07.25.17

Links 25/7/2017: KStars 2.8.0 is Out, Flash Will Die

Posted in News Roundup at 6:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ura Design crowdfunds free design for open source projects

    Open source software is nothing new in 2017. Even now, big tech giants are exploring open source. More and more companies allow employees to contribute to open source software on company hours, if it isn’t altogether encouraged. However, design assets and work have not enjoyed the same popularity with open source licensing and use as software has. However, Albanian design agency Ura Design is helping change this.

  • Python autocomplete-in-the-cloud tool Kite pushes into projects, gets stabbed with a fork

    Kite, a San Francisco-based development tools startup, has managed to alienate developers by quietly altering open-source projects for its benefit.

    Kite makes a Python programming plugin, called Kite, for various code editors to boost developer productivity through automatic code completion and other enhancements. The company introduced its software in a private beta last year and launched in March, 2017.

  • Symphony Software Foundation paves the way for open source fintech

    Non-profit organisation Symphony Software Foundation is exploring the route to a new fintech innovation model based on secure and compliant open collaboration.

    Less than 20 months from its inception, the Foundation now counts more than 50 projects, over 100 contributors, four active working groups, and 25 member organisations as part of its ‘ecosystem’.

  • Symphony Software Foundation Sets Out to Build a New Fintech Innovation Model
  • Getting stuck on OpenStack: Overcoming the open source cloud platform’s upgrade barriers

    Some members of the OpenStack community are finding it a struggle to upgrade to newer versions of the open source cloud operating system. Could customisation be to blame?

    OpenStack is gradually gaining acceptance as an enterprise-grade framework for automating datacentre infrastructure and enabling organisations to operate a diverse array of applications and services.

  • Open-source software rapidly processes spectral data, accurately identifies and quantifies lipid species

    Lipids play a key role in many metabolic diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, and stroke. So having a complete profile of the body’s lipids—its “lipidome”—is important.

    Lipidomics studies are often based on liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). But researchers have a hard time processing data fast enough, and they are unable to confidently identify and accurately quantify the lipid species detected.

  • A left-handed software user’s plea

    Can open source rescue us from right-hand domination?

    I started searching for left-handed open source gadgets and software, and I came up… empty-handed. I happened upon the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, which, at first glance, appears to solve some of the hardships we face. Alas, even though its maker says it’s “a fully programmable, impeccably built, open source, split mechanical keyboard designed for extreme productivity and ergonomics,” all the website’s visuals are righty-centric, and three of its four add-on modules are “designed for the right side of the keyboard.” Sorry, not ergonomic for my people.

    I still believe the open source community can address these problems and bring equality to the people. We need a left-centric user interface in every piece of software and hardware. The time has come to rise up and demand equality, to walk hand-in-hand with our dexter overlords, and to never again suffer the indignities of writing at a right-handed desk or losing an arm-wrestling match against Robby the Robot.

    August 13 is International Left Handers Day. Mark your calendar, for that is the day we will raise our left hands and declare: “We have been right all along!”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • CableLabs Powering Up Open-Source LoRaWAN Solution

      Expanding further into the world of the Internet of Things, CableLabs said it is creating an open-source LoRaWAN network solution that will support the long range, low-power wireless protocol aimed at in-building IoT networks.

      Daryl Malas, principal architect, advanced technology group at CableLabs, noted in this blog post that LoRA is a “semi-propriety” platform owned and licensed by Semtech while a closed consortium develops the LoRaWAN spec around the Semtech solution architecture.

    • CableLabs Unveils Open Source LoRaWAN Solution
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • When the hacker ethic meets old ideas about brand

      Open hiring and open ownership seem to promise a more fluid economy, where each of us as individuals has a high degree of autonomy to move around between organizations, and to participate in multiple organizations simultaneously. That could also be a net benefit for society as a whole, since knowledge drives innovation, and optimizing resource allocation drives efficiency. But what does that mean for organizational identity and longevity? Is it even possible for existing organizations to convert to such a thorough vision of openness within the current framework of fiduciary responsibility?

