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Links 12/6/2018: Neovim 0.3 and Wine 3.10

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Acer Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13 to support Linux apps out of the box
      Along with a host of other high-end devices from other brands, the Acer Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13 will support Linux apps at launch, according to a recent Chromium commit. Google has been working with a number of device makers on a new range of high-end Chromebooks with enterprise features. Nami is the umbrella codename for these devices.

    • Acer Chromebook 13 & Chromebook Spin 13 will apparently support Linux apps at launch
      Acer is one of the bigger players in the Chrome OS market, and last month the company debuted two new exciting laptops in the Chromebook 13 and Chromebook Spin 13. Now we’re finding out that these machines will apparently support Linux apps out of the box.

    • Microsoft will stop offering forum support for Windows 7, 8.1, RT, and more

      rom next month, the company will cease to operate forum support for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows RT, Microsoft Security Essentials, Internet Explorer 10 and Office 2010 and 2013.

      Also being stopped is support for Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface RT, Surface 2, the Microsoft Band and (at long last) Zune.

    • Microsoft to stop offering support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in forums

      On the software front, the company says that it will also no longer provide support for Microsoft Security Essentials, Internet Explorer 10, Office 2010 and 2013 as of July. It is not just software that is affected. Microsoft is also stopping support for Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface RT, Surface 2, Microsoft Band and Zune. Some forums will be locked, preventing users from helping each other as well.

  • Server

    • Meet IBM Summit, World's Fastest and Smartest Supercomputer Powered by Linux
      That's right, America once again has the most powerful supercomputer in the world, for now, which is eight times more powerful than the Titan supercomputer. Capable of peak performances of 200 petaflops or 200,000 trillion calculations per second, the Summit supercomputer owned by the U.S. Department of Energy is used for scientific purposes.

      "I am truly excited by the potential of Summit, as it moves the nation one step closer to the goal of delivering an exascale supercomputing system by 2021. Summit will empower scientists to address a wide range of new challenges, accelerate discovery, spur innovation and above all, benefit the American people," said Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy.

    • IBM Summit: The US’s Best Chance to Retake Supercomputer Crown [Ed: Rob Enderle has just taken note of/mentioned, in a new article, that the US regains the HPC crown, but of course -- being the Microsoft propagandist he is -- GNU/Linux is not mentioned at all]

    • The fastest supercomputers in the world

    • How Cisco Is Expanding Its Container and Kubernetes Efforts

      While Cisco is well-known for its networking technologies, the company has increasingly become an adopter of and strong advocate for container technologies and the Kubernetes container orchestration system, in particular.

      Helping to lead Cisco's strategic direction for containers is the company's CTO for cloud computing, Lew Tucker. In a video interview with eWEEK, Tucker details Cisco current product lineup for containers and provides insight into the future direction.

  • Kernel Space

    • What version of Linux am I running?
      The question "what version of Linux" can mean two different things. Strictly speaking, Linux is the kernel, so the question can refer specifically to the kernel's version number, or "Linux" can be used more colloquially to refer to the entire distribution, as in Fedora Linux or Ubuntu Linux.

      Both are important, and you may need to know one or both answers to fix a problem with a system. For example, knowing the installed kernel version might help diagnose an issue with proprietary drivers, and identifying what distribution is running will help you quickly figure out if you should be using apt, dnf, yum, or some other command to install packages.

    • f2fs update for 4.18-rc1

      So sorry for a bit late pull request. I had to take a look at the test results run during the weekend. Could you please consider this?

    • F2FS File-System Gets Discard Improvements, Nobarrier Fsync Mode For Linux 4.18
      Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) maintainer Jaegeuk Kim has submitted the file-system updates intended for the Linux 4.18 kernel.

    • Linux Kernel 4.17 Now Ready for Mass Deployments as First Point Release Is Out
      Just a little over a week after the release of the Linux 4.17 kernel series, renowned kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced today the availability of the first point release, Linux kernel 4.17.1.

      Even if it's a small one changing only 23 files, with 131 insertions and 68 deletions, the Linux kernel 4.17.1 point release marks the Linux 4.17 kernel series as ready for mass deployments, which means that OS vendors can now start compiling it for their supported architectures and GNU/Linux operating systems to distribute the new kernel version to their users.

      "I'm announcing the release of the 4.17.1 kernel. All users of the 4.17 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 4.17.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-4.17.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser: stable.git;a=summary," said Greg Kroah-Hartman in the mailing list announcement.

    • Linux 4.18 Supports The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 & DT For NES Classic Edition, Steam Link
      The ARM SoC/platform changes have been submitted and already pulled into the merge window for the Linux 4.18 kernel.

      The ARM hardware support this time is quite exciting. With the Linux 4.18 kernel there is now initial mainline support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 high-end SoC and on the board front are the initial additions for supporting the Steam Link and the Nintendo NES Classic Edition.

    • Linux 4.17.1
    • Linux 4.16.15
    • Linux 4.14.49

    • Intel Begins Queuing Graphics Driver Improvements For Linux 4.19
      While the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window isn't even over until the end of the week followed by about eight weeks worth of testing before that kernel version will debut as stable, Intel open-source developers have already sent in their first pull request to DRM-Next of material they would like to begin staging for Linux 4.19.

      Intel's OTC developers are usually quite punctual in queuing up their tested work in DRM-Next for the next kernel cycle while even for their standards this is quite early with there being several days left to the current merge window.

    • Linux Kernel Patches Appear For A Line Of Intel MIPS SoCs
      It appears Intel is launching a line of SoCs based on the MIPS architecture.

      Hitting the kernel mailing list overnight is a set of kernel patches for bringing up the Intel GRX500 SoCs, which are based on the MIPS interAptiv design. MIPS interAptiv processor cores are based on a 32-bit, multi-core design and have been available the past few years. Background information on interAptiv is available from

    • New NOVA Filesystem
      Andiry Xu (working with Lu Zhang, Steven Swanson and others) posted patches for a new filesystem called NOVA (NOn-Volatile memory Accelerated). Normal RAM chips are wiped every time you turn off your computer. Non-volatile RAM retains its data across reboots. Their project targeted byte-addressable non-volatile memory chips, such as Intel's 3DXpoint DIMMs. Andiry said that the current incarnation of their code was able to do a lot already, but they still had a big to-do list, and they wanted feedback from the kernel people.

      Theodore Y. Ts'o gave the patches a try, but he found that they wouldn't even compile without some fixes, which he posted in reply. Andiry said they'd adapt those fixes into their patches.

      The last time NOVA made an appearance on the kernel mailing list was August 2017, when Steven made a similar announcement. This time around, they posted a lot more patches, including support for SysFS controls, Kconfig compilation options and a significant amount of documentation.

    • Systemd 239 Is Being Prepped For Release With Many Changes
      Systemd developers have begun wrangling the v239 release together. Among the features coming are a change where the network interface device naming may now be different (though it seems to primarily affect SR-IOV/NPAR situations), support for using the RestrictNamespaces property multiple times, the sd-boot systemd boot functionality has new configuration settings so you can turn off Windows/macOS partition discovery, sd-boot should now pick a better screen resolution when booting a HiDPI system, systemd-resolve has been renamed to resolvectl, a NoNewPrivileges property has been added to turn off acquiring of new privileges system-wide, swap files should now work for hibernation now, networkd now automatically uses the kernel's route expiration feature, documentation improvements, and many other changes.

    • Linux Foundation

      • HERE, Airbiquity, Bose and more join Automotive Grade Linux open source project
        The Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project, an open source collaborative program bringing together automakers, suppliers and technology companies, has welcomed a number of new members which brings it to over 120. The latest to join are Abalta Technologies, Airbiquity, Bose, EPAM Systems, HERE, Integrated Computer Solutions and Sitech Electric Automotive.

        Dan Cauchy, executive director of AGL at the Linux Foundation, said in a statement: “Our newest members include the some of the industry leaders in embedded, software and automotive technologies from all over the world, including our first Chinese automaker. We look forward to leveraging the expertise of these members as we continue to enhance our infotainment platform and build out functionalities like vehicle-to-cloud connectivity and virtualization.”

      • More Firms Join Open Source Networking Group
        More communications firms are coming onboard with the open source networking organization launched earlier this year by The Linux Foundation.

        That organization, called LF Networking Fund (LFN), recently welcomed KDDI, KT, SK Telecom, Sprint, Swisscom and Telecom Italia into its fold.

