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Links 6/10/2018: Mageia 6.1, Qt 5.12 LTS Beta Released

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Windows 10 October 2018 Update Can Delete Your Files: Here’s What You Can Do
      Shortly, after the update, users started complaining that the update has wiped out their files including documents, pictures, other media and miscellaneous files along with previously installed programs.

    • Day two – and Windows 10 October 2018 Update trips over Intel audio
      As well as the usual complaints from overenthusiastic users reporting freezes during setup and mysteriously vanishing files or apps, a low rumble of dissatisfaction could be heard regarding battery life. One Redditor reported a markedly decreased time between charges while another chimed in with similar woes.

      The culprit, according to a support article, could be a compatibility issue with a bunch of Intel Display Audio drivers that can end up sending CPU usage skyrocketing and battery life plummeting.

    • On the third day of Windows Microsoft gave to me: A file-munching run of DELTREE
      Folk keen as mustard to get their hands on the Windows 10 October 2018 Update have reported files being mysteriously deleted by the upgrade.

      It was all supposed to be so much better this time around. Fewer features, more time spent fixing bugs, and yet here we are. Hot on the heels of the issues afflicting Intel display audio drivers has come a growing wave of reports of precious documents going AWOL during the update.

      Unlike the Intel issues, Microsoft has remained tight-lipped. The Register contacted the Windows maker to find out if it was aware of the issue but received no response.
    • Windows 10 update should be avoided until Microsoft delivers fixes
      After consumers reported a number of problems with the latest major update to Windows 10, Microsoft responded by preventing the October 2018 Update from being installed on some systems. Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 October 2018 Update was available for download when it announced its new Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, and Surface Studio 2 at a media event on October 2 in New York City. Since then, users have reported a number of wide-ranging issues caused by the update, including lost files, issues with CPU usage, and reduced battery life post-update.

      The problem with disappearing files has been widely reported on various social media forums, including on Reddit and Twitter, with one user reporting on Microsoft’s community forum that he had lost up to 220GB of data after the update. Affected file types include documents, music, and photos. “I have just updated my windows using the October update (10, version 1809) it deleted all my files of 23 years in amount of 220gb,” forum member Robert wrote. “This is unbelievable, I have been using Microsoft products since 1995 and nothing like that ever happened to me.”

    • Microsoft Pulls Windows 10 October 2018 Update Due To Massive Bug
      Yesterday, we reported that the latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update is deleting files stored on the computers of users. Many Redditors and Microsoft forum users complained regarding the issue, and it looks like the company has listened to them.

      In a recent development, Redmond has pulled the October 2018 update due the file deletion bug.

    • Beware: Microsoft's Windows 10 October Update has been chewing up users' files

      Usually though, we'd expect it to affect a small number of users. This time however, the problems seem to come from anyone with an Nvidia GPU and anyone… erm… with files.

      Specifically, anyone with files on the same volume as the Windows installation, as it appears that the new update wipes the lot.

    • New Chromium change makes it easier to uninstall Chrome OS Linux apps
      The most recent release of Chrome OS added Linux app support, but it’s clear the feature has a long way to go before leaving beta. A new Chromium code change has been discovered that will bring some simplicity and consistency when you want to uninstall Chrome OS Linux apps.

      Because of the inclusion of innovative Linux app support in Chrome OS 69, more users have been getting exposed to the wide world of Linux apps, some for the first time. These first time users may not necessarily have a great experience, as Linux can sometimes be a little rough around the edges.

      The best example of this is in app installation and removal. Currently, to uninstall Chrome OS Linux apps, you need to use the command line or a separately installed package manager application. Chrome OS’s Linux app support does not come with an instruction manual, and this procedure is not necessarily intuitive.

  • Server

    • Inspur Advances Open Compute Project With New Rack Servers
      Datacenter server vendor Inspur is advancing its portfolio with the new OCP Standard Rack Server solution.

      The Open Compute Project (OCP) is a multi-stakeholder effort to define and develop open standards-based computing platforms. Among the OCP's standards is the Open Rack, which was first proposed back in 2012. With Open Rack, server racks were widened to 21 inches from what had been the standard 19 inches.


      Among the new OCP Standard Servers is a configuration that has been designed with what is known as the Redfish OCP Baseline profile.

      Hu explained that large-scale, hyper-scale data centers have always faced technical challenges in management and operation and maintenance. He add that servers and other equipment from different suppliers, closed-source BMC and various standards of related software packages bring many technical obstacles to unified management.

      "OpenBMC and Redfish are considered as the management technology and standard for next-generation data centers," Hu said. "Inspur has been tracking the convergence of OpenBMC and Redfish and is the first to complete this work."

      The OCP-certified San Jose node is the world's first product certified by the Redfish OCP Baseline Profile, according to Hu. Inspur also developed a fully functional version of OpenBMC that complies with the Redfish standard, making OpenBMC a modular, standardized total solution.

  • Kernel Space

    • WireGuard v7 Published As What's Hopefully Going Into The Next Kernel
      Jason Donenfeld started off his weekend by publishing the seventh and possibly final set of patches for the WireGuard secure network tunnel that is likely to be merged for the upcoming Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel cycle.

    • Linux Foundation

      • The future of networking: Open source networking is the 'new norm'
        If you weren’t in Amsterdam last week, you missed an extremely exciting conference – the Open Networking Summit Europe 2018. This Linux Foundation event drew more than 700 networking, development and operations leaders and enterprise users from open source service providers, cloud companies, and more.

        Chief among the conference themes was the idea that open source networking is the "new norm," with lots of vendors attesting to how this theme is playing out in the IT industry. Dan Kohn who leads the Linux Foundation's Cloud Native Computing Foundation cites cost savings, improved resilience and higher development velocity for both bug fixes and the rolling out of new features for this change. Arpit Joshipura, General Manager of Networking at The Linux Foundation used the term "open-sourcification" in his keynote.

      • OpenBMC Is Aiming For Its Major Debut In Early 2019
        The OpenBMC project hosted by the Linux Foundation to begin providing open-source Baseboard Management Controller firmware stacks is planning for its first major/official release in 2019 as this collaborative community project from leading software and hardware vendors.

        Sai Dasari presented last month at the Open-Source Firmware Conference about this "alternative firmware stack" targeting BMCs for servers and other data center / enterprise hardware. The current OpenBMC is forged from the original efforts by Facebook and IBM engineers but now with taking cues from Microsoft, Intel, Google, and other organizations. OpenBMC itself relies on a unified firmware interface and runs a Yocto embedded Linux distribution whereby the different BMC services from firmware updating to sensor monitoring is exposed over D-Bus and does rely on systemd.

    • Graphics Stack

      • XDC 2018 Report
        X.Org Developer’s Conference (XDC) is the summit meeting for people that work with graphics in all the world to meet each other for three days. There you will find people working with compositors, direct rendering management (DRM), graphics applications, and so forth; all these people at the same place create a unique learning opportunity. Finally, you can feel the community spirit in every table, talk, and corner.

        The XDC has many exciting talks, social events, and space for discussion with developers. All of this enabled thanks to the organization team, which did a great job by organizing the conference; they selected a great university that had a perfect structure for hosting the event. They also included social events that introduced some background about the history of the La Coruna; In my case, I enjoyed to learn a bit of the local history. About the food, the conference provided coffee breaks and lunch during all the days, all of them great!

      • The MATE Wayland Port Is Moving Along, NVIDIA Mir Support Still Being Tackled
        William Wold of Canonical's Mir team shared their latest weekly progress report on this display server supporting the Wayland protocol. While a short report, the two bits shared are quite interesting.

      • Mesa Gets Patch For Official Intel Whiskey Lake Support
        Back in June there was the initial Whiskey Lake support for the Intel DRM kernel driver ahead of the Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake announcement from late August. Now there is formal Whiskey Lake support for Intel's Mesa code.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.12 LTS Beta Released
        I am pleased to announce that we released the first beta of Qt 5.12 LTS today. Qt 5.12 LTS is expected to be a solid development base and to receive multiple patch-level updates during its three-year support period. Once released, we recommend updating to Qt 5.12 LTS for both current and new projects. We have convenient online binary installers in place so you can try out the upcoming features coming in Qt 5.12 LTS in its first beta state. We will continue to provide subsequent beta releases via the online installer.

