10.13.16

Links 13/10/2016: Major Ubuntu and OpenSUSE Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • They Said Nobody in Jordan Knew About Linux but They Were Wrong

    In this story, “Roblimo” takes us back to 2002, to an open source conference in a country where the common belief was that “nobody knew anything about Linux.” Boy, were they in for a surprise.

    In December, 2002, I gave the keynote speech at an open source conference in Amman, Jordan. It was a tense time in that part of the world. Not long before I was there, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAISD) chief in Amman was assassinated. Anti-U.S. demonstrations had been shut down by Jordan’s armed forces earlier in the year. King Abdullah II was still new in the job and did not yet have as certain a hand on the helm as his father, Hussein (amateur radio call JY1) did during previous decades. To make things even more fun, the country was flooded with refugees from Iraq, and rumors were rife that the U.S. would soon go to war with Saddam Hussein over 9/11. Or something. Of course, the war rumors turned out to be true.

  • 7 Mistakes New Linux Users Make

    Changing operating systems is a big step for anybody — all the more so because many users are uncertain about exactly what an operating system is.

    However, switching from Windows to Linux is especially hard. The two operating systems have different assumptions and priorities, as well as different ways of doing things. As a result, it is easy for new Linux users to wind up confused because the expectations they have developed using Windows no longer apply.

  • Distribute And Win

    There are many instances, both in nature and business, of the virtues of distributed systems as compared to monolithic systems. One of the most obvious is the rise of open-source software, as argued persuasively by Eric Raymond in The Cathedral and the Bazaar (available online).

    He argues that “cathedrals” (hierarchical, well-organised companies which are the western norm, e.g., IBM, Microsoft) will in the long run be defeated by “bazaars” (loosely federated groups of workers).

    In the context of operating systems (the software that controls devices), and specifically of the UNIX and Linux systems (which is what Eric was focusing on), this prophecy has largely come true. Microsoft, so dominant in the last century, has now lost its monopoly.

  • Linux And Its Impact On Modern IT Infrastructure

    Linux came into existence 25 years ago, but since then, it has been on the path of evolution, and has crept into the modern IT infrastructure like little else. What started as a rebellion movement of sorts, has now become the backbone of enterprise grade computing for sometime now, and been behind the success stories of more than a few enterprises.

    To gauge the historical link of Linux with enterprise servers, Senior Solutions Architect at Red Hat Martin Percival’s words come to mind, who said “Linux was regarded as an alternative to proprietary Unix. But RHEL switched it to becoming an alternative to Windows Server.” However, when the 90’s came around, computing was to be turned on it’s head, when the consumer segment, more so with PCs, began to take off, even with the famous separation of Microsoft and IBM. While Windows 3.x became a sort of industry standard, IBM’s own OS/OS 2 didn’t create so much of an impression.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Carriers Embrace Trial & Error Approach as NFV Becomes Real

      Telcos kicked off the SDN World Congress here with boasts about how un-telco-like they’ve become, influenced by software-defined infrastructure and the world of virtualization.

      Specifically, they’re starting to adopt software’s “agile” philosophy by being willing to proceed in small steps, rather than waiting for technology to be fully baked.

    • How to stay relevant in the DevOps era: A SysAdmin’s survival guide [Ed: How to stay relevant in the [stupid buzzword] era: rewrite the CV with silly buzzwords like DevOps]

      The merging of development and operations to speed product delivery, or DevOps, is all about agility, automation and information sharing. In DevOps, servers are often treated like cattle”that can be easily replaced, rather than individual pets”to be nurtured.

    • Fear Makes The Wolf Look Bigger

      DevOps is based on 3 key pillars: People, Process and Automation. I believe their importance to a business should be considered in that order.

    • TNS Guide to Serverless Technologies: The Best of FaaS and BaaS

      Like the terms “microservices” and “containers” before it, “serverless” is a loaded word. Countless blogs have argued about the meaning or importance.

      The first, obvious statement everyone makes is that, yes, there are servers or hardware of some sort somewhere in the system. But the point of “serverless” is not that servers aren’t used; it’s just that developers and administrators do not have to think about them.

      Serverless architectures refer to applications that significantly depend on third-party services. “Such architectures remove the need for the traditional ‘always on’ server system sitting behind an application,” said software developer Mike Roberts, in an article on Martin Fowler’s site. Inserting serverless technologies into systems can reduce the complexity that needs to be managed, and could also potentially save money.

    • One Day Is a Lifetime in Container Years

      The average life span of a container is short and getting shorter. While some organizations use containers as replacements for virtual machines, many are using them increasingly for elastic compute resources, with life spans measured in hours or even minutes. Containers allow an organization to treat the individual servers providing a service as disposable units, to be shut down or spun up on a whim when traffic or behavior dictates.

      Since the value of an individual container is low, and startup time is short, a company can be far more aggressive about its scaling policies, allowing the container service to scale both up and down faster. Since new containers can be spun up on the order of seconds or sub seconds instead of minutes, they also allow an organization to scale down further than would previously have provided sufficient available overhead to manage traffic spikes. Finally, if a service is advanced enough to have automated monitoring and self-healing, a minuscule perturbation in container behavior might be sufficient to cause the misbehaving instance to be destroyed and a new container started in its place.

      At container speeds, behavior and traffic monitoring happens too quickly for humans to process and react. By the time an event is triaged, assigned, and investigated, the container will be gone. Security and retention policies need to be set correctly from the time the container is spawned. Is this workload allowed to run in this location? Are rules set up to manage the arbitration between security policies and SLAs?

  • Kernel Space

    • The Open Source SDN Distro That Keeps Microsoft’s WiFi Secure

      Dr. Bithika Khargharia, a principal solutions architect at Extreme Networks and director of product and community management at the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), then elaborated on the new approach by discussing a project called Atrium Enterprise. Atrium Enterprise is an open source SDN distribution that’s ODL-based and has an integrated unified communications and collaboration application. It runs on Atrium partner hardware according to Khargharia.

    • Blockchain Adoption Faster Than Expected

      A study released last week by IBM indicates that blockchain adoption by financial institutions is on the rise and beating expectations. This is good news for IBM, which is betting big on the database technology that was brought to prominence by Bitcoin. Yesterday, Big Blue announced that it has made its Watson-powered blockchain service available to enterprise customers.

      For its study, IBM’s Institute for Business Value teamed with the Economist Intelligence Unit to survey 200 banks spread through 16 countries about “their experience and expectations with blockchains.” The study found that 15 percent of the banks surveyed plan to implement commercial blockchain solutions in 2017.

    • Cloud Native Computing Foundation Adds OpenTracing Project

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) today officially announced that the open-source OpenTracing project has been accepted as a hosted project.

    • System calls again

      And speaking of searching — there is filter box now. You can type syscall name (or part of it) there and have table filtered. Same can be done with system call number as well. You used Valgrind and it said that has no idea how to handle syscall 145? Just enter number and you see that it is getresuid(), nfsservctl(), readv(), sched_getscheduler(), setreuid() or setrlimit() — depends which architecture you are testing.

    • UBIFS Supports OverlayFS In Linux 4.9, Readying UBI For MLC Support

      The UBI/UBIFS pull request for the Linux 4.9 kernel for those interested in the Unsorted Block Image tech on Linux.

      First up, for those running UBIFS on raw flash memory, there is now OverlayFS support. OverlayFS, as a reminder, provides a union mount for other file-systems. O_TMPFILE, RENAME_WHITEOUT/EXCHANGE are now supported by UBIFS for handling OverlayFS.

    • KThread Improvements Coming To Linux 4.9

      Andrew Morton’s pull request for Linux 4.9 has landed some improvements for kernel threads.

      For the kthread code in Linux 4.9 there is an API cleanup, a new kthread_create_worker() call (and kthread_create_worker_on_cpu()) to hide implementation details, kthread_destroy_worker() as an easier way to end a worker, support for delayed kthreads, better support for freezable kthread workers, and related kthread work.

    • Linus Torvalds: “Linux Kernel 5.0 Will Be Released When We Hit 6 Million Git Objects”

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds has shared the news that we are half-way between Linux 4.0 and 5.0 as the Git object database has crossed the 5 million object mark. Some of you might be knowing that major version transition happens at every two million objects in the database. So, after 1 more million Git objects, we can expect the release of Linux kernel 5.0 in 2017.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • How to make animated videos with Krita

        There are lots of different kinds of animation: hand-drawn, stop motion, cut-out, 3D, rotoscoping, pixilation, machinima, ASCII, and probably more. Animation isn’t easy, by any means; it’s a complex process requiring patience and dedication, but the good news is open source supplies plenty of high-quality animation tools.

        Over the next three months I’ll highlight three open source applications that are reliable, stable, and efficient in enabling users to create animated movies of their own. I’ll concentrate on three of the most essential disciplines in animation: hand-drawn cel animation, digitally tweened animation, and stop motion. Although the tools are fairly specific to the task, these principles apply to other styles of animation as well.

        You can read about some of the more technical details about animation in Animation Basics by Nikhil Sukul.

      • Kdenlive 16.08.2 Open-Source Video Editor Released with Over 35 Improvements

        Today, October 13, 2016, Kdenlive developer Farid Abdelnour announced the release and immediate availability of the second maintenance update to the Kdenlive 16.08 open-source video editor software project.

        Distributed as part of the soon-to-be-released KDE Applications 16.08.2 software suite for the latest KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment, Kdenlive 16.08.2 is here five weeks after the release of the previous maintenance version with no less than 36 improvements and bug fixes, addressing keyframe, UI, workflow, compilation, and proxy clip rendering related issues reported by users.

      • Qt 5.6.2 Toolkit Officially Released with Almost 900 Improvements and Bug Fixes

        Today, October 12, 2016, the Qt Company, through Tuukka Turunen, announced the general availability of the second maintenance release to the long-term supported Qt 5.6 open-source and cross-platform GUI toolkit.

        Qt 5.6.2 is here four months after the release of the first maintenance version, Qt 5.6.1, bringing approximately 900 improvements and bug fixes to keep Qt 5.6 a stable and reliable release for Qt application developers on GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

        “This is the second patch release to the long-term supported Qt 5.6, and there will still be more patch releases to come. While a patch release does not bring new features, it contains security fixes, error corrections and general improvements,” says Tuukka Turunen in today’s announcement.

      • KDE Applications 16.08.2 Released for KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS with over 30 Bug Fixes

        As expected, KDE announced today, October 13, 2016, the general availability of the second point release of their KDE Applications 16.08 software suite for the latest KDE Plasma 5 desktop environments.

        That’s right, we’re talking about KDE Applications 16.08.2, which comes five weeks after the first maintenance update, promising to address over 30 issues and annoyances that have been reported by users since KDE Applications 16.08.1, which launched last month on the 8th of September.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.22 Desktop Environment Gets Its First Point Release, Brings Improvements

        As expected, today, October 12, 2016, GNOME 3.22.1 has been announced by GNOME developer Frederic Peters as the first point release of the stable GNOME 3.22 desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems.

      • GNOME 3.22.1 Released

        For those on rolling-release distributions that tend to wait until the first point release before upgrading your desktop environment, GNOME 3.22.1 is now available as the first update since last month’s GNOME 3.22 debut.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Open-spec COM version of Chip SBC sells for $16

      The Next Thing unveiled a $16 COM version of the Chip SBC called the Chip Pro, plus a dev kit and a $6 SiP version of the Allwinner R8 SoC called the GR8.

      The Next Thing, which gave us the $9-and-up Chip SBC and Chip-based PocketChip handheld computer, has unveiled a $16, open-spec computer-on-module version of the Chip called the Chip Pro. The Chip Pro measures 45 x 30mm compared to 60 x 40mm for the Chip. The Pro has half the RAM of the Chip with 256MB DDR3, and only 512MB NAND flash instead of 4GB NAND, but it retains the onboard WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2.

