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Links 27/7/2018: SysAdmin Day and Nautilus 3.30

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop/Microsoft

  • Server

    • SysAdmin Day Discount Offer from Linux Foundation is Irresistible
      The last Friday of July is celebrated as sysadmin appreciation day, popularly known as sysadmin day. Many IT companies organize events on this day to show appreciation for the work of sysadmins and other IT workers.

    • Happy SysAdmin Day (2018)
      Just wanted to wish all my fellow system administrators a very happy sysadmin day. This one goes out to all you ninjas, who carry out their work in the shadows to ensure maximum availability, stability, performance and security. To all of you, who try to explain magic to muggles on a daily basis.

  • Chromebooks

    • The Best Photo Editors for Chromebooks
      One of the biggest question we see about Chromebooks is “can they run Photoshop?” The answer to that is no—at least not the full version you’ll find on other platforms. But that doesn’t mean they can’t do photo editing.

      And that’s really the key here: knowing when you need Photoshop versus when you just need something to edit photos. There are some powerful tools available for Chromebooks—perhaps not quite as powerful as Photoshop, but they can get pretty dang close for most uses.

    • How To Connect Your Chromecast To VLC?

  • Kernel Space

    • Minor changes to kernel tarball releases

      Starting with the 4.18 final release, all mainline tarball PGP signatures will be made by Greg Kroah-Hartman instead of Linus Torvalds. The main goal behind this change is to simplify the verification process and make all kernel tarball releases available for download on be signed by the same developer.

      Linus Torvalds will continue to PGP-sign all tags in the mainline git repository. They can be verified using the git verify-tag command.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • 4 Ways You Can Make Xfce Look Modern and Beautiful
      To start with, Xfce is one of the most popular desktop environments. Being a lightweight DE, you can run Xfce on very low resource and it still works great. This is one of the reasons why many lightweight Linux distributions use Xfce by default.

      Some people prefer it even on a high-end device stating its simplicity, easy of use and non-resource hungry nature as the main reasons.

      Xfce is in itself minimal and provides just what you need. The one thing that bothers is its look and feel which feel old. However, you can easily customize Xfce to look modern and beautiful without reaching the limit where a Unity/GNOME session eats up system resources.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Trinity Desktop R14.0.5 Preparing For Release As Maintained KDE3 Fork
        It's been a while since last hearing anything about the Trinity Desktop Environment, which is a fork of the KDE 3.5 desktop, but a new release is on the way.

        Trinity R14.0.5 is the next release being prepped. As implied by the version, Trinity R14.0.5 is just a maintenance release but does come with dozens of bug fixes to these former KDE3 packages.

      • KDAB Training at Qt World Summit, Boston
        On Monday, October 29th as part of Qt World Summit, Boston, KDAB is offering five, one-day courses – two we’re calling Introductory and three Advanced. You can see from the course Description what that means in the context of the course you choose.

        All KDAB’s trainers are experts with current working knowledge from diverse projects, so this is a rare opportunity to get a rapid boost to your skillset before the conference and Exhibition on Tuesday 30th. And you can meet our trainers again at KDAB’s stand.

      • KDAB at CppCon, Sept 23-29, 2018
        KDAB is once again proud to be sponsoring CppCon, the annual, week-long gathering, organized by the C++ community for the C++ community.

      • Optimizing Circular Soft Mask, Krita:GSoC
        A new vectorized code implemented using Vc library to allow SIMD operations for the generation of the Circular Soft Mask. Implementation was straightforward using internal methods declared in Vc however the gains were not as dramatic as with Gaussian Masks because one of the biggest bottlenecks is fetching from memory the predefined values rendered from the curve set by the user.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Nautilus 3.30

        It’s this time of the year again, a new Nautilus release is on its way to be delivered. This release has been increasing contributions and work done in a steady pace as it has been for the last years, which makes me happy as one of the maintainers of Nautilus. This release had around 140 major contributions (merge requests) including whole features, fixes and improvements. Against our willing, we have included more code than deleted by 3000 lines...
      • 5 Major Improvements Coming in Nautilus 3.30
        A number of major improvements are headed to Nautilus, aka Files, aka the file manager at the heart of the GNOME desktop environment.

        Nautilus 3.30 will feature a redesigned path bar, new toolbar options, and improve support when running on low resolution screens.
      • Bin Li: GUADEC 2018
        Backed from the fantastic GUADEC, now it’s summary time.

        When I flight to Malaga from Paris, an old guy with Ubuntu bag sit beside me, after a while I knew he’s Michael Hill, which I couldn’t find his photo for local news in BJGUG. It’s the GUADEC magic!!

        In core days I attended a lot of great talks in this year, I particularly enjoyed Benjamin Otte’s talk on “GTK4 Lightning talks”, Jonas Ã…dahl and Carlos Garnacho’s talk on “The infamous GNOME Shell performance”, Philip Withnall’s talk on “GLib: What’s new and what’s next?”.

        And after the core days, I took part in two workshops, “GitLab Workshop” by Ralf and “Flatpak Workshop” by Alexander Larsson. It’s a good chance to know the inside of flatpak, and learned how to use Gitlab CI in details.

        After that I attended the Video BoF, helped the video editing, and at that day I found the flowblade was removed in Debian 9 cause of dependency, and it crashed with source code, so I tried flatpak package, found it just show white blank image when I import images. I couldn’t find the fix (issue 508) at that time. So I forward to openshot, it could work at least, although it was very dis-fluency when review the video.

  • Distributions

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Users Get Latest KDE Goodies, LibreOffice 6.1 Office Suite
        The openSUSE Project announced today that users of the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling operating system series received all the latest Open Source software releases and GNU/Linux technologies.

        Dominique Leuenberger reports that a total of eight snapshots have been released for OpenSuSE Tumbleweed users in the past two weeks, bringing the recently released KDE Plasma 5.13.3 desktop environment, as well as the KDE Applications 18.04.3 and KDE Frameworks 5.48.0 software suites.

        Under the hood, openSUSE Tumbleweed is now powered by Linux kernel 4.17.9, X.Org Server 1.20.0 display server, PulseAudio 12.2 sound server, and Mesa 18.1.4 graphics stack. The default system compiler has been upgraded to the first GCC 8.2 Release Candidate, though the final release is already out so it should be available soon.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • DebConf18 invites you to Debian Open Day at National Chiao Tung University, Microelectronics and Information Research Center (NCTU MIRC), in Hsinchu
        DebConf, the annual conference for Debian contributors and users interested in improving the Debian operating system, will be held in National Chiao Tung University, Microelectronics and Information Research Center (NCTU MIRC) in Hsinchu, Taiwan, from July 29th to August 5th, 2018. The conference is preceded by DebCamp, July 21th to July 27th, and the DebConf18 Open Day on July 28th.

        Debian is an operating system consisting entirely of free and open source software, and is known for its adherence to the Unix and Free Software philosophies and for its extensiveness. Thousands of volunteers from all over the world work together to create and maintain Debian software, and more than 400 are expected to attend DebConf18 to meet in person and work together more closely.

      • FSF Events: Molly de Blanc, John Sullivan - "The Free Software Foundation, Debian, and the free software movement" (Hsinchu, Taiwan, DebConf)
      • FSF Events: Karen M. Sandler, Molly de Blanc - "That's a free software issue!" (Hsinchu, Taiwan, DebConf)

      • Debcamp activities 2018

      • Report from DebCamp18

      • Sixth GSoC Report
        After finishing the the evaluations of the SSO solutions, formorer asked me to look into integrating one of the solutions into the existing Debian SSO infrastructure. is a Django application that basically provides a way of creating and managing client certificates. It does not do authentication itself, but uses the REMOTE_USER authentication source of Django. I tested integration with lemonldap-ng, and after some troubles setting up the clone on my infrastructure (thanks to Enrico for pointing me in the right direction) the authentication using the apaches authnz module worked. To integrate lemonldap-ng i only had to add a ProxyPass and a ProxyPassReverse directive in the apache config. I tested the setup using gitlab and it worked.

      • Derivatives

        • Linux Without systemd: Why You Should Use Devuan, the Debian Fork
          Debian 8 was the first version to adopt systemd. The Devuan project began at that time, but the first stable release didn’t land until 2017, alongside the release of Debian 9.

          Devuan uses the same APT package manager as Debian, but it maintains its own package repositories. Those are the servers that store the software you download using APT.

          Devuan’s repositories contain the same software as Debian, only with patches that enable programs to run without systemd. This mainly refers to backend components such as policykit, which manages which users can access or modify certain parts of your PC.

