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Links 14/4/2016: Muktware Returns, Google Chrome 50 Released

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Why every developer is an open source developer these days
    Fast forward a few years, and it's clear this trend toward open, collaborative development will come to permeate software development completely. As indicated by VisionMobile data, we're already seeing developer demographics skew younger and less experienced, with this new generation of developers growing up on GitHub and speaking open source as their first language.

    This is a far cry from the past two decades, when open source was a religious battle at times, and enterprises were far more likely to use open source than contribute to it. As the O'Reilly survey data indicates, however, we've moved on. This willingness to reuse and contribute should lead to levels of developer productivity that we've never before seen.

  • 9 open source robotics projects
    Open source isn't just changing the way we interact with the world, it's changing the way the world interacts back with us. Case in point: open source robotics.

    Robots are playing an increasing role in our world, and while we perhaps haven't reached the utopian future with robotic housekeepers imagined for us in the Jetsons, robotics are making advances in fields that fifty years ago would have been completely unimaginable.

  • Software in the Public Interest contributing members: Check your activity status!
    That’s a longer title than I’d like, but I want to try and catch the attention of anyone who might have missed more directed notifications about this. If you’re not an SPI contributing member there’s probably nothing to see here…

    Although I decided not to stand for re-election at the Software in the Public Interest (SPI) board elections last July, I haven’t stopped my involvement with the organisation. In particular I’ve spent some time working on an overhaul of the members website and rolling it out. One of the things this has enabled is implementation of 2009-11-04.jmd.1: Contributing membership expiry, by tracking activity in elections and providing an easy way for a member to indicate they consider themselves active even if they haven’t voted.

  • Events/Community

    • As PGConf US Approaches, Hear from Leaders in the PostgreSQL Community
      PGConf US, the largest official gathering of the PostgreSQL open source community is less than a week away. It will be held this year at the New York Marriott, Brooklyn Bridge, from April 18 - 20 (

    • Working Late May Be Destroying Your Organization: Colin McNamara
      Many of us who work in the IT field are aware of the grim reality of working late at night. People often end up working long hours as they take on additional work and projects. But, is that good for you? Is it good for your organization? Is it good for your teams and clients? By doing so, are you helping your company or hurting it?


      If you are continuously writing code, you will burn out. To avoid that, McNamara uses a strategy that comes from the Marine Corps: It’s a 72-hour stand. McNamara said that after 72 hours of coding, it’s time for rest, “Do not open your laptops. Go spend time with your family, as we don't want you being divorced.”

      McNamara’s teams noticed significant improvements when adopting his advice, “Four days later, our guys had started to think outside the box again.” Don’t you want your teams to be thinking outside the box?

    • X.Org 2016 Elections Commence: Will They Merge With The SPI?

    • Election Time — Vote Now
      It's more important than usual to actually get your vote in — we're asking the membership to vote on changes the the bylaws that are necessary for to become a SPI affiliate project, instead of continuing on as a separate organization. While I'm in favor of this transition as I think it will provide much needed legal and financial help, the real reason we need everyone to vote is that we need â…” of the membership to cast ballots for the vote to be valid. Last time, we didn't reach that value, so even though we had a majority voting in favor of the change, it didn't take effect. If you aren't in favor of this change, I'd still encourage you to vote as I'd like to get a valid result, no matter the outcome.

    • PCI Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference
      Given that PCI was introduced more than two decades ago and that PCI Express was introduced more than ten years ago, one might think that the Linux plumbing already did everything possible to support PCI.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • RDO Delivers OpenStack Mitaka for CentOS Linux
      This week, the RDO community announced the general availability of its freely-available, community-supported distribution of OpenStack, the popular open source project for building private, public, and hybrid clouds.

    • Google's Cloud Gets an OpenStack Backup Driver
      The thirteenth version of the OpenStack cloud platform, Mitaka, has just arrived, and right on its heels, Google announced in a blog post that the Mitaka release includes a native option to back up OpenStack Cinder storage volumes to its public cloud.

      Cinder is used in many OpenStack deployments to house virtual machine data and other data at rest. OpenStack includes a native backup driver that permits Cinder to be backed up to various storage platforms. Now, Google cloud users can choose the native backup option for Cinder as a seamless choice.

  • Google

  • CMS

    • What to expect in Drupal 8
      Max Bronsema is the chief architect and director of web communication technologies for Western Washington University (WWU) in Bellingham, Washington. Previously, he was the lead Drupal architect at the university, leading a small student team developing innovative Drupal solutions for the public-facing sites at WWU.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • FSF Blogs: Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: April 15th

    • gnuplot – command your graphs
      It’s 1990, or thereabouts. Linux is not even a twinkle in Torvalds’ eye and GNU is a six-year old showing real promise. An astrophysics PhD student a few years my senior is sitting at a Sun workstation enthusing about a new plotting program he’s found. It strikes me as being simple yet powerful and also a bit odd. I spend some time learning it, grow to like it and go on to use it to create all the plots in my PhD thesis. But during the late 1990s spreadsheets and other software tools became more powerful and ubiquitous and I fell into using them. However, a quarter of a century later, when writing an article for this very magazine, I stumble across gnuplot again and find, to my amazement, that it’s still being developed and it’s just as odd and useful as it ever was. So, let’s take a look at the curious beast that is gnuplot.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Spain publishes file archive tool as open source
      Spain’s Ministry of Finance and Public Administrations has published as open source Archive. This web-based solution creates archives of electronic files that are stored in compliance with the country’s eGovernment and interoperability regulations.

    • EC unveils Drupal module for explanatory maps
      The European Commission is working on an open source module for the Drupal content management system that will make it easy for website editors and site contributors to create explanatory EU maps. Using the NextEuropaMap module does not require users to know Javascript, and map-creation is presented in the system’s content interface.

    • Is the government's embrace of open source going off track? [Ed: Microsoft-connected ‘news’ site (1105 Media) is attacking FOSS adoption in US government]
      The policy both reaffirms and broadens a goal laid out in the Obama administration’s Second Open Government National Action Plan for improved access to custom software code developed for the federal government. The plan emphasized use of (and contributing back to) open source software to fuel innovation, lower costs and benefit the public. It also furthers a long-standing ‘default to open’ objective going back to the early days of the administration.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How this open source platform is weaving stories of communities in their own languages
      Stories are at the very core of YourStory. It is through stories that the world passes the lore. It was about time for stories to help languages make a grand comeback whilst inspiring the leaders of tomorrow’s world.

    • “ZeMarmot” at Libre Graphics Meeting 2016 and London Gallery West
      We will showcase a small video on the workflow of ZeMarmot Open Movie in the “Libre Graphics Culture and Practice” exhibition hosted at London Gallery West, art gallery of the University of Westminster.

    • How open source can accelerate the circular economy shift
      The shift to a circular economy presents a wicked, multidimensional problem: how can we redesign our operating system so that it works in the long term, and reflects the current context in terms of resources, energy and economic pressures?

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Home Furnishings Go Open Source with FABrics Easy to Make Chairs
        When something is open source, that means that all of the resources that the creators used are available for anyone else to use, either for their own projects or to customize and improve upon the work that was already done. While the concept of something being open source has traditionally been applied to software, it really didn’t take long for the term to to be co-opted for all types of new technologies and ideas. Today there are open sourced plans for hardware, open sourced scientific research, open sourced encyclopedias and even open sourced music. And now there is open sourced home furnishings, designed to be made by anyone, anywhere with easy to access technology and materials.

      • Open Source Robotics With WireBeings
        Everyone needs a cute robotic buddy, right? [Matthew Hallberg] created WireBeings, an open source 3D printed robotic platform. Looking like a cross between Wall-E and Danbo, WireBeings is designed around the Arduino platform. We do mean the entire platform. You can fit anything from an Arduino micro to a Mega2560 stacked with 3 shields in its oversized head. There’s plenty of room for breadboards and custom circuits.

  • Programming/Development

    • Kite’s Coding Asssitant Spots Errors, Finds Better Open Source
      Kite’s self-titled product acts as a sidebar that sits next to a your code editor and enables you to search for open source code that they can incorporate into your programs. It attempts to provide relevant documentation and code examples as you type and tries to spot any errors you might have made while staying out of the way, unlike Microsoft’s infamous digital assistant “Clippy.”

    • C And C++ Programming Languages — Biggest Differences And Comparison
      C vs C++ — which one is better? What is a procedural programming language and what is a modular programming language? Which one should be used for better and faster output? Well, we answer all the aspects of using C vs C++ against each other in this article.

    • Node.js Foundation Survey Shows Strong Enterprise Developer Adoption

      A new Node.js Foundation survey shows full stack demand for Node.js, along with developers using it with containers and for IoT development.

      The Node.js Foundation, a consortium of organizations fostering the development of the Node.js platform, today announced the results of its first Node.js User Survey Report.

