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03.28.16

Links 28/3/2016: BQ Aquaris M10, VoCore

Posted in News Roundup at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Top 11 project management tools for 2016

    For the last three years, I have rounded up the most popular open source project management tools for Opensource.com readers. As there continues to be major reader interest in this area, I decided to take a look back at the tools we covered in 2014 and 2015, and give you updates on all of these projects. I looked to see which projects had new releases, notable new and improved features, and more.

    Let’s take a look at each of these projects and try to answer some of the questions readers have had in the comments of last year’s edition, including which are still in active development, provide hosting options, offer a mobile solution, and more.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Gzip 1.7 Released With Synchronous & Rsyncable Options

      New to Gzip is a –synchronous option for forcing fsync usage when outputting data for greater reliability, but obviously at the cost of slower performance. Gzip 1.7 also has a –rsyncable option when compressing to make the output more amendable for efficient rsync use by minimizing the changes within the gzip file.

    • gzip-1.7 released

      This is to announce gzip-1.7, a stable release. There have been 60 commits by 4 people in the nearly three years since 1.6.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open Source in the enterprise: Perspectives for CIOs

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

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • 8 challenges for improving the Indian-language Wikipedias

        After more than 10 years in existence, the Indian-language Wikipedias still are not known to many Indian language speakers. Wikipedia became the largest encyclopedia in history as a result of thousands of volunteer editors. Whereas native-language Wikipedias are becoming game changers in other corners of the world, the scenario in India is skewed.

      • Universities seek open-source solution to ‘absurd’ textbook prices

        Rajiv Jhangiani grew accustomed to the emails he would receive from his students at the start of each semester:

        “Is a previous edition OK?”

        “Do I really need the textbook?”

        The psychology instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University saw an increasing number of students attempting to go without the $150-$250 textbooks he was assigning for his courses, so he decided to stop assigning them.

        “I think it’s absurd, really,” Jhangiani said. “Every two-to-three years we get new editions which are basically cosmetic in terms of the changes that they have, and students are forced to spend a lot of money.”

    • Open Hardware

      • The Onion Omega Carputer Can be Controlled via WiFi

        The Onion Omega, a curiously named ultra-tiny linux-based WiFi board, is a useful little device for everything Internet of Things related. [Daniel] decided to use it to connect his car to the internet.

        Most new cars these days have remote start built in, and slowly, manufacturers are catching up to modern technology and including apps to control various features of their vehicles. But for old cars, there’s not much you can do aside from after-market remote start kits and the likes.

      • Open source OBD-II Adapter

        Automotive diagnostics have come a long way since the “idiot lights” of the 1980s. The current version of the on-board diagnostics (ODB) protocol provides real time data as well as fault diagnostics, thanks to the numerous sensors connected to the data network in the modern vehicle. While the hardware interface is fairly standardized now, manufacturers use one of several different standards to encode the data. [Alex Sidorenko] has built an open source OBD-II Adapter which provides a serial interface using the ELM327 command set and supports all OBD-II standards.

  • Programming

    • Software spat raises open source questions

      If your company uses Node.js, you may have suffered a shock this past week. A critical software package in the open source code base that many Node.js applications rely on suddenly disappeared. The problem was quickly rectified, but it caused problems for many users – and belies a fundamental problem with open source software.

      The problem arose when Azer Koçulu, the developer of the Kik software module, was approached by lawyers working for a company of the same name. They wanted him to unpublish his module because the name infringed on theirs, they said. Koçulu refused, so they approached a company called NPM Inc.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Ever wondered what the worst TV show in the world would be? Apple just commissioned it

    Remember when soccer’s governing body FIFA spent $30m making a film about itself starring Tim Roth and Gérard Depardieu?

    Well, the tech world’s most egomaniacal company is going to bring its version to the small screen.

    That’s right, Apple has decided to join Netflix and Amazon and get in on the content commissioning game by ordering a television show about… app developers.

  • Science

    • Many Companies Still Don’t Know How to Compete in the Digital Age

      The Internet of Things is a good example of this change. Every industry, no matter how traditional — agriculture, automotive, aviation, energy — is being upended by the addition of sensors, internet connectivity, and software. Success in this environment will depend on more than just creating better digital-enabled products; it will depend on building ecosystem-level strategies that encompass the many moving pieces that come together to create the new value proposition.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fukushima’s Former Residents Return Home To Ghost Town In Emotional Photos
    • U.S. Seeks Records of 80,000 Novartis `Sham’ Events for Doctors

      The U.S. is asking Novartis AG to provide records of about 80,000 “sham” events in which the government says doctors were wined and dined so they would prescribe the company’s cardiovascular drugs to their patients.

      The Swiss drugmaker and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney are engaged in a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleges Novartis provided illegal kickbacks to health-care providers through bogus educational programs at high-end restaurants and sports bars where the drugs were barely discussed.

      In a filing Friday, the U.S. said it needs Novartis to provide information to support its allegation that the company defrauded federal health-care programs of hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade by inducing doctors to prescribe its medications through sham speaker events.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Shooting Up: How War and Drugs Go Together

      OF ALL THE CULTURAL NARRATIVES to emerge in the aftermath of American wars, few have proven as pervasive as the Soldier’s Disease. Popular lore holds that the Soldier’s Disease affected hundreds of thousands of Civil War veterans, Yankee and Confederate. A term so specific and vague all at once, the Soldier’s Disease sounds like something meant to conjure up millenniums-worth of human destruction and violence.

      Yet it was never that visceral, or all that physical. The Soldier’s Disease was code for addiction to morphine or other opiates. Given the industrial nature of the Civil War, and the state of medical treatment at the time, the source of the addiction developed from amputations caused by shrapnel wounds. Morphine and the like numbed the horrifying pain that came with the amputations and recovery process. That dependence became addiction, and returned home with the veterans after the war, unleashing a great scourge upon the land.

      So goes the narrative, at least. There’s just one problem, though: the Soldier’s Disease is more myth than historical record. Modern studies reveal that sure, many a Civil War vet had their opiate issues, but so did a lot of Americans in that era, not the least because of a booming (and often unchecked) pharmaceutical industry. Further, the first chronicled use of “Soldier’s Disease” didn’t appear until 1915, a good 50 years after Appomattox. Why? There was a growing antidrug political movement occurring across the nation, and it needed some talking points.

    • We All Are Islamic State

      The tit-for-tat game of killing will not end until exhaustion, until the culture of death breaks us emotionally and physically. We use our drones, warplanes, missiles and artillery to rip apart walls and ceilings, blow out windows and kill or wound those inside. Our enemies pack peroxide-based explosives in suitcases or suicide vests and walk into airport terminals, concert halls, cafes or subways and blow us up, often along with themselves. If they had our technology of death they would do it more efficiently. But they do not. Their tactics are cruder, but morally they are the same as us. T.E. Lawrence called this cycle of violence “the rings of sorrow.”

    • We need both compassion and confrontation to defeat Donald Trump

      Our empathy for white working-class people who are taken with Trump shouldn’t keep us from intervening in the gathering storm of white supremacy that his rise represents, if for no other reason than because we know that the number of people who are repulsed and angry about what he represents—but have remained inactive—is far greater than the total filling the seats of his hate-filled celebrations of patriarchal masculinity. However imperfect our protests have been—and they should incorporate more dramatic and bold experiments along the lines of the Phoenix blockade—they are offering an alternative to the story of white silence, and are galvanizing many to act.

    • Highlighting Western Victims While Ignoring Victims of Western Violence

      For days now, American cable news has broadcast non-stop coverage of the horrific attack in Brussels. Viewers repeatedly heard from witnesses and from the wounded. Video was shown in a loop of the terror and panic when the bombs exploded. Networks dispatched their TV stars to Brussels, where they remain. NPR profiled the lives of several of the airport victims. CNN showed a moving interview of a wounded, bandage-wrapped Mormon American teenager speaking from his Belgium hospital bed.

    • Criminal Bankers Control US Government Push War-Paul Craig Roberts

      Former Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan Administration, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, contends it is no accident why bankers do not get jail time for constantly committing fraud by stealing documents and committing fraudulent, criminal insider trading and market manipulations. Dr. Roberts explains, “Look at Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. They claim they stole documents, and we are determined to destroy them. One of them is hiding out in Russia, and one of them is hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. This again shows the immunity of the banks. They are not held accountable because they are in control. Who controls the Fed? Who controls the Treasury? Where do all the Treasury Secretaries come from? They come from the big New York banks. Look at the financial regulatory agencies that are supposed to be regulating the banks. They are filled with executives from the banks. The banks control the government. There isn’t a government, there’s the banks. . . . We have the entire economic policy in the United States concentrating on saving five banks. We had 10 million people who lost their homes, and nothing was done for them, but five banks are saved.”

    • The Pentagon’s Budget Time Bomb

      With plans for military spending on a new Cold War — as well as on old fears about terrorism — spinning out of control, the next U.S. president will face a budgetary time bomb, explains Chuck Spinney.

    • Hillary the Hypocrite

      Who should play Hillary on Broadway?

      “Maybe Lily Tomlin,” Nader says. “She’s good at playing characters that speak with forked tongues.”

      “Hillary the Hawk is the darling of the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address,” Nader said. “And she gets quite a bit of money from those companies. Hillary the Wall Street Promoter gets money from Wall Street. And yet she comes out on that stage and says exactly the opposite and gets away with it.”

    • Lessons of Brussels

      The population of Brussels is nearly 25 percent immigrants from Muslim countries, primarily Morocco and Algeria. And as it turns out the two brothers who were the core of the ISIS cell were habitués of the now notorious Molenbeek neighborhood, which consists primarily of the descendants of immigrants who settled there decades ago. Poor, and beset by petty crime, it is a pool in which terrorist recruiters fish with much success. The Syrian civil war has become a cause that attracts young toughs with no prospects, who are looking for some sense of meaning – and a way to express their alienation from the larger society in which they live. Molenbeek was also the base for those who planned and carried out the Paris attacks – it is, in effect, a general headquarters for ISIS to carry out its European operations. Salah Abdeslam, the chief planner of the Paris attacks, fled there and found sanctuary for four months before being caught.

    • How to Become Terror-Torn Europe—And How Not to

      Our integrated American Muslim communities are helping to keep us safe.

    • “Families Were Blown Up” — Scenes From a Saudi-Led Bombing in Yemen

      Around midday on March 15, fighter jets from a Saudi-led coalition bombed a market in Mastaba, in Yemen’s northern province of Hajjah. The latest count indicates that about 120 people were killed, including more than 20 children, and 80 were wounded in the strikes — perhaps the deadliest attack yet in a war that has killed more than 6,000 civilians. Local residents and health officials say the carnage was so great in Mastaba that most of the bodies could hardly be identified, and several were beyond recognition.

    • The Case of Bowe Bergdahl: Military Justice in a Highly Charged Political Season

      In a season when the political becomes theater, and when military actions remain as prominent and prolific as they were when the sergeant enlisted in the military for the second time, the old refrain that military justice is to justice, as military music is to music, ought to give anyone pause hoping that in Sergeant Bergdahl’s case cooler heads will prevail and the accepted wisdom of enough punishment being enough becomes widely shared. Nearly 15 years of war in Afghanistan, and with a nation on permanent war footing, the chance of Sergeant Bergdahl’s case being considered outside of the turbulent winds of the presidential primary season and the general election are highly unlikely. In this highly charged political atmosphere, the chance of justice prevailing is remote. Determining the conditions on the ground in Afghanistan at the time of Bergdahl’s absence from his unit are impossible to assess since this war is only covered by major media outlets when an event of major proportions takes place.

      The details of how Bowe Bergdahl might be punished are worth comparing to the actual punishments resulting from the assault on My Lai in Vietnam in March 1968 and its aftermath. About 500 unarmed men, women, and children were killed in that massacre by US forces. The only officer to face a military trial for the atrocities of My Lai, Lieutenant William Calley, could have faced the death penalty for the 109 Vietnamese he had been charged with murdering. Ultimately, he was convicted of killing 22 civilians and sentenced to life imprisonment. That sentence was reduced to 20 years and then further reduced to 10 years. Calley’s final time spent under house arrest amounted to three and a half years, at which time he was released by a federal court. Bergdahl has never been charged with killing a single individual or responsibility for the death of troops involved in the search for him as the result of his leaving his post. No one was killed during the search for the sergeant.

    • The Risk of Overreacting to Terror

      There is exploitation by politicians of the spike in public concern about terrorism, this time with presidential candidates calling for patrols of American neighborhoods identified by religion, when those same candidates are not calling for carpet bombing a foreign country.

    • How Donald Trump and Ted Cruz Help Terrorists Achieve Their Aims

      Recoiling from the terrorist carnage in Brussels, Americans may be attracted to the “tough” posturing of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The casino mogul wants to bring back torture, while the Texas senator hopes to bomb indiscriminately until the desert glows. Trump would bar any Muslim from entering the United States, while Cruz would dispatch special police patrols into Muslim neighborhoods. Both eagerly demonize Muslims worldwide and stigmatize Muslims in America.

    • Fighting for recognition: Soviet-Afghan War veterans in Tajikistan

      More than a quarter of a century after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the afgantsy are still struggling to carve out a place for themselves in post-Soviet Tajikistan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Japan’s Bogus Excuse For Killing Hundreds Of Pregnant Whales

      Japan’s fleet known for capturing whales for research returned to shore this week and confirmed it killed more than 300 minke whales, including pregnant specimens, triggering international condemnation.

      Every year, Japan undertakes what it has labeled as a scientific hunt for whales in the Southern Ocean. However, in 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan should stop. Instead, Japan ignored the ruling last year and announced it would continue whaling while reducing the number of whales it would kill by two-thirds to 333.

    • Largest Wildfire In State History Ravages Kansas

      On Saturday, four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the Kansas National Guard were deployed to contain the prairie blazes that have burned at least 620 square miles in southern Kansas and Oklahoma, where it originated, the Associated Press reported. Smoke was reportedly detected as far away as St. Louis, Missouri — hundreds of miles to the northeast — as at least four homes and livestock were affected, according to Kansas officials. No serious human injuries or fatalities have been reported.

    • Nuclear Power Plants: Pre-Deployed WMDs

      That’s what nuclear power plants are. And that’s another very big reason—demonstrated again in recent days with the disclosure that two of the Brussels terrorists were planning attacks on Belgian nuclear plants—why they must be eliminated.

    • A big deal for our ocean

      Today governments from all over the world will meet at the United Nations in New York to develop a new treaty to save our oceans. We will be there to ensure clear rules for the creation of sanctuaries that will give our oceans the protection they desperately need.

  • Finance

    • UN Development Program’s Pledge Toward Ending Poverty and Hunger

      Since its inception, many members of the European confederation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are allocating more money to addressing the social costs of refugee and asylum seekers. For example, the Netherlands has increased its budget 145%, Italy has raised theirs by 107%, Cyprus increased its by 65%, and Portugal has gone up 38%.

    • American Crime Family Advances On The White House

      And serve the deep state the Clintons certaintly do as is indicated by the $153 million in “speaking fees”—read bribes and payoffs—that CNN and Fox News report the Clintons have been paid by Wall Street, the mega-banks, and corporate America. This sum does not include campaign donations or donations to the Clintons’ foundation. http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/politics/hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-paid-speeches/

    • VIDEO: Public Education is a Right! Voices of CUNY Students, Faculty and Staff From Die-in Protest

      Students, faculty and staff staged a die-in Thursday in New York City to demand the state fully fund the City University of New York. Later that same day, Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed to some of their demands. Cuomo had threatened to push nearly $500 million in state costs onto the city. Watch a video of some of the voices from the demonstration, at which two city council members were also arrested.

    • Who’s afraid of the evidence about what works in the NHS?

      Politicians have imposed evidence-free re-organisations on us health workers for years. Now they tell us that it’s too late to change the mess they’ve got us into.

    • California Reaches Deal to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

      Numerous statewide polls have suggested voters would approve a minimum wage proposal—perhaps even a more sweeping version—if given the chance.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama Visits Havana: Cuba Libre for Real?

      National isolation is the desire of every dictator: If his subjects never see what a freer society looks like or have the opportunity to avail themselves of its goods and services, they have no standard against which to measure his rule and find it wanting.

    • GOP Lawmakers Tout Religious Liberty, Duck Questions About Discriminating Against Muslims

      IN THE RUN-UP to oral arguments before the Supreme Court this week to challenge the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers’ health care plans cover birth control, Republican lawmakers held a series of events to highlight the importance of religious liberty. Conservatives claim that the law, which requires insurance companies to cover contraception, violates the religious rights of Catholic nuns.

      That commitment to religious freedom, however, does not appear to extend to Muslim Americans.

      On Tuesday, in reaction to the terror attacks in Belgium, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called for law enforcement to preemptively “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” Later that day, The Intercept attended a press conference organized by House Republicans to champion religious liberty ahead of the Supreme Court contraception case.

    • Trump’s Incomprehensible ‘Cyber’ Policy: ‘Make Cyber Great Again’

      It seems pretty clear that Trump has no clue what is being discussed and just falls back into his usual talking points about how America just isn’t that good any more, and then uses the tiny bit of information he does have (China and Russia have been in the news around hackings) and argues that they’re better than us. But, “we’re obsolete”? Huh? As noted above (not by him, of course), the most powerful computer-based attacks do seem to be coming from the US itself, not Russia or China.

      Also, what does “inconceivable that, inconceivable the power of cyber” even mean? All I can think of is the scene from The Princess Bride.

    • Bank of America, Microsoft Denounce North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Law, but Fund Politicians Who Passed It

      Microsoft has joined a corporate campaign calling on politicians “to abandon or defeat” anti-LBGT legislation, and its president, Brad Smith, specifically criticized the North Carolina law on Twitter. And like the political action committees of Bank of America and Lowe’s, Microsoft’s PAC — run by its managing director for government affairs, Edward Ingle — has given to the same anti-LBGT politicians, though somewhat less generously. Since 2008, the Microsoft PAC has given $2,000 to McCrory, $3,000 to Berger, $2,000 to Moore, and $4,000 to the North Carolina Republican Party.

    • The Culture That Created Donald Trump Was Liberal, Not Conservative

      WHO CREATED Donald Trump?

      Now that Donald Trump, the candidate, has become both widely popular and deeply loathsome, we’re seeing a cataract of editorials and commentary aimed at explaining how it happened and who’s to blame. The predictable suspects are trotted out: the Republican Party, which had been too opportunistic and fearful to stand up to its own candidate, Fox News, which inflamed the jingoes, and white working-class voters, unhinged by class envy and racial resentment.

    • CIA Photographed Detainees Naked and Bound Before Extraditing Them for Torture

      The CIA took photographs of detainees naked, bound, and blindfolded—some with visible bruises—before extraditing them to other countries to be tortured, an investigation by the Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman revealed on Monday.

      “The naked imagery of CIA captives raises new questions about the seeming willingness of the U.S. to use what one medical and human rights expert called ‘sexual humiliation’ in its post-9/11 captivity of terrorism suspects,” Ackerman wrote. “Some human rights campaigners described the act of naked photography on unwilling detainees as a potential war crime.”

      Ackerman also reported that “a former U.S. official who had seen some of the photographs described them as ‘very gruesome.’” The photos in question remain classified.

      The detainees were photographed before being extradited to nations known to use more brutal forms of torture than that used in the U.S., Ackerman said, as part of the CIA’s so-called “extraordinary rendition” program.

      The writer V. Noah Gimbel characterized that program in 2011 as “the outsourcing of interrogations to countries where torture could be employed without the legal barriers that exist within the U.S. military and civilian justice systems.”

    • US Intel Vets Warn Against Torture

      Experienced intelligence professionals reaffirm that torture – while popular with “tough” politicians – doesn’t work in getting accurate and actionable information, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Fails To Connect SmartCar’s Silicon Valley Office For 10 Months, Wants $60,000 Anyway

      Comcast for years has offered what most find to be utterly abysmal customer service and support, resulting in story after story of nightmare experiences for consumers and businesses alike. This is, by and large, thanks to limited competition in most of Comcast’s footprint, and despite Silicon Valley being arguably the tech epicenter of the country, the region apparently isn’t immune to Comcast’s particular… charms or the nation’s obvious lack of broadband competition.

03.27.16

Links 27/3/2016: Mageia 6 and Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 on Their Way

Posted in News Roundup at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Celebrating 17 Years of The Apache Software Foundation

    The Foundation’s commitment to fostering a collaborative approach to development has long served as a model for producing consistently high quality software and helping advance the future of open development. The ASF’s collaborative leadership, robust community, and meritocratic process serve as best practices widely embraced by organizations and individuals alike.

  • OpenToonz
  • OpenToonz Is The Open-Source Version of Toonz, The Software Used For Creating Futurama And Asterix
  • Web Browsers

    • NoScript Beginner’s Guide

      This NoScript Beginner’s Guide has been designed to provide new Firefox or NoScript users with information on how the browser add-on works. I have published a guide for regular users in 2014 which you may find useful as well.

      NoScript is a long standing security add-on for Firefox that is rated highly on Mozilla AMO and quite popular with more than 2.3 million users.

      It is often confused with ad-blockers, and while it does that to, it is much more than that and the ad-blocking is more of a side-effect of the extension’s functionality than something it has been designed for.

