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Links 9/4/2018: Linux 4.16.1, phpMyAdmin 4.8.0, GNU Mcron 1.1.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • ​How many Linux users are there anyway?

    Perhaps the most unbiased numbers are from the federal government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP). DAP’s numbers come from the billion visits over the past 90 days to over 400 US executive branch government domains. That’s about 5,000 total websites. These visitors appear to be largely US citizens. You can see this from the most popular websites: The US Postal Service, the IRS, and Medline Plus.

    By DAP’s count, Linux is bundled in with 0.6 percent other. Chrome OS, according to DAP, has more users: 1.3 percent.

    Still, while desktop Linux is a minority desktop operating system, it still has millions of users, and that’s a lot more than a mere fraction of 1 percent.

    And, when it comes to overall end-user operating system, Linux-based Android has 70.96 percent of the mobile market by NetMarketShare’s count. By DAP’s reckoning, Android has 19.9 percent of all end-user systems, while StatCounter shows Android as even more popular than Windows by 39.49 percent to 36.62 percent.

  • Desktop

    • Linux all-in-one: Slimbook Curve comes with your distro of choice pre-installed

      Spanish computer maker Slimbook has unveiled the Slimbook Curve, an all-in-one with a 24-inch curved screen made for GNU/Linux.

    • Slimbook Curve All-In-One Linux PC

      Spanish hardware and PC manufacturer Slimbook has created a new all-in-one Linux PC in the form of the aptly named Slimbook Curve, that features a curved 24 inch IPS display offering users a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels as well as a matte, anti-glare finish. The Slimbook Curve can by installed with a wide variety of different Linux operating systems including No OS, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Mate, Debian, Elementary OS, Linux Mint, OpenSUSE, Antergos, Fedora and KDE Neon.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.16.1

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.16.1 kernel.

      All users of the 4.16 kernel series must upgrade.

    • Linux 4.16 Reaches Its First Point Release With Over 30 Fixes

      Greg Kroah-Hartman today released the first stable point update to the Linux 4.16 kernel that debuted one week ago.

      There are just under three dozen changes in Linux 4.16.1, including some crypto fixes seeming to represent a bulk of the work along with some USB, staging, serial, Bluetooth, and other updates. One hardware item sticking out is fixed TrackStick detection for Lenovo ThinkPad L570 and Dell Latitude 7370 notebooks.

    • The Big Changes Merged This Week For The Linux 4.17 Kernel

      We are now through the first week of the two week long Linux 4.17 kernel merge window process for introducing the new features/functionality to this next big kernel release.

    • Linux 4.16.1
    • Linux 4.14.33
    • Linux 4.9.93
    • Linux 4.4.127
    • Linux 3.18.103
    • Linux Foundation

      • Making cloud-native computing universal and sustainable

        I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to build an open source foundation from scratch the last couple of years by serving as the founding executive director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Since late 2015, the foundation has grown to comprise more than 200 members worldwide and 18 innovative cloud-native projects. Also, for the first time, we recently published an annual report representing what our community accomplished in 2017.

        What has been interesting about this experience is that more people know about our projects, such as Kubernetes, Envoy, and Prometheus, than know about the open source foundation behind them. The goal of this article is to explain exactly what the purpose of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is and how we support our community of cloud-native open infrastructure projects.

    • Graphics Stack

      • VK_AMD_shader_core_properties Now Supported By RADV

        Thanks to Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s Linux driver team, the RADV open-source Radeon Vulkan driver supports the new VK_AMD_shader_core_properties extension.

        A few days back Vulkan 1.1.72 was released and one of three new extensions was VK_AMD_shader_core_properties. This AMD shader core properties extension to Vulkan exposes physical device characteristics like the number of shader engines, SIMDs per compute unit, threads per wavefront, and other shader related hardware details.

      • Making Use Of Intel vGPU Support On Linux 4.16 & QEMU 2.12

        As of the Linux 4.16 kernel that was released one week ago, the kernel-side bits are in place for Intel Virtual GPU support and in user-space the upcoming QEMU 2.12 has the necessary code for the GTK and SPICE code-paths.

      • Libinput 1.10.4 Makes Touchpads A Bit Snappier

        Libinput 1.10.14 is now available and while it’s just a point release, there is at least one change sure to catch your attention.

      • Etnaviv Performance Counter Support Merged Into Mesa 18.1

        Landing in Linux 4.15 was performance counters support in the Etnaviv DRM driver as the low-level bits for exposing the hardware counters with this reverse-engineered, open-source Vivante graphics driver. The user-space/Mesa side code has now landed too.

        With Mesa 18.1 paired with Linux 4.15 or newer will now be support for exposing the hardware performance counters for seeing more characteristics about the GPU’s performance in working to optimize your game/application or the driver itself for efficient usage on Vivante GC hardware.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Nomad Desktop – An Open Source Desktop With a Fresh Experience

      If you’re a Linux fan with the desire to check it its vast customization options then you must have toyed diverse desktop environments and settings including Gnome, Xfce, Unity, Cinnamon, and Plasma, to mention a few.

      Today, we have yet another intriguing desktop that I think you will definitely enjoy and it goes by the name of Nomad Desktop.

      Nomad Desktop is the face of one of the latest distros on the block, Nitrux, and it aims to provide users with simplicity and the same experience Plasma offers without compromising its flexibility and power for professionals.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 13

        Another week in Usability & Productivity, another wish that I could make more announcements about all the cool stuff we have in progress! The wheels of software sometimes turn more slowly than we might wish, but in the end, the better result will be worth it. KDE’s patch review process is there to ensure that code quality is high as possible before making it in!

        Nevertheless, we landed some great improvements this week, including a few long-standing requests. Come and see:

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.28 uses clickfinger behaviour by default on touchpads

        To reduce the number of bugs filed against libinput consider this a PSA: as of GNOME 3.28, the default click method on touchpads is the ‘clickfinger’ method (see the libinput documentation, it even has pictures). In short, rather than having a separate left/right button area on the bottom edge of the touchpad, right or middle clicks are now triggered by clicking with 2 or 3 fingers on the touchpad. This is the method macOS has been using for a decade or so.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Sortix 1.0

        Sortix is a relatively new project, less than a third the age of Linux, and appears to be mostly a one-person development project. To me, this makes the progress made so far amazing. The system has a working installer and partition manager, it works with multiple file systems, has a working collection of ported GNU tools and can run graphical games. It’s quite a feat of coding to get all of this working in so short a time. What really impressed me though was that the operating system’s documentation (exploring what it does, what it does not yet do and how the pieces work) is clear and up to date. In that regard a lot of other open source projects could follow Sortix’s example.

        Unfortunately, at this time, Sortix is not a practical operating system for most scenarios. We can test it, develop code on the platform and learn from its design, but Sortix lacks networking, multi-user security and a working desktop environment. This makes the project more of a developer playground than a system for end users to run. Still, in the realm of a personal hobby project, Sortix is one of the coolest creations I have seen in a while.

    • Gentoo Family

      • [Old] Distributions are becoming irrelevant: difference was our strength and our liability

        For someone that has spent the past thirteen years defining himself as a developer of a Linux distribution (whether I really am still a Gentoo Linux developer or not is up for debate I’m sure), having to write a title like this is obviously hard. But from the day I started working on open source software to now I have grown a lot, and I have realized I have been wrong about many things in the past.

        One thing that I realized recently is that nowadays, distributions lost the war. As the title of this post says, difference is our strength, but at the same time, it is also the seed of our ruin. Take distributions: Gentoo, Fedora, Debian, SuSE, Archlinux, Ubuntu. They all look and act differently, focusing on different target users, and because of this they differ significantly in which software they make available, which versions are made available, and how much effort is spent on testing, both the package itself and the system integration.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Local Repo

          Let’s suppose that you want to test a package not yet landed in the Fedora repos, include it in the installation process or in a Live CD (more on a future post).

        • Rawhide notes from the trail: more rocky trail

          I am looking forward to next week when we hope to get things setup for some gating in rawhide. I know it couldn’t handle all these issues, but it’s a start and we can add things as we know how to detect them in advance.

        • Installing go1.10.1 (Fedora 27)
        • Justin W. Flory: Stepping out of Fedora: May to August 2018

          Similar to last year, I am putting forward a note of planned absence from the Fedora Project community from May to August 2018.

          Transparency is important to me. I wanted to make this announcement ahead of time to set clear expectations for the upcoming months. I am returning to Chicago, IL to work another internship at Jump Trading, LLC. From June to August, I am working at their Chicago office. I am excited to return and learn more from an amazing team of people.

          I am not blocked by company policy from contributing to open source, so I won’t disappear completely. However, while I am still able to contribute to Fedora, I do not expect to keep up the level of activity that I contribute at now during my internship.

        • A Cloud Lab Environment in a Backpack
        • Fedora 28 Add-on Modularity Test Day 2018-04-10
        • Fedora rawhide – fixed bugs March 2018
    • Debian Family

      • Build system changes in debhelper

        Since debhelper/11.2.1[1], we now support using cmake for configure and ninja for build + test as an alternative to cmake for configure and make for build + test. This change was proposed by Kyle Edwards in Debian bug #895044. You can try this new combination by specifying “cmake+ninja” as build system.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Run Ubuntu 18.04 From USB Stick

            Ubuntu 18.04 is a great operating system. It is in beta at the time of this writing. Everyone is so excited and eagerly waiting for its release even as we speak. If you’re one of them, you may wish to carry your favorite Linux distribution with you all the time. Have you ever thought about running Ubuntu 18.04 from a USB stick? Well it is possible. You can run Ubuntu 18.04 from a USB stick. That way your workstation is with you wherever you go. You don’t have to use other people’s setup, you can use your own comfortable setup, also your favorite softwares.

          • Ubuntu Developer Floats The Idea Of “Test Weeks” To Replace Early Alpha/Beta Releases

            Prominent Ubuntu community developer Simon Quigley has sparked a discussion about Ubuntu’s release milestones and the possibility of moving away with their alpha and beta one milestones moving forward.

            Quigley’s proposal after consulting with the Xubuntu / Ubuntu MATE / Kubuntu / Ubuntu Budgie teams was using “testing weeks” to replace the previous formal alpha / beta releases. During testing weeks, users would be encouraged to use the latest daily ISOs rather than a blessed “alpha” or “beta” image.

          • Announcing the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Free Culture Showcase winners

            In just under 3 weeks, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS launches. This exciting new release is a new Long Term Support release and will introduce many Ubuntu users to GNOME Shell and a closer upstream experience. In addition, Ubuntu developers have been working long and hard to ensure that 18.04 is a big, brilliant release that builds a bridge from 16.04 LTS to a better, bigger platform that can be built upon, without becoming unnecessarily boisterous.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • From MPEG to open source: will telcos get the video codec they need?

    As the NAB broadcast show gets into full swing in Las Vegas, expect to hear plenty of news about the continued convergence of telecoms and broadcast (the longest engagement of all time, with still no marriage date set…) in terms of back-end IP production pipelines, online delivery and mobile consumption. One of the more interesting announcements pre-show concerned the development of online video players.

    For many years, we have been using the tried and tested MPEG standards for online video delivery. Yes, it works, but at a price. For a start, the codec is subject to IPR royalty payments, plus it has arguably not evolved rapidly enough to support the new needs of the telecoms industry – with video consumption showing no sign of slowing down, telcos need a far more efficient pipeline.

  • Top 5 open-source frameworks for AI development

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the two terms that are trending these days and sometimes even used interchangeably. However, both the terms are not the same. While AI involves machines that can perform tasks that are characteristic of human intelligence, ML enables modern computers to learn without being explicitly programmed. Basically, ML has evolved from AI via pattern recognition and computational learning theory.

  • Vendor Lock-in: Now in the Cloud!

    Vendor lock-in has moved from corporate infrastructure into the cloud, only this time many are all too happy to embrace it.

    I started my professional career as a general-purpose “computer guy” for a small office. I wore many hats in this job including desktop help desk, server administrator, webmaster, network administrator, security engineer, and in general, if it plugged in, I was probably responsible for it. This was back in the era where, although Linux was making some inroads in the web server market, Microsoft absolutely dominated both the desktop and the corporate server markets. It was expected back then that offices of any size from ten to a thousand people would not only be running Windows on the desktop, but also that the back office would be running Windows servers.

    Those Microsoft services weren’t necessarily better than the alternatives, but they won out anyway because of vendor lock-in. The domination of the desktop market meant that Microsoft could develop proprietary protocols like SMB (file sharing) and MAPI (email client syncing), and add them to Windows and Microsoft Office. Once SMB was baked in to Windows, it became easy for the boss of a small office to turn his or her desktop into the office file server without adding any extra software. As the company grew, that desktop was replaced by a standalone Windows server, and when you found out that your ISP (which you were using for corporate email up to this point) didn’t support the shared calendar feature you saw in Outlook, you found out that Exchange and its MAPI protocol did.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Verbosio is dead… but I have a new code name, Aluminium, with the same ambition

        All of the above means that Verbosio, as a Mozilla Firefox-based XML editor with specific XML languages as add-ons to the editor, is truly and finally dead, and there’s no point trying to believe otherwise. Similarly, the need for a XUL IDE is dead as well. (Daniel Glazman and I need to get together to cry over a beer sometime.)

      • Know your limits

        When building software systems, we usually deal with data from external sources. This can be user input, data coming from other systems, etc. My basic assumption on any external data is: don’t trust it!

  • Databases

    • phpMyAdmin 4.8.0 is released

      Welcome to phpMyAdmin version 4.8.0. We are excited to bring you this updated version with many new features and bug fixes. There are no changes to system requirements.

      A complete list of new features and bugs that have been fixed is available in the ChangeLog file or changelog.php included with this release.

    • phpMyAdmin 4.8 Brings Mobile Interface, 2FA & More

      Over the weekend marked the release of phpMyAdmin 4.8.0 as the latest major update to this widely-used MySQL web-based administration interface.

      The phpMyAdmin 4.8 release brings several security improvements, including support for Google Invisible Captcha, better reCAPTCHA handling, two factor authentication (2FA) and U2F support, removal of PHP eval() usage, and other changes in the name of better security.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • FreeCAD 0.17 Released With Various Workbench Improvements

      For fans of the FreeCAD open-source 3D CAD modeling software, a new major release is now available — the first update in almost two years.

      FreeCAD 0.17 is now available to succeed FreeCAD 0.16 from April of 2016. While it may not be nearly as well off as AutoCAD or other alternatives, FreeCAD does continue getting better while being free and open-source software.

    • [FreeCAD] Release notes 0.17
    • GNU Mcron 1.1.1 released

      We are pleased to announce the release of GNU Mcron 1.1.1,
      representing 48 commits, by 1 person over 3 weeks.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration


  • Science

    • Manifesto on algorithmic humanitarianism

      The nature of machine learning operations mean they will actually deepen some humanitarian problematics and introduce new ones of their own. This banality of machine learning is also its power.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fukushima Jitters

      Fukushima is full of nasty surprises, similar to John Carpenter’s classic film The Thing (1982), which held audiences to the edge of their seats in anticipation of creepy monsters leaping out from “somebody, anybody, nobody knows for sure,” but unlike Hollywood films, Fukushima’s consequences are real and dire and deathly. It’s an on-going horror show that just won’t quit.

      Only recently, a team of international researchers, including a group of scientists from the University of Manchester/UK and Kyushu University/Japan made a startling discovery. Within the nuclear exclusion zone in paddy soils and at an aquaculture center located several miles from the nuclear plant, the research team found cesium-rich micro-particles.

      Evidently, the radioactive debris was blown into the environment during the initial meltdowns and accompanying hydrogen blasts. Accordingly, the environmental impact of radiation fallout may last much longer than previously expected. (Source: New Evidence of Nuclear Fuel Releases Found at Fukushima, University of Manchester, Phys.org, Feb. 28, 2018)

      According to Dr. Gareth Law, senior lecturer in Analytical Radiochemistry at the University of Manchester: “Our research strongly suggests there is a need for further detailed investigation on Fukushima fuel debris, inside, and potentially outside the nuclear exclusion zone. Whilst it is extremely difficult to get samples from such an inhospitable environment, further work will enhance our understanding….” Ibid.

      Their discovery dispels the long-held view that the initial explosion only emitted gaseous radionuclides. Now, it is clear that solid particles with very long-lived radionuclides were emitted. The research team did not discuss the likely impact, as more analysis is necessary before drawing conclusions.

      Decidedly, they’d best hurry up, as the Olympics are scheduled for 2020.

    • ICE Ends Policy Of Presuming Release For Pregnant Detainees

      The Trump administration has abandoned a policy of generally releasing pregnant women from immigrant detention, according to a directive publicly shared by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Thursday.

      Under the new policy, pregnant women will be released from immigrant detention only on a case-by-case basis.

    • How the Wireless Industry Convinced the Public Cellphones Are Safe & Cherry-Picked Research on Risks

      Ninety-five out of every 100 American adults owns a cellphone today. And worldwide, three out of four adults now have cellphone access. The wireless industry is one of the fastest-growing on Earth, raking in annual sales of $440 billion in 2016.

      But are cellphones safe? Well, a new investigation by The Nation suggests that’s a question that cellphone giants prefer you don’t ask. The article, by journalists Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie, is headlined “How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe.”

      The article notes that cellphones were first marketed to U.S. consumers in the 1980s without any government safety testing. Then, a decade later, one of the industry’s own hand-picked researchers, George Carlo, reportedly told top company officials, including leaders of Apple, AT&T and Motorola, that some industry-commissioned studies raised serious questions about cellphone safety. On October 7th, 1999, Carlo sent letters to industry CEOs urging them to give consumers, quote, “the information they need to make an informed judgment about how much of this unknown risk they wish to assume.” Instead, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association reportedly tried to discredit Carlo’s findings, and had him physically removed from its premises during its annual conference in February 2000.

    • Special Feature: Blocking Taiwan From Joining WHO Affects Global Health Security, Officials Say

      Two years after the victory of Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan is feeling the effects of the DPP’s position against the “One China principle.” At the World Health Organization, China is allegedly successfully blocking Taiwan from participating in the annual World Health Assembly, and in a number of WHO technical meetings, officials say. Beyond the political dimension of the dissent between China and Taiwan, the situation may hurt the Taiwanese and global health security, Taiwanese officials said.

  • Security

    • Global cyberattack targets 200,000 network switches (updated)
    • ‘Don’t mess with our elections’: Hackers stuff US flag into Cisco security hole worldwide

      Unknown hackers have exploited a loophole in the Cisco protocol to strike internet service providers worldwide, in a coordinated attack against data centers, leaving a US flag and a message reading “Don’t mess with our elections.”

      Iranian data centers became some of the latest victims of the global bot attack late on Friday. Disabling router switches for internet service providers at data centers, the hackers, in a malign stunt, cut off web access for subscribers in their respective countries. “Don’t mess with our elections,” the message on the compromised systems read, next to US flag, Iran’s IT Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi revealed in a Twitter picture message.

    • 21 percent of Open Source Serverless Applications have Critical Vulnerabilities [Ed: They are reposting a press release which is a self-promotional FUD with a buzzword]

      The core concept of FaaS, or serverless functions, is to define an API for consumption

    • Linux Beep bug joke backfires as branded fix falls short

      Retro programmers may need to reconsider using the Linux beep command as an activity or progress alert.

      One of the silliest bugs on record emerged late last week, when Debian project leader Chris Lamb took to the distro’s security to post an advisory that the little utility had a local privilege escalation vulnerability.

    • Android April Security Bulletin Fixes Nine Critical Vulnerabilities
    • The dots do matter: how to scam a Gmail user

      And even in the rare case that a Gmail user is aware of their infinite set of addresses, and they’re aware of the phishing attacks that this can expose them to, this user is unlikely to pick up on it, because the user interfaces of Gmail and Inbox don’t hint anything about a possible scam. In fact it barely even acknowledges that the email was to a non-standard address. The only clue in the screenshot above is that the interface says “to james.hfisher”, instead of “to me”.

    • Episode 91 – Security lessons from a 7 year old

      Josh and Kurt talk to a 7 year old about security. We cover Minecraft security, passwords, hacking, and many many other nuggets of wisdom.

    • Update for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS patches security vulnerabilities

      Canonical has released a kernel update for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

      The “important update” patches 39 security vulnerabilities, according to a report by Softpedia.

      The update covers Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and its official derivatives, including Kubuntu, Lubuntu, and Xubuntu.

      Security fixes contained in the update cover a wide range of issues, such as vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel’s USB over IP implementation – which allowed remote attacks.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ISIS, in eleven shades of black

      An Indonesian version is significant too, given Islamist affiliates in the country and security concerns in the Celebes and Sulu Seas between Indonesia, Malaysia and the southern Philippines.

    • Israeli Sniper Targets, Kills Journalist in “PRESS” Vest

      Yaser Murtaja, a cameraman for Palestinian Ain Media, was wearing a “PRESS” flak jacket as he was shot by an Israeli sniper Friday. He died of his injuries in a hospital on Saturday.

      The 30-year-old journalist was one of nine people killed and more than 1,000 injured by Israeli troops Friday on the Gaza border.

      Thousands of Palestinians continued “The Great March of Return,” the week-long protest on Friday, demanding the right of return of Palestinian refugees to towns and villages from which their families were driven out when Israel was created.

      UK’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned Israel’s killing of at least 27 Palestinians on the Gaza border as an “outrage” and attacked Western “silence” about the deaths.

    • How Do You Tell the Kids that Grandma is in Jail for Resisting Nuclear Weapons?

      “Our grandma is in jail,” Madeline tells a woman wrestling a shopping cart at Target.

      “She went over a war fence and tried to make peace,” Seamus adds helpfully. “They arrested her, and she is in jail now.”

      “Where?” the woman asks, looking from them to me in disbelief and maybe pity.

      “We don’t remember,” the kids say, suddenly done with their story and ready to make passionate pleas for the colorful items in the dollar section over the woman’s shoulder.

      “Georgia,” I say, but I don’t have a lot of energy to add detail to my kids’ story. They hit all the high points.

      “There’s a lot going on these days,” she says. I agree, and we move on into the store and our separate errands.

    • Shelter From the Storm: the Tunnels of Eastern Ghouta

      All battles and bombardments share their secrets one by one. Eastern Ghouta is no different. Why the sudden, savage bombardment of these Syrian towns and villages more than three weeks ago? Why the wasteland of homes and streets—and how did so many of the civilians survive along with hundreds of Islamist gunmen?

      You can do no better than start your enquiry in a front line dug-out near Arbeen, on the old and now war-smashed international highway between Damascus and Aleppo. It is protected by oil barrels of solid concrete, an iron roof, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, a couple of rifles and a rusting motor-bike, presumably to carry messages when the lines are cut. “Twenty mortars a day,” one of the Syrian soldiers says, rolling his eyes.


      These great stoneworks – for they were carved through the living rock, supposedly by Palestinians on loan from Hamas, men who had spent their years hacking tunnels between Gaza and the Egyptian desert to the south – have become a familiar part of the Syrian war. I have walked through them in Homs, where the makers carved their names on the walls like Victorian railway builders, and in eastern Aleppo. These tunnels somehow carry inside them the necrology of ideas, the ideological martyrs’ cemetery of their makers’minds. They are deep and dank and glisten with moisture. But they are safe.

    • The Coming Crisis with Iran

      With the appointments of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and John Bolton as national security adviser, Donald Trump has signaled his preparedness by the May 12deadline to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and ramp up pressure on North Korea if it refuses to denuclearize. The two moves would have interactive consequences: casting aside the Iran nuclear deal is likely to be read in Pyongyang as indicating that the US cannot be trusted to keep its commitments. It might also be read as a signal that should nuclear talks with Trump fail, a US attack on North Korea’s missile and nuclear sites could be in the offing.

    • Could the Cold War Return With a Vengeance?

      This renewed emphasis on China and Russia in U.S. military planning reflects the way top military officials are now reassessing the global strategic equation, a process that began long before Donald Trump entered the White House. Although after 9/11, senior commanders fully embraced the “long war against terror” approach to the world, their enthusiasm for endless counterterror operations leading essentially nowhere in remote and sometimes strategically unimportant places began to wane in recent years as they watched China and Russia modernizing their military forces and using them to intimidate neighbors.

      While the long war against terror did fuel a vast, ongoing expansion of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Forces (SOF) — now a secretive army of 70,000 nestled inside the larger military establishment — it provided surprisingly little purpose or real work for the military’s “heavy metal” units: the Army’s tank brigades, the Navy’s carrier battle groups, the Air Force’s bomber squadrons, and so forth. Yes, the Air Force in particular has played a major supporting role in recent operations in Iraq and Syria, but the regular military has largely been sidelined there and elsewhere by lightly equipped SOF forces and drones. Planning for a “real war” against a “peer competitor” (one with forces and weaponry resembling our own) was until recently given far lower priority than the country’s never-ending conflicts across the Greater Middle East and Africa. This alarmed and even angered those in the regular military whose moment, it seems, has now finally arrived.

    • In Display of ‘Actual Sociopathy,’ Trump Reportedly Asked CIA Why Drone Didn’t Also Kill Target’s Family

      Reacting to footage of a drone strike in Syria in which the CIA waited until the target was separated from his family before firing, Trump reportedly asked, “Why did you wait?”

      While Trump’s question was immediately denounced as a display of “actual sociopathy,” it was perfectly in line with his campaign rhetoric insisting that the best way to combat terrorism is to “take out” the alleged perpetrators’ families.

    • B’Tselem calls on Israeli soldiers to defy shooting orders, lest they commit war crimes

      B’Tselem, the respected Israeli human rights NGO, began a media campaign today urging Israel Defense Forces soldiers posted on the Gaza border to disobey “patently illegal” shoot-to-kill orders against unarmed protesters. Last week, the IDF gunned down 17 such protesters and wounded more than 700 of them. Another wounded protester later died of his wounds. Fresh protests are expected on Friday and the IDF already announced it will keep its Rules of Engagement (ROE) as they are.


      B’Tselem has toughened its position towards the army and government in recent years. Two years ago, the NGO decided to stop cooperating with the IDF and its notoriously inept Military Police Criminal Investigation Division, citing the fact that the military justice system serves only “to cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators.” B’Tselem CEO Hagai El-Ad appeared in the UN Security Council in October 2016, calling upon the world to protect Palestinians from Israel.

      Those decisions caused controversy not just in the general Israeli public, but also within the Israeli human rights NGOs sphere: Most NGOs rejected B’Tselem’s position regarding non-cooperation with the IDF, arguing that by so doing they would lose whatever shred of ability to change the system they still had.

    • Sick Temper Tyrannis

      Tyranny… What is it? Does the word mean anything any more? Like so many terms it has been distorted to serve the ends of powerful interests until its meaning has been blurred. In its dictionary definitions the common element is the exercise of power without accountability to the ruled.

      High-powered academic research has established beyond debate that Americans have nothing to say about what is done in their name by the State. Their opus wasn’t needed. It’s painfully clear by now that we are ruled tyrannically and if you’re not flaming furious about that, you’re dead.

    • Mass Deception and the Prelude to World War

      In Syria, the US, Turkey, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been helping to arm militants. The Daily Telegraph’s March 2013 article “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’” reported that 3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia had been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels. The New York Times March 2013 article “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With CIA Aid” stated that Arab governments and Turkey had sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters. This aid included more than 160 military cargo flights.

    • Tomgram: Danny Sjursen, Cleaning House, Enabling War

      Lieutenant General McMaster was no prince either. He helped craft a National Defense Strategy that all but declared a new Cold War on Russia and China. He was also to the right of reasonable on Iran and North Korea. Nevertheless, he is an intelligent man with genuine academic bona fides. I’ve met the guy and, even though we disagree on almost everything, he’s certainly preferable to a zealot like Bolton. McMaster thinks critically and wasn’t always reflexively pro-war. However, Trump, a man who likes his information in tiny doses (and preferably on Fox News), reportedly found H.R.’s detailed briefings insufferable. And McMaster’s recent suggestion that Russia played an “incontrovertible” role in the 2016 U.S. election evidently didn’t help him one bit either.

    • Portonblimp Down Episode 2 – A Tale By Boris Johnson

      “Comrade Putin, we have successfully stockpiled novichoks in secret for ten years, and kept them hidden from the OPCW inspectors. We have also trained our agents in secret novichok assassination techniques. The programme has cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but now we are ready. Naturally, the first time we use it we will expose our secret and suffer massive international blowback. So who should be our first target? The head of a foreign intelligence agency? A leading jihadist rebel in Syria? A key nuclear scientist? Even a Head of State?”

      “No, Tovarich. There is this old retired guy I know living in Salisbury. We released him from jail years ago…”


      That is, genuinely, in every detail the official British government version of what happened in Salisbury, including the ten year programme and the secret assassination manual.

      Despite this story being one of the most improbably wild conspiracy theories in human history, it is those who express any doubt at all as to its veracity who are smeared as “conspiracy theorists” or even “traitors”.

    • Conclusive evidence of the Russian state’s guilt in the Skripal case is lacking — and that’s important

      It is difficult to obtain 100% proof in cases such as the Sergey Skripal poisoning. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t demand as much evidence — from our politicians and law enforcement — as possible.

    • Where Every Bullet Landed

      Last weekend’s murder and mass wounding of scores of Palestinians – at least 17 dead, from 770 to 1,400 injured – as they marched, prayed and peacefully commemorated Land Day in the occupied Gaza Strip was abhorrent enough in and of itself. Now comes proof the carnage by what Ha’aretz columnist Gideon Levy calls Israeli “massacre forces” was premeditated. Israel had already announced plans to use “a lot of force,” including the deployment of 100 snipers, against thousands of unarmed Palestinians gathering for the annual event, which marks the start of a six-week-mobilization culminating in this year’s 70th anniversary of the disastrous Nakba. In the end, they opened fire with live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and tear gas; almost half of those killed or injured were kids or young people.

    • REVEALED: The bombshell Russian message intercepted on DAY of Skripal poisonings

      AN ELECTRONIC message to Moscow sent on the day former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury included the phrase “the package has been delivered”.

    • Government Propaganda Now Totally Bizarre

      The increasing desperation of government attempts to “prove” the Russians responsible for the Skripal attack has become increasingly bizarre. They now claim GCHQ picked up from Troodos a message from Syria to Moscow that “the package has been delivered”, and a further one that “two people have made their egress”.

      Because of course, if you were sending a cryptic message back from Salisbury to Moscow, you would naturally route it back via Syria, in the certain knowledge that all such calls from Syria are picked up from Troodos. I am sure the Russians already knew that, even before I published it in detail five years ago.

    • Saudi ‘Julian Assange’ Claims Crown Prince to Ascend to Throne by July

      Saudi whistleblower Mujtahid, who is so well-informed that some believe he’s a member of the royal family, has once again used Twitter to reveal another portion of secrets about the kingdom.

      Twitter has become a crucial platform for Mujtahid, dubbed the Saudi “Julian Assange,” who has over 2 million followers: the whistleblower has recently revealed, citing a source familiar with the matter, that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might be preparing to take over the throne within three months.

    • Azerbaijani mafia in the heart of Europe?

      The Azerbaijani mafia, little known in western Europe previously, arrived in France with a loud bang. Seven bangs, to be precise. The usual serenity of the picturesque town of Colomiers, a dozen kilometres outside of Toulouse, was disrupted by gunshots in the early morning of Friday 30 March. These were aimed at the car in which Rahim Namazov, an Azerbaijani national, was traveling together with his wife, Aida. She died in the attack, and Namazov’s condition is described as grave as he clings to life in a local hospital.


      The problem is, no one in Azerbaijan has heard of a journalist by the name of Rahim Namazov. While Namazov arrived in France and was granted political asylum there in 2010, claiming persecution in his native Azerbaijan due to journalistic work, observers in his native country have been unsuccessfully searching for evidence supporting his connection with the profession.

    • The Dolls of Militarism: From War Hawks to Chickenhawks

      Donald Trump’s continual cabinet reshuffling — otherwise the stuff of reality-TV drama — has become genuinely frightening. Like so many Russian matryoshki or nesting dolls, the president has been removing one war hawk after another, only to reveal yet more extreme versions of the same creature. And rumor has it that such personnel moves have yet to reach their end point.

    • Nonviolence or Nonexistence? The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

      Despite the vastly more perilous state of our planet, many people and organizations around the world are following in the footsteps of Gandhi, King and other nonviolent luminaries like Silo, and are engaged in what is effectively a last ditch stand to end the violence and put humanity on a path to peace, justice and sustainability.

      Let me tell you about some of these people and organizations and invite you to join them.

      In Bolivia, Nora Cabero works with the Movimient Humanista. The Movement has many programs including the Convergence of Cultures which aims to facilitate and stimulate true dialogue – oriented towards the search for common points present in the hearts of different peoples and individuals – to promote the relationship between different cultures and to resist discrimination and violence. Another program, World Without Wars and Violence emerged in 1994 and was presented for the first time internationally in 1995 at the Open Meeting of Humanism held in Chile at the University of Santiago. It is active in about 40 countries. It carries out activities in the social base and also promotes international campaigns such as Education for Nonviolence and the World March for Peace and Nonviolence.

    • MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Applauded for Doing What Few Prominent US Journalists Do: Report Honestly About Israeli Massacre

      In addition to cozy and sycophantic relationship President Donald Trump has forged with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hayes also condemned the deafening silence of American lawmakers over the behavior of the Israeli military—which the U.S. government supplies with billions of dollars in annual aid—and argued that such silence on human rights abuses and violence is a permission slip for allies like Israel to do “whatever they want.” In turn, Israel is now running with that permission, said Hayes, “and that video—of teenagers being shot in an open field—that’s what it looks like when they do.”

    • The Courage to Uncover the Politics and Lies Behind the Carnage in Colombia

      Throughout the decade, the paramilitary groups had slowly been gaining in strength, but now they were engaged in a coordinated and terrifying campaign to seize control of key regions of the country. Moving beyond Antioquia and Córdoba, where Carlos Castaño’s ACCU had first started its expansion in the 1990s, they were now spreading out over most of the country’s northern states, and even venturing into the center and south of the country. The ACCU had also joined forces with other paramilitary groups, organized under a single umbrella as the AUC (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, or United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia), which had multiple “blocks,” each under separate leadership.


      Meanwhile, the FARC and the ELN, too, were engaging in ever more ruthless tactics. They had taken people hostage for ransom or political gain for years, but now kidnappings were a daily occurrence. Travel by road throughout Colombia had become so hazardous that many people gave it up entirely. The guerrillas took advantage of the absence of law enforcement on many lonely roads to conduct pescas milagrosas (miraculous fishing), where they stopped drivers and kidnapped those they thought might be worth something. The kidnappings affected Colombians of all stripes and backgrounds, wealthy and poor alike, and by paralyzing travel, damaged the economy and frustrated city residents, for whom going to the countryside was a common pastime. To secure their territory, the guerrillas had also deployed antipersonnel landmines, which maimed not only soldiers, but also peasants, children, and animals that walked in the wrong place.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Punishment of Julian Assange is political, not legal

      Recent reports that the Ecuadoran government has blocked internet / phone access and disallowed visitors to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – who has been holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London for five and a half years – point to the latest in a series of moves apparently generated by US pressure, in what seems to be a concerted attempt, along with its allies, to subject the controversial whistle-blower to punishment outside of any legal process. Assange has been confined to the embassy building since he was granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012. His physical and mental health have reportedly suffered on account of his isolation, which has now been intensified by jamming his electronic communications.


      In Ecuador’s 2017 presidential election in which current President Lenin Moreno took office, it was his conservative opponent who threatened to evict Assange, while Moreno had said he could stay, reports say. It was Moreno’s government that granted Assange Ecuadorean citizenship in December, to provide him with ‘another layer of protection,’ and sought to give him diplomatic immunity. All of this would suggest that there has been recent outside pressure on Ecuador on this issue.
      With Swedish prosecutors having last year formally dropped their investigation into rape allegations in Sweden, all that the UK authorities are left with to justify Assange’s arrest is the argument that he ‘skipped bail’ when he took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy. Now, recent revelations of email correspondence between Sweden’s prosecutors and Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have added credence to the view that Assange’s plight has more to do with mala fide intentions of those who wish to see him punished, than any pursuit of justice. It appears that the last four years of Assange’s imprisonment in the embassy have been entirely unnecessary. “In fact, they depended on a legal charade” wrote Jonathan Cook in Counterpunch in February.


      “His only ‘crime’ is that of a true journalist — telling the world the truths that people have a right to know” said a group that included American linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky, Australian journalist/ film-maker John Pilger, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek and many other high profile figures.In an open letter published online they called on president Moreno to end the isolation of Assange, saying Ecuador’s government was justifying the gagging of Wikileaks’ publisher “under extreme pressure from Washington and its collaborators.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘Live Luxuriously for Cheap – Like Scott!’: Green Group Trolls EPA Chief Pruitt With Fake Rental Ads

      Though President Donald Trump on Friday declared that his EPA chief is “doing great job but is totally under siege,” Friends of the Earth was trolling the embattled EPA chief by posting signs around Washington, D.C. offering discounted rental deals like the one Pruitt received from a fossil fuel lobbyist.

      “LUXURY CONDO ON CAPITOL HILL: $50 A NIGHT!!!*” the signs, which popped up overnight, declare. “LIVE LUXURIOUSLY FOR CHEAP—JUST LIKE SCOTT!”

      The small print on the poster reads: “*Special rate void if not a Trump administration able to provide special favors. Property may be used to host GOP fundraisers.”

    • ‘Callously Indifferent’ BP Argued Oil Spills Would Provide ‘Welcome Boost’ to Coastal Economy

      When pitching a proposal to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight of the southern coast of Australia in 2016, according to newly revealed documents, oil giant BP attempted to allay regulators’ concerns by claiming that any future oil spill would actually be a ‘welcome boost’ to the local economy.

    • Documents shed light on BP’s failures in the Great Australian Bight

      A major oil spill in the region would have covered up to 750km of beaches and disrupted whale migration, reveal government documents BP tried to suppress


      For the first time, Climate Home News can reveal why. Government documents have been released under freedom of information laws, nearly two years after they were requested. BP had tried to suppress the information.

      A major oil spill in the sensitive seascape would pollute up to 750km of beaches and shoreline, according to BP’s own modelling, and the company thought drilling may disrupt migration of the endangered southern right whale.

      Two letters from the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (Nopsema) to BP in 2015 and 2016 show BP had failed to address the regulator’s concerns about managing these risks. The details suggest it will be costly for any oil company to drill the area in an environmentally responsible way.

      BP withdrew its plans to drill in October 2016, citing better options for investment. But the company said the Bight remained a prospect and still owns two of the four offshore leases that were subject to the original plans.


      The Japanese have a word to convey a sense of regret concerning waste: mottainai. It can be used as an exclamation – as in “What a waste of food!” – or a slogan for local environmentalists to encourage environmental sustainability.

      So it came as no surprise that Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organisers and Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike made a commitment to making sustainability an integral part of the Games.

      But as construction begins on facilities to support the mammoth undertaking that comes with hosting the Olympics, environmental groups are already up in arms about its effect on mother nature, specifically rainforests in the region.

    • As Antarctic Melting Accelerates, Worst-Case Scenarios May Come True

      Some of the world’s most profound melting of glaciers is happening in the Antarctic; and is invisible from above.

      According to a study recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the underwater melting of Antarctic glaciers is now occurring at a rate that is doubling every 20 years. This means that melting in the ice continent of Antarctica could soon outpace that occurring across Greenland, which would make Antarctica the single largest source of sea level rise.

      The new study was the first complete underwater mapping of Antarctica, by far the world’s largest body of ice.

      The study shows that warming ocean waters have caused the base of the ice near the ocean floor around the south pole to shrink by 1,463 kilometers from 2010 to 2016. This development will likely force worst-case projections of sea level rise to be revised upwards.

  • Finance

    • Does the “Article 50 Challenge” have any merit?

      Some Remainers are hopeful. The hope – a high hope – is that this legal challenge could stop or substantially delay Brexit.

    • More Than One-Third of College Students Struggle with Food and Housing Insecurity, Study Finds

      While higher education has historically been promoted as a “great equalizer,” new research offers the latest evidence that poverty and economic inequality continue to inhibit the realization of that promise.

      A study by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab and Temple University found that about 36 percent of students struggle with food insecurity, or inadequate access to nutritious food, while more than a third also face housing insecurity—defined as the inability to pay rent or utilities or the need to move frequently.

      The researchers documented the experiences of 43,000 college students at more than 60 public and private universities as well as community colleges—the largest-ever national survey assessing whether the basic needs of students are being met.

    • President Trump Keeps Attacking Amazon. See How His Tweets Have Hurt Other Companies
    • Is the U.S. at Full Employment? Should They Put the Brakes on Job Growth to Avoid Inflation Down the Road?

      In the late 60s and the 1970s, anti-inflation concerns often replaced anti-poverty and employment concerns. Reducing demand for goods and workers was used to limit wage and price increases.

    • ‘We are the 99%’: But Richest 1% Will Soon Own Two-Thirds Of World’s Wealth

      More than two-thirds of the world’s entire wealth will be owned by the richest 1% of people by 2030, new research warns.

      The shocking findings of the new report produced by the UK’s House of Commons Library claims that if trends which began after the 2008 financial crisis continue, the 1% will control 64% of world’s money in just 12 years’ time.

      The widening gap between the 1% and everyone else was first highlighted by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which started in 2011 and famously used the slogan: “We are the 99%.”

      The study claims that the wealth of the richest one percent grows at six percent annually, outstripping the three percent annual growth of everyone else, causing a continual movement of money to the top.

    • Outrage Follows Puerto Rico’s Announcement It’s Closing Nearly a Third of Its Public Schools

      Teachers unions and outraged citizens in Puerto Rico are vowing to fight the government’s newly-announced plan to close nearly a third of its public schools.

      Puerto Rico’s Education Department said Thursday that 283 schools would close by the start of the new school year, leaving open just 828.

      “I don’t even know where the schools they’re being located to are,” said Haydee Del Valle, a parent of a 12-year-old who attends one of the schools slated for closure. “I don’t know if they’re too far away from us or if the school bus they take now will be able to take them there,” she told NBC News. “This makes me sad because this is a great school.”

      “We know it’s a difficult and painful process,” said Education Secretary Julia Keleher, a charter school proponent. She added, “Our children deserve the best education that we are capable of giving them taking into account Puerto Rico’s fiscal reality.”

    • Arizona Teachers Strike Is the Answer to Years of Tax Cuts and Neglect of Education

      Arizona teachers are considering a strike, following the recent West Virginia and now Oklahoma and Kentucky examples, if they don’t receive their requested 20 percent pay raise.

      An official strike date hasn’t been set, but the teachers, following the playbooks from West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky, have staged multiple protests in individual districts and at the state capitol in Phoenix for the last five weeks, using the #RedforEd hashtag on Twitter to announce and document their protests. At the capitol this Wednesday, one group of teachers gave the legislature a progress report, and there are more “walk-ins,” with teachers marching into their school buildings to demand better pay.


      “We have the worst pay in the nation for our teachers,” he continued, but pay is just the tip of the iceberg. Arizona teachers have been struggling with years of divestment from Republican governors who slashed education funding to pay for tax cuts.

      Thomas dates the worst of Arizona’s tax cuts back to the reaction to the 2008 Great Recession. “Before the recession, we were spending $1,000 more a student on supplies, teacher salaries and staff hirings and building repair, all of the money that goes into that.”

    • The Oklahoma Teachers’ Strike Is a Mutiny Against Austerity

      Oklahoma teachers proudly marked themselves absent from school since Monday, and they had an excellent excuse: They made themselves present in politics instead, with a historic march on the Capitol in hopes of finally capturing the legislature’s undivided attention

      Lawmakers thought they could eke through another austerity budget with the last-minute addition of a $6,100 wage hike. But an estimated 30,000 educators stopped work starting Monday to force some 200 schools to shutter, in order to send the message to elected representatives that their gesture is insufficient. The planned raise paled against teachers’ demands for a fully funded school budget, as part of a $3.3 billion package to restore massive cutbacks across state agencies, as well as the basic dignity of a living wage for all state workers.

    • ‘We’re Still Here’: Oklahoma Teachers Show No Sign of Ending Strike Without Sufficient Funding

      About 100 teachers from Tulsa also continued a 110-mile walk to the capitol on Thursday after beginning the trek the day before.

    • Amid Massive Teacher Revolt Over Starving Schools, Kentucky GOP Passes ‘Huge Tax Cut for the 1%’

      Although both bills still need a signature from Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, he seemed to signal his support for the pension bill on Twitter, and while he has expressed concerns about the tax measure, the legislature could override a veto. If the tax plan takes effect, experts warn that the states’ poorest residents will be hardest hit.

      “The whole plan is a big tax shift from the wealthy and corporations to the middle class and poor,” Jason Bailey, executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KCEP), told the Lexington Herald-Leader. Bailey highlighted analysis from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) that found those in the state’s top one percent will save, on average, more than $7,000.

    • Trump and His Tariffs

      A year into his presidency, there is little evidence of any improvement. Inequality continues to define the American economic landscape—CEOs, new government data show, can make up to a thousand times more in their salaries than their employees.

    • Uncertainty is the Root of the Current Market Craziness

      For months after his inauguration, US president Donald Trump bragged that he was single-handedly producing an economic boom, citing a rising stock market as evidence.

      Recently, however, he’s stopped that line of self-promotion. The market has seemingly gone nuts. Sudden one-day drops pare back weeks of gains, followed by a cautious recovery of the lost ground. There’s a strong correlation between those swings and Trump’s mouth, whether he’s making formal policy announcements or just tweetstorming his latest obsession.

      To understand the problem, let’s look to the seemingly unrelated fields of economics and physics.

    • [Older] Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich “Puertopians” Are Locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island

      Just off the main square, a large, pink colonial-style house had light shining through every window. It glowed like a beacon in the terrifying darkness.

      The pink house was Casa Pueblo, a community and ecology center with deep roots in this part of the island. Twenty years ago, its founders, a family of scientists and engineers, installed solar panels on the center’s roof, a move that seemed rather hippy-dippy at the time. Somehow, those panels (upgraded over the years) managed to survive Maria’s hurricane-force winds and falling debris. Which meant that in a sea of post-storm darkness, Casa Pueblo had the only sustained power for miles around.

      And like moths to a flame, people from all over the hills of Adjuntas made their way to the warm and welcoming light.

      Already a community hub before the storm, the pink house rapidly transformed into a nerve center for self-organized relief efforts. It would be weeks before the Federal Emergency Management Agency or any other agency would arrive with significant aid, so people flocked to Casa Pueblo to collect food, water, tarps, and chainsaws — and draw on its priceless power supply to charge up their electronics. Most critically, Casa Pueblo became a kind of makeshift field hospital, its airy rooms crowded with elderly people who needed to plug in oxygen machines.

    • A Modest Neoliberal Proposal

      It’s often repeated old news that U.S. public education is being undermined by corporate interests and elitist ideologues. Yet, this sinister trend continues at a quickening pace. How else explain our billionaire U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, and her agenda? How else explain the school-to-prison pipeline and arming teachers? Who doesn’t know by now that we have a man-boy sociopath in the White House who doesn’t care about the millions of young people his politicking harms? Then you have those who spend countless hours digesting Fox News, Breitbart, or the Wall Street Journal, loving the direction the country has taken: why concern oneself with education? Be concerned: don’t be deceived by corporate-backed politicians and pundits who know little about the wholesome education of a young person; listen to verifiable educators in the field. Stay concerned.

      Please share the following, especially the shout-outs at the end for Teaching Agency for Equity: A Framework for Conscientious Engagement, released by Routledge. I am happy to report my poem, “North American Education” appears in the closing chapter. Also, if you haven’t taken a peek yet, please visit The Teacher’s Voice (2004-2014 archived online). It’s a poetry journal I founded for teachers to express themselves. I like thinking TTV did some good for its time.

    • Roger Lowenstein, F**k Your Stock Portfolio

      I realize it would be too much to ask that people who write on economics for major news outlets have any clue about how the economy works. I say that seriously; I have been commenting on economic reporting for more than two decades. Being a writer on economics is not like being a custodian or bus driver where you have to meet certain standards. The right family or friends can get you the job and there is virtually no risk of losing it as a result of inadequate performance.

      But Roger Lowenstein performs a valuable service for us in the Washington Post this morning when he unambiguously equates the value of the stock market with the country’s economic well-being. It seems that Mr. Lowenstein is unhappy that Donald Trump’s recent tariff proposals sent the market plummeting. The piece is titled, “when the president tanks your stock portfolio.” It holds up Trump’s tariff plans as a uniquely irresponsible act because of its impact on stock prices.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump is Still the Most Unpopular President Since Polls Have Been Kept; But It May Not Matter in 2018 or 2020

      Trump recently bragged that his approval ratings were higher than “Cheatin Obama” at this point in his Presidency. As it turns out, only Rasmussen – a right wing polling organization that has consistently put Trump’s approval ratings above those of other polling organizations – had Trump approaching a 50 percent approval. The rest put him somewhere well below that, with two placing his rating below 40 percent.

      But to anyone who navigates through the world using facts, reason, and critical thinking skills, the real questions have to be, 1) just who the hell are the 40 percent or so who do approve of this idiot? 2) how does a guy with just 40 percent approval win the Presidency?

    • Ex-ambassador to Vietnam says Trump wanted him to push for refugees to be taken back

      Former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius said he resigned from his post last year after the Trump administration asked him to pressure the Vietnamese government to receive more than 8,000 Vietnamese refugees marked in the U.S. for deportation.

      The vast majority of the people targeted for deportation — sometimes for minor crimes — were war refugees who had established lives in the U.S. after fleeing the Vietnam War more than 40 years ago, Osius wrote in an essay this month for the American Foreign Service Association.

      “And they were to be ‘returned’ decades later to a nation ruled by a communist regime with which they had never reconciled. I feared many would become human rights cases, and our government would be culpable,” he wrote.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Robert Mercer backed a secretive group that worked with Facebook, Google to target anti-Muslim ads at swing voters

      As the final weeks of the 2016 elections ticked down, voters in swing states like Nevada and North Carolina began seeing eerie promotional travel ads as they scrolled through their Facebook feeds or clicked through Google sites.

      In one, a woman with a French accent cheerfully welcomes visitors to the “Islamic State of France,” where “under Sharia law, you can enjoy everything the Islamic State of France has to offer, as long as you follow the rules.”

      The video has a Man in the High Tower feel. Iconic French tourist sites are both familiar and transformed — the Eiffel Tower is capped with a star and crescent and the spires of the Notre Dame are replaced with the domed qubba of a mosque.

      The Mona Lisa is shown looking, the ad says, “as a woman should,” covered in a burka.

    • Economics Lessons for Thomas Friedman: Putin Brought Russia Out of Poverty

      As a long-term columnist at the NYT, Thomas Friedman apparently never feels the need to know anything about the topics on which he writes. This explains his sarcastic speculation that Putin could be a CIA agent since he has done so much to hurt Russia.

      For all his authoritarian tendencies, it is likely that most Russians think primarily about Putin’s impact on the economy, just as is typically the case among voters in the United States. On that front, Putin has a very good record.

    • Degrading Newspapers’ Business Sections

      It’s alarming that there are far fewer media outlets for consumer protection news and features than there were thirty years ago. Recall the huge Phil Donahue Show, the regional radio show and TV news shows, the television networks and syndicated radio shows that would report and interview consumer advocates about the injustice, rip-offs, and harms done to the consumer by unscrupulous corporations. These shows are largely gone now. Shows marked by fluff, narcissism, trivia, and sensationalist, frenetic news bits are their replacements.

      What is disturbing is that the major newspapers – the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal—are cutting back reporting on the revelations and doings of active consumers, and consumer organizations. Sure, they do occasional features that may gain them big journalism prizes. But the regular coverage of very important consumer struggles with Congress, the White House, the courts, and the state legislatures has vastly shrunken. Moreover, the media, especially TV, is dittoheading itself with the daily “big story”, as with the Trumpian escapades.

    • Chris Hedges: “U.S. Citizens Are Living In An Inverted Totalitarian Country”

      The mainstream media deflects attention from where power resides: corporations, not with the leaders of the free world. The arguments posed by Chris Hedges, that the U.S. is neither a democracy nor a republic but a totalitarian state that can now assassinate its citizens at will, are pertinent ones. Scary ones. Especially as consecutive governments seem equally as impotent to invoke any real change for the States. If the media won’t stand up to the marionettes who pull the strings of the conglomerates causing deep, indelible polarisation in the world abound; then so we must act. Together.

      Listen to the full interview in our weekly Newsvoice Think podcast.

      We were delighted to have Chris Hedges on an episode of the Newsvoice Think podcast as we seek to broadcast perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum. Right, left, red, blue and purple.

      In our interview with Chris, we discussed a range of topics facing the U.S. today as the Trump administration looks back at a year in power, and forward to the November ’18 midterms where Democrats will be looking to make gains. Chris was scathing of that party describing them as a “creature of Wall Street, which is choreographed and ceased to be a proper party a long time ago.”

    • Right-Wing Feedback Loop: How Trump and the GOP Are Radicalizing Each Other

      On April 9, John Bolton will become Donald Trump’s new national security advisor, signaling the arrival of perhaps the most dangerous phase yet of the Trump administration. In Bolton, an unrepentant advocate for carrying out wars of aggression, Trump will have his Henry Kissinger, and the world will be less safe for it.

      Most importantly, Bolton’s appointment should put to rest any misguided hopes regarding the future of the Trump administration: It is sure to become more extreme, more chaotic, and more reflexively violent both domestically and abroad. In short, there is a very good chance that the first year of the Trump administration will be seen, in retrospect, as a relatively calm one, and that the worst is yet to come.

    • To Defend Policy of ‘Must-Run’ Commentaries, Sinclair Forces Stations to Use ‘Must-Run’ Commentary by Former Trump Aide

      acing a flood of external criticism and internal dissent over its efforts to force news anchors to recite scripts bashing the media, Sinclair Broadcast Group doubled down on Wednesday by feeding its news stations yet another must-run clip in which the company’s chief political analyst and former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn defends Sinclair’s attempts to inject right-wing commentary into local news segments.

      “In terms of my analysis playing during your local news, as you see, my segments are very clearly marked as commentary,” Epshteyn notes in a new segment that was internally titled “MEDIA BASHING OF THE SINCLAIR BROADCASTING GROUP.”

      “Here’s the bottom line: I am proud to be the chief political analyst at Sinclair,” Epshteyn adds. “My goal with every segment is to tell you facts which you may not already know, and then my take on those facts. I am thrilled to keep sharing the truth and my perspective with you, day in and day out.”

    • Trump fought legislation requiring sprinklers in NYC buildings

      President Trump has a complicated history with the life-saving sprinklers the Trump Tower residential quarters lacked during a deadly fire Saturday.

      Nearly two decades ago, Trump, then one of the Big Apple’s most prominent real estate moguls, lobbied against Mayor Rudy Giuliani-era legislation that considered whether sprinklers should be installed in all residential buildings after two fatal fires in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

      The 1998 fires, which sparked sweeping building code changes, killed three firefighters at the NYCHA-run housing for seniors and four more died of smoke inhalation at an Upper West Side high-rise where child actor Macaulay Culkin’s family lived.

    • “Neither Washington nor Moscow” – 5 reasons progressives must be wary of playing Putin’s game

      Imagine a far-right government came to power in the UK and immediately set upon arresting or killing anyone that opposed it. The UK immediately moves to bolster its ideological friends across the continent, ordering City banks to grant financing to people like the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen. As part of this nationalist fervour, the UK invades and annexes Britany “to liberate Bretons from the French yoke” and sends in troops to enforce the “peaceful reunification” of the British and Irish peoples. A bombing campaign is begun against Catalonia in support of a similar neo-Francoist government in Spain in which Barcelona is devastated. Domestically, the government reintroduces a stronger version of Section 21 banning ‘gay propaganda’ and concentrates wealth into the hands of kleptocratic elite.

      Outlandish? Yes. But events very similar to this have unfolded in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. So why do some of my friends in the social justice movement appear to accept Kremlin propaganda at face value, or are at least reluctant to criticise his regime – particularly since the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergey Skipral?

    • The truth about Corbyn supporters’ Facebook groups

      On April 1, The Sunday Times published its front page article with the headline ‘Exposed: Jeremy Corbyn’s hate factory’ and stated that ‘The most comprehensive investigation conducted into 20 of the biggest pro-Corbyn Facebook groups — numbering 400,000 members — found routine attacks on Jewish people, including Holocaust denial’.

      Included in that sentence is a link to another article published at the same time in the Times claiming that ‘Anti-semitic and Holocaust-denying posts are rife on Facebook groups cheerleading for Labour’s leader’. The article goes on to say that ‘The dossier was compiled over two months by whistleblowers working with The Sunday Times in the groups, who gained access to restricted membership groups. They uncovered more than 2,000 racist, antisemitic, misogynistic, violent and abusive messages.’

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Is Stormy Daniels being shadowbanned on Twitter?

      It’s true. If you search on her name, and hit the Latest tab, you see lots of Trump-linked tweets and tweets where Ms. Daniels is mentioned, but not a single one of the recent Tweets from Stormy Daniels herself. [Note: her posts don't appear when you click the "Latest" tab, but her posts do appear in the "Top" tab -- Mark]

    • China’s Website and VPN Blocking Hurts Business, US Says

      The US Government sees China’s “Great Firewall” and the associated VPN crackdown as a serious threat to American companies. The censorship efforts are affecting billions of dollars in business, the US Trade Representative writes in its latest Foreign Trade Barriers report. In addition, the new VPN ban causes privacy concerns.

    • Mothers condemn plan to set up ‘censorship zone’ around abortion clinic [Ed: I am not sure I would call that censorship any more than I'd call designating protests to particular places at stated times/programme "censorship". They are menacing and disrupting medical practices.]

      The report proposes the creation of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) setting up a “safe zone” outside the Marie Stopes clinic on Mattock Lane, Ealing to curtail pray vigils. It states that the Council “is satisfied on reasonable grounds” that certain activities in the area “have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality”, and is now restricting these activities within the safe zone.

    • The Federal Attack on Sex Workers’ Rights Is a Threat to Everyone’s Free Speech

      On March 23, Craigslist decided to do away with personal ads. Last week, Microsoft announced plans to make it illegal to get naked on Skype. The company is also out to ban any “offensive language” from Xbox and Office. Reddit has changed its content policy as well: Now the site explicitly forbids users from advertising paid services including “physical sexual contact” on its platform. And it’s not just the big names that are making such urgent amendments. Pounced.org, a dating website for those into Furry Fandom, just shut down.

      While some companies acknowledge it and some don’t, this trend appears to be spreading in anticipation of a sweeping piece of federal legislation that could soon become law. Enter FOSTA, or the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. The bill intends to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which prevents online intermediaries from being held liable for their users’ actions. The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives in late February. By late March, the Senate had voted to advance the measure (SESTA). It just needs Trump’s signature to be passed. Needless to say, tech companies and Internet freedom activists aren’t pleased.

    • Censorship at Yale: my experience on campus

      “You will regret this in ways you do not understand … I’ve seen students burn for things like this.” In Biblical terms, Jonathan Holloway, then-Dean of Yale College, warned me against following through on a counter-protest. Our school motto is light and truth, but Holloway was preaching fire and brimstone.

      In April 2017, the Yale College Republicans and I organized a counter-protest against graduate students’ symbolic “hunger strike” for unionization. Our counter-protest was a barbecue right next to the grad students, but either a mistake was made or someone regretted sanctioning our event, because a few hours after the event was approved, I received an email from Holloway asking for me to call him. That is when he delivered his admonition to me.

      During the barbecue, participants were actively forbidden by Director of Administrative Affairs Pilar Montalvo from engaging with the graduate student union, lest we be shut down. Montalvo’s office had a view of the protests, and when we disobeyed, she stormed out onto the plaza wildly, reiterating her threats. I later learned that it was Montalvo, who works in the Office of the President, who contacted multiple deans at Yale to pressure me to cancel the barbecue.

    • Prodding private companies into censorship by proxy is a dangerous government tradition

      YouTube is worried you might believe too much of what you see on its website. Amid the clamor for someone, somewhere to do something about “fake news,” the company plans to attach “information cues” — excerpts from Wikipedia — to videos that touch on “a list of well-known internet conspiracies.”

