12.23.16

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Links 23/12/2016: New Alpine, Rust 1.14

Posted in News Roundup at 12:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to build powerful and productive online communities

    These accidental communities offered tremendous value to their participants with skills development, networking, and relationships. They also offered significant financial value. The Smithsonian valued Wikipedia at tens of billions of dollars and the Linux Foundation deduced that a typical Linux distribution would cost around $11 billion to recreate using traditional commercial methods.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Now We All Agree: There are no safe backdoors when it comes to encryption

        There are many recent examples of the threats to Internet security. We’ve talked about how protecting cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and we see increased need for governments, tech companies and users to work together on topics like encryption, security vulnerabilities and surveillance.

        The most well known example is the Apple vs FBI case from earlier this year. In this case, law enforcement officials said they were unable to access encrypted data on an iPhone during an investigation. The FBI wanted to require Apple to create flawed versions of their software to access encrypted data on an iPhone of a known criminal.

        Mozilla argued in statements and filings that requiring tech companies to create encryption backdoors for law enforcement to decrypt data would 1) weaken security for individuals and the Internet overall, defeating the purpose of creating such technology in the first place and 2) set a dangerous precedent in the US and globally for governments to require tech companies to make flawed versions of software that would be vulnerable to criminals (not just government hacking).

      • Rust 1.14 Released With Experimental WebAssembly Support
      • Announcing Rust 1.14

        The Rust team is happy to announce the latest version of Rust, 1.14.0. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

        As always, you can install Rust 1.14.0 from the appropriate page on our website, and check out the detailed release notes for 1.14.0 on GitHub. 1230 patches were landed in this release.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guix and GuixSD 0.12.0 released

      We are pleased to announce the new release of GNU Guix and GuixSD, version 0.12.0!

      The release comes with USB installation images to install the standalone GuixSD, and with tarballs to install the package manager on top of your GNU/Linux distro, either from source or from binaries.

    • GNU Guix/GuixSD 0.12 Released
    • GNU Compiler Collection 6.3 Fixes 79 Bugs as GCC 7 Is Nearing End of Development

      Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek was proud to announce the release and immediate availability of the third stabilization update to the GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 6 series for GNU/Linux distributions.

      GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 6.3 is here four months after the release of the previous maintenance update, namely GCC 6.2, and promises to address many of the bugs and annoyances reported by users since then. According to the developers, it looks like more than 79 recorder bugs have been fixed in this new version.

  • Public Services/Government

    • France’s free software sector grows by 15%

      Sales by France’s ICT companies specialising in free and open source software and related services have grown by 15% on average in the period October 2015 – October 2016, reports the Conseil National du Logiciel Libre (CNLL), France’s trade group advocating free software, representing over three hundred ICT firms. “Our sector is growing, and has many start-ups, and small and medium-sizes enterprises”, CNLL said in a statement.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Lithuania said found Russian spyware on its government computers

      The Baltic state of Lithuania, on the frontline of growing tensions between the West and Russia, says the Kremlin is responsible for cyber attacks that have hit government computers over the last two years.

      The head of cyber security told Reuters three cases of Russian spyware on its government computers had been discovered since 2015, and there had been 20 attempts to infect them this year.

      “The spyware we found was operating for at least half a year before it was detected – similar to how it was in the USA,” Rimtautas Cerniauskas, head of the Lithuanian Cyber Security Centre said.

    • Dear CIO: Linux Mint Encourages Users to Keep System Up-to-Date

      Swapnil Bhartiya gets it wrong.

      Let me start by pointing out that Bhartiya is not only a capable open source writer, he’s also a friend. Another also: he knows better. That’s why the article he just wrote for CIO completely confounds me. Methinks he jumped the gun and didn’t think it through before he hit the keyboard.

      The article ran with the headline Linux Mint, please stop discouraging users from upgrading. In it, he jumps on Mint’s lead developer Clement Lefebvre’s warning against unnecessary upgrades to Linux Mint.

    • Infosec in Review: Security Professionals Look Back at 2016

      2016 was an exciting year in information security. There were mega-breaches, tons of new malware strains, inventive phishing attacks, and laws dealing with digital security and privacy. Each of these instances brought the security community to where we are now: on the cusp of 2017.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Donald Trump: US must greatly expand nuclear capabilities

      Donald Trump has called for the US to “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear capabilities.

      The president-elect, who takes office next month, said the US must take such action “until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”.

      His spokesman later said that he was referring to the need to prevent nuclear proliferation.

      Mr Trump spoke hours after President Vladimir Putin said Russia needs to bolster its military nuclear potential.