  • Databases

    • Playing with Dalmatiner DB

      Dalmatimer DB is an open source time series database built on top of riak-core and ZFS. It re-uses the logic from riak-core to handle the logic of where data is located but implements its very own database optimised for metrics

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 9.10-RELEASE is available

      This is an interim release between the 9.3 series and 10 (which is still a few months away), using the same UI and middleware that everyone is used to from 9.3 but with new OS underpinnings, specifically FreeBSD 10.3-RC3.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • G’MIC 1.7.0 (Standalone Software And GIMP Plugin) Has Been Released

      As you may know, G’MIC (GREYC’s Magic Image Converter) is a editing tool, that can be used with GIMP or as a standalone application, being available for both Linux and Windows. G’MIC provides a window which enables the users to add more than 500 filters over photos and preview the result, in order to give the photos some other flavor.

    • PSPP 0.10.0 has been released

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

  • Licensing

    • Dr Stoll: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the GPL

      My Free Software journey starts with The Cuckoo’s Egg. Back in the early 90s a family friend suggested I might enjoy reading it. He was right; I was fascinated by the world of interconnected machines it introduced me to. That helped start my involvement in FidoNet, but it also got me interested in Unix. So when I saw a Linux book at the Queen’s University bookshop (sadly no longer with us) with a Slackware CD in the back I had to have it.

  • Programming

    • Don’t Pick a Programming Language Because It’s the ‘Most Profitable’

      An ultra-common and generally bullshit theme that can be found across the internet from Business Insider to coder forums to anywhere else that aspiring programmers and coders may lurk is that of the “most profitable” programming language. Where should “you,” as the stereotypical case of just-anyone wanting to get into code to make better and easier money, be best off spending your limited attention and financial resources? It is a bogus question that gets at sickly heart of programming hype—a phenomenon that rests mostly on the notion that a few weeks of online learning or a code bootcamp will make someone into a coveted resource.

    • There is no “my” in open source

      If you use Node, you’ve probably been following this week’s story between Azer Koçulu, Kik and npm.

      A brief rundown: Azer made an npm module called “kik”, which shares its name with a company. Kik asked him to rename the module, and Azer refused, so npm intervened and reassigned it to Kik.

    • The papa of Perl

      Perl 6 has been 15 years in the making, and is now due to be released at the end of this year. We speak to its creator to find out what’s going on.

      Larry Wall is a fascinating man. He’s the creator of Perl, a programming language that’s widely regarded as the glue holding the internet together, and mocked by some as being a “write-only” language due to its density and liberal use of non-alphanumeric characters. Larry also has a background in linguistics, and is well known for delivering entertaining “State of the Onion” presentations about the future of Perl.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • DuPont’s Deadly Deception

      The major industrial enterprise E. I. du Pont de Nemours has been hiding studies on the deleterious effects the chemical C8 has on health for decades. C8 is a major surfactant component of Teflon, used in hundreds of different products including clothing, and furniture. C8 and other perfluorooctonoic acids (PFOA) are associated with a wide range of severe health problems from low levels of exposure like ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, as well as kidney cancer. DuPont continued producing C8 despite knowing its toxicity.

    • Monsanto’s Pesticide Linked to Kidney Disease That is Killing Thousands

      Monsanto’s use of a toxic pesticide, glyphosate, has been linked to rampant kidney disease in farmers and, according to a Vice News article, the death toll “has reached the tens of thousands.” Glyphosate, commonly known as RoundUp, is a weed killer that is made and used by Monsanto that “can become highly toxic to one’s kidneys when mixed with ‘hard water’” wrote Neha Shastry of Vice News.

  • Security

    • Stealthy malware targeting air-gapped PCs leaves no trace of infection [Ed: Windows]

      One of the major failures of the Stuxnet operation was its designer’s inability to maintain control of the computers that were infected by the self-replicating malware. What’s more, the Stuxnet code was also easily dissected by researchers, allowing them to eventually figure out it targeted industrial control systems. Gauss, another piece of malware spawned from at least some of the same developers as Stuxnet, didn’t make the same critical mistakes. Its mystery warhead was encrypted using a key derived from a single computer that has yet to be publicly identified.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Stealthily Expands Its Military Presence Across Africa

      In recent years the US has quietly ramped up its military presence across the African continent, even though “officially” the US has only one permanent base, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. Since the US opened that base, shortly after September 11, 2001, it has grown from 88 acres with 900 military personnel to around 500 acres with 5,000 military personnel. Camp Lemonnier is currently undergoing a $1.4 billion upgrade, expanding everything from aircraft maintenance hangars, ammunition shelters, and runway extensions to accommodation facilities.

    • Police Find And Detonate Explosive Device At Trump Supporter’s Home After He Threatened Muslims

      William Celli, a 55-year-old man from California, will spend 90 days in jail after being caught in possession of an explosive device and threatening to kill Muslims. Celli took a plea deal that places him on probation for a further three years and bans him from operating an active Facebook profile.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fossil Fuel Light Pollution May Drown Out the Stars at Texas’ McDonald Observatory

      In Fort Davis, Texas, in the Davis Mountains, the McDonald Observatory, a “multi-million dollar facility” (Santoro), is being threatened, as light pollution from hydraulic fracturing and fossil fuels, has been increasing the sky’s brightness by up to 30%. The “Trans-Pecos Pipeline” project, if implemented early in 2016, is expected to contribute further to that trend. As a result, some of the darkest skies in the United States are being endangered. Furthermore, the projected pipeline project would negatively impact “one of the largest intact bioregions in the country,” according to Alyce Santoro’s report. It would also run through one of the few remaining areas in Texas that is unscathed by fossil fuel extraction and exploration.

    • Asia loses its appetite for coal

      Asia, the world’s biggest coal market by far, is showing signs of turning its back on what is the most polluting of fuels, shelving or cancelling a large number of coal-fired power plant construction projects.

      Four Asian countries – China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam – together account for about 75% of an estimated 2,457 coal-fired power stations at present planned or under construction around the world.

    • We’ve Barely Begun to Tap the Sun’s Mighty Power

      It seems like every few weeks there’s some new measurement of how successful solar power is in the United States. In early March, industry analysts found that solar is poised for its biggest year ever, with total installations growing 119 percent by the end of 2016. This week, federal government analysts reported that in 2015, solar ranked number three (behind wind and natural gas) in megawatts of new electricity-producing capacity brought online. That rank is even more impressive when you consider that each individual solar installation is fewer megawatts than a wind turbine, and far fewer than a natural gas plant; that means solar panels are popping up like crazy across the country.

    • Who can save Poland’s oldest forest from environmental disaster?

      Polish ecological organizations are up in arms over plans to reintroduce large-scale logging in the protected Bialowieza forest in the east of the country, in response to a massive spruce bark beetle infestation there.

    • Past emissions cause mounting climate havoc

      Climate change has reached the point where it may outstrip the quickening efforts to slow it by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, scientists say.

    • Investors Could Drag Exxon Kicking And Screaming Into A Low Carbon Economy

      First, the Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that the company has to allow shareholders to vote on a climate change resolution. Then, the Rockefeller Family Fund announced it would divest from fossil fuels — and took the opportunity to hit Exxon specifically for misleading investors about the risks of climate change.

  • Finance

    • High Court Asks Administration to Weigh in on Predatory Lending Case

      A SUPREME COURT order this week forces the Obama administration to make a decision: either save consumers tens of billions of dollars at the expense of debt collectors, car loan specialists, and student lenders, or defend those financial entities.

    • Banning boycotts: is history repeating itself?

      The UK government’s recent attempts to legislate against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions are reminiscent of Thatcher during South African Apartheid.

    • TPP Under Fire in the U.S. As Other Signatories Advance Towards Ratification

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is taking a beating in the ongoing U.S. presidential election cycle, leaving some observers to wonder if it can survive such a political backlash against trade agreements. But as the leading candidates seem to compete for who can bash U.S. trade policies the hardest, other countries have been pressing forward to ratify the TPP since the deal’s signature in February.

      In the U.S., chances are close to nil that the TPP could get ratified anytime soon. The White House is still seeking congressional support for the massive 12-country deal but the political environment could not be any more unfavorable. Presidential candidates are pointing to trade agreements as the root cause of economic inequality. For the Obama administration, things look grim in Congress as well. More and more lawmakers are coming out against the TPP, while others who had long championed the deal are now holding back their support over their stance that some of the provisions do not go far enough to protect certain industries. The soonest the TPP’s ratification vote may happen is during the “Lame Duck” period after November’s election.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Back to the Future: The Unanswered Questions from the Debates

      The nuances of foreign policy do not feature heavily in the ongoing presidential campaign. Every candidate intends to “destroy” the Islamic State; each has concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korea, and China; every one of them will defend Israel; and no one wants to talk much about anything else — except, in the case of the Republicans, who rattle their sabers against Iran.

      In that light, here’s a little trip down memory lane: in October 2012, I considered five critical foreign policy questions — they form the section headings below — that were not being discussed by then-candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Romney today is a sideshow act for the current Republican circus, and Obama has started packing up his tent at the White House and producing his own foreign policy obituary.

    • ‘A Broadcasting Operation Washes the Hand of the Owning Corporation’

      Journalist Ben Bagdikian died March 11 at age 96. He was a crucial influence on FAIR’s work, not only for his classic book The Media Monopoly, now called The New Media Monopoly and in its seventh printing, but also for the spirited journalism that preceded that work, including pushing the Pentagon Papers into print and going undercover as an inmate at a maximum security prison, and all the thoughtful, humanistic work that followed. He was a friend to us, and we’ll miss him.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Superdelegate Advantage

      Who are these Democrats, imbued with such power? Reason TV put together this instructional cartoon to help sort it all out.

    • Bernie Sanders Gets Big Boost With Landslide Wins in Washington, Alaska Caucuses

      Bernie Sanders won caucuses in Washington and Alaska by wide margins on Saturday to close the delegate lead against Hillary Clinton. Sanders captured 73 percent of the vote in Washington, which had 101 pledged delegates at stake, and 82 percent of the vote in Alaska, which had 16 pledged delegates.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • The Hubris of Investigators

      Policymakers who understand those themes will reject reported legislation that would mandate backdoors in your technology, or otherwise force tech companies to ensure the FBI’s access to everyone’s communications. Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, and Richard Burr, R-NC, have threatened to introduce a proposal along those lines, which would place millions of people at risk, overlook several key facts, and resign a need for long overdue—and increasingly vital—transparency into law enforcement excesses.

    • Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Government Wants Ability to Access the Communications of Everyone, Everywhere

      Web-exclusive interview with Glenn Greenwald on the debate over encryption and the Apple-FBI battle.

    • Tories and Lib Dem rivals in unofficial ‘coalition’ over GCHQ parking problem in Cheltenham

      RIVAL politicians are working in parallel to solve the ongoing parking issue in streets around GCHQ in Cheltenham.

      People who live in Hester’s Way and Fiddlers Green, and the councillors who represent them, are unhappy about employees and external contractors parking cars in residential roads causing disruption and congestion.

    • NSA’s domestic spying violates US Constition: Journalist

      “It’s high time that someone in the US Congress took some direct action against the NSA for their intrusion into Americans’ privacy and violation of their Second Amendment rights,” said Mike Harris, the financial editor at Veterans Today.

      “The NSA was never meant to be a domestic spy organization; the NSA was meant to gather foreign intelligence, not to spy on the American citizenry,” Harris told Press TV on Saturday.

      “This is in direct violation against the Second Amendment of free speech and the Fourth Amendment to be safe and secure in one’s housing,” he added.

      A couple of US lawmakers have called on the NSA to abandon its planned expansion of domestic spying.

  • Civil Rights

    • Saudi Arabia Cracks Down On ‘Peaceful Dissent,’ Sentences Journalist To Five Years In Prison

      Saudi Arabia sentenced a journalist to five years in prison over a series of tweets, in what human rights organizations are calling the latest crackdown on free expression by the oil-rich kingdom.

      In addition to spending five years in prison, Alaa Brinji was sentenced to an eight-year travel ban and a 50,000 Saudi Arabian riyals (about U.S. $13,300) fine. Brinji is a prominent Saudi journalist who was arrested in May 2014 and initially held in solitary confinement and without access to a lawyer. According to Amnesty International, Brinji’s crimes don’t fit the bill.

    • Does The United States Still Exist?

      Historically, a government that can, without due process, throw a citizen into a dungeon or summarily execute him is considered to be a tyranny, not a democracy. By any historical definition, the United States today is a tyranny.

    • Open Letter to the International Community about the political situation in Brazil

      We, professors and researchers from Brazilian universities, hereby address the International Academic Community to report serious breaches in the rule of law currently taking place in Brazil.

    • America’s Astounding Human Rights Hypocrisy in Cuba

      Our American president’s long-overdue visit to Cuba was a great thing for many reasons.

      But maybe our elected officials should cease their hypocritical yapping about the human rights situation in Cuba until they come clean about what’s happening here in the United States.

      To be sure, there is much to say about how this authoritarian regime has handled dissent. The details abound in the corporate media.

      But the idea of the United States lecturing Cuba or any other country on this planet about human rights comes down somewhere between embarrassing and nauseating.

    • Hey Albany, New Yorkers Deserve Paid Family Leave

      American workers have it hard. We put in more hours at work than any other workers in the industrialized world, and we are given — and take — fewer vacation days.

      At the same time, we’re also one of only three countries across the globe (the other two are Papua New Guinea and Suriname) that does not provide paid family leave. For American workers, being unable to leave work to care for a newborn baby or a seriously ill family member is an all too familiar scenario.

    • With Nuisance Laws, Has ‘Serve and Protect’ Turned Into ‘Silence and Evict’?

      When Nancy Markham called 911 multiple times between March and August 2014 because of her abusive ex-boyfriend, the single mother didn’t know that her calls for help would only lead to more fear and insecurity. Instead of serving and protecting her, the police department of Surprise, Arizona, tried to silence and get Markham evicted from her rental home — all because of an ill-conceived nuisance ordinance the city passed in 2010.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Fights For “Mega Millions” in U.S. Appeals Court

        Megaupload’s legal team was back in court this week in an effort to reclaim an estimated $67 million in assets previously seized by the U.S. Government. Megaupload’s appellate counsel refuted the claim that Kim Dotcom and his former colleagues are fugitives, noting that the District Court ruling violates due process.

03.26.16

Links 26/3/2016: Docker Reaches Out to Proprietary, Slacklive

Posted in News Roundup at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 18F pushes for an even more open ‘open source’ rule

    The government startup that develops all of its code in the open wants the rest of government to follow suit.

    Following the March 10 publication of a new draft Federal Source Code policy, the General Services Administration’s 18F penned a response to one of federal CIO Tony Scott’s questions.

  • Events

    • FOSSASIA 2016
    • Containers Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      The level of Containers excitement has increased even further this year, with much interplay between Docker, Kubernetes, Rkt, CoreOS, Mesos, LXC, LXD, OpenVZ, systemd, and much else besides. This excitement has led to some interesting new use cases, including even the use of containers on Android.

      Some of these use cases in turn require some interesting new changes to the Linux plumbing, including mounts in unprivileged containers, improvements to cgroups resource management, ever-present security concerns, and interoperability between various sets of tools.

  • Databases

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • ignuit 2.24.1 released

      Mostly a maintenance release to keep the package in decent order. A “Category Properties” dialog has also been added to the program.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Toonz goes open source, Apple open sources CareKit, and more news
    • Open Hardware

      • Promising use of 3d printing

        A team in China, saved a 9 month old baby with a 3d printed Heart. My first thought was how many poor cancer and kidney / liver sufferers could benefit IF (hopefully only when not if) this becomes something that is the new medical norm, and then the reality of cloning and using this to revive less than desireable individuals (like violent offenders) also came to the forefront. I can only hope a reasonable and sane minded (if that can truly be quantified and agreed on) body can regulate this in a way where everyone wins.

  • Programming

    • NPM fiasco even caught Brendan Eich off guard

      The managers of the popular NPM registry, which houses JavaScript packages, want to assure the community that everything is OK, despite the calamity caused this week by the removal of a small package. NPM’s predicament, though, brought criticism from JavaScript founder Brendan Eich, who stressed a need to improve the module system.

      Upset over a naming issue, a developer decided to unpublish his modules on the registry, including left-pad, and as a consequence shut down several dependent programs, such as the Babel compiler. The module itself consists of only 17 lines of code, but modules that relied on left-pad could no longer be installed.

    • Apple’s Swift Programming Language Comes To Linux

      Apple has finally brought its Swift programming language to Linux. At this moment, this open source programming language supports Ubuntu 14.04 and 15.10. This port is relatively new and the Swift Core Libraries will be included later in Swift 3 release.

    • GitLab upgrade takes aim at Kubernetes

      GitLab claims to have smoothed deployment to Kubernetes and introduced “confidential issues” in the latest release of its code management platform, 8.6.

      Top of the list of features in the latest rev is deployment from GitLab CI direct to Kubernetes, with the integration of Redspread’s CLI tool Spread. GitLab said this will allow deployment to Kubernetes without the need for additional scripts – although you will need to use GitLab Runner 1.1 which should be “released as stable” tomorrow.

      The vendor has also put limits on exactly how open it wants to be, in the shape of “confidential issues”. These means the “issue” will only be visible to the project members and the issue raiser.

Leftovers

  • 6 Things Only A Sewage Treatment Plant Knows About Your Town

    The magic of the modern world is that you don’t have to see where your shit goes after you flush it. But your excrement isn’t immediately whisked away by gnomes or teleported directly into deep space — it heads to the wastewater treatment plant, where actual human beings have to deal with it. This is even harder than it sounds.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ‘You Wouldn’t Use It for a Purely Humanitarian Drop’

      The expert explains that “for high-altitude, high-accuracy drops, the US military uses a technology known as the Joint Precision Airdrop System,” which includes “a sort of probe that’s dropped prior to the cargo to take readings of wind speed and direction.” That’s important, because something dropped from 20,000 feet takes five or six minutes to reach the ground, and is blown by the wind during that time.

    • After Brussels, ISIS’s strategy

      There are three reasons for the change in strategy, two of them straightforward. First, attacks such as those in Paris and Brussels are designed to have a maximum impact, especially via the media, across the world. This demonstrates its potential as a movement with global impact and also incites further military action against it from the west. The latter point highlights ISIS’s long-term aim from the start: to provoke war in order to present itself as the true guardian of Islam under attack from the pernicious “far enemy” of the west.

    • Erik Prince in the Hot Seat

      Blackwater’s Founder Is Under Investigation for Money Laundering, Ties to Chinese Intel, and Brokering Mercenary Services

    • Brussels attacks preventable as Turkey shared intelligence, NSA whistleblower Snowden says

      The United States National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden said on Friday that the Brussels attacks were preventable as the information on terrorists was shared with the Belgian authorities by Turkey.

      Speaking at a panel on privacy via video conference, published by The Intercept, Snowden said that the attack was preventable through traditional means, not mass surveillance. Snowden’s comments came about as he was criticizing the western governments’ mass surveillance programs on citizens.

      An allied intelligence services, in this case Turkey, warned Belgium that this individual was a criminal that they were involved in terrorist activities, Snowden said.

    • Whistleblower Edward Snowden claims Belgian spies could have stopped Brussels attacks
    • Snowden: ‘The Brussels Attack Was Preventable’
    • Snowden: US Government ‘Completely Unrestrained’
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Action shuts down Newcastle coal exports

      Community members have taken direct action to interrupt coal exports from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek mine this morning. One woman has occupied a coal line, stopping trains from entering the coal export terminal at Kooragang Island in Newcastle.They have taken a stand to preserve the remaining ecosystems & Aboriginal Sacred Sites in the Leard State Forest where the Maules Creek mine is situated.

      Front Line Action on Coal is calling for an end to the coal industry and a shift into renewable energy sources stating that the coal industry and the Maules creek mine are detrimental to the environment, the Aboriginal cultural heritage of the local Gomeroi nation, native wildlife, ecology, water resources & community health.

  • Finance

    • Teachers claim wide opposition to forced academy plan

      The government could be forced to retreat on plans to compel every school in England to become an academy because of an emerging broad-based opposition, the National Union of Teachers claims.

      The union’s leader Christine Blower said there could be a rapid reversal, as happened with disability payments.

      The NUT’s conference is to vote on industrial action against the plans.

      But Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has told another union there is no “reverse gear” on the reforms.

      “I want to be clear, there will be no pulling back,” the education secretary told the NASUWT teachers’ union, which is also holding its annual conference this weekend.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship

    • Amos Yee Said to be Missing for at Least Three Months

      On Facebook a public account identifying as Mary Toh, mother of Singaporean blogger Amos Yee, stated that Amos Yee has been missing for at least three months.

    • Amos Yee’s mother: Amos Yee has disappeared

      We all know that Amos was arrested not because he offended religious groups, but for political reasons, making fun of Lee Kuan Yew when he had just died. After Amos was released from jail, he continued to make videos which became very popular, condemning the PAP government, and saying that Amos had offended Islam was just another excuse to arrest and silence him. Although he wasn’t charged and was only asked to show up for an investigation, he knew that if the investigation continued, he would definitely be charged and sentenced, and this time since it was a repeated offence, probably sent to 3 years of RTC, which is why he chose to run away from home.

