Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 22/2/2016: IceWeasel/Firefox Debian Debate, Linux-powered Microwave

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • ETSI Launches Open Source Mano Group
    A total of 23 Service Providers and Solution Vendors have announced their intent to join the Open Source MANO (OSM) Community in the Mobile World Congress being held in Barcelona focused on delivering an open source Management and Orchestration (MANO) stack aligned with ETSI NFV Information Models. OSM has been created under the umbrella of ETSI and it is an operator-led community to meet the requirements of production NFV networks such as a common Information Model (IM) that has been defined, implemented and released in open source software.

  • OSM Demos First Steps to Open Source MANO
    A new ETSI-based open source community, launched this week, is demonstrating its model-based approach to management and orchestration for NFV here at Mobile World Congress, hoping to build consensus and speed practical deployment of virtualization by solving its most persistent problem.

  • How to choose a brand name for your open source project
    When it comes to developing a new open source software project, most developers don't spend a lot of time thinking about brand strategy. After all, a great idea, solid code, and a passionate community are what really matter when you're getting a project underway.

  • Web Log: Quitter appeals to Twitter deserters

    All the hoo-hah around Twitter tweaking its timeline, shortly after ditching ‘favourites’ for ‘likes’, along with its decision to censor certain content and accounts, has left some folks weary and wary of the microblogging platform.

    If you’re planning on quitting Twitter perhaps you plan on tweeting via Quitter?

    That’s a bit of a mouthful but Quitter is an ad-free, not-for-profit alternative that runs on a volunteer basis.

  • Mejiro Update: Responsive and Improved
    As always, a Mejiro demo is available for your viewing pleasure. And you can download the latest version of the app from the project’s GitHub repository.

  • Events

    • Connfa: An open source mobile app for conferences and events
      Connfa is an open source app for conferences and events aimed to make paper brochures a thing of the past. Yes, those large, clumsy brochures.

      Imagine you're at a conference. A nice person at the reception desk checks your ticket and hands you one of these bright and shiny paper program guides. You walk off and start circling the events you want to attend. Everything goes fine until you miss the session you wanted to go to because you confused the date, or maybe you spent ages looking for the venue. To top it all off, you forget the brochure the next day and you're pretty lost. Sound familiar?

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox: on the right fix, and why the Bugzilla breach made me proud
        At Mozilla, we keep security-sensitive bug reports confidential until the information in them is no longer dangerous. This week we’re opening to the public a group of security bugs that document a major engineering effort to remove the rocket science of writing secure browser code and make Firefox’s front-end, DOM APIs, and add-on ecosystem secure by default. It removed a whole class of security bugs in Firefox - and helped mitigate the impact of a bug-tracker breach last summer.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • ls output changes considered unacceptable
      There are some software changes that are simple accidents resulting in bugs; folks find them, fix them, and all is well. Then there are intentional changes, which don't affect functionality, but instead change _essential aesthetics_. These are much more alarming issues, the kind of issues that get under your skin, that disrupt your relationship with the terminal, as though you suddenly woke up and all your countrymen but not you spoke with a hardly comprehensible accent. It's a shock, a disruption, a psychological chasm. And, when such a change is made in software considered "core", by a single individual unilaterally without extremely wide consultation of the larger community, it is clear that a grave an unacceptable thing has happened. The recent change to ls (commit 109b922) must be reverted immediately, a new package version released, and only after large multi-distro discussion might a similar change be made.

  • Programming

    • Don't use the greater than sign in programming
      Has 15 other possible ways to be expressed if you include the greater than sign and don't make your expressions conform to the number line.

    • Upgraded to Jekyll 3.0
      Github Pages now supports Jekyll 3.0 which has some backward incompatible features, so I have decided to upgrade. I was quite surprised when I realized I am still using Jekyll 1.0 and everything was working great so far!

