Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 15/3/2022: Debian 12 Schedule and Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter



  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 168

        Arch and the Web make us feel old, the BBC makes us rather cross, a kernel vulnerability makes us laugh, Mozilla makes us wonder, and KDE makes us happy.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Daniel MiesslerThings I Do Immediately on a New Linux Box

        Here are a few things I do immediately on any new Linux server.

      • Jeff GeerlingRate limiting requests per IP address in Nginx

        Just wanted to post this here, since I've had to do this from time to time, and always had to read through the docs and try to build my own little example of it...

        If you're trying to protect an Nginx server from a ton of traffic (especially from a limited number of IP addresses hitting it with possibly DoS or DDoS-type traffic), and don't have any other protection layer in front, you can use limit_req to rate limit requests at whatever rate you choose (over a given time period) for any location on the server.

      • Mark DominusWhy no Unix error device?

        Suppose you're writing some program that does file I/O. You'd like to include a unit test to make sure it properly handles the error when the disk fills up and the write can't complete. This is tough to simulate. The test itself obviously can't (or at least shouldn't) actually fill the disk.

        A while back some Unix systems introduced a device called /dev/full. Reading from /dev/full returns zero bytes, just like /dev/zero. But all attempts to write to /dev/full fail with ENOSPC, the system error that indices a full disk. You can set up your tests to try to write to /dev/full and make sure they fail gracefully.

        That's fun, but why not generalize it? Suppose there was a /dev/error device: [...]

      • UNIX CopHow to install Apache Cordova on Debian 11

        Hello, friends. In this short post, we will help you to install Apache Cordova on Debian 11. This tool is used to create mobile applications.

      • How to mirror the Russian Wikipedia with Debian and Kiwix - The Lego Mirror

        It has been reported that the Russian government has threatened to block access to Wikipedia for documenting narratives that do not agree with the official position of the Russian government.

        One of the anti-censorship strategies I've been working on is Kiwix, an offline Wikipedia reader (and plenty of other content too). Kiwix is free and open source software developed by a great community of people that I really enjoy working with.

        With threats of censorship, traffic to Kiwix has increased fifty-fold, with users from Russia accounting for 40% of new downloads!

    • Games

      • Ruben SchadeMy lazy approach to FreeBSD dual-booting

        Brad Alexander emailed asking how I dual-boot my FreeBSD workstation that doubles as a Linux Steam game machine.

        I must confess, I use the BIOS boot menu!

      • GamingOnLinuxLorn's Lure: Prologue gives us a taste of it's retro-styled climb-anywhere adventure | GamingOnLinux

        Lorn's Lure: Prologue is basically a demo of a very moody looking first-person adventure, where you control an android being led through some vast structure while climbing all over the place.

        "Lorn's Lure: Prologue is an atmospheric narrative first-person platformer with novel climb-anything mechanics and modernized retro 3D graphics. Leaving his home colony while tracking a mysterious glitch, an android finds himself in the midst of a vast and dangerous structure, completely hidden from his people's knowledge. Unable to go back, you must keep going to find out where he is being led."

    • Distributions

      • KlaraUnix Philosophy: A Quick Look at the Ideas that Made Unix

        Unix Philosophy was first put into writing by Doug McIlroy in the 1978 Bell System Technical Journal.

      • BSD

        • Frederic CambusFreeBSD on the CubieBoard2

          I have previously been running NetBSD/evbarm and OpenBSD/armv7 on my CubieBoard2, and wrote about it here and here.

          The Cubieboard2 is an ARMv7 device which was released in 2013 so it is quite ancient by now. However, a renewed interest in FreeBSD on my side prompted me to try running the system on this device.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Daniel PocockWeMakeFedora.org: harassment decision, victory for volunteers and Fedora Foundations

          A panel convened under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) has today decided that the WeMakeFedora.org site is a fair use of the Fedora trademark.

          This decision gives the green light to all volunteers in the free software community to choose domain names that accurately reflect our contributions.

          [...]

          The free software community has been overrun by kangaroo courts proclaiming Codes of Conduct in recent times. Somebody asks why a girlfriend received funds from the diversity budget and the people concerned quickly claim they are victims of harassment.

          Not only did the UDRP panel find that the domain name is not being used in bad faith, the panel went beyond this and made a finding that the UDRP claim was an instance of harassment against a volunteer.

          This is not the ruling of a kangaroo court interpreting a Code of Conduct, this is an independent finding from an impartial tribunal.

        • Red Hat, Inc. v. Daniel Pocock / Software Freedom Institute SA

          Complainant has failed to establish all the elements entitling it to relief and has brought the Complaint primarily to harass the domain-name holder.

      • Debian Family

        • DebianBits from the Release Team: bookworm freeze dates (preliminary)
          Dear all,
          
          

          We are currently considering the following dates as our freeze dates. If you are aware of major clashes of these dates with anything we depend on please let us know. We also like to stress again that we really would like to have a short Hard and Full Freeze (counting in weeks, rather than months), so please plan accordingly. If serious delays turn up during any of the Freeze steps, we rather (partially or completely) thaw bookworm again than staying frozen for a long time.

          2022-01-12 - Milestone 1 - Transition and toolchain freeze 2022-02-12 - Milestone 2 - Soft Freeze 2022-03-12 - Milestone 3 - Hard Freeze - for key packages and packages without autopkgtests To be announced - Milestone 4 - Full Freeze

          On behalf of the Release Team, Paul
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 726

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 726 for the week of March 6 – 12, 2022. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Linux Links6 Best Free and Open Source Lightweight Front-End Frameworks

        CSS frameworks represent the building blocks of many diverse web projects. A well constructed CSS framework or boilerplate can simplify and streamline the development of a web site. This type of framework quickens the pace of development by offering a structure of files and folders of standardized code (HTML, CSS, JS documents, and more). These frameworks provide a basis to start building a web site.

        There are hundreds of devices that are used to access the web. These devices have different capabilities and constraints, such as screen dimensions, input style, resolution, and form. As more and more users access the web through different devices, in particular tablets and smartphones, developers need tools to build websites. The important of catering for different devices should not be underestimated. In a few countries, mobile web traffic has already overtaken traffic from traditional computers.

      • FSF

        • FSFHelp LibrePlanet to be held in liberation, volunteer today!

          LibrePlanet is getting so close now, and we are rounding out the details. The schedule is up, and while we are still confirming some last minute timezone, administrative, and other common details, that should not hold you back from planning your free software weekend on March 19 and 20, 2022.

          We're also preparing server space, and prepping our fully free (as in freedom) streaming gear. Register for the event, and help us prepare! Or, better yet, get involved! We cannot do this event without our volunteers, who besides providing invaluable help, also bring great atmosphere to the backstage of the event. Help us before the event, or on the event, by volunteering for one of these three tasks below...

      • Programming/Development

        • Writing a GTK application in one week.



          I have decided to write another GTK application in Rust, this time I am progressing extremely fast.

          Note that this post goes on for probably way to long, probably including too much unnecessary things. The tldr is: I was busy and very productive this week.

        • I made a Gemini app!

          Since I started discovering Gemini I was thinking about making some kind of app to learn how I could do something interactive. So I got an account on a shared server and did some coding in Python (something that I still learning so it was good to pratice a little!). I did a simple app to take notes/add tasks because not only is simple but it's something that I think that fits perfectly the Gemini protocol, would help people, and also is something that I was looking for.

          [...]

          I'm thinking about tweaking the app so I would have only one delete and complete button, and when clicked you would insert the note ID. That will unclutter the interface. The code will be released soon in tildegit (I want to do some refactor first) and I'll update this entry with the url (and maybe add another post). The code is CGI done with Python, and sqlite. The server used is 'gemserv'.

          Thanks to tomasino for the excelent video about Gemini input and app tutorial. Although I have started the app before watching the video, it was very useful to troubleshoot some Python/sqlite mistakes I was making! The Gemini Input video gives you a great introduction on how Gemini capsules can be interactive.

        • How to build a Gemini Application

          I shared the code for a sample application a few weeks ago with the promise that I'd be making a follow-up video on the topic. Well, here it is!

        • Jim NielsenInline All The Things

          The following is my experience with each of the above (as it relates to my blog—I get it, not all sites have the constraints and needs of a personal blog, so caveat noted).

        • Ben CongdonOne Weird Trick

          Over the past few months, I’ve been hard at work trying to reduce the latency of workflows for one of the APIs that my team owns. Last week, I discovered a small change that had a larger impact on reducing latency than 3 months of work. Somewhat embarrassingly, that change was effectively “don’t call time.Sleep”.

  • Leftovers

    • Counter PunchWhat€ Paul€ Farmer€ Book€ Should€ You€ Read?

