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02.28.17

Links 28/2/2017: Wine 1.8.7, AWS Goes Belly-up

Posted in News Roundup at 5:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Using Open Source to Empower Students in Tanzania

    Powering Potential Inc. (PPI) aims to enhance education opportunities for students in Tanzania with the help of the Raspberry Pi and open source technology.

    “I believe technology is a vital part of the modern human experience. It enlightens. It ties us together. It broadens our horizons and teaches us what we can be. I believe everyone deserves access to these resources,” says Janice Lathen, Founding Director and President of PPI.

  • The top open source rookie projects of the year to watch

    Open-source projects underpin many of today’s popular apps, software packages, and online services.

    If a vendor releases code to the open-source community, license restrictions are removed and software can be integrated into other systems. From Google’s end-to-end encryption system E2EMail to the Netflix cross-scripting site vulnerability scanner Sleepy Puppy, open-source development is thriving and thousands of developers contribute their time to improving coding and ferreting out bugs every month.

  • How to get started in open source software

    A friend pointed me to the Open Source Guides website, a collection of resources for individuals, communities, and companies who want to learn how to run and contribute to an open source project. I thought it was very interesting for new contributors, so I thought I’d share it here.

  • Is Open Source the Future of Wall Street?

    Richard Craib, the South African technology guru and founder of nontraditional hedge fund Numerai, is hoping for nothing short of completely restructuring the hedge fund industry. Numerai has recently created a new type of digital currency, a so-called “digital token,” which is based on the internet and which aims to help crowdsource data-sharing and decisionmaking among Wall Street professionals. If the idea catches on, it could mean a significant shift for the way that investors do business; typically, it has been everyone-for-himself, with managers guarding their strategies and ideas closely in an attempt to gain the upper edge over every competitor. Is it possible that Craib could bring about a Wall Street in which investors actually work together in a collaborative way?

  • Linux Announces New Open Network Automation Platform Project

    The Linux Foundation has announced the creation of the new Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project with the merger of Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) and open source ECOMP. This new platform will help in designing, automating, orchestrating, and managing network services and virtual functions by creating a comprehensive and a harmonized framework that allows virtual network functions to be automated by using real-time, policy-driven software.

  • Open-Source Networking Is Coming of Age

    Service providers of all sizes and types should take note of some changes occurring across the open-source community—changes that promise to accelerate the adoption of software-defined networks (SDN).

    The first is a decision by AT&T to open source the ECOMP management and orchestration (MANO) framework it developed via the Linux Foundation. Through a variety of working groups, the foundation has been accelerating the development of core network function virtualization (NFV) software and associated SDN technologies. But a big piece missing from that equation has been the management plane.

  • CAVO Continues to Advance Open Source for Democracy [Ed: Remember what Microsoft did there]

    OSI Affiliate Member, the California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO), has shared some exciting news regarding their advocacy work in San Francisco: according to the San Francisco Examiner, the city of San Francisco is pushing forward with plans to develop their open source election system. In addition, the paper is reporting that the San Francisco Elections Commission voted unanimously on Feb 17th to request $4 million to fund the initial stages of the open source voting system.

    For many years board members of CAVO have been urging San Francisco to expedite, “the creation and deployment of a GPL v3 open source / paper ballot printing system that would set the standard for voting systems nationally.” According to CAVO, currently only New Hampshire has deployed a voting system using open source software, Prime III.

  • Google Releases E2EMail to Open Source

    The ongoing struggle to provide encrypted email solutions that aren’t on a PGP level of complexity and difficulty is a real challenge.

    Google’s attempt at it, called E2EMail, was introduced more than a year ago as an effort to give users a Chrome app that allows for the simple exchange of private emails. On Friday, Google cut it loose to open source.

  • Google End-to-End encrypted email code goes open-source

    Google has announced that E2EMail, an experimental end-to-end encryption system, has now been given to the open-source community with no strings attached.

  • Google turns email encryption effort over to GitHub
  • Google Gmail To Get A Big Boost But Gmail’s Open Source Project Might End Up Going Nowhere
  • Google Pushes Encrypted Email System Out Into the World
  • Google Sends E2EMail Encrypted Email Code into Open Source
  • Google Open-Sources Chrome Extension to Make PGP Encryption Easier in Gmail
  • Google Abandons ‘End-To-End’ Email Encryption Project, Invites Community To Take It Over
  • Google’s Ease-of-Use Email Encryption Project Goes Open Source
  • Chrome extension brings encryption to Gmail
  • Google Open Sources Code for End-to-End Email Encryption
  • Google’s E2EMail Encryption System Is Now Open Source
  • End-to-End Email Encryption: Google Pushes Latest Project to Open Source
  • Google shifts on email encryption tool, leaving its fate unclear
  • After 3 Years, Why Gmail’s End-to-End Encryption Is Still Vapor
  • 6 Reasons Why Open Source Software Lowers Development Costs

    In some organizations, faster development is the primary motivation for using Open Source Software (OSS.) For others, cost savings or flexibility is the most important factor.

    Last week, we detailed how OSS speeds development. Now let’s explore how open source software reduces development costs.

  • ‘Use open source software for GIS mapping’

    Open sourcing of data for Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping will create a huge potential for employment and transparency in administration, secretary of OSGEO-India V. Ravi Kumar has said.

    Proprietary software for GIS costs up to Rs. .30 lakh. Instead, utilising tools developed using open software and training youth would help in creating employment locally, he said. Money will be spent on those working using GIS but not for the software, he said.

  • ESI Group: Acquisition of Scilab Enterprises, Publisher of Scilab Open Source Analytical Computational Software
  • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 17.02

    After the revision of Genode’s most fundamental protocols in the previous release it was time to move our attention upwards the software stack. The current release largely revisits the integration of the C runtime with the Genode component API as well as the virtual-file-system (VFS) infrastructure. The two biggest challenges were making Genode’s VFS capable to perform I/O asynchronously, and to make the C runtime compatible with the state-machine-based execution model of modern Genode components. This line of work is described in detail in Sections Enhanced VFS infrastructure and New execution model of the C runtime. One particularly exciting result is the brand-new ability to plug the Linux TCP/IP stack as a VFS plugin into any libc-using component by the sole means of component configuration.

  • Genode OS 17.02 Released With Improved VFS, New Input Event Processing

    Genode OS 17.02 has been released today as the latest version of this open-source operating system framework.

    Accomplished for Genode OS 17.02 were ABI improvements, a much better virtual file-system (VFS) implementation, new input event processing capabilities, and a dynamic component-composition engine.

  • heads 0.0 is out!

    heads 0.0 is a preview live CD of what heads is going to be about. This release is not intended to be used from a security point of view, but as a showcase and testing point of view.

    I am not even completely sure everything is torified, but hey, that’s what testing is for, no?

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Acquires Pocket

        We are excited to announce that the Mozilla Corporation has completed the acquisition of Read It Later, Inc. the developers of Pocket.

        Mozilla is growing, experimenting more, and doubling down on our mission to keep the internet healthy, as a global public resource that’s open and accessible to all. As our first strategic acquisition, Pocket contributes to our strategy by growing our mobile presence and providing people everywhere with powerful tools to discover and access high quality web content, on their terms, independent of platform or content silo.

        Pocket will join Mozilla’s product portfolio as a new product line alongside the Firefox web browsers with a focus on promoting the discovery and accessibility of high quality web content. Pocket’s core team and technology will also accelerate Mozilla’s broader Context Graph initiative.

      • Mozilla acquires read-it-later app Pocket, will open-source the code

        Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, today announced that it has acquired Pocket, the startup that develops an app for saving articles and other content. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

        The Pocket code will become a part of the Mozilla open-source project, Mozilla chief business and legal officer Denelle Dixon-Thayer wrote in a blog post.

      • Mozilla Acquires Pocket, Will Open Source Pocket Code

        Chances are you’ve heard the new: Mozilla has acquired Pocket, the go-to ‘read it later’ service, and says it plans to open-source Pocket code in due course.

  • Summer of Code

  • Databases

    • MySQL 8 is coming

      MySQL 8 is coming and it is going to be a big change. MySQL 5.7 has been out for well over a year and has been very well received with its native JSON data type, increased security, and better performance. But there are some things about 5.7 that needed modernization and that is why MySQL 8 is on the way.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • The Speed Of LLVM’s LLD Linker Continues Looking Good

      LLVM’s LLD linker still isn’t too widely used yet on Linux systems, but the performance of this linker alternative to GNU Gold and GNU ld are quite compelling.

      We’ve written many times before about the much progress and better performance of “the LLVM linker” while some new numbers were committed to the LLD documentation.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

    • On ZFS in Debian

      I’m currently over at FOSDEM, and have been asked by a couple of people about the state of ZFS and Debian. So, I thought I’d give a quick post to explain what Debian’s current plan is (which has come together with a lot of discussion with the FTP Masters and others around what we should do).

      [...]

      Debian has always prided itself in providing the unequivocally correct solution to our users and downstream distributions. This also includes licenses – we make sure that Debian will contain 100% free software. This means that if you install Debian, you are guaranteed freedoms offered under the DFSG and our social contract.

    • Complying with Creative Commons license attribution requirements in slides and powerpoint

      When I was at Mozilla and WMF, I frequently got asked how to give proper credit when using Creative Commons-licensed images in slideshows. I got the question again last week, and am working on slides right now, so here’s a quick guide.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Denmark’s draft IT architecture open for comment

      Denmark’s Agency for Digitisation (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen – DIGST) is inviting comments on its draft IT architecture for digitalisation of the public sector. The document sets out the IT principles for the country’s 33 digitisation initiatives.

    • Norway working on first IT procurement frameworks

      Norway’s government procurement centre (ANS) and the Agency for Public Management and e-Government (Difi) are preparing the country’s first procurement frameworks related to IT. The first call, on telephony services, will be published in the next few days. The second call, for telephony and PC workstations, is expected around 24 April. Calls will be published on both Norway’s and Europe’s procurement portals, Doffin and Ted.

    • France prepares next Open Government action plan

      The 2017-2019 Open Government Action Plan is being prepared by the government modernisation unit (Secretariat-General for Government Modernisation, SGMAP). This week, on Tuesday, SGMAP is hosting a public workshop, where it will present a draft of the plan. The final text is expected in September.

    • Open Data

      • An Introduction to Open Data Kit
      • Make food production data open source, urges MIT Media Lab

        Agriculture production data should be public and the open source movement should be the model for analysing it, according to the Open Agriculture initiative at MIT Media Lab.

        This could involve making the data from every farming IoT sensor public – so you could use the climate data to understand how best to grow what and where, or use other IoT data points to trace where the food has come from across the whole supply chain.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Did You Think Prices For Intel CPUs Were OK Last Week? They Weren’t.

      You can stop it. Stop buying Intel. Better yet, don’t buy AMD either. Buy ARM, the processor that has multiple sources of production at competitive prices all year long. No need for a time-warp to get that for which you pay.

    • Intel Reacts To AMD Ryzen Apparently Cutting Prices On Core i7 And i5 Processors

      It’s hard to believe that we’re mere days away from the official launching of AMD’s first Ryzen processors. It’s been a long wait, but an even longer one if you think back to a time when the world got this excited about a new CPU launch. To call Ryzen “disruptive” even before launch seems apt, but all we can do right now is wait for the reviews to go live (and of course here at HH) to see just how well it will perform under pressure.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO Issues First List Of Potential Deadly Bacteria If No New Antibiotics Are Found

      Microbial resistance to antibiotics has been rising and the world is now facing the serious possibility of falling back to the days when infectious diseases were hardly treatable. The World Health Organization today published a list of bacteria for which new antibiotics are most urgently needed, to help with the race against time, as the medical world is running out of treatment options.

      The list of antibiotic-resistant ‘priority pathogens’ is the first published by the WHO, according to a press release. The list was drawn up “in a bid to guide and promote research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics, as part of WHO’s efforts to address growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.”

    • Global Fund Hits Reset On Executive Director Search

      The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is deliberating on how to start over on its search for a new executive director after questions arose near the end of the process.

    • Superbug infections rising rapidly and spreading silently in kids

      Dangerous multidrug-resistant infections are surging in children across the country, researchers report in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

      From 2007 to 2015, the number of kids treated in hospitals for certain types of multidrug-resistant infections rose 750 percent, researchers found. Though overall incidence is still low, researchers say the study’s findings are pointing to worrying trends—namely, silent spreading within communities, and severe, potentially life-threatening infections becoming common.

      “The rate of rise was very rapid,” the study’s lead author, pediatrician Sharon Meropol of Case Western Reserve University, told CIDRAP News. “And if that continues, it’s not going to be long before we get much higher rates.”

    • The dirty dozen: UN issues list of 12 most worrying bacteria

      The World Health Organization has issued a list of the top dozen bacteria most dangerous to humans, warning that doctors are fast running out of treatment options.

      In a press briefing on Monday, the U.N. health agency said its list is meant to promote the development of medicines for the most worrying drug-resistant bacteria, including salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

      WHO’s Marie-Paule Kieny said that if such priorities were left to market forces alone, “the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time.” She estimated that it would take up to a decade for new medications.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Some weekend security updates
    • Top Security Centric Linux Distributions

      There are a lot of reasons to choose a security-centric Linux distribution to test your network and system as in ethical hacking or penetration testing or security analysis. Are you looking? Luckily for you, there are a lot of them available for use. So let’s dive in and look at the best security centric Linux distributions.

    • With SHA1 Proven Unsafe, Ubuntu’s Mir Switches From SHA1 To SHA256

      Now that Google has proven SHA1 as unsafe, Ubuntu’s Mir display server developers were quick to abandon its usage in favor of SHA256.

      Mir cookies have the switch to now use SHA256 in place of SHA1 for their cookies in order to improve the security.

    • Windows 10 least secure of Windows versions: study

      Windows 10 was the least secure of of current Windows versions in 2016, with 46% more vulnerabilities than either Windows 8 or 8.1, according to an analysis of Microsoft’s own security bulletins in 2016.

      Security firm Avecto said its research, titled “2016 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Study: Mitigating risk by removing user privileges”, had also found that a vast majority of vulnerabilities found in Microsoft products could be mitigated by removing admin rights.

      The research found that, despite its claims to being the “most secure” of Microsoft’s operating systems, Windows 10 had 395 vulnerabilities in 2016, while Windows 8 and 8.1 each had 265.

      The research also found that while 530 Microsoft vulnerabilities were reported — marginally up from the 524 reported in 2015 — and 189 given a critical rating, 94% could be mitigated by removing admin rights. This was up from 85% in 2015.

    • Windows 10 Creators Update can block Win32 apps if they’re not from the Store [Ed: By Microsoft Peter. People who put Vista 10 on a PC totally lose control of that PC; remember, the OS itself is malware, as per textbook definitions. With DRM and other antifeatures expect copyright enforcement on the desktop soon.]

      The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build doesn’t add much in the way of features—it’s mostly just bug fixes—but one small new feature has been spotted, and it could be contentious. Vitor Mikaelson noticed that the latest build lets you restrict the installation of applications built using the Win32 API.

    • Router assimilated into the Borg, sends 3TB in 24 hours

      “Well, f**k.”

      Harsh language was appropriate under the circumstances. My router had just been hacked.

      Setting up a reliable home network has always been a challenge for me. I live in a cramped three-story house, and I don’t like running cables. So my router’s position is determined by the fiber modem in a corner on the bottom floor. Not long after we moved in, I realized that our old Airport Extreme was not delivering much signal to the attic, where two game-obsessed occupants fought for bandwidth.

      I tried all sorts of things. I extended the network. I used Ethernet-over-powerline connectors to deliver network access. I made a mystic circle and danced naked under the full moon. We lost neighbors, but we didn’t gain a signal.

    • Purism’s Librem 13 Coreboot Port Now “100%” Complete

      According to Purism’s Youness Alaoui, their Coreboot port to the Librem 13 v1 laptop is now considered complete.

      The Librem 13 was long talked about having Coreboot over a proprietary BIOS while the initial models still had shipped with the conventional BIOS. Finally in 2017, they have now Coreboot at what they consider to be 100% complete for this Linux-friendly laptop.

    • The Librem 13 v1 coreboot port is now complete

      Here are the news you’ve been waiting for: the coreboot port for the Librem 13 v1 is 100% done! I fixed all of the remaining issues, it is now fully working and is stable, ready for others to enjoy. I fixed the instability problem with the M.2 SATA port, finished running all the tests to ensure coreboot is working correctly, fixed the headphone jack that was not working, made the boot prettier, and started investigating the Intel Management Engine issue.

    • Linux Update Fixes 11-Year-Old Flaw

      Andrey Konovalov, a security researcher at Google, found a use-after-free hole within Linux, CSO Online reported. This particular flaw is of interest because it appears to be situational. It only showed up in kernels built with a certain configuration option — CONFIG_IP_DCCP — enabled.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • EU updates smartphone secure development guideline

      The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) has published an updated version of its Smartphone Secure Development Guidelines. This document details the risks faced by developers of smartphone application, and provides ways to mitigate these.

    • CloudLinux 7 Users Get New Beta Linux Kernel Update That Addresses CVE-2017-6074

      CloudLinux’s Mykola Naugolnyi announced today the availability of a new Beta kernel for the CloudLinux 7 operating system series, which patches a recently discovered and critical security flaw.

    • Linus Torvalds shrugged off warnings about ‘insecure’ SHA-1 in 2005

      LINUX FOUNDER Linus Torvalds was warned in 2005 that the use of the SHA-1 hash to sign code in Linux and Git was insecure and urged to shift to something better protected, but rejected the advice outright.

      Free software evangelist John Gilmore warned Torvalds ten years ago that “SHA1 has been broken; it’s possible to generate two different blobs that hash to the same SHA1 hash”.

      Gilmore penned his warning to Torvalds in April 2005, when MD5 had already been cracked and SHA1 remained “hard to crack” – but still crackable.

    • Subversion SHA1 Collision Problem Statement — Prevention and Remediation Options

      You probably saw the news last week that researchers at Google had found a scenario where they were able to break the SHA1 algorithm by creating two PDF files with differing content that produced the same hash. If you are following this story then you may have also seen that the Webkit Subversion repository had problems after a user committed these example files to their repository so that they could be used in test cases for SHA1 collisions.

    • making git-annex secure in the face of SHA1 collisions

      git-annex has never used SHA1 by default. But, there are concerns about SHA1 collisions being used to exploit git repositories in various ways. Since git-annex builds on top of git, it inherits its foundational SHA1 weaknesses. Or does it?

    • SSH Fingerprint Verification via Tor

      OpenSSH (really, are there any other implementations?) requires Trust on First Use for fingerprint verification.

      Verification can be especially problematic when using remote services like VPS or colocation.

      How can you trust that the initial connection isn’t being Man In The Middle’d?

    • Almost all Windows vulnerabilities are enabled by liberal ‘admin rights’

      NEARLY OF THE VULNERABILITIES THAT AFFECT Microsoft’s Windows operating system could be mitigated through a little careful control.

      Avecto, a security company, is the source of the latest revelation in this direction, and it says that 94 per cent of security problems could have been killed off if admin rights had been removed from the affected computer.

      This makes a lot of sense, since a computer that cannot be molested by a user cannot be molested by a third party. 94 per cent is just one example of the differences that can be made and Avecto says that in the case of Internet Explorer 100 per cent of risks are mitigated when rights are removed.

    • More on Bluetooth Ingenico Overlay Skimmers

      This blog has featured several stories about “overlay” card and PIN skimmers made to be placed atop Ingenico-brand card readers at store self-checkout lanes. I’m revisiting the topic again because a security technician at a U.S.-based retailer recently shared a few photos of several of these devices pulled from compromised card terminals, and the images and his story offer a fair bit more detail than in previous articles.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Not only Yazidis, ISIS militants rape Sunni women too: Human Rights Watch

      Fighters from the Islamic State group, whose abuses against Yazidi women have been well documented, are raping and torturing Sunni Arab women too, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

      The watchdog documented cases of arbitrary detentions, beatings, forced marriages and rape by the jihadists on women who have fled the town of Hawijah, which is still under IS control.

      HRW recounted the story of Hanan, a 26-year-old whose husband had already fled Hawijah, who was captured by IS fighters along with other women when they also attempted to escape the town.

    • Iraq: Sunni Women Tell of ISIS Detention, Torture

      Fighters from the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) are arbitrarily detaining, ill-treating, torturing, and forcibly marrying Sunni Arab women and girls in areas under their control in Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today.

    • Philippines militants behead German hostage Jurgen Kantner

      Shortly after the video appeared, the Philippine government envoy Jesus Dureza confirmed the German’s death.

      “We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim,” Dureza said in a statement. “Up to the last moment, many sectors including the armed forces of the Philippines exhausted all efforts to save his life. We all tried our best. But to no avail.”

      Military officials in the south said they had not yet found Kantner’s body.

      Militant group Abu Sayyaf had demanded a ransom of 30m pesos (£480,000) be paid by Sunday to spare the 70-year-old.

      The group had previously released videos that showed a haggard Kantner appealing for payment of the ransom.

    • Female Daesh Terrorist Lashes Syrian Woman for Refusing to Cover Her Eyes

      Enraged by the rudely-worded command, the woman from Al-Bukamal, a town on the Iraqi border, told the jihadist to “get back to Morocco,” adding that “people living around here are faithful Muslims.”

      Hearing this, the jihadist “policewoman” called a prison truck and arrested the woman and her son. The woman was sentenced to 300 lashes in public.

      Whipping her victim on her back and arms, the Moroccan terrorist kept saying that “this will serve a lesson for all women of the caliphate!”

    • Two madrassa students sodomise, kill fellow student in UP’s Muzaffarnagar

      Two madrassa students were arrested on Saturday in connection with the murder of a 14-year-old fellow student at Tewra village of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, police said.

      Kamruzama (20) and Adnan (21) were arrested for their alleged role in killing the fellow student by slitting his throat after subjecting him to sodomy, said circle officer Akhil Ahmad.

      The duo has confessed to their crime, he said.

    • Fifty years after the madness sparked by Mao’s Cultural Revolution, a book uncovers horror of mass murder spree

      In 1967, a two-month orgy of violence and hysteria swept a rural province in China and an astonishing 4,000 people were brutally slaughtered. Without the bravery of Tan Hecheng, the story of what happened to these ‘black elements’ would never have been told. David Barnett on the journalist who uncovered the Killing Wind

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • With Dakota Access camp cleared, where are protestors headed?

      The main camp for Dakota Access Pipeline protesters was cleared this week by authorities, who arrested about 50 holdouts on Thursday at the Oceti Sakowin site near Cannon Ball, N.D.

      The eviction, ordered by the Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday in advance of spring flooding, follows an earlier request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council that demonstrators leave camps on the reservation. And it represents a turning point for the movement, whose members pledge to block similar projects in several states, even as their opposition stiffens.

      “The closing of the camp is not the end of a movement or fight, it is a new beginning,” said Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started.”

    • Biologists say half of all species could be extinct by end of century

      One in five species on Earth now faces extinction, and that will rise to 50% by the end of the century unless urgent action is taken. That is the stark view of the world’s leading biologists, ecologists and economists who will gather on Monday to determine the social and economic changes needed to save the planet’s biosphere.

      “The living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring,” say the organisers of the Biological Extinction conference held at the Vatican this week.

      Threatened creatures such as the tiger or rhino may make occasional headlines, but little attention is paid to the eradication of most other life forms, they argue. But as the conference will hear, these animals and plants provide us with our food and medicine. They purify our water and air while also absorbing carbon emissions from our cars and factories, regenerating soil, and providing us with aesthetic inspiration.

    • EPA Removes Mentions of ‘Climate Change’ in Water Program

      The Environmental Protection Agency’s website has gotten a makeover since the Trump administration took office, with some references to climate change now wiped from its pages.

      The agency removed the word “climate” from a division’s name and webpage before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, suggesting that EPA employees may have started constraining information as the transition team settled in and in anticipation of the incoming chill from the new administration.

      The division once known as Climate Ready Water Utilities was rebranded as the Creating Resilient Water Utilities in late December, according to archived webpages. By then, Myron Ebell had been in place as head of the agency’s transition team for more than a month. Ebell, a senior fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute who has long promoted climate denial in his work, was considered a threat to the agency’s mission by many of the career employees.

    • White House targets EPA climate-change programs

      We hear the White House tomorrow will send Cabinet officials their first draft budget numbers.

      One budget we’ll be watching especially closely is the EPA ,which is the leading edge of the first wave of Trump’s planned “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Expect massive, transformational cuts, particularly to climate-change programs, top officials tell us.

    • Slovenian ministries pilot eCar sharing

      The Ministry for Infrastructure and the Ministry of Public Administration in Slovenia have begun a one-year pilot to test car sharing. Earlier this month, the ministries signed a contract that lets 50 staff members share electric vehicles. After one year, the cost of car sharing and their use will be compared to the costs and use of cars owned by the ministries.

    • Sand mining: the global environmental crisis you’ve probably never heard of

      Times are good for Fey Wei Dong. A genial, middle-aged businessman based near Shanghai, China, Fey says he is raking in the equivalent of £180,000 a year from trading in the humblest of commodities: sand.

      Fey often works in a fishing village on Poyang Lake, China’s biggest freshwater lake and a haven for millions of migratory birds and several endangered species. The village is little more than a tiny collection of ramshackle houses and battered wooden docks. It is dwarfed by a flotilla anchored just offshore, of colossal dredges and barges, hulking metal flatboats with cranes jutting from their decks. Fey comes here regularly to buy boatloads of raw sand dredged from Poyang’s bottom. He ships it 300 miles down the Yangtze River and resells it to builders in booming Shanghai who need it to make concrete.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Fake News’ Now Means Whatever People Want It To Mean, And Legislating It Away Is A Slippery Slope Toward Censorship

      The discussion about “fake news” certainly began with good intentions, with participants earnestly focused on how disinformation, shitty journalism and bullshit clickbait were filling the noggins of a growing segment of the public for whom critical thinking was already a Sisyphean endeavor. The solution for this problem was never as clean and easy as most of the conversations suggested, especially given that Americans — thanks in large part to our struggles with education quality and funding — have never been particularly adept at spotting disinformation, much less understanding how you expose, undermine and combat it at scale.

      None of these problems are new. Bad journalism and propaganda have plagued publishing and governments for thousands of years. Donald Trump’s violently-adversarial relationship with facts and Vladimir Putin’s warehouses full of paid internet trolls have simply taken the conversation to an entirely new level in the internet age. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that many of the folks who believe they can somehow legislate this problem away may be doing more harm than good.

      In fact, much of the moral panic surrounding the initial fake news conversation has quickly degenerated into something that vacillates quickly between comedy and terror. As we’ve consistently pointed out, a growing number of countries have moved to make fake news illegal — even before they’ve taken time to understand what it actually is. Germany’s decision to make publishing fake news illegal teeters dangerously close to censorship. Letting politicians define “fake news” (with an obvious incentive toward defining it in their favor) should be a fairly obvious slippery slope.

    • Inside Another Internet Troll Factory: This Time In Sweden, But With Russian Connections

      Well before fake news became a thing, Karl was reporting on the fascinating details that have emerged about Russia’s Internet troll factories that relentlessly pump out fake posts on an extraordinary scale. More recently, the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu revealed that the country’s military has created a force specifically tasked with waging information warfare. We may know about Russia’s domestic activities in this area, but what about online propaganda teams active in other countries?

    • Can the White House Pick Its Press?

      Even before the White House press corps was born—in 1896, when newspapers assigned reporters to a table outside the office of Grover Cleveland’s secretary—attentive reporters irritated occupants of the White House. To hide the fact that he had a tumor, Cleveland, in 1893, disappeared from Washington for four days to have surgery aboard a friend’s yacht. In 1913, Woodrow Wilson, who hated the press’s fascination with his three daughters, accused “certain evening newspapers” of quoting him on things he meant to stay off the record. He eventually all but abandoned news conferences. It was six years before Warren G. Harding, who had been a newspaper publisher, revived the tradition.

    • Apparent US interference in the Brexit referendum raises some very serious questions

      There is now mounting evidence of US interference in Britain’s EU referendum vote. From what we already know, this could constitute a flagrant breach of UK electoral rules.

      Cambridge Analytica (CA) is a US company, endorsed by Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD). President Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon is a board member of the company. And Trump’s main backer, Robert Mercer, is a key financier. During the EU referendum campaign in Britain, CA targeted over a million social media users. According to a prominent Leave.eu figure, it was CA technology that ensured a Brexit win.

    • Bernie Sanders calls for ‘total transformation’ of Democratic Party

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) urged Democrats on Sunday to undertake an overhaul of the party’s message as they move forward in the uncertain era under President Trump and seek to regain lost seats in midterm and local elections.

      “We need a total transformation,” the Vermont senator and former Democratic presidential candidate said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

      “We need to open up the party to working people, to young people and make it crystal clear that the Democratic Party is going to take on Wall Street, it’s going to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, it’s going to take on corporate America that is shutting down plants in this country and moving our jobs abroad,” he added.

      Senator Sanders’s remarks came just a day after Democrats voted to select former Labor Secretary Tom Perez to head the Democratic National Committee over Rep. Keith Ellison (D) of Minnesota. The contentious race pitted Mr. Perez, who served in former President Barack Obama’s administration, against Sanders-backed Representative Ellison, who embodied the party’s more progressive wave, continuing the party’s ideological battle that came to the fore during the 2016 primary race.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • New DOJ Boss Says He Hasn’t Read DOJ Investigations Into Abusive Policing, Calls Them ‘Anecdotal’

      New Attorney General Jeff Sessions has just sent another message about the future of US law enforcement: there will be no policing of the police during the Trump Years. In his first on-the-record briefing, Sessions flat-out stated the DOJ’s many civil rights investigations of local police departments mean nothing.

    • ‘Smart’ Stuffed Animal Company Leaves Voice, Other Data Of Millions Publicly Exposed

      So we’ve noted time and time again how so-called “smart” toys aren’t immune to the security and privacy problems plaguing the internet of broken things. Whether we’re talking about the Vtech hack (which exposed kids’ selfies, chat logs, and voice recordings) or the lawsuits against Genesis Toys (whose products suffer from vulnerabilities to man-in-the-middle attacks), the story remains the same: these companies were so excited to connect everything and anything to the internet, but few could be bothered to spend more than a fleeting moment thinking about product security and consumer privacy.

    • Sean Spicer Launches Witch Hunt Over The ‘Secure’ App He Just Said Was No Big Deal

      Of course, if the messages are deleted soon after sending, as the app advertises, then showing the app to a reporter doesn’t really prove much of anything. Either way, hold that thought.

      Security experts have ripped apart Confide, saying that it’s claims of being secure are “a triumph of marketing over substance,” however others in the White House are making use of an app that is generally considered more secure: Signal.

      And, apparently, that has some in Congress worried that the apps are being used not to undermine things like federal record keeping laws, but rather that it may be used by people inside the government to go undermine the administration or to leak information to the press.

    • Western China Region Aims to Track People by Requiring Car Navigation

      Officials in China’s largest prefecture, in the far-western region of Xinjiang, are requiring all drivers there to install a Chinese-made satellite navigation system in their vehicles, according to an official news report this week.

      Police officials say drivers must install the navigation system by June 30. “The installation rate will reach 100 percent,” said a report on Monday on the website of The Korla Evening Post, a newspaper in the prefecture’s capital, Korla. The report was also posted on the government-managed website of Beidou, the Chinese satellite navigation system. Beidou is China’s version of the Global Positioning System, or GPS.

      The new requirement is intended to help the authorities track people in a region where violence sometimes erupts because of ethnic tensions. Parts of Xinjiang are home to ethnic Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people who mostly practice Sunni Islam and often resent policies made by the ethnic Han, the dominant group in China.

      The most notable burst of violence occurred in 2009, when ethnic rioting convulsed Urumqi, the regional capital, resulting in about 200 deaths, most of them ethnic Han, according to official reports. Officials responded with a harsh security crackdown. Other episodes have resembled domestic terrorism, and some officials say the attackers have connections to groups engaged in global jihadist activities, but they have not offered any evidence to buttress that claim.

    • Is GCHQ in the front line of a new Cold War but this time, in cyberspace? [Ed: This GCHQ-connected propaganda site uses that old 'yearning' for nuclear conflict to 'sell' the GCHQ's agenda of domination over our Internet]

      Are we fighting a new Cold War, but this time in cyber space?

    • FCC Boss Moves To Kill Broadband Privacy Protections. You Know, To Help The Little Guy.

      New FCC boss Ajit Pai, apparently taking a break from paying empty lip service to the poor, has quietly announced the FCC will be killing consumer broadband privacy protections before they even have a chance to take root. Hoping the news would get lost in the pre-weekend hustle, the FCC quietly circulated an e-mail on Friday stating that the agency would be moving to kill the rules before they arrive March 2, just as large ISPs had demanded.

    • Welfare Agency Responds To Criticism By Feeding Complainant’s Personal Info To Obliging Journalist

      Really can’t say enough good things about public servants, especially when their response to criticism is to expose personal details in a published interview.

      Andie Fox wrote an article for the Canberra Times about her struggle to get an ex’s debt removed from her record. Following several calls from Centrelink — Australia’s Department of Human Services — attempting to recover this misplaced debt, Fox spent hours — including most of day she took off from work — trying to speak to human being directly about her situation. As is par for the bureaucratic course, this was almost impossible.

    • Journalists Surveilled By German Intelligence Agency

      The German Federal Intelligence Agency (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) spied on foreign journalists, according to a report of German magazine “Der Spiegel”. A document obtained by the magazine showed that the BND had taps on at least 50 phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses of journalists from the BBC, Reuters and the New York Times.

    • EFF: Half of web traffic is now encrypted

      Half of the web’s traffic is now encrypted, according to a new report from the EFF released this week. The rights organization noted the milestone was attributable to a number of efforts, including recent moves from major tech companies to implement HTTPS on their own properties. Over the years, these efforts have included pushes from Facebook and Twitter, back in 2013 and 2012 respectively, as well as those from other sizable sites like Google, Wikipedia, Bing, Reddit and more.

    • NSA, Cyber Command structure should remain the same

      As if not troubled enough by President Trump’s attacks, a new debate is heightening tensions in the intelligence community. The Pentagon has started to assess whether it is time to divide the leadership of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. Such a move is dubious: Is change necessary? Can the IC tolerate another shock?

    • Judge: FBI’s NIT Warrant Invalid And IP Addresses Do Have An Expectation Of Privacy, But No Suppression Granted

      This contrasts with other decisions dealing with the same subject matter, where judges have found there’s no expectation of privacy in IP addresses, even when one has taken extra steps to obscure it. Those findings seem logically contradictory, at best. If someone’s attempts to keep third parties from obtaining information, this information can’t truly be considered held by a third party. Stripping away these efforts turns the FBI into the “third party,” and the government isn’t allowed to both act as a third party and excuse its actions with the Third Party Doctrine.

      But in the end, there’s no suppression. As the court points out, two things weigh against suppressing the evidence, even with the warrant being facially invalid under Rule 41. First, the FBI malware only infected registered users visiting the dark web child porn site, which makes the possibility of accidental infection almost nonexistent. Second, the fact that the FBI had no idea where the site’s visitors were actually located makes this an inelegant solution to a problem, not a case of judge-shopping for compliant magistrates.

    • Federal Court Tells ATF It Can’t Just Help Itself To Cell Phone Data Seized By Another Law Enforcement Agency

      The good news is the Supreme Court’s Riley decision forces law enforcement to obtain warrants before searching cell phones. The bad news, apparently, is everything else. To begin with, particularity remains a problem. As the Supreme Court pointed out in its decision, people’s entire lives are contained in their cell phones. When searching for what’s relevant to the suspected criminal activity, the government is pretty much free to dig through these “lives” to uncover what it needs to move forward with prosecution.

      The lack of strict parameters (perhaps an impossibility given the nature of digital communications/data) leads to fishing expeditions operating under the cover of Fourth Amendment adherence. There’s no way to prevent trolling for evidence of unrelated criminal activity. The only recourse is to challenge it after it happens. Sometimes the courts find the government has gone too far. Other times, courts say the evidence would have been “inevitably discovered” in the course of the search and prevent it from being suppressed.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amos Yee’s mother confirms Amos Yee in solitary confinement in US for 2 weeks

      Yee, the 18-year-old teenager who ran away from Singapore to seek political asylum in the US, looks set to spend a few more months languishing in jail over there as a result of President Donald Trump’s recent executive order barring refugees from entering the country.

      Yee’s Facebook page carried a post on Feb. 21 complaining about his prolonged stay in jail and asking his supporters to call attention to his plight to expedite his release.

      However, there was no mention made about him spending time in solitary confinement in that post.

    • BBC faces backlash after hiring Muslim woman to run religious programming

      The BBC has hired commissioner Fatima Salaria – its second Muslim executive to take control of its faith-based output and serve as the new commissioning editor for religion and ethics.

      This places her in charge of all of the BBC’s religious content on television, including Songs Of Praise.

      The move comes after the Beeb faced criticism previously from those who believed that the job should go to a Christian given it is the UK’s main faith.

    • Border Patrol Agents Stop Domestic Travelers at New York Airport

      Passengers of a domestic Delta flight from San Francisco to New York were told to show their identity documents to uniformed agents of the Customs and Border Protection agency upon their arrival at John F. Kennedy airport on Wednesday evening.

      CBP officers are border agents, whose statutory authority is generally limited to international arrivals.

      CBP agents inspected passenger identifications on the jetbridge by the door of the aircraft. A CBP spokesman insisted to Rolling Stone that this action is “nothing new” and that there is “no new policy.” But the unusual – and legally questionable – search of domestic travelers comes days after the Department of Homeland Security outlined its plans to implement President Trump’s sweeping executive order targeting millions of “removable aliens” for deportation.

    • Islam is not a feminist religion

      I am accustomed to being hectored by Islamists, frightbats, anti-vaccination fruitcakes and an assortment of social justice warriors — aka government-funded Twitter trolls.

      But last week, I had the surreal experience of being scolded by an ABC host for not being sufficiently supportive of an Islamic activist advocating for sharia law.

      ABC radio drive host Rafael Epstein had the gall to admonish me, a migrant who escaped a country under Islamic law, for not supporting an advocate of Islamic law.

      It’s akin to a freed slave being criticised for a fear of slavery and reluctance to support slavery advocates.

      Can you imagine the indignation from feminists if a privileged, white, private school-educated, heterosexual, conservative male was castigating an immigrant woman of colour about how their experience and opinions “distort the debate”?

      Epstein is all of the above except he is a typical ABC Leftist and so his behaviour is excused and even applauded by those who most enthusiastically embrace identity politics.

    • Women and jihad: converts and casualties of violent extremism

      While it’s hard to make any solid, direct links between the three incidents, together they highlight a growing trend of young women becoming involved in real, perceived or forced acts of terrorism in various global locations. Research suggests groups such as IS, Boko Haram and the Islamic militant organization in Somalia, al-Shabab, are actively targeting women to join their ranks.

