Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 28/12/2016: OpenVPN 2.4, SeaMonkey 2.46

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • A business plan for your open source project
    Open sourcing your code is only a small part of building a successful open source community. Like any new venture, you need a vision of what you want to achieve and a concrete plan that will take you there. You want to be able to answer questions about your project like...

  • Best of Art and design
    After the introduction of "cheap" computers, we had boxes of floppy disks with amazing software like FreeHand, QuarkXPress, CorelDraw, and many others. And all could be had for only a few hundred dollars. At that time, we had to order the boxes of disks from software publishers and install them, disk-by-disk. Then publishers would introduce new, incredible enhancements and upgrades that could be purchased for… a couple hundred bucks.

  • 10 Best Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Programs I Found in 2016
    As 2016 comes to a close, it is time to bring you the best 10 Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) programs I have come across during this year.

    Some of these programs may not be new in that they weren’t released for the first time in 2016, but they are new to me and I have found them helpful.

  • Top open source projects to watch in 2017
    No one has a crystal ball to see the future of technology. Even for projects developed out in the open, code alone can't tell us whether or not a project is destined for success—but there are hints along the way. For example, perhaps it's not unreasonable to assume that the projects that will help shape our future are those projects that have first seen rapid growth and popularity among the developer community.

    So which new projects should an open source developer watch in 2017? Let's take a look at a few projects that emerged in 2016 to achieve rapid notoriety in the GitHub community.

    To develop this list, I went through GitHub with a focus on projects whose repository was created in 2016, and looked at the projects ranked by number of stars. It's not a perfect system; there are, of course, repositories that contain something other than an open source project, and so these were omitted from the list. Of course, there also were many great projects introduced in 2016 whose development took place somewhere other than GitHub. Admittedly, the process of picking these 10 projects to watch for 2017 from a pool of many choices was as much of an art as a science. But I still think these projects are worth keeping an eye on in the new year.

  • The Impact Of Big Data, Open Source On Oil And Gas
    The industry is still adapting after two years of significantly depressed prices. On top of this, ‘the great crew change’ has meant a significant loss of experienced folks who understood processes and the business. These two factors have forced a technology transformation throughout the value chain to help reduce costs and get ahead of the competition.

    Advanced analytics, enabled by open source technologies such as Apache Hadoop play a key part.

  • In 2016, Open AI and Machine Learning Tools Arrived in Droves
    As 2016 began, more bold predictions for the artificial intelligence and machine learning spaces were arriving, and there are very some promising, newly open sourced tools have arrived this year. We've been covering these promising tools and conducting some relevant interviews with leaders in the AI and machine learning arenas.

  • Events

    • NBD talk at FOSDEM 2017
      You may have noticed (but you probably did not), but on 2017-02-04, at 14:00, in room UB2.252A (aka "Lameere"), which at that point in time will be the Virtualisation and IaaS devroom, I'll be giving a talk on the Network Block Device protocol.

    • HackIllinois, UIUC's Student-Run Hackathon, Returns in 2017 With a Twist
      HackIllinois, a student-run hackathon hosted by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is heading into its fourth year this February. The event brings together students from around the country to work on coding challenges, learn new skills and connect with tech companies, at a school known for its coding prowess. It's one of the premier events in the Midwest, organizers say: Last year they had over 1,500 attendees.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • SeaMonkey 2.46 Open-Source Internet Suite Is Out for Linux, macOS, and Windows
        Believe it or not, the free and open-source SeaMonkey Internet suite produced by Mozilla and consisting of a web browser, e-mail and chat client received its second big update for 2016, versioned 2.46.

        SeaMonkey 2.46 is here more than nine months since the 2.40 release, and it's a major milestone that has been built on the same Mozilla platform as the Firefox 49.0 we browser. It brings lots of improvements and support for the latest Web technologies, including HTML5, JavaScript, as well as better hardware acceleration. The biggest change being support for HTML5 full-screen video playback on YouTube and similar sites.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Docker and Cloudera Team on Government-Focused Tech Solutions
      Late last year, Docker announced its Ecosystem Technology Partner program, thorough which it has sought to partner with organizations to offer customers better logging and visibility of their Dockerized applications. Throughout 2016, Docker continued to form key partnerships, and now Cloudera has announced that it has partnered with Docker, Inc. to provide Commercially Supported (CS) Docker Engines with a jointly developed solution to secure Docker container volumes.

      The integrated solution is targeted to let government agencies share data via cryptographically secure containers as part of a partnership where Cloudera provides level one and level two technical support backed by Docker.

