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Links 15/9/2018: Wine 3.16, Overwatch's GNU/Linux (Wine) 'Ban', New Fedora 28 Build, and Fedora 29 Beta Delay

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  • Desktop

    • Microsoft intercepting Firefox and Chrome installation on Windows 10

      The intercepting of installers on Windows is a new low, however. A user who initiates the installation of a browser does so on purpose. The prompt that Microsoft displays claims that Edge is safer and faster, and it puts the Open Microsoft Edge button on focus and not the "install anyway" button.

    • Slimbook Kymera Aqua is a Powerful Water-Cooled Linux PC
      A pair of powerful new Linux PCs have gone on sale from Spanish company Slimbook, including a high-end liquid-cooled illuminated rig.

      Best known for its range of Linux laptops, like the KDE-branded KDE Slimbook, the new The Slimbook Kymera is the first proper desktop Linux PC line the company has offered – assuming we discount its curved-screen all-in-one PC and low-power Intel NUC offerings as not being proper desktop PCs which, oops, we just did.

      And to celebrate they’ve really gone to town, making not one but two distinct versions: the versatile Slimbook Kymera Ventus and the awesome Slimbook Kymera Aqua.

    • SD Times Open Source Project of the Week:
      Freshly migrated from its self-managed services to GitLab, this week’s highlighted open-source project is (, the umbrella project encompassing many open-source software packages for running Linux on desktop.

      In development since 2000, fd.o is designed to provide developers of desktop Linux distributions easy-to-access packages for getting their desktop environment up and running quickly and completely. project administrator Daniel Stone described the project’s goal in a Q&A with GitLab about the migration as “providing a database of available applications and preferred MIME type handlers, network device management, inter-process communication, a PDF renderer; in general, all the things we can do well in one place, to enable people who want to write desktop environments to focus on the thing that matters to them: building the actual desktop!”

    • Microsoft Abandons Plan to Troll Windows 10 Users With Browser Warnings
      While this Microsoft spokesman calls this a “feature,” it’s worth nothing exactly what it was: A literal “warning” not to install Chrome or Firefox once you’ve downloaded it, interrupting the installation process. As we pointed out, this would train Windows users to ignore real security warnings.

      Of course, the only reason this “test” was unsuccessful is because it enraged Windows 10 users more than usual. If this browser warning was just a feature that generated a normal amount of rage, like automatically installing Candy Crush Saga on Windows 10 Professional, Microsoft wouldn’t have backed off.

      But today, let’s celebrate. We all stopped Microsoft from doing something dumb! The battle is won.

    • Linux vs Mac: 7 Reasons Why Linux is a Better Choice than Mac
      If you’re already using a Mac or planning to get one, we recommend you to thoroughly analyze the reasons to decide whether you need to switch/keep using Linux or continue using Mac.

  • Server

    • How Kubernetes' Founder is Building an Un-Distribution at Heptio

      Unlike other software vendors that are part of the Kubernetes community, Heptio doesn't want to build a software distribution of Kubernetes. Rather, the Heptio Kubernetes Service (HKS) is about support and services to help organizations deploy and manage upstream Kubernetes. It's an approach that Heptio has referred to as being an Un-Distribution.

      "Our goal with the whole idea of the un-distribution is we want to provide the best parts of a distribution without necessarily some of the downsides that come along with that," Beda said.

      Beda said that generally what happens with a distribution of an open source project is that a software vendor takes the upstream code, cleans it up so it's fit for enterprise consumption and then shipping a combination of tools that are prove to work well together.

      "Upstream Kubernetes doesn't need a lot of clean up, because the community is so strong and we want to keep it that way," he said.

      As such, a lot of the work that Heptio is involved with is all upstream with effort to make Kubernetes easier to install and use. Beda said that Heptio is putting a lot of effort into the kubeadm installer effort from the upstream project as well as the cluster API effort. As part of HKS, Beda said that Heptio is developing a set of validated designs, which integrate best practices for deployment.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Ubuntu Podcast S11E27 – Twenty-Seven Bones
      This week we’ve been moonlighting on other podcasts and started using DuckDuckGo. Trend Micro get booted from the Apple Store, Intel adopts an AMD display standard, a cheesy history of Linux gaming is published, Amazon Echo now Looks at you and we round up the community news.

  • Kernel Space

    • VKMS Driver Getting Cursor Support In The Next Kernel Cycle
      One of the notable additions to the Linux 4.19 kernel is the initial VKMS driver for "virtual kernel mode-setting" that in the long run should be significant for headless Wayland/X.Org systems. The driver is still in its early stages but continuing to be improved.

      The VKMS DRM driver came around this summer thanks to GSoC and Outreachy students working on this virtual KMS driver. The driver isn't feature complete yet, but Haneen Mohammed of Outreachy has landed some more of her patches that will come during the next kernel merge window.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Lights, Camera, Open Source: Hollywood Turns to Linux for New Code Sharing Initiative

        In looking to code smarter, faster and more efficiently, developers across the globe and industries are turning to open-source components that allow them to add powerful features to their work without having to write everything from scratch themselves. One of the latest groups to embrace the Open Source movement is the entertainment industry.

        Similar to many other initiatives that have come together in recent years to support the sharing of code between companies, a number of key players under the umbrella of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have teamed up with The Linux Foundation to establish the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF). Members include companies like Disney, Google, Dreamworks, Epic Games and Intel, just to name a few.

      • Open Source Networking Days Returning This Fall
        As we gear up the for the first ever Open Networking Summit Europe event, Amsterdam, September 25-27, it’s becoming clear to me just how far we’ve come this year since the formation of LF Networking. With new major operators joining, like Deutsche Telekom, and others requiring open source project automation tools in their RFPs, like Orange, it’s inspiring to witness just how much the networking industry is rallying around open source and incorporating it as a key element of their business strategies. It’s great to see LF Networking recognized for its role in bringing the ecosystem together, and to see open source community contribution increasingly recognized as driving increased business value.

    • Graphics Stack

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Finally Picking Up 16-Bit Integer Support In Shaders
        Samuel Pitoiset working for Valve's Linux GPU driver team has now sent out shaderInt16 support for the RADV driver.

        Following 9 patches hitting the Mesa mailing list on Friday, Samuel wired up shaderInt16 support for this Mesa-based open-source Radeon Vulkan driver. The shaderInt16 capability indicates whether 16-bit signed/unsigned integers are supported in the shader code for the Vulkan driver.

      • AMD Sends Out Initial Vega 20 Support For AMDKFD Compute Kernel Driver
        While AMD has been sending out Linux enablement patches for the yet-to-be-released Vega 20 for months now, what didn't see any work until today was for the AMDKFD driver support so this expected 7nm Vega GPU can work with their ROCm/OpenCL compute stack.

      • AMDGPU X.Org 18.1 Driver Released With RandR Leasing, Updates For DC Functionality
        AMD has issued rare updates today to their xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-amdgpu DDX drivers for use with the X.Org Server.

        These DDX drivers see seldom updates due to all of the interesting work these days happening in kernel space (DRM) or Mesa and friends, plus a lot of users running the generic xf86-video-modesetting DDX.

      • AMD ROCm 1.9 Available WIth Vega 20 Support & Upstream Kernel Compatibility
        For months we have been looking forward to ROCm 1.9 as the latest feature update to the Radeon Open Compute stack while on Friday that big release finally took place. This ROCm update for GPU compute purposes has a lot of new features.

        Initially we were looking forward to ROCm 1.9 for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS support, which ended up being back-ported to the 1.8 series. But other headlining features of ROCm 1.9 include Vega 20 "Vega 7nm" support, a ROCm System Management Interface (ROCm SMI) library, HIP/HPCC improvements, rocprof for ROCm profling, compatibility with the upstream AMDKFD support now found in the mainline Linux kernel (Linux 4.17+), and various other improvements.

      • NVIDIA Publishes An In-Depth Look At Turing
        Next week is when the GeForce RTX 2080 "Turing" graphics cards will begin to ship while today is when NVIDIA lifted the embargo on "unboxing" videos/pictures and talking more about this new GPU microarchitecture.

        NVIDIA has posted their own in-depth Turing architecture look. Go check it out if you want to learn more about Turing's quite fascinating design and improvements over particularly the GeForce GTX 1000 "Pascal" series.

        Unfortunately no unboxing/reports on our end today... NVIDIA still appears to be not too interested in Linux gamers for the GeForce RTX 2080 series. While they have sent out hardware for many of the past launches, for Turing I am having a difficult time even getting them to respond to my inquiries. I am told by at least one NVIDIA'ian though that there will be Linux drivers in time for launch-day... We'll see.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • New Life to KDE – Edu
        Some seeds take a while to grow, and what a while. I’v met Karina Mochetti five years ago when I moved to Campinas, back then I had just started working at Intel and I had finished one of my most glorious software developer tasks, good subversive terrorist that I’m, I made Linus Torvalds program in C++ and talking with a friend that lives in Rio de Janeiro I heard “I have a programmer friend in Campinas, wanna meet?”, well, yes, always.

      • API Changes in Clang

        I’ve started contributing to Clang, in the hope that I can improve the API for tooling. This will eventually mean changes to the C++ API of Clang, the CMake buildsystem, and new features in the tooling. Hopefully I’ll remember to blog about changes I make.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • NetworkManager 1.14 Officially Released With A Lot Of Networking Goodies
        Following the release candidate last week, NetworkManager 1.14 is now officially available as the latest feature release to this widely-used Linux networking software component.

