07.26.18

Links 26/7/2018: Update of DTrace on Linux and Reasons for Migrating to Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • More Transparency Needed For Open Source Running on IBM i

    Open source may be the future of IBM i. It certainly seems that way at the moment. But if open source is going to soar to new heights on the platform, it will need better integration with the existing processes in place to monitor and manage the platform.

    That’s the opinion of JK Grafe, the CEO of Quad Nova Group, a Jacksonville, Florida-based IBM i consultancy that has offices up the Eastern Seaboard. By Grafe’s own admission, open source is a great thing for the platform. But the difficulty in seeing what’s actually going on with open source workloads is a problem.

    “I can open up a PASE environment to a couple of Java programmers, and they become invisible,” Grafe tells IT Jungle. “If you have a system operator who does his WRKACTJOBs, he doesn’t see these people. He doesn’t know what they’re doing. They’re invisible to him.”

  • Be ‘open-source’ communities

    “Open-source,” in the context of software development, is a specific approach to creating computer software. The idea is that making code openly available for developers will create better code, and making it freely available to end users will increase adoption, result in ongoing evaluation, more use cases and a continuous cycle of improvement, development and new releases.

    Drupal is the open-source software I use for our web development. It has allowed me to build sites that I never could have built on my own — both because of my lack of coding skills and also our lack of funds to purchase expensive, proprietary software.

    In 2011, I went to my first DrupalCon — Drupal Conference — and experienced firsthand this open-source community. There were 3,000 participants connected by computer code. I’ve now been to several — they are held around the world — and it’s a near-religious experience.

  • HOPE XII: A FOSS Operating System for e-Readers

    Free and open source software (FOSS) was a recurring theme during many of the talks during the HOPE XII conference, which should probably come as no surprise. Hackers aren’t big fans of being monitored by faceless corporate overlords or being told what they can and cannot do on the hardware they purchased. Replacing proprietary software with FOSS alternatives is a way to put control back into the hands of the user, so naturally many of the talks pushed the idea.

    In most cases that took the form of advising you to move your Windows or Mac OS computer over to a more open operating system such as GNU/Linux. Sound advice if you’re looking for software freedom, but it’s a bit quaint to limit such thinking to the desktop in 2018. We increasingly depend on mobile computing devices, and more often than not those are locked down hard with not only a closed proprietary operating system but also a “Walled Garden” style content delivery system. What’s the point of running all FOSS software at home on your desktop if you’re carrying a proprietary mobile device around?

  • The 10 Top Open-Source Tools Of 2018 (So Far)
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Brings Option To Mute Autoplaying Audio And Video On Websites

        We all have come across obnoxious video or audio that starts auto-playing on full volume out of nowhere. No thanks to top web browsers, who were so late in launching a fix for the most annoying feature of using the Internet.

      • Immersive Technology Conference at Houston

        At the end of last year, I was invited to speak at the Immersive Technology Conference, which took place at the University Of Houston. It was a two-day event with my talk being the first one. That always is something I simultaneously hate and still crave for. Because even if it’s stressful, that is the only timeslot which allows me to actually listen to and enjoy other talks after me. Otherwise, I keep fretting over my own and can’t concentrate on anything else.

        [...]

        This also was the first conference as a Mozilla TechSpeaker where I started trying to show live demos of WebXR applications running from my mobile. As you will see the experience isn’t really flawless and often crashes. But it worked, I am still working out to iron out the kinks. But now the process goes much smoother as I experienced at OSCON.

      • This Week in Rust 244

        This Week in Rust is openly developed on GitHub. If you find any errors in this week’s issue, please submit a PR.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • DTrace on Linux: an Update

      DTrace offers easy-but-powerful dynamic tracing of system behavior, and it is so lightweight and safe that it can routinely be used on production systems. DTrace was originally developed for the Oracle Solaris operating system.

    • Oracle Updates DTrace For Linux With ARM64 Support, Feature Updates

      At the beginning of the year Oracle reaffirmed their commitment for DTrace on Linux. For those still interested in using this dynamic tracing framework on Linux, Oracle has been rolling out a number of feature updates.

      Oracle has made a number of recent updates to the DTrace framework on Linux. Recent DTrace for Linux improvements include support for 64-bit ARM (ARM64 / AArch64), support for additional providers, bringing feature alignment with other DTrace implementations, compile-time array bounds checking, support for newer versions of the Linux kernel, PID provider support for user-space tracing, and various bug fixes.

    • LibreOffice 6.1 RC2 Released For Testing This Next Open-Source Office Suite Update

      LibreOffice 6.1 is planned for release by the middle of August but for that next version to happen without a hitch, the LibreOffice team could use a hand with the testing of their latest release candidates.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Silicon Industry Veteran Joins SiFive Executive Team

        SiFive, the leading provider of commercial RISC-V processor IP, today announced Brad Holtzinger as Vice President of Worldwide Sales, where he will work with the existing global portfolio of SiFive customers and onboard new clients seeking to take advantage of the company’s market-leading Core IP. Holtzinger brings more than 30 years of embedded industry experience in sales, marketing and engineering.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Erasing Flint’s Water Crisis: Or How to Lie With Statistics

      Mark Twain famously wrote that “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” This insight is relevant to examining the apologetics of modern-day academics in the rising neoliberal assault on the public. This subservience to power is evident in efforts to rationalize governmental attacks on the most basic of human needs: access to clean water. In seeking to numb the public to basic facts and reality, the New York Times has published an op-ed analysis piece by Hernán Gómez and Kim Dietrich: “The Children of Flint Were Not Poisoned” (7/22/2018).

    • AbbVie Hepatitis C Treatment Patents Challenged In India For Evergreening

      The Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) and the Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+) filed an opposition with the Indian Patent Office in New Delhi on 21 July to prevent the granting of a patent to AbbVie on pibrentasvir, which forms part of Mavyret, their drug used to treat hepatitis C, according to a press release.

