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Links 27/6/2017: Manjaro Linux 17.0.2 is Out, Windows Ransomware on the Loose Worldwide

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Sony open-sources NNabla neural network learnings

  • Sony's unorthodox take on AI is now open source

  • Sony's AI software to become open source
    Sony will break from tradition among Japanese tech peers by making its artificial intelligence software freely available, as the company seeks to expand its presence in the field through outside collaboration with other businesses and research institutions.

    The Japanese electronics company has developed AI independently since the 1990s but has decided to open-source its deep learning software known as a neural network library. The software, which learns by mimicking the neural networks in human brains, can be used in products.

    Sony's software can be used for face and voice recognition based on deep learning abilities. The technology has been applied to predict the contract price of real estate transactions, for instance, and it is expected to be used in the development of home appliances and robots by third parties.

  • 10 Most important open source networking projects
    There’s an open source insurgence happening in the networking industry.

    Increasing demands on the network to scale to unprecedented levels and at the same time become more customized to specific use cases has led to the emergence of open source projects to support them.

  • GitHub declares every Friday open source day
    GitHub wants to help more people become open source contributors with a new initiative called Open Source Friday. As the name implies, the program encourages companies to set aside time at the end of the week for their employees to work on open source projects.

    It’s designed to bolster the ranks of open source contributors at a time when many businesses rely on freely available projects for mission-critical applications. Open Source Friday isn’t just about getting businesses to offer their employees’ time as a form of charity, it’s also a way to improve key business infrastructure, according to Mike McQuaid, a senior software engineer at GitHub.

  • GitHub launches Open Source Friday
    Open source software is developed by hobbyists and professionals alike. In fact, 65% of respondents to this year's GitHub open source survey who make contributions to open source projects do so as part of their job. However, the survey indicates that employers often lack a clear policy on employee contributions. A new project from GitHub aims to increase contributions to open source projects and to educate employers on why it's important.

  • Zebra Technologies’ iFactr Platform Transitions to Open Source

  • Enterprise DevOps Bullish on Open Source Software

  • Maarten Ectors explains what open source wireless means for developers
    Open source software has completely transformed the opportunities for software development. Now, Canonical is launching a new effort to bring these principles to programmable software defined radios and industrial equipment. Developers will be able to experiment with different wireless protocols for efficiency, security, or new architectures. It also threatens to disrupt the business model of wireless carrier providers. TheServerSide caught up with Maarten Ectors, VP of IoT for Canonical to find out what this revolution means for developers.

  • Events

  • CMS

    • BardCanvas – An Optimized and Open Source Content Management System

      Content Management Systems like WordPress are a great way to create and host websites, blogs, and other forums. But often you need an ungodly amount of RAM in your server to handle the incoming traffic.

      BardCanvas is an open source content management system that’s been built from the ground up with optimization in mind.

  • BSD


    • growing fibers
      Over the last 12 to 18 months, as we were preparing for the Guile 2.2 release, I was growing increasingly dissatisfied at not having a good concurrency story in Guile.

      I wanted to be able to spawn a million threads on a core, to support highly-concurrent I/O servers, and Guile's POSIX threads are just not the answer. I needed something different, and this article is about the search for and the implementation of that thing.


      In Guile we were able to create a solid-seeming abstraction for fibers by composing other basic building blocks from the Scheme toolkit. Guile users can take an abstraction that's implemented in terms of an event loop (any event loop) and layer fibers on top in a way that feels "real". We were able to do this because we have prompts (delimited continuation) and parameters (dynamic binding), and we were able to compose the two. Actually getting it all to work required fixing a few bugs.

      In Fibers, we just use delimited continuations to implement coroutines, and then our fibers are coroutines. If we had coroutines as a primitive, that would work just as well. As it is, each suspension of a fiber will allocate a new continuation. Perhaps this is unimportant, given the average continuation size, but it would be comforting in a way to be able to re-use the allocation from the previous suspension (if any). Other languages with coroutine primitives might have an advantage here, though delimited dynamic binding is still relatively uncommon.

    • Automating the software toolchain
      This month, the FSFE is starting a project to facilitate automation in the software toolchain. We're looking for the best practices for free and open source software development that facilitates use and increases the level of automation possible.

