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Links 11/9/2015: Android Pay, Plasma 5.4.1 in Kubuntu

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • New open source tool to help reporters rethink quotes in stories
    QuickQuote, which was open-sourced last week, requires users to upload their video footage and then provides an automated transcription using natural language processing.

    After the transcription is generated, the user can click anywhere in the text to see and hear the corresponding video and audio, highlighting their desired quote with their mouse.

  • Beware of Open Source Software Zombies
    TL;DR — When putting source code into the open, reserve some time & energy to build a community around it, otherwise: zombie.

  • 5 open source alternatives to Gmail
    But Gmail is far from the only name in the game when it comes to web-based email clients. In fact, there are a number of open source alternatives available for those who want more freedom, and occasionally, a completely different approach to managing their email without relying on a desktop client.

    Let's take a look at just a few of the free, open source webmail clients out there available for you to choose from.

  • Teaching big data processing with open source software
    The current move towards open data generating massive amounts of data, needs real-time processing needing intelligent solutions to process it. Having more tools which are open source can fuel further open data research impacting not only computing, but social sciences, where economists and governments can make use of big data as well.

  • Concurrent launches open-source CDN platform
    Concurrent, a provider of high-performance Linux and storage products, announced a new open-source content delivery network (CDN) platform. Concurrent's new CDN platform combines open-source technologies with the company's enterprise support services to deliver streaming video and other content to consumers on connected devices. Concurrent is leveraging community-driven open-source technologies including Apache Traffic Server for caching and streaming, Traffic Control for request routing, Ceph for storage and its own packaged feature enhancements to create a CDN platform that is well-suited for commercial applications.

  • How to manage an open source project
    Put yourself in their shoes - that's the most important thing to remember as the boss of a free software project.

    Whether you're handling a code patch from an argumentative contributor or trying to attract users via a release announcement, it's vital to think carefully about how other people will see it.

  • Node.js Fork is Done as Node v 4.0.0 Released
    Now the first code release as part of the Node.js Foundation is out with v 4.0.0.

    "This release represents countless hours of hard work encapsulated in both the Node.js project and the io.js project that are now combined in a single codebase," the Node.js foundation wrote in a blog post. "The Node.js project is now operated by a team of 44 collaborators, 15 of which form its Technical Steering Committee (TSC). Further, over 100 new individuals have been added to the list of people contributing code to core since v0.12.7."

  • Node.js says all is forgiven, welcomes io.js fork back into the fold
    The Node.js Foundation has released version 4.0.0 of the Node.js, the first version that reunites the JavaScript-based server-side web application framework with its io.js fork.

    "This release represents countless hours of hard work encapsulated in both the Node.js project and the io.js project that are now combined in a single codebase," the Foundation said in a technical blog post announcing the release.

  • Node.js v4.0.0 Released

  • Largest email group for women in tech teams up with Peace Corps
    Systers is the world's largest email community of women in tech.

    First a little history, from Anita Systers was founded by in 1987 as an email mailing list for women in "systems." At last official count, the community has over 5,500 members from at least 60 countries. Women technologists of all ages and at any stage of their studies or careers are welcome to contact the current Systers-keeper, Rose Robinson.

    In this interview Rose Robinson talks with me about Systers' participation in the Open Source Day Codeathon taking place at the Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) in Houston, Texas this year—where attendence will hit record numbers. (You can still register!) Systers is one of a group of participating organizations during the codeathon.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL: Playing open source catch-up to arrogant Oracle
      Part of why people are choosing PostgreSQL and EnterpriseDB is because users get to see the way the company works.

      "Not only can people see how we develop the code but they can see how we deal with bug fixes and things like that, but they can also see how we work. Everything we do is out in the open so you're not hiding behind the PR department."