          What Is It Like to Use Devuan?

          Just like with Debian, there are multiple ways to install Devuan. The “minimal” download provides you with the essential tools you need to get Devuan up and running on your machine. The “live” download provides you with a working desktop that you can test out before installing Devuan onto your computer.

          Devuan uses the Xfce desktop environment by default. This is a traditional computing environment akin to how PC interfaces looked several decades ago. Functionally, Xfce is still able to handle most tasks people have come to expect from computers today.

          The live version of Devuan comes with plenty of software to cover general expectations. Mozilla Firefox is available for browsing the web. LibreOffice is there for opening and editing documents. GIMP can alter photos and other images. These apps all function as you would expect, with no concern for which init system you’re running.

        • SparkyLinux 5.5 Rolling Brings Latest Updates from Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster"
          Synced with the Debian Testing software repositories as of July 26, 2018, the SparkyLinux 5.5 Rolling release continues to update the rolling distribution based on the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster" operating system series with the Linux 4.17.8 kernel and a new TimeShift backup utility.

          "There are new testing iso images of SparkyLinux 5.5-dev20180726 available to download. Sparky 5 follows rolling release model and is based on Debian testing “Buster”. ISO images of Sparky 5.5-dev20180725 provide new features to be tested which will be available in the next Sparky release," reads today's announcement.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical releases Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS point release
            Several months after the release of Ubuntu 18.04, Canonical has pushed the first point release. Point releases are convenient if you’re downloading the Ubuntu ISO for a clean install because updates to this point are rolled into the disc image. This announcement is also notable because if you’re still running Ubuntu 16.04, you’ll finally be prompted to upgrade your installation, now that things have had time to settle and become more stable.

          • Ubuntu Linux 18.04.1 LTS Bionic Beaver available for download
            Today, Ubuntu 18.04.1 becomes available. This is the first "point" release of 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver. It is chock full of fixes and optimizations, which some individuals and organizations have been waiting for before upgrading. You see, while some enthusiasts will install the latest and greatest immediately, others value stability -- especially for business -- and opt to hold off until many of the bugs are worked out. If you are a longtime Windows user, think of it like waiting for Microsoft to release a service pack before upgrading -- sort of.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver Officially Available for Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Xylin, and Xubuntu
            Ubuntu, the ever-popular Linux distro available in a wide variety of flavours, was just recently updated to 18.04.1 LTS (Long Term Support), codenamed “Bionic Beaver”. This is the first “point” release of 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver, and with it brings a ton of optimizations and fixes which many users have been anticipating.

          • Kata Containers Now Available as a Snap, First Point Release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, New NetSpectre Attack Vulnerability, IBM and Google Launch Knative, and Google Play Store Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Apps
            The first point release for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS was released yesterday. New in 18.04.1 is the move from Unity to GNOME Shell, Captive Portal, Night Light, color emojis and more. You can download it from here.

          • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Now Available with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Pre-Installed
            The Dell XPS 13 is a powerful and premium laptop featuring 8th generation Intel Quad Core processors, up to 16GB RAM, and up to 1TB SSD storage. It also features the world's first InfinityEdge 13.3-inch near bezel-less display with either Full HD or Ultra HD and touchscreen on the UHD option, as well as a sleek magnesium body with a silver finish. And now, you can purchase it in the United States with Canonical's latest and long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system.

            "We are delighted to have worked in close partnership with Dell for the launch of their latest XPS 13 Developer Edition pre-installed with our newest LTS release. Dell’s superior hardware combined with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS provides an excellent, reliable experience straight out of the box. Building on our longstanding relationship with Dell over the last six years, we look forward to seeing 18.04 LTS roll out on further models in the coming months," comments Will Cooke, Desktop Engineering Director, Canonical.

          • Dell XPS 13 (9370) Developer Edition finally available with Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS

          • Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition now ships with Ubuntu 18.04
            While most modern laptops ship with Windows 10, Dell is one of the few major PC makers that offers Ubuntu Linux as an option. The company has been selling Linux-powered “Developer Edition” versions of select laptops for a number of years, and now the company is giving its Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition a major software update.

          • You Can Now Install Kata Containers VM as a Snap on Ubuntu, Other Linux Distros
            Canonical and the Kata Containers project announced today the availability of open-source, lightweight and fast Kata Container virtual machines in the Snap Store.

            Recently launched, the Kata Containers project combines technologies from the Intel Clear Containers and Hyper runV to provide the Open Source community with extremely lightweight and super fast booting virtual machines that have been designed with the speed of Linux containers and the security offered by virtual machines to seamlessly plug into the containers ecosystem.

            Kata Containers consists of six components, including a kernel, the well-known QEMU virtualization software, as well as a runtime, an agent, a proxy, and a shim. Thanks to its agnostic architecture, Kata Containers virtual machines can run on multiple hypervisors and architectures, including 64-bit, PowerPC64, and ARM64, and are compatible with both the CRI specification of Kubernetes and OCI specification of Docker containers.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Pop!_OS 18.04: the state of the art in GNU/Linux on desktop

              The genius of the System76 team was in realising that all the components for a usable, convenient, and delightful GNU/Linux desktop experience are already here, they’re just not tastefully curated. They took the best bits of the Linux ecosystem, added some of their own special sauce, and ended up creating a minimal, coherent, consistent and – at times – delightful experience.

              Take note, because this is a inflection point in desktop Linux.

              If you had asked me a few years ago, these are not words I thought I would ever be using to describe a Linux distribution. And they’re not just words. I recently switched my main development machine from a Macbook to a notebook running Pop!_OS after falling in love with it in a virtual machine.

            • Xubuntu: 18.04.1 Released
              The first point release for 18.04 Bionic Beaver has now been released.

              As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • More organizations embracing open source for analytics processes
    Open source products are becoming an increasingly important part of data management, although not all categories of offerings are growing as quickly as others.

    “Open source business analytics has been relatively slow to grow, compared to other open source data management capabilities,” said Donald Farmer, principal at consulting firm TreeHive Strategy.

    “We have seen real traction for stream processing, data movement and of course data management in open source,” Farmer said. “One important exception has been open source data visualization, a critical component of analytics.”

    For example, d3 “has been an outstanding success and as a result is supported even by analytics tools which have their own highly-developed visualization capabilities,” Farmer said.

  • Summer of Code: Finalizing the PR

    I spent the week opening my pull request against Smacks master branch and adding a basic trust management implementation. Now the user is required to make decisions whether to trust a contacts key or not. However, the storage implementation is kept very modular, so an implementor can easily create a trust store implementation that realizes custom behaviour.

    Smack-openpgp now allows users which did not subscribe to one another to exchange encryption keys quite easily.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • How LibreOffice’s quality has improved thanks to automated tools and the volunteer contribution of security specialists
      The Document Foundation celebrates five years of improvements to LibreOffice’s source code under Red Hat’s leadership, thanks to the adoption of automated tools such as Coverity Scan and Google OSS-Fuzz, and to the key contributions in the area of source code fuzzing of security specialists such as Antti Levomäki and Christian Jalio of Forcepoint.

      “The combination of Coverity Scan, Google OSS-Fuzz and dedicated fuzzing by security specialists at Forcepoint has allowed us to catch bugs – which could have turned into security issues – before a release,” says Red Hat’s Caolán McNamara, a senior developer and the leader of the security team at LibreOffice.


    • GCC 8/9 vs. LLVM Clang 6/7 Compiler Benchmarks On AMD EPYC
      Following the GCC 9.0 benchmarks earlier this week I ran some tests seeing how the GCC 8 stable compiler and GCC 9 development state compare to the LLVM Clang 6.0.1 stable compiler and LLVM Clang 7.0 development. Here are those benchmarks using the AMD EPYC 7601 32-core / 64-thread processor.

      Up for benchmarking in this Linux C/C++ compiler comparison were GCC 8.2 RC1, GCC 9.0.0 SVN as of 20 July, LLVM Clang 6.0.1 stable, and LLVM Clang 7.0 SVN as of 22 July. With each of these compilers, they were tested when setting the CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS to -O2, -O3, and -O3 -march=native for a variety of common optimization levels.

      The test system for the duration of the comparison was the AMD EPYC 7601 "Zen" server processor within a Tyan 2U platform and running an Ubuntu 18.10 development snapshot with the Linux 4.16 kernel.