      Mountains Beyond Mountains€ (2003) is, of course, not by€ Paul€ Farmer. Rather, it is the biography of€ Paul€ Farmer€ written by Tracy Kidder.€ Published when Farmer€ was 44 years old, it recounts€ Farmer’s childhood and young adulthood.€ Subtitled€ The Quest of Dr.€ Paul€ Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World,€ it€ is an easy€ read€ and serves as an introduction to the man.€ Kidder traveled together with€ Farmer€ around the globe, to Haiti, Peru, and Russia for a number of years. We hear the voices of€ Farmer, Jim Yong Kim, and Ophelia Dahl, who together founded Partners in Health (PIH). In€ Mountains Beyond Mountains, they are the young upstarts in global health. PIH, they agreed, had one crucial guiding principle: everyone in the organization needed to practice kindness to others.

    • Counter PunchLife Goes on, Right?

      Wars rage, countless humans suffer, the rich get richer, life goes on. I still have my morning coffee. But not yesterday.

      What happened — about 5 a.m. — was a fleeting . . . oh so fleeting . . . insight into life beyond its small certainties and routines. When life suddenly spins out of control, the Great Unknown is momentarily present. I have decided to write about it, or try to write about it, to honor the vulnerable everywhere.

    • The NationThe Incurable Optimism of Dave Grohl

      Dave Grohl is the last real rock star. His two bands, Nirvana and Foo Fighters, have each sold millions of records; he’s won Grammys, Emmys, and played the Oscars; he’s twice been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and he’s beloved by music fans across the genre spectrum—one representative video clip from Desus & Mero is titled “Why Black People Really Love Dave Grohl.” Though Americans don’t agree about much, we agree Dave Grohl is one hell of a guy.

    • Counter PunchCleon Through Time
    • Science

      • Matt RickardBlockchain Trade-offs

        Let's say there's a network failure: half of the computers connected to the system can no longer communicate with each other. When new data arrives, the system has two choices: (1) reject the new data and ensure both partitioned groups agree on the same state, or (2) process the new data and return the most recent state, even if it may be out of sync with the other partition.

      • SparkFun ElectronicsUnderstanding GNSS Orbits

        In our last blog, GPS vs GNSS, we covered the basics of how satellites function together to create usable geolocation devices. Note: If you haven't read that blog, do so before jumping into this one! This blog is going to go more in-depth into the different orbits GNSS's use, as well as other uses for these orbits.

    • Education

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Taking Away Free School Lunches Is the Wrong Thing To Do

        Public schools have been serving all students free meals since the COVID-19 pandemic first disrupted K-12 education. In March 2022, Congress rejected calls to keep up the federal funding required to sustain that practice and left that money out of a US$1.5 trillion spending package that President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11, 2022. We asked food policy expert Marlene Schwartz to explain why free meals make a difference and what will happen next.

      • Times Higher EducationIs anonymity or transparency the best solution to bias in peer review?

        At IOP Publishing, we have introduced two different but complementary approaches to bias reduction at all our self-owned open access journals. As the first physics publisher to adopt these approaches portfolio-wide, we believe the sector will be interested in how they have been received.

    • Hardware

      • Counter PunchSupply Chain Problems Continue as Inflation Jumps In February

        New vehicle prices rose again, even as used car prices fell slightly. Household items still are rising rapidly as well. Used car prices drop 0.2 percent but are still up more than 40 percent year-over-year. This added 1.6 percentage points to year-over-year inflation.

        Beef prices rose 0.8 percent (after falling 2.3 percent in the prior two months), and are up 23.9 percent since the pandemic began. The rise is not explained by increased demand since we are back to pre-pandemic levels of consumption.

      • India TimesIntel to announce details of Europe investment plans on Tuesday

        The U.S. chipmaker unveiled plans last September to invest as much as $95 billion in Europe over the next decade, and Chief Executive Patrick Gelsinger told Reuters in January that the company would announce the chosen manufacturing sites in the coming months.

      • HackadayPedal Powered Power

        When you have a solar-powered web server, where do you go next for a source of power? Instead of lazily mooching off the sun, you can use your muscle with a bike generator. We’ve covered bicycle generators before, so what’s new? For starters, the accessibility of chargers and batteries has changed significantly. Rather than just charging a phone or putting out a measly 5V, this bike can be integrated into an existing solar PV system and output many voltages. This guide goes over building one with hand tools with great detail.

      • HackadayCool Mechanism Day: Two-Way To One-Way

        The internal mechanisms that are used in timepieces have always been fascinating to watch, and are often works of art in their own right. You don’t have to live in the Watch Valley in Switzerland to appreciate this art form. The mechanism highlighted here (from Mechanistic on YouTube) is a two-way to one-way geared coupler (video, embedded below) which can be found at the drive spring winding end of a typical mechanical wristwatch.€  It is often attached to a heavily eccentrically mounted mass which drives the input gear in either direction, depending upon the motion of the wearer. Just a little regular movement is all that is needed to keep the spring nicely wound, so no forgetting to wind it in the morning hustle!

      • HackadayBrighten Up Your Prints With This Nail Polish Approach

        It’s not enough to 3D-print a part – there’s a myriad of things you can do from there! [FuzzyLogic] shows us his approach of adding inlay labels, icons and text to a 3D print, by extruding them into the print and filling the resulting cavity with nail polish! This makes for colorful and useful prints, as opposed to dull single-color parts we typically end up with.

      • HackadayCheap Ghostbusters Toy Turned Convincing Prop

        As you might expect, the release of last year’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife has not only lead to renewed interest in the old 1980s toys and tie-in merchandise, but has spawned a whole new generation of blinking plastic gadgets to delight children of all ages. Of course, for folks like us, that means more hardware to hack on.

      • HackadayKeebin’ With Kristina: The One With The Really Tall Keycaps

        About a month ago, [Unexpected Maker] finished their TinyS3, an ESP32-S3 development board. Since the chip supports both true USB and Bluetooth, [deʃhipu] wondered how well it would work in a keyboard.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • TruthOutPneumonia Almost Killed Me. As COVID Restrictions Ease, I Fear for My Life.
      • Common DreamsChina, Hong Kong Battling 'Stealth Omicron' Surges as US Lifts Restrictions

        While every state in the U.S. has now announced the end of mask mandates to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, officials in China and other countries are ramping up restrictions amid new surges in infections.

        A number of large cities in China have been placed in partial or full lockdown as public health officials in the country reported Sunday that Covid-19 cases doubled from the previous day, with 3,400 confirmed daily cases.

      • Pro PublicaWashington State Budgets $1.6 Million for Study and Removal of Toxic Lights

        Washington state lawmakers are set to dedicate $1.5 million to removing toxic fluorescent lights from schools and another $125,000 to studying environmental hazards and creating new standards to protect students from exposure to harmful substances.

        In requesting the funding, lawmakers cited an investigation by The Seattle Times and ProPublica into a Seattle-area campus where children and staff were exposed to a combination of harmful conditions, including elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a banned chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency has linked to cancer and other illnesses.

      • HackadayHackers Beware: Shenzhen Is Closing

        If you’re among those of us with immediate plans for a PCB or parts order from China, watch out – Shenzhen just recently got put on a week-long lockdown. Factories, non-essential stores and public places are closed, and people are required to spend time at home – for a city that makes hardware thrive, this sounds like a harsh restriction. Work moves to remote where possible, but some PCB fabs and component warehouses might not be at our service for at least a week.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • TeleportWhy Single Sign On Sucks

        A month ago I tweeted about my annoyance with SSO or Single Sign On. While single is in the name, I’m required to “single sign on” multiple times a day. I’m not the only one; the tweet went viral with over 25k likes and 2 Million impressions. The tongue-in-check tweet created a lot of fun responses and more rage against SSO user experience than I expected. SSO was meant to solve password fatigue but we got something worse.

      • Daniel MiesslerNot All MFA is Equal, and the Differences Matter a Lot

        Why FIDO2 and WebAuthN are so much better than SMS and app-based auth

      • Proprietary

        • Paul ThurrottMicrosoft is Experimenting With Ads in the Windows 11 File Explorer

          While the scope of this new experiment could be very limited, it’s actually not the first time Microsoft brings ads to File Explorer: The company did so before on Windows 10 with more intrusive OneDrive ads, which users could turn off if they knew where to look.

        • India TimesYouTube Vanced to shut down 'due to legal reasons'

          For the unversed YouTube Vanced is a modded version of the original app that allows users to block all video ads on YouTube without a premium subscription. Vanced also includes a true black theme, and customizations not offered in the official YouTube for Android app.

        • The VergeUbisoft says it experienced a ‘cyber security incident’, and the purported Nvidia [crackers] are taking credit

          Ubisoft said it believes that “at this time there is no evidence any player personal information was accessed or exposed as a by-product of this incident” and says that games and services are now “functioning normally.” Out of caution, the company also “initiated a company-wide password reset.” When asked for comment, Ubisoft spokesperson Jessica Roache said the company had no additional details to share.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • MSPs and the Rising Tide of Mac and Linux Cyberthreats [Ed: Deflecting and distracting from Microsoft and its back doors, which cause billions in damages every month]

            Cybercriminals are actively expanding their focus to new attack surfaces, looking high and low for points of entry into corporate environments. Anything that’s connected to a reachable network is a potential target, and historically under protected OSes — like macOS and Linux — are ripe for the picking.