      • Qt 5.12 Beta Released With Better Performance, Input & UI Improvements
        The Qt Company has announced the immediate availability of the Qt 5.12 beta.

        Qt 5.12 is another hearty update with OpenGL ES 3.1 renderer support inside Qt 3D, the Qt Wayland compositor now supporting XDG-Shell stable and various other protocols, a variety of performance improvements, ECMAScript 7 support inside QML JavaScript, an extension interface to the Qt Virtual Keyboard, full support for Qt Remote Objects, an updated Qt WebEngine, various input improvements, and countless other refinements.

      • Qt 5.12 LTS Beta Released, Yabits Now Available, Manjaro-Illyria and New Bladebook Coming Soon, First DNSSEC Rollover Next Week and Secret Text Adventure Game Found on
        Qt 5.12 LTS beta was released this morning. Qt 5.12 will be a long-term supported release, and it'll be supported for three years. Improved performance and reduced memory consumption have been a focus for this version, and it also now provides the TableView control. See the Qt 5.12 wiki for an overview of all the new features.

      • LabPlot Histogram
        LabPlot has already quite a good feature set that allows to create 2D Cartesian plots with a lot of editing possibilities and with a good variety of different data sources supported. Analysis functionality is also getting more and more extended and matured with every release. Based on the overall good foundation it’s time now to take care also of other plot types and visualization techniques. As part of the next release 2.6 we’re going to ship the histogram.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GStreamer Conference 2018
        For the 9th time this year there will be the GStreamer Conference. This year it will be in Edinburgh, UK right after the Embedded Linux Conference Europe, on the 25th of 26th of October. The GStreamer Conference is always a lot of fun with a wide variety of talks around Linux and multimedia, not all of them tied to GStreamer itself, for instance in the past we had a lot of talks about PulseAudio, V4L, OpenGL and Vulkan and new codecs.This year I am really looking forward to talks such as the DeepStream talk by NVidia, Bringing Deep Neural Networks to GStreamer by Pexip and D3Dx Video Game Streaming on Windows by Bebo, to mention a few.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of Mageia 6.1
        This release brings all of the updates and development that has gone into Mageia 6 together into fresh installation media, giving users a kernel that supports hardware released after Mageia 6. The new installations will benefit from the countless updates that current fully updated Mageia systems will have, allowing new installations to avoid the need for a large update post install. So if you are currently running an up to date Mageia 6 system, there is no need to reinstall Mageia 6.1 as you will already be running the same packages.

      • Mageia 6.1 Released With Updated Kernel For Better Hardware Support
        The Mageia Linux distribution with its lineage going back to Mandriva and before that Mandrake is out with a slightly updated OS this weekend.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Satellite integrated new, improved Ansible DevOps
        When Linux's sysadmin graybeards got their start, they all used the shell to manage systems. Years later, they also used system administration programs such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)'s Red Hat Satellite and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)'s YaST. Then, DevOps programs, like Ansible, Chef, and Puppet, appeared so we can manage hundreds of servers at once. Now, Red Hat is bridging the gap between the old-style server management tools and DevOps with Red Hat Satellite 6.4.

        This new management tool comes with a deeper integration with Red Hat Ansible Automation automation-centric approach to IT management. This enables sysadmins to use the Red Hat Satellite interface to manage RHEL with Ansible's remote execution and desired state management. This integration will help identify critical risks, create enterprise change plans, and automatically generate Ansible playbooks.

      • How to 'Kubernetize' an OpenStack service
        Kuryr-Kubernetes is an OpenStack project, written in Python, that serves as a container network interface (CNI) plugin that provides networking for Kubernetes pods by using OpenStack Neutron and Octavia. The project stepped out of its experimental phase and became a fully supported OpenStack ecosystem citizen in OpenStack's Queens release (the 17th version of the cloud infrastructure software).

        One of Kuryr-Kubernetes' main advantages is you don't need to use multiple software development networks (SDNs) for network management in OpenStack and Kubernetes. It also solves the issue of using double encapsulation of network packets when running a Kubernetes cluster on an OpenStack cloud. Imagine using Calico for Kubernetes networking and Neutron for networking the Kubernetes cluster's virtual machines (VMs). With Kuryr-Kubernetes, you use just one SDN—Neutron—to provide connectivity for the pods and the VMs where those pods are running.

      • Continuous Security with Kubernetes
        As the Chief Technologist at Red Hat for the western region, Christian Van Tuin has been architecting solutions for strategic customers and partners for over a decade. He’s lived through the rise of DevOps and containers. And in his role, he’s found that security is the highest adoption barrier for enterprises interested in harnessing the power of containers.

        After all, “Now we’re seeing an increasing level of threats for geopolitical reasons, and we’re seeing the dissolving security perimeter,” says Van Tuin. “Everything doesn’t sit behind the firewall in your data center anymore, and there’s a shift to software-based storage, networking and compute. The traditional network base, the fences, are no longer good enough.”

      • This is the age of agile integration. But what is it, and why do you need it? [Ed: Red Hat's Sameer Parulkar has prepared some buzzwords salad]
        Many organizations have adopted agile methodologies for iterative, incremental, and evolutionary software development. Many also have incorporated DevOps automation, integration, and collaboration practices for speeding application delivery with a focus on constant testing and continuous delivery. These changes to the way in-house applications are created and deployed have had a positive impact on all industries. But that impact goes only so far.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Classroom Session: Fedora Modularity 101

        • PHPUnit 7.4

        • Qubes OS 3.2.1-rc1 has been released!
          We’re pleased to announce the first release candidate for Qubes 3.2.1! This is the first and only planned point release for version 3.2. Features:

          Fedora 28 TemplateVM Debian 9 TemplateVM Whonix 14 Gateway and Workstation TemplateVMs Linux kernel 4.14

        • A Fedora 28 Remix for Tegra using i3
          This is dedicated to older Tegra such as Tegra20, Tegra30 and Tegra114. It can work on Tegra K1, but at this time, using Fedora 29 is a better choice. Specially as Fedora 29 on Tegra K1 have support for GPU acceleration with nouveau.

          The image integrates the grate-driver that provides a reverse-engineer mesa driver (FLOSS, but not yet upstream). This only advertises OpenGL 1.4 yet, but it can at least run glxgears fine. This is not the case with the softpipe driver on Tegra20.


          Interested in having an official i3 spin in Fedora? For Tegra, it will depends on the upstreaming of the grate-driver, but I've submitted a PR to have an i3 spin. As some arm or aarch64 based devices that can output display, but may not be able to have enough accelerated desktop capabilities (Unless using a proprietary or downstream driver that won't be in Fedora).

        • NeuroFedora: towards a ready to use Free/Open source environment for neuroscientists

          I've recently resurrected the NeuroFedora SIG. Many thanks to Igor and the others who had worked on it in the past and have given us a firm base to build on.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Ubuntu events in October
      October is here, and along with Halloween, comes a number of big events for the Ubuntu team here at Canonical.

      Members of the Ubuntu team will be travelling across Europe and the US at a wide range events covering; Cloud, IoT, AI/ML and much more.

      So if you want to know where you can catch up with the Ubuntu team at Canonical and learn about the latest developments then you can find us here...

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Close Conversation is the Future of Social VR
        In many user experience (UX) studies, the researchers give the participants a task and then observe what happens next. Most research participants are earnest and usually attempt to follow instructions. However, in this study, research participants mostly ignored instructions and just started goofing off with each other once they entered the immersive space and testing the limits of embodiment.

        The goal of this blog post is to share insights from Hubs by Mozilla usability study that other XR creators could apply to building a multi-user space.

        The Extended Mind recruited pairs of people who communicate online with each other every day, which led to testing Hubs with people who have very close connections. There were three romantic partners in the study, one pair of roommates, and one set of high school BFFs. The reason that The Extended Mind recruited relatively intimate pairs of people is because they wanted to understand the potential for Hubs as a communication platform for people who already have good relationships. They also believe that they got more insights about how people would use Hubs in a natural environment rather than bringing in one person at a time and asking that person to hang out in VR with a stranger who they just met.