      When you create a new project on Github, Gitlab, Gitea or many other websites for software development, you're asked for a default license file to be included in the software repository. These files end up looking rather similar, in many cases to the point of being identical, which is a good thing. When things look similar, it's easier for a computer to understand them and find commonalities between them.

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open-Source 3D Plans Can Tweak Drones – But Maker Beware
        Anyone who’s seen a Frankenstein movie knows there can be grim consequences to making unauthorized alterations to someone else’s design.

        Still, many makers insist they don’t really own a product unless they’ve customized it. A paint job might suffice for some, but the popularity of 3-D printers allows even amateurs to make elaborate modifications easily and inexpensively.

  • Programming/Development

    • An introduction to functional programming in JavaScript
      When Brendan Eich created JavaScript in 1995, he intended to do Scheme in the browser. Scheme, being a dialect of Lisp, is a functional programming language. Things changed when Eich was told that the new language should be the scripting language companion to Java. Eich eventually settled on a language that has a C-style syntax (as does Java), yet has first-class functions. Java technically did not have first-class functions until version 8, however you could simulate first-class functions using anonymous classes. Those first-class functions are what makes functional programming possible in JavaScript.

      JavaScript is a multi-paradigm language that allows you to freely mix and match object-oriented, procedural, and functional paradigms. Recently there has been a growing trend toward functional programming. In frameworks such as Angular and React, you'll actually get a performance boost by using immutable data structures. Immutability is a core tenet of functional programming. It, along with pure functions, makes it easier to reason about and debug your programs. Replacing procedural loops with functions can increase the readability of your program and make it more elegant. Overall, there are many advantages to functional programming.

    • Learning to Code in One’s Own Language

      I recently published a paper with Sayamindu Dasgupta that provides evidence in support of the idea that kids can learn to code more quickly when they are programming in their own language.

      Millions of young people from around the world are learning to code. Often, during their learning experiences, these youth are using visual block-based programming languages like Scratch, App Inventor, and Studio. In block-based programming languages, coders manipulate visual, snap-together blocks that represent code constructs instead of textual symbols and commands that are found in more traditional programming languages.

    • [Older] RcppArmadillo 0.7.900.2.0


  • Back to the roots: FidoNet - I'm back!
    Last month I blogged about Fidonet. This month I can report that I'm back in FidoNet. While I was 2:2449/413 back then, my new node number is now 2:2452/413@fidonet. The old network 2:2449 is still listed in the Fidonet nodelist, but no longer active, but maybe I can revive that network at a later time. Who knows.

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • Nintendo reveals classic SNES console
      Super Mario World, Starfox and Yoshi's Island are set to be re-released later this year as part of a new classic SNES console.

      The original Super Nintendo Entertainment System, launched in 1990, sold 50 million units worldwide.

      The SNES Classic follows the NES Classic, which went on sale late last year but abruptly discontinued in April - much to the frustration of fans.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Cyberattack on UK parliament exploited weak email passwords

    • UK energy industry cyber-attack fears are 'off the scale'

      One obvious target is the smart meters that are being installed in every home by the end of 2020, to automate meter readings. The Capita-run body set up to handle the data, the DCC, is being treated as critical national infrastructure and the company’s chief technology officer insists the data is safe.

    • HMS Queen Elizabeth is 'running outdated Windows XP', raising cyber attack fears [Ed: All versions of Windows are not secure. By design! iophk: "nearly all of the Wannacry victims were Vista 7 users, this article is pure disinformation"]
      Fears have been raised that Britain’s largest ever warship could be vulnerable to cyber attacks after it emerged it appears to be running the outdated Microsoft Windows XP.

      As HMS Queen Elizabeth left its dockyard for the first time to begin sea trials, it was revealed the €£3.5billion aircraft carrier is apparently using the same software that left the NHS exposed.

    • Paying only encourages criminals, ransomware victims told

      Security company Kaspersky Lab has urged victims of ransomware not to pay when they are caught with their files encrypted by an attack. In a report on the ransomware scourge, the company said paying up would make one a bigger target the next time around.

    • NSA-linked tools help power second global ransomware outbreak [Ed: And neglecting to mention it targets Microsoft Windows. Why?]