    • Keynote: A Brief History of the Cloud from Servers to VMs to Buildpacks to Cloud Native Containers

    • Testing distributed systems in Go
      etcd is a key-value store for the most critical data of distributed systems. Use cases include applications running on Container Linux by CoreOS, which enables automatic Linux kernel updates. CoreOS uses etcd to store semaphore values to make sure only subset of cluster are rebooting at any given time. Kubernetes uses etcd to store cluster states for service discovery and cluster management, and it uses watch API to monitor critical configuration changes. Consistency is the key to ensure that services correctly schedule and operate.

    • “Prometheus itself is a product of a DevOps mindset”

      A lot of companies and organizations have adopted Prometheus and the project quickly gained an active developer and user community. It is currently a standalone open source project maintained independently of any company. In 2016, Prometheus joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation as the second hosted project after Kubernetes. We talked to Björn Rabenstein, engineer at SoundCloud and Prometheus core developer, about how Prometheus can help companies adopt DevOps.

    • Keynote: Kubernetes: Finally...A True Cloud Platform by Sam Ghods, Co-founder, Box

    • Kubernetes: A True Cloud Platform
      The Kubernetes community is building a platform that will make application development completely cloud infrastructure agnostic. Sam Ghods, co-founder of Box, said Kubernetes’ combination of portability and extensibility put it in a class of its own for cloud application development, during his CloudNativeCon keynote in November.

    • Process Migration in the Orchestration World by Isabel Jimenez & Kapil Arya, Mesosphere

    • Saving Application State in the Stateless Container World
      Running applications in our brave new container orchestration world is like managing herds of fireflies; they blink in and out. There is no such thing as uptimes anymore. Applications run, and when they fail, replacements launch from vanilla images. Easy come, easy go. But if your application needs to preserve state, it and must either take periodic snapshots or have some other method of recovering state. Snapshots are far from ideal as you will likely lose data, as with any non-graceful shutdown. This is not optimal, so Apache Mesophere's Isabel Jimenez and Kapil Arya presented some new ideas at LinuxCon North America.

    • Don’t Count OpenStack Out of Public Clouds Yet, Report Says
      A common rap against OpenStack is that the platform hasn’t caught on with public clouds. But that’s too U.S.-centric of a viewpoint, according to findings published by Forrester Research this week.

      OpenStack is generally associated with private clouds. When it comes to public clouds, the platform hasn’t had a great year, PR-wise. VMware scaled back its infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) ambitions. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) sold its OpenStack assets to Linux provider SUSE. And Cisco recently announced the end of its Intercloud platform.

    • ‘OpenStack is not going to be an Amazon killer’: Open-source cloud tech faces U.S. market realities
      Some companies are even abandoning the public cloud in favor of private, OpenStack-based clouds, Bryce said. “We’ve seen a wave this year of companies that went very heavily into the public cloud and then started to bring pieces of their workload back in-house with an OpenStack private cloud because it was dramatically cheaper for steady-state workloads.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Dublin awards Moodle elearning system support contract
      The Education and Training Board of the City of Dublin has signed a EUR 158,400 support contract for its current Moodle eLearning environment, it announced in late November. The city’s cloud-hosted Moodle implementation was awarded to Wholeschool, an eLearning specialist in Northern Ireland.

  • BSD

    • Peter Hansteen on OpenBSD and you
      Undeadly editor Peter Hansteen (pitrh) recently spoke to the Bergen (BSD and) Linux User Group (BLUG) on the subject "OpenBSD and you", and has shared the slides from the talk.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Denmark’s OS2 open source model challenges incumbents
      With its emphasis on open source and open data, and modular, interoperable ICT solutions, OS2 is challenging Denmark’s incumbent public administration ICT organisations. The community favours smaller ICT development cycles, avoiding IT vendor lock-in and fostering sharing and reuse.

    • Swiss BBL to extend its use of open source GIS
      The Swiss Federal Department for Building and Logistics (BBL) is looking for providers of ICT services with experience in the use of GeoNetwork, open source tools for geolocation information. BBL hopes to sign an 8 year framework contract for consulting, software development and support.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration


  • Science

    • Classifying humans into races the biggest mistake in history of science
      Science is one of the most remarkable inventions of humankind. It has been a source of inspiration and understanding, lifted the veil of ignorance and superstition, been a catalyst for social change and economic growth, and saved countless lives.

      Yet, history also shows us that its been a mixed blessing. Some discoveries have done far more harm than good. And there's one mistake you will never read about in those internet lists of the all-time biggest blunders of science.

      The worst error in the history of science was undoubtedly classifying humans into the different races.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday

    • 17 Security Experts Share Predictions for the Top Cyber-Trends of 2017
      Enterprises, governments and end users faced no shortage of security challenges in 2016. As the year draws to a close, we wonder: What security trends will continue into 2017? What will be the big security stories of the year to come? Many trends emerged in 2016 that are very likely to remain key issues for organizations of all sizes and shapes in 2017. Among them is the continued and growing risk of ransomware, which emerged in 2016 as a primary attack vector for hackers aiming to cash in on their nefarious activities. In 2016, nation-states once again were identified by multiple organizations as being the source of serious cyber-threats, and there is no indication that will change in the year ahead. Among the emerging trends that could become more prominent in the new year are the widespread use of containers and microservices to improve security control. This eWEEK slide show will present 17 security predictions for the year ahead from 17 security experts.

