that something is wrong,” said Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy organization Public Citizen, in a statement on Monday. “Today’s announcement is just one more convoluted mechanism to avoid plain talk, admit to price gouging, and just cut the price of EpiPen.”

      Mylan was accused in July of having incrementally hiked its EpiPen prices over time until they reached $600 per two-pen set—a 500 percent increase that was well out of reach for many consumers who need the medical tools in life-threatening allergy situations.

      It was also later revealed that the company’s executives gave themselves exorbitant bonuses and avoided paying taxes while they jacked up the cost of the medication.

  • Security

    • 5 Best Linux Distros for Security

      Security is nothing new to Linux distributions. Linux distros have always emphasized security and related matters like firewalls, penetration testing, anonymity, and privacy. So it is hardly surprising that security conscious distributions are common place. For instance, Distrowatch lists sixteen distros that specialize in firewalls, and four for privacy.

      Most of these specialty security distributions, however, share the same drawback: they are tools for experts, not average users. Only recently have security distributions tried to make security features generally accessible for desktop users.

    • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and 12.04 LTS Users Get New Kernel Updates with Security Fixes

      Immediately after informing us about the availability of a new kernel update for the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, Canonical published more security advisories about updated kernel versions for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

    • Canonical Patches Eight Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

      Just a few minutes ago, Canonical published multiple security advisories to inform the Ubuntu Linux community about the availability of new kernel updates for all of its supported Ubuntu OSes, including Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

    • FBI detects breaches against two state voter systems

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation has found breaches in Illinois and Arizona’s voter registration databases and is urging states to increase computer security ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election, according to a U.S. official familiar with the probe.

      The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday that investigators were also seeking evidence of whether other states may have been targeted.

      The FBI warning in an Aug. 18 flash alert from the agency’s Cyber Division did not identify the intruders or the two states targeted.

      Reuters obtained a copy of the document after Yahoo News first reported the story Monday.

    • Russians Hacked Two U.S. Voter Databases, Say Officials [Ed: blaming without evidence again]

      Two other officials said that U.S. intelligence agencies have not yet concluded that the Russian government is trying to do that, but they are worried about it.

    • FBI Says Foreign Hackers Got Into Election Computers

      We’ve written probably hundreds of stories on just what a dumb idea electronic voting systems are, highlighting how poorly implemented they are, and how easily hacked. And, yet, despite lots of security experts sounding the alarm over and over again, you still get election officials ridiculously declaring that their own systems are somehow hack proof.

      And now, along comes the FBI to alert people that it’s discovered at least two state election computer systems have been hacked already, and both by foreign entities.

    • Researchers Reveal SDN Security Vulnerability, Propose Solution

      Three Italian researchers have published a paper highlighting a security vulnerability in software-defined networking (SDN) that isn’t intrinsic to legacy networks. It’s not a showstopper, though, and they propose a solution to protect against it.

      “It” is a new attack they call Know Your Enemy (KYE), through which the bad guys could potentially collect information about a network, such as security tool configuration data that could, for example, reveal attack detection thresholds for network security scanning tools. Or the collected information could be more general in nature, such as quality-of-service or network virtualization policies.

    • NV Gains Momentum for a Secure DMZ

      When it comes to making the shift to network virtualization (NV) and software-defined networking (SDN), one of the approaches gaining momentum is using virtualization technology to build a secure demilitarized zone (DMZ) in the data center.

      Historically, there have been two major drawbacks to deploying firewalls as a secure mechanism inside a data center. The first is the impact a physical hardware appliance has on application performance once another network hop gets introduced. The second is the complexity associated with managing the firewall rules.

      NV technologies make it possible to employ virtual firewalls that can be attached to specific applications and segregate them based on risk. This is the concept of building a secure DMZ in the data center. The end result is that the virtual firewall is not only capable of examining every packet associated with a specific application, but keeping track of what specific firewall rules are associated with a particular application becomes much simpler.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Thousands of migrants rescued off Libya

      About 6,500 migrants have been rescued off Libya, the Italian coastguard says, in one of the biggest operations of its kind to date.

