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Links 22/9/2020: Tails 4.11, Linux Lite 5.2 RC1

Posted in News Roundup at 12:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Linux Laptop Market Has A Serious Problem

        I’d love to see more purpose-built Linux laptops priced somewhere between the $199 Pinebook Pro and the $1000 XPS 13s and Oryx Pros. A variety of $400 to $600 daily driver laptops that people can feel comfortable using. It will take time and effort and especially patience, but as we keep edging into macOS and Windows market share, the prices will come down, and interest will go up.

        Provided that the average PC user doesn’t glance at the landscape of Linux laptops and immediately assume they’ve been priced out of participating.

      • Peace Out, Pixelbook

        It was spotted over the weekend that the original Pixelbook went out of stock on the Google Store. That included the $999 model, $1,199 model, and the $1,649 model. All gone.

        Reaching out to Google, Engadget received a response from the company, pointing folks to purchase the newer Pixelbook Go instead. That means we’ve likely seen the last of the Pixelbook.


      • Microsoft kills off Windows 10 update that had been slowing down PCs

        Goodbye Windows 10 update KB4559309, we hardly knew ye. After less than two months, in which the Windows 10 update managed to annoy many users by seemingly slowing down their devices, Microsoft has now unceremoniously killed off the update.

        As Windows Latest reports, the Windows 10 update KB4559309 update was supposed to replace the old Edge web browser with the new and improved Chromium-based Edge web browser. However, many users reported that after installing the update, their PCs began to perform poorly, while Windows 10 also booted slowly.

        Windows 10 May 2020 Update problems: how to fix them
        How to uninstall a Windows 10 update
        These are the best web browsers

        To make matters worse, KB4559309 is an automatic update, which meant users didn’t have a say in whether or not Windows 10 should download and install it.

      • System76 announce more Linux laptop models get open source firmware

        System76, the Pop!_OS Linux distribution maker and hardware vendor for laptops, desktops and servers has announced another open source firmware push.

        Announced on Twitter, the official account mentioned that the Gazelle and the Adder WS models are joining the ranks and if you own them you can switch them over to their open source firmware right now. Not only that, their Darter Pro laptop model will get an automatic update to move it over to their open source EC (Embedded Controller) firmware. You can see here how to move your devices over.

        Founder and CEO of System76, Carl Richell, announced on Twitter: “I highly recommend switching to System76 Open Firmware if you have one of these models. Not only is your firmware largely liberated from proprietary code, your laptop will boot faster and you’ll start seeing integrations between hardware (through this firmware) and Pop!_OS.”.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • This Week in Linux 117: GNOME 3.38, Xfce 4.16, NVIDIA Buys ARM, Firefox Send Shutdown, PinePhone

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ve got a ton of news week . . . a crazy amount of news that I had to limit it for time. We’ve got some desktop environment news from GNOME with GNOME 3.38 released and Xfce’s updates on New Features & Release Date for Xfce 4.16. PinePhone announced there’s now a Multi-Distro Image in fact 13 distros in 1 and we’ll check out an affordable Linux laptop in the Slimbook Essential. Mozilla announced the shutting down of Firefox Send & Firefox Notes while NVIDIA is poised to Acquire ARM for $40 Billion! LBRY Announces a new YouTube alternative platform called Odysee and Deepin Linux announced the release of Deepin 20. Finally we’ll round out this monster episode with some comments made by Mark Shuttleworth on the future of Ubuntu’s Community Council. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • If You Support Free Software, You Should Support Gun Rights

        I support the Free Software Movement, and I support the Second Ammendment. To me, supporting both seems a natural fit. I see a lot of similarities between the kinds of freedoms that both movements are fighting for. Yet, I don’t see enough of the “free software” crowd here in the US standing up for gun rights.

      • Python Podcast: Flexible Network Security Detection And Response With Grapl – Episode 281

        Servers and services that have any exposure to the public internet are under a constant barrage of attacks. Network security engineers are tasked with discovering and addressing any potential breaches to their systems, which is a never-ending task as attackers continually evolve their tactics. In order to gain better visibility into complex exploits Colin O’Brien built the Grapl platform, using graph database technology to more easily discover relationships between activities within and across servers. In this episode he shares his motivations for creating a new system to discover potential security breaches, how its design simplifies the work of identifying complex attacks without relying on brittle rules, and how you can start using it to monitor your own systems today.

    • Kernel Space

      • Technologies for container isolation: A comparison of AppArmor and SELinux

        I researched how containers, virtual machines (VMs), and processes, in general, are separated by different technologies—namely, AppArmor and SELinux. My goal was to compare these solutions for isolation/separation capabilities in the cloud world.

        Just as a reminder, Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses SELinux technology to separate processes, containers, and VMs. OpenShift also uses this technology.

        The first option is an isolation technology called AppArmor, which is a very similar technology to SELinux. However, it is not label-based. AppArmor security profiles, which are equivalent to SELinux security policies, look more user-friendly, but that’s because AppArmor is less complicated and controls fewer operations.

      • Kees Cook: security things in Linux v5.7

        Linux v5.7 was released at the end of May.


        After Silvio Cesare observed some weaknesses in the implementation of CONFIG_SLAB_FREELIST_HARDENED‘s freelist pointer content obfuscation, I improved their bit diffusion, which makes attacks require significantly more memory content exposures to defeat the obfuscation. As part of the conversation, Vitaly Nikolenko pointed out that the freelist pointer’s location made it relatively easy to target too (for either disclosures or overwrites), so I moved it away from the edge of the slab, making it harder to reach through small-sized overflows (which usually target the freelist pointer). As it turns out, there were a few assumptions in the kernel about the location of the freelist pointer, which had to also get cleaned up.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Panfrost With Linux 5.10 To Support Mali GPU On Amlogic G12B SoCs

          Sent out on Monday were a last batch of drm-misc-next changes to queue for the Linux 5.10 merge window opening next month.

          This pull request wasn’t too exciting given all of the other DRM changes queued over the past several weeks, but one notable addition was the open-source Arm Mali “Panfrost” DRM driver now supporting Amlogic hardware.

          New device quirks had to be introduced to the driver for providing compatibility with Amlogic G12B SoCs. There was quirk handling added around the PWR registers at GPU reset time and an IOMMU quirk that was needed for getting the Mali G52 on the Amlogic G12B SoCs behaving correctly.

        • vkd3d, the Direct3D 12 to Vulkan translation library releases version 1.2

          Translating Direct3D 12 to Vulkan for use with Wine makes a huge step forwards, as the Wine team have announced the release today of vkd3d 1.2.

          As a refresher, this is another project like DXVK which translates Direct3D 9/10/10 to Vulkan and forms part of Steam Play’s Proton compatibility layer. This vkd3d is the official one being developed by the Wine team, which was created by the late Józef Kucia who sadly died last year. Valve also have their own fork, with VKD3D-Proton.

        • VKD3D 1.2 Is Ready To Offer Better Direct3D 12 To Vulkan Support

          Patches pending for VKD3D take this Direct3D 12 to Vulkan translation library up to version 1.2. This library continues advancing in pushing along the D3D12-over-Vulkan performance primarily for Windows games on Linux just as DXVK has done for D3D9 through D3D11.

          With VKD3D 1.2 there is support for more Direct3D 12 functionality,libvkd3d-shader as its own standalone public library, new VKD3D_CONFIG / VKD3D_VULKAN_DEVICE environment variables among others for overriding different behavior, tessellation shaders support, support for using SPIR-V produced by libvkd3d-shader to be consumed by GL_ARB_gl_spirv, preliminary support for Shader Model 5.1 shaders, more shader instructions now handled, and various other changes.

        • Radeon ROCm 3.8 Released With Hipfort For Fortran On GPUs, Data Center Tool

          Version 3.8 of ROCm, the Radeon Open eCosystem, is now available. This release continues making more progress on preparing the ROCm graphics compute stack for the upcoming large AMD supercomputer deployments and other data center usage.

          ROCm 3.8 introduces the Hipfort interface library for accessing GPU kernels, which allows for interfacing via the Fortran programming language with Radeon GPUs. This Hipfort Fortran implementation is currently catering to GCC’s Gfortran front-end.

        • Open Source meets Super Resolution, part 1

          Despite their great upscaling performance, deep learning backed Super-Resolution methods cannot be easily applied to real-world applications due to their heavy computational requirements. At Collabora we have addressed this issue by introducing an accurate and light-weight deep network for video super-resolution, running on a completely open source software stack using Panfrost, the free and open-source graphics driver for Mali GPUs. Here’s an overview of Super Resolution, its purpose for image and video upscaling, and how our model came about.

          Internet streaming has experienced tremendous growth in the past few years, and continues to advance at a rapid pace. Streaming now accounts for over 60% of internet traffic and is expected to quadruple over the next five years.

          Video delivery quality depends critically on available network bandwidth. Due to bandwidth limitations, most video sources are compressed, resulting in image artifacts, noise, and blur. Quality is also degraded by routine image upscaling, which is required to match the very high pixel density of newer mobile devices.

          The upscaling community has provided us with many fundamental advances in video and image upscaling, from classic methods such as Nearest-Neighbor, Linear and Lanczos resampling. However, no fundamentally new methods have been introduced in over 20 years. Also, traditional algorithm-based upscaling methods lack fine detail and cannot remove defects and compression artifacts.

          All of this is changing thanks to the Deep Learning revolution. We now have a whole new class of techniques for state-of-the-art upscaling, called Deep Learning Super Resolution (DLSR).

        • ADRIConf Remains The Primary GUI Control Panel For Managing Mesa OpenGL/Vulkan Drivers

          While the Linux kernel graphics drivers and user-space OpenGL/Vulkan drivers expose a lot of options via sysfs on the kernel side and various environment variables and other tunables in user-space, when it comes to graphical control panels to manage these open-source graphics drivers on Linux there are several fragmented different options. For Mesa drivers, ADRIConf remains the leading option.


          Jean Hertel presented at last week’s XDC2020 conference on this utility and its current capabilities with additions in recent years like Vulkan driver support, PRIME GPU handling, MESA_query_driver support, and more.

        • TURNIP Vulkan Driver Up And Running On Qualcomm’s KGSL

          The TURNIP driver that is associated with the Freedreno driver effort for providing an open-source Vulkan driver for Qualcomm Adreno graphics hardware can now run atop Qualcomm’s KGSL kernel driver.

          To date this TURNIP Vulkan driver has been working well with the upstream MSM Direct Rendering Manager driver in the Linux kernel, but for those using Qualcomm’s official kernel driver (KGSL) that is out-of-tree, it’s now a possibility using TURNIP atop that. The Kernel Graphics Support Layer (KGSL) is part of the Android kernel sources and specific to Qualcomm.

    • Applications

      • Meet eDEX-UI, A Sci-Fi Inspired Linux Terminal Emulator With Some Cool Features

        eDEX-UI is a cool sci-fi inspired terminal emulator that looks cool with a bunch of options like system monitoring. Check out what features it offers.

