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Links 29/9/2016: Russia Moving to FOSS, New Nmap and PostgreSQL Releases

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  • Microsoft is no longer Russia’s first choice of technology provider
    Moscow plans to open the replacement cycle by swapping Exchange and Outlook for email systems developed by New Cloud Technologies and distributed by by state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC, Bloomberg reports. The software will be eventually deployed to as many as 600,000 computers.

    The city is also considering dropping Windows and Office, but state officials are still looking into alternatives, says Moscow’s head of information technology Artem Yermolaev.

    Putin has been pushing for technological independence after American corporations were forced to sever ties with major Russian institutions following the annexation of Crimea back in 2014.

    To actively encourage the adoption of local solutions, Putin’s internet czar German Klimenko has plans to raise taxes on Western tech companies operating within Russia.

  • Moscow Drops Microsoft on Putin’s Call for Self-Sufficiency

    Moscow city will replace Microsoft Corp. programs with domestic software on thousands of computers in answer to President Vladimir Putin’s call for Russia’s authorities to reduce dependence on foreign technology amid tensions with the U.S. and Europe.

    The city will initially replace Microsoft’s Exchange Server and Outlook on 6,000 computers with an e-mail system installed by state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC, Artem Yermolaev, head of information technology for Moscow, told reporters Tuesday. Moscow may expand deployment of the new software, developed by Russia’s New Cloud Technologies, to as many as 600,000 computers and servers, and may also consider replacing Windows and Office, Yermolaev said.

  • Why Microsoft is getting the cold shoulder from Moscow
    Since the German city of Munich decided to ditch Microsoft Windows and Office, a growing number of European agencies have followed suit - from France's national police force to the Italian military.

    The latest authority to turn its back on Microsoft is reportedly Moscow City Hall, which is transferring employee email from Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook to the Russian-built MyOffice Mail.

    About 6,000 Moscow state employees will be switched over, including teachers, doctors and civil servants. If the move is a success, the city will consider shifting 600,000 PCs and servers away from Microsoft, and may also replace Windows and Office, according to Bloomberg.
  • Moscow will replace Microsoft's products with local offerings
    Microsoft might lose a whole city of customers in Russia. According to Bloomberg, Moscow will begin replacing Redmond's products with homegrown software as a result of Vladimir Putin's urging to stop depending on foreign tech. Artem Yermolaev, the city's head of information technology, told reporters that Moscow will begin by dropping Microsoft's Exchange Service and by replacing Outlook on 6,000 computers with state-run carrier Rostelecom PJSC's email system. Authorities are looking to deploy the email software to as many as 600,000 computers in the future. They might even replace Windows and the Office suite entirely, though there seems to be no solid plan for that at the moment.

  • Desktop

    • Alphabet's Plans to Create Android PCs Should Make Microsoft a Little Nervous
      Four years after Microsoft (MSFT) first tried to give the world unified PC/mobile operating systems via the dual fiascoes known as Windows 8 and Windows RT, Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google appears set to take its own stab at the concept. And there are reasons to think the company will see a measure of success.

      Citing "two independent and reliable sources," Android Police reports Google plans to launch a notebook in the third quarter of 2017 that will likely be the first new device to showcase Andromeda, a version of Android that will integrate many features associated with Google's Chrome OS PC operating system.

      The notebook will reportedly be called the Pixel 3, and carry a $788 price. Its feature set reportedly include a 12.3-inch display, an Intel (INTC) processor, a glass trackpad, a tablet mode and stylus support.

    • 4 of the Best Linux Distros for Windows Users
      For the past year Microsoft has offered free upgrades to their latest operating system, Windows 10. This was mainly due to the fact that Windows 8 and 8.1 were poorly received, especially when compared to Windows 7. Unfortunately the free upgrade period has passed, so if you want to give Windows 10 a try, you’ll have to dig into your wallet to do it. If your faith in the tech giant has waned over the years, you’re not alone. The latest versions of Windows have all been heavily criticized, proving that they have been a far cry from the world dominance of Windows XP.

      If you’re one of the many people turned off by the latest iterations of Windows, the jump to Linux might look very appealing. Unfortunately, a new OS often comes with a steep learning curve. Windows, with the exception of the fumble that was 8, has more or less looked and behaved the same for years. Having to re-learn everything can be a daunting task, one that could pressure you into staying with Windows forever.

      However, you do have options. There are many different distributions of Linux out there, with some aiming to replicate the look and feel of Windows. The goal of this is to make transitioning relatively painless. With Linux boasting improved hardware support, long term stability and a wider range of software applications, there is no better time to try it out!

    • Microsoft Applications and Services chief Qi Lu leaves the company [Ed: Microsoft exodus)
      Lu has been heading up the Applications and Services Group -- the unit that has encompassed the Office applications team and the Bing search team.

      In an email to employees on September 29, CEO Satya Nadella announced Lu was leaving so as to recover from "health conditions caused by a prior injury." (A couple of other reports, including the Wall Street Journal's, say Lu's injury was related to a biking accident.)

      Lu will continue to act as a "personal advisor" to Nadella and Microsoft Founder Bill Gates after his recovery, but he won't be returning in his former role, Nadella said in his mail.

  • Server

    • Linux servers deliver greater performance and efficiency 'than available on any x86-based server'

    • What are configuration management tools?
      For most people, computers don't stay the same. Software is added, removed, and updated. Configurations are changed. Think about the changes you've made to your computer since the first time you booted it up. Now imagine making those changes to 10, 100, or 1,000 more computers. Configuration management tools are what make implemententing and enforcing these changes possible.

    • 5 new OpenStack tutorials and guides

    • Ericsson: The Journey to a DevOps Future in SDN
      There are big transformations going on in the world today that are driving rapid changes to the business of networks, said Santiago Rodriguez, VP of Engineering and head of the product development unit SDN & Policy Control at Ericsson, in his keynote Tuesday at OpenDaylight Summit.

      “Society is transforming, the way we do business is transforming, and accordingly the way we build our networks is transforming,” Rodriguez said.

      The three pillars of this network transformation include: 5G, virtualization and open source.

    • OpenDaylight sets product quality label, metrics for SDN solutions

      Initial OpenDaylight-based products expected to receive the "Powered by OpenDaylight" mark are offerings from Brocade, Ericsson, HPE, Inocybe and Serro.

    • Telstra Sees Quadrupled Data Capacity by 2020
      The latter service led Telstra to re-think its fiber deployment strategy, choosing to use pre-provisioned fiber connections to data centers in advance of customer demand, because the company knew that demand was coming, Blackall said. The strategy worked well with Telstra's acquisition of Pacnet, which had already deployed SDN capabilities to connect its 27 points of presence around Asia.

    • The Tiny Internet Project, Part I
      As LJ readers well know, Linux drives many of the technologies we use every day, from smart TVs to Web servers. Linux is everywhere—except most homes and classrooms.

      That's a problem if we want to help breed the next generation of engineers and computer scientists. In fact, if teenagers (or any other group of curious individuals) want to learn about Linux, they often must rely on a geeky friend or parent willing to show them the way.

      This three-part series seeks to change that by offering a way for anyone to learn about Linux by building what is essentially a tiny, self-contained Internet. Using old equipment and free software, you'll build a private network (with your own domain name), build Web sites, set up an e-mail server, install and use a database, and set up a Linux distro mirror.

      Read more

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 16.10 Doesn't Change Much With Performance, Clear Linux Still Leads In Most Tests
        Given yesterday's Ubuntu 16.10 final beta release ahead of the official "Yakkety Yak" debut in two weeks, I decided to run some benchmarks of Ubuntu 16.10 compared to Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS on the same system plus also throwing in the Intel Clear Linux distribution given it tends to be one of the most performant.

        For those that haven't yet tried out Ubuntu 16.10 nor followed its development, GCC 6.2 is now the default compiler in place of GCC 5.4 from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Mesa 12.0.3 provides the stock graphics drivers and Linux 4.8 is the stock kernel.

      • DDR4 Memory Speed Tests With The Core i7 6800K On Ubuntu Linux
        A few days ago I posted my first Core i7 6800K benchmarks under Ubuntu Linux compared to various other CPUs. Out of requests from some premium members, here are some straight-forward memory clocking tests of the i7-6800K on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with the Linux 4.8 kernel. Tests were done from dual-channel DDR4 up through quad-channel DDR4 at DDR4-3000MHz.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Calendar Pencils In Great New Features
        GNOME Calendar is one of the few decent desktop calendaring apps available on Linux — and it's going to get better.

      • The future of GNOME Calendar
        Today, the Calendar Team had the first meeting in history. Isaque, Lapo, Renata, Vamsi and I attended it, and the meeting was extremely productive! In fact, we were able to sketch out the general direction that GNOME Calendar will head towards.

  • Distributions

    • Endless OS 3: Linux for the Net Less
      In the West, we take the Internet for granted. Oh, we may grumble about a slow connection, but that’s a first-world problem. For many, however, the Internet is a “maybe” thing. For those users, Endless’s Endless OS 3, may be just what they need.

    • New Releases

      • Qubes OS 3.2 has been released!
        I’m happy to announce that today we’re releasing Qubes OS 3.2!

        This is an incremental improvement over the 3.1 version that we released earlier this year. A lot of work went into making this release more polished, more stable and easier to use than our previous releases.

        One major feature that we’ve improved upon in this release is our integrated management infrastructure, which was introduced in Qubes 3.1. Whereas before it was only possible to manage whole VMs, it is now possible to manage the insides of VMs as well.

      • Security-Oriented Qubes OS 3.2 Improves the Integrated Management Infrastructure
        Today, September 29, 2016, Joanna Rutkowska announced the general availability of the second point release of the Qubes OS 3 stable series of the security-oriented and open-source Linux-based computer operating system.

        Qubes OS 3.2 is a maintenance release, which means that it mostly adds general fixes and improvements to various of the distribution's core components and functionalities, including the integrated management infrastructure that was introduced as part of the previous update, Qubes 3.1, allowing users to also manage the "insides" of a virtual machine.

      • Alpine Linux 3.4.4 Is Out, Ships with Linux Kernel 4.4.22 LTS, OpenSSL Patches
        Today, September 28, 2016, Alpine Linux creator and lead developer Natanael Cop has the pleasure of announcing the release of the fourth maintenance update to the latest stable Alpine Linux 3.4 server-oriented operating system series.

        Alpine Linux 3.4.4 is out as the most advanced version, powered by the recently released, long-term supported Linux 4.4.22 kernel and bringing up-to-date components to make your Alpine Linux-based server(s) more stable and reliable than ever. Most of the core components have been updated, but the most important one is OpenSSL 1.0.2j, which received the latest security fixes, just like in the rest of the GNU/Linux distros.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Software Company Red Hat banks on India to hit $ 5 billion turnover in 5 years
        Red Hat, the open-source software company, said its India business was growing at more than double the rate of the overall company and would be an important contributor to its target of reaching $5 billion in the next five years.

        Red Hat has over $2 billion in annual revenue currently and grew over 21% in constant currency last year. Open-source software is freely available, so Red Hat’s business model depends on customers paying for the support and service it offers and not on license fees, making the company’s offerings typically cheaper than proprietary software. “India is one of our fastest growing markets. Red Hat does really when there is net new infrastructure to be set up. And the rapid pace of development that India is seeing sets really well with our offerings,” James Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat, told ET.

      • Red Hat claims headway in Asia, bets big on container and hybrid cloud
        While the smallest in terms of revenue contribution, Asia is Red Hat's fastest growing region and is likely to continue its upwards trajectory as emerging markets roll out new infrastructure.

        Developing nations in the region were embarking on many net new infrastructure projects, rather than replacement for existing technology, and open source would be involved in a large share of such projects. The decisions on which technology to deploy would rarely be between proprietary or open source, but rather on which open source vendor to go with or to do so internally, said Red Hat President and CEO Jim Whitehurst.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Node.js 6.x LTS coming to EPEL 7
          Node.js€® is a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine. It uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient. Its package ecosystem, npm, is the largest ecosystem of open source libraries in the world. You can read more about Node.js at the project website.

        • Switched to HTTPS
          Perhaps you already noticed it, I have switched all the sites for a secured browsing using HTTPS.

          So, new addresses are:

 for this Blog (with an automatic and permanent redirection) for the Forum (with an automatic and permanent redirection) for the Repository, but classical address stay available.

        • Fedora Hubs: Getting started
          Fedora Hubs provides a consistent contributor experience across all Fedora teams and will serve as an “intranet” page for the Fedora Project. There are many different projects in Fedora with different processes and workflows. Hubs will serve as a single place for contributors to learn about and contribute to them in a standardized format. Hubs will also be a social network for Fedora contributors. It is designed as one place to go to keep up with everything and everybody across the project in ways that aren’t currently possible.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu's Shuttleworth Explains Why Not All Containers are the Same
            Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu Linux, was an early backer of OpenStack as well as containers. This week, Shuttleworth's company Canonical announced new commercial support for Kubernetes, which is a widely deployed container orchestration and management engine.

            In an interview with Datamation Shuttleworth emphasized that it's important to understand the different use cases for containers and what the different types of container systems are all about.

          • Ubuntu Linux 16.10 'Yakkety Yak' Beta 2 open source OS now available for download
          • Canonical Jumps On The Container Management Bandwagon With A Commercial Kubernetes Offering

          • ​Ubuntu's new take on Kubernetes

          • When two tribes go to war: Docker Swarm on the left, easier-to-install Kubernetes on the right

          • Canonical Launches Commercial Support for Kubernetes

          • Canonical Releases Snapcraft 2.18 Tool for Creating Snaps in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
            Canonical, through Sergio Schvezov, announced the release of yet another maintenance update to the Snapcraft open-source utility that helps application developers package their apps as Snaps.