      The US has 7,100 nuclear weapons and Russia has 7,300, according to the US nonpartisan Arms Control Association.

    • Donald Trump Unleashes The Hounds Of War

      See what happens when you put a mad man in charge? Much of my lifetime was spent trying to put nuclear weapons back in the box so they would never be used. Now Trump wants to fire up the arms-race again, just to make USA “Great” again. What a short-sighted, wrong-headed, dangerous old fool is the president-elect.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ‘You couldn’t hear, you couldn’t sit’: Activists asked to leave Enbridge meeting Tuesday night (W/ VIDEO)

      A community meeting hosted by energy company Enbridge quickly dissolved Tuesday after a Bemidji police officer asked environmental activist Winona LaDuke to leave.

      The meeting, held at the DoubleTree hotel in Bemidji, was meant to give community members and landowners information about the proposed replacement of Line 3, an Enbridge oil pipeline that runs from Alberta, Canada, through northern Minnesota to Superior, Wis.

    • Yes, the Arctic’s freakishly warm winter is due to humans’ climate influence

      For the Arctic, like the globe as a whole, 2016 has been exceptionally warm. For much of the year, Arctic temperatures have been much higher than normal, and sea ice concentrations have been at record low levels.

      The Arctic’s seasonal cycle means that the lowest sea ice concentrations occur in September each year. But while September 2012 had less ice than September 2016, this year the ice coverage has not increased as expected as we moved into the northern winter. As a result, since late October, Arctic sea ice extent has been at record low levels for the time of year.

    • Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions rising, Government figures show

      The latest report card from the Environment Department shows emissions rose by 0.8 per cent for the year until June.

      The Government said the results support its climate policies.

      “These figures show that Australia’s emissions per capita and emissions per unit of GDP are now at their lowest level in 27 years,” Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said.

      “It demonstrates that we are able to meet our climate targets without a carbon tax which Bill Shorten and the Labor Party want to bring back.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How Russia surpassed Germany to become the racist ideal for Trump-loving white supremacists

      Richard Spencer, the current face (and haircut) of US’s alt-right, believes Russia is the “sole white power in the world.” David Duke, meanwhile, believes Russia holds the “key to white survival.” And as Matthew Heimbach, head of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, recently said, Russian president Vladimir Putin is the “leader of the free world”—one who has helped morph Russia into an “axis for nationalists.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • China Seeks Comment on Seven Draft Cybersecurity and Data Privacy National Standards

      China’s National Information Security Standardization Technical Committee (“NISSTC”), a standard-setting committee jointly supervised by the Standardization Administration of China (“SAC”) and the Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”), released seven draft national standards related to cybersecurity and data privacy for public comment on December 21, 2016. The public comment period runs until February 2, 2017.

    • Encrypted messaging app Signal uses Google to bypass censorship

      Developers of the popular Signal secure messaging app have started to use Google’s domain as a front to hide traffic to their service and to sidestep blocking attempts.

      Bypassing online censorship in countries where internet access is controlled by the government can be very hard for users. It typically requires the use of virtual private networking (VPN) services or complex solutions like Tor, which can be banned too.

      Open Whisper Systems, the company that develops Signal — a free, open-source app — faced this problem recently when access to its service started being censored in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Some users reported that VPNs, Apple’s FaceTime and other voice-over-IP apps were also being blocked.

    • Surveillance has gone too far. The jig is up

      Just as we’d resigned ourselves to the fact that the best 2016 was going to offer by the way of cheer was a new Star Wars film, and the prospect of a few mince pies and a tonne of mulled wine, Europe’s top court has given us a very welcome early Christmas present.

      For anybody with an interest in protecting democracy, privacy, freedom of expression, a free press and the safety and cybersecurity of everybody in the UK, Wednesday’s EU court of justice judgment is cause for celebration.

      In a landmark ruling – its first major post-referendum judgment involving the UK – the court ruled that our government is breaking the law by collecting all our internet and phone call records, then opening them up freely to hundreds of organisations and agencies.

      This was a challenge brought by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson (and initially Brexit minister David Davis), and represented by Liberty, to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (Dripa) – a temporary “emergency” law covering state surveillance, rushed on to the statute books in a matter of days in 2014.

    • Generalised data retention: a blow to mass surveillance!

      The European Court of Justice published a very important decision last 21 December, condemning the principle of generalised data retention by operators, including when mandated by Member States implementing this principle on issues linked to security or fight against crime. Data retention must be the exception and not the rule and can only be used with strong safeguards due to the very serious violation that such retention constitutes for privacy. La Quadrature du Net welcomes this very positive decision and is asking French government to acknowledge European decisions by cancelling all legislation linked to the exploitation or conservation of internet users data.

