10.09.16

Links 9/10/2016: Wine 1.8.5, KDE Frameworks 5.27, GDB 7.12

Posted in News Roundup at 2:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The legacy of Pieter Hintjens

    When I watched Chad Fowler’s GOTO Amsterdam 2014 Keynote it got me thinking about what our aims should be in life.

    He mentions Joel Spolsky’s post from 2001: Good Software Takes Ten Years. Get Used To It, and says software typically only lasts five years so rarely gets to be very good.

    He asks, what does it take create legacy software with a positive meaning, that is software so good that you are fondly remembered for it for many years to come.

    How many very famous developers, or ex-developers are there in the world. You may disagree, but I would argue that Bill Gates is the only living person with worldwide fame partly associated with writing code.

    Only big company CEOs have any chance of becoming a household name. Even Sir Tim Berners Lee has only about half as many Twitter followers as Grumpy Cat.

  • AT&T Will Launch ECOMP Into Open Source in 2017

    A top AT&T executive said the company will launch its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management, and Policy (ECOMP) platform into open source by the first quarter of 2017. And the Linux Foundation will be the host of the open source project.

    In a blog post, Chris Rice, SVP of AT&T Labs Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design, said that after the company developed ECOMP, it received a tremendous amount of feedback from service providers and virtual network function (VNF) providers that wanted more details about the platform. He also said the companies wanted AT&T to publicly state that it was going to open source the project.

  • What to Expect from OSCON London 2016

    It’s autumn/fall technology conference season… but you already knew that, so what’s coming next? O’Reilly’s OSCON event is just around the corner and the conference itself has seen the launch of many new projects from OpenOffice.org to OpenStack.

  • 8 Years Later: Saeed Malekpour Is Still In An Iranian Prison Simply For Writing Open Source Software

    We talk a great deal on Techdirt about the importance of free speech alongside the importance of not damning technological tools for the way third parties choose to use them. These matters can delve into minutiae in the American and Western forms of this conversation, with discussions about Section 230 protections and the like. But in other parts of the world, the conversation is much different.

    Back in 2008 in Iran, for instance, the government there elected to imprison a Canadian resident of Iranian lineage, initially under a death sentence, but later commuting that sentence to mere life imprisonment. His crime? Saeed Malekpour created some open source code for sharing photos on the internet that others within Iran used for pornography.

  • Why Implanted Medical Devices Should Have Open Source Code

    As medical implants become more common, sophisticated and versatile, understanding the code that runs them is vital. A pacemaker or insulin-releasing implant can be lifesaving, but they are also vulnerable not just to malicious attacks, but also to faulty code. For commercial reasons, companies have been reluctant to open up their code to researchers. But with lives at stake, we need to be allowed to take a peek under the hood.

    Over the past few years several researchers have revealed lethal vulnerabilities in the code that runs some medical implants. The late Barnaby Jack, for example, showed that pacemakers could be “hacked” to deliver lethal electric shocks. Jay Radcliffe demonstrated a way of wirelessly making an implanted insulin pump deliver a lethal dose of insulin.

    But “bugs” in the code are also an issue. Researcher Marie Moe recently discovered this first-hand, when her Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) unexpectedly went into “safe mode”. This caused her heart rate to drop by half, with drastic consequences.

    It took months for Moe to figure out what went wrong with her implant, and this was made harder because the code running in the ICD was proprietary, or closed-source. The reason? Reverse-engineering closed-source code is a crime under various laws, including the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998. It is a violation of copyright, theft of intellectual property, and may be an infringement of patent law.

  • Google releases open-source Cartographer 3D mapping library

    Google has released open-sourced Cartographer, a real-time simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) library in 2D and 3D with ROS (Robot Operating System) support. This technology which works with the open source ROS can be used by developers for many things, such as robots, drones and self-driving cars.

  • LinuxCon

    • Open Source Jobs Report Highlights European Trends
    • Google Open Sources Two Far Reaching New Tools
    • Hyperledger chain gang man explains Penguins’ blockchain play

      Jim Zemlin raises an eyebrow when I say Hyperledger is rather outside Linux Foundation’s usual domain, being a bit, er, consumery.

      “It’s totally enterprise,” the Foundation’s executive director tells me. “It’s infrastructure.” Just like Linux, he reckons. Hyperledger is the layer above the operating system, above Linux.

      Linux is the Linux Foundation’s oldest and hardest of hard-core projects – a technology fundamental that drives economies.

    • Why J.P. Morgan Chase Is Building a Blockchain on Ethereum

      J.P. Morgan Chase is developing a blockchain, commonly referred to as a public ledger, atop a crypto-network called Ethereum.

      The system, dubbed “Quorum,” is designed to toe the line between private and public in the realm of shuffling derivatives and payments. The idea is to satisfy regulators who need seamless access to financial goings-on, while protecting the privacy of parties that don’t wish to reveal their identities nor the details of their transactions to the general public.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Marrying Apache Spark and R for Next-Gen Data Science

      Recently, we caught up with Kavitha Mariappan, who is Vice President of Marketing at Databricks, for a guest post on open source tools and data science. In this arena, she took special note of The R Project (“R”), which is a popular open source language and runtime environment for advanced analytics. She also highlighted Apache Spark and its distributed in-memory data processing, which is fueling next-generation data science.

      Now, R users can leverage the popular dplyr package to sift and work with Apache Spark data. Via the sparklyr package, a dplyr interface for Spark, users can filter and aggregate Spark datasets then bring them into R for analysis and visualization, according to an RStudio blog post.

    • OpenStack Newton Debuts With Improved Container Features

      The latest release of widely deployed open-source cloud platform improves security, virtualization and networking.
      The open-source OpenStack project released OpenStack Newton on Oct. 6, providing the second major milestone update for the cloud platform in 2016.

      OpenStack Newton follows the Mitaka release, which debuted in April with a focus on simplifying cloud operations. In contrast, OpenStack Newton provides a long list of incremental updates and improvements, including improved security, container support and networking capabilities.

    • OpenStack’s latest release focuses on scalability and resilience

      OpenStack, the massive open source project that helps enterprises run the equivalent of AWS in their own data centers, is launching the 14th major version of its software today. Newton, as this new version is called, shows how OpenStack has matured over the last few years. The focus this time is on making some of the core OpenStack services more scalable and resilient. In addition, though, the update also includes a couple of major new features. The project now better supports containers and bare metal servers, for example.

      In total, more than 2,500 developers and users contributed to Newton. That gives you a pretty good sense of the scale of this project, which includes support for core data center services like compute, storage and networking, but also a wide range of smaller projects.

    • OpenStack Newton, the 14th Official Release, Arrives

      The OpenStack community today released Newton, and it’s hard to believe that this is the 14th version of the most widely deployed open source software for building clouds. “New features in the Ironic bare metal provisioning service, Magnum container orchestration cluster manager, and Kuryr container networking project more seamlessly integrate containers, virtual and physical infrastructure under one control plane,” the announcement notes. “These new capabilities address more use cases for organizations with heterogeneous environments, who are looking for speed and better developer experience with new technologies like containers, alongside workloads that require virtual machines or higher availability architectures.”

      Here is more on what’s under the hood and how this new version embraces virtualization and containers.

      The 14th release improves the user experience for container cluster management and networking, and the Newton release addresses scalability and resiliency. These capabilities will be demonstrated at the upcoming OpenStack Summit, happening October 25-28, in Barcelona Spain.

      “The OpenStack community is focused on making clouds work better for users. This is clearly evident in the Newton release, which tackles users’ biggest needs, giving cloud operators and app developers greater security, resiliency and choice,” said Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation. “The new features and enhancements in Newton underscore the power of OpenStack: it handles more workloads in more ways across more industries worldwide. OpenStack is a cloud platform that ties everything together—compute, network, storage, and innovative cloud technologies.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Reverse lookups in GNS

      DNS allows to resolve the name of an IP address. This is sometimes called “reverse lookup”. In fact, it is actually “normal” resolution of a PTR record. The name of such a record would be, for example, 4.4.8.8.in-addr.arpa. The .arpa TLD is managed by IANA.

      This blogpost is meant to spread ideas that have been exchanged via private email and might be interesting for a broader audience. If you feel like you have useful comments, don’t hesitate to do so.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • GDB 7.12 released!

      Release 7.12 of GDB, the GNU Debugger, is now available via anonymous FTP. GDB is a source-level debugger for Ada, C, C++, Objective-C, Pascal and many other languages. GDB can target (i.e., debug programs running on) more than a dozen different processor architectures, and GDB itself can run on most popular GNU/Linux, Unix and Microsoft Windows variants.

    • GDB 7.12 Released With Rust Debugging, Python Enhancements

      GDB 7.12 is now available as the latest feature release of the GNU Debugger.

      Arguably most exciting about GDB 7.12 is that it now supports debugging programs written in Rust! But if Rust support doesn’t excite you, there is also some Fortran support improvements and various Python language enhancements.

    • Should Math be a Prerequisite for Programming?

