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Links 16/9/2017: More of “Public Money, Public Code”, Equifax Failed to Patch for Months

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Networking Foundation Subsumes On.Lab
    The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) this week declared its merger with On.Lab as complete. And it named AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch chairman of ONF’s board.

    The ONF and On.Lab initiated their merger a little less than a year ago. By that point, ONF’s role as a cheerleader for software defined networking was becoming obviated given that SDN had gained wide acceptance. The merged entity has two major projects to shepherd: the Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) and the Open Network Operating System (ONOS).

  • Events

    • …and today is Software Freedom Day!
      For its fourteenth edition the Digital Freedom Foundation is happy to celebrate Software Freedom Day! At the time of this writting we have 112 teams listed on the wiki and about 80+ events registered. Over the year we’ve notice that this “double registration process” (creating a wiki page and then filling the registration form) is a bit difficult for some of our participants and we wish to change that. In the plan for the coming months we plan to have a single registration process which will in turn generate a wiki page. We also want to display the event date as some of us cannot celebrate exactly on this international day due to local celebrations or other reasons.

    • [Older] Two days remaining for PyCon Pune 2018 CFP
      The CFP for PyCon Pune 2018 will close at the end of 15th September AOE. If you are thinking about submitting a talk, this is a good time to do that. The conference will happen from 8-11th February in Pune, India. The first 2 days are the main conference, a single track event where will have around 650 people. The last two days will be devsprints.

    • Lyft and Uber on Stage Together at Open Source Summit in L.A.

      Envoy is a high-performance open source edge and service proxy that makes the network transparent to applications. Lyft Software Engineer Matt Klein led his team to design the technology to move their architecture away from a monolith toward a microservices model.

      Jaeger is an open source distributed tracing system inspired by Google Dapper paper and OpenZipkin community. It can be used for tracing microservice-based architectures. Uber began deploying Jaeger internally in 2015. It is now integrated into thousands of microservices and recording thousands of traces every second.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Verified cryptography for Firefox 57
        Traditionally, software is produced in this way: write some code, maybe do some code review, run unit-tests, and then hope it is correct. Hard experience shows that it is very hard for programmers to write bug-free software. These bugs are sometimes caught in manual testing, but many bugs still are exposed to users, and then must be fixed in patches or subsequent versions. This works for most software, but it’s not a great way to write cryptographic software; users expect and deserve assurances that the code providing security and privacy is well written and bug free.

      • Busting the myth that net neutrality hampers investment
        This week I had the opportunity to share Mozilla’s vision for an Internet that is open and accessible to all with the audience at MWC Americas.

        I took this opportunity because we are at a pivotal point in the debate between the FCC, companies, and users over the FCC’s proposal to roll back protections for net neutrality. Net neutrality is a key part of ensuring freedom of choice to access content and services for consumers.

        Earlier this week Mozilla’s Heather West wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai highlighting how net neutrality has fueled innovation in Silicon Valley and can do so still across the United States.

        The FCC claims these protections hamper investment and are bad for business. And they may vote to end them as early as October. Chairman Pai calls his rule rollback “restoring internet freedom” but that’s really the freedom of the 1% to make decisions that limit the rest of the population.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation in Kubernetes Push
      Oracle has taken a plunge deeper into open source waters by joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a platinum member. The announcement was made Wednesday, on stage with Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, at Open Source Summit in Los Angeles. In addition, Oracle announced it's bringing Kubernetes to Oracle Linux and open sourcing a Terraform Kubernetes Installer for Oracle Cloud. This prompted Zemlin to remark that "six of the largest clouds are now running Kubernetes."

    • Larry Ellison: There is No One Left for Oracle to Buy
      Oracle isn't likely to be buying any other big companies soon, according to founder Larry Ellison.

  • CMS

    • The challenges of supporting geolocation in WordPress
      As much as we get addicted to mobile phones and online services, nobody (outside of cyberpunk fiction) actually lives online. That's why maps, geolocation services, and geographic information systems (GISes) have come to play a bigger role online. They reflect they way we live, work, travel, socialize, and (in the case of natural or human-made disasters, which come more and more frequently) suffer. Thus there is value in integrating geolocation into existing web sites, but systems like WordPress do not make supporting that easy. The software development firm LuminFire has contributed to the spread of geolocation services by creating a library for WordPress that helps web sites insert geolocation information into web pages. This article describes how LuminFire surmounted the challenges posed by WordPress and shows a few uses for the library.

      LuminFire developer Michael Moore presented the library, called WP-GeoMeta-Lib, at a talk (the slides are available in Moore's blog posting) on August 16 at FOSS4G, the major open-source geolocation conference. FOSS4G's success itself demonstrates the growing importance of geolocation, as well as the thriving free-software communities that create solutions for it through group projects such as the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). FOSS4G held its first conference in 2007 in Thailand. Its global wanderings, which would require sophisticated geolocation tools to track, brought it this year to Boston, where it topped 1,100 registered attendees—its biggest turnout yet.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Kubernetes

    • Kubernetes, containers help mainstream open-source software
      Open-source software is now a key part of the tech world, matching proprietary software through a combination of enthusiastic developers, organizations and shared standards. This trend is especially visible in the world of container technology, a popular virtualization method for deploying and running distributed software applications.

      “Open source is the mainstream now. It’s very hard to release a proprietary product right now and come up with some justification about why you have to do it,” said Steve Pousty (pictured), lead developer advocate, OpenShift Online, at Red Hat Inc.

    • Heptio Raises New Funding to Close Kubernetes Operational Gaps
      Craig McLuckie helped launch the open-source Kubernetes project while at Google and has been busy since November 2016 with his new company Heptio. Heptio is now moving forward, thanks to a $25 million Series B round of funding, bringing total funding to date for the startup to $33.5 million.

      "Kubernetes is doing really well, there is a lot of energy in the ecosystem, and many companies are making Kubernetes a core part of their operating practices," McLuckie told eWEEK in a video interview.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Public money? Public Code!

    • Public Money? Public Code! 31 organisations ask to improve public procurement of software
      Digital services offered and used by public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st-century democratic nations. To establish trustworthy systems, government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure. This is rarely the case today due to restrictive software licences.

    • Public Money, Public Code, Public Control
      An interesting article published by the UK Government Digital Service was referenced in a response to the coverage of the recently-launched “Public Money, Public Code” campaign. Arguably, the article focuses a little too much on “in the open” and perhaps not enough on the matter of control. Transparency is a good thing, collaboration is a good thing, no-one can really argue about spending less tax money and getting more out of it, but it is the matter of control that makes this campaign and similar initiatives so important.

    • FSFE: publicly funded software has to be open source
      Digital services offered and used by public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st-century democratic nations. To establish trustworthy systems, government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure. This is rarely the case today due to restrictive software licences.

    • Snowden: Public money shouldn't fund software the public isn't allowed to fix

      Paul Brown writes, "The FSFE's 'Public Money? Public Code!' campaign wants to convince lawmakers that software created with public funds should be made available to the public under Free Software licences.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Python security transparency
      As Steve Dower noted in his lightning talk at the 2017 Python Language Summit, Python itself can be considered a security vulnerability—because of its power, its presence on a target system is a boon to attackers. Now, Dower is trying to address parts of that problem with a Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP) that would enable system administrators and others to detect when Python is being used for a nefarious purpose by increasing the "security transparency" of the language. It is not a solution that truly thwarts an attacker's ability to use Python in an unauthorized way, but will make it easier for administrators to detect, and eventually disable, those kinds of attacks.

    • Open Source NativeScript Mobile Framework Tackles Augmented Reality
      With augmented reality the new hotness in the mobile development space, companies right and left are jumping on the AR bandwagon, including Progress, which just announced upcoming support in its open source, cross-platform NativeScript framework.

      AR, popularized last year by the runaway success of Pokémon GO, lets developers enhance real-world imagery with computer-generated sensory input, such as graphics and sound.


  • Sysadmin war story: “The network ate my font!”

    Turns out the printer had a cache for fonts and was using the font cached from the earlier check image which included the font! Moreover, the Toronto and Hollywood offices were on a different printer maintenance schedule — and as part of the maintenance the printers are rebooted which clears the font cache!