    • Ignorant Bigot Arrested In UK For Tweeting About Being An Obnoxious Ignorant Bigot

      Matthew Doyle appears to be not just an ignorant bigot, but a proud ignorant bigot. But… it still should be concerning that he’s been arrested for the crime of saying ignorant bigoted stuff on Twitter. Doyle is apparently a PR guy in the UK, who claimed on Twitter that he had “confronted” a Muslim woman on the street demanding that she “explain” the attacks in Brussels. She allegedly told him “nothing to do with me,” which, frankly, is a much more polite response than he deserved…

      [...]

      Still, even if he is a clueless, ignorant bigot, it should be very concerning that he’s been arrested for posting on Twitter. And, yes, I know the UK doesn’t respect free speech in the same way that the US does. And I know that the UK has a history of arresting people for tweets. But, still… really?

    • Church-State Group Sues Connecticut Town For Censorship
    • Pro-Bible district ‘reconsidering’ religion-in-schools policy after being forced to distribute books on Satan and atheism
    • Atheist group calls Greene County Commission’s prayer policy unconstitutional
    • FFRF Continues Objecting To Commission’s Prayer, Hints At Potential Lawsuit
    • Conn. City Sued After Banning Anti-Religion Banner From Park
    • Espousing freedom of speech, and practising censorship
    • France Still Thinks It Regulates Entire Internet, Fines Google For Not Making Right To Be Forgotten Global

      This isn’t necessarily surprising, but it is incredibly stupid. As you hopefully recall, in the summer of 2014 the EU Court of Justice came out with a dangerous ruling saying that a “right to be forgotten” applied to search engines and that Google needed to “de-link” certain search results from the names of individuals. We’ve discussed at great length the problems with this ruling, but it continues to be a mess.

      Last summer, French regulators began to whine about Google’s implementation of the right to be forgotten, saying that it should apply worldwide. Google, instead, had only applied it to its EU domainspace. That is, if you were on Google.fr, you wouldn’t see those results, but Google.com you would. Since Google tries to default you to the right top level domain for your country, that would mean that most people in the EU would not see the results that people wanted censored. But French regulators still demanded more. Google responded, telling the French regulators that this was crazy, because it would be a threat to free speech globally. If Google had to moderate content globally based on the speech laws of a single country, we’d have the lowest common denominator of speech online, and a ton of ridiculous censorship. Furthermore, Google pointed out that 97% of French users were on the Google.fr domain, so demanding global censorship was pointless.

  • Privacy

    • Italy’s Council of State mars launch of new eID

      Italy’s Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, has spoiled the launch of SPID, the country’s new eID solution, launched on 15 March. Nine days later, the court upheld an earlier ruling that a EUR 5 million capital requirement for eID service providers is an unreasonable impediment to small and medium-sized service providers.

    • On the Impending Crypto Monoculture

      A number of IETF standards groups are currently in the process of applying the second-system effect to redesigning their crypto protocols. A major feature of these changes includes the dropping of traditional encryption algorithms and mechanisms like RSA, DH, ECDH/ECDSA, SHA-2, and AES, for a completely different set of mechanisms, including Curve25519 (designed by Dan Bernstein et al), EdDSA (Bernstein and colleagues), Poly1305 (Bernstein again) and ChaCha20 (by, you guessed it, Bernstein).

    • How the US Military Fails to Protect Its Soldiers’ Emails

      Many government agencies, including the US military, are leaving the emails of soldiers and government employees potentially in danger of being intercepted by spies and hackers by failing to implement a commonly used encryption technology.

      In the wake of the revelations of mass surveillance brought forth by Edward Snowden, the movement to promote the use of encryption technology across the internet has been seemingly unstoppable. Even the White House jumped on the “encrypt all the things” bandwagon this year, asking all government websites to use HTTPS web encryption to improve the security and privacy of their users.

    • Apple Asks Judge Overseeing NY iPhone Case To Wait Until More Is Known About FBI’s New Magic Unlocking Trick
    • FBI Denies It Lied About Ability To Crack iPhone, Also Suggests Cellebrite Rumor Is Wrong

      It’s difficult to take much of that at face value — especially as the government continues to push for similar court orders in other cases. And especially as Comey has been whining on and on about “going dark” for well over a year and a half now. At the very least, it does seem clear that the FBI failed to truly explore all possible options. As some iPhone forensics folks have noted, if this were truly a brand new solution, the FBI would need a hell of a lot more than two weeks of testing to make sure it really worked.

      In the meantime, I’d heard from a few folks, and now others are reporting as well, that the assumptions that many had made about the Israeli company Cellebrite providing the solution are simply not true — along with the idea that the solution involves reflashing the chip. The FBI itself now says it’s a “software-based” solution.

    • A Conversation on Privacy

      The balance between national security and government intrusion on the rights of private citizens will be the topic of a panel discussion featuring renowned linguist and MIT professor Noam Chomsky, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and Intercept co-founding editor Glenn Greenwald. Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, will act as moderator.

    • Why are there no brothels in Cheltenham? Because of GCHQ blackmail fears, says Jeremy Clarkson

      GCHQ is the reason that Cheltenham has no brothels according to an article in the Spectator by former Top Ger host Jeremy Clarkson.

      The presenter and journalist spent some time at the Cheltenham Festival last week, and in the right-wing political magazine he writes that in a taxi journey to a dinner party in an outlying village he learned that brothels were quickly shut down by police.

    • NSA Will Spy for Local Cops Under New Obama Administration Rules

      New rules under development by the Obama administration will take data collected by the NSA, supposedly for “counter-terrorism” and put it into the hands of other federal agencies and even your local law enforcement for everyday use.

      Proponents of federal spying inevitably defend any objection to mass warrantless surveillance by playing the terrorism card.

      The NSA must be able to sweep up virtually everybody’s electronic data to protect America from terrorist attacks, so the argument goes. This carries a great deal of weight, especially in the wake of tragic bombings in Paris and Brussels. Many Americans brush off the constitutional violations and invasion of privacy inherent in NSA spy programs because they honestly believe they only target terrorists.

    • NSA must end planned expansion of domestic spying, lawmakers say

      Two members of the House Oversight Committee, a Democrat and a Republican, have asked the director of the National Security Agency to halt a plan to expand the list of agencies that the NSA shares information with.

      Representatives Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Ted Lieu (D-California) wrote in a letter to NSA Director Michael Rogers on Monday that the reported plan would violate privacy protections in the Fourth Amendment, since domestic law enforcement wouldn’t need a warrant to use the data acquired from the agency.

    • Think the NSA Can’t Hack an iPhone Without Apple’s Help? Think Again.

      We speak with Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept, which has obtained a secret, internal U.S. government catalog of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies that offers rare insight into the spying capabilities of federal law enforcement and local police across the country. The catalog includes details on the Stingray, a well-known brand of surveillance gear, and other devices, some of which have never been described in public before. Scahill says the catalog represents a trove of details on surveillance devices developed for military and intelligence purposes but increasingly used by law enforcement agencies to spy on people and convict them of crimes.

    • Former NSA head to FBI: ‘Get over’ Apple dispute

      A former head of two intelligence agencies had a clear message on Friday for the government as it tries to get Apple to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

      “Get over it,” said Gen. Michael Hayden, a former head of the National Security Agency and the CIA under President George W. Bush. “Understand that no matter what we do with Apple, it’s going to get harder and harder to get content.”

      Apple is currently defying a court order directing the tech giant to create software that would let FBI investigators unlock an iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two terrorists who killed 14 people in California last year.

    • Once Again, The Brussels Attacks Were An Intelligence Community Failure, Not An ‘Encryption’ Problem

      After the Paris attacks late last year, we noted that it was clear that they were evidence of an intelligence community failure, rather than an “encryption” problem — which kind of explained why the intelligence community quickly tried to blame encryption. But, as we noted, most of the attackers were already known to the intelligence community and law enforcement — and there’s still little evidence that they used any encryption.

      It’s looking like the Brussels attacks are showing the same pattern. First, there were reports that Belgian law enforcement was well aware of the attackers and their connections.

    • A new bill seeks to kill anonymous ‘burner’ phones by requiring registration

      A bill proposed in congress this week would require that all users provide identification and register prepaid ‘burner’ phones upon purchase.

      Earlier this week we reported that burner phones are what kept Islamic extremists a step head of law enforcement in the days and weeks leading up to the Paris attack. While it’s not clear this bill is related to that revelation, it is a sign of the times and the US government’s clear-cut mission to put a stop to privacy anonymity as it relates to mobile devices.

  • Civil Rights

    • Senator Wyden Warns That The Justice Department Is Lying To The Courts; Also Still Worried About Secret Law

      We’ve been noting for years: when Senator Ron Wyden says that (1) there’s a secret interpretation of a law that is at odds with the public’s understanding of it, or (2) that government officials are lying, you should pay attention. It may take a while, but it always comes out eventually that he’s absolutely correct. For at least five years now, we’ve been posting semi-regular updates to Wyden calling out the government for its secret interpretations of the law, and some of that was proven entirely accurate thanks to the Snowden revelations concerning how the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act had been interpreted. However, since the Snowden revelations, Wyden has made it clear that that’s not all. In particular, he’s spoken about a Justice Department legal opinion, written by John Yoo, that Wyden insists is important and should be revealed.

    • Some Thoughts On What, Exactly, The DOJ’s ‘Inaccurate Assertion’ Might Be Concerning Secret Legal Opinion

      Back in November, ACLU sued to get that memo. The government recently moved for summary judgment based on the claim that a judge in DC rejected another ACLU effort to FOIA the document, which is a referral to ACLU’s 2006 FOIA lawsuit for documents underlying what was then called the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” and which we now know as Stellar Wind. Here’s the key passage of that argument.

    • Egyptian Student Deported for Threatening Donald Trump on Facebook

      A 23-year-old Egyptian aviation student in California has agreed to self-deportation the U.S. after a Facebook post threatening Donald Trump was turned over to the FBI, leading to a Secret Service investigation of the student, and ultimately his detention by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE).

      On February 3, Emadeldin Elsayed posted an article about Trump on Facebook along with the comment: “I literally don’t mind taking a lifetime sentence in jail for killing this guy, I would actually be doing the whole world a favor.” The Secret Service interviewed Elsayed the following day, according to his lawyer. Looks like someone spends a lot of time monitoring posts on Facebook for freedom.

    • Aviva Chomsky on Obama in Cuba, Mark Weisbrot on Argentina’s Right Turn

      This week on CounterSpin: Cuba is not so much a country for elite US media as a cartoon; but Barack Obama’s visit—the first by a sitting US president since Calvin Coolidge—offered a chance to revisit some of the conventional wisdom on Cuba and what media blanded out as years of “historical baggage.” We talk about what would really need to change to “normalize” US/Cuba relations with historian and activist Aviva Chomsky, author of The Cuba Reader, among other titles.

    • Court stops FCC’s latest attempt to lower prison phone rates

      The first stay was issued March 7 and prevented the FCC from implementing new rate caps of 11¢ to 22¢ per minute on both interstate and intrastate calls from prisons. But the stay—which remains in place while the prison phone companies’ lawsuit against the FCC is still pending—did not disturb an earlier “interim” cap of 21¢ to 25¢ per minute that applied only to interstate calls, those that cross state lines. The order also didn’t specifically object to the FCC changing its definition of “inmate calling service” to include both interstate and intrastate calls.

    • Long lines at airports a terror target, experts say

      The Brussels bombings have highlighted an inherent problem in airline security, say anti-terrorism experts: the crowds of waiting passengers caused by the need to check for weapons and bombs inadvertently creates its own terrorism target.

      “Airport security is front-loaded as much as possible towards prevention of an event taking place on an airplane,” said Bill Jenkins, a terrorism policy expert with the Rand Corporation. But making it impossible for terrorists to get on a plane doesn’t prevent them from trying a different attack. They then look for other “mass casualty” targets, such as the airport terminal.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Netflix Reveals It Throttles AT&T, Verizon Customers To Save Them From Usage Caps, Overage Fees

      So to be clear: Netflix should have been more transparent about what it was doing and provide users with better controls (desktop users can adjust streaming quality rather easily), especially if it’s going to lecture ISPs on transparency. That said, given Netflix’s positions on net neutrality and usage caps, you’re sure to see the story blown up into more than it is by ISPs and their various mouthpieces, who’ll likely either call this a net neutrality violation itself (it’s not; throttling yourself isn’t like throttling a competitor, and users have a choice of streaming services) or continue the industry claim that Netflix is a shady villain that treats giant, lumbering telecom duopolies unfairly.

      But the crux of the problem here remains usage caps, not Netflix. Sure, Netflix isn’t being entirely altruistic. Annoyed customers banging their heads against usage caps watch less streaming video, which for many fixed-line ISPs like Comcast is the entire point. For wireless carriers it’s obviously different, with the goal being to drive consumption however possible. But the fact that a company was forced to offer a lower quality service — instead of competing to provide the best stream possible — shows how arbitrary usage caps by their very nature distort and damage markets. And that’s before you even get to the anti-competitive implications of zero rating.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • EU consultation on IP enforcement; FFII submission

      Indeed! EDRi has prepared a very helpful answering tool. The deadline to submit responses using this tool is 7 April. However, you can use the Commission’s tool to respond until 15 April 2016.

    • Namespaces, Intellectual Property, Dependencies And A Big Giant Mess

      There’s been a bit of a mess in the programming world, the past few days, that you may have missed if you don’t pay close attention to certain circles of the internet, but it’s fascinating on a number of different levels. The mess began when people at the messenger app Kik, realized that someone else, a guy named Azer Koculu, had a module on NPM named “kik.” Some background: NPM stands for Node Package Manager — and that’s exactly what it is: a package manager/repository for programmers to share and reuse javascript code, useful for folks using node.js (a server side javascript environment). This is a good thing as it allows for fairly easy opportunities to share code and build on the work of others without having to reinvent the wheel.

    • Copyrights

      • Police Raid Usenet Service, Arrest Operator, Seize Data

        A France-based Usenet provider says that his service has been raided and shutdown by the police. The 5,000 user ‘Newsoo’ service appears to have been a labor of love for its owner, but all data is now in the hands of authorities after he was arrested. A long-standing complaint by anti-piracy outfit SACEM appears to have been the trigger.

      • Time Warner, Defenders Of Copyright, Forced To Pay Up For Copyright Infringement

        You can almost set your watch that any company or group that comes out vehemently in favor of restrictive copyright protection under the guise of protecting artists will be found to be in violation of copyrights and acting in a manner demonstrating clearly that zero care is given to the well-being of artists. The most recent example of this is Time Warner. Recall in the past that the massive media company has regularly sued music startup groups, pimped the six-strikes agreement with Hollywood, worked with Rightscorp to milk money out of accused infringers, and back a ways waged a war unpopular with its signed musical artists against YouTube. This, all done by Time Warner in the name of advocating for artists and creators, was done even as we learned just to what lengths Warner Music has gone to make sure it paid artists as little as possible.

03.25.16

Links 25/3/2016: KDE Applications 16.04 Beta and *buntu Betas

Posted in News Roundup at 10:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to hurdle community management obstacles

    Another risk organizations face when initiating a community support program is mistaking the community for a market or for customers. Although community members may also fit these roles, and traditional marketing and sales outreach techniques can be helpful at times, treating the community like anything other than a community can lead to resentment and ill-will from its members. Remember: A community is a self-organized and self-identified collection of people. Identification is a powerful thing, and treating someone contrary to their selected identification is arrogant and disrespectful. When an organization begins to think of the community it supports merely as a well-qualified market or as sales leads, it has lost connection with the community and risks public negative feedback and losing members.

  • An Open-Source Audit: Where Financial Firms Are Turning to Open Source

    Industry participants tell WatersTechnology about the use of open source among financial services organizations. Dan DeFrancesco highlights some of the specific work firms are embarking on in the open-source space.

  • Animation Software Used by Futurama and Studio Ghibli is Going Open Source

    The prayers of many starving animation artists out there may have finally been answered. Cartoon Brew reports that the same animation software used by Futurama and Studio Ghibli will soon be available for the low price of…nothing.

  • New open source software for high resolution microscopy

    With their special microscopes, experimental physicists can already observe single molecules. However, unlike conventional light microscopes, the raw image data from some ultra-high resolution instruments first have to be processed for an image to appear. For the ultra-high resolution fluorescence microscopy that is also employed in biophysical research at Bielefeld University, members of the Biomolecular Photonics Group have developed a new open source software solution that can process such raw data quickly and efficiently.

  • Events

  • Comms/Telecoms

    • Verizon SDN, NFV plans look to open source to counter challenges

      Telecom operators moving towards software solutions using software-defined networking and network functions virtualization technologies are finding a challenging environment. Traditional vendor support for such moves are being hindered by internal business models that are being overhauled by the move away from traditional hardware to commodity white boxes powered by software, which is forcing many telecom operators to search outside their usual vendor channels for support or turn internally to develop their own platforms.

    • Patton Enters SDN/NFV Arena with Virtual eSBC, Seeks Alpha Partners

      Implemented as a virtual machine (VM) within cloud infrastructure, Patton has tested its VNFs with VirtualBox, vmWare ESX, KVM, and OpenStack hypervisors to date.

    • Do What Providers Do; Open Source

      The Tier 1 providers use open source software. The providers use middleware to develop application for communications. Enterprises have now embraced open source software so they can create their own applications. Both providers and enterprises have realized that hardware has become a commodity, software rules.

      Open-source software has its source code available with a license in that the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Open-source software can be developed in a collaborative manner.

  • Databases

    • Citus Unforks From PostgreSQL, Goes Open Source

      When we started working on CitusDB 1.0 four years ago, we envisioned scaling out relational databases. We loved Postgres (and the elephant) and picked it as our underlying database of choice. Our goal was to extend this database to seamlessly shard and replicate your tables, provide high availability in the face of failures, and parallelize your SQL queries across a cluster of machines.

      We wanted to make the PostgreSQL elephant magical.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Busy Week: UbuntuBSD, FreeNAS 9.10 Released

      Most of the attention this week has been around the release of UbuntuBSD, which in and of itself is a noble effort for those who want to escape from systemd, as the developers have dubbed it according to Phoronix. This manifestation joins Ubuntu 15.10 Wile E. Coyote — sorry, Wily Werewolf — to the Free BSD 10.1 kernel.

      To its credit, UbuntuBSD uses Xfce as its default desktop. It also joins a list of other marriages between Linux distros and the BSD kernel: Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, ArchBSD (now PacBSD), Gentoo/BSD and others along the FOSS highway. It’s worth a look and we’ll be giving it a test drive sometime soon.

      But for now, there’s a more interesting and significant development in the BSD realm rising on the horizon.

    • AMD Polaris Support Already Lands In LLVM
    • DragonFlyBSD’s Radeon Driver Code Up To Linux 3.18 State

      The DragonFlyBSD operating system with its AMD Radeon graphics driver ported from the Linux DRM/KMS code is up to a state equivalent to where it was in the Linux 3.18 kernel.

    • Why OpenBSD?

      Using OpenBSD as my operating system of choice is the conclusion of my now 20 years journey into UNIX-like systems. I’ve been using FreeBSD from 2000 to 2005 as my sole operating system at the time (both on servers and workstations), from 4.1 to the end of the 4.x series. I have fond memories of that period, and that’s probably the main reason why I’ve been diving again into the BSDs during the last few years. Prior to that, I had been running Slackware, which in retrospective was very BSD-like, since January 1996.

      When I first installed OpenBSD, two things struck me. The installation process was both easy and fast, as the OpenBSD installer, a plain shell script, is very minimalistic and uncluttered. It is in fact the fastest installation process I’ve ever experienced, and it made a really positive first impression. The second one is the quality of the documentation. Not only does the OpenBSD project produces high quality code, they are also very good at documenting it. And it’s not only man pages and documentation, presentations and papers also reflect that.

    • New routing table code (ART) enabled in -current

      With this commit, mpi@ enabled the new ART routing table implementation, which paves way for more MP network stack improvements down the line.

    • bsdtalk263 – joshua stein and Brandon Mercer
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF to begin accepting scanned signatures for copyright assignments from India

      The Free Software Foundation is striving to provide more and simpler ways for hackers to contribute to the GNU Project. For projects that are assigned to the FSF (such as GNU Emacs or GCC), dealing with the paperwork for assigning contributions can sometimes be a bottleneck in the process. We are always working on ways to make assignment itself simpler. Our legal counsel at the Software Freedom Law Center recently gave us the all clear to begin accepting scanned assignments for contributors residing in India. We would also like to particularly thank Mishi Choudhary of SFLC and SFLC India for providing local counsel on this issue.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Mycroft – The World’s First Truly Open Home AI

      If you haven’t heard of Mycroft, there’s a good chance you’ve been living under a rock. And not one of those fancy under-a-rock condos either—the kind of under a rock without—horrors!—wifi! Mycroft is a project over at Indiegogo and Kickstarter that has the distinction of being the first truly open source, open hardware home AI to grace the technological landscape. And, of course, it runs GNU/Linux.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Jenkins 2.0 eases automation for dev teams

      Jenkins 2.0, an upgrade to the popular continuous integration and continuous delivery platform for software development, is due in April with improvements to the delivery pipeline and user interface.