Leftovers

  • Garmin fenix 5x – broken by design

    Some month ago I upgrade my (European) fenix3 to a (Japanese) fenix 5x, looking forward to the built-in maps as well as support for Japanese. I was about to write a great review, how content I have been with the fenix 3 and how much better the 5x is. Well, until I realized that Garmin’s engineers seem to be brain-damaged and shipping broken by design devices: Just one word: Set an alarm on the watch, and wonder …

  • Snopes.com in Danger of Shuttering

    We had previously contracted with an outside vendor to provide certain services for Snopes.com. That contractual relationship ended earlier this year, but the vendor will not acknowledge the change in contractual status and continues to essentially hold the Snopes.com web site hostage. Although we maintain editorial control (for now), the vendor will not relinquish the site’s hosting to our control, so we cannot modify the site, develop it, or — most crucially — place advertising on it. The vendor continues to insert their own ads and has been withholding the advertising revenue from us.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Vitamins, supplements effective at boosting call volume to poison centers

      Regardless the type of dietary supplements—from vitamins, energy drinks, herbal medicines, homeopathic products, to some hormonal treatments—they usually come with big claims about boosting health and wellbeing. While those claims are questionable (and often unfounded), the products collectively do enhance one thing: the volume of calls to poison control centers.

  • Security

    • 18 year old guy arrested for reporting a shamefully stupid bug in the new Budapest e-Ticket system

      This last one was the one found by the 18 year old gentleman I started my story with. According to him, he doesn’t even know how to program yet (he’ll start the university this autumn). He just used the developer tools in the browser, that everybody has access to, saw that the price was being sent back to the server when he was about to make a purchase, and tried if he could change it. A monthly pass costs 9500HUF (about 30EUR) and he modified the price to 50HUF. When he got the confirmation that it worked and was able to see his pass in the app, he immediately emailed the BKK (the Transport Authority) that there was a serious problem. He got an email that his pass was invalidated, but otherwise they didn’t get back to him. Instead, when it got leaked out to the press, and in a few hours everyone were talking about the above issues (not just this one), BKK together with T-Sytems Hungary started to what I would call massively covering their arses.

    • How to use a password manager (and why you really should)

      Password managers remove both of these problems by generating and storing complex passwords for you. The password manager lives in your browser and acts a digital gatekeeper, filling in your login info when you need to get on a certain site. You just have to remember one (very secure!) master password for the manager itself, and everything else is taken care of for you. (For a quick introduction on creating a secure but memorable master password, check out this article.)

    • “Perverse” malware infecting hundreds of Macs remained undetected for years

      Besides the means of infection being unknown, the exact purpose of the malware is also unclear. Wardle said he found no evidence the malware can be used to install ransomware or collect banking credentials. That largely removes the possibility that Fruitfly developers were motivated by financial profit. At the same time, the concentration of home users largely rules out chances the malware was designed by state-sponsored hackers to spy on targets.

    • Exclusive: WHISTL Labs will be Cyber Range for Medical Devices

      The facilities, dubbed WHISTL, will adopt a model akin to the Underwriters Laboratory, which tests electrical devices, but will focus on issues related to cyber security and privacy, helping medical device makers “address the public health challenges” created by connected health devices and complex, connected healthcare environments, according to a statement by The Medical Device Innovation, Safety and Security Consortium (MDISS).

    • Smart fridges and TVs should carry security rating, police chief says

      Barton, the national policing lead for crime operations, proposed the idea as part of efforts to protect households from fraudsters and hackers in the era of the Internet of Things, where otherwise “dumb” devices can be put online and be interconnected for automation and smart appliance activities.

    • ‘Devil’s Ivy’ Is Another Wake-Up Call for IoT Security
    • US local govts still using Kaspersky software despite federal ban

      US local government agencies across the country are continuing to use software from Kaspersky Lab even though the federal government removed the company from a list of approved software suppliers for two government-wide purchasing contracts that are used to buy technology services.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Local governments keep using this software — but it might be a back door for Russia

      Local and state government agencies from Oregon to Connecticut say they are using a Russian brand of security software despite the federal government’s instructions to its own agencies not to buy the software over concerns about cyberespionage, records and interviews show.

      The federal agency in charge of purchasing, the General Services Administration, this month removed Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab from its list of approved vendors. In doing so, the agency’s statement suggested a vulnerability exists in Kaspersky that could give the Russian government backdoor access to the systems it protects, though they offered no explanation or evidence of it. Kaspersky has strongly denied coordinating with the Russian government and has offered to cooperate with federal investigators.