  • Why did Ford build a 'fake driverless car' using a man dressed as a seat?

    The “seat suit” stunt was the brainchild of Ford and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers to explore how self-driving vehicles can communicate their intent to pedestrians, human drivers and cyclists.

  • The Dark Side of William F. Buckley, Jr.
    Few public intellectuals infamous for defending McCarthyism and championing right-wing dictators would be popular and recurrent guests on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. Few pundits who opposed civil rights for African Americans and South African blacks would be asked to host the longest-running public affairs show in public television history.

  • The Harmful Consequences of Postel's Maxim draft-thomson-postel-was-wrong-01

    Jon Postel's famous statement in RFC 1122 of "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send" - is a principle that has long guided the design of Internet protocols and implementations of those protocols. The posture this statement advocates might promote interoperability in the short term, but that short-term advantage is outweighed by negative consequences that affect the long-term maintenance of a protocol and its ecosystem.

  • Science

    • Flying coach is a ‘life-and-death’ concern [iophk: "from the title, I thought the article was going to be about deep vein thrombosis"]

      Seats are now so close together, according to Flyers Rights, that they render the “brace for impact” position depicted in airline safety manuals ineffective, thereby subjecting passengers to head trauma.

    • The Zero Just Got 500 Years Older Due To A New Study

      A new carbon dating study commissioned on an ancient birch bark manuscript has found that the indispensable digit dates to as early as the 3rd or 4th century - approximately five centuries older than scholars previously believed.

    • History of zero pushed back 500 years by ancient Indian text

      The symbol “0” is a familiar sight, but its origins are far from certain. A recent batch of carbon dating is causing the history of mathematics to be rewritten, as it has discovered zeros dating back to a period 500 years before previously seen.

    • The new study suggesting sitting will kill you is kind of a raging dumpster fire
      A new study out this week suggested that both sitting a lot overall and sitting for long, uninterrupted stretches can increase a person’s risk of all-cause mortality.

      The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, adds to evidence that sedentary lifestyles can increase health risks. However, the study aimed to push the conversation forward, not just look at how much time people spend sitting each day and what that does to health. The researchers also tried teasing apart patterns of sitting. The authors, led by researchers at Columbia University, hoped to address more nuanced questions, such as: if you have to sit all day for work, can you reduce your health risks by getting up every 30 minutes? Or, if you’re generally active, are there still health risks from a 10-hour Netflix binge each week?

      The questions are good ones. Based on the study’s vast media coverage, health-conscious Americans are leaping for answers and specifics on the risks of our sedentary, modern lives.

      But, sadly, this study doesn’t provide those answers or specifics. In fact, it’s kind of a flaming disaster. Like a junky old couch stuffed with crumbs, stale Cheetos, remotes from bygone TVs, and a random woodland creature between the cushions, this sitting study is crammed with red flags, limitations, and crippling weaknesses. It’s difficult to draw any conclusions.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Well That Settles It! Insurance and Drug Lobbyists Say Medicare for All “Cannot Work”
      The for-profit health care industry and its political surrogates were quick to criticize the sweeping universal Medicare legislation unveiled this week by Sen. Bernie Sanders and more than a dozen Senate Democrats.

      “Whether it’s called single-payer or Medicare for All, government-controlled health care cannot work,” David Merritt, vice president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a lobbying group for health insurance companies, said in a statement to reporters.

      The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, another insurance lobby group, released a statement declaring that it “adamantly opposes the creation of a single-payer regime, and our guard is up on these efforts.” The release cited the rising popularity of single-payer proposals in California, New York, and Colorado, and now Sanders’s effort in Congress.

    • The unflushable debate resurfaces: A 130-ton mass clogs London’s sewer
      A 250-meter-long mass weighing 130 metric tons has blocked a Victorian-era sewer tunnel in the east side of London, the BBC reports.

      To put the size and heft of the clog in perspective: it’s longer than two American football fields and as heavy as 11 double-decker buses. The mass is a concrete-hard amalgamation of flushed items, including condoms, diapers, and—most notably—wet wipes that have all been cemented together with oils and fats that were also washed down drains. For that reason, these types of clogs are sometimes called “fatbergs.”

      Authorities expect it will take three weeks to remove.

      While the size of this particular clog is extraordinary—possibly the largest ever reported—its existence is no surprise to those who manage wastewater systems. In fact, it highlights a growing problem in the world’s sewer systems: unflushable flushables.

    • Dems Not Backing Medicare for All Get Twice as Much Industry Cash as Co-Sponsors

    • Why Bernie Sanders' single-payer push is great policy and even better politics

    • Sanders's Bill Electrifies Growing Single-Payer Movement
      Political campaigns, protests and civil disobedience have often centered around Medicare for All, reflecting the fact that 25 percent of the country views health care as, according to a Monmouth poll, the "top concern for American families."

    • Whole Foods “Free-Range” Chicken Supplier Said To Actually Run Factory Farm
      When Amazon purchased Whole Foods last month, it didn’t just get the retail locations. It picked up Whole Foods’s baggage as well. Among the bigger issues inherited by Amazon appears to be a four-month investigation from the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere that challenges Whole Foods’s core selling point of healthy and humane food.

      The group accused Pitman Family Farms, the maker of Mary’s Free Range Chicken and a supplier to Whole Foods in six Western states, of breaking its promises of free-range environments for its birds.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US policy is 'not to defend Canada' in any N Korea attack
      A top general has told Canadian MPs they cannot count on US support if North Korea launches a nuclear attack on their country.

      Lt Gen Pierre St-Amand told the national defence committee in Ottawa there is no policy that requires the US to aid Canada in any nuclear attack.

      But on the upside, the committee also heard North Korea views Canada as a "peaceful" and "friendly" country.

    • NATO?
      ISTR that USA and others joined with Canada in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which had the stated purpose to defend any and all members against attack. If it’s indeed true that USA is no longer willing to do that, perhaps it’s time Canada went nuclear too.

    • China rejects US demand to cut oil exports to North Korea
      China rebuffed US demands to cut off oil exports to North Korea as a way to dissuade Kim Jong-un’s regime from pursuing nuclear weapons, saying instead it was American leaders who needed to tone down their rhetoric and come to the negotiating table.

      China will implement all United Nations Security Council resolutions, “no more, no less”, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the US, told reporters at a briefing in Washington when asked if Beijing would cut oil shipments. Any further steps would need to be worked out with the agreement of the entire UN Security Council, he said.

    • Diplomats in Cuba have been under attack—but the weaponry is a mystery
      On Tuesday, the State Department confirmed that two more Americans have fallen victim to an ongoing series of mysterious attacks targeting diplomats in Cuba, the Associated Press reports. The new cases bring the total of Americans affected by the assaults to 21.

      US authorities first acknowledged the attacks in August, about nine months after diplomats began reporting bizarre sonic experiences and a puzzling spectrum of symptoms, from brain injuries to hearing loss. Despite an international investigation into the attacks, which have also affected Canadian diplomats, authorities and scientists are still baffled as to what kind of weapon or devices could have been used—let alone by whom.

    • Cuba mystery grows: New details on what befell US diplomats
      The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he'd walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room.

      Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 U.S. victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. The top U.S. diplomat has called them "health attacks." New details learned by The Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling U.S. officials who say the facts and the physics don't add up.

    • The Saudi Project Has Failed
      Books will be written on the designs of the Saudi regime to reshape the greater Middle East. Entire chapters could be dedicated to the depth of United States and Israeli involvement and their shared partnership with the House of Saud and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to do so. The titles may even stipulate it as a Saudi-U.S.-Israeli Project for emphasis. That said, the role played by Saudi Arabia within this alliance is not insignificant.

      The undertaking has directly touched nearly a half-dozen Arab countries, unified largely by their common effort to resist the import of radical, extremist groups unleashed in retribution for not abiding by the diktats of the Gulf dynasties. Others opposed monarchical rule, their royal proxies or a Saudi-directed foreign policy and attempts to impose a uniform media narrative.

      The scope of such a discussion is certainly worthy of a comprehensive and detailed analysis but only a summation is given here. Consider it the last page of the last section of the last chapter.