      Node.js is an event-driven server-side JavaScript development environment based on Google's V8 JavaScript engine. Mikeal Rogers, community manager for the Node.js Foundation, said there are more than 3.5 million Node.js users. And with an annual growth rate of 100 percent, Node.js is emerging as a universal platform used for Web applications, the Internet of things (IoT) and the enterprise, he said.

    • What "Sad Affleck" and an open source debacle teach us about success
      And the "left-pad" fiasco was about an "npm module". Npm is a package manager for Javascript, which is a way for developers to list web "dependencies" to include in their application. These might be files they've written, but often they're open source contributions from someone else.

      Well, left-pad's developer, Azer Koçulu, was upset by a trademark dispute with another company, so he decided to pull all the modules he had made from npm. Not a big deal if no one besides you uses those modules. But left-pad is depended on by many apps and developers. And when it disappeared, it crippled apps all over the web.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Standards, Move Over
      Back in 2003, over 800 blog posts ago, I decided to launch something I called the Standards Blog. Not surprisingly, it focused mostly on the development, implementation and importance of open standards. But I also wrote about other areas of open collaboration, such as open data, open research, and of course, open source software. Over time, there were more and more stories about open source worth writing, as well as pieces on the sometimes tricky intersection of open standards and open source.


  • Apple did not invent emoji
    But, Internet, I’ve noticed a worrying trend. Both popular media and a lot of tech circles tend to assume that “emoji” de facto means Apple’s particular font.

  • Twitter has outsized influence, but it doesn’t drive much traffic for most news orgs, a new report says
    Twitter generates 1.5 percent of traffic for typical news organizations, according to a new report from the social analytics company that examined data from 200 of its client websites over two weeks in January. (You’ll need to give your email address to access the full report.)’s network includes publishers like Upworthy, Slate, The Daily Beast, and Business Insider.

  • Does Twitter Matter for News Sites?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • These images show how quickly Jeremy Hunt has bankrupted healthcare in England
      “Breathtaking. It took just two years for Jeremy Hunt to completely wreck our NHS,” writes Dr Eoin Clarke on Twitter.

    • Ambulance privatisation descends into 'total shambles'
      Hundreds of patients including people with cancer and kidney failure have missed important appointments for treatment because ambulances did not arrive to take them to hospital, after privatisation of NHS non-urgent transport services in Sussex this month.

      Some elderly patients have had to wait more than five hours for ambulances and been stuck at hospital for long periods after their appointments because the transport service, now run by the private firm Coperforma, has proved so unreliable.

      Patients, relatives, NHS bodies and local MPs have severely criticised the service’s performance, and a trade union representing ambulance crews said it was an “absolute shambles”. The NHS organisations that awarded the four-year, €£63.5m contract have now launched an investigation.

      A host of problems have arisen since Coperforma replaced the NHS’s South East Coast ambulance service (Secamb) as the provider of non-emergency patient transport services on 1 April.

    • We CAN save our NHS from TTIP without Brexit – but let's not declare premature victory

      Gail Cartmail of Unite the Union says their legal advice shows the EU still threatens our National Health Service – but that Cameron could fix that without the need for Brexit.

    • Disturbing New Evidence About What Common Pesticides Can Do to Brains
      For defense against the fungal pathogens that attack crops—think the blight that bedeviled Irish potato fields in the 19th century—farmers turn to fungicides. They're widely sprayed on fruit, vegetable, and nut crops, and in the past decade, they've become quite common in the corn and soybean fields (see here and here for more). But as the use of fungicides has ramped up in recent years, some scientists are starting to wonder: What are these chemicals doing to the ecosystems they touch, and to us?

    • Meet Monsanto's Evil Twin, an Industry That Does Major Damage and Gets Shockingly Little Attention
      According to the USDA, the average U.S. nitrogen fertilizer use per year from 1998 to 2007 was 24 billion 661 million pounds. To produce that nitrogen, the manufacturers released at least 6.7 pounds of GHG for every pound produced. That’s 165 billion, 228 million pounds of GHGs spewed into the atmosphere every year, just for the manufacture of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. Most of those emissions are nitrous oxide, the most damaging emissions of U.S. agriculture.

    • Feeling Hungry? Have a Deep-Fried Butter Ball.
      To know for sure, we need two things. First, researchers with an open mind. Second, reliable nutritional studies. Unfortunately, since forcing mental patients to be saturated-fat guinea pigs is no longer on the table, it's as hard as ever to conduct reliable studies. Still, keep in mind that the weakness of nutritional studies works both ways: all the evidence that saturated fats are bad and vegetable oil is good is pretty thin too. Go ahead and smear some butter on that toast.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday

    • Linux Foundation: The internet is crumbling
      The open source infrastructure of the internet is crumbling because of poor maintenance, the Linux Foundation warned today.

      Likening open source to the “roads and bridges of the internet”, Linux Foundation CTO Nicko van Someren said that underpaid developers are struggling to patch dangerous bugs and keep the open aspects of the web up to date.

    • Open source runs the world and needs better security, claims Linux Foundation CTO
      Security is the biggest plague of open source software, and more people are needed to work together squashing bugs and plugging holes in the code on which much of the internet relies.

      That’s according to Nicko van Someren, chief technology officer at the Linux Foundation, who explained that huge swathes of the internet and companies with online business models rely on open source code, software and infrastructure.
    • Security is the biggest bug of open source, says Linux Foundation CTO
      CYBER SECURITY is the plague of open source software, and more people are needed to work together squashing bugs and plugging holes in the code on which much of the internet relies.

      That’s according to Nicko van Someren, chief technology officer at the Linux Foundation, who explained that huge swathes of the internet and companies with online business models rely on open source code, software and infrastructure.

      "Open source projects are the roads and bridges of the internet. Pretty much everything we do on the internet relies on open source," he said in a keynote speech at Cloud Expo in London.

    • Linux Computers Targeted by New Backdoor and DDoS Trojan
      After being bombarded with new malware towards the end of last year, the Linux ecosystem is rocked again by the discovery of a new trojan family, identified by security researchers as Linux.BackDoor.Xudp.

      The only detail that matters is that this new threat does not leverage automated scripts, vulnerabilities, or brute-force attacks to infect users and still relies on good ol' user stupidity in order to survive.

    • Let's Encrypt free security certificate program leaves beta
      Let's Encrypt has announced that the free secure certificate program is leaving beta in its push to encrypt 100 percent of the web.

    • What happened with Badlock?
      Here's the thing though. It wasn't nearly as good as the hype claimed. It probably couldn't ever be as good as the hype claimed. This is like waiting for a new Star Wars movie. You have memories from being a child and watching the first few. They were like magic back then. Nothing that ever comes out again will be as good. Your brain has created ideas and memories that are too amazing to even describe. Nothing can ever beat the reality you built in your mind.

    • Microsoft rated 6 of 13 security updates as critical, Badlock bug fix rated important
      For April 2016 Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released 13 security bulletins, with six being rated as critical for remote code execution flaws and the patch for Badlock being among those rated only as important.

    • Apple Bug Exposed Chat History With a Single Click
      IN THE MIDDLE of intense public debate over whether Apple should be forced to help the government decrypt iPhones for criminal investigations, the company quietly closed a six-month-old security vulnerability in its Messages app. Newly published details reveal just how severe that vulnerability was, allowing the exfiltration of chat history, including photos and videos, if the user could be tricked into clicking a single malicious link.

      The bug, which affected Apple’s laptop and desktop computers from September through March, highlights just how hard it is for companies like Apple to effectively secure sensitive data — even before those companies begin fielding requests from the government for special access. Tech companies like Apple are nearly unanimous in their agreement that creating “backdoors” through which the government may access protected data undermines even the most basic security measures, including those designed to protect against vulnerabilities like the Messages bug.
    • New Threat Can Auto-Brick Apple Devices
      If you use an Apple iPhone, iPad or other iDevice, now would be an excellent time to ensure that the machine is running the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system — version 9.3.1. Failing to do so could expose your devices to automated threats capable of rendering them unresponsive and perhaps forever useless.

    • Execs: We’re not responsible for cybersecurity

      More than 90 percent of corporate executives said they cannot read a cybersecurity report and are not prepared to handle a major attack, according to a new survey.

      More distressing is that 40 percent of executives said they don't feel responsible for the repercussions of hackings, said Dave Damato, chief security officer at Tanium, which commissioned the survey with the Nasdaq.

      "I think the most shocking statistic was really the fact that the individuals at the top of an organization — executives like CEOs and CIOs, and even board members — didn't feel personally responsible for cybersecurity or protecting the customer data," Damato told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday.

    • Brits suffer more than 2,000 ransomware attacks each day
      The security firm said that the enemy is now more organised than ever before, and that most groups have the same kind of resources, skills and support as nation-state hacker groups.

      "Advanced criminal attack groups now echo the skills of nation-state attackers. They have extensive resources and a highly skilled technical staff that operate with such efficiency that they maintain normal business hours and even take the weekends and holidays off," said Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response.