    • Revealing unknown DWG classes (2)
      I've added more solver code and a more detailled explanation to the HACKING file, to find the binary layout of unknown DWG classes, in reference to public docs and generated DXF files.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • 15 Years of SparkFun

        It’s been 15 years since SparkFun started building crazy stuff. Let’s take a long moment and look back to see how it started. Perhaps from history we can see where we might be headed. I enjoy telling a good story, and you’ve got me wading through memory lane. Grab a tasty beverage and have a read…

  • Programming/Development

    • A Git Origin Story

      Linus coded in seclusion for a brief time, then shared his new conception with the world. Within days of beginning the project in June of 2005, Linus' git revision control system had become fully self-hosting. Within weeks, it was ready to host Linux kernel development. Within a couple months, it reached full functionality. At this point, Linus turned the project's maintainership over to its most enthusiastic contributor, Junio C. Hamano, and returned full-time to Linux development once again.

      A stunned community of free software developers struggled to understand this bizarre creation. It did not resemble any other attempts at revision control software. In fact, it seemed more like a bunch of low-level filesystem operations, than a revision control system. And instead of storing patches as other systems did, it stored whole versions of each changed file. How could this possibly be good? On the other hand, it could handle forks and merges with lightning speed and could generate patches rapidly on demand.

      Gradually, Junio drew together a set of higher-level commands that more closely resembled those of tools like CVS and Subversion. If the original set of git commands were the "plumbing", this new set of commands were the "porcelain". And, so they came to be called.

      As much as there had been controversy and resentment over BitKeeper, there was enthusiasm and participation in the further development of git. Ports, extensions and websites popped up all over the place. Within a few years, pretty much everyone used git. Like Linux, it had taken over the world.

    • Improve your Python skills this weekend
      Fedora loves Python, and the Fedora Magazine is no exception. Are you looking at learning Python, or improving your Python skills? Over the last year, Fedora Magazine contributors have been providing some awesome tips, tutorials, and learning project ideas. Here is a selection of articles that can help you get started on improving your skills.


  • A safety vest and ladder will get you (almost) everywhere

    Using just a ladder and a hi-visibility safety vest Yle's undercover reporter managed to gain entry to 10 out of 11 locations including the Bank of Finland, Helsinki Airport and the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.

  • MoviePass Had an Outage Because It Ran Out Money, So Maybe Use Yours Quick
    MoviePass currently has a business model of burning money. Turns out they burned a bit too much. On Thursday night, the service experienced an “outage” because the company ran out of cash.

  • Science

    • IBM’s Watson gave unsafe recommendations for treating cancer

      “This product is a piece of s—,” one doctor at Jupiter Hospital in Florida told IBM executives, according to the documents. “We bought it for marketing and with hopes that you would achieve the vision. We can’t use it for most cases.”

    • IBM Watson Reportedly Recommended Cancer Treatments That Were 'Unsafe and Incorrect'

      According to Stat, those documents provided strong criticism of the Watson for Oncology system, and stated that the “often inaccurate” suggestions made by the product bring up “serious questions about the process for building content and the underlying technology.”

    • IBM Watson has been giving duff advice about cancer treatment

      Thankfully, the people and their cancers were all fiction, but they did serve to highlight a problem which, if it had been allowed to go into live usage, would have had the potential to be life-threatening.

    • The tech industry doesn’t have a plan for dealing with bias in facial recognition

      That’s the bad news. The worse news is that companies don’t yet have a plan to fix this problem. Although individual firms are tackling bias in their own software, experts say there are no benchmarks that would allow the public to track improvement on an industry-wide scale. And so when firms do reduce bias in their algorithms (as Microsoft announced it had last month), it’s difficult to judge how meaningful this is.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Record tobacco sales mask declining crop productivity
      THE state media went to town this week, hailing the record 238 million kg of tobacco sold as at July 23 in this current but soon-to-close tobacco marketing season, which is an improvement on the 237 million kg delivered in 2000.


      Science is an undertaking of organised scepticism. That canon of science leaves us with no option other than putting this huge economic number into the crucible of analysis to separate the genuine from the dross.

      The fact that, as per the 2017 Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) Statistical Report, only 188,9 million kg of tobacco were delivered last year can, if taken at face value, be politically abused as a sign that the so-called new dispensation is responsible for bringing the fillip being experienced this current season. The key metric that should talk to tobacco farming policy effectiveness is productivity.

    • Police launch inquiry after running policeman cops sports ban for importing performance-enhancing drugs
      A senior cop banned from athletics for importing a prohibited performance-enhancing drug was the officer in charge of investigating complaints against police in his district.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday

    • Update: 3 months with Bitwarden
      Three months ago, I wanted to move away from LastPass — who’ve lately have been reducing support for Firefox and other platforms — to an open source password manager instead. I chose to migrate to Bitwarden and I’ve been overall happy with the decision ever since. Here are my thoughts and impressions three months on with Bitwarden.

    • The Ascendance of nftables
      iptables is the default Linux firewall and packet manipulation tool. If you’ve ever been responsible for a Linux machine (aside from an Android phone perhaps) then you’ve had to touch iptables. It works, but that’s about the best thing anyone can say about it.

      At Red Hat we’ve been working hard to replace iptables with its successor: nftables. Which has actually been around for years but for various reasons was unable to completely replace iptables. Until now.
    • Remote Spectre exploits demonstrated
      This paper from four Graz University of Technology researchers [PDF] describes a mechanism they have developed to exploit the Spectre V1 vulnerability over the net, with no local code execution required. "We show that memory access latency, in general, can be reflected in the latency of network requests. Hence, we demonstrate that it is possible for an attacker to distinguish cache hits and misses on specific cache lines remotely, by measuring and averaging over a larger number of measurements. Based on this, we implemented the first access-driven remote cache attack, a remote variant of Evict+ Reload called Thrash+Reload. Our remote Thrash+Reload attack is a significant leap forward from previous remote cache timing attacks on cryptographic algorithms. We facilitate this technique to retrofit existing Spectre attacks to our network-based scenario. This NetSpectre variant is able to leak 15 bits per hour from a vulnerable target system." Other attacks described in the paper are able to achieve higher rates.

    • NetSpectre Vulnerability Can Reveal Arbitrary Memory Over Network
      NetSpectre is a new network-based speculative attack vulnerability that doesn't require exploited code to be running on the target machine.

      NetSpectre is a Spectre V1 style attack but for proper exploit requires precise timing among other caveats. The biggest caveat though is NetSpectre is only able to leak at an incredibly low rate of 15~60 bits per hour depending upon the processor.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Sixty-Five Years Post-Ceasefire, US Must Build Trust to End Korean War
      July 27 marks the 65th anniversary of the Armistice Agreement when the US, North Korea and China signed a ceasefire to halt three years of brutal fighting which claimed 4 million lives. When the military commanders laid down their weapons, they promised to return within 90 days to negotiate a peace agreement to end the Korean War.

      Sixty-five years later, after two historic summits between the two Koreas at Panmunjom and between North Korea and the United States in Singapore, we are the closest ever to seeing a peace process that will yield that long-awaited peace agreement.

      In Singapore, US President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un committed to improving relations between the two countries, establishing a peace regime and denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. The first step toward advancing this longer process, which was the last item both leaders agreed to, is North Korea’s return of the remains of the US servicemen from the war. According to KBS World Radio, North Korea is slated to repatriate two truckloads of wooden boxes of American soldiers on the anniversary.

      Already, North Korea has halted nuclear and missile testing, and the United States and South Korea have suspended their joint war drills. According to Vincent Brooks, US Commander of US Forces in Korea, almost a year has passed without North Korea conducting a nuclear test. Furthermore, Pyongyang has returned all detained Americans and has begun to dismantle a satellite launch site, according to the think tank 38 North.

      At a July 25 Senate Foreign Relations hearing, in response to Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy’s tough questioning on whether North Korea agreed to the US definition of denuclearization, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed that the North Koreans agreed to denuclearize according to a US definition of denuclearization that was “not dissimilar to how the UN has characterized it, [or] how South Koreans have characterized it.”

    • Report: Fallen Army Ranger part of CIA program
    • Summerville Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan was part of CIA mission
    • One Former CIA Operative's Thoughts on President Trump

    • What Everyone Seemed To Ignore In Helsinki

      "We continue careening towards more conflicts which can always lead to unintended consequences, ever closer to nuclear war. Meanwhile efforts for a dialogue with Russia are thwarted by our internal politics and dysfunction in Washington."