      Some 40 co-ordinated rescue missions took place about 20km (12 miles) off the Libyan town of Sabratha, it added.

      Video footage shows migrants, said to be from Eritrea and Somalia, cheering and some swimming to rescue vessels, while others carried babies aboard.

      On Sunday more than 1,100 migrants were rescued in the same area.

    • Can Americans Overthrow The Evil That Rules Them?

      Hillary is a warmonger, perhaps the ultimate and last one if she becomes president, as the combination of her hubris and incompetence is likely to result in World War 3. On July 3, 2015, Hillary declared: “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m president, we will attack Iran. . . . we would be able to totally obliterate them.” http://www.globalresearch.ca/hillary-clinton-if-im-president-we-will-attack-iran/5460484?print=1 The crazed Hillary went on from this to declare the President of Russia to be “the new Hitler.” Little doubt she thinks she can obliterate Russia also.

    • The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria

      It says a lot about post-failed-coup Turkey that you can spot the priority list of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s foreign antagonists from the Government’s reactions to a massacre. The slaughter of at least 50 Kurdish wedding guests by a suicide bomber in the border city of Gaziantep on Saturday was swiftly blamed on Isis. Erdogan said it was the “likely” culprit. Certainly the target fits Isis’ gruesome track record.

      But then Erdogan’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Simsek, broadened the scope of Turkey’s enemies. Describing the mass killing as “barbaric” – which it surely was – he then listed the “terror groups” who were targeting Turkey: the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers Party), Isis and the followers of Fethullah Gulen, the exiled and rather eccentric cleric whom Erdogan still claims organised the attempted military coup in July.

    • US Calls ‘Unacceptable’ Turkey’s Attack on Kurdish Fighters in Syria

      The United States has criticized as “unacceptable” the fighting between forces backed NATO ally Turkey and U.S.-backed pro-Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, just days after the U.S. and Russia suggested there was no imminent ceasefire to the conflict that has killed at least a quarter of a million people.

      “We are closely monitoring reports of clashes south of Jarabulus—where ISIL [Islamic State or ISIS] is no longer located—between the Turkish armed forces, some opposition groups, and units that are affiliated with the SDF (Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces),” Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

      As Reuters explains, the SDF is a “a coalition that encompasses the Kurdish YPG militia and which has been backed by Washington to fight the jihadists.”

    • Rousseff Warns of Threat to Brazil’s Democracy as “Coup” Nears End

      Suspended President Dilma Rousseff testified during her impeachment trial on Monday, rejecting the charge that she manipulated government accounts, and warning that the “future of Brazil is at stake.”

      “I did not commit the crimes that I am unjustly accused of,” she said in her 30-minute address to the senate, adding, “I’m afraid that democracy will be damned with me.”

      “I can’t help but taste the bitterness of injustice,” the 68-year-old told senators.

      Rousseff has been suspended since May. She—and others—have labeled the impeachment effort a coup, saying the charge that she illegally handled the budget in a way to make it look like it was in a better position than it was is just pretext for removing her from office and putting an end to 13 years of rule by her Workers’ Party.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • White New Orleans Has Recovered from Hurricane Katrina. Black New Orleans Has Not.


      That’s how many fewer African-Americans are living in New Orleans now than prior to Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall 11 years ago today. Nearly 1 in 3 black residents have not returned to the city after the storm.

      It was the worst urban disaster in modern U.S. history. Eighty percent of New Orleans lay under water after the epic collapse of the area’s flood-protection system—more than 110,000 homes and another 20,000 plus businesses, along with most of the city’s schools, police and fire stations, electrical plans, and its public transportation system.

    • In Blow to Colorado Residents, Anti-Fracking Measures Fail to Make Ballot

      Fracking opponents vowed to keep up the fight in Colorado on Monday after it was announced that measures seeking to restrict fracking in the state had failed to make the 2016 ballot.

      Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Monday that supporters failed to collect enough “valid voter signatures” for Initiatives 75 and 78, which would have given local authorities more power to regulate fracking and implemented mandatory setbacks for oil and gas activity around schools, playgrounds, and hospitals, respectively.