        The NetworkManager 1.14 release is a biggie and includes LLMNR configuration support (Link-Local Multicast Name Resolution), IEEE 804.15.4 / 6LoWPAN low-power personal wireless network device support, Ethtool offloading support, it can now detect WireGuard interfaces, and SR-IOV network devices can now be configured, among other fixes and improvements.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Freespire Linux: A Great Desktop for the Open Source Purist
        Quick. Click on your Linux desktop menu and scan through the list of installed software. How much of that software is strictly open source? To make matters a bit more complicated, have you installed closed source media codecs (to play the likes of MP3 files perhaps)? Is everything fully open, or do you have a mixture of open and closed source tools?

        If you’re a purist, you probably strive to only use open source tools on your desktop. But how do you know, for certain, that your distribution only includes open source software? Fortunately, a few distributions go out of their way to only include applications that are 100% open. One such distro is Freespire.

        Does that name sound familiar? It should, as it is closely related to Linspire. Now we’re talking familiarity. Remember back in the early 2000s, when Walmart sold Linux desktop computers? Those computers were powered by the Linspire operating system. Linspire went above and beyond to create an experience that would be similar to that of Windows—even including the tools to install Windows apps on Linux. That experiment failed, mostly because consumers thought they were getting a Windows desktop machine for a dirt cheap price. After that debacle, Linspire went away for a while. It’s now back, thanks to PC/OpenSystems LLC. Their goal isn’t to recreate the past but to offer two different flavors of Linux...

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Latest Tumbleweed Snapshot Brings Major Versions of Flatpak, qemu, Thunderbird, Nano
        Since the last openSUSE Tumbleweed update, three snapshots have been released and the latest snapshot has brought two new major versions of both Flatpak and qemu.

        On the heels of the Libre Application Summit last week, which is a conference focusing on sandboxing and application distribution, a new major version of Flatpak was released in Snapshot 20180911. Flatpak 1.0 marks a significant improvement in performance and reliability, and includes a big collection of bug fixes with a collection of new features. Naturally, libostree 2018.8 was updated with Flatpak and added a new feature that provides an auto-update-summary config option for repositories. Full-system emulation with qemu 3.0.0 isn’t necessarily significant. The changelog states not to “read anything into the major version number update. It’s been decided to increase the major version number each year.” Yet there is improved support for nested Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) guests running on Hyper-V. The project did emphasized that ongoing feature deprecation is tracked at both and in Appendix B of the qemu-doc.* files installed with the qemu package. Mesa 18.1.7 had a handful of fixes and once again added wayland to egl_platforms. The Linux Kernel 4.18.7 added support for Intel Ice Lake microarchitecture in the snapshot. There were several other minor updates in the snapshot, but the nodejs10 update to version 10.9.0 brought a few Common Vulnerability and Exposure (CVE) fixes and upgraded dependencies to OpenSSL 1.0.2.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Containers key for Hortonworks alliance on big data hybrid
        Hortonworks is joining with Red Hat and IBM to work together on a hybrid big data architecture format that will run using containers both on the cloud and on premises.

      • Hortonworks, IBM and Red Hat Announce Open Hybrid Architecture Initiative

      • Hortonworks, IBM and Red Hat Team Up for Hybrid Containerized Big Data

      • New Initiative Reimagines Data Architectures with Hybrid Model

      • IBM expands data science’s reach
        As companies accumulate data, they need new ways to store it, manage it, innovate off it, and scale services based on it. Earlier this year, IBM announced the IBM Cloud Private (ICP) for Data solution, and today the company is expanding it to provide new ways to uncover hidden insights from data.

        The company has revealed it is collaborating with Red Hat to certify the AI-focused data platform to run on Red Hat’s open source container application platform OpenShift.

      • ​Ansible Tower 3.3 arrives to make DevOps easier than ever
        Ansible makes it easier to move your resources and applications from platform to platform as needed. In a world where your data and applications are running simultaneously on containers, virtual machines, private and public clouds, this is a must.

        As Joe Fitzgerald, Red Hat VP, said in a statement, "As more organizations move toward modernizing their infrastructure, tools that can work seamlessly across environments become a critical part of that equation. Red Hat Ansible Tower can already run anywhere it's needed across hybrid environments and now with the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform functionality available in Ansible Tower 3.3 we take that a step further by making the platform consumable in more ways for even easier automation across infrastructures."

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Give Fedora Silverblue a test drive

          Fedora Silverblue is a new variant of Fedora Workstation with rpm-ostree at its core to provide fully atomic upgrades. Furthermore, Fedora Silverblue is immutable and upgrades as a whole, providing easy rollbacks from updates if something goes wrong. Fedora Silverblue is great for developers using Fedora with good support for container-focused workflows.

          Additionally, Fedora Silverblue delivers desktop applications as Flatpaks. This provides better isolation / sandboxing of applications, and streamlines updating applications — Flatpaks can be safely updated without reboot.

          The Fedora Workstation team is running a Test Day for Silverblue next week, so if you want to try it out, and help out the development effort at the same time, keep reading.

        • F28-20180914 updated Live isos Released
          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F28-20180914 Live ISOs, carrying the 4.18.5-200 kernel. This set of updated isos will save about 1GB of updates after install. (for new installs.)

        • Fedora 29 Beta Has Been Delayed
          As happens almost every Fedora Linux release cycle, the initial development release has been pushed back.

          Fedora stakeholders determined on Thursday that Fedora 29 Beta isn't ready to ship yet as had been scheduled. Developers/QA are still testing beta release candidates and open blocker bugs remain. Rather than shipping next week, they will now try to have the beta out on 25 September.
        • FPgM report: 2018-37

    • Debian Family

      • Recommendations for software?

        Secondly the excellent Have I Been Pwned site provides an API which allows you to test if a password has been previously included in a leak. This is great, and I've integrated their API in a couple of my own applications, but I was thinking on the bus home tonight it might be worth tying into PAM.

        Sure in the interests of security people should use key-based authentication for SSH, but .. most people don't. Even so, if keys are used exclusively, a PAM module would allow you to validate the password which is used for sudo hasn't previously been leaked.

        So it seems like there is value in a PAM module to do a lookup at authentication-time, via libcurl.

      • Derivatives

        • Liberado MiniNo Queiles 3.1 LTS

        • The Blue Bird Effect: Scanning with an Epson XP 231 multifunction printer on Elive 3
          Mamerto Menapace, an Argentinian monk, wrote a story entitled "El Pajaro Azul" ("The Blue Bird"). In this story, a prince gradually falls very sick and no doctor can determine the source of his disease. A hermit is brought from his mountain as the last hope, and this wise man tells everyone that the prince is dying of nostalgia. To get cured, the prince must start a journey looking for a rare blue bird.


          In Elive, one has to basically use SciTE as root to open the files dll.conf (to add the line example-backend), epson.conf, and epson2.conf (to add the values that one gets with the comand sane-find-scanner in Terminology). In my case, I had to uncomment, in both files, the line usb 0x01aa 0x0001 and modify it to read:

          usb 0x04b8 0x1102

          That was it.

          Now I can both print and scan on Elive 3.0

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Featureful Release of Nextcloud 14 Has Two New Security Features
    Nextcloud has announced the release of version 14 of their software. The update brought improved security, collaboration features, and more. Take a look at the new features in detail.

  • Fedora Silverblue Test Day Next Week, Nextcloud 14 Released, Plasma 5.4 Beta Now Available, openSUSE's Recent Snapshots and Ansible Tower 3.3 Is Out

    Nextcloud announced the release of version 14 this week. This new version introduces two big security improvements: video verification and signal/telegram/SMS 2FA support. Version 14 also includes many collaboration improvements as well as a Data Protection Confirmation app in compliance with the GDPR. Go here to install.

  • Top 3 Open Source Trading Bots With Binance Implications

    Some cryptocurrency traders may be familiar with the Blackbird bot. It is primarily designed for arbitrage purposes and is coded n a language most people can get familiar with. That latter aspect is not unimportant when dealing with open source trading bot solutions. It also means users can change the features of this bot as they see fit, assuming they possess the necessary coding knowledge.

    At this current stage, Binance is not officially supported by the bot. Unlike what people assume, the developers are working on implementing access to this trading platform, at least to open long positions through Blackbird. Anyone with the necessary knowledge can implement this feature as well, thus it will be interesting to see what the future holds for this bot accordingly.

  • The new developer role centers on open source technology
    At the same time, the network core is providing developers with massive compute capabilities that were unheard of not too long ago. That core can power compute-intensive applications such as machine learning and blockchain.

    Many of these improved capabilities, and the potential for innovation, have been fed by open source development. Now, we've got major enterprise initiatives built upon a foundation of open source, developed organically from community-driven products and accessible to anyone, anywhere.

    The result is a whirlwind of creative growth and, not incidentally, a new developer role. Developers are becoming the leading forces for creative development within organizations and a competitive advantage for businesses that are trying to move into the digital age.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Change UI theme in Google Chrome 69
        Say what you will about Chrome, but over the years, it has maintained a rather consistent look & feel. The changes are mostly done under the hood and they do not interfere with how the user interacts with the browser. But occasionally, mostly guided by their wider influence in the OS space, especially the mobile world, Google has made some stylistic changes. Most notably, they introduced Material Design to the Chrome UI, and now, there's another facelift.

        I noticed the new looks in the freshly updated Chrome 69 in Kubuntu Beaver, and I wasn't too happy. The font is gray and pale, ergo contrast isn't as good as it should be, and the new round design feels odd. So I decided to change this back to the older style. Let me show you how you can do this.


