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Links 4/4/2016: Linux 4.6 RC2, Wine-Staging Release 1.9.7

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 1btn: A Powerful, Open Source, And Hackable Button For The Internet
  • 11 Excellent Open Source Solutions for Home Automation

    Home Automation software is software that lets you control and monitor common home and office appliances using a computer. Home automation used to be confined to turning on and off lights and appliances. But the possibilities are much wider letting users build a wireless network, automate TV and hi-fi, monitor pets when you are away, set up an answering system, create a weather station – integrating an abundance of different home automation technologies into one.

    Many home automation systems use proprietary networking protocols. The protocols used will be specific to the company that developed the system. The software company may favor such an approach as it ties the customer to their products only. However, this can only be detriment to the user of the home automation system. It is therefore important to evaluate a home automation system to ensure that it is built on open protocols. All of these solutions are released under an open source license.

    Do not think home automation is just for geeks. It is now mainstream and a burgeoning industry. Become an home automation expert and try out these finest open source software for home automation. There are some real gems here. Many users flock to Domoticz and openHAB, but one of the others listed here may be a better fit for your requirements.

  • eBay Joins FIDO, Contributes Open-Source Authentication Server

    The FIDO Alliance, which is working to deliver stronger forms of authentication for online access, expands such efforts with eBay’s help.
    The FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance is gaining momentum, with eBay joining the effort and contributing a new open-source Universal Authentication Framework compliant server.

    FIDO is a multistakeholder initiative whose aim is to enable stronger forms of authentication for online access. The big milestone event for FIDO occurred in December 2014 when the group announced the Universal Second Factor (U2F) and UAF 1.0 specifications.

  • Education

    • Studying the relationship between remixing & learning

      With more than 10 million users, the Scratch online community is the largest online community where kids learn to program. Since it was created, a central goal of the community has been to promote “remixing” — the reworking and recombination of existing creative artifacts. As the video above shows, remixing programming projects in the current web-based version of Scratch is as easy is as clicking on the “see inside” button in a project web-page, and then clicking on the “remix” button in the web-based code editor. Today, close to 30% of projects on Scratch are remixes.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • The French Revolution Is In Doubt In 2016

      The basic concepts of FLOSS are now in the public eye. The public has been using FLOSS browsers and operating systems for a decade or longer and they know it. Will they be fooled? Will they be afraid? I don’t think so. Further, any politician who thinks this is a non-issue is about to receive an education.


  • Science

    • A Space Archaeologist May Have Found a Second Viking Settlement In Canada [iophk: free Vinland from the yoke of Canadian oppression]

      A thousand years before East Coast hosers went for the first rip in history, vikings may have walked the same land in Newfoundland.

      This discovery comes courtesy of “space archaeologist” Sarah Parcak, who used satellite imagery taken from space to pick out possible man-made shapes in Newfoundland, south of L’Anse aux Meadows. Parcak’s team, which includes Canadians, did some digging and found evidence of iron-working, which suggests that vikings might have made it all the way to the land of the donair.

      It’s not a sure thing, but if it’s true, then the Newfoundland site will be the second confirmed viking settlement in Canada, and in all of North America.

    • [Older] The man who studies the spread of ignorance

      In 1979, a secret memo from the tobacco industry was revealed to the public. Called the Smoking and Health Proposal, and written a decade earlier by the Brown & Williamson tobacco company, it revealed many of the tactics employed by big tobacco to counter “anti-cigarette forces”.

      In one of the paper’s most revealing sections, it looks at how to market cigarettes to the mass public: “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

  • Security

    • My first DSA
    • Linux Ransomware and why everyone could be affected [Ed: Bitdefender ad as ‘article’]
    • Kaiten targets Linux routers, gateways, access points and now IoT

      Change default passwords on network equipment even if it is not reachable from the Internet.

    • Security is really about Risk vs Reward

      Every now and then the conversation erupts about what is security really? There’s the old saying that the only secure computer is one that’s off (or fill in your favorite quote here, there are hundreds). But the thing is, security isn’t the binary concept: you can be secure, or insecure. That’s not how anything works. Everything is a sliding scale, you are never secure, you are never insecure. You’re somewhere in the middle. Rather than bumble around about your risk though, you need to understand what’s going on and plan for the risk.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Greenpeace reveals Indonesia’s forests at risk as multiple companies claim rights to same land​

      Compiled over almost a decade by Greenpeace using data from provincial governments, resource companies and others, the interactive maps highlight the vast scale of the concession overlap. Across more than 7m hectares – an area equivalent to the Republic of Ireland – licences for the same concessions have been allocated to as many as four palm, pulpwood, logging or coal mining companies at a time.

      With no central land registry in Indonesia, campaigners say the result is a mess of competing claims. Companies may end up thinking they have the right to clear land that another company or government body has pledged to protect from deforestation.

      The federal ministry of environment and forestry grants the rights to develop land for pulpwood and selective logging, whereas coal mining and palm oil concessions are granted by local and provincial officials.

    • Lost in Nicaragua, a Chinese Tycoon’s Canal Project

      There are also concerns about the seismic activity in the area, or the many volcanos. Some analysts point to China’s poor record on environmental matters and Mr. Wang’s inexperience in building anything, let alone a $50 billion (some say $80 billion) canal carving through miles of protected areas that are home to many endangered species, including the jaguar, and legally recognized indigenous lands. The little-known Mr. Wang made his fortune in telecommunications, not in construction.

    • Future for Oil As World Shifts to Combat Climate Change

      Carbon Tracker Initiative advisor Paul Spedding discusses why this oil price drop is different with Alix Steel on “Bloomberg Markets.”

  • Finance

    • Panama Papers: Ex-MPs, Lords And David Cameron’s Father ‘Named In Offshore Finance Leak’

      Former Conservative MPs, peers and David Cameron’s late father are among scores of people and politicians whose financial affairs have been exposed by a massive leak of data about offshore investments.

      The leak of more than 11 million documents from the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, casts an unprecedented light on the way the rich and powerful are able to use tax havens to shield their wealth.

      Ian Cameron, the prime minister’s father who died in 2010, is reportedly named as a client of the firm. Six members of the House of Lords, three former Conservative MPs and “dozens” of donors to UK political parties who have been shown to have had offshore assets – although none have so far been named.

    • Iceland’s prime minister walks out of interview over tax haven question – video

      Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the prime minister of Iceland, walks out of an interview with Swedish television company SVT. Gunnlaugsson is asked about a company called Wintris, which he says has been fully declared to the Icelandic tax authority. Gunnlaugsson says he is not prepared to answer such questions and decides to discontinue the interview, saying: ‘What are you trying to make up here? This is totally inappropriate’

    • The Panama Papers: what you need to know

      It is a Panama-based law firm whose services include incorporating companies in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands. It administers offshore firms for a yearly fee. Other services include wealth management.

    • US companies holding $2.1 trillion offshore profits

      There’s enough cash sitting in offshore bank accounts to wipe out the federal deficit — if only it was subject to U.S. taxes.

      That’s because U.S. companies are saving some $620 billion by parking profits outside the country, according to the latest accounting from Citizens for Tax Justice and U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

      At least 358 large U.S. companies collectively maintain 7,622 separate overseas subsidiaries holding $2.1 trillion in profits, the group said in a report Tuesday. (The estimated tax bill comes from corporate regulatory filings.)

    • #PanamaPapers breaks the Internet with revelations of global corruption
    • Leak boosts Panama’s image as money-laundering hub

      A huge data leak from a law firm in Panama suggesting it hid billions of dollars in assets of global politicians, sports stars and entertainers threatened Sunday to dramatically boost the country’s reputation as an offshore haven for money laundering.

    • Iceland’s PM faces calls for snap election after offshore revelations

      Iceland’s prime minister is this week expected to face calls in parliament for a snap election after the Panama Papers revealed he is among several leading politicians around the world with links to secretive companies in offshore tax havens.

      The financial affairs of Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and his wife have come under scrutiny because of details revealed in documents from a Panamanian law firm that helps clients protect their wealth in secretive offshore tax regimes. The files from Mossack Fonseca form the biggest ever data leak to journalists.

    • Brazil’s former top judge hid price he paid for Miami condo

      When Brazilian news outlets found out then-Supreme Court chief justice Joaquim Barbosa had bought a Brickell condo in 2012, they asked the well-respected jurist how much he paid.

      Barbosa refused to say.

      The problem? In Florida, real-estate sales are public.

      But not Barbosa’s.

      Miami-Dade County property records seemed to suggest the 61-year-old paid a big, fat zero for his one-bedroom condo at Icon Brickell, one of the trendy neighborhood’s best-known condo towers.

    • Enormous document leak exposes offshore accounts of world leaders

      ….40 years of records and information about more than 210,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions.

    • Panama Papers Q&A: How assets are hidden and taxes dodged

      The revelations in the millions of papers leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca uncovering a suspected money laundering ring run by close associates of Vladimir Putin may leave readers drowning in a sea of confusing terms and phrases.

      Although there are legitimate ways of using tax havens, most of what has been going on is about hiding the true owners of money, the origin of the money and avoiding paying tax on the money.

      If you are a wealthy business owner in Germany who has decided to evade tax, an international drugs dealer or the head of a brutal regime, the methods are all pretty similar.

      Mossack Fonseca says it has always complied with international protocols to ensure the companies it incorporates are not used for tax evasion, money-laundering, terrorist finance or other illicit purposes.

    • Massive leak reveals money rings of global leaders

      A massive, anonymous leak of financial documents from a Panamanian law firm has revealed an extensive worldwide network of offshore “shell” companies — including ones with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin — that allow the wealthy to hide their assets from taxes and, in some cases, to launder billions in cash, a German newspaper alleges.

      The documents, combed through in the past year by dozens of journalists worldwide, show links to 72 current or former heads of state, including dictators accused of looting their own countries.

    • Panama Papers: Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca – the lawyers whose firm is at the centre of global controversy

      John le Carre’s 1996 novel, The Tailor of Panama, tells the story of Harry Pendel, a British tailor who serves the great and good but whose refusal to come clean about his past almost leads to his downfall. In Panama, he believes, discretion is the only way.

      For more than four decades, the law firm Mossack Fonseca – whose twisting saga may even have been beyond the imagination of le Carre – has adopted a similar strategy of discretion and survival.

      If the documents obtained and analysed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) are to be believed, the firm that has its headquarters not far from those of the fictional Harry Pendel, has had financial dealing with a total of 128 politicians and public officials around the world. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

    • Panama vows to cooperate if legal fallout from ‘Panama Papers’ leak

      Panama’s government vowed Sunday to “vigorously cooperate” with any legal probe that might be launched in the wake of the “Panama Papers” data leak.

      “The Panamanian government will vigorously cooperate with any request or assistance necessary in the event of any legal action occurring,” it said in a statement.

    • The Panama Papers: how the world’s rich and famous hide their money offshore

      The hidden wealth of some of the world’s most prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities has been revealed by an unprecedented leak of millions of documents that show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes.

      The Guardian, working with global partners, will set out details from the first tranche of what are being called “the Panama Papers”. Journalists from more than 80 countries have been reviewing 11.5m files leaked from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm.

    • Who’s involved
    • Documents leaked from a Panamanian law firm reveal a global web of corruption

      German authorities had known about the connection between Mossack Fonseca and some criminal elements for at least two years. A whistleblower at the firm had sold information to the authorities, according to the story in the Suddeutsche Zeitung on the history of the Panama Papers’ leak.

    • About the Panama Papers

      Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sells anonymous offshore companies around the world. These shell firms enable their owners to cover up their business dealings, no matter how shady.

      In the months that followed, the number of documents continued to grow far beyond the original leak. Ultimately, SZ acquired about 2.6 terabytes of data, making the leak the biggest that journalists had ever worked with. The source wanted neither financial compensation nor anything else in return, apart from a few security measures.

    • A storm is coming

      At the time, the country’s three biggest banks folded within just three days, in part because their senior executives had illegally doctored the stock listings of their own banks. “Market manipulation”, as Hauksson curtly calls it.

    • Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak

      The Suddeutsche Zeitung, which received the leak, gives a detailed explanation of the methodology the corporate media used to search the files. The main search they have done is for names associated with breaking UN sanctions regimes. The Guardian reports this too and helpfully lists those countries as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The filtering of this Mossack Fonseca information by the corporate media follows a direct western governmental agenda. There is no mention at all of use of Mossack Fonseca by massive western corporations or western billionaires – the main customers. And the Guardian is quick to reassure that “much of the leaked material will remain private.”

      What do you expect? The leak is being managed by the grandly but laughably named “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists”, which is funded and organised entirely by the USA’s Center for Public Integrity. Their funders include

      Ford Foundation
      Carnegie Endowment
      Rockefeller Family Fund
      W K Kellogg Foundation
      Open Society Foundation (Soros)

      among many others. Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished.

    • Oxfam reaction to Panama Papers tax leak

      “Tax avoidance is a local problem, as well as a global one – and the Australian Government must act now.

    • Mossack Fonseca: The Nazi, CIA And Nevada Connections… And Why It’s Now Rothschild’s Turn

      These include the Nazis, the CIA, Mexican drug lords, and of course, the U.S.

    • Massive Document Leak Details Offshore Accounts Connected to Putin and Other Leaders
    • Panama Papers: Vladimir Putin associates, Jackie Chan identified in unprecedented leak of offshore financial records
    • 5 things to know about the Panama Papers

      A massive data leak of files from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca went online Sunday, in a collaboration by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, exposing how the world’s ultra-rich manage their offshore accounts.

    • What you need to know about the #PanamaPapers investigation

      Eleven million leaked documents published on Sunday reveal how a secretive law firm based in Panama may have helped world leaders such as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak move money.

      The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung acquired the Panama Papers, of the firm Mossack Fonseca, through an anonymous source and shared it with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which distributed them to more than 100 media organizations worldwide.

    • Transparency International calls for immediate action by world leaders to stop secret companies
    • Want to hide your cash? This PanamaPapers game tells you how

      The Panama papers ICIJ website has created a flash game giving players tips to create offshore accounts and evade taxes. Titled ‘StairWay to Tax Heaven,’ it essentially shows three characters which include a soccer player, a politician, and a business executive.

      “Welcome to the secret world of offshore. Your goal is to navigate this parallel universe and hide your cash away. Don’t worry! Lawyers, wealth managers, and bankers are there to help you.

      Pick a character and don’t get caught,” reads the page.

      Each character you select puts you in a hypothetical situation where you’re asked to pick up an option. Depending on what you click, you’ll be given a final option which will determine whether you made the right move or is it game over for you.

    • Failing to provide the resources HMRC needs to tackle tax abuse is in itself a form of corruption

      Let’s be clear that corruption takes many forms. Failing to provide the resources needed to tackle corruption is, in itself and in my opinion, a form of corruption. The turning of the blind eye that it both implies and even endorses helps these corrupt practices take place with, at most, limited risk. That has to be a corrupt practice.

    • Panama tax leak reaction
    • Panama Papers: Huge leak alleges elites hiding money

      Several major media outlets have published the results of an investigation into the financial dealings of the rich and powerful, based on a vast trove of documents handed over by an anonymous source.

      The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ), a nonprofit group in the US, said the cache of 11.5 million records detailed the offshore holdings of a dozen current and former world leaders, as well as businessmen, criminals, celebrities and sports stars.

    • Jobs Report Blues

      In short, corporations maximized short-run profits by ruining their domestic consumer market along with the personal income and sales tax base for government. It is unclear that this extraordinary mistake can be unwound.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How Israeli Propaganda Succeeds

      The United States is one gentile culture where the Zionist narrative dominates. Key to this is control of language, controlling thought. U.S. pollster Frank Luntz was commissioned to maintain this, producing a “dictionary” of language to use — a playbook for shading domination as defense.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Oculus Rift has some shady stuff in their terms & privacy policy

      Shocker, the Facebook owned Oculus Rift VR device has some pretty concerning stuff in its terms and conditions.

      Starting note: I’m really not surprised by any of this since Facebook own it, but it’s still not good.

    • We’ve streamlined the fight against Big Brother!

      You’ll now receive private StartPage search results on Ixquick.com. We’ve merged our two search engines so we can focus on fighting Big Brother, rather than maintaining two different brands.

      StartPage by Ixquick gives you actual Google search results with the full privacy guarantees of Ixquick. Google never sees you – and, of course, neither do we.

    • Who, What, Where, and Why: The FBI/NSA Mass Surveillance Collaboration

      Dragnet surveillance: Need to make a bust? Doesn’t matter for what. Just listen in!

      That pretty much sums up what could soon become the status quo for law enforcement in America.

      Executive action by the Obama administration is expected to authorize direct sharing of information collected by the NSA with the FBI. In other words, the FBI will be able to directly access unfiltered streams of NSA data. It will basically allow the NSA to spy for local cops.

    • Senator: let’s fix “third-party doctrine” that enabled NSA mass snooping

      This past week hundreds of lawyers, technologists, journalists, activists, and others from around the globe descended upon a university conference center to try to figure out the state of digital rights in 2016. The conference, appropriately dubbed “RightsCon,” featured many notable speakers, including Edward Snowden via video-conference, but relatively few from those inside government.

    • Rise of Ad Blocking Is the Ad Industry’s Fault, Says Outgoing FTC Commissioner

      A commissioner at the US Federal Trade Commission who is leaving the agency after six years of working on consumer privacy issues has some critical words for the ad industry.

      Speaking with Ad Age, departing FTC commissioner Julie Brill lamented the current state of consumer tracking and data collection on the web, linking the rampant rise of ad blockers with the ad industry’s foot-dragging and non-cooperation in the commission’s efforts to create privacy systems based on user consent.

      “We’ve seen an incredible rise in consumers taking matters into their own hands, which is precisely what I said would happen back then,” said Brill, who has tackled a host of consumer privacy issues during her tenure at the FTC.

    • FBI fights back against court order demanding Tor exploit source code

      The FBI is dragging its heels on a court order which requires the agency to reveal how an exploit was used against the Tor network to find a suspected child pornography viewer and their true IP address.

      US law enforcement says that revealing the source code of the Tor exploit, used to infiltrate the surveillance-thwarting network, is not necessary to the case, while the judge behind the order, Robert Bryan, considers it a “fair question” to ask how the defendant was caught.

      Jay Michaud, a school administrator from Vancouver, Washington, is the focus of the criminal case. Michaud was arrested on charges of downloading child pornography in July, 2015.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How many H-1B workers are female? U.S. won’t say

      When the U.S. begins accepting applications for new H-1B skilled-worker visas today, we can be certain that tech workers from India will make up a large portion of the requests.

      What we probably won’t know, though, is how many of those applicants are female.

      While program data shows which job categories, countries and companies are awarded the most visas, the federal government says it is not tracking applicants’ gender — although the question is asked on the visa application form. The U.S. begins accepting H-1B visa applications on April 1 for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

      The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will not release the gender data. It has rejected a Senate request for the information, as well as public records requests from the IEEE-USA and Computerworld.

    • Fordham 2016: Without disclosure mechanisms or criminal sanctions is the EU Trade Secrets Directive a poor cousin to US trade secrets law?

      On the first, the draft DTSA included language taken directly from the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, allowing judges to issue injunctions against “threatened” misappropriation. Opponents expressed concern that this might be used by federal courts to apply the so-called “inevitable disclosure doctrine” to prevent employees from moving to a competitive job simply because they knew too much. The ultimate solution to this concern was specific and narrow: in concluding the existence of a “threat,” courts had to have evidence of untrustworthy behavior and could not rely simply on what someone knows. The DTSA whistleblower provision is similarly specific and narrow, providing immunity to individuals who reveal confidential information about wrongdoing, but only for communication in confidence to law enforcement officials. The EU Trade Secrets Directive is of course a step forward in European harmonization of definitions and remedies, but it mostly re-states the language and standards already required by TRIPs. It does add provisions covering confidentiality of information in judicial proceedings, but there is a requirement that at least one party representative always be given access, so the common U.S. practice of “attorneys eyes only” protective orders appears to be unavailable under the EU Trade Secrets Directive. In addition, the Directive does not require countries to provide criminal remedies, and it fails to address the fundamental challenge of every trade secret case: how can the trade secret owner get access to information to prove the misappropriation? This probably reflects the tension between common law and civil law systems, but the need is real. James is even more concerned about the broad and undefined “exceptions” of the Directive, allowing the use or disclosure of information for “exercising the right to freedom of expression” or “for the purpose of protecting a legitimate interest recognized by Union or national law.” As for whistleblowers, the exception broadly applies to any disclosure to anyone, so long as this is done “for the purpose of protecting the general public interest.” What James concludes from all of this is that the U.S. remains the leading jurisdiction in meeting customer needs and expectations for the protection of trade secrets. With the EU Trade Secrets Directive, we will need to wait for rulings from the CJEU to see whether the exceptions will present serious problems for trade secret owners.

    • Saudi Arabia executions reach record high as beheadings set to double this year

      Saudi Arabia has already executed 82 people this year and is on course to behead twice as many prisoners as it did in 2015, according to new statistics compiled by a leading human rights organisation likely to raise fresh concerns about the UK’s close ties to the Kingdom.

      The British Government has been urged to do more to put pressure on its Gulf allies to halt the bloodshed in light of the figures, which would see the total death toll in Saudi Arabia reach a record high of more than 320 by the end of the year if the current rate is maintained.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Reclaiming the Web

      Self hosting does not mean getting webspace with a provider. This is not enough. There are at least two serious options available to us that will allow us to be self-hosting we require. Running a Raspberry Pi plugged into your home router or hiring a droplet from Digitial Ocean. Both these offer a chance to both serve out your pages and also run software to pull in other content.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Perpetual image rights for the good: the proposed Dutch Cruyff provision

        As UK-based readers will know, in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 there is a peculiar provision [s301] that provides the trustees of London pediatric Great Ormond Street Hospital with a (perpetual) right to a royalty in respect of the public performance, commercial publication or communication to the public of Sir James Matthew Barrie’s Peter Pan, as well as any adaptation thereof, notwithstanding that – technically speaking – copyright in that work expired a while ago (31 December 1987).

        Now something similar to the Peter Pan provision under UK law is being advanced in The Netherlands, though the proposal has to do with image rights (or portrait right) rather than copyright.

      • Digital Rights Groups: DMCA Reform Should Target Takedown Abuse, Errors

        Advocacy groups supporting digital rights and access online joined rights holders and artists in calling for reform to the United States law intended to balance copyright protection with the free flow of information on the internet. But the advocacy groups say the problem may be rights holders’ improper takedowns of online content and errors in the system.

        At issue is the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which is being reviewed for reforms. Stakeholders submitted comments on the reform (focused on DMCA Section 512) by the 1 April deadline.

        Rights holders, artists and managers called for the DMCA protections to be made stronger as the “notice-and-takedown procedure is not working (IPW, North American Policy, 1 April 2016).

      • Rightscorp Plans to Hijack Pirates’ Browsers Until a Fine is Paid

        Anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp says that it’s working on a new method to extract cash settlements from suspected Internet pirates. The company says new technology will lock users’ browsers and prevent Internet access until they pay a fine. To encourage ISPs to play along, Rightscorp says the system could help to limit their copyright liability.

      • Copyright Troll Partner Threatens to Report Blogger to the Police

        A company assisting US-based copyright troll outfit TCYK LLC has just threatened to report a blogger to the police. Joe Hickster, an anti-troll activist who has helped dozens of wrongfully accused individuals avoid paying settlement fees, was threatened after describing troll services company Hatton and Berkeley as being involved in a smoke-and-mirrors operation.


Links 3/4/2016: LabPlot 2.2.0, NixOS 16.03

Posted in News Roundup at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Crowdsourcing code: why startups are turning to open-source software

    A startup wants a mobile menu for their new app. It’s going to cost them time and money to build one from scratch, so they search on Google to find one that is ready-made, a template if you will.

    It is because of publicly available ‘open-source software’ (OSS) that finding such a component is relatively easy. Simply put, OSS is when a product, and the source code that accompanies it, is made available for others to use and even change, or add on to, as they see fit.

  • Events

    • Tickets are live for foss-north

      I’ve written about foss-north earlier. From now, tickets are available. What we are looking at is a free and open source one day conference in Gothenburg. Great speakers already now, and the CfP isn’t even closed.

    • Talking at FOSSASIA 2016 in Singapore

      This year I was able to attend this year’s FOSSASIA in Singapore. It’s quite a decently sized event with more than 150 speakers and more than 1000 people attending. Given the number of speakers you can infer that there was an insane number of talks in the two and a half day of the conference. I’ve seen recordings being made so I would expect those to show up at some stage, but I don’t have any details. The atmosphere was very friendly and the venue a-maze-ing. By that I mean that it was a fantastic and huge maze. We were hosted in Singapore’s Science Museum which exhibits various things around biology, physics, chemistry, and much more. It is a rather large building in which it was easy to get lost. But it was great being among those sciency exhibits and to exchange ideas and thoughts. Sometimes, we could see an experiment being made as a show to the kids visiting the museum. These shows included a Tesla coil or a fire tornado. Quite impressive.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox and cookie micromanagement

        For most of its existence, Firefox has provided users with the ability to manage how cookies are stored with a rather high degree of granularity: users can block specific cookies, create site-wide exceptions to the accept/block policy, and configure behavior for third-party cookies. Up until Firefox 44, there was an additional option as well, one that allowed users to choose the expiration point (that is, expiring them at the end of the session or letting them persist) for every cookie they encounter. That option was removed in the Firefox 44 release, which has made some users rather unhappy.

        The option in question was found in the Privacy preferences screen, labeled “Ask me every time” on the “Keep until:” selector. When enabled, the option raised a dialog box asking the user to accept or reject each cookie encountered, with a “accept for this session only” choice provided. Removing the option was proposed in 2010, although the patch to perform the removal did not land until 2015. It was released in Firefox 44 in January 2016.

      • How Safe Browsing works in Firefox

        If you want to learn more about how Safe Browsing works in Firefox, you can find all of the technical details on the Safe Browsing and Application Reputation pages of the Mozilla wiki or you can ask questions on our mailing list.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Testing ODF on Document Freedom Day

      Because OpenDocument Format (ODF) is the open standard that I am involved in most, I want to write a few words about it.

      Since last autumn, I’m working on the ODF standard for the Dutch government. Supporting standards in government is an important task: new software comes and goes, but documents, once created, should be readable and reusable into the future.

    • LibreOffice Logic

      When you switch to LibreOffice, you can usually assume that all the features available in other office suites are available. They might have a slightly different name, or be placed in another menu, but the basic functionality should be the same in both. If you make a note of the features you use most often, and systematically learn how to do each one, you can often cope with the transition.

