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Links 6/2/2018: MenuLibre 2.1.5, ZFS On Linux 0.7.6

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How to start an open source program in your company
    Many internet-scale companies, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, have established formal open source programs (sometimes referred to as open source program offices, or OSPOs for short), a designated place where open source consumption and production is supported inside a company. With such an office in place, any business can execute its open source strategies in clear terms, giving the company tools needed to make open source a success. An open source program office's responsibilities may include establishing policies for code use, distribution, selection, and auditing; engaging with open source communities; training developers; and ensuring legal compliance.

  • New open source platform offers secure, self-hosted collaboration
    As businesses are keen to embrace flexible working and digital transformation, there’s increased focus on collaboration and sharing of information.

    But with existing regulations like HIPAA and upcoming ones like GDPR it's important to keep collaboration secure. German company Nextcloud is launching a solution in the form of a self-hosted, open source platform offering end-to-end encryption, video and text chat, and enhanced collaboration.

  • Nextcloud 13 Brings Improved UI, Video and Text Chat, End-to-end Encryption, Improved performance and more
    Nextcloud 13 is out after 9 months of development and testing. This release brings improvements to the core File Sync and Share like easier moving of files and a tech preview of our end-to-end encryption for the ultimate protection of your data. It also introduces collaboration and communication capabilities, like auto-complete of comments and integrated real-time chat and video communication. Last but not least, Nextcloud was optimized and tuned to deliver up to 80% faster LDAP, much faster object storage and Windows Network Drive performance and a smoother user interface. Read on to find out what else is new and don’t miss our thanks and invitation on the bottom!

  • Open Source as a driver of VoIP communications innovation
    Today, we’re seeing the same software giants ride the wave of popularity surrounding open source solutions, releasing portions of their code to users at no cost. Is this a generous gesture to help the cause or a more calculated attempt to get the developer community to offer up advice on how to improve their products? You can be the judge.

  • Nordic Free Software Award reborn
    Remember the glorious year 2009 when I won the Nordic Free Software Award?

    This award tradition that was started in 2007 was put on a hiatus after 2010 (I believe) and there has not been any awards handed out since, and we have not properly shown our appreciation for the free software heroes of the Nordic region ever since.

  • What lies ahead for open source?
    Simon Phipps, past president of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and founder of UK-based open source management consulting company, Meshed Insights, points out that without open source, we might not have the Internet or the worldwide web; our computers and mobile devices might be very different; cloud computing and the Internet of Things would probably be impossible to scale, and Google and Facebook might not exist.

  • Open Source Turns 20, Powers Computing as We Know It Today

  • Open source software turns 20
    First let me say in full disclaimer that I love open source software and initiatives, and I come from the enterprise world as it where in 1998. The days where IT budgets were as fat as overfed guppy goldfish, and open source tech was barely used in production environments.

  • 5 best software for writing guitar tablature and never miss a note
    LilyPond is another useful software that provides music notation for everyone. This music engraving tool is devoted to creating the highest-quality sheet music.


    This is a free software that is a part of the GNU Project.

  • Events

    • Libre Graphics World: 2018 in perspective
      It's arguable, but by now, it's pretty safe to say that the proverbial year of Linux on the desktop is never happening. But... do we really need it so much? Especially if there an impressive lineup of upcoming libre software releases set for 2018? Let's see what this year is bringing us.

    • DevConf 2018
      Robbie Harwood gave an overview of Kerberos for Developers. Kerberos has a reputation for being difficult to use and manage. As far as I can tell, maintaining a server can still be tricky but using it as a developer has improved significantly. There are several libraries available, including bindings in python which were demoed. Although I don't do much with Kerberos applications usually, it's good to know there are easy to use APIs available.

      There was a joint presentation on Hardware Root of Trust. This was an overview of current TPM support. TPMs have historically been somewhat controversial as they have been associated with reducing user freedom. TPMs are also very good at providing a secure way to store keys for protecting data, which was much of the focus of the talk. There's been ongoing work to make TPMs do useful things such as disk encryption. The TPM software support has come a long way and I look forward to seeing new uses.

      Ulrich Drepper gave a talk on processor architectures. This seemed very timely given the recent speculative execution shenanigans. There was a lot of focus on the existing Intel architecture and its limitations. We're beginning to hit physical limits to increase speed (see the slides about memory power use). As processor architectures get more complex, compilers and programmers have to improve as well. Sometimes I do miss working with hardware (until it breaks of course).