      In version 2.0, the Pipeline subsystem will enable users to automate processes and describe functions, such as for running tests and builds, said Kohsuke Kawaguchi, Jenkins founder and CTO at CloudBees. Users “can describe this choreography of automation,” he said. The capability can, for example, enable users to execute tests in parallel, he said. Pipelines will be developed by writing code in a script language that serves as a DSL on top of the Groovy language.

    • Rage-quit: Coder unpublished 17 lines of JavaScript and “broke the Internet”

Leftovers

  • Worker Blames Google Maps After Tearing Down Wrong House

    Two owners of a Texas duplex found their home destroyed after a demolition company accidentally tore down the wrong house. An employee of the company blamed the error on a false addressing listing on Google Maps, according to WFAA.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • On World Water Day, See Our Extended Interview with Flint Activists Nayyirah Shariff & Melissa Mays

      As communities mark World Water Day, we turn to Part 2 of our extended conversation with Flint water activists Nayyirah Shariff and Melissa Mays. We spoke to them after Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder testified for the first time before Congress about lead poisoning in the water supply of Flint, Michigan, which began after he appointed an unelected emergency manager who switched the source of the city’s drinking water to the corrosive Flint River. Snyder testified along with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Flint’s former emergency manager, Darnell Earley, who refused to appear at last month’s hearing despite a subpoena from the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Melissa Mays is an activist and founder of Water You Fighting For?, a Flint, Michigan-based research and advocacy organization founded around the city’s water crisis. She and her three children suffer from long-term exposure to heavy metals because of the water supply. Nayyirah Shariff is a coordinator with the Flint Democracy Defense League.

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Secure code before or after sharing? [Ed: FUD season. US moving to FOSS, so parasites pop up]

      The White House wants federal agencies to share more of their custom code with each other, and also to provide more of it to the open source community. That kind of reuse and open source development of software could certainly cut costs and provide more able software in the future, but is this also an opening for more bugs and insecure code?

    • SMTP Strict Transport Security Standard Drafted for Email Security

      Love it or hate it, email remains a must-have tool in the modern Internet, though email isn’t always as secure as it should be. When users connect to email servers, those connections have the potential to be intercepted by attackers, so there is a need for standards, like the new SMTP Strict Transport Security (STS) standard, published March 18 as an Internet Engineering Task Force (IEFT) draft.

    • Certified Ethical Hacker website caught spreading crypto ransomware
    • Certificate pinning is a useful thing, says Netcraft. So why do hardly any of you use it?

      Venerable net-scan outfit Netcraft has issued what cliché would describe as “a stinging rebuke” to sysadmins the world over, for ignoring HTTP Public Key Pinning (HPKP).

      Pinning is designed to defend users against impersonation attacks, in which an attacker tricks a certificate authority to issue a fraudulent certificate for a site.

      If the attacker can present a user with a certificate for fubar.com, they can impersonate the site, opening a path for malfeasance like credential harvesting.

    • Oracle issues emergency Java patch for bug leading to system hijack

      Oracle has released an emergency patch for Java which fixes a critical bug leading to remote code execution without the need for user credentials.

    • Hospital Declares ‘Internal State of Emergency’ After Ransomware Infection [iophk: "The FBI needs to prosecute those that brought Windows into the hospital."]

      A Kentucky hospital says it is operating in an “internal state of emergency” after a ransomware attack rattled around inside its networks, encrypting files on computer systems and holding the data on them hostage unless and until the hospital pays up.

    • Judge Won’t Consider EFF’s Arguments in FBI Mass Hacking Case

      Earlier this month, digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a strongly worded amicus brief arguing that the warrant used by the FBI for its use of malware to identify visitors of a dark web child pornography site was “unconstitutional,” and qualified as a broad, “general warrant.”

      But on Tuesday, Robert J. Bryan, the district judge overseeing the case rejected the group’s argument, saying it contained allegations of fact not supported in the record, and that it was simply repeating arguments already made by the defense.

      “According to EFF, a self-proclaimed ‘recognized expert’ on the intersection of civil liberties and technology, the law enforcement techniques employed in this case present novel questions of Fourth Amendment law,” Bryan writes in his order. The brief was signed by Mark Rumold, Nate Cardozo, and Andrew Crocker from the EFF, and Venkat Balasubramani, an attorney who is representing the organization.

    • Security education outfit EC-Council dishes out ransomware online

      Senior threat intelligence man Yonathan Klijnsma says the website of the EC-Council, the organisation responsible for the Ethical Hacker certification, is serving the dangerous Angler exploit kit to infect PCs.

      Klijnsma of Dutch firm Fox-IT says the website was serving the world’s most highly-capable and dangerous exploit kit hours ago to users of Internet Explorer.

      Checks by this writer appear to show it is still serving the exploit at the time of publication.

    • Weak links in the blockchain: We’re neglecting the foundations

      Premature infatuation with blockchain overlooks security weaknesses in the platform that underlies Bitcoin digital currency.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Real Likelihood of a Nuclear War

      “When you destroy trust between nuclear powers you recreate the possibility of nuclear war, either by intent, or miscalculation. So this is a reckless and irresponsible act on the part of Washington….The information war that is going on now is to prepare the American population and NATO countries allies for military conflict with Russia. This is part of the preparation of that. We now have high level people in the US government and military who go to Congress and say that Russia is an existential threat. This is rubbish!…You have to remember that before the wars started in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, it was the constant demonisation of the leaders of the governments, against Gaddafi, Hussein. When you see these kinds of demonisation it fits a pattern.”

    • Glasgow mosque leader praises extremist killer

      The religious leader at Scotland’s biggest mosque has praised an extremist who was executed for committing murder in Pakistan, the BBC can reveal.

      Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman of Glasgow Central Mosque used the messaging platform WhatsApp to show his support for Mumtaz Qadri.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Lost emails from Clinton server discovered

      Conservative legal watchdogs have discovered new emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server dating back to the first days of her tenure as secretary of State.

      The previously undisclosed February 2009 emails between Clinton from her then-chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, raise new questions about the scope of emails from Clinton’s early days in office that were not handed over to the State Department for recordkeeping and may have been lost entirely.

    • Clinton Pressed NSA to Modify Unsecure Devices for Government Use

      Communications between the US National Security Agency (NSA) and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton show she repeatedly tried to obtain unsecure devices for use in government business, according to emails released by the US Department of State.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • After 115 Years, Scotland Is Coal-Free

      After some 115 years, Scotland has burned its last lump of coal for electricity.

      The Longannet power station, the last and largest coal-fired power plant in Scotland, ceased operations Thursday. What once was the largest coal plant in Europe shut down after 46 years before the eyes of workers and journalists, who gathered in the main control room.

      “Ok, here we go,” said one worker moments before pressing a bright red button that stopped the coal-fired turbines that generated electricity for a quarter of Scottish homes.

  • Finance

    • ‘Who’s Developing What for Who?’

      Our guest suggested instead that Chicago’s dreaded, ruinous red ink should be considered a mirage. Americans seem very accepting of the idea that we’re living in objectively dry economic times, and tough choices have to be made. But that tendency is precisely why it’s so important to hold a light on what, precisely, politicians and the press mean when they talk about public money we “don’t have” or “can’t spare.” Because a whole lot of human hardship gets predicated, gets accepted and normalized, on that assumption of scarcity.

    • Warren: ‘I’m still cheering Bernie on’

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Thursday said she has no desire for Bernie Sanders’s exit from the Democratic presidential primary.

      “He has put the right issues on the table both for the Democratic Party and for the country in general so I’m still cheering Bernie on,” she said while touring a community healthcare center in Quincy, Mass., according to The Associated Press.

      “He’s out there,” Warren added when asked if she thinks the independent Vermont senator should suspend his presidential campaign. “He fights from the heart. This is who Bernie is.”

      Warren refused comment on who she voted for in Massachusetts’s Democratic presidential primary earlier this month, AP reported. She also said she plans on making an endorsement but would not elaborate further on her pick.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Member state offices in Brussels: wide open to corporate lobbyists

      Meanwhile, the report exposes the inadequacy of the current EU lobby transparency regime which is both voluntary and excludes lobbying directed at the permanent representations and the Council. The study shows that at least one in five lobby meetings at some national offices are with companies and organisations unregistered in the current EU register.

    • ALEC Exposed: Corporate Polluters Undermining Clean Power in Virginia

      Today, the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter and the Center for Media and Democracy released ALEC EXPOSED: Corporate Polluters Undermining Clean Power in Virginia, a report that reveals the influence that ALEC and its political allies have exerted to stymie state climate and clean energy policies.

    • Bernie Sanders Would Now Outraise Clinton Almost 2-to-1 With Small Donor Matching Funds

      Bernie Sanders would have raised almost twice as much money by the end of 2015 as Hillary Clinton for his presidential campaign if the U.S. had a system of public matching funds for small donors, according to a report by U.S. PIRG, a federation of the state-level activist groups founded by Ralph Nader in the 1970s.

      In addition, Sanders would also have far outraised any of the remaining Republican candidates.

      The U.S. PIRG report examines how 2016 presidential candidates would fare under a campaign financing system similar to that of New York City, which matches small donations to local candidates with additional public money at a six-to-one ratio. For example, if someone gives $10 to a candidate for the New York City Council, the city provides an additional $60, so the candidate receives $70 total.

    • Sanders Tip-toes in Criticizing Israel

      Sen. Sanders ventured hesitantly down the scary path of criticizing Israel, but even his timid approach looked heroic compared to the pro-Israel pandering from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, says Joe Lauria.

      [...]

      Snubbing AIPAC requires a degree of courage in American presidential politics and almost no one dares do anything but pander to the hardest-line Israeli partisans. But Sanders, who is fighting for his political life in the campaign, hasn’t taken money from the kind of large donors that AIPAC coordinates. Plus, he could never match the other candidates’ fervor for Israel.

    • Most Americans Believe Palestinians Occupy Israeli Land

      Israel-AIPAC claims of ‘disputed lands’ are working

  • Censorship

    • How Rock Music (Mostly) Defeated Castro’s Censorship

      The Rolling Stones prepare their historic concert in a country that once banned the Beatles, and still harasses artistic free expression

    • Staging Shakespearean dissent: spring magazine 2016

      This year brings the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and Index on Censorship is marking it with a special issue of our award-winning magazine, looking at how his plays have been used around the world to sneak past censors or take on the authorities – often without them realising.

      Our special report explores how different countries use different plays to tackle difficult themes. Hungarian author György Spiró writes about how Richard III was used to taunt eastern European dictators during the 1980s. Dame Janet Suzman remembers how staging Othello with a black lead during apartheid in South Africa caused people to walk out of the theatre. Kaya Genç tells of a 1981 production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream in Turkey that landed most of the cast in jail. And Brazilian director Roberto Alvim recounts his recent staging of Julius Caesar, which was inspired by the country’s current political tumult.

    • Report Shows Arts Censorship Reached Unprecedented Levels in 2015

      A new report on artistic freedom by the Danish free speech advocacy group Freemuse has found that global censorship and threats on artistic freedom increased significantly in 2015, according to the Art Newspaper.

      The report, which analyzes artistic freedom in over 70 countries, gathered data from media sources as well as partner organizations, such as the Copenhagen-based civil society network Artsfex. The findings show a 20 percent increase in registered killings, attacks, abductions, imprisonments, and threats related to artists worldwide, as well as a 224 percent increase in acts of censorship.

    • HK government is toeing PRC line: Nonsensemakers

      Members of the Hong Kong performance troupe Nonsensemakers on Monday accused the Hong Kong government of political bias over demands they claimed had been placed on the group as it prepares for an event.

    • Hong Kong lawmakers from all sides urge home affairs chief to explain missing word ‘national’

      Lawmakers from across the political spectrum urged Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah to give a detailed explanation of the government’s controversial decision to prohibit a local artiste from publishing the full name of her Taiwanese alma mater in a drama programme leaflet.

    • Unnecessary fuss turns a cultural event into a political drama

      A government-sponsored cultural drama has unnecessarily been thrust onto the political stage, all because of the innocuous word “national”. A misguided sense of political correctness within the Leisure and Cultural Services Department is being blamed. Officials seem so eager to screen out perceived unacceptable content that even an artiste’s biography in a house programme is not spared. The alleged censorship is not just a threat to artistic freedom; it also undermines the city’s image as an arts hub and risks upsetting ties with other places.

    • Home affairs minister continues to evade questions over Taiwan censorship controversy

      The government’s home affairs minister has continued to avoid questions over the recent controversy whereby the word “national” was removed from the names of Taiwanese institutions by a government department.

      The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) allegedly removed the word on different occasions – an act criticised by the affected Taipei National University of the Arts and by the Hong Kong Federation of Taiwan Universities Alumni Association.

    • ‘Insulting’: Taiwan alumni group in HK condemn gov’t over university naming row

      A Hong Kong alumni group of Taiwanese universities has “strongly condemned” a government department over a controversy whereby the word “national” was removed from the names of schools. The group called the incident “insulting”.

      On Monday, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) was criticised for allegedly demanding the word “national” be deleted from the biography of a member of a drama company which performed at a public theatre last week. The member graduated from the Taipei National University of the Arts. Other similar cases have since emerged.

    • Politicians slam Facebook for censorship of Yeni Şafak

      Ministers, deputies and lawyers condemn Facebook’s ban on Turkey’s most popular newspaper pages, called on social media platform to rectify mistake as soon as possible

    • After Withholding Mail, Army Allows Chelsea Manning to Read EFF Writing

      EFF is pleased to announce that the U.S. Army has allowed Chelsea Manning to receive a packet of news articles, EFF blog posts, and a regulatory filing related to prisoner free speech rights that it had previously withheld. Manning is currently imprisoned at the U.S Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) at Ft. Leavenworth for her role in the release of military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks.

      As we reported last month, the Army had rejected the mail from a Manning supporter citing regulations limiting printouts from the Internet. Initially, the mail had been withheld under provisions that both limited the number of pages an inmate can receive from the Internet and allowed the prison to block Internet pages that it believed may violate copyright laws. The information provided to Manning made the actual basis for withholding unclear, and EFF wrote to the Army pointing out that printing the materials for Manning would not infringe our copyright. We also sent the materials to Manning directly.

  • Privacy

    • Hottest job? Data scientists say they’re still mostly digital ‘janitors’

      Data scientists are considered to have the hottest job right now, but a new study suggests they’re little more than “digital janitors” who spend most of their time cleaning data to prepare it for analysis.

      That’s according to CrowdFlower, a crowdsourcing company, which surveyed 80 data scientists with varying levels of experience.

    • Internet providers have built huge data systems to track every move you make online

      Web users face an even greater threat to their privacy as large ISPs align themselves more closely with data brokers to track their customers, an advocacy group said.

      Several large ISPs have either formed partnerships with, or acquired, data tracking and analytics firms in recent years, giving them a “vast storehouse of consumer data,” according to a report Wednesday from the Center for Digital Democracy.

      “ISPs have been on a shopping spree to help build their data-targeting system across devices and platforms,” the report says. “Superfast computers analyze our information … to decide in milliseconds whether to target us for marketing and more.”

      Through digital dossiers that merge all of this information, we can be bought and sold in an instant — to financial marketers, fast-food companies, and health advertisers — all without our knowledge.”

    • The NSA is trying to create a virtual clone of me

      It seems there’s a Twitter account that has been copying my tweets, along with the tweets of half a dozen other tech people who follow me. I don’t mean stealing our jokes; I mean only tweeting paraphrases of our tweets, even fairly mundane ones. It’s a shame that I can’t show you the account in full, because after an hour of our trying to figure out what was going on, I finally made a public tweet about this — and the account instantly vanished. A couple people verified by user id that the account was actually deleted, not just renamed.

      [...]

      It looked like the account of an average nerd named “Nikki V.” Except that it had 1600 followers, yet never garnered a single like or retweet. And seemingly everything it wrote was a paraphrase of someone else.

    • Georgia License Plate Reader Bill: Bad for the Public, Bad for the Police

      H.B. 93 began with good intentions. Georgia legislators saw a need to protect privacy by regulating how law enforcement agencies use automated license plate reader (ALPR) technology and limiting how long police can store location data collected on everyday drivers.

      Unfortunately, the version of the bill currently on the fast track to passage is rife with problems that would not only harm the public, but threaten security research and hinder law enforcement’s ability to ensure the integrity of ALPR systems. It could be voted upon by the Georgia Senate as early as Thursday.

    • Obama Has Gotten 3,000+ Tweets about Encryption. Let’s Double That.

      EFF, ACLU, and Access Now released a statement in support of Apple and its stance on encryption last week. We called on the President to reject any attempt to force backdoors like the one the FBI was seeking to Apple’s operating system. We asked our communities to help by tweeting at the President.

      Over three thousand people have joined us, sending a stream of tweets to the President.

      Since then, the FBI has at least temporarily backed off its attempts to strong-arm Apple into defeating its own security. But the backdoor battle isn’t over: Obama still must answer our petition on encryption, signed by over 100,000 people.

    • NSA Isn’t the Going Dark Solution, Part II: There’s No Such Thing As Magic

      Still, that outcome is not nearly as bad as the alternative. Paradoxically, things would be even worse in the universe that Richard Clarke believes we live in: the one in which NSA does, in fact, have superpowers. I turn to that world in the final post in this series.

    • NSA Isn’t the Going Dark Solution, Part III: “Beat Me If You Can”

      Turning to the intelligence community as a solution to the Going Dark problem increases the interaction between the classified world and the criminal justice system at a time when there are good reasons to support more separation, not less.

    • NSA Isn’t the Going Dark Solution, Part I: Richard Clarke Gets It Wrong

      Clarke’s allegation that the FBI is more interested in legal precedent than in solving the problem appears to have been soundly refuted by this week’s events. Not only has the FBI actively sought alternative methods to unlock the phone, but it has apparently found such a method. And it is apparently willing to use it as an alternative to compelling Apple’s assistance under the All Writs Act.

      [...]

      What federal agencies cannot loan one another is legal authorities; to the contrary, in providing technical assistance, they adopt one another’s legal constraints.

    • DOJ Steps In To Salvage The DEA’s Toxic, Possibly Illegal Wiretaps

      Late last year, USA Today’s Brad Heath and Brett Kelman uncovered a massive DEA wiretap program — one that was being run almost exclusively through a single California state court judge and being signed off on by a single DA’s office. The wiretaps were likely illegal, seeing as the warrants weren’t being run by federal judges. They also weren’t being signed by the top prosecutor in the area, as is required federal law.

    • Parliamentary Evidence on the UK Investigatory Powers Bill

      My written evidence to the Scrutiny Committee in the UK Houses of Parliament that is currently examining the much-disputed Investigatory Powers Bill (IP)…

    • “Snowden has done a service”: Former Bush official Lawrence Wilkerson applauds the whistleblower

      “I try to stay up with Snowden,” said Lawrence “Larry” Wilkerson. “God, has he revealed a lot,” he laughed.

      A retired Army colonel who served as the chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell in President George W. Bush’s administration, Wilkerson has established himself as a prominent critic of U.S. foreign policy.

      He sat down with Salon for an extended interview, discussing a huge range of issues from the war in Syria to climate change, from ISIS to whistle-blower Edward Snowden, of whom Wilkerson spoke quite highly.

      “I think Snowden has done a service,” Wilkerson explained. “I wouldn’t have had the courage, and maybe not even the intellectual capacity, to do it the way he did it.”

      Snowden’s reputation in mainstream U.S. politics, to put it lightly, is a negative one. In the summer of 2013, the 29-year-old techno wiz and private contractor for the NSA worked with journalists to expose the global surveillance program run by the U.S. government.

      His revelations informed the public not only that the NSA was sucking up information on millions of average Americans’ private communications; they also proved that the U.S. government was likely violating international law by spying on dozens of other countries, and even listening to the phone calls of allied heads of state such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who subsequently compared the NSA to the Stasi, East Germany’s secret police.

    • Appeals Court Sends Smith v. Obama NSA Lawsuit Back to the Trial Court

      One of EFF’s three cases against the NSA, Smith v. Obama, has been sent back to the trial court by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit was brought by an Idaho neonatal nurse, Anna Smith, who was outraged to discover that the NSA was engaging in bulk collection of telephone records. This same program is challenged in our First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA case and has also always been a part of our long-running Jewel v. NSA case.

    • Congressional Reps Tell NSA To Cease Sharing Unminimized Data With Domestic Law Enforcement Agencies

      The FBI announced (without going into verifiable detail) that it had implemented new minimization procedures for handling information tipped to it by the NSA’s Prism dragnet. Oddly, this announcement arrived nearly simultaneously with the administration’s announcement that it was expanding the FBI’s intake of unminimized domestic communications collected by the NSA.

    • Remember, It Was A ‘Lawful Access’ Tool That Enabled iCloud Hacker To Download Celebrity Nudes

      You may have heard, recently, that the guy who was apparently behind the celebrity nudes hacking scandal (sometimes called “Celebgate” in certain circles, and the much more terrible “The Fappening” in other circles) recently pled guilty to the hacks, admitting that he used phishing techniques to get passwords to their iCloud accounts. But… that’s not all that he apparently used. He also used “lawful access” technologies to help him grab everything he could once he got in.