  • BSD

    • Book Review: FreeBSD Mastery: Specialty Filesystem

      A filesystem is nothing but the data structures that an operating system uses to keep track of files on a disk. The filesystem stores pictures, music, videos, accounting data and more. The different operating system comes with various filesystems. One may need to move data between FreeBSD and other Unix-like systems like OS X or Linux based devices. Knowing all about filesystem help us to archive or move data between system. The “FreeBSD Mastery: Specialty Filesystem” is an essential, practical and well-written book.


    • Inessential weirdnesses in free software

      I’ll discuss aspects of our behavior and jargon that stop or slow down some new users and contributors in free software, so that in outreach efforts, we can be better at bridging the gap. These include git’s terrible UI, our in-person conference structures, and widespread scorn of and dismissiveness towards team sports, Top 40 music, patriotism, religion, small talk, and Microsoft Windows. In getting rid of unnecessary barriers, we need to watch out for disrespectful oversimplification, so I’ll outline ways you can know if one of our weirdnesses is necessary. And I’ll talk about how to mitigate the effects of an inessential weirdness in your outreach efforts.

    • PSPP 0.10.1 has been released

      I’m very pleased to announce the release of a new version of GNU PSPP. PSPP is a program for statistical analysis of sampled data. It is a free replacement for the proprietary program SPSS.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Is Source Code covered by the PSI Directive?

      Concerning France, the court decision may have a considerable impact, as the source code of any software produced by or for the various national or local administrations becomes legally “libre” or open source under no or very permissive conditions. Therefore the interest to clarify the applicable licence: when communicating it, relevant administration should then apply the EUPL or the French CeCILL, according to the 12 September 2012 prime minister Ayrault circular.

    • MIT Media Lab Changes Software Default to FLOSS*

      The MIT Media Lab is part of an academic ecosystem committed to liberal sharing of knowledge. In that spirit, I’m proud to announce that we are changing our internal procedures to encourage more free and open-source software.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • BMW *are* complying with the GPL

      Earlier this month I accidentally kicked off a minor kerfuffle over whether BMW was respecting the GPL. Their i3 car contains a huge amount of Open Source Software and there was some confusion as to BMW’s compliance with the licence terms.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Atom reaches one million active users

      We have reached an exciting milestone: one million people have launched some version of Atom in the last month. That’s three times the number of active users we had under a year ago at the one-year anniversary of Atom becoming completely open-source.

    • Here’s A New Programming Language That Talks To Living Cells And DNA

      The genius minds at MIT have created a new system that uses a programming language to design complex DNA circuits and control the living cells. As a part of their research, MIT researchers have programmed 60 circuits with a variety of functions.

    • JavaScripthon — A Simple Python To ES6 JavaScript Translator

      So many, Python and JavaScript seem like similar languages — object oriented, functional hybrid, dynamically typed and a rich library. Keeping the same in mind, probably, a coder has created a small and simple Python to JavaScript translator.


  • Here’s What Happened to Apple’s Third Co-Founder

    “WHEREAS,” it read, “Mr. Stephen G. Wozniak (hereinafter referred to as WOZNIAK), Mr. Steven P. Jobs (hereinafter referred to as JOBS), and Mr. Ronald G. Wayne (hereinafter referred to as WAYNE), all residents of the County of Santa Clara, State of California, have mutually agreed to the formation of a company to be specifically organized for the manufacture and marketing of computer devices, components, and related material, said company to be organized under the fictitious name of APPLE COMPUTER COMPANY.”

  • Can Premier League leaders Leicester City hold their nerve? [Ed: off topic]

    It was a year ago, on 4 April 2015, when the great recovery to survival started as bottom-of-the-table Leicester beat West Ham United 2-1. With the pressure to avoid relegation at its height, Leicester won seven of their last nine games to stay up.

  • Southampton boss: Jamie Vardy’s rise from non-league to Leicester and England is crazy

    Vardy has helped push Leicester City to the verge of the Premier League title, and forced his way into England’s Euro 2016 reckoning just four years after plying his trade in non-league football.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Libyan Enterprise: Hillary’s Imperial Massacre

      In fact two documents strongly backed Qaddafi on this issue. The first was a secret cable to the State Department from the US embassy in Tripoli in 2008, part of the Wikileaks trove, entitled “Extremism in Eastern Libya,” which revealed that this area was rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment.


      By October of that year, Muammar Qaddafi was dead and stuffed in a meat locker. Denied post mortem imagery of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, the world was presented with photographs of Qaddafi, dispatched with a bullet to the head after being wounded by NATO’s ground troops outside Sirte.

    • Cleaning Up Hillary’s Libyan Mess

      U.S. officials are pushing a dubious new scheme to “unify” a shattered Libya, but the political risk at home is that voters will finally realize Hillary Clinton’s responsibility for the mess, writes Robert Parry.

    • Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit Neglects 98 Percent of the World’s Bomb-Ready Uranium

      But critics have pointed out that the summits have only focused on highly enriched uranium in civilian possession, which, according to the Department of Energy, only accounts for 2 to 3 percent of the world’s supply. That small percentage is used mostly by academics for research and medical isotope production.

      The remaining 97 to 98 percent is held in military stockpiles, which the security summits have largely ignored. Countries keep the safeguards on these stockpiles secret, and military material falls outside the scope of international security agreements.

    • A ‘Silent Coup’ for Brazil?

      Brazil and other Latin American progressive governments are on the defensive as U.S.-backed political movements employ “silent coup” tactics to discredit and remove troublesome leaders, writes Ted Snider.

    • Iraq is Broke. You Have to Pay for It.

      The next time a candidate or reporter asks during a debate about education or healthcare “But how are you going to pay for that?” I would like the person being questioned to respond “The same way we find money to pay for Iraq.”

      So maybe it would just be better for Flint, Michigan to claim it is under attack by ISIS instead of just being poisoned because no one has the money to fix America’s infrastructure.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me’: Clinton snaps at Greenpeace activist

      A question about fossil-fuel-industry donations to her campaign unleashed a rare flash of anger from Hillary Clinton on the rope line in New York on Thursday.

      The moment was recorded by an activist, whom Greenpeace identified as Eva Resnick-Day, who sought to pressure Clinton about the roughly hundreds of thousands of dollars her campaign has received from individuals with ties to fossil-fuel industries.

    • Unilever ditches major palm oil trader after its sustainability certification is revoked

      Unilever has cancelled its contracts with the IOI Group, after the major Malaysian palm oil trader was suspended by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) for destroying forests and peatlands in Indonesia.

      The IOI Group – whose customers include Kellogg’s and Mars – is one of the largest companies to have lost RSPO certification since the roundtable was formed in 2004.

      The decision will be seen as a test of consumer company policies on responsible sourcing of palm oil, which commit major brands to excluding suppliers responsible for deforestation and peatland drainage.

    • The Danger of a Runaway Antarctica

      The startling new finding was published Wednesday in the journal Nature by two experts in ice-sheet behavior: Robert DeConto of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University. It paints a grimmer picture than the one presented only three years ago by a United Nations panel that forecast a maximum sea level rise of three feet by 2100. But that projection assumed only a minimal contribution from the massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. And things could get worse in the centuries to come — the melting from Antarctica alone, not counting other factors like thermal expansion, could cause the seas to rise by nearly 50 feet by 2500, drowning many cities.

    • Saudi Arabia Plans $2 Trillion Megafund for Post-Oil Era: Deputy Crown Prince

      Saudi Arabia is getting ready for the twilight of the oil age by creating the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund for the kingdom’s most prized assets.

      Over a five-hour conversation, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman laid out his vision for the Public Investment Fund, which will eventually control more than $2 trillion and help wean the kingdom off oil. As part of that strategy, the prince said Saudi will sell shares in Aramco’s parent company and transform the oil giant into an industrial conglomerate. The initial public offering could happen as soon as next year, with the country currently planning to sell less than 5 percent.

    • Norway Is Killing Whales To Feed Animals Raised For Fur

      Norway has killed more whales than any other nation over the past four years, and some of that meat has become animal feed for the Norwegian fur industry, according to new documents unveiled by two environmental organizations.

      Revelations from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) come as Norway opened up its whaling season Friday, and a week after Japan reported killing more than 300 minke whales — including pregnant females — for what it labeled as research. Now, groups are once again calling for an end to whaling — though this time the attention is placed on Norway, which along with Iceland and Japan, ignores a 30-year-old international moratorium on whale hunting.

    • With Coal Crashing, Will Polluted Communities Be Left Holding the Bag?

      Federal law requires coal companies to clean up and reclaim toxic mining sites. But what happens when a coal company’s gone bankrupt?

    • Flesh Vs Fossil: Let’s shut down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in May

      2016 has got off to an even worse start. The United States’ second largest coal company – Arch Coal –­ filed for bankruptcy. The Chinese government announced the closure of more than 5,000 coal mines, with 1,000 to go this year. Almost half the UK’s coal power stations have announced closure in the last 12 months.

    • Did Sanders Lie About Clinton’s Oil Money? NPR Factchecker Can’t Be Bothered to Check

      So the factchecker’s job is to determine whether Clinton is right to say that she just gets money from people who work for fossil fuel companies, and that the Sanders campaign is lying about this, or whether the Sanders campaign is actually correct in saying that she relies heavily on funds from fossil-fuel lobbyists—right?

      See, that’s why you don’t have a job at NPR.

    • Bernie Sanders Took Money From the Fossil Fuel Lobby, Too — Just Not Much

      The Bernie Sanders campaign countered by pointing to a Greenpeace tally that says she has collected “$1,259,280 in bundled and direct donations from lobbyists currently registered as lobbying for the fossil fuel industry.”

      Additionally, Greenpeace found “$3,250,000 in donations from large donors connected to the fossil fuel industry to Priorities Action USA,” the main Super PAC backing Clinton’s campaign.

    • Flint Moves to Sue Michigan Over Water Contamination Fallout

      Flint has made moves to sue the state of Michigan, citing “grossly negligent oversight” that led to the city’s ongoing water contamination crisis.

      The city filed a notice of intent to sue with the Court of Claims on March 24, and it was reported on by various Michigan news outlets on Friday.

      It names the state, the Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and four MDEQ employees as defendants.

      Flint mayor Karen Weaver wrote in the notice of intention to file claim, which the Flint Journal has posted here (pdf), that “the damage to the water system infrastructure caused by the MDEQ employees’ grossly negligent oversight is irreversible.”

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • You’re not a farm animal: A plea to journalists to release themselves from Trump’s press pens

      Covering the Trump campaign on a daily basis today appears to be a rather miserable media existence. Reporters are threatened by staffers, and the Trump communications team seems to be utterly nonresponsive to media inquires. (“There is no Trump press operation,” one reporter told Slate.)

    • “It’s a Revolution”: Actress Rosario Dawson on Why She Supports Sanders for President Over Clinton

      As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders campaign in New York ahead of the state’s primary later this month, more than 16,000 people gathered in St. Mary’s Park in the South Bronx for a Sanders rally on Thursday. He spoke alongside film director Spike Lee and actress and activist Rosario Dawson, known for her roles in “Kids” and many other films, including “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” Amy Goodman caught up with Dawson after the rally to discuss why she supports Bernie Sanders. “It’s a revolution,” Dawson says, noting the corporate media has failed to fairly cover his platform. She also discusses the rise of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump. “He isn’t the problem,” she says. “There is a lot of stuff been going on for many years that has gotten out of control.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • German Television Pulls Satire Mocking Turkey’s Erdogan

      GERMANY’S STATE BROADCASTER, ZDF, apologized on Friday for what it called satire that had crossed the line into slander and removed video of a comedian reading an obscene poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from its website and YouTube channel.

      The poem, which was read by the German satirist Jan Böhmermann on Thursday’s edition of his late-night show “Neo Magazin Royale,” described Erdogan in vile, obscene terms — even comparing him, at one stage, to Josef Fritzl, an Austrian man who fathered seven children with a daughter he held in a cellar for 24 years — but the text was presented as part of a comic demonstration of the difference between satire and slander.

    • For Israel’s Sake The Israel Lobby Must Be Held To Account

      It was ten years ago that the London Review of Books published an article on the Israel Lobby by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, distinguished scholars at two of America’s top universities. The following year the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux found the courage to publish The Israel Lobby, a book with 357 overwhelmingly 5 star amazon.com reviews.

      The Israel Lobby is an understated critique of the enomous influence that the tiny state of Israel, which consists of land stolen by fire and sword from the helpless Palestinians, exercises over United States foreign policy. The crazed Israel Lobby went berserk. Mearsheimer and Walt were demonized as anti-semetics who wanted to bring back Hitler.

      Also in 2006 former President Jimmy Carter’s book, Peace Not Apartheid, was published by Simon & Schuster and became a New York Times bestseller with 846 overwhelmingly 5 star amazon.com reviews. Carter, who as US president did his best to bring Israel and Palestine to a settlement, truthrully explained that Israel was the barrier to a settlement. The Israel Lobby demonized Carter as an anti-semite, and the Jews on the board of the Carter Center resigned.

    • Espousing freedom of speech, and practising censorship

      Have you noticed how people you are eager to meet often prove to be disillusioning? Perhaps anticipation builds up huge expectations but they end up less than they originally seemed. Rather than their perceived star qualities it’s their faults and flaws you notice. Consequently, heroes end up with feet of clay.

    • Bonnici wants criminal libel removed, but censorship law comes first

      Justice minister says government is discussing the removal of criminal libel but the pending censorship and freedom of expression law takes precedence

    • Criminal libel should have been abolished in 2011 – Law Commissioner Franco Debono

      Law Commissioner Franco Debono yesterday told The Malta Independent that the whole criminal libel controversy involving shadow Justice Minister Jason Azzopardi could have been avoided if criminal libel was abolished in 2011, as he had proposed in a private members bill.

      The ‘controversy’ that Dr Debono spoke of is the 6 April criminal libel case against Shadow Minister for Justice, Dr Jason Azzopardi which was instituted through a criminal complaint by former police Commissioner Peter Paul Zammit.

    • Busuttil insists police ‘in Muscat’s grip’ over Azzopardi arraignment

      Opposition leader Simon Busuttil insisted that the police, who are instituting criminal defamation charges against PN MP Jason Azzopardi, are “state apparatus in the grip of Joseph Muscat”.

      Busuttil told MaltaToday that criminal defamation is a perfectly acceptable legal tool unless “manipulated by government to intimidate the Opposition” and that Opposition MPs are only charged in court with criminal defamation in banana republics and dictatorial regimes.

    • Some prominent Chinese are chafing against censorship

      The editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times, a tabloid closely tied to the Communist Party and known for its often-rabid nationalism, isn’t exactly the kind of guy you’d expect to be calling publicly for more freedom of speech and less censorship.

    • China Party journal denounces critics seeking to discredit anti-graft drive

      A top magazine of China’s ruling Communist Party lashed out at critics of its ongoing anti-corruption campaign, saying foreign media and individuals from home and abroad were intentionally trying to discredit the effort as a political “power struggle”.

      Chinese President Xi Jinping has pursued a sweeping campaign to root out corruption since assuming power about three years ago, and has promised to strike hard at both senior and low-level officials, the “tigers” and “flies”.

      Nonetheless, there has been persistent speculation that the graft crackdown is also about Xi taking down his rivals.

    • It’s time for America’s lawyers to come to the aid of their Chinese counterparts

      Last summer, the Chinese Communist Party regime began a nationwide crackdown on human rights activists and attorneys. It’s time that the American Bar Association, the largest attorneys organization in the world’s most powerful democracy, took a clear, unequivocal stand on the crackdown in defense of universal values and the rule of law.

    • China’s tight control of speech
    • Norwegian band Slutface change name to Sløtface due to ‘social media censorship’
    • Slutface change name to Sløtface due to “social media censorship”
    • Slutface changes name to SLØTFACE, shares new single “Sponge State” — listen
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Bringing Signal to the desktop

      The non-profit Open Whisper Systems (OWS) organization is best known for its smartphone apps: first TextSecure and, more recently, Signal. Lately, however, the project started branching out by developing a desktop front-end for Signal, thus allowing users to take advantage of verifiable, end-to-end encryption for instant messages and group chats from the comfort of a full-size keyboard. The desktop version remains linked to the smartphone edition, although opinions certainly may vary as to whether that constitutes a plus or a minus.

      TextSecure was released as open-source software in 2011, followed by an encrypted voice-calling app named RedPhone in 2012. OWS then merged the functionality into a single iOS app called Signal in March 2015; the Android version was released in November of the same year. Signal Desktop was announced in December, via a beta program for which potential users had to sign up and wait to receive an invitation. As with all of OWS’s projects, of course, the source code for Signal Desktop is available on GitHub.

    • Decentraleyes Addon Fixes Browser Privacy, Circumvents CDNs

      Widespread CDN acceptance has been a security flaw that sacrifices privacy simply because it breaks web pages on anything put a text-based browser, which is a sacrifice few are willing to make for the sake of their information remaining local.

    • Remember that California bill to ban the sale of encrypted phones? It just got worse

      The assemblyman, who decried Apple for “risking our national security and the safety of our kids” by using encryption, also uses an iPhone.

    • RAF’s new ‘GCHQ in the sky’ spy planes which can hack enemy emails and phone calls

      Air chiefs have bought nine spy planes, each one like a flying GCHQ.

      The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is as effective at information ­gathering as the Government’s eavesdropping headquarters.

    • Sure, why not? FBI agrees to unlock iPhone for Arkansas prosecutor

      The FBI, which just a few days ago was attempting to convince the country of its helplessness in the face of encrypted iPhones, has generously offered its assistance in unlocking an iPhone and iPod for a prosecutor in Arkansas, the Associated Press reports.

      TechCrunch has contacted the prosecutor’s office for details, which for the moment are thin on the ground — but the timing seems unlikely to be a coincidence. It was only Monday that the FBI announced it had successfully accessed a phone after saying for months that it couldn’t possibly do so — and that Apple was endangering national security by refusing to help.

    • British Authorities Demand Encryption Keys in Case With “Huge Implications”

      BRITISH AUTHORITIES are attempting to force a man accused of hacking the U.S. government to hand over his encryption keys in a case that campaigners believe could have ramifications for journalists and activists.

      England-based Lauri Love (pictured above) was arrested in October 2013 by the U.K.’s equivalent of the FBI, the National Crime Agency, over allegations that he hacked a range of U.S. government systems between 2012 and 2013, including those of the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and NASA.

      The U.S. Justice Department is seeking the extradition of Love, claiming that he and a group of conspirators breached “thousands of networks” in total and caused millions of dollars in damages. But Love has been fighting the extradition attempt in British courts, insisting that he should be tried for the alleged offenses within the U.K. The 31-year-old, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, has argued that he would not get a fair trial in the U.S., where his legal team says he could face a sentence of up to 99 years in jail.

    • ODNI Lawyer Bob Litt Says There’s No NSA Data Sharing With Law Enforcement… If You Don’t Count The FBI, DEA, Etc.

      Just when we thought some surveillance reforms might stick, the administration announced it was expanding law enforcement access to NSA data hauls. This prompted expressions of disbelief and dismay, along with a letter from Congressional representatives demanding the NSA cease this expanded information sharing immediately.

    • The Trouble with CloudFlare

      Wednesday, CloudFlare blogged that 94% of the requests it sees from Tor are “malicious.” We find that unlikely, and we’ve asked CloudFlare to provide justification to back up this claim. We suspect this figure is based on a flawed methodology by which CloudFlare labels all traffic from an IP address that has ever sent spam as “malicious.” Tor IP addresses are conduits for millions of people who are then blocked from reaching websites under CloudFlare’s system.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Video shows white cops performing roadside cavity search of black man

      For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on an investigative series about police abuse in South Carolina. I’ve found a dizzying number of cases, including illegal arrests, botched raids, fatal shootings and serious questions about how all those incidents are investigated. Many of these cases were previously unreported, or if they were reported, the initial reports were a far cry from what actually happened. The series will run at some point in the next week. But in the meantime, I want to share one particularly horrifying incident that I came across this week while researching the series.

    • asha bandele and Laura Carlsen on the War on Drugs

      What this country calls a War on Drugs has never been indiscriminate in its victims. The punitive, interventionist drug policies embraced by a succession of US administrations have hit hardest in communities of color, and, in Latin America, it has been the poor, the indigenous and those outside of power that have borne the brunt of practices, nominally aimed at stopping drug-trafficking, that have only driven corruption and horrific violence.

    • DOJ Reopens Asset Forfeiture Sharing Program After Temporary, Budget-Related Shutdown

      Right before the end of last year, the DOJ — facing budget cuts — announced it would be ceasing its “equitable sharing” program with local law enforcement agencies. These agencies complained loudly about the unfairness of being decoupled from the asset forfeiture money train, as this partnership often allowed them to route around more restrictive state laws.

    • The feds have resumed a controversial program that lets cops take stuff and keep it

      The Justice Department has announced that it is resuming a controversial practice that allows local police departments to funnel a large portion of assets seized from citizens into their own coffers under federal law.

    • ‘They Want South America Back the Way They Used to Have It’

      Mark Weisbrot: “They’ve been trying to get rid of all the left governments, really, for the whole 21st century.”


      “In a flash, Argentina has become pro-American,” CBS’s 60 Minutes told viewers, and Leslie Stahl shared that watching Macri and his wife play with their daughter, “you can’t help but think of the Kennedys and Camelot.” US corporate media seem to concur: Macri is a pragmatist, and though they aren’t certain he can lift Argentina from what CBS called “a morass of debt, inflation and international isolation,” it’s clear we’re meant to wish him well.

    • Houston Federal Marshal Tries to Snatch Camera from Citizen Journalist Who Was Assaulted by 2nd Agent

      “You’re about to go to jail for being a dumb-ass,” said a Houston Federal Agent Calderon to PINAC citizen journalist David Warden.

      Boy, was he wrong.

      The Houston Federal Court Security Agent assaulted PINAC correspondent David Warden when he lawfully recorded outside of a Federal Courthouse on its sidewalk.

    • Texas Cops’ Complaint Censorship Attacks YouTube Videos of Public Officials in Public

      Texas police launched a “complaint censorship” attack on David Warden’s YouTube channel News Now Houston, claiming his videos violate their privacy.

    • Houston Prosecutors Exonerate PINAC Correspondent Recording Near Shell Oil Refinery

      Texas prosecutors admitted they can’t prove their contempt of cop case “BARD” against PINAC correspondent David Warden, who recorded video near a Shell Oil Refinery on the outskirts of Houston.

      In other words, state attorneys had no way to prove that David Warden interfered with public duties of an officer last December, as charged, because BARD stands for ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ and officers couldn’t conceive of a single illegal thing Warden did while recording near the oil refinery as you can see in the legal document below.

  • DRM

    • Fighting DRM in HTML, again

      In 2013, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) raised the ire of many in the free-software community (and elsewhere) by adopting an API that adds support for DRM modules within web content. Now, the working group that produced the API in question has come up for renewal, and a number of high-profile parties—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Free Software Foundation (FSF)—are using the occasion to push back against the DRM camp, in hopes of regaining some of what was lost.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Awesome Stuff: Putting Nature In The Public Domain

        This week, we’ve got one standout project that seems worth highlighting here at Techdirt because of its commitment to things we all care about: cutting-edge media technology, the planet we all live on, and the public domain. Catalog.Earth is a project to use the first to capture the second and dedicate it to the third.

      • EFF to Copyright Office: Improper Content Takedowns Hurt Online Free Expression

        Safe Harbors Work for Rightsholders and Service Providers

        Washington, D.C. – Content takedowns based on unfounded copyright claims are hurting online free expression, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told the U.S. Copyright Office Friday, arguing that any reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) should focus on protecting Internet speech and creativity.

        EFF’s written comments were filed as part of a series of studies on the effectiveness of the DMCA, begun by the Copyright Office this year. This round of public comments focuses on Section 512, which provides a notice-and-takedown process for addressing online copyright infringement, as well as “safe harbors” for Internet services that comply.

        “One of the central questions of the study is whether the safe harbors are working as intended, and the answer is largely yes,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “The safe harbors were supposed to give rightsholders streamlined tools to police infringement, and give service providers clear rules so they could avoid liability for the potentially infringing acts of their users. Without those safe harbors, the Internet as we know it simply wouldn’t exist, and our ability to create, innovate, and share ideas would suffer.”

      • Today [Friday] is your last day to comment on Internet censorship through copyright abuse
      • Music Industry: DMCA Copyright Law is Obsolete and Harmful

        A coalition of 400 artists and various music groups including the RIAA are calling on Congress to reform existing copyright law. The DMCA is obsolete, dysfunctional and harmful, they claim, calling for stronger measures against the ongoing piracy troubles they face.


Links 1/4/2016: Zenwalk 8.0 Beta 3, pfSense 2.3 Release Candidate

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • BlazeMeter Adds Open Source Tools for Performance Testing
  • An open-source microprocessor for IoT devices
  • Tech for easier wearable microelectronic devices
  • Thoughts on Leaving the OSI Board

    After six years (two terms), this week marks the end of my time on the Board of Directors of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). While I plan to remain involved with open source issues and with the Board, the end of my service on the Board is a significant personal milestone, so I thought that I would briefly reflect on the past six years for open source, and especially the OSI.

    When I was nominated for the OSI Board in 2010, the Board was a small, select group whose early members made important contributions to the open source community, notably the Open Source Definition and the approval of licenses that conformed to that Definition. The Board’s activities were supported by a couple of corporate donations. Since all of the Board members had “day jobs” that brought in their personal incomes, everyone was quite busy and it was often difficult to make progress on various initiatives. It’s a testament to the hard work of the earliest members of the Board that the OSI was well-recognized as the steward of licenses and the OSD.

  • What happens to a great open source project when its creators are no longer using the tool themselves?

    PANDA, the four-year-old Knight News Challenge-winning newsroom application for storing and analyzing large data sets, still has a respectable community of users, but could now use a new longterm caretaker.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • I hate Microsoft Office

      Here’s an example: The icon to delete emails in Outlook is a swooshy “χ” icon. That seems out of step with the smooth appearance that Microsoft seems to prefer. The swooshy “χ” is probably supposed to make Office look cool, but to me it just looks old. Like, that was a neat idea in the 1990s or early 2000s, but today that’s just clutter.

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • UbuntuBSD

      Regardless of your position on the systemd debate, projects such as the UbuntuBSD distribution offer a wider range of options to the FOSS community at large. And, there are cases where a BSD kernel will provide better performance than Linux.

    • [pfSense] 2.3 Release Candidate now available!

      We are proud to announce pfSense® software version 2.3 Release Candidate is now available!