      The GSA’s move on July 11 has left state and local governments to speculate about the risks of sticking with the company or abandoning taxpayer-funded contracts, sometimes at great cost. The lack of information from the GSA underscores a disconnect between local officials and the federal government about cybersecurity.

    • Linux file manager flaw leaves security “Bad Taste” [Ed: This is more like a Windows issue. Hype with logo, brand etc.]

      recently patched flaw in the Linux-based GNOME Files file manager has been discovered that could enable hackers to create malicious Windows-based MSI files which would run malicious VBScript code on Linux.

    • The need for open source security in medical devices [Ed: Using the Microsoft-connected Black Duck to bolster the idea that only FOSS has security issues]

      Wireless and wearable technologies have brought about dramatic improvements in healthcare, allowing patients mobility while providing healthcare professionals with easier access to patient data. Many medical devices that were once tethered to patients, positioned next to hospital beds, or at a fixed location, are now transportable. Evolving from the traditional “finger-prick” method of glucose monitoring, wearable devices equipped with sensors and wireless connectivity now assist with monitoring blood sugar levels, connect with health-care providers, and even deliver medication. Critical life-sustaining devices, such as pacemakers, can be checked by doctors using wireless technology and reduce the time a patient needs to spend at the hospital while allowing the doctor to react more rapidly to patient problems.

    • Open Source Innovation Strengthens Cloudera’s Cybersecurity Solutions
    • 8 Things Every Security Pro Should Know About GDPR
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Finnish Navy: Largest nuclear sub in the world passes Finland

      The Finnish Defence Forces confirmed that the nuclear submarine Dmitriy Donskoi passed by Finland in international waters of the Baltic on Monday. The sub is powered by nuclear reactors and has a capacity to carry 200 nuclear warheads and 20 missiles.

      The Dmitriy Donskoi, cruising from its home port in the White Sea, is reportedly headed towards St. Petersburg in order to participate in a naval parade this weekend. The vessel is so large that in the relatively shallow Baltic Sea it is unable to navigate completely underwater, offering a spectacle to anyone watching the water as it passes.

    • Chinese media now trains gun on NSA Ajit Doval, calls him ‘main schemer’

      Ahead of NSA Ajit Doval’s visit, China’s state media struck two different notes with the China Daily hopeful of a peaceful resolution to the deadlock with India while the Global Times said the “main schemer’s” trip wouldn’t sway Beijing.

      In its editorial, ‘It’s never too late for India to mend its way’, China Daily pressed for exploring ways to avoid confrontation.

    • Pitching the ‘Forever War’ in Afghanistan

      In May, the founder of the mercenary-for-hire group Blackwater (now since remained Academi), Erik Prince took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to propose that the Pentagon employ “private military units” and appoint a “viceroy” to oversee the war in Afghanistan.

    • The Hidden Costs of “National Security”

      Donald Trump, of course, ran for president as a businessman who would clean house and institute unprecedented efficiencies in government. Instead, on entering the Oval Office, he’s done a superb job of ignoring chronic problems at the Pentagon, proposing instead to give that department a hefty raise: $575 billion next year. And yet his expansive military funding plans look relatively mild compared to the desires of the gung-ho members of the armed services committees in the House and Senate. Democrats and Republicans alike want to hike the Pentagon budget to at least $600 billion or more. The legislative fight over a final number will play out over the rest of this year. For now, let’s just use Trump’s number as a placeholder.

    • Boy Scouts Jamboree Compared to Hitler Youth Rally After Trump’s Speech

      The annual Boy Scout Jamboree faced comparisons to a Hitler Youth Rally following President Donald Trump’s speech at the event on Monday night. The president spoke to 24,000 Scouts ranging in age from 12 to 18, as eight presidents have before him. Unlike previous presidents, however, Trump appeared to view the event as an opportunity to slam his political opponents and the news media, call for “loyalty,” and rail against the “cesspool” of Washington, D.C., as the audience cheered.

      As he did in May while delivering a commencement speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Trump chose to focus on his own struggles in the White House and recall his victory in the 2016 election, turning an historically non-partisan event that generally focuses on public service into a campaign rally.

      The Scouts, who Trump addressed as “young patriots,” erupted in cheers of “USA! USA!” as the president brought up familiar talking points from his campaign and his first six months in office. He spoke about his effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the war on political correctness (“Under the Trump administration, you will be saying, ‘Merry Christmas again’”), and interrupted his own recitation of the Scout’s Law to bring up his well-documented need for loyalty from his administration: “As the Scout Law says: ‘A Scout is trustworthy, loyal’…we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.”