      "We are even seeing low-level criminal attackers create call centre operations to increase the impact of their scams."

      These sophisticated hackers are often the first to embrace zero-day vulnerabilities, which increased by 125 percent in 2015 to 54.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • I am on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by drones

      I am in the strange position of knowing that I am on the ‘Kill List’. I know this because I have been told, and I know because I have been targeted for death over and over again. Four times missiles have been fired at me. I am extraordinarily fortunate to be alive.

      I don’t want to end up a “Bugsplat” – the ugly word that is used for what remains of a human being after being blown up by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone. More importantly, I don’t want my family to become victims, or even to live with the droning engines overhead, knowing that at any moment they could be vaporized.

      I am in England this week because I decided that if Westerners wanted to kill me without bothering to come to speak with me first, perhaps I should come to speak to them instead. I’ll tell my story so that you can judge for yourselves whether I am the kind of person you want to be murdered.

    • Drive to Release 9/11 Docs Gains Strength After 60 Minutes Report
      Things have been moving fast since a momentous 60 Minutes report on the drive to declassify 28 pages on foreign government financing of 9/11. Here’s your personal briefing on all the latest developments.

    • Two Years After the Nigerian Girls Were Taken
      Late last month, amid a spate of suicide bombings planned by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria and across the border in the far north of Cameroon, something strange happened. A vigilante force in a Cameroonian town called Limani stopped a twelve-year-old girl and a thirty-five-year-old woman who were carrying explosives, and subsequently handed them over to authorities. While they were being questioned in custody, the girl said she had been sent by Boko Haram to detonate herself, which wasn’t in itself unusual—one of every five suicide bombings that the group has staged or inspired over the past two years has been executed by children, usually young girls. But the girl also said that she had ended up with the Islamist group after it kidnapped her and more than two hundred schoolgirls in the Nigerian town of Chibok, in a mass abduction that began on the evening of April 14, 2014, two years ago this Thursday.

    • John Kerry, and the Legacy of Hiroshima
      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and fellow envoys from the G7 visited Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park on the margins of their summit meeting this week.

      Kerry was the highest ranking American government official to visit the Peace Park, the memorial dedicated to the victims of the world’s first nuclear attack on August 6, 1945.

    • When Will the ‘28 Pages’ From 9/11 Commission Report Be Declassified?
      The 15-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is this September, and we still don’t know the whole story.

      On Sunday’s edition of “60 Minutes,” Steve Kroft looked into a gaping hole that remains in the narrative—the “28 pages.” They are the final chapter from the report of the joint congressional inquiry into 9/11, and the redacted pages are believed to offer insights into what role Saudi Arabia played in the 9/11 attacks on America.

      Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, and the country has been considered the chief source of funding for al-Qaida for many years. Since the 9/11 report was made public on Dec. 11, 2002, Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time, has worked to reveal all Saudi links to terrorists, but no link has been proved.

      Kroft spoke with Graham and others who want the Obama administration to declassify the 28 pages, and the former senator said he remains “deeply disturbed by the amount of material that has been censored from this report.”

    • Victims Of A Gang War Rooted In Los Angeles Now Fleeing To The U.S. In Mass
      Threats to police officers and their families have become increasingly common as the death toll from the gang war in El Salvador rises to the same level of violence as its bloody civil war.

    • President Killary
      Hillary Clinton is proving to be the “teflon candidate.” In her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, she has escaped damage from major scandals, any one of which would destroy a politician. Hillary has accepted massive bribes in the form of speaking fees from financial organizations and corporations. She is under investigation for misuse of classified data, an offense for which a number of whistleblowers are in prison. Hillary has survived the bombing of Libya, her creation of a failed Libyan state that is today a major source of terrorist jihadists, and the Benghazi controversy. She has survived charges that as Secretary of State she arranged favors for foreign interests in exchange for donations to the Clintons’ foundation. And, of course, there is a long list of previous scandals: Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate. Diana Johnstone’s book, Queen of Chaos, describes Hillary Clinton as “the top salesperson for the ruling oligarchy.”

    • Hillary’s “I’m Not a Crook” Moment
      As the Battle of New York looms, an underground shadow war flirts with High Noon. After nearly one year, the FBI has finally investigated the treasure trove contained in Hillary Clinton’s subterranean private email server. The FBI has refused to release any records. Remember, this is a criminal investigation.

      Former State Department IT official Bryan Pagliano – who essentially set up Clinton’s personal server – was granted immunity in exchange for cooperating with the FBI’s investigation. A whodunit applies on whether Pagliano was told this server might be the conduit of secret State Department communications as well as top secret National Security issues.

    • The Enemy Within: Terrorist Enablers on the Potomac
      Hillary Clinton and CIA director David Petraeus had a brilliant idea: they would fund, arm, and train a proxy army in Syria, overthrow the regime of strongman Bashar al-Assad, and jump on the rapidly moving train of the “Arab Spring” to extend US influence in the region. What could go wrong?


      The “Free Syrian Army” created by Washington is, today, fighting alongside al-Qaeda and its Salafist allies, filling the vacuum left behind by the “Islamic State”/ISIS as it contracts under fire from Russian war planes and the Syrian army.

    • Noam Chomsky on How the U.S. and British Invasion of Iraq Caused the Syrian Refugee Crisis (Video)
      In a discussion with acTVism, the renowned linguist and political commentator offers context to the seemingly endless turmoil in the Middle East.

    • As Ukraine Collapses, Europeans Tire of US Interventions
      I have no doubt that the previous government was corrupt. Corruption is the stock-in-trade of governments. But according to Transparency International, corruption in the Ukrainian government is about the same after the US-backed coup as it was before. So the intervention failed to improve anything, and now the US-installed government is falling apart. Is a Ukraine in chaos to be considered a Washington success story?

    • Would a Clinton Win Mean More Wars?
      If Clinton becomes President, she will be surrounded by a neocon-dominated American foreign policy establishment that will press her to resume its “regime change” strategies in the Middle East and escalate its new and dangerous Cold War against Russia.

    • Hillary Clinton Claims Honduran Government ‘Followed The Law’ In Ousting Its President in 2009
      Leaked State Department cables revealed that the U.S. ambassador in Honduras pleaded with Clinton to call what happened in Honduras a military coup, as did members of Congress. But she refused, and worked instead to broker a deal that elected a new government that was much friendlier to multinational corporations and the U.S. military.

    • The End of the American Empire
      Americans like to forget we ever had an empire or to claim that, if we did, we never really wanted one. But the momentum of Manifest Destiny made us an imperial power. It carried us well beyond the shores of the continent we seized from its original aboriginal and Mexican owners. The Monroe Doctrine proclaimed an American sphere of influence in the Western Hemisphere. But the American empire was never limited to that sphere.


      In 1893, the United States engineered regime change in Hawaii. In 1898, we annexed the islands outright. In that same year, we helped Cuba win its independence from Spain, while confiscating the Spanish Empire’s remaining holdings in Asia and the Americas: Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Beginning in 1897, the U.S. Navy contested Samoa with Germany. In 1899, we took Samoa’s eastern islands for ourselves, establishing a naval base at Pago Pago.


      From 1899 to 1902, Americans killed an estimated 200,000 or more Filipinos who tried to gain independence for their country from ours. In 1903, we forced Cuba to cede a base at Guantánamo to us and detached Panamá from Colombia. In later years, we occupied Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, parts of Mexico, and Haiti.

    • Behind Ukraine’s Leadership Shake-up
      In this sense, the Dutch referendum was surely the trigger for the removal of Yatsenyuk to show Europe and the world that Ukrainian leaders were trying to consolidate their power in order to proceed with deep reforms. But Kiev’s political leadership is not where the real power in the country lies.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Wall Street Journal Cons Its Readers Yet Again
      George Bush! Who knew he was such a climate change advocate?


      I continually wonder why Wall Street Journal readers enjoy paying good money to get lied to so routinely. There's almost literally nothing true about that passage above. And yet, apparently this is what the Journal's audience craves. Why?

    • Summer-Like Temperatures Smash Ice Melt Records For Greenland
      Blistering temperatures and rainfall over Greenland have jump-started the summer melt season weeks early. On Monday, a stunning 12 percent of Greenland’s massive ice sheet was melting — “smashing by a month the previous records of more than 10 percent of the ice sheet melting,” according to the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).

      DMI scientists were “at first incredulous.” One DMI climate scientist said, “We had to check that our models were still working properly.” But in fact, temperatures over parts of Greenland this month have been measured as high as 17.8€°C — a scorching 64€°F.

      “Even weather stations quite high up on the ice sheet observed very high temperatures on Monday,” explained Robert Fausto of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). At one “site at 1840 meters [1.1 miles] above sea level, we observed a maximum temperature of 3.1€°C [37.6€°F]. This would be a warm day in July, never mind April.”