    • U.K. halts U.S. cooperation on handover of ISIS "Beatles" suspects
      Britain's Home Office has temporarily suspended cooperating with U.S. authorities on the handover of two British jihadis allegedly linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) until a judge reviews a decision that would allow the pair to be tried in the United States. Defense lawyers wrote the government this week after leaked documents showed that British officials were willing to hand over El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey without assurances the men would not be subject to the death penalty if they were convicted in an American court.

      "We have agreed to a short-term pause," the Home Office said in a statement Thursday. "The government remains committed to bringing these people to justice, and we are confident we have acted in full accordance of the law."

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Crucifixion of Julian Assange: 'Never Send to Know For Whom The Bell Tolls'
      If reports are to be believed, and the Ecuadorian government is preparing to evict Julian Assange from their embassy in London, where the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks has been holed up since 2012, fighting for the right to political asylum, then his legal and political crucifixion may well now be approaching completion.

      It is a development that once again reminds us of the plight of a man who, in acting as a metaphorical canary down the coal mine of Western democracy, is living proof that a marked difference exists between believing that you live in a free society and behaving as if you do.

      For in daring to remove the mask of civility and moral rectitude behind which Western governments have carried out their malign deeds at home and around the world in the cause of hegemony, Assange has since 2012 sat pride of place in the crosshairs of their considerable wrath.

    • Assange: Boxes removed from Ecuadorian embassy

    • Prosecuting Assange for journalism a move towards ‘dark ages of ignorance’, say whistleblowers
      Julian Assange and WikiLeaks perform a valuable public service and should be praised rather than vilified, former CIA and FBI agents told RT America, adding that prosecuting Assange would be a disgrace for freedom of the press.

      “Julian performs a function that no longer exists in the mainstream press, and he should be rewarded rather than vilified,” former CIA analyst Ray McGovern said, appearing on RT America’s Debate Week news special.

      “He’s been promoting the truth. He even got a left-handed compliment from the US intelligence people by saying that the reason WikiLeaks is believed is because they don’t adulterate any of the information they have,” McGovern added.

      The reference was to emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 US presidential campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller has accused the Russian military intelligence service GRU of obtaining the emails by hacking and of using WikiLeaks as a “cutout” to make them public.

    • Ecuador 'Under Huge Pressure' by US Government Over Assange - Lawyer
      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been living for six years while claiming diplomatic asylum, according to The Intercept. Sputnik discussed the issue with International lawyer Toby Cadman.

    • George Galloway: Assange’s extradition will be the ‘most acute crisis’ the UK will ever face

      Julian Assange's potential extradition to the United States could be the “most acute crisis” the UK government will ever face, says George Galloway.

      Assange has been residing inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, claiming refuge on political asylum grounds. Reports suggest he could be evicted and that the embassy has cut off his computer and phone.

      Talking on the Mother of All Talk Shows, Galloway said: “Julian Assange may be turfed out of the Ecuador embassy, where he had taken refuge as a political asylum refugee given by the legitimate government of Ecuador, staying in the sovereign territory of Ecuador but besieged at the expense of €£15m to the London tax payers.”

      The Wikileaks founder entered the embassy back in 2012 after he broke bail over sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden. While the case was dropped by Swedish authorities in 2017, the UK warrant for his arrest remains.

    • Ecuador Foreign Minister: Assange Can't Enjoy 'Eternal Asylum' in London Embassy
      WikiLeaks founder may soon be stripped of his asylum at the Latin American country's London mission.

      "Ecuador has been very clear" on Assange's asylum status, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told Spain's ABC newspaper on Thursday. "It is an issue that should be dealt with in the framework of international law by three parties: the British government, the Ecuadorian government and Assange's lawyers," the Foreign Minister said.

    • Ecuador president says Assange must eventually leave embassy
    • Ecuador President: Assange Must Eventually Leave Embassy

    • Julian Assange must eventually leave London embassy, says Ecuador
      In 2010, WikiLeaks published secret US military documents and diplomatic cables detailing alleged war crimes and human rights violations.


      Last December, Assange was made an Ecuadorean citizen - and the country unsuccessfully tried to register him as a diplomat with immunity as part of its efforts to have him leave the embassy without risk of being detained.

    • Ecuador has spoken to Britain about Wikileaks Assange
      Ecuador has spoken to the British government about the situation of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, President Lenin Moreno said on Friday.

    • Assange's embassy stay in doubt after Ecuador president's comments
      Speculation is swirling over Julian Assange’s future after Ecuador’s president said he must ultimately leave the country’s London embassy, where he has lived for six years.

      Lenín Moreno’s comments about the Australian-born WikiLeaks founder, made at an event in Madrid, follow reports that discussions were held between senior officials from Ecuador and Britain about how to remove Assange from the embassy if his asylum were revoked.

    • Julian Assange: UK and Ecuador in talks on Wikileaks founder's fate
      Mr Moreno confirmed the accuracy of the Sunday Times article on Friday, at an event in Madrid.

      Any eviction of Mr Assange from the embassy must be carried out properly through dialogue, he said.

      The Australian will be arrested by UK police if he leaves the embassy for breaching bail conditions.

    • Bad news for Assange? Fmr MI5 officer on Julian 'eventually leaving' Ecuadorian embassy

    • Assange must leave embassy 'eventually': Ecuadorian President
    • 'I've never been in favor' of Wikileaks' activities, Ecuador president says

    • I've never been in favor of Wikileaks' activities, says Ecuador president
      Ecuador’s president, signaling his government’s desire to end the long sojourn of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in its London embassy, said on Friday he had never supported Assange’s leaking activities.

    • Julian Assange Must Leave Embassy, Ecuador President Says
      The U.S. intelligence community believes the whistle-blowing platform played a key role in the 2016 election-meddling campaign. WikiLeaks was used to spread stolen emails allegedly hacked by Russian intelligence.

    • Ecuador’s president seeks Assange’s exit from London embassy
      Ecuadorean and British officials are discussing how to get Julian Assange out of Ecuador’s embassy here, where he has been holed up for six years, the president of the South American nation confirmed Friday.

      It comes after British media reported earlier this month that authorities were "locked in discussions over the fate of Assange."

      Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno said the life of the WikiLeaks founder would have to be guaranteed if he is to be released.

    • Peter Tatchell: Julian Assange caused great embarrassment & the US wants revenge
      "He caused great embarrassment & the US wants revenge" says Peter Tatchell as Ecuador reveals that Julian Assange will eventually have to leave the embassy in London.

    • John Kiriakou: Assange may be charged with espionage if US gets him
      Ecuador announced that whistleblower Julian Assange will eventually have to leave the country's embassy in London.

      RT talked to John Kiriakou - former CIA officer-turned-whistleblower - on the Assange's case.
    • Assange will eventually have to leave our embassy in London – Ecuador President
      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a step closer to being evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after President Lenin Moreno said the whistleblower must "eventually" leave the facility.

      “Yes, indeed yes, but his departure should come about through dialogue,” the Ecuadorian president said on Friday answering a reporter’s question on whether Assange will eventually have to leave.

      “For a person to stay confined like that for so long is tantamount to human rights violation,” Moreno said. He added that Ecuador wants to make sure that nothing “poses danger” to the whistleblower's life.
    • Assange must eventually leave London Embassy - Ecuador president
      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a step closer to being evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after President Lenin Moreno said the whistleblower must "eventually" leave the facility.
    • LEAVE AND LET LIVE Ecuador president says Wikileak’s Julian Assange MUST leave embassy but wants assurances he won’t be executed
      Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno today told reporters in Madrid the "only thing" he wants is a guarantee Assange will avoid a death penalty.

      He added that the "only person" he hasn't spoken to regarding the Wikileaks founder's plight "is Mr Assange" himself.

      It comes as a source close to Assange today told Reuters his embassy standoff situation was coming to a head.
    • Ecuador's president says Julian Assange MUST leave its London embassy eventually
      Ecuador's president has said Wikileaks founder Julian Assange must leave its London embassy eventually as he confirmed his country is in talks with Britain about the situation.

      President Lenin Moreno said he has spoken to the British government about Assange, who has been living in the embassy in Knightsbridge since June 2012 and is fearful he will be extradited to the United States if he leaves.

      He said he had 'never been in favour' of the activities of the 47-year-old as he spoke at an event in Madrid, adding that Australian-born Assange will eventually need to leave the embassy.
    • Julian Assange's fate rests on death penalty assurances, Ecuador's president says
      British and Ecuadorian authorities have held discussions over the future of Julian Assange, the Ecuadorian president said on Friday, fueling speculation that the Wikileaks founder may soon be stripped of the country's diplomatic protection in London.