    • Linux-based smart home hubs advance into AI
    • Smart Linux Home Hubs Mix IoT with AI

      Industrial, rather than home, applications will likely dominate the Internet of Things (IoT) market in the years to come. Yet, in the early going, the home automation market has had the greatest visibility. And it hasn’t always been pretty.

      Despite steady growth, retail sales have yet to achieve inflated expectations. Too many companies promised and failed to deliver interoperability with a growing catalog of often buggy smart home products. The lack of essential applications, complex installation, and in many cases, high prices, have also conspired against the segment.

      Yet the smart home segment appears to be rebounding with the help of maturing technology and IoT interoperability standards. There is particular interest in connecting voice-enabled AI assistants with the smart home in products such as Amazon’s Echo. Google recently announced Google Home, a major competitor to Alexa. These are being joined by open source Linux smart home voice agents like Mycroft, Silk, and ZOE (see below).

    • COM Express Type 7 module has dual 10GbE and 32 PCIe lanes

      Congatec unveiled the “Conga-B7XD,” one of the first COM Express Type 7 modules, featuring Intel “Broadwell” CPUs, 2x 10GbE Ethernet, and 32x PCI lanes.

    • Pixel Takes Raspbian to the Next Level

      A couple of weeks ago, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced they had tuned up the look and feel of Raspbian. The new buzzword created to help bring about the message that the UI had changed was dubbed “Pixel,” which stands for “Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight.” While I’m not completely sold on trying to make Pixel stand for something, what I am completely sold on is what it has brought to the table for the Raspberry Pi. With Pixel, Raspbian has the look and feel of an elegant OS and I’m beyond happy that they have put this together for the Raspberry Pi community. I’ve tried out Pixel for the past week and here’s my take to date.

    • Build a Spooky Halloween Music-Light Show with Raspberry Pi and Linux

      My son just turned 4, and he is super-excited about Halloween and zombies. So I planned to create a haunted house-like experience for him. The biggest challenge was to get audio-visual effects. I wanted spooky music synchronized with well-placed lighting.

      Instead of buying some expensive Halloween decorations, I wanted to build them myself. I also wanted to be able to control the lights over the network. I looked around and didn’t find the perfect solution, so I did what DIY people do best: I picked and chose different pieces to create what I needed.

      In this tutorial, I am going to share how you can build a board with Raspberry Pi and open source software that synchronizes music with lights for less than $20. You can place this board inside a plastic pumpkin decoration, for example, or attach LEDs to props and create spooky displays for Halloween. Be creative!

    • PocketCHIP Shipping In Mass Next Month – Makes Fun $69 Debian Linux Handheld

      It’s been a few months since Next Thing Co’s C.H.I.P. computer was successfully funded on Kickstarter as “the world’s first $9 computer” along with the PocketCHIP, a C.H.I.P. powered, battery-backed handheld with physical keyboard. Next Thing Co shipped to their backers over the summer whole in November they expects to begin shipping mass production orders on the CHIP and PocketCHIP. Over the past few weeks I’ve been playing with these low-cost ARM devices.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Huawei Teases Honor S1 smartwatch, No mention of Android Wear

          Huawei is currently teasing their new smartwatch which is to be released under the Honor brand named as the Honor S1. The Chinese manufacturer has an event scheduled for October 18 at which we expect the S1 to be unveiled. But could it be running Tizen ? Huawei are already known as stating they will not release anymore Android wear smartwatches for the remainder of this year, so this leaves either Tizen or some other proprietary OS. According to a report in the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper Huawei are currently working with Samsung to deploy the Tizen operating system in its next smartwatches.

        • Game: Gully Cricket 2016 for all Tizen Smartphones

          Hey cricket fans, Games2win brings the popular Indian gully Cricket game on mobiles for the first time and now it is on the Tizen Store. Play 85 different matches in real Indian gullies (name for an alleyway). Break neighbor’s window panes and car windshields, hit passing auto rickshaws and knock down the milkman in order to get an extra reward. Select your favorite team combination in order for you to win all matches. 3 game modes are available: Arcade Mode, Tournament Mode and Gully Ka Raja mode.

        • Game: Bubble Bash Bubble Struggle is available in Tizen Store

          The DadStudio team have added their best bubble shooting game, named “Bubble Bash Bubble Struggle”, to the Tizen store. The game promises to be one of the best bubble shooter games that has spectacular graphics and great music that is simple to operate.

        • Samsung’s 14nm wearable SoC debuts on Gear 3 watch

          Samsung unveiled a 14nm, dual Cortex-A53 “Exynos 7 Dual 7270” SoC with built-in LTE, which runs Tizen Linux on its new Gear S3 watch.

          Samsung may be suffering through one of the worst months in its history, culminating with this week’s recall of the exploding Galaxy Note 7, but the company is so diverse it can also produce some feel-good news at the same time. This week, Samsung Electronics announced the beginning of mass production of a new wearables system-on-chip called the Exynos 7 Dual 7270. Billed as the first wearables-oriented SoC fabricated with a 14-nanometer (nm) FinFET process, the Exynos 7 Dual 7270 will first appear later this year in its Gear 3 smartwatches (see farther below).

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • StormCrawler: An Open Source SDK for Building Web Crawlers with ApacheStorm

    StormCrawler (SC) is an open source SDK for building distributed web crawlers with Apache Storm. The project is under Apache license v2 and consists of a collection of reusable resources and components, written mostly in Java. It is used for scraping data from web pages, indexing with search engines or archiving, and can run on a single machine or an entire Storm cluster with exactly the same code and a minimal number of resources to implement.

  • Study: ‘Open source coders more aware of security’

    Developers of open source software are generally more aware of code security issues than developers working for the European institutions, according to a study for the European Commission and European Parliament. Developers working for the European institutions have more tools available for management and testing of code security, but using them is not yet a standard practice.

  • Begin Broadcasting with a Powerful Open Source Media Platform

    But what a lot of people don’t realize is that that it’s definitely not just a media player. You can use it to stream and broadcast video, podcasts and other media content, and that includes streaming content to mobile devices of all kinds. Some organizations are integrating these streaming features with their networks and cloud deployments, embracing shared multimedia content. Here is our collection of guides for streaming with VLC, including guides for integrating it with your organization’s publishing strategy. This newly updated collection has been expanded to include some very valuable new, free documentation.

  • AT&T (T) to Unveil ECOMP in Open Source Industry in 1Q17

    U.S. telecom giant AT&T Inc. T is moving ahead with plans to introduce its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) virtualization platform in the open source industry in the first quarter of 2017. In relation to this, the company announced that it will release all 8.5 million lines of code for ECOMP. AT&T further claims that it has plans to standardize ECOMP as one of the best automated platforms for managing virtual network functions and other software-centric network operations in the telecom industry.

    Earlier in Sep 2016, AT&T and French telecom Orange S.A. ORAN had teamed up on open source initiatives in order to accelerate the standardization of software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). In relation to this, AT&T declared Orange as its first telecom partner to test its open-source Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management, and Policy (ECOMP) platform.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

  • SaaS/Back End

    • OpenStack Newton promises better resiliency, scalability and security

      OpenStack has released the latest edition of its popular open-source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud: Newton. With broad industry support from more than 200 vendors — including Cisco, Dell, HP Enterprise, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Rackspace, Red Hat, SUSE and VMware — this version should quickly see wide deployment.

      This release features numerous new features. Perhaps the most important is simply making OpenStack easier to use. OpenStack is powerful, but it’s notoriously hard to master. While OpenStack classes are becoming more common, even with help, mastering OpenStack isn’t easy.

    • Lessons learned as an OpenStack Day organizer
    • Recognizing OpenStack Cloud Contributors–Including Those Who Don’t Code

      Although it is still a very young cloud computing platform, each week there is more evidence of how entrenched OpenStack has become in enterprises and even in smaller companies. In fact, just this week, we reported on findings that show OpenStack adoption in the telecom industry to be widespread.

      Contributors are a big part of what has driven OpenStack’s success, and as the OpenStack Summit approaches, there are several new initiatives being put in place to serve up recognition for meaningful contributors. Notably, the recognition is going to partially go to those who actually contribute code, but there will also be recognition of other forms of giving to OpenStack.

    • Veritas to Showcase Software-Defined Storage at OpenStack Summit

      With the OpenStack Summit event in Barcelona rapidly approaching, news is already arriving on some important new technologies in the OpenStack ecosystem. Veritas Technologies announced that it will showcase two of its software-defined storage solutions—HyperScale for OpenStack and Veritas Access—at the summit.

      With OpenStack quickly gaining traction as an open source software platform of choice for public and private clouds, storage management and support for enterprise production workloads is becoming critical for many enterprises.

  • Funding

    • How to Find Funding for an Open Source Project

      Ask people how to find funding for a technology project, and many of them will point to crowdsourcing sites. After all, the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, the Pebble smartwatch, and even the low-cost Raspberry Pi computer were launched after their inventors collectively raised millions of dollars from contributors. If you happen to have an open source project that you want to get funded, what are some of your options?

  • BSD

    • vmm enabled

      With a small commit, OpenBSD now has a hypervisor and virtualization in-tree. This has been a lot of hard work by Mike Larkin, Reyk Flöter, and many others.

      VMM requires certain hardware features (Intel Nehalem or later, and virtualization enabled in the BIOS) in order to provide VM services, and currently only supports OpenBSD guests.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guile 2.0.13 released [security fixes]

      We’ve just released a new version of GNU Guile, version 2.0.13, which is a security release for Guile (see the original announcement).

      This handles a significant security vulnerability affecting the live REPL, CVE-2016-8606. Due to the nature of this bug, Guile applications themselves in general aren’t vulnerable, but Guile developers are. Arbitrary Scheme code may be used to attack your system in this scenario. (A more minor security issue is also addressed, CVE-2016-8605.)

      There is also a lesson here that applies beyond Guile: the presumption that “localhost” is only accessible by local users can’t be guaranteed by modern operating system environments. If you are looking to provide local-execution-only, we recommend using Unix domain sockets or named pipes. Don’t rely on localhost plus some port.

    • Free Software Directory meeting recap for October 7th, 2016
    • The Free Software Foundation seeks nominations for the 19th annual Free Software Awards

      This award is presented annually by FSF president Richard Stallman to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software.

      Individuals who describe their projects as “open” instead of “free” are eligible nonetheless, provided the software is in fact free/libre.

      Last year, Werner Koch was recognized with the Award for the Advancement of Free Software for his work on GnuPG, the de facto tool for encrypted communication. Koch joined a prestigious list of previous winners including Sébastien Jodogne, Matthew Garrett, Dr. Fernando Perez, Yukihiro Matsumoto, Rob Savoye, John Gilmore, Wietse Venema, Harald Welte, Ted Ts’o, Andrew Tridgell, Theo de Raadt, Alan Cox, Larry Lessig, Guido van Rossum, Brian Paul, Miguel de Icaza, and Larry Wall.

  • Public Services/Government

    • NL Parliament makes open standards mandatory

      The use of open standards will be made mandatory for public administrations. A law proposal by MP Astrid Oosenbrug was adopted by the Parliament’s lower house yesterday. According to the MP, the open standards requirement will be one of several changes to the country’s administrative law, introduced next year. “The minister has earlier agreed to make open standards mandatory”, she said. “The parliament is making sure this actually happens.”

      The first public administration that should improve its use of open standards, is the Parliament’s lower house itself, MP Oosenbrug said. “Ironically, lower house published the adopted law on its website by providing a download link to a document in a proprietary format.”

    • France adds source code to list of documents covered by freedom of information laws

      French freedom of information law now treats source code as disclosable in the same way as other government records.

      The new “Digital Republic” law took effect Saturday, with its publication in France’s Official Journal.