      I-MAK and DNP+ argue in the press release that pibrentasvir is based on obvious and existing science, and does not represent an innovation, but rather an attempt to establish a monopoly that will limit access to hepatitis C treatment.

      “If unmerited patents make pibrentasvir unavailable and unaffordable, millions of people around the world will go without treatments they need against hepatitis C,” said Tahir Amin, co-founder and co-executive director at I-MAK, as quoted in the press release.

  • Security

    • This Former Hacker Now Helps The New York Times Stay Safe Online

      Those attacks can include trolling, threats and harassment, as well as persistent and innovative phishing emails that can look as if they come from other colleagues within the newsroom or even friends outside of work. And once a hacker [sic] gets a journalist’s user names and passwords, “there’s nothing that you can do to get that data back,” she said.

    • Google ‘kills’ phishing stone dead with 2FA FIDO security keys

      Google gave its employees Yubikeys and told them they’d have to use them to access their company accounts, so there.

      They have, and did, and the results were amazing.

      No one – yes – that’s zero people, or nought per cent, succumbed to a phishing attack once the security key policy was introduced.

    • More mitigations against speculative execution vulnerabilities

      Philip Guenther (guenther@) and Bryan Steele (brynet@) have added more mitigations against speculative execution CPU vulnerabilities on the amd64 platform.

    • 32-Bit Linux Prepares For Performance Hit Due To KPTI For Meltdown Mitigation

      Since January there has been KPTI in the x86_64 Linux kernel as Kernel-based Page Table Isolation for mitigating the Meltdown CPU vulnerability. On the back-burner since then has been KPTI support for the Linux x86 32-bit kernel to protect those using older 32-bit-only processors. With the upcoming Linux 4.19 kernel, KPTI is landing for Linux x86 32-bit. Here are sone benchmarks showing the performance penalty when upgrading to this new kernel on an Ubuntu i686 laptop.

    • How do private keys work in PKI and cryptography?

      In a previous article, I gave an overview of cryptography and discussed the core concepts of confidentiality (keeping data secret), integrity (protecting data from tampering), and authentication (knowing the identity of the data’s source). Since authentication relates so closely to all the messiness of identity in the real world, a complex technological ecosystem has evolved around establishing that someone is who they claim to be. In this article, I’ll describe in broad strokes how these systems work.

    • Google Online Security Blog: A secure web is here to stay
    • Here’s Why Chrome Is Now Showing Millions of Websites As “Not Secure”
    • Chrome 68 for Android Gets Spectre Site Isolation Feature
    • Hacking Unattended Laptop In Under 5 minutes: Researcher Shows How

      We all are aware of the cyberhacking and phishing that takes place in the digital world. And safeguarding us from petty hacks is always a few clicks away. But what about real-world hacking like literally physically hacking into the hardware. Ever thought about that?

      A security firm Eclypsium posted a video on Youtube shocking laptop users of the dangers of evil maid attacks.

    • Watch a Hacker Install a Firmware Backdoor on a Laptop in Less Than 5 Minutes
    • The Key to Trust

      As the principal inventor behind both the Security Key and U2F protocol, we are true supporters of open standards. To realize our mission of making secure login ubiquitous, we designed the original Security Key, and provided the majority of the open source code and test tools for FIDO U2F and the latest version of the standard, FIDO2, which offers a passwordless experience.

    • Google takes on Yubico and builds its own hardware security keys

      Google today announced it is launching its own hardware security keys for two-factor authentication. These so-called Titan Security Keys will go up against similar keys from companies like Yubico, which Google has long championed as the de facto standard for hardware-based two-factor authentication for Gmail and other services.

    • Google Launches ‘Titan Security Key’ To Boost Your Online Security

      Google has launched the public version of the security key used to protect its 85,000 employees from phishing and other cyber attacks during internal testing. Named Titan, it falls under the category of physical security keys that are known to provide better protection than other forms of 2-step verification including OTPs.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Linux Kernel Gets Patch For New SpectreRSB Vulnerability

      Earlier this week SpectreRSB was revealed by University of California researchers as a new Spectre V2 like attack affecting modern processors. A Linux kernel patch is in the works for starting to mitigate SpectreRSB.

      The RSB in this context is with regards to the Return Stack Buffer that is targeted in this latest speculative execution issue. The researchers found with this vulnerability they could exploit private data supposed to be protected by Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX) and that the return stack buffer attacks could be cross-process or inter-VM.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Silence of the Whores

      So how can this fit in to the official government account? Presumably the claim is that Russian agents secretly visited the Skripal house, sprayed novichok on the door handle from this perfume bottle, and then, at an unknown location, disassembled the nozzle from the bottle (Mr Rowley said he had to insert it), then repackaged and re-cellophaned the bottle prior to simply leaving it to be discovered somewhere – presumably somewhere indoors as it still looked new – by Mr Rowley four months later. However it had not been found by anyone else in the interim four months of police, military and security service search.

      Frankly, the case for this being the bottle allegedly used to coat the Skripals’ door handle looks wildly improbable. But then the entire government story already looked wildly improbable anyway – to the extent that I literally do not know a single person, even among my more right wing family and friends, who believes it. The reaction of the media, who had shamelessly been promoting the entirely evidence free “the Russians did it” narrative, to Mr Rowley’s extremely awkward piece of news has been to shove it as far as possible down the news agenda and make no real effort to reconcile it.

    • Maine Voices: U.S. complicit in deaths of innocents during unauthorized war in Yemen

      However, the United States is also militarily active in Somalia, Pakistan, Syria, Libya and most notably, Yemen. Since 2015, it has been involved in a coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

      The geopolitical circumstances of this war and the U.S. involvement are complicated and the Houthi rebels are guilty of many things, but the horrific crimes of our own coalition are clear:

      According to the United Nations, roughly 10,000 civilians have been killed by the Saudi-led coalition since 2015. Additionally, the coalition has cut off Yemen’s food supply and stifled humanitarian aid. What the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have created in Yemen is a crisis of terrifyingly devastating proportions.