    • Learning From A Year of Security Breaches
      This year (2016) I accepted as much incident response work as I could. I spent about 300 hours responding to security incidents and data breaches this year as a consultant or volunteer.

      This included hands on work with an in-progress breach, or coordinating a response with victim engineering teams and incident responders.

      These lessons come from my consolidated notes of those incidents. I mostly work with tech companies, though not exclusively, and you’ll see a bias in these lessons as a result.

    • Girl uses sleeping mom's thumbprint to buy $250 in Pokemon toys
      The most famous, and unlikeliest, hacker in the news this week is little Ashlynd Howell of Little Rock, Ark. The exploits of the enterprising 6-year-old first came to light in a Wall Street Journal story about the difficulties of keeping presents a secret in the digital age. It seems that while mom Bethany was sleeping on the couch, Ashlynd gently picked up her mother's thumb and used it to unlock the Amazon app on her phone. She then proceeded to order $250 worth of Pokemon presents for herself. When her parents got 13 confirmation notices about the purchases, they thought that either they'd been hacked (they were, as it turned out) or that their daughter had ordered them by mistake. But she proudly explained, "No, Mommy, I was shopping." The Howells were able to return only four of the items.

    • FDIC Latest Agency To Claim It Was Hacked By A Foreign Government
      Caught in the middle of all this are the financial transactions of millions of Americans, in addition to whatever sensitive government information might have been located on the FDIC's computers.

      But claiming the Chinese were involved seems premature, even according to Reuter's own reporting, which relies heavily on a bunch of anonymous government officials discussing documents no one at Reuters has seen.

    • Parrot Security 3.3 Ethical Hacking OS With Linux Kernel 4.8 Released

  • Defence/Aggression

    • A World War II Marine looks back and wonders: Where’s the America of sharing?

      I am now 91 years of age and it has been 70 long, wide years since I returned home on Christmas Eve, 1945. My family was unaware that I was even in the U.S. because I did not want them to know I had spent a month in a Naval hospital before being discharged. My triumphant return was a Norman Rockwell painting; the cab stopped across the street, I tossed my seabag over my shoulder and walked across the street. A light snow was falling, I pressed the doorbell, the door opened, and there was my mom and dad, my brother and my sisters and a few family friends. I had not seen my family since June of 1942, 3 1/2 years earlier.

      I was home, I was still alive, I was the luckiest guy on the planet.

      As the title of Sebastian Bae’s piece says, war is only romantic if you have never been in one. I have seen close friends killed, I have held young boys in my arms as they died. I have taken the lives of other human beings. I have known fear so intense as to drive good men insane.

    • Symbolic Failure Point: Female Afghan Pilot Wants Asylum In The U.S.
      History loves little markers, tidy packages of symbolism that wrap up a big, complex thing.

      You know, the helicopter on the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon standing in for years of failed war, the Berlin Wall being knocked down to visually note the end the Cold War, that sort of thing.

      Well, the never-ending-gobsmacker of the Afghan War may have gotten its iconic moment.

    • Facebook safety check helped spread false reports of Thailand explosion
      A Facebook safety check for Bangkok, which the company claimed was prompted by a one-man protest near the prime minister’s office, helped spread a fake news report of an explosion in the city.

      The incident is the latest example of the social media platform’s algorithms failing to distinguish between reliable and faulty news sources.

    • Henry Kissinger has 'advised Donald Trump to accept' Crimea as part of Russia

      Is the veteran US diplomat Henry Kissinger working to secure a rapprochement between the US and Moscow by pushing for an end to sanctions in exchange for the removal of Russian troops from eastern Ukraine?

      A flurry of reports suggest the 93-year-old diplomat is positioning himself as a intermediary between Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump. He has publicly praised Mr Trump, and traveled to Trump Tower in New York to offer his counsel built on decades of lobbying and diplomacy.

      A report in the German tabloid Der Bild headlined ‘Kissinger to prevent new Cold War’, claimed the former envoy was working towards a new relationship with Russia.

    • FULL TRANSCRIPT: Kerry Blasts Israeli Government, Presents Six Points of Future Peace Deal
      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry strongly criticized Israel's government in a speech on Wednesday, saying that trends on the ground are leading to a one-state solution and defending the U.S. decision not to veto a UN Security Council resolution against the Israeli settlements. Netanyahu's office replied and accused the U.S. Secretary of State of obsessing about settlements.

