Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 18/05/2023: Mozilla 'Invests' in 'Apps' and 'Gig' 'Workers'

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Benchmarks

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • ! Avi Alkalay €¡: Web scraping and site mirroring

        Need to mirror an entire website? Use the httrack command, available in all Linux distributions. If site requires authentication, provide to httrack a cookies.txt file exported from your browser.

        A typical httrack use:

        httrack -W -O ~/websites/somesite --robots=0 --stay-on-same-address

        On ~/websites/somesite will be created a folder structure with HTML and other files similar to the URLs on You can even open the index.html file locally in your browser and browse the mirrored content.

      • OSTechNixHow To Enable Automatic Login In Ubuntu Desktop And Server

        In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to enable automatic login in Ubuntu desktop and server editions. This convenient feature allows you to bypass the login screen on Ubuntu Desktop, allowing direct access to your desktop environment. In Ubuntu Server, it eliminates the need to manually enter your credentials every time.

      • HowTo ForgeHow to Install Seafile Self-Hosted Cloud Storage with Nginx on Ubuntu 22.04

        Seafile is an open-source, self-hosted file synchronization and sharing platform. It allows users to store and encrypt data on their servers without relying on third-party cloud providers. In this tutorial, you will learn to install Seafile on a Ubuntu 22.04 server, MySQL, and Nginx as a reverse-proxy server.

      • TecMintTor Browser – How to Browse Web Anonymously in Linux

        The primary application we require to perform our internet activity is a browser, a web browser to be more perfect in terms of privacy and security of online activities.

        Over the Internet, most of our activity is logged to the Server/Client machine which includes IP address, Geographical Location, search/activity trends, and a whole lot of information that can potentially be very harmful if used intentionally the other way.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install ModSecurity 3, Nginx, OWASP CRS with Ubuntu 22.04 | 20.04

        In the digital era, web application security is a paramount concern. Your organization's data integrity, availability, and confidentiality are at stake. Thus, the need for robust security measures cannot be overstated. One such comprehensive, open-source solution is ModSecurity.

      • Red HatHow to use RHEL application compatibility guidelines

        In this three-part series, we explore the Red Hat Enterprise Linux published application compatibility guidelines (ACG), and how developers can use them to ensure their application remains compatible with future releases of RHEL. Building applications can be difficult, and building applications that continue to operate after an in-place distribution upgrade is even harder. How does Red Hat Enterprise Linux make it easier? It provides guidelines and guarantees that you can follow to improve application compatibility.

        In this article, we will expand on the concept of application compatibility. In the second part, we will review the topic of compatibility with more examples. In the third article, we will discuss container userspace compatibility with the host kernel services.

        What is application compatibility?

        What we call application compatibility is traditionally referred to as backwards compatibility. It is the ability to run an unmodified application binary on the current or newer version of the distribution and have it operate correctly (i.e., compatible with the release of the distribution).

      • Linux HintHow to Use the NVIDIA GPU in the Docker Containers on Linux Mint 21

        How to install the Docker CE and NVIDIA docker on Linux Mint 21 to access the NVIDIA GPU of your computer from the Docker containers and run the CUDA programs.

      • Linux HintPass a Named Argument in a Bash Script

        Tutorial on the different ways of using the named arguments in Bash script to know how to pass them and understand which argument contains which type of data.

      • Linux HintCalculate the Sum of a Column Using the “Awk” Script in Bash

        Comprehensive tutorial on the multiple ways of calculating the sum of a column from a file using the “awk” script in Bash through different examples

      • Linux HintWhat Is /Dev/Null

        Tutorial on the ways of using the /dev/null virtual devices on Linux to store all the physical and virtual devices and discard any data that is written to it.

      • UNIX CopHow to install Terraform on Debian 11

        In this post, you will learn how to install Terraform on Debian 11. Introduction Terraform is a software configuration tool designed to enhance the automation of multiple processes. It achieves this through concepts such as infrastructure as code. But what does it mean?

      • ID RootHow To Install Nvtop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Nvtop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. Are you curious about how to monitor GPU performance on Ubuntu 22.04? Look no further than Nvtop!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • HDR and color management in KWin

          In this post I’ll talk a bit about HDR and color management, and where we are with implementing them in KWin. Before jumping into the topic though, I need to add a disclaimer: I will be simplifying a lot of things significantly, leaving others out entirely and as I am by far not a color expert, almost certainly write a few things that are wrong. If you want more credible sources and dive into the details of how all the color stuff works, I recommend you have a look at the color-and-hdr repository instead of this post.

          To explain what these things mean, it’s important to take a step back and talk about how colors and brightness have traditionally been handled:

          With traditional display pipelines, applications provide color data in the form of three channels, usually1 in the form of a red, a green and a blue value. These three values are in most cases sent to the display without modifications, which then applies the so-called “electro-optical transfer function” (EOTF) to the “electrical” values that are being sent through the cable, to get the desired brightness values and powers its red, green and blue LEDs (or equivalent2) accordingly. These red, green and blue light sources then emit some amount of light, the mixture of which your eyes and brain interpret as some color and brightness.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • TecMint14 Best Linux Distributions for Privacy and Security in 2023

      Being anonymous on the Internet is not particularly the same as surging the web safely, however, they both involve keeping oneself and one’s data private and away from the prying eyes of entities that may otherwise take advantage of system vulnerabilities in order to harm targeted parties.