      • Create transparency in your game graphics with GIMP

        Whether you’re programming a game or an app with Python or Lua, you’re probably using PNG graphics for your game assets. An advantage of the PNG format, which is not available in a JPEG, is the ability to store an alpha channel. Alpha is, essentially, the “color” of invisibility or transparency. Alpha is the part of an image you don’t see. For example, if you were to draw a doughnut, the doughnut hole would be filled with alpha, and you could see whatever was behind it.

        A common problem is how to find the alpha part of an image. Sometimes, your programming framework, whether it’s Python Arcade, Pygame, LÖVE, or anything else, detects the alpha channel and treats it (after the appropriate function calls) as transparency. That means it renders no new pixels where there’s alpha, leaving that doughnut hole empty. It’s 100% transparent or 0% opaque and functionally “invisible.”

      • Run Linux apps on your Chromebook

        Chromebooks have been a game-changer for PreK-12 school systems, enabling them to purchase low-cost laptop computers for students, teachers, and administrators to use. While Chromebooks have always been powered by a Linux-based operating system (Chrome OS), until recently, there was no way to run most Linux apps on one. But that changed when Google released Crostini, a virtual machine that allows Chromebooks to run Linux (Beta).

        Most Chromebooks released after 2019 and some earlier models can run Crostini and Linux (Beta). Check this list of supported devices to see if your Chromebook is on it. Fortunately, my Acer Chromebook 15 with 2GB RAM and an Intel Celeron processor is supported.

      • 8 Best Free and Open Source Console Email Clients

        For the traditionalists, emails remains a fundamental part of the operating system. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of free email software available on the Linux platform which is stable, feature laden, and ideal for personal and business environments.

        The vast majority of Linux users would never be satisfied without access to a graphical user interface. However, even in 2020 there remain many reasons why console based applications can be extremely desirable.

        Although console applications are very useful for updating, configuring, and repairing a system, their benefits are not only confined to system administration. Console based applications are light on system resources (very useful on low spec machines), can be faster and more efficient than their graphical counterparts, they do not stop working when X/Wayland needs to be restarted, and they are great for scripting purposes.

      • Qt5 Screenshot Tool Flameshot Sees New Release

        Flameshot Qt5 screenshot tool has been updated to version 0.8.0, receiving new features like a basic launcher panel, a circle counter tool, and more.

        Flameshot is a screenshot tool with drawing / annotation capabilities, available for Linux and Windows. On Linux it supports X11, and has experimental Wayland support for Gnome and Plasma.

        Like most screenshot tools, the application sits in the tray area from where you can choose to take a screenshot. It includes annotation tools like arrow, highlight, freehand pencil, circle and more, and it can upload screenshots to Imgur.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Space Cadet is a punishing two-button neon-infused arcade experience

        Love a challenge? Enjoy some of the classic neon arcade shoot ‘em up experiences? You should definitely take a look over at Space Cadet then.

        It’s a super-simple game mechanically and yet it’s also seriously good too. Trapped inside some sort of arena, presumably done to keep the gameplay tight and focused, and abandoned by your crew during a mining operation – you’re operating a space ship by switching between different systems with one button and activating them with another. Only having two buttons really makes it challenging and hilariously difficult too.

      • In the 2D survival game Underlings, you’re a monster trying to live a peaceful life

        Underlings is a new Early Access 2D survival game where the protagonist is a former monster, trying to get away from their past life and start fresh.

        Set in a ruthless world where everything is trying to kill you, the bosses of the underworld don’t seem to be too pleased at you wanting the simple life. It mixes in exploration, mining, crafting, farming, base building and more into an experience that blends together all of that with daily survival as it sounds like you’re often raided.

      • Chuck’s Challenge 3D gets a huge 2020 revamp as a free upgrade out now

        Chuck’s Challenge 3D 2020 is out now, as a free update and a major revamp to the tile-based puzzle game from the creator of the classic Chip’s Challenge.

        What is it? A fiendishly addictive puzzler that’s packed with features that will tease the brain and challenge the fingers. It also comes with a level editor that lets you upload and share your levels for everyone to play and rate, all from within the game. From what Niffler Ltd said about it: “The game walks the player through the evolution of gaming: move from A to B, collect items, the red key opens the red door, and much more. But, like Lego, knowing what each piece does is only the beginning of the fun, as players can also create and share their own levels using a simple paint-style interface and seamless cloud storage.”


        It comes with over 150 levels made by the developer and with such awesome dedication so long after release, along with it supporting Linux they’re a developer worth giving over your monies to.

      • Futuristic, mysterious, full of physics and circuits – puzzle game The Long Gate is out

        Developer David Shaw has now released The Long Gate, a thoroughly mysterious puzzle game full of quantum physics and circuits set up as puzzles.

        With puzzles that can be completed in whatever order you find them, Shaw worked with a quantum computing science company called D-Wave Systems to build them and make sure the quantum theory used is factual and achievable. The result is a puzzle game with a very interesting idea – if you can grasp the mechanics and if you love tinkering with wires.

      • Problems for Linux Gaming

        Huge news about Microsoft just hit the market and how it affects Linux Gaming.

      • Fantasy grand strategy city-builder Songs of Syx is out in Early Access

        As one of the most promising indie games this year, Songs of Syx has properly entered Early Access on Steam so you can try your hand at city-building with a grand strategy theme.

        It’s hard to fully grasp the scope of it right now but it’s big. You start off as an insignificant colony and build, scheme, and fight your way towards a metropolis and empire. Funded with a successful Kickstarter campaign that ended back in May 2020 with about £23K from over 800 backers. As they said it would, Linux support is wired up and ready right away.

      • You can now play Super Mario 64 natively on Android, no emulator required

        Forget Super Mario 3D All-Stars. You can now play Super Mario 64 on your Android phone without the need for an emulator.

        The game now has an unofficial native Android port thanks to XDA member VDavid003. In the summer of 2019, Super Mario 64 was successfully decompiled and translated into human-readable C code by a team known simply as a “group of talented individuals.” This code has been available on GitHub for a little over a year at this point, and VDavid003 took this code to create the tools needed to compile the game for Android.


        VDavid003 has created a repo containing everything needed to compile the game on a Windows or Linux PC, which can then be sideloaded as an APK to an Android device.

      • Stadia pushing more indie games with Stadia Makers, PUBG dropping keyboard and mouse queue

        Google has announced another wave of indie games are confirmed for Stadia, their game streaming service powered by Linux and Vulkan.

        This is all part of the previously announced Stadia Makers program back in March during their Google for Games Keynote, where Google will directly support smaller teams using the Unity game engine to bring them to Stadia. As a result, another 7 have been announced to release at various dates.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • First beta out for Krita 4.4

          The summer has come and gone since the 4.3 release, but we have not been sitting still. We had four Summer of Code Students this year, each of which completed their project. One of these projects has already made it into 4.4: The SeExpr fill layers! And that’s not the only new fill layer type… And fill layers now have on-canvas preview when you created them. And there’s a new plugin that helps when using Krita together with Godot. And there are new options for the brush engines and, of course, a ton of bugfixes! The full release notes bring you all the details!

          So, today, we’re releasing Krita 4.4.0 beta 1: in two weeks we will release the final version. Please help improve Krita by testing this beta!

        • Krita 4.4 Beta Released With Multi-Threading For Fill Layers

          The beta of the forthcoming Krita 4.4 is now available, which continues on as easily the leading open-source digital painting programs.

          Krita 4.4 is bringing multi-threading support for fill layers, which yields a significant speed-up. Krita 4.4 is also introducing transformations for the pattern fill, a simple pattern fill with screentone, new features for brush engines, audio support within the Krita AppImage build, a WebM/VP9 animation recording preset, and other improvements. There is also a lot of fixes at large.

        • Felgo in the QML Book

          Over the past year I’ve been bumping into the Felgo crew at various Qt events. They take Qt to the next level. It all started as a game development framework for Qt, but has turned into a powerful app development framework taking a lot of the rough corners of Qt, and extending the tooling with a powerful live reloader at the same time.


          We also cover a bunch of other things such as how to get started, the QML Live reloader, as well as some more advanced topics such as native dialogs, simplified networking and the JsonListModel.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Linux Lite 5.2 RC-1 Is Now Available For Download And Testing

          Linux Lite is undoubtedly one of the best lightweight and Windows alternative Linux operating systems. Earlier on May 31, 2020, Linux Lite creator Jerry Bezencon released the most feature-rich, Linux Lite 5.0 “Emerald.”

          Working on the next Linux Lite 5.2 version release, Jerry Bezencon has now made its first testing version available for download. So, let’s see what the new features and updates are coming in the Linux Lite 5.2.

        • Lightweight Puppy Linux 9.5 Released, Based On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Puppy Linux is a very small and lightning fast Ubuntu-based operating system. If you ever search for the best lightweight Linux distros, you would definitely find Puppy Linux on the list.

          Now, after more than one and a half years, the Puppy Linux team has announced a new version, Puppy Linux 9.5, aka, Fossapup64 9.5. The latest Puppy 9.5 is also the first release based on the current long-term Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa.”

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • [PCLinuxOS] Seamonkey updated to 2.53.4

          SeaMonkey is a free and open-source Internet suite. It is the continuation of the former Mozilla Application Suite, based on the same source code, which itself grew out of Netscape Communicator and formed the base of Netscape 6 and Netscape 7.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed vs. Leap 15.2 vs. Jump Alpha Benchmarks

          Following the recent alpha debut of the openSUSE Jump distribution for testing that is working to synchronize SUSE Linux Enterprise with openSUSE Leap, there was an inquiry made about the performance of it. So for addressing that premium member’s question, here are some benchmarks carried out recently of the latest openSUSE Leap 15.2 against the openSUSE Jump in its early state against the rolling-release openSUSE Tumbleweed.

      • Fedora/Oracle/Red Hat

        • rpminspect-1.1 released

          It has been 3 or 4 months since the last release of rpminspect. Today I release rpminspect 1.1. In addition to five new inspections, there are plenty of bug fixes and a lot of improvements against CI.

          The five new inspections include the abidiff and kmidiff inspections. Another inspection I added is the movedfiles inspection, which was requested over a year ago. Implementing it was easy once I improved the peer detection code. It’s common for files to move between subpackages, so this inspection attempts to detect and report that rather than reporting you added a file and removed a file (which is what it used to do).

          There has been more work around the configuration file handling. The last release moved to YAML for the configuration file format. This releases moves the configuration file in to /usr/share/rpminspect and out of /etc. There is also no longer a default configuration file so users can have multiple rpminspect-data packages installed and perform rpminspect runs for different products. There are some other changes within /usr/share/rpminspect which are described below.

          On the CI front, rpminspect has migrated from Travis-CI to GitHub Actions. The software is built and tested on multiple Linux distributions now to ensure portability. The GitHub Actions also run flake8, black, and shellcheck for the Python and shell code in the tree.

        • Using Volumes for Podman Container Storage on Oracle Linux 8
        • Network Configuration Files on Oracle Linux 8
        • Troubleshooting user task errors in Red Hat Process Automation Manager and Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite

          I’ve been around Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite (jBPM) and Red Hat Process Automation Manager (RHPAM) for many years. Over that time, I’ve learned a lot about the lesser-known aspects of this business process management engine.