      When YouTube, Facebook or Twitter cracks down on some form of expression — conspiracy theories, radical rants, terrorist propaganda — some of the targets inevitably complain that their freedom of speech is under attack. (This feeling of victimhood may be what sent Nasim Aghdam to YouTube headquarters, gun in hand.) There is a strong retort to this: These are private platforms with a right to decide what they publish. It is no more a violation of the 1st Amendment for YouTube to muzzle a channel it finds offensive than it is for this newspaper to refuse to run a column calling for Minnesota to invade Wisconsin.

      But what if a private platform suppresses speech because it’s afraid the government might otherwise step in?

    • What counts as censorship on officials’ social media? Maryland offers a lesson.

      Gov. Larry Hogan’s office, just one official — a 20-something junior staffer — is in charge of managing and monitoring the boss’s official social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. That (presumably overworked) aide must also figure out when commenters are within their First Amendment rights to scold, blast or zing Mr. Hogan, a Republican, and when they cross the line into what another official called “nastiness” and may be censored or banned altogether.

      Where exactly is that line? “It’s like porn,” said Doug Mayer, the governor’s spokesman. “You know it when you see it.”

    • Censorship on Edinburgh Uni campus drives creation of new website

      A growing “crisis” over campus censorship at Edinburgh University is driving the success of a new free speech ­platform where nothing is off-limits, according to the two students who founded it.

      The Broad website has been launched to counter the emergence of “no platforming” and “safe space” initiatives which have hit university societies and speakers which are deemed unpalatable in controversial areas such as abortion or immigration.

    • Beware Censorship by Proxy

      YouTube is worried you might believe too much of what you see on its website. Amid the clamor for someone, somewhere to do something about “fake news,” the company plans to attach “information cues”—excerpts from Wikipedia—to videos that touch on “a list of well-known internet conspiracies.”

      When YouTube, Facebook or Twitter cracks down on some form of expression—conspiracy theories, radical rants, terrorist propaganda—some of the targets inevitably complain that their freedom of speech is under attack. (This feeling of victimhood may be what sent Nasim Aghdam to YouTube headquarters, gun in hand.) There is a strong retort to this: These are private platforms with a right to decide what they publish. It is no more a violation of the First Amendment for YouTube to muzzle a channel it finds offensive than it is for this newspaper to refuse to run a column calling for Minnesota to invade Wisconsin.

    • Museum censorship in light of the #MeToo movement

      In 1896, John William Waterhouse painted his Hylas and the Nymphs. Taking a story from classical mythology, Waterhouse here explored the classical moment in which the youth and Argonaut warrior Hylas was abducted by water nymphs. The painting is housed at Manchester Art Gallery, and provoked controversy last month when it was removed from the walls for a short period of time.

      Clare Gannaway, the curator of the museum, has claimed that this was not a form of censorship and was only ever intended to be a temporary measure. Its removal was designed to provoke debate with visitors being encouraged to place their opinions on post-it notes in the space previously occupied by the painting. Gannaway confirmed to the Guardian that the MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns influenced this decision.

    • Africa round-up: Internet censorship, Cambridge Analytica ripples and more

      It was an eventful month on the continent with the approval of an amendment in South Africa regulating online content and the consideration of a bill seeking to restrict freedom of expression and media freedom, a disturbing trend of attacks on journalists by political party loyalists, the deportation of a photojournalist from Mauritania, and the spreading tentacles of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in Africa.


      The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) immediately condemned the Hawks search allegedly for “secret state security files as part of their investigation”, describing it as a threat to media freedom…

    • Turkey continues to lead in Twitter censorship – report

      Turkey is at the top of the list of third-party takedown requests to one of the world’s most popular social media platforms.

      According to a transparency report published by Twitter, 466 of the total 513 requests made to the online news and social networking site Twitter for content removal and takedowns between June-Dec. 2017, came from Turkey.

    • Turkey overwhelmingly leads world in Twitter censorship

      Turkish government continues its efforts to censor Twitter, according to the site’s new transparency report. The report has showed that 466 of the total 513 requests made to the online news and social networking site Twitter for content removal and takedowns between June-Dec. 2017, came from Turkey.

      Turkey clinched the same title in the previous year. Under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has called Twitter, “the worst menace to society, Turkey has also formed more than half of court orders for takedown requests. Of the 6,138 non-court order based legal requests for content removal, 3,828 came from Turkey.

    • Motives of censorship can be reasonable, but often debatable

      Obscenity is paradoxical and morality is subjective, with a strong resemblance to entering a cold pool, over the years society has gone from dipping its toes to near submergence. As political and moral censorship change, culture faces the “inconvenient” side of censoring. Artists, liberal leaders and philosophers have experienced a lengthy history of presenting “untimely” or “inconvenient” work and facing extreme consequences. Socrates was executed for refusing censorship of his teachings and Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for not adhering to contemporary virtue in his writings. As a basic human right, freedom of speech is the “freedom to express opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship or sanction,” as outlined by John Stuart Mill, author of On Liberty.

    • The looming danger of social media censorship

      While the Easter weekend offered much-needed rest to many, the reality of April 1 is now upon us.

      We are not talking about April Fool jokes, but the increase of VAT that has kicked in and which will make residents of SA feel the burden of an increase in fuel prices and, for some, an increase in taxes.

      These are the economic times we are living in…. Did you know that Eskom is also asking for a further 30 per cent price increase? Yes, it is true – seriously.

      In the midst of all the ‘fun’ things happening around us, such as the Australians resorting to cheating to beat the Proteas in cricket, we can easily miss noting some of the critical developments that could soon affect all our lives.

      Take the National Assembly for example. Recently its members quietly approved the Film and Publications Amendment Bill. This means the regulation of the distribution of online content could become a reality next year.

    • Two Trump-Supporting Black Women Reportedly Deemed ‘Unsafe to Community’ by Facebook
    • Policy team determines Diamond and Silk’s content is ‘unsafe to the Facebook community’
    • Fox News regulars Diamond & Silk have Twitter meltdown after Facebook labels their videos ‘unsafe to the community’
    • ‘We want ANSWERS!’ Diamond and Silk drop the MIC on Facebook about censorship in must-read thread
    • Facebook Designates ‘Diamond And Silk’ Unsafe — Duo Claims Censorship
    • Facebook Wants A License To Censor
    • Facebook intensifies censorship ahead of congressional testimony by Zuckerberg

      Ahead of scheduled congressional testimony by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has announced a series of censorship measures that strike a blow against online anonymity and tighten the company’s grip on what users can say on its platform.

      Zuckerberg announced Friday that the company will “require people who manage large pages to be verified,” meaning they will have to provide the company, and by extension the US government, with their real names and locations.

      Zuckerberg declared that the measure “will make it much harder for people to run pages using fake accounts, or to grow virally and spread misinformation or divisive content.” In addition, the company will prohibit ad purchases by individuals whose identities have not been “verified.”

      The move is a major step toward the fulfillment of the demand by the US intelligence agencies that social media companies end online anonymity, making it easier not only to track, but to arrest people for expressing oppositional political opinions.

      Zuckerberg added that the move would involve the hiring of thousands of additional censors and “security” personnel. “In order to require verification for all of these pages and advertisers, we will hire thousands of more people,” he wrote.

    • Say no to Article 13′s censorship machine

      To fight copyright infringement, policymakers want to force internet companies to scan literally everything users attempt to post on their platforms. If Article 13 in the EU’s Copyright Directive passes into law, an algorithm will decide whether the content you upload is seen or blocked.

      Automated filters will struggle to identify the vital legal exceptions to copyright that enable research, commentary, creative works, parody and so much more. From academics and journalists to parents uploading videos of their children, Article 13′s upload filter would impact professional and ordinary content creators alike.

    • Politicians Who Said SESTA Was Needed To Takedown Backpage Claim Victory Over Backpage Takedown… Without SESTA

      Except not a single thing in SESTA holds online sex traffickers accountable. Indeed, it does the exact opposite of that, in that it makes it that much more difficult for law enforcement to track down actual sex traffickers. Prior to SESTA, websites (including Backpage) frequently worked with law enforcement to help them track down those using their platforms for illegal activity. Under SESTA, no site will be willing to assist law enforcement in such a manner, because doing so will provide evidence of “knowledge” and thus, potentially, criminal liability. This sweeps the problem of sex trafficking under the rug, which might make Senator Portman feel better, but does nothing to tackle the actual problem, and makes it that much more difficult to find and prosecute actual traffickers, let alone find and rescue victims held against their will.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Our MPs must account for Cambridge Analytica

      The timing couldn’t be more ironic. The Cambridge Analytica scandal is showing the world the importance of data protection rights just as the House of Commons is considering a new Data Protection Bill. Now is the perfect time to tell MPs our concerns.

    • Another Company Blows Off Breach Notification For Months, Lies About Affected Customers When It’s Exposed

      Another day, another security breach. Another day, another security breach handled badly by the company leaking data. Another day, another security researcher being treated like garbage for attempting to report it. Etc. Etc.

    • Microsoft and Facebook start intervening in private conversations. How long until they beep out unwanted parts in real time?

      The reasons it’s interesting from a legal perspective is because there’s this concept of Common Carrier in the United States, which has a European equivalent in the Mere Conduit principle. It’s a quid-pro-quo between legislators and telecoms companies: As long as, and only as long as the telco companies don’t interfere with the conversations on the line, then they are also completely shielded from any liability for the conversations on the line.

      The minute they start interfering, they are no longer shielded from liability. Therefore, you would think it would be in their interest to never, ever, interfere with the conversations held on the line.

    • Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says he’s leaving Facebook

      “I am in the process of leaving Facebook. It’s brought me more negatives than positives,” Wozniak wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Apple has more secure ways to share things about yourself. I can still deal with old school email and text messages.”

    • Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Quits Facebook Over Data Collection

      Before deactivating his account, he wanted to delete some ad-related stuff and was shocked by the extent of Facebook’s data collection. Wozniak said that he would consider paying for the service rather than giving away his information that fuels the company’s advertisement platform.

    • Why Zuckerberg’s 14-Year Apology Tour Hasn’t Fixed Facebook

      So, here’s the thing. There is indeed a case of Stockholm syndrome here. There are very few other contexts in which a person would be be allowed to make a series of decisions that have obviously enriched them while eroding the privacy and well-being of billions of people; to make basically the same apology for those decisions countless times over the space of just 14 years; and then to profess innocence, idealism, and complete independence from the obvious structural incentives that have shaped the whole process. This should ordinarily cause all the other educated, literate, and smart people in the room to break into howls of protest or laughter. Or maybe tears.

    • Facebook Scandal a ‘Game Changer’ in Data Privacy Regulation

      The ICO has been reviewing the use of data analytics for political purposes since May 2017 and is now investigating 30 organizations, including Facebook, Denham said earlier this month.

    • DHS Seeking Contractors to Spy on Journalists; What Happened to a Free Press?

      As the surveillance state grows bolder in its endeavors, the Department of Homeland security (DHS) has its sights set on keeping track of journalists, bloggers and other “media influencers.” The plan — known as Media Monitoring Services — is designed to give a contractor company “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.”

      The insatiable desire of surveillance hawks to vacuum up more and more data about average citizens has — especially since the Snowden revelations — drawn the attention of many in the media. It is not surprising that Big Brother would want to more closely watch those who watch the watchers.

    • Police Scotland in secret phone hack operation

      SCOTTISH police have been secretly hacking phones and harvesting massive amounts of data from members of the public, the Sunday Herald can reveal.

      The hacking operation uses new technology to override passwords and encryption, and can download every piece of data held on a mobile phone without the owner’s knowledge. Calls have now gone out for any future harvesting of data to be obtained only under warrant.

      In a secretive pilot project, 18 officers were trained to use a device known as a ‘kiosk’ – which is similar in size to an iPad and can access text messages, encrypted conversations on apps, passwords, geo-locations, contacts, photos, web browsing history and call records in seconds. Deleted data can also be obtained using the technology. Crucially, data cannot be taken within a specific time frame – if police want to access messages or photographs from a particular date, they must access all photographs and messages.

    • Facebook and the Rise of Anti-Social Media

      It was a bit over four years ago that journalist Glenn Greenwald reportedthat British ‘intelligence,’ GCHQ, had developed a program to spread politically targeted disinformation over the internet. The revelation came from a presentation made to the ‘Five Eyesalliance,’ which includes the NSA and was released by Edward Snowden. In the context of Federal and commercialdata collection, revelations that Facebook data was used for ‘private’ political purposes is both more and less than meets the eye.

      As was widely reportedwith less manufactured outrage at the time, the Obama administration used Facebook data in Mr. Obama’s 2012 presidential bid in approximately the same manner that Cambridge Analytica is now accused of doing. Thanks to Edward Snowden, it has been known since 2013 that the NSA was using Facebook datafor political purposes. And prior still, in 2011 the CIA reportedthat it was ‘using’ social media, some of which it had funded, toward its own ends.

      There is good reason for political pushback here. A wide variety of corporate and state actors have instantiated the internet into the fabric contemporary economic and political life. With a history of bad faith and bad acts, the fantasy that the CIA, NSA and FBI serve national interests begs the question of whose nation? Past targets including the Black Panther Party, Occupy Wall Street and antiwar protestors were as (more) capable of defining American interests as government technocrats.

      The ‘innovation’ of Five Eyes, the consortium of Anglophone intelligence agencies, is to expand the realm of competitive Party politics to that of national agencies working toward their own ends in a hidden supranational realm. The alternative frame of competitive state actors is undermined by the decision of GCHQ to reveal its methods to its ‘external’ partners. Precisely how do national governments ‘manage’ the methods and agendas of supranational agencies when they can evade national restrictions through ‘external’ relationships?

    • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to testify before House and Senate panels that got Facebook money
    • Police to uphold identity protection

      Chinese police are planning to further strengthen internet security by punishing network services providers that steal or sell users’ information, even if a crime has not been committed.

      “Internet services providers could be fined up to 1 million yuan ($159,000) for stealing, illegally selling or providing users’ personal information, even if no crime occurred or illegal income gained,” read a draft released by the Ministry of Public Security on internet security monitoring, the Beijing Daily reported on Saturday.

      The ministry released the regulation for public opinion Wednesday.

    • Facebook is unfixable. We need a nonprofit, public-spirited replacement.

      The corruption and surveillance culture of Facebook is baked in deep and can never be removed; if you doubt it, just peruse a sampling of their patent filings, which are like Black Mirror fanfic written by lawyers.

      Tim Wu (previously) points out that sites on the scale of Facebook — like Wikipedia — deliver value to titanic, global audiences at a fraction of the cost of Facebook’s operating budget. When you take out the spying, the sleaze, the giant paydays for execs and investors, it’s a tractable proposition to run Facebook without Facebook, Inc.

    • Homeland Security database would track bloggers, social media

      The Department of Homeland Security has put out a call for companies that could create a database tracking over 290,000 “media influencers” around the world, including online news outlets, bloggers and prominent social network accounts. The system would identify contributor details (such as contact info and their employers), and would allow searching for individuals and outlets through categories like their locations, the focuses of their coverage and their sentiment.

    • Homeland Security Wants to Build an Online ‘Media Influence Database’ to Track Journalists

      Posted on April 3rd as a call for “Media Monitoring Services,” the database has a dual purpose: monitoring hundreds of thousands of news sources simultaneously worldwide as well as tracking and categorizing journalists and bloggers. The “Media Intelligence and Benchmarking Platform,” as the proposed database is called, would monitor more than 290,000 “online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, trade and industry” news sources worldwide. DHS wants the database to rank and categorize news sources according to a variety of factors, including content and topics covered, reach, circulation and location, and sentiment.


      No value for the bid has been disclosed. Responses are due April 13th.

    • Homeland Security to Compile Database of Journalists, Bloggers

      The DHS wants to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, cable, and radio, as well as trade and industry publications, local, national and international outlets, and social media, according to the documents. It also wants the ability to track media coverage in more than 100 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, with instant translation of articles into English.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Pro-Torture Super Hawk Mike Pompeo Becoming Secretary of State: No Way

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Thursday made clear that her vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee to be secretary of state will be a firm “no.”

      “The State Department needs a leader who will prioritize diplomacy,” she tweeted. “The current nominee, Mike Pompeo, has defended the use of torture, tried to undermine the Iran nuclear deal, and scapegoated Muslim Americans after the Boston Marathon bombing. I won’t vote to confirm him.”

    • Guatemala shows why the CIA must be held accountable for torture

      Gina Haspel’s nomination for CIA chief has reignited debate over accountability for torture. A bi-partisan group of Senators, including John McCain (R-Ariz.), is demanding greater transparency from the CIA on Haspel’s involvement in waterboarding and other acts of torture at the “black site” she ran in Thailand, as well as her role in destroying videotapes of torture sessions.

      As discussions around Haspel’s nomination heat up, other contentious legal proceedings — the current genocide trials in Guatemala — remind us that U.S. sanctioning of torture has a long, dark history with which we have yet to reckon.

      Guatemala shows us why amnesia is dangerous and why the Senate must reject Haspel’s nomination.

    • Revisiting the Prison Industrial Complex

      Authoritarian capitalism and the prison industrial complex is a two-tiered tyrannical system designed to enslave through mass incarceration.

    • The Shameful Exploitation of Martin Luther King Jr.

      This context is significant. King was motivated by the strong need for economic equality and social justice and his Poor Peoples Campaign was largely a reflection of his understanding of Jesus’s teachings. The workers suffered from systemic abuses, but were not responding to low wages in that instance, they were outraged about the lack of a response to the death of two workers crushed to death by a malfunctioning truck. The poorly paid workers still needed to use food-stamps to feed their families.

      Fifty years later this reality remains unchanged. Pence serves an administration that wants people on welfare and food-stamps to get jobs, but the majority already work. Meanwhile congressional Republicans (like Loudermilk) want to cut benefits, efforts to kick 8 million people (20 percent of recipients) off of food stamps are underway, and there is speculation that increased spending and tax giveaways are a means to gutting welfare programs and the social safety net as a whole. These actions dishonor King’s legacy.

      Starving the beast—lower corporate taxes, increase Pentagon spending, swell the deficit—to justify cutting the benefit programs that millions require to survive. This is the thrust of the Republican White House and Congress.

      Agape—compassionate love for humankind—is what King promoted. When our leaders practice that, they deserve to publicly associate themselves with Dr. King.

    • Britain Trained a Bahraini Police Chief Who Presided Over Abuse of Political Dissidents

      The day after this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, a less glamorous event will take place on the tiny Gulf island. A female human rights activist is going on trial. Najah Ahmed Yousif faces 15 years imprisonment for campaigning on social media. The prosecution’s case includes evidence that allegedly links her to Facebook posts “promoting and encouraging people to overthrow the political and social systems”. Bahrain is run by King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa – whose reign has been in turmoil ever since Arab Spring protests were crushed in 2011, with help from neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

      Supporters of Ms Yousif say that she is the real victim in this case, that the prosecutor’s case includes social media posts that were peaceful and merely critical of Formula 1, and that the Bahraini authorities themselves should face scrutiny over their treatment of Ms Yousif.

      In particular, they have serious concerns about a British-trained Bahraini police officer, Brigadier Fawaz Hassan Al Hassan. He is the most senior police officer in Muharraq, a city near the country’s only airport – where many F1 fans will pass through this weekend on their way to the Grand Prix circuit.

      Crucially, campaigners say Brigadier Al Hassan is ultimately responsible for the police station where Ms Yousif was taken after her arrest in April of 2017. Although there is no suggestion that the Brigadier was personally involved in abusing her, or sanctioned any such abuse, they claim that it was at this station where Ms Yousif was beaten and sexually assaulted by members of Bahrain’s National Security Agency. “They physically assaulted me, they tried to tear off my clothes, touched my sexual organs, threatened me with rape,” she later told her supporters in a phone call from prison.

    • Spending a Night in the Concord Jail When Martin Luther King, Jr. was Assassinated

      The topic I had chosen was tracing Martin Luther King’s political roots back through the thought and practice of Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi and philosopher and anti-war protester Henry David Thoreau.

    • How Dr. King Lived is Why He Died

      He mobilized mass action to win a public accommodations bill and the right to vote. He led the Montgomery bus boycott and navigated police terror in Birmingham. He got us over the bloodstained bridge in Selma and survived the rocks and bottles and hatred in Chicago. He globalized our struggle to end the war in Vietnam.

    • Against False Conflation: JFK, MLK, and the Triple Evils

      There are good reasons to doubt the official stories and suspect “deep state” conspiracies in both cases. But don’t ask me for any definitive answers. I don’t have any and I doubt I ever will. (Don’t ask me about Bobby Kennedy either).

    • Rappler fights to survive amid rising threats to journalists in the Philippines

      On January 15, the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that online news group Rappler had violated laws barring foreign ownership and control of local media, and moved to revoke its registration.

      The ruling was based on accusations that Rappler received funds from the Omidyar Network, a fund created by eBay founder and entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar to promote open societies.

      Maria Ressa, Rappler’s founder and editor, has challenged what she and others at Rappler see as a politicized decision aimed at stifling critical coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s government and policies, including a lethal “war on drugs” campaign that has resulted in thousands of deaths.

    • The Indigenous Collective Using Tattoos to Rise Above Colonialism

      Thunderbird Woman was the image that caught my eye at the Standing Rock water protector camps. As an Ojibwe woman, I immediately realized that the depiction was an example of my ancestors’ ancient spirit writings, or symbols, recorded on birch bark scrolls and on rock faces along the Great Lakes long before Europeans landed in America. Thunderbird Woman, with her winged arms outstretched, seemed to float on the canvases at Standing Rock, portraying a cosmology in which dynamic spiritual forces are depicted internally, as if through an X-ray. Water rained down from her wings and thunderbolts surrounded her head. Her shape was a simple outline, and her heart anchored her image.


      The members of Onaman coordinate a host of Indigenous activities, including language immersion and traditional arts camps. They also coordinate art builds to address social inequality all over the U.S. and Canada. Recently, Collective members joined Greenpeace in protesting Wells Fargo Bank investment in pipelines by painting a giant image of the Thunderbird Woman at the company’s world headquarters in San Francisco.

    • Malaysia Shows How Trump Is Making Journalism a More Dangerous Profession Across the Globe

      When President Donald Trump turned the words “fake news” into an attack on the free press, authoritarians across the world were emboldened by his rejection of democratic norms. As a result, journalists around the world face real dangers from repressive regimes.

      The latest example comes from Malaysia, where the government is on the verge of enacting a law that supposedly criminalizes publication of “fake news,” which could land journalists in jail for up to six years and liable for fines up to $130,000. The Malaysian government will get to decide what is and isn’t “fake news” and who should go to jail for writing it.

    • Tennessee students continue their fight against a discriminatory voter ID law

      “Why is it that a handgun carry permit can be used when casting a ballot, but a student ID card cannot?”

      Tanya Torres, president of the student government at Fisk University, a historically black school in Nashville, Tennessee, asked that question last week in an impromptu press conference outside the office of state Rep. Tim Wirgau, the Republican chair of the Committee on Local Government.

    • U.S. Schools Disproportionately Punish Black Students, GAO Report Confirms

      Heavy-handed racialized punishment starts at an early age, the Government Accountability Office confirmed on Wednesday.

      The federal watchdog released a report finding that Black students are over-represented among severely reprimanded elementary, middle and high school students.

      While Black children and teenagers make up 15.5 percent of all public school students, they’re disproportionately represented among the number of students who have received out-of-school suspensions (38.7 percent), school-related arrests (34.9 percent), and expulsions (30.1 percent).

      And while boys are over-represented among students who receive major punishments, Black girls were reprimanded in US schools at almost twice the rate of White boys (10 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai’s FCC Doesn’t Want You to Know About the Secret Deliberations That Led to the Worst Video the Internet Has Ever Seen

      Apparently, the FCC doesn’t want the public to know anything about its secretive deliberations with the right-wing Daily Caller that brought this “comedy” sketch into existence.

      Faced with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the non-profit investigative group MuckRock—which asked for the communications between the Daily Caller and the FCC—the Republican-controlled agency this week invoked the so-called b5 exemption, which one analyst described as “an excuse used by government regulators to avoid releasing public documents.”

      “The very basic fact that they’re unwilling to even disclose whether anybody had objections to this internally, or if they were all aboard, is the larger problem,” said J. Pat Brown, the executive editor of Muckrock, which is appealing the FOIA denial and reportedly contemplating filing a lawsuit against the FCC. “You are entitled answers out of your government.”

    • RSS is undead

      Facebook’s scandal over Cambridge Analytica, there is a whole new wave of commentators calling for RSS to be resuscitated. Brian Barrett at Wired said a week ago that “… anyone weary of black-box algorithms controlling what you see online at least has a respite, one that’s been there all along but has often gone ignored. Tired of Twitter? Facebook fatigued? It’s time to head back to RSS.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 8/4/2018: KDE Applications 18.04 Release Candidate, Features Approval For Fedora 29

Posted in News Roundup at 11:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Slimbook Curve: Enjoy Using Linux On This 24″ Curved Screen All-In-One Powerhouse

      Slimbook has added another machine to their PC lineup which lets people experience Linux on quality machines. Their latest offering is an All-In-One desktop computer called Slimbook Curve.

      As the name suggests, it lets you use your favorite Linux distro on a 24-inch FHD curved screen display that is enclosed in a beautiful aluminum body. Slimbook Curve comes with all the features and enough power a regular user would want from their PC.

  • Kernel Space

    • Submitting my first patch to the Linux kernel

      I started using Linux three years ago while attending university, and I was fascinated to discover a different desktop environment. My professor introduced me to the Ubuntu operating system, and I decided to dual-boot it along with Windows on my laptop the same day.

      Within three months, I had completely abandoned Windows and shifted to Fedora after hearing about the RPM Package Manager. I also tried running Debian for stability, but in early 2017 I realized Arch Linux suits all my needs for cutting-edge packages. Now I use it along with the KDE desktop and can customize it according to my needs.

    • PCI, Crypto & Other Updates Head Into Linux 4.17

      We are at the end of the first (and busiest) week of the two-week long Linux 4.17 kernel merge window. There have been many articles on Phoronix about the big highlights of this next kernel version while here are some of the smaller change-sets that came about this week.

    • Thunderbolt Updates Head Into Linux 4.17, Adds USB/SL4 Security Level

      Greg Kroah-Hartman’s char/misc pull this week included a fair amount of Thunderbolt support improvements for the forthcoming Linux 4.17 kernel.

      Thunderbolt changes queued for Linux 4.17 include support for the new Intel Titan Ridge controller, support for a USB-only SL4 security level, prevent crashes when the ICM firmware is not active, support for a pre-boot ACL, handling for rejected Thunderbolt devices, and other error handling improvements and Thunderbolt related fixes.

    • POWER Updates For Linux 4.17 Drop POWER4 CPU Support

      In addition to Linux 4.17 dropping eight obsolete CPU architectures, this next kernel release is also doing away with POWER4 CPU support.

      The IBM POWER4 architecture dates back to 2001 for RS/6000 and AS/400 computers with just above 1.0GHz clock frequencies, dual cores, and around a 115 Watt TDP. POWER4 was succeeded by POWER5 in 2004. While POWER4 and POWER4+ support is removed, PowerPC 970 and POWER5 and newer support remains.

      It turns out back in 2016, the POWER4 CPU support was accidentally broken and with no one noticing the past two years, developers have decided to just do away with this older PowerPC architecture. This frees up some maintenance burden and “blocked use of some modern instructions.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • “The Forge” Rendering Framework Adds Linux/Vulkan Support

        The Forge, a cross-platform rendering framework developed by Confetti, a graphics research think-tank and consulting company, has rolled out Linux and Vulkan support.

        The Forge rendering framework supports Windows 10 with DirectX 12 and Vulkan, as well as the new DirectX Ray-Tracing API. There is also Metal 2 support on iOS/macOS, preliminary Android Vulkan support, PS4 and Xbox One console support, and now PC Linux support in the form of Vulkan graphics officially supported on Ubuntu.

      • DXVK, the Vulkan compatibility layer for Direct3D 11 and Wine has a fresh release reducing CPU overhead

        Since there’s a lot of excitement around DXVK we’ve been following it closely and a fresh release made it out last night.

        For those who don’t remember it, DXVK is the compatibility layer for running Direct3D 11 games in Wine using Vulkan. It’s a very promising project, with a lot of people having fun with it already on Linux.

      • Vulkan 1.1.72 Released With Three New Extensions

        Vulkan 1.1.72 is now available, which for simple terms is really “Vulkan 1.1.2″ except for the patch number having not been reset when Vulkan 1.1 was launched last month.

        Vulkan 1.1.72 has several documentation fixes and other corrections/clarifications. But of course what has most of our interest are three new extensions. The new extensions are VK_AMD_shader_core_properties, VK_NV_shader_subgroup_partitioned, and VK_EXT_descriptor_indexing.

      • Sway 1.0 Reaches Alpha For This Popular Wayland Compositor

        The Sway Wayland Compositor that is known for its compatibility and inspiration from the i3 tiling window manager is nearly out with its version 1.0 release.

        Sway 1.0 Alpha was released this Saturday evening as the first step towards the big 1.0 milestone. This release is now based on the wlroots Wayland compositor library and the code-base itself to the compositor was completely overhauled. In the process, the NVIDIA proprietary driver support was also removed.

      • NVIDIA Preparing To Drop Fermi Support From Their Mainline Drivers

        NVIDIA is in the process of retiring GeForce 400/500 “Fermi” GPU support from their mainline graphics drivers on Windows and Linux/BSD/Solaris.

        Yesterday NVIDIA announced that critical security updates for Fermi series GPUs will continue through January 2019, but after that be cut off while for now they will still be issuing “Game Ready Driver” (Windows) drivers with Fermi support included.

      • VKVG: Vulkan Vector Graphics With A Cairo-Like API

        The latest nifty open-source Vulkan project we have come across worthy of a shout-out is VKVG. VKVG is short for Vulkan Vector Graphics and is a C library for drawing 2D vector graphics using the Vulkan graphics API.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Ryzen 7 Performance On Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Six Linux Distributions

        Our latest Windows vs. Linux benchmarking interest has been seeing how the AMD Ryzen 7 performance compares with the latest operating systems / Linux distributions. We have recently posted some Windows 10 vs. Windows WSL vs. Windows Linux benchmarks, relative Spectre/Meltdown mitigation impact tests on Windows vs. Linux, and other benchmarks but has mostly been done with Intel or server hardware. For those curious, today’s tests were done with an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 platform.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Ships Release Candidate of KDE Applications 18.04

        April 6, 2018. Today KDE released the release candidate of the new versions of KDE Applications. With dependency and feature freezes in place, the KDE team’s focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing.

        Check the community release notes for information on tarballs and known issues. A more complete announcement will be available for the final release

        The KDE Applications 18.04 releases need a thorough testing in order to maintain and improve the quality and user experience. Actual users are critical to maintaining high KDE quality, because developers simply cannot test every possible configuration. We’re counting on you to help find bugs early so they can be squashed before the final release. Please consider joining the team by installing the release candidate and reporting any bugs.

      • KDE Applications 18.04 Release Candidate Arrives
      • Community Data Analytics: Now in Technicolor!

        So let’s revisit our “whole year 2017 for all of KDEPIM” (that is the parts in KDE Applications, in Extragear and in Playground) with more colors!

        Firstly, this gives us the weekly activity using the “Magma” palette and a linear interpolation of the colors between the minimum and maximum commit counts…


        This time we don’t even need to zoom in to spot the code KDEPIM contributors in 2017. With the color coding, we see right away again that Laurent Montel, Daniel Vratil and Volker Krause are the core contributors. It’s much less guess work than the last time, we’re backed by the color coded centrality metric now. We can also better see that Allen Winter, Sandro Knauß and David Faure are very central too, something that we missed the last time.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Canta Is An Amazing Material Design GTK Theme

        Canta is a complete Material Design theme. It uses pastel colors in a beautiful blend, with round buttons, tabs, and corners. Subtle, unobtrusive transparency is used sporadically, giving Canta a stylish look.

      • 12 Best GTK Themes for Ubuntu and other Linux Distributions

        For those of us that use Ubuntu proper, the move from Unity to Gnome as the default desktop environment has made theming and customizing easier than ever. Gnome has a fairly large tweaking community, and there is no shortage of fantastic GTK themes for users to choose from. With that in mind, I went ahead and found some of my favorite themes that I have come across in recent months. These are what I believe offer some of the best experiences that you can find.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • MX Linux: A Mid-Weight Distro Focused on Simplicity

        MX Linux makes transitioning from just about any desktop operating system simple. Although some might find the desktop interface to be a bit less-than-modern, the distribution’s primary focus isn’t on beauty, but simplicity. To that end, MX Linux succeeds in stellar fashion. This flavor of Linux can make anyone feel right at home on Linux. Spin up this mid-weight distribution and see if it can’t serve as your daily driver.

    • New Releases

      • What’s New in Enso OS 0.2.1

        Enso OS 0.2.1 is the latest release of Enso Linux Distribution 0.2 series. This release features Xfce 4.12 series as default desktop environment, include the Panther application launcher, which it can resizing itself on change of the screen resolution. Also Plank dock installed by default.

        Based on Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS and using Linux Kernel 4.4, which means that it offers support for the latest hardware components available on the market. Galal now includes a new windows switcher that lists the active windows in a much more easy to read manner that is more familiar to users than was previously implemented. Enso greeter now applies a nice blur effect onto the set background which was kindly taken from the Deepin project

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: Introduction to Quay with Joey Schorr (Red Hat)

        In this briefing, Red Hat’s Joey Schorr gave a in-depth introduction on and demonstration of Quay, CoreOs’ Application Registry for Kubernetes with OpenShift. Quay is an container registry for building, storing, and distributing your private containers to your servers.

      • Latest CRIU for CentOS COPR

        The version of CRIU which is included with CentOS is updated with every minor CentOS release (at least at the time of writing this) since 7.2, but once the minor CentOS release is available CRIU is not updated anymore until the next minor release. To make it easier to use the latest version of CRIU on CentOS I am now also rebuilding the latest version in COPR for CentOS: https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/adrian/criu-el7/.

      • Kerberos Sidecar Container

        The challenge facing this team was how best to implement the Kerberos client for processes running in containers, and how to ensure that the authentication remained valid for long running processes.

        For those not familiar with Kerberos, it is essentially a protocol for authentication, commonly used to allow users or systems to connect to other systems. Tickets are used to authenticate, avoiding the storing, or sending, of passwords, and it is based on symmetric key cryptography.

      • Red Hat Summit 2018: Develop Secure Apps and Services

        Red Hat Summit 2018 will focus on modern application development. A critical part of modern application development is of course securing your applications and services. Things were challenging when you only needed to secure a single monolithic application. In a modern application landscape, you’re probably looking at building microservices and possibly exposing application services and APIs outside the boundaries of your enterprise. In order to deploy cloud-native applications and microservices you must be able to secure them. You might be faced with the challenge of securing both applications and back-end services accessed by mobile devices while using third party identity providers like social networks. Fortunately, Red Hat Summit 2018 has a number of developer-oriented sessions where you can learn how to secure your applications and services, integrate single-sign on, and manage your APIs. Session highlights include:

      • Red Hat scripting languages for beta: adds Ruby 2.5, Perl 5.26; updates PHP 7.1.8

        Twice a year, Red Hat distributes new versions of compiler toolsets, scripting languages, open source databases, and/or web tools, etc. so that application developers will have access to the latest, stable versions. These Red Hat supported offerings are packaged as Red Hat Software Collections (scripting languages, open source databases, web tools, etc.), Red Hat Developer Toolset (GCC), and the recently added compiler toolsets Clang/LLVM, Go, and Rust. All are yum installable, and are included in most Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions and all Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Subscriptions. Most Red Hat Software Collections and Red Hat Developer Toolset components are also available as Linux container images for hybrid cloud development across Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, etc.

      • Red Hat adds/updates web tools for beta: HAProxy 1.8, Varnish 5.0, Apache httpd 2.4

        Twice a year, Red Hat distributes new versions of compiler toolsets, scripting languages, open source databases, and/or web tools, etc. so that application developers will have access to the latest, stable versions. These Red Hat supported offerings are packaged as Red Hat Software Collections (scripting languages, open source databases, web tools, etc.), Red Hat Developer Toolset (GCC), and the recently added compiler toolsets Clang/LLVM, Go, and Rust. All are yum installable, and are included in most Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions and all Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Subscriptions. Most Red Hat Software Collections and Red Hat Developer Toolset components are also available as Linux container images for hybrid cloud development across Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, etc.

      • New Red Hat compilers toolsets in beta: Clang and LLVM, GCC, Go, Rust

        Twice a year, Red Hat distributes new versions of compiler toolsets, scripting languages, open source databases, and/or web tools, etc. so that application developers will have access to the latest, stable versions. These Red Hat supported offerings are packaged as Red Hat Software Collections (scripting languages, open source databases, web tools, etc.), Red Hat Developer Toolset (GCC), and the recently added compiler toolsets Clang/LLVM, Go, and Rust. All are yum installable, and are included in most Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions and all Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Subscriptions. Most Red Hat Software Collections and Red Hat Developer Toolset components are also available as Linux container images for hybrid cloud development across Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, etc.

      • Red Hat open source databases in beta: Adds PostgreSQL 10, MongoDB 3.6; updates MySQL 5.7

        Twice a year, Red Hat distributes new versions of compiler toolsets, scripting languages, open source databases, and/or web tools, etc. so that application developers will have access to the latest, stable versions. These Red Hat supported offerings are packaged as Red Hat Software Collections (scripting languages, open source databases, web tools, etc.), Red Hat Developer Toolset (GCC), and the recently added compiler toolsets Clang/LLVM, Go, and Rust. All are yum installable, and are included in most Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions and all Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Subscriptions. Most Red Hat Software Collections and Red Hat Developer Toolset components are also available as Linux container images for hybrid cloud development across Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, etc.

      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: CyberArk Conjur Secrets Management on OpenShift

        In this briefing, Naama Schwartzblat and Kumbirai Tanekha (CyberArk) discuss and demo how to securely inject secrets into your applications and manage machine identities with CyberArk Conjur. Kumbirai Tanekha and Naama Schwartzblat,the lead developers on Conjur both of whom worked directly on the Conjur-OpenShift integration. They demonstrated how secrets can be managed and delivered securely to applications running in OpenShift without developer impedance, and how OpenShift security policy for secrets and machine identity can be managed as code.

      • CentOS 7.4 upgrade – Still got it

        The upgrade of CentOS to 7.4 (1708) worked fine. I did hit a few snags, but they were entirely due to my own use of third party sources. Once I had that ironed out, the process was robust. Even my extra programs were correctly carried over, all except Skype. Not bad, given that I have a beautiful, slick, and fully functional desktop with ten years of stability and support.

        Now, not all is golden. The old kernel 3.X is not as fast as the new 4.X stuff, and you can feel it. CentOS is pretty nimble, but modern distros are nimbler. And Plasma 5 is superior to KDE 4. Which is in fact my next project. See if I can get a custom kernel running and perhaps even grab Plasma. I’m not in the mood for excessive manual labor and compilations, but this might be doable.

        All in all, for those comfortable with running a somewhat conservative server distro with top-notch stability and many years of updates, and who do not mind not having always the latest and greatest stuff, CentOS 7.4 makes for an almost ideal candidate. Actually, the ideal candidate would have kernel 4.15 and Plasma, but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, 18 months of neglect have got nothing on CentOS. Linux on.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Early Features Begin Receiving Approval For Fedora 29

          Today was another weekly Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo). We had been looking forward to this meeting for a decision on the GNOME auto-suspend by default behavior but there wasn’t a quorum and that topic was then diverted until next week. But there were also early Fedora 29 features approved this week.

        • Improved Flathub Website Makes It Easier to Find Flatpak Apps

          It just got a whole heap easier to find and install Flatpak apps on Linux distros like Ubuntu.

          A new version of the Flathub website is now live on Flathub.org, albeit in beta.

          The improved front-end to what is the de facto Flatpak app store offers search, browsing and install options.

          It’s packed with app descriptions, screenshots, browsable categories, search, meta info, and a beautifully fluid design.

        • Fedora 28 : Golang by JetBrains .
    • Debian Family

      • Debian & Stuff — Montreal Debian Meeting

        Today we had a meeting of the local Montreal Debian group. The last meetings we had were centered on working on finishing the DebConf17 final report and some people told us they didn’t feel welcome because they weren’t part of the organisation of the conference.

        I thus decided to call today’s event “Debian & Stuff” and invite people to come hack with us on diverse Debian related projects. Most of the people who came were part of the DC17 local team, but a few other people came anyway and we all had a great time. Someone even came from Ottawa to learn how to compile the Linux kernel!

      • Derivatives

        • Debian GNU/Linux Operating System Is Now Supported on 64-bit RISC-V Hardware

          If you want to use the Debian GNU/Linux operating system on 64-bit RISC-V devices, you should know that there’s now an official port for the RISC-V 64-bit (riscv64) architecture in Debian infrastructure.

          The announcement comes from developer Manuel Fernandez Montecelo, who said that after a few weeks of hard work, he and his team managed to do an official 64-bit RISC-V bootstrap, which is now available in Debian Project’s debian-ports infrastructure for those who want to download packages on their RISC-V devices.

          “We’ve been working in the last few weeks to do a (second) bootstrap of Debian for RISC-V, and after a few weeks of hard work it is now bootstrapped and has been imported into the Debian infrastructure, in particular, debian-ports,” said Manuel Fernandez Montecelo in the announcement.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Gives Nautilus a Striking New Look

            There’s a rather large visual change in Ubuntu 18.04 that I’ve only just noticed.

            It’s not because the change in question is subtle or easy to miss. It’s because I have only just booted up a copy of the Bionic Beaver thanks to the release of Ubuntu 18.04 beta 2.

          • Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS ‘Bionic Beaver’ Beta 2 now available

            Ubuntu Linux 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” is almost here — it is due on April 26. In the interim, today, the second — and final — beta becomes available. Bionic Beaver is very significant, as it is an LTS version, meaning “Long Term Support.” This is important to those that prefer stability to bleeding edge and don’t want to deal with the hassle of upgrades. In other words, you can install 18.04 and be confident that it will be supported for 5 years. In comparison, non-LTS Ubuntu versions get a mere 9 months.

            There is plenty to be excited about with Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS ‘Bionic Beaver’ Beta 2, including the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment — Beta 1 did not include GNOME at all. Of course, all the other DE flavors are available too, such as KDE and Xfce. The kernel is at 4.15, which while not the most current version, is still quite modern. Also included is LibreOffice 6.0 — an essential tool that rivals Microsoft Office. Wayland is available as a technical preview, although X remains the default display server — for now.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Final Beta Available to Download

            USB thumb drives at the ready as the Ubuntu 18.04 beta download is now available for testing.

            This release marks the first official testing snapshot of what will become Ubuntu 18.04 LTS later this month.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Final Beta Released
          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Final Beta released

            The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the final beta release of the
            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Desktop, Server, and Cloud products.

            Codenamed “Bionic Beaver”, 18.04 LTS continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition
            of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a
            high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard
            at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

            This beta release includes images from not only the Ubuntu Desktop,
            Server, and Cloud products, but also the Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu
            Budgie, UbuntuKylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, and Xubuntu flavours.

            The beta images are known to be reasonably free of showstopper CD
            build or installer bugs, while representing a very recent snapshot of
            18.04 that should be representative of the features intended to ship
            with the final release expected on April 26th, 2018.

          • 10 Reasons To Use Ubuntu Linux

            Ubuntu Linux is the most popular open source operating system. There are many reasons to use Ubuntu Linux that make it a worthy Linux distro. Apart from being free and open source, it’s highly customizable and has a Software Center full of apps.

            There are numerous Linux distributions designed to serve different needs. Being an open source software, Linux allows the developers to pick its code and create something new and exciting.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver “Final Beta” Released: Download Now

            Almost two weeks are left for Ubuntu’s next long-term release Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver to arrive for Linux fans. Canonical has announced its Beta 2 release, a near-final build showcasing the changes that’ll arrive with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

          • Canonical Releases Major Linux Kernel Update for Ubuntu 17.10 for Raspberry Pi 2

            Canonical released a major Linux kernel update for Ubuntu 17.10 for Raspberry Pi 2, addressing various security vulnerabilities that were previously patched for 64-bit and 32-bit architectures earlier this week.

            The security advisory mentions a total of 21 security vulnerabilities fixed for linux-raspi2, the Linux kernel for Raspberry Pi 2 on Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating systems, including a race condition that could lead to a use-after-free vulnerability in Linux kernel’s ALSA PCM subsystem, and a use-after-free vulnerability in the network namespaces implementation.

            The update also addresses a race condition in Linux kernel’s OCFS2 filesystem and loop block device implementations, as well as a null pointer dereference in the RDS (Reliable Datagram Sockets) protocol implementation. Most of these flaws could allow a local attacker to crash the vulnerable system by causing a denial of service or possibly execute arbitrary code.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu Zesty Aardvark upgrade

              The Xubuntu upgrade process worked rather well. First, I was able to work around the Zesty EOL quirks, and that’s an important one, but I expect Ubuntu (and friends) to offer a seamless GUI mechanism. Users should not have to wonder how to get an upgrade underway. Then, the actual upgrade was successful, especially considering I had an UKUU kernel, lots of third-party repos, and that all of this runs in a complex eight-boot UEFI configuration.

              Post boot, we had a single error, but nothing after that. Smooth sailing. Good performance, Meltdown and microcode stuff notwithstanding, good hardware support, lots of nice programs and sweet looks all over the place. Fewer niggles than with Kubuntu 17.10, meaning the dev teams had time to polish all those beta-quality rough edges that were unleashed onto unsuspecting users. This leaves my Xubuntu instance ready and waiting for the LTS in April. That will be an interesting experience, I’m sure. But if you’re wondering, you can safely attempt to update, and by now, Aardvark has reached a usable state, so you will have none of those tribulations like I did when I tested early on. Oh me, the sacrificial goat lover of the Linux world. Commence, brave people!

            • Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Bionic Beaver Beta is released!

              The beta of the upcoming release of Ubuntu Studio 18.04 is ready for testing.

              You may find the images at cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntustudio/releases/bionic/beta-2/. More information can be found in the Beta Release Notes.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Beta 2

              We are preparing Ubuntu MATE 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) for distribution on April 26th, 2018 With this Beta pre-release, you can see what we are trying out in preparation for our next (stable) version.

            • Kubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04 LTS) Beta 2 Released!
            • A Preview to Kubuntu 18.04 from the Beta 2

              Kubuntu 18.04 Beta 2 is here! It arrived today at Friday, April 6, 2018 in an announcement from Steve Langasek on Ubuntu Announce mailing list. Here’s the summary after I installed it freshly on my laptop: the memory usage is only about 370MiB when idle, new dark themes, new wallpaper, new applications (Firefox 59, LibreOffice 6.0, KDE Applications 17.12.3), Muon is here again along with Plasma Discover (both are software center). This will be a good news for every Kubuntu user who is waiting for the latest LTS version of Kubuntu.

            • Getting Started with Linux Mint? Focus on These Three Tools

              About 18 months ago I switched to Linux Mint Cinnamon, and at this point, it’s hard for me to imagine using any other OS.

              I have already told you about things I like in Linux Mint. In this article, I hope to further explain why Linux Mint has become my go-to operating system.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Haiku monthly activity report – 03/2018

    Hrishi Hiraskar (one of our GSoC applicants) reworked the management of the shutdown phase. This revolves around both launch daemon and the BRoster, which collaborate together to coordinate system shutdown. Things must happen in a specific order to make sure all apps are properly terminated (leaving the user a chance to save his work if not done yet), and only then, system servers are stopped. There were some problemw with the existing implementation where it would be possible to start an application while another one was waiting for a save, and it could eventually lead to loss of work (a little unlikely, but still). We now have a better shutdown process which will make sure everything happens in the correct order.

  • BeOS-Inspired Haiku OS Continues Chugging Along With Driver Improvements, UI Changes

    The open-source Haiku operating system that is still striving for compatibility with BeOS had another busy month.

  • Substratum: An Open Source Network for Computing Power

    As centralized entities like Facebook and Google continue to be exposed for their improper handling of user data and questionable censorship, many are beginning to second guess their online habits. Add to that the exceedingly blatant government interference with actions like the repealing of Net Neutrality, and it becomes clear that new, decentralized alternatives need to be developed.

  • Goofy learns to fish: Why good documentation matters

    No matter what type of project you’re working on, you can’t expect users to fully understand it on their own. That’s where documentation comes in. Docs can be anything from simple procedures to thorough user stories. Sure, a web UI can sometimes speak for itself (and the best ones do), but I’m sure you’ve seen tales of readers questioning basic UI paths or squirming about doing anything on the command line.

  • Coreboot Lands Updated ME_Cleaner, Purism TPM & Other Updates

    A number of improvements to Coreboot were merged to Git master overnight.

    The latest improvements now in the Coreboot Git tree include:

    - ME_Cleaner v1.2 for aiming to strip out and disable the Intel Management Engine support. ME_Cleaner 1.2 adds support for the HAP/AltMeDisable bit, support for selective partition removal, wiping ME6 Ignition firmware images, adding a man page, a new Python setup script, and various other changes.

    - The Purism Librem Skylake laptop support now has TPM support following the company recently started shipping all their new laptops with the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) present and enabled.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • The Rust Team All Hands in Berlin: a Recap

        Last week we held an “All Hands” event in Berlin, which drew more than 50 people involved in 15 different Rust Teams or Working Groups, with a majority being volunteer contributors. This was the first such event, and its location reflects the current concentration of team members in Europe. The week was a smashing success which we plan to repeat on at least an annual basis.

        The impetus for this get-together was, in part, our ambitious plans to ship Rust, 2018 edition later this year. A week of work-focused facetime was a great way to kick off these efforts!

        We’ve also asked attendees to blog and tweet about their experiences at the #RustAllHands hashtag; the Content Team will be gathering up and summarizing this content as well.

      • Proposal: Knowledge Base Spring Cleaning at SUMO – June 2018
      • Firefox Performance Update #5

        And here we are with another Firefox Performance Update!

        This performance update is brought to you by perf.html! perf.html is our web-based profile analysis tool. We use it to analyze profiles gathered with the Gecko Profiler Add-on which helps us figure out why Firefox is feeling slow or sluggish. It’s probably the most important performance tool in our toolbox.

      • MDN Changelog for March 2018
      • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 1

        In the spirit of This week in Firefox/Rust/Servo, we’ve decided to start sharing weekly updates on the progress of the Mozilla Mixed Reality team. Late last year, we brought together all of the people working on Virtual and Augmented Reality at Mozilla to work in our new Mixed Reality program.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • ZeMarmot, main contributor of GIMP 2.10.0-RC1!

      Two weeks ago, we released GIMP 2.10.0-RC1! This is our first release candidate before the stable release GIMP 2.10.0. Yes, you heard it well, the release you have been waiting for, for 6 years, is just around the corner!

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Matthew Garrett Calls on Symantec to Share Its Code, EFF Questions Google’s Work on Project Maven and More

      Linux kernel developer, free software activist and Google engineer Matthew Garrett discovered that Symantec is using a Linux distro based on the QCA Software Development Kit (QSDK) project: “This is a GPLv2-licensed, open-source platform built around the Linux-based OpenWrt Wi-Fi router operating system” (if true, this means Symantic needs to share the Norton Core Router’s code). So, Garrett tweeted “Hi @NortonOnline the Norton Core is clearly running Linux and the license requires you to distribute the kernel source code so where can I get it?”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Mainstream academia embraces open source hardware

        Twenty years ago, even staunch proponents of free and open source software like Richard Stallman questioned the social imperative for free hardware designs. Academics had barely started to consider the concept; the number of papers coming out annually on the topic were less than could be counted on someone’s fingers.

  • Programming/Development

    • Best Programming Language

      Python wins Best Programming Language again this year in Linux Journal’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards. It’s easy to use, powerful and versatile with a really large and active community. Having that supportive community ensures that developers of all skill levels easily can find the support and documentation they require, which feeds Python’s popularity. It certainly helps that Python has something like a corporate sponsor. Python is recognized as an official language at Google, running on many of its internal systems and showing up in many Google APIs. In fact, Google’s developer website offers free Python classes, videos and exercises.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Efforts to standardize tracing through OpenTracing

      Industry efforts toward distributed tracing have been evolving for decades, and one of the latest initiatives in this arena is OpenTracing, an open distributed standard for apps and OSS packages. APMs like Lightstep and Datadog are eagerly pushing forward the emerging specification, as are customer organizations like HomeAway, PayPal and Pinterest, while some other industry leaders – including Dynatrace, NewRelic, and App Dynamics – are holding back from full support. Still, contributors to the open-source spec are forging ahead with more and more integrations, and considerable conference activities are in store for later this year.


  • Microsoft Might Start Showing Ads in Windows 10 Mail App

    The latest update for the Mail app in Windows 10 appears to include something that nobody expected: a small ad in the lower left corner that recommends users to “Get Office 365.”
    By the looks of things, only a small number of users get this new button in their Mail app, judging from this discussion on reddit. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern to trigger the ad to show up, but the Get Office 365 banner is only displayed when the left pane isn’t collapsed.

    Mail doesn’t show any banner on Windows 10 for me, even after updating to the latest version of the app, which is 17.9126.21425.0 and was released today.

  • Office 365 Services Hit by Outage, Outlook, Skype, OneDrive Down – April 6, 2018

    Microsoft’s Office 365 is down once again, with users in Europe reporting issues connecting to their accounts. Services like Outlook, Skype, and OneDrive are currently not available.
    While Microsoft hasn’t released a statement to acknowledge the problems, DownDetector seems to point that several European countries are affected. Parts of the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, and Latvia are most affected.

    Somewhat surprising is that Microsoft’s Office 365 service health page claims “everything is up and running” with all services that users indicate to be down, including Outlook, OneDrive, and Yammer said to be running properly.

    Some users reveal that Exchange clients work correctly, and only the web access appears to be impacted by the outage. Others point out they’re not able to login to Skype and their password is being refused. Several said that they can send emails but not receive anything.

  • Office 365 goes down across Europe, again

    Users attempting to access Office 365 email are reportedly being greeted with an ‘AADSTS90033′ error message, alongside the unhelpful warning: “Service is temporarily unavailable. Please retry later.”

    The AADSTS90033 error message is typically displayed under normal circumstances when a user cannot get a token from Azure for the services they need to access.

  • Security

    • Important Kernel Update for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Patches 39 Security Vulnerabilities

      After releasing a major kernel update for the Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system series on both 64/32-bit and Raspberry Pi 2 devices, Canonical released an important kernel update for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) systems.

      The new kernel update published earlier this week addresses a total of 39 security vulnerabilities for the long-term supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series and its official derivatives, including Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Studio.

    • Another day, another breach: At what point does storing passwords in plaintext become criminally negligent?

      News of the Finnish breach (Google Translate) arrived yesterday, and while there isn’t a lot of details, we learn two important things: the leak was relatively big (the third largest in Finland), and cleartext passwords with usernames leaked, because they had hundreds of thousands of passwords stored in cleartext.

      …and they had passwords stored in cleartext.

      This is so bad security, it should not exist anywhere, period. It should not even be taught in a coding class as an intermediate step on the way to how to do it the right way.

      You don’t store passwords in cleartext because of two reasons combined:

    • Storing passwords in cleartext: don’t ever

      This year I’ve implemented a rudimentary authentication server for work, called Qvisqve. I am in the process for also using it for my current hobby project, ick, which provides HTTP APIs and needs authentication. Qvisqve stores passwords using scrypt: source. It’s not been audited, and I’m not claiming it to be perfect, but it’s at least not storing passwords in cleartext. (If you find a problem, do email me and tell me: liw@liw.fi.)

      This week, two news stories have reached me about service providers storing passwords in cleartext. One is a Finnish system for people starting a new business. The password database has leaked, with about 130,000 cleartext passwords. The other is about T-mobile in Austria bragging on Twitter that they store customer passwords in cleartext, and some people not liking that.

      In both cases, representatives of the company claim it’s OK, because they have “good security”. I disagree. Storing passwords is itself shockingly bad security, regardless of how good your other security measures are, and whether your password database leaks or not. Claiming it’s ever OK to store user passwords in cleartext in a service is incompetence at best.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • One-Fifth of Open-Source Serverless Apps Have Critical Vulnerabilities [Ed: One-Fifth of [buzzword] Apps [sic] need to be updated. Problem solved. With proprietary software you have back doors that cannot be fixed]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘The Business of War’: Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon

      Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes.

      The letter, which is circulating inside Google and has garnered more than 3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash between Silicon Valley and the federal government that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes.

    • Phyllis Bennis on Gaza Massacre, Pam Vogel on Sinclair Propaganda

      This week on CounterSpin: As we record, Ha’aretz is saying the death toll is now 19 Palestinians killed by Israeli military, with hundreds more injured, on March 30, during a protest near the fence along border between Israel and the occupied region of Gaza. Israeli media offer a more complicated understanding of events than US media, who seem to suggest that there’s an “Israeli” position and a “Palestinian” position, but no actual reality worth trying to discern. We’ll talk about the Gaza protests with Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of, among other titles, Understanding the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict.

    • An Extremely Boring Video. Do Not Watch It.

      I have managed to get hold of a copy, which you can see here, of my lengthy interview with Sky News about the Skripals yesterday, which Sky refused to put online because they allege I was boring. With the warning you might therefore be very bored, you may watch it if you wish.


      My perspective on the interview itself was that the interviewer became aggressive and sarcastic, increasingly shrill as the apparent effort to discredit me was not going well, and resorting eventually to asking about any old extraneous matter but the Skripals. I strongly suspect it was not me being boring, but the strange performance by Kay Burley, which motivated Sky to bury the interview.

      But you must judge for yourself.

      It is my policy when invited by journalists, to give considered and courteous answers to the particular questions which they ask. This is as opposed to what politicians do, which is to spout pre-prepared soundbites irrespective of what they are asked.

    • US Isn’t Leaving Syria—but Media Lost It When Possibility Was Raised

      At a rally in Cleveland last week, President Donald Trump said that the US will get out of Syria “very soon.” It is now clear that the 4,000 US troops currently occupying Syria (Washington Post, 10/31/17) will in fact stay in Syria (Independent, 4/4/18), even though keeping troops in another country in defiance of that country’s government is a violation of international law. Yet the very possibility of US withdrawal from Syria rendered apoplectic journalists who are convinced of the legitimacy of Washington’s domination of the country—international law be damned.

      Some writers want America to occupy Syria to weaken Russia. In the Washington Post (3/30/18), Josh Rogin claimed that “there are a lot of good arguments for maintaining an American presence in Syria after the fall of the Islamic State,” but stressed that the “larger US mission in Syria” was necessary for “stopping Russia from exerting influence over the region.”

      Michael Gerson, writing in the same paper (4/2/18), was concerned that a US departure “would leave Russia as the undisputed power broker at the heart of the Middle East,” a dubious claim in a region that includes Saudi Arabia (whose military budget by some counts exceeds Russia’s) as well as nuclear-armed Israel, both close US allies.

      CNN ran two articles that made the same point about Russia, with Dan Merica and Jim Acosta (3/30/18) writing “Trump Promise to Get Out of Syria ‘Very Soon’ Could Be a Win for Russia,” and Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne (3/31/18) telling readers “that most foreign policy experts agree that” the void left by US forces in the event of a withdrawal “would likely be filled by Russia.” The Syrian government’s alliance with Russia supposedly justifies Washington’s occupying Syria, in defiance of international law. Partnership with Russia is unacceptable; only submission to the US is permissible.

    • UK’s Russia Narrative: A Verdict in Search of a Crime

      Two weeks ago, the Right Honourable Boris Johnson was asked by a German journalist how the UK government could be so very certain so very early on that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Salisbury.

      “When I look at the evidence, the people from Porton Down, the laboratory, they were absolutely categorical,” Johnson replied. “I asked the guy myself, I said: ‘Are you sure?’ And he said: ‘There’s no doubt.’ So we have very little alternative but to take the action that we have taken.”

      The “action that we have taken” include the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom, a cold war escalation in which they were joined by many allied governments around the world in the largest collective ejection of Russian diplomats in world history. It would also include Johnson’s personal campaign to unite the EU behind a more aggressive stance against Russia.

    • Why Saudi Arabia’s next leader is courting LA’s entertainment execs

      Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman held a summit in Beverly Hills to sell local entertainment executives on expanding into the long closed-off country.