      The most significant changes in this release are a rewrite of the webGUI utilizing Bootstrap, and the underlying system being converted entirely to FreeBSD pkg (including the base system and kernel). The pkg conversion enables us to update pieces of the system individually going forward, rather than the monolithic updates of the past.

    • LLVM Adds Intel Lakemont CPU Support

      The LLVM compiler infrastructure now has support for Intel’s Lakemont processor.

      Lakemont is the codename for the Quark processors that include the Quark X1000 SoC. The Lakemont hardware has been available for a while now but continues to be used in different applications and Intel continues improving its support.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Critics Say White House’s Open Source Software Policy Doesn’t Go Far Enough

      Members of 18F, the General Services Administration’s digital consultancy that shares all its code on public repository Github, argue that a more comprehensive, “open source by default” policy would allow agencies to reuse code instead of constantly re-developing it. Coding in the open would also let developers gather input from the public about potential glitches.

      Open source development “helps to encourage good documentation and coding practices,” an 18F statement posted on GitHub said. “Everyone is aware and following processes for open information from day one. There is no just-before-launch, last minute review of everything.”

    • France unveils source code of income tax application

      France has officially opened the source code of the fiscal calculator used by the French fiscal administration to calculate the income taxes of individuals in France. Taxes for businesses are not included in the code.

    • Election Tech: How big data pioneers use open source technology to win elections

      National Field’s PHP application, MySQL backend, Node.js technology was used during the Obama reelection campaign in 2012, and acquired by and integrated with NGP VAN in 2013. Today, the product is used up-ticket and down by every major Democratic candidate, and their technologies have been embraced by the GOP and several non-partisan data brokers as well.

    • MIT Media Lab Goes Open Source, And Doesn’t Forget To FLOSS

      The MIT Media Lab, a tech innovation center that has has a hand in numerous tech related products over the years, including Guitar Hero has revealed that going forward, the way it deals with its approach to software releases is to fundamentally change.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Fair Source licensing is the worst thing to happen to open source-definitely maybe

      Fair Source attempts to bastardize open source to ensure companies get paid.


      This seems true, but is actually false. Fair Source really offers none of the benefits of open source precisely because of that “ability to charge for the software.” While free software licensing (e.g., GNU General Public License) attempts to force freedom on downstream developers, true open source basically says, “Take this software, use it and improve it (or not), and license the resulting product as you wish.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Contribution graph can be harmful to contributors

      A common well-being issue in open-source communities is the tendency of people to over-commit. Many contributors care deeply, at the risk of saying yes too often harming their well-being. Open-source communities are especially at risk, because many contributors work next to a full-time job.

      The contribution graph and the statistics on it, prominent on everyone’s profile, basically rewards people for doing work on as many different days as possible, generally making more contributions, and making contributions on multiple days in a row without a break.


  • Kyiv Smart City: how Kiev wants to become one of the smartest cities in Europe

    This project is part of a more global project, called Kyiv Smart City, the goal of which is to transform the Ukrainian capital into a smart city, comparable with the top five smart cities in Europe: Paris, London, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Vienna, as mentioned in the description of the project.

  • How People Lost Their Jobs Due To Google’s April Fool’s Day Prank

    Google has killed one of its April Fool’s Day pranks as it caused outrage among Gmail users. According to various complaints and online posts, people lost their jobs and harmed professional relationships.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Will Osborne’s Manchester ‘devolution’ fall flat on its face?

      Today, Manchester becomes the first English region to “take control of its health spending”, supposedly. But what do patients, NHS campaigners and junior doctors think?

    • Government ‘Ignored’ Environmental Threats When Approving GE Salmon, Lawsuit Claims

      Risk of escape is high on the list of worries for the environmental groups that filed the lawsuit. The fish are raised in land-based pens now, but if the industry takes off, there could be many more GE salmon being raised around the world, in different kinds of environments. The groups are concerned about “the risk that GE salmon will escape from the facilities where they are manufactured or grown and interbreed with wild endangered salmon, compete with them for food and space, or pass on infectious diseases; the interrelated impacts to salmon fisheries and the social and economic well-being of those who depend on them; and the risks to ecosystems from the introduction of an invasive species.”

    • Not an April Fool joke: UK pharma giant won’t patent its drugs in poorer countries

      The UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced that it will not be routinely patenting its drugs around the world. Instead of applying for patents on its medicines in all regions, it will now take into account the economic development of the country before deciding whether to seek monopoly protection there. As a result, a poorer country can encourage local manufacturers to create cheaper generic versions of GSK’s products, and thus provide them to a greater number of its population, potentially saving many lives.

      Specifically, GSK says: “For Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Low Income Countries (LICs), GSK will not file patents for its medicines, so as to give clarity and confidence to generic companies seeking to manufacture and supply generic versions of GSK medicines in those countries.”

      For slightly wealthier countries, “GSK will file for patents but will seek to offer and agree licences to allow supplies of generic versions of its medicines for 10 years. GSK intends to seek a small royalty on sales in those countries. This offer will apply even for those countries that move out of [Lower Middle Income Country] status due to increased economic growth during this period.” This should allow generic versions to be produced for a decade even in nations whose economies become more developed.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Reports: State Troopers, Civilians Shot At Virginia Bus Station
    • At Least 14 Dead In Overpass Collapse In India
    • How US-Backed War on Syria Helped ISIS

      By funneling TOW missiles and other weapons to Syrian jihadists for their “regime change” war, President Obama facilitated the rise of the Islamic State with the terrorist blowback now hitting Europe, says Daniel Lazare.

    • Americans Have Been Accidentally Shooting Themselves for Three Centuries

      Bad luck? Sure, in part. But this is really about stupidity on the part of adults. Today, thousands of Americans are shot accidentally each year, and that doesn’t even count the collateral damage—stray bullets that take out a toddler or some other innocent, resulting in an assault or homicide charge—nor does it factor in our 20,000-plus annual gun suicides. All of these unhappy accidents, as it turns out, are very, very costly.

    • The Ultimate Trial of Israeli Society

      Last Thursday, March 24th, an Israel defense force (IDF) soldier was filmed executing a wounded Palestinian man alleged to have carried out a stabbing attack against IDF soldiers in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron. The videographer responsible for the filming is Imad Abu Shamsiya, a Palestinian shoemaker who has since received death threats and intimidation from extreme right-wing Israeli settlers with the prospect of a potential lawsuit. Though the incident is part of a wave of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians carried out by Israeli soldiers, this particular case is different. Here, the film unambiguously shows that the wounded Palestinian man did not present a danger to his surrounding. Quite shockingly, not only does the film implicate the executioner; it also shows his IDF comrades as completely unfazed by the incident, including medical personnel. What’s more, the soldier has received a wave of public support that politicians from the right-wing have seized as an opportunity to further erode the moral fabric of Israeli society in a bid to serve their political and ideological interests.

    • U.S. Troops on Russia’s Borders

      Official Washington’s hype about “Russian aggression” has cloaked a U.S. military buildup on Russia’s borders, possibly increasing risks of escalation and even world war, explains ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Caveat Emptor, Canada: What the Acquisition of Lethal Drones Will Bring

      Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been shopping around for lethal drones for the Royal Canadian Air Force. The prospective acquisition is being downplayed as intended primarily for surveillance purposes. Of course, that’s how it always begins. The first step toward joining the bloody ranks of the avid drone killers – the United States, Israel and, increasingly, Britain – is obtaining the means to conduct surveillance. But these sophisticated machines were developed for use by the military, which is why they have the modular capacity to be armed. As their names have always implied, Predator and Reaper drones can be used not only for surveillance but also to kill by remote control. Snap on a couple of Hellfire missiles, and you’re good to go.

    • The Facade of Israel is Cracking

      For many more years than any intelligent person would want to count, Israel was the sacred cow of the United States. From its violent, bloody, genocidal inception that involved the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians, and the murder of another 10,000, right through to the illegal, immoral occupation of the West Bank and blockade (aka occupation) of the Gaza Strip, Israel, in the view of U.S. governance and politics, could do no wrong. Anyone who dared to criticize Israel’s many crimes was accused of anti-Semitism; as Dr. Norman Finkelstein said, “whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle, its apologists sound the alarm that a ‘new anti-Semitism’ is upon us”. In the past, if a Jew, such as Dr. Finkelstein, was critical of Israel, Zionists raised the cry that he was ‘a self-hating Jew’, and U.S. politicians bought that ridiculous line. As a result, Israel became the beneficiary of the bulk of U.S. foreign aid, and has relied on the U.S. for years for protection from international accountability for its crimes, with the U.S always happy to veto any United Nations resolution condemning Israeli violations of human rights and international law.

    • Derailing Peace Deal in Colombia

      A resurgence of drug-connected right-wing terrorism in Colombia has undercut a historic peace deal between the government and the main leftist rebel group, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • Obama in Arabia

      Like his predecessors, President Obama is putting cozy ties with the Saudi royals ahead of telling the truth to the American people about the Saudi role in 9/11, writes 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser.

      Why does President Obama think it’s okay for 15 Arabs (and four of their friends) to come into our country, hijack our planes, crash them into our buildings, and brutally kill 3,000 innocent people? Because those 15 Arabs were Saudis, that’s why. And, Saudis are special. Saudis are apparently allowed to get away with murder — or at least the financing of it.

      I am a 9/11 widow. My husband Ron was killed while he was working at his desk for Fiduciary Trust Company on the 94th floor of Tower 2. Ron was 39 years old, I was 30, and our daughter was two. I watched the horror unfold on live worldwide television as I stood in my kitchen speaking to Ron. Moments later, I watched Flight 175 slice into his building, exactly where he stood on the other end of the line talking to me.


      There are 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry of Congress (an investigation into the U.S. government intelligence failures prior to 9/11) that have remained classified and hidden away from the American public by both the Bush and Obama Administrations. These 28 pages allegedly prove that the Saudis had a controlling hand in funding the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 innocent people.

    • What Do Terrorists Want?

      It’s not hard to fathom why officials and pundits do not acknowledge the full story of terrorism: it would draw attention to what the U.S. government and allied states have long been doing to people in the Muslim world. Nearly all Americans seem to think it’s a sheer coincidence that terrorism is most likely to be committed by people who profess some form of Islam and that the U.S. military has for decades been bombing, droning, occupying, torturing, etc. in multiple Islamic countries. Or perhaps they think U.S.-inflicted violence is just a defensive response to earlier terrorism. (I might be giving people too much credit by assuming they even know the U.S. government is doing any of this.)

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Who’s the April Fool: Trying Out the Hillary Defenses

      “So, you know why I pulled you over, ma’am, right?”

      “Oh, I have no idea at all officer,” Hillary said.

      “You were speeding. Clocked you right here.”

      “I didn’t do anything wrong,” Hillary said.

      “Well, you did. You broke the law, you did something unsafe, you endangered others, you set a poor example for your whole organization, you compromised security.”

      “Well, everybody does it,” Hillary said.

      “No, they don’t. Most people drive safely.”

    • IMF Internal Meeting Predicts Greek ‘Disaster’, Threatens to Leave Troika

      Today, 2nd April 2016, WikiLeaks publishes the records of a 19 March 2016 teleconference between the top two IMF officials in charge of managing the Greek debt crisis – Poul Thomsen, the head of the IMF’s European Department, and Delia Velkouleskou, the IMF Mission Chief for Greece. The IMF anticipates a possible Greek default co-inciding with the United Kingdom’s referendum on whether it should leave the European Union (‘Brexit’).

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Indonesian government threatens to deport Leonardo DiCaprio for palm oil criticism

      The Indonesian government has threatened to deport Leonardo DiCaprio after the Oscar-winning actor and film-maker made critical statements about the country’s palm oil industry during a visit.

      DiCaprio, an environmental campaigner, landed in Indonesia on 26 March from Japan. On Tuesday he posted a photograph to his Instagram highlighting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s plans with local partners to establish a “mega-fauna sanctuary” in the Leuser rainforest ecosystem, a lowland Sumatran national park where palm oil plantations, mining, logging and other developments are endangering local populations of Sumatran elephants, orangutans, rhinos and tigers.

    • British Columbia’s Carbon Tax Has Been So Successful That Businesses Want To Increase It

      A carbon tax may be a controversial topic in the United States, but in one Canadian province, this eight-year-old policy has been such a success that on Wednesday more than 100 businesses said they support a tax increase.

      In a letter addressed to Premier Christy Clark, who governs the province of British Columbia, more than 150 companies said they back a plan to increase the carbon tax by $10 — about $7.70 U.S. — per metric ton a year starting in July 2018, an idea the government-sponsored Climate Leadership Team unveiled earlier this year.

    • Cantarow and Levy, Could Nuclear Disaster Come to America?

      Since the United States used nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, nuclear power has always had a fearsome aspect. In the 1950s, the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower began promoting “the peaceful atom” in an attempt to take some of the sting out of atomic power’s bad rep. (As part of that project, Eisenhower helped then-ally the Shah of Iran set up a “peaceful” nuclear program, the starting point for Washington’s more modern nuclear conflicts with that country.) Unfortunately, as we’ve been reminded, from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl to Fukushima, there is ultimately a side to nuclear power that couldn’t be less “peaceful,” even in a peacetime setting. As you think about the Indian Point nuclear power plant, the subject of today’s post, and its long history of problems and crises that only seem to be compounding, keep in mind how close Tokyo came to utter catastrophe and then think about the vast New York metropolitan area and what any of us would be able to do other than shelter in place if disaster were someday to strike up the Hudson River.

    • Environmentalists Call For No New Offshore Drilling, Period

      When the Obama administration scrapped leasing plans for drilling off the southeast Atlantic coast earlier this month, environmentalists praised the move, saying it was a win for the environment and the fight against climate change. But now some environmentalists and indigenous organizations from coastal regions say that’s not enough, and they’re calling on President Obama to use his executive power to end all new fossil fuel extraction in federal waters.

      In a petition filed Tuesday, more than 45 groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity say that ending offshore drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf is an important step to limit global warming, as agreed to by countries in Paris last year.

      “We saw the president react to the opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic and think that our public policy should be set forth by … the public demanding further action to address climate change,” Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told ThinkProgress.

  • Finance


      In the list of the world’s great companies, Unaoil is nowhere to be seen. But for the best part of the past two decades, the family business from Monaco has systematically corrupted the global oil industry, distributing many millions of dollars worth of bribes on behalf of corporate behemoths including Samsung, Rolls-Royce, Halliburton and Australia’s own Leighton Holdings.

    • China Hits Steel Made In UK With 46% Levy

      Beijing’s decision to clamp down on foreign imports while dumping cheap steel in the EU comes at a bad time for the UK Government.

    • Sen. Elizabeth Warren Calls for Total Overhaul of Student Loan System

      ‘Five simple principles. Everyone in government who is serious about standing up for the tens of millions of student loan borrowers in this country should embrace them.’

    • New York Reaches Deal to Raise Minimum Wage to $15

      Not to be outdone by its perennial rival on the west, New York announced on Thursday it had reached a deal to raise the minimum wage in New York City to $15 by 2018. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hailed the agreement as the “best plan the state has produced in decades.”

      “We’re leaders in economic justice,” he said in an announcement outlining the state’s budget.

      But unlike California, where lawmakers approved a measure to hike its statewide minimum to $15, the Empire State failed to reach an agreement on a statewide minimum. Instead a hike will go into effect regionally: Areas outside of New York City, including New York’s wealthier suburbs in Westchester and Long Island, will have six years to implement the wage boost. The minimum wage in northern regions that are generally less affluent will only go up to $12.50 by 2021.

    • Most Americans Won’t Make $15 an Hour for Five Years—but Why Not Now, Like in This City?

      Newly adopted $15 minimum wage laws have been unveiled with great fanfare and media coverage. But lost in the headlines is the reality that because of phase-in schedules, workers won’t actually see $15/hour in their pay for three, five or even seven years—at which point the buying power will have been eroded by rent hikes and the rising cost of living.

    • The Clinton Myth and the Strange Case of Donald Trump

      The transition from Condoleezza Rice to Hillary was, all things considered, a step down. American foreign policy remained about the same, but at least Rice had no time for “humanitarian interveners” of the Samantha Power type.

    • The real poison pill in the TPP

      Canadians have many reasons to be concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive international trade agreement that, if ratified, will result in restrictive new rules governing our daily lives, from how we use the Internet, to how much we pay for medicine.

      We already know the TPP will extend copyright terms for decades, keeping valuable cultural content out of the hands of new artists and the public. We know it will hamstring Canadian innovation, with top Canadian tech entrepreneurs telling us how it locks in the economic advantage U.S. firms already enjoy in the intellectual property sector.

      But the real poison pill in the TPP lies in its “investor-state dispute settlement” mechanism, or ISDS. Economists from all sides of the political spectrum have warned about how the TPP’s ISDS rules would allow foreign conglomerates to challenge our domestic laws and subject Canada to multi-million-dollar lawsuits.

    • Rio de Janeiro’s public health system on verge of collapse

      None of Brazil’s 27 states have found themselves in such a dire financial situation in the country’s recent history – even if the public health sector has been facing multiple chronic difficulties throughout the country.

      Two health systems co-exist: the free and universal public sector system called the SUS (Sistema unico de saúde, designed along the lines of the French social security system) and the private sector financed by expensive health insurance schemes that 20 per cent of the population pay into to make sure they are taken care of more quickly.

      In Brazil public health funding remains relatively low: only 4 per cent of GDP as compared to 11 per cent in France. Government at all levels (the Federal State, the federalised states, districts and municipalities) contribute to the health budget.

    • Underpaid in the UK? The state probably isn’t going to help you

      The new £7.20 rate is still well below the real living wage — based on the cost of living — of £8.25 an hour. It’s only for over-25s, with younger people stuck on the old rate. Shareholders, CEOs and senior management of the corporations that dominate the economy will continue to accrue bumper payouts. Companies including Tesco, Wilko and B+Q have already cut other benefits to mitigate the impact of the new rate, while others are planning lay-offs.

      For the hundreds of thousands of workers currently paid below the minimum wage, its increase will mean little. Recent governments have shown little inclination to crack down on employers who are illegally underpaying their staff. The present one, for all its rhetoric, doesn’t seem set to change.

    • Chase Freezes Guy’s Bank Account For Paying His Dogwalker For Walking Dash The Dog

      It wasn’t so long ago that we were discussing the problems with the United States Treasury Department’s list of scary names and how it was being used to prevent completely innocent folks from using online services. The ultimate point of that post was that casting broad nets in which to turn suspicious eyes without applying any kind of checks or common sense was a recipe for calling a whole lot of people terrorists that aren’t actually terrorists.

    • Chase freezes man’s bank account because his dog’s name, ‘Dash,’ looked like ‘Daesh’

      The processors at Chase Bank thought that Dash might be a sneaky way of spelling Daesh (which is the mocking, insulting nickname used by critics to refer to “ISIS”), decided that this was possible terrorist money-laundering, and stopped the payment, froze his account, and notified the Treasury Department that he was a suspected terrorist.

      It’s hard to know what’s stupidest about this: that the bank thought that Daesh was the kind of thing that a terrorist sympathizer would use to help mark out laundered payments, that the bank subsequently insisted that “this is an important part of ensuring that crime does not filter through the US banking system,” or that Francis himself thinks that being put out and branded as a terrorist somehow made him safer.

    • Bank freezes online payment over dog’s ‘terrorist-sounding’ name

      Bruce Francis, who has multiple sclerosis, was transferring money from his Chase Bank account to his dogwalker and he put the 9-year-old pitbull’s moniker “Dash” in the memo line.

      Bank officials thought Dash sounded a little bit too much like Daesh, the Arabic term for the self-described Islamic State, and canceled the payment.

    • Elizabeth Warren Warns Banks Are Lying About Upcoming Rule Change, Potentially Breaking The Law

      On Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accusing banks of lying about the pending rule requiring financial advisers to put clients’ interests ahead of their own, thus potentially violating securities laws.

    • Elizabeth Warren Slams Donald Trump’s Lies About Being a Business Success

      Fresh off of her delightful Twitter takedown listing all the ways she believes Donald Trump is a “loser,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared on the Late Show on Wednesday to shred the Republican frontrunner’s self-touted reputation as a successful businessman.

      “The truth is that he inherited a fortune from his father, he kept it going by cheating and defrauding people, and then he takes his creditors through Chapter 11,” Warren told host Stephen Colbert.

      “We have an economy that is in real trouble,” she added. “But when the economy is in this kind of trouble, calling on Donald Trump for help is like if your house is on fire, calling an arsonist to come help out.”

    • The Lies of Neoliberal Economics (or How America Became a Nation of Sharecroppers)

      Mortgages, with many houses now underwater because of 2008. I want to look first at the self-identified liberal class within the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama. It often uses the language of economic justice, and will even chastise Wall Street rhetorically, but has been as committed to this neoliberal project as the Republicans.

    • A Chicago Teacher Explains Why She’s Willing to Risk Arrest in Order to Strike Against the Destruction of Public Schools

      We got to this point because CPS has been starving our schools for years. It has been death by a thousand cuts. But recently it’s felt more like, I don’t know, chopping off our arms. We’ve seen over the years more layoffs, class sizes increasing, cuts to counsellors and clinicians, our schools being closed, private schools and charters opening up. It’s making the learning and working conditions very difficult in the schools.

      Just this school year, there’s been so many cuts to our schools that it’s hard to keep track of them. At the beginning of the year, there were millions of dollars in cuts to special ed. Our students with disabilities weren’t getting their services that were required by law; parents and teachers and community groups had to go fight the Board of Ed with lawyers to get services back.

      Then there were more special ed cuts in the middle of the year, then more general layoffs. A month or two ago, there were even more cuts. My school lost $100,000. Our budgets were already bare bones, and the principals had to cut even more.

      And then just two weeks ago, we had another round of cuts. They froze all the funds; my school lost another $80,000. For my school, they’ve cut almost all the before- and after-school programs—intervention programs for kids who were struggling, all types of clubs—plus most of our substitutes.

    • Why The Major Media Marginalize Bernie

      “Bernie did well last weekend but he can’t possibly win the nomination,” a friend told me for what seemed like the thousandth time, attaching an article from the Washington Post that shows how far behind Bernie remains in delegates.

      Wait a minute. Last Tuesday, Sanders won 78 percent of the vote in Idaho and 79 percent in Utah. This past Saturday, he took 82 percent of the vote in Alaska, 73 percent in Washington, and 70 percent in Hawaii.

      In fact, since mid-March, Bernie has won six out of the seven Democratic primary contests with an average margin of victory of 40 points. Those victories have given him roughly a one hundred additional pledged delegates.

      As of now, Hillary Clinton has 54.9 percent of the pledged delegates to Bernie Sanders’s 45.1 percent.That’s still a sizable gap – but it doesn’t make Bernie Sanders’s candidacy an impossibility.

      Moreover, there are 22 states to go with nearly 45 percent of pledged delegates still up for grabs – and Sanders has positive momentum in almost all of them.

      Hillary Clinton’s lead in superdelegates may vanish if Bernie gains a majority of pledged delegates.

      Bernie is outpacing Hillary Clinton in fundraising. In March, he raised $39 million. In February, he raised $42 million (from 1.4 million contributions, averaging $30 each), compared to Hillary Clinton’s $30 million. In January he raised $20 million to her $15 million.

    • Bernie’s Right. Wall Street’s Business Model Really Is Fraud.

      Fraud is an essential part of Wall Street’s DNA. A 2015 survey, commissioned by law firm Labaton Sucharow, found that a deeply immoral culture had taken root among British and American bankers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Bernie Sanders Flipping Presidential Script, Turning Democratic Race Into Epic Contest

      If not for a certain Manhattan billionaire, Bernie Sanders’ surprising strength and Hillary Clinton’s relative weakness would be the big political story of the year.

      Democrats are fortunate that bloody insurrection is roiling the Republican Party. Clinton—the likely Democratic nominee—will almost surely face either Donald Trump, who is toxic to most of the electorate, or an alternative chosen at the GOP convention and seen by Trumpistas as a usurper.

    • Elizabeth Warren: Electing Donald Trump President Is Like Calling an Arsonist to Put Out a Fire

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told Stephen Colbert on Wednesday that Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump got where he is by “cheating and defrauding people.”

      “He is not a business success,” she said on Colbert’s “The Late Show,” citing disasters that punctuate Trump’s professional life and the wealth he inherited from his father. “He is a business loser.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Support Among Nonwhite Voters Has Collapsed

      On February 27th, Hillary Clinton led Bernie Sanders among African-American voters by 52 points.

      By March 26th, she led Sanders among African-Americans by just nine points.

      And on Thursday, Public Policy Polling, a widely respected polling organization, released a poll showing that Sanders leads Clinton among African-American voters in Wisconsin by 11 points.

    • Bernie Leads Hillary in Wisconsin, Slams Wall Street and NAFTA

      Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders currently has a 4-point lead over Hillary Clinton among Wisconsin voters. Of likely Wisconsin Democratic primary voters, 49.2 percent chose Sanders, while 44.9 percent went with Clinton. Five and a half percent are still undecided.

    • ‘The power to create a new world is… in our hands’

      DR JILL STEIN IS RUNNING FOR THE UNITED States presidency on the Green Party ticket. This will not be her first attempt. In 2012, Jill Stein’s Green Party ticket—with Cheri Honkala, the advocate for the homeless—won half a million votes. But running on a “third party” ticket in the U.S. is not easy. The two major parties, Democratic and Republican, keep a firm hold on the political process. It is hard to get on the ballot in all 50 States of the U.S., and it is impossible to join the candidates of the two major parties at their presidential debates. In fact, when Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala tried to enter the debate venue in New York during the 2012 election, they were both arrested. But arrests are not unusual for Jill Stein. During the 2012 election, she was arrested at a Philadelphia sit-in against home foreclosures and she was arrested while offering support to environmental activists in Texas who had camped out against the Keystone XL pipeline. Activism is the measure of Jill Stein’s politics.

    • Foreign Money Is Flowing Into U.S. Elections, Alito’s Lying Lips Notwithstanding

      IN HIS 2010 State of the Union address, Barack Obama attacked the then-new Citizens United Supreme Court decision for making it possible for U.S. elections to be bankrolled by “foreign entities.”

    • Is Hillary Clinton Running Away From Political Reality?

      As this new Wisconsin poll shows: Sanders leads Clinton 49% to 43%. Sanders leads among all African-Americans 51% to 40%. Sanders leads among 18 to 45 year olds 65% to 28%.]

    • “I’m Sick of It”: Climate Activist Touches Nerve, Clinton Responds with Finger

      ‘Clinton needs to listen to the people, not fossil fuel interests,’ says Greenpeace campaigner.

    • Hmm, That’s Strange… Why Would Clinton Use Trump Abortion Remarks to Attack Sanders?