    • Hacker Behind Massive Ransomware Outbreak Can't Get Emails from Victims Who Paid
      On Tuesday, a new, worldwide ransomware outbreak took off, infecting targets in Ukraine, France, Spain, and elsewhere. The hackers hit everything from international law firms to media companies. The ransom note demands victims send bitcoin to a predefined address and contact the hacker via email to allegedly have their files decrypted.

    • Digital signatures in package management
      Serious distributions try to protect their repositories cryptographically against tampering and transmission errors. Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu all take different, complex, but conceptually similar approaches.

      Many distributions develop, test, build, and distribute their software via a heterogeneous zoo of servers, mirrors, and workstations that make central management and protection of the end product almost impossible. In terms of personnel, distributions also depend on the collaboration of a severely limited number of international helpers. This technical and human diversity creates a massive door for external and internal attackers who seek to infect popular distribution packages with malware. During updates, then, hundreds of thousands of Linux machines download and install poisoned software with root privileges. The damage could hardly be greater.

      The danger is less abstract than some might think. Repeatedly in the past, projects have had to take down one or more servers after hacker attacks. The motivation of (at least) all the major distributions to protect themselves from planted packages is correspondingly large and boils down to two actions: one simple and one cryptographic.

    • This Windows Defender bug was so gaping its PoC exploit had to be encrypted
      Microsoft recently patched a critical vulnerability in its ubiquitous built-in antivirus engine. The vulnerability could have allowed attackers to execute malicious code by luring users to a booby-trapped website or attaching a booby-trapped file to an e-mail or instant message.

    • [Older] Reproducible Builds: week 110 in Stretch cycle
    • [Older] Free Market Security
      I think there are many of us in security who keep waiting for demand to appear for more security. We keep watching and waiting, any day now everyone will see why this matters! It's not going to happen though. We do need security more and more each day. The way everything is heading, things aren't looking great. I'd like to think we won't have to wait for the security equivalent of a river catching on fire, but I'm pretty sure that's what it will take.

    • Linux Systems in the Hackers' Cross Hairs [Ed: This is a rewrite of a press release below. Phil Muncaster could certainly have done better than this.]

    • New Research Shows Cybersecurity Battleground Shifting to Linux and Web Servers
      "This new Firebox Feed data allows us to feel the pulse of the latest network attacks and malware trends in order to identify patterns that influence the constantly evolving threat landscape," said Corey Nachreiner, chief technology officer at WatchGuard Technologies. "The Q1 report findings continue to reinforce the importance and effectiveness of basic security policies, layered defenses and advanced malware prevention. We urge readers to examine the report's key takeways and best practices, and bring them to the forefront of information security efforts within their organizations."

  • Defence/Aggression

    • [Older] Anti-missile test shows US can defend against N. Korean ICBMs, MDA chief says
      On May 30, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the United States Air Force successfully tested the Homeland Missile Defense System, shooting down an intercontinental ballistic missile in the first "live fire" test of the system's Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element. The GMD consists of a land-based, fire-control system and interceptor missiles designed to strike ICBMs in flight outside the atmosphere. The interceptor missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and it destroyed an "ICBM-class target" launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The ICBM was tracked by multiple radars, including the Sea-Based X-Band Radar, a giant radome mounted aboard a "semi-submersible" platform that resembles a giant self-propelled oil rig.

      "The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program," said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring in an official statement. "This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat."

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Wikileaks – Choose Your Side of the Barricade
      Today Julian reaches precisely five years of incarceration in the Ecuadorean Embassy and I am on the train down to London for events to mark the anniversary. Given that two days ago I couldn’t make it to my balcony, I feel quite chuffed with my powers of recovery.

      Yesterday I wrote that Corbyn’s advance has removed the “unelectable policies” excuse from New Labour and they have now to decide whether they are actually socialist or have adopted neo-liberalism out of belief.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Fake climate negotiations produce real impacts
      Some critics of the Paris Agreement on climate change probably think they could have done a better job with the agreement's details. Recently, a group of people taking a system dynamics course at MIT’s Sloan School of Management got the chance to take a whack at it.

  • Finance

    • 9 nasty details hidden in the small print of Theresa May's deal for EU citizens after Brexit
      This last one's not so nasty for EU citizens. But it's a nasty reminder for our former Prime Minister.