        The two key insights that this blog post will cover are the ease of conversation that people had in Hubs and the playfulness that they embodied when using it.

      • Drawing and Photos, now in Hubs
        As we covered in our last update, we recently added the ability for you to bring images, videos, and 3D models into the rooms you create in Hubs. This is a great way to bring content to view together in your virtual space, and it all works right in your browser.

        We’re excited to announce two new features today that will further enrich the ways you can connect and collaborate in rooms you create in Hubs: drawing and easy photo uploads.

        Hubs now has a pen tool you can use at any time to start drawing in 3D space. This is a great way to express ideas, spark your creativity, or just doodle around. You can draw by holding the pen in your hand if you are in Mixed Reality, or draw using your PC’s mouse or trackpad.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Zabbix Debuts Latest Version of Its Open Source Monitoring Software
      Open source software provider Zabbix released version 4.0 of its open source network monitoring software. The latest version includes more data visualization capabilities, updated agent items, a boost in performance, and more.

      Zabbix started as a hobby project of the company’s current CEO, owner, and product manager Alexei Vladishev. He was working as a system administrator for a Latvian bank and needed a tool for managing the performance and availability of the bank’s network. Vladishev published the first version of his universal software under the open source license called Zabbix in 2001. In 2005, he started a company with the same name to support the platform’s development and provide support services.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD


    • GNU Tools Cauldron 2018 Videos Are Now Available
      Taking place a month ago in Manchester was the annual GNU Tools Cauldron conference where developers and other key stakeholders to the GNU toolchain presented their latest research and development activites. The videos from that developer event are now available.

      The GNU Tools Cauldron 2018 conference featured talks ranging from the AMD GCN GPU compiler back-end to the state of ARM/AArch64 support, C++ modules, static analysis, compiler offloading, PowerPC support, and many other topics for this three day event.

    • Videos from the GNU Tools Cauldron
      The 2018 GNU Tools Cauldron was held in early September; videos of the talks from that event are now available. There is a wide range of discussions covering various aspects of the toolchain, including GCC, GDB, glibc, and more.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • LinuxBoot for Servers: Enter Open Source, Goodbye Proprietary UEFI
        LinuxBoot is an Open Source alternative to Proprietary UEFI firmware. It was released last year and is now being increasingly preferred by leading hardware manufacturers as default firmware. Last year, LinuxBoot was warmly welcomed into the Open Source family by The Linux Foundation.

        This project was an initiative by Ron Minnich, author of LinuxBIOS and lead of coreboot at Google, in January 2017.

        Google, Facebook, Horizon Computing Solutions, and Two Sigma collaborated together to develop the LinuxBoot project (formerly called NERF) for server machines based on Linux.

      • Raptor Computing Reveals More Details About Their Blackbird Low-Cost POWER9 Board
        This week at the OpenPOWER Summit Amsterdam, Texas-based libre computer vendor Raptor Computing Systems announced Blackbird as a low-cost, micro-ATX POWER9 motherboard to be available in the coming months. The company has now revealed some additional details.

  • Programming/Development

    • DebDialer : Handling phone numbers on Linux Desktops | GSoC 2018
      This summer I had the chance to contribute to Debian as a part of GSoC. I built a desktop application, debdialer for handling tel: URLs and (phone numbers in general) on the Linux Desktop. It is written in Python 3.5.2 and uses PyQt4 to display a popup window. Alternatively, there is also a no-gui option that uses dmenu for input and terminal for output. There is also a modified apk of KDE-Connect to link debdialer with the user’s Android Phone. The pop-up window has numeric and delete buttons, so the user can either use the GUI or keyboard to modify numbers.

    • The Python Unicode Mess
      Unicode has solved a lot of problems. Anyone that remembers the mess of ISO-8859-* vs. CP437 (and of course it’s even worse for non-Western languages) can attest to that. And of course, these days they’re doing the useful work of…. codifying emojis.

      Emojis aside, things aren’t all so easy. Today’s cause of pain: Python 3. So much pain.

      Python decided to fully integrate Unicode into the language. Nice idea, right?

      But here come the problems. And they are numerous.

    • Plain Old Documentation (pod) – write documentation for Perl, Perl software, and Perl modules
      Plain Old Documentation (known as pod) is a simple, lightweight markup language used for writing documentation for Perl, Perl programs, and Perl modules. This markup language is designed to make it easy for programmers to add documentation to their software and modules.

      Pod markup consists of three basic kinds of paragraphs: ordinary, verbatim, command. There’s also a data paragraph.

    • TLCockpit v1.0

      Today I released v1.0 of TLCockpit, the GUI front-end for the TeX Live Manager tlmgr.


      CTAN and will soon be available via tlmgr update. As usual, please use the issue page of the github project to report problems.


  • Who is Jenny Everywhere? Modify and share this character
    Heard of Jenny Everywhere? Me neither, until I was looking for media to use for an open source character drawing contest I was involved in. As I Googled my way around the internet, I happened upon Jenny Everywhere.

    Creator of, Benj Christensen, says, "Jenny Everywhere has an organically grown mythology. Creators can take elements of previous works that inspire them and add their own twists and sensibilities which can then inspire someone else. Unlike characters that are beholden to a copyright and a status quo, Jenny is free to become a true amalgam of ideas. The open source license allows the kind of legal freedom characters like Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood have thrived in. But, Jenny is still in her creative infancy; her core mythology is still mostly unwritten, and, to me, that’s what's most exciting."

  • Security

    • Facebook And Apple Confirm Their Servers Were Hit By Chinese Malware
      In a bombshell report earlier this week, Bloomberg revealed that tiny spy chips were planted on Apple and Amazon’s servers by Chinese spies. And yesterday, we saw official responses from the company strongly denying the occurrence of such an incident. The servers in question were made by Supermicro.

      Now the latest report tells us that some of those servers were also infiltrated with malware. Both Apple and Facebook have confirmed this fact. However, let me clarify that this malware attack doesn’t mention any involvement of an alleged spy chip.

      Facebook says that it found the compromised servers in 2015 and the malware was present on “a limited number of Supermicro hardware” that was used only “for testing purposes confined to our labs.”

    • The Big Hack: The Software Side of China’s Supply Chain Attack
      Even as Amazon, Apple, and U.S. officials were investigating malicious microchips embedded in Supermicro server motherboards, Supermicro was the target of at least two other possible forms of attack, people familiar with multiple corporate probes say.

      The first of the other two prongs involved a Supermicro online portal that customers used to get critical software updates, and that was breached by China-based attackers in 2015. The problem, which was never made public, was identified after at least two Supermicro customers downloaded firmware—software installed in hardware components—meant to update their motherboards’ network cards, key components that control communications between servers running in a data center. The code had been altered, allowing the attackers to secretly take over a server’s communications, according to samples passed around at the time among a small group of Supermicro customers. One of these customers was Facebook Inc.
    • Git 2.14.5, 2.15.3, 2.16.5, 2.17.2, 2.18.1, and 2.19.1

    • Git Users Should Get To Updating Due To An Arbitrary Code Execution Vulnerability
      Git maintainer Junio Hamano issued new versions of this widely-used version control system today going back to the Git 2.14 release series in order to address a new security vulnerability.

      This latest Git vulnerability is CVE-2018-17456 and allows for an attacker to execute arbitrary code. This arbitrary code execution can be achieved via modifying the .gitmodules file in a project being cloned through a --recurse-submodules call.

    • Endpoint Security: It's Way More Complicated than You Think

      The term "endpoint security" is often used by vendors and security professionals alike, but what is it really all about? While it might seem obvious that endpoint security by definition is all about defending endpoints, as opposed to say networks, there are many levels of nuance and technologies involved in endpoint security.

      In a session at the SecTor security conference in Toronto, Kurtis Armour, principal security specialist at Scalar Decisions, provided an overview of the endpoint security landscape from a penetration tester's point of view.

      Endpoint protection technologies are intended to give organizations the ability to detect and respond to security events within their environments.

    • Security updates for Friday

    • Open Source Security Inc. Announces Respectreâ„¢: The State of the Art in Spectre Defenses

    • Supply Chain Security Speculation

      Before the wild speculation though, it must be mentioned that the story is short on evidence and high on flat out denials.