      "If the choice is one-state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both and it won't ever live in peace," Kerry said.

      Kerry presented the principles of a future final status agreement: An Israeli and a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines; full rights to all citizens; a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue; Jerusalem as the capital of both states; an end to the occupation, while satisfying Israel's security needs, with a demilitarized Palestinian state; an end to all claims by both sides.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Bill to ban pesky public-records requests in Arizona is back
      A bill to allow government officials to deny any public-record request they choose by arguing it is "unduly burdensome" or "harassing" is back for a second year in a row.


      Kavanagh last year said the bill was not meant to limit media or public access to information, but to curb abuse. He said he introduced it at the request of cities that say there are a handful of gadflies who make an extraordinary number of very broad requests for records, requiring significant work from city staff, and then don't even look at the results.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Panasonic will spend $256 million on Tesla solar panel factory in Buffalo, NY
      On Tuesday Tesla announced that it had struck a deal with Panasonic to produce photovoltaic cells at the new Buffalo, New York, solar panel factory scheduled to go online in 2017. The factory’s construction was started by SolarCity, which was purchased by Tesla in November in a $2.6 billion all-stock deal.

    • Northern Michigan city aims for 100 percent renewables by 2020
      Local officials in Traverse City voted Monday night to become the second Michigan city looking to meet 100 percent of municipal electricity needs from renewable sources.

      Traverse City Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to set a goal of 100 percent renewables by 2020 to power city services, such as streetlights, a wastewater treatment plant and government buildings.

      “It seems like one of the right things to do with a changing climate and changing aspects of our energy production,” Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers said prior to Monday night’s vote.

  • Finance

    • Garden bridge charity warns more delays could terminate project
      The charity behind the proposed garden bridge across the Thames in London has warned that any more hold-ups to the controversial and much-delayed project could see it having to be scrapped altogether.

      While the Garden Bridge Trust insists it remains confident the tree and plant-filled pedestrian crossing will be built, it has conceded that the delays have affected fundraising and that any more significant obstacles could prove terminal.

      It was ultimately up to the charity’s trustees, who include the project’s originator, the actor Joanna Lumley, to demonstrate the money committed – €£60m of which comes from taxpayers – was being used prudently, its executive director said.

    • Co-op Group planning 1,500 UK jobs with 100 new stores
      The Co-operative Group is planning to create 1,500 jobs in the new year by opening 100 stores across the country.

      The group will invest €£70m in the new shops, which will be spread throughout London, south-east England, Yorkshire and Scotland.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Labour: new public appointments rules are 'power grab' by Tories
      Theresa May’s government has been accused of changing the rules on public appointments to make it easier in future for ministers to pick their political allies for senior jobs at the BBC and regulators such as Ofsted.

      The new code on public appointments will give ministers greater powers over who oversees a raft of agencies, watchdogs and advisory committees, while weakening the involvement of the independent commissioner for public appointments, who scrutinises the system.

      Labour said the changes, which will come into force on 1 January, represent a “power grab” by ministers and risk returning to the days of patronage and cronyism in public life.

    • [Issue No. 39: What's happening at the Commission on Presidential Debates?] Faced With a Lawsuit to Be Heard Jan. 5, CPD Loses One-Third of Its Board Members
      The Commission on Presidential Debates, or CPD, has been under fire for its policies for several years now. For the past 24 years, the CPD has excluded anyone but the Republican and Democratic nominees from participating in the three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate in September and October before the election.

      An important lawsuit, Level the Playing Field, et al. v. Federal Election Commission, goes before a federal judge on Jan. 5. That suit seeks to accomplish what the CPD has refused to do on its own: change the rules to stop systematically preventing independent candidates from debating - and becoming president.

    • 'Alt-right' groups will 'revolt' if Trump shuns white supremacy, leaders say
      Donald Trump will disappoint and disillusion his far-right supporters by eschewing white supremacy, according to some of the movement’s own intellectual leaders.

      Activists who recently gave Nazi salutes and shouted “hail Trump” at a gathering in Washington will revolt if the new US president fails to meet their expectations, the leaders told the Guardian.

    • For Fact-Checking Website Snopes, a Bigger Role Brings More Attacks
      The last line of defense against the torrent of half-truths, untruths and outright fakery that make up so much of the modern internet is in a downscale strip mall near the beach.

      Snopes, the fact-checking website, does not have an office designed to impress, or even be noticed. A big sign outside still bears the name of the previous tenant, a maker of underwater headphones. Inside there’s nothing much — a bunch of improvised desks, a table tennis table, cartons of Popchips and cases of Dr Pepper. It looks like a dot-com on the way to nowhere.

      Appearances deceive. This is where the muddled masses come by the virtual millions to establish just what the heck is really going on in a world turned upside down.