    • FBI Lies and Cover-Up Derail Biggest Terrorism Case Since 9/11

      The FBI suffered another debacle last Friday when an Orlando jury returned a not guilty verdict for the widow of Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded 53 in his attack on Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in June 2016. The biggest terrorism case of the year collapsed largely thanks to FBI misconduct and deceit.

      Noor Salman was charged with material support of a foreign terrorist organization and lying to the FBI about knowing about her husband’s pending attack on the nightclub. The FBI vigorously interrogated her for 18 hours, threatening her with the loss of custody of her infant son unless she signed a confession. Salman, who reportedly had an IQ of only 84, initially denied any knowledge but relented and signed a statement composed by an FBI agent.

    • Trump is right about Syria: It’s time to leave

      In fact, the war has failed to accomplish anything other than to destroy Syria, destabilize Europe, and bleed the United States. Around 500,000 are estimated to have died in the war, with 10 million displaced. Assad is still in power, and Iran and Russia are still his allies. America’s efforts, in short, have been a disaster.

    • Getting Ready for Nuclear War

      John Bolton is to assume the appointment as President Trump’s National Security Adviser on April 9. On February 28 he wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “it is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first,” which would undoubtedly lead to explosion of at least one nuclear device by whoever might remain alive in the Pyongyang regime after the US attack. In a macabre echo of the alleged link between Iraq and Al Qaeda before the US invasion, Bolton said on March 23 that “Little is known, at least publicly, about longstanding Iranian-North Korean cooperation on nuclear and ballistic-missile technology. It is foolish to play down Tehran’s threat because of Pyongyang’s provocations.”

      Link and bomb, and get ready for yet more war.

      On August 9, 2017 President Trump tweeted “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • #ReconnectJulian: Fmr intelligence officers & whistleblowers urge Ecuador to end Assange isolation

      WikiLeaks supporters are calling on Ecuador’s government to restore Julian Assange’s communication privileges, arguing that jamming his phone and internet access violates his rights, a former CIA officer and whistleblower told RT.
      In late March the government of Ecuador decided to cut off Julian Assange from the outside world by blocking his phone and internet access, over the WikiLeaks editor’s tweets in support of Catalonian independence from Spain. The move sparked massive outrage from Assange supporters, who view the action as a violation of free speech. Earlier this week, a group of WikiLeaks activists delivered a letter to the Ecuadorian government, urging the country’s authorities to restore Assange’s access to the outside world.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Truth: a Plan for Sustainability

      There is a practical path for tackling climate change, for organizing from your house to your neighborhood, city, state and beyond. It’s clear. It’s simple. It’s 3 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person per year as a goal and a measure for global sustainability.

      3 tons is the basis for personal and collective action and planning on all levels. It is, and must become, the acceptable local and global standard first measuring where we are, sustainable or endangered, and as a guide to reaching sustainability.

      3 tons per person per year of carbon dioxide emissions is a simple number. In the global aggregate, 21 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, more or less, is the sustainable global limit for natural cycles to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide levels level. A gigaton is a billion tons. This means that 21 gigatons is about 3 metric tons per person per year , or 6,612 pounds per year for all of us. 3 tons per person per year of carbon dioxide from primary energy consumption equal to 70 gigajoules or 19,443 kilowatt hours a year was set as a sustainable global target for all by the U.N. In 2011. Remember that 3 tons per person per year number. That’s the target we need to keep in mind if we are to stop and then reverse the steady march toward climate catastrophe.

    • How Standing Rock Is Leading by Example on Renewable Energy

      The Trump administration quickly overturned the December 2016 decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to halt the construction of the infamous Dakota Access Pipeline — almost as quickly as Trump took office. Subsequent challenges in court failed to prevent the pipeline from being completed and going into operation. Rather than concede defeat, Water Protectors have shifted their focus and efforts to battling the oil and coal industry on different fronts.

      On the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the Water Protector camps are no longer standing, but some organizers who lived and organized in those camps are now shaping the movement to shift the reservation away from its dependence on fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.

    • Wipeout: Human role in climate change removed from science report

      National Park Service officials have deleted every mention of humans’ role in causing climate change in drafts of a long-awaited report on sea level rise and storm surge, contradicting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s vow to Congress that his department is not censoring science.

    • Court Rules EPA Unlawfully Delayed Environmental Racism Investigations for Decades

      A federal court ruled this week that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated the Civil Rights Act by delaying investigations into environmental discrimination complaints for years, even decades. For plaintiff Phil Schmitter, a priest and social justice activist from Flint, Michigan, the ruling is a bittersweet victory that was a long time coming.

      Schmitter’s story begins in the early 1990s, long before drinking water contaminated with dangerous levels of lead would turn Flint into an international symbol of environmental racism. At the time, Schmitter and other advocates living in a predominantly Black neighborhood on the outskirts of Flint were fighting a proposal to build a scrap wood incinerator nearby.

  • Finance

    • Whats the Difference Between a Bitcoin Wallet and an Exchange?

      A Bitcoin wallet is basically a software program in which you store Bitcoin. An exchange lets you convert “real money” like US dollars to Bitcoin. Exchanges also provide a wallet—but you don’t necessarily have full control of that wallet.

      We’re not recommending you invest in Bitcoin. But, if you’re putting money into Bitcoin—or you’re just interested in how it works—you should know this stuff.

    • India Bans Entities From Dealing In Crytocurrencies Like Bitcoin; New Cryptocoin On The Way

      The arrival of cryptocurrencies allowed people to make money in new ways. Some became multi-billionaires, and some with an unfortunate fate lost Bitcoins worth $100 million in landfills.

      However, this atypical form of money has started to see a downfall after ballooning and shocking the world last year. The unstable nature and the fact that cryptocoins are unregulated have concerned companies and governments.

    • HUD Long Neglected These Residents. Now As They Move Out, Some Feel HUD Let Them Down Again.

      For years, residents of public housing complexes here were stuck living in aging and neglected buildings with inoperable heat, leaky ceilings, broken windows, mold, mice, roaches, and frequently clogged toilets and sinks.

      And for years, federal authorities failed to step in despite regular financial reviews and building inspections that should have flagged problems and prompted corrective action much sooner.

      But the solution once the Department of Housing and Urban Development finally faced the scope of the decay in Illinois’ most southern city has turned out to be every bit as thorny and painful.

      Last spring, HUD announced it would shutter two sprawling World War II-era family housing complexes in Cairo and help residents move out. Ten months later, HUD officials delivered similar news to residents of two more public housing complexes in the nearby village of Thebes.

      All told, nearly 500 people, half of them children, are being forced to find new homes.

    • In Small-Town America, the Public Housing Crisis Nobody’s Talking About

      It’s a Sunday morning in late February at the tiny Baptist church atop the hill in Thebes, a remote village of about 400 people in the southernmost part of Illinois. I’m here for a story assignment, but to know people is to worship with them. Faith is as much a part of these small communities as the rivers that run outside their doorsteps.

      My heart twists seeing the church’s sign out front that reads, “Pray for America.”

    • Puerto Rico to dismantle its statistics agency in the midst of radical shock doctrine project
    • Ecuadorean Villagers May Still Triumph Over Chevron

      Michael Krauss, a lawyer who teaches “ethics” at a law school named after the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, recently posted a blog on the Forbes website entitled “The Ecuador Saga Continues: Steven Donziger now owes Chevron more than $800,000” (Forbes 3/14/2018). [1] Steven Donziger is one of the lawyers representing thousands of indigenous residents of Ecuador’s oil-rich Amazon whose battles with Texaco (which merged with Chevron in 2001) began over twenty-five years ago.

      Kraus says that Chevron has basically triumphed over evil: “appalling behavior” by Chevron’s enemies, he wrote, led to a “corrupt Ecuadorean court ruling” that ordered the company to pay $9 billion USD in damages for Texaco’s pollution of the Ecuadorian amazon from 1964 to 1990. “The war here is largely over.” declared Krauss. “Chevron has triumphed and what’s left is a kind of mopping up. A big part of that mopping up occurred on February 28, 2018, when United States District Court Judge Kaplan disposed of Chevron’s petition to be awarded court costs.” Krauss has written numerous blog posts on Forbes’ website cheering Chevron in this case. Here is one responseto him worth reading.

    • Quit Rates Jump to 17 Year High in March

      The percentage of unemployment due to people who voluntarily quit their jobs jumped to 13.1 percent in March, the highest level since May of 2001.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Those Who Die in Palestine: Those With Dead Souls Here

      I cannot imagine the cold viciousness it must take to work on the Guardian newspaper, where on the homepage the small headline of the latest six Palestinians to be shot dead, is way below the larger headline of the several hundredth article associating Jeremy Corbyn with anti-Semitism, on the basis of the quite deliberate conflation of anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel

    • Huge Surge in Political Activism, Engagement Has Direct Ties to Trump Presidency, Poll Finds

      The Trump administration has given way to an unusually engaged public, with one in five Americans reporting in a new survey that they’ve attended a protest or rally since 2016—and 70 percent of those who rallied said they disapproved of President Donald Trump and his policies.

      The poll, by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation, showed that political activism is new for many. About 19 percent of those who have demonstrated in the past two years said they had never been to a protest before 2016.

    • Cut-throat competition distorts democracy in India

      Indian national congress and BJP supporters during campaign on bye-elections. Shaukat Ahmed/Press Association. All rights reserved.Commenting on democracy in Great Britain, a north European journalist attributed its ills to “too much competition”. His own country is accustomed to a much gentler version of the democratic order.

      If he were to come to New Delhi and read just a day’s newspapers, he would find that in the case of India, his diagnosis is confirmed. Cut-throat competition afflicts democracy in India. Global warming is tracked by instruments but there are no instruments to measure the rise in sectarian hatred recorded by newspaper headlines. One such front-page headline may be sampled here: “As communal heat rises, BJP allies in Bihar rally together”. The same daily carries as many as ten reports related to sectarian animosity and violence.

    • Trump sends National Guard to the border: All that to appease Ann Coulter?

      Everyone has noticed by now that Donald Trump is no longer even attempting to stick with the script, evidently feeling that he’s been ill-served by people who observe political norms and common definitions of what it is to be a president of the United States. He’s starting trade wars, declaring an abrupt withdrawal from Syria and attacking businessmen who also own newspapers he wants to quash. He’s been animated and energized by this newfound freedom to “tell it like it is” as he did on Thursday at a tax forum in West Virginia, where he claimed to be the first president in 40 years to deliver on taxes because only he had the guts to demand “tax cuts” instead of tax reform.

      As is now the required ritual at any meeting where Trump appears, other speakers at the forum dutifully flattered and praised him. One attendee was nearly crying as she thanked him for the tax cuts, saying, “Thank you for listening to us. Thank you for fighting for us.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Censorship machines are coming: It’s time for the free software community to discover its political clout

      The starting point for this legislation was a fight between big corporations, the music industry and YouTube, over money. The music industry complained that they receive less each time one of their music videos is played on a video platform like YouTube than they do when their tracks are listened to on subscription services like Spotify, calling the difference the “value gap”. They started a successful lobbying effort: The upload filter law is primarily intended to give them a bargaining chip to demand more money from Google in negotiations. Meanwhile, all other platforms are caught in the middle of that fight, including code sharing communities.

      The lobbying has engrained in many legislators’ minds the false idea that platforms which host uploads for profit are necessarily exploiting creators.

    • Indian Government Enacts, Abandons ‘Fake News’ Law In Less Than 24 Hours
    • Cali Lawmakers Pushing For 72-Hour Bot Removal Requirements For Social Media Companies

      Hertzberg’s bot must have been made to “misinform and exploit users,” at least according to its own Twitter bio. And yet, the account’s tweets appear to disseminate actual correct info, like subcommittee webcasts and community-oriented info. It’s good the bot is transparent. But it’s terrible because the transparency immediately follows a line claiming automated accounts are made apparently solely to misinform people.

      Plenty of automated accounts never misinform or exploit users. Techdirt’s account automatically tweets each newly-published post. So do countless other bots tied into content-management systems. But the bill — and bill creator’s own words — paint bots as evil, even while deploying a bot in an abortive attempt to make a point.

      Going on from there, the bill demands sites create a portal for bot reporting and starts the removal clock when a report is made. User reporting may function better than algorithms when detecting bots spreading misinformation (putting bots in charge of bot removal), but this still puts social media companies in the uncomfortable position of being arbiters of truth. And if they make the “wrong” decision and leave a bot up, the government is free to punish them for noncompliance.

    • Japanese Government Seeks To Circumvent Its Own Constitution To Censor ‘Pirate’ Sites

      With site-blocking regimes now fully in vogue, far too many governments are getting in on this censorious party. In the cases of most governments, there is leeway in the overall legal structure to do this sort of thing, even if it is wholly unadvised and typically comes with disastrous results. But when Japan announced recently that it is considering site-blocking of so-called “pirate sites” in order to help its anime and manga industries, many familiar with Japanese federal law raised an eyebrow.

    • Japan Seeks to Outmaneuver Constitution With Piracy Blocking Proposals

      There is no legal basis for site-blocking in Japan and the country’s constitution forbids censorship of any kind. Later this month, however, the government looks set to present proposals to local ISPs demanding that they start blocking pirate sites. According to local reports, Japan’s penal code allows for direct action when “averting present danger.”

    • Not All Canadian ISPs Are Pro Site Blocking

      Several of the largest Canadian telecommunications companies including Bell and Rogers are in favor of a national pirate site blocking scheme. However, not all ISPs are eager to implement such measures. Several smaller ISPs, including TekSavvy, warn that the proposal will be costly and ineffective while violating current legislation.

    • DOJ Seizes And Shuts Down Backpage.com (Before SESTA Has Even Been Signed)

      So here’s a Friday evening surprise: the DOJ has just seized Backpage.


      It notes that additional information will be provided soon, and we’ll update this post when that occurs. But first, there are a few important things to note. Before and after SESTA was voted on by Congress, we noted that while supporters of SESTA kept pointing to Backpage as the reason we needed to change CDA 230, there were two reasons why we thought it was premature to make such a change. The first was that there was a court in Massachusetts considering whether or not Backpage had lost its CDA 230 immunity by being an active participant in creating trafficking ads. And the second, more important, one was that there were many reports claiming that a DOJ grand jury was investigating Backpage, and nothing in CDA 230 stopped that from happening (federal crimes are exempt from CDA 230).

      Last week the Massachusetts court ruled that Backpage had lost its CDA 230 immunity for at least one victim, and this week a court in Florida ruled the same thing (though for dubious reasons).

    • Two Cuban Actors Together in Life and Censorship

      Eduardo Martinez and Lola Amores play the leading roles in Cuba’s latest award-winning fiction feature movie. However, in spite of Santa y Andres’ (2016) international success (the first movie they shared scenes in), it hasn’t been shown at any Cuban movie theater or on national TV.

      The film didn’t go down well with the Ministry of Culture and Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), and maybe even higher up. It tells the story about the affectionate relationship Santa, a 30-year-old rural woman, had with Andres, the homosexual writer who needed to be monitored because he was accused of being counter-revolutionary and subversive. Stories like that are still taboo in Cuba’s public sphere.

    • Ethiopians worried about internet censorship

      Ethiopian officials have restricted internet access in major cities across the country.

      Millions of Ethiopians living outside the capital Addis Ababa have not had access to the Internet for nearly a year, and the government explanation for the prolonged cut is still awaited.

      The situation has brought negative consequences on the economy.

      “We lost our daily income. As you can see, there are no customers. When there was Internet connection, people came here and used the Internet, downloaded files, printed and copied documents. We stopped providing all these services,“cyber cafe owner, Kale Alemayehu said.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • DHS defends media-monitoring database, calls critics “conspiracy theorists”

      Earlier this week, Bloomberg Law uncovered a Department of Homeland Security job listing for a “media monitoring services” request to keep tabs on over 290,000 “global news sources” and develop an extensive database for an unconfirmed number of “media influencers.” After news outlets reported about the amount of data sought by this job listing, DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton issued a response on Friday to verify its legitimacy and allege that the data project’s aims will be “standard practice.”

    • Homeland Security to Compile Database of Journalists, Bloggers

      The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to monitor hundreds of thousands of news sources around the world and compile a database of journalists, editors, foreign correspondents, and bloggers to identify top “media influencers.”

      It’s seeking a contractor that can help it monitor traditional news sources as well as social media and identify “any and all” coverage related to the agency or a particular event, according to a request for information released April 3.

      The data to be collected includes a publication’s “sentiment” as well as geographical spread, top posters, languages, momentum, and circulation. No value for the contract was disclosed.

    • DC’s Stingray Mess Won’t Get Cleaned Up

      “This was very expensive, controlled technology a decade ago, but today a motivated hobbyist can pull it together using open source software and hardware with a few hundred dollars,” says Ang Cui, CEO of the internet of things security firm Red Balloon. “We can try to legislate the use of the technology, but criminals have access to it and they are going to use it. The real solution is to build technology that mitigates against IMSI catchers and stingrays.”

    • Facebook Is Tracking Me Even Though I’m Not on Facebook

      I don’t use Facebook. I’m not technophobic — I’m a geek. I’ve been using email since the early 1990s, I have accounts on hundreds of services around the net, and I do software development and internet protocol design both for work and for fun. I believe that a globe-spanning communications network like the internet can be a positive social force, and I publish much of my own work on the open web.

      But Facebook and other massive web companies represent a strong push toward unaccountable centralized social control, which I think makes our society more unequal and more unjust. The Cambridge Analytica scandal is one instance of this long-running problem with what I call the “surveillance economy.” I don’t want to submit to these power structures, and I don’t want my presence on such platforms to serve as bait that lures other people into the digital panopticon.

      But while I’ve never “opted in” to Facebook or any of the other big social networks, Facebook still has a detailed profile that can be used to target me. I’ve never consented to having Facebook collect my data, which can be used to draw very detailed inferences about my life, my habits, and my relationships. As we aim to take Facebook to task for its breach of user trust, we need to think about what its capabilities imply for society overall. After all, if you do #deleteFacebook, you’ll find yourself in my shoes: non-consenting, but still subject to Facebook’s globe-spanning surveillance and targeting network.

    • To #DeleteFacebook or Not to #DeleteFacebook? That Is Not the Question

      Since the Cambridge Analytica news hit headlines, calls for users to ditch the platform have picked up speed. Whether or not it has a critical impact on the company’s user base or bottom line, the message from #DeleteFacebook is clear: users are fed up.

      EFF is not here to tell you whether or not to delete Facebook or any other platform. We are here to hold Facebook accountable no matter who’s using it, and to push it and other tech companies to do better for users.

      Users should have better options when they decide where to spend their time and attention online.

      The problems that Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal highlight—sweeping data collection, indiscriminate sharing of that data, and manipulative advertising—are also problems with much of the surveillance-based, advertising-powered popular web. And there are no shortcuts to solving those problems.

      Users should have better options when they decide where to spend their time and attention online. So rather than asking if people should delete Facebook, we are asking: What privacy protections should users have a right to expect, whether they decide to leave or use a platform like Facebook?

      If it makes sense for you to delete Facebook or any other account, then you should have full control over deleting your data from the platform and bringing it with you to another. If you stay on Facebook, then you should be able to expect it to respect your privacy rights.

    • Zuckerberg Can Delete Messages From Recipient’s Inbox, You Cannot!

      A couple of days ago, it was revealed that Facebook scans all the messages and videos you send through messenger. As if this wasn’t enough to breach user’s trust, there is another report which confirms that Facebook deletes Mark Zuckerberg’s messages from inboxes of people while you cannot do the same to yours.

      TechCrunch has reviewed an email receipt from three sources which proves that the messages they received from Facebook’s CEO have been wiped out from their FB inboxes, while their sent texts still show up in the conversation thread.

    • Facebook sent a doctor on a secret mission to ask hospitals to share patient data

      However, the company proposed using a common cryptographic technique called hashing to match individuals who were in both data sets. That way, both parties would be able to tell when a specific set of Facebook data matched up with a specific set of patient data.

    • Facebook admits Zuckerberg wiped his old messages—which you can’t do

      While deleting the messages may not have been illegal, it is going to raise some eyebrows. For weeks, Facebook has faced criticism for appearing to put its own financial interests ahead of the privacy interests of users in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Now we’re learning that Facebook has essentially created a two-tier system of privacy for Messenger users: Zuckerberg and a handful of other Facebook executives enjoy a limited “retention period” of their messages, whereas the embarrassing messages of ordinary users live on as long as their recipients want to keep them.

    • News of Facebook’s secret tool to delete executive messages caps days of chaos

      TechCrunch reported late Thursday that Facebook has been using a secret tool to delete messages sent by its executives from the inboxes of their recipients, without disclosing the deletions to the recipients or even recording there was ever a message in the first place.

      Effectively, this means if you send Mark Zuckerberg a Facebook message, he has a copy for ever. But if he sends you one, he can reach into your inbox and pluck it out of existence.

    • Over 1.5 billion personal medical and financial records exposed online in ‘staggering’ leak

      These files were discovered over the first three months of 2018, with the firm finding over one and a one and a half billion (1,550,447,111, to be exact) files open across a number of misconfigured file-sharing services, dwarfing 2016′s Panama Papers leak.

      The worrying thing for those of us in the UK was that the security researchers said a whopping 36 per cent of those exposed files were located in the European Union.

    • Facebook: If you want to buy a political ad, you now have to be “authorized”

      Under what criteria Facebook would “authorize” ad buyers, the company did not say directly in the post. However, Beth Gauthier, a Facebook spokeswoman, told Ars by email that there will be a three-step process for authorization.

    • Facebook to verify major page owners

      The move is designed to prevent users who run pages using fake accounts from hiding their true identity.

    • Facebook Moves to Get Ahead of Congress With Issue-Ad Change

      Facebook will hire more people to enforce the new advertising policy before the 2018 midterm elections. The company also said it would require managers of popular Facebook pages to have their identity verified.

    • Here Are the Notable People Who Deleted Their Facebook Profiles

      The list of protesters continues to grow as Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify to U.S. lawmakers next week. The dissenters include Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, as well as red-carpet regulars Will Ferrell, Cher, Rosie O’Donnell, Jim Carrey and the band Massive Attack. The number of daily #DeleteFacebook mentions in mainstream newspapers topped out at 1,700 two weeks ago but remains above 300, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    • Facebook Officials Head to Europe to Respond to Data Scandal

      The company has been refining its response in the wake of revelations that data on as many as 87 million people, most of them in the U.S., may have been improperly shared with research firm Cambridge Analytica. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who will testify at U.S. congressional hearing next week, has changed tack by communicating directly with the press in interviews, and a group conference call late on Wednesday.

  • Civil Rights/Policing


      Amy McQuire tears away the facade on the Commonwealth Games currently under way in Australia, on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Australia has a long history of presenting a sunny, sporty picture of itself, complete with Indigenous icons and ‘celebrating’ native people. There is rarely a hint of the greatest theft of land in recorded history and the brutality that accompanied it, especially in Queensland, the bloodiest state, and which goes on today.

    • Teen Who Faced Deportation After He Informed on MS-13 Gets Temporary Reprieve

      What was on track to be a routine deportation hearing in a New York City immigration courtroom Thursday turned into an hours-long administrative battle and a detailed airing of a teenager’s reasons for informing on his gang, MS-13.

      Amid a flood of attention brought to the case by a ProPublica and New York magazine report published Monday, Judge Thomas Mulligan declined to issue a ruling. Instead, he gave the teen’s lawyer a list of evidence and testimony he wants to see before deciding the case in May. The judge seemed to be sketching a path to a successful asylum claim, and mentioned an alternative defense if asylum cannot be supported.

      Henry, who asked that his last name be withheld, helped police and the FBI arrest his fellow gang members on Long Island. He worked with law enforcement for about a year, until immigration authorities arrested him last August, using his own disclosures about gang membership to justify his deportation. As a known informant, deportation likely means death for Henry, whose cooperation with police is spelled out in an unsealed Immigration and Customs Enforcement memo. After eight months in detention with MS-13 members threatening his life, his case was looking so hopeless that he decided to go public ahead of his final hearing.

    • Supreme Court Says Shooting A Non-Threatening Person Without Warning Is Just Good Police Work

      The Ninth Circuit’s opinion stripped the officer of his immunity. This decision reestablishes it. And it reminds cops de-escalation rarely needs to be considered as a tactic because the courts will have their back in almost every case. While the presence of a knife suggests some sort of objective danger, the person experiencing the threat was Hughes’ roommate, not the cops on the other side of the fence. (And she testified she did not feel threatened.) It took only 60 seconds for one officer to resort to deadly force, based solely on the fact that Hughes refused to immediately drop the knife.

      The presence of a weapon changes the math a little, but it shouldn’t change it so much as to dismiss this appeal with an unsigned opinion and zero input from the engaged parties. The dissenting opinion [PDF], written by Justice Sotomayor (and joined by Justice Ginsburg) points out the “threatening” situation used to justify the shooting wasn’t all that threatening — not even for other officers on the scene.

    • In Moscow region, campaigners against a landfill site are being arrested

      Russian government media watchdog Roskomnadzor has brought a lawsuit against the messaging service Telegram, where our useful OVD-Info bot has its home. There will now follow a court case and an appeal, after which, if the court takes the side of the government agency, the Telegram messenger will be blocked. There is still time to hook up to a VPN, but you had better not wait too long. And, by the way, people are also being prosecuted for reposts on Telegram.

    • America’s Gun Problem is a Police Problem

      In the wake of a crisis, proposals for reform are often radical and ill-conceived. Seattle radio host John Carlson’s gun reform proposal, outlined in theWall Street Journal, boils America’s violent crime problem down to one issue; people who shouldn’t have guns do. But Carlson’s proposals ignore the role of police violence in criminals’ decisions to use guns.

      Carlson writes that only 11 percent of America’s gun crimes are committed with legal weapons. That means most of America’s gun crimes, including mass shootings, could be prevented simply by applying the existing laws designed to prevent dangerous and irresponsible people from obtaining guns. For instance, the Parkland, Florida shooting could have been prevented by simply following FBI protocol.

      But Carlson wants to take even stronger action to reduce the number of illegal firearms on the street. By imposing mandatory minimum four-year sentences for illegal possession of firearms, Carlson says criminals will avoid stealing guns or using them to commit crimes.

    • ‘The Tories cut, we bleed’: the story of Women’s Lives Matter in Doncaster

      Women’s Lives Matter protest. Photo: John Fuller. All rights reserved.“The Tories cut, we bleed,” said Joyce Sheppard, 68, an active member of the Women’s Lives Matter campaign in Doncaster, a former coal mining town in South Yorkshire, in the north of England.

      The Women’s Lives Matter campaign is a movement across South Yorkshire which originated in Doncaster in 2016, after the closure of the town’s Women’s Aid domestic violence service, one of many organisations that have been impacted by government funding cuts.

    • When we can’t agree to fight against neo-Nazis, we’ve reached a new low

      For anyone wondering about the state of American politics in 2018: A U.S. congressman was just publicly accused of spreading Russian propaganda and “holding Putin’s dirty laundry.” The congressman’s crime? Trying to prevent American weapons from going to neo-Nazis.

      Late last month, Congress authorized a massive aid package to Ukraine. The package contained a provision whose inclusion was supported by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). The provision bars U.S. aid from going to the 3,000-strong Azov Battalion, a unit of the Ukrainian National Guard with a heavy neo-Nazi contingent and a long record of horrific human rights abuses, according to the United Nations and Human Rights Watch. In response, Hill contributor Kristofer Harrison published an essay denying the neo-Nazi elements of Azov and accusing Khanna of being a Russian stooge.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Congress’s Biggest Opponent of Net Neutrality Is Getting Destroyed in Midterm Election Polls

      Blackburn was at the forefront of the attack on popular net neutrality protections last December, blasting attempts to protect a healthy, open and competitive [I]nternet as “socialistic.” Blackburn also played a starring role in helping the GOP dismantle important broadband privacy protections at the FCC before they could even take effect last March.

    • Ex-Obama FTC Boss Now Lobbying For Comcast, Trying To Prevent States From Protecting Consumers

      While the Trump FCC has certainly taken protectionism, corruption and cronyism to an entirely new level, it’s important not to forget that Trump and Ajit Pai are just products of the country’s long established bipartisan dysfunction when it comes to revolving door regulators, and it’s going to take more than just ejecting Trump and Pai to repair the underlying rot that has allowed them to blossom.

      Case in point: former Obama FTC boss Jon Leibowitz, who has long professed himself to be a “privacy advocate,” has spent much of the last few years lobbying for Comcast while at Davis Polk. That has included making a myriad of false claims about ongoing, EFF-backed efforts to protect broadband consumer privacy in California.

      In an endless wave of op-eds (where his financial conflicts of interest are almost never disclosed to the reader), Leibowitz has been busy insisting that rampant ISP privacy abuses are a “nonexistent problem,” and that strong state and FCC oversight of ISPs are unnecessary because the FTC will somehow rush in to save the day in the wake of efforts to neuter the FCC, kill net neutrality, and embolden massive anti-competitive telecom duopolies.

    • Ajit Pai’s “Harlem Shake” video preparations must remain secret, FCC says
    • FCC Withholds Ajit Pai’s Emails Regarding The Infamous ‘Harlem Shake’ Video

      Last December, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai starred in a “PSA” produced by The Daily Caller. In the video, Pai addressed all the “trolls” in the net neutrality debate, reassuring the public that they will still be able to enjoy things on the internet after its repeal. To illustrate this, Pai does the absolute polar opposite of an enjoyable thing on the internet: the Harlem Shake.

    • Twitter changes may bring major issues for third-party apps (updated)

      If you use a third-party Twitter app like Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Talon or Tweetings, you might lose a couple of key features when Twitter replaces developer access to User and Site streams with a new Account Activity API this coming June. The folks who created the apps mentioned above have created a new website to explain that, as a result, push notifications will no longer work and timelines won’t refresh automatically.

      The third-party devs say that when their apps open a connection to Twitter, currently, they get a continuous stream of updates. Push notifications, they say, is done on their own servers, which generate the messages you see on your devices. Timeline updates use that stream directly on your mobile or desktop apps. The new Account Activity API is currently in beta, but developers haven’t been given access. Even if they had been, say the devs, push notifications are limited to 35 Twitter accounts at the standard level, and there’s no pricing given for Enterprise-level service. The developers say that they need to deliver notifications to “hundreds of thousands of customers.”


      Update 4/6/18 4:00PM ET: This afternoon, Twitter announced it has delayed the scheduled June 19th date for switching to the new Account Activity API. “As always, we’re committed to providing ample time to migrate,” the company’s developer account explained in a series of tweets. “We will provide at least 90 days notice of deprecation date from when the Account Activity API becomes generally available to all developers. More specifics on timing to come.” Additionally, Twitter says it offers a guide for developers to migrate to the new API.

    • Twitter API overhaul threatens to seriously shaft apps… again

      Twitter’s planned discontinuation of its streaming APIs in June has third-party developers worried that a replacement service won’t be available in time to prevent their Twitter apps from breaking.

      The makers of Talon, Tweetbot, Tweetings, and Twitterrific have joined together to create a webpage expressing their concerns and to rally developers and customers to urge Twitter to respond.

      The Register asked Twitter for comment, but all we heard were crickets.

      Twitter, even more than Facebook, has a history of pulling the rug out from under developers’ feet. The company has repeatedly encouraged developers to build software clients on its platform, only to change its platform rules and capabilities as it tried to figure out a viable business plan.

    • API changes will break Tweetbot and Twitteriffic alerts and streaming, Twitter not yet sharing new solution ahead of June deadline [U]

      Hopefully the bump from today’s coverage pressures Twitter to stop sabotaging third-party apps and communicate with developers about how to move forward — even if subscriptions are required in the future to sustain apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific.

      Without a proper Twitter for Mac client, indie apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific with support for timeline streaming is essential for my workflow and TweetDeck simply isn’t a reliable alternative.

    • Twitter postpones platform change that would cut off third-party apps

      However, we don’t know exactly when this change will come. In response to the furor on Twitter, the company has announced it is “delaying the scheduled June 19th deprecation date.” In a thread, the developer relations account further said the company it “will provide at least 90 days notice from when the Account Activity API becomes generally available” and that “more specifics on timing [are] to come.”

    • Twitter says it won’t break third-party Twitter apps June 19

      In a reversal from a statement made in December 2017, Twitter said it will delay its plan to pull support for Twitter apps like Talon, Tweetbot, Tweetings and Twitterrific. The microblogging service would stop these apps’ ability to push notifications and update post timelines starting on June 19, effectively crippling these non-Twitter apps.

      “Today’s update to last year’s announcement is focused on making sure developers have ample time to migrate to the new API,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

    • Twitter poised to kill all third-party apps like Plume and Talon

      What’s the point of using a third-party Twitter app if you can’t get notified when someone tweets at you and have to refresh your feed manually?

    • Twitter can’t decide if it wants to kill third-party apps

      Twitter’s complicated relationship with developers is about to get a whole lot worse.

      That’s because the company can’t seem to make up its mind on whether it wants to keep third-party Twitter clients around.

    • Future Twitter developer changes will impact notifications & streaming on third-party apps

      Third-party Twitter clients are often handicapped by the platform by a limit of 100,000 users for new developers and are not able to implement features found in the official client. The latest restriction threatens to impact fundamental features like push notifications and automatic timeline refresh.

    • It’s time to think about nationalising Twitter

      The first thing I did when I switched on my computer the other day – in fact, the first thing I’ve done every time I’ve switched on my computer in as long as I can remember – was boot up Twitter. Only this time, I couldn’t.

      I had locked myself out of my account. The phone number listed for the site’s two-factor authentication was no longer my number. Shit, I thought. Shit, shit shit shit. The near-panic I felt from losing that connection surprised me: it turned out I was a junkie, and I had robbed myself of my fix. I was adrift, disconnected, cut off from the body cultural.

    • How to Gopher

      When I think about the work that goes into putting a simple web page or text file on the [I]nternet, I realize how inaccessible the [I]nternet is for most people. As I write this, there is no commercial interest in Gopher. Many, myself included, hope it stays that way. This means that there’s no one trying to make all of this push-button-simple so that they can make a buck off of you on the back end. I think that if more regular folks feel like they own a piece of the [I]nternet, they will be more likely to resist policies and practices that aim to disenfranchise them.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Mobile Terminal: LG Patents Foldable Phone With Dual Screens, Headphone, & Batteries

      A new wave of ‘foldable smartphones’ has hit the tech industry with several tech companies like Apple, Samsung, Oppo and Huawei already working on it.

    • Copyrights

      • The EU copyright reform and the legacy of CJEU case law: lip service?

        I am attending what every year is a great conference in one of the greatest cities: the Fordham IP Conference in New York City. Now in its 26th edition, every year this event gathers IP enthusiasts from all over the world to “Learn. Debate. Have Fun.”

        Yesterday I was part of a panel moderated by Ted Shapiro (Wiggin) and composed of Shira Perlmutter (USPTO), Giuseppe Mazziotti (TCD), and Jerker Rydén (National Library of Sweden). The session was devoted to discussing the state of the EU copyright reform debate.


Links 6/4/2018: New Fedora ISO, Next Ubuntu Reaches Final Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • ​Want to profit from your underused servers? Overclock has an idea

      Akash is a blockchain-powered, open, and decentralized compute marketplace, which enables you to monetize your business’s underused server capacity. With up to 85 percent of the world’s compute capacity sitting unused in data centers, there’s a lot of compute out there.

    • 5 Things to Know Before Adopting Microservice and Container Architectures

      We definitely consider ourselves early adopters of containers, and we started packaging services in them almost as soon as Docker released its first production-ready version in the summer of 2014. Many of the customers I talk with are just now beginning — or thinking about beginning — such journeys, and they want to know everything we know. They want to know how we make it work, and how we architected it. But part of the process, I like to stress, is that they need to know what we learned from where we struggled along the way.

    • Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry: Better Together

      Industry veterans have cast predictions far and wide on what to expect in 2018. And while we can’t ensure every prediction will come true, many would agree that the container industry will continue to grow as it maintains support for businesses looking to leverage new technologies and platforms. In fact, the application container market is projected to grow from $762 million in 2016 to $2.7 billion by 2020 according to 451 Research.

      With this explosive growth, it’s easy to understand why some individuals are seeing Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry as competitive projects. The reality? While there is some functional overlap between the two, they ultimately serve complementary purposes that work toward the same goal. By taking approaches that leverage both projects, organizations are actually making it easier to manage their entire cloud environment.

  • Kernel Space

    • F2FS File-System Gets A Lost & Found, Performance Enhancements

      The explicitly flash-focused F2FS file-system is the latest noteworthy pull request on its way to the mainline Linux 4.17 kernel.

      F2FS maintainer Jaegeuk Kim says most of this past round of development was focused on performance tuning and critical bug fixes for low-end devices. But there’s also some new features and we surely love any and all performance work.

    • Razer’s Blade Stealth Multi-Touch To Be Supported By Linux 4.17

      The HID subsystem updates have been submitted for the Linux 4.17 merge window and that set of driver updates includes a variety of new product support.

      Perhaps most significant is that the Razer Blade stealth laptop will now have working multi-touch support with Linux 4.17. Multi-touch should be squared away thanks to an independent contributor while we still wait to see how Razer’s Linux laptop play will eventually pan out.

      The HID updates for Linux 4.17 also include supporting the third-generation Wacom Intuos BT, a ~$100 USD pen tablet. Additionally there is support for the NSG-MR5U and NSG-MR7U Sony remote controls.

    • New Sound Drivers & UAC3 Ready To Play On Linux 4.17

      Longtime Linux sound system maintainer Takashi Iwai of SUSE has sent in his album of updates for the Linux 4.17 kernel.

      First and foremost with the Linux 4.17 sound updates is the USB Audio Class 3.0 support we previously wrote about on Phoronix. USB Audio Class 3.0 (UAC3) is a 2016 audio-over-USB specification promoted as “USB Audio over USB Type-C” and brought power management improvements, additional interrupt sources, new descriptors, and other changes while still maintaining backwards compatibility with UAC2. UAC3 is now supported by the mainline Linux kernel plus for the existing UAC2 support they now have working jack detection.

    • Some 4.16 and -stable development statistics

      The 4.16 development cycle is shaping up to be a relatively straightforward affair with little in the way of known problems and a probable release after nine weeks of work. In comparison to the wild ride that was 4.15, 4.16 looks positively calm. Even so, there is a lot that has happened this time around; read on for a look at who contributed to this release, with a brief digression into stable kernel updates.

      As of this writing, 1,774 developers have contributed 13,439 non-merge changesets during the 4.16 development cycle. That work grew the kernel by about 195,000 lines overall. By recent standards, 4.16 is a relatively calm cycle, and certainly calmer than the 14,866-changeset 4.15 cycle. Still, that is quite a bit of work to integrate in nine weeks.

    • Energy-aware scheduling on asymmetric systems

      Energy-aware scheduling — running a system’s workload in a way that minimizes the amount of energy consumed — has been a topic of active discussion and development for some time; LWN first covered the issue at the beginning of 2012. Many approaches have been tried during the intervening years, but little in the way of generalized energy-aware scheduling work has made it into the mainline. Recently, a new patch set was posted by Dietmar Eggemann that only tries to address one aspect of the problem; perhaps the problem domain has now been simplified enough that this support can finally be merged.

      In the end, the scheduler can most effectively reduce power consumption by keeping the system’s CPUs in the lowest possible power states for the longest time — with “sleeping” being the state preferred over all of the others. There is a tradeoff, though, in that users tend to lack appreciation for saved power if their systems are not responsive; any energy-aware scheduling solution must also be aware of throughput and latency concerns. A failure to balance all of these objectives across the wide range of machines that run Linux has been the bane of many patches over the years.

    • Read-only dynamic data

      Kernel developers go to some lengths to mark read-only data so that it can be protected by the system’s memory-management unit. Memory that cannot be changed cannot be altered by an attacker to corrupt the system. But the kernel’s mechanisms for managing read-only memory do not work for memory that must be initialized after the initial system bootstrap has completed. A patch set from Igor Stoppa seeks to change that situation by creating a new API just for late-initialized read-only data.

      The most straightforward way to create read-only data is, of course, the C const keyword. The compiler will annotate any data marked with const, and the linker will ensure that it is placed in memory that ends up being marked read-only. But const only works at build time. The post-init read-only data mechanism, adapted from the grsecurity patch set, takes things a step further by marking data that can be made read-only once the system’s initialization process has completed. Data structures that must be set up during boot, but which need not be modified thereafter, can be protected in this way.

      Once initialization is completed, though, the (easy) ability to create read-only data in the kernel goes away. At that point, any additional memory needed must be allocated dynamically, and such memory is, by its nature, dynamic. So, while a kernel subsystem may well allocate memory, fill it in, and never change it again, there is no mechanism in place to actually block further modifications to that memory.

    • Linux Kernel Developer: Steven Rostedt

      Linus Torvalds recently released version 4.16 of the Linux kernel. These releases typically occur every nine to ten weeks, and each one contains the work of more than 1,600 developers representing over 200 corporations, according to the 2017 Linux Kernel Development Report, written by Jonathan Corbet and Greg Kroah-Hartman. In this series, we’re highlighting some of the developers who contribute to the kernel.

      Steven Rostedt, Open Source Programmer at VMware, maintains the Real Time Stable releases of the Linux kernel, among other things. Rostedt is one of the original developers of the PREEMPT_RT patch and began working on it in 2004 with the goal of turning Linux into a real-time designed operating system. He is also the main author, developer, and maintainer of Ftrace, a tool designed to help developers find what is going on inside the kernel. According to the Ftrace wiki, the tool can be used for debugging or analyzing latencies and performance issues that take place outside of user-space.

    • Linux 4.17 Gets PhoenixRC Flight Controller Support & PS/2 Mouse Improvements

      From several of the pull requests covered on Phoronix this week for the in-progress Linux 4.17 kernel, there are many areas seeing improved hardware/device support with this next kernel upgrade, including the input drivers.

      Last month I wrote about Phoenix RC Flight Controller support coming to Linux. That flight controller is modelled after radio controllers for model airplanes/helicopters/drones and designed for the Phoenix RC model aircraft/drone simulator on Windows, but thanks to a passionate independent developer, is now being supported on Linux. I was surprised by the interest indeed in this driver/controller support.

    • Graphics Stack

      • DXVK 0.41 Released, Slightly More CPU Efficient & Offers A Heads-Up Display

        DXVK 0.41 is now available as the library for Wine users to have Direct3D 11 implemented over Vulkan for generally allowing higher performance than Wine’s own D3D11-over-OpenGL layer.

        DXVK continues making great progress for getting D3D11 over Vulkan. DXVK 0.41 improvements include a slight reduction to the overall CPU overhead, better GPU saturation for deferred contexts, and a configurable HUD. There are also bug fixes to get better in spec with SPIR-V and fixes for the games World of Warships and Nier: Automata, among other fixes.

      • NVIDIA Video Codec SDK 8.1 Released, Now Supports Real-Time HEVC 4K @ 60 FPS

        NVIDIA has released a new version of their Video Codec SDK that serves as CUDA-based, cross-platform video encode and decode functionality that ultimately succeeds their VDPAU Linux video decode stack for GPU video coding needs.

      • Panfrost Project Getting “Half-Way Driver” To Gallium3D

        Alyssa Rosenzweig who has been leading the charge recently on the open-source Mali T700 GPU driver that was called “Chai” but has been renamed to “Panfrost” is now pursuing a “half-way driver” approach to testing their knowledge of the hardware’s command stream.

      • Work Is Underway To Upstream LLVM Clang’s CUDA Toolchain For AMDGPU/HIP

        A long available tool has been AMD’s ROCm HIP that allows converting CUDA code to portable C++ code that in turn can be executed on Radeon GPUs. There is now work on getting the upstream LLVM Clang compiler’s CUDA toolchain support to also support HIP.

        HIP’s hipify tool can convert CUDA code to HIP for execution on NVIDIA/AMD GPUs. HIP also consists of a portable C++ language for execution across GPU vendors. Those not familiar with HIP can learn more via its ROCm tool repository.

        What initially got me digging into the LLVM/Clang upstreaming work was seeing on Thursday: [CUDA] Add amdgpu sub archs. Clang’s CUDA code now not only listing NVIDIA GPU micro-architectures but also the Radeon GPU generations backed by the LLVM AMDGPU compiler back-end.

      • NVIDIA Xavier Support Being Brought Up With Linux 4.17, Other New ARM Boards Too

        There’s a lot of ARM work that has built up for the Linux 4.17 development cycle.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Subutai Blockchain Router v2.0, NixOS New Release, Slimbook Curve and More

      NixOS released version 18.03 “Impala” yesterday. Highlights include “core version changes: linux: 4.9 -> 4.14, glibc: 2.25 -> 2.26, gcc: 6 -> 7, systemd: 234 -> 237″; “desktop version changes: gnome: 3.24 -> 3.26, (KDE) plasma-desktop: 5.10 -> 5.12″; the Nix package manager now defaults to 2.0 and more.

    • NixOS 18.03 Switches To Linux 4.14, GCC 7 & Other Package Updates

      For fans of the NixOS Linux distribution that makes use of the Nix package manager, version 18.03 “Impala” is now available.

    • Arch Family

      • Bluestar Gives Arch Linux a Celestial Glow

        Using most any Arch Linux distro usually involves balancing the desire for hands-on control of the operating system from scratch against the attraction of convenient installation and maintenance processes. Bluestar Linux is one of the few Arch distros that gets the balancing act right.

        Bluestar Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution that features up-to-date packages, an impressive range of desktop and multimedia software in the default installation, and a live desktop DVD. The live session capability is one of Bluestar’s more enticing qualities.

        The live session feature lets you easily check out its operation on your own hardware before actually installing the OS to your hard drive. Even better, the installation uses the Calamares installer for a smooth, automated setup. Most other Arch installations require manual installations that involve a command line nightmare. Often that leaves hopeful users frustrated when critical components fail to work on their gear.

    • Red Hat Family

      • The Open Brand Project—we asked for help, and we got it.

        The Open Brand Project is a collaborative effort to evolve our corporate logo and brand system. A cross-functional team of in-house designers collaborating with Pentagram, a well-known international design consultancy, are working together to simplify and modernize our logo.

      • Unified Container Monitoring and Security on OpenShift with Sysdig

        The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform helps developers easily and quickly develop, build, and deploy container-native applications in nearly any infrastructure, public or private. But as you move from development to a large scale production environment, monitoring and security take center stage.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • F27-20180404 updated Live isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated 27 Live ISOs, carrying the 4.15.14-300 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save about 929 MB of updates after install. (for new installs.)

        • Yum Command Line Options
        • DNF 3: better performance and a move to C++

          It has only been a few years since DNF replaced Yum as the default Fedora package-management tool; that was done for Fedora 22 in 2015, though DNF had been available for several earlier Fedora releases. Since that time, DNF development has proceeded; it started a move from Python/C to all C in 2016 and has made multiple releases over the years. From an outsider’s perspective, no major changes seem necessary, which makes the announcement of DNF 3, and a move to C++, a bit surprising to some.

          For many years, Yum was the package-management front-end for many RPM-based distributions, including Fedora and RHEL. But it suffered from poor performance and high memory use; part of that was attributed to its iterative dependency solver. DNF was meant to fix those problems. It uses the libsolv dependency resolution library developed by openSUSE, by way of the hawkey library.

          Though it wasn’t a perfect drop-in replacement for Yum, DNF did replace it. But, even though DNF performed better, often much better, than its predecessor, the project continued to focus on making it faster. Ultimately, that’s a large part of the reasons behind DNF 3.

        • Fedora 28 beta is ready for you to test

          Fedora 28 has just been released in its beta version. That means it isn’t likely to be completely free of bugs and that you have a chance to participate in ensuring that it’s ready to go public on May 1.

          This news won’t be particularly surprising to the more enthusiastic Fedora users. Fedora’s release cycle is a fairly regular after all. Every six months, more or less, a new Fedora release is published. Many Fedora users have come to expect to see them around May Day and Halloween each year. Yet, while not surprising, the news is still exciting because of a number of new and enhanced features.

        • Fedora To Decide What To Do About GNOME 3.28′s Auto-Suspend Default

          While Ubuntu developers have decided to no longer enable auto-suspend by default as set with the new GNOME 3.28 desktop when running on AC power, Fedora developers are still debating the issue.

          While there is certainly overlap between Fedora/RedHat developers and those working on GNOME, including those that sanctioned this upstream change during the GNOME 3.28 cycle, the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) has now been summoned to voice their opinion on the matter as well as the Fedora Workstation special interest group.

    • Debian Family

      • My Free Software Activities in March 2018
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E05 – High Five – Ubuntu Podcast
          • Google Cloud Poaches Ubuntu’s VP of Product

            After being at Canonical for a decade (aside from a brief stint at Gazzang), Dustin Kirkland who most recently served as the company’s VP of Product, is joining Google.

            Dustin Kirkland managed the product teams for Ubuntu server, cloud, desktop and IoT the past five years while he’s been an open-source developer since the late 90′s and continues to maintain many Ubuntu packages himself. Dustin is a highly-skilled developer and manager while now he will be focusing his efforts on the Google Cloud.

          • The Nextcloud Box: a review of building an IoT device with snaps

            In 2016, Canonical, Nextcloud and WDLabs introduced the Nextcloud Box, the first IoT style device running with snaps out of the box. Besides sales of nearly 2K boxes before Western Digital shut down their research division WDLabs late last year, the snap been extremely popular with some days hitting over 10,000 downloads. Its installed base is estimated to be over 8000, making it a popular way to run a private cloud. Read our guest blog by Nextcloud’s Jos Poortvliet on to learn more about Nextcloud, the Box and how snaps help thousands of Nextcloud users keep their data under their control.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Final Beta Released, Available for Download Now

            Canonical released today the beta development version (a.k.a. Final Beta) of its upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system, along with the second beta for opt-in flavors.

            While many of the opt-in Ubuntu flavors participated in last month’s beta release, this is the first time Ubuntu 18.04 LTS gets a public beta build that users can actually download and install on their personal computers if they plan on becoming early adopters ahead of the official release later this month.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Lubuntu Bionic Beaver Final Beta has been released!

              Lubuntu Bionic Beaver Final Beta (soon to be 18.04) has been released!

              Thanks to the hard work of the Lubuntu team, we are pleased to announce the final beta!

            • Xubuntu 18.04 Community Wallpaper Contest Winners!

              The Xubuntu team are happy to announce the results of the 18.04 community wallpaper contest!

              We want to send out a huge thanks to every contestant; last time we had 92 submissions but now you all made us work much harder in picking the best ones out with a total of 162 submissions!

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Who really owns an open project?

    Differences in organizational design don’t necessarily make some organizations better than others—just better suited to different purposes. Any style of organization must account for its models of ownership (the way tasks get delegated, assumed, executed) and responsibility (the way accountability for those tasks gets distributed and enforced). Conventional organizations and open organizations treat these issues differently, however, and those difference can be jarring for anyone hopping transitioning from one organizational model to another. But transitions are ripe for stumbling over—oops, I mean, learning from.

  • Nginx gets granular on managed microservices

    Open source at its heart and essentially a web server technology, Nginx (pronounced: engine X) is the company that would like to have its name capitalised in the media but can’t, because it’s not an acronym.

  • Slack competitor Spectrum released as open source group messaging platform

    Spectrum, a group communication platform that launched last year, has gone fully open source, according to an announcement from developer Max Stoiber. The software, which is hosted on GitHub, is licensed under a 3-clause BSD license.

    In contrast to other commercial projects in which open sourcing is a goodwill gesture prior to the end of active development—such as with the opening of webOS following the abrupt discontinuation of the HP TouchPad—Spectrum appears very much ready to react to tickets and pull requests on GitHub. Spectrum’s existing hosted option will continue to be offered even after the release of the code.

  • Netflix open source FlameScope CPU tool helps developers debug performance issues

    Netflix’s cloud performance engineering team has released FlameScope, a performance visualization utility that allows programmers and system administrators to analyze CPU activity by generating a subsecond-offset heat map in which arbitrary spans of time can be selected by the user for further analysis by selecting a portion of the heat map, for which a flame graph is generated for corresponding block of time.

  • Huawei Unveils Open Source DMM Project That Redesigns the Protocol Stack Container in Networking

    At the 2018 Open Networking Summit North America, Huawei introduced the new Dual Modes, Multi-Protocols, Multi-Instances (DMM) open source project—a protocol stack framework—which elevates different protocol stacks for networking application developers. DMM is a Fast Data Project and a part of the FD.io community, which is tailored for open source software and aims to provide high-performance networking solutions. Leveraging Huawei’s expertise in providing cost-effective network solutions to customers, DMM will make it possible to use diverse protocol stacks for different apps, as well as simplify the process of developing a new protocol stack. This new framework will provide the enterprise industry with a more open, pluralistic, and reliable networking solution.

  • Events

    • FOSSASIA experience

      I spend most of my time at the Debian booth. People swing by the booth and they talked about their experience with Debian. It was fun to meet them all. Prior to the conference I created a wiki page to coordinate Debian booth at exhibition which really helped.

      I met three Debian Developers – Chow Loong Jin (hyperair), Andrew Lee 李健秋 (ajqlee) and Héctor Orón Martínez (zumbi). Andrew Lee and zumbi also volunteered at Debian booth from time to time along with Balasankar ‘balu’ C (balasankarc). Hyperair was sitting at HackerspaceSG booth, just two booth across from us.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Facebook Container extension now includes Instagram and Facebook Messenger

        To help you control the amount of data Facebook can gather about you, we have updated the Facebook Container extension to include Instagram and Facebook Messenger. This way, users of these sites, can also benefit from the tracking protections of the Facebook Container.

      • What Makes a Great Extension?

        We’re in the middle of our Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge and we’ve been asking ourselves: What makes a great extension?

        Great extensions add functionality and fun to Firefox, but there’s more to it than that. They’re easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to find. If you’re building one, here are some simple steps to help it shine.

      • Results of the MDN “Internal Link Optimization” SEO experiment

        Our fourth and final SEO experiment for MDN, to optimize internal links within the open web documentation, is now finished. Optimizing internal links involves ensuring that each page (in particular, the ones we want to improve search engine results page (SERP) positions for, are easy to find.

      • Why Fluent Matters for Localization

        In case you don’t know what Fluent is, it’s a localization system designed and developed by Mozilla to overcome the limitations of the existing localization technologies. If you have been around Mozilla Localization for a while, and you’re wondering what happened to L20n, you can read this explanation about the relation between these two projects.

        With Firefox 58 we started moving Firefox Preferences to Fluent, and today we’re migrating the last pane (Firefox Account – Sync) in Firefox Nightly (61). The work is not done yet, there are still edge cases to migrate in the existing panes, and subdialogs, but we’re on track. If you’re interested in the details, you can read the full journey in two blog posts from Zibi (2017 and 2018), covering not only Fluent, but also the huge amount of work done on the Gecko platform to improve multilingual support.

      • Mozilla VR Blog: Progressive WebXR

        Imagine you wanted to have your store’s web page work in 2D, and also take advantage of the full range of AR and VR devices. WebXR will provide the foundation you need to create pages that work everywhere, and let you focus on compelling User Experiences on each of the devices.

        In a recent blog post, we touched on one aspect of progressive WebXR, showcasing a version of A-Painter that was adapted to handheld AR and immersive VR. In this post, we will dive a bit deeper into the idea of progressive WebXR apps that are accessible across a much wider range of XR-supported devices.

        The WebXR Device API expands on the WebVR API to include a broader range of mixed reality devices (i.e., AR/VR, immersive/handheld). By supporting all mixed reality devices in one API, the Immersive Web community hopes to make it easier for web apps to respond to the capabilities of a user’s chosen device, and present an appropriate UI for AR, VR, or traditional 2D displays.

      • uBlock Origin is Back-to-Back March Addonness Champion

        It’s been three weeks and we’ve almost run out of sports metaphors. We’re happy to announce that after three rounds and thousands of votes you have crowned uBlock Origin March Addonness champion for the second year in a row!


  • Licensing/Legal

    • ​Symantec may violate Linux GPL in Norton Core Router

      For years, embedded device manufacturers have been illegally using Linux. Typically, they use Linux without publishing their device’s source code, which Linux’s GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) requires them to do. Well, guess what? Another vendor, this time Symantec, appears to be the guilty party.

      This was revealed when Google engineer and Linux security expert Matthew Garrett was diving into his new Norton Core Router. This is a high-end Wi-Fi router. Symantec claims it’s regularly updated with the latest security mechanisms. Garrett popped his box open to take a deeper look into Symantec’s magic security sauce.

      What he found appears to be a Linux distribution based on the QCA Software Development Kit (QSDK) project. This is a GPLv2-licensed, open-source platform built around the Linux-based OpenWrt Wi-Fi router operating system.

  • Programming/Development

    • How to create an impact map for teams

      Give impact mapping a try and let us know how it works for you. You can use any mind map software to create your first impact map, but you might prefer to start with pen and paper and sticky notes, or even a nice clean whiteboard.

    • Is Python a Good Choice for Entrerprise Projects?

      If you follow me for a long time, you know I’ve been doing Python for more than ten years now and even wrote two books about it. So while I’m obviously biased, and before writing a reply, I would also like to take a step back and reassure you, dear reader, that I’ve used plenty of other programming languages those last 20 years: Perl, C, PHP, Lua, Lisp, Java, etc. I’ve built tiny to big projects with some of them, and I consider that Lisp is the best programming language. 😅 Therefore, I like to think that I’m not overly partial.


  • UW Stationery in LaTeX

    Unfortunately, they only provide them in Microsoft Word DOCX format.

  • Trends Are Over: How Bots Made Social Stats Basically Useless

    The piece is written for journalists but it applies to users as well. Never assume things like follower counts, product ratings, retweets, likes, or shares mean much of anything, because these numbers are easily gamed. Focus on ideas and credibility, not arbitrary statistics, when determining whether something is legit.

  • Science

    • Falling Research Productivity

      The rate at which research productivity has fallen in semiconductors is significantly higher than in other areas of the economy (6.8% vs. 5.3%) [Page 46]:

    • Union of Concerned Scientists accuses USDA chief of ‘sidelining science’

      The report highlights the Agriculture Department’s (USDA) decision to roll back rules on school meals and to lobby in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency undoing a ban on a pesticide known to cause nerve damage in children.

    • Introduction: A New Quantum Revolution

      Peanut butter and chocolate. Rice and soy sauce. Milk and cookies. When two good things get together, they can create something even better.

      That’s the case with quantum information—the marriage of quantum physics and computing theory. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has contributed to much of its history and is helping to shape its future.

      “We have been there from the beginning,” says NIST physicist Carl Williams, who has directed much of the agency’s efforts in this field since the early 2000s. “We can now see quantum information moving from a purely scientific field to a technological one.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Intel won’t be patching the Spectre V2 flaw in its older chips any time soon

      Intel might not be able to fix the second version of the Spectre flaw that affects more than 230 models of its processors, due to how difficult it is to remove the vulnerability.

      The microcode revisions to fix the Spectre Varian 2 flaw in chips from the Bloomfield Xeon, Clarksfield, Gulftown, and Yorkfield families of chips to name a few, are marked as stopped due to several reasons.

    • Matthew Garrett Elaborates More On Lockdown + Secure Boot Pairing

      A few days back we covered the heated exchange on the kernel mailing list over the path being pursued by the Linux kernel “lockdown” patches. Those back and forth messages between Google’s Matthew Garrett and Linus Torvalds have now spilled over into a blog post by Garrett.

      Linus Torvalds isn’t against the kernel lockdown patches, he just is against it being explicitly enabled with UEFI SecureBoot and can’t be easily turned off in that scenario. Matthew Garrett has written a blog post to lay out the case for UEFI SecureBoot with the lockdown functionality.

    • Public Hearing on IoT Risks

      The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC, Commission, or we) will conduct a public hearing to receive information from all interested parties about potential safety issues and hazards associated with internet-connected consumer products. The information received from the public hearing will be used to inform future Commission risk management work. The Commission also requests written comments.

    • Hacking your brain(scan): [Windows] security bugs in EEG software open hospitals to attack

      Today, Cisco’s Talos security research group revealed five security vulnerabilities in NeuroWorks, a Windows-based software that is used in multiple electroencephalogram systems sold by Nautus. The Windows-based Natus Xltek NeuroWorks 8 software uses hospitals’ Ethernet networks to connect to EEG devices and integrate with patient data systems, and it is vulnerable to attacks that could allow remote code execution—allowing an attacker to gain access to the data on the device and to other systems on the hospital network—and denial of service. The systems hosting the software could then be used to stage wider attacks on hospital networks.