      Back in 2016, David Cameron tried and failed to stop child benefit being sent from EU citizens who live in the UK to their children who live abroad.

      He wanted it in his offer to voters to remain in the EU. But he had to water it down, and Britain then voted for Brexit anyway.

      Now the document makes clear EU citizens can carry on sending child benefit abroad, even though Britain voted Leave.

    • Brexit: EU citizens in UK will lose right to stay if they leave for two years

      The small print of the proposed new “settled status” reveals it will be taken away if someone is “absent from the UK for more than two years, unless they have strong ties here”.

    • Queen to receive €£6m pay increase from public funds
      The Queen is to receive an 8% increase in income from public funds, after the Crown Estate's profits rose by €£24m. The Sovereign Grant, which pays for the salaries of her household, official travel and upkeep of palaces, is to increase by more than €£6m in 2018/19. It comes as accounts revealed the Queen's official net expenditure last year increased by €£2m, to almost €£42m.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Salon’s Trump-free Tuesday: For one day, we won’t publish his name or his picture

      If we cannot dislodge him from the White House anytime soon, maybe we can start to deflate the outsized role he plays in our national psychology. This is a baby step in that direction.

    • We desperately need a way to defend against online propaganda
      Rhodes' comments dovetail with many other reports over the past two years spotlighting how Russia has been honing its social-media propaganda skills. Last year, Time published a massive report in which senior intelligence officials talked about how Russians pretending to be American voters infiltrated social media groups, spread conspiracy stories via Facebook accounts for fictional media outlets, and bought Facebook ads to spread fake news.

    • On cyber, Trump team needs this Dodd-Frank piece to succeed
      The U.S. Treasury’s common sense regulatory initiative, "A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities Banks and Credit Unions," includes a cybersecurity initiative that would have financial regulatory agencies standardize cyber security regulations. It also includes using a "common lexicon" to aid in that effort.

      Lexicons are dictionaries of words. In cyberspace, lexicons are also dictionaries of data components. Data, more so than the words in the regulation, needs standards, particularly for identifying financial market participants in order for regulators’ words to be transformed into computer languages.

    • Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
      For anyone with a long and abiding hatred of the UK’s Conservative party, these are heady days indeed. I turn on my laptop each morning with eager anticipation, as it becomes increasingly obvious that things only get worse for the Tories with each passing day.

      The Tories have been in a freefall since Theresa May, enjoying a 20-point lead in the opinion polls, called a snap election in the hope– now doused with the equivalent of freshly melted water from an Arctic iceberg– of extending her party’s majority in parliament to historically unprecedented heights. Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, was expected to suffer a defeat so bad that its chances of being hammered into non-survivable oblivion were rated as pretty good by its own (so-called) supporters.

      Within days of May calling the election, however, the opinion polls started to tilt in Labour’s favour, and they stayed that way until election day. Corbyn, derided in the rightwing tabloids as an out of touch commie cultist, came across on the campaign trail as an undogmatic but principled figure with bucket loads of the so-called common touch. Nothing seemed to fluster him.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • [Older] YouTube clarifies “hate speech” definition and which videos won’t be monetized
      The ad exodus from YouTube has died down since its peak in March, but YouTube continues to update its guidelines to reassure advertisers and, in some ways, its creators. In a blog post, YouTube outlined more specific definitions of hate speech and what kinds of incendiary content wouldn't be eligible for monetization.

    • [Older] Our Response To Titan Note Sending A Frivolous Takedown Notice Over Our Critical Coverage
      We've written two separate stories about the Titan Note -- a small recording/transcription device that was originally sold via a crowdfunding project at IndieGogo. It was an interesting device, that immediately generated a fair bit of press -- though that included some reasonable skepticism about whether or not the product could really do what it claimed it could do (especially since many other larger companies couldn't seem to produce similar voice recognition capabilities, despite putting tremendous resources towards it). I still backed the project hoping that maybe it was legit. The good press still beat out the few skeptical posts and the campaign initially raised over $1 million dollars. However, soon after the project closed, IndieGogo canceled the campaign (perhaps due to a group of online skeptics contacting them) and refunded everyone's money, saying that that Titan Note had violated its terms. We reported on this not because of the project being canceled, but because in discussing the cancellation, the Verge also noted that Titan Note had sent a bogus DMCA notice over its skeptical story -- and writing about censorious DMCA takedowns is pretty common around here.