    • GCC vs. Clang On POWER8 Is A Competitive Compiler Match
      Most often when running GCC vs. LLVM Clang compiler benchmark comparisons it's done on Intel/AMD x86 hardware or occasionally on ARM when benchmarking an interesting ARMv7/ARMv8 system. However, in having remote access last weekend to the prototype of the Talos Secure Workstation powered by a POWER8 design, I was very anxious to run some compiler benchmarks to see how these open-source compilers compete on the alternative architecture.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Mercury Splatters the Central U.S.
      Several years after scientists thought they had put the problem to rest, they have once again discovered increasing concentrations of mercury, this time in rainwater. “It’s a surprising result,” says David Gay from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, who is a co-author on the new study. “Everybody expected [mercury levels] to continue going down. But our analysis shows that may not necessarily be the case.”

    • Flint’s Poisoned Children Deserve the Truth
      The Michigan Legislature must amend the state’s Freedom of Information law to include itself and the governor’s office.

      By now, you've surely heard about the Flint water crisis. And you probably know why it happened: After the state of Michigan suspended democracy in the impoverished, predominantly African-American city, emergency managers appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder were given absolute power to make unilateral decisions that resulted in the lead poisoning of the municipality’s water supply.

      Congress, the Department of Justice, and the FBI are all conducting investigations. And the ACLU of Michigan, along with the National Resource Defense Council, local pastors and residents, is litigating to force the state to replace lead service lines immediately.

    • US School Agrees to Pay $8,500 to Get Rid of Ransomware
      As criminal probes and lawsuits examine the Flint water crisis, some of the key decision makers have been reluctant to discuss their roles.

      But their e-mails, released under the Freedom of Information Act, offer contemporaneous accounts of the crisis as it was happening. Here are some of the e-mails exchanges that have been recently released and what they show about a crisis that has drawn international attention.

    • Russian doping official planned book before sudden death
      The former executive director of the Russian anti-doping agency planned to write a book on drug use in sports shortly before his sudden death, a former colleague and Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported Sunday.

      Sunday Times sports writer David Walsh, renowned for his coverage of cycling champion Lance Armstrong's doping, reported that Nikita Kamaev wrote to him in November offering to reveal information on doping covering the last three decades since Kamaev began work for a "secret lab" in the Soviet Union.

  • Security

    • SMEs vulnerable through insufficient IT, data security

      Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to breaches of IT security, according to a newly published survey which finds that security of data and IT systems is a growing concern for business leaders across Australia.

      Despite facing the same online risks as larger corporates, research by recruitment agency Robert Half the shows that small and medium businesses typically use fewer data protection tools than large companies.

    • US School Agrees to Pay $8,500 to Get Rid of Ransomware [Ed: Microsoft Windows]
      Administrators of the Horry County school district (South Carolina, US) have agreed to make a $8,500 / €7,600 payment to get rid of a ransomware infection that has affected the school's servers.

    • Linux Computers Targeted with Fresh Fysbis Spying Malware
      One fresh malicious program called Fysbis, whose other name is Linux.BackDoor.Fysbis has been created for targeting Linux computers through installation of a backdoor which reportedly opens the machine's access to the malware owner, thus facilitating him with spying on the user as well as carrying out more attacks.

    • CVE-2016-2384: arbitrary code execution due to a double-free in the usb-midi linux kernel driver
      This post describes an exploitable vulnerability (CVE-2016-2384) in the usb-midi Linux kernel driver. The vulnerability is present only if the usb-midi module is enabled, but as far as I can see many modern distributions do this. The bug has been fixed upstream.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Gallup Poll Shows Americans Prefer Terrorist Nations Over Iran. Why?
      A February 17th Gallup Poll showed that Americans prefer the chief nation that sponsors international terrorism, when given a choice between that terrorist-sponsoring nation and Iran. The disapproval shown of Iran is 79%; the approval is 14%. Back in 2014, the disapproval / approval were 84%/12%. At that time, Saudi Arabia had figures of 57%/35%. Iran was seen by Americans as being even more hostile toward Americans than Saudi Arabia.

    • The Saudi Slaughter in Yemen
      Although the Saudis have promised a high-level committee to investigate civilian deaths from their airstrikes in Yemen, they continue to strike civilian targets with countless deaths and destructions.