        LFN coalesces six top networking projects to increase harmonization across platforms, communities and ecosystems, according to its site. The organization says it seeks to address major industry challenges through collaboration between end users, vendors and developers, who can work together to transform all aspects of the network and accelerate open source deployments.

      • LF Deep Learning Foundation Announces Project Contribution Process
        I am very pleased to announce that the LF Deep Learning Foundation has approved a project lifecycle and contribution process to enable the contribution, support and growth of artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning open source projects. With these documents in place, the LF Deep Learning Foundation is now accepting proposals for the contribution of projects.

        The LF Deep Learning Foundation, a community umbrella project of The Linux Foundation with the mission of supporting artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning open source projects, is working to build a self-sustaining ecosystem of projects. Having a clear roadmap for how to contribute projects is a first step. Contributed projects operate under their own technical governance with collaboration resources allocated and provided by the LF Deep Learning Foundation’s Governing Board. Membership in the LF Deep Learning Foundation is not required to propose a project contribution.

    • Graphics Stack

      • DRM Leasing / Display Patches Updated For Mesa's Vulkan Drivers
        Keith Packard's patches for improving the Linux infrastructure around VR HMD devices have landed within the mainline Linux kernel as well as in X.Org Server 1.20, but for rounding out the work, there still are pending patches for the Mesa Vulkan drivers.

        Keith has spent more than one year working on allowing "DRM leasing", non-desktop handling for virtual reality head-mounted displays, and other related improvements to better embrace HMDs on the Linux graphics stack for optimal performance. The patches for the Vulkan DRM leasing though have yet to be merged into Mesa.

    • Benchmarks

      • Core i7 8700K vs. Ryzen 7 2700X For Vulkan Gaming With Thrones of Britannia
        Published this weekend was a 25-way Linux graphics card comparison for the newest major Linux game release, A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia, that was released natively for Linux days ago by Feral Interactive and ported from Direct3D to Vulkan in the process. As a result of premium requests, here are some additional tests for this Linux game when comparing the performance on Intel Core i7 8700K and Ryzen 7 2700X processors.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Top 30 Best Ubuntu Themes That Will Blow Your Mind

      Over the last year, we covered different themes for Ubuntu; most of them being GTK themes inspired by material design and flat design. It has been a while since our last theme article and I figure today will be a day to present you with a somewhat mega list.

      My compilation includes a few themes already featured on FossMint together with others you probably haven’t heard about yet. If you are keen on personalization and UI beauty then I’m sure that my compilation will blow your mind.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • A Better Menu Experience in Plasma (PROPOSAL)
        Launchers in an OS have become the central point of access and interaction with system content. It is the main way that most people will interact with applications and files. In recent years, other OSs have become increasingly interested in beefing up their application menus. Plasma currently has 3 launchers integrated. Users are asked to select one or the other by right-clicking in the “start” menu button and switch a different launcher. The interaction is somewhat quirky but it is effective.

        I wanted to contrast our iteration with something that might be more interactive, more straightforward and help users find the desired content faster. Here is an idea about that.

      • Kirigaming – Kolorfill

        Last time, I was doing a recipe manager. This time I’ve been doing a game with javascript and QtQuick, and for the first time dipping my feet into the Kirigami framework.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Officially Released with Revamped Lock & Login Screens, Settings
        With a focus on stability and reliability, the KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment launches today with revamped lock and login screens, the former offering a slick fade-to-blur transition for displaying the controls, redesigned System Settings pages to make it easier for users to set up themes, fonts, screensavers, and more, as well as Plasma Browser Integration for downloads and media controls.

        "Members of the Plasma team have been working hard to continue making Plasma a lightweight and responsive desktop which loads and runs quickly, but remains full-featured with a polished look and feel. We have spent the last four months optimizing startup and minimizing memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance and less memory consumption," reads today's announcement.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Ships As The Best Plasma 5 Release Yet

      • Release AnnouncementsPlasma 5.13.0

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Now Available, OpenGear's New NetOps Automation Platform, New Zynthian Raspberry Pi Synthesizer and More
        KDE released Plasma 5.13.0 today. The team has "spent the last four months optimising startup and minimising memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance and less memory consumption. Basic features like panel popups were optimised to make sure they run smoothly even on the lowest-end hardware. Our design teams have not rested either, producing beautiful new integrated lock and login screen graphics." New features in Plasma 5.13 include Plasma Browser Integration, redesigned system settings, new look for lock and login screens, improved KWin graphics compositor and more. See the release announcement for links to download pages for live images, distro packages and source.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Contributing to Boxes
        I have to admit that Boxes is a bit late for the Flatpak party, but that’s not a problem. The technical difficulties of getting a virtualization hypervisor to run inside the flatpak sandbox are mostly overcomed. This way, contributing to Boxes has never been easier.

        In the following sections I will describe the step-by-step process of making your first code contribution to GNOME Boxes.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • SparkyLinux 5.4 "Nibiru" Operating System Released Based on Debian 10 "Buster"
        Based on the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster" operating system, which should see the light of day in mid-2019, the SparkyLinux 5.4 update is here three months after the SparkyLinux 5.3 release announced in mid-March 2018 to continue the SparkyLinux 5 "Nibiru" rolling series, and it's available only as LXQt, MinimalGUI, and MinimalCLI editions.

        "Sparky 5.4 offers a fully featured operating system with a lightweight LXQt desktop environment; and minimal images of MinimalGUI (Openbox) and MinimalCLI (text mode) which lets you install the base system with a desktop of your choice with a minimal set of applications, via the Sparky Advanced Installer," reads today's announcement.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia at RMLL – and a roundup
        RMLL (also known as LSM, Libre Software Meeting) is one of Mageia’s important annual events and 2018 is no different. It’s the premier world meeting for Libre Software, upon the principles of which our distro and our community is based.

        This year RMLL is to be held in in Strasbourg, and we have a booth! We’re calling for people to come and spend a little time on the stand, or a lot of time if you have a lot – we need Mageians to come talk to people about our distro, and encourage them to try us out, join the community and contribute in any way they want. It’s also a great opportunity to meet a wide variety of people in the Libre Software community, both developers and users, and catch up on what’s happening in our world.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • UCS 4.3-1: First point release for UCS 4.3 available
        Univention is pleased to announce the availability of Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.3-1, the first point release of UCS 4.3. It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 4.3-0 and provides various improvements...

      • Derivatives

        • systemd-free Debian-based Devuan 2.0 ASCII has been released
          Debian based Devuan 2.0 has been released. Devuan doesn’t use systemd and the new release allows you to choose between SysVinit and OpenRC init systems.

        • Devuan ships second stable cut of its systemd-free Linux
          Systemd-free Linux distro Devuan has released its stable Version 2.0.

          The project's last release candidate was released in May, and as you'd hope, not much has changed between then and full release.

          Because it's written by purists, we should include the full name of the release: it's Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0 ASCII Stable.

        • Devuan GNU/Linux 2.0 "ASCII" Operating System Launches for Init Freedom Lovers
          Devuan, the open-source GNU/Linux distribution designed to offers users a stable, reliable, and free operating system that doesn't depend on the systemd init, has been updated to version 2.0.

          Continuing project's tradition to offer users alternatives to systemd and its components, Devuan GNU/Linux 2.0 is dubbed "ASCII" and it's based on the Debian GNU/Linux 9 "Stretch" operating system series. It comes with a large variety of desktop environments, among which we can mention KDE, Xfce, Cinnamon, MATE, and LXQt.

          However, Devuan GNU/Linux 2.0 ships with Xfce as default desktop environment. Many other desktop environments are available after installation, and Devuan GNU/Linux's expert install mode lets users choose between the SysVinit and OpenRC init systems instead of systemd.

        • Devuan 2.0 is a Debian fork for Linux users who want to avoid systemd
          The Linux world has a certain reputation for highly-opinionated people engaging in protracted debates about the merits of a particular application or approach to a problem. While some of these—such as the Mir vs. Wayland controversy—have been resolved, the faction of Linux veterans who insist on avoiding systemd have released Devuan 2.0.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 531

          • Empowering developers to embrace Linux

            There is a huge opportunity for businesses to embrace new technologies and move their company forward. Open source and snaps are simple solutions, but ones that gives the most vital innovators in a business - developers - the tools they need to be confident in launching some of the world’s most utilised software.