    • [Older] Walk of shame: Sweden’s “first feminist government” don hijabs in Iran

      UN Watch expressed concern that Sweden’s self-declared “first feminist government in the world” sacrificed its principles and betrayed the rights of Iranian women as Trade Minister Ann Linde and other female members walked past Iranian President Rouhani on Saturday all covered up in compliance with Iran’s compulsory Hijab law, despite Stockholm’s promise to promote “a gender equality perspective” internationally, and to adopt a “feminist foreign policy” in which “equality between women and men is a fundamental aim.”
      In doing so, the Swedish female politicians ignored the recent appeal by Iranian women’s right activist Masih Alinejad who urged Europeans female politicians “to stand for [their] own dignity” and refuse to wear the hijab when visiting Iran.

      Alinrejad created a Facebook page for Iranian women to resist the law and show their hair as an act of resistance, which now numbers 1 million members.
      “European female politicians are hypocrites,” says Alinejad. “Because they stand up with French Muslim women and condemn the burkini ban—because they think compulsion is bad—but when it happens to Iran, they just care about money.”

    • Police & military clear DAPL protest camp, dozens arrested, protesters start fires (PHOTOS)

      Dozens of DAPL protesters were arrested after police raided and cleared the Oceti Sakowin camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Some activists refused to leave peacefully and set fire to their makeshift housing.

      The Oceti Sakowin camp was completely emptied shortly after 2:00pm local time (8:00pm GMT), the Morton County Sheriff’s Department said, as cited by Reuters.

    • Stop Fabricating Travel Security Advice

      Recently travel to the US has become even more stressful as CBP have been more aggressively exercising their authority to examine digital devices. Their theory goes something like “we can open a cargo container to check whats inside therefore we can open a digital device to check whats inside.” Along with the apparent increase in searching traveller’s laptops and phones, there has been a rise in amateur smuggling suggestions (seemingly by US citizens who aren’t exposed to any risk at the border.) This advice is terrible, dangerous and possibly endangers anyone reckless enough to follow it.

    • Data Brokers, Data Analytics, “Muslim registries” & Human Rights

      Both as a candidate and now as President, Donald Trump has made clear his intent to pursue aggressive policies targeting Muslims, refugees and immigrants under the banner of national security. In his first week in office Trump enacted the patently unlawful travel ban seeking to bar all refugees, and individuals from 7 Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. A second executive order the same week, as well as later accompanying policy memoranda, extended powers to law enforcement and immigration agencies to increase detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants.

      We do not know what the future holds, but the President’s statements certainly give cause for serious concern. Trump has notoriously refused to rule out the possibility of a “Muslim registry”, and has stated his intention to quickly deport between 2 and 3 million undocumented immigrants.

    • Ethiopian journalist’s wife urges UK and US to call for his release

      The wife of a blogger and journalist detained in Ethiopia has called on the international community to pressure local authorities to release her husband, who is among tens of thousands held since a state of emergency was declared in the emerging east African power last year.

      Anania Sorri, a 34-year-old writer and intellectual, was arrested in November on his way to a meeting at the US embassy in Addis Ababa. He is being held in a high security prison in the Ethiopian capital and has not yet been formally charged with any offence.

    • Social services called in after 85 cases of FGM newly discovered in Tower Hamlets

      That’s according to the latest figures from the NHS, which also stated that of the women were aged between 18 and 39 at the time their FGM was recorded in 2015/16.

      FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK for 30 years, and in 2003 it also became a criminal offence to take a child abroad to have female genital mutilation. Despite this, there is yet to be a successful prosecution.

      The NSPCC set up a specialist FGM helpline in June 2013, and since then it has been contacted more than 1,500 times – on average, once a day.

      Of those, a third were considered serious enough to be referred to social services.

    • A Trend In Faked Hate

      It seems we see more and more fake “hate crimes” these days, and I’ve been wondering why.

      A way to get attention? A way to get revenge? A way to get some money from sympathetic crowd-funders? A way to throw a little weight on whomever you perceive as your opponent? Or just a way to feel you’re somebody and part of something?

      I do think social media has a lot to do with it — people seeing that other people get attention, sympathy, and money from being victims — or perhaps “victims.”

      Well, the latest apparent faked hate crime, according to a couple’s lawyer, is the claim by a waitress that she was stiffed out of a tip by a couple who wrote at the bottom of the check that they “don’t tip Black people.”

    • Arizona House Kills Bill That Would Punish Protesters By Seizing Their Assets

      The nice thing about truly stupid ideas is they generally have very short lifespans. Last week, the Arizona Senate did itself a huge disservice by passing a bill targeting a nonexistent problem (“paid protesters”) with fines, jail time, and seized assets if any act of destruction occurs during a protest. It wasn’t limited to just the person committing the act. Anyone else participating in the same protest could be rung up on the same charges, as well as any nonparticipants who may have been involved in the planning process.

      In support of this idiocy, idiotic statements were made, including the unforgettable assertion that a new terrible law was needed because existing rioting laws were constantly being undercut by a functioning bail system.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Think the Internet Is Polarized? Just Look at the FCC These Days

      Earlier this month, in a classic late Friday afternoon news dump, the Federal Communications Commission announced a rollback of two key decisions made during the Obama administration. In another era, few besides policy wonks and internet activists would have noticed such a thing. But these changes drew intense attention. These days, politics isn’t just what happens on the internet—it’s what happens to the internet.

      “Trump’s FCC Pick Quickly Targets Net Neutrality Rules,” the New York Times declared. “FCC blocks 9 companies from providing low-income internet access,” CNN reported. Mignon Clyburn, the only remaining Democratic commissioner at the FCC, published sharp rebukes to the moves, complaining that her colleagues had acted “without a shred of explanation.”

    • FCC chairman says his agency won’t review AT&T’s Time Warner purchase

      Last month, AT&T revealed how it might structure its deal to acquire Time Warner without having to go through FCC review. The communications giant noted that it “anticipated that Time Warner will not need to transfer any of its FCC licenses … after the closing of the transaction.” That means that the FCC wouldn’t need to review the transaction, and today FCC commissioner Ajit Pai confirmed that his agency would indeed not likely look at AT&T’s purchase.

  • DRM

    • Sony, Microsoft Lobby Against Right To Repair Bills (Yet Refuse To Talk About It)

      Last week, we noted how Apple was one of several companies lobbying against a right to repair bill in Nebraska. The bill would make it easier for consumers to repair their own products and find replacement parts and tools, which is generally considered to be a good thing — especially if the only Apple store is eighty miles away from your current location. But Apple tried to argue that Nebraska’s bill would not only make the public less safe (self-immolation everywhere!), but it would also result in Nebraska becoming some kind of “mecca” for nefarious hoodie-wearing ne’er-do-well hackers.

      Of course Apple, like most companies, just enjoys a repair-monopoly, which not only allows it to charge an arm and a leg for what very well may be superficial repairs, but helps prop up closed, proprietary ecosystems, hurting customers in a myriad of other ways as well.

      It’s not just in Nebraska where this conversation is happening (the Nebraska bill just happens to be the furthest along legislatively). Similar bills are also winding their way through New York, Minnesota, Wyoming, Tennessee, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Illinois state legislatures. And in most of these states, the companies lobbying against these laws are using the same disingenuous arguments Apple has been embracing. Usually it’s the trifecta of false claims that the bills will make users less safe, pose a cybersecurity risk, and open the door to cybersecurity theft.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • 25 million books are missing from UK libraries – but who’s counting?

        The decline in books stocked by public libraries may be far worse than official figures indicate, with industry sources claiming that it may be many millions higher than the 25 million books recorded as missing, meaning that the number of books available to borrowers has plummeted by more than 50% since 1996.

        Librarians are calling for a national audit to reveal the true extent of the problem, with the news coming as the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip) sent an open letter to chancellor Philip Hammond calling on him to increase funding for the sector, to protect it from irreparable decline as part of his strategy for economic growth.

      • ICANN Is Moving Toward Copyright Enforcement, Academic Says

        The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is on an “ambivalent drift” into online content regulation through its contractual facilitation of a “trusted notifier” copyright enforcement program between the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the registry operators for two new generic top-level domains, University of Idaho College of Law Professor Annemarie Bridy says in a draft article for the Washington & Lee Law Review.

      • Megaupload Case Takes Toll on Finn Batato, But He’ll Keep Fighting

        It’s easy to forget that Kim Dotcom is not the only one being hounded by the US Government. Finn Batato was Megaupload’s advertising manager, but today he’s facing extradition to the US and potentially decades in jail. After spending his savings fighting his case, he’s now trying to save his marriage while conducting his own defense.

      • Pirate Bay Prosecution In Trouble, Time Runs Out For Investigators

        At the end of 2014 Swedish police confiscated dozens of servers which many believed to belong to The Pirate Bay. The authorities later confirmed that an investigation involving copyright crimes was ongoing, but not much progress has been reported since. According to the prosecutor, the case isn’t getting any stronger, as the statute of limitations for several key crimes is expiring.

      • IP Scholars Warn About Stringent Copyright Rules In Asian RCEP Agreement

        As negotiations take place this week in Japan for a free trade agreement covering the Asia-Pacific region, a group of intellectual property scholars is calling for the public interest to be clearly considered in the copyright rules of the future agreement.

        As the 17th round of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is taking place in Kobe, Japan, a statement has been circulated and endorsed by 64 IP scholars from a number of countries.

        The RCEP would include the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam – as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.

      • Will US Follow UK Lead In Case On Copyright And Interoperability?

        In a case pitting copyright protection against competition, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit must decide whether World Programming Limited (WPL) violated SAS Institute’s copyright by copying software interfaces that enable interoperability. WPL has already won the argument in the UK and in Europe’s highest court. The case has drawn strong support on both sides from the tech sector and a civil liberties group.

02.27.17

Links 27/2/2017: GNU Linux-libre 4.10, Weston 2.0.0, Git 2.12.0, Linux From Scratch 8.0

Posted in News Roundup at 9:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • GitHub Invites Developers to Contribute to the Open Source Guides

    GitHub has recently launched its Open Source Guides, a collection of resources addressing the most common scenarios and best practices for both contributors and maintainers of open source projects. The guides themselves are open source and GitHub is actively inviting developers to participate and share their stories.

  • Top open source projects

    TechRadar recently posted an article about “The best open source software 2017″ where they list a few of their favorite open source software projects. It’s really hard for an open source software project to become popular if it has poor usability—so I thought I’d add a few quick comments of my own about each.

  • Dropbox releases open-source Slack bot

    Dropbox is looking to tackle unauthorized access and other security incidents in the workplace with a chatbot. Called Securitybot, it that can automatically grab alerts from security monitoring tools and verify incidents with other employers.

    The company says that through the use of the chatbot, which is open source, it will no longer be necessary to manually reach out to employees to verify access, every time someone enters a sensitive part of the system.

    The bot is built primarily for Slack, but it is designed to be transferable to other platforms as well.

  • Dropbox’s tool shows how chatbots could be future of cybersecurity

    Disillusion with chatbots has set in across the tech industry and yet Dropbox’s deep thinkers believe they have spotted the technology’s hidden talent: cybersecurity.

  • What motivates the open-source community?

    Many of us will have been involved in a free-software community that ran out of steam, and either ended up moribund or just plain died. Some of us will have gone through such cycles more than once; it’s never nice to watch something that used to be a vibrant community in its death throes. Knowing what motivates the sort of people who get heavily involved in free software projects is really useful when trying to keep them motivated, and a systematic approach to understanding this is what Rina Jensen, Strategist at Mozilla, talked about at FOSDEM 2017.

    Mozilla talks a lot about promoting innovation and opportunity on the web, and the organization does care a lot about those objectives, but the realities of day-to-day life can interfere and make working toward them tedious. The thinking was that if Mozilla could help make the experience for contributors better, then the contributors could make Mozilla better — but doing that required understanding how things could be better for contributors.

  • Shuttle Music Player is now Open Source

    Music is a major part of everyone’s life, and our smartphones allow us to truly enjoy our music anywhere. Over the years, Android has received a fair share of excellent music player apps, and Shuttle Music Player has managed to stand out.

    Shuttle is a music player following Google’s Material Design guidelines, and its listing is nearing 4 Million downloads. Currently, the app offers two versions: free and paid. The paid version is priced at $0.99 and has received over 50 thousand downloads on the Play Store already.

  • GNU/Linux Events

    • Takeaways from the Open Source Leadership Summit: Mainstream Open Source, Security, Policy, and Business Models

      The 2017 Open Source Leadership Summit, put on by the Linux Foundation, brought together leaders from the open source community in Lake Tahoe last week to discuss timely open source topics. The topics that came up most throughout the conference included: open source becoming mainstream, future open source business models, security in a time where everything is connected, and a call to action to be active in technology policy.

      Open source is becoming a larger focus for major companies, from Toyota to Disney to Walmart. While open source vendors continue to look to the Red Hat model as one of the most successful open source business models to date, entrepreneurs believe there are new models that can surpass this success. As the world becomes ever more connected to the internet, there are general concerns about security, and a call to take action in policymaking. Read on below to learn more about the conversations at the Open Source Leadership Summit.

    • Persistent Memory Usage within Linux Environment by Maciej Maciejewski & Krzysztof Czurylo, Intel
    • Persistent Memory Usage in Linux

      In most cases, when a machine crashes or fails, we lose whatever we had loaded into memory, which for some applications can result in quite a bit of time and effort to recover when the system comes back online. At LinuxCon Europe, Maciej Maciejewski, Senior Software Engineer at Intel, talked about how persistent memory can be used to retain its contents after a power failure.

    • Amidst Bias, Women Work to Find a Place in Open Source Communities

      Despite efforts to enhance diversity, women continue to be under-represented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and open-source software is no different.

      A talk at the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Leadership Summit (OSLS), held last week in Lake Tahoe, highlighted some of the issues facing women in the open source community, from low participation to gender bias and unequal pay to overall job satisfaction.

    • Engineer Finds Passion and Community With Kids On Computers

      If you love technology, you can find a space for yourself and connect with others around mutual interests, according to Avni Khatri, president of Kids on Computers (KoC), a nonprofit that sets up computer labs using donated hardware and open source software in areas where kids have no other access to technology.

      During LinuxCon North America 2016, Khatri organized Kids Day, a day-long workshop that’s aimed at helping school-aged children get interested in computer programming. For Khatri, it’s also a way of furthering her dream of giving children unlimited access to education and helping them succeed in technology.

    • Join Hackaday And Tindie At The Southern California Linux Expo

      Do you like Open Source? Join Hackaday and Tindie at the largest community-run Open Source conference in North America. We’ll be at the Southern California Linux Expo next week, and we want to see you there.

    • What I’m looking forward to at IBM Interconnect 2017

      IBM Interconnect 2017 is coming up next month in Las Vegas. Last year’s conference was a whirlwind of useful talks, inspiring hallway conversations, and great networking opportunities. I was exhausted by the week’s end, but it was totally worth it.

    • foss-north 2017

      After much preparation, the tickets for foss-north 2017 is available at foss-north.se – grab them while they are hot!

    • C++ in Russia, again

      Yesterday during our team meeting Eike told me that I’m a mobile C++ conference nowadays. While it sounds funny, it is true that I’ve been a bit more active than usual.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • The Great Debian Iceweasel/Icedove Saga Comes to an End

        The hatchet is finally completely buried. Iceweasel was laid to rest a year ago with the return of Firefox to Debian. Now, Icedove gets to go gently into that good night as well, as the Thunderbird email client returns to Debian.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • OpenStack isn’t dead. It’s boring. That’s a good thing.

      The first OpenStack Project Teams Gathering (PTG) event was held this week in Atlanta. The week was broken into two parts: cross-project work on Monday and Tuesday, and individual projects Wednesday through Friday. I was there for the first two days and heard a few discussions that started the same way.

    • A Guide to the OpenStack Ocata Release
    • OpenStack Ocata improves core components, containerization

      The OpenStack Foundation has released Ocata, the 15th iteration of the popular open source cloud platform. The latest release has focused on enhancing core compute and networking services and expanding support for application container technologies.

    • RDO Ocata Released

      The RDO community is pleased to announce the general availability of the RDO build for OpenStack Ocata for RPM-based distributions, CentOS Linux 7 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. RDO is suitable for building private, public, and hybrid clouds. Ocata is the 15th release from the OpenStack project, which is the work of more than 2500 contributors from around the world (source).

    • Walmart Boasts 213,000 Cores on OpenStack

      Two Walmart associates who spoke recently at the Linux Foundation’s Leadership Summit provided some updates on the retailer’s efforts to automate its business.

      According to Andrew Mitry, a distinguished engineer, Cloud, and Megan Rossetti, a senior engineer, Cloud, the company is expanding its cloud services to encompass more than its e-commerce business. And it’s streamlined its cloud services and DevOps teams into one group for the whole company.

    • Reflections on the first #OpenStack PTG (Pike PTG, Atlanta)
    • A look at OpenStack’s newest release, Ocata

      Are you interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

  • CMS

    • Diving into Drupal: Princeton’s Multi-site Migration Success with Open-source

      Princeton University’s web team had a complex and overwhelming digital ecosystem comprised of many different websites, created from pre-built templates and hosted exclusively on internal servers.

      Fast forward six years: Princeton continues to manage a their multisite and flagship endeavors on the open-source Drupal platform, and have seen some great results since their migration back in 2011. However, this success did not come overnight. Organizational buy-in, multi-site migration and authentication were a few of the many challenges Princeton ran into when making the decision to move to the cloud.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Think open source software is free? Think again… [Ed: Think open source FUD is dead? Think again… gymnastics in logic and cherry-picking by Founder and former CTO of Palamida, who is trying to sell a 'solution']
    • Open Source: Not Pragmatic After All? [Ed: FUD that is repeating Microsoft talking points and dirty tricks in Munich, pretending that proprietary software never ceases development]

      Another open-source project, the Mozilla-backed (and Dipert-beloved) Thunderbird email client also mentioned as atypically thriving in my late-2012 blog post, is now also struggling. As is Firefox itself, which recently wound down its Firefox OS-for-smartphones efforts and is also facing browser add-on developer defections due to its embrace of Chrome-model APIs and other changes. Even mighty Linux is struggling with developer-induced bugs. Wonder if all this uncertainty is behind longstanding open-source poster child Munich, Germany’s reconsideration of Microsoft products?

    • You Can’t Get Around Code Scanning if You Care About Open Source Licenses [Ed: Let's just pretend there are no issues associated with proprietary licensing, renewal, patching etc.]
    • Linux on Windows 10: Will penguin treats in Creators Update be enough to lure you? [Ed: When Microsoft Tim writes about “Linux” [sic] it’s to promote Microsoft malware]
  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Software Freedom Conservancy matching

      Non-profits that provide project support have proven themselves to be necessary for the success and advancement of individual projects and Free Software as a whole. The Free Software Foundation (founded in 1985) serves as a home to GNU projects and a canonical list of Free Software licenses. The Open Source Initiative came about in 1998, maintaining the Open Source Definition, based on the Debian Free Software Guidelines, with affiliate members including Debian, Mozilla, and the Wikimedia Foundation. Software in the Public Interest (SPI) was created in the late 90s largely to act as a fiscal sponsor for projects like Debian, enabling it to do things like accept donations and handle other financial transactions.

    • Clojars is Conservancy’s Newest Member Project

      Software Freedom Conservancy is pleased to announce the addition of Clojars as its newest member project. Clojars is a community-maintained repository for free and open source libraries written in the Clojure programming language. Clojars emphasizes ease of use, publishing library packages that are simple to use with build automation tools.

  • Programming/Development

    • Coder Dojo: Kids Teaching Themselves Programming

      Despite not much advertising, word has gotten around and we typically have 5-7 kids on Dojo nights, enough that all the makerspace’s Raspberry Pi workstations are filled and we sometimes have to scrounge for more machines for the kids who don’t bring their own laptops.

      A fun moment early on came when we had a mentor meeting, and Neil, our head organizer (who deserves most of the credit for making this program work so well), looked around and said “One thing that might be good at some point is to get more men involved.” Sure enough — he was the only man in the room! For whatever reason, most of the programmers who have gotten involved have been women. A refreshing change from the usual programming group. (Come to think of it, the PEEC web development team is three women. A girl could get a skewed idea of gender demographics, living here.) The kids who come to program are about 40% girls.

    • 3 cool machine learning projects using TensorFlow and the Raspberry Pi

      In early 2017, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced a Google developer survey, which requested feedback from the maker community on what tools they wanted on the Raspberry Pi. The blog post says that Google has developed tools for machine learning, IoT, wearables, robotics, and home automation, and that the survey mentions face- and emotion-recognition, speech-to-text translation, natural language processing, and sentiment analysis. “The survey will help them get a feel for the Raspberry Pi community, but it’ll also help us get the kinds of services we need,” the post explains. Meanwhile, data scientists aren’t waiting around to put Google’s TensorFlow, an open source software library for machine learning, to work on the Raspberry Pi.

      Let’s take a look at a few cool examples of machine learning with TensorFlow on the Raspberry Pi.

Leftovers

  • Microsoft hasn’t turned a phone into a PC just yet [Ed: copying GNU/Linux again]

    Using the Lapdock wired to the X3 charges the phone and provides the most reliable connection for Continuum. I found the wireless connection made things a little unreliable and choppy on some more graphically intense things like full-screen video playback. Connecting the phone is as simple as just plugging it in and watching a Windows 10 desktop burst to life on the Lapdock.

    While the Windows 10 desktop looks familiar, this is exactly when I realized just how limited Continuum really is. There’s a Start Menu that’s basically the home screen of a Windows phone, and access to Cortana, but there’s a lot missing. Things like putting apps side by side simply don’t exist in this Continuum world, nor do a lot of the typical places you’d right-click on apps or use keyboard shortcuts to get to the desktop. If you’re a Windows power user like me, or even if you’re just used to a standard window management system, it’s immediately frustrating.

  • Science

    • Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

      In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed by a random individual, the other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life. The students were then asked to distinguish between the genuine notes and the fake ones.

      Some students discovered that they had a genius for the task. Out of twenty-five pairs of notes, they correctly identified the real one twenty-four times. Others discovered that they were hopeless. They identified the real note in only ten instances.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Radiation levels in one Fukushima reactor high enough to kill a human in two minutes

      The radiation levels in Fukushima’s unit two reactor are so high they could kill a human in two minutes, according to data collected by a robot.

      Tokyo Electric Power, the company which operates the nuclear plant in Fukushima, carried out a robotic survey of the area around the core that melted six years ago, following the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the nuclear accident.

      But the scorpion robot Sasori got stuck inside the reactor after its crawling functions failed while climbing over highly radioactive debris and had to be abandoned inside the reactor.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • [Older] Microsoft Delays February Patch Tuesday Updates Until Next Month

      It was created by Microsoft as a way to have a standard delivery date/schedule for updates that were being provided for the companies software. This allowed a lot of stability for users and IT Pros so they could be prepared for the monthly distribution oof the updates.

      Well this month Microsoft has hit a snag with their monthly Patch Tuesday.

    • Watershed SHA1 collision just broke the WebKit repository, others may follow

      The bug resides in Apache SVN, an open source version control system that WebKit and other large software development organizations use to keep track of code submitted by individual members. Often abbreviated as SVN, Subversion uses SHA1 to track and merge duplicate files. Somehow, SVN systems can experience a severe glitch when they encounter the two PDF files published Thursday, proving that real-world collisions on SHA1 are now practical.

    • SHA1 collisions make Git vulnerable to attakcs by third-parties, not just repo maintainers

      After sitting through an endless flood of headless-chicken messages on multiple media about SHA-1 being fatally broken, I thought I’d do a quick writeup about what this actually means.

    • Cryptographers Demonstrate Collision in Popular SHA-1 Algorithm
    • Linus Torvalds on SHA-1 and Git: ‘The sky isn’t falling’

      Yes, SHA-1 has been cracked, but that doesn’t mean your code in Git repositories is in any real danger of being hacked.

    • Torvalds patches git to mitigate against SHA-1 attacks

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds says two sets of patches have been posted for the distributed version control system git to mitigate against SHA-1 attacks which are based on the method that Dutch and Google engineers detailed last week.

      The post by Torvalds detailing this came after reports emerged of the version control system used by the WebKit browser engine repository becoming corrupted after the two proof-of-concept PDF files that were released by the Dutch and Google researchers were uploaded to the repository.

    • Linus Torvalds on “SHA1 collisions found”
    • More from Torvalds on SHA1 collisions

      I thought I’d write an update on git and SHA1, since the SHA1 collision attack was so prominently in the news.

      Quick overview first, with more in-depth explanation below:

      (1) First off – the sky isn’t falling. There’s a big difference between using a cryptographic hash for things like security signing, and using one for generating a “content identifier” for a content-addressable system like git.

      (2) Secondly, the nature of this particular SHA1 attack means that it’s actually pretty easy to mitigate against, and there’s already been two sets of patches posted for that mitigation.

      (3) And finally, there’s actually a reasonably straightforward transition to some other hash that won’t break the world – or even old git repositories.

    • Cloudflare Reverse Proxies are Dumping Uninitialized Memory

      Thanks to Josh Triplett for sending us this Google Project Zero report about a dump of unitialized memory caused by Cloudflare’s reverse proxies. “A while later, we figured out how to reproduce the problem. It looked like that if an html page hosted behind cloudflare had a specific combination of unbalanced tags, the proxy would intersperse pages of uninitialized memory into the output (kinda like heartbleed, but cloudflare specific and worse for reasons I’ll explain later). My working theory was that this was related to their “ScrapeShield” feature which parses and obfuscates html – but because reverse proxies are shared between customers, it would affect *all* Cloudflare customers. We fetched a few live samples, and we observed encryption keys, cookies, passwords, chunks of POST data and even HTTPS requests for other major cloudflare-hosted sites from other users. Once we understood what we were seeing and the implications, we immediately stopped and contacted cloudflare security. ”

    • Secure your system with SELinux

      SELinux is well known as the most sophisticated Linux Mandatory Access Control (MAC) System. If you install any Fedora or Redhat operating System it is enabled by default and running in enforcing mode. So far so good.

    • [Older] The Secure Linux OS – Tails

      Some people worry a lot about security issues. Anyone can worry about their personal information, such as credit card numbers, on the Internet. They can also be concerned with someone monitoring their activity on the Internet, such as the websites they visit. To help ease these frustrations about the Internet anyone can use the Internet without having to “look over their shoulder”.

    • Major Cloudflare bug leaked sensitive data from customers’ websites

      Cloudflare revealed a serious bug in its software today that caused sensitive data like passwords, cookies, authentication tokens to spill in plaintext from its customers’ websites. The announcement is a major blow for the content delivery network, which offers enhanced security and performance for more than 5 million websites.

      This could have allowed anyone who noticed the error to collect a variety of very personal information that is typically encrypted or obscured.

    • Password management made easy as news of CloudFlare leak surfaces

      In the last 24 hours, news broke that a serious Cloudflare bug has been causing sensitive data leaks since September, exposing 5.5 million users across thousands of websites. In addition to login data cached by Google and other search engines, it is possible that some iOS applications have been affected as well. With the scale of this leak, the best course of action is to update every password for every site you have an account for. If there was ever a good time to modernize your password practices, this is it.

      As consumers and denizens of the Internet, we have a responsibility to be aware of the risks we face and make an attempt to mitigate that risk by taking best-effort precautions. Poor password and authentication hygiene leaves a user open to risks such as credit card fraud and identity theft, just like forgetting to brush your teeth regularly can lead to cavities and gum disease. This leaves us with the question of what good password and authentication hygiene looks like. If we stick with the (admittedly poorly chosen) dentistry analogy, then there are five easily identifiable aspects of good hygiene.

    • Security: You might want to change passwords on sites that use Cloudflare
    • Smoothwall Express

      The award-winning Smoothwall Express open-source firewall—designed specifically to be installed and administered by non-experts—continues its forward development march with a new 3.1 release.

    • [Older] Wire’s independent security review

      Ever since Wire launched end-to-end encryption and open sourced its apps one question has consistently popped up: “Is there an independent security review available?” Well, there is now!

    • Malware Lets a Drone Steal Data by Watching a Computer’s Blinking LED
    • FCC to halt rule that protects your private data from security breaches

      The Federal Communications Commission plans to halt implementation of a privacy rule that requires ISPs to protect the security of its customers’ personal information.

      The data security rule is part of a broader privacy rulemaking implemented under former Chairman Tom Wheeler but opposed by the FCC’s new Republican majority. The privacy order’s data security obligations are scheduled to take effect on March 2, but Chairman Ajit Pai wants to prevent that from happening.

      The data security rule requires ISPs and phone companies to take “reasonable” steps to protect customers’ information—such as Social Security numbers, financial and health information, and Web browsing data—from theft and data breaches.

      “Chairman Pai is seeking to act on a request to stay this rule before it takes effect on March 2,” an FCC spokesperson said in a statement to Ars.

    • Google releases details of another Windows bug
    • Researchers offer simple scheme to stop the next Stuxnet [Ed: Well, to stop Stuxnet they would have to stop Microsoft Windows being spread]

      One of the world’s oldest programming styles, the ladder logic that runs on industrial programmable logic controllers, remains dangerously vulnerable to attack, according to boffins from Singapore and India.

      The researchers – Naman Govil of the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad; and Anand Agrawal and Nils Ole Tippenhauer of the Singapore University of Technology and Design – explain that for all the attention paid to attacks like Stuxnet, there’s a dearth of work looking at what’s going on at the control logic level.

    • How to secure the IoT in your organisation: advice and best practice for securing the Internet of Things

      All of the major technology vendors are making a play in the Internet of Things space and there are few organisations that won’t benefit from collecting and analysing the vast array of new data that will be made available.

      But the recent Mirai botnet is just one example of the tremendous vulnerabilities that exist with unsecured access points. What are the main security considerations and best practices, then, for businesses seeking to leverage the potential of IoT?

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Thousands mourn ‘blind sheikh’ convicted in 1993 World Trade Center bombing

      Thousands of mourners gathered in a small Egyptian town on Wednesday for the funeral of the Muslim cleric known as “the blind sheikh” who was convicted of conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York.

      Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was also convicted of planning a broader “war of urban terrorism” in the United States, died on Saturday in a North Carolina prison aged 78.

      Movements across the Islamist spectrum from the Muslim Brotherhood to al Qaeda issued statements mourning him, and several leaders from Egypt’s Islamic Group, which views the sheikh as a spiritual leader and renounced violence in 1997, attended.

    • Militants kill 2 Christians in Egypt’s Sinai

      Egyptian security officials say suspected militants have killed two Christians in the restive north of the Sinai Peninsula, days after an Islamic State affiliate vowed to step up a wave of attacks on the embattled minority.

      The officials said Saad Hana, 65, was shot dead and his son Medhat, 45, was abducted and burned alive before their bodies were dumped on a roadside in el-Arish on Wednesday.

    • Olathe shooting: India shocked after national killed in US

      India has expressed shock after the fatal shooting of an Indian national in the US, amid reports that the attack may have been racially motivated.

      Srinivas Kuchibhotla died shortly after Wednesday’s attack at a bar in Olathe, Kansas. His friend Alok Madasani, also from India, and an American were hurt.

      Adam Purinton has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder.

      The killing dominated news bulletins in India and social media, where some blamed Donald Trump’s presidency.

    • Portrait Of A Trump-Supporter

      This isn’t really about some loser losing it. It’s about Trump not understanding leadership. If he understood leadership, he would lead his country towards the light not towards Hell. If he’s doing it deliberately, and understands leadership, he is a traitor to USA of the first magnitude.

    • Trump promises border wall ‘soon, way ahead of schedule’

      US President Donald Trump has vowed to start building a wall on the Mexican border “soon, way ahead of schedule”, in a speech at a conservative event.

      Addressing the Conservative Political Action Congress (CPAC), he vowed to always put American citizens first and build a “great, great border wall”.

      He also promised to focus on “getting bad people out of this country”.

    • Trump Lie Of The Week

      Trump is not so stupid that he doesn’t know smugglers are entrepreneurial, so this is just another lie in a long line of them, about a project of no value except getting elected by haters and lazy voters who are now aroused and angry and going after their congresspeople.

    • Egypt’s Christians flee Sinai amid Islamic State killing spree

      Christian families and students fled Egypt’s North Sinai province in droves on Friday after Islamic State killed the seventh member of their community in just three weeks.

      A Reuters reporter saw 25 families gathered with their belongings in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia’s Evangelical Church and church officials said 100 families, out of around 160 in North Sinai, were fleeing. More than 200 students studying in Arish, the province’s capital, have also left.

      Seven Christians have been killed in Arish between Jan. 30 and Thursday. Islamic State, which is waging an insurgency there, claimed responsibility for the killings, five of which were shootings. One man was beheaded and another set on fire.

    • BBC Glories in Death

      The BBC appear enraptured by the apparent death of Ronald Fiddler in Mosul fighting for Islamic State forces. Fiddler was a former inmate of Guantanamo Bay, so this “vindicates” the War on Terror. The BBC are leading every news bulletin and giving us full spectrum security services propaganda. We have MI6 mouthpiece Frank Gardner, the discredited neo-con chancers of the Quilliam Foundation and the far right professional supporter of military attacks on the Middle East, Afzal Ashraf, all giving us their views every half hour on the BBC.

      It has never been disputed that Ronald Fiddler was tortured in Guantanamo, which is partly why he was paid substantial compensation by the British government. It does not seem to have occurred to the BBC as worth any consideration that the fact Fiddler emerged from Guantanamo and apparently became a supporter of violent Islam, does not in any sense prove that he was a violent islamist before being tortured in Guantanamo. Yet that Guantanamo was the cause of his extreme alienation is on the surface highly probable.

    • Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia

      The Nuclear Question is becoming increasingly obfuscated by spin and lobbying as the West sleepwalks into Cold War II — a walk made all the more dangerous when the loose lips of the U.S. tweeter-in-chief announced that another nuclear arms race is a great idea (see link and link). Two Cold War II issues are central and almost never addressed: What will be the Russians’ understanding of all the propaganda surrounding the Nuclear Question and the looming American defense spendup? And how might they act on this understanding?

    • Syrian War Propaganda at the Oscars

      The Western-backed war in Syria, like the invasion of Iraq, was so smothered by propaganda that truth was not only the first casualty but has been steadily suffocated for five years, now reaching the Oscars, says Rick Sterling.

    • Using phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is not helpful for US: Trump’s NSA
    • Trump’s new national security adviser: Saying ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ is counterproductive
    • Newly Installed NSA McMaster Reassures National Security Staff: No Witch Hunts Coming
    • New US NSA breaks with Trump admin’s views on Islam
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • [Older] FBI Throws Up Digital Roadblock to Transparency

      It’s well documented that the FBI is keen on adopting new technologies that intrude on our civil liberties. The FBI’s enthusiasm for technology, however, doesn’t extend to tools that make it easier for the public to understand what the agency is up to—despite such transparency being mandated by law.

    • Julian Assange Lawyer Fears Wikileaks Founder Could Be Evicted From Embassy Shelter

      A lawyer acting for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told NBC News there is “great concern” among his team that a new Ecuadorian president could force him out of the country’s London embassy and warned his health was deteriorating.

      Ecuador’s presidential race will be decided in a run-off election, to be held April 2, between ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno and opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso.

      Moreno has indicated he would back Assange’s continued stay, while Lasso has indicated he would evict the Australian activist within 30 days of taking office.

      “We are preparing potential legal remedies should the opposition come to power in Ecuador,” Jennifer Robinson, a member of the legal team representing Assange and Wikileaks, told Keir Simmons on MSNBC Saturday.

    • Julian Assange Lawyer Fears Wikileaks Founder Could Be Evicted From Embassy Shelter

      A lawyer acting for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told NBC News there is “great concern” among his team that a new Ecuadorian president could force him out of the country’s London embassy and warned his health was deteriorating.

      Ecuador’s presidential race will be decided in a run-off election, to be held April 2, between ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno and opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso.

      Moreno has indicated he would back Assange’s continued stay, while Lasso has indicated he would evict the Australian activist within 30 days of taking office.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Human-Generated Electromagnetic Radiation as Possible Explanation for Climate Change

      A new theory has emerged as a possible explanation for climate change. Human generated electromagnetic radiation may contribute to global warming by diverting a natural energy force termed KELEA (kinetic energy limiting electrostatic attraction) from its presumed association with cosmic rays. This theory states that cosmic ray delivered KELEA normally participates in the formation of clouds, by transforming electrostatically inert particles into electrostatic aerosols capable of acting as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). These clouds then act as a reflective barrier to some of the infrared radiation from the sun, thereby, reducing the earth’s heat.

    • ‘Any of the Journalists Present Could Have Been Arrested’

      Filmmaker Jahnny Lee working with the Sundance Institute was arrested yesterday by North Dakota police while filming a stand-off between police and water protectors. He was charged with “obstruction of a government function.” I can only surmise that the charge of “criminal trespass,” leveled at Jihan Hafiz and many other journalists while covering events of the Standing Rock resistance against the DAPL pipeline, could not be used against Jahnny because he was on State Highway 1806. (How can one trespass on a highway?)

    • From Ridge to Reef

      A Unique Approach to Habitat Conservation in Culebra, Puerto Rico

    • Sweden Has Run Out of Garbage with Revolutionary Recycling System

      “Swedish people are quite keen on being out in nature and they are aware of what we need do on nature and environmental issues,” Gripwall says. Despite these successes, Swedish authorities are not satisfied. Gripwall says the eventual aim in Sweden is to stop people from sending waste to recycling in the first place; instead, they are actively promoting repairing, sharing and reusing, and assessing other futuristic waste collection techniques. In this respect, Sweden is a practical role model for the rest of the world.

  • Finance

    • Americans believe robots will take everyone else’s job, but theirs will be safe

      You may accept, by now, that robots will take over lots of jobs currently held by human workers. But you probably believe they won’t be taking yours. Though other industries are in danger, your position is safe.

      That’s according to a report released Thursday by LivePerson, a cloud-based messaging company that provides customer service messaging software to companies and which surveyed 2,000 U.S.-based consumers online in January. Their researchers find that only three percent of respondents say they experience fear about losing their job to a robot once a week. By contrast, more than 40 percent of respondents never worry about it.

    • Secretive DUP Brexit donor links to the Saudi intelligence service

      The shadowy donor group that gave the Democratic Unionist Party £425,000 during the Brexit referendum campaign has links to the former Director General of the Saudi intelligence service – also the father of the current Saudi Ambassador to the UK – openDemocracy can reveal.

      The donation to Arlene Foster’s party – which was used to fund key Leave campaign advertisements across the UK in the run up to the European referendum – was initially kept hidden because of Northern Ireland’s donor secrecy laws. However, under pressure from activists after openDemocracy revealed how Brexit campaigners were funnelling dark money through Northern Ireland to fund “Take Back Control” adverts, the Democratic Unionist Party was forced last night to reveal its major donor to be a group calling itself the Constitutional Research Council.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • NPR Spins Trump’s ‘Restrained’ Foreign Policy–Ignoring Threats, Bans and Escalation

      The NPR story mentions the US-backed Yemen catastrophe, but only in the context of the botched January 29 raid, which it euphemistically says had “mixed and disputed results,” without mentioning that those results included the death of an eight-year-old girl—a US citizen—and dozens of other civilians (though the linked article does, ten paragraphs down).