    • Colorado is no longer heading to a vote on fracking this November. The state found too few valid signatures.

      Initiatives 75 and 78, which would have allowed new restrictions on oil-and-gas development, now face a steep uphill battle to get on the November ballot.

  • Finance

    • Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Social Security

      Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has released a new ad that reveals that either he doesn’t understand Social Security or he wants to galvanize opposition to Social Security. Either way, his rhetoric undermines our collective security.

      In his ad, Trump wrongly attacks immigrants and refugees. Contrary to Trump’s claims, unauthorized workers do not receive Social Security. In fact, while they contribute to Social Security through their jobs, they cannot receive Social Security. Undocumented immigrants are not even eligible for means-tested welfare programs like Supplemental Security Income. There is no ambiguity or debate: They are not eligible for Social Security’s earned benefits.

      Unauthorized workers have billions of dollars in Social Security contributions deducted from their pay checks each year. Social Security’s chief actuary estimates that in the last 10 years they have paid more than $100 billion into Social Security. But, under the law, they are not eligible for benefits.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill Stein is a pro-immigration environmentalist and still wants to poach Trump votes

      In an interview with Circa, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein discussed her plan to fight climate change, erase student debt and win over Donald Trump supporters.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein says Colorado leading the way to the future

      With ballot proposals that would revamp the state’s health care system, raise the minimum wage, and allow local governments to regulate fracking, Colorado is blazing a path that the rest of the country should follow, Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate told a crowd in Denver.

      “Colorado is leading the charge. These are the things we need to do at the national level,” Stein, a 66-year-old physician, told a packed house at the Mercury Cafe on Sunday.

      Stein said providing Medicare for all U.S. citizens would revitalize the poorly working health care system by redirecting funds into services that now are spent on administration, bloated salaries for executives, and other costs.

    • Why Hillary Clinton Republicans Matter

      Not since Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign has there been such widespread public disavowal by Republicans of their party’s nominee. The Hillary Clinton Republicans will be one of the most important legacies of the 2016 campaigns.

      The question is whether they will constitute the forward end of a political realignment, or just a one-time reaction to the unsuitability of Donald Trump for the presidency.

      Reasons for skepticism about long-term change are rooted in the differences between today’s polarized politics and the more tempered partisanship surrounding the big-bang elections of 1964 and 1980.

      In 1964, there was a lively liberal wing of the Republican Party. GOP figures such as Jacob Javits, Clifford Case, Edward Brooke and John Lindsay had far more in common philosophically with Lyndon Johnson than they did with Goldwater.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Regardless of Trump, Journalists Must Do Their Homework and Investigate Clinton

      Donald Trump has become “such a kind of dangerous presence on the American landscape that a lot of people have become afraid of doing their jobs and scrutinizing his opponent,” Glenn Greenwald told “Democracy Now!”

      Greenwald made his observation as media outlets have launched into Donald Trump’s business and tax history and conducted investigations into the lives and past work of current and former Trump campaign officials Steve Bannon and Paul Manafort.

      Giving a demonstration of the kind of scrutiny he wants his colleagues to practice, Greenwald asked why the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia and other tyrannical states in the Persian Gulf.

    • Dead Abe Lincoln Says: Vote Gary Johnson

      Via their site and using Facebook, they link a voter who would like to vote Libertarian from a specific state who says they would feel obligated to vote Hillary Clinton if they had no other choice to another voter who says they’d feel obligated to vote Trump in that situation.

    • Sanders Will Campaign for Dems, But Won’t Give Party Coveted Email List

      In an email to supporters on Monday, Bernie Sanders highlighted four hotly-contested races that he says will likely determine the Senate majority: Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio and Nevada.

      “The Koch brothers know this. That is why they are spending tens of millions of dollars to defeat these four candidates for Senate,” Sanders wrote. “And that’s why I’m asking you to support them: Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, Ted Strickland in Ohio, and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada.”