          • R 3.5.0 on Debian and Ubuntu: An Update

            R 3.5.0 was released a few weeks ago. As it changes some (important) internals, packages installed with a previous version of R have to be rebuilt. This was known and expected, and we took several measured steps to get R binaries to everybody without breakage.

            The question of but how do I upgrade without breaking my system was asked a few times, e.g., on the r-sig-debian list as well as in this StackOverflow question.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 open source tools to make literature reviews easy
    A good literature review is critical for academic research in any field, whether it is for a research article, a critical review for coursework, or a dissertation. In a recent article, I presented detailed steps for doing a literature review using open source software.

    The following is a brief summary of seven free and open source software tools described in that article that will make your next literature review much easier.

  • How Does Project Aiur, An Open Source AI-Engine Substantiate Scientific Knowledge
    As research in science progresses by leaps and bounds, there are a lot of readily available information in the online space, making knowledge sharing in areas like science easier.

    However, there is so much research information available that it is sometimes confusing as to what is right and what is wrong. Given the vast amount of resources, it is essential to carry out in-depth analysis of the resources. This has been made possible with AI and ML innovations.

  • Summer of Code: Evaluation and Key Lengths
    I spent some time testing my OpenPGP library PGPainless and during testing I noticed, that messages encrypted and signed using keys from the family of elliptic curve cryptography were substantially smaller than messages encrypted with common RSA keys. I knew already, that one benefit of elliptic curve cryptography is, that the keys can be much smaller while providing the same security as RSA keys. But what was new to me is, that this also applies to the length of the resulting message. I did some testing and came to interesting results:

  • Events

    • Open Source Summit North America Fosters Exchange of Ideas
      All the way back in 1991, when some of you were working at your first IT jobs, others were still in high school, and still others hadn't even been born yet, a student named Linus Torvalds attending the University of Helsinki in Finland took an interest in computer operating systems and began writing his own OS kernel.

      Today, we have penguins, the backbone of the modern internet, and so many different distributions of the original Linux that we could read them off one by one and plausibly pretend to be listing famous pirates (Yellow Dog, Red Flag, Jarro Negro), Greek mythological monsters (Xandros, Sidux, Tanglu), ancient Roman senators (Canaima, Matriux, Maemo), obscure Marvel Comics characters (Liquid Lemur, Estrella Roja, Evil Entity), or even visitors form a neighboring galaxy (KaarPux, NuTyX, Kororaa, Papug).

    • Coverage of Netconf 2018

      Netconf, the Linux kernel networking development conference, has provided coverage of this year's event, which was held in Boston, MA, May 31-June 1.

    • Netconf 2018 Day 1
      The two day Linux kernel networking development plenary session, called Netconf was held in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 31st and June 1st 2018. Covered here is day one of the sessions, attended by 15 developers.
    • Netconf 2018 Day 2

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Remote UIs with WebGL and WebAssembly

        A frequently requested feature by Qt customers is the possibility to access, view and use a Qt-made UI remotely.

        However, in contrast to web applications, Qt applications do not offer remote access by nature as communication with the backend usually happens via direct functions call and not over socket-based protocols like HTTP or WebSockets.

        But the good thing is, with right system architecture with strong decoupling of frontend and backend and using the functionality of the Qt framework, it is possible to achieve that!

      • Level Up with New Productivity Features in Firefox for iOS
        Today, we’re announcing new features in Firefox for iOS to make your life easier. Whether you’re a multi-tasker or someone who doesn’t want to waste time, we’re rolling out new features to up your productivity game.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Facebook releases Sonar debugging tool to the open source community

    • Facebook open sources Sonar
      Facebook has announced it will be open sourcing its extensible debugging tool: Sonar. Sonar was originally created to help Facebook engineers manage the complexity of working with multiple different modules.

      According to the company, Sonar provides a framework where experts and developers can convey important information to users. It also provides engineers with an intuitive way for inspecting and understanding the structure and behavior of iOS and Android applications.

      When it was started three years ago, Sonar was built upon Stetho, which is an Android debugging bridge built in Chrome’s developer tools. It added new features, provided a richer user experience, and works across both iOS and Android. Facebook recommends the use of Sonar over Stetho for most use cases going forward.

    • Linux Foundation: Microsoft buying GitHub is 'good news' for open source, here's why [Ed: Maybe Zemlin will get a Microsoft job one day.]

    • Closed Source and Ethics: Good, Bad, Or Ugly? [iophk: "Jono is sure milking his earlier accidental appointment as Canonical's spinmeister to promote Microsoft."]

      A little while ago I had a discussion with someone who was grumbling about Microsoft. After poking around his opinion, what shook out was that his real issue was not with Microsoft’s open source work (he was supportive of this), but it was with the fact that they still produce proprietary software and use software patents in departments such as Windows and Office.

      Put bluntly, he believed Microsoft are ethically unfit as a company because of these reasons, and these reasons were significant enough to diminish their open source work almost entirely.

    • Why You Should Use Windows Subsystem for Linux [Ed: Microsoft-connected site says, as in this case, something along the lines of use GNU/Linux only as an 'app' for Vista 10]

    • What Microsoft's GitHub Deal Promises to Programmers [Ed: "Business Over Religion" says a section as if software freedom is superstition and we should submit to the business objectives of Microsoft]

    • Proposed Microsoft-GitHub buy confirms open source role in cloud [Ed: "Microsoft has not always been about the developer," it says. It still isn't. This it why it bribes officials, blackmails executives, lies and cheats (to this date). Don't believe the PR campaign.]

  • BSD


    • Major speedup for big DWG's
      Thanks to David Bender and James Michael DuPont for convincing me that we need a hash table for really big DWGs. I got a DWG example with 42MB, which needed 2m to process and then 3m to free the dwg struct. I also had to fix a couple of internal problems.

      We couldn't use David Bender's hashmap which he took from Android (Apache 2 licensed), and I didn't like it too much neither. So today I sat down and wrote a good int hashmap from scratch, with several performance adjustments, because we never get a key 0 and we won't need to delete keys. So it's extremely small and simple, using cache-friendly open addressing, and I got it right at the second attempt.

      Performance with this hash table now got down to 7 seconds. Then I also removed the unneeded dwg_free calls from some cmdline apps, because the kernel does it much better then libc malloc/free. 3 minutes for free() is longer than the slowest garbage collector I've ever seen. So now processing this 42MB dwg needs 7s.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Better API testing with the OpenAPI Specification
      If you search the internet for "unexpected API behavior," you'll soon discover that no one likes when an API doesn't work as anticipated. When you consider the increasing number of APIs, continuous development, and delivery of the services built on top of them, it's no surprise that APIs can diverge from their expected behavior. This is why API test coverage is critical for success. For years, we have created unit and functional tests for our APIs, but where do we go from there?


  • This Indian Judge Is Making Google and Amazon Nervous

    Currently, foreign companies and hundreds of home-grown startups collect, aggregate, store and process Indian user data unhindered. The Google-backed delivery app Dunzo, for instance, requires access to a customer’s contact list, location, messages, media files and call information at the time of installation. Such information is gathered "only to improve the user’s experience of initiating/running a task on the Dunzo App," the startup said in an email.

    Srikrishna’s framework would rein in such practices. It will detail what is fair use, whether technology giants can transfer data across the border, and how to enforce accountability and penalties for violations. It will also establish whether users can access and control their own data, like with the EU’s GDPR.

  • Yahoo Messenger joins the instant messenger boneyard next month

    Yahoo Messenger was one of the first, and retrospectively, worst of the instant messaging apps and now, after 20 years, it has less just a month to live, with Oath announcing that the service will shut down on 17 July.

  • Hardware

    • Apple and Qualcomm’s Multibillion-Dollar Legal Dispute Gets Serious

      Apple may be on the hook for $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion in unpaid fees, based on estimates for the amount per phone the company may be charged, a total that could be equivalent to about one-fifth of Qualcomm’s annual revenue. The iPhone maker has argued that Qualcomm uses its ownership of patents that cover the basics of how modern smartphones communicate to extract unfairly high payments and coerce it into buying chips. The chipmaker has countered that Apple is stealing its property by refusing to hand over fees for technology that the rest of the industry values and pays for.