    • Who gets to decide how the media talks about climate change?
      Sometimes, it's simple. Sometimes, a newspaper editor gives their coal-baron buddy a column from which to repeatedly deny the climate science whose conclusions threaten his wealth. Or they imply the dubious claims of a report from a dodgy anti-science 'think-tank' are 'peer-reviewed'. Or they launch a smear campaign against climate scientists, trying to 'prove' that normal statistical techniques amount to 'doctoring data'.

    • 5 Ways Bernie Might Be the Best Choice for the Environment
      Sanders burnishes his green scorecard with a key endorsement from one of the most pro-environment senators.

    • Oil Industry's Suppression of Climate Science Began in 1940s, Documents Reveal
      A trove of newly uncovered documents shows that fossil fuel companies were explicitly warned of the risks of climate change decades earlier than previously suspected.

      And while it's no secret—anymore—that the companies knew about those dangers long ago, the documents, published Wednesday by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), reveal even more about the broader industry effort to suppress climate science and foment public doubt about global warming.

      Industry executives met in Los Angeles in 1946 to discuss growing public concern about air pollution. That meeting led to the formation of a panel—suitably named the Smoke and Fumes Committee—to conduct research into air pollution issues.

      But the research was not meant to be a public service; rather, it was used by the committee to "promote public skepticism of environmental science and environmental regulations the industry considered hasty, costly, and potentially unnecessary," CIEL writes.

  • Finance

    • Why ‘Modern’ Work Culture Makes People So Miserable
      Dan Lyons’ account of his time at the software company HubSpot describes a workplace in which employees are disposable, “treated as if they are widgets to be used up and discarded.” And HubSpot is scarcely unique: The description of Amazon’s work environment is just one of many similar cases. An increasing number of companies offer snacks, foosball, and futuristic jargon to keep employees’ minds off their long hours and omnipresent economic insecurity.

    • Verizon CEO Attack on Bernie Sanders Receives Gushing Praise — From Fellow Execs
      AS 40,000 VERIZON workers went on strike Wednesday to protest cuts to health care and pensions, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders rallied with some of them in New York City, blasting the company’s practices.

      “This is just another major American corporation trying to destroy the lives of working Americans,” Sanders told the workers, who decided to strike after failing to reach a contract. “Today you are standing up not just for justice for Verizon workers, you’re standing up for millions of Americans who don’t have a union.”

      Meanwhile, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam published a lengthy essay on LinkedIn titled “Feeling the Bern of Reality — the Facts About Verizon and the ‘Moral Economy,’” in which he called Sanders’s views “contemptible.”

    • Sanders Responds to Disgruntled CEOs: 'I Welcome Their Contempt'
      Bernie Sanders' response to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam's charge that the Democratic presidential candidate has "contemptible" views? Bring it.

      Sanders on Wednesday joined striking Verizon workers on a picket line in New York City. He applauded them, saying, "Today you are standing up—not just for justice for Verizon workers—you are standing up for millions of Americans."

      The Manhattan march was one of many the roughly 40,000 members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBW) unions staged on the East Coast to protest what they described as the communication behemoth's "devastating" cuts.

      "They want to take away the health benefits that you have earned," Sanders said. "They want to outsource to decent paying jobs. They want to give their CEO $20 million a year in compensation," he told the workers.
    • Who Are The Non-Celebrities In The Panama Papers?
      In the first stories about the Panama Papers, we got the names of a bunch of politicians, a few criminals, sports and other celebrities and one or two names of rich people. But in focusing solely on this kind of person, we miss the major point about tax havens. They are used by hundreds of thousands of people, including many who are not billionaires and who are not famous or otherwise newsworthy. They are commonly used by doctors, lawyers, accountants, small business owners and those who inherited money from such people.

      Here’s a chart from the New York Times showing the mix of people making up the top 1% in income in the US; the chart is from 2012 and uses 2007 data. The cut-off for this level is the Census Bureau figure of $380K, while other studies put it higher. The Fed Survey of Consumer Finances, a better survey, has it at $690K in 2007. The cut-off for the top 1% in wealth was estimated at nearly $8.4 million in 2007. Those numbers went down after the Great Crash, but recovered smartly. By 2013, the cut-off for the top 1% in wealth was back to nearly $8 million, and climbing.

    • 2,500 Years of Class Hatred
      Boots Riley’s recent article, posted in The Guardian, systematically dispels the myth of black-on-black crime advocated by Bill Clinton. Rather than pointing the image of failure at black people in the US, Riley insists, the mirror should be redirected to class war and the failure of liberal democracy. The condition of black people will advance with economic prosperity, not punitive drug laws.

      The attempts to demean black people in the US, while specific to modern racism, has its roots in old fashioned class hatred interwoven within the fabric of western civilization.

    • Elizabeth Warren Takes on Tax Preparation Industry With New Legislation to Make Filing Easier

    • Elizabeth Warren Wants To Take Down TurboTax
      Elizabeth Warren wants to make tax filing season simpler and cheaper for most Americans.

      On Wednesday, the Democratic senator introduced a bill with seven cosponsors, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, seeking to make significant reforms to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Under the bill, Americans with simple tax obligations would have the option not to complete a tax return at all, but to instead receive a pre-prepared return from the IRS with their liability or refund already calculated for them. The IRS already gets most employer and bank information on taxpayers’ obligations — such as W2s and interest earned — so all it would have to do is calculate what they would owe for them.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • US Chamber Of Commerce Actually Just US Chamber Of Our Highest-Paying Members
      The US Chamber of Commerce is an organization that's always carried a completely undeserved air of legitimacy. For one, its name makes it sound as though it's actually an extension of the federal government, rather than what it is: a lobbying group representing a variety of trade interests.

      It also gains unearned legitimacy by its name being a reflection of thousands of local chambers of commerce, which are far more representative of its members than the national version. The US Chamber of Commerce continues to push for legislation and regulation that isn't aligned with the views of its membership as a whole, but rather just its most generous contributors.

    • Majority of Americans Believe Sanders Is the Only Compassionate and Likable Candidate
      The poll, conducted March 31-April 4, found that 48 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Sanders, while 39 percent view him unfavorably. Compare that with delegate leaders Trump and Clinton, whose unfavorable ratings blow Sanders out of the water. Fifty-five percent of Americans say they have unfavorable views of Clinton, while 40 percent say they have a favorable take.

    • I.F. Stone - an inspiration for us all
      His starting point was that reporters should not assume governments and corporations are telling the truth, but verify all their claims as much as possible. I wonder how many Norwegian reporters can be said to follow the principles of I. F. Stone. They are definitely in short supply. If you, like me half a year ago, have never heard of him, check him out.

    • The New Propaganda War
      Despite Western media dominance, the U.S. government wants to stop the world from hearing the “other side” on foreign disputes by “countering” or discrediting those voices, explains Jonathan Marshall.

    • An ‘Unqualified’ Success at Media Manipulation
      Political strategists know well that attacks can backfire, especially for candidates with high negatives such as Hillary Clinton. Accordingly, the Clinton campaign attacked Sanders through a common political maneuver: They used surrogates.


      Though as FAIR (4/7/16) pointed out, the banking issue was a red herring. (“When asked how he would break up the big banks, Sanders said he would leave that up to the banks,” economist Dean Baker wrote. “That’s exactly the right answer.”) But by Wednesday, MSNBC’s Morning Joe (4/6/16) had already picked up the Clinton campaign’s talking points. Host Joe Scarborough repeatedly tried to get Clinton herself to weigh in on whether Sanders was “unqualified” to be president. Instead of answering yes or no, she reiterated the campaign’s carefully massaged strategy: “I think he hadn’t done his homework, and he’d been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn’t really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions.”


      The next move revealed the sophisticated media-handling of Clinton campaign strategists. Clinton operatives Christina Reynolds and Brian Fallon went on the offensive with, as Salon (4/8/16) put it, “sanctimonious incredulity,” saying, “This is a ridiculous and irresponsible attack for someone to make.” They complained that Clinton herself had never said such a thing, yet Sanders opened his comments with “quote, unquote.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Banning Cameron: the pointlessness of campus censorship
      I know that many students disagree with Cameron’s political views. He’s too left-wing for my liking. But unlike SU politicos I don’t consider differences of opinion as a justification for censorship. Many of my fellow students today seem to lack the capacity to engage with ideas contrary to their own, to the extent that dissenting views make them feel ‘unsafe’ or ‘threatened’. These people need to get a grip on reality and realise that the world will not bow down to their fragile egos.

    • Prevent: this is state censorship, not ‘safeguarding’
      The Prevent Duty – which put the existing Prevent Strategy measures on a legal footing – is, ostensibly, about protecting and caring for students. It spells out the safeguards universities are required to have in place before allowing speakers on campus. When prime minister David Cameron announced the new measures in September, he said it was every public institution’s responsibility to deny all extremist ideas ‘the oxygen they need to flourish’. But, rhetoric aside, it was clear that this was aimed squarely at Islamist hate preachers.