    • SnowCamp 2018 Trip Report
      Last week, Red Hat was present at the SnowCamp conference in Grenoble, France. The SnowCamp is a technical conference that includes a unique combination of deep dive sessions (universities), technical talks, and a final day on the ski slopes. With around 400 attendees and 70 sessions, this third edition of the SnowCamp was a great opportunity to meet the developers from the Grenoble area, in the most innovative city in the world (Source: Forbes and Mashable). Red Hatters presented 2 universities and 7 talks covering many projects and products, such as OpenShift, Infinispan, Monitoring, and Containers.

  • Web Browsers

    • Fun with numbers
      And now Google is doing their own thing. Some positive parts about it, but by focusing on filtering annoying types of ad units they're closer to the Adblock Plus "Acceptable Ads" racket than to a real solution. So it's better to let Ben Williams at Adblock Plus explain that one. I still don't get how it is that so many otherwise capable people come up with "let's filter superficial annoyances and not fundamental issues" and "let's shake down legit publishers for cash" as solutions to the web advertising problem, though. Especially when $16 billion in adfraud is just sitting there. It's almost as if the Lumascape doesn't care about fraud because it's priced in so it comes out of the publisher's share anyway.

    • Mozilla

      • How to build your own private smart home with a Raspberry Pi and Mozilla’s Things Gateway
        Last year we announced Project Things by Mozilla. Project Things is a framework of software and services that can bridge the communication gap between connected devices by giving “things” URLs on the web.

        Today I’m excited to tell you about the latest version of the Things Gateway and how you can use it to directly monitor and control your home over the web, without a middleman. Instead of installing a different mobile app for every smart home device you buy, you can manage all your devices through a single secure web interface. This blog post will explain how to build your own Web of Things gateway with a Raspberry Pi and use it to connect existing off-the-shelf smart home products from various different brands using the power of the open web.

      • Announcing “Project Things” – An open framework for connecting your devices to the web.
        Last year, we said that Mozilla is working to create a framework of software and services that can bridge the communication gap between connected devices. Today, we are pleased to announce that anyone can now build their own Things Gateway to control their connected device directly from the web.

        We kicked off “Project Things”, with the goal of building a decentralized ‘Internet of Things’ that is focused on security, privacy, and interoperability. Since our announcement last year, we have continued to engage in open and collaborative development with a community of makers, testers, contributors, and end-users, to build the foundation for this future.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Licensing/Legal

    • How to Leverage Vendors’ Forms to Address the Customers’ Needs

      Open Source. Ideally, any open source or similar publicly available software incorporated into the software would be specifically identified in the documentation and reviewed by the customer as part of its vendor due diligence. Customers should consider including representations by the vendor that the software will be free from any “viral” open source software (e.g., a GNU general public license) that could result in obligations for disclosure of the source code or free licensing of the software or any software used in connection with the software.

    • Why GPL violations are bad – Gary explains
      Open-source software has revolutionized the computing in the past few decades. Have an Android smartphone? That uses open-source software. The server hosting this website is running open-source software. Parts of macOS use open-source software. Same with the iPhone. I could go on, the point is that open source software is everywhere.

      Open-source software is as much a social contract as it is a legal agreement. That is why companies that break the open-source “contract” are immoral and unjust. Over the years there have been quite a few companies and individuals that have violated the open-source ethos and often it is consumer pressure, and the occasional court case, that brings the offenders to repentance. So, what is open source? What are the licenses governing it? How do companies violate it? Let me explain.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • New open source drug discovery project aims to develop mycetoma treatment
      The MycetOS (Mycetoma Open Source) project was launched today by the University of Sydney, Erasmus MC, and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) to use an Open Pharma approach to discover compounds that could lead to new treatments for patients suffering from fungal mycetoma (eumycetoma), a devastating disease for which current treatments are ineffective, expensive, and toxic.

    • Open Data

      • Open source software bill advances in House, but doesn’t ditch the DUNS
        The ongoing debate on how the federal government processes its spending data continued Tuesday, as the House Oversight Committee approved a bill that would allow agencies to use open source elements for the electronic tracking of grant information. The markup also included a tit-for-tat about the bill’s potential long-term impact.