    • Women Hate Donald Trump Even More Than Men Hate Hillary Clinton
      If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the 2016 presidential candidates, gender will be part of the campaign in an unprecedented way. It goes beyond the fact that Clinton would be the first woman nominated by one of the two major parties as its presidential candidate: Polls consistently show that women really, really don’t like Trump, and men — to a lesser but still significant degree — really don’t like Clinton.

    • If you want to understand the age of Trump, you need to read the Frankfurt School
      In 1923, a motley collection of philosophers, cultural critics, and sociologists formed the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany. Known popularly as the Frankfurt School, it was an all-star crew of lefty theorists, including Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse.

      The Frankfurt School consisted mostly of neo-Marxists who hoped for a socialist revolution in Germany but instead got fascism in the form of the Nazi Party. Addled by their misreading of history and their failure to foresee Hitler’s rise, they developed a form of social critique known as critical theory.

      A guiding belief of the Frankfurt School, notably among Adorno and Horkheimer, was that mass culture, in all its forms, was a prop for totalitarian capitalism. The idea was that art, in late-capitalist society, had been reduced to a cultural commodity. Critical theory sought to expose this by rigorously examining the products of popular culture. In particular, they tried to show how culture became a stealth vehicle for the inculcation of capitalist values.

    • Michael Moore outlines steps for challenging Trump
      Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore on Tuesday detailed his five-step strategy for countering President-elect Donald Trump.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Ongoing TV censorship prompts rethink on subscription
      I was watching the Al Jazeera Channel on TrueVisions yesterday morning and heard that a news story was coming up about a Thai woman who has started an NGO that helps give meaning to the lives of underprivileged inner-city children in Bangkok by teaching them to play musical instruments.

      As I waited to watch this obviously inspiring story, the anchor announced it with the words, “Meanwhile in Thai…” At the sound of the cue word “Thailand”, TrueVisions blacked out the two-and-a-half-minute broadcast, showing in its place the irritating notice “Programming will be resumed shortly.”

    • Vice Joins Trend Of Killing News Comments Because Giving A Damn About Your Site's Community Is Just Too Hard
      We've talked a lot about how the trend du jour in online media is to ditch the news comment section, then condescendingly pretend this is because the website just really values user relationships. ReCode, NPR, Reuters, Bloomberg, Popular Science and more have all proclaimed that they just love their on-site communities so much, they'll no longer allow them to speak. Of course what these sites often can't admit is that they were too lazy or cheap to cultivate their communities, can't seem to monetize quality discourse, and don't really like people pointing out their story errors in quite such a conspicuous location.

    • We're Getting Rid of Comments on
      As you may have noticed, earlier today we made some renovations here at Gave the place a facelift. Slapped a new coat of paint on the old URL. As with most redesigns, this is the first step in an ongoing process, and over the coming weeks and months we'll be tweaking things and adding features to make the new site even better. But along with these additions will come the loss of some staples from our old site, notably the comments section.


      Unfortunately, website comments sections are rarely at their best. Without moderators or fancy algorithms, they are prone to anarchy. Too often they devolve into racist, misogynistic maelstroms where the loudest, most offensive, and stupidest opinions get pushed to the top and the more reasoned responses drowned out in the noise. While we always welcomed your thoughts on how we are actually a right-wing mouthpiece for the CIA, or how much better we were before we sold our dickless souls to Rupert Murdoch, or just how shitty we are in general, we had to ban countless commenters over the years for threatening our writers and subjects, doxxing private citizens, and engaging in hate speech against pretty much every group imaginable.

    • Democrats advance Palestine censorship ahead of Trump
      Fears are running high that US President-elect Donald Trump will crack down hard on civil liberties once he takes office next month. But Democrats are missing the opportunity to stand up for free speech when it comes to advocacy for Palestinian rights.

      The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act – presenting itself as a force against anti-Jewish bigotry, but actually a means of censoring campus criticism of Israel’s policies – was unanimously passed by the Senate earlier this month.

    • Fake news and the war over information
      The entire discussion over €»fake news€« might just be tactics in the endless war of power over information, over the agenda. Obviously, the establishment is not amused with the new competition.

    • #5 of Our Top Stories of 2016: Real-Time Censorship as PLOS ONE Retracts "Proper Design by Creator" Paper [Ed: Creationist site complains about quality control, naming it censorship]

    • Censorship reveals direct, likely illegal link between ISPs and Turkey's government
      The Turkish government’s latest attempt to censor online news has exposed a direct and potentially illegal link between the country’s internet service providers and the government’s internet authority, according to ISP employees with knowledge of the country’s censorship mechanisms.

      The website of Dutch public broadcaster has been inaccessible in Turkey since Dec. 19. After a full week of investigations, however, all we know is who in the country’s censorship bureaucracy blocked the access, but not why. Further, the fact that was censored before a judge issued a court order reveals the new extrajudicial functions of Turkey’s censorship machine, which includes integrated servers between private Turkish ISPs and Turkey’s government.