    • Boy Scouts of America Skewered for ‘Total Cop-Out’ on Trump’s Jamboree Speech

      President Donald Trump’s angry, partisan speech to the Boy Scout Jamboree on Monday evening is still stirring controversy, and has forced the Boy Scouts of America to issue a statement defending the organization’s decision to invite the president.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A limiting factor on producing electricity in a warming world? Water.

      Unless you work at a coal, gas, or nuclear plant, you may not think about water when you think about electricity (certainly at a household level; they don’t mix). But water plays an important part in cooling many power plants, and many power plants also depend on a nearby water source to create steam that drives turbines. So the availability of water for power production is a serious consideration. Not enough water? That power plant could have to shut down. If the water isn’t chilly enough to cool the plant? Same problem.

    • Has the Moment for Environmental Justice Been Lost?

      Given how President Donald Trump has taken aim at the Environmental Protection Agency with regulatory rollbacks and deep proposed budget cuts, it may come as no surprise that the Office of Environmental Justice is on the chopping block.

      This tiny corner of the EPA was established 24 years ago to advocate for minorities and the poor, populations most likely to face the consequences of pollution and least able to advocate for themselves.

      It does so by acting as a middleman, connecting vulnerable communities with those who can help them. It heads a group that advises EPA officials about injustices and another that brings together representatives from other federal agencies and the White House to swap proposals.

      When it works, all the talk leads to grants, policies and programs that change lives.

  • Finance

    • Privatisation of public health sector only a proposal, says Health Secy

      Health advisor to Niti Aayog, Alok Kumar said that the proposal that was mooted was merely in draft stage and it is not binding on any state to enter into a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) based on the draft.

    • Rise in personal loans dangerous, Bank of England official says

      A sharp rise in personal loans could pose a danger to the UK economy, a Bank of England official has warned.
      Outstanding car loans, credit card balance transfers and personal loans have increased by 10% over the past year, the Bank’s financial stability director Alex Brazier said.
      In contrast household incomes have risen by just 1.5%, he said.

    • Bank of England warns of complacency over big rise in personal debt

      The Bank of England has told banks, credit card companies and car loan providers that they risk fresh action against reckless lending as it warned of a looming “spiral of complacency” about mounting consumer debt.

      In its toughest warning yet about the possibility of a rerun of the financial crisis that devastated the economy 10 years ago, Threadneedle Street admitted it was alarmed about the increase in the amount of money being borrowed on easy terms over the past year.

    • Unemployment in the UK is now so low it’s in danger of exposing the lie used to create the numbers

      Unemployment in Britain is now just 4.5%. There are only 1.49 million unemployed people in the UK, versus 32 million people with jobs.

      This is almost unheard of. Unemployment was most recently this low in December 1973, when the UK set an unrepeated record of just 3.4%.

      The problem with this record is that the statistical definition of “unemployment” relies on a fiction that economists tell themselves about the nature of work. As the rate gets lower and lower, it tests that lie. Because — as anyone who has studied basic economics knows — the official definition of unemployment disguises the true rate. In reality, about 21.5% of all working-age people (defined as ages 16 to 64) are without jobs, or 8.83 million people, according to the Office for National Statistics.

    • A new deal could end Bitcoin’s long-running civil war

      The price of Bitcoin surged late last week as it became clear that a proposal to expand the Bitcoin network’s capacity had the support it needed to go into effect. Supporters of the proposal hope that it will put an end to a two-year-old feud that has been tearing the Bitcoin community apart.

      The core dispute is over how to accommodate the payment network’s growing popularity. A hard-coded limit in Bitcoin software—1 megabyte per blockchain block—prevents the network from processing more than about seven transactions per second. The network started to bump up against this limit last year, resulting in slow transactions and soaring transaction fees.

    • $89 Billion AT&T, Time Warner Merger Approval Looking Likely Despite Trump Pledge To Block Deal

      Needless to say, consumer advocates and smaller competitors aren’t too keen on AT&T’s $89 billion plan to acquire Time Warner. They argue that AT&T’s long history of unethical behavior, empty promises, and anti-competitive shenanigans make it extremely likely the company will use its greater size and leverage to ill effect. They worry that AT&T will make it harder for competitors to license content necessary to compete with AT&T’s DirecTV Now streaming service, and arbitrary usage caps and other tricks like zero rating to similarly put competitors at a disadvantage.