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Openwashing

      • Open-Source Email Archiving Software Expands with IMLS Grant
        The ePADD open-source email archiving and processing platform developed by Stanford University Libraries was awarded a $685,000 National Leadership Grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on August 31. The software “supports archival processes around the appraisal, ingest, processing, discovery, and delivery of email archives,” according to the project site. “Email archives present a singular window into contemporary history; however, they are often inaccessible to researchers due to screening, processing, and access challenges, as well as the sheer volume of material.”

      • Thales adopts open-source ERTMS testing tool
        Signalling and train control supplier Thales Deutschland has agreed to use the ERTMSFormalSpecs open-source modelling tool to test braking curves in the development of its onboard unit for the ETCS Baseline 3 specifications.

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 10.1 BETA2 now available
      We are pleased to announce the availability GhostBSD 10.1 BETA2 MATE & XFCE which is available on SourceForge for the amd64 and i386 architectures.

      Before going further I will like to say a special thanks Ovidiu who recently join back the project and Andrea who join the project, they have help to make GhostBSD better, add up new feature and fixed issue.


    • Free Software Foundation seeks nominations for 18th annual Free Software Awards
      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project today call upon the free software community to submit nominations for the 18th annual Free Software Awards. The Free Software Awards include the Award for the Advancement of Free Software and the Award for Projects of Social Benefit. The awards are presented each year at the LibrePlanet free software conference, and at the same time nominations for the next year's awards open.

    • Infinity progress update
      I’m expecting the addition of a second DWARF interpreter to GDB to be contentious, but they’ll optimized for different things and doing different things. For example, Infinity could work better with some type tracking (and will likely need it to make function calls secure) but it’s different from what GDB’s existing interpreter needs and it’s difficult to see how to combine the two without ending up with something that’s not very good at either. Not to mention that getting it to a point it can be moved to common code would likely slow it down a ton.

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK government backs away from Microsoft, moves closer to Open Document Format
      In a further blow to Microsoft's grip on government desktop computing in the UK, the UK government has published 18 guides offering detailed information about the Open Document Format (ODF) standard and how to move organisations to ODF-compliant solutions.

      ODF 1.2 was selected last year as the standard for editable office documents to be used across UK government departments, along with HTML5 and PDF, which became the official defaults for static documents that would be viewed, but not edited after they were published. The fact that native Word formats were not included as an alternative option was a major defeat for Microsoft, which had lobbied hard—and until 2014, lobbied successfully—to prevent this high-profile victory for ODF's open standard.

    • Munich's Open Source Transformation Has Made it a Top Contributor
      For years now, open source tools and applications have been gaining traction in parts of Europe, and Munich has been involved in a multi-year effort to transform its technology infrastructure by throwing out Microsoft applications and using open tools instead. Munich's move to open source has been followed here on OStatic, and it has not been without hiccups. There were problems, for example with people finding Linux too complex.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Mac User Groups Fade in Number and Influence, but Devotees Press On
    When Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, presents an updated iPhone and other gadgets at an event on Wednesday, several hundred of the company’s invited guests will be seated in a giant auditorium in San Francisco to watch.

    More than 5,000 miles away in Britain, members of the London Mac User Group — comprising about 90 people, many of whom are longtime Apple enthusiasts — will also be watching Mr. Cook’s event closely, but via a live stream at a pub called the Sun Tavern. Along with bar snacks and pints, a bingo game and a raffle will be part of the fun. The top prize: an Apple accessory.

  • iPhone S Models blah-blah-blah, 12mp is truly lame at this time blah-blah-blah, annual market share will be down vs 2014
    So the new iPhone S models are out. Am so underwhelmed with 12mp camera as the big tech upgrade. The old joke still holds, to see what will be in next iPhone, look at a 5 year old Nokia flagship (yes the Nokia N8 had 12mp back in 2010). And rose gold color? Ooh, color me unimpressed. The time when colors were big news in mobile phones was about 15 years ago - incidentially also a Nokia invention. But yeah. So faster guts, big whoopte do.