    • Musical Censorship in India and Pakistan

      At the end of September, the Indian motion picture producer's association, India's largest organization related to entertainment, announced a ban on all Pakistani artists.

      In retaliation, Pakistan authorities imposed a complete ban on airing Indian content on all its TV channels, including Bollywood movies.

      This cultural war, triggered by the September Uri attacks in Kashmir, is far from new.

      Indeed it is a sad reminder of last year, when the Indian ultra regionalist Maharashtrian-based party Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt a performance by celebrity singer Ghulam Ali in Mumbai, forcing the concert to be canceled.

    • ‘Facebook bill’ banning terrorist posts gets Israeli ministers’ go ahead

    • Israeli Approves New Facebook Law Stopping Web Incitement

    • “Facebook Law” Approved in Ministerial Committee for Legislation

    • Foreign Ministry accuses Facebook of failing to remove thousands of inciting posts

    • Facebook (FB) Faces More Regulatory Troubles in Israel

    • Israel Jumps On The Internet Censorship Band Wagon

    • Israel approves bill to remove online ‘incitement’

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Amazon Refuses To Comply With Police Request For Amazon Echo Recordings In Murder Case
      Well, you knew this was coming sooner or later. Reports came out this week (via the paywalled site The Information) that law enforcement in Bentonville, Arkansas issued a warrant to Amazon asking for any recordings that Amazon had from its Echo device that may have been relevant to a murder case they're working on. At issue is the Amazon Echo device owned by James Andrew Bates, who is accused of murdering Victor Collins a year ago. The key bit of information here is that Amazon refused to hand over any recordings that it might have logged, but did hand over more general information about Bates' account and purchases.

      Of course, just the request for possible audio information has lots of people paying attention. This kind of thing has been predicted for ages -- now that pretty much everyone has "always on" microphones all around them in the form of either internet-of-things connected devices like the Echo, or merely your mobile phone with Apple's Siri or Google Now.

    • Police request Echo recordings for homicide investigation
      You have the right to remain silent -- but your smart devices might not.

      Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot are in millions of homes now, with holiday sales more than quadrupling from 2015. Always listening for its wake word, the breakthrough smart speakers boast seven microphones waiting to take and record your commands.

      Now, Arkansas police are hoping an Echo found at a murder scene in Bentonville can aid their investigation.

      First reported by The Information, investigators filed search warrants to Amazon (see below), requesting any recordings between November 21 and November 22, 2015, from James A. Bates, who was charged with murder after a man was strangled in a hot tub.

      While investigating, police noticed the Echo in the kitchen and pointed out that the music playing in the home could have been voice activated through the device. While the Echo records only after hearing the wake word, police are hoping that ambient noise or background chatter could have accidentally triggered the device, leading to some more clues.
    • The Fight to Rein in NSA Surveillance: 2016 in Review

      It’s been a busy year on a number of fronts as we continue to fight to rein in the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance of innocent people. Since the 2013 leaks by former government contractor Edward Snowden, the secretive and powerful agency has been at the top of mind for those thinking about unconstitutional surveillance of innocent Americans and individuals abroad.

      In 2016 the courts, lawmakers, and others continued to grapple with questions of how much we know about NSA surveillance.

    • DHS Now Asking Visa Applicants For Their Social Media Account Info
      Macleod-Ball also said it "would be nice" if the government had listened to the civil liberties concerns expressed by groups like his, but, then again, it "would be nice" if the government was generally more proactive on that front -- getting out ahead of complaints rather than just reacting to them. But it's just not going to happen. The government tends to push until something pushes back. And it does a lot of this pushing behind closed doors without asking for public comment.

      Skipping this "optional" part of the application process may only increase scrutiny. Applicants will still be interviewed by CBP/DHS agents and the questions they field may revolve around any fields left blank. Agencies like these tend to operate with a "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" mindset and may view withheld information -- optional or not -- as the product of a guilty mind. The DHS says it won't officially prevent anyone who doesn't provide this information from entering the country, but there are several unofficial options that will achieve the same result.

      Then there's the mission creep. Should this become part of the official form, you can expect other government licensing agencies to look at adding the same data gathering to their paperwork. In addition, the example set by the United States will only encourage countries far less interested in civil liberties from gathering this information from visitors to their countries, which means US citizens will need to get used to being more forthcoming with social media identifiers when looking to travel.
    • Court Says Government Needs Better Excuses If It Wants To Keep Hiding DEA Surveillance Docs
      The EFF has won a small battle in a larger war against the US government for its continued withholding of documents related to its Hemisphere program. Files on this custom-built AT&T/DEA surveillance system have already made their way into the hands of the public. Contrary to the government's claims about other methods (warrants, subpoenas) taking too long to obtain phone records, previously-released documents showed AT&T employees worked directly alongside agents in DEA offices to perform instantaneous searches for records.