    • This dark web market is dedicated to compromising your emails
      According to research by security company Digital Shadows for as little as $150, dark web sellers are offering to hack into whichever corporate email account the user wants to gain access to -- with many promising access within a week. In some instances, the sellers state they'll only take the payment after they've proved the target has been compromised.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 7 Arrested In Anti-Drone Protest At USAF Base Outside Las Vegas
      Several peace activists have been arrested in a demonstration at a U.S. Air Force base outside Las Vegas against the use of drones for killing in the war in Afghanistan.

      Organizers of the effort at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs say seven anti-drone protesters were arrested on Thursday. They say those arrested were transported to the Clark County Jail.

    • It’s Time To Stop Feeling Comfortable About “precision” Drone Strikes

      Drones were a neat fit for the Obama foreign policy doctrine. That doctrine was meant to be characterised by a level-headed approach to foreign conflict, and a reluctance to involve America in wars abroad wherever it was avoidable.

      And the drone strike was, to its proponents, an ideal halfway solution. It could, in theory, take out critical security threats abroad whilst minimising the risk to both American soldiers, and to the civilians of the country in question.


      According to survey data from the UK and the US, most people would support a targeted strike against a known terrorist with no casualties, although their support for the strike goes down as the number of associated casualties go up. 43% of UK respondents would support a strike against a known terrorist if two to three civilians might be killed in the process. That number drops to 32% if between ten and fifteen civilians might be killed in the strike. Essentially, people’s favourability towards drone strikes goes hand in hand with the strike’s precision.

      Whether a strike’s precision justifies it is still a polarised debate. There is something deeply unsettling, even dystopian, about the idea of military robots stealthily flying above us while a remote operator, physically disconnected from it all, selects and kills a target. That aspect has raised a lot of important philosophical, psychological and ethical questions, as well as considerations of whether drone strikes inadvertently help terrorists to recruit angered civilians.

    • Chinese armed drones now flying across Mideast battlefields
      Across the Middle East, countries locked out of purchasing U.S.-made drones due to rules over excessive civilian casualties are being wooed by Chinese arms dealers, who are world’s main distributor of armed drones.

      The sales are helping expand Chinese influence across a region crucial to American security interests and bolstering Beijing’s ambitions to lead in high-tech arms sales.

      U.S. drones were first used in Yemen to kill suspected al-Qaida militants in 2002.

    • Space the Nation: Some reasons to be alarmed about autonomous robots
      The headlines: FAA cracks down on rogue drones

      In-flight charging gives drones unlimited autonomous range

      Government may gain new power to track, shoot down drones

      Of all the predictive narratives toyed with by genre creators, it’s speculation about the dangers and possibilities of drones that feels the most eerily accurate — and the most stubbornly ignored.

    • 'A fighting war with the main enemy': How the CIA helped land a mortal blow to the Soviets in Afghanistan 32 years ago
      By the mid-1980s, several years after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, many US officials felt neither the Soviets nor the US-backed Afghan rebels had gained an edge.

      “In ’85 there was a prevailing sentiment – if you would look at the press and if you were in officialdom; if you walked around Washington and talked to people in the defence, intelligence, and executive branch in general – the view was that we were at a stalemate with them,” Jack Devine, who took over the CIA’s Afghan Task Force around that time, told Business Insider.

      “There was a sentiment growing, ‘How long are we just going to bleed the Russians?'” said Devine, whose 32-year CIA career included stints as acting director and associate director of operations. More critical observers interpreted the US dictate as “bleed the Russians to the last Afghan.”

      President Ronald Reagan decided to make “one more big push” with the Afghan program, Devine said, “which I was surprised that the Russians, to the best of my knowledge, never picked up on.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Something strange is happening with WikiLeaks’ website [Ed: Foes of Wikileaks (competing with it) try to seed doubt and distrust; good luck maintaining over 10 million Web pages when your site and staff are constantly under attack.]
      Something strange is happening with WikiLeaks’ website, something which seems to have begun just before Julian Assange stepped down as Editor-In-Chief and Kristinn Hrafnsson was appointed to the post. In the last week, content has disappeared and links have broken, while the modification dates on files have mysteriously changed. These changes, though typically minor, are often difficult to explain and raise questions about the website, its management, and what happened during the transfer of power within WikiLeaks to cause content to disappear and links to break.

      The issue was first brought to my attention regarding a Freedom of Information document referring to a woman in the United States Air Force who had become “infatuated with Assange” (rumored to be the now deleted @M_Cetera). According to’s Wayback Machine, the page was intact and linked to the document on September 27th, 2018. By October 2nd, the page’s text remained intact but the link was gone. As of this writing, it has not been restored.


      Though the meaning of the website’s problems and the date changes remains unknown, the timing is difficult to dismiss – it began on September 25th, with the Clinton emails directory, with other pages having last been intact on the 26th, and Hrafnsson being publicly named as Editor-In-Chief on the 27th. On the 28th, WikiLeaks released its first document in nearly a year, to little public attention. Many of the errors in WikiLeaks’ webpages persist, with the only known correction having come shortly after I publicly brought attention to the matter. While what, if anything, the changes signify remains up for the debate, there is no question that something happened to WikiLeaks’ server(s) and that it appears to have immediately preceded the official transfer of authority within the organization.

  • Finance

    • How the Electoral Commission turned blind eye to DUP's shady Brexit cash
      Senior Electoral Commission staff privately expressed ‘concerns’ that the Democratic Unionist Party had broken UK election law, openDemocracy can reveal. At issue was a controverisal €£435,000 donation to the party’s 2016 Brexit campaign. But just weeks later the watchdog closed the case without investigating the DUP’s Brexit cash.

      The Electoral Commission was watching closely when BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight team broadcast Brexit, Dark Money and the DUP in late June. In internal emails, staff at the regulator said that the film raised ‘concerns’ about the source of the DUP’s donation, which came from a shadowy group called the Constitutional Research Council (CRC).

      Staff at the watchdog also said that the programme provided "new information" which suggested the DUP had been 'working together' with other Leave campaigns in contravention of electoral law.

      But barely a month later, the Electoral Commission announced that it did “not have grounds” to launch a full investigation into the DUP’s Brexit spending. The emails, released to openDemocracy under freedom of information laws, suggest that little attempt was made to examine the allegations aired in the BBC film, with senior staff stressing the need to swiftly “draw a line” under the issue.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • US governmental requests for comment are routinely flooded by pro-corporate bots

      It turns out the FCC isn't the only agency being flooded by bots during requests for comment -- and it's also not the only agency that doesn't seem to give a shit about being astroturfed by bots using stolen identities to influence government policy in favor of corporate agencies.

    • Interpol president reported missing during trip to China

    • Saudi Critic Vanishes After Visiting Consulate, Prompting Fear And Confusion

      A State Department official told NPR on Thursday, "We are closely following reports of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance. We continue to seek information."

    • The Cost of the Office? Trump’s Billion-Dollar Loss — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra
      Nearly 20 years ago, Donald Trump told Fortune magazine that he could run for president and make money doing it.

      “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it,” he said in an interview in 2000.

      But now that he’s president, the story is looking a bit different. A new report from Forbes concluded that the presidency has not enriched Trump overall: Measuring Trump’s net worth before he announced his run for the presidency in 2015 to the last two years, Trump’s fortune has dropped from $4.5 billion to $3.1 billion.

      In a statement to the magazine, Eric Trump, who is co-managing the Trump Organization, said: “My father made a tremendous sacrifice when he left a company that he spent his entire life building to go into politics. Everything he does is for the good” of the American people.
    • Wiles: Ford Was Brainwashed by the CIA
      I love how the far-right conspiracy nuts can never agree on which of their inane conspiracies is reality. While some are pretending that Christine Blasey Ford hypnotized herself, Rick Wiles says that she was brainwashed by the CIA. And he compares her to a Muslim suicide bomber.
    • Spy vs. Spy: He’s ex-CIA. She was an Air Force intelligence officer. Both want your vote for Congress.
      U.S. Rep. Will Hurd keeps a radar plot on his office wall from Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, charting the moments when operators misidentified the Japanese planes before they attacked, killing 2,300 American military personnel and destroying more than a dozen ships.