          • Ubuntu Budgie Remix 16.10 Beta 2 Officially Released with Budgie Desktop 10.2.7
            Softpedia was informed today, September 29, 2016, by David Mohammed from the budgie-remix project about the availability of the second and last Beta release of the upcoming Ubuntu Budgie Remix 16.10 operating system.

            Coming hot on the heels of yesterday's Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Final Beta release, Ubuntu Budgie Remix 16.10 Beta 2 is based on most of the GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies used in Ubuntu 16.10, such as systemd 231 and Linux kernel 4.8, but it's built around the latest version of the beautiful Budgie desktop environment created by the Solus Project.

          • Budgie-Remix Makes Progress With Ubuntu 16.10 Base, Beta 2 Released
            Budgie-Remix, the unofficial Ubuntu spin making use of the Budgie Desktop, has released its 16.10 Beta 2 milestone following this week's Yakkety Yak Beta 2 release.

            Budgie-Remix is re-based to the latest Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety package changes. In addition, a number of the Budgie-0Remix packages have been working their way into Debian proper and thus are available to Ubuntu 16.10 users via the official channels. Now available this way is the budgie-desktop package, Moka icon theme, Faba icon theme, and the Arc theme. The Ubuntu repository has also pulled in the Budgie artwork and wallpaper packages too.

          • Yakkety Yak Final Beta Released

          • Canonical Launches Commercial Support for Kubernetes
            Canonical, the lead commercial vendor behind the open-source Ubuntu Linux operating system, is getting into the Kubernetes market. Canonical now offers a freely available implementation of Kubernetes as well as commercial-support options.

            "I have no doubt that Kubernetes will be one of the major container co-ordination systems," Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, told ServerWatch.

          • [How To] Build an Ubuntu Controlled Sous-Vide Cooker
            I’ll be honest with you from the off: I had zero idea what sous-vide cooking was before I started writing this post. Wikipedia dutifully informs me that’s Sous-Vide is a style of cooking that involves a vacuum, bags, and steam.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Studio 16.10 to Offer an Up-to-Date Multimedia Oriented Linux Distro
              We reported earlier today, September 28, 2016, on the availability of the Final Beta (Beta 2) development milestone of the upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system and its official derivatives.

              We've already talked here about what's new in the Beta 2 of Ubuntu MATE 16.10, Lubuntu 16.10, and Kubuntu 16.10, and now we would like to tell you a little bit about Ubuntu Studio 16.10, which promises to offer users an up-to-date multimedia oriented Linux-based operating system.

              That's right, it looks like today's Ubuntu Studio 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Beta 2 snapshot comes with all the latest software releases and a bunch of new apps that you might need for audio, video, or graphics processing jobs. But first, we need to tell you that Ubuntu Studio 16.10 is powered by a low-latency Linux 4.8 kernel.

            • Ubuntu GNOME 16.10 Beta 2 Released with Many Apps from the GNOME 3.22 Stack
              As part of yesterday's Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Final Beta launch, some of the opt-in flavors received their Beta 2 release, including Ubuntu GNOME 16.10, about which we would like to tell you all about in this article.

            • Linux Mint's XApps to Get Screen Blanking, Sublime-like Search Bar Lands for Xed
              We already know that work on Linux Mint 18.1, the next major release of the popular Ubuntu-based operating system loved by many users, already begun, and Clement Lefebvre shares with us today some of the improvements coming to XApps.

            • Mintbox Mini Pro
              MintBox Mini Pro

              The new model is called “Mintbox Mini Pro”, it’s just as small as the original Mintbox Mini but with much better specifications.

            • Mintbox Mini Pro Linux Mini PC Launches For $395
              This week a new version of the popular Mintbox Mini Linux PC has been launched for $395 in the form of the Mintbox Mini Pro which is now equipped with 120 GB of SSD mSATA together with 64-bit AMD A10-Micro6700T system-on-a-chip with Radeon R6 graphics and features 8GB of DDR3L.

              The latest Mintbox Mini Pro is shipped preloaded with the awesome Linux Mint 18 operating system and includes a microSD card slot a serial port, and a micro SIM card reader. The new Mintbox Mini Pro is the same size as the original and measures 4.3 x 3.3 x 0.9 inches in size and weighs in at around 255g. The Linux mini PC incorporates a fanless design and features an all-metal case made of aluminium and zinc.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Expandable, outdoor IoT gateway runs Android on i.MX6
      VIA’s “Artigo A830” IoT gateway runs Android on an i.MX6 DualLite SoC and offers HDMI, GbE, microSD, numerous serial and USB ports, plus -20 to 60€° operation.

      As the name suggests, the VIA Technologies Artigo A830 Streetwise IoT Platform is designed for outdoor Internet of Things gateway applications. These are said to include smart lockers, vending machines, information kiosks, and signage devices that run “intensive multimedia shopping, entertainment, and navigation applications.” The outdoors focus is supported with an extended -20 to 60€°C operating range, as well as surge and ESD protection for surviving challenges such as a nearby lightning strike.

    • Raspberry Pi Announces PIXEL Desktop Environment
      Today the Raspberry Pi Foundation formally announced the Raspberry Pi PIXEL, their own desktop that will be used in future Raspbian spins.

      PIXEL is short for Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight desktop. PIXEL is derived from the LXDE desktop environment but with both appearance and fundamental changes, including some new applications.

    • Raspberry Pi Foundation Unveils New LXDE-Based Desktop for Raspbian Called PIXEL
      Today, September 28, 2016, Raspberry Pi Foundation's Simon Long proudly unveiled a new desktop environment for the Debian-based Raspbian GNU/Linux operating system for Raspberry Pi devices.

      Until today, Raspbian shiped with the well-known and lightweight LXDE desktop environment, which looks pretty much the same as on any other Linux-based distribution out there that is built around LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). But Simon Long, a UX engineer working for Raspberry Pi Foundation was hired to make it better, transform it into something that's more appealing to users.

    • MintBox Mini updated with faster AMD SoC and 8GB RAM
      CompuLab’s Linux Mint flavored MintBox Mini Pro mini-PC updates the Mini with an AMD A10 Micro-6700T, plus BT 4.0, mini-PCIe, and twice the RAM and storage.

      The CompuLab built, $395 MintBox Mini Pro, which ships with the Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon distribution, updates the $295 MintBox Mini with a lot more performance and features in the same compact 108 x 83 x 24mm footprint. That’s considerably smaller than earlier collaborations between CompuLab and the Linux Mint project, such as the circa-2013 MintBox 2.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • ​Google beats back Oracle again in Java Android case
          To recap, Oracle claimed the 37 Java application programming interface (API) packages Google used to develop Android are covered by copyright. Of course, that's not really the issue. True, the the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals foolishly ruled that APIs could be copyrighted. But the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in May 2016 that Google's use of the Java APIs were not subject to copyright licensing fees. Instead, Android's use of the APIs was covered by "fair use."

        • Google’s Open Source Fuchsia OS: The Mystery Linux Distro
          Few things are more tantalizing than a good mystery, and Google is making waves for an open source-centric mystery that may end up having profound implications. It all started in August when an extensive and unusual code repository for a new operating system called Fuchsia was discovered online, and now the growing source code set is on GitHub.

          Thus far, Google officials have been mostly mum on the aim of this operating system, although they have made a few things clear in chat forums. Two developers listed on Fuchsia's GitHub page — Christopher Anderson and Brian Swetland — are known for their work with embedded systems. The Verge, among other sites, has made a few logical deductions about the possible embedded systems focus for Fuchsia: “Looking into Fuchsia's code points gives us a few clues. For example, the OS is built on Magenta, a “medium-sized microkernel” that is itself based on a project called LittleKernel, which is designed to be used in embedded systems,” the site reports.

          The GitHub postings that confirm that Fuchsia is based on Magenta are particularly notable because Magenta has had applications in the embedded systems space. Here are some direct quotes: "Magenta is a new kernel that powers the Fuchsia OS. Magenta is composed of a microkernel as well as a small set of userspace services, drivers, and libraries necessary for the system to boot, talk to hardware, load userspace processes and run them, etc. Fuchsia builds a much larger OS on top of this foundation."

        • As Blackberry pulls out of handset business it has some big patent strategy calls to make

        • Luna Launcher turns your Android phone into a kid-friendly device
          On the fence about whether your child is old enough for their own smartphone? A new app called Luna Launcher can help you warm to the idea, by offering a simple way to limit access to select apps and actions, including who they can call or text – a list you can restrict to family members, for example. Of course, because of the way it needs to interact with your phone’s operating system in order to restrict access, Luna Launcher is only available on Android.

        • Google delays launch of Android Wear 2.0 to next year
          Google’s next-generation smartwatch platform, Android Wear 2.0, will not be seeing the light of day this year. The company announced today that it is delaying the launch of the update, which was originally scheduled for this fall, to sometime in early 2017.

          Instead of launching the final version this fall, Google is extending the developer preview program for Android Wear 2.0, and today it’s releasing the third preview of the platform for developers. The company says that it is using the extra time to fine tune the software via feedback from developers, and it will have another preview build released before the end of the year. Today’s version adds a number of new features, most notable of which is the Play Store for smartwatches.

        • Moto Z series and G4 Plus getting Android 7.0 Nougat update in Q4
        • Android Wear watches aren’t connecting to the iPhone 7
        • Many Android Wear watches aren’t working with the iPhone 7
        • Google Maps gains new voice commands on Android
        • OnePlus 3 Android 7.0 Nougat update is in the works
        • Huawei will introduce its next flagship on November 3
        • This is Google Cloud and G Suite

        • Exchange email down for Android and iOS users
          Microsoft Exchange mobile users on Android and iOS users have been unable to access emails on their phones due to a planned shift away from its Exchange Active Sync (EAS) protocol.

          The issue first appeared yesterday and is still affecting users.

          One customer got in touch to say: "Exchange Mobile device access seems to be up the Swanny for iOS and Android users." They quipped: "Fortunately neither of the Windows Mobile users are affected."

        • Latest Fitbit Blaze firmware update finally makes the tracker worth buying
          The Fitbit Blaze is a deceptive little fitness tracker. It may look like a smartwatch on the surface, but dive a little deeper and you’ll find it’s actually missing most of the smartwatch-y features we’ve come to expect from fitness tracker/smartwatch hybrids. When we reviewed the Blaze a few months ago, the lack of third-party notification support and poor selection of watch faces were some of our biggest gripes with this tracker. Thankfully Fitbit has finally heard our cries and released a new update that fixes these issues.

        • Android Wear watches aren’t connecting to the iPhone 7
          One of Android Wear’s biggest strengths is it that the platform is designed to be cross compatible with Android and iOS. However, a number of consumers are reporting that they can’t connected a range of Android Wear smartwatches up to the new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus.

        • Multiple Android Wear smartwatches are not pairing with the iPhone 7
        • Google Allo rockets past 5 million downloads
        • BlackBerry to stop developing its own hardware, will rely on manufacturing partners instead
        • How to copy music to your Android phone
        • Spaces v1.7 adds capability to save posted images [APK Download]
        • Firefox Aurora arrives on the Play Store in "unreleased" state
        • Mercedes and Kia add new Android Auto models
          Buying a new car comes with myriad of considerations. Is it fuel efficient? Is it safe? Will it play nicely with my phone? People sometimes neglect the last one, but you're going to be carrying the phone literally every time you get in the car, so why not make sure? Mercedes and Kia seem to get that. They've added support for Android Auto to a ton of new cars today.

        • Sony Xperia X Compact review: Small Android is still good, but not much better
          Sony's Xperia X Compact is basically the newest version of the Z5 Compact that hit the US earlier this year. But just because it's a newer version of the (comparatively) tiny handset doesn't mean it's an upgrade in every way. Sony is pushing the camera sensors in the X Compact and the flagship-level XZ, as well as new features like five-axis image stabilization and HDR photo mode. Sony knows cameras, so we know the shooter in the X Compact will at least be competent. However, it has to be good enough to encourage photography buffs to shell out $499 for this unlocked handset while delivering solid performance across the board as well.

        • How I Use Android: Android Central Editor Emeritus Phil Nickinson
          In the meantime, I was able to convince Phil to step out of his metaphorical kitchen for a few minutes to chat about how he uses Android in his day-to-day life. This is a man who has seen and used practically every Android device over the past several years, after all -- and a fair number of apps and customization tools, to boot.

          So what devices does someone with so much knowledge carry around in his own trousers, and how does he make the most of what they have to offer?

          Enough with the suspense already. In his own words, this is how Phil Nickinson uses Android.

        • Best Android Phones Under 5.7 Inches
          There's no question that Samsung hit a home run with its Galaxy S7 line. We already think the smaller GS7 is the best phone under 5.2 inches, and the larger, curved-screen Galaxy S7 edge is our pick for the best phone under 5.7 inches. Why? It takes everything we love about the smaller phone and makes it bigger — but not too much.

Free Software/Open Source

  • But is it safe? Uncork a bottle of vintage open-source FUD
    Most of the open source questioners come from larger organisations. Banks very rarely pop up here, and governments have long been hip to using open source. Both have ancient, proprietary systems in place here and there that are finally crumbling to dust and need replacing fast. Their concerns are more oft around risk management and picking the right projects.

    It’s usually organisations whose business is dealing with actual three dimensional objects that ask about open source. Manufacturing, industrials, oil and gas, mining, and others who have typically looked at IT as, at best, a helper for their business rather than a core product enabler.

    These industries are witnessing the lighting fast injection of software into their products - that whole “Internet of Things” jag we keep hearing about. Companies here are being forced to look at both using open source in their products and shipping open source as part of their business.