    • NJ Mayor Can't Stop Streisanding Himself After Being On The Receiving End Of The Crying Jordan Meme
      Of all the wonderful gifts the internet has bestowed upon humanity, there is perhaps none more precious to me than the now famous Crying Jordan meme. After Michael Jordan's tearful Hall of Fame induction speech, an image of him in tears took on the secondary purpose of being photoshopped onto anyone the internet wanted to portray as being sad or upset about pretty much anything. The creativity of some of the memes is nearly unmatched, leading to it becoming so popular that then President Obama brought it up when giving Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In other words, as far as internet memes go, the crying Jordan meme is nearly as prolific and celebrated as the basketball career of Jordan itself.

    • Fierce Controversy Over Draft Hate Crime Legislation, New Surveillance Law In Germany
      Just before the upcoming elections in September, the German government seems eager to push through legislation to rein in internet hate speech, fake news, and also legalise state hacks and police searches of computers and mobile phones against suspects of all kinds. Even at the United Nations and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) level the recent initiatives in Germany have resulted in some raised eyebrows. The draft hate speech law has also “made it to the alert list of the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of journalism.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Amazon is turning every Echo device into an intercom

      Many Echo owners end up buying multiple devices [...]

    • Google Home is six times smarter than Amazon's Echo

      Probably because it's not powered by Bing

    • AT&T May Soon Return To Charging Broadband Subscribers More For Privacy
      Last year, you might recall that AT&T came up with an ingenious idea: to charge broadband customers significantly more if they actually wanted to protect their own privacy. It basically worked like this: users ordering AT&T's broadband service could get the service for, say, $70 a month. But if that user wanted to opt out of AT&T's Internet Preferences snoopvertising program (which used deep packet inspection to study your movement around the Internet down to the second) users were forced to pay upwards of $800 more each year. With its decision, AT&T effectively made user privacy a premium service.

    • [Older] Got a face-recognition algorithm? Uncle Sam wants to review it
      The nation's top-level intelligence office, the Director of National Intelligence, wants to find "the most accurate unconstrained face recognition algorithm."

    • [Older] The premature quest for AI-powered facial recognition to simplify screening
      In 2009, 22-year-old student Nicholas George was going through a checkpoint at Philadelphia International Airport when Transportation Security Administration agents pulled him aside. A search of his luggage turned up flashcards with English and Arabic words. George was handcuffed, detained for hours, and questioned by the FBI.

      George had been singled out by behavior-detection officers—people trained in picking out gestures and facial expressions that supposedly betrayed malicious intentions—as part of a US program called Screening Passengers by Observation Technique or SPOT. But the officers were wrong in singling him out, and George was released without charge the same day.
    • EFF Sues FBI For Refusing To Turn Over Documents About Its Geek Squad Informants
      A child porn indictment in California has led to a full-fledged examination of the FBI's use of "private searches." Private searches, performed by citizens, can be used to instigate investigations and obtain warrants. In this case, the private searches were performed by Best Buy Geek Squad members, who came across alleged child porn images while fixing the defendant's computer.

      Private searches during computer repairs are normal. But they're not roughly analogous to searches performed with a warrant. Companies that repair electronic devices are legally required to report discovered child porn to law enforcement. What they're not supposed to do, however, is dig through devices they're repairing in hopes of finding something illegal.

    • [Older] DEA Deploying Powerful Spyware Without Required Privacy Impact Assessments
      It's not just the FBI that can't seem to turn in its privacy-related paperwork on time. The FBI has pushed forward with its biometric database rollout -- despite the database being inaccurate, heavily-populated with non-criminals, and without the statutorily-required Privacy Impact Assessment that's supposed to accompany it. As of 2014, it hadn't produced this PIA, one it had promised in 2012. And one that applied to a system that had been in the works since 2008.