    • Why I Wish Hillary Clinton Had Won
      Still, my neurons might not be firing this particular skin-crawling icky-ness I endure when I see a video of Donald Trump, when I read about his behavior. He’s just so exceedingly repulsive. Even more repulsive than George Bush. Yes. Even. More. I conjure an image of G. Bush, clearing brush on his ranch or landing on that aircraft carrier in a flight suit, an ejection harness between his legs to emphasize his package. Then images of Trump’s rear end as he plays golf. Images of Trump, his pasty, bloated face, the mouth (that my sister Laura says looks like a rectum) poised to consume a bucket of fried chicken. Trump, grabbing pussy. Sure, Bill Clinton was a pussy grabber, but he was a smoother pussy grabber. Just as Obama was a smoother war criminal than G. Bush, smother even than B. Clinton.

      Recall Obama’s range of smooth. His statement in the wake of yet another murder of a black man. About Trayvon Martin. That Trayvon could have been his son. Obama become teary. Nice touch. This is the preference, smooth and articulate. As Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford said, Obama wasn’t the lesser evil. Obama was the more effective evil.

    • May rebukes Trump over London terror suspect tweet
      Theresa May has raised concerns with Donald Trump over his claim the perpetrators of the Parsons Green Tube bombing had been "in the sights" of Scotland Yard.

      After chairing a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergencies committee, the Prime Minister publicly rebuked the US president, saying it was not "helpful" to speculate on an ongoing investigation.

      Mrs May is understood to have raised the issue during a "cordial" telephone call.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Murdoch-Owned Media’s Radical Climate Denial in the Face of Disaster
      A recent survey by progressive watchdog Public Citizen (9/12/17) on the media’s coverage of hurricanes Harvey and Irma confirms what’s long been known: Corporate media are indifferent to the causal relationship between climate change and extreme weather, and by far the worst offenders are the Rupert Murdoch–owned Fox News, Wall Street Journal and New York Post.

      The survey covered 18 outlets hurricane coverage for the week of August 25–September 1: ten major newspapers, three weekly news magazines, and ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News. Out of 2,000 media items, there were only 136 mentions of climate change, many denialist in content.

    • Daimler has new electric trucks and a buyer for them: The United Parcel Service

      But automakers seem up to the challenge. In August, diesel truck engine maker Cummins announced an electric powertrain for truck makers that can be paired with an auxiliary diesel generator. And in a statement, Head of Daimler Trucks Asia Marc Llistosella hinted that his company is wasting no time in competing with Tesla. “In times when everybody is talking about electric trucks, we are the first to actually commercialize a series-produced all-electric truck. Having a long history in alternative drivetrains, we are proud to step into this new era.”

      Reuters noted that Daimler officials plan to step up the power and range of their trucks. Llistosella told reporters that “the game has started” while revealing that a larger electric truck will be shown off by Daimler at the Tokyo Motor Show next month. “The company will expand its electric truck production as lower cost, longer-range batteries become available within two to three years,” Reuters reported.

    • Hurricane Irma took 7 million cable and wireline subscribers offline
      More than 7 million subscribers to cable or wireline telecom services have lost service due to Hurricane Irma.

      "There are at least 7,184,909 (down from 7,597,945 yesterday) subscribers out of service in the affected areas in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia," the Federal Communications Commission reported Tuesday in its latest storm update. These are subscribers to Internet, TV, or phone service or some combination of the three.

      In addition to those 7 million, many subscribers in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands lost service. "Since there are widespread power outages in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the FCC has received reports that large percentages of consumers are without either cable services or wireline service. Companies are actively working to restoring service," the FCC said.

    • Coffee vs. climate change: The news is not good
      This is serious: climate change could put your caffeine supply at risk. Coffee is notorious for being picky about its climate conditions, with the most popular varieties only growing at specific altitudes in the tropics. That alone makes coffee susceptible to climate change, but the plants are also fussy about their pollinators, which will also be affected by the changing climate.

      A new analysis suggests that climate change on its own could cause coffee producing areas in the Americas to drop production by roughly 80 percent. But the remaining productivity might drop even further unless we ensure the crops have access to pollinators.

    • Solar now costs 6€¢ per kilowatt-hour, beating government goal by 3 years
      On Tuesday, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that utility-grade solar panels have hit cost targets set for 2020, three years ahead of schedule. Those targets reflect around $1 per watt and 6€¢ per kilowatt-hour in Kansas City, the department’s mid-range yardstick for solar panel cost per unit of energy produced (New York is considered the high-cost end, and Phoenix, Arizona, which has much more sunlight than most other major cities in the country, reflects the low-cost end).

    • NOAA gets judge to agree that its scientists’ e-mails are protected
      Once upon a time (in mid-2015), some climate scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a study in the journal Science. This sort of thing happens all the time. Yet, in this case, all hell broke loose.

      The problem was that this study put yet another nail in the crowded lid of a coffin housing the claim that global warming had somehow suddenly ceased in 1998. Because the study involved an update to NOAA’s global temperature dataset, some who disliked its conclusion—like US House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas)—alleged without evidence that the scientists had improperly manipulated data.


      Judicial Watch has the opportunity to appeal this decision, but it did not respond to a request for comment. The group also has not posted the documents that NOAA handed over in May 2016 on its website. Initially, a spokesperson told Ars only that “Judicial Watch is a 501(c)(3) educational foundation, and, as such, we analyze and formulate our thoughts on incoming documents and then make them publicly available.” But since then, Judicial Watch has not responded to multiple requests for an update on its plans.

      It was unclear how the federal government would handle this case once President Trump, who has been openly dismissive of climate science, took office. But when the Department of Commerce (which contains NOAA) submitted its final filing in mid-March of this year, its position was unchanged.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Social media stars face crackdown over money from brands

      Instagram’s popularity with young people, and women in particular – in April it reported 700 million members – has led to a roaring trade between marketers and so-called influencers with large and engaged followings. Members of the Kardashian family, who promote a range of products from “detox” tea to waist-training corsets to their tens of millions of followers, can reportedly command as much as $500,000 (€£370,000) per post.

    • Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Understand Why the Corporate Media Is So Bad
      Hillary Clinton has every right to be infuriated by the performance of the press during the 2016 election. In her new book “What Happened,” Clinton mainly indicts television news for abandoning coverage of any actual public policy issues in favor of its berserk obsession with her use of a private email server. Subsidiary malefactors include Matt Lauer, for asking her about almost nothing else at NBC’s September 2016 Commander-in-Chief Forum on national security, and the New York Times, for its spasmodic freak-out when FBI Director James Comey declared he was re-opening the Bureau’s investigation into her emails just before the election.

      But here’s where Clinton and I part ways:

      In an interview Tuesday, she said, “I don’t think the press did their job in this election, with very few exceptions.” She believes the problem is something new, and the fault of bad individuals.

      Clinton’s problem is obvious: At 69 years old and after a lifetime in politics, she somehow doesn’t understand what the corporate media’s job is.

    • Amina Lone and the shame of the Labour Party in the UK

      Labour has a reputation for being the party for Black and Minority Ethnic voters and candidates, particularly women. At a time when we need more voices from within Muslim communities, it is outrageous that the Labour Party has stabbed a fellow party member in the back, sending out the message that any dissent or strong voices are not welcome.

    • Pop Culture is Far Ahead of Washington When it Comes to Monopoly Politics

      “I think people are interested because everybody is using these sites, including Amazon,” said Patterson in an interview. “Most people find them interesting and some find them troubling.”

      Often, people hold both views at the same time, and that internal conflict makes them ripe for pop-culture interrogation. Popular entertainment habitually reflects the preoccupations of society. After the financial crisis, a wave of books and films presented financiers as amoral villains: The Big Short, The Wolf of Wall Street, George Clooney’s Money Monster, even Oliver Stone’s long-awaited follow-up to Wall Street. But the national mood has shifted. America has become more wary of Silicon Valley, and political movements on the left and right have turned against it. And these concerns have propelled a diverse set of narratives, from thrillers to comedies to animated features.