      [...]

      In a U.S.-backed strike in October of 2016, bombs fell on a funeral procession and killed 140 civilians. In an appalling display of indifference, the U.S. did not change anything about its participation in the coalition. Then in President Trump’s first counter-terrorism operation as president in January of 2017, 10 children under the age of 13 were killed by U.S. forces.

    • Who’s Attacking Syria? U.S., Turkey and Israel Have Shot Down Assad’s Warplanes

      Israeli anti-air defenses have shot down a Syrian warplane that allegedly flew over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights Tuesday, making it only the latest instance in which international opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have downed manned aircraft fighting on his behalf.

      Amid reports of sirens going off across the Golan Heights—which Israel seized from Syria in 1967 without international recognition—the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced they had launched MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missiles at a Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet that flew about a mile into the occupied region. The Syrian warplane appeared to be serving a government campaign to defeat an Islamic State militant group (ISIS) affiliate operating near the Israel-administered demilitarized zone that has separated the two countries since a 1974 truce.

    • Double whammy: Female IDF officer downed Syrian jet and drone
    • US soldier killed in Afghanistan was part of CIA operation
    • US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Was Part of Secret CIA Program

      On July 12, Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Celiz died of wounds sustained in small arms fire during a military operation in Afghanistan’s Paktiya Province. Former soldiers familiar with the situation say this operation was actually part of a secret CIA program.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange asylum may be ending

      As Ecuador’s president Lenín Moreno visits the UK, there is growing speculation about a possible deal between the two countries to end years of a diplomatic saga after Julian Assange obtained asylum inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

    • Declassified letters show CIA’s indignation over ex-employee Peace Corps ban

      In a series of letters and memos from late 1983 unearthed in the Central Intelligence Agency’s archives by Emma Best, CIA Director William J. Casey expressed dismay over the Peace Corps’ lifetime ban on former Agency employees, claiming that it could set a precedent that would lead to the unfair stigmatization of those “tainted” by the CIA’s activities.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • London’s black-cab drivers consider suing Uber for £1bn
    • Why has Brexit come to warnings about food and medicine shortages?

      For some time, one common contention of those supporting Brexit is that the UK should prepare for a “no deal” Brexit.

      This preparation would, it is asserted, put pressure on the EU in the exit negotiations because the UK could then threaten to walk away rather than accept a bad deal.

      These contentions are all very well while they are glib, pat phrases.

      But problems arise when such sound-bites need to be translated into substance.

      And it now appears that those problems are arising.

      In particular, pro-Brexit government ministers are now – seriously – setting out how food and medicines need to be stockpiled in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal next March.

      So, after two years of negotiation with the EU, and after two years of withdrawal legislation clogging up parliament, the most tangible effects of Brexit which pro-Brexit politicians can offer are…

    • Jeff Bezos’ Paper Tells You Not to Worry About Those Billionaires

      Wow, what a novel idea, as though right-wingers have not been pushing this line since the dawn of time: “Don’t worry that your standard of living is awful, the important thing is that your kids will be able to get rich.” (It doesn’t help his story that his poster child for the rich being good is Lloyd Blankfein, who made his fortune shuffling financial assets at Goldman Sachs, and benefited from a massive government bailout.)

      But let’s be generous, and try to take Lowenstein’s story seriously. He goes on: “Rising inequality, although a fact, is also very hard to find a culprit for. Not that economists haven’t tried.”

      Really? There are plenty of really good explanations for rising inequality, many of which are in my (free) book Rigged. I suppose in the Age of Trump, it is appropriate that the Post has a business columnist determined to flaunt his ignorance.

    • Why the IRS’ Recent Dark Money Decision May Be Less Dire Than It Seems

      Starting next year, the Internal Revenue Service will no longer collect the names of major donors to thousands of nonprofit organizations, from the National Rifle Association to the American Civil Liberties Union to the AARP. Democratic members of Congress and critics of money in politics blasted the move, announced last week by the Treasury Department, the IRS’ parent agency. The Democrats claim the new policy will expand the flow of so-called dark money — contributions from undisclosed donors used to fund election activities — in American politics. For their part, Republicans and conservative groups praised the decision as a much-needed step to avoid chilling the First Amendment rights of private citizens.

      The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United unleashed these groups, typically organized as 501(c)(4) nonprofits, to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaign ads. Their role in American politics has grown increasingly central. In theory, the new IRS policy could have a significant impact on the tax agency’s ability to detect improper contributions — and thereby curb illegal campaign spending.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald the Destroyer

      The mainstream media is concerned with the politics, policies, and propaganda of President Donald Trump, but underplays the central question of his presidency: Is Donald Trump psychologically fit to be president of the United States and commander-in-chief? Over the past twelve months, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists have produced two books (“The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” and “Rocket Man: Nuclear Madness and the Mind of Donald Trump”) to warn that our dangerously disordered president is a threat to domestic and international security. According to an article in Newsweek in March 2018, most Americans agree that Donald Trump is unfit to be president.

      The mental health experts who have produced these books have had to ignore the ethical principle of the American Psychiatric Association known as the “Goldwater Rule,” which prohibited psychiatrists from diagnosing a public figure they had not personally interviewed. The erratic behavior of Donald Trump as a candidate in 2015-2016 and as president in 2017-2018 has led to a challenging ethical principle known as the “duty to warn” because of the danger he has created. In every area of American policy, Trump’s actions and statements have created the highest level of domestic and international anxiety since the end of World War II.