        There you go. If you don't like the aesthetically pleasing but ergonomically dubious change to the Chrome's UI look in version 69 onwards, then you can change (we don't know for how long) the layout back to what it was, or try one of the several available themes. The goal is to retain maximum visual clarity and efficiency. The old looks offer that. The new ones hamper that.

        I am quite alarmed by this trend. The only solace I get is the knowledge that a few Google shares in me possession are generating profit, which I shall use to heal my soul of all this sub-IQ100 touch-led destruction of the desktop and fast productivity, a crusade that started worldwide around 2011 or so.

      • Chrome 70 beta: shape detection, web authentication, and more
        Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome Beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. View a complete list of the features in Chrome 70 on Chrome 70 is beta as of September 13, 2018.

      • Chrome 70 In Beta With TLS 1.3, Opus Support In MP4 & AV1 Decode
        Following last week's Chrome 69 release, Chrome 70 is now in beta as the latest feature-update to Google's browser.

    • Mozilla

      • MDN Changelog for August 2018

        A lot of these were migration PRs, and the migration is now 95% complete, with 10,000 features over 6,300 pages. Some of the remaining migration work will be straightforward. Other data sources will require strategy and format discussions, such as Event support and summary pages. These discussions will be easier with the experience of migrating thousands of simpler features.

        Existing data also got some love. Contributors fixed incorrect data, clarified if and when a browser supported a feature, and celebrated support in new browser releases. We expect a steady stream of maintenance PRs as the project transitions from migration to ongoing maintenance.

        Florian Scholz has worked to make this a community project, organizing the effort with spreadsheets and transitioning to issues as the remaining work becomes manageable. This has been a successful effort, and GitHub insights shows that most contributions were not from MDN staff.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • FLOSS Weekly 497: LibreOfficeOnline
      Michael Meeks is the General Manager of Collabora Productivity, leading Collabora Office and Online products, supporting customers and consulting on development alongside an extremely talented team. He serves as a Director of the The Document Foundation, and on the LibreOffice Engineering Steering Committee. Prior to Collabora he was a Novell/SUSE Distinguished Engineer working on various pieces of Free Software infrastructure across the Linux stack to MeeGo, GNOME, CORBA, Nautilus, Evolution and Open Source accessibility, among others.
    • Updated LibreOffice growth infographic (2018)
      Numbers are growing and the Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) is very popular now, with currently over 7.5 million Docker image pulls! Also, this year we are the top code contributors to LibreOffice with 5302 code commits.

  • Healthcare

    • Microscope add-on could be a game-changer for 2D, 3D brain imaging
      Researchers have developed an add-on for laser-scanning microscopes that can improve the quality of 2D and 3D imaging of the brain, according to a new study published in Optica.

      The add-on, called PySight, includes both hardware and open-source software. A laser-based imaging technique called multiphoton microscopy is often used to capture high-quality 2D and 3D images of neurons, blood vessels and other parts of a patient’s brain, the authors observed, but it can be difficult because the images must be taken quickly. This results in fewer photons being visible in the final image.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Intel Releases New BSD-Licensed Open-Source Firmware Implementation
      At the European Open-Source Firmware Conference happening this week in Erlangen, Intel announced the open-source "Slimbootloader" (also referred to as Slim Bootloader) project that is quite exciting.


      Still digging through the limited information that's public so far after being tipped off on the news from the OSFC conference, but for now those interested can check out the documentation and code.


    • IceCat 60.2.0 Pre-release
      GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license restricts distribution in ways that hinder freedom 0.

      GNU IceCat has multiple practical advantages as well, such as better privacy and security settings, extensive blocking of sites that may track the user's browsing habits, or the inclusion of LibreJS and other extensions that help browse without running non-free javascript.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The Commons Clause causes open-source disruption
      Redis Labs tried to legally stop cloud providers from abusing its trademark, but found it difficult because of the legal resources and budgets these giant companies have.

      So the company took another route and decided to change the licenses of certain open-source Redis add-ons with the Commons Clause. This change sparked huge controversy within the community with many stating that Redis was no longer open source.

      “We were the first significant company to adopt this and announce it in such a way that we got most of the heat from the community on this one,” said Bengal.

      The reason for the uproar is because the Commons Clause is meant to add “restrictions” that limit or prevent the selling of open-source software to the Open Source Initiative’s approved open-source licenses.

      “ … ‘Sell’ means practicing any or all of the rights granted to you under the License to provide to third parties, for a fee or other consideration (including without limitation fees for hosting or consulting/ support services related to the Software), a product or service whose value derives, entirely or substantially, from the functionality of the Software. Any license notice or attribution required by the License must also include this Commons Clause License Condition notice,” the Commons Clause website states.

      According to the OSI, this directly violates item six of its open-source definition in which it states no discrimination against fields of endeavor. “The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research,” the definition explains.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Scale and nuTonomy open-source massive AI dataset for self-driving cars
        Scale Inc. and Aptiv PLC’s nuTonomy group, two influential players in the autonomous vehicle ecosystem, today open-sourced a massive research dataset designed to aid self-driving car initiatives.

        Autonomous vehicles rely on artificial intelligence models to make navigation decisions. Those AI models, in turn, must be trained with large amounts of sample information to achieve the necessary accuracy, which is where the new dataset comes into the picture.

      • Open Source Multi-Sensor Self-Driving Dataset Available To Public

        Scale has released what it believes to be the largest open source multi-sensor (LIDAR, RADAR, and camera) self-driving dataset published by nuTonomy (acquired by Aptiv in 2017), with annotations by Scale. Academic researchers and autonomous vehicle innovators can access the open-sourced dataset, nuScenes.

        The nuScenes open source dataset is based on LIDAR point cloud, camera sensor, and RADAR data sourced from nuTonomy and then labeled through Scale’s sophisticated and thorough processing to deliver data ideal for training autonomous vehicle perception algorithms. It provides the full dataset that includes 1,000 twenty-second scenes, nearly 1.4 million camera images, 400,000 LIDAR sweeps, and 1.1 million 3D boxes.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Coreboot Improvements For FU540 Land Following SiFive's Open-Source Boot Code
        Last week SiFive published their HiFive Unleashed open-source boot-loader code for this first RISC-V SoC on their Linux-friendly development board. This code being open-sourced has already helped improve the support for the FU540 SoC within Coreboot.

        The code open-sourced last week by SiFive allows for a fully open-source boot process after this first RISC-V developer board received some criticism for some of its initialization code being closed-source, namely around the SDRAM start-up code.

  • Programming/Development

    • Firefox Reality Developers Guide
      Firefox Reality, Mozilla's VR web browser, is getting closer to release; so let's talk about how to make your experiences work well in this new browser.

    • PHP version 5.6.38, 7.0.32, 7.1.22 and 7.2.10

    • Xonsh – A Python-Powered Shell Language and Command Prompt
      Xonsh (pronounced “Konk“,) is a cross-platform, Python-powered, Unix shell language and command prompt designed for the use of experts and novices alike.

      The Xonsh language is a Python 3.4+ superset and it features additional shell primitives that make it familiar to working from IPython and Bash.

      Xonsh is easily scriptable and it allows you to mix both command prompt and python syntax coupled with a rich standard library, man-page completion, typed variables, and syntax highlighting, among other features.

    • Python Programming Language Ditches 'Master-Slave' Terms, Pissing Off Some
      A quiet debate has been brewing in the coding community for years that’s forced programmers to ask if using the terms “master” and “slave” are insensitive. Now, Python, one of the most popular high-level programming languages in the world, has ditched the terminology—and not everyone is happy about it.

      Master/Slave is generally used in hardware, architecture, and coding to refer to one device, database, or process controlling another. For more than a decade, there’s been some concern that the terms are offensive because of their relationship to the institution of slavery. Last week, a developer named Victo Stinner published four pull requests asking the Python community to consider changing the Master/Slave terms to something like Parent/Worker. “For diversity reasons, it would be nice to try to avoid ‘master’ and ‘slave’ terminology which can be associated to slavery,” he wrote to explain his thinking.

    • EuroPython 2018
      In July I took the train up to beautiful Edinburgh to attend the EuroPython 2018 conference. Despite using Python professionally for almost 8 years, this was my first experience of a Python conference. The schedule was packed, and it was challenging deciding what talks to attend, but I had a great time and enjoyed the strong community feeling of the event. We even went for a group run around Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat, which I hope is included in the schedule for future years.

      Now that the videos of the talks have all been published, I wanted to share my personal highlights, and list the talks I saw during and since the conference. I still haven’t caught up on everything I wanted to see, so I’ve also included my watch list.

    • ​Cloud Foundry survey finds top enterprise languages
      That said, the CFF also found that, "More and more, businesses are employing a polyglot and a multi-platform strategy to meet their exact needs." The CFF discovered 77 percent of enterprises are using or evaluating Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS); 72 percent are using or considering containers; and 46 percent are using or thinking about serverless computing. Simultaneously, more than a third (39 percent) are using all three technologies together.

      For companies this "flexibility of cloud-native practices enables [companies to move] away from a monolithic approach and towards a world of computing that is flexible, portable and interoperable." That means, while Java and JavaScript are only growing ever more popular, the larger the company, the more languages are used.


  • Inbox is signing off: find your favorite features in the new Gmail [Ed: Google says their shareholders no longer saw "value("profit), so they’re giving the middle fingers to so-called ‘customers’ who were actually “products” they sought to ‘monetise’]
    Inbox by Gmail has been a great place to experiment with new ideas like snoozing emails to later, as well as try the latest AI-powered experiences like Smart Reply, Nudges and high-priority notifications to help you stay productive.