    • Judge rules in city's favor on sanctuary cities, grants nationwide injunction
      In a ruling with national impact, a federal judge in Chicago on Friday blocked the Trump administration's rules requiring so-called sanctuary cities to cooperate with immigration agents in order to get a public safety grant.

      U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber held that Chicago has shown a "likelihood of success" in its arguments that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions exceeded his authority in imposing new standards governing Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants across the country.

    • Trump Advisers Secretly Met With Jordan’s King While One Was Pushing A Huge Nuclear Power Deal
      In the days leading up to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, when his soon-to-be national security adviser Michael Flynn was reportedly pushing a multibillion-dollar deal to build nuclear reactors in Jordan and other Middle East nations, Flynn and two other top Trump advisers held a secret meeting with the king of Jordan.

      The meeting — details of which have never been reported — is the latest in a series of secret, high-stakes contacts between Trump advisers and foreign governments that have raised concerns about how, in particular, Flynn and senior adviser Jared Kushner handled their personal business interests as they entered key positions of power. And the nuclear project raised additional security concerns about expanding nuclear technology in a tinderbox region of the world. One expert compared it to providing “a nuclear weapons starter kit.”

      On the morning of Jan. 5, Flynn, Kushner, and former chief strategist Steve Bannon greeted King Abdullah II at the Four Seasons hotel in lower Manhattan, then took off in a fleet of SUVs and a sedan to a different location.

    • How to Read Donald Trump
      The organizers of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville last month knew just what they were doing when they decided to carry torches on their nocturnal march to protest the dethroning of a statue of Robert E. Lee. That brandishing of fire in the night was meant to evoke memories of terror, of past parades of hate and aggression by the Ku Klux Klan in the United States and Adolf Hitler’s Freikorps in Germany.

      The organizers wanted to issue a warning to those watching: that past violence, perpetrated in defense of the “blood and soil” of the white race, would once again be harnessed and deployed in Donald Trump’s America. Indeed, the very next day, that fatal August 12th, those nationalist fanatics unleashed an orgy of brutality that led to the deaths of three people and the injuring of many more.

    • Police in Catalonia hunt for hidden ballot boxes in bid to foil referendum
      Armed police in Spain have raided several print works and newspaper offices in Catalonia in recent days in a hunt for voting papers, ballot boxes and leaflets to be used in an Oct. 1 independence referendum which Madrid vehemently opposes.

      The searches, which have so far yielded nothing, are part of a concerted effort by the government to prevent the ballot from going ahead, amid fears that a vote to break away could trigger a political crisis even if Spain does not recognize the outcome.

    • Experts Say the Use of Private Email by Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission Isn’t Legal
      President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission came under fire earlier this month when a lawsuit and media reports revealed that the commissioners were using private emails to conduct public business. Commission co-chair Kris Kobach confirmed this week that most of them continue to do so.

      Experts say the commission’s email practices do not appear to comport with federal law. “The statute here is clear,” said Jason Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration.

      Essentially, Baron said, the commissioners have three options: 1. They can use a government email address; 2. They can use a private email address but copy every message to a government account; or 3. They can use a private email address and forward each message to a government account within 20 days. According to Baron, those are the requirements of the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, which the commission must comply with under its charter.

    • Taxpayers billed $1,092 for an official’s two-night stay at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club

    • Trump’s Bonfire of Washington Politics
      Last week, President Trump threw a grenade into the U.S. political structure. Political fragments now lie scattered on the ground around Washington. The final outcome of this lightening act by Trump may take time to fully assess, but for sure, for the coming months (and probably until the U.S. mid-term elections are over), uncertainty will reign, and foreign policy will not find it easy to shoulder its way into anyone senior’s attention.


      Why the debt ceiling is so crucial is that when an annual U.S. budget is set, it is not a simple exercise of matching expenditure and revenue because most Federal expenditure is automatic expenditure, deriving from past legislation (some, dating back decades), and which increases inexorably from its built-in automaticity. Without a debt ceiling, total U.S. debt levels effectively are uncontrolled, and their momentum is inexorably upwards – and upwards today at an accelerating pace.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Great Failure
    • Hillary Happened
      It soon became apparent that Hillary shouldn’t have treated Feinman so churlishly. What Happened would have greatly benefited from her stylistic enhancements. The prose in this book is as brittle as the mind behind it. Notice the lack of a question mark in the title. This is a telling punctuational elision. It signals that this text will not be an investigation into the dynamics behind the most perplexing election in American history. Don’t skim these pages in search of a self-lacerating confession or an apologia. What Happened reads more like a drive-by shooting rampage. The book is a score-settling scattershot rant, enfilading anyone who stood in Clinton’s way, from Bernie Sanders to James Comey. Amid Hillary’s hitlist of villains, even toothless Joe Biden gets gut-shot.

    • German elections 2017: 8 proposals for Germany's progressives

      DiEM25’s German activists have moved fast and are in the process of confirming a list of candidates willing to adopt DiEM25’s proposed policy agenda for Germany. We will publish the list ahead of the elections. Below you can read our original proposal, “8 proposals for Germany’s Progressives.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • President Trump wants to “cut off” the internet in response to terrorism [iophk: "centralization of communications via faecebook is a first step"]

      This isn’t the first time that Donald Trump has tweeted about his dream internet policy. Back in December of 2016, he even said he would call for Bill Gates to help him in banning the internet. In March of 2017, President Trump signed away American’s internet privacy protections.

    • Texas AG’s office accuses ‘reputation management company’ of procuring fraudulent libel takedown lawsuits
      For the past year, I’ve been researching libel takedown and deindexing injunctions. People get these injunctions chiefly to send them to Google and other search engines: Once Google sees that a court has determined that material is libelous, it will often remove it from Google indexes so that searchers won’t see it. The material will thus, practically speaking, largely vanish from the Internet.

    • Texas Attorney General Issues Complaint Against Reputation Management Company For Bogus Lawsuits

      Still more evidence continues to be uncovered linking shady reputation management companies to fraudulent defamation lawsuits. This tactic has only recently been exposed, thanks mainly to the efforts of Eugene Volokh and Paul Alan Levy. (Pissed Consumer spotted some questionable lawsuit activity as well, shortly before the Volokh/Levy deluge.)

      So far, one victim of this fraudulent behavior has obtained a settlement from one of these reputation management firms. It's likely more such judgments are on the way as more details linking firms to bogus lawsuits are dug up. One judge has already passed on info to the US Attorney's office. Now, Eugene Volokh is reporting the Texas attorney general's office has filed a civil complaint against a company called Solvera that, up until recently, performed illegitimate Google takedown services for customers paying upwards of $10,000, using nothing more than bogus libel lawsuits filed by nonexistent companies against fake defendants.

    • Dear Government Employees: Asking Questions - Even Dumb Ones - Is Not A Criminal Offense
      What is it with federal government officials and their weird belief that being questioned by the public -- even with dumb questions -- is a criminal offense? Does it take three stories to make a trend? Perhaps. Let's do these one at a time.


      Look, this isn't that hard. Being a government official -- whether elected or appointed -- is not a fun gig. You have lots of people questioning you and second guessing you all the time. And some of those people are mean. Possibly really mean. But, that's kinda part of the territory when you live and work in a mostly open democracy, rather than an authoritarian dictatorship. People get to ask questions -- even stupid, annoying or scary ones. And we don't arrest them and throw them in jail.

    • Charles Harder Loses Again: You Can't Just File Defamation Lawsuits In A Random State Because You Like Its Statute Of Limitations

      As you may know, Charles Harder is the lawyer behind the lawsuit Shiva Ayyadurai filed against us, so feel free to view everything we say here through that prism. Last week, of course, the judge in our case dismissed the case against us, noting that everything we said was clearly protected by the First Amendment. But that wasn't Harder's only loss of the week. Eriq Gardner points out that he also lost a case he filed against The Deal.

      That case had been filed a couple months before our lawsuit, in federal court in New Hampshire. It was filed on behalf of Scottsdale Capital Advisors, a company based in Arizona, and one of its execs, the Nevada-based John Hurry, against the Delaware-registered and New York-based "The Deal" and one of its reporters, the California-based William Meagher. Now, you may wonder why this lawsuit was filed in New Hampshire, seeing as none of the states above include "New Hampshire."