      There is also the risk of surveillance from the NSA and several other top-level organizations and this is why it is good that developers have taken it upon themselves to build privacy-dedicated distros that host an aggregate of tools that enable users to achieve both online autonomy and privacy.

    • TecMint10 Top Most Popular Linux Distributions of 2023

      We are almost half of the year, we thought it right to share with Linux enthusiasts out there the most popular distributions of the year so far.

      DistroWatch has been the most reliable source of information about open-source operating systems, with a particular focus on Linux distributions and flavors of BSD. It collects and presents a wealth of information about Linux distributions consistently to make them easier to access.

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Web Browsers/Web Servers

    • Programming/Development

      • RlangBecoming an R developer: the workshop

        Projects inevitably involve more people, learning the required steps and control for collaborating and delivering a robust product is a must for any team. When working on programming projects with multiple inter-dependencies Version Control (VC) is essential. Even on smaller projects or on your own one, tracking the progress of your development has enough advantages to make the use of VC beneficial. For these reasons knowing how to interact with VC and how to collaborate within a team it is a must for any R developer.

  • Leftovers

    • The NationA Wide Embrace

      Biography was once the elegant matriarch of nonfiction. Smelling faintly of lavender, she clutched her pearls when the story got too personal, or the author intruded on the narrative to address the reader, or the political machinery showed through the corseted layers of her heaving bodice. No more. Her skirts are shorter now, her research notes briefer. Her authors prance through their pages telling us what to think and feel within a hodgepodge of genres—memoir, philosophy, even a bit of self-help.1

    • Science

      • HackadayCheaper Sodastream With A Big CO2 Tank Is A Semi-Dangerous Way To Save

        Sodastream machines are a fun way to turn tap water into carbonated water. However, the canisters are expensive and generally require a trip to the store to get a replacement. Lifehacker has a workaround that may make life easier for the bubble-addicted set.

      • HackadayInside A Current Probe

        [The Signal Path] had two Tektronix AC/DC current probes that didn’t work. Of course, that’s a great excuse to tear them open and try to get at least one working. You can see how it went in the video below. The symptoms differed between the two units, and along the way, the theory behind these probes needs some exploration.

      • HackadayNot Just ATP: Two-Component Molecular Motor Using GTPase Cycle Demonstrates Mechanotransduction

        For most of us who haven’t entirely slept through biology classes, it’s probably no secret that ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the compound which provides the energy needed for us to move our muscles and for our body to maintain and repair itself, yet less know is guanosine triphosphate (GTP). Up till now GTP was thought to be not used for mechanical action like molecular motors, but recent research by Anupam Singh and colleagues in€ Nature Physics (press release) has shown that two GTPase hydrolase enzymes (Rab5 and EEA1) function effectively as a reversible molecular motor.

      • HackadayChange Of Plans For New Horizons Sparks Debate

        In 2015 NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft provided humanity with the first up-close views of Pluto, passing just 12,472 km (7,750 mi) from the surface. What had always been little more than a fuzzy blip at the edge of the solar system could finally be seen in stunning high resolution. Unfortunately, the deep space probe could only provide us with a relatively fleeting glimpse at the mysterious dwarf planet — the physics of such a distant interplanetary flight meant the energy required to slow down and enter orbit around Pluto was beyond the tiny spacecraft’s abilities.

      • HackadayLearn How Impossibly Close-fitting Parts Are Actually Made

        Most of us have seen those demonstrations of metal parts that mate together so finely that, once together, they have no visible seam at all. But how, exactly, is this done? [Steve Mould] has a video that shows and explains all, and we’ve never seen the process explained quite like he does.

    • Hardware

      • HackadayActive Racing Simulator Pedal

        Racing virtual cars from behind a PC monitor might be cheaper than doing it in the real world, but high-end sim racing peripherals still come with high-end prices. With the increasing popularity of force-feedback pedals [Tristan Fenwick] built built an€ active pedal€ that can provide significant resistance.

      • CNX Software$25 Renesas “HMI Board” features RA6M3 microcontroller for RT-Thread & LVGL development

        The Renesas HMI board is a Renesas RA6M3 Cortex-M4F development board with a 4.3-inch LCD developed in coloration with the teams behind the RT-Thread RTOS project and LVGL open-source graphics library. Besides a color display for HMI (Human Machine Interface), the board also features a microSD card for data storage, Ethernet and WiFi connectivity, Arduino headers and PMOD connectors for expansion, a microphone and a speaker, a CAN bus terminal block, and two USB-C ports for debugging and power.

      • HackadayMachining A Golf Ball To Make A Lovely Tactile Volume Knob

        Golf balls are wonderfully tactile things. They have a semi-grippy covering, and they’re a beautiful size and weight that sits nicely in the hand. Sadly, most of them just get smacked away with big metal clubs. [Jeremy Cook] recognized their value as a human interface device, though, and set about turning one into a useful volume knob.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • NPRTeens say social media is stressing them out. Here's how to help them

        Some respondents explicitly said social media made them feel depressed. Many asked their parents to help them stop using it. Nearly two-thirds of respondents gave some version of this advice to future teens: Don't use social media. It's OK to abstain. Or delete your accounts.

      • New York TimesFor Gen Z, Playing an Influencer on TikTok Comes Naturally

        As people like Ms. Aaron spend time on TikTok and other social media sites, it’s no big deal for them to act like advertisers, without the secondhand embarrassment that can accompany selling items door to door or delivering multilevel marketing pitches.

        The driving idea is that anyone can be a creator [sic] and bring in money and free products from companies, which are eager to work with the young and the savvy on TikTok, where it can be hard for brands to break in. More than 70 percent of 18- to 29-year-old women on social media follow influencers or content creators, and half of them have purchased something after seeing an influencer’s posts, according to a Pew Research survey from last year.

      • The NationHow Medicare Advantage Could Kill Medicare

        Today, Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Pramila Jayapal, and Representative Debbie Dingell introduced the Medicare for All Act in the Senate and House. They are part of a long tradition.

      • “New school” anti-(COVID-19)-vaxxers are all-in on “old school” vaccines-cause-autism antivax

        I’ve been saying for a long time now that when it comes to antivaccine misinformation among COVID-19 antivaxxers, everything old is new again in antivax. Whether it’s claiming that COVID-19 vaccines sterilize our womenfolk, contain “fetal cells,” cause cancer, are resulting in global “depopulation,” are loaded with “toxins,” cause Alzheimer’s disease, permanently alter your DNA, or worse, old antivax claims have been, predictably, applied to COVID-19 vaccines. (Indeed, I used to joke that the only reason antivaxxers hadn’t claimed that COVID-19 vaccines cause autism was because the vaccines hadn’t been authorized for children under 5 years of age.) Then, as I had been predicting, increasingly the “new school” antivaxxers started circling back around to “old school” antivax claims about not just COVID-19 vaccines but all vaccines, such as the oldest of old school claim that the MMR vaccine causes autism. All of this is why, increasingly, I’ve been saying on Twitter that, sooner or later, COVID-19 antivaxxers generalize their antivax beliefs about one vaccine to all vaccines and become just antivaxxers. While it’s true that some “new school” COVID-19 antivaxxers (e.g., Geert Vanden Bossche) have shown acute discomfort at the “old school” antivax rhetoric that they’ve found themselves associated with, most seem to be jumping right in, head first.

      • IT WireHealth tech start-up aims to help sort out issues with NDIS

        Health technology start-up Kismet has launched with $4 million raised in a pre-seed round and says it will focus on tools to support plan and fund management, aiming to connect patients with legitimate providers and address the biggest challenges in the disability and healthcare sectors.

    • Proprietary

      • TechdirtEU Approves Microsoft, Activision Acquisition With Some Minor Stipulations

        One hurdle defeated, two more to go. For months now, we have been discussing Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision for $69 billion. What would be the largest video game studio acquisition in history has faced several hurdles along the way, primarily from the EU, the UK, and the United States. While the UK’s CMA has already formally nixxed the purchase (appeal by Microsoft pending) and the FTC decision is looming, leaks had already suggested months ago that the EU was set to approve the deal.

      • Pro PublicaIRS to Test Offering Free Online Tax Filing

        The IRS on Tuesday announced that it would develop an experimental online tool to allow Americans to file taxes directly with the agency for free.

        It’s a major development — one in which ProPublica’s reporting played a significant role — given that most U.S. taxpayers pay to file and the tax preparation industry has long held sway in Washington. Only four years ago, the industry nearly succeeded in getting a law passed that would have barred the IRS from providing direct filing.

      • Bruce SchneierMicrosoft Secure Boot Bug

        The problem with the patch is that it breaks backwards compatibility: “…once the fixes have been enabled, your PC will no longer be able to boot from older bootable media that doesn’t include the fixes.”

      • Matt RickardA List of Leaked System Prompts

        No system prompt is safe. The system prompt is the initial set of instructions that sets the boundaries for an AI conversation. What rules the assistant should follow, what topics to avoid, how the assistant should format responses, and more. But users have found various workarounds to get the models to divulge their instructions.

      • TediumMake Digital Preservation Easier

        Whether the source of content is Yahoo! Answers, Geocities, 12-year-old images from Imgur, or a random YouTube channel full of forgotten videos, the easiest-to-remove parts of the internet are often those that aren’t getting noticed. On the one hand, if you go into any library, most books are just sitting on shelves, actively being unused. But on the other, the internet is simply designed to be screwed with. Websites do not stay stationary, encased in amber, and there is significant financial motivation for large companies to only play the hits. After all, it’s why Top 40 radio isn’t all Dishwalla, all the time. With the news that Google is about to implement a rule letting the company remove content from accounts that haven’t been accessed in two years, I’m left to wonder if the problem is that the motivations for maintaining sites built around user-generated content simply do not favor preservation, and never will without outside influence. How can we change that motivation? Today’s Tedium, in the spirit of a 2019 piece we wrote about digital preservation, attempts to see the corporate point of view on mass content removal. — Ernie @ Tedium

      • 9to5GoogleGoogle will delete accounts, including Gmail & Photos, that haven’t logged on in 2 years

        Google will start deleting inactive accounts in December 2023 (at the earliest) and take a “phased approach,” starting with “accounts that were created and never used again.” The company says it is “going to roll this out slowly and carefully.”

      • New York TimesHaven’t Checked Your Gmail in a While? Google May Delete Your Account.

        An internal analysis at Google found that abandoned accounts were much less likely than active accounts to have two-factor verification, an authentication method that helps to confirm a user’s identity, the company said.

      • The Register UKSearch the web at least once every two years or risk losing your Google account

        The policy change won't just impact that Gmail account you set up to get a free trial subscription to something years ago and then forgot about. It applies across Google products, including Workspaces. While accounts for businesses or educational institutions won't be deleted, individual users of Google's cloudy productivity suite and photo storage lockers need to pay attention. The latter may demand special attention: billions of Android devices back up photos into Google's cloud, meaning the pix in that dead 'droid in your bottom drawer might face deletion from the G-cloud.

      • GoogleUpdating our inactive account policies

        To reduce this risk, we are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to 2 years across our products. Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, we may delete the account and its contents – including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar), YouTube and Google Photos.

      • NPRIf you haven't logged into your Google account in over 2 years, it will be deleted

        Google said it will send several notices to inactive accounts and to recovery emails associated with those accounts. The deletions will start in December at the earliest, and accounts that were created and never used again will be removed first, Kricheli said.

    • Privatisation/Privateering

    • Security

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • APNICPrivacy and networking: Part 3 — Is an IP address protected information for privacy?

          So long as the IP address can be connected to a device at some time and a user can be connected to a device simultaneously, the IP address can be at least part of the information used to identify an individual user’s activity.

          All of which means the IP address is, in fact, protected information.

        • NYOBData Breach in Malta: Company must disclose source within 20 days or face penalties

          The Maltese Data Protection Authority (IDPC) has taken decisive action against C-PLANET, the IT company responsible for a voter data breach in Malta. Following a second complaint filed by noyb, the IDPC has ordered C-PLANET to reveal the specific details regarding the collection of data belonging to Maltese citizens within a strict 20-day deadline. If the company does not comply with this order they will face a “dissuasive” fine.

        • EFFHow to Enable Advanced Data Protection on iOS, and Why You Should

          Apple introduced Advanced Data Protection in the United States in December 2022, and released it globally in January 2023. (No list of countries is currently available, but Apple confirmed to EFF that it's available globally). The idea is simple: you can now enable end-to-end encryption of data that was previously only encrypted in transit and on Apple's servers, meaning that Apple itself could access the data. In other words, you can now control the encryption keys and Apple will not be able to access any of this data. It also means Apple will not be able to help you regain access to most information on your account. The full list of data categories is available on Apple's site, but the most notable include the iCloud backup (which includes the backup of Messages), iCloud Drive, photos, notes, reminders, and more.

          EFF first called for Apple to enable encrypted backups back in 2019 because, while some of the data in iCloud is end-to-end encrypted, backups were not, and that meant a lot of different categories of data were vulnerable to government requests, third-party hacking, and disclosure by Apple employees. This was often a cause for confusion with Messages, where the messages were end-to-end encrypted, but the backups were not. The potential for privacy issues were complicated further in 2021 when Apple proposed a backdoor with client-side scanning for child sexual abuse material (CSAM), but delayed after EFF supporters and allies delivered a petition containing more than 60,000 signatures to Apple executives.

          With Advanced Data Protection enabled, your backups and most important files get that end-to-end encryption benefit, better securing your files against mass surveillance, rogue Apple employees, or potential data leaks. If all your devices support the newest operating systems, you can turn Advanced Data Protection on without losing any features, so, most people should turn it on, if you can.

        • EFFDigital Privacy Legislation is Civil Rights Legislation

          One unifying thread to this pervasive system is the collection of personal information from marginalized communities, and the subsequent discriminatory use by corporations and government agencies—exacerbating existing structural inequalities across society. Data surveillance is a civil rights problem, and legislation to protect data privacy can help protect civil rights.€ 

          Our phones and other devices process a vast amount of highly sensitive personal information that corporations collect and sell for astonishing profits. This incentivizes online actors to collect as much of our behavioral information as possible. In some circumstances, every mouse click and screen swipe is tracked and then sold to ad tech companies and the data brokers that service them.€ 

          Where mobile apps are used disparately by specific groups, the collection and sharing of personal data can aggravate civil rights problems. For example, a Muslim prayer app (Muslim Pro) sold geolocation data about its users to a company called X-Mode, which in turn provided access to this data to the U.S. military through defense contractors. Although Muslim Pro stopped selling data to X-Mode, the awful truth remains: the widespread collection and sale of this data by many companies makes users vulnerable to discrimination. Yet far too many companies that collect geolocation data can make a quick buck by selling it. And law enforcement and other government agencies are regular buyers.€ 

        • TechdirtFor The First Time In Probably Ever, The FBI Section 702 Abuses Are Trending Downward

          The FBI has never not been abusing its access to Section 702 collections. This collection includes communications, scooped up by the NSA during its so-called “foreign facing” surveillance. The thing about this collection is it also obtains communications from US persons to foreign individuals. The NSA can collect the latter, but not without grabbing the former.

        • TechdirtImportant Things At Twitter Keep Breaking, And Making The Site More Dangerous

          It turns out that if you fire basically all of the competent trust & safety people at your website, you end up with a site that is neither trustworthy, nor safe. We’ve spent months covering ways in which you cannot trust anything from Twitter or Elon Musk, and there have been some indications of real safety problems on the site, but it’s been getting worse lately, with two somewhat terrifying stories that show just how unsafe the site has become, and how risky it is to rely on Twitter for anything.

        • TechdirtEU Commissioner Heading Push For Client-Side Scanning Continues To Say Dumb Stuff In Defense Of Her Terrible Proposal

          There may be an entire commission behind the push to mandate client-side scanning in the European Union, but there’s one truly propulsive force behind it: Commissioner Ylva Johansson, the person in charge of the Home Affairs office.

        • ScheerpostBorder Industry Peddles Robot Dogs and AI Surveillance Amid End of Title 42

          Blocks from a migrant camp in El Paso, execs at the Border Security Expo hawked dystopian tech designed to repress them.

        • Digital Music NewsAmazon Introduces a $40 ‘Echo Pop’ Smart Speaker [Ed: Speaker? It's not a speaker but a microphone. It's a spying device which targets foolish people.]
    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Press GazetteBBC unveils Verify team of 60 journalists it says will be ‘transparency in action’

        BBC News has unveiled BBC Verify, a brand aiming to build audience trust by showing how its journalists know what they are reporting is true.

        The BBC says Verify will be “a team of investigative journalists, a brand and also a physical area in the BBC newsroom in London”.

        BBC News chief executive Deborah Turness first revealed plans for the new team at the Sir Harry Summit in London last week when she said BBC Verify would be a “new brand within our brand” that would “pull back the curtain” on BBC journalists’ work to produce “radical transparency”.

    • Environment

      • The NationA Cleaner World Lies in Nationalized Banking

        On Sunday, March 12, to prevent any chance of a systemic financial crisis, federal banking regulators announced that they would bail out the wealthy techie depositors of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, overriding the normal rules of banking. The next day, the Biden administration violated a campaign promise by approving the Willow Project, one of the largest oil and gas developments on federal land in US history.

      • Energy/Transportation

        • The NationCan America Go Car-Free? Gen Z Hopes So.

          While driving to my family’s house for Christmas, I got into an accident that totaled my car. I’d made this exact trip before, but this time I hit a small patch of frozen slush on the salted road. The accident left me with a severe concussion, along with months of headaches, brain fog, whiplash, and vertigo.

        • DeSmogKenyan Campaigner ‘Locked Out’ Of African Oil And Gas Event In London

          A Kenyan human rights campaigner has voiced her anger at being removed from the list of delegates to an African oil and gas conference in London on the grounds that the event was “sold out” – even as organizers continued to advertise tickets.€ 

          Salome Nduta, Africa coordinator for campaign group OilWatch Africa, said she believed she had been deliberately excluded from this week’s Africa Energies Summit, whose sponsors include Royal Dutch Shell, TotalEnergies, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Eni.€ 

    • Finance

      • Democracy Now“The Budget Farce”: Robert Kuttner on Why Biden Admin Can’t Give In to GOP Demands to Gut Safety Net

        With the United States just two weeks away from a possible default on its debt for the first time ever, President Joe Biden has cut short a trip to Asia to continue negotiations with congressional leaders in Washington over lifting the federal government’s debt ceiling. Republicans are seeking major budget cuts, as well as new work requirements for recipients of Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, but prominent Democrats are pushing the White House to stand firm. For more, we speak with The American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner, who says the debt ceiling deadline and budget negotiations later this year are part of a larger effort by Republicans to shred the social safety net.

      • The NationOnly Republicans Want to Push Us Into Default

        Who wants to enforce the debt ceiling and push the United States into default? Only the Republicans in Congress.

      • Pro PublicaWant to Sell Your Home for Cash? Read This First

        You’ve seen the ads in your neighborhood. They’ve flashed across your television and buzzed your phone to life at odd hours. The slogans and phone numbers might change, but the pitch is the same: “We buy houses for cash.”

        Thousands of real estate investors across the country use a variety of techniques to find potential sellers and plan their next deal.

      • ScheerpostPatrick Lawrence: Farewell to the Welfare State? Not Just Yet.

        Maybe you recall all the post–Cold War talk of a “peace dividend” and maybe you don’t: It depends on when you took up residence on this mortal coil. The term arose as the Soviet Union disintegrated and was commonly mentioned during George H.W. Bush’s presidency, 1989–1993.

      • ScheerpostEllen Brown: Squeezed by the Shorts: Time to Ban Short Selling?

        Short sellers have made a killing in the recent banking crisis, scalping $14.3 billion from bank stock owners just in March of this year.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Digital Music NewsMontana Becomes First U.S. State to Ban TikTok For Its Citizens

        Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R) has signed legislation to ban the Chinese-owned TikTok from operating in the state. It’s the first state to enact a ban encompassing private citizens—and is expected to trigger first amendment legal fights.

      • ScheerpostEight Takeaways From the Durham Report

        Susan Schmidt examines the highlights and lowlights of the new Special Counsel report on Trump-Russia.

      • ScheerpostPatrick Lawrence: The USA’s Soviet-Style President

        We are in for 19 months of relentless, insultingly transparent spin by way of which a patently incompetent man will be purveyed as commander in chief for another four years.

      • Telex (Hungary)Unanswered questions remain for EP Budgetary Control Committee after visit to Hungary

        We had some very positive impressions, but we also saw some shortcomings, Monika Hohlmeier, Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control said, assessing the outcome of their three-day visit to Budapest. She said that their goal was to make sure that EU funds reach the Hungarian people, but this requires a fair and unbiased distribution system.

      • Telex (Hungary)Minister "moderately optimistic" after EP Budgetary Committee visit to Hungary

        The meeting between Tibor Navracsics and the delegation of the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control was a pragmatic one, seeking for mutual understanding, according to Hungarian Minister of Regional Development. During the three-day visit, the delegation was informed on issues related to the protection of the EU budget and the rule of law conditionality mechanism. They also familiarized themselves with the processes and monitoring arrangements for the operation of the recovery fund in Hungary, over and above the "regular" budget, and met with government officials, members of parliament and representatives of NGOs, among others.

      • MeduzaA thaw between Tbilisi and Moscow? How Moscow’s easing of visa and flight restrictions affects relations with Tbilisi — and Russians living in Georgia — Meduza

        On May 10, Vladimir Putin signed a decree canceling Russia’s visa requirements for Georgian citizens and lifting a ban on direct flights from Russia to Georgia. The executive order came into force on May 15. Georgia’s ruling party welcomed the decision. Georgia’s President, Salome Zurabishvili, who represents the opposition and those in Georgia who are against improving ties with Russia, responded with outrage and concern. It’s unclear exactly why Putin lifted the ban on direct flights to Georgia, but many believe the move is part of a coordinated attempt by the Kremlin to prevent Georgia from joining the European Union. Meduza explains whether there has indeed been a thaw in relations between Moscow and Tbilisi and how the new rules affect Russian citizens who moved to Georgia after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

      • The NationAfter 50 Years, What’s Left for Hip Hop to Teach?

        This year is the 50th anniversary of a back-to-school party in the Bronx, where Clive Campbell, a Jamaican American better known as DJ Kool Herc, used two turntables to create a “break beat.” It’s the moment that’s said to have birthed hip hop. Today, some say hip hop is dead, or at least lost some of its collective fighting spirit. Others look at the uprisings against police killings, and the multibillion-dollar global music market as indications of its continuing success. Chuck D is the leader and cofounder of the legendary group Public Enemy, and the author and executive producer of a BBC series airing on PBS, Fight The Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World. Rosa Clemente is an award-winning organizer, journalist, and historian specializing in Afro-Latinx identity and Black and Latinx liberation movements. In 2008, Clemente became the first Afro-Latina to run for vice president of these United States, alongside Cynthia McKinney on the Green Party ticket. After 50 years fighting the power, how is it going, and what does hip hop have to teach?

      • The Nation“America’s Mayor” Is a Certified Creep

        In his 2002 political memoir, Leadership, Rudy Giuliani—then basking in the acclaim of the media consensus-sphere as “America’s mayor”—claimed that his entire ethos in public life was summed up in a two-word slogan mounted on a plaque in his office: “I’m responsible.”

      • Pro PublicaJim Clyburn’s Role in South Carolina Redistricting May Be Examined by Supreme Court

        The Supreme Court said Monday that it will hear oral arguments in a South Carolina redistricting case where the NAACP is challenging the state’s Republican plan as racially motivated.

        The role of the state’s most powerful Democrat, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, is likely to play an important part in the discussions, legal experts said.

      • Pro PublicaTexas Legislature Closes Gun Background Check Loophole

        Texas lawmakers have closed a loophole in state law that allowed people who had serious mental health issues as juveniles to legally purchase firearms.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • EFFDon't Mess With Texas' Anti-SLAPP Law

        Some states’ legislatures, including California and Texas, have taken action to protect everyday peoples’ First Amendment rights by passing anti-SLAPP laws. These laws limit invasive discovery while a judge first determines if a case qualifies as a SLAPP. If it is a SLAPP, it can be thrown out quickly and, depending on the law, the person or company who filed the SLAPP can be made to pay legal fees of the party they sued. Anti-SLAPP laws have proven to be crucial tools in vindicating the rights of everyday people to speak out on issues of public concern.€ 

        Right now, key Texas lawmakers are pushing forward with an unnecessary bill that would make a mess of Texas’ anti-SLAPP law, the Texas Citizens’ Participation Act, or TCPA. The TCPA was already slightly weakened in 2019; EFF opposed those changes too. This time, it’s worse.€ 

        Texas’ anti-SLAPP law helps everyday people who speak out about matters of public concern. The law protects you if you complain about a local restaurant, contractor, or real estate development project, for instance, and then are sued for “defamation” or something even more vague, like having your activism deemed a “RICO conspiracy.” Currently, you can file an anti-SLAPP motion, the case is automatically stayed until a judge decides whether it’s a SLAPP suit or not. If it is, the case gets thrown out, and the SLAPP victim gets their legal fees paid by the other side.€ 

      • Vice Media GroupFree Speech Warrior Elon Musk Weaker on Government Censorship Than the Twitter Execs He Fired

        Twitter bowed to the demands of autocratic Turkish president Recep ErdoÄŸan over the weekend ahead of a contentious and close election in the country. When faced with criticism over the move, outgoing CEO Elon Musk, a self described “free speech absolutist,” claimed the capitulation was meant to keep Ankara from having Twitter “throttled in its entirety.”

      • NetblocksSocial media restricted in Guinea amid political unrest

        NetBlocks metrics confirm the restriction of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms in Guinea-Conakry on Wednesday 17 May 2023. The measure comes as authorities call in the army to assist police in dealing with protests amid political unrest.

      • The Register UKBaidu boss says good luck talking AI to Beijing if you don't understand censorship

        But good luck to any of you hoping to use non-Chinese AI in apps to serve users behind the Great Firewall. Google and Bing – neither of which is accessible in China – can also shelve any plans for an AI-inspired comeback. OpenAI can probably forget China entirely for the forseeable future.

      • MeduzaRussian authorities investigating European University at St. Petersburg for ‘extremism’ — Meduza

        The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the country’s federal education watchdog, Rosobrnadzor, have launched an unscheduled investigation into the European University at St. Petersburg as part of the government’s ongoing “measures to prevent extremism and terrorism,” BBC News Russia reported Wednesday, citing sources from the university and others with links to the school.

      • MeduzaUkraine’s Security Service investigates 6 Kyiv residents who ran webcams showing air defense systems in action — Meduza

        Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) has blocked a number of webcams that recorded the work of air defense systems around Kyiv.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The DissenterICE, Homeland Security Accused Of Targeting Outspoken Migrant Worker For Deportation
      • The NationWhen Racial Justice Meant Universal Social Benefits

        “It is obvious, however, that job discrimination based on racial or religious prejudice is subsidiary to the more pressing issue of full employment. When jobs are plentiful, all kinds of economic discrimination are minimized. When jobs are scarce, and the competition among workers for available openings is sharpened, it is relatively easy to divide employees into convenient groupings provided by the incident of race, color, or religion, and to aggravate the prejudice which leads to an exclusion of minority groups from job opportunities. The basic problem to be solved, therefore, is the problem of full employment.”

      • France24French court upholds three-year sentence for ex-president Sarkozy in wiretapping case

        In March 2021, a court found he and his former lawyer, Thierry Herzog, had formed a "corruption pact" with judge Gilbert Azibert to obtain and share information about a legal investigation.

        The trial came after investigators wiretapped Sarkozy's two official phone lines, and discovered that he also had a third unofficial one taken out in 2014 under the name "Paul Bismuth", through which he communicated with Herzog.

        The contents of these phone calls led to the 2021 corruption verdict.

      • The NationMinnesota Enacts Landmark Protections for Amazon Warehouse Workers

        Yesterday, the Minnesota Senate passed the strongest Amazon warehouse worker protection bill in the nation. The Warehouse Worker Protection Act, Minnesota House Bill HF36 / SF58, makes sure that a company like Amazon cannot come into our communities and disregard the safety of its workers or rob Minnesotans of their health and livelihood.

      • The NationViolence and Injustice
      • TechdirtAs Trial Over Illegal Traffic Stops Begins, Highway Patrol Admits It Doesn’t Track Rights Violations By Troopers

        The ACLU has been helping victims of the Kansas Highway Patrol hold the agency (and its troopers) accountable for their actions. Multiple lawsuits have been filed targeting the “Kansas two-step” performed by troopers. After delivering citations or otherwise making it clear drivers are free to go, the troopers take a step back to the car to start asking exploratory questions or otherwise drag things out until a drug dog arrives.

      • France24Taiwan grants full adoption rights to same-sex couples

        Taiwan's parliament passed an amendment on Tuesday allowing gay couples to jointly adopt children, a move hailed by activists as "another big step forward" for marriage equality.

      • France24Ten years of gay marriage in France: Same-sex couples reflect on a decade of change

        May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.€ This Wednesday also marks exactly 10 years since gay marriage became legal in France. Since then, around 7,000 such marriages have taken place each year in the country. Back in 2013, FRANCE 24's reporters Pauline Godart and Claire Paccalin met several same-sex couples who were bringing up children together in France.€ Ten years later, they caught up with two of these couples to find out how having the right to get married has changed their lives.

      • France24Deutsche Bank to pay $75 million settlement to Epstein victims

        Deutsche Bank will pay $75 million to settle litigation alleging the German lender financially benefited from supporting Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking scheme, according to a report Wednesday.

      • Jacobin MagazineIn Georgia, 1,400 Electric Bus Manufacturing Workers Have Just Won a Union

        Electric vehicle manufacturing in the US is overwhelming nonunion, but 1,400 workers for an electric bus manufacturer in Georgia have just unionized. It’s one of the labor movement’s biggest victories in the South this century.

      • ScheerpostGeoffrey Hinton, AI, and Google’s Ethics Problem

        Talk about the dangers of artificial intelligence, actual or imagined, has become feverish, much of it induced by the growing world of generative chat bots.€  When scrutinising the critics, attention should be paid to their motivations.€  What do they stand to gain from adopting a particular stance?]

      • TechdirtHow About Using AI To Determine Whether Or Not Something Is Creative Enough To Get Copyright Protection

        There’s been a lot of talk lately about the role of AI and copyright, with much of it focused on fretting by various copyright maximalists about how things created by AI need more copyright or how AI systems are violating the copyright of artists, both of which seem to be fairly questionable claims at best.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Creative CommonsKnowledge & Cultural Institutions Defend Net Neutrality in EU

        This sort of approach has long been advanced by incumbent telecom companies, opposed by virtually every other relevant constituency, and rejected repeatedly around the world. It would undermine open Internet access — sometimes called “net neutrality” — and replace today’s well-functioning system of payments with a regulated morass, where consumers will ultimately pay the price. Content and application providers (in particular smaller players) will either be impeded from delivering their traffic at all due to costs, or will pass the costs on to consumers themselves.

      • The Register UKDon't panic. Google offering scary .zip and .mov domains is not the end of the world

        The reason, of course is, that .zip and .mov are both file extensions. So there's concern that a miscreant could employ these TLDs to confuse people by visiting a malicious website rather than opening a file, among other threat scenarios.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Monopolies

      • EFFSaving the News From Big Tech

        Where did the media’s money go? It’s complicated.

        Let’s start with the news outlets themselves. Right around the time that personal computers were finding their way into home offices and kids’ bedrooms, news media underwent an orgy of consolidation, starting with the Reagan administration’s deregulation of the financial markets and, later the Clinton administration’s Telecommunications Act, which stripped away the already weak restrictions on media consolidation.

        As media outlets across the country merged, national chains took over from family proprietors. They raised prices and fired reporters, turning to wire services and chain-wide correspondents for subjects of national interest. They also fired locally focused salespeople, consolidating classified and display ad-sales to national call-centers. They sold off their buildings and presses and logistics networks, leasing them back. These cuts yielded dividends to the chains’ investors, dividends that were augmented by liquidating the papers’ cash reserves and “rainy day” funds.

      • AccessNowWhy shareholders don’t trust Big Tech — and how to fix that

        As we enter the 2023 AGM season, we look at what shareholder proposals for Big Tech companies Amazon, Alphabet, and Meta reveal about the companies’ capacity to mitigate risk and ensure accountability for emerging tech like AI.

      • Copyrights

        • Walled CultureA “blatant no” from a copyright holder stops vital linguistic research work in Africa

          Copyright discussions typically concern texts in just a few languages, and often only in English. In part, that’s because copyright law has evolved most quickly in anglophone countries. But it means that the copyright problems faced by those speaking less well-known languages – particularly languages with limited quantities of textual material available – are completely glossed over.

        • Digital Music NewsEd Sheeran Beats Another ‘Let’s Get It On’ Copyright Suit Involving ‘Thinking Out Loud’

          In explaining the dismissal decision, Judge Stanton emphasized the belief that the “commonplace” components of “Let’s Get It On” at issue are “unprotectable” under stateside copyright law.

          “At some level,” the judge wrote, “every work is the selection and arrangement of unprotectable elements. … That means a songwriter only has finite options for playing a commonplace chord progression. The options are so few that many combinations have themselves become commonplace, especially in popular music.”

        • Torrent FreakJudge Sides With YouTube in Mexican Movie Tycoon’s Piracy Lawsuit

          YouTube has no legal obligation to use its piracy filtering tools to remove pirated videos, Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres concludes in a detailed recommendation. The Judge sides with the video platform on its request for partial summary judgment, noting that copyright infringement claims filed by movie tycoon Carlos Vasallo should be dismissed.

        • Torrent FreakJapan's Pirate Manga Site 'Leak' Isn't a Failure, It's Potential Education

          The popularity of Japanese manga comics fuels rampant online piracy on a massive scale, with some sites generating more traffic than the largest movie piracy platforms. A list of pirate manga sites, accidentally 'leaked' on a government website, was quickly taken down recently after causing excitement on social media. On one hand that's understandable; on the other it might be a missed opportunity.

        • Digital Music NewsUMG, WMG, Sony Music Pondering an AI ‘Takedown Notice’ System, Says New Report [Ed: Just another buzzword incarnation for abusing DMCA with automation]

          A new report finds the Big Three pondering an AI ‘takedown notice’ system under discussion with Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It's like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

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