  • Google Inbox Is Shutting Down; Switch to Gmail Before March 2019 [Ed: "The cloud" - we don't just change things ('upgrade') without your approval but we also remotely 'delete' things when we feel like it]
    After months of the noticeable slow progress of Inbox, Google has decided to shut down the Inbox project altogether. The Inbox by Gmail is going off the air by March 2019 so fans have about less than 7 months to move over to the everlasting Gmail.

  • The ‘Gmail Offline’ App is Shutting Down, Here’s What to Use Instead
    Do you use Chrome’s Gmail Offline app to access your email offline? That app is shutting down on December 3, but you can still access Gmail offline on your computer.

    For years using Gmail offline meant using a Chrome app with its own user interface. It wasn’t great, but it worked. It’s also no longer necessary: one of the best features in the new Gmail is the ability to use the full Gmail interface offline, without any app to install. It’s a pretty big improvement, and it doesn’t take long to enable.

  • Hardware

    • What Does Data "Durability" Mean?

      Friend may be right that these are the top 5 causes of data loss, but over the timescale of preservation as opposed to storage they are far from the only ones. In Requirements for Digital Preservation Systems: A Bottom-Up Approach we listed 13 of them. Below the fold, some discussion of the meaning and usefulness of durability claims.

  • Security

    • Cryptomalware Hits Windows & Linux Kodi Users; 4,700+ Users Affected [Ed: It is a little worrying that CBS hired Catalin Cimpanu to write for ZDNet because he's well known for sensationalisation of security issues. He's quite the 'drama queen' and often misleads for mere traffic/hits. Not good. Hit-based 'journalism'.]
      A large number of people who have been enjoying streaming movies and live TV using Kodi on their Windows and Linux devices have been hit by a Monero cryptomalware, as reported by ZDNet.

    • Security updates for Friday

    • OPINION: Latest Research Shows Your Android Apps Aren’t As Secure As You Think [Ed: One wonders why Steve Pociask, aka "American Consumer Institute", is so eager to make Android look bad and attribute holes in PROPRIETARY software to "open source".]
    • Dem introduces bill to create federal cybersecurity apprenticeship program

      Under the bill, the programs would be required to offer certain cybersecurity certifications and help connect participants with local businesses or other entities for apprenticeships in hopes to boost the number of qualified workers for federal cyber jobs.

    • The Overlooked Weak Link in Election Security
      More than one-third of counties that are overseeing elections in some of the most contested congressional races this November run email systems that could make it easy for hackers to log in and steal potentially sensitive information.

      A ProPublica survey found that official email accounts used by 11 county election offices, which are in charge of tallying votes in 12 key U.S. House of Representatives races from California to Ohio, could be breached with only a user name and password — potentially allowing hackers to vacuum up confidential communications or impersonate election administrators. Cybersecurity experts recommend having a second means of verifying a user’s identity, such as typing in an additional code from a smartphone or card, to thwart intruders who have gained someone’s login credentials through trickery or theft. This system, known as two-factor verification, is available on many commercial email services.

      “Humans are horrific at creating passwords, which is why ‘password’ is the most commonly used password,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, D.C., who has pushed for security fixes in the voting process. This means increasingly we need something other than passwords to secure access to our accounts, especially email, which tends to undergird all our other accounts.”

      The email vulnerabilities emerged in ProPublica’s survey of election security in 27 counties encompassing all or part of roughly 40 congressional districts that the Cook Political Report has said are toss-ups. These contests could determine if Democrats take control the U.S. House of Representatives, where the party needs to pick up about two dozen seats to flip the current Republican majority. Of the 12 districts in counties with less protected email systems, Republicans are seeking re-election in 10. The other two are open seats where incumbents are stepping down.

    • Open Source Security Research Group gets a new office [Ed: "Open Source Security Research Group" = anti-Open Source FUD group connected to Microsoft]

    • Docker fave Alpine Linux suffers bug miscreants can exploit to poison containers
      An infosec bod has documented a remote-code execution flaw in Alpine Linux, a distro that pops up a lot in Docker containers.

      Max Justicz, researcher and creator of crowd-sourced bug bounty system Bountygraph, said on Thursday that the vulnerability could be exploited by someone with man-in-the-middle (MITM) network access, or operating a malicious package mirror, to inject arbitrary code via apk, Alpine's default package manager.

      Justicz said that the vulnerability is particularly dangerous because, first, Alpine is commonly used for Docker images thanks to its small footprint, and second, most of the packages apk handles are not served via secure TLS connections, making them more susceptible to tampering.

      In the worst-case scenario, the attacker could intercept apk's package requests during Docker image building, inject them with malicious code, and pass them along to the target machines that would unpack and run the code within their Docker container.

    • Kodi users on Windows and Linux infected with cryptomining malware [Ed: 1) not many affected. 2) it's due to add-ons, not Kodi. 3) the severity is low because it's mining, not blackmail or destruction of data.]
      What just happened? Unofficial repositories serving third-party add-ons for open source media player Kodi have been serving malicious cryptocurrency mining malware for several months. Fewer than 5,000 victims are estimated but that number could grow as the malware spreads.

    • Securonix Threat Research: KRONOS/Osiris Banking Trojan Attack
      The KRONOS malware was first discovered in June 2014 as a Banker Trojan available for purchase in a Russian underground forum for $7,000 [1]. After staying dormant for few years, a new variant of KRONOS, known as Osiris, was discovered in July 2018, with three distinct campaigns targeting Germany, Japan, and Poland [2]. The new variant contains features like TOR network command and control (C2), keylogging, and remote control via VNC along with older features like form grabbing and web-injection [3].


      Infiltration vector(s): The primary infiltration vector used by KRONOS/Osiris malware is phishing email campaigns containing specially crafted Microsoft Word documents/RTF attachments with macro/OLE content that cause malicious obfuscated VB stagers to be dropped and executed. In many scenarios the malware is distributed using exploit kits like RIG EK.

      The malicious document exploits a well-known buffer overflow vulnerability in Microsoft Office Equation Editor Component—CVE-2017-11882—which allows the attacker to perform arbitrary code execution [4][5].

    • KRONOS Trojan, Known For Hacking Bank Accounts, Gets A New Update [Ed: targets Windows]

  • Defence/Aggression

    • As Trump Commits to Endless War, Corporate Media Obsess Over Anonymous Op-Ed
      The anonymous New York Times op-ed (9/5/18), purportedly written by a senior Trump administration official, coupled with the release of Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear—itself full of White House back-stabbing and anonymous quotes—unleashed a veritable tsunami of breathless press speculation last week. But lost amidst the deluge was a Trump administration story that will have deadly, far-reaching consequences long after the Times op-ed is forgotten and Woodward’s book hits the discount pile. That’s because Trump effectively endorsed endless US war in Syria last week, and almost no one in the press noticed.


      The Associated Press (9/6/18) also covered the story, but its effort left much to be desired. Its ponderous headline, “US Plays Down Talk of Imminent Pullout of Forces From Syria,” entirely missed the point of what this president had just committed to. Likewise, the article’s lead was a jumble of disingenuous and contradictory official statements that the reporter never bothered to deconstruct or challenge.

      Instead, the AP allowed Trump’s special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, to spin away, demanding an “enduring defeat” of ISIS while also casually claiming that “means we’re not in a hurry to get out,” and then adding that this didn’t necessarily require a long-term military presence in the country. All this in the first two paragraphs. Readers who weren’t already dizzy from hearing the press dutifully pass along the same shopworn clichés used to justify our multi-decade wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could be forgiven for having a case of journalistic whiplash as well.

    • ‘Nothing Will End if the US Continues to Support Saudi Arabia’
      It is disheartening that with tens of thousands of people killed, millions in need of assistance, at least a million affected by the largest cholera outbreak in history, and no clear end in sight to the violence behind it all, that the Washington Post would feel a need to run a piece headed “Five Reasons the Crisis in Yemen Matters.”

      Coverage is better than silence, of course, but as the war on Yemen is in its third year now, one would hope that US media would be in the business of regularly illustrating why the crisis matters, and specifically why it should matter to people in the US, whose government continues to play an active, central role in the war.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Speculation over fate of missing Dutchman linked to WikiLeaks
      A kayak believed to belong to Kamphuis, who advised governments, corporations, journalists and activists on information security, was pulled from the sea about 50km from Bodø on Thursday, police said, the day after an amateur fisherman found some of his belongings – reportedly including an ID card – floating in the water.

      But mobile phone records show that 10 days after the Dutchman was seen leaving his hotel, both his work and personal mobile phones were briefly switched on Рwith German SIM cards inserted Рmore than 1,700km from the small northern town, at Vikes̴ near Stavanger.

      Police said on Thursday they were “holding all possibilities open in respect to what might have happened” to Kamphuis and pursuing three distinct lines of inquiry: a “voluntary disappearance” including a possible suicide; an accident; or foul play.

    • Norwegian police finds belongings of WikiLeaks man missing since August
      Wikileaks acknowedged the finding of the missing man's belongings in a tweet, indicating police believed his phone had been used for 20 minutes 10 days after he disappeared, 1500 kilometres away in southern Norway.

    • European analyst: the death of Assange will destroy the image of the leaders of several countries of the world
      Death in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the founder of the portal WikiLeaks (WL) Julian Assange will lead to public condemnation of the international community policies a number of countries and even the resignation of their leaders.

      The correspondent of ГолосUA said the European expert Knut Berg.