      It adds source code to the long list of government document types that must be released in certain circumstances: dossiers, reports, studies, minutes, transcripts, statistics, instructions, memoranda, ministerial replies, correspondence, opinions, forecasts and decisions.

      But it also adds a new exception to existing rules on access to administrative documents and reuse of public information, giving officials plenty of reasons to refuse to release code on demand.

      These rules already allow officials to block the publication of documents they believe threaten national security, foreign policy, personal safety, or matters before court or under police investigation, among things.

      Now they can oppose publication if they believe it threatens the security of government information systems.

    • Midi-Pyrenees French Region remains committed to Free Software

      “Free software is one of three pillars of our digital strategy”, has confirmed Nadia Pellefigue, the vice-president of the regional council of the Midi-Pyrenees (South-West of France).

      “Free software and open source will help the regional industry and employment, because it can mobilise people”, Nadia Pellefigue said. “Public procurement has been spurred but there is still room for improvements”, she added. Cost savings, meaningful local jobs and lower dependencies on foreign firms are the three advantages of free software she listed.

      Ms Pellefigue was one of the officials at the Rencontres Régionales du Logiciel Libre (RRLL), which took place in Toulouse in October.

      Read more

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • CMPD launches ‘Open Source Data’ page to share police info with public

        Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police announced Wednesday the launch of its “Open Source Data” page on the department’s website.

        Police say the information source is a step forward in how they share information with the public and is an “opportunity for even greater accountability and transparency” with the Charlotte community. The department faced criticism in the wake of the Keith Scott shooting as protesters said CMPD should have been more transparent during their investigation of the incident.

  • Programming/Development

    • 50 tips for improving your software development game

      How do you keep improving as a software engineer? Some pieces of advice are valid no matter your experience level, but often the advice will depend on where you are in your career.

      If you’re a beginner, the best advice is to simply learn your language, frameworks, and tools top to bottom and gain more experience with a variety of different projects.

      If you’re an experienced software developer, you should constantly try to find new ways to optimize your code for readability, performance, and maintainability, and then practice making well-reasoned decisions about where to focus time and resources in your code—whether it’s testing, performance optimization, or other technical debt.

Leftovers

  • poll on mac 10.12 is broken

    When Mac OS X first launched they did so without an existing poll function. They later added poll() in Mac OS X 10.3, but we quickly discovered that it was broken (it returned a non-zero value when asked to wait for nothing) so in the curl project we added a check in configure for that and subsequently avoided using poll() in all OS X versions to and including Mac OS 10.8 (Darwin 12). The code would instead switch to the alternative solution based on select() for these platforms.

    With the release of Mac OS X 10.9 “Mavericks” in October 2013, Apple had fixed their poll() implementation and we’ve built libcurl to use it since with no issues at all. The configure script picks the correct underlying function to use.

  • How to ask why at work without upsetting anyone
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Gorilla escapes from enclosure at London Zoo

      According to the zoo’s website there are at least seven gorillas living in its Gorilla Kingdom.

      Among them is Kumbuka, a western lowland silverback, who arrived at ZSL London Zoo in early 2013 from Paignton Zoo in Devon.

      Others include Zaire, who came to London Zoo in 1984 after being born in Jersey Zoo, Mjukuu and her daughter Alika, “teenager” Effie, and Gernot, the latest addition who was born in November last year to Effie and Kumbuka.

    • ‘A famine unlike any we have ever seen’

      They survived Boko Haram. Now many of them are on the brink of starvation.

      Across the northeastern corner of this country, more than 3 million people displaced and isolated by the militants are facing one of the world’s biggest humanitarian disasters. Every day, more children are dying because there isn’t enough food. Curable illnesses are killing others. Even polio has returned.

      About a million and a half of the victims have fled the Islamist extremists and are living in makeshift camps, bombed-out buildings and host communities, receiving minimal supplies from international organizations. An additional 2 million people, according to the United Nations, are still inaccessible because of the Boko Haram fighters, who control their villages or patrol the surrounding areas.

    • Flint resident seeks grand jury probe of Gov. Snyder

      A Flint resident is requesting a one-person grand jury to investigate whether Gov. Rick Snyder committed criminal misconduct in office by using public funds to hire private attorneys representing him in criminal probes of the city’s water contamination crisis.

      Attorney Mark Brewer, former chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, filed a complaint late Tuesday in Ingham County Circuit Court on behalf of Keri Webber, who said members of her family have suffered health complications from lead exposure and Legionnaires’ disease.

      Webber told The Detroit News she is “appalled” that taxpayers are being forced to fund the governor’s legal team while Flint residents pay medical bills and still cannot drink their municipal water without a filter. She personally uses only bottled water.

    • Big soda is buying off big health orgs to keep profits and Americans fat

      Under the guise of sweet charitable giving, soda makers are handing out millions to big name health organizations so that the groups stay quiet about health issues that threaten to slim down drink profits—not to mention Americans themselves—a new study suggests.

      Between 2011 and 2015, Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo sponsored 96 national health organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Society for Nutrition, researchers report in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Meanwhile, lobbyists for the beverage makers successfully campaigned against nearly 20 proposed state and federal regulations aimed at protecting public health, such as improvements to nutrition labeling and soda taxes.

      The pop makers’ efforts to defeat public health policies casts doubt on the sincerity of their charitable giving to health groups. But the sponsorships alone are concerning, according to the study authors, Daniel Aaron and Michael Siegel of Boston University. Earlier studies have found that “sponsorships of health organizations can have a nefarious impact on public health,” they wrote, noting the efforts of Big Tobacco decades ago. Sponsors may directly or indirectly—through feelings of indebtedness—get an organization to take on their interests. As such, the Federal Trade Commission considers sponsorships a marketing tool. All in all, Aaron and Siegel conclude that the soda sponsorships “are likely to serve marketing functions, such as to dampen health groups’ support of legislation that would reduce soda consumption and improve soda companies’ public image,” they wrote.

    • DEA reverses decision on kratom; drug stays legal for now

      The Drug Enforcement Administration is withdrawing its plan to ban the opioid-like herbal drug kratom—at least for now—according to a preliminary withdrawal notice posted today.

      The notice, which will appear in the Federal Registry Thursday, nixes the agency’s emergency decision in late August to list kratom as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, the most restrictive category that also includes heroin and LSD. The DEA deemed the plant’s use an urgent threat to public health—based on concern that it could be abused and addictive—and set the date for a ban as early as September 30. But the abrupt plan drew intense backlash from public health experts, lawmakers, and thousands of devoted users, who argue that the currently unregulated herbal supplement treats chronic pain and prevents deadly opioid addictions.

      After the initial notice, kratom advocates swiftly organized protests, collected more than 140,000 petition signatures, and convinced more than 50 Congress members to sign letters urging the DEA to reverse course. One of the letters highlighted the ongoing, federally funded research looking at using kratom for opioid withdrawal. That research would likely be shut down by a Schedule I listing.

    • Netherlands may extend assisted dying to those who feel ‘life is complete’

      The Dutch government intends to draft a law that would legalise assisted suicide for people who feel they have “completed life” but are not necessarily terminally ill.

      The Netherlands was the first country to legalise euthanasia, in 2002, but only for patients who were considered to be suffering unbearable pain with no hope of a cure.

      But in a letter to parliament on Wednesday, the health and justice ministers said that people who “have a well-considered opinion that their life is complete, must, under strict and careful criteria, be allowed to finish that life in a manner dignified for them”.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Just Too Much Administration – Breaking JEA, PowerShell’s New Security Barrier

      Just Enough Administration (JEA) is a new Windows 10/Server 2016 feature to create granular least privilege policies by granting specific administrative privileges to users, defined by built-in and script-defined PowerShell cmdlets. Microsoft’s documentation claimed JEA was a security boundary so effective you did not need to worry about an attacker stealing and misusing the credentials of a JEA user.

      But every JEA role capability example I found Microsoft had published had vulnerabilities that could be exploited to obtain complete system administrative rights, most of them immediately, reliably, and without requiring any special configuration. I find it hard to believe most custom role capabilities created by system administrators in the wild are going to be more secure than these, given the track record of the functionally similar features in Linux, the non-obvious nature of vulnerabilities, and the importance of dangerous cmdlets to routine system troubleshooting and maintenance.

      I recommended Microsoft invert what their JEA articles and documentation said about security. Instead of leading with statements that JEA was a security barrier, users with JEA rights should not be considered administrators, and their credentials do not need to be protected like real administrators with a note that this may not be the case if you are not careful; Microsoft’s JEA documentation should lead with statements that JEA should not be treated like a security barrier and users with JEA rights and their credentials should be tightly controlled exactly like normal administrators unless the role capabilities have been strictly audited by security professionals. Additionally, the README files and comments of their example role capabilities should start with stern reminders of this.

    • Thousands of internet-connected devices are a security disaster in the making

      The first problem: many IoT devices, like those cameras, are consumer-oriented, which means their owners don’t have a security-conscious IT department. “Individuals do not have the purchasing power of a large corporation,” says John Dickson, principal of Denim Group, “so they cannot demand security features or privacy protections that a large corporation can of an a product or software vendor.”

      PC Pitstop Vice President of Cyber Security Dodi Glenn points out that many IoT purchasers neglect basic security measures, failing to change passwords from obvious defaults. And even if they did want to secure their devices, there are limits to what they can do: “You can’t secure these devices with antivirus applications.”

    • A SSHowDowN in security: IoT devices enslaved through 12 year old flaw

      In what researchers call the “Internet of Unpatchable Things,” a 12-year-old security flaw is being exploited by attackers in a recent spate of SSHowDowN Proxy attacks.

      The Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging market full of Wi-Fi and networked devices including routers, home security systems, and lighting products. While the idea of making your home more efficient and automating processes is an appealing one, unfortunately, vendors en masse are considering security as an afterthought for thousands of devices now in our homes, leaving our data vulnerable.

    • Microsoft was unable to meaningfully improve the software

      Documents in a class-action lawsuit against Ford and its original MyFord Touch in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system reveal that the company’s engineers and even its top executive were frustrated with the problematic technology.

      The documents from the 2013 lawsuit show Ford engineers believed the IVI, which was powered by the SYNC operating system launched in 2010, might be “unsaleable” and even described a later upgrade as a “polished turd,” according to a report in the Detroit News, which was confirmed by Computerworld.

      The SYNC OS was originally powered by Microsoft software. Microsoft continued releasing software revisions it knew were defective, according to the lawsuit.

      “In the spring of 2011, Ford hired Microsoft to oversee revisions, and hopefully the improvement, of the [software]. But … Microsoft was unable to meaningfully improve the software, and Ford continued releasing revised software that it knew was still defective,” the lawsuit states.

      Last week, a U.S. District Court judge certified the case as a class action.

    • Senator wants nationwide, all-mail voting to counter election hacks

      “It’s not a question of if you’re going to get hacked—it’s when you’re going to get hacked.”

      Those were the words of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam as he sought to assure investors last week that the company is still interested in purchasing Yahoo despite the massive data breach of Yahoo consumer accounts.

      Whether McAdam’s words ring true for the hodgepodge of election systems across the US is anybody’s guess. But in the wake of the Obama administration’s announcement that the Russian government directed hacks on the Democratic National Committee and other institutions to influence US elections, a senator from Oregon says the nation should conduct its elections like his home state does: all-mail voting.

    • SourceClear Adds Atlassian Stack to Its Open Source Security Platform

      Open source security company SourceClear said it is integrating Atlassian’s suite of developer tools including Bitbucket Pipelines, JIRA Server, JIRA Cloud, and Bamboo into the company’s open source platform. The integration will result in automated security checks being a part of the developer workflow before they ship code.