    • The Christian right’s sexual illiberalism sowed the seeds for Trump

      Pro-Trump supporter Jim MacDonald holds a sign that says “Thank God for Trump” at a protest. Image: Julius Motal/SIPA USA/PA ImagesOne of the remarkable things about Donald Trump is the extent to which he has attracted comparisons with the past. This is despite the general feeling that his political career, its embrace of brashness and almost obsessive use of social media, has something distinctly modern, if not unprecedented, about it. Now a year and a half into his first term, the POTUS has invited analogies with Athenian demagoguery, Roman despotism, and Germany in the 1930s. But in drawing such simplistic historical parallels, the liberal commentariat are underestimating the president’s Christian electoral base as a relic rather than a resurgent force that must be reckoned with.

      Trump’s 2016 electoral victory benefited in large part from the enormously high support of white evangelicals — a fact that is all the more astonishing given Trump’s seemingly unreligious persona. Yet the ongoing influence of a Republican-leaning “religious Right” is also often treated as if it properly belonged to a premodern, bygone political era. This may be a natural response for liberals who, in the style of Rawls, have come to equate American democratic modernity with the separation of politics and religious doctrine. And, of course, we should be appalled by the resurgence of an exclusionary discourse that among other things is deeply hostile to LGBTQ+ and women’s rights. However, it is at best facile to relegate the influence of the religious right to the status of an oddity in a political modernity now built on the division of church and state. Significantly, it underplays the novelty — that is to say, the modernity — of that same religious right.

    • Let the best worldview win: using reason to maintain dignity and fend off the Religious Right

      What the arguments of the book in fact proclaim are two counter-intuitive realities: first, the promise of a Republican future, in particular a Religious Right future. Haidt paints Republicans as what could also be termed Honor-based. I wrote in a recent book that the Dignity-based competitor would ultimately win. The present book gives the argument that the Honor-based faction will actually win. Dignity-based folks must now rephrase core values (human justice, governmental accountability, the normative influence of money, and a moderate Supreme Court) and in addition adopt some Honor-based criteria (disproportionately low taxation of the wealthy). Ultimately, it all devolves either to social justice or to whatever titillates the Republican palate. This to me is the 30,000 foot view.

      Second, the bulk of the first two-thirds of the book is an argument that our judgements are engendered and recalled intuitively; reason has far less to do with the assessing of judgements than we might ordinarily suppose. So to approach the conservatives one must go for the intuitionist approach which focuses on presenting yourself as a friendly inquirer. Make friends, (then apologize for past liberal intransigence?). “If you want to change people’s minds, you’ve got to talk to their elephants.” Do not suppose that reasoning with them will work (Haidt maintains a knee-jerk reaction against rationalists), and certainly not argumentation. I am sure Haidt didn’t mean it this way, but one could be forgiven for wondering if liberals shouldn’t just apologize for being liberals. I am sure Haidt didn’t mean it this way, but one could be forgiven for wondering if liberals shouldn’t just apologize for being liberals.

      His chief evidence that the Republicans have a built-in advantage comes from a six-tiered accounting of “foundational” ideas: “Until Democrats understand…the difference between a six-foundation morality and a three-foundation morality, they will not understand what makes people vote Republican.” Here are the six: Care/Harm; Fairness/Cheating; Loyalty/Betrayal; Authority/Subversion; Sanctity/Degradation, and Liberty/Oppression. Haidt has evaluated conservative and liberal trends and maintains that liberals pay attention to but three of these foundational categories, whereas the conservatives encompass the whole range.

    • The Republican Congress Isn’t Even Pretending to Do Its Job

      It’s much easier to let judges and appointees do the unpopular work of stripping workers of their rights, outlawing abortion, and running the administrative state into the ground.

    • Clinton Democrats Embrace Losing Strategy To Combat ‘Sanders-Style Socialism’ In Midterms

      Democratic Party elites are increasingly concerned the midterm elections will be a “base election” and make their centrist politics even more irrelevant, as insurgent candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez garner widespread support.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Senators Wyden & Rubio Ask Google And Amazon To Bring Back Domain Fronting

      Earlier this year we wrote about the bad decisions by both Google and Amazon to end domain fronting. Domain fronting was a (somewhat accidental) way in which services could effectively hide certain traffic to make it quite difficult for, say, authoritarian regimes in Iran or China to block the traffic. For that reason, domain fronting was an important tool in keeping services like Signal’s encrypted communications platform working for activists and dissidents in such places.

      Amazon and Google claimed that they never intended to allow domain fronting, and that while it helped those services work in such places it might also lead to much broader blocks by those countries trying to get at the fronted communications. Now, in an interesting move, Senators Ron Wyden and Marco Rubio have sent both companies a letter asking them to reconsider.

    • Censorship, Geopolitical Time Bombs, and China’s Islamophobia Problem

      China has a serious and worsening Islamophobia problem. While relations between China’s Muslim minorities and its Han majority have been fraught since 2009’s deadly inter-ethnic riots in the far western city of Urumqi, recent years have seen the normalization of online hate speech directed at Muslims. The rise of Islamophobia inside China is a product both of government action, and of the government’s failure to act. Commentary on the recent death of a prominent Muslim leader in the western province of Qinghai highlights the extent to which the situation has deteriorated, and suggests the ways in which China’s warped online discourse could blunt its efforts to build influence and win friends in countries across the Muslim world.

    • Haruki Murakami’s new novel declared ‘indecent’ by Hong Kong censors

      The latest novel from Haruki Murakami, Japan’s most celebrated literary export, has fallen foul of censors in Hong Kong, where it was ruled to be indecent by a tribunal and removed from display at a book fair.