          • IT WireiTWire - Chinese pro-govt paper claims NSA Linux tool NOPEN found

            Details about a spying tool, claimed to be developed by the American NSA and able to reside in a Linux machine in order to steal information, has been reported by Global Times, a Chinese newspaper which has a pro-government tilt.

            The publication said the tool, which was said to have been used to control network gear around the world to steal user data, had been detailed in a report by the National Computer Virus Emergency Response Centre.

            Known as NOPEN, the report said it could be also used for redirecting network traffic. The centre's technical analysts said NOPEN was a complex tool that could be modified to work on different architectures and operating systems.

            The claims come in the wake of a report by Chinese security firm Pangu Labs in February which provided details about NSA malware, known as Bvp47, that had been found in 2013. This was also aimed at Linux.

          • Wladimir PalantParty time: Injecting code into Teleparty extension | Almost Secure

            Teleparty, formerly called Netflix Party, is a wildly popular browser extension with at least 10 million users on Google Chrome (likely much more as with Chrome Web Store anything beyond 10 million is displayed as “10,000,000+”) and 1 million users on Microsoft Edge. It lets people from different location join a video viewing session, watching a movie together and also chatting while at it. A really nifty extension actually, particularly in times of a pandemic.

            While this extension’s functionality shouldn’t normally be prone to security vulnerabilities, I realized that websites could inject arbitrary code into its content scripts, largely thanks to using an outdated version of the jQuery library. Luckily, the internal messaging of this extension didn’t allow for much mischief. I found some additional minor security issues in the extension as well.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • TechdirtAustralia’s Online Safety Commissioner Say Anti-Trolling Bill Won’t Protect People, Is Mostly About Enabling Defamation Lawsuits

              For a few years now, the Australian government has been seeking to outlaw online anonymity. This effort has moved forward under the delusional belief this will somehow result in a new era of online civility, something that has been repeatedly disproven by similar private sector efforts, like Facebook’s real name policy (and the downstream utilization of Facebook for website comment sections).

            • Hollywood ReporterBob Iger Getting Into the Metaverse Business

              Iger is investing in and joining the board of a company called Genies, which lets users create their own digital avatars for use in virtual worlds (you can see Iger’s avatar above). Iger joins Genies CEO and co-founder Akash Nigam, Genies co-founder Evan Rosenbaum, and venture capitalists Mary Meeker and Rick Yang on the Genies board.

            • IT WireNo opt-out for users as iview mandatory logins introduced: researcher

              The service was set to impose mandatory logins for use from today [Tuesday] but does not appear to have done so as of this writing [1140 AEDT].

              Dr Vanessa Teague, who runs the infosec outfit Thinking Cybersecurity, said in a tweet that the opt-out offered last July had been limited to "a hashed version of your email address to Google and Facebook." Just email address, not the rest of the data, regardless of login."

            • CNBCUkraine has started using Clearview AI’s facial recognition during war

              The exact purpose for which Ukraine's defense ministry is using the technology is unclear, Ton-That said. Other parts of Ukraine's government are expected to deploy Clearview in the coming days, he and Wolosky said.

              The VKontakte images make Clearview's dataset more comprehensive than that of PimEyes, a publicly available image search engine that people have used to identify individuals in war photos, Wolosky said. VKontakte did not immediately respond to a request for comment; U.S. social media company Facebook, now Meta, had demanded Clearview stop taking its data.

            • ReutersExclusive: Ukraine has started using Clearview AI’s facial recognition during war

              Ukraine is receiving free access to Clearview AI’s powerful search engine for faces, letting authorities potentially vet people of interest at checkpoints, among other uses, added Lee Wolosky, an adviser to Clearview and former diplomat under U.S. presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

              The plans started forming after Russia invaded Ukraine and Clearview Chief Executive Hoan Ton-That sent a letter to Kyiv offering assistance, according to a copy seen by Reuters.

            • The QuintClearview AI: The Controversial Facial Recognition Tech That Ukraine Is Using

              The startup’s CEO Hoan Ton-That had earlier written to Kyiv, offering free access to its search engine for faces, according to the agency. The company says it has not offered the technology to Russia.

              He told the agency that his company has a database of more than 2 billion images from the Russian social media service VKontakte.

            • BBCUkraine offered tool to search billions of faces

              Mr Ton-That said that Ukraine began using the technology on Saturday.

              The country's defence ministry has not yet responded to a BBC request for comment.

              Clearview AI's technology has been criticised by privacy watchdogs.

              In November the UK's data privacy regulator, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) issued the company with a provisional €£17m fine.

              It was also fined 20m euros (€£16.8m) by Italian regulators recently, after finding it applied "what amounted to biometric monitoring techniques" to individuals in the country.

              And while its technology is used by US law enforcement, the company is facing lawsuits in America over its use of images gathered from the internet.

            • NetzpolitikThe porn empire next door

              Other porn platforms have been experiencing a wave of criticism and anger for almost two years. First and foremost Pornhub and xHamster, XVideos‘ most important competitors. Together, the three giants dominate the porn market. Pornhub and xHamster, for example, have distributed nude photos of people who never wanted to show themselves in public in this way. For a long time, the hurdles against the dissemination of sexualized violence were kept low. This was followed by international outrage, petitions, court cases, proposed legislation. XVideos remained under the radar in all of this.

              That is changing. These days, authorities are also investigating XVideos. Survivors of sexualized violence are going public. The EU is planning stricter laws that would also affect the platform. We report on the accusations against XVideos, follow the platform’s incredible rise to the top of the world – and show why things could soon change for XVideos.

            • International Business TimesTinder lets users run background checks before dates

              Match said up to 500,000 free Garbo searches would be made available, and thereafter a check would cost $2.50 plus a processing fee.

            • NYOB€ 20 Mio Fine for Clearview AI in Italy

              Complaints in five countries. An alliance of organizations, including noyb, Privacy International (PI), Hermes Center, and Homo Digitalis, filed a series of complaints against Clearview AI Inc. in May 2021. The company claims to have "the largest known database of more than 10 billion facial images" and is aiming to reach 100 billion within the next year to make almost every person worldwide identifiable. The images for this come from social media accounts and other online sources. Complaints have been filed with data protection authorities in France, Austria, Italy, Greece and the United Kingdom.

            • Confidentiality

              • Light Blue TouchpaperCoverDrop: Securing Initial Contact for Whistleblowers

                Whistleblowing is dangerous business. Whistleblowers face grave consequences if they’re caught and, to make matters worse, the anonymity set – the set of potential whistleblowers for a given story – is often quite small. Mass surveillance regimes around the world don’t help matters either. Yet whistleblowing has been crucial in exposing corruption, rape and other crimes in recent years. In our latest research paper, CoverDrop: Blowing the Whistle Through A News App, we set out to create a system that allows whistleblowers to securely make initial contact with news organisations. Our paper has been accepted at PETS, the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Common DreamsPregnant Mother and Baby Photographed After Hospital Bombing by Russia Did Not Survive: AP

        Captured in one of the most visceral and painful photographs yet taken of the carnage and human suffering underway in Ukraine, a pregnant woman and her unborn child died from the injuries suffered during a Russian bombing of a maternity hospital in the city of Mariupal last week.

        According to the Associated Press, whose photographer Evgeniy Maloletka took the picture "epitomizing the horror of an attack on humanity's most innocent" outside the bombed hospital on March 9, the mother and her baby died shortly after the attack despite efforts by paramedics on the scene and doctors at a nearby hospital to save them.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | I Resigned My Diplomatic Post Over the US Invasion of Iraq. Will Any Russian Diplomats Do the Same?

        Nineteen years ago, in March 2003, I resigned as a U.S. diplomat in opposition to the President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.€  I joined two other U.S diplomats, Brady Kiesling and John Brown, who had resigned in weeks previous to my resignation.€  We heard from fellow U.S. diplomats assigned to U.S. embassies around the world that they too believed that the decision of the Bush administration would have long term negative consequences for the U.S. and the world, but for a variety of reasons, no one joined us in resignation until later. Several initial critics of our resignations later told us they were wrong and they agreed that the decision of the U.S. government to wage war on Iraq was disastrous.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Message to Biden: Help De-Escalation in Ukraine or Risk Nuclear War

        "The first casualty of war is truth." This simple yet profound statement is attributed to many, including Hiram Johnson in a speech in the U.S. Senate in 1918, during the "war to end all wars."€  Hiram Johnson was a progressive Republican who had been elected to the Senate from California that very year.€  He remained in the Senate until he died of old age on August 6, 1945, the day the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the civilian population of Hiroshima, Japan.

      • TechdirtCops Have So Much Extra Military Gear They’re Giving It Away To Ukraine Freedom Fighters

        Cops love military gear. For years, they’ve cultivated a mindset that pits them against the public in a war against crime — a “war” that justifies any collateral damage to the public and its trust in its protectors. The federal government has embraced this combative stance, handing out excess military gear to law enforcement agencies, provided they’re willing to say things about “terrorism” or “war on drugs.”