    • Darkness at High Noon in Korea
      As the world focuses on the war in Syria, the refugee crisis in Europe, and the primary slugfest in the United States, the two Koreas are heading toward a catastrophe in the Far East.

      Although relations on the Korean peninsula have been deteriorating for the better part of eight years, the last six months have been particularly tense. North Korea recently conducted its fourth nuclear test and followed up with a satellite launch using a long-range rocket. The international community reacted in its customary fashion, with condemnations and the imposition of more sanctions. South Korea joined in the chorus of disapproval.

    • Jeb Bush Is Dropping Out of the GOP Race. Here’s Why I’ll Miss His Campaign.
      There were more than a few reasons for a libertarian (or, okay, anyone) to dislike Jeb Bush: his consistent support for his brother George W. Bush’s administration, his aggressive backing of awful government surveillance programs, his general air of hawkishness, and the easy, entitled comfort with which he slipped into his place as the early favorite of the Republican party establishment. Jeb Bush and his supporters stood for continuity with the GOP under his brother, and all that was wrong with it.

    • It Took Jeb $150 Million, 250 Days And 3 States To Figure Out Republicans Don’t Want More Bush
      The massive expenditure of funds earned him 2.8 percent of the vote in Iowa, 11 percent of the vote in New Hampshire and, at the time he announced his withdrawal from the race, about 8 percent of the vote in South Carolina.

    • Uber Driver Allegedly Responsible For Kalamazoo Shooting Spree That Killed 6
      Police have arrested a suspect for a six-hour shooting spree that started in an apartment complex parking lot and ended in a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

      Jason Brian Dalton, a 45-year-old Uber driver, is suspected of killing six people and injuring two at random with a semiautomatic handgun during multiple shootings Saturday night. The shootings started around 6 p.m. when a woman was shot four times while with her three children. CNN reported the woman is in serious condition but is expected to survive the attack.

    • Kosovo Chaos Undercuts Clinton ‘Success’
      President Bill Clinton’s Kosovo war of 1999 was loved by neocons and liberal hawks—the forerunner for Iraq, Libya, Syria and other conflicts this century—but Kosovo’s political violence and lawlessness today underscore the grim consequences of those strategies even when they “succeed,” writes Jonathan Marshall.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • South Florida’s Tourist Season From Hell
      February and March are the prime times for tourists to come to Florida for a respite from cold winter weather. So imagine the panic that people who run fishing charters, paddle board concessions, beachfront hotels and restaurants are feeling as dark agricultural swill gushes from the state’s center to the east and west coasts, killing marine life.

      “It's brown, it stinks, it's cold,” a tourist from New Mexico told a TV reporter in Fort Myers."It doesn't look very appealing to get into to go swimming in.”

    • Why I Support Dr. Jill Stein for President
      The political crisis in America is severe. The old ideas that buttressed the ruling class and promised democracy, growth and prosperity—neoliberalism, austerity, globalization, endless war, a dependence on fossil fuel and unregulated capitalism—have been exposed as fictions used by the corporate elite to impoverish and enslave the country and enrich and empower themselves. Sixty-two billionaires have as much wealth as half the world’s population, 3.5 billion people. This fact alone is revolutionary tinder.

      We are entering a dangerous moment when few people, no matter what their political orientation, trust the power elite or the ruling neoliberal ideology. The rise of right-wing populism, with dark undertones of fascism, looks set in the next presidential election—as it does in parts of Europe—to pit itself against the dying gasps of the corporate establishment.

    • NOAA Forecast for Red Tide in Florida
      A red tide, or harmful algal bloom, is the rapid growth of microscopic algae. Some produce toxins that have harmful effects on people, fish, marine mammals, and birds. In Florida and Texas, this is primarily caused by the harmful algae species, Karenia brevis. It can result in varying levels of eye and respiratory irritation for people, which may be more severe for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions (such as asthma). The blooms can also cause large fish kills and discolored water along the coast.