      Hong Kong’s Obscene Articles Tribunal announced last week that the Chinese-language edition of Murakami’s Kishidancho Goroshi, or Killing Commendatore, had been temporarily classified as “Class II – indecent materials”, according to the South China Morning Post. This means that it can only be sold in bookshops with its cover wrapped with a notice warning about its contents, with access restricted to those over the age of 18. The ruling has also seen the novel pulled from booths at the Hong Kong book fair, where a spokesperson said the novel had been removed proactively after last week’s ruling.

      Due to be published in the UK this autumn, Killing Commendatore is “an epic tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art – as well as a loving homage to The Great Gatsby – and a stunning work of imagination from one of our greatest writers”, according to its British publisher Harvill Secker. It went on sale in Japan last year with midnight openings and queues of eager fans.

    • Pro-life charity accuses council of ‘censorship’ after being kicked out of London show

      A pro-life charity [anti-abortionists group] is has condemned a London council over their “authoritarian and discriminatory” decision to remove their stall from a country show at the weekend.

      Life says it has documentary evidence that Lambeth Borough Council had granted it permission to attend the Lambeth Country Show in Brockwell Park, and accepted payment for their stall.

    • The Slippery Slope of Social Media Censorship

      When it comes to identifying fake news, it is less science than alchemy; a task residing somewhere between asking “What is art?” and “What is beauty?” In other words, fake news is largely, as the aphorism goes, in the eye of the beholder.

      Though used excessively by Democrats and Republicans alike, the term itself is nothing more than a worthless catchall for content we might find objectionable for any number of reasons. Does the content seem biased and unfair against “our guy?” Fake news. Is the content from a news source we don’t like? Fake news. Did Jim Acosta file the story? Oh, definitely fake news.

    • Chinese state pushes back against widespread outrage over vaccine crisis

      The Chinese government is turning to censorship and appeals for calm, amid mounting public anger following revelations earlier this week that one of the country’s largest vaccine makers had violated safety standards.
      Furor about the faulty vaccines, an estimated 250,000 of which may have been administrated to children, has continued to dominate Chinese social media, further eroding public trust in essential services.

    • Fear and Censorship in China Following Latest Vaccine Scandal
    • Member App, Based on BCH’s Blockchain, Allows For Censorship Resistant Messages
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Here’s The List Of Websites Windows 10 Connects To After Clean Installation

      Nowadays, it has hard for companies to hide from the privacy protection radar, at least, in theory. Surely, Microsoft is one of them. Criticism in the past has forced Redmond to open up on the tracking and data collection it performs through Windows and other products.

      In 2017, Microsoft disclosed what data it collects from Windows 10 PCs. And with the release of the April 2018 Update, it introduced the Diagnostic Data Viewer app in Windows 10. Still, there are is a lot of stuff to be known.

    • Judge slams FBI for improper cellphone search, stingray use

      A federal judge in San Francisco recently excoriated the government over its improper methods in searching one suspect’s cell phone and in the use of a stingray to find an alleged co-conspirator.

      Prosecutors say the two men, Donnell Artis and Chanta Hopkins, were engaged in credit card fraud and also illegally possessed firearms, among other pending charges that also involve four other people.

    • Federal Judge Blasts FBI, Agent For Breaking The Law When Seeking Stingray Warrants

      While it’s good the FBI is seeking warrants for Stingray deployments, there’s some bad news. This story from Cyrus Farviar from Ars Technica shows FBI warrant procedures are incredibly flawed — so severely flawed they break state law when they’re put to use.

      [...]

      As was noted earlier, state/county judges can issue certain warrants to federal and local law enforcement. But only local law enforcement is allowed to execute search warrants issued by local judges. If a federal agent wants to engage in a search or an arrest, they need to get their warrants approved by federal judges. The DEA’s inability to follow California law has cost it a few cases over the years. The FBI is going to have the same problem if it doesn’t train its agents correctly.

      Even if it was a lapse in training, Judge Chhabria isn’t interested in forgiving Agent Carlson for his agency’s failings. This results in one of the harsher bench-slaps handed out to a federal agent.

    • FBI Boss Chris Wray: We Put A Man On The Moon So Why Not Encryption Backdoors?

      Despite the FBI finally admitting it had greatly exaggerated the number of encrypted devices it can’t get into, FBI Director Chris Wray keeps pushing the “going dark” theory to whoever will listen. This time it was NBC’s Lester Holt. In an interview during the Aspen Security Forum, Wray again hinted he was moving towards an anti-encryption legislative mandate if some sort of (impossible) “compromise” couldn’t be reached with tech companies.

      [...]

      First off, bringing the space program into this is ridiculous. All it does is demonstrate the government has access to some of the best minds, but Wray expects the private sector to provide, maintain, and bear the expense of a law enforcement-friendly encryption “solution.” (And if it fails to deliver, Wray’s more than willing to ask the government to force the private sector to play ball.)

      Second, putting a man on the moon was the side effect of a Cold War cock-measuring contest with the USSR. While the nation has derived many benefits over the years from the space program, the “man on the moon” mission was a way of expressing superiority and implying that our weaponry was similarly advanced. The US government showed the world how powerful it was. I don’t think that’s the analogy you want to make when discussing personal device encryption.

      And third, the whole “putting a man on the moon” analogy was solidly mocked on John Oliver’s program two years ago when he quoted cryptography expert Matt Blaze accurately saying, “When I hear ‘if we can put a man on the moon, we can do this’ I’m hearing an analogy almost saying “if we can put a man on the moon, surely we can put a man on the sun.’” Not every issue is the equivalent of putting a man on the moon.

      While the others listed are private sector achievements, they’re simply not good comparisons. Encryption methods continue to advance in complexity and ease-of-use. This is innovation, even if it’s innovation Chris Wray doesn’t like. Each of the innovations listed solved problems and created markets. In this case the problem is device security. Encryption solves it. Who wants secure devices? Everyone who buys one.

    • Connecticut’s Plan to Install Electronic Tolling Could Be a Privacy Nightmare

      If electronic tolling is eventually introduced, the state must protect drivers’ privacy rights.