    There was no dual SIM or waterproofing or anything radical that could help now. There was no update to the 'nano' model ie the entry-level model iPhone 5C. And these two 6S and 6S Plus iPhones will of course be appealing to Apple users who have been begging for more colors and better cameras but for the rest of us, no, this is not going to help reverse Apple's diminishing annual market share trend. But that gap in price/performance grows ever larger with each iPhone model and soon many consumers will simply arrive to the conclusion that the emperor doesn't have clothes (or the few it has, are way too expensive compared to rivals). iPhone market share will continue down. The iPhone owners (aka iSheep as I mockingly often call them and that is a crass oversimplification many do actually love Apple products for being the best gadgets in any category for usability and that is a virtue of course. Others love iToys for their bling factor, nothing wrong with that either if you go by style over substance).

  • Science

    • First new cache-coherence mechanism in 30 years
      In a modern, multicore chip, every core — or processor — has its own small memory cache, where it stores frequently used data. But the chip also has a larger, shared cache, which all the cores can access.

      If one core tries to update data in the shared cache, other cores working on the same data need to know. So the shared cache keeps a directory of which cores have copies of which data.

      That directory takes up a significant chunk of memory: In a 64-core chip, it might be 12 percent of the shared cache. And that percentage will only increase with the core count. Envisioned chips with 128, 256, or even 1,000 cores will need a more efficient way of maintaining cache coherence.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Homeopathy conference ends in chaos after delegates take hallucinogenic drug

      An alternative medicine conference has ended in chaos in Germany after dozens of delegates took a LSD-like drug and started suffering from hallucinations.

      Broadcaster NDR described the 29 men and women “staggering around, rolling in a meadow, talking gibberish and suffering severe cramps”.

      The group of "Heilpraktikers" was discovered at the hotel where they held their conference in the town of Handeloh, south of Hamburg, on Friday.

    • California Becomes First State to Label Monsanto’s Roundup As a Carcinogen
      In a first for the country, California’s Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) has issued plans to list glyphosate—the toxic active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—as known to cause cancer.

      According to a “notice of intent” issued last week by the Cal/EPA’s California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the effort falls under California’s Proposition 65, in which the state is required to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

    • Experts: Pending Health Insurance Mergers Will Hit Patients Right In The Wallet
      Impending multi-billion health insurance mergers involving four major providers have drawn the ire of patient advocacy groups that say such deals violate antitrust laws and threaten to fatten insurance companies’ coffers at patients’ expense.

    • Ciao GMO Crops – Europe Doesn’t Want You Around!
      The European Union has initiated plans to ban genetically modified crops. Currently, each country and sometimes each state can decide to approve GMO crop cultivation, creating a “patchwork” approach that is causing confusion and inconsistencies.

      GMO crops are allowed throughout North, Central, and South America, as well as Asia. In March, the EU approved a law allowing the European Commission to approve genetically modified crops individually for import, but also allows countries to opt-out of the importation even if deemed safe.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Nuclear Experts Praise Iran Nuclear Deal's Plutonium Concession As A Major Triumph
      Nuclear experts are lauding the Iran nuclear deal for ensuring a major turnaround in Iran's production of plutonium, a key concession ignored by critics of the deal.

    • Iran’s ‘Nuclear Ambitions’ Go Unquestioned in Coverage of Iran Deal Momentum
      In other words, if the deal with Iran fails, then the US must go to war with Iran, because war is the only means to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. So the entire spectrum of debate allowed by the Post accepts an Iranian quest for an atomic bomb as an article of faith–and the “left” edge of the debate endorses the legitimacy of preemptive war (, 8/20/15).

    • Media Fail To Note How The GOP Plan To Derail The Iran Agreement Is "Dishonest"
      Media outlets reported on congressional Republicans' plan to delay implementation of the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran by alleging President Obama inappropriately failed to provide details of the "side deals" between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Congress. But those outlets failed to note that the IAEA deal with Iran is confidential, which is "standard operating procedure" for agreements of this type.