      “I want to be clear,” he continues. “It is very important that our movement holds public officials accountable. The Democratic Party passed an extremely progressive agenda at the convention. Our job is to make sure that platform is implemented. That will not happen without Democratic control of the Senate.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Transparency Hunters Capture More than 400 California Database Catalogs

      A team of over 40 transparency activists aimed their browsers at California this past weekend, collecting more than 400 database catalogs from local government agencies, as required under a new state law. Together, participants in the California Database Hunt shined light on thousands upon thousands of government record systems.

      California S.B. 272 requires every local government body, with the exception of educational agencies, to post inventories of their “enterprise systems,” essentially every database that holds records on members of the public or is used as a primary source of information. These database catalogs were required to be posted online (at least by agencies with websites) by July 1, 2016.

    • Hacker Shows Us How to Unlock a Laptop Using an NSA Tool

      Around Christmas in 2013, a German newsmagazine published a large cache of leaked NSA files, detailing several spy tools used by the NSA.

      The leaked documents were dubbed ANT (Advanced Network Techniques) Catalog, and showed that the US spy agency had a wide array of tools to spy on people’s computers and, as they put it, get the “ungettable.” The tools ranged from a set of fake cellular base stations that hijack phone calls, a USB plug to steal data as soon as it’s connected to a computer, and “radio frequency reflectors,” devices that beam radio signals to other devices, forcing them to beam data back.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Appeals Court Tosses Search Warrant Used By Louisiana Sheriff In Attempt To Silence Critical Blogger

      The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals has just ended Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry “Censorious Dumbass” Larpenter’s attempt to silence a critic through the magic of abusing his power. The sheriff obtained a warrant to raid a blogger’s house, using the state’s mostly-unconstitutional criminal defamation law to justify the search. The blogger had pointed out that Larpenter’s wife works for an insurance agency that provides coverage for the local government — something that looked just a wee bit corrupt.

      Larpenter didn’t care for this, so he took his search warrant application — and a complaint by Tony Alford, who runs the insurance company that Larpenter’s wife works for — to an off-duty judge to get it signed. This same judge later declared the warrant to be perfectly legal when challenged by lawyers representing the blogger. The blogger’s lawyers appealed [PDF] this decision, which has resulted in the warrant [PDF] being killed. Naomi Lachance of The Intercept has more details.

    • Maine’s “Instant Runoff” Proposal Could Banish Its Governor From State Politics

      Maine’s colorful governor, Republican Paul LePage, has once again grabbed headlines — this time for leaving a profanity-laced voicemail for an opposition lawmaker and then declaring that the “overwhelming majority” of Maine’s “enemy” are “people of color.”

      LePage’s antics have left many people outside Maine wondering how the bland, sensible state ever elected him. The answer’s straightforward: LePage has never needed a majority of Maine’s votes to win. Maine has a standard first-past-the-post voting system plus a strong tradition of third parties and politicians running as independents. With multiple candidates running against LePage during his two races for governor, he was able to squeak into office both times with just a plurality of votes.

      In 2010, LePage was elected with just 37.6 percent of the vote. In 2014, he received 48.2 percent of the vote. In each election, a combination of independent and Democratic Party candidates received the majority of the votes.

    • Kids in Handcuffs?

      WHEN A KENTUCKY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY was caught on camera handcuffing an 8-year-old boy with disabilities, it made national headlines. But the problem runs deeper than one overzealous officer, say ACLU attorneys who sued the deputy and the Kenton County sheriff’s office in federal court under the Fourth and 14th Amendments and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    • Do Over, Please: EFF and ACLU Ask Ninth Circuit to Revisit Two Dangerous CFAA Rulings

      Imagine being convicted of a crime for logging into a friend’s social media account with their permission? Or for logging into your spouse’s bank account to pay a bill, even though a pop-up banner appeared stating that only account holders were permitted to access the system? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last month issued two decisions—by two different 3-judge panels in two separate cases—which seem to turn such actions into federal crimes. We teamed up with the ACLU and ACLU of Northern California to ask the court to review both decisions en banc—with 11 judges, not just 3—and issue a ruling that will ensure innocent Internet users are not transformed into criminals on the basis of innocuous password sharing. We want the court to come up with a clear and limited interpretation of the notoriously vague statute at the heart of both cases, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

    • Kaepernick vs. Trump: Making America Great Again
    • In ‘Tacit Admission’ of Cruelty, DHS Says It Too May End For-Profit Prisons

      On the heels of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) “important and groundbreaking decision” to phase out the use of private prisons, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has just signaled that it may follow in those footsteps—a move that would heed human rights advocates’ call for the agency to end “prison profiteers in our inhumane immigration system.”