    • Cyberattack Bleeds Into Utility Space With Billing Delays

      At least five U.S. pipeline companies have said their electronic communications systems were shut down over the past few days, with four confirming the service disruptions were caused by a cyberattack. Energy Transfer Partners LP, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP, Chesapeake Utilities Corp.’s Eastern Shore Natural Gas and the TransCanada Corp.-operated Portland Natural Gas Transmission System were among the companies affected by data outages, while Oneok Inc. said it disabled its system as a precaution.

    • European flights delayed after computer borkage hits Eurocontrol

      The Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS) appeared to be the culprit. By going squiffy, it makes it harder for air traffic controllers to compare the demand for airspace in different parts of its jurisdiction making it harder to take action to avoid an ‘air jam’.

    • Nitrokey Digital Tokens for Linux Kernel Developers

      The Linux Foundation IT team has been working to improve the code integrity of git repositories hosted at kernel.org by promoting the use of PGP-signed git tags and commits. Doing so allows anyone to easily verify that git repositories have not been altered or tampered with no matter from which worldwide mirror they may have been cloned. If the digital signature on your cloned repository matches the PGP key belonging to Linus Torvalds or any other maintainer, then you can be assured that what you have on your computer is the exact replica of the kernel code without any omissions or additions.

    • Nitrokey UG Announces Partnership with The Linux Foundation to Empower Kernel Developers with Nitrokey USB Keys
    • Vendor selection: What needs to be in a good policy [Ed: This article contains toxic FUD. Badmouths FOSS for #security because "buzzword", does not mention that proprietary software has back doors.]

      “Open-source code is widely used in application development, which is fine, but OSS libraries are often updated in response to security evens (e.g. Heartbleed), so knowing what open-source code is in a product is critical to being able to maintain it,” Horvath said.

    • Research Reveals That 21% of Open Source Serverless Applications Have Critical Vulnerabilities [Ed: Boosting a self-promotional press release that uses bizarre methods to categorise based on a buzzword]
    • Records breaches cost US$8bn, ransomware the main culprit

      The number of records breached dropped nearly 25% globally in 2017, but ransomware breaches still cost organisations US$8 billion, with human error responsible for two-thirds of compromised records.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Knobs and Knockers

      So given that the weapon itself is not firm evidence it was Russia that did it, what is Boris Johnson’s evidence? It turns out that the British government’s evidence is no more than the technique of smearing nerve agent on the door handle. All of the UK media have been briefed by “security sources” that the UK has a copy of a secret Russian assassin training manual detailing how to put nerve agent on door handles, and that given the nerve agent was found on the Skripals door handle, this is the clinching evidence which convinced NATO allies of Russia’s guilt.

    • What Did Israel Bomb in the Syrian Desert in 2007?

      In September 2007, in the dark of night, warplanes crossed the Syrian border and bombed a covert nuclear reactor. Recently, Israel took responsibility for the bombing mission that obliterated the Syrian reactor.

      The Israeli announcement was unnecessary if it was intended to be an admission of responsibility. The origin of the bombers had never been a mystery. As early as 2008, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh began a report on the bombing with the line “Sometime after midnight on September 6, 2007, at least four low-flying Israeli Air Force fighters crossed into Syrian airspace and carried out a secret bombing mission.” Even the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) report on the bombing said that the building had been “destroyed by Israel in September 2007.”

      That the nuclear reactor was bombed by Israeli planes is clear. That the building the Israeli planes bombed was a nuclear reactor is far less clear.

    • Coming Attraction: Lunatic Loose in West Wing

      As Uber-Hawk John Bolton prepares to take over as national security adviser on Monday, Ray McGovern looks back at when Bolton was one of the “crazies” in the George W. Bush administration.

    • Taking a Long Look Backward to Explain a Police Killing in Sacramento

      In Sacramento, California, on March 18, police bullets killed Stephon Cark, an unarmed black man. The police misbehaved, but the real culprit was racial hatred, evident already in the recent wave of police killings of mostly black men.

      Stephon Clark died as did black people who died at the hands of Klu Klux Klan raiders during the Reconstruction era,(1) as did thousands of blacks lynched over the course of decades, as did so many killed in dozens of massacres carried out by white people between the Civil War and the 1920s. (2)

      Activists and potential victims sought relief from the long terror campaign. On December 9, 1948 the UN General Assembly approved its “Convention on … the Crime of Genocide.” Responding, the left-leaning Civil Rights Congress in 1951 delivered a 240-page petition to the General Assembly. Its title was: “We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government against the Negro People.”

    • Porton Down failure to ascribe novichok blame makes intelligence key factor in justifying claims against Russia

      Such overwhelming dependence on intelligence, most of it unknown to the public, has inevitably led to comparison with the fake intelligence which was used to justify the Iraq invasion

    • What will be the blowback for UK government after Libya revelations?

      The revelation that the British government likely had contacts with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and the 17 February Martyrs Brigade during the 2011 war in Libya – groups for which the 2017 Manchester bomber and his father reportedly fought at that time – raises fundamental questions about the UK’s links to terrorism.

      Indeed, a strong case can be made for a devastating conclusion: that the UK is itself a de facto part of the terrorist infrastructure that poses a threat to the British public.

      Foreign minister Alistair Burt told Parliament on 3 April that: “During the Libyan conflict in 2011 the British government was in communication with a wide range of Libyans involved in the conflict against the Gaddafi regime forces. It is likely that this included former members of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and 17 February Martyrs Brigade, as part of our broad engagement during this time.” This is the first time the government has admitted to having contacts with these groups at that time.

    • Gaza Protesters Murdered by Israeli Forces

      The latest Israeli slaughter of Gazans falls into the category of shooting fish in a tank. Indeed, as tens of thousands of Gazans protested the longest occupation in modern history and demanded their historical Right to Return, last Friday, March 30, Israeli snipers raised their rifles repeatedly and, from behind a wide-buffer and an electrified fence, opened fire on the Palestinians.

    • Trump Backs Off Plan to Withdraw U.S. Troops from Syria as General Says “Hard Part” Is Still Ahead

      President Trump has backed off his plan to soon withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration would not put an “arbitrary timeline” on withdrawal. Earlier this week, Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, said, “The hard part, I think, is in front of us.” Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports U.S. forces have been spotted setting up front-line positions outside the strategic northern town of Manbij, where U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led forces are facing off against Turkish-backed Syrian fighters.

    • ‘The Doves Are Hawks and the Hawks Are Super-Hawks’

      “Everybody got it wrong“ is the dominant corporate media refrain on the war on Iraq. Officials had intelligence that no one could have suspected was flawed. Reporters were swayed by persuasive government evidence. And alas, it went awry.

      The clear-eyed remember that not everyone got it wrong. There were plenty of people who said the Iraq invasion, besides being illegal, besides being based on deceit, would be a human rights, political and ecological disaster. Those people just weren’t on television.

      Who was? An endless round robin of retired military and intelligence officials, with reporters fawning over them rather than challenging them. As Cokie Roberts, then of ABC News’ This Week, put it to David Letterman, “I am, I will just confess to you, a total sucker for the guys who stand up with all the ribbons on and stuff, and they say it’s true and I’m ready to believe it.” It’s hard to picture a TV journalist making such a statement today—or is it?

      We’re joined now in studio by Jeff Cohen; he’s associate professor of journalism and director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College. He’s also co-founder of the group Roots Action, author of Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media, and the founder of FAIR. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Jeff Cohen.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador Wants Less Julian Assange and More Foreign Investors [Ed: Wall Street media having a go at Wikileaks]

      Before he launched a major economic reform on April 2, Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno cushioned it with a disclaimer: “Under no circumstances,” he said, would the plan “affect the poorest, neediest sectors” of the country. At least one needy sector is already upset, however. A few days earlier, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange lost his internet connection at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he’s been holed up since seeking refuge in 2012 against extradition to Sweden to face an investigation, subsequently dropped, for alleged sexual assault.

    • A Hard Transparency Choice: What is WikiLeaks? [Ed: Attacks on Wikileaks]
    • Silencing Assange an ‘Attack on Information’ – Danny Glover

      For more than a week, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been barred from the online community after the Ecuadorian embassy in London cut off his internet access.

      According to the embassy, the decision to eliminate Assange’s internet privileges came about after the 46-year-old Australian violated an agreement that stated he would not interfere with Ecuador’s relationship with other countries.


      “It’s part of the attack on information,” Glover told show hosts Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan. “It’s part of the attack on something that was revealed… something that revealed what is happening in life… we are so disengaged.”

    • What It Was Really Like Working For WikiLeaks

      Plenty of women are whistleblowers, and plenty more work for the organisations that aid them. So why do we rarely hear about these women? And who are they?

      In 2010, British journalist Sarah Harrison, then in her mid-20s, began working for WikiLeaks, the website created by Julian Assange to help expose large-scale injustices and cover-ups. It was the year that the site received and published some of its most explosive information to date; the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diary and Cablegate were a collection of classified documents that were leaked out of the American military by Chelsea Manning, including a video showing the killing of civilians in a 2007 Baghdad airstrike. It was also the same year that Julian Assange was accused of sexual assault by two women in Sweden.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Adorable baby elephant GIGGLES with joy while playing game with its keeper

      This is the rare moment a beautiful baby elephant was filmed GIGGLING with joy during a game with a keeper.

      The six-month-old calf was being entertained by her park carer at Maevang Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand , at the time – and appears to be having the time of her life.

      As the keeper drags a basket along the ground in the footage, the elephant can be heard giggling before playfully running around the enclosure.

  • Finance

    • Debunking “But Bitcoin is like the early Internet!”

      The Internet, and the various protocols that made up the early Internet, solved its use cases. It was adaptable to all manner of exciting and unforeseen new use cases because it started from a foundation of basically working.

      Bitcoin has failed every aspiration that Satoshi Nakamoto had for it. As I note in chapter 2 of the book, Satoshi said in his release notes for Bitcoin 0.1:

    • Elsevier reports 40% gender pay gap

      Elsevier has reported a median pay gap of 40.4%, more than twice the UK average of 18.4% and the highest yet reported by a publisher. The company’s mean pay gap stands at 29.1%, also well over the UK average of 17.4%.

      Bonuses are awarded to a higher percentage of men (56.5%) than women (45.7%), and the bonuses are higher for men, with a median bonus pay gap of 47.5% and a mean of 30%.

    • Brexit Doesn’t Have to Mean Deleting Domains

      The European Commission dropped a surprise announcement last week that following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (“Brexit”), British domain owners may no longer be entitled to keep their “.eu” domain names. Not only will it no longer be possible for United Kingdom residents or organizations to register or renew these domain names, but the remaining period for which existing domain names have been registered could also be cut short as soon as Brexit occurs—which is currently scheduled for March 30, 2019. Unless a transitional arrangement is negotiated in the meantime, this could mean the loss of the content associated with over 300,000 domain names.

      The availability of a special domain name may seem like a relatively minor inconvenience compared to some of the other likely outcomes of Brexit for the United Kingdom, including effects on the cost of good and services, incomes, and migration levels. But unlike most of those changes (and as significant as those are), the deletion of .eu domain names would carelessly impact the expressive content of thousands of domain owners, along with the ability for unknown millions of users to use the websites and other services hosted at those domains.

    • David Miliband urges Labour to back new Brexit referendum in latest intervention in UK politics

      David Miliband has urged Labour to back calls for a new referendum on Brexit in the latest in a series of prominent interventions in domestic politics.

      Labour’s former foreign secretary said the only way to “avert the damage of Brexit” was to give the public another say on the final deal, setting himself at odds with his party’s official stance on leaving the European Union.

      He joins former prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair, and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable in calling for another vote on Brexit – something both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have ruled out.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Woman fired after flipping off Trump’s motorcade sues former employer

      A crowdfunding campaign for Briskman created after she lost her job raised more than $30,000 in its first three days.

    • Cyclist who lost job after giving Trump the middle finger sues former employer

      The Herndon-based company then forced her to resign, claiming that her posting of a photo of the incident on her Facebook page (which did not mention her association with Akima) violated the company’s social media policy.


      Akima did not respond to phone calls or emails requesting comment.

    • The woman who got fired for flipping off President Trump just sued her former employer

      It’s called “autocratic capture” he said. And it happens in countries like Turkey, Russia, Egypt, Hungary, and Thailand, where the private sector helps silence dissent because it’s good for business, Kistler said.

      “There’s no reason to believe that it cannot happen here as well,” he said, “and we should be particularly worried about autocratic capture in Virginia, where so many businesses rely on government contracts.”

    • Virginia woman fired for flipping off President Trump’s motorcade is suing her former employer

      “It is un-American to let the government use your own tax dollars to buy your off-duty obedience,” she said.

    • Carles Puigdemont released on bail by German court

      A court in northern Germany decided Thursday to release ousted Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont from detention on bail of €75,000.

      The court will still evaluate Spain’s extradition request for Puigdemont, but not based on Spain’s charge of rebellion. The court found this charge to be “inadmissible” because such an offense in Germany would have to include “violence,” which the court said “is not the case here.”

      Thus, the remaining charge of misuse of public funds will be considered in the extradition decision.

    • How to build a progressive movement in a divided country

      Whether it’s assault rifles, racial justice, immigration or fossil fuels, the US is rocked by conflicting narratives and rising passions. In a recent national poll, 70 percent of Americans say the political divide is at least as big as during the Vietnam War.

      In December, I completed a year-and-a-half book tour in over 80 towns and cities in United States. From Arizona to Alaska to North Dakota to Georgia, I heard a worry in common from people active in struggles for justice. They talk about the political polarization they see around them.

      Many assume that polarization is a barrier to making change. They observe more shouting and less listening, more drama and less reflection, and an escalation at the extremes. They note that mass media journalists have less time to cover the range of activist initiatives, which are therefore drowned out by the shouting. From coast to coast activists asked me: Does this condition leave us stuck?

      My answer included both good news and bad news. Most people wanted the latter first.

    • CounterSpin interview with Karen Hobert Flynn on Census and citizenship

      So people are alarmed when they see—for the first time since 1950—that this administration wants to put a citizenship question in the census, without any kind of testing.

    • EPA chief accused of dumping agent who refused to misuse sirens in traffic: Report

      Embattled Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt has a new public relations mess on his hands regarding the possible misuse of emergency sirens in heavy traffic.
      President Trump can add the reassignment of EPA Special Agent Eric Weese to a growing list of stories that threaten to derail messaging for his environmental agenda. Mr. Pruitt is accused of replacing the 16-year veteran — previously the lead agent in charge of his security detail — after he rebuffed efforts to abuse the use of emergency sirens.
      CBS confirmed its story with multiple sources on Thursday after viewing a letter by Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Tom Carper of Delaware.

    • Members of Congress Set to Question Mark Zuckerberg Have Received Money From Facebook PAC

      Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, is scheduled to testify before Congress on April 10 and April 11 about the social network’s role in up to 87 million people’s compromised information during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, according to NPR. A potential conflict: Members of congressional committees who will question Zuckerberg have been recipients of massive campaign contributions from Facebook’s Political Action Committee (funded by Facebook employees) and individual Facebook employees, according to findings by the Campaign for Responsive Politics, as reported by USA Today.

    • Facebook a big contributor to the committees in Congress that will question Mark Zuckerberg

      On the House committee, Republicans got roughly twice as much as Democrats, counter to the broader trend in Facebook campaign gifts. Of the $7 million in contributions to all federal candidates tied to the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network, Democrats got 65% to Republicans’ 33%.

    • The Question Only Mark Zuckerberg Can Answer Before Congress

      That may be. But if Facebook wants to truly explain why all this has happened—why terrorists have been radicalized on Facebook, why fake news has proliferated, why foreign actors can buy political ads, and why data gets passed around with minimal oversight—Zuckerberg is the only person qualified to provide the real answer: This is how Facebook was designed to work.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How YouTube creators get paid for ads and why some have been angry

      If you were an established YouTube star with millions of followers, the policy didn’t change things. But smaller channels on the edges of YouTube’s thresholds were shut out, as this Guardian piece from January details.

      Although YouTube acknowledged in January a significant number of channels would be affected by the change, it said 99% of affected channels were making less than $100 per year in the last year.

    • Finland’s ISPs Begin Censoring Websites on Government Blacklist

      To this end, the NBI has curated a list of 1,600 websites that allegedly contain child pornography. Unfortunately, allegedly is the operative word, as such blacklists are notorious for their inaccuracy.

      To wit, analysis of a previous version of the NBI’s blacklist found that fewer than one percent of the flagged sites contained material classifiable as child pornography, and fewer than four percent even contained links to illicit sites.

    • Russia Says Facebook Removing A Russian Agency’s Pages Is ‘Censorship’

      The Russian government called Facebook’s removal of accounts, pages and ads from the Internet Research Agency “censorship.”

      Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told news outlets Thursday the move is hostile toward Russian mass media and that the government finds it regretful.

      Facebook announced Tuesday it removed 138 Facebook pages and 70 accounts linked to the IRA — the organization that meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Facebook also removed 65 Instagram accounts.

    • Kremlin blasts blocking of Russian media in social networks as censorship

      Earlier, Google News service terminated the transmission of FAN content starting from October 26, 2017 without giving any reasons. The Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor asked the company for explanations, adding that the FAN was an officially registered Russia mass media. The suspension was canceled in the evening of November 4, 2017.

    • Kremlin Cries ‘Censorship’ Over Facebook’s Purge of Russian ‘Troll Factory’
    • Media Warn of ‘Russian Bots’—Despite Primary Source’s Disavowal

      One could forgive the average reader for thinking reporters covering bots had been replaced by bots. The formula is something we’ve seen a million times now: After a controversial story breaks, media outlets insist that “Russian bots” used the controversy to “sow discord” or “exploit tensions”; a “Russian bot dashboard” is offered as proof. (These “dashboards” let one see what Russian bots—automated online persona controlled by the Kremlin—are allegedly “pushing” on social media.)

      The substance of the concern or discord is underreported or ignored altogether. Online conflict is neatly dismissed as a Kremlin psyop, the narrative of Russia interference in every aspect of our lives is reinforced, and one is reminded to be “aware” of Russian trolls online.


      Another benefit of the “Russian bots agitate the American public” stories is they prevent us from asking hard questions about our society. After a flurry of African-American Twitter users alleged a racist double standard in the coverage of the Austin bombings in March (which killed two people, both of them black), how did NPR address these concerns? Did it investigate their underlying merit? Did it do media analysis to see if there was, in fact, a dearth of coverage due to the victims’ race?


      Nothing to see here! There’s a problem in our society—systemic racism in American media—and rather than an examination of whether it’s affecting coverage here, what the listener gets is yet another boilerplate story about “Russian bots,” the degree, scope and impact of which is wholly unknown, and likely inconsequential. Hesitant to cite Hamilton 68 by name (perhaps because its co-founder mocked this very kind of story a few weeks prior), NPR reporter Ewing simply cites “dashboards and online tools” as his source.

      Which ones? It doesn’t really matter, because “Russian bots support X” reports are a conditioning exercise more than a story. The fact that this paint-by-numbers formula is still being applied weeks after the primary source’s co-founder declared himself “not convinced on this bot thing” and called the story “overdone” demonstrates this. The goal is not to convey information or give the reader tools to better understand the world, it’s to give the impression all unrest is artificially contrived by a foreign entity, and that the status quo would otherwise be rainbows and sunshine. And to remind us that the Enemy lurks everywhere, and that no one online without a blue checkmark can be trusted.

    • Facebook deletes hundreds of Russian ‘[astroturfer] factory’ pages
    • Kremlin Calls Facebook’s Removal Of Russian Pages And Ads Censorship

      The Kremlin is crying foul on Facebook, accusing the social media giant of censorship after it took down more than 200 pages and accounts that were run by the Russia-based Internet Research Agency — the “troll factory” that is under indictment for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.

    • Kremlin Calls Facebook’s Removal Of Russian Pages And Ads Censorship
    • Kremlin calls Facebook’s removal of Russian media accounts censorship
    • Kremlin Calls Facebook’s Removal of Troll Farm ‘Censorship’
    • Mind Manipulation? No, Censorship By Copyright Is The REAL Threat To Elections
    • More Governments Granting Themselves Extra Censorship Powers With ‘Fake News’ Laws

      Fake news is apparently everywhere. All over Europe, legislators and officials are trying to regulate content with “fake news” legislation and directives, as though the term could somehow be narrowly-defined enough that regulation could even have a positive effect. All these new laws and demands for cooperation from tech companies are sure to generate plenty of negative effects, not the least of which is these laws will become tools for censorship and a super-easy way to silence dissent.

      It’s not just a European thing. It’s happening in nations around the world. Countries already known for heavy-handed control of the internet are using “fake news” to seize even more control of news outlets and communications platforms. Countries generally viewed as more generous with their rights are lining themselves up for authoritarian mission creep by setting themselves up as the final arbiter of real/fake news.


      Britain’s broadsheet press has recently gone into meltdown over the easily debunked Cambridge Analytica conspiracy theory, in which shady data-miners are alleged to have manipulated the political views of the masses via Facebook. Yet a recent attempt to control political discussion by another social-media giant was met largely with a shrug. Yes, when it came to Twitter’s permanent ban on right-wing rabble-rouser and ex-English Defence League frontman Tommy Robinson, these worriers about the political power of Silicon Valley didn’t protest; if anything, they cheered.

    • Iranians under regime censorship perplexed by YouTube shooter’s gripes

      he Iranian-American woman who opened fire at YouTube’s headquarters this week appears to have lashed out after she felt the company had censored her often bizarre videos— a motive that many found perplexing in Iran, where YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are blocked.

      Nasim Aghdam, who posted videos under the online name Nasime Sabz, opened fire at YouTube on Tuesday, wounding three people before killing herself. Her father said she was angry at the video-sharing website because it had stopped paying for her videos, which promoted exercise, animal rights, and a vegan diet.

    • Behind the Fig Leaf—a Story of Sin, Censorship, and the Catholic Church

      Consider the fig leaf: a little piece of foliage that’s shielded the genitals of famous biblical figures and nude sculptures for centuries. It’s a plant that’s become synonymous with sin, sex, and censorship. And in large part, we have art history—and the artists determined to portray nudity even when it was considered taboo—to thank for that.

      Take Michelangelo’s famous sculpture David (1501–04), a muscular, starkly naked depiction of its namesake biblical hero. The work scandalized the artist’s fellow Florentines and the Catholic clergy when unveiled in Florence’s Piazza della Signoria in 1504. Soon after, the figure’s sculpted phallus was girdled with a garland of bronze fig leaves by authorities.

    • How Coded Language And Emojis Are Helping China’s Feminists Skirt Censorship

      Women in China are covertly resisting government crackdowns on discussions over their Me Too movement with a clever workaround.

      The phrase “rice bunny” (米兔), pronounced as “mi tu,” has popped up on social media networks after censors removed posts that mentioned sexual harassment or the hashtag #MeToo. While those phrases are heavily monitored, Rice Bunny isn’t.

      In addition to the rice and bunny emojis, social media users also use the phrase in popular hashtags #米兔不能忘# (“Rice Bunny Never Forget”) and #米兔在中国# (“Rice Bunny In China”). Social media users have used them in campaigns, forums and various accounts on platforms like Weibo and WeChat to discuss topics such as opportunity inequality, domestic violence and sexual harassment. The new phrase is harder for censors to follow, as “rice” and “bunny” are both common enough words that banning them from a platform would be too difficult.

    • Bible rewrite helps stoke censorship fears in China

      Catholic groups fear further censorship of religious books, including a state-sponsored re-working of the Bible, and materials both physically and on the internet after China’s government banned online Bible sales.

      They are concerned that Beijing will bring its heavy internet censorship squarely into the world of religious literature.

      Hong Kong academic Ying Fuk-tsang believes that President Xi Jinping’s “new era” will target online circulation of the Bible, religious books and other religious publications.

      “With the implementation of the revised regulations on religious affairs, the religious world on the internet will surely become a target in the next wave of rectification,” said Ying, director of the divinity school of Chung Chi College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    • Donald Trump, social media and coming of digital censorship

      t is unclear when the madness will end. Just some days ago, the US government announced that it planned on asking all visitors applying for a visa to release their telephone numbers, email addresses and social media history.

      The move, yet to be confirmed, is not altogether surprising. It follows President Donald Trump’s campaign promise of more intense vetting of foreigners in the quest for better security. The latest proposal comes six months after the Trump administration first announced that applicants for immigrant visas would be asked for social media accounts.

      This means that some 14 million people who apply for a US visa each year will be subjected to the new rule. These are tourists, spouses, parents, professors and activists who will – above and beyond the disclosure of private details like salary, assets and bank account details – show their social media history before they are allowed to visit the US.

    • Making the world safe through censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook Scans Your Messenger Conversations and Sometimes Humans Read Them

      The Facebook news feed is public and Messenger is private…right? Not quite: Facebook routinely scans your Messenger conversations, and in some cases human employees may review them.

    • License Plate Reader Company Says Public Records Requests For ALPR Documents Are Just Clickbait

      It turns out the most oppressed demographic in this country is the one with power, guns, unions, extra rights, and plenty of civil immunity. Law enforcement agencies around the country currently besieged by public records requests are having their fears assuaged and brows unfurrowed by the nation’s largest provider of automatic license plate reader technology.

      Earlier this year, the EFF and public records clearinghouse MuckRock joined forces to file approximately 1,000 public records requests with agencies partnering with Vigilant. Apparently this influx of up to one additional records request per agency has pushed law enforcement to its limits. Vigilant Solutions has stepped up to let law enforcement officers know it has their back during this ongoing national nightmare.

    • Surveillance Valley – a review

      Most of us have heard that the Internet started as a research project initiated by the ARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, an agency under the US military conducting advanced research, especially focusing on counter-insurgency and future war scenarios. A common version of this story is that the Internet was originally intended to be a decentralized network, a network with no central hub necessary for its operation, where individual nodes might be taken out without disrupting the traffic, which would just reroute itself through other nodes. A TCP/IP network may indeed work like that, but the true origins of the Internet are far darker.

      In the 1940′s and 50′s, Norbert Wiener’s theory of cybernetics became very popular. Wiener was a mathematician who worked for the American military during WWII. The gist of cybernetics is that all systems maintain themselves through feedback between their elements. If one could understand the nature of the feedback that keeps them stable, one could predict their future behaviour. The beauty of this theory is that systems could consist of human beings and machines, and it did not in fact matter if a given element was one or the other; as the systems were supposed to stabilize naturally just like ecosystems, it should be possible to set down mathematical equations they’d need to fulfill to serve their role in the system.

    • DHS Says Rogue Stingrays Are In Use In Washington, DC; Also Says It Hasn’t Done Anything About It

      In 2014, security researchers discovered a number of cell tower spoofers in operation in the DC area. Some may have been linked to US government agencies, but there was a good chance some were operated by foreign entities. This discovery was published and a whole lot of nothing happened.

      Three years later, Senator Ron Wyden followed up on the issue. He sent a letter to the DHS asking if it was aware of these rogue Stingray-type devices and what is was doing about it. As was noted in the letter, the FCC had opened an inquiry into the matter, but nothing had ever come of it. As the agency tasked directly with defending the security of the homeland, Wyden wanted to know if anyone at the DHS was looking into the unidentified cell tower spoofers.

    • DHS Confirms Presence of Cell-site Simulators in U.S. Capital

      The Department of Homeland Security has finally confirmed what many security specialists have suspected for years: cell-phone tracking technology known as cell-site simulators (CSS) are being operated by potentially malicious actors in our nation’s capital.

      DHS doesn’t know who’s operating them or why, or whether these fake cell towers are installed elsewhere in the country. While EFF has its hunches, one thing is for certain: the federal government and cell-service providers have been sitting on their hands for far too long. Now is the time to fix the underlying problems with our worldwide cellular communications infrastructure.

      In November 2017, Sen. Ron Wyden sent DHS a letter [PDF] demanding information regarding the use of CSSs by foreign spies in Washington, D.C. In March, DHS finally responded that it had indeed observed “anomalous activity…. That appears to be consistent with International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers.” Although this information was reported to other federal agencies, DHS investigators did not validate or attribute the activity to anyone or any specific device.

    • Zuckerberg Is Still The Best Person To Run Facebook, According To Zuckerberg

      The Cambridge Analytica fire has tarnished Facebook’s reputation like nothing else. Its boss is being continually being asked to justify the actions of the company in the past and what’s coming in the future.

    • Homeland Security uncovers surveillance devices in Washington DC

      A senior DHS official, Christopher Krebs, said in the letter that the agency had “observed anomalous activity” that was “consistent” with IMSI catchers in Washington DC, but it wasn’t sure who was behind the spying. The DHS also noted it needed more funding to better detect these devices.

    • Recent improvements to Tor

      We may need Tor, “the onion router”, more than we ever imagined. Authoritarian states are blocking more and more web sites and snooping on their populations online—even routine tracking of our online activities can reveal information that can be used to undermine democracy. Thus, there was strong interest in the “State of the Onion” panel at the 2018 LibrePlanet conference, where four contributors to the Tor project presented a progress update covering the past few years.

      According to panelist Nathan Freitas of the Guardian project, many people are moving from virtual private networks (VPNs) to Tor. And in turn, the open research done by the Tor community is being used by VPN providers to improve their own security. Some background here may be useful: a lot has been heard over the past few years about VPNs. Worries about snooping have led businesses and individuals to install them, but they weren’t really designed for anonymous Internet use. Their goal is not to prevent attackers from knowing that person A communicated with person or site B—which is crucial connection information that anonymous Web users are trying to hide—but just to encrypt the communications themselves. VPNs are also designed to be integrated into organizations’ internal networks, more than for standalone use on the Internet.

    • Giving every Tor Hidden Service a IPv6 address
    • Facebook: It wasn’t 50M hit by Cambridge Analytica breach, but rather 87M

      While the calls themselves and SMS message contents were not captured, the time of messages and the time and length of phone calls was recorded by Facebook. Schroepfer said that Facebook will now delete all call and SMS logs older than one year.

    • Facebook Now Says Data Leak Affected 87 Million Users, Not 50 Million

      Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer has now confirmed that Cambridge Analytica had access to data on 87 million users — mostly from the United States.

      Previous reports had estimated this figure to be around 50 million people, whose data may have been shared with analytics firm. It’s not the first time when the social networking giant has had to publicly increase previous estimates of its blunders on the platform.

    • Facebook Admits: It Scans All Messages And Photos You Send On Messenger

      Earlier this week, in an interview with Vox, Mark Zuckerberg tried to answer some hard questions put in front of him. In the same process, he ended telling about the ethnic cleansing issue in Myanmar and how Facebook detected people’s sensational messages sent via Messenger.

      This sparked some obvious questions regarding Facebook’s Messenger-related data policies. Now we have answers as a result of Facebook’s statements given to Bloomberg.

    • Number of Facebook Users Snared by Cambridge Analytica Rises to 87 Million, Social Media Giant Reveals

      The company is reeling from news that a Trump-affiliated data-mining firm used ill-gotten data from millions of users to try to influence elections. Facebook says as many as 87 million people may have had their data accessed — an increase from the 50 million disclosed in published reports.

    • Facebook Says Data on Most of Its 2 Billion Users Is Vulnerable
    • Facebook Inc. said data on most of its 2 billion users could have been accessed improperly, giving fresh evidence of the ways the social-media giant failed to protect people’s privacy while generating billions of dollars in revenue from the information.

    • Facebook Exposed 87 Million Users to Cambridge Analytica

      In mid-March The New York Times, along with The Guardian and The Observer, reported that Cambridge Analytica and its British counterpart SCL had harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users through an app called thisisyourdigitallife, which offered personality quizzes. At the time, when Facebook users installed apps connected to the platform, they also exposed data from many of their friends to the app developer. When the news broke, Facebook confirmed only that 270,000 people had downloaded that app, but until now had never refuted reports that 50 million users’ data had been accessed.

    • Facebook now thinks 87 million had data shared with Cambridge Analytica

      Facebook said it now thinks up to 87 million people, mostly in the United States, may have had their data improperly shared by political targeting firm Cambridge Analytica.

      And many more — most users, in fact — probably had their public information scraped by outside companies, it says.

    • All 2 billion Facebook users’ data may have been scraped: CTO

      In a blog post, chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer wrote: “Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way.”

    • Facebook’s Zuck isn’t keen on adopting GDPR-style privacy rules globally

      Adopting GDPR on a global scale would likely be a massive headache for Facebook as it would need to do some serious policy changes and potentially change how it currently stores data.

      Furthermore, data is Facebook’s moneymaker so if it suddenly gave its global audience of some 1.5 billion people the option to have the data it holds on them deleted, the social network could lose its largest source of revenue in one fell sweep.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Says He’s Still the Best Person to Run Facebook, Despite Its ‘Huge Mistake’ With the Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal[Ed: PR/‘damage control’ strategy right now is to pretend it was an accident, an error, that it’s apologising and ‘sorry’. But those were not mistakes; that is Facebook's business model, it’s not an accident at all.]
    • Mark Zuckerberg wants to democratize Facebook — here’s what happened when he tried

      Zuckerberg has long talked about Facebook as a new kind of nation, and his comments have played into a larger debate over how to give users a stake in the platforms they populate. But it’s worth remembering that years ago, Facebook did try to become a democracy — and nobody showed up.

    • The Cambridge Analytica scandal hasn’t stopped Facebook’s quest to make Stories happen

      These tests include making the Facebook camera the default option when a user chooses to update their profile status; making Stories the default sharing destination any time a user uses the Facebook camera’s Snapchat-style augmented reality features; and floating a window of Facebook Stories with large preview tiles right at the top of News Feed.

    • Facebook refuses to promise GDPR-style privacy protection for US users

      Privacy advocacy groups have been urging Facebook and its Silicon Valley competitors such as Alphabet Inc’s Google to apply EU data laws worldwide, largely without success.

    • Facebook will release more data about election interference, but only after the election [iophk: "shut it down now"]

      Amid growing pressure to remove bad actors from Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that the company would likely release more information about problematic content posted to the service during elections. But to ensure the accuracy of the data, Zuckerberg said, the reports will likely come after the elections are over. The move could help government officials, academic researchers, and concerned citizens understand whether Facebook’s increased attention to abuse is working — but the timing could make it harder for grasp what’s happening when it arguably matters most.

    • Facebook: Public Data of Most Users Probably Has Been Scraped

      The scrapers were at it long enough, Zuckerberg said, that “at some point during the last several years, someone has probably accessed your public information in this way.”

    • 3 tests show Facebook is determined to make Stories the default

      Facebook isn’t backing down from Stories despite criticism that it copied Snapchat and that Instagram Stories is enough. Instead, it’s committed to figuring out how to adapt the slideshow format into the successor to the status update. That’s why today the company is launching three significant tests that make Facebook Stories a default way to share.

    • Whatever happened to investigative journalism?

      Many mind-numbing questions are still being asked about the details of Facebook data farming and the role of firms such as Cambridge Analytica. However, one big question raised by ‘Datagate’ is not being asked nearly enough: whatever happened to investigative journalism?

    • The Supreme Court fight over Microsoft’s foreign servers is over

      Both the government and Microsoft agree that the newly passed CLOUD Act renders the lawsuit meaningless. In US v. Microsoft, federal law enforcement clashed with Microsoft over the validity of a Stored Communications Act warrant for data stored on a server in Dublin. The CLOUD Act creates clear new procedures for procuring legal orders for data in these kinds of cross-border situations. In last week’s motion to vacate, DOJ disclosed that it had procured a new warrant under the CLOUD Act.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • [Older] ‘Let him go’: Wife of jailed blogger Raif Badawi begs Saudi prince to free him during UK trip

      Badawi was jailed in 2012 for writing about freedom of speech. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, of which he has so far endured 50 – which nearly killed him.


      According to advertising experts, Saudi Arabia has spent upward of $1 million on a pro-Saudi advertising blitz across the UK capital – and it is hard to miss, complete with larger-than-life billboards on major arterial roads, advertising in newspapers and vehicle-mounted billboards as well as social media sundries. The campaign, designed to promote a prince “bringing change to Saudi Arabia” and “opening Saudi Arabia to the world,” does not seem to have worked. According to surveys, one in three Britons said they didn’t want the prince to come.

    • [Older] Los Angeles Press Club to honour jailed blogger Raif Badawi with Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism

      His wife, Ensaf Haidar, will receive the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism at a June 24 gala on his behalf. She now lives in Sherbrooke, with their three children.

    • Leading AI researchers threaten Korean university with boycott over its work on ‘killer robots’

      More than 50 leading AI and robotics researchers have said they will boycott South Korea’s KAIST university over the institute’s plans to help develop AI-powered weapons. The threat was announced ahead of a UN meeting set in Geneva next week to discuss international restrictions on so-called “killer robots.” It marks an escalation in tactics from the part of the scientific community actively fighting for stronger controls on AI-controlled weaponry.

    • Teenage MS-13 Gang Informant Heads Into Final Asylum Hearing

      Henry, who faces deportation to El Salvador, at an ICE detention center in Manhattan (Demetrius Freeman for ProPublica)

      Henry had finished his overnight shift in the jail cafeteria on Tuesday and was lying on his bunk listening to Spanish rap when he was called up to the administrative office. Immigration officials wanted to offer him a chance to be moved into protective custody. Henry had been waiting on this offer for the eight months he had been in jail, an informant locked up with the same gang members he informed on. But now, he was unsure whether to accept the extra protection.

      The call came in response to a story published Monday by ProPublica and New York Magazine. It detailed Henry’s recruitment into the gang MS-13 as a child in El Salvador, his journey to the U.S. to plead for asylum at 15, and his decision to become an informant at 17. For nearly a year, he helped police and the FBI arrest members of his gang clique on Long Island until immigration enforcement arrested him last August for gang ties, using the same information he gave police. Labeled a snitch, he faces deportation to a country overrun by the gang that has marked him for death. Today is his final immigration hearing.

    • We Took on Our School’s Sexist Dress Code, and We Won

      As youth activism rises across America, a high-school senior discusses her peers’ recent victory over sex discrimination.

      Student organizing is gaining momentum across America — the National School Walkout is proof that a change is happening among young people, and it’s happening fast.

      High school students are making a difference on issues, and in communities, of all different sizes. In fact, students in my school district achieved a huge victory just last week. By standing up against a sexist dress code across different high schools in Kenosha, Wisconsin, we showed how student activism anywhere can start off small and then achieve big changes.

      I am a member of the Women’s Empowerment Club at Indian Trail High School, which engages in activism to make our school a fairer and more equal learning environment. This year, we agreed on the need to take aim at our school district’s sexist dress code.

    • Google Should Not Help the U.S. Military Build Unaccountable AI Systems

      Thousands of Google staff have been speaking out against the company’s work for “Project Maven,” according to a New York Times report this week. The program is a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) initiative to deploy machine learning for military purposes. There was a small amount of public reporting last month that Google had become a contractor for that project, but those stories had not captured how extensive Google’s involvement was, nor how controversial it has become within the company.

      Outcry from Google’s own staff is reportedly ongoing, and the letter signed by employees asks Google to commit publicly to not assisting with warfare technology. We are sure this is a difficult decision for Google’s leadership; we hope they weigh it carefully.

      This post outlines some of the questions that people inside and outside of the company should be mulling about whether it’s a good idea for companies with deep machine learning expertise to be assisting with military deployments of artificial intelligence (AI).

    • Recordings Capture Cops Discussing Department’s Most Rotten Apple

      Accountability begins at home. But nothing happens if no one’s willing to make the first step. Officers who witnessed another officer’s brutal act had plenty to say about it, but apparently not to anyone who mattered.

      Recordings obtained through records requests by NJ.com contain three hours of candid conversations between officers about the actions of Cataret, New Jersey police officer Joseph Reiman. Reiman is a military veteran and the mayor’s youngest brother. Officer Joseph Reiman is also responsible for 20% of the department’s force deployment.

    • Cops say fellow officer crossed line in bloody arrest. Here are the candid conversations.

      One officer described a chaotic scene when he arrived at an arrest last year to find a bruised 16-year-old cuffed and face down in a bed of rocks with “blood all over the f—–g place.”

      A second described his appalled reaction on seeing the injured teen at Carteret police headquarters. Another said the incident was “indefensible.”

    • Ethiopia Backslides: the Continuing Harassment of Eskinder Nega

      On March 25, bloggers, journalists and activists gathered at a private party in Addis Ababa—the capital of Ethiopia—to celebrate the new freedom of their colleagues. Imprisoned Ethiopian writers and reporters had been released in February under a broad amnesty: some attended the private event, including Eskinder Nega, a blogger and publisher whose detention EFF has been tracking in our Offline series.

      But the celebration was interrupted, with the event raided by the authorities. Eskinder, together with Zone 9 bloggers Mahlet Fantahun and Fekadu Mehatemework, online writers Zelalem Workagegnhu and Befiqadu Hailu, and six others were seized and detained without charge.

      The eleven have now finally been released, after 12 days of custody. It remains a disturbing example of just how far Ethiopian police are willing to go to intimidate critical voices even in a time of supposed tolerance.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • More Colorado Towns Vote Down A Comcast State Law Hamstringing Broadband Competition

      For years we’ve discussed how incumbent ISPs like Comcast have spent millions of dollars quite literally writing and buying shitty, protectionist laws in more than twenty states. These laws either ban or heavily hamstring towns and cities from building their own broadband networks, or in some cases from even engaging in public/private partnerships. It’s a scenario where ISPs get to have their cake and eat it too: they get to refuse to upgrade their networks in under-served areas (particularly true among telcos offering DSL), but also get to write shitty laws preventing these under-served towns from doing anything about it.

      ISPs and beholden lawmakers shoveled these bills through state legislature without much challenge. But as deployments like Google Fiber began highlighting how these laws actually harm efforts to improve competition (especially restrictions on public/private partnerships, essential in lower ROI areas), passing such legislation has become more challenging. In some states, that has forced companies like AT&T to try and hide competition-killing provisions in unrelated traffic or other bills.

      This dance of dysfunction has been particularly interesting in Colorado, however. While lobbyists for Comcast and CenturyLink managed to convince state leaders to pass such a law (SB 152) in 2005, the legislation contains a provision that lets individual Colorado towns and cities ignore the measure with a simple referendum. With frustration mounting over sub-standard broadband and awful customer service, more than 86 cities and towns and more than 30 counties have already overturned the law as it applies to their localities.

    • FCC Commissioner Says Her Agency Is Now Just A Giant Rubber Stamp For Sinclair Broadcasting

      If you’ve been napping, the Ajit Pai run FCC has been busy gutting decades-old media consolidation rules just to grease the skids for Sinclair’s planned $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune. The deal, if completed, would give Sinclair ownership of 230 broadcast stations, reaching 72% of the public with what’s generally considered facts-optional “news” on a good day. Consumer advocates and media watchdogs have been warning about the negative impact such media consolidation has on competition and local reporting for decades, largely to yawns and eye rubs from many in the tech sector.

      The importance of limits on media consolidation have seen renewed attention as the United States tries to get a hold of its previously-ignored disinformation problem(s). Last week Deadspin published a video highlighting how Sinclair forces its reporters to parrot factually-dubious commentary in a relatively creepy fashion, much of it blasting any critical reporting on the Trump administration as “fake news”:

    • ESPN To Combat Cord-Cutting By Putting Once Kinda Free Content Behind A New Paywall

      ESPN3 comes along with many cable television packages that include ESPN’s TV channels. The content for ESPN3 has always been the sort that isn’t popular enough to air on the channels, but which might interest some customers. College games and niche sports make up the bulk of the lineup. But now ESPN will remove some of that content and put it behind a $5/month paywall, asking customers used to getting this content free, bundled with their cable subscription, to instead pay another $60 per year for it. Same content, more money, all while further reducing the value of an ESPN cable subscription, where ESPN still makes most of its money.

  • DRM

    • To do in LA, April 24: come hear EFF and friends on the Right to Repair, freedom to tinker and the right to know

      A law intended to stop people from making off-brand DVD players now means that security researchers can’t warn you about dangers from the cameras in your bedroom; that mechanics can’t fix your car; and that your printer won’t take third party ink.

      It’s been 20 years since Congress enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Section 1201 of that long, gnarly hairball of a law bans “circumvention” of any kind of copyright lock. Originally that meant you couldn’t tweak your DVD player to play out-of-region discs, nor descramble the cable channels you haven’t paid for.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Appeals Court Rules That GTA5 Didn’t Infringe On Lindsay Lohan’s Likeness Rights

        While there are absolutely far too many Techdirt posts featuring celebrity(?) Lindsay Lohan in these pages, most of them deal with one specific issue: her lawsuits against Take Two Interactive. At issue was a character Lohan insisted infringed on her likeness rights because the character is a drunk driver, public-fornicator, and has a backstory as a child actress. If Lindsay wants to insist that her own history lines up with that sort of backstory, I guess I won’t argue with her, but the character has many other aspects that clearly have nothing to do with Lohan. Instead, the character is a parody of the sort the GTA series is famous for, with the target in this case being young celebrity stars and starlets. Coming along for the ride was Karen Gravano, who participated in a reality show about the wives of reported mobsters. Gravano sued over another character in the series with her filings essentially mirroring Lohan’s. Take Two won both lawsuits, both on First Amendment grounds and due to the court finding that the characters were composite parodies, not representations of either Lohan or Gravano. Both plaintiffs appealed.

    • Copyrights

      • Filters are for coffee and water, not copyright.

        It would be the largest internet filter Europe has ever seen – reading every single piece of text uploaded to the internet, and watching every video. An algorithm will decide whether what you want to post will be seen or not.

        In practice, the vague wording of the draft Directive would make a huge number of online platforms uncertain about whether or not they are breaking the law. This means that many platforms are likely to err on the side of aggressive filtering rather than getting embroiled in long and extremely expensive legal battles.

        Not all user-generated content sites are Google/Youtube. Many fringe culture sites, like LGBTQ+ dating apps are smaller operations that would sooner limit their users’ activities rather than risk being taken to court. Wouldn’t this homogenise the rich cultural landscape that we benefit from in the EU? Surely, in this age of fierce fighting for gender equality, we shouldn’t be allowing new laws that unfairly restrict the activities of minority groups.

      • Sony Stands to Reap Almost $1 Billion Gain From Spotify Stake

        The sum reflects proceeds from the sale of Spotify stock Tuesday, when the streaming service went public, as well as the higher value of Sony’s remaining stake in the company following the listing, according to a regulatory filing. Sony sold 17 percent of its holdings.

      • Police Assisted By MPAA Shut Down Pirate TV Box Sellers

        Police in Florida have announced the arrest of a couple said to be involved in a ‘pirate’ TV box operation. The pair sold Android boxes utilizing third-party Kodi addons while promising customers “Free TV For Life”. The operation was backed up by brazen and in some cases bizarre online advertising campaigns, yet zero effort was spent trying to conceal identities.

      • ISP Books Partial Victory Against RIAA in Piracy Lawsuit

        The piracy liability case between the RIAA and Internet provider Grande Communications continues, but only based on the contributory infringement claim. Texas District Court Judge Lee Yeakel fully adopts the earlier recommendation from the Magistrate Judge, despite objections from both the RIAA and Grande.

      • PrimeWire Becomes Unusable After Malicious Ad ‘Takeover’

        Popular pirate streaming link site Primewire has become unusable. Instead of directing visitors to copies of the latest TV-shows and movies, the site points them to malicious advertisements. Whether this is intentional or the result of a hostile takeover is unknown.


Links 5/4/2018: Mesa 17.3.8 and WordPress Patches

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Containerization, Atomic Distributions, and the Future of Linux

    Linux has come a long way since Linus Torvalds announced it in 1991. It has become the dominant operating system in the enterprise space. And, although we’ve seen improvements and tweaks in the desktop environment space, the model of a typical Linux distribution has largely remained the same over the past 25+ years. The traditional package management based model has dominated both the desktop and server space.

    However, things took an interesting turn when Google launched Linux-based Chrome OS, which deployed an image-based model. Core OS (now owned by Red Hat) came out with an operating system (Container Linux) that was inspired by Google but targeted at enterprise customers.

  • The Slimbook Curve is a Stunning All-in-One Linux PC

    Yodel an aloha to the Slimbook Curve — an all-in-one Linux PC with an alluring curved edge-to-edge display.

    Call me old fashioned but I’m (still) a huge fan of desktop computers. I like having something big and bulky on my desk, purring away, helping me crunch through whatever workload I’m trying to avoid tackle.

    So all-in-one PCs are very much up my street — and when they run Linux out of the box, even better!

    Spanish computer company Slimbook, who make the KDE Slimbook pre-loaded with KDE Neon, has pulled the shrink wrap off of its new all-in-one desktop Linux PC.

  • Google’s 5 years of support for older Chromebooks is starting to be a problem

    When Google announced a few years ago that it would offer at least 5 years of software updates for Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, that seemed like good news. After all, most Android phones only get updates for a year or two, if that.

    But compared to Windows and OS X, that 5 year lifespan is pretty short… especially since the clock starts ticking the day a Chromebook is released, not the day that you actually buy it.

  • Linux Needs Deep Pockets

    I love the operating systems revolving around the Linux Kernel. I think it’s amazing that something so good comes to the world so cheap or mostly free. You can do tremendous work on this platform, so it begs the question: Why aren’t more people using it? Here are the known benefits:

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu 18.04 Will No Longer Do Automatic Suspend By Default Unless On Battery

      Last month I wrote how Ubuntu 18.04 began enabling “automatic suspend” by default on new installations where after 20 minutes systems were suspending without notice and in some cases still causing issues trying to resume with modern x86 hardware in 2018… Fortunately, Ubuntu developers are reverting that behavior when on AC power.

    • Intel Has Been Working To Improve Linux Suspend/Resume, Calls For More Testing

      With Linux suspend/resume support still sometimes being problematic, it’s great to hear Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center has a team working on continuing to improve the Linux support for this power-saving functionality.

      Zhang Rui and Yu Chen of the Intel OTC Kernel Power team has published a brief whitepaper about their work and methodology to testing Linux suspend/resume performance.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • EzeeLinux Show 18.14 | Do You Really Need To Upgrade?

      With all the fuss about Ubuntu 18.04 and it’s many children coming along, you may be wondering if you should upgrade. Let’s chat about it.

    • VIDEO: When Linux Demos Go Wrong

      Full disclosure; this is an edited version of a live broadcast. You’ve heard me say it, and warn you about it. On this occasion, I decided it would be fun to take you through a tour of Linux based music player applications. To get said music on my system, I was also going to show you how to rip music from CDs using various applications. That’s when things fell apart and my desktop lost track of the CD hardware. I do recover however and the whole thing does make for an interesting exercise in trying to figure out just what the heck went wrong so I can fix it before I submit to the growing panic. Because things went horribly wrong, at least for a while, I had to reboot my system which meant the show was suddenly in multiple parts. In assembling said parts into a semi-coherent whole, I may have added things here and there.

    • Facebook Data Collection – Unleaded Hangouts

      Facebook Data Collection. Should we stop using it? If we continue to use Facebook, what can be done to minimize the privacy impact – does it even matter? We discuss.

    • Next DevNation Live: Test Smarter and Gain Some Time Back, April 5th, 12pm EDT
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux kernel lockdown and UEFI Secure Boot

      David Howells recently published the latest version of his kernel lockdown patchset. This is intended to strengthen the boundary between root and the kernel by imposing additional restrictions that prevent root from modifying the kernel at runtime. It’s not the first feature of this sort – /dev/mem no longer allows you to overwrite arbitrary kernel memory, and you can configure the kernel so only signed modules can be loaded. But the present state of things is that these security features can be easily circumvented (by using kexec to modify the kernel security policy, for instance).

      Why do you want lockdown? If you’ve got a setup where you know that your system is booting a trustworthy kernel (you’re running a system that does cryptographic verification of its boot chain, or you built and installed the kernel yourself, for instance) then you can trust the kernel to keep secrets safe from even root. But if root is able to modify the running kernel, that guarantee goes away. As a result, it makes sense to extend the security policy from the boot environment up to the running kernel – it’s really just an extension of configuring the kernel to require signed modules.

      The patchset itself isn’t hugely conceptually controversial, although there’s disagreement over the precise form of certain restrictions. But one patch has, because it associates whether or not lockdown is enabled with whether or not UEFI Secure Boot is enabled. There’s some backstory that’s important here.

    • Btrfs Updates Sent In For The Linux 4.17 Kernel

      David Sterba sent in the Btrfs file-system updates today for the Linux 4.17 kernel merge window.

    • XFS Gets Lazy Time Support In Linux 4.17, Other Improvements

      Darrick Wong has submitted the XFS file-system updates targeting the Linux 4.17 kernel. It’s a bit lighter than 4.15 and 4.16 that brought “great scads of new stuff”, but there still is a fair amount of feature work taking place.

    • Linux 4.17 Kicks Off Another Busy Cycle

      It’s been just about twenty-four hours that Linus Torvalds has been accepting new material for the Linux 4.17 mainline kernel and it’s looking indeed like it will be another very busy kernel update.

      Aside from the prominent pull requests issued so far among other early Linux 4.17 coverage on Phoronix, below is a collection of a few other pulls worth pointing out from yesterday but weren’t large enough to each warrant their own article.

    • IBM s390 Continues Working On Spectre Defense With Linux 4.17, VirtIO GPU Emulation

      With the Linux 4.17 kernel the s390 architecture updates include more mitigation work around the Spectre Variant One and Two vulnerabilities.

    • Torvalds Expresses Concerns Over Current “Kernel Lockdown” Approach

      The kernel lockdown feature further restricts access to the kernel by user-space with what can be accessed or modified, including different /dev points, ACPI restrictions, not allowing unsigned modules, and various other restrictions in the name of greater security. Pairing that with UEFI SecureBoot unconditionally is meeting some resistance by Linus Torvalds.

      This thread is what has Linus Torvalds fired up today.

    • USB Type-C Improvements On The Way To The Linux 4.17 Kernel

      The Linux 4.17 kernel is bringing further improvements to USB Type-C support.

      USB Type-C work queued for entering the Linux 4.17 kernel includes the promotion of more code from staging to the kernel tree proper, alert and status message handling within the Type-C Port Manager “TPCM” code, various improvements to the Rockchip Type-C driver, new Type-C switch/mux and usb-role-switch functions, a Pericom PI3USB30532 cross switch driver, an API for being able to control USB Type-C multiplexers, and other improvements.

    • SPARC ADI, SELinux SCTP & New BMC Server-Side Driver For Linux 4.17

      The Linux 4.17 kernel cycle is in full swing with many large pull requests pending.

    • Linux 4.16 launches

      Just over a week ago, Linus Torvalds said that the release of Linux 4.16 could take place on Sunday April 1. Ignoring the fact that April Fool’s day is a terrible day to do just about anything, he made good on his promise.

      As predicted, there was no RC8 of the kernel, and Torvalds notes that the final release is very similar to RC7. In a post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, he also said that the merge window for 4.17 is open, but for now, the focus is on 4.16.

    • RISC-V Support Continues Maturing Within The Mainline Linux Kernel

      The initial RISC-V architecture support landed in Linux 4.15 and now this open-source, royalty-free processor ISA is seeing further improvements with the Linux 4.17 cycle.

      Improvements for RISC-V with the newly in-development Linux 4.17 kernel include support for dynamic ftrace, clean-ups to their atomic and locking code, module loading support is now enabled by default, and other fixes.

      The complete list of RISC-V patches for Linux 4.17 can be found via today’s pull request.

    • Linux 4.17′s Staging Area Loses Some Weight

      While the Linux 4.17 kernel is getting much larger in some areas like the sizable additions to DRM this cycle, when it comes to the kernel’s staging area where new/experimental code gets vetted before being officially mainline, it’s lost tens of thousands of lines of code this cycle.

      For the 4.17 merge window, the staging area adds in 27,014 lines of code but drops 91,104 lines of code — or a net loss of about 64 thousand lines of code. This loss comes with some old code being deleted include the CCREE crypto, FSL-DPAA2, IRDA, and other bits. The FSL-MC code meanwhile was promoted out of staging and the MT7261 platform has staging support for DMA, DTS, ETH, GPIO, PCI, PINCTRL, and SPI.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Free Nitrokey cryptographic cards for kernel developers

        The Linux Foundation and Nitrokey have announced a program whereby anybody who appears in the kernel’s MAINTAINERS file or who has a kernel.org email address can obtain a free Nitrokey Start crypto card. The intent, of course, is that kernel developers will use these devices to safeguard their GnuPG keys and, as a result, improve the security of the kernel development process as a whole.

      • Nitrokey digital tokens for kernel developers

        The Linux Foundation IT team has been working to improve the code integrity of git repositories hosted at kernel.org by promoting the use of PGP-signed git tags and commits. Doing so allows anyone to easily verify that git repositories have not been altered or tampered with no matter from which worldwide mirror they may have been cloned. If the digital signature on your cloned repository matches the PGP key belonging to Linus Torvalds or any other maintainer, then you can be assured that what you have on your computer is the exact replica of the kernel code without any omissions or additions.

      • ONAP, CNCF Come Together on Containers

        ONAP and Kubernetes, two of the fastest growing and in demand open source projects, are coming together at Open Networking Summit this week. To ensure ONAP runs on Kubernetes in any environment, ONAP is now a part of the new Cross-Cloud CI project that integrates, tests and deploys the most popular cloud native projects.

      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OpenContrail (now Tungsten Fabric) Update with DP Ayyadevara (Juniper)

        In this briefing, DP Ayyadevara, Savithru Lokanath and Vinay Rao from Juniper Networks provide an update to the Juniper Contrail and OpenShift integration. We discussed an application build environment use case along with support for Network Policies leveraging Contrail Security integration. Contrail Security helps minimizes risk to the applications that run in multi-cloud environments. It discovers application traffic flows and drastically reduces policy proliferation across different environments. Contrail Security can also be used for easy monitoring and troubleshooting of inter- and intra-application traffic flows. We also touched on the re-branding of OpenContrail to Tungsten Fabric and the road ahead for the open source project itself.

      • Open Standards, Open Source Come Together With New Tech-World Partnership

        The open-source-focused Linux Foundation is teaming with TM Forum, a communications technology industry group that has upped its open standards game in recent years.

        With a new partnership, the world of telecom is jumping into the world of open source with both feet.

        Last month, TM Forum, an association that represents communications service providers (CSPs) as they interact in the digital supply chain, announced it would team with the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit best known for shepherding its namesake, the open-source operating system on which the modern internet is largely built.

        The foundation is also known as a key steward of major open-source projects, and with the partnership, TM Forum will boost its open-source game, a change advocated by the CSPs it represents.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Big DRM Pull Request Made It Into Linux 4.17

        Last week David Airlie sent in the big DRM feature update for Linux 4.17 prior to going on holiday. For those wondering whether there was going to be any drama with the DRM updates increasing the size of the Linux kernel by another one hundred thousand lines of code, in large part due to Vega 12 header additions, Linus pulled it in without any fuss.

      • AMDGPU DC Begins Reworking FreeSync Module

        The latest batch of AMDGPU DC display code patches were posted last night on the mailing list. These 32 patches touching around three thousand lines of code have more fixes and also work on the FreeSync module.

        When it comes to the FreeSync module they have been reworking it to better jive with the atomic mode-setting model. Unfortunately though no word on when all of the FreeSync bits will be settled in full for allowing users a pleasant out-of-the-box open-source experience if having a modern Radeon GPU paired with a FreeSync-capable monitor. At least the big item is now in place with Linux 4.17 where AMDGPU DC is enabled by default for all supported GPUs, so hopefully it won’t be much longer before the remaining bits are squared away.

      • mesa 17.3.8

        In NIR we have a couple of patches to fix a crash when unrolling loops, as well as a fix for per_vertex_output intrinsic.

      • Mesa 17.3.8 Released With A Handful Of Fixes

        For those waiting until v18.0.1 before upgrading to the Mesa 18.0 series, Mesa 17.3.8 is now available as the latest release off this stable series from the end of 2017.

      • AMDVLK Updated With Fresh Batch Of Fixes

        It’s roughly once a week that AMD updates their external and public facing AMDVLK/PAL source tree for this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver while following last week’s significant update with Wayland support and more, they have quickly issued another update to this RADV driver alternative.

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Lands Out-of-Order Rasterization Support, Small Performance Boost

        The Mesa-based RADV Vulkan driver has landed initial support for out-of-rasterization support, but it’s currently disabled by default.