    • Why You Should Seriously Care About SSH User Keys

      A recent film chronicled the downfall of the US subprime home loan market, and its parallels to the current state of Secure Shell (SSH) protocol and SSH user keys were astonishing.

    • 5900 online stores found skimming [analysis]

      Online card skimming is up 69% since Nov 2015

      [...]

      In short: hackers gain access to a store’s source code using various unpatched software flaws. Once a store is under control of a perpetrator, a (Javascript) wiretap is installed that funnels live payment data to an off-shore collection server (mostly in Russia). This wiretap operates transparently for customers and the merchant. Skimmed credit cards are then sold on the dark web for the going rate of $30 per card .

  • Defence/Aggression

    • U.S. Spent $14.6 Million Taxpayer Dollars on Failed Hospital in Afghanistan

      The war in Afghanistan is ready to enter its 16th year (if it was a kid it’s be ready to start driving) and by most definitions is pretty much a bust.

      Despite that, both mainstream candidates have made it clear in public statements they intend to continue pouring money — and lives — into that suppurating sore of American foreign policy. Despite that, there has been no mention of the war in two debates.

      Anyway, while we worry a lot about who call who naughty names in the final presidential debate, can you check around where you live and let me know if your town could use a new hospital, all paid for by someone else’s tax dollars, you know, free to you? ‘Cause that’s the deal Afghanistan got from the USG, only even that turned into a clusterfutz when no one paid much attention to how the facility was thrown together.

    • 5 Shady Things The USSR Did That You Can’t Even Exaggerate

      Can you believe that both poor people and petty criminals had the unbelievable gall to exist in 1930s Russia? If people were to see all those undesirables, why, they might think that communism wasn’t actually a perfect utopia. Something had to be done, and seeing as Soylent Green hadn’t yet been invented, Stalin decided on the next best thing: Cannibal Island.

      Anyone who tried to escape was hunted for sport by the soldiers. There were no shelters or animals on the island, little vegetation, and absolutely no food. It didn’t take long for the prisoners to start eating the dead, and then helping the living become the dead a bit faster so they could eat them too. Here’s a detailed account of a girl stranded on the island who suffered this very fate, but you shouldn’t read it without first looking at pictures of kittens for an hour.

    • Yemen war: ‘My children are starving to death’

      In a shantytown in a deserted area of Yemen’s al-Tohaita district, six-year-old Ahmed Abdullah Ali and his 13 siblings often go to sleep hungry.

      The effects of malnutrition have been the most dramatic on young Ahmed, whose small, frail body looks much younger than his age.

      “I get 500 Yemeni rials [$2] per day, and I have 14 children, so I can hardly provide them with bread, tea and goat’s milk to drink,” the boy’s father, Abdullah Ali, told Al Jazeera.

      “They are suffering from malnutrition. Always, they need food.”

      Many residents of this sparsely populated area, located in the western Hodeidah province, earn some income by breeding animals, but it is not enough to make a living.

    • Obama Promises ‘Proportional’ Response To Russian Hacking, Ignores That We Started The Fight

      Again though, the very idea that the United States would be “responding” is fundamentally incorrect. We’ve been engaged in nation state hacking and election fiddling for decades, happily hacking the planet for almost as long as the internet has existed. We use submarines as underwater hacking platforms, the U.S. government and its laundry list of contractors routinely hacking and fiddling with international elections and destroying reputations when and if it’s convenient to our global business interests. Our behavior in 1970s South America giving tech support to Operation Condor is the dictionary definition of villainy.

      Yet somehow, once countries began hacking us back, we responded with indignant and hypocritical pouting and hand-wringing. But the reality is we are not some unique, special snowflake on the moral high ground in this equation: we’ve historically been the bully, and nationalism all too often blinds us to this fact. Long a nation driven to war by the weakest of supporting evidence, hacking presents those in power with a wonderful, nebulous new enemy, useful in justifying awful legislation, increased domestic surveillance authority, and any other bad idea that can be shoe-horned into the “because… cybersecurity” narrative.

      And as we’re witnessing in great detail, hacking has played a starring role in this nightmarish election, with Donald Trump giving every indication he intends to only ramp up nation state hacking as a core tenet of his idiocracy, and Hillary Clinton lumping Russia, hackers, and WikiLeaks into one giant, amorphous and villainous amoeba to help distract us from what leaked information might actually say about the sorry state of the republic.

    • The long history of the U.S. interfering with elections elsewhere

      One of the more alarming narratives of the 2016 U.S. election campaign is that of the Kremlin’s apparent meddling. Last week, the United States formally accused the Russian government of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and the individual accounts of prominent Washington insiders.

      The hacks, in part leaked by WikiLeaks, have led to loud declarations that Moscow is eager for the victory of Republican nominee Donald Trump, whose rhetoric has unsettled Washington’s traditional European allies and even thrown the future of NATO — Russia’s bête noire — into doubt.

      Leading Russian officials have balked at the Obama administration’s claim. In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the suggestion of interference as “ridiculous,” though he said it was “flattering” that Washington would point the finger at Moscow. At a time of pronounced regional tensions in the Middle East and elsewhere, there’s no love lost between Kremlin officials and their American counterparts.

      To be sure, there’s a much larger context behind today’s bluster. As my colleague Andrew Roth notes, whatever their government’s alleged actions in 2016, Russia’s leaders enjoy casting aspersions on the American democratic process. And, in recent years, they have also bristled at perceived U.S. meddling in the politics of countries on Russia’s borders, most notably in Ukraine.

    • Hillary Clinton Acknowledges Saudi Terror Financing in Hacked Email, Hinting at Tougher Approach

      Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have maintained their alliance for seven decades despite disagreements over oil prices, Israel, and, more recently, the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Iran.

      Judging by a 2014 email purportedly written by Hillary Clinton to John Podesta, her current campaign chairman, and published by WikiLeaks, there have been serious tensions over Saudi Arabia’s role in the Syria conflict as well. In the midst of a nine-point overview of U.S. strategy in the Middle East, Clinton wrote:

      “… we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

      Clinton’s private comments differ from the public line taken by members of the Obama administration. Speaking at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York, John Brennan, the director of the CIA, recently called the Saudis “among our very best counterterrorism partners globally.” Last month, Obama, who long ago referred to Saudi Arabia as a “so-called” ally, acted to protect the Saudi government from litigation by vetoing the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which would allow 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government for damages in U.S. federal court. Congress overturned Obama’s veto, leaving the door open for Saudi Arabia to be named as a defendant in future lawsuits.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Questioning of Julian Assange by Swedish authorities postponed

      The questioning of Julian Assange by Swedish prosecutors at the Ecuadorean embassy in London has been postponed until mid-November.

      Ecuador’s attorney general said on Wednesday that the long-awaited interview, due to take place on Monday, would be delayed until 14 November to ensure that Assange’s legal team could attend.

      Assange has been confined to the embassy since June 2012, when he sought and was granted asylum by Ecuador. He is wanted for questioning by Sweden over an allegation of rape in August 2010, which he denies. The Australian WikiLeaks founder has said he fears he could be transferred to the US to face potential espionage charges arising from WikiLeaks’ publishing activities.

    • The State Department Has Taken Over Three Years On A FOIA Request About How Long It Takes To Process FOIA Requests

      Back in 2013, a young Shawn Musgrave filed a FOIA request with the State Department for its cables regarding former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. To his surprise, he was given an estimated completion date (ECD) of December 2015 — a full 18 months of processing time.

      Curious about where the agency got that oddly specific number from — and with plenty of time on his hands — Shawn filed a follow-up request for any documentation outlining State’s methodology for estimating FOIA completion dates. This is on August 5th, 2013, and he gets an acknowledgement back August 8th, just three days later.

    • On WikiLeaks, Journalism, and Privacy: Reporting on the Podesta Archive is an Easy Call

      For years, WikiLeaks has been publishing massive troves of documents online – usually taken without authorization from powerful institutions and then given to the group to publish – while news outlets report on their relevant content. In some instances, these news outlets work in direct partnership with WikiLeaks – as the New York Times and the Guardian, among others, did when jointly publishing the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and U.S. diplomatic cables – while other times media outlets simply review the archives published by WikiLeaks and then report on what they deem newsworthy.

      WikiLeaks has always been somewhat controversial but reaction has greatly intensified this year because many of their most significant leaks have had an impact on the U.S. presidential election and, in particular, have focused on Democrats. As a result, Republicans who long vilified them as a grave national security threat have become their biggest fans (“I love WikiLeaks,” Donald Trump gushed last night, even though he previously called for Edward Snowden to be executed), while Democrats who cheered them for their mass leaks about Bush-era war crimes now scorn them as an evil espionage tool of the Kremlin.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A Mega-Drought Is Coming to America’s Southwest

      Between 1545 and 1548, an epidemic swept through the indigenous people of Mexico that is unlike anything else described in the medical literature. People bled from their face while suffering high fevers, black tongue, vertigo, and severe abdominal pain. Large nodules sometimes appeared behind their ears, which then spread to cover the rest of their face. After several days of hemorrhage, most who had been infected died.

      The disease was named cocoliztli, after the Nahautl word for “pest.” By contemporary population estimates, cocoliztli killed 15 million people in the 1540s alone—about 80 percent of the local population. On a demographic basis, it was worse than either the Black Death or the Plague of Justinian. For several centuries, its origin remained a mystery.

    • What if nature, like corporations, had the rights of a person?

      In recent years, the US supreme court has solidified the concept of corporate personhood. Following rulings in such cases as Hobby Lobby and Citizens United, US law has established that companies are, like people, entitled to certain rights and protections.

      But that’s not the only instance of extending legal rights to nonhuman entities. New Zealand took a radically different approach in 2014 with the Te Urewera Act which granted an 821-square-mile forest the legal status of a person. The forest is sacred to the Tūhoe people, an indigenous group of the Maori. For them Te Urewera is an ancient and ancestral homeland that breathes life into their culture. The forest is also a living ancestor. The Te Urewera Act concludes that “Te Urewera has an identity in and of itself” and thus must be its own entity with “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person”. Te Urewera holds title to itself.

      Although this legal approach is unique to New Zealand, the underlying reason for it is not. Over the last 15 years I have documented similar cultural expressions by Native Americans about their traditional, sacred places. As an anthropologist, this research has often pushed me to search for an answer to the profound question: What does it mean for nature to be a person?

      A majestic mountain sits not far north-west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Like a low triangle, with long gentle slopes, Mount Taylor is clothed in rich forests that appear a velvety charcoal-blue from the distance. Its bald summit, more than 11,000 feet high, is often blanketed in snow – a reminder of the blessing of water, when seen from the blazing desert below.

  • Finance

    • Outsourced IT workers ask Feinstein for help, get form letter in return

      A University of California IT employee whose job is being outsourced to India recently wrote Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for help.

      Feinstein’s office sent back a letter addressing manufacturing job losses, not IT, and offered the worker no assistance.

      The employee is part of a group of 50 IT workers and another 30 contractors facing layoffs after the university hired an offshore outsourcing firm. The firm, India-based HCL, won a contract to manage infrastructure services.

      That contract is worth about $50 million over five years and can be leveraged by other university campuses — meaning they could also bring in HCL if they so choose.

      The affected IT employees, who work at the school’s San Francisco (UCSF) campus, are slated to lose their jobs in February and say they will be training foreign replacements.

    • What Wells Fargo knew

      A Wells Fargo bank manager tried to warn the head of the company’s regional banking unit of an improperly created customer account in January 2006, five years earlier than the bank has said its board first learned of abuses at its branches.

      In recent months, the discovery of as many as 2 million improperly created accounts has widened into a public scandal for Wells Fargo, one of the country’s largest banks by assets. Some lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Roger Williams of Texas, have called for CEO John Stumpf to step down. A letter written in 2005 and obtained by VICE News details unethical practices that occurred at Washington state branches of the bank, suggesting the conduct began years before previously understood.