      According to the analyst, currently George. Assange, who for the last six years hiding in the Embassy of Ecuador in the British capital, is seriously ill, and the procrastination of the West in solving its fate is threatened by scandalous journalist of “imminent death”. “Quito official already admitted their failure to guarantee Assange financial and medical assistance, and if that person will be given America, he will be executed – said, in particular, the expert. On the other hand, Sweden, which is also seeking the extradition of the head of the WL, is unable to protect him from deportation in the United States. If Assange dies, the image of the leaders of those countries which for a long time subjected to harassment of a journalist, would be virtually destroyed. And Ecuador, and Sweden, and America, and even the UK will have to answer for this development”. As the expert stressed, the only way out of this situation may be a complete withdrawal from John. Assange charges against him and giving founder of the WL full freedom of movement.

    • Norway police find missing WikiLeaks associate's kayak
      Norwegian police on Thursday said they have found a kayak they believe belonged to a missing WikiLeaks associate who disappeared in mysterious circumstances three weeks ago.

      The police released a photo of a white foldable kayak they believe Dutch cyber security expert Arjen Kamphuis bought just before going on a holiday in Norway.

      Kamphuis, 47, has not been seen since leaving his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodø on August 20th.


      Police have not clarified what the objects are due to the ongoing investigation, but Norwegian broadcaster TV2 reported that they include Kamphuis' identification papers.

    • A WikiLeaks associate has been missing for weeks, now his kayak has turned up
      A phone linked to Kamphuis was briefly switched on in an area near the southwestern city of Stavanger, located 1,600 kilometres from Bodo, on August 30, police said, but could not confirm who was using it.

      His friend Ancilla van de Leest told AFP on Wednesday that Kamphuis showed no signs of being suicidal and that his links with WikiLeaks were "strongly overblown in the press".

    • Belongings of missing WikiLeaks associate Kamphuis found in Norway: police

      Investigators searched the area with assistance from local Red Cross and a rescue vessel.

    • The police were looking for was found by a fisherman

      In Norway found items belonging to the missing member of the “Wikileaks” Arjen Kamphuis. It is reported that the discovery in one of the fjords were made by the fisherman. What kind of things the police in the interests of the investigation does not disclose. And the fact of detection does not bring clarity. Kampas now looking for in Norway and in Denmark.

    • Halla Norwegian Police Boat of a Missing WikiLeaks Collaborator
      Arjen Kamphuis disappeared after leaving his hotel in Bodø (northern Norway) on August 20, a disappearance that spawned a multitude of conspiracy theories on social media.

      Famous for having published compromising documents of the American diplomacy and the army, WikiLeaks assures that Kamphuis is a partner of the founder of the organization, the Australian Julian Assange, a refugee in the embassy of Ecuador in London to escape of the American justice.

      The organization describes the disappearance as “strange”, and the police assure that it is exploring all the options: a voluntary disappearance, including a possible suicide, an accident or a criminal act.

    • Julian Assange and Antonio Trillanes: A Political Prisoner And a Fugitive From Justice
      Julian Assange is the most globally famous political prisoner of the 21st century. He has been trapped in Ecuador’s London Embassy since August of 2012 and earlier this year had all of his communications with the outside world cut off as part of an agreement between the new Ecuadorian administration and Assange’s western persecutors. Meanwhile, medical professionals who have visited Assange in the Embassy have stated that his physical and mental health are rapidly deteriorating and that his life is in danger unless he is allowed to safely receive full medical attention.

      Julian Assange’s only “crime” was exposing the war criminality of major western regimes including that of the United States under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Additionally, Assange is known for publishing materials on government corruption, dishonesty and systematic fraud throughout the world but primarily in the US and Europe. Assange was initially sought by police and prosecutors for rape allegations relating to a deeply controversial piece of Swedish legislation which defines rape as that which would otherwise be a legal act in most other nations including Assange’s native Australia, his last place of residence in Britain or the United States for that matter. Ultimately, Swedish prosecutors dropped the case against Assange but the Wikileaks founder is still not a free man as British authorities seek his arrest on a minor issue of skipping out on his bail while the wider worry is that London would rapidly turn Assange over to the US where many prominent politicians including Hillary Clinton have called for his execution.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • This terrifying graphic from The Weather Channel shows the power and danger of Hurricane Florence

      The National Hurricane Center is predicting storm surges anywhere from two to more than 11 feet high. But it’s hard to visualize what those numbers actually mean for someone near the water. The National Hurricane Center tried to make it clear with a cartoon graphic that shows rainbow colored water levels rising over the heads of a family in a house.

    • Potential Insurance Bill From Hurricane Florence Could Take Toll on Wallets Far From North Carolina’s Coast

      For years, North Carolina has bet against a storm like Hurricane Florence.

      Even as nationally known insurance companies pulled out of the state’s coastal communities, development boomed along the shore, despite the threat from a megastorm like Harvey or Maria.

      In the face of warnings that climate change was making such storms more common, the state-created “insurer of last resort” has written policies for thousands of coastal properties worth tens of billions of dollars.

      With Hurricane Florence headed straight for North Carolina, the state faces not only a natural disaster but a financial reckoning.

      According to the most recent totals available, from 2017, the state-created insurance plan had access to about $3 billion in reserves, reinsurance and contributions from insurance companies to repair and rebuild damaged homes and properties. It could need a lot more than that if it were to be hit by a storm comparable to Harvey, which devastated Houston last year. Insurers estimate that the total payout from claims related to Harvey will reach $19.4 billion, according to the Texas Department of Insurance.

    • Hurricane Florence’s Surge Is Expected to Hit Homes That Already Cost the Government Millions

      Though the flooding from Hurricane Florence is predicted to be unprecedented, residents of the coastal North Carolina towns threatened by the storm surge know what it’s like to take on water. Some homes in these areas have been repeatedly flooded — and repeatedly bailed out by federal flood insurance.

      ProPublica examined storm surge predictions by the National Hurricane Center, layering a map of areas expected to be affected by Florence over a map of the most flood-prone properties tracked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides most of the flood insurance for U.S. homeowners.

      Critics have long argued that the program subsidizes risky development, but efforts at reform inevitably stall because raising premiums would make flood insurance unaffordable for lower-income residents. The insurance is required for federally backed mortgages of homes in flood-prone areas. The program is more than $20 billion in debt.

      Looking at some of the towns, it’s easy to see why.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Who Gets Their News From Which Social Media Sites?

      The survey also confirms what we’ve known for a long time about which social media sites have news delivery at the core of their services. Facebook is by far the most common social media “news gateway” in the US, with nearly half of respondents saying they rely on the site for news. YouTube came in second (21 percent) and Twitter a distant third, with 12 percent of respondents saying they use that site for news. Twitter’s standing is no surprise, given its much smaller user base than Facebook or YouTube. Those two networks have been jockeying for the most popular social media site in the US, but Twitter is fifth, according to a different Pew survey from January of this year.

    • More NYC Primary Voters Find Their Names Missing From Voter Rolls
      An untold number of primary voters are arriving at polling sites today only to find that their names are mysteriously missing from the voter rolls. Others have found that their registration has been quietly transferred to new election/assembly districts, or assigned to new parties without their knowledge. Attorneys with the NYCLU say they are currently receiving reports from numerous voters who are shocked to find their names missing from the voting rolls.
    • Lynch Mob Mentality
      I was caught in a twitterstorm of hatred yesterday, much of it led by mainstream media journalists like David Aaronovitch and Dan Hodges, for daring to suggest that the basic elements of Boshirov and Petrov’s story do in fact stack up. What became very plain quite quickly was that none of these people had any grasp of the detail of the suspects’ full twenty minute interview, but had just seen the short clips or quotes as presented by British corporate and state media.

      As I explained in my last post, what first gave me some sympathy for the Russians’ story and drew me to look at it closer, was the raft of social media claims that there was no snow in Salisbury that weekend and Stonehenge had not been closed. In fact, Stonehenge was indeed closed on 3 March by heavy snow, as confirmed by English Heritage. So the story that they came to Salisbury on 3 March but could not go to Stonehenge because of heavy snow did stand up, contrary to almost the entire twittersphere.

      Once there was some pushback of truth about this on social media, people started triumphantly posting the CCTV images from 4 March to prove that there was no snow lying in Central Salisbury on 4 March. But nobody ever said there was snow on 4 March – in fact Borisov and Petrov specifically stated that they learnt there was a thaw so they went back. However when they got there, they encountered heavy sleet and got drenched through. That accords precisely with the photographic evidence in which they are plainly drenched through.

      Another extraordinary meme that causes hilarity on twitter is that Russians might be deterred by snow or cold weather.
    • Crossing the Divide: The Challenges and Rewards of Working in Spanish-Language Media
      A conversation with Chicago journalist Jackie Serrato about bottom-up reporting, building trust and covering local arrests by ICE.


      I saw there was a disconnect [between] what mainstream outlets covered and the things we found important as immigrant communities. So I started a Facebook page for my neighborhood, La Villita Chicago, which now has over 125,000 likes. I just wanted a space on the web for Mexican-Americans and Latinos in Chicago.

      I realized this was a very much-needed space. We were talking about gang violence, ward politics, threat of gentrification and what people were witnessing on their blocks. When I shared links to news stories [from mainstream outlets] in this group, I could tell these articles were very hard to relate to. They were number-heavy, harsh and included very few interviews with locals. Perspectives in the stories seem one-sided.