    • New Hampshire Complaint Censorship Chills Viral Video on YouTube, Uses False Privacy Claim
      Complaint censorship is a rising tide on YouTube, threatening to scrub the internet clean of video recorded in public, which people want to take back years later.

      A New Hampshire citizen journalist recorded a public conversation on a sidewalk and posted it to YouTube (see below) where it went viral, getting over 1,000,000 views, but now someone is using complaint censorship to claim a privacy right, on a public sidewalk.

      Complaint censorship uses illegitimate claims to bog down news and public interest videos on YouTube.

    • Scholar: Why U.S. college censorship reminds me of authoritarian regimes
      The one place where freedom of expression and the open mind should prevail is on college campuses, right? Isn’t that what liberal education is supposed to be about — the free and open inquiry into history, science and the arts in order to understand how humanity has understood itself for millennia?

      But if that is so, why has the university become its opposite: an astonishingly illiberal institution where speech codes, “safe spaces,” and other controls of freedom of expression are intended to close down debate? Why is it increasingly a “space” where prominent people like former Harvard University President Larry Summers are forbidden to speak, where professors who buck the party line are suspended from teaching, and where some schools even try to control how people address one another in public (“Ze” and “hir” instead of Mr., Miss or him or her)?

    • Comedian Could Face 3 Years In German (Not Turkish!) Jail For Mocking Notoriously Thin-Skinned Turkish President
      Exactly as Böhmermann doubtless intended, this has caused a huge political stink. The broadcaster ZDF took down the video, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, told Turkey's prime minister that the poem was a "deliberately offensive text" that she personally disapproved of. Most significantly, the Turkish government has filed a formal request for Böhmermann's prosecution. So what? you might ask. Germany isn't Turkey, and so surely there's no way that somebody would be prosecuted just for a few rude lyrics about a foreign leader.

    • Texas Prison System Unveils New Inmate Censorship Policy
      The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is getting in the digital censorship game with a new policy that would punish an offender for having a social media presence, even when someone on the outside is posting updates on their behalf.

    • Texas Bans Social Media Accounts For Inmates
      Texas is banning inmates from having any kind of social media accounts. The ban includes accounts run in their name by friends or family members. Included in the latest version of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s offender handbook updated April 1, the new rule prohibits all inmates from “maintaining active social media accounts for the purposes of soliciting, updating, or engaging others."

    • Israel's state archivist opens up about censorship, digitization
      Israel’s state archivist confirms that nearly half a million pages have been sent to the IDF Censor, which has redacted historical documents that already saw the light of day, and talks about why he didn’t foresee the storm that erupted over his decision to end access to paper documents.

    • The murky history of moderation, and how it’s shaping the future of free speech
      Julie Mora-Blanco remembers the day, in the summer of 2006, when the reality of her new job sunk in. A recent grad of California State University, Chico, Mora-Blanco had majored in art, minored in women’s studies, and spent much of her free time making sculptures from found objects and blown-glass. Struggling to make rent and working a post-production job at Current TV, she’d jumped at the chance to work at an internet startup called YouTube. Maybe, she figured, she could pull in enough money to pursue her lifelong dream: to become a hair stylist.

    • UC Davis spent thousands to scrub pepper-spray references from Internet
      UC Davis contracted with consultants for at least $175,000 to scrub the Internet of negative online postings following the November 2011 pepper-spraying of students and to improve the reputations of both the university and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, newly released documents show.

      The payments were made as the university was trying to boost its image online and were among several contracts issued following the pepper-spray incident.

      Some payments were made in hopes of improving the results computer users obtained when searching for information about the university or Katehi, results that one consultant labeled “venomous rhetoric about UC Davis and the chancellor.”

      Others sought to improve the school’s use of social media and to devise a new plan for the UC Davis strategic communications office, which has seen its budget rise substantially since Katehi took the chancellor’s post in 2009. Figures released by UC Davis show the strategic communications budget increased from $2.93 million in 2009 to $5.47 million in 2015.

      “We have worked to ensure that the reputation of the university, which the chancellor leads, is fairly portrayed,” said UC Davis spokeswoman Dana Topousis. “We wanted to promote and advance the important teaching, research and public service done by our students, faculty and staff, which is the core mission of our university.”

      Money to pay the consultants came from the communications department budget, Topousis said.

    • British Culture Ministers Ponder Anal Sex
      The U.K. Department for Culture, Media & Sport is concerned about the prevalence of anal sex in online pornography. In a report on age-verification rules for British porn websites, the department frets that anal sex is not sufficiently pleasurable for women and wonders whether porn may be pressuring the poor dears into it.

    • Charlie Hebdo, Terrorism, and the Culture of 'You Can't Say That'
      So yes, a mask has slipped. The Charliephobes’ mask. Their claim to be against "punching down," to care about ordinary, vulnerable people, has been exposed as utter bunkum. In truth, they’re all about protecting a global religion, an ideology, from ridicule, and in the process they’re doing more damage to freedom and social solidarity in Europe than they could ever understand.

    • Former girlfriend of controversial blogger to enter defence for insulting Muslims

    • Malaysian 'sex blogger' acquitted of charge under censorship act

    • Former sex blogger Vivian Lee to give evidence

    • ABC's China website gives in to censorship

    • How the ABC sold out news values to get access to China

    • ABC celebrates first anniversary of China portal

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Secure Cars, but Not Phones? Government Doublespeak on Cybersecurity
      PRIVACY ADVOCATES SAY government officials are talking out of two sides of their mouths when it comes to cybersecurity. The latest case in point: Assistant Attorney General John Carlin calling for super-secure, hack-proof cars at an automotive conference on Tuesday, even as FBI Director James Comey continues to pressure phone manufacturers and technology companies to roll back their security to allow for law enforcement access.

      “There are things you can do to mitigate the risk, protect yourselves and your companies, and ultimately, the cybersecurity of the United States,” Carlin said at the SAE 2016 World Congress conference in Detroit. “First, design with security in mind.”

      But driving a car in 2016 is not totally different from using a cellphone — and protecting either of them against hacking raises the same issues. These days, dozens of networked electronic control units manage things like braking and accelerating by communicating with each other, and more and more cars are connected to the internet, or accessible via Bluetooth. Securing the conversation between your brake pedal and your brakes is a lot like securing your banking app or your intimate phone conversation.

    • GCHQ stopped a Harry Potter leak, but what do the books say about government surveillance?

      A significant portion of the Harry Potter series is devoted to critiquing the invasions of a surveillance state.

    • Cyber-security pro? Forget GCHQ, BT wants to hire 900 of you
      Former state monopoly BT is on the hunt for 900 security bods to help it meet the "surge" in customer demand for those skills, following a number of high-profile security and data breaches.

    • Burr & Feinstein Officially Release Anti-Encryption Bill, As Wyden Promises To Filibuster It
      Last week, we wrote about a "discussion draft" of Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein's new anti-encryption bill that would effectively require any company doing anything with encryption to make sure that encryption was flat out broken, putting everyone at risk. Feinstein and Burr's offices refused to comment on the criticism of the draft, insisting that they were still working on the bill. Well, late Wednesday Burr officially released a copy of the bill and it's basically the same insane bill we saw last week. As far as I can tell, the only real change is further defining what is meant by a "court order." It used to just say any court order, but now says only court orders for specific issues, but it's a pretty broad list: crimes involving serious bodily harm, foreign intelligence, espionage, terrorism, sexual exploitation of a minor, a "serious violent felony," or a serious drug crime. So, I guess we should feel relieved that it won't be used for cases where someone's caught trespassing or something? It's still a ridiculous bill (and it still doesn't explain what the penalties are).

    • Victory: California Smartphone Anti-Encryption Bill Dies in Committee
      The California Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection has scuttled A.B. 1681, the anti-smartphone encryption bill that EFF has been fighting for the last few months. The bill was unable to get a second in committee, so it died without a formal vote.

      A.B. 1681 was introduced in January of this year, and originally required that every smartphone sold in California have the technical ability to be decrypted and unlocked at the time of sale by the manufacturer or operating system provider. The bill was then amended to penalize companies that couldn’t decrypt the contents of a smartphone pursuant to a state court order.

      The bill, both before and after it was amended, posed a serious threat to smartphone security. It would have forced companies to dedicate resources to finding ways to defeat their own encryption or insert backdoors to facilitate decryption. As a result, the bill would have essentially prohibited companies from offering full disk encryption for their phones.

    • Sixth Circuit Disregards Privacy in New Cell Site Location Information Decision
      This week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held, in United States v. Carpenter, that we lack any privacy interest in the location information generated by our cell phones. The opinion shows a complete disregard for the sensitive and revealing nature of cell site location information (CSLI) and a misguided response to the differences between the analog technologies addressed in old cases and the data-rich technologies of today.