      In her LinuxCon Europe talk, “The Set of Programmers: How Math Restricts Us,” Carol Smith, Education Partnership Manager at GitHub, got us thinking about how math requirements impact our ability to bring more people into the field of computer programming.

      Carol kicked off her talk with a story about how she traveled to New Zealand with two friends, Boris and Natasha (not their real names), and learned that Boris has agoraphobia, which causes him extreme anxiety in open spaces. New Zealand, as it turns out, is full of wide open spaces. During one hike, Boris really struggled with crossing the long bridge across a gully. The more he told himself he could do it, the harder it was. He felt like he should be able to do this and felt like he was the only person who couldn’t do it. A lot of people get this feeling when they try to do math. They feel like everyone else can do math, and the more they think this, the more they feel like they are the only person who can’t do math.

    • Rust and Automake

      Yes it is. But it is also limited to build the Rust crate. It does one thing, very well, and easily.

      Although I’m writing a GNOME application and this needs more than building the code. So I decided I need to wrap the build process into automake.

      Let’s start with Autoconf for Rust Project. This post is a great introduction to solving the problem and give an actual example on doing it even though the author just uses autoconf. I need automake too, but this is a good start.

    • The most important coding languages for IoT developers

      We have seen a changing of the guard in the past few years as software takes center stage and once-beloved hardware simply becomes a canvas for developers. The ability to code is an important skill for the production of any modern technology, especially a product that falls within the “internet of things.” If IoT developers are to create the next big thing in tech, they will need to know the most important and popular IoT coding languages. Here is a list of top coding languages providing the backbone of IoT software:

    • French programmers haul Apple into court over developer rules

      Nexedi, an open source software company based in France, has filed a lawsuit against Apple in Paris alleging that Apple’s App Store contract is unfair.

      In a blog post, founder and CEO Jean-Paul Smets and UI designer Sven Franck said that the company has undertaken the lawsuit to force Apple to improve its support for the latest web technology in iOS.

      Smets and Franck point to technical shortcomings in mobile Safari such as lack of support for HTML5 service workers, webRTC, and WebM – web technologies necessary for running applications like the OfficeJS spreadsheet and Hubl.in online conferencing.

    • Why we are suing Apple for better HTML5 support in iOS?

      The primary reason for starting this lawsuit is because we hope that it will help Apple to sooner support the latest Web and HTML5 standards on its iOS platform – the operating system used by all iPhones.

      Anyone running html5test (http://html5test.com/) on his iPhone will find out that current iOS support of HTML5 Web technologies is lagging behind other platforms.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Skype issues fixed, iTWire editor gets back account

    On Thursday evening, Beer found himself locked out of his Skype account and had to chase Microsoft support for help.

    His emails finally made their way to Microsoft’s Global Escalation Services.

    On Friday evening, he was told that there were multiple users who were having trouble signing into their Skype accounts. “I believe we may be experiencing a bit of an outage,” the escalation supervisor wrote.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Friday
    • surveillance, whistleblowing, and security engineering

      Imagine for a moment that you are a security engineer who discovers a backdoor that your company execs have been trying to hide from your team. Would you quit on ethical grounds or stay so that you can prevent this from happening again? I don’t think there is one right answer. Personally I am grateful both for those who left and blew the whistle, and for those who stayed to protect Yahoo’s 800 million users.

      Part of the job function of security engineers and pen testers is being ready for the moment you encounter something that you think should be disclosed but your company wants to keep secret. Think about what you would be willing to lose. Be prepared to escalate internally. Know the terms of your NDA and your exit agreement; try your best to honor them. Most of all, keep pushing for end-to-end encryption.

    • Digital Vigilantes Want to Shame DDoS Attackers And Their Corporate Enablers

      Hacker attacks that try to take down websites with a flood of bogus traffic, technically known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, have become a daily occurrence on the internet. The rise of DDoS has created a cottage industry of companies dedicated to mitigating the attacks, and, on the flip side, professional DDoS-for-hire services and gangs.

      Now, a group of security researchers wants to name and shame not only the hackers responsible for such crippling attacks, but also the internet providers and traffic carriers that enable them by turning a blind eye to their actions, with a project called SpoofIT.

    • Russia Drafting Law to Favor Open Source

      I wrote the original cyber-vulnerability letter to the White House in 1994, and instead of acting responsibly, the US Government allowed NSA — with the active complicty of US communicaitons and computing provider CEOs — to compromise all US offerings. Not only are the communications and computing devices and related consulting compromised, but so are larger offerings (e.g. Boeing aircraft, which come with a computer system pre-configured for US Government remote control take-over — Lufthansa is reported to have discovered this and at great expense removed all US computers from every aircraft). NOTE: I am quite certain about both of the above indictments, but only a proper European Commission investigation can satisfy the public interest; I believe that the same problems infect C4I systems from China, France, Israel, and Russia, and I do not believe most people are aware that the electrical system is now easily used to enter computers that are nominally disconnected from the Internet.

    • Systemd vulnerability crashes Linux systems

      A new vulnerability has been discovered that could shut down most Linux systems using a command short enough to fit in a tweet.

    • Routers, IP Cameras/Phones & IoT Devices can be Security Risks even with the Latest Firmware, and a Strong Admin Password

      I’ve just read an interesting article entitled “who makes the IoT things under attack“, explaining that devices connected to the Internet such as router, IP cameras, IP Phones, etc.. may be used by Botnet to launch DDoS attacks, and they do so using the default username and password. So you may think once you’ve updated the firmware when available, and changes the default admin/admin in the user interface, you’d be relatively safe. You’d be wrong, because the malware mentioned in the article, Mirai, uses Telnet or SSH trying a bunch of default username and password.

      That made me curious, so I scanned the ports on my TP-Link wireless router and ZTE ZXHN F600W fiber-to-the-home GPON modem pictured below, and installed by my Internet provider, the biggest in the country I live, so there may be hundred of thousands or millions of such modems in the country with the same default settings.

    • US Gov’t Officially Accuses Russia Of Hacking… Question Is What Happens Next

      As I noted just the other day, cybersecurity should be a defensive game. Going offensive is really, really dangerous, because things will get worse, and we really don’t know what the capabilities of the other side(s) truly are. Focus on protecting critical infrastructure, not on some meaingless symbolic strike back.

      But, of course, in this day and age, people seem to feel that every action requires some sort of reaction, and in a computer security realm, that’s just stupid. But it seems to be where we’re inevitably heading. The cybersecurity firms will get wonderfully rich off of this. But almost everyone will be less safe as a result.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Attack on mourners in Yemen kills more than 140, say local health officials

      Saudi-led warplanes struck a funeral at a community hall in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, the country’s Houthi-run administration said on Saturday, but the coalition denied any role in the attack. More than 140 mourners were killed, according to local health officials cited by the United Nations, in an attack that prompted a strong rebuke from Washington, a key Saudi ally.

      Jamie McGoldrick, a UN official in charge of humanitarian efforts in the country, said more than 525 were injured.

      The death toll was 82, according to Ghazi Ismail, the administration’s acting health minister. The reason for the discrepancy in numbers was not immediately clear.

    • Russia warns it will shoot down alliance jets over Syria if US launches air strikes against Assad

      Russian forces could shoot down coalition jets if the United States launches airstrikes against pro-government forces in Syria, the Russian ministry of defence has said.

      American officials have reportedly discussed using limited airstrikes to force Bashar al-Assad’s government to halt its assault on Aleppo and return the negotiating table after a ceasefire collapsed last month.

      In Moscow’s starkest warning yet against Western intervention in the war, Russia’s chief military spokesman said that any airstrikes on government-held territory in Syria would be considered a “clear threat” to Russian servicemen.

    • Why We Should Close America’s Overseas Military Bases

      Despite our unorthodox presidential election, America’s overseas military bases are largely taken for granted in today’s foreign policy debates. The U.S. maintains a veritable empire of military bases throughout the world—about 800 of them in more than 70 countries. Many view our bases as a symbol of our status as the dominant world power. But America’s forward-deployed military posture incurs substantial costs and disadvantages, exposing the U.S. to vulnerabilities and unintended consequences.

      Our overseas bases simply do not pay enough dividends when it comes to core national interests. Here are seven reasons why it’s time to close them.

    • A Blatant Neo-Con Lie

      It is a plain lie that Russia was responsible for the leak of the Democratic National Committee emails to WikiLeaks. It is quite extraordinary that the Obama administration formally adopted the accusation yesterday.

      The US motivation is apparently to attempt to discredit in advance the further Hillary material that WikiLeaks plans to release in the coming month. The official statement that the leak was “consistent with the methods and motivation of Russian directed efforts” is carefully written by the NSA and, when you analyse it, extremely weak. What it says is “there is no evidence whatsoever but this is the sort of thing we think the Russians do”. As it happens, I have direct knowledge that there could not have been any evidence as it was not the Russians.

    • Washington Leads The World To War

      What must the world think watching the US presidential campaign? Over time US political campaigns have become more unreal and less related to voters’ concerns, but the current one is so unreal as to be absurd.