          If you are like most people, you might believe that user tasks are trivial, and learning about their details is unnecessary. Then, one day, you will find yourself troubleshooting an error like this one:

          User ‘[User:'admin']‘ was unable to execution operation ‘Start’ on task id 287271 due to a no ‘current status’ match.
          Receiving one too many similar error messages led me to learn everything that I know about user tasks, and I have decided to share my experience.

        • Red Hat brings its expo experience directly to you

          Why create a pop-up? Because virtually, we can think outside the expo floor by making an experience that’s memorable, shareable, and fun—and most importantly, useful and engaging.
          We know that our users and customers are looking for more information about enterprise open source technologies and how to use them for real-world workloads. Delivering that information in person is one of the highlights of being at Red Hat—but now, we embraced the opportunity to reach the open source community from all over the world through a first-of-its-kind online experience.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.11 is out

          We added a new feature of the Persistent Storage to save the settings from the Welcome Screen: language, keyboard, and additional settings.

        • UCS 4.4-6: Sixth Point Release of UCS 4.4

          We have released the sixth point release: UCS 4.4-6 contains bug fixes, security updates and improvements as well as new features. For example, our developers have enhanced the Self Service, the App Center and the UCS Portal. In this article I would like to offer a look behind the scenes and present the most important new features.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • RPI4 & Ubuntu MATE – second attempt, new results

          This time around, I have to say, the effort went much more quickly and smoothly, and I didn’t have to fight the system to get the desired results. I am rather pleased with the outcome, and I can say, in its current guise, Ubuntu MATE does offer a decent, rounded desktop experience on Raspberry Pi 4. It’s the most complete Pi operating system I’ve tried, when you take into account the functional, ergonomic and aesthetics elements.

          At this point, I might be cautiously inclined to say: yes, here’s your viable mini PC, right there. Of course, there’s room for even more improvement – better 3D support, better performance, less heating. I think we will get there eventually. For now, if you’d like to try your luck with a card deck sized pack of punchy electronics, Ubuntu MATE is a sensible, pleasant choice for your Pi 4 adventures. And we’re done.

        • Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 Released With More Phones Supported, UI Improvements

          The UBports community has announced the release of Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 as their newest over-the-air update to this Ubuntu mobile operating system.

          With Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 now supported are the Sony Xperia X/XZ/Performance and OnePlus 3/3T devices. This is on top of around one dozen other devices from the LG Nexus 4/5 to earlier OnePlus devices, FairPhone 2, Nexus 7, and different Meizu and BQ devices from the early days of the Ubuntu Touch effort at Canonical.

        • Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 release

          Ubuntu Touch is the privacy and freedom respecting mobile operating system by UBports. Today we are happy to announce the release of Ubuntu Touch OTA-13, our thirteenth stable update to the system! OTA-13 will be becoming available for the following supported Ubuntu Touch devices over the next week:

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 649

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 649 for the week of September 13 – 19, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Announcement of the passing of Jari Fredriksson
        Some know that Jari's mirror broke a few weeks ago and we've been trying
        to reach him. I am sorry to announce that Jari Fredriksson was a great
        supporter of the project running an sa-update mirror, helping with our
        masscheck program, testing releases, and just generally being a great
        member of our community.
        On behalf of the entire project, I'd like to extend our condolences to
        him and his family.  He will be missed.
        If anyone wishes to send a note of condolences it can be done through
        Jouni, his employer. http://www.jounivirtanenconsulting.com/contact/
        Kevin A. McGrail
      • NoSQL databases: what is MongoDB and its use cases?

        Databases like MongoDB, a NoSQL document database, are commonly used in environments where flexibility is required with big, unstructured data with ever-changing schemas. This post explains what a NoSQL database is, and provides an overview of MongoDB, its use cases and a solution for running an open source MongoDB database at scale.

      • What Cassandra users think of their NoSQL DBMS

        With the NoSQL market expected to be worth $22 Billion by 2026, big business is paying Apache Cassandra a lot of attention. While MongoDB dominates NoSQL, 52.71% to Cassandra’s 9.73%, Cassandra, with its ability to deliver continuous availability, high performance, and scalability to large volumes of unstructured data, will always be a player. Now, if only there were more expert Cassandra administrators!

        A global survey of 1,404 Cassandra practitioners found a plurality thought the lack of skilled staff and the challenge of migration was blocking Cassandra’s adoption. To be exact, 36% of users currently using Cassandra for mission-critical apps said that a lack of Cassandra-skilled team members was deterring its broader adoption.

        When asked what it would take for practitioners to use Cassandra for more applications and features in production, they said it needs to be “easier to migrate” and “easier to integrate.” That’s because “we don’t have time to train a ton of developers, so that time to deploy, time to onboard, that’s really key. All the other stuff, scalability, that all sounds fine,” said a London-based senior Cassandra user.

        That may be in part because of those surveyed, 89% were using open-source Cassandra. If they were using DataStax, the most popular Cassandra distro, it might be a different story.

      • Olauncher gives your home screen an open-source, minimalist makeover

        Android’s open, customizable nature is one of the things that attract a lot of enthusiasts to the platform. From manufacturer-specific tweaks to third-party default app replacements, there’s usually a way to make your phone look and act how you choose. Olauncher is a new home screen replacement app that endeavors to bring an open-source, lightweight, and minimal setup to your phone.

        And minimal it is — there’s time and date info up top, a list of apps below … and that’s it. The clock and app list can be set to left, center, or right orientations. A maximum of six app names can be displayed, but if you’re the most minimal of minimalists, you can set it to show no apps at all. But wouldn’t that render it useless? Not quite! By default, swiping to the left launches the camera and swiping to the right opens up the dialer, but you can customize these as you choose. A swipe up opens the full app list organized alphabetically.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 81.0

            Firefox 81.0 is out. This version allows you to control media from the keyboard or headset, introduces the Alpenglow theme, adds ArcoForm support to fill in, print, and save supported PDF forms, and more. See the release notes for details.

          • 81.0 Firefox Release
          • Firefox 81 Released With Security Fixes, PDF Viewer Enhancements

            Firefox 81 is out this morning as the newest monthly update to the Mozilla web browser.

            Firefox 81.0 brings the ability for keyboard/headset-based controls for audio/video playback in the browser, various accessibility fixes for HTML5 audio/video controls, Picture-in-Picture mode is now more accessible with icon improvements, and other video work. It also looks like a few VA-API fixes made it into this version too after the big push in Firefox 80.

          • Your Privacy and Mozilla Hubs

            At Mozilla, we believe that privacy is fundamental to a healthy internet.


            There’s a certain amount of information that we have to process in order to provide you with the Hubs experience. For example, we receive and send to others the name and likeness of your avatar, its position in the room, and your interactions with objects in the room. If you create an account, you can store custom avatars and their names.

            We receive data about the virtual objects and avatars in a room in order to share that data with others in the room, but we don’t monitor the individual objects that are posted in a room. Users have the ability to permanently pin objects to a room, which will store them in the room until they’re deleted. Unpinned files are deleted from Mozilla’s servers after 72 hours.

            We do collect basic metrics about how many rooms are being created and how many users are in those rooms, but we don’t tie that data to specific rooms or users. What we don’t do is collect or store any data without the user’s explicit consent.


            We will never perform user monitoring or deep tracking, particularly using VR data sources like gaze-tracking. We will continue to minimize the personal data we collect, and when we do need to collect data, we will invest in privacy preserving solutions like differential privacy.

      • CMS

        • WordPress Mobile Engineers Propose Dual Licensing Gutenberg under GPL v2.0 and MPL v2.0

          During a Q&A session at WordCamp Europe 2020 online, Matt Mullenweg mentioned that Gutenberg contributors were considering dual licensing for embedding Gutenberg in mobile apps, along with the requirement that they would need to get an agreement from all contributors. WordPress mobile engineer Maxime Biais has just published a proposal for discussion, recommending dual licensing the editor under GPL v2.0 and MPL v2.0.


          Mobile app developers are limited by the GPL, because it requires the entire app to be distributed under the same license. The team is proposing dual licensing under MPL v2.0, a weaker copyleft license that is often considered to be more “business-friendly.” It allows users to combine the software with proprietary code. MPL v2.0 requires the source code for any changes to be available under the MPL, ensuring improvements are shared back to the community. The rest of the app can be distributed under any terms with the MPL v2.0 code included as part of a “larger work.”

      • Programming/Development

        • Josef Strzibny: Elixir macros return AST

          Macros are a powerfull part of the Elixir language and projects such as Absinth would not even be possible without them. To start writing your macros in Elixir one has to understand one simple thing. Macro functions have to return a partial abstract syntax tree.

        • Marcin ‘hrw’ Juszkiewicz: From a diary of AArch64 porter — drive-by coding

          Working on AArch64 often means changing code in some projects. I did that so many times that I am unable to say where I have some commits. Such thing got a name: drive-by coding.


          Then comes moment of looking at build errors and trying to work out some solution. Have I seen that bug before? Does it look familiar?

          If this is something new then quick Google search for error message. And checking bug reports/issues on project’s website/repo. There can be ready to use patches, information how to fix it or even some ideas why does it happen.

          If this is system call failure in some tests then I check my syscalls table are those ones handled on aarch64 and try to change code if they are not (legacy ones like open, symlink, rename).

        • Sebastian Dröge: Porting EBU R128 audio loudness analysis from C to Rust

          Over the last few weeks I ported the libebur128 C library to Rust, both with a proper Rust API as well as a 100% compatible C API.

        • Why is unauthenticated encryption insecure?

          However, there has to be a line – when does it start becoming “rolling your own”? Particularly in embedded systems, there are times when custom protocols need to be used, and developers stray into the dangerous area of cryptography.

          One of the most common mistakes we have seen is the use of unauthenticated encryption.

        • k2k20 hackathon report: Bob Beck on LibreSSL progress

          So the distilled answer, most of this was finished, reviewed, and landed at the hackathon, where I took a lot of tb@ and jsing@’s time to review it. I then spent much of my time chasing any bugs it turned up – which included some nasty ways fetchmail deals with the callback, and some issues in bluhm@’s regress tests and perl’s ssleay module (which exposed a bug in how I was handling the legacy callback)

          So while not necessarily “done” (I am watching for fallout carefully) and I still have some pieces to land to expose the new api to the new validator, it is currently used internally by default in X509_validate_cert(). The result of this should be a validator that will correctly validate modern x509 chains and correctly deal with name constraints.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.38 Council Results

            Votemaster Will Coleda has published the results of the first Raku Steering Council election. Thanks to everybody who has voted! The elected council members are (in alphabetical order of their last name):

        • Python

          • Improved QML Support in Qt for Python 6.0

            Since the initial port of PySide to Qt5 (a.k.a PySide2), the interaction with QML was on the list of features we wanted to fully support in our set of bindings, due to the popularity of QML.