    • More Trump Populism: Hiring a Bank Lawyer to Attack CFPB Bank Rules

      President Trump and Republicans in Congress have broadcast their every intention to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The president’s budget attempted to defund it and leading Republicans have called for its director to be fired and replaced with a more Wall Street-compliant regulator.

      But much like the bulk of Trump’s agenda, that assault remains in the aspirational phase, and the agency continues to do its work. Earlier this month, the CFPB released a major new rule, flat-out barring financial institutions from using forced arbitration clauses in consumer contracts to stop class-action lawsuits.

      Now, Trump has sent out his lead attack dog to overturn the arbitration rule — a former bank lawyer who has used the very tactic the CFPB wants to prevent.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump, Jr., and Why Spies Love Business
    • Trump voting commission wins right to collect state voter data

      What’s more, Judge Kollar-Kotelly ruled that “The mere risk of disclosure stemming from the collection and eventual, anonymized disclosure of already publicly available voter roll information” is not enough to get her to block the commission.

    • A Suggestion for Bernie: On Crimes Detectable and Not

      Bernie Sanders claims to be an anti-plutocratic populist and sometimes even a “democratic socialist” opponent of the wealthy corporate and financial Few. Let me therefore make a recommendation for Senator Sanders and his “Our Revolution” movement. Bernie should call a press conference to demand the replacement of current Congressional and Justice Department investigations of a mythical non-problem – Russia’ supposed swinging of the 2016 United States presidential election – by Congressional and Justice Department investigation of a real problem: the control of U.S. politics and policy by the nation’s biggest corporations and financial institutions. In his press conference, Sanders could cite a remarkable passage from a recent New York Times interview with the nation’s leading intellectual Noam Chomsky.

    • Hail to Our Flounder in Chief

      Fish stinks from the head, as the ancient Greeks first said, and right now there’s a 250-pound flounder stinking up the White House and all those around the place.

      Mark Shields said it well on the PBS NewsHour Friday night:

      “Everybody, I can honestly say, with rare exception, who has been associated with this administration and this president has been diminished by it. Their reputation has been tarnished. They’re smaller people as a result of it. And that’s tragic.”

      Six months in and we’ve reached a level of mayhem, compulsive lying and incompetence that defies the imagination. Just to mix the animal metaphors, there’s more bull running through Washington right now than the streets of Pamplona, and for our nation’s capital, that’s saying something.

    • Anthony Scaramucci Dreams of State-Run TV — Let’s See How That’s Working Out in Poland
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Cloudflare Wants to Eliminate ‘Moot’ Pirate Site Blocking Threat

      Cloudflare is not happy with the RIAA’s efforts to hold the company liable for pirate websites on its network. Cloudflare has asked a Florida federal court to vacate a recent order, which would open the door to widespread site blocking efforts. The CDN provider notes that the targeted domains are no longer using its services while accusing the record labels of not being upfront.

    • Scaring school children won’t keep them safe

      And while we’ll never be able to eliminate all dangers, we should be prepared to step up to ensure their safety. But we shouldn’t treat these things as routine. Rather, we should hope that, in those most grave and unlikely of circumstances, we’d show some of the bravery of Lisa Potts.

    • Moral ‘outrage’ has become a tool of bullying and censorship for self- righteous organisations

      There is considerable evidence that political debate has become more threatening, menacing and, in some cases, downright nasty. A stubbornness has developed, where people simply don’t want to listen to – or even have to tolerate – the conflicting views of others. The modern desire tends towards the reinforcement of existing and firmly entrenched opinions, with alternative positions crushed – sometimes aggressively – under the weight of popular outrage and anger.

    • Cuban Activists Say North Korea Fighting Losing Censorship Battle

      Despite North Korea’s increased efforts to prevent outside information from entering the country, international activists say technology and market forces will eventually overcome state censorship.

      North Korea is one of the most isolated nations in the world, where foreign media is prohibited and most people don’t have access to the Internet. The repressive state has even executed citizens for distributing media from South Korea, according to the Transitional Justice Working Group that documents human rights abuses in North Korea.