      In 2011, the FBI was investigating a string of robberies in and around Detroit. Relying solely on a court order, the FBI got several months of round-the-clock CSLI data on the two defendants in an attempt to link them to the crimes. CSLI are phone company records of cell phone towers your phone connects to at a given time and date. After the case was appealed to the federal appellate court, we joined the ACLU, the Brennan Center, CDT, and NACDL in arguing that acquiring this sensitive long-term, historical location information without a warrant violated the Fourth Amendment.
    • Obama Should Reject Anti-Encryption Legislation and Protect Digital Security
      Dozens of nonprofit organizations, companies, and academics sent a joint letter today urging President Obama to take a strong stance against backdoors and oppose legislation that would undermine security.

      The coalition effort—which included EFF, Access Now, Fight for the Future, and others— was organized after The Hill published a draft of anti-security legislation written by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The draft bill would create a new obligation on device manufacturers, software developers, ISPs, online services and others to decrypt encrypted data or offer "such technical assistance as is necessary" if ordered to do so by any court in the country.

    • FBI’s Latest Story about the Hack of Farook’s Phone
      There’s one more thing that is getting lost in this debate. Comey and others keep talking about the use of this for an intelligence function, as if to justify keeping this exploit secret. I know that’s the convenient part of using a terrorism case to raise the stakes of back dooring phones. But this is ultimately a law enforcement issue, not an intelligence one, no matter how much FBI wants to pretend we’re going to find out something going forward. And as such it should be subject to greater standards of disclosure than a pure use of an exploit for intelligence purposes would.
    • Here are 79 California Surveillance Tech Policies. But Where Are the Other 90?
      That's why last weekend more than 30 citizen watchdogs joined EFF's team to hold California law enforcement and public safety agencies accountable. Together, we combed through nearly 170 California government websites to identify privacy and usage policies for surveillance technology that must now be posted online under state law.

      On January 1, 2016 two new laws went into effect in California: S.B. 34 requires agencies that use automated license plate recognition (ALPR) or access ALPR data to publish privacy and usage policies, while S.B. 741 requires public policies for cell-site simulators, a type of cellphone tracking technology often referred to as "Stingrays" and "Dirtboxes." These policies must be posted "conspicuously" on their websites.

    • Is Canada Using Stingrays to Spy on Its Own Citizens?
      It’s no secret that OpenMedia is worried about the use of Stingrays.

      Just weeks ago, we launched a new campaign to Stop Stingray Surveillance, and almost 30,000 people have already spoken up against invasive cell phone spying.

      The campaign builds on our detailed policy intervention we filed last month with the B.C. Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, as a part of its investigation into the Vancouver Police Department’s failure to respond to access to information requests on the potential use of Stingrays.

      Well, now we’re taking the fight national.
    • EFF Supports Rep. Goodlatte’s Manager’s Amendment to The Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699)
      The House is finally moving forward with updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), one of the main laws protecting the privacy of online communications. This year, The Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699), which updates ECPA to ensure all of our private online messages are protected by a warrant, garnered 315 cosponsors, almost three-quarters of the entire House. This impressive number of cosponsors makes a powerful statement. And it’s why Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, scheduled a committee meeting on Wednesday to advance the bill.

      Today, Rep. Goodlatte announced that he will be moving his own amendment to The Email Privacy Act through the House Judiciary Committee. While we would prefer the committee pass a clean version of the Email Privacy Act, we support Rep. Goodlatte’s amendment.
    • Former Reuters Journalist Matthew Keys Sentenced to Two Years for Hacking
      On Wednesday, the former Reuters journalist Matthew Keys was sentenced to two years in prison for computer hacking.

      Keys, who once worked for Tribune Company-owned Sacramento television station Fox 40, left that job in 2010 and went on to copy and paste login credentials for the Tribune Company’s content management system (CMS) into a chatroom where members of the hacking collective Anonymous planned out their operations. (Keys still denies all allegations.)

      An unknown person under the username “sharpie” then went on to log into the CMS and deface a Los Angeles Times article. The article’s headline and dek (the subtitle beneath the headline) remained defaced for about forty minutes before an editor noticed and changed it back.

    • FBI paid professional hackers to gain access to San Bernardino iPhone – report
      The FBI reportedly bought a previously unknown security bug from a group of professional hackers to gain entry to the San Bernardino iPhone 5C, according to the Washington Post.

      The report suggests hackers supplied at least one so-called zero-day flaw in the iPhone 5C’s security that allowed the FBI to circumvent the lockscreen and automatic wipe feature that kicks in after 10 wrong passcode entries.

      The hack meant the FBI dropped its attempt to force Apple to create software to unlock the iPhone 5C, which the company said would put all iPhones at risk.

      The FBI has already clarified that the hack bought for a one-time-fee cannot break into newer iPhones, including the iPhone 5S or later, but the hack could affect any iPhone 5C or older, including the iPhone 5 and 4S.
    • House panel approves bill to protect older email from government snooping
      A key House panel voted Wednesday to pass an email privacy bill that would stop the government from being able to read Americans' old emails without a warrant.

      The House Judiciary Committee voted 28-0 to approve the Email Privacy Act, a bipartisan bill that would replace a 1986 law that allows government investigators to peruse emails at will if the communications are at least six months old. The bill would require federal officials to obtain a warrant before they can read or view emails, texts, photos or instant messages — regardless of when the data was sent.

    • Silverpush Stops Using Sneaky, Inaudible TV Audio Tracking Beacons After FTC Warning
      ISPs and cable companies already track and sell your online behavior, your location data, and effectively everything you do on the Internet (to the second). Now broadcasters and app developers are cooking up a new technology that uses so-called "smart audio beacons" emitted during television programs to help track user viewing habits. These tones, inaudible to the human ear, are picked up by applications which use your smartphone or tablet microphone to listen and record them. That data can then be used to build a profile that potentially matches your existing online data with your viewing habits.
    • Maybe The NSA Has Already Broken Every Security System, Not By Hacking Computers, But By Hacking The Entire Industry
      The novel solution is for the NSA to exploit "raw capitalism," and to "throw money at the problem" by playing the role of a friendly local venture capitalist that wants to turn the idea into a company. At the same time, the NSA finds a relevant patent held by one of its "friends" in the industry, and then asks those friends to send around their patent lawyers to the new startup it is funding, to get it shut down in a perfectly non-suspicious way.

    • Did NSA underestimate the insider threat?
      In this edition of the Irari Report, Ira Winkler and Araceli Treu Gomes continue their interview of Chris Inglis, former Deputy Director of NSA. In this segment, they focus on how an organization that is so aware of the insider threat can be compromised by a person like Edward Snowden.

      Inglis highlights how trust is critical to function, but verification must be implemented. This relies upon a stringent screening process, as you have to extend to trust to the people you hire. While Snowden was one traitor among 250,000, the damage one person can cause is clear, and it must be accepted as an eventuality.
    • NSA, Parsons Facilitate 2016 Cyber Defense Exercise; Mary Ann Hopkins Comments [Ed: NSA puff piece]

    • 'I bet it's those snobs at GCHQ who want it done': Residents question need for PE Way resurfacing
      Princess Elizabeth Way - one of the main routes to GCHQ and Gloucester through Cheltenham is to be resurfaced later this month – and motorists have been warned of delays.
    • Inspector General Says FBI Not Doing Enough To Prevent Abuse Of Cell Phone Forensic Equipment By Law Enforcement Officers
      The FBI's Inspector General has released a report on the New Jersey FBI branch's Computer Forensics Laboratory. For the most part, the report is positive and shows this branch tends to handle its forensics work competently. The problem comes when it opens up its tools up to local law enforcement.

    • A paper shield does not protect privacy: Privacy International’s analysis of the “Privacy Shield” safeguards on surveillance
      On 29 February 2016, the European Commission and the US government released the details of the proposed EU-U.S. “Privacy Shield”. The “Privacy Shield” replaces the now defunct so-called “Safe Harbor”.

      The Privacy Shield is in fact a significant number of documents from various parts of the U.S. administration, which merely outline the existing, weak U.S. safeguards applicable to personal data of EU citizens. These documents are meant to serve as the basis for an “adequacy” decision by the European Commission that the U.S. has a data protection regime that is essentially equivalent to that applicable in the EU. In making that decision, the European Commission must also review issues related to government surveillance and consumer data protection.

      Last month Privacy International joined other European and American NGOs in expressing concerns that the “Privacy Shield” will put users at risk, undermine trust in the digital economy, and perpetuate the human rights violations that are already occurring as a result of surveillance programs and other activities.

      We have now analysed in detail the government surveillance aspects of the proposed personal data transfers arrangements, and have found the shield isn’t operational.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Airport sniffer dogs find 'cheese and sausages' but no Class A drugs
      The use of sniffer dogs at Manchester Airport has been criticised after dogs there failed to discover any Class A drugs in a seven-month period.

      But one dog, trained to detect illegal animal products, often found "small amounts of cheese or sausages" carried by holidaymakers, a report said.

      The review, by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, assessed border checks at the airport.

    • Helen Clark
      I very much hope that Helen Clark becomes the new UN Secretary-General.