      Speaking in Madrid, President Lenín Moreno suggested Ecuador was seeking guarantees that whatever Assange's eventual fate, he would not face the death penalty.

      Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 when he was facing allegations of sexual assault in Sweden. The case was eventually dropped but Assange has always feared being extradited to the US, and in the past his lawyers have claimed he could face execution there.

      President Moreno said the previous Ecuadorian government granted Assange asylum because it agreed his life was in danger. "The death penalty does not exist in Ecuador, and we knew that possibility existed... The only thing we want is a guarantee that his life will not be in danger," Moreno said.
    • Ecuador President Says Assange Must Eventually Leave London Embassy
      Media have been speculating for months now that Ecuador was preparing to withdraw asylum for the world’s most wanted whistleblower after then-Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa stated that her government and the UK had “the intention and the interest that this be solved.”
    • Europe briefing: six stories you need to know about today
      Ecuador's President Moreno says he has spoken about Julian Assange's situation with the UK government and said Julian Assange must leave the London Embassy.

      The WikiLeaks founder has lived in Equador's embassy for the past six years while claiming diplomatic asylum.
    • Ecuador, UK look to end Assange embassy stay

      President Lenin Moreno has confirmed Ecuador and the UK are in talks about Julian Assange.


      Moreno made his comments in Madrid, where he had met King Felipe and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez after a three-day visit to Britain.

    • I've never been in favour of Wikileaks' activities, says Ecuador president

    • Ecuador president confirms Assange talks

    • Ecuador president confirms Assange talks, says he never supported leaking

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told he MUST leave London embassy
      With speculation heating up that the iconic standoff may be close to an eventful conclusion, all eyes will be on whether Mr Assange can secure himself another home where he would be safe from arrest.
    • Ecuador says Julian Assange MUST leave embassy eventually 'but want guarantees he won't be executed'
      And a source close to him told Reuters the situation was coming to a head, adding: "It's not looking good."
    • Ecuador’s president seeks Assange exit from London embassy

      He would be tried there for his leaking of classified US state department documents.

      Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said in Madrid that nobody should remain under asylum “for too long” and that any change in Mr Assange’s status should be the result of negotiations involving all sides.

      “What we want is for his life not to be in danger,” Mr Moreno added.
    • Ecuador’s case for Assange’s asylum is stronger than ever
      As Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno visited the United Kingdom this week, there was much speculation as to whether Ecuador would continue to protect Julian Assange.

      Speaking at a press conference today, as his European tour draws to an end, Moreno appeared to confirm that he is paving the way towards an end to Assange’s asylum. He implied, for the first time, that extradition to the United States would be an acceptable outcome and that his only red line is the death penalty.

      This fundamentally contradicts the position Ecuador has maintained until now of refusing any possibility of extradition to the United States. Could Moreno’s pandering to the Anglo-American alliance undermine Ecuador’s adherence to international law and hurt its hard-earned international standing?

      Moreno has long been hostile to Assange’s asylum. Less than a week into his presidency, Moreno referred to Assange as a “hacker”, a depiction which contradicts Ecuador’s legal case which has rested on its protection of Assange for his journalistic activities. Then in January, Moreno claimed the asylum was an “inherited problem” and a “nuisance”, and publicly scolded his now former Foreign Minister for giving Assange the Ecuadorian nationality.
    • Ecuador Says Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange MUST Leave Embassy after Six Years of Evading Law

      President Lenin Moreno comments on Assange's future were made today at an event in Madrid.

      Assange founded the whistleblowing website Wikileaks in 2006 and has been responsible for the leak of more than ten million documents, many of which were classified as top secret.
    • The solitude of Julian
      The visit of the Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno to London, on the Global Disability Summit, co-organized by the British government as of July 24, 2018, has generated rumors about a possible termination of the asylum of the journalist Julian Assange, a refugee for 6 years at the Embassy of Ecuador in London.

      The most pessimistic point to a supposed “agreement at the highest level” which would put an end to the asylum granted by Ecuador, is to force Julian from the only place that has so far protected him and hand him over to Theresa May’s police. Put bluntly, Julian Assange could be extraditable on a silver platter to the United States of Donald Trump.

      Personally, I do not think that is the most likely scenario at this moment, and I hope I am right. However, in light of the political virulence in today’s Ecuador, an outcome of that nature should not be ruled out, so here are a few reflections on what an eventual capitulation of Ecuador would mean:

      The abandonment of Julian to his fate would set a sad precedent for the International Human Rights System, under the aegis of the United Nations, whose Human Rights Council, through its Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, in its resolution 54/2015, described the situation of Julian Assange as nothing less than an arbitrary detention. The UN resolution requires Sweden and the United Kingdom to end the prolonged confinement and grant the asylee the right to receive compensation, in accordance with what is established in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

      The overwhelming resolution of the UN, in essence, shows that Ecuador made the right decision to protect Julian. Hence it would be contradictory that the retirement of his asylum happened just when Ecuador deservedly presides over the General Assembly of the United Nations.

      In addition, by surrendering Julian, Ecuador would contravene the provisions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in its recent and even more forceful advisory judgment OC-25/18, prepared at Ecuador’s request. In order to issue its opinion, the Inter-American Court considered more than 50 specialized opinions, from governments, international organizations that include OAS and UNHCR, human rights organizations, international law academic centres and human rights experts from various parts of the world.
    • Julian Assange must eventually leave London embassy, says Ecuador
      Wikileaks fugitive Julian Assange must eventually leave Ecuador's embassy in London, the country's president has said.

      Lenin Moreno said he had spoken to the British government about the situation, amid speculation that the long-running stand-off is coming to a head.

    • Assange will be removed from London embassy 'eventually', Ecuador says

      He also fears extradition to the United States, where he could be tried for the leaking of classified US state department documents.

      Mr Moreno said nobody should remain under asylum “for too long” and Mr Assange would “eventually need to leave” the embassy.

    • Assange’s Freedom, Democracy’s Last Line of Defense
      Over 50 years ago, in his letter from the Birmingham Jail, addressing a struggle of the civil right era, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people." His message is now more prevalent than ever in the current political climate surrounding WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

      WikiLeaks stepped onto a global stage with release of a huge trove of classified documents, revealing crimes and corruption of governments. After the publication of war logs that exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the reaction of the Pentagon quickly escalated into a war against the First Amendment. WikiLeaks was subjected to unlawful financial blockades and there has been an ongoing secret grand jury against the organization and its associates since 2010.

  • Finance

    • What is Ethereum?
      Ethereum is a blockchain protocol that includes a programming language which allows for applications, called contracts, to run within the blockchain. Initially described in a white paper by it’s creator, Vitalik Buterin in late 2013, Ethereum was created as a platform for the development of decentralized applications that can do more than make simple coin transfers.
    • Google Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Apps On Play Store
      After Apple recently imposed a ban on cryptocurrency mining apps, Google is the next in line to take a toll on such apps. The search giant has updated the Play Store Developer Policy to reflect that latest changes.

      “We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency,” reads the updated policy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Twitter says supposed ‘shadow ban’ of prominent Republicans is a bug

      Shadowbanning is a quiet way of diminishing a person's presence on a platform, making it so that only that person can see the content they post, not their followers or searchers. But that's not what's happening here: Twitter's search isn't autopopulating some handles, even when they are typed into search directly. BuzzFeed News found tweets from prominent left-leaning accounts were equally subject to this kind of treatment.

    • Blockchain Could Be the Savior of Free Speech

    • PR: The Internet of People (IoP) Is Creating a New Internet for Decentralization and Censorship-Resistance
      New York, NY Internet of People (IoP) is a digital cooperative using blockchain and revolutionary peer-to-peer technology to help everyone connect and do business free from censorship or obstruction and without compromising their digital privacy.
    • UK Drill Group 67 Pen Open Letter Against Police Censorship Of Their Music
      On behalf of his mates, Dimzy of UK drill group 67 has penned a open letter against police oppression. Not only have artists in the UK been barred from producing material without being granted police permission, at least 30 drill music videos appearing on popular music aggregators have been systematically taken down. The scene which is characterized by circumstances similar to Chicago's drill scene, its antecedent in every shape of the word.