        Back in 2016 AMD developers introduced the VK_AMD_rasterization_order extension for out-of-order rasterization handling. This VK_AMD_rasterization_order extension has been present since Vulkan 1.0.12 and has already been supported in AMDGPU-PRO.

    • Benchmarks

      • POWER9 Benchmarks vs. Intel Xeon vs. AMD EPYC Performance On Debian Linux

        For several days we’ve had remote access to one of the brand new Raptor Talos II Workstations that is powered by POWER9 processors and open-source down through the firmware. For those curious how these latest POWER processors compare to AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon processors, here are some benchmarks comparing against of the few other systems in house while all testing was done from Debian GNU/Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • dwm: A Minimalist Tiling Window Manager For Linux

      Tiling window managers have several advantages over their more popular cousins such as Gnome, KDE, XFCE, or Fluxbox. The feature of this post, dwm, takes these advantages to their most extreme.

      While most tiling managers strive to be lightweight, dwm keeps itself on a starvation diet of 2000 lines of code or fewer. All its configuration is done when it’s compiled, so it doesn’t read a runtime configuration file. It uses tags (the numbers 1 through 9), rather than arbitrarily-named window spaces, to group programs together. It can also be run entirely with keyboard commands, though it does incorporate mouse support for selecting and dragging windows when appropriate.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Connect – Tips, Tricks and Misconceptions

        Since my first blog post we got an huge amount of feedback and it’s amazing to see that you are as excited about KDE Connect as we are. This way I want to say “Thank you” for all your kind words and tell you that this kind of positive feedback is what keeps us going.

        I would also like to share some tips and tricks about KDE Connect that you might not know yet, but first I would like to clear up a common misconception.

      • [Slackware] New package for qbittorrent, now based on Qt5

        Not related per se to the fall-out of last weekend’s update to the icu4c and poppler packages, my qbittorrent package for slackware-current had stopped working sometime ago – caused by an update in -current of the boost package on which the torrent library depends.

        I needed to update qbittorrent too therefore, after having taken care of the icu4c/poppler breakage. The thing is, I had tried to delay the switch in qbittorrent from Qt4 to Qt5 for as long as possible. The ‘new’ 4.x series of qbittorrent have a hard dependency on Qt5, and Qt4 is no longer supported. So I bit the bullet and made packages for bittorrent-4.0.4 and its dependency, libtorrent-rasterbar-1.1.6.
        Since the program uses Qt5 now, the dependencies have changed. If you were running qbittorrent 3.x on slackware-current previously then you have to ensure that you have libxkbcommon, qt5 and qt5-webkit packages installed now.

      • Kraft Version 0.80 Released

        I am happy to announce the release of the stable Kraft version 0.80 (Changelog).

        Kraft is desktop software to manage documents like quotes and invoices in the small business. It focuses on ease of use through an intuitive GUI, a well choosen feature set and ensures privacy by keeping data local.

        After more than a dozen years of life time, Kraft is now reaching a new level: It is now completely ported to Qt5 / KDE Frameworks 5 and with that, it is compatible with all modern Linux distributions again.

        KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt5 are the best base for modern desktop software and Kraft integrates seamlessly into all Linux desktops. Kraft makes use of the great KDE PIM infrastructure with KAddressbook and Akonadi.

      • Proposed design for mobile network settings

        While thinking of design, i looked on biggest “competitors” on mobile OS market – Android and iOS. Mainly i am taking design ideas from Android, since i am thinking it has good proportion between usability and functionality, while i am studying/following KDE Human Interface Guidelines, https://community.kde.org/KDE_Visual_Design_Group/HIG and as recommended i am using Kirigami 2 framework, which implement most of HIG rules by itself.

      • Templates to create your own Plasma Wallpaper plugin
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Diplomatic Munity – Lethal Gnome 2

        Several things: MATE 1.20 looks way better on Bionic than my early test. A little bit of customization goes a long way, and there’s still more room for improvement. Then, Munity, with its Dash and HUD and whatnot, is a smart and practical nod toward Ubuntu and Unity, and it’s way better than Gnome 3. Brings MATE up to modern levels, and it easily achieves parity.

        I am quite happy with what MATE is going to bring us, and the 18.04 LTS test might actually prove to be a very sensible and fun distro, with goodies, practicality, speed, and efficiency blended into one compact and solid package. Bugs are to be ironed, for they are Devil’s work, and MATE can benefit from extra bling bling. But then, from a bland sub-performer to a nifty desktop, with tons of options and features. Takes some fiddling, and not everything is easily discoverable, but the road to satisfaction is a fairly short and predictable one. Munity is a cool, cool idea, and I’m looking forward to Bionic’s official release. Take care.

      • [Slackware] GNOME Library Stack Update
  • Distributions

    • Clear Linux Shedding More Light On Their “Magic” Performance Work

      If you have been a Phoronix reader for any decent amount of time, you have likely seen how well Intel’s Clear Linux distribution continues to run in our performance comparisons against other distributions. The developers behind this Linux distribution have begun a new blog series on “behind the magic” for some of the areas they are making use of for maximizing the out-of-the-box Linux performance.

      Their first post in their “behind the magic” series is on transparent use of library packages optimized for Intel’s architecture… While they are optimizing for their own hardware as one would expect, let’s not forget, Clear Linux does run on AMD hardware too; they are not doing any voodoo magic, which is why it pains me that more Linux distributions have not taken such a stance for better out-of-the-box speed. In fact, it runs on AMD hardware darn well as we have shown with our Ryzen and EPYC benchmarks. Obviously Intel tweaks their software packages for their own x86_64 CPUs, but even when testing on the AMD hardware Clear Linux tends to perform the best in terms of out-of-the-box performance and that Intel isn’t doing anything to sabotage the performance otherwise.

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

      • 10 Reasons to Install an Arch Linux-Based OS on Your PC

        Arch Linux is one of the most popular Linux operating systems (also known as distributions) around, as are the easier-to-install distros that are based on Arch, such as Manjaro and Antergos.

        Whether you’re thinking of installing each component manually or downloading a pre-built Arch-based desktop, here are ten reasons to embrace the Arch ecosystem.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Outs Major Kernel Update for Ubuntu 17.10 to Fix 22 Vulnerabilities

            According to the security advisory, a total of 22 security vulnerabilities were patched in this new kernel update, including several use-after-free vulnerabilities in Linux kernel’s ALSA PCM subsystem, network namespaces implementation, a race condition in the OCFS2 filesystem implementation, as well as a race condition in loop block device implementation.

            Issues were also fixed Linux kernel’s KVM implementation, HugeTLB component, HMAC implementation, netfilter component, keyring implementation, the netfilter passive OS fingerprinting (xt_osf) module, the Salsa20 encryption algorithm implementation, the Broadcom NetXtremeII Ethernet driver, Reliable Datagram Socket (RDS) implementation, and the usbtest device driver.

          • Ubuntu Community Theme in Action

            One of the proposed new features in Ubuntu 18.04 was the brand new Community Theme, called Communitheme. As the name suggests, the Community Theme is being developed by the community i.e. volunteers across the globe.

            This new Communitheme uses Adwita theme (GNOME’s default theme) as its base and looks similar to Ubuntu’s own Ambiance theme. Ubuntu Touch inspired Suru is the icon theme here.

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 4 April 2018
          • LXD weekly status #41

            The highlight for this week is the release of LXD, LXC and LXCFS 3.0!

            Those 3 releases are LTS releases and will be supported for the next 5 years.

          • Git-to-k8s automation for on-prem container deployments
          • Dustin Kirkland: I’m Joining the Google Cloud Team!

            A couple of months ago, I reflected on “10 Amazing Years of Ubuntu and Canonical”. Indeed, it has been one hell of a ride, and that post is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg…

            The people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned, the places I’ve been, the users I’ve helped, the partners I’ve enabled, the customers I’ve served — these are undoubtedly the most amazing and cherished experiences of my professional career to date.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Hands-On with System76′s New Installer for Ubuntu-Based Pop!_OS Linux 18.04

              System76′s engineers worked with the elementary OS team on the new Pop!_OS Linux installer, which is now finally available for public testing. Today we take a first look at the new graphical installer in Pop!_OS Linux 18.04, so we can show you how it stands compared to other GNU/Linux distributions.

              Pop!_OS Linux 18.04 LTS is available to download only for 64-bit systems with either Intel/AMD or Nvidia GPUs. The live ISO images can be either installed on your local disk drive or used as is, directly from the bootable medium. When running the ISO, you’ll first be asked to select the system language and keyboard layout.

            • Linux Mint vs. MX Linux: What’s Best for You?

              For the past few years, Linux Mint has been unstoppable in terms of attracting new users. I honestly never really understood its appeal over Ubuntu MATE. However, the fact remains that the Cinnamon desktop seems to be a large part of its appeal.

              Recently I had the pleasure of discovering another desktop distro that is aimed at newer uses. It’s lightning fast, and offers fantastic support for features that newer Linux users are usually looking for. This distro is called MX Linux and it’s latest release is called MX 17.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • Lobste.rs visitor statistics

    For April Fools day, lobste.rs turned into an phpBB-like forum. This also allowed for setting external images as forum signatures, which i did make use of. After the whole thing was over, i grabbed the webserver logs and [...]

  • Latest macOS Update Disables DisplayLink, Rendering Thousands of Monitors Dead
  • Hardware

    • Intel sheds Wind River

      Nine years after Intel announced it was acquiring Wind River Systems for $884 million, the chipmaker quietly sold its software subsidiary to investment firm TPG for an undisclosed sum. Although in recent years, Intel had begun to integrate the Wind River into its Open Source Group, the subsidiary is returning to its status as an independent software company, this time backed by TPG. Current Wind River President, Jim Douglas, and his executive management team will stay on, and Intel says it will continue to collaborate with Wind River once the acquisition is closed later this quarter.

    • For Apple, Quitting Intel Won’t Come Easy

      As Gurman reports, Apple hopes to replace the x86 Intel architecture that its Macs have used for over a decade with ARM-based chips, like those that power the iPhone. That transition would pose at least two hurdles, both fairly high.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #153
    • WordPress 4.9.5 Security and Maintenance Release

      WordPress 4.9.5 is now available. This is a security and maintenance release for all versions since WordPress 3.7. We strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

    • Richard Stallman’s Privacy Proposal, Valve’s Commitment to Linux, New WordPress Update and More

      Richard Stallman writes “A radical proposal to keep personal data safe” in The Guardian: “The surveillance imposed on us today is worse than in the Soviet Union. We need laws to stop this data being collected in the first place.”

      WordPress 4.9.5 was released yesterday. This is a security and maintenance release, and it fixes 28 bugs, so be sure to update right away. To download or view the changelog, go here.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • EXT4 Gets Extra Protection Against Maliciously Crafted Container Images

      Given the booming popularity of Linux containers, it’s little surprise but unfortunate that Linux file-systems are having to protect against specially-crafted file-system images by malicious actors looking to exploit vulnerabilities in the code.

      Ted Ts’o today sent in the EXT4 Linux file-system updates and it’s mostly mundane maintenance work with no major features this cycle. He did note of the bug fixes to protect against potentially malicious EXT4 file-system images.

    • Walden seeks to bolster cybersecurity on Linux open source software system

      U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) has asked the head of The Linux Foundation to explain the nonprofit’s efforts around securing the open source software (OSS) ecosystem against vulnerabilities that could make the sensitive information of hundreds of millions of users vulnerable to cyber attacks.

      “As the last several years have made clear, OSS is such a foundational part of the modern connected world that it has become critical cyber infrastructure. As we continue to examine cybersecurity issues generally, it is therefore imperative that we understand the challenges and opportunities the OSS ecosystem faces, and potential steps that OSS stakeholders may take to further support it,” wrote Rep. Walden, chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, and U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), chairman of the panel’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

    • Better Cyber Security Problematic, Says US Financial Industry: Power Struggle Over Encryption

      A decision to keep third party listeners out of communications on the internet taken by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) at their recent meeting in London elicited an alarmist message from the US financial industry. The premier internet standardisation body would provide “privacy for crooks,” and practically prohibit “bank security guards from patrolling and checking particular rooms” online, BITS, the technology division of the Financial Services Roundtable, argued in a press release last week. Has standardisation gone rogue?

    • Confirmed: Intel Will Not Patch Spectre And Meltdown Flaw In Older Processors

      Intel has published a microcode update guidance that confirms that it won’t be patching up the Spectre and Meltdown design flaws in all of its processors — mostly the older ones.

      The company has rolled out microcode updates to fix the Spectre v2 vulnerability for many of its processors going back to the second generation Core (Sandy Bridge).

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Nearly 100 Public Interest Organizations Urge Council of Europe to Ensure High Transparency Standards for Cybercrime Negotiations

      EFF along with 93 civil society organizations from across the globe today sent a letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. The letter requests transparency and meaningful civil society participation in the Council of Europe’s (CoE) negotiations of the draft Second Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime (also known as the “Budapest Convention”) —a new international text that will deal with cross-border access to data by law enforcement authorities. According to to the Terms of Reference for the negotiations, it may include ways to improve Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) and allow “direct cooperation” between law enforcement authorities and companies to access people’s “subscriber information”, order “preservation” of data, and to make “emergency requests”.

      The upcoming Second Additional Protocol is currently being discussed at the Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) of the Council of Europe, a committee that gathers the States Party to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and other observer and “ad hoc” countries and organisations. The T-CY aims to finalize the Second Additional Protocol by December 2019. While the Council of Europe has made clear its intention for “close interaction with civil society”, civil society groups are asking to be included throughout the entire process—not just during the Council of Europe’s Octopus Conferences.

    • Celebrities, academics, activists rally to #ReconnectAssange

      Celebrities and political activists have rallied in solidarity around WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose internet access was abruptly suspended by the Ecuadorian government last week, by signing an open letter demanding that it be restored.

      The signatories not only include prominent intellectuals, like Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Zizek, and journalists, but also famous artists. Rapper M.I.A. added her name to the list, alongside filmmaker Oliver Stone, musician Brian Eno, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and actress Pamela Anderson.

      “If it was ever clear that the case of Julian Assange was never just a legal case, but a struggle for the protection of basic human rights, it is now,” the letter reads.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The death of the newsfeed

      Unavoidable as it seems, though, this approach has two problems. First, getting that sample ‘right’ is very hard, and beset by all sorts of conceptual challenges. But second, even if it’s a successful sample, it’s still a sample.

    • Here’s How You Can Use Trump Town

      President Donald Trump sits atop a sprawling executive branch, with thousands of hand-picked lieutenants across dozens of agencies who make sure his agenda is pursued and his priorities are followed.

      Presidential appointees have historically wielded a significant amount of power, playing dealmaker on Capitol Hill and handling billion-dollar budgets in federal offices.

      With all of this hiring going on, it’s important that the public gets a chance to know who these new power players are and what conflicts of interest they may have. Figuring that out can be difficult, requiring painstaking, laborious research and public records sleuthing.

    • Help Us Dive Into the Swamp — ‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast

      This week, we’re doing a couple of things differently on “Trump, Inc.” Instead of focusing on President Donald Trump’s businesses, we’re looking more broadly at business interests in the Trump administration. We’re also giving you, our listeners, homework.

      Last month, ProPublica published the first comprehensive and searchable database of Trump’s 2,684 political appointees, along with their federal lobbying and financial records. It’s the result of a year spent filing Freedom of Information Act requests, collecting staffing lists and publishing financial disclosure reports.

    • How Do You Identify Fake News?

      Remember when 318 people were shot in Chicago on Halloween 2015 and former President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in the city? Or when Hillary Clinton ran a child sex-trafficking ring from the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor? Or when first lady Melania Trump used a body double in public appearances?

      All these events received news coverage. All were fake.

      It’s troubling how much traction false news can get. Like when major news sources splashed headlines over the Trump administration’s claims that Chicago’s gun violence was occurring in a “city with the strongest gun laws in our country.” Not true, either. Local media have countered that claim time and again. The nonpartisan political fact-checker PolitiFact called President Donald Trump’s comments about this “Pants on Fire!” the worst rating on its Truth-O-Meter.

    • Facebook’s Targeting System Can Divide Us on More Than Just Advertising

      It’s heartening to see, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, growing skepticism about how Facebook handles data and data privacy. But we should take this opportunity to ask the bigger, harder questions, too — questions about discrimination and division, and whether we want to live in a society where our consumer data profile determines our reality.

      In the spring of 2016, a Facebook executive gave a presentation about the success of Facebook’s then-new “ethnic affinity” advertising categories. Facebook had grouped users as white, Black, or Latino based on what they had clicked, and this targeting had allowed the movie “Straight Outta Compton” to be marketed as two completely different films. For Black audiences, it was a deeply political biopic about the members of N.W.A. and their music, framed by contemporary reflections from Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. For white audiences, it was a scripted drama about gangsters, guns, and cops that barely mentioned the names of its real-life characters. From the perspective of Universal Pictures, this dual marketing had been wildly successful. “Straight Outta Compton” earned over $160 million at the U.S. box office.

      When we saw this news in 2016, it immediately raised alarm bells about the effect of such categories on civil rights. We went straight to Facebook with our immediate concern: How was the company ensuring that ads for jobs, housing, and employment weren’t targeted by race, given that such targeting is illegal under the civil rights laws? Facebook didn’t have an answer. We worked with officials from the company for more than a year on solutions that, as it turned out, were not properly implemented. Facebook still makes it possible for advertisers to target based on categories closely linked to gender, family status, and disability, and the company has recently gotten sued for it.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Patronizing censorship

      Unlike Joel Rubinoff, I’m not going to tie labels on anyone (that’s a liberal thing). But I’d like to remind him of two sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; free speech and the right to be presumed innocent. Apparently, he doesn’t agree with either of them.

    • Negative Criticism, Even When It’s Based on Politics, Is Not the Same as Censorship

      Much of the criticism of the new Roseanne reboot has had less to do with how it works as a traditional sitcom, and more with the ideology behind it. Some are upset that the character of Roseanne Conner is a Trump supporter. Some are discomfited by the way the show sanitizes and whitewashes that support. For others, the problem lies with Roseanne Barr herself, and the fact that ABC gave such a prominent, lucrative platform to a hateful, transphobic woman obsessed with rightwing conspiracy theories.

    • Republican governor forced to stop blocking Facebook users who criticize him

      Four Maryland residents sued the Republican governor in a US District Court in August 2017, with help from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland. The ACLU announced yesterday that a settlement has been finalized, requiring Hogan to implement a new social media policy within two weeks. The state is also required to pay $65,000 to the plaintiffs.

    • Maryland governor settles lawsuit with ACLU over Facebook censorship

      In the fall of 2015, James Laurenson of Maryland was so upset that his governor, Larry Hogan, was opposed to the Obama administration’s plan to allow Syrian refugees to resettle within the U.S. that he did something he never had before: He aired his grievances on the governor’s public Facebook page.

      As part of comments that were also emailed to the governor’s office, Laurenson wrote that he was “ashamed to be called a Marylander” and believed that Hogan, a Republican, was “aiding and abetting” the Islamic State.

      No one replied to Laurenson’s email, but someone overseeing the Facebook page deleted his comments and then blocked him from posting further, according to a federal lawsuit filed last August on behalf of Laurenson and three others who say they were similarly gagged by the governor’s office.

    • Maryland governor settles suit over Facebook censorship

      In the fall of 2015, James Laurenson of Maryland was so upset that his governor, Larry Hogan, was opposed to the Obama administration’s plan to allow Syrian refugees to resettle within the U.S. that he did something he never had before: He aired his grievances on the governor’s public Facebook page.

    • Censorship Conversation

      Derflinger: For me censorship is like the limiting of ideas, whether that is words, thoughts, actions … it could be written, it could be spoken, it could be whatever kind of limitations there are, limiting people to express themselves and their ideas and their beliefs.

    • Associate dean Donald Low of LKY School resigns

      Earlier this year, he wrote a controversial Facebook post, which said that teenage blogger Amos Yee – who had been convicted for derogatory remarks about Christians in a YouTube video – “has all the traits that we want in our youth”, drawing criticism online.

    • Goodbye freedom of the press, hello media censorship

      Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Zendaya and Demi Lovato all have two things in common. They are all advocates for the “Me Too” campaign, and two, they were all on the cover of Cosmopolitan in 2017. Is this for their own publicity or is it because they are also advocates for the female empowerment mission Cosmo stands for?

      On the other hand, Walmart has a different opinion about these magazines. At the end of March 2018, one of the biggest stores in the country, Walmart, decided to move Cosmopolitan magazines from the checkout aisles to the back of the store behind barriers, according to the New York Times. Walmart stated that they did not want the customers to be exposed to the sexual content that Cosmopolitan delivers.

      The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) partnered up with Walmart to decrease publications of Cosmopolitan in hopes that the sex magazine will stop degrading women and painting them as sex objects to males, according to the Huffington Post.

    • Yet Another Court Says Victims Don’t Need SESTA/FOSTA To Go After Backpage

      We already pointed to a ruling in Massachusetts showing that victims of sex trafficking don’t need SESTA/FOSTA to get around CDA 230 and go after Backpage when Backpage is an active participant, and now another court has found something similar. Found via Eric Goldman, a court in Florida has rejected a motion to dismiss by Backpage on CDA 230 grounds. The full order is here (and embedded below).

      As with other cases (including the Massachusetts case) the real issue here is whether or not Backpage was just a service provider, or if it crossed the line into being a content provider itself, and did so in ways that broke the law. To be clear, the court here does seem… confused about CDA 230 and how other courts have ruled, and basically rejects plenty of existing caselaw and the nature of 230:

    • Sex Workers Fighting Back Against SESTA/FOSTA With Their Own Social Network… And Plan To Expose Politicians

      One of the most vocal groups in opposition to SESTA/FOSTA were sex workers, who spoke out about how the bills would put their lives at risk and how it would put the lives of trafficking victims at risk, often making it more difficult for victims to find information on how to get help or to protect themselves. Indeed, there are already reports of information sites shutting down entirely.

    • Sex workers are sick of censorship on social media

      Social media’s a great place — unless you’re a sex worker.

      Sex workers claim they’re being marginalized by Twitter and Instagram, Vice reports.

      Melody Kush, a veteran camgirl, was iced from Twitter in 2017. Despite an earlier tussle over an exposed nipple, she can’t figure out what led to her getting booted, and says she’s also been kicked off Instagram for no obvious reason.

    • Self-Censorship and the State: Evaluating Progress on Free Speech in Uzbekistan

      Last week, the trial of two journalists and two businessmen accused of plotting to overthrow the government began in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Breaking with past precedent, the trial has been open to press and human rights organizations. As such, it has become a test case for the limits of Uzbekistan’s reforms under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, particularly as they apply to domestic politics and matters of free speech.

      Bobomurod Abdullaev, a freelance journalist, blogger Hayot Nasriddinov, and businessmen Ravshan Salaev and Shavkat Olloyorov have been charged with “conspiracy to overthrow the constitutional regime.” The charge is rooted in a series of articles published under the byline Usman Haqnazarov, a pseudonym reportedly used by more than one individual. The articles were critical of the regime of Uzbekistan’s first president, Islam Karimov, who died in the fall of 2016.

    • Royal Court dropped Tibet play after advice from British Council

      The Royal Court theatre pulled a play about Tibet after the British Council privately advised that it would coincide with “significant political meetings” in China and could jeopardise the theatre’s ability to work there.

      The West End venue – which had been criticised by the play’s award-winning Indian author, who claimed the play had been shelved – said in February it had had to postpone and then withdraw the production for “financial reasons” in 2017 and that it was now committed to producing the play in spring next year.

      Correspondence released under the Freedom of Information Act now reveals details of discussions about the play, Pah-La, between the theatre and the British Council, the UK government’s cultural diplomacy arm.

      The play’s scheduled West End run, from October to November last year, would have had an impact on a joint arts programme being run in China as well as coinciding with “significant political meetings” in China, the theatre was told by a high-ranking British Council official serving as a first secretary in the UK’s embassy in Beijing.

      Pah-La deals with life in contemporary Tibet, drawing on personal stories of Tibetans with whom the playwright, Abhishek Majumdar, worked in India, which is home to a substantial community of Tibetan exiles including the Dalai Lama.

    • Malaysia just made fake news illegal and punishable by up to six years in jail
    • The world’s largest democracy is out to stifle its already docile press
    • Censorship fears: PMO asks I&B Ministry to withdraw memo on fake news after widespread criticism
    • The Algorithms Take Over: Will Facebook’s Private Message Scanning Lead To Autonomous Censorship?
    • Russia blasts Facebook’s ‘totalitarianism & censorship’ after 270 accounts banned for no reason

      Sample of the pages banned by Facebook, which it says did not violate any of its content guidelines / Facebook / Supplied for media use
      Moscow has chided Facebook and demanded an explanation from the US State Department, after the social media giant banned media and personal accounts that violated no rules but are purportedly linked to a Russian “troll factory.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Richard Stallman Proposes Ceasing Of Data Collection To Safeguard Privacy And Anonymity

      The aftermath of Facebook CA scandal has attracted several comments and criticism from common people and prominent figures alike.

      Now Richard Stallman, the man behind GNU project and free software movement, has shared his views in a column on The Guardian on restoring privacy through stricter regulations for data accumulation.

    • How Wizards and Muggles Break Free from the Matrix

      Many of those appear more than once, with different prefixes. I’ve also left off variants of google, doubleclick, facebook, twitter and other familiars.

      Interesting: when I look a second, third or fourth time, the list is different—I suppose because third-party ad servers are busy trying to shove trackers into my browser afresh, as long as a given page is open.

      When I looked up one of those trackers, “moatads”, which I chose at random, most of the 1,820,000 search results were about how moatads is bad stuff.

    • Google And Amazon File Creepy Patents That Can Further “Sniff” Your Conversations

      The world hasn’t even recovered from the user data breach following the Facebook CA scandal, meanwhile Google and Amazon’s virtual assistants are getting smarter at a scary speed by adopting advanced data spying methods.

      Recent patent filings of Google and Amazon “outline an array of possibilities” for how their smart devices could observe what users say and do.

    • Facebook Isn’t Telling the Whole Story About Its Decision to Stop Partnering With Data Brokers

      The company publicly announced last week that it was shutting down its Partner Categories program to “help improve people’s privacy on Facebook.” What it didn’t mention was that the move is actually part of the company’s efforts to comply with the GDPR, the new EU data protection law going into effect in May, which imposes consent requirements that make using third-party data more difficult.

      While it’s nice to see Facebook deciding to implement this EU-mandatory privacy change across the globe, it would be missing some of the larger picture to interpret this as a completely voluntary, privacy-protective measure taken wholly in response to Cambridge Analytica. Beyond the stark fact of legal compliance, this isn’t even a move that is likely to affect Facebook’s bottom line: the company may actually stand to benefit from this, in terms of boosted profits and solidified market dominance.

    • HTTPS Everywhere Introduces New Feature: Continual Ruleset Updates

      Today we’re proud to announce the launch of a new version of HTTPS Everywhere, 2018.4.3, which brings with it exciting new features. With this newest update, you’ll receive our list of HTTPS-supporting sites more regularly, bundled as a package that is delivered to the extension on a continual basis. This means that your HTTPS-Everywhere-protected browser will have more up-to-date coverage for sites that offer HTTPS, and you’ll encounter fewer sites that break due to bugs in our list of supported sites. It also means that in the future, third parties can create their own list of URL redirects for use in the extension. This could be useful, for instance, in the Tor Browser to improve the user experience for .onion URLs. This new version is the same old extension you know and love, now with a cleaner behind-the-scenes process to ensure that it’s protecting you better than ever before.

    • Data Privacy Policy Must Empower Users and Innovation

      As the details continue to emerge regarding Facebook’s failure to protect its users’ data from third-party misuse, a growing chorus is calling for new regulations. Mark Zuckerberg will appear in Washington to answer to Congress next week, and we expect lawmakers and others will be asking not only what happened, but what needs to be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

      As recent revelations from Grindr and Under Armour remind us, Facebook is hardly alone in its failure to protect user privacy, and we’re glad to see the issue high on the national agenda. At the same time, it’s crucial that we ensure that privacy protections for social media users reinforce, rather than undermine, equally important values like free speech and innovation. We must also be careful not to unintentionally enshrine the current tech powerhouses by making it harder for others to enter those markets. Moreover, we shouldn’t lose sight of the tools we already have for protecting user privacy.

    • Want to Keep Personal Information Safe Online? Fix the Software

      Code for enforcing security and privacy is tangled up with other code, making it hard for both developers and auditors to look at a code base and determine which policies are being enforced.

    • Facebook apologises for storing draft videos users thought they had deleted

      The bug was first reported last week after users discovered videos they had never posted were being stored by the company. The storage was only uncovered when those users attempted to download all the data the company had on them, and were startled to find that Facebook had stored unused draft videos for years.

    • Facebook says it will not extend GDPR privacy protections beyond EU

      Facebook has no plans to extend the user privacy protections put in place by the far-reaching General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, law to users of its social network around the globe, according to Reuters. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the news agency in an interview that Facebook would like to make such privacy guarantees “in spirit,” but would make exceptions. Zuckerberg declined to explain those exceptions, according to Reuters.

    • Exclusive: Facebook CEO stops short of extending European privacy globally

      Zuckerberg told Reuters in a phone interview that Facebook was working on a version of the law that would work globally, bringing some European privacy guarantees worldwide, but the 33-year-old billionaire demurred when asked what parts of the law he would not extend worldwide.

    • Facebook wants a social media supreme court so it can avoid hard questions

      As Klein points out, Facebook’s failures have consequences on par with government failures. The integrity of elections is threatened; violence is incited; and key communication channels are jammed by bad actors. In America and many other countries, much of this activity goes unregulated by the government. So, what recourse does the average person have? As Klein puts it [...]

    • Here are the moats and walls Facebook has been building for years to defend against #DeleteFacebook

      As we set ourselves to the task of dooming Facebook to the scrapheap of history, it’s worth considering the many ways in which Facebook has anticipated and planned for this moment, enacting countermeasures to prevent the rise of a competitor focused on delivering things that help users (making it easy to find people to form interest groups with), rather than focused on “maximizing engagement” and spying on us.

    • Facebook Has Been Preparing for #DeleteFacebook for More Than a Decade

      But Facebook’s nearly 2 billion users have nowhere else to go. That’s because, with a few exceptions, Facebook has managed to squash its competitors, either by cloning or acquiring them—a tactic it’s used to remain relevant and irreplaceable. For the past 14 years, since its inception, Facebook has been preparing for this very moment. And now that it’s here, the company continues to monopolize the way humans interact online.

    • Facebook Is Not the Problem. Lax Privacy Rules Are.

      There’s no need to start from scratch. In 2012, President Barack Obama proposed a privacy bill of rights that included many ideas for giving people more control over their information, making data collection more transparent and putting limits on what business can do with the information they collect. The bill of rights fizzled out when Congress showed little appetite for it. But the European Union has used a similar approach in developing its General Data Protection Regulation, which goes into effect on May 25.

    • Brazil’s ISPs Line up for their Privacy Stars in “Quem Defende Seus Dados”

      InternetLab, the Brazilian independent research center, has published their third edition of “Quem Defende Seus Dados?” (Who defends your data?”), an annual report which evaluates the practices of their local Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and how they treat their customers’ personal data when the government demands it.

      This years’ report expanded the number of ISPs covered, and shows Vivo taking a strong lead, followed by Tim and then Claro and Oi close behind. The Brazilian ISPs still have plenty of room for improvement, especially on transparency reports, law enforcement guidelines, and notification to users.

    • State Dept. Wants to Expand Social Media Collection to All Visa Applicants

      The State Department has alarmingly declared that it wants to collect social media information from all visa applicants. This appears to be an expansion of a 2017 program that sought social media information only from a subset of initially suspicious visa applicants. This is also the latest effort in a troubling trend of conducting social media surveillance both domestically and abroad that began with President Barack Obama’s Administration and has continued during President Donald Trump’s Administration.

      The State Department issued two Federal Register notices last week seeking public comments on its proposal to ask all visa applicants—those seeking both immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the United States—for social media information for the past five years. “Social media information” includes the online platforms that visa applicants currently use—or have used in the past—and their account identifiers or handles. This means that visa applicants will have to disclose their use of websites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. The State Department also wants to ask all visa applicants for the phone numbers and email addresses used for the past five years, among other information.

      This questioning invades the free speech and privacy rights of foreign visitors to the U.S., as well as the rights of their American friends, families, and professional associates. As with other similar programs, EFF opposes this collection of personal information.

    • DNS Resolvers Performance compared: CloudFlare x Google x Quad9 x OpenDNS [Ed: In exchange for leverage, dependence and surveillance they give us 'free' DNS and boast and about "speed" and the likes of that]

      A couple of months ago I did a performance comparison between some of the top free DNS Resolvers available. It was just after Quad9 had launched and I was trying to decide which one to use and recommend to families and friends. Google, OpenDNS, Quad9, .. some many options… I love options …

    • It’s Grindr’s Turn In The Barrel As America Finally Decides To Care About Consumer Privacy

      Whatever you think about the Facebook Cambridge Analytica kerfuffle, it’s pretty obvious that the scandal is causing a long overdue reassessment of our traditionally lax national privacy standards. While most companies talk a good game about their breathless dedication to consumer privacy, that rhetoric is usually pretty hollow and oversight borders on nonexistent. The broadband industry is a giant poster child for that apathy, as is the internet of very broken things sector. For a very long time we’ve made it abundantly clear that making money was more important than protecting user data, and the check is finally coming due.

      While it may only be a temporary phenomenon, the Cambridge Analytica scandal is finally causing some much-needed soul searching on this front. And given how deep our collective privacy apathy rabbit hole goes, being sloppy with consumer data may actually bear witness to something vaguely resembling accountability for a little while. Case in point is gay dating site Grindr, which this week was hammered in the media after it was revealed that the company was sharing an ocean of data with app optimization partner companies, including location data and even HIV status.

    • Why do people dislike online ads?

      Many people who have shopped online have had the experience of looking for something to buy, and then being followed by ads for that thing for days (or weeks, sometimes months!) afterwards. This is known as behavioral retargeting in the ad industry. The premise for this is as follows: the advertiser is looking for consumers who are interested to buy a product, such as a shirt. They would like to show ads for their shirt to people who would be a good target audience for buying a shirt. In the offline world, if the advertiser were to place such an ad looking for a custom target audience, they would probably look for print magazines specializing in fashion, attire and such, based on the assumption that a subset of people who would buy and read such magazines would probably be interested in buying a shirt. In the online world, however, the online ad industry offers a more lucrative option: showing ads for the shirt to people who have before shown real interest in buying a shirt, possibly a shirt of the same kind, color, size, etc. as the one the advertiser is looking to promote! What could be better than this?! The way the online ad companies do this is typically by tracking users from their online shopping carts through everywhere else on the Web as they browse, so that they can detect who abandoned a shopping cart without buying the products in it, what was in the cart, where that user is going now, which advertisers are interested to show ads for those abandoned products, and match up the two.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Legal Questions Raised by a Women-Only Workspace

      When it was reported last week that the New York City Commission on Human Rights was investigating The Wing, the co-working space for women, over its women-only membership policy, its members and advocates rushed to the company’s defense. The inquiry has generated controversy given the heightened awareness, resulting from the #MeToo movement, that sexual harassment is still rampant in far too many workplaces.

      Judging by The Wing’s success as both a business venture and a place for women to gather, it has undoubtedly met a real need. Yet the commission’s job is to respond to reports of discrimination it receives, as in this case. By limiting its patrons to women only, The Wing may not be in compliance with New York’s public accommodation law — a law that exists for good reason and furthers gender equality.

      New York, like nearly every state and many cities, provides that places of public accommodation can’t discriminate against members of the public based on characteristics including race, religion, disability — or sex. Antidiscrimination laws like New York’s are why we have the freedom to go about our daily lives without fear of being turned away from retail stores, banks, and hotels simply because of who we are.

    • The Role of Youth in a Hoped-for Transformation

      The massive turnout for the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington on March 24 has given rise to hope that a new youth movement can spur a social transformation in the United States, write Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers.

    • King’s Legacy Betrayed

      Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the preeminent leader of the black liberation movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Millions of people engaged in the struggle against America’s shameful apartheid system but King was the most influential. His actions are remembered, his words are quoted by activists, politicians, and pundits. His birthday is a national holiday. Only the worst and most retrograde racists dare to speak ill of King.

      But the lionizing is mostly a sham. In fact there are very few people who remember the importance of what King said, what he did or why and how they should replicate his work. His legacy has been subverted and is now understood only by the most conscious students of history.

      Nothing illustrated this state of affairs more clearly than the use of King’s words in a Ram truck commercial broadcast during the 2018 Super Bowl football championship. Viewers were told that Ram trucks are “built to serve.”

      The voice over is provided by King himself speaking exactly 50 years earlier, on February 4, 1968. The Drum Major Instinct sermon was a call to reject the ego driven desire for attention in favor of working for more altruistic pursuits. “If you want to say that I was a drum major say that I was a drum major for justice.”

    • 50 Years After MLK’s Assassination, We Remain Two Societies, ‘Separate and Unequal’

      On April 4, 1968, I was 11 and growing up in Memphis when the news came that Martin Luther King had been murdered. My parents couldn’t hide how bad it was – they were angry. They were afraid. And most memorably to my childhood self, they were crying. I couldn’t articulate it at the time, but I know now that I was afraid that killing the dreamer could kill the dream.

      Exactly one year earlier, in a speech at Riverside Church in New York City, Dr. King said, “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now… Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity.” A year later, his call for civil rights and racial justice was answered by an assassin’s bullet.

      King understood the urgency of now.

      He graduated from divinity school in 1955 and six months later he was leading the Montgomery Improvement Association during the now-famous Montgomery bus boycott. For the next 12 years he was a tireless public spokesperson for racial justice. He endured being shot at, stabbed, beaten, surveilled and harassed by the government, arrested more than 30 times, subjected to unrelenting media scrutiny, outpourings of hate speech, and death threats.

    • From Chaos in Saigon, to Chaos in Washington: 4/4/68

      As news of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis spread, despondent crowds gathered in the heart of Washington’s business section along 14th street. Orderly at first, the crowds became surly and started breaking windows, looting stores and setting fires.

      I reported immediately to the ABC News bureau on Connecticut Ave. The news editor said, “Good timing Don, we can use a reporter with combat experience. There’s a crew leaving for the riots in a few minutes. There’s room in the car for you.”

    • The Orange County Prosecutor’s Office Ran a Secret, Unconstitutional Jailhouse Informant Scheme for Years

      When Bethany Webb’s sister, Laura, was killed in a mass shooting in 2011, she couldn’t imagine things getting worse. But then-District Attorney Tony Rackauckas of Orange County, California, took the case.

      In his zeal to impose the death penalty — over Webb’s objection — Rackauckas employed jailhouse informants to elicit damning statements from the defendant, Scott Dekraai, while Dekraai was in jail. These informant-defendant interactions violated the Constitution’s right to counsel — no one is allowed to interrogate defendants without their attorneys present. Rackauckas knew that what he was doing was illegal, but he did it anyway. And it wasn’t the first time Rackauckas had broken the law in pursuit of a conviction.

      In fact, Rackauckas and Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens had overseen a systematic, methodical program of using jailhouse informants for years. Their era of impunity ended only in 2014, when Dekraai’s attorney uncovered their illegal jailhouse informant program. Remarkably, even after their unlawful acts were discovered, Rackauckas, Hutchens, and their employees denied it, going so far as to lie about it under oath to Orange County judges and juries.

      Rackauckas’ and Hutchens’ illegal acts corrupted the entire system, making it impossible for crime victims to achieve closure, defendants to receive due process, and the community to trust those charged with protecting them. When law enforcement cheats, we all lose.

      Now, seven years after Laura Webb was killed, Bethany Webb, the sister of a murder victim, has joined forces with the ACLU, the ACLU of Southern California, People for the Ethical Operation of Prosecution and Law Enforcement, and the law offices of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, to end this illegal and destructive informant program.

      The Orange County informant program has three primary components, all of which violate the law. First, Orange County deputy sheriffs cultivate relationships with professional jailhouse informants. These informants are facing serious jail time themselves, and therefore have a strong incentive to enter the employ of law enforcement.

    • Judge Tosses Charges Against Journalist Who Published Docs Leaked To Her By A Police Officer

      A police department’s retaliatory arrest of a citizen journalist has dead-ended with a courtroom loss. Priscilla Villarreal — better known as “Lagordiloca” to her thousands of Facebook fans — was arrested after she published information given to her by police officer Barbara Goodman. The info included the name of Border Patrol agent who had committed suicide — info never officially released by the Border Patrol.

      While the proper target for Texas prosecutors would have been the officer leaking sensitive info, they decided to pursue Villarreal instead, issuing an arrest warrant for “misuse of official information.” Publishing leaks has never really troubled the courts before, usually falling well within the confines of the First Amendment. But prosecutors argued the “misuse” occurred when Villarreal “profited” from it by “gaining popularity” with her exclusive leak.

      “Lagordiloca” operated outside the mainstream, publishing and streaming interactions with officers live to her Facebook page. It’s apparent many officers didn’t care for her reporting, and this misuse of a “misuse” law seemed like a quick and dirty way to shut her up. It didn’t work. As Jason Buch reports for the San Antonio Express-News, a judge has tossed the charges against Villareal, finding them unconstitutional.

    • Judge throws out charges against blogger called La Gordiloca

      A judge in Laredo on Wednesday threw out the charges against the social media personality known as La Gordiloca.

      State District Judge Monica Z. Notzon ruled that part of the law police used to arrest Priscilla Villarreal is unconstitutionally vague.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast’s Top Lobbyist Is Pushing A Net Neutrality ‘Compromise’ That Isn’t

      With net neutrality rules currently on the chopping block, Comcast’s top lobbyist is once again trying to sell people on letting giant ISPs pick winners and losers on the internet. The FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules explicitly banned “paid prioritization,” or letting one company (say, Disney) buy itself a network advantage over more cash-strapped competitors. While the FCC’s 2015 rules carved out vast exceptions for legitimate prioritization (VoIP, medical services), they made it clear that anti-competitive paid prioritization deals of this kind distorted the traditionally level playing field, letting the wealthiest companies buy an unfair edge over competitors.

      And while Comcast used to promise that it would never consider such deals, those promises have slowly but surely evaporated the closer we get to the net neutrality repeal the company has spent millions on. As we get closer to a country without real net neutrality protections, Comcast’s promises to avoid such pay-to-play schemes have been not-coincidentally mysteriously disappearing from the company’s website.

    • Even the telco industry thinks Ajit Pai is an asshole for maiming Lifeline, a broadband subsidy for poor Americans

      Now, Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, wants to force Lifeline users to buy access from the big telcos, a move even those very same telcos think is bananas. And as a group of US 10 US senators have pointed out, Pai offered no evidence to support his contention that MNVOs strangle broadband investment (the FCC is only allowed to act on the basis of documented evidence), and Pai’s proposal would eliminate the plans used by more than 70% of Lifeline recipients.

    • California’s Legislature Seeks to Protect Network Neutrality and Promote ISP Competition

      In response to the rollback of federal network neutrality protections, this year more than 20 states have taken up the mantle of protector of a free and open Internet. Washington has already passed a law and Oregon’s waits to be enacted. Not to be outdone, California has three bills pending that, if all passed, would create the most comprehensive net neutrality defense of any state while promoting community broadband.

      Those bills, S.B. 420, S.B. 822, and A.B. 1999, will face hearings and votes this month and hopefully make it to the governor’s desk towards the end of the year. If Governor Brown signs all three, California’s would not only restore the ban on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization the FCC recently repealed, but also secures more protections and options for Californians while making it easier for local governments to engage in community broadband projects to give their residents choice and competition in the ISP market.

    • Digital Justice: Internet Co-ops Resist Net Neutrality Rollbacks

      More than 300 electric cooperatives across the US are building their own internet with high-speed fiber networks. These locally owned networks are poised to do what federal and state governments and the marketplace couldn’t. First, they protect open internet access from the internet service providers (ISP) that stand to pocket the profits from net neutrality rollbacks that the Trump administration announced last November. Second, they bring affordable, fast internet access to anyone, narrowing the digital divide that deepens individual and regional socioeconomic disparities.

      In Detroit, for example, forty percent of the population has no access of any kind to the internet. Because of Detroit’s economic woes, many Big Telecom companies haven’t thought it worthwhile to invest in expanding their network to these communities. Internet connectivity is a crucial economic leveler without which people fall behind in schools, health, and the job market.

      In response, a growing cohort of Detroit resident has started a grassroots movement called the Equitable Internet Initiative, through which locals are build their own high speed internet. It started with enlisting digital stewards—locals who were interested in working for the nonprofit coalition. Many of these stewards started out with little or no tech expertise, but after a 20-week-long training, they’ve become experts able to install, troubleshoot, and maintain a network from end to end. They aim to build shared tools like a forum and a secured emergency communication network—and to educate their communities on digital literacy so people can truly own the network themselves.

      Detroit isn’t the only city with residents who aim to own their internet. Thirty of the 300 tribal reservations in the US have internet access. Seventeen of these tribal reservation communities in San Diego County have secured wireless internet access under the Tribal Digital Village initiative. Another local effort, Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, which was originally established in 1939 to brings electrical power to central Missouri farms, has organized to crowdfund the money necessary to establish its own network. By 2014, members enjoyed connection speeds in the top twenty percent of the US, and the fastest in Missouri. By 2016, Co-Mo’s entire service area was on the digital grid.

  • DRM

    • Intel’s new 8th-gen Core vPro business-class processors ‘engineered for digital transformation’

      called Intel Runtime BIOS Resilience.”

      Intel Authenticate, a “multifactor authentication solution that verifies identities in hardware for added protection below the software layer, now includes support for facial recognition with Windows 10. This enables an intuitive user experience across leading business devices from Dell*, HP*, Lenovo* and more, while also supporting specific IT policies and management consoles.”

      “Right out of the box, new Intel vPro platform-based PCs from Lenovo and HP will begin to take advantage of Intel Runtime BIOS Resilience – a hardware enhancement that minimises the risks of malicious code injection. As part of Intel’s commitment to continually advance cybersecurity, this new firmware feature locks BIOS when software is running to help prevent planted malware from gaining traction.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intel Patents Hardware Accelerator

      On March 29, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published an application in the name of Intel Corporation, which puts the famous microprocessor company back in the spotlight of crypto mining.

    • Trademarks

      • Is the Limiting of Scandalous Marks a Viewpoint Neutral Government Activity?

        The US Government (USPTO/DOJ) has petitioned for en banc review of the decision – arguing that the immoral/scandalous prohibition should stand. Notably, the US argues that limiting registration of disparaging marks in Tam was more suspect because it was directed toward a particular viewpoint (e.g., disparagement of people …). On the other hand, the prohibition on registering scandalous marks is viewpoint neutral. Despite that difference, the Federal Circuit applied a strict scrutiny test. The Federal Circuit argues that strict scrutiny should not apply here but rather that the Federal Circuit should develop a separate and new test for “the constitutionality of viewpoint-neutral limitations on registrability.”

    • Copyrights

      • Yet Another Case Highlights Yet Another Constitutional Infirmity With The DMCA

        Once again, the Constitutional exceptionalism of the DMCA has reared its ugly head. Thanks to the way it has been interpreted we have already enabled it to become an unchecked system of prior restraint, which is anathema to the First Amendment. And now yet another court has allowed this federal law to supersede states’ ability to right the wrongs that misuse of the DMCA’s censorship tools inevitably causes, even though doing so arguably gives this federal law more power than the Constitution allows.

        The two problems are of course related. Prior restraint is what happens when speech is censored without ever having being adjudicated to be wrongful. That’s what a takedown demand system does: force the removal of speech first, and sort out whether that was the right result later. But because the Ninth Circuit has taken the teeth out of the part of the DMCA that is supposed to punish bogus takedowns, that second part very rarely happens. Section 512(f) was supposed to provide a remedy for those who have been harmed by their content being removed. But in the wake of key rulings, most recently Lenz v. Universal, that remedy is rarely available, leaving online speakers everywhere vulnerable to the censoring whims of anyone inclined to send a takedown demand targeting their speech, no matter how unjustifiably, since there is little ability to ever hold this wrongdoer liable for the harm their censorship causes.

      • Court Says Scraping Websites And Creating Fake Profiles Can Be Protected By The First Amendment

        It’s no secret that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a mess. Originally written by a confused and panicked Congress in the wake of the 1980s movie War Games, it was supposed to be an “anti-hacking” law, but was written so broadly that it has been used over and over again against any sort of “things that happen on a computer.” It has been (not so jokingly) referred to as “the law that sticks,” because when someone has done something “icky” using a computer, if no other law is found to be broken, someone can almost always find some weird way to interpret the CFAA to claim it’s been violated. The two most problematic parts of the CFAA are the fact that it applies to “unauthorized access” or to “exceeding authorized access” on any “computer… which is used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communications.” In 1986 that may have seemed limited. But, today, that means any computer on the internet. Which means basically any computer.

      • Take-Two Fails To Get NBA2K Tattoo Copyright Lawsuit Dismissed

        I’ll forgive you since it’s been two years, but hopefully you will remember our posts about a crazy copyright lawsuit back in early 2016 between a company called Solid Oak Sketches and Take-Two Software. At issue were Take-Two’s faithful depictions of several NBA stars in its NBA 2K series of games, including LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The problem is that Solid Oak claims to have copyrights on several tattoos appearing on the skin of these players, all of which show up in the images of the game. Of course, Take-Two negotiates the rights for player likenesses with the NBA Players Association, meaning this lawsuit has the odd smell of a third party bickering over branded cattle. While Solid Oak is asking for $1.2 million in damages, Take-Two has pointed out that these sorts of statutory damages shouldn’t apply as the company only registered its copyrights in 2015. This fact leads a reasonable observer to wonder why the copyrights weren’t registered much earlier, were Take-Two’s use so injurious.

        That question is of course tangent to the most central concern of why in the world any of this isn’t obvious fair use? Take-Two has First Amendment rights, after all, and its use of the eight tattoos in each iteration of the game is a hilariously small portion of each work. On top of that, the whole enterprise of the game is to faithfully depict reality with regards to each player whose likeness it has properly licensed through the NBAPA. None of this should strike anybody as a million dollars worth of copyright infringement.

      • Hosting Provider Steadfast is Not Liable for ‘Pirate’ Site

        Hosting provider Steadfast is not liable for the copyright-infringing activities that took place on the server of a customer. A California District Court has dismissed all copyright and trademark infringing claims filed by ALS Scan, concluding that the hosting provider did enough to curb copyright infringement.

      • Canadian BitTorrent Traffic Tanked, But Video Piracy is Still Hot

        New data published by broadband management company Sandvine reveals that while BitTorrent traffic is dropping off in Canada, video piracy remains a significant problem. The data was released as part of the ongoing debate around website blocking, something Sandvine is familiar with.

      • French Universities Cancel Subscriptions to Springer Journals

        French research organizations and universities have cancelled their subscriptions to Springer journals, due to an impasse in fee negotiations between the publisher and Couperin.org, a national consortium representing more than 250 academic institutions in France.

        After more than a year of discussions, Couperin.org and SpringerNature, which publishes more than 2,000 scholarly journals belonging to Springer, Nature, and BioMedCentral, have failed to reach an agreement on subscriptions for its Springer journals. The publisher’s proposal includes an increase in prices, which the consortium refuses to accept.


Links 3/4/2018: OpenSSH 7.7, Cutelyst 2.1 and Fedora 28 Beta Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Now Available: April 2018 issue of Linux Journal
  • Linux 4.16 Released, SLES SP3 for Raspberry Pi, Cloudflare Launches the Privacy-First DNS Service and More
  • Desktop

    • Making Linux love my LG RD510 Nvidia-powered laptop

      Well, here we are. Validation is the key to everything. Input and output. I don’t think there’s any serious mechanism in Linux to actually verify that devices have gracefully and correctly resumed operation after being suspended. Such checks, including non-volatile traces, would offer more robustness, allowing distro teams to tackle hardware issues and produce better systems, with higher quality and user satisfaction. It’s definitely preferable to the blame evasion and shifting that exists today.

      I find it hard to accept the “use friendly hardware” or “blame X vendor” as a lazy excuse for developing state-of-the-art drivers and business logic to allow seamless operations. It does not matter who’s at fault if you have the technical knowhow and capacity to identify and maybe stop the problems from manifesting. In my case, the sad reality is the ancient problem will remain around until the RD510 machine is no more, and then it will no longer be a problem. But that mentality won’t make the Linux desktop into a perfect product. Lastly, for those of you who have come here for technical guidance and not philosophy, if you have an Nvidia card and resumes are botched, try IDE vs AHCI, just to see what gives. After that, there might be some tweaks and workaround to help mitigate the issue, but at least you will know where you stand. Hopefully, this was of use. See you around.

    • Why I love ARM and PowerPC

      Once upon a time, I studied environmental protection. While working on my PhD, I was looking for a new computer. As an environmentally aware person, I wanted a high-performing computer that was also efficient. That is how I first became interested in the PowerPC and discovered Pegasos, a PowerPC workstation created by Genesi.

      I had already used RS/6000 (PowerPC), SGI (MIPS), HP-UX (PA-RISC), and VMS (Alpha) both as a server and a workstation, and on my PC I used Linux, not Windows, so using a different CPU architecture was not a barrier. Pegasos, which was small and efficient enough for home use, was my first workstation.

    • Intel FSP reverse engineering: finding the real entry point!

      After attending 34C3 in Leipzig at the end of December, in which we (Zlatan and me) met with some of you, and had a lot of fun, I took some time off to travel Europe and fall victim to the horrible Influenza virus that so many people caught this year. After a couple more weeks of bed rest, I continued my saga in trying to find the real entry point of the Intel FSP-S module.

    • The End of Windows

      That wasn’t the only news that week: Microsoft also renamed its cloud service from Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure. The name change was an obvious one — by then customers could already run a whole host of non-Windows related software, including Linux — but the symbolism tied in perfectly with the Office on iPad announcement: Windows wouldn’t be forced onto Microsoft’s future.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • [Podcast] PodCTL Basics – Windows Containers & Kubernetes

      It’s been a while since we did a “PodCTL Basics” show (see: Kubernetes, Linux Containers, Containerizing an Application, Services Meshes), but we’ve heard a lot of questions about Windows Containers, so we thought it was time to review the basics. In this short show, we talk about the differences between Linux and Windows containers, the dependencies in Windows Server 02016, the requirements of older vs. newer .NET applications, and how this will all play together with the Kubernetes technology that will orchestrate both Linux and Windows containers. These “Basics” shows are intended for listeners that are new to this technology space. In future episodes, as the technology matures, we’ll have additional shows that provide more technical depth.

    • Linux Kernel 4.16, GIMP 2.10 RC, Firefox Facebook Container, Qubes OS & more | This Week in Linux 26

      Facebook is still under fire for privacy violations but Mozilla is trying to help users mitigate these issues with their new Facebook Container Extension for Firefox.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.16 Released with Improved Security, Virtualization Features

      April 1 is usually a day for April Fool’s jokes, but Linux creator Linus Torvalds’ Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) message that day was anything but a joke.

      In keeping with his established practise of announcing both release candidates and releases on Sundays, Torvalds released the Linux 4.16 kernel on April 1, after seven release candidates. The Linux 4.16 kernel is the second new major Linux kernel of 2018, following the 4.15 kernel that was released on Jan. 28.

      “So the take from final week of the 4.16 release looks a lot like rc7, in that about half of it is networking,” Torvalds wrote in his release announcement. “If it wasn’t for that, it would all be very small and calm.”

      The “calm” final release of Linux 4.16 is in stark contrast to the Linux 4.15 release, which was the longest development cycle for a Linux kernel in seven years. Among the multiple reasons why the Linux 4.15 development cycle was so long, were patches for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. In Linux 4.16 there are further mitigations and update for Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities as well.

    • Old CPUs losing support in Linux, cutting size by 500,000 lines of code

      The Linux kernel maintainers have taken the decision to go ahead with dropping support for old CPU architectures in an upcoming release. As a result, Linux 4.17 kernel will ship with a whopping 500,000 fewer lines of code – currently it contains around 20.3 million lines of code, according to Linux Counter.

      The architectures which will become deprecated are Blackfin, CRIS, FRV, M32R, Metag, MN10300, Score and Tile. Although not being deprecated, the Unicore32 and Hexagon architectures are also at risk but their maintainers are working on improving the situation so their support can be continued.

    • Linux 4.16 Released. Kernel Release Was “Small and Calm”

      Yesterday Linus Torvalds officially released Linux 4.16. In an announcement to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Linus announced that this release of the Linux kernel was “small and calm”, mostly related to networking, and that there was no need to continue testing it for another week.

    • Linux Kernel 4.16: Networking Patches and More

      The Linux kernel 4.16 cycle has been mercifully smooth; learn more from Paul Brown.
      Creative Commons Zero

      Linus Torvalds released version 4.16 of the Linux Kernel on Sunday, April 1st, nine weeks after the previous version. After the rather eventful 4.15 cycle, which included the loss of the Linux Kernel Mailing List for several days and the fallout from the Meltdown and Spectre bugs, 4.16 has been mercifully smooth.

      Not all smooth, though. There was a big bump in the amount of patches in RC7 that nearly derailed Sunday’s release. However, looking into it, Torvalds noted that the abnormal number of submissions may have been due to the fact that during the RC5 and 6 cycles there had been almost no patches regarding networking. This meant there was a backlog of “2.5 weeks worth of networking stuff, and that makes rc7 look artificially bigger. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.” Torvalds said.

    • In 2018, Linux Is Still Receiving Fixes For The Apple PowerBook 100 Series

      The PowerBook 100 sub-notebook launched in 1991 with a 16MHz Motorola 68000 processor and up to 8MB of memory. In 2018, the Linux kernel is still receiving fixes/improvements for the PowerBook 100 series.

      While Linux 4.17 is dropping support for eight obsolete CPU architectures, the kernel is still sticking around with obsolete hardware support. With the Motorola 68000 processors still being around, the Linux kernel “m68k” code continues to be maintained. But hitting the mailing list today were the m68k architecture updates and it included some updates for “Macintosh enhancements and fixes.”

    • Linux 4.17 Shredding 500,000 Lines Of Code, Killing Support For Older CPUs

      Whenever a new Linux kernel is released, it adds tons of new code to support some new hardware. Coupled with driver changes, fixes, and networking code, each release gets bulkier by thousands of lines of code.

    • Linux 4.16 is once again focused on Meltdown and Spectre

      LINUS TORVALDS has released the final version of the Linux 4.16 kernel. On April Fools’ Day. Ho Ho.

      Well, technically, it was after midday so we know it’s not a joke, so we can plough on.

      After another seven release candidate (RC) cycle month, the final version rolled out on time, with Torvalds explaining that without a bunch of networking code it would be “very small and calm”.

      “We had a number of fixes and cleanups elsewhere, but none of it made me go “uhhuh, better let this soak for another week”. And davem didn’t think the networking was a reason to delay the release, so I’m not.” he explains.

    • Linux 4.16 arrives, keeps melting Meltdown, preps to axe eight CPUs

      Linus Torvalds has pulled the trigger and released version 4.16 of the Linux kernel, thereby killing off his own suggestion this release might need an extra week to mature.

      And here’s some fair warning: version 4.17 is set to remove support for eight CPU architectures. That would mean Linux will no longer officially work on blackfin, cris, frv, m32r, metag, mn10300, score, nor tile, if developer Arnd Bergmann’s changes are accepted. There’s no shame in not knowing much about the eight: the reason they’re gone from Linux is that kernelistas couldn’t find anyone using them to run Linux any more. Drop them a farewell card.

    • Linux 4.16 arrives, bringing more Spectre and Meltdown fixes

      The latest version of the Linux kernel — 4.16 — has arrived, bringing with it more fixes for the Spectre and Meltdown flaws.

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds had been hoping for a “normal and entirely boring release cycle” for 4.16 after the excitement of the last Linux release, 4.15, being dominated by Spectre and Meltdown patches.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Software-defined networking is harmonizing for networking’s future

        Heather Kirksey held up her smartphone. “How often do you stare at your smartphone? How often do you use the Internet on your phone?” asked the vice president of network functions virtualization (NFV) and director at the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), speaking at the Open Networking Summit. “That’s why you have to care about open source networking. We are transforming the global telecommunications infrastructure.”

        Perhaps you still think of networking in terms of hardware infrastructure: the Wi-Fi router in your office, the cables hiding in the plenum, or the Internet backbone cable that a backhoe just ruined. However, moving forward, tomorrow’s networks will be built from open source software-defined networks (SDNs) running on a wide range of hardware including the open source Open Compute Project (OCP).