      Even though Bernie Sanders immediately took to Twitter and called Donald Trump “shameful” for his comments on Wednesday regarding “punishment” for women who would have abortions, Hillary Clinton is now using the incident as an opportunity to attack her Democratic rival by suggesting to voters that Sanders does not take the issue of women’s choice seriously enough.

      “Last night, Sen. Sanders agreed Donald Trump’s comments were shameful,” Clinton said during a campaign rally in Purchase, New York on Thursday. “Then he said they were a distraction from the, and I quote, ‘serious discussion about serious issues facing America.’”

    • The Clash of Trump, Bernie and Hillary Is About to Create a Huge Political Circus in New York
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Turkish President Comes To The US, Pretends That It Can Silence And Attack The Press Like It Does At Home

      We’ve written a whole bunch about the incredibly thin-skinned and litigious President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan took his show on the road to the US this week, and apparently that included pretending that he can treat press in the US as bad as he does at home. Erdogan spoke at the Brookings Institution yesterday, and there were protestors outside. That’s not that surprising, but rather than doing what basically anyone else does in that situation and ignore the protestors,

    • Removing ‘Vaxxed’ From Tribeca Festival Is Common Sense, Not Censorship

      On March 21, the Tribeca Film Festival announced its 2016 lineup. The festival, which runs from April 13 – 24, was started in 2001 as a way to revitalize lower Manhattan after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Now in its fifteenth year, TFF has garnered a reputation of celebrating independent filmmaking and storytelling through diverse and emerging voices.

      This year’s lineup, however, found the festival and one of its co-founders, Robert De Niro, caught in a firestorm of accusations of promoting lies and censorship.

      Scheduled to be screened on the last day of the festival was the documentary film “Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Controversy” by disgraced anti-vaccination zealot Andrew Wakefield. The film parrots the long disproven myth that vaccinations, particularly the MMR vaccine, causes autism. The theory was created by Wakefield who in 1998, then a gastroenterologist, published a fraudulent study suggesting the link.

    • MPAA Actually Steps Up To Defend Free Speech (Really!); Gets Attacked For It

      And “conduct, not merely speech” is the crux of the MPAA’s opposition to the bill. The MPAA doesn’t want revenge porn to go unpunished, but it only wants actual revenge porn punished — not everything else that might get pulled in by the broad wording and lack of a malicious intent requirement. Franks decision to excise the very element the MPAA was concerned about is completely disingenuous, as it places her on the side of the Supreme Court, even when the Supreme Court doesn’t agree with her assertions.

    • Today is your last day to comment on the Internet censorship through copyright abuse!

      Evan from Fight for the Future writes, “Hey Internet! Ever since SOPA we’ve all known that copyright laws have a huge impact on the Internet, free speech, innovation, creativity.”

    • How an underground hip hop artist and his book club threaten Angola’s regime

      This week 17 Angolan activists received jail sentences for participating in a book club. Here’s why.

    • Our Comment On DMCA Takedowns: Let’s Return To First Principles (And The First Amendment)

      As mentioned earlier, today’s the day to file comments with the Copyright Office over the DMCA’s notice and takedown provisions. We’ve already discussed the recent set of studies showing that there are way too many bogus takedown notices that are clogging the system, creating real problems for small service providers and censoring free speech. We also wrote about the patently ridiculous filing by the legacy players in the music industry, who whined about how the public is enjoying more content than ever before (which, you know, is the stated purpose of copyright law), but they’re upset that their business models are now obsolete. Finally, we wrote about the fantastic filing from Automattic, which gives many more real world examples of how the takedown process is abused (which the legacy industry pretends isn’t true, because people don’t file counternotices).

    • More Evidence That Tons Of DMCA Takedowns Are Bad News… And That People Are Afraid To Counternotice

      Earlier this week, we wrote about a major new study that revealed that a ton of DMCA takedown notices are clearly faulty, and how that shows just how messed up the DMCA’s notice-and-takedown provisions are in giving tremendous incentives to send notices with absolutely no punishment for filing bogus takedowns. The legacy music industry and its supporters keep claiming that the fact that there are so few counternotices is evidence that there’s almost no abuse. In fact, in the legacy music industry filing we wrote about earlier today, they even had the gall to claim that the real abuse is in the counternotices themselves.

    • Want To Tell The Copyright Office To Stop Abusive DMCA Takedowns? Here’s How

      So, today’s been DMCA 512 takedown day here at Techdirt. Today’s the day that comments are due at the Copyright Office concerning the effectiveness (or not) of the DMCA’s notice and takedown provisions. And, of course, no one’s entirely happy with the DMCA, but they’re unhappy in very different ways. We wrote about the legacy music industry whining that Google has built a successful service while they failed to adapt themselves. We wrote about Automattic reinforcing how DMCA takedowns are regularly abused to try to censor content (and how people are afraid to counternotice), and we wrote about our own filing, highlighting how the abuse of the DMCA process raises questions about how the current setup is Constitutional.

    • Slutface change name to SLØTFACE, share new single
    • Social media censorship forces Slutface to change name
    • Norwegian Band Slutface Changes Name Due to ‘Social Media Censorship’
    • China’s latest move to strengthen its grip on the Internet
    • China Domain Proposals Prompt Web Crackdown Fears
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Save The Internet: Final Consultation for the sake of Net Neutrality in Europe

      The BEREC is set to complete its guidelines on August 30, 2016, hereby settling the fate of an open and competitive Internet in Europe (the “Net neutrality”). It is therefore necessary that the principles laid down in EU legislation or in the “Open Internet Order” in the United States do not stay just wishful thinking: A failure of Net Neutrality in Europe would have dramatic consequences for citizens and European companies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • 50,000 People Protest DMCA Abuse, “Crash” Government Server

        A campaign launched by Fight for the Future and popular YouTube channel ChannelAwesome to protest DMCA abuse has generated 50,000 responses to the U.S. Copyright Office in less than 24 hours. The public interest is so overwhelming that the Government’s servers “crashed” under the heavy load.

      • Artists, Music Industry Urge Reform Of “Broken” DMCA

        Arguing that the copyright law in the United States intended to protect creative works while allowing access by the next creators is “broken”, hundreds of top artists, songwriters, managers and music associations are urging reforms to the law. Top performers like Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera joined the call.

      • RIAA: How Dare The Internet Use The DMCA That We Wrote To Build Useful Services!

        As we’ve mentioned, today is the day that comments are due to the Copyright Office on the effectiveness (or not) of Section 512 of the DMCA, better known as the “notice and takedown” safe harbor provisions. We’ll be posting the details of our own filing at some point (possibly not until Monday as we’re still finalizing a few things), but some of the other filings are starting to filter out, including a fairly astounding 97-page document from a bunch of legacy music industry organizations (about half of which is the actual filing, with the rest being appendices), including the RIAA, ASCAP, AFM, NMPA, SoundExchange and more. It’s basically every organization that represents the way the industry used to work — and the document reads like an angry polemic against the internet. It would have been much shorter, if they just wrote “our business used to be much better when we had more control and less competition — and we never bothered to adapt, so fuck Google and all those internet companies — and let’s change the DMCA to punish them and magically bring back the good old days.”

Links 1/4/2016: Free RHEL, 2000 Games for GNU/Linux on Steam

Posted in News Roundup at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Abot — How To Make Your Own Digital Assistant With This Free And Open Source Tool

    Ever wished to create your own digital assistant that talks back to you and completes your day-to-day tasks? Now it’s easier than ever with an open source tool Abot that’s written in Go programming language. Know more about it here and start coding one for you.

  • An open source microprocessor for wearables
  • Swiss open-source processor core ready for IoT
  • Every part of this microprocessor is open source

    Software source codes and hardware designs tend to be closely guarded trade secrets. But researchers recently made the full design of one of their microprocessors available as an open-source system.

  • Open source web development for better customization
  • Open source software opens door to web design career

    Before I discovered open source software in 2005, I had never touched a digital design package and probably couldn’t have named one. In fact, I never believed myself to be creative in any way, let alone thought about teaching myself an entirely new discipline.

  • Michael DeHaan on Achieving Project Adoption

    Starting a successful open source project requires a lot more than technical skills. You need to have wise strategies, which Michael DeHaan, founder of the IT automation company Ansible, clearly explains in this valuable video. In this talk, recorded March 22 on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University, he explains that for users to adopt your open source creations, the documentation needs to be outstanding. Your web site needs to be very well done. Learn these and other tips in this video.

  • Google Open Sources 360-Degree VR and Photo Tool
  • Membership Drive Results 2016

    This year, we are delighted to say hello to 335 new and returning members. This means that our membership numbers are up 172% over last year, which is wonderful to see!

  • Industrial city hackerspace teaches something more valuable than code

    James Wallbank is a founder of one of the longest-running hackerspaces in the U.K. Access Space opened in the center of the northern industrial city of Sheffield in 2000 with the goal of being open to all.

    Beyond being a place for coding and programming, Access Space refurbishes donated laptops for charitable use. It was also the subject of a recent academic study on barriers to womens’ participation in hackerspaces and makerspaces. In this interview, Ikem Nzeribe of Moss Code and I ask Wallbank about his experience running the hackerspace, revealing lessons that all projects looking to support diversity can use for themselves. The hackerspace model of economic self-empowerment could lead to a more diverse tech sector, but Wallbank makes it clear that there are no short cuts. The challenge may be finding enough champions of genuine diversity with the right balance of vision, critical evaluation, and persistence to enable under-represented communities.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • FLOSS Weekly 381: Mozilla Encryption Campaign

        Brett Gaylor is a Director at the Mozilla Foundation, where he helps helm the current encryption education campaign. He also oversees Mozilla’s Open Web Fellows program, which places open source technologists and activists at leading nonprofits like Amnesty International and ACLU.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • AtScale Advances its BI and Hadoop Strategy

      As it began to develop, the Big Data trend–sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information–remained an enterprise-only story, but now businesses of all sizes are evaluating tools that can help them glean meaningful insights from the data they store. As we’ve noted, the open source Hadoop project has been one of the big drivers of this trend, and has given rise to commercial companies that offer custom Hadoop distributions, support, training and more.

  • Databases

    • The PostgreSQL Global Development Group’s PostgreSQL

      Other specific features are performance boosters for today’s more powerful big iron servers, analytics and productivity enhancements to speed complex query capabilities on extreme data volumes, and a foundation for horizontal scalability across multiple servers for importing entire tables from external databases.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Matt Lee of GNU Social

      GNU social was created as a companion to my earlier project, GNU FM, which we created to build the social music platform, Libre.fm. After only a few short months, Libre.fm had over 20,000 users and I realized I didn’t want to be another social media silo like MySpace or Facebook, so I came up with this vague idea called GNU social. A few prototypes were built, and eventually we started making GNU social as a series of plugins for Evan Prodromou’s StatusNet project, with some help from Ian Denhardt, Craig Andrews and Steven DuBois. Later, StatusNet, GNU social and Free&Social (a fork of StatusNet) would merge into a single project called GNU social. If that sounds confusing and convoluted, it is.

    • March 2016: photos from Bhopal and Utrecht and through to Quebec City and Montreal

      RMS was in India, the Netherlands, and Canada this past month. He started his trip in February in Pilani, in Delhi, and in Roorkee, where he spoke, at APOGEE 2016, the annual Birla Institute of Technology & Science–Pilani technical festival, at Tryst, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi’s annual science and technology festival, and at Cognizance,1 IIT–Delhi’s annual technical festival. He then moved on…

  • Programming/Development


  • Why are so many people using ad blockers?

    Prominent mobile device companies like Apple and Samsung have recently added the ability to run ad blockers on their phones and tablets. And many users have been installing them, making ad blockers some of the most popular apps in app stores.

    Ad blockers are a hot topic of debate though, with revenue-starved sites being pitted against users who are concerned about malware as well as their overall reading experience. Users are defending their right to run ad blockers, while sites are requesting that they turn them off.

    But there’s another reason why so many people are using ad blockers on their mobile devices: mobile data allotments. It turns out that advertising can eat up a user’s fixed data allotment very, very quickly and that could result in expensive overage charges.

  • Code talker Gilbert Horn laid to rest

    To the broader outside world, Horn was best known as a Native American code talker who fought with the storied WWII deep penetration unit known as Merrill’s Marauders. But to those who knew him best, he was simply “Uncle Gil,” chief of the Fort Belknap Assiniboine Tribe.

    “My dad touched a lot of people’s lives in a good way,” said Willowa “Sis” Horn, Gilbert Horn’s oldest daughter. “But to me he was just daddy – just my dad.”

    Horn was born May 12, 1923, during an era when much of white society viewed Native culture as a quaint anachronism – something that would be gradually extinguished as Indian people were assimilated into the dominant western culture.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Review Of WHO Pandemic Flu Preparedness: Data Sequencing And Other Issues

      A representative of Sequirus, one of the largest vaccine manufacturers, on behalf of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), and another industry group, said industry supports the PIP Framework.

      Genetic sequence data of influenza viruses with pandemic potential are not WHO PIP biological materials per the definition of PIP biological materials, the representative said. It is critical that GSD remain in the public domain for continued influenza R&D efforts, she said. In the context of the PIP Framework review, “industry is willing to consider an appropriate revision to the PIP biological definition to reflect anticipated technological advances.”

      However, “not all influenza IVPP and IVPP GSD should be included in the definition and subject to the WHO PIP Framework obligations,” the industry representative said, rather only GSD which is used directly to develop and manufacture commercial IVPP products. “Attaching obligations to the general use and the sharing of publicly available GSD could potentially inhibit influenza R&D.”

    • Global E-Waste Epidemic: Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind

      Many of us identify with the growing movement to better understand our collective and individual impact on the environment and one another. We can look to our own communities for working examples of regulations, initiatives, and programs that have been developed to tackle the growing problem of electronic waste. Curbside donation programs have sprung up in many communities around the U.S., but most of us stop thinking about the disposal process once it leaves our hands. There has been a lack of media coverage regarding the global community’s outsourcing of electronic waste.

      Steps have been taken on an international level to promote responsible disposal, for example with the creation of the Basel Convention. However, loopholes exist. In her report, Madeleine Somerville points to the fact that externalizing the costs of disposal contributes to the exploitation of marginalized communities as well as the environment. The fundamental problem is not that we don’t care about the effects of e-waste, but that we are relatively unaware of the complete life cycle of the electronics we use. We are not yet tuned in to how our everyday lifestyles contribute to the amount of production and subsequent waste.

    • If Addiction is a Disease, Why is It Criminal? Maia Szalavitz Envisions a Compassionate Drug Policy

      President Obama has unveiled a series of steps aimed at addressing the epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States. We speak with journalist Maia Szalavitz about her new book, “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction,” and about her own experience of overcoming addiction. “We need to create a more compassionate and loving drug policy,” Szalavitz says. “Nobody is going to believe that addiction is a disease as long as the behavior is criminal.”

    • POTUS advisors vote for Superbug Czar but go soft on farm antibiotic use

      The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that trek between farms and clinics and across international boarders is unquestionably one of the most serious public health threats of our time. They currently sicken around two million people in the US each year, killing at least 23,000. To tackle the issue, the Obama Administration last year released a National Action Plan and established a panel of diverse experts to research and guide the government’s efforts to squash those deadly superbugs.

      That 15-person panel, called the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria or PACCARB, convened this week in Washington, DC to discuss and vote on its first progress report and key recommendations, which now head to the president’s desk. Thursday, the council unanimously voted for six recommendations, which spanned calls for funding and collaboration. But chief among them is the call for the president to establish a White House-level leader that could coordinate all of the government agencies’ efforts to fight drug resistance.

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Your router could succumb to a new Telnet worm

      Building botnets made up of routers, modems, wireless access points and other networking devices doesn’t require sophisticated exploits. Remaiten, a new worm that infects embedded systems, spreads by taking advantage of weak Telnet passwords.

      Remaiten is the latest incarnation of distributed denial-of-service Linux bots designed for embedded architectures. Its authors actually call it KTN-Remastered, where KTN most likely stands for a known Linux bot called Kaiten.

    • Remaiten Is a New DDoS Bot Targeting Linux-Based Home Routers

      Malware coders have created a new DDoS bot called Remaiten that targets home routers running on common Linux architectures, which also shares a lot of similarities with other DDoS bots like Tsunami and Gafgyt.

    • Oh, Look: Yet Another Security Flaw In Government Websites

      Or worse. The open direct could lead to spyware and malware, rather than just advertising masquerading as content or bottom-feeder clickbait. Fortunately, you can keep an eye on what URLs are being reached using these open redirects via this link. Unfortunately, it may be only citizens keeping an eye on that page, and they’re in no position to prevent further abuse.

    • CNBC Asks Readers To Submit Their Password To Check Its Strength Into Exploitable Widget

      People’s passwords and their relative strength and weakness is a subject I know quite well. As part of my business, we regularly battle users who think very simple passwords, often times relating to their birthdays and whatnot, are sufficient. Sometimes they simply make “password” or a similiar variant their go-to option. So, when CNBC put together a widget for readers to input the passwords they use to get feedback on their strength or weakness, I completely understand what they were attempting to accomplish. Password security is a real issue, after all — which is what makes it all the more face-palming that the widget CNBC used was found to be exploitable.

    • Reviewing Important Healthcare Cybersecurity Frameworks [Ed: Microsoft Windows]

      Just recently, a ransomware attack affected Hollywood Presbyterian in California, causing the hospital to pay $17,000 to regain access to its databases.

    • U.S., Canada issue joint alert on ‘ransomware’ after hospital attacks [iophk: The governments need to track down those spreading Windows in the hospitals.]

      The United States and Canada on Thursday issued a rare joint cyber alert, warning against a recent surge in extortion attacks that infect computers with viruses known as “ransomware,” which encrypt data and demand payments for it to be unlocked.

      The warning follows reports from several private security firms that they expect the crisis to worsen, because hackers are getting more sophisticated and few businesses have adopted proper security measures to thwart such attacks.

    • NIST Publishes New Security Standard For Encrypting Credit Card, Medical Info

      The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed new encryption methods for securing financial data and other sensitive information.

      The NIST publication SP 800-38G authored by Morris Dworkin specifies cryptography standards for both binary and non-binary data, preserving the look and feel of the unencrypted digits. Earlier encryption methods designed by NIST worked for binary data. But for strings of decimal numbers, there was no feasible technique to produce coded data that preserves the original format.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Freedom in North Korea (I Hate Travel Stories About North Korea)

      Every travel story about North Korea reads the same:

      We went to North Korea voluntarily, and were shocked to find that we couldn’t like hang out at clubs with everyday Koreans, and the dudes there, like, spied on us.

      And we couldn’t use WhatsApp or take selfies anywhere we wanted, or like mock the hell out of the fat guy who dictates the place LOL. It’s like so oppressive and I’m so glad to be back in the U.S. where sh*t is totally free, I mean literally, bro.

      Wash, rinse, repeat.

    • No Thank You for Your Service: The Fallacy of Troop Worship

      There is a pervasive idea in today’s American society that regardless of political philosophy or party affiliation, one must never criticize the members of the United States military. Conventional wisdom holds that we must appreciate the sacrifice soldiers have made to “fight for our freedom,” and even if one is against the war, they must always “support the troops.” This line of thinking is not coming solely from the pro-war crowd; many of those who consider themselves antiwar (or at least oppose a specific war or conflict) have the utmost regard for those who fight in them. But is this canonization of those who take up arms in the name of the United States government truly just? Or is it a falsehood based on propaganda, emotion, and a lack of critical thinking?

    • NATO: Worse Than ‘Obsolete’

      That promise was not kept. Instead, the lobbyists, both foreign and domestic, went into overdrive in a campaign to extend NATO to the very gates of Moscow. It was a lucrative business for the Washington set, as the Wall Street Journal documented: cushy fees for lobbyists, influence-buying by US corporations, as well as political tradeoffs for the administration of George W. Bush, which garnered support for the Iraq war from Eastern Europe’s former Warsaw Pact states in exchange for favorable treatment of their NATO applications.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Italy should work on its OGP commitments and their implementation

      The Progress Report covers the second Italian OGP Action Plan (for the period 2014-2015), which was adopted in December 2014. The plan was developed by the new government that was installed at the beginning of that year and that “planned to set up structural reforms in many sectors of public administration, stressing the relevance of transparency, accountability, and open data.”

  • Finance

    • New Analysis Shows ‘Frivolous’ Corporate Sovereignty Suits Increasingly Used To Deter Regulation Rather Than Win Compensation

      The rise in public awareness of the dangers of corporate sovereignty provisions in agreements like TPP and TAFTA/TTIP has brought with it a collateral benefit: academics are starting to explore its effects in greater depth. An example is a new paper from Krzysztof J. Pelc, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McGill University in Canada. Called “Does the Investment Regime Induce Frivolous Litigation?” (pdf), it looks at how the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism has evolved in recent years, and in a very troubling direction.

    • Open-Source P2P Currency Exchange CurrencyFair Secures €8 Million

      CurrencyFair, an open-source, peer-to-peer, international currency exchange with offices in the U.K., Ireland and Australia, has raised an additional €8 million and announced a new chief marketing officer.

    • Vox and the False Consensus of ‘Most Economists Agree’

      Sometimes Vox does actually link to something at least attempting consensus, as they have done here and here. But more often, even when an attempt at consensus is reached, it’s plagued with blinders that render the “most economists” distinction suspect.

      For example, the University of Chicago “poll” that sampled economists about the value of Uber, showing uniform consensus about how great it was, did not contain a single African-American or Hispanic economist. Does the class and racial composition —let alone the University of Chicago’s notorious association with free-market ideology—affect what this cohort of “most economists” thinks? Probably. Does anyone at Vox care? Evidently not.

      Sometimes the “most economists” device is just a lazy placeholder, and it’s entirely possible that “most economists,” if subjected to anything approaching a scientific poll, would actually agree with the author’s assertion. Sometimes vague intuitions about what others think are true!

      But like Fox News‘ use of “some say,” “most economists” or “most experts” is often a weasel phase that permits the writer to smuggle in their own opinion and ideology where it ought not be, and couches their own subjective, ad hoc analysis as something reflecting scientific consensus. Certainly, if “most experts” on a subject agree, what they agree on must therefore be objectively and undoubtedly true.

      Ultimately, the “most expert/economists” cliche is a lazy appeal to authority that shortcuts actually showing one’s homework—how one got from premise to conclusion. If the news is going to be “explained” rather than just asserted, most media critics agree that Vox should drop this tic altogether.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Corporate Media Circles Wagons Around Tories

      There is a huge amount of polling evidence over decades that shows that the perception that a party is divided causes much damage to that party’s popularity rating. Indeed the perception of division or unity is almost as important as what the actual policies are. The spectacular tumbling of popular Tory support in the UK is therefore entirely expected when the Tories are kicking pieces out of each other over Europe and Osbornomics.

      The corporate media, including the BBC, of course know this very well. That is why ever since those opinion polls the bitter Tory internal battles have simply stopped being reported. I have no doubt their political correspondents are having conversations like the one I had with an MP this morning, several times every day. Yet when did you last see one reported? Compare this to the regular reporting of every tittle tattle of anonymous Blairite briefing against Corbyn.

    • Moyers & Co. Cites FAIR on Media Consolidation
    • Anonymity in the New York Times: By the Numbers

      A new report from FAIR looks at a year’s worth of anonymity in the New York Times, with media critic Reed Richardson taking an in-depth look at how unnamed sources were used in the paper in 2015. His research substantiates that the observation Times public editor Margaret Sullivan made in 2014 (12/29/14) is still true: “Anonymity continues to be granted to sources far more often than a last-resort basis would suggest.”

    • Twenty Years of Media Consolidation Has Not Been Good For Our Democracy

      Wall Street’s sinister influence on the political process has, rightly, been a major topic during this presidential campaign. But history has taught us that the role that the media industry plays in Washington poses a comparable threat to our democracy. Yet this is a topic rarely discussed by the dominant media, or on the campaign trail.

    • Error Keeps Sanders off D.C. Ballot [iophk: The establishment, in pushing Clinton, is really pulling some dirty tricks.]

      Bernie Sanders is not on the ballot for Washington, D.C.’s Democratic primary on June 14, thanks to a clerical error.

      Both Sanders, a senator from Vermont, and front-runner Hillary Clinton submitted their paperwork and the $2,500 fee in advance of the March 16 deadline. But due to a clerical error, the D.C. Democrats did not notify the Board of Elections until March 17, according to WRC-TV in Washington.

    • Bernie Sanders Has an Interesting Theory About Why the Republican Party Exists

      Rachel Maddow posed an interesting question to Sen. Bernie Sanders during their interview on Wednesday: Would he like to see the Republican Party just disappear? Sanders’ answer was also an interesting one. He didn’t take the bait; instead, he offered an alternative theory—the GOP would disappear if corporate media simply told the truth about the party’s agenda.


      “The Republican Party today now is a joke,” he continued, “maintained by a media which really does not force them to discuss their issues.”

      Sanders was returning to one of his driving issues over the years—a fervent belief that corporate-owned media was steering democracy off a cliff. In 1979, he wrote an essay arguing that TV networks were “using the well-tested Hitlerian principle that people should be treated as morons and bombarded over and over again with the same simple phrases and ideas” to prevent them from thinking critically about the world around them. He hit those same themes (albeit more diplomatically) in his book, Outsider in the House, arguing that TV news coverage was dumbing down America by inundating viewers with superficial coverage of O.J. Simpson instead of “corporate disinvestment in the United States.” Not surprisingly, when Maddow asked Sanders in an interview last fall what his dream job might be, he quickly blurted out, “president of CNN.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Opinion: Censorship leads to many harmful, scary precedents

      Last week, “Trump 2016” was chalked in many places across Emory University’s campus. The backlash was swift. Students called for an immediate investigation. Emory administrators responded quickly, saying they would review security footage in order to find the “perpetrators” to then execute disciplinary protocol.

      In consistency with the free speech editorial we wrote in the fall, we write this in the hopes of criticizing this kind of censorship and policing culture often taken by college administration in response to speech that could be construed as hate speech.

      We certainly are not condoning the type of rhetoric that Donald Trump espouses or the type of politics that he inspires, but rather are calling for a more long-term strategy for protecting the rights of the marginalized. As many legal experts have noted, the type of precedent this Orwellian approach to censoring and stifling speech — however advantageous in the short term it may be — will come to disproportionately affect students’ ability to voice opinions later. If the chalkings were anti-University administration, students have now inadvertently created a protocol under which that too can be stifled by Emory officials.

    • Nintendo FIRES feminist Alison Rapp following furious paedophile porn censorship storm
    • Nintendo denies Alison Rapp firing is linked to harassment campaign
    • Nintendo fires woman who became online target
    • When Chinese state censorship reached the L.E.S.