      At the heart of Dimzy's message is how his gripping sense of realism has provided his family with basic amenities his closest of kin could barely afford before he made a name for himself in the scene. The impact of family structure is something the Metropolitain Police Department have failed to grasp during their witch hunt. The real issue here is this idea of provisional support in these West-London communities, or the lack thereof.
    • Xi Jinping to shake up propaganda, censorship chiefs as China’s image abroad suffers
      China is shaking up its propaganda and internet leadership as it tries to improve the country’s image abroad and ensure online views toe the Communist Party’s line, two sources briefed on the changes told the South China Morning Post.

      The changes are also part of Beijing’s efforts to fix a propaganda and censorship system plagued by corruption and scandals, including the downfall of Lu Wei, the former Chinese cyberspace tsar whom Beijing labelled “tyrannical” and “shameless”.


      Chen Daoyin, a political analyst in Shanghai, said Xi trusted Xu to make improvements.

      “The propaganda work … overhyped China’s rise to becoming a great power, and that image looked pale and unconvincing after the United States started a trade war with China,” Chen said.

      “It’s a strategic mistake or failure. Someone has to be responsible, and changes needed to be made.”
    • Exit: the Lord Chamberlain — 50 years since the end of stage censorship
      WAS it really only 50 years ago? Amazingly, it was. On 26 July 1968, the Theatres Act received the Royal Assent: effectively, it abolished state censorship of the theatre in the UK. An archaic and inconsistent system of stopping playwrights from saying what they wanted to say had been, at last, overthrown. What difference has that made to the relationship between the stage and the Church?
    • London's theatre-makers on what the abolition of censorship means for UK theatre today
      You don't have to travel too far back in recent history to a time when every play in the country had to have its script approved before reaching the stage.

      Robert Walpole, when he was prime minister, introduced the law in 1737 to protect himself from political satire, but it remained until only 50 years ago.

      Today marks half a century since the Theatres Act began its official journey towards overturning censorship on the UK stage, passing in the Houses of Parliament and receiving royal assent on July 26 1968. Put into practice in September the same year, this was the first time since 1737 that scripts would not need to be licensed by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office.
    • 5 Things About Internet Censorship You Need to Know
      Internet censorship is practiced by as many as 70 countries across the world for a variety of reasons. While the governments use it to spread their propaganda and prevent the people from uniting and rebelling against their forces, private companies such as BBC or Hulu geo-restrict their content due to copyright issues, content agreement issues, etc.

    • From state censorship to western stereotypes, an interview with Iranian artist Maryam Palizgir
      This is part of a series done by Omid Memarian for Global Voices called How globalization, identity and culture intersect in art.

      Maryam Palizgir is an Iranian-born artist and designer who currently lives and works in the U.S. Her work is interdisciplinary in nature, combining two and three dimensional drawing, sculptural painting and installations focusing on the interaction of geometric abstract forms, color, reflective objects and the layering of grid-like materials.

      Palizgir, who currently teaches art at the Ernest Welch school of Art at Georgia State University, has exhibited in Iran, several European countries, the U.S. and Russia, and has been the recipient of numerous international and Iranian awards.

      Her current work, Folded Mystery, explores how knowledge is exchanged, how perception widens perspective, and how observation deepens the understanding of reality. “I seek works of art that activate once the viewer is involved,” says Palizgir. “Folded Mystery is about challenging viewers’ perceptions.”

    • TNS €£80k grant: Opposition attacks council 'censorship' and calls for full details to be made public

      Shropshire Council’s opposition Liberal Democrat group called for the full details of the deal with the club to be made public when it first emerged earlier this year that the money had not been repaid.

    • Egypt Sentences Tourist to Eight Years Jail for Complaining about Vacation Online

    • Silence from Judiciary Increases Self-Censorship, Pakistan’s Journalists say
      When it comes to the military and the judiciary, Pakistan’s journalists are “between a rock and a hard place,” Zohra Yusuf, of the independent non-profit Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told CPJ.

      In recent months the judiciary, which has a history of siding with Pakistan’s powerful military, has remained largely silent amid attempts to censor or silence the press.

      Ahead of yesterday’s elections, CPJ documented how journalists who are critical of the military or authorities were abducted or attacked, how the army spokesman accused journalists of sharing anti-state and anti-military propaganda, and how distribution of two of Pakistan’s largest outlets–Geo TV and Dawn–was arbitrarily restricted.

      The judiciary, which has power to take up cases on its own, did not intervene on behalf of the press. But it has continued its practice of threatening legal action against its critics.

      Some journalists and analysts said that by not taking action, the judiciary has added to a climate of fear and self-censorship.

    • Rubens museum steers visitors away from nudes, in jab at Facebook censorship
      Visitors to a Belgian art gallery were stunned when security guards ordered them away from nude paintings by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens, in what turned out to be a stunt to protest at Facebook blocking the pictures on the grounds of decency.

      In a video posted by tourism organisation VisitFlanders, two "social media inspectors" wearing uniforms emblazoned with something like the Facebook logo approach people in the gallery to ask if they have social media accounts.

    • Fake News and Censorship

      It ought to be pretty obvious by now that the notion of “fake news” (a real enough phenomenon, of course) is going to be a gift to censors on the make. I posted a little bit about this issue here and then wrote something on the topic for NRODT earlier this month, including a passage on measures now being proposed in France...


      Naturally it was left to the new government’s principal executive body to decide on what was an “obvious distortion of facts.”

    • Peter Moore: A remarkable story of censorship

    • Forum: Facebook is right to not censor Holocaust denial

    • Opinion: Facebook right to not censor holocaust denial

    • In Our Opinion: Zuckerberg isn't all wrong on censorship

    • Trump Threatens Twitter Over Supposed Republican Censorship

    • Why Twitter Censorship Affects the Right More Than the Left

    • Facebook stock collapses as censorship increases

    • Media push Facebook to censor Fox News!

    • Facebook executives defend hosting Fox News and 'atrocious' Infowars in a heated exchange with reporters

    • Look who is crying out for censorship
    • Trump Blasts Twitter 'Shadow Banning' as 'Illegal,' Threatens Action

    • China takes its political censorship global

    • The BBC and Cliff Richard: what threat to press liberty?
      On July 18, Mr Justice Mann handed down his judgment in the case brought by Sir Cliff Richard against the BBC for invasion of privacy. Eight days later, the BBC applied to him for permission to appeal, which he rejected. The BBC may yet approach the Court of Appeal directly, egged on by columnists in certain newspapers who have misread the judgement, and believe it to be a threat to press freedom.

      On Thursday, August 14, 2014, nearly four years ago, the BBC had led its lunchtime television news bulletin with helicopter footage of a search carried out by South Yorkshire Police (SYP) of an apartment in Sunningdale owned by Sir Cliff. The search followed an anonymous complaint made by a man about an alleged sexual assault 30 years previously, when the complainant was 13 years old.

      The SYP did not name the target of the search, but the BBC did, in nearly sixty news reports on television that day and the next (as well as countless radio ones): broadcasts, in the judge’s view, “presented with a significant degree of breathless sensationalism”. In awarding the entertainer record damages, the judge made scathing comments about the BBC’s behaviour, and was dismissive of much of the evidence offered by BBC witnesses under oath.

      Immediately afterwards, standing outside the court, the BBC’s Director of News, Fran Unsworth, who had been Acting Director at the time, and had authorised the use of Cliff Richard’s name, said she needed to absorb the full “200-page” judgement (actually 122 pages, well worth reading) before deciding whether to launch an appeal, claiming – so she said – that freedom of the press was endangered by a judge ruling that factual coverage of a police operation could be unlawful. This was an argument taken up by a number of commentators, including some legal experts; perhaps because they had not read what the judge actually said.

      The judge’s findings were admirably lucid. “The fact is that there is legislative authority restraining the press in the form of the Human Rights Act [of 1998], and that is what the courts apply in this area. The exercise I have carried out in this case is the same exercise as has to be carried out in other, albeit less dramatic, cases”.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Court Rejects Evidence From Warrantless Search Of Phone Six Years After The Gov't Seized It
      There are a number of exceptions to warrant requirements, and the government is willing to utilize every one of them to salvage evidence obtained from an illegal search. Sometimes the arguments work. Other times -- like in this instance where six years elapsed between searches -- there's no credible argument for failing to seek a warrant. (via

      Jason Gandy's cellphone was seized and searched "at an international border" in 2012. The phone was held for 48 hours for a forensic search. This did not reveal the contents of the phone, but created an electronic record of what was contained on the phone. The court's description says the search only produced a "technical description" of the phone's contents, but did not expose the contents themselves.