    • ‘Violent Orwellian censorship’: Brussels exhibition rejects caricatures of EU leaders & policies
      The EU has rejected 12 caricatures by Greek artists for a Brussels exhibition as the “inflammatory” cartoons mocking EU leaders and their policies allegedly go against “European values.” Organizers denounced it as an act of “violent censorship.”

      The exhibition, which features work from both French and Greek cartoonists, was due to be unveiled at the European Parliament in Brussels on September 25 as part of the year marking 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. However, after evaluating the work for offensive content, MEP Catherine Bearder rejected 12 of the 28 submissions from Greek artists.

    • Letter: GSRC needs to encourage conversation, not censorship
      There are many common reasons why prospective students choose Carleton University as their academic home for four to five years of their lives. For some, that reason could be the various varsity sports teams, academic program quality or the plethora of academic and non-academic resources that are offered to students of all backgrounds. This includes of course, the resources offered by the Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre (GSRC), specifically to students who identify as LGBTQ+ here on campus.

    • Facebook Moves to Prevent Advertisers From Targeting Haters
      In the wake of ProPublica’s report Thursday that Facebook advertisers could have directed pitches to almost 2,300 people interested in “Jew hater” and other anti-Semitic topics, the world’s largest social network said it would no longer allow advertisers to target groups identified by self-reported information.

      “As people fill in their education or employer on their profile, we have found a small percentage of people who have entered offensive responses,” the company said in a statement. “…We are removing these self-reported targeting fields until we have the right processes in place to prevent this issue.”

    • When Godwin's Law Met The Streisand Effect
      Okay, here's a fun post for a Friday evening: Earlier this week, I was at World Hosting Days, where I gave a keynote speech about the importance of CDA 230 and things like intermediary liability protections -- and why they are so important to protecting free speech online. The emcee of the event was Mike Godwin, who (among his many, many accomplishments over the years as an internet lawyer and philosopher) coined Godwin's Law. The organizers of the event, realizing that they had the guy who coined Godwin's Law and the guy (me!) who coined the Streisand Effect in the same place at the same time, thought it might be fun to have the two of us talk about these two memes.

    • Crowdsourcing My Libel Defence – Web Detectives Needed
      On 29 and 30 April 2016 Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Editor of Daily Mail Online, wrote a series of tweets about me which have since been deleted. These feature in my libel defence and it would be extremely useful to be able to recover them. His twitter stream on those days also included several of his followers calling me an anti-Semite and other awful stuff, and it would be most useful to recover those too.

      More generally there was much evidence in Mr Wallis Simons’ twitter stream in the months and years prior to 29 April 2016 of he or his followers making allegations of anti-Semitism widely. Any of that which could be recovered would also be extremely helpful.

      The date when material was deleted is extremely important – perhaps even more important to me than the recovery of the material itself. Mr Wallis Simons now has an app which deletes all his tweets at a 2 month cut-off date. I need to discover when that app came into operation on his account and material started to vanish.

    • Facebook allowed advertisers to reach anti-Semitic individuals: report

    • Facebook allowed advertisers to target 'Jew haters'

      A Facebook algorithm had created the antisemitic categories, and the company said it is considering changes to prevent this kind of problem.

    • Facebook Removes Advertiser Ability to Target 'Jew Haters'

      Facebook software creates targeting categories for advertisers automatically, and the company adjusts them after problems are noticed by people. Facebook has run into similar issues with this type of reactionary enforcement before, both in its ad business and consumer-facing services. Its live video service has occasionally shown actual murders or suicides with enough time to go viral before being noticed by the company and taken down.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • [tor-talk] Document Leak: German Agency BND cooperates with NSA and GCHQ to attack Tor

    • California Legislature Sells Out Our Data to ISPs
      In the dead of night, the California Legislature shelved legislation that would have protected every Internet user in the state from having their data collected and sold by ISPs without their permission. By failing to pass A.B. 375, the legislature demonstrated that they put the profits of Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast over the privacy rights of their constituents.

      Earlier this year, the Republican majority in Congress repealed the strong privacy rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission in 2016, which required ISPs to get affirmative consent before selling our data. But while Congressional Democrats fought to protect our personal data, the Democratic-controlled California legislature did not follow suit. Instead, they kowtowed to an aggressive lobbying campaign, from telecommunications corporations and Internet companies, which included spurious claims and false social media advertisements about cybersecurity.
    • Facebook Gave Special Counsel Robert Mueller More Details on Russian Ad Buys Than Congress
      Facebook Inc. has handed over to special counsel Robert Mueller detailed records about the Russian ad purchases on its platform that go beyond what it shared with Congress last week, according to people familiar with the matter.

      The headlines were about Facebook admitting it had sold ad space to Russian groups trying to sway the 2016 presidential campaign. But investigators shrugged: they’d known or assumed for months that Facebook, as well as Twitter and other social-media platforms, were a tool used in the Kremlin’s campaign. “The only thing that’s surprising is that more revelations like this haven’t come out sooner,” said Congressman Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “And I expect that more will.”

      Mapping the full Russian propaganda effort is important. Yet investigators in the House, Senate, and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office are equally focused on a more explosive question: did any Americans help target the memes and fake news to crucial swing districts and wavering voter demographics? “By Americans, you mean, like, the Trump campaign?” a source close to one of the investigations said with a dark laugh. Indeed: probers are intrigued by the role of Jared Kushner, the now-president’s son-in-law, who eagerly took credit for crafting the Trump campaign’s online efforts in a rare interview right after the 2016 election. “I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,” Kushner told Steven Bertoni of Forbes. “We brought in Cambridge Analytica. I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. And I asked them how to scale this stuff . . . We basically had to build a $400 million operation with 1,500 people operating in 50 states, in five months to then be taken apart. We started really from scratch.”

    • Remember the artist whose iPhone was searched at border? He’s suing the feds
      A Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer, a California artist, a limousine driver, and several other Americans have sued the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection over what they say are unconstitutional and warrantless searches of their digital devices at the United States border.

    • Trump Administration Says It's Classified If They Can Let The NSA Spy On Americans
      Senator Ron Wyden, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, spent half a decade trying to get President Obama's Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, to answer some fairly straightforward questions about NSA surveillance on Americans. As you may recall, this got so bad that Clapper flat out lied to Wyden in an open Senate hearing, which inspired Ed Snowden to leak documents to Glenn Greenwald. With the Trump administration, Dan Coats took over Clapper's job... and Clapper's role of obfuscating in response to important questions from Wyden concerning NSA surveillance. Despite promises to the contrary, Coats (like Clapper before him) has refused to share just how many Americans have their information sucked up under Section 702. Since that program is up for renewal later this year, that kind of information seems quite relevant to the debate.

    • The Right to Keep Personal Data Private: Carpenter v. U.S.
      The Supreme Court could in this case make major strides in ensuring that Fourth Amendment protections keep pace with advancing technology.

      In 2011, FBI agents in Detroit obtained several months’ worth of location records from cell phone companies for suspects in a robbery investigation — all without a warrant. They were able to do so because of an outdated legal theory called the “third-party doctrine” that has been used by law enforcement to access personal data without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge.

    • One Last Chance for Police Transparency in California

      As the days wind down for the California legislature to pass bills, transparency advocates have seen landmark measures fall by the wayside. Without explanation, an Assembly committee shelved legislation that would have shined light on police use of surveillance technologies, including a requirement that police departments seek approval from their city councils. The legislature also gutted a key reform to the California Public Records Act (CPRA) that would’ve allowed courts to fine agencies that improperly thwart requests for government documents.

      But there is one last chance for California to improve the public’s right to access police records. S.B. 345 would require every law enforcement agency in the state to publish on its website all “current standards, policies, practices, operating procedures, and education and training materials” by January 1, 2019. The legislation would cover all materials that would be otherwise available through a CPRA request.

    • This hilarious video shows why you don’t want Theresa May reading your emails
      Liberty – the human rights group – has released a campaign video showing why you really don’t want the government spying on you. And it is as funny as it is genius.