        The committee advanced the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act by voice vote after tacking on an amendment by Gerry Connolly, D-Va., to give the executive branch more latitude in implementing the legislation. The bill would overhaul the government’s reporting structure for grant and cooperative agreements by requiring that agencies use nonproprietary, or open source, data taxonomies and identifiers for grantees.

        The current identifiers, maintained by contractor Dun & Bradstreet, are known as the data universal numbering system, or DUNS. It requires grantees and contractors to purchase a software license to access the government’s data system to receive funds.

  • Programming/Development

    • UQDS: A software-development process that puts quality first
      The Ultimate Quality Development System (UQDS) is a software development process that provides clear guidelines for how to use branches, tickets, and code reviews. It was invented more than a decade ago by Divmod and adopted by Twisted, an event-driven framework for Python that underlies popular commercial platforms like HipChat as well as open source projects like Scrapy (a web scraper).

      Divmod, sadly, is no longer around—it has gone the way of many startups. Luckily, since many of its products were open source, its legacy lives on.

      When Twisted was a young project, there was no clear process for when code was "good enough" to go in. As a result, while some parts were highly polished and reliable, others were alpha quality software—with no way to tell which was which. UQDS was designed as a process to help an existing project with definite quality challenges ramp up its quality while continuing to add features and become more useful.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • A 2018 Status Update On The Royalty-Free AV1 Video Codec
      Among the many interesting presentations at this year's FOSDEM event included an update on the AV1 royalty-free, open-source video codec by Mozilla/Xiph.Org's Tim Terriberry.

      The AV1 codec continues gaining steam with even last month Apple joining the ranks of the organizations forming the Alliance for Open Media. But even with the backing of most major tech companies, AV1 still isn't done quite yet.


  • [Old] How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist

    I learned to think this way when I was a magician. Magicians start by looking for blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception, so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it. Once you know how to push people’s buttons, you can play them like a piano.


    We need our smartphones, notifications screens and web browsers to be exoskeletons for our minds and interpersonal relationships that put our values, not our impulses, first. People’s time is valuable. And we should protect it with the same rigor as privacy and other digital rights.

  • Hardware

    • Former Intel President Launches ARM Company Ampere
      Intel's x86 silicon architecture has been a dominating force in data center and enterprise servers for a long time, but now a former Intel president wants that to change.

      On Feb. 5, former Intel president Renee James officially launched her new venture called Ampere. The new company uses ARM server processor to enable a new generation of server architectures fro hyperscale cloud computing. James worked ad intel from 1998 until February 2016.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • [Old] Prison's deadliest inmate, hepatitis C, escaping

      Prisons in at least a dozen states — Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma and Virginia — are being sued over failure to treat hepatitis C.

    • Donald Trump Just Got Everything Wrong About the UK’s Health Care System

      Donald Trump is an international ignoramus. He knows so little about what is happening in so many places that when he pulls out his cellphone to tweet an observation about developments beyond the borders of the United States, the expectation is that he will get something wrong.

      But there are some issues on which he is so scorchingly ignorant that his outbursts invite a shaming rebuke from a more informed global leader.

      That happened Monday morning, when Trump decided to offer a crash course in comparative health-care systems.

    • Medicines Innovation And Access: Swiss Stimulate New Thinking
      What if reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on access to health for all depended on the willingness of all actors to see beyond outdated dichotomies? The concept may seem obvious, but is easier described than done. In an effort to break silos, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) brought together stakeholders of all sides last week to discuss how to harness political and economic will to achieve innovation leading to new medicines that are available and affordable for all in need.


      The increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance where the current innovation model is hardly applicable since the new antibiotics will have to be sparingly used, and the escalating prices of new cancer drugs give an opportunity to address the issue in-depth.

  • Security

    • Why Linux is better than Windows or macOS for security
      Enterprises invest a lot of time, effort and money in keeping their systems secure. The most security-conscious might have a security operations center. They of course use firewalls and antivirus tools. They probably spend a lot of time monitoring their networks, looking for telltale anomalies that could indicate a breach. What with IDS, SIEM and NGFWs, they deploy a veritable alphabet of defenses.

      But how many have given much thought to one of the cornerstones of their digital operations: the operating systems deployed on the workforce’s PCs? Was security even a factor when the desktop OS was selected?