    • EFF Asks Court to Strike Down Unconstitutional Restraint on Our Speech

      EFF has asked a federal court to rule in its favor in a lawsuit we filed against an Australian company that sought to use foreign law to censor us from expressing our opinion about its patent. While the company, Global Equity Management (SA) Pty Ltd (GEMSA,) knows its way around U.S. courts—having filed dozens of lawsuits against big tech companies claiming patent infringement—it has failed to respond to ours. Today we asked for a default judgment, which if granted means we win the case.

      It all started when GEMSA’s patent litigation was featured in our June 2016 blog series “Stupid Patent of the Month.” The company wrote to EFF accusing us of “false and malicious slander.” It subsequently filed a lawsuit and obtained an injunction from a South Australia court ordering EFF to take down the blog post and blocking us from ever talking about any of its intellectual property.

      We have not removed the post. The South Australian injunction can’t be enforced in the U.S. under a 2010 federal law that took aim against “libel tourism,” a practice by which plaintiffs—often billionaires, celebrities, or oligarchs—sued U.S. writers and academics in countries like England where it was easier to win a defamation case.

      The Securing the Protection of Our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act (SPEECH Act) says foreign orders aren’t enforceable in the United States unless they are consistent with the free speech protections provided by the U.S. and state constitutions, as well as state law. Our lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, maintains that GEMSA’s injunction, which seeks to silence expression of an opinion, would never survive scrutiny under the First Amendment in the United States and should therefore be declared unenforceable. We stood ready to defend our right to express constitutionally protected speech.

    • Puerto Rican Newspaper Cans Popular Comic Strip, Raising Concerns Over Censorship

      Pepito is known for its sharp critique of the government and of elected officials in both the governments of Puerto Rico and of the United Sates. During the 10 years it was published in Primera Hora, it earned accolades from UNESCO, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the Latino Book Review and the Photojournalists’ Association of Puerto Rico, among other distinctions.

    • Senators Promise to Amend Israel Boycott Bill After Backlash

      The lead author of the controversial Israel Anti-Boycott Act, Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, is open to amending the legislation to address concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union, he told The Intercept Monday evening.

      The ACLU warned last week that the measure, which targets the BDS movement, was unconstitutional and would have a chilling effect on free speech. In the wake of that warning, and a subsequent article by The Intercept, co-sponsors of the bill have begun to re-examine their support for it.

      Cardin said that the ACLU had misinterpreted his legislation, but if it needed to be clarified, he would take the steps to do so. “A lot of the co-sponsors are pretty strongly committed to the freedom of speech,” Cardin said. “We’re certainly sensitive to the issues they raise. If we have to make it clearer, we’ll make it clearer.”

      He and the ACLU, he said, disagreed about what the bill would do. “I respect greatly the ACLU. I think that many of their points are just not correct. We don’t want to do anything to infringe freedom of speech,” he said.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Global Condemnation for Turkey’s Detention of Innocent Digital Security Trainers

      The detention of a group of human rights defenders in Turkey for daring to learn about digital security and encryption continued last week with a brief appearance of the accused in an Istanbul court. Six were returned to jail, and four released on bail. In an additionally absurd twist, the four released activists were named in new detention orders on Friday, and are now being re-arrested.

      Among those currently being held in jail are Ali Gharavi and Peter Steudtner, digital security trainers from Sweden and Germany, who had traveled to Turkey to provide online privacy advice for a conference of human rights defenders. The meeting was raided by Turkish police on July 5, and appears to be the sole basis for the prosecution.

      The court charged Gharavi and Steudtner with “committing crimes in the name of a terrorist organization without being a member.” Their co-defendants include Idil Eser, the Director of Amnesty Turkey, Veli Acu and Günal Kurşun of the Human Rights Agenda Association, and Özlem Dalkıran of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly. Four others were released on bail, but new detention orders against them were announced on Friday, with two re-arrested over the weekend.

    • All Quiet On The Tech Front As The Clock Ticks Down On Section 702 Renewal

      Things have been mostly quiet as Congress heads towards the possible renewal of Section 702 surveillance powers. The NSA, oddly, made the most noise by dropping its “about” collection because it simply couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stop harvesting US persons’ communications. As usual, privacy activists are sounding the alarm but the general level of noise at the Congressional level is nothing compared to the runup to Section 215′s renewal.