    • Privacy International wants answers on 'secretive' government data sharing

      "Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments," said the group.

    • Your phone can now be turned into an ultrasound sonar tracker against you and others

      New research shows how a mobile phone can be turned into a passive indoor ultrasound sonar, locating people with high precision indoors using multi-target echolocation, and is even able to discern a rough selection of activities. It does this by overlaying imperceptible ultrasound sonar pings into played-back music, measuring the reflections coming back to the phone’s microphone. The privacy implications are staggering.

    • Descrambling split-band voice inversion with deinvert

      Voice inversion is a primitive method of rendering speech unintelligible to prevent eavesdropping of radio or telephone calls. I wrote about some simple ways to reverse it in a previous post. I've since written a software tool, deinvert (on GitHub), that does all this for us. It can also descramble a slightly more advanced scrambling method called split-band inversion. Let's see how that happens behind the scenes.

    • The Chinese IT giant Huawei has big plans for the cloud in Western markets, with important implications for privacy

      In China, government surveillance is baked in to every online service, not just in safe cities. But again, the situation outside China is not that different: everything we do on Google or Facebook is tracked and analyzed for the purpose of selling advertising. As we now know from Snowden’s leaks, under the Prism program, the US government taps into that commercial surveillance data to gather intelligence. So the only difference between China and the West is that the former does not attempt to hide the fact that it spies on its citizens, while the latter tries to deny it. Similarly, Huawei has no problem openly offering its new AI-enhanced cloud-based surveillance systems, while its Western rivals are doubtless doing the same, but keeping quiet about it. The real issue is our meek acquiescence in the continual roll-out of privacy-harming technology by both governments and companies everywhere.

    • Internet Giants Try to Rein in Automated Offensive Ad Targeting

      Facebook Inc. shut off a key self-service ad tool, while Google stopped its main Search ad system automatically from suggesting offensive phrases for targeting. The moves are the latest sign of rising scrutiny of the largest U.S. internet companies and how their software-driven services and ad businesses are influencing society.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Barrett Brown’s Exclusive Interview with Wanted Hacker Lauri Love

      The second main difference is the length of the likely sentencing, so for the offenses of which I’m accused in the US, I’ve not been charged with any offenses in the UK, because they somehow failed to do that. If I was charged with the same offenses in the UK, and if I was convicted, the maximum custodial sentence would be 36 months.

      Whereas in the USA, I am facing a potential maximum sentence of 99 years.

    • My Police Department Vowed to ‘Get Rid’ of Me After I Had My Son, so I Fought Back for Other Female Officers
      I loved my job in law enforcement, but I was demeaned, demoted, and discriminated against for choosing to be a mom. I was a police officer and investigator with the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force for five years before I was pushed off the job for breastfeeding my son.

      In that time I worked my way up in the force, starting as a patrol officer and eventually becoming an undercover agent and training officer. Fewer than ten percent of officers work undercover and train recruits. These were competitive positions and promotions that I worked hard to earn.

    • President Trump Is Poised To Slash the Number of Refugees In the U.S., Replaying the Worst of Our History
      In coming days, President Trump is expected to announce the maximum number of refugees the United States will accept in the next fiscal year. Trump may cap the number at 50,000 or even lower, The New York Times has reported — fewer than any year since the beginning of the modern refugee resettlement program in 1980. In the midst of the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, the United States is set to abdicate its global leadership and abandon tens of thousands of vulnerable people.

      This is not only about numbers.

    • Trump Adviser Spent a Decade Using Street Gang MS-13 to Justify Anti-Immigrant Agenda. Now It’s Happening
      In President Donald Trump’s push to restrict immigration to the United States, MS-13 has become the perfect villain. Trump has focused obsessively on the violent street gang tied to immigrants from El Salvador, appearing at events across the country to highlight brutal murders committed by the group, focusing on two teenagers who gang members allegedly hacked to death with machetes.

      There’s a political angle to the singular focus on MS-13. The Trump administration has made its strident demands to wipe out the gang in explicit conjunction with sweeping calls to unravel so-called sanctuary city protections, to promote laws to ramp up deportation proceedings and expand the detention of immigrants, to broaden immigrant gang-tracking databases and special gang task forces, to deputize local law enforcement for immigration enforcement, and in recent days, even to justify the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

    • Saudi crown prince tries to consolidate power with string of arrests

    • Saudis urged to report on each other's social media activity

      Saudi Arabia is urging people to report subversive social media activity via a phone app, part of an apparent crackdown on potential government critics before demonstrations called for by exiled opposition figures.

    • Saudi Arabia Cracks Down on Dissenting Clerics Amid Rumors of Crown Prince’s Rise to Throne
      Saudi Arabia arrested a trio of prominent clerics last weekend, a sign that the kingdom may be preparing for the formal ascendance of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, who is a key decision-maker on the country’s domestic and international affairs but is technically subservient to his father, King Salman.

      Salman al-Odah, Awad al-Qarni, and Ali al-Omary were arrested with little explanation over the weekend, but activists suspect that their failure to follow MBS’s hawkish line on Qatar played a role in their imprisonment.

      Human rights activists told the Wall Street Journal that Odah’s arrest came after he declined to come out in support of the Saudi government’s actions against Qatar.

    • U.S. Embassy Memos Offer a Glimpse Into the “Devastated” Lives of Refugees Rejected by the Travel Ban
      In internal memos, American embassies in Jordan and Ethiopia detailed how refugees there were “devastated” by January’s U.S. executive order barring travel from predominately Muslim countries. The memos back to State Department headquarters tell of the desperation of asylum-seekers who had their hopes of getting into the United States dashed by the order — including a girl who tried to kill herself when her family was told they could not travel.

    • Ethnic cleansing and the price of silence
      Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s condemnation of fellow Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence in the face of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya has stirred the world’s conscience. ‘If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep’, he wrote.

      For decades, the Rohingya have faced persecution in Burma. Stripped of their nationality in 1982 they have been repeatedly victimised at the hands of the military and local fanatics who are now burning their villages. In addition to the physical attacks, since losing their rights to citizenship the Rohingya have been denied a host of other rights, including the right to marriage, freedom of movement, access to hospitals and schools, and state protection. All of this has precipitated their exodus from Myanmar.

      Bangladesh has however been a far cry from sanctuary. In 2010 Physicians for Human Rights reported how once in Bangladesh the Rohingya were forced into bonded labour or languished in make-shift camps and suffered serious malnutrition. Others were pushed back by the police into Myanmar. Like many other states, Bangladesh has been quickly constructing a border fence which was reportedly more than 70 per cent complete as of last April. Bangladeshi authorities have expressed much sympathy for the Rohingya but claim to be overwhelmed.

    • When is a genocide a genocide?
      My heart has broken. Many times, in many ways over the past twenty days. It has been splintered, hammered, shattered, parched, starved and numbed beyond recognition.

      As a human rights advocate who has worked on the Rohingya issue for about ten years, I have experienced my fair share of despair in the face of the many atrocities this community has endured. Through my work, I have become familiar with an ever-growing list of violations against them, which have increasingly convinced me that the Rohingya – widely recognised as the most persecuted minority in the world – are the victims of crimes against humanity and genocide. Not a conclusion I arrived at lightly, but one which I have grappled with over time.

    • House Passes Amendment Rolling Back Jeff Sessions' Civil Asset Forfeiture Expansion
      Trump's pick for attorney general unsurprisingly holds the same ideals as his boss. He also holds the same misconceptions and misplaced nostalgia for tough-on-crime policing that went out of vogue as soon as it became apparent it wasn't doing anything but filling up prisons.

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been going hot and heavy on a 1980s-esque law enforcement policy revival. He booted the DOJ off the civil rights beat, telling states and cities to solve their own police misconduct problems -- something they were clearly unwilling to do on their own, hence the DOJ's intercession. He told cops they're getting back their access to war gear, rolling back the Obama administration's minimal 1033 program reforms.

    • Saying Someone Might Do Something Illegal With Cash Isn't Enough For Gov't To Seize It, Court Rules
      Charles Guerrero and his wife were no angels. But neither were they high-level drug dealers. Both apparently had crippling heroin addictions and engaged in a small amount of dealing to ensure the incoming flow of heroin.