      • Cloud Foundry for Developers: Part 1

        You’ve heard about Cloud Foundry, and you know it’s growing fast and might be something you’re interested in. But what exactly is Cloud Foundry? One possible short answer is Yet Another Cloudy Thingy, because there sure are a lot of cloud projects. A better short answer is Platform as a Service (Paas), for building, managing, and deploying cloud-native applications.

        In this series, you will learn about Cloud Foundry and how to get started using it to develop applications. In the first three blogs, we’ll cover basic concepts, terminology, a technical overview and architecture, and in the last two blogs we’ll learn how to write and push an app to a Cloud Foundry instance. The information in this series is based on the Cloud Foundry for Developers (LFD232) training course from Cloud Foundry and The Linux Foundation. You can download a sample chapter from the course here.

      • Linux Foundation moves towards “Harmonization 2.0” with its open source networking initiatives

        Around 1,600 developers, OEMs and operators attended the ONS open networking summit in Los Angeles last week, in what was the Linux Foundation’s most news-heavy event to date. The interconnection of the Linux Foundation (LF) and the huge number of open source projects is quite a complicated picture to understand. Basically, the LF Networking Fund (LFN) provides administration services and facilitates collaboration across networking projects like the telco-friendly ONAP and OPNFV.

      • Juniper OpenContrail evolves into the Linux Foundation’s Tungsten Fabric

        Juniper Networks’ open-source network virtualization platform OpenContrail has finished migrating to the Linux Foundation and rebranded itself as Tungsten Fabric.

        Juniper originally open sourced OpenContrail in 2013 and announced it was moving to the Linux Foundation last December. The company said the platform includes all the components needed to run a data center, including a software-defined networking (SDN) controller, virtual router, orchestration API, analytics and a management console.

      • Editor’s Corner—AI, open source, white boxes and vendor openness dominated ONS 2018’s headlines

        The Open Network Summit 2018 may have come and gone, but the trends that emerged during that show will continue to resonate with service providers and their vendor partners throughout 2018 and beyond.
        We thought it would be a good time to take a quick look back at the key trends FierceTelecom observed at this emerging technology event.

        With the movement to software and virtualization being top of mind for service providers, a core message was to create an environment that incites collaboration and clarity.

        Generally speaking, we identified five trends that surfaced during ONS 2018:

    • Graphics Stack

      • [ANNOUNCE] weston 3.0.93

        This is the RC1 for the weston 4.0 release.

      • Wayland 1.15 & Weston 4.0 Release Candidates Published

        Not only is there a new X.Org Server 1.20 release candidate today but the folks managing Wayland/Weston development have today announced the first release candidates of Wayland 1.15 and the Weston 4.0 reference compositor.

        As we have covered previously, the Wayland 1.15 release pulls in libwayland-egl from Mesa, offers various documentation clarifications, improves Wayland-Scanner, and has some minor API additions. Meanwhile for Weston 4.0 the ABI has been bumped, leading to the big version jump. Weston 4.0 has initial atomic mode-setting support, rolls out the new input-timestamps protocol support, drops support for older versions of XDG-Shell, OpenGL high priority context support, and has a variety of other code improvements.

      • X.Org Server 1.20 Release Candidate 3 Arrives

        The lengthy X.Org Server 1.20 development cycle continues with today Adam Jackson of Red Hat having put out a third release candidate.

      • X.Org Developers Conference 2018 This September In Spain Is Looking For Presenters

        As we have covered previously, the annual X.Org Developers Conference (XDC) for 2018 is being organized by the folks at consulting firm Igalia and will be hosted in A Coruña, Spain at the local university. This event is taking place from 26 to 28 September and they have now issued their call for papers.

        As has been the case the past number of years, talks at XDC aren’t just about the traditional X.Org Server but these days are largely focused on Mesa, Wayland, the Direct Rendering Manager kernel code, libinput, and other areas of the Linux graphics and input stacks.

      • RadeonSI Mega cleanup

        This mostly removes code from drivers/radeon and moves most of it into drivers/radeonsi. There are still a few things left in drivers/radeon.

      • RadeonSI Gets A “Mega Cleanup” To Kick Off Spring

        Marek Olšák of AMD has done some spring cleaning to the RadeonSI Gallium3D code in what he’s calling a mega cleanup with 55 patches.

      • RadeonSI Now Supports KHR_blend_equation_advanced, Needed For OpenGL ES 3.2

        RadeonSI Gallium3D has caught up to the fellow Intel i965 and Nouveau NVC0 drivers in supporting the OpenGL KHR_blend_equation_advanced extension.

        KHR_blend_equation_advanced provides extra color blending operations. Developers curious about the intricacies of KHR_blend_equation_advanced can find its documentation on Khronos.org.

      • AMD Vega 20 GPU in Linux patch reignites hope for an RX Vega refresh coming this year

        Rumblings of an AMD Vega 20 GPU have begun thanks to a Linux patch file update. The Vega 7nm die shrink seems a likely culprit for the additional code, but that hasn’t stopped excited rumours of a complete generational refresh sometime this year.

      • AMD’s refreshed Vega 20 spotted in Linux driver patches

        AMD won’t be releasing a follow up to their flagship Radeon RX Vega 64 this year, but a refreshed Vega 20 has been spotted in the new Linux driver patches.

    • Benchmarks

      • GCC 7.3 vs. GCC 8.0 vs. LLVM Clang 6.0 On The POWER9 Raptor Talos II

        As part of the remote testing of the Raptor Talos II Workstation that is comprised of fully free software down to the firmware and powered by high-end POWER9 processors, over Easter weekend I carried out some GCC vs. Clang benchmarks.

        I’m still working on the POWER9 vs. Xeon vs. EPYC benchmarks on Debian Testing for publishing in the next day or two, but for those curious, below are some POWER9 compiler benchmark comparisons.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Last week in Kube

        Kube by now is my daily driver, and we’ve managed to iron out a lot of the remaining kinks since the last update.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • ‘Dash to Dock’ Adds New Launcher Styles, Support for GNOME 3.28

        An updated version of Dash to Dock, the hugely popular GNOME Shell extension, is available to download.

        Dash to Dock v63 adds support for the recent GNOME 3.28 release. This means those of you on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Fedora 27 and other Linux distributions can rock out with your dock out — sans any compatibility issues.

        But naturally there’s more to this latest release than a version bump.

      • The LVFS CDN will change soon

        The current CDN (~$100/month) is kindly sponsored by Amazon, but that won’t last forever and the donations I get for the LVFS service don’t cover the cost of using S3. Long term we are switching to a ‘dumb’ provider (currently BunnyCDN) which works out 1/10th of the cost — which is covered by the existing kind donations. We’ve switched to use a new CNAME to make switching CDN providers easy in the future, which means this should be the only time this changes client side.

      • ED Update – Week 14

        Last weekend, I was at LibrePlanet 2018, the FSF’s annual conference where I gave a talk about Free Software desktops and their continued importance. The videos are currently being uploaded, and there were some really interesting talks on a wide range of subjects. One particular highlight for me was that Karen Sandler (Software Freedom Conservancy ED, and former GNOME ED) won the Award for the Advancement of Free Software, which was very highly deserved. Additionally, the Award for Projects of Social Benefit went to Public Lab, who had a very interesting talk on attracting newcomers and building communities. They advocated the use of first-timers-only as a way to help introduce people to the project. It was good to catch up with GNOMErs and various people in the wider community.

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • py3status v3.8

        Another long awaited release has come true thanks to our community!

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Questions and Answers With Candidates for openSUSE Board Elections

        Elections for the openSUSE Board have been postponed until mid-April. Until then, the community can familiarize themselves with the candidates who are running for three available seats on the board.

        openSUSE Community Members can engage with the candidates directly or on the openSUSE-project mailing list if they have specific questions for a candidate(s).

    • Slackware Family

      • Fun and games in -current when ABIs break

        All of us who follow Slackware’s development know that “shared library version bump” means ABI breakage. I.e. a lot of 3rd-party binaries will suddenly not find required library versions anymore. In particular icu4c and poppler are nasty beasts. Slackware’s own packages had been carefully updated and recompiled where needed of course, so there was no breakage in the distro itself. But many people do not run a bare Slackware installation… a lot of software is usually installed on top. And that is the software which will be affected by an incompatible change like this one on April 1st.

        What’s this version bump all about? How is it possible that it affects your computer so deeply?

        Most programs depend on other programs. Software developers hate to re-invent the wheel if they can avoid it. Lots of lower-level or widely used functionality has been put into software libraries. Think of network access functionality, text rendering, encryption etc – smart people have created useful, efficient and robust software and stuffed that code into libraries. Your own program can link against these libraries at run-time and access the functionality they have to offer and your program needs.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Sysdig Container Intelligence Platform Certified for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform

        -Sysdig, Inc., the container intelligence company, today announced Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform certification for the Sysdig Container Intelligence Platform, the first unified approach to container security, monitoring, and forensics. Certification and publication of Sysdig in the Red Hat Container Catalog, Red Hat’s service for discovering, distributing, and consuming commercially-curated Linux container images, is a natural step in the relationship between Sysdig and Red Hat. With this certification, developers have the confidence of knowing the Sysdig Container Intelligence Platform is a member of the OpenShift ecosystem and has been tested with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise-grade Kubernetes container application platform.

      • Partner Spotlight: NetApp

        Hi! I’m Garrett Mueller, and I’m a Technical Director at NetApp. I keep an eye on technology forged in open communities, and that happens to be a lot of the most interesting stuff! I’ve been at the company going on 15 years, and I moved into this role after kicking off our container journey just over 3 years ago.

      • Quick Branding for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform With Your Company Logo

        Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is usually used by developers within a company, but Red Hat customers who have Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on-premise may in turn use it to provide PaaS services to their customers. In this case, I am occasionally asked by customers to change the OpenShift logo to their company logo.

      • Cloud should have killed Red Hat, but is saving it instead

        Red Hat’s secret formula for making billions of dollars selling free software is not-so-secret, as I’ve recently written. What still remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, however, is what’s driving Red Hat’s business.

        In a word: Cloud.

        A year ago, analysts pointed to the cloud as a harbinger of Red Hat’s doom. Today, those same analysts are slowly waking up to the opportunity that a multi-cloud world affords the open source giant.

      • Red Hat Rides Containers, Kubernetes, Hybrid Cloud Into the Future

        Red Hat exited its fiscal 2018 on a high note as the company continued to show strong growth from new platforms expected to drive long-term growth. And even better, investors this time appear to be on board.

        At a high level, Red Hat’s financial results were robust with strong growth for both the quarter and full year, which ended Feb. 28. Quarterly revenues surged nearly 23 percent year-over-year to $772 million, while full-year revenues were up more than 21 percent to$2.9 billion.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Announcing the release of Fedora 28 Beta

          The Fedora Project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Fedora 28 Beta, the next big step on our journey to the exciting Fedora 28 release in May.
          Download the prerelease from our Get Fedora site.

        • Fedora 28 Beta Released
        • Fedora 28 Beta Linux distro is finally here

          Fedora is the best overall Linux-based desktop operating system — Linus Torvalds famously uses it regularly. Today, version 28 of the distribution finally achieves Beta status. After a short delay — it was scheduled to be available a week earlier — the distro is back on track, and looking better than ever.

          As is typical now, there are three versions of the operating system — Atomic Host, Server, and Workstation. While all three have their places, normal desktop computer users will want to focus on Workstation. There are plenty of new features (and bugs), but the most exciting aspect of Fedora 28 Workstation is the inclusion of the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment.

        • Fedora 28 Beta now available

          We’re pleased to announce that Fedora 28, the latest version of the Fedora operating system, is now available in beta. The Fedora Project is a global community that works together to help the advancement of free and open source software, culminating in the innovative Fedora operating system designed to answer end user needs across the computing spectrum. As part of the community’s mission, the project delivers separate editions (Fedora Server, Fedora Atomic Host, and Fedora Workstation), each one a free, Linux-based system tailored to meet specific use cases.

        • Fedora Infra PSA: I have been marked spamchecked! What do I do?
        • Flatpak builds in the CI

          This is a follow-up to Carlos Soriano’s blog post about the new GNOME workflow that has emerged following the transition to gitlab.gnome.org. The post is pretty damn good and if you haven’t read it already you should. In this post I will walk through setting up the Flatpak build and test job that runs on the nautilus CI. The majority of the work on this was done by Carlos Soriano and Ernestas Kulik.

          Let’s start by defining what we want to accomplish. First of all we want to ensure that every commit commit will be buildable in a clean environment and against a Flatpak runtime. Second to that, we want to ensure that the each project’s test suite will be run and pass. After these succeed we want to be able to export the resulting Flatpak to install and/or test it locally. Lastly we don’t want to waste precious time of the shared CI runners from other projects so we want to utilize Flatpak’s ostree artifacts for caching.

        • Top Badgers of 2017: Alessio Ciregia
        • HiFive Unleashed for Fedora
    • Debian Family

      • Looking back on starting Libravatar

        As noted on the official Libravatar blog, I will be shutting the service down on 2018-09-01.

        It has been an incredible journey but Libravatar has been more-or-less in maintenance mode for 5 years, so it’s somewhat outdated in its technological stack and I no longer have much interest in doing the work that’s required every two years when migrating to a new version of Debian/Django. The free software community prides itself on transparency and so while it is a difficult decision to make, it’s time to be upfront with the users who depend on the project and admit that the project is not sustainable in its current form.


        In addition, I wanted to validate that it is possible to run a FOSS service without having to pay for anything out-of-pocket, so that it would be financially sustainable. Hosting and domain registrations have been entirely funded by the community, thanks to the generosity of sponsors and donors. Most of the donations came through Gittip/Gratipay and Liberapay. While Gratipay has now shut down, I encourage you to support Liberapay.

        Finally, I made an effort to host Libravatar on FOSS infrastructure. That meant shying away from popular proprietary services in order to make a point that these convenient and well-known services aren’t actually needed to run a successful project.

      • My Debian Activities in March 2018
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Why not the best? Why not Linux Mint?

              I’ve been running Linux on the desktop for decades. When I was starting with it, Linux was, comparatively, harder to use than the GUI-based operating systems then available from Apple and Microsoft. That was then. This is now.

              Today, Linux, especially such distributions as openSUSE, Ubuntu and, my favorite, Linux Mint, are just as easy to use as macOS and Windows. And they don’t have the security bugs.

              What’s that? You don’t mind dealing with a few bugs? Well, on the latest Patch Tuesday, as Woody Leonhard put it, an “enormous number of patches spewed out of Microsoft this month, with two ponderous cumulative updates.” Every month, we see a new flood of critical Windows updates. Maybe updating Windows is your idea of a good time. It’s not mine.

            • Lubuntu Next Is Adopting the Calamares Installer, Continues to Be in Development

              Lubuntu, the most lightweight official Ubuntu flavor, had a hard time these past few months, during the development cycle of the upcoming Bionic Beaver operating system series, with all sorts of problems, but its small development team managed to get past them and continued to work on both Lubuntu and Lubuntu Next.

              While Lubuntu Next offers us the more modern LXQt desktop environment, built on the latest Qt 5 technologies, the upcoming Lubuntu 18.04 LTS release is still using the LXDE desktop environment by default. The switch from LXDE to LXQt for Lubuntu is in the testing phase since Lubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf), but progress is being made on this front.

            • This Week in Lubuntu Development #1

              At Lubuntu we decided it was a good idea to create a weekly newsletter detailing the work that has been happening. So, here we are.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 Open Source Libraries to Aid in Your Machine Learning Endeavors

    While many factors have contributed to this increase in machine learning, one reason is that it’s becoming easier for developers to apply it, thanks to open source frameworks.

    If you’re not familiar with this technology, and feel confused about some of the terms used, such as “framework” and “library,” here are the definitions.

  • Sonatype Contributes Nexus JavaScript Support to Open Source Community

    Sonatype, the leader in open source governance and DevSecOps automation, today announced the contribution of its JavaScript support for Nexus Repository to the open source community. This is yet another step in Sonatype’s plan to contribute source code to the community for all formats currently supported in Nexus Repository.

    “Sonatype was founded on the principles of open source – that collaboration and community can help developers innovate faster and create higher quality software,” said Brian Fox, CTO and co-founder of Sonatype. “Nexus Repository has become a defacto standard within DevOps toolchains worldwide and is simply the best way to continuously control binaries, build artifacts, and release candidates as they flow through the modern SDLC. By contributing repository formats to the community, we’re maximizing developer flexibility and further accelerating continuous innovation.”

  • Glitch leaves beta and goes open source

    The developer community website Glitch has announced it is leaving beta and The Glitch.com community is now open-source. It was initially announced last year as a way to facilitate collaboration between developers.

    Since it was first announced, the platform has continued to evolve based on feedback from the developer community. Some of the new editions to the site include real-time help, a new console, and the ability to thank creators. It also features an easy way to add licenses and a code of conduct.

  • NETL releases carbon capture simulation toolset as open source software
  • Events

    • foss-north approaching

      Organizing a conference means going through multiple stages. The first parts are the most difficult – signing up for a venue, looking for the initial speakers, finding the initial sponsors. Basically, building something out of nothing. This becomes easier over the years, and this, the third year, it has been quite fun. However, since the aim is to grow the event, we always need more sponsors, more speakers and a bigger venue.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Reality: Bringing the Immersive Web to Mixed Reality Headsets

        Today we are proud to announce Firefox Reality, a new web browser designed from the ground up for stand-alone virtual and augmented reality headsets. We took our existing Firefox web technology and enhanced it with Servo, our experimental web engine. From Firefox, we get decades of web compatibility as well as the performance benefits of Firefox Quantum. From the Servo team (who recently joined the Mixed Reality team) we will gain the ability to experiment with entirely new designs and technologies for seeing and interacting with the immersive web. This is the first step in our long-term plan to deliver a totally new experience on an exciting new platform.

      • Mozilla Brings Firefox to Augmented and Virtual Reality

        Today, we primarily access the Internet through our phones, tablets and computers. But how will the world access the web in five years, or in ten years, and how will the web itself grow and change?

        We believe that the future of the web will be heavily intertwined with virtual and augmented reality, and that future will live through browsers. That’s why we’re building Firefox Reality, a new kind of web browser that has been designed from the ground up to work on stand-alone virtual and augmented reality (or mixed reality) headsets.

      • Firefox Reality is the first open source cross-platform mixed reality browser

        THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION has announced that it is releasing a new version of Firefox specifically for mixed reality (MR).

        Firefox Reality is a “built from the ground up” version of Firefox Quantum specifically designed to meet the needs of those wanting to interact with the web with a stupid hat on their faces.

        “Here at Mozilla, it’s our mission to ensure that the Internet is an open and accessible resource that puts people first,” explains Sean White, Chief R&D Officer at Mozilla.

        “Currently, the world can browse the open web using our fast and privacy-focused Firefox browser, but continuing that mission in a rapidly changing world means constantly investing our time and resources into new and emerging technologies – and realities.”

      • Mozilla Announces Open Source AR/VR Web Browser ‘Firefox Reality’

        Mozilla, the non-profit company behind Firefox web browser, today announced a new cross-platform, open sourced web browser called Firefox Reality, something Mozilla says was built from the ground-up for standalone VR and AR headsets.

      • Mozilla Brings Virtual Reality to all Firefox Users

        We are delighted to announce that WebVR will ship on by default for all Windows users with an HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift headset in Firefox 55 (currently scheduled for August 8th). WebVR transforms Virtual Reality (VR) into a first-class experience on the web, giving it the infinite possibilities found in the openness and interoperability of the Web Platform. When coupled with WebGL to render 3D graphics, these APIs transform the browser into a platform that allows VR content to be published to the Web and instantaneously consumed from any capable VR device.

      • Open source Firefox Reality is a mixed reality browser that could bring VR mainstream

        Firefox Reality is also open source, which the post said will make it easier for manufacturers to add it to their platform while also adding transparency. This is perhaps the most poignant aspect of Reality, in that it could provide a common platform for OEMs to build their AR and VR hardware off of, similar to what Google did with Android. This makes it easier to develop web-based AR and VR content as well, as it can be developed for a single platform and reach a wide audience.

      • There’s a new version of Firefox for virtual reality

        Mozilla has announced a new version of its Firefox browser for standalone virtual and augmented reality headsets. It’s called Firefox Reality, and Mozilla describes it as a cross-platform, open source, and privacy-friendly browser whose interface will be specialized for headsets. You can see an early demo of it working on the HTC Vive Focus, but it’s not available publicly yet, and Mozilla hasn’t specified which headsets will support it.

      • This Week In Servo 110

        In the last week, we merged 66 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

  • CMS

    • DNN Updates DNN Platform, dotCMS Hires New CMO, More Open Source News

      DNN released version 9.2 of its DNN Platform, which includes updates such as “Prompt,” a command-line interface for managing a DNN site, as well as a storage connector for Azure. Prompt was created and led by Kelly Ford, President of DNNDev, with other members of the community contributing. DNN 9.2 can be downloaded at GitHub.

      Ford, who is also an Executive Committee Member of DNN-Connect, announced via the DNN Community blog that he is spearheading a community effort to organize and improve DNN documentation. DNN community member David Poindexter spent time organizing the release archives of DNN Platform. Users can now access every version of DNN Platform, from version 9 back to version 1, which dates back to 2003.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Announce: OpenSSH 7.7 released

      OpenSSH 7.7 has just been released. It will be available from the
      mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

    • OpenSSH 7.7 Release Notes

      This is primarily a bugfix release.

    • OpenBSD 6.3 released ( Download of the day )
    • OpenBSD 6.3 released
    • OpenBSD 6.3 Released – Apr 2, 2018

      The release was scheduled for April 15, but since all the components
      are ready ahead of schedule it is being released now

    • OpenBSD 6.3 Released

      April 2, 2018: The OpenBSD project has announced the availability of the newest release, OpenBSD 6.3

    • The Shoving Continues

      More KDE4 parts have been moved around on FreeBSD. Basically what we’re seeing is that all the existing KDE4 ports — that is, pretty much all KDE software except the KDE Frameworks 5, which are the kf5-* ports already available — are getting a -kde4 suffix. I resurrected the old filelight from KDE4 times, which we had updated to the modern KDE Applications version some time ago. That is so that KDE4 users can get the authentic (in the case of filelight-kde4, I think that also means “buggy”) experience. Users of x11/kde4 are encouraged to update and upgrade regularly these days, to catch all of the moves of packages. There are no actual updates in here, no new packages, since there aren’t any more upstream releases.

    • “Ed Mastery” follow-up

      Yesterday I released #mwlSecretBook: Ed Mastery. April first is the perfect day to release such a book. I wrote a nice release announcement and everything.


    • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 19 new GNU releases!


    • A radical proposal to keep your personal data safe – by Richard Stallman

      To restore privacy, we must stop surveillance before it even asks for consent.

      Finally, don’t forget the software in your own computer. If it is the non-free software of Apple, Google or Microsoft, it spies on you regularly. That’s because it is controlled by a company that won’t hesitate to spy on you. Companies tend to lose their scruples when that is profitable. By contrast, free (libre) software is controlled by its users. That user community keeps the software honest.

    • GnuCash 3.0 Released

      GnuCash 3.0 released

      The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 3.0, the first release in our new 3.x stable series.

    • Mozilla Announces Firefox Reality Browser for Mixed Reality, GnuCash 3.0 New Release and More

      Mozilla announced Firefox Reality today, “Bringing the Immersive Web to Mixed Reality Headsets”. Firefox Reality is the only open source browser for mixed reality and the first cross-platform browser for mixed reality. See The Mozilla Blog for more details.

      GnuCash 3.0 was released yesterday, marking the first stable release in the 3.x series. This version has several new features, but the main update is the use of the Gtk+-3.0 Toolkit and the WebKit2Gtk API. See the announcement for a list of all the new features for both users and developers.

  • Public Services/Government

    • How the EU’s Copyright Reform Threatens Open Source–and How to Fight It

      Translated into practical terms, this means that sites with major holdings of material uploaded by users will be required to filter everything before allowing it to be posted. The problems with this idea are evident. It represents constant surveillance of people’s online activities on these sites, with all that this implies for loss of privacy. False positives are inevitable, not least because the complexities of copyright law cannot be reduced to a few algorithmic rules that can be applied automatically. That, and the chilling effect it will have on people’s desire to upload material, will have a negative impact on freedom of expression and undermine the public domain.

      The high cost of implementing upload filters—Google’s ContentID system required 50,000 hours of coding and $60 million to build—means that a few big companies will end up controlling the market for censorship systems. Their oligopoly power potentially gives them the ability to charge high prices for their services, which will impose burdens on companies in the EU and lead to fewer online startups in the region. Other problems with the idea include the important fact that it seems to go against existing EU law.

      Article 13 has been drawn up mainly to satisfy the barely disguised desire of the European copyright industry to attack successful US companies like Google and Facebook. But the upload filter is a very crude weapon, and it will affect many others who—ironically—will be less able than internet giants to comply with the onerous requirement to censor. For example, it is likely that Wikipedia will be caught by the new rule. After all, it hosts huge amounts of “subject-matter” that is uploaded by users. As a post on the Wikimedia blog pointed out: “it would be absurd to require the Wikimedia Foundation to implement costly and technologically impractical automated systems for detecting copyright infringement.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • RISC-V leader gains $50 million in funding and Western Digital vows to build 1 billion chips

        SiFive has raised $50.6 million in Series C funding, and Western Digital pledged to produce 1 billion of SiFive’s RISC-V cores. Meanwhile, the new Linux 4.16 kernel boosted RISC-V support, and there are rumors of a RISC-V project led by Google, Qualcomm, and Samsung.

        The open source RISC-V computer architecture project has continued to generate buzz since SiFive opened pre-sales in early February for its Linux-friendly HiFive Unleashed SBC, which showcases SiFive’s RISC-V based Freedom U540. Today, SiFive announced it has received $50.6 million in Series C funding, and has signed a multi-year license to its Freedom Platform with storage giant Western Digital, which pledged to produce 1 billion of SiFive’s RISC-V cores (see farther below).

  • Programming/Development

    • Cutelyst 2.1 Released

      Cutelyst a Qt/C++ Web Framework got upped to 2.1. Yesterday I found a bug that although not critical it’s important enough to roll out a new release.

      As a new feature we have LangSelect plugin to help with auto detection of user language (Matthias).

    • New in Qt 5.11: quick text selection in QLineEdit

      There are many reasons why one would want to contribute to a free software project. This post belongs to the “scratch your own itch” category. Firefox is my main browser and I use reddit a lot. I switch between my favourite subreddits many times per day. Sometimes I also use Qupzilla (nowadays called Falkon) because it has a specific reddit account of mine already logged-in.

      Now, Firefox has a feature that Falkon used to lack: quick selection of the trailing part of the URL by slightly moving the mouse down, while selecting the text towards the right.

    • Programming the Raspberry Pi with Perl; eBook fundraiser

      Timm will be writing the bulk of the content using various distributions including my RPi::WiringPi along with all its related distributions, and I will be adding at least one chapter to cover my indoor grow room single-webpage environment controller, as well as performing editing duties and testing of the code.


  • Hardware

    • Apple Plans to Ditch Intel and Use Custom Mac Chips Starting in 2020

      A move away from Intel would have a major impact on Intel, with Apple providing approximately five percent of Intel’s annual revenue. Intel stock has already dropped following the news.

    • Apple is actively working on Macs that replace Intel CPUs

      According to Bloomberg’s sources, the project (which is internally called Kalamata) is in the very early planning stages, but it has been approved by executives at the company. The report says that Apple could ship computers based on its own processors as early as 2020, but the report also says this would be part of a “multi-step transition” in a larger effort to make iOS devices and Macs “work more similarly and seamlessly together.” Apple could still change or drop these plans in the future.

    • Apple Plans to Use Its Own Chips in Macs From 2020, Replacing Intel

      While the transition to Apple chips in hardware is planned to begin as early as 2020, the changes to the software side will begin even before that. Apple’s iPhones and iPads with custom chips use the iOS operating system, while Mac computers with Intel chips run on a different system called macOS. Apple has slowly been integrating user-facing features over the past several years, and more recently starting sharing lower-level features like a new file management system.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Addiction Drug’s Side Effect: More Overdoses?

      Researchers suggest people getting Vivitrol shots may be more susceptible to a fatal overdose if they halt the regimen early and resume using opiates.


      Now comes a new paper, in the journal Drug Safety, focusing on another aspect of Vivitrol: the risk of overdose among people who’ve stopped taking it. Precisely because Vivitrol deters opioid abuse while people are on it, it reduces their tolerance for opioids — unlike methadone and buprenorphine, which are themselves opioids. This means that those relapsing after a period of Vivitrol shots are at a particularly high risk of overdosing. The 2017 study comparing Vivitrol and Suboxone found similar rates of overdose among those who had stopped taking the medications, but several previous studies of Vivitrol have done a poor job of tracking those who stopped taking the shot prematurely.

      The three researchers who co-authored the Drug Safety paper sought to analyze the overdose risk after Vivitrol use through different means: the “adverse event” data that Alkermes is supposed to report to the FDA when it learns (typically from medical providers, criminal justice authorities, social workers or family members) of an overdose suffered by someone who had been taking Vivitrol. The researchers submitted a public records request to the FDA and received reports of 263 adverse events. Of those, some were duplicates, many were instances in which Alkermes had not been able to establish the cause of death, and 10 were suicides. This left 52 deaths that fit the definition of opioid overdoses following Vivitrol use.

    • Access to Abortion for Young Immigrants in Government Custody

      Jane came to this country September 2017 without her parents, who abused her in her home country, seeking a better life. When she found out she was pregnant after the U.S. government detained her, she immediately requested an abortion. But instead of providing her access to medical care – as required by law – the government attempted to coerce her to carry her pregnancy to term, at the explicit instruction of head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Scott Lloyd. Lloyd also forced her to endure medically unnecessary ultrasounds, and instructed that she tell her abusive parents in her home country about her pregnancy.

    • Grindr shared information about users’ HIV status with third parties

      Norwegian nonprofit research group Sintef uncovered Grindr’s data sharing with two companies – Apptimize and Localytics – and concern spread in the US after BuzzFeed reported the findings.

    • Grindr exposed its users’ HIV statuses to two other companies

      What’s more, the app has been sharing users’ info — like GPS location, sexuality, relationship status, and phone ID — with advertising companies, according to SINTEF. In some cases, this data was not protected by encryption.

    • Grindr shares users’ HIV status with third-party companies: report

      Apptimize and Localytics, both data-optimization firms, have received certain information that some Grindr users choose to include in their profiles, including their HIV status and “last tested date.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • How Many People Has the U.S. Killed in its Post-9/11 Wars? Part 2: Afghanistan and Pakistan

      In the first part of this series, I estimated that about 2.4 million Iraqis have been killed as a result of the illegal invasion of their country by the United States and the United Kingdom in 2003. I turn now to Afghan and Pakistani deaths in the ongoing 2001 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. In part two, I will examine U.S.-caused war deaths in Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. According to Ret. U.S. General Tommy Franks, who led the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in reaction to 9/11, the U.S. government does not keep track of civilian casualty that it causes. “You know, we don’t do body counts,” Franks once said. Whether that’s true or a count is covered up is difficult to know.

    • Breaking News: Porton Down to Make Public Statement

      The government is putting up the Chief Scientist at Porton Down to give a press interview on Sky News this afternoon on the Skripal affair.

      If the government were not confident he would implicate the Russian state, they would not be doing this. But nevertheless I would be surprised if the Chief Scientist were to lie outright*, and we need to study his language very carefully. Much of course will depend on the questioning, and undoubtedly Sky News (a Fox affiliate) has been selected as unlikely to be be forensic or difficult. I have however passed to the producers, who contacted me for potential comment, the three questions I would ask given the chance:

      Are you saying definitely this can ONLY be made in Russia?

      How long from contact would this agent take effect?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange works for the people – now we need to save him

      Julian Assange has been silenced again, and the timing is most suspicious. With the Cambridge Analytica story dominating the news, it seems some powerful people have reasons to keep the brave WikiLeaks boss quiet right now.
      Ecuador is a small country, and one can only imagine the brutal behind-the-scenes pressure exerted on it by Western powers to increase the isolation of Julian Assange from the public space. Now, his internet access has been cut off and many of his visitors are refused access, thus rendering a slow social death to a person who’s spent almost six years confined to an apartment at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      This happened before, for a short period around the time of the US elections, but back then it was a reaction to WikiLeaks publishing documents which could have affected the outcome of the Trump/Clinton race, while there is no such excuse now. Because, currently, Assange’s “meddling” in international relations consists only of publishing on the web his opinions about the Catalonia crisis and the Skripal poisoning scandal. So why such brutal action now, and why did it cause so little uproar in the public opinion?

    • ‘Assange is a war hero, he exposed American war crimes’ – Vivienne Westwood

      Fashion icon Vivienne Westwood sent a message of support on RT to her friend Julian Assange, whose Internet access was cut off by the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK, calling him a “hero” and a “brilliant” man.
      Westwood hailed Julian Assange on RT after being asked why she decided to come to the Ecuadorian Embassy. Holding what appears to be a UK passport, Westwood said she wanted to make a statement on freedom of speech.

      READ MORE: Ecuador cut Assange’s internet over Catalonia crackdown tweet, source close to WikiLeaks tells RT

      “Julian Assange is one of the greatest heroes of the world, we are very concerned now that he can’t have visitors,” she said. “It’s really important that he’s got access to the world by all the exposures he has managed to do.”

      According to Westwood, Assange was “a war hero, he exposed American war crimes.” The founder of WikiLeaks “is my friend and he is brilliant,” she said.

    • Congress Will Finally Make Its Research Reports Public

      The recent omnibus bill passed by Congress contains a nugget of good news for those interested in access to publicly funded research.

      Open access activists have long been asking for reports by the Congressional Research Service, or CRS, to be made publicly and easily available. CRS creates a vast array of reports on topics that are of interest to members of Congress. In 2016 alone [.pdf], CRS produced reports for Congress on topics like climate change, agriculture and free trade, offshore oil and gas drilling, and U.S. patent policies. The research produced by CRS has been held in high regard for decades.

      But that research has also been hard to get. In theory, CRS reports have always been public documents. They’re paid for with tax dollars, and since they’re produced by the federal government, they aren’t copyrighted. But until recently, unless you could ask for one directly from a member of Congress, it wasn’t clear how to get a report—or even to find out if one existed.

      A former CRS lawyer who went on to found the group Demand Progress, Dan Schuman, published an essay in 2016 detailing the problems that led CRS to become so secretive. “Opposition to public access to CRS report is rooted in fears of the unknown,” Schuman wrote. “It is time to conquer that fear.” He created EveryCRSReport.com, which to date has made more than 14,000 CRS reports public.

    • Court Says PACER System Is Illegally Using Fees

      Nearly two years ago, we wrote about an important lawsuit concerning PACER — the electronic records system of the federal court system in the US. As we’ve pointed out many, many times over the years, the whole PACER system is a complete scam by the federal courts. Beyond the clunky and vintage 1998 interface, it is insanely expensive. It technically charges 10 cents per “page” but it determines “pages” liberally. Do a search? That’ll cost you 10 cents. View a docket in a long case? With no warning, that could add $3 to your bill (there is an upper limit of $3 per document). Want to read a filing that’s more than 30 pages? $3. For each one. The only thing that’s actually free are opinions — but even just getting to them could cost you some money as you do the search and load the docket, etc. And I won’t get into the convoluted system it takes to sign up for a PACER account (at least when I did it, you had to wait for them to mail you stuff through the physical mail — though they may have since updated it).

      This is ridiculous for a system that should be open to the public. Case law is a part of the law. The public should have free access to it to understand the law. But it’s been made incredibly difficult by this system. On top of that, as we pointed out almost a decade ago, it’s also against the law. Under the law that set up PACER, Title 28, the courts are only allowed to charge as much as is necessary to pay for the system (realistically, this should come out of filing fees, rather than user fees, but… that’s another issue for another day). And, by all accounts, the PACER system was generating a huge profit for the court system — from 2010 through 2016, PACER brought in $920 million for the courts. Yes, nearly a billion dollars. Admittedly, the US courts say that they’ve spent that money in other potentially useful ways — including upgrading computer systems in court rooms and such. But if Congress wants them to spend money that way, they should say so — rather than have the courts flat out ignore the law (irony!) and overcharge PACER users.

    • In the Struggle for Freedom of Expression, I stand with Julian Assange

      A terrible propaganda war of great proportions has been underway against Julian Assange over the course of this decade. A propaganda war with many grotesque and ridiculous tactics, focusing on such menial aspects as the hygiene and bodily odors of its victim. A propaganda war that has branded Julian as a rapist, although he was never even charged. A propaganda war that has constantly been prodding, experimenting with libel and defamation, patiently waiting to see which claims would stick, because any damage to his character is a victory: Russian agent, Mossad agent, covert CIA agent, anti-Semite, anti-American, rapist, megalomaniac, paranoid, pedophile, and the list goes on. Most of these spurious claims have been easily debunked, but the damage in the public perception has been done. The perpetrators continue to wait, hoping to weaken the public resolve to protect and speak out for this abused man.

    • Ecuador, Assange and the Empire: Anatomy of a Neoliberal Sellout

      LONDON — You can call the Ecuadorian government’s disconnection of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet connection and ban on contact with the outside world a lot of things: unfair, treacherous, a signal of surrender to the West.

      Such was the reaction of internet users and journalists throughout the world following an announcement by Ecuador that it had suspended Assange’s ability to accept visitors or communicate with the outside world.

    • Assange cut off from outside world

      Ecuador on Wednesday said it has stopped Julian Assange’s ability to communicate to the outside world from its London embassy, where the WikiLeaks founder has been holed up since 2012.

      The decision was taken because the Australian had broken a 2017 promise not to interfere in other countries’ affairs while in the mission, an Ecuadoran government statement said without elaborating.

      Under that deal, Assange had pledged “to not send messages that could be seen as interference in relations with other countries,” the statement said, adding that it could take other, unspecified measures if he persisted.

      The move to cut off Assange came after he used Twitter on Monday to challenge Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the March 4 nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent in the English city of Salisbury.

    • Where Is the Outrage About Julian Assange’s Silencing?

      On October 12, 1969, Daniel Ellsberg copied a secret dossier with the intention of disclosing the truth about the Vietnam War. The Pentagon Papers were a chronicle of events that recorded the scope of operations in Vietnam and beyond—details which were being withheld from the American public. The Vietnam War was built on the foundation of lies; we were rushed into the war using the Gulf of Tonkin as a false flag and defending freedom as a pretext to further the interests of the defense-financial complex. The truth eventually caught up to the lies of politicians and bureaucrats; Defense Secretary Robert McNamara later admitted the Gulf of Tonkin attack never took place.

      The Gulf of Tonkin set the stage for a decade of continuous half-truths and outright lies as the US government suppressed information from the citizenry and kept falsifying records. This coordinated campaign of governmental disinformation prolonged a war that led to the deaths of 58,200 Americans and snuffed the lives of over 2 million Vietnamese people. It was this pernicious operation of deceit—intent on keeping the public in the dark—that prodded Ellsberg to act. After presenting the findings of the Pentagon Papers to authorities in government only to be met with a wall of silence, he decided to inform the press. The firestorm of controversy that was created after The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers and the ensuing outcry from the public played a large part in bringing an end to the Vietnam War.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How America’s Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump’s War On The Media

      Earlier this month, CNN’s Brian Stelter broke the news that Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner or operator of nearly 200 television stations in the U.S., would be forcing its news anchors to record a promo about “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.” The script, which parrots Donald Trump’s oft-declarations of developments negative to his presidency as “fake news,” brought upheaval to newsrooms already dismayed with Sinclair’s consistent interference to bring right-wing propaganda to local television broadcasts.

      You might remember Sinclair from its having been featured on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight last year, or from its requiring in 2004 of affiliates to air anti-John Kerry propaganda, or perhaps because it’s your own local affiliate running inflammatory “Terrorism Alerts” or required editorials from former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, he of the famed Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that failed to mention Jewish people. (Sinclair also owns Ring of Honor wrestling, Tennis magazine, and the Tennis Channel.)

      The net result of the company’s current mandate is dozens upon dozens of local news anchors looking like hostages in proof-of-life videos, trying their hardest to spit out words attacking the industry they’d chosen as a life vocation.

    • The Real Problem With Sinclair

      For more than a year, Markey and a group of media-savvy senators—Maria Cantwell of Washington, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Cory Booker of New Jersey—have been raising concerns about Sinclair’s proposal, and about the FCC chair’s approach to it. “We are concerned about the level of media concentration this merger creates, and its impact on the public interest,” the senators wrote in a June 2017, letter asking for Senate hearings on the deal. “In light of these concerns, we believe that Senate hearings would provide critical transparency for the many American consumers who will be impacted by the deal and greater accountability from the companies who must demonstrate that the deal serves the public interest.”

    • Sinclair forced TV anchors to criticize “fake” news—and Trump loved it

      Sinclair owns or operates 193 TV stations in 89 US markets, and it has repeatedly required them to run segments that spread right-wing messages.

      Sinclair’s pending purchase of Tribune would allow it to reach 72 percent of TV-owning households in the US. Tribune says it owns or operates 42 local TV stations, including stations “in each of the nation’s top three markets and seven of the top 10.”

    • Sinclair defends itself over uproar after local news anchors read anti-’false news’ screed

      Sinclair Broadcast Group is defending itself against criticism for a recent on-air promotional message many of its local news anchors were asked to read that warned viewers about “false news” on competing media outlets.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Malaysia just made fake news illegal and punishable by up to six years in jail

      Malaysia passed a new law today that would punish citizens on social media or those working at a digital publication for spreading fake news with a 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) fine and a possible a prison sentence of up to six years. Led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Anti-Fake News bill passed in parliament today despite opponents who had criticized the bill for possibly impeding free speech and attempting to censor the prime minister’s involvement in a multibillion-dollar scandal.

    • Malaysia outlaws ‘fake news’; sets jail of up to six years

      Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government secured a simple majority in parliament to pass the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, which sets out fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) and a maximum six years in jail. The first draft of the bill had proposed jail of up to 10 years.


      Co-opted by U.S. President Donald Trump, the term “fake news” has quickly become part of the standard repertoire of leaders in authoritarian countries to describe media reports and organizations critical of them.

    • UN Human Rights Rapporteur Warns Against Canadian Pirate Site Blocking Plan

      The Canadian pirate site blocking plan may violate The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Special Rapporteur David Kaye warns. He informs the CRTC that website blocking is an extreme measure which could restrict people’s freedom of expression, especially when there’s no judicial oversight.

    • Facebook may soon let users appeal if a post was wrongly removed

      In an interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, Mark Zuckerberg says he is exploring the option for Facebook users to independently appeal to the content moderation team if their content gets taken down for violating community policies. The CEO likens the appeal process to Facebook operating more like a government, with the goal of creating a network that “reflects more what people in the community want than what short-term-oriented shareholders might want.”

    • Judge Blocks Iowa Town From Shutting Down Or Suing Resident Over His Critical Website

      The government of a small town in Iowa has just received a slapdown from a US federal court. The public servants running Sibley, Iowa — pop. ~3,000 — decided it was going to eliminate one resident’s First Amendment rights because he wouldn’t stop telling people moving to Sibley might be a bad idea.

      It all began with a meat byproduct processing plant that moved to the small town, creating jobs and a powerful stench. Resident Jeremy Harms approached the town government about the nasty smell several times, but was blown off repeatedly. News of the “blood plant’s” unpleasant odor began making news around the state, but it was Harms’ personal website that finally pushed the town into violating First Amendment rights. The town’s lawyer sent Harms a legal threat, telling him to stop criticizing the town on his website and strongly suggesting he try to be more positive about the stinkhole he lived in.

    • China: Free Anti-Censorship Activist

      The Chinese government should immediately and unconditionally release human rights activist Zhen Jianghua, who has been held incommunicado since September 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 30, 2018, Chinese police formally arrested Zhen on charges of inciting subversion, but continue to deny Zhen access to legal counsel and family members, citing “national security” concerns.

      Zhen, 32, is the executive director of the Human Rights Campaign in China, or Quanli Yundong (权利运动), an online platform that publishes information related to detentions of activists, police abuses, and other human rights violations. Zhen is also the founder of ATGFW.org, a website that provides information and services to help people scale China’s Great Firewall to access the uncensored global internet.


      Zhen is a former computer programmer who has been involved in human rights activism since the mid-2000s. As a social worker, he assisted women who suffered domestic violence in Zhuhai and people with autism in Macau. He helped victims of human rights abuses use the internet to promote their cases and taught university students about methods of circumventing internet censorship.

      After becoming executive director of Human Rights Campaign in China in 2015, Zhen focused on helping spread news about government crackdowns on human rights activists, and building a support network to advocate for their releases. During the “709 crackdown,” in which authorities rounded up hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists, Zhen mobilized support for the detained lawyers and activists and their families. Over the past decade, authorities have harassed, intimidated, forcibly evicted, and briefly detained Zhen.

    • Cody Library: We don’t censor

      When I starting working in technical services – the realm of the catalogers – I was impressed by the diversity of material contained in this library.

      One day, I saw a tract that had been donated by a special interest group. In my ignorance, I said, “Throw that away.”

      “We don’t censor,” chief cataloger Edie Phillips said.

      In fact we can’t. Policy dictates that the library system adheres to the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement listed below:

      A. Library Bill of Rights

      The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

    • Oppose Internet censorship! Defend freedom of speech!

      The supporters group of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) in India will hold a public meeting in Chennai on April 8 against Internet censorship.

      Google has modified its search algorithms to target the World Socialist Web Site and other socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites. Facebook has made changes to limit access to news, except what it terms authoritative news.

      Another indication of the dangerous advance of Internet censorship is the decision by the American payment-processing corporation PayPal to block online sales of the WSWS pamphlet, The Struggle Against Imperialism and for Workers’ Power in Iran.

      The attack on Internet access is global. Under the guise of opposing “hate speech” and defending “national security,” the right-wing Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Internet technology companies to censor selected web sites and social media accounts.

    • India Tops List Of Countries With Maximum Censorship Of Films In 2017

      India is among the world’s most creative filmmaking countries but has topped the list of countries that have censored the most number of films in 2017, surpassing Turkey, China, Lebanon, France and its neighbor Pakistan, according to a study The State of Artistic Freedom by Freemuse, an independent international organisation advocating for free artistic expression.

      According to the study, in 2017, 20% of all film censorship cases came from India, followed by Turkey and Pakistan, with 9% of cases each and China accounted for 6% of the total cases. In cases of persecution and threats to filmmakers and actors, India accounted for one-third of all, followed by the United Arab Emirates, with 17% cases.

    • County Attorney Formally Asks ACLU To Stop Saying Factual Things About Pending Drug Legislation
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Panerabread.com Leaks Millions of Customer Records

      Panerabread.com, the Web site for the American chain of bakery-cafe fast casual restaurants by the same name, leaked millions of customer records — including names, email and physical addresses, birthdays and the last four digits of the customer’s credit card number — for at least eight months before it was yanked offline earlier today, KrebsOnSecurity has learned.


      Fast forward to early this afternoon — exactly eight months to the day after Houlihan first reported the problem — and data shared by Houlihan indicated the site was still leaking customer records in plain text. Worse still, the records could be indexed and crawled by automated tools with very little effort.

    • Why the crypto-backdoor side is morally corrupt

      This is nonsense. It’s like claiming we haven’t cured the common cold because researchers haven’t spent enough effort at it. When researchers claim they’ve tried 10,000 ways to make something work, it’s like insisting they haven’t done enough because they haven’t tried 10,001 times.

    • Billion-dollar Facebook investor tells Mark Zuckerberg to quit as chairman
    • The Next NSA Chief Is More Used to Cyberwar Than Spy Games

      After sailing through two friendly Senate hearings—one so uncontroversial that only six senators tops bothered to even show up at any given point in the hour—Lieutenant General Paul Nakasone seems set for confirmation as the next director of the National Security Agency. That means he’ll soon lead not just one agency, but two: the world’s most powerful spying operation, the NSA, and the world’s most powerful military hacker force, US Cyber Command. And for the first time since those two roles were combined in 2010, the man leading them may be more comfortable with the latter—leaving the NSA with the unfamiliar feeling of being the not-quite-favorite sibling.

    • Feds: There are hostile stingrays in DC, but we don’t know how to find them

      The federal government has formally acknowledged for the first time that it has located suspected and unauthorized cell-site simulators in various parts of Washington, DC.

      The revelation, which was reported for the first time on Tuesday by the Associated Press, was described in a letter recently released from the Department of Homeland Security to the offices of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).

      “Overall, [DHS' National Protection and Programs Directorate] believes the malicious use of IMSI catchers is a real and growing risk,” wrote Christopher Krebs, DHS’ acting undersecretary, in a March 26, 2018 letter to Wyden.

    • ‘Being cash-free puts us at risk of attack’: Swedes turn against cashlessness

      It is hard to argue that you cannot trust the government when the government isn’t really all that bad. This is the problem facing the small but growing number of Swedes anxious about their country’s rush to embrace a cash-free society.

      Most consumers already say they manage without cash altogether, while shops and cafes increasingly refuse to accept notes and coins because of the costs and risk involved. Until recently, however, it has been hard for critics to find a hearing.

      “The Swedish government is a rather nice one, we have been lucky enough to have mostly nice ones for the past 100 years,” says Christian Engström, a former MEP for the Pirate Party and an early opponent of the cashless economy.

    • Emmanuel Macron compares ‘too big to be governed’ Google and Facebook to oil barons

      Emmanuel Macron has suggested that Facebook and Google are “too big to be governed” and compared their dominance to that of the oil barons in the early 20th century, saying they may have to be dismantled.

    • Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s hardest year, and what comes next

      Behind Facebook’s hard year is a collision between the company’s values, ambitions, business model, and mind-boggling scale. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has long held that the company’s mission is to make the world more open and connected — with the assumption being that a more open and connected world is a better world. That assumption has been sorely tested over the past year. As we’ve seen, a more open world can make it easier for governments to undermine each other’s elections from afar; a more connected world can make it easier to spread hatred and incite violence.

    • Alleged NSA leaker files to subpoena cybersecurity firms, national security agencies

      Reality Winner, the former National Security Agency contractor alleged of leaking classified information to online publication the Intercept, recently submitted a request to subpoena several U.S. government intelligence agencies, private-sector organizations and state governments.

      Winner is standing trial for allegedly retaining and transmitting top-secret documents related to state election systems penetrated by Russian-affiliated cyber actors during the 2016 presidential election.

    • Alleged NSA leaker files to subpoena cybersecurity firms, national security agencies
    • Alleged NSA leaker seeks to subpoena major cybersecurity companies, intel agencies
    • NSA Leaker’s Defense Seeks Records From 21 States Over Election Hacks
    • Accused leaker Reality Winner wants to subpoena Homeland Security, states
    • Accused NSA Leaker Wants to Subpoena Intel Agencies, Cybersecurity Firms

      Lawyers for an alleged NSA leaker are seeking the right to subpoena witnesses from US state and federal agencies, along with cybersecurity firms, as part of her legal defense. The subpoenas would include elections officials who were told by Homeland Security last September that their systems had been targeted by hackers.

      26-year old former NSA contractor Reality Leigh Winner is accused of leaking classified documents to The Intercept, and is now looking to subpoena some of America’s largest cybersecurity firms. Her lawyers are applying for the court’s permission to call representatives from the companies, along with officials from the CIA, Pentagon and other government agencies as witnesses for the defense. The justification for Winner’s lawyers seeking these subpoenas is still sealed and has to undergo a classification review before it can be released to the public.

    • It’s Really Hard To Grab Mark Zuckerberg’s Trash

      Facebook is a trade. You give up some privacy and in return you get access to a “free” social network where you can talk to your friends and family.

    • California Supreme Court Upholds the State’s Problematic Arrestee DNA Collection Law

      In a disappointing and deeply divided opinion released today, the California Supreme Court upheld a state law law mandating DNA collection from arrestees. A lower court had held this law violated the privacy and search and seizure protections guaranteed under the California constitution. Today’s decision lets this flawed law stand.

      The case, People v. Buza, involved a San Francisco man who challenged his conviction for refusing to provide a DNA sample after he was arrested. California law allows police to collect DNA from anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony—without a warrant or any finding by a judge that there was sufficient cause for the arrest. The state stores arrestees’ DNA samples indefinitely, and allows DNA profiles to be searched continuously by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

      EFF weighed in on the case in 2015, filing an amicus brief arguing the state’s constitution prohibits the collection of DNA from arrestees because of the severe impact DNA collection has on our right to privacy. Our DNA contains our entire genetic makeup—private and personal information that maps who we are, where we come from, and whom we are related to.

      In our brief, we noted California’s law sharply impacts tens of thousands of innocent Californians every year—nearly a third of the more than 400,000 people arrested for suspected felonies in California each year are never charged with or convicted of a crime. However, law enforcement can and has collected DNA from all of them. Their DNA remains in the state database, and state rules make it almost impossible to get it expunged or removed.

    • The FBI Could Have Gotten Into the San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone, But Leadership Didn’t Say That

      The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) last week released a new report that supports what EFF has long suspected: that the FBI’s legal fight with Apple in 2016 to create backdoor access to a San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone was more focused on creating legal precedent than it was on accessing the one specific device.

      The report, called a “special inquiry,” details the FBI’s failure to be completely forthright with Congress, the courts, and the American public. While the OIG report concludes that neither former FBI Director James Comey, nor the FBI officials who submitted sworn statements in court had “testified inaccurately or made false statements” during the roughly month-long saga, it illustrates just how close they came to lying under oath.

      From the onset, we suspected that the FBI’s primary goal in its effort to access to an iPhone found in the wake of the December 2015 mass shootings in San Bernardino wasn’t simply to unlock the device at issue. Rather, we believed that the FBI’s intention with the litigation was to obtain legal precedent that it could compel Apple to sabotage its own security mechanisms. Among other disturbing revelations, the new OIG report confirms our suspicion: senior leaders within the FBI were “definitely not happy” when the agency realized that another solution to access the contents of the phone had been found through an outside vendor and the legal proceeding against Apple couldn’t continue.

    • Poll: One in five cutting down on social media

      85 percent use social media to maintain relationships [sic]

    • [Older] Decentralized identity and decentralized social networks

      Furthermore, nobody accuses Bob of being dishonest or duplicitous for acting this way. In fact, everything described above is such a fundamental, everyday part of the human experience that it’s downright boring.

      Now Bob goes online. Suddenly, every social network is telling him that he should have exactly one identity, speak in one voice, and abide by one set of rules.

    • Facebook Data Scandal Has Left Zuckerberg Isolated in Tech

      “This is about the entire web surveillance-based and advertising-powered business model,” she said. “Facebook is just the worst or best at it, depending on your view of surveillance.”

    • Mark Zuckerberg calls Tim Cook’s comments on Facebook ‘extremely glib’

      Cook said, “The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.” Apple, instead, has monetized products to customers, and Cook argued that was a sounder business model and not vulnerable to the same problems Facebook is having.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • NPR Runs IDF Playbook, Spinning Killing of 17 Palestinians

      The “firebombs” claim is repeated later in the piece by Estrin himself: “Israel responded to Palestinians throwing rocks, firebombs, burning tires.” This isn’t qualified with “according to the IDF” or “the Israeli government”—even though as of now, there’s no independent evidence firebombs were used, much less used before any sniper fire from Israel.

      The issue isn’t trivial: The matter of first blood when it comes to the Palestinian/Israeli “conflict” is a crucial one (FAIR.org, 12/8/17); framing Israel as always responding to threats, rather than inflicting aggressive violence on an occupied people, is a critical difference. And subtle framing devices like “clashes,” distorting timelines of who did what, or morphing IDF claims of “firebombs” into fact are how media keep this myth alive, and further delegitimize Palestinian resistance. (It should be borne in mind that opposition to occupation, even armed opposition, is a right guaranteed by international law.)

      When FAIR pointed out to Estrin on Twitter that he had reported the “firebombs” as fact and not a claim by the IDF, he responded, “I reported the firebombs as an Israeli claim.” When FAIR showed evidence he and host Shapiro had done the opposite, Estrin deflected: “Be kind; it’s live radio.”

    • Attorney General Says Texas Cops Can View All The Camera Footage They Want Before Being Questioned
    • NY Appeals Court Gives NYPD Even More Opacity By Upholding It ‘Glomar’ Powers

      Three years after a lower court decided the NYPD could deliver Glomar responses to records requesters, the state’s appeals court has handed down its agreement. Apparently the NYPD can — without being a federal agency or one charged with pursuing terrorists in foreign countries — refuse to confirm or deny the existence of documents, something previously only granted to federal agencies.

      The case stems from federal intervention, however. The records sought pertain to the NYPD’s now-disbanded Demographics Unit. As its name suggests, the Demographics Unit focused on one demographic: New York City Muslims. They were being placed under surveillance while they engaged in First Amendment-protected activities. This unit was created by a former CIA officer and routinely shared information with federal agencies like the FBI… right up until federal agencies realized the NYPD’s routine rights violations made the shared info too toxic to touch, must less to use in prosecutions.

    • He Gave His Life in the Labor Struggle: MLK’s Forgotten Radical Message for Economic Justice

      Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago this week while in Memphis, where he was supporting striking sanitation workers and building support for his Poor People’s Campaign. We look at King’s long history of fighting for economic justice, with the Rev. James Lawson and historian Michael Honey, author of the new book “To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Boss Under Fire For Facts-Optional Attack On Low-Income Broadband Programs

      For a while now, we’ve noted how FCC boss Ajit Pai professes to be some kind of a hero to the poor, despite the fact that his policies are quickly making broadband and TV services more expensive for Americans. His extremely unpopular net neutrality repeal, for example, will only wind up driving up costs for consumers as entrenched ISPs jack up costs for competitors and consumers alike. And when Pai wasn’t busy killing net neutrality, he was busy killing efforts to make cable boxes more competitive and affordable, or making it easier for prison phone monopolies to rip off inmate families via absurdly over-priced services.

      Pai has also been taking aim at a government program dubbed Lifeline, which makes expensive American telecom services slightly less expensive for poor families. The program, started under Reagan and expanded under Bush Jr., simply gives low-income homes a $9.25 credit they can use for home phone, broadband, or wireless service (they have to pick one). Traditionally, this program has had pretty broad, bipartisan support, and is uniformly seen as pretty much the least the government can do to help those struggling to make ends meet.

      But Pai’s attack on Lifeline has come via death by a thousand cuts, and is starting to alarm folks that actually try to help poor people for a living. Most recently, Pai tabled a proposal that would declare that smaller wireless MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators, like Boost or Virgin Mobile) could no longer participate in Lifeline. While Pai has claimed that these changes will somehow magically boost broadband deployment, he hasn’t been able to offer the slightest shred of data to support that contention.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Disbarred Patent Attorney Michael I. Kroll Still Practicing, No Comment from PTO

      In preparation for an ethics CLE later this week I was reviewing final disciplinary decisions against registered patent practitioners. Not surprisingly, Michael I. Kroll’s name appeared twice over the past year. Kroll has been frequently disciplined by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) over the years.

      What is surprising, however, is that Kroll continues to practice despite being disbarred. When reached for comment a spokesperson for the United States Patent and Trademark Office declined to comment.

    • A new way of recording revenue comes into force: Will it hurt?

      Another area of change involves intellectual property (IP) licensing. Entities will need to determine whether the licence transfers to the customer ‘over time’ or ‘at a point in time’. A licence that is transferred over time allows a customer access to the entity’s IP as it exists throughout the licence period – such revenue is recognised over time. Licence provides right to access IP if all of the following criteria are met: 1) The licensor performs activities that significantly affect the IP; 2) The rights expose the customer to the effects of these activities; and 3) The activities are not a separate good or service.

      Examples of such arrangements include consumer franchise arrangements, popular consumer brands, tradenames, etc. On the other hand, licences transferred at a point in time allow the customer the right to use the entity’s IP as it exists when the license is granted. The customer must be able to direct the use and obtain substantially all of the remaining benefits from the licensed IP to recognise revenue when the license is granted. Such examples include licensing of product formula, IT software, patents, etc.

    • Intel Patents Bitcoin Mining Chip Accelerator to Reduce Energy Usage

      Intel has filed a patent for a Bitcoin (BTC) mining hardware accelerator that would dramatically reduce the amount of electricity used to mine the cryptocurrency. The patent was filed on September 23, 2016.