      Manhattan-based artist Joyce Yu-Jean Lee never guessed she was in for a bit of international intrigue and even global headlines when she launched a show and accompanying discussion panels in February at a couple of alternative venues on the Lower East Side.

      The installation, which lasted a month, was a pop-up Internet cafe dubbed “Firewall.” This is a reference to the “Great Firewall of China” (officially the “Golden Shield”) that filters the Internet in the People’s Republic.

    • Apple patents on-the-fly censorship technology

      Apple recently patented a software system that can automatically detect and remove swear words from streamed audio tracks. The patent, dubbed “Management, Replacement and Removal of Explicit Lyrics during Audio Playback” scans a piece of music, compares the lyrics against a database of banned words, marks any explicit bits it finds and then removes the offending content, replacing it with either a beep or silence. The technology can also, according to its patent filing, detect the background music and boost that to cover what’s being censored. The system isn’t limited to music, mind you, it can just as easily be applied to audio books. As with many of Apple’s patents, there is no word on when — or even if — the technology will ever make it into an actual product.

    • Apple has patented technology to automatically scan songs and remove swear words

      Apple has been granted a patent for technology that can automatically scan songs being streamed online and edit out any swear words in the lyrics.

    • The Latest In Reputation Management: Bogus Defamation Suits From Bogus Companies Against Bogus Defendants

      Pissed Consumer has uncovered an apparent abuse of the court system by reputation management firms. Getting allegedly defamatory links delisted by Google requires a court order, which is something very few people can actually obtain. But the plaintiffs featured in this Pissed Consumer post seem to have no trouble acquiring these — often within a few days of filing their lawsuits.

    • Onlinecensorship.org Launches Inaugural Report

      We’re proud to announce today’s release of Onlinecensorship.org’s first report looking at how content is regulated by social media companies. Onlinecensorship.org—a joint project of EFF and Visualizing Impact (VI) that won the 2014 Knight News Challenge—seeks to encourage social media companies to operate with greater transparency and accountability toward their users as they make decisions that regulate speech.

      Onlinecensorship.org was founded to fill a gap in public knowledge about how social media companies moderate content. As platforms like Facebook and Twitter play an increasingly large role in our lives, it’s important to track how these companies are regulating the speech of their users, both in tandem with governments and independent of them. As self-ordained content moderators, these companies face thorny issues; deciding what constitutes hate speech, harassment, and terrorism is challenging, particularly across many different cultures, languages, and social circumstances. These U.S.-based companies by and large do not consider their policies to constitute censorship. We challenge this assertion, and examine how their policies (and their enforcement) may have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

    • Texas Cops’ Complaint Censorship Attack YouTube Videos of Public Officials in Public

      Texas police launched a “complaint censorship” attack on David Warden’s YouTube channel News Now Houston, claiming his videos violate their privacy.

      Which is a lie, because in public, nobody has a right or expectation of privacy.

      Least of all public officials like police.

      You can see a new video below, Warden talking about the agony of having been first assaulted and then attacked with complaint censorship on his news channel and three false complaints aimed at censoring his citizen journalism.

      It’s his only way to monetize important public interest news-gathering activities.

      It’s where he tells the world about official abuse.

      Complaint censorship happens with false or improper complaints submitted with intent to damage a citizen journalist or news outlet’s online publishing access or tools.

    • Vietnamese Bloggers Sentenced to Prison in a Renewed Crackdown on Free Expression

      A prominent Vietnamese blogger and his assistant were sentenced to prison last week in Hanoi for their work on a popular web site, read by millions of Vietnamese, that reported on human rights and government corruption. The case raises alarms of a new wave of repression against independent media and free expression online in Vietnam.

      On March 23 a Hanoi court sentenced Nguyen Huu Vinh, a former police officer and the son of Vietnam’s ambassador to the former Soviet Union, to five years in prison for “abusing democratic freedoms to harm the interests of the state.” Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, Vinh’s assistant, was sentenced to three years. Vinh, better known as Anh Ba Sam, set up a popular blog in 2007 and later launched two others. The sites provided news and comments about democracy, social and economic issues from state media and activists, and articles critical of Vietnamese government policies. One site, AhnBasam, was repeatedly attacked by hackers in 2013 and 2014; Vinh and Thuy were arrested in May 2014 in Hanoi and indicted on charges that articles posted on the sites had “untruthful” content and “distort the lines and policies” of the ruling Community Party.

    • Onlinecensorship.org launches first report (PDF)
    • ‘Barney’s Wall’ Needs Money to Complete Film

      The producers of the film “Barney’s Wall,” about the creative vision and legacy of Barney Rosset, need money to cover post-production costs.

      The film focuses on the man and the mural he made in his later years on the main wall of his apartment and office space in the East Village. He worked on the mural until the last days of his life in 2012. In the years following his death, the apartment was sold to developers, and it was clear that the mural would not survive there.

    • Barney’s Wall: New Film Celebrates How One Man Brought Down Censorship in the US
    • Some prominent Chinese are chafing against censorship. Then their complaints are censored
    • Play Pamphlet Sparks Censorship Debate in Hong Kong
    • Pakistan Islamist protesters end four-day blasphemy protest
    • Turkey Wants Ban on Mocking Its Leader Enforced Abroad Too
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FCC advances privacy proposal for U.S. internet users

      The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday advanced a proposal to ensure the privacy of broadband Internet users by barring providers from collecting user data without consent.

      The proposed regulation from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler won initial approval with a 3-2 vote to require broadband providers to obtain consumer consent, disclose data collection, protect personal information and report breaches — but would not bar any data collection practices.

      “It’s the consumers’ information and the consumer should have the right to determine how it’s used,” Wheeler said.

    • Exclusive: Egypt blocked Facebook Internet service over surveillance – sources

      Egypt blocked Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) Free Basics Internet service at the end of last year after the U.S. company refused to give the Egyptian government the ability to spy on users, two people familiar with the matter said.

      Free Basics, launched in Egypt in October, is aimed at low-income customers, allowing anyone with a cheap computer or smartphone to create a Facebook account and access a limited set of Internet services at no charge.

      The Egyptian government suspended the service on Dec. 30 and said at the time that the mobile carrier Etisalat had only been granted a temporary permit to offer the service for two months.

      Two sources with direct knowledge of discussions between Facebook and the Egyptian government said Free Basics was blocked because the company would not allow the government to circumvent the service’s security to conduct surveillance. They declined to say exactly what type of access the government had demanded or what practices it wanted Facebook to change.

    • Reddit deletes surveillance ‘warrant canary’ in transparency report

      Social networking forum reddit on Thursday removed a section from its site used to tacitly inform users it had never received a certain type of U.S. government surveillance request, suggesting the platform is now being asked to hand over customer data under a secretive law enforcement authority.

    • Reddit removes “warrant canary” from its latest transparency report

      Reddit has removed the warrant canary posted on its website, suggesting that the company may have been served with some sort of secret court order or document for user information.

      At the bottom of its 2014 transparency report, the company wrote: “As of January 29, 2015, reddit has never received a National Security Letter, an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or any other classified request for user information. If we ever receive such a request, we would seek to let the public know it existed.”

      That language was conspicuously missing from the 2015 transparency report that was published Thursday morning. (Disclaimer: Ars and Reddit are owned by the same parent company, Advance Publications.)

    • Signal

      Signal is a pretty amazing app; it manages to combine great security with great simplicity.

    • Amnesty International: Encryption is a Human Rights Issue

      New Report Analyzes How Crypto Backdoors, Interference with Crypto, and Compelled Disclosure of Encryption Keys All Impact Free Expression and Privacy

      Defending encryption is a human rights issue, according to a new Amnesty International report. The report calls on nation-states to promote the use of encryption tools as part of their international human rights obligations to protect the privacy of their populations.

    • NSA Chief Refuses ‘To Get Into’ Whether Hillary’s Email Server Was Hacked [VIDEO]

      National Security Agency (NSA) director Michael S. Rogers adamantly refused on Thursday to say whether Hillary Clinton’s private email server was ever hacked.

      “It’s something I’m just not going to get into,” Rogers told Yahoo! News’ Michael Isikoff when asked in an interview if Clinton’s server was ever compromised.

    • Did a Self-Identified Spy Hunter Leak an NSA Secret on LinkedIn?

      The American government built underwater drones in the 1990s to tap into fiber-optics cables, he claims.


      He later called it a “new series of fiber optic [remotely operated vehicles].”

      Edward Snowden, who knows some things about secrets, called the disclosure “probably the most incredible leak of compartmented [top secret] material I’ve ever seen on LinkedIn.”

    • Using the NSA Intrusion Lifecycle to bolster security

      IT systems in both the public and private sectors are woefully unprepared for an environment in which cyberthreats are becoming more constant and complex, according to Curtis Dukes, director of the National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Directorate.

    • Would it be any easier for the FBI to crack Android?
    • This Map Shows How the Apple-FBI Fight Was About Much More Than One Phone

      The FBI’s request was part of a sustained government effort to exercise novel law enforcement power.

      The government insisted that its effort to force Apple to help break into an iPhone as part of the investigation into the 2015 San Bernardino shootings was just about that one case. Even though the FBI no longer needs Apple’s help in that case, the FBI’s request was part of a sustained government effort to exercise novel law enforcement power.

    • Google Was Also Ordered To Unlock A Phone, But Did Not Put Up A Fight
    • The TOR Project: “Our Developers Will Quit If Ordered To Backdoor TOR Browser”

      The TOR Project has expressed its commitment to researching and developing new ways to mitigate the threats of security failure. Meanwhile, if TOR developers are asked to deploy some backdoor in the software, they would rather resign than honor the request.

    • Spy Agency Says NSA Data Will Be Shared Within Government
    • Spies close in on plan to share NSA data despite privacy worries

      The intelligence community is close to completing a plan to let the National Security Agency share more of the raw data it collects with other U.S. spy agencies, a system that would put an end to more than a decade of wrangling among the different organizations.

    • Jay Evensen: While we talk about security vs. freedom, government keeps expanding data-gathering

      This would allow the FBI, for instance, to use NSA-gathered information to investigate crimes that have nothing to do with terrorism.

    • Spy office denies allegations that NSA data will be used for policing

      A top lawyer for the nation’s intelligence agencies is pushing back on mounting criticism about new plans to widely share intercepted data throughout the federal government.

      Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed that the change in policy is “in the final stages of development and approval” in a post on national security legal blog Just Security on Wednesday.

      But Litt denied allegations that the change would allow the FBI and other agencies to use the sensitive data for domestic law enforcement matters, which members of Congress had speculated could be unconstitutional.

      “There will be no greater access to signals intelligence information for law enforcement purposes than there is today,” Litt claimed in his blog post. “These procedures will only ensure that other elements of the intelligence community will be able to make use of this signals intelligence if it is relevant to their intelligence mission.”

    • UVU hopes to increase student retention with opening of money management center
    • UVU working with NSA to get employees for data collection center
    • Senator Wyden Lays Out New ‘Compact For Privacy & Security In The Digital Age’ In Response To Surveillance/Encryption Fights

      Yesterday, at the excellent RightsCon event in San Francisco, Senator Ron Wyden gave a barn burnder of a speech, in which he detailed why it was so important to protect our privacy and security in a digital age, at a time when law enforcement and the intelligence communities are digging deeper and deeper into all of our personal information.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A Look At Our Future: 5 Nations Who Elected Their Trump

      America makes a lot of questionable decisions, and when we do, the world is quick to call us out on it. For example, remember that time we impeached our president over an extramarital affair and countries lined up to express their amusement over the fact that we’d take such drastic steps over a relatively minor thing?

    • Startup Offers Citizens More Opportunities To Get Shot By/Have Their Smartphones Seized By Law Enforcement

      I’m not sure people are going to be more comforted that people are carrying guns they can’t see, especially not US law enforcement, which has already demonstrated it fears cell phones as much as it fears guns.

    • No Charges To Be Filed in Minneapolis Police Shooting of Jamar Clark

      Black Lives Matter activists are planning a protest in Minneapolis tonight after Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced no charges will be filed against the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting death last fall of Jamar Clark, an unarmed 24-year-old African American. Clark was shot in the head after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault. In announcing the decision, Freeman rejected claims by multiple witnesses that Clark was shot while handcuffed. Freeman also claimed Clark placed his hand on an officer’s gun during the scuffle. Clark’s death sparked a series of protests in Minneapolis.

    • North Carolina: Flush Your Bathroom Bill Down the Toilet

      Opponents call it “the Bathroom Bill.” In a special session last week, the North Carolina state legislature passed HB2, officially called the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the law that night. The new law denies transgender people use of the bathroom, changing room or locker room that matches their gender identity. Resistance to the bill is fierce, and growing daily.

    • When a Headscarf Becomes a Target

      To make clear their rights, the ACLU has just released a Know Your Rights guide for women and girls who wear hijab.

      Libraries and schools are supposed to be inclusive spaces for learning, growing, and tolerance. But two women last week — one in California, one in D.C. — learned these safe spaces do not always live up to their reputation.

    • They Came A-Knockin’, and I Said “As-Salam Alaikum, Y’all!”

      The first year was hard. While my husband enjoyed his new position at the university, I was having a difficult time finding work in my field — civil rights. I took up cooking and working out, trying to keep up with these very elegant Southern moms who always looked well-manicured. I even joined the PTA. At my first meeting, I was approached by someone who appeared to be the head lady of the group.

      “What church do you go to?” she asked, smiling from ear to ear.

      “Church? Oh. Uh. I don’t. I’m Muslim.”

    • UK Law Enforcement Trying To Force Man They’ve Never Charged With A Crime To Decrypt His Computers

      British hacker Lauri Love stands accused of causing “millions of dollars” in damages to US government computers — charges he’s been facing for more than two years. These charges originate in the US, but it’s the UK that’s been trying to get Love to give up his encryption keys for the past couple of years.

      Under RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act of 2000), the UK government can charge Love with “failure to cooperate” by refusing to comply with the order to decrypt files. To date it has not done so, despite Love blowing off its demands since the middle of February 2014.

    • UK cops tell suspect to hand over crypto keys in US hacking case

      At a court hearing earlier this month, the UK’s National Crime Authority (NCA) demanded that Lauri Love, a British computer scientist who allegedly broke into US government networks and caused “millions of dollars in damage,” decrypt his laptop and other devices impounded by the NCA in 2013, leading some experts to warn that a decision in the government’s favor could set a worrisome precedent for journalists and whistleblowers.

      Arrested in 2013 for the alleged intrusions but subsequently released, Love was re-arrested in 2015 and is currently fighting extradition to the United States. He has so far refused to comply with a Section 49 RIPA notice to decrypt the devices, a refusal that carries potential jail time. However, British authorities have not charged Love with any crime, leading him to counter-sue in civil court for the return of his devices.

    • Slain Activist Berta Cáceres’ Daughter: US Military Aid Has Fueled Repression & Violence in Honduras

      Another indigenous environmentalist has been murdered in Honduras, less than two weeks after the assassination of renowned activist Berta Cáceres. Nelson García was shot to death Tuesday after returning home from helping indigenous people who had been displaced in a mass eviction by Honduran security forces. García was a member of COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, co-founded by Berta Cáceres, who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize last year for her decade-long fight against the Agua Zarca Dam, a project planned along a river sacred to the indigenous Lenca people. She was shot to death at her home on March 3. On Thursday, thousands converged in Tegucigalpa for the start of a mobilization to demand justice for Berta Cáceres and an end to what they say is a culture of repression and impunity linked to the Honduran government’s support for corporate interests. At the same time, hundreds of people, most of them women, gathered outside the Honduran Mission to the United Nations chanting “Berta no se murió; se multiplicó – Berta didn’t die; she multiplied.” We speak with Cáceres’s daughter, Bertha Zúniga Cáceres, and with Lilian Esperanza López Benítez, the financial coordinator of COPINH.

    • Indigenous Hondurans Demand Investigation of Berta Caceres’ Assassination

      Describing a backdrop of long-term US “meddling” in Honduras, Caceres spoken out publicly in 2014 against Hillary Clinton’s role as US Secretary of State in the 2009 coup that ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and opened what the Goldman Prize website described as the “explosive growth in environmentally destructive megaprojects that would displace indigenous communities.”

    • Turkish President Visits Washington, Clashes With Journalists

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is visiting Washington, D.C. this week — and his security team has brought along some of its tactics for shutting down dissent and free speech.

      Outside a planned speech at the Brookings Institution on Thursday, confrontations between protesters and Erdogan’s guards devolved into violence. Eyewitnesses reported that Turkish security forcibly removed one journalist from the scene, while another was kicked and a third was thrown to the sidewalk. Inside the event, journalists reported being forced to leave by Turkish security.

    • Breaking: Cherelle Baldwin Found Not Guilty in Death of Abusive Ex, Freed After 3 Years in Jail

      Cherelle Baldwin has been freed after a 12-member jury in Bridgeport, Connecticut found her not guilty of murder in the death of her abusive ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Brown. According to the Huffington Post, Baldwin “collapsed to the floor in tears as the verdict was announced,” crying, “My baby will have his mommy back.”

    • EFF Pressure Results in Increased Disclosure of Abuse of California’s Law Enforcement Databases

      EFF’s efforts to fix holes in oversight of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) are paying off.

      New data and records released by California Department of Justice (CADOJ) show a steep increase in the number of agencies disclosing cases of abuse of the state’s network of law enforcement databases—a major victory for transparency and law enforcement accountability.

      Last year, EFF identified major failures in how a CADOJ committee charged with overseeing the system—the CLETS Advisory Committee (CAC)—reviews misuse investigations. The body, EFF found, had failed to follow established procedures for disciplining users who break access rules, leading to a 100% increase in reported misuse since 2010.

    • Ham-Handed Arrest at Pediatric Clinic Highlights Official War on the Powerless

      The cops raided my wife’s pediatric practice looking for a fugitive, last week.

      Actually, let’s put the word “fugitive” in quotes. The story is an eye-opening tale in itself. It’s also a glimpse at how business-as-usual in courts and cop shops around the country screws with people’s lives and alienates the public from those who are allegedly their protectors.

      My wife, Dr. Wendy Tuccille, was on her way to the office in Cottonwood, Arizona, when her phone rang. Frantic staff called to tell her that the clinic’s parking lot was full of cops, there to arrest one of her employees, C.H. (it’s a small town so we’ll stick with her initials), on an outstanding warrant.

      When my wife arrived she found a gaggle of cops—12 to 15 she told me, some in battle jammies—in plain view at the rear corner of the building. The parking lot was full of police vehicles, in sight of families and children arriving to be seen and treated.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Stop the Obama administration from surrendering authority over the Internet

      We all know now that the Internet began as a US government project. Administration of parts of it was eventually outsourced, first to Network Solutions Inc and then to a non-profit corporation created just for the task: ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN operates autonomously, but under a contract from the US government, specifically from the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) in the US Department of Commerce.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Practical tips for filing designs post-Trunki

      Following the UK Supreme Court’s judgment in the Trunki design dispute, Managing IP summarises practical tips from UK practitioners on filing designs and eight lessons from the judgment

    • Copyrights

      • Rightscorp Blames VPNs and ISPs For Drop in Revenue

        Anti-piracy cash settlement outfit Rightscorp has just announced a net loss of $3.5m for its operations during 2015. Interestingly the company cites a number of reasons, some of them cryptic, for decreasing revenues. Alongside the mysterious “shutting down” of unnamed file-sharing infrastructure, VPN use and ISP reluctance to assist trolling are major factors.


Links 31/3/2016: Bodhi Linux 3.2.0, Kirigami UI

Posted in News Roundup at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source microprocessor

    Software source codes and hardware designs tend to be closely guarded trade secrets. Not so with open-source products. For instance, the code of open-source software is freely available to all: the best known example is the Linux operating system. Not only are interested developers able to use the software, they can also further develop it and adapt it to their own needs.

  • Open-Source Microprocessor
  • Engineers Develop Open-Source Microprocessor for Wearables and IoT
  • eBay first to open source a FIDO UAF authentication server
  • eBay becomes first ecommerce member of FIDO Alliance
  • eBay joins FIDO Alliance
  • Google Introduces Open Source VR View For Easy 360-Degree Photo And Video Embeds On The Web And In Apps
  • Glucosio helps diabetics track blood sugar
  • Apcera is Integrating Kubernetes into its Cloud Platform

    Apcera has remained among the more interesting companies differentiating themselves in the cloud computing space, as we explored in our recent interview with Apcera SVP of Product and Engineering Neeraj Gupta (shown here). Now, Apcera has announced it will extend its platform to support Kubernetes, which recently moved under the direction of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The company also announced that Apcera founder and CEO, Derek Collison, has joined the governing board for CNCF.

  • 1btn is a powerful, open source, do-it-all button for the Internet

    What can a simple button do? Amazon’s Dash can re-order houeshold supplies. Domino’s will order you your favorite pizza. The open-source 1btn, on the other hand, is capable of doing a whole lot more.

    1btn won’t be limited to performing a single action. You’ll be able to make it do just about anything you want via an easy-to-use web-based interface. No companion app is required to do it, either. You simply connect a Wi-Fi device to the hotspot that 1btn creates the first time you turn it on, launch a web browser, and point it to the 1btn’s built-in web server.

    Several popular services will be supported out-of-the-box, including Twilio to send SMS messages or emails. You’ll be able to set up URL-based actions like turning connected lights on and off, summon a ride to your front door, or start a pot of tea without putting your entire network at risk.

  • Profitable licensing models could bring more open source solutions to the enterprise

    While companies like Red Hat have managed to make a fortune by offering an open source solution, other open source developers have struggled to monetize what is commonly viewed as “free.” A Fair Source license could be a solution to help developers make money, while still upholding the spirit behind open source code.

  • Two key challenges of using open source in the enterprise [Ed: misses the point. Proprietary software has exactly the same 'challenges' (if not worse)]

    The proliferation of open source technologies, libraries, and frameworks in recent years has greatly contributed to the advancement of software development, increased developer productivity, and to the flexibility and customization of the tools landscape to support different use cases and developers’ preferences.

    To increase productivity and encourage a culture of autonomy and shared ownership you want to enable teams to use their tool(s) of choice. That being said, since the advent of agile development, we see large enterprises wrestle with striking a balance to allow this choice while also retaining a level of management, visibility, and governance over all the technologies used in the software delivery lifecycle. And this problem gets harder over time, because with every passing day new tools are being created and adopted to solve increasingly fine-grained problems in a unique and valuable way.

  • Events

    • Event: OSDC 2016

      Open Source Data Center Conference (OSDC) is a conference on open source software in data centers and huge IT environments and will take place in Berlin/Germany in April 2016. I will give a talk titled “Continuous Integration in Data Centers – Further 3 Years Later” there.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Everyday Internet Users Can Stand Up for Encryption — Here’s How

        At Mozilla, we believe encryption is critical to the health of the Web. It allows us to live, work and play on a more secure Internet. Encryption helps keep the Internet exceptional.

        Today, encryption is being threatened around the world. More and more governments are proposing policies that would harm user security by weakening encryption. From France to Australia to the UK, these suggested measures would thwart strong encryption for everyday Internet users. And in the U.S., the FBI was asking Apple to undermine the security of its own products.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Rancher Rolls Out Docker Container Management Platform

      The open-source effort hits general availability, enabling developers to manage and deploy containers.

      Rancher Labs today announced the general availability of its namesake platform Rancher 1.0, which provides tools that enable organizations to easily manage and deploy Docker containers.

    • The OpenStack Schizophrenia

      When I started contributing to OpenStack, almost five years ago, it was a small ecosystem. There were no foundation, a handful of projects and you could understand the code base in a few days.

      Fast forward 2016, and it is a totally different beast. The project grew to no less than 54 teams, each team providing one or more deliverable. For example, the Nova and Swift team each one produces one service and its client, whereas the Telemetry team produces 3 services and 3 different clients.

  • Databases

    • How NoSQL graph databases still usurp relational dynasties

      Despite being assaulted from all sides, the relational model for databases is still the king of the hill and it looks like it will not only survive, but thrive as well.

      NoSQL databases have become increasingly popular and have been offering a number of data and deployment modes that have overcome the limitations – real or imagined – of their SQL cousins.

      NoSQL databases come in a number of guises, but essentially they are designed either to make the life of the programmer easier or to overcome the problem of distributing data at scale.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Apache OpenOffice Notice on Extensions

      Since 2012 we at SourceForge have been proud partners of the Apache OpenOffice community. We’ve maintained both the Apache OpenOffice Extensions and Templates sites and made sure to spread the word about their latest news and developments.

      It’s been reported that extensions that haven’t been updated in a while are displaying this warning message:

      “This extension was not updated recently. It might not work with latest versions of OpenOffice.”

      For registered users, there’s an additional message that allows them to contact the original author and apply to be a co-maintainer. As co-maintainer they can edit the extension description and create releases.

  • CMS

    • Drupal creator on saving the open web

      Can we save the open web? Dries Buytaert, creator of Drupal, talked to a group during SxSW Interactive about how he began the content management service (CMS) Drupal in his dorm room in 2001. Today, Drupal powers 1 out of 30 websites in the world. Technology has changed a lot from 2001 to 2016. Back in 2001, only 7% of the population had Internet access, there were only 20 million websites, and text messaging was just introduced. So, when we talk about the open web what we’re talking about is people having choice and transparency in their options.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • BMW complies with GPL by handing over i3 car code

      BMW has sent Terence Eden a DVD containing GPL-licenced code used in its electric i3 model .

      Why should you care? Because Oxford resident Eden last month inadvertently caused something of a global stir when he pondered the quality of the i3′s software and the security of BMW’s update mechanisms. Along the way he noticed that the i3′s on-board “About” screen mentioned it uses some GPL-licenced code and idly wondered if the auto-maker complies with the licence.

    • All’s Well That Ends Well With The GPL
    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: April 1st (not a joke)

      While the Free Software Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world over the past decade, it has the potential of being a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

  • Public Services/Government

    • Study: Organisation’s understanding impacts IT projects

      How much management and staff understand IT has a major influence on public administration’s large IT projects, writes Denmark’s ‘Government IT Project Council’ (Statens IT-projektråd). In its progress report on large IT projects, the Council recommends that public administrations improve project execution and project management competencies.

    • OMB Considering Greater Open Source Push

      OMB has published a draft policy to improve the way custom-developed government code is acquired and distributed by requiring that it be made available for reuse across federal agencies.

    • MIT Media Lab defaults to free & open source software

      MIT Media Lab, that 30-year-old tech innovation factory that has had a huge hand in churning out everything from LEGO MindStorms to the Guitar Hero video game, has now wowed the open source and free software crowd.