      My focus at Hoy is to cover immigrants and Mexican-Americans in Chicago. I do it to alert people of what’s going on. This process is the essence of journalism.
    • Richard Kim on Brett Kavanaugh, Jamil Dakwar on John Bolton
      This week on CounterSpin: The elite media takeaway on the nomination to the Supreme Court of arch-conservative Brett Kavanaugh—despite allegations of perjury, and an unprecedented lack of access to his work—would seem to be reflected by CNN, which ran two items on the same day: a poll showing more Americans oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation than support it, and an analysis that took his confirmation as a given. “Americans don’t want it, but it’s happening anyway; next!” seems to be corporate media’s approach to many things these days. Others take democratic dysfunction less sanguinely. We speak with Richard Kim, executive editor of The Nation magazine, about that.
    • Why Mnangagwa 'won', but lost the 2018 election
      PRESIDENT Mnangagwa won the 2018 election on one hand, but lost it on the other. First, while the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and Mnangagwa celebrated their vindication by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), the upshot was that Zec, Mnangagwa, and the ConCourt got tainted.

      While the MDC Alliance lost the ConCourt challenge, it exposed the degree to which the entire system is defective.

      Second, there is an entrenched perception that Mnangagwa is a ruthless man who played a role in the commission of grave human rights violations, including Gukurahundi. Mnangagwa has rejected these claims, claiming that he is "as soft as wool".

    • I Sorta Know Who Wrote That Anonymous NYT Op-Ed
      But the only way for America to function credibly was for us to work on her behalf, and that meant following the boss, the system created by the Constitution, and remembering you weren’t the one elected, and that you ultimately worked for those who did the electing. There were ways to honorably dissent, such as resigning, or writing a book with your name on the cover (my choice) and taking your lumps.

      But acting as a wrench inside the gears of government to disaffect policy (the Washington Post warned “sleeper cells have awoken”) is what foreign intelligence officers recruit American officials to do, and that doesn’t make you a hero acting on conscience, just a traitor. It seems odd someone labeled a senior official by the New York Times would not understand the difference before defining themselves forever by writing such an article.

      So don’t be too surprised if the author turns out to be a junior official not in a position to know what they claim to know, a political appointee in a first government job reporting second- or third-hand rumors, maybe an ex-Bushie in over their head. That will raise important questions about the Times’ exaggerating the official’s importance, and thus credibility, and whether anonymity was being used to buff up the narrative by encouraging speculation.

    • Not even Republicans trust Trump on Russia

    • Trump 'Often' Told His Former NSA Chief He's 'In a Different Place' Than Experts on Russia Hacking
      While President Donald Trump has on a handful of occasions been forced to publicly state he believes Russia attacked the U.S. election that placed him in the White House, no one actually thinks he believes that. Trump countless times has made very clear he believes the very idea of Russia hacking the U.S. is a "hoax," and the investigation into Russian interference is a "witch hunt!"

      One of the few people who would know first hand exactly how Trump thinks about Russia and its attacks on America is the president's own former Director of the National Security Agency, retired Admiral Mike Rogers.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Remove terror content or be fined millions, EU tells social media firms

      The European commission is proposing legislation to ensure all member states bring in sanctions against those who repeatedly fail to respond to the new removal orders within an hour of them being issued, with platforms facing penalties of up to 4% of their global revenue.

    • A Benchmark Of Sorts: Steam's First Fully Uncensored Adult Novel-Game To Be Released In Coming Weeks
      So, it's been nearly three months since Valve announced that it was going with a new policy for the Steam gaming platform that was supposed to basically be hands off, with only "illegal" and "trolling" games being disallowed from the Steam store. As with all things Steam, the end result of what was supposed to be a transparent and simple policy turned into a shitshow, with developers having no idea whether once-banned games would suddenly be allowed, and some developers that were contacting Valve to get their games included were being told that their bans were still in place. There must have been a fair amount of frustration in the developer community, because Steam last week attempted to clear up its vague language in its policy. This attempt to clear things up, of course, cleared up basically nothing.
    • That Racist Serena Williams Cartoon Is So Very Australian
      By now, you have probably seen the Australian newspaper cartoon about the U.S. Open final, in which the cartoonist depicted tennis icon Serena Williams as a hulking, hissy-fitting child. You might have seen that the paper, the Herald Sun, doubled down on the depiction and defended the cartoonist, equating the uproar to censorship and suppression.
    • The Serena cartoon debate: calling out racism is not ‘censorship’
      If there is one thing more damning than the racist cartoon of Serena Williams published in Melbourne’s Herald Sun earlier this week, it’s the paper’s response to accusations of racism. And that’s saying something. Because the cartoon is bad. It’s Hattie McDaniel in Gone With the Wind, Mammy Two Shoes from Tom and Jerry, going out in the cotton fields with Topsy to eat watermelon, Aunt Jemima’s pancakes bad. It’s Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Pauline Hanson, Jeremy Clarkson after a bottle of scotch and a screening of Katie Hopkins’ documentary on white South African farmers bad.

      In the cartoon, Williams’ hair provides a bulbous, bloated, outsized frame for an enormous lolling tongue that’s bigger than her knee; nostril to nostril, her flat, expansive nose is roughly the size of her shoulder. It is not a caricature of Williams, whose lips, nose and tongue are not particularly pronounced and are rarely, if ever, remarked upon. It is a caricature of black people – and more specifically black women – that went straight through the editing process as though the 20th century had never happened. (Never mind the fact that Naomi Osaka, Williams’ Haitian-Japanese opponent, is portrayed as a white woman). When a furore broke out on social media, the cartoonist, Mark Knight, said: “The world has just gone crazy.”
    • Cartoonist defends his racist depiction of Serena Williams and fails
      The Herald Sun, the Australian newspaper whose racist caricature of Serena Williams set off shockwaves around the world, insists that not only is the clearly racist drawing is not racist, but that people pointing out the obvious historical connections between that drawing and the Little Black Sambo cartoons from a century ago, are simply “making it up.”

      Mark Knight, the cartoonist who drew the racist cartoon, said the online hate he received was “unfair” and claims that as the cartoon was about Williams’ argument with the line umpire during her the U.S. Open final loss to Naomi Osaka.
    • A racist Serena Williams cartoon went viral. Here’s how to caricature her the right way.

    • EFF Helps Launch Anti-SLAPP Task Force ‘Protect the Protest’
      Aboard the Arctic Sunrise, a working icebreaker that has sailed to the Arctic Circle, the Congo, and the Amazon Rivers under Greenpeace’s stead, EFF joined several civil liberties and environmental rights groups to send a message: no longer will we be bullied by malicious lawsuits that threaten our freedom of speech.

      “We have the Constitution, we have our rights, and now, we have each other,” said Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard.

      On September 5, EFF helped launch Protect the Protest, a coalition of nearly 20 organizations committed to fighting back against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, also known as SLAPPs. The coalition includes EFF, ACLU, Greenpeace, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.

    • Crackdown on online terror content not censorship, says EU [Ed: Corruptible politicians, who work for Hollywood it seems, cannot win the debate, so they pretend it’s actually about “terrorism”]

      Plans to fine online platforms for failing to act within an hour to take down terrorist-related material is not a case of censorship, EU security commissioner Julian King said.

      Mr King was elaborating on proposals to journalists set out in Wednesday’s state of the union speech in Strasbourg by commission president Jean Claude Juncker.

      Every internet platform that wants to offer its services in the European Union will be subject to clear rules to prevent their services from being misused to disseminate terrorist content, the commission says.

    • White House Potentially Exploring Executive Order On 'Social Media Bias'
      The White House may be preparing an executive order for the President, pushing for investigations of "bias" at social media companies. It is not definite, but someone has leaked us a draft two page executive order. We're not releasing the draft because, despite it coming directly from someone in the White House, others have insisted it's not an accurate document, even as the approach to some extent mirrors the announced plans of the DOJ to investigate bias. Another reason we're not releasing the document itself is that we're quite aware of reports saying that there are attempts to find "leakers" in the White House, and one common method of doing so is to put small indicators in documents. We cannot guarantee that this document is not such a document and thus will be reporting on the basic concept of what's in this draft, without revealing the full document.

      But, to be clear, if this document is accurate, it would almost certainly lead to a huge First Amendment fight, which it seems likely the companies would win.

      Obviously the issue of social media and supposed political bias has been a big topic in DC lately -- including with the President -- despite the near total lack of actual evidence to support these claims. Yes, there is evidence of people being kicked off these platforms... but there is no evidence that the reasons have anything to do with political bias (people of all political stripes have been removed from these platforms). And, yes, there is also evidence that employees at many internet companies may lean one way politically, but that too is overstated and says nothing about how the platforms actually work.

      Recently, we noted that the DOJ and various state Attorneys General were talking about using antitrust law against social media companies over bias, and explained in fairly great detail why that would almost certainly run afoul of the First Amendment and a whole long list of Supreme Court cases detailing how the government cannot compel speech of this nature.

    • Cuban activists issue manifesto against artistic censorship
      The growing movement of artists against Cuba's restrictive new law Decree 349 has issued a manifesto in Havana denouncing government censorship.

      The document, the San Isidro Manifesto, released on Wednesday (12 September) sets out principles defining a movement for artistic freedom in Cuba that has been gaining momentum since the law was published in July. The decree has met with opposition from journalists and cultural figures in Cuba and around the world and has become pivotal to an ongoing public debate about constitutional change.

      The law was among the first signed by the Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, who took office in April, and it is due to go into effect on 7 December.

    • Ibsen Play Is Canceled in China After Audience Criticizes Government
      A German theater production that invited audiences in China to voice their complaints about society has been canceled over fears of what they might say.

      The Schaubühne Berlin company was due to perform “An Enemy of the People,” a 19th-century play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, in Nanjing on Thursday and Friday. But the shows were abruptly canceled after members of the audience in Beijing last week shouted criticisms of their authoritarian government.

      The theater in Nanjing that was to host the play cited “technical problems,” including a hole in the stage, Tobias Veit, the Schaubühne’s executive director, said in a telephone interview.