      • Common Dreams"They're Lying to You": Anti-War Protester Interrupts Russian State TV Broadcast

        A Russian news editor is reportedly in police custody Monday after staging a daring protest against media misinformation about President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine during a live television news broadcast.

        Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at state-owned Channel One, interrupted the network's evening newscast shouting: "Stop the war! No to war!" while holding up a sign reading: "No War. Don't believe propaganda. They're lying to you. Russians against war."

      • TruthOutChomsky: Peace Talks in Ukraine “Will Get Nowhere” If US Keeps Refusing to Join
      • Counter PunchFinding our Inner Ukrainian

        And there’s another way we can engage in this moment. We can protect and strengthen our own democracy in a time when relationships are straining and behaviors deteriorating.

        A recent study, evaluating societies around the world and across the centuries, showed that those most able to keep the peace were ones that had norms and values that were peaceful, not war-promoting. They also had visionary peace-focused leaders. Norms and leaders were more important even than economic ties.

      • Democracy NowIn Belarus, Russia’s Partner in Ukraine Invasion, There Is “No Possibility” of Dissent on War

        Ukraine says Belarus could become directly involved in the Russian invasion. This comes as Russia sent thousands of troops to Belarus to attack Ukraine from the north and NATO has accused the Russian Air Force of flying warplanes from airfields in Belarus last week. “We all know, see and understand that the territory of Belarus is used for conducting the war against Ukraine,” says Natallia Satsunkevich, an activist with the leading independent Belarusian human rights group Viasna. She links the degradation of civil society in Belarus to the criminalization of human rights actors and protesters. Satsunkevich also says the referendum vote on housing Russian nuclear weapons was unfair, and describes how Putin’s backing of the Lukashenko regime in Belarus has worsened human rights in the country.

      • TruthOutMass Antiwar Protests Sweep Europe as Russia's Invasion Continues
      • TruthOutFamine in Yemen Could Increase Fivefold Without Immediate Action, UN Warns
      • The NationRussia and China, Together at Last

        Just as the relentless grinding of the earth’s tectonic plates produces earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, so the endless superpower struggle for dominance over Eurasia is fraught with tensions and armed conflict. Beneath the visible outbreak of war in Ukraine and the US-Chinese naval standoff in the South China Sea, there is now an underlying shift in geopolitical power in process across the vast Eurasian landmass—the epicenter of global power on a fast-changing, overheating planet. Take a moment to step back with me to try to understand what’s now happening on this increasingly embattled globe of ours.

      • The NationRussia Strikes Closer to NATO’s Front Door

        Just after 3 in the morning on Sunday, air-raid sirens rang out over this bucolic town in the far west of Ukraine. Residents hustled downstairs into bomb shelters, listening for the telltale sounds of munitions. This was the third night of sirens in the Lvivska Region—the Ukrainian air defenses sound the alarm if there is even the possibility of a strike happening nearby—after a period of five days without alarms. People in Novoyavorivsk felt secure.

      • The NationThe Human Cost of War
      • Counter PunchThe War in Ukraine Through the Eyes of Nestor Makhno

        Nestor Ivanovych Makhno was born in€ Huliaipole, which is situated in the same province as the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.€ Until 1921, Makno took part in many of the battles in that region. First, he faced Germany and its allies in World War I, followed by the reactionary Russian White Army. Then he fought the government in Kyiv before, finally, the Red Army vanquished the Makhnovshchina and forced Makhno into permanent exile.

        In the first stages of the Russian revolution, however, Makhno was seen as a “brother” who honestly embraced ideas of the soviets, namely the local organizations of peasants, workers, and soldiers. The problems started when he rejected the commissars based in Moscow and the rule of the Russian Communist Party. That Party spared no effort in labelling him a bandit and accusing him of antisemitism and militarism.

      • Counter PunchPutin has Grossly Overplayed His Hand, But NATO Could be Making the Same Mistake as It Senses It’s Winning

        But are the US and Nato powers – over-confident because they sense that they are on the winning side – now making the same mistake by raising the stakes so high that the crisis is becoming less about Ukrainian independence and more about the survival of Putin and the future of the Russian state?

        The extent of the Russian failure in Ukraine since 24 February cannot be overstated. Putin has presided so far over one of the great fiascos in military history, and it is getting late in the day for him and his generals to reverse this. They have not defeated the Ukrainian army, surrounded and captured the bigger cities of Ukraine, decapitated its government or found any local allies willing to work with the occupiers. A show of Russian strength has become a humiliating demonstration of weakness.

      • Counter PunchStop Putin’s War!

        The Left and antiwar movement must rise to this occasion and lay out clear positions and demands. We must condemn Putin’s horrific war, build solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance and the Russian antiwar movement, and oppose the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) powers turning this conflagration into an inter-imperialist war between nuclear armed powers.

        Criminal and Catastrophic War

      • Counter PunchLiving in a Time of Catastrophe

        To start with the fundamental issue. If there ever was a moment in human existence when we were called to exhibit the solidarity of a common human family, it is now. The world’s climate scientists have issued a dire warning. The sixth global assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change runs over 3,000 pages. Carbon Brief has aptly summarized the key takeaways.

        Yet even as this urgent call to action was being issued, war was raging in Ukraine. Underscoring the incongruity of the situation, Ukrainian scientists involved in the process “forced some members of the Ukrainian delegation to pull out of the approval session and hide in bomb shelters,” Carbon Brief notes.

      • Counter PunchHow Russia’s Frozen Conflicts Could Warm Up Along Its Sizable Borders

        As the Soviet Union collapsed, numerous conflicts broke out based on ethnic divides. Some conflicts, like in Russia’s Chechnya and Moldova’s Gagauzia, which emerged in the 1990s, were stabilized through military or diplomatic means. But several conflicts in Eurasia—in Georgia, in Moldova, and between Armenia and Azerbaijan—still remain in limbo, without any peace agreement or path to reconciliation. Russia provides significant aid, such as free or heavily discounted energy imports, to sustain and control these regions and their independence movements.

        Russia’s Attempts to Leverage Power Over Post-Soviet States

      • Counter PunchWhat a No-Fly Zone in Ukraine Would Mean
      • Counter PunchThe United States Of America: Victims Of Its Own Disinformation

        “Blowback” can also be applied to U.S. propaganda, particularly the CIA’s “black propaganda” that was designed for an overseas audience, but found its way back to U.S. media and U.S. domestic politics.€  The CIA’s efforts in Europe to blame the Kremlin for the assassination attempt against the Pope in 1981 were highlighted by the€ New York Times, and then widely distributed throughout the mainstream media.€  The disinformation campaign to charge the Soviet Union with non-existing efforts to build a naval base on the island of Socotra off the coast of South Yemen even found its way into a presidential briefing by the newly-appointed Gerald Ford.

        But the most dangerous long-term example of “blowback” is rooted in the efforts of the U.S. intelligence and national security communities since the end of World War II to systematically exaggerate the power and influence of the Soviet Union and now Russia in order to justify greater defense spending and military deployments.€  As a result, we are placing economic sanctions on Russia that will not deter Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, but not considering weapons transfers that would raise the costs and possibly deter him. In any event, the economic sanctions are doing nothing whatsoever for Ukrainians.

      • Rolling StoneFilm Crew Recorded Illicit Pre-Insurrection Meeting Between Proud Boys and Oath Keepers: Court Document

        A documentary film crew attended an illicit, parking-garage meetup between the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers in downtown Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, 2021, according to a memo filed by prosecutors seeking to keep Enrique Tarrio locked up pending trial.

        Tarrio was the National Chairman of the Proud Boys during the events of Jan. 6, 2021. The Proud Boys are a violent “Western chauvinist” organization designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Tarrio faces federal conspiracy charges for attempting to obstruct Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Donald Trump.

      • RTLCourt upholds school hijab ban in India's south

        An Indian court upheld a local ban on the hijab in classrooms on Tuesday, weeks after the edict stoked violent protests and renewed fears of discrimination against the country's Muslim minority.

      • NetblocksSevered power line heightens safety concerns at Chernobyl nuclear power plant

        Ukrainian authorities report that it is currently impossible to repair the damaged line due to ongoing hostilities, with Energoatom stating that the loss of power presents an obstacle to the cooling of spent nuclear fuel. Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign affairs added that diesel generators would begin to fail after 48 hours, after which the cooling system for spent fuel would be shut down threatening the leaking of radiation.

      • Associated PressCOVID-19 delays trial in plot to abduct Mich. Gov. Whitmer

        U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker ordered the delay Sunday. Undercover FBI agents and informants were expected to testify in the coming weeks, as were two co-conspirators who pleaded guilty prior to trial as prosecutors build their case against four defendants accused of plotting to kidnap Whitmer.

        The trial could last more than a month.