    The technical and pricing requirements for IoT scale software is a perfect fit for open source, especially that pricing bit. On the other end - peddling open source themselves - companies that are looking to build and sell software-driven “platforms” are finding that partners and developers are not so keen to join closed source ecosystems.

    These two pulls create some weird clunking in the heads of management at these companies who aren’t used to working with a sandles and rainbow frame of mind. They have a scepticism born of their inexperience with open source. Let’s address some of their trepidation.

  • Real business innovation begins with open practices
    To business leaders, "open source" often sounds too altruistic—and altruism is in short supply on the average balance sheet. But using and contributing to open source makes hard-nosed business sense, particularly as a way of increasing innovation.

    Today's firms all face increased competition and dynamic markets. Yesterday's big bang can easily become today's cautionary tale. Strategically, the only viable response to this disruption is constantly striving to serve customers better through sustained and continuous innovation. But delivering innovation is hard; the key is to embrace open and collaborative innovation across organizational walls—open innovation.

    Open source communities' values and practices generate open innovation, and working in open source is a practical, pragmatic way of delivering innovation. To avoid the all-too-real risk of buzzword bingo we can consider two definitions of "innovation":

    creating value (that serves customer needs) to sell for a profit; or reducing what a firm pays for services.

  • Minijail: Running Untrusted Programs Safely by Jorge Lucangeli Obes, Google

  • Minijail: Google’s Tool To Safely Run Untrusted Programs
    Google’s Minijail sandboxing tool could be used by developers and sysadmins to run untrusted programs safely for debugging and security checks, according to Google Software Engineer Jorge Lucangeli Obes, who spoke last month at the Linux Security Summit. Obes is the platform security lead for Brillo, Google's Android-based operating system for Internet-connected devices.

    Minijail was designed for sandboxing on Chrome OS and Android, to handle “anything that the Linux kernels grew.” Obes shared that Google teams use it on the server side, for build farms, for fuzzing, and pretty much everywhere.

    Since “essentially one bug separates you and any random attacker,” Google wanted to create a reliable means to swiftly identify problems with privileges and exploits in app development and easily enable developers to “do the right thing.”

    The tool is designed to assist admins who struggle with deciding what permissions their software actually needs, and developers who are vexed with trying to second guess which environment the software is going to run in. In both cases, sandboxing and privilege dropping tends to be a hit or miss affair.

    Even when developers use the privilege dropping mechanisms provided by the Linux kernel, sometimes things go awry due to numerous pitfalls along that path. One common example Obes cited was trying to ride a switch user function that will drop-root and then forgetting to check the result of the situation relief, or setuid function, afterwards.

  • Intel and Cloudera Give Apache an Open Source Data/Security Tool
    For the past year, we've taken note of the many Big Data projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves Big Data projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support.

    Recently, the foundation announced that Apache Kudu has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). Kudu is an open source columnar storage engine built for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem designed to enable flexible, high-performance analytic pipelines. And, Apache Twill has graduated as well. Twill is an abstraction over Apache Hadoop YARN that reduces the complexity of developing distributed Hadoop applications, allowing developers to focus more on their application logic. In another Apache-related Big Data move, Cloudera and Intel have announced that they've contributed a new open-source project to the Apache Software Foundation targeted at using Big Data analytics and machine learning for cybersecurity.

  • Twitter Open Sources Stream Processing Engine Heron

    Twitter announced the open sourcing of Heron, a stream-processing engine that is a successor to Apache Storm. Heron is backwards compatible with Apache Storm, which eases its adoption amongst developers. Heron has replaced Apache Storm as the stream data processing engine inside Twitter due to its scalability, debug-ability, ability to work in a shared cluster infrastructure and better performance. A comprehensive list of features is listed in the documentation.

  • Events

    • PyCon 2016
      I come from a place where everyone worships competitive coding and thus cpp, so the experience of attending my first pycon was much awaited for me.

      This year’s PyCon India happened in Delhi and i along with a couple of my friends reached on 23rd September, the first day. We were a bit late but it was all right because, we didn’t miss anything.

    • What do you have to say? Share it at LibrePlanet 2017

    • LibrePlanet returns March 25-26, 2017, call for proposals for annual free software conference now open
      LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts. The conference brings together software developers, policy experts, activists and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments and face challenges to software freedom. Newcomers are always welcome, and LibrePlanet 2017 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.

      This year, the theme of LibrePlanet is "The Roots of Freedom." This encompasses the historical "roots" of the free software movement -- the Four Freedoms, the GNU General Public License and copyleft, and a focus on strong security and privacy protections -- and the concept of roots as a strong foundation from which the movement grows.

      "LibrePlanet is an impactful, exciting free software conference. Attendance has grown each year, yet the community-minded atmosphere has grown even stronger," said John Sullivan, executive director of the FSF.

    • The Linux Foundation Announces Session Lineup for MesosCon Asia
      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the schedule for MesosCon Asia, taking place November 18-19 in Hangzhou, China.

    • Tencent: Transforming Networks with SDN
      “SDN can really transform the way we do networks,” said Tom Bie, VP of Technology & Operation of Data Center, Networking and Server, Tencent, during his Wednesday keynote address at the Open Daylight Summit. The China telecom giant should know about the issues of massive scale networks: they have more than 200 million users for QQ instant messaging, 300 million users of their payment service, and more than 800 million users of their VChat service. Bie noted that Tencent also operates one of the largest gaming networks in the world, along with video services, audio services, online literature services, news portals, and a range other digital content services.

    • The Second Wave of Platforms, an Interview with Cloud Foundry’s Sam Ramji
      In today’s world of platforms, services are increasingly connected. In the past, PaaS offerings were pretty much isolated. It’s that new connected infrastructure that is driving the growth of Cloud Foundry, the open source, service-oriented platform technology.

      Sam Ramji is CEO of Cloud Foundry, which is holding its European event in Frankfurt this week. At the conference, we spoke with Ramji to discuss, among other topics:

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • This Week In Servo 79
        In the last week, we landed 96 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

        Promise support has arrived in Servo, thanks to hard work by jdm, dati91, and mmatyas! This does not fully implement microtasks, but unblocks the uses of Promises in many places (e.g., the WebBluetooth test suite).

        Emilio rewrote the bindings generation code for rust-bindgen, dramatically improving the flow of the code and output generated when producing Rust bindings for C and C++ code.

        The TPAC WebBluetooth standards meeting talked a bit about the great progress by the team at the University of Szeged in the context of Servo.

      • Servo Web Engine Now Supports Promises, Continues Churning Along
        It's been nearly two months since last writing about Mozilla's Servo web layout engine (in early August, back when WebRender2 landed) but development has kept up and they continue enabling more features for this next-generation alternative to Gecko.

        The latest is that Servo now supports JavaScript promises. If you are unfamiliar with the promise support, see this guide.

        The latest Servo code has improvements around its Rust binding generator for C and C++ code plus other changes.

      • Announcing Rust 1.12
        The Rust team is happy to announce the latest version of Rust, 1.12. Rust is a systems programming language with the slogan “fast, reliable, productive: pick three.”

        As always, you can install Rust 1.12 from the appropriate page on our website, and check out the detailed release notes for 1.12 on GitHub. 1361 patches were landed in this release.

      • Rust 1.12 Programming Language Released
        Rust 1.12 has been released as the newest version of this popular programming language with a focus on "fast, reliable, productive: pick three."

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • Riak TS for time series analysis at scale
      Until recently, doing time series analysis at scale was expensive and almost exclusively the domain of large enterprises. What made time series a hard and expensive problem to tackle? Until the advent of the NoSQL database, scaling up to meet increasing velocity and volumes of data generally meant scaling hardware vertically by adding CPUs, memory, or additional hard drives. When combined with database licensing models that charged per processor core, the cost of scaling was simply out of reach for most.

      Fortunately, the open source community is democratising large scale data analysis rapidly, and I am lucky enough to work at a company making contributions in this space. In my talk at All Things Open this year, I'll introduce Riak TS, a key-value database optimized to store and retrieve time series data for massive data sets, and demonstrate how to use it in conjunction with three other open source tools—Python, Pandas, and Jupyter—to build a completely open source time series analysis platform. And it doesn't take all that long.

    • PostgreSQL 9.6 released
      PostgreSQL 9.6, the latest version of the world's leading open source database, was released today by the PostgreSQL Global Development Group. This release will allow users to both scale up and scale out high performance database workloads. New features include parallel query, synchronous replication improvements, phrase search, and improvements to performance and usability, as well as many more features.

    • PostgreSQL 9.6 Officially Released With Parallel Query Support

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Office Suite Celebrates 6 Years of Activity with LibreOffice 5.2.2
      Today, September 29, 2016, Italo Vignoli from The Document Foundation informs Softpedia via an email announcement about the general availability of the first point release of the LibreOffice 5.2 open-source and cross-platform office suite.

      On September 28, the LibreOffice project celebrated its 6th anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than to push a new update of the popular open source and cross-platform office suite used by millions of computer users worldwide. Therefore, we would like to inform our readers about the general availability of LibreOffice 5.2.2, which comes just three weeks after the release of LibreOffice 5.2.1.

      "Just one day after the project 6th anniversary, The Document Foundation (TDF) announces the availability of LibreOffice 5.2.2, the second minor release of the LibreOffice 5.2 family," says Italo Vignoli. "LibreOffice 5.2.2, targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users, provides a number of fixes over the major release announced in August."

    • LibreOffice at 6, New Souped up Mint Mini
      September 28 was the official birthday for LibreOffice and Italo Vignoli looked back at some of the milestones for the project. Elsewhere, the Ubuntu family got new betas and Clement Lefebvre announced a new Mintbox Mini. Jack M. Germain reviewed Panther OS and Ryan Lynch recommended four distributions for Windows users.

      Happy Birthday LibreOffice! It was officially six years ago September 28 that The Document Foundation and LibreOffice were announced. The project consisted of former developers and volunteered who feared the worst after its sale to Oracle. Since that time, LibreOffice has grown and matured into an award winning Open Source office suite. Group photos taken at the LibreOffice conference at Brno were also shared including one of the attendees who were there on day one, as Bjoern Michaelsen explained. Although they were the seed, the project has grown to hundreds of contributors from all over the world. Italio Vignoli said the project attracted new developers every month for 72 straight months. He also said tomorrow begins the LibreOffice 5.3 developmental cycle, which is planned for release in January 2017.

    • Merging Communities

    • Happy 6th Birthday, LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.2.2 Now Available to Download

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE Needs To Be Respun Due To Security Issues
      The delayed FreeBSD 11.0 release just suffered another last-minute set-back. While "FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE images" were distributed to FTP mirrors and the official announcement expected today, these images need to be re-spun to contain some security fixes and thus pushing back the official release.

      Glen Barber noted today on the mailing list, "Although the FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE has not yet been officially announced, many have found images on the Project FTP mirrors. However, please be aware the final 11.0-RELEASE will be rebuilt and republished on the Project mirrors as a result of a few last-minute security fixes we feel are imperative to include in the final release."

    • FreeBSD 11.0 Operating System Lands October 5 Due to Last-Minute Security Issues
      A few minutes ago, Glen Barber informed the FreeBSD community that they should not hurry and install the ISO images of the FreeBSD 11.0 operating system made available a few days ago on the official FTP mirrors.

      These images aren't safe to use and contain various security vulnerabilities that need to be fixed before the FreeBSD Project will officially unveil the final release of the FreeBSD 11.0 operating system in the coming days. According to the release schedule, FreeBSD 11.0 should hit the streets later today, September 29, 2016.

      However, until then the FreeBSD development team is hard at work patching those nasty security issues and rebuilding the final ISO images, which will be made available on the respective FTP mirrors later today as FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE-p1. If you're already running FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE, you will soon be provided with instructions to safely update your system

    • OpenBSD Founder Calling For LLVM To Face A Cataclysm Over Its Re-Licensing
      For over one year there's been talk of LLVM pursuing a mass relicensing from its University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License, which is similar to the three-clause BSD license, to the Apache 2.0 license with explicit mention of GPLv2 compatibility. As mentioned in that aforelinked article, this re-licensing is moving ahead.


    • Free Software Directory meeting recap for September 23rd, 2016

    • Don’t be a stranger to GIMP, be GIMP…
      I can try and do more coding, more code reviewing, revive designing discussions… that’s cool, yet never enough. GIMP needs more people, developers, designers, community people, writers for the website or the documentation, tutorial makers… everyone is welcome in my grand scheme!

      Many of my actions lately have been towards gathering more people, so when I heard about the GNOME newcomers initiative during GUADEC, I thought that could be a good fit. Thus a few days ago, I had GIMP added in the list of newcomer-friendly GNOME projects, with me as the newcomers mentor. I’ll catch this occasion to remind you all the ways you can contribute to GIMP, and not necessarily as a developer.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EC approves Slovenia courts data exchange solution
      First CEF AS4-compliant b2b solution developed as open source by a public administration

      The European Commission has tested and approved Laurentius, an eDelivery court documents and case exchange solution compliant with the AS4 profile of the OASIS ebMS standard. In September, Laurentius passed all tests by the EC’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for its so-called “e-SENS AS4 conformant solutions”.

  • Programming/Development

    • SDL 2.0.5 Is Readying For Release: Relative Mouse Mode For Wayland/Mir, Audio Capture
      SDL 2.0 point releases have ranged from being a few months apart to as much as two years apart. Fortunately, SDL 2.0.5 is now being put together for release just nine months after SDL 2.0.4.