      The offshoring of American jobs by global corporations and the deregulation of the US financial system have resulted in American economic failure. One might think that this would be an issue in a presidential campaign.

      The neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony is driving the US and its vassals into conflict with Russia and China. The risks of nuclear war are higher than at any previous time in history. One might think that this also would be an issue in a presidential campaign.

      Instead, the issues are Trump’s legal use of tax laws and his non-hostile attitude toward President Putin of Russia.

    • The Headless UK European Movement

      What Freedland does not understand is that it was hatred of his political bubble chums which caused Brexit in the first place. The official Remain campaign director was Jack Straw’s son Will. Peter Mandelson was Vice-President. The top-down campaign was devoid of popular enthusiasm with an almost total lack of popular engagement and community events. It continually paraded figures like Blair, Cameron, Osborne, Straw, Clegg, Kinnock and others, which gave ordinary people a chance to give those they rightly despise a political kick in the pants by voting against their will. Brexit has been caused by a justified hatred of the UK political class.

      That those who caused the disaster see themselves as the answer to it is laughable. I remain hopeful that the English in particular will recover from the wave of jingoism which appears to have swept over them like a plague. But resistance must be organic and arise from the people themselves. I hope to see the emergence of a new, untainted and dynamic generation of young activists. My generation have bequeathed a terrible legacy.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Podesta Emails; Part One

      In April 2015 the New York Times published a story about a company called “Uranium One” which was sold to Russian government-controlled interests, giving Russia effective control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for the production of nuclear weapons, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of US government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off the deal was the State Department, then headed by Secretary Clinton. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) comprises, among others, the secretaries of the Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce and Energy.

      [...]

      What the Clinton campaign spokesman failed to disclose, however, was the fact that a few days before sending his rebuttal to the New York Times, Jose Fernandez wrote on the evening of the 17 April 2015 to John Podesta following a phone call from Mr Podesta (Email ID 2053): “John, It was good to talk to you this afternoon, and I appreciate your taking the time to call. As I mentioned, I would like to do all I can to support Secretary Clinton, and would welcome your advice and help in steering me to the right persons in the campaign”.

      Five days after this email (22 April 2015), Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon wrote a memo to the New York Times, declaring that “Jose Fernandez has personally attested that ‘Secretary Clinton never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter’,” but Fallon failed to mention that Fernandez was hardly a neutral witness in this case, considering that he had agreed with John Podesta to play a role in the Clinton campaign.

      The emails show that the contacts between John Podesta and Jose Fernandez go back to the time of internal Clinton campaign concern about the then-forthcoming book and movie “Clinton Cash” by Peter Schweizer on the financial dealings of the Clinton Foundation.

    • Wikileaks founder Assange reveals his next target: Google

      Assange, the notorious founder of Wikileaks, detailed plans to unleash a fresh batch of leaked documents each week until the November 7 presidential election. The first of these leaks was due yesterday, but instead of documents intended to derail the Clinton campaign, we got a plug of Assange’s book and an echo of previous statements that the leaks would come once a week between now and the election.

      The documents are said to expose Clinton, the military, the oil industry, and Google.

      Seriously. Google.

      Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and its current chairman seems to be the lynchpin in Assange’s new master plan. In an excerpt from his 2014 book ‘When Google Met Wikileaks,’ Assange accuses Schmidt of having ties to the State Department when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and working closely with her campaign.

    • WikiLeaks Releases Alleged Clinton Wall Street Speeches In Batch Of Campaign Emails

      The controversial whistleblower organization WikiLeaks on Friday released emails that they say are linked to Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

      While much of the new batch of hacked emails are benign newsletters and shared articles, one note in particular has gotten attention for offering a glimpse into Hillary Clinton’s paid Wall Street speeches. The email depicts Clinton acknowledging the security issues with using her BlackBerry and suggests that she considers herself a political moderate. It also alleges that she dreams of “open trade and open borders,” among other topics.

      But some of the most intriguing excerpts come when Clinton is addressing issues of Wall Street while actually on Wall Street. In the hacked email, the Democratic presidential nominee discusses the “rigged system,” and the causes of and solutions to the financial crisis in an unguarded tone, framing large banks and investment firms as partners rather than problems.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Solar panels surpass coal-fired electricity in previously ‘unthinkable’ feat

      Solar panels generated more electricity than coal in the past six months in a historic year for getting energy from the sun in the UK, according to a new analysis.

      Research by the Carbon Brief website found that solar generated nearly 7,000 gigawatt hours of electricity between April and September, about 10 per cent more than the 6,300GwH produced by coal during the same period.

      The figures represent a dramatic turnaround in the UK’s electricity supplies.

      The first ever day when solar produced more than coal was only on 9 April – when there was no coal-fired electricity for the first time since 1882. But then May became the first ever month when this happened.

    • Hurricane Matthew: In Haiti the death toll stands at 877 but the US media does not seem to care

      Four minutes before 10am on Friday morning, Reuters provided an update on the death toll in Haiti. At a minimum, the news agency said, 572 people had lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

      At almost precisely the same time, CNN was broadcasting live footage of the storm as it passed northwest along the coast of Florida, from where more than two million people had fled. The winds were strong, the waves powerful and there was genuine concern about the potentially deadly impact of the storm surge.

      But at that moment, the number of US fatalities as a result of the category four storm was zero. The Haitian death toll barely made a mention in the network’s rolling coverage.

    • After Hurricane Matthew, Haiti Faces Crisis and Media Instantly Forgets

      Hurricane Matthew’s devastation in Haiti has left the nation facing a humanitarian crisis as corporate media shifts its focus to the storm’s encroachment onto U.S. shores.

      As the brief U.S. news coverage of Haiti dissipates, aid groups on the ground are still struggling to reach the most impacted regions, while residents grapple with flooding, mudslides, and a shortage of shelters. The storm’s 145 mile-per-hour winds also took down a bridge, tore the roofs off of houses, and damaged at least one hospital and clinic.

      Matthew killed at least 11 people in the Caribbean on Tuesday, with five of those in Haiti, including a 26-year-old man who was attempting to rescue a child from a rushing river, according to the Weather Channel. However, civil protection officials warned that the death toll is hard to calculate due to the extensive damage.

      “It’s the worst hurricane that I’ve seen during my life,” one official, Fidele Nicolas of Nippes, told the Associated Press. “It destroyed schools, roads, other structures.”

      Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of the Civil Protection Agency, also said Tuesday, “It’s much too early to know how bad things are but we do know there are a lot of houses that have been destroyed or damaged in the south.”

    • Hawaiian Deep Coral Reefs Reveal Unique Species

      NOAA-supported scientists working in the Hawaiian Archipelago have characterized the most extensive deep coral reefs on record. They found several large areas with 100 percent coral cover and concluded that deep coral reefs have twice as many species that are unique to Hawaii than their shallow-water counterparts.

  • Finance

    • LSE foreign academics told they will not be asked to advise UK on Brexit

      Leading foreign academics from the LSE acting as expert advisers to the UK government were told they would not be asked to contribute to government work and analysis on Brexit because they are not British nationals.

      The news was met with outrage by many academics, while legal experts questioned whether it could be legal under anti-discrimination laws and senior politicians criticised it as bewildering.

      “It is utterly baffling that the government is turning down expert, independent advice on Brexit simply because someone is from another country,” said Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ EU spokesman.

      “This is yet more evidence of the Conservatives’ alarming embrace of petty chauvinism over rational policymaking.”

      Sara Hagemann, an assistant professor at the London School of Economics who specialises in EU policymaking processes, EU treaty matters, the role of national parliaments and the consequences of EU enlargements, said she had been told her services would not be required.

    • Leaked documents reveal the EU’s desperation on Canada trade deal

      In an attempt to keep the EU-Canada trade deal CETA on track, the European Commission has drawn up a declaration aimed at reassuring those worried by the implications of the deal. A five page document was leaked last night and has been scrutinised by lawyers and trade experts.

      Guy Taylor, the trade campaigner for Global Justice Now said

      “These leaked documents prove just how much trouble this toxic trade deal is in. They show a panicky commission in Brussels issuing a series of defensive declarations, organising extraordinary meetings of ministers, and staying in a permanent state of crisis to try and legitimise a trade deal that is deeply unpopular and deeply undemocratic.

    • I’m being stripped of my citizenship – along with 65 million others

      Britons are EU citizens too. What’s missing from the practical arguments about Brexit is the recognition that a solemn social contract is being destroyed

      [...]

      Theresa May values “the spirit of citizenship”. I know because she said so in her speech at the Conservative party conference. She waxed lyrical about an ethos “that means you respect the bonds and obligations that make our society work. That means a commitment to the men and women who live around you.”

      Forgive me if I choke on my rich tea biscuit, Theresa. I have a citizenship that I am proud of, that links me to a wider community, that guarantees me rights and freedoms, and it’s being revoked against my will.