      But that's not enough to excuse the government nabbing bail money under the theory it probably came from drug dealing or -- more spuriously -- that it might have been used to purchase drugs if it hadn't been spent on bail.

      Guerrero had his friend take the cash to pay the bail because Guerrero had no valid ID. Guerrero claims he had about $14,000 in cash in his home obtained from insurance settlements and the sale of a vehicle. The government made its own claims, based on the discovery of drugs in the vehicle Guerrero was sitting in, along with a dog that said, "Yes. That is drug money."

    • Chelsea Manning: We must think critically about how code can be misused
      Speaking at the Noisebridge hackerspace Tuesday evening, Chelsea Manning implored a crowd of makers, nerds, and developers to be ethical coders.

      "As a coder, I know that you can build a system and it works, but you’re thinking about the immediate result, you’re not thinking about that this particular code could be misused, or it could be used in a different manner," she said, as part of a conversation with Noisebridge co-founder Mitch Altman.

      Altman began the conversation by asking about artificial intelligence and underscoring some of the risks in that field.

    • Trump’s self-driving car strategy: Don’t regulate self-driving cars
      On Tuesday, the Trump administration released a document laying out its vision for the self-driving car industry. Titled "Automated Driving Systems 2.0," it gives recommendations for car manufacturers, technology companies, and state regulators about how to handle the self-driving car revolution.

      The most important sentence in the document is this one: "This Guidance is entirely voluntary, with no compliance requirement or enforcement mechanism." In other words, if Waymo, GM, or the California DMV want to throw the document in the trash unread, they're free to do so. To a large extent, the Trump administration's strategy for regulating self-driving cars is to not regulate self-driving cars.

    • Critic-Raiding Sheriff Settles With Bloggers Who Sued Him Over His Unconstitutional Actions
      Now that Terre Bonne Parish sheriff Jerry Larpenter has had his immunity stripped by a federal court, it appears he's ready to pay up to keep the damages from mounting. Sheriff Larpenter abused a terrible law -- Louisiana's still-on-the-books-for-some-reason criminal defamation law -- to harass a critic of his. On the way to getting slapped by the court, Larpenter went judge-shopping (bringing his warrant to an off-duty judge) for someone willing to sign his unconstitutional warrant -- a judge who later found the warrant with his signature on it to be perfectly legal.

      The state court of appeals shot down Larpenter's warrant. The inevitable civil suit that followed found Larpenter being de-immunized in successive decisions, leaving him to actually bear some responsibility for his act of censorship.

    • Bungie apologizes for Destiny 2 item that resembles neo-Nazi flag
      The Destiny 2 item's similarity to the Kekistan flag follows many other neo-Nazi campaigns to sneak white nationalist iconography into pop culture—in ways that could be explained away or excused, no less. Bungie is already scrambling to clear its name: "This does NOT represent our values, and we are working quickly to correct this," the company wrote on Twitter. Whether or not the symbol was intentional, the Internet's biggest hate campaigners can already claim "top kek" and/or social-media points for the icon's sharing.

    • Bungie explains how white supremacist symbol ended up in Destiny 2
      Community Manager David "DeeJ" Dague writes that the gauntlet in question, which features a "kek" symbol that resembles the "Kekistan flag" popularized by 4chan, was originally created by the game's developers back in June of 2015. Dague says the gauntlet was one of many items in the game that "reference real world art, iconography, typeface, and other design elements" and that "some of the reference imagery featured the simple mirrored chevron shapes found in the finished piece."

    • DEA Agent Gave Convict Girlfriend Access To Evidence, Classified Info; Received Almost No Punishment
      Routine misconduct by DEA agents? The DEA could not possibly care less. An Inspector General's report released in 2015 in the aftermath of a sex-parties-and-harassment investigation showed 8 of the 14 agents investigated received bonuses and awards while still under investigation, a violation of DEA policy. None of the agents were fired or even demoted. The DEA's unwillingness to address serious misdeeds seriously made it clear DEA agents are nigh un-fireable.

    • Teen sends dick pic to 22-year-old woman, now he’s a child pornographer
      The Washington Supreme Court has upheld the conviction under state child porn laws of a 17-year-old boy who sent a picture of his own erect penis to a 22-year-old woman. The case illustrates a bizarre situation in which Eric Gray is both the perpetrator and the victim of the crime. Under state law, Gray could face up to 10 years in prison for the conviction.

      On appeal, Gray's attorneys had argued that the language of the law was ambiguous—lawmakers did not anticipate a situation like this—and that the law was potentially in violation of the state and the federal constitutions. The court, in a 7-1 ruling, disagreed.

    • Russia’s gubernatorial elections marred by political pressure
      In the past week, one of the highest profile political prosecutions in Crimea, the 26 February Case, concluded with the sentencing of the deputy chair of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Akhtem Chiygoz, to eight years in prison on charges of organising a riot. The prosecution against Chiygoz is based on clashes between supporters and opponents of the Euromaidan on 26 February 2014. All the defendants in the case are Crimean Tatars, that is to say representatives of one of the sides of the conflict — the side loyal to the new Ukrainian authorities. The trials of five other people, also charged with taking part in riot, continue.

      Tatiana Kotlyar, a human rights defender from Kaluga, has been found guilty of registering refugees at her apartment on false grounds. The court sentenced Kotlyar to a fine of 150,000 roubles (€£1.900), though she will not have to pay it due to the statute of limitation expiring.

      In Chelyabinsk, local police have opened a criminal case against Gamil Asatullin, an activist of the Stop GOK movement which seeks to halt the development of the Tominsk copper processing plant. Asatullin is accused of attempting to set fire to the plant. His supporters believe he has been framed. During one of the interrogation sessions, officers of the Anti-Extremism Centre used threats to force Asatullin to refuse legal counsel and to testify against one of the leaders of the Stop GOK movement, Vasily Moskovets. Asatullin testified that Moskovets allegedly initiated the arson attempt.

    • Italy Imprisons Refugees Who Were Forced to Pilot Smuggling Boats At Gunpoint
      The refugees have just been pulled from the waters of the central Mediterranean when Italian coast guard investigators pick out a handful of them for questioning. As the rescue ship steams towards Sicily, the chosen refugees are taken aside and interviewed, returning after about an hour now labeled with a plastic wristband. Some say “witness,” others, “suspect.” Usually, two of them say “smuggler.”

      When the refugees disembark at port in Sicily, those with wristbands are handed off to Italian police, who will interview them again and arrest the suspected smugglers, in an effort to break up the criminal networks that have brought over 85,000 people to Italy this year. Regardless of whether rescued by the coast guard or ships run by NGOs, every boatload of refugees that arrives in Sicily goes through a similar process.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Washington DC braces for net neutrality protests later this month

      A coalition of activists and consumer groups are banding together to express concerns over an FCC proposal to rewrite the rules governing the Internet

    • FCC's New 'Diversity Chair' Has Long History Of Undermining Minority Consumers At Comcast's Behest

      For years one of the greasier lobbying and PR tactics by the telecom industry has been the hijacking of minority and civil rights groups to help parrot awful policy positions. Historically, such groups are happy to take financing from a company like Comcast, in exchange repeating whatever memos are thrust in their general direction -- even if the policy dramatically harms their constituents. The tactic of creating or "co-opting" such groups helps foster the illusion of broad support for awful, anti-consumer policies, whether that's support for the latest competition-killing merger or support for the assault on net neutrality.

      Because this cozy quid pro quo is implied but never put into writing, ISPs traditionally respond with breathless indignance to the mere suggestion they're using minority voices as policy props. But Comcast has found that tactic consistently so successful, a few years back it went so far as to give its top lobbyist, David Cohen, a new title: "Chief Diversity Officer." Said title not only lets Cohen profess the company's unwavering dedication to minorities with one hand while undermining them with the other, but helps him skirt the government's flimsy restrictions on lobbying.