    • In Washington, the nuclear deal with Iran is politically unstoppable
      US president Barack Obama doesn’t need to worry: for all intents and purposes, his signature foreign policy accomplishment—a nuclear deal with Iran—will be safe from a congressional override vote.

      The 159-page “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” that the president and his administration negotiated with Iran and the P5+1 (UN Security Council members plus Germany) was an endeavor that required an immense amount of political will and diplomatic acumen. US secretary of state John Kerry, secretary of energy Ernest Moniz, and undersecretary of state Wendy Sherman pulled it off after nearly two years of intensive talks with Iran’s delegation, led by one of the best negotiators in the world—Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

    • Hillary Clinton Goes to Militaristic, Hawkish Think Tank, Gives Militaristic, Hawkish Speech
      Leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this morning delivered a foreign policy speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington. By itself, the choice of the venue was revealing.

      Brookings served as Ground Zero for centrist think tank advocacy of the Iraq War, which Clinton (along with potential rival Joe Biden) notoriously and vehemently advocated. Brookings’ two leading “scholar”-stars – Kenneth Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon – spent all of 2002 and 2003 insisting that invading Iraq was wise and just, and spent the years after that assuring Americans that the “victorious” war and subsequent occupation was going really well (in April 2003, O’Hanlon debated with himself over whether the strategy that led to the “victory” in his beloved war should be deemed “brilliant” or just extremely “clever,” while in June, 2003, Pollack assured New York Times readers that Saddam’s WMD would be found).

    • Exclusive: I Can Reveal the Legal Advice on Drone Strikes, and How the Establishment Works
      This may be the most important article I ever post, because it reveals perfectly how the Establishment works and how the Red Tories and Blue Tories contrive to give a false impression of democracy. It is information I can only give you because of my experience as an insider.

      It is a definitive proof of the validity of the Chomskian propaganda model. It needs a fair bit of detail to do this, but please try and read through it because it really is very, very important. After you have finished, if you agree with me about the significance, please repost, (you are free to copy), retweet, add to news aggregators (Reddit etc) and do anything you can to get other people to pay attention.

      The government based its decision to execute by drone two British men in Syria on “Legal Opinion” from the Attorney-General for England and Wales, Jeremy Wright, a politician, MP and Cabinet Minister. But Wright’s legal knowledge comes from an undistinguished first degree from Exeter and a short career as a criminal defence barrister in Birmingham. His knowledge of public international law is virtually nil.


      The only known occasion when this did not happen was the Iraq War. Then the FCO Legal Advisers – unanimously – advised the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, that to invade Iraq was illegal. Jack Straw asked the Attorney General to dismiss the FCO chief Legal Adviser, Sir Michael Wood (Goldsmith refused). Blair sent Goldsmith to Washington where the Opinion was written for him to sign by George Bush’s lawyers. [I know this sounds incredible, but it is absolutely true]. Sir Michael Wood’s deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, resigned in protest.

      In consequence Blair and Straw decided that, again for the first time ever, the FCO’s chief legal adviser had to be appointed not from within the FCO legal advisers, who had all declared the war on Iraq to be illegal, but from outside. They had to find a distinguished public international lawyer who was prepared to argue that the war on Iraq was legal. That was a very small field. Blair and Straw thus turned to Benjamin Netanyahu’s favourite lawyer, Daniel Bethlehem.


      Jeremy Wright pretends to give a Legal Opinion, actually from FCO legal advisers based on the “Bethlehem Doctrine”. The Labour Party pretends, very unconvincingly, to be an opposition. The Guardian, apparently the leading “opposition” intellectual paper, publishes articles by its staff neo-con propagandists Joshua Rozenberg (married to Melanie Phillips) and Rafael Behr strongly supporting the government’s new powers of extrajudicial execution. In summer 2012 Joshua Rozenberg presented a programme on BBC Radio 4 entitled “Secret courts, drones and international law” which consisted mostly of a fawning interview with … Daniel Bethlehem. The BBC and Sky News give us wall to wall justification of the killings.