    • The Poisoned Chalice: From Eurozone to Dead Zone

      James Galbraith’s articles and interviews collected in his book Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice trace his growing exasperation at the “troika” – the European Central Bank (ECB), IMF and EU bureaucracy – which refused to loosen their demand that Greece impoverish its economy to a degree worse than the Great Depression. The fight against Greece was, in a nutshell, a rejection of parliamentary democracy after the incoming Syriza coalition of left-wing parties won election in January 2015 on a platform of resisting austerity and privatization.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Excerpts of Hillary Clinton’s Paid Speeches to Goldman Sachs Finally Leaked

      Excerpts of Hillary Clinton’s remarks during paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, and other groups were leaked online Friday afternoon by WikiLeaks. Clinton, who was paid upwards of $225,000 per speech, earned more than $22 million on the paid speaking circuit after resigning as secretary of state.

      The excerpts are revealed in an email from Tony Carrk, the research director of the Clinton campaign, to John Podesta, the campaign chairman, and other top campaign officials. Carrk, who did not respond to a request for comment, highlighted in the memo the most politically damaging quotes from each paid speech, under headers including “CLINTON ADMITS SHE IS OUT OF TOUCH,” “CLINTON SAYS YOU NEED TO HAVE A PRIVATE AND PUBLIC POSITION ON POLICY,” and “CLINTON REMARKS ARE PRO KEYSTONE AND PRO TRADE.”

      The wealth Clinton accumulated was a topic at the paid events.

      Discussing middle class economic anxieties, Clinton told a crowd at a Goldman Sachs-sponsored speech that she is now “kind of far removed because the life I’ve lived and the economic, you know, fortunes that my husband and I now enjoy, but I haven’t forgotten it.”

      But the discussions were also an opportunity for Clinton to speak candidly about policy, politics, and her approach to governing.

    • US government: Russia behind hacking campaign to disrupt US elections

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security today jointly charged that the Russian government was responsible for directing a series of intrusions into the networks of US political organizations and state election boards. In a “joint security statement,” officials from the two agencies declared they were “confident” that the government of President Vladimir Putin was behind the hacks and the publication of data obtained from them—some of it doctored—specifically to impact the results of the upcoming US elections.

    • U.S. Publicly Blames Russia for Hacking to Disrupt Elections

      The U.S. said publicly for the first time that intelligence agencies are “confident that the Russian government directed” the hacking of American political groups and leaked stolen material in order to interfere with the Nov. 8 election.

      “These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process,” the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security said in a joint statement on Friday. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

      While intelligence officials had previously said privately that they blamed Russia for the attacks, Friday’s announcement puts pressure on President Barack Obama’s administration to respond even as relations with Moscow rapidly deteriorate over everything from Syria and Ukraine to nuclear cooperation.

    • US intel officially blames the Russian government for hacking DNC

      In an official statement today, the Director of National Intelligence and Department of Homeland Security officially blamed Russia for stealing and publishing archived emails from the Democratic National Committee this summer.

      “The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the statement reads. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

    • Top GOP strategist shreds Trump: ‘He is not fit to be called a man’

      Republican strategist Ana Navarro delivered a passionate rebuke of Donald Trump during an appearance on CNN Friday night.

      Reacting to sexually aggressive comments about women the GOP nominee made in a leaked tape from 2005, Navarro said it was high time for the Republican party to call him out.

      “How many times does he get away with saying something misogynistic before we call him a misogynist?” she asked. “How many times does he get away with saying something sexist before we acknowledge that he is a sexist? It is time to condemn the man.”

      The former Jeb Bush supporter and John McCain adviser called Trump a “pig” and said his comments were “vile.”

    • Trump’s Tape Scandal: The Latest Updates

      With only 31 days to go until Election Day, a growing number of elected Republicans are demanding Donald Trump, their party’s nominee for president, step down.

    • The Crucial Campaign Day Most TV Journalists Won’t Tell You About

      States With an October 11 Voter Registration Deadline Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah Territories: American Samoa, District of ColumbiaNext to November 8, the most significant day in the electoral calendar this cycle may be October 11. That’s the deadline for voter registration in 16 states and territories, representing some two-fifths of the US population. The list includes seven of the top 10 states in terms of electoral votes, and several of the most hotly contested campaign battlegrounds, including Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

      In the 2012 election, some 66 million eligible voters, or 30 percent of the total, were unable to vote due to lack of registration. Unregistered voters account for the bulk of the US’s comparatively low voter turnout, as 90 percent of citizens who register typically go on to vote. Compared with registered voters, those who don’t register are more likely to be young, lower-income and people of color.

      Despite this—or perhaps because of this—corporate media have done little to alert the public about the upcoming deadline, or about voter registration in general. A search of Nexis transcripts from the three major broadcast news outlets—ABC, CBS and NBC—turned up no stories on any news show talking about registration deadlines over the past month. (These networks do have information about voter registration deadlines on their websites—but people looking online for information about the deadlines are people who don’t need to be informed that there are deadlines.) Considering the way shows like Meet the Press and This Week and Face the Nation are obsessed with the minutiae of campaign strategy, the failure to discuss the critical factor of the voter registration timeline seems like a major gap.

    • A Government is Seizing Control of Our Election Process, and It Is Not the Russians

      Here’s how:

      — Two days before the second presidential debate, the government of the United States officially accused Russia of a hacking campaign aimed at interfering in the U.S. election. In a joint statement, absent any specifics or technical details, the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence stated “the recent [hacked email] disclosures… are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts… based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

      — The statement goes on to detail how only Democratic servers were attacked, meaning the American government is claiming that Russia is trying to throw the election to Donald Trump, plain and simple. It is left unsaid why the Russians would risk cyberwar with the United States to do this, as many have suggested Trump is a neocon in spirit whose loose finger will be on the nuclear button from day one. Clinton is much more of a political realist, comfortable with the business-as-usual of the past eight years that has gone in Russia’s favor in the Ukraine and Syria. She in fact seems like the stable known known, always a preference.

      — Though the first “Russian” hacks were reported in July, it is only 48 hours before the second presidential debate that the statement was released. It could easily have been held until Monday, there is no national security urgency for this to come out Friday. However, with the timing, Trump, essentially tied with Clinton in the polls, will now spend much of the debate defending himself. Since the statement includes no details, only accusations, it is hard to see how anyone could defend themselves. It would be near-impossible for Trump to come out ahead Sunday night; this is a near-coup.

      — Despite the certainty with which the U.S. government has accused Russia of trying to influence the election by hacking into secured email servers, the FBI maintains there is no evidence the Russians or anyone else accessed Clinton unsecured, unencrypted email server laden with actual classified materials, including during Clinton’s first trip to Moscow when she sent and received encrypted email over the Internet and WiFi.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Youtube grilled on censorship of Christian movie

      For some 11 months, the makers of the new movie “I’m Not Ashamed” about the young girl who was the first victim of the Columbine killers in Colorado in 1999 were unable to promote their movie through Youtube.

      The trailer was taken down late in 2015, and the movie’s entire channel then was suspended.

      It’s back now, with the movie opening on Oct. 21, but the makers still want to know why the Internet company took the damaging action.

    • Tom DeFrank explains past student media censorship, rivalry with Rudder

      Standing in Rudder Tower, the building named after his former rival, award-winning journalist and Aggie Tom DeFrank told the story of The Battalion’s censorship from Texas A&M administration during his time as an editor exactly 50 years ago on the birthday of the university.

      DeFrank is currently a contributing editor for the National Journal and was the White House correspondent for Newsweek. DeFrank has covered every president since President Lyndon B. Johnson, and has written a book on President Ford titled “When I’m Gone.”

      DeFrank was the speaker during the latest Aggie Agora session, a seminar and speaker series meant to educate students and community members willing to come. DeFrank’s speech focused on his time at The Battalion dealing with his advisor, Jim Lindsey, and James Earl Rudder, the 16th president of Texas A&M University, for articles depicting the university in a non-flattering light. The events eventually led to DeFrank being fired from The Battalion.

    • ‘Racist’ Gandhi statue banished from Ghana university campus

      A statue of Mahatma Gandhi will be removed from a university campus in Ghana after professors launched a petition claiming the revered Indian independence leader and thinker was racist.

      The statue of Gandhi was unveiled in June at the University of Ghana campus in Accra by Pranab Mukherjee, the president of India, as a symbol of close ties between the two countries.

    • Amazon forced to remove ‘disgusting’ costumes which turn traditional Muslim robes into skimpy party dress

      It could be bought for just under £20 and was described as a “sexy Saudi burka Islamic costume” with “a lovely soft stretch material”.

      Amazon users outraged by the product branded the online store as “disgusting racists”.

      One person said: “You’re all disgusting racists. My culture is not your costume.”

      While another commented: “A person’s culture is NOT a fancy dress costume,” and one more added: “Is this some sort of mockery to the religion.”