      Like it or not, this search -- even a forensic search -- fell under the "border exception" to the Fourth Amendment, which allows law enforcement to search devices for border/national security reasons without having to come up with reasonable suspicion, much less probable cause.
    • Congress Members Want Answers After Amazon's Facial Recognition Software Says 28 Of Them Are Criminals
      Hey, American citizens! Several of your Congressional representatives are criminals! Unfortunately, this will come as a completely expected news to many constituents. The cynic in all of us knows the only difference between a criminal and a Congressperson is a secured conviction.

      We may not have the evidence we need to prove this, but we have something even better: facial recognition technology. This new way of separating the good and bad through the application of AI and algorithms is known for two things: being pushed towards ubiquity by government agencies and being really, really bad at making positive identifications.

      At this point it's unclear how much Prime members will save on legal fees and bail expenditures, but Amazon is making its facial recognition tech ("Rekognition") available to law enforcement. It's also making it available to the public for testing. ACLU took it up on its offer, spending $12.33 to obtain a couple dozen false hits using shots of Congressional mugs.

    • UK Tribunal Says GCHQ Engaged In Illegal Telco Collection Program For More Than A Decade
      UK's NSA -- GCHQ -- has lost legal battle after legal battle in recent years, most of those triggered by the Snowden leaks. The UK Appeals Court ruled its bulk collection of internet communications metadata illegal earlier this year. This followed a 2015 loss in lawsuit filed over the interception of privileged communications, resulting in a destruction order targeting everything collected by GCHQ that fell under that heading.

      Some battles are still ongoing, with several of them spearheaded by Privacy International. PI's work -- and multiple lawsuits -- have led to the exposure of GCHQ's oversight as completely toothless and a declaration that the agency's surveillance agreement with the NSA was illegal… at least up to 2014's codification of illegal spy practices. (This codification was ultimately ruled illegal earlier this year.)
    • What Drives American Disenchantment with the NSA
      On July 16th, 2018, the world witnessed the incredible spectacle of U.S. President Donald Trump, in a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, denying his own government’s intelligence assessment that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Such a historically unprecedented action drew condemnation both from Democratic and some Republican politicians. Perhaps unsurprisingly, retired intelligence leaders were among the most virulent critics of the summit. Former CIA chief John Brennan labeled Trump’s action “treasonous.”

      Many Trump supporters continue to believe his denials. Other voters are turned off altogether by the Democratic Party’s Russophobia and unconditional trust of the intelligence services. Acknowledging the significant evidence of these Russian actions, we still ought to ask—why has it come to this? How has mistrust in state institutions like the CIA and the NSA increased to the point that Trump can blithely reject their work and—however tenuously—maintain political support?

    • NSA watchdog details privacy concerns and moves to protect whistleblowers
      The National Security Agency's open source intelligence collection process, which gathers publicly available information from the internet, has "an increased risk of jeopardizing the civil liberties and privacy of [US persons] and compromising classified information," concluded the agency's top watchdog in its first public report for Congress.

      The NSA watchdog criticized facets of the digital spy agency's "Emerging Open Source Activities Branch," which analyzes the information collected. Areas of concern highlighted included insufficient "guidance and training" for analysts to adequately protect Americans' personal data. The IG did not go into further detail about specific violations.

      But the agency is also prioritizing whistleblower protection in new ways, the report revealed, highlighting progress for the secretive spy unit after several high-profile whistleblowers criticized internal protections for those who report wrongdoing.

    • First-Ever Unclassified NSA OIG Report Sheds Light on IT Deficiencies
      The report, released Wednesday and covering the period of October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, highlights multiple audits that found numerous issues in the governance of NSA’s IT infrastructure and its subsequent ability to mitigate cybersecurity risk.

    • NSA Hasn’t Implemented Post-Snowden Security Fixes, Audit Finds
      The nation’s cyber spy agency is suffering from substantial cyber vulnerabilities, according to a first-of-its-kind unclassified audit overview from the agency’s inspector general released Wednesday.

    • NSA Inspector General Slams Agency For Inadequately Protecting Data, Not Scanning Removable Devices For Viruses
      Inspector General Robert Storch’s office found “many instances of non-compliance” with the agency’s regulations such as System Security Plans being “inaccurate or incomplete” and removable media, like flash drives, not being “properly scanned for viruses.”

    • NSA watchdog finds 'many issues of non-compliance' in agency's data handling

      The National Security Agency's (NSA) inspector general issued a rare report Wednesday condemning the administration for insufficiently protecting data gathered from U.S. citizens.

      A semiannual report issued to Congress by the agency's watchdog details “many instances of non-compliance” by agency personnel dealing with rules meant to protect “computer networks, systems and data.”

      Other issues of noncompliance included flash drives not being scanned for viruses before being used by staff, as well as "inaccurate or incomplete” security plans.
    • NSA criticized for 'increased risk’ of jeopardizing civil liberties

      The National Security Agency is at an “increased risk” of jeopardizing civil liberties and the privacy of American citizens, according to an inspector general report that comes just months after a controversial program that collects emails and phone calls was extended.

      The NSA watchdog said that agency analysts performed “noncompliant” searches using the organization’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Authority, which were caused by “human error, incomplete understanding of the rules, and gaps in guidance.”

    • EU And Japan Agree To Free Data Flows, Just As Tottering Privacy Shield Framework Threatens Transatlantic Transfers
      The EU's strong data protection laws affect not only how personal data is handled within the European Union, but also where it can flow to. Under the GDPR, just as was the case with the preceding EU data protection directive, the personal data of EU citizens can only be sent to countries whose privacy laws meet the standard of "essential equivalence". That is, there may be differences in detail, but the overall effect has to be similar to the GDPR, something established as part of what is called an "adequacy decision".

    • Over $119bn wiped off Facebook's market cap after growth shock

      The collapse of Facebook’s share price is the biggest ever one-day drop in a company’s market value. Shares fell to $176, valuing the company at $510bn, a drop of $119bn from a record high of nearly $630bn on Wednesday.

    • Facebook stock dives nearly 20% on warning of slow revenue growth

      Facebook has shown that it cannot sail forever forward while facing various storms, including Cambridge Analytica and the Russian government's use of the social media platform to sow divisions amongst Americans during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    • Facebook Loses $120 Billion in Market Value, as Stock Slides on Fears Growth Is Hitting a Wall

      The stock drop, to its lowest levels in nearly three months, wiped out nearly $120 billion in market capitalization for Facebook and dragged down other internet and tech stocks including Twitter and Snap. Facebook’s market cap was $629 billion at market close Wednesday, and ended the day Thursday at around $510 billion. The massive drop in market value represented the biggest single-day decline in history for any publicly held company, according to Thomson Reuters data.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • “Brutal and Sadistic”: Noam Chomsky on family separation & the U.S. roots of today’s refugee crisis
      Listen to world renowned linguist Noam Chomsky discuss the U.S. immigration crisis, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Democratic primary win, Trump administration’s climate policies and more...

    • What it's like when Nazis infiltrate your conference

      Khan's bigger point is that despite its blunders, HOPE is easily the most progressive, politically aware of all the hacker cons, and that is exactly why it was targeted by Nazis. Letting those Nazis provoke a boycott of future HOPEs is handing a victory to the Nazis.

    • Oksana Shachko, a Founder of Feminist Protest Movement, Dies at 31
      Oksana Shachko, a Ukrainian artist and a founder of Femen, a women’s rights group famous for its topless political protests, was found dead on Monday at her home in Montrouge, a suburb south of Paris. She was 31.

      Emmanuelle Lepissier, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office in the nearby suburb of Nanterre, said the police were treating the death as a suicide pending the results of an autopsy.

      “Oksana hanged herself,” Anna Hutsol, another founder of Femen, told Ukrainska Pravda, a news website. “Her friends said that they saw her last on Friday. They decided to break the door, and then they found her.”

    • No, the Government Did Not Make the Deadline to Reunify Children With Their Parents
      Hundreds of children eligible for reunification remain separated from their parents.

      The Trump administration claimed in court filings Thursday evening that it had met the court-ordered July 26 deadline to reunite the children it wrongfully separated from their parents.

      It did no such thing.

      In fact, what the government did was reunite upwards of 1,500 children it deemed eligible for reunification and whose parents it could find. Hundreds of children were not reunited for a variety of reasons. Some 463 parents were deported without their children — and the government isn’t even trying to reunite them — and the administration said it doesn’t know the identities of the parents of 40 children.