      With the Mercurial repository, Sam Lantinga bumped the version in preparation for the SDL 2.0.5 release. The SDL 2.0.5 release hasn't officially happened yet, but it should be here soon.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open standards default at Slovenia supreme court
      The use of open ICT standards is an IT requirement at Slovenia’s Supreme Court, responsible for the IT support of the entire court system in the country. The Supreme Court’s IT department has a strong preference for the development of modular, reusable software solutions. This strategy provides agility and flexibility, says Bojan Muršec, director of IT.

      The focus on open standards frees up the IT department to concentrate on the business, Muršec says. The IT department takes the modular approach serious: the first reusable module ever developed by the court - a court documents dispatch and delivery system - is re-used by all IT systems across the courts. “Making everything reusable prevents creation of silos in the organisation”, the IT director says.

      A positive side effect of the IT strategy is that the court uses mostly open source software solutions. This in turn helps to keep IT costs down, says the IT director, who estimates that the court saves EUR 400 to 500 thousand per year on licence fees: “The cost of proprietary licences always goes up.”

    • Why there is no CSS4 - explaining CSS Levels
      We had CSS1, and CSS2. We even had CSS2.1 and we then moved onto CSS3 – or did we? This post is a quick explanation of how CSS is versioned today.

      CSS versions 1 and 2 were monolithic specifications. All of CSS was included in one massive document. Selectors, positioning, colour – it was all in there.

      The problem with monolithic specifications is that in order to finish the spec, every component part also has to be finished. As CSS has grown in complexity, and new features are added, it doesn’t make sense to draw a line at which all work is stopped on all parts of CSS in order to declare that CSS version finished. Therefore, after CSS2.1 all the things that had been part of the 2.1 specification were broken down into modules. As the new CSS modules included all that had gone before plus any new features, they all came into being at Level 3. Hence CSS3, and people like me who understood CSS as a single specification referred to the group of Level 3 modules as “CSS3”.


  • Science

    • 6 Ways Driverless Cars Are Going To Kill Lots Of People
      You've probably read a few articles about driverless cars over the past couple of years. The technology is coming along quickly, with fleets of test cars already on the roads in some states. It seems like soon we'll achieve the American dream of stuffing our faces and texting all we want while still managing to avoid public transportation.

      But the reality is quite different. We're diving into this technology a little too quickly and ignoring all the warning signs about how we are going to screw up on the way to Driverless Car Utopia.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Reporter who quit on air to fight for cannabis legalization could face prison
      Charlo Greene did not plan to curse on live television, but on 22 September 2014, the words came pouring out.

      Then a reporter for KTVA, a station in Alaska, Greene ended her segment on marijuana by revealing that she was a proponent of legalization – and was the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, the subject of her news report.

      “Fuck it, I quit,” she said, before abruptly walking off camera. The 26-year-old’s stunt shocked her colleagues and made her a viral sensation overnight.

    • Marijuana Arrests Are At a 20-Year Low
      Marijuana-related arrests are the lowest they've been in 20 years, but someone's still getting busted for weed a little more than once every minute.

      According to new statistics released by the FBI on Monday, there were 574,641 arrests in 2015 for marijuana possession, which is the lowest it's been since 1996. Between 2011 and 2014, possession arrests hovered above 600,000. And since possession arrests peaked at 800,000 in 2007, that's a 25 percent decrease.

      As pot gets increasingly normalized, with 10 states considering medical or adult use marijuana legalization in this year's election, law enforcement may be less likely to see it as a threat. The divide between federal and state laws is also becoming an increasingly absurd policy to enforce. Even Hillary Clinton mentioned in Monday’s debate that the prevalent prison sentences for nonviolent crimes, like marijuana possession, are unnecessary.

      The drop in weed possession arrests likely results from from adult use policies in places like Colorado, where all marijuana-related arrests have plummeted in recent years, Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told Motherboard. "The recent decline in arrests in New York City, as well as in other major metropolitan areas that have imposed decriminalization ordinances in recent years, is also likely playing a role in this nationwide decline."

    • House passes waterways bill with Flint aid
      The House easily passed a major waterways bill on Wednesday that included a bipartisan compromise to address the drinking-water crisis in Flint, Mich.

      A late-night deal on Flint aid helped resolve Democratic opposition to a stop-gap spending bill that lacked emergency funding for the city, paving the way for Senate passage of a continuing resolution earlier in the day and ending the threat of a government shutdown.

      In a 399-25 vote, House lawmakers approved the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes dozens of water-related infrastructure projects around the country.

      Lawmakers adopted numerous amendments during floor debate, including one from Reps. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) and John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) that would authorize up to $170 million for Flint.

      “We decided we don’t want to create brinksmanship. That doesn’t do anybody any good,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

    • Farming mega-mergers threaten food security, say campaigners
      When an Indian farmer plants his cotton crop, there’s at least a 75% chance the seeds have been been bought from a company owned by Monsanto. If a Latin American farmer sprays insecticide on her genetically engineered soya beans, the chemical is more than likely to have been provided by German chemical and drugs company Bayer or by US firm Dupont.

      And when African farmers add chemicals to their maize fields or plant it’s odds-on that they have come from Swiss company Syngenta.

      Until recently, six or seven global agri-food businesses competed with each other for a share of the world market for seeds and chemicals. But if EU and US regulators allow a series of mega-mergers to take place, within months just three companies will be left in control of nearly 60% of the world’s seeds, nearly 70% of the chemicals and pesticides needed to grow food and nearly all of the world’s GM crop genetic traits.

    • Should Kratom Be Banned? Here's What the Experts Say
      While lots of people reading this are patiently waiting for marijuana legalization to finally reach their state -- most likely passing the time by smoking marijuana -- lots of others are about to see Prohibition show up at their door for the first time. They are the "kratom" users. That's a plant-based painkiller which some people describe as "herbal heroin." It was, up until now, completely legal. I first used it back in 2009 -- not because I was in pain, but because I wanted to get high without failing a drug test (like many painkillers, you can also take it for fun). Then, a couple of years ago, I introduced kratom to someone who does live with chronic pain -- Cracked contributor Marina Reimann.

  • Security

    • security things in Linux v4.5

    • Time to Kill Security Questions—or Answer Them With Lies
      The notion of using robust, random passwords has become all but mainstream—by now anyone with an inkling of security sense knows that “password1” and “1234567” aren’t doing them any favors. But even as password security improves, there’s something even more problematic that underlies them: security questions.

      Last week Yahoo revealed that it had been massively hacked, with at least 500 million of its users’ data compromised by state sponsored intruders. And included in the company’s list of breached data weren’t just the usual hashed passwords and email addresses, but the security questions and answers that victims had chosen as a backup means of resetting their passwords—supposedly secret information like your favorite place to vacation or the street you grew up on. Yahoo’s data debacle highlights how those innocuous-seeming questions remain a weak link in our online authentication systems. Ask the security community about security questions, and they’ll tell you that they should be abolished—and that until they are, you should never answer them honestly.

      From their dangerous guessability to the difficulty of changing them after a major breach like Yahoo’s, security questions have proven to be deeply inadequate as contingency mechanisms for passwords. They’re meant to be a reliable last-ditch recovery feature: Even if you forget a complicated password, the thinking goes, you won’t forget your mother’s maiden name or the city you were born in. But by relying on factual data that was never meant to be kept secret in the first place—web and social media searches can often reveal where someone grew up or what the make of their first car was—the approach puts accounts at risk. And since your first pet’s name never changes, your answers to security questions can be instantly compromised across many digital services if they are revealed through digital snooping or a data breach.

    • LibreSSL and the latest OpenSSL security advisory
      Just a quick note that LibreSSL is not impacted by either of the issues mentioned in the latest OpenSSL security advisory - both of the issues exist in code that was added to OpenSSL in the last release, which is not present in LibreSSL.

    • Record-breaking DDoS reportedly delivered by >145k hacked cameras
      Last week, security news site KrebsOnSecurity went dark for more than 24 hours following what was believed to be a record 620 gigabit-per-second denial of service attack brought on by an ensemble of routers, security cameras, or other so-called Internet of Things devices. Now, there's word of a similar attack on a French Web host that peaked at a staggering 1.1 terabits per second, more than 60 percent bigger.

      The attacks were first reported on September 19 by Octave Klaba, the founder and CTO of OVH. The first one reached 1.1 Tbps while a follow-on was 901 Gbps. Then, last Friday, he reported more attacks that were in the same almost incomprehensible range. He said the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks were delivered through a collection of hacked Internet-connected cameras and digital video recorders. With each one having the ability to bombard targets with 1 Mbps to 30 Mbps, he estimated the botnet had a capacity of 1.5 Tbps.

      On Monday, Klaba reported that more than 6,800 new cameras had joined the botnet and said further that over the previous 48 hours the hosting service was subjected to dozens of attacks, some ranging from 100 Gbps to 800 Gbps. On Wednesday, he said more than 15,000 new devices had participated in attacks over the past 48 hours.

    • Security updates for Thursday

    • How 1.5 Million Connected Cameras Were Hijacked to Make an Unprecedented Botnet
      Last week, hackers forced a well-known security journalist to take down his site after hitting him for more than two days with an unprecedented flood of traffic.

      That cyberattack was powered by something the internet had never seen before: an army made of more than one million hacked Internet of Things devices.

      The hackers, whose identity is still unknown at this point, used not one, but two networks—commonly referred to as “botnets” in hacking lingo—made of around 980,000 and 500,000 hacked devices, mostly internet-connected cameras, according to Level 3 Communications, one of the world’s largest internet backbone providers. The attackers used all those cameras and other unsecured online devices to connect to the journalists’ website, pummeling the site with requests in an attempt to make it collapse.

    • NHS Hospitals Are Running Thousands of Computers on Unsupported Windows XP
      Hospitals across England are running thousands of out-of-date Windows XP machines, potentially putting patient data and other sensitive information at risk.

      Motherboard has found that at least 42 National Health Service (NHS) trusts in England are still using the Windows XP operating system, with many of them confirming that they no longer receive security updates for the software. Legal experts say that the NHS hospitals may be in breach of data protection regulations.

      “If hospitals are knowingly using insecure XP machines and devices to hold and otherwise process patient data they may well be in serious contravention of their obligations,” Jon Baines, Chair of the National Association of Data Protection and Freedom of Information Officers (NADPO), wrote in an email.

      In April 2014, Microsoft officially ended support for Windows XP, meaning that the company would no longer release security patches for the aging operating system. Any vulnerabilities discovered after that date would therefore be left for hackers to exploit. Governments and businesses could pay Microsoft for a custom extended support deal; the Crown Commercial Service, which is sponsored by the Cabinet Office, spent €£5.5 million ($9 million) to continue receiving updates for the public sector, including for the NHS. That agreement ended in April 2015 and was not renewed.

    • Linux.Mirai Trojan causing mayhem with DDoS attacks
      A Trojan named Linux.Mirai has been found to be carrying out DDoS attacks.

      The malicious program first appeared in May 2016, detected by Doctor Web after being added to its virus database under the name Linux.DDoS.87. The Trojan can work with with the SPARC, ARM, MIPS, SH-4, M68K architectures and Intel x86 computers.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Does Free College Threaten Our All-Volunteer Military?
      Does free college threaten our all-volunteer military? That is what writer Benjamin Luxenberg, on military blog War on the Rocks says. But the real question goes deeper than Luxenberg’s practical query, striking deep into who we are as a nation.

      Unlike nearly every other developed country, which offer free or low cost higher education (Korea’s flagship Seoul National University runs about $12,000 a year, around the same as Oxford), in America you need money to go to college. You need the bucks for tuition and books, and for most students, you need the bucks to not work full-time for a couple of years. Typical of America’s top end schools, Harvard charges $63,000 for tuition, room, board and fees. That’s more than a quarter of a million dollars for a degree. Even a state school wants $40,000 a year.

    • White House Is Profoundly Wrong About the Most Embarrassing Thing Senate Has Done
      The White House reacted harshly to the Senate’s overwhelming vote on Wednesday to override President Obama’s veto of a bill that would enable the family members of 9/11 victims to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in U.S. Courts.

      Press Secretary Josh Earnest called it “the single most embarrassing thing the United States Senate has done possibly since 1983.”

      As it happens, the White House’s principled opposition to the bill was based on its worry that it would open the door to lawsuits from foreigners accusing the U.S. government of crimes, possibly including the killing of hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan, torture, deaths of innocent people with drones, and global mass surveillance.

      That makes Earnest’s comment the single most hyperbolic thing he’s said since — well — ever.

    • ‘Peace With Justice Is Still a Long Way Away’ - CounterSpin interview with Mario Murillo on Colombian accords
      The peace deal signed between the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC, the largest and oldest insurgency in Latin America, is historic. More than 50 years of fighting have killed more than 220,000 Colombians, overwhelmingly poor civilians. These years have seen executions, disappearances, detentions, torture. The violence has forced some 7 million people from their homes, the largest number of internally displaced people in the world.

    • Forget Blairite Propaganda. Sierra Leone was not Blair’s “Good War”.
      This was my speech to the World Beyond War conference at American University, Washington DC on 24 September.

    • Is Your Nation The Exceptional One?
      Nations such as this just don’t have what it takes to be Exceptional. They may have a few nice traditions that mark them out from other nations, and may even be very nice people. But Exceptional? Get out of here!

    • Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate?
      Everyone should read Engdahl’s article. He reports that part of the attack on Rousseff stemmed from Brazil’s economic problems deliberately created by US credit rating agencies as part of Washington’s attack to down grade Brazilian debt, which set off an attack on the Brazilian currency, the cruziero.