      The EFF is seeking information not included in the Powerpoint presentation already produced by the DEA. It's looking for records on court cases where evidence derived from the program was submitted, communications between the government and AT&T concerning the program, communications between government agencies about the Hemisphere program, and Congressional briefings related to the side-by-side surveillance effort.

    • Police seek Amazon Echo data in murder case (updated)

      Amazon's Echo devices and its virtual assistant are meant to help find answers by listening for your voice commands. However, police in Arkansas want to know if one of the gadgets overheard something that can help with a murder case. According to The Information, authorities in Bentonville issued a warrant for Amazon to hand over any audio or records from an Echo belonging to James Andrew Bates. Bates is set to go to trial for first-degree murder for the death of Victor Collins next year.

      Amazon declined to give police any of the information that the Echo logged on its servers, but it did hand over Bates' account details and purchases. Police say they were able to pull data off of the speaker, but it's unclear what info they were able to access. Due to the so-called always on nature of the connected device, the authorities are after any audio the speaker may have picked up that night. Sure, the Echo is activated by certain words, but it's not uncommon for the IoT gadget to be alerted to listen by accident.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Turkish man arrested after saying he wouldn't serve President Erdogan tea
      Turkish authorities have arrested the cafeteria manager of the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper for insulting the president after he said he would not serve tea to Tayyip Erdogan, one of the manager's lawyers told Reuters on Monday.

      Senol Buran, who runs the cafeteria at the Istanbul office of Cumhuriyet, was taken into custody after police raided his home late on Saturday, lawyer Ozgur Urfa said. The newspaper is among the few still critical of the government.

    • Whistleblowers Don’t Need Elite Credentials To Help Protect Us from Government Overreach
      Author Malcolm Gladwell recently name-checked the EFF in an article published in The New Yorker. Mr. Gladwell’s piece examines what he sees as the differences between whistle-blowers Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg, and concludes that Snowden doesn’t deserve the respect (or apparently the same legal protection) that Ellsberg does. It’s always nice to be mentioned in respected publications, but as an organization that has actual experience with trying to make change with whistleblower information, we sharply disagree with Mr. Gladwell’s conclusion, and even more so with how he gets there.

    • Part 2: Jameel Jaffer on Obama's National Security Legacy & What Lies Ahead with Trump

      AMY GOODMAN: It will be interesting to see what Donald Trump’s attitude to Julian Assange is right now—

      JAMEEL JAFFER: Yeah.

      AMY GOODMAN: —given the WikiLeaks dump of Hillary Clinton emails—

      JAMEEL JAFFER: I think—yeah, I think that’s right.

      AMY GOODMAN: —which many attributed to helping defeat her.

      JAMEEL JAFFER: I think that’s right. I think that’s right. But then, there are also these questions that have arisen because of the statements that Trump has made during the campaign, and then over the last couple weeks, as well. You know, he has shown a kind of hostility to journalism and to—and, you know, I think to free speech, as well, reflected by the statement that Mike Pompeo made with respect to Julian Assange [sic]. So, I think there will be a set of—a set of issues—

    • The Enemy Within: Bribes Bore a Hole in the U.S. Border
      In 2012, Joohoon David Lee, a federal Homeland Security agent in Los Angeles, was assigned to investigate the case of a Korean businessman accused of sex trafficking.

      Instead of carrying out a thorough inquiry, Mr. Lee solicited and received about $13,000 in bribes and other gifts from the businessman and his relatives in return for making the “immigration issue go away,” court records show.

      Mr. Lee, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, filed a report saying: “Subject was suspected of human trafficking. No evidence found and victim statement contradicts. Case closed. No further action required.”

    • Report finds Air Force retaliated against whistleblower by revoking clearance
      It appears some Air Force brass wish their subordinates would fly a little farther under the radar, especially when airing their office’s dirty laundry.

      In 2011, an Air Force whistleblower had his security clearance revoked after pestering his supervisor about fraud and waste within the agency, according to a Defense Department Inspector General report. The Inspector General’s investigation concluded in December that his supervisor retaliated against the civilian employee for disclosing the infractions.
    • Turkey detains journalists for reporting on energy minister’s leaked emails
      Turkish police detained five journalists and issued arrest warrants on four more who reported on the leaked emails of Turkey’s Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, according to pro-government daily Sabah.

      The emails were hacked by a Marxist hacker group, RedHack, and were leaked to the public in October after the group's demand for the release of political prisoners was not met. Subsequent to the public leak, the government had banned cloud services. The email archive was later indexed by WikiLeaks, which remains banned in Turkey.