      In a statement released Monday, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson says he asked the Homeland Security Advisory Council to establish a subcommittee tasked with evaluating “whether the immigration detention operations conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] should move in the same direction” as the DOJ, with their findings to be submitted by Nov. 30.

      Among those welcoming the news was Human Rights First’s Jennifer Quigley, who said, “Private immigration detention facilities are inconsistent with international human rights standards and are largely unnecessary.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 29/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC4, Maru OS Source Code

Posted in News Roundup at 5:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • BSODs at scale: we laugh at your puny five storeys, here’s our SIX storey #fail

    It’s an easy drive-by troll, isn’t it? Last week, we asked readers to top the five-storey Blue Screen of Death spotted in Thailand, and examples big and small flooded the inbox.

    Manchester Piccadilly Station is either vying for the crown with last week’s entry, or perhaps it’s a display from the same maker. Thanks to James for catching this shot from 2013.

  • Server

    • Cost Effective Linux Server Software for Enterprises

      The advantages of a Linux server over expensive Windows systems are numerous with hardly any drawbacks. Since Linux is not dominant as Windows, there are some slight difficulties to find applications based on this platform to support the needs. While security stands as an important aspect for servers, the advantage over dominant operating systems is that security flaws are caught in Linux, even before they become an issue for the public.

      Linux was one of the first open-source technologies in which you can download the source code and change it any way you like. Several Linux coders have developed software that’s completely open-source for any user, improving the security and usability at each core.

    • Weigh the pros, cons of three Linux load balancer options

      Nginx, HAProxy and Linux Virtual Server are three different Linux load balancer to consider for multiserver, high-traffic requests in the data center.

    • Monitoring of Monitoring

      I was recently asked to get data from a computer that controlled security cameras after a crime had been committed. Due to the potential issues I refused to collect the computer and insisted on performing the work at the office of the company in question. Hard drives are vulnerable to damage from vibration and there is always a risk involved in moving hard drives or systems containing them. A hard drive with evidence of a crime provides additional potential complications. So I wanted to stay within view of the man who commissioned the work just so there could be no misunderstanding.

      The system had a single IDE disk. The fact that it had an IDE disk is an indication of the age of the system. One of the benefits of SATA over IDE is that swapping disks is much easier, SATA is designed for hot-swap and even systems that don’t support hot-swap will have less risk of mechanical damage when changing disks if SATA is used instead of IDE. For an appliance type system where a disk might be expected to be changed by someone who’s not a sysadmin SATA provides more benefits over IDE than for some other use cases.

      I connected the IDE disk to a USB-IDE device so I could read it from my laptop. But the disk just made repeated buzzing sounds while failing to spin up. This is an indication that the drive was probably experiencing “stiction” which is where the heads stick to the platters and the drive motor isn’t strong enough to pull them off. In some cases hitting a drive will get it working again, but I’m certainly not going to hit a drive that might be subject to legal action! I recommended referring the drive to a data recovery company.

      The probability of getting useful data from the disk in question seems very low. It could be that the drive had stiction for months or years. If the drive is recovered it might turn out to have data from years ago and not the recent data that is desired. It is possible that the drive only got stiction after being turned off, but I’ll probably never know.

  • Kernel Space

    • Windows 10 vs. Linux Radeon Software Performance, Including AMDGPU-PRO & RadeonSI

      As alluded to earlier and on Twitter, the past few days I have been working on a fresh Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux graphics/gaming performance comparison. This time it’s looking at the latest Radeon performance using an R9 Fury and RX 480. Tests on Windows were obviously done with Radeon Software Crimson Edition while under Linux were the two latest AMD/RTG Linux driver options: the hybrid AMDGPU-PRO driver and the fully open-source driver via Linux 4.8 and Mesa 12.1-dev.