      For Hurd, R-San Antonio, a former CIA officer, the print is a reminder of the consequences of intelligence failings and a historical marker close at hand as he pursues national security issues in Congress.
    • America's new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone

      Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history
    • Ralph Nader, “To The Ramparts”
    • The Kavanaugh Affair

      Donald Trump is the least fit and most corrupt American president in modern times, if not — depending on how slavery factors in, and on what we make of Andrew Johnson and the mid-nineteenth century presidents whose tenure led up to the Civil War — since the founding of the republic.

      But if the metric is damage done, not just to the country but also to the world, he is small potatoes compared to George W. Bush. Bush broke the Greater Middle East in ways that continue to reverberate.

      Trump’s foreign policy initiatives are noxious, and potentially even more dangerous than Bush’s, but, so far at least, what we have gotten from him is mainly bluster; Bush caused far more devastation, murder and mayhem.

      As for handing the federal court system over to the forces of reaction, Mitch McConnell is a more iniquitous culprit than Trump. Trump takes credit, but the main villain is the toad from Tennessee.

      The frenzy set in motion by Trump’s and McConnell’s efforts to seat Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court should be looked at with these considerations in mind.
    • TV reporter fired for wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hat at Trump rally
      A Minnesota television reporter who wore a “Make America Great Again” hat to President Trump’s rally on Thursday has been fired.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Sri Lankan film festival accused of censorship
      The organizers of a film festival in Sri Lanka have been accused of censorship for pulling from its program a documentary about the island nation's civil war.

      Film director Jude Ratnam said he was told on Oct. 3 by organisers of the Jaffna International Film Festival (JIFF) that his acclaimed documentary Demons in Paradise would not be shown on Oct. 5 as had been scheduled.

      Ratnam alleges the organizers decided to remove the film, which covers atrocities committed during the war, because of pressure from a group known only as the "community" in the northern city of Jaffna.

      "JIFF organizers said they have been threatened by a group and give different reasons but no proper explanation for the removal of the film," Ratnam told "They have cited different reasons to prohibit the film from being screened."
    • Free Law Project Takes A Stand Against Attempt To Use GDPR To Disappear A Public Court Docket

      We recently wrote about how a guy in France, Michael Francois Bujaldon, was using the GDPR to try to delete a public court docket involving a case in which he is a defendant, and has been sued for real estate and securities fraud. As we noted, at least two websites that host public court dockets have felt compelled to either delete or change that particular docket.

      Last week, the Free Law Project, who operates the CourtListener website (and runs RECAP -- the very useful system that will help automatically free up costly PACER dockets and documents that other RECAP users visit) noted that it, too, had recently received a GDPR demand about a docket (they do not say if it was the same one) and then go into a detailed description of why they are not taking action. The post notes that the general policy of the site has always been that they won't remove a docket without a court order (though it may remove links from search engines).
    • Twitter censors cartoon by Charlie Hebdo’s Charb
      On 17 October, Charlie Hebdo employee Marika Bret had her Twitter account blocked because her profile picture – a caricature by Charb, who was one of 12 people killed in the 2015 attack at the magazine’s Paris offices – violates the rules of Twitter, reported Le Figaro.

      The cartoon, titled ‘The extremes are touching each other’ had been her profile picture since she joined Twitter about two years ago. It shows a priest and an imam holding each other’s genitals. See it here in full.

      “This censorship really makes me angry. I checked the rules of Twitter. This drawing does not break any. It is neither racist nor violent … It has never been subject to any legal proceedings or convictions. This is just another offense to Charb,” Bret told Le Parisien.
    • Censorship Against Lula's Interview With Folha Causes Impasse Supreme Court
      The president of the Brazilian Supreme Court, Justice Dias Toffoli, determined Monday (1st) night the enforcement of a previous decision from Justice Luiz Fux forbidding former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of granting an interview to Folha de S. Paulo.

      Lula is serving time in Curitiba since April, after being convicted for corruption and money laundering.

      Toffoli's decision caused an impasse in the Supreme Court.

      Justice Ricardo Lewandowski authorized the interview last Friday (28th) morning, following a complaint filed by the newspaper. Still, on Friday the political party Novo, part of the opposition against PT in the upcoming general elections contested the decision and filed a request to suspend the injunction, which was sent to Toffoli to review.
    • InfoWars publisher Alex Jones sues PayPal
      US radio host Alex Jones is suing PayPal, claiming bias against conservative views was behind its decision to block his website.

      The conspiracy theorist has been banned from most major web services, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

      Mr Jones is alleging PayPal's ban is "viewpoint discrimination", calling it a "dangerous precedent".

      PayPal told Courthouse News that the case was without merit and that it would vigorously defend itself.

    • CRTC Rejects Web Censorship Proposal In 'Huge Win' For Digital Rights Activists
      Canada's telecom regulator has rejected a proposal from numerous media giants, including Bell and the CBC, to institute a system for blocking websites accused of piracy.

      The proposal came from the FairPlay Canada coalition, a group started by Bell Canada that eventually came to include the CBC, Rogers, cinema chain Cineplex and labour union Unifor, among others.

      In a decision issued Tuesday, the CRTC in essence said it doesn't have the jurisdiction under the Telecommunications Act to force internet service providers to block access to certain websites, as the Bell-led coalition had asked.

    • Portugal: Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition plagued by censorship dispute

    • Robert Mapplethorpe’s work still has the power to cause a censorship scandal
      In 1983, six years before the artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe died at 42, due to complications from HIV/AIDS, the New York Times’ art critic wondered: “Is Mapplethorpe only out to shock?” His frankly homoerotic work was “undeniably and intentionally distasteful,” wrote Andy Grundberg, now a professor of arts and design at George Washington University. “The norms of polite nudity are transgressed; religious, racial and sexual taboos are flouted; a kind of chic, narcissistic exhibitionism is flaunted.”

      The works in question—including the artist’s self-portrait with a bullwhip in his anus and a photograph of a man urinating in another man’s mouth—sparked nationwide protests, letter-writing campaigns, and even a court case.

      But 35 years on, the photographer and his work appear to have been fully absorbed into the art establishment. His prints sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars; his work is in the collections of the world’s largest and most established museums; the Dutch electronics company Philips even released a disc of his pictures of flowers for its 1990s interactive multimedia CD player.


      For their part, the museum and foundation deny that they are responsible for any censorship. In a statement to the Spanish newspaper El País, the Serralves Foundation explained that limiting access to the dozen or so explicit photographs in the exhibition was necessary—and had been planned from when the show was first proposed—because of Portuguese pornography laws. The authors of the letter dispute this explanation, citing many other works in the museum’s collection and Western historical canon which they say are also “erotic and/or sexually-explicit.”

    • Celebrating Banned Books Week: An Editor’s Collection of Challenged Books

      Though people cannot be arrested for the controversial material they write and produce, that does not mean their books are free from censorship. Schools, libraries and other institutions may remove said controversial works for any number of reasons.

      Though this is a terrible practice, it is actually a testament to the power of the written word. Many of these frequently challenged books are life-changing and can have a lasting impact on someone’s point of view.

      So many controversial books have impacted so many people for so many reasons. That being said, here are some of my favorites.

    • Students and faculty participate in Banned Books Week activities
      Students and faculty from the University of North Georgia (UNG) marked Banned Books Week, Sept. 23-29, with a variety of activities.

      Dr. Donna Gessell, professor of English, and Dr. Westry Whitaker, assistant professor of teacher education, had their classes present projects exploring why some books are challenged or banned and why people advocate against this censorship. Both faculty members said many books are challenged, while some end up being banned from schools or libraries for content deemed offensive.

      As part of these efforts, students made posters with a photo and a quote illustrating the tensions surrounding certain books.

    • OUWC celebrates “Banned Book Week” by addressing controversial themes in some of the most beloved books in history
      The Oakland University Writing Center (OUWC) hosted “Celebration of Challenged and Banned Books” on Sept. 24–29. The event was in honor of Banned Book Week, which was established by the American Library Association (ALA).