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Attackers Exploiting Unpatched Flaw in Flash

      Adobe warned on Thursday that attackers are exploiting a previously unknown security hole in its Flash Player software to break into Microsoft Windows computers. Adobe said it plans to issue a fix for the flaw in the next few days, but now might be a good time to check your exposure to this still-ubiquitous program and harden your defenses.

      Adobe said a critical vulnerability (CVE-2018-4878) exists in Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions. Successful exploitation could allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.

    • Scarabey: This ransomware threatens to slowly delete your files every 24 hours until you pay up [iophk: "Microsoft Windows TCO"]

      A new variant of the malicious Scarab ransomware has been uncovered in the wild that uses a different distribution method and threat to scare victims into paying up. While the original Scarab ransomware was distributed by a massive spam campaign hosted by the Necurs botnet, the new variant dubbed "Scarabey" targets Remote Desktop Protocol connections and is manually dropped on servers and systems.

    • [Old] Forgotten Conficker worm resurfaces to infect systems with WannaCry

      Simon Edwards, European cyber security architect at Trend Micro, told SC that one of the Shadow Broker releases included a ‘new' version of Conficker (Eclipsed Wing) which would connect it to the exploit used for WannaCry.


      “However, Trend has seen samples of this onsite in the NHS; the samples use Domain Generation Algorithms to communicate to C&C servers so generate quite a lot of network traffic. Once again patching is critical, but once again (in the case of the NHS specifically) this might not be possible for systems running critical medical equipment.”

    • Security Is Not an Absolute
      If there’s one thing I wish people from outside the security industry knew when dealing with information security, it’s that Security is not an absolute. Most of the time, it’s not even quantifiable. Even in the case of particular threat models, it’s often impossible to make statements about the security of a system with certainty.

    • Layered Insight Takes Aim at Container Security
      The market and competition for container security technology is continuing to grow. Among the newest entrants in the space is Layered Insight which announced its new CEO Sachin Aggarwal on Feb. 5.

      Layered Insight got started in January 2015 and has been quietly building its technology and a business ever since. The company has not announced any funding yet, though Layered Insight does already have product in-market as it aims to help organizations gain better visibility and control of container environments.

    • Leaked NSA hacking tools can target all Windows versions from the past two decades
      REMEMBER THOSE LEAKED NSA TOOLS? Well, they can now hack any version of Windows, not just the old version of Microsoft's operating system.

      Researcher Sean Dillon from cybersecurity firm RiskSense tweaked the source code of three nicked NSA exploits - EternalSynergy, EternalChampion and EternalRomance - to work against Windows versions dating back as far as Windows 2000.

      Going by the name of 'zerosum0x0' on GitHub and Twitter (hat tip to Betanews for that), Dillon noted his modifications to the code exploits the CVE-2017-0143 and CVE-2017-0146 vulnerabilities in numerous versions of unpatched Windows OS.

    • AutoSploit: Mass Exploitation Just Got a Lot Easier
      In the meantime, others in the open source community have stepped up to prevent some of the worst potential damage from AutoSploit. Security expert Jerry Gamblin posted to GitHub his own bit of code that he says will block Shodan from being able to scan your systems. However, it is questionable as to whether this response will be widely used, considering the generally poor performance of the software industry for implementing critical patches when they are announced from the project managers themselves.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Understanding Russia, Un-Demonizing Putin
      Russian President Vladimir Putin obviously has his faults and has made his share of mistakes. Yet, my experiences with him, as well as what I have heard over the years from people I trust –– including U.S. officials who have with him worked closely –– indicate that Putin is essentially a straightforward, reliable and exceptionally inventive man.

      The Russian president is clearly a long-term thinker and planner and has proven to be an excellent analyst and strategist. He is a leader who can quietly work toward his goals under mounds of accusations and myths that have been steadily leveled at him since he became the Russian Federation’s second president.


      I’ve been in country long enough to reflect deeply on Russian history and culture, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations with their leaders.

      As with personalities in a family or a civic club or in a city hall, it takes understanding and compromise to be able to create workable relationships when basic conditionings are different. Washington has been notoriously disinterested in understanding these differences and attempting to meet Russia halfway.

    • Lithuania: Russia Deploying More Missiles into Kaliningrad
      Lithuania's president said Monday Russia has deployed additional nuclear-capable missiles in its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad on a permanent basis, calling it a threat to Europe.