    • Ex-Wells Fargo worker: Intimidation included no bathroom breaks

      Harassment, intimidation, even bathroom breaks denied. That’s some of the “unconscionable behavior” a former Wells Fargo worker drove five hours to confront a bank executive about.

      Nathan Todd Davis said at a California State Assembly hearing on the Wells Fargo (WFC) fake account scandal that he filed 50 ethics complaints during his decade of working at Wells Fargo — but nothing was ever done.

      “I’ve been harassed, intimidated, written up and denied bathroom breaks,” said Davis, who drove 350 miles from his home in Lodi, California, to speak at the hearing.

    • Ericsson shares in free fall on stock market

      Ericsson shares, which have lost more than half their value in the last 18 months, plunged around 16-18 percent shortly after trading opened in Stockholm, as the company’s warning that its third-quarter profits would significicantly miss target sent shockwaves through the Swedish business community.

      “The forecasts and expectations on Ericsson ahead of the report were low, really low. That they would surprise on the negative side, that comes as a big surprise to me. Especially that it is by so much,” Joakim Bornold, savings economist at Nordnet, told the TT newswire.

      Sales sunk 14 percent between July and September compared to the same period a year earlier, to 51.1 billion kronor ($5.8 billion), Ericsson said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

      Operating income is expected to be 300 million kronor for the third quarter, compared to 5.1 billion in the third quarter of 2015, it said, citing poor demand in developing markets.

    • Facebook tells IRS it won’t pay billions over Irish tax maneuver

      Apple isn’t alone in taking advantage of the US tax system. Facebook also established an overseas subsidiary in Ireland largely for tax purposes—using what is known as the “Double Irish” technique—and named Dublin its base for business outside North America. But the Internal Revenue Service claims Facebook undervalued the move, and the IRS wants the California company to pay $1.7 million in taxes, plus interest, for the year 2010 and possibly subsequent years—an amount that Facebook says could reach billions.

      Facebook, however, told the IRS late Tuesday in a court filing that it shouldn’t have to pay. It’s a tax fight likely to fuel the debate over tax loopholes, which have become a hot-button topic in the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

      The social-networking site asked a US Tax Court to reverse the IRS’ conclusion that Facebook undervalued property when it was transferred to Facebook Ireland Holdings Ltd. Not including intellectual property, Facebook assumed a value of roughly $5.8 billion; the IRS claimed nearly $14 billion.

    • The four tensions of Brexit

      The story of Brexit can be set out as four tensions.

      How these tensions are resolved (or not resolved) will determine how (and if) Brexit plays out.

    • German trade bodies back Angela Merkel’s tough stance over Brexit

      Two of the largest German trade associations have come out in support of Angela Merkel taking a firm stance during negotiations over Britain’s exit from the EU, even if it comes at a short-term cost.

      Speaking at a briefing in Brussels, the presidents of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) said that granting Britain an opt-out from the four freedoms – free movement of goods, services, capital and persons – could amount to the “beginning of the end” of the single market.

      “You cannot say: ‘I take part on three counts but not on the fourth,’” said the DIHK’s Eric Schweitzer. Untangling the unity of the four freedoms, he argued, “creates the risk that the whole of Europe would fall apart”.

      “The economic consequences would be dramatic. The single market has played an important part in us having growth and prosperity in Europe.”

      Hans Peter Wollseifer, the president of the ZDH, said he agreed with his counterpart from an economic point of view, but warned that the rest of Europe should not let the UK “drift off too far”. The EU had to learn from Brexit, Wollseifer said, and “maybe be a bit more restrained in passing laws and regulations that affect even the smallest business”.

    • Why the Article 50 case may be the most important constitutional case for a generation

      13th October 2016

      Today at the High Court in London the hearing begins of the challenge to the government about whether it can trigger Article 50 instead of Parliament.

      The case is not about whether Article 50 is triggered or not. The case is instead about who makes the decision. Is the decision to be made by the government or by Parliament?

      As a matter of law, the answer is not clear.

      There are outstanding lawyers who in good faith disagree.

      Because there is no exact precedent, the arguments on both sides draw on first principles.

      Nobody can predict with certainty which way the court will go.

      And whichever way the court goes, there will (no doubt) be a “leap-frog” appeal to the Supreme Court, where the case will probably be joined to the similar Northern Irish case (which also covers the Good Friday Agreement). I understand the Scottish government may also intervene at the appeal stage.

      The Supreme Court hearing may take place as early as December, and so this may be over by Christmas. We may know before the end of the year whether, as a matter of domestic law, it is for the government or Parliament to decide.

    • Hacked Emails Show Hillary Clinton Repeatedly Praised Wal-Mart in Paid Speeches

      When a group of labor activists demanded in 2014 that Hillary Clinton use her influence with Wal-Mart — where she sat on the board of directors for six years — to raise workers’ wages, Clinton’s top aides turned to Wal-Mart’s former top lobbyist for advice on how to respond.

      And in a series of highly paid appearances after leaving the State Department, Clinton praised the company’s practices and spoke fondly of its founder in speeches that were kept secret from the public.

      Wal-Mart, America’s largest private employer, has become a top target of progressives because of its aggressive union-busting and notoriously low wages and lack of benefits. But emails documenting a continued warm relationship between Clinton and the massive retailer are among thousands posted by Wikileaks over the past week from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s gmail account.

      One emailed document is an 80-page list prepared by Clinton’s own research department, detailing the most potentially damaging quotes from the secret speeches. The last four pages are devoted to Wal-Mart.

    • German High Court Paves Way For Government To Sign CETA, Hands Down Conditions

      The German Constitutional Court in a fast-track decision today rejected the granting of emergency injunctions against a German signature of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) of Europe with Canada.

      Four groups with a total of close to 200,000 people (2 BvR 1368/16, 2 BvR 1444/16, 2 BvR 1823/16, 2 BvR 1482/16, 2 BvE 3/16) (English version here) had appealed to the highest German court to stop their government from signing the free trade deal with Canada at a meeting of the European Council of trade ministers on 18 October.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Physically Attacked by Donald Trump – a PEOPLE Writer’s Own Harrowing Story

      In December 2005, PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff went to Mar-a-Lago to interview Donald and Melania Trump. What she says happened next left her badly shaken. Reached for comment, a spokeswoman for Trump said, “This never happened. There is no merit or veracity to this fabricated story.” What follows is Stoynoff’s account.

      “Just for the record,” Anderson Cooper asked Donald Trump, during the presidential debate last Sunday, “are you saying … that you did not actually kiss women without (their) consent?”

      “I have not,” Trump insisted.

      I remember it differently.

      In the early 2000s, I was assigned the Trump beat for PEOPLE magazine. For years I reported on all things Donald.

      I tracked his hit show The Apprentice, attended his wedding to Melania Knauss and roamed the halls of his lavish Trump Tower abode. Melania was kind and sweet during our many chats, and Donald was as bombastic and entertaining as you would expect. We had a very friendly, professional relationship.

      Then, in December 2005, around the time Trump had his now infamous conversation with Billy Bush, I traveled to Mar-a-Lago to interview the couple for a first-wedding-anniversary feature story.

    • Official Who Developed Superdelegate System Offered Clinton Campaign Plan To Dupe Sanders Supporters

      Mark Siegel, a former Democratic Party official, played a key role in drafting the superdelegate provisions, which the party adopted in response to what happened with George McGovern at the 1972 convention. In a Clinton campaign email released by WikiLeaks, he offers the campaign a plan to dupe Bernie Sanders supporters into feeling like they “won” a major superdelegate “reform” at the Democratic National Convention.

      As Siegel highlights, the Democratic Party establishment went against the liberal wing of the party and added party officials. The Democratic National Committee voted on delegate selection rules and made themselves “automatic delegates.”

      “Bernie and his people have been bitching about super delegates and the huge percentage that have come out for Hillary,” Siegel writes. “Since the original idea was to bring our elected officials to the convention ex-officio, because of the offices and the constituencies they represent, why not throw Bernie a bone and reduce the super delegates in the future to the original draft of members of the House and Senate, governors and big city mayors, eliminating the DNC members who are not state chairs or vice-chairs?”

    • Clinton answers written questions under penalty of perjury in email lawsuit

      Hillary Clinton submitted formal answers under penalty of perjury on Thursday about her use of a private email server, saying 20 times that she did not recall the requested information or related discussions, while also asserting that no one ever warned her that the practice could run afoul of laws on preserving federal records.

      “Secretary Clinton states that she does not recall being advised, cautioned, or warned, she does not recall that it was ever suggested to her, and she does not recall participating in any communication, conversation, or meeting in which it was discussed that her use of a clintonemail.com e-mail account to conduct official State Department business conflicted with or violated federal recordkeeping laws,” lawyers for Clinton wrote.

    • If Trump leaks are OK and Clinton leaks aren’t, there’s a problem

      The 2016 presidential campaign isn’t turning out to be the Facebook election, as some people have dubbed it. More than anything else, it’s now the Election Dominated By Leaks.

      In the final month of the race, the Clinton and Trump campaigns’ main attack points now revolve around several major leaks that have put their opposing candidate on the defensive. Both campaigns or their supporters have been actively encouraging leaks about the other side, while claiming leaks involving them are either illegitimate or illegal.

      Either way, it’s yet another example of why leaks are very much in the public interest when they can expose how presidential candidates act behind closed doors – and the motivations of the leakers shouldn’t prevent news organizations from reporting on them.

    • What the WikiLeaks Emails Say About Clinton

      “There is no other Donald Trump,” Hillary Clinton likes to say about her opponent. “This is it.”

      The events of the last two weeks—Trump’s two debate performances, the release of his bawdy comments about women in a 2005 video clip, his lashing out against Republicans who are deserting him—have proven Clinton correct on that count.

      But the leak of thousands of hacked email exchanges among Clinton’s top advisers suggest the same can be said about her—at least in her role as a public figure. They capture a candidate, and a campaign, that seems in private exactly as cautious, calculating, and politically flexible as they appeared to be in public. The Clinton campaign underestimated and then fretted about rival candidate Bernie Sanders, worried about Joe Biden entering the primary race and Elizabeth Warren endorsing her opponent, plotted endlessly about managing Clinton’s image in the press, took advantage of its close ties to the Obama administration and the hierarchy of the Democratic Party, and took public positions to the left of comments Clinton herself made during private paid speeches to Wall Street firms.

    • Before Campaign Ever Launched, Clinton Planned To Support TPP If Elected

      An email published by WikiLeaks from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign shows staff carefully tailored her remarks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and fast-track negotiating authority for the trade deal so she could eventually support them if elected president.

      The email comes from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s account, which he says was hacked.

      In March 2015, before she officially launched her campaign, Dan Schwerin, who is a director of speechwriting, sent out a draft letter of planned remarks on trade.

      “The idea here is to use this to lay out her thinking on TPA & TPP ahead of action on the Hill and a joint letter by all the former secretaries of state and defense,” Schwerin stated. “This draft assumes that she’s ultimately going to support both TPA and TPP.”

      “It focuses on what needs to happen to produce a positive result with TPP, and casts support for TPA [fast-track] as one of those steps. It also says that we should walk away if the final agreement doesn’t meet the test of creating more jobs than it displaces, helping the middle class, and strengthening our national security,” Schwerin added.

      Schwerin maintained the remarks spoke directly to “prominent concerns” of labor and Democrats on Capitol Hill, including concerns expressed by Senator Elizabeth Warren.

    • Donald Trump was accused of sexual harassment, assault, or inappropriate behavior 11 times in the past 24 hours

      It was a long Wednesday for Donald Trump. Oct. 12 started off with a revelation from a former Miss Teen USA that Donald Trump would walk in on the show’s teenage contestants while they were changing (something he had actually bragged about doing to Howard Stern), included a series of sexual assault accusations from several different women, and ended with a cringe-worthy video of him joking about dating a young girl.