            With the first official release 5.12, we had cover many use cases for the QML and Python interaction, but also we left out a couple of use cases that were really required by our community. Now that we are developing new features and improvements for Qt6, we wanted to address most of them.

          • Live-coding a music synthesizer

            After so much work and waiting, the video of my EuroPython talk is finally released!

            This is a fun live-coding session using NumPy and SoundDevice. The goal of this talk is to make the computer produce realistic-sounding instrument sounds, using nothing but math.

          • Which is better Python or C++?

            Programming Languages are tools. Tools selection comes after deciding what you want to do. Asking this question means that you are beginner and don’t know which programming language to learn. So In this case Selecting Python is better

            when you start to learn programming. Python is simple but powerful, You will learn about Abstraction and how to solve your problems quickly.

            When you start programming using a simple and very productive language like Python you will love it because you will make big progress in little time and you will face little problems.

            After you learn programming this way (The simple way) you will beat the fear of programming, You already learn how to write programs, how to debug them, and how to create something useful. Later you may face limitations in the language


            Later you can develop complete projects in C or C++. Your knowledge in Python will help you during learning C or C++. What you will find different is just Static Typing, Memory Management and some other simple concepts.

          • Firebird driver for Python 3– release 0.8.0

            The driver is no longer beta, and is now considered as stable for Firebird 3.0 (support for Firebird 4 is still evolving till final release). Documentation is now complete.

          • Strftime Python

            In this post, we will learn about strftime() method from Python datetime package.

            The strftime converts date object to a string date.

          • Python Comments

            Comments are the lines in a computer program that help to build a better understanding of the functionality of the system. In any programming language, comments are written in natural language and in a human-readable way. They are not executed rather they are ignored by the compiler or interpreter. The comments in Python are used for various purposes. In this article, we will explain to you how you can add comments in python.


            Comments enhance the code understandability: Comments help us to understand why a certain code block is added in the program and what its purpose is. If a programmer writes a block of code, then he may not add the comments because he understands the purpose of writing a specific block of code. But, if another programmer wants to update the code, then it is not so easy for him to understand the code in minutes. So, when we add the comments, it helps other programmers to understand the code. Let’s assume, you are working on the Python project. It was the medium size project initially. But for now, your company to enhance this project and bringing more developers and programmers to write the code. If you have no written the comments in your program, then you will see that it will be very hard for them to understand the code and it will take more time. But if you have properly written the comments with every block of code, then the newly hired developers will easily understand the existing code. Initially, writing and maintaining the comments take some time, but it saves a lot of your time in the future.

            Comments promote the code reusability: When we develop similar software systems, then reusing the existing is the best practice. It saves a lot of our effort and time. While reusing the code, first we check what components we have to reuse. We have to understand the functionality of the particular component. Comments help us to understand the functionality of the component and they promote the code re-usability.

          • Python 3.8.5 : A sphere in Cartesian coordinates – part 001.

            I like the equation of a sphere of radius R centered at the origin is given in Cartesian coordinates:

            x*x + y*y + z*z = r*r

            It is one of the first elements that helped me better understand mathematics and later the dynamics and theory of electromagnetic fields.

          • PSA: Mailman used to harrass people

            It seems that Mailman instances are being abused to harrass [sic] people with subscribe spam. If some random people complain to you that they “never wanted to subscribe to your mailing list”, you may be a victim to that attack, even if you run the latest Mailman 2.

        • Laravel

          • Send Emails in Laravel Using SMTP

            Sending an email is a common requirement for any web application. Some general uses of sending emails include verifying user registration, getting feedback from users, providing options to contact the site administrator, etc. The Laravel framework contains several packages to send emails from the Laravel project. SMTP, Mailgun, Postmark, and Amazon SES are used in Laravel for sending simple, transactional, and bulk emails. Laravel has an email-sending library named SwiftMailer to send an email with an email template. This tutorial shows you how to send a simple email using SMTP.

          • Laravel Facade

            The Laravel service container allows the user to initiate classes by alias. The way to access the Laravel service container is called a facade. Laravel contains many built-in facades to access different Laravel features. The facade is used in Laravel to make the application more testable, flexible, and simpler. All built-in facades are defined in the namespace Illuminate\Support\Facades. This tutorial shows how to create and use Laravel built-in facades.

          • Laravel Pagination

            Pagination is used to display many records at once by dividing the data into multiple pages to make it readable. Using pagination in Laravel is very simple because this feature is integrated with Eloquent ORM and a query builder. The limit and offset of the paginations are calculated automatically in Laravel. The paginate() and link() methods are used to implement pagination in Laravel. This tutorial shows you how to apply pagination in Laravel projects.

          • Laravel Route

            The route is used to create a request URL for the Laravel application. The URL is defined in the route file in a human-readable format. In Laravel 7, all types of route information are stored in two files, web.php and api.php. These files are located in the routes folder of the Laravel project. All web application-related routes are defined in web.php and all API-related routes are defined in api.php. This tutorial covers different types of routing methods and how the get() method can be used for defining the different routes for Laravel projects.

          • Laravel Resource Controllers

            A resource controller is used in Laravel to perform CRUD operations easily. When you will create a resource controller using artisan command from the terminal then it will create all necessary methods inside the controller related to CRUD operations. It handles all HTTP requests for the application and requires a single line of code for CRUD routes. How you can create a resource controller and perform CRUD operations in Laravel are shown in this tutorial.

  • Leftovers

    • Stephen F. Cohen, 1938–2020

      I first “met” Steve through his 1977 essay “Bolshevism and Stalinism.” His cogent, persuasive, revisionist argument that there are always alternatives in history and politics deeply influenced me. And his seminal biography, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution, challenging prevailing interpretations of Soviet history, was to me, and many, a model of how biography should be written: engaged and sympathetically critical.

    • Education

      • On the use of a life

        So why am I not an academic? There are many factors, and starting Tarsnap is certainly one; but most of them can be summarized as “academia is a lousy place to do novel research”. In 2005, I made the first publication of the use of shared caches in multi-threaded CPUs as a cryptographic side channel, and in 2006 I hoped to continue that work. Having recently received my doctorate from Oxford University and returned home to Canada, I was eligible for a post-doctoral fellowship from Canada’s National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, so I applied, and… I didn’t get it. My supervisor cautioned me of the risks of doing work which was overly novel as a young academic: Committees don’t know what to make of you, and they don’t have any reputational prior to fall back upon. Indeed, I ran into this issue with my side channel attack: Reviewers at the Journal of Cryptology didn’t understand why they were being asked to read a paper about CPU design, while reviewers at a computer hardware journal didn’t understand why they were being asked to read about cryptography. It became clear, both from my own experiences and from advice I received, that if I wanted to succeed in academia I would need to churn out incremental research papers every year — at very least until I had tenure.

        In many ways, starting my own company has given me the sort of freedom which academics aspire to. Sure, I have customers to assist, servers to manage (not that they need much management), and business accounting to do; but professors equally have classes to teach, students to supervise, and committees to attend. When it comes to research, I can follow my interests without regard to the whims of granting agencies and tenure and promotion committees: I can do work like scrypt, which is now widely known but languished in obscurity for several years after I published it; and equally I can do work like kivaloo, which has been essentially ignored for close to a decade, with no sign of that ever changing.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Quibi Explores Strategic Options, Including Sale (Report)

          Quibi launched April 1 with nearly $2 billion in backing from Alibaba, Madrone Capital and every major Hollywood studio. It had a large slate of short-form programming, all under 10 minutes per episode, fronted by such bold names as Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth, Sophie Turner, Anna Kendrick and Laurence Fishburne.

          But in spite of the money Katzenberg and Whitman poured into the service, it has struggled to gain traction with subscribers. The company said in June that Quibi had been downloaded 4.5 million times and had 1.6 million subscribers.

        • Microsoft to Acquire Bethesda Softworks for $7.5 Billion

          Through the deal to purchase ZeniMax Media, the Xbox maker will become the owner of one of the largest private game developers and publishers, known for making such franchises as Fallout, Doom and The Elder Scrolls.

          Microsoft cited its focus on growing cloud gaming service Xbox Game Pass, which has 15 million subscribers, as one motivation for the deal. Bethesda games, including Fallout 76, are already available on the service. More will be added to Game Pass and eventually the publishers new releases, including upcoming space epic Starfield, will be available on the service the same day the launch on Xboxes and PCs.

        • Microsoft to Buy Bethesda for $7.5 Billion to Boost Xbox

          Bethesda is the publisher of games like The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout and also has at least two titles slated for debut next year. ZeniMax, based in Rockville, Maryland, owns several other studios across the globe, giving Microsoft’s Xbox business a much-needed infusion of titles and game developers. It’s one of the biggest privately held game companies with 2,300 employees worldwide, Microsoft said. The latest in the Elder Scrolls series has sold more than 20 million copies, making it among the top-selling games of all time.

        • Why Microsoft bought Bethesda for $7.5 billion

          Microsoft may not necessarily care about exclusivity anymore, but it still needs studios. First-party developers are the lifeblood of game publishers because they allow them to control the cadence of major releases and better manage budgets and cross-franchise resources like game engines and creative talent. Most important to Microsoft right now, however, is having the final say on distribution. By owning a studio, Microsoft gets to decide where and for how much the game is sold, including giving it away for free as part of a subscription service.

        • Gmail can now be set as the default iOS 14 email app

          It’s important to note that iOS appears to have a bug that automatically switches third-party browser and email applications back to Apple’s default Mail and Safari after a restart; Apple has yet to comment on the issue or announce when (or if) it’ll be addressed.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Mageia (mysql-connector-java), openSUSE (chromium, curl, libqt4, and singularity), Red Hat (bash and kernel), SUSE (python-pip and python3), and Ubuntu (busybox, ceph, freeimage, libofx, libpam-tacplus, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-azure, linux-azure-4.15, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-4.15, linux-gke-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oracle, novnc, and tnef).

          • Microsoft secures backend server that leaked Bing data [Ed: "No personal user data was leaked in the incident," says ZDNet about a Microsoft security incident, just because the liars from Microsoft said so. Did ZDNet check to verify? No. Reprinting lies.]

            Microsoft has suffered a rare cyber-security lapse earlier this month when the company’s IT staff accidentally left one of Bing’s backend servers exposed online.

          • No security audit done on Chinese smartphones- IT ministry

            Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, today clarified that it has not conducted any sort of study to check if Chinese-made smartphones used in India are sending sensitive data to their country of origin.

            “Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has not conducted any such study,” said Minister of State Sanjay Dhotre, in response to a question by Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha.


            While the Gnu Public License, which governs the Linux Operating System, requires anyone who makes changes to the code to disclose the changes publicly, such a requirement is not there for BSD, and therefore, for Android.

            Unlike GPL, the BSD license allows any company to take the code, alter it in any way they want, and not disclose the changes to anyone.

          • No, Moving Your SSH Port Isn’t Security by Obscurity

            In short, you just made it harder for the enemy to successfully attack you by giving them a resource problem. Sure, they can check under every rock in Central Park and eventually find the package, but you’ll be done with the mission by then.