      President Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters after visiting NATO troops in the central Lithuanian town of Rukla that "Iskander missiles are being stationed in Kaliningrad for permanent presence as we speak." She called it a threat not only to Lithuania but to "half of all European countries."

      NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, who also visited the Rukla base where the military alliance's multinational battalion is stationed, said Grybauskaite's assertion, if true, was "a very serious matter," according to the Baltic news agency BNS.

    • FUTY shut down as Christian, Muslim students clash

      According to the students who are currently on the run following the unrest at the campus, few weeks to the Student Union Government, SUG election, there was a threat by a student on a Facebook page warning the school authority should take action against the alleged claim of blasphemy or the Muslim students would take all necessary action to stop academic activities in the institution.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • How VW Paid $25 Billion for Dieselgate — And Got Off Easy
      On Dec. 6, former Volkswagen engineer Oliver Schmidt was led into a federal courtroom in Detroit in handcuffs and leg irons. He was wearing a blood-red jumpsuit, his head shaved, as it always is, and his deep-set eyes seemed to ask, “how did I get here?” As Schmidt’s wife tried to suppress tears in a second-row pew, U.S. District Judge Sean Cox sentenced him to what, had it been imposed in Schmidt’s native Germany, would rank among the harshest white collar sentences ever meted out: seven years in prison.

      Schmidt was being punished for his role in VW’s “Dieselgate” scandal, one of the most audacious corporate frauds in history. Yet his sentence brought no catharsis, least of all to Cox, who at times seemed pained while imposing it. Sometimes, he told Schmidt apologetically, his job requires him to imprison “good people just making very, very bad decisions.”

  • Finance

    • China plans total ban on cryptocurrency trade, ICOs: report

      China is set to block all websites, local and foreign, connected with trading in cryptocurrencies or initial coin offerings, a newspaper affiliated to the People's Bank of China says.

    • Stripe will establish an engineering hub in Dublin

      Stripe will open its first engineering center outside the United States in Dublin, the company told Reuters today. Dublin isn’t a surprising choice. Though the online payment processing provider is based in San Francisco, its founders are Irish and Stripe’s European headquarters are already in the Irish capital, where it has about 100 employees.

    • U.S. fintech Stripe picks Dublin for new engineering hub

      CEO Patrick Collison and head of engineering David Singleton told Reuters the firm considered placing its first few dozen engineering jobs outside of the US in countries across Europe, but settled on Ireland because of its international approach and widening talent pool.

    • 180,000 public sector employees to turn down overtime
      The overtime and shift-trading ban implemented today by municipal employees will have a negative impact on a wide variety of public services, says Henrika Nybondas-Kangas, the chief negotiator for Local Government Employers (KT).

      The Finnish Union of Practical Nurses (Super), Union of Health and Social Care Professionals (Tehy), Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) and Public Sector Professionals (JUKO) have instructed their members to turn down all requests to work overtime and trade shifts as of Tuesday.
    • Dow Plunges 1,175, The Biggest Point Drop In History

      The stock market went on a wild ride again on Monday, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing down 1,175 points, its worst point drop in history. The Dow closed down 4.6 percent and turned negative for the year.

      At one point Monday afternoon, the Dow was down 1,579 points — the largest intraday point drop in the history of the index.
    • ‘He’s Not Streamlining the Process, He’s Just Steamrolling It’
      RG: It really looks like a fraud under the guise of an infrastructure plan, more so than an infrastructure plan itself. Typical of this White House, we’ve seen very little detail about what the plan actually calls for, except for the things that you mentioned. Just last night, we heard of the idea of $1.5 trillion in investment. But I want to dissect that a little bit, because although it sounds very good, sort of a hefty sum at $1.5 trillion, we know, through leaks and other sources, that he’s actually only trying to put down about $200 billion in terms of infrastructure.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Reporter says he was threatened with ban from press calls after declining to alter story: report

      The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has been accused of threatening to bar a reporter from Modern Healthcare from its press calls.

      The threat came after the reporter, Virgil Dickson, claimed he did not agree to alter a story he wrote to take out a part regarding CMS administrator Seema Verma, according to the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ).

    • For an international coalition to fight Internet censorship

      The United States government, in the closest collaboration with Google, Facebook, Twitter and other powerful information technology corporations, is implementing massive restrictions on Internet access to socialist, antiwar and progressive websites. Similar repressive policies are being enacted by capitalist governments in Europe and throughout the world.