      Banned Book Week is a way for librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers and readers alike to join forces and celebrate books throughout history that have been challenged or targeted with removal or restriction in schools.

      Sherry Wynn Perdue, director of the Writing Center and professor of writing and rhetoric, proposed the idea of celebrating Banned Book Week in Kresge library to her staff. They decided to hold an open discussion on the topic Sept. 26 from 4:15–5 p.m. in the Writing Center and displayed some of the most challenged books as well as some of the most disputed quotes from each of them throughout the week.

      “In the discussion we devoted 45 minutes to the topic of why it is so important for ideas to be circulated even if that means that some ideas may offend some people,” Perdue said.

    • Harms of censorship shown

      TR faculty, students and staff celebrated the freedom to read with a flash-mob demonstration Sept. 26 as part of Banned Books Week.

      Banned Books Week, which took place Sept. 23-29, is designed to draw national attention to the harms of censorship, and the TR library organized a demonstration to coincide with the week.

      Twenty-seven volunteers gathered in the Riverfront Cafe during lunchtime to make sure it would draw attention, TR public services librarian Tracy Soto said. The demonstration then began unannounced.

      “We started with one person reading out loud from a banned or challenged book,” Soto said. “And then every five seconds, another person joined in until eventually all 27 people were reading out loud from 27 different books.”

      Challenged books are books that have been formally challenged due to a disagreement in content such as drug references, religious ideas and magic, she said.


      “It was kind of chaotic, so we were confused on what was happening,” Hester said. “But once we figured out was happening, it was eye-opening looking around and seeing all the different books that were banned.”

    • Online Freedom Exhibit at TCDC Talks Memes, Pixels, Censorship
      Through a pixelated sculpture of Prayuth’s eyes to a memeified event in Thai history, artists at an exhibition say the internet in Thailand is both a venue for freedom and a tool for surveillance.

      A UNESCO-curated exhibition on Thai internet freedom launched Friday at a downtown design-hub to mark Universal Access to Information Day. Through six displays, ranging from hand-drawn infographics to documentaries, artists portray the Thainet as a double-edged sword, granting connectivity on one side but distortion and censorship on the other.

      “We are watching what they’re doing but they are also watching us back,” artist Wee Viraporn said. “We will never have total freedom of expression or total freedom to monitor our government as long as it monitors our internet usage.”

    • Indian Cryptocurrency Exchange Shuts Down, Highlights Importance of Censorship Resistant Money
      ZebPay, one of India’s oldest and largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has shut down its operations from the Indian government’s indecisiveness on cryptocurrencies.

      The Indian government has not made official laws with regards to trading cryptocurrencies, but back in April 2018, the Reserve Bank of India issued a notice to banks that prohibited them from dealing in cryptocurrencies. Thus, ZebPay’s blog post cited “[t]he curb on bank accounts has crippled our, and our customer’s, ability to transact business meaningfully” as reasons for them shutting down. The post added that “[a]t this point, we are unable to find a reasonable way to conduct the cryptocurrency exchange business”.
    • NOTA movie censorship controversy: Vijay Deverakonda starrer gets U/A certificate after some cuts, mutes
      Vijay Deverakonda's upcoming movie NOTA, which is set to hit the screens on October 5, has received a U/A certificate from the censor board after the makers agreed for some cuts and mutes of controversial scenes.

      NOTA is a bilingual political thriller movie that is simultaneously made and released in Tamil and Telugu. Its Tamil version has already cleared the formalities of the censor board and has received a U certificate. However, its Telugu version has landed in trouble on its censor clearance due to the assembly elections that are just around the corner.

    • How a lesbian love story is bypassing censors online
      Low-cost smartphones and cheap mobile data mean Indians are now hungrily consuming content over the small screen. And this is opening up a new world of creative freedom for the country's entertainment industry.

      Film director Krishna Bhatt says the internet has given her "the power to show exactly the story I want to tell".

      She has made two web-based shows. One of them, Maaya 2, centres around a lesbian love story - a subject that would have been very difficult to get into cinemas or on television in India.

      "To show lovemaking in a theatre I will have to go through 10,000 censor rules," says Ms Bhatt.

      "My kisses will get cut based on very stupid things. You're not allowed to show something like that even on TV."

    • The Politics Behind Kuwait’s Rising Book Censorship
      Kuwaiti activists have held protests in recent days over what they see as a rising government-sponsored tide of book censorship. According to the Kuwait Times, about 80 demonstrators on Sunday converged on Kuwait City’s Irada Square just opposite the country’s parliament building, the National Assembly, to decry the banning of an estimated 4,590 titles.

      Activists staged similar protests last month in front of the Ministry of Information, the government body responsible for deciding what books constitute appropriate reading material for the Gulf state’s 4.2 million citizens.

      Recently, the government formally acknowledged that the bans have been in place since 2014. They target not only state-owned bookshops and libraries, but also private book vendors.

    • No 'Divine Comedy,' no 'One Hundred Years of Solitude.' Book banning in Kuwait draws the ire of the intellectual class

    • Google's cyber unit Jigsaw introduces Intra, a new security app dedicated to busting censorship

    • Intra by Alphabet's Jigsaw prevents DNS manipulation on Android to combat censorship

    • Google tested this security app with activists in Venezuela. Now you can use it too

    • A New App Gives Old Android Versions an Important Safety Upgrade

    • Alphabet's Intra app encrypts DNS queries to help users bypass online censorship

    • The First Amendment Moral In Trump's Criticism Of Mass Media

    • Britain First using Northern Ireland laws to sue Facebook over censorship claims
      The party's legal team has launched legal proceedings at Belfast County Court after Facebook closed down a series of its pages over the last year.

      Britain First leader Paul Golding, speaking outside the court, said the party is seeking an injunction demanding that Facebook Ireland Ltd reinstate its Facebook fan page and also "pay damages on several fronts".

      "For too long now social networks have censored certain political viewpoints and thus interfered with the political process," he said.

      "Back in March, 2.6 million Britain First supporters were denied their freedom of belief and expression when Facebook abruptly closed our fan pages.

    • How can we understand censorship in the 21st Century?

      Following Milton’s gendered rendering, the story, therefore, went something like this: the censor was the bad guy (Milton’s “temporising and extemporising licencer” with his “cursory eyes”). The writer was the good guy (Milton’s “learned” champion of “free writing and free speaking”). And the plot involved the struggle of the latter against the former not just in his own interests, as a member of the “Republic of Letters”, but in the interests of creating a freer and more grown-up commonwealth for all.

      True, the odds were stacked in favour of the all-powerful, infantilising state. Yet no matter how often the struggle played out, the outcome was assured: the seemingly puny champions of freedom and truth would prevail in the end.

      There wasn’t much room for us so-called “ordinary readers” in all this. We were either the innocents the paternalistic-repressive state was supposedly trying to protect, or the voiceless fellow citizens on whose behalf the writers were supposedly fighting. But, if we wanted to make the world a better place, it was clear who we needed to support.


      So wrote John Perry Barlow, former lyricist for the American rock band, Grateful Dead, in the opening of his 1996 “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace”, an Aeropagitica for the digital age.

      Barlow wasn’t being quixotic. Far from showing any signs of weariness, the old state giants were already gearing up to make the most of the opportunities the new technologies afforded for extending their sovereignty, whether repressively (think of China), defensively (think of the UK) or aggressively (think of Russia).

      The complication was that the emerging tech giants of the post-industrial world were themselves poised to become the new disrupters in ways Barlow did not anticipate.

    • Pakistani Journalists Decry Censorship, Plan Protest
      One of the largest journalist associations in Pakistan has called for an end to “unannounced censorship imposed by state institutions” and called for nationwide protests on October 9.

      In a highly critical statement, Afzal Butt, president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), called on the country’s new civilian government to break its silence on the issue and heed domestic and international criticism of growing limitations on press freedom in Pakistan.

      “The new government is ignoring the issue and avoiding confronting those institutions who are systematically trying to silence print and electronic media through coercion, control of advertising, harassment, and even attacks against journalists,” the October 2 statement noted.
    • Stanfield: Academic censorship stifles education
      Academia represents the community of individuals committed to research, scholarship, and the exploration of ideas. It is the bastion of wisdom and investigation. It is a place where open-ended inquiry is paramount and where ideas can be discussed and criticized freely and openly.