      The decision of 21 December follows a very important ECJ decision: Digital Rights Ireland. In April 2014, the ECJ invalidated the 2006 European Directive forcing Member States to organise the collection and the general retention of all connection data of European internet users. Already, the ECJ considered that this systematic retention of connection data undermined too much the right to privacy: even when not taking into account the future use of this data, the mere fact of keeping it was already a systematic breach into citizens’ lives.

    • HTTPS Deployment Growing by Leaps and Bounds: 2016 in Review

      This was a great year for adoption of HTTPS encryption for secure connections to websites.

      HTTPS is an essential technology for security and privacy on the Web, and we’ve long been asking sites to turn it on to protect their users from spying (and from censorship and tampering with site content). This year, lots of factors came together to make it happen, including ongoing news about surveillance, advances in Web server capacity, nudges from industry, government, and Web browsers, and the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority.

      By some measures, more than half of page loads in Firefox and in Chrome are now secured with HTTPS—the first time this has ever happened in the Web’s history. That’s right: for the first time ever, most pages viewed on the Web were encrypted! (As another year-in-review post will discuss, browsers are also experimenting with and rolling out stronger encryption technologies to better protect those connections.)

    • In Declassified Edward Snowden Report, Committee Walks Back Claims About ‘Intentional Lying’

      The House Intelligence Committee in September issued a three-page document alerting the public that information from its two-year investigation of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden had turned up evidence that Snowden was a “serial exaggerator and fabricator” who exhibited a “pattern of intentional lying.”

      The executive summary of the committee’s report on Snowden was released one day after large advocacy groups launched a campaign asking President Barack Obama for a pardon, arguing Snowden’s leaks about mass surveillance were in the public interest.

      The committee’s message was clear: a pardon would be undeserved, as Snowden arguably harmed national security and did so while falsely portraying himself as a whistleblower, when in fact he was a habitual liar and a disgruntled employee.

    • US government starts asking foreign travelers to disclose their social media accounts

      The US Customs and Border Protection has started demanding that foreign travelers hand over Facebook, Twitter, and other social media account information upon entering the country, according to a report from Politico. The new policy follows a proposal laid out back in June and applies only to those travelers who enter the US temporarily without a visa through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, process. The goal, the government says, is to “identify potential threats,” a spokesperson tells Politico.

    • Google Employee Sues Company Over “Internal Spying Program”

      A man who worked at Google as a product manager in its Nest division is now suing the company over what he and his lawyer describe as an internal “spying program.”

      The former employee says that internal policies and confidentiality agreements encourage Google employees to report colleagues who they suspect of leaking information to the media.

      According to tech news site The Information, who first reported on the lawsuit, Google has set up a special website where employees can report each other.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Philippines journalist killed after criticising officials over illegal drug lab

      A Philippine provincial newspaper publisher has been shot dead after writing a column alleging official negligence over a recently discovered methamphetamine laboratory, in the first killing of a journalist during the country’s war on drugs.

      The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned Monday’s murder of Larry Que, publisher of a news site on the island of Catanduanes, and said it “challenged” President Rodrigo Duterte to find the perpetrators and utilise a special task force he set up to protect media.

    • Missouri dooms countless children to the school-to-prison pipeline

      In a move that will likely doom countless children to the school-to-prison pipeline, Missouri will soon charge students who get into fights with felonies.

      A state statute that goes into effect on Jan. 1 will no longer treat fights in schools or buses as a minor offense, regardless of a young person’s age or grade. Instead, School Resource Officers (SROs) and local law enforcement will now intervene by arresting and charging them with assault in the third degree — a Class E felony. That type of assault can result in four years of prison time, fines, or probation. Attempts or threats to cause harm will be treated as a Class A misdemeanor, which can lead to a year of prison time. If law enforcement or school officials consider the assaulted person a “special victim,” a student can be charged with a Class D felony that comes with a maximum prison term of seven years.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Publishing Lobbyists Suck Up To Trump With Lies About Copyright, Ask Him To Kill DMCA Safe Harbors

        With the Donald Trump administration fully taking shape, lobbyists for basically every industry (yes, including tech and internet companies) are groveling before the President with whatever their pet projects are. The latest to put together a letter is the Association of American Publishers, via its top lobbyist Allan Adler. You may recall Adler from a few years ago, in which he explained why his organization opposed a copyright treaty for the blind, noting that his members were upset about the idea of ever including user rights in international treaties, and only wanted to see international agreements that focused on stronger copyright protections. So, you get a sense of where he’s coming from.

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