      Last week, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy issued an executive order requiring the state Department of Transportation to conduct a $10 million study of introducing electronic tolling to Connecticut roads. Today, the state bond commission voted to approve spending that $10 million.

      Missing from that executive order? Any mention of people’s privacy rights.

      Imagine making your daily commute with the government tracking where and how fast you are going every time you drive through a toll. In this world, the state, federal government, and for-profit corporations can see that information and use it to pinpoint your location and travel habits. Thousands of detailed scans about your travel habits are kept in a state database, without rules for how the government secures or shares them.

      If this toll study ignores privacy rights, this could be the reality in Connecticut.

      Connecticut tolls would likely rely on electronic gantries, not the tollbooths of yesteryear. To collect fees, these gantries scan a transponder attached to someone’s windshield and automatically deduct money from a prepaid account tied to the vehicle’s license plate. If someone doesn’t have a transponder or prepaid account, a camera captures an image of their license plate, and the state mails the vehicle’s owner a bill.

    • Viewpoint: Big Brother is watching you

      On the other side of the fence, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled that the system that gave GCHQ access to personal data from telecoms companies had been illegal between 2001 and 2012. The rules, which were introduced in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks, gave the UK’s foreign secretary the power to direct GCHQ to obtain data from telecoms companies with barely any oversight. In this case, the IPT said it has found no evidence that the system was ever misused by GCHQ.

    • Authorities scramble to change licensing of My Health Record data

      Australia’s Digital Health Agency, the body that manages the My Health Record system, is making a bid to change the licensing of data to mobile phone apps, with an option to cancel any agreement if the app firms damage the reputation of the system.

    • My Health Record agency adds ‘reputation’, ‘public interest’ cancellation options to app contracts

      There are also much tighter clauses on how the companies report data breaches and collect information and consent from app users.

      “Especially in the case of our sensitive health information, the Government must ensure that health apps use the highest standards of consent,” Dr Kemp said.

      “This agreement does not do that.”

    • Was It Ethical for Dropbox to Share Customer Data with Scientists?

      For the past two years, researchers at Northwestern University have been analyzing the habits of tens of thousands of scientists—using Dropbox. Looking at data about academics’ folder-sharing habits, they found the most successful scientists share some collaboration behaviors in common. And on Friday, they published their results in an article for the Harvard Business Review.

      The study quickly attracted the notice of academics—but not for the reason Dropbox and the researchers had hoped. One sentence in particular caught readers’ attention: “Dropbox gave us access to project-folder-related data, which we aggregated and anonymized, for all the scientists using its platform over the period from May 2015 to May 2017—a group that represented 1,000 universities.” Written by Northwestern University Institute on Complex Systems professors Adam Pah and Brian Uzzi and Dropbox Manager of Enterprise Insights Rebecca Hinds, that wording suggested Dropbox had handed over personally identifiable information on hundreds of thousands of customers.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • New Documentary From ProPublica and Frontline Chronicles a Year of Reporting on Violent White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis

      In “Documenting Hate: Charlottesville,” Frontline and ProPublica investigate the white supremacists and neo-Nazis involved in the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. Our joint reporting has already shed new and troubling light on the events of Aug. 11 and 12, 2017 — revealing that one participant in the violence, Vasillios Pistolis, was an active-duty Marine, and that another, Michael Miselis, worked for a major defense contractor and held a U.S. government security clearance. Now, correspondent A.C. Thompson goes even deeper, showing how some of those behind the racist violence nearly one year ago went unpunished and continued to operate around the country. This is the first in a series of two “Documenting Hate” films from Frontline and ProPublica, with the second coming later this fall.

    • TSA might let you keep everything in carry-on bags—in five years or so

      The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is starting to use CT scanners to look for explosives and other banned objects in carry-on bags. The advance in technology might—eventually—let travelers go through airport security without removing electronics, liquids, or anything else from their bags.

    • The “Petroyuan” Might Save Nigeria And Avert Another Migrant Crisis

      China has expressed a readiness to increase its investments in Nigeria’s oil industry… designed to strengthen the future prospects for the so-called “petroyuan” by tying Africa’s largest oil producer to the petrodollar’s worst enemy.

    • The Government’s Rush to Deport Reunited Families

      The Trump administration sinks to new low and tries to rob the families it traumatized of time to make life-altering choices.

      The family separation crisis took a turn yesterday, when the Trump administration revealed in a federal court filing its intention to deport families immediately upon reunifying them. The ACLU had sought a court order blocking the deportation of any parent with a final order of removal until one week after notification that they have been reunited with their children.

      This waiting period is crucial to ensure that parents have an opportunity to make an informed decision about whether to fight their own removal case, leave their child, who may have their own asylum claim, behind in the United States, or to make some other decision. In short, families will be making life-altering decisions after months of traumatic separation — and the fact that the government is trying to shortchange them a matter of days to do so is galling.

      Yesterday in court, we argued that given reports of a chaotic reunification process, not to mention the trauma caused by prolonged involuntary separation, families absolutely require a waiting period of seven days after notification of reunion, so that they can meet with attorneys and be fully apprised of their rights before any deportations occur. A Justice Department attorney pushed back, saying “The government takes issue with the assertion that there is a mess on the ground. We have many reasons to be proud of this effort.”

    • John Kiriakou: The Case for Stripping Former Officials of their Security Clearances

      Libertarian senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said on Monday that in a personal meeting with President Donald Trump, he urged the president to revoke the security clearances of a half dozen former Obama-era intelligence officials, including former CIA director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. I couldn’t agree more with Paul’s position, not specifically regarding these three people, but for any former intelligence official. No former intelligence official should keep a security clearance, especially if he or she transitions to the media or to a corporate board.