            Obscurity doesn’t apply if people know the mechanism you’re using and they simply have a resource problem. Having a known defense but a hidden key is a well-established part of good security, and it has been for millennia.

          • Zero Trust Security Model

            The Zero Trust Network, also called Zero Trust Architecture, is a model that was developed in 2010 by the principal analyst John Kindervag. A zero-trust security system helps to protect the enterprise system and improves cybersecurity.


            The Zero Trust approach depends upon modern technologies and methods to achieve the target of securing an organization.

            The Zero Trust Model calls for businesses to manipulate micro-segmentation and granular perimeter execution based on users, their whereabouts, and other data or information, to find out whether to believe a user, machine, or application that is trying to seek access to a specific part of the enterprise or organization.

            Zero Trust also takes care of all other policies, for example, giving users the least access they require to complete the task they want to complete. Creating a Zero Trust environment is not only about putting into practice the separate singular technology associations; it is also about using these and other technologies to impose the idea that no one and nothing should have access until they have proven that they should be trusted.

            Of course, organizations know that creating a Zero Trust Security Model is not an overnight achievement. Because it is not easy to achieve something so complex in a single night, it can take years to find the most secure, ideal system possible.

            Many companies are shifting to the cloud security system. These systems have the best options to go to Zero Trust. Now is the time to be ready for a Zero Trust transition. All organizations, either large or small, or should have Zero Trust security systems for their data safety.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Russia’s Digital Development Ministry wants to ban the latest encryption technologies from the RuNet

              Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media wants to ban websites from using the latest encryption technologies, to make it easier for Russia’s federal censor, Roskomnadzor, to block access to RuNet resources containing prohibited content. Experts point out that a number of large Internet companies, including the Russian Internet giant Yandex, currently rely on these technologies — and underscore that this new initiative could lead to another mass block of IP addresses belonging to major providers like Amazon Web Services and Cloudflare, the hosts behind many sites.

            • Fourth Circuit Appeals Court Seems Skeptical That Baltimore’s Aerial Surveillance System Violates The Fourth Amendment

              The legal fight over Baltimore’s aerial surveillance system continues. Airplanes armed with powerful cameras fly constantly over the city, allowing law enforcement to view the movements of people and vehicles over a 32-square mile area. The resolution may be high (192 million megapixels) but the area covered reduces people to (nearly) unidentifiable dots on a screen. However, these recordings can be accessed to trace movements of pixels/people as they move to and from suspected crime scenes.

            • Federal Agencies Tapped Protesters’ Phones in Portland

              This summer, Portland looked like a war zone. Phalanxes of shadowy law enforcement personnel fired crowd-control munitions, as plumes of teargas billowed into the sky. Federal agents without clearly visible identification rounded up protesters and loaded them into unmarked cars, on American streets. When videos began to spread online, it was hard to tell what was going on, or how widely.

            • Portland Passes Ban On Facial Recognition Use By City Agencies And Private Businesses

              Portland, Oregon has now joined parts of Massachusetts and all of California in protecting its residents from the sketchy surveillance method known as “facial recognition.” For something that’s supposed to recognize faces, it’s usually pretty bad at it and gets worse when it has to deal with minorities. Of course, the same can be said about the law enforcement agencies deploying it, which might explain their love of tech that gives them more people to arrest but rarely the probable cause to do so.

            • A Survey of Public DNS over HTTPS Servers [Ed: Well, many of these are themselves operated by surveillance companies, so you merely outsource the spying to another firm (probably overseas, which is worse)]
            • Our legal action against the use of facial recognition by the French police

              In August, we filed a complaint before the Conseil d’État (France’s highest administrative court) against provisions of the French code of criminal procedure which authorize the use of facial recognition to identify people registered in a criminal record police file – called “TAJ” for “Traitement des antécédents judiciaires” – by the police

            • Exposing Your Face Isn’t a More Hygienic Way to Pay

              A company called PopID has created an identity-management system that uses face recognition. Their first use case is as a system for in-store, point of sale payments using face recognition as authorization for payment.

              They are promoting it as a tool for restaurants, claiming that it is pandemic-friendly because it is contactless.

            • A Look-Back and Ahead on Data Protection in Latin America and Spain

              We’re proud to announce a new updated version of The State of Communications Privacy Laws in eight Latin American countries and Spain. For over a year, EFF has worked with partner organizations to develop detailed questions and answers (FAQs) around communications privacy laws. Our work builds upon previous and ongoing research of such developments in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, and Spain. We aim to understand each country’s legal challenges, in order to help us spot trends, identify the best and worst standards, and provide recommendations to look ahead. This post about data protection developments in the region is one of a series of posts on the current State of Communications Privacy Laws in Latin America and Spain. 

              As we look back at the past ten years in data protection, we have seen considerable legal progress in granting users’ control over their personal lives. Since 2010, sixty-two new countries have enacted data protection laws, giving a total of 142 countries with data protection laws worldwide. In Latin America, Chile was the first country to adopt such a law in 1999, followed by Argentina in 2000. Several countries have now followed suit: Uruguay (2008), Mexico (2010), Peru (2011), Colombia (2012), Brazil (2018), Barbados (2019), and Panama (2019). While there are still different privacy approaches, data protection laws are no longer a purely European phenomenon.

            • Twitter investigating automated image previews over apparent algorithmic bias

              Twitter is investigating the algorithm it uses to crop pictures for its mobile platform after several users pointed out a tendency to zero in on white faces.

              Controversy over algorithmic bias in the automated cropping software started when user Colin Madland posted a thread about Zoom not picking up on a Black colleague’s face when using backgrounds.

            • 2.5 million US users register to vote using Facebook, Instagram, Messenger

              Facebook announced Monday that 2.5 million U.S. users have registered to vote in the upcoming general election through Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

              The number is more than halfway toward Facebook’s goal, announced earlier this year, of registering 4 million U.S. users to vote ahead of Nov. 3.

            • Apple granted patents for under-display fingerprint biometrics and Face ID upgrades

              Apple has been awarded patents for an under-display fingerprint biometric system for portable electronic devices like smartphones, and for facial recognition of people only partly visible, and had a patent application published for an eye tracking system.
              A patent newly awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an “Electronic device including optical image sensor having metallization layers and related methods” describes the use of an optical image sensor with circuitry and metallization layers stacked above it, and possibly a light source layer to define a finger placement area.
              The system could be used not just for device unlocking, but also for biometric authentication to applications, and 9to5Mac reports that the fingerprint sensing area could be quite large. The publication also notes that unlike many patent applications, this one seems to have a likely implementation in its future, as Apple has been moving towards an “infinity” or full-front display for some time.
              The company has also had dozens of other newly granted patents published by the USPTO, including for technologies to allow for Face ID biometric face recognition to work with partially visible faces and those obscured by challenging lighting conditions, Patently Apple reports.

            • Amazon Patents AR Tech to Show Product Reviews on Your Body Parts
    • Defence/Aggression

      • Murder victims’ relatives seek almost $20 million in lawsuit against former Khabarovsk governor

        The relatives of two men allegedly murdered in contract killings arranged by Sergey Furgal are seeking 1.5 billion rubles ($19.7 million) in damages from the former Khabarovsk governor. According to the news agency Interfax, Moscow’s City Court designated the family members of Oleg Bulatov and Alexander Smolsky as civil plaintiffs in the case. 

      • America wants more ships and fewer sailors to compete with China’s navy

        In a report published this month, the Pentagon acknowledged a grim milestone: China’s navy, having churned out warships like sausages, has become the world’s largest (see chart). America had held that crown since the second world war. The balance of military power in the Pacific is more than an abstraction. Tensions between America and China have been growing in recent months. On September 19th the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) released a video, titled “Gods of War—Attack!”, depicting Chinese nuclear-capable bombers mounting a simulated attack on an American airbase on the island of Guam (though the video undercut its anti-American message by borrowing footage from several Hollywood films).

      • QAnon Linked to at Least 44 Election Candidates in 2020—and Some Could Win

        The FBI has suggested QAnon could be a terror threat and a bipartisan resolution condemning the theory has been put forward in the House of Representatives.

      • Increase in China’s Warplane Activity Starts to Unnerve Taiwanese

        Eighteen Chinese military aircraft passed through Taiwan’s airspace Friday followed by 19 on Saturday, the ministry said. Saturday the planes flew in a formation designed to attack from the front, rear and both sides. Some aircraft were sighted in Taiwanese airspace over waters about 80 kilometers from Taiwan itself, according to maps posted on local news websites.

        In response, Taiwan’s defense ministry says the island has the right “to self-defense and to counterattack.”

      • India, China Commanders Meet Again on Ending Border Standoff

        Monday’s military-level talks come less than two weeks after the two nations’ foreign ministers met on Sept. 10 and agreed that their troops should disengage from the tense border standoff, maintain proper distance and ease tensions.

        The foreign ministers did not set any timeline for the disengagement of the tens of thousands of troops, backed by artilleries, tanks and fighter jets, that have been in the region since the standoff began in May.

        Military experts have repeatedly warned that any mistake or miscalculation from either side can have disastrous consequences beyond the cold desert region of Ladakh.

      • Look back and learn: Notable humanitarians who took sides

        Near the National Gallery in London stands a big statue of a British woman dressed in a nurse’s uniform. In large letters above her head is the word “Humanity”, and below it is the date: 12 October 1915.
        The statue is of Edith Cavell, and the date remembers the day when she was shot at dawn by a German firing squad in occupied Brussels.
        She is one of many examples of non-neutral protection and assistance over the course of history.
        As I argued in a recent commentary, humanitarian action takes many forms in many different situations. We know it when we see it, and it is not always neutral. (I say this recognising that neutral humanitarian action is essential in every armed conflict).

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Ministers silent on Terrafame owner’s suspected money laundering links

        The information is part of a leak of more than 2,500 documents, many of which were files sent by banks to US authorities, revealing how the international banking system has been used to launder money worldwide.

        The firm in question, Trafigura, joined the troubled state-owned mine as an investor in 2017, amid widespread media reporting on its alleged ties to Russia, suspected tax evasion and toxic waste scandals.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Remembering Ike, Our Unexpected Egalitarian

        In normal times, the dedication of a new presidential memorial right in the heart of Washington, D.C. would be much more than fairly big news. Pundits the nation over would find the dedication an irresistible opportunity for pontification about the legacy of the newly honored national leader.

      • My Life in the Media Machine

        Every day as a child I would spread out the Sunpaper and read the comics, plus some news and sports, with never a glance at the stock tables or the department-store ads—a fully satisfied customer, in a constellation of other satisfied customers, with all of our separate or overlapping satisfactions. There was something for everyone, which meant some things were not for everyone, which made the whole thing in its own way a reflection of the world, which also had many interesting parts and many utterly boring parts, depending on who you were at the time. Broom-Hilda: for me, and interesting. Inflation: not for me, not interesting. Naked person apprehended on airplane: not for me, but interesting…

      • Trump’s Scorched-Earth Policy

        It is a recent tradition among occupants of the White House, as they head out of office, to play a few practical jokes on their successors. The Clinton administration jesters, for instance, removed all the Ws from White House keyboards before handing over the keys to George W. Bush’s transition team. The Obama administration left behind books authored by Barack Obama for Trump’s incoming press team.