      For these reasons Clark is not the preferred candidate of the US or UK governments for the Secretary General position. But her independence does mean she is ultimately acceptable to Russia and China, whose agreement is essential as the appointment is confirmed by the Security Council. The Russians in particular feel they made a mistake in agreeing to the disappointing Ban Ki-Moon last time.

    • Bernie Backstage: Here’s How a President Sanders Would Rally the Grass Roots (Video)
      Footage of a private meeting with local leaders before Bernie Sanders’ rally at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Tuesday provides insight into how he might work with grass-roots activists to pursue a national populist agenda.

      Sanders spoke directly with Dutchess County Democratic legislators Francena Amparo and Joel Tyner, labor leaders and activists about issues of immigration, economic fairness and climate change. Cheers from the crowd nearby erupted intermittently.

      “I just want to thank you for your strong opposition to … fossil fuel infrastructure,” one woman said. “We are fighting the first crude oil pipeline project in New York State in over 100 years, and we need you.”

    • Illinois Police Department Gives up on Body Cameras Because They're Tired of People Asking for Videos
      The police chief said he was happy with the cameras but dismayed with what he felt were excessive requests for footage from suspects and their lawyers.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Sprint Customer Listening Tour Goes Sour, Company Has To Pull Ad Calling T-Mobile A 'Ghetto'
      Poor Sprint. Ever since T-Mobile became the darling of the wireless industry simply for treating consumers well (ingenious!), Sprint hasn't quite known what to do with itself. After T-Mobile leap-frogged Sprint to become the nation's third-largest carrier last year, Sprint has been trying desperately to convince customers that hey, it's really cool too. But Sprint has found it hard to shake the image that it's little more than a decidedly unhip copycat with a less competent network. A lot of Sprint's PR struggles have been thanks to the fact that it hasn't been easy keeping up with T-Mobile's foul-mouthed, hipster-esque CEO, John Legere.

    • Verizon won’t fix copper lines when customers refuse switch to fiber
      Verizon has reportedly switched 1.1 million customers from copper to fiber lines over the past few years under a program it calls "Fiber Is the Only Fix." But some phone customers have refused the switch to fiber because they prefer to keep their copper lines—even though Verizon apparently is refusing to fix problems in the copper infrastructure.

      The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that it obtained internal company documents that describe the effort to switch problematic copper lines to fiber. Verizon customers with copper-based landline phones who call for repairs twice in 18 months "will be told that their 'only fix' is to replace decades-old copper line with high-speed fiber as Verizon won't fix the copper," the report said.

    • Obama Is Threatening to Veto the GOP's Latest Assault on Net Neutrality
      President Obama has long been a vocal supporter of net neutrality, the idea that all content on the internet should be equally accessible—and now he’s backing up his principles with policy.

      In a "Statement of Administration Policy" released Tuesday, Obama signaled that he intends to veto Republican-backed legislation that open internet advocates say could eviscerate federal net neutrality protections.

      Earlier this year, a GOP-controlled House subcommittee approved the "No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act," (H.R. 2666) which net neutrality supporters say could severely undercut the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to police the nation’s largest cable and phone companies.

    • Net Neutrality Rules in Danger
      The FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order was the culmination of years of net neutrality advocacy and a big step toward a free and open Internet. This week, a vote in Congress could undo a lot of that work.

      H.R. 2666, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act, might sound good in theory, but in practice, it could seriously undermine the FCC’s ability to protect the open Internet.

  • DRM

    • The 5 Biggest Things Facebook Announced This Week
      As Facebook has expanded its video ambitions, YouTube creators have cried foul about “freebooting,” or the practice of stealing a YouTube video and posting it on Facebook without permission. Facebook finally seems prepared to take the issue seriously now that media companies and celebrities are embracing Facebook Live, the company’s new broadcasting tool. Facebook is rolling out a new rights management system that will let creators upload reference videos so that duplicates are automatically flagged and, hopefully, removed much faster.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Ideologies Fly In Discussion Of WIPO Pharma Report Calling For Less Ideology
      A study commissioned by the World Intellectual Property Organization to analyse which essential medicines on the 2013 World Health Organization Essential Medicines List were under patent found that over 90 percent of medicines on the list were off patent, and advocated more transparency in patent information. The study’s release set off an outcry among public health advocates who viewed the report as biased toward pharmaceutical companies.

    • WIPO Scrutinised For Development Dimension, Involvement In UN Panel On Medicines
      Brazil said the statement made by a WIPO representative during a presentation briefing in February caused great concern because it apparently questioned the High Panel’s mandate (IPW, Public Health, 1 February 2016).

    • Mr Justice Arnold finds American Science's mobile X-ray scanner patent valid
      AS&E argued that Rapiscan infringed the patent. During trial Rapiscan admitted it had committed the acts, but that the patent was invalid. Rapiscan argued that the patent was obvious on the basis of a paper by Roderick Swift entitled "Mobile X-ray Backscatter Imaging System for Inspection of Vehicles" published on 19-20 November 1996 in the Proceedings of the SPIE conference ("Swift"). The Swift article introduces AS&E's MobileSearch system, which at that time was a prototype, and provides background for AS&E's earlier CargoSearch system (a system for inspecting vehicles crossing the border from Mexico to the US). CargoSearch was a mixed transmission and backscatter system. The vehicle or target was then towed slowly through the scanning area at a fixed speed. MobileSearch was a combined backscatter and transmission system (Swift explains that the prototype was designed only to include backscatter but could be upgraded to provide transmission imaging). Swift describes the objective of the prototype of being a fully mobile, self contained large-scale system. The occupants of scanned vehicles are required to exit before a scan is started. This very much removes the "covert" element needed to tackle security threats.

    • If you need to prove use as part of your opposition, this is for you
      The following post from former Guest Kat Valentina Torelli explores the question of having to prove use as part of an opposition proceeding and the differences of opinion between the courts in ruing on this challenging question.

    • Trademarks

      • How to protect your brand when your endorser goes rogue
        Sports sponsorship is big business, and can bring benefits to both the brand owner and the endorser. Nisha Kumar discusses how you can minimise the damage when things go wrong

      • REPORT: Trademark law: 2015 year in review
        This article summarises some of the more noteworthy Canadian trademark law decisions and developments from 2015.

      • How Two Breweries Did What Politicians Can't: Amicably Resolve Dispute Over Convention-Themed Beers
        It's political season here in America, which means that it's time for everyone to disagree as violently as possible and to such a degree that all conversation is at an impasse. You know, basically just like every other time in America, except now we televise this stuff because the brains of our citizenry might still have a little meat left on the bone that can be melted away through "debates." But two companies are bucking that trend in a way readers here might not expect: two breweries are dealing amicably with having come up with politically-themed beer brews named very similarly to one another.

        Thirsty Dog Brewing in Ohio had recently announced its latest beer, Unconventional Ale, named after the RNC convention set to take place in Cleveland. The convention is of course gaining even more attention than usual this presidential cycle, mostly because reports on the machinations of the party suggest it might be exactly the best kind of shit show to watch from the outside. That notoriety explains why Platform Beer Co. too had announced it was releasing a new brew, entitled UnconventionAle. So the names are similar to the point of being nearly identical. I'm sure you're already bracing for the nasty threats and legal filings. But no, these two breweries have managed to do what our politicians won't: talk to each other.

    • Copyrights

      • Court of Appeals Vacates Injunction Against Mississippi Attorney General in Case Against Google
        Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an injunction issued by a federal district court judge last year. The injunction would have prevented Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood from enforcing his massively large and demanding administrative subpoena against Google. The injunction would also have prohibited the Attorney General from bringing civil or criminal charges against the company for making third-party content accessible to Internet users.