  • Security

    • Open Source Security hit with bill for defamation claim
      Open Source Security, maker of the grsecurity Linux kernel patches, has been directed to pay Bruce Perens and his legal team almost $260,000 following a failed defamation claim.

      The security biz, and its president Brad Spengler, sued Perens last year over a blog post, alleging defamation.

      Perens, one of the early leaders in the open source movement, said it was his opinion that Grsecurity's policy limiting the redistribution of its software would expose customers to claims of contributory infringement and breach of contract under the terms of the GPLv2.

      Open Source Security and Spengler challenged that claim, saying it was libelous and harmed the company's business.

      Last December, San Francisco magistrate judge Laurel Beeler disagreed, ruling that Perens's statement was an opinion and not libelous.

    • Untangle Updates NG Firewall to Improve SD-WAN Security
      Untangle will announce version 14.0 of its NG Firewall platform on June 12, providing new features that enhance the security capabilities of the Linux-based platform.

      Untangle NG Firewall 14.0 benefits from enhanced support for securing software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology for small and medium-sized organizations. The new release also includes the latest network security and malware definition updates for the firewall platform.

      "Our version releases deal with core features and functionality of the firewall," Untangle founder and Chief Product Officer Dirk Morris told eWEEK. "We constantly release updates to malware signatures, app and website classification, etc."

    • Canonical Outs New Kernel Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases
      Canonical released new kernel security updates for all supported Ubuntu Linux releases to address several security vulnerabilities discovered by various security researchers in the upstream Linux kernel.

      The new kernel updates are available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating system series and address a total of nine security vulnerabilities affecting the kernels for 64-bit, 32-bit, Raspberry Pi 2, AWS, and GCP systems, as well as cloud environments.

    • DragonFlyBSD Gets Better Hardened Against CPU Speculative Execution Bugs
      While the DragonFlyBSD kernel has already landed its mitigation for Spectre V1/V2 and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities, a fresh round of CPU bug hardening work was just merged into their kernel.

      This latest CPU bug hardening primarily revolves around a rumor that the contents of floating poiunt registers owned by another process could be speculatively detected when they are present for the running process. Intel hasn't communicated clarly over this FP register speculation, so OpenBSD already decided to rework some of their code as a safeguard and now DragonFlyBSD has too.

    • Apple Officially Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Apps For MacOS And iOS

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #163

    • Security updates for Tuesday

    • Can You Control Specific Permissions on Android?
      As a basic privacy concern, what permissions your phone’s apps have is a pretty important one. More recent versions of Android (6.x and up) let you control what your apps can access.

    • Why you need centralized logging and event log management

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US Public Being Misled on Trump-Kim Summit
      For weeks, the corporate media have been saying that the Trump-Kim summit could have only two possible results: Either Trump will walk away angrily or Kim Jong Un will trick him into a deal in which he extracts concessions from Trump but never commits to complete denuclearization.

      The idea that North Korea could not possibly agree to give up its nuclear weapons or its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) has become an article of faith among the journalists covering the issue for big media. Two themes that have appeared again and again in their coverage are that the wily North Koreans are “playing” Trump and that previous administrations had also been taken by North Korea after signing agreements in good faith.

      But the media have gotten it all wrong. They have assumed that North Korea cannot live without nuclear weapons—without making any effort to understand North Korea’s strategy in regard to nuclear weapons.They have invariably quoted “experts” who haven’t followed North Korean thinking closely but who express the requisite hostility toward the summit and negotiating an agreement with the Kim regime.

    • Britain’s Brave New World Just Got Braver
      British Home Secretary Sajid Javid unveiled a new counter-terrorism initiative last week that he says targets an ever-metastasizing threat, yet it raises a raft of new questions about people’s rights.

      The government is acting on the imperative that something needs to be done. But MI5 – officially known as Britain’s domestic Security Service and the lead organization combating terrorism within the UK – has already, since the start of the “war on terror,” doubled in size and has been promised yet more staff over the next two years.

      Yet despite these boosted resources for MI5, as well as increased funding and surveillance powers for the entire UK intelligence community, virtually every terror attack carried out in the UK over the last few years has been committed by someone already known to the authorities. Indeed, the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, had been aggressively investigated but MI5 ignored vital intelligence and closed down the active investigation shortly before he carried out the attack.

    • Ex-CIA official: Seeing the U.S. flag used as backdrop for Kim is 'disgusting'
      Former CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash slammed the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday, saying it was disgusting to see the U.S. flag alongside that from the "despotic regime" of Pyongyang.

      "A summit is not an accomplishment for the American president," Bash told MSNBC's Brian Williams.

    • Trump-Kim Summit Raises Cautious Hopes for Peace
      In time it will become evident whether the joint statement signed by U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung-un on Tuesday will lead to a formal end to the Korean War, denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and an end what the North sees as U.S. provocations against Pyongyang.

      On the morning after, we are only left with the atmospherics and images from the historic meeting between Kim and Trump in Singapore. The two leaders—who just months ago were hurling insults at each other, with Kim calling Trump “dotard,” and Trump calling Kim “Little Rocket Man,”— left Singapore and the details of the negotiation to their administrations.

    • Murky U.S. drone-strike policy threatens to backfire as other nations acquire technology
      On the surface, it may sound inconceivable: a foreign nation dispatching an armed drone to assassinate a fugitive or a political dissident on American soil.

      But such a scenario may not be as far-fetched as it seems, analysts and legal scholars say.

      The rapid proliferation of military drone technology is reaching the point that other nations — and even non-state actors such as Mexican drug cartels — could engage in the kinds of deadly strikes that the U.S. pioneered more than a decade ago and has increased under presidents of both political parties.

      “It’s not outside the realm of possibility that someone flies a drone across the border from Mexico and takes someone out,” said Rachel Stohl, managing director at the Stimson Center, a leading Washington think tank.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Isn't it time Australia brought Julian Assange home?
      The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is described as ‘a body of independent human rights experts that investigate cases of arbitrary arrest and detention.’ It was established by resolution 1991/42 of the former Commission on Human Rights.

      What does all this mean? Over two years have passed without any further comment about the WGAD’s findings by the Turnbull Government. Now, the Government is paying lip service to the existence and role of the WGAD – as it must as a conscientious member of the United Nations – but refusing publicly to accept or even acknowledge its findings in relation to Mr Assange’s detention, let alone in any way trying to address them.

      Given our Government’s demonstrated capacity, when it puts its mind to it, to effect the early release of Australian citizens from curial processes and prisons in other countries – and given that the foundational proceedings against Assange by Sweden have now evaporated – it surely has an obligation to act on the findings of the WGAD and negotiate the safe repatriation of Mr Assange from England back to Australia.

    • We need to bring Julian Assange home. Not for him, but for us.
      Well, I’ll be damned, it’s about time.

      According to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, officials from Australia’s High Commission have just been spotted leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London, accompanied by Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. Robinson confirmed that a meeting had taken place, but declined to say what it was about “given the delicate diplomatic situation.”

      So, forgive me if I squee a bit. I am aware how subservient Australia has historically been to US interests, I am aware that those US interests entail the arrest of Assange and the destruction of WikiLeaks, and I am aware that things don’t often work out against the interests of the US. But there is a glimmer of hope now, coming from a direction we’ve never seen before. A certain southerly direction.

      If the Australian government stepped in to protect one of its own journalists from being persecuted by the powerful empire that has dragged us into war after war, well, as an Australian it makes me tear up just thinking about it. It has been absolutely humiliating watching my beloved country being degraded and exploited by the sociopathic agendas of America’s ruling elites, up to and including the imprisonment and isolation of one of our own, all because he helped share authentic, truthful documents exposing the depraved behaviours of those same ruling elites. I have had very few reasons to feel anything remotely resembling patriotism lately.

    • Tanzania’s repressive online laws have forced the “Swahili Wikileaks” to close
      One of Tanzania’s top homegrown online platforms has temporarily shut down days before the implementation of sweeping regulations that would give officials unfettered powers to police the web.

      Jamii Forums announced it was forced to comply with a government notice that it apply for an online license or cease operation ahead of the June 15 deadline. As part of the new restrictions, the government must certify all bloggers and charge an annual license fee of over $900. Those defying the new orders face fines starting at five million Tanzanian shillings ($2,200) or a year in prison.