    • Digital Homicide Drops Its Lawsuit Against Steam Users, Says It’s Shutting Down Completely

      While we’ll try to keep the grave-dancing at a minimum, it wasn’t difficult to see this coming. Game publisher Digital Homicide has something of a history of lashing out against any negative reviews it might receive, of which there are many. Whether it is more high profile targets like well-followed YouTube game reviewers, or merely lowly Steam customers that offered reviews of Digital Homicide games, the company has taken to simply suing everyone for all the things as its reaction. It seemed easy to recognize that this was not a winning business strategy in general, but when Steam reacted to the latest attempts at litigation by simply dropping all Digital Homicide games from its store, things clearly became dire for the company.

      And now the story comes to a close with a conclusion pretty much everyone saw coming: Digital Homicide has filed a motion to dismiss its lawsuit against those Steam customers, declaring the company to be financially ruined and unable to move forward with the litigation.

    • Digital Homicide Drops $18 Million Lawsuit Against Steam Users, Says Their Company’s Been ‘Destroyed’

      A couple weeks ago, notorious developer of crappy Steam games Digital Homicide made waves by suing 100 anonymous Steam users, who they deemed a “hate and harassment group,” for $18 million. Now, however, the suit’s been dismissed.

      In a motion to dismiss filed last week, Digital Homicide said that their business had been “destroyed,” rendering them unable to continue pursuing the suit. On Friday, it was approved.

    • Protesters at Zuckerberg House Allege Censorship

      Waving a large Palestinian flag and holding signs reading “Stop censoring our movement,” some 15 protesters gathered outside of Mark Zuckerberg’s San Francisco house on Friday to protest Facebook’s temporary suspension of social media accounts that belong to Palestinian journalists.

      Nick Pardee, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, which put the protest together said the suspension of Palestinian accounts showed a pro-Israel bias. Accounts in Israel, including those of government officials, are not removed despite inciting violence against Palestine, he said.

      “These people are genocidal, and Mark Zuckerberg has no interest in censoring them,” he said.

    • ‘Unprofessional!’ Ben Affleck PR Team Accused Of ‘Censorship’ During Interviews

      Ben Affleck may have sat down for a slew of in-depth interviews promoting his new film The Accountant this week, but chances are you won’t get to see them in full.

    • Newton Emerson: Move to ban ‘Sun’ in North hypocritical

      Derry City and Strabane District Council has asked newsagents to stop selling the Sun to show “solidarity” with the families of the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster, which was gratuitously misreported by the Tory tabloid. The council also backed a Liverpool-based campaign for all shops to boycott the newspaper.

      The request was proposed by Independent councillor Paul Gallagher, who has previously stood for the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), the political wing of the INLA. His motion received unanimous backing from Sinn Féin, the largest party on the council, and the SDLP. All the unionists abstained, apart from one who voted against.

    • Art censorship concerns in South Korea affect film industry at Asia’s largest festival

      The disappointment is echoed by others in the audience as many are still unsure where the festival stands with its ongoing controversy over artistic freedom.

      Still, most are staying hopeful the festival will return to its former glory, back to normal again.

      For the past two years, Asia’s premier film festival has been in a fierce battle with the Busan metropolitan Government over its decision to screen a documentary that the Busan city mayor and former BIFF chairman adamantly opposed.

      The contentious film, The Diving Bell, criticized the South Korean Government’s rescue efforts in the aftermath of the Sewol Ferry disaster, which took the lives of more than 300, most of whom were high school students.

    • ‘Objectionable content’: SC tells govt to stop harassing film director

      The Supreme Court urged on Friday the federal government to stop harassing the director of feature film ‘Maalik’ and submit a report on objectionable content in the movie.

      Meanwhile, the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) admitted before the court that the ban on ‘Maalik’ had been imposed without investigating complainants.

      The court observed that there was nothing objectionable in the film under Section 9 of the Motion Pictures Ordinance, 1979.

      The two-judge bench, comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Qazi Faez Isa, is hearing the federal government’s appeal against the Sindh High Court judgment.

    • Justice Qazi blasts CBC chairman over censorship of movie ‘Maalik’
    • Banned Books Week celebrated the freedom to read
    • Censorship is alive and well in 2016: Banned Books Week, Sept. 25 is Oct. 1, is a celebration of intellectual freedom
    • To stage or not to stage: Theatre censorship in India
    • Play censorship: HC asks govt to file affidavit on Palekar’s
    • Maharashtra firm on censoring plays, scripts
    • Maharashtra government to pre-censor plays, scripts and drama
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Why Snowden the Movie Matters

      I’ve reviewed Oliver Stone’s movie Snowden elsewhere, and it’s well worth seeing just as a movie. But of course the issues brought up by Snowden the man, and Snowden the movie, are more complex than fit into two hours.

    • NYT Declares Snowden a Thief–and Journalism a Crime

      The article goes on to say, “The information believed to have been stolen by Mr. Martin appears to be different in nature from Mr. Snowden’s theft, which included documents that described the depth and breadth of the NSA’s surveillance.”

      The problem with all this talk about the “theft” and “stealing” of secrets is that while Snowden, one of the most prominent whistleblowers of the modern era, has indeed been charged by the federal government with theft—along with two violations of the Espionage Act—he’s been convicted of no crime. Were he to stand trial, he would no doubt try to offer a public interest defense of his actions—as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has urged that he be allowed to do—saying that the need to expose government wrongdoing overrode the law against unauthorized release of government documents.

      The Times may believe that such a defense would be unsuccessful—and no doubt many legal experts would agree with that assessment. Still, it’s unusual for journalists to assume that someone accused of a crime is guilty, in effect taking the role of judge and jury upon themselves.

      Such an assumption is particularly problematic in this case, because the same section of the legal code that is used to charge Snowden with theft of “any record, voucher, money, or thing of value” also criminalizes “whoever receives, conceals, or retains the same with intent to convert it to his use or gain, knowing it to have been embezzled, stolen, purloined or converted.” There is no explicit exception for journalists there, any more than there’s an exception for whistleblowers.

      If we’re going to call Snowden’s documents “stolen,” then journalists frequently receive “stolen” records from sources and use them as the basis for stories—as the Times itself has done with documents released by Snowden. If Snowden is a thief, then the New York Times is a fence.

    • FCC’s Final Internet Privacy Rules Will Likely Align With FTC

      In a shift from an earlier proposal, the Federal Communications Commission’s final rules to regulate the privacy practices of internet service providers are expected to be in line with the Federal Trade Commission’s approach, according to telecom and agency sources.

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has two other big-ticket items on his year-end agenda, cable set-top boxes and pricing for business data lines used by banks, hospitals and the like. As such, it appears the top telecom regulator will grant the private sector’s pleas to make the new privacy regulations distinguish between “sensitive” and “nonsensitive” data.

    • Continued Disagreement And Confusion Over Yahoo Email Scanning

      I’m guessing this is the same source who went to both publications, but it continues to raise more questions about this. Forcing Yahoo to actually install code is a big, big deal and gets back to the questions raised by the DOJ trying to force Apple to do the same thing. And, once again, this is the kind of thing the government isn’t supposed to be able to do in secret. Yes, individual orders and details about who or what is being searched can and should be kept secret, but requiring a company to install code that sniffs through every email… that’s not how these things are supposed to work.

    • EFF: NSA’s Support of Encryption ‘Disingenuous’

      The National Security Agency came out in support of encryption again Wednesday, but privacy advocates were quick to contest the agency’s stance, criticizing it for having a different definition of the term than others.

      Glenn Gerstell, general counsel for the NSA, stressed that the agency believes in strong encryption multiple times during a panel, “Privacy vs. Security: Beyond the Zero-Sum Game,” at Cambridge Cyber Summit here at MIT, on Wednesday.

    • Former NSA hacker demos how Mac malware can spy on your webcam
    • Former NSA employee: This hack gains access to your Mac’s webcam
    • Former NSA employee shows how any MacBook’s webcam and microphone can be hacked
    • NSA spy details how to tap into webcam on Mac without user noticing
    • The Intercept: There’s an NSA Data Center in the UK

      Technology has always played an inextricable role in spying, and today, that means one or more data centers underpin any spying operation.

      It comes as no surprise that a US surveillance outpost in the UK has a data center, as revealed by a story published last month by The Intercept, the aggressively anti-NSA investigative online magazine published by First Look Media. The story reveals an unprecedented amount of detail about the activities taking place at Menwith Hill Station, relying on classified US government documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      Glenn Greenwald, one of The Intercept’s founding editors, was one of the key journalists who wrote the first series of stories based on the Snowden leaks in 2013. Greenwald wrote his for The Guardian.

    • Yahoo didn’t install an NSA email scanner, it was a “buggy” NSA “rootkit”

      Ex-Yahoo employees have spoken anonymously to Motherboard about the news that Yahoo had built an “email scanner” for a US security agency, likely the FBI or the NSA. These sources — at least one of whom worked on the security team — say that in actuality, the NSA or FBI had secretly installed a “rootkit” on Yahoo’s mail servers and that this was discovered by the Yahoo security team (who had not been apprised of it), who, believing the company had been hacked, sounded the alarm, only to have the company executives tell them that the US government had installed the tool.