      • Science AlertHere's What You Need to Know About Power Cuts at Two Ukrainian Nuclear Plants

        The catastrophic disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 was caused by an explosion at the Reactor 4 Unit. This expelled a sizeable quantity of radioactive material into the surroundings, alongside a partial meltdown of the reactor core. The last few decades have seen substantial international efforts to safely contain and decontaminate the site, including the recent installation of the New Safe Confinement structure.

        But Russian forces have now seized the site, along with the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, as part of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Moreover, on March 9, Ukrainian authorities reported a power loss at Chernobyl, followed by a partial one at Zaporizhzhia.

      • NewYorkTimesKim Jong-un Is Just Getting Started

        Here’s how it works: North Korea tests ballistic missiles. The United States pushes the U.N. Security Council to condemn or impose sanctions on Pyongyang for carrying out banned activity. North Korea accuses Washington of hostility and claims it needs weapons for self-defense. Then North Korea carries out more tests, which help its scientists refine their ballistic missile technology

      • Business InsiderA Russian oligarch was indicted for using associates to make illegal donations to US politicians

        Insider previously reported that Parnas and Fruman, associates of former President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani, were entangled in an illegal straw donation scheme. The scheme aimed to disguise $1 million in campaign donations on behalf of Muraviev so they could garner favors from politicians who could grant Muraviev retail marijuana and cannabis licenses, the Justice Department said.

      • Digital First MediaRussian tycoon’s charges unsealed in Giuliani-linked case

        U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a release that Muraviev “attempted to influence the 2018 elections by conspiring to push a million dollars of his foreign funds to candidates and campaigns. He attempted to corrupt our political system to advance his business interests.”

      • CNBCRussian oligarch Andrey Muraviev indicted in political contribution scheme linked to illegal donors to Trump PAC

        A Russian oligarch linked to men previously charged with making an illegal donation to a political action committee set up for former President Donald Trump was himself indicted by a federal grand jury in New York for using those men to funnel contributions to other politicians, authorities revealed Monday.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • NYOBAmazon Workers demand Data-Transparency

        In cooperation between the worker’s union “UNI Global” and privacy NGO “noyb.eu”, Amazon warehouse workers from Germany, UK, Italy, Poland and Slovakia filed access requests under Article 15 GDPR today. The goal is to find out how Amazon treats workers’ personal data under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Workers are so far left in the dark about the use of their data, despite Amazon using sophisticated systems to monitor workflows and workers. Amazon has one month to respond and fully disclose their processing of workers' personal data.

      • EFFEFF Asks Federal Appellate Court to Re-hear Important Patent Transparency Case

        The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overruled the district court’s decision to grant public access to records documenting the legal fight last month. The court ruled that the public had no interest in accessing the records, which contained information about patent licenses.€ 

        We disagree with the ruling, and believe it will close off public access to future patent disputes. That’s why EFF challenged the Federal Circuit’s decision on Friday, petitioning for re-hearing by the panel or the entire court.

        Our petition argues that the Federal Circuit’s decision is contrary to law and harmful to the integrity of the judicial system. The records Uniloc is trying to seal were filed with Apple’s motion to dismiss the case—a motion that convinced the district court to do just that. In a prior appeal, the Federal Circuit confirmed that there is a strong presumption of public access to documents filed with this kind of€ important motion, including some of the same records at issue in this most recent appeal.€ 

      • Techdirt(Corporate) Information Wants To Be Free

        Private companies have a lot of people to answer to. When you ask them, they’ll claim its either shareholders or customers that they owe their ultimate duty to. Ask them a couple of more times and they may admit they’re only accountable to their shareholders.

    • Environment

      • Digital First MediaThousands of toxic sites in Michigan pose 'unknown risk' to public

        There are roughly 8,000 leaking underground storage tanks and 16,000 other contaminated sites in Michigan, a lengthy roster of polluted places that has hardly budged in the last decade. There were 9,092 open leaking underground storage tank releases in 2010, according to a 2020 report the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy filed with the Legislature. In 2020, there were 8,212.

      • Common DreamsManchin Opposes Fueling US Electric Vehicle Revolution Because... the 1970s Oil Crisis

        U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin came under fire Monday after his recent remarks about government support for electric vehicles made the rounds on social media and suggested that the West Virginia Democrat—known for sabotaging his own party's agenda—either doesn't understand how EVs work or believes he can get away with misleading comments about them.

        "Did he get these talking points directly from the oil lobby?"

      • Common DreamsIn Latest Climate Obstruction, Manchin Refuses to Support Sarah Bloom Raskin for Fed

        Sen. Joe Manchin infuriated progressives on Monday as he announced his refusal to support President Joe Biden's nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to a key position at the Federal Reserve—only the latest of the West Virginia senator's obstructions of his own party's climate action agenda.

        No Republicans have indicated that they might support Raskin's nomination to serve as vice chair of supervision at the Fed, a role in which she would be the agency's top banking regulator. Without Manchin's support in the evenly-split U.S. Senate, Raskin's nomination is likely doomed.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | How Green New Deals Are Impacting Latin America

        In response to an accelerating climate crisis, activists and policymakers have in recent years urged governments to move away from fossil fuels and at the same time create new clean energy jobs, particularly for workers in the oil, gas, and coal sectors. These proposals fall loosely in the category of "Green New Deals," which references the government stimulus packages launched by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to rescue the U.S. economy during the Great Depression of the 1930s. While some of these Green New Deals are market-driven reform packages with an emphasis on decarbonization, others propose more significant economic and social transformations.

      • Common DreamsAs UN Biodiversity Talks Begin, 360+ Groups Blast Corporate-Backed 'Nature-Based Solutions'

        While another United Nations meeting focused on a global biodiversity framework kicked off in Geneva on Monday, hundreds of groups and people urged negotiators to avoid so-called "nature-based solutions" that corporations push so they can keep polluting the planet.

        "What corporations and big conservation groups call 'nature-based solutions' is a dangerous distraction."

      • Common Dreams'Now Is the Moment': Progressives Urge Schumer to Jumpstart Bold Agenda on Care and Climate

        More than 120 advocacy groups Monday called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to work urgently to restart the legislative process on the Democratic Party's signature domestic priority list by starting hearings, authoring text, and whipping members on a reconciliation package that can garner the needed support for passage in both the U.S. Senate and House by next month.

        The new letter to Schumer—spearheaded by People's Action, the Working Families Party, Indivisible, and the Center for Popular Democracy Action—is signed by scores of national organizations and local affiliates who say Democratic leadership in Congress must delay no further in turning the party's stated priorities on healthcare, climate action, and economic justice into legislation that can reach President Joe Biden's desk for signature.

      • Common DreamsTens of Thousands March in 'Look Up' Climate Rallies Across France

        In addition to earning four Oscar nominations, "Don't Look Up"—Adam Mckay and David Sirota's political satire about elite indifference and profiteering in the face of imminent but preventable catastrophe—inspired tens of thousands of people in multiple cities across France to march this past weekend at "Look Up" rallies to demand climate action.

        Equipped with banners and signs—including one that asked, "When are we going to talk about it?"—large numbers of people throughout France hit the streets. There were 80,000 demonstrators nationwide, with 32,000 in Paris alone, according to organizers.

      • Energy

        • Common Dreams'There Should Be Consequences for It': Ocasio-Cortez Slams Big Oil Price Gouging

          Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday took aim at corporate profiteers, calling for "consequences" for those who price gouge under the pretext of record inflation and international crises.

          Responding to a tweet from MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, who asked "what's going on" with gas prices averaging $4.43 a gallon nationwide, Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) replied: "Profiteering. And there should be consequences for it."

        • HungaryThe forint sinks to 400 per euro and motorists panic-buy fuel: last week was a campaign manager's nightmare – in five points

          Politicians had to respond to several unexpected turns of events this past week even if they hadn't accounted for them while planning their campaigns. In addition to developments in the Russian-Ukrainian war, a few economic events have disrupted the campaigns that had been laid out by parties: the forint to euro exchange rate plummeted to a historic low, and in multiple places, motorists rushed to gas stations in fear of fuel shortages. In this week's campaign update we will also take a look at the election of Katalin Novák as Hungary's head of state and a poll on Péter Márki-Zay's popularity. All this – in five points. Translation by Dominic Spadacene

        • DeSmogCan Canadian Oil and Gas Really Help Isolate Putin?

          The shelling had just started in Kyiv when Alberta Premier Jason Kenney found his angle on the Russian invasion. Now more than ever, he repeated in a series of tweets, we need to focus on Canadian energy.