    • Surveillance Used To Give Poor Students Extra Financial Assistance Discreetly. Is That OK?

      According to the post, the program has been running for many years, but only came to light when a former student posting under the name of “Shannon” wrote an account of being selected in 2005 for additional support, published on the site Zhihu, the Chinese equivalent of Quora. His post has received over 45,000 likes so far, and the number continues to rise. As the Sixth Tone story notes, comments on Shannon’s post have been overwhelmingly positive…

      This raises a number of questions. For example, does the widespread use of surveillance in China make people more willing to accept this kind of benevolent spying, as here? Or is it simply that its use is felt to be justified because it led to additional funding that was given in a discreet fashion? More generally, how would Chinese citizens feel about this approach being rolled out to other areas of life? Since that’s pretty much what China’s rumored “citizen score” system aims to do, we might find out, if it’s ever implemented.

    • Dark Net Trap

      A mistake made in December 2014 was reported to the police in December 2016. This single minor error was enough to bring him down. The Internet is forever. Mistakes, once made, can resurface at any time. The real error was to not create a compartmented persona to handle all things AlphaBay.

    • A Wisconsin company will let employees use microchip implants to buy snacks and open doors

      A Wisconsin company called Three Square Market is going to offer employees implantable chips to open doors, buy snacks, log in to computers, and use office equipment like copy machines. Participating employees will have the chips, which use near field communication (NFC) technology, implanted between their thumb and forefinger. It’s an extension of the long-running implantable RFID chip business, based on a partnership with Swedish company Biohax International.

    • Sweden Accidentally Leaks Personal Details of Nearly All Citizens

      The data breach exposed the names, photos and home addresses of millions of Swedish citizen, including fighter pilots of Swedish air force, members of the military’s most secretive units, police suspects, people under the witness relocation programme, the weight capacity of all roads and bridges, and much more.

      The incident is believed to be one of the worst government information security disasters ever.

    • Roombas have been busy mapping our homes, and now that data could be up for sale

      Roomba owners can opt out of cloud-sharing functions within the iRobot Home app, but technically, the iRobot terms of service and privacy policy say they have the right to share your personal information. The information is buried, laden in legal language, and, as Gizmodo points out, includes this clause which could allow iRobot to sell the information without consent

    • Facebook worker living in garage to Zuckerberg: challenges are right outside your door
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • My father and press freedom are on trial in Turkey – don’t look away, Europe

      It was only after five months of detention that Cumhuriyet journalists and employees found out what charges they were facing. They are accused of links to various terrorist groups and could get sentences of between 7.5 and 43 years in prison. However, a person who turns the pages of the indictment cannot see anything other than newspaper headlines, news, reports, columns and tweets. The case at trial is therefore journalism and the freedom of the press.

    • TSA Bans Comic Books in Checked Luggage for Comic-Con

      The strange part is–while United is directing everyone to TSA for more information, United is also the only airline I can find who is enforcing this. This does not mean it is the only airline. I just don’t see any outrage from people flying other airlines.

    • Watchdog Stings Defense Dept., Obtains $1.2 Million In Military Gear With A Fake Cop Shop

      The Defense Department’s 1033 program allows local law enforcement agencies to buy military equipment. Often, the purchases are made easier with sizable grants, meaning agencies can load up on assault rifles, grenade launchers, armored vehicles, and extra ammo at nearly no cost. (They can also get computers, office furniture, etc. through these grants, but if that were the extent of the program, there would be zero controversy.)

      The 1033 program is supposed to be tightly controlled and every acquisition vetted to prevent high-powered military gear from falling into the wrong hands. We’ve already noted local agencies aren’t performing much in the way of oversight, resulting in several agencies receiving suspensions for failing to account for the whereabouts of purchased gear.

    • Shocking new evidence could overturn Northern Ireland ruling that became an international blueprint for torture

      British forces in Northern Ireland used waterboarding and electric shock treatment on detainees during the 1970s, newly uncovered files show. Witness statements and internal Whitehall correspondence released for the first time last month could have significant implications for international human rights law and British-Irish relations.

      One victim of waterboarding in Belfast spoke out publicly about his experience for the first time at following the recovery of his original testimony from 1972, which recounts that he ‘felt like I was drowning or suffocating until I fell on the floor unconscious’

      The documents were revealed at an event in London to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June, hosted by Matrix Chambers, along with the Pat Finucane Centre, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) and Amnesty International.