    • The Hidden Structure of Violence: Who Benefits From Global Violence and War
      Authors Mark Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree discuss their new book, “The Hidden Structure of Violence: Who Benefits From Global Violence and War.” They contend that organized violence is not an inescapable part of human existence, but is organized and carried out by the dominant social order to enhance its own power.

      In the second half of the program, Tara Dorabji joins in to explain how violence and social control are wielded in two of the world’s occupied lands, Palestine and Kashmir, and the role women play in preserving life and culture in those areas, despite the occupiers’ brutality.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ​The US Owes the World $4 Trillion for Trashing the Climate
      In a just world the United States would pay back the $4 trillion dollars it owes, according to new research, for trashing the climate.

      Global warming wasn’t created equal. Rich, industrialized nations have contributed the lion’s share of the carbon pollution to our currently-unfolding catastrophe—the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the hotter it gets, of course—while smaller, poorer, and more agrarian countries are little to blame. The subsequent warming from our carbon-stuffed skies will, naturally, impact everyone, often hitting the poorer countries harder. So, since the rich fueled the crisis that’s about to soak the poor, they might help chip in to soften the blow.

      That, in super-basic terms, is the concept of climate debt, which guides current emissions negotiations and efforts to distribute funds for adaptation to nations most affected by climate change. If you acknowledge, as the UN does, that there’s a carbon budget—an amount of greenhouse gas pollution the world can collectively churn out before we land in dangerous warming territory, currently figured at a 2ËšC threshold—then it follows that nations that have overstepped theirs should pay back those who haven’t.

    • NRA's Ted Nugent Wants To Drive Over "Rotting Corpses" Of Al Gore And "Pathetic" Environmentalists
      National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent shared a Facebook post on September 9 showing off several cars and wrote (sic throughout): "Look closely & you shall see a huge leaking pipeline connected directly to a Saudi Prince's ass sucking massive quantities of rawcrude as I throttle relentlessly over the rotting corpses of mikeymoore & algore & all the pathetic greenies." "Greenie" is a term for an environmentalist or conservationist.

  • Finance

    • Uruguay Withdraws From TISA, Strikes A Symbolic Blow Against The Trade Deal Ratchet
      In other words, the ratchet clause ensures that there is only one direction of travel -- towards greater deregulation, and greater loss of control by sovereign nations.

      TISA is unusual for being honest about introducing a ratchet. But there's another, more subtle, kind of ratchet that acts on all major treaties. It means that once a country has joined the negotiations, it becomes increasingly hard to back out, whatever the growing reservations of its public once they find out what is being done in their name. Indeed, that one-way street is one of the most powerful features of trade agreements: corporations only need to get some coveted but controversial measure inserted in a treaty's text, and it will automatically cascade down to all the signatories, however much they -- or their people -- may dislike it. It's how things like anti-circumvention laws for DRM were brought in: once it was included in the WIPO Copyright Treaty, all signatories had to pass legislation implementing it, because they had "no choice", the treaty "forced" them to do it -- a convenient excuse for passing unpopular laws.

    • Does Your Candidate Support Workers’ Interests? David Brooks Thinks You Have a Psychological Problem
      New York Times columnist David Brooks discussed the rise of Jeremy Corbyn on the left in the Labor Party in the United Kingdom and Bernie Sanders on the left in the United States, along with Donald Trump and Ben Carson on the right. He argues that none of these people could conceivably win a national election. He therefore concludes that their support must stem from a psychological problem, which he identifies as “expressive individualism.”