    • Comcast Continues To Insist Its Sneaky, Misleading Fees Are Just The Company's Way Of Being 'Transparent'
      We've noted for years now how broadband and cable providers have created a high art out of bogus, misleading fees. Such fees, ranging in name from Comcast's "broadcast TV fee" to CenturyLink's "internet cost recovery fee" -- allow these companies to falsely advertise one price, then sock consumers with a much higher rate once the bill comes due. This allows these companies to not only jack up prices while claiming the don't, but it has the added bonus of making direct price comparisons with competitors almost impossible.

      Comcast initially charged $1.50 when its broadcast TV fee first appeared back in 2013, but now charges upwards of $6.50 more per month in many markets -- a 333% increase in just three years. With the occasional exception, regulators and lawmakers tend to turn a blind eye to this practice as little more than pricing creativity. Comcast was however sued for the practice last year, plaintiffs claiming that this practice is not only false advertising, but is primarily designed to let the company raise rates on customers it convinced to sign long-term contracts.

    • Comcast puts YouTube in its TV boxes to entice would-be cord-cutters

    • Comcast raises sports and TV fees again, says it’s about “transparency”
      Comcast TV customers in Oregon will soon have to pay $14.50 each month for the controversial "Broadcast TV" and "Regional Sports Network" fees. Currently, the two fees combined cost customers $11 a month but will rise by $3.50 starting October 1, The Oregonian reported yesterday.

    • The Google Fiber Honeymoon Period Appears To Be Over
      That said, the company has gone through two CEOs in a matter of months, laid off an unspecified number of employees during a restructuring last fall, and has begun to show signs that the company's dedication to the project is wavering at best, and notably derailed at worst. Reports began to circulate last fall that high-level Alphabet execs were bored with the slow pace and high cost of fiber deployment, and were considering pivoting the entire Google Fiber business model to wireless. But the company's messaging regarding this transition has been anything but clear, only driving unease among those waiting for the promised revolution.

    • Comcast said he used too much data—so he opted to live without home Internet
      Longtime Comcast customer Drew Weaver was surprised in mid-May of this year when he got an automated call notifying him that he’d gone over his 1TB monthly data cap. First of all, Comcast alleged that he'd exceeded the data cap two months in a row, and Weaver says he never got a notification about the first overage. Moreover, Weaver just didn't believe that he'd used more than 1TB of data.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Netflix Has Narcos Actors Threaten To Shoot The Families Of French People For Pirating The Show
      First, let's all just take a moment to drink in that headline above. 2017, people: it's a weird time to be alive. In any case, you likely have heard of Netflix's hit original show, Narcos. The show follows the exploits of Pablo Escobar's drug organization and was once the subject of Escobar's brother demanding a billion dollars from Netflix over the portrayal. Netflix, of course, was the disruptive new streaming service for movies and television that has since decided to go the route of copyright protectionist now that it is producing its own original content. It's a strange look for a company that exploded on a model of convenience over piracy, raking in tons of legit dollars by simply being an option better than or comparable to pirating films and television. Rather than continuing to compete in that arena, the company has begun to go the way of Big Content, firing off all kinds of DMCA notices.

    • Trademarks

      • Another Craft Beer Brand Gets Bullied To Death Over Shaky Trademark Claims
        The warning bells for the craft beer industry have been sounding for some time now, but the trademark disputes keep on coming. Even as trademark registrations in craft beer grow exponentially and intellectual property attorneys themselves are predicting an explosion in disputes on the horizon, the legal cases and threat letters have begun to grow. What once was an industry known for cooperative and congenial attitudes on trademark issues has devolved into corporate protectionism. But inter-industry disputes aren't the only concern, as the explosion in the craft beer industry has also invited trademark disputes from those outside of the industry.

      • Chicago Bears Back Off GoBears Hashtag Dispute Over Trademark Concern With Cal
        With the trademarking of hashtags now in full swing, it's about time some light was shone on exactly what type of trademarks are granted on them. The trademarking of hashtags isn't in and of itself perplexing, although it does cause this writer some mild annoyance. Locking up language in general is something that should be treated carefully, but doing so specifically with social media language in an ecosystem designed for proliferation and sharing is ripe for conflict. One need only look at how the Olympics treats hashtags to see this, or how big businesses will greedily "protect" the use of hashtags, no matter any actual concern about public confusion over the use of the marks. The point is, the same general problem with the practical application of trademarks is exacerbated by social media: trademarks too often aren't specific or identifying enough.

      • Maradona sues Dolce&Gabbana over 2016 'MARADONA' jersey
        In the case of Maradona, the main complaint seems to relate to the misappropriation and misuse of his name.

        Article 6 and 7 of the Italian Civil Code expressly recognize the right to one's own name. In particular, Article 7 states that a person who may suffer a prejudice from the undue use of their name by a third party can request a court order that would put an end to such use, as well as the compensation of any damages.

    • Copyrights

      • Can a tattoo on human flesh be copyrighted? We’ll soon find out
        There's a tattoo as a design, and then there's that same tattoo after it's inked on the human body. Tattoo artists often copyright their tattoos. But does that copyright stick once the image is inked on the human body?

        So far, no US court has ruled that it does, despite several lawsuits on the topic that have settled out of court or have been dropped. But barring a settlement, we might soon get our first ruling on the topic, and we have video games to thank.

        Tattoo artists are suing the makers of the highly popular NBA 2K game series for the allegedly unauthorized use of their tattoos as they appear on popular players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kenyon Martin, DeAndre Jordan and others. In short, Solid Oak Sketches says that Take-Two Interactive Software is infringing its copyrighted works because the game shows the players with their real-world inked tattoos that Solid Oak Sketches has copyrighted.

      • Free Software, Open Access, And Open Science Groups Join Fight Against EU Copyright Directive's Terrible Ideas
        Techdirt has been covering the EU's plans to "modernize" copyright law for years now, and noted how things seem to be getting worse. Two ideas -- the so-called link tax and the upload filter -- are particularly one-sided, offering no benefits for the public, but providing the copyright industry with yet more monopolies and powers to censor. That much we knew. But two new initiatives reveal that the harmful effects are much, much broader than first thought.

      • Lawyer: Without The Monkey's Approval, PETA Can't Settle Monkey Selfie Case
        Ted Frank is a well-respected lawyer who has heroically dedicated much of his career to stopping bad legal practices, including sketchy settlements in class action lawsuits. Now he's taking action in another case involving a sketchy settlement: the monkey selfie case. As we highlighted earlier this week, while it was no surprise that PETA and photographer David Slater worked out a settlement agreement to end the ridiculous lawsuit PETA had filed, it was deeply concerning that part of the settlement involved PETA demanding that the original district court ruling -- the one saying, clearly, that animals don't get copyrights -- should be thrown out.

      • Founder of Fan-Made Subtitle Site Convicted for Copyright Infringement

        Fansubbing site was raided by police in the summer of 2013, following complaints from Hollywood. Four years later the case has come to an end after a Swedish District Court sentenced the operator for copyright infringement. The decision confirms that the unauthorized distribution of movie subtitles is a crime in Sweden.

      • Australian Government Want ISPs to Adopt Anti-Piracy Code

        The Australian Government has proposed new copyright regulations which require copyright holders and carriage service providers to adopt a voluntary code to identify and deter online piracy. The new measures must address the ongoing piracy concerns but should not be too costly or burdensome for ISPs, the proposal clarifies.

      • BREIN Tracks Down and Settles With “Libra Release Team”

        BREIN has booked another victory against a group of prolific uploaders. The Hollywood backed organization signed settlements with two people connected to the "Libra Release Team." The group in question shared hundreds of infringing movies and TV-shows on torrent and Usenet sites, focusing on the Dutch market.

      • EU Prepares Guidelines to Force Google & Facebook to Police Piracy

        Companies including Google and Facebook could face tougher legislation if they don't act proactively to remove illegal content from their platforms. That's according to draft EU guidelines due to be published at the end of the month, which will require service providers to "significantly step up their actions" to address the problem.

      • MetalKettle Addon Repository Vulnerable After GitHub ‘Takeover’

        A removed and nonactive third-party Kodi repository has become vulnerable after an outsider re-registered the GitHub account of its developer. Former Kodi-addon developer MetalKettle urges people to delete his repository, stating that it's no longer safe.

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