    • Australia announces plan to ban working cryptography at home and in the US, UK, New Zealand, and Canada

      The Australian Attorney General and a key Australian minister have published a memo detailing the demand they plan on presenting to the next Five Eyes surveillance alliance meeting, which will be held next week in Ottawa.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • This covert technology listens for gunshots 24/7 and calls the police on its own

      In more than 90 cities across the US, including New York, microphones placed strategically around high-crime areas pick up the sounds of gunfire and alert police to the shooting's location via dots on a city map.

    • “McMansion Hell” used Zillow photos to mock bad design—Zillow may sue

      On Monday, Zillow threatened to sue Kate Wagner, saying that that she was violating its terms of use, copyright law, and possibly the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act because she took images from the company's website without permission. However, on each of her posts, she acknowledged that the images came from Zillow and were posted under the fair use doctrine, as she was providing (often humorous) commentary on various architectural styles. Her website was featured on the design podcast 99% Invisible in October 2016.

    • Zillow Sends Totally Bullshit Legal Threat To McMansion Hell
      There are few things I hate more than when tech platforms -- which have benefited from key rights provided to internet platforms and the public -- turn around and abuse the law to try to silence or kill off others. And the latest company to dive headfirst into this unfortunate pool of shame is Zillow, which is threatening to sue the person behind based on a number of different awful interpretations of the law that can be summed up as: "hey, you can't use our images to make fun of homes."

    • Zillow is threatening to sue a blogger for using its photos for parody
      McMansion Hell is a Tumblr blog that highlights the absurdity of giant real estate properties and the ridiculous staging and photography that are omnipresent in their sales listings. The blog, started by 23-year-old Johns Hopkins graduate student Kate Wagner, began in July 2016 as a way to poke fun at pretentious architecture. It has since gone viral, but now she’s facing potential legal charges by real estate site Zillow for allegedly violating the site’s terms of service by reproducing the images on her blog.

      A typical McMansion Hell blog post will have a professional photo of a home and / or its interior, along with captions scattered throughout by Wagner. She also adds information about the history and characteristics of various architecture styles, and uses photos from the likes of Zillow and Redfin to illustrate how so many real estate listings inaccurately use the terms.

    • Proposed DHS Rules May Cause The Deaths They Claim To Prevent
      Back at the end of March, the Department of Homeland [in]Security issued rules stating that all electronics larger than a smartphone should be checked instead of kept in a carry-on on flights into the US from 10 airports or on 9 airlines from mainly Muslim countries in the middle east and north Africa. This was following claims by US and UK intelligence that terrorists are smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items to 'target commercial aviation'.

      Not only does this not pass the smell test -- anyone looking to bring down an aircraft with explosive devices won't care if they're in the cabin or the hold: boom is boom. The idea that items are going to go through some sort of super-secret screening is laughable, when red-team penetration tests find it trivial to get prohibited items onto aircraft (including via people with no ticket who bypass security screenings). And, of course, airports already require carry-on electronics to be x-rayed, and often swabbed for explosive residue. What's more, I remember seeing 'explosives smuggled on board' hysteria since Pan Am 103 almost 30 years ago, where Czech explosive Semtex was suspected to be in everything from fake muesli to electronics following the use of just 12 ounces (340g) to blast a 50cm hole in the 747's hold.

    • [Older] Erasing History: Trump Administration Returning CIA Torture Report To Be Destroyed
      Over the last few months, a battle has played out over what will happen to the 6,700 page "CIA Torture Report" that the Senate Intelligence Committee spent many years and approximately $40 million producing. The report apparently reveals all sorts of terrible details about how the CIA tortured people for little benefit (and great harm in other ways) and lied to Congress about it. While a heavily redacted executive summary was released, there is apparently significantly more in the full report. And if we, as a country, are to actually come to terms with what our nation did, this report should be made public and there should be a public discussion on our past failings.

    • Congress 'Fixes' Child Porn 'Loophole' With 15-Year Prison Sentences For Teen Sexting

      My guess is Johnson's definition of "defenseless" doesn't cover sexting teens -- not if he's using Biblical authority to shore up his shaky legal assertions. Other supporters are equally as naive, claiming federal prosecutors won't use the law to prosecute sexting teens, blithely ignoring the fact that child porn laws have routinely been misused to do exactly that.