          “Now if Canada really wants to help defang Putin, then let’s get some pipelines built! Alberta stands ready, willing and able to supply the energy needed to displace Russia from global markets,” the premier tweeted on February 27. Echoing Kenney, Alberta’s government-funded promotional organization for oil and gas, the Canadian Energy Centre, has produced pieces like this one from David Yager declaring that “the West has virtue-signalled away its energy security,” and another article saying “Canada can step up to deliver the world reliable, responsible LNG.”€ € € 

        • DeSmogHealthcare Workers Call on Hospitals and Medical Institutions to Divest From Fossil Fuels

          A coalition of healthcare professionals and climate finance organizations are calling on hospitals to divest their pension and retirement funds from fossil fuels, citing the severe public health hazards from climate change.€ 

          “The research on the severe, ubiquitous and accelerating consequences to public health from climate change is unequivocal,” Dr. Ashley McClure, a primary care physician and co-Executive Director of the California-based nonprofit Climate Health Now, said in a statement. “Just as many leading health organizations have divested from tobacco companies given the unacceptable health harms of their products, our institutions must now invest in alignment with public health and collective safety by urgently divesting our resources from the coal, oil, and gas corporations fueling the climate crisis.”

        • DeSmogFormer Telegraph Editor Charles Moore Quits Climate Denial Group

          The Conservative peer Charles Moore has stepped down as a trustee of the UK’s principal climate science denial group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF),€  which is working closely with backbench MPs to roll back climate policy.€ 

          The former Telegraph and Spectator editor stopped being a trustee of the GWPF in January, according to an entry on Companies House filed on Saturday 12 March, after nearly seven years in the role.€ 

        • DeSmogEU Parliament Backs ‘Urgent’ Calls to Address Climate Disinformation

          The EU has become the first ever policymaking body to officially acknowledge the urgency of defining and tackling climate disinformation.

          Lawmakers at the EU Parliament overwhelmingly backed a report last week calling on the EU to “prepare better to fight off foreign interference and disinformation” including from “malicious and authoritarian countries such as Russia and China”.

        • ViceBiden Signs Executive Order Bullish on Crypto, Digital U.S. Dollar

          On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on cryptocurrencies that emphasizes the U.S. government's commitment to ensuring that virtual assets are developed responsibly and foreshadows the development of a digital dollar.

          As a White House fact sheet on the order points out, cryptocurrencies have seen "explosive growth" over the past five years climbing from a $14 billion to $3 trillion market cap―although a massive sell-off has now erased about half of that. And last year, a Pew Research Center survey suggested that 16 percent of Americans (40 million) have touched cryptocurrency, with the largest group of users being men ages 18 to 29 (43 percent).

        • The VergeEU Parliament backs off plans to phase out energy-hungry cryptocurrencies

          The EU Parliament’s committee on economic and monetary affairs voted on Monday to move forward with a legislative framework for regulating digital assets. In the process, it decided to drop a proposed rule in the framework that would have prohibited people in the EU from using an energy-hungry process to generate cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

    • Finance

      • Common DreamsPoor People's Campaign Holds Cleveland Rally as March Toward DC Continues

        Economic justice advocates in Ohio and nearby states are convening in Cleveland on Monday for an in-person march and rally—one of at least 10 stops the Poor People's Campaign plans to make as it demands downwardly redistributive policies over the course of its monthslong journey to the nation's capital.

        Members of the Ohio Poor People's Campaign—along with partners from campaigns in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan plus national co-chairs Bishop William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis—are set to march through the streets of downtown Cleveland, departing the U.S. Bank Plaza at 5:00 pm ET. Livestreamed speeches, scheduled to start one hour later at Trinity Cathedral, can be viewed here.

      • Common DreamsDemocrats Demand IG Probe Into USPS Contract for New 'Gas-Guzzling' Fleet

        Five U.S. House Democrats on Monday called for a federal investigation into the environmental impact of a U.S. Postal Service contract to buy new gas-powered delivery trucks, which has sparked fresh calls for firing embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

        "Postal vehicles serve a public purpose... and must do so in an environmentally sound manner."

      • Counter PunchThe IMF's Agreement With Argentina Could Prove a Game-Changer

        It is well known that the old model of austerity does not work. Not only does it cause the economy to contract and inflict excessive hardship on the population; it also fails to meet even the narrow objectives of reducing deficits and increasing a country’s capacity to repay creditors.

        Advocates of austerity have claimed success in a few countries. But these were small economies lucky enough to have trading partners that were enjoying a boom at the time that austerity was being implemented. Those positive spillover effects offset the cutbacks in public expenditure, but these same economies might have grown even more if they had they not embraced Herbert Hoover-style austerity policies.

      • TruthOutBillionaires Have Gotten $1.7 Trillion Richer Over the Pandemic, Report Finds
      • Counter PunchMore Bad News on Inflation

        However, the report was disappointing even beyond the bottom line numbers. Many of us have been banking on the idea that we would soon see a reversal in the prices of items where prices have been driven up by supply chain issues. The idea is that if a clogged supply chain was responsible for the rise in prices, then prices should come back down when the supply chain becomes unclogged.

        But, I’ve been saying this for a while, prices in most areas have not started to come down. In fact, the prices of many of these items are continuing to rise. After being flat in January, new vehicle prices rose by 0.3 percent in February, bringing their increase since the pandemic began to 13.7 percent. Apparel prices rose by 0.7 percent for the month and are now up 6.6 percent over the last year. The price of appliances also went up 0.7 percent, bringing their rise since the pandemic began to 15.2 percent.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Common DreamsOpinion | The War on Democracy Is Here

        As Ukraine fights for its democratic survival, former President Donald Trump's war on democracy in America continues.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Trump and Putin Proved Me Wrong: Democracy Is Not Inevitable

        I used to believe several things about the twenty-first century that Putin's invasion of Ukraine and Donald Trump's election in 2016 have shown me are false.€ 

      • Common DreamsLeftist Petro's Huge Colombian Primary Win Seen as Latest Wave in New 'Pink Tide'

        The resounding victory of former leftist rebel Gustavo Petro in one of Colombia's presidential primary elections on Sunday is being hailed as the latest sign of a resurgence of progressive Latin American leadership reminiscent of the so-called "pink tide" of the 1990s and 2000s.

        "The leaders of the new pink tide hope to rewrite the rules of their democracies."

      • Common DreamsHouse Democrats Urge Biden to Renew Push for Climate Legislation

        Nearly 90 House Democrats on Monday urged President Joe Biden to revive the party's stalled reconciliation package—which has been approved by the lower chamber but blocked in the Senate—by focusing on measures designed to mitigate and adapt to the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency.

        "We have a window for action and a moral obligation not to let it pass us by."

      • The NationAnd the Winner of a Safe Seat in Congress Is… Elise Stefanik!

        It looked for a minute like New York’s Republican 21st district incumbent Elise Stefanik might be vulnerable to a challenger this year—but thanks to redistricting it now seems New Yorkers will be stuck with the moderate-turned-Trumpist for the foreseeable future.

      • Broadband BreakfastBiden Says Infrastructure Bill Will Transform America in First In-Person DNC Winter Meeting in 2 Years

        President Joe Biden received a standing ovation during a Democratic National Committee address Thursday night after remarking that the administration is committed to connecting all Americans with historic infrastructure spending.

        “We’re going to invest $65 billion to deliver affordable, high-speed internet everywhere in America. Urban, suburban, and rural,” the president said to applause during the party’s first in-person winter summit in two years. He also noted the assistance of the Republican party in helping push the legislation over the finish line.

      • Patrick BreyerElectoral threshold plan to oust German small party MEPs

        The negotiators of the largest political groups in the European Parliament agreed Wednesday night on a deal to reform the European election law. German-led EPP achieved agreement to the introduction of a 3.5% threshold for European elections in Germany in order to bypass several rulings of the Federal Constitutional Court invalidating national thresholds. On the basis of the latest election results, the threshold could prevent six small German parties from being represented and hand over their 9 seats to large parties. This would prevent for example the anti-establishment German Pirate Party and the satirical political party Die PARTEI (led by MEP Martin Sonneborn) from being reelected in 2024. As a result EPP could expect to grow by 3 German MEPs while Greens/EFA stands to lose 2.

      • Silicon AngleRussia opens criminal case against Meta after it allows language calling for violence against Russian troops

        Russia today opened a criminal case against Meta Platforms Inc. after the owner of Facebook and Instagram Thursday said it will allow calls for violence on the Facebook and Instagram platforms if it’s related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

        Russian prosecutors are seeking to designate Meta as an “extremist organization” and said it’s restricting access to Instagram. The committee reportedly answers directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It wasn’t clear what the criminal case might mean for Meta and its properties, though WhatsApp is not affected because Russia considers it an essential communications tool rather than a site to post information.

        The move by Met is unusual, considering it has spent the last few years trying to scrub hate speech from its platforms while contending with politicians who have accused Meta of allowing such speech to flourish.

      • RIPEInternet Network Shutdowns in Russia

        There have been several calls for Russian Internet networks to be shut down in one way or another and announcements that Russia is going to make such cuts. In this article, Stéphane Bortzmeyer explores the issue from a technical point of view.