    • Keystroke Fingerprinting Is Raising Concerns, Possible Kernel/Wayland Solution

      With companies like Google and Facebook having developed keystroke fingerprinting technology to identify users based upon how long they press keys on the keyboard and the time between key presses, this poses new challenges for those wanting to stay completely anonymous on the Internet. A developer is trying to come up with a solution down to the display server or kernel level.

    • We Asked NSA’s Privacy Officer If U.S. Spying Powers Are Safe With Donald Trump. Here’s What She Said.

      A QUESTION ABOUT the potential of Donald Trump wielding power over the country’s eavesdropping capabilities evoked nervous laughter, and eventually a careful answer from the National Security Agency’s recently installed director of privacy and civil liberties.

      Becky Richards, who was appointed to the newly created position in January 2014, insists the “checks and balances” on the intelligence community are strong — to protect employees so they can brainstorm new ideas without fear of reprisal, while also being properly monitored to prevent abuse.

      At an event last week on Capitol Hill hosted by the Just Security law blog and NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, a reporter for The Intercept asked Richards, “Would you trust someone — such as, let’s say, a Donald Trump — to oversee these sorts of powers?”

      “I’m going to edit that question,” said Deborah Pearlstein, associate professor at the Cardozo School of Law and a moderator for the panel.

      “No matter who becomes president of the United States, you would want these exact same constraints in place?” she asked.

  • Civil Rights

    • Prison Telco Claims Prisoners Will Riot If Company Can’t Keep Overcharging Inmate Families

      For many, many years interstate inmate calling service (ICS) companies have charged inmates and their families upwards of $14 per minute for phone calls. Because these folks are in prison, and as we all know everybody in prison is guilty, drumming up sympathy to convert into political momentum had proven difficult. But after decades of activism the FCC intervened last year, voting to cap the amount companies can charge the incarcerated. According to the FCC’s updated rules, ICS companies can no longer charge more than twenty-two cents per minute — depending on the size of the prison. Caps were also placed on the fees companies could charge those trying to pay these already bloated bills.

    • Philip Hammond, the World’s Sleaziest Man and the Ultimate Corrupt and Undemocratic British State

      His second wife, Christina Estrada, a Pirelli calendar model, is divorcing him because he married (concurrently) a third wife, a Lebanese supermodel. Divorce in the UK is potentially expensive to billionaires. In September 2014 Juffali therefore acquired diplomatic immunity in the UK by becoming – wait for it – the Ambassador of the Caribbean island of St Lucia to the International Maritime Organisation, a UN agency located next to Lambeth Palace.

      As Juffali has no connection to St Lucia or to international maritime affairs, the High Court in London ruled that the appointment was a “transparent subterfuge” and that Juffali does not have diplomatic immunity. This incensed Philip Hammond who argued that the courts have no right to question his “actions under the Royal Prerogative”.

      [...]

      If the United Kingdom were a democracy, the Court of Appeal would defy Hammond and the police would be investigating him.

    • Hot Summer GOP Convention Coming Up After Appalling DOJ Report on Cleveland PD

      This July the GOP (Gasping Old Party) is going to hold its nominating convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Given the way things are headed, this may turn out to be a contested convention, where everyone but Donald Trump tries to make sure Donald Trump is not the Republican nominee. Trump, in a classy move, has suggested if he is not anointed there will be riots.

    • An Interview with Paul Craig Roberts

      For example, if a country has a law against GMOs (genetically modified organisms) the US corporation Monsanto can sue the country for “restraint of trade” in a tribunal that consists solely of corporations. The country’s own courts are bypassed. In short, the TPP permits corporations to negate any law in the countries that sign the “partnership” that does not serve the interest of the corporation.

    • Horror Persists, From Brussels to Cuba — Guantanamo, Cuba, That Is

      Islamic State militants attacked a European city this week, setting off three bombs in Brussels that killed 31 and injured 260. In the United States, the response was immediate, first with the outpouring of support from the public, then, unsurprisingly, with a flurry of bellicose pronouncements from most of the remaining major-party presidential candidates.

      The violence overshadowed what might well be one of the most enduring and significant accomplishments of the Obama presidency: the reopening of relations with Cuba, cemented when he became the first president in 88 years to visit the island nation.

      After the bombings in Brussels, Republican candidate Ted Cruz said, “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” Donald Trump told NBC regarding Salah Abdeslam, the suspect in the November Paris massacre who was captured in Brussels last Friday, “If they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding.” On CNN, Trump said, “He may be talking, but he’ll talk faster with the torture.” Give Trump credit for calling it what it is, torture. But actually advocating for torture?

    • Lawful but Awful: Texas Law Enforcement Agencies Must Find Alternatives to Lethal Force

      On March 13, 2016, off-duty Farmer’s Branch police officer Ken Johnson confronted two youths — 16-year-old Jose Raul Cruz and his friend Edgar Rodriguez — as they were allegedly attempting to break into a car. The youths fled, and Johnson pursued them, ramming the teens’ vehicle and forcing it to spin out of control. According to the officer’s account, an “altercation” ensued, during which Johnson drew his service weapon and fired, wounding Rodriguez and killing Cruz.

    • Two Lawyers Walk Into a Bar. And Get Kicked Out for Being Black.

      When the police arrived, several customers explained to the officers that the bar staff were enforcing the rule against us only. Some told the police that a one-drink rule did not exist. Others even tried to buy us drinks. But the bartenders wouldn’t let them.

      And still, the police forced us  —  two Black women in the bar  —  to leave.

      Police departments are supposed to enforce criminal laws and threats to public safety, not enforce personal biases.

    • Israeli Rights Group Releases Video of Soldier Executing Wounded Palestinian Suspect

      An Israeli soldier was arrested on Thursday after a rights group published clear video images of him shooting a wounded, immobilized Palestinian suspect in the head following a knife attack in the West Bank city of Hebron earlier in the day.

      The graphic, distressing video was posted online by B’Tselem, an Israeli group that provides cameras to Palestinians to help them document human rights abuses in the West Bank territory that has been under military rule since Israel first occupied it in 1967.

    • Humanitarian Groups Refuse to Partake in ‘Mass Expulsion’ of Refugees

      In a stinging rebuke to Europe’s political leaders, four prominent humanitarian groups are ceasing operations in refugee camps on several Greek islands this week because of what they characterize as human rights violations in the wake of the controversial EU-Turkey refugee deal.

      “We will not allow our assistance to be instrumentalized for a mass expulsion operation, and we refuse to be part of a system that has no regard for the humanitarian or protection needs of asylum seekers and migrants,” said Marie Elisabeth Ingres, the head of the Doctors without Borders (MSF) mission in Greece, on Tuesday.

    • The Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia

      Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is joining a campaign to end female genital mutilation (FGM) in Somalia.

      Sharmarke signed an online petition proposing a federal ban of the long-standing practice that 98 percent of Somali women undergo. Ifrah Ahmed, an anti-FGM activist, who herself underwent the procedure as a child, told the BBC she persuaded Sharmarke to sign the petition. Sahra Samatar, Somalia’s minister of women and human rights, said Sharmarke’s support is a “huge boost” to the campaign for a national anti-FGM legislation.

    • Brussels attacks: How Saudi Arabia’s influence and a deal to get oil contracts sowed seeds of radicalism in Belgium

      But the mosque remains a concern for the Belgian government: in August, a WikiLeaks cable revealed that a staff member of the Saudi embassy in Belgium was expelled years ago over his active role in spreading the extreme so-called Takfiri dogma. The cable – between the Saudi King and his Home Minister – referred to Belgian demands that the ICC’s Saudi director, Khalid Alabri, should leave the country, saying that his messages were far too extreme, and that his status as director meant he should not be preaching anyway.

    • The Obama Doctrine

      It appeared as though Obama had drawn the conclusion that damage to American credibility in one region of the world would bleed into others, and that U.S. deterrent credibility was indeed at stake in Syria. Assad, it seemed, had succeeded in pushing the president to a place he never thought he would have to go. Obama generally believes that the Washington foreign-policy establishment, which he secretly disdains, makes a fetish of “credibility”—particularly the sort of credibility purchased with force. The preservation of credibility, he says, led to Vietnam. Within the White House, Obama would argue that “dropping bombs on someone to prove that you’re willing to drop bombs on someone is just about the worst reason to use force.”

    • The Swedish Academy, which selects the winners of the Nobel Prize in literature, has condemned an Iranian death warrant against British writer Salman Rushdie, 27 years after it was pronounced

      The Swedish Academy, which selects the winners of the Nobel Prize in literature, has condemned an Iranian death warrant against British writer Salman Rushdie, 27 years after it was pronounced.

      Two members quit the academy in 1989 after it refused to condemn Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini’s fatwa, or religious edict, against Rushdie for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his book “The Satanic Verses.” Citing its code against political involvement, the academy issued a statement defending free expression but without explicitly supporting Rushdie.

    • UK seeks review of UN Julian Assange ‘arbitrary detention’ finding

      The British government has formally asked a United Nations panel to review its finding that Julian Assange is “arbitrarily detained” in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, calling the opinion “deeply flawed”.

      In its first formal response to the finding of the UN working group on arbitrary detention, which published its opinion in February, the Foreign Office confirmed it would contest the finding, saying: “The original conclusions of the UN working group are inaccurate and should be reviewed.”

      In a statement, the Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire said: “We want to ensure the working group is in possession of the full facts. Our request for a review of the opinion sets those facts out clearly.

    • a simple (local) solution to the pay gap

      International Working Women’s Day was earlier this month, a day that reminds the world how far it has yet to go to achieve just treatment of women in the workplace. Obviously there are many fronts on which to fight to dismantle patriarchy, and also cissexism, and also transphobia, and also racism, and sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming just to think of a world where people treat each other right.

      Against this backdrop, it’s surprising that some policies are rarely mentioned by people working on social change. This article is about one of them — a simple local change that can eliminate the pay gap across all axes of unfair privilege.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Angolans Turning Zero-Rated Wikipedia, Facebook Into Ad Hoc File Sharing Services

      Zero-rating — the nifty trick companies use to edge around net neutrality rules — is being offered to developing countries as a way to provide cheap internet access to their citizens. There’s a bit of altruism in the offerings, but there’s also a lot of walls surrounding gardens. Facebook’s “Free Basics” is a zero-rated platform that functions like a twenty-first century AOL, funneling users into Facebook’s version of the internet.

  • DRM

    • LibrePlanet 2016 – Freedom Sympatico

      The interesting thing about the EME spec is that it doesn’t describe DRM – it just seems to describe an intricately shaped hole in which the only thing that will fit is DRM.

    • Memories of a march against DRM

      I participated in a rally against the W3C endorsing DRM last Sunday. I know it was recorded, but I haven’t seen any audio or video recordings up yet, and some friends have asked what really happened there. I thought I’d write up what I remembered.

      First, some context: the rally (and subsequent roundtable discussion) wasn’t officially part of LibrePlanet, but it did happen right after it. This was one of the busiest free software focused weeks of my life, and just earlier in the week I had been participating in the Social Web Working Group at the W3C, trying to hammer out our work on federation and other related standards. I’m so excited about this work, that it stands out in an interesting contrast to my feelings on a different “standards in the W3C” issue: the real danger that the W3C will endorse DRM by recommending the Encrypted Media Extensions specification.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

03.24.16

Links 24/3/2016: GNOME 3.20, Tomb Raider Arriving On GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 9:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 Facts About Open Source You Need to Know

    It seems open source solutions are everywhere you look these days, and the promise of easily accessible and public code has become an attractive prospect to both individual developers and big companies like Microsoft (MSFT). You may consider yourself a GNU/Linux expert, but here are some facts you probably didn’t know about the world of open source.

  • Polish think tank considers making DMS open source

    A document management system developed by COI, a government IT think tank, can be made available under an open source licence, the organisation says. “We are ready to implement this model”, a COI spokesperson said in an email.

  • 5 tips every open source project manager should consider

    In a 2013 survey, 11% of contributors to free and open source software identified as women. But perhaps the future looks brighter? We can answer this question by examining the participation of women in Google Summer of Code, a program that provides a stipend for post-secondary school students to contribute to open source software for a summer. From 2011 to 2015, the program consisted of about 7-10% female participants. This is an extremely low percentage and does not bode well for the future of diversity in open source.

  • Inside AT&T’s open source, software-defined transformation

    Open source technologies like OpenStack are playing a very important role in this transformation. AT&T is working with open source project like OPNFV, OpenDaylight, Open Contrail, ON.Lab, the Open Container Initiative, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Open Compute Project and many others.

  • AT&T SDN and NFV moves progress with focus, support

    AT&T is often referenced as the gold standard among domestic carriers as well as one of the global leaders in terms of its dedication towards virtualization. AT&T in late 2014 announced plans to control 75% of its network resources using virtualization technologies by 2020, and that at the end of 2015 the carrier had reached 5.7% control, which was ahead of its 5% target.

  • R.I.P. Vendors: Can Open Source Fundamentally Change the Way Third Parties Operate?

    The rise of financial firms’ adoption of open source could force vendors to make an adjustment.

  • Events

    • Containers Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      The level of Containers excitement has increased even further this year, with much interplay between Docker, Kubernetes, Rkt, CoreOS, Mesos, LXC, LXD, OpenVZ, systemd, and much else besides. This excitement has led to some interesting new use cases, including even the use of containers on Android.

      Some of these use cases in turn require some interesting new changes to the Linux plumbing, including mounts in unprivileged containers, improvements to cgroups resource management, ever-present security concerns, and interoperability between various sets of tools.

    • ONS and the Challenge of Open Networking

      At the Open Networking Summit (ONS) this week, vendors big and small are talking about the success and direction of the open networking movement, including Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and whitebox hardware. There’s much reason for optimism, but there are a number of key challenges, too.

    • Free as in … ? My LibrePlanet 2016 talk
    • 30% off O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention in Austin, May 16-19
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Exempi 2.3.0 and Rust…

        Also I have now released my first Rust crate, that provide a Rust API to Exempi: exempi-rs. Short of rewriting the whole parsing in Rust for safety — the core of Exempi is Adobe official XMP SDK written in C++ —, this will do.

      • Mozilla Looks to Internet of Things as New Frontier

        Mozilla has announced that the Internet of Things (IoT) will be the next big opportunity for its open source software platform. “The Internet of Things is changing the world around us, with new use cases, experiences and technologies emerging every day,” wrote officials in a post. “As we continue to experiment in this space, we wanted to take a moment to share more details around our approach, process and current projects we’re testing.”

        Mozilla’s Senior Vice President for Connected Devices, Ari Jaaski, announced that the open source firm wants to “develop, test and evaluate” four IoT software projects. They include Project Link, Project Sensor Web, Project Smart Home and Project Vaani.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Nantes Métropole completes switch to LibreOffice

      In April, Nantes Métropole, France’s 6th largest city, will complete its transition to LibreOffice, a free and open source suite of office productivity tools. The city has budgeted EUR 200,000 for bug fixes and new features, specifying that all improvements are to be submitted for inclusion in the LibreOffice project.

    • Document Freedom Day Phnom Penh

      As one of the points we had to revive the Phnom Penh Linux User Group again, was to really do activities on Software-, Hardware- and Document Freedom Day and coming to a regularly meeting, which we have now each first Tuesday in the month at the iCafe. As it is the time for Document Freedom Day (DFD) we will have at our next meeting of course, a topic that fits to it. I will be showing how easily it can be done to use Inkscape for presentation slides, to bring the people to use this instead of flash, pdf or more evil prezi.

    • Why I Wrote “Designing with LibreOffice”

      Usually, I write about the news, not make it. Today, though, I am making a small exception. Today, I am releasing my new book, “Designing with LibreOffice,” under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, with a free download and a for-sale trade paperback.

      Why bother, when LibreOffice already has some of the best documentation in free software?

  • CMS

    • How Georgia prioritizes enhancements for their Drupal 7 platform

      Nearly five years ago, my team at GeorgiaGov Interactive began a journey to migrate our enterprise web platform (hosting over 50 state agency websites at the time) away from a self-hosted model with a proprietary content management system to Drupal 7 and a cloud hosted environment. We were the first state to make such a bold shift, but we weren’t the last.

    • Acquia funds community development of Drupal modules

      Boston-based open source company Acquia has announced that it will provide US$500,000 to the community around the content management system Drupal, in order to help in the development of modules that add additional functionality.

      Drupal is free software developed originally by Belgian Dries Buytaert (seen above) and released under the GNU General Public Licence. The Acquia move has been prompted by the rapid take-up of version 8 of Drupal and the funding will go towards modules for this version.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • ProjectCenter debugger changes (now even on windows!)

      GNUstep’s ProjectCenter debugger module – something which was initiated by Greg and has always been quite experimental and unfinished – was based on running GDB via a virtual terminal by using openpty(). Sadly openpty() is not very portable and also.

  • Public Services/Government

    • ‘Publicly funded software should be free’

      Europe’s two main free software advocacy groups, April and the FSFE, argue that software specifically developed for or by the public sector should be made available as free software. The two NGO’s will continue to push Europe’s public administrations to increase the use of free and open source software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • UK waste standards pilot shares APIs and manuals

      A one year pilot project on standards for waste management services in the UK’s local authorities is making available its code and documentation under an open source software licence. The project has delivered its final business case report this month, estimating that waste data standards could drive millions of savings for local authorities.

    • Vox Media, ICFJ Knight event ‘Steal My Tool’ featured eight open source tools for you to loot

      Ryan Nagle, lead developer at the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), presented on tools he and INN staffers build to help other nonprofit news organizations. During the session, he previewed tools INN uses during the development process. You can view the code for these tools here, including the Largo project – a framework for building WordPress sites for nonprofit news organizations – as well as tons of WordPress plugins for creating roundup newsletters, quizzes, deployment tools and more.

    • Genetic Testing Company Wants To End ‘Data Hoarding’, Spends $20 Million To Put 10,000 Genomes In The Public Domain

      As the New York Times article points out, 10,000 exomes — essentially, the 1% of the genome that contains the instructions for building the body’s proteins — is not a huge number, but Ambry Genetics hopes to add data from as many as 200,000 customers a year to the database. So far it has spent $20 million on the project. In part, it has been able to bear that cost because of the key Supreme Court decision which struck down Myriad Genetics’ patents on genetic testing. That cleared the way for other companies to make money by offering the tests — including Ambry Genetics.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Islamic State Bragged That Its Attacks Would Help Break Up the European Union

      A newsletter circulated after Islamic State’s November massacre in Paris sheds light on what the group believes yesterday’s deadly attack in Brussels will accomplish, including weakening unity on the continent and exhausting European states economically.

    • Brussels Bombings Destroy Fiction That All Terrorism Deaths Count as Equal

      When a series of bombs went off at the Brussels airport and in a subway station yesterday, killing 31 people and injuring more than 200, the reaction of the US press was immediate and overwhelming. Every major news outlet turned its website over to coverage of the suicide attacks, often accompanied by live tickers and infographics. “Brussels Attacks Shake European Security” reads the banner headline on today’s New York Times’ front page (3/23/16); the Washington Post (3/22/16) worried that the bombings “made clear that European capitals remain perilously vulnerable despite attempts to dismantle the militant network that perpetrated the worst terrorist attack in Paris in generations last November.”

      It was a curious statement, given that just nine days earlier, another European nation’s capital had been the site of a remarkably similar suicide bombing. On March 13, a car bomb went off in Ankara, Turkey, killing 34 people and injuring 125. As in Brussels, the Ankara bombing, carried out by a Kurdish group opposed to Turkey’s military actions in Kurdish regions of Syria, targeted a transit hub—there a heavily trafficked bus stop—and the victims were likewise unsuspecting civilians going about their lives, including the father of international soccer star Umut Bulut (Guardian, 3/14/16), who was on his way back from one of his son’s matches.

    • Terrorism

      Well, the most important thing is, don’t panic. Given how easy it is to kill people physically, the important thing is how extremely difficult it is to do it mentally. In fact terrorism is vanishingly rare. It is so rare there has only been one person killed by terrorists in the mainland United Kingdom in the last decade.

      An event like that in Brussels today horrifies and terrifies. But remember, that the same number of people murdered today are killed in Belgium less than every three weeks in traffic accidents, and have been killed at that rate or greater in traffic accidents for over four decades. Over 700 people a year die in traffic accidents in Belgium; twenty times more than have just been killed by terrorists. Of course, the terrorist incident is a big single death toll and more stark because it is a deliberate act of evil. But if you’ve just been mown down by a car, that also is not pretty and you are just as dead.

      So panic must be avoided. There is no sense in which the tiny threat of terrorism is a genuine threat to western civilisation – unless we grossly overreact. Old fashioned intelligence work is the best way to counter active intelligence cells. This would be much more effective if it were targeted. The pool of intelligence is far too contaminated with tens of millions of intercepts of harmless people from mass surveillance, and all kinds of dross intelligence fed to us from torture chambers around the world.

      [...]

      Any response that tries simply to increase physical security and surveillance will entirely miss the point.

    • A WORLD WAR HAS BEGUN. BREAK THE SILENCE.