      The spirit of academia is currently in jeopardy. It is increasingly becoming the place where ideas are off limits because they are deemed problematic, upsetting, or controversial.

      While Colorado State University has not made a habit of banning speakers from campus due to controversy, there still exists a student lead threat to dialogue. A student-lead protest occurred last year when Charlie Kirk was invited to speak on by campus conservative group Turning Point USA.

      Similar protests have occurred at the University of Colorado Boulder where three people were arrested during the protest aimed at controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos.

    • Kidz Bop’s “censored” songs aren’t just annoying — they’re problematic
      A children’s media expert on what Kidz Bop censorship says about how sex and violence are perceived in America.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Broad Alliance Calls For Australian Government To Listen To Experts' Warnings About Flaws In New Compelled Access Legislation
      That's a clear indication that the Australian government intends to ram this law through the legislative process as quickly as possible, and that it has little intention of taking any notice of what the experts say on the matter -- yet again.

    • Israeli Tech Company's Spyware Still Being Used To Target Journalists And Activists
      Israeli exploit/malware developer NSO Group says its products are marketed to governments for legitimate national security and law enforcement purposes. Yet somehow it keeps ending up in the hands of governments with terrible human rights records and deployed against journalists, dissent groups, and activists.

      The software sold by NSO is being deployed against journalists in Mexico -- ones looking to expose government corruption. This report by the Columbia Journalism Review provides more details on the hacks, building off Citizen Lab's exposure of NSO's "Pegasus" spyware.

    • Reconsidering the blanket-data-retention-taboo, for human rights’ sake?

      The CJEU seemed adamant when it ruled against blanket data retention. However, it limited its judgment to data retention for the purpose of fighting crime. If blanket data retention could exist for reasons of national security falling outside the scope of EU law, the answer to the first question of the Tele2 Sverige AB decision is in vain and blanket data retention continues to exist. The question would consequently shift to the access to the data by law enforcement authorities. If it comes to that, the CJEU would do better to focus on guarding the rules on access to data that are already retained.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Facebook Exec Admits One Small Misstep in Kavanaugh Hearing Trip

      Facebook Inc.’s top policy executive responded to employee tension over his support for Brett Kavanaugh, telling staff on Friday that he should have told company management before attending last week’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

    • Zuckerberg Faces Anger Over Facebook Executive’s Kavanaugh Support

      Mr. Kaplan, who oversees global public policy for Facebook, was a former official in President George W. Bush’s administration, and was present when Judge Kavanaugh was sworn in as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C. Mr. Kaplan was also at the White House when Mr. Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

      Mr. Kaplan was seated in the second row behind the judge at the hearing, during which Judge Kavanaugh responded to questions about allegations raised by Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexual misconduct. At the time, a Facebook spokesman said he was there in “a personal capacity.”

      His appearance at the hearing shocked many Facebook employees, including senior leaders who hadn’t been told about his plans and learned about his attendance after the image surfaced, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Jeff Sessions Is Fighting Tennessee’s Effort to Make Prosecution More Fair
      The Department of Justice is attempting to erode defendants’ rights and state independence .

      Earlier this year, the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility released an ethical opinion that required federal prosecutors working in the state to disclose all information favorable to criminal defendants. It stated those disclosures must be even broader and earlier in the process than the U.S. Constitution requires. This is a praiseworthy move that could help stem the tide of coercive plea bargains and wrongful convictions in Tennessee, which fuels the epidemic of mass incarceration in the state and across the nation.

      But rather than applaud the state for its reforms, the federal Department of Justice is attempting to challenge Tennessee’s decision and is lobbying for less disclosure. In other words, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is once again attempting to use the Justice Department to drag our nation back to a “tough-on-crime” era that was really just “tough on people” and trampled on the rights of defendants. The Justice Department is wrong, and Tennessee must stand by its decision.

      Over the summer, the three sitting U.S. attorneys in Tennessee — the highest ranking federal criminal justice officials in the state — wrote a letter opposing the new rule. The most disingenuous of their arguments is that expanding discovery obligations beyond what the Constitution requires would create “uncertainty.” To the contrary, Tennessee’s rule eliminates the “materiality” requirement in constitutional law, such that prosecutors can now turn over all evidence favorable to the accused without the prosecutor guessing how that evidence will impact a later trial. If anything, this simple rule creates more certainty, not less, because prosecutors won’t have to make the blind determination of what is material to the case before trial actually occurs.

    • Victory! Dangerous Elements Removed From California’s Bot-Labeling Bill
      Governor Jerry Brown recently signed S.B. 1001, a new law requiring all “bots” used for purposes of influencing a commercial transaction or a vote in an election to be labeled. The bill, introduced by Senator Robert Hertzberg, originally included a provision that would have been abused as a censorship tool, and would have threatened online anonymity and resulted in the takedown of lawful human speech. EFF urged the California legislature to amend the bill and worked with Senator Hertzberg's office to ensure that the bill’s dangerous elements were removed. We’re happy to report that the bill Governor Brown signed last week was free of the problematic language.

      This is a crucial victory. S.B. 1001 is the first bill of its kind, and it will likely serve as a model for other states. Here’s where we think the bill went right.

      First, the original bill targeted all bots, regardless of what a bot was being used for or whether it was causing any harm to society. This would have swept up one-off bots used for parodies or art projects—a far cry from the armies of Russian bots that plagued social media prior to the 2016 election or spambots deployed at scale used for fraud or commercial gain. It’s important to remember that bots often represent the speech of real people, processed through a computer program. The human speech underlying bots is protected by the First Amendment, and such a broadly reaching bill raised serious First Amendment concerns. An across-the-board bot-labeling mandate would also predictably lead to demands for verification of whether individual accounts were controlled by an actual person, which would result in piercing anonymity. Luckily, S.B. 1001 was amended to target the harmful bots that prompted the legislation—bots used surreptitiously in an attempt to influence commercial transactions or how people vote in elections.

    • Marjorie Cohn on Brett Kavanaugh, Neil DeMause on Amazon
      As we record October 4, it looks like Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed for the Supreme Court—despite, well, despite so very many things. Why are Republicans so set on pushing through a candidate opposed by a coalition of Christian churches, as well as thousands of law professors, as well as anyone concerned with sexual assault? And beyond his “temperament,” what ought we know about Kavanaugh’s record as a judge? We’ll talk about that with Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild.

    • Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke Found Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder In Killing Of Black Teenager Laquan McDonald
      A jury found former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder. He fired 16 shots that killed Laquan McDonald.

      Van Dyke was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery for each shot fired but not guilty of official misconduct.

      Judge Vincent Gaughan revoked Van Dyke’s bail. He was immediately taken into custody as a convicted felon.

      Several officers from the Chicago Police Department engaged in an extensive coverup for Van Dyke, and there are other officers who face charges, which include conspiracy, official misconduct, and obstruction of justice for “filing false reports.”

      McDonald was 17 years-old when he was shot by Van Dyke on October 20, 2014. He was on Pulaski Road on the south side of Chicago that night. He had a knife in his hand. Police were called to arrest him after a 911 call that alleged he was breaking into trucks in a nearby truck yard.

      A police transmission over the radio indicated McDonald had popped a tire on a police vehicle. Multiple officers attempted to surround the teenager, but they did not fire their weapons because they believed they could wait for a Taser and use that to effect an arrest.

      Van Dyke arrived on the scene. He exited his vehicle with his partner, Officer Joseph Walsh, and seconds later, he unloaded an entire magazine of bullets into McDonald.

    • Philly Cops Face Criminal Charges For Performing An Illegal Pedestrian Stop
      Weird stuff is happening in Philadelphia. Things have changed drastically since Larry Krasner became District Attorney. Anyone who enters this office and immediately earns the undying hatred of the local police union is probably someone actually serious about accountability.

      Right after taking office, DA Krasner secured 33 resignations from prosecutors and staff who weren't willing to get on board with his reform efforts. He went after the bail system, pointing out it did little else but ensure the poorest Philadelphians spent the most time in jail while still presumably innocent. Then he pissed off the police union by daring to tell incoming police cadets force deployment -- especially deadly force -- is a power to be used only when necessary and handled with the utmost of respect.