    • Intel Patents Hardware Accelerator

      On March 29, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published an application in the name of Intel Corporation, which puts the famous microprocessor company back in the spotlight of crypto mining.

    • Trademarks

      • University Of Illinois Attempts To Trademark Bully An Alumnus After Failing To Stop His Trademark Registration

        It’s not a great look when our institutions of higher learning either can’t get their own collective shit together on matters of law or else attempt to bully former students with specious claims. And, yet, this appears to happen far too frequently. The most glaring example of this was Iowa State University’s attempt to violate the free speech rights of its students that resulted in a $400k bill of blowback. Now it seems that the University of Illinois is seeking to trademark bully an alumnus after failing to take action during that alumnus’ trademark registration for a t-shirt in orange and black that reads “Make Illinois Great Again.”

    • Copyrights

      • Spotify poised to be a $25bn company on eve of IPO

        Spotify, like fellow tech firms such as Tesla and Uber, is yet to make a profit, as its income struggles to keep pace with costs, including the royalties it pays to record labels and artists.

      • Federal Circuit Ruling in Oracle v. Google Could Affect Global Software Industry

        Google’s use of 37 of Oracle’s Java application programming interface (API) packages in its Android operating system infringed Oracle patents and copyright, the US District Court for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) said on 27 March. The latest decision in the long-running case was not unreasonable but could stifle software innovation, lawyers said.


Links 2/4/2018: Linux 4.16, Latte Dock 0.7.79, MAAS 2.4.0 Beta, OpenBSD 6.3

Posted in News Roundup at 1:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.16

      So the take from final week of the 4.16 release looks a lot like rc7,
      in that about half of it is networking. If it wasn’t for that, it
      would all be very small and calm.

      We had a number of fixes and cleanups elsewhere, but none of it made
      me go “uhhuh, better let this soak for another week”. And davem didn’t
      think the networking was a reason to delay the release, so I’m not.

      End result: 4.16 is out, and the merge window for 4.17 is open and
      I’ll start doing pull requests tomorrow.

      Outside of networking, most of the last week was various arch fixlets
      (powerpc, arm, x86, arm64), some driver fixes (mainly scsi and rdma)
      and misc other noise (documentation, vm, perf).

      The appended shortlog gives an overview of the details (again, this is
      only the small stuff in the last week, if you want the full 4.16
      changelog you’d better get the git tree and filter by your area of

    • Linux 4.16 Kernel Officially Released With Many Driver Improvements, Performance Tuning

      Linus Torvalds has gone ahead and released Linux 4.16 as an Easter and April Fool’s Day kernel update.

      Linux 4.16 has many exciting additions and you can get a complete look at the new features for this big kernel upgrade via our Linux 4.16 feature overview.

    • The 4.16 kernel is out
    • Red Hat Developer Posts Patches As A Baby Step To Converting Linux Kernel To C++

      Either as an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank or the start of something more, longtime kernel developer David Howells of Red Hat has posted 45 patches that begin the work on porting the Linux kernel to build under a C++ compiler rather than C.

      David Howells posted the set of 45 patches to “convert the kernel to C++”, with these patches fixing real coding issues and targeting the GCC 8.0 C++ compiler. At this stage though the C++ compiler gets as far as compiling init/main.c to a file… Obviously just the tip of the iceberg. These 45 patches have various fixes for the code to clean up arguments, ensuring the code would be happy under a C++ compiler, etc and amount to around one thousand lines of code shifted.

    • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 4.16

      I guess Linus Torvalds doesn’t like to make tons of jokes. That’s why after shipping seven release candidates for Linux kernel 4.16, he decided to released the final kernel on April Fools’ Day. He might have shipped RC8 just for the heck of it, with no changes, but that’s not his style.

      At the time of RC7 release, he called it a bigger release than usual. About half of the code update was networking. The final release looks a lot like RC7. There are many usual driver updates as well. “If it wasn’t for networking, it would all be very small and calm,” Torvalds said in his announcement.

    • Linux Kernel 4.16 Now Available for Linux Lite Users, Here’s How to Install It

      The Linux 4.16 kernel is officially here, so we believe that Linux OS vendors would want to offer the new and improved version to their users. Linux Lite developer Jerry Bezencon is again the first to provide the most recent kernel version to his users.

      Linux kernel 4.16 comes with several new features, numerous updated drivers, and various other performance improvements, so if you’re using the Ubuntu-based Linux Lite operating system on your personal computer, and you need a newer kernel, you can now install it on Linux Lite series 2.x (Beryl) or series 3.x (Citrine) 64-bit or 32-bit operating systems.

    • Linux 4.17 Sees Port To Andes NDS32 CPU Architecture

      While Linux 4.17 is set to drop support for some older/unmaintained CPU architectures, it looks like it will land at least one new port for Linux 4.17 for the Andes NDS32 CPU architecture.

      Andes Technology AndesCore 32-bit NDS32 is a RISC-like architecture, intended for high power efficiency, and some of their AndesCore processors feature clock rates above 1GHz. AndesCore processors appear primarily intended for IoT, wearables, medical devices, and other low-power/small-frootprint scenarios.

    • Linux Kernel Memory Consistency Model Going Into The 4.17 Kernel

      A new “subsystem” going into the Linux 4.17 kernel is LKMM, the Linux Kernel Memory Consistency Model.

      The Linux Kernel Memory Consistency Model is a set of tools to describe the Linux memory coherency model and in effect litmus tests for the kernel code. The Linux Kernel Memory Consistency Model has come about to overcome shortcomings of the memory barriers documentation.

    • Linux Set To Shed Nearly 500k Lines Of Code By Dropping Old CPUs

      As expected, the Linux 4.17 kernel will move ahead with dropping support for older/unmaintained CPU architectures.

      The architectures on the chopping block for Linux 4.17 are Blackfin, CRIS, FRV, M32R, Metag, MN10300, Score, and Tile. Besides the CPU architecture code, the device drivers exclusive to those ports are also being removed. These ports are being removed because they are obsolete and with no active users of this latest kernel code.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.16-gnu: -ESTRBNYX

      GNU Linux-libre 4.16-gnu sources and tarballs are now available at


      It didn’t require any deblobbing changes since -rc6-gnu. Binaries are
      expected to show up over the next few days; Jason Self’s Freesh build
      should be done very shortly, probably even before you read this.
      Thanks, jxself!

      The major piece of news in this release is that the request_firmware
      machinery was slightly reworked, so that (i) the reject_firmware
      variants return the expected -ENOENT, instead of -EINVAL; and (ii)
      reject_firmware_nowait now calls the named callback. With this, drivers
      that could proceed without firmware, but that failed because of -EINVAL,
      or because they did so in the nowait callback, should now work more
      seamlessly. Some radeon-controlled video cards for which we hadn’t put
      in work-arounds might start working now (no promises, but if you find
      out such a card starts working again, that’s why). Another example that
      is likely to start working due to this change is rtl8821ae cards: I got
      a report that at least some such cards would work even when the firmware
      loading failed, and these used _nowait. That’s what prompted me to make
      this chnage. Thanks to temy on FreeNode for the report.

      Another significant change in this release is that it was pointed out
      that there were error messages in Linux suggesting users to update x86
      CPU microcode. Since such microcode is non-Free Software, such messages
      don’t belong in GNU Linux-libre. We now have patterns to detect and
      clean up this sort of message. A number of them were introduced
      recently, relying on microcode changes to mitigate Spectre and Meltdown
      problems, but there might be others that go farther back. I haven’t yet
      made my mind on whether to go back, check and possibly respin such
      earlier releases.

      Aside from the usual assortment of false positives and updated blob
      names, there’s one new driver requesting proprietary firmware (mt76x2e)
      that had the requests deactivated. The lirc_zilog driver was removed,
      so its deblobbing directives were taken out, and some leftover Kconfig
      directives, that used to enable keyspan non-Free firmware before 4.15,
      were removed in 4.16, so the deblobbing directives that disabled them
      could be dropped from 4.16-gnu too.

      Finally, to celebrate Easter on this date, I couldn’t help mentioning in
      this release announcement the Easter Eggs I put in. Let me know if you
      enjoy the surprises.

      Earlier today, I joked that this would be the first time we’d release a
      -libre tarball before Mr Torvalds’ upstream release. His git repo is
      tagged and the tarball is available from the server, but as I finish
      writing this, the front page *still* says their mainline is 4.16-rc7, so
      I thank them all for their involuntary cooperation ;-)

      For up-to-the-minute news, join us on #linux-libre of irc.gnu.org
      (Freenode), or follow me (@lxoliva) on Twister http://twister.net.co/,
      Secure Scuttlebutt, GNU social at social.libreplanet.org, Diaspora* at
      pod.libreplanetbr.org or pump.io at identi.ca. Check my web page (link
      in the signature) for direct links.

      Be Free! with GNU Linux-libre.

    • GNU Linux-Libre 4.16 Kernel Officially Released for Those Who Seek 100% Freedom

      If you’re looking a 100% free kernel for your GNU/Linux operating system, you can now download the latest GNU Linux-Libre 4.16 kernel, which is based on the recently released Linux 4.16 kernel, but without any proprietary blobs.

      The GNU Linux-Libre 4.16 kernel is here for all those who seek 100% freedom for their personal computer and don’t want to use any proprietary drivers. It brings all the goodies from the Linux 4.16 kernel, which was released over the weekend by Linus Torvalds himself, though it brings the usual deblobbing changes, as well as a slightly revamped request_firmware mechanism.

    • GNU Linux-Libre 4.16 Released, Won’t Warn You About Spectre/Meltdown Microcode Updates

      The folks maintaining the GNU Linux-Libre downstream of the Linux kernel have released their kernel 4.16 release that pulls in yesterday’s Linux 4.16 kernel but strips out parts that aren’t entirely free software and eliminates support for loading binary-only modules, etc.

      One of their new changes on top of this deblobbed kernel is dropping error messages that suggest users update their CPU micrcode. These messages came in the wake of the Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities and needing the microcode updates for fending off the branch target injection attacks effectively. But GNU Linux-Libre 4.16 is dropping these warning/error messages since they encourage the user to update the microcode, which is non-free software to their standards. So it sounds like they are more for allowing users to unknowingly run a potentially vulnerable system to Spectre rather than having to use binary-only CPU microcode.

    • Eight Collabora Developers Have Contributed 33 Patches to the Linux 4.16 Kernel

      With the release of the Linux 4.16 kernel series out the door, it’s time to take a look at the contributions made by Collabora’s developers during this development cycle.

      Linux kernel 4.16 was released over the weekend none other than Linus Torvalds, and it’s the most advanced kernel branch for Linux-based operating systems. It comes with numerous updated drivers for an extra layer of performance improvements, but also to support newer hardware, as well as various other goodies.

    • Linux Kernel 4.16

      This time round Collabora contributed 33 patches to the 4.16 release of the Linux Kernel, that is a bit lower than usual, probably because our developers decided to enjoy some time off for the end of year holidays instead sending patches upstream :). Our contributions were made by 8 different developers. At the same time we added our Reviewed-by tag to 34 patches and Signed-off-by tag to 74 patches. Last, but not least we stamped 4 patches with a Tested-by tag.

      Sebastian Reichel led the way by adding/improving display support on Nokia N950, N9 and Motorola Droid 4 devices, adding support for internal switch of GE’s Bx50v3 devices and reviewed a lot of OMAP related changes, not to count his work as power-supply maintainer.

      Enric Balletbò i Serra add usb3 and extcon support for Rockchip RK3399 devices, including the Samsung Chromebook Plus device. He also fixed a suspend issue on the same platform. Gabriel Krisman Bertazi fixed i915 to reject modifiers for pipe C on Geminilake.

    • The New ACPI TAD Driver & CPUFreq Improvements Ready For Linux 4.17 Kernel

      Rafael Wysocki of Intel has already submitted the power management and ACPI updates for the newly-opened Linux 4.17 kernel merge window.

      Arguably most interesting about the PM/ACPI changes this cycle is the new ACPI Time and Alarm driver for Linux. For systems supporting this ACPI specification, users can manage wake-up timers of the Time and Alarm Device with setting new timers for system wake-up and modifying existing timers, all via sysfs. TAD information spans reboots and power states and is much more featureful than the basic real-time clock wake-up function you might find within your BIOS.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation Adds More Blockchain Companies to Its Ranks

        The Linux Foundation, a nonprofit enabling mass innovation through open source software, has officially announced the addition of 35 silver members and three associate members. That list includes the likes of Bank of America as well as blockchain based services providers MATRIX and Xage Security.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Vulkan Ray-Tracing Extensions Coming Soon, OptiX API Unveiled

        Back during GDC when everyone was talking about ray-tracing and Microsoft’s DirectX Ray-Tracing API for DX12, but NVIDIA has now confirmed they will be soon releasing ray-tracing extensions for Vulkan. Additionally, the company has now thoroughly gone over their new OptiX API for CUDA-based ray-tracing.

      • Canonical’s Snappy Now Supports Latest Nvidia Drivers on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

        Canonical published a new maintenance release of Snapd, the main component of its Snappy technologies that enable Linux-based operating systems to support universal Snap apps, over the weekend, bringing support for latest proprietary Nvidia drivers.

        Snapd 2.32.2 is now available to download and should be coming soon to the stable software repositories of your favorite, Snappy-enabled GNU/Linux distribution. What’s exciting about this release is that it enables Snappy the use Nvidia’s most recent proprietary graphics drivers in Snap apps on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) and similar operating systems.

      • AMD Radeon Vega20 references spotted in Linux driver

        Vega20 was originally thought to move the architecture from 14nm to 12nm but it could well jump straight to 7nm. Supporting this idea, a next-gen Vega accelerator, as AMD officially stated at CES 2018, is being built specifically for machine learning applications on the 7nm node.

      • AMD Vega 20 Listed In Linux Patch, Hints Of RX 600 Series Graphics Cards

        AMD Vega 20 is something that we have been looking out for since AMD announced that the company will continue the AMD Vega series cards in 2018. We have also heard that in order to provide better performance, these cards will be based on the 7nm node instead. While a smaller node means more power and better efficiency, keeping in mind how well AMD Vega performs, it is hard to see how much of an improvement is possible.

      • AMD Vega 20 Spotted in Linux Patch, Hints Arrival of Radeon RX 600 Series Graphics Cards

        AMD Vega 20 GPU has been spotted in Linux driver code. It is expected that Vega 20 will be a die shrink of the original Vega GPU. According to the previously leaked roadmaps, AMD Vega 20 will appear in the Q3 or Q4 of this year.

      • Radeon Vega20 Gets Spotted in Linux AMDGPU driver

        Interesting, some Vega20 Linux patches have been listed, and have been posted by somebody froMA MD, likely a driver developer. We mentioned Vega20 a few times in the past already, and that would be a die shrunk Vega, much like what Ryzen 2000 will be towards the original Ryzen procs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Safespaces: An Open Source VR Desktop

      In this post, I will go through the current stages of work on a 3D and (optionally) VR desktop for the Arcan display server. It is tentatively called safespaces (Github link) as an ironic remark on the ‘anything but safe’ state of what is waiting inside. F

    • “Safespaces” Is The First Open Source VR Desktop Environment For Linux

      When it comes to VR, we are mostly familiar with Google Daydream and other popularized names. But VR has made its way into the Linux as well. Although, people’s experience of things like SteamVR hasn’t been that great.

      But how about getting your hands on a Linux desktop environment in virtual reality? The minds who developed the Arcan display server are now up to something new: Safespaces.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Latte Dock v0.7.79 – a step before the last turn…

        Hello everyone Latte Dock v0.7.79 may be the last version before a beta release scheduled for the next month. This is a call for testers and enthusiasts to play with that version and try to find bugs or inconveniences that can be improved. Latte v0.8 is going to be a huge release (scheduled for June 2018) and one of its main goals is to make the user feel with it very natural and comfortable.

      • Latte Dock 0.7.79 Released With Wayland Improvements, New Features

        For fans of Latte Dock, the KDE Plasma aligned desktop “dock”, is out with a big development release ahead of the Latte Dock 0.8 release that will be coming up soon.

      • [Krita] Interview with Christopher

        A friend of mine back East who is really into Open Source does digital painting from time to time. He knew I was dissatisfied with Painter X and CS so he recommended Krita. Painter wasn’t particularly intuitive and CS, while OK, I wanted something different. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for everyone. So then I asked him where I could get Krita. He said to me “Open Source. Just download it. From their site”. I was like “it couldn’t be that simple”. But it was. I installed it and I was hooked.

      • CMake 3.11 (P)reparations

        CMake 3.11 is here — it went through four rc’s — which means that preparatory work is underway in KDE FreeBSD land (and has been since -rc1). KDE, as the main early consumer of CMake, is the package maintainer on FreeBSD. That means that it falls to us to signal things that break due to CMake updates, and often to fix them as well. Generally the KDE ports (even the KDE4-era onces) are not a problem; modern-ish CMake was basically develop-tested in KDE. Sometimes updates in C++ bite us — recent FreeBSD releases keep updating Clang, which keeps getting more picky about C++ code (and may default to newer C++ standards than expected). But generally, KDE stuff is ok.

        To test a CMake update, I build about 2000 packages on my own desktop workstation. It takes about 20 hours with all the supporting libraries and other bits — rebuilding Qt Webengine, three WebKits, five llvm’s and gcc6 kinda takes its time. Then there’s maybe two dozen packages that don’t build, and it comes down to figuring out whether they don’t build because of a change in CMake, or a change in something else, or simply because they’re already broken. But it means I end up diving into all kinds of codebases, for instance:

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Zeeshan Ali: Joining Collabora

        While I do not yet know which specific projects I will be involved in at Collabora, I’m most likely going to be working on/with GStreamer again and I’m especially excited about that. Also exciting for me is the fact that people at Collabora share my appreciation for the Rust programming language.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Blog (English) : Weekly Roundup 2018 – Weeks 12 & 13

        Apologies for the wait between roundups – life has a way of taking over, sometimes; anyway, here’s the latest.

        Since the last Roundup there have been quite a few updates coming through. You’ll see there are still a few security updates still coming in for Mga5, and that some kernel and microcode updates have also come through for Mageia 6.

        QA tests of the upgrade from KDE4 to Plasma are getting better and better, but there are still some bugs remaining. Martin’s qarepo package has been updated to v1.3 only a couple of days ago, making testers’ lives a little easier; hopefully this will help with huge meta-packages like Plasma. Once Plasma is sorted, and any fallout bugs are fixed, the path to both Mageia 5 to Mageia 6, and Mageia 6.1 will be a lot clearer.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • APT for DPL Candidates

        Today is a special day for apt: 20 years ago after much discussion in the team as well as in the Debian project at large “APT” was born.

        What happened in all these years? A lot! But if there is one common theme then it is that many useful APT features, tricks and changes are not as known to the general public or even most Debian Developers as they should be.

      • Debian GNU/Linux port for RISC-V 64-bit (riscv64) in Debian infrastructure (debian-ports)

        tl;dr: We have a new port for RISC-V, flavour riscv64 (64-bits little-endian) in Debian Ports.

      • DebConf20 in a cruise

        The last editions of DebConf, the annual Debian conference, have been in unalike places like Heidelberg (Germany), Cape Town (South Africa) and Montreal (Canada). Next summer DebConf18 will happen in Hsinchu (Taiwan) and the location for DebConf19 is already decided: Curitiba (Brazil). During all these years an idea has been floating in the air (aka the Debian IRC channels) about organising a DebConf in a cruise. Today, the Debian Project is happy to announce that a group of Debian contributors have teamed-up to propose an actual bid for DebConf20 in a cruise.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • MAAS 2.4.0 beta 1 released!

            I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.4.0 beta 1 and python-libmaas 0.6.0 have now been released and are available for Ubuntu Bionic.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Monthly News – March 2018

              We’d like to send a huge thank you to all the people who donate to us. Many thanks also to all of you for your feedback, ideas, and contributions to our project.

            • Review: Gatter Linux 0.8

              Gatter Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution which features the Openbox window manager as the default user interface. The project claims to be developing a desktop operating system which is user friendly: “For people who want switch from Windows to [the] Linux world and for people who want [a] lightweight operation system and also fully functional.” I could find very little other information on the distribution on its website.

              The latest release of Gatter Linux is version 0.8 and it is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. The distribution is available in one edition for 64-bit x86 computers. The ISO the project provides is approximately 830MB in size. Booting from this disc brings up a menu asking if we would like to boot into a live desktop environment, boot a live desktop displayed in safe graphics mode, or launch the project’s system installer. Taking the live desktop option brings us to a graphical login screen where we can sign into the default account if we have the right password. I did not find any reference to a password on the project’s website, but quickly got signed in by guessing the password “gatter”.

              The live disc features the Openbox window manager. Openbox has been set up with a fairly sparse layout. There is a panel placed at the top of the screen which shows four unlabeled buttons and a system tray. I soon found the four blank buttons are actually a virtual desktop switcher that lets us switch between workspaces. The theme is dark and minimal.

              When we sign in a welcome window appears. This welcome screen features launchers which can open configuration tools. One button launches an application which will switch our keyboard’s layout, another button opens a third-party driver manager, a third tool helps us set our time zone. One button marked Gatter Settings opens up a panel with options for changing the appearance of the Openbox environment. Another button is labelled Gatter Software. This button opens a terminal window and displays a menu of possible package-related actions such as updating the system, cleaning the package cache or performing a “dist upgrade”.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Cinnamon to Let Users Raise the Volume over the 100% Limit

              Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre published March 2018′s newsletter to let the community know about some of the exciting features coming to the Linux Mint operating system this summer.

              As you’re probably aware, the Linux Mint 19 “Tara” release is currently in development, and it’s coming in June based on Canonical’s upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system with the latest Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments, as well as up-to-date applications and GNU/Linux technologies.

              One of the new features included in the Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint 19 “Tara” is the ability to configure the maximum volume. In other words, you’ll be able to raise the volume over the 100 percent limit. This is possible thanks to a new setting in Cinnamon’s Sound panel, allowing volume amplification to up to 150 percent.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Leadership Is The Secret To An Open Source Business Model

    The freedom to do so is the fundamental tenet of permissively licensed open source software, and while it sounds self-defeating to be this generous, we’ve proven that leadership, not licensing, is the true secret to a successful open source business…

  • Kaspersky Lab Researchers Put Their Advanced Threat Hunting Tool, Klara, Into Open Source Domain

    Kaspersky Lab’s security researchers have placed KLara, a tool created internally to accelerate the search for related malware samples, into the open source domain for everyone to use. KLara is a distributed, rule-based malware scanner able to run multiple rules through multiple databases at the same time, allowing researchers to hunt advanced threats more effectively.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Extensions in Firefox 60

        Many people read this blog because they’ve written extensions for Firefox in the past. Others, though, know some HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and have been thinking about writing their first extension. Either way, now is the perfect time to jump into the WebExtensions ecosystem.

        That’s because we’re having a contest! Develop an extension for Firefox and enter it into the Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge by April 15, 2018. Your extension could win you a brand-new Apple iPad Pro or a $250 gift card to Amazon.

      • Announcing $280,000 for Creative Gigabit Projects Across the U.S.

        Today, Mozilla is awarding $280,000 to community technologists who are leveraging gigabit internet for good.

        We’re providing grants to 14 projects in five American cities: Lafayette, LA; Eugene, OR; Chattanooga, TN; Austin, TX; and Kansas City. Grants range from $10,000 to $30,000.

        The projects are diverse: they include a virtual reality experience that shows first-hand the drastic effects of climate change; an interactive Python curriculum for students in low-income school districts; and a program that empowers high school students as environmental watchdogs with the help of advanced mapping software.

      • Foxkeh Dance 2.0

        Well, since Mozilla is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, it felt right to release an update… Foxkeh Dance 2.0!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 6.3

      This is a partial list of new features and systems included in OpenBSD 6.3. For a comprehensive list, see the changelog leading to 6.3.

    • OpenBSD 6.3 Released With Spectre/Meltdown Mitigation, ARM64 SMP Support

      OpenBSD 6.3 hadn’t been due until the middle of the month, but the official release of this popular BSD operating system is available today.

      OpenBSD 6.3 is the project’s first release with mitigation for the Meltdown CPU vulnerability as well as Spectre. Kernel Page Table Isolation (KPTI) is used for mitigating Meltdown, similar to on Linux. For Spectre V2 they are flushing the branch target buffer on ARM processors. Intel CPUs also now have their microcode updates automatically applied by fw_update with OpenBSD 6.3.

    • Book Review: Ed Mastery
    • ed(1) mastery is a must for a real Unix person

    • OER figures with license meta-data in emacs-reveal

      As described last year, I created an infrastructure called emacs-reveal to produce HTML presentations as Open Educational Resources (OER) from Org Mode text files in GNU Emacs for my own teaching. If you believe in the values of free software, I’m sure that you will find the values of OER appealing as well (despite the choice of “open” as main characteristic), whose licenses are supposed to permit 5 Rs, namely Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute.

    • sed-4.5 released

      This is to announce sed-4.5, a stable release.

      There have been 110 commits by 8 people in the 60 weeks since 4.4.
      Thanks especially to Assaf Gordon for so much fine work.

      See the NEWS below for a brief summary.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • The textbook market exploits students. We shouldn’t accept that.

        A logical option to make higher education affordable and accessible is to transition to Open Educational Resources. OERs are free, peer-reviewed and available for any professor to adopt. They have an open copyright, meaning any professor can use them for free and personalize the textbook to best fit their needs, which is a luxury traditional textbooks do not offer due to copyright.

        Many people are wary of open source textbooks because they are free, but textbooks found on popular open libraries like Openstax, a non-profit based out of Rice University, and Open Textbooks Network, a network that University of Maryland Libraries recently joined, are all peer reviewed and offer exceptional pedagogical value. Many professors and courses, such as an introductory Human Anatomy course at this university, currently use open source materials. Yet not enough professors have adopted this technology to help all of us save money and ensure an affordable education.

  • Programming/Development

    • 5 Best Open Source Frameworks For Developers and Programmers

      A framework provides you the best solution for developing well structured, maintainable and up-gradable software. It saves a lot of time by re-using generic modules and libraries in order to focus on the other areas. Applications developed using a framework are inter-operable with market standards.

      But, there’s always been a confusion for many beginners to select a right framework. There are many frameworks for developing a same type of application. Without proper knowledge and research, you may end up learning a framework which is no longer useful or required for modern applications. That is the main reason behind this article. Here, I’m going to mention 5 best open source frameworks for developing modern applications.

    • What Attracts Devs To Open Source

      In an era in which we are becoming more an more reliant on open source software, it is important to know how to recruit and retain core developers – the ones that are key to a project’s survival, sustainability and success. An attempt to do this comes from Brazil to be presented in Sweden.

      Jailton Coelho, Marco Tulio Valente, Luciana L. Silva, Andre Hora wanted to understand what motivates developers to assume a key role in Free/Libre Open source Software (FLOSS) projects. Their paper reporting the results of a survey of 52 developers who were core contributors of GitHub projects has been accepted for CHASE 2018: 11th International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering which is part of the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering taking place May 27 – 3 June 2018 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

    • An introduction to the Flask Python web app framework
    • March 2018 ISO C++ Meeting Trip Report (Core Language)
    • Fedora 28 Rust Test Day 2018-04-04


  • Science

    • China’s “Heavenly Palace” returns to Earth and burns up

      In recent weeks space agencies and satellite trackers have refined estimates for when the station, which Chinese engineers had lost control of, would lose enough altitude to begin plummeting rapidly toward Earth, and break apart in the atmosphere. It posed virtually no threat to anyone on the ground—and indeed it did break apart over the vast Pacific Ocean—but that didn’t some pretty wild speculation in recent days.

      Due to the track of the station it seems unlikely that anyone on land had much of a view of the reentry event. Also, there appear to have been few airplanes in the vicinity of the reentry. The best bet for any kind of imagery or video, therefore, is probably someone on board a ship. But the odds of even this seem fairly low.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • As Trump Targets Immigrants, Elderly Brace To Lose Caregivers

      After back-to-back, eight-hour shifts at a chiropractor’s office and a rehab center, Nirva arrived outside an elderly woman’s house just in time to help her up the front steps.

      Nirva took the woman’s arm as she hoisted herself up, one step at a time, taking breaks to ease the pain in her hip. At the top, they stopped for a hug.

      “Hello, bella,” Nirva said, using the word for “beautiful” in Italian.

      “Hi, baby,” replied Isolina Dicenso, the 96-year-old woman she has helped care for for seven years.

    • Sen. Bernie Sanders: Shulkin’s Ouster Is Really All About Koch Brothers’ Privatization Push

      Echoing comments he made to the Washington Post last week, Sanders said, “Let us be clear…you have the Koch brothers—the third wealthiest family in this country who are going to spend some $400,000,000 on with their billionaire friends on the coming elections—having enormous power over the Trump administration.”

      “And what the Koch brothers believe,” he said, “is not just that we have to privatize the Veterans Administration. They want to privatize Medicare … they want to privatize Medicaid… they’re beginning to go after Social Security.”

      “We have a Secretary of Education who does not believe in public education, a Secretary of the …EPA who does not believe in environmental protection. So what you’re looking at under the leadership of the Koch brothers is a massive effort to privatize agencies of the United States government and give them over to private corporations. That is what the removal of Shulkin is all about,” Sanders said.

    • Ousted Veterans Affairs Head Warns of Privatization Push

      In a New York Times op-ed published on March 28, Shulkin said that he was fired after losing a “brutal power struggle” by balking at proposals for privatizing VA care. The effort is being pushed by Trump appointees and a group called Concerned Veterans of America that’s backed by billionaire right-wing Republican donors Charles and David Koch.

  • Security

    • Further securing devices running CopperheadOS by using separate Encryption/Lockscreen passphrases

      If you value “vendor-based” security more than freedom, you may consider CopperheadOS an viable alternative to the free but rather insecure Replicant (it requires an unlocked bootloader and is way behind in terms of security patches atm). Personally, I find both neither Replicant nor CopperheadOS perfectly satisfying options, but they are the very best you can have at the moment. In the future, I hope that (1) more devices will be supported by non-Android-based alternatives like postmarketOS and (2) devices which require less blobs such as the Librem 5 (I highly doubt that it will run completely without blobs) will become available.

    • remctl 3.14

      remctl is a client/server protocol supporting remote execution of specific configured commands using GSS-API or ssh for authentication and encryption.

      This is a minimal release that fixes a security bug introduced in 3.12, discovered by Santosh Ananthakrishnan. A remctl client with the ability to run a server command with the sudo configuration option may be able to corrupt the configuration of remctld to run arbitrary commands, although I believe this would be moderately difficult to do. Only remctld (not remctl-shel) is vulnerable, and only if there are commands using the sudo configuration option.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 90 – Humans and misinformation
    • Security updates for Monday
    • ‘Highly critical’ CMS bug has left over 1 million sites open to attack [Ed: Scary headline. But having spent hours dealing with this (two of my sites, also some stuff at work), I have heard of nobody that actually got cracked (so far). Nobody.]

      Drupal has marked the security risk as “highly critical” and warns that any visitor to the site could theoretically hack it through remote code execution due to a missing input validation.

    • SD Times news digest: Cloudflare, Drupal security vulnerability, and Linux 4.16

      Drupal reveals a security vulnerability within Drupal 7 and 8

      Drupal has announced that there is a vulnerability within Drupal 7.x and 8.x that could allow attackers to exploit attack vectors on Drupal sites, which would leave those sites vulnerable. Drupal is an open source solution for building websites and solutions.

      The company has issued a fix, which can be obtained by installing the most recent version of Drupal 7 or 8 core.

      In addition, the company releasing updates for Drupal 8.3.x and 8.4.x, even though those releases are no longer supported. The company has also stated that the vulnerability affects Drupal 6, which is at End of Life anyway.

      Linux 4.16 is released

      Linus Torvalds has announced the release of Linux 4.16. He claims that this release looks very similar to rc7 due to the fact that half of it is networking. Other new additions in this release are arch fixlets, driver fixes, and updates to documentation. A complete list of new features can be found here.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Bolton Appointment as NSA Sees US Call Time on China’s Free Ride

      The passage of the Taiwan Travel Act (TTA) sent a signal to Beijing that the era of self-imposed restrictions on visits by high-level diplomatic and military officials to Taiwan is over.

      Ten days later, Ed Randall Royce, the head of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee that unanimously passed the (TTA), was on the ground in Taipei affirming the strength of U.S.-Taiwan relations, ahead of meetings with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

      Royce followed in the still warm footsteps of Alex Wong, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department, who had delivered some choice remarks on U.S.-China relations at the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei’s Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on March 21.

    • Weapons for Anyone: Donald Trump and the Art of the Arms Deal

      It’s one of those stories of the century that somehow never gets treated that way. For an astounding 25 of the past 26 years, the United States has been theleading arms dealer on the planet, at some moments in near monopolistic fashion. Its major weapons-producers, including Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, regularly pour the latest in high-tech arms and munitions into the most explosive areas of the planet with ampleassistance from the Pentagon. In recent years, the bulk of those arms have gone to the Greater Middle East. Donald Trump is only the latest American president to preside over a global arms sales bonanza. With remarkable enthusiasm, he’s appointed himself America’s number one weapons salesman and he couldn’t be prouder of the job he’s doing.

    • Alex Jones Brainwashed His Own Son, Mother Claims

      The video echoed similar sentiments from a separate video which featured his father earlier this week, one in which Alex Jones interposed video clips of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and shooting survivors that also equated them with Nazis.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador Explains Restriction of Julian Assange Communications

      The Ecuadorean government restricted Assange’s access to communications on March 28 after he breached an agreement not to publicly discuss the domestic affairs of other nations.

      Using social media, Assange had criticized Germany’s decision to arrest Catalan pro-independence leader Carles Puigdemont on behalf of the Spanish government.

      He also offered to testify in the Cambridge Analytica case, after evidence surfaced about the firm’s involvement in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the U.K.’s Brexit referendum.

      He then attacked Americas Minister Alan Duncan, who had called Assange a “miserable little worm” who should walk out of the embassy and give himself up to British justice.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Ecuador Grants Open-Pit Mining Permits in One of the World’s Most Biodiverse Areas

      Mindo is a small village in the lush, tropical cloud forest that descends from the Andes to the coast just outside of Quito, Ecuador. The cloud forest is home to an abundance of wildlife, such as brightly colored lizards, wild cats, spectacled bear, and over 600 species of birds. Mindo was recently named one of the top 10 places to birdwatch in the world by National Geographic, and those who live there are known for their conservationist stances and fights against oil corporations. The area is so rich in biodiversity that it has won the Audubon Christmas bird count competition seven times with the highest number of species.

      Last week, Mindo residents were among the thousands who took to the streets all across Ecuador in a march to the presidential palace in Quito, to demand an end to mining. Mining has existed since pre-Incan times in the metal-rich landscapes of these tropical forests, but until the 1980s, the projects were small-scale and much lower impact. Over the past year, however, the government has been distancing itself from its conservationist stance and has opened huge portions of land to corporations interested in running large-scale open-pit mining projects.

    • Japan whalers return from Antarctic hunt after killing over 300 whales

      Japanese whaling vessels returned to port on Saturday after catching more than 300 of the mammals in the Antarctic Ocean without facing any protests by anti-whaling groups, officials said.

      A fleet of five whalers set sail for the Southern Ocean in November, as Tokyo pursues its “research whaling” in defiance of global criticism.

      Three of the vessels, including the fleet’s main ship, the Nisshin Maru, arrived in the morning at Shimonoseki port in western Japan, a port official said.

    • Arctic Drilling Lease Sale Proposed for 2019 in Beaufort Sea, Once Off-Limits

      Just over two years after President Obama “permanently” withdrew areas of Alaska’s Beaufort Sea to oil drilling, the Trump administration has proposed to resume leasing there in 2019.

      The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management submitted an announcement to be published Friday in the Federal Register and asked for information about where companies might want to drill and which areas might be too environmentally sensitive.

      Shortly after taking office, President Trump overturned Obama’s drilling ban and rescinded his five-year leasing plan for offshore drilling in federal waters. In January, the Trump administration began the process of re-doing the five-year leasing plan. That will take years to complete, and environmental groups said the latest move amounts to jumping the gun.

    • Smartphones Are Destroying Our Planet Faster Than We Think

      The entire world knows that we are marching towards the brink of destruction while we enjoy our comfortable lives and fancy gadgets. But do you know that the end could be much nearer than we thought?

      A recent study has confirmed that the massive amount of carbon footprint released due to smartphones could kill our planet at an alarming rate.

    • Assessing ICT global emissions footprint: Trends to 2040 & recommendations

      In light of the concerted efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) per the so-called Paris Agreement, the Information and Communication Industry (ICT) has received little attention as a significant contributor to GHGE and if anything is often highly praised for enabling efficiencies that help reduce other industry sectors footprint. In this paper, we aim at assessing the global carbon footprint of the overall ICT industry, including the contribution from the main consumer devices, the data centers and communication networks, and compare it with the to the total worldwide GHGE. We conduct a detailed and rigorous analysis of the ICT global carbon footprint, including both the production and the operational energy of ICT devices, as well as the operational energy for the supporting ICT infrastructure. We then compare this contribution to the global 2016-level GHGE. We have found that, if unchecked, ICT GHGE relative contribution could grow from roughly 1–1.6% in 2007 to exceed 14% of the 2016-level worldwide GHGE by 2040, accounting for more than half of the current relative contribution of the whole transportation sector. Our study also highlights the contribution of smart phones and shows that by 2020, the footprint of smart phones alone would surpass the individual contribution of desktops, laptops and displays. Finally, we offer some actionable recommendations on how to mitigate and curb the ICT explosive GHGE footprint, through a combination of renewable energy use, tax policies, managerial actions and alternative business models.

    • EPA to its employees: Ignore science when talking about climate change

      On Wednesday, an internal Environmental Protection Agency memo was leaked to the Huffington Post. Under the guise of developing “consistent messages about EPA’s climate adaptation efforts,” the memo suggests a number of talking points the agency’s employees can use if asked about adaptation. Most of them are general statements about how the EPA would like to help citizens and local governments manage adaptation. But there are two that directly address what we know about our changing climate, and both of them do a pretty awful job with the subject.

      The memo, which has been confirmed as authentic by the EPA, is from Joel Scheraga, a senior advisor on climate adaptation. In it, Scheraga says that the EPA’s Office of Public Affairs has developed a set of talking points on climate issues. While he’s pleased that many of them focus on adaptation, it’s striking that they describe nothing but adaptation. Scheraga describes them as general “talking points about climate change,” yet they don’t contain a single mention of greenhouse gasses or any action by the EPA that might limit greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Thanks to Climate Disruption, Earth Is Already Losing Critical Biosphere Components

      Two weeks ago, I gave a keynote presentation about anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) at a large sustainability conference in Chico, California. During the question-and-answer session following my talk, a student asked me what I thought the world would look like by 2050. His question stopped me in my tracks. I had to pause and take a deep breath, to prepare myself emotionally for what I had to tell him.

  • Finance

    • The Oligarchs’ ‘Guaranteed Basic Income’ Scam

      A number of the reigning oligarchs—among them Mark Zuckerberg (net worth $64.1 billion), Elon Musk (net worth $20.8 billion), Richard Branson (net worth $5.1 billion) and Stewart Butterfield (net worth $1.6 billion)—are calling for a guaranteed basic income. It looks progressive. They couch their proposals in the moral language of caring for the destitute and the less fortunate. But behind this is the stark awareness, especially in Silicon Valley, that the world these oligarchs have helped create is so lopsided that future consumers, plagued by job insecurity, substandard wages, automation and crippling debt peonage, will be unable to pay for the products and services offered by the big corporations.

      The oligarchs do not propose structural change. They do not want businesses and the marketplace regulated. They do not support labor unions. They will not pay a living wage to their bonded labor in the developing world or the American workers in their warehouses and shipping centers or driving their delivery vehicles. They have no intention of establishing free college education, universal government health or adequate pensions. They seek, rather, a mechanism to continue to exploit desperate workers earning subsistence wages and whom they can hire and fire at will. The hellish factories and sweatshops in China and the developing world where workers earn less than a dollar an hour will continue to churn out the oligarchs’ products and swell their obscene wealth. America will continue to be transformed into a deindustrialized wasteland. The architects of our neofeudalism call on the government to pay a guaranteed basic income so they can continue to feed upon us like swarms of longnose lancetfish, which devour others in their own species.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • News Anchors Reciting Sinclair Propaganda Is Even More Terrifying in Unison

      Over the last week or so, local television news anchors across the the country have joined together to paradoxically warn viewers about the “troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.” The identical, seemingly earnest editorial messages paid lip service to the importance of fact-checking and unbiased reporting, but they also complained about “false news” and “fake stories.” If that seems to echo the rhetoric of President Trump, it’s probably because the statement was written by one of his allies.

    • “We Know Where Your Kids Live”: How John Bolton Once Threatened an International Official

      WHO BETTER TO advise the bully-in-chief, Donald Trump, on when to make war and kill people than another bully? It’s difficult, after all, to avoid the label — that of a bully — when thinking of John Bolton, the former Bush administration official-turned-Fox News pundit who Trump recently picked as his national security adviser.

      “John Bolton is a bully,” José Bustani, the retired Brazilian diplomat and former head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told me when I reached him by phone in Paris earlier this month.

      There are a number of people who claim to have been bullied or intimidated by Bolton — including Bustani. The latter’s criticisms of the famously mustachioed hawk have been public for many years now, but some of the details of his tense encounter with Bolton at the OPCW have never been reported before in English.

    • Whatever happened to civil society?

      At the annual meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos, ‘civil society’ is referenced in virtually every presentation and fireside conversation. The world, it seems, no longer consists of two sectors—public and private, state and market—there is a third: NGOs and INGOs, charities and philanthropists, human rights watchdogs, aid and development agencies and global environmental campaigns to name but a few. The ‘Third Sector’ has arrived, and Its CEOs now mingle seamlessly with those from banks, energy companies, media giants and government agencies.


      In Australia, there are 700,000 voluntarily-formed community organisations. Of these, just 35,000 or five per cent are run by professional managers; the other 95 per cent are entirely voluntary in character, with no paid staff. Should any Australian not-for-profit be invited to Davos, you can be certain that it would be one of the small minority that are run by paid managers. The rest don’t register on the radar screens of public and private sector executives. The five per cent do almost all of the public talking about civil society, and impose their own self-understanding and culture on the sector as a whole.

    • Big American Money, Not Russia, Put Trump in the White House: Reflections on a Recent Report

      What was that about? My first suspicion was that Hillary’s policy silence was about the money. It must have reflected her success in building a Wall Street-filled campaign funding war-chest so daunting that she saw little reason to raise capitalist election investor concerns by giving voice to the standard fake-progressive “hope” and “change” campaign and policy rhetoric Democratic presidential contenders typically deploy against their One Percent Republican opponents. Running against what she (wrongly) perceived (along with most election prognosticators) as a doomed and feckless opponent and as the clear preferred candidate of Wall Street and the intimately related U.S foreign policy elite, including many leading Neoconservatives put off by Trump’s isolationist and anti-interventionist rhetoric, the “lying neoliberal warmonger” Hillary Clinton arrogantly figured that she could garner enough votes to win without having to ruffle any ruling-class feathers. She would cruise into the White House with no hurt plutocrat feelings simply by playing up the ill-prepared awfulness of her Republican opponent.

    • “We Cannot Wait for Change”—Freed Whistleblower Chelsea Manning on Iraq, Prison & Running for Senate
    • Trump’s census move borrowed from racial gerrymandering playbook

      The Trump administration announced this week that the 2020 census would — for the first time in over 50 years — ask everyone in the U.S. whether they are a citizen. The announcement, which comes in the midst of the administration’s immigration crackdown, has provoked new fears in the immigrant community.

      Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) requested the question in a letter, claiming that the citizenship information will help it better enforce the Voting Rights Act, which among other things requires states to ensure that voters of color are not robbed of the power to elect their candidates of choice through redistricting. The DOJ said it “needs a reliable calculation of the citizens voting age population in localities where voting rights violations are alleged or suspected.”

    • A Bigger Welcome Mat for America’s Tax Evaders

      Every nation levies taxes. Some nations levy well. In these admirable nations, tax systems spread the tax burden fairly. Those who can readily afford to pay more in taxes do pay more.

      Other nations tax poorly. They set low tax rates on high incomes. Officials in these nations let their wealthiest carve generous loopholes in their tax codes. They wink at outright tax evasion.

      Nations that go down this sorry second path don’t just lose out on revenue they ought to be raising. They turbocharge their inequality. They invite corruption. They poison their civic culture — and eventually, once enough poison takes hold, crash their economies.

      This crashing played out earlier this century most notably in Greece. That nation’s economic life essentially collapsed, the Economist business magazine noted six years ago, amid a tax evasion that had evolved into “less an under-the-radar activity, more a social norm.”

      The Greek wealthy, the Economist observed, established that norm. Greece’s most “egregious” tax cheating, researchers had found, “happens higher up the wealth ladder.”

      The United States hasn’t hit — yet — the levels of tax evasion that leveled Greece. But we’re moving in that direction, ever more deliberately. This past winter saw lawmakers shove us further down this perilous path in two major pieces of legislation.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Scrubbed clean: why a certain kind of sex is vanishing from the internet

      A US government effort to fight online sex trafficking has cleansed many sites of personal ads and consensual eroticism, in a shift advocates say amounts to dangerous censorship

      Craigslist has shut down its renowned “personals” section, which once featured ads titled “Hot days” and “Looking to fool around tonight”. Porn performers are complaining that Google Drive is no longer allowing them to share erotic videos with private clients. Microsoft has announced new rules banning “offensive language” from conversations on Skype and Xbox. And Reddit has closed sex industry discussion groups entitled “Escorts”, “Hookers”, and “SugarDaddy”.

    • Media censorship fears rise after Malaysia’s proposed fake news law

      While battling fake news is media’s biggest challenge all over the world, a new rule proposed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has stirred censorship fears in the country.

    • New anti-fake news law by Malaysia sparks censorship fears

      Malaysia’s newly drafted anti-fake news law, which is proposed to clamp down on fake news, has fuelled concerns among the people on fears of media censorship.

      With the general elections scheduled to be held in August and a massive financial scandal, plaguing Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, most mediapersons have questioned the government intent in introducing the anti-fake news bill that was taken up in the country’s parliament earlier this week.

      The proposed Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 will give the government sweeping and authoritative powers to penalise those who are found guilty of creating or spreading fake news, along with a jail term of up to six years and fines as high as USD 130,000, according to CNN.

    • Google De-Monetizes Video of Cameroon Protest, Gaza UNSC Meeting, Neo-Censorship, So Patreon

      Now Google’s YouTube is engaged in systematic financial censoring of independent videos about censorship.

    • Malaysia outlaws ‘fake news’; sets jail of up to six years

      Malaysia on Monday approved a law against “fake news” that would allow for prison of up to six years for offenders, shrugging off critics who say it was aimed at curbing dissent and free speech ahead of a general election.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Six months later: 3 things I learned from deleting Faceboo

      Six months ago, I deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts. Beyond data privacy concerns, social media became a virtual band-aid applied to moments of weakness and sadness for me. I became more aware of the effects of social media on my mood and general outlook on the world, as I explained in my decision to delete my accounts. Six months passed since I deleted my accounts. Along the way, I learned a few lessons on creating a healthy diet of media and pop culture consumption in a world of constant connectivity and endless media reservoirs.


      Since the November 2016 elections, social media content is an ever-increasing black box. You find powerful optimism, overwhelming pessimism, and some things as a balance between the two. I became aware that the content on my timeline had a tangible, noticeable effect on my daily perspective. If someone I knew fired off a thread hinting at doom and gloom, that content translates into my daily view.

      We cannot pretend that what we read on the screen has no effect on our real lives.

    • There’s No Quick Fix For Securing Communications: EFF Ditches Secure Messaging Scorebard

      The EFF hasn’t released a scorecard for secure messaging apps since 2014. The scorecard has been updated several times, but there’s no current quick reference guide for secure messaging that considers all the tech (and legal) developments over the past four years. The EFF’s guide was handy, but it also was the target of legitimate criticism. Simplifying complex issues is helpful, but not if it inadvertently omits critical considerations.

      The EFF recognizes there’s no quick and dirty way to solve everyone’s security issues. Consequently, the EFF has announced that it will no longer be providing a secure messaging scorecard. It will still provide plenty of useful info for those seeking secure options, but it cannot in good faith claim to address every potential issue in an easy-to-follow infographic.

    • You hated the NSA. So why not Facebook?

      This learned dependence could explain why Facebook still exists, despite its abject failure to protect users’ data. According to Wired, Cambridge professor Aleskandr Kogan requested access to Facebook user data for a research project. He developed an app which—unbeknownst to users—“granted access to many of their Facebook friends’ likes and interests as well [as their own].” That’s how an academic managed to scrape data on some 50 million Facebook users. Kogan then sold that data to Cambridge Analytica in violation of Facebook policies. And now, per The Washington Post, whistleblower Christopher Wylie has shone light into dark places. It’s nothing to worry about, just a massive campaign of voter manipulation which may have swayed the 2016 presidential election.

    • Leaked Letter Alleges Cambridge Analytica Link to HH, UPND

      According to an apparent letter of engagement dated 11 March 2016 from Cambridge Analytica to Hakainde Hichilema (attached below), which was leaked to several media outlets this weekend, the firm worked for the UPND in the 2016 election at a rate of $150,000 per month. The letter promised to “deploy certain third-party persuasion techniques which we have proven hugely successful in past campaigns in Nigeria. We feel that a similar approach is exactly what is needed to deliver victory to the UPND.”


      Zambia Reports is unable to confirm the authenticity of the letter.

    • Mapped: The breathtaking global reach of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company

      So far, the focus has been on CA’s impact in the US and UK, but SCL Elections claims to have a far larger footprint. According to company documents issued around 2013, which were reviewed by Quartz, SCL has worked in 32 countries across Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.

    • Cambridge Analytica is what happens when you privatise military propaganda

      To understand Cambridge Analytica and its parent firm, Strategic Communication Laboratories, we need to get our heads round what Baudrillard meant, and what has happened since: how military propaganda has changed with technology, how war has been privatised, and how imperialism is coming home.

    • Tip Of The Suckerberg

      In India, this has led to a bitter debate and mudslinging between the BJP and the Congress over the latter employing the services of Cambridge Analytica to influence elections. While the slugfest between the two big parties ­continues, this has led to a larger question: how safe is ­personal information and data in the hands of social media companies such as Facebook and WhatsApp? Indians routinely open up their hearts on these sites to share ­information about themselves and their families—do the sites then sell this data to others to man­ipulate buying and, well, voting?

    • Zucker & Sucker

      Now that Facebook has proven how easy it is to make money out of other people’s digital poop, all companies private and government should take a leaf out of Zucker’s Book On Suckers and try putting out all employee data out for sale.

    • Facebook scrambles to distance itself from leaked memo

      Lawmakers have already been scrutinizing Facebook over how research firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked on the Trump campaign, took data from 50 million users. They were quick to seize on the new revelations from the memo.

    • Accused NSA leaker wants to subpoena states, cybersecurity firms and federal agencies

      National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner, who is accused of leaking a top-secret report on Russian hacking activity connected to the 2016 election, is seeking to pull 21 states and an array of leading cybersecurity firms into her criminal case by subpoenaing them as part of her trial.

      Lawyers for Winner revealed in a court filing Friday that they want to subpoena representatives of the states formally notified by the Department of Homeland Security last September that they were targeted by hackers the U.S. government says were acting on behalf of the Russian government.

      Winner’s attorneys also listed 10 cybersecurity companies they contend could have information useful to her defense: TrendMicro, FireEye, Eset, CrowdStrike, Volexity, F-Secure Corporation, ThreatConnect, Motherboard, Secureworks and Fidelis Cybersecurity.

    • Tech giants brace for sweeping EU privacy law

      The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect across the EU on May 25, will drastically change what [I]nternet companies can do with customers’ data.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Alarm as government rewrites UK ‘torture guidance’ in secret

      A British government guidance paper that is intended to prevent the country’s intelligence officers from becoming involved in human rights abuses is being rewritten in secret, much to the alarm of civil liberties groups.

      Rights activists are deeply worried that the UK government may be tempted to water down the guidance at a time when the US president, Donald Trump, has said he hopes to restore waterboarding – “and a hell of a lot worse” – and has nominated Gina Haspel as the next head of the CIA. Haspel reportedly oversaw a secret CIA prison in Thailand, where a terrorism suspect was tortured.

      The UK paper, known in Whitehall as the ”consolidated guidance”, was rewritten and made public by the coalition government following a series of scandals in the years following the 9/11 attack on the twin towers in New York.

    • Protests Continue Over Killing of Stephon Clark as Autopsy Reveals Officers Shot Him in the Back

      Protests over the deadly police shooting of 22-year-old unarmed Stephon Clark are continuing on Saturday, with a former NBA player set to lead a rally in Sacramento to continue the call for justice and accountability.

      “I love Sacramento and this community will always be a part of me,” said Matt Barnes, whose basketball career included playing with the Sacramento Kings. “As the father of two boys, I can’t stay silent on this issue. We clearly need to unite, organize, and act to bring the accountability that is so desperately needed. This rally is the beginning to seeing that change.”

    • Holst: Why the Senate should refuse to confirm Gina Haspel

      The Trump administration has been experiencing a large amount of turnover. Whether or not that is simply aggressively pursuing the right staff for long-term success or a sign of chaotic and impulsive leadership, I won’t speculate.

      But due to the recent departure of Rex Tillerson, President Trump has decided to nominate CIA head Mike Pompeo for secretary of state. To fill Pompeo’s place, President Trump has nominated Gina Haspel, who has been serving as deputy director of the CIA.

    • The teenager told police all about his gang, MS-13. In return, he was slated for deportation and marked for death.

      If Henry is killed, his death can be traced to a quiet moment in the fall of 2016, when he sat slouched in his usual seat by the door in 11th-grade English class. A skinny kid with a shaggy haircut, he had been thinking a lot about his life and about how it might end. His notebook was open, its pages blank. So he pulled his hoodie over his earphones, cranked up a Spanish ballad and started to write.

    • Trump Declares DACA Dead, Demands Border Wall

      President Trump has declared DACA dead, dimming the prospects for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who were granted permission to live and work in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In a tweet early this morning, Trump wrote, ”DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon… No longer works. Must build Wall and secure our borders with proper Border legislation. Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!” Trump’s latest tweet followed a flurry of attacks on DACA on Easter Sunday, in which Trump threatened to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement unless Mexico helps pay for a wall along its border with the U.S.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Why I am not too enthusiastic about AMP

      Most people (rightfully) thinks AMP is a result of Facebook implementing a similar product. To me, both facebook’s implementation and Google’s AMP feels like such a huge step backward – as if we are back to the walled garden of AOL days.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Lawyer Behind Failing Sham To Protect Sketchy Patents Sends Bogus Copyright Cease & Desist To Blogger


        The letter goes on to demand Schestowitz cease and desist from doing anything with the photograph and gives him until the end of this week to respond. In an abundance of caution, Schestowitz has done so. But he shouldn’t need to. Abdi, a recent law school grad, specializes in patent and trademark issues, but considering she worked at the Intellectual Property Law Clinic in law school, one would hope that at some point someone taught her about Section 107 of copyright law, regarding exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. That starts out by noting that using works “for purposes such as criticism, comment, [and] news reporting” can be considered fair use, and thus non-infringing.

        Indeed, there is a case that is directly on point on this issue, Dhillon v. Does, in which a lawyer named Harmeet Dhillon was upset about a website, called MungerGames, that published an article critical of her that included one of her own headshots that she had posted on the web. In other words, an identical situation to the one here. The court there found it to easily be fair use. And, of course, we won’t even get that deeply into the open questions of whether or not Shore actually holds the copyright in this image. Abdi’s letter states that Shore “has exclusive rights in his photographs” which is not entirely accurate. It’s unclear who took this photo, but it clearly was not Shore. It is possible that there was an assignment of the copyright in the photo to Shore or that it was done under some sort of explicit work-made-for-hire agreement, but nowhere does the letter state that. Indeed, it seems to imply (incorrectly under the law) that Shore has exclusive rights in photos taken of him rather than by him. Notably, nowhere in the letter does Abdi suggest that Shore registered the copyright in the photo, which would be a necessary prerequisite to suing for statutory damages (there simply are no actual damages here anyway).

        Of course, it’s possible that Abdi knows all this and was just doing what the partners at her firm asked her to do, which was to send a purely bumptious, censorial threat to a blogger for daring to call out the sketchy legal practices of the law firm Shore Chan DePumpo in trying to craft sham patent sales for the sake of avoiding questionable patents getting invalidated by the PTAB. Of course, sending such a threat might just backfire, in the same way that Shore’s plan to “sell” (wink, wink) patents to Native American tribes has backfired. Indeed, it might call attention to just how thin-skinned Michael Shore is, and how he’s willing to have associates at his firm send out completely ridiculous, legally nonsensical threats in a weak attempt to try to scare off someone who was criticizing him.

      • Not Everything Needs Copyright: Lawyers Flip Out That Photos Taken By AI May Be Public Domain

        You may recall the years we’ve spent over the ridiculous monkey selfie story, concerning whether or not there was a copyright in a selfie taken by a monkey (there is not) and if there is (again, there is not) whether it’s owned by the monkey (absolutely not) or the camera owner (still no). But one of the points that we raised was to remind people that not every bit of culture needs to be locked up under copyright. It’s perfectly fine to have new works enter the public domain. So much of the confusion over the whole monkey selfie thing is that so many people have this weird belief that every new piece of content simply must have a copyright. Indeed, during the PETA legal arguments in trying to claim the copyright on behalf of the monkey, they basically took it as given that a copyright existed, and felt the only fight was over who got to hold it: the camera owner or the monkey.

        As we mentioned a few times throughout that ordeal, it really appeared that PETA’s lawyers at the hotshot (and formerly respectable) law firm of Irell & Manella had taken on the case to establish some credibility on the issue of non-human-generated works and copyright. There isn’t likely to be a rush of animal selfies (though there just was a pretty damn awesome penguin selfie — no one tell PETA), but there are going to be a whole bunch of questions in the very, very near future concerning copyright and works generated by artificial intelligence. If you look, there are already many, many law review articles, papers, think pieces and such on whether or not AI-generated works deserve copyright, and some of these go back decades (shout out to Pam Samuelson’s prescient 1985 paper: Allocating Ownership Rights in Computer-Generated Works).

        But now many of these questions are becoming reality, and some lawyers are freaking out. Case in point: an article in Lexology recently by two Australian lawyers, John Hannebery and Lachlan Sadler, in which they seem quite disturbed about the copyright questions related to the new Clips camera from Google. In case you haven’t heard about it (and I’ll confess this article was the first I’d found out about it), Clips is a tiny camera that you “clip” somewhere while action is happening and it uses AI to try to take a bunch of good pictures. Sounds interesting enough, if it actually works.

      • ‘Copyright negligence boomerangs on Korean game industry’

        Korea’s game industry, which has been enjoying an unrivaled lead in the world market, is increasingly struggling against Chinese copycats.

        But the developers mostly have themselves to blame for underestimating the importance of copyrights for so many years, according to a game business expert.

      • Spotify’s Two Million Unauthorized Users Hammered Google For Alternatives

        Earlier this month, Spotify began taking action against users abusing its free tier. After detecting their modified Android files, countless people were suspended or excluded from the service. Now Spotify has revealed that it had a staggering two million unauthorized users and data from Google shows that many flooded the search engine during March looking for a way back in.

      • Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case

        One piece of paper. Just one lousy piece of paper. That’s the difference between success and a potential $8.8bn payout.

        Google’s lucky streak finally ran out this week. Its defense for using Oracle’s copyrighted Java code in Android – without paying the database giant a penny in royalties – collapsed in a US Federal appeals court, just as I predicted it would in 2016. Why was I so confident back then that Oracle would prevail?

      • Comcast Doesn’t Disconnect All Binging Pirates

        Comcast has recently updated its repeat infringer policy to make it clear that persistent pirates risk losing their Internet access. While the company doesn’t specifically state when a subscriber is at risk, receiving more than 50 DMCA notices on a single day doesn’t appear to cause any issues. Perhaps Comcast favors a more gradual approach?