    • Preparing for the Collapse of the Saudi Kingdom
      For half a century, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the linchpin of U.S. Mideast policy. A guaranteed supply of oil has bought a guaranteed supply of security. Ignoring autocratic practices and the export of Wahhabi extremism, Washington stubbornly dubs its ally “moderate.” So tight is the trust that U.S. special operators dip into Saudi petrodollars as a counterterrorism slush fund without a second thought. In a sea of chaos, goes the refrain, the kingdom is one state that’s stable.

  • Finance

    • An Open Letter To My CEO
      I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job. Not because I’m lazy, but because I got this ten pound bag of rice before I moved here and my meals at home (including the one I’m having as I write this) consist, by and large, of that. Because I can’t afford to buy groceries. Bread is a luxury to me, even though you’ve got a whole fridge full of it on the 8th floor. But we’re not allowed to take any of that home because it’s for at-work eating. Of which I do a lot. Because 80 percent of my income goes to paying my rent. Isn’t that ironic? Your employee for your food delivery app that you spent $300 million to buy can’t afford to buy food. That’s gotta be a little ironic, right?
    • Bank of Finland predicts country will be cash-free by 2029

    • More Than 100 State and Local Governments Considering Anti-TPP Resolutions
      More than 100 state and local governments have introduced or passed resolutions opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In addition, more than 100 resolutions opposing the TPP were passed at recent precinct caucuses in Iowa.

    • TTIP reading room to open in the UK, but campaigners warn of lack of transparency
      The UK government has announced its plans to open a special ‘TTIP reading room’ where MPs are able to read the negotiating texts of the controversial trade deal being negotiated between the EU and the USA – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The announcement was made in response to a written parliamentary question by Caroline Lucas MP, in advance of the 12th round of the TTIP negotiations which start in Brussels on 22 February.
    • Secret TTIP talks resume Monday as EU-US rifts deepen
      EU and US resume their negotiations next week over the TTIP trade and investment deal. But deep rifts have emerged over the corporate courts in which investors can sue governments for any actions that reduce their profits. Meanwhile MPs are seething over their restricted access to draft texts and negotiating documents.

    • A New Infographic on TPP and Your Digital Rights
      Anyone familiar with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may find that it can be challenging to explain to others, in simple terms, how it threatens our rights online and over our digital devices. We often begin by describing the secretive, corporate-captured process of the negotiations that ultimately led to the final deal, then go into some of the specific policies—including its ban on circumventing digital locks (aka Digital Rights Management or DRM), its copyright term extensions that will lengthen restrictions on creative works by 20 years, and its inclusion of "investor-state" rules that could empower multinational corporations to undermine new user protections in the TPP countries.
    • Canada’s first Chinese FIPA case in the making?
      You never know where the next huge story is going to come from. I remember the first time I saw Enbridge’s proposal for a West Coast oil tanker port mentioned in a tiny newspaper article 15 years ago, and we know what happened with that.

    • Globe & Mail columnist calls for scrapping ISDS to save CETA
      The Globe and Mail's national business correspondent Barrie McKenna has a solution to getting the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) through the European Parliament – drop the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision.

    • In Murky 2016 Contest, Clear Opposition to Trade Agreements
      One of the few things clarified by a presidential contest where much remains unclear is the diminished support for–and, in some quarters, outright hostility toward–more trade deals. This goes beyond candidates pledging support for “fair trade” rather than “free trade,” which is par for the course during campaign season. What’s happening this cycle has implications for not only the next administration but also the global economy.

    • Obama Punts On Trade Agreement With EU
      The Obama administration has all but given up on a trade agreement with the European Union.

      Negotiations on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership continue, but the administration is so invested in saving its other free trade agreement – the Trans-Pacific Partnership – that it has punted the T-TIP to the next administration.

    • Majority of U.S. Public School Students Live in Poverty
      For the first time since the Great Depression, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation.

    • You Can’t Earn a Living on the Minimum Wage
      When presidential candidate Bernie Sanders talks about income inequality, and when other candidates speak about the minimum wage and food stamps, what are they really talking about? Whether they know it or not, it’s something like this.