      Users could not create posts, comment on threads, or check inbox messages and alerts on Jamii as of this afternoon (June 11). “We are saddened that we are forced to take this sudden action, but we hope that as our users you will be patient during this period,” the management said in a statement (in Swahili).

    • Why June 11 is a huge day for the Q Anon conspiracy

      The biggest event that was scheduled to take place on June 11 was the release of the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on how the FBI conducted the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server, and in particular, director James Comey’s conduct during the final days before the election.

    • Australian government has obligation to protect Julian Assange
      Demonstrations and vigils are about to take place throughout the world in support of Julian Assange, demanding his freedom and safe return to Australia.

      Assange is being persecuted and his human rights abridged by four governments: the US, Australian, British and Ecuadorian.

      Both international and Australian law provide a firm foundation necessitating that the Australian government act to protect Assange as an Australian citizen. Instead, his human rights are being denied and he faces unacceptable conditions and hardship, in circumstances where he has committed no crime.

    • Demands grow that Australian government act to free Julian Assange

      Last Sunday, Australia’s Channel 7 network broadcast an interview with Jennifer Robinson, an Australian-born, London-based lawyer who represents WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange. She issued a clear demand for the Australian government to carry out its responsibility to secure his freedom, as an Australian citizen.

      The interview and 10-minute segment on the nationally-televised “Sunrise” morning program was a significant break in the general silence within the Australian corporate media on the more than seven-year detention of Assange. It came amid a renewed international campaign to fight for the unconditional freedom of the courageous journalist, who has continued to expose the war crimes, regime-change operations and mass surveillance conducted by the US and its allies around the world.

      One of the central demands of this campaign, initiated by the World Socialist Web Site, is that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government act immediately to secure Assange’s freedom and his right to return to Australia, with guaranteed protection from any US request for his extradition on conspiracy and espionage charges. These charges can carry the death penalty.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • SEC commissioner calls for updating stock buyback rules

      Jackson said that corporate executives often receive stock-based pay as an incentive to create value for the companies they run, but that this only works if executives are required hold the stock for a long period of time. Frequently, executives aren't holding their shares for the long run.

    • Amazon Echo factory workers were being paid 'less than half' living wage

      Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos has an estimated net worth of €£83bn and is spending millions on building a 10,000-year clock into a cliff face. Affected workers were paid €£233 per month, less than half the Chinese Living Wage.

    • Workers not paid legally by Amazon contractor in China

      The investigation produced payslip evidence to show that workers can work up to 80 hours of overtime in a month, rather than the 36 hours normally permitted by law. However, companies can and do secure exemptions. Workers at the factory also have to ask for permission from supervisors to go to the toilet.

    • Millionaire Brexiteer Arron Banks briefed CIA agents on his contacts with Russian ambassador
      Millionaire Brexiteer Arron Banks is set to claim that he briefed CIA agents in London on his contacts with a Russian ambassador, according to a new report.

      The 52-year-old had three meetings with Alexander Yakovenko, despite previously claiming to have had only a 'boozy lunch' with him.

      The insurance tycoon - who bankrolled Leave.EUs campaign - made a trip to Russia in February 2016 - shortly before the Brexit referendum.

      Former Ukip donor Mr Banks is also said to have given Russian officials telephone numbers for members of Donald Trump's presidential transition team, just days after he and Mr Farage visited Trump Tower in the wake of the shock US election result.
    • U.S. Venture Funding on Pace for Another Record-Breaking Year
      With respect to the first quarter, the report indicates that venture capitalists invested $28.2 billion in 1,683 deals, which marked the fourth consecutive quarter of more than $20 billion deployed to venture-backed companies (charts from Pitchbook NVCA Venture Monitor report for 1Q 2018; click to enlarge charts).

    • Xiaomi to Consider Seeking $5 Billion From Sale of CDRs, Sources Say

      The company may seek about $5 billion from the sale of Chinese depositary receipts and a similar amount from selling shares in Hong Kong, the people said, asking to not be identified as the details are private. The split will depend on demand in the two markets and may still change before the IPO, they said. The company is also targeting a valuation of about $75 billion although that number could also change, the people said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How Chinese students exercise free speech abroad

      While all of this has been happening, I have been in the midst of a multi-year study of Chinese university students’ social experience while studying in Australia. My participants have been perplexed and angered by the accusations levelled against them. Most find the claims strange, unfair, and implausible. Most confusing is the charge that by voicing their political opinions in the classroom, Chinese students are undermining the free speech of others. “Isn’t expressing our own opinions an instance of free speech, rather than an attack on it?” asked one student.

    • More Bad Facts Making More Bad Law, This Time In Wisconsin
      A few weeks ago we, and others, filed an amicus brief in support of Airbnb and Homeaway at the Ninth Circuit. The basic point we made there is that Section 230 applies to all sorts of platforms hosting all sorts of user expression, including transactional content offering to rent or sell something, and local jurisdictions don't get to try to impose liability on them anyway just because they don't like the effects of those transactions. It's a point that is often forgotten in Section 230 litigation, and so last week the Copia Institute, joined by EFF, filed an amicus brief at the Wisconsin Supreme Court reminding them of the statute's broad application and why that breadth so important for the preservation of online free speech.

      The problem is that in Daniels v. Armslist, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals had ignored twenty-plus years of prior precedent affirming this principle in deciding otherwise. We therefore filed this brief to support Armslist in urging the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals decision.

    • Paper review: YouTube 'censorship,' church row over gay members
      We know it's coming into the summer months in Northern Ireland when the front pages are dominated with bonfires and bands.

      There's a row over the removal of YouTube videos of loyalist bands parades, the News Letter reports.

      The paper claims that thousands of videos were taken down by the site in what's been described as "unwarranted censorship on British culture".

      It reports that about 10 accounts were affected.
    • John Oliver has a fiendish plan to get around Britain's censorship of his satirical use of Parliament footage
      the speaker of Britain's House of Commons delivering put-downs, but nobody in Britain saw it, John Oliver said on Sunday's show. "And not for the normal reasons of disinterest, ignorance about this show's existence, or longstanding aversion to my name and face." At the designated spot in the U.K., he said, the show "just cut to black — like I'd just been murdered on The Sopranos. And the reason for that is, in the U.K., it is, unbelievably, against the law to use footage from the House of Commons for the purpose of comedy. It's true!"
    • How a Turkish political party used Google AdWords to defy censorship
      A Turkish political party used Google ads to outwit a media blackout put in place by the country’s ruling party. The small ad campaign went viral on social media and got the newly founded Good Party coverage from Euronews, Sputnik and AFP, besides various Turkish outlets.

      Led by country’s former interior minister Meral AkÅŸener, the party was largely ignored by the Turkey’s mainstream media because, some commentators argue, it poses a challenge to President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan’s authoritarian rule.

      The party used AdWords, Google’s advertising spots above search results, with playful social commentary on human rights issues just a few weeks before the Turkish general elections.

    • “The Message” passes censorship in Saudi Arabia ahead of region-wide theatrical release for Eid al-Fitr
      The Oscar-nominated film from Producer/Director Moustapha Akkad chronicles the life and times of Prophet Muhammad and serves as an introduction to early Islamic history.

      After a successful DIFF premiere in December 2017, Malek Akkad of Trancas International and Front Row Filmed Entertainment’s Managing Director, Gianluca Chakra spearheaded a reportedly difficult campaign to secure a wide theatrical release across the entire region. Chakra and Akkad pressed the issue to censor boards in the GCC, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Lebanon and Ethiopia with only Kuwait banning the film. However, in light of the approval from Saudi Arabia the film has been resubmitted in Kuwait in the hope the initial decision will be revoked.

    • Censorship authority withdraws screening permit for upcoming Egyptian film Karma
      Egypt’s censorship authority has withdrawn the screening permit of upcoming Egyptian film Karma, a day before its preview screening and days before its release during Eid Al-Fitr.

      The announcement was shared in a post by MP Haitham El-Hariri on his official Facebook page.

      The film was directed by Khaled Youssef, and stars Amr Saad, Khaled El-Sawy, Ghada Abdelrazek, and Maged El-Masry.

      According to a synopsis on, the film tells the story of a young Muslim who falls in love with a Christian, who wed despite their families’ disapproval. Concurrently the film explores the narrative of a businessman entangled in corruption, with two stories intersecting to explore social relationships between members of different religions.