    • Two TV Stations Shut by Kenya Government Resume Broadcasting
      wo Kenyan television channels shut down by the government over their coverage of the political opposition resumed partial broadcasting on Monday although a third channel remained off the air.

      NTV resumed broadcasting on pay-to-view channels, it announced on its Twitter feed, although its free-to-air channel was still off. KTN News resumed on its free-to-air channel.
    • Two Kenya TV stations resume broadcasting after days shut by govt
      Two Kenyan television channels shut down by the government over their coverage of the political opposition resumed partial broadcasting on Monday, although a third channel remained off the air.

      The unprecedented act of censorship sparked a local and international backlash against the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won an election in October.
    • From #MeToo to #RiceBunny: How social media users are campaigning in China
      So reads the opening line of a discussion page for the #MeToo campaign in China, posted on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

      "Rice bunny" (米兔), pronounced as "mi tu", is a nickname given to the #MeToo campaign by Chinese social media users.

      The #RiceBunny hashtag, accompanied by emojis of rice bowls and bunny heads, is used by Chinese women to expose sexual harassment — often in conjunction with other Chinese hashtags, such as #IAmAlso (#我也是)and #MeTooInChina (#MeToo在中国).
    • Disagreement cannot extend to censorship
      While it is alarming, it is not entirely unexpected that debate around the film Inxeba has descended into threats of violence and the cancellation of screenings mere days after its general release in South African cinemas. For it was less than six months ago that Nakhane, the film’s lead actor, first received death threats, and the AmaXhosa King, Mpendulo Zwelonke Sigcawu, expressed his intention to halt distribution of the film.
    • Objection to 'Inxeba' is censorship

      The release of local movie, Inxeba, in SA at the weekend was met with derision from certain quarters.

      But those opposed to the now controversial movie have not done their cause any good in the way they have gone about it.

      Inxeba, The Wound, is based on the Xhosa rite of passage but with a homosexual twist to the tale. Critics, many without as much as seeing the film, have declared that it ridicules and disrespects the Xhosa culture and the initiation tradition.
    • facebook on trial after censoring courbet's 'origin of the world' painting

      in 1866 gustave courbet—a french painter who led the realism movement in the 19th-century—realized ‘l’origine du monde’, a famous painting also known as ‘the origin of the world.’ quite controversial for its time, the picture depicts a naked woman lying on the bed with her legs spread.

    • Judge Dismisses Libel Suit Involving ProPublica Article
      A judge in Brooklyn has thrown out a libel lawsuit against two reporters brought by the subjects of a 2015 ProPublica investigation that raised serious concerns about lax state oversight of nursing home ownership in New York.

      Kings County Supreme Court Justice Paul Wooten held that the article was not libelous because it was a “fair and true report” of actions taken by state and federal agencies. New York law generally shields accurate accounts of official government actions from claims of libel (which refers to false statements that harm a person’s reputation). That’s to insulate government watchdog reporting from the chilling effect of litigation.

      Wooten decided the case last month, but the opinion was published electronically on Monday.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • UK hacker [sic] Love wins appeal against extradition to US

      British security researcher Lauri Love has won an appeal against extradition to the US to face charges of allegedly breaching the computer networks of a number of federal government agencies.

    • Courage statement on Lauri Love’s extradition ruling

      I am absolutely thrilled for Lauri, his family, friends, his legal team and all the supporters who have worked so hard to bring us to this point. As we demonstrated at appeal, Lauri was only ever in this position because he had been marked out for unfair, discriminatory and vindictive treatment. With any luck, today’s ruling will mean that prosecuting authorities finally start respecting the clear will of the British public: we do not extradite our geeks to face medieval punishment in the United States.

    • Hacker [sic] suspect Lauri Love avoids extradition to the US

      In 2013 Love was accused of hacking [sic] into several high-level targets in the United States, among them the FBI, NASA, and the Federal Reserve. If found guilty in a US court, he could have faced a sentence of up to 99 years in prison.

      Following the verdict on Monday, 32- year old Love thanked everybody for their support, however he is not yet in the clear as he could still be charged an tried for his offences in Britain

    • Protesters block light rail, rally outside U.S. Bank Stadium

      At three sites near and around downtown Minneapolis, activists tried to disrupt Super Bowl festivities on Sunday afternoon by blocking streets, light-rail trains and, briefly, a stadium entrance.