      • RIPEThe Ukrainian Internet

        There is much speculation about what has been happening to the Internet in Ukraine since the ongoing conflict began on 24 February. After food and shelter, access to information is one of the more vital resources at this time. As much is unclear, we'd like to show what the data we collect points at, in terms of the state of the Internet in Ukraine. We fully realise things can change at any moment, so our analysis will likely be rendered moot in the upcoming days. That said, we will be keeping up with developments and will try to update this post as and when new information becomes available.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • OracMMS (a.k.a. bleach) as a “cure” for COVID-19

        I’ve been writing about quackery and the antivaccine movement for over two decades, having blogged about these topics for well over 17 years€ here€ and 14 years at€ my not-so-secret other blog. During that unbelievably—to me—long time, I’ve learned a few things, not the least of which is, as readers no doubt get tired of me repeating since COVID-19 hit, that there is nothing new under the sun with respect to antivax quackery. To put it another way,€ everything old is new again. I have, of course, written about this in general and in specifics going back to even before the pandemic was officially declared a pandemic, but also in the context of individual antivax claims that have been resurrected, recycled, and given a fresh coat of COVID-19 paint in order to appear shiny and new. Examples include misuse of the€ VAERS€ database by antivaxxers to portray COVID-19 vaccines as deadly, as well as claims that vaccines€ sterilize our womenfolk€ (or even our girls before they go through puberty). So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the resurrection of a form of antivaccine quackery commonly used to treat “vaccine-induced” autism back in the day. A decade or so ago, it was all the rage in antivax circles and was featured prominently across multiple years during the yearly antivaccine quackfest known as AutismOne, which was usually held at a hotel near O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. True, there are some seemingly new wrinkles based on the fact that the technology used in the first approved vaccines€ hadn’t been approved for use€ in vaccines before, but even the claim that the mRNA-based vaccines can “permanently alter your DNA” was€ not€ new€ (and€ seemingly won’t die).

      • NBCQAnon, Ukraine and 'biolabs': Russian propaganda efforts boosted by U.S. far right

        Russia’s early struggles to push disinformation and propaganda about Ukraine have picked up momentum in recent days, thanks to a variety of debunked conspiracy theories about biological research labs in Ukraine. Much of the false information is flourishing in Russian social media, far-right online spaces and U.S. conservative media, including Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News.

        The theories, which have been boosted by Russian and Chinese officials, come as U.S. officials warn that Russia could be preparing a chemical or biological weapons attack of its own in Ukraine.

      • International Business TimesFirst war of the TikTok era sees tragedy, humor and deceit

        In the United States -- where members of "Gen Z," born in the late 1990s, shun traditional television -- online platforms like TikTok are prime sources [sic] of news.

      • ProtocolNew report shows kids see COVID-19 misinfo on TikTok in minutes

        The report, published Wednesday by the media rating firm NewsGuard, raises questions not only about how effectively TikTok is enforcing its medical misinformation policies, but also about how its own recommendation algorithms are actively undermining those policies.

      • Fast CompanyOn Ukrainian war TikTok, even experts struggle to distinguish truth from hoaxes

        A new report from Harvard researchers finds that TikTok remains a rich source of misinformation and disinformation about Ukraine—and explains why it spreads so easily.

        The same tools and features that have brought the funny (and sometimes the genius) out of regular people on TikTok can also be used to manipulate content to spread misinformation at scale, the research suggests.

      • Digi Day‘Misinformation on TikTok is a whole different beast’: How publishers are tackling the Ukraine-Russia war disinformation problem on TikTok

        Misinformation ricochets around the internet during any world event or political conflict — that’s nothing new — but TikTok poses new challenges, thanks to an algorithm that doesn’t favor breaking news and how it limits users’ interactions with each other. So when misleading videos or false accounts of what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine get posted as the war with Russia unfolds, they can circulate quickly thanks to their shock value and go unchecked indefinitely.

      • The Wall Street JournalTikTok’s New Moderation Challenge: Ukraine War Videos

        Zoe Thomas: TikTok is home to millions of fun and silly videos. But since Russia invaded Ukraine, users' feeds have been flooded with videos about the war. So, how are TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, dealing with this new type of content? On today's show, reporter Liza Lin, who covers Asia tech for the Wall Street Journal, joins us to discuss the decisions being made inside the company, and the geopolitical tight rope it's walking. That's after these headlines.

      • ForbesKremlin’s RIA Novosti Continues Posting TikTok Propaganda Despite Platform’s Russia ‘Ban’

        In one video on Wednesday, RIA Novosti laced together recorded U.S. Senate testimony from Victoria Nuland, a State Department official, about biological-research labs in Ukraine with a voiceover falsely suggesting Ukraine has covered up bio-warfare projects financed by America, a popular new vein of Russian misinformation.

        Another RIA Novosti video from Wednesday shows an interview with a man the outlet identifies as a captured Ukrainian soldier, who says he was shot during a standoff with Russian forces and then abandoned by his unit. “Everyone was shooting,” he recalls, speaking Ukrainian with a heavy Russian accent. “I was wounded in a leg and left in a ditch.” A third video suggests the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Plant seized by Russian troops contained a large cache of weapons and ammunition, part of a continuing storyline to paint Ukraine as a long-standing threat to Russia. (Western authorities have released no evidence of a military installation at Zaporizhzhya.) RIA Novosti pushed these videos and others at more than 200,000 followers, who’ve supported the publication’s clips with 3.4 million Likes.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Security WeekFilter Blocked 70,000 Emails to Indiana Lawmakers on Bill

        The Indiana State Teachers Association said it found out less than a week before the legislative session ended early Wednesday about emails sent through a form on its website not reaching the accounts of lawmakers, The Indianapolis Star reported.

        ISTA executive director Dan Holub said the teachers union believes the messages had been blocked since January and possibly fewer than half of the nearly 120,000 emails sent through its website were delivered.

      • NetblocksInstagram restricted in Russia as online space continues to shrink

        Real-time network data show that the restrictions are coming into effect across multiple providers rendering the platform widely unusable, corroborating user reports. Instagram is amongst Russia’s most used online platforms, exceeding the popularity of Twitter and Facebook, with the visual format popular with Russian influencers and businesses.

      • Project CensoredCensorship of Russian Media Featuring Lee Camp and Chris Garaffa - The Project Censored Show

        Notes: Lee Camp‘s political comedy program, “Redacted Tonight,” had an eight-year run on RT America. He and Eleanor Goldfield collaborate on a podcast called “Common Censored.” Camp is also the author of the book “Bullet Points and Punch Lines.” Chris Garaffa cohosts the “Reboot” podcast and is the creator of Tech For the People.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Democracy NowBrent Renaud, First U.S. Reporter Killed in Ukraine, Praised for His Humanity & Exposing Horrors of War

        On Sunday, the U.S. journalist and filmmaker Brent Renaud was shot dead near Kyiv while working on a documentary about refugees. He is the first foreign journalist known to have been killed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion. Ukrainian officials are accusing Russian forces of his death. We discuss Renaud’s remarkable documentary work and feature part of an interview he gave on Democracy Now! after he was embedded in Iraq with the National Guard from his home state of Arkansas. We are joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ann Marie Lipinski, who got to know both Renaud and photographer Juan Arredondo during their time as fellows at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, which Lipinski curates. “Brent was a very, very special journalist, yes, but also person,” says Lipinski. “He just brought a very, very rare humanity and patience to the work.” We also hear from Cora Weiss, former board of directors chair of Downtown Community Television, where Brent and his brother Craig started their filmmaking career in the same former firehouse building that housed Democracy Now! for over a decade. “He shouldn’t have been killed,” says Weiss. “Brent was terribly important as an educator for all Americans to understand the horrors of war and the unnecessary expense in life.” Carlos Martínez de la Serna of the Committee to Protect Journalists says Renaud’s killing amounts to a war crime.

      • TruthOutBrent Renaud, First US Reporter Killed in Ukraine, Exposed Horrors of War
      • RTLPress rights groups call for release of French journalist in Mali

        Press rights groups have called for the release of French journalist Olivier Dubois, who was taken hostage by a jihadist group in Mali almost a year ago.

        A short video circulating on social media since Sunday appears to show Dubois, but has not been authenticated and its origin is unknown, as is the date it was filmed.

      • Don't Extradite AssangeUK Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal in Assange extradition

        Julian Assange’s solicitors Birnberg Peirce statement on Supreme Court Decision...

      • The DissenterUK Supreme Court Slams Door On Assange Appeal, Extradition May Be Authorized

        Without any explanation, the British Supreme Court denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange “permission to appeal” a decision by the British High Court. The Supreme Court maintained the appeal did not “raise an arguable point of law” and sent the case back to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the district court which initially blocked the United States government’s extradition request on January 4, 2021.By refusing to grant Assange a hearing, the U.S. government effectively won their appeal. Prosecutors convinced the British courts to disregard concerns that he may be subject to treatment in a U.S. jail or prison that would be oppressive to his mental health.The Westminster Magistrates’ Court may now refer the extradition to the British Home Office for Home Secretary Priti Patel to review. According to Birnberg Peirce, the law firm representing Assange, they are entitled to make submissions to the Home Secretary for consideration before the extradition request is approved. If Patel approves the extradition, Assange’s defense may submit an appeal on the issues of freedom of the press that were not addressed before the High Court yet. That would likely prevent Assange from extradition. However, if the High Court and Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal because they did not believe it raised “arguable points of law,” he could potentially be transferred to the U.S. before the year is over.