      NPR glosses over the January raid by insisting it was “planned during Barack Obama’s final days” (again, that which is bipartisan must therefore be normal and moderate and good) but even this is misleading. Lots of things are “planned” by the military; whether a president greenlights them depends upon their disposition and, yes, restraint. Members of Obama’s inner circle have denied “planning” such a raid at all.

    • Trump Didn’t ‘Revoke’ Protections for Trans Students–Because He Can’t

      The problem with this framing is that Trump does not have the power to unilaterally change what rights transgender students have. These rights derive from Title IX, a federal law passed in 1972, that bars discrimination based on gender in publicly funded schools. It was a series of federal court rulings, not the Obama administration’s say-so, that found that protection against gender discrimination extends to trans people.

    • President Trump blames Mexicans, Chinese and other foreigners for the plight of downwardly mobile Americans

      President Trump blames Mexicans, Chinese and other foreigners for the plight of downwardly mobile Americans but the real culprits are his corporatist pals who grab the lion’s share of the wealth from U.S. global dominance, says JP Sottile.

    • The mystery of ‘populism’ finally unveiled

      Hungarian Prime Minister Orban looking at the Bavarian and the Hungarian flag in front of the parliament building in Budapest, Hungary, March 2016. Peter Kneffel DPA/Press Association. All rights reserved.There is nothing new in consecrated terms being used in an entirely novel sense without announcing the change, and thereby misleading readers. It happens every day. It is no surprise if, being unable to explain a new phenomenon, people give it a resounding name instead of a theory or at least a description. This is what is happening with ‘populism’ or ‘right populism’ – or even ‘left populism’ – words used to depict states of affairs old as the hills at the same time as surprisingly new ones. ‘Populism’ has become a synonym of ‘I don’t understand it, but I was asked to talk about it’.

    • ‘Incredibly Disappointing’: Democrats Choose Tom Perez to Head Party

      Democrats on Saturday chose Tom Perez to lead the party, sparking criticism from progressive organizations who say picking the former labor secretary over the other front-runner, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), was a missed opportunity for the party.

      Perez’s win was secured in a second round of voting by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) gathered in Atlanta, getting 235 votes to Ellison’s 200.

      It marks the end of a race many observers saw as a choice between the establishment and the progressive wing of the party. Ellison had the backing of lawmakers like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and groups including National Nurses United and the Communications Workers of America; Perez was backed by “many from former President Obama’s political orbit,” as ABC News writes, and “is viewed—with good reason—as a reliable functionary and trustworthy loyalist by those who have controlled the party and run it into the ground,” journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote this week.

    • Fox News Interview With Fake Expert on Sweden Further Baffles Swedes

      A man interviewed by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News this week, who was identified in an on-screen caption as a “Swedish Defense and National Security Advisor,” turns out to be entirely unknown in his native country, with no connections to either the nation’s defense or security services.

      As the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported on Friday, Nils Bildt, who echoed President Donald Trump’s debunked claim that immigrants from Muslim majority nations had driven a rise in violent crime in Sweden, has no known expertise in national security, and has not lived in his homeland since 1994. Officials at the Swedish Defense Ministry and Foreign Office told the newspaper they have never heard of this “unknown Bildt.”

    • While War on Media Escalates, CBS Chief Praises Trump’s Deregulatory Agenda

      While the Washington press corps is expressing ever-greater alarm over President Donald Trump’s mounting attacks on journalists — culminating in Friday’s banning of some leading outlets from a White House press briefing — the media executives who sign their paychecks are praising the new administration for a deregulatory agenda that would likely boost company profits.

      Les Moonves, the chief executive and chairman of CBS Corporation, told investors recently that he is “looking forward to not having as much regulation and having the ability to do more.”

      Moonves specifically celebrated the appointment of Trump’s new FCC chairman, former Verizon attorney Ajit Pai, calling him “very beneficial to our business.”

      The media industry arguably helped Trump enormously in the early presidential campaign with extensive coverage that drowned out his competitors and left little room for discussion of the substantive policy issues facing voters. Now it has a lot to gain if the FCC begins a new wave of ownership deregulation and relaxes certain limits that currently prevent media conglomerates from controlling a large swath of local television stations, and prevent firms from owning television stations and newspapers in the same media market.

    • BBC Announces New Anti-Scottish Channel

      The BBC is to launch a major new unionist propaganda channel in time for the next Independence referendum. There will be 80 new unionists employed as journalists. Close relatives of senior Labour party figures are particularly welcome to apply, and in a new broadening of BBC Scotland employment policy, a larger percentage of Ruth Davidson fans will also be recruited. The news of the new job opportunities is especially welcome to the large number of Labour Party hacks who will be unemployed following the Scottish council elections in May.

    • Tom Perez Narrowly Defeats Keith Ellison for DNC Chair

      Tom Perez, the former Obama administration secretary of labor, was elected Saturday to chair a Democratic National Committee that must rapidly renew the party after a devastating 2016 election cycle that saw Republicans take control of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government and most statehouses.

      “A united Democratic Party is not only our best hope,” declared Perez, “it is Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.” That is undoubtedly true.

      But Perez clearly recognizes that he will have to work hard to first unite the party and then transform it into a dramatically more grassroots-oriented and ideologically progressive political force within a broader resistance to Trump.

    • Trump: I won’t attend White House correspondents’ dinner

      President Trump announced Saturday he will not be attending this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, a break with past presidents.

      “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” Trump tweeted.

    • New York Times, CNN and other media barred from White House press event

      The New York Times reports that it and at least two other media outlets, CNN and Politico, were barred today from a White House press event. Also locked out were the LA Times and Buzzfeed, writes Politico’s Dan Diamond.

    • White House blocks CNN, BBC, New York Times, LA Times from media briefing

      The White House has blocked several major news outlets from covering its press briefing.

      White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Friday hand selected news outlets to participate in an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the James S Brady Press Briefing Room.

      The news outlets blocked from the press briefing include organisations who President Trump has criticised by name. CNN, BBC, The New York Times, LA Times, New York Daily News, BuzzFeed, The Hill, and the Daily Mail, were among the news outlets barred from the gathering.

    • Trump’s Rhetoric Degrades Freedom of Press

      Even before the Revolutionary war began, the founding fathers and mothers articulated how important the freedom of the press is. The Continental Congress – the legislative body of these political minds – wrote in 1774:

      “The last right we shall mention regards the freedom of the press. The importance of this consists, besides the advancement of truth, science, morality, and arts in general, in its diffusion of liberal sentiments on the administration of Government, its ready communication of thoughts between subjects, and its consequential promotion of union among them, whereby oppressive officers are shamed or intimidated into more honorable and just modes of conducting affairs.”

    • Donald Trump: White House bars several major news outlets from informal press briefing [Ed: Shielding oneself from criticism by attacking the press]

      News organisations including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and Politico were blocked from joining an informal, on-the-record White House press briefing.
      Key points:

      The Associated Press chose not to participate in the gaggle after White House press secretary Sean Spicer restricted the number of journalists present for the briefing.

      Typically, the daily briefing is televised and open to all news organisations credentialed to cover the White House.

      On Friday, hours after President Donald Trump delivered a speech blasting the media, Mr Spicer invited only a pool of news organisations that represents and shares reporting with the larger press corps.

    • Federal Election Commission Member Quits, Says Agency Refuses To Address Campaign Finance Violations

      Every bit as meaningless as Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp.” The Beltway Swamp is drain-proof. The process that populates the swamp is rigged. Not in the “millions of illegal votes from illegals” way… or even the “I can see the Russians hacking the election from my house” way. It’s rigged because the only federal agency charged with making sure the election process is fair and equitable can’t — actually, won’t — do a single thing to ensure the process’ integrity.

    • Trump’s Fake News Attack on Sweden, Immigrants, and Crime

      Is it really safe for you to return to Sweden, asked an American friend, jokingly, when I prepared to check out from my hotel in Washington, D.C. President Donald Trump had just warned his audience in Melbourne, Florida, about Muslim immigrants and terrorism in Europe. “You look at what happened last night in Sweden” the president yelled, “Sweden! Who would believe this!”

      Swedes took to social media to speculate about which awful event he referred to. An aged pop star had technical problems during rehearsal for a popular music contest, observed someone. Another Swede tweeted that out of respect for the families of victims we should not speculate about the terrible event until after it actually occurs. #lastnightinsweden quickly became a meme.

    • Pro-Trump megadonor is part owner of Breitbart News empire, CEO reveals

      Breitbart News Network, the far-right media outlet that heralded President Trump’s rise and was once led by his top White House strategist, is owned in part by a wealthy conservative family that poured millions into propelling Trump into office, the company’s chief executive acknowledged Friday.

      The site’s financial backing from the Mercers further cements the family’s status as some of the most influential financiers of the Trump era. The news comes as Breitbart has enjoyed a higher profile within the White House press corps.

    • DNC Chair Candidate Tom Perez’s Bank-Friendly Record Could Kneecap the Democratic Party

      “Why does nobody ever go to jail?” asked Mandy Grunwald, a messaging guru for the Hillary Clinton campaign, in an email in 2015 to eight other top campaign officials.

      She was responding to a settlement announced by the Department of Justice with several large banks that had manipulated foreign exchange markets. Though the banks pled guilty as institutions, no individual banker was punished.

    • Beware the Trump brain rot: The cognitive effects of this administration’s actions could be disastrous

      Thirty years ago one of the most famous public service announcement ad campaigns was launched. “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” featured a man asking the audience if they understood the dangers of drug use. He then held up an egg, saying, “This is your brain.” He motioned to a frying pan, “This is drugs.” He then cracked the egg into the pan and as the egg fried said, “This is your brain on drugs.”

      Now just a bit more than a month into President Donald Trump’s administration, I’ve found myself returning to the imagery of that ad because it seems to so perfectly encapsulate the cognitive damage that we risk as a result of the Trump presidency.

      While there is little question that the Trump team is set to unravel our democracy, our foreign relations and every stitch of political progress our nation has ever made; that isn’t all that is at stake here. A healthy democracy depends on an active and engaged citizenry. It demands a citizenry attentive to issues and able to productively debate and dialogue. But, most important, it requires a nation that can think.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • China Orders Every Vehicle In Region Troubled By Ethnic Unrest To Be Fitted With Satnav Tracker

      Techdirt stories on China tend to paint a fairly grim picture of relentless surveillance and censorship, and serve as a warning of what could happen in the West if government powers there are not constrained. But if you want to see how a real dystopian world operates, you need to look at what is happening in the north-western part of China’s huge domain. Xinjiang was originally a turkic-speaking land, but the indigenous Uyghur population is increasingly swamped by Chinese-speaking immigrants, which has caused growing unrest. Violent attacks on the Chinese population in the region have led to a harsh crackdown on the Uyghurs, provoking yet more resentment, and yet more attacks.

    • Protect Biometric Privacy in Montana

      The danger to our privacy is growing commensurately with the development of sophisticated biometric technology. More and more companies are using biometrics, such as requiring our fingerprints to access amusement parks, or scraping social media for our faces.

    • “Smart Cities,” Surveillance, and New Streetlights in San Jose

      The San Jose City Council is considering a proposal to install over 39,000 “smart streetlights.” A pilot program is already underway. These smart streetlights are not themselves a surveillance technology. But they have ports on top that, in the future, could accommodate surveillance technology, such as video cameras and microphones.

      EFF and our allies sent a letter to the San Jose City Council urging them to adopt an ordinance to ensure democratic control of all of that community’s surveillance technology decisions—including whether to plug spy cameras into the ports of smart streetlights.

    • FBI Search Warrant That Fueled Massive Government Hacking Was Unconstitutional, EFF Tells Court

      Appeals Court Should Find Warrant Violated Fourth Amendment Protections

      Boston—An FBI search warrant used to hack into thousands of computers around the world was unconstitutional, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told a federal appeals court today in a case about a controversial criminal investigation that resulted in the largest known government hacking campaign in domestic law enforcement history.

      The Constitution requires law enforcement officers seeking a search warrant to show specific evidence of a possible crime, and tie that evidence to specific persons and places they want to search. These fundamental rules protect people from invasions of privacy and police fishing expeditions.

      But the government violated those rules while investigating “Playpen,” a child pornography website operating as a Tor hidden service. During the investigation, the FBI secretly seized servers running the website and, in a controversial decision, continued to operate it for two weeks rather than shut it down, allowing thousands of images to be downloaded. While running the site, the bureau began to hack its visitors, sending malware that it called a “Network Investigative Technique” (NIT) to visitors’ computers. The malware was then used to identify users of the site. Ultimately, the FBI hacked into 8,000 devices located in 120 countries around the world. All of this hacking was done on the basis of a single warrant. The FBI charged hundreds of suspects who visited the website, several of whom are challenging the validity of the warrant.

    • Border Security Overreach Continues: DHS Wants Social Media Login Information
    • Using Linux and Looking for a VPN! Here is How Choose The Best Option?

      Linux is always a better option than other operating systems in terms of security, and it is an ideal OS for the privacy and security conscious user, but the best way to secure your online activity and increase your privacy is to use a good Linux VPN, a Virtual Private Network that encrypts all your internet traffic and prevents monitoring of your online communications. VPNs are useful tools to access business or home networks when you are traveling, and region-restricted websites, hide your browsing activity when you use a public Wi-Fi connection, avoid internet censorship, and download files.

    • FCC puts the brakes on ISP privacy rules it just passed in October

      The new chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will seek a stay on privacy rules for broadband providers that the agency just passed in October.

      FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will ask for either a full commission vote on the stay before parts of the rules take effect next Thursday or he will instruct FCC staff to delay part of the rules pending a commission vote, a spokesman said Friday.

    • Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) lobbied the FCC for permission to spy on you

      Your Internet service provider’s (ISP) ability to not only spy on you, but to profit on that spying, has been upheld by the FCC. Ajit Pai, President Trump’s pick for the new FCC Chairman has made it clear that he is going to overturn wide-reaching data security and privacy order that the FCC had originally agreed upon back in October of 2016 under Tom Wheeler. The privacy order, which would have come into effect by December 4, 2017, would have forced large ISPs, such as AT&T, to get user consent before selling personal information such as web browsing history, to third party advertisers. The data security order, which would have come into effect by March 2nd, 2017, would have forced phone companies and ISPs to take steps to protect any sensitive user information such as social security number or health information.

    • NSA head Rogers pushes to loosen reins on cyberweapons

      Adm. Michael Rogers — both head of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Cyber Command — is pushing for widespread changes to the U.S.’s treatment of cyber weaponry, including contracting private sector firms to develop arms.

      “In the application of kinetic functionality — weapons — we go to the private sector and say, ‘Build this thing we call a [joint directed-attack munition], a [Tomahawk land-attack munition].’ Fill in the blank,” he said at a conference in San Diego, as quoted by the Department of Defense.

      “On the offensive side, to date, we have done almost all of our weapons development internally,” Rogers said. “And part of me goes — five to 10 years from now is that a long-term sustainable model? Does that enable you to access fully the capabilities resident in the private sector? I’m still trying to work my way through that, intellectually.”

    • Judge Rejects Warrant Seeking To Force Everyone At A Searched Location To Unlock Seized Electronic Devices

      Late last year, Thomas Fox-Brewster of Forbes uncovered a strange search warrant among a pile of unsealed documents. The warrant — approved by a magistrate judge — allowed law enforcement officers to demand that everyone present at the searched location provide their fingerprints to unlock devices seized from the same location.

      In support of its request, the government cited cases dating back to 1910, as though they had any relevance to the current situation. The most recent case cited was 30 years old — still far from easily applicable to today’s smartphones, which are basically pocket-sized personal data centers.

      The judge granted it, stating that demands for fingerprints, passwords, or anything (like encryption keys) that might give law enforcement access to the devices’ content did not implicate the Fourth or Fifth Amendments. While the magistrate was correct that no court has found the application of fingerprints to unlock devices to be a violation of the Fifth Amendment, the other access options (passwords, encryption keys) might pose Fifth Amendment problems down the road.

    • NSA snoops told: Get your checkbooks and pens ready for a cyber-weapon shopping spree

      NSA and US Cyber Command boss Mike Rogers has revealed the future direction of his two agencies – and for the private sector, this masterplan can be summarized in one word.

    • Peter Thiel’s Palantir Spreads Its Tentacles Throughout Europe

      Palantir Technologies Inc., the data mining company named after the all-seeing stone from the Lord of the Rings, likes to apply J.R.R. Tolkien references to many aspects of its business. The name of its London office is Grey Havens, a major strategic port in the fantasy trilogy’s Middle Earth setting.

      It’s an apt moniker since the U.K. capital has become a vital hub driving growth of the $20 billion startup. Palantir has roughly tripled annual revenue from Europe over the past three years, said Alex Karp, the chief executive officer who started the company with billionaire Peter Thiel.

    • Turkey encouraging teachers to spy in German schools: report

      The Turkish government has urged teachers and parents in western Germany with Turkish roots to report any criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan they hear at schools, according to local media.

      The Turkish consulate in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) told parents and teachers at “information events” in Düsseldorf, Essen, Cologne und Münster in January that they should spy on classes at German schools, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported on Thursday.

      Attendees were told to report any criticism of Erdogan they witnessed in schools to the consulate.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Swedish police accused of failings after riots break out in immigrant suburb of Stockholm

      An investigation has been launched after unrest broke out in Rinkeby, which saw masked rioters throwing rocks, setting vehicles alight and looting shops.

      The violence broke out at around 8pm following the arrest of a man on drugs charges a few hours earlier.

      Warning shots were fired, but police later said one officer had also fired at least one shot at stone-throwers directly.

    • Philippines: Impending Arrest of Senator Politically Motivated

      Amnesty International condemns the impending arrest of prominent human rights defender Senator Leila de Lima as politically motivated and is calling for all charges against her to be dropped immediately. The arrest of de Lima is a blatant attempt by the Philippine government to silence criticism of President Duterte and divert attention away from serious human rights violations in the “war on drugs.”

    • The ‘unpatriotic’ post on Facebook that meant I finally had to flee Russia

      I can tell you what political harassment feels like in Putin’s Russia. Like many dissidents I am used to abuse, but a recent campaign against me was so personal, so scary, that I was forced to flee.

      Two months ago, a Russian plane transporting the world-famous military choir Alexandrov Ensemble crashed into the Black Sea en route to Syria. They were travelling to perform for pilots involved in Russia’s air campaign on Aleppo.

    • Memo Restoring Use of Private Prisons Is Good News for One Company

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s four-sentence memo rescinding Justice Department guidance to reduce the use of private prisons sent stock soaring for the two companies that dominate the industry, Geo Group and CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America). That’s not necessarily because the memo will lead to a ramp-up in Geo- or CoreCivic-run federal prisons. As of December 2015, about 12 percent of all inmates in federal prisons were housed in private facilities, representing only 22,660 inmates. That certainly won’t decline under Sessions, but he didn’t promise to increase it substantially. “I direct the [Bureau of Prisons] to return to its previous approach,” Sessions wrote. Anyway, DoJ renewed a pair of contracts with CoreCivic despite the now-scuttled order, so it’s unclear if the status quo ever stopped.

      But the high-profile memo does matter because of the precedent. States and federal agencies that might have otherwise been wary of the negative perception of private prisons, and their often horrific outcomes, can now rest easy.

    • Pope Francis: better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic

      Pope Francis has delivered another criticism of some members of his own church, suggesting it was better to be an atheist than one of many Catholics who he said lead a hypocritical double life.

      In improvised comments in the sermon of his private morning mass in his residence, he said: “It is a scandal to say one thing and do another. That is a double life.

      “There are those who say, ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to mass, I belong to this and that association’,” the head of the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic church said, according to a Vatican Radio transcript.

    • Arizona Legislators Approve Bill That Would Allow Government To Seize Assets From Protesters

      Nothing good can come from the expansion of racketeering laws, which are already abused by government agencies and citizens alike. But it gets worse. A lot worse. It doesn’t just apply to protesters who damage property. It applies to anyone possibly connected to a protest in which damage occurs, even if they don’t induce or encourage the destruction. (Perhaps even if they speak out against violent acts, but still support the demonstration’s premise.)

      And, to top it all off, police officers would not only be authorized to arrest people engaged in First Amendment activity just because someone down the street broke a window, but also to enrich themselves in the process.

    • California Law Enforcement Union Sues To Block Police Accountability

      Because there’s just not enough opacity shrouding police misconduct and not enough slanting of the criminal justice system against defendants, California police unions have decided to get involved in a judicial dispute over lists of law enforcement officers whose half of “our word against yours” isn’t quite as bulletproof as is normally assumed.

      A Los Angeles sheriff is trying to do the right thing, but he’s running into opposition from his own supposed “representatives.”

    • High Court rejects devout Muslim’s divorce claims

      He had insisted that because he and his wife married in Pakistan under Sharia law a divorce could only be approved in that country. The man made this argument after his wife, a dual British and Pakistani citizen, filed a petition for divorce here in the UK.

      Following a hearing in Birmingham, Mr Justice Francis dismissed the man’s claim and ruled that his wife was entitled to seek a divorce in England.

      Accepting the man’s argument would have “far-reaching consequences”, the Judge explained. Had he done so, the wife “would be subjected to different rules of English law than people of other faiths or other nationalities living here”.

      This would amount to “approving both racial and gender discrimination” Mr Justice Francis declared. If the husband’s claim was endorsed by the Court, it would state that his wife “should be treated differently from a British citizen who is not a national of Pakistan”.

    • Somali Group Pushes For Non-Pork Food Shelf

      But many in the Somali-American community say finding a food shelf that caters to their religious dietary restrictions is almost impossible.

      “Some food shelves are trying to meet the need, but some of them already got canned beans that have already been mixed with pork — and there is a literacy issue here,” said community activist Fartun Weli.

      A group of first-generation Somali Americans says they need help in developing a food shelf that specializes in healthy foods that do not contain pork or pork byproducts.

    • Woman: After I rebuffed my Uber driver’s advances, he tried to rape me

      A woman in Minnesota has sued Uber, alleging that one of the company’s drivers attempted to rape her in August 2016.

      As is the case in other sexual assault lawsuits involving the ride-sharing company, the woman argues that Uber has been negligent in its hiring practices. The company, she claims, is not as safe as it purports to be.

      Uber has faced numerous similar legal battles in recent years. Last month, a New Jersey man sued the company over an alleged assault that he sustained after his driver apparently refused to take him from Philadelphia back to his hometown, nine miles away. Last year, two women in Boston settled their lawsuit with Uber on similar allegations of sexual assault.

    • Uber might genuinely be worried that #DeleteUber is working

      This week, Uber drew increased scrutiny in the wake of public allegations by a former engineer named Susan Fowler, who described Uber as having a culture of sexual harassment during her tenure there. The San Francisco company has since publicly rebuked this behavior and announced that it has retained former US Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Fowler’s allegations.

      However, in response, some customers renewed calls to “#DeleteUber,” which led the company to respond with an automated message about the investigations. The hashtag dates back to 2011 but didn’t really get going until 2014, and it has flared up at various moments since.

    • Mizue Aizeki on Criminalizing Immigrants

      This week on CounterSpin: Early morning deportation raids are stoking fear in immigrant communities, pulling parents from children and shipping people who’ve lived in the US for decades to places they don’t remember. Donald Trump talks about rounding up “drug lords” and murderers, but not only is that not who is being targeted, recently released executive orders expand the category of “criminal alien” to any immigrant who has been accused of a crime, or who someone thinks may have committed one.

      The evidence of the chaos and harm deportation policies inflict is in the spotlight now. Can we use the moment to talk about resisting viewing immigration policy through a lens of criminality? Jettisoning the pretense that these measures—from Obama’s stated “felons, not families” approach to this new conceit about “bad hombres”—are about public safety? That shift will be key in moving toward a humane vision of immigration. We talk about that with Mizue Aizeki, deputy director of the Immigrant Defense Project.

    • Admitting Refugees Makes America Great

      I know because I worked in the White House to bring them to the United States.

      Since President Trump first issued an executive order slashing refugee admissions to the United States this year from 110,000 to 50,000, a certain irony keeps running through my mind. Candidate Trump campaigned on a slogan of “Make America Great Again.” Yet now he is pushing to cut refugee admissions by more than half. I can think of few policy decisions that would make America look smaller or more cold-hearted than closing our doors to refugees who desperately need a second chance at life. Even worse, the decision is animated by a discriminatory intent that is completely inconsistent with our values and Constitution.

      I spent the last few years of the Obama administration running the refugee portfolio from the White House, which gave me a front row seat on countless displays of true American greatness. Faced with an unprecedented global humanitarian crisis, I watched America’s commitment to respond grow week by week — in communities around the country, in the private sector, and within government. At the White House, we convened officials from across the federal agencies at the deputy secretary level every two weeks to ensure we were doing as much as we could. We worked to not only meet our refugee admissions targets each year but to increase them, even as we added new layers of rigor to our security screening.

    • Trump Is Violating the Constitution

      When Barack Obama became the forty-fourth president of the United States in 2009, he appointed Norman Eisen, a “special counsel for ethics and government,” to ensure that he violated no prohibitions on conflicts of interest. Before he was replaced in 2011, Eisen, later an ambassador to the Czech Republic and a lawyer who specialized in cases involving fraud, addressed a wide range of questions, including such matters as whether President Obama, a basketball fan, could accept tickets to see the Washington Wizards or the Georgetown Hoyas play.

    • Keith Ellison Loses DNC Race After Heated Campaign Targeting Him for His Views on Palestine

      Minnesota Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison lost his bid to become the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Saturday after a scorched-earth smear campaign targeting his religious faith, his affinity for the Nation of Islam in his youth, and his support for Palestinian rights alongside a secure Israel.

      Instead, the majority of the DNC’s voting members chose former labor secretary Tom Perez to lead the party. After two rounds of voting in Atlanta, Perez netted 235 votes to Ellison’s 200.

      Perez was widely perceived as being brought into the race by allies of President Obama, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and other members of the party establishment. One of the speakers who introduced his nomination, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jamie Harrison, also works as a corporate lobbyist for the D.C.-based Podesta Group. After neither candidate reached a majority of votes in the first round of voting, Harrison was on the floor, whipping votes for Perez.

    • Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?

      On Jan. 25, 26 and 27, the new president repeated falsely that “torture works.” Claiming to have spoken with high-level intelligence officers, Trump said they told him torture works “absolutely.”

      This implausible story flies in the face of the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report which concluded that torture is not merely illegal but worthless. The 6,000+-page report found that torture produced “fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence.” This common knowledge has been settled law for so long that torture has been prohibited by international treaties and US statutes. Historian Michael Kwass reminds us that as early as 1764, Cesare Beccaria called for abolishing torture because it is immoral and doesn’t work. For good measure, the Senate again voted to ban torture in 2015.

      On Feb. 17 last year at an event in Bluffton, S.C., Trump said, “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work — torture works,” and, “Half these guys [say], ‘Torture doesn’t work.’ Believe me, it works. … I would bring back waterboarding. And I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” At a big rally Nov. 23, 2015, he said, “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would, in a heartbeat, in a heartbeat. And don’t kid yourself folks, it works, okay, it works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work. It works.” At a Republican debate last March he said, “Waterboarding is fine, and if we want to go stronger I’d go stronger too. We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding.” In a televised chat with South Carolina State Rep. Bill Herbkersman, Trump said that if elected he would “immediately” resume waterboarding and “much worse,” calling waterboarding a “minor form” of interrogation.

    • Grandmother married to British man for 27 years is deported from UK to Singapore

      She told the BBC she was put in a van and taken to the airport from the Dungavel Detention Centre in South Lanarkshire on Saturday without the opportunity to contact her lawyer or get any clothes from her home.

      Mrs Clennell was given indefinite leave to remain in the UK after her marriage but periods spent in Singapore caring for her elderly parents appear to have invalidated her residential status.

      She has made repeated attempts – both in the Singapore and in the UK – to re-apply for permission to live with her husband, who she said is in poor health and needs her as his carer.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ‘Ajit Pai Wants to Shut Down the Way We Communicate and Organize’

      Regulators who don’t much believe in regulation are looking like a hallmark of the Trump administration. What does that mean for the access to communication and information that’s critical to our daily lives? The newly appointed chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, doesn’t want to actually eliminate the agency, as far as we know, but what does his record suggest for his term leading what’s meant to be the public’s advocate in the communications realm? Jessica Gonzalez is deputy director and senior counsel at the group Free Press. She joins us now by phone from Los Angeles. Welcome to CounterSpin, Jessica Gonzalez.

  • DRM

    • The Video Game Industry Is Lobbying Against Your Right to Repair Consoles

      The video game industry has been a particularly notable enemy of fair repair.

      The video game industry is lobbying against legislation that would make it easier for gamers to repair their consoles and for consumers to repair all electronics more generally.

      The Entertainment Software Association, a trade organization that includes Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, as well as dozens of video game developers and publishers, is opposing a “right to repair” bill in Nebraska, which would give hardware manufacturers fewer rights to control the end-of-life of electronics that they have sold to their customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Tiffany & Co., Defenders Of Intellectual Property, Sued For Copyright Infringement

      For some time now, famed jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. has been a staunch defender of intellectual property and an adversary to a free and open internet. You will recall that this is the company that wanted eBay to be held liable for third-party auctions of counterfeit Tiffany products. The company also lent its support to censoring the internet via the seizing of domains it didn’t like, as well as its support for COICA (which was the predecessor of the bill that eventually became SOPA). COICA, among other things, was a bill that would have allowed the DOJ to seize so-called “pirate” websites that infringed on others’ intellectual property.

    • Patents and the Silicon Valley of clothespins

      In 1998, the Smithsonian institute’s National Museum of American History carried a display—“America’s Clothespins”–, which included 41 patents dealing with clothespins for the period between 1852-1887 (although the child of one visitor was heard to say– “What’s a clothespin, Dad?”) All of this points to a fascinating tale of how patents served as a linchpin (with a Kat apology for the unintended pun) for the rise of the American of State of Vermont, nestled in the northwestern corner of New England, as, in the words of the New York Times, “the Silicon Valley of 19-century clothespin technology”.

    • Trademarks

      • ARGOS – trade marks, domains, and google advertising

        First there was metadata, then there was Google AdWords, the latest High Court dispute concerns the question: can the adverts which are displayed on a website constitute trade mark infringement?

        Back in 1992, Argos Systems Inc (ASI), an American company specialising in CAD systems for the design and construction of buildings, registered the domain argos.com. Several years later in 1996, Argos Limited, a well known UK retailer registered argos.co.uk. Argos owned various EU and UK trade marks for ARGOS but was too late to the domain name party to secure the .com.

    • Copyrights

      • Shadow Regulation Withers In The Sunlight

        Yesterday, the group that runs the .org top-level domain announced that they will suspend their plans to create a new, private, problematic copyright enforcement system. That’s welcome news for tens of millions of nonprofits, charities, businesses, clubs, bloggers, and personal website owners that use .org. It’s also surprising, because most of those Internet users had no idea that a new copyright system, strongly reminiscent of the failed SOPA/PIPA Internet censorship bills, might be forced on them.

        The possibility was easy to miss. Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit organization that administers the .org domain, never mentioned the new policy on its blog before yesterday, nor on the registrar websites where people actually register and renew their domain names. It was announced two weeks ago on a news website that covers the domain industry. And it was referenced in a proposal by the Domain Name Association, an industry group, titled “Registry/Registrar Healthy Practices,” a day later.

      • Fair Use: Journalism Can’t Succeed Without It
      • Law Professors Address RCEP Negotiators on Copyright

        Next week the latest round of secret negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) kicks off in Kobe, Japan. Once the shy younger sibling of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the recent death of the TPP has thrust RCEP further into the spotlight, and raised the stakes both for its sixteen prospective parties, and for lobbyists with designs to stamp their own mark on the text’s intellectual property and e-commerce chapters.

        Our last analysis of RCEP pointed out some of the ways in which the then-current leaked text represented an improvement on the TPP, but how other parts of it—including those on copyright enforcement—repeated its mistakes and failed to seize opportunities for improvement. This week, over 60 copyright scholars released an open letter that sets out their views of what negotiators ought to do in order to address these problems.

        [...]

        While EFF’s position is that copyright doesn’t belong in trade agreements at all, we have acknowledged that copyright lobbyists aren’t going to stop seeking their inclusion in such agreements any time soon. We have also recommended some improvements to the processes of trade negotiation that would make them more transparent and inclusive, and therefore more democratically legitimate. Although our recommendations were directed to the U.S. Trade Representative (which is not a party to the RCEP negotiations), the law professors’ letter echoes the spirit of some of them.

      • Copyright Law Versus Internet Culture

        Throughout human history, culture has been made by people telling one another stories, building on what has come before, and making it their own. Every generation, every storyteller puts their own spin on old tales to reflect their own values and changing times.

        This creative remixing happens today and it happens in spite of the legal cloud cast by copyright law. Many of our modern cultural icons are “owned” by a small number of content companies. We rework popular stories to critique them or assign new meanings to them, telling our own stories about well-known characters and settings. When copyright holders try to shut us down, fair use helps us fight back.

      • Fair Use as Consumer Protection

        Talking about fair use often means talking about your right to re-use existing copyrighted works in the process of making something new – to make remixes and documentaries, parodies, or even to build novel Internet search tools. But now that copyright-protected software is in almost everything (including our cars, our toasters, our pacemakers and our insulin pumps) fair use has a new critically important role: basic consumer protection.

        We entrust a lot of our lives to the devices we use on a daily basis – and to the software inside them. We trust them to get us from one place to another safely, to monitor our health conditions accurately and securely, and to keep us warm on a cold night. But what if those devices break? What if we want to make sure they aren’t collecting information about us without our consent, or infecting our systems with malware? What if we just want to be able to use third party apps and so on to make them work better?

      • Federal Judge Says Providing Web Hosting Isn’t Even Close To The Same Thing As Contributory Infringement

        A federal judge has just let a plaintiff know there’s a big difference between providing hosting for infringing content and actually participating in copyright infringement. ALS Scan sued basically everybody for copyright infringement after discovering adult images that it owned posted all over the web. In addition to Steadfast Holdings — the defendant just dismissed from this suit — ALS Scan sued Cloudflare, Juicy Ads, and a number of other hosting services and Does.

      • How Snapchat, Instagram and Apple Are Reinventing Photography Forever [iophk: "a world where you don't own the photos you've taken"]

        The next chapter of Snapchat’s life will begin over the coming months, as parent company Snap, Inc. goes public with an initial offering that could value the firm at approximately $20 billion. Success is far from certain: The Venice Beach, Calif.-based Snap has warned in investor documents that it could lose users to competitors with “greater resources and broader global recognition” — shorthand for the Facebook-owned Instagram. Snapchat’s once-meteoric growth is showing signs of slowing, with only 8 million new users over the last six months.

        But whether or not Snapchat survives in a competitive market in the coming years, its contributions — along with those of rivals like Instagram and Apple — to the medium of photography and visual communication are unprecedented. Snap put it this way in its IPO documents: “In the way that the flashing cursor became the starting point for most products on desktop computers, we believe that the camera screen will be the starting point for most products on smartphones.”

02.24.17

Links 24/2/2017: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta, OpenBSD Foundation Nets $573,000 in Donations

Posted in News Roundup at 12:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Rolling Out New Ignition + TurboFan V8 Compiler Architecture

    The JavaScript engine performance wars are not over with Google preparing to make some significant changes to their V8 JavaScript engine used by Chrome and friends.

    The V8 JavaScript engine will be switching to a new compiler architecture following their 5.8 branching. Their current compiler architecture of FullCodeGen + Crankshaft as their optimizing compiler will be replaced by the Ignition interpreter and a new optimizing compiler called TurboFan.

  • Using Open Source Software to Speed Development and Gain Business Advantage

    Last week, we started by defining “Open Source” in common terms — the first step for any organization that wants to realize, and optimize, the advantages of using open source software (OSS) in their products or services. In the next few articles, we will provide more details about each of the ways OSS adds up to a business advantage for organizations that use and contribute to open source. First, we’ll discuss why many organizations use OSS to speed up the delivery of software and hardware solutions.

  • Tying together the many open source projects in networking

    There are a lot of pieces to the ongoing network transformation going up and down the stack. There’s the shift away from proprietary hardware. There’s the to need to manage complex network configurations. Add subscriber management and a wide range of other necessary functions. Add customer-facing services. All of those pieces need to fit together, integrate with each other, and interoperate.

    This was the topic of my conversation with Heather Kirksey, who heads up the Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) project when we caught up at the Open Source Leadership Summit in mid-February. OPNFV is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project which focuses on the system integration effort needed to tie together the many other open source projects in this space, such as OpenDaylight.

    As Heather puts it: “Telecom operators are looking to rethink, reimagine, and transform their networks from things being built on proprietary boxes to dynamic cloud applications with a lot more being in software. [This lets them] provision services more quickly, allocate bandwidth more dynamically, and scale out and scale in more effectively.”

  • Your future boss? An employee-interrogating bot – it’s an open-source gift from Dropbox

    Dropbox has released the code for the chatbot it uses to question employees about interactions with corporate systems, in the hope that it can help other organizations automate security processes and improve employee awareness of security concerns.

    “One of the hardest, most time-consuming parts of security monitoring is manually reaching out to employees to confirm their actions,” said Alex Bertsch, formerly a Dropbox intern and now a teaching assistant at Brown University, in a blog post. “Despite already spending a significant amount of time on reach-outs, there were still alerts that we didn’t have time to follow up on.”

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Master the Open Cloud with Free, Community-Driven Guides

      One of the common criticisms of open source in general, especially when it comes to open cloud platforms such as OpenStack and ownCloud, is lack of truly top-notch documentation and training resources. The criticism is partly deserved, but there are some free documentation resources that benefit from lots of contributors.

      Community documentation and training contributors really can make a difference. In fact, in a recent interview, ClusterHQ’s Mohit Bhatnagar said: “Documentation is a classic example of where crowdsourcing wins. You just can’t beat the enthusiasm of hobbyist developers fixing a set of documentation resources because they are passionate about the topic.”

    • OpenStack Ocata Nova Cells Set to Improve Cloud Scalability

      Among the biggest things to land in the OpenStack Ocata cloud platform release this week is the Cells v2 code, which will help enable more scale and manageability in the core Nova compute project.

      Nova is one of the two original projects (along with Swift storage) that helped launch OpenStack in June 2010. The original Nova code, which was written by NASA, enables the management of virtualized server resources.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Which is the best programming language for beginners?

      What is the best language for a budding programmer to get their start with? There are probably as many opinions about which language is best for beginners as there are languages to choose from. And the options change all of the time. When we asked this question two years ago, Python came out on top as the clear winner. But is it still the best choice today?

    • Top 3 machine learning libraries for Python

      You don’t have to be a data scientist to be fascinated by the world of machine learning, but a few travel guides might help you navigate the vast universe that also includes big data, artificial intelligence, and deep learning, along with a large dose of statistics and analytics. (“Deep learning” and “machine learning” are often used interchangeably, so for a quick terminology primer that might help you understand the difference, read Nvidia’s blog post, What’s the Difference Between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning?)