      Accountability INTENSIFIES. A bogus pedestrian stop performed by two cops has led to [rubs eyes in disbelief] the arrest of the two cops who performed the stop. (h/t Max Marin)

      The statement [PDF] issued by the DA's office says two Philly PD officers, Matthew Walsh and Marvin Jones, stopped a citizen for "apparently using narcotics." This citizen filed a complaint, resulting in an Internal Affairs investigation.

      The narrative delivered by the two cops on their report was undone completely by video obtained by Internal Affairs.

    • The UK just sent three men to prison for peaceful civil opposition
      What does it mean for our country when citizens are jailed for peaceful activism? Last week Preston Crown Court jailed three men for protesting against the activity of controversial fracking giant Cuadrilla. The three men - a piano restorer, teacher and soil scientist - were given hefty sentences of 15-16 months in prison for causing a ‘public nuisance’.

      Their actions were motivated by a concern for the widespread impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). As well as contributing to climate change and harming local countryside, fracking releases toxic chemicals into the air and water. The exact health effects of these chemicals remains to be seen but they include carcinogens. A recent study found that women who lived near fracking wells had low birth weight babies. Fracking has been halted or banned in Scotland, Wales, the Netherlands and New York State because of the potential damage it causes.

      Against this background, were these men justified when they obstructed a fleet of Cuadrilla lorries carrying drilling equipment?


      Contrary to what much of the mainstream media has been saying, these were not the first protesters to be jailed since 1932. However these sentences are far longer than those handed down before. In 1993, seven people were sentenced to 28 days imprisonment for disrupting the construction of the M3 at Twyford Down.

      The law is clear that custodial sentences should be reserved for the most serious of crimes, and, when they are deemed appropriate, should be as short as possible (see sections 152 and 153 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003). The sentences in this case are clearly excessive.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai faces rare criticism from GOP senator on rural broadband failures

      US Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) yesterday blasted the Federal Communications Commission, saying it has failed to prevent budget cuts in funding for rural broadband.

      "It has been more than a year since Chairman [Ajit] Pai" and fellow commissioners appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee "and committed to conducting a thorough economic analysis of the impact of USF [Universal Service Fund] funding cuts on broadband deployment in rural areas before allowing any further reduction," Thune said.

      But Pai's FCC has failed to keep that promise, Thune said while delivering a statement at a hearing on rural broadband. [...]

    • Tim Berners-Lee Moves Forward With His Big Plan To Fix The Web By Bringing Back Its Original Decentralized Promise
      Here we go. For years I've been talking about how we really need to move the web to a world of protocols instead of platforms. The key concept is that so much of the web has been taken over by internet giants who have built data silos. There are all sorts of problems with this. For one, when those platforms are where the majority of people get their information, it makes them into the arbiters of truth when that should make us quite uncomfortable. Second, it creates a privacy nightmare where hugely valuable data stores are single points of failure for all your data (even when those platforms have strong security, just having so much data held by one source is dangerous). Finally, it really takes us far, far away from the true promise of cloud computing, which was supposed to be a situation where we separated out the data and the application layers and could point multiple applications at the same data. Instead, we got silos where you're relying on a single provider to host both the data and the application (which also raises privacy concerns).

      Despite some people raising these issues for quite some time, there hasn't been much public discussion of them until just recently (in large part, I believe, driven by the growing worries about how the big platforms have become so powerful). A few companies here or there have been trying to move us towards a world of protocols instead of platforms, and one key project to watch is coming from the inventor of the web himself, Tim Berners-Lee. He had announced his project Solid a while back: an attempt to separate out the data layer, allowing end users to control that data and have much more control over what applications could access it. I've been excited about the project, but just last week I commented to someone that it wasn't clear how much progress had actually been made.

      Then, last Friday, Berners-Lee announced that he's doubling down on the project, to the point that he's taken a sabbatical from MIT and reduced his involvement with the W3C to focus on a new company to be built around Solid called inrupt. inrupt's new CEO also has a blog post about this, which admittedly comes off as a bit odd. It seems to suggest that the reason to form inrupt was not necessarily that Solid has made a lot of forward progress, but rather than it needs money, and the only way to get some is to set up a company...

  • DRM

    • Apple’s New Security Features Won’t Let You Repair the MacBook Pro or iMac Pro

      This is according to a document that was distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers last month, and obtained by MacRumors and Motherboard yesterday. Apple has introduced a new software lock that will make your computer “inoperative” unless Apple’s proprietary system configuration (diagnostics) software has been run.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • CJEU adviser weighs in on Dutch skinny label dispute
        Advocate general says when a generics company sends an amended summary of product characteristics with a carve out to the authorisation authority, that act has the effect of limiting marketing authorisation

    • Copyrights

      • Heisman Trophy People Sue HeismanWatch For Using Images Of The Trophy And Stating Its Name
        Way back in 2007, we shook our heads sadly as Motion Picture Academy decided that takedowns over past Oscar clips and a lawsuit against a website,, would somehow drive more attention to the current year's Oscar broadcasts because of... reasons? In that case, the MPA was mostly making trademark claims, laughably stating that allowing a site like OscarWatch would confuse the public into thinking that the site was in some way affiliated with the MPA. In actuality, the site was a fan-site that put out analysis of The Oscars and had a nice big disclaimer that it wasn't associated with the MPA right at the top of its site.

        Ten years later, the organization that manages the Heisman Trophy, college football's most prestigious award, has decided to one-up the MPA by filing a similar suit against, but also tacking on a copyright claim stating that online depictions of the trophy is violating the copyright on the original artwork that is the trophy itself.


        The only useful function of this lawsuit at all, in fact, is as a litmus test for whichever court will hear it.

      • New North American Trade Deal Has Bad News for Canadian Copyright
        Earlier this week, the U.S. Trade Representative announced a replacement deal for the North American Free Trade Agreement, the nearly 25-year-old trade deal between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Amid the long list of tariff-free products and restriction-free cheese names [PDF] in the new trade deal, called simply the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement or USMCA, there’s a whole section called “intellectual property,” full of new mandates on what the signatories must do with regard to copyrights, patents, and trademarks.

        One big change is that all three countries in the agreement will have to have a minimum copyright of the life of the creator plus 70 years. For works not tied to the life of a natural person, the copyright term must be at least 75 years. Those minimums won’t affect the U.S., which already has terms of life plus 70 years and 95 years, respectively; or Mexico, which has even longer terms. But it will be a big, and unhelpful, change for Canada.

        The copyright “floor” that’s being imposed on Canada equals the U.S. copyright term, one that’s already too long. Multiple U.S. copyright term extensions have crippled the public domain. Most recently, the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act kept works from as early as 1923 locked up under copyright, their commercial potential exhausted and their owners largely unfindable, for the past twenty years.

        In the United States, we are just now on the verge of growing our public domain again. Works published in 1923, which have been held in a copyright stasis, will become public domain on January 1, 2019, with later works to follow. The U.S. has a chance to finally return to a place with a healthy and growing chunk of public domain works. That allows for collaborative innovations like Wikipedia, and for preservation of our cultural heritage. Now Canada will find itself taking the same slower route to opening up formerly copyrighted material for general use.
      • What’s next with WIPO’s ill-advised broadcast treaty?
        Six years ago we wrote a blog post titled WIPO’s Broadcasting Treaty: Still Harmful, Still Unnecessary. At the time, the proposed treaty – which would grant to broadcasters a separate, exclusive copyright-like right in the signals that they transmit, separate from any copyrights in the content of the transmissions – had already been on WIPO’s docket for several years. It’s still on the table today, and now some countries are calling for actions to finalise the agreement.

      • Facebook User Who Uploaded Pirated ‘Deadpool’ Copy Sentenced to 3 Weeks Prison

        A California man who uploaded a pirated copy of the movie Deadpool to Facebook has been sentenced to three weeks prison. The film was shared to the social media network, shortly after it premiered, where it was viewed 6,386,456 times. The man was indicted following an FBI investigation last year and previously pleaded guilty.

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