      The sources in the article say that the “rootkit” was “buggy” and “poorly designed.”

      In the security world, a rootkit is a program that changes the operating system to create administrative (“root”) access that is invisible to the system’s actual administrator. For example, in 2005, Sony-BMG put a covert rootkit installer on more than six million audio CDs; when inserted into Windows computers, these CDs silently updated the Windows kernel so that it would not report the existence of files or processes whose names started with “$sys$”. Then the CDs installed an anti-ripping program that started with $sys$ and tried to shut down any attempt to rip an audio CD — because the program started with $sys$, users and their anti-virus software couldn’t see the programs’ files on their drives, nor would the programs appear in the computers’ process list.

    • Senator Ron Wyden Says White House Is Required By Law To Reveal Details Behind Yahoo Scanning

      So, one of the things in the USA Freedom Act is a provision requiring that the White House declassify any “novel interpretations” of the law in ordering surveillance. This was to avoid the situations, such as under the Section 215 program, where the intelligence community reads words to mean things differently than anyone else would read them. Now, given what we’ve learned so far about the Yahoo email scanning case and the fact that it clearly goes beyond what people thought the law enabled, it seems clear that there’s some interpretation somewhere that’s “novel.”

    • Court Shuts Down Argument That Warrantless Seizures Of Cell Phones Is Fine Because Criminals Use Cell Phones

      Furthermore, it finds that the 68-day gap between the seizure and search was unreasonable. The state argued that the investigation was “complex,” but the court points out investigators obtained five other search warrants during that same time period.

      Even if it had been more timely in its acquisition of a warrant, that still wouldn’t have been able to rescue the evidence it located on the suspect’s phone. Because the underlying seizure was performed without probable cause, the use of a warrant for the search did nothing but create a paper trail for “poisoned fruit.”

      Hopefully this reversal will deter future seizure attempts by state and local law enforcement. Without the ruling in place, anything from cars to computers could end up being taken and held by police under the assumption that criminals use such items. That’s not probable cause. That’s not even reasonable suspicion. It’s fishing expeditions waiting to happen and speculation taking precedent over Fourth Amendment protections.

    • Surprise: Intelligence Community Comes Out Against Congressional Plan To Weaken Intelligence Oversight

      Well, this is somewhat unexpected. Earlier this year, we noted that Congress was working on a plan to undermine the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). But apparently, the Intelligence Community, in the form of Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, is against this idea.

      The PCLOB was initially created as part of the PATRIOT Act, but was basically given no real power. In 2007, Congress finally gave it a bit more power and independence, only to watch both the Bush and Obama administrations ignore it by not appointing anyone to the board. That finally changed in 2012 — just in time for the Snowden leaks (though it has been without a chairperson, since the last one left earlier this year). The PCLOB then put out a scathing report about the NSA’s mass surveillance on Americans under the Section 215 program, though it wasn’t as concerned about PRISM and upstream collection under the Section 702 program. For years now, the PCLOB has supposedly been investigating surveillance under Executive Order 12333, which we’ve been told by insiders is the main program the NSA relies on for surveillance (the others just fill in the gaps).

    • Yahoo Email Scanning May Sink EU Privacy Shield Agreement

      After the US/EU “safe harbor” on data protection was tossed out thanks to NSA spying being incompatible with EU rights, everyone had tried to patch things up with the so-called “Privacy Shield.” As we noted at the time, as long as the NSA’s mass surveillance remained in place, the Privacy Shield agreement would fail as well. This wasn’t that difficult to predict.

      And there are already some challenges to the Privacy Shield underway, including by Max Schrems, who brought the original challenge that invalidated the old safe harbor. But things may have accelerated a bit this week with the story of Yahoo scanning all emails. This news has woken up a bunch of EU politicians and data protection officials, leading to some serious questions about whether it violates the Privacy Shield agreement.

    • Inspector General’s Report Notes Section 215 Requests Down Sharply Since 2013

      The Snowden Effect continues. In addition to actual oversight finally being applied to surveillance programs, the breadth and scope of some programs continues to be narrowed. Some of this narrowing has been forced on the NSA by legislation. But some of it also appears to be shame-related. It’s no longer as acceptable to harvest vast amounts of data domestically, apparently.

      Shane Harris at The Daily Beast notes that the latest Inspector General’s report [PDF] details a sharp decline in Section 215 requests since Snowden’s debut leak in June 2013.

    • Welcome to the machine—Yahoo mail scanning exposes another US spy tool

      Imagine a futuristic society in which robots are deployed to everybody’s house, fulfilling a mission to scan the inside of each and every residence. Does that mental image look far-off and futuristic? Well, this week’s Yahoo e-mail surveillance revelations perhaps prove this intrusive robot scenario has already arrived in the digital world.

      Days ago, Reuters cited anonymous sources and reported that Yahoo covertly built a secret “custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming e-mails for specific information.” Yahoo, the report noted, “complied with a classified US government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI.”

      Reuters then followed up, saying Yahoo acted at the behest of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Not to be outdone, The New York Times reported Yahoo used its system designed to scan for child pornography and spam to search for messages containing an undisclosed “signature.” The Times said a FISA judge found probable cause to believe that this digital signature “was uniquely used by a foreign power.” The scanning has ceased, the report noted, but neither of the news agencies said how long the search lasted and when it began.

      Yahoo denies how the reports portrayed its assistance, saying they are “misleading.” Other tech companies have denied participating in such surveillance as it was outlined in those reports.

    • Accused NSA contractor was workaholic hoarder into computers, says ex-wife

      Elizabeth Martin told the New York Times she would be shocked if her former husband Harold, whom she has not seen since 2009, betrayed his country by deliberately passing on government secrets.

      Harold Martin, 51, from Glen Burnie, Maryland, was secretly arrested by the FBI in August after federal prosecutors said he illegally removed highly classified information and stored the material in his home and car. Martin worked for the same NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, that employed the whistleblower Edward Snowden, but his own motive remains a mystery.

    • Arrested NSA contractor may have hoarded secrets to work from home

      Investigators have little doubt that a National Security Agency contractor arrested in August hoarded mountains of classified material, but so far they’ve found no evidence that he leaked anything to anyone, The New York Times reported Friday.

    • Early Observations In Latest NSA Contractor Arrest

      “While very few details are available about the case of another NSA contractor stealing confidential information, based on the information available thus far, there are some observations that can be made.

      Mainly, there is no easy way to characterize insider threats.

    • Former Mentor Recalls NSA Contractor as Torn, Affected by War
    • N.S.A. Suspect Is a Hoarder. But a Leaker? Investigators Aren’t Sure.

      On a half-dozen occasions in the last three years, top-secret information has leaked from the National Security Agency and appeared on the web. Government analysts concluded with alarm that the documents, including intercepted communications from Europe and Japan and the computer code for the N.S.A.’s hacking tools, had not come from the huge collection taken by Edward J. Snowden.

      That meant there was at least one more leaker still at large, and when F.B.I. agents found in August that a former agency contractor had been taking home top-secret material, they thought they might have the culprit.

      Now they are not so sure.

      Harold T. Martin III, the contractor arrested by the F.B.I. on Aug. 27, brazenly violated basic security rules, taking home a staggering quantity of highly classified material. He had been doing this undetected, agency officials were chagrined to learn, since the late 1990s. But, officials say, they have not been able to definitively connect Mr. Martin, 51, a Navy veteran, to the leaked documents.

    • EU privacy watchdogs have questions about Yahoo’s secret email scanning

      European Union privacy watchdogs are concerned by reports that Yahoo has been secretly scanning its users’ email at the request of U.S. intelligence services.

      “It goes far beyond what is acceptable,” said Johannes Caspar, Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Hamburg, Germany.

      Reuters reported on Tuesday that Yahoo had built a system for U.S. government agencies to search all of its users’ incoming emails. Other tech companies were quick to distance themselves, saying they would have challenged any such request in court.

    • Yahoo’s email snooping: It’s all legal

      The revelation this week that Yahoo scanned the incoming emails of hundreds of millions of Yahoo users set off a storm of condemnation. The real outrage is that this kind of government surveillance, frequently abetted by the collaboration of telecom and tech companies, is pervasive and has little or no oversight.

      As told by Reuters and the New York Times, Yahoo received a secret order last year from a judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that compelled the company to customize an existing scanning system (used to find and report child pornography and malware) to search emails for a computer “signature” tied to the communications of a state-sponsored terrorist organization. Emails containing the signature were turned over to the NSA or FBI — and Yahoo was barred from disclosing the matter.

    • FBI says Minnesota mall attack was premeditated
    • FBI Tests The Waters On Another Attempt To Force Apple To Unlock An iPhone

      Earlier this year, as you recall, there were two big cases in which the DOJ and FBI sought to force Apple to make significant technological changes to iPhone software in order to allow the DOJ to brute force the passcode on some iPhones used by some criminals. Eventually, after Apple (and others) pushed back, and public opinion was turning against the FBI, the DOJ miraculously announced that it found its way into both iPhones and the cases were dropped. But the issue of forcing companies (and Apple especially) to backdoor their way into encrypted iPhones certainly has not been dropped. And it appears that the FBI may be testing the waters to see if it can try again.