      The controversy specifically over Brennan’s clearance has been bubbling along for more than a year. He has been one of Trump’s most vocal and harshest critics. Last week he went so far as to accuse Trump of having committed “treason” during his meeting in Helsinki, Finland with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Brennan said in a tweet, “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican patriots: Where are you???” The outburst was in response to Trump’s unwillingness to accept the Intelligence Community position that Putin and the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

      Other intelligence professionals weighed in negatively on Trump’s Helsinki performance, including Republicans like former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and former CIA director Mike Hayden.

    • ‘The Haitian Government Has Lavished Privileges Upon Themselves’

      “Mt. Juliet Mission Group Stalled in Haiti.” “Missionary From Hubbardston Weathers Protests in Haiti.” “Riots Delay Lowell Missionaries’ Return From Haiti.” “Raleigh Church Group Returning From Haiti After Civil Unrest.”

      Judging by headlines, one might assess that the significant thing about public protests in Haiti is that they have interrupted the travel of US missionary groups. Reading further, you may learn that the immediate spark for the unrest was a proposed hike in fuel prices, a 38 percent increase in the price of gas, 47 percent for diesel and 51 percent for the kerosene many people use to heat and cook.

      But in general (the Miami Herald‘s Jacqueline Charles was a notable exception), big US media outlets just don’t seem all that interested in what’s happening in Haiti. And so stories focused on Americans who “tried to help, but got caught up in violence,” take center stage, reinforcing a media storyline that has tended to present Haiti as a place of almost inherent chaos and a bottomless pit for international aid.

      It’s a sad, static vision that doesn’t encourage much thinking about positive ways forward for Haiti and Haitians. Joining us now to help shed a different light on things is Jocelyn McCalla, the longtime director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights; he’s now advocacy coordinator for the group Haitian-Americans United for Progress. He joins us now by phone from Brooklyn. Welcome to CounterSpin, Jocelyn McCalla.

    • Facebook Promises to Bar Advertisers From Targeting Ads by Race or Ethnicity. Again.

      Facebook announced Tuesday that it would make “legally binding” changes to its advertising platform, removing some features that allowed discrimination in housing, employment, insurance and credit ads.

      The social networking company’s pledges came in response to an investigation by the state of Washington prompted by a November 2016 ProPublica article. The article disclosed that the company’s software made it possible for marketers to tailor who saw Facebook ads by race, gender, nationality and other characteristics protected by the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

      The housing act bars publication of any advertisement “with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.”

    • Police watchdog omits 3 contentious deaths from record-breaking count of deaths in custody

      Three young black men who died during or after police restraint are not included in the latest official count of “deaths in or following police custody”, Shine A Light has learned.

      The three are Rashan Charles, Shane Bryant and Edson Da Costa.

      A report published today by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (formerly known as the Independent Police Complaints Commission) records 23 police custody deaths in England and Wales in the year to 31 March 2018. That’s a 14-year high.

      But at least three young black men who are known to have died during or after police restraint are not listed by the IOPC among the headline 23 “deaths in or following police custody”.

      Edson Da Costa, 25, died in Newham, East London, on 21 June 2017, following restraint by police six days earlier.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • New York State Threatens To Revoke Charter’s Cable Franchise For Bullshitting

      New York State and the nation’s second biggest cable provider (Charter Spectrum) aren’t getting along particularly well. Early last year, Charter Spectrum was sued by New York State for selling broadband speeds the company knew it couldn’t deliver. According to the original complaint (pdf), Charter routinely misled consumers, refused to seriously upgrade its networks, and manipulated a system the FCC used to determine whether the company was delivering advertised broadband speeds to the company’s subscribers (it wasn’t).

      Charter has tried to use the FCC’s net neutrality repeal to claim that states can’t hold it accountable for terrible service, but that hasn’t been going particularly well.

      Meanwhile, Charter is also facing heat from the state after the State Public Service Commission found that Charter routinely mislead regulators about its efforts to meet conditions affixed to its $89 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. As part of that deal, Charter was supposed to expand service to “145,000 unserved and underserved residential housing units and/or businesses within four years.” But the company was fined $2 million after regulators found it repeatedly tried to pretend it had expanded services to areas that weren’t actually upgraded.

    • 5.4 Million Americans Will Cut The Cord In 2018, New Report Warns

      Cg42, a boutique consulting firm, has published its latest “2018 Cord Cutter & Cord Never Study,” which builds on several reports by providing an in-depth analysis of both US consumers who opted out of subscription-based Paid-TV service in the last several years (i.e., Cord Cutters) as well as US consumers who have never subscribed to paid-TV service (i.e., Cord Nevers).

    • Sen. Ron Wyden on breaking up Facebook, net neutrality, and the law that built the [I]nternet

      On July 18th, The Verge sat down with Wyden on Capitol Hill to discuss the tech industry’s troubled state. For a technophile, his office is notably analog: a mountain of paper on his desk obscures an Economist and a copy of James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty, and on display are books by his father, the journalist Peter H. Wyden. Recent news made our conversation topical: just hours before, the European Union had levied a massive, $5.1 billion fine against Google for alleged anti-competitive practices. During our meeting, Wyden suggested that it was time for Congress to take a harder look at Big Tech and even hinted that legislation on the data privacy front was forthcoming.

    • Ajit Pai gets message from his hometown ISP: Don’t hurt us small ISPs

      Pai heard from his hometown ISP again yesterday when Wave and 181 other fixed wireless broadband providers wrote a letter opposing an FCC plan that could limit the small ISPs’ access to wireless spectrum.

    • Massachusetts Just The Latest State To Embrace Net Neutrality

      In the wake of the FCC’s historically unpopular decision to gut net neutrality, more than half of the states in the nation are now exploring their own, state-level net neutrality rules. In some instances (Montana) states are signing executive orders that ban state agencies from doing business with ISPs that behave anti-competitively. Elsewhere (Oregon and Washington) states are passing new laws that largely mirror the FCC’s discarded 2015 rules, and in some instances (California) are a bit tougher than the FCC on things like usage caps or “zero rating.”