      In this article, I’ll look at three of the most popular machine learning libraries for Python.

    • Is your AI being handed to you by Google? Try Apache open source – Amazon’s AWS did

      Surprisingly, the MXNet Machine Learning project was this month accepted by the Apache Software Foundation as an open-source project.

      What’s surprising about the announcement isn’t so much that the ASF is accepting this face in the crowd to its ranks – it’s hard to turn around in the software world these days without tripping over ML tools – but rather that MXNet developers, most of whom are from Amazon, believe ASF is relevant.

    • Current Trends in Tools for Large-Scale Machine Learning

      During the past decade, enterprises have begun using machine learning (ML) to collect and analyze large amounts of data to obtain a competitive advantage. Now some are looking to go even deeper – using a subset of machine learning techniques called deep learning (DL), they are seeking to delve into the more esoteric properties hidden in the data. The goal is to create predictive applications for such areas as fraud detection, demand forecasting, click prediction, and other data-intensive analyses.

    • Your IDE won’t change, but YOU will: HELLO! Machine learning

      Machine learning has become a buzzword. A branch of Artificial Intelligence, it adds marketing sparkle to everything from intrusion detection tools to business analytics. What is it, exactly, and how can you code it?

    • Artificial intelligence: Understanding how machines learn

      Learning the inner workings of artificial intelligence is an antidote to these worries. And this knowledge can facilitate both responsible and carefree engagement.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Flint water crisis doctor invited to President Trump’s address to Congress

      U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee had one guest ticket for President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress, and he’s given it to the Flint pediatrician who helped to expose the Flint water crisis.

      Kildee said in a news release Thursday, Feb. 23, that Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha will be his guest at next week’s joint session.

      Hanna-Attisha played a critical role in the water crisis having been declared a national emergency after her work revealed the percentage of Flint children with elevated blood lead levels doubled after the city changed its water source to the Flint River in April 2014.

      MLive-The Flint Journal could not immediately reach Hanna-Attisha, who last month spoke out against Trump’s executive order that attempted to bar immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries.

    • More Transparency In Medical Product Prices Discussed At Event

      The lack of access to medical products has spread from being a developing country problem to a global one as prices are now too high even for developed country patients and health systems for some medicines. An event at the Graduate Institute Global Public Health Centre yesterday was an opportunity to explore these issues.

  • Security

    • Change all the passwords (again)

      Looks like it is time to change all the passwords again. There’s a tiny little flaw in a CDN used … everywhere, it seems.

    • Cloudflare’s Cloudbleed is the worst privacy leak in recent Internet history

      Cloudflare revealed today that, for months, all of its protected websites were potentially leaking private information across the Internet. Specifically, Cloudflare’s reverse proxies were dumping uninitialized memory; that is to say, bleeding private data. The issue, termed Cloudbleed by some (but not its discoverer Tavis Ormandy of Google Project Zero), is the greatest privacy leak of 2017 and the year has just started.

      For months, since 2016-09-22 by their own admission, CloudFlare has been leaking private information through Cloudbleed. Basically, random data from random sites (again, it’s worth mentioning that every site that used CloudFlare in the last half year should be considered to having fallen victim to this) would be randomly distributed across the open Internet, and then indefinitely cached along the way.

    • Serious Cloudflare bug exposed a potpourri of secret customer data

      Cloudflare, a service that helps optimize the security and performance of more than 5.5 million websites, warned customers today that a recently fixed software bug exposed a range of sensitive information that could have included passwords and cookies and tokens used to authenticate users.

      A combination of factors made the bug particularly severe. First, the leakage may have been active since September 22, nearly five months before it was discovered, although the greatest period of impact was from February 13 and February 18. Second, some of the highly sensitive data that was leaked was cached by Google and other search engines. The result was that for the entire time the bug was active, hackers had the ability to access the data in real-time by making Web requests to affected websites and to access some of the leaked data later by crafting queries on search engines.

      “The bug was serious because the leaked memory could contain private information and because it had been cached by search engines,” Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming wrote in a blog post published Thursday. “We are disclosing this problem now as we are satisfied that search engine caches have now been cleared of sensitive information. We have also not discovered any evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence.”

    • Today’s leading causes of DDoS attacks [Ed: The so-called 'Internet of things' (crappy devices with identical passwords) is a mess; programmers to blame, not Linux]

      Of the most recent mega 100Gbps attacks in the last quarter, most of them were directly attributed to the Mirai botnet. The Mirai botnet works by exploiting the weak security on many Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The program finds its victims by constantly scanning the internet for IoT devices, which use factory default or hard-coded usernames and passwords.

    • How to Set Up An SSL Certificate on Your Website [via “Steps To Secure Your Website With An SSL Certificate”]
    • SHA-1 is dead, long live SHA-1!

      Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you heard that some researchers managed to create a SHA-1 collision. The short story as to why this matters is the whole purpose of a hashing algorithm is to make it impossible to generate collisions on purpose. Unfortunately though impossible things are usually also impossible so in reality we just make sure it’s really really hard to generate a collision. Thanks to Moore’s Law, hard things don’t stay hard forever. This is why MD5 had to go live on a farm out in the country, and we’re not allowed to see it anymore … because it’s having too much fun. SHA-1 will get to join it soon.

    • Stop using SHA1 encryption: It’s now completely unsafe, Google proves

      Security researchers have achieved the first real-world collision attack against the SHA-1 hash function, producing two different PDF files with the same SHA-1 signature. This shows that the algorithm’s use for security-sensitive functions should be discontinued as soon as possible.

      SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) dates back to 1995 and has been known to be vulnerable to theoretical attacks since 2005. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has banned the use of SHA-1 by U.S. federal agencies since 2010, and digital certificate authorities have not been allowed to issue SHA-1-signed certificates since Jan. 1, 2016, although some exemptions have been made.

      However, despite these efforts to phase out the use of SHA-1 in some areas, the algorithm is still fairly widely used to validate credit card transactions, electronic documents, email PGP/GPG signatures, open-source software repositories, backups and software updates.

    • on pgp

      First and foremost I have to pay respect to PGP, it was an important weapon in the first cryptowar. It has helped many whistleblowers and dissidents. It is software with quite interesting history, if all the cryptograms could tell… PGP is also deeply misunderstood, it is a highly successful political tool. It was essential in getting crypto out to the people. In my view PGP is not dead, it’s just old and misunderstood and needs to be retired in honor.

      However the world has changed from the internet happy times of the ’90s, from a passive adversary to many active ones – with cheap commercially available malware as turn-key-solutions, intrusive apps, malware, NSLs, gag orders, etc.

    • SHA1 collision via ASCII art

      Happy SHA1 collision day everybody!

      If you extract the differences between the good.pdf and bad.pdf attached to the paper, you’ll find it all comes down to a small ~128 byte chunk of random-looking binary data that varies between the files.

    • PayThink Knowledge is power in fighting new Android attack bot

      Android users and apps have become a major part of payments and financial services, carrying an increased risk for web crime.

      It is estimated that there are 107.7 million Android Smartphone users in the U.S. who have downloaded more than 65 million apps from the Google App Store, and each one of them represents a smorgasbord of opportunity for hackers to steal user credentials and other information.

    • Red Hat: ‘use after free’ vulnerability found in Linux kernel’s DCCP protocol IPV6 implementation

      Red Hat Product Security has published details of an “important” security vulnerability in the Linux kernel. The IPv6 implementation of the DCCP protocol means that it is possible for a local, unprivileged user to alter kernel memory and escalate their privileges.

      Known as the “use-after-free” flaw, CVE-2017-6074 affects a number of Red Hat products including Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Red Hat Openshift Online v2. Mitigating factors include the requirement for a potential attacker to have access to a local account on a machine, and for IPV6 to be enabled, but it is still something that will be of concern to Linux users.

      Describing the vulnerability, Red Hat says: “This flaw allows an attacker with an account on the local system to potentially elevate privileges. This class of flaw is commonly referred to as UAF (Use After Free.) Flaws of this nature are generally exploited by exercising a code path that accesses memory via a pointer that no longer references an in use allocation due to an earlier free() operation. In this specific issue, the flaw exists in the DCCP networking code and can be reached by a malicious actor with sufficient access to initiate a DCCP network connection on any local interface. Successful exploitation may result in crashing of the host kernel, potential execution of code in the context of the host kernel or other escalation of privilege by modifying kernel memory structures.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador President blasts plans to kick out Wikileaks’ Julian Assange as BUTTERING UP USA

      The Australian hacker has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge, London, for nearly five years in an attempt to avoid being deported to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault, allegations he has denied.

      But the 45-year-old could find himself being booted out should the right-wing candidate Guillermo Lasso, 61, get elected in the country’s presidential election, when the second round of voting takes place on April 2.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Red, rural America acts on climate change – without calling it climate change [Ed: Oil giants spread their religion]

      President Donald Trump has the environmental community understandably concerned. He and members of his Cabinet have questioned the established science of climate change, and his choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has sued the EPA many times and regularly sided with the fossil fuel industry.

      Even if the Trump administration withdraws from all international climate negotiations and reduces the EPA to bare bones, the effects of climate change are happening and will continue to build.

      In response to real threats and public demand, cities across the United States and around the world are taking action to address climate change. We might think this is happening only in large, coastal cities that are threatened by sea-level rise or hurricanes, like Amsterdam or New York.

      Research shows, however, that even in the fly-over red states of the U.S. Great Plains, local leaders in small- to medium-size communities are already grappling with the issue. Although their actions are not always couched in terms of addressing climate change, their strategies can provide insights into how to make progress on climate policy under a Trump administration.

    • Police Begin Making More Arrests At DAPL Protest Camp

      Police in full riot gear began arresting Dakota Access pipeline opponents who remained in a protest camp in North Dakota on Thursday in defiance of orders to leave.

      Most protesters left peacefully Wednesday, when authorities closed the camp on Army Corps of Engineers land in advance of spring flooding, but some refused to go.

      Eighteen National Guardsmen and dozens of law officers entered the camp from two directions shortly before midday Thursday, along with several law enforcement and military vehicles. A helicopter and airplane flew overhead.

    • We Have to Keep Fighting: Water Protectors Vow Continued Resistance to #DAPL as Main Camp Is Evicted

      In North Dakota, the main resistance camp set up by Lakota water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline has been largely vacated after protesters were ordered to leave the camp on Wednesday. Police arrested around 10 people. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota governor had imposed a noon eviction deadline for the hundreds of water protectors still living at the resistance camp. Prayers ceremonies were held on Wednesday, and part of the camp was set on fire before the eviction began. Water protectors say the resistance camp sits on unceded Sioux territory under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and that they have a right to remain on their ancestral land. A couple dozen people remain at the camp. The ongoing encampments in North Dakota were the largest gathering of Native Americans in decades. At its peak, more than 10,000 people were at the resistance camp. Earlier this month, construction crews resumed work on the final section of the pipeline, after the Trump administration granted an easement to allow Energy Transfer Partners to drill beneath the Missouri River. We go to Standing Rock to speak with LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and Linda Black Elk.

    • Standing Rock is burning in the snow and departing water protectors grieve DAPL progress

      Wednesday marked a last stand of sorts at Standing Rock, North Dakota, where about 200 to 300 “water protectors” have remained for months to protest completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, which would transport 470,000 barrels of oil a day across four states. The Army Corps of Engineers has ordered that the Oceti Sakowin camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation be closed at 2 p.m. local time on Wednesday, citing the potential for spring flooding.

      Like the Indian warrior in the iconic Old West image “The End of the Trail” (a late 1800s sculpture by South Dakota artist James Earle Fraser) who slumps over his horse’s back, weary after a long and difficult battle, those left at Standing Rock remained, prayed and burned the teepees that had housed so many over the past 10 months. They also burned wooden structures central to the camp’s function, so that government engineers could not touch what they made and found sacred. The smoke that rose to the heavens was symbolic, as were the prayers: This was a ceremony of leaving.

  • Finance

    • In Latest Twist To The Global Trade Deal Saga, EU Now Looking To Fill The Gap Left By US In Exiting TPP

      Remember the good old days, when trade deals were so boring nobody even cared they were happening? That started to change with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, (ACTA), where the copyright industries rather foolishly tried to slip in some proposals that would have had big impacts on the online world. As Techdirt reported at the time, that led to an unprecedented awareness of, and resistance to, ACTA that ultimately caused its defeat in the European Parliament.

      After that, things were never the same again in the world of trade deals, because digital activists were now on the lookout for the bad stuff hidden in the stultifyingly dull language. They soon found it in TPP, which people realized was basically “Son of ACTA,” but worse. Then came TAFTA/TTIP, which publicly dropped its ACTA-like elements in a desperate attempt to stave off criticisms and mass protests. That didn’t work, of course; TTIP soon ground to a halt, and remains in limbo. Even though TPP was eventually concluded after years of delays, it was derailed by the election of Donald Trump as US President, who promptly withdrew from the deal. But if you thought things had finally quieted down for a while — TISA too has dropped off the radar recently — think again.

    • How Much Does it Cost to Run a Full Bitcoin Node?

      Bitcoin nodes commonly use 200 gigabytes upload or more a month and download around 20 gigabytes per month.

    • Did You #DeleteUber? Your Account Lives On

      As social media erupted with outrage over a sexism scandal at the app-based ride service Uber over the weekend, consumers in Seattle and around the country vowed to “delete the app” in protest.

      But unless people followed that up with a tweet or Facebook post — or entirely deleted their account with the company — the message might not have been received.

      “A developer is not notified when an application is deleted,” said Morgan Reed, executive director of The App Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association that represents more than 5,000 app and information-technology companies.

      “They may notice a decrease in information flowing from an app or reconnecting to their services,” he said. “All it knows is that your application is dormant.”

      That’s due to privacy concerns, and practical considerations that take into account multiple devices, new devices and user error, Reed said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Study reveals bot-on-bot editing wars raging on Wikipedia’s pages

      For many it is no more than the first port of call when a niggling question raises its head. Found on its pages are answers to mysteries from the fate of male anglerfish, the joys of dorodango, and the improbable death of Aeschylus.

      But beneath the surface of Wikipedia lies a murky world of enduring conflict. A new study from computer scientists has found that the online encyclopedia is a battleground where silent wars have raged for years.

      Since Wikipedia launched in 2001, its millions of articles have been ranged over by software robots, or simply “bots”, that are built to mend errors, add links to other pages, and perform other basic housekeeping tasks.

    • Hah, Hah, Hah…They Think Trump Is A Republican

      Trump, who has rarely held a position that he didn’t once hold the other side on, is a crony capitalist ME! ME! ME!-publican and/or a ME! ME! ME!-ocrat, depending on who’s listening and what his whim happens to be at a particular moment.

      Adorably, we’ve got a free-market think tank dude who seems a little confused about this.

    • Protecting Trump Tower cost New York $300,000 every day between November and January

      New York City spent $308,000 (£248,000) every day protecting Donald Trump’s Trump Tower residence between his election and his inauguration.

      Police commissioner James O’Neill said the city spent $24m (£19.3m) to provide security at the skyscraper over the three-month period, and he foresees spending up to $145,000 (£117,000) a day when only First Lady Melania Trump and her son Barron are in town as the 10-year-old attends school.

      “We are seeking full federal reimbursement for all costs incurred related to security for President Trump and his family at Trump Tower,” Freddi Goldstein, a spokeswoman for mayor Bill de Blasio, said.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Deputy Director: Why I Spent the Last 40 Years In National Security [Ed: Time for NSA hagiography]

      In 1977 I was finishing my sophomore year of college, working two jobs to put myself through school, and thought, “There has to be a better way.” So I enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Signals Intelligence/Electronic Warfare Morse Intercept Operator, which didn’t tell me much but would let me earn money toward college through the GI Bill. My plan was to do my 3 years, get out, and finish college. That plan didn’t work out; I ended up staying in the Army almost eleven years and then transitioned to the National Security Agency as a civilian for 29 more, and am retiring this April after 40 years in the business. I did end up finishing my degree after hours, and went on to get a master’s degree, just not in the way I’d planned. What happened along the way was that I discovered the fulfillment that comes from serving the nation and its allies, working with some of the most amazing people on the planet, on the most challenging problems we face.

    • Social Media Are Driving Americans Insane

      If you pull out your phone to check Twitter while waiting for the light to change, or read e-mails while brushing your teeth, you might be what the American Psychological Association calls a “constant checker.” And chances are, it’s hurting your mental health.

    • How Will the REAL ID Act Impact You?

      There’s already plenty for travelers to consider when flying: strategies for packing light, tricks for dealing with long security lines and sanity savers when seated next to obnoxious passengers. The reality is you must take plenty of precautions for smooth, hassle-free travel, beyond picking the right seat or securing affordable plane tickets. And in case you haven’t heard (or noticed the signage at select U.S. airports), there’s a big new rule coming down the pike on Jan. 22, 2018, when the the REAL ID Act will be enforced and driver’s licenses in nine states will no longer be a valid form of identification at TSA checkpoints. If you live in Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington, you’ll need to pack another accepted form of identification to travel domestically.

    • Threat via Whisper prompts FBI to show up: “holy f**k I’m… going to get raided”

      If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 1,000 times: these so-called “anonymous” messaging apps simply aren’t anonymous. To put it another way, if you’re dumb enough to make violent threats on them, you’ll get caught.

      According to a newly released federal criminal complaint, Garrett Grimsley of Cary, North Carolina, allegedly used the Whisper app to make such remarks on February 19. Hours later, local police and the FBI arrived at his door to search his apartment.

    • That Health Tracker Could Cost You

      Using big data to improve health might seem like a great idea. The way private insurance works, though, it could end up making sick people — or even those perceived as likely to become sick — a lot poorer.

      Suppose a company offers you an insurance discount and a free FitBit if you agree to share your data and submit to a yearly physical. You’re assured that the data will be used only in aggregate, never tied back to specific identities.

      If that makes you feel safe, it shouldn’t. The way machine learning works, data can be used against individuals without being connected directly to names.

    • Wearing an activity tracker gives insurance companies the data they need to discriminate against people like you

      Many insurers offer breaks to people who wear activity trackers that gather data on them; as Cathy “Mathbabe” O’Neil points out, the allegedly “anonymized’ data-collection is trivial to re-identify (so this data might be used against you), and, more broadly, the real business model for this data isn’t improving your health outcomes — it’s dividing the world into high-risk and low-risk people, so insurers can charge people more.

      That means that if your fitbit-a-like shows that left-handed vegetarians like you are at higher risk for expensive medical treatments, then people like you will end up paying higher premiums — and you’ll have helped make that possible.

    • Netherlands Looks To Join The Super-Snooper Club With New Mass Surveillance Law

      The mention of the safeguards of European law is significant. As we reported in December, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) confirmed that general and indiscriminate data retention is illegal in the EU. Assuming the Dutch law is passed as expected, a legal challenge at the CJEU could follow, and would seem to stand a good chance of getting the law struck down in its present form.

    • [NSA (SIGNAL):] Cybersecurity Must Take Front and Center National Attention, Experts Say

      “It must be viewed more broadly and must be tackled from a national security perspective,” Adm. Rogers said during a morning West 2017 conference presentation Thursday with Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), former NATO commander and dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

    • NSA Head: Russian Interference in U.S. Election, ‘Hey, This Happened’ [Ed: NSA does not need evidence, it needs innuendo]

      The head of the National Security Agency reiterated that Russia engaged in cyber actions to influence the result of the U.S. presidential election and said the Moscow-directed interference is changing the way the NSA thinks about U.S. critical infrastructure.

    • German Regulators Urge Parents To Destroy WiFi Connected Doll Over Surveillance Fears

      For a while now, we’ve discussed how your children’s toys are quickly becoming the latest and greatest privacy threat courtesy of cryptic or half-cooked privacy policies and the treatment of device security as an afterthought; rather part and parcel now for the privacy dumpster fire that is the internet of not-so-smart things era. Numerous privacy groups have complained that smart Barbies and other toys not only now hoover up and monetize childrens’ prattle, but leave the door open to the devices’ being used nefariously by third parties.

      The problems culminated in a lawsuit last December here in the States against Genesis Toys, maker of “smart” toys like the My Friend Cayla doll and the i-Que Intelligent Robot. The lawsuit accuses the company of violating COPPA (the Childrens’ Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998) by failing to adequately inform parents that their kids’ conversations and personal data collected by the toys are being shipped off to servers and third-party companies.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amos Yee allegedly in solitary confinement in the USA for insulting Muslims in jail[Ed: Mentally tortures a teenage asylum seeker (not a crime) for insulting Islam; torture and Sharia law imposed in immigration purposes detention facilities?]

      According to a Facebook post which has since been deleted, teen blogger Amos Yee is currently in solitary confinement for criticising Muslims and Islam during their Muslim Studies in jail; and that he is feeling terrible about it.

      [...]

      “He attended a Muslim Studies class, in order to “disagree”. There was a “Muslim pastor” from outside (not a prisoner) and about 18 Muslim prisoners in attendance. Amos called Allah a “sky wizard”. He said that if the religion is 5,000 years old then it’s “complete fucking garbage”. (He said “fuck” a lot). He said that the Quran has passages instructing the devout to kill non-Muslims; the pastor handed him the Quran and challenged him to show such passages, and when Amos said “Ok, I will”, the pastor took the Quran back.

    • The Responsibility to Leak, and Leaking Responsibly

      I know you’re out there, and this is for you. What you’re weighing, it’s not as easy as you think. But it can matter more than anything else you do with your professional life.

      Washington is awash with leaks; if they were real water we’d all drown. The American people feel they are seeing the inner most workings of government, and it is not pretty. Powerful people are falling. Our democracy may be at risk. President Trump and his team have no intention of watching from the sidelines. There is a struggle going on, and people are taking sides.

    • This Keralite ‘Rape Jihadi’ who spoiled over 30 Hindu girls thinks it’s sin to molest Muslim women.

      Devout Quran follower Muhammad Shafi from Kerala posed as Hindu NRI doctor raped over 30 Hindu women under Love Jihad and job placement racket, but never molested a Muslim woman even.

    • Manipur’s Muslim woman jumps into fray despite ‘fatwa’

      Despite a fatwa being issued against her for contesting election, Manipur’s first Muslim woman candidate Najima Bibi said she wants to continue her fight against domestic violence and work for uplift of Muslim women.

      “I am not bothered about my life, but as long as I live I will continue my fight against domestic violence and in favour of social uplift of the Muslim women in the society. My life has been a struggle since childhood, I am not afraid of any threats,” Najima Bibi told PTI.

    • They won’t admit it in Stockholm, but Donald Trump is right about immigration in Sweden

      I was in Stockholm last Friday, an eyewitness on the great night that nothing happened. Donald Trump gave a speech in Florida the next day, asking his audience to look at what had occurred “last night in Sweden”. Something appalling, apparently, involving asylum seekers. The Swedes “took in large numbers,” he said. And now “they’re having problems like they never thought possible”. But he was wrong: nothing of note had happened that night. His mistake was used by much of the Swedish media (and politicians) to slate him, as if he concocted the whole idea of an immigration problem.

    • Divided federal appeals court rules you have the right to film the police

      A divided federal appeals court is ruling for the First Amendment, saying the public has a right to film the police. But the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in upholding the bulk of a lower court’s decision against an activist who was conducting what he called a “First Amendment audit” outside a Texas police station, noted that this right is not absolute and is not applicable everywhere.

      The facts of the dispute are simple. Phillip Turner was 25 in September 2015 when he decided to go outside the Fort Worth police department to test officers’ knowledge of the right to film the police. While filming, he was arrested for failing to identify himself to the police. Officers handcuffed and briefly held Turner before releasing him without charges. Turner sued, alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment right against unlawful arrest and detention and his First Amendment right of speech.

      The 2-1 decision Thursday by Judge Jacques Wiener is among a slew of rulings on the topic, and it provides fresh legal backing for the so-called YouTube society where people are constantly using their mobile phones to film themselves and the police. The American Civil Liberties Union says, “there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs or video in public places and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply.”

    • White House Promises ‘Greater Enforcement’ of Federal Marijuana Laws

      The Trump Administration will step up enforcement of federal laws barring recreational marijuana in states where its use is legalized, the White House said Thursday.

      Asked about the conflict between federal laws barring recreational marijuana and the handful of states that allow it, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the Administration would change direction from the more permissive approach under President Obama.

      “I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Spicer told reporters Thursday during the White House briefing.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC votes to lift net neutrality transparency rules for smaller internet providers

      The newly Republican-controlled FCC took its first steps to scale back net neutrality today by voting to lift transparency requirements from smaller internet providers.

      Internet providers with fewer than 250,000 subscribers will not be required to disclose information on network performance, fees, and data caps, thanks to this rule change. The commission had initially exempted internet providers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers with the intention of revisiting the issue later to determine whether a higher or lower figure was appropriate.

    • Comcast’s Decision To Charge Roku Users A Bogus Fee Highlights Its Uncanny Ability To Shoot Innovation In The Foot

      So when we last checked in with Comcast, the company was whining about a now deceased FCC plan to bring some much-needed openness and competition to your dusty old cable box. The FCC had proposed requiring that cable providers let users pick the cable box of their choice, later modifying the plan (after endless industry pearl-clutching) to simply requiring that cable providers bring their existing content in app form to existing streaming boxes. Granted, Comcast was at the heart of a massive, bizarre disinformation effort claiming the plan would end civilization as we know it.

      Of course, what it would have ended was not only $21 billion in cable box monopoly rental fees, but a cornerstone of the closed, locked down walled garden that helps prop up the cable industry’s gatekeeper power. Comcast, for what it’s worth, claimed that bringing its content to third-party devices would harm copyright, increase piracy, hinder cable industry “innovation,” and was technically impossible anyway. Regardless, the FCC’s plan is dead, and it’s not coming back any time soon.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Lindsay Lohan Won’t Put Her GTA5 Lawsuit Out Of Its Misery

      Here is something you, the dear Techdirt reader, may not have known about me: I had always thought that there was only one proper spelling for the name “Lindsey.” I’m not sure why I thought that, but I was certain that name was only spelled with an “e” before the “y.” But, it turns out, spelling it as “Lindsay” is a perfectly common and accepted alternate spelling for the name. And the only reason that I now know that is because Linsday, with an “a,” Lohan will not let her lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive — for appropriating her likeness for several characters, which didn’t actually happen — die its final death.

      First, a refresher. Lohan decided that a side quest character in Grand Theft Auto 5, which was actually an amalgam of several Hollywood starlet tropes, violated her publicity rights. She also claimed that an entirely different character that was used on some of the game’s marketing and packaging was also her and also violated her publicity rights. The case wove its way through the past half-decade, largely with the court and Take-Two casting narrow eyes at the mountains of paperwork Lohan’s legal team was able to produce while somehow maintaining an inability to come up with claims that were in any way credible, before the court finally tossed the lawsuit entirely. The court at the time made it clear that Take-Two’s characters weren’t direct appropriations of Lohan’s likeness and that the parody amalgam starlet it had created was clearly protected by the First Amendment.

    • WIPO Committee On Protection Of Folklore: Shall We Dance? [Ed: When people of one nation 'copy' (inspiration) a dance of another it isn't theft but sharing. Who 'owns' folklore? Maximalists help rich privateers.]

      The United States tabled a document for discussion next week, listing a number of what they consider examples of traditional cultural expressions (TCEs). The European Union proposed a study on the protection of TCEs in WIPO members, and if and how TCEs benefit from intellectual property protection in those countries. The United States and the European Union countries are generally opposed to a binding instrument to protect TCEs.

      [...]

      According to WIPO, TCEs may include music, dance, art, designs, names, signs and symbols, performances, ceremonies, architectural forms, handicraft and narratives.

      Next week is the first meeting on TCEs of the biennium. The last formal meeting on TCEs dates back to April 2014, due to a one-year hiatus in the work of the committee and the order in which the topics of the IGC have been addressed in this biennium.

    • Copyrights

      • Google: With No Fair Use, It’s More Difficult to Innovate

        Unlike the United States where ‘fair use’ exemptions are entrenched in law, Australia has only a limited “fair dealing” arrangement. As a result, Google’s head of copyright William Patry says that Australia wouldn’t be a safe place for his company to store certain data, a clear hindrance to innovation and productivity.

02.23.17

Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision

Posted in News Roundup at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • US Business, Government Work To Bring Down ‘Dangerous’ UN Panel Report On Access To Medicines – And Change The Debate In Geneva

      Calling it flawed and narrow and seemingly threatened by its contents, the leading United States business group and US government IP specialists are working to limit the impact of a recent United Nations report that made recommendations for the decades-old problem of ensuring affordable medicines reach people when they are under patent in a way that does not threaten innovation. One step in countering the UN report? Change the discourse in Geneva and elsewhere.

      [...]

      The IP Attaché program places US diplomats in many offices around the world “to advocate US positions on intellectual property matters for the benefit of US stakeholders,” as stated in a program brochure. They not only raise issues with foreign governments and provide training and raise public awareness, but they also help US stakeholders doing business in foreign markets. The main focus is foreign laws, foreign courts, and IP enforcement.

    • German-Backed Report Lays Out Strategy For R&D Into New Antibiotics

      In the face of the lack of attractiveness of investing in research for new antibiotics for the pharmaceutical industry, and the general lack of funding for research and development for novel antibiotics, a new report commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Health calls for countries to take action. In particular, the report proposes a global union for research and development, a global research fund, and a global launch reward. And access and pricing are key components of the strategy, it says.

      The report [pdf] titled, “Breaking through the Wall – A Call for Concerted Action on Antibiotics Research and Development,” was written by the Boston Consulting Group for the German Federal Ministry of Health.

    • Side Event On UN High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines Next Week At WTO

      As the World Trade Organization intellectual property committee meeting next week is expected to discuss the report of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines next week, a group of developing countries is convening a side event to engage in discussion with members of the panel. The report included several direct recommendations to WTO members.

      The side event [pdf], organised by Bangladesh, Brazil, India, South Africa, the Secretariat of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, and the South Centre, is scheduled to take place on 1 March.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Terrorism Denial on the Left

      At the end of last year I attended a large conference of social science academics and researchers in Melbourne. Speaking on a plenary panel in front of hundreds of attendees was the director of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Australia’s primary refugee advocacy organisation. He opened the plenary by describing the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers, decrying the cruelty of Australia’s policy of offshore detention toward refugees, and the need for a more humane approach. He pointed out that funding for refugee services had been cut by a seemingly callous government that was indifferent to the plight of refugees. These are all legitimate — if familiar — points in the debate about this topic. However he then went on to say that all of this was happening whilst we spent billions of dollars on a “fictitious war against terror”.

    • What’s With The Assumption That Criticism Equals Hate?

      Take the term “Islamophobia.” It is anything but phobic to fear that pernicious Islamic ideology — which calls for the death or conversion of “the infidel” and a world without individual rights — will have negative effects on our society and our lives.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • South Korea presidential candidate calls for ‘WikiLeaks’ operation

      A South Korean presidential candidate known for his left-leaning populist views is proposing a government-run operation similar to WikiLeaks, the international organization that publishes classified information on its website.

      Lee Jae-myung, the mayor of Seongnam and a politician with the liberal Minjoo Party of Korea, appeared to be suggesting a new policy, South Korean news service Money Today reported.

      Lee, 52, said South Korean government staffers who leak information to the press should be protected before they are fired.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • First national ‘bee map’ charts their decline – but hopes to stem the trend

      Scientists have compiled a map detailing wild bee activity across the US, but the picture it paints isn’t great.

      It’s no secret that bees are struggling to stay aloft. The precise reasons are up for debate, but many experts agree that a perfect storm of pressures from pesticide use, the rise of monocrop agriculture, declines in natural habitat, and global warming are squeezing many bee populations out of existence.

    • Standing Rock Under Siege: Officials Begin Arresting Protesters

      Law enforcement officials began arresting protestors at the Oceti Sakowin campsite in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, just after 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, hours after the deadline Gov. Doug Burgum set for the camp to clear contractors can finish the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Protestors vowed to stay as long as any Standing Rock Sioux tribe elders wanted to stay.

      Several activists and media organizations broadcast Facebook Live feeds from a scene that is shaping up to be a bitter end to months-long resistance to the pipeline. As of 6 p.m. ET, thousands of people watched Facebook Live streams that showed protesters braving the snow, sleet and rain to make one last stand against what they see as desecration of the sacred land of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. While violence appeared minimal, BuzzFeed News reported one man broke his hip while clashing with police on Highway 1806.

    • Police begin arresting, removing last DAPL protesters

      Hundreds of police in riot gear and carrying night sticks arrested several of the final Dakota Access Pipeline protesters remaining on federal land in violation of orders to vacate by the governor. Protesters consider the land to be indigenous property, Standing Rock, under treaty.

    • Last Remnants of Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Camp Are Engulfed in Flames

      Some of the last remnants of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp went up in flames Wednesday as opponents of the project set fire to makeshift wooden housing as part of a leaving ceremony ahead of a government deadline to get off the federal land.

      The camp has been home to demonstrators for six months as they tried to thwart construction of the pipeline. Many of the protesters planned to go peacefully, but authorities were prepared to arrest others who said they would defy the deadline in a final show of dissent.

      About 150 people marched arm-in-arm out of the camp, singing and playing drums as they walked down a highway. It was not clear where they were headed. One man carried an American flag hung upside-down.

  • Finance

    • New WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Seen Benefiting Developing Nations, Global Trade

      As of 23 February, the following WTO members have accepted the TFA: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei Darussalam, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia, Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, India, the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Albania, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Madagascar, the Republic of Moldova, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Senegal, Uruguay, Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iceland, Chile, Swaziland, Dominica, Mongolia, Gabon, the Kyrgyz Republic, Canada, Ghana, Mozambique, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Nigeria, Nepal, Rwanda, Oman, Chad and Jordan.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Ellison holds edge in DNC race survey

      As Democrats head to Atlanta this weekend to vote on their party’s next chair, the race to lead the Democratic National Committee chair is coming down to its two leading candidates.

      Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) has the edge over former Labor secretary Tom Perez in The Hill’s new survey of DNC members. But while both men claim they are close to securing commitments from the majority of the 447 voting members, neither candidate is assured victory.

      The Hill has identified the stances of 240 DNC members, either through their private responses to a survey circulated over the past week or from public endorsements.

      Out of those who responded, Ellison leads with 105 supporters to Perez’s 57. The remaining major candidates have less than a dozen supporters each, while more than 50 DNC members remain undecided.

    • More Than 90 Percent of U.S. Opposed to Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban According to AI Research

      The vast majority of Americans are opposed to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, according to new research that significantly contrasts with traditional polling on the subject.

      Research by BrandsEye, an artificial intelligence data analysis firm, showed that 91 percent of Americans were critical of Trump’s recent executive order on immigration in conversations on social media. The findings highlight the limitations of current opinion polls, according to the firm’s CEO, which generally found opinion to be more evenly divided. A Reuters/Ipsos poll at the end of January found that 49 percent of people agreed with the order, while 41 percent disagreed.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

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

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

    • Kenya’s Censorship King: Head Of Film Board Accused Of Overstepping

      Ezekiel Mutua is the head of Kenya’s film board. He’s really just supposed to rate films and other media. But over the past year, he has undertaken a censorship crusade expanding his mandate into the Internet, music and even forcing the cancellation of a lesbian speed-dating event.

    • Skepta fans angered over censorship of Brit Award performance
    • Brit Awards 2017: Skepta Performance Censorship Sparks Social Media Backlash

      Brit Awards viewers were left unimpressed during Wednesday’s (22 February) live show, after Skepta’s performance was heavily censored.

      The grime artist was one of several British stars to take to the stage during this year’s ceremony, performing his song ‘Shutdown’, taken from his Mercury Prize-winning album, ‘Konnichiwa’.

      However, despite the fact that Skepta’s performance was aired after the 9pm watershed, the audio was cut several times throughout his time on stage, due to his repeated use of the word “pussy”.

    • Universities and the Threat of Censorship

      During the last few years, we have witnessed a very worrying period for free-speech within universities. In 2015 alone we witnessed 30 universities banning newspapers, 25 banning songs, 10 banning clubs or societies, and 19 worryingly banning speakers from events. Not only that, we have witnessed various feminists, human-rights advocates and LGBT-Rights defenders indicted as encroachers of acceptable propriety and consequently indicted as ‘unfit for a speaker platform’.

    • Techdirt’s Readers Kept This German Comedian Out Of Prison

      Remember Jan Böhmermann? The guy who caused a major diplomatic spat back in April when he read out a satirical poem about Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the notoriously thin-skinned Turkish president, on a German comedy show?

      Usually, what happens on Central European state-run TV stays on Central European state-run TV. Not this time. “Erdogate” went massively viral: there were protests in the streets of Istanbul. Techdirt covered it at length. Even a guy named John Oliver did a segment on it.

      Now Erdogate’s back in the news, with a number of media outlets reporting that a German court just permanently enjoined Böhmermann from reciting his own poem. Sucks for him, right? Actually, no. Bad as it is, things are usually a hell of a lot worse for people in his position.

    • Another Free Speech Win In Libel Lawsuit Disguised As A Trademark Complaint

      Unless the Supreme Court decides to weigh in on this long-running SLAPP lawsuit (highly unlikely — and unlikely to be appealed to that level), it looks like it’s finally the end of the line for Dr. Edward Tobinick and his quest to silence a critic of his questionable medical practices.

    • Students speak out against censorship

      The recent incident at Guangdong’s Southern Weekly appears to be galvanizing Chinese from diverse backgrounds. Earlier today, we reported how the second open letter voicing support for the newspaper has been signed not just by journalists but by lawyers, academics, artists, writers, students, migrant workers and others.

      This afternoon another open letter surfaced on Chinese social media, this time attributed to students at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University. The letter, which includes the names of 18 signers identified as students of the university, bears the title: “Today, We Are Not Without Choices: An Independent Call from Sun Yat-sen University Students on the Southern Weekly Incident.”

    • Vice goes inside Syria to show what media censorship really looks like

      Inspired by President Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer, the press frequently invokes the specter of ominous reality control as exercised by the bad guys in George Orwell’s “1984.”

      No surprise, book sales are through the roof even if many journalists may not have actually read the classic they cite. But, forget Trump: if you want truly odious propaganda in action, which makes Conway look like a Franciscan Sister, check out Bashar al-Assad’s Syria.

      A recent Vice Media dissection of the situation is part of Friday night’s 5th season premiere of Vice’s newsmagazine show on HBO. It’s a two-part episode, featuring “Assad’s Syria,” which is fronted by correspondent Isobel Yeung, and “Cost of Climate Change,” hosted by Vice founder Shane Smith.

      It’s all very strong, especially Yeung’s effort that entailed dangerous reporting throughout Syria. For sure, there has been great reporting in the country. But this goes well beyond much of the sporadic American media accounts, which have tended to focus on the battle over Aleppo and the nation’s unceasing humanitarian disaster resulting from a civil war with atrocities on all sides.