      • Piracy Fails to Prevent Another Box Office Record

        Piracy is not killing the movie business. According to the MPAA's Theatrical Market Statistics report the industry has just turned in a record year, with $38.3b taken at the box office. Meanwhile, MPAA chief Chris Dodd is set to meet Napster founder Sean Parker, whose Screening Room threatens to upset box office revenues......
      • Facebook Launches Its Own Version Of ContentID, Which Will Soon Be Abused To Take Down Content
        Last year, after a bunch of YouTube video creators started slamming Facebook for allowing people to re-upload their videos to Facebook (they called it "freebooting"), Facebook insisted that it, too, was building a ContentID-like system to automate the process of taking down videos based on infringement claims. Last fall, the company announced that it would be using the same system basically everyone other than Google uses: Audible Magic as the backend system of that tool. And now Facebook has officially announced its product, called "Rights Manager."
      • Led Zeppelin 'Stairway To Heaven' Copyright Case Will Go To A Jury... Meaning Band Will Almost Certainly Lose
        This isn't surprising, even if it is a bit disappointing. Led Zeppelin has long been accused of copying others songs, and there are actually a bunch of videos on YouTube detailing examples.
      • Walking Dead Producer Claims Real Cable Set Top Box Competition Will Result In Piracy Armageddon
        As we've been discussing, the FCC has started working more seriously on opening the cable set top box to real competition. As it stands, 99% of consumers currently pay about $231 annually in rental fees for aging hardware that's often worth about half that much. The FCC's goal is ultimately to let consumers access cable content using the hardware of their choice, creating a healthy new competitive market, and by proxy better hardware at lower prices. But monthly set top box rental fees represent $20 billion in annual revenue to cable providers, which is why they've been having a hissy fit about the FCC's plan.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Microsoft's Bing Falls to Fourth in the Europe/Asia-Based Turkey, Share Halved Since LLM Hype, Now Only 1% (Sometimes Less)
Turkey (Eurasia) is another example of Microsoft failing with LLM hype and just burning a lot of energy in vain (investment without returns)
Backlash and Negative Press After Microsoft Tells Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) People to DIE
Follow-up stories
Censorship as Signal of Opportunity for Reform
It remains sad and ironic that Wikileaks outsourced so much of its official communications to Twitter (now X)
The World Wide Web Has Been Rotting for Years (Quality, Accuracy, and Depth Consistently Decreasing)
In the past people said that the Web had both "good" and "bad" and that the good outweighed the bad
Comoros: Windows Plunges to Record Low of About 6% in Country of a Million People (in 2010 Windows Was 100%)
Many of these people earn a few dollars a day; they don't care for Microsoft's "Hey Hi PC" hype
The Mail (MX) Server Survey for July 2024 Shows Microsoft Collapsing to Only 689 Servers or 0.17% of the Whole (It Used to be About 25%)
Microsoft became so insignificant and the most astounding thing is how the media deliberate ignores it or refuses to cover it
Windows Down From 98.5% to 22.9% in Hungary
Android is up because more people buy smaller mobile devices than laptops
Microsoft Windows in Algeria: From 100% to Less Than 15%
Notice that not too long ago Windows was measured at 100%. Now? Not even 15%.
Microsoft Windows "Market Share" in New Zealand Plunges to 25%
Android rising
SUSE Goes Aryan: You May Not Use the Germanic Brand Anymore (It's Monopolised by the Corporation)
Worse than grammar Nazis
Gratis But Not Free as in Freedom: How Let's Encrypt is Dying in Geminispace
Let's Encrypt is somewhat of a dying breed where the misguided CA model is shunned
[Meme] The Warlord's Catspaw
Thugs that troll us
Microsoft Misogyny Will be the Fall of Microsoft (Covering Up for Misogynists is a Huge Mistake and Highly Misguided Short-term Strategy)
Microsoft's undoing may in fact be its attitude towards women
Red Hat Keeps Behaving Like a Microsoft Reseller (for Proprietary Stuff!), Microsoft Employees as Authors in
In some ways this reminds us of Novell
UEFI 'Secure Boot' Once Again Bricking PCs and Fake Security Models Are Perishing in Geminispace
Let's Encrypt has just fallen again
Links 17/07/2024: New Attacks on the Press, European Patents Squashed Even at Kangaroo Court (UPC)
Links for the day
Gemini Links 17/07/2024: Proponents of Censorship and New Arrivals at Gemini
Links for the day
Links 17/07/2024: School Budget Meltdown and Modern Cars as Tracking Nightmares
Links for the day
This Should Certainly be Illegal, But the Person Who Helped Microsoft Do This is Still Attacking the Critics of It
perhaps time for an "I told you so post"
[Meme] A Computer With an Extra Key on the Keyboard Isn't Everyone's Priority
(so your telling me meme)
Africa as an Important Reminder That Eradicating Microsoft Doesn't Go Far Enough
Ideally, if our top goal is bigger than "get rid of Microsoft", we need to teach people to choose and use devices that obey them, not GAFAM
Billions of Computers Run Linux and Many Use Debian (or a Derivative of It)
many devices never get updated or even communicate with the Net, so exhaustive tallies are infeasible
[Meme] Microsoft is Firing
Don't worry, Microsoft will have some new vapourware coming soon
More DEI (or Similar) Layoffs on the Way, According to Microsoft Team Leader
What happened shortly before Independence Day wasn't the end of it, apparently
[Meme] Many Volunteers Now Realise the "Open" in "OpenSUSE" or "openSUSE" Was Labour-Mining
Back to coding, packaging and testing, slaves
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 16, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, July 16, 2024
[Meme] Ein Factory
A choice between "masters" (or "master race") is a false choice that results in mass exploitation and ultimately eradication (when there's little left to exploit)
Links 17/07/2024: Open Source Initiative Lies and Dark Net Thoughts
Links for the day
Media Distorting Truth to Promote Ignorance
online media is rapidly collapsing
Android Rises to New Highs of Almost 80% in Cameroon
How many dozens of nations will see Windows at under 10% this coming winter?
Links 16/07/2024: TikTok Ban in Europe and Yandex Split
Links for the day
Gemini Links 16/07/2024: On Packrafting and on Trump Shot
Links for the day
[Meme] Firefox Users Who Think They Know Better Than Mozilla
Enjoy Firebook
Firefox Used to Have About Half the Market in Switzerland, But It Doesn't Stand a Chance Anymore (Chrome Surging This Summer)
Mozilla has managed to alienate some of the biggest fans of Firefox
Microsoft's Biggest Losses Are in Europe This Summer
Microsoft's ability to milk a relatively rich Europe is fast diminishing
How to Make Software Suck and Discriminate Against People at the Same Time
ageism glorified
Bing Was at 2.6% in Russia When LLM Hype Started. Now It's Down to 0.8% (for 3 Months in a Row Already)
The sharp fall of Bing may mean that exiting the Russian market won't matter to anybody
[Meme] Microsoft Seems to be Failing to Comply With WARN Act (by Refusing to Announce Mass Layoffs as They Happen)
since when does Microsoft obey the law anyway?
Microsoft Layoffs Are Still Too Frequent to Keep Abreast of and Properly (or Exhaustively) Classify
The "HR" department knows what's happening, but whistleblowers from there are rare
Bahamas Joined the "5% Windows" Club
statCounter only traces back about 1 in 20 Web requests to Windows
Links 16/07/2024: Salesforce Layoffs and Microsoft's DMARC Fail
Links for the day
Antenna Abuse and Gemini Abuse (Self-hosting Perils)
Perhaps all this junk is a sign of Gemini growing up
Possibly Worse Than Bribes: US Politicians and Lawmakers Who Are Microsoft Shareholders
They will keep bailing out Microsoft to bail themselves out
The Software Freedom Conservancy Folks Don't Even Believe in Free Speech and They Act As Imposters (Also in the Trademark Arena/Sense)
Software Freedom Conservancy was already establishing a reputation for itself as a G(I)AFAM censor/gatekeeper
Djibouti Enters the Windows "10% Club" (Windows Was 99% in 2010)
In Africa in general Microsoft lost control
GNU/Linux Share Doubled in the United States of America (USA) in the Past 12 Months
Or so says statCounter
Even in North Korea (Democratic People's Republic Of Korea) Google Said to Dominate, Microsoft Around 1%
Google at 93.26%
[Meme] The Red Bait (Embrace... Extinguish)
They set centos on fire, then offer a (de facto) proprietary substitute for a fee
Shooting the Messenger to Spite the Message
segment of a Noam Chomsky talk
[Video] Boston Area Assange Defense (Yesterday)
It was published only hours ago
Guinea: Windows Down From 99.3% to 2.7% 'Market Share'
Guinea is not a small country
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 15, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, July 15, 2024
What's Meant by "Antenna Abuse" (Gemini)
syndication is not a monopoly in Gemini and if one doesn't condone political censorship, then one can create one's own syndication service/capsule
Microsoft Layoffs and Entire Unit Termination: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
What an announcement to make just before Independence Day
Links 16/07/2024: Old Computer Challenge and One Page Dungeon Contest
Links for the day
Microsoft Falls Further and Closer Towards 10% (Windows "Market Share") in Kuwait
more countries entering the "single-digit Windows" (under 10%) club
Gemini Links 15/07/2024: Antenna's Pro-Hamas Bias Revisited and Old Computer Challenge
Links for the day
[Video] Julian Assange, Over One Decade Ago, Cautioning About What the Internet Had Truly Become
video is not new
Homage to Malta
Malta is probably easy for Microsoft to bribe
IRC at 16
Logging has been used for us and against us
In Malta, Android/Linux Has Overtaken Microsoft Windows (According to statCounter)
statCounter milestone?
Links 15/07/2024: China’s Economic Problems, Boeing Under Fire
Links for the day
500 Days' Uptime Very Soon
Good luck doing that with Windows...
Windows Falls Below 20% in Tunisia
A month ago we wrote about GNU/Linux in Tunisia
Links 15/07/2024: Google Wants Wiz and Why "Sports Ruin Everything"
Links for the day
Gemini Links 15/07/2024: Old Computer Challenge and Sending Files via NNCP
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 14, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, July 14, 2024