    • ‘They Were Willing to Pay the Price With Other People’s Bodies’ - CounterSpin interview with Felicia Kornbluh on the legacy of 'welfare reform'
      Janine Jackson: In 1996, Bill Clinton signed something called “The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act,” calling it an effort to “end welfare as we know it” and to “promote fundamental values of work, responsibility and family.” Ten years later, Clinton took a victory lap with a New York Times column headed “How We Ended Welfare, Together,” shouting out “the Democrats and Republicans who had the courage to work together to take bold action,” which Clinton claimed led to a “new beginning” for millions of Americans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • National Geographic gives Fox control of media assets in $725 million deal
      Ever since it was launched from the temple-like headquarters of the National Geographic Society in Washington in 1888, National Geographic magazine has illuminated the world’s hidden places and revealed its natural wonders.

    • Fox expands National Geographic partnership by buying NG media unit for $725M
      Fox has had an 18-year partnership with the society, in which the two have jointly owned and operated National Geographic cable network channels that are distributed worldwide. But the latest deal expands the relationship. Fox and the society will create a new corporate entity, called National Geographic Partners, that will own and operate nearly all other National Geographic media operations, including the cable networks, the famous yellow-border magazine, the video studio, books, maps, children’s media, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses.

    • Watch These Fox News Hosts Promote A Hate Group Leader's New Book
      Fox News hosts have used the controversy surrounding Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis to repeatedly hawk the new book from a man considered one of America's most extreme and prominent anti-gay hate-group leaders.

      Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council (FRC), an organization that has been labeled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spreading damaging lies about gay people, including the myth that they are more likely to engage in pedophilia.

    • Trump And How The Media's Birther Blind Spot Keeps Getting Bigger
      For instance, since June 1, the New York Times has published approximately 180 articles or columns that included the word "Trump" five or more times, according to Nexis. But just a handful of those have made any mention of Trump's previous birth certificate folly. The same goes for USA Today and the Los Angeles Times, for example: Nearly 180 detailed Trump articles and columns published since June between them, but just a few that have addressed the birther nonsense.

    • Comcast-Owned Vox Explains the Great Deal You’re Getting From Comcast
      It appears Ezra Klein’s new media startup Vox is taking on many of the habits of old media—like blurring the lines between business and editorial by running a thinly disguised commercial for Comcast, the cable giant that not only seeded Vox‘s initial run, but recently invested $200 million more in its parent, Vox Media, Inc.

    • Scott Walker's Day One Plan to "Wreak Havoc" Lifted from ALEC
      If Scott Walker is elected president, he will enact American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) policies on the first day of his presidency.

      Walker was an ALEC member as a state legislator, and according to outlets like The Guardian, Walker could be "The First ALEC President."

  • Censorship

    • Saudi Arabia bans National Geographic cover about Pope Francis
      Saudi Arabia has banned the August issue of National Geographic’s Arabic edition, whose cover featured Pope Francis standing inside the Sistine Chapel.

      In a statement published on National Geographic’s Arabic Language Twitter account, the magazine said the edition was banned for “cultural reasons.”

      “Dear readers in Saudi Arabia, we apologize that you did not receive August’s magazine,” the editor-in-chief, Alsaad Omar al-Menhaly wrote, Foreign Policy magazine reported. “According to the distribution company, the magazine was refused entry for cultural reasons.”

    • WordPress Adds Subaru to Takedown “Hall of Shame” is taking a strong stance against rightsholders who abuse its takedown process. The company maintains a "hall of shame" which recently expanded with the addition of Subaru. The car manufacturer tried to take down a blog which was created in response to one of Subaru's own contests.

    • Ex-Ashley Madison CTO threatens Brian Krebs with libel suit over rival hacking claims
      One of the more unusual things to come from the Ashley Madison hack was the discovery that AM's founding CTO, Raja Bhatia, had apparently hacked another company, Nerve, after that company expressed an interest in setting up a competing adult dating service.

      That story was first reported by Brian Krebs, and it seems that Bhatia, no longer at Ashley Madison, isn't very happy with it. His lawyer has threatened Krebs with a libel suit.

    • New Zealand protests planned in solidarity with banned book
      Silent readings of Ted Dawe’s Into the River are being planned across New Zealand tomorrow in protest at the much-praised young adult novel’s nationwide ban.