      This is the road to hell legislators love to travel. And why not? It's routinely re-paved with good intentions and has lanes wide enough that even the most obtuse legislator can travel comfortably. When it comes to the nation's youth, nothing's too good for them. Our nation's lawmakers are ready to grant them them longer minimum sentences and more ways to avail themselves of one of our nation's oldest traditions: doing federal time on trumped-up charges. After all, you can't be for the children unless you're willing to damn the children. For their own good, of course.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • [Older] The Rate Of TV Cord Cutting Is Actually Worse Than You Think
      It's funny what a little added competition can do. It's no surprise that with the rise of streaming alternatives from AT&T (DirecTV Now), Dish (Sling TV), Google (YouTube TV) and Sony (Playstation Vue) -- last quarter saw one of the biggest cord cutting spikes on record. MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett has noted that 2016's 1.7% decline in traditional cable TV viewers was the biggest cord cutting acceleration on record. SNL Kagan agrees, noting that traditional pay TV providers lost around 1.9 million traditional cable subscribers. That was notably worse than the 1.1 million net subscriber loss seen last year.

    • [Older] Cable TV “failing” as a business, cable industry lobbyist says
      The cable TV business is in trouble—in fact, it is "failing" as a business due to rising programming costs and consumers switching from traditional TV subscriptions to online video streaming, according to a cable lobbyist group.

      "As a business, it is failing," said Matthew Polka, CEO of the American Cable Association (ACA). "It is very, very difficult for a cable operator in many cases to even break even on the cable side of the business, which is why broadband is so important, giving consumers more of a choice that we can't give them on cable [TV]."

    • I'm Suing New York City to Loosen Verizon's Iron Grip
    • [Older] Charter, Verizon Flirt With Merger, Because Who Likes Broadband Competition Anyway?

      Back in January, Wall Street chatter started to suggest that with Trump being much more friendly to M&As, some previously-unthinkable mergers were in store for the already uncompetitive telecom market. The most commonly discussed is a new merger between T-Mobile and Sprint (regulators blocked the first attempt in 2014 because it would have dramatically reduced competition). But another major rumor involves Verizon acquiring either Comcast or Charter Communications, something that Verizon executives have publicly tried to downplay, but evidence suggests remains high on the company's agenda all the same.

    • [Older] To kill net neutrality rules, FCC says broadband isn’t “telecommunications”
      The Federal Communications Commission's plan to gut net neutrality rules and deregulate the Internet service market may hinge on the definition of the word "broadband."

      In February 2015, the FCC's then-Democratic leadership led by Chairman Tom Wheeler classified broadband as "telecommunications," superseding the previous treatment of broadband as a less heavily regulated "information service." This was crucial in the rulemaking process because telecommunications providers are regulated as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, the authority used by the FCC to impose bans on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization.

  • DRM

    • Game Developer: Just Wait Until The Game Is Cracked And Then We'll Patch Denuvo Out; Game Gets Cracked Immediately
      By now you likely know that Denuvo, the DRM once thought to be the end of piracy, is in what looks like a losing battle for relevance. The DRM's ability to keep piracy groups from cracking video games went from months to weeks to days over the span of a year or so, with its Version 3 roll-out defeated so quickly that I could barely keep up writing the post about its demise. Reactions among game developers has varied, with some developers refusing to use Denuvo entirely, while others silently patched it out of their games once those games have been cracked. From the perspective of the gamer, of course, this all appears to be every bit as silly as every other DRM that has ever been used. Denuvo tends to annoy legitimate game buyers at best, while the pirates, against whom it is meant to fight, appear to have defeated it completely.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Indie Game Developer Shares Free Keys on The Pirate Bay

        While many copyright holders are filled with rage when they see their content showing up at The Pirate Bay, not all are. The developer of the indie adventure game 'Paradigm' decided to hand out free keys on the popular torrent site instead, realizing that not everyone can afford to buy it legally.

      • Cybercrime Officials Shutdown Large eBook Portal, Three Arrested

        Three individuals believed to be behind a large illicit eBook portal have been arrested. carried an estimated 200,000 titles, including eBooks, audiobooks, and newspapers, each downloadable for a small fee. It claimed to be the largest site of its type in the world. Bitcoin and a large quantity of cash have been seized.

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