    • Music Industry Wants Piracy Filters, No Takedown Whack-a-Mole

      A group of prominent music groups including the RIAA has asked the Copyright Office to help solve the “broken” and “ineffective” DMCA law. The current takedown provision results in a never-ending game of whack-a-mole, they say, arguing that automated piracy filters are the way forward.

    • Google Report: 99.95 Percent Of DMCA Takedown Notices Are Bot-Generated Bullshit Buckshot

      Google, being the search giant that it is, has been banging the drum for some time about the silly way the DMCA has been abused by those that wield it like a cudgel. Here at Techdirt, we too have described the many ways that the well-intentioned DMCA and the way its implemented by service providers has deviated from its intended purpose. Still, the vast majority of our stories discuss deliberate attempts by human beings to silence critics and competition using the takedown process. Google, on the other hand, has been far more focused on statistics for DMCA takedown notices that show wanton disregard for what it was supposed to be used for entirely. That makes sense of course, as the abuse of the takedown process is a burden on the search company. In that first link, for instance, Google noted that more than half the takedown notices it was receiving in 2009 were mere attempts by one business targeting a competitor, while over a third of the notices contained nothing in the way of a valid copyright dispute.

    • Google: 99.95% of Recent ‘Trusted’ DMCA Notices Were Bogus

      In comments submitted to a U.S. Copyright Office consultation, Google has given the DMCA a vote of support, despite widespread abuse. Noting that the law allows for innovation and agreements with content creators, Google says that 99.95% of URLs it was asked to take down last month didn’t even exist in its search indexes.

    • Why The DMCA’s Notice & Takedown Already Has First Amendment Problems… And RIAA/MPAA Want To Make That Worse

      The Copyright Office’s study concerning Section 512 of the DMCA (the notice-and-takedown/safe harbors part of the law) had its second comment period end this week — which is why you’re seeing stories about how the RIAA is suddenly talking about piracy filters and notice-and-staydown. Via our think tank arm, the Copia Institute we filed our own comments, pointing out the already problematic First Amendment issues with the way the current notice-and-takedown system works. Remember, there’s a very high standard set by the Supreme Court before you can take down expressive content.

    • New MTRCB chief says no to censorship

      Don’t be fooled by the cool and calm demeanor, Rachel Arenas is tough as nails and seems raring to pursue her new job as the chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

      At first glance, Arenas, a former representative of Pangasinan, seems more than primed to face the intrigues that come with the territory.

      [...]

      A long-term objective is to “revisit the law” governing the MTRCB. Specifically, she is looking into the different bills that have been filed in Congress, that pertain to the board’s mandate. “Our Technical Working Group is in the process of reviewing the bills and drafting our comments,” she explained.

    • Judge Pauses Enforcement of IMDb Age Censorship Law
    • Judge Pauses Enforcement of IMDb Actor Age Censorship Law
    • Judge blocks California law that allows actors to delete their age from website
    • ‘Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship’
    • Censorship and art don’t mix
    • London’s first alt-right art show since Trump’s election to be met with protests
    • Benefactor of controversial LD50 art gallery denies interest or involvement in its activities
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Sen. Wyden Wants Answers From New DHS Head, Introducing Legislation To Create Warrant Requirement For Border Phone Searches

      There aren’t many rights extended to anyone in the “Constitution-free zones” we like to call “borders.” You may have rights 100 miles inland, but the government’s needs and wants outweigh citizens’ and non-citizens’ rights wherever immigration officers roam. According to the Supreme Court, warrants are required for cell phone searches. But neither the Constitution nor Supreme Court rulings apply within 100 miles of the border, where the government’s needs and wants are considered more important than the protections they can avail themselves of everywhere else in the country.

      Senator Ron Wyden is looking to change that. Rather than cede more ground to the rights-swallowing concept of “national security,” Wyden is looking to change the laws governing the “Constitution-free zones.”

    • Federal Bill Introduced To Add A Warrant Requirement To Stingray Deployment

      House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, along with his Senatorial counterpart Ron Wyden, is tackling something he promised to act on after he was finished excoriating the leaky Office of Personnel Management for ruining the lives of millions of Americans: Stingray devices.

    • Pentagon mulling split of NSA, Cyber Command
    • Peter Thiel’s Palantir allegedly helped NSA spy programme XKeyscore, new Snowden documents reveal
    • Peter Thiel company reportedly helped NSA spy program
    • Palantir has a couple of new software for spy agencies, here are some details
    • New details emerge about Palantir’s custom software for spy agencies
    • NSA denies ‘blanket’ spying on spectators and athletes at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City

      The National Security Agency has denied it indiscriminately spied on spectators, athletes and others who attended the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

      The denial came in a document filed last week in a U.S. District Court in Utah, where a group of Salt Lake City residents filed a complaint in 2015 alleging the U.S. government engaged “in widespread, indiscriminate communications surveillance, interception, and analysis, without warrants and without probable cause” during the Games that took place just months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    • NSA denies spying on everyone in SLC during the 2002 Olympics
    • Coalition Slams DHS Plans To Demand Social Media Passwords

      Starting last summer, we noted that the Department of Homeland Security had quietly tested the waters to expand the information it requested of travelers entering the United States, to “optionally” include social media handles. By December it was officially in place. And then, just days into the new administration, the idea was floated to expand this program even further to demand passwords to social media accounts.

    • Tinder boss predicts AI will find your matches within five years

      Sorry about that. But more and more it seems that developers are looking at ways to use AI to find you that special someone. 420 Friends, which launched this week is a dating app that specialises in finding you that special someone.

    • The Ousting Of Trump’s National Security Advisor Shows Just How Dangerous ‘Lawful’ Domestic Surveillance Is

      Those who thought the domestic surveillance Ed Snowden exposed was perfectly acceptable and lawful are finding it much harder to stomach with Trump in charge. The Lawfare blog, which routinely hosts articles supportive of government surveillance activities, has taken on a new tone over the past few months. The lesson being learned: if a power can only be trusted in certain people’s hands, then it really can’t be trusted in anyone’s. This belated realization is better than none, but one wonders if the drastic change in tone would have followed an election that put Hillary Clinton in the White House.

      That’s not to say the first month of Trump’s presidency has borne any resemblance to a “peaceful transition of power.” The federal government isn’t just leaking. It’s hemorrhaging. Underneath the recent ouster of Mike Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, is something disturbing.

      What’s disturbing isn’t the surveillance — although in “normal” circumstances it might be. Flynn was dumped because recorded phone calls captured him discussing sanctions with Russian officials. This domestic surveillance isn’t unheard of. The fact that this information — including the content of the calls — was leaked to the public is more notable.

    • When the NSA Feared Psychics Could Make Cities Lost in Time and Space

      A classified government document opens with “an odd sequence of events relating to parapsychology has occurred within the last month” and concluded with an alarming question about psychics nuking cities so that they became lost in time and space. If this sounds like a plot out of science fiction, it is – but it’s also a NSA memo from 1977.

      The first “event” raised by the NSA note is a CIA report which mentioned KGB research into parapsychology. According to this, the KGB used hobbyists and non-governmental researchers to talk to western scientists. This allowed the KGB to collect useful information without putting themselves into a position to accidentally leak confidential information to westerners. According to the NSA note, this tactic yielded “high grade western scientific data.”

    • NSA will continue to disclose zero-day bugs under Trump… for now [Ed: Repeating what the NSA says (stenography) even though it is already, under Obama too, hiding serious flaws and exploits these]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amos Yee blames Donald Trump for his extended incarceration in U.S. jail

      Yee made his first appearance at an immigration court in Chicago on 30 Jan. The blogger claimed that the American authorities backtracked on their promise to release him from the American jail after his first hearing. His next hearing is set for 7 March.

      Yee landed in Chicago O-Hare Airport on 16 Dec with a tourist visa and was detained by the US authorities when they discovered text messages between him and a US-based Singaporean activist, Melissa Chen, about his bid for political asylum in America.

    • PNG Customary landowner: SABL exploits human rights

      Customary landowner Anna Sipona from Malmal Village in west Pomio said the SABL is a strange concept to the people of Pomio that promotes human rights abuse.

      Representing the silent majority in the affected villages in west Pomio, Sipona said the SABL issue is not just about land and logging but about the human rights of women and children.

    • Need for PNG parliament to enact whistle blower legislation

      Justice Ambeng Kandakasi highlighted this recently when handing down a decision on a case involving a “whistle blower” who was sacked by his superiors.

    • Danish man who burned Quran charged with blasphemy

      A man who filmed himself burning the Quran has become the first person to be charged under Denmark’s blasphemy law in 46 years.
      The 42-year-old filmed himself burning a copy of Islam’s holy book in his back yard in December 2015. He then posted the video on the anti-Islamic Facebook group, “Yes to freedom – no to Islam” along with the words, “Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns.”

    • Another ‘Terrorist’ Swept Up By The FBI, Which Had To Purchase $20 Of ‘Terrorist’ Supplies To Keep The ‘Plan’ In Motion

      Perhaps no entity generates more fake news than the FBI’s counterterrorism unit. Several times a year, a press release is issued announcing the bust of a so-called terrorist. Almost invariably, the “terrorist” has been handcrafted through the relentless intercession of undercover FBI agents.

      [...]

      Undercover agents began working with/on Hester shortly after this arrest. Seizing on his anti-government social media posts [good lord], the agents told Hester they could put him in touch with someone with direct terrorist connections. This “direct connection” was just another FBI agent. It was the FBI that suggested acquiring weapons. And it was the FBI who chose to take Hester seriously, despite his nonexistent terrorist group (“the Lion Guard”) sporting a name that had been pulled from a cartoon his children watched.

      It was also an FBI agent who suggested that even thinking about planning a terrorist attack was an irrevocable act — and that entertaining second thoughts about committing acts of violence would be rewarded with acts of violence.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Missouri The Latest State To Let Telecom Monopolies Write Awful, Protectionist State Law

      21 states have passed laws hamstringing the rights of local communities when it comes to improving broadband infrastructure. Usually dressed up as breathless concern about the taxpayer — these bills have one purpose: protect the telecom mono/duopoly status quo — and the campaign contributions it represents — from the will of the people. Countless towns and cities have built their own next-generation networks, usually because nobody else would. But these bills, usually ghost written by ISPs for politicians with ALEC’s help, either ban locals from making this decision for themselves, or saddle these operations with enough restrictions to make them untenable.

  • DRM

    • Mashable Says You Shouldn’t Own What You Buy Because You Might Hurt Yourself

      The news site Mashable has apparently decided that you, the general public, are simply too dumb to actually own the stuff you thought you bought because you might just injure yourself. We’ve written about so-called “right to repair” laws and why they’re so important. There are a variety of issues, but the most basic one here is about property rights. If you buy something, it’s supposed to be yours. It doesn’t remain the property of whoever first made it. And they shouldn’t then be able to deny you the ability to tinker with, modify, or repair what you bought. However, Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff (last seen here being completely clueless about the importance of anonymity online because he, personally, never could see a reason why someone might want to speak truth to power without revealing who they are), has decided that because you might be too dumb to properly repair stuff, the entire “right to repair” concept “is a dumb idea.”

      The article can basically be summed up as “I have a friend, and her iPhone wasn’t repaired properly, so no one should be able to repair your iPhone but Apple.” Really.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • China’s Latest Target For Online Crackdown: Live-Streaming Foreigners

        Perhaps the Chinese government feels that it has the domestic population sufficiently under control now that it can move on to tightening up the rules for foreign visitors.

      • 8 things hidden in 400 pages of copyright secrets

        Much of the content, including arguments from key players, is redacted.

      • Former RIAA Executive Attacks Fair Use

        This week has been dubbed fair use week by a whole bunch of organizations (mostly universities and libraries) as a chance to celebrate the usefulness and wonder that is fair use in protecting free speech, enabling creativity and inspiring innovation. As we’ve said many times in the past, fair use is an incredibly important concept — if often misunderstood — so it’s good to see these organizations working together to better educate the public on why fair use is so key.

        However, not everyone is so enthralled with fair use. The MPAA and RIAA are apparently so frightened by fair use that they, and some of its friends, have been posting weirdly uninformed screeds against fair use over the past few days. Some are more silly than others (such as one that tries to claim that the MPAA has never been against fair use, ignoring that the MPAA’s long-time boss Jack Valenti once declared — totally incorrectly — that fair use wasn’t in the law), but let’s focus on the one that comes straight from a former RIAA top exec.

02.22.17

Links 22/2/2017: Wine-Staging 2.2, Nautilus 3.24

Posted in News Roundup at 1:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Austrian Schools

      Here it is 2017 and Austrian schools are using GNU/Linux and folks are still having problems with That Other OS in schools. I was in a similar situation back in 2000 when I first installed GNU/Linux in my classroom. TOOS didn’t work for me then and it still doesn’t work for schools today. Any time you have a monopolist telling you what you can and can’t do in your classroom, you’re going to have problems, especially if that monopolist isn’t particularly supportive of your objectives. In my case, M$ was celebrating its monopoly and didn’t even care if the software crashed hourly. I later discovered there were all kinds of evil consequences of the EULA from Hell, like limiting the size of networks without a server running their software and fat licensing fees.

    • How to build the fastest Linux PC possible on a budget

      There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a system boot up almost instantaneously when the power switch is hit. Long gone are the days of going to make yourself a brew while those spinning platters buzz and the display kicks into life, lazily dragging you into the GUI you call home.

      But surely that luxury of speed is reserved for those who are willing to drop £1,000+ on a new system? Fortunately, this is not the case anymore. With advancements in technology over the last six years, and Intel’s aggressive push to keep reinvigorating its chipsets each and every generation, we’re starting to see more and more affordable budget, speed-oriented components finally making it to market.

      The SSD has succeeded the hard drive with sub 10-second boot times and lightning quick file transfers. However, three years on and we’ve seen both the rise and fall of the SATA III bus. This was a standard that was supposed to last us until 2020, but now lies completely saturated, with only the ever enduring HDD still making good use of the connectivity.

    • How to communicate from a Linux shell: Email, instant messaging

      I get a lot of questions on how to perform various tasks from a Linux shell/terminal. In the interest of making a simple cheat sheet—something I can point people to that will help them get rolling with terminal powers—what follows are my recommendations for how to perform various types of communication from your shell.

      I’m talking about the normal sort of communication most people perform via a web browser (or a handful of graphical applications) nowadays: Email, instant messaging, that sort of thing. Except, you know, running them entirely in a terminal—which you can run just about anywhere: in an SSH session on a remote server, on a handheld device, or even on your Android phone/tablet.

    • 5 signs that you are a Linux geek

      Linux users are a passionate bunch, and some are downright proud of their of their geekiness. But if you’re not sure about your status, a writer at MakeUseOf has a list of 5 signs that show you are a Linux geek.

    • The Year Of Linux On Everything But The Desktop

      The War on Linux goes back to Bill Gates, then CEO of Microsoft, in an “open letter to hobbyists” published in a newsletter in 1976. Even though Linux wouldn’t be born until 1991, Gates’ burgeoning software company – itself years away from releasing its first operating system – already felt the threat of open source software. We know Gates today as a kindly billionaire who’s joining us in the fight against everything from disease to income inequality, but there was a time when Gates was the bad guy of the computing world.

      Microsoft released its Windows operating system in 1985. At the time, its main competition was Apple and Unix-like systems. BSD was the dominant open source Unix clone then – it marks its 40th birthday this year, in fact – and Microsoft fired barrages of legal challenges to BSD just like it eventually would against Linux. Meanwhile Apple sued Microsoft over its interface, in the infamous “Look and Feel” lawsuit, and Microsoft’s reign would forever be challenged. Eventually Microsoft would be tried in both the US and the UK for antitrust, which is a government regulation against corporate monopolies. Even though it lost both suits, Microsoft simply paid the fine out of its bottomless pockets and kept right at it.

    • EU privacy watchdogs say Windows 10 settings still raise concerns

      European Union data protection watchdogs said on Monday they were still concerned about the privacy settings of Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system despite the U.S. company announcing changes to the installation process.

      The watchdogs, a group made up of the EU’s 28 authorities responsible for enforcing data protection law, wrote to Microsoft last year expressing concerns about the default installation settings of Windows 10 and users’ apparent lack of control over the company’s processing of their data.

      The group – referred to as the Article 29 Working Party -asked for more explanation of Microsoft’s processing of personal data for various purposes, including advertising.

    • Microsoft Faces European Privacy Probes Over Windows 10

      Microsoft Corp. faces a coordinated investigation by European privacy regulators after it failed to do enough to address their concerns about the collection and processing of user data with a series of changes to Windows 10 last month.

      European Union data-protection officials sent a letter to Microsoft saying they remain “concerned about the level of protection of users’ personal data,” according to a copy of the document posted by the Dutch watchdog Tuesday. Regulators from seven countries are concerned that even after the announced changes, “Microsoft does not comply with fundamental privacy rules.”

  • Server

    • Of Pies and Platforms: Platform-as-a-Service vs. Containers-as-a-Service

      I’m often asked about the difference between using a platform as a service (PaaS) vs. a containers-as-a-service (CaaS) approach to developing cloud applications. When does it makes sense to choose one or the other? One way to describe the difference and how it affects your development time and resources is to look at it like the process of baking a pie.

    • Understanding OpenStack’s Success

      At the time I got into the data storage industry, I was working with and developing RAID and JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) controllers for 2 Gbit Fibre Channel Storage Area Networks (SAN). This was a time before “The Cloud”. Things were different—so were our users. There was comfort in buying from a single source or single vendor. In an ideal world, it should all work together, harmoniously, right? And when things go awry, that single vendor should be able to solve every problem within that entire deployment.

    • Open source docks with mainstream vendors

      Open source and mainstream are joining forces this week as the Docker software containerisation platform comes under the spotlight at technology-focused network and information sessions in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

      “The diversity of our partners at the event − Docker, Microsoft Azure, Atlassian, SUSE and HPE – is a clear indication of the excitement around the Docker platform,” says Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian Systems.

  • Kernel Space

    • New Media Drivers Queued For Linux 4.11

      Another pull request worth mentioning for the Linux 4.11 kernel is the media subsystem updates.

    • A Big Networking Update For Linux 4.11

      David Miller has mailed out the rather big set of updates to the networking subsystem for the Linux 4.11 kernel.

    • Linux 4.11 Adds EFI Memory Attributes Table Support

      The (U)EFI support continues to evolve within the Linux kernel and with the 4.11 release will be new and improved functionality.

    • Security Changes Bring Major AppArmor Update, Better TPM 2.0 To Linux 4.11

      James Morris has filed the security subsystem feature updates targeting the Linux 4.11 merge window.

      Changes to the security-related components in the kernel include a major AppArmor update with policy namespaces support and many fixes, /sys/kernel/security/lsm now makes it easy to show loaded Linux Security Modules, SELinux updates, and improved TPM 2.0 support.

    • Linux 4.10 arrives

      With more than 13,000 commits, the release of Linux 4.10 was not as small at Linus Torvalds was expecting. Nonetheless, it arrived over the weekend, bringing with it significant changes, such as the introduction of support for virtual GPUs.

    • Linux Kernel 4.10 Released — Happy Anniversary!

      Kernel 4.10 has the honor of being christened the “Anniversary Edition” by Linus Torvalds. I’m guessing this is because of the recent 25th anniversary of the release of Linux 0.01. Admittedly, it is a bit late for that (the anniversary was back in September); however, Linus had not named any of the recent releases for the occasion, opting instead for naming them after several deranged animals.

    • Collabora Contributions to Linux Kernel 4.10

      Linux Kernel v4.10 is out and this time Collabora contributed a total of 39 patches by 10 different developers. You can read more about the v4.10 merge window on LWN.net: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

      Now here is a look at the changes made by Collaborans. To begin with Daniel Stone fixed an issue when waiting for fences on the i915 driver, while Emil Velikov added support to read the PCI revision for sysfs to improve the starting time in some applications.

    • Mesos Is to the Datacenter as the Kernel Is to Linux

      Necessity is the mother of invention. We needed our datacenters to be more automated, so we invented tools like Puppet and Chef. We needed easier application deployment, so we invented Docker. Of course it didn’t stop there. Ben Hindman, the founder and chief architect of Mesosphere, co-created Apache Mesos. In his keynote at MesosCon Asia 2016, Hindman relates how failures and elasticity led to the development of Mesos.

    • Power Management Sees More P-State Tweaking, Other Changes For Linux 4.11

      Rafael Wysocki has submitted the ACPI and power management feature updates for the Linux 4.11 kernel.

      The work in the power management space this cycle includes improvements to Operating Performance Points (OPP), CPUFreq core clean-ups, new CPUFreq drivers for Broadcom BMIPS and TI SoCs and Qoriq.

    • Linux 4.10 Released as First New Kernel of 2017

      After a one week delay, Linus Torvalds released the first new Linux kernel of 2017 on Feb. 19, with the debut of Linux 4.10. The Linux 4.9 kernel (aka ‘Roaring Lionus” was released back on Dec. 11. There was some talk in 2016 that seemed to indicate that Linux 4.10 would in fact be re-numbered as Linux 5.0 but that didn’t end up happening.

      “On the whole, 4.10 didn’t end up as small as it initially looked,” Torvalds wrote in his release announcement. “After the huge release that was 4.9, I expected things to be pretty quiet, but it ended up very much a fairly average release by modern kernel standards.”

      “So we have about 13,000 commits (not counting merges- that would be another 1200+ commits if you count those),” Torvalds added.

    • The Companies That Support Linux and Open Source: Mender.io

      IoT is largely transitioning from hype to implementation with the growth of smart and connected devices spanning across all industries including building automation, energy, healthcare and manufacturing. The automotive industry has given some of the most tangible examples of both the promise and risk of IoT, with Tesla’s ability to deploy over-the-air software updates a prime example of forward-thinking efficiency. On the other side, the Jeep Cherokee hack in July 2015 displayed the urgent need for security to be a top priority for embedded devices as several security lapses made it vulnerable and gave hackers the ability to remotely control the vehicle. One of the security lapses included the firmware update of the head unit (V850) not having the proper authenticity checks.

    • Open Source Networking: Disruptive Innovation Ready for Prime Time

      Innovations are much more interesting than inventions. The “laser” is a classic invention and “FedEx” is a classic innovation. Successful innovation disrupts entire industries and ecosystems as we’ve seen with Uber, AirBnB, and Amazon to name just a few. The entire global telecommunication industry is at the dawn of a new era of innovation. Innovations should be the rising tide in which everybody wins except what’s referred to as “laggards.” Who are the laggards going to be in this new era of open communications? You don’t want to be one.

      [...]

      It’s clear from this presentation that The Linux Foundation and its Open Source Networking and Orchestration portfolio of projects is driving real innovation in the networking ecosystem. Successful and impactful innovations take time as the disruptive forces ripple throughout the ecosystem. The Linux Foundation is taking on the complex task of coordinating multiple open source initiatives with the goal to eliminate barriers to adoption. Providing end-to-end testing and harmonization will reduce many deployment barriers and accelerate the time required for production deployments. Those interested in the future of open source networking should attend ONS 2017. No one wants to be a “laggard.”

    • XFS Changes Filed For The Linux 4.11 Kernel

      The XFS file-system updates have been submitted for the Linux 4.11 merge window.

    • Xen Changes For Linux 4.11: Lands PVHv2 Guest Support

      The latest pull request worth mentioning for the Linux 4.11 merge window are the Xen virtualization feature updates.

    • Linux Kernel 4.10 Lands in SparkyLinux’s Unstable Repo, Here’s How to Install It

      The trend of offering users the most recent Linux kernel release continues today with SparkyLinux, an open-source, Debian-based distribution that always ships with the latest GNU/Linux technologies and software versions.

      SparkyLinux appears to be the third distro to offer its users the ability to install the recently released Linux 4.10 kernel, after Linux Lite and Ubuntu, as the developers announced earlier that the Linux kernel 4.10 packages are now available from the unstable repository.

    • Graphics Stack

      • RADV Vulkan Driver’s PRIME Code Rewritten

        Red Hat’s David Airlie keeps to work on improving the open-source Radeon Vulkan driver.

      • Intel Sandy Bridge Picks Up transform_feedback2, Should Allow WebGL 2.0 Support
      • Radeon Pro Software 17.Q1 Released For Linux Professionals

        AMD today released the Radeon Pro Software 17.Q1 driver for Windows and Linux users running FirePro / RadeonPro workstation graphics cards.

      • Wayland 1.13 Released

        Wayland 1.13 is now available thanks to release management by Samsung OSG’s Bryce Harrington.

      • wayland 1.13.0

        This is the official release of Wayland 1.13. There have been no changes since beta and RC1.

        In addition to a range of bug fixes, changes since wayland 1.12 have added some API for controlling the visibility of globals and numerous documentation and other improvements.

      • Wayland 1.13.0 Display Server Officially Released, Wayland 1.14 Lands in June

        Bryce Harrington, a Senior Open Source Developer at Samsung, announced today the release and general availability of the Wayland 1.13.0 for GNU/Linux distributions that already adopted the next-generation display server.next-generation display server.

        Wayland 1.13.0 has entered development in the first days of the year, but the first Alpha build arrived at the end of January, along with the Alpha version of the Weston 2.0 compositor, including most of the new features that are present in this final release that you’ll be able to install on your Linux-based operating systems in the coming days.

      • Weston 2.0 RC2 Wayland Compositor Arrives With Last Minute Fixes

        While Wayland 1.13 was released today, Bryce Harrington today opted against releasing the Weston 2.0 reference compositor and instead issue a second release candidate.

        Weston 2.0 is the next version of this “playground” for Wayland compositor technologies since the new output configuration API had broke the ABI, necessitating a break from the same versioning as Wayland.

      • [ANNOUNCE] weston 1.99.94
      • The Vulkan Differences Between AMDGPU-PRO, RADV & SteamVR’s RADV Drivers

        With Valve having published a binary-only RADV Radeon Vulkan driver build for their beta of SteamVR on Linux, I did some poking out of curiosity to see the differences to the mainline RADV driver in Mesa. Out of curiosity I also did a comparison to see how the Vulkan capabilities compare to the proprietary AMDGPU-PRO Vulkan driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA/Radeon Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Relative Gaming Performance

        Last week I published some Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Radeon benchmarks and Windows vs. Linux NVIDIA Pascal tests. Those results were published by themselves while for this article are the AMD and NVIDIA numbers merged together and normalized to get a look at the relative Windows vs. Linux gaming performance.

        With the tests last week we tested Company of Heroes 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, GRID Autosport, Metro Last Light Redux, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Civilization VI, Tomb Raider, Total War: WARHAMMER, and The Talos Principle, among others.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.8.6 Released for LTS Users with over 80 Improvements, Bug Fixes

        Today, February 21, 2017, KDE announced the availability of the sixth maintenance update to the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems.

      • Plasma in a Snap?

        Shortly before FOSDEM, Aleix Pol asked if I had ever put Plasma in a Snap. While I was a bit perplexed by the notion itself, I also found this a rather interesting idea.

        So, the past couple of weeks I spent a bit of time here and there on trying to see if it is possible.

      • QStringView Diaries: Advances in QStringLiteral

        This is the first in a series of blog posts on QStringView, the std::u16string_view equivalent for Qt. You can read about QStringView in my original post to the Qt development mailing-list, follow its status by tracking the “qstringview” topic on Gerrit and learn about string views in general in Marshall Clow’s CppCon 2015 talk, aptly named “string_view”.

      • Making Movies with QML

        One of the interesting things about working with Qt is seeing all the unexpected ways our users use the APIs we create. Last year I got a bug report requesting an API to set a custom frame rate for QML animations when using QQuickRenderControl. The reason was that the user was using QQuickRenderControl as an engine to render video output from Qt Quick, and if your target was say 24 frames per second, the animations were not smooth because of how the default animation driver behaves. So inspired by this use case I decided to take a stab at creating such an example myself.

      • KDE Talks at FOSDEM

        The continuation of the original talk from Dirk Hohndel and Linus Torvalds about the port of Subsurface from Gtk to Qt, now with mobile in mind.

      • How to Create a Look and Feel Theme
      • United Desktop Theme for KDE Plasma 5.9
      • How to create a look and feel theme
      • Qt Roadmap for 2017

        With Qt 5.7 and 5.8 released we have a completely new baseline for Qt 5 based applications and devices. In this blog, I want to provide a roadmap update on what we are currently working on in the Qt R&D and what the future directions are.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME hackaton in Brno

        Last week, we had a presentation on Google Summer of Code and Outreachy at Brno University of Technology. Around 80 students attended which was a pretty good success considering it was not part of any course. It was a surprise for the uni people as well because the room they booked was only for 60 ppl.

      • Nautilus 3.24 – The changes

        Since Nautilus was created, if a user wanted to open a folder where the user didn’t have permissions, for example a system folder where only root has access, it was required to start Nautilus with sudo.

        However running UI apps under root is strongly discouraged, and to be honest, quite inconvenient. Running any UI app with sudo is actually not even supported in Wayland by design due to the security issues that that conveys.

      • Nautilus 3.24 to Bring Desktop Support for Wayland Sessions, Easy Root Browsing

        The GNOME 3.24 desktop environment is coming in only one month from today, on March 22, and it will bring with it a lot of new features for many of its core components and applications, including the Nautilus (Files) file manager.

        GNOME developer Carlos Soriano is sharing with us today the upcoming features of Nautilus 3.24, as well all the improvements and bug fixes that landed so far, and what didn’t make it in the release, which will be available for all users as part of the GNOME 3.24 Stack.

  • Distributions

    • [elementaryOS] AppCenter: Funded

      A few moments ago, we hit 100% funded for our AppCenter campaign on Indiegogo. Thank you, backers! More than 300 people backed us over just two weeks to help bring our pay-what-you-want indie app store to life.

    • New Releases

      • Meet Flint OS, a Chromium OS Fork for Raspberry Pi & PCs That Runs Android Apps

        Will Smith from Flint Innovations Limited is informing Softpedia today about their up and coming Linux-based operating system for PCs and Raspberry Pi devices, Flint OS, based on the open-source Chromium OS project.

        These days, we see more and more developers and entrepreneurs launching new operating systems based on Chromium OS, which Google uses with much success for its Chrome OS on many Chromebooks that you can purchase today. But Flint OS is somehow a bit special, not only because it provides support for both Raspberry Pi SBCs and x86 computers with either Intel or Nvidia GPUs, but because it uses Android apps.

      • Zorin OS 12 Business Edition Launches with macOS, Unity, and GNOME 2 Layouts

        Three months after launching the biggest release ever of the Ubuntu-based operating system, the Zorin OS team is today announcing the availability of Zorin OS 12 Business Edition.

        Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel, Zorin OS 12 Business Edition ships with the innovative Zorin Desktop 2.0 desktop environment that offers multiple layouts for all tastes. These means that you can make your Zorin OS 12 desktop look like macOS, GNOME 2, or Unity with a click.

      • Rebellin Linux v3.5 released!
      • Rebellin Linux 3.5 Rolls Out as the Best GNU/Linux Distro Based on Debian Sid

        The developers of the Debian-based Rebellin Linux operating system have announced today the release and general availability of version 3.5, a major build that introduces exciting new features and up-to-date components.

        Rebellin Linux 3.5 rolls out as the best GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian Sid, according to the developers, because it comes with out-of-the-box email support. We don’t know what to say about that, but we can’t help but notice that this release includes the latest GNOME 3.22.2 and MATE 1.16.1 desktop environments.

        “Rebellin Linux v3.5 is out! Built on the goodness of Debian and the previous Rebellin, it’s the best Debian Sid based distribution you can get. Know why? Cos it comes with email support,” reads today’s announcement. “Download Rebellin now and end your search for the perfect Linux distro.”

      • KaOS 2017.02

        KaOS is proud to announce the availability of the February release of a new stable ISO.

        The policy is, once a first pacman -Syu becomes a major update, it is time for a new ISO so new users are not faced with a difficult first update. With the exceptional large amounts of updates the last four to five weeks a new ISO is needed a bit sooner than usual.

        As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.31.0, Plasma 5.9.2, KDE Applications 16.12.2 & not yet released ports of KDE Applications. All built on Qt 5.8.0.

      • KaOS 2017.02 Is Out with Linux 4.9.10, KDE Plasma 5.9.2, and X.Org Server 1.19.1

        KaOS 2017.02, the February release of the ISO image of KaOS, an open-source GNU/Linux distribution that offers a rolling model and it’s inspired by Arch Linux, has been announced today.

        As its name suggests, KaOS is built around the KDE desktop environment, so it’s targeted mainly at KDE fans. The new ISO image, KaOS 2017.02, ships with all the latest KDE technologies and applications, including KDE Plasma 5.9.2, KDE Applications 16.12.2, KDE Frameworks 5.31.0, and Qt 5.8.0.

      • Linux Lite To Have These New Features In The Next Release Linux Lite 3.4

        …we contacted the creator of the Linux Lite “Jerry Bezencon” and enquired the upcoming new features in the latest version of the Linux Lite. We have also done a review of the latest available distro i.e. 3.2 (32 bit) so that the readers can understand easily where are the new features headed towards.

    • Slackware Family

      • Thoughts on Slackware 14.2

        All in all I’m quite happy with slackware 14.2 on my quasi-modern computer. Old school linux and openbsd types will no doubt feel at home with slack. There’s no systemd to worry about. A full install takes about 9 gigs of drive space. The slackware folks have obviously put a ton of work into this new release. A word of warning to linux newbies, this isn’t the easiest distro to install and is probably best suited to linux intermediates or experts.

    • Red Hat Family

      • JBoss Fuse 6.3 integration services for Red Hat OpenShift released

        Red Hat announced the latest update to the Red Hat JBoss Fuse-based integration service on Red Hat OpenShift. With the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud-based SaaS systems, and new data streams, organizations can face increasing pressure to more quickly deliver innovative new services. Traditional centralized, monolithic ESB-style integration approaches are often ill-suited to support the business in responding to this pressure.

      • Huawei, Red Hat expand cloud cooperation to include public and NFV clouds

        Huawei and Red Hat are expanding their cooperation to include public and network functions virtualization (NFV) clouds.

        The announcement expands upon previously announced collaborations between the two companies to deliver OpenStack-based solutions and carrier-grade software-defined networking (SDN) solutions.

      • Why upstream contributions matter when developing open source NFV solutions.

        When software is developed using open source methods, an upstream repository of the code is accessible to all members of the project. Members contribute to the code, test it, write documentation and can create a solution from that code to use or distribute under license. If an organization follows the main stream or branch of the upstream code their solution will receive all the changes and updates created in the upstream repository. Those changes simply “flow down” to the member’s solution. However, if a member organization forks the code — if they create a solution that strays from the main stream — their solution no longer receives updates, fixes and changes from the upstream repository. This organization is now solely responsible for maintaining their solution without the benefit of the upstream community, much like the baby salmon that took a tributary and then have to fend for themselves rather than remain in the main stream and receive the benefit and guidance of the other salmon making their way to the ocean.

      • HPE and Red Hat Join Forces to Give Customers Greater Choice for NFV Deployments

        Hewlett Packard Enterprise ( NYSE : HPE ) and Red Hat, Inc. ( NYSE : RHT ) announced today they are working together to accelerate the deployment of network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions based on fully open, production-ready, standards-based infrastructures. HPE plans to offer ready-to-use, pre-integrated HPE NFV System solutions and HPE Validated Configurations incorporating Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage for communications service providers (CSPs).

      • Red Hat Joins the OpenPower Foundation

        As part of our commitment to delivering open technologies across many computing architectures, Red Hat has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the POWER microprocessor architecture, at the Platinum level. While we already do build and support open technologies for the POWER architecture, the OpenPOWER Foundation is committed to an open, community-driven technology-creation process – something that we feel is critical to the continued growth of open collaboration around POWER.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 25: The perf linux tool.
        • Fedora 25 KDE: disappointing experience

          Fedora is not a frequent guest on the review deck of Linux notes from DarkDuck blog. The most recent review was of Fedora 22 back in July 2015. That was a review of the GNOME version, the most native for Fedora.

          You are probably aware of the tight link between the GNOME project and RedHat, the Fedora Project main sponsor.

        • F25-20170221 Updated ISOs available!!

          It is with great pleasure to announce that the Community run respin team has yet another Updated ISO round. This round carries the 4.9.10-200 kernel along with over 780 MB of updates (avg, some Desktop Environments more, some less) since the Gold release.

        • F25-20170221 Updated Lives Released

          I am happy to announce new F25-20170221 Updated Lives.

        • Our Bootloader Problem

          GRUB, it is time we broke up. It’s not you, it’s me. Okay, it’s you. The last 15+ years have some great (read: painful) memories. But it is time to call it quits.

          Red Hat Linux (not RHEL) deprecated LILO for version 9 (PDF; hat tip: Spot). This means that Fedora has used GRUB as its bootloader since the very first release: Fedora Core 1.

          GRUB was designed for a world where bootloaders had to locate a Linux kernel on a filesystem. This meant it needed support for all the filesystems anyone might conceivably use. It was also built for a world where dual-booting meant having a bootloader implemented menu to choose between operating systems.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • SF’s Elections Commission asks mayor to put $4M toward open source voting system [Ed: Microsoft a threat]

    While the Elections Commission may be among the least followed city bodies, the seven members are playing a critical role in determining whether San Francisco will begin to use an open-source voting system.

    For years, open-source voting advocates have called on San Francisco officials to part ways with traditional voting machine companies.

    Open-source voting is widely considered the best defense to voter fraud with the added benefits of cost savings and flexibility.

    Much to chagrin of these advocates, The City has continued to sign contracts with nonopen-source voting companies. While no open-source voting system has been deployed elsewhere, other jurisdictions are currently working on it, such as Travis County, Texas.

    After The City allocated $300,000 in the current fiscal year to move San Francisco toward an open-source voting system, the effort has gotten off to a slower-than-expected start. Advocates worry if funding isn’t committed to building out such a system, the effort will face further delays.

  • Radisys Contributes Its LTE RAN Software to M-CORD

    Radisys announced today that its open source LTE radio access network (RAN) software will be available under the Apache 2.0 license for On.Lab’s Mobile Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (M-CORD) 5G architecture. The software will be available to the open source group in March.

    M-CORD, one of a few CORD projects at On.Lab, aims to set the stage for 5G with a disaggregated virtual evolved packet core (vEPC), a programmable RAN, mobile edge computing, and mobile network slicing. The goal is to help bring the CORD framework to the mobile edge of the network for 5G services.

  • Radisys Announces Open Source LTE Radio Access Network (RAN) Software for the Mobile-CORD (M-CORD) Project
  • Radisys and China Unicom Collaborate on Mobile CORD (M-CORD) Implementation for 5G Services
  • Singapore IT bosses turn to open source

    In order to successfully compete in the age of the customer and continue to deliver world-class operational capabilities, senior IT decision makers from Singapore plan to focus on three IT and business priorities in the next 12 months.

    These include reducing cost and improving operational efficiency (78%); improving their organization’s ability to innovate (46%); and improving customer experience (46%).