    • Linux Kernel 3.10.103 LTS Has Lots of MIPS Improvements, Updated Radeon Drivers

      Today, August 28, 2016, Linux kernel developer Willy Tarreau announced the release of the one hundred and third maintenance update to the long-term supported Linux 3.10 kernel series.

      For some reason, the Linux 3.10 kernel branch is still getting updates, and this new version promises to add quite some improvements and updated drivers, as, according to the appended shortlog and the diff from the Linux kernel 3.10.102 LTS build, a total of 161 files have been changed, with 1800 insertions and 1293 deletions.

    • Collabora’s Devs to Bring Performance Improvements to Emulated NVMe Devices

      We reported earlier this month that Collabora’s developers contributed patches to the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel to bring the open source Intel graphics driver on par with its Windows equivalent.

      And now Softpedia was informed by Collabora’s Mark Filion about some other interesting patches contributed by Collabora’s developers to the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel. These patches promise to add huge performance improvements to emulated NVMe devices.

    • Linux 4.8-rc4

      Another week, another -rc.

      Everything looks normal, and it’s been a bit quieter than rc3 too, so
      hopefully we’re well into the “it’s calming down” phase. Although with
      the usual timing-related fluctuation (different maintainers stagger
      their pulls differently), it’s hard to tell a trend yet.

      Regardless, it all looks pretty small. I think the biggest thing in
      there is a skylake power management fix that came in as part of the
      gpu updates just before I was about to cut the rc4 release. Oh well.
      The other slightly larger change is some btrfs fixes.

      But on the whole those things don’t look that scary, and the rest is
      all really pretty tiny fixes spread out: various driver subsystems
      (sound, rdma, block), kvm, and some arch updates.

      The usual shortlog below for the details -it’s small and easy to scan
      to get a taste for the kind of things we’ve had.

      Go forth and test.


    • Linux 4.8-rc4 Kernel Released

      Continuing his Sunday tradition, Linus Torvalds released a few minutes ago the Linux 4.8-rc4 kernel.

      This latest weekly development installment of the Linux 4.8 kernel features a variety of bug/regression fixes, including some last minute DRM fixes that made it into this kernel release.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.8 RC4 with Skylake Power Management Fix

      It’s Sunday evening, so guess what you’ll be doing in the next few hours? Yes, that’s right, Linus Torvalds has just announced the fourth RC (Release Candidate) version of the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel branch.

    • Kernel prepatch 4.8-rc4
    • Linus rages at GNU enforcement

      Open Sauce’s Mr Sweary has gone off on lawyers making money on GPL enforcement.

      Linus Torvalds waded into the Software Freedom Conservancy and Bradley Kuhn over the question of enforcing compliance of the GPL General Public Licence.

      Software Freedom Conservancy head Karen Sandler made a mistake when she suggested that Linuxcon in Toronto should include a session on GPL enforcement.

      A number of developers think that while discussing enforcement issues was topical and necessary, doing it at a conference of this kind could well lead to people who took part being deposed later on by lawyers for their own cases.

    • How IoTivity and AllJoyn Could Combine

      At the Embedded Linux Conference in April, Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) Executive Director Mike Richmond concluded his keynote on the potential for interoperability between the OCF’s IoTivity IoT framework and the AllSeen Alliance’s AllJoyn spec by inviting to the stage Greg Burns, the chief architect of AllJoyn. Burns briefly shared his opinion that not only was there no major technical obstacle to combining these two major open source IoT specs, but that by taking the best of both standards, a hybrid could emerge that improves upon both.

      Later in the day, Burns gave a technical overview of how such a hybrid could be crafted in “Evolving a Best-of-Breed IoT Framework.” (See video below.) Burns stated in both talks that his opinions in no way reflect the official position of OCF or the AllSeen Alliance. At the time of the ELC talk in April, Burns had recently left his job as VP of Engineering at Qualcomm and Chair of the Technical Steering Committee at the AllSeen Alliance to take on the position of Chief IoT Software Technologist in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel Corp.