      These are not the first times Trump has been accused of sexual harassment, assault, or inappropriate behavior.

    • More allegations, questionable Trump comments on women surface

      As Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign tries to move past a recently released 2005 tape of his lewd remarks about women, more video of similar comments made by Trump is surfacing.

      In an “Entertainment Tonight” Christmas feature in 1992, Trump looked at a group of young girls and said he would be dating one of them in ten years. At the time, Trump would have been 46 years old.

    • FBI Source: Majority Of Staff On Clinton Case Wanted Her Prosecuted

      The decision at the FBI to not prosecute Hillary Clinton over her mishandling of classified information was solely from the top down, a source told Fox News.

      “No trial level attorney agreed, no agent working the case agreed, with the decision not to prosecute — it was a top-down decision,” said the source who is described as an official close to the Clinton case.

    • “High agitated” Trump shouts at NYT reporter asking him about sex assault claims: “You are a disgusting human being”

      Jessica Leeds, 74, a retired businesswoman, says Trump sexually assaulted her on a plane flight in the early 1980s, forcing her to change seats: “He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”

      Rachel Crooks, then a 22-year-old receptionist working in Trump Tower, says he forced a kiss on her in 2005: “It was so inappropriate,” Ms. Crooks recalled in an interview. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.”

    • Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately

      Donald J. Trump was emphatic in the second presidential debate: Yes, he had boasted about kissing women without permission and grabbing their genitals. But he had never actually done those things, he said.

      “No,” he declared under questioning on Sunday evening, “I have not.”

      At that moment, sitting at home in Manhattan, Jessica Leeds, 74, felt he was lying to her face. “I wanted to punch the screen,” she said in an interview in her apartment.

      More than three decades ago, when she was a traveling businesswoman at a paper company, Ms. Leeds said, she sat beside Mr. Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York. They had never met before.

      About 45 minutes after takeoff, she recalled, Mr. Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her.

    • Democrats Say WikiLeaks Is a Russian Front, U.S. Intelligence Isn’t So Sure

      The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee are publicly accusing WikiLeaks of being a front for the Russian government and an ally in efforts to help elect Donald Trump, but U.S. intelligence officials aren’t so sure.

      On Monday, Clinton’s spokesman called WikiLeaks “a propaganda arm” of the Kremlin and accused the site’s founder, Julian Assange, of “colluding with [the] Russian government to help Trump” by leaking embarrassing emails taken from the Democratic National Committee and from the account of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. That statement went further than an assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies and the Homeland Security Department last week that stopped short of explicitly naming WikiLeaks as a Russian agent. (It also made no mention of Trump or his campaign.)

      Then, on Tuesday, the interim chair of the DNC tied WikiLeaks to an ongoing campaign to meddle with the U.S. elections. “Our Intelligence Community has made it clear that the Russian government is responsible for the cyberattacks aimed at interfering with our election, and that WikiLeaks is part of that effort,” Donna Brazile said in a statement.

    • WikiLeaks pumps out Clinton emails

      WikiLeaks is trying to take an active role in the presidential election, even as federal intelligence officials are openly speculating that the group has become a mouthpiece for the Russian government.

      The anti-secrecy organization on Tuesday released its third cache of material allegedly stolen from the email account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

    • Clinton campaign dubs WikiLeaks ‘Russian propaganda’ after latest hack

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign fired back on Tuesday as WikiLeaks released a new tranche of hacked emails from the account of its chairman, John Podesta, dubbing the website a “propaganda arm of the Russian government” seeking to help elect the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

      The latest batch of more than 2,000 emails, disclosed on Monday, offered a glimpse into the inner workings of the Clinton campaign. They included insights on multiple fronts, such as a lack of preparedness for Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign, concerns raised by Chelsea Clinton over potential conflicts of interest for the family’s foundation, and efforts by aides on how to best frame the former secretary of state’s second bid for the White House.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Upload Filtering Mandate Would Shred European Copyright Safe Harbor
    • The Weird Facebook Politics of Dakota Pipeline Protests

      Yesterday, on Indigenous People’s Day, a group of 27 protesters was arrested at a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) site in North Dakota. One of these people was actress Shailene Woodley, who is known for her role in Divergent, as well as for being a general celebrity.

      Protesters and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have been peacefully opposing the pipeline over land and water risks, as well as its disturbance of sacred sites. Last month, a federal judge overturned the tribe’s request for an injunction to halt the crude oil pipeline’s construction.

    • Facebook deactivates mother’s account after she posts photo of her breastfeeding stranger’s child

      Facebook disabled a mother’s account after she posted a photo of her breastfeeding a stranger’s child with her own.

      Rebecca Wanosik, from Missouri, uploaded the picture online showing how she helped a mother she had never met after recieving a text message from a friend.

      The baby in question had only ever been breast fed and was refusing a bottle after her mother had been hospitalised.

    • Facebook has repeatedly trended fake news since firing its human editors

      The Megyn Kelly incident was supposed to be an anomaly. An unfortunate one-off. A bit of (very public, embarrassing) bad luck. But in the six weeks since Facebook revamped its Trending system — and a hoax about the Fox News Channel star subsequently trended — the site has repeatedly promoted “news” stories that are actually works of fiction.

      As part of a larger audit of Facebook’s Trending topics, the Intersect logged every news story that trended across four accounts during the workdays from Aug. 31 to Sept. 22. During that time, we uncovered five trending stories that were indisputably fake and three that were profoundly inaccurate. On top of that, we found that news releases, blog posts from sites such as Medium and links to online stores such as iTunes regularly trended. Facebook declined to comment about Trending on the record.

      “I’m not at all surprised how many fake stories have trended,” one former member of the team that used to oversee Trending told the Post. “It was beyond predictable by anyone who spent time with the actual functionality of the product, not just the code.” (The team member, who had signed a nondisclosure agreement with Facebook, spoke on the condition of anonymity.)

    • Facebook still has a nipple problem

      Facebook has come under criticism for censoring a news article on mammograms due to an image of a woman’s exposed breast. The company apologized for removing the post and restored it late Tuesday, though the incident adds to an ongoing controversy over a moderation policy that some have described as sexist.

      The article, published Tuesday by Les Décodeurs, a data-focused website run by the French newspaper Le Monde, reported on a recent government initiative to overhaul mammogram screening in France. Its lead image showed a woman undergoing a mammogram, with one of her nipples exposed. Facebook removed the article shortly after it was posted to Les Décodeurs’ page, apparently because the image of a nipple violated the company’s community standards.

    • We must have the freedom to mock Islam

      How did mocking Islam become the great speechcrime of our times? Louis Smith, the gymnast, is the latest to fall foul of the weird new rule against ridiculing Islam. A leaked video shows Smith laughing as his fellow gymnast, Luke Carson, pretends to pray and chants ‘Allahu Akbar’. Smith says something derogatory about the belief in ‘60 virgins’ (he means 72 virgins). Following a firestorm online, and the launch of an investigation by British Gymnastics, Smith has engaged in some pretty tragic contrition. He says he is ‘deeply sorry’ for the ‘deep offence’ he caused. He’s now basically on his knees for real, praying for pity, begging for forgiveness from the guardians of what may be thought and said.

      The response to Smith’s silly video has been so mad you’d be forgiven for thinking he’d been caught snorting coke or hanging with prostitutes. But all he did was have an innocent laugh at the expense of a global religion. He made light fun of a faith system. That’s not allowed anymore? This was a ‘shock video’, yells the press, as if it were a sex tape. Angry tweeters want Adidas and Kellogg’s to stop using Smith in their ads, as if he’d been exposed as a violent criminal. In truth, he has simply been revealed as having an opinion — a jokey opinion, he insists — about a religion. He faces public ridicule and potential punishment for taking the mick out of a belief system. Whatever happened to the right to blaspheme?

      Smith’s travails confirm the authoritarian impulse behind the desire to stamp out Islamophobia. Campaigners against Islamophobia insist they simply want to protect Muslims from harassment, which is a noble goal. But in truth they often seem concerned with protecting Islam from ridicule. Indeed, Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadan Foundation, says Smith must ‘apologise immediately’ (he did) because ‘our faith is not to be mocked, our faith is to be celebrated’. Excuse me? Mr Shafiq, and a great many other people, should acquaint themselves with the principle of freedom of speech, which absolutely includes the right to mock faiths. Including Islam.

    • Why RedHack challenges Turkey’s political establishment

      In their 20 years of operation, the hacktivist group RedHack has pulled off many high-profile breaches, such as leaking documents from Turkish National Police, penetrating the Turkish army’s Commando Brigade, wiping out electricity bills in protest of a power plant, and defacing milk companies that delivered tainted milk in primary schools.

      But most of their activities go unreported in Turkey’s censored media, which aims to hide the government corruption and incapacity RedHack often reveals.

      The news about their latest leak, a 17GB email archive from Turkey’s Energy Minister and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, is sharing the same fate—this time with the Turkish government’s expanded online censorship powers.

    • Facebook is under fire for censorship again, this time for blocking an image of a mammogram

      Facebook just can’t help itself.

      Less than a month after facing backlash over its censorship of the Vietnam War’s iconic “Napalm Girl” image, the social media giant is now under fire for removing an article published by Les Décodeurs, a data-focused website affiliated with French newspaper Le Monde. The story, about the French government’s efforts to overhaul mammogram-screening in the country, included a lead image of an exposed female breast. The nipple in the photograph apparently violated Facebook’s nudity policy.

    • Europe’s Brilliant Strategy to Defeat ISIS Is…Censorship?

      Let us leave aside for the moment the fact that social media and the internet mean that newspapers trying to control the flow of information on such a topic is utterly futile. Such suggestions are gross insults to ordinary people and demonstrate a remarkable arrogance. They assume that the regular man or woman on the street cannot be trusted with reality; that they are incapable of reading the newspaper (even one as sober as Le Monde) without being whipped up into a frenzy of xenophobia and anti-Muslim feeling.

    • Grabbing Tr**p by the Pussy: Censorship in the Media

      Since the video of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women was released, news organizations have been questioning whether they should publish exactly what he said word for word, obscenity for obscenity. Ultimately, the words he used and how he used them were newsworthy and news organizations should not water down what he said to avoid publishing profanity.

      Organizations like the New York Times, CNN, Politico, Reuters and NBC News all decided against censoring “pussy,” “bitch,” “tits,” or “fuck.” Other organizations, like the LA Times, decided to use substitute words like “crotch” or “genitals” instead. Some organizations decided to put a dashes in place of most letters of the word. The Washington Post, who broke the story, decided to use the hyphen method. The New York Times who, although it did not initially censor the story, is now using the hyphen too.

    • PINAC’s Executive Director Sues Miami Beach Mayor over Social Media Censorship

      Like most politicians, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine campaigned on a platform of promising better transparency to his constituents.

      And like most politicians, he proved to be a liar.

      But unlike most politicians, he is being sued over his broken promise.

    • Australia Senate lifts media censorship rules after 25 years

      The Australian Senate on Thursday lifted tough censorship rules on media coverage of its sessions at the urging of a senator who himself was recently snapped snoozing in the chamber.

      Independent lawmaker Derryn Hinch, who is a former journalist, was caught napping by a photographer in the Senate in August when it sat for the first time after July elections.

      The extraordinary restrictions on press photographers working in the Senate have banned such candid and unflattering pictures for the past 25 years. Senators can be snapped only when they stand to speak.