      Brazil’s financial openness made Brazil an easy target to attack. One might hope that Vladimir Putin would take note of the cost of “economic openness.” Putin is a careful and thoughtful leader of Russia, but he is not an economist. He has confidence in neoliberal Elvira Nabiulina, Washington’s choice to head the Russian central bank. Nabiulina is unfamiliar with Modern Monetary Theory, and her commitment to “economic openness” leaves the Russian economy as exposed as Brazil’s to Washington destabilization. Nabiuina believes that the assault on the ruble is due to impersonal “global market forces,” not to Washington’s financial clout.

    • British Parliament Confirms Libya War Was Based On Lies … Turned Nation Into a “Shit Show” … Spread Terrorism
      The UK Parliament just confirmed what the alternative media has been saying for years.

      Specifically, a new report from the bipartisan House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee – based on interviews with all of the key British decision-makers, review of documents, and on-the-ground investigations in Africa – found that the Libyan war was based on lies, that it destroyed the country, and that it spread terrorism far and wide.

    • Trump Promises No First Nuclear Strike, Sort of; New Bill Would Make it Illegal
      Donald Trump tried to ease fears about his finger being on the nuclear button during Monday night’s presidential debate, declaring that “I would certainly not do first strike.” He added: “Once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over.”

      But moments later, the Republican presidential nominee seemed to backpedal, claiming that he “can’t take anything off the table.”

      Two members of Congress don’t want Trump to have the option.

      Responding to the majority of Americans who say they would not trust Trump with the nuclear arsenal, Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass, and Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., introduced legislation Tuesday that would bar the president from conducting a nuclear strike unless Congress had issued a formal declaration of war.

    • Clinton’s Faulty New Scheme to ‘Fight’ ISIS
      Even as Hillary Clinton pushes a new scheme for defeating ISIS, the reality is that contradictory U.S. policies in the Mideast that she helped formulate are fueling the growth of jihadi extremism, writes Daniel Lazare.

    • Congress overrides Obama's veto of 9/11 bill
      Families of those killed in the terror attacks on 9/11 are now legally allowed to sue Saudi Arabia, after Congress voted Wednesday to override President Barack Obama's veto of the legislation, the first override of his presidency.

      The votes by the House and Senate were overwhelming. Members of both parties broke into applause on the House floor after the vote.

      The Senate approved the override on a 97-1 vote, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid the lone Senator voting to sustain the president's veto. Hours later, the vote in the House was 348-77, with one Democratic member voting "present."

      White House spokesman Josh Earnest said aboard Air Force One before the House had voted that the Senate's override is the "single most embarrassing thing the Senate has done since 1983," referring to the last time the Senate overrode a veto by such a large margin.

    • Barack Obama brands Congress decision on Saudi 9/11 lawsuits bill 'a mistake'
      Barack Obama says Congress is making a "mistake" and setting "a dangerous precedent" by passing a bill that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government for damages.

      Both the Senate and the House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming majority to override the President's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

      The votes on Wednesday afternoon were the first time in the whole of Mr Obama's presidency that he has been overruled by Congress.

      And speaking on CNN in the wake of the decision, Mr Obama warned that it left the US exposed to lawsuits from people around the world who have been affected by American foreign policy.

    • 9/11 bill veto override angers Saudi Arabia, Gulf nations: We “will stand by Saudi Arabia in every way possible”
      Saudi Arabia’s lobbying and warnings to Congress were not enough to blunt the passing of legislation allowing families of Sept. 11 victims to sue the kingdom for the attacks.

      The oil-rich country, which has a long but often troubled relationship with Washington, maintains an arsenal of diplomatic and commercial tools it could respond with.

      They include curtailing official contacts, pulling billions of dollars from the U.S. economy, and persuading its close allies in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council it dominates to scale back counterterrorism cooperation, investments and U.S. access to important regional air bases.

    • Sudanese government ‘killing hundreds of civilians with chemical weapons attacks’ in Darfur - Amnesty
      The Sudanese government has been accused of launching chemical weapon attacks on its own civilians, killing hundreds of people including scores of children, in what would be a dramatic escalation of the Darfur conflict.

      Amnesty International says it has compiled the first credible body of evidence to suggest the forces of President Omar al-Bashir bombed swathes of the crisis-hit Jebel Marra region with chemical agents.

      The charity has released before-and-after satellite images, photographs of horrific burn wounds on children and evidence from more than 200 interviews, and called for a United Nations investigation.

      Chemical weapons attacks on the African continent in the post-war era have been extremely rare, and even the accusation that it has carried them out could represent a major setback for Sudan’s improving relations with the international community.

      But it also serves to highlight the ongoing armed conflict in Darfur that, since the peak of the violence and international attention in 2003, has continued to rage more or less unnoticed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Palm oil company with links to Tory donors accused of failing to prevent ‘thousands of acres’ of rainforest being destroyed
      A palm oil company with links to Tory party donors and friends of David Cameron has been accused of failing to prevent massive fires devastating the rainforest.

      The firm, called Astra Agro Lestari, is a subsidiary of multi-billion dollar conglomerate Jardine Matheson, which owns major retail outlets, a string of luxury hotels and construction firms – as well as selling second-hand cars – mostly in Asia.

      Jardines is largely controlled by the well-connected Keswick family, descendants of its founders as an opium trader in 19th century China.

      David Cameron’s father Ian was a friend of the Keswicks and worked as a stockbroker to the family. In the 1980s, the future Prime Minister briefly worked at the company’s office in Hong Kong.

    • Trump’s Campaign Is Trying to Cover Up His Lies About Climate Change
      In a delicious turn of events at this week’s presidential debate, Donald Trump received his comeuppance over a four-year-old tweet in which he denounced climate change.

      On stage, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, referenced the tweet from 2012, and remarked that “Donald Trump thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.” His reply? An easily fact-checked lie. “I did not. I do not say that,” he scrambled to say, like a child who’s been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

    • Finnish firm creates roofing with integrated solar cells
      A Finnish sheet metal manufacturer has teamed up with MiaSolé, an American company that manufactures thin-film photovoltaic products. The film is integrated into the roofing material at Virte's Turku factory.

      CEO Jaakko Virtanen is excited about integrated solar electricity systems.

      "I've dreamed of building materials that would themselves generate electricity, from roofs, windows and wall. Now that's becoming a reality," he tells Yle.

    • Earth is locked into 5 degrees Celsius of global warming? Not so fast.
      On Tuesday, a new climate study sent media outlets into a frenzy. News articles declared that Earth was "locked into" 5 Celsius degrees of warming – an exceptionally dire forecast, since most climate scientists warn that a boost of just 2 degrees C. would be catastrophic.

      But fortunately for coral reefs and coastal communities, scientists now say that prediction was wrong.

      It was Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who led the charge. Dr. Schmidt was perhaps the most vocal of a group of prominent dissenters, all of whom insist that the actual committed warming estimate hovers around 0.5-1 degrees C. That number, while still significant in terms of global effects, is a far cry from the initial findings. So what caused the discrepancy: bad science or bad science journalism?

  • Finance

    • Passengers in Uber's self-driving cars waived right to sue for injury or death
      Anyone requesting an Uber ride in a 12-sq mile area in the center of Pittsburgh might now be randomly allocated a self-driving Ford Fusion rather than a human-operated vehicle.

      But passengers riding in Uber’s computer-controlled cars today might be surprised at just how experimental the technology is. According to documents obtained by the Guardian under public records laws, until as recently as June anyone not employed by Uber riding in one of its autonomous vehicles (AVs) had to sign a legal document waiving the company of any liability for their injury or death.

      One senior Pittsburgh police officer signed a waiver on 23 June: “I acknowledge that some or all of the AVs in which I ride are in a development phase, are experimental in nature, and that riding in an AV may involve the potential for death, serious injury, and/or property loss.”

      The document was required by Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center (ATC), a research hub that in early 2015 hired dozens of robotics experts from nearby Carnegie Mellon University. Since then the ATC has been working furiously to catch up with the likes of Google and Tesla in self-driving technology – a task Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has described as “basically existential for us”.

    • The Questions That Should Be Being Asked About Trump’s Tax Returns

      A lot has been said about Trump’s refusal to make his tax returns public. But despite the volume of commentary, it’s not clear the right questions even are being asked.

      Trump claims he can’t release his returns because he’s under audit. At some level, that’s a legitimate concern. It would hardly be fair if thousands of tax professionals who oppose Trump politically helped the IRS by publishing their own analyses of the returns. Ultimately, however, it’s a phony excuse.

      But rather than challenge the logic behind Trump’s refusal to release returns, a series of questions should be asked:

      First, what tax years are under audit? Does it go back beyond 2012? If not, can the 2011 return be released? After all, the statute of limitations on the audit of that year has passed, so there’s no exposure to Trump by releasing that return. If not 2011, how about 2010?

      Second, why haven’t the audit notices been released? An audit notice is a short, generic letter from the IRS stating that a taxpayer’s return has been selected for examination. There’s nothing so sensitive in such a generic notice that it could not be made public. At this point, Trump has not even offered up this most basic evidence that he is really even under audit. Why hasn’t proof been demanded?

    • Brexit - who has the power to change UK law?
      Another way of seeing the inconsistency of the Government argument is this. If the Crown has the power to leave the EU without Act of Parliament, then it has always had it. The Referendum Act contains no provision that alters the constitutional position - it provided for a referendum on EU membership, defining the question to be asked, but without specifying what was to be done with the result. For that reason it is often referred to as "advisory". Therefore, if the Government has the power to take the UK out of the EU today, then it equally had the power one year ago. But I do not think anyone would have seriously argued before the Referendum that the Government could take the UK out of the EU under prerogative power without any Parliamentary approval.

    • Britain’s backdoor to EU influence
      The U.K. has launched a behind-the-scenes diplomatic effort to influence EU affairs during the Brexit process by offering to lend officials to two small countries that will hold the bloc’s presidency next year.

      Britain gave up its six-month slot in the rotating presidency calendar, which had been scheduled for the second half of 2017, after other countries felt it would be inappropriate to have the U.K. setting the political agenda for a union it had voted to leave. But soon after the June referendum, London began hedging its bets by trying to position officials in Malta and Estonia, which will take their turns in the presidency next year.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald Trump’s Roger Rabbit Moment
      As usual, what may have been most important is what went unsaid. The phrase “income inequality” came up only once, and that was from moderator Lester Holt. There was little mention of education or health care; some talk of energy policy but almost nothing on global warming other than Clinton’s reference to Trump claim that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese (last night he denied ever saying it, but he has).

      And absolutely no mention of the ruinous influence of money in politics, which in retrospect made it a bit jarring that when Bill and Chelsea Clinton entered the debate auditorium they sat next to Vernon Jordan, a close family friend and adviser, certainly, but also senior counsel at Akin Gump, the biggest and most profitable lobbyist in Washington, prime peddlers of influence and privilege on Capitol Hill.

    • NYT Makes Bill Clinton’s Sex Life the Lead Story–Without Mentioning Trump’s
      Now we know how candidates can get a piece of information featured in the lead story of the New York Times: They just need to declare that they aren’t going to talk about it during a national debate.

      Thus Donald Trump’s cryptic last-minute debate comment—”I was going to say something…extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, ‘I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate. It’s not nice'”—was unfolded into a piece in the top right corner of the Times‘ front-page (9/27/16), arguably the most valuable journalistic real estate in the United States, about Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs.

    • Lester Holt Asks Zero Questions About Poverty, Abortion, Climate Change

      Presidential debates do as much to illustrate corporate media priorities as they do to showcase the candidates. They provide a snapshot into what the media, in this case represented by NBC’s Lester Holt, prioritizes as issues worthy of discussion.

      A week before the debate, Comcast-owned NBC announced the topics, and one could already tell we weren’t going to be in for a substantive evening: “Achieving prosperity,” “America’s direction” and “securing America.” This generic approach lead to a generic debate that focused mostly on horserace disputes and vague, open-ended questions about taxes and jobs.

      Holt didn’t ask any questions about the following topics: poverty, abortion, climate change, immigration, healthcare, student debt, privacy, LGBTQ rights or drug policy. (NBC reported before the debate that abortion and immigration were two of the policy issues that voters were most interested in, as indicated by Google searches, along with the economy and police shootings.)

      What was discussed: jobs, Trump’s tax returns, who did or didn’t support the Iraq War, raising taxes on the rich, race (framed mostly in a way that pandered to Trump’s theme of a country in disarray), Russian cyberattacks, ISIS, Obama’s birth certificate, Clinton’s physical appearance and whether the candidates would accept the election results.

    • Blow-by-Blow Analysis of the Decisive Moment of the Debate - through the eyes of a former debate coach
      I wasn’t planning to do a second blog about ‘the debate’ but two days after it, as we start to await the first polling to show its impact, I feel the need to write one more blog. I do believe this debate decided the election. I think many will come back to look at that Monday night as the time when Trump folded, and some will also see the brilliance of how Hillary skewered Trump and trapped him to make that debate far worse for Trump than it might have been. So, with the very rare opportunity for me to write a debate review on this blog, why not do something more serious about the blow-by-blow. How did it go? Lets get into the weeds. How did Hillary demolish Trump. I am using the full recording of the debate via Real Clear Politics which had the ABC network feed.

      Trump needed to remain Presidential throughout the first debate, he’d then get something near a tie. Hillary had to clearly win the debate, a tie was not good enough, she was expected to be the superior debater and had to now deliver.

    • Stein trolls Johnson on world leaders gaffe, also fails to name world leaders
      May, Stédile, and Corbyn, however, aren't technically world leaders, as none holds a top position in their country's government. May is a member of the Canadian House of Commons. Stédile is an economist and member of Brazil's Landless Rural Workers Movement, which he helped found. Corbyn is the leader of the Labour Party in Britain.

      Johnson, sitting with Libertarian vice presidential nominee Bill Weld, was asked by MSNBC's Chris Matthews to "name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to." Johnson couldn't name any.