    • ​Linus Torvalds’ love-hate relationship with the GPL

      Linux’s founder appreciates what the GNU General Public License has given Linux, but he doesn’t appreciate how some open-source lawyers are trying to enforce it in court.

    • Linus Torvalds reflects on 25 years of Linux

      LinuxCon North America concluded in Toronto, Canada on August 25th, the day Linux was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, and Dirk Hohndel, VP and chief of open source at VMware, sat down for a conversation at the event and reflected upon the past 25 years. Here are some of the highlights of that conversation.

    • 6 things you should know from Linux’s first 25 years

      Red Hat was founded in 1993, two years after Linux was announced and the company has been one of the top contributors to Linux. There is a symbiotic relationship between the company and the project. Whitehurst pointed out that it’s hard to talk about the history of Red Hat without talking about Linux and vice versa.

    • There Is Talk Of Resuming OpenChrome VIA KMS/DRM Driver Development

      Two or so years back or so it was looking hopeful that the mainline Linux kernel would finally have a proper VIA DRM/KMS driver for the unfortunate ones still have VIA x86 hardware and using the integrated graphics. However, that work was ultimately abandoned but there is talk of it being restored.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Clarity (Vector Design) Icon Theme for Linux Desktop’s

      Clarity Icon Theme is completely different from other icon themes because its purly based on Vector design. This theme is based on AwOken and Token, lots of shapes and basic color pallete was taken from these icons. Few icons was taken from Raphael. used some shapes from OpenClipart, Wikipedia, Humanity and AnyColorYouLike Themes. The rest of icons designed by developer by simplifying existed icons or logos. Two types of fonts used Impact and Cheboygan.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Builder 3.22 Enters Beta with Many Vim Improvements, New Search & Replace

        The GNOME Builder open-source IDE (Integrated Development Environment) designed for the GNOME desktop environment will soon get a major update as part of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 release.

      • GUADEC 2016

        I have just returned from our annual users and developers conference. This years’ GUADEC has taken place in the lovely Karlsruhe, Germany. It once again was a fantastic opportunity to gather everyone who works pretty hard to make our desktop and platform the best out there. :)

      • GUADEC 2016, Karlsruhe

        Nice thing this year was that almost everyone was staying in the same place, or close; this favoured social gatherings even more than in the previous years. This was also helped by the organized events, every evenings, from barbecue to picnic, from local student-run bar to beer garden (thanks Centricular), and more.

        And during the days? Interesting talks of course, like the one offered by Rosanna about how the foundation runs (and how crazy is the US bank system), or the Builder update by Christian, and team meetings.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Debian-Based Q4OS 1.6 “Orion” Linux Distro Launches with Trinity Desktop 14.0.3

        Softpedia has been informed today, August 28, 2016, by the developer of the Debian-based Q4OS GNU/Linux distribution about the immediate availability for download of a new stable release to the “Orion” series, version 1.6.

        The biggest new feature of the Q4OS 1.6 “Orion” release is the latest Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) 14.0.3 desktop environment, an open source project that tries to keep the spirit of the old-school KDE 3.5 desktop interface alive. Q4OS was used the most recent TDE version, so Q4OS 1.6 is here to update it.

        “The significant Q4OS 1.6 ‘Orion’ release receives the most recent Trinity R14.0.3 stable version. Trinity R14.0.3 is the third maintenance release of the R14 series, it is intended to promptly bring bug fixes to users, while preserving overall stability,” say the Q4OS developers in the release announcement.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • LuLu Group migrates to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

        LuLu Group has selected SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications to help business managers faster identify and respond to new opportunities and competitive threats.

        Headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, the international retailer runs 124 outlets and operates in 31 countries. It welcomes more than 700,000 shoppers daily.

        Since starting its retail journey in the early 1990s, LuLu Group expanded its business aggressively and required advanced technology to optimise its business.

        Hence, it migrated from Solaris UNIX to SUSE Linux as platform for SAP solutions, reducing SAP landscape operating costs at least 20 percent.