      But Mr. Veit said the real reason for the cancellation appeared to be that the theater managers deemed the play, first performed in 1883, too risky given the audience comments in Beijing.

    • China Cancels Ibsen's 'An Enemy of the People' Amid Ever-Widening Censorship

    • Chinese censors bring down the curtain on Ibsen play

    • Facebook accused of censorship by liberal site after Weekly Standard fact checks article

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Microsoft Clears the Air About Fighting CLOUD Act Abuses [Ed: EFF playing along with one of the biggest and worst spies out there. Shame.]

    • The Game is Rigged: Congress Invites No Consumer Privacy Advocates to its Consumer Privacy Hearing
      The Senate Commerce Committee is getting ready to host a much-anticipated hearing on consumer privacy—and consumer privacy groups don’t get a seat at the table. Instead, the Committee is seeking only the testimony of big tech and Internet access corporations: Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter. Some of these companies have spent heavily to oppose consumer privacy legislation and have never supported consumer privacy laws. They know policymakers are considering new privacy protections, and are likely to view this hearing as a chance to encourage Congress to adopt the weakest privacy protections possible – and eviscerate stronger state protections at the same time.

      The upcoming hearing at the Senate Commerce Committee may be the launch pad for this strategy of undoing stronger state laws.

      It is no coincidence that, in the past week, two leading industry groups (the Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association) have called for federal preemption of state data privacy laws in exchange for weaker federal protections. For example, laws in California and Illinois require companies to have user consent to certain uses of their personal information (Nevada and Minnesota have these requirements for Internet access providers), while the industry proposals would only require transparency. That means that companies would be allowed to collect information without your permission as long as they tell you they’re doing it. The upcoming hearing at the Senate Commerce Committee may be the launch pad for this strategy of undoing stronger state laws.

      Since we can’t be there to say this ourselves, we’ll say it here: EFF will oppose any federal legislation that weakens today’s hard-fought privacy protections or destroys the states’ ability to protect their citizens’ personal information. EFF has had a long and continuous battle with some of the testifying companies, such as Google and AT&T, regarding your right to data privacy, and we’re not going to give up now.

      To be clear, we would look closely at a sensible federal legislation that offers meaningful protections for data privacy. Uniform laws offer predictability, making life easier for smaller companies, nonprofits and others that may struggle to meet the rules of different states. But a uniform law is only a good alternative if it’s actually a good law—not a weak placeholder designed only to block something stronger.
    • More Bay Area Jurisdictions Adopt Civilian Control of Police Spy Tech
      This week, two California jurisdictions joined the growing movement to subject government surveillance technology to democratic transparency and civilian control. Each culminated a local process spearheaded by concerned residents who campaigned for years.

      First, on Monday, the City of Palo Alto voted 8-1 to adopt an ordinance to “Establish Criteria and Procedures for Protecting Personal Privacy When Considering the Acquisition and Use of Surveillance Technologies, and Provide for Ongoing Monitoring and Reporting.” Like a handful of similar ordinances adopted across the Bay Area over the past two years, it includes several requirements.

    • Google, Apple, Amazon Summoned To Testify On Consumer Data Protection Techniques
      Six big companies including Google, Apple, Twitter, Amazon, AT&T, and Charter have been summoned by the US government to testify before the Senate about the consumer data and privacy mechanisms adopted by them.

      The hearing called “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy” is scheduled for September 26 where the representatives from the companies will answer questions on Commerce, Transportation, and Science.
    • AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile & Sprint Want Even Broader Access To Your Personal Data

      We've noted repeatedly that however bad Facebook has been on privacy (pretty clearly terrible), the broadband industry has traditionally been much, much worse. From AT&T's efforts to charge consumers more just to protect their privacy, to Verizon getting busted for covertly tracking users around the internet without telling them (or letting users opt out), this is not an industry that respects you or your privacy. That's before we even get to their cozy, often mindlessly-loyal relationship with intelligence and law enforcement.

      As such, it's kind of amusing to note that these are the same companies now trying to position themselves as the gatekeepers of all of your private data online. As security expert Brian Krebs notes, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint (the latter two of which will likely soon be one company) are cooking up something dubbed "Project Verify," which would let end users eschew traditional website passwords -- instead authenticating visitors by leveraging data elements unique to each customer’s phone and mobile subscriber account, including location, "customer reputation", and device hardware specs.

    • Another Batch Of FISA Court Docs Confirms The NSA Frequently Abuses Its Collection Powers
      More evidence of the NSA's abuse of its surveillance powers has surfaced, thanks to a FOIA lawsuit by the EFF. To date, the EFF has secured 73 FISC opinions as the result of this lawsuit and is still fighting for the release of six opinions the government has chosen to withhold entirely.

      One of the opinions released to the EFF shows the NSA's frequent assertions about proper minimization, careful deployment of surveillance techniques, and supposedly robust oversight are mostly false. The NSA abuses its powers and withholds evidence of its abuses from the FISA court, undermining the system of checks and balances meant to keep the agency in line.

    • European court rules against Britain over mass surveillance

    • GCHQ mass surveillance breached human rights on privacy, EU court rules

    • GCHQ's mass surveillance violates citizens' right to privacy, ECHR rules

    • GCHQ mass surveillance regime was in breach of human rights law, European court rules

    • An SEO Expert Has Shown How Chrome’s Back Button can be Hijacked to Spy on Users

      This allowed Petrovic to spy on users’ traffic to impersonated versions of his competitors’ websites. He was able to record mouse movement, clicks and typing, among other things.

    • How pervasive real-time bidding for online ads silently undermines your privacy

      This result suggests that real-time bidding is causing almost all information about our movements around the Web to be shared with major advertisers and advertising exchanges. Many people use ad blockers in an attempt to protect their privacy from this kind of information leakage. The researchers examined to what extent these browser add-ons reduce the sharing of personal information. Here’s what they found with the most popular of these, AdBlock Plus:

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • French Soldiers Tortured Algerians, Macron Admits 6 Decades Later
      One of the ugliest unsolved crimes of France’s long-ago, quasi-colonial war in Algeria was finally laid to rest on Thursday, as President Emmanuel Macron recognized that the French Army had tortured and killed a youthful antiwar intellectual in 1957.

      The death in custody of Maurice Audin, a 25-year-old mathematician, has for decades been a symbol of the French Army’s brutality during the Algerian War, much as the My Lai massacre became for the United States’ war in Vietnam. But unlike My Lai, which led to prosecutions, the Audin affair was never investigated.

    • ‘Attica Is Every Prison; and Every Prison Is Attica’
      Forty-seven years later, the uprising that shocked the world continues through the demands of prisoners for human rights.

      On Sept. 9, 1971, prisoners at Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York rebelled over extreme crowding, racism, and brutal living conditions. They took control of the prison and sought to negotiate with state officials over their demands. Four days later — and 47 years ago this week — the uprising was crushed in a massive assault by the state police, National Guard, and corrections officers. Forty-three people lost their lives, most of them during the retaking of the prison.

      The Attica rebellion and its bloody suppression shocked the nation and world, and shone a much-needed light on the grim reality of American prisons.

      Yet there was nothing particularly unusual about conditions at Attica at that time. America’s prisons were hellish by any standard. In its 1972 report, the New York State Special Commission on Attica, which was formed to investigate the rebellion, concluded that “the elements of replication are all around us. Attica is every prison; and every prison is Attica.”

      The echoes of Attica can be heard today in the voices of people in prisons struggling against the injustices they experience. So it is no surprise that the organizers of the Nationwide Prison Strike that began on August 21 chose the anniversary of the Attica uprising as the final day of the strike.

    • Trump’s New Attack on Immigrant Children
      The government has proposed new regulations which are a roadmap for keeping immigrant children and families locked up indefinitely.

      Last Thursday, two federal agencies announced new regulations concerning the detention of immigrant children. They are nothing less than a roadmap for keeping children and families locked up indefinitely.

      The proposed regulations have a very clear goal, which is to terminate a longstanding federal consent decree — known as the Flores Settlement Agreement — that sets nationwide standards concerning “the detention, release, and treatment of minors” in immigration custody. The 1997 agreement arose out of litigation challenging the government’s practice of detaining children for lengthy periods of time in inhumane conditions.

      The American Academy of Pediatrics and numerous child-welfare experts have warned that jailing children and parents can severely damage their physical and mental health, often irreversibly. For decades, Flores has stood as a critical check against government efforts to needlessly jail children and families and prevented abuse of children in custody.

      The government has often chafed under these legal obligations, but Flores has now come under direct assault by the Trump administration. The White House is characterizing Flores’ protections as a “loophole” and has even falsely claimed that the agreement justified its brutal family separation policy. Its allies in Congress have introduced several bills seeking to eliminate Flores protections and echoed the Trump administration’s anti-Flores rhetoric.

    • Off-Duty Cop Tasing an 11-Year-Old Should Provoke a Clear Wakeup Call for Police Reform
      How young is too young for a person to be tased? In Cincinnati, the answer disturbingly seems to be 7 years old. This is as shocking as it is unacceptable.

      The city is purportedly reviewing its policy on the use of force, specifically the use of tasers, after an off-duty Cincinnati police officer working as a security guard deployed his stun gun against an 11-year-old girl who allegedly stole about $50 of goods from a grocery store. According to media reports, the officer’s bodycam video shows the girl crying as firefighters removed the taser barbs from her back.

      The child was not a threat to law enforcement, and the officer is clearly guilty of using excessive force. After the incident, he even conceded that she was not a threat to him, to others, or to herself. Make no mistake, tasers are weapons, and they can not only hurt but kill.