      Lab Director Joi Ito over the weekend revealed on the Medium blogging platform that MIT Media Lab has changed its approach to software releases to FLOSS (free/libre/open-source software) by default.

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Study: ‘Smart cities need knowledge sharing platforms’

      Sustainable smart cities need to exchange best practices, focus on increasing citizen participation, and allow public and non-public delivery of innovative services. These are three of the policy recommendations in the ‘Smart Sustainable Cities – Reconnaissance Study’, published by the United Nations University in March.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Opendesk, cracking the production code for open-source furniture

        Before the Industrial Revolution, if you wanted a new piece of furniture, you’d go to your local carpenter. Today, you’re more likely to buy a chair that’s made of Brazilian wood, designed by a Swede, and manufactured in China than one with even a single locally-produced nail. Enter Opendesk, a furniture company with a global network and local manufacturing model, which might just spark a new revolution in the industry.

  • Programming/Development


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Open source recycling initiative Precious Plastic launches to help users 3D print every type of plastic

      As the 3D printing community consumes vast amounts of plastic on a daily basis, it’s strange that recycling isn’t a more prominent theme in the community. To be sure, our failed prints are hardly responsible for filling the oceans and beaches of the world with non-degradable plastic, but as localized consumers of many different plastics, we could play a huge role in fighting plastic pollution. The only downside: not every plastic is easily 3D printable and recycling equipment is very costly. Fortunately, Dutch open source recycling initiative Precious Plastic has just launched an excellent alternative: they have provided all the blueprints and equipment necessary to set up your own recycling plant and allows you to reuse plastics, either as 3D printable filament or with DIY molding machines.

    • Two New Reports Released on the Current State of US Plastics Recycling
  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Falklands Nonsense

      Britain shows utter disregard to the right of self determination of the people of Diego Garcia, yet claims it as inalienable for the Falklanders. Evidently it is a vital universal right, except for rather dusky people.

      The corporate media have universally demonstrated their inability to understand any complex situation, in reporting the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf’s determination on Argentina. Here is a quick guide to what really was decided.

    • State Department: Let’s Fight ISIS With the #TeeVee

      No, no, just kidding about Taylor Swift, but the other stuff is sadly, pathetically true.

      To understand this, you need to understand the State Department. The Department is made up of a few old people in senior positions, and lots of young people (“millennials.”) Think of the old people as your sad, old dad after a divorce, bugging you to explain to him stuff like Tindr and Molly that wasn’t around when he was “dating” but now suddenly seems like something he needs to “get down with.”

      So that’s what happens inside State. Old people are told to stop ISIS somehow. They ask the young staffers about this social media gadget they read about in AARP magazine and the young people, none of whom have a rat’s butt worth of overseas knowledge but have lived their whole lives within a media bubble, tells the olds “Let’s do something social media, or make a TV thing we can show on YouTube. We’ll get, like, seriously, a zillion hits. Anti-ISIS will go, literally, viral, you know.”

    • Medea Benjamin and Arnie Gunderson

      Peter and Mickey open the program with a wide-ranging conversation with long-time social justice activist Medea Benjamin; the discussion covers topics from trade deals to drone warfare, as well as her latest project of trying to alert Americans about the human rights abuses committed by US ally Saudi Arabia.

    • Iraq Ranks In Ten Most Corrupt Countries In World, Again

      Iraq, the failed state that over 4,600 (and counting…) Americans died to free from some evil tyrant 13 years ago, is still ranking high internationally in something. Unfortunately, that something is corruption.

      A couple of other places where America has been intervening for freedom also made the list.

      Germany’s Transparency International released its newest corruption index for 2015, and as usual Iraq was on the list. The ten worst countries in its new study were Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan, Angola, Libya, Iraq, Venezuela, and Guinea-Bissau.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • After Leading The Attack On Investigative Journalism, President Obama Whines About A Lack Of Investigative Journalism

      But he leaves out his own administration’s actions as a big part of why the job of reporting has “gotten tougher.” While he came into office promising “the most transparent administration in history” and one of his first official actions as President was to tell the entire federal government to default to revealing information in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, as we’ve detailed over and over again, the administration has actually been one of the most opaque, setting records for denying FOIA requests, and making it nearly impossible to get any information out of the government without a lawsuit.


      And then, of course, there are the criminal lawsuits. The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act against more journalists and leakers than every other President in history combined… and doubled. And, as of two years ago, he had put media leakers in jail for nearly 50 times as long as all other administrations combined.

      That is not supporting investigative reporting. That is threatening and intimidating journalists and their sources. Creating true chilling effects and scaring people away from doing the very work that the President insists the media should be practicing.

      Way back in 2011, I saw Daniel Ellsberg speak, and he speculated that a key reason why President Obama was so incredibly hostile to a free and open press was because he was embarrassed by his own actions that they were investigating. Ellsberg pointed out that the previous president, George W. Bush was known for widely abusing the power of his position, but he seemed proud of doing so. President Obama, on the other hand, got elected with promises of moving away from such abuses and restoring civil liberties. But that didn’t happen. Things went in the other direction under his watch and his command. So you could understand why the President remains less than keen about leaks and the media digging into things like mass surveillance of Americans, or secret drone bombing campaigns.

    • BGA Sues CPD For Failing To Turn Over Video Footage

      Chicago Police Department stonewalls Better Government Association request for video of all fatal shootings by cops over past five years, so BGA takes agency to court.

    • Chicago’s New Era Of Transparency Looks Pretty Much Identical To Its Old Era Of Opacity

      Mayor Rahm Emanuel ushered in a new age of law enforcement/city transparency recently by opening his mouth and saying words to that effect. This followed the city/law enforcement sitting on the recordings of a highly-controversial shooting by police officers for more than a year.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Sea levels set to rise by more than a metre over next century, claims new research

      Sea levels are set to rise by more than a metre over the next century – more than twice the previous forecast, according to alarming new research.

      The threat posed by rising sea levels is much greater than had been thought because scientists have underestimated the effect of atmospheric global warming on Antarctic ice sheets – having tended to concentrate more on climate change’s role in warming the water than increasing the air temperature.

    • A new study predicts that parts of the ice sheet on western Antarctica may melt faster than scientists had previously figured

      Warmer air, less frigid water and gravity may combine to make parts of Antarctica’s western ice sheet melt far faster than scientists had thought, raising sea levels much more than expected by the end of the century, according to a new study.

      New physics-based computer simulations forecast dramatic increases in melting in the vulnerable western edge of the continent. In a worst case scenario, that could raise sea level in 2100 by 18 to 34 inches (46 to 86 centimeters) more than an international panel of climate scientists predicted just three years ago.

      And even if the countries of the world control heat-trapping gases at the moderate levels they pledged in Paris last year, it would still mean three to 12 inches (8 to 31 centimeters) higher seas than have been forecast thought, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

    • Adopting Sustainable Energy to Combat Climate Change

      The U.N. has reported that pollution caused by indoor stoves that use fire, coal, charcoal, or animal waste could account for as many as 4.3 million premature deaths annually. At the January 2016 summit, Ban noted that climate change disproportionately affects women and children, because they are the ones most directly exposed to these stoves and open flames. Furthermore, “It is women and girls who bear the brunt of collecting firewood and fuels,” argues Ban, activities that “limit their work and education opportunities.”

  • Finance

    • Sajid Javid Deliberately Collapsed British Steel

      The banks received state subsidies to the value of £35,000 from every man, woman and child in the UK. Yet it is unquestionable dogma that not even 0.1% of that can be given to aid manufacturing industry. I can think of no legitimate explanation of this duality.

    • Fight for the Future condemns Internet Association’s support for TPP

      Today the Internet Association, a trade group representing major web companies including Google, Twitter, and Facebook, endorsed the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). Leading digital rights group Fight for the Future launched an online campaign in response, calling for the companies to drop their misguided support, and issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer:

    • US Tech Industry Associations Endorse TPP

      A number of internet and software industry in the United States have come out in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiated by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) last year.

      USTR sent a note to reporters today highlighting the trade associations that have supported TPP. The memo is reprinted below.

    • Ezra Klein and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Tax Calculator

      Actually, it does no such thing; it’s a gimmick that is entirely useless except as a deceptive advertisement for Hillary Clinton.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How They Brainwash Us — Paul Craig Roberts

      Anyone who pays attention to American “news” can see how “news” is used to control our perceptions in order to ensure public acceptance of the Oligarchy’s agendas.

      For example, Bernie Sanders just won six of seven primaries, in some cases by as much as 70 and 82 percent of the vote, but Sanders’ victories went largely unreported. The reason is obvious. The Oligarchy doesn’t want any sign of Sanders gaining momentum that could threaten Hillary’s lead for the Democratic nomination. Here is FAIR’s take on the media’s ignoring of Sanders’ victories: http://fair.org/home/as-sanders-surges-cable-news-runs-prison-reality-show-jesus-documentary/

      We can observe the same media non-performance in the foreign affairs arena. The Syrian army adided by the Russian air force just liberated Palmyra from ISIS troops that Washington sent to overthrow the Syrian government. Although pretending to be fighting ISIS, Washington and London are silent about this victory on what is supposed to be a common front against the terror group.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Google has also been asked to unlock stuff for the FBI

      APPLE IS NOT the only firm to be approached by the US authorities under the hoary All Writs Act, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the request has also gone the way of Google.

      Apple has been getting all the attention for defying demands under the All Writs Act in recent weeks, but an ACLU study found that 63 other requests had been directed at Google.

    • The Trouble with Tor

      The Tor Project makes a browser that allows anyone to surf the Internet anonymously. Tor stands for “the onion router” and that describes how the service works. Traffic is routed through a number of relays run across the Internet where each relay only knows the next hop (because each hop is enclosed in a cryptographic envelope), not the ultimate destination, until the traffic gets to the final exit node which connects to the website — like peeling the layers of an onion.

    • Global majority backs a ban on ‘dark net,’ poll says

      The findings, from a poll of at least 1,000 people in each of 24 countries, come as policymakers and technology companies argue over whether digital privacy should be curbed to help regulators and law enforcement more easily thwart hackers and other digital threats.

    • The state has lost control: tech firms now run western politics

      By now, the fact that transatlantic democratic capitalism, once the engine of postwar prosperity, has run into trouble can hardly be denied by anyone with the courage to browse a daily newspaper.

      Hunger, homelessness, toxic chemicals in the water supply, the lack of affordable housing: all these issues are back on the agenda, even in the most prosperous of countries. This appalling decline in living standards was some time in the making – 40 years of neoliberal policies are finally taking their toll – so it shouldn’t come as a shock.

      However, coupled with the spillover effects of wars in the Middle East – first the refugees, now the increasingly regular terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe – our economic and political malaise looks much more ominous. It’s hardly surprising that the insurgent populist forces, on both left and right, have such an easy time bashing the elites. From Flint, Michigan, to Paris, those in power have accomplished such feats of cluelessness and incompetence that they have made Donald Trump look like a superman capable of saving planet Earth.

    • Former NSA deputy director says Edward Snowden lacks courage

      In the first segment of an interview with Chris Inglis, former deputy director of NSA, the Irari Report talks with him about his perceptions of Edward Snowden’s motivations and intentions in committing his acts of espionage. In the video segment, Inglis discusses his impressions of Snowden, and theorizes as to why Snowden left for China, and to where he intended to defect.

      Edward Snowden’s defection occurred during Inglis’ tenure as Deputy Director of NSA, and as such, Inglis was extremely involved in overseeing the investigation incident and mitigation of the resulting damage. Inglis states that Snowden was indiscriminate in his release of information, and is full of rage. When asked to comment on why Snowden has not released any documents about Russian or Chinese domestic surveillance efforts, which are plentiful throughout NSA, and would have been readily available to Snowden while he was at NSA, Inglis stated that Snowden lacks any courage to speak up about any concerns while he might be held accountable.

    • Global majority backs a ban on ‘dark net,’ poll says

      Seven in 10 people say the “dark net” – an anonymous online home to both criminals and activists fearful of government surveillance – should be shut down, according to a global Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.

      The findings, from a poll of at least 1,000 people in each of 24 countries, come as policymakers and technology companies argue over whether digital privacy should be curbed to help regulators and law enforcement more easily thwart hackers and other digital threats.

    • European hearing may limit GCHQ’s powers

      An upcoming European hearing over UK surveillance laws may result in a severe limitation on GCHQ’s powers.

      The Guardian reported yesterday that a European emergency hearing over the legality of such laws would be held for the first time on April 12th.

      In dispute are laws like the incoming Investigatory Powers bills or the 2014 Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), which makes telecommunications providers retain the data of customers for potential later use by security services.

      Both laws are widely condemned by privacy advocates for the violating powers that they grant the forces of national security.

      Tom Watson MP and David Davis MP, leading members of the Labour and Conservative parties respectively, brought a legal challenge against the Home Office last year, over the rushing through of DRIPA. The two MPs claimed that such a law directly conflicted with law which superseded the authority inherent in DRIPA, like the European Union Charter on Human Rights.

    • Protesters interrupt former NSA, CIA director’s lecture at Duquesne University

      Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA, said he was not surprised when four young protesters interrupted his remarks Tuesday afternoon at Duquesne University. He has had to make some difficult and controversial decisions in the war on terror.

    • Protesters interrupt former NSA, CIA head’s Duquesne lecture
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Congressman Wants To Make Attacking A Cop A Federal ‘Hate’ Crime

      The proposal is also accompanied by a heartfelt “Dear Colleague” letter that talks about cops “holding together the fabric of our nation” and how they’ve been “intimidated” by recent acts of violence. No statistics are cited to back up his insistence that this a real problem that needs to be addressed with legislation… because there aren’t any.

      The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund’s stats show the number of officers killed in the line of duty has been decreasing over the last several years and appears to have hit a lower plateau of ~120/year for the past four years.

    • UNHRC investigator: Hebron killing has all the signs of an ‘extra judicial execution’

      The Hebron shooting last week was an extrajudicial execution, charged United Nations special rapporteur Christof Heyns on Wednesday, as he weighed in on the controversial incident in which an IDF soldier shot a Palestinian assailant as he lay apparently wounded and immobile on the ground.

    • Why do some Israeli soldiers use unauthorized force?

      An Israeli soldier was detained last week after allegations that he shot and killed a wounded Palestinian man lying incapacitated on the ground. Moments earlier the Palestinian, 21-year-old Abd al-Fatah a-Sharif, along with another man, had allegedly stabbed and injured a soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron. The stabbing is one of the latest in a wave of attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians in the past six months.

    • Groups Call for France to Investigate IDF Shooter for ‘War Crime’ if Israel Absolves Him

      Human rights groups said Wednesday that France should investigate the French-Israeli soldier filmed shooting a Palestinian attacker in the head and killing him while he lay motionless, if the Israeli justice system fails to convict him.

    • Israeli military chief appeals to soldiers after shooting
    • Why Israel Is Warming Up to The World’s Largest Muslim Country

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the establishment of official diplomatic relations with Indonesia on Monday, as the world’s largest Muslim country continues to look eastwards to boost diplomatic and economic ties.

    • Police Charge Trump Campaign Manager With Battering Reporter, Release Video Evidence

      Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been charged with battering then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.

      The incident occurred on March 8. Fields alleged Lewandowski forcibly yanked her after she asked Trump a question. Despite an eyewitness account from a Washington Post reporter corroborating her version of events, Lewandowski denied any involvement with the incident whatsoever and called Fields an “attention seeker.”

    • My daughter was offered a place at an academy – so I’m home-schooling until she can go somewhere I trust

      And I don’t trust academies. Not one bit. I don’t trust any organisation that removes their employees’ right to unionise, or one that no longer values the trained over the untrained. If you don’t respect teaching qualifications, after all, then why should my child respect your teachers?

    • Appeals Court Says Indiana’s Bad Anti-Texting Law Can’t Be Used To Justify Stops Or Searches

      The opinion dismantles the government’s arguments with aplomb, taking apart each assertion made to defend a drug bust predicated on something that doesn’t even approach “reasonable” suspicion. Extending the government’s logic to other possibly illegal acts, the court points out the government’s reliance on this terrible law is woefully misguided. Since the government can’t possibly know how many people looking at their phones while driving are performing illegal acts, it can’t base traffic stops on nothing more than the mere possibility something illegal may be happening.

    • Jean Charles de Menezes: Family of Tube shooting victim lose human rights case

      The family of Jean Charles de Menezes have lost a human rights challenge over the decision not to bring charges against British police marksmen over his death.

      Judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled British prosecutors were right not to charge police officers over Brazilian electrician’s fatal shooting in 2005.

      It comes more than a decade after he was mistaken for a suicide bomber and shot dead by police marksmen on a London Tube train.

    • Conductors to shut down rail network in wildcat strike

      Train conductors in Finland will walk off the job on Thursday in protest at the government’s transport policies, causing the cancellation of some 300 long-distance services. The move comes on the heels of the announcement that some 214 jobs could be lost as the state railways company VR looks to cut costs.

    • Passenger train monopoly nears the end of the line, several operators show interest

      Finland’s passenger train traffic is set to open up for competition in 2017, a move that will likely end years of market domination by the state-owned operator VR. The Ministry of Transport and Communications says over ten companies have expressed an interest in the prospect of a market share.

    • ‘We Have Never Ignored Cuba’

      FAIR contributor Adam Johnson noted recently how in this country discussion of US history, and that of its allies, is permitted a certain moral nuance, while official enemies are presented as essentially, unrelievedly evil. So it is with Cuba, where Barack Obama just paid the first visit by a sitting US President in 88 years. Any mention of, say, Cuba sending doctors overseas to help in crisis zones is nullified in elite US debate by the fact that—it’s Cuba! Where Castro lives! Few countries are drawn as cartoonishly, making a clear view of Cuba’s strengths and struggles, along with the meaning of any supposed thaw with the US, harder to come by.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Follows Comcast’s Lead, Now Charging Users $30 More To Avoid Usage Caps

      Last fall, Comcast added a new wrinkle to its plan to impose arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps on the company’s broadband customers. It began charging users a $30-$35 premium if users wanted to avoid caps, effectively turning the idea of unlimited data into a luxury option many could no longer afford. Caps continue to be a great way to impose price hikes on uncompetitive broadband markets, charge more money for the same service, with the added bonus of both curtailing — and cashing in on — the growing use of Internet video.

    • FCC Commissioner: Gov’t Should Never Interfere In Private Markets…Unless ISPs Have A Chance To Mock Netflix

      As we just got done noting, Netflix recently admitted that it has been throttling the streams it sends to AT&T and Verizon wireless customers in order to lessen the impact of usage caps. While most everybody agrees that Netflix should have been transparent about the practice, most also agree that Netflix — an outspoken opponent of usage caps and supporter of net neutrality — was actually trying to improve the customer experience with the move. As such, no real harm was done, and nobody even noticed that Netflix had been doing it — for five years. Really not much of a story in and of itself.

      But the telecom industry and its allies, outraged by Netflix’s support of net neutrality, opposition to usage caps, and the threat it poses to legacy TV, have been desperately and hysterically trying to paint Netflix’s reveal as some kind of immense gotcha.

    • Romania opens broadband networks to competition

      The Romanian government has approved a draft law aiming to reduce the cost of broadband communication infrastructure. For example, the bill sets tariffs that give competitors access to physical telecommunications infrastructure. The law also defines a single point of information, to be managed by the Agency for Digital Agenda of Romania.

  • DRM

    • Why Won’t W3C Carve Security Research Out Of Its DRM-In-HTML 5 Proposal?

      A few years back, we wrote a few stories about the unfortunate move by the W3C to embrace DRM as a part of the official HTML5 standard. It was doubly disappointing to then see Tim Berners-Lee defending this decision as well. All along this was nothing more than a focus by the legacy content providers to try to hinder perfectly legal uses and competition on the web by baking in damaging DRM systems. Even Mozilla, which held out the longest, eventually admitted that it had no choice but to support DRM, even if it felt bad about doing so.

      There are, of course, many problems with DRM, and baking it directly into HTML5 raises a number of concerns. A major one: since the part of the DMCA (Section 1201) makes it infringing to merely get around any technological protection measure — even if for perfectly legal reasons — it creates massive chilling effects on security research. To try to deal with this, Cory Doctorow and the EFF offered up something of a compromise, asking the W3C to adopt a “non-aggression covenant,” such that the W3C still gets its lame DRM, but that W3C members agree not to go after security researchers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • India, EU Leaders Touch On IPR, Innovation, ICTs, Pharmaceuticals

      The leaders of India and the European Union today in Brussels discussed a wide range of topics including intellectual property rights – including geographical indications – innovation, digital issues, and health and pharmaceuticals.

      But details on what was said were few.

      The 13th EU-India Summit was held on 30 March. The EU was represented by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. India was represented by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

    • Trademarks

      • Federal Circuit denies writ of mandamus in Slants case

        Tam, who fronts the Asian-American band The Slants, petitioned the Federal Circuit for a writ of mandamus to instruct the director of the USPTO to publish his application, which the director opposed.

      • CJEU on taser, ahm, tacit prorogation of jurisdiction

        The facts of the case are rather simple. In 2008, Taser International concluded an agreement with the Romanian company Gate 4 which obliged Gate 4 to assign to Taser International the Taser trade marks which Gate 4 had registered, or for which it had applied for registration, in Romania. The agreement contained a clause conferring exclusive jurisdiction on a court in the United States. Gate 4 refused to fulfil its obligations and Taser International sued it before the Tribunalul Bucureşti (District Court, Bucharest). Gate 4, despite the jurisdiction clause, entered an appearance before the Romanian court without challenging its jurisdiction. The Romanian court found for Taser and ordered Gate 4 to execute the formalities necessary to transfer the trade marks.

      • Court Rules Against Lionsgate In TD Ameritrade Suit For Dressing Up Copyright Claim As A Trademark Claim

        Last year, we wrote about a lawsuit Lionsgate Studios had initiated against TD Ameritrade over a throwaway line at the end of one of the latter’s advertising spots. That commercial included the line, “Nobody puts your old 401(k) in the corner,” an imperfect parody of a famous line from Dirty Dancing, the rights for which are owned by Lionsgate. The fact that the ad was no longer running at the time of the lawsuit, nor the fact that Lionsgate was in no way involved in the investment business, failed to keep the studio from claiming this was trademark infringement. The studio even went so far as to hilariously claim that consumers would be confused into thinking that TD Ameritrade either had rights to the movie or was in some way affiliated with Lionsgate Studios.

    • Copyrights

      • Creative Content UK Aims to Re-Educate Book Pirates

        The UK government’s multi-million pound campaign to deter Internet piracy is now hoping to reach out to book fans. A new and rather pleasant video published under the Creative Content UK banner extols the virtues of buying books from genuine sources, but whether it will resonate with the younger generation more used to digital acquisition remains to be seen.

      • Copyright Does Not Protect the Klingon Language, Court Hears

        Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios can’t claim copyright over the Klingon language, Vulcan’s pointy ears, or Phaser weapons, a court heard this week. This defense comes from the makers of crowdfunded Star Trek spin-off ‘Prelude to Axanar’, who were sued over their use of various well-known Star Trek elements.

      • DMCA’s Notice And Takedown Procedure Is A Total Mess, And It’s Mainly Because Of Bogus Automated Takedowns

        Both Congress and the Copyright Office continue to explore possible ways to reform copyright laws, and one area of interest to a lot of people is reforming the whole “notice and takedown” process in the DMCA. The legacy players have been pushing for a ridiculously stupid concept they’re calling “notice and staydown” in which they argue that once there’s a notice for a particular piece of content, a platform needs to proactively block any copies of that content from ever being uploaded again. This is dumb and dangerous for a variety of reasons, starting with the fact that it would place tremendous burdens on smaller players, while locking in the more dominant large platforms that can build or buy systems to handle this. But, even more importantly, copyright infringement is extremely context dependent. The same content may be infringing in one context, while protected fair use in another. But a notice and staydown process would completely wipe out the fair use possibilities, and potentially violate the First Amendment (remember, the Supreme Court itself has declared fair use to be the “safety valve” that allows copyright law to fit with the First Amendment).

      • Nigerian Government Says Country Needs More Jail Time For Pirates And Control Over Content Of Creative Works

        That should make people “respect” copyright more. Put ‘em in jail for violating ethereal rights. Or for contributing to terrorism. Or for making the government look bad. It’s all pretty much interchangeable as far as the government — and the backers of the government’s plan — are concerned. Stiffer penalties have done little to curb piracy elsewhere in the world and are frequently a PR nightmare when imposed. Piracy spread Nollywood’s influence throughout the world and allowed its films to be viewed by residents of other repressive nations whose governments have maintained local control of creative content.

        The minority represented here is hoping to control not only the distribution, but the content, of future creative works. Piracy may be the talking point, but government expansion and increased protectionism are the ultimate goals.


Links 30/3/2016: Torvalds in Spectrum, Fedora 24 Alpha

Posted in News Roundup at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Quali Courts DevOps Community with Open Source Plugins and Libraries

    Quali hopes to forge stronger connections with the developer community by contributing plugins for its DevOps cloud sandbox platform as open source code, a move the company announced today.

  • How Open Source is Changing Data Center Networking

    Last June, AT&T went all-in on this bet, joining with the Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab) and the Open Network Operating System (ONOS) Project to form what’s now called Central Office Re-imagined as a Datacenter (CORD, formerly “Re-architected”). Its mission is to make telco infrastructure available as a service in an analogous fashion to IaaS for cloud service providers.

  • Kubernetes 1.2 Offers Rolling Updates, Persistent Volumes

    At the Google GCP Next conference last week in San Francisco, the company demonstrated how it was possible with Kubernetes to update a heavily used distributed application while keeping that app running.

    For a Kubernetes 1.2 on-stage demo, Greg DeMichillie, director of program management for Google Cloud Platform spun up a service and then used load testing software to dispatch 20,000 requests-per-second to the service.

  • Way to Go, FCC. Now Manufacturers Are Locking Down Routers

    Hey, remember when the FCC reassured us last year that it wasn’t going to lock down Wi-Fi routers? And everyone breathed a sigh of relief, because custom router firmware is actually a really good thing? Sure, it’s fun to improve your router by extending the range or making your network friendlier for guests. But open firmware is important for other reasons: it enables critical infrastructure, from emergency communications for disaster relief and building free community access points to beefing up personal security.

  • Google open source their Machine Learning System – Spokane Tech Time
  • OpenWebGIS: An open source geographic information system

    There are a lot of great geographic information systems (GIS) that run in web browsers and mobile apps, thanks in large part to the introduction of new web standards in 2010-11 and recent improvements in mobile devices.