      • The U.S. Government Should Be Supporting International Law-Not Undermining It

        It’s a sad day when the U.S. government openly assails the international law it helped to create. But that day came on September 2, 2020 when the U.S. government announced economic sanctions against top officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The reason? The officials were engaged in an ICC investigation of possible war crimes committed during the long war in Afghanistan by representatives of all sides of the conflict, including U.S. military personnel and agencies.

      • Russian Supreme Court liquidates ‘Russia of the Future’ — the party that kept Navalny from registering his political party back in 2019

        Russia’s Supreme Court has liquidated the political party “Russia of the Future” (“Rossiya Budushchego”) on the application of the Justice Ministry, reports Interfax. 

      • Tomsk hotel managers say they assisted Navalny’s associates after his illness, and Navalny demands return of evidence now that inquiry deadline has passed

        Last week, associates of Alexey Navalny revealed that they’d retrieved an apparently poison-laced water bottle from his hotel room in Tomsk. On September 21, a source at the hotel informed the news agency RIA Novosti that managers at the facility agreed to admit Navalny’s aides after learning that he’d fallen ill aboard his flight home to Moscow.

      • Technical assistance How Navalny’s poisoning could prompt the OPCW to carry out an emergency inspection in Russia

        September 19, 2020, marked the expiration date of the Russian authorities’ preliminary inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the sudden illness and hospitalization of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, who is currently being treated for poisoning in Germany. At this point, Russia’s authorities were supposed to decide whether or not to launch a criminal case. So far, there’s no indication that Russia will pursue a criminal investigation: officials continue to claim that there’s no evidence that Navalny was poisoned. Meanwhile, the authorities in Germany are confident that an attempt was made on his life using a Novichok-type nerve agent — in other words, a chemical warfare agent. That said, the German authorities have no jurisdiction when it comes to investigating the case, since the crime doesn’t fall within the scope of international criminal law (this would require more victims and military hostilities). However, there is a loophole. Germany has already appealed to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) “for technical assistance” and, if the organization is so inclined, it will most likely be able to seek an emergency international inspection in Russia to identify the perpetrators responsible for “the use of chemical weapons.”

      • Trump’s Campaign Is Engaged In Lawsuits All Over The Country To Try To Make Safe Voting More Difficult

        Anyone still hoping for an orderly election and, if need be, a peaceful transition of power hasn’t been paying attention to much that’s happened over the past few months. As the presidential election approaches, everything is still in a disturbing state of flux. Multiple states have failed to flatten the COVID-19 curve, necessitating some walking back of earlier “everything’s fine” pronouncements.

      • Fire and Fury Like the World Has Never Seen

        Think of him as the president from hell and here I mean a literal hell.

      • Progressives Slam Biden’s Foreign Policy Team

        As Joe Biden kicks his presidential campaign against Donald Trump into high gear, concern is growing inside the progressive wing of the Democratic Party that the foreign policy and political outreach teams he has assembled don’t come close to reflecting the change—and reduced military spending—they hope to see after the November election.

      • Experts Say Internet Shutdowns Don’t Thwart Protests

        Like so many authoritarians, Belarus “President” Alexander Lukashenko has taken to violence, intimidation, and censorship in a ham-fisted bid to stifle those critical of his dubious election win. On the technology side, that has involved hiring U.S. network gear maker Sandvine to help the country block citizens’ access to the broader internet. During August’s contested election, citizens found their access to social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook prohibited thanks to Sandvine and the Belarusian government, which originally tried to claim that the blockade was the result of a cyberattack. News outlets like CNN and the BBC, and search engines like Google, were also blocked.

      • Thirty-eight days later Belarusian newspaper facing fines after its journalist was injured by police while covering protests

        Belarusian journalist Natalya Lubnevskaya was covering an opposition demonstration on Kaĺvaryjskaja Street in Minsk on August 10, when she was injured by a rubber bullet. More than a month later, she’s still undergoing rehabilitation. And the newspaper she works for, Nasha Niva, is facing fines, reports its editor-in-chief Jahor Marcinovich. 

      • Trump’s Destruction of America Started With Reagan

        Donald Trump and his billionaire buddies are letting America die.

      • In the Night Kitchen of the Next Election: a Parody

        With apologies to Maurice Sendak.

      • Bridging Individualism and Community to Sustain our Democracy

        The U.S. stands out since its creation as championing the rights of all individuals, as proclaimed in the Declaration that Jefferson wrote for the new nation. Always clever, Jefferson substituted “pursuit of happiness” for “possessing property” in order to cast a wider net. Although initially those who did not own enough property, or were women or Jews, were deprived of the vote by state governments. Enslaved blacks, of course, were not even considered citizens — they were someone else’s property.

      • Bill Gates’ Global Agenda and How We Can Resist His War on Life

        Gates’ ‘funding’ results in an erasure of democracy and biodiversity, of nature and culture. His ‘philanthropy’ is not just philanthrocapitalism. It is philanthroimperialism.

      • Trump: The Novel Coronated Virus

        I recently reviewed Mike Davis’ The Monster Enters (2020), an update of his book, The Monster at the Door (2017), which was a warning that we were terrifyingly close to suffering a flu virus pandemic that could wipe out millions of people, unless the world worked together to develop a universal vaccine (suspending the profit motive for the common good); the updated Enters addresses Covid-19, and its novel features, while continuing to maintain that we are still due for a bird flu pandemic and that, in fact, we may have entered a Pandemic Era. Davis pleads for scientific, political, and social preparation for an inevitable catastrophe ahead, given humanity’s continued destruction of habitats and ecosystems, driving unknown viral monsters our way.

      • Top Dem Says Internal Govt. Watchdog Report Shows Trump Still Has No ‘Coherent’ Response to Covid-19

        White House should “heed GAO’s nonpartisan recommendations and finally show some leadership to protect Americans’ lives,” said Rep. James Clyburn.

      • Cancel the Presidential Debates—Permanently

        Imagine hating yourself enough to watch a presidential debate featuring Donald Trump. What reason would you possibly have? To make sure he’s a lying sociopath? To see if he’s a worse choice than Joe Biden? To gain useful insights into American politics?

      • If You Wait Until Election Day to Vote, You’re Already Too Late

        I can’t keep up with all the different ways Donald Trump is trying to steal the upcoming presidential election. And I can’t keep track of all the ways he is trying to undermine faith in the election so that he can declare himself the winner even if he loses.

      • Over 170 Environmentalists Sign Letter Urging Against Green Party “Protest Vote”

        As the Green Party fights in court to stay on the ballot in key swing states less than 50 days before the election, many veteran environmental activists and climate scientists are taking an unprecedented step — pleading to a constituency that has long been key to the party’s electoral efforts to eschew casting a “protest vote” for the Greens this year and instead cast their ballots for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

      • Trump Praises “Good Genes” of Minnesotans, Highlighting His Eugenics Fixation

        Over the past five years or so, I’ve had no problem using the “F” word (fascism) to describe what’s been happening under President Trump and the Republican Party. I wrote about it here in Salon all the way back in 2015, noting that I wasn’t the only one. In fact, it was his fellow Republicans who were the first to use the term to describe him. All you have to do is go back and read that full-page newspaper ad Trump took out in 1989, headlined “Bring Back the Death Penalty, Bring Back Our Police,” to understand his fundamental authoritarian nature.

      • The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg: What to Learn From Her Successes and Failures

        The death of Justice Ginsburg is a great tragedy on multiple levels. She was deeply respected, even beloved, for a lifetime dedicated to guaranteeing justice and equality for people who did not yet have it. She did this before and after she was appointed to the Supreme Court.

      • 1 Million+ People in Less Than 3 Days Sign Petition Demanding RBG Seat Not Be Filled Until 2021

        “With less than 50 days until the election and voting already underway in many states, it’s important that we demand all senators pledge not to move forward with any nominee until after the next inauguration.”

      • ‘He Told Us to Use His Words Against Him’: Early AM Protest Outside Lindsey Graham’s Home Over RBG Replacement

        “In the spirit of RBG, we will not allow a double standard in how our Congress deals with late-term Supreme Court appointments.”

      • Ocasio-Cortez Demands Democrats Use ‘Every Procedural Tool Available’ to Stop Trump From Filling RBG Vacancy

        “Our reproductive rights are on the line. Our labor rights are on the line. Our right to healthcare is on the line. Labor and union protections are on the line. Our climate is on the line.”

      • “A National Tragedy”: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Friend & “Favorite Client” Remembers the Legal Icon

        U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg first gained fame in the 1970s when she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union and argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court. One of those cases was Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, which centered on a widower who was refused Social Security benefits after his wife died during childbirth. We speak with Stephen Wiesenfeld, who was told his gender made him ineligible and that only women were entitled to survivor’s benefits. Ginsburg argued in the Supreme Court that denying fathers benefits because of their sex was unconstitutional, and won a unanimous 8-0 decision in the case. Wiesenfeld, who would become a lifelong friend to the late Supreme Court justice, says she “took their very conservative court and taught them that the stereotypes when they hurt one gender, hurt the other gender, as well.”

      • “RBG”: Film Director Reflects on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Lifelong Fight for Gender Equity

        In her later years, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was internationally known simply as her initials — RBG — and a 2018 documentary film by the same name about Ginsburg’s legal career, personal history and unexpected celebrity became a surprise smash hit. We speak with Julie Cohen, co-director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary ”RBG,” about Ginsburg’s early years and leadership in fighting for equal rights for women, including arguing a case before the Supreme Court with all male justices who were condescending to her. “She never let that condescension get her down,” notes Cohen. “She was a deeply strategic person.”

      • Packing the Court—or Taming the Courts?

        With Republicans rushing to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, America stands on the brink of a legal revolution. A Trump-nominated judge taking Ginsburg’s seat—which could in theory happen even if Trump loses in November and the Democrats regain control of the Senate—would open the door for an unprecedented radical shift to the right. With Republican-nominated judges possessing a 6-3 supermajority on the Supreme Court, some of the wildest ideas of Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia, hitherto reserved for dissents, could now become the law of the land.

      • Remembering RBG: Legal Giant’s Death Sparks Furious Fight in D.C. over Vacant Supreme Court Seat

        We look at the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as the future of the Supreme Court, in a wide-ranging interview with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate, where she is the senior legal correspondent and Supreme Court reporter. Ginsburg died September 18 at the age of 87 after serving 27 years as a Supreme Court justice, where she became the most prominent member of the court’s liberal wing. Her death just 46 days before the November election sets up a major political battle over her replacement, with President Trump and many Senate Republicans vowing to nominate and confirm a right-wing judge to fill her seat by Friday or Saturday. In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died 269 days before the election. “Hypocrisy doesn’t begin to touch on that,” says Lithwick. “The court is profoundly misaligned both with popular opinion polling and with the will of this country.”