      How many people are aware that a world war has begun? At present, it is a war of propaganda, of lies and distraction, but this can change instantaneously with the first mistaken order, the first missile.

      In 2009, President Obama stood before an adoring crowd in the centre of Prague, in the heart of Europe. He pledged himself to make “the world free from nuclear weapons”. People cheered and some cried. A torrent of platitudes flowed from the media. Obama was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

      It was all fake. He was lying.

      The Obama administration has built more nuclear weapons, more nuclear warheads, more nuclear delivery systems, more nuclear factories. Nuclear warhead spending alone rose higher under Obama than under any American president. The cost over thirty years is more than $1 trillion.

    • Abe and Okinawa’s Governor Square Off on U.S. Base Plans

      Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and the governor of Okinawa Takeshi Onaga agreed in early March to take a dispute over the future of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma (seen above) out of the courts and back offline to the negotiating table.

      Abe “accepted” a freeze on construction work at a contentious new location planned for the base as part of the agreement, though work had already been put on hold while Tokyo and Okinawa fought a legal battle over the site.

    • An army of none: The U.S. military is more powerful, less accountable and more dangerous than ever before

      In the decades since the draft ended in 1973, a strange new military has emerged in the United States. Think of it, if you will, as a post-democratic force that prides itself on its warrior ethos rather than the old-fashioned citizen-soldier ideal. As such, it’s a military increasingly divorced from the people, with a way of life ever more foreign to most Americans (adulatory as they may feel toward its troops). Abroad, it’s now regularly put to purposes foreign to any traditional idea of national defense. In Washington, it has become a force unto itself, following its own priorities, pursuing its own agendas, increasingly unaccountable to either the president or Congress.

      Three areas highlight the post-democratic transformation of this military with striking clarity: the blending of military professionals with privatized mercenaries in prosecuting unending “limited” wars; the way senior military commanders are cashing in on retirement; and finally the emergence of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) as a quasi-missionary imperial force with a presence in at least 135 countries a year (and counting).

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Spanish Code on Electronic Administration now covering legislation on transparency and access to public information

      Last month, the Spanish government updated its Code on Electronic Administration. The Code now includes a chapter specifically on Transparency and Access to Public Information. The chapter addresses Law 19/2013 of 9 December about transparency, access to public information and good governance.

    • Romanian Open Government Week prelude to OGP National Action Plan

      “Around 450 people took part in the ten sessions that took place during this six-day event,” says Larisa Panait, member of the Romanian OGP Coordination Unit and Advisor to the Chancellery of the Prime-Minister. “They were representatives of public institutions and local authorities, civil society members, students, open data activists, journalists, participants from the government internship program, academia, Members of Parliament, and representatives of the private sector.”””

    • Greece ready to test public consultation process

      In a prepared statement, he added: “The expected beneficial effect is to enhance both transparency and participation, and to create new opportunities for actors of civil society and start-ups, to provide value-added services, using the open data available to public bodies.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Utilities Are Playing Dirty In Florida To Kill Solar Energy Disruption In The Cradle

      Facing a future where competition is rampant, customers pay less money, and solar users actually get paid for driving power back to the grid gives any entrenched utility executive heartburn. Fortunately for them, we live in an era where buying state law and tricking consumers into rooting against their own best self interests is easier than ever before. Florida (where air conditioning drives the second highest energy consumption nationally) is quickly becoming the poster child for how utilities are using ethically incontinent lawmakers and a gullible populace to prevent solar power technology from reaching critical mass.

    • Rockefeller fund dumping fossil fuels, hits Exxon on climate issues

      The Rockefeller Family Fund said on Wednesday it will divest from fossil fuels as quickly as possible and “eliminate holdings” of Exxon Mobil, chiding the oil company for allegedly misleading the public about the threat of climate change.

      The move by the U.S. based charity, which will also include coal and Canadian oil sands holdings, is especially notable because a century ago John D. Rockefeller Sr. made a fortune running Standard Oil, a precursor to Exxon Mobil.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Former DHS Secretary Says We Can Make Airports Safer From Terrorists By Rearranging Security Checkpoints

      Another terrorist attack somewhere in the world* has provoked another round of punditry from former government officials on how to protect America from future attacks. Over the coming weeks, there will be no shortage of stupid ideas, useless ideas and pointless discussions about “heightened security” at any place people gather.

      *”World” = Western Europe only

      None of it will matter. Security has never really been scaled back anywhere since the 9/11 attacks — certainly not to the levels seen prior to September 2001. There’s only so much security anyone can actually provide but endless off-Broadway productions of security theater to be explored.

    • With Obama in Cuba, Pro-Torture Pundits Suddenly Concerned With Human Rights

      US President Barack Obama landed in Havana Sunday to great fanfare, both in Cuba and stateside. His visit marks a significant shift of the United States’ approach towards the socialist state, and the possibility of cooperation after decades of hostility. US media generally struck a hopeful tone, with a surprisingly nuanced mix of positive and critical stories about Cuba.

      Some Cold War hold-outs in the media just weren’t having it, though, taking the occasion to feign outrage that Obama could visit a country with such a terrible human rights record. While American human-rights hypocrisy is nothing new, a string of Bush-era, pro-torture, pro-Guantánamo pundits expressing indignation at Cuba’s human rights failings was still remarkable.

    • Cybersecurity Firm With A History Of ‘Corporate Blackmail’ Raided By The FBI

      Cybersecurity is a crowded field. Not every competitor will make it. That’s inevitable. Tiversa is one of the also-rans.

      Tiversa is helmed by Robert Boback. Back in 2009, Boback was already well-versed in the cybersecurity hard sell. Here’s what he had to say about P2P software in front of a Congressional audience — an audience well-versed in the art of selling fear to fund additional government products.

    • Complaint Board Finds Police Officers Violated Policy By Arresting Public Defender Who Demanded They Stop Questioning Her Clients

      More than a year after San Francisco police officers arrested public defender Jami Tillotson for doing her job, the city’s Office of Citizen Complaints has issued its report. It clears Tillotson of any wrongdoing and lays the blame solely at the feet of the San Francisco PD.

      First, a quick refresher, since we’re discussing something that happened last January: Tillotson’s clients were approached by police officers in a courthouse hallway. The officers began asking her clients questions and photographing them for a photo array. She inserted herself between the officers and the men and demanded the officers stop questioning them/photographing them without running it through her. The officers responded in the only way they knew how: they arrested her for resisting arrest — an arrest in which she cooperated fully with no amount of resistance. (It seems like circular reasoning, but “resisting arrest” is a catch-all for other sorts of interference with police work, rather than simply resisting an arrest.)

    • NYPD’s Arrests of Citizen Journalists Should Spark Outrage

      Last week, New York City police officers arrested four well-known activists for filming them. Copwatchers—people who regularly film and document police activity—have often been targeted by cops who don’t want to be recorded, despite reminders that recording police interactions is legal in the city. While legal protections for filming police are still unclear in some parts of the country, the invaluable role that copwatchers play as journalists—acting as the eyes, ears and media of the streets—deserves to be recognized.

    • Imprisoned With Her Baby, Bahraini Activist Is Victim of U.S. Silence, Sister Says

      LAST MONDAY, Bahraini security forces arrested prominent human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja and her 15-month-old son. The arrest came on the fifth anniversary of a Saudi military intervention that crushed an uprising by Bahrain’s Shiite majority and marked a grim milestone in the country’s crackdown on dissidents.

      Al-Khawaja was taken into custody to serve a prison term that could run between one and three years after being found guilty in 2014 of charges related to the uprising. The main charge against her relates to an incident in which she insulted the country’s monarch by tearing up one of his ubiquitous portraits, a criminal offense in Bahrain. Her arrest this week, along with her infant son, signaled the government’s intention to enforce the sentence. According to her family, her son will remain incarcerated with her until he reaches the age of 2.

    • U.S. Citizen Sent to ICE After Trump Protest Says Agent Called Her “Pain-in-the-Ass Illegal”

      As voters head to the polls in Arizona, we continue our conversation with Jacinta González, who was transferred to immigration custody, despite being a U.S. citizen, after her arrest for helping block a highway leading to a Donald Trump rally Saturday. González says an immigration agent called her a “pain-in-the-ass illegal” after she invoked her constitutional right to remain silent. “The racial profiling that I underwent is just indicative of larger systematic problems with how ICE is going into jails, how ICE is profiling people in the streets,” González says. González also talks about using the gender-neutral term “Latinx,” and the importance of building community power beyond the 2016 elections.

    • Launching the Electronic Frontier Alliance

      We’re excited to announce the formation of a new grassroots network, the Electronic Frontier Alliance. Bringing together community and campus organizations across the U.S., the Alliance will serve as an increasingly vital hub for activism and organizing addressing a spectrum of civil liberties and digital rights issues.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Final Reminder: Tell The EU Commission Not To Wreck The Internet With Poorly Thought Out Regulations

      Just a quick reminder of our project to remind EU regulators not to wreck the internet with short-sighted regulations, where you can sign on to a letter that will be sent out early next week. The issue is that EU regulators have taken what seems like a good idea (removing geographic restrictions on the internet in Europe) and turned it into an excuse to try to cram in a bunch of bad internet regulations, mostly focused on removing or weakening intermediary liability protections. It appears that some in the EU Commission think that by forcing Google and Facebook to monitor communications and be forced to more proactively delete content that it will somehow (1) stop bad stuff from happening online and (2) hold back those two companies from continuing to dominate the European market.

    • Tennessee Makes It Clear Protecting AT&T And Comcast From Broadband Competition Is Its Top Priority

      We’ve noted a few times that Tennessee is one of numerous states that have literally let incumbent ISPs like AT&T and Comcast write state telecom law. Most notably, around 20 states have now blocked towns and cities from building their own broadband networks — or striking public/private partnerships — even in cases where the market has clearly failed. It’s protectionism pure and simple, and when the FCC voted last year to try and gut these laws in Tennessee and North Carolina, ISP allies in Congress were quick to assail the FCC for “violating states rights” (to let incumbent ISPs dictate all telecom policy, apparently).

      Tennessee’s law prevents a popular Chattanooga-based utility-run ISP, EPB, from expanding its up to 10 Gbps offerings. Tennessee Rep. Kevin Brooks recently tried to pass a bill that would have dismantled the state’s restriction, but his effort ran face-first into a lobbying wall constructed by companies like AT&T and Comcast. He then recently tried to strip down the measure so it simply let EPB expand near its headquarters and to one neighboring county, but that provision was also shot down 5-3, with one of the nay votes being that of Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, a former AT&T executive.

  • DRM

    • Richard Stallman Braved a Winter Storm Last Night to March Against DRM

      As a winter storm bears down on Cambridge, a hundred or so protesters have congregated outside MIT’s Ray and Maria Stata Center with handlettered signs that read “Stop DRM” and “DRM is bad for education.” But a disagreement has broken out: A splinter group, wearing Guy Fawkes masks, want to march upstairs to confront the members of the World Wide Web Consortium, the organization that recommends standards for the software that runs the internet.

      Heated words are exchanged, but then someone appeals to a higher authority: Richard Stallman, the storied programmer, who’s attending tonight’s protest with an overstuffed laptop bag in hand.

    • Hollywood blockbusters to take control of your television

      Not satisfied with releasing a director’s cut, filmmakers want the next generation of High Dynamic Range movies to override your picture settings to preserve their artistic vision.

      Some people are perfectly happy to leave their television on the default factory settings, but if you’re fussy about picture quality and you’re spending top-dollar then you’ll want to dip into the picture settings and tweak them to taste.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

03.23.16

Links 23/3/2016: Red Hat’s Record Results

Posted in News Roundup at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why community managers must wade (not dive) into communities

    If you are part of an organization looking to get into the community-support game, you would do well to tread carefully and deliberately. Communities, particularly at the start of your involvement in them, can be delicate and fragile things. Stomping in there with big words and big plans and big brand engagement will cause a lot of damage to the community and its ecosystem, often of the irreparable sort.

  • How our high school replaced IRC with Mattermost

    The Mattermost project was named because the developers wanted to emphasize the importance of communication. And the design provokes a conceptual shift in classroom communications. Unlike email, Mattermost is a convenient virtual meeting room and a central dashboard for our district technology operations. When everyone connects in a transparent conversation stream, collaboration naturally happens in the open. I was incredibly fond of our internal IRC system, but I really love the Mattermost platform. It costs nothing more than a little server space and occasional software update attention. But even better, it serves as the communication hub for our Student Technology Help Desk, and helps our students collaborate during times when they are not together in the same physical space during a given class block.

  • A channel guide to Open Source success

    Much has changed within the storage channel over the past few years. New technologies, especially cloud-computing, have created innovative business models that have transformed not only what channel businesses sell, but the way they sell them too. As a result, many resellers have evolved into service providers in a process that is now fairly well understood.

    However, there is another, lesser-known evolution that is equally important: not only is the channel changing, but so too are customers. This new type of customer is comfortable with cloud technologies and with the increasingly related area of open source operating systems, which they are looking to use in new ways. If channel organisations are to capitalise on these customers then they need to understand how they can add value through open source.

  • Open source software altering telecom operator, vendor space

    The increased focus and adoption of open source software is bolstering telecom operator plans, forcing vendors to rethink strategy

  • Events

    • Event planning tips from the Django Girls Budapest team

      Szilvi Kádár, Daniella Kőrössy, and I are the organizers of Django Girls Budapest, a free workshop that teaches women how to code. We held our first Django Girls workshop in December 2014, and we’re currently planning our fourth event. We’d like to share some bits and pieces of event organizing advice, and we hope you’ll find some useful ideas for your next event.

    • LibrePlanet day two in a nutshell

      We are just forty-eight hours after LibrePlanet 2016 successfully concluded. The second day carried the energy and excitement from Saturday, and attendance remained strong in all sessions.

    • Uganda to host the 7th African Conference on Free and Open Source Software and Digital Commons

      The Government of Uganda through National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) will host the 7th African Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and Digital Commons (IDLELO 7) in August 2016. The conference aims to support uptake of Open Source in Uganda and the region.

      The Ministry of ICT has recently developed a Free Open Source Software (FOSS) Policy to provide guidance on deployment of Open Source Software and the use of Open Standards as a means of accelerating Innovation and local content development.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google will kill its Chrome app launcher for Windows, Mac, and Linux in July

        Google today announced plans to kill off the Chrome app launcher for Windows, Mac, and Linux in July. The tool, which lets users launch Chrome apps even if the browser is not running, will continue to live on in Chrome OS.

        As you might suspect, the Chrome app launcher was originally ported from Chrome OS. Google first started experimenting with bringing the app launcher to its desktop browser in May 2013. The Chrome app launcher debuted on Windows in July 2013, followed by OS X in December 2013, and finally Linux in July 2014.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • GoDaddy Offers Amazon-like Cloud Services, Based on OpenStack

      Small business domain host GoDaddy is famous for its racy commercials and its long history of servicing domains, but now it is entering the cloud business and placing its bets on OpenStack. The company has expanded its hosting services to offer Cloud Servers and Bitnami-powered Cloud Applications. The new offerings are designed to help the individual developers, tech entrepreneurs and IT professionals to quickly build, test and scale cloud solutions.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 9.10 Open-Source Storage Operating System Adds USB 3.0 & Skylake Support

      Jordan Hubbard from the FreeNAS project, an open-source initiative to create a powerful, free, secure, and reliable NAS (Network-attached storage) operating system based on BSD technologies, announced the release of FreeNAS 9.10.

      FreeNAS 9.10 is the tenth maintenance release in the current stable 9.x series of the project, thus bringing the latest security patches from upstream, support for new devices, as well as several under-the-hood updates. As expected, FreeNAS 9.10 has been rebased on the latest FreeBSD 10.3 RC3 (Release Candidate) release.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Polish eGovernment strategy advocates open source

      Poland’s new eGovernment strategy recommends that publicly financed software should use an open architecture, and consider publication under an open source licence. The eGovernment strategy twice emphasises the use of open source, for a new system of public registers and for a eInvoicing system that interoperates with a national document management system.

    • EC and EP use open source for software development

      The European Commission and the European Parliament generally use open source tools and methods for software development, concludes the EU-FOSSA project, following a review of 15 ongoing projects. The institutions’ project management tools make room for agile, collaborative development cycles.

  • Programming

    • Swift programming language update introduces Linux support

      Almost two years after its launch and four months since it was open sourced, Swift 2.2 has been released by Apple. The update is a major one because it now runs on Linux. Officially, Swift runs on Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 15.10 but it won’t be long until it unofficially arrives on other distros such as Arch and Manjaro via the Arch User Repository (or AUR).

Leftovers

  • Science

    • UK Government Forbids Publicly-Funded Scientists And Academics From Giving Advice It Disagrees With

      That might sound reasonable, especially the last part about not being able to lobby for more funding. It is aimed mainly at organizations that receive government grants, but many academics believe that it is so loosely worded that it will also apply to them, and will prevent them from pushing for new regulations in any circumstances. Even if that is not the UK government’s intention, the mere existence of the policy is bound to have a chilling effect on the academics, since few will want to run the risk of having their grants taken away by inadvertently breaking the new rules.

  • Apple

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • WATCH: President Obama in Cuba: “I Have Come to Bury the Last Remnant of the Cold War”

      On the final day of his historic trip to Cuba, President Obama addressed the Cuban people. “The United States and Cuba are like two brothers that’ve been estranged for many years,” Obama said. “We both live in a new world, colonized by Europeans. Cuba was in part built by slaves who were brought from Africa … Like the United States, Cuba can trace her heritage to both slaves and slave owners.”

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Donald Trump bewilderingly denies that climate change poses a serious risk

      Republican presidential candidates haven’t exactly set a high bar for their understanding of climate science during the 2016 race so far. However, front-runner Donald Trump wins the prize for the most confounding denial of global warming expressed by a major party’s presidential candidate to date.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Silk Road 2.0 Right-Hand Man Pleads Guilty

      The second iteration of the Silk Road drug marketplace was shuttered in November 2014, almost exactly a year after it opened. Now, 17 months later, the right hand man of that website has accepted a plea agreement in a district court in the Western District of Washington.

      Brian Farrell has formally admitted to being “DoctorClu,” a staff member of Silk Road 2.0 who provided customer and technical support, approved vendors, and promoted other employees, according to a court document filed earlier this month.

    • Tor Project says it can quickly catch spying code

      The Tor Project is fortifying its software so that it can quickly detect if its network is tampered with for surveillance purposes, a top developer for the volunteer project wrote on Monday.

      There are worries that Tor could either be technically subverted or subject to court orders, which could force the project to turn over critical information that would undermine its security, similar to the standoff between Apple and the U.S. Department of Justice.

      Tor developers are now designing the system in such a way that many people can verify if code has been changed and “eliminate single points of failure,” wrote Mike Perry, lead developer of the Tor Browser, on Monday.

    • Apple v. FBI: What Just Happened?
    • Icloak Stik

      Anyone who values anonymity can benefit.

    • Tor Project Hardens Privacy Features, Points to Apple vs. the FBI

      There continue to be many people around the globe who want to be able to use the web and messaging systems anonymously, despite the fact that some people want to end Internet anonymity altogether. Typically, the anonymous crowd turns to common tools that can keep their tracks private, and one of the most common tools of all is Tor, an open source tool used all around the world.

      Even as Apple continues to make headlines as it squares off with the FBI over privacy issues, Mike Perry, lead developer of the Tor Browser, wrote in a blog post that Tor developers are hardening the Tor system in such a way that people can verify if code has been changed and “eliminate single points of failure.” “Even if a government or a criminal obtains our cryptographic keys, our distributed network and its users would be able to detect this fact and report it to us as a security issue,” Perry wrote.

    • Idaho mom who sued Obama over illegal surveillance loses at appellate court

      The Idaho mother who sued President Barack Obama over alleged unconstitutional telephone metadata collection has lost again in court. Anna Smith had her initial case dismissed in 2014, and this week her appeal met a similar fate.

      On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Smith, finding that her case was now moot in light of the new changes to the now-expired Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

    • Ninth Circuit Tosses Challenge to NSA Spying

      Anna Smith, a nurse and mother of two, sued President Barack Obama and other high-ranking government officials in June 2013, upon the exposure of a program that collected metadata from every American’s phone records.

    • NSA is not ‘intentionally looking’ for Americans, says agency’s privacy officer [Ed: Rebecca Richards is a liar. NSA hired her to lie to media. Job title: “privacy and civil liberties and privacy”]
    • Before We Even Know The Details, Politicians Rush To Blame Encryption For Brussels Attacks

      You may remember that, right after the Paris attacks late last year, politicians rushed in to demonize encryption as the culprit, and to demand backdooring encryption before the blood was even dry. Of course, it later turned out that there was no evidence that they used encryption at all, but rather it appears that they communicated by unencrypted means. Just yesterday, we noted that the press was still insisting encryption was used, and using the lack of any evidence as evidence for the fact they must have used encryption (hint: that’s not how encryption works…).

    • Appeals court: NSA surveillance case partly moot
    • Appeals court partly dismisses NSA surveillance case as moot

      A three-judge federal appeals panel has partly dismissed an Idaho woman’s lawsuit over the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records as moot.

      Nurse Anna J. Smith sued the government in 2013, arguing that the agency’s collection of call records violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.