    And yet, most existing GIS systems are half-built systems that require setup by the users, which can be difficult and inconvenient to common for users who don’t know how to code. There’s also a very limited range of free and open source options for scientific data analysis. We created OpenWebGIS in 2014 to address all of these issues in a single, ready-built solution.

  • Events

    • SxSW panel on the value of open source

      One question I get often is: “How can I build a business around something I’m giving away for free?” So, I wanted to attend the panel at SxSW this year called Don’t open source like a n00b, focused on how to make a project or product open source. We’ve seen many projects successfully do open source—like Linux, WordPress, and Koha—but how does a company like Booz Allen Hamilton jump from being a proprietary company to open sourcing their first product?

      Project Jellyfish was developed here in Austin by Booz Allen Hamilton; it’s software that can be described as a cloud brokering solution. The team there realized that many vendors are open sourcing their applications and that a lot of the new, cool stuff is being developed in the open. So, they made the decision to make Project Jellyfish open source, hoping their developers would more interested in participating. But, they still had to convince their partners to spend money to develop something they were going to give away for free.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Happy Document Freedom Day

      Today is Document Freedom Day. As in the past 8 years we celebrate DFD on the last Wednesday of March all around the world. While the date is recommended this year DFD is being celebrated from March 16th to April 5th so far (we’ re still getting new registration as of this writing) .

    • Celebrate Document Freedom Day on March 30

      The FSFE has handed over Document Freedom Day to us earlier this year and while it took us a bit of time to get familiar with the way the current DFD website handles the events registration we have been steadily gathering more and more locations all over the world. So Document Freedom Day is happening on the last Wednesday of March, which is March 30th this year and Latin America seems very active in promoting Open Standards. We are very happy to meet new people thanks to the effort and will also celebrate our local DFD in Phnom Penh but slightly later on April 5th. If you are in the area please drop by, and if not please check the Document Freedom Day website for an event in your area. Happy DFD!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


  • Public Services/Government

    • MIT Media Lab makes open source the default

      MIT Media Lab has declared open source to be the preferred software licensing model for its projects. According to Joichi Ito, Director of the renowned interdisciplinary research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the academic institution can achieve greater impact by sharing its work.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Paper Competition Announced for U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day 2016

      World Standards Day is celebrated annually around the world to increase awareness of the role that standards play in the global economy. To help celebrate the importance of standards, SES – The Society for Standards Professionals and the U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day Planning Committee co-sponsor an annual paper competition for individuals in the U.S. standards community. The 2016 paper competition winners will be announced and given their awards at the U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day, which will be held this year on October 27, 2016, at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C.



Links 29/3/2016: Git 2.8, Budgie 10.2.5

Posted in News Roundup at 7:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Free Tech Refresher: OSS Isn’t Always FOSS

    Without a doubt, both Microsoft and Oracle are open source companies. What they are not, and probably can never become, are FOSS companies, because that requires a commitment to the concepts behind software freedom. There’s not a bone in either companies bodies — if corporations can be said to have bodies — that is in any way sympathetic to free tech. Even while obeying the open source precept to “share and share alike,” both companies are only concerned with expanding their bases of power and ownership of tech, and in Microsoft’s case at least, much of their open source software is designed solely for that purpose.

    These are distinctions which need articulating, not only so we don’t seem like we’re never happy crybabies, but so that younger users of open source software can come to see the difference between FOSS, on the one hand, and OSS, on the other, and that while one is always the other, the other is not always the one.

  • Horizon wants to put all your games into one, open-source launcher

    I really hope non-profit developer LaunchHorizon can pull it off, because having all my games in one open-source application would be great.

  • Deeplearning4j founders on growing an AI community

    Deeplearning4j is an open source, distributed neural net library written for Java and Scala. It is also one of the most active communities on Gitter, the chat service I created. Interested in how they built a thriving open source community, I reached out to get their thoughts on the lessons they learned.

  • 5 open source home automation tools

    The Internet of Things isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a rapidly expanding reality.

    With an ever-expanding number of devices available to help you automate, protect, and monitor your home, it has never before been easier nor more tempting to try your hand at home automation. Whether you’re looking to control your HVAC system remotely, integrate a home theater, protect your home from theft, fire, or other threats, reduce your energy usage, or just control a few lights, there are countless devices available at your disposal.

  • So Your Router Is Skynet – A Layman’s Guide

    By now, most of you are aware that TP-Link has decided to ban (custom) open-source firmware for their devices. So what was TP-Link thinking when they turned their backs on flashing routers with custom firmware? Some might suggest it’s the ambiguity in the new FCC rules that put a now much disliked router vendor over the edge. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter has nothing to do with TP-Link. No, the networking device company was merely a diversion for what I’m about to share with you.

  • Router Company Lazily Blocks Open Source Router Firmware, Still Pretends To Value ‘Creativity’

    Last fall, you might recall that the hardware tinkering community (and people who just like to fully use the devices they pay for) was up in arms over an FCC plan to lock down third-party custom firmware. After tinkering enthusiasts claimed the FCC was intentionally planning to prevent them from installing third-party router options like DD-WRT and Open-WRT, we asked the FCC about the new rules and were told that because modified routers had been interfering with terrestrial doppler weather radar (TDWR) at airports, the FCC wanted to ensure that just the radio portion of the router couldn’t be modified.

  • Events

    • LibrePlanet begins with Snowden, ends with DRM protest

      LibrePlanet is a yearly gathering of free software activists, users, and contributors—and, it’s my favorite conference of the year. Here’s why.

      LibrePlanet is run by the Free Software Foundation, and has steadily evolved from a yearly members’ meeting with presentations from staff and board members, to a full blown two-day conference with speakers and attendees from all over the world. The event brings people who care about free software together to talk about the future of the movement, address current challenges, and celebrate successes.

    • Workshop de Software Livre 2016 – call for papers and tools

      The call for papers and call for tools for the WSL – Workshop de Software Livre (Workshop on Free Software), the academic conference held together with FISL – Fórum Internacional de Software Livre (International Free Software Forum) is open!

  • Healthcare

    • UCLA researchers develop sophisticated open-source program for analyzing thyroid health

      UCLA researchers have developed a software program that simulates the response of the human thyroid hormone regulation system to a variety of treatments and diseases. The open-source program, Thyrosim, can be used by clinicians, researchers and educators to accurately gauge the impacts of thyroid treatments and to develop more effective remedies for thyroid problems.

      The research appears on the cover of the peer-reviewed journal Thyroid.

      Principal investigator Joseph DiStefano III, a distinguished professor of computer science and medicine and chair of the UCLA Computational and Systems Biology Interdepartmental Program, developed the technology based on 50 years of research with his students.

  • BSD

    • Google’s Lanai Backend Merged Into LLVM

      Last month Google engineers posted patches to LLVM for “Lanai”, an in-house (apparently network/communications oriented) processor as they were looking to upstream the code.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • How one programmer broke the internet by deleting a tiny piece of code

      A man in Oakland, California, disrupted web development around the world last week by deleting 11 lines of code.

      The story of how 28-year-old Azer Koçulu briefly broke the internet shows how writing software for the web has become dependent on a patchwork of code that itself relies on the benevolence of fellow programmers. When that system breaks down, as it did last week, the consequences can be vast and unpredictable.


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • XSS Hits Zen Cart Open-Source E-commerce App

      Multiple Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities have been uncovered in the popular online open source shopping cart application, Zen Cart.

      XSS, allows the attacker to inject malicious client-side scripts into a website, which are later executed by the victims while browsing the website. There are different cross-site scripting variants, all of which can be used to craft different types of attacks. In this case, malicious XSS injections could result in hackers gaining access to cookies and sensitive information, and could allow site defacement, which can result in further attacks.

    • Popular Shopping Cart App Plugs Dozens of XSS Vulnerabilities

      Popular open source shopping cart app Zen Cart is warning its users of dozens of cross-site scripting vulnerabilities found in its software. Affected websites, security experts say, risk exposing customers to malware, theft of cookies data and site defacement.

      Researchers at the security firm Trustwave discovered the vulnerabilities in September 2015 and have worked closely with Zen Cart to update the (1.5.4) shopping cart software. On March 17, Zen Cart released a 1.5.5 update to its software along with a patch for previous versions of Zen Cart, for those customers that wanted to continue using the older platform. Public disclosure of the vulnerability was on Friday.

    • CVE-2016-0774 Linux Kernel moderate vulnerability
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Belgian X-Ray

      With large parts of the Republican establishment giving up on Kasich and embracing Cruz as the last anti-Trump hope, we can now look forward to a GOP race to the bottom in which fear itself is the only thing its leading candidates have to offer.

    • Veteran Dies After Setting Himself on Fire in Front of VA Clinic

      A 51-year-old U.S. military veteran set himself on fire in front of a New Jersey VA clinic earlier this month, reportedly dying from his burns hours later.

      Charles R. Ingram III died Saturday, March 19 at the Temple Burn Center in Philadelphia, where he was airlifted after he set himself ablaze. The self-immolation took place earlier that afternoon at the VA clinic in Northfield, which was not open at the time.

      Ingram was a seven-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. According to Daily Beast reporter Kenneth Lipp, “Ingram’s last years in the Navy were aboard the amphibious command ship the USS La Salle, one of five vessels in the Persian Gulf when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990.”

    • Fidel Castro’s Letter to Obama: ‘We Don’t Need the Empire to Give Us Anything’

      “We both live in a new world, colonized by Europeans,” the U.S. president continued, “Cuba, like the United States, was built in part by slaves brought here from Africa. Like the United States, the Cuban people can trace their heritage to both slaves and slave-owners.”

    • Obama’s Foreign-Policy Self-Enslavement

      But the disclosure of Clapper’s warning that U.S. intelligence lacked “slam dunk” evidence implicating Assad’s forces confirmed reporting at Consortiumnews and a few other independent news outlets in 2013 – and also underscored how President Obama then joined in lying to maintain the anti-Assad propaganda themes.

    • Explaining Belgium’s Vulnerabilities

      The psychological approach to terror suspects clearly sells newspapers and magazines. Of course, it can be done by journalists of greater or lesser professionalism. One highly professional essay of this kind appeared in The New Yorker magazine back in June 2015.

    • Why A Taliban Splinter Group Bombed Christians On Easter

      On Sunday evening, dozens of Christian families gathered in a neighborhood park in Lahore, Pakistan to visit with Muslim friends, play with their children, and celebrate Easter, a holiday sacred to followers of Jesus Christ the world over.

      But just minutes after the sun set, horror struck: an explosion triggered by a suicide bomber ripped through the park, spewing deadly shrapnel that killed at least 70 people and injured more than 341 others. According to one eyewitness, the carnage was overwhelming: there were “bodies everywhere,” he said, many of them children.

    • Most Israelis Say Army Medic Who Killed Wounded Suspect Is Not a Murderer

      WHILE HUMAN RIGHTS activists and defense officials in Israel were quick to condemn an army medic caught on video last week shooting a wounded Palestinian suspect in the head, the soldier was defended over the weekend, and even celebrated, by many on the far-right of the country’s political spectrum.

      Video released on Sunday by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, which provides cameras to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, showed far-right activists in the city of Hebron praised the medic’s actions just minutes after the incident.

      The new footage showed Israeli settlers, including Baruch Marzel, the former leader of a banned extremist group, shaking the hand of the medic as the body of his victim was carried away.

    • Bernie Sanders as Commander-in-Chief

      Sen. Bernie Sanders’s landslide victories in Washington State, Alaska and Hawaii on Saturday coincided with a long-awaited signal that he may finally be ready to challenge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the “Commander-in-Chief” question, which has been regarded as one of her key strengths.

      In what may be the most striking campaign commercial of the presidential race, the Sanders campaign released an ad, entitled “The Cost of War” and featuring Hawaii’s Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran who endorsed Sanders not just as her preference for President but as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military.

    • How Narratives Killed The Syrian People

      On March 23, 2011, at the very start of what we now call the ‘Syrian conflict,’ two young men – Sa’er Yahya Merhej and Habeel Anis Dayoub – were gunned down in the southern Syrian city of Daraa.

      Merhej and Dayoub were neither civilians, nor were they in opposition to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They were two regular soldiers in the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

      Shot by unknown gunmen, Merhej and Dayoub were the first of eighty-eight soldiers killed throughout Syria in the first month of this conflict– in Daraa, Latakia, Douma, Banyas, Homs, Moadamiyah, Idlib, Harasta, Suweida, Talkalakh and the suburbs of Damascus.

    • A European PATRIOT Act Will Not Keep People Safe

      It was not long after last week’s horrifying bombings in Brussels that the so-called security experts were out warning that Europeans must give up more of their liberty so government can keep them secure from terrorism. I guess people are not supposed to notice that every terrorist attack represents a major government failure and that rewarding failure with more of the same policies only invites more failure.

      I am sure a frightened population will find government promises of perfect security attractive and may be willing to allow more surveillance of their personal lives. They should pause a little beforehand and consider what their governments have done so far to keep them “safe.”

    • Terrorism: Then & Now

      Did the invasion of Afghanistan muzzle terrorism? A decade and a half later, we are still at war in that poor benighted country, and the terrorism that we experienced on 9/11 has spread to Madrid, Paris, Beirut, Ankara, Cairo, Brussels, Damascus, Baghdad, and other cities. We sowed the wind in Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria. Did we expect to reap less than a whirlwind?

    • The Inconvenient Truth About Refugees And Terrorism

      Last week’s attack in Brussels has reinvigorated criticisms of President Barack Obama’s position on receiving and resettling Syrian refugees.

      “You would almost say it’s disgraceful,” Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump told Fox News about Obama’s continued call for refugee resettlement. “You can’t even imagine that a man could make those statements, especially a president of this country.”

    • Muslims Are Standing Up To Extremism

      Following every Islamist terror attack on a Western soft target, like the recent one in Brussels, we hear the same refrain from certain corners: “Why won’t Muslims stand up to Islamic extremism?” The rhetorical question is meant to imply its own answer: that Islam is unavoidably a religion of violence which impels its adherents to at least sanction terrorism, if not partake in it.

      But the argument contains a false premise. Plenty of Muslims are standing up to Islamic extremism, both in word and deed. In fact, it is Muslims who are doing all the heavy lifting in this regard, while the chief contribution of the self-righteous Western powers has been to add to their burden.

    • In the Wake Of The Latest Terrorist Attacks, Here’s A Rational Approach To Saving Lives

      The knee-jerk response of politicians to terrorist attacks — calling for more surveillance, more crackdowns, more displays of purposeless force — is by now so routine that we don’t even remark on it. We tend to go along with their plans because we are very poor at estimating risks, and thus often end up making bad decisions about trade-offs — specifically, trading off liberty in the (misguided) hope that it will deliver security. That’s not a new insight — Bruce Schneier wrote two fascinating posts on what he called “The Psychology of Security” as far back as 2008. But maybe it’s time to start challenging a strategy that hasn’t worked, doesn’t work and will never work. Maybe we should start pushing for an alternative response to terrorist attacks — one based on logic and the facts, not rhetoric and fear. That’s exactly what Björn Brembs, Professor of Neurogenetics at Regensburg University in Germany, has done in a short blog post about a more rational approach that avoids bad trade-offs.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Renewable energy demands the undoable

      The world is increasingly investing in renewable energy. Last year, according to UN figures, global investment in solar power, wind turbines and other renewable forms of energy was $266 billion.

      This was more than double the investment of $130bn in coal and gas power stations in 2015. It sets a new investment record and brings spending on renewable energy since 2004 to a total, adjusted for inflation, of $2.3 trillion.

    • Donald Trump May Sound Like A Clown, But He Is A Rhetoric Pro Like Cicero

      We actually found out when Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called him out on this exact statement during a debate with Hillary Clinton, saying the New York billionaire should be unelectable because he “thinks that climate change is a hoax, invented by the Chinese.”

    • Companies take steps to reduce forest fires in Indonesia

      Some Singaporeans have noticed a burning smell lingering in the air over the weekend.

      But the Pollutant Standards Index values (PSI) remained in the moderate levels, according to the National Environment Agency.

      Those in Indonesia, however, are not so lucky. Early this month, the western province of Riau declared a state of emergency over forest and land fires blazing on the island of Sumatra.

    • Climate Change Is Killing Off a 5,000-Year-Old Iraqi Culture

      As our species finds itself staring down the barrel at widespread environmental collapse due to climate change, some of us have more to worry about than others. In particular, the Middle East and surrounding regions have been shown to be particularly vulnerable to climate change effects, especially those having to do with water: Within the last seven years the region has lost enough water to fill the Dead Sea and by 2040, 14 of the 33 most water stressed countries on Earth will be in the Middle East. Although Middle Eastern countries will be some of the hardest hit by climate change, there is a marginalized community within their borders which will be affected by climate change still more than others: Women.

  • Finance

    • Ted Cruz’s Tax Plan For ‘Hard-Working Americans’ Is Really A Gift To The Wealthy

      In a new ad, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) promotes his tax plan, which he paints as a way to boost working-class Americans. Yet every analysis finds his proposals would give the rich the biggest benefits with little left over for everyone else.

      “As Washington pads Wall Street’s pockets, hard-working Americans get left behind,” he says at the beginning of the ad. “My tax plan will change that.”

    • Campbell Brown: The New Leader of the Propaganda Arm of School Privatization

      Perhaps guided by the old adage that you have to spend money to make money, the champions of education “reform” have poured billions into the effort to privatize and profit from America’s schools. Those funds are used on multiple fronts: launching charter schools, underwriting the political campaigns of politicians, and of course, investing in media to propagate the free-market privatization vision. Among the most visible properties in this effort is the Seventy Four, the well-funded, power broker-backed education news website run by former journalist-turned-school privatization activist Campbell Brown. Launched last year, the site’s reported $4 million annual budget comes from a collective of school privatization’s big hitters: The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Jonathan Sackler (of OxyContin producer Purdue Pharma) and the Walton Family Foundation.


      The billionaires and hedge fund millionaires heavily investing in the charter industry, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Eli Broad and beyond, are engaged in a multi-pronged strategy to take over public schools while building an editorial army of proselytizers to spread the gospel of privatization. Like her partners in the site, Brown has spent years challenging tenure rules, attacking teachers unions and pushing for market-driven education. Unlike her partners, who quietly funnel money into corporate education reform from the shadows, Brown has been both vocal and visible in her advocacy. Though she’s not the only one, she has become the primary media mouthpiece for the school privatization agenda.

    • Department of Education Cooperates with ALEC and Others to Privatize Public Education

      According to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), although many charter schools have failed and closed in the last twenty years, the DoE continues to provide significant funding to promote them. An October 2015 CMD investigation, “Charter School Black Hole,” uncovered how much the federal government has invested in charter schools, as well as the DoE’s ties to ALEC. As Beilke reports, a slide from the December 2015 DoE overview of its charter school program acknowledged that it had spent $3.3 billion to “to “fund the start-up, replication and expansion of public charter schools.” However, Bielke reports, “CMD was unable to extract this number from DOE despite inquiries and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests since 2014.” The actual figure may be higher, because the list of charter schools receiving DoE funding appears to have been incomplete, Beilke reports.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Who really rules the airwaves in Moldova?

      With public trust at all time low, we need to examine how murky media ownership threatens pluralism and freedom of speech in Moldova.

    • Easter Rebellion: Three States Give Bernie Sanders Landslide Victories

      Sanders was backed by 82 percent of voters in Alaska where his wife Jane stumped for days, 73 percent in Washington State and 71 percent in Hawaii. He now has 1000 pledged delegates to Clinton’s 1200 pledged delegates, though Clinton currently has a lead among Super Delegates.

    • No, CNN, the States Sanders Won This Weekend Weren’t ‘Largely White and Rural’

      In fact, Hawaii is only 25 percent white, making it the least white state in the country, and the only state without a white majority. Alaska, at 67 percent white, is less white than 44 other states. (Vets for Bernie noted that CNN not long ago ran a story about Alaska’s ethnic diversity, which “may surprise folks from the Lower 48 who picture Alaska as a largely homogenous and snowy American extremity. But Alaskans are quite proud of their distinctive demographics.”) Washington state is 77 percent white, a little whiter than the US average of 72 percent, but still less white than 26 other states.

    • As Sanders Sweeps 3 States, Meet the Young Immigrant Activist Helping Him Mobilize Latinos
    • Bernie Does Madison

      They more than loved Bernie. He represented everything they hoped to see change in American society, domestic and foreign policy and the planet. There were home-made anti-Trump signs, but even those seemed minor by comparison to the buttons, badges, signs, T-shorts and assorted Merch (the vendors were having a good day) on all sides.

      The coeds (as our generation used to call them) more than hated Hillary, which is also illuminating, and if anything, more surprising. A small flock of young women wore buttons or t-shirts with this two-word slogan, “FUCK HER!” with the “H” unmistakable at intended meaning.

    • Hillary’s Latest Bow to AIPAC

      It is well known to Washington political observers that politicians invited to speak at the annual, giant AIPAC convention ask for suggested talking points from this powerful pro-Israeli government lobby. Hillary Clinton’s pandering speech must have registered close to 100% on AIPAC’s checklist.

    • Paul Krugman: a Prizefighter for Hillary Clinton

      Never confuse prestigious intellectual awards and positions awarded by the United States and Western establishment with real intelligence. And never assume that an intellectual is a real progressive just because they say they so.

    • Sanders: Superdelegates may now be eyeing switch from Clinton

      After three big wins out west, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said he thinks many of the party’s superdelegates who have pledged to rival Hillary Clinton will switch to his side.

      “I think the momentum is with us,” Sanders said on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper on Sunday. “A lot of these superdelegates may rethink their positions with Secretary Clinton.”

      The Vermont senator swept Saturday’s Democratic contests in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii, easily winning the majority of the 142 pledged delegates in those states. The biggest prize of the day was in Washington, which offered 101 delegates to be split up on a proportional basis.

      The latest delegate counts still put Sanders behind Clinton, however, with 975 pledged delegates to her 1,243.

    • 10 Ways the Media and Political Establishment Have Tried to Orchestrate the Democratic Primary

      It’s not over. Far from it. The economic and political establishment, which includes the Democratic National Committee (DNC), its Wall Street and corporate backers, and the major media, most of it now owned by a half dozen big corporations, have worked feverishly to turn the Democratic primary process into a coronation for Hillary Clinton.

      Bottom line, they wanted to declare it over before actual voters could vote, but their carefully crafted strategy began to #FeelTheBern.

    • This Is How Bernie Sanders Will Win the Nomination

      Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver made that statement on a conference call with reporters on Monday, during which top aides argued that Sanders can still overcome Clinton’s delegate lead in the Democratic primary contest. That can happen, they said, both by winning more pledged delegates and by gaining the support of more superdelegates, the 712 party leaders who are free to support the candidate of their choosing at the party’s nominating convention.

    • Clinton Campaign: No More Debates Until Sanders Starts Being Nicer

      The Sanders and Clinton campaign have tussled since the start of campaign season over the number of debates. But it seemed like those silly tiffs were finally settled back in January, when the two campaigns agreed to meet for debates once a month through May.

    • Washingtonians Hound Superdelegate Who Supports Clinton After Constituents Favored Sanders

      Bernie Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton in Washington’s caucuses Saturday, yet state Rep. Rick Larsen, a superdelegate, is ready to vote for her anyway. Sanders backers flooded Larsen’s Facebook account, demanding that he honor the will of his constituents.

      “Superdelegates,” explained The Guardian’s Trevor Timm in February, are roughly 700 members of Congress, governors, mayors and other party elites “who aren’t elected by anyone during the primary process and are free to vote any way they want at the [nominating] convention.”

      Washington voters overwhelmingly favored Sanders over Clinton, 72 percent to 27 percent, in Saturday’s Democratic caucus. The Vermont senator carried every county in the state—and voters in Whatcom County, where Larsen keeps an office, chose Sanders by 81 percent.

    • As Sanders Surges, Cable News Runs Prison Reality Show, Jesus Documentary

      Over the past week, Bernie Sanders racked up six wins out of seven primary contests, winning 92 delegates more than his rival Hillary Clinton to chip into her pledged delegate lead. While not an existential shift in the race, the momentum has changed in Sanders’ favor, especially since he won the last three primaries—Hawaii, Washington state and Alaska—with between 70 and 82 percent of the vote.

      You, however, would hardly have noticed had you been watching cable news the night of the Saturday primaries. Both MSNBC and CNN forwent live election coverage on arguably Sanders’ biggest night of the year, instead deciding to air a normally scheduled prison reality show and a “documentary” on Jesus.

    • Trump and Clinton: Censoring the Unpalatable

      This is drivel, of course; Hillary Clinton leaves a trail of blood and suffering around the world and a clear record of exploitation and greed in her own country. To say so, however, is becoming intolerable in the land of free speech.

      The 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama should have alerted even the most dewy-eyed. Obama based his “hope” campaign almost entirely on the fact of an African-American aspiring to lead the land of slavery. He was also “antiwar”.

    • Should Progressives Back Sanders?

      Sanders is not just a “lesser evil.” His proposals and policies are good on some key issues such as economic inequality, health-care, education, and the judicial/criminal system. His ideas on foreign policy suggest a substantial shift away from interventionism and militarism.

      In addition, Sanders seeks to change the current electoral process based on money coming from corporations, political action committees and wealthy individuals. Changing this system is the first step toward breaking the strangle-hold of the military-industrial complex, Wall Street and reactionary lobbies such as AIPAC and the NRA.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • CIA photographed detainees naked before sending them to be tortured

      Classified pictures showing CIA captives bruised, blindfolded and bound raise new questions about US’s willingness to use ‘sexual humiliation’ on suspects

    • Trump’s and ISIL’s Gray Zones: Radicals’ Terrorism sign of Syria, Iraq Defeat

      It is no accident that Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) is using Donald Trump in its new recruitment video. Although Trump hasn’t killed anyone to our knowledge and can’t be compared to Daesh in most ways, his political strategy actually mirrors that of the phony caliphate in some ways.

    • Tomgram: Engelhardt, Don’t Blame It All on Donald Trump

      But what if that’s not true? In some ways, the most frightening, least acceptable thing to say about our American world right now — even if Donald Trump’s overwhelming presence all but begs us to say it — is that we’ve entered uncharted territory and, under the circumstances, comparisons might actually impair our ability to come to grips with our new reality. My own suspicion: Donald Trump is only the most obvious instance of this, the example no one can miss.

    • There Are More Officers Than Counselors In The Largest Public School Districts

      The 74, a news outlet dedicated to education coverage, reports that four out the the 10 largest public school districts in U.S. have more officers than counselors. New York City, the largest public school system, has roughly six security officers and three counselors for every 1,000 students. In Chicago, the third largest school district, there are about four officers and two counselors for every 1,000 students. Miami-Dade County, the fifth largest district, has approximately three times more security staff than counselors. And in Houston, the seventh largest district, there are .78 counselors per 1,000 students compared to 1.16 officers.