      This week, Massachusetts began finalizing approval of S2610, which initially proposed doing many of the things other such bills do (banning ISP blocking, throttling, or crippling of competitor services and websites).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Lessons from India’s first ever SEP judgment

      More clarity in calculating damages in standard essential patent disputes could have made judgment a more powerful precedent, according to India practitioners

    • CJEU rules on basic patent meaning in SPC dispute

      The meaning of “protected by a basic patent” has been clarified in Teva v Gilead, in a return to familiar ground

    • EUIPO must re-examine KitKat shape, rules CJEU

      Nestlé did not produce sufficient evidence to show that Kit Kat’s three-dimensional shape had acquired distinctive character, the CJEU rules, in a case that makes it clear the test for acquired distinctiveness is different from the test for non-use

    • NBER Summer Institute 2018: Innovation

      Last week I was a discussant at the Innovation section of the 2018 NBER Summer Institute (full schedule here), which I highly recommend to scholars interested in the economics of innovation. The quality of the papers and the discussion was pretty uniformly high. There were a few examples of the insularity of economics, such as remarks about topics that “no one has studied” that have been studied by legal scholars, but I think this just illustrates the benefits of having scholars familiar with different literatures at disciplinary conferences.

      Here are links and brief summaries of the innovation-related papers. (There was also a great panel discussion on gender and academic credit, which I might post about separately at some point.)

    • Copyrights

      • Taste of cheese can’t be copyright protected: CJEU AG

        A top EU court adviser has recommended that the taste of cheese not be protected by copyright and that protection should only be applied to work that is seen or heard

      • The AG Opinion in Levola Hengelo: more questions than answers?

        According to the AG, there are two additional considerations that rule out copyright protection in a taste.

        The first is the idea/expression dichotomy, which excludes protection for a recipe as such, this being an idea that has not yet been expressed in some form, eg in writing.

        The second consideration is that original expressions should be identifiable with sufficient precision and objectivity. And here the AG brought trade mark law into the picture. By relying on the decision in Sieckmann concerning the (now seemingly defunct) graphic representation requirement and which – as a matter of fact – has made it virtually impossible to register less conventional signs like smells and, indeed, taste, he concluded that the same requirements envisaged for graphic representation of a sign in trade mark law – ie the representation be clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable and objective – apply in copyright. Hence, if a certain subject-matter cannot be identified with sufficient precision and objectivity, it is not protectable.

        The taste of a food product is a qualitative element and, as things currently stand, there are no techniques to identify it precisely and objectively. It follows that it is not possible to identify precisely and objectively the scope of the protection (if any) afforded to it.

      • No, The Public Standing Up For An Open Internet Is Not A Criminal Google Conspiracy

        Over the past decade, we’ve talked about music industry lawyer Chris Castle and his bizarre interpretation of reality a few times. He insists that anyone supporting the legal sharing of content via Creative Commons is “self-serving shilling for the self-absorbed on the short con,” which I’m sure must have sounded clever in his mind. A key target for Castle and his friends is that Google is the representation of all that is evil in the music industry. It’s a convenient foil. Castle and his friends see Google lurking behind anything that’s not like the old days, similar to the way that adults freaked out that pinball machines were destroying the minds of the youths in earlier generations.

        Castle’s latest claim, however, is positively crazy. Not only is he upset about the EU Parliament has agreed to reopen Article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive for discussion, he’s decided that the only reason they did so must be due to a criminal conspiracy by Google, for which he is demanding an investigation.

      • BREAKING: AG Wathelet advises CJEU to rule that the taste of a cheese CANNOT be protected by copyright

        Finally: the time has (almost) come to know the answer to one of the most pressing IP questions: is there, or not, copyright in the taste of a spreadable Dutch cheese known as Heks’nkaas?

        This morning Advocate General (AG) Wathelet issued his Opinion [not yet available on the Curia website], in which he advised the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to rule that no copyright protection could vest in the taste of a cheese.

        Despite its seemingly cheesy subject-matter, this case is potentially a very important one, as I discussed more at length here and here.

      • 6 Best Pirate Bay Alternatives To Use When TPB Is Down: Working In 2018

        What do the fans do when The Pirate Bay is down, maybe, due to some error or federal actions? They have to accept the hard truth and look for some alternatives of The Pirate Bay or ripoffs like thepiratebay3.org.

        Commonly known as TPB, the popular torrent site has been around for almost 15 years currently running on thepiratebay.org domain. Over the period of this time, it went away and came back multiple times and changed domains as well. Its operators even thought about setting up TPB servers on a satellite where law enforcement can’t reach.

      • South Africa’s Proposed Fair Use Right In Copyright Bill Is Surprisingly Good — At The Moment

        Too often Techdirt writes about changes in copyright law that are only for the benefit of the big publishing and recording companies, and offer little to individual creators or the public. So it makes a pleasant change to be able to report that South Africa’s efforts to update its creaking copyright laws seem, for the moment, to be bucking that trend. Specifically, those drafting the text seem to have listened to the calls for intelligent fair use rights fit for the digital world. As a post on infojustice.org explains, a key aspect of copyright reform is enshrining exceptions that give permission to Internet users to do all the usual online stuff — things like sharing photos on social media, or making and distributing memes.

      • MPAA: Doing Nothing About Online Lawlessness Chills Free Speech

        Doing nothing about online lawlessness chills free speech, the MPAA has told the NTIB. To improve the situation, online platforms should take more responsibility for illegal content and domain names should be off limits to pirate sites. On top, some Kodi addon makers and repositories should be targeted by criminal enforcement action.

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