    • The FBI wants to unlock another iPhone and is making big deal out of it

      IT IS TIME to look up déjà vu in the dictionary. The FBI needs to unlock another iPhone and it still doesn’t know how to do it, despite making all that fuss about the San Bernadino one.

      A report on Wired from an FBI press conference after a mass stabbing in America said that the FBI is in possession of an iPhone that belonged to now dead assailant Dahir Adan.

      FBI special agent Rich Thorton told the conference that it would be handy to get into the phone and find out more about Adan, but that the FBI can’t. He explained that the search for a solution is on. Again.

      “Dahir Adan’s iPhone is locked. We are in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain,” he said.

      We thought that the FBI had this sorted. The agency made a lot of fuss when it set about breaking into the iPhone 5C of San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook earlier this year.

    • Facebook wins ‘Big Brother’ award in Belgium

      Facebook is watching you.

      The social media giant won the “Big Brother” Award in Belgium on Thursday. The award is named after the dystopian government surveillance in George Orwell’s “1984,” and given to the “biggest privacy-offender of the year,” according to the Flemish League for Human rights, which runs the awards, and its partners.

      Facebook, nominated by international digital advocacy group EDRi, won after being criticized for its default privacy settings in a unanimous decision. The social network didn’t respond to requests for comment.

      “Facebook has access to a wide range of personal data, and it tracks your movements across the web, whether you are logged in or not,” EDRi said. “And the devil is in the default: To opt out, you are expected to navigate Facebook’s complex web of settings.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • See What A Great Excuse The Drug War Is For Cops To Violate People’s Civil Liberties?

      It’s harder to get the police to believe somebody has 26 bodies buried in their backyard — which is probably why the police so rarely get tipped off about that sort of thing.

    • In the Chicago Police Department, If the Bosses Say It Didn’t Happen, It Didn’t Happen

      On May 31, the city of Chicago agreed to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by two police officers who allege they suffered retaliation for reporting and investigating criminal activity by fellow officers. The settlement, for $2 million, was announced moments before the trial was to begin.

      As the trial date approached, city lawyers had made a motion to exclude the words “code of silence” from the proceedings. Not only was the motion denied, but the judge ruled that Mayor Rahm Emanuel could be called to testify about what he meant when he used the term in a speech he delivered to the City Council last December, at the height of the political firestorm provoked by the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

      In that speech, Emanuel broke with the city’s long history of denying the existence of the code of silence. He spoke of “problems at the very heart of the policing profession,” and said: “This problem is sometimes referred to as the Thin Blue Line. Other times it’s referred to as the code of silence. It is the tendency to ignore, deny, or in some cases cover up the bad actions of a colleague or colleagues.”

    • Corrupt Chicago Police Were Taxing Drug Dealers and Targeting Their Rivals
    • How the Chicago Police Department Covered Up for a Gang of Criminal Cops
    • Chicago Police Bosses Targeted Cops Who Exposed Corruption
    • I’m a pro-democracy activist. Is that why Thailand chose to deport me?

      My flight touched down at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport without any problems, at about midnight on 5 October. I had been invited to share my experiences of Hong Kong’s umbrella movement at two universities in Bangkok and to talk about becoming a young politician.

      But as I left the plane, I started to feel paranoid that officials at the immigration counter might take me away and deport me back to Hong Kong on the very same flight. A strange feeling came over me. I could see more staff than usual ahead of me. But there was nowhere else to go. When I stepped on to the bridge leading off the plane, I saw a crowd of immigration police. I knew something was wrong.

      What surprised me was that, unlike when I was refused entry to Malaysia – in May 2015, this time I didn’t have to go to the counter to be taken away. This time the officials came to meet me.

      They asked if I was Joshua Wong. I told them I was.

    • Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer led illegal purge of male employees, lawsuit charges

      A prominent local media executive fired from Yahoo last year has filed a lawsuit accusing CEO Marissa Mayer of leading a campaign to purge male employees.

      “Mayer encouraged and fostered the use of (an employee performance-rating system) to accommodate management’s subjective biases and personal opinions, to the detriment of Yahoo’s male employees,” said the suit by Scott Ard filed this week in federal district court in San Jose.

      Ard, who worked for Yahoo for 3 ½ years until January 2015, is now editor-in-chief of the Silicon Valley Business Journal. His lawsuit also claims that Yahoo illegally fired large numbers of workers ousted under a performance-rating system imposed by Mayer. That allegation was not tied to gender.

      Yahoo spokeswoman Carolyn Clark defended the company’s hiring and performance-review processes, which she said are guided by “fairness.”

      “This lawsuit has no merit. With the unwavering support of our CEO, we are focused on hiring employees with broad and varied backgrounds, and perspectives,” Clark said. “Our performance-review process was developed to allow employees at all levels of the company to receive meaningful, regular and actionable feedback from others.

    • Yahoo hit with another lawsuit claiming anti-male discrimination

      The complaint (PDF) filed by Scott Ard says that Yahoo’s “stack ranking” system was “without oversight or accountability” and was “more arbitrary and discriminatory” than stack ranking used by other companies.

      The lawsuit claims that Yahoo’s Media Org employees were ranked from 0.0 to 5.0 before being subject to a “calibration” process by higher-level management. Ard claims employees weren’t told their numeric ranking but were only informed of their “Bucket” ranking, labeled “Greatly Exceeds, “Exceeds,” “Achieves,” “Occasionally Misses,” or “Misses.”

      Ard was hired at Yahoo in 2011, where he had editorial control of the Yahoo.com homepage. In 2014, following a leadership change that put Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt in charge of Media Org, Ard was shifted to a role in which he managed Yahoo Autos, Yahoo Shopping, and Yahoo Small Business.

    • The Hong Kong outcasts who gave up their beds for Edward Snowden

      Vanessa Rodel didn’t realize she was sheltering the most wanted man in the world until the morning after he showed up unexpectedly at her door.
      Her houseguest from the United States had requested a newspaper. She discovered his high-profile identity when she recognized Edward Snowden’s face on the front page of the Hong Kong daily.

      “I said ‘oh my God,’” Rodel told CNN. “The most wanted man in the world is in my house!”
      The next Snowden arrested?
      Rodel — who fled the Philippines — is one of several asylum seekers in Hong Kong who are now going public with a secret they kept for years.
      For weeks in 2013, these impoverished people took turns hiding the man behind one of the biggest intelligence leaks in US history.

    • Argentina Not Only Wants To Bring In E-Voting, It Will Make It Illegal To Check The System For Electoral Fraud

      It’s one thing to bring in an e-voting system that most experts say is a bad idea in theory. But making it effectively illegal to point out flaws that exist in practice is really asking for trouble. Unless this proposed law is changed to allow independent scrutiny of the systems, Argentina will probably find this out the hard way.

    • Government must stop hiding torture record

      Just last week, there were fresh claims about CIA torture of detainees at a black site in Afghanistan. Two Tunisian men told Human Rights Watch they were strapped to a board and held with their heads upside down in a barrel of water. They were beaten with metal rods, anally raped and threatened with a makeshift electric chair.

      Yet the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Richard Burr, still won’t release its full report on what was done to CIA captives.

    • What did the Foreign and Commonwealth Office say to the London School of Economics about foreign academics?

      In short: the government has not barred foreign academics from providing policy advice, at least not in any legal or other formal way.

      To do so would be almost certainly unlawful: for example, the government would be in breach of the law of public procurement if it discriminated in favour of UK citizens instead of EU citizens when commissioning research services.

      And there is no such bar set out in any published government document; it seems not to be in any contract specification or tendering document; and there does not even seem to be any written communication from the FCO stating the bar.

      But senior managers at the London School of Economics (LSE) believed they had been told by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that there was now such a bar.

      How did LSE senior managers come to believe the FCO had said there was such a bar?

    • Opposing Populist Chauvinism is not Elitism

      History demonstrates the evils that arise from whipping up popular xenophobic nationalism. After the Tories trumpeted that companies will have to declare how many foreigners they employ, that foreign doctors will be phased out of the NHS, that taxi drivers will have to prove their immigration status, that fewer foreigners will be allowed to study at British universities and that landlords will have to check the papers of their foreign tenants, we will now be told by Theresa May that to oppose this surge of fascism is elitism. I call it fascist after careful consideration; I don’t know what else to call it. Immigrants to Britain are going to be hauled up to produce documents at numerous moments of daily life to prove their right to be here. They will not yet need to be identified by yellow stars, but anybody who does not see the direction of travel is a fool.