    • Arrested for What?! The Assault on Our Civil Liberties Rages On

      Earlier this month, New York police arrested a postal service worker for shouting at police for nearly hitting his truck with their police cruiser. In Louisiana, Chris Nakamoto went to a government building looking for records on the mayor’s sudden pay raise and wanted access to audio recordings of the city council meeting. The police asked him to leave. When he refused, he was arrested.

    • Why Is Ted Cruz Seeking Policy Advice from Frank Gaffney, a Leading Islamophobe?

      The Southern Poverty Law Center has described Frank Gaffney as “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes.” Gaffney has become one of Cruz’s top advisers. We speak to Jeremy Scahill and Matthew Cole of The Intercept about Gaffney’s record and his role advising Cruz.

    • Trump Aide Makes Truly Bizarre Argument Against Allowing Immigrants To Come To America

      Perhaps hoping to pivot from accusations of his boss’ sexism, a senior aide for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claimed that Americans should be concerned about immigration because it will lead to a rise in female genital mutilation (FGM).

      After host Jake Tapper asked why Trump chose to tweet out a photo suggesting that his wife was “hotter” than other presidential candidate’s wives, Miller pivoted to immigration.

    • Murdered Muslim shopkeeper’s family fear for their lives from hardline Islamic factions

      The family of a popular Muslim shopkeeper who was murdered after posting an online Easter message to “my beloved Christian nation” has disclosed they fear for their lives following the brutal attack.

      Asad Shah’s wife and siblings said they had been left “heartbroken” by the killing and they had been overwhelmed by the messages of support they had received from the local community in the Shawlands area of Glasgow.

      But they only spoke on the condition their names were not published for fear of retribution and disclosed they have been advised by the police to be careful what they say in order to protect their security.

    • The Roots Of The Drug War: Going After Black People And The Anti-War Movement

      For more on this subject, science journalist Maia Szalavitz has an excellent book about to be published, The Unbroken Brain, arguing that addictions are learning disorders. It’s smart and it’s very moving — she chronicles her own struggle with addiction.

      I’ve read it and will have her on my podcast (just as soon as I dig out from finishing a particularly hard chapter for my next book and editing a researcher’s book on rush — probably in mid-April).

    • A woman’s place? The British House of Commons

      In 2014, the UK Parliament fell to 65th in the world in terms of women’s representation. At the recent Women of the World Festival (WOW) at London’s Southbank Centre, the 50:50 Parliament campaign for equal representation for women had a noticeable presence, visible in their suffragette-invoking white, green and violet-logoed T-shirts.

    • Human Trafficking of Refugees in Turkey a “Deal between Devils”

      Describing an agreement between Turkey and the European Union to keep millions of refugees from entering Europe as “a deal between devils,” Glen Ford reports that Turkey has “cashed in on the people it has helped make homeless.” As Al Jazeera reported, Turkey accepted $3.3 billion from the European Union (EU) “in return for checking the flow of refugees across the Aegean Sea.” Turkey reportedly asked for double that amount to cover the costs of dealing with the refugees.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Zero-Rating Harms Poor People, Public Interest Groups Tell FCC

      The nation’s largest internet service providers are undermining US open internet rules, threatening free speech, and disproportionately harming poor people by using a controversial industry practice called “zero-rating,” a coalition of public interest groups wrote in a letter to federal regulators on Monday.

      Companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T use zero-rating, which refers to a variety of practices that exempt certain services from monthly data caps, to undercut “the spirit and the text” of federal rules designed to protect net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible, the groups wrote.

    • Why the Web is broken

      The year is 1995. The location is the Kansas State University. The setting is a computer lab filled with Sun Sparc Workstations running Solaris. As an exchange student I have taken the “exchange” idea to the very limit and ended up travelling half way around the world to study my third year. To a university where the curriculum shared virtually nothing with my home university. At KSU, I needed to learn how to programme, which involved using a computer (!). Until then, I generally tried to stay as far away from computers as possible.

      Along the way however, as I was learning C and UNIX, a new thing was being discussed. The Internet. The World Wide Web. In those very labs everyone was emailing and soon so was I, using elm from my new email account. We could wander the nascent Web using the Mosaic browser, and then get very excited when Netscape was released and was so much faster. I could use UNIX talk to chat in real-time to with my friend back in Glasgow. It was so obvious even then that things were changing. The internet was going to be big and yet everyone back at home barely knew it existed. That would soon change. They internet would bring us globalisation, instant communication and no-one would ever fall behind again.

      It was really exciting. I can only compare it to New World pioneers stepping onto dry land into a society that was unmade, ungoverned, not owned and with endless possibilities. Everyone knew it could be anything we wanted, but how would it turn out? Maybe somewhere fairer, less commercial and more collaborative. Back in 1995 this was how the World Wide Web seemed.

  • DRM

    • Security Researchers: Tell the W3C To Protect Researchers Who Investigate Browsers

      The World Wide Web Consortium has taken the extraordinary, controversial step of standardizing DRM in the form of something called Encrypted Media Extensions, which will be part of HTML5. Because of laws like the DMCA and its international equivalents, security researchers who reveal flaws in HTML5-compliant browsers will face punishing legal jeopardy. We’re worried that this means that critical bugs in the browsers billions of people rely upon will take longer to come to light and are more likely to be exploited in the wild.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • House Of Cards Sued Over Trademark Regarding Themed Slot Machines

        Another day, another trademark dispute with one side weaponizing a trademark for a commonly used phrase and stretching the definition of common marketplaces. The latest foray into making my head hurt with this sort of thing is between MRC, producers of the Netflix drama House of Cards, and D2 Holdings, which claims to have trademarked the phrase and licenses for a radio program that covers gambling. At issue is a soon-to-be-released series of House of Cards themed slot machines in casinos across the nation.

    • Copyrights

      • Will PETA Now Sue To Control The Copyright In These Cat Selfies?

        As noted recently, PETA isn’t giving up in its quixotic quest to argue that it can represent the interests of an Indonesian selfie-taking monkey, and further that the photos in question have a copyright and that copyright belongs to the monkey (and, by extension, PETA). UK IP professor Andrés Guadamuz recently wrote an interesting paper arguing that there is a copyright in the photograph and it belongs to the guy who owned the camera, David Slater, based on UK copyright law. It’s an interesting read, though others have convincingly argued the opposite, noting that UK law requires a “person” to have created the work.


Links 28/3/2016: BQ Aquaris M10, VoCore

Posted in News Roundup at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Top 11 project management tools for 2016

    For the last three years, I have rounded up the most popular open source project management tools for Opensource.com readers. As there continues to be major reader interest in this area, I decided to take a look back at the tools we covered in 2014 and 2015, and give you updates on all of these projects. I looked to see which projects had new releases, notable new and improved features, and more.

    Let’s take a look at each of these projects and try to answer some of the questions readers have had in the comments of last year’s edition, including which are still in active development, provide hosting options, offer a mobile solution, and more.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases


    • Gzip 1.7 Released With Synchronous & Rsyncable Options

      New to Gzip is a –synchronous option for forcing fsync usage when outputting data for greater reliability, but obviously at the cost of slower performance. Gzip 1.7 also has a –rsyncable option when compressing to make the output more amendable for efficient rsync use by minimizing the changes within the gzip file.

    • gzip-1.7 released

      This is to announce gzip-1.7, a stable release. There have been 60 commits by 4 people in the nearly three years since 1.6.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open Source in the enterprise: Perspectives for CIOs

      The proliferation of OSS technologies, libraries, and frameworks in recent years has greatly contributed to the advancement of software development, increased developer productivity, and to the flexibility and customisation of the tools landscape to support different use cases and developers’ preferences.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • 8 challenges for improving the Indian-language Wikipedias

        After more than 10 years in existence, the Indian-language Wikipedias still are not known to many Indian language speakers. Wikipedia became the largest encyclopedia in history as a result of thousands of volunteer editors. Whereas native-language Wikipedias are becoming game changers in other corners of the world, the scenario in India is skewed.

      • Universities seek open-source solution to ‘absurd’ textbook prices

        Rajiv Jhangiani grew accustomed to the emails he would receive from his students at the start of each semester:

        “Is a previous edition OK?”

        “Do I really need the textbook?”

        The psychology instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University saw an increasing number of students attempting to go without the $150-$250 textbooks he was assigning for his courses, so he decided to stop assigning them.

        “I think it’s absurd, really,” Jhangiani said. “Every two-to-three years we get new editions which are basically cosmetic in terms of the changes that they have, and students are forced to spend a lot of money.”

    • Open Hardware

      • The Onion Omega Carputer Can be Controlled via WiFi

        The Onion Omega, a curiously named ultra-tiny linux-based WiFi board, is a useful little device for everything Internet of Things related. [Daniel] decided to use it to connect his car to the internet.

        Most new cars these days have remote start built in, and slowly, manufacturers are catching up to modern technology and including apps to control various features of their vehicles. But for old cars, there’s not much you can do aside from after-market remote start kits and the likes.

      • Open source OBD-II Adapter

        Automotive diagnostics have come a long way since the “idiot lights” of the 1980s. The current version of the on-board diagnostics (ODB) protocol provides real time data as well as fault diagnostics, thanks to the numerous sensors connected to the data network in the modern vehicle. While the hardware interface is fairly standardized now, manufacturers use one of several different standards to encode the data. [Alex Sidorenko] has built an open source OBD-II Adapter which provides a serial interface using the ELM327 command set and supports all OBD-II standards.

  • Programming

    • Software spat raises open source questions

      If your company uses Node.js, you may have suffered a shock this past week. A critical software package in the open source code base that many Node.js applications rely on suddenly disappeared. The problem was quickly rectified, but it caused problems for many users – and belies a fundamental problem with open source software.

      The problem arose when Azer Koçulu, the developer of the Kik software module, was approached by lawyers working for a company of the same name. They wanted him to unpublish his module because the name infringed on theirs, they said. Koçulu refused, so they approached a company called NPM Inc.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Ever wondered what the worst TV show in the world would be? Apple just commissioned it

    Remember when soccer’s governing body FIFA spent $30m making a film about itself starring Tim Roth and Gérard Depardieu?

    Well, the tech world’s most egomaniacal company is going to bring its version to the small screen.

    That’s right, Apple has decided to join Netflix and Amazon and get in on the content commissioning game by ordering a television show about… app developers.

  • Science

    • Many Companies Still Don’t Know How to Compete in the Digital Age

      The Internet of Things is a good example of this change. Every industry, no matter how traditional — agriculture, automotive, aviation, energy — is being upended by the addition of sensors, internet connectivity, and software. Success in this environment will depend on more than just creating better digital-enabled products; it will depend on building ecosystem-level strategies that encompass the many moving pieces that come together to create the new value proposition.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fukushima’s Former Residents Return Home To Ghost Town In Emotional Photos
    • U.S. Seeks Records of 80,000 Novartis `Sham’ Events for Doctors

      The U.S. is asking Novartis AG to provide records of about 80,000 “sham” events in which the government says doctors were wined and dined so they would prescribe the company’s cardiovascular drugs to their patients.

      The Swiss drugmaker and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney are engaged in a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleges Novartis provided illegal kickbacks to health-care providers through bogus educational programs at high-end restaurants and sports bars where the drugs were barely discussed.

      In a filing Friday, the U.S. said it needs Novartis to provide information to support its allegation that the company defrauded federal health-care programs of hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade by inducing doctors to prescribe its medications through sham speaker events.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Shooting Up: How War and Drugs Go Together

      OF ALL THE CULTURAL NARRATIVES to emerge in the aftermath of American wars, few have proven as pervasive as the Soldier’s Disease. Popular lore holds that the Soldier’s Disease affected hundreds of thousands of Civil War veterans, Yankee and Confederate. A term so specific and vague all at once, the Soldier’s Disease sounds like something meant to conjure up millenniums-worth of human destruction and violence.

      Yet it was never that visceral, or all that physical. The Soldier’s Disease was code for addiction to morphine or other opiates. Given the industrial nature of the Civil War, and the state of medical treatment at the time, the source of the addiction developed from amputations caused by shrapnel wounds. Morphine and the like numbed the horrifying pain that came with the amputations and recovery process. That dependence became addiction, and returned home with the veterans after the war, unleashing a great scourge upon the land.

      So goes the narrative, at least. There’s just one problem, though: the Soldier’s Disease is more myth than historical record. Modern studies reveal that sure, many a Civil War vet had their opiate issues, but so did a lot of Americans in that era, not the least because of a booming (and often unchecked) pharmaceutical industry. Further, the first chronicled use of “Soldier’s Disease” didn’t appear until 1915, a good 50 years after Appomattox. Why? There was a growing antidrug political movement occurring across the nation, and it needed some talking points.

    • We All Are Islamic State

      The tit-for-tat game of killing will not end until exhaustion, until the culture of death breaks us emotionally and physically. We use our drones, warplanes, missiles and artillery to rip apart walls and ceilings, blow out windows and kill or wound those inside. Our enemies pack peroxide-based explosives in suitcases or suicide vests and walk into airport terminals, concert halls, cafes or subways and blow us up, often along with themselves. If they had our technology of death they would do it more efficiently. But they do not. Their tactics are cruder, but morally they are the same as us. T.E. Lawrence called this cycle of violence “the rings of sorrow.”

    • We need both compassion and confrontation to defeat Donald Trump

      Our empathy for white working-class people who are taken with Trump shouldn’t keep us from intervening in the gathering storm of white supremacy that his rise represents, if for no other reason than because we know that the number of people who are repulsed and angry about what he represents—but have remained inactive—is far greater than the total filling the seats of his hate-filled celebrations of patriarchal masculinity. However imperfect our protests have been—and they should incorporate more dramatic and bold experiments along the lines of the Phoenix blockade—they are offering an alternative to the story of white silence, and are galvanizing many to act.

    • Highlighting Western Victims While Ignoring Victims of Western Violence

      For days now, American cable news has broadcast non-stop coverage of the horrific attack in Brussels. Viewers repeatedly heard from witnesses and from the wounded. Video was shown in a loop of the terror and panic when the bombs exploded. Networks dispatched their TV stars to Brussels, where they remain. NPR profiled the lives of several of the airport victims. CNN showed a moving interview of a wounded, bandage-wrapped Mormon American teenager speaking from his Belgium hospital bed.

    • Criminal Bankers Control US Government Push War-Paul Craig Roberts

      Former Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan Administration, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, contends it is no accident why bankers do not get jail time for constantly committing fraud by stealing documents and committing fraudulent, criminal insider trading and market manipulations. Dr. Roberts explains, “Look at Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. They claim they stole documents, and we are determined to destroy them. One of them is hiding out in Russia, and one of them is hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. This again shows the immunity of the banks. They are not held accountable because they are in control. Who controls the Fed? Who controls the Treasury? Where do all the Treasury Secretaries come from? They come from the big New York banks. Look at the financial regulatory agencies that are supposed to be regulating the banks. They are filled with executives from the banks. The banks control the government. There isn’t a government, there’s the banks. . . . We have the entire economic policy in the United States concentrating on saving five banks. We had 10 million people who lost their homes, and nothing was done for them, but five banks are saved.”

    • The Pentagon’s Budget Time Bomb

      With plans for military spending on a new Cold War — as well as on old fears about terrorism — spinning out of control, the next U.S. president will face a budgetary time bomb, explains Chuck Spinney.

    • Hillary the Hypocrite

      Who should play Hillary on Broadway?

      “Maybe Lily Tomlin,” Nader says. “She’s good at playing characters that speak with forked tongues.”

      “Hillary the Hawk is the darling of the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address,” Nader said. “And she gets quite a bit of money from those companies. Hillary the Wall Street Promoter gets money from Wall Street. And yet she comes out on that stage and says exactly the opposite and gets away with it.”

    • Lessons of Brussels

      The population of Brussels is nearly 25 percent immigrants from Muslim countries, primarily Morocco and Algeria. And as it turns out the two brothers who were the core of the ISIS cell were habitués of the now notorious Molenbeek neighborhood, which consists primarily of the descendants of immigrants who settled there decades ago. Poor, and beset by petty crime, it is a pool in which terrorist recruiters fish with much success. The Syrian civil war has become a cause that attracts young toughs with no prospects, who are looking for some sense of meaning – and a way to express their alienation from the larger society in which they live. Molenbeek was also the base for those who planned and carried out the Paris attacks – it is, in effect, a general headquarters for ISIS to carry out its European operations. Salah Abdeslam, the chief planner of the Paris attacks, fled there and found sanctuary for four months before being caught.

    • How to Become Terror-Torn Europe—And How Not to

      Our integrated American Muslim communities are helping to keep us safe.

    • “Families Were Blown Up” — Scenes From a Saudi-Led Bombing in Yemen

      Around midday on March 15, fighter jets from a Saudi-led coalition bombed a market in Mastaba, in Yemen’s northern province of Hajjah. The latest count indicates that about 120 people were killed, including more than 20 children, and 80 were wounded in the strikes — perhaps the deadliest attack yet in a war that has killed more than 6,000 civilians. Local residents and health officials say the carnage was so great in Mastaba that most of the bodies could hardly be identified, and several were beyond recognition.

    • The Case of Bowe Bergdahl: Military Justice in a Highly Charged Political Season

      In a season when the political becomes theater, and when military actions remain as prominent and prolific as they were when the sergeant enlisted in the military for the second time, the old refrain that military justice is to justice, as military music is to music, ought to give anyone pause hoping that in Sergeant Bergdahl’s case cooler heads will prevail and the accepted wisdom of enough punishment being enough becomes widely shared. Nearly 15 years of war in Afghanistan, and with a nation on permanent war footing, the chance of Sergeant Bergdahl’s case being considered outside of the turbulent winds of the presidential primary season and the general election are highly unlikely. In this highly charged political atmosphere, the chance of justice prevailing is remote. Determining the conditions on the ground in Afghanistan at the time of Bergdahl’s absence from his unit are impossible to assess since this war is only covered by major media outlets when an event of major proportions takes place.

      The details of how Bowe Bergdahl might be punished are worth comparing to the actual punishments resulting from the assault on My Lai in Vietnam in March 1968 and its aftermath. About 500 unarmed men, women, and children were killed in that massacre by US forces. The only officer to face a military trial for the atrocities of My Lai, Lieutenant William Calley, could have faced the death penalty for the 109 Vietnamese he had been charged with murdering. Ultimately, he was convicted of killing 22 civilians and sentenced to life imprisonment. That sentence was reduced to 20 years and then further reduced to 10 years. Calley’s final time spent under house arrest amounted to three and a half years, at which time he was released by a federal court. Bergdahl has never been charged with killing a single individual or responsibility for the death of troops involved in the search for him as the result of his leaving his post. No one was killed during the search for the sergeant.

    • The Risk of Overreacting to Terror

      There is exploitation by politicians of the spike in public concern about terrorism, this time with presidential candidates calling for patrols of American neighborhoods identified by religion, when those same candidates are not calling for carpet bombing a foreign country.

    • How Donald Trump and Ted Cruz Help Terrorists Achieve Their Aims

      Recoiling from the terrorist carnage in Brussels, Americans may be attracted to the “tough” posturing of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The casino mogul wants to bring back torture, while the Texas senator hopes to bomb indiscriminately until the desert glows. Trump would bar any Muslim from entering the United States, while Cruz would dispatch special police patrols into Muslim neighborhoods. Both eagerly demonize Muslims worldwide and stigmatize Muslims in America.

    • Fighting for recognition: Soviet-Afghan War veterans in Tajikistan

      More than a quarter of a century after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the afgantsy are still struggling to carve out a place for themselves in post-Soviet Tajikistan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Japan’s Bogus Excuse For Killing Hundreds Of Pregnant Whales

      Japan’s fleet known for capturing whales for research returned to shore this week and confirmed it killed more than 300 minke whales, including pregnant specimens, triggering international condemnation.

      Every year, Japan undertakes what it has labeled as a scientific hunt for whales in the Southern Ocean. However, in 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan should stop. Instead, Japan ignored the ruling last year and announced it would continue whaling while reducing the number of whales it would kill by two-thirds to 333.

    • Largest Wildfire In State History Ravages Kansas

      On Saturday, four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Kansas National Guard were deployed to contain the prairie blazes that have burned at least 620 square miles in southern Kansas and Oklahoma, where it originated, the Associated Press reported. Smoke was reportedly detected as far away as St. Louis, Missouri — hundreds of miles to the northeast — as at least four homes and livestock were affected, according to Kansas officials. No serious human injuries or fatalities have been reported.

    • Nuclear Power Plants: Pre-Deployed WMDs

      That’s what nuclear power plants are. And that’s another very big reason—demonstrated again in recent days with the disclosure that two of the Brussels terrorists were planning attacks on Belgian nuclear plants—why they must be eliminated.

    • A big deal for our ocean

      Today governments from all over the world will meet at the United Nations in New York to develop a new treaty to save our oceans. We will be there to ensure clear rules for the creation of sanctuaries that will give our oceans the protection they desperately need.

  • Finance

    • UN Development Program’s Pledge Toward Ending Poverty and Hunger

      Since its inception, many members of the European confederation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are allocating more money to addressing the social costs of refugee and asylum seekers. For example, the Netherlands has increased its budget 145%, Italy has raised theirs by 107%, Cyprus increased its by 65%, and Portugal has gone up 38%.

    • American Crime Family Advances On The White House

      And serve the deep state the Clintons certaintly do as is indicated by the $153 million in “speaking fees”—read bribes and payoffs—that CNN and Fox News report the Clintons have been paid by Wall Street, the mega-banks, and corporate America. This sum does not include campaign donations or donations to the Clintons’ foundation. http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/politics/hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-paid-speeches/

    • VIDEO: Public Education is a Right! Voices of CUNY Students, Faculty and Staff From Die-in Protest

      Students, faculty and staff staged a die-in Thursday in New York City to demand the state fully fund the City University of New York. Later that same day, Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed to some of their demands. Cuomo had threatened to push nearly $500 million in state costs onto the city. Watch a video of some of the voices from the demonstration, at which two city council members were also arrested.

    • Who’s afraid of the evidence about what works in the NHS?

      Politicians have imposed evidence-free re-organisations on us health workers for years. Now they tell us that it’s too late to change the mess they’ve got us into.

    • California Reaches Deal to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

      Numerous statewide polls have suggested voters would approve a minimum wage proposal—perhaps even a more sweeping version—if given the chance.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama Visits Havana: Cuba Libre for Real?

      National isolation is the desire of every dictator: If his subjects never see what a freer society looks like or have the opportunity to avail themselves of its goods and services, they have no standard against which to measure his rule and find it wanting.

    • GOP Lawmakers Tout Religious Liberty, Duck Questions About Discriminating Against Muslims

      IN THE RUN-UP to oral arguments before the Supreme Court this week to challenge the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers’ health care plans cover birth control, Republican lawmakers held a series of events to highlight the importance of religious liberty. Conservatives claim that the law, which requires insurance companies to cover contraception, violates the religious rights of Catholic nuns.

      That commitment to religious freedom, however, does not appear to extend to Muslim Americans.

      On Tuesday, in reaction to the terror attacks in Belgium, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called for law enforcement to preemptively “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” Later that day, The Intercept attended a press conference organized by House Republicans to champion religious liberty ahead of the Supreme Court contraception case.

    • Trump’s Incomprehensible ‘Cyber’ Policy: ‘Make Cyber Great Again’

      It seems pretty clear that Trump has no clue what is being discussed and just falls back into his usual talking points about how America just isn’t that good any more, and then uses the tiny bit of information he does have (China and Russia have been in the news around hackings) and argues that they’re better than us. But, “we’re obsolete”? Huh? As noted above (not by him, of course), the most powerful computer-based attacks do seem to be coming from the US itself, not Russia or China.

      Also, what does “inconceivable that, inconceivable the power of cyber” even mean? All I can think of is the scene from The Princess Bride.

    • Bank of America, Microsoft Denounce North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law, but Fund Politicians Who Passed It

      Microsoft has joined a corporate campaign calling on politicians “to abandon or defeat” anti-LBGT legislation, and its president, Brad Smith, specifically criticized the North Carolina law on Twitter. And like the political action committees of Bank of America and Lowe’s, Microsoft’s PAC — run by its managing director for government affairs, Edward Ingle — has given to the same anti-LBGT politicians, though somewhat less generously. Since 2008, the Microsoft PAC has given $2,000 to McCrory, $3,000 to Berger, $2,000 to Moore, and $4,000 to the North Carolina Republican Party.

    • The Culture That Created Donald Trump Was Liberal, Not Conservative

      WHO CREATED Donald Trump?

      Now that Donald Trump, the candidate, has become both widely popular and deeply loathsome, we’re seeing a cataract of editorials and commentary aimed at explaining how it happened and who’s to blame. The predictable suspects are trotted out: the Republican Party, which had been too opportunistic and fearful to stand up to its own candidate, Fox News, which inflamed the jingoes, and white working-class voters, unhinged by class envy and racial resentment.

    • CIA Photographed Detainees Naked and Bound Before Extraditing Them for Torture

      The CIA took photographs of detainees naked, bound, and blindfolded—some with visible bruises—before extraditing them to other countries to be tortured, an investigation by the Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman revealed on Monday.

      “The naked imagery of CIA captives raises new questions about the seeming willingness of the U.S. to use what one medical and human rights expert called ‘sexual humiliation’ in its post-9/11 captivity of terrorism suspects,” Ackerman wrote. “Some human rights campaigners described the act of naked photography on unwilling detainees as a potential war crime.”

      Ackerman also reported that “a former U.S. official who had seen some of the photographs described them as ‘very gruesome.’” The photos in question remain classified.

      The detainees were photographed before being extradited to nations known to use more brutal forms of torture than that used in the U.S., Ackerman said, as part of the CIA’s so-called “extraordinary rendition” program.

      The writer V. Noah Gimbel characterized that program in 2011 as “the outsourcing of interrogations to countries where torture could be employed without the legal barriers that exist within the U.S. military and civilian justice systems.”

    • US Intel Vets Warn Against Torture

      Experienced intelligence professionals reaffirm that torture – while popular with “tough” politicians – doesn’t work in getting accurate and actionable information, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Fails To Connect SmartCar’s Silicon Valley Office For 10 Months, Wants $60,000 Anyway

      Comcast for years has offered what most find to be utterly abysmal customer service and support, resulting in story after story of nightmare experiences for consumers and businesses alike. This is, by and large, thanks to limited competition in most of Comcast’s footprint, and despite Silicon Valley being arguably the tech epicenter of the country, the region apparently isn’t immune to Comcast’s particular… charms or the nation’s obvious lack of broadband competition.

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