    • Looking for ‘Revitalization’ in All the Wrong Places
      On the one hand, using the Kings arena as a hook to examine chronic homelessness (though the examination here doesn’t go much beyond “it exists”) isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially for local newscasts that almost never focus on the lives of the poor. But on the other, this report reveals how deeply messed up local development reporting can be.


      The FOX40 reporters who put together this piece probably didn’t think that this was the message they were conveying, but that shouldn’t let them off the hook. If you’re going to be a journalist, it’s vitally important that you think about not only what you’re covering, but how you’re covering it, and what assumptions go into the way you frame your story.

    • Billionaire-Owned Observer Whines About Democratization of Media in 2016’s Worst Op-ed
      Second only to glib equivalencies between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, 2016’s most popular lazy media trope is the idea that rabid Sanders fans have unleashed dark populist forces that threaten our republic. Both are fairly common, and more or less write themselves if the author tosses coherence and intellectual honesty out the window. But it’s rare that both are on such stark display as with New York Observer‘s editor-at-large Ryan Holiday’s recent op-ed (2/17/16).

      The diatribe, “The Cause of This Nightmare Election? Media Greed and Shameless Traffic Worship,” poses as media criticism but is little more than petulant establishment gatekeeping. Let’s begin with the thesis, or what passes for one, which is that the democratization of media has created a “sub-prime market” for the media.

    • Presstitutes At Work
      Like the Supreme Court the presstitutes have aligned themselves with the rich and powerful. Fox “News” reported that Marco Rubio, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, declared that to make the poor rich requires making the rich poor and we shouldn’t make the rich poor. Apparently, Fox “News” believes that aligning Rubio with the One Percent is helpful to his political career. Fox showed Rubio’s audience cheering and applauding his defense of the One Percent.

      This is “democratic America” where the people have no representation.

    • ‘Nobody Asked a Worker!’

    • NYT Rounds Up ‘Left-Leaning Economists’ for a Unicorn Hunt

      With Hillary Clinton ramping up her attacks on Bernie Sanders as a budget-buster—in the February 11 debate, she claimed his proposals would increase the size of government by 40 percent—the New York Times (2/15/16) offered a well-timed intervention in support of her efforts: “Left-Leaning Economists Question Cost of Bernie Sanders’ Plans.”

      While the “left-leaning” is no doubt meant to suggest critiques from those who would be inclined to sympathize with Sanders, all the quoted economists have ties to the Democratic establishment. So slight is their leftward lean that it would require very sensitive equipment to measure.

      Opinion pieces critical of Sanders often begin with a pledge of allegiance to his “impracticality.”

    • Wall Street Analyst Says Hillary Clinton Would Be the Best President for Healthcare Investors
      Amidst a tense battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over competing visions for health care, a leading Wall Street analyst has put out a report saying that Clinton would be the best candidate for healthcare investors.

    • Hillary Clinton Again Declines to Disclose What She Told Big Banks in Her Paid Speeches
      The guy in the audience said it was a matter of trust. “Please just release those transcripts so we know exactly where you stand,” he said.

      But Hillary Clinton wasn’t going there. At the MSNBC town hall with the Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday evening in Las Vegas, Clinton once again refused to release transcripts or recordings of the secret speeches she was paid millions of dollars to make to Wall Street banks.

    • Voodoo Journalism: Dr. Krugman Strikes Again—Risking His Credibility
      Paul Krugman is at it again. This time, he’s using his position as the leading progressive columnist in the “nation’s newspaper of record,” to ballyhoo a letter from four former heads of the Council of Economic Advisors.

      Their letter criticizes an economic analysis of Bernie Sanders’ policies performed by University of Massachusetts economist, Gerald Friedman, which found that Sander’s platform would increase growth by 5.3%.

      Krugman’s column this past Friday suggests that the former CEA chiefs’ letter puts Bernie in the same camp as the Republicans, who’ve been spouting voodoo economics such as trickle-down and the elixir of tax cuts for decades now, complete with magic asterisks designed to make nearly $6 trillion in deficits disappear.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Hillary is the foolish idealist: Clinton derides Sanders as naive, but has no plan for battling GOP obstruction
      Throughout this Democratic primary season, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly cast herself as “a progressive who likes to get things done,” and her opponent, Bernie Sanders, as a foolish idealist whose ideas “sound good on paper but will never make it in the real world.”