      On Sunday morning, Turkish police special forces units raided houses of journalists from various outlets known for their critical news coverage, including daily BirGun’s Mahir Kanaat. BirGun was one of the first outlets to report Albayrak’s email addresses were hacked by RedHack.

      Among the detained journalists, Eray Sargin is the editor-in-chief of news website Yolculuk, which was the first outlet to report on the leaks. Despite being censored for its news articles, Yolculuk kept reporting about the leaks.

      Investigative reporter Tunca Ogreten was the former editor of Diken where he revealed the details of the oil trade between Turkey and Northern Iraq. Based on the email correspondence, Ogreten showed that Albayrak—who is also President Erdogan’s son-in-law—was the real boss behind the private oil monopoly Powertrans.

    • UK's key role in brokering UN resolution on Israeli settlements confirmed
      Britain played a key behind-the-scenes role in brokering the UN resolution condemning Israel for violating international law with its policy of building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, it has been confirmed. The UK helped draft some of the key wording to ensure it met US concerns.

      The UK role, first highlighted by Israeli diplomatic sources, leaves the UK on a collision course not just with Israel, but at odds with Donald Trump, the US president-elect and a strong opponent of the UN resolution, the first to be passed that is critical of Israel for seven years.
    • Dutch woman with two British children told to leave UK after 24 years
      A Dutch woman who has lived in the UK for 24 years, and has two children with her British husband, has been told by the Home Office that she should make arrangements to leave the country after she applied for citizenship after the EU referendum.

      The story of Monique Hawkins highlights the practical difficulties faced by millions of EU citizens concerned that they will not have the right to stay in Britain post-Brexit.

      Hawkins had considered applying for citizenship before but decided not to as it did not confer any rights beyond her current EU rights. However, after the referendum she changed her mind, fearful that those rights would be diminished after Britain leaves the EU.


      In a written complaint, Hawkins said the worst aspect about the process was the inability to contact anyone. She wrote: “I do not believe there is any other business, organisation or even legal process in the world that would treat its customers/clients/applicants in this manner.”

      The software engineer, from Surrey, said she never once thought she would be deported but said her experience highlights the absurdity of the Home Office permanent residency process.

    • Home Office 'tells Dutch mother with two British children to leave UK' after 24 years
      A Dutch mother with two British children who has lived in the UK for 24 years said the Home Office told her to make arrangements to leave the country.

      Cambridge University graduate Monique Hawkins, who has two teenage children with her British husband, decided to apply for UK citizenship after the Brexit vote over fears her EU rights would be diminished when the country leaves the 28 nation bloc, the Guardian reported.

      She told the newspaper she was concerned that if she did not apply for citizenship she would be forced “to join a US-style two-hour immigration queue” while the rest of her family “sailed through the UK passport lane”.
    • Dutch mum-of-two told by Home Office to 'leave the country' after 24 years living in UK

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ExtraTorrent Under DDoS Attacks, Pirate Bay Down

        The popular torrent site ExtraTorrent has suffered several major DDoS attacks over the past ew days. The problems appear to be related to the site's recent ban of 'unofficial' proxy services. Meanwhile, The Pirate Bay is also down, but for now it's unclear what's causing the issues on their end.

      • Why Does The USTR Still Think Any Website That Might Upset Hollywood Is Illegal?
        We've written a few times in the past about the USTR's ridiculous "notorious markets" report, which is an offshoot of the already ridiculous Special 301 report, in which the USTR is supposed to name and shame countries that don't respect US intellectual property laws... based on whichever lobbyists whined the most to the USTR (seriously: the process is no more scientific than that). The "notorious markets" report is even more ridiculous, and lets the USTR go even further afield, often naming perfectly legal internet services just because Hollywood doesn't like them. It got seriously ridiculous last year when the USTR expanded the list of domain registrars, including the very popular domain registrar Tucows. The USTR claimed that it was okay to put Tucows on the list because it "failed to take action" when notified of infringement.

        Um. But that's the correct thing to do. A registrar's job is just to manage domain registrations and not to police what's on those sites, or to strip those domains. If someone is infringing on copyrights/trademarks/whatever, take it up with whoever is behind the site, not two steps removed to the company that registered the domain. Many people pointed this out last year, but this is the USTR we're talking about, and the USTR doesn't give a fuck. It just went right back out and with the release of the 2016 Notorious Markets List is still listing domain registrars and other websites that are perfectly legal, but which Hollywood or other big legacy industries don't like very much.

        While Tucows is no longer listed, they do name Domainerschoice as a "notorious market" because many online pharmacies have purchased domain URLs from that registrar. But, again, if the online pharmacies are the problem, go after those pharmacies, don't blame the domain registrar. Domainerschoice is just creating a database and selling URLs, not hosting any content or selling any drugs, legal, gray market or illegal.

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