    These three priorities have been reflected in respondents’ strategic IT initiatives in the next 12 months to transform both internal and customer facing technologies.

    Three-fourths (76%) identified integration of back-end systems-of-record with customer-facing mobile and web systems-of-engagement as a high or critical priority.

    More than half (56%) identified modernization of key legacy applications as a high or critical priority.

  • An AI Hedge Fund Created a New Currency to Make Wall Street Work Like Open Source

    Wall Street is a competition, a Darwinian battle for the almighty dollar. Gordon Gekko said that greed is good, that it captures “the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” A hedge fund hunts for an edge and then maniacally guards it, locking down its trading data and barring its traders from joining the company next door. The big bucks lie in finding market inefficiencies no one else can, succeeding at the expense of others. But Richard Craib wants to change that. He wants to transform Wall Street from a cutthroat competition into a harmonious collaboration.

  • This Is The World’s First Cryptocurrency Issued By A Hedge Fund
  • Hedge Fund Numerai Launches its Own Cryptocurrency
  • Ubuntu Developer to Unveil Crypto Micropayments Concept [Ed: Article may have been removed]
  • Meet the chap open-sourcing US govt code – Paul, an ex-Microsoft anti-piracy engineer [Ed: Used to work for Microsoft and now spreads the GPL ("cancer" according to Microsoft) in the US government]

    The manager of the project, Berg said, really wanted to release MOOSE as open source, but didn’t know how to do so. As a result it took 18 months to traverse government bureaucracy and to obtain the necessary permissions. It’s now available under the GPL 2.1 license.

  • Another option for file sharing

    Existing mechanisms for file sharing are so fragmented that people waste time on multi-step copying and repackaging. With the new project Upspin, we aim to improve the situation by providing a global name space to name all your files. Given an Upspin name, a file can be shared securely, copied efficiently without “download” and “upload”, and accessed by anyone with permission from anywhere with a network connection.

  • Google Developing “Upspin” Framework For Naming/Sharing Files

    Google today announced an experimental project called Upspin that’s aiming for next-generation file-sharing in a secure manner.

  • Google releases open source file sharing project ‘Upspin’ on GitHub

    Believe it or not, in 2017, file-sharing between individuals is not a particularly easy affair. Quite frankly, I had a better experience more than a decade ago sending things to friends and family using AOL Instant Messenger. Nowadays, everything is so fragmented, that it can be hard to share.

    Today, Google unveils yet another way to share files. Called “Upspin,” the open source project aims to make sharing easier for home users. With that said, the project does not seem particularly easy to set up or maintain. For example, it uses Unix-like directories and email addresses for permissions. While it may make sense to Google engineers, I am dubious that it will ever be widely used.

  • Google devs try to create new global namespace

    Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a universal and consistent way to give names to files stored on the Internet, so they were easy to find? A universal resource locator, if you like?

    The problem is that URLs have been clunkified, so Upspin, an experimental project from some Google engineers, offers an easier model: identifying files to users and paths, and letting the creator set access privileges.

  • Netflix treats security ills with Stethoscope: Open-source self-probing tool

    Netflix has released the source code of a web application called Stethoscope for evaluating the security of mobile and desktop computing devices.

    The software, covered by the Apache 2.0 license, intended for employees of organizations that use a device management service. Netflix hopes that employees using the toolkit will learn from it and apply the app’s recommendations to personal devices that are not under active management.

  • ReactOS 0.5 Open Source Windows-Compatible OS to Offer Windows Vista-Like Style

    ReactOS 0.4.4 arrived last week as the latest maintenance update to the stable 0.4 series of the open source Windows-compatible operating system, bringing better rendering for many applications and initial printing support.

  • 6 open source tools I use on my Windows machine

    In most of the places I have worked there has been a centralized computer and application standard that was more or less mandatory for all employees. There are benefits of such an environment, which I will not go into in this piece, but for me, as an open source and Linux enthusiast, I try to use the tools I’m used to and like.

    So, I immediately install my favorite applications when I receive a new standardized Windows-based work computer, something I have been lucky enough to be allowed to do.

  • Events

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Basic Rules to Streamline Open Source Compliance For Software Development

      Companies will almost certainly face challenges establishing their open source compliance program. In this series of articles, based on The Linux Foundation’s e-book, Open Source Compliance in the Enterprise, we discuss some of the most common challenges, and offer recommendations on how to overcome them.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Building an Open Source Eco-Village

      People involved in the maker movement are coming up with all sorts ideas to both help the planet and improves people’s lives — such as this idea for an open source village.

  • Programming/Development

    • Best practices for guiding new coders

      As the new year progresses, many free and open source projects are turning their attention to various formalized mentoring programs, such as Mozilla’s Winter of Security, Outreachy, and (the program with my favorite name) the X.Org Endless Vacation of Code. Patterned after the success of Google’s Summer of Code, these programs give many new programmers a chance to gain firsthand experience working within successful FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) projects and the projects themselves access to fresh talent.

    • Developing an nrf51822 based embedded device with Qt Creator and Debian

      I’m currently developing an nRF51822-based embedded device. Being one the Qt/Qt Creator maintainers in Debian I would of course try to use it for the development. Turns out it works pretty good… with some caveats.

    • Qt’s Roadmap For 2017: Graphics, An Exciting Qt 5.9/5.10

      Tuukka Turunen of The Qt Company has shared some of the project’s goals for the 2017 calendar year in delivering Qt 5.9 and Qt 5.10 along with more point releases.

      Qt developers hope to make 2017 exciting by shipping Qt 5.9 in May and their hope is to ship Qt 5.10 this November.

    • Intend to retire perl-Log-Any-Adapter-Dispatch

Leftovers

  • Why I Don’t Talk to Google Recruiters

    This is a real story, and it’s not only about Google. I’m getting emails from recruiters at Amazon, Facebook, and smaller Silicon Valley startups. They find me somehow, most likely through this blog, my books, or my GitHub account. They always start with “We’re so impressed by your profile” and finish with “Let’s schedule an interview.” I always reply with the same text, and they always disappear, only to come back in a few months under a different name. Let me explain my reasons; maybe you will do the same and we can change this situation in the industry.

  • On Killers and Bullshitters*

    We’re living in a very weird and convoluted moment in the annals of truth and bullshit. For some reason Americans saddled themselves with a rich and obnoxious reality TV star significantly unmoored from reality. A George W. Bush aide famously told a reporter: We’re an empire now and we make our own reality. Maybe it’s an axiom of our age: The wealthy and powerful have the right to make their own reality. As for the poor and the powerless, the same condition of being unmoored from reality is generally linked with what we call “mental illness,” which leads to marginalization, institutionalization or incarceration.

    The same corrupt double standard works in the realm of violence. I‘ve been writing for decades about the killing our government has officially undertaken in places like Vietnam and Iraq and in smaller venues. I’ve always liked the bumper sticker that says: Kill One Person It’s Murder; Kill 100,000 It’s Foreign Policy. In my thinking, it isn’t a joke; it’s more like the Rules Of Engagement.

    For me, the exemplary culprit in this equation is Henry Kissinger and the cold-blooded slaughter of millions of Vietnamese in a war that really makes no sense at all. (I challenge anyone to tell me what the Vietnamese ever did to us other than work as our ally against the Japanese in World War Two.) The most truthful narrative is that the Vietnamese were betrayed and attacked by the United States, one, to support French re-colonization after WWII, and, two, because US leaders felt compelled to dominate the wrecked post-WWII world. To recognize Vietnamese nationalism and the Vietnamese urge for freedom was too complicated for our fearful and reductive Cold War mindset. Rich and powerful, we ended up killing millions of Vietnamese in an ultimately failed effort to impose our reality — although in the end the Vietnamese developed excellent capitalistic instincts.

  • Science

    • Separation from your phone ‘makes you stressed within minutes’

      Psychologists have found that the answer is probably only a few minutes – at least among people aged 18 to 26.

      In a study, people whose phones were taken away from them were more likely to show “stress behaviour” than those who had their phones on them.

      Participants who were given another mobile showed less signs of stress too, even though it wasn’t their own phone.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • European Commission Public Consultation On Plan To Fight Antimicrobial Resistance

      The European Commission has launched a call for comments on its proposed plan to help EU members fight antimicrobial resistance.

      In mid-2017, the European Commission is launching a Commission Communication on a One Health Action Plan to support Member States in the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

      The communication will be directed towards European Parliament and European Council. Public consultation from any citizens or organisations is welcome through 28 April, and is available through a questionnaire assessing the opinions of individuals on activities related to the European Commission’s action plan, according to a Commission announcement.

    • We must punish those guilty of Female Genital Mutilation

      There are four types of FGM, all four types are barbaric and there are no health benefits in forcing young girls and women to go through with this. The ages at which girls are mutilated can range from babies to young women, and an elder, ‘the cutter,’ in their communities, with no painkillers to numb the pain, will cut them with a rusty blade.

      The reasons given are always ‘social and cultural’ with little or no focus on religion. Religion is the common denominator in all 30 countries where FGM is concentrated. The three top countries are Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia and while their cultural and social norms will differ vastly, the religion will be the same.

      It is at this point that many will argue, ‘Yes but Christians also cut their girls.’ Even though there is no demand from Christian countries to do this nor is there any biblical call for FGM.

    • Mysterious radiation spreading across Europe after authorities keep it secret

      Mysterious radioactive spikes are being found across Europe – and nobody quite knows why.

      Iodine-131, a man-made radioactive material, is being found in small amounts across the continent. It was found in northern Norway early in January, according to officials, but has been gradually moving across the rest of Europe ever since.

      But despite finding the material in January, authorities didn’t announce that it had been found until recent days. That might be because it isn’t at all clear where it has come from or how it got to be spread out.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: week 95 in Stretch cycle
    • Kaspersky: No whiff of Linux in our OS because we need new start to secure IoT [Ed: Kaspersky repeats the same anti-Linux rhetoric he used years ago to market itself, anti-Linux Liam Tung recycles]

      Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, says its new KasperskyOS for securing industrial IoT devices does not contain “even the slightest smell of Linux”, differentiating it from many other IoT products that have the open-source OS at the core.

    • Russian security company to compete with Microsoft via new OS
    • KasperskyOS “11-11” Released After 14 Years Of Development — Here Are Best Features
    • KasperskyOS aims to secure the billions of forgotten network devices
    • Intent-Based Security Gains Momentum at RSA

      It isn’t a buzzphrase on par with “artificial intelligence” yet, but intent-based security has been gathering steam, as evidenced at this week’s RSA Conference.

      Startups such as Illumio, Twistlock, and vArmour have staked their plans on intent-based security, and at least one established player, Fortinet, is steering its portfolio in that direction.

    • 5 open source security tools too good to ignore

      Open source is a wonderful thing. A significant chunk of today’s enterprise IT and personal technology depends on open source software. But even while open source software is widely used in networking, operating systems, and virtualization, enterprise security platforms still tend to be proprietary and vendor-locked. Fortunately, that’s changing.

      If you haven’t been looking to open source to help address your security needs, it’s a shame—you’re missing out on a growing number of freely available tools for protecting your networks, hosts, and data. The best part is, many of these tools come from active projects backed by well-known sources you can trust, such as leading security companies and major cloud operators. And many have been tested in the biggest and most challenging environments you can imagine.

    • What’s the best Linux firewall distro of 2017?

      You don’t have to manage a large corporate network to use a dedicated firewall. While your Linux distro will have an impressive firewall – and an equally impressive arsenal of tools to manage it – the advantages don’t extend to the other devices on your network. A typical network has more devices connected to the internet than the total number of computers and laptops in your SOHO. With the onslaught of IoT, it won’t be long before your router doles out IP addresses to your washing machine and microwave as well.

      The one thing you wouldn’t want in this Jetsonian future is having to rely on your router’s limited firewall capabilities to shield your house – and everyone in it – from the malicious bits and bytes floating about on the internet.

      A dedicated firewall stands between the internet and internal network, sanitising the traffic flowing into the latter. Setting one up is an involved process both in terms of assembling the hardware and configuring the software. However, there are quite a few distros that help you set up a dedicated firewall with ease, and we’re going to look at the ones that have the best protective open source software and roll them into a convenient and easy to use package.

    • Java and Python FTP attacks can punch holes through firewalls

      The Java and Python runtimes fail to properly validate FTP URLs, which can potentially allow attackers to punch holes through firewalls to access local networks.

      On Saturday, security researcher Alexander Klink disclosed an interesting attack where exploiting an XXE (XML External Entity) vulnerability in a Java application can be used to send emails.

    • Microsoft: no plans to patch known bugs before March [Ed: Microsoft is keeping open ‘back doors’ that are publicly known about, not just secret ones]

      Microsoft has no plans to issue updates for two vulnerabilities, one a zero-day and the other being one publicised by Google, before the scheduled date for its next round of updates rolls around in March.

      The company did not issue any updates in February, even though it had been scheduled to switch to a new system from this month onwards.

      It gave no reason for this, apart from saying: “This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today.

      “After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan.”

      The Google-disclosed bug was made public last week, and is said to be a flaw in the Windows graphic device interface library that can be exploited both locally and remotely to read the contents of a user’s memory.

    • Microsoft issues critical security patches, but leaves zero-day flaws at risk

      Microsoft has patched “critical” security vulnerabilities in its browsers, but has left at least two zero-day flaws with public exploit code.

      The software giant released numerous patches late on Tuesday to fix flaws in Adobe Flash for customers using Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1 and later, as well as Edge for Windows 10.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Michigan, where did our winter wonderland go?

      About a half-dozen plows moved snow around on the frozen surface of Whitmore Lake in early February, forming the borders for 20 ice rinks.

      Temperatures rose steadily over the next few days, going from about 30 degrees to the high 30s, then into the 40s and 50s. It rained.

      The organizers of the Michigan Pond Hockey Classic, a charity tournament that brings up to 7,000 people to Whitmore Lake every year, postponed the event over concerns about thin ice but eventually had to cancel it all together, another casualty of an unusually warm winter in the Mitten State.

      From ice hockey to ice fishing and snowmobiling, many beloved outdoor wintertime activities have taken a hit this year, especially in the lower half of the Lower Peninsula.

    • Alarm as haze from Indonesian fires spreads in Southeast Asia News DW.COM

      Smoke over swathes of Indonesia and Singapore was “tracking close to 1997” with forecasts pointing to a longer dry season, NASA’s Robert Field said on Friday. For weeks, residents in the region, including Malaysians, have sought treatment for respiratory problems, with Indonesia again facing pressure from its neighbors to tackle illegal burn-offs by plantation firms and small farmers. The smog has disrupted aviation and forced school closures across the region. Southeast Asia is currently in the grip of a so-called El Nino weather phenomenon, which makes conditions drier than usual. Everything under control? On Thursday, Indonesia’s disaster chief, Willem Rampangilei, turned down a Singaporean offer to help by saying “everything was under control” and that he believed rains would arrive by early November.

  • Finance

    • Apple to Europe: It’s our job to design Ireland’s tax system, not yours

      Stop terraforming taxation, says Cupertino, and let us get on with it Apple has filed its defence against the European Commission’s claim it owes €13bn in back taxes in Ireland.

      Apple on Monday filed a defence in which it dismissed the very idea of the US$13.75/£11bn bill, calling for the total or partial annulment of the European Commission decision that set the case in motion and suggesting the Commission pay Apple’s costs into the bargain.

      Cupertino’s argument offers 14 pleas in law that collectively assert that the EU just doesn’t understand how Apple operates and thoroughly misunderstands the way it gets stuff done in Ireland.

      We therefore get familiar arguments suggesting Apple need not pay tax in Ireland because the real profit-generating work happens elsewhere. Apple Ireland “carried out only routine functions and were not involved in the development and commercialisation of Apple IP which drove profits,” says Plea 4.

    • Irish Union on European Agendas

      I was speaking with a Polish friend who is a Member of the European Parliament. He confirmed that Brexit had led to very wide support for Scottish Independence in the Parliament, across many political and national divides. He also made the interesting point that the cause of Irish reunification was again mentioned in the bars of Brussels.

      This of course makes perfect sense. With the personal and economic freedoms and common rights of EU citizenship, a sense of both the Republic and the North being inside a much wider union took the edge off some of the grievances of Irish nationalists, at least to the degree that this was a contributing argument for ceasing to pursue reunification by violence. It is a commonplace that Brexit undermines the intellectual and emotional basis of the Good Friday agreement – it certainly does. I hope Brexit will not result in renewed violence, but that it will result in a strongly renewed demand for Irish reunification I do not doubt – and I will support that demand.

    • Uber’s self-driving cars are now picking up passengers in Arizona [Ed: Uber operated at a loss to drive taxi drivers out of business. Now it gets rid of its own drivers.]

      Almost two months to the day after Uber loaded its fleet of self-driving SUVs into the trailer of a self-driving truck and stormed off to Arizona in a self-driving huff, the company is preparing to launch its second experiment (if you don’t count the aborted San Francisco pilot) in autonomous ride-hailing.

      What’s different is that this time, Uber has the blessing from Arizona’s top politician, Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, who is expected to be “Rider Zero” on an autonomous trip along with Anthony Levandowski, VP of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group. The Arizona pilot comes after California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registration of Uber’s 16 self-driving cars because the company refused to apply for the appropriate permits for testing autonomous cars.

    • Government grants new powers to stop foreign human rights abusers buying London homes to launder their wealth

      The Government has bowed to pressure to act on evidence that London has become “a haven for the blood money of the world’s nastiest despots”.

      New powers will be given to the authorities to seize the assets of foreign human rights abusers who buy homes in Britain to funnel their ill-gotten wealth.

      However, the Home Office denied the move amounted to a US-style ‘Magnitsky Act’ – introduced after a corruption whistleblower who died in a Russian prison in suspicious circumstances.

    • Blockchain: A new hope, or just hype?

      Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin may have captured the public’s fancy – and also engendered a healthy dose of skepticism — but it is their underlying technology that is proving to be of practical benefit to organizations: the blockchain. Many industries are exploring its benefits and testing its limitations, with financial services leading the way as firms eye potential windfalls in the blockchain’s ability to improve efficiency in such things as the trading and settlement of securities. The real estate industry also sees potential in the blockchain to make homes — even portions of homes — and other illiquid assets trade and transfer more easily. The blockchain is seen as disrupting global supply chains as well, by boosting transaction speed across borders and improving transparency.

    • Leftist French lawmakers take CETA to Constitutional Council

      More than 100 French MPs decided yesterday (21 February) to appeal to the country’s Constitutional Council to block a contentious free trade deal between the European Union and Canada.

      Supporters of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) say it will boost economic growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. But opponents say it will lead to a race to the bottom in labour and environmental standards and allow multinational corporations to dictate public policy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • If Zuckerberg wants to rule the world, does he even need to be president?

      It is not normal for a technology chief executive to announce a new product roadmap in the form of a 5,700 word blogpost that begins with a unified theory of history and ends by quoting Abraham Lincoln. But that’s exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has done in his letter to the “Facebook community”, published on Thursday.

      The unusual aspects of the letter don’t stop at its length. Zuckerberg rapidly alternates between lofty statements of social principle and minor product updates. One minute, he is discussing the necessity for a strong civil society existing between the government and the people, implicitly rebutting Margaret Thatcher; the next, he is discussing the need for the administrators of Facebook groups to be able to support “sub-communities”, so that, for example, a Facebook group for a university can contain within it a sub-group for a particular accommodation block.

      If an attentive reader overcomes the whiplash induced by the shifts in tone, they’ll find a founder clearly concerned by the growing discontent many are feeling about Facebook’s effect on the world. Zuckerberg proposes solutions to such varied problems as Facebook’s history of heavy-handed censorship, the social network’s role in enabling and promoting fake news, and the need to prevent terrorist groups from using Facebook’s tools to recruit and co-ordinate.

    • We Could Have Had Biden

      Joe Biden would have beaten him.

      Think about why Trump won. He was by sheer accident the more or less least worst choice. Despite his behavior, he kept failing upward, right into the White House.

      A large portion of this election was about income disparity, cultural and economic displacement, a sense that the country had abandoned too much of its center. I don’t know how many of those people voted for Trump per se, but some percentage voted against for Hillary Clinton (spare me the popular vote bit, we’re dealing with the reality of the system which was here in 2016 and will be here in 2020.)

    • Are Liberals Helping Trump? Not Much, Apparently

      The article mostly talks to Trump supporters; it’s another entry in the Trump-supporters-support-Trump genre, with the twist that the supporters blame opponents for the fact that they still support Trump. Tavernise does cite some polling data well into the article, noting that Trump “has high marks among moderates who lean Republican: 70 percent approve, while 20 percent disapprove.”

    • Why the Flynn-Russia Controversy Isn’t Over Yet
    • Why the Flynn-Russia Affair Is So Troubling for Donald Trump
    • Cost of Trump family security vexes New York and Florida officials

      Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, inserted himself into the debate on Sunday, saying it costs $500,000 per day for nearly 200 police officers to protect Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which houses the Trump family business headquarters and serves as the home of the first lady, Melania Trump, and the couple’s son, Barron. The senator estimated the cost could rise to as much as $183m annually.

      At current estimates, even a four-year Trump administration could be heading for a billion dollars in taxpayer-borne costs – an eight-fold increase of the $97m Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, estimates it cost to protect Barack Obama over the two terms of his administration.

    • Defending Our Borders From Hell-Demons From Another Dimension

      “Only Trump can make Americans safe again!”

    • Socialism’s Return

      For the American left, 2016 proved to be a year with a cruel twist ending. In the first few months, a self-
described democratic socialist by the name of Bernie Sanders mounted a surprisingly successful primary challenge to the Democratic Party’s presumed and eventual presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. By the end of 2016, however, not only had Sanders lost the primary race, but Clinton had been defeated in the general election by a billionaire who dressed his xenophobic and plutocratic ambitions in the garb of class resentment.

      But the apparent strength of the left wasn’t entirely an illusion. Even as late as November, the Sanders campaign had racked up a set of important victories. The Cold War had helped to entrench the idea of socialism as antithetical to the American political tradition, and Sanders had gone a long way toward smashing that ideological consensus. By identifying himself explicitly as a democratic socialist from the outset of his campaign, he helped give renewed meaning and salience to it as a political identity firmly rooted in the American tradition.

      In addition to helping end the stigma around socialism, the Sanders campaign provided a blueprint for a new generation of leftists and progressives. By running in the Democratic primary and showing that he could draw large crowds, Sanders revealed an emerging left-leaning constituency. It seemed in those early autumn months that even in defeat, Sanders had opened up the path for a more progressive Democratic Party: “Sanders Democrats” could continue to work within the party and not only protest outside it. The way forward seemed clear: After Clinton won the general election, a strengthened social-democratic left could work toward the universal provision of various social services and push for criminal-justice reforms and other key priorities.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Thiel company helped support NSA spy program: report

      Billionaire Peter Thiel’s company Palantir helped support the National Security Agency’s controversial spy program XKeyscore, according to a report in The Intercept citing previously undisclosed documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      Palantir helped build software to accelerate and increase the NSA’s use of XKeyscore, according to the documents.

      The program, first revealed by The Guardian in 2013, lets analysts search through databases of emails, online chats and browsing histories without authorization.

    • How Peter Thiel’s Palantir Helped the NSA Spy on the Whole World

      Donald Trump has inherited the most powerful machine for spying ever devised. How this petty, vengeful man might wield and expand the sprawling American spy apparatus, already vulnerable to abuse, is disturbing enough on its own. But the outlook is even worse considering Trump’s vast preference for private sector expertise and new strategic friendship with Silicon Valley billionaire investor Peter Thiel, whose controversial (and opaque) company Palantir has long sought to sell governments an unmatched power to sift and exploit information of any kind. Thiel represents a perfect nexus of government clout with the kind of corporate swagger Trump loves. The Intercept can now reveal that Palantir has worked for years to boost the global dragnet of the NSA and its international partners, and was in fact co-created with American spies.

    • Legislation to stop U.S. border agents from demanding passwords and logins is on the way

      Privacy advocates aren’t happy with proposals for enhanced digital prying at U.S. borders, and now that issue could be taken up in the Senate.

      In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden called for accountability around reports that U.S. Customs and Border agents are obtaining the passwords to locked devices that belong to detainees at the border. Invoking the Fourth Amendment, Wyden dismissed such practices as extralegal, lacking probable cause and a warrant required for such searches.

      “There are well-established legal rules governing how law enforcement agencies may obtain data from social media companies and email providers,” Wyden wrote. “The process typically requires that the government obtain a search warrant or other court order, and then ask the service provider to turn over the user’s data.”

    • Pressure Mounts For FBI To Disclose How Much It Paid To Unlock iPhone

      The Associated Press and two other news organizations asked a judge Monday to force the federal government to reveal how much it paid for a tool to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters.

      The news organizations said in a court filing there was “no adequate justification” for the FBI to continue to withhold information on the cost of the tool or the identity of the vendor that sold it. They said their requests were narrowly tailored and, contrary to the arguments of the FBI and Justice Department, did not seek information that would jeopardize national security or be exploited by America’s enemies.

      “While it is undisputed that the vendor developed the iPhone access tool, the government has identified no rational reason why knowing the vendor’s identity is linked in any way to the substance of the tool, much less how such knowledge would reveal any information about the tool’s application,” lawyers for the news organizations wrote in the filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington.

    • London Internet Exchange members vote to block UK Snoopers’ Charter gagging order

      Members of LINX, the London Internet Exchange – the UK’s largest net “peering” point – have rejected proposals that would reshape the company’s constitution and could block members from being consulted about government tapping instructions.

      The vote, on Tuesday, followed a Reg report revealing that members had been given less than two weeks notice of a proposed change which would allow LINX’s chairman to “override” directors’ wishes and prevent members learning about controversial actions, including, according to LINX, “secret orders from the government”

      Directors of the company had urged the 740 members of LINX, mostly Internet providers from overseas, to vote for the plans without any debate or considering alternatives, during a 10-minute “Extraordinary General Meeting” (EGM) held on Tuesday.

    • NSA and CIA is the Enemy of the People

      Astute students of history understand that government agencies often further their own interests and not the administration they are designated to serve. Seldom is the genuine national security advanced when bureaucrats pledge their loyalty to their respective fiefdoms of projecting influence and power. Absent in this supremacy struggle equation is the abstract notion that state legitimacy is founded upon the will and consent of the people. Such a quaint concept does not reflect a chapter in the training manual that breeds the spooks who operate as above the law and unaccountable super spies.

      Guarding signals traffic or capturing foreign communication is a logical task to protect national secrets, while gathering information on intentions and operations from advocacies. Once upon a time the National Security Agency directed the ECHELON project as a cold war network. Over the decades the functions of electronic surveillance broadened into collection on all forms of data, no matter the source or the national origin of the subject.

    • NSA Contractors Join Privacy Shield

      Did you really think that the European Union would protect your privacy? Don’t be so naive.

      The US-EU Privacy Shield program is supposed to give EU citizens greater data protections. As I wrote previously, the Privacy Shield program has several legal loopholes, which makes it look a bit like a block of Swiss cheese.

    • Software vulnerability disclosures by NSA will continue under Trump, officials say [Ed: Relaying fake news and NSA propaganda/puff pieces. it's also a loaded headline; they harvested/weaponised zero-days, so this boils down to stenography and reputation laundering. Why is it a very big deal that the NSA sat on zero-days and did nothing? Because adversaries too could exploit these. Even if one naively believes that it's desirable for one's government to snoop on innocents, it still leaves adversaries empowered (e.g. control by blackmail)]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Rep. Sensenbrenner Thinks We Can Pay For The Border Wall With More Asset Forfeiture

      President Trump appears to have thrown his support behind asset forfeiture, even as the issue has begun reaching critical mass in the mainstream media. (It’s been thoroughly covered by more libertarian publications like Reason for years.) In addition to not being able to “see anything wrong with it,” Trump jokingly suggested he’d ruin the careers of politicians mounting reform efforts.

      His recent executive orders appear to back this “gloves off” approach to criminal justice. In addition to singling out immigrants as troublemakers, the orders ask law enforcement officials to take a look around and see if they’re being constrained by any state or federal laws. Presumably, any recent forfeiture reform legislation would fall under this heading as it prevents law enforcement agencies from acting in the way they’ve become accustomed: seize first, convict later… if at all.

    • Appeals Court Says Filming The Police Is Protected By The First Amendment

      In news that will surprise no one, police officers decided they must do something about someone filming the police department building from across the street. That’s where this Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision begins: with a completely avoidable and completely unnecessary assertion of government power.

    • Boris Johnson – an Ethics Free Zone

      The total absence of even a shadow of an ethical dimension to UK foreign policy is nowhere better illustrated than its continued relationship with the appalling Uzbek dictatorship. There is competition of course for the role of most unconscionable British policy. The support for the vicious tyrant of Bahrain and the suppression of the Bahraini Shia majority, the secret British military presence on the ground in Saudi Arabia assisting the bombing campaign that has killed thousands of children, these are sickening examples of Britain’s true role in the world.

    • Court To Cop: You Took 80 Days Away From A Person’s Life With A Baseless Warrant, So We’re Taking Your Immunity

      In 2009, April Yvette Smith was arrested on drug dealing charges and spent 80 days in jail. The charges were ultimately dropped by the district attorney, but by the time it happened, Smith had already lost her job. The same can’t be said for the officer who obtained her arrest warrant. His job was always secure. The only thing he’s lost — seven years after the fact — is his immunity from Smith’s civil rights lawsuit.

      The chain of events leading to Smith’s wrongful arrest are as horrible as they are stupid. Somewhere between Barney Fife and the banal evil of law enforcement ineptitude lies Officer Jason Munday. It starts with a “wired” confidential informant and ends in an indifferent “investigation” that sounds as though Munday just got bored sitting around the office.

    • UK Schools Experiment With Police-Style Body Cameras To Tackle ‘Low-level Background Disorder’

      Although only two UK schools are currently involved, a survey carried out by the Times Educational Supplement revealed that a third of the teachers who were asked said they would be willing to try wearing a body camera; two thirds said they would feel safer wearing it; and a tenth even thought it would eventually become compulsory for all UK teachers to use them.

    • The far-right panic: a distraction from jihadism

      But is this really the case? Youths have always aired obnoxious views to wind up adults, and this could well account for part of these figures. In any case, mouthing off is still a world away from actively organising and campaigning on far-right issues. That kind of mobilisation is completely absent today. The British National Party has disintegrated, its local council presence all but wiped out. Street-based protest groups such as the English Defense League and Britain First can barely mobilise a few hundred people for their rallies in car parks. We’re not witnessing a return to 1970s levels of far-right activity, let alone the 1930s, as one commentator recently claimed.

      [...]

      Even before Brexit, warnings of a far-right resurgence have routinely appeared in the press in recent years. Whenever there has been a terrorist atrocity carried out by jihadists, the elite response has been to raise concerns about a ‘far-right backlash’, even though none has emerged. In this way, obsessing about the far-right has become a displacement activity, a refusal to recognise that a significant minority of young Muslims are estranged from British society.

    • Iran Bans Teen Chess Siblings Over Head Scarf, Match Against Israeli

      ranian chess officials have barred two teen siblings from domestic chess tournaments and the national team for crossing some of the religious establishment’s so-called red lines at an international chess event.

      The Iranian National Chess Team dismissed 18-year-old Dorsa Derakhshani for appearing at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2017, which ran from January 23 to February 2, without the Islamic head scarf that became compulsory in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

      Her 15-year-old brother, Borna Derakhshani, was banned for playing against an Israeli opponent at the same event.

      Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and forbids Iranian athletes from competing against Israeli athletes at international sports events. Iranians in the past have cited injury or illness to avoid facing Israeli rivals.

    • Bangladesh catches Islamist convicted of blogger murder

      Bangladesh police on Monday (Feb 20) detained an Islamist who had been sentenced to death in his absence in 2015 for planning the gruesome murder of a secular blogger.

      Police said they had caught Rezwanul Azad Rana, a 34-year-old former student at one of the country’s top universities, and one other man when they raided a house in a suburb of Dhaka.

      Rana had been on the run since the start of his trial for the murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death with machetes in February 2013 in the first of a string of attacks targeting secular writers in Bangladesh.

      “The counter-terrorism and transnational crime unit of police has arrested Rana along with an assistant militant named Ashraf during a raid from a house at Uttara suburb in the capital Dhaka,” said a statement on the Dhaka police website.

    • Convicted hairdresser argues ruling should be overturned as Muslim woman takes off hijab

      Merete Hodne was initially given an £800 fine by police in October, 2015, after she refused to serve Malika Bayan in her establishment in Bryne, southwest Norway, because she was wearing a hijab.

      However the 47-year-old businessman, who said she was fully within her rights to not colour Ms Bayan’s hair, refused to pay the fine and was taken to court.

      The case has already been heard twice, as Ms Hodne appealed the ruling in September which initially found she had discriminated against the 24-year-old.

    • Speaking in Detroit, Farrakhan slams both Democrats and Trump

      Speaking to thousands gathered in Detroit on Sunday, Minister Louis Farrakhan said African-Americans shouldn’t place their faith in Democrats or Republicans, criticizing both parties for neglecting the black community.

      “Most of you are so hurt because Queen Hillary lost,” Farrakhan said at Joe Louis Arena during the final day of the annual convention of the Nation of Islam. “And some of you have cussed me out because I didn’t vote for her. I didn’t vote for Trump. I knew both of them is the same. You ain’t going to get nothing from either one, but more deceit from Hillary, but more straight talk from Trump.

      “He told you, you didn’t have nothing to lose. You’ve been a Democrat all your life and don’t have a damn thing to show for it.”

    • Clashes in Stockholm Suburb Draw Attention to Trump’s Remarks

      Residents in a northwestern suburb predominantly inhabited by immigrants have clashed with police officers, two days after President Trump unleashed a vague but pointed critique of Sweden’s migration policies.

      About 20 to 30 masked men threw stones and other objects at police officers in the suburb, Rinkeby, after the police arrested a man on suspicion of dealing drugs. A police officer fired a warning shot, but the disturbances continued for several more hours, stretching into early Tuesday morning. A photojournalist was injured in the clashes.

      The episode drew scrutiny worldwide because of Mr. Trump’s assertions — based on a Fox News segment — that Sweden had experienced a surge in crime and violence as a result of taking in large numbers of refugees. Mr. Trump’s comments were greeted with anger in Sweden, the latest example of strong criticism by the American president antagonizing friendly countries, including neighbors like Mexico and allies like Australia and the European Union.

    • Police forced to shoot at protesters as violence erupts – yet PM is in denial

      Stockholm police were forced to fire a shot into the crowd in the hard-hit suburb of Rinkeby, after a mob of around 30 began attacking officers with rocks.

      Violence erupted after the police had tried to arrest a wanted person on the subway.

    • 4 Ways To Make Sure Your Protest Really Makes A Difference

      The country is a garbage nest of rage. And no matter which side of the political pop you’re licking, the situation sure feels helpless. Too often protests devolve into dumb hostility, like the Oregon standoff or the more-recent UC Berkeley shitshow.

      But what if I told you that if you follow the rules history has laid out, protests and boycotts absolutely can work? For when you look down the annals of successful civil disobedience, a clear pattern emerges. One that I will now express to you in the following four easy steps. Grab a beer, you pitchfork-shining renegade. This is your handy guide to nut-punching The Man!

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • After Losing 10,000 Viewers Per Day, ESPN Finally Buckles To Offering Standalone Streaming Video Service

      For years now, ESPN has been the perfect personification of the cable and broadcast industry’s denial regarding cord cutting. Long propped up by a system that forces consumers to buy massive bundles of largely-unwatched channels, ESPN has struggled with the rise of streaming alternatives and sleeker, “skinny” channel bundles. The sports network, which has lost 7 million viewers in just a few years, has been trying to argue that these losses (which caused Disney stock to lose $22 billion in value in just two days at one point) are simply part of some kind of overblown, mass hallucination.

    • Ajit Pai is making the FCC more transparent — but only when it suits him

      FCC chairman Ajit Pai has had a whirlwind first month, taking immediate action to scale back net neutrality, slow broadband subsidies for low-income households, and block efforts to reform the exorbitant calling rates to prisons.

      But in the background of all of this, Pai has also made a series of changes at the commission in the name of transparency. He’s explored publishing FCC orders a month before they’re voted on, alongside a one-page summary (instead of close to one month after they’re voted on); limited the extent to which the commission can edit orders after a vote; and given commissioners more oversight of enforcement actions (fines, mostly) that punish companies for violating FCC rules

    • If New FCC Boss Ajit Pai Is So ‘Pro Consumer,’ Why Does The Telecom Industry Need To Pay People To Say So?

      On his first day new FCC Boss Ajit Pai repeatedly and breathlessly insisted that consumers and the digital divide would be his top priority. The problem: that dedication was directly contradicted by not only Pai’s past voting record at the agency, but his first actions as agency head. Out of the gate Pai undermined an FCC legal case against prison phone telecom monopolies, scrapped an FCC plan to bring competition to the cable box, killed all ongoing zero rating inquiries and began laying the ground work for killing net neutrality, and prevented nine already-approved ISPs from helping the poor via the agency’s Lifeline program.

      Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take particularly long for some news outlets to realize that Pai’s words weren’t supported by his actions. Both The Washington Post and the New York Times penned editorials blasting Pai, most notably for his ongoing disdain for net neutrality, which has broad, bipartisan support.

      Driven to defend Pai’s selection as FCC boss for obvious reasons, ISPs got right to work fighting back via their traditional weapon of choice: bullshitters for hire. Shortly after the Post and Times pieces surfaced, contrasting op-eds quickly popped up in newspapers and websites nationwide claiming Pai is actually an incredible boon to consumers, competition and innovation. Most of these op-eds failed to adequately disclose the authors’ financial ties to large broadband providers, or the fact they take money while pretending to be objective analysts — often including Congressional testimony.

  • DRM

    • Apple Says Nebraska Will Become A ‘Mecca For Hackers’ If Right To Repair Bill Passes

      Apple probably expected its heavy-handed (and stupid — more on that in a bit) “suggestion” to be taken more seriously by podunk legislators in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately for Apple, Brasch isn’t just a legislator in a state mainly known for corn and football-as-religion.

      Brasch is not only an Apple customer, but she’s a farmer who has had to deal with plenty of repair-blocking BS from companies like John Deere. She also has a background in computer science and an apparent tendency to not let corporate lawyers talk down to her.

      Not only did Apple pick the wrong legislator to threaten, its threat is incoherent. I’ve spent most of the last 15 years in the Midwest and, trust me, it would take far more than a right-to-repair bill’s passage to make Nebraska a mecca of anything. (Beyond college football, he said to head off the Cornhusker faithful most likely already demanding a retraction…)

      Then there’s the thing about “hackers.” There’s more than one type of hacker, but Apple dropped it as a pejorative term in hopes of conjuring images of hoodied figures sitting in dark rooms with the local SWAT team on speed dial and deploying some sort of encryption… you know, the evil kind.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ARIPO, OAPI To Harmonise Practices On Intellectual Property In Africa

      The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and its sister organisation, Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle [African Intellectual Property Organization] (OAPI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to harmonise the intellectual property systems of the two institutions.