      “I want you to understand, I will not promise you something I cannot deliver,” she told a South Carolina crowd last Friday. “I will not make promises I know I cannot keep.”

      But, contrary to these assurances of realism and pragmatism, Clinton has actually set forth a bold, sweeping agenda to transform America.

    • This is the key to Bernie Sanders’ political revolution: Here’s how we beat GOP obstruction
      It is my belief that Sen. Bernie Sanders will be the next president of the United States — a belief I’ve held since he first announced. Bernie is one of the most gifted politicians I have ever observed. He’s a person of great integrity and very clever. Many thought that calling himself a democratic socialist doomed his presidential candidacy, initially causing “the powers that be” to dismiss him. It turned out to have been an asset because this lack of national attention from opinion-makers permitted Bernie to grow his movement below the radar.

    • Why Bernie Can Win
      The pundits are wrong. Bernie Sanders is the most electable candidate this November.

    • Team Clinton: Fools, Damn Fools and Democrats
      However, we Americans are bombarded relentlessly with mind numbing pro-regime, pro-status quo propaganda. This is why it is always worthwhile repeating information that is out there already.

    • WATCH: Amy Goodman Critiques Media Coverage of Election 2016 on CNN's "Reliable Sources"
      " is astounding that Bernie Sanders is where he is today. Look at that Tyndall Center report that found in 2015, in the months leading up to December, you had 234 total network minutes, like almost four hours, CBS, NBC, ABC, covering Trump. That’s four hours and how much got coverage? Sanders got 10 minutes. On ABC World News Tonight in that year, Sanders got 20 seconds. Trump got like 81 minutes," said Goodman.

    • Backed by Airline Dollars, Congress Rejects Effort to Address Shrinking Legroom
      An amendment to address shrinking legroom for airline passengers was defeated recently by members of Congress fueled by campaign dollars from the airline industry.

      An amendment proposed by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., would have required the federal government to study the issue of shrinking legroom and allowed it to set a minimum dimension for commercial airline seats.

    • Hillary Wins a Squeaker in Nevada, But It's a Rout in the Headlines
      In case you've ever wondered about the value of a narrow 5-point win in a state you were expected to take easily, just take a look at today's headlines. The margin of victory doesn't matter. The headlines in all four of our biggest daily newspapers were clear as a bell: Hillary won and her momentum is back. That's the story everyone is seeing over their bacon and eggs this morning.

    • Sanders: 'We Have Enormous Momentum' Going Into South Carolina
      Despite a narrow loss in the Nevada presidential caucus on Saturday, Bernie Sanders is not slowing down, and neither are his supporters.

      A report filed over the weekend with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) shows the senator from Vermont has received more than four million contributions, raising a total of $94.8 million through January 31st after his campaign launched last April.

    • How Hillary Clinton Won Nevada
      It might have been closer than most people would have guessed a month ago, but Hillary Clinton's long-term investment in Nevada paid off. The former secretary of state edged out Sen. Bernie Sanders by about five percentage points in the Nevada caucuses. It wasn't quite the 20-point edge that Clinton had in polls from late last year, but it was a decisive win that backs up the Clinton campaign's contention that Sanders won't be able to maintain the same level of support he enjoyed in Iowa and New Hampshire as the contest moves to more diverse states.

    • [Old but republished] Clinton’s Experience: Fact and Fantasy
      From the Archive: Hillary Clinton’s win in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses and her big lead in South Carolina restore her status as Democratic frontrunner but lingering doubts about her honesty and her coziness to Big Money continue to dog her path to the White House, a problem that Barbara Koeppel identified during Clinton’s first run in 2008.