    • Dozens of layoffs at university given ‘Lifetime Censorship Award’ as enrollment plunges
      Earlier this year DePaul University was given the first-ever “Lifetime Censorship Award” by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for its long, inglorious history of punishing and suppressing mostly conservative speech.


      The 62 full- and part-time staff members are mostly in administrative support roles, and they represent 3.5 percent of non-faculty workers. The statement didn’t specify exact positions. The school avoided the ire of its faculty by sparing them any layoffs.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The Administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel Keeps Monitoring Protesters
      Even before thousands of demonstrators gathered in downtown Chicago to speak out against President Donald Trump’s inauguration last year, city police were watching.

      Recently released police and city records show that officers combed through social media posts and opened a formal information-gathering investigation into the protesters.

      Then, throughout that day — Jan. 20, 2017 — police and top aides to Mayor Rahm Emanuel closely tracked the movements of protesters, from when they boarded trains and buses in their neighborhoods and continuing through hours of rallies and marches in the Loop.

      It was another example of how the Emanuel administration routinely tracks protesters and activist groups, according to records I’ve acquired over the last several years through the Freedom of Information Act.
    • EU Explores Making GDPR Apply To EU Government Bodies... But With Much Lower Fines

      We recently wrote how various parts of the EU governing bodies were in violation of the GDPR, to which they noted that the GDPR doesn't actually apply to them for "legal reasons." In most of the articles about this, however, EU officials were quick to explain that there would be new similar regulations that did apply to EU governing bodies. Jason Smith at the site Indivigital, who kicked off much of this discussion by discovering loads of personal info on people hosted on EU servers, has a new post up looking at the proposals to apply GDPR-like regulations on the EU governing bodies itself.

      There are two interesting points here. First, when this was initially proposed last year, the plan was to have it come into effect on the very same day as the GDPR went into effect: May 25, 2018, and that it was "essential" that the public understand that the EU itself was complying with the same rules as everyone else.

    • Security Fever: NSA Releases Cold-War Era Internal Educational Posters

    • The ENCRYPT Act Protects Encryption from U.S. State Prying
      It’s not just the Department of Justice and the FBI that want to undermine your right to private communications and secure devices—some state lawmakers want to weaken encryption, too. In recent years, a couple of state legislatures introduced bills to restrict or outright ban encryption on smartphones and other devices. Fortunately, several Congress members recently introduced their own bill to stop this dangerous trend before it goes any further.

      The bill is called the ENCRYPT Act. EFF gladly supports it and thanks Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Mike Bishop (R-MI), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), and Jim Jordan (R-OH) for sponsoring and co-sponsoring the bill.

      Encryption—the technology used to secure data on phones and computers and keep digital messages safe from eavesdroppers—is under threat around the world. In the U.S., some of those threats have come from the Department of Justice and FBI, which want technology companies to purposefully and irresponsibly weaken encryption so that law enforcement can more easily get their hands on the contents of encrypted data and messages.

      But the threats have come from individual U.S. states, too.

    • Facebook Has A Consent Problem—And The Solution Starts With Transparency
      Last week, the New York Times and others reported that Facebook allowed hardware companies, including some in China, access to a broad range of Facebook users’ information, possibly without the users’ knowledge or consent. This included not only a given user’s personal information, but also that of their Facebook friends and friends-of-friends.

      Right now, it's unclear precisely how much Facebook user data was shared through partnerships with third-party hardware manufacturers—but it is clear that Facebook has a consent problem. And the first step toward solving that problem is greater transparency about the full extent of Facebook’s data-sharing practices.

      It might be tempting to think that the solution is for Facebook to cut off third-party hardware manufacturers and app developers entirely, but that would be a mistake. The solution to this latest issue is not to lock away user information. If we choose that as our aim, we risk enshrining Facebook as the sole guardian of its users’ data and leaving users with even less power to use third-party tools that they do trust to explore the data held by Facebook and hold the company accountable.

      The solution to this latest issue is not to lock away user information from third parties entirely.

      Instead, the problem is Facebook’s opacity about its data sharing practices. Facebook should have made available a list of all the third parties that might have had access to users’ data even after those users made clear they did not want their data shared. Facebook said that its agreements with device partners “strictly limited use of [user] data, including any stored on partners’ servers,” but more transparency is necessary if Facebook is to gain users’ informed consent and fulfill their right to know who has their personal data.

    • Facebook only pretended to shut down access to friends' data in 2015, quietly continued access for its favored partners

      Even as it was publicly announcing that it had killed the friends' data feature, it was creating "whitelists" with favored companies that granted them continued access, giving them a competitive advantage over the developers that Facebook had just bait-and-switched.

    • Facebook gave some developers access to users' friends after policy changed

      Facebook granted a select group of companies special access to its users' records even after the point in 2015 that the company has claimed it stopped sharing such data with app developers.

    • Facebook releases 500 pages of damage control in response to Senators’ questions

      When Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress in April, the CEO faced a public grilling from lawmakers — and left them with several lingering questions. Now, Facebook has followed up with 500 of pages of answers to written questions from two Senate committees, although some of the responses may be cause for even more digging.

    • Facebook gives 500 pages of answers to lawmakers' data privacy questions

    • Facebook faces new data firestorm

      The latest controversy touched off when The New York Times reported earlier this month that Facebook had been sharing more data with phone companies than it had previously disclosed. The uproar intensified when Facebook revealed that Huawei was among the companies that had partnerships for access to user information.

    • UK security minister proposes "Digital IDs" to enforce online civility

      Real-name policies have proved to be a boon to authoritarian rulers; in Cambodia, dictator Hun Sen has embraced Facebook, creating a direct pipeline to Facebook's real-name compliance team that his government uses to force critics to reveal their real identities (exposing them to arrest and torture), or leave the platform.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Police Chief Sends Officers Out To Arrest Man For Calling The Chief A 'Dirty' Cop
      If any state still has a criminal defamation law on the books (and there are more than you would think), it needs to get rid of it posthaste. Besides the obvious Constitutional implications, the laws act as lèse-majesté analogs wielded by powerful government officials to silence their critics.

      Criminal defamation laws have been abused multiple times by law enforcement officers and their public official friends. Louisiana public officials (and the law enforcement that willingly serves them) seem especially fond of deploying a law already declared unconstitutional to harass citizens who just won't stop complaining about the actions of their public officials.

    • Australian Cops Say Their Unreliable Drug Dogs Will Decide Who Gets To Attend Music Festivals

      So, there's an 80% chance festival goers who get booted by a dog won't have any drugs on them, or near them, or only in residue form. And the determination can't be challenged by showing officers you're not carrying any drugs. If a dog says you're not allowed to enjoy the music festival, despite having shelled out at least $128, the dog's call is final.

      This is a very police state-ish thing to do. It allows police to arbitrarily boot people from venues, depriving them of both their freedom and their money. And it's a coward's way out. Rather than put their own reputations on the line, NSW police are simply going to shrug people express their anger at being kicked out of a concert for drugs they don't have and say a dog told them to do it.

    • Women at Microsoft Confront Its Worker-Friendly Image

      A federal judge in Seattle will hear arguments Monday on whether the women can band together as a group of more than 8,630 high-level technical specialists to pursue their bias suit. Class-action status is considered crucial to the success of the lawsuit, allowing the women to pool resources and giving them leverage to force a settlement.

    • CIA whistleblower: ''No regrets. I would do it all again''
      Three years after he was released from prison, former CIA officer John Kiriakou again denounces the torture programme as illegal and unethical which he had exposed back in 2007. Kiriakou explains why he feels no regrets about his decision to blow the whistle, although it came at a high price for him as for NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake: he would do it all over again.

      Kiriakou recollects the CIA's new director, Gina Haspel, overseeing torture sessions in a secret prison overseas. ‘‘When the programme was finally exposed, Haspel personally ordered to destroy videotapes of CIA torture’’, Kiriakou says.

      On Donald Trump, Kiriakou believes his personal instability to be dangerous. ‘‘There is an anti-Russian hysteria in Washington, it's unlike anything I have seen before in my life. That's why I fear for the country’’, Kiriakou states.

      John Kiriakou describes three major techniques that the CIA used: waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and ''cold cell'', which led to the death of two prisoners. He believes that ‘‘those techniques were crimes against humanity’’.