      • SUSE’s Role in the History of Linux and Open Source

        What role did SUSE play in the growth of Linux and the open source ecosystem? How did SUSE and other Linux-based operating systems evolve into the enterprise platforms they are today? Here’s what SUSE employees had to say about Linux history in a recent interview.

        To help mark the anniversary of Linus Torvalds’s release of Linux twenty-five years ago, I interviewed Meiki Chabowski, SUSE Documentation, and Markus Feilner, Strategist & Documentation Team Lead. Their answers, printed below, provide interesting perspective not only on the history of SUSE, but also of Linux and open source as a whole.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Multiple vulnerabilities in RPM – and a rant

        Last year in November I decided that it might be a good idea to fuzz the parsers of package management tools in Linux distributions. I quickly found a couple of issues in DPKG and RPM. For DPKG the process went very smooth. I reported them to Debian’s security team, eight days later fixes and security advisories were published by both Debian and Ubuntu, the main distributions using DPKG. For RPM the process was a bit more difficult.

      • Commvault announces support for Red Hat Virtualisation 4

        Back-up and archive specialist CommVault has announced support for Red Hat Virtualisation 4, the open source company’s kernel-based virtual machine powered virtualisation platform.

        Red Hat Virtualisation 4 is built on the company’s enterprise Linux distribution. It provides a centralised management platform for both Linux- and Windows-based workloads.

      • Microsoft, Red Hat Look To Steal VMware Customers

        Unfortunately for competitors, VMware has executed on its software strategy consistently enough to stay one step ahead of the prediction of eminent downfall. If it had faltered or introduced a highly defective product, it might have left more of an opening for Microsoft. But instead it has added value to its products and expanded those products into data center operations and virtual networking with such regularity that even IT managers who want to leave have found it hard to cut the cord.

      • VMware New Cloud Plan: Sell Stuff for Rival Clouds
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • GSoC Wrap Up

          GSoC 2016 finished last week and i am writing this blog to list the work done by me in last three months for Fedora. My project was to adjust pagure and write script(s) so that we can have pkgs.fedoraproject.org on a pagure instance.

        • Flatpak Universal Linux Package Supports Local Path References for Git Sources

          Alex Larsson from the Flatpak project has announced the release of a new maintenance update to the universal binary package format for Linux kernel-based operating systems.

          Flatpak 0.6.9 is now the latest version, and it promises to add many great enhancements, among which we can mention the ability to pass partial references every time a terminal command takes a runtime or application name, as well as a brand new command called build-commit-from.

          Application developers who want to package their apps and distribute it in the Flatpak format can use the above-mentioned command for creating new commits based on the contents of an existing commit, which can be from another local repository or a remote one.

        • Getting involved with the Fedora kernel

          There are countless ways to contribute to open source projects like Fedora. Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to contribute is by helping with the Linux kernel in Fedora. At Flock 2016, I gave a talk about the state of the Fedora kernel. One of the themes of the talk was getting more people involved. The kernel is a project for everyone and all are welcome to take part. This article details what you can do to become a part of the kernel.

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible builds: week 70 in Stretch cycle
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu’s Mir May Be Ready For FreeSync / Adaptive-Sync

            The Mir display server may already be ready for working with AMD’s FreeSync or VESA’s Adaptive-Sync, once all of the other pieces to the Linux graphics stack are ready.

            If the comments from this Mir commit are understood and correct, it looks like Mir may be ready for supporting FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync.

            While NVIDIA’s proprietary driver supports their alternative G-SYNC technology on Linux, AMD FreeSync (or the similar VESA Adaptive-Sync standard) has yet to be supported by the AMD Linux stack. We won’t be seeing any AMD FreeSync support until their DAL display stack lands. DAL still might come for Linux 4.9 but there hasn’t been any commitment yet by AMD developers otherwise not until Linux 4.10+, and then after that point FreeSync can ultimately come to the open-source AMD driver. At least with the AMDGPU-PRO driver relying upon its own DKMS module, DAL with FreeSync can land there earlier.

  • Devices/Embedded