      • With Planet and the Future on the Line, Sunrise Movement Doubles Down on 2020 After RBG’s Death

        “This moment is a critical opportunity—not only to activate every young voter in swing states but also to catapult emergent Green New Deal champions running for Senate into the spotlight and secure upsets in red states.”

      • Trump Says He Is ‘Counting on the Federal Court System’ to Declare Winner on Election Night—Before Many Ballots Are Tallied

        “This is an open admission that Trump hopes to use the Supreme Court to steal the election.”

      • Ginsburg’s Legacy Is Vast, But a Trump Appointee Could Overturn Her Best Rulings

        When I was sworn in to practice before the Supreme Court in 2007, I sat near the front of the gallery. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the five-foot-tall justice, was barely visible over the bench behind which she sat. On two occasions, Ginsburg visited the law school where I taught for many years. She graciously created the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture Series at our annual Women and the Law Conference, which featured leading feminist scholars.

      • The Many Reasons the GOP Wants to Steal Ginsburg’s Seat

        Remembering what’s at stake in the fight to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

      • As Trump Plans to Name SCOTUS Nominee This Week, 62% of Americans Oppose Plan to Confirm Ginsburg’s Successor Before Election

        Eight in 10 Democrats and five in 10 Republicans say the winner of the November election should name a new nominee.

      • The Supreme Court Is Misaligned With the Will of This Country. Will We Resist?

        We look at the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as the future of the Supreme Court, in a wide-ranging interview with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate, where she is the senior legal correspondent and Supreme Court reporter. Ginsburg died September 18 at the age of 87 after serving 27 years as a Supreme Court justice, where she became the most prominent member of the court’s liberal wing. Her death just 46 days before the November election sets up a major political battle over her replacement, with President Trump and many Senate Republicans vowing to nominate and confirm a right-wing judge to fill her seat by Friday or Saturday. In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died 269 days before the election. “Hypocrisy doesn’t begin to touch on that,” says Lithwick. “The court is profoundly misaligned both with popular opinion polling and with the will of this country.”

      • AOC Urges Democrats to Prevent Trump From Filling Ginsburg Vacancy

        With President Donald Trump expected to nominate a successor to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday evening urged Democrats in Congress to utilize “every procedural tool available to buy the country time” and ensure the vacancy is filled by the winner of the November presidential election.

      • Trump Spreads Misinformation With Claim That Dems Wrote Ginsburg’s Dying Wish

        President Trump made false assertions on Monday regarding the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish, insinuating that her request to have her successor named after the election was crafted by leading Democrats in Congress.

      • For RBG it was all Principle, for Mitch McConnell it’s all Power

        Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday night at the age of 87, exemplified the first.

      • Progressives Hit Back After DOJ Designates New York, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon ‘Anarchist Jurisdictions’

        “This is not just unlawful but it’s also a prime example of this president’s failed leadership and desperation,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal said of the DOJ designations. 

      • Trump, Barr Declare War on First Amendment With “Anarchist Jurisdictions” Label

        The Department of Justice (DOJ) deemed three U.S. cities “anarchist jurisdictions” on Monday, in line with a memo issued by President Trump earlier this month that sought to put financial penalties on places where significant uprisings were happening in response to extrajudicial killings of Black Americans across the country.

      • Justice Dept. brands NYC an ‘anarchist jurisdiction,’ targets federal funds

        White House budget director Russ Vought is set to issue guidance to federal agencies on withdrawing funds from the cities in less than two weeks.

        The list of cities eligible for defunding will be updated periodically, the feds have said.

        It is not yet clear what funds are likely to be cut, but the amount of money siphoned from New York City could be massive, given the Big Apple gets about $7 billion in annual federal aid.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Down the 1619 Project’s Memory Hole

        Throughout the controversy, the line about the year 1619 being “our true founding” continued to haunt the Times. This criticism did not aim to denigrate the project’s titular date or the associated events in the history of slavery. Rather, the passage came to symbolize the Times’s blurring of historical analysis with editorial hyperbole. The announced intention of reframing the country’s origin date struck many readers across the political spectrum as an implicit repudiation of the American revolution and its underlying principles.

        Rather than address this controversy directly, the Times—it now appears—decided to send it down the memory hole—the euphemized term for selectively editing inconvenient passages out of old newspaper reports in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Without announcement or correction, the newspaper quietly edited out the offending passage such that it now reads: [...]

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Principles of Journalism on Trial/2020 Banned Books Week – The Project Censored Show
      • Assange on Trial: Torture Testimonies, Offers of Pardon and Truth Telling

        September 18. Central Criminal Court, London.

      • Trump Jr. Fixer: Everyone In WikiLeaks Deserve The Death Penalty

        When Richard Grenell, one of President Donald Trump’s closest envoys in Europe, was the ambassador to Germany, Grenell reportedly brokered a deal with the Ecuador government for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s arrest and expulsion from the London embassy.

        A wealthy Republican donor named Arthur Schwartz, who handled communications for Grenell while he was ambassador and has close ties with Donald Trump Jr., was apparently aware of the plans months before they were carried out.

      • Day 10: September 21, 2020 #AssangeCase

        The first witness this week was German computer science professor Christian Grothoff, who testified about his research into the timeline of events surrounding the 2011 publication of the unredacted State Department cables. Three of the 18 counts against Assange charge him specifically for publishing the unredacted cables, and Grothoff’s testimony establishes that WikiLeaks was not the first outlet to publish that archive, that others published it first and have not been prosecuted for doing so, and that WikiLeaks took care to encrypt the file but actions outside of Assange’s control led to its release.

      • 161 former heads of state, prime ministers, and ministers demand Assange’s freedom

        A remarkable international letter from 161 heads of state and former heads of state, and a raft of politicians and lawyers, has been released in support of Julian Assange. The letter argues that Julian Assange should not be prosecuted for his political opinions or his actions as a journalist and publisher.

      • A Guide To Journalists And Organizations Covering Assange Trial For Those Upset About Lack Of Media Coverage

        Diagnosing why establishment media institutions are not covering WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition trial in London has become increasingly widespread among persons known for their political commentary.Aaron Maté, a journalist with the Grayzone who hosts the “Pushback” show, complained, “U.S. media outlets across a wide spectrum have spent far more time promoting fantasies about Julian Assange conspiring with Roger Stone, the Trump campaign, and Russia than they have covering the Trump administration’s draconian effort to extradite Assange and criminalize journalism.”Matt Taibbi, an independent journalist who co-hosts the Rolling Stone’s “Useful Idiots” podcast, contended, “The people who cheer Jim Acosta’s antics [for CNN] but are quiet about this Assange situation and what it means for the media and whistleblowers—this case and in the Snowden case, they’re announcing the punishment for disclosing real secrets is life—are frauds.”When Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald appeared on “Useful Idiots,” he offered his thoughts on the lack of media coverage, saying “a lot of liberals,” including the media, have an “authoritarian strain.” They believe “their political adversaries ought to be punished and imprisoned, that anyone who helped Donald Trump is basically a criminal. And since they see Julian Assange as somebody who helped Donald Trump, it’s not just that they’re indifferent to his prison. They actually want it. They hope he ends up in prison.”“Media outlets, including by the way the Intercept, have completely ignored these proceedings. I’ve written about it, and we’ve done some opinion pieces or analysis of it. We’re not covering the trial, even though we should be. Nor are any other large media outlets. Basically, we’re relying on kind of independent bloggers to do it.”“I talked to Assange’s lawyers, and I got the list of the journalists who had requested credentials to cover the trial, and it’s basically like Kevin Gosztola and some YouTubers and that’s like basically it, and it’s really scandalous how the U.S. media has chosen to ignore this,” Greenwald concluded.I’ll share my appreciation for Greenwald, who mentioned me. He has supported my work, sharing it with his 1.5 million followers on Twitter. However, I covered the U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s court martial extensively.Manning’s court martial faced a similar lack of media attention (although with that prosecution the U.S. Justice Department had not yet trained its sights so explicitly on the right to publish information).

      • ‘You will be put into detention’: Former ABC bureau chief tells story of fleeing China for first time

        I am telling this story for the first time. After my departure from China I was reluctant to report what had happened because I did not want to harm the ABC’s operations in China, put staff at risk or threaten the chances of my successor as bureau chief, Sarah Ferguson, being granted a journalist’s visa to China.

        But all that changed when Birtles and the Australian Financial Review’s Mike Smith fled the country this month.

        After seven Chinese State Security police officers arrived at my door at midnight, I realised the concerns about my safety were real, writes Bill Birtles.

        My story — which occurred two years earlier — suggests there is more to their actions against foreign journalists than tit-for-tat reprisals as the Chinese portray it.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Promise of Freedom

        When the socialist government of Michael Manley came to power in Jamaica in 1972, the charismatic new prime minister asked the up-and-coming Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson to become his special adviser for social policy and development. Only a decade after the country gained its independence from Britain, Jamaican voters elected Manley with a sweeping mandate to transform the colonial-era hierarchies of race and class that remained intact. Manley needed a team of trusted advisers to help implement his ambitious agenda, and Patterson was high on the list.

      • Low, Even For Them
      • Taking a Knee in Alabama

        Taylor Morgan is a senior soccer player for the University of Alabama. She made the journey to Tuscaloosa after starring at Westfield High School in Westfield, N.J. In addition to playing Division I soccer, she is the vice chair of the SEC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

      • U.S. charges New York City police officer with acting as illegal agent of China

        A New York City police officer who also serves as a U.S. Army reservist has been charged with acting as an illegal agent of the government of China, federal prosecutors said on Monday.

      • ‘Sledgehammer to Permanently Silence Opposing Voices’: Outrage Over Florida Gov. DeSantis’ Proposed Anti-Protest Bill

        “This effort has one goal: silence, criminalize, and penalize Floridians who want to see justice for Black lives,” said ACLU of Florida executive director Micah Kubic. 

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Apple TV+ Wins First Emmy Award

        Apple TV+ launched Nov. 1 as a $5-per-month offering designed largely for users of the Apple TV set-top box. The Morning Show, which stars Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, was its highest profile project at launch. It has since built out a slate of programming that includes comedies like Ted Lasso and films like Tom Hanks starrer Greyhound.

        The tech giant has won Emmys in the past. Carpool Karaoke: The Series has taken home the trophy for outstanding short form variety series for the last three years.

        Apple has not disclosed how many subscribers have signed up for TV+.

    • Monopolies

      • U.S.’s Google Antitrust Suit Nears With Briefing of States

        As part of the case, Justice Department officials will brief a coalition of 48 state attorneys general, who are pursuing a parallel inquiry, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing law enforcement deliberations.

        The U.S. officials appear likely to ask the states to sign on to the case, as happened with Microsoft, the people said. The states, which are led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, could still pursue their own case in coming weeks, Bloomberg has reported.