    • Sunday Paper Q&A: Jill Stein
      You may not realize it, but there are actually two women running for president this year. In addition to Hillary Clinton, the first female major-party candidate, voters also have the choice to elect Jill Stein, who represents the Green Party.

      Stein is a practicing physician and an environmental health advocate. While her low polling numbers prevented her from participating in the first debate, Stein remains committed to her campaign. She exclusively sat down with us for this week’s Sunday Paper Q&A to explain why she’s motivated to stay in the race.

    • Endorsement: Libertarian Gary Johnson for president
      Today this newspaper does something it has never done in its 143-year history: endorse someone other than the Republican candidate in a presidential contest.

      Since its founding in 1873, The Detroit News has backed a Republican every time it has made a presidential endorsement (three times we have sat on the sidelines — twice during the Franklin Roosevelt elections and in the 2004 Bush/Kerry contest).

      We abandon that long and estimable tradition this year for one reason: Donald J. Trump.

      The 2016 nominee offered by the Republican Party rubs hard against the editorial board’s values as conservatives and Americans. Donald Trump is unprincipled, unstable and quite possibly dangerous. He can not be president.

    • Gary Johnson tries to get past ‘brain freeze’ with Detroit newspaper’s endorsement

      But Johnson's self-described "Aleppo moment" on Wednesday night's MSNBC town hall proved irresistible for critics and rivals. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who has fallen even further back in polls than Johnson, took the opportunity on Thursday to name the foreign leaders she admired — if anyone was curious. (No one she mentioned is currently serving as the head of government in any country.)

    • Politico Tries to Play Gotcha with Jill Stein’s Comments on Gary Johnson’s 'World Leader' Gotcha
      Last night on MSNBC, Chris Matthews asked Gary Johnson to name three foreign leaders that he admired. Rather than rejecting the question for its implicitly pro-government bias and as a silly thing to ask someone running for president, Johnson tried to answer by listing former Mexican president Vicente Fox and blanked on the name, saying it was another "Aleppo moment." (Maybe soon they'll be calling them Gary Johnson moments)

      Within minutes, social media was ablaze with users who probably couldn't name a world leader (except maybe for Justin Trudeau, who's become something of a favorite of social media progressives) claiming that Johnson couldn't name a foreign leader at all, when the question was about leaders you respected.


      Responding to my comment based on Twitter, Stein suggested that Politico was "just trying to play gotcha to distract from their favored candidate's awful foreign policy record." It's hard to disagree with that assessment.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Singapore jails teen blogger Amos Yee for anti-religion posts

    • Amos Yee gets 6 weeks' jail for wounding religious feeling

    • Amos Yee gets 6 weeks' jail for wounding religious feelings

    • Amos Yee pleads guilty to 3 charges

    • Jordan Imposes Media Blackout on Christian Writer’s Assassination as Protests Erupt
      Jordanian authorities imposed a blackout on the country’s press and social media Monday, preventing any coverage of the murder of the Christian writer shot dead outside an Amman court as protesters called for the government’s resignation.

      The censorship order by the Jordanian judiciary came after the murder of Nahed Hatter as he arrived at the city’s Palace of Justice on Sunday, accused of sharing a satirical cartoon on Facebook and of breaching the country’s blasphemy laws.

    • Montreal Muslim school president was ‘devastated’ by feminist’s criticisms, slander trial hears
      Quebec’s long-running debate over secularism and the place of religious minorities moved into the courtroom Monday as a slander trial opened against an outspoken critic of Islamic fundamentalism.

      A crowd of supporters, including two who arrived from France, filled the room to hear the case against Djemila Benhabib, who is being sued by a private Muslim school after she likened its teaching to the instruction received in terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

      Benhabib, who was born in Ukraine but spent much of her childhood in Algeria, was invited on to a Montreal radio show in 2012 after writing a blog post about the Muslim School of Montreal.

      Benhabib told 98.5 FM host Benoît Dutrizac that she was shocked by what she found on the school’s website.

      Koranic verses being taught to children were “extremely violent” and “misogynistic,” she told Dutrizac in a recording played in the court. She said the school offers students “an indoctrination worthy of a military camp in Afghanistan or Pakistan.” The school, she said, “is creating fundamentalist activists who in a few years will be demanding accommodations and all sorts of bizarre things … We are an extremely long way from citizenship, from the values that belong to our society.”

    • Migrants Are Racist to Blonde Women, Swedish Ethics Professor Says
      Professor of Ethics Ann Heberlein has argued that blonde people in Sweden are subjected to racist abuse and violence from “people with a non-European appearance”.

      Ms. Heberlein, who appears regularly on Swedish Radio’s “Thoughts for the Day” and “Philosophical Room”, says blonde and Swedish victims of this racism choose to stay silent because “anti-racist” left wingers say that as a “privileged” group, ethnic Swedes have no right to complain.

      The professor at Lund University describes the racist abuse hurled at white women in Sweden, with phrases like “Svenne (meaning ethnic Swede) whore” and “bloody racist whore” shouted at them by people with migrant backgrounds.

    • Singapore jails teenager for hurting God's feelings
      Amos Yee, a 17-year-old blogger in Singapore, is to spend six weeks in jail for "wounding religious feelings." It is his second such jail term: he spent a month in jail last year for criticizing Christianity.

    • Donald Trump Happily Repeating Lie About Google Autocomplete Suppressing Negative Hillary News
      While politics isn't generally a topic we dive into around here, technology policy and issues certainly are. And, since presidential election cycles infect every conceivable topic like a wine stain spreading across your favorite couch, we've talked about the two mainstream candidates quite a bit recently. And I get the complaints from all sides against both candidates, but it's become somewhat breathtaking to watch Donald Trump build a campaign in large part on nonsensical and easily debunked conspiracy theories, such as how the planned internet governance transition will cede control of the web to China and Russia, or that our current sitting President might be a secret communist Muslim clay-person, but maybe not.

      And, of course, there is the constant claim of victim-hood at the hands of that damned liberal establishment, which now apparently includes Google. Some background for you is in order. Over the summer, a really dumb video went viral after claiming to show that Google was manipulating autocomplete searches to keep any bad press out of the results for searches about Hillary Clinton. Compared with Bing, for instance, Google's autocomplete failed to finish off a search for "Hillary Clinton cr" with "Hillary Clinton crimes", instead completing as "Hillary Clinton Crimea." While your drunk uncle lost his goddamned mind over a conspiracy surely proven, Google chimed in to note that it specifically designed its autocomplete feature to keep disparaging results from anyone's name, not just Hill-Dog's. This was easily shown by putting in "Donald Trump cr", which likewise autocompleted as "Donald Trump Crimea."

      And that really should have been the end of that. But, because Donald Trump's campaign isn't one to pass on a good chem-trails story, its candidate tried to deflect a general panning of his debate performance by repeating this already disproved accusation.

    • Censorship is Killing the Spirit of Social Media
      Take Twitter, for example. The online social networking service is often criticized for not protecting its users and allowing pretty much anything on its platform. Because it does allow anything on its platform and that’s part of why people love it so much.

      Twitter is also kind of like a filing cabinet that records and preserves our digital history for us. You can go to Twitter, search a hashtag and find photos, articles and all the opinions you could ever want to hear on a particular moment from (recent) history. That’s pretty cool, when you think about it. But what’s not cool is finding tweets that you never saw, tweets that seemingly disappeared even though the 140-characters were typed.

      Twitter has been caught removing tweets, hiding tweets and deleting trending hashtags. Such accusations have opened the doors to how such a prominent platform—which sources the news for over half the population-gets away with censorship before our very eyes.

      It was just a few months ago that Twitter was accused of censoring tweets under ‘#DNCLeak’ during the WikiLeaks e-mail debacle. In this particular scenario, conservative Twitter users accused the platform of removing the hashtag from the trending bar, despite it displaying an estimated 250,000 tweets about the leaked employee e-mails from the Democratic National Committee.

      On the other side of the political spectrum, of course, is the whole Milo Yiannopoulos situation, which involves permanent censorship in the form of banning. Another accusation comes from Trump supporters, which say the social platform concealed his tweets asking for campaign donations.

      But is this censorship? Or is it just the work of a flawed algorithm?

    • HRC concerned about censorship of publications
      The Human Rights Commission(HRC) has released a statement regarding Freedom of Expression in relation to Cayman’s Prohibited Publications Order.

      The statement has been released during World Banned Books Week which is held each year, the last week in September and is recognised by the American Libraries Association. During the week, attention is focused on freedom of expression in relation to reading and the issue of censorship. In the Cayman Islands censorship of reading materials is found in the Prohibited Publications Order (under the Penal Code) which first came into effect in the Cayman Islands in 1977.

    • Censorship: Facebook Deleted 100,000 ‘Hate Posts, Insults’ in Just One Month
      Facebook revealed that within the last month it deleted 100,000 posts by German users for containing “hate”, but Justice Minister Heiko Maas has blasted the figure as too low.

      At a conference in Berlin, Maas said that to be accountable, social networks must publish the number of posts contested by users. The Justice Minister’s remarks implied that complainants on social media are valid judges of what constitutes criminal speech, something usually only determined by a court.


    • Wallace students read banned books aloud to draw attention to censorship

    • Distributed Censorship or Extortion? The IoT vs Brian Krebs

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • UK Government Says Smart Meters Can Definitely Be Trusted Because GCHQ Designed Their Security
      The idea behind smart meters -- that detailed information about how you consume electricity will allow you to use power more efficiently and thus cut your bills and your home's carbon emissions -- is a good one in theory. And yet smart meters are still not used very widely, even in countries like the UK, where the government has a strategy to install millions of them by 2020. Actually, the likely savings by users are small, but smart meters also promise to allow the electricity industry to lower salary costs by carrying out meter readings remotely, which is one reason why it is so keen on the idea. Another is because smart meters make it is easy to cut off someone's supply if they don't pay their bills.

      The slow uptake of smart meters seems in part to be due to public concerns about security. People are worried that their smart meter will spy on them, sending back information to electricity companies that might be intercepted and used for targeted burglary when they are away. Similarly, there are fears that if the smart meter control system were compromised, domestic electricity supplies might be at risk on a large scale.

      One of UK Parliament's most important committees, the one monitoring science and technology, has just published a report into the UK smart meter roll-out, offering recommendations for ways to speed it up.


      has reported, one of the worst features of the UK's Investigatory Powers Bill that is currently wending it way through Parliament is that it creates a legal framework to allow GCHQ and the other intelligence agencies to hack into any kind of equipment in order to carry out surveillance. Of course, that's really rather easy when you were the one who designed its security systems.
    • FBI’s Controversial Surveillance Program Declined After Snowden
      The FBI’s use of a controversial program that collected Americans’ phone records decreased significantly after Edward Snowden exposed it to the world in 2013, a new report has found.

      The program allows the FBI to get access to phone records—but not the content of phone calls—with permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Between 2012 and 2014, that court approved 561 so-called “business records orders,” but that number dropped from a nine-year high of 212 in 2012 to 170 in 2014, a nearly 20 percent decrease, according to a review by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

      The number fell again in 2015 to 142 orders. Snowden’s revelations helped fuel a change in U.S. law that ended the government’s practice of collecting and storing the phone records. Now, the government must request the information from phone companies.

    • Canadian Bank Prohibits Giving Passwords to Police
      While waiting for ten minutes on "hold" to make an appointment with my local branch of Scotiabank, I had time read through the new "Digital Services Agreement. Most of the eighteen pages were unremarkable, but a couple of things stood out.

      When you click "Accept", you are agreeing to not give your password to police if they ask!
    • WhatsApp refuses to delete user data in India after court ruling
      Changes to WhatsApp’s data sharing rules are causing more controversy this week. The company refuses to comply with a court order from India’s Delhi High Court, which requested that the company delete any and all data collected by users who opted out of the company’s new privacy policy before September 25th.

      Since WhatsApp announced that it would be sharing some user data, including phone numbers, with Facebook, the app has come in for some serious critisism for undermining consumer privacy in India. These changes were made under the guise of cutting down on spam and improving services, but a good portion of users remain unconvinced.

    • EU clamps down on sale of surveillance tech to despotic regimes
      The European Commission has set out new measures to stop European companies exporting surveillance gear to despotic regimes. The proposal would also partially relax the rules on exporting cryptography tools.

      The proposal to overhaul the EU’s export controls on dual-use products—powerful technologies such as crypto software or rocket engines that can be used for good or evil—was presented on Wednesday (PDF) and includes a new human rights dimension.

      “It’s not a revolution. It’s an evolution of our current structure,” a commission source told Ars. “The foundation that is already there, is fairly solid, but this new proposal is more efficient, and will reduce the cost of the control, both for authorities at national level and also for the industries that have to apply for licenses.”

      “This new human security dimension comes from a conviction that our export controls should also enable us to prevent the misuse of items that are used to violate human rights. The types of technologies we are talking about, surveillance, etc., do not fit clearly within the current military regulation,” the source continued.
    • Apple Logs Your iMessage Contacts — and May Share Them With Police
      Apple promises that your iMessage conversations are safe and out of reach from anyone other than you and your friends. But according to a document obtained by The Intercept, your blue-bubbled texts do leave behind a log of which phone numbers you are poised to contact and shares this (and other potentially sensitive metadata) with law enforcement when compelled by court order.

      Every time you type a number into your iPhone for a text conversation, the Messages app contacts Apple servers to determine whether to route a given message over the ubiquitous SMS system, represented in the app by those déclassé green text bubbles, or over Apple’s proprietary and more secure messaging network, represented by pleasant blue bubbles, according to the document. Apple records each query in which your phone calls home to see who’s in the iMessage system and who’s not.