      The American Heart Association confirms that misuse of a taser can cause sudden cardiac arrest and death. Tasers emit a 50,000-volt initial shock followed by 100 microsecond pulses of 1,200 volts. Since 2000, more than 1000 people in the United States have died from police-inflicted stun gun encounters. While intended, theoretically, to be a “non-lethal” method of control by law enforcement, there is too much evidence to the contrary.

    • Cop: Screwdrivers And Wrenches Are Drug Dealer Things; Appeals Court: WTF
      Some things most of us keep in our vehicles is considered by at least one police officer to be tools of the drug trade. Literal tools. Of the literal drug trade. I guess. The bad news is even more of us keep these items at home. We're drowning in contraband, it appears. Those of us with attached garages should just brace ourselves for early morning no-knock raids.


      If you don't want extra police attention, you keep your driving stuff in order. That's why police so often claim clean vehicles and drivers with no records are also tools of the drug trade -- because drug dealers don't want to give officers any reason to perform a pretextual stop. This claim goes the other direction, ensuring drivers are damned either way, and turning a nation of non-criminal drivers into erstwhile drug dealers.

    • Member Newsletter: Why South Carolina Abandoned Prisoners During Hurricane Florence
      South Carolina corrections officials refused to evacuate prisoners held in mandatory evacuation zones in the path of Hurricane Florence. Their decision should be placed in the context of this year’s prison strike, the call for which originated in that state.

      While around one million people in South Carolina were ordered to flee, the state had no such plans for the few thousand prisoners who are also in danger.

      State officials argued that weathering the storm in prison would be safer than evacuations. Meanwhile, they forced prisoners to fill over 35,000 sand bags before it hit.

      To figure out whether this a good idea, one only needs to reflect on the experience of prisoners in Louisiana who were abandoned to the floods of Hurricane Katrina. Locked in their prisons, inmates had to survive for days in water up to their chests. Hundreds of people were never accounted for. Texas prisoners survived similar experiences during Hurricane Rita and Harvey.
    • Trump’s Border Wall Obsession Is a Threat to the Southwest Border Region
      To save lives, preserve habitats, and ensure thriving border communities, Congress should stop funding President Trump’s border wall.

      Given all the false rhetoric and rage that drive President Trump’s fixation on building his border wall, it’s critically important to step back from that noise and think about people and places that would be jeopardized if his wall obsession continues to be funded by Congress.

      Take, for instance, Fred Cavazos, a property owner on the Rio Grande in Texas.

      Mr. Cavazos traces his family’s 77 acres of ranchland in South Texas back to Spanish land grants in the 1760s. As The Washington Post recently reported, he was notified by the federal government that the border wall’s potential path would cut “through the Cavazos family barn, through their rental house, and through a field where they grazed a small herd of longhorn cattle.” The map sent to Mr. Cavazos showed that the wall would sever his property in half and make it hard to access the riverfront.

      Indeed, despite being criticized for abusive and still uncompensated land seizures a decade ago, the possibility of private property seizures by the Department of Homeland Security is again looming over hundreds of more landowners. Moreover, with the passage of the REAL ID Act of 2005, the secretary of homeland security has the authority to waive any and all laws to speed up the construction of patrol roads and border walls. Barrier construction has disturbed or destroyed indigenous graves and cultural sites, which have particularly affected the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona, because laws that protect Native American rights are waived. No one else in the government, not even the president, has this kind of authority.

      The border wall, however, wouldn’t just violate landowners’ property rights.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Free roaming 'could no longer be guaranteed' with a no-deal Brexit

      Thanks to the Digital Single Market, Brits travelling in Europe have not had to pay roaming charges since June 2017, after changes to regulation meant that UK mobile phone users could use their regular allowance of calls, texts and data for no extra cost from anywhere in the EU.

      This could all change in March next year, though, as the government has confirmed warned that Brexit - which was recently been blamed for Panasonic shifting its European HQ from the UK to Amsterdam - could see the re-introduction of pesky roaming charges.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • US government likely to be disappointed in Brunetti review quest
        The USPTO has appealed to the Supreme Court to allow it to control immoral and scandalous trade mark registrations. Review and reversal of In re Brunetti seems unlikely because a similar issue was addressed in Tam

      • That Bizarre Trademark Suit Between Music Promoters Over An 'Ultra' Trademark Nobody Owned Is Still Going On
        I'll forgive the average reader here if they cannot recall the post we did nearly a year and a half ago about a trademark dispute between Worldwide Entertainment Group Inc. of Florida and Adria MM Productions Ltd. of Croatia. It's by far my favorite trademark story ever. It has all the hallmarks of a typical trademark bullying story that we would cover: from a fairly generic term ("Ultra") in a really broad industry (music festivals) being licensed for use overseas in Europe by Worldwide to Adria, only to have the former ratchet up its licensing fee and control demands over the trademark it had on the term "Ultra." Pretty standard fare, even when we get to the part where Worldwide sends Adria notice that it is in breach of the licensing agreement and demanding the stoppage of all use of the term "Ultra."

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Supreme Court rules ISPs can charge some costs of identifying illegal downloaders
        ISPs’ obligations in tackling illegal downloading have been clarified in Rogers Communications v Voltage Pictures. They can charge copyright holders for some steps in identifying suspected customers but not those costs incurred under the notice and notice regime
      • Plagiarists Or Innovators? The Led Zeppelin Paradox Endures
        Fifty years ago – in September 1968 – the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin first performed together, kicking off a Scandinavian tour billed as the New Yardbirds.

        The new, better name would come later that fall, while drummer John Bonham’s death in 1980 effectively ended their decade-defining reign. But to this day, the band retains the same iconic status it held back in the 1970s: It ranks as one of the best-selling music acts of all time and continues to shape the sounds of new and emerging groups young enough to be the band members’ grandchildren.

        Yet, even after all this time – when every note, riff and growl of Zeppelin’s nine-album catalog has been pored over by fans, cover artists and musicologists – a dark paradox still lurks at the heart of its mystique. How can a band so slavishly derivative – and sometimes downright plagiaristic – be simultaneously considered so innovative and influential?

        How, in other words, did it get to have its custard pie and eat it, too?

        As a scholar who researches the subtle complexities of musical style and originality as well as the legal mechanisms that police and enforce them, such as copyright law, I find this a particularly devilish conundrum. The fact that I’m also a bassist in a band that fuses multiple styles of music makes it personal.


        Led Zeppelin was also accused of lifting from white artists such as Bredon and the band Spirit, the aggrieved party in a recent lawsuit over the rights to Zeppelin’s signature song “Stairway to Heaven.” Even in these cases, the power dynamics were iffy.

        Bredon and Spirit are lesser-known composers with lower profiles and shallower pockets. Neither has benefited from the glow of Zeppelin’s glory, which has only grown over the decades despite the accusations and lawsuits leveled against them.
      • Guy In Charge Of EU Copyright Directive Claims He Didn't Know What He Voted On, Needs To Fix Things
        Following the decision earlier this week of the EU Parliament to vote for the destruction of the open web by putting in place some pretty awful copyright proposals, people began highlighting more and more problems with the bill. Most of the focus before the vote had been on two particular articles, Article 11 and Article 13. But there are many other problems in the Directive as well -- it was just getting to be overwhelming to get into the weeds on all of them. One area of concern was in Article 12, which included a special new form of copyright for sporting events. Specifically, with no debate or discussion the legal affairs committee of the EU Parliament added in text saying that sporting event organizers would gain absolute control over recording, sharing and presenting any film clips -- even those that would otherwise be deemed legal in other copyright contexts. And yes, the law implies that if you're at a sports event, you can't even film anything from your own seat as that is reserved solely to the event organizers.

        Incredibly, after the vote approving the directive, reporter Emanuel Karisten of the Swedish publication Breakit, asked Voss about this and Voss gave a fairly astounding answer, stating that "this was kind of a mistake" and that "no one had been aware of this."


        There are a few possibilities here, none of which make Voss look any good. He either voted for an amendment he hadn't read and/or didn't understand, or he's lying to this reporter. It also suggests that rather than taking the concerns of critics like Reda seriously, Voss just tuned them out and happily voted away for such horrible proposals.
      • EU Continues To Kill The Open Web: Massive Fines For Sites That Don't Censor Within An Hour
        The EU really seems quite hellbent on absolutely destroying the open internet. Just as the EU Parliament was voting to approve the EU Copyright Directive, requiring that much of the internet be licensed and curated, rather than open for anyone, the EU Commission decided to move forward with an awful idea that it had first proposed earlier this year: that social media companies must disappear "terrorist content' within one hour.


        It is literally insane that anyone could possibly think this is a good idea.

        Activists are already pointing out that this proposal has simply ignored its obligation to review how such a law would impact human rights, because apparently if you just wave your hands in the air screaming "terrorists' the EU will toss basic human rights out the window.

        At some point you have to wonder if the EU really just wants the internet shut off completely.

      • Europol Operation Targets Pirate IPTV Providers, Four More Arrested

        After two people were arrested in the UK this week, a Europol-led investigation into pirate IPTV services has led to four more arrests in Southern Ireland. Two men and two women were detained under suspicion of copyright and money laundering offenses. Major TV companies and the MPA provided assistance to the authorities.

      • Copyright Cop? ISP Willingly Kept Pirates On Board, Labels Say

        The legal battle between Texas-based Internet provider Grande Communications and the major record labels is heating up again. After Grande discredited the labels' lawsuit as an attempt to turn ISPs into their private copyright police, the music companies now fire back with several damning allegations.

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