    • Ex Google and Facebook Employees Are Banding Together to Protect Kids From Social Media Addiction

      The Silicon Valley insiders are now acting as outsiders in launching their new organization, The Center for Humane Technology. They are starting a campaign called The Truth About Tech, funded in part by $7 million from the non-profit media watchdog group Common Sense Media, which will help drive the movement forward across the country.

    • Early Facebook and Google employees are planning to lobby against tech addiction

      His new organization moves away from helping people take control of their time, and focuses instead on raising awareness of what he believes are the manipulative design techniques of, as he put it in a recent Bloomberg interview, a “civilization-scale mind-control machine.”

    • Stockholm academic's death sentence in Iran 'definitive': lawyer

      The sentence was met with protests by Amnesty International, the UN and Sweden’s Foreign Ministry. An initial appeal was rejected in December, and his lawyer now says a further request to have the sentence overturned has been denied.

    • Iran Regime’s Senior Mullah Says, Protesters Are Rebels and Must Be Executed

      Following the ongoing protests by the public and the youth on February 1 on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the rule of religious fascism in Iran, Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the regime, dispatched Mullah Ahmad Khatami, member of the board of the regime's Assembly of Experts to Tehran Friday prayer to intimidate the rising people and protesters.

    • A Longer Than Life Sentence
      At sentencing, they kind of saved me for last. I had just turned 21. It was 1998. I remember the judge saying, “Jason, I’ve thought about this all week. … I’ve written Congress about these sentencing guidelines for crack-cocaine but my hands are tied.” After, he starts reading my sentence off to me: “life without parole …” After life without parole, I didn’t hear the other part.

      I don’t even know how I got back to the prison cell. When it was all added up, I got life without parole plus 320 years, 8 years of probation, and a $6,000 fine. Your mind can’t take in that reality — that you’re going to die in prison.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ISPs must follow net neutrality in New Jersey, governor declares

      The executive order says that New Jersey state agencies may only buy Internet service from ISPs that adhere to net neutrality principles. But the net neutrality protections will cover ordinary residents as well as government officials. That's because the order says that "adherence to 'net neutrality' principles means that an ISP shall not [violate the rules] with respect to any consumers in New Jersey (including but not limited to State entities)."

    • Trump's FCC Pats Itself On The Back For A Historically Stupid Year
      If you've been playing along at home, Trump's FCC hasn't been particularly kind to consumers, competition, or the health of the internet. It has, however, been a massive boon to major ISPs terrified of disruption and competition, especially those looking to forge new media monopolies where they dominate both the conduit -- and the content -- coming to the home.

      Under Pai, the FCC has gutted broadband programs for the poor, protected the cable industry's monopoly over the cable box from competition, made it easier for prison phone monopolies to rip off inmate families, dismantled generations old media consolidation rules simply to aid Sinclair Broadcasting's merger ambitions, killed meaningful broadband privacy protections, tried to weaken the standard definition of broadband (to help hide competition gaps) and weakened rules preventing business broadband and backhaul monopolies from abusing smaller competitors, hospitals, or schools.

    • Here’s Ajit Pai’s “proof” that killing net neutrality created more broadband

      But the FCC's actual data—based on the extensive Form 477 data submissions Internet service providers must make on a regular basis—only covers broadband deployments through December 2016. Pai wasn't elevated from commissioner to chairman until January 2017, and he didn't lead the vote to repeal the net neutrality rules until December 2017. And, technically, those rules are still on the books because the repeal won't take effect for at least another two months. Further Reading FCC admits mobile can’t replace home Internet, won’t lower speed standard Further Reading Goodbye, net neutrality—Ajit Pai’s FCC votes to allow blocking and throttling

      The timing means that it would be impossible for Pai to present evidence today that broadband deployment is increasing as a result of the net neutrality repeal.

  • DRM

    • Where Does Blockchain Fit in Digital Rights Management?
      TickBox makes a computer hardware device that allows users to search for unauthorized streams of copyrighted content through the combination of open source media player software, Kodi, and “add on” software programs. The company boasts that users can quit paying high monthly fees and access the hottest TV shows, blockbusters, premium content, and live sporting events – all through the TickBox.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Waymo presents damning internal messages from Uber, which responds in kind

      Ars has published both slide decks from Waymo and Uber in full, but below are some selected highlights.