  • Censorship

    • February 22, 1976, Forty Years Ago: Court On Censorship
      “The press is not only an instrument for disseminating information but a powerful medium for moulding public opinion by propaganda. True democracy can only thrive in a free clearing house of competing ideologies and philosophies — political, economic and social — and in this, the press has an important role to play. The day this clearing-house closes down would toll the deathknell of democracy,” says a judgment by Justices D.P. Madon and M.H. Kania of the Bombay High Court. It adds: “It is not the function of the censor acting under the censorship order to make all newspapers and periodicals trim their sails to one wind or to tow along in a single file or to speak in chorus with one voice. It is not for him to exercise his statutory power to force public opinion in a single mould or to turn the press into an instrument for brainwashing the public. Under the censorship order, the censor is appointed the nursemaid of democracy and not its grave-digger. Dissent from opinions and views held by the majority and criticism and disapproval of measures initiated by a party in power make for a healthy political climate, and it is not for the censor to inject into this the lifelessness of forced conformity.

    • A culture of silencing
      A fortnight ago I was due to chair a session at the British Houses of Parliament organised by the Labour Friends of Palestine, in which MPs would “hear directly from four young Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and a Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, live via Skype”. As a Palestinian, born in a Gaza refugee camp, this opportunity to present lawmakers with the reality on the ground was dear to my heart.

      The session was cancelled at the last minute under extreme pressure from the Labour Friends of Israel parliamentary group and a campaign waged against me in the pages of the Jewish Chronicle. This is not the first, and I am certain it will not be the last, time I have been prevented from offering the Palestinian point of view by the powerful machinations of the Zionist lobby and the propaganda department of the state of Israel known as Hasbara (‘explaining’).

    • Call For Stories: User Uploads and Takedown Abuse
      EFF is filing public comments on a series of studies initiated by the U.S. Copyright Office, and we need your help. One of the studies focuses on the notice-and takedown procedures outlined in section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). We'd like to hear from you about your experience with those procedures, and the policies and practices that platforms have implemented to comply with them.

    • Don't censor A-rated movies: Petition filed on after the beeped-up screenings of 'Deadpool'
      With a message echoing that Indian cinemagoers can handle mature content and a plea to release A-rated movies without any cuts, a petition has been started by, a technology platform, to submit before the Shyam Benegal Committee on censorship.

    • Cairo gallery bemoans unprecedented censorship as it prepares to reopen
      The director of one of Egypt’s most respected art galleries has warned it faces unprecedented censorship as it seeks to reopen to the public next month after being shut down by the authorities in December.

      William Wells, the director of Townhouse gallery, said staff were allowed to return last week, having been given two weeks to comply with new legal restrictions, some of which amounted to state control of its work.

    • Censorship & Localisation – Reasons To Be Cheerful
      Xenoblade Chronicles X is one of my favourite games of last year. It’s a bloody great game and you should all play it. But a few outspoken gamers caused a ripple on the social media ocean when it was discovered that the Western versions of the game would be subject to some censorship.

    • Twitter Meets Orwell — an FAQ by Daddy Warpig
      Twitter has introduced a brave new way of screwing with users, which some have taken to calling shadowbanning.

      Basically, this acts like a gag: you can send normal tweets normally, but people Following you won’t see them on their timeline. (However, people reading your profile will see them.)

      The following restrictions also apply:

      Your tweets won’t show up in certain hashtags (which and why is unknown).

      Your tweets won’t show up in Search, either by keyword or by account name.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Paul Rosenberg on Antonin Scalia, Darnell Moore on Black Futures Month
      This week on CounterSpin: The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia sent shockwaves through the political and media world; but for many the real shock was hearing a man eulogized as gracious and thoughtful who called the Voting Rights Act a “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” complained of the law profession’s “anti-anti-homosexual culture” and argued that mere “actual” innocence is no reason for the state not to kill someone.

    • Antonin Scalia’s death during secret junket points to new ethical violations
      Antonin Scalia died as he lived, indulging behind closed doors in the largess of the very wealthy, who could depend on the right-wing associate justice to defend their interests in the United States Supreme Court.

      The nauseating praise for Scalia as a towering judicial figure is exposed as all the more dishonest and absurd by the still emerging circumstances of his passing.