    • British Spy Agency GCHQ Moves Fast to Prevent Mass Energy Hack Attack

      The UK intelligence agency GCHQ has stepped in to prevent a massive hack attack on Britain’s energy networks after discovering so-called “smart meters” – designed to replace 53 million gas and electricity meters can be easily hacked.

    • GCHQ steps into protect smart meters against hackers [Ed: still distracting from GCHQ offense]
  • Civil Rights

    • Bernie Sanders Spoke Up for Suffering Palestinians, but Few in Broadcast Media Covered It

      As leading presidential candidates spoke at the Washington gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), promising support and a crackdown on boycotts of Israel, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made a dissenting speech in Salt Lake City, where he spoke up for suffering Palestinians. It received little broadcast media attention.

      As Sanders trails Clinton in delegate count, his campaign has effectively been discounted by major media.

    • Clinton Attacks Israeli Boycott Movement in AIPAC Speech
    • My too intimate relations with the TSA: James Bovard

      The Transportation Security Administration finally obeyed a 2011 federal court order March 3 and issued a 157 page Federal Register notice justifying its controversial full-body scanners and other checkpoint procedures. TSA’s notice ignored the fact that the “nudie” scanners are utterly unreliable; TSA failed to detect 95% of weapons and mock bombs that Inspector General testers smuggled past them last year while the agency continues to mislead the public about its heavy-handed treatment of travelers.

      The Federal Register notice is full of soothing pablum about how travelers have no reason to fear the TSA, declaring that “passengers can obtain information before they leave for the airport on what items are prohibited.” But it neglects to mention that TSA can invoke ludicrous pretexts to treat innocent travelers as suspicious terrorist suspects.

      Flying home from Portland, Ore., on Thanksgiving morning, I had a too-close encounter with TSA agents that spurred me to file a Freedom of Information Act request. On March 5, I finally received a bevy of TSA documents and video footage with a grope-by-grope timeline.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Silicon Valley Rides Obama’s Coattails Into Cuba

      President Barack Obama is in Cuba, and Silicon Valley is tagging along for the ride.

      Executives from several technology companies are traveling with the U.S. president on his goodwill tour or introducing new business initiatives focused on the island—or both. Among the companies joining the Cuba parade this week are Google parent Alphabet Inc., Airbnb Inc., PayPal Holdings Inc., Priceline Group Inc., Stripe Inc., and Xerox Corp.

  • DRM

    • Anti-DRM activists go to W3C meeting to protest Digital Restrictions Management in Web standards

      The protest began outside the W3C office and continued with a march past Google’s Cambridge office, to Microsoft’s office nearby. The companies are both supporters of Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), the proposal to enshrine DRM in Web standards. The protest included free software users and developers, including Richard Stallman and Chris Webber, the maintainer of the GNU MediaGoblin decentralized publishing platform. A small number of protesters split from the group to enter the W3C meeting, then were ejected by police.

      DRM in Web standards would make it cheaper and more politically acceptable to impose restrictions on users, opening the floodgates to a new wave of DRM throughout the Web, with all the vulnerabilities, surveillance and curtailed freedom that DRM entails.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Court Dismisses Dumb Trademark Suit Between Dairy And Fishing Tackle Companies

        Part of the fun of covering the sort of silly trademark disputes that we do here at Techdirt is seeing just how far companies, most often large companies, will go in trying to apply protectionist habits where they don’t belong. This typically manifests itself in the key marketplace aspect of trademark law, where the brands in question are to be competing for customers who might become confused for an infringement to have occurred. Too often this aspect of the law appears to go ignored in claims of infringement, or else the concept of competitive marketplaces is stretched to the point of absurdity. As I said, this is often times amusing to us, because we’re strange.

    • Copyrights

      • Man Faces Prison Sentence For Circumventing UK Pirate Site Blockade

        A UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has charged a man for operating several proxy sites and services that allowed UK Internet users to bypass local pirate site blockades. In a first of its kind prosecution, the Bakersfield resident is charged with several fraud offenses and one count of converting and/or transferring criminal property.

      • Prenda’s Paul Hansmeier Continues To Win Enemies, Influence Legislators With His ADA Trolling, Hiding Of Assets

        Everyone behind the failed clown school that was Prenda Law deserves what’s happening to Paul Hansmeier. Unfortunately, it appears Hansmeier is taking the most damage from the fallout of Prenda’s disastrous copyright trolling… or at least he’s the one doing most of his suffering in public.

        Of course, it’s his own fault. Rather than get out of the trolling business, Hansmeier doubled down. He swapped porn stars for wheelchairs, pursuing small businesses for Americans with Disabilities Acts violations. Fronting as a public interest, Hansmeier’s “Disabilities Support Alliance” is every bit the serial litigant Prenda was.

03.22.16

Links 22/3/2016: New Eminent Wine Staging, Red Hat Results Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 10:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • What is Maintainership?

    Why do we have maintainers in free software projects? There are various different explanations you can use, and they affect how you do the job of maintainer, how you treat maintainers, how and whether you recruit and mentor them, and so on.

    So here are three — they aren’t the only ways people think about maintainership, but these are three I have noticed, and I have given them alliterative names to make it easier to think about and remember them.

  • imagemagick as a resource for the budget-constrained researcher

    In this installment, I’ll cover concatenating multiple image files into a multi-page pdf–a very handy trick the imagemagick utility convert makes possible. But first, a bit of grousing on the subject of academia, budget-constrained researching, and academic publishing.

    Pricing for on-line academic resources tends, not surprisingly, to be linked to budgetary allowances of large academic institutions: what institutions can afford to pay for electronic access to some journal or other, for example, will influence the fee that will be charged to anyone wishing to gain such access. If one is affiliated with such an institution–whether in an ongoing way such as by being a student, staff, or faculty member, or in a more ephemeral way, such as by physically paying a visit to one’s local academic library–one typically need pay nothing at all for such access: the institution pays some annual fee that enables these users to utilize the electronic resource.

  • Kill extra brand names to make your open source project more powerful

    Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared some thoughts about several of the most common branding issues we see in our work with open source companies at New Kind. I’ve covered how to vet the name you are considering for an open source project and outlined the pros and cons of some of the most popular company, product, and project brand architecture scenarios we see in the open source world.

    Today I want to share one of the most common brand strategy mistakes I see open source project leaders make: the deep (possibly inherently human) need to name everything.

  • Can we talk about ageism?

    The free and open source community has been having a lot of conversations about diversity, especially gender diversity, over the last few years. Although there is still plenty to do, we’ve made some real strides. After all, the first step is admitting there is a problem.

    Another type of diversity that has gotten much less attention, but that is integral to building sustainable communities is age diversity. If we want free and open source software to truly take over the world, then we want to welcome contributors of all ages. A few months ago, I interviewed some women approaching or over fifty about their experiences in open source, and in this article, I’ll share their perspectives.

  • Events

    • FOSSASIA 2016: Singapore

      FOSSASIA is an annual Free and Opensource conference that focuses on showcasing these FOSS technologies and software in Asia. It has talks and workshops that covers a wide range of topics – from hardware hacks, to design, graphics and software.

      This year, the conference is held in my home country, Singapore, at the Science Center. The Science Center is a place where people can see Science happen and learn how it works. It’s a pretty nice place to hold this conference and it is quite relevant as well, because technology is related to Computing Sciences and theories.

      My talk was approved and I was scheduled to talk on the Day 2 of the event. My talk is about Opening Up Yourself. Basically, it’s about Opensource VS Proprietary software and contributing to Opensource. I am also manning the Fedora booth for this year!

    • OSCON moves to Austin: Will the 18th OSCON be the best one yet?

      Did you know that O’Reilly’s annual Open Source Convention, OSCON, is moving from their regular location of Portland, Oregon, to Austin, Texas (May 16-19)? As an Austin local, I’m ecstatic to have my favorite conference in my favorite city. I’ve always said (and read) that Austin and Portland are similar cities. Both are a little weird, both have that small town charm, and both have an amazing foodie scene. (And now they both have Voodoo Doughnuts!)

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rust…

        Over the last holidays I plunged and started learning Rust in a practical way. Coming from a C++ background, and having a strong dislike of the whole concept of checking the correctness at runtime, like in, say, JavaScript, Rust is really promising.

  • CMS

    • Joomla 3.5 Open-Source CMS Released with PHP 7 Support, Is Now Twice as Fast

      The Joomla project has released version 3.5.0 of their open-source PHP-based CMS, the last version in the 3.x branch, but one of crucial importance, adding many much-needed features, and of course, the obligatory bug fixes.

      First and foremost, Joomla 3.5 is the first Joomla version to fully support PHP 7, the latest major version of the PHP engine.

    • Joomla 3.5 Released, Promises Faster Websites

      Joomla released a new version of its open source web content management system today that company officials claim will improve user experience for both developers and administrators.

      Joomla version 3.5 contains nearly three dozen new features, they explained.

      Joomla is built on PHP and MySQL. The update will make website’s faster because it offers PHP 7 support, said Joe Sonne, former Open Source Matters, Inc. board member and current member of the capital committee. Open Source Matters is the nonprofit organization that supports the Joomla Project.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.3-RC3 Now Available

      Marius Strobl has announced the availability of the third release candidate for FreeBSD 10.3: “The second release candidate build of the 10.3-RELEASE release cycle is now available. Noteworthy changes since 10.3-RC2: the requirement that for a root-on-ZFS setup, ZFS needs to account for at least 50 percent of the resulting partition table was removed from zfsboot; build configurations of csh(1) and tcsh(1) were changed to activate the SAVESIGVEC option, i. e. saving and restoring of signal handlers before/after executing an external command; FreeBSD SA-16:15 and CVE-2016-1885 have been resolved; the netwait rc(8) script has been changed to require firewall setup to be completed, otherwise a ping(8) to the IP address specified via the netwait_ip option may not succeed; in order to be able to work on upcoming Intel Purley platform system, including Skylake Xeon servers, the x86 kernels now align the XSAVE area to a multiple of 64 bytes

  • Programming

    • Why Jenkins is becoming the engine of devops

      Trends like agile development, devops, and continuous integration speak to the modern enterprise’s need to build software hyper-efficiently — and, if necessary, to turn on a dime.

      That latter maneuver is how CloudBees became the company it is today. Once an independent, public cloud PaaS provider for Java coders (rated highly by InfoWorld’s Andrew Oliver in “Which freaking PaaS should I use?”), CloudBees pivoted sharply 18 months ago to relaunch as the leading provider of Jenkins, a highly popular open source tool for managing the software development process.

    • Apple’s Programming Language Swift 2.2 Released With Linux Support
    • Apple Releases Swift 2.2 Programming Language with Ubuntu Linux Support

      After announcing the availability of the iOS 9.3, Mac OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan, watchOS 2.2, and tvOS 9.2 operating systems, as well as the Xcode 7.3 IDE, Apple now released version 2.2 of its Swift programming language for OS X and Linux.

Leftovers

  • Microsoft will rest its jackboot on Windows 7, 8.1′s throat on new Intel CPUs in 2018 – not 2017

    Stand well back: Microsoft has had a bright idea. Rather than royally screwing over people running Windows 7 and 8.1 on new Intel hardware, it’s just going to give them a rough ride instead.

    In January, Microsoft said it would only offer software updates for “security, reliability, and compatibility” fixes for Windows 7 and 8.1 on Intel Skylake processors until July 2017. After that cutoff point, only critical security fixes would be made available – and only if they weren’t a chore for Microsoft to develop and release.

  • It Is Not Twitter’s Birthday

    Today is just the anniversary of the first tweet, which Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sent out on March 21, 2006. But Twitter itself was not released to the public until July 15, 2006. That is its birthday. That is how birthdays work.

  • Hardware

    • Andy Grove – 2 September 1936 – 21 March 2016

      Andrew Stephen “Andy” Grove was a Hungarian-born American businessman, engineer, and author. He was a science pioneer in the semiconductor industry.

      Andy was the visionary who changed the face of semiconductor maker Intel. Affectionately called the ‘mastermind’ he left a huge mark on the technology industry. Time Magazine named him man of the year in 1997.

    • [Old] The True Story of Intel Pioneer Andrew Grove, TIME’s 1997 Man of the Year

      Andrew Grove, the longtime chairperson and chief executive of Intel Corp., died at the age of 79. He is remembered as a pioneer of the digital age, a savior of Intel and a champion of the semiconductor revolution. But before he became a business luminary, Grove survived some of the 20th century’s darkest horrors.

    • [Old] ANDREW GROVE: A SURVIVOR’S TALE
  • Health/Nutrition

    • General Mills Will Label GMOs on Products Nationwide

      The company will follow the standards set by Vermont’s labeling law until a national standard is set.

      Vermont started a revolution, and its effects will soon spread across the country. No, we aren’t talking about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign to be the Democratic presidential nominee but the 2014 law passed by state legislators mandating the voluntary labeling of foods made with genetically engineered ingredients. The new regulations are set to go into effect on July 1, and with a federal political solution proving elusive, one of the biggest food companies in the game now says it will label all its products, nationwide, in accordance with tiny Vermont’s law.

      “We can’t label our products for only one state without significantly driving up costs for our consumers, and we simply won’t do that,” Jeff Harmening, head of U.S. retail operations at General Mills, wrote on the company’s website Friday. “The result: Consumers all over the country will soon begin seeing words legislated by the state of Vermont on the labels of many of their favorite General Mills food products.”

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Cryptostalker, a Tool to Detect Crypto-Ransomware on Linux

      A while back, we stumbled upon an interesting GitHub repo dubbed randumb, which included an example called Cryptostalker, advertised as a tool to detect crypto-ransomware on Linux.

      Cryptostalker and the original project randumb are the work of Sean Williams, a developer from San Francisco. Mr. Williams wanted to create a tool that monitored the filesystem for newly written files, and if the files contained random data, the sign of encrypted content, and they were written at high speed, it would alert the system’s owner.

    • Google slings critical patch at exploited Linux kernel root hole

      Google has shipped an out-of-band patch for Android shuttering a bug that is under active exploitation to root devices.

      The vulnerability (CVE-2015-1805) affects all Android devices running Linux kernel versions below 3.18.

    • Everything is fine, nothing to see here!

      Today everyone who is REALLY, I mean REALLY REALLY good at security got there through blood sweat and tears. Nobody taught them what they know, they learned it on their own. Many of us didn’t have training when we were learning these things. Regardless of this though, if training is fantastic, why does it seem there is a constant march toward things getting worse instead of better? That tells me we’re not teaching the right skills to the right people. The skills of yesterday don’t help you today, and especially don’t help tomorrow. By its very definition, training can only cover the topics of yesterday.

    • Inside the Starburst-sized box that could save the Internet

      Cybercrime is costing us millions. Hacks drain the average American firm of $15.4 million per year, and, in the resulting panic, companies often spend more than $1.9 million to resolve a single attack. It’s time to face facts: Our defenses aren’t strong enough to keep the hackers out.

    • Utah’s Online Caucus Gives Security Experts Heart Attacks

      On Tuesday, registered Republicans in Utah who want to participate in their state’s caucus will have the option to either head to a polling station and cast a vote in person or log onto a new website and choose their candidate online. To make this happen, the Utah GOP paid more than $80,000 to the London-based company Smartmatic, which manages electronic voting systems and internet voting systems in 25 countries and will run the Utah GOP caucus system.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Reporting (or Not) the Ties Between US-Armed Syrian Rebels and Al Qaeda’s Affiliate

      A crucial problem in news media coverage of the Syrian civil war has been how to characterize the relationship between the so-called “moderate” opposition forces armed by the CIA, on one hand, and the Al Qaeda franchise Al Nusra Front (and its close ally Ahrar al Sham), on the other. But it is a politically sensitive issue for US policy, which seeks to overthrow Syria’s government without seeming to make common cause with the movement responsible for 9/11, and the system of news production has worked effectively to prevent the news media from reporting it fully and accurately.

      The Obama administration has long portrayed the opposition groups it has been arming with anti-tank weapons as independent of Nusra Front. In reality, the administration has been relying on the close cooperation of these “moderate” groups with Nusra Front to put pressure on the Syrian government. The United States and its allies–especially Saudi Arabia and Turkey–want the civil war to end with the dissolution of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by US rivals like Russia and Iran.

    • Saudi Arabia Continues Hiring Spree of Lobbyists, Retains Former Washington Post Reporter

      The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is adding more American lobbyists to its payroll by hiring BGR Government Affairs, a company founded by former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour, according to filings disclosed last week.

      The contract provides BGR with $500,000 annually to assist with U.S. media outreach for the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, a government entity. The retainer includes the services of Jeffrey Birnbaum, a former Washington Post reporter who once covered the lobbying industry and now works as a lobbyist, as well as Ed Rogers, a former Reagan administration official who now lobbies and writes a column for the Post called PostPartisan.

    • Misunderstanding the Terror Threat

      By jumping into wars wherever some group calls itself “Islamic State,” the U.S. government misunderstands the threat and feeds the danger of endless warfare, explains ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Henry Giroux And “America’s Addiction To Violence”
    • Our unfounded obsession with safety is costing us our freedom

      As you inch your way through security at the airport, you’ll be relieved of your penknife and terrifying tube of Pepsodent. Your unopened can of Coke will, of course, be thrown in the trash, along with any snow globes, and off go your shoes.

      When at last you’re reshod and passing the duty-free shop, you can buy a well-deserved bottle of Scotch . . . which you can then bring on board, crack against the cabin wall and use as you would a machete.

      So why all the security kabuki from the TSA?

    • Ronald Suny to lecture on Armenian genocide of 1915

      “What I’m trying to do is explain the emotional environment in Turkey at the time,” says Suny, professor of history and political science in LSA. “What would lead a government to kill hundreds of thousands of their own subjects, who, in their own view, were perfectly loyal?”

      This year, in recognition of his scholarship at Michigan, Suny was named the William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History. The Distinguished University Professorship is the highest professorial title granted at U-M.

      Suny will present his lecture, “They Can Live in the Desert, but Nowhere Else: Explaining the Armenian Genocide 100 Years Later,” at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Rackham Amphitheatre. The lecture will tell the story of why, when and how the genocide of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire happened.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate change, the elephant in the Gulf

      Soaring temperatures threaten to make Gulf States uninhabitable.

    • The breathtaking human toll of environmental pollution

      Just how bad was laid out by the World Health Organization this week in a bleak new report on environmentally related deaths.

      New analysis of data from 2012 found that a staggering 12.6 million people died that year from living and working in toxic environments.

      That’s almost equivalent to the combined populations of New York City and Los Angeles, and represents nearly a quarter of the 55.6 million deaths recorded that year.

      That’s scary, but it gets worse.

    • What we’re doing to the Earth has no parallel in 66 million years, scientists say

      If you dig deep enough into the Earth’s climate change archives, you hear about the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM. And then you get scared.

      This is a time period, about 56 million years ago, when something mysterious happened — there are many ideas as to what — that suddenly caused concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to spike, far higher than they are right now. The planet proceeded to warm rapidly, at least in geologic terms, and major die-offs of some marine organisms followed due to strong acidification of the oceans.

    • Helping Indonesia Fight Catastrophic Forest Fires

      Peatlands are created by eons of decomposing vegetation accumulating in wet areas. They store vast quantities of carbon and can be many feet deep. Under natural conditions, peatlands absorb water in the wet season and slowly discharge water in the dry season. Large areas of tropical rainforest grow on these peatlands. This means that they regulate flooding, provide clean water, store carbon and provide habitat for endangered orangutans and other critical wildlife.

      But over the last several decades, millions of acres of peatland have been drained to make them suitable for agricultural use—primarily to grow palm oil, timber, rice and other commodity crops. The draining causes the peat to dry out and decompose, which emits carbon into the atmosphere. More significantly, the drier peat is much more susceptible to fire, and large amounts of greenhouse gases are released when both the peat, and the forests growing on the peat, are burned.

  • Finance

    • European Commission Continues to Ignore Parliament on TTIP

      Today, the Commission released two new texts relating to the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (“Regulatory Cooperation” and “Good Regulatory Practices”), which continue to ignore requests by the European Parliament.

    • NYT Promotes Study by Private Pension Company That Says Not to Trust Public Pensions

      Reputable newspapers try to avoid the self-serving studies that industry groups put out to try to gain public support for their favored policies. But apparently the New York Times (3/17/16) does not feel bound by such standards. It ran a major news story on a study by Citigroup that was designed to scare people about the state of public pensions and encourage them to trust more of their retirement savings to the financial industry.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship

    • Free speech group says theatremakers are censoring plays to avoid Islamic backlash

      Theatres and playwrights are censoring their plays for fear of offending Muslims, a leading free speech campaign group has claimed.

      Jodie Ginsberg, the chief executive of Index on Censorship, claimed theatre heads are worried that certain plays would cause “violent protests” and elect not to stage them to avoid the risk.

      She pointed to last year’s cancelled National Youth Theatre production, Homegrown, which was set to examine radicalisation in schools but was pulled two weeks before its premiere.

    • Museums seek help as spectre of censorship looms over Turkey

      As incidents of censorship are on the rise in Turkey, museums and art centres must find increasingly nimble ways to negotiate the changing cultural landscape. A new guide for Turkish cultural venues and artists implicated in censorship cases is due to be published later this year by the research platform Siyah Bant.