      Following a complaint from Christian group Family First about the award-winning title’s “detailed descriptions of sex acts, coarse language and scenes of drug-taking”, New Zealand’s Board of Film and Literature Review has placed an interim restriction order on Into the River, meaning that “no one in New Zealand can distribute, or exhibit, the book”. Individuals who breach the order face a fine of $3,000 and companies who breach it will be fined $10,000. The board will revise the order and consider a permanent age restriction for the novel in October.

  • Privacy

      Prior to two weeks ago, when this reporter alerted authorities that they had exposed critical data, anyone online was able to freely access a City of Boston automated license plate reader (ALPR) system and to download dozens of sensitive files, including hundreds of thousands of motor vehicle records dating back to 2012. If someone saw your shiny car and wanted to rob your equally nice house, for example, they could use your parking permit number to obtain your address. All they had to do was find the server’s URL.

    • Class action launched against Facebook over biometric slurpage
      Facebook has been hit with a class-action complaint over its biometrics slurpage, with millions of possible plaintiffs who may claim damages if the advertising giant is found to have acted unlawfully.

      The complaint (PDF) states that "Facebook has created, collected and stored over a billion 'face templates' (or 'face prints')", which, ostensibly, are as uniquely identifiable as fingerprints. These have been gathered "from over a billion individuals, millions of whom reside in the State of Illinois".

    • EFF to ICANN: Privacy Must be Purposeful—Not an Afterthought
      The working group at Internet Corporation for Assignment of Names and Number (ICANN) that has been tasked with designing a new domain registration database can’t seem to wrap its head around why privacy matters when it comes to domain registration services. ICANN’s Expert Working Group on gTLD Registration Directory Services (EWG) issued a Preliminary Issue Report on Next-Generation gTLD Registration Directory Services to Replace WHOIS in July, and EFF has submitted comments.

    • ​Europeans to win the right to sue in US courts over privacy breaches
      Europeans whose data has been mishandled by US authorities will soon have the right to take legal action in the US courts.

      EU citizens' right to seek legal redress in the US comes as part of a new EU-US data protection agreement covering instances where EU citizens' personal data is involved in US criminal and terrorism investigations. The deal brings rights of EU citizens in line with those of US citizens, who can sue in European courts for similar privacy breaches.

    • Legal Actions Before the French Council of State and Constitutional Council
      Since January 2015, La Quadrature du Net, FDN and the FDN Federation have begun a series of legal actions before the French Council of State and the French Constitutional Council against the laws and the implementing decrees that these associations consider fatal to civil liberties. In order to help people to follow over time the different stages of these procedures, this page explains in a few lines each of these appeals and their progresses.

  • Civil Rights

    • Top female student takes on corruption in Egypt after scoring zero on exams
      Dubbed ‘zero schoolgirl’, Mariam Malak is drawing national attention after appeals to investigate forgery allegations were repeatedly dodged by authorities

    • Hungarian nationalist TV camera operator filmed kicking refugee children
      A camera operator for a Hungarian nationalist television channel closely linked to the country’s far-right Jobbik party has been filmed kicking two refugee children and tripping up a man at the border hotspot of RÅ‘szke on Tuesday.

      Petra László of N1TV was filming a group of refugees running away from police officers, when a man carrying a child in his arms ran in front of her. László stuck her leg out in front of the man, causing him to fall on the child he was carrying. He turned back and remonstrated with László, who continued filming.

    • The price of Europe’s fecklessness
      In Luis Bunuel’s eponymous 1961 film, the young postulant Viridiana leaves her convent to claim her uncle’s rural estate, and creates a refuge for local beggars. They ransack her house in a bachannalia staged to lampoon the Last Supper, and a couple of them rape her. The classic film should be mandatory viewing for European officials caught up in refugee euphoria. This is going to end very, very badly.