    • Book Review: The Informal Economy in Developing Nations – Hidden Edge of Innovation?

      Shamnad Basheer, of SpicyIP, picks up on two main themes. He cautions against, “the simplistic tendency to superimpose an existing “formal” IP appropriation regime onto the informal economy,” and, “it is foolhardy to assume that the informal sector simply needs to learn from the formal sector and formalise as quickly as possible. On the contrary, the informal economy may have important lessons for the informal economy…” Supporting innovation is important, but a formal approach to IP may not always be the answer.

    • Kenyan Regulator Cancels Leading Collective Management Licence To Streamline Music Royalties

      In a move meant streamline the collection of music royalties in Kenya, the government regulator declined to renew a 2017 licence for a leading collective organisation over unmet standards.

    • Momentum-Building: An Interview With Ruth Dreifuss On High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines

      I chaired the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health, which delivered a report to the World Health Organization in 2006. At that time I saw real momentum on the issue of access to medicines, an awareness, and a will to go further.

      However this momentum had been diminishing over the last years and the report of the High Level Panel acted as a strong push to put the issue back on the international agenda. This is the case at the World Health Organization, it cannot be ignored. We will have an opportunity to discuss the report at a side event at the World Trade Organization, and will present it at the United Nations Human Rights Council. It is very important that others take ownership of the report now.

    • Copyrights

      • European News Publishers Still Believe They Have The Right To Make Google Pay For Sending Traffic Their Way

        The European Commission is still (slowly) moving forward with its plan to dump a link tax on service providers like Google, Facebook, etc. in hopes of propping up local news outfits. The plan has been in the works for a couple of years now and it’s looking like the longer the planning goes on, the less likely it is to result in something that makes its advocates happy.

        A long report from Politico details the current state of this doomed venture. And it is doomed. Even if implemented in a way that makes news outlets happiest, the end result will be less incoming traffic from some of the most-used sites in the world. Some news agencies aren’t so sure this is the way forward.

      • Online Piracy Can Boost Comic Book Sales, Research Finds

        A new academic study shows that piracy can have a positive effect on comic book sales under some conditions. The empirical research, which zooms in on Japanese Manga comics, suggests that sales of ongoing comics dip when pirated versions are more readily available, while those for completed series go up.

      • Court: Hosting A Pirate Site Doesn’t Equal Copyright Infringement [Ed: What authorities mean these days by "pirate site" is "site that people can upload copyright-infringing material to"]

        A Federal Court in California ruled that Steadfast is not automatically liable for hosting an alleged pirate website. In a tentative order favoring the Chicago-based hosting provider, Judge Wu fails to see sufficient evidence to support a secondary liability claim.

      • Why you should care about the Kafkaesque abomination that is the legal case against Kim Dotcom

        And the madness that is this Kafkaesque case against Kim Dotcom continues, this time the Court rules that the Police had no cause to have arrested Kim on the charges of Copyright infringement, but have given our legal sovereignty over to the United States by instead finding trumped up fraud charges as the excuse to trigger extradition.

        [...]

        The Moment of Truth had Assange, Greenwald and Edward Snowden prove without a shadow of a doubt that John Key had lied through his teeth about mass surveillance. It showed the NSA and CIA have staff here, it showed they planned to spike the sea cable and steal data directly from that feed and it showed that our GCSB went and met with the NSA to assure them the law Key had just pushed through allowed for mass surveillance despite Key telling the NZ public that it didn’t.

        But what did NZ focus on? Kim not proving Key knew he existed before he claimed to have known.

      • New Zealand Court Says Kim Dotcom Still Eligible For Extradition… But Not Over Copyright

        After quite some time, a New Zealand court has said that Kim Dotcom is eligible for extradition to the US — something he’s been fighting for over five years. But there’s a weird twist to the story. A key part of the argument that Dotcom’s lawyers have been making is that for extradition to the US, there needs to be “dual criminality” (you can hear Dotcom’s lawyer, Ira Rothken, discuss this on our podcast a few months back). And, the key “crime” that Dotcom is charged with involves secondary copyright infringement (i.e., creating a platform that others use to infringe). But, that’s a problem, as there’s no criminal secondary copyright infringement under New Zealand law (nor US law, but that’s a separate issue). So, here’s the twist. The court actually agreed that there’s no such thing under New Zealand law — and said that Dotcom can’t be extradited for copyright infringement. However, the court said that he can be extradited for “fraud” because there’s dual criminality there.

02.21.17

Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3

Posted in News Roundup at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Interview: Thomas Weissel Installing Plasma in Austrian Schools

      With Plasma 5 having reached maturity for widespread use we are starting to see rollouts of it in large environments. Dot News interviewed the admin behind one such rollout in Austrian schools.

    • Best Linux File Sharing Tips

      Today’s article is going to provide you with some useful Linux file sharing tips using common file sharing software. This article assumes two things. First, you’re running Ubuntu. Second, you’re comfortable typing recommended commands into a terminal window.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 4.10 Now Available for Linux Lite Users, Here’s How to Install It

      Minutes after the release of Linux kernel 4.10 last evening, Jerry Bezencon from the Linux Lite project announced that users of the Ubuntu-based distribution can now install it on their machines.

      Linux 4.10 is now the most advanced kernel branch for all Linux-based operating systems, and brings many exciting new features like virtual GPU support, better writeback management, eBPF hooks for cgroups, as well as Intel Cache Allocation Technology support for the L2/L3 caches of Intel processors.

    • Wacom’s Intuos Pro To Be Supported By The Linux 4.11 Kernel

      Jiri Kosina submitted the HID updates today for the Linux 4.11 kernel cycle.

    • EXT4, Fscrypt Updates For Linux 4.11

      Ted Ts’o sent out today the feature updates for the EXT4 file-system for the Linux 4.11 merge window as well as the fscrypt file-system encryption code.

    • Ten Collabora Developers Have Contributed 39 Patches to Linux Kernel 4.10

      Today, February 20, 2017, Collabora’s Mark Filion is informing Softpedia about the contributions made by a total of ten Collabora developers to the recently released Linux 4.10 kernel.

      Linux kernel 4.10 was released on Sunday, February 19, as you should already be aware of, and it brings a whole lot of goodies to goodies, among which we can mention virtual GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) support, Intel Cache Allocation Technology support, eBPF hooks for cgroups, as well as improved writeback management.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 13.0.5 Released for Linux Gamers with over 70 Improvements, Bug Fixes

        We reported the other day that Mesa 13.0.5 3D Graphics Library will be released this week, and it looks like Collabora’s Emil Velikov announced it earlier this morning for all Linux gamers.

        Mesa 13.0.5 is a maintenance update to the Mesa 13.0 stable series of the open source graphics stack used by default in numerous, if not all GNU/Linux distributions, providing gamers with powerful drivers for their AMD Radeon, Nvidia, and Intel GPUs. It comes approximately three weeks after the Mesa 13.0.4 update.

      • mesa 13.0.5
      • R600/Radeon TGSI Shader Cache Gets Closer To Merging

        Timothy Arceri, who is now working for Valve on the open-source AMD Linux stack, has sent out the latest patches for wiring in Mesa’s GLSL on-disk shader cache for R600g/RadeonSI drivers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.9.2, Applications 16.12.2 and Frameworks 5.31.0 available in Chakra

        The latest updates for KDE’s Plasma, Applications and Frameworks series are now available to all Chakra users.

        Included with this update, is an update of the ncurses, readline and gnutls related group of packages, as well as many other important updates in our core repository. Be aware that during this update, your screen might turn black. If that is the case and it does not automatically restore after some time, then please switch to tty3 with Ctrl+Alt+F3 and then switch back to the Plasma session with Ctrl+Alt+F7. If that does not work, please give enough time for the upgrade to complete before shutting down. You can check your cpu usage using ‘top’ after logging in within tty3. You can reboot within tty3 using ‘shutdown –reboot’.

      • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.9.2 and KDE Applications 16.12.2, More

        The developers behind the Chakra GNU/Linux operating system have announced today the immediate availability of all the latest KDE technologies released this month in the stable repositories of the distribution.

        Yes, we’re talking about the KDE Plasma 5.9.2 desktop environment, KDE Applications 16.12.2 software suite, KDE Frameworks 5.31.0, and KDE Development Platform 4.14.29, all of which can be found in your Chakra GNU/Linux’s repos if you want to run the newest KDE software.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • The Smallest Server Suite Gets Special Edition with PHP 7.0.15, Apache 2.4.25

        4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs Softpedia about the availability of a special edition of the TheSSS (The Smallest Server Suite) Live Linux operating system.

        Carrying the same version number as the original TheSSS release, namely 21.0, and dubbed TheSSS7, the new flavor ships with more recent PHP packages from the 7.0.x series. Specifically, TheSSS7 includes PHP 7.0.15, while TheSSS comes with PHP 5.6.30.

      • Descent OS Is Dead, Arkas OS Takes Its Place and It’s Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        Some of you out there might remember the Descent OS distro created by Brian Manderville and based on the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system, and today we have some bad news for them as the development is now officially closed.

        Descent OS first appeared in February 2012 as a lightweight Ubuntu derivative built around the GNOME 2 desktop environment. Back then, it was known as Descent|OS, and was quite actively developed with new features and components borrowed from the latest Ubuntu releases.

      • Black Lab Linux 8.1 Out Now with LibreOffice 5.3, It’s Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        Softpedia was informed today by the Black Lab Software project about the general availability of the first point release to the Black Lab Linux 8.0 operating system series.

        Serving as a base release to the company’s enterprise offerings and equipped with all the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel from the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, Black Lab Linux 8.1 comes with up-to-date components and the latest security patches ported from Ubuntu’s repositories as of February 15, 2017.

        “Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux 8.1. Our first incremental release to the 8.0 series. In this release we have brought all security updates up to Feb 15, 2017, as well as application updates,” said Roberto J. Dohnert, CEO of Black Lab Software.

      • Parrot 3.5 – Call For Betatesters

        We did our best to prepare these preview images including all the updates and the new features introduced since the last release, but now we need your help to understand how to make it even better, and of course we need your help to understand if there is something that doesn’t work as expected or something that absolutely needs to be included in the final release.

    • Red Hat Family

      • SSM uses Red Hat technology to modernise IT infrastructure

        RED Hat, Inc, a provider of open source solutions, announced that it has been selected by Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) to support the development of a new and advanced gateway for the registration of companies and businesses in Malaysia.

        Mesiniaga Bhd, a systems integrator with 35 years of experience, is the primary implementer for this initiative.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 27 Aiming To Drop Out Alpha Releases

          In a similar effort to Ubuntu itself not issuing alpha/beta releases the past few years as they focused on the quality of their daily ISOs instead, Fedora developers have been discussing a similar maneuver of beginning to drop alpha releases from their schedule.

          Beginning with Fedora 27 we could see no more alpha releases, if the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee approves of this change. The focus would be on ensuring Fedora Rawhide is always in good shape and save on release engineering time and other resources with putting out alpha builds.

        • Fedora macbook pro testers++

          In the final run-up to the Fedora 25 release, we slipped a week because there was a bug in installs on apple osx (now macos again) hardware. This was (and is) a use case the Workstation working group cares about, as they would love for folks with apple hardware to install Fedora and use it on that hardware. Sadly, we don’t have too many testers with this hardware to help our testing cycles, and many community members with this hardware also are using it day to day and cannot afford to reinstall and test at the drop of a hat.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • IOTA: IoT revolutionized with a Ledger

            Ever since the introduction of digital money, the world quickly came to realize how dire and expensive the consequences of centralized systems are. Not only are these systems incredibly expensive to maintain, they are also “single points of failures” which expose a large number of users to unexpected service interruptions, fraudulent activities and vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious hackers.

            Thanks to Blockchain, which was first introduced through Bitcoin in 2009, the clear benefits of a decentralized and “trustless” transactional settlement system became apparent. No longer should expensive trusted third parties be used for handling transactions, instead, the flow of money should be handled in a direct, Peer-to-Peer fashion. This concept of a Blockchain (or more broadly, a distributed ledger) has since then become a global phenomenon attracting billions of dollars in investments to further develop the concept.

          • Return Home and Unify: My Case for Unity 8
          • Can netbooks be cool again?

            Earlier this week, my colleague Chaim Gartenberg covered a laptop called the GPD Pocket, which is currently being funded on Indiegogo. As Chaim pointed out, the Pocket’s main advantage is its size — with a 7-inch screen, the thing is really, really small — and its price, a reasonable $399. But he didn’t mention that the Pocket is the resurrection of one of the most compelling, yet fatally flawed, computing trends of the ‘00s: the netbook. So after ten years, are netbooks finally cool again? That might be putting it too strongly, but I’m willing to hope.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Rewriting the history of free software and computer graphics

    Do you remember those days in the early nineties when most screensavers were showing flying 3D metallic logotypes? Did you have one?

    In this article, I want to go back in time and briefly revise the period in the history of computer graphics (CG) development when it transitioned from research labs to everyone’s home computer. The early and mid-1990s was the time when Aldus (before Adobe bought the company) was developing PageMaker for desktop publishing, when Pixar created ToyStory, and soon after 3D modeling and animation software Maya by Alias|Wavefront (acquired by Autodesk). It was also a moment when we got two very different models of CG development, one practiced by the Hollywood entertainment industry and one practiced by corporations like Adobe and Autodesk.

    By recalling this history, I hope to be able to shed new light on the value of free software for CG, such as Blender or Synfig. Maybe we can even re-discover the significance of one implicit freedom in free software: a way for digital artists to establish relations with developers.

    [...]

    The significance of free software for CG

    On the backdrop of this history, free software like Blender, Synfig, Krita, and other projects for CG gain significance for several reasons that stretch beyond the four freedoms that free software gives.

    First, free software allows the mimicking of the Hollywood industry’s models of work while making it accessible for more individuals. It encourages practice-based CG development that can fit individual workflows and handle unexpected circumstances that emerge in the course of work, rather than aiming at a mass product for all situations and users. Catering to an individual’s needs and adaptations of the software brings users work closer to craft and makes technology more human. Tools and individual skill can be continuously polished, shaped, and improved based on individual needs, rather than shaped by decisions “from above.”

  • ONF unveils Open Innovation Pipeline to counter open source proprietary solutions

    ONF and ON.Lab claim the OIP initiative to bolster open source SDN, NFV and cloud efforts being hampered by open source-based proprietary work.

    Tapping into an ongoing merger arrangement with Open Networking Lab, the Open Networking Foundation recently unveiled its Open Innovation Pipeline targeted at counteracting the move by vendors using open source platforms to build proprietary solutions.

  • [FreeDOS] The readability of DOS applications

    Web pages are mostly black-on-white or dark-gray-on-white, but anyone who has used DOS will remember that most DOS applications were white-on-blue. Sure, the DOS command line was white-on-black, but almost every popular DOS application used white-on-blue. (It wasn’t really “white” but we’ll get there.) Do an image search for any DOS application from the 1980s and early 1990s, and you’re almost guaranteed to yield a forest of white-on-blue images like these:

  • More about DOS colors

    In a followup to my discussion about the readability of DOS applications, I wrote an explanation on the FreeDOS blog about why DOS has sixteen colors. That discussion seemed too detailed to include on my Open Source Software & Usability blog, but it was a good fit for the FreeDOS blog.

  • Building a $4 billion company around open source software: The Cloudera story

    Dr Amr Awadallah is the Chief Technology Officer of Cloudera, a data management and analytics platform based on Apache Hadoop. Before co-founding Cloudera in 2008, Awadallah served as Vice President of Product Intelligence Engineering at Yahoo!, running one of the very first organizations to use Hadoop for data analysis and business intelligence. Awadallah joined Yahoo! after the company acquired his first startup, VivaSmart, in July 2000.

    With the fourth industrial revolution upon us—where the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres are blurred by the world of big data and the fusion of technologies—Cloudera finds itself among the band of companies that are leading this change. In this interview with Enterprise Innovation, the Cloudera co-founder shares his insights on the opportunities and challenges in the digital revolution and its implications for businesses today; how organizations can derive maximum value from their data while ensuring their protection against risks; potential pitfalls and mistakes companies make when using big data for business advantage; and what lies beyond big data analytics.

  • What we (think we) know about meritocracies

    “Meritocracy,” writes Christopher Hayes in his 2012 book Twilight of the Elites, “represents a rare point of consensus in our increasingly polarized politics. It undergirds our debates, but is never itself the subject of them, because belief in it is so widely shared.” Meritocratic thinking, in other words, is prevalent today; thinking rigorously about meritocracy, however, is much more rare.

  • A new perspective on meritocracy

    Meritocracy is a common element of open organizations: They prosper by fostering a less-hierarchical culture where “the best ideas win.” But what does meritocracy really mean for open organizations, and why does it matter? And how do open organizations make meritocracy work in practice? Some research and thinking I’ve done over the last six months have convinced me such questions are less simple—and perhaps more important—than may first meet the eye.

  • Events

    • OpenStack Summit Boston: Vote for Presentations

      The next OpenStack Summit takes place in Boston, MA (USA) in May (8.-11.05.2017). The “Vote for Presentations” period started already. All proposals are now again up for community votes. The period will end February 21th at 11:59pm PST (February 22th at 8:59am CEST).

    • [FOSDEM] Libreboot

      Libreboot is free/opensource boot firmware for laptops, desktops and servers, on multiple platforms and architectures. It replaces the proprietary BIOS/UEFI firmware commonly found in computers.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.3.3 RELEASE Now Available!

      We are happy to announce the release of pfSense® software version 2.3.3!

      This is a maintenance release in the 2.3.x series, bringing numerous stability and bug fixes, fixes for a handful of security issues in the GUI, and a handful of new features. The full list of changes is on the 2.3.3 New Features and Changes page, including a list of FreeBSD and internal security advisories addressed by this release.

      This release includes fixes for 101 bugs, 14 Features, and 3 Todo items.

      If you haven’t yet caught up on the changes in 2.3.x, check out the Features and Highlights video. Past blog posts have covered some of the changes, such as the performance improvements from tryforward, and the webGUI update.

    • NetBSD Accomplishes Reproducible Builds

      A lot of Linux distributions have been focusing on reproducible builds support in the past few years — ensuring individuals can rebuild a bit-for-bit replica of the original source code. NetBSD has now accomplished their operating system can be built in a reproducible build fashion.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Three new FOSS umbrella organisations in Europe

      So far, the options available to a project are either to establish its own organisation or to join an existing organisation, neither of which may fit well for the project. The existing organisations are either specialised in a specific technology or one of the few technology-neutral umbrella organisations in the US, such as Software in the Public Interest, the Apache Software Foundation, or the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC). If there is already a technology-specific organisation (e.g. GNOME Foundation, KDE e.V., Plone Foundation) that fits a project’s needs, that may well make a good match.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • ESA affirms Open Access policy for images, videos and data / Digital Agenda

        ESA today announced it has adopted an Open Access policy for its content such as still images, videos and selected sets of data.

        For more than two decades, ESA has been sharing vast amounts of information, imagery and data with scientists, industry, media and the public at large via digital platforms such as the web and social media. ESA’s evolving information management policy increases these opportunities.

        In particular, a new Open Access policy for ESA’s information and data will now facilitate broadest use and reuse of the material for the general public, media, the educational sector, partners and anybody else seeking to utilise and build upon it.

  • Programming/Development

    • Key Traits of the Coming Delphi For Linux Compiler

      Embarcadero is about to release a new Delphi compiler for the Linux platform. Here are some of the key technical elements of this compiler, and the few differences compared to Delphi compilers for other platforms.

Leftovers

  • Surprising no one, Los Angeles is the most gridlocked city in the world

    In Los Angeles, every day brings a new carmageddon. The portmanteau was originally coined to describe a weekend in July 2012, when a section of 405 Freeway was closed for massive widening project. The traffic apocalypse turned out not to be as bad as predicted, but the additional lanes of freeway did nothing to alleviate LA’s legendary traffic woes. In fact, one could argue they’ve only gotten worse. According to a study released today, the City of Angels held the dubious distinction of ranking No. 1 for traffic congestion in the entire world.

    LA was the most gridlocked city in the world, with drivers spending 104 hours in congestion in 2016 during peak time periods, according to a massive review of global traffic data by analytics firm INRIX. That’s four whole days (plus eight hours) stuck in traffic. In that amount of time, you could watch Joel Schumacher’s 1993 Falling Down, in which an LA traffic jam spurs Michael Douglas into a spasm of rage-filled violence, over 50 times. Cool!

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Florida Supreme Court Reminds Politicians That Women Are Capable of Making Their Own Decisions

      The state’s high court blocked a law that unnecessarily makes women wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.

      Every day, people face important medical decisions. When tough choices arise, we consult with our health care providers about the pros and cons of different treatment options. We meditate on our goals and fears. Some of us will turn to family or friends for advice. Some of us will pray.

      No one goes to the state capitol building to ask a politician their opinion.

    • Hospital cuts planned in most of England

      Hospital services in nearly two-thirds of England could be cut or scaled back, BBC analysis of local plans shows.

      The proposals have been made by NHS bosses as part of a national programme to transform the health service and save money.

      They include everything from full closures of hospitals to cutting some specialist services such as accident and emergency and stroke care.

  • Security

    • Monday’s security advisories
    • Hackers take over microphones on Windows PCs to steal data

      Hackers targeting people in Ukraine have come up with something unusual: they use the microphones on Windows PCs to steal audio recordings of conversations, screenshots, documents and passwords.

      The cyber security firm CyberX calls it Operation BugDrop because the malware eavesdrops by controlling microphones — bugging its targets — and uses Dropbox to store the data that it steals.

      In a blog post, the company said it had confirmed that at least 70 people, from various sectors like critical infrastructure, media and scientific research, had fallen victim to the malware that was carrying out the cyber surveillance.

      While malware that takes over video cameras on PCs or laptops can be blocked by placing a piece of tape over the camera, the microphone on a PC or laptop requires dismantling to disable.

    • Trump’s Cybersecurity Plan is a Big No-Show at Key Event

      Tens of thousands of cyber professionals, academics, and a handful of public servants have swarmed downtown San Francisco for the annual RSA Conference — one of the largest digital and cyber security events of its kind.

      But trying to find a representative from the 3-week-old White House in the convention halls is like playing a game of Where’s Waldo. None appeared to attend, and panels discussing cybersecurity policy worked off of leaked drafts of an executive order abandoned by President Donald Trump’s administration.

      The White House did not respond to a request for comment on whether it had sent a representative to San Francisco for the week, and previous requests for comment on plans for the cybersecurity executive order went unanswered.

      Rudy Giuliani serves as White House cyber security adviser, though he has said little publicly on the topic since being appointed.

    • using yubikeys everywhere

      Everybody is getting real excited about yubikeys recently, so I figured I should get excited, too. I have so far resisted two factor authorizing everything, but this seemed like another fun experiment. There’s a lot written about yubikeys and how you should use one, but nothing I’ve read answered a few of the specific questions I had.

      It’s not a secret I’ve had a dim view of two factor auth, although many of my gripes are about implementation details. I think a lot of that remains true. Where two factor auth perhaps might succeed is in limiting the damage of phishing attacks. I like to think of myself as a little too savvy for most phishing attacks. That’s sadly true of most phishing victims as well, but really: I don’t use webmail. I don’t have any colleagues sharing documents with me. I read my mail in a terminal, thus on the rare occasion that I copy and paste a link, I see exactly the URL I’m going to, not the false text between the a tags. Nevertheless, if everybody else recommends secure tokens, I should at least consider getting on board with that recommendation. But not before actually trying these things out.

      To begin with, I ordered two yubikeys. One regular sized 4 and one nano. I wanted to play with different form factors to see which is better for various uses, and I wanted to test having a key and a backup key. Everybody always talks about having one yubikey. And then if you lose it, terrible things happen. Can this problem be alleviated with two keys? I’m also very curious what happens when I try to login to a service with my phone after enabling U2F.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Last man standing: McMaster for NSA?

      As I said at the end of my Friday post, once Trump was turned down by Harward, it became more likely that he would turn to the active duty military for his 3rd pick for the job. McMaster is among the best of them out there. For his Ph.D. dissertation, he wrote one of the best books on the Vietnam War, Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.

    • Democrats, Liberals Catch McCarthyistic Fever

      Democrats and liberals are so angry about President Trump that they are turning to McCarthyistic tactics without regard to basic fairness or the need to avoid a costly and dangerous New Cold War, notes Daniel Lazare.

    • Former Swedish PM: More murders in Florida where Trump spoke than in Sweden last year

      Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt responded to President Trump’s remarks on Sweden again — this time with statistics on the country’s crime rates.

      In a tweet Monday morning, Bildt said the counties Trump made the speech at in Florida experienced higher murder rates last year than the whole country of Sweden did.

      “Last year there were app 50% more murders only in Orlando/Orange in Florida, where Trump spoke the other day, than in all of Sweden. Bad,” Bildt tweeted.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange must reduce ‘meddling’ in US policies while in Ecuadorian embassy – Moreno to RT (EXCLUSIVE)

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is sheltered in Ecuador’s embassy in London, should reduce meddling in the policies of countries Ecuador has friendly relations with, the frontrunner for Ecuador’s presidential elections, Lenin Moreno, told RT.

      [...]

      Moreno, who is so far leading in the count in the presidential elections in Ecuador which took place Sunday, may still have to face a second round of voting against his rival, former banker Guillermo Lasso, of the Conservative party.

      Moreno, a disabled former vice president, received 39.12 percent of valid votes out of 40 percent needed to win outright, the official preliminary election count, issued on Monday morning, showed, Reuters reported. Lasso, in turn, had 28.30 percent of the votes. At that point, 88.5 percent of votes were counted.

    • Federal Court Rules Against Public.Resource.Org, Says Public Safety Laws Can Be Locked Behind Paywalls

      Everyone should be able to read the law, discuss it, and share it with others, without having to pay a toll or sign a contract. Seems obvious, right? Unfortunately, a federal district court has said otherwise, ruling that private organizations can use copyright to control access to huge portions of our state and federal laws. The court ordered Public.Resource.Org to stop providing public access to these key legal rules.

      Public.Resource.org has one mission: to improve public access to government documents, including our laws. To fulfill that mission, it acquires and posts online a wide variety of public documents including regulations that have become law through “incorporation by reference,” meaning that they are initially created through private standards organizations and later incorporated into federal law. Those regulations are often difficult to access because they aren’t published in the federal code, but they are vitally important. For example, they include the rules that govern the safety of buildings and consumer products, promote energy efficiency, and control the design of standardized tests for students and employees.

    • Chinese whistleblower granted political asylum

      ‘Rebecca’ Jun Mei Wu has told SBS News she is relieved to have been granted asylum in Australia.

      Ms Wu worked for the digital arm of the People’s Daily state media empire from 2012 to 2016. She fled the city of Wuhan for Sydney after being detained and questioned by security officers over her affiliation with an underground Protestant church.

      “I’m very thankful to the Australian government for saving me from certain imprisonment in China,” Ms Wu told SBS.

      “My relatives are still under surveillance back home. The situation journalists face in China is dire.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • After Advancing Scott Pruitt Confirmation, Senator Heads Over to Energy Lobbyist Fundraiser

      Jody Gale and Joe Vacapoli, two lobbyists from Farragut Partners, were seen arriving at the Barrasso fundraiser together. Former Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who resigned in disgrace after mounting ethics scandals, joined the firm last year, and was also at the event with Barrasso. Farragut Partners represents Energy Future Holdings and Southern Company, two utilities that rely heavily on coal-fueled power plants and have clashed with environmental regulators.

      Another lobbyist, Conrad Lass, who represents the trade group for Chevron and ExxonMobil, was listed on the event invitation as a host.

      Barrasso, the new chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has — like Pruitt — advanced oil and gas industry agenda items by moving to block environmental regulations. Records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show that Barrasso collected over $1.1 million from the oil, gas, mining, and utility industries in the last campaign cycle.

  • Finance

    • ‘No deal’ Brexit would mean £6bn in extra costs for UK exporters
    • The day Britain died: Brexit, Trump and Scottish independence

      Last week a Rubicon was crossed as the House of Commons voted 494 to 122 – a government majority of 372 – to give a third reading to triggering Article 50.

      Just as seriously on the same day – Wednesday February 8th 2017 – the UK government reneged on its promise to take 3,000 child refugees (what was called the Dubs amendment) and slashed the number to 350. If that wasn’t enough the Commons at the same time voted to refuse to offer any guarantees to EU citizens living in the UK: content to use them as pawns in a high power poker game.

      It is going to be difficult for many in Scotland, and for many ‘openDemocracy’ readers, but Britain is over. There is no way back. Last week the very idea of Britain as outgoing, welcoming, doing the right thing, looking after the most vulnerable and being driven by a sense of humanity, was not only trashed but finally and fatally died.

      All of this requires that we get real about the debate here and recognise that we need to be tolerant, serious and embrace detail and facts, not faith and assertion. Unless the UK does an about turn on Brexit and Scotland, indyref2 is inevitable. The only issue will be timing and context.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Will Keith Ellison Move the Democrats Left?

      “Here’s the interesting thing about Islam,” Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman currently running for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, said. It was a sunny, gelid afternoon just after Christmas. “The Prophet Muhammad—peace and blessings be upon him—his father dies before he’s ever born. His mother dies before he’s six. He’s handed over to a foster mom who’s so poor, the stories say, her breasts are not full enough to feed him. So he grows up as this quintessential orphan, and only later, at the age of forty, does he start to get this revelation. And the revelation is to stand up against the constituted powers that are enslaving people—that are, you know, cheating people, trying to trick people into believing that they should give over their money to appease a god that’s just an inanimate object. And those authorities came down hard on him! And his first converts were people who were enslaved, children, women—a few of them were wealthy business folks, but the earliest companions of the Prophet Muhammad were people who needed justice. I found that story to be inspiring, and important to my own thinking and development.”

    • The Real Enemy of the People Is a President Who Opposes the Free Press

      When John Fitzgerald Kennedy addressed the American Newspaper Publishers Association just two months after he was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States, he explained that: “I have selected as the title of my remarks tonight ‘The President and the Press.’ Some may suggest that this would be more naturally worded ‘The President Versus the Press.’ But those are not my sentiments tonight.”

      [...]

      But the point of Kennedy’s speech was a serious one. He had come, as a new president of the United States, to talk about the relationship between his administration and the media. He acknowledged “the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war,” and he spoke honestly of his hope for a measure of restraint in the coverage of particularly sensitive global disputes. But he also said: “The question is for you alone to answer. No public official should answer it for you. No governmental plan should impose its restraints against your will.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • 3 things companies must know about data sovereignty when moving to the cloud

      I hear it nearly every day – the lament of teams trying to transform their enterprise from ’80s-era software to the cloud: “Our state (or country, or regional authority) says that data can never leave our jurisdiction, which means we can’t store it in the cloud.”

      It’s true that data sovereignty presents technical and legal challenges when moving on-premises systems and information stores to the cloud. There is no United Nations resolution, European Union mandate, or international trade agreement that provides one blanket set of data sovereignty requirements that all countries follow. Privacy and data-hosting laws vary by country and state, and some are more strict than others.

    • Tech Groups Tell Congress to Consider Privacy Implications of NSA Surveillance Powers

      Several technology industry groups sent a letter to members of Congress last week urging them to ensure privacy safeguards are maintained when they vote to renew a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which gives the National Security Agency broad powers to collect information on foreign nationals.

    • How US Intelligence Surveillance May Affect Immigrants

      Recent reports that the US monitored calls between members of President Trump’s campaign staff and Russian intelligence personnel have renewed controversy about the surveillance powers of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI), and how those bodies handle the information they collect. But anyone concerned about the scope or legality of the US government’s warrantless intelligence surveillance should also worry about the way these programs may affect the country’s border and immigrant communities.

    • History tells us the wars on privacy and sharing will get worse before it gets better

      All governments of the world are cracking down on privacy and increasing mass surveillance, sometimes in the name of copyright enforcement, sometimes in the name of fighting terrorism, sometimes because they just want to. There’s a pattern here of similar things in the past – something is horrible, horrible, horrible, until the point where fighting the phenomenon just looks silly, counterproductive, and inhumane. Cannabis is there today, and it’s going to be years if not decades until it’s just as silly to fight people sharing knowledge and culture with each other, trying to brand them as awful people.

    • Privacy in practice for self hosting

      One of the main issue with centralized internet services is the commercial exploitation of people private datas, and the relative lack of security of those data against states actors among others. Yet, being self hosted and using smaller provider do not automatically grant protection, and few people do have a concrete idea of what steps are needed to efficiently protect the privacy of others when hosting services, inspired by the policy of Mozilla, riseup and several others groups trying to do the right things

    • Understanding the different Maslow need levels for privacy

      When we aspire to have privacy, we may do so for a number of different reasons. All these reasons are valid, but some are more urgent than others, psychologically speaking. When debating privacy issues, it’s important to be aware of these psychological models and the very real consequences involved.

      The psychologist Abraham Maslow created a theory known as the Maslow Hierarchy of Human Needs, which predicts the ranked order people will adhere to in seeking out certain things in their life. Where privacy is ranked on this list is a matter of which environment you operate in, and it’s crucial to recognize the differences.

      Generally speaking, Maslow predicted that people won’t progress to addressing a higher level of needs until the current level is fully satisfied. The first level involves basic physiological needs – food, air, water, heat. Once these are satisfied, people start working on the second – safety from violence, safety in having food, air, and water for tomorrow as well; general freedom from worry. The third level is a sense of belonging to a group or tribe, the fourth is enjoying a sense of respect within that tribe, and the fifth and highest is self-development, once all other levels are satisfied.

    • Big Brother in the U.K.

      The United Kingdom’s Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority is not part of an agency tasked with fighting terrorism. It’s a licensing body that “regulates businesses who provide workers to the fresh produce supply chain and horticulture industry, to make sure they meet the employment standards required by law,” according to its mission statement.

    • Trump’s Attorney General’s Record on Privacy

      President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the country’s law enforcement has cleared the Senate.

      The Senate voted 52-47 on Wednesday to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions, whose record on civil liberties issues—including digital rights—has drawn fire from Democratic lawmakers and public interest groups.

      EFF has expressed concerns about Sessions’ record on surveillance, encryption, and freedom of the press. Those concerns intensified during his confirmation process.

      Throughout his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and his written responses to additional questions from lawmakers, Sessions made a number of troubling statements. He said he would support legislation to enable a privacy-invasive Rapid DNA system. He refused to definitively commit not to put journalists in jail for doing their job. He dodged questions about Justice Department policies on Stingrays, and wouldn’t commit to publish guidelines on how federal law enforcement uses government hacking. He called it “critical” that law enforcement be able to “overcome” encryption.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trump Effort To Protect Cops Doesn’t Match Facts

      President Trump put an executive order into effect last week to, in his words, “stop crime and crimes of violence against law enforcement officers.” But when the facts about police, violence and victims are considered — real facts, not alternative facts — the math doesn’t work. Like Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984, we are being asked to believe that two plus two does not equal four.

    • Where Protests Flourish, Anti-Protest Bills Follow

      State legislatures across the country are trying to crack down on protesters and make a mockery of the First Amendment.

      Over the past year, a historic level of activism and protest has spilled out into our nation’s parks, streets, and sidewalks — places where our First Amendment rights are at their height. The January 21 Women’s March, anchored in D.C. with echoes across the nation, was likely the single largest day of protest in American history. And yet, legislators in many states have followed up on this exuberant activism with proposed bills that are not only far less inspiring, but also unconstitutional.

    • Vague Rules Let ICE Deport Undocumented Immigrants as Gang Members

      Of the more than 680 people swept up during last week’s nationwide raids by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, none has attracted more attention than 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina. Although he crossed into the United States illegally when he was a child, Ramirez Medina twice applied successfully for permission to stay in the country under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.

      The former California resident, who recently moved north to Des Moines, Washington, was detained on Friday when ICE went to his family’s home looking for his father, who is also undocumented and in removal proceedings.

      ICE claims Ramirez Medina’s DACA status is null and void due to evidence of gang involvement outlined by government attorneys in a brief filed earlier this week. The sum of the evidence is a tattoo on his arm that immigration officials believe is gang related, and statements that he allegedly made in custody that “he used to hang out with the Sureno[s] in California,” that he “fled California to escape the gangs,” and that he “still hangs out with the Paizas in Washington State.”

    • YODA, the Bill That Would Let You Own (and Sell) Your Devices, Is Re-Introduced in Congress

      Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) just re-introduced their You Own Devices Act (YODA), a bill that aims to help you reclaim some of your ownership rights in the software-enabled devices you buy.

    • Why a Jewish Organization Is Suing to Stop the Muslim Ban

      We assist refugees today not because they are Jewish, but because we are Jewish.

      I cringed when I heard the Trump campaign and administration start using “territory” as a euphemism for “religion.”

      It wasn’t just the thinly veiled attempt to institute a Muslim ban by another name. Sure, barring travelers from seven majority Muslim countries with an exception for religious minorities is pretty brazen, but so is the president going on television and saying we need to protect Christians more than Muslims.

      No, what made me wince was the sheer repetitiveness of it. We’ve seen this show before, and they haven’t even bothered to change the script.

    • Jeff Sessions’s Dubious Refugee Math

      How frightened should Americans be of refugees, and how much safer will they be under President Trump’s more restrictive refugee policy? If Americans are concerned about actual attacks involving committed terrorists sneaking through the vetting process with the intent to kill or maim Americans, the answer – based on statistics developed by Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions – appears, for all practical purposes, to be virtually zero.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Abandons Zero-Rating Investigation and Moves Backward on Net Neutrality

      Bad news for Internet users. In his first few days in office, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has shelved the Commission’s investigation into Internet companies’ zero-rating practices and whether they violate the Commission’s Open Internet Order.

      As recently as January, the FCC was rebuking AT&T (PDF) for seemingly prioritizing its own DirecTV content over that of its competitors. Now, Pai has made it clear that the FCC doesn’t plan to move forward with the investigation.

      Simply put, zero-rating is the practice of ISPs and mobile providers choosing not to count certain content toward users’ data limits, often in exchange for capping the speeds at which customers can access that content. Most major mobile providers in the U.S. offer some form of zero-rated service today, like T-Mobile’s BingeOn program for zero-rated streaming and Verizon and AT&T’s FreeBee Data program. Facebook, Wikimedia, and Google have their own zero-rated apps, too. While they are currently focused on emerging mobile marks in developing countries, this recent development from the FCC may open the domestic market to them in new ways.

    • How Tech Policies May Evolve Under Republicans and Trump

      On zero rating, F.C.C. Chairman Ajit Pai has already expressed a preference on that: It is something consumers seem to love. To be able to download or stream without letting it count against your data plan is extremely popular with consumers. I don’t have a problem with that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Search Engines and Rightsholders Sign Landmark Anti-Piracy Deal

        After well over half a decade of backroom meetings facilitated by the UK Government, search engines and major rightsholder groups have signed an anti-piracy agreement. Both sides agreed on a deal in which search engines will delist and demote pirated content, faster and more effectively than before. The voluntary agreement, targeted at UK consumers, is the first of its kind in the world but appears to offer little new.