    • BREAKING: in his new Opinion in Louboutin AG Szpunar (confirms and) advises CJEU to rule that a trade mark combining colour and shape may be refused or declared invalid
      This is a reference for a preliminary ruling from The Netherlands (District Court of The Hague) concerning the absolute grounds for refusal of registration of sign that consist exclusively of "the shape which gives substantial value to the goods".

    • Trademarks

      • Two Years Later, Bell's Brewery Finally Fails To Bully A Tiny Brewery Out Of Its Legitimate Trademark
        Nearly three years ago, Bell's Brewery, whose products I used to buy greedily, decided to oppose a trademark for Innovation Brewing, a tiny operation out of North Carolina. The reasons for the opposition are truly difficult to comprehend. First, Bell's stated that it uses the slogan "Bottling innovation since 1985" on some merchandise. This was only barely true. The slogan does appear on some bumper stickers that Bell sells and that's pretty much it. It appears nowhere in any of the brewery's beer labels or packaging. Also, Bell's never registered the slogan as a trademark. Bell's also says it uses the slogan "Inspired brewing" and argues that Innovation's name could create confusion in the marketplace because it's somehow similar to that slogan.

        This is a good lesson in why trademark bullying of this nature is a pox on any industry derived largely of small players, because it's only in the past weeks that the Trademark Trials and Appeals Board in Virginia has ruled essentially that Bell's is full of crap.

      • Trade mark territoriality in India after the Supreme Court’s Prius ruling
        Toyota recently lost a trade mark case at India’s Supreme Court, in a surprising decision that has shaken up the principle of territoriality in trans-border reputation

      • When passing off is enough to successfully oppose a trade mark

        The case also reinforces the applicable threshold for marks to be regarded as "well-known". Singapore law recognizes that marks can be well-known in Singapore so long as it is well-known to any relevant sector of public in Singapore.

    • Copyrights

      • Google Won’t Take Down ‘Pirate’ VLC With Five Million Downloads

        VideoLAN, the team behind the VLC media player, recently revealed that they turned down several tens of millions of euros to bundle their software with advertising. The same cannot be said of third-party developers cloning VLC for profit, however. An ad-supported clone discovered on Google Play has a staggering five to ten million downloads and breaches VLC's GPL license, yet Google refuses to take it down.
      • Can You Copyright a Pose?
        An interesting case caught my eye this week, and piqued my interest enough to explore further. In Folkens v. Wyland Worldwide the Ninth Circuit considered whether Wyland's depiction of crossing dolphins copied from Folkens's original. Below is a reproduction from the complaint, but it doesn't really do them justice. Better versions of Folkens (pen and ink) and Wyland (color) highlight the similarities and differences.

      • Ram uses Martin Luther King’s anticapitalist sermon to sell pickup trucks

        This sermon literally also discourages people from spending too much money on their cars. Yes, it really does.

        King’s sermons, which are not in the public domain, are notoriously difficult to republish or reuse. [...]

      • Someone edited Ram’s Martin Luther King commercial with what King actually said about car ads

        Using a civil rights hero to sell cars in a Super Bowl commercial may seem absurd on its face, but it’s particularly ridiculous when said civil rights icon actually spoke out against car commercials.

      • Virgin Media caught running 'piracy' software in bricks-and-mortar store

        Piracy challenger Virgin Media has been caught running, er, piracy-enabling software in one of its physical stores.

        Virgin Media has long taken a hard-line on piracy, and last year started sending out letters warning customers suspected of piracy to cease their wicked ways and adopt acceptable services like Netflix and Spotify instead.

      • Virgin Media Store Caught Running Movie & TV Show Piracy Software (Updated)

        Virgin Media is one of the largest premium telecoms suppliers in the UK and Ireland but the way one of its stores has advertised its "Full House" package leaves a bit to be desired. While asking for 99 euros to supply a top-rated packaged, an advertising display simultaneously showed notifications from one of the most popular movie and TV show piracy applications.

      • Cloudflare Terminates Service to Sci-Hub Domain Names

        Cloudflare has terminated service to several domain names of Sci-Hub, which is often referred to as "The Pirate Bay of Science." The CDN provider was compelled to take this action in response to a permanent injunction the American Chemical Society obtained late last year. While Cloudflare previously objected to a similar request, there is no sign of protest this time around.

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