      • Patents

        • Expanding Access to Patents for COVID-19

          Two competing and linked sets of goals must be addressed when considering patent policy in response to a public health emergency. First is the allocation of existing resources among potential users (hospitals, patients, etc.); second is the creation of new technologies over time (innovation). Patents provide financial incentives to develop new technologies. Yet shortages of patented products often plague crisis response. In the case of COVID-19, allocative goals, particularly satisfying demand for patented medical products (e.g., vaccines, ventilators, PPE, and test kits), may be achieved through governmental interventions such as march-in and governmental use rights (compulsory licensing). But in cases involving the development of new technologies such as vaccines and therapies, incentive structures must be preserved to ensure that the private sector is appropriately motivated to act. In addition to patents, which reward inventors for financially successful innovations, a range of other incentives such as prizes, grants, and subsidies also exist to motivate technological innovation. Incentives like these, coupled with a requirement that resulting discoveries be made available on a broad and open basis, can achieve a balance between allocation and innovation goals. Governments can encourage such measures using both the incipient threat of compulsory licensing and the reward of procurement preferences and other up-front rewards.

        • Patents and Control: Ethics and the Patentability of Novel Beings and Advanced Biotechnologies in Europe

          This article focuses primarily on to what extent novel beings, and particularly, beings which display something akin to human consciousness or agency would be (or should be) patentable in Europe. Patents grant the patent holder a right to exclude others from using the patented invention for the period of patent grant (usually 20 years). This allows the patent holder to control how that invention can or cannot be used by others downstream. Accordingly, the potential for patentability of novel beings gives rise to a myriad of ethical issues including: to what extent is it appropriate for patent holders to retain and exercise patents over ‘novel beings’; how issues of ‘agency’ displayed by any ‘novel beings’ would fit within the current patent framework, if at all; and to what extent existing exclusions from patentability might exclude patents on ‘novel beings’ or whether changes within patent law may be needed if patents over ‘novel beings’ are deemed ethically problematic. This article focuses on such issues, and in doing so, also sheds light on the role of ethical issues within the patenting of advanced biotechnologies more generally.

        • Federal Judge Seeks Patent Cases

          Imagine the following advertisement popping up on Craigslist: “FEDERAL JUDGE SEEKS PATENT CASES! (Waco) — Former patent litigator, recently appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, longs for the intellectual challenge of a good patent fight. Can promise special procedural rules, efficient discovery, and speedy trials. Dismissal, stay, or transfer of case extremely unlikely. File in Waco and get the patent court you’ve always dreamed of!”

          That probably seems bizarre. Still — and startlingly — it accurately portrays what’s happening right now in the Western District of Texas. One judge, appointed to the court less than two years ago, has been advertising his district — through presentations to patent lawyers, comments to the media, procedures in his courtroom, and decisions in patent cases — as the place to file your patent infringement lawsuit. And he has succeeded. In 2018, the Western District received only 90 patent cases — a mere 2.5% of patent suits nationwide. In 2020, the Western District is on track to receive more than 800 — the most of any district in the country. Importantly, these suits are overwhelmingly filed by so-called patent trolls — entities that don’t make any products or provide services but instead exist solely to enforce patents.

          The centralization of patent cases before a single judge, acting entirely on his own to seek out patent litigation, is facilitated by the Western District’s case filing system, which allows plaintiffs to choose not just the court but the specific judge who will hear their case. These dynamics — a judge advertising for patent cases and plaintiffs shopping for that judge — undermine public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary, make the court an uneven playing field for litigants, and facilitate the nuisance suits patent trolls favor. Two reforms would help solve this problem: first, district judges should — by law — be randomly assigned to cases and, second, venue in patent cases should be tied to geographic divisions within a judicial district, not just the district as a whole.

        • Opposition to a European Patent for CAR-T Therapy: A Mechanism to Control High Drug Prices?

          The process and outcomes of a challenge to a European patent for a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell (CAR-T) therapy, a highly expensive cancer treatment, were described in a presentation made at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020.

          “Today there is a strong consensus that [cancer treatment] high prices may become a barrier to universal access to cancer therapy, not only in resource-limited settings, but also in high-income countries,” stated Juliana Veras, advocacy coordinator, Médecins du Monde, which is a European advocacy organization.

          She further noted that “the abusive use of patents and that lack of rigorous public regulation on the granting of health-related patents” can facilitate the emergence of pharmaceutical monopolies, contributing to the high prices of some anticancer therapies.

          In this presentation, she chronicled the work performed by Médecins du Monde and Public Eye, another European organization focused on research and advocacy, in challenging a European patent for the chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy tisagenlecleucel.

        • Software Patents

          • US Postal Service Files A Patent For Voting System Combining Mail And A Blockchain

            USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) published a patent application filed by the USPS. The patent claims that a combination of the security of the blockchain and the mail service provides a reliable voting system. A registered voter receives a QR code by mail. A separation of voter identification and votes to ensure voter anonymity is the principal feature of the solution. The votes are stored on a blockchain attested by election officials. Obviously, this patent is too late to be developed and deployed for this election.

          • TikTok in hot water after being sued over patent infringement

            Popular social network and video sharing platform TikTok has been sued for patent infringement.

            Rival Triller (less well-known than TikTok to many) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the USA for a video-related patent. The patent in question is US Patent No. 9,691,429.

            This patent is for a method of combining multiple videos synchronised to a single audio track which forms a big part of TikTok’s offering.

            In December 2019, TikTok introduced a feature called the “green screen video” feature, which enables users to capture multiple short videos and then synchronise or stitch them together to one song (or audio track).

      • Trademarks

        • Book Review: Intellectual Property and Popular Culture [Ed: This book title is a lie and shameless propaganda because there's no such thing as "Intellectual Property" and they refer to something like trademark, which isn't property]

          From Star Wars’s wars over uniforms to Banksy’s latest loss of trade mark rights, pop culture gradually made its way into intellectual property doctrine. The University of Strasbourg did not wait on the side-lines of these developments, and organised, in 2018, a conference on ‘Pop Culture and Intellectual Property’. Following the success of the conference, a collection of contributions, edited by Prof. Yann Basire (University of Strasbourg), has now been published with LexisNexis under the title “Propriété intellectuelle et pop culture”.

          Structuring itself in a pop culturesque style, the book is divided into a prologue and three episodes, which are themselves grouped into 14 chapters, 11 of which are written in French and 3 in English. The ensuing contents contain contributions on various issues of IP and popular (also called “mass”) culture, which can either be consulted separately as self-standing pieces or read in one sitting, so as to obtain a more holistic view on the topic.

      • Copyrights

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DecorWhat Else is New

  1. Links 29/05/2023: Snap and PipeWire Plans as Vendor Lock-in

    Links for the day

  2. Gemini Links 29/05/2023: GNU/Linux Pains and More

    Links for the day

  3. Links 29/05/2023: Election in Fedora, Unifont 15.0.04

    Links for the day

  4. Gemini Links 29/05/2023: Rosy Crow 1.1.1 and Smolver 1.2.1 Released

    Links for the day

  5. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 28, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 28, 2023

  6. Daniel Stenberg Knows Almost Nothing About Gemini and He's Likely Just Protecting His Turf (HTTP/S)

    The man behind Curl, Daniel Stenberg, criticises Gemini; but it's not clear if he even bothered trying it (except very briefly) or just read some inaccurate, one-sided blurbs about it

  7. Links 29/05/2023: Videos Catchup and Gemini FUD

    Links for the day

  8. Links 28/05/2023: Linux 6.4 RC4 and MX Linux 23 Beta

    Links for the day

  9. Gemini Links 28/05/2023: Itanium Day, GNUnet DHT, and More

    Links for the day

  10. Links 28/05/2023: eGates System Collapses, More High TCO Stories (Microsoft Windows)

    Links for the day

  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 27, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 27, 2023

  12. No More Twitter, Mastodon, and Diaspora for Tux Machines (Goodbye to Social Control Media)

    People would benefit from mass abandonment of such pseudo-social pseudo-media.

  13. Links 28/05/2023: New Wine and More

    Links for the day

  14. Links 27/05/2023: Plans Made for GNU's 40th Anniversary

    Links for the day

  15. Social Control Media Needs to be Purged and We Need to Convince Others to Quit It Too (to Protect Ourselves as Individuals and as a Society)

    With the Tux Machines anniversary (19 years) just days away we seriously consider abandoning all social control media accounts of that site, including Mastodon and Diaspora; social control networks do far more harm than good and they’ve gotten a lot worse over time

  16. Anonymously Travelling: Still Feasible?

    The short story is that in the UK it's still possible to travel anonymously by bus, tram, and train (even with shades, hat and mask/s on), but how long for? Or how much longer have we got before this too gets banned under the false guise of "protecting us" (or "smart"/"modern")?

  17. With EUIPO in Focus, and Even an EU Kangaroo Tribunal, EPO Corruption (and Cross-Pollination With This EU Agency) Becomes a Major Liability/Risk to the EU

    With the UPC days away (an illegal and unconstitutional kangaroo court system, tied to the European Union in spite of critical deficiencies) it’s curious to see EPO scandals of corruption spilling over to the European Union already

  18. European Patent Office (EPO) Management Not Supported by the EPO's Applicants, So Why Is It Still There?

    This third translation in the batch is an article similar to the prior one, but the text is a bit different (“Patente ohne Wert”)

  19. EPO Applicants Complain That Patent Quality Sank and EPO Management Isn't Listening (Nor Caring)

    SUEPO has just released 3 translations of new articles in German (here is the first of the batch); the following is the second of the three (“Kritik am Europäischen Patentamt – Patente ohne Wert?”)

  20. German Media About Industry Patent Quality Charter (IPQC) and the European Patent Office (EPO)

    SUEPO has just released 3 translations of new articles in German; this is the first of the three (“Industrie kritisiert Europäisches Patentamt”)

  21. Geminispace Continues to Grow Even If (or When) Stéphane Bortzmeyer Stops Measuring Its Growth

    A Gemini crawler called Lupa (Free/libre software) has been used for years by Stéphane Bortzmeyer to study Gemini and report on how the community was evolving, especially from a technical perspective; but his own instance of Lupa has produced no up-to-date results for several weeks

  22. Links 27/05/2023: Goodbyes to Tina Turner

    Links for the day

  23. HMRC: You Can Click and Type to Report Crime, But No Feedback or Reference Number Given

    The crimes of Sirius ‘Open Source’ were reported 7 days ago to HMRC (equivalent to the IRS in the US, more or less); but there has been no visible progress and no tracking reference is given to identify the report

  24. IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 26, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, May 26, 2023

  25. One Week After Sirius Open Source Was Reported to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for Tax Fraud: No Response, No Action, Nothing...

    One week ago we reported tax abuses of Sirius ‘Open Source’ to HMRC; we still wait for any actual signs that HMRC is doing anything at all about the matter (Sirius has British government clients, so maybe they’d rather not look into that, in which case HMRC might be reported to the Ombudsman for malpractice)

  26. Links 26/05/2023: Weston 12.0 Highlights and US Debt Limit Panic

    Links for the day

  27. Gemini Links 26/05/2023: New People in Gemini

    Links for the day

  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 25, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 25, 2023

  29. Links 26/05/2023: Qt 6.5.1 and Subsystems in GNUnet

    Links for the day

  30. Links 25/05/2023: Mesa 23.1.1 and Debian Reunion

    Links for the day

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