    • How Inmates and Loved Ones Review Jails on Yelp
      A few years back, Jenny Vekris says she was prescribed the sleeping pill Ambien for insomnia. It took her a while to figure out that the drug was affecting her in dangerous ways. “I’d wake up to car damage, bruises, fast-food wrappers, and who knows what else, because I was sleeping and driving,” she says. Twice, she woke up in jail. One of those times, she was charged with a DWI.

      When she got home, she turned to a place she knew she’d be understood: Yelp.

      “So, one morning, I wake up next to a girl in the big house. It took a minute to realize where I was, and I started asking the girl questions,” Vekris wrote in a review of the Austin city jail, which is more formally known as Travis County Jail. “My Cellie told me I was in jail, and then she started crying. I asked why, and she said she had to poop. That’s cool, whatever, do it. So she sits on the silver toilet, pooping and crying, and apologizing to me.” Twenty-six people marked the review “useful” and 22 thought it was “cool.”

    • We Need the Right to Repair Our Gadgets
      We don’t have to keep buying new gadgets. In fact, we should insist on the right to keep old ones running.

      Who hasn’t experienced a situation like this? Halfway through a classic Jack Lemmon DVD, my colleague Shira’s 40-inch TV conked out. Nothing showed up on the screen when she pressed the power button. The TV just hiccupped, going, “Clip-clop. Clip-clop.”

    • Houston cops shoot unarmed black patient in hospital — and then charge him with assault
      Alan Pean is a 26-year-old biology student with no criminal record or history of violence. But on August 27th, he was shot in the chest by an off-duty Houston police officer working as a security guard at the St. Joseph Medical Center. The police are claiming that Alan became combative and that they followed standard operating procedure. It’s Alan, they say, who is as fault, and they have charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant. He was arraigned today.

    • O'Reilly: "I Think General Powell Needs To Apologize To The American People" For Supporting Black Lives Matter

    • Female cartoonist could have 12 year prison term extended for shaking her lawyer's hand

      An Iranian artist currently serving more than 12 years in prison for criticising the government now faces further charges of “indecency” for allegedly shaking her male lawyer’s hand.

      Amnesty International reports that Atena Farghadani, 29, who was jailed after she depicted Iranian government officials as monkeys and goats in a satirical cartoon, may face a longer sentence amid claims over the handshake.
    • Letter to Obama regarding plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility
      I write on behalf of Human Rights Watch concerning recent reports of an administration plan to close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay that would include transferring a number of detainees there to the United States.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Software-Defined Radio May Cause FCC to Restrict WiFi Modifications
      The comment period for the Federal Communications Commission's notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on software-defined radios was supposed to end on Sept. 8. But the FCC has extended the comment period because the topic is complex, and the parties involved need time to work.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Getty Images Tries To Copyright Troll 2600 Magazine Over Content It Has No Copyright Over
        So, we were just discussing Getty Images' latest foray into ridiculous copyright trolling (something the company has a long history with), by demanding money for a meme image used on a blog. Today, we have another example of Getty Images copyright trolling that is even worse. It's so bad, that Getty Images doesn't even have a legitimate copyright claim here at all, let alone abusing a legitimate copyright to shakedown someone. The target? The famed hacker publication 2600, which a Getty subsidiary, Trunk Archive, claimed was infringing on one of its images.

      • Testing Old Tapes For Playability

        Audio recordings are a huge part of the world’s cultural history—and some are in danger of degrading so much that they’ll be lost forever. Now researchers report that infrared spectroscopy offers a quick, noninvasive way to separate magnetic tapes that can still be played from those that can’t. This could help archivists know which tapes need special handling, and soon, before they get any worse. (Anal. Chem. 2015, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b01810).

        The Cultural Heritage Index estimates that there are 46 million magnetic tapes (VHS, cassette, and others) in museums and archives in the U.S. alone—and about 40% of them are of unknown quality. Many of these tapes are reaching the end of their playable lifetime, and given the limited number of studio-quality tape players available for the digitizing process, not all the tapes will be digitized before the world loses them.

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