      This log also includes the date and time when you entered a number, along with your IP address — which could, contrary to a 2013 Apple claim that “we do not store data related to customers’ location,” identify a customer’s location. Apple is compelled to turn over such information via court orders for systems known as “pen registers” or “trap and trace devices,” orders that are not particularly onerous to obtain, requiring only that government lawyers represent they are “likely” to obtain information whose “use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.” Apple confirmed to The Intercept that it only retains these logs for a period of 30 days, though court orders of this kind can typically be extended in additional 30-day periods, meaning a series of monthlong log snapshots from Apple could be strung together by police to create a longer list of whose numbers someone has been entering.

      The Intercept received the document about Apple’s Messages logs as part of a larger cache originating from within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Electronic Surveillance Support Team, a state police agency that facilitates police data collection using controversial tools like the Stingray, along with conventional techniques like pen registers. The document, titled “iMessage FAQ for Law Enforcement,” is designated for “Law Enforcement Sources” and “For Official Use Only,” though it’s unclear who wrote it or for what specific audience — metadata embedded in the PDF cites an author only named “mrrodriguez.” (The term “iMessages” refers to an old name for the Messages app still commonly used to refer to it.)

    • Terrorism Directive: European Parliament to Cowardly Surrender to Outrageous Security Call
      For a few months, the European Parliament has been discussing a directive aimed at updating the European legislation on combating terrorism. After a vote in the LIBE Committee, MEPs agreed to send the text directly to a trialogue discussion; this reduces opportunities for a democratic debate on an issue that bears strong consequences for fundamental rights. Today, Wednesday 28 September, the third trialogue between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union is to take place. Faced with the deadlock organised by European institutions, La Quadrature du Net emphasises the dangers of this text.
    • Allo: Snowden Says New Google App Could Become Tool For Police Surveillance
      Google recently released a new messaging application called Allo that it calls “revolutionary,” but whistleblower Edward Snowden warns that the app could be used for government surveillance.

      Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear spoke with Professor Bryan Ford, leader of the Decentralized/Distributed Systems lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, about the app and its potential impact on personal privacy.

    • Why Edward Snowden (NSA Whistleblower) Just Warned People Not to Use Google’s New Chatting App
      According to Edward Snowden, if you want to avoid giving law enforcement the green light to check out all your communications, don’t use it.

      “What is #Allo? A Google app that records every message you ever send and makes it available to police upon request,” the whistleblower tweeted.

      Tech giant Google has been working hard to infiltrate the virtual chatting world, launching Spaces, Duo, and most recently, Allo, all in the past couple of months.

      On its site, Allo is described as “a smart messaging app that helps you say more and do more. Express yourself better with stickers, doodles, and HUGE emojis & text. Allo also brings you the Google Assistant, preview edition.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • For Latinos, the Problem Isn’t Trump—It’s Trumpismo
      Anyone watching this year’s elections knows that Latinos are going to play a critical role. The Age of LatinX is upon us. Without a doubt, LatinXs will play a determinate role in these important elections. As the presidential candidate for the Green Party, I take seriously the urgently critical role of the Latino vote in the 2016 elections. That’s why our campaign continues the work of raising LatinX and other issues.

      In an election where some are depressed because they see no path other than one that winds between two obsolete but deadly choices, this is a race to the bottom between the “lesser evil” and the “greater evil,” Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Such a choice starkly reflects the problems Latinos and we all face, ones that reach far and beyond Donald Trump. Trump’s candidacy is a virulent symptom of a far more sinister problem infecting our entire political system, something every community, including Latinos, experiences in very particular ways, regardless of their political affiliation.

      Growing numbers of Latinos are among the millions who helped push the question—“How do I vote for Jill Stein?”—as a top Google search term for our campaign after Monday’s debate. LatinXs have heard our message and are acting on their desire for change. I am confident and see every day on the campaign trail that even more are preparing to join us in this election. Our presidential platform is packed with the policies and positions—student debt forgiveness, free college education, fair trade, not free trade, labor rights, racial justice and police reform, a Green New Deal, and others—that we all know are necessary, and that Latinos especially have good reason to be concerned with.

    • The Military Logic of Punishing Chelsea Manning’s Suicide Attempt
      Last week, imprisoned whistle-blower Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 14 days in solitary confinement as punishment for her suicide attempt in early July at the prison barracks at Fort Leavenworth. The Fort Leavenworth disciplinary panel could not explicitly punish Manning for attempted suicide. Completed suicide is not a disciplinary violation and, to be guilty of attempting a crime, it’s necessary for the act which is attempted to be one. They disciplined her instead under a charge known as “conduct which threatens,” stating that Manning’s attempt to die interfered with “orderly running, safety, good order and discipline, or security” of the facility. (She is also being disciplined for possessing an unauthorized book). The whistle-blower stated that she was driven to suicide over the prison’s then-failure to appropriately treat her gender dysphoria. Why Manning injuring herself is deemed a threat to the facility’s functioning says much about the nature of that place’s function, says much about the true function of prisons.

      Before 1823 in England, according to early common law, if a person committed suicide, they would be posthumously punished. The body would be buried at the crossroads of a highway, impaled by a stake, often with a stone laid over the face (to prevent resurrection as a ghost or vampire). The deceased’s property would be forfeited to the king. Suicide was criminal because sovereignty over life and death did not then reside with the individual but with God, and with his chosen earthly emissary, the king. And since suicide was deemed an ungodly, criminal act, so too was an attempt—at times punishable by hanging. There’s no contradiction here: To execute a person who has herself tried to die is still punishment, not wish fulfillment. It’s the punishment of removing every last shred individual sovereignty; it’s the state’s reminder of where sovereignty really resides. Current state punishment of attempted suicide, in its rare cases like Manning’s, serves the same purpose.

    • Does The FTC Get To Ignore Section 230 Of The CDA?

      The case involves weight loss products, including colon cleanses, vended by LeanSpa. To generate more sales, LeanSpa hired LeadClick to act as an affiliate marketing manager. LeadClick coordinated promotion of LeanSpa's products with LeadClick's network of affiliates. Some affiliates promoted the products using fake news sites, with articles styled to look like legitimate news articles and consumer comments/testimonials that were fake. Apparently, all of this added up to big business. LeanSpa paid LeadClick $35-$45 each time a consumer signed up for LeanSpa's "free" trial (which was a negative billing option). LeadClick shared 80-90% of these sign-up fees with affiliates and kept the remainder for itself. In total, LeadClick billed LeanSpa $22M, of which LeanSpa paid only $12M. Still, LeanSpa turned into LeadClick's top customer, constituting 85% of its eAdvertising division's sales.

    • An Ongoing Lack Of Technical Prowess Is Resulting In Bad Laws, Bad Prosecutions, And Bad Judicial Decisions
      Everyone in government is talking cyber-this and cyber-that, even though a majority of those talking don't have the technical background to back up their assertions. This leads to dangerous lawmaking. The CFAA, easily one of the most abused computer-related laws, came into being thanks to some skittish legislators who'd seen one too many 80's hacker films. ("WarGames," to be specific.)

      Faulty analogies have led to other erroneous legislative conclusions -- like the comparison of email to snail mail -- which has led to the government treating any unopened email as "abandoned" and accessible without a warrant.

      But the problem goes further than the legislative branch. The executive branch hasn't been much better in its grasp of technical issues, and the current slate of presidential candidates guarantees this won't change for at least another four years.

      The judicial branch has its own issues. On both sides of the bench, there's very little technical knowledge. As more and more prosecutions become reliant on secretive, little-understood technical tools like cell tower spoofers, government-deployed malware, and electronic device searches, unaddressed problems will only multiply as tech deployment ramps up and infusions of fresh blood into the judicial system fail to keep pace.

    • Court Dumps Cops' Complaint They Were Unfairly Treated After Shooting Two Unarmed Suspects 47 Times
      In 2012, Cleveland police officers engaged in perhaps the most one-sided "shootout" ever with two suspects at the tail end of an (unauthorized) police chase. By the time it was over, officers had fired 139 bullets into a vehicle they had trapped in a school parking lot. Twenty-three of those hit the driver. Twenty-four hit the passenger. Both vehicle occupants were killed.

      One officer -- Michael Brelo -- apparently thought he was starring in his own action film. He unloaded 49 rounds in just over 20 seconds while standing on the hood of the stopped vehicle. All told, more than 75 Cleveland PD vehicles joined the chase/shooting. At the end of a yearlong investigation, 63 officers were suspended for their participation. Six officers were charged.

      The genesis of the horrific debacle was nothing more than a car backfiring. One cop mistook this for a gunshot and all hell broke loose. No weapons were recovered from the vehicle.

      One of the stranger offshoots of the infamous shootings was a lawsuit filed by several Cleveland police officers who took part in the chase. In their view, they were punished more harshly than African American officers who also participated in the unauthorized pursuit.

    • Help Me Choose a Nominee for the Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award
      The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards were established in 1979 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to protect the First Amendment rights of Americans. They are looking for nominees for this year’s awards, and I’d like to send them a name.

    • Agent who interrogated Abu Zubaydah: ‘Where we went wrong as a nation’
      “His case represents the A to Z of where we went wrong as a nation,” said former FBI agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated some of the most prized captives of the war on terror, and considered Abu Zubaydah “a high-ranking terrorist” at his capture. “In a way, it was the original sin that led to the institutionalization of the so-called Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.”

    • Police Brutality Is a Campaign Issue, So Departments Ignore It on Social Media
      There’s zero doubt that police forces across the nation are caught between the crosshairs of politics and systemic racism; their losses and crimes either championed or hurriedly swept beneath the rug on the campaign trail.

      Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump addressed race relations in the United States as a symptom of a larger criminal justice problem. Trump went as far as to call America’s legacy of police brutality a matter of “law and order,” mirroring the strategic oversimplification of racism that has contributed to the killings of 285 black and Hispanic people by police officers in 2016 alone.

      But despite desperate efforts by citizens to document the unlawful abuse of minorities by officers, police departments still wield considerable control over their images and public messages. Thanks to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, police are attempting to humanize themselves online, whether or not they’re physically repairing their relationships with America’s communities.

    • Russian journalist arrested for 'illegal' voting after exposing fraud in Duma elections
      An award-winning journalist who exposed voting fraud during Russia’s parliamentary elections has himself been arrested for alleged fraud.

      Denis Korotkov, a correspondent for the independent news website Fontanka, was scheduled to appear in court in St Petersburg on Wednesday on charges of “illegally obtaining a ballot”.

      But campaigners say Mr Korotkov was working undercover to expose vote rigging in the Duma elections, which have provoked international concern, and is now being harassed for his work.

      Mr Korotkov documented how he posed as a voter on 18 September and was given a sticker by polling station officials, who then arranged for him to be transported around St Petersburg with others to cast multiple ballots for specified candidates.

    • Denmark reverses course on refugee ‘child brides’
      Specifically, the agency concluded that the separate living quarters would violate the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to one's "private and family life”.

      Josephine Fock, an MP for The Alternative who raised the issue with DIS, cheered the reversal.

      “It is completely outrageous. We are talking about people who have fled to Denmark who are being split from each other. Some of them have children together and investigating individual [asylum] cases takes an unbelievably long time,” Fock told Metroxpress.

      In January, the Integration Ministry obtained an overview of the Danish asylum system that revealed that there are currently 27 minors who have spouses or partners. According to an earlier report in Metroxpress, there are two married 14-year-old girls at Danish asylum centres. One is married to a 28-year-old man, while the other is pregnant and has a 24-year-old husband.

    • [Older] Woman who mocked burka goes into hiding after online trolls offer bounty for her murder
      In a controversial article, Lejla Colak said forcing women to wear the Islamic headscarf was like forcing them to strap a sex toy to their heads.

      Twisted online trolls have launched a sick hate campaign against the Bosnian reporter, offering a cash prize if anyone kills or rapes her.

      One social media user, reportedly a member of the Bosnian army, wrote: "Are there any volunteers to rape lovely Lejla? I will personally pay for it."

    • When ‘Yelling Commands’ Is the Wrong Police Response
      The story out of El Cajon, Calif., a San Diego suburb, had an eerie familiarity: The police respond to a person exhibiting some kind of disturbing behavior, but the subject — perhaps lost in his own, altered world — does not comply with the usual commands, does not heed the standard warnings, acts in a way that seems to invite danger, and ends up dead.

      An officer in El Cajon fatally shot a man identified as Alfred Olango on Tuesday, after Mr. Olango’s sister called 911 for help because he was acting erratically. The police released a still frame from a bystander’s video showing Mr. Olango, 30, mirroring the shooting stance of the officer facing him — feet apart, hands clasped and pointed at the officer. But one man had a gun and the other, it turned out, did not.

      “I called for help; I didn’t call you guys to kill him,” the sister wailed on a Facebook video recorded by a bystander.

      Far too little is known about what happened in El Cajon to judge the officer’s conduct, law enforcement experts and advocates for mentally ill people say. But the police use of force — sometimes lethal — against those with diminished mental capacity is distressingly common. The experts and advocates say that while training and practices have improved in the last generation, officers in many agencies still receive little or no education in how to recognize and deal with people who may not behave rationally.

      Like other police uses of force, confrontations involving people with diminished mental capacity have increasingly been caught on video and turned into national news. In July, officers in Sacramento shot and killed a man who was walking and running in the street, gesticulating wildly, and who refused to obey orders to drop the knife he was holding or to lie down.

    • Stand in solidarity with imprisoned writers in Saudi Arabia
      English PEN is continuing to hold monthly vigils in support of imprisoned writers Raif Badawi, Waleed Abulkhair and Ashraf Fayadh. Please join us to show them they have not been forgotten.