      • Kim Dotcom extradition to US can go ahead, New Zealand high court rules

        The high court in New Zealand has ruled Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to the United States to face a multitude of charges including money laundering and copyright breaches.

        US authorities had appealed for Dotcom’s extradition to face 13 charges including allegations of conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud.

      • Kim Dotcom Extradition to Go Ahead, But Not on Copyright Grounds

        The New Zealand High Court today ruled that Kim Dotcom can be extradited to the US, but it won’t be on copyright grounds. After months of deliberation, Justice Murray Gilbert agreed with the US Government’s position that this is a fraud case at its core, an offense that is extraditable. Dotcom says he will fight on.

      • New Zealand will probably try and extradite Kim Dotcom to the US

        NEW ZEALAND’S JUDICIAL SYSTEM HAS DECIDED, AFTER ALL THIS TIME, that is is fair to send citizen Kim Dotcom to the US and meet its extradition demands.

        This is something that Dotcom has been fighting for some time, and we must admit that it has come as something of a shock to us. The case against Dotcom has been proved to be a bit lacking, and he does have the kind of legal backing that we would want in these circumstances.

        The ruling is a murky one. It was delivered by the Auckland High Court and ruled that Dotcom could now be extradited to the United States due to allegations of wire fraud, copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and money laundering. He was found guilty of 13 counts in all.

      • New Zealand High Court clears Kim Dotcom extradition to the US

        Megaupload website founder Kim Dotcom and three associates were on Monday cleared by a court in New Zealand to be extradited to the U.S. where he faces a variety of charges including copyright infringement and racketeering.

        Holding that copyright infringement by digital online communication of copyright protected works to members of the public is not a criminal offense under New Zealand’s Copyright Act, the High Court found that a conspiracy to commit copyright infringement amounts to a bid to defraud, which is an extradition offense listed in the treaty between the U.S. and New Zealand.

      • Healthy Domains Initiative Isn’t Healthy for the Internet

        EFF had high hopes that the Domain Name Association’s Healthy Domains Initiative (HDI) wouldn’t be just another secretive industry deal between rightsholders and domain name intermediaries. Toward that end, we and other civil society organizations worked in good faith on many fronts to make sure HDI protected Internet users as well.

        Those efforts seem to have failed. Yesterday, the Domain Name Association (DNA), a relatively new association of domain registries and registrars, suddenly launched a proposal for “Registry/Registrar Healthy Practices” on a surprised world, calling on domain name companies to dive headlong into a new role as private arbiters of online speech. This ill-conceived proposal is the very epitome of Shadow Regulation. There was no forewarning about the release of this proposal on the HDI mailing list; indeed, the last update posted there was on June 9, 2016, reporting “some good progress,” and promising that any HDI best practice document “will be shared broadly to this group for additional feedback.” That never happened, and neither were any updates posted to HDI’s blog.

      • It’s the End of the Copyright Alert System (As We Know It)

        The Copyright Alert System has called it quits, but questions remain about what, if anything, will replace it. Known also as the “six strikes” program, the Copyright Alert System (CAS) was a private agreement between several large Internet service providers (ISPs) and big media and entertainment companies, with government support. The agreement allowed the media and entertainmenet companies to monitor those ISPs’ subscribers’ peer-to-peer network traffic for potential copyright infringement, and imposed penalties on subscribers accused of infringing. Penalties ranged from “educational” notices, to throttling subscribers’ connection speeds and, in some cases, temporarily restricting subscribers’ web access.

02.20.17

Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

Posted in News Roundup at 12:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • When Open Source Meets the Enterprise

    Open source solutions have long been an option for the enterprise, but lately it seems they are becoming more of a necessity for advanced data operations than merely a luxury for IT techs who like to play with code.

    While it’s true that open platforms tend to provide a broader feature set compared to their proprietary brethren, due to their larger and more diverse development communities, this often comes at the cost of increased operational complexity. At a time when most enterprises are looking to shed their responsibilities for infrastructure and architecture to focus instead on core money-making services, open source requires a fairly high level of in-house technical skill.

    But as data environments become more distributed and reliant upon increasingly complex compilations of third-party systems, open source can provide at least a base layer of commonality for resources that support a given distribution.

  • EngineerBetter CTO: the logical truth about software ‘packaging’

    Technologies such as Docker have blended these responsibilities, causing developers to need to care about what operating system and native libraries are available to their applications – after years of the industry striving for more abstraction and increased decoupling!

  • Pieter Hintjens In Memoriam

    Pieter Hintjens was a writer, programmer and thinker who has spent decades building large software systems and on-line communities, which he describes as “Living Systems”. He was an expert in distributed computing, having written over 30 protocols and distributed software systems. He designed AMQP in 2004, and founded the ZeroMQ free software project in 2007. He was the author of the O’Reilly ZeroMQ book, “Culture and Empire”, “The Psychopath Code”, “Social Architecture”, and “Confessions of a Necromancer”. He was the president of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), and fought the software patent directive and the standardisation of the Microsoft OOXML Office format. He also organized the Internet of Things (IOT) Devroom here at FOSDEM for the last 3 years. In April 2016 he was diagnosed with terminal metastasis of a previous cancer.

  • Events

    • foss-gbg on Wednesday

      The topics are Yocto Linux on FPGA-based hardware, risk and license management in open source projects and a product release by the local start-up Zifra (an encryptable SD-card).

      More information and free tickets are available at the foss-gbg site.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • What will we do when everything is automated?

      Just translate the term “productivity of American factories” into the word “automation” and you get the picture. Other workers are not taking jobs away from the gainfully employed, machines are.

      This is not a new trend. It’s been going on since before Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. Industry creates machines that do the work of humans faster, cheaper, with more accuracy and with less failure. That’s the nature of industry—nothing new here. However, what is new is the rate by which the displacement of human beings from the workforce in happening.

    • Want OpenStack benefits? Put your private cloud plan in place first

      The open source software promises hard-to-come-by cloud standards and no vendor lock-in, says Forrester’s Lauren Nelson. But there’s more to consider — including containers.

    • Set the Agenda at OpenStack Summit Boston

      The next OpenStack Summit is just three months away now, and as is their custom, the organizers have once again invited you–the OpenStack Community–to vote on which presentations will and will not be featured at the event.

    • What’s new in the world of OpenStack Ambassadors

      Ambassadors act as liaisons between multiple User Groups, the Foundation and the community in their regions. Launched in 2013, the OpenStack Ambassador program aims to create a framework of community leaders to sustainably expand the reach of OpenStack around the world.

    • Boston summit preview, Ambassador program updates, and more OpenStack news
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Programming/Development

    • NVIDIA Makes Huge Code Contribution To Qt, New Qt 3D Studio

      The Qt Company today announced Qt 3D Studio, a new 3D UI authoring system, thanks to NVIDIA providing Qt with hundreds of thousands of lines of source code making up this application.

    • Cavium ThunderX Support Added To LLVM

      Cavium’s ThunderX ARM 64-bit processors are now formally supported by the LLVM compiler stack.

    • How copying an int made my code 11 times faster

      Recently, after refactoring some Rust code, I noticed that it had suddenly become four times slower. However, the strange part is that I didn’t even touch the part of the code that became slower. Furthermore, it was still slower after commenting out the changes. Curious, I decided to investigate further.

      The first step was to use git diff to display all changes since the previous commit, which was normal speed. Then I started removing them one by one, no matter how inconsequential, and testing to see if it was still slow after the change.

      [...]

      Adding the print statement causes the code to go from 0.16 seconds to 1.7 seconds, an 11x slowdown (in release mode). Then, I posted it in the rustc IRC channel, where eddyb and bluss suggested a workaround and explained what was going on.

      The fix was to the change the print line to the following, which does indeed fix the slowdown.

Leftovers

  • Cars

    • Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber

      As most of you know, I left Uber in December and joined Stripe in January. I’ve gotten a lot of questions over the past couple of months about why I left and what my time at Uber was like. It’s a strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying story that deserves to be told while it is still fresh in my mind, so here we go.

      I joined Uber as a site reliability engineer (SRE) back in November 2015, and it was a great time to join as an engineer. They were still wrangling microservices out of their monolithic API, and things were just chaotic enough that there was exciting reliability work to be done. The SRE team was still pretty new when I joined, and I had the rare opportunity to choose whichever team was working on something that I wanted to be part of.

      After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.

    • Former engineer says Uber is a nightmare of sexism

      A former Uber engineer has published an explosive account of sexism and power struggles in the workplace, with allegations beginning from her very first official day with the company. The engineer, Susan Fowler (who left Uber in December and now works for Stripe), posted the account to her blog on Sunday, calling it a “strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying story.” It is indeed horrifying.

      Sexism is a well-documented problem in Silicon Valley, but the particulars of Fowler’s account are astounding. She says problems began on day one, when her manager accosted her with details of his sex life:

    • Tesla Owner Who Sacrificed His Model S To Save Another Driver Gets Surprise From Elon Musk

      For those who may have missed the story, here’s the deal. Manfred Kick was driving his Model S on the German Autobahn near Munich and noticed that a person in a Volkswagen Passat was driving erratically on the highway, German publication Munchen Merkur reported. The Passat hit the guardrail several times and swerved suspiciously, so Kick realized that something was wrong.

      He didn’t know whether the Passat driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or whether some other issue was at stake, but he nonetheless decided to intervene to avoid a more serious accident. Kick accelerated to reach the Volkswagen Passat and when he looked over, he saw that the driver appeared unconscious.

    • Why buying used cars could put your safety at risk

      Charles Henderson sold his car several years ago, but he still knows exactly where it is, and can control it from his phone.

      The IBM researcher leading X-Force Red, the firm’s security testing group, wasn’t researching car security when he discovered a major privacy issue. He simply sold his car.

      “The car is really smart, but it’s not smart enough to know who its owner is, so it’s not smart enough to know it’s been resold,” Henderson told CNNTech. “There’s nothing on the dashboard that tells you ‘the following people have access to the car.’”

  • Proprietary Nightmares

    • SAP license fees are due even for indirect users, court says

      SAP’s named-user licensing fees apply even to related applications that only offer users indirect visibility of SAP data, a U.K. judge ruled Thursday in a case pitting SAP against Diageo, the alcoholic beverage giant behind Smirnoff vodka and Guinness beer.

      The consequences could be far-reaching for businesses that have integrated their customer-facing systems with an SAP database, potentially leaving them liable for license fees for every customer that accesses their online store.

      “If any SAP systems are being indirectly triggered, even if incidentally, and from anywhere in the world, then there are uncategorized and unpriced costs stacking up in the background,” warned Robin Fry, a director at software licensing consultancy Cerno Professional Services, who has been following the case.

    • “Active Hours” in Windows 10 emphasizes how you are not in control of your own devices

      No edition of Windows 10, except Professional and Enterprise, is expected to function for more than 12 hours of the day. Microsoft most generously lets you set a block of 12 hours where you’re in control of the system, and will reserve the remaining 12 hours for it’s own purposes. How come we’re all fine with this?

      Windows 10 introduced the concept of “Active Hours”, a period of up to 12 hours when you expect to use the device, meant to reflect your work hours. The settings for changing the device’s active hours is hidden away among Windows Update settings, and it poorly fits with today’s lifestyles.

      Say you use your PC in the afternoon and into the late evening during the work week, but use it from morning to early afternoon in the weekends. You can’t fit all those hours nor accommodate home office hours in a period of just 12 hours. We’re always connected, and expect our devices to always be there for us when we need them.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Michigan civil rights panel: Flint water crisis rooted in ‘systemic racism’

      The Flint drinking water crisis has its root causes in historical and systemic racism, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission said Friday in a hard-hitting report that calls the public health catastrophe ” a complete failure of government” and recommends a rewrite of the state’s emergency manager law and bias training for state officials.

      The report, unanimously adopted at a meeting of the commission in downtown Flint, also calls for the creation of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” a model that was used in South Africa after apartheid as a way of rebuilding government trust and credibility by listening to and addressing specific concerns raised by Flint residents.

      It calls on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to invite experts to provide training on “implicit bias” to his cabinet, his team responding to Flint, and to require all state departments, including the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Health and Human Services, to do the same for their staff. Implicit bias is unconscious bias that can be directed toward historically disadvantaged groups, influencing decision-making.

    • Commission report: ‘systemic racism’ played role in Flint water crisis

      The 129-page report does not claim there were any specific violations of state civil rights laws, but says “historical, structural and systemic racism combined with implicit bias” played a role in the problems, which still linger in the city’s drinking water almost three years later.

      “The presence of racial bias in the Flint water crisis isn’t much of a surprise to those of us who live here, but the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s affirmation that the emergency manager law disproportionately hurts communities of color is an important reminder of just how bad the policy is,” state Sen. Jim Ananich, a Democrat from Flint, said.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Finance

    • EVA: 79,000 prime working-age men are permanently outside labour force in Finland

      The Finnish Business and Policy Forum (EVA) has expressed its concern about the nearly 79,000 men in the prime working-age group who are not in employment, not in education and not eligible for disability pension.

      “Finland is home to 78,657 prime working-age men who can be labelled as missing workers. Not much is known about the activities of these 25–54-year-old men – except that they have disappeared from the labour force, apparently permanently,” EVA states in a report published on Thursday.

    • A Corporate Defender at Heart, Former SEC Chair Mary Jo White Returns to Her Happy Place

      Mary Jo White, whose tenure as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission under President Obama bitterly disappointed those who hoped she would aggressively enforce banking laws, is rejoining the corporate defense team at Debevoise & Plimpton, marking her sixth trip through the revolving door between various government jobs and the white-collar defense law firm she calls home.

      Debevoise represents numerous major financial institutions under federal investigation, and White will now help those corporate clients manage their legal exposure.

      White got the call to return to Debevoise on Inauguration Day, her last day at the SEC. As Debevoise presiding partner Michael Blair told the Wall Street Journal, “We had been waiting to make that phone call for several years.”

      This latest trip through the revolving door is particularly disturbing because White declared in ethics disclosure forms before becoming SEC chair that she was retiring from her partnership at Debevoise, receiving a lump sum retirement payment of over $2 million. Instead of staying retired, she immediately went back to Debevoise after her government service ended, pocketing the money.

      It is not, however, surprising.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Life is a campaign’: After a difficult first month, Trump returns to his comfort zone

      As President Trump descended the stairs from Air Force One on Saturday evening, with a patriotic country song playing and thousands cheering, the 2020 election season officially began.

      Although the past several presidents have waited more than two years before jumping back onto the campaign trail, Trump’s first four weeks in office have shown that he just can’t stand too much time in Washington. One adviser calls political rallies the president’s “oxygen” — and Trump seemed to direly need a deep inhalation following a week that included his national security adviser resigning and his top replacement pick turning him down, his nominee for labor secretary withdrawing from consideration and accusations involving his campaign and Russia.

      “Life is a campaign,” the president told reporters aboard Air Force One. “Making our country great again is a campaign. For me, it’s a campaign.”

    • Presidential Impeachment, Explained

      Shortly following new revelations from the New York Times that President Donald Trump’s campaign team was in “repeated” contact with Russian officials ahead of the 2016 election, #TrumpImpeachmentParty began trending on Twitter in a call to take Trump out of office. But while the hashtag might be gaining steam, the process of impeaching a president is a lot easier said than done.

      What does it mean for a president to be impeached, what does the process look like, and is it even possible for Donald Trump to be impeached less than a month into his presidency? Here’s what you need to know.

    • Trump’s apparent security faux-pas-palooza triggers call for House investigation

      Representative Ted Lieu, a congressman from Los Angeles County, California, led fourteen other House Democrats on Friday in urging the House Government Oversight Committee to investigate “troubling reports” of President Donald Trump’s apparently poor security practices and the potential danger to national security posed by them—including his continued use of an unsecured Android device to post to Twitter, discussion of sensitive information (including nuclear strategy) in the restaurant at his Mar-A-Lago resort, and leaving classified material unlocked while visitors were in the Oval Office.

    • Trump attends private Mar-a-Lago event without telling press corps

      President Trump attended a private fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Saturday evening, without informing the press corps that follows him and reports on his movements.

      Trump made an unexpected stop at a fundraiser for Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute held at his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., the Washington Post reported.

      The event was not on his schedule.

      A video posted on Instagram shows Trump arriving at the private fundraiser, where he was met with cheers. More than 800 people attended the event, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Sunday.

    • Donald Trump invited golf club members to help choose his cabinet, leaked audio suggests

      Donald Trump invited wealthy members of one of his golf clubs to help interview candidates for posts in his administration, leaked audio recordings have revealed.

      The Republican was taped telling guests to “come round” and help interview potential “generals and dictators”, claiming it would be “fun”.

      Audio recordings from a party hosted by Mr Trump at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey in November – just two weeks after his election win – reveal comments he made to members.

    • Ralph Nader – Breaking Through Power Event
    • ACTION ALERT: WaPo’s Post Live Series Is a Love Letter to Corporate Conflicts of Interest

      Since 2010, the Washington Post has been banking on its pedigree and prestige by putting on Q & A sessions with influential Beltway personalities—sponsored by corporations directly involved in the topics of discussion. Event sponsors include Bank of America, Eli Lilly, Qualcomm, WGL Energy, AFLAC, GlaxoSmithKline and UnitedHealth, among others.

      These events, billed as “Post Live,” are generally fluffy, non-combative industry hype sessions sponsored by a relevant corporation and quarterbacked by a Washington Post columnist or reporter to lend it gravitas. The ideological scope, as one would expect based on who funds them, ranges from “how capitalism and the US military can be more awesome” to “capitalism and the US military are already awesome.” This ideological capture is seen most starkly in Post Live’s coverage of healthcare and war.

    • Event at University of La Verne – Fighting Fake News: 21st Century Global Critical Media Literacy

      Mickey Huff (Director of Project Censored, professor of social science and history, Diablo Valley College), Andy Lee Roth (associate director of Project Censored, instructor in sociology, Citrus College) and Elizabeth Blakey, (lawyer, sociologist, First Amendment scholar, and assistant professor of journalism, Cal State-Northridge) will examine news censorship, the origins of “fake news,” and how critical media literacy, particularly among young adults, will be essential for sustaining democracy in the 21st Century.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A preview of self-censorship in the new political landscape

      Over the next few months, there’ll be plenty of debate about the role of the government in funding public broadcasting.

      The Trump administration reportedly has the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — and a host of other cultural and arts organizations– targeted for elimination.

    • Why Suzanna Mukherjee thinks the online space is evolving

      The biggest advantage of the medium, is that there is no censorship yet, says Suzanna. “In film and television, censorship is the biggest problem. At the end, owing to cuts, one finally cannot end up telling the story he or she sets out to do so,” Suzanna adds.

    • Legal impediments to Internet censorship

      Back then, cinema and television, on account of their inaccessibility to ordinary researchers, did not provide a convenient source of research information. To put it simply, it was basically impossible to cite television, and motion pictures were exhibited at the cinema houses at the whim of the film distributors.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Oldham headmistress makes fresh ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations against Islamist parents

      Allegations of a new Islamist “Trojan Horse” plot to wrest control of a state school have been made by a headmistress in the north of England.

      Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham since 2006, emailed the local council saying she had “very strong reasons to believe that… a ‘Trojan Horse’ agenda [is] being played out”, The Sunday Times reported.

      “Trojan Horse” refers to plots uncovered in 2014 in Birmingham schools in which Islamist groups attempted to infiltrate positions of authority and impose a conservative or Salifist ethos on their running.

    • Revealed: new ‘Trojan Horse plot’

      Fears of a new “Trojan Horse” Islamic plot to take over a state school in Oldham have been raised by its head teacher, who says she has been concerned for her personal safety.

      Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield Primary School since 2006, has been so worried that she has worked from home for short periods in recent months.

    • Iranian morality police beat and detain 14-year-old girl ‘for wearing ripped jeans’

      A 14-year-old girl has been beaten and detained for wearing ripped jeans in Iran in the latest incident of police brutality against women and girls.

      Zahra*, who The Independent is not identifying for fear she may suffer reprisals, was celebrating her birthday with friends last week when a patrol of “morality police” pulled up.

      The teenager said officers tried to force her and her friends into their car in the city of Shiraz, beating them when they resisted.

    • ‘How is this ALLOWED?’ Fury as Turkish PM holds election rally in GERMANY
    • New Homeland Security Guidelines Call for the Sweeping Detention and Deportation of Illegal Immigrants: Report

      The Homeland Security Department has drafted sweeping new guidelines aimed at aggressively detaining and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, according to a pair of memoranda signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly.

      The memos dated Friday seek to implement President Donald Trump’s broad directive to crack down on illegal immigration. Kelly outlines plans to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand on the priority list for immigrants marked for immediate removal and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests, according to a person briefed on the documents, who confirmed the details to the Associated Press.

      “The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” Kelly wrote.

    • Scrutiny for Supreme Court Pick Fails to Focus on Rights of Disabled

      Since Donald Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court, media have coalesced around a few themes: One is about whether any Trump appointment should be blocked as payback to Republicans, as expressed in a New York Times headline (2/13/17): “Democrats’ Quandary on Gorsuch: Appease the Base or Honor the Process.” Spoiler: The paper thinks the real strain is on “those in the middle.”

      Another theme is Gorsuch’s “eloquence” and his being “hard to pigeonhole” as conservative: One story said he “didn’t skip a beat” when a friend came out to him as gay.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Jessica Gonzalez on FCC Chair Ajit Pai

      This week on CounterSpin: “T-Mobile Very Pleased with Direction of Change under Trump Administration, CEO Says.” That headline tells you pretty much what you need to know about Ajit Pai, Trump’s choice of chair for the FCC—the entity charged with representing the public interest in the communications industry. The phone company exec is pleased, he says, because Pai’s appointment signals “an air of less regulation.”

      The idea that the media industry hates regulation is fiction, given that it’s government that grants licenses to companies to use the public airwaves and monopoly franchises to cable companies. In so doing, as media scholar Bob McChesney has said, government isn’t so much setting the terms of competition as picking the winners. What’s objected to, of course, are public interest regulations—including the net neutrality rules that allow for a democratic and diverse internet. What’s ahead for the public interest under Ajit Pai’s FCC? We talk with Jessica Gonzalez, deputy director and senior counsel at the group Free Press.

  • DRM

    • Chrome 57 Will Permanently Enable DRM

      The next stable version of Chrome (Chrome 57) will not allow users to disable the Widevine DRM plugin anymore, therefore making it an always-on, permanent feature of Chrome. The new version of Chrome will also eliminate the “chrome://plugins” internal URL, which means if you want to disable Flash, you’ll have to do it from the Settings page.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Google v. Oracle: Fair Use of a Copyrighted API

        Back in 2012, the N.D. Cal. district court ruled that the portions of Java structure that Google copied were not themselves entitled to copyright protection. On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit reversed and ordered a new trial. In particular, the Federal Circuit panel led by Judge O’Malley held that the Java API taxonomy copyrightable as a whole and rejected the applicability of idea/expression merger doctrine. “Merger cannot bar copyright protection for any lines of declaring source code unless Sun/Oracle had only one way, or a limited number of ways, to write them.”

      • Search Engines, Rightsholders Agree Plan To Stop UK Consumers From Reaching Infringing Websites

        Search engines Google and Bing have signed a voluntary code of conduct with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the Motion Picture Association to prevent consumers from being directed to copyright-infringing websites, the UK Intellectual Property Office said on 20 February. The deal, brokered by the IPO, comes into effect immediately and is intended to reduce the visibility of infringing content in searches by 1 June, the office said.

      • Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom Can Be Extradited to the U.S., a New Zealand Court Rules

        New Zealand’s High Court has found that Kim Dotcom, best known for creating the now-defunct file sharing service Megaupload, is eligible for extradition to the U.S., rejecting a legal appeal by the self-styled “internet freedom fighter.”

        But the judges supported an argument put forth by Dotcom and his legal team that the U.S. cannot extradite him for charges related to copyright violation, reports the New Zealand Herald.

      • New Zealand appeals court upholds Kim Dotcom extradition ruling

        An appellate court in New Zealand has upheld a lower court’s 2015 decision that Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants should be extradited to the United States to face criminal copyright-related charges involving his former website, Megaupload.

        In a ruling issued Monday afternoon local time (late Sunday night, Eastern Standard Time), Justice Murray Gilbert of the High Court of New Zealand ruled that while he agreed with one of Dotcom’s attorneys’ primary arguments—”that online communication of copyright protected works to the public is not a criminal offence in New Zealand”—the judge noted that nevertheless, Dotcom and his co-defendants remain eligible for extradition based on other elements in the case.

      • Dotcom Legal Team on High Court judgment

        This case is no longer the “largest criminal copyright case”, 1 at least as far as New Zealand is concerned. As we have said all along, there is no such offence under our Copyright Act. We were right. However, this afternoon the High Court judgment 2 was issued and, ultimately, although it concluded we are right, 3 the Court concluded that Kim is still eligible for surrender.

      • NZ court rules Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to U.S. for alleged fraud

        A New Zealand court ruled on Monday that internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom could be extradited to the United States to face charges relating to his Megaupload website, which was shutdown in 2012 following an FBI-ordered raid on his Auckland mansion.

        The Auckland High Court upheld the decision by a lower court in 2015 on 13 counts, including allegations of conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud, although it described that decision as “flawed” in several areas.

        Dotcom’s lawyer Ron Mansfield said in a statement the decision was “extremely disappointing” and that Dotcom would appeal to New Zealand’s Court of Appeal.

      • Pirate Site With No Traffic Attracts 49m Mainly Bogus DMCA Notices

        It’s likely you’ve never heard of mp3toys.xyz since the site has very little traffic. However, thanks to a bungling anti-piracy outfit, the site is now the second most complained about ‘pirate’ site on the Internet, with Google receiving more than 49 million notices in just over six months.

02.19.17

Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

Posted in News Roundup at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Call to adopt free and open source software in Oman

    Adoption of free software applications in the public and private sectors in the Sultanate was one of the recommendations of the just concluded Free and Open Source Software Conference.

    It also called for strengthening the role of small and medium enterprises in deploying free software developed in accordance with the requirements of the market and its needs.

  • Open Source Ethereum Unveils New Partners Santander and JP Morgan

    Open-source blockchain platform Ethereum has unveiled its latest blockchain development group, with partners Santander and JP Morgan pledging support for the project.

  • The best open source CRM software

    If you’re a small business looking to take the next step in your evolution, you may be looking at implementing a customer relationship management (or CRM) solution. But with enterprise-grade vendors like Oracle and Salesforce charging such a high premium for their services, how can smaller companies afford to get started with CRM software?

    The answer lies in open source. As with many kinds of software, there are multiple vendors who provide open source CRM solutions that are completely free to use. They may have restrictions on them, such as limited features and support, but for small businesses looking to try out CRM, they can be an excellent starting point.

  • NGINX moves towards web server dominance with European expansion

    Web server NGINX powers more than 317 million sites around the globes, and has rapidly replaced Apache as the engine of choice for the world’s 100,000 busiest, counting Netflix, Airbnb and Dropbox among its high-profile clients.

    NGINX Inc – the company set up to commercialise the open source technology – has now set its sights on developing its business in Europe and recently opened a new EMEA headquarters in Cork, Ireland as a launching point to the region.

    NGINX began life as a web server written by a Russian engineer called Igor Syosev in 2002 while he was working as a system administrator for the portal site Rambler.

  • Fermat announces alpha release of blockchain-enabled open source project

    Fermat has made upgrades to the technology and architecture behind the decentralized and blockchain-enabled open source project Internet of People (IoP). Its goal is providing device-to-device communication independent of any entity of web server.

    Since its April 2016 launch, Fermat has added more than 60 national and regional chapters, each mining IoP tokens in a decentralized manner. Each chapter president is charged with advocating for the project in their community, running testnet nodes, organizing meet-ups, marketing, and token mining. Every chapter can run a single mining node and earn IoP tokens from the IoP blockchain as their reward.

  • Events

    • Be Ready To Attend SCALE x15 Conference in March 2-5, USA

      We just witnessed the end of FOSDEM 2017; The largest FOSS event in Europe. It held around 660 different events about a lot of different topics and aspects of open source software. You can check their summary here.

    • #LinuxPlaya Preparation

      As #LinuxPlaya draws near, we’ve been preparing things to the event. We first did a workshop to help others to finish the GTK+Python tutorial for developers. While some other students from different universities in Lima did some posts to prove that they use Linux (FEDORA+GNOME). You can see in the following list, the various areas where they had worked: design, robotics, education, by using tech as Docker and a Snake GTK game.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.3 triggers a record of donations

      In this case, one image is better than 1,000 words, as the histogram represents donations during the first 10 days of each month, since May 2013, and doesn’t need any further comment. LibreOffice 5.3 has triggered 3,937 donations in February 2017, 1,800 more than in March 2016, and over 2,000 – sometimes over 3,000 – more than any other month. Donations are key to the life and the development of the project. Thanks, everyone.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Why I Love Free Software

      I’m a Linux desktop user, because Linux doesn’t try to lock me into their platform and services only to abandon me halfway through the journey.

      Instead of having my access to remote management features, convenient encryption features, and even how long I’m allowed to use my own device be restricted by how much I’ve paid for my operating system edition; I’m free to choose whichever edition I want based on my needs of the moment.

    • Here’s a sneak peek at LibrePlanet 2017: Register today!
    • What’s a cryptovalentine?

      Roses are red, violets are blue; I use free software to encrypt my online communication and you can too.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Bradley Kuhn Delivered Copyleft Keynote at FOSDEM

      At FOSDEM last week, Conservancy’s Distinguished Technologist Bradley Kuhn delivered a keynote “Understanding The Complexity of Copyleft Defense.” The speech reviews the history of GPL enforcement efforts, pointing out development projects such as OpenWRT and SamyGo that began thanks to GPL compliance work. Kuhn focused in particular on how copyleft compliance can further empower users and developers as more kinds of devices run GPL’d software, and he concluded his remarks urging developers to take control of their own work by demanding to hold their own copyrights, using mechanisms such as Conservancy’s ContractPatch initiative.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Yahoo releases deep learning software, RethinkDB resurrected, and more open source news
    • That Was The Week That Was (TWTWTW): Edition 1

      This is the first edition of TWTWTW, a weekly blog promoting interesting developments in the open source world. TWTWTW seeks to whet your curiosity. The name pays homage to the satirical British TV comedy programme aired in the early 1960s. Except satire isn’t the the raison d’etre for this blog. Instead, it provides a concise distilled commentary of notable open source related news from a different perspective. For the first edition, we present a brief catchup covering software, hardware, and a useful web service.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Wikipedia, open source and the truth

        In a world where fact is increasingly treated like fiction, and fiction is presented as fact, few online resources
        have managed to preserve and retain their credibility the way Wikipedia has.

        The online, open-source encyclopedia has become an indispensable reference tool for those in search of information, including journalists.

  • Programming/Development

    • DWARF Version 5 Standard Released

      The DWARF Debugging Information Format Standards Committee is pleased to announce the availability of Version 5 of the DWARF Debugging Format Standard. The DWARF Debugging Format is used to communicate debugging information between a compiler and debugger to make it easier for programmers to develop, test, and debug programs.

      DWARF is used by a wide range of compilers and debuggers, both proprietary and open source, to support debugging of Ada, C, C++, Cobol, FORTRAN, Java, and other programming languages. DWARF V5 adds support for new languages like Rust, Swift, Ocaml, Go, and Haskell, as well as support for new features in older languages. DWARF can be used with a wide range of processor architectures, such as x86, ARM, PowerPC, from 8-bit to 64-bit.

    • Things that won’t change in Python

      A lengthy and strongly opinionated post about Python features to the python-ideas mailing list garnered various responses there, from some agreement to strong disagreement to calling it “trolling”, but it may also lead the Python community to better define what Python is. Trolling seems a somewhat unfair characterization, but Simon Lovell’s “Python Reviewed” post did call out some of the fundamental attributes of the language and made some value judgments that were seen as either coming from ignorance of the language or simply as opinions that were stated as facts in a brusque way. The thread eventually led to the creation of a document meant to help head off this kind of thread in the future.

    • modulemd 1.1.0

      This is a little belated announcement but let it be known that I released a new version of the module metadata library, modulemd-1.1.0, earlier this week!

    • RPushbullet 0.3.1
    • A rift in the NTP world

      The failure of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) project could be catastrophic. However, what few have noticed is that the attempts to prevent that catastrophe may have created entirely new challenges.

Leftovers

  • Teen Edits Band’s Wikipedia Page To Bluff His Way Into VIP Section

    This teenager got seriously creative to get a better view at a music concert.

    Adam Boyd said he bluffed his way into the VIP area at the Albert Hall in Manchester, northern England, on Friday night after editing The Sherlocks’ Wikipedia page on his cell phone to say he was the lead singer’s cousin.

    He then showed the switched-up entry to a security guard, who let him slide into the roped-off section without issue.

  • Calculating contrast ratios of text
  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • A Typo in Zerocoin’s Source Code helped Hackers Steal ZCoins worth $585,000

      If yes, then you would know the actual pain of… “forgetting a semicolon,” the hide and seek champion since 1958.

    • Israeli soldiers hit in cyberespionage campaign using Android malware
    • Yahoo Hacked Once Again! Quietly Warns Affected Users About New Attack

      Has Yahoo rebuilt your trust again?

      If yes, then you need to think once again, as the company is warning its users of another hack.

      Last year, Yahoo admitted two of the largest data breaches on record. One of which that took place in 2013 disclosed personal details associated with more than 1 Billion Yahoo user accounts.

      Well, it’s happened yet again.

    • Insecure Android apps put connected cars at risk
    • Mobile apps and stealing a connected car

      The concept of a connected car, or a car equipped with Internet access, has been gaining popularity for the last several years. The case in point is not only multimedia systems (music, maps, and films are available on-board in modern luxury cars) but also car key systems in both literal and figurative senses. By using proprietary mobile apps, it is possible to get the GPS coordinates of a car, trace its route, open its doors, start its engine, and turn on its auxiliary devices. On the one hand, these are absolutely useful features used by millions of people, but on the other hand, if a car thief were to gain access to the mobile device that belongs to a victim that has the app installed, then would car theft not become a mere trifle?

    • [Video] Keynote: Security and Privacy in a Hyper-connected World – Bruce Schneier, Security Expert
    • RSA Conference: Lessons from a Billion Breached Data Records

      Troy Hunt sees more breached records than most of us, running the popular ethical data breach search service “Have I been pwned.” In a session at the RSA Conference this week, Hunt entertained the capacity crowd with tales both humorous and frightening about breaches that he has been involved with.

      One of things that Hunt said he is often asked is exactly how he learns about so many breaches. His answer was simple.

      “Normally stuff just gets sent to me,” Hunt said.

      He emphasized that he doesn’t want to be a disclosure channel for breaches, as that’s not a role he wants to play. Rather his goal is more about helping people to be informed and protect themselves.

    • How Google Secures Gmail Against Spam and Ransomware

      Google’s Gmail web email service is used by millions of companies and consumers around the world, making it an attractive target for attackers. In a session at the RSA Conference here, Elie Bursztein, anti-fraud and abuse research team lead at Google, detailed the many technologies and processes that Google uses to protect users and the Gmail service itself from exploitation.

    • IBM Reveals Security Risks to Owners of Previously Owned IoT Devices

      hen you sell a car, typically the new owner gets the keys to the car and the original owner walks away. With a connected car, Charles Henderson, global head of X-Force Red at IBM Security, found that the original owner still has remote access capabilities, even years after the car has been sold.

      Henderson revealed his disturbing new research into a previously unexplored area of internet of things (IoT) security at the RSA Conference here on Feb. 17. In a video interview with eWEEK, Henderson detailed the management issue he found with IoT devices and why it’s a real risk.

      “As smart as a connected car is, it’s not smart enough to know that it has been sold, and that poses a real problem,” Henderson said.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Thousands of Filipino Catholics march against death penalty, war on drugs

      Thousands of Roman Catholics marched in the Philippines capital Manila on Saturday in the biggest gathering denouncing extra-judicial killings and a government plan to reimpose the death penalty for criminals.

      Dubbed a “Walk for Life” prayer rally and endorsed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the gathering came just days after the church launched its strongest attack against President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

      Organizers claimed as many as 50,000 people took part in the march toward Manila’s Rizal Park, while about 10,000 based on police estimates stayed to hear speeches.

      More than 7,600 people have been killed since Duterte launched his anti-drugs campaign seven months ago. More than 2,500 died in shootouts during raids and sting operations, according to the police.

      Amid mounting criticism about a surge in killings, Duterte said on Saturday that the campaign was “by and large successful”.

      Speaking at the Philippine Military Academy’s alumni homecoming in Baguio City, he said the drug problem was more complex than he initially thought, prompting him to seek military support.

    • Eight killed in Xinjiang knife attack: police shoot three attackers

      Eight people were killed in a violent attack in China’s restive region of Xinjiang on Tuesday, mainland media reported.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • End persecution of Zambian journalist Dr M’membe

      The Courage Foundation calls for an immediate end to all legal and political persecution against Zambian journalist Dr. Fred M’membe, his lawyer and his family.

      While he was giving a lecture in Jamaica, Dr M’membe’s home in Zambia was raided and his wife, Mutinta Mazoka M’membe, was arrested, detained for two nights and then released on bail. She’s due to face charges in court on 3 March.

    • Ecuadorians Tell Presidential Candidates They Want Assange Safe

      Ecuador was hit by a Twitterstorm on Thursday as people around the world joined a national campaign to pressure the South American country’s right-wing presidential candidates to retract their promises to kick famed whistleblower Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    • What Wikileaks Docs Say About Ecuador’s Presidential Candidates

      In the final days of Ecuador’s presidential campaign, WikiLeaks republishes U.S. diplomatic cables related to the three major candidates.

      As Ecuador’s leading presidential candidate of the governing Alianza Pais party, Lenin Moreno, wrapped up his campaign with a massive rally in the nation’s capital, Quito, on Wednesday, WikiLeaks tweeted out portions of the U.S. diplomatic cables related to the three major candidates in Sunday’s election.

    • Turkey Arrests Journalist For Reporting On Hack

      Turkey, already in the midst of a crackdown on the media, has arrested a journalist for reporting on hacked emails that revealed apparent corruption in the country’s government. His colleagues say he may have been caught after sharing a group direct message on Twitter with a hacker group and several fellow journalists.

      Deniz Yucel, a Turkey correspondent for the German newspaper Die Welt, has been held in police custody since Tuesday, the paper has reported. Yucel is the seventh journalist jailed for reporting about the emails of Turkey’s Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, which were publicly released in October by the marxist hacktivist group RedHack, then indexed by WikiLeaks.

      If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate

      A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues.

      The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • President Trump, White House Apprentice

      It’s with a whiff of desperation that President Trump insists these days that he’s the chief executive Washington needs, the decisive dealmaker who, as he said during the campaign, “alone can fix it.” What America has seen so far is an inept White House led by a celebrity apprentice.

      This president did not inherit “a mess” from Barack Obama, as he likes to say, but a nation recovered from recess