    • Why Trump’s Next Pardon Should Be CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou
      President Donald Trump should pardon John Kirakou as soon as possible. He should do so to reverse former president Barack Obama’s worst injustice: putting a man in prison for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation techniques, now widely considered to be torture and banned by Obama himself.

    • CIA’s Haspel tied to torture
      A retired air force officer recently argued that new CIA chief Gina Haspel acted “legally” with her prisoner interrogation techniques and that no one should question their morality.

      The United States is a signatory of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which requires us to abstain from torture and prosecute those who do it.

      Yes, waterboarding has been defined as torture for centuries. But the Bush administration did far more than waterboarding, with hundreds of prisoners dying in our custody. In his book “Our Endangered Values,” former President Jimmy Carter told about an Iraqi general voluntarily turning himself in to the United States in an attempt to locate his sons. He was tortured, stuffed in a bag and died from trauma and suffocation.

    • What the CIA Could Learn From the U.K. Government Apology Over a Libyan Rendition Case
      Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar were my clients. Belhaj led a Libyan Islamist group that sought to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi; Boudchar, a Moroccan citizen, is his wife. The CIA abducted them in 2004 with the help of Libya and the United Kingdom. CIA officers roughed them up at a “black site” in Thailand—a year and a half after Gina Haspel, recently confirmed as director of the CIA, had reportedly shut down the Thai site code-named “Cat’s Eye”—and shipped the couple to Gadhafi’s Libya. At the time, Boudchar was heavily pregnant.

      Not every CIA officer will have heard of this case, brought in U.K. courts as Belhaj v. Straw. But every officer in MI6, one of the CIA’s closest partners, certainly has. MI6’s second in command at the time came within a whisker of being prosecuted for his role in the operation. The case caused a rift between Britain’s foreign intelligence service and its domestic intelligence agency. Internal documents that were later published show that MI5 frankly assessed that the operation was self-defeating: It turned a national revolutionary movement against the West. And after years of litigation Prime Minister Theresa May apologized to the couple last month.
    • Janine Brookner: The CIA spy turned lawyer exposing the sexual harassment taking place behind government walls
      Janine Brookner was utterly unlike anyone Carl Nett had ever worked with before. As a Secret Service officer and a contractor for the CIA and the Pentagon, he had travelled across the United States and around the world protecting presidents, first ladies and political candidates, and had seen war and its aftermath in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Now, standing before him was a polite older woman, just over 5 feet tall, greeting him in the doorway of her townhouse in Washington, surrounded by her tiny yapping dogs.

      “I remember thinking, ‘She was in the CIA?’” he says. “Not as an insult – it takes all types – but I was coming off a war zone surrounded by bearded guys with tattoos and rifles. It took me a while to digest it: she’s going to help me take on the agency?”


      Back in Washington, Nett pursued a complaint against the CIA that dragged on for four years. Then he hired Brookner. Suddenly, he says, “there was a recognition that I was someone who wasn’t going away, who wouldn’t be intimidated”. Brookner settled the case in 2015, after numerous standoffs with agency lawyers. “When they came back with their final offer, Janine just smirked and said, ‘I doubt that,’” Nett recalls. “We countered their ‘final offer’ and settled for more.” He attributes his victory to having had Brookner at his side, protecting his reputation and his future career.

    • ICE’s Military-Style Raid Leaves Immigrant Communities Terrorized
      At 7 a.m. on June 5, a man walked into Corso’s Garden Center in Sandusky, Ohio. He carried with him a stack of donut boxes and announced a spur of the moment company meeting. Employees of the garden center were gathering when, suddenly, the man began shouting orders. Heavily armed agents in military fatigues stormed in with canine units. Outside, 100 armed agents formed a perimeter, and overhead, helicopters circled to ensure that no one could escape.

      The horrible truth had become apparent. This man, who had just offered them free donuts, was not a company representative. He was an ICE agent, and the workers were trapped. People were crying and panicking. One woman fainted.

      ICE agents moved through the crowd, zip-tying the farm workers’ hands behind their backs without bothering to distinguish between U.S. citizens and those without documentation. Ultimately, 114 employees were loaded onto buses and taken to a Border Patrol station in Port Clinton. From there, the men and women were separated, with most sent to detention centers in Youngstown, Ohio, and Battle Creek, Michigan, respectively.

      I was told the details of this horrible day by people who had witnessed it themselves. I am the executive director of HOLA Ohio, a grassroots Latino organization that has been advocating for immigrants’ rights for over two decades. As soon as news broke of the raid, my colleagues and I got in the car and drove several hours to the trailer park in Norwalk, Ohio, where many of Corso’s employees live. By the time we arrived, it was essentially a ghost town. Rumors had spread that the trailer park was ICE’s next stop and most residents had fled, many leaving behind their cars and all of their possessions.

    • Killer robots will only exist if we are stupid enough to let them

      “The danger is clearly not that robots will decide to put us away and have a robot revolution,” he said. “If there [are] killer robots, it will be because we’ve been stupid enough to give it the instructions or software for it to do that without having a human in the loop deciding.”

    • Haunted by a mugshot: how predatory websites exploit the shame of arrest

      Mugshots are often the first thing to appear when someone is Googled, even if innocent, and have serious consequences on work, housing and relationships.


      At a federal level, mugshots are not considered public records; they are deemed to be an unwarranted invasion of privacy. But since the early 2000s, local law enforcement agencies in every state – with the exception of Georgia –have shared digital booking photos on their websites as a public notification service.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Oddly The Trump FCC Doesn't Much Want To Talk About Why It Made Up A DDOS Attack
      We've discussed for a while how the FCC appears to have completely made up a DDOS attack in a bizarre effort to downplay the "John Oliver effect." You'll recall that both times the HBO Comedian did a bit on net neutrality (here's the first and the second), the resulting consumer outrage crashed the FCC website. And while the FCC tried to repeatedly conflate genuine consumer outrage with a malicious attack, they just as routinely failed to provide any hard evidence supporting their allegations, resulting in growing skepticism over whether the FCC was telling the truth.

      Last week, e-mails obtained via FOIA request revealed that yes, FCC staffers routinely misled journalists in order to prop up this flimsy narrative, apparently in the belief they could conflate consumer outrage with criminal activity. The motive? It was likely for the same reason the FCC refused to do anything about the identity theft and bogus comments we witnessed during the repeal's open comment period: they wanted to try and downplay the massive, bipartisan public opposition to what the lion's share of Americans thought was an idiotic, corruption-fueled repeal of popular consumer protections.

      Understandably with so much going on, the story floated semi-quietly under the cacophony of other national outrages. But the FCC's response to the story has proven to be somewhat comical all the same.

    • Symone D. Sanders Thinks the End of Net Neutrality Is a Threat to Activists and Candidates

      For me, net neutrality is all about the ability to organize. It's about freedom. There are so many movements that we would not have without the Internet. Ending net neutrality means ending the ability for people to freely organize and create and build intersectional coalitions where they've never met the people that they're organizing with.

    • Net neutrality rules officially repealed in US

    • What the net neutrality repeal means

      The rollback can affect consumers, but start-ups fear that this could affect them too. Massive companies like Facebook, Google and Netflix can afford to pay for deals with internet service providers to ensure fast access to their data. Newer startups might not have the cash to do this, which their lobbying groups like Engine and the National Venture Capitalist Association have warned about.

    • It's official! No more neutral internet
      "It can hurt your small businesses. It can hurt your grassroots organizations," Miller said. She warns of internet providers restricting access to websites containing content the company doesn't agree with.

    • The end of net neutrality: The US ruling elite escalates campaign of internet censorship

      Net neutrality, the doctrine that internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all communications as equal, officially ended on Monday. The move is a major milestone in the attack on a free and open internet and on freedom of expression in the United States.

      Since the birth of the public internet, ISPs operated as so-called “common carriers” and were effectively regulated as public utilities, similar to bus companies or package delivery services. They were, by law, prohibited from discriminating against their users or websites by blocking, tampering with, or slowing down internet traffic.

    • What's Going On With Net Neutrality? Its End Date Is Finally Here
      Monday marked the official repeal of net neutrality rules, which were initially passed by the Obama administration in 2015 to ensure everyone had equal access to any and all content on the internet. But now, internet service providers are no longer required to provide their users with that equal access, a move that has angered advocates of an open internet.