      English PEN has been holding regular vigils outside the Saudi Embassy in London in support of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi and his lawyer Waleed Abulkhair since January 2015 when Badawi was first flogged for his peaceful activism. While Badawi has not been flogged since, he is continuing to serve a ten-year prison sentence, while Abulkhair is serving 15 years in prison for his human rights activism.

      PEN is also continuing to call for the immediate release of Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh. Originally sentenced to death, Fayadh is now serving 8 years in prison and, like Badawi, continues to have the threat of hundreds of lashes looming over him.

      Please join us on Friday 30 September from 9 – 10am for a peaceful vigil at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London. Activists are asked to meet at the Curzon Street entrance to the Embassy. (note: the postal address of the Embassy is 30-32 Charles Street, Mayfair, London).

    • Teen boy in Saudi Arabia arrested for “unethical behaviour" after flirty chat with YouTube teen girl star
      Abu Sin (his name means "toothless") and Christina Crockett jokingly declared their love for one another in a silly YouNow stream that has since been uploaded to YouTube. They struggled through language barriers and acted like goofy young people.

      Evidently, being a cute kid is a crime in Saudi Arabia, where the 19 year old internet goofball lives.

      A Saudi attorney told Okaz newspaper the videos violate the country’s interpretation of Sharia law and internet regulations. Abu Sin could face up to three years in prison.

    • Man hit by tram after mass brawl breaks out between migrants in Vienna
      At least 20 people were involved in the fight, believed to have been between a group of Chechen and Turkish migrants, in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Tuesday evening.

      Austrian media reported that the trouble started when a Chechen man approached a group of 15 Turkish men socialising in an internet cafe and told them to be quiet.

      A brawl ensued, spilling out of the cafe and into the streets of the city's Favoriten district.

      There was reports that one man was armed with a knife.

      Vienna is also home to a large population of Chechen migrants.
    • Interview: John Kiriakou On Supporting Jeffrey Sterling So He Doesn’t Die In Prison
      Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who served a prison sentence at a federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, joined Shadowproof managing editor Kevin Gosztola to talk about the case of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, which they have both followed closely.

      Kiriakou’s reporting describes how officials at the Englewood federal prison, where Sterling is confined, failed to give him proper medical treatment for heart attack symptoms. Gosztola recently exchanged letters with Sterling and published a report on how the Bureau of Prisons is failing him.

      During the interview, Kiriakou shares his experiences with prison medical care and how all too often those who need care are denied proper treatment. He talks about how the Bureau of Prisons thinks prisoners like Sterling are malingering, which means they are lying about and faking serious health problems. He also describes why it is so important for a person in this situation to have outside support.

      Sterling has demanded the prison give him access to an outside doctor so that he can have his severe heart problems addressed.
    • Inside the Chicago Police Department’s secret budget
      When the clerk called Willie Mae Swansey's case in a crowded courtroom last February, the 72-year-old approached the judge slowly, supporting herself with a four-pronged cane. It had been a busy afternoon in the Daley Center's civil forfeiture courtroom, with more than a dozen quick hearings and a pair of trials preceding her own. The crush of defense lawyers and hopeful claimants had thinned by the time Swansey stepped up to the bench. She steadied herself beside a prosecutor and stood with a stately straightening of her back.

      Swansey was here to reclaim her car. The Chicago Police Department had seized the 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser two years prior, arresting the driver, Swansey's son, and charging him with manufacturing or delivering 15 to 100 grams of heroin. The car had been impounded ever since. Swansey herself was never charged with a crime, and it was her name, not her son's, on the title. All the same, the Cook County state's attorney's office had agreed with CPD that the vehicle, which the office valued at $1,400, was worth keeping for good.


      "I'm a poor black woman," Swansey says. "I don't have no money for an attorney." Instead, she continued to represent herself.

      At her next appearance in May, she informed the court that her son's criminal case was over. He had pleaded guilty, and having been under house arrest for 745 days, he was credited with time served and put on probation, according to county records.

      So on June 30, Swansey's trial date finally arrived, two years and four months after CPD took her car. She had brought her son with her to court to testify that he had taken her keys without her knowledge. But the judge she saw that day, Paul Karkula, didn't want to hear from him, she says.

      Instead, Swansey recalls, "The judge said, 'I can't give you back your car, because it would be right back on the road with drugs.' " (Karkula declined to comment for this story.)

      The decision struck Swansey as racist and deeply unfair. Swansey says she watched as four other cases that day were called and resolved, including one involving a wheelchair-bound white woman with a case very similar to hers. This woman got her car back, Swansey says. She did not.

    • How I Taught A Jury About Trolls, Memes And 4Chan -- And Helped Get A Troll Out Of Jail
      A few weeks ago, CNN had a story on how a jury failed to convict Peter Wexler, an unemployed IT worker, who had been arrested and spent nearly a year in jail (without bail) for writing some mean stuff on his blog. He was literally arrested for five blog posts (which came with 20 criminal charges, as they had multiple charges on each post) and was facing up to 15 years in jail for those posts. Ken "Popehat" White blogged briefly about it, noting that it was a huge First Amendment win in a case where the defense team included one of his partners, Caleb Mason (along with lawyer Marri Derby, who was appointed by the court to represent Wexler through the Criminal Justice Act). It's also a case that involved... me. I was an expert witness in the case, brought in to explain to the jury the nature of internet discourse, including how trolls quite frequently say outrageous things to get attention, and how it's (for better or worse) not that uncommon to see people post angry rants on the internet, or to talk about how certain people should die, or to photoshop famous people into weird scenarios.

      I've avoided writing about the case up until now, mostly because of my involvement. And since Wexler was found not guilty on some charges, while the other charges resulted in a hung jury (the jury foreperson said that they voted 8 to 4 to acquit on those other charges), there's a chance there may be a second trial. So recognize that it's a case that I may still have future involvement in -- and where I'm choosing my words carefully (the prosecutors in the case tried to take some of my posts on Techdirt out of context to attack my credibility, and it's possible that could happen again -- though I will admit to some confusion over being asked, twice, on the stand if I consider myself "an advocate for internet freedom," as if that were a bad thing).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Postpones Vote on Set-Top Box Reform in a Blow to Chairman Wheeler
      The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday postponed a vote on its highly-anticipated proposal to increase competition in the video “set-top box” market after the chairman of the agency failed to secure the necessary votes to approve the plan.

      The delay amounts to a humbling setback for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who had made reforming the $20 billion set-top box market a centerpiece of his pro-consumer agenda. With 40 days to go before a presidential election that will determine the makeup of the FCC going forward, the fate of the reform measure is now in doubt.

      As recently as Thursday morning, the vote was still scheduled, but Wheeler was ultimately unable to come to an agreement with his fellow Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who had previously raised concerns about his plan, and who represents the key swing vote at the five-member agency.

      “Commissioner Rosenworcel came to Chairman Wheeler’s office with a bunch of edits on the order, and those edits were unacceptable to his office,” according to a person familiar with the matter. “And that led to an impasse. As of 8 a.m. this morning the vote was on, and then by 9 a.m. the vote was pulled.”

    • FTC won’t give up fight against AT&T unlimited data throttling

    • The FCC Wants To Know Why Journalists Had To Pay $200 For WiFi At Presidential Debate

  • DRM/Broadcast

    • Don't Hide DRM in a Security Update
      Over 10,000 of you have joined EFF in calling on HP to make amends for its self-destructing printers in the past few days. Looks like we got the company’s attention: today, HP posted a response on its blog. Apparently recognizing that its customers are more likely to see an update that limits interoperability as a bug than as a feature, HP says that it will issue an optional firmware update rolling back the changes that it had made. We’re very glad to see HP making this step.

      But a number of questions remain.

      First, we’d like to know what HP’s plans are for informing users about the optional firmware update. Right now, the vast majority of people who use the affected printers likely do not know why their printers lost functionality, nor do they know that it’s possible to restore it. All of those customers should be able to use their printers free of artificial restrictions, not just the relatively few who have been closely following this story.

    • 46 California Cities Join Rush To Impose 'Netflix Tax'
      Last year, Chicago proudly declared that the city would be expanding its 9% amusement tax (traditionally covering book stores, music stores, ball games and other brick and mortar entertainment) to online streaming services and cloud computing. While Chicago was hungrily pursuing the $12 million in additional revenue the expanded tax would provide, it ultimately faced a lawsuit questioning the legality of Chicago's move. The ongoing lawsuit by the Liberty Justice Center claims Chicago violated city rules by not holding a full vote on the changes, and is violating the Internet Freedom Tax Act.

      Legal or not, Chicago's push to impose a Netflix tax has opened the floodgates.

    • What Cord Cutting? Cable Sector Hiked TV Prices 40% In Last Five Years
      We've noted time and time again that the cable and broadcast industry could compete with cord cutting by lowering prices, it just chooses not to. Even with last quarter seeing the biggest quarterly defection by paying subscribers ever recorded, time and time again you'll see sector sycophants proclaim that cord cutting either doesn't exist, or has been violently over-hyped and isn't worth taking seriously. In fact, most sector executives still believe that the shift away from traditional cable will magically end once Millennials start procreating (protip: it won't).

      As such, they've continued to raise cable TV rates at an absurd rate in the belief that they can keep milking the legacy cable TV cash cow in perpetuity. And while broadcasters certainly take the lion's share of the blame for raising the cost of programming, you'd be hard pressed to find a cable TV provider that isn't making things worse by also saddling consumers with misleading fees for nothing and soaring cable box, modem, and other hardware rental costs.

      The end result is users paying 40% more for cable TV than they did just five years ago. In fact the average cable bill is now $103.10 per month, an increase of 4% in the past year. And while the cable sector is quick to proclaim that this just reflects the "increased value" of cable TV, the reality is that most cable ops are trimming back overall channels to try and offset the bloated, soaring cost of sports programming.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • UN Panel Report On Access To Medicines Seen As Holding Potential For Change
      Speakers at a side event to the United Nations General Assembly last week commended a new report on access to medicines prepared by a high-level panel hand-chosen by the UN secretary general as containing fresh ideas and the potential to bring change to a longstanding problem.

      The breakfast dialogue, entitled, The Role of Health Technology: Innovation & Access in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, was organised on 23 September by the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, whose report was released last week (IPW, United Nations, 14 September 2016).

    • WIPO staff council legal rep demands immediate removal of Gurry after distribution of misconduct report [Ed: about time?]
      The legal counsel to the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Staff Council has called for the immediate removal of Francis Gurry as the UN agency’s director general and the lifting of his diplomatic immunity so that he might face possible criminal investigation or civil proceedings over the findings of a report into alleged misconduct that was delivered to the Chair of the WIPO General Assemblies in February.

      The demand is contained in a letter sent to “All Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva” yesterday. IAM has obtained a copy of the letter and has verified that it is authentic.

      The letter was sent following the distribution earlier this week of a heavily redacted version of the findings of an investigation, carried out by the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), into a series of allegations originally levelled at Gurry by the former deputy director general of the organisation James Pooley back in April 2014. Although the OIOS submitted its findings in February it is only now that WIPO member states have been able to see a copy of the report – albeit one in which large chunks have been blacked out.

    • Signs Of Changing Trends In FTAs’ IP Chapters, Speakers Say At WTO
      On intellectual property, the EU has published factsheets and position papers on what they would like to see in the agreement, she said. One of the focuses of those documents is raising awareness on the benefits of IP, and “we regret that the focus is not also on the human right to access information,” she said.

    • Trademarks

      • Lee v. Tam: Supreme Court Takes on the Slants
        In the case, Simon Tam is seeking to register a mark on his band name “The Slants.” The USPTO refused after finding that the mark is disparaging toward individuals of Asian ancestry.

      • US Supreme Court to hear Slants case
        The US Supreme Court has granted cert in Lee v Tam, the case involving Asian-American band The Slants and the issue of offensive trade marks.

        The issue presented is: "Whether the disparagement provision of the Lanham Act, 15 USC 1052(a), which provides that no trademark shall be refused registration on account of its nature unless, inter alia, it '[c]onsists of . . . matter which may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute’ is facially invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment."

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube Hires Music Executive as a Liaison to the Industry
        For the last year, the music industry has been waging a bitter war against YouTube, accusing the popular video site of paying too little in royalties. The conflict has often seemed tribal, with record companies and stars on one side, and Silicon Valley on the other.

        Now, YouTube has brought over a major player from the music side.

        Lyor Cohen, who got his start in the early days of hip-hop and went on to top executive positions at Def Jam and the Warner Music Group — earning a reputation as the most tenacious force in any deal — has joined YouTube as the service’s global head of music, YouTube announced on Wednesday.

        It is the latest effort by a tech company to fortify itself by hiring a music insider. Two years ago, Apple bought Beats, which was founded by Dr. Dre and the producer Jimmy Iovine; in June, Spotify hired Troy Carter, the former manager of Lady Gaga.

        In a statement, Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, suggested that Mr. Cohen’s role was, to some degree, to be a bridge to the music world.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Appeal Concludes, Will He Get a “Fair Go”?
        After more than four weeks the extradition appeal hearings of Kim Dotcom and his former Megaupload colleagues have concluded. In his closing arguments, Dotcom's lawyer urged the court to carefully weigh the facts and give his client a "fair go," which he says the District Court failed to do. However, even if the High Court sides with the defense, the case is still far from over.
      • Dotcom Petitions Appeals Court For Rehearing Over Seized Millions
        Last month, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected efforts by Kim Dotcom to regain control over millions of dollars in assets seized by the US Government. Yesterday, Dotcom's legal team petitioned the Court for a rehearing and rehearing en banc on the issues of forfeiture of assets and fugitive disentitlement.

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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