    • Photography censorship in the Senate lifted after 25-year battle
    • Senate scraps archaic photography ban following 25-year fight for transparency
    • Guantánamo judge approves retroactive censorship of open-court hearings
    • Still A Bad Idea: Gawker Exploring Lawsuit Against Peter Thiel
    • Gawker Looking Into Lawsuit Against Peter Thiel
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Bangladesh Introduces ‘Smart’ National Identity Cards

      The NID cards replace existing laminated cards used by the Election Commission, but they have many other functions. Banking, passport details, driving licenses, trade licenses, tax payments, and share trading are among the 22 other services that can be accessed through the cards, with more to follow. The cards will also be associated with an individual’s mobile phone SIM card.

    • Bangladesh Brings In Nationwide Digital Identity Cards Linking Biometrics To Mobile Phone Numbers

      Sadly, it seems that governments in India and Bangladesh are too excited by the prospect of the “efficiencies” such a digital identity framework could in theory offer — to say nothing of the unmatched surveillance possibilities — to worry much about tiresome practical details like the system not working properly for vast swathes of their people.

    • Step aside, Snowden: new theft on the rise
    • What can government contractors do to stop insider threats?
    • NSA contractor thought to have taken classified material the old-fashioned way
    • NSA Contractor Busted In Alleged Theft of Secret Documents
    • What are U.S. officials saying about a potential NSA-CYBERCOM split?

      A number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill are vehemently opposed to severing the dual-hat position between the director of the National Security Agency and commander of US Cyber Command.

      What are the prospects that the NSA and CYBERCOM will split in the final months of President Barack Obama’s final term?

    • Google and Facebook are building the fastest trans-Pacific cable yet

      Google and Facebook are teaming up to build a 120 Terabits per second (Tbps) submarine cable that will connect Los Angeles with Hong Kong. The two companies are working with Pacific Light Data Communication — a wholly owned subsidiary of China Soft Power Technology that’s relatively new to the sub-sea cable game.

      Once the new 12,800 km cable is at full capacity, it’ll be the highest-capacity trans-Pacific cable yet. Until now, that record was held by the FASTER cable, which Google also has a stake in.

    • Examining Yahoo’s nightmare vision of ‘smart’ billboards

      On October 6th, when the company frankly had bigger PR problems to worry about, Yahoo filed a patent application for a smart billboard – a poster hoarding which proposes using an array of privacy-invading tools to deliver targeted ads to passers-by or motorists.

      Anyone who has seen the 2002 SF epic Minority Report will find the concept familiar, and perhaps rather chilling – in it we see the central protagonist trying to blend into a shopping mall while ‘smart’ advertisements call out to him by name, in a public context where no anonymity is available.

      The billboard proposed is very smart indeed – a real-world analogue of the very personalised ad-targeting which has become so controversial in the past couple of years, yet with no analogous technological remedy, such as adblocking software provides online. The systems envisaged would use an array of data-exploiting techniques and technologies to personalise the ambient advertising experience, including cell-tower location data, facial recognition, and vehicle and license-plate recognition. The scheme proposes many sensors, including drone-based cameras, to facilitate this level of targeting.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Iranian child bride to be executed within days after ‘grossly unfair trial’

      Amnesty International has urged the Iranian authorities to halt the execution of a 22-year-old woman accused of murdering her husband at the age of 17.

      Zeinab Sekaanvand is due to be executed by hanging as soon as Thursday 13 October, after what Amnesty International has described as a “grossly unfair trial”.

      Ms Sekaanvand was arrested on February 2012 for the murder of her husband, whom she married at the age of 15.

    • European jails are ‘breeding ground’ for militants warns report

      Europe’s prisons have become a “breeding ground” for Islamic State and Al-Qaeda militants, with a report finding almost two thirds of European “jihadists” were previously involved in violent crime.

      The report, released by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at London’s King’s College, warned of the development of a “new crime-terror nexus” in which criminal networks in prisons and in communities gave way to recruitment into militant groups. Prisons, in particular, are a major hub for such groups.

      “Prison is becoming important as a place where a lot of networking happens,” said Peter Neumann, director of the ICSR and co-author of the report.

      “Given the recent surge in terrorism-related arrests and convictions… we are convinced that prisons will become more – rather than less – significant as breeding grounds for the jihadist movement.”

      The generation who have gone to join IS is, in contrast to previous generations, heavily drawn in Europe from criminal backgrounds. The report, which is drawn from profiles of 79 recent European militants found that 57 percent of them had previously been incarcerated and that 65 percent had been involved in violent crime.

      This contrasts with previous generations of Islamic militants who were recruited from religious establishments or universities and often came from relatively well-established middle-class families.

    • Self-Driving Mercedes Will Prioritize Occupant Safety Over Pedestrians

      The technology is new, but the moral conundrum isn’t: A self-driving car identifies a group of children running into the road. There is no time to stop. To swerve around them would drive the car into a speeding truck on one side or over a cliff on the other, bringing certain death to anybody inside.

      To anyone pushing for a future for autonomous cars, this question has become the elephant in the room, argued over incessantly by lawyers, regulators, and ethicists; it has even been at the center of a human study by Science. Happy to have their names kept in the background of the life-or-death drama, most carmakers have let Google take the lead while making passing reference to ongoing research, investigations, or discussions.

    • After A Sensitive Story, A Pakistani Journalist Is Barred From Leaving

      Cyril Almeida has a reputation for being one of Pakistan’s most astute political observers. His columns for the venerable English-language Dawn newspaper are widely read by South Asia-watchers. More than 100,000 people follow him on Twitter.

      So it was inevitable that the decision by the Pakistani government to ban him from leaving the country would be met with widespread indignation.

    • Finalists named for EU’s Sakharov Prize

      Last year’s winner was Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

    • University Of Michigan Gets Lost In The Tall SJW Weeds

      The University of Michigan, my alma mater, will spend $85 million on “diversity” efforts over the next five years, including a disturbing cultural sensitivity program that will monitor students’ progress in being indoctrinated.

    • Asia Bibi blasphemy case to be heard by Pakistan supreme court

      The most notorious cases involving Pakistan’s blasphemy laws will be heard by the country’s supreme court on Thursday in a legal showdown that lawyers hope will spare the life of a poor Christian woman and curb future convictions.

      Asia Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 for allegedly insulting the prophet Muhammad following a bad-tempered argument with Muslim women in Itanwali, the small village in Punjab where she used to live.

      She became a touchstone for liberals and Islamists alike after her case was linked to the assassination in January 2011 of Salmaan Taseer, then governor of Punjab.

    • The Social Media Revolution to Save Asia Bibi – Abolish Blasphemy Laws

      72 hours remain until Asia Bibi’s final appeal to overcome her death sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan. It is imperative that people act now! You can help save this innocent woman by simply posting on social media. I know that for many this assertion sounds far-fetched, but it is a fact. A 2012 study published in the journal Nature, “A 61-Million-Person Experiment in Social Influence and Political Mobilization,” tested the idea that voting behaviour can be significantly influenced by messages on Facebook. Further, The Centre for European Studies released a publication entitled, ‘Social Media – The New Power of Political Influence’, in which the authors demonstrated the power of social media on global politics, evincing the dramatic impact of social media on the 2008 US presidential election, the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, among various other global events. Social media’s power to influence governmental decision making may also be implied by the efforts of certain governments to limit its citizens access to it. During Obama’s visit to Vietnam in May of this year (2016), the Vietnamese government blocked its citizen’s access to Facebook in a bid to silence human rights activists who might have embarrassed the government. It should come as no surprise that Pakistan was ranked the 10th worst country for internet censorship in 2014 by Freedom House. In their report they stated:

    • Iranian vice president faces calls to resign over claims she shook hands with male politician

      Iranians have called for their vice president to stand down after it was wrongly claimed she had shaken hands with a male politician.

      State broadcasters indicated Masoumeh Ebtekar had shaken hands with a male minister at a meeting, triggering a furore.

      Instead, she met German female environment minister, Barbara Hendriks, who was wearing a suit and had short hair.

    • Pigs can’t fly – Qantas bans pork on in-flight menu to respect Islam

      QANTAS has removed pork from its in-flight menu on flights to and from Europe as a result of its partnership with Middle Eastern airline Emirates.

      No food containing pork or pork products will be served on those flights – which now has a stopover in Dubai – because it is strictly forbidden in Islam and is considered “unholy”.

      All meals offered on the route in first, business and economy classes will also be prepared without alcohol in keeping with the Islamic religion. A note on the Qantas menus on flights in and out of Dubai states that the meals do not contain pork products or alcohol. The airline has also introduced a mezze plate offering traditional Middle Eastern fare in its upper classes and has Arabic translations after in-flight announcements.

    • Attorney, family rebuke DA’s decision in tasing death

      The attorneys representing the family of Chase Sherman criticized the Coweta district attorney’s decision not to press charges in Sherman’s death at a press conference held Wednesday.

      Attorney Chris Stewart called it “one of the most horrible decisions” he had ever seen a district attorney make.

    • Car Attacks in Denmark Spread ‘Like an Infection’

      The arsonists appear to operate with little deference to class, equally at ease scorching a shiny new BMW or Mercedes as they are setting a battered old van ablaze.

      And they almost always follow a pattern — smashing a window and dousing the interior of the vehicle with gasoline before setting it on fire.

      At least 185 cars have been set ablaze in Copenhagen, the Danish capital, so far this year, the police say, with a sudden and mysterious increase over the past two months or so, when about 80 automobiles were burned.

      [...]

      Even after the Danish police arrested a 21-year-old man in August in relation to the arson, cars continued to burn. Mr. Moller Jensen said that both of the men who were arrested came from a working-class neighborhood in Amager, a Danish island. Playing down the idea that the burnings could be related to immigration, he said that one suspect was an ethnic Dane, while the other was not.

      Mr. Moller Jensen said the car burning may have spread from neighboring Sweden, where more than 70 cars have been burned in the city of Malmo since early July. Dozens of cars have also been set on fire in Stockholm, and Goteborg, on the west coast of the country. Car burning has become such a scourge there that the Swedish authorities have turned to drones to try to catch the arsonists.

    • “Do Not Resist”: The Police Militarization Documentary Everyone Should See

      On a sunny afternoon last summer, Craig Atkinson, a New York City-based filmmaker, stood in a front yard in South Carolina surrounded by several heavily armed police officers.

      The officers, members of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department tactical team, were descending on a modest one-story house looking for drugs and guns. The team smashed through the windows of the home with iron pikes, then stormed the front door with rifles raised.

      Inside, they found a terrified family of four, including an infant. As the family members were pulled outside, Atkinson’s camera captured a scene that plays out with startling regularity in cities and towns across the country, one of many included in his new documentary, “Do Not Resist,” an examination of police militarization in the United States.

    • Turkish Prisons Are Filled With Professors — Like My Father

      A Turkish professor who was my father’s colleague and frequently visited our house is now incapable of counting right amount of money to pay for a bottle of water at a prison canteen. He is traumatized as a result of days of harsh treatment during the interrogation. He is sharing a prison cell with my father, longtime friends, in western Turkey.

      My father, a professor at Sakarya University for 16 years, is among nearly 2,500 academics who were dismissed and arrested in connection to the failed coup attempt on July 15. He would have never imagined that police would storm our house, just several days after the failed plot, and take him into custody. He was asked endless questions in 10 days under detention, for hours every day — questions that he has no answers for. He was rounded up just four days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a state of emergency rule that allows anyone to be detained up to 30 days without any charges. Turkey suspended European Convention on Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and there is no due process in a country that is still seeking to become a member of the European Union.

    • Hate crimes soared after EU referendum, Home Office figures confirm

      The number of hate crimes leaped by 41% in the month after the vote to leave the European Union, new Home Office statistics confirm.

      A daily breakdown of the hate crime offences reported to the police showed the number of incidents doubled in the days after the referendum. The level peaked at 207 incidents on 1 July, twice as many as before the vote, when the level was already unusually high.