    • CIA Torture Psychologists Compare Themselves to Nazi Poison Gas Manufacturer as Defense

      As we know from Nuremberg, contractors are accountable when they provide unlawful means and profit from war crimes

      As the recently departed White House press secretary demonstrated earlier this year, making comparisons to the Nazi regime’s murderous use of poison gas is rarely a good idea. That’s one reason it was so surprising that ahead of a crucial court hearing this week, defense lawyers for the two psychologists behind the CIA’s torture program compared their clients to the contractors who supplied the Nazis with Zyklon B, the poison gas used at Auschwitz and other concentration camps to murder millions of Jews and other prisoners in the Holocaust.

      Psychologists James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen were the architects of the CIA’s torture program. Now, in a groundbreaking lawsuit, three survivors and victims of the torture program are seeking to hold Mitchell and Jessen accountable.

      This Friday in federal court in Spokane, Washington, Mitchell and Jessen’s lawyers will argue that they can’t be held responsible for their actions. In an extraordinary legal filing, Mitchell and Jessen claim they aren’t legally responsible to the people hurt by their methods because they “simply did business with the CIA pursuant to their contracts.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality faceoff: Congress summons ISPs and websites to hearing

      The biggest websites and the biggest Internet service providers are being summoned to Congress to testify about net neutrality.

      US Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he is scheduling a full committee hearing titled, “Ground rules for the Internet ecosystem,” for September 7.

    • [Older] What is net neutrality and why should I care?
    • Despite Republican appeals, Democrats not willing to deal on net neutrality legislation

      Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., a staunch defender of net neutrality and the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said Republicans’ offers to draft a net neutrality bill are hollow.

    • Net neutrality debate underway again, Lt. Gov. picks a side

      Broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon say that allowing them to increase their profits through the use of a tiered system would enable them to invest in infrastructure. But critics of the plan say that loosening the regulations might not do that and there are no guarantees that the companies will go through with the investments.

    • Record 9 million comments flood FCC on net neutrality

      More than 9 million comments — the largest influx ever — have been filed with the Federal Communications Commission about the agency’s proposal to reverse the net neutrality rules it passed in 2015. The first public comment period ended Monday, and now a one-month rebuttal period is underway. Already, about another million additional comments have been submitted.

    • Will Reliance JioPhone clash with net neutrality principles?

      “We don’t know whether the Jio phone limits the user to a particular selected set of apps and services. If it limits users to only Jio apps, or partner apps, that would make it similar to free basics—where Facebook had tied up with a telecom operator to limit users to their selection of apps for free. The Trai ruling banned operators from giving preferential pricing to a particular set of apps. If the users are able to download apps beyond what Jio has to offer, and browse the open Internet, it would not affect net neutrality,” Pahwa said.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • RCEP Discussions on Ecommerce: Gathering Steam in Hyderabad

      Sixteen countries from Asia-Pacific are meeting in Hyderabad for the 19th round of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which takes place in India from 18-28 July, 2017. EFF is participating to advocate for improved transparency and openness in the negotiations, and to express our concerns about possible new rules on intellectual property and ecommerce that some countries are proposing for the agreement.

      RCEP is a free trade agreement (FTA) aimed at broadening regional economic integration and liberalising trade and investment between the 10 ASEAN economies and its trading partners including Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. The total population covered by RCEP exceeds 3 billion, and with the combined GDP of about US$ 17 trillion accounting for about 40% of the world’s trade makes RCEP the biggest mega-regional trade agreement that is under negotiation.

    • Copyrights

      • Why Fair Dealing Is Not Destroying Canada Publishing

        For the past few years, publishers around the world have engaged in a sustained campaign to hold up Canada as proof that making fair dealing more flexible for education will hurt publishers. Those efforts rarely tell the whole story: that paid access remains the primary source of materials in Canada, that educational copyright policies in Canada are primarily a function of court decisions not copyright reform (the emphasis on fair dealing came before the 2012 reforms), that global publishers were reporting marketplace challenges that have nothing to do with copyright, that Canadian publishers that supposedly stopped publishing were still in business, that court affidavits from Canadian publishers focus on many concerns other than copyright, and that a study from one Canadian publisher association highlighted issues such as open access and used book sales. University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist expands on the reality of Canadian publishing and copyright law.[1]

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