      “I can recite a hundred horrific incidents from last year alone. It would be a pity to think of them as arbitrary or unrelated. This zeitgeist makes the culture wars of the 1980s feel look like toddler’s play,” says Vasif Kortun, the director of Salt, one of Istanbul’s leading contemporary art spaces.

    • Grassroots Journalists Talk Lebanese Media Censorship

      Kareem Chehayeb and Sarah Shmaitilly, the founders of Beirut Syndrome, a grassroots journalism site based in Beirut, Lebanon, discussed the tendency of the Lebanese media to censor their reporting in an effort to maintain the country’s reputation at a panel discussion in Reiss Hall on Wednesday.

      Chehayeb and Shmaitilly said the idea behind their site is to report on Lebanese issues from an alternative perspective, seeking to counteract Lebanese censorship on their website with clear, unbiased content.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • How Anonymous Hackers Just Fooled Donald Trump And The FBI Big Time

      Remember the recent leak by Anonymous that revealed the personal information of Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump? What’s more, this leak has fooled Donald Trump, the FBI, and the Secret Service as everything ‘leaked’ was already available online. In a new video, Anonymous has outlined this point and thanked everybody for being a part of this experiment.

    • Social Justice Week

      Contrary to the stereotype of apolitical Millenials, students at Sonoma State University in Northern California have organized a Social Justice Week, addressing issues from US foreign policy to local police-brutality cases. Today’s guests are student organizers or guests taking part in Social Justice Week. Also included is a preview of next week’s program, when the guest will be Medea Benjamin of Code Pink.

    • Many Accused No Longer Provided Public Defenders in Louisiana

      Louisiana, which has the highest incarceration rate in the country in general as well as an extraordinary incarceration rate for African Americans, no longer provides public defenders to all its people accused of crimes; within months over half its public defender offices are expected to become insolvent due to lack of state-provided funding.

      This is a conscious decision to not provide Constitutionally-required legal services to the poor.

    • Bernie Sanders Walks a Tightrope in First Middle East Speech
    • More US Muslims favor Bernie Sanders than do US Jews

      The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) published a new opinion poll on America’s Muslims and other religious groups this week, which contains some surprises. One important finding is that mosque attendance is associated with strong identification as an American and strong civic participation as well as with opposition to violence toward civilians, whether committed by the state or by non-state actors. That is, people like Donald Trump who equate mosques with radicalism and just plan wrong.

    • Amy Goodman Tells CNN the Media is “Manufacturing Consent” for Trump While Silencing Sanders

      “Let’s look at Super Tuesday 3, you had major coverage here at CNN, at MSNBC, at Fox — all the networks across all through the night as the polls are closing,” Goodman said. “You see the concession speeches and the great victory speeches, you see Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Kasich, you see Donald Trump. You’re waiting here at CNN, at MSNBC. They said he’s going to hold a news conference… and that’s it. Where was Bernie Sanders? Well, in fact, Bernie Sanders was in Phoenix, Arizona before thousands of people and as the networks were waiting for Donald Trump and waiting and all the pundits are weighing in, they don’t even say that Bernie Sanders is about to speak.”

    • Meet The Jews Who Protested Trump’s AIPAC Speech

      Markiz explained that the low-key protest was meant to counter Trump’s statements maligning immigrants and his proposal to ban all Muslims form entering the country, saying they intended their actions to model the “opposite to the rhetoric and vitriol that’s happening this year, in particular the language that’s coming out to hate towards Muslims, and Mexicans.” But he insisted that he move wasn’t a rejection of AIPAC itself, but of the rhetoric Trump has introduced into American political discourse.

    • Women Hate Donald Trump Even More Than Men Hate Hillary Clinton

      If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the 2016 presidential candidates, gender will be part of the campaign in an unprecedented way. It goes beyond the fact that Clinton would be the first woman nominated by one of the two major parties as its presidential candidate: Polls consistently show that women really, really don’t like Trump, and men — to a lesser but still significant degree — really don’t like Clinton.

    • A Fearful Ascendency: the Rise of Trump

      Why do the Republicans fear Trump so much? Romney evoked the racism and misogyny of the Trump campaign. Romney even said the word “misogyny”, something of historical proportions for a party that has systematically gone after women’s reproductive health and women’s rights. The “gender gap” in the 2012 presidential election was the largest in U.S. history, with the Democrats winning the women vote by 20 points.

    • The Texas Border Surge Is Backfiring

      The increase in law enforcement officers in the Rio Grande Valley makes residents feel less safe.

      Last year, the Texas Legislature passed an $800 million omnibus bill that, among other things, flooded the Rio Grande Valley with law enforcement officers. And this week, a Texas Senate subcommittee on border security will hold hearings to determine the necessity of increased collaboration between local law enforcement, state troopers, and federal immigration agents.

    • Candidates, Is America Exceptional, or Only Great?

      Five Questions That Weren’t Asked During the 2012 Presidential Debates and Are Unlikely to Be Asked in 2016

    • Castro Demands Obama Drop Blockade, Return ‘Illegally Occupied’ Guantánamo

      During the first family’s historic visit to Cuba on Monday, the Cuban president confronted President Barack Obama about the crippling trade embargo and called on him to “return the territory illegally occupied by Guantánamo Base.”

      At an afternoon press conference in Havana, the two leaders touted the “concrete” achievements made since the countries resumed diplomatic relations in December 2014.

    • Video Shows Exactly How Donald Trump Incited Assault on Protester

      What those brief glimpses of the latest outburst of violence at a Trump rally failed to show, however, is the role the candidate himself played in the moments before the attack, when he stoked anger at the two protesters as they were marched through the crowd of his supporters.

      Fortunately, that context is available in the form of unedited video of the first 19 minutes of the rally, which was streamed live on Facebook by the local ABC affiliate, KGUN. The video makes it possible to see exactly how Trump reacted to the ejection of three sets of protesters within the first nine minutes of his speech.

    • Bill Clinton Says Very Bill Clinton Things on Campaign Trail for Hillary

      Where to start? Saying that Hillary is good on getting people to “buy in” to the political process shows either a stunning lack of self-awareness or a stunning lack of caring. The Clinton Foundation looks a lot like a slush fund that facilitated dirty deals with foreign governments while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state in the Obama administration.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Despite A Decade Of Trying To Kill It, Verizon Insists It Loves Net Neutrality

      You’d be hard pressed to find a company that’s been more involved in trying to kill net neutrality than Verizon. The company successfully sued to overturn the FCC’s original, flimsy 2010 neutrality rules, which most ISPs actually liked because they contained enough loopholes to drive several vehicle convoys through. Responding to Verizon’s legal assault, the FCC responded last year by taking things further, passing new, (supposedly) more legally sound neutrality rules and reclassifying ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. Verizon sued again, though this time as part of a multi-pronged coalition of ISP lobbying groups claiming the rules violated their free speech rights.

  • DRM

    • Scenes From Anti-DRM Protest Outside W3C

      A crowd upset about the possibility of DRM in Web standards gathered to protest outside the World Wide Web Consortium’s Advisory Committee meeting in Cambridge, MA last night. EFF is participating in these W3C meetings as a member, encouraging the group to adopt a non-aggression covenant to protect security researchers, standards implementors and others from the effects of including DRM-related technology in open standards.

      Last night’s protests, shown below, were organized by the Free Software Foundation and included comments from EFF’s International Director Danny O’Brien.

    • Amazon warns Kindle users: Update by March 22 or else

      Do you own an old Kindle that’s been gathering dust? Get it updated before March 22 or you won’t be able to get online and download your books any more.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Special Report: India Rocked By Report Of Secret Assurance To US Industry On IP [Ed: See the impact]

      That the Indian government has been under pressure from the United States to change its patent regime is no secret among those who follow the public discourse on intellectual property rights. Now, a new controversy about India’s alleged private assurance to the US-India Business Council (USIBC) and other lobby groups that it would not invoke compulsory licensing for commercial purposes seeks to add fuel to fiery speculation about a shift in India’s policy on IPR.

      The controversy pivots on a 5 February 2016 submission by the USIBC to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) annual Special 301 report. The Special 301 Report is prepared every year by the USTR under Section 301 as amended of the (US) Trade Act of 1974. The report aims to identify trade barriers to US companies due to intellectual property laws in other countries

    • Copyrights

      • Judges: Geolocation Not Good Enough to Pinpoint Pirates

        Two Californian judges have thrown up a roadblock for Malibu Media, the adult media publisher that files thousands of copyright lawsuits each year. Both judges have refused to grant a subpoena to expose the personal details of alleged pirates, arguing that the geolocation tools that linked the wrongdoers to their district are not sufficient in these cases.

03.21.16

Links 21/3/2016: PAYDAY 2 for GNU/Linux, PDFBox v2.0

Posted in News Roundup at 7:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • African Tech Start-Ups Face Many Challenges

      For Assane Gueye, a Senegalese cybersecurity expert based at both University of Alioune Diop in Senegal and University of Maryland in the US, sustainable innovation solutions could emerge from going beyond incubators as people share ideas.

      “Usually in Africa when we talk about infrastructure we always talk about money, it’s not true,” he said.

      If people have enough information about the technology, they can tweak it and make better use of it,” he explained.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UK Teachers Report 4 Year Old Boy To The Terrorism Police For Drawing A Cucumber

      The unintended but entirely predictable consequences from the UK’s disastrous Counter-Terrorism and Security Act keep on a-coming. You will recall that this handy piece of legislation tasked teachers with weeding out possible future-terrorists amongst the young folks they are supposed to be teaching. This has devolved instead into teachers reporting children, usually children that would be peripherally identified as Muslim children, to the authorities for what aren’t so much as transgressions as they are kids being kids. It has even turned some teachers into literal grammar police, because the universe is not without a sense of humor.

      And now we learn that these part-teacher-part-security-agents may be incorporating art criticism into their repertoire, having reported a young Muslim boy of four years old to the authorities because of his inability to properly illustrate a cucumber.

  • Censorship

    • Wicked Campers faces slogan censorship

      The company’s controversial slogans have previously been the subject of numerous complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.

      Chief Censor Andrew Jack said his office recently received its first complaint about the vans – from the police.

      “I can confirm that we have received a submission in respect of some of the Wicked campervans from the police, and we’ll be working through the classification process and testing those publications against the criteria in the Films, Videos, and Publications Act to determine whether or not they need to be age restricted or might be objectionable.

      “This is the first time a publication, in respect of Wicked Campers, has been submitted to us.”

      He would now consider whether the images need to be banned or restricted.

    • Twitter CEO Dorsey Denies ‘Censorship’ in Today Show Interview; Lauer Fails to Challenge

      Matt Lauer, aka Mr. Softee (when interviewing people with whom he sympathizes), tried to act like a tough guy in his Friday interview with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. You’re not fooling us, Matt.

    • ‘Free speech is a left‑wing value’

      A protest urging the UK National Union of Students (NUS) to reform its Safe Space and No Platform policies took place last Thursday in London. A grand coalition of humanists, atheists, liberal Muslims and human-rights activists set up shop on the pavement outside NUS headquarters. Talking to the students and campaigners involved made this reporter hopeful about the free-speech fightback, which has recently erupted on campuses up and down the country.

    • Report: Zuckerberg Meets With China’s Censorship Chief
    • Mark Zuckerberg Met with China’s Propaganda Chief
    • Zuck Meets China Propaganda Chief
    • Can Facebook’s ‘China Dream’ get along with Xi Jinping’s?
    • Facebook might be one step closer to launching in China

      Facebook may now be one step closer to its dream of accessing China’s 720 million Internet users, though I wouldn’t count on a full reconciliation between the two countries just yet.

      Over the weekend, while attending an economic forum in Beijing, Mark Zuckerberg took some time out to meet with Liu Yunshan, China’s propaganda chief, it was reported by Xinhua News Agency, China’s official press agency, over the weekend.

      Liu expressed interest in working with Facebook to “enhance exchanges and share experience so as to make outcome of the internet development better benefit the people of all countries,” it said in the report.

    • Censorship And The CBLDF, At Home And Abroad – The C2E2 Panel Report

      On Sunday, the CBLDF held a panel hosted by Charles Brownstein and Betsy Gomez highlighting the wave of censorship spreading across the world like kudzu, relentless and nearly impossible to stop. And the results are frightening.

    • New Book Traces History of Cinema’s Censorship

      Ever wonder why Hollywood’s married sleuths Nick and Nora Charles retired to separate beds after their comic adventures? We have film censors to thank—or blame—for those twin beds.

      For much of filmmaking history, government entities sliced and diced the movies as they saw fit, cutting out profanity, violence and obscenity until the movies were squeaky-clean. But did this silencing of the salacious protect Americans or control them?

    • Hulk Hogan’s $115 Million Win Against Gawker Raises Serious First Amendment Questions

      Well, this isn’t necessarily a huge surprise, but Friday afternoon a Florida jury sided with Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker, awarding him a fairly astounding $115 million (he had asked for $100 million) for posting a short clip of a Hogan sex tape along with an article about it. We hadn’t written about this case recently, as it was getting tons of press coverage elsewhere — but when we discussed it three years ago, when a Florida court first issued an injunction against Gawker, we noted the serious First Amendment issues here. Hogan (real name: Terry Bollea) had originally sued in federal court where it was more or less laughed out of court, mostly on First Amendment grounds. However, he was able to try again in state court, where it’s astounding that it even went to trial in the first place.

    • Hulk Hogan Gets $115M Verdict Against Gawker at Sex Tape Trial

      Hogan brought the case three years ago after Gawker, a 13-year-old digital news site founded by Nick Denton, an entrepreneur with an allergy to celebrity privacy, published a video the wrestler claimed was secretly recorded. The sex tape was sensational, showing Hogan — whose real name is Terry Bollea — engaged in sexual intercourse with Heather Cole, the then-wife of his best friend, Tampa-area radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge (real name: Todd Alan Clem). Gawker’s posting of the Hogan sex tape was accompanied by an essay from then–editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio about celebrity sex and a vivid play-by-play of the encounter between Hogan and Cole.

  • Privacy

    • Review finds Pentagon likely destroyed evidence in NSA whistleblower case

      A federal watchdog has concluded that the Pentagon inspector general’s office may have improperly destroyed evidence during the high-profile leak prosecution of former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake.

      The Office of Special Counsel, which is charged with protecting federal employees who provide information on government wrongdoing, said its review of the handling of the Drake case had determined that there is “substantial likelihood” that there had been “possible violations of laws, rules or regulations” in the destruction of the evidence.

    • DOJ To Court: Hey, Can We Postpone Tomorrow’s Hearing? We Want To See If We Can Use This New Hole To Hack In

      So, this morning we wrote about a new flaw found in the encryption in Apple’s iMessage system — though it was noted that this wouldn’t really have impacted what the FBI was trying to do to get into Syed Farook’s work iPhone.

    • Flaw Discovered In Apple iMessage Encryption, Reminding Us That Compelled Backdoors Are Idiotic

      One of the points that seems to be widely misunderstood by people who don’t spend much time in computer security worlds, is that building secure encryption systems is really hard and almost everything has some sort of vulnerability somewhere. This is why it’s a constant struggle by security researchers, cryptographers and security engineers to continually poke holes in encryption, and try to fix up and patch systems. It’s also why the demand for backdoors is idiotic, because they probably already exist in some format. But purposely building in certain kinds of backdoors that can’t be closed by law almost certainly blasts open much larger holes for those with nefarious intent to get in.

    • Johns Hopkins researchers poke a hole in Apple’s encryption

      Apple’s growing arsenal of encryption techniques — shielding data on devices as well as real-time video calls and instant messages — has spurred the U.S. government to sound the alarm that such tools are putting the communications of terrorists and criminals out of the reach of law enforcement.

      But a group of Johns Hopkins University researchers has found a bug in the company’s vaunted encryption, one that would enable a skilled attacker to decrypt photos and videos sent as secure instant messages.

    • The NSA wanted Hillary Clinton to use this crazy secured Windows CE phone
    • Clinton Rejected Secure Gov’t Cellphone After Denied a President-level Blackberry [Ed: Windows is not secure, NSA controlled]
    • Black Americans and encryption: the stakes are higher than Apple v FBI

      When the FBI branded Martin Luther King Jr a “dangerous” threat to national security and began tapping his phones, it was part of a long history of spying on black activists in the United States. But the government surveillance of black bodies has never been limited to activists – in fact, according to the FBI; you only had to be black.

      In the current fight between Apple and the FBI, black perspectives are largely invisible, yet black communities stand to lose big if the FBI wins. A federal judge in California is set to rule on Tuesday whether the FBI will be granted a request compelling Apple to unlock the iPhone of a San Bernardino shooter.

    • French Police Report On Paris Attacks Shows No Evidence Of Encryption… So NY Times Invents Evidence Itself

      That’s not all that surprising, of course. People have known about burner phones for ages. But the thing that stood out for me was the desperate need of the NY Times reporters to insist that there must be encryption used by the attackers, despite the near total lack of evidence of any such use. Immediately after the attacks, law enforcement and intelligence officials started blaming encryption based on absolutely nothing. Senator John McCain used it as an excuse to plan legislation that would force backdoors into encryption. And Rep. Michael McCaul insisted that the Paris attackers used the encrypted Telegram app, despite no one else saying that. In fact, for months, the only thing we’d heard was that they used unencrypted SMS to alert each other that the attacks were on, and made almost no effort to hide themselves.

    • Paris terrorists used burner phones, not encryption, to evade detection

      New details of the Paris attacks carried out last November reveal that it was the consistent use of prepaid burner phones, not encryption, that helped keep the terrorists off the radar of the intelligence services.

      As an article in The New York Times reports: “the three teams in Paris were comparatively disciplined. They used only new phones that they would then discard, including several activated minutes before the attacks, or phones seized from their victims.”

      The article goes on to give more details of how some phones were used only very briefly in the hours leading up to the attacks. For example: “Security camera footage showed Bilal Hadfi, the youngest of the assailants, as he paced outside the stadium, talking on a cellphone. The phone was activated less than an hour before he detonated his vest.” The information come from a 55-page report compiled by the French antiterrorism police for France’s Interior Ministry.

      Outside the Bataclan theatre venue, the investigators found a Samsung phone in a dustbin: “It had a Belgian SIM card that had been in use only since the day before the attack. The phone had called just one other number—belonging to an unidentified user in Belgium.”

    • GCHQ intervenes to prevent catastrophically insecure UK smart meter plan
    • UK spies looking to protect smart meters against hackers
    • GCHQ steps in to ensure UK smart meter plan has adequate security
    • Customers blame new smart gas meters for higher prices
    • GCHQ treating people in Hester’s Way as ‘second class’ over parking says former Cheltenham mayor

      Hundreds of residents have been asked to give their views on an ‘increase’ in cars parked by GCHQ workers in the Fiddlers Green and Hester’s Way areas of Cheltenham

      Liberal Democrat councillor Wendy Flynn, a former mayor, said she had delivered 400 letters to residents and has set up an online petition and survey.

      Wendy told the Echo: “GCHQ do a vitally important job keeping us safe and their presence helps the local economy.

      “However they also have a responsibility to the community that are situated in and a moral obligation to be a ‘good neighbour.’

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • PETA, Pretending It Can Represent A Photogenic, Selfie-Snapping Monkey In Indonesia, Has Appealed Its Copyright Loss

        Aw, who are we kidding? The monkey has no clue about any of this. It’s a monkey! The case is really about a giant publicity stunt by PETA, which is pretending to represent the monkey and claiming that a monkey taking a selfie can get a copyright. Incredibly, PETA hired a big time, previously well-respected law firm by the name of Irell & Manella, which argued with apparently straight faces that someone must own the copyright, and thus the monkey (and PETA) were the most obvious choice. But, that’s something anyone with even the most marginal knowledge of copyright should know is not true, because we have something called the public domain. No one needs to hold the copyright because there might not be a copyright (and in this case, there is none).

      • Oil Industry Group Claims Copyright On Oil Pricing Data, Gets Twitter To Delete Tweets

        The American Petroleum Institute (API), a group that represents the oil industry, apparently releases a fee-based report on oil prices, which is released to paying subscribers a week before the US government releases “official” data. For obvious reasons, this information is fairly valuable to traders, who are more than willing to pay the monthly fee to get early access to some crucial information on the price of oil. Apparently, last week, some people then took that data, and tweeted about it… leading API to issue DMCA takedown notices, which Twitter promptly complied with.

      • Sean Parker’s New Service Offers Theaters A New Revenue Stream But All They Can See Is Business Model Intereference And Piracy

        Any time anyone routes around Hollywood’s windowed food chain — theatrical release, delay, video release, delay, VOD, longer delay, pay TV, even longer delay (or never), on-demand streaming — studios and theaters get bent out of shape. This terrible system makes major studios and theaters happiest (and their own worst enemies), even though it’s apparent a large percentage of the public would rather enjoy films on their own terms.

        Along with the complaints about the reshuffling of The Schedule come the inevitable cries of “PIRACY!” Sean Parker, formerly the major labels’ worst enemy, is now at the receiving end of motion picture industry hate, even though his plan — the “Screening Room” — involves everyone getting paid.

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