      The original legislation treated internet access as if it were a utility, like phone service or electricity, and required that internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T treat all internet content and data equally. This meant, previously, your internet provider couldn't charge you more for using some sites than others, couldn't slow down your internet speed on certain sites, and couldn't block sites they don't like.

    • US Has Finally Repealed Net Neutrality – What Could Happen Next?
      The net neutrality protection laws established under the Obama administration have now come to an end in the US. This move could bring significant changes although it will largely depend on where you live and what your internet service provider chooses to do with the given carte blanche.

    • Monday marks ends of net neutrality rules

      States have also started to create their own net neutrality rules. However, the FCC included a measure in its repeal order that blocks states from creating their own rules, laying the groundwork for legal battles over the open [I]nternet laws.

    • What to Watch for in an Internet Without Net Neutrality (And How To Stop It)
      On Monday, June 11, the FCC's rollback of net neutrality rules goes into effect, but don't expect the Internet to change overnight.

      We still have promising avenues to restore net neutrality rules, meaning that Internet Service Providers need to be careful how much ammunition they give us in that political fight. If they're overt about discrimination or gouging customers they increase the chance that we'll succeed and restore binding net neutrality rules.

      Much like the ten years before the Open Internet Order in 2015, ISPs are still disciplined by the threat of regulation if they generate too many examples of abuse.

      What will happen, though, and what we have already seen under the Trump FCC, is that ISPs play games at the margins. Both landline and mobile ISPs with data caps have already been pushing customers to particular services and media with zero-rating and throttling. And they've been pushing hard to stick us all in slow lanes unless the sites we visit pay protection money -- Verizon even told federal judges it would do this if there were no net neutrality rules.

    • Net Neutrality Rules Die Today, But The Backlash Is Just Getting Started

      If you've spent any time reading Techdirt, we probably don't need to repeat why none of this is actually true. The entire piece is a "greatest hits" of Pai's misleading claims to date, including his insistence that the FTC will be better able to police ISP abuses (false), small ISPs were unfairly burdened by the rules (the FCC's own data disputes this), gutting net neutrality somehow will force ISPs to be more transparent (false), and that the repeal will result in faster and cheaper broadband service (complete nonsense).

      Moving forward, the ISP lobbyist narrative du jour is going to shift to claims that because the internet didn't immediately grind to a halt after June 11, that the repeal must have been a wonderful idea. That was already something Pai and friends were claiming weeks ago despite the fact the rules hadn't even been repealed yet. And it's a claim you're going to see repeated ad nauseum over the weeks and months to come by the telecom industry's vast army of hired academics, think tankers, consultants, and other policy mouthpieces.

      But despite the cocksure behavior by Pai and pals, the repeal remains on pretty shaky footing. ISPs know that, which is why they will likely try to be on their best behavior for the foreseeable future to avoid adding any fuel to the fire. After all, the repeal was based almost entirely on bogus data, was plagued with an endless array of scandals (from the FCC making up DDOS attacks to dead people's names being hijacked to support the repeal), and the overwhelming public opposition to it makes the SOPA/PIPA backlash look like a toddler tantrum.

      As such, the looming lawsuits against the FCC have a fairly decent chance of success. Those suits will likely focus on the fact that under the Administrative Procedures Act, the FCC can't just arbitrarily reverse policy without highlighting that the market changed dramatically enough to warrant it (which is why you'll often see the FCC falsely claiming that net neutrality devastated sector investment). With any luck, this could result in a judge overturning the repeal for being "arbitrary and capricious" (never were those words more true than here).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • China’s Supreme People’s Court consults on evidence admissibility in patent validity proceedings
      We spoke to lawyers in China to ask what the guidelines mean for patent litigation, especially in chemical/pharmaceutical cases

      The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) is consulting on a draft judicial interpretation on evidence admissibility in patent validity proceedings.

    • From Trade War to Class War: Screw Pfizer’s Drug Patents
      Wars always have unpredictable outcomes. It is unlikely that George W. Bush anticipated that the Iraq war would destabilize the Middle East for two decades, and possibly quite a bit longer. World War I resulted in the collapse of four European empires and emergence of the Soviet Union as a world power.

      In this vein, we can hope that something positive may emerge from Donald Trump’s ill-conceived trade war. Specifically, it may lead the United States and the world to re-examine the system of patent and copyright monopolies that we have been expanding and extending for the last four decades.

    • Measuring Patent Thickets
      Those interested in the patent system have long complained of patent thickets as a barrier to efficient production of new products and services. The more patents in an area, the argument goes, the harder it is to enter. There are several studies that attempt to measure the effect of patent thickets, with some studies arguing that thickets can ease private ordering. I'd like to briefly point out another (new) one. Charles deGrazia (U. London, Royal Holloway College), Jesse Frumkin, Nicholas Pairolero (both of USPTO) have posted a new draft on SSRN, called Embracing Technological Similarity for the Measurement of Complexity and Patent Thickets.


      This is an interesting study. The use of citations (versus technological class) will always be a limitation because not every patent in a thicket winds up being cited by others. However, the method used here (using forward and backward citations) is better than the alternative, which is using only blocking prior art.

    • Embracing Technological Similarity for the Measurement of Complexity and Patent Thickets
      However, when a product draws from intellectual property held across multiple firms (including fragmented intellectual property or patent thickets), contracting failures may lead to suboptimal economic outcomes (Shapiro 2000). Researchers have developed several measures to gauge the extent and impact of patent thickets. This paper contributes to that literature by proposing a new measure of patent thickets that incorporates patent claim similarity to more precisely identify technological similarity, which is shown to increase the information contained in the measurement of patent thickets. Further, the measure is universally computable for all patent systems. These advantages will enable more accurate measurement and allow for novel economic research on technological complexity, fragmentation in intellectual property, and patent thickets within and across all patent jurisdictions.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • 70+ Internet Luminaries Ring the Alarm on EU Copyright Filtering Proposal

        The prospects for the elimination of Article 13 have continued to worsen. Until late last month, there was the hope that that Member States (represented by the Council of the European Union) would find a compromise. Instead, their final negotiating mandate doubled down on it.

        The last hope for defeating the proposal now lies with the European Parliament. On June 20-21 the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee will vote on the proposal. If it votes against upload filtering, the fight can continue in the Parliament's subsequent negotiations with the Council and the European Commission. If not, then automatic filtering of all uploaded content may become a mandatory requirement for all user content platforms that serve European users. Although this will pose little impediment to the largest platforms such as YouTube, which already uses its Content ID system to filter content, the law will create an expensive barrier to entry for smaller platforms and startups, which may choose to establish or move their operations overseas in order to avoid the European law.

        For those platforms that do establish upload filtering, users will find that their contributions—including video, audio, text, and even source code—will be monitored and potentially blocked if the automated system detects what it believes to be a copyright infringement. Inevitably, mistakes will happen. There is no way for an automated system to reliably determine when the use of a copyright work falls within a copyright limitation or exception under European law, such as quotation or parody.
      • Lithuanian translation of 4.0 available for use
        The Lithuanian translation of the 4.0 CC licenses and CC0 is now completed. Both the licenses and CC0 translation can be viewed on the Creative Commons website.

        The 4.0 translations are much anticipated by local heritage institutions as an online tool for evaluation of validity of rights and labelling content in the process of creation. The possibility to link the users directly to CC licenses and tools in Lithuanian is particularly welcome.

      • Set TV Suddenly Goes Offline But is the ACE Lawsuit to Blame?

        Set TV, an IPTV service being sued by several Hollywood studios, Amazon, and Netflix, went offline before the weekend with no explanation. Some linked the lawsuit to the service's apparent disappearance but a message sent to TorrentFreak by Set TV suggests that the service is coming back. However, as time runs on and other news comes to the fore, further questions are being raised.

      • Rampant Kodi Malware? It’s Time to Either Put Up or Shut Up

        Over the past couple of years, copyright holders have continuously claimed that people using Kodi to access copyright-infringing content are being exposed to malware. This week, a security expert working with a Hollywood-affiliated group claimed that "embedded in the media itself are some malware variants." With no evidence of that in public, is it now time to either put up or shut up?

      • Amazon Sues Pirate Streaming Boxes, but Sells ‘Piracy’ Tutorials?

        Amazon and other members of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment have declared 'war' on pirate streaming devices and addons. While legal threats are issued left and right, the Amazon store is ironically still stocked up with books that explain to newcomers how to install some of the same addons Amazon is fighting.

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