      On Friday, February 12, the start of the Supreme Court’s annual week-long President’s Day recess, Scalia took a chartered jet from Washington, D.C., accompanied by an unidentified lawyer friend, to the exclusive Cibolo Creek Ranch in the Chinati Mountains of West Texas, near the Mexican border. US marshals assigned as Scalia’s bodyguards were told not to make the trip.

    • Albert Woodfox, Last of the Angola Three, Is Free After 43 Years in Solitary Confinement
      Just moments ago, Albert Woodfox, the last remaining member of the Angola 3 still behind bars, was released from prison 43 years and 10 months after he was first put in a 6×9 foot solitary cell for a crime he did not commit. After decades of costly litigation, Louisiana State officials have at last acted in the interest of justice and reached an agreement that brings a long overdue end to this nightmare. Albert has maintained his innocence at every step, and today, on his 69th birthday, he will finally begin a new phase of his life as a free man.

    • 'Where Are Your Guts?': Johnny Cash’s Little-Known Fight for Native Americans
      In 1964, Johnny Cash faced a backlash for speaking out on behalf of native people — and he fought back.

      In 1964, Johnny Cash released a Native American-themed concept album, “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian.” In an incredible but little-known story, Cash faced censorship and backlash for speaking out on behalf of native people — and he fought back.

      A new documentary airing this month on PBS, “Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears,” tells the story of the controversy. For the album’s 50th anniversary, it was re-recorded with contributions from musicians including Kris Kristofferson and Emmylou Harris, and the documentary also chronicles the making of the new album.

      ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Stephen Pevar, author of “The Rights of Indians and Tribes,” had a chance to ask writer/director Antonino D’Ambrosio about the film.

    • Siding With Foreclosure Victim, California Court Exposes Law Enforcement Failure
      The California Supreme Court on Thursday ruled unanimously in favor of a fraudulently foreclosed-upon homeowner in a case that should serve as a wake-up call to state and federal prosecutors that mortgage companies continue to use false documents to evict homeowners on a daily basis.

    • 5 Questions for CIA Director John Brennan
      NPR national security reporter Mary Louise Kelley tweeted on Friday that she would be interviewing CIA Director John Brennan on Saturday. Brennan was just on 60 Minutes last weekend, where Scott Pelley tossed him softballs.

    • Labor Board Sides With Trump Hotel Workers In Union Battle
      Just days before Nevada’s Republican presidential caucus, a federal labor official weighed in on the ongoing dispute between Donald Trump’s signature luxury Las Vegas hotel and the hundreds of workers who voted in December to unionize. Trump Hotel management had asked the National Labor Relations Board to throw out the results of that election, claiming that organizers from the Culinary Workers Union intimidated and coerced employees into voting yes, which “interfered with their ability to exercise a free and reasoned choice.” But after weeks of reviewing the evidence, the labor board did not agree.

    • Albert Woodfox released from jail after 43 years in solitary confinement
      US’s longest-standing solitary confinement prisoner set free in Louisiana after more than four decades in form of captivity widely denounced as torture

    • A Hindu priest in Muslim-majority Bangladesh has been hacked to death and two devotees injured in an attack on a temple in the country's north
      A Hindu priest in Muslim-majority Bangladesh was hacked to death and two devotees injured in an attack Sunday on a temple in the country's north.

      Police said Jogeshwar Roy, 50, was attacked as he came out after people threw stones at the temple in the Deviganj area of Panchgarh district, on the border with India.

      Quoting local people and witnesses, police officer Kafil Uddin said the assailants on a motorbike attacked the priest with a sharp weapon, fired guns and exploded crude bombs, injuring two devotees who tried to help him. The attackers fled.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • A Tale of Two Treaties: Marrakesh and Beijing Both Make Their Way to the Senate
        The White House has submitted two copyright treaties to the Senate for ratification: the Marrakesh Treaty, which would improve access to copyrighted works for people with visual and print disabilities; and the Beijing Treaty, which could create a new layer of monopoly rights for the creators of audiovisual works. International copyright treaties move slowly, so neither of these is a surprise. For years now, we've encouraged the adoption of Marrakesh and the rejection of Beijing.

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