      The ability of politicians and media to whip up popular racism is well demonstrated historical fact. I am simply appalled by the catalogue I have outlined above. It is astonishing to me that popular opinion, particularly in England, has been conditioned to the point where outright racism has become the accepted everyday level of political discourse. And it is not just the Tories. Blairites are using populist anti-immigrant rhetoric as their most potent attack on Corbyn. Rachel Reeves made a speech last week that channelled Enoch Powell in predicting violent reaction to immigrants, and in some ways was worse than Powell’s classical allusion. But while Powell’s anti-immigrant rant ended his chances of becoming Prime Minister in a more decent age, Reeves is firmly in today’s UK establishment mainstream.

      The argument that immigration is impacting the living standards of ordinary working people is a demonstrable falsehood. If mass immigration made a country’s people poorer, then Germany and the USA would have the lowest living standards for ordinary citizens in the world. An economy is not a thing of fixed size with a set number of jobs. If it were not for immigration, there would have been no economic growth in the UK at all since the millennium.

    • Film Directors’ Peculiar Choice: Teaching Children That Nonwhite = Evil

      But Burton seems not to be alone in feeling the need to convey that message to a young audience. The animated film How to Train Your Dragon 2 also featured an all-white cast of characters—except for the villain, Drago Bludvist, who is depicted as dark-skinned, hook-nosed and dreadlocked, and voiced by Djimon Hounsou, an actor from Benin…

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Report: Facebook Wants to Expand ‘Free Basics’ Internet Service to US

      Facebook is reportedly bringing its campaign to connect millions more people to the Web to its own backyard.

      As The Washington Post reports, the social network is reportedly in talks with government officials and wireless carriers to bring its Free Basics mobile app to North America and serve the 37 million US residents who are not currently using the Internet. Facebook is reportedly looking for a way to roll out Free Basics without running afoul of net neutrality rules, which derailed the program in India.

      Similar to global versions, the US Free Basics would target low-income and rural Americans who can’t afford a reliable, high-speed Web connection at home or on their phone. The app allows folks to stretch their data plans by offering free Internet access to online resources like news, health information, and job offers.

      Exactly which apps will be included have not been determined, though Facebook will likely be among them.

    • Taking down the internet: possible but how probable?

      The hack of the Democratic National Committee this past summer, allegedly by Russia, prompted a political firestorm, but didn’t cause even a ripple in the US economy.

      But imagine the economic firestorm that would result if online attackers brought the entire internet down, even temporarily.

      You may not have to imagine it, according to Bruce Schneier, CTO of Resilient Systems, cryptography guru, blogger and international authority on internet security. In a recent post titled, “Someone is Learning How to Take Down the Internet,” he wrote that he had been told by multiple sources that, ““someone has been probing the defenses of … some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work.”

      But according to some of his fellow security experts, you don’t really need to imagine it, since the chances of the internet really being taken down are remote. And even if it happens, it won’t cause catastrophic damage. Several commenters on Schneier’s post wondered why even hostile actors would want to take down the internet, since if they do, they won’t be able to use it either.

    • Comcast Dramatically Expands Unnecessary Broadband Caps — For ‘Fairness’

      For years, we’ve noted how there’s absolutely zero financial or technical justification for usage caps on fixed-line networks. They don’t really help manage congestion, and as any incumbent ISP earnings report indicates, flat-rate broadband has proven incredibly profitable. But thanks to limited competition, caps are a great way to raise rates, hamstring streaming video competitors, and give incumbents a distinct advantage for their own services (aka zero rating). Ultimately, caps disadvantage startups and small businesses, while making broadband more expensive and confusing for everyone.

      Needless to say, Comcast is pursuing this option with reckless abandon.

  • DRM

    • Tim Berners-Lee just gave us an opening to stop DRM in Web standards

      This week, the chief arbiter of Web standards, Tim Berners-Lee, decided not to exercise his power to extend the development timeline for the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) Web technology standard. The EME standardization effort, sponsored by streaming giants like Google and Netflix, aims to make it cheaper and more efficient to impose Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) systems on Web users. The streaming companies’ representatives within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) were unable to finish EME within the time allotted by the W3C, and had asked Berners-Lee for an extension through next year.

      Berners-Lee made his surprising decision on Tuesday, as explained in an email announcement by W3C representative Philippe Le Hégaret. Instead of granting a time extension — as he has already done once — Berners-Lee delegated the decision to the W3C’s general decision-making body, the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee includes diverse entities from universities to companies to nonprofits, and it is divided as to whether EME should be part of Web standards. It is entirely possible that the Advisory Committee will reject the time extension and terminate EME development, marking an important victory for the free Web.

    • Homicide Commits Suicide, HP Says It’s Sorry & More…

      HP to remove DRM from printers: In a statement that was full of we-did-it-to-protect-you rhetoric, HP has said that it’s going to remove DRM that it installed as an update on certain models of its printers that prevented users from using ink cartridges with security chips not manufactured by HP.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Gurry Off The Hook, Investigation Ends, WIPO Says [Ed: see some background]

      The member governments of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization, after considering a confidential UN investigation report on whistleblower charges against WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, have decided to end the case without discipline, WIPO has said. Instead, members are working to bolster whistleblower protections, internal oversight and procurement procedures at the agency for the future.

    • WIPO Members Work To Toughen Up Procedures For Investigations Of High-Level Officials

      Member governments of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) are working intensively in a closed-door session today to make changes to the way allegations of wrongdoing against high-ranking WIPO officials are handled. What is not clear from the secretive discussions is whether any action will be taken against the director general as a result of a UN investigation of his activities, for which the UN report is on the meeting agenda.

    • Details Of Charges Against Backpage Execs For ‘Pimping’ Look Totally Bogus

      Backpage.com has been the target of lots of moralizing, grandstanding law enforcement types, who absolutely hate the fact that there’s a classified site out there where some users use it for prostitution (I know that some of the comments will discuss the question of whether or not prostitution should even be a crime, but right now it is, and so this article won’t focus on that other discussion). As we’ve noted time and time again, it’s bizarre that law enforcement folks keep blaming the platforms, when those platforms are actually really useful for law enforcement to track down, arrest, prosecute and convict people actually breaking the law. Still, the grandstanding forced Craigslist to completely shut down its adult section, and most of that traffic moved over to Backpage.

      And now, the CEO of Backpage, Carl Ferrer, has been arrested in Texas for “pimping,” with both Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and California Attorney General Kamala Harris pushing out grandstanding press releases to talk about how tough on prostitution and pimping they are.

      There’s just one big problem in all of this: the charges are almost certainly completely bogus, and Harris and Paxton are flat out ignoring federal law on this matter. Specifically, they’re ignoring the law we talk about all the time: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. As we’ve noted over and over again, CDA 230 says that internet platforms are not liable for the content created by users. There’s an exception for federal criminal acts, but not for states. Various state Attorneys General have been whining about this for years, and demanding Section 230 get a new exception just for them, but that hasn’t happened. So Harris and Paxton clearly know about Section 230, and clearly know that they’re just ignoring the law. They apparently don’t care. They’re either too focused on the publicity grandstanding value of pretending like they’re “tough on crime,” or they’re hoping that by presenting emotional stories, they’ll win over judges and convince them to ignore Section 230.

    • Gurry investigation dropped by WIPO member states; transparency and accountability are the losers

      The news that WIPO member states have endorsed a decision taken by the organisation’s Coordination Committee to drop any further investigation of the allegations of serious misconduct levelled against the organisation’s Director-General Francis Gurry is no surprise; a few days ago this blog predicted it would happen. However, for anyone who believes that the IP system is best served by transparency and accountability, the fact this outcome was so predictable does not make it any less depressing.

      Ever since the then WIPO deputy Director-General James Pooley first accused Gurry of being involved in taking WIPO staff members’ DNA and in interfering to alter the outcome of a procurement process in his April 2014 Report of Misconduct, IAM has taken no position on the claims. We don’t know if they were true; but we do know that they should have been investigated quickly, thoroughly, independently and with full protection for witnesses.

    • Copyrights

      • Father Sues for Copyright Infringement After Live-Streaming Baby’s Birth

        It seems each day more people are willing to share ever more personal things on the Internet. Along these lines, in May of this year Kali Kanongataa a California resident used Facebook to live stream his wife giving birth. After portions the live stream ended up on television and publicized on the Internet, he sued ABC and Yahoo for allegedly infringing his copyright by displaying the video.

        The day after the live stream, ABC’s “Good Morning America” ran a short segment about the live stream and showed a brief excerpt from the video that was up loaded by Mr. Kanogataa which had been widely viewed online since this airing. The clip also appeared on Yahoo, which has a partnership with ABC.

      • Court Asks How it Can Ban Illegal Pokemon Go Downloads

        Pokémon Go is not available to buy in India so the game is being heavily pirated by fans. With legal moves underway to try and bring this behavior to a halt, the Gujarat High Court is now seeking advice on how to stop downloads to protect the public interest.

      • Pirate Kodi Add-Ons Gain Massive Popularity

        Streaming piracy is on the rise with the popular media center Kodi at the center of attention. While Kodi itself is a neutral platform, millions of people use third-party add-ons to turn it into the ultimate pirate machine. In less than a year, the leading add-on repository has seen the number of unique users double, which may be just the beginning.

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