      What’s worse, until last Friday, the government did not provide the ACLU with lists of the most vulnerable families in our class --- the ones who are at risk of imminent doportation. The lack of notification is particularly egregious because the Trump administration has said that it plans to immediately deport all of the parents who have final deportation orders once they are reunified, even though evidence suggests that many of those parents may have mistakenly given up their asylum claims. We and our allies are now working to get these families connected with lawyers, so that they can make decisions based on sound advice, rather than misleading or confusing information from immigration officers.

      In addition, the government provided lists claiming that 206 parents waived their right to be reunified with their children by either signing waivers or providing oral consent. The majority of these parents are now subject to immediate deportation. But on Tuesday, we filed a slew of affidavits showing that many of these parents desperately want their children back and did not realize they had relinquished their right to reunification.

    • Standing by Their Convictions
      The DNA didn’t match. The witnesses weren’t sure. But the prosecution persisted.

    • “Hidden in Plain Sight”: Hundreds of Immigrant Children and Teens Housed in Opaque Network of Chicago-Area Shelters
      One shelter, in Bronzeville on Chicago’s South Side, still bears an awning with the name of a nursing home, though no senior citizens have lived there in years.

      Another is a two-story, brick home next to a storefront Zumba studio in Rogers Park.

      At a third, a converted convent on a busy residential street in Beverly, neighbors sometimes glimpse teenage boys playing volleyball and soccer in a gated yard but have no idea who they are.

      These buildings and others in Illinois anonymously house migrant children detained after crossing the border to the United States — some who came on their own and, more recently, those forcibly separated from their parents.

      As the Trump administration has come under fire in recent weeks for its zero tolerance immigration crackdown, much attention has focused on the children and conditions at shelters along the country’s southern border and in major metropolitan areas on the coasts.

    • The “Terrible” Consequences of Chicago’s Ticketing Policies
      On Thursday, in partnership with WBEZ, we published the latest in our series of investigations into Chicago’s ticketing practices, pinpointing how the city raised the cost of city vehicle sticker tickets as a way to bring in millions of dollars in revenue. That extra revenue didn’t materialize. Instead, the increase in ticket cost disproportionately impacted black Chicagoans, helping force some black motorists into substantial debt, to lose their licenses, lose their cars and even declare bankruptcy.

      Melissa Sanchez and WBEZ reporter Elliott Ramos talked about this story on WBEZ and WVON and asked people to call in. And did they.

      We’ve also been hearing from people about their experiences: a personal Twitter thread detailing struggles to pay tickets; a retweet from @eveewing that points to the “devastating … but not surprising” nature of this; and an observation about the slew of recent stories about ticketing black Chicago. We’ve noticed that, too.
    • Maha Hilal on Islamophobia, Brett Hartl on Endangered Species
      Like all discrimination, Islamophobia is political and personal, individual and institutional, subtle and not at all subtle. A recent incident led Maha Hilal to connect those dots in an essay. Maha Hilal is co-director of the Justice for Muslims Collective and an organizer with Witness Against Torture. We’ll talk with her about her piece, “White Supremacy in the Courtroom,” and the story behind it.
    • Immigrant Youth Shelters: “If You’re a Predator, It’s a Gold Mine”

      Just five days after he reached the United States, the 15-year-old Honduran boy awoke in his Tucson, Arizona, immigrant shelter one morning in 2015 to find a youth care worker in his room, tickling his chest and stomach.

      When he asked the man, who was 46, what he was doing, the man left. But he returned two more times, rubbing the teen’s penis through his clothing and then trying to reach under his boxers. “I know what you want, I can give you anything you need,” said the worker, who was later convicted of molestation.

      In 2017, a 17-year-old from Honduras was recovering from surgery at the shelter when he woke up to find a male staff member standing by his bed. “You have it very big,” the man said, referring to the teen’s penis. Days later, that same employee brushed the teen with his hand while he was playing video games. When the staff member approached him again, the boy locked himself in a bathroom.

      And in January of this year, a security guard at the shelter found notes in a minor’s jacket that suggested an inappropriate relationship with a staff member.

      Pulled from police reports, incidents like these at Southwest Key’s Tucson shelter provide a snapshot of what has largely been kept from the public as well as members of Congress — a view, uncolored by politics, of troubling incidents inside the facilities housing immigrant children.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai Lies (Again) To Congress With Claim Net Neutrality Killed Broadband Investment
      So, we've kind of been over this. One of the cornerstones of the broadband industry's flimsy and facts-optional assault on net neutrality was that the rules somehow demolished broadband industry investment. Of course the press has noted time and time and time again how that's simply not true.

      It's simply not debatable. Close examinations of SEC filings and public earnings reports during the period highlight how this alleged investment apocalypse never actually happened. What's more, CEOs from nearly a dozen ISPs are on public record telling investors (who by law they can't lie to) that the claim was effectively bogus, and that they saw no meaningful impact from the rules. Again, that's not surprising, since many broadband industry executives have also acknowledged the rules, which were discarded last June, really didn't hurt them unless they engaged in anti-competitive behavior.


      You'll be shocked to learn that Pai's still not telling the truth here, either. This industry line that the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules were somehow "designed for the ma bell telephone monopoly" or impose "archaic, utility-style rules on modern networks" is decidedly false, as we've explained in great detail previously. The claim that ISP transparency rules have been "strengthened" is also false, since Pai effectively replaced tough ISP transparency requirements with the policy equivalent of a pinky swear. Pai's FTC claims are also incorrect, since the FTC lacks the resources or authority to really police broadband providers effectively.

      Of course this cavalcade of bullshit is nothing new for Pai, as we saw recently when he claimed that the majority of Americans support his attacks on net neutrality, something survey after survey (another of which was released this week) disproves. Of course countless reporters, citing publicly-available data, have been pointing all of this out for years, not that appears to matter in post-truth America. The bottom line is that net neutrality rules are dead, and Pai ignored the public, the experts, and relied entirely on garbage data to justify killing them. With zero substantive repercussions.

      Eventually accountability will likely come for Pai, either in the form of the looming lawsuits by Mozilla and consumer groups, or the inevitable collision between his obvious post-FCC political aspirations and the Millennial voters who are vibrantly aware of just how badly his decision will screw them over the longer haul.

    • The death of a TLD

      I guess you could argue that this price is a method of ensuring that applicants are serious about running a top level domain, however $185,000 clearly doesnt stop TLDs from being given up on.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • The rise of resistance and resilience to tear gas

        All around the world people invent, adapt and share techniques for resilience and resistance to tear gas. In doing so, they care for each other. They transform this weapon into a collectivizing tool. There is a growing transnational solidarity of tear gas resilience, aided by social media and mobile technologies that help protesters circulate relief remedies, gas mask designs and grenade throwback techniques. Displaying what social movement researcher Gavin Grindon has called “grassroots cultural diplomacy,” these tips are tweeted from Greece to New York, from Palestine to Ferguson, from Egypt to Hong Kong.

        In places like Bahrain and Palestine, widespread and even daily use of tear gas has made this chemical weapon a part of life. As a way of exhibiting and collectively processing this trauma, people sometimes transform tear gas canisters into other objects. Acts of anger, grief and memorializing emerge as artistic practices. For example, in Bahrain, people designed a throne made out of tear gas canisters to signify their royal family’s role in the suppression of democracy protests.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Troll In Finland Gets Dinged For Violating Copyright Law In Trolling Effort
        The last time we discussed Hedman Partners, the law firm in Finland that has for some time been on a copyright trolling tear throughout the country, it was to mention how the firm appeared to have overplayed its hand. After sending out some sixty-thousand settlement letters, the firm found itself in the cross hairs of the government, with the Ministry of Education and Culture noting that the nation's copyright law was not intended to be a vehicle for milking the general public of money.

        While it seems that the actual government response in the intervening year and a half must have been muted, evidenced by the fact that Hedman Partners is still happily trolling away, the firm has now for a second time been dinged for its practices. This time, ironically, the Finnish Bar Association is reprimanding Hedman Partners for violating copyright law in order to send out the settlement letters to supposed copyright infringers in the first place.

        Now, this is something of a technicality, though it still speaks to the copyright troll's willingness to route around the very law it cites to bilk money from an unwitting public. This specific complaint revolves around how Hedman Partners is getting the account holder information it is using for its letters, and, importantly, what letters it sends to which account for each alleged infringement. The way it's supposed to work in Finland is that these trolls get an unmasking order from the courts for a specific infringement violation and then only use that account information to contact the account holder for that specific case of infringement. Instead, Hedman Partners appears to have used these unmasking requests more as a clearing house to build an IP address database.

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