Links 1/4/2018: Apple Wants Linux Developers, Wine Staging 3.5 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Some Of The Grandest Open-Source / Linux Letdowns Over The Years

    There are no April Fool’s Day surprises on Phoronix, but considering the occasion and the otherwise slow Easter weekend, I figured it would be fun to discuss some of the grandest open-source/Linux letdowns or failures from over the years… Here’s a trip back down memory lane for some once promising projects and goals.

    Below is the list I came up with this morning. Feel free to chime in via the forums or on Twitter with your thoughts and other letdowns in the Linux/open-source space over the years. No hard feelings, just figured it would be fun to discuss and look back at some of these projects especially for newer Linux users that may have never heard of them. The list is in no particular order.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Thunderbird 60 to Bring Calendar Improvements, MBOX/Maildir Conversions

        Who said Thunderbird is dying? Mozilla plans to release the 60th version of its open-source and cross-platform email, calendar, and news client, which will introduce a plethora of new features and improvements.

        Mozilla Thunderbird 60 entered beta testing earlier this week to allow public testers to take a glimpse at the new features, which include the ability to view locations for calendar events in both the Day and Week views, along with support for deleting, cutting, or copying selected occurrences or entire series for recurring events.

        The Calendar component of Thunderbird will also provide users with the ability to send meeting notifications directly instead of displaying a pop-up. On the other hand, Thunderbird 60 will remove the app’s capability to send email invitations that are compatible with Microsoft Outlook 2002 and earlier versions.

      • Gervase Markham: Happy Birthday, Mozilla

        As most of you know, I probably won’t be around to see much more of it, but (this will seem trite if it’s not to seem big-headed!) Mozilla is much more than one or even a few people. There will always be a Mozilla as long as there is an Internet and people who care about people on it. In that vein, let me also say that I’m absolutely delighted with the final outcome of the worldview project. The four items in the addendum to the Manifesto are admirable goals to aim for, and ones I endorse wholeheartedly.

      • Mozilla Turns Twenty

        It’s the morning of March 31, 1998, and the Netscape campus is chock-full of engineers, hours earlier than on a normal day. It’s a Tuesday and it’s known universally in the Netscape browser world as “three thirty-one” and written as 3/31. It’s the day the Mozilla code is open-sourced to the world, and the day the Mozilla Project is formally launched.

        Three thirty-one was the result of a massive amount of work in two short months. The intent to make open source the code for “Netscape Navigator” had been announced on January 22. On that date the code was not ready, we didn’t know which free software / open source license we would use, and we didn’t have a structure for running an open source project. That was pure Netscape style.

      • Reps of the Month – February 2018

        Ziggy is a long time Mozillian that is involved in organizing our presence at FOSDEM or managing the volunteers at the Mozilla Festival. Together with Anthony he started working on both finding speakers for the DevRoom but also to be sure we have a good presence at the booth too. This work was spread around 3 months so we are definitely grateful for their effort.

  • CMS

    • Top 5 Web-based Project Management Applications

      According to Wikipedia, “Project management is the process of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.”

      The only solution to managing projects smoothly is to get project management software. They are online systems for working and collaborating on projects. The best project management apps help teams to handle common problems like slipped deadlines, automatically rescheduling tasks and generating relevant reports. That’s why, today, we will be exploring top 5 web-based project management software.

    • Migrating from wordpress.com to Hugo

      When I started this blog back in 2009, I chose to publish it on WordPress because it was easy to use and maintain. I hosted it using wordpress.com’s free tier, and it has worked well enough for me since then, but when it came time to move the blog off of wordpress.com and onto something self-hosted, I wasn’t convinced that WordPress was still the best solution for me.

      As a system administrator, my biggest concern regarding WordPress is its security. When our school’s website switched from some 90’s era framework to WordPress a couple of years ago, it wasn’t long before our site was compromised. We switched from a web host to a DigitalOcean instance running the latest version of Fedora and a system copy of WordPress (both kept up-to-date), which has (at least for now) kept our site from being compromised again, but that is one more service that we have to keep our eyes on.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD-Based TrueOS Finally Gets Patched Against Meltdown and Spectre Flaws

      TrueOS, the free and open-source FreeBSD derivative, has been updated on Friday to version 18.03, a release that finally includes patches for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities publicly disclosed in January 2018.
      TrueOS 18.03 comes three months after version 17.12 and includes mitigations for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities that put billions of devices at risk of attacks. It ports all the fixes from FreeBSD to fix Meltdown for systems using Intel-based processors when running virtual machines.

      In addition, this release ports all available mitigations from FreeBSD HEAD, including the retpoline mitigation strategy, for the second variant of the Spectre security vulnerability. On top of this, TrueOS developers recommend all users to install the latest microcode update from Intel to fully mitigate Spectre.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open-source voting in SF may require match of state, local funds

      If San Francisco wants an open-source voting system that supporters say would be more reliable and transparent than current proprietary machines, it could cost between $11.5 million and $27.8 million, according to a new consultant’s report.

      The report comes as supporters of an open-source system, which includes the Elections Commission, are calling on Mayor Mark Farrell to help fund the effort.

      An open-source voting system means the software used to tabulate the ballots is open to public view. Anyone with computer knowledge can examine the software code and look for vulnerabilities or bugs.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Looking for San Jose’s best murals? There’s a map for that

      Software engineer Yan-Yin Choy has created “Heart of the Valley,” an open source, online map that shows the locations of murals and other pieces of public art, along with a short description that often includes the name of the artist and a photo.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Edwards testimony could spark battle of scientists in Flint water crisis

      McElmurry has testified he could not point to a specific instance in which Lyon attempted to prevent him from carrying out his research, but said “our contract was deliberately slowed” in an effort to prevent any connection between river water and outbreaks of Legionnaires’.

    • U.S. Supreme Court allows Flint water contamination lawsuits

      The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday gave the green light to two class-action lawsuits filed by residents of Flint, Michigan who are pursing civil rights claims against local and state officials over lead contamination in the city’s water supply.

    • Bottled water, brought to you by fracking?

      The report reveals that the majority of bottled water is municipal tap water, a common resource captured in plastic bottles and re-sold at an astonishing markup — as much as 2,000 times the price of tap, and even four times the price of gasoline. Besides being a rip-off, there is plenty more to loathe about the corporate water scam: The environmental impacts from pumping groundwater (especially in drought-prone areas), the plastic junk fouling up our waterways and oceans, and the air pollution created as petrochemical plants manufacture the materials necessary for making those plastic bottles filled with overpriced tap water.

    • Take Back The Tap: The Big Business Hustle of Bottled Water

      Industry marketing from corporations like Nestlè means that more people are buying bottled water than ever — even though about 64 percent of the bottled water comes from municipal water systems. That means that people buying bottled water are paying much, much more than they would for that same water from the tap. Bottled water is literally more expensive than gasoline — and about 2,000 times more expensive than tap water. 


      Industry marketing strategies designed to promote the safety of bottled water to people who historically lack access to safe tap water (especially recent immigrants) prey upon those who may mistrust tap water and communities concerned about obesity and sugary beverages. In 2014, Nestlé spent over $5 million advertising Pure Life — the most advertised U.S. bottled water brand — and three quarters ($3.8 million) went to Spanish-language television advertising.

    • Giving patients the ‘right to try’ experimental drugs is a political maneuver, not a lifesaver

      Ultimately, we believe right to try is poised to give the Trump administration a political win on a popular public policy but will do little to change the status quo for terminally ill patients. Some opponents say, if anything, it could give terminally ill patients false hope for new access to drugs they already can obtain through existing FDA policy.

    • ‘Great Pacific garbage patch’ sprawling with far more debris than thought

      The sprawling patch of detritus – spanning 1.6m sq km, (617,763 sq miles) more than twice the size of France – contains at least 79,000 tons of plastic, new research published in Nature has found. This mass of waste is up to 16 times larger than previous estimates and provides a sobering challenge to a team that will start an ambitious attempt to clean up the vast swath of the Pacific this summer.

    • Paul Ehrlich: ‘Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades’

      “Population growth, along with over-consumption per capita, is driving civilisation over the edge: billions of people are now hungry or micronutrient malnourished, and climate disruption is killing people.”


      “It is a near certainty in the next few decades, and the risk is increasing continually as long as perpetual growth of the human enterprise remains the goal of economic and political systems,” he says. “As I’ve said many times, ‘perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell’.”

  • Security

    • Finally extradited from Europe, suspected LinkedIn [cracker] faces US charges

      In a brief hearing before a federal magistrate judge in San Francisco, Yevgeniy Nikulin pleaded not guilty to illegally accessing computers belonging to those companies in 2012.

      Nikulin was arrested on October 5, 2016, but he was only very recently extradited from the Czech Republic to the United States. In the Czech Republic, Nikulin’s attorneys and the Russian government attempted to get him sent back home to face significantly lesser criminal charges dating back to 2009.

    • Georgia criminalizes routine security research

      SB315 creates a new crime of “unauthorized access” to computers, which will allow companies to seek criminal retribution against security researchers who conduct good faith research into vulnerabilities in systems that Georgians — and the world — relies on.

    • Intel’s Microcode Update for Spectre Makes a Comeback in Ubuntu’s Repositories

      After it’s been pulled from Ubuntu’s repositories in late January at Intel’s request due to serious hardware issues reported by numerous users, Inte’s microcode update to mitigate the Spectre security vulnerability makes a comeback.

      On January 22, 2018, Canonical replaced the Intel microcode firmware versioned 20180108 with the older 20170707 release at Intel’s request, thus no longer protecting users’ computers against the Spectre security vulnerability that could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information from kernel memory.

      “Jann Horn discovered that microprocessors utilizing speculative execution and branch prediction may allow unauthorized memory reads via side-channel attacks. This flaw is known as Spectre. A local attacker could use this to expose sensitive information, including kernel memory (CVE-2017-5715),” reads the security advisory.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • One Morning in Baghdad
    • Dapchi girls: Freed Nigerian girls tell of kidnap ordeal

      The government says 106 children – 104 schoolgirls, a girl who did not go to the school, and a boy – were freed. It denied claims that a ransom was exchanged to secure the girls’ release.

      News of the girls’ return led to celebration in the town, although five girls are reported to have died. The only Christian girl of the group is still in captivity. Parents told AFP that Boko Haram would release her if she converted to Islam, which she refuses to do.

    • My daughter was not released because she refused to embrace Islam – Dapchi Parent

      *Sharibu:* All of them were released. They said some were dead there and my daughter is alive but they said she is a Christian and that is why they cannot release her. They said if she wants to be released until she converts and become a Muslim and she said she will never become a Muslim.

    • Swedish Rap Artist Predicts Civil War, Ponders Moving to Africa

      “Today, there is an open gang war. My brother was murdered. I have 18 or maybe even 19 mates who were murdered. Today’s Sweden is a different reality — today in Sweden, a completely different world,” Ken Ring told NRK.

    • US Announces $1 Billion in Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

      The State Department approved nearly $1 billion in new arms sales for Saudi Arabia as the kingdom’s crown prince continued his American tour.

      Congress was notified Thursday of the deal, which includes a $670 million sale of more than 6,600 TOW anti-tank missiles and a $300 million sale of spare vehicle parts for the Royal Saudi Land Forces Ordnance Corps.

    • US Admits “Doing The Planning” For Saudi Strikes In Yemen

      Mattis now admits the US is “doing the planning” in Yemen strikes, and has shown the Saudis how the concept of a no-strike zone is supposed to work, and engaged in a maturing process of “battlefield management” intended to see Saudi strikes killing fewer civilians.

    • Sexual Violence in Syria Used as Tool to Instill Fear and Shame

      Rampant sexual and gender-based violence is used by Syria’s warring parties to instill fear in the civilian population and to humiliate and shame their victims into silence, according to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria.


      A report released March 15, said U.N. investigators found sexual and gender-based violence was pervasive throughout Syrian society.

    • India And Pakistan: Inching Toward Their Final War?

      Both India and Pakistan have between 120 and 140 nuclear warheads, according to estimates provided by the Arms Control Association. However a report produced in 2015 by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center asserts that Pakistan may be outpacing India in terms of its nuclear stockpile, and may possess 350 nuclear warheads in the next five to ten years. A 2016 SIPRI report confirmed the assessment that Pakistan has more nuclear warheads than India.

      The major difference between the two countries’ nuclear doctrines is that while India has renounced first use of nuclear weapons, Pakistan has refused to do so by reserving its right to use nuclear weapons in the face of India’s conventional superiority.

    • Trump wants to get the U.S. out of Syria’s war, so he asked the Saudi king for $4 billion

      A $4 billion Saudi contribution would go a long way toward U.S. goals in Syria that the Saudis say they share, particularly that of limiting Assad’s power and rolling back Iran’s influence. By comparison, the United States last month announced a $200 million donation to the stabilization effort.

    • Surge in Muslims being jailed for drug offences despite drop in overall prison population
    • Kurdish Afrin Falls to Turkey

      Yesterday, while many Europeans are still pilloried for viewing mass migration from Muslim-majority countries as a threat to Western culture — and are still accused of “xenophobia,” “Islamophobia” and “fear-mongering” — the city of Afrin, in the Kurdish area of Syria, fell to Turkey.

    • Turkey’s ‘holy war’ in Syria puts a more religious nationalism on display

      When Turkey’s armed forces finally seized control last Sunday of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, after a two-month campaign, it was presented as a victory by “Islam’s last army” in a holy war, or “jihad.”

      Turkey has mounted frequent cross-border operations into Iraq over the years to target militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). And “Operation Olive Branch” – as Turkey named the Afrin offensive – is the second major operation into Syria since 2016, aimed at preventing Syrian Kurds affiliated with the PKK from building their own mini-state on Turkey’s southern border.

    • Civilians Who Fled Afrin Suffer from Dire Humanitarian Conditions

      i“It appears the majority of the population of the city … evacuated under threat of attack from Turkish military forces and Turkish-backed opposition forces. This adds to the already concerning humanitarian situation in the area, with United Nations agencies reporting a displaced population in or from Afrin district in the hundreds of thousands, who now require immediate shelter and other assistance to meet basic needs,” the statement said.

    • Turkey’s seizure of Afrin and the growing threat of a regional war in the Middle East

      While drifting away from its NATO partners, Ankara has forged closer relations, including both trade and military ties, with Russia and Iran, two main targets of US imperialism. On March 12, the Russian news agency TASS reported that Moscow would accelerate the delivery of the S-400 air defense systems to Turkey. Turkish-Russian economic and trade ties also continue to grow rapidly. Ankara and Tehran are developing close ties in different areas, including commerce and tourism, as well military relations, with almost daily reciprocal visits by government officials and business representatives. The main issue of cooperation between the two countries, however, remains that of “fighting terrorism,” which for Turkey is focused on Kurdish separatism.

    • John Bolton, cyber warrior

      John Bolton has spent years imploring the U.S. to go on the attack in cyberspace — a stance that some digital warfare experts caution could set the nation up for a conflict it would be better off avoiding.

      President Donald Trump’s incoming national security adviser has made this point in a series of op-eds, speeches and appearances on panels and television, arguing that America should deploy its “muscular cyber capabilities” to strike back against digital adversaries like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. The point, he said, would be to impose costs “so high that they will simply consign all their cyber warfare plans to their computer memories to gather electronic dust.”

    • Trump’s bellicose choice to lead the NSA

      President Donald Trump’s choice of John Bolton as his new national security adviser and his ongoing escalation of trade hostilities and reshuffling of his legal team have been interpreted as evidence that Trump is finally governing and conducting himself as he wanted to all along. He’s tired of advisers who are steering him away from his true agenda and persona, goes this narrative; instead, he’s getting back to the basics that make Trump who he really is.

    • Trump’s NSA is a threat to world peace

      In appointing John Bolton as his national security adviser, President Donald Trump is sending strong signals to his country and the world. First, in choosing a notorious hawk, he has lain to rest all expectation and hope that power will tame him.

      Second, he has no interest in securing independent let alone contrary advice so essential to making a sound decision, all the more so in the realm of foreign policy where decision-makers have to act on imperfect evidence, conflicting instincts and even conjectures out of sheer necessity.

    • Russia ‘Novichok’ Hysteria Proves Politicians and Media Haven’t Learned the Lessons of Iraq

      If there’s one thing to be gleaned from the current atmosphere of anti-Russian hysteria in the West, it’s that the US-led sustained propaganda campaign is starting to pay dividends. It’s not only the hopeless political classes and media miscreants who believe that Russia is hacking, meddling and poisoning our progressive democratic utopia – with many pinning their political careers to this by now that’s it’s too late for them to turn back.

      Donald Trump and Theresa May during a NATO summit in Brussels. Photo Reuters

      As it was with Iraq in 2003, these dubious public figures require a degree of public support for their policies, and unfortunately many people do believe in the grand Russian conspiracy, having been sufficiently brow-beaten into submission by around-the-clock fear mongering and official fake news disseminated by government and the mainstream media.

      What makes this latest carnival of warmongering more frightening is that it proves that the political and media classes never actually learned or internalized the basic lessons of Iraq, namely that the cessation of diplomacy and the declarations of sanctions (a prelude to war) against another sovereign state should not be based on half-baked intelligence and mainstream fake news. But that’s exactly what is happening with this latest Russian ‘Novichok’ plot.

    • Trump Finds Fellow Bully in Bolton

      Trump bullies people on a nearly daily basis, directing his ire at immigrants, Muslims, women, LBGTQ people, the poor and the environment. He hurls Twitter attacks at those who disagree with him.

      The president has encouraged police brutality, suggesting in a Long Island speech that law enforcement officers bang suspects’ heads against police car doors. “Please don’t be too nice” when arresting people, Trump advised. “Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over” their head, “I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’”

      After being told someone might throw tomatoes at him at a campaign rally, Trump urged his supporters to “knock the crap out of them … I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.” He stated on Fox News that a Black Lives Matter activist who was attacked at a Trump rally “should have been roughed up.”

      Trump’s fellow bully Bolton also engages in abusive behavior. Melody Townsel, working on a USAID project in Kyrgyzstan, became the object of Bolton’s wrath in 1994. Townsel had complained about incompetence, poor contract performance and inadequate funding of the project by a contractor Bolton represented.

    • Is the War on Guns the Next War on Terror?

      The leaders of the United States of America are sick people. They are ignorant. They lack judgement. They choose to fight rather than to cooperate. Especially the Republican party. And especially our current President, Donald Trump. However, the American public remains a sorry lot also. We kill each other at an alarming rate. We are a violent, angry, and bloodthirsty group from top to bottom.

    • All the President’s Women

      There is no doubt about it: Stormy Daniels is a formidable woman. Karen McDougal is no slouch either, though she is hard to admire after that riff, in her Anderson Cooper interview, about how religious and Republican she is; she even said that she used to love the Donald. Stormy Daniels is better than that.

      How wonderfully appropriate it would be if she were to become the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.

      Even in a world as topsy-turvy as ours has become, there has to be a final straw.

      To be sure, evidence of Trump’s vileness, incompetence, and mental instability is accumulating at breakneck speed, and there are polls now that show support for him holding fast or even slightly rising. Trump’s hardcore “base” seems more determined than ever to stand by their man.

    • Who Calls Anyone Civilized?

      I myself tried to write something for the 15 year “commemoration” of the US war against Iraq, but wasn’t able to complete it. It was too much for me. A couple of months ago I was invited to go to the Northwest to speak about “Fifteen Years After the War.” It was too much for me emotionally, and somewhat shamefully I had to decline.

      As I write, I have the phone next to me. I am texting a young Iraqi boy who is alone in Turkey. About ten months ago he was kidnapped in Iraq. Through a chain of events, he ended up in Syria. About two months ago his father was contacted and was able to get his son smuggled across the border into Turkey. Last month his son turned 18 years of age and was eligible to register as a refugee with UNHCR. But he will not get an interview for many months to come. Traumatized, missing family and without friends, he tells his family he wants to come home. But it is much too dangerous for him to return. Trying to draw him out of his boredom, I ask him to tell me how his day was. What did he eat? Did he get outside? What is the weather like? I ask him what words he has learned in Turkish. I tell him what I ate, about the soup I cooked or the rainy weather. By the length of time between our messages, I suspect that he is looking up some of the English words. Sometimes we speak by phone and get to see each other.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Review: The Terrible Beauty of Wikileaks

      On 7 December 2010, Tunisian despot Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime blocked Internet access to the Beirut daily Al-Akhbar for publishing a US embassy cable which painted the dictator, his wife and her family in a deeply unflattering light. In the July 2009 cable, US ambassador Robert Godec had accused Ben Ali’s regime of having ‘lost touch with the Tunisian people…[tolerating] no advice or criticism whether domestic or international’, and of increasingly relying ‘on the police for control and focus on preserving power’. The cable mentioned the growing ‘corruption in the inner circle’, particularly around first lady Leila Trabelsi and her family, whom it said the Tunisians ‘intensely dislike, even hate’. It finally concluded that ‘anger is growing at Tunisia’s high unemployment and regional inequities. As a consequence, the risks to the regime’s long-term stability are increasing’.

    • Why has Ecuador silenced Julian Assange?

      The draconian measures taken by the government of Ecuador to cut off all access to the outside world by Julian Assange represent a reactionary attack on basic democratic rights that must be vigorously opposed by workers and youth in every country.
      Ecuadorian authorities have blocked the WikiLeaks founder’s access to the Internet as well as all other means of communication from Quito’s embassy in London, where Assange has been confined for nearly six years. In addition, it is barring visitors from seeing him, leaving him with fewer rights than a prisoner behind bars.
      Assange continues to face coordinated conspiracies by the British and US governments to have him arrested and extradited to face US charges of treason and espionage, which carry potential death penalties.
      The attack on Assange is part of a global assault on democratic rights that increasingly recalls the darkest days of the 1930s, in the midst of the rise of fascism and the drive to world war. It is significant that he was subjected to his enforced isolation in part for making a telling comparison on Twitter between the German government’s recent arrest of Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont at the behest of Spain and the 1940 arrest of the president of Catalonia, Lluís Companys, who was extradited by the Nazis to Franco’s fascist dictatorship, which tortured and executed him.
      The placing of Assange under what amounts to incommunicado detention coincides with a drive by governments all over the world to impose censorship on the Internet. Assange has been in the forefront of the resistance to this antidemocratic campaign.

    • Ecuador urged to reverse Julian Assange bans

      The president of Ecuador is being urged to reverse the internet and visitor bans imposed on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at its London embassy.

      Among those signing a letter to Lenin Moreno are actress Pamela Anderson, musician Brian Eno, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and former Greek minister Yanis Varoufakis.

    • Reverse Assange internet ban, Ecuador urged

      The appeal has been co-ordinated by campaign group the Courage Foundation.

      The Ecuadorian Government decided earlier this week to stop Mr Assange using the internet or social media from its embassy in London.

      He has been living there for almost six years, believing he will be extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves.

    • Restore Julian Assange’s access to visitors and to the outside world

      It is with great concern that we heard that Julian Assange has lost access to the internet and the right to receive visitors at the Ecuadorian London Embassy. Only extraordinary pressure from the US and the Spanish governments can explain why Ecuador’s authorities should have taken such appalling steps in isolating Julian.

      Only recently the government of Ecuador granted Julian citizenship and a diplomatic passport, in a bid to allow him safe passage from London. The UK government, under heavy pressure from the US government, refused to exploit this opportunity to end Julian’s detention – even after the Swedish authorities announced that no charges were, or would be, laid against him.

      Now, it seems that the Ecuadorian government has been ‘leaned’ on mercilessly not only to stop attempting to provide Julian with a diplomatic route to safety but to drive him out of their London Embassy as well. In addition to US pressure, the Spanish government is also using its leverage over Ecuador to silence Julian’s criticisms of Madrid’s imprisonment of Catalan politicians and, in particular, of the arrest of Catalonia’s former premier in Germany.

    • In Defense of Julian Assange and Free Speech

      If it was ever clear that the case of Julian Assange was never just a legal case, but a struggle for the protection of basic human rights, it is now.

      Citing his critical tweets about the recent detention of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont in Germany, and following pressure from the U.S., Spanish and U.K. governments, the Ecuadorean government has installed an electronic jammer to stop Assange from communicating with the outside world via the internet and phone. As if ensuring his total isolation, the Ecuadorean government is also refusing to allow him to receive visitors. Despite two U.N. rulings describing his detention as unlawful and mandating his immediate release, Assange has been effectively imprisoned since he was first placed in isolation in Wandsworth prison in London in December 2010. He has never been charged with a crime. The Swedish case against him collapsed and was withdrawn, while the United States has stepped up efforts to prosecute him. His only “crime” is that of a true journalist—telling the world the truths that people have a right to know.

    • Eminent Activists Say The Isolation Of Julian Assange Must Stop

      A group of eminent people, including activists, journalists, film stars and academics, have issued a joint letter calling for an end to the campaign against Australian Julian Assange.

    • Breaking the Silence

      As if ensuring his total isolation, the Ecuadorian government is also refusing to allow him to receive visitors. Despite two UN rulings describing his detention as unlawful and mandating his immediate release, Assange has been effectively imprisoned since he was first placed in isolation in Wandsworth prison in London in December 2010. He has never been charged with a crime. The Swedish case against him collapsed and was withdrawn, while the United States has stepped up efforts to prosecute him. His only “crime” is that of a true journalist — telling the world the truths that people have a right to know.

    • 30,000 Sign #ReconnectJulian Petition as Support of Isolated Assange Grows
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Why there is a worldwide shortage of vanilla
    • ‘The Last Animals’ Sheds Light on Rhino, Elephant Extinction

      Brooks says in the past ten years, more than a thousand rangers have been killed in clashes with poachers in conservancies and parks across Africa. She filmed deadly encounters at Kenya’s Garamba National Park.

    • End culture of disposables to save the planet

      This year, Earth Hour was marked on March 24 with millions of people around the globe turning off non-essential electric lights for an hour as a sign of commitment to rejuvenate the planet. Organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature, what started as a one-off event in Sydney, Australia, has by now drawn in thousands of towns and cities across 187 countries and territories (according to the WWF).

    • Truly alarming’: No babies for endangered right whales

      The winter calving season for critically endangered right whales has nearly ended with zero newborns spotted in the past four months _ a reproductive drought that scientists who study the fragile species haven’t seen in three decades.

    • ‘We were trying not to get hit by their tails’ – how I filmed the Faroe whale hunt

      People have their own minds made up about that issue. We’re saying if the pollution is so bad in the sea that the animals are that toxic, then all of these groups should be uniting over this bigger threat.”

    • Experts call for checking illegal shark trade

      In Karachi, shark meat is largely consumed as finger fish while fins are illegally exported as “salted dry fish”.

    • Native American, conservation groups sue Trump for failing to protect humpback whale habitat

      The suit, filed Thursday in a San Francisco federal court, alleges that Trump’s National Marine Fisheries Service failed to designate critical habitat for humpback whale populations after they were again listed as an endangered and threatened species in 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

    • Mass die-offs are driving efforts to create hardier corals

      Schemes to cool reefs in this way have, however, been criticised as hopeless at best and possibly even harmful. Colder water can absorb more carbon dioxide, and is therefore likely to be more acidic. That would damage reefs. A growing number of scientists therefore reckon that an entirely different approach to saving coral is needed. If oceans are changing faster than coral can adapt via the normal processes of evolution, why not, these researchers argue, work out ways to speed up such evolution?

    • Carbon Markets: Foolish Climate Policy that Big Banks Can Love

      The most revealing thing about the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) might be the location Virginia Governor Ralph Northam chose to hold the final hearing on whether his state would join the regional carbon trading program: The Bank of America building in Richmond. It was a telling move. After all, big financial interests are lining up to capitalize on carbon trading, and Bank of America itself has invested billions in oil and gas development.

      Though it is cheered by Northeast politicians and many environmental groups as an effective tool to fight climate change, RGGI does not reduce carbon emissions – no carbon trading system will – and it actually protects and entrenches fossil fuel development, instead of fighting it.

    • Judge Rejects Exxon’s Attempt to Shut Down Climate Fraud Investigations

      With a sharp rebuke, a federal judge on Thursday rejected Exxon’s attempt to shut down two state investigations into whether the oil giant misled investors for years about the risks of climate change.

      U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni dismissed Exxon’s complaint with prejudice, meaning the company can’t refile it.

      In the first line of her ruling, the judge describe Exxon’s actions as “running roughshod over the adage that the best defense is a good offense.”

      “The relief requested by Exxon in this case is extraordinary: Exxon has asked two federal courts—first in Texas, now in New York—to stop state officials from conducting duly-authorized investigations into potential fraud,” she wrote. “It has done so on the basis of extremely thin allegations and speculative inferences.”

    • In court, oil companies accept climate science but rewrite its history

      As the case plays out, the defendants’ differing version of climate science’s certainty over time will play a role. The lawyers for San Francisco and Oakland, on the other hand, will likely try to counter that internal documents show these companies weren’t befuddled by scientific uncertainty, rather they were consciously combatting scientific certainty.

  • Finance

    • No Wonder Teachers Are Saying Enough Is Enough

      In the majority of the country, teachers are working in classrooms that are not being adequately funded, even after state budgets have gotten healthier as the recession has faded from view. As of 2015, state money allocated for schools was still lower than it was before the recession in 29 states. Oklahoma is the leader of that pack, having reduced it by more than a quarter over the last decade, but West Virginia has cut back by more than 11 percent. During this same period, many states also cut taxes, further starving themselves of resources that could go to schools.

    • Kushner Companies confirms meeting with Qatar on financing

      Jared Kushner’s father met with Qatar’s finance minister three months after President Trump’s inauguration, a New York City session at which funding for a financially troubled real estate project was discussed, the company acknowledged Sunday.


      The Kushners had earlier sought money from Qatar, working from 2014 until at least 2016 to obtain funding from a private investment fund run by Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, a wealthy former prime minister.

    • This is the Most Dangerous Time in Decades to Be an American Living in Poverty

      To name a few damaging policy initiatives: a proposal to punish immigrants for participating in programs like Head Start; closing a Department of Justice office that was created to make legal aid more accessible; repealing guidance to judges that suggested they consider an individual’s ability to pay a fine before allowing her to languish in jail; imposing work requirements and time limits on people who need assistance with health care, housing, or food.

    • Why polygamy breeds civil war

      Polygamy nearly always means rich men taking multiple wives. And if the top 10% of men marry four women each, then the bottom 30% cannot marry at all. This often leaves them not only sexually frustrated but also socially marginalised. In many traditional societies, a man is not considered an adult until he has found a wife and sired children.

    • Seizing Upon Post-Hurricane Damage, Puerto Rico’s New “Education Reform” Law Paves Way for Charters, Vouchers

      Roughly six months after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, the island’s governor signed into law “education reform” legislation that he says “puts our students first” but that critics say stinks of a privatization plan that will do nothing to help students.

      The plan will consolidate schools and allow for charter schools and vouchers—ideas that are not endorsed by the Puerto Rico Teachers Association (Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico).

      Another teacher’s union, the Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico, vowed that it, alongside teachers, parents, and students, would “defeat the false reform with the struggle on the street and in schools.”

    • Snowden: Satoshi is ex-NSA Researcher and Original Binance Seed Investor

      The latest round of revelations from former CIA analyst and whistle-blower Edward Snowden appear to confirm what many observers had long suspected.

      The creator of Bitcoin, known under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, was a high-ranking NSA in-house researcher who is thought to have left the intelligence agency sometime in early March 2009, barely a few weeks after the release of Bitcoin itself.

    • Under GOP Tax Law, Top 1% Get Extra $33,000 Per Year. The Poor? $40

      In its first analysis of how the GOP tax plan will affect Americans’ personal income taxes alone, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (TPC) this week underscored what experts and most of the public already knew: that the Republican tax law will pour tens of thousands of extra dollars into pockets of the wealthy few while providing mere crumbs for the poor.

      Specifically, according to TPC’s new report, the top one percent of earners will receive an average annual tax cut of around $33,000 just from individual tax changes under the GOP law. The poorest Americans, by contrast, will see an average break of about $40 per year.

      “While most of the corporate tax cuts flow to the top of the income distribution, what this shows is that even in the direct changes to the individual-side of the tax code, most of those changes are still being allocated to the top,” Kim Rueben, a senior fellow at TPC, told the Washington Post.

    • If Brexit was hacked, shouldn’t we know exactly who paid?

      Yes, the Leave campaign probably cheated. And yes, Remain played unfair advantages. But where did the Brexit dark money actually come from? And how is it still shaping our democracy?

    • ‘Crimes’ committed by Brexit campaigners? One extraordinary coincidence offers a new clue

      In April 2016, Aggregate IQ was a tiny digital services firm working out of a cramped office in British Columbia, Canada. The company had no web presence and no obvious track record. Yet over the final two months of the Brexit campaign, several pro-Leave campaign groups (Vote Leave, the DUP, Veterans for Britain – and bizarrely, a 23 year old fashion student named Darren Grimes) would spend over £3.5m with Aggregate IQ.


      Speaking in parliament today, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie said that all these Leave groups were working together – and breaking the law. “This must be co-ordination,” he told MPs. Under British law, there are strict campaign spending limits, and groups that ‘work together’ have to pool their spending under one combined cap.

      But the various Leave groups all declared their spending with AIQ separately, and claim that the firm treated them as separate clients, without co-ordinating their campaigns. This allowed them to throw dramatically more cash than would othewise have been possible into winning the knife-edge Brexit referendum.

      We now know that AggregateIQ and Cambridge Analytica – the firm behind Trump’s campaign which has been accused of a massive Facebook data breach – are closely intertwined. AggregateIQ developed the very election software that Cambridge Analytica sold for millions of dollars during the 2016 US presidential election. This raises the possibility that AIQ – the company that Vote Leave spent some 40% of their cash with – was using data illegally harvested from Facebook.

      Jeff Silvester chief operating officer at AIQ said: “AggregateIQ works in full compliance within all legal and regulatory requirements in all jurisdictions where we operate. AggregateIQ has never managed, nor did we ever have access to, any Facebook data or database allegedly obtained improperly by Cambridge Analytica.”

    • From the Falklands to Brexit: cut-price Jingoism

      If you want to understand how British policy makers think; don’t go to Chatham House, go to Lewis Carroll instead. The current government’s Brexit strategies are straight from the White Queen: Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. A list of Brexit ideas emanating from Theresa May’s cabinet number far more than six impossible things – such as Boris Johnson’s ludicrous suggestion that the success of the London congestion charge showed how easy it would be to replace customs checks on a post-Brexit Irish border.

      We have, however, been here before. Crashing Through the Looking-Glass seems to be a recurring pathology of British leaders. We saw it with Anthony Eden over Suez and with Margaret Thatcher in the run up to the Falklands conflict. But what distinguished Thatcher from Eden was good luck and skilful manipulation of jingoism.

    • How to democratise Brexit and take back control of our future: an appeal to Jeremy Corbyn

      Labour’s ingenious proposal to negotiate a new custom union with the EU could be a sensible solution, both for Northern Ireland and to limit friction on trade. However, there is simply no way it can be negotiated in the six months that would follow a vote against whatever Brexit deal May might strike. Disentangling the custom union from the single market is an extremely complex task which requires careful reflection on both sides, and patience doesn’t run high in Brussels, after what appears to be a never-ending indecisiveness from the British side. Besides, Labour could only come to negotiate a deal after getting into government through a general election, which would steal a few more months from the total. There simply isn’t enough time to change May’s Brexit course.

    • Radicalization of European politics: growing chorus of calls for Facebook breakup

      I wish this were just an April Fool’s Day post, but sadly it’s true that politicians in the EU are making ever more radical proposals concerning U.S. Internet giants. While I don’t expect anything extreme to actually happen in the near term, calls for or speculation about breakups of large corporations contribute to a climate in which it becomes increasingly hard to find reasonable solutions, and to focus on actual wrongdoing by abusers of dominant market positions. It’s a climate of thoughtlessness.

      About a week ago, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, more descriptively named Activistager, told the Telegraph that a breakup of Google into multiple smaller entities would have to remain on the table as an option for competition enforcement. No one seriously believes this would be the outcome, but just mentioning the possibility is a kind of saber-rattling that appears totally disproportionate. One may or-as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission concluded in 2013–may not consider any of Google’s business practices anticompetitive. But even if one agreed with the EU Commission’s charges, one can’t seriously think about a breakup. Maybe some minor remedies and limited fines, but that’s the maximum extent of it.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Scott Walker Is Trying To Dismantle Democracy in Wisconsin

      Walker and Republican leaders in the legislature are still looking for ways to avoid following the existing law. On Tuesday, they announced a plan to rewrite state statutes so that governors would no longer be required to call special elections to fill legislative vacancies “as promptly as possible.” Under the Republican rewrite of the statutes that was unveiled Tuesday, legislative vacancies occurring after early December of odd-numbered years could be left unfilled until the regular November election of the following year.

    • The Trump Team’s Account of the Stormy Daniels Story Is So Bad It’s Funny

      So why do 41 percent of Republicans buy it?


      Margaret Hartmann wrote for New York magazine that, “while there’s little evidence that Cohen was kept on the payroll for his sharp legal mind, he’d demonstrated again and again that he possesses the unshakable loyalty that Trump values so highly,” and yet Cohen claims that he didn’t even tell his boss about this magnanimous gesture, and never planned to do so. He says that he negotiated the agreement and made Trump a party to it without uttering a word about it, and certainly didn’t ask to be reimbursed for it. Paying a porn star $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair that never happened was just a personal transaction by a guy who refers to himself as a “pit bull” on behalf of a guy with much deeper pockets than he has. (The White House has consistently dodged the question of whether Trump knew of the payoff.)

      Cohen further insists that it had nothing to do with the Trump Organization, despite the fact that he used his company e-mail address to set up the wire transfer to Daniels and, according to CNN, “Jill Martin, a top lawyer at the Trump Organization,” is listed in a court filing as the attorney representing the LLC that Cohen established specifically to pay off Daniels. Martin, whose title is vice president and assistant general counsel for the Trump Organization, also issued a statement claiming that she worked on the matter only “in a personal capacity,” despite the fact that the address she listed on the filing is that of the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.

      All of this, according to the White House and Cohen, also had nothing to do with the presidential campaign—never mind that this all went down just weeks before Election Day, at a time when it appears the campaign was working furiously to kill off stories about the affair that were set to run in at least three outlets. If it had been related to the campaign, Cohen would be liable for an illegal $130,000 campaign contribution, but he insists that it wasn’t.


      It’s become common these days to lament “media polarization,” as if it’s a generic problem that afflicts both sides of the partisan divide. But it’s important to note that there’s a stark difference in how the left and the right views the mainstream media, and its flaws. Partisan outlets on both sides of the ideological divide see themselves, at least in part, to be watchdogs for the traditional media. But progressives tend to focus on subconscious biases or questionable norms, like the tendency to present both sides’ arguments as if there are no objective facts, reporters’ hesitation to risk their access to the powerful or their eagerness to conform to the conventional wisdom. When conservatives talk about “media bias,” they’re often not talking about bias—as a subconscious process—at all.

      If you think that professional reporters regularly invent stories out of whole cloth, it may seem defensible to do so yourself in the name of fighting fire with fire. So when a conservative operative tried to pose as a victim of former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in order to dupe The Washington Post into reporting a false charge against him, her cover was blown when reporters uncovered a post she had written in which she gleefully announced that she’d “accepted a job to work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt [sic] of the liberal MSM.”

    • A Hong Kong Newspaper on a Mission to Promote China’s Soft Power [iophk: “how long till the old articles disappear from the web?”

      The revival began with The Post’s acquisition two years ago by the Alibaba Group, the Chinese technology and retail giant. But if Alibaba is breathing new life into the paper, it has also given it a new mission: improving China’s image overseas and combating what it sees as anti-Chinese bias in the foreign media.

      In effect, Alibaba has taken Hong Kong’s English-language paper of record since the days of British rule and put it on the leading edge of China’s efforts to project soft power abroad. Every day, The Post churns out dozens of articles about China, many of which seek to present a more positive view of the country. As it does, critics say it is moving away from independent journalism and pioneering a new form of propaganda.

    • Smearing Jeremy Corbyn

      The most recent controversy with regard to this issue stems from Corbyn’s opposition, via a Facebook post, to the removal in 2012 of an antisemitic mural in the East End of London, on the grounds that this was censorship of an artist. Corbyn has since apologized for not taking into consideration the content of the mural, and said he would have supported its removal given what he found out subsequently.

    • Trump opioid plan will include death penalty for some drug dealers: report

      A White House plan to combat the opioid crisis calls for the death penalty to be imposed on certain drug dealers, according to a new report.

    • Keep anti-environment riders for Alaska out of spending bill

      As if on cue, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is providing a compelling demonstration of just how bad earmarks can be. She also demonstrated how earmarks persist despite efforts to eliminate them: the riders she is seeking to include in the pending omnibus appropriations bill nominally change policy rather than setting aside funding. Yet they fit the earmark profile to a tee: wasteful, unfair, and undemocratic.

    • For Trump, Cruelty Is the Point
    • UNMASKED: ED Apologist In Crazy Anti-USA Propaganda, Attacks Senators

      SADC and the AU, African regional groups of which Zimbabwe is a member have since condemned Zimbabwe’s 2008 elections because the process was not free and fair and thus put to shame the denial that Zanu PF had failed to hold free and fair elections. SADC leaders forced Zanu PF to join hands with the two MDC factions to form a Government of Nation (GNU) which was then tasked to implement a raft of democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu PF rigging future elections.

    • Calls for Pruitt to Resign After Reports of ‘Sweetheart’ Rental From Energy Lobbyist’s Wife

      This deal stinks like the swamp Scott Pruitt is mired in. Pruitt’s wanton corruption doesn’t just ignore the rule of law and clear ethical boundaries, it threatens the health of our families,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. “He must be fired immediately.”

      “Pruitt the Polluter”—who earned his nickname by attempting to roll back numerous anti-pollution regulations—paid a nightly rental fee of $50 for a bedroom in a condo co-owned by healthcare lobbyist Vicki Hart, the wife of energy lobbyist Steven Hart, whose firm reported a $16 million federal lobbying income last year and who worked temporarily on the Trump transition team.

      Pruitt stayed at the townhouse “while transitioning to Washington,” according to an EPA spokesperson who verified the terms of the lease to The Hill. By the time Pruitt moved out at the end of July 2017—more than four months after he was confirmed as head of the EPA—he had racked up $6,100 in rent charges.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Russia Asked ISPs to Block 13.5 Million Amazon IP Addresses to Silence One App

      Zello rose to fame in August 2017 when the ‘walkie-talkie’ app was used by relief effort volunteers and those stranded in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The Russian government, however, wants to take the app down and this week it was revealed that the country’s telecoms regulator told ISPs to prepare to block 15 million IP addresses, most belonging to Amazon, in order to do so.

    • The Tommy Robinson problem: Does everyone have the right to ‘free speech?’

      He has been branded as “racist” and “bigoted.” Entire groups from all over Britain attend his rallies to try and shut him down because of his anti-Islam stance. The former English Defence League (EDL) leader refuses to accept accusations he is spreading hate, because in his words, it is his “right” to say what he wants about any religion he chooses.

      In the UK, free speech is not set out in law – but it is assumed through the nation’s association with the European Convention of Human Rights, and various case law.

    • Turkey’s last big independent media firm is snapped up by a regime ally

      For one of the country’s largest media conglomerates, the sale must have felt like a coup de grâce. Dogan outlets, including two of the country’s four biggest newspapers, Hurriyet and Posta; a leading television channel, CNN Turk; and a news agency, among many others, have been squirming under government pressure for years. The group’s ageing owner, Aydin Dogan, one of the symbols of Turkey’s deposed secular order, has been hounded by tax inspectors and prosecutors. People close to his group say Mr Dogan conducted the sale without consulting any associates. Some believe the mogul faced arrest unless he sold his empire to one of the president’s men. Had that happened to the 81-year-old, he would have joined over a hundred other Turkish journalists already in prison, most of them jailed since the failed [sic] coup of 2016.

    • Turkish internet broadcasting law “not censorship”, claims regulator

      A recently introduced Turkish law to regulate the broadcasting of content on the internet is a liberal measure intended to protect families, Turkey’s broadcasting regulator RTÜK claimed.

      “This law, in spite of what others have said, is a liberal law, it is never a ‘censorship law’. It does not cover the entire internet,” RTÜK head İlhan Yerlikaya said.

      “There is no inspection of YouTube, Twitter or Facebook at all. We will only inspect broadcasters which are felt not to be broadcasters due to broadcasting only over the internet, such as Netflix, Blu TV, and Puhu TV.”

      The measure was necessary, he said, to protect children from bad role models.

    • Cutting of Sakina Kamwendo’s radio show amounts to media censorship: Sanef

      The cutting of veteran talk show host Sakina Kamwendo’s radio show was nothing short of media censorship‚ the SA National Editors Forum says.

      Taking to their Twitter account on Saturday‚ the group said: “Sanef has noted that it is certainly the prerogative of SABC management to make decisions about programming. However‚ we believe this incident with Kamwendo was extremely poorly handled and smacks of censorship!”

      “Kamwendo should have been given the space to explain to her listeners what had transpired with her show & with the termination of her time as the shows host.”

      Sanef intended to consult with the SABC to address the matter.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (21/21): Conclusion, privacy has been all but eliminated from the digital environment

      It’s going to be a long uphill battle to win back the liberties that were slowly won by our ancestors over about six generations, and which have been all but abolished in a decade.

      It’s not rocket science that our children should have at least the same set of civil liberties in their digital environment, as our parents had in their analog environment. And yet, this is not happening.

      Our children are right to demand Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights — the civil liberties our parents not just enjoyed, but took for granted.

    • The FBI Used Classified [Cracking] Tools in Ordinary Criminal Investigations

      The FBI’s Remote Operations Unit (ROU), tasked with [cracking] into computers and phones, is one of the Bureau’s most elusive departments. But a recent report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Justice has now publicly acknowledged the unit’s existence seemingly for the first time. The report also revealed that the ROU has used classified [cracking] tools—techniques typically reserved for intelligence purposes—in ordinary criminal investigations, possibly denying defendants the chance to scrutinize evidence, as well as destabilizing prosecutors’ cases against suspects.

    • Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: Pretty much everyone’s looking the wrong way and learning nothing

      Every single time one of your information-hygiene-moron “friends” are taking yet another test, there’s yet another leak of your information.

      And that’s the bigger picture we should be talking about [...]

    • Are you ready? Here is all the data Facebook and Google have on you

      This is one of the craziest things about the modern age. We would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us. But we just went ahead and did it ourselves because – to hell with it! – I want to watch cute dog videos.

    • Think you’re immune to advertising? It’s the greatest trick Facebook ever pulled
    • Internal posts show Facebook workers condemning leakers and fearing ‘spies’

      The extraordinary messages obtained by tech website the Verge provide a rare window into Facebook’s internal culture: while there was dissent from employees, many appeared focused on flushing out whistleblowers.

    • Trump admin wants to track 14 million US visitors’ social media history

      Want to visit the United States in a non-immigrant capacity? Should the State Department get its way, your application to enter the country may soon hinge on coughing up five years of your online history.

      The Trump administration’s proposal, published at the Federal Register on Friday, would expand this request, which is currently required to apply for an immigrant visa. Friday’s proposal could be enacted after a 60-day public-comment period pending passage by the Office of Management and Budget. Alternatively, the State Department could modify the proposal and start another comment period. But should this current iteration go into effect, an estimated 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants per year would be asked to list any “identifiers” used on a variety of popular social media sites. Those applicants will additionally be required to disclose identifiers they have used during that timespan on sites that aren’t on the State Department’s default list.

    • 14 Million Visitors to U.S. Face Social-Media Screening

      The proposal covers 20 social media platforms. Most of them are based in the United States: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. But several are based overseas: the Chinese sites Douban, QQ, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Youku; the Russian social network VK; Twoo, which was created in Belgium; and Ask.fm, a question-and-answer platform based in Latvia.

    • US visa applications may soon require five years of social media info

      Once the planned rule change is filed to the Federal Register on Friday, the public will have 60 days to comment on it.

    • US to require would-be immigrants to turn over social media handles

      According to notices submitted by the State Department on Thursday, set for formal publication on Friday, the government plans to require nearly all visa applicants to the US to submit five years of social media handles for specific platforms identified by the government — and with an option to list handles for other platforms not explicitly required.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Facebook Executive’s 2016 Memo Shows Company Aware of Its Faults

      A 2016 memo from a Facebook Inc. executive made the case for the company’s grow-at-all-costs culture, explaining that the negative consequences of the social network — even deaths and terrorist attacks — weren’t reason to abandon its purpose of connecting people to one another.

    • Senator blasts Facebook over memo: ‘Terrorist attacks cannot be the cost of doing business’

      Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) on Friday hammered Facebook over a leaked memo in which an executive argued the company’s growth is justified even it comes at the loss of human lives.

      “Death from bullying cannot be the cost of doing business. Terrorist attacks cannot be the cost of doing business,” Markey tweeted, referring to scenarios mentioned in the memo.

    • China and Russia accused of waging ‘war on human rights’ at UN

      The two countries have used the UN budget panel, known as the fifth committee, to cut funding for human rights monitors and for a senior post in the secretary general’s office which is supposed to ensure that human rights – one of three pillars of the UN’s function – are not forgotten in its day-to-day work.

    • The Mysterious Death of a Papuan Child

      Questions about police conduct in Ayomi’s case don’t end there. Ismawanto confirmed that police waited 23 hours after they detained Ayomi to take him to a hospital, attributing the delay to slow official approval. He said police noted Ayomi’s failure to regain consciousness while in detention as “strange,” but that a doctor at the hospital certified that he was “healthy.”

    • ‘Are You a Citizen?’: The Dangerous Question Coming to the Next Census
    • The grim racialism of ‘light-skinned privilege’

      Identity politics is becoming more depraved by the day. Now it seems even light-skinned black people must atone for their privilege. Amandla Stenberg, a 19-year-old black actress, recently revealed that she stopped pursuing a role in the recent Black Panther film because she felt it deserved a more ‘dark-skinned’ cast.p>

    • Stephon Clark: Police shot unarmed man ’7 times in back’

      Authorities said that each officer fired 10 times. Any one of the eight bullets that struck Clark could have proved fatal, Dr Omalu said.

    • Sacramento Is Seething Over the Police Killing of Stephon Clark

      Clark’s elderly, disabled grandparents heard the shots, called the police to notify them of the gunplay, and then sat in their living room talking to the responding officers at length about what they had heard. At no point did the officers tell them that the Sacramento police had shot someone in their backyard. Only after they had left, when the grandmother pulled back the blinds and looked out the window, did they realize that there was a body in their garden, and that that body was their grandson. There is, even by the cruel standards of this era, a peculiar grotesquerie to this macabre sequence of events.

    • Stephon Clark’s Family and the NAACP Are Interested in a Federal Investigation of His Shooting
    • Stephon Clark’s Family Urges Criminal Charges Against Police Who Shot Him

      The family of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man fatally shot by police in his grandparents’ back yard, on Monday urged the Sacramento, Calif., district attorney’s office to bring criminal charges against the two officers who killed him.

    • Police ‘Testilying’ Remains a Problem. Here Is How the Criminal Justice System Could Reduce It

      “The public doesn’t know the complete picture as to the number of these cases because some judges for whatever reason choose not to publish these decisions,” said Barry Kamins, a former judge and the author of the standard legal book on police search and seizure law in New York State.

      This could easily change. All it would take is for judges to make a point of publicly disseminating written decisions whenever they find an officer was not credible. That would give the public a better understanding of the prevalence of dubious police testimony. And it would allow the criminal justice system — from judges down to defendants — to better evaluate the credibility of individual officers.

    • Officers in Alton Sterling case won’t be charged, Louisiana AG Jeff Landry says

      Landry said Sterling then “quickly sits up and rolls to his left away from officer Salamoni,” which Landry said creates an angle for the officers where Sterling’s right side appears to be concealed. As Sterling tries to get up, Salamoni fires three more shots into Sterling’s back. The autopsy shows that Sterling had six gunshot wounds.

    • Islamic group files complaint, seeks a ban on TV show that talks about Triple Talaq

      An Islamic association named Raza Academy has filed a complaint against a TV show named ‘Ishq Subhan Allah’ which sought to highlight the Triple Talaq issue in a mature manner. The TV show has also taken into account the recent Supreme Court judgement on the matter.

    • Prison infiltrator: “Imams urged inmates to wage holy war”

      During the hour of prayer they not only gave instructions regarding the jihad but also on how to treat women. “It was said that women are entrusted to the custody of men, be it husband or brother, and that as such men had the right beat them if they disobeyed”.

    • Welfare pamphlet: ‘Information for one married to a child’

      Sweden’s board of Health and Welfare, in cooperation with the Migration Authority, released a pamphlet titled Information for one who is Married to a Child, intended to help guide men who marry underage girls through the Swedish welfare system.


      “We have chosen to legalize marriages between adults and children and thereby abandon the most vulnerable – young immigrant girls who are being robbed of their future under the watchful eye of the Swedish state,” Hernroth-Rothstein wrote.

    • HASSAN: Be wary of Muslim causes that don’t represent the faith’s moderates

      Perhaps they should ponder the reasons why so many women in the Islamic world have tired of such contradictions and have rejected the hijab outright.

    • Resistance Continues to End Child Marriage in Northern Nigeria

      Nigeria has the largest number of child brides in Africa, according to the U.N. Children’s Fund. The practice is most prevalent in the predominantly Muslim north where conservative Islamic groups staunchly resist efforts to criminalize child marriage. Most girls accept whether they want to or not, but times are changing.

    • Imam who allegedly impregnated 14-year-old girl plans to marry her

      According to a young humanitarian identified as Fateemah Habeeb, a 14-year-old girl was defiled by an Imam who is over 50 years old. She explained that the Imam in question had bragged about defiling the girl with courage that nothing was going to happen to him.

    • 14, Pregnant from Rape, Dead in Childbirth

      Abortion is illegal in Paraguay for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest. It is illegal when the pregnancy poses a serious – but not life-threatening – health risk, and when a fetus has no hope of surviving outside the womb.

    • Two Imams in court for allegedly gang-raping two students in Lagos

      Two Islamic teachers identified as Kamaledeen Alade and Hammed Adebayo were on Wednesday arraigned before a Surulere Chief Magistrate Court in Lagos for allegedly raping two girls between the age of 14 and 16.

    • Updated: Black man shot by police was carrying cellphone, not ‘tool bar,’ when he was shot, department says

      The 22-year-old black man fatally shot by Sacramento police in his own backyard Sunday night was carrying a cellphone, not a “tool bar,” when confronted by officers, the department clarified late Monday.

    • France Introduces Legislation That Proposes Fines for Sexual Harassment on the Street

      During a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, legislators in France were expected to introduce a new bill, conceived months ago, that would take harsher action against sexual harassment and assault, according to The Guardian. The bill, which will reportedly go to parliament in the next few months, allows police officers to give people sexually harassing others in public on-the-spot fines ranging from €90 to €750 (about $111 to $925).

    • Charges dropped against Turkey’s presidential thugs who were filmed brutally beating protesters in Washington

      When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Washington DC last year, he brought along his gang of goons who beat protesters so brutally that nine were hospitalized. US prosecutors dropped charges against against 11 of the 15 men accused of the bloody assault. In the video above you can see the suited thugs kicking people on the ground as police officers try to stop them.

    • Who Would Speak Up For The Little Doggie?

      I agree. These are the same people who shuffle compliantly through TSA lines, getting their bodies and rights violated by repurposed mall food court workers dressed up to look like cops.


      iAnd even if you don’t have a dog, what kind of human being are you if you don’t stand up?

    • The number of ex-Muslims in America is rising

      Mr Olad was told he would leave college and be turned over the next day to the care of Muslim clerics who would restore his faith. “I was aware of the horrors of these camps,” Mr Olad says. “They operate them in the middle of nowhere, where you cannot escape. They subject you to beatings, starvation and trampling.” He tried to contact the American embassy, but it could not send help because of recent terrorist attacks nearby. Luckily, he also managed to reach a Kenyan atheist group. In the dead of night he sneaked into his mother’s room, stole his passport and was whisked away by taxi to the embassy, which eventually returned him safely to America. He has not spoken to his family since.

    • We’re All Fascists Now

      Yes, these future lawyers believe that free speech is acceptable only when it doesn’t offend them. Which is to say, they don’t believe in it at all.

    • Sharia Scare as Quarter of Copenhagen’s Immigrant Youths Ready to Override Law

      Furthermore, 27 percent of Copenhagen’s non-Western population responded that religious laws and traditions must be followed at all costs, even though they may violate Danish law. Again, this was an increase from 2016, when the corresponding figure was 24 percent.

    • Suspect accused of kidnapping, drugging woman and taking her to Juarez over Muslim shaming

      A woman described as a “Mexican Muslim” was arrested in west El Paso, suspected of kidnapping a woman who she said brought shame to the Muslim community, according to court documents.

    • Raped woman married-off for money and visa, court told

      Mr Justice Baker decided the Islamic marriage was “arranged entirely” by the man and the woman’s father.

      He said the marriage took place at Northampton Islamic Centre when the woman was vulnerable to influence and ruled it was invalid under English law.

    • American Tragedy: Did religion trigger mom’s murder?

      Altantawi worried his children — particularly the two daughters — were becoming “too Americanized,” the Detroit News reports.

    • Man axes mother of eight to death over ‘honour’ in Badin

      A man in Badin surrendered himself to police on Wednesday after killing his 38-year-old wife for ‘honour’ by repeatedly hitting her with an axe.


      In a separate incident, a man killed his 25-year-old wife and a mother of one, along with another man for the sake of “honour” in the Dilawar Marfani village of Shikarpur.


      Scores of women in Pakistan are still being murdered by relatives for bringing shame on their family, a year since new laws came into force aimed at stemming the flow of ‘honour killings’.

    • Iran: Crackdown on Dervish Minority

      The ensuing clashes left dozens of people injured and at least three police officers and one Basij member dead. One arrested protester died in custody in unexplained circumstances. The Iranian authorities should immediately release those held or charge them with a recognizable crime. The authorities should also allow for an independent investigation into possible use of excessive force during the clashes.

    • Jakarta opposes Aceh plan to behead murderers

      The administration’s plan to implement Qisas (retributive justice) through beheading has been met with a chorus of criticism from human rights activists who have long campaigned for the abolishment of the death penalty in the country.

    • Deep state attacks: Gov’t ‘Fusion Centers’ spying on patriots concerned about Islam

      “It’s about that FOIA request you made about the building plans for the mosque,” he told her.

      It did not immediately dawn on her that she was actually not the one whose name was on the Freedom of Information Act request.

    • UP woman tied to tree, beaten by husband for eloping as locals watch

      According to reports, a village panchayat of the Bulandshahr district had ordered the beating of the woman on March 10 because she was suspected of having an affair. Her crime and punishment were decided by the panchayat – one of the countless kangaroo courts that populate India’s countryside.

    • Uttar Pradesh: 32 madrasas built on public land face action
    • Paul McCartney remembers John Lennon at NYC March for Our Lives

      McCartney, 75, was joined by his wife Nancy Shevell on Saturday during the March for Our Lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side when he spoke off-camera to CNN’s Jason Carroll.

    • Experts Balk at Judicial Impeachment Moves in Pennsylvania

      As regional gerrymandering challenges draw an increasingly national focus, impeachment threats inspired by one such case drew condemnation from experts in constitutional law and judicial ethics.

      “In Putin’s Russia, this is completely normal,” Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig said in a phone interview.

    • Three teens get corporal punishment for participating in national school walkout
    • Police slammed over memo saying Telford child abuse was ‘consensual’
    • Veterans With PTSD Find Relief in Native American Rituals

      Vielle and Falcon were reluctant to share too many details about the ceremonies, which are sacred to their culture.

      “Non-Natives are really exploiting our way of life and our ceremonies, grabbing them and selling them,” said Falcon, recalling the 2009 deaths of three people at an Arizona sweat ceremony conducted by non-Native, New Age guru James Arthur Ray.


      “I tell them, ‘I can’t stop you if you want to go and build one. But it won’t be done in the right way,’” Falcon said. “And once I tell them that, they are very respectful and say, ‘I’ll build a sauna instead.’”

    • Man freed after wrongful conviction, only to be taken into custody by immigration authorities

      Rodriguez’s case is the 10th related to retired Chicago police Detective Reynaldo Guevara that has been tossed out since mid-2016 following allegations that Guevara beat suspects and improperly coerced witnesses.

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