      • Common DreamsUK Top Court Rejects Assange's Request to Appeal Extradition Decision

        The U.K. Supreme Court on Monday denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's request to appeal an earlier decision permitting his extradition to the United States, where he faces espionage charges and up to 175 years in prison for publishing classified documents that exposed war crimes.

        "The application does not raise an arguable point of law," the court declared.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Counter PunchRe-Thinking the Idea of "Developing Countries"

        While Zola’s view is that people are drowning in the river because they keep being thrown in — people are living in poverty because someone is impoverishing them — another view is that poverty does not need to be explained, because it is the default state of humankind. The public health crises impoverished areas have experienced, such as the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa (for which treatments are made inaccessible by patent laws) and the devastation caused by second-order effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the Global South, therefore, must be seen as natural consequences of insufficient ‘development’. Instead of asking what creates poverty, we should be asking what creates wealth, and then doing more of that, enabling the poor to be ‘lifted out’ of poverty by economic growth.

        This idea is closely linked to modernisation theory, which was popularised as part of American post-WWII rhetoric. In his 1949 inaugural address, President Harry Truman professed plans to alleviate the suffering of ‘underdeveloped areas’ through ‘capital investment’. This was not backed up by any real policy, but it was an attractive idea because of the explanation it implicitly offered for global inequality: poor countries are simply behind rich countries on a universal, linear arrow of ‘development’, and, with the right domestic economic policies, they can catch up. Redistribution of wealth is not required.

      • The NationFlorida’s Abortion Ban Will Obliterate Access in the South

        On March 3, the Florida Legislature voted to ban abortions after 15 weeks. Modeled after the Mississippi legislation that challenges Roe v. Wade, the bill—if signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, who has expressed support for similar bills and is expected to approve it—will have devastating effects not only on those living in the state of Florida but for abortion access throughout the Southern United States.

      • TruthOutColorado Abortion Rights Bill Moves Forward After GOP-Led Filibuster Fails
      • TruthOutTrump Commands Followers to "Lay Down Their Lives" to Stop Critical Race Theory
      • TruthOutAnti-Black Racism Is Global. So Must Be the Movement to End It.
      • Counter PunchIs Psychiatry a Mental Illness?

        Some mental illnesses that have been eliminated include drapetomania, or the mental illness causing enslaved people to try to escape; and homosexuality, or the mental illness causing people to love people that somebody else might wish they wouldn’t. These mental illnesses have been eliminated by ceasing to call them mental illnesses.

        Some mental illnesses that have been reduced by the good practices of psychiatry, although not yet thoroughly eliminated include . . . well, nothing. Mental illnesses and suicides are on the rise.

      • Counter PunchMLB’s New Collective Bargaining Agreement Fails to Address Players’ Biggest Grievances

        For a while, it was looking like the start of spring would come and go without any baseball on the horizon.

        But just when fan morale was at its nadir, Major League Baseball announced a five-year agreement with its players, ending the second-longest labor interruption in MLB history. Now, April 7, 2022 will serve as most teams’ Opening Day.

      • TruthOutStarbucks Union Files Complaint Saying Company Is Cutting Hours to Union Bust
      • TechdirtLAPD Police Commission Enrages Police Union By Enacting Minor Changes To Pretextual Stops

        Pretextual stops are law enforcement at its most shameless. The laws and the courts have blessed this activity, which involves cops claiming stops are justified for one reason while using the stop to go fishing for evidence or info related to a completely different criminal act.

      • EFFPodcast Episode: Watching the Watchers

        It was only after Poitras teamed up with EFF to sue the government that she was able to see evidence of the government’s six-year campaign of spying on her. This week on our podcast, Poitras joins EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien to talk about her continuing work to uncover spying on journalists, and what we can do to fight back against mass surveillance.€ 

      • Counter PunchAddressing Racial Inequality in Paid Leave Policy
      • Site36Amendment of SIS II Regulation: Europol to coordinate proposals for alerts from third countries

        The EU police agency is to receive lists of persons from foreign authorities and then have them alerted in the Schengen area for refusal of entry, arrest or observation. This legalises a questionable procedure that has long been practised.

      • The NationThese 20 Striking Detroit Baristas Could Lead a Union Revival

        A return to Joy Silk would be significant on two registers. In the short term, it would give workers a tool to keep employers from interfering in union elections. In the long run, it could spark a deeper shift to worker power by helping to sever the link between workplace democracy and secret ballot elections altogether. This may seem paradoxical at first. But it is an open secret that NLRB-run elections are exercises in anti-democracy. The process effectively functions as an opportunity for employers to coerce workers through anti-union tactics (legal and otherwise). This perverse legal regime—elections as a tool of repression—has served to quash union drives for decades. It was not always so.

      • Teen VogueHelen Keller’s Legacy: A Socialist and Suffragist Who Pushed Boundaries

        By 1912, she was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, fighting for workers’ rights while criticizing the speed of the socialist movement, even striking with actors instead of attending a screening of a biographical film about her in 1919. She continued to support strikers throughout her lifetime, claiming that workers’ rights were inextricably tied with disability rights. “I maintain that [poverty] is the result of wrong economics, that the industrial system under which we live is at the root of much of the physical deafness and blindness in the world,” Keller wrote.

        She spoke out against racism, writing a letter to the vice president of the NAACP in 1916, lambasting the way Black citizens could be evicted, terrorized, and lynched while their persecutors went unpunished. Thirty years later, in 1946, she would write in a letter that “the continued lynchings and other crimes against negroes, whether in New England or the South, and unspeakable political exponents of white supremacy, according to all recorded history, augur ill for America's future."

        Perhaps the most enduring part of Keller’s legacy is the role she played in cofounding the American Civil Liberties Union. More than 100 years later, the ACLU continues to defend the civil liberties and rights of historically marginalized people throughout the United States.

      • France24Saudi Arabia executes record 81 people in one day for terrorism-related offences

        But the executions sparked condemnation from Britain-based campaign group Reprieve.

        "Just last week the Crown Prince (Mohammed bin Salman) told journalists he plans to modernise Saudi Arabia's criminal justice system, only to order the largest mass execution in the country's history," Reprieve said.

        "There are prisoners of conscience on Saudi death row, and others arrested as children or charged with non-violent crimes. We fear for every one of them following this brutal display of impunity."

      • RachelTaking away the berries

        So, what did I write back in 2019, while in that gig, then? This: [...]

      • WiredEurope Is in Danger of Using the Wrong Definition of AI

        The present version of the AIA is a draft written by the European Commission published in 2021. Now the elected European Parliament is seeking commentary as it proposes a revised and hopefully improved version. The final version will have enormous influence not only in the EU but on lives and corporations globally, even for people and companies who never visit or do business with the EU.

      • Internet SocietyWhat Is the Digital Divide?

        At the Internet Society we work towards developing the Internet to be open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy. A big part of this work is growing the Internet to those who need it the most, bridging the digital divide.

        But what exactly is this digital divide? At first glance it seems as though there may be a simple answer: “the gap between those who have and do not have access to computers and the Internet”. But upon further investigation, there are many ways to measure the divide. In fact, there are multiple divides.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Digital Music NewsKaty Perry Wins Appeal In Years-Running ‘Dark Horse’ Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

          The underlying courtroom confrontation kicked off way back in 2014, when Christian rapper Flame accused Katy Perry of infringing upon his “Joyful Noise” track, which first released in 2008. Following a trial in July and August of 2019, a jury sided with Flame and awarded the plaintiffs about $2.8 million in damages, or “22.5% of defendants’ net profits” deriving from “Dark Horse,” the latest ruling reiterates.

          But a district judge in March of 2020 vacated the verdict, finding that Flame and his legal team had failed “to satisfy the extrinsic test,” and the plaintiffs promptly appealed. As mentioned at the outset, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has now upheld the district court’s decision, indicating at the start of a 26-page-long ruling that “the jury’s verdict finding defendants liable for copyright infringement was unsupported by the evidence.”

        • Torrent FreakMajor Streaming Piracy Sites Have Their Domain Names Suspended

          Two of the largest movie and TV streaming piracy sites have had their domain names suspended over the past few days. The targets include Lookmovie and Cuevana3, both of which have millions of regular visitors. The suspensions, issued by the .io domain registry, are likely related to copyright issues. However, the two sites are not giving up and have swiftly relocated to new homes.

        • Torrent FreakYouTube Vanced App Forced to Shut Down 'For Legal Reasons'

          YouTube Vanced is an extremely popular Android app that improves the standard YouTube experience with new features including ad-blocking and background play. Unfortunately, however, the software has come to the end of the road. The developer team says that Vanced is being discontinued "due to legal reasons" and suggests they were forced to comply.



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