      In July, there were 5,468 hate crimes – 41% higher than July 2015. A Home Office report on the data noted that the “sharp increase” in hate crime was not replicated in equivalent offences at the time.

    • After Torture, Ex-Detainee Is Still Captive of ‘The Darkness’

      At first, the Americans seemed confused about Suleiman Abdullah Salim. They apparently had been expecting a light-skinned Arab, and instead at a small airport outside Mogadishu that day in March 2003, they had been handed a dark-skinned African.

      “They said, ‘You changed your face,’” Mr. Salim, a Tanzanian, recalled the American men telling him when he arrived. “They said: ‘You are Yemeni. You changed your face.’”

      That was the beginning of Mr. Salim’s strange ordeal in United States custody. It has been 13 years since he was tortured in a secret prison in Afghanistan run by the Central Intelligence Agency, a place he calls “The Darkness.” It has been eight years since he was released — no charges, no explanations — back into the world.

      Even after so much time, Mr. Salim, 45, is struggling to move on. Suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress, according to a medical assessment, he is withdrawn and wary. He cannot talk about his experiences with his wife, who he says worries that the Americans will come back to snatch him. He is fearful of drawing too much attention at home in Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania, concerned that his neighbors will think he is an American spy.

    • Ethiopia has finally admitted to the deaths of more than 500 anti-government protestors

      After almost a year of anti-government protests, Ethiopia on Tuesday (Oct. 11) admitted that the death toll from police crackdowns and deadly stampedes could exceed more than 500 people. The admission came a few days after the government declared a country-wide six-month state of emergency, and blamed external forces for trying to break up the nation of over 100 million people.

      Hailemariam Desalegn, the country’s prime minister, said that the death toll in Oromia region had been at least 170, while another 120 died in Amhara since the demonstrations began. But “when you add it up it could be more than 500,” he said. Activists and opposition groups have disputed these numbers in the past, arguing that more people died when security officers dispersed demonstrations.

    • Study Says Body Cameras Can Reduce Force Usage… But Only If Officers Turn Them On

      A couple of months ago, a study was released claiming to show a link between body camera use and a rise in shootings by officers. The small increase in shootings in 2015 — an increase that wasn’t shown in 2013 and 2014 — could be nothing more than a normal deviation, but it was portrayed by the authors as something a bit more sinister.

      [...]

      Accountability tools are only as good as the departments deploying them. Very few officers are punished for treating their cameras as optional — something that only needs to be activated when capturing interactions that are innocuous or show the officers in their best light.

      It’s a persistent problem that predates body cameras. Dash cams and body mics are still routinely disabled by officers even though these two recording methods have been in use for dozens of years. Officers who haven’t been punished for thwarting these accountability tools aren’t going to change their ways just because the camera is now on their body. And more recent additions to the workforce aren’t going to need much time on the job to figure out that failing to capture footage of use of force incidents will have almost zero effect on their careers.

      Obviously, it would be impossible to remove all control from officers wearing cameras. But there are steps that can be taken to reduce the number of times use of force incidents occur without anyone “seeing” them. In edge cases, the lack of footage — especially if everything else that day was captured without difficulty — should weigh heavily against officers when investigating use of force incidents. If an officer has the capability to capture footage of a disputed incident but doesn’t, the burden of proof should shift to the officer, rather than the person making the complaint.

      If police departments don’t want to see themselves targeted with more possibly frivolous complaints and lawsuits, they need to ensure officers whose cameras routinely “malfunction” or aren’t activated are held accountable for their refusal to maintain a record of their interactions with citizens. Law enforcement’s history with older forms of recording technology is exactly spotless. Granting officers the benefit of a doubt with body cams is nothing more than the extension of unearned trust — a gift law enforcement agencies seem to give themselves repeatedly.

    • Court Says Deleting Browser History To ‘Avoid Embarrassment’ Isn’t Destruction Of Evidence

      The court found that the documents central to the lawsuit were not affected by Moyse’s actions. They were available through Dropbox accounts and forensic examiners found no evidence Moyse had ever transferred the documents to his personal Dropbox account. In addition, they found the last time he accessed his account predated his work on the disputed documents.

      As for Moyse, his attempt to keep his access of porn sites under wraps backfired. He may have been cleared of evidence spoliation accusations, but his personal web browsing habits still made it into the public record — albeit without the excruciating level of detail that would have been present if he hadn’t thought to scrub his browsing history before turning over the computer.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • A decentralized web would give power back to the people online

      Recently, Google launched a video calling tool (yes, another one). Google Hangouts has been sidelined to Enterprise, and Google Duo is supposed to be the next big thing in video calling.

      So now we have Skype from Microsoft, Facetime from Apple, and Google with Duo. Each big company has its own equivalent service, each stuck in its own bubble. These services may be great, but they aren’t exactly what we imagined during the dream years when the internet was being built.

      The original purpose of the web and internet, if you recall, was to build a common neutral network which everyone can participate in equally for the betterment of humanity. Fortunately, there is an emerging movement to bring the web back to this vision and it even involves some of the key figures from the birth of the web. It’s called the Decentralised Web or Web 3.0, and it describes an emerging trend to build services on the internet which do not depend on any single “central” organisation to function.

    • Facebook Wants To Bring Controversial Zero Rated ‘Free Basics’ Service To The States

      Last year the Indian government forged new net neutrality rules that shut down Facebook’s “Free Basics” service, which provided a Facebook-curated “light” version of the internet — for free. And while Facebook consistently claimed its program was simply altruistic, critics (including Facebook content partners) consistently claimed that Facebook’s concept gave the company too much power, potentially harmed free speech, undermined the open nature of the Internet, and provided a new, centralized repository of user data for hackers, governments and intelligence agencies.

      In short, India joined Japan, The Netherlands, Chile, Norway, and Slovenia in banning zero rating entirely, based on the idea that cap exemption gives some companies and content a leg up, and unfairly distorts the inherently level internet playing field. It doesn’t really matter if you’re actually altruistic or just pretending to be altruistic (to oh, say, lay a branding foundation to corner the content market in developing countries in 30 years); the practice dramatically shifts access to the internet in a potentially devastating fashion that provides preferential treatment to the biggest carriers and companies.

    • Facebook is talking to the White House about giving you ‘free’ Internet. Here’s why that may be controversial.

      Facebook has been in talks for months with U.S. government officials and wireless carriers with an eye toward unveiling an American version of an app that has caused controversy abroad, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

      The social media giant is trying to determine how to roll out its program, known as Free Basics, in the United States without triggering the regulatory scrutiny that effectively killed a version of the app in India earlier this year. If Facebook succeeds with its U.S. agenda for Free Basics — which has not been previously reported — it would mark a major victory for the company as it seeks to connect millions more to the Web, and to its own platform.

  • DRM

    • Netflix Now Only Has 31 Movies from IMDB’s Top 250 List

      My wife and I popped a bottle of wine on a Friday night last month. It was movie night in our house, which typically means surfing the iTunes movie catalog on our Apple TV until we find something that’s rent-worthy.

      There was plenty to pick from, but nothing that grabbed our attention. Maybe next month. Our next stop? The Netflix app.

      But we noticed Netflix’s movie selection is rather… bare? Uninteresting? My wife actually said, “I haven’t heard of any of these movies. Aren’t there any good movies on here?”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Appeal dismissed in pregabalin patent case

      The England & Wales Court of Appeal has upheld Mr Justice Arnold’s finding that key claims of Warner-Lambert’s patent for Lyrica are invalid for insufficiency. The judgment also reiginites the debate over the scope of second medical use patents

    • Copyrights

      • Backup copies of software can’t be re-sold, rules top EU court

        The initial buyer of software that comes with an unlimited user licence may resell that copy and the licence, Europe’s top court has ruled—however, where the original physical medium has been damaged, destroyed, or lost, a tangible backup copy mustn’t be sold in its place.

        The case considered by the the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) concerned two Latvian nationals, who were alleged to have sold thousands of copies of Microsoft products in an online marketplace in 2004.

        The court said: “It is estimated that they sold more than 3,000 copies of programs and the material damage caused to Microsoft by the activities of Mr Ranks and Mr Vasiļevičs has been evaluated at €265,514.”

        The criminal law division of the Riga regional court in Latvia, which is hearing the case, asked the CJEU for its opinion on a specific issue that had arisen: whether the acquirer of a backup copy of a program, stored on a non-original medium, could re-sell that copy if the original had been damaged, and the initial acquirer no longer possessed or used the program.

      • A Weekend Full Of The NFL Violating Its Own Social Media Video Content Rules

        Ok, so what do we make of this? Well, as with many things to do with the NFL, the takeaways are both good and bad. The good is that the NFL clearly understands that video content blackouts are a thing of the past and that such content is a great driver for ratings, and not the opposite. But the bad is that the NFL seems to think that a top-down approach to controlling such content is the best approach to targeting viewers.

        And that’s just dumb. Not only dumb, in fact, but demonstrably silly. As I mentioned in the original post, the markets that host NFL teams are wildly diverse, from major markets like New York and Chicago — and now Los Angeles –, to relatively tiny markets like Green Bay and Charlotte. A one-size-fits-all marketing approach never made sense for NFL teams, but before the days of digital media there wasn’t a great deal in terms of diversity that could be achieved. But in the social media age? Marketing can be targeted and approached in a way tailored to specific fan-bases and markets. Why in the world would the NFL think that it had a better handle than each individual team, all of which employ their own social media managers, as to how to best drive viewership and attendance?

      • CJEU clarifies copyright exhaustion in Microsoft case

        The acquirer of a copy of a computer program may not provide their legitimate back-up copy to a new acquirer without the copyright holder’s permission, the CJEU has ruled

        [...]

        Article 4 of the Directive grants the copyright holder the right to do or authorise permanent or temporary reproduction of a computer program. But it provides that the first sale in the EU of a copy of a computer program exhausts the distribution right, except for the right to control further rental of the program or a copy.

      • Tell the Copyright Office: Copyright Law Shouldn’t Punish Research and Repair

        After eighteen years, we may finally see real reform to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s unconstitutional pro-DRM provisions. But we need your help.

        In enacting the “anti-circumvention” provisions of the DMCA, Congress ostensibly intended to stop copyright “pirates” from defeating DRM and other content access or copy restrictions on copyrighted works and to ban the “black box” devices intended for that purpose. In practice, the DMCA anti-circumvention provisions haven’t had much impact on unauthorized sharing of copyrighted content. Instead, they’ve hampered lawful creativity, innovation, competition, security, and privacy.

        In the past few years, there’s been a growing movement to reform the law. As locked-down copyrighted software shows up in more and more devices, from phones to refrigerators to tractors, more and more people are realizing how important it is to be able to break those locks, for all kinds of legitimate reasons. If you can’t tinker with it, repair it, or peek under the hood, then you don’t really own it—someone else does, and their interests will take precedence over yours.

      • New Anti-Piracy Unit Takes Over UK Anti-Camming Operations

        Those thinking about camming movies in a UK cinema have a fresh adversary to contend with. A new anti-piracy unit called the Film Content Protection Agency has just been launched with a mission to prevent people recording first-run movies. Unfortunately, the unit is already citing misleading legal information on its website.

      • Torrent admin spared jail as Swedish court baulks at industry demands

        A COURT IN SWEDEN has taken a less than heavy line on the administrator of a popular torrent site by resisting prosecution demands for a jail sentence and handing out community service and a fine instead.

        It’s a big fine at kr1.7m (about £157,000), and a large amount of the unnamed admin of the SwePiracy site’s time will now be spent clearing up canal banks and jet spraying graffiti, but it is not jail.

        TorrentFreak reported that the 25-year-old was found in charge of the local piracy site and ended up in a lot of trouble with an anti-piracy group that used to be called Antipiratbyrån but is now called the Rights Alliance.

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