04.13.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 13/4/2016: Wine 1.8.2, Enlightenment DR 0.21 Alpha

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • What You Need to Know About Upcoming Passport Changes

    Why the sudden uptick? In 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was put into effect, mandating that American citizens entering the U.S. by air from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean carry a passport, triggering a backlog in renewals for millions of applicants – a scenario that could easily occur again. Flash forward to today, and many travelers are also concerned about whether they’ll need to show an alternate form of acceptable identification for domestic flights to comply with the REAL ID Act, which will be put into effect on Jan. 22, 2018, and will impose more stringent ID requirements. And besides the chance to dodge a delayed – or cumbersome – process later on, there’s also the matter of entry requirements imposed by international countries. With a number of places requiring a minimum of six months left on your passport, there’s never been a better time to be passport-ready for smooth, stress-free travel.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Leaving Beta, New Sponsors

      Let’s Encrypt is leaving beta today. We’re also excited to announce that founding sponsors Cisco and Akamai have renewed their Platinum sponsorships with 3-year commitments, Gemalto is joining as our newest Gold sponsor, and HP Enterprise, Fastly, Duda and ReliableSite.net are our newest Silver sponsors.

    • Mozilla-supported Let’s Encrypt goes out of Beta

      In 2014, Mozilla teamed up with Akamai, Cisco, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Identrust, and the University of Michigan to found Let’s Encrypt in order to move the Web towards universal encryption. Today, Let’s Encrypt is leaving beta. We here at Mozilla are very proud of Let’s Encrypt reaching this stage of maturity

      Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated and open Web certificate authority that helps make it easy for any Web site to turn on encryption. Let’s Encrypt uses an open protocol called ACME which is being standardized in the IETF. There are already over 40 independent implementations of ACME. Several web hosting services such as Dreamhost and Automattic, who runs WordPress.com, also use ACME to integrate with Let’s Encrypt and provide security that is on by default.

    • Experts crack nasty ransomware that took crypto-extortion to new heights

      A nasty piece of ransomware that took crypto-extortion to new heights contains a fatal weakness that allows victims to decrypt their data without paying the hefty ransom.

      When it came to light two weeks ago, Petya was notable because it targeted a victim’s entire startup drive by rendering its master boot record inoperable. It accomplished this by encrypting the master boot file and displaying a ransom note. As a result, without the decryption password, the infected computer wouldn’t boot up, and all files on the startup disk were inaccessible. A master boot record is a special type of boot sector at the very beginning of partitioned hard drive, while a master boot file is a file on NTFS volumes that contains the name, size and location of all other files.

    • Open source code is rarely patched when vulnerabilities are found [Ed: propaganda from Microsoft proxies makes it through to other sites]

      Open source code is a convenient and cost-effective way for developers to build apps. However, as CIO noted in a recent article, once that code makes its way into an app, it’s rarely ever updated to fix vulnerabilities that are found later. CIO offered up some tips on how to keep open source products secure.

    • Let’s Encrypt Internet Security Initiative Exits Beta
    • Let’s Encrypt is Leaving Beta, Has New Sponsors

      Lets Encrypt is leaving beta today. Were also excited to announce that founding sponsors Cisco and Akamai have renewed their Platinum sponsorships with 3-year commitments, Gemalto is joining as our newest Gold sponsor, and HP Enterprise, Fastly, Duda and ReliableSite.net are our newest Silver sponsors.

    • Federal News Radio: Robert Silvers Named DHS Cyber Policy Assistant Secretary
    • DHS warns on cyber risks of open source
    • Meet The Cryptoworm, The Future of Ransomware
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Candidates, Here’s Your Iraq/Syria/Libya Mess to Fix

      Candidates, one of you will be the fifth consecutive American president to make war inside Iraq. What will you face on day one of your administration?

      You learned with us recently of the death of a Marine in Iraq, which exposed that the United States set up a fire base in that country, which exposed that the Pentagon used a twist of words to misrepresent the number of personnel in Iraq by as many as 2,000. It appears a second fire base exists, set up on the grounds of one of America’s largest installations from the last Iraq war. Special forces range across the landscape. The Pentagon is planning for even more troops. There can be no more wordplay — America now has boots on the ground in Iraq.

    • Death Squads Are Back in Honduras, Activists Tell Congress

      THREE WEEKS AGO, Honduran activist Gaspar Sanchez spoke at a briefing on Capitol Hill, urging lawmakers to support an impartial investigation into the murder of environmental activist Berta Cáceres.

      Cáceres had mobilized native communities to speak out against the Agua Zarca Dam, a hydroelectric project backed by European and Chinese corporations, before being killed by two unknown gunmen last month.

      Last week, back in Honduras at a protest outside the Honduran Public Ministry in Tegulcigalpa, Sanchez unfurled a banner demanding justice for Cáceres’s murder.

    • The 28 Pages

      On Sunday, President Obama said this about about Hillary’s email scandal: “There’s classified & then there’s classified.”

      Perhaps that’s what has led him to decide, after 15 years, the 28 pages on the Saudis’ role in 9/11 can finally be released (or at least reviewed for declassification; given the way the 60 Minutes script ignored evidence about Bandar bin Sultan, I suspect they’ll still protect him).

    • Trial of Saddam Hussein was victor’s justice’ – Ex-tribunal judge to RT

      The former chief judge that presided over Saddam Hussein’s trial told RT in an exclusive interview how the tribunal, which was dependent on the US, lacking in legitimacy, and overshadowed by the killing of lawyers, sentenced the Iraqi strongman to death.

    • ‘Yats’ Is No Longer the Guy

      The New York Times did mention the call but misled its readers regarding its timing, making it appear as if the call followed rather than preceded the coup. That way the call sounded like two American officials routinely appraising Ukraine’s future leaders, not plotting to oust one government and install another.

    • “EU or bust?” is the wrong question for Ukraine

      On 6 April in the Netherlands, just over 30% of potential voters took part in a referendum on the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement. This was one of numerous Free Trade Area Agreements established between the EU and countries all around the world, from Mexico to Mozambique. Less than two years ago, president Petro Poroshenko signed this agreement, and since that time has been partially implemented. It was ratified by all the EU-member states and, for the most part, garnered no political response from the public, with the exception of the Netherlands. Here, a liberal-right political initiative, GeenPeil, launched a collection of signatures calling for a referendum on ratification of the Agreement.

    • How an Iran War Was Averted

      A decade ago, the Bush administration was eager to bomb Iran but U.S. intelligence analysts challenged the casus belli by finding that Iran was not building a nuclear bomb, recalls ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Military Keynsianism, American Exceptionalism, and Trump

      This sphere of influence Empire, on top of being horrible for the rest of the world, is also sucking the US dry internally.

    • Bernie Sanders Did Confuse Numbers of Dead and Wounded in Gaza War, but Israel’s Mass Killing of Civilians Is a Fact

      In an opinion piece for the News on Friday, Yair Lapid, who was a member of the governing coalition’s security cabinet at the time of the Gaza offensive, then accused Sanders of helping Hamas by bolstering the Islamist militant group’s “narrative that it is the real victim.” Lapid also asserted, without offering any evidence for the claim, that “the Israeli government found most of those killed in the operation were terrorists.”

    • Has the movement to prevent gun violence hit a tipping point?

      Ladd Everitt, of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, agrees that support for gun control has reached unprecedented levels. “People are finally demanding a change,” he said, citing multiple new initiatives like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Americans for Responsible Solutions as evidence of this burgeoning engagement. Many of these groups focus on local anti-violence measures — such as the “Groceries Not Guns” campaign calling for a ban on open carry in Kroger supermarkets. “Moms head to the grocery store on a weekly, sometimes daily basis — often with kids in tow,” reads the campaign mission statement. “We don’t expect to face armed strangers when we shop with our families.”

    • DOJ Places David Barron’s Anwar Awlaki Memos on the “Not Selected for Publication”

      Particularly given the timing, I’m wondering whether any change in DOJ’s views about these memos would affect American citizens overseas, such as Liban Haji Mohamed, a Somali American who was put on the Most Wanted List last year, then detained (never to publicly have shown up in an American court) on March 2, 2015. Unlike Anwar al-Awlaki, Mohamed (who is the brother of Gulet Mohamed, who has had a whole different set of problems with the government) has actually been indicted.

    • Anti-Islam Activists To Hold Armed Rally In Atlanta, Shred Copy Of The Quran

      A group of armed, right-wing activists are planning a non-permitted anti-Islam rally in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend, where organizers say they will shred a Quran alongside pictures of president Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other politicians.

    • Inside Erik Prince’s Treacherous Drive to Build a Private Air Force

      One of the mechanics soon recognized Echo Papa from news photos — he was Erik Prince, founder of the private security firm Blackwater. Several of the Airborne staff whispered among themselves, astonished that they had been working for America’s best-known mercenary. The secrecy and strange modification requests of the past four months began to make sense. In addition to surveillance and laser-targeting equipment, Airborne had outfitted the plane with bulletproof cockpit windows, an armored engine block, anti-explosive mesh for the fuel tank, and specialized wiring that could control rockets and bombs. The company also installed pods for mounting two high-powered 23 mm machine guns. By this point, the engineers and mechanics were concerned that they had broken several Austrian laws but were advised that everything would be fine as long as they all kept the secret.

      [...]

      The story of how Prince secretly plotted to transform the two aircraft for his arsenal of mercenary services is based on interviews with nearly a dozen people who have worked with Prince over the years, including current and former business partners, as well as internal documents, memos, and emails. Over a two-year period, Prince exploited front companies and cutouts, hidden corporate ownership, a meeting with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout’s weapons supplier, and at least one civil war in an effort to manufacture and ultimately sell his customized armed counterinsurgency aircraft. If he succeeded, Prince would possess two prototypes that would lay the foundation for a low-cost, high-powered air force capable of generating healthy profits while fulfilling his dream of privatized warfare.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Is the U.S Intelligence Chief Serious About Fixing Overclassification? Time Will Tell

      EFF has long been critical of overbroad government secrecy, which has been used to cover up everything from illegal activities to questionable legal justifications for mass surveillance.

      Given that government officials default to withholding important details from the public regarding national security, we were pleasantly surprised to read a memo that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sent to intelligence agencies last month.

      Clapper’s memo directs the heads of several intelligence agencies, including the NSA and CIA, to substantially overhaul the government’s formal classification system as part of a process known as the Fundamental Classification Guidance Review.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Clinton Foundation Called On to Cut Ties with Fossil Fuels Sector

      Citing big-dollar donations from three fossil fuel giants—Chevron, Conoco Philips, and Exxon—a leading climate justice group is calling on the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative to stop investing in or accepting money from the industry that’s driving the global climate crisis.

    • ‘Why Is It That the Safety of Those Coal Miners’ Lives Does Not Matter Enough?’

      Janine Jackson: Twenty-nine men died April 5, 2010, in an explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia. The mine was run by Massey Energy, and Massey Energy was run by Don Blankenship. A looming figure in the region whose tight control over his workplace was notorious, Blankenship racked up profits and political capital along with safety violations, while saying cartoon-villainous things like, “I don’t care what people think; at the end of the day, Don Blankenship is going to die with more money than he needs.”

    • Fracking Is Now Banned In This Maryland County

      Prince George’s County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., voted Tuesday to ban fracking, the controversial oil and gas extraction method that has helped spur a natural gas boom across the country.

      “We really are with this vote taking a lead in his state and in the nation,” Councilmember Mary Lehman said at the hearing. “I could not be more proud of this county.”

    • Greenland sees record-smashing early ice sheet melt

      Scientists ‘incredulous’ at abnormally high numbers for April, with melting across nearly 12% of ice sheet

  • Finance

    • Shoe Company New Balance Says US Gov’t Basically Offered It A Bribe To Support TPP

      We’ve mostly focused on the impact of the TPP and trade deals on the internet (and also on national sovereignty), because that’s the kind of stuff that interests us most around here. We’ve spent a lot less time looking at the more traditional free trade arguments, in part because that’s not nearly as controversial, and in part because — despite claims to the contrary — there really aren’t that many tariff-related barriers that make a big difference any more. It’s generally good to reduce such tariffs, and in response you see the typical response from firms based on whether or not they benefit from those reduced tariffs. The “benefits” of free trade tend to be focused on the companies looking to expand into those markets where tariffs are being lowered or abandoned — and not so much for companies competing against products from those same countries. Frankly, I find arguments that the companies who freak out about trade deals because it will mean more competition against them a bit tiresome, because I tend to believe competition is a good thing for innovation. We’ve mostly focused on the impact of the TPP and trade deals on the internet (and also on national sovereignty), because that’s the kind of stuff that interests us most around here. We’ve spent a lot less time looking at the more traditional free trade arguments, in part because that’s not nearly as controversial, and in part because — despite claims to the contrary — there really aren’t that many tariff-related barriers that make a big difference any more. It’s generally good to reduce such tariffs, and in response you see the typical response from firms based on whether or not they benefit from those reduced tariffs. The “benefits” of free trade tend to be focused on the companies looking to expand into those markets where tariffs are being lowered or abandoned — and not so much for companies competing against products from those same countries. Frankly, I find arguments that the companies who freak out about trade deals because it will mean more competition against them a bit tiresome, because I tend to believe competition is a good thing for innovation.

    • Trans-Atlantic & Trans-Pacific “Partnerships” Complete Corporate World Takeover

      As I have emphasized since these “partnerships” were first announced, their purpose is to give corporations immunity from the laws in the countries in which they do business. The principle mechanism of this immunity is the granting of the right to corporations to sue governments and agencies of governments that have laws or regulations that impinge on corporate profits. For example, France’s prohibitions of GMO foods are, under the “partnerships,” “restraints on trade that impinge on corporate profits.

    • Goldman Sachs: Just 5 Billion dollar Fine Compared to 13 Billion Dollar Taxpayer Bailout

      The ultimate irony is that the 5 billion dollar fine is dwarfed by the 13 billion dollar taxpayer bailout they received after the banks’ immoral antics caused massive economic collapse. So the net result of their appalling behaviour has been that they collect not only the profit from those bets the system would collapse, but an eight billion dollar net payment from ordinary taxpayers thrown in. Which eight billion dollars has been just a contribution to the bonuses and partner remuneration which have continued to bulge in their over-stuffed pockets since 2008, uninterrupted by the crash, thanks to the generosity of poor taxpayers struggling to balance their personal budgets.

    • New Balance accuses Pentagon of reneging on sneaker deal

      New Balance is renewing its opposition to the far-reaching Pacific Rim trade deal, saying the Obama administration reneged on a promise to give the sneaker maker a fair shot at military business if it stopped bad-mouthing the agreement.

      After several years of resistance to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact aimed at making it easier to conduct trade among the United States and 11 other countries, the Boston company had gone quiet last year. New Balance officials say one big reason is that they were told the Department of Defense would give them serious consideration for a contract to outfit recruits with athletic shoes.

      But no order has been placed, and New Balance officials say the Pentagon is intentionally delaying any purchase.

    • Bernie does have a plan to break up the big banks. That’s why the establishment is so rattled

      The recent kerfluffle about Bernie Sanders purportedly not knowing how to bust up the big banks says far more about the threat Sanders poses to the Democratic establishment and its Wall Street wing than it does about the candidate himself.

      Of course Sanders knows how to bust up the big banks. He’s already introduced legislation to do just that. And even without new legislation a president has the power under the Dodd-Frank reform act to initiate such a breakup.

      But Sanders threatens the Democratic establishment and Wall Street, not least because he’s intent on doing exactly what he says he’ll do: breaking up the biggest banks.

    • EU’s TTIP position: regulations to be made for and by big business

      The free trade agreement being negotiated between the EU and the US will affect how laws are made in the European Union, to the benefit of corporations and at the expense of our health, our environment, and our rights. Despite growing concerns among the European public, the new EU proposal on regulatory cooperation in TTIP does nothing, not even little, to address the upcoming democratic threats.

    • Think Medicine is Expensive Now? Public Health Groups Warn of TPP’s Gifts to Big Pharma

      Doctors Without Borders and more than fifty other organizations sent a letter calling on lawmakers to reject the pending trade pact

    • The Pay Gap Is Costing Women $500 Billion Per Year

      In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, a law meant to close the wage gap between working men and women. But more than 50 years later, women on average earn just 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. And according to a new report by the National Partnership for Women and Families that was released before National Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, the persistent wage gap means women lose a combined $500 billion every year.

    • Trump’s clash with Las Vegas union highlights his unpredictability

      Ever since the vote, Donald Trump’s managers have fought unionization every step of the way. They filed 15 objections with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging intimidation and forgery by union officials. After the claims were either withdrawn by Trump or dismissed by the labor board, the unions were officially certified as bargaining agents last month.

      But the Trump Organization still refused to negotiate, and last week, at the last possible moment, the hotel filed for a review of the case with the labor board in Washington, further putting off contract talks.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • “This system is so rigged”: Outrage as undemocratic superdelegate system gives Clinton unfair edge over Sanders

      “Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists,” the DNC chair calmly explained, in a moment of shockingly blunt honesty.

    • Clintons May Not Win the Prize. “Bernie Sanders Could become the Next President”

      Sanders has brought on the unthinkable—instead of seeing her as locking up the Democratic Party nomination on Super Thursday in March, Clinton’s camp had begun to project April—following the April 19 New York primary, which she had hoped to win in double digits.

      Now, that strategy has become doubtful in the backwash from the collapse of the Clintons’ “go nuclear” attack last week. The attack failed with Sanders labeling her “unqualified”; Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver saying Hillary had made a “deal with the devil” vis-à-vis her megabuck donors; Black-Lives-Matter co-creator Alicia Garza telling the Clintons, “My back is tired of being the path to the White House”; and the amazing coincidence of Sanders’ Vatican invitation.

    • Cable News Devotes 30 Seconds to Mass Arrests Protesting Political Corruption

      THE DEMOCRACY SPRING, a protest movement calling on Congress to “end the corruption of big money in our politics” and “ensure free and fair elections,” converged on Capitol Hill on Monday, staging a nonviolent sit-in that resulted in over 400 arrests — a massive number by Washington sit-in standards.

    • The Whittingdale file: a plea for better journalism

      It’s a mystery as to why the national newspapers chose not to expose a juicy story about the UK culture secretary. But claiming that his policies were ‘influenced’ by the ‘suppression’ of the story is pure conjecture.

    • Restrictive Rules Leave New York Voters Shut Out of Pivotal Primary

      Registration deadlines in New York passed months ago—but many voters, particularly those who support Bernie Sanders, say they didn’t know

    • Sanders Annoys Democratic Establishment

      The Democratic establishment is growing impatient with Bernie Sanders who continues to delay the party’s long-planned coronation of Hillary Clinton, a vexation expressed by Paul Krugman and criticized by Rick Sterling.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Game Studio’s Plan To Deal With Critic Of Games: Sue Him To Hell

      There are lots of dumb ways for companies to combat online critics. You can simply claim copyright over the criticism as a way to try to silence it, although that tends to end poorly for the silencer thanks to public backlash. You can go to the court to ask for an injunction against the critic as a way to try to silence it, although that tends to end poorly for the silencer thanks to the Streisand Effect. Or you can ask the courts to test whether the criticism amounts to defamation, although, again, The Streisand Effect, the public backlash, and the fact that those types of suits are rarely successful.

    • Germany Could Charge Comic for Insulting Turkey’s President

      Americans wondering what life might be like in the near future — after a President Donald Trump acts on his promise to “open up our libels laws,” so that politicians with easily bruised egos can sue reporters or commentators for hurting their feelings — should pay attention to what is happening this week in Germany.

    • Tax Prep Company Tries To Sue Unhappy Customer Into Silence; Hit With Damages In Anti-SLAPP Order

      An anti-SLAPP win has just been handed down in Nevada, one of the few states with a strong anti-SLAPP law. At the center of the failed defamation lawsuit is (you guessed it) a negative review of a business posted at Yelp.

    • Censorship at Edinburgh University ‘out of control’, says student

      A student at the University of Edinburgh has claimed that on-campus censorship at the institution is “out of control.”

      Writing for online magazine spiked, first-year Charlie Peters’ comments have come amid the ongoing debate that the stifling of free speech at universities – particularly among students’ union – is becoming “an epidemic.”

      The student described how, upon starting at the Russell Group institution last September, he realised he was “foolish” to have thought university was meant to encourage unfettered debate.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • CIA’s Venture Capital Arm Is Funding Skin Care Products That Collect DNA [Ed: essential reading]

      Though the public-facing side of the company touts a range of skin care products, Skincential Sciences developed a patented technology that removes a thin outer layer of the skin, revealing unique biomarkers that can be used for a variety of diagnostic tests, including DNA collection.

    • The Obama Administration Almost Doubled Down on Yoo’s Illegality

      I’m not sure I’m convinced. After all, the Administration claims it is not examining the contents of all international letters, but rather only looking at those where selected identifiers show up in data packets. Yeah, I know it’s a bullshit argument, but they pretend that’s not searching the contents, really. Moreover we have substantial reason to believe they were doing (some) of this anyway.

      But there is a curious relationship between a claim Yoo made in his letter and the Obama Administration’s views on FISA.

    • MP calls for limit on UK surveillance powers as EU test case opens

      The British government is “treating the entire nation as suspects” by ignoring safeguards on retaining and accessing personal communications data, according to the Conservative MP David Davis.

      Speaking before the opening of a test case at the European court of justice (ECJ), the former home affairs spokesman called for improved protections to prevent state abuses through bulk interception of private emails and online exchanges.

    • NSA expert recites the basics of malware[Ed: stenography for NSA]

      You’ve probably heard your mattress gets heavier and heavier each year from the feces of dust mites that eat the dead skin you leave behind. Still, you go to bed every night. What choice have you got?

    • Princess Elizabeth Way from GCHQ to Kingsditch to be resurfaced, motorists warned of delays [Ed: cost of espionage]
    • NE students hear about NSA job prospects [Ed: reputation laundering/recruitment]
    • NSA appoints first transparency officer [Ed: reputation laundering]

      The National Security Agency has appointed its first transparency officer — three years after leaks made by former contractor Edward Snowden exposed the agency’s surveillance programs and led to calls for increased public disclosures.

    • Why Doesn’t The Anti-Encryption Bill List Any Penalties?

      We’ve already written a bit about the technologically ignorant bill from Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein that basically outlaws any encryption system that doesn’t include backdoors for law enforcement. However, there are still some points in the bill that have left some folks scratching their heads. In particular, the lack of any penalty at all has some commenters wondering what the bill actually does. The bill both says that it doesn’t “require or prohibit any specific design or operating system,” but at the same time does require that anyone offering or supporting any kind of encryption be able to pass along unencrypted versions of the communication to law enforcement when presented with a legitimate court order or warrant (so not just a warrant…). As Orin Kerr noted, the bill mandates assistance, rather than using the more typical requirement of “reasonable” assistance.

    • Obama Administration’s Expansion Of Domestic Spying Powers Dwarfs The ‘Good Old Days’ Of Bush And John Yoo

      I guess the real accomplishment of “The Most Transparent Administration” is how much it exposed Americans to domestic surveillance. I suppose that’s its own form of “transparency.”

      Just Security’s Patrick Toomey notes that this administration has embraced legal theories wilder and more expansive than those presented by John Yoo on behalf of the Bush administration. Yoo, despite his willingness to treat the collection of communications like a DUI checkpoint for terrorism, had his limits. This administration, however, has seen those limits and lowered them.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Prosecutor Disciplined For Using Fake Facebook Profile To Meddle In Murder Case

      An assistant county prosecutor assigned to a murder case decided he could crack the case by pretending to be the jilted lover of one of the suspects. The attorney, Aaron Brockler, made several questionable moves on his way to being fired and having his license to practice law suspended by the Supreme Court of Ohio. (h/t Courthouse News)

    • Two Smooth Faces of Evil

      It is put to me frequently that people like McDonald, who were merely implementing a policy of torture, are not evil.

    • CIA Officers Didn’t Carry Out Waterboarding

      A lot of people are pointing to John Brennan’s assurances that CIA won’t ever torture again as if it means anything (usually ignoring Brennan’s motivation from institutional preservation, not efficacy or morality or legality).

    • Death by Gentrification in SF Part 2 with Rebecca Solnit & Adriana Camarena

      We are on the road in San Francisco, as we continue our conversation about the 2014 police killing of Alex Nieto and a slew of other police killings—Mario Woods, Amilcar Pérez-López and now Luis Gongora. Three of four of these killings happened in San Francisco’s rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, the Mission District and Bernal Heights. We speak about the link between these police killings and gentrification in San Francisco, with author Rebecca Solnit and community organizer Adriana Camarena.

    • Here’s Why Capitol Cops Arrested a Bunch of Senior Citizens Today

      The day after more than 400 people were arrested on Capitol Hill, US Capitol Police on Tuesday arrested 85 mostly elderly activists who were blocking the south entrance of the Capitol. They were all participating in “Democracy Spring,” a weeklong series of rallies and marches on the Capitol aimed at bringing attention to the control of money over politics in Congress and what organizers say are unfair voting laws.

    • Bombings in Turkey – a blip on your newsfeed?

      One particular post that garnered a great deal of attention and support was written by a British expat living in Turkey. He described the outrage he felt at the seemingly total apathy expressed by the international community. In his post, he eloquently outlined the hypocrisy of those who “were” Charlie Hebdo, and who changed their profile pictures to the French flag when Paris was hit with simultaneous, horrific attacks earlier this year, yet were nowhere to be seen when we needed support. He perfectly exemplified the outrage, frustration, and humiliation experienced here in reaction to this internet version of a callous shrug. And in his statement, he supposed that perhaps the reason for the lack of western empathy in particular was because the west sees Turkey as being part of the Middle East, a categorisation he is quick to dismiss. We are not the Middle East, we are Europe, and therefore it is an outrage that we are being treated as though violence is normal or permissible here.

    • The Origins of Totalitarianism: Conclusion

      The point of this series was to examine the conditions which led to the rise of Fascism in the 1930s to see if there are useful insights that might guide our understanding of conditions in the US today. In introduction to this series, I suggested several points of convergence, and over the last three months I have tried to flesh out those ideas.

      [...]

      Neoliberalism is also an excuse for hating immigrants and Muslims, who are coming here to take the jobs of deserving people, so it actually works to deflect the anger of the first group of scapegoats, at least for those who take the bait.

      [...]

      As I reread the posts in this series, I realized how angry I am about the way politics operates here. I am repulsed by the elites who act as if there were no alternative. I am nauseated by liberal wonks whose views of what is possible are claustrophobic. They are the descendants of the liberals who told me and my generation that nothing could be done about the murderous war in Viet Nam. I cannot stomach the conservative elites. They are the scum who think their mission on earth is to undo the New Deal; the direct spawn of the John Birchers and the McCarthyites and the rest of the fear-mongers. They are the wreckers.

      Polanyi says that when a social structure imposes too much stress on too many people it has to change. We don’t know how many disaffected people there are In the US, but it is clear that there is an enormous number, in both parties and among the unaffiliated, and that change will come. The US has always prided itself on its openness to change. We believe that everything will work out for the best, because we are the exceptional people, the City on the Hill. We assume that change will be for the best. Arendt points out the sickening reality: some changes are deadly.

    • After 11 Suicide Attempts In Just One Day, Canadian Community Declares State of Emergency

      Since September, the small community of 2,000 has seen 101 attempted suicides. That’s around 5 percent of the population.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • As ISPs Push Harder On Usage Caps, House Pushes Bill Preventing The FCC From Doing Anything About It

      In recent weeks, we’ve noted how ISPs are now moving beyond broadband usage caps and overage fees, and have begun charging users a $30-$35 premium if they want to avoid usage caps entirely. While the industry often dresses this up as everything from “improved flexibility and choice” to something necessary for the sake of fairness, it is, quite simply, an aggressive rate hike on uncompetitive markets. Users are being socked with dramatic new limits and fees — simply because most have no real competitors to flee to.

  • DRM

    • Save Comcast!

      The W3C’s Encrypted Media Extensions system is specifically designed to prevent anyone from making use of copyrighted works without permission, even if those uses are allowed by law. With EME, companies get to decide which software can access the videos they send out, and what features that software is allowed to have.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Member States Seek Details Of UN Investigation On Alleged Misconduct

      A longstanding inquiry about alleged misconduct at the top of the World Intellectual Property Organization may be moving toward resolution one way or the other.

    • Trademarks

      • Brewer Threatens Restaurant For Using The Word ‘Hofbrau’

        Hofbrau Steak House and American Grille has been serving up German food in Northern Michigan for over six decades. Staatliches Hofbrauhaus has been brewing beer and operating eateries since the late eighteen-hundreds. Yet it was only recently that the brewer sent letters to Hofbrau demanding it change its name, claiming that it had a trademark on “hofbrau.”

      • EU design cases looking up

        2015 was a year of definite improvement over 2014 for design decisions from the Court of Justice and the General Court in Luxembourg. David Stone explains, however, that progress still needs to be made to provide certainty for designers and practitioners

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA Says YouTube is Running a DMCA Protection Racket

        In the latest broadside in the content takedown debate, RIAA chief Cary Sherman has suggested that Google-owned YouTube is short-changing the labels by operating a DMCA-protected protection racket. Unsurprisingly Google sees things quite differently, noting that the tools already exist to take down unauthorized content on a permanent basis.

      • Lucasfilm Threatens And Threatens Non-Profit Over Lightsaber Battle Event

        While we’ve certainly seen a fair share of ridiculous intellectual property protectionism stemming from the Star Wars Franchise, including overreaches like trying to silence people from photographing legally purchased toys and keeping breweries from making beer-themed puns, one area where Lucasfilm was generally pretty good on was fan participation, at least before the acquisition of the Star Wars rights by Disney. This included fan-fiction and films, gatherings, and role-playing events. That’s what makes it so strange to see Lucasfilm decide to bully a non-profit group for daring to put together a “lightsaber battle” event.

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DecorWhat Else is New


  1. [Meme] IBM Has Paid ZDNet to Troll the Community

    Over the past few weeks ZDNet has constantly published courses with the word "master" in their headlines (we caught several examples; a few are shown above); years ago this was common, also in relation to IBM itself; clearly IBM thinks that the word is racially sensitive and offensive only when it's not IBM using the word and nowadays IBM pays ZDNet — sometimes proxying through the Linux Foundation — to relay this self-contradictory message whose objective is to shame programmers, Free software communities etc. (through guilt they can leverage more power and resort to projection tactics, sometimes outright slander which distracts)



  2. [Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

    The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?



  3. Links 22/10/2021: Trump's AGPL Violations and Chrome 95 Released

    Links for the day



  4. [Meme] How Corporate Monopolies Demonise Critics of Their Technically and Legally Problematic 'Products'

    When the technical substance of some criticism stands (defensible based upon evidence), and is increasingly difficult to refute based on facts, make up some fictional issue — a straw man argument — and then respond to that phony issue based on no facts at all



  5. Links 22/10/2021: Global Encryption Day

    Links for the day



  6. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

    Language inside the EPO is misleading. Francophones Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos casually misuse the word “social”.



  7. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

    Just as Benoît Battistelli had a profound misunderstanding of the concept of “social democracy” his mate seems to completely misunderstand what a “social gesture” is (should have asked his father)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 21, 2021



  9. Links 21/10/2021: MX Linux 21 and Git Contributors’ Summit in a Nutshell

    Links for the day



  10. [Meme] [Teaser] Miguel de Icaza on CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Our ongoing series, which is very long, will shed much-needed light on GitHub and its goals (the dark side is a lot darker than people care to realise)



  11. Gemini Protocol and Gemini Space Are Not a Niche; for Techrights, Gemini Means Half a Million Page Requests a Month

    Techrights on gemini:// has become very big and we’ll soon regenerate all the pages (about 37,500 of them) to improve clarity, consistency, and general integrity



  12. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses



  13. [Meme] Don't Mention 'Brexit' to Team UPC

    It seems perfectly clear that UPC cannot start, contrary to what the EPO‘s António Campinos told the Council last week (lying, as usual) and what the EPO insinuates in Twitter; in fact, a legal challenge to this should be almost trivial



  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

    How unlawful EPO rules were unsurprisingly supported by Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in Baltic states; António Campinos maintained those same unlawful rules and Baltic connections, in effect liaising with offices known for their corruption (convicted officials, too; they did not have diplomatic immunity, unlike Battistelli and Campinos)



  15. Links 21/10/2021: GIMP 2.99.8 Released, Hardware Shortages, Mozilla Crisis

    Links for the day



  16. How Oppressive Governments and Web Monopolists Might Try to Discourage Adoption of Internet Protocols Like Gemini

    Popular movements and even some courageous publications have long been subverted by demonisation tactics, splits along unrelated grounds (such as controversial politics) and — failing that — technical sabotage and censorship; one must familiarise oneself with commonly-recurring themes of social control by altercation



  17. [Meme] Strike Triangulations, Reception Issues

    Financial strangulations for Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations”? The EPO will come to regret 2013…



  18. [Meme] Is Saying “No!” to Unlawful Proposals Considered “Impolite”?

    A ‘toxic mix’ of enablers and cowards (who won’t vote negatively on EPO proposals which they know to be unlawful) can serve to show that the EPO isn’t a “social democracy” as Benoît Battistelli liked to call it; it’s just a dictatorship, currently run by the son of a person who actually fought dictatorship



  19. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 20, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 20, 2021



  20. [Meme] EPO Legal Sophistry and Double Dipping

    An imaginary EPO intercept of Administrative Council discussions in June 2013...



  21. Links 21/10/2021: PostgreSQL JDBC 42.3.0 and Maui Report

    Links for the day



  22. [Meme] [Teaser] “Judge a Person Both by His Friends and Enemies”

    Fervent supporters of Team Battistelli or Team Campinos (a dark EPO era) are showing their allegiances; WIPO and EPO have abused staff similarly over the past decade or so



  23. 'Cluster-Voting' in the European Patent Office/Organisation (When a Country With 1.9 Million Citizens Has the Same Voting Power as a Country With 83.1 Million Citizens)

    Today we examine who has been running the Finnish patent office and has moreover voted in the EPO during the ballot on unlawful "Strike Regulations"; they voted in favour of manifestly illegal rules and for 8.5 years after that (including last Wednesday) they continued to back a shady regime which undermines the EPO's mission statement



  24. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVIII: Helsinki's Accord

    The Finnish outpost has long been strategic to the EPO because it can help control the vote of four or more nations; evidence suggests this has not changed



  25. [Meme] Living as a Human Resource, Working for Despots

    The EPO has become a truly awful place/employer to work for; salary is 2,000 euros for some (despite workplace stress, sometimes relocation to a foreign country)



  26. Links 20/10/2021: New Redcore Linux and Hospital Adoption of GNU Health

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 19, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 19, 2021



  28. Links 19/10/2021: Karanbir Singh Leaves CentOS Board, GPL Violations at Vizio

    Links for the day



  29. [Meme] Giving the Knee

    The 'knee' champion Kratochvìl and 'kneel' champion Erlingsdóttir are simply crushing the law; they’re ignoring the trouble of EPO staff and abuses of the Office, facilitated by the Council itself (i.e. facilitated by themselves)



  30. Josef Kratochvìl Rewarded Again for Covering Up EPO Corruption and the EPO Bribes the Press for Lies Whilst Also Lying About Its Colossal Privacy Violations

    Corrupt officials and officials who actively enable the crimes still control the Office and also the body which was supposed to oversee it; it's pretty evident